Archive for Apostasy

Jailed Iranian Pastor Decries “Insulting Words” Against Islam

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

Pastor Youcef Naderkhani

Unfortunately, Pastor Youcef Naderkhani remains jailed in Iran, despite international pressure to secure his release. In March, we published the story of his plight, Message to Iran: Free Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani:

Youcef Nadarkhani should be released from Iranian jail immediately. In fact, he should have never been jailed in the first place.

Nadarkhani faces possible execution in Iran for the “crime” of apostasy and Christian evangelism. In the face of mounting international pressure, the Iranian regime has said Nadarkhani was actually charged with more serious crimes unrelated to religion, but barring new evidence to the contrary, this appears to be a face-saving lie.

The regime in the so-called “Islamic” Republic of Iran urgently needs to reread the Qur’an, including Chapter 109, Surat Al-Kafirun -The Disbelievers, and (among others) verses 2:625:69, and 2:256.

Since that time, the Iranian regime has made the situation worse by arresting his defense attorney. Yet despite the hardship he has faced at the hands of the regime in Iran, Pastor Naderkhani does not blame Islam or Muslims for his ordeal. In a letter he wrote from prison, he thanked his many supporters and spoke out against those who use his cause to bash Islam.

Jailed Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani writes thank you letter to supporters from prison

By , Fox News

The Christian pastor on death row in Iran has reportedly written a letter thanking his supporters and blasting those who he said use “insulting words” against Islam in what he considers a misguided effort to help his cause.

Washington-based human rights group American Center for Law and Justice released what it says is a letter written by Youcef Nadarkhani earlier this week from a prison in the Lakan Province of Iran, where he is currently being held  for charges of practicing Christianity and renouncing Islam. If the letter is real, it is the first time Nadarkhani has been heard from in a year.

“First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit,” begins the letter, which is addressed to “All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.”

“From time to time I am informed about the news, which is spreading in the media, about my current situation…or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me.” Another passage from the pastor’s letter reads, “I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom, and respecting the human rights in a right way can bring forth great results in this.”

Nadarkhani also mentions those who have used his cause to attack Islam, saying “burning and insulting” is not “reverent” behavior. He did not specifically mention controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who claims to have burned Korans in April to show solidarity with Nadarkhani.

The letter was obtained by evangelic ministry Present Truth, which operates missions in Iran. The group also had the letter translated into English from the pastor’s native language of Farsi.

“Present Truth Ministries received the letter from its sources inside Iran. We believe the sources providing this letter have proven to be credible throughout this case and, therefore, we believe that Pastor Youcef is the author,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, told FoxNews.com.

Nadarkhani has been jailed since being arrested in 2009 after he went to his son’s school to complain about them starting mandatory Koran classes.

He was then charged with apostasy from Islam. He was found guilty by the Iranian Supreme Court and sentenced to death and has been imprisoned ever since.

His attorney in Iran was recently arrested and sentenced to nine years in prison. He has also been barred from practicing or teaching law for ten years.

Goat Milk: Death by tweet? How Hamza Kashgari’s fate will shape the face of Islam today

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Kashgari

Visitors sometimes ask why we don’t devote more of our articles to criticizing some of the regressive views within the Muslim community.

For one thing, there is already an overwhelming amount of criticism leveled at the Muslim community, which in itself is not a bad thing. However, much of what passes as “criticism” is actually pure and unadulterated hatred, something we highlight daily. The well funded machinery of anti-Muslim Islamophobic hate propaganda is an industry with thousands of websites, growing organizational structure and reach. It takes time and effort to combat this hate, and at the moment we are one of the only sites taking on the misinformation and bigotry emerging from the hatemongers on a daily basis. So of course that is our focus and will remain as such.

Also, loaded words like “moderate,” “liberal,” “reformer” and “critic” are at times code words used by self-proclaimed “Muslim” spokesmen/women who play the role of modern-day Uncle Toms and Sally Hemings, (see: Tarek Fatah, Zuhdi Jasser or Asra “Quranolatry” Nomani, etc.).

Still, the question remains, should one really leave the “criticism” to those who sell out the Muslim community for personal aggrandizement?

The fact is there are many Muslims across the world and in America who “criticize” without being agents of empire and imperialism and who do so not for reasons of personal enrichment. In fact, the most effective “criticism” originates within Muslim communities and it is they who should be seen as leaders in this regard. Interestingly, one of the regular Islamophobic talking points forwards the opposite notion, that Muslims are a monolith who have no critical voice when it comes to regressive forces within their community. Anyone who cares to do a minimal Google search on this topic can quickly dispel that belief.

Regressive views garner widespread attention, and are a public relations bonanza for hatemongers like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. In fact, a tiny group of regressive throwbacks in the Muslim community are arguably the best allies for anti-Muslim hatemongers, and for that reason, it makes sense to voice dissent and offer some alternative views from time to time.

