Archive for Anti-Semitism

Dean Obeidallah: Sacha Cohen’s Movie a Minstrel Show

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by loonwatch

Danios wrote recently about Ashton Kutcher’s putting on ‘brown face,’ and ridiculing Indians in a Pop Chips commercial. He pointed out that though Kutcher’s ad was pulled we still have Sacha Baron Cohen’s anti-Arab minstrel show proceeding without much protestation or discussion–until now.

Muslim comedian Dean Obeidallah has weighed-in now, and if I didn’t know any better he must have read our article because he raises similar arguments,

To me, this is essentially the same as white performers in blackface portraying black people in buffoonish negative stereotypes for the enjoyment of white America.

But I am not advocating a ban on offensive comments or the telling of culturally insensitive jokes. I certainly am not calling for more PC comedy. I’m not calling for a boycott of anyone nor asking for one more insincere “I’m sorry to all those who were offended by me” from a celebrity.

I’m in no way arguing that Arab culture is off-limits or cannot be mocked. I’m a comedian of Arab heritage and have performed comedy shows not only for Arab-American groups across the United States, but also in the Middle East, from Egypt to Qatar to Saudi Arabia. I find the biggest laughs are elicited when performers hold up a comic mirror to Arab culture.

But for some reason, the entertainment industry appears to truly enjoy ridiculing “brown” people, Arabs and Indians, and has no qualms about casting people not of our heritage to portray us. Indeed, just last week Popchips snack company found itself embroiled in a controversy because an ad showed Ashton Kutcher playing an Indian character in brownface, similar to what Cohen is doing in “The Dictator.”

Sacha Cohen’s movie a minstrel show

by Dean Obeidallah

(CNN) – Sacha Baron Cohen’s new movie, “The Dictator,” is a modern-day minstrel show judging from the trailer and Cohen’s comments promoting the film while dressed as the film’s star, “Gen. Shabazz Aladeen,” the leader of a fictitious Arab country.

Cohen, who is not of Arab heritage, plays this Arab character while sporting a long fake beard and speaking in a strong Arabic accent, which would be fine, except the character is showcasing the worst stereotypes of Arabs.

For example, at a news conference in New York City this week promoting his film, Cohen exclaimed: “Welcome devils of the Zionist media and death to the West.” He then joked about liking TV shows that showed Arab terrorists killing Americans and admiring fashion designer John Galliano for hating the Jews.

To me, this is essentially the same as white performers in blackface portraying black people in buffoonish negative stereotypes for the enjoyment of white America.

But I am not advocating a ban on offensive comments or the telling of culturally insensitive jokes. I certainly am not calling for more PC comedy. I’m not calling for a boycott of anyone nor asking for one more insincere “I’m sorry to all those who were offended by me” from a celebrity.

I’m in no way arguing that Arab culture is off-limits or cannot be mocked. I’m a comedian of Arab heritage and have performed comedy shows not only for Arab-American groups across the United States, but also in the Middle East, from Egypt to Qatar to Saudi Arabia. I find the biggest laughs are elicited when performers hold up a comic mirror to Arab culture.

But for some reason, the entertainment industry appears to truly enjoy ridiculing “brown” people, Arabs and Indians, and has no qualms about casting people not of our heritage to portray us. Indeed, just last week Popchips snack company found itself embroiled in a controversy because an ad showed Ashton Kutcher playing an Indian character in brownface, similar to what Cohen is doing in “The Dictator.”

Read the rest here…

Guenter Grass Being Labeled an Anti-Semite for Critical Poem of Israel

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by loonwatch

The New York Times like many newspapers will not print Guenter Grass’ anti-War poem, I wonder if the hatemongers are going to compare this to the Danish cartoons that were supposedly “silenced” in attacks on “free speech” as they claimed at the time?

Quite a few commenters are calling Grass an “anti-Semite” and making hay out of his being drafted into the Waffen-SS in the final two months of World War II which dented his moral authority in Germany. Grass, for his part claims to have never fired a single bullet.

An opinion article in Haaretz has termed the poem “pathetic” but exonerates Grass from being an “anti-Semite,” which if anyone has read his works knows he is not.

Perhaps Guenter Grass is not the most astute individual when it comes to commenting on the geo-political intrigues playing out with regards to the war rhetoric between Israel and Iran, but it is a mistake to censor his work, not to take his points about double standards and hypocrisy seriously and to label him an anti-Semite.

Laureate accuses Israel of plotting to ‘wipe out’ Iran Israel to build 1,121 settler homes – Hebron squatters evicted

BERLIN: German Nobel literature laureate Gunter Grass touched off a firestorm of protest yesterday with a poem accusing Israel of plotting Iran’s annihilation and threatening world peace. The 84-year-old longtime leftist activist wrote in “What must be said” that he worried Israel “could wipe out the Iranian people” with a “first strike” due to the threat it sees in Tehran’s disputed nuclear program. “Why do I only say now, aged and with my last ink: the atomic power Israel is endangering the already fragile world peace?” reads the poem, which appeared in the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung yesterday.

Grass answers that Nazi Germany’s “incomparable” crimes against Jews and his own fear of accusations of anti-Semitism kept him from openly criticising Israel. But now, “tomorrow could already be too late” and Germany could become a “supplier to a crime”, Grass wrote, referring to a deal sealed last month for Berlin to sell Israel a sixth nuclear-capable Dolphin-class submarine. “I admit: I will be silent no longer, because I am sick of the hypocrisy of the West”.

Israel slammed the poem, which also sparked a fevered debate on German-language news and culture websites. “What must be said is that it belongs to European tradition to accuse the Jews of ritual murder before the Passover celebration,” said Emmanuel Nahshon, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli embassy in Berlin, in a statement. “It used to be Christian children whose blood the Jews used to make matza (unleavened bread), today it is the Iranian people that the Jewish state purportedly wants to wipe out.” Nahshon said Israel was “the only state in the world whose right to exist is publicly doubted”. “We want to live in peace with our neighbours in the region. And we are not prepared to assume the role that Gunter Grass assigns us in the German people’s process of coming to terms with its history.”

The Israel director of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Efraim Zuroff, accused Grass of making himself the spokesman “for anti-Semitic Germans sick of the Holocaust and seeking to rid themselves of any responsibility for its aftermath”. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle released a statement without mentioning Grass by name in which he warned against “making light of the dangers of the Iranian nuclear program”. “Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is not only a threat to Israel and the entire region but also a danger for the world’s security architecture,” he said, underlining Germany’s efforts to prevent Iran from having nuclear arms.

Grass, author of the renowned anti-war novel “The Tin Drum”, shocked his admirers in 2006 when he admitted, six decades after World War II, that he had been a member of the notorious Waffen SS – a revelation that severely undermined his until then substantial moral authority in Germany. Grass said he long kept silent on Israel’s own nuclear program because his country committed “crimes that are without comparison”, but he has come to see that silence as a “burdensome lie and a coercion” whose disregard carries a punishment – “the verdict ‘anti-Semitism’ is commonly used”.

Henryk M Broder, a prominent German Jewish columnist, accused Grass in light of his poem of having become “the prototype of the educated anti-Semite”. “Grass has always had a problem with Jews but he has never articulated it as clearly as with this ‘poem’,” Broder wrote in the daily Die Welt. The country’s most influential media commentators were unanimous in their criticism, saying Grass had offered up a one-sided portrayal of Israel as the aggressor and Iran as a victim of a mortal threat. “Never before in the history of the republic has a prominent intellectual waged a battle against Israel in such a cliched way,” wrote the website of news weekly Der Spiegel. Only Wolfgang Gehrcke of the far-left Die Linke party defended Grass in public, saying he had the “courage” to express “what is widely kept silent”.

Israel, the sole if undeclared nuclear power in the Middle East, has said it is keeping all options open for responding to Iran’s program which it says is aimed at securing atomic weapons, posing an existential threat to the Jewish state. Iran, whose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad frequently questions Israel’s right to exist, has consistently denied that its sensitive nuclear work is aimed at making weapons.

Separately, Israel’s government yesterday published tenders for 1,121 new settler homes as it faced settler anger over its decision to evict Israeli families from a disputed home in the Palestinian city of Hebron. Documents published on the Israeli housing ministry website showed the government had issued tenders for 872 new homes in Har Homa, a contentious settlement neighbourhood in the southern part of Arab east Jerusalem. Another 180 are to be built in Givat Zeev, just to the north of Jerusalem in the West Bank, while the remaining 69 are to be built in Katzrin in the occupied Golan Heights, the documents showed. Read rest here

The full text of the poem:

Why I am silent, silent for too much time,
how much is clear and we made it
in war games, where, as survivors,
we are just the footnotes

That is the claimed right to the formal preventive aggression
which could erase the Iranian people
dominated by a bouncer and moved to an organized jubilation,
because in the area of his competence there is
the construction of the atomic bomb

And then why do I avoid myself
to call the other country with its name,
where since years – even if secretly covered –
there is an increasing nuclear power,
without control, because unreachable
by every inspection?

I feel the everybody silence on this state of affairs,
which my silence is slave to,
as an oppressive lie and an inhibition that presents punishment
we don’t pay attention to;
the verdict “anti-Semitism” is common

Now, since my country,
from time to time touched by unique and exclusive crimes,
obliged to justify itself,
again for pure business aims – even if
with fast tongue we call it “reparation” –
should deliver another submarine to Israel,
with the specialty of addressing
annihilating warheads where the
existence of one atomic bomb is not proved
but it wants evidence as a scarecrow,
I say what must be said

Why did I stay silent until now?
Because the thought about my origin,
burdened by an unclearing stain,
had avoiding to wait this fact
like a truth declared by the State of Israel
that I want to be connected to

Why did I say it only now,
old and with the last ink:
the nuclear power of Israel
threat the world peace?
Because it must be said
what tomorrow will be too late;
Because – as Germans and with
enough faults on the back –
we might also become deliverers of a predictable
crime, and no excuse would erase our complicity

And I admit: I won’t be silent
because I had enough of the Western hypocrisy;
Because I wish that many will want
to get rid of the silence,
exhorting the cause of a recognizable
risk to the abdication, asking that a free and permanent control
of the Israel atomic power
and the Iran nuclear bases
will be made by both the governments
with an international supervision

Only in this way, Israelis, Palestinians, and everybody,
all people living hostile face to face in that
country occupied by the craziness,
will have a way out,
so us too

(The original German):

Warum schweige ich, verschweige zu lange,
was offensichtlich ist und in Planspielen
geübt wurde, an deren Ende als Überlebende
wir allenfalls Fußnoten sind.

Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag,
der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte
und zum organisierten Jubel gelenkte
iranische Volk auslöschen könnte,
weil in dessen Machtbereich der Bau
einer Atombombe vermutet wird.

Doch warum untersage ich mir,
jenes andere Land beim Namen zu nennen,
in dem seit Jahren – wenn auch geheimgehalten –
ein wachsend nukleares Potential verfügbar
aber außer Kontrolle, weil keiner Prüfung
zugänglich ist?

Das allgemeine Verschweigen dieses Tatbestandes,
dem sich mein Schweigen untergeordnet hat,
empfinde ich als belastende Lüge
und Zwang, der Strafe in Aussicht stellt,
sobald er mißachtet wird;
das Verdikt ‘Antisemitismus’ ist geläufig.

Jetzt aber, weil aus meinem Land,
das von ureigenen Verbrechen,
die ohne Vergleich sind,
Mal um Mal eingeholt und zur Rede gestellt wird,
wiederum und rein geschäftsmäßig, wenn auch
mit flinker Lippe als Wiedergutmachung deklariert,
ein weiteres U-Boot nach Israel
geliefert werden soll, dessen Spezialität
darin besteht, allesvernichtende Sprengköpfe
dorthin lenken zu können, wo die Existenz
einer einzigen Atombombe unbewiesen ist,
doch als Befürchtung von Beweiskraft sein will,
sage ich, was gesagt werden muß.

Warum aber schwieg ich bislang?
Weil ich meinte, meine Herkunft,
die von nie zu tilgendem Makel behaftet ist,
verbiete, diese Tatsache als ausgesprochene Wahrheit
dem Land Israel, dem ich verbunden bin
und bleiben will, zuzumuten.

Warum sage ich jetzt erst,
gealtert und mit letzter Tinte:
Die Atommacht Israel gefährdet
den ohnehin brüchigen Weltfrieden?

Weil gesagt werden muß,
was schon morgen zu spät sein könnte;
auch weil wir – als Deutsche belastet genug –
Zulieferer eines Verbrechens werden könnten,
das voraussehbar ist, weshalb unsere Mitschuld
durch keine der üblichen Ausreden
zu tilgen wäre.

Und zugegeben: ich schweige nicht mehr,
weil ich der Heuchelei des Westens
überdrüssig bin; zudem ist zu hoffen,
es mögen sich viele vom Schweigen befreien,
den Verursacher der erkennbaren Gefahr
zum Verzicht auf Gewalt auffordern und
gleichfalls darauf bestehen,
daß eine unbehinderte und permanente Kontrolle
des israelischen atomaren Potentials
und der iranischen Atomanlagen
durch eine internationale Instanz
von den Regierungen beider Länder zugelassen wird.

Nur so ist allen, den Israelis und Palästinensern,
mehr noch, allen Menschen, die in dieser
vom Wahn okkupierten Region
dicht bei dicht verfeindet leben
und letztlich auch uns zu helfen.

Mohammed Merah: Al-Qaeda Linked Terrorist is Chief Suspect Behind French Murders

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by loonwatch

French_Shooting

The chief suspect in the murders of three French soldiers (2 North Africans, 1 Caribbean), and four Jews, including three children, is a 23 year old man named Mohammed Merah we are being told. The French interior minister, Claude Gueant alleges that the motive behind the attack was to,

“take revenge for Palestinian children” killed in the Middle East, and [he] was angry at the French military for its operations abroad.

The explanation of a motive will give little comfort to the bereaved families. How can Merah purport to be acting in the cause of Palestine when he TARGETED innocents? What demented, twisting acrobatics enabled him to let go of the innate morals within his humanity and kill children? Did he not realize he was betraying Islam, its core principles and the causes he claimed to be fighting for when he went on this killing spree?

The sort of callousness and cold precision with which he operated reveals the mind of a sickening sociopath.

Islamophobes in their haste had pinned their hopes on this murderer being a Muslim, so that they could once again smear and condemn Islam and Muslims. They attempt to minimize and cover for the role that occupation, war, invasion and murder plays in producing anger and…terrorists.

The double standards from them are expected, when an Anders Behring Breivik exterminates 60+ children he is, according to them, a “lone gunman,” a “nutter.” No discussion about the ideology, the anti-Muslim Islamophobic extremism that inspired Breivik’s terrorist Crusade, and which they propagate daily, is mentioned. When a US soldier goes on a rampage and eliminates 16+ civilians as they sleep, including 9 children we do not even learn their names and the soldier is treated with sympathy in the media and PRAISE amongst the Muslim haters.

If the allegations against Mohammed Merah are true, and they likely are, he should face the full brunt of the law for his crimes, but lets hope that the anti-Muslims do not attempt to use these horrific incidents to shift the focus from the true enemy, radical violent extremism whether Islamist (AlQaeda) or Radical Right (Anders Breivik, EDL, etc.). Life in Europe and particularly France, which is already seeing a campaign feeding off of right-wing populism and anti-Muslim rhetoric, will most likely get more difficult now.

What will be missing from all this is the fact that as long as wars of occupation, daily bombing and hate-mongering persist against Muslim majority nations you can rest assured that you will create more Mohammed Merah’s.

*Update I: If it’s not abundantly clear from the above, let me say it, Merah and the AlQaedah ideology is responsible for this crime, no one else, he stands completely condemned by Loonwatch as he does by nearly every honest and humane person. There is no apology above or blame shifting, just stating the facts. Merah himself claims to be acting out in revenge due to the killing of Palestinians and Afghans, I didn’t say this, the French Interior Minister did. Many seem to think we can’t even discuss the motives of these attacks?

Update II (via B-Boy Blue): Having tracked live updates on various online news outlets all day the contraditory information being released is painting a confusing picture of Merah’s background & history.

It was stated with some authority that he has been to Afghanistan & Pakistan to fight for the Mujehadeen. It was claimed that he’d actually been arrested, jailed & then escaped from prison in a Taliban jailbreak. Here are some excerpts:

“Reuters report that the suspect had been serving a three year sentence when he escaped from jail, quoting the director of Kandahar prison.”

“According to Reuters news agency, the head of Kandahar prison in Afghanistan, says the suspect Mohammed Merah, escaped from the prison in a mass Taliban jailbreak.”

“Details of the suspect’s time in Afghanistan are still sketchy, but Le Monde is reporting that he went twice to Pakistan, once in 2010 and again 2011, to speak with groups of fighters based in the tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan. The paper claims that he trained in the camps there alongside the Pakistani Taliban, foreign jihadis and members of the Haqqani network — and that he even crossed the border into Afghanistan as part of groups sent to fight Nato troops.

It says he is understood to have stopped off in Waziristan before heading to Kandahar and Zabul in the south of Afghanistan. Interestingly, it also says that he was stopped by police on the outskirts of Kandahar city. Although he was not arrested, his presence in the region as a foreign national was unusual enough for the police to report him to the Afghan intelligence services, who reportedly then passed on the information to western intelligence services.”

Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial government, said:

I can’t confirm it was the same person but there was someone in Kandahar prison with the name Mohammed Merah, who was famous as ‘the French guy’. His father and grandfather had Afghan names, and he could pass as an Afghan. His father’s name was Mohammad Seddiq, grandfather was Mohammad Shah.

“His crime was that he was captured laying IEDs, and he was sentenced to three years in jail, but only served five months of it when the prison break happened and he escaped.

“We don’t know which part of Kandahar province he was caught in.”
Faisal added that he didn’t know how long Merah had been in Afghanistan or how long he stayed after prison break.

Lt Col Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the Nato-led coalition, said he was aware of reports that Merah had been held in an Afghan prison, but refered all questions to Afghan officials.”

This is all extremely detailed & seemingly conclusive. If it wasn’t for the fact the official twitter account of the Kandahar Governor’s Media office refuted the claim that he had been imprisoned there.

https://twitter.com/#!/KandaharMediaOf

@KandaharMediaOf
Security Forces in Kandahar have never detained a French citizen named Mohammad Merah.

@KandaharMediaOf
@SkyNewsBreak He wasn’t the 1 responsible for the school shooting, but another 1 responsible for bomb blasts in Kandahar. 2 separate cases.

@KandaharMediaOf
@MaryFitzgerldIT Toulouse gunman wasn’t arrested in Kandahar, he is not the one that escaped from Kandahar prison, perhaps names r the same.

It appears that a man with the same name was but not a French national. This fact calls into question many of the previous assertions & casts doubt on much of the official narrative up until this point.

Some other pertinent quotes to consider.

“As for political or religious beliefs, he was very discreet. He never said anything that might lead one to believe he had these views.”

“He didn’t have a dad. This has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, or with us, and I really hope that all the young people of our type of neighbourhood won’t be sullied by this.”

“He wasn’t into having fun, he became harder. He didn’t really go to the mosque, he seemed more likely to meet people in obscure flats.”

“The North African community is doubly hit, first by the grief for the victims and what happened, and also that we’re from the Magreb and people will be pointing fingers at us. I appeal to the French, don’t mix up the whole community with what has happened. Never never has Islam said to kill people.”

A group of four 24-year-old men who said they were friends of Merah tried to go to his apartment block on Wednesday to persuade him to surrender but were stopped at a police roadblock.

“All told a Reuters reporter he had never talked to them about religion and they had no idea he had been to Afghanistan.”

“He never spoke about Islam but he did pray. But we all pray five times a day. There’s nothing strange about that.”

Another friend of Moroccan origin said Merah had tried to enlist in the French army but had been rejected. He said he had seen Merah in a city centre nightclub just last week.

Merah did not drink “but I don’t think he is any more religious than I am. I think he has just lost the plot,” Danny Dem said.

A third contemporary, who declined to give his name, said he went to primary school with Merah and they had remained friends.

“He likes football and motor-bikes like any other guy his age,” said the man, dressed in a blue French national soccer shirt. “I didn’t even know he prayed.”