This brings us to Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari, whose tweets on the occasion of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday landed him in the midst of a controversy and a possible “death sentence.”

All Muslims are indicted in the public imagination, even if a majority find the case frivolous and absurd. However, there are voices of thoughtful opposition, criticizing the persecution of Kashgari. Adeel Ahmed’s article, published on Goat Milk, discusses the case and its implications, arguing it will either lead the Muslim community a step forward–or several steps back.

Death by tweet?: How Hamza Kashgari’s fate will shape the face of Islam today

by Adeel Ahmed, Goat Milk

On the occasion of Mawlid, the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, a young 23-year-old former columnist for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Bilad newspaper tweeted a conversation he imagined he would have if he were to meet the Prophet Muhammad.

-On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.

-On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.

-On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.

Almost immediately after the posts he was running for his life. He hopped a plane in Jeddah hoping to reach New Zealand. In Malaysia, where he had to change planes, he was stopped and held until a private plane arrived to take him back home to Saudi Arabia. Now, he sits in a Saudi jail awaiting a possible death sentence.

Yes, death.

Saudi cleric Nasser al-Omar called for Kashgari to be tried for apostasy. Outrageous, I first thought, living here in the Western world. Although I don’t believe that the tweets validate in labeling Kahsgari as an apostate even if he did insult the Prophet Muhammad, let’s just agree with al-Omar’s point of view. If Kashgari is an apostate like al-Omar says, we must look into what Islam says about capital punishment, apostasy and those two linked together.

The Qur’an states: “…Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom” (6:151). Key words here are “by way of justice and law.” It is clear that capital punishment can be applied by a court as long as it is justifiable and lawful, which fall under two crimes: intentional murder and Fasad fil-ardh, or spreading mischief in the land. The term “spreading mischief in the land” is generally interpreted as crimes that affect a community as a whole and destabilize society. These include treason/apostasy, terrorism, land, sea and air piracy, rape and adultery.

That being said, it must mean that al-Omar’s argument to punish Kashgari with the death sentence for apostasy is valid, correct? No. What al-Omar fails to realize is how that ruling originated and under which circumstances.

During the time of war, if one were to abandon his Muslims by committing treason and declaring himself as an apostate and then fight against Muslims, it would be valid to punish the individual with the death sentence. However, Kashgari is not fighting against his home country, and as a result, is not committing treason. The problem rests in that al-Omar, along with many others, tie apostasy to treason instead of realizing that apostasy is not always linked to war and treason, especially not in this day and age. So, if he is an apostate, should the death sentence apply? Is speaking ill of the Prophet Muhammad considered an act of mischief large enough to punish Kashgari with capital punishment, given that he is considered an apostate?  This is where I searched further to see what Islam says about punishments for the act of apostasy on its own, without being linked to treason.

In Surah 4: 137, the Qur’an reads, “Behold, as for those who come to believe, and then deny the truth, and again come to believe and again deny the truth and thereafter, grow stubborn in their denial of the truth, God will not forgive them, nor will He guide them in any way.” With this passage it’s evident that even after rejecting Islam twice, no punishment is prescribed for the apostate.

Furthermore, Dr. Maher Hathout, a leading American Muslim spokesperson, underscores in his recent book “In Pursuit of Justice: The Jurisprudence of Human Rights in Islam” that while apostasy may be a sin in the eyes of God, it is not considered criminal behavior.

Subhi Mahmassani, an Islam scholar and jurist from Lebanon, has observed that the death penalty was meant to apply not to simple acts of apostasy from Islam, but when apostasy was linked to an act of political betrayal of the community. The Prophet never killed anyone solely for apostasy. This being the case, the death penalty was not meant to apply to a simple change of faith but to punish acts such as treason, joining forces with the enemy and sedition. [Arkan Huquq al-Insan fi l-Islam (Bases of Human Rights in Islam), Beirut: Dar al-‘Ilm li-l-Malayin, 1979, cited in Kamali, as above]

Executing a person because of conversion to another faith or out of faith clearly contradicts the Qur’an, the ultimate source of Islamic law. Without the apostasy being linked to treason that leads to a matter of national security or security of a Muslim community, capital punishment cannot be permitted.

The question now remains, if Islamic law prohibits capital punishment for apostasy, where did Muslims get the idea that it is valid? In Josef Van Ess’s book “The Flowering of Muslim Theology” he observes this issue and the first execution of someone who spoke ill of the Prophet Muhammad. Dating back to the 8th Century, Syrian scholar Muhammad Ibn Said Al-Urdunni was executed for statements he made about the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Urdunni stated that, although Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet, if Allah wanted, He would and could create another Muhammad. He simply was stating that Allah, the Almighty, has the ability to do whatever he wants, which includes creating another Muhammad. It is as unknown as to whom exactly made the final decision to charge Al-Urdunni with apostasy, but the Syrian government issued the death sentence for disrespecting the Prophet Muhammad by even imagining that there could be another prophet after him. The intentions behind the Syrian government are unknown, however, one is to assume that they could have been trying to set an example for Muslim citizens—if Al-Urdunni is executed, people will not dare to speak ill of the Prophet. It seems that al-Omar is using the same philosophy of the 8th Century government in Syria. But we sit here now, in the 21st Century with the same problem that Syrians tried to squash in the 8th Century. So, does al-Omar really believe that the death sentence will in fact put fear in citizens from talking badly about the Prophet?

It is unfortunate that Muslim scholars don’t stand together to stop al-Omar and the Saudi government from this to move forward. Apostasy is not the equivalent of treason. Kashagri wasn’t out to destroy a Muslim community. There should not even be a trial. Under Islamic law, people of other faiths and people who leave Islam are not to be harmed.

The problem is that Saudi Arabia strives to both move forward in the world of high technology while they govern strict limitations and boundaries upontheir citizens. Their strong and strict Wahabbi interpretation of Islamic law will be a crutch for Muslims all over the world, especially the Western world, where Muslims constantly try to prove that Islam is a religion of peace and forgiveness and that Muslims can coexist in a world with other religions. The decision on Hamza Kahsgari’s case will leave a mark. It can either be a huge step in the right direction or send Muslims back another ten.

Adeel Ahmed is an actor and writer. His work has been featured at Sundance and SXSW. Credits include Law & Order CI, Saturday Night Live, Domestic Crusaders. He will next be seen on Hum TV’s drama series Hum Tho Huay Pardesi as well as Rangoon on Theatre Row in New York City. 

Read the original here: http://goatmilkblog.com/2012/03/07/death-by-tweet-how-hamza-kashgaris-fate-will-shape-the-face-of-islam-today-adeel-ahmed/

Message to Iran: Free Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by loonwatch

Youcef

Youcef Nadarkhani should be released from Iranian jail immediately. In fact, he should have never been jailed in the first place.

Nadarkhani faces possible execution in Iran for the “crime” of apostasy and Christian evangelism. In the face of mounting international pressure, the Iranian regime has said Nadarkhani was actually charged with more serious crimes unrelated to religion, but barring new evidence to the contrary, this appears to be a face-saving lie.

The regime in the so-called “Islamic” Republic of Iran urgently needs to reread the Qur’an, including Chapter 109, Surat Al-Kafirun -The Disbelievers, and (among others) verses 2:62, 5:69, and 2:256:

There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (Qur’an 2:256)

Further reading should also include the excellent, in-depth article by Danios regarding apostasy in Islam: Fathima Bary Needs to Read Her Bible; Final Word on Islam and Apostasy.

No matter what excuses are offered by Iranian authorities, the persecution of religious minorities is un-Islamic and just plain wrong.

Pastor Nadarkhani, Islam and Punishment for Apostasy

by Harris Zafar, The Huffington Post

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani is currently on death row in Iran for the “crime” of converting to Christianity from Islam. The charges of his initial arrest in 2009 were for protesting, which were later changed to apostasy and evangelism. In Sept. 2010, an Iranian court verbally delivered a death sentence, which was then delivered in writing a month later by the 1st Court of the Revolutionary Tribunal. After submitting an appeal to the Supreme Court the very next month, the third chamber of the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence in June 2011 and the execution orders were given in Feb. 2012, which can be implemented at any time. Throughout the process, he was told his life would be spared if he recanted his belief in Christianity, which he refused to do.

This verdict clearly violates numerous human rights, which is why President Obama, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Amnesty International and the American Center for Law and Justice have all condemned this conviction and called for Nadarkhani’s release.

As a Muslim, however, I find this verdict’s religious violations equally troublesome. Far too many people — Muslim and non-Muslim — mistakenly believe Islam prohibits freedom of conscience and religion by prescribing punishments for matters like apostasy and blasphemy, whereas Islam’s Holy Scripture and Prophet do not support such punishments.

If Islam prescribed any earthly punishment for leaving the faith, it would mean that it compels one to be Muslim against their will. But chapter two of the Quran — Islam’s Holy Scripture –rejects this notion, stating, “there shall be no compulsion in religion.”

There are at least 10 direct verses in the Quran about those who leave Islam, none of which sanction death in response. Exemplifying the Quran’s principles, the Prophet Muhammad never ordered any person to be killed for apostasy. In his peace treaty with Meccans, he agreed that any Muslim recanting their faith would be allowed to return to Mecca unharmed. Muhammad’s acceptance of this condition demonstrates that no such punishment exists for apostasy, as he would never accept anything that went against the Shariah.

Yet some within the Muslim world argue these verses only apply to non-Muslims, whereas Muslims can be compelled in matters of religion. They cite examples during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad when Ibn Khatal, Musailmah and Maqees bin Sababah were put to death. These were not religious punishments for apostasy, however. They were political punishments for murders each individual had committed.