The head of the French Muslim Council, Mohammed Moussaoui, says: “These acts are in total contradiction with the foundations of this religion”. In remarks quoted by AFP he added: “France’s Muslims are offended by this claim of belonging to this religion.”

A little more background via AFP on the suspected gunman’s attempts to join the French military. The news agency reports that Merah “twice tried and failed to join the French army”.

It quotes the country’s defence ministry saying that Merah first tried to enlist at the age of 19 in the northern city of Lille in January 2008.

The French prosecutor, Francois Molins, has been giving more information on Merah. He told a press conference the suspect in the shooting attacks had been to Afghanistan twice and trained in Pakistan’s Waziristan, a militant stronghold. He said Merah’s brother had been implicated in a network that sent militant fighters to Iraq.

The French interior minister, Claude Gueant, said Merah had told police he belonged to al-Qaida and wanted to take revenge for the deaths of Palestinian children. Gueant said Merah was also angry against French military intervention overseas.

“The mystery here is that he was found to have quite a good arsenal of weapons, war weapons, and given that he was under surveillance it’s not clear how this could have escaped the attention of the authorities.” – Pierre Haski

Was he ever in Afghanistan or Pakistan? If not, why the claims of being under surveillance since returning? Who’s lying? The Government official or Kandahar Media Dept? With his Mother & siblings in precautionary custody surely they can establish his whereabouts during this period.

He has a history of petty theft & thuggery and no overt signs of religious or political militancy. Between 2007 and 2012 he attempted to join the French army twice & visited Pakistan & Afghanistan twice. He supposedly served 5 months in a Kandahar jail yet found his way back to France and was allowed to settle back into society whilst stockpiling weapons under surveillance. Despite being under suspicion for the murder of the soldiers, he was able to carry out the atrocity at the Jewish school.

As I write the siege is still in progress. If Merah doesn’t survive we’ll probably never find out exactly what is fact or fiction, which will no doubt fuel conspiracy talk. The web is already awash with speculation about false flag operations, inside jobs etc allowing Sarkozy to play the hero running up to the election.

What is certain, is that the only people who will suffer due to the actions of Merah and any repercussions are more innocents.

My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

Sweden’s Jews, Muslims Face Web Hate Rise: Study

Posted in Loon People, Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by loonwatch

We’ve always noted that Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism are linked and on the rise. (H/T: Benjamin Taghiov)

Sweden’s Jews, Muslims face web hate rise: study

(The Local)

The number of xenophobic web sites have almost doubled since 2007 and Jews and Muslims wearing apparent religious symbols are subjected to significant discrimination in Sweden today, according to a new report from the Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia). 

“Sweden as a whole is a tolerant country but this report shows that racism is growing and is being professionalized on the internet. There is today a small but growing minority that harbour hatred against Muslims and Jews,” minister for integration, Erik Ullenhag, wrote in a statement on Monday.

The report, which was requested by the government and carried out by the Forum, also shows that an increased number of racist web pages have been created in recent years and that prejudice is being spread through schoolbooks.

According to the report, the number of racist sites in Sweden has almost doubled in two years. In 2009 there were around 8,000 xenophobic Swedish sites whereas today the authors of the report estimate an increase to 15,000.

This follows a EU-wide trend where right wing extremist groups are using the internet to spread hate-propaganda.

According to the report, these are characterized by anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views, where conspiracy theories are the most recurring elements.

The Jewish group is often cast as world conspirators whereas the Muslim group is seen as physical occupiers, actively are on their way to taking over society through mass-immigration and rising nativity figures.

The Jewish community in Sweden consists of some 20,000 individuals and the Muslim community of 300,000. Fresh crime statistics show that there were 161 reports of crimes with anti-Semitic motives and 272 with Islamophobic motives last year.

But according to the Forum it is difficult to get a fair idea of the situation from these statistics as they are based on police reports and the authors believe there may be many more unrecorded cases.

“Above all this study shows that research and follow-ups into preventative actions regarding intolerance against Jews and Muslims is sorely needed,” said head of Forum for Living History, Eskil Franck, in a statement.

According to Ullenhag, Swedish authorities must further their knowledge about what causes the hate against these groups to grow in Sweden and how they should meet it. That, he said, is the aim behind the investigation regarding xenophobia that the government launched earlier this spring.

“We have learnt from experiences in other European countries that all the forces who want a tolerant society need to be active in the public debate. Prejudice against Jews and Muslims can never be normalized,” said Ullenhag.

When American research centre Pew recently investigated the development of religious conflicts and oppression worldwide between 2006 and 2009, Sweden distinguished itself as a country where hostilities related to religion are increasing the most.

French PM Calls on Muslims and Jews to Renounce Halal and Kosher Slaughter

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by loonwatch

More French loonieness:

French PM calls on Muslims and Jews to renounce halal and kosher slaughter

France’s prime minister urged Muslims and Jews to consider scrapping their halal and kosher slaughter laws on Monday as President Nicolas Sarkozy and his allies stepped up their efforts to woo far-right voters.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon made the suggestion after Sarkozy called at the weekend for butchers to clearly label meat slaughtered according to religious laws and his allies warned immigrants might impose halal meat on French schoolchildren.

Fillon and other conservative leaders linked this tough stand on ritually prepared meat to issues such as immigration and French identity that the far-right National Front uses to tap into resentment against Europe’s largest Muslim minority.

“Religions should think about keeping traditions that don’t have much in common with today’s state of science, technology and health problems,” Fillon told Europe 1 radio while discussing the two-round presidential election ending May 6. The “ancestral traditions” of ritual slaughter were justified for hygienic reasons in the past but were now outdated, he said. “We live in a modern society.”

Mohammad Moussaoui, head of France’s Muslim Council, said ritual slaughter was no more painful than modern methods and labelling meat as being prepared “without stunning” would feed resentment against the two minority religions using it. “It will stigmatise Muslims and Jews as people who don’t respect the interests of animals,” he said. “That will raise tensions in society.”

Reuters, 5 March 2012

Jerusalem SOS

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2012 by loonwatch
West Bank Wall
A graffiti depicting a way toward peace on the wall in Bethlehem on the edge of the West Bank shows hope and a wish for reconciliation. Image: Delayed Gratification Flickr

Undividing the Muslim Jewish experience by ignoring difference

by Dr. Ms. Mehnaz Afridi – Women’s News Network

(WNN/CGN): NY, NEW YORK: As I listen to sound bites of news, a swarm of words sting me: Iran, Israel, nuclear, Palestine-Israel at a standstill, Muslims kill Jews, and Jews kill Muslims. As a Muslim woman who teaches classes about the Holocaust at a Catholic college, I am constantly frustrated by the media coverage of the Middle East which overwhelmingly serves to highlight and entrench national and religious tensions, prejudice and conflict.

A recently-aired documentary by filmmaker Karen Ghitis, on Al Jazeera, was an extremely heartening exception to the rule. The film, Jerusalem SOS, showed Jews and Muslims saving each other’s lives.

The documentary, which aired last month, portrayed Arabs wearing orange vests printed with the red Star of David teamed up with haredi (or ultra-Orthodox) Jews with side curls, black skullcaps and tzitziot (knotted ritual fringes on their garments). And both groups have only praise for each other. Working as volunteer paramedics for the Orthodox Jewish organisation United Hatzalah (UH), these Jews and Muslims are taking note of the most important aspects of their faiths: preserving human lives and justice.

I was reminded of the Qur’anic injunction that states that “on that account We ordained for the Children of Isra`il that if any one slew a person … it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity” (5:32).

Likewise, the Talmud (a repository of the ancient Jewish oral law and wisdom) states, “whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” (Babylonian Talmud, 22a).

In the documentary the UH-trained Palestinian paramedics note that there are often delays in ambulances reaching the sick and wounded in East Jerusalem because Israeli ambulances are not permitted to enter Palestinian neighbourhoods without being accompanied by a police or military escort. Moreover, some of the homes have no addresses. Because the UH paramedics know the area well and drive ambucycles (ambulances on motorcycles), they are the first to arrive at the scene.

The film shows the rescue team transcending physical and political borders in order to save lives. Members of both faiths help each other provide for their communities on their respective holy days: Muslims come to the rescue of Jews on the Jewish Sabbath, and Jews help Muslims in emergencies on Fridays, as well as during Ramadan.

Eli Be’er, the founder of UH, was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying: “Jews and Muslims do not oppose working together, despite the invisible boundaries and suspicions that separate their communities. In the beginning, I met a few who were surprised about working together, but after they saw that they are great people and really professional, they all like it.”

These Muslim and Jewish paramedics have embraced the spiritual richness of their faiths and ignored the superficial boundaries of difference. Media outlets should try and take a cue from their story, and focus more attention on hope and cooperation.

Another heartening interfaith story from some months ago comes to mind. On 5 June, ABC News reported that “One Israeli man dying of a failing heart learned today that he would live, thanks to a Palestinian family who donated the heart of one of its members slain in the escalating violence wracking Israel.”

The Israeli who received the heart commented on how their hearts were the same, and ultimately they were the same inside.

Even though the rancour of negative media surrounds us, it is important to acknowledge that grassroots initiatives by organisations like UH, or the personal initiative of the Palestinian family who donated a loved one’s heart, are the key to building understanding between Jews and Muslims.

It is therefore crucial that Jews and Muslims tune into the many positive stories of life and death, faith and justice that occur on a daily basis on the ground.

I am always in search of such heartfelt stories that illuminate the commonalities of our faiths and demonstrate social justice. In the three monotheistic religions we are commanded not to bear false witness. After all, we are all children of God and it is through our actions and perseverance that we affirm our shared values and commitments to one another – irrespective of religious differences.

***************************************

Witness: Jerusalem SOS

90% of Anti-Semitic Crimes in Germany Committed by Right-Wing Extremists

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by loonwatch
Berlin_GermanyBerlin, Germany

Horowitz tool Robert Spencer and his right-wing buddies, Bat Yeor, Geert Wilders, Pamela Geller, etc. have attempted to create a narrative that Muslim immigrants and their children are responsible for most, if not all “anti-Semitic crimes” in Europe. We have shown in the past that this is false, and the below article asserts that it is actually “right-wing extremists” who commit most anti-Semitic crimes–upwards to 90%.

The article also reveals that about 20% of Germans harbor some form of anti-Semitism:

(via. YNetNews)

Study: 20% of Germans harbor anti-Semitism

Sarah Bauder and AP

A new study by a Parliament-appointed commission shows 20% of Germans harbor “latent” anti-Semitism, but anti-Jewish crimes are almost exclusively committed by the far right.

The 188-page report – which draws on several different surveys and other research – puts Germans in the middle of the pack in Europe, with a German university survey showing more latent anti-Semitism in countries such as Poland, Hungary and Portugal, and less in Italy, Britain, the Netherlands and France.

The study released Monday said the surveys show that about one-fifth of Germans agree with anti-Semitic statements, such as “Jews have too much power in business.”

The study also showed that 90% of anti-Semitic crimes are committed by right-wing extremists, who number about 26,000 according to official estimates.

It recommends better coordination of local, state and federal strategies to combat anti-Semitism.

The report makes reference to “a wider acceptance in mainstream society of day-to-day anti-Jewish tirades and actions”.

“Anti-Semitism in our society is based on widespread prejudices, deeply rooted clichés and on sheer ignorance about Jews and Judaism,” stated one of the report’s authors, Dr. Peter Longerich of the University of London, Holocaust Research Center.

The report cites the Internet as a contributing factor to the spread of anti-Semitic thought.

“With regard to modern forms of communication – we point to the Internet in particular – it is virtually impossible to prevent the spread of such thinking,” Longerich continued.

Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life

“Judenrat Jon” Stewart

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2012 by loonwatch

“Judenrat Jon” Stewart

by: David Harris-Gershon on January 7th, 2012

When Jon Stewart is called a “smug, self-loathing Jew” by a right-wing Jewish personality (who is often called upon by conservative pundits to wax political), it’s tempting to dismiss the comment as a disgusting tribal dig.

When Jon Stewart is called a Judenrat who “would have been first on line to turn over his fellow Jews in Poland and Germany” by this same hawkish voice, it’s tempting – even though this voice has a visible platform – to just ignore the comment as the product of the Republican, FOX-inspired echo chamber.

However, ignoring these comments wouldn’t just be dangerous, it would be to allow a growing brand of hatred coursing through America’s veins – produced on the fringes – to continue infecting our public discourse (and public opinion) on matters both foreign and domestic.

It’s a hate-filled islamophobia that masquerades as patriotic, as anti-terrorism, as proudly American and Zionist (as though the two are synonymous). It’s a brand of hatred that the current GOP seeks, a hatred it feels it needs, a hatred it foments for perceived political gain at great cost to civil society. And, as much as it pains me as a progressive Jewish American to say, it’s a hatred right-wing American Jews are often solicited to be spokespeople for on venues like Fox News, with claims of anti-Semitism at the ready should they be critiqued by people such as, well, Jon Stewart.

So, wait – what happened to Jon Stewart, exactly? – you ask. Here is the context:

Jason Jones and The Daily Show crew produced this rather brilliant segment on how Broward County Republicans orchestrated a campaign to block membership of a Muslim Republican to the Broward Republican Party’s executive committee. This was done with the help of the Muslim-hating group ironically called Americans Against Hate (headed by Joe Kaufman, who is running against Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Congress).

The segment elicited this disgusting display from Pamela Geller:

This is not the first time that The Daily Show made fun of, ridiculed, and smeared proud Americans and passionate zionists. What’s he doing? And why? Does he know how much CAIR raised for their home office, Hamas, whose stated goal is to destroy the Jewish homeland, through the Holy Land Foundation? Stewart missed his calling. He would have been first on line to turn over his fellow Jews in Poland and Germany. Smug self-loathing Jew.

Yes, Geller is a nut. And yes, this particular display has been limited – so far – to her personal site. But Geller, just one of many fringe figures who inexplicably get airtime aplenty, knows what she’s doing. She knows the game: play the anti-Semitism card.

And not just any anti-Semitism card – the self-hating-Jew card. And she plays it against one of our country’s most important media critics and defenders of reason. Why? Because he represents exactly what she and her right-wing minions loathe: someone willing to call out islamophobia for what it is, even when promoted by American Jews.

While it would be easy to dismiss all this due to the messenger, does Jon Stewart shy away from railing against hatred and bigotry when it is perpetrated by the unhinged?

Nope.

And neither should we.

Muslims and Jews Unite to Oppose EDL

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon People, Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , on December 16, 2011 by loonwatch

EDL
Last summer, Pamela Geller was outraged when she discovered some of her fellow far-right haters in the English Defense League are—gasp!—anti-Semitic:  Blog Wars: Pamela Geller vs. Gates of Vienna and the EDL?

The EDL has tried to court Jewish groups with little success. Now they face concerted opposition from Jewish and Muslim communities.

(cross post from Islamophobia  Watch)

Muslims and Jews unite to oppose EDL

The Home Office has written to an umbrella group representing a range of Jewish communal and religious groups in response to statements distancing themselves from the methods and aims of the English Defence League.

Earlier this year the leaders of the United Synagogue, Reform, Liberal and Masorti communities, as well as the Board of Deputies and the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ congregation, highlighted their opposition to the EDL’s tactics and called on the far right organisation to refrain from using Jewish and Israeli symbols in its campaigns.

Under the umbrella of the Council of Imams and Rabbis of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation, they rejected in particular the EDL’s “efforts to incite hatred and antagonism in our society”, its attempts to “foment violence” and “drive a wedge between the Jewish community and our Muslim neighbours”.

They attempted to draw a line under the EDL’s efforts to attract Jewish membership, which reached a peak with a rally “to oppose Islamic fascism” outside the Israeli embassy last year where EDL members waved Israeli flags. The EDL has a “Jewish Division”, but it has been beset by infighting and is understood to have only a handful of Jewish members.

James Brokenshire, the Home Office Minister responsible for policy regarding the EDL, has now sent a letter of response to Mehri Niknam, director of the Council of Imams and Rabbis.

“We welcome your positive action to counter the divisive influence and minimise the impact of EDL activity,” he said. “As a government our position is clear, we will not tolerate groups like the EDL who spread hate, seek to divide us and deliberately raise community fears and tensions.”

He said the government would continue to condemn the EDL’s views and actions when necessary and work with police and local agencies. Mr Brokenshire added that the government trusted local agencies to “put in place suitable local measures to counter the influence and minimise the impact of EDL activity. We stand ready to provide advice and support where it is requested.”

Iranian Book “How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet” No Different than Israeli Publications

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2011 by loonwatch

The anti-Muslim blogosphere operates as an echo-chamber: one Islamophobic site publishes a story and then the other ones quickly reproduce it.  The latest story to get the Islamophobic juices flowing was with regard to a book that was supposedly published by religious students in Iran.  I wrote about it earlier:

Iran: Yet Another Case Study in Robert Spencer’s Hypocrisy and Double Standards

JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer just posted an article with the following title:

How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet: Iran promotes genocidal book by Muslim seminarians, published by Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance

He’s taking exception to an anti-Israeli book supposedly written by some religious students in Iran, called “How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet.”  Spencer calls this a “genocidal book.”

This is why LoonWatch exists.  We’ve been documenting what loons like Robert Spencer say so that we can pull Jon Stewart moves like the one I am going to pull now…

The reader is referred to Robert Spencer’s post in March 2010 wherein he promoted a “genocidal video” calling for “wiping Pakistan off the map” and nuclear annihilation of Pakistan:

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Wipe Pakistan Off the Map

And my article on the topic back then:

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller Promote Video by Militant and Genocidal Group

When Iranians/Muslims call to “wipe Israel off the map” or “eliminate Israel from the planet”, then it is a “genocidal book” and all freedom-loving people must be outraged by this.  When anti-Muslim extremists call for the same against Muslims, then that’s a “genocidal freedom-loving video” that all freedom-loving people must support.  As George Orwell put it: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

Robert Spencer’s hypocrisy and double standards are of course shared across the Islamophobic spectrum, from the mild-mannered Jeffrey Goldberg to the foaming-at-the-mouth website BareNakedIslam.

For now, I am assuming that Robert Spencer et al. are accurately reporting the story–a huge assumption considering: (1) I have not found the story reported by any reputable sources; (2)  Loons like Robert Spencer aren’t exactly known for accurately and truthfully reporting anything about Islam or Muslims. (3) Spencer cited Pajamas Media as his source (note: Remember how Robert Spencer and his minions scoff at using a source with silly names like “LoonWatch” or “Danios”…)

Leaving aside for now matters of accuracy, I’d like to expose even more hypocrisy and double standards from not just Robert Spencer but by the Islamophobes in general who are reporting this story in an effort to warmonger against Iran on Israel’s behalf.  They are trying to argue that the anti-Israeli book was not just written by a couple random students, but was in fact endorsed by the Iranian government; their evidence for this is the claim that the “book has been published by the Khorasan branch of the Ministry of Islamic culture and guidance.”

If this is proof of how evil Iran and Islam are, then what about this:

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is a part of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and “is recognized by law as the supreme halakhic and spiritual authority for the Jewish people in the State of Israel.”  During the Gaza War (Massacre) in 2009, the Chief Rabbinate “gave soldiers fighting in Gaza pamphlets urging them to show no mercy.”  Other pamphlets elaborated on the Chief Rabbinate’s orders, spelling it out in no uncertain terms: kill the civilian population because “it is not innocent.”

Haaretz, the oldest and one of the most established of Israeli newspapers, reported:

An overview of some of the army rabbinate’s publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians.

Robert Spencer wrote that the Iranian book was a “book filled with genocidal hate, rooted in the Qur’an”; he bolded the parts of the passage that mentioned the Islamic holy book.  His purpose in doing so is obvious: to smear the entire faith of Islam.

It should be pointed out to Spencer that in the case of the military rabbinate’s violent, racist, and genocidal publications, it was none other than the Bible and traditional Jewish law that was cited.  Haaretz noted:

Following are quotations from this material:

“[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it.” This is an excerpt from a publication entitled “Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead,” issued by the IDF rabbinate. The text is from “Books of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner,” who heads the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.