Death for apostasy had its birth several decades after the demise of Prophet Muhammad — in an age when use of force for spreading influence and ideology was common around the world. The Ummayyad dynasty (661-750) — the political rulers of the Muslim empire — were regarded as secular kings and did not have the religious position of the previous pious caliphs. To guard the Sharia, the kings appointed clergy to positions much like the clergy after Constantine’s conversion. Respected for their religious knowledge, their support was pursued to legitimize unpopular political regimes.

Political and social rebellions then became justified in religious expressions, and dynastic power struggles developed significant disagreements in religious doctrine. Thus began politically motivated punishments (including executions and crucifixions) aimed at abolishing any forms of objection.

While this view finds no credibility from Prophet Muhammad’s example, it has admittedly become more prevalent in the last century. For example, Abul Ala Maududi, influential cleric and founder of the Pakistani political party Jamaat Islami, advocated this erroneous view beginning in the 1930s. He wrote, “in our domain we neither allow any Muslim to change his religion nor allow any other religion to propagate its faith.”

Many believe Maududi’s view was reactionary and in response to the growing influence of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad — who claimed to be the second coming Jesus and Messiah for all people to remove misconceptions in religion, unite everyone under the banner of true Islam, and bring mankind back to God. Half a century before Maududi, Ahmad condemned any punishment for blasphemy or apostasy and any violence to spread faith. He wrote, “Religion is worth the name only so long as it is in consonance with reason. If it fails to satisfy that requisite, if it has to make up for its discomfiture in argument by handling the sword, it needs no other argument for its falsification. The sword it wields cuts its own throat before reaching others.”

Sadly, apostasy and other “crimes” like blasphemy are punishable offences in some Muslim-majority countries today, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, etc. In these countries, apostasy and blasphemy are not only leveled against non-Muslims but even people the country deems to be the wrong type of Muslims.

The good news, however, is that though certain regimes apply extremist penal codes under the guise of Islam, the majority of Muslims recognize that Islam condemns religious compulsion. For example, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community — Muslims who believe in that Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian — has advocated this position for over a century. In this continuing war of ideas, true success is through peace and logic — never violence.

Any attempt to compel Pastor Nadarkhani to recant his Christian faith is barbaric and against the teachings of the Quran. The government leaders in Iran who have sentenced Pastor Nadarkhani to death, do so of their own accord. Quran and Prophet Muhammad, however, are clear — Pastor Nadarkhani must be set free.

Frontpage Muslim-bashing Authority Can’t Do a Two Second Google Search

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by loonwatch

Behold the erroneous misinformation factory at Front Page Mag, the online place where Islamophobes go to find spurious arguments that make them feel better about being intolerant of Muslims. Today’s gem comes from Raymond Ibrahim, a skilled harvester of Islamophobic cash cows, a particularly spite-filled individual with an obsession for essentializing Islam as a religion of war, slavery, and sexual misconduct.

Where before have I heard similar claims about a similar religion? Oh yeah. Every anti-Semitic website on the internet. The strong parallel between the claims, rhetoric, and methodologies of Anti-Semites and Islamophobes have been discussed many times before, so there is no need to repeat those arguments here.

Today, I will comment on Mr. Ibrahim’s unprincipled “research” which has as an a priori(beforehand) conclusion that Muslims are never victims, only perpetrators. What perturbed me is that Front Page praises Mr. Ibrahim as a “widely recognized authority on Islam” who can translate “important Arabic news that never reaches the West.”

You see, according to David Horowitz, anti-Muslim ideological commitment makes someone a “widely recognized authority” on Islam; not rigorous academic training, as those foolish liberals believe, with their pesky “facts,” their elitist “research methodologies,” and their vexatious love of “balance.”

To the matter at hand. You may have heard the recent story about two Egyptian Christian girls who were allegedly abducted by Muslims. Raymond pens an anti-Muslim hit piece entitled “Egypt: Christian Girls Kidnapped and ‘Sold’.” Ready for some bombshell evidence of Islam’s collective depravity? Won’t find it here. Raymond is upset that the Egyptian Newspaper, Al-Masry Al-Youm, didn’t report on this story with an acceptable level of anti-Muslim bias:

At the end of the Al-Masry Al-Youm report, we get a trailing sentence alluding to “claims” that two Christian girls “were abducted by Muslims and forced to convert to Islam” as the reason why Copts were demonstrating and clashing with the police in the first place.

This is the “claim” that Mr. Ibrahim wants to advance, the claim of the Christian protestors, i.e. the girls were kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam, and this sort of thing happens all the time because of the tenets of Islam. (Sigh). It should go without saying that mainstream Islam explicitly teaches against forced conversions. Several Quranic verses can be produced to support this:

Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. So can you [Prophet] compel people to believe? (10:99)

If your Lord had pleased, He would have made all people a single community, but they continue to have their differences… (11:118)

If you find rejection by the disbelievers so hard to bear, then seek a tunnel into the ground or a ladder into the sky, if you can, and bring them a sign: God could bring them all to guidance if it were His will, so do not join the ignorant. (6:35)

The messenger’s only duty is to give clear warning. (29:18)

We know best what the disbelievers say. You [Prophet] are not there to force them, so remind, with this Quran, those who fear My warning. (50:45)

There is no compulsion in religion: true guidance has become distinct from error, so whoever rejects false gods and believes in God has grasped the firmest hand-hold, one that will never break. God is all hearing and all knowing. (2:256)

Say, ‘Obey God; obey the Messenger. If you turn away, [know that] he is responsible for the duty placed upon him, and you are responsible for the duty placed upon you. If you obey him, you will be rightly guided, but the Messenger’s duty is only to deliver the message clearly.’ (24:54)

Note that the last two verses were revealed in Medina, just in case anyone wants to bring up the tired, old canard that everything wise and peaceful in the Quran was abrogated. In fact, Al-Azhar University’s Commission for Embracing Islam may “spend several days making sure that the person wants to convert to Islam voluntarily and as a result of their own desire.”

Therefore, if it is true that the girls were kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam, this would be an obvious breach of normative, mainstream Islamic teachings, not to mention Egyptian civil law. This would make it a case of criminal behavior, not normal religion. Whoever forces someone to be a Muslim is not behaving like a Muslim. Period.

However, as we shall see, we have strong reason to doubt these girls were kidnapped in the first place.

What are Mr. Ibrahim’s sources for claiming the two girls were in fact kidnapped and forced into Islam? A dubious Arabic website entitled “Free Christian Nation.” No possibility of bias there (sarcasm intended). Mr. Ibrahim boasts about his expert Arabic translation skills:

One must again turn to Arabic sources for the telling details. I have put together the following narrative and quotes based on these two Arabic reports:

The two girls, Christine Azat (aged 16) and Nancy Magdi (aged 14) were on their way to church Sunday, June 12, when they were seized. Their abductors demanded $200,000 Egyptian pounds for their release. The people of the region quickly put their savings together and came up with the ransom money; but when they tried to give it to the kidnappers, they rejected it, saying they had already “sold” the girls off to another group which requires $12 million Egyptian pounds to return them.

Two unsourced reports in Arabic? From which news agency? There are no authors or publishers listed on the reports. If you can read Arabic, seriously, check it out. So your ability to translate from some random anonymous Arabic websites is why you are a “widely recognized authority on Islam”?

But what our “widely recognized authority on Islam” failed to mention is that other mainstream newspapers (even in English, accessible to non-scholars, no translation necessary) have published reports contrary to his central claim. Mr. Ibrahim tells us about his scholarly research methods:

I tried to find this story in English-language media and, as expected, found nothing…

Oh really? I did a two-second Google search and found some. For example, Al-Ahram reported that:

During recent weeks, the two girls, who are cousins, have uploaded videos on YouTube announcing their conversion to Islam and that they were not kidnapped by ‎anyone. This came in response to the father of one of the girls reporting their‎disappearance. ‎

According to this report, the girls willfully converted to Islam, so Mr. Ibrahim tries to explain this away:

Some have tried to pass the usual rumor that the girls “willingly” ran off and converted to Islam, but even Egyptian officials reject this, saying that Al Azhar, which is the institution that formally recognizes conversions to Islam, has not acknowledged the conversion of underage minors.

This “rumor” happens to be based upon the Youtube testimony of the girls themselves, which would make it more than a rumor. The fact that Al-Azhar University did not announce their conversions is not proof that the girls didn’t willfully convert because, as Al-Ahram reports, Al-Azhar “does not accredit ‎conversion to Islam from anyone younger than 18.”‎ Minor details!

The point here is not whether the girls converted or not. I won’t get into “he said, she said” arguments about a pending legal case. The point is that Raymond, as usual, obviously didn’t research and balance his reporting, which means the only reason he brought it up at all is because it is useful ideological propaganda. His readers don’t read Arabic. They won’t double check his work. These blatant mistakes will get swept under rug, again as usual, to be replaced by the next propaganda item, the next blog post, the next hit piece. The erroneous misinformation factory marches on.

Does Raymond really want to help the Christian community in Egypt? Coptic Christians, whom Raymond pretends to defend, have rejected these kind of tactics and propaganda that divide Egypt along religious lines. Bishop Markos of Shubra al-Kheima told Al-Masry Al-Youm that:

Copts fall under the protection of the Egyptian state, and Muslims and Christians in Egypt fall under the protection of God, who mentioned Egypt and its people in the Quran and the Bible.

So don’t be fooled into thinking Raymond cares about these girls or even Egyptian Christians. He’s just using them and their story to whip up anti-Muslim populism, to use as a religio-political wedge issue in the campaign against Obama and liberals.