The following questions are posed in one publication: “Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David?” Rabbi Aviner is again quoted as saying: “A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land … They invaded the Land of Israel, a land that did not belong to them and claimed political ownership over our country … Today the problem is the same. The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country. Moreover, most of them are new and came here close to the time of the War of Independence.”

The IDF rabbinate, also quoting Rabbi Aviner, describes the appropriate code of conduct in the field: “When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral. These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions. This is a war on murderers. ‘A la guerre comme a la guerre.’”

To be perfectly clear, if it is true that an Iranian book was published with such offensive material in it, we should condemn it wholeheartedly–just as we should condemn the Israeli publications I mentioned above.  But we shouldn’t vilify Islam as a whole, just as we shouldn’t vilify Judaism as a whole.  Neither should we beat the drums of war against Iran, just as no rational person would use the Israeli publications as a valid justification to attack Israel.

I would, however, point out that there is one major difference between the case in Iran and Israel.  If it is argued that the Iranian book endorses ethnic cleansing as our opponents claim, it should be pointed out that Iranians are not actively carrying out such a thing.  The belligerence is limited to mere words and rhetoric.

Meanwhile, the publications in Israel were handed out to soldiers deployed in a brutal war against Palestinians/Muslims, part of a long campaign of ethnic cleansing that first began in 1948.  Those instructions to show no mercy to the enemy population were actively executed and acted upon by Israeli soldiers.

Leading international human rights organizations condemned “Operation Cast Lead” (as it was called by the Israelis).  Amnesty International, for example, titled their report: “Operation Cast Lead: 22 Days of Death and Destruction”.  The report noted that Israeli forces committed “wanton destruction” and killed “[h]undreds of Palestinian civilians” (whereas Palestinian rocket attacks “only rarely caused civilian casualties”).

Meanwhile, no Iranian publication can be linked to actual Jewish or Israeli fatalities.

Iran cannot realistically go beyond anything more than mere words or rhetoric, because actual acts of violence will be met with overwhelming force and massive retaliation from Israel and/or the United States.  This is so much so that it is being reported, by the likes of none other than Jeffrey Goldberg, that Iran is already under attack by Israel and the United States, and yet the Iranians have not retaliated or declared war.

If bombing Iranian facilities, killing their scientists, and using drones in their territory cannot evoke a military response, then why would anyone assume that they would have the audacity to initiate an attack on Israel?  The reason Iran hasn’t responded to these acts of war against it are that it wants to avoid being “bombed into the stone ages” like Iraq was.  In other words, the last thing Iran would want to do is give Israel or the United States a smoking gun.  Angry but empty rhetoric earns Tehran popular support, whereas action would jeopardize the regime’s very existence.

The Iranian leadership is no doubt despotic, oppressive, and illegitimate; but it is also, like many dictatorships, tenaciously pragmatic when it comes to holding onto the reigns of power.  The desire for self-preservation is an amazing thing.

Meanwhile, Israel can afford to act unilaterally, and it does so quite regularly and with a great deal of impunity, thanks to Uncle Sam, who acts as a shield to any international response.

This is why dwelling on Iran’s rhetoric as opposed to Israeli action is misleading, but that of course is the essence of war propaganda.

Update I:

Prof. Juan Cole worded it best (h/t Believing Atheist):

Moreover, Iran cannot fight Israel. It would be defeated in 72 hours, even if the US didn’t come in, which it would (and rightly so if Israel were attacked). Iran is separated by several other countries from Israel. It has not attacked aggressively any other country militarily for over a century (can Americans say that of their own record?) It has only a weak, ineffective air force. So why worry about it?

What is really going on here is an old trick of the warmongers. Which is that you equate hurtful statements of your enemy with an actual military threat, and make a weak and vulnerable enemy look like a strong, menacing foe. Then no one can complain when you pounce on the enemy and reduce his country to flames and rubble.

Muslims and Jews Defy Stereotypes, Come Together Over Coney Island Bagels

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2011 by loonwatch

Food is a good way to create friendship. The story below will probably blow the Islamophobes’ mind away, maybe they will start to protest this bagel shop now because it spells the Islamization of Coney Island? (hat tip: Keio Pamudji)

Coney Island Bialys and Bagels, Jewish Bagel Shop, Rescued By Muslim Cab Drivers

(Huffington Post)

A 91-year-old New York Jewish bagel shop about to go under was saved by two former Muslim cab drivers who vowed to keep it kosher.

Coney Island Bialys and Bagels was set to close its doors in September, with longtime owner Steve Ross citing a bad economy as the culprit, the Jewish Daily Forward first reported.

But Peerzada Shah and Zafaryab Ali couldn’t let that happen, so the two former New York cab drivers and one-time roommates bought the store together.

Ali had worked at the shop for about 10 years and didn’t want to see the iconic neighborhood store shut down. Shah went to culinary school in Manhattan and was knowledgeable about ovens and baking equipment, the Jewish Daily explains. Both men immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan.

Ross’ grandfather, Morris Rosenzweig immigrated from Poland and opened the shop in 1920.

Some might wonder whether the “geopolitics that divide Muslims and Jews” pose a problem, but all three men say it doesn’t factor in anywhere.

“It doesn’t matter,” Ali told the New York Daily News. “I make the food for everyone.”

A longtime customer also told WPIX he didn’t have any issues with the religion of the two men.

The new business partners are renovating certain parts of the shop, but plan to use the same recipes, equipment and the kosher menu, MSNBC points out.

Joseph Jackson has worked at the shop for 30 years and decided to stay with the new owners.

“The two men are very, very good-natured, well-intentioned and just good people,” Jackson told MSNBC. “They want to keep the bakery kosher and I want to help them succeed.”

And he’s not the only one who wishes them well.

“I’d like to see them flourish because they’re making a product that my grandfather brought to this country,” Ross told the New York Daily News.

Robert Spencer and Julius Streicher, Islamophobia and Anti-semitism: Same Message, Different Minority

Posted in Feature, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2011 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer and Julius StreicherRobert Spencer and Julius Streicher’s eerily similar rhetoric

An interesting piece by journalist COLM Ó BROIN comparing quotes from Robert Spencer and and Julius Streicher.

Julius Streicher was a pre-Nazi era anti-Semitic propagandist and his rhetoric eerily echoes that of Robert Spencer’s.

Islamophobia and Antisemitism: Same message, different minority

by Colm O Broin (Middle Class Dub)

Below are quotes which highlight the disturbing similarities between Islamophobic and Antisemitic messages.

Ten statements by ‘anti-jihad’ writer Robert Spencer and Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher are compared.

Julius Streicher was the editor of Der Stuermer, a Nazi paper that spread vicious Antisemitic propaganda from 1923-1945. As Nazi Party leader in Nuremburg he organized the destruction of synagogues in the city.

He was not directly involved in the Holocaust but was convicted of crimes against humanity after WWII. He was found guilty of inciting hatred against Jews in Der Stuermer and was executed in 1946.

Robert Spencer is a prominent critic of Islam who runs the Jihadwatch.org website. He is the author of several best selling books on Islam and he has spoken on Fox News, CNN, NBC and other news channels.

He has organized protests against the construction of mosques in New York. He has advised the FBI on Islam and his books were recommended by the FBI for its agents.

The following is a comparison of their views on Muslims and Jews respectively.

1 Muslims/Jews have a religious duty to conquer the world.

“Islam understands its earthly mission to extend the law of Allah over the world by force.”

Robert Spencer.

“Do you not know that the God of the Old Testament orders the Jews to consume and enslave the peoples of the earth?”

Julius Streicher.

2 The Left enables Muslims/Jews.

“The principal organs of the Left…has consistently been warm and welcoming toward Islamic supremacism.”

Robert Spencer.

“The communists pave the way for him (the Jew).”

Julius Streicher.

3 Governments do nothing to stop Muslims/Jews.

“FDI* acts against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials…in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism.”

(Freedom Defense Initiative, Robert Spencer/Pamela Geller organisation).

“The government allows the Jew to do as he pleases. The people expect action to be taken.”

Julius Streicher.

4 Muslims/Jews cannot be trusted.

“When one is under pressure, one may lie in order to protect the religion, this is taught in the Qur’an.”

Robert Spencer.

“We may lie and cheat Gentiles. In the Talmud it says: It is permitted for Jews to cheat Gentiles.”

From The Toadstool, children’s book published by Julius Streicher.

5 Recognizing the true nature of Muslims/Jews can be difficult.

“There is no reliable way for American authorities to distinguish jihadists and potential jihadists from peaceful Muslims.”

Robert Spencer.

“Just as it is often hard to tell a toadstool from an edible mushroom, so too it is often very hard to recognize the Jew as a swindler and criminal.”

From The Toadstool, children’s book published by Julius Streicher.

6 The evidence against Muslims/Jews is in their holy books.

“What exactly is ‘hate speech’ about quoting Qur’an verses and then showing Muslim preachers using those verses to exhort people to commit acts of violence, as well as violent acts committed by Muslims inspired by those verses and others?”

Robert Spencer.

“In Der Stuermer no editorial appeared, written by me or written by anyone of my main co-workers, in which I did not include quotations from the ancient history of the Jews, from the Old Testament, or from Jewish historical works of recent times.”

Julius Streicher.

7 Islamic/Jewish texts encourage violence against non-believers.

“’And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter…’ — 2:191.”

Koranic verse quoted by Robert Spencer on Jihadwatch.org.

“’And when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally: men and women and children, even the animals.’ (Deuteronomy 7:2.).”

Biblical verse quoted by Julius Streicher in Der Stuermer.

8 Christianity is peaceful while Islam/Judaism is violent.

“There is no Muslim version of ‘love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you’ or ‘if anyone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also’.”

Robert Spencer.

“The Jew is not being taught, like we are, such texts as, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,’ or ‘If you are smitten on the left cheek, offer then your right one.’”

Julius Streicher.

9 Muslims/Jews are uniquely violent.

“(Islam) is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.”

Robert Spencer.

“No other people in the world has such prophecies. No other people would dare to say that it was chosen to murder and destroy the other peoples and steal their possessions.”

Julius Streicher.

10 Criticising Muslims/Jews is not incitement to violence against Muslims/Jews.

“There is nothing in anything that I have ever written that could be reasonably construed as an incitement to violence against anyone.”

Robert Spencer.