Undoubtedly, the guys at Front Page would not campaign for the human rights of these two girls if they had really converted to Islam. If their conversion to Islam was genuine, would Mr. Ibrahim and Horowitz support their religious freedom?

I ask these questions because, contrary to the 24-hour hate-on-Islam-a-thon at Front Page, Egyptian Christians who convert to Islam have also faced persecution. This certainly wouldn’t be the first case. As Al-Ahram reported:

This is not the first story of Muslim converts that has been a source of public debate and ‎concern. Camilia Shehata, who disappeared from her house in July 2010, was‎alleged to have converted to Islam only to be held in church after conversion to prevent ‎her from practicing her new religion.

Of course, stories about Muslims being denied religious freedom by Christians don’t quite fit into the Islam-is-all-evil-all-the-time-RSS-feed at Front Page Mag.

I’m not expecting an honest answer from Raymond.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer Team Up for CPAC Hate Fest

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by loonwatch
Robert Spencer with loon Pamela GellerRobert Spencer with loon Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are joining forces (a regular occurrence) and holding an “event” at the  Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) slated for February 19 from 10 am until noon. CPAC is billed as the “preeminent yearly conservative gathering” and will have such worthies as Glenn Beck (who will be the keynote speaker), Andrew BreitbartJohn AshcroftRush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum and many others. The sponsors include such far right-wing organizations as the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the John Birch Society, Focus on the Family, the Heritage Foundation and others.

I imagine there will be a cadre of undercover liberals and documentarians, the Max Blumenthal’s of the world who will cover all the craziness that we are accustomed to from right-wingers. If he is there, I am sure one of his exposes will be covering the anti-Muslim loonacy sure to be on display at the Geller-Spencer event.

Pamela Geller brought to our attention the event over on her website Atlas Drugs, oh excuse me Atlas Shrugs in which she practically begs for donations because she complains that she is not funded by big right wing groups or persons (just ask your buddy Spencer he gets paid a pretty penny by the David Horowitz Freedom Foundation). We can’t confirm whether Geller gets funded but it is a little hard to believe she doesn’t have her hand deep into the pockets of the right-wing hate racket.

Here is the hilarious post from Pam replete with her usual over the top verbiage and endless hyperbole:

Last year in an unprecedented event at CPAC, Geert Wilders met Joe Sixpack, and it was good.

This year, Atlas does not disappoint. We are ratcheting it up a few notches. Robert Spencer and I are organizing a joint venture to educate, elucidate and scare the bejeezus outta ya. (emphasis added)

Pam sums up in one sentence what her and her friends’ agenda is with regards to “Mooslims” and “Islam,” “to scare the bejeezus outta ya!” Can it be any clearer they are using the buffoons on their site, manipulating them with fear mongering, but don’t expect the zombies who are deluded into following her to budge because it seems they love a good horror show.

THIS IS A NOT A CPAC EVENT – THIS IS A GELLER-SPENCER EVENT.

Jihad: The Political Third Rail
What they’re not telling us about the war on America

It’s Friday, February 19th from 10 am until Noon.

We are still firming our speakers up, but here is a list of the invited:

Wafa Sultan [confirmed]
Doctor, author, “A God Who Hates

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff [confirmed]
Criminal complaint filed for  “hate speech” under Austrian law
Human Rights Activist

Steve Coughlin [confirmed]
Leading Islamic Specialist at the Pentagon, who was fired by Islamic infiltrators

Simon Deng
Former Slave in Sudan, leading human rights activist against jihad

Lt. Colonel Allen West [confirmed]
Running for Congress, Future Leadership

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer

Invited:

Rifqa Bary [invited]
teenage apostate

Kurt Westergaard [invited]
Danish cartoonist targeted for death by axe-wielding Muslim

The latest assassination attempt on Kurt Westergaard’s life by an axe-wielding Muslim (in his home with his five year old granddaughter present) has thrown an axea wrench into this …………

Rifqa Bary is a free American. She should be free to speak anywhere she wants. Should she not?

Plan to be at CPAC this year, or at least in DC, and set aside Friday, February 19th from 10 am to noon. I need your help getting it off the ground. I will not be charging for attendance, but it costs.

No one underwrites me. No one. Not a penny.

All of these right wing organizations have donors, big donors, small donors …. andfund raising arms. They are, by their very nature, fund raising machines. Not Atlas.

Huge thanks to BigFurHat for the killer art ………. he’s da best!

If you can contribute, please do (and those who have — G-d bless you).

The woman is after money! Does she have any self-respect at all?

Look at the all stars on the list of confirmed speakers, they include Wafa Sultan (bettter known as Wafa Stalin) who we exposed as a hateful, lying poseur playing off the ignorance of her audience and also an advocate for Nuking Muslims.  There is the Austrian, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff whose claim to fame is that she has been charged with hate speech for saying “Muslims rape children” and believes that Austria’s culture is in danger because of Islam. There is Steve Coughlin who we are supposed to believe was an Islam specialist and was “fired from the Pentagon” by so-called “Islamic infiltrators.” Maybe these infiltrators were also the Islamic congressional interns who were “spying” on America for the world-wide Khaliphate? There is Simon Deng who seems to have taken his horrible experience in the Sudan into an all out crusade against Muslims, and of course there is the Biblical Literalist Allen West, the near court-martialed former lieutenant running for Congress on the platform that Palestine should not exist and that all Palestinians should move to Jordan.

Seems like a swell bunch doesn’t it? Well it doesn’t end there, they also “invited” Fathima Rifqa Bary, the poor girl whose life they have constantly intefered in and labeled as the “apostate.” Throughout the whole saga involving Rifqa Bary it is instructional to note that it is only Pam’s group that have been eager to label her an “apostate,” none of those evil Mooslim organizations, ISNA, CAIR, MPAC, ICNA, MAS, Muslim Advocates, etc. have ever called her “apostate.”

So if you want to get together to see a group of flunkies, bigots, charlatan’s and clowns then don’t miss out on this show February 19th that will “scare the beejuzus outta ya!”

 

Top 10 Most Popular LoonWatch Pieces Of 2009

Posted in Feature, Loon Flashback with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2009 by loonwatch

top10

It has been a crazy 2009, we began our little adventure here at Loonwatch about eight months ago to monitor and expose the comical and disgusting world of Islamophobia. In that time we have gathered a pretty formidable team: Emperor, Garibaldi, Mooneye, Danios, Zingel, Darter and the sporadic contributors American Sole and Barbel.

The year has been wacky and sad, we witnessed Islamophobic murders, violence, and incitement, the continuing repitition of the double standard of castigating all Islam for the crimes of a few Muslims in the media, we saw crazy conspiracy theories revolving around Barack Obama’s supposed “Mooslimness” increase, and much more and Loonwatch has been in the middle of it all, documenting and breaking it down.

We have taken on Robert Spencer and JihadWatch, for the past few years he had been either mostly ignored or left unscathed but through our exposes such as Zingel’s devastating revelation that Spencer’s site was connected to “F***Islam.com” and Danios’ thorough and explosive dissections of Spencer’s arguments he has been exposed for the hateful fraud that he is. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Spencer is scared of Loonwatch, when there was an open challenge for him to rebut our refutations he slithered into silence.

We have documented the Blog Wars in the anti-Muslim blogosphere, the humiliation they had to deal with when we exposed how they had fallen for one conspiracy theory after another such as the insane Gaza mass wedding pedophilia conspiracy. From the Fathima Rifqa Bary case all the way to the Swiss minaret ban we have covered it all, and we can only promise that with the continued participation and support of our indefatigable readers we will keep bringing explosive exposes and incisive commentary on the loony world of Islamophobia!

Without further ado these are the top ten most popular pieces of 2009 from Loonwatch (we tallied this by posting those pieces that had the most traffic on the site):

1.)Pamela Geller: The Looniest Blogger Ever

pamela_gellar11

Pam Geller is the looniest blogger ever. Quite a distinction, but she has earned it through her vigilant anti-Muslimism, constant Islamophobia and hatred of Obama.

2.)Fathima Rifqa Bary Needs to Read Her Bible; Final Word on Islam and Apostasy

apostasy

Fathima Rifqa Bary’s pastor has convinced her that the Quran commands her to be killed for converting. In this expose we deal with the veracity of the claim.

3.)Anti-Muslim Blogosphere Runs Amuck: Forced to Eat Crow

gaza_wedding

The anti-Muslim, Islamophobic Blogosphere was riled up and accusing the world of turning a blind eye to Pedophilia but then they had to eat crow. See why.

4.)Geert Wilders Wants to Tax Women who Wear the Hijab

geert_wilders1

Geert Wilders, friend of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller calls for a tax on Muslim women who wear the hijab. Where are the condemnations against this attack on the values of “Western Civilization?”

5.)Wafa Sultan is Better Known as Wafa Stalin

Wafa SultanWafa Sultan

Wafa Sultan advocates the nuking of Islamic countries whose religion she likens to Nazism. She also seconds Geert Wilders call to ban the Quran.

6.)The Church’s Doctrine of “Perpetual Servitude” was Worse than “Dhimmitude”

Robert Spencer next to his Perpetual Serf Pamela GellerRobert Spencer next to his Perpetual Serf Pamela Geller

Robert Spencer can’t stop talking about “dhimmitude.” In this mini-book, we neutralize the argument by examining the Church’s doctrine of “Perpetual Servitude.”