“Allow me to add that it is my conviction that the contents of Der Stuermer as such were not (incitement). During the whole 20 years, I never wrote in this connection, ‘Burn Jewish houses down; beat them to death.’ Never once did such an incitement appear in Der Stuermer.”

Julius Streicher.

Notes:

Robert Spencer quotes;

(1) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-871902797772997781

http://www.ourbeacon.com/cgi-bin/bbs60x/webbbs_config.pl/md/read/id/314123119154008

(2) http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/07/anders-breivik-and-the-echo-chamber.html
(3) http://freedomdefense.typepad.com/about.html
(4) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-871902797772997781
(5) http://www.jihadwatch.org/2007/08/australian-pol-to-oppose-islamic-immigration.html
(6) http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/07/daniel-greenfield-in-defense-of-robert-spencer.html
(7) http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/08/wapo-do-critics-actually-read-the-koran-uh-yeah.html
(8) http://books.google.ie/books?id=eanFm7hiM1cC&pg=PA27
(9) http://www.jihadwatch.org/2006/01/what-is-a-moderate-muslim.html
(10) http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00hz34g

Sources for Julius Streicher quotes;

http://propagander.tripod.com/js2.html

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/story5.htm

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Streicher.html

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Giftpilz.html

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/secretplan.html

http://www.twitter.com/colmobroin

Fox “News”: Evil Muslims Behind Occupy Wall Street

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2011 by loonwatch

Well, that didn’t take long.  Fox “News” had Dick Morris on, who claimed that the Evil Muslims are behind the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Watch the video yourself (h/t Young Turks)–the fun part about “the Moozlums” comes near the end of the clip around 5:15:

Notice how Morris says: “It’s come out that they [Occupy Wall Street] are Anti-Semitic, that the Mozlem groups are involved…”

So, if any Muslim group is involved, that’s bad?  No Muslims are ever allowed to join anything at any time anywhere?  Should American movements from now on have a “No Muslim” Policy like the GOP does?

And I love how he equates “Anti-Semitic” with “Muslim,” as if they are interchangeable.  Occupy Wall Street is not Anti-Semitic, but I’ll tell you who is Islamophobic: Dick Morris, Bill O’Reilly, and Fox “News.”

These people make me furious, and are the reason I spend so much of my very limited free time writing for this site.

Don’t Fear Islamic Law in America

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by loonwatch

By ELIYAHU STERN

MORE than a dozen American states are considering outlawing aspects of Shariah law. Some of these efforts would curtail Muslims from settling disputes over dietary laws and marriage through religious arbitration, while others would go even further in stigmatizing Islamic life: a bill recently passed by the Tennessee General Assembly equates Shariah with a set of rules that promote “the destruction of the national existence of the United States.”

Supporters of these bills contend that such measures are needed to protect the country against homegrown terrorism and safeguard its Judeo-Christian values. The Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has said that “Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.”

This is exactly wrong. The crusade against Shariah undermines American democracy, ignores our country’s successful history of religious tolerance and assimilation, and creates a dangerous divide between America and its fastest-growing religious minority.

The suggestion that Shariah threatens American security is disturbingly reminiscent of the accusation, in 19th-century Europe, that Jewish religious law was seditious. In 1807, Napoleon convened an assembly of rabbinic authorities to address the question of whether Jewish law prevented Jews from being loyal citizens of the republic. (They said that it did not.)

Fear that Jewish law bred disloyalty was not limited to political elites; leading European philosophers also entertained the idea. Kant argued that the particularistic nature of “Jewish legislation” made Jews “hostile to all other peoples.” And Hegel contended that Jewish dietary rules and other Mosaic laws barred Jews from identifying with their fellow Prussians and called into question their ability to be civil servants.

The German philosopher Bruno Bauer offered Jews a bargain: renounce Jewish law and be granted full legal rights. He insisted that, otherwise, laws prohibiting work on the Sabbath made it impossible for Jews to be true citizens. (Bauer conveniently ignored the fact that many fully observant Jews violated the Sabbath to fight in the Prussian wars against Napoleon.)

During that era, Christianity was seen as either a universally valid basis of the state or a faith that harmoniously coexisted with the secular law of the land. Conversely, Judaism was seen as a competing legal system — making Jews at best an unassimilable minority, at worst a fifth column. It was not until the late 19th century that all Jews were granted full citizenship in Western Europe (and even then it was short lived).

Most Americans today would be appalled if Muslims suffered from legally sanctioned discrimination as Jews once did in Europe. Still, there are signs that many Americans view Muslims in this country as disloyal. A recent Gallup poll found that only 56 percent of Protestants think that Muslims are loyal Americans.

This suspicion and mistrust is no doubt fueled by the notion that American Muslims are akin to certain extreme Muslim groups in the Middle East and in Europe. But American Muslims are a different story. They are natural candidates for assimilation. They are demographically the youngest religious group in America, and most of their parents don’t even come from the Middle East (the majority have roots in Southeast Asia). A recent Pew Research Center poll found that Muslim Americans exhibit the highest level of integration among major American religious groups, expressing greater degrees of tolerance toward people of other faiths than do Protestants, Catholics or Jews.

Given time, American Muslims, like all other religious minorities before them, will adjust their legal and theological traditions, if necessary, to accord with American values.

America’s exceptionalism has always been its ability to transform itself — economically, culturally and religiously. In the 20th century, we thrived by promoting a Judeo-Christian ethic, respecting differences and accentuating commonalities among Jews, Catholics and Protestants. Today, we need an Abrahamic ethic that welcomes Islam into the religious tapestry of American life.

Anti-Shariah legislation fosters a hostile environment that will stymie the growth of America’s tolerant strand of Islam. The continuation of America’s pluralistic religious tradition depends on the ability to distinguish between punishing groups that support terror and blaming terrorist activities on a faith that represents roughly a quarter of the world’s population.

Eliyahu Stern, an assistant professor of religious studies and history at Yale, is the author of the forthcoming “The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism.”

(source: The New York Times)

“Islamophobia” is not a Neologism Anymore–it’s Mainstream

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by loonwatch
Islamophobia definitionIslamophobia

“It isn’t Islamophobia when they really are trying to kill you!,” goes the oft quoted refrain of Islam haters when their bigotry and wild-eyed conspiracy theories are brought to the fore. Setting aside the inherent prejudice implied by the usage of “they,” the heart of the quote is, Islamophobia.

The first occurrence of the term Islamophobia “appeared in an essay by the Orientalist Etienne Dinet in L’Orient vu de l’Occident (1922),” however it did not enter into “common parlance” until the early 90′s.

“Islamophobia”, like many other words in the English language is imperfect and hence subject to criticism. This criticism however does not mean, as some suggest, that it should be discarded and a new word or phrase take its place.

Islamophobia is not as contested a term as it once was, especially since the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, (Thanks Pamela???). Before the controversy there was much discussion on whether Islamophobia was a term that was imprecisely applied to a wide range of phenomena, from “xenophobia to anti-terrorism.”

The fog on one portion of this debate has been lifted, if not since the Islamophobiapalooza (to quote Jon Stewart) of 2010, then certainly since the killing spree by anti-Muslim/anti-socialist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. It is clear that there are a lot of unfounded and completely bats**t crazy, *cough*, I mean irrational and unreasonable beliefs about Islam and Muslims in the world today.

It is also clearer that a certain segment of critics of the term Islamophobia always had nefarious intentions. Under the guise of the labels “anti-terrorism” and “pro-freedom” they trumped up an Islamic threat that would emerge like the Borg and conquer the Western world, either spectacularly or slowly over a period of many years. The Islamophobesphere, led by the likes of Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch, Pamela Geller’s AtlasShrugs, Fjordman’s Gates of Vienna, Daniel PipesMiddleEastForum and backed by billionaires such as Aubrey Chernick coalesced into an organized trans-Atlantic anti-Muslim movement that inspired Breivik and will inspire more like him.

Islamophobia is a phobia? Does it Matter?

The supposedly still not-so-clear part about this debate concerns the breakdown of the term Islamophobia. Is Islamophobia a phobia? Does Islamophobia as a descriptor of an existing phenomenon need to be an actual phobia in the same sense as the psychological traumas of arachnophobia, xenophobia or acrophobia? Is the term Islamophobia too vague?

According to Dr. Jalees Rehman, ‘Islamophobia’ is not a phobia. He quips that there is a danger that “without a reasonable effort to delineate what is and what is not ‘Islamophobia’, this term could be easily used to stigmatize or suppress legitimate criticisms of Muslim society, culture or theology.”

This is not necessarily true, there is a fair amount of effort to delineate “what is and what is not ‘Islamophobia.’” We do it on our site all the time (this seems to be true of other sites that tackle Islamophobia as well). As many of our authors have pointed out “mere criticism of Islam and Muslims” is not at issue, what crosses the line into Islamophobia is irrational and unreasonable beliefs, statements or actions directed at Islam and Muslims.

For instance stopping the construction of a Mosque may or may not be Islamophobic. In some cases it may really be a zoning issue, or as in the scenario of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” the attempt by opponents of the mosque to have it stopped by declaring the site a “Landmark” was based on their irrational belief that the developers were building a “victory mosque.”

The argument also suffers because the same could be said of other terms that describe hateful phenomena. We are not going to stop using anti-Semitism because some fail to delineate “what is and what is not ‘anti-Semitism.’” Or because the term excludes Semites who are non-Jews.

The other part of Dr. Rehman’s critique of Islamophobia regards the psychiatric concept of “phobia”:

[a]nother troubling aspect of this neologism is the fact that it invokes the psychiatric concept of “phobia”. Phobias fall under the category of anxiety disorders and describe pathological fears; while many know the term from the infamous expression “arachnophobia” (pathological fear of spiders), many different types of phobias have been observed in patients. The standard manual of the American Psychiatric Association is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR) and refers to “Specific Phobia” as a,

“Marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood).”

There are additional criteria that characterize a phobia, but I find the following one extremely interesting: “The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable for discussing the term.”

This is the strongest portion of Dr. Rehman’s critique though it misses the point. Is the Islamophobes fear of Islam “marked” and “persistent,” is it “cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation?” Does “the person recognize that the fear is excessive or unreasonable?”

According to Dr. Rehman, “anti-Muslim fears, hostility or prejudice do not really constitute a ‘phobia’ in the psychiatric sense.”

Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg in their book, Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy, on the other hand seem to remark that though Islamophobia is not a “phobia” in the strict psychological sense it nevertheless is a reflection of a social anxiety,

Islamophobia: “anxiety of Islam”? Can this really be compared to individual psychological traumas such as acrophobia, arachnophobia or xenophobia? The authors believe that “Islamophobia” accurately reflects a social anxiety toward Islam and Muslim cultures that is largely unexamined by, yet deeply ingrained in, Americans. Instead of arising from traumatic personal experiences, like its more psychological cousins, this phobia results for most from distant social experiences, that mainstream American culture has perpetuated in popular memory, which are in turn buttressed by a similar understanding of current events. (p.5)

There is another reason to differentiate Islamophobia from the strict psychological connotations of phobia that has hitherto not been mentioned in the discussion. Phobias such as arachnophobia are uncontrolled, and it is not something that the one who suffers from really enjoys. However Islamophobia, in many instances, especially the organized variety is motivated.

Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Anders Behring Breivik, Geert Wilders, the EDL, SIOA and others are motivated by a hate for Islam and its practitioners. They are motivated by the romantic notion that they are a select group of superheroes who are saving Western Civilization from Muslim domination, and they hope in the process to become famous (and rich) in their cause.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, the discussion of whether or not Islamophobia is a phobia in a psychiatric sense misses the point. The discussion borders on the pedantic since the term Islamophobia is by now understood to refer to irrational and unreasonable beliefs, statements and actions directed toward Islam and Muslims. The line that distinguishes “Islamophobia” from “criticism” of Islam and Muslims is self-evident.

Furthermore, “Islamophobia” has crossed the threshold of acceptability into the mainstream, and in those instances in which their may be vagueness, employing “anti-Muslim” or “anti-Muslim Islamophobia” suffices to describe the phenomenon. Rather than get bogged down in trivial semantics or useless details, let us remember that language is never perfect. When a word organically captures the sense and reality of an existing phenomenon, as is the case with “Islamophobia,” it is important to understand its imperfections but not to be distracted from all it offers.

Slideshows & video: English Defence League march ends after failed bid to target mosque

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on July 11, 2011 by loonwatch

The cracks are starting to appear in the hate facade of the transatlantic “counter-jihad.” Another unsuccessful march for the EDL.

Slideshows & video: English Defence League march ends after failed bid to target mosque

Raymond Brown (Cambridge-news)

Members of the English Defence League (EDL) made a failed bid to target a Cambridge mosque after they marched through the city.

>> Click here to read our live updates on how the day unfolded.

The incident came after a relatively peaceful march by the EDL through the city centre Saturday in which scuffles with police broke out along with bottle-throwing.

Officers threw up a cordon around the mosque in Mawson Road and managed to quell the troublemakers. A man was arrested but was allowed to go free after he calmed down.

Police have been heaped with praise for how they handled the two marches on one of the city’s busiest days due to the Big Weekend celebrations on Parker’s Piece.

Officers quelled some of the flashpoints sparked as around 200 EDL marchers were taunted by a small number of counter-protesters from an earlier 1,500 strong demonstration by Unite Against Fascism.

But members of the EDL, who arrived in coaches from across the country to Queens’ Green, also began fighting amongst themselves.

After the march, members of the group attempted to reach the mosque in Mawson Road, off Mill Road.

But they were stopped by dozens of police officers who then threw up a wall of steel to protect the scores of Muslims and their supporters

And at around 3pm, Muslims manning a community stall in Sidney Street were attacked by a group who picked up copies of Korans from the stall and hurled them at the victims – one of whom had his spectacles broken.

More than 650 officers and staff from six forces, including Cambridgeshire, have been praised for handling the relatively peaceful protests.

A total of seven people, all men, have been arrested.

Amjed Sheikh, a Muslim leader, said: “The police have done a great job today. We are a peaceful people and we came to live in Cambridge because the people here accept us no matter what people from the outside who have come here today say.”

Richard Howitt MEP, who was a keynote speaker at the start of the counter-protest, praised police and described the emotional scenes in Mill Road when more than 1,000 anti-EDL protesters marched along the street.

He said: “I would say that many of the counter-protesters stayed around Petersfield thinking to protect the mosque but when all is said and done it was really the police who did a fantastic job throughout the day.

“As we all walked along Mill Road, shopkeepers were all standing outside their shops handing out samosas and drinks. I had a tear in my eye.”

Insp Robin Sissons said: “Cambridge residents are familiar with and generally supportive of protest activity and this was evident on Saturday.

“Their tolerance combined with the joint operation by police and partner agencies meant the protests were largely peaceful with only minor disorder and some minor disruption to residents, visitors and businesses in the city.

“The well-established community and partnership-based relationships were also particularly beneficial in planning for, and during, the operation.

“It was heartening to hear that members of the community who reported tension before the protests, then praised the tone and nature of the policing operation after it was complete.”

Arrest details:

A 36-year-old man from Norwich arrested for being drunk and disorderly was released with no further action taken.

A 48-year-old man from Colchester has been charged with a public order offence and assaulting a police officer and has been given conditional bail to appear at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (July 14).

A 27-year-old man from Ely arrested on suspicion of a public order offence was released with no further action taken against him.

An 18-year-old man from Peterborough was charged with a public order offence and was given conditional bail to appear before Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

A 51-year-old man from Luton has been charged with a public order offence and is due to appear at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on July 25.

A 30-year-old man from Gillingham, Kent, arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and was issued with a fixed penalty notice and released.

A 28-year-old man from Cambridge has been charged with a public order offence and is due to appear at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Forces assisting with the operation were Warwickshire Constabulary, Essex Police, Ministry of Defence, City of London Police, Suffolk Constabulary and Leicestershire Constabulary.

Combating Religious Intolerance When Freedom of Speech Enables Hate Speech

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on July 7, 2011 by loonwatch

We have been discussing this topic for a while now. We also addressed, Pamela Geller’s hate rallycancellation.

What must be affirmed is that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are compatible, and neither will be sacrificed to the bigots.

Combating Religious Intolerance When Freedom of Speech Enables Hate Speech

(Huffington Post) by John L. Esposito and Sheila B. Lalwani

Religious pluralism, versus the defamation of religion and freedom of speech have become an increasing source of conflict in international politics and interreligious relations. Preachers of hate and activists in America, Europe, and many Muslim countries are engaged in a culture war. Far right anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political leaders and parties warn of the Islamization of America and Europe to garner votes. The acquittal on June 22, 2011 of Dutch politician Geert Wilders on charges of “inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims,” is a political victory for Wilders but also a sign of the times, growing normalization of anti-Islam bashing in the West.

The OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference which represents some 57 countries) lobbied the United Nations for more than a decade to address this issue. Initially targeting Islamophobia, it broadened its request to a resolution on “defamation of religions” that would criminalize words and actions perceived as attacks against religion.

Opponents, in particular the U.S. and E.U., maintained that the resolution could also be used to restrict religious freedom and free speech, and foster religious intolerance and violence against religious minorities. Indeed, in recent years attacks against Christians and other religious minorities have risen in Egypt, Malaysia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan. These conflicts have varied from acts of discrimination to the bombing and burning of churches and murder.

Pakistan’s blasphemy law exemplifies the issue. In 2009 Asia Bibi, a Christian and 45-year-old mother of four was sentenced to death on charges of insulting Islam, a charge she strongly denied. The case sparked international outrage that was heightened in 2011 by the brutal assassination of Salman Taseer — the governor of Punjab and an outspoken critic of the blasphemy law, and the assassination of Pakistani Chief Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian and outspoken opponent of Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

The United Nations Human Rights Council recently ostensibly resolved the conflict over “Defamation of Religions.” After close discussions with the U.S. and E.U., Pakistan introduced a compromise resolution on behalf of the OIC, which addressed the concerns of both the OIC and those of member states and human rights organizations, including the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The “Combating Discrimination and Violence” compromise resolution affirms individual rights, including the freedoms of expression and religion that are part-and-parcel of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the same time, the 47-member state body also called for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue and the promotion of a culture of human rights, tolerance and mutual respect.

But will this U.N. resolution prove to be an effective tool in combating the rise of Islamophobia? A clear sign of the limits of the resolution can be seen in the stunning verdict in Geert Wilder’s acquittal. Wilders’ track record includes the charges that “Islam is a fascist ideology,” “Mohammed was a pedophile,” and “Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are not compatible” and warnings of a “tsunami” of Muslim immigrants. Wilders’ “missionary” efforts have extended other parts of Europe to the US where his admirers refer to him as a “freedom fighter.” Plaintiffs had charged that Mr Wilders’ comments had incited hatred and led to a rise in discrimination and violence against Muslims. But Judge van Oosten ruled that although he found Wilders remarks “gross and denigrating”, they had not given rise to hatred. Spiegel Online’s headline of the acquittal read “Wilder’s Acquittal a ‘Slap in the Face for Muslims.’”

The exploitation of freedom of speech to promote religious intolerance emerged only days after the Wilders’ decision. Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), a coalition of far right anti-Muslim European and American groups billing themselves as human rights organizations, had scheduled “United We Stand: First Transatlantic Anti-Islamization” in Strasbourg, France on July 2. On June 28, French and EU authorities’ cancelled the conference. In response, the Islamophobic cottage industry and their websites’ headlines blared: “Free in speech rally cancelled in Strasbourg over Muslim violence threats” and “Democracy Collapses in Europe: EU Cancels SIOA/SIOE Free Speech Rally.”

Freedom of speech is a precious right that must be guarded carefully. But what happens when that right is used to incite hatred and to feed religious intolerance, such as Islamophobia, that is spreading like a cancer across the United States and Europe? While some statements may not immediately be the direct cause of a specific act of violence, they spread seeds of intolerance and anger that lead to legitimizing and accepting acts of bigotry and hate, like the “Burn a Quran day” that took place in Florida, the desecration of mosques, physical attacks against Muslims including women and children. As a result, the public slowly becomes inured to Islamophobic actions and statements. At the same time, this ideology of hatred has a very real effect on the everyday life of Muslims and Arabs: issuing in verbal attacks from their community members, Islamophobic statements by political candidates, or law-enforcement policies that target Muslims and Arabs.

The issue of freedom of speech and the rights of hate groups is not new in American history. Even today, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic organizations are allowed to express their disdain for certain ethnic and religious groups, regardless of how distasteful their ideologies may be. However, their power to attack has greatly diminished and their words have become a social taboo in the public square because our country has created a social environment where racism and anti-Semitism are loudly condemned and discredited in public life and in media. Muslim Americans and Europeans are entitled to the same treatment, rights and protections.

Islamophobia and its impact, like racism and anti-Semitism, must be countered by creating a climate in which hate speech and discrimination in the public square are not tolerated even when bigots exploit freedom of speech. Today, one can engage in anti-Islam and anti-Muslim hate speech and threats in print, media, and protest rallies that promote a popular culture that paints the religion of Islam, not just terrorists, as a threat to America. These preachers of hate and Islamophobia must be rejected and marginalized. Their mission to polarize our society must not be allowed to threaten our belief that religious tolerance and free speech are indeed compatible.

Muslim-Jewish Parley Seeks ‘Platform for Dialogue’

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on July 5, 2011 by loonwatch

Muslims and Jews don’t know much about one another due to distrust, fear, and anger stemming from the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Muslim-Jewish parley seeks ‘platform for dialogue’

By JEREMY SHARON (Jerusalem Post)

The second annual Muslim- Jewish Conference kicked off in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, with 70 students and young professionals coming from around the world to promote mutual understanding between global Jewish and Muslim communities.

The event is sponsored by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding based in New York and the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, among others, with participants coming from Austria, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

“Most young Jews and Muslims never really meet because of the situation, and only learn about each other from their respective communities and through the media,” Muslim- Jewish Conference Secretary- General Ilja Sichrovsky told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

“The conference is designed to be a platform for dialogue between Muslims and Jews to talk to each other instead of about each other,” Sichrovsky said.

Ayse Cindilkaya, vice secretary- general of the organization, said the political conflict can “overshadow” relations between the two communities but that they are not focusing on conflicts.

“We are trying to start from new but we are sensitive to the conflicts,” Cindilkaya said.

“Instead we are focusing on breaking down stereotypes, sharing our religious traditions and culture, and filling in the gaps on our mutual knowledge of each others faith.

One of the major issues that the conference is addressing is the increasing xenophobia and the rise of far-right groups in Europe.

“We are careful not to equate Islamophobia and anti-Semitism,” Sichrovsky said, “although there are commonalities.

The impact often feels subjectively the same and we are trying to find a strategy where young Jews and Muslims come together and stand up for each other.”

“The conference offers the opportunity to bring together some of the most outstanding Muslim and Jewish leaders in their 20s and 30s,” said president and chairman of the FFEU, Rabbi Marc Schneier.

The conference steps beyond non-communication and estrangement and helps participants connect with each other.

The five-day conference will include working committees on the question of religious practice, fundamentalism and citizen loyalty; countering Islamophobia and anti-Semitism; and methods for conducting sustainable dialogue.

LGF: British Branch of the ‘Anti-Jihad’ Movement in Full Meltdown

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by loonwatch
Robert Spencer next to his Perpetual Serf Pamela Geller

Even the bigoted Roberta Moore is leaving the EDL, now. When will Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller get the memo that it’s time to jump ship? (hat-tip: ZB)

British Branch of the ‘Anti-Jihad’ Movement in Full Meltdown

(Little Green Footballs)

The two most visible “anti-jihad” bloggers in the United States are probably Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. They both appear frequently on Fox News as “experts” on Islam; Geller writes for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government, Newsmax, and World Net Daily, and they’ve recently been touring the country showing their “Ground Zero Mega Mosque” horror film. Their anti-Muslim group “Stop the Islamization of America” was recently listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, for obvious reasons.

Spencer and Geller are also notorious for their enthusiastic support of Britain’s far right English Defence League, well known for their riots, fascist roots, and thuggish intimidation of British minorities.

Two examples: Geller gushed about the EDL here:

How I wish I could be there to stand with the English Defense League.

And Robert Spencer has called for “all free people” to support the EDL:

The EDL deserves the support of all free people.

So I have to wonder how Spencer and Geller will react to the latest news about their British allies.

First, the news that one of the EDL’s leaders, John “Snowy” Shaw, has suddenly realized that he hates Jews as much as Muslims, and is raving about the infamous antisemitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:” HOPE not hate blog: Infidel leader praises the Protocols.

With “the Protocols” Shaw has immersed himself in one of the most vile and dangerous forgeries of all time.

According to Shaw, the book has already begun to make things “click” in his head, and he advises “all true British patriots take the time to read this”.

Despite the book being discovered as a forgery, it has long been viewed as definitive proof of a Jewish conspiracy by Nazis and antisemites ever since. Adolf Hitler even had put it in the school curriculum in Nazi Germany. More recently, it was even among a selection of books that the BNP recommended for “patriots” during the 1980’s because they insisted it was still of historical interest.

The book is a crude record of the supposed minutes of a meeting of the Jewish community in the late 19th Century where plans for their world domination are discussed.

The book first surfaced in Russia in the early 1900’s and was used as a justification by antisemites to carry out pogroms against the Jewish community. It’s popularity spread as far as notorious Jew-Hater Henry Ford of Ford Motor car fame, who had a further 500,000 printed for distribution in the United States.

Having opened the book, Shaw is convinced by its authenticity. He is now adamant that both Jews and Muslims are conspiring together and that he “must stop them destroying our country”.

And second: hardline activist and leader of the EDL’s “Jewish Division,” Roberta Moore (a sort of British version of Pamela Geller), is very publicly bailing out of the group because of “the Nazis within:” EDL Jewish division leader Roberta Moore quits.

The hardline activist at the forefront of the “Jewish Division” of the extreme right-wing English Defence League has announced that she does not wish to be a part of it any longer because of Nazi elements within it. …

Although she described the EDL as “doing a fantastic job” she said the party had been hijacked by elements who wanted to use it “for their own Nazi purposes”.

Ms Moore said she still supported the EDL leaders and “all the genuine patriots out there who struggle to get their voices heard” but added that she no longer wished to be a part of it. “I sincerely hope that the leaders will get the strength to squash the Nazis within,” she said.

Mark Gardner, from the Community Security Trust, said: “This latest development shows, yet again, why Jews should not be involved in such circles.”

I cut ties long ago with people like Spencer and Geller precisely because they were willing (eager, in fact) to make alliances with the farthest of the far right, up to and including people with neo-Nazi connections — people like the English Defence League.

There’s no comment so far from either Robert Spencer or Pamela Geller on these developments.

Andrew Brown: Islamophobia and antisemitism

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by loonwatch

The money quote from the article,

“But with Muslims, in Britain today, there is a feeling that the civilised, funny, clever ones aren’t really proper Muslims at all. And don’t think that these civilised, funny, clever people people don’t notice it.

This is subtle and pervasive – more of a smell than a substance – and I’m not sure whether it’s a very diluted version of the stench that comes off Condell or Robert Spencer or something essentially different.”

I couldn’t have said it better than that.

Islamophobia and antisemitism

by Andrew Brown (Guardian)

The great thing about being in Dubai last week was being a foreigner once more. It’s how I spent much of my childhood, how I grew up, and how I feel most at home; but it brings professional rewards as well as personal pleasures. I was for the first time in my conscious life in an environment where the most important thing about Muslims was not that they were Muslims. It gave me a moment of sudden awareness, like waking in a log cabin without electricity when all the background hum and tension of electric motors that you never normally hear is suddenly audible by its absence.

The people I was hanging out, and sometimes drinking, with were Muslim intellectuals whom I know and like in England. They’re not in any way discriminated against in this country, as far as I can tell: their lives are not impeded by the kind of people who think that Muslims are a problem to be solved. The kind of crude and open prejudice that flourishes online – and go and look at comments on the Telegraph website, or the videos of Pat Condell, if you want to know what I mean – is very rare in liberal circles, and when we catch ourselves at it, we feel guilty.

But there is a more subtle and general sort of prejudice which holds that Condell is not an extremist outcast. Richard Dawkins, for example, has praised Condell, and used to sell his videos on his website, which reminds of the way that Oswald Mosley remained a member in good standing of the English upper classes until the outbreak of the second world war, despite his views on Jews.

What I realised in Dubai was that in England today Muslims can’t escape being Muslims, any more than Jews in England in the 20s or 30s could escape being Jewish. They can’t just be unremarkable, as Jews in England can be now.

In Dubai, or neighbouring Sharjah, being a Muslim did not matter in the same way. Obviously, people made a huge amount of fuss about Islam. But when you’re in a room full of Muslim academics and students arguing about culture, or censorship, or why there is so little science in the Arab world, the arguments themselves make one thing wholly plain. Neither side is more Muslim than the other. None of the flaws of the Islamic world are essential or intrinsic to it. They may be widespread, and in some cases quite horrible. But they’re all cultural and not just religious.

I don’t mean by this that all the bad bits are cultural and all the good bits religious. That’s both false and simplistic. Cultures can be both good and bad and both are still authentically Islamic. But the whole idea of an “essential” or “true” way of being Muslim makes little sense when looked at historically, no matter how important, indeed indispensable, that style of argument is between Muslims. The same is of course true about “real” Christianity, or, for that matter, “real” atheism.

We don’t have any real difficulty accepting this about Christians in this country. Except for a few noisy bigots, it’s accepted that nice, good Christians are just as Christian as nasty and vile ones: that Jesus would be just as much at home among the Quakers as in Ian Paisley’s congregation; in fact most Guardian readers believe that he would like the Quakers more. Certainly this is true about Jews. No one really believes that Lionel Blue is less Jewish than the chief rabbi (unless the chief rabbi does).

But with Muslims, in Britain today, there is a feeling that the civilised, funny, clever ones aren’t really proper Muslims at all. And don’t think that these civilised, funny, clever people people don’t notice it.

This is subtle and pervasive – more of a smell than a substance – and I’m not sure whether it’s a very diluted version of the stench that comes off Condell or Robert Spencer or something essentially different. Either way, it is a smell of which I spend most of my life unaware, and Muslims notice much more often. I shall try to flare my nostrils a little more often.