7.)Temple University Rejects Geert Wilders

Temple University Rejects Geert WildersTemple University Rejects Geert Wilders

Temple University administrators allow Geert Wilders hate speech over the unanimous objection and rejection of the student body and faculty. (Updated)

8.)Muslim Americans Must Obey U.S. Laws; Nidal Hasan Disobeyed Islamic Doctrine

Major Nidal Malik HasanMajor Nidal Malik Hasan

Islam enjoins believers to obey the laws of the land, which is why millions of Muslims seek to be upstanding and loyal Americans.

9.)Loonwatch Exclusive: Robert Spencer’s “f**kallah.com” & “f**kislam.com”

"Islam Scholar" Robert Spencer Exposed“Islam Scholar” Robert Spencer Exposed

A LoonWatch Exclusive takes a look at the latest scandal associated with the internet’s premiere anti-Muslim bigot.

10.)Debbie Schlussel and the Great Blog Wars

Debbie SchlusselDebbie Schlussel

Debbie Schlussel has been described by the LATimes as a trigger happy anti-Muslim zealot, she is also a pioneer in the Great (Civil) Blog War.

 

Fathima Rifqa Bary: Pastors Knew they Broke the Law, ex-church official says

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2009 by loonwatch
Fathima Rifqa BaryFathima Rifqa Bary

It has now been revealed that the pastors of the Florida Church, Beverly and Blake Lorenz had knowledge of what they were doing before hand, and they also knew that they were breaking the law.

Fathima Rifqa Bary: Pastors knew they were breaking the law

A former administrator at an Orlando church told investigators that the church’s pastors who took in a teenage runaway this summer knew that they were doing something unlawful.

In a sworn statement filed this week in Ohio, Brian Smith stated that “many lawyers” told pastor Blake Lorenz he was “breaking the law” by aiding the teen, Fathima Rifqa Bary.

Smith is a former administrator of Global Revolution Church, a church founded by husband and wife pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz.

Rifqa, then 16, ran away from her home outside Columbus, Ohio, in mid-July and hopped a Greyhound bus to Orlando.

She sought shelter with the Lorenzes, whom she met through an online prayer group.

Rifqa said she feared her Muslim family would harm her or kill her because she converted to Christianity. Her parents have denied the teen’s claim, and investigators found no proof of it.

According to the affidavit, Blake Lorenz told Smith that Lorenz and another church member went to the Orlando bus station and bought Rifqa a ticket under a false name. Before she arrived in Orlando, Lorenz also asked Smith for church money to pay some of her expenses, including the cost of a bed and a disposable cell phone.

Also in his affidavit, Smith said Blake Lorenz refused to call Florida’s Department of Children and Families when he was advised by police and others to report that Rifqa was living with them. Rifqa’s parents had reported her missing to Ohio authorities.

Prosecutors to make charging decision

Florida law says people cannot shelter an unmarried minor for more than 24 hours without the consent of their parent or guardian, or without notifying a law-enforcement officer of the child’s name.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into the pastors’ role is complete, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said.

In upcoming weeks, FDLE will submit its case to the State Attorney’s Office, which will review the file and soon will make a charging decision, Banks said.

“I wish I could respond,” Blake Lorenz said Wednesday of Smith’s sworn statement. “The truth’s going to prevail. I’m not worried.”

He referred questions to lawyer Mat Staver, who was critical of Smith’s statement.

“There’s a lot of allegations in that affidavit that I know personally are not factual,” Staver said. “I’ve known the Lorenzes for 20 years. The last thing they would do is intentionally violate the law.”

Staver did not point to any specific charges that are incorrect but called Smith a disgruntled former employee.

Reached Wednesday, Smith said his sworn statement is truthful based on the information he had been told. And he said he “absolutely” is not a disgruntled former employee.

In an earlier interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Lorenz said he did call DCF. A DCF spokeswoman earlier confirmed the agency received four calls related to Rifqa’s case, but wouldn’t say who made those calls. The calls were received July 29, Aug. 6, and two on Aug. 7.

Rifqa’s story turned international

Rifqa stayed with the Lorenzes for more than two weeks before she was ordered into DCF custody by an Orange County judge.

Fearful that Rifqa would be sent back to her parents in Ohio, the Lorenzes in August alerted the Orlando media about a custody hearing.

Rifq’a story then turned into one of international intrigue with religious factions lining up against each other before and after custody hearings in Orlando.

Rifwa eventually was sent back to Ohio to live with a foster family.

The Lorenzes reorganized Global Revolution Church after their role in the Rifqa affair was disclosed. They now lead a congregation under another name.

In Smith’s sworn statement, he said he told Lorenz he was “very uncomfortable” with the Rifqa situation and spoke to his personal lawyer.

“My lawyer explained to me that they were in violation of several laws and to immediately hang up, call Blake and tell him to call DCF immediately,” Smith said in his statement. “She quoted several laws to me and the seriousness of them.”

“I called Blake and informed him of what the lawyer said. I implored him to call DCF immediately. He said he wouldn’t because they would just return her to her parents.”

Rene Stutzman of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Amy L. Edwards can be reached at aledwards@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5735.

Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel