Archive for Asra Nomani

Islamophobia and Adoption

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2012 by loonwatch

orphanage_Islamophobia

The beds in my orphanage in Beirut lie vacant; the doctors and lawyers have cut the middleman out of the picture to make a bigger profit.

by Daniel Ibn Zayd

To quote from Stephen Sheehi‘s book, Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims:

The issue of gender has been a key prong in the strategic trident to unify bi-partisan and mass support for US interventionism in the Muslim world. Both Arabic and English media have been flooded by a slew of contrived, opportunistic, and charlatan Muslim and Arab women, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, and Brigitte Gabriel, advancing Western-centric attacks on Islam.

As Sheehi points out, these attacks have mostly focused on issues such as the veil, as well as honor crimes, with the advocates so listed vaulted to the top of expert panels and best-seller lists by virtue of their parroting the dominant discourse, as befits the role of the comprador class. To this shameful compendium we can add another woman, as well as another line of attack: Asra Nomani, and adoption in the Muslim world.

As an adoptee who has returned to his birthplace of Lebanon, I have been actively watching the rise of this trope in the media, on online forums, as well as in private online exchanges for the past seven years. For one example, in 2009 the AP reported on a couple trying to adopt from Egypt. Compared to the crime of this couple and the corruption of government officials there, it is nonetheless Islam that bears the burden of opprobrium in the article: Adoption in Egypt is defined as being “snarled in religious tradition”. This became a contentious discussion on the web site Canada Adopts[1], where the given of the argument was basically how to get around these Islamic invocations, as if they somehow were to blame for the legal transgressions of the would-be adopters.

For another example, we need go to Pamela Geller’s web site Atlas Shrugged. Here the tables are turned on would-be adoptive parents of Moroccan children who would be required to maintain the child’s Muslim faith[2]. Ms. Geller describes this as some evil Islamic fifth column in the making, despite the fact that most every orphanage on the planet is Christian-based and missionary in outlook and likewise requires that the parents be of a particular faith in order to adopt.

Similarly, in her article for The Daily Beast, Asra Nomani writes an article which implies that the orphaned children of Pakistan are being recruited by Al-Qaeda as future suicide bombers. Her answer to this problem? To undo the “antiquated, shortsighted, and regressive stricture that makes adoption illegal [within Islam]“. This focus on Islam as a problem for adoptive parents who supposedly want to help the orphans of the world is quite loaded, and needs to be deconstructed on two levels, first in terms of the historical and economic/political function of adoption, and second in terms of linguistic and theologic use/misuse of the term.

The Big Picture: Economics and Politics
Whatever the motivation for adoptive parents in the First World, it is a fact that adoption source countries have followed a particular pattern that would quite easily make an additional chapter to Naomi Klein‘s The Shock Doctrine, in which children become just another resource to plunder and export. Geller and Nomani, in their acceptance of adoption as a given institution in the civilized world, follow in the footsteps of the founding spokeswoman for the so-called plight of orphans, Pearl S. Buck, who in 1964 published the book Children for Adoption. In terms that mimic today’s rhetoric concerning these children, which we currently see repeated in the current hype concerning Kony in Uganda, attention is shifted from the needs of parents (to start a family, to procreate) to those of children (need for a nuclear-family environment), while simultaneously castigating the seeming indifference of their cultures and countries and their inability to care for them.

This infantilization of other countries, now requiring the intervention of a “doting Uncle”, leaves unremarked the fact that such countries–Korea in the 1950s; Uganda today–have been targets of First World punishment via war, sanctions, and economic exploitation. This would explain the presence in Nomani’s article of cliched photographs of children in Iraqi orphanages, as the move is made to the last holdout against such wanton appropriation of foreign children. Nine long years after the invasion of Iraq, however, their inclusion here begs the question: Where has Ms. Nomani been for the past five American administrations, the sanctions, warfare, and sponsored internecine battles of which have killed more children outright than could possible ever be adopted to the West? Furthermore, on a list of countries that allow refugees from these Muslim lands, the U.S. remains near the bottom, behind countries such as Sweden, not to mention leagues behind Iraq’s neighbors that have taken in millions of refugees.

To focus on these children without focusing on their families or communities thus becomes an ignoble hypocrisy; as if to say, “give us your huddled masses–but only if they are cute children and can be indoctrinated from an early age.” This brings us to the other propaganda photos used on the Daily Beast, showing children dressed as soldiers, evoking the specter of infants inculcated with anti-American sentiment, the major fear expressed by the article. Similar to the willful ignorance of the plight of women by Islamophobes in their own locales, Nomani seems not to notice her own culture’s use of such imagery and cultural tropes: she need just visit the Intrepid Navy Museum, or any Civil War town, to see the red, white, and blue version of what she claims to fear most.

But we don’t have to dig so deep when Nomani wears her sentiment on her sleeve:

The council, noting that the Prophet Muhammad was an orphan, supports adoption, citing a Quranic verse enjoining us to practice islah, or “to make better,” the condition of orphans. It says: “And they ask you about orphans. Say: Making things right for them (islah) is better.” (2:220) The women argue that adoption encourages ‚Äúthe protection and promotion of healthy minds.‚Äù Indeed. Perhaps it protects kids from becoming terrorists as well.

It might behoove the author to define “terror”, especially given the millions of Arabs and Muslims who have died as a result of overt American attempts to exploit their countries, or of subsidiary attacks from Israel, or via the dictators put in place to keep oil running freely.

This hypocrisy was perhaps best exemplified by an adoption that was lauded in the American press during the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006 [3]. “Logan”–inauspiciously named after the airport of his arrival–was “rescued” from Lebanon with special visas provided by U.S. Senators, while many Americans waited days and days for evacuation, and in racially profiled order. No mention is made of the 1400+ civilians killed in that conflict, a third of them children.[4] More importantly, nowhere do we read the fact that Lebanon has a long history of trafficking children. Sayyed Mohammad Fadlallah‘s orphanage system in the South, going back to the 1950s, was created in no small part in response to the trafficking of children from the poor and rural areas of the country. In this light, the Spence-Chapin organization exalted in Nomani’s article is no better than the Holt International Adoption Agency of post-war Korea: Not a civilizing entity, but instead a gentle face put on a monstrous industry. That Morocco sees fit to participate in such trafficking should not be seen as a sign of its enlightenment. Quite the opposite.

Most important to note is how one-sided the adoption argument is in all of these cases. Adoptive parents and the agencies and industries that support them speak of adoption as being the given. This ignores all evidence to the contrary, but most importantly the growing number of voices of adoptees, mothers, fathers, extended families, and communities who are speaking out against adoption which has become simply another form of humanitarian imperialism. Whether in the lyrics of the Moroccan-born French rapper YAZ [5], the laws passed by Korean-American adoptees who have returned to their place of birth and have effectively halted adoption from that country as of this year, or the court writs of mothers in Guatemala who are suing to have their children repatriated to them from the United States, the tide is definitely turning against the ongoing efforts of those such as Nomani who would use adoption as a juggernaut against the Third World, and Islam more specifically. In an effort to paint adoption as a given, a marker of civilization, she and others like her revert to the worst tropes of colonialism, Orientalism, as well as Islamophobia.

The Subtleties: It’s All in the Language
The tactics used in this article that attempt to reframe the Qur’an as supportive of Nomani’s claim are disturbing, and they are also with precedence, mostly from within evangelical Christian circles. Comparative use of the Bible to allow missionary inroads into subordinate populations now finds its equivalent in those who would propound the Qur’an as advocating for the equivalent treatment of Muslim communities. On the Christian evangelical side, “adoption” is redefined to mean our relationship to Jesus (pbuh), and by extension, adopting a child is therefore to be seen as “Christ-like”. Nomani gives us the mirrored reflection of this when she states that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was himself “adopted”.

Nomani further follows this evangelical/missionary lead when she advocates the use of the Qur’an as supportive documentation for such efforts. In both cases, though, the logic used is hugely flawed. Learning Arabic these past seven years and reading Qur’an on a daily basis has given me an idea of what Aramaic might have been like in a purely conceptual sense, both being Semitic languages of the same region. Furthermore, Levantine Arabic differs from Standard Arabic in its use of Aramaic and Syriac words, and thus I am working with a wider possible vocabulary to make the following points. Based on this, I can state that the word used for the modern-day idea of “adoption” is most likely a conceptual back formation from the English or the French–a colonial hand-me-down–or at best is a completely metaphoric use, since it also carries the meaning similar to the English “to start using [something]“, as in “cell phone adoption”.

Most telling is that the word I use in Modern Standard Arabic to describe myself–mutabanna (vaguely, “en-son-ed”)–is not the same words translated in the Qur’an as “adopted”. One such term, translated as “adopted sons”–‘ad‘iya’akum–comes from a root that means to be claimed by, such as a townsperson is claimed by a town; they are an extension thereof, a part of a greater whole. Here we see a positive use of the term. Another word used in the Qur’an (itakhadha) means moreso “taken in”, as in this example from the story of Joseph: “perhaps he might benefit us or we might take him in as a son”. This is more like acquiring a boy servant than it is adopting a child into one’s family. More to the point, Joseph’s “adoption” comes after he is bartered “as a merchandise”, according to the Qur’anic description; furthermore the Qur’an is very explicit that these are temporary and invalidated situations, and here we might say that this is a negative use of the term.

Our analysis here is aided by the English use of “adoption” which has strayed from its original meaning as well, especially since we know that adoption conceptually within the Anglo-Saxon tradition was about indentured servitude, and not family creation. This is made most obvious to me by the fact that the use of this word only has currency within a certain class of the population here in Lebanon, which lives closer to a globalized and globalizing Anglo-Saxon model than anything locally relevant culturally speaking. For everyone else not of this stratum I cannot say “mutabanna“, I have to state that I was an “orphan” (‘atm), or that I was in an “orphanage” (dar al-’aytam). My adoption, as understood locally, involving a “bartering of merchandise”, maps much more closely onto the example of Yusuf–seen as negative–than any other invocation that might be painted in a positive light.

The main point still holds true: The modern-day concept of adoption, as practiced in primarily first-world nations, has no precursor from Biblical times that would allow the imposition of this current notion on Biblical or Qur’anic readings or texts–it’s current use is a fabrication of modern-day needs and conceits. It thus becomes disturbing the lengths to which current interpreters of these Writs will go to twist the language and the stories to suit their purposes, such as the recent example found in the book Reclaiming Adoption, and now in this article by Nomani.

Comparatively speaking, and contrary to Nomani’s analysis, the Qur’an is extremely enlightening in this regard, if only because its language is unchanged and untranslated since its inception. Readings of the Qur’an reveal that its supreme invocation concerning orphans–representing the most vulnerable members of society–is that they be taken care of, that they remain within their community, that their filiation remain intact, that the community preserve their property until they should be of age to make use of it. This is very much in line with the given social fabric of the countries of this region, despite it being stretched to the breaking point by globalization and other foreign pressures.

But Nomani willfully leaves out the following, where the Qur’an also states: “None are their mothers save those who gave them birth” (–Al-Mujadalah, 58:2), and:

God did not give any man two hearts in his chest. Nor did He turn your wives whom you estrange (according to your custom) into your mothers. Nor did He turn your adopted children into genetic offspring. All these are mere utterances that you have invented. God speaks the truth, and He guides in the (right) path.

You shall give your adopted children names that preserve their relationship to their genetic parents. This is more equitable in the sight of God. If you do not know their parents, then, as your brethren in religion, you shall treat them as members of your family. You do not commit a sin if you make a mistake in this respect; you are responsible for your purposeful intentions. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful. –Al-Ahzab, 33:4‚Äì5

This call to communal care is offensive to Ms. Nomani and her advocates because it is preventing them from fulfilling their familial role as proscribed for them by Anglo-Saxon Capitalism, borrowing Margaret Thatcher’s maxim that there is no basis for society but the nuclear family. This way of seeing things is radically different from the majority of the planet that serves as source material for the wishes of those in the First World who plunder their children via adoption and surrogacy. This is best summed up by Mohammad Al-Haddad, after a scandal involving the kidnapping of Chadian children to France:

But why don’t the rich bother themselves with the poor? Now, we forbid immigration to poor adults, but we allow it for their children? All the same, to decide if a child can be adopted, we do not apply the same criteria in the West as in the Third World. In the West, the family is “nuclear”; the conditions that make a child adoptable are therefor the absence of a mother and father. In many African countries, on the other hand, the family is extended–that is to say it includes equally the grandparents, as well as maternal and paternal aunts and uncles: All work in solidarity to take care of the child. [6]

This lack of a strict concept of nuclear family on the scene where I find myself now, or anything outside of what is a given here–extended family and communal solidarity–explains the reaction of most of those who hear my story from this perspective: They apologize that I was removed from my family, my place, my land. They sympathize wholeheartedly with my efforts to re-establish an identity here and find family, because historically and culturally the notion of “adoption” or “guardianship” is, as locally understood, about the importance of place: One’s people, one’s house, one’s community. This is a welcome relief from the endless barrage of statements such as “you were chosen”, or “you are lucky” that most of us grew up hearing; furthermore, it explains why these tropes of being “chosen” or “lucky” are projected onto Biblical accounts, ignoring the historical context of the book and its cultural underpinnings.

The deceit of adoption revivalists is most revealed then by what they omit. In terms of the Bible, each and every invocation concerning the “fatherless” also contains within the same passage a call to care for widows and others who are unable to sustain themselves. Would not a logical conclusion of this be that the expectant mother–especially if she be single, or widowed–be afforded this same zealous care and protection?

In terms of the Qur’an, let’s re-examine the cited reference from the article, but in full this time:

And they will ask thee about orphans. Say: “To improve their condition is best.” And if you share their life, they are your brethren: For God distinguishes between the despoiler and the ameliorator. –The Cow, 2:219

This ayat from the Qur’an, in the deceptively abridged form put forth by Nomani, might support this Western modern-day notion of adoption, but only if one espouses supremacist ideas of certain cultures being better or more valid than others. Obviously, given the inability to read one ayat of the Qur’an out of the context of the whole, this is not valid. Everyone who is claimed to have been “adopted” in both the Bible and Qur’an, most notably Joseph (Yusuf) as mentioned, but also Moses (Moussa) (pbut), in fact pose a contrary argument to those who would read these Books so literally. For both were adopted against the wishes of their parents; their removal caused great anguish to their families; they did not start the true calling of their lives until they were returned to their rightful place, status, and people.

This is especially poignant in the Qur’anic story of Joseph, who is sold to and “taken in” by first a wealthy lord and then the king but whose destiny is to be returned to his family (note the class differential here). The Qur’anic story of Moses is even more pointed, when it states that Moses was taken in by “those who were his enemy, and the enemy of his people”. The Qur’an also forbids forced conversion, one of the primary motivating factors for missionary adoption practice historically speaking.

Analyzing the Qur’an even further, we can state that the removal of someone from their family is an ultimate act of self-inflicted alienation, since the only instances of such separation used in the Qur’an are metaphors for the punishment of removing oneself from the community of God–meaning, the result of one’s own sin. Thus you have the son of Noah (Noh) drowned, the wife of Lot (Loteh) left behind and destroyed, the progeny of Abraham (Ibrahim) as being “on their own” in terms of their deeds and the judgment thereof, etc. The point being that such a separation–as punishment–supercedes the strong familial bond otherwise implied. How then, could there be a willful separation of child from parent, condoned by God at that?

The concept that the orphan should be removed from a given community, however justified, only reveals the moral bankruptcy of those whose primary concern is, in fact, their own nuclear family, their own salvation that might come at the expense of others now “saved”, as well as what is left unsaid in these works: the desired conversion of the heathen multitudes; their civilization, modernization, and the end of the barbarian ways.

This is nowhere more clear than here in Lebanon, where the sordid history of children trafficked from the south and Palestine is starting to come to light. By my observations into paperwork in my orphanage, I can safely say that a full 40 to 50 percent of infants circulating through my orphanage were from Muslim families, myself likely included. Based on stories I know from other countries and locally, as well taking into consideration the Islamic concept of the orphanage, I can state that many of the parents of these children had no idea that they would never see their infants again. In this way missionary and classist disdain for the religion of these children and their families is a prime motivator in their being targeted for adoption/conversion in the first place, despite protests to the contrary.

This brings us back to the originating efforts of those such as Pearl S. Buck who saw the world through this particularly noisome lens of colonialism, conversion, oppression, and universalism. Given that this same Anglo-Saxon culture has done nothing to alleviate poverty, racism, classism, and mono-culturalism on its own home front much less in the world at large, why should anyone believe that it truly desires to improve conditions elsewhere in the world? Can we really imagine a God who would allow some of his gerents on Earth to wage economic and political wars on others, and then claim some state of grace in adopting their children away from them? How is this different from the Romans enslaving the children of the peoples they conquered, if we want a more relevant Biblical analogy?

One of the greatest ironies of Islamophobia is the projection onto Islam of the failures of Western society. Here it is no different. The communal culture that needs to be broken down to make way for individualized/nuclear family-based Capitalism now extends to abducting children from the Arab and Muslim world, now that most of the other supply countries (including the First World’s internal poverty belt) are finally making the morally right decision in preventing their children from being exported wholesale. That Nomani would take such a literal view of the words of the Qur’an in fact reveals her to be the regressive one. We should, as people of good faith, be doing everything in our power to keep families together, and to prevent the conditions of war, poverty, and illiteracy that do more to promote the ills of the world that are decried in this article than any nascent putative extremism. The “charlatans” of Islamophobia wreak more injustice with their words and deeds than any boasted threat that might come from Muslims worldwide.

There is no innocence or objectivity in terms of supporting foreign policies of bombing, pillaging, and marauding, while simultaneously pretending to advocate for “orphans”, and using the Holy Books to support this worldview. Indeed, the only “antiquated, shortsighted, and regressive stricture[s]” that need be undone are those of Imperialism as we live it today. If we are truly hoping to “save the children”, then the despoilers of Nomani’s ilk should stand up as the class and community of power that they are and change the foreign policy of their governments. There is no evidence to support adoption as being a cure-all of any kind, indeed, Ms. Nomani is one in a long line of pyromaniac firefighters who don’t know how horribly they reek of gasoline. Her pretense of speaking for women is offensive to those who work locally via religious, charitable, or civil organizations in order to keep families and communities together. But most of all, she offends those mothers that she finds no common cause with in an egregious classism masked by a selfish and narcissistic career-building Islamophobia.

Any examination of human trafficking in the world points a very accusatory finger and paints a very scathing picture of the majority of First-World nations; this is where religious references might best be applied first–and then the “orphan” problem will take care of itself. Those with an axe to grind concerning Islam such as Nomani would do better than to hide their phobic attitudes behind institutions such as adoption, the actions of which have very real consequences for those of us removed from our place, our families, our communities, our culture, and our faith. For such supposed saving grace is always resented by those on whom it is imposed against their will. And the reaped fruit of such crimes is just as bitter.

1) http://www.canadaadopts.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=14&t=000580
2) http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/05/want-to-adopt-a-child-convert-to-islam.html

3) http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x1876374699/One-year-after-adoption-from-Lebanon-child-is-thriving

4) http://www.inquisitor.com/pcgi-bin/NYD.cgi?NA=NYD&AC=File&DA=20091115GGY&TO=AD

5) http://www.inquisitor.com/pcgi-bin/NYD.cgi?NA=NYD&AC=File&DA=20111103GMO&TO=AD

6) https://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddjth7n9_2999b4fh7jx

Daniel Ibn Zayd was adopted in 1963 and returned definitively to his land of birth in 2004; there he teaches art and illustration and in 2009 founded the artists’ collective Jamaa Al-Yad. He has written for CounterPunch, The Monthly Review Zine, and The Design Altruism Project, as well as on his blog: danielibnzayd.wordpress.com. He is a contributor to Transracial Eyes, a web-based collective of transracial adoptees. He can be reached at @ibnzayd on Twitter and by email: daniel.ibnzayd@inquisitor.com.

Why I Agree With Asra Nomani: KFC Restaurants Need to be under Constant Surveillance

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2012 by loonwatch

Asra Nomani, who is a real life Muslim, recently wrote a piece for the Daily Beast defending the NYPD’s practice of racial profiling and spying on the American Muslim community.  Haroon Moghul, another prominent American Muslim figure, blogged a response, which was cross-posted on LoonWatch.  Nomani had written in her article:

Indeed, just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community because we sure don’t police ourselves enough.

Moghul shot back:

The first part of her sentence, about Colombians, is actually right on (by her silly logic); the second part contradicts her own logic (she can call for profiling some Latinos, but she doesn’t have the courage to apply her racializing logic to white America), and everything after “I believe” speaks to how little Asra actually knows anything about the Muslim community, as well as the several seconds of your life which you could have done something better with.  For law enforcement to go after white extremism the way it seems to be going after Muslims (at least, with respect to the NYPD), they wouldn’t be going after the KKK, as Asra suggests–unless Asra means to suggest that Muslim student organizations at Yale and UPenn are offshoots of al Qaeda. Law enforcement would instead have to spy on as many white institutions (churches, civic clubs, student organizations, etc.) as they could.

Danios of LoonWatch chimed in: “Will Asra Nomani stay consistent and support spying on white people?”

But, Haroon Moghul and Danios of LoonWatch are way off: it’s not proper to compare peace-loving, good Christian white folk to Muslims or Latinos.

The real million dollar question is: should the police racially profile and spy on the black community?  Using Asra Nomani’s sage advice, I think we must.  For the longest time though, I have worried that our sense of political correctness has kept us from sensible law-enforcement strategies that carefully look at black male youth, black neighborhoods, and black hangout spots.

The LAPD and other police departments should send “rakers” into the black community–police officers whose racial background (black) and language skills (ebonics) match the places they are monitoring, including black streets, black high schools, and black hangout spots like basketball courts.

Public spaces, especially those protected from police scrutiny due to racial sensitivities, are a natural meeting spot for criminals. If the NYPD was tracking shopping malls or pizza shops where criminal activity is being planned, we wouldn’t complain. Because of racial political correctness, we’re protesting looking into black communities.  Alas, criminals and gang-bangers use our political correctness and racial sensitivity as a weapon against us.

There are other black people who believe law enforcement has to do its job and spy on black people.  I know at least four different random black people who feel the same way I do.

The last few decades of battling violence in the black community has revealed one truth: black neighborhoods are spaces used by blacks intent on criminal activity.  Asra Nomani wrote:

[M]osques and Muslim organizations are institutional spaces used by Muslims intent on criminal activity, not much unlike the pews of a Catholic church or a Godfather’s Pizza might be the secret meeting spot for members of the Italian mafia.

Nomani has done extensive research on this topic.  I heard she watched all three parts of The Godfather.  If we want to crack down on black crime, I suggest especially high surveillance of watermelon stands, basketball courts, and near white women.  As far as I’m concerned, we need plenty of “raking.”

Police and FBI sources reveal that blacks are responsible for much of the violence and crime in our nation.  Kevin Alfred Strom went through the FBI Uniform Crime Report and found the following:

According to the FBI, Blacks are more than 3 times as likely to be thieves as Whites. They are more than 4 times as likely to commit assault as Whites. They are almost 4.5 times as likely to steal a motor vehicle. According to the FBI, Blacks are more than 5 times as likely to commit forcible rape as Whites, over 8 times as likely to commit murder, and more than 10 times as likely to commit robbery. For all violent crimes considered together, Blacks are almost 5.5 times more likely to commit violent criminal acts than Whites, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report…

A few more statistics:

85% of all felonies committed against cabbies in New York City are committed by Blacks.

Nearly 25% of all Black males between the ages of 20 and 29 are in jail or on probation. This doesn’t include those wanted or awaiting trial!

Statistically, Black neighborhoods are 3500% more violent than White ones.

Nearly 25% of all Black males between the ages of 20 and 29 are in jail or on probation. This doesn’t include those wanted or awaiting trial!

Statistically, Black neighborhoods are 3500% more violent than White ones.

Well, since blacks won’t police themselves, I think it’s high time the police do it for them.  (Does anyone have an Official “I’m Black” card I can use so this sounds less offensive?)

Nomani notes:

Like the NYPD tracking the Newark restaurants where Muslims congregate, Karachi police have a local spot they have on constant surveillance: a restaurant called Student Biryani, selling a rice dish popular in the country. I learned this tracking the police case against the militants involved in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The mastermind, Omar Sheikh, met with his logistical chiefs at Student Biryani, and the police report reveals the men even took some biryani home as carryout. Militants can easily huddle in Student Biryani’s crowded restaurant space and get a hot meal and much-needed noise.

Damn those wily terrorists and their biryani bellies.  Although my extensive googling revealed no evidence for this claim that the popular food chain Student Biryani in Pakistan is under “constant surveillance” by police, I think Nomani raises a good point.  In our fight against black violence, I think we need to keep all KFC restaurants under constant surveillance.  A tracking and listening device should be included in all takeout boxes.  I once heard a gang of Bloods once ate a full 12-piece of crispy chicken at one KFC in one city at one moment in history.  Gang members can easily huddle in KFC’s crowded restaurant space and get a hot meal and much-needed noise (and chicken).

Many African countries make no apologies for monitoring their black citizens.  Neither should the LAPD or other police departments apologize for monitoring blacks.  Blacks should in fact open their doors to the surveillance and help the cops smoke out the criminals in their community, so that black neighborhoods and communities are safe spaces.

Note: If you didn’t figure it out already, the above article is not to be taken seriously and is actually a spoof of Asra Nomani’s article on American Muslims.  My purpose was to reveal how utterly revolting Nomani’s expressed views are, something that only becomes apparent when you switch out “Muslim” for black, Jewish, etc.

Addendum I:

I had thought I was being especially creative when I came up with the KFC bit, but then I realized I had missed this gem from Nomani’s original article (I almost spit my drink out when I saw it): Nomani defended the NYPD spying on

restaurants frequented by Muslims, including Kansas Fried Chicken, a place run by folks of Afghan descent, according to the report.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Asra Nomani in The Daily Beast: Spy on White People

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from avari)

By Haroon Moghul

So, Asra Nomani writes an(other) embarrasing example of self-hatred for The Daily Beast, applauding law enforcement’s apparent targeting of Muslims throughout the Greater New York City area. Her essay is riddled with simple errors, clear misperceptions of how law and constitutionalism function, an inability to process profiling, and some faulty logic, perhaps the finest instance of which is here:

Indeed, just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community because we sure don’t police ourselves enough.

The first part of her sentence, about Colombians, is actually right on (by her silly logic); the second part contradicts her own logic (she can call for profiling some Latinos, but she doesn’t have the courage to apply her racializing logic to white America), and everything after “I believe” speaks to how little Asra actually knows anything about the Muslim community, as well as the several seconds of your life which you could have done something better with.For law enforcement to go after white extremism the way it seems to be going after Muslims (at least, with respect to the NYPD), they wouldn’t be going after the KKK, as Asra suggests–unless Asra means to suggest that Muslim student organizations at Yale and UPenn are offshoots of al Qaeda. Law enforcement would instead have to spy on as many white institutions (churches, civic clubs, student organizations, etc.) as they could.

Because, of course, by Asra’s article’s painful logic, a person’s whiteness is a sufficiently significant lead to get law enforcement to pay attention to him, just as a Muslim institution is, on the grounds of its Muslimness, a target of suspicion sufficient to merit law enforcement’s full attention. This is a point Amy Davidson made far more succinctly in an excellent post at The New Yorker:

There is a difference between chasing clues and treating Islam, in and of itself, as a lead.

Does Asra mean to suggest we should be spying on white folks indiscriminately, because they, like the KKK, are white? Should we spy on white Muslims twice, since they are white and Muslim, and so somehow become extremists that hate themselves. I spoke about this issue on a far more relevant basis to Welton Gaddy of State of Belief Radio.

By the way, I’ll be at Fordham’s Manhattan campus today (Monday, March 5th), speaking about the long history of Islam and especially Islam in America. It’s free, and I’ll try to make it fun, educational, and enlightening. We’ll be starting at 6pm at Fordham’s South Lounge inside 113 West 60th Street, right off Columbus Circle in Manhattan. The event ends at 8pm.

Haroon Moghul is a Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia University in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. He is an Associate Editor and columnist at Religion Dispatches and writes for the Huffington Post.

Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah and Zuhdi Jasser: ‘Please! Pretty Please Spy on Me!’

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2012 by loonwatch

Zuhdi_Jasser_Tarek_Fatah_Peter_King

Tarek Fatah, Zuhdi Jasser, and Peter King

Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah and Zuhdi Jasser have ridden in on their clown car to rally in support of being “spied on” by the NYPD. Using their “Muslim” cards they have either written in support of, or participated in a rally in solidarity with the NYPD’s secret surveillance. Such endless stupidity knows no bounds, and is not limited to Muslims. Self-hating loons are part of every culture and faith. (We have already written about why the NYPD surveillance is deceptive, wrong-headed, immoral and ineffective, so no need for us to repeat ourselves here.)

The loons agree with each other, being “Muslim” or “Muslim like” is sufficient just cause to infringe on the civil liberties of all Muslims. For these loons, being Muslim is enough of a reason to be accompanied by undercover agents on whitewater rafting trips, to have your mosque infiltrated, to have a who’s-who of ‘Muslamic’ eateries profiled. For these loons the tricky fact that this deceptive surveillance is probably illegal is to be ignored at all cost.

(Have you ever wondered what interesting terroristic tidbits those gum-shoe NYPD infiltrators gathered at, say, Habib Restaurant in Newark? I can just imagine:

Muslim patron of Habib Restaurant: This shawerma sandwhich is the bomb!

NYPD undercover agent jotting down in notebook: ”Stealth food Jihad!!??” I saw this on the Third Jihad that we watched in an endless loop for months! Check with Ray Kelly.)

It’s okay they say, go ahead and cast a pal of suspicion over the whole Muslim community. They  are essentially telling Bloomberg, Kelly, etc.:

“Look at us masta’. We da good Mooslims. You spy on us, entrap us, bomb us wid’ yo bombs, it’s otay.”

The loons’ rally attracted 20 or so supporters and…*gasp*…Rep.Peter King. Whodathunkit? The fact that IRA supporting Peter King would stand with the very same non-expert neo-Con witness he called at his McCarthyesque witch-hunt trials and declare, “you are the real face of Islam in America” is so shocking (note: thinly-veiled sarcasm).

Oh yes, Sheikh Peter King is now pontificating on who the “real” Muslims are. You are a real Muslim if you align yourself with the right-wing, agree with your community being spied on, (thereby undermining every citizens civil liberties), agree with the over-exaggerated “homegrown terrorism” threat, agree with entrapment, agree with the Greater Islamophobia of “bombing, invading and occupying” Muslim majority nations.

Lets continue the myth, they say, that Muslims have not cooperated with law enforcement and are not doing enough to condemn terrorism.(Even though over 40% of all tips regarding potential Muslim terrorists come from Muslims). This will finally convince those Tea Partiers that Asra loves at the Tennessee Freedom Coalition that real Islam is in fact a religion that should be afforded the guarantees of “religious freedom,” and not as they say, a 1400 year old political-fascist-totalitarian-cult threatening to overtake Christianity and “Islamize” the USA.

Asra in her Daily Beast article, Why NYPD Monitoring Should Be Welcome News to Muslims didn’t limit herself to attacking and libeling Muslims, in fact her words will comfort Colombians particularly,

“just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community”

As one astute commenter on her article noted,

The Colombian community should be just as offended as the Muslims at being directly compared to the KKK which is by definition a gang of white extremists.

Nomani of course sees no problem, Colombians and Muslims are just like the KKK in her mind, and that is the true face of self-hating loons.

The sparse number of pro-surveillance and pro-anti-Muslim indoctrination ralliers indicates that most American Muslims are overwhelmingly opposed to the NYPD’s bigoted indoctrination of its officers as well as the warrantless surveillance of Muslims. An opposition that is born not just out of their recent plight, being cast as “today’s enemy,” but out of a consistency of principal; no one should be profiled based simply on religion or race, no group should endure warrantless surveillance.

One can imagine that in a not too distant future, these very same self-hating loons, eager to be profiled and spied on, will also be saying, “please, please intern me, somebody, please intern me!”

Update I:

Make sure to check out Danios’s article on the same topic: Zuhdi Jasser’s Astroturf Muslim Groups Behind Rally to Support NYPD Spying.

Faux Progressive and Self-Hating Loon Asra Nomani Sides with Lowe’s, How Predictable

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by loonwatch

Not all anti-Muslim loons are non-Muslims.  Indeed, there are a handful of loons that are in fact self-hating Muslims.  Case in point: Asra Nomani.

(I’ve written about her before, so I’ll skip introducing her.)

Nomani dons the mantle of a “moderate, progressive, and liberal” Muslim, yet she consistently takes the side of right-wing, uber-conservative loons against Muslims.  It is faux progressives like her who have tarnished the image of progressivism in much of the Muslim world.

Over the years, Asra Nomani has sided with extreme right-wingers and Islamophobes against Muslims time and time again.  At first, her absurd views had a lot of shock value.  Now, they’re just plain predictable.  So, it’s no surprise that Ms. Nomani has taken the side of Lowe’s, which pulled its advertisements from TLC’s All-American Muslim after Islamophobes sent them letters of protest.  The Islamophobes complained that the show only showed regular Muslims instead of Terrorist Muslims (since of course all Muslims are Terrorists).

Asra Nomani’s article, like her other work, is intellectually bereft.  The blurb to her article says:

Another advertiser pulled out of TLC’s All-American Muslim—but it’s not because the company is ‘Islamophobic.’ It’s simply a terrible program, writes Asra Q. Nomani.

The only problem with this, the entire premise of her article, is that neither Lowe’s or Kayak pulled out because the show is “a terrible program.”

Nomani writes (emphasis is mine):

Lowe’s, the national chain, did the right thing in pulling its advertising from the series. The company said it killed advertising from the show because it had become too controversial, but there is another legitimate reason the company could have given for yanking its advertising: it’s bad TV.

It “could have given” this “legitimate reason” to yank its advertisement, but it didn’t.  It pulled the advertisement because Islamophobes emailed them to do so.  Even their cover-excuse wasn’t that the show was “bad TV” but that “it had become too controversial” as Nomani’s own words attest to.

How did Lowe’s do “the right thing” if they pulled the show for the wrong reason, i.e. cowing to anti-Muslim bigotry?  To understand this point, imagine for instance if Lowe’s pulled its ads from CNN’s Black in America not because it was “bad TV” but because a bunch of white racists emailed them complaining that the show portrayed blacks too sympathetically?  That it only showed regular black people instead of murderers and rapists?  If Lowe’s succumbed to this bigotry by yanking its ads from Black in America, would Asra Nomani applaud this action (regardless of the show’s quality)?

The quality of All-American Muslim is irrelevant, because the reason advertisers pulled out had nothing to do with that, but everything to do with the fact that Islamophobes lost their minds that a show would show normal Muslims on television.

Asra Nomani’s whole argument is based on three words she slipped into her writing: “could have given.”  Except it didn’t.

True, Nomani was more likely referring to Kayak’s lame excuse for pulling its advertisement (see my earlier article about Kayak’s “apology”); she writes:

Now, Kayak, an Internet travel company, announced that it too is pulling its advertising. Robert Birge, chief marketing officer at Kayak, put it as plain as it gets: “…I watched the first two episodes,” he wrote in a letter to customers, titled “We Handled This Poorly.” “Mostly, I just thought the show sucked.”

But here again, Asra Nomani misleads the reader.  Robert Birge, the Kayak executive, does mention that he thought the show sucks, but the bulk of his explanation is about how the show became a “lightning rod” and how TLC supposedly didn’t inform Kayak about this.  Birge wrote:

When we decided to give our money to TLC for this program, we deemed the show a worthy topic. When we received angry emails regarding our decision to advertise, I looked into the show more thoroughly.

The first thing I discovered was that TLC was not upfront with us about the nature of this show. As I said, it’s a worthy topic, but any reasonable person would know that this topic is a particular lightning rod. We believe TLC went out of their way to pick a fight on this, and they didn’t let us know their intentions. That’s not a business practice that generally gets repeat business from us. I also believe that it did this subject a grave disservice. Sadly, TLC is now enjoying the attention from this controversy.

So, after the show received “angry emails” from Islamophobes, they then looked into the show and pulled it because TLC supposedly hadn’t informed them that the show would be controversial.  In other words, their explanation is very similar to that given by Lowe’s.

In the concluding sentence of the “apology”, Birge writes:

Based on our dealings with TLC and the simple assessment of the show, I decided we should put our money elsewhere.

Even if we say the decision was partially due to the “controversy” issue and party due to the show “sucking”, does Asra Nomani not see the problem that the show was pulled only after Kayak received “angry emails” from Islamophobes?  Again, how would we feel about Kayak if it pulled its ads from Black in America after receiving “hate mail” from Neo-Nazi groups?  Any lame excuses such as the show was “too controversial” or that “it sucked” would not be taken seriously.

Asra Nomani goes on:

To me, the issue of Islam-bashing has become a straw man in this debate. This isn’t a referendum on whether a person hates on Islam or not. It’s about TV—and what makes for good TV and what doesn’t. For example, I made it through only two episodes of TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras, because how many times can we watch Princess Penelope throw a temper tantrum? If Lowe’s or Kayak didn’t advertise there, would we argue that they were trashing prissy little girls and their mom? No, we’d say that they don’t want to spend their ad dollars on bad TV.

TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras does receive advertisements, even if you and I agree “it sucks.”  Has Nomani never flipped through channels on television and watched a reality show?  The vast majority of them suck, but even still they are able to garner advertisements.  Also, since when did companies restrict advertisements to shows they themselves personally watch?

The problem is that All-American Muslim is being singled out and unable to hold some advertisers because the show is about Muslims.  Had these companies pulled out from the show on their own volition due to ratings–and not immediately after Islamophobes demanded them to–nobody would be crying foul.  So, in reality, it is Asra Nomani who is raising a straw man argument: again, if it had really been about the show sucking and its ratings tanking, then nary a Muslim or liberal would protest.

Asra Nomani’s article blares:

To me, the issue of Islam-bashing has become a straw man in this debate. It’s about TV.

This assessment reflects how vacuous Asra Nomani truly is (I see absolutely nothing intellectually stimulating ever coming from this woman): it’s not about T.V. at all–it is all about Islam-bashing.  The show was pulled because Islamophobes protested it and not because the show “sucks.”  This is exactly the reason why in my earlier article about Kayak’s “apology” and this one, I have not even tried to defend the show’s quality, because that subjective opinion is simply irrelevant.  But if you want to go down that path, I can safely say that there exists no dearth of sucky programs on the boob tube, all of which seem to attract and hold advertisers just fine.

*  *  *  *  *

In my previous article about Asra Nomani, written almost exactly one year ago, I mentioned how she always feels compelled to inject herself into all of her articles:

Notice how she prefaces her statement with “I am Muslim.” Well then, you must automatically be a spokesperson for Muslims everywhere, and whatever you say about Islam and Muslims must be true. You are, after all, a real life Muslim! In fact, Asra Nomani can hardly ever write an article or argue a point without injecting herself into it, such is her self-absorbed nature.

Lo and behold, the very first words of her article about All-American Muslim:

As a real-life American Muslim…

And elsewhere:

As an American Muslim consumer…

And still elsewhere:

…I’m Muslim…

We get it!  You are a real life, living, breathing Muslim!  Well then, you must be an expert on everything about Islam and Muslims.

Asra Nomani keeps mentioning that she’s a real life Muslim because the only reason she has obtained some level of fame is because (1) she voices right-wing views against Muslims and Islam, and (2) she is a Muslim herself.  If she were simply a right-winger, she’d just be another run-of-the-mill Islamophobe trolling the internet.  On the other hand, if she were just Muslim, well then so what?  But it’s the combination of #1 and #2 that sustains her notoriety, because certain right-wing elements like to promote a self-hating Muslim who says all the things they themselves say: if even a Muslim says it about Islam and Muslims, then it must be true!

Meanwhile, Nomani remains very hungry and desperate for attention, which is why she added this absolutely unnecessary bit to her article:

As an American Muslim consumer, I can say that I’ll likely buy the lumber for my son’s treehouse at Lowe’s, and I’ll switch from Expedia to Kayak. I like the company’s common sense

Asra Nomani is like the black kid who hung a Confederate flag in his dorm room; he wouldn’t have garnered national attention had he been a white kid.  And likewise, Nomani’s writing would whither into oblivion if she didn’t constantly invoke her “I’m a Muslim” card.  That’s because aside from this fact, there is nothing at all interesting to learn from Asra Nomani’s uninspired writing.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Asra Nomani: Government Should Tell Muslims How to Worship

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by loonwatch

Freedom of worship is one of our most invaluable rights. It means that I have the complete freedom and the human right to worship God the way I see fit or to not worship, provided that I uphold the standards of civil law. Thomas Jefferson so eloquently wrote:

That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

[The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom]

This human right is the cornerstone of our democracy. It keeps the political conversation rational, among other things, and prevents our nation from degenerating further into partisan religious delinquency. So, naturally, I am dismayed when I see this most basic and cherished freedom become a casualty in our national discourse on Islam and Muslims.

Observe Asra Nomani, whom we’ve criticized before for supporting racial profiling, in her latest draconian suggestion; if mosques do not bow to the demands of her ideology, they should be denied tax exempt status (i.e. forced to shutdown from crippling taxes). How did she arrive at such a conclusion?

Nomani says she is fighting Gender Apartheid:

Our goal was to walk through the front double doors designated for “brothers” and pray in the forbidden space of the opulent musallah, or main hall, of the mosque.

She paints herself as a freedom fighter, a successor to Martin Luther King Jr. But the question is: why do Muslim men and women pray in separate spaces? Is it sexism?

Until a point in time when we live in a “genderless” society (maybe something Asra advocates?), men and women are generally considered distinguished entities and traditional religions tend to take this into account. In the case of the majority of Muslims, men and women pray in separate places for the five congregational prayers because the Quran says:

Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them… And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof… (24:30-31)

Pious Muslims are not supposed to gawk with lust at members of the other sex. This applies in daily life and even more so in the ritual prayer in which concentration and focus should be directed towards God and not the opposite sex. Separating men and women in the Muslim prayer is therefore considered a matter of modesty; not that women are inferior or have less rights. Thus, separate prayer halls in themselves are not an indication that women are being mistreated or denied access to the mosque.

But perhaps the issue is that women have a less nice area to pray in or are being denied access to the mosque altogether. On this issue Nomani has a point, and she produces some statistics and studies, although mired by her sweeping generalizations:

In a 2005 publication, “Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers,” written by two American-Muslim groups — the Islamic Social Services Associations and Women In Islam — the authors confirmed that “many mosques relegate women to small, dingy, secluded, airless and segregated quarters with their children,” some mosques “actually prevent women from entering,”…

It is true that some mosques have less than adequate facilities to accommodate female worshippers, but is it always a case of sexism? If you haven’t noticed, opening or expanding a mosque is not the easiest thing to do in America right now. There are other factors involved other than an alleged omnipresent sexism dominating the Muslim community. Some of these mosques do not have the funding to give women a bigger space; and perhaps, it may be the conservative culture of a particular mosque for women to normally pray at home with their children, usually coming to the mosque only on special occasions, and thus a bigger space is unnecessary.

Nomani could draw from Islamic tradition to support her legitimate goal of helping women increase their presence and participation in the mosque. She could, for example, mention how numerous authentic traditions record that the Prophet Muhammad gave women universal support to go to the mosque:

Do not prevent the maid-servants of Allah from going to the mosque.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 0886]

She could engage in a respectful dialogue with notable Imams, scholars and activists, work for grassroots change in her local community, and help establish the model mosque she seeks with their help or of her own volition. Unfortunately, Nomani thinks strong-arm bully tactics and shouting matches in the mosque are the way to go.

First, she travels to different communities to whom she does not belong and demands to violate their sacred spaces. Then, she makes a ruckus in the media to bring pressure on Muslim communities from society at large. That hasn’t worked, so now she wants the government to step in and tell Muslims how they should organize their prayer halls:

I understand the difficulties in having the state intervene in worship issues. I believe in a separation of church and state, but I’ve come to the difficult decision that women must use the legal system to restore rights in places of worship, particularly when intimidation is used to enforce unfair rules.

Unbelievable! One Christian author took the words right out of my mouth:

That is an almost comically irrational paragraph, and yet it ran in a column published in none other than USA Today. Nomani says that she “understand[s] the difficulties in having the state intervene in worship issues,” but shows no such understanding at all. Then, she writes that she “believe[s] in a separation of church and state,” but then she calls upon the coercive power of the state to force doctrinal change in places of worship. She cannot have it both ways…

I am not worried that IRS agents are about to descend on the nation’s churches, mosques, and synagogues to force a new government-endorsed theology on our places of worship. I am very concerned, however, that this kind of argument, left unaddressed, implies a power that the government does not and should not possess.

Undoubtedly what Nomani is asking for is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution’s, First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” She would open the floodgates of government intervention into the most private area of our lives, our places of worship, our sacred spaces, and threaten to raise our taxes if we didn’t worship in a manner consistent with her ideology (a curious double-violation of Tea Party ideology but nonetheless will probably receive a free pass from many on the Right because of the fact that Muslims are Nomani’s target).

She warns us that in mosques “intimidation is used to enforce unfair rules” but she has no problem using the long arm of the law to intimidate Muslims and force them to construct their prayer halls in line with Nomani’s ideology or else be crushed by burdening taxes.  So, Asra, how are you not also using intimidation “to enforce unfair rules?” Can anyone else see the double standard?

Don’t get me wrong. Freedom and women’s rights are very vital issues for Muslims to tackle, but not so much for Nomani. She seems far more interested in getting her uninformed and sensational views published than in helping the Muslim community from within.

How else can we understand her aggressive assault on our most basic American freedom?

Wafa Sultan Meets Intelligent Person and Gets Flabbergasted

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2011 by loonwatch
“Atheist Muslim reformer” Wafa Sultan with anti-Muslim loon Pamela Geller

Wafa Sultan or as she is better known Wafa Stalin was recently on Russia Today (RT) news network. We have previously linked to episodes from the Alyona Show, in which the host tore apart Pamela Geller. We also linked to an episode of Crosstalk in which Professor Norman Finkelstein debated an Israeli official and utterly pulverized him.

This time Wafa Sultan was on Crosstalk with Ibrahim Ramey to discuss the Quran, Muslims and foreign policy. Wafa may have had expectations that this video would also get the MEMRI treatment, thereby recapturing those 5 minutes of fame she procured previously, but Ibrahim Ramey wasn’t having it.

Ramey came across as the more cool, collected, comprehensible, reasoned, articulate and objective in this encounter, and Wafa…well…more Stalin-ish than ever.

One more thing, dear Asra Nomani, after watching this how can you still stand by your glorifying article of Sultan in TIME magazine? Asra, come to your senses, if not not on profiling Muslims at airports than at least on supporting anti-Muslim Islamophobic bigots.

We were also sent this video, which though a little annoying due to its tedious repetitions, captures Wafa in the midst of what can be deemed a bold faced lie or the kindest word perhaps “old lady dementia.”

Wafa Sultan Lies about her niece (hat tip: Yahya):

 

Asra Nomani Supports This Kind of Harassment

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2011 by loonwatch

It is wrong, it violates your religious liberty and you constitutional rights, but Asra Nomani would be happy to submit to it.

Civil Rights Groups: US Muslims’ Rights Violated at Border

(VOA)

Lawrence Ho is also a U.S. citizen, and a Muslim convert. He was stopped at a border crossing with Canada.

Ho says he was held for four hours and asked religious questions interrogation-style – in a closed room, by a special agent, with armed guards watching.

“They’re treating me like a suspect,” he says. “Like while I was in there, I just felt like I was a criminal. At a certain point they almost make you feel like you did something wrong.”

Civil liberties groups say U.S. border officials are violating the constitutional rights of American Muslims by asking about their religious beliefs and practices on their return from trips abroad.

Ho and Shibly’s testimony form part of a complaint to the government by two groups – the American Civil Liberties Union and Muslim Advocates.

It alleges that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, or CBP, has been questioning Muslims or people that appear to be Muslim about their religious and political beliefs, associations and activities.

Hina Shamsi is director of the ACLU’s National Security Project:

“Of course we all recognize that it is the government’s job to keep the country safe and secure, and we want it to do that,” she said. “But questioning innocent American Muslims about their religious and political beliefs does nothing to make us safer.”

She says it also violates the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees religious liberty.

Shamsi says U.S. citizens and residents may only be questioned in this way if there is a reasonable suspicion, based on credible evidence, that a person has engaged in criminal activity. And the faith-related questions have to be relevant, she says.

“It cannot be a dragnet set of questions,” she added. “That is simply impermissible and unconstitutional.”

 

Asra Nomani can Learn a Thing or Two from Lesley Hazelton about the Quran

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2010 by loonwatch

Lesley Hazleton gave a very moving and profound speech about her three month extensive devotion to the study of the Quran at TEDx. What she learned deeply moved her and in sharing her experience she deeply moves the crowd.

It is a very interesting video in light of our recent article on Asra Nomani, an individual who was born a Muslim but advocates tearing out pages from the Quran and calling for verses of the Quran to “go up in smoke.”

 

LoonWatch’s Response to Asra Nomani

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by loonwatch

Asra Nomani responded to my article with the following message:

Dear Friends,

Thanks for the time that you spent discussing the ideas that I’ve presented in my writings. I see that there are many differences of opinion with readers of this site, but, nonetheless, I appreciate the conversation.

It’s interesting to me how often readers of this site use the term “whore” to describe me, and I’m sorry that so many of you feel such anger. I understand that many of these issues from religion to intimacy are sensitive ones.

I would gently say to you that many of the assumptions that are made here are, I understand, an effort by some folks to make sense of ideas with which you don’t agree. Sometimes the truth is a lot less sensational. I’m not self-hating. I’m not gaining riches, and, as a journalist, I can tell you that the “fame” of a TV appearance here or there is most certainly fleeting.

I sincerely care about how Islam expresses itself in the world, and I care about our world. We may differ in opinion, but I would also gently suggest to you that, while anger and insults may be an authentic expression of your frustration, I do wish for all of us a day when we can be in more civil conversation.

If anyone would like to personally write to me, I invite you to do so at asra(a)asranomani.com.

Otherwise, I wish all of you well.

Warmly, Asra

My response is follows:

Dear Ms. Nomani,

You are certainly correct in stating that “civil conversation” is important.  However, I’d like to raise a few points with regard to this:

1)  It should be understood that this is the internet, and people tend to “say” things with less inhibitions than they would in the “real” world.  I myself have been called horrendous things on the internet.  Hence, the “colorful” language in the comments section needs to be understood in this context and as a product of this phenomenon.  I did not–and neither did any LoonWatch writer–refer to you as a “whore”.  Neither do we endorse such language.  As a progressive, I cannot condone the use of such a misogynistic word that is often hurled at women.  As for the few Muslim users who used this term, they ought to be reminded that in their faith the levying of such a charge is considered strictly prohibited (see Quran, 24:23).

2)  At the same time, I suspect that you will transform this into another piece of evidence against “the Muslims”, as if Muslims alone hurl such insults.  Yet, female personalities of all creeds are routinely called “whores” by random people (ever seen the comments on YouTube!?).  This is very unfortunate, but it is not a Muslim-specific issue.  But I’m sure you will make this all part of your anti-Muslim paradigm.  You might also feel the urge to boast about the insults you have received here, as you did with the “Uncle Tom” label in your article on profiling, and as Robert Spencer (your fan and loyal supporter) does with the e-death threat he supposedly received on some random forum (he put the quote on the cover of his book, just as the Uncle Tom quote was highlighted in your article).

3)  My own article was not nearly as “courteous” as your reply was.  But let’s be real for a second: my reply was at least more honest.  Your reply, on the other hand, is disingenuous (and as lame as Mr. Rogers).  “Dear Friends.” Are we really your friends?  “Thanks for the time you spent discussing the ideas that I’ve presented in my writings.”  Am I to believe you are actually thankful for the article we wrote about/against you?  C’mon, can’t we be real for a second?  We’ve accused you in our article of being a fake, not the real thing…and here you reply exactly that way: in a fake way.  You certainly could have responded in a courteous manner without being so blatantly fake, but I guess fake comes easier to some people than others.

4)  You said: “Sometimes the truth is a lot less sensational.”  Ahhh, if only you yourself understood this point.  You (and the right-wing loons who agree with you) sensationalize everything about Muslims and Islam.  Instead of having serious and nuanced discussion about Muslims and Islam, you engage in sensationalism and fear-mongering.

5)  While it may be commendable to respond with courtesy (although in your case I think it is simply an act), it should be noted that some very vile people make sure to respond to critics courteously.  For example, David Duke oftentimes sounds like an absolute gentleman, but his ideas are vile.  Even Robert Spencer attempts to portray himself in this way.  It is not simply the way in which a person responds that matters, but more importantly what they believe and say.  In your case, your ideas are horrendous, not the manner in which you deliver them.  You are not the “liberal and progressive” you pretend to be; you are a right-winger just like the people who you admire and/or who admire you, including Robert Spencer, Wafa Sultan, etc.

6)  On that note, you should be proud that the anti-Muslim website BareNakedIslam has come to your swift defense.  That vitriolic website responded with a post entitled LEFT WING LOONIES hating on a Muslim woman who most Americans would love.  They praise you as “a one in a billion Muslim author.”  On the very same page, they are selling shirts saying “War on Terror Islam” and “Infidel” and links saying stuff like “Islam’s Rules for Having Sex with Animals”, etc.  The site boasts a logo that reads “Proud Right Wing Extremist.”  If you are really a “liberal and progressive” Muslim as you pretend, then why is a “proud right wing extremist” infatuated with you?  You are in fact honored on their page entitled Pro-America Muslims, with such ex-Muslim luminaries as Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, etc.  Why care what we at LoonWatch think about you when you have such a great fan base at BareNakedIslam and JihadWatch?

7)  You have offered the opportunity for readers to write personally to you via email.  This makes it appear as though you are one who is willing to discuss your views.  Yet, your response is completely devoid of substance.  You have not responded to a single one of my arguments.  If you think that my article is not worthy of response, then why go through the charade of offering to respond to people privately?  Surely if you have the time to respond to people individually, you then should have the time to respond to our site.  Once again, this is all mere posturing.

You seem to enjoy being interviewed on the “Fair and Balanced” Fox “News” channel.  Why not speak with us and actually field some critical questions for once?

Warmly, Lovingly, and Cherishingly,
Danios.

 

Self-Hating Loon Asra Nomani Calls for Profiling Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2010 by loonwatch
Asra Nomani on Fox “News”, fear-mongering about Muslims

Hat tip: to all the countless people who sent us tips about Asra Nomani’s lunacy.

Islamophobia is a big business.  From pretend-scholars of Islam to pretend-apostates from Islam, it seems like every other person is trying to cash in on the cash cow that is anti-Muslim bigotry.  All sorts of opportunists have made six-digit salaries and full-time careers out of Muslim-bashing.  So it shouldn’t surprise us that some Muslims would want to get in on the action.  And so, I introduce to you one very prominent self-hating loon, namely Asra Nomani.

Nomani has become the “Muslim-for-hire”, selling out her religious community in exchange for fame and money.  Like other anti-Muslim bigots, she arose out of obscurity and shot to national prominence by fear-mongering about the Evil Muslims.  Now, she has a very steady career out of doing the neo-con bidding.  Nomani is very useful to the right wing, as she provides them with the “voice from the inside.”  She says the same things as the Islamophobes do, but when she says them, then the Islamophobes can point and say: “Look, even one of their own–a real life Muslim–says the same as we’ve been saying all along!”

This self-hating loon has consistently taken positions that are anti-Muslim.  For example, she came to the swift defense of anti-Muslim bigots who opposed the construction of an Islamic cultural center two blocks away from Ground Zero, arguing that “their fears are legitimate.”  When Juan Williams stated that he discriminates against people who “look Muslim”, it was none other than Nomani whocame to his defense.  (One wonders how she’d feel about an old woman being “worried” about a young black man walking towards her on the street?  Would Nomani defend a white person admitting being fearful of blacks–and on top of that arguing that it was a justifiable fear?)  Notice how she prefaces her statement with “I am Muslim.”  Well then, you must automatically be a spokesperson for Muslims everywhere, and whatever you say about Islam and Muslims must be true.  You are, after all, a real life Muslim!  In fact, Asra Nomani can hardly ever write an article or argue a point without injecting herself into it, such is her self-absorbed nature.

When anti-Muslim bigots began burning the Quran, Nomani couldn’t get herself to say a word against these lovely people.  (One wonders how she’d feel if people were burning Torahs?  Remember how that ended up in Europe?)  Instead, she came out on the side of bigotry once again, writing an article fit for Pamela Geller’s hate site.  When right wing bigots need a Muslim voice, who better to do their bidding than Asra Nomani?  By so doing, she allows people to say “well, there are Muslims on both sides of the aisle.”  She might be one of the only voices chanting anti-Muslim talking points, but HEY A REAL LIFE MUSLIM SAYS WHAT WE’VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG!  Suddenly there is an equivalence: “there are Muslims on both sides of the issues!”

Asra Nomani is marketed as a “progressive Muslim” and argues that what “we need [is] an expression of institutional Islam that is moderate, progressive and liberal.”  Yet there is absolutely nothing progressive about her.  Instead, she actually finds herself agreeing with right wing loons.  In the very same article, she states that “the Tea Party activists actually express the sentiments of Muslims such as myself…”  She criticizes liberal and progressive Americans like myself, saying:

Liberal and progressive Americans and their organizations have dropped the ball in having a nuanced, intelligent critique of extremist Islamic ideology, currying pluralism points instead in the name of interfaith relations.

So on the one hand, Muslims should be liberals and progressives…And on the other hand, she always is on the side of right wing loons and against real liberals and progressives.  Nomani’s so-called “liberalism and progressivism” is akin to colonial feminism.  Colonial feminism is when people with no connection to feminism suddenly become indignant about womens’ rights in Foreign-Looking Peoples and Countries.  For example, many right wingers in America became the world’s most ardent defenders of womens’ rights when it came to invading and occupying Afghanistan.  Those People Over There need to be conquered by Us, so We can show them how to treat women.  (Lost on them of course is that they are dropping bombs on the heads of women.)

In the same way, Asra Nomani is far removed from liberalism and progressivism, having no relation to it whatsoever.  Womens’ rights is nothing more than a great big stick with which to bash Muslims over the head with.  Nomani is, allow me to coin a new term (albeit a cheap rip-off of the previous neologism), a colonial liberalist.  Her liberalism and progressivism only comes in the flavor of Muslim-bashing. Her liberalism and progressivism goes into overdrive when it comes to the ultraconservative Saudi Arabia (so does mine), but meanwhile she remains silent when this Goodly Judeo-Christian Beacon of Light Country imprisons and tortures Muslims without charge.  Iran’s belligerence is then seen as the Ultimate Evil, but meanwhile our own country’s multiple unjust wars cannot be questioned.  When it comes to criticizing Muslims, she dons the mantle of liberalism and progressivism.  When liberalism and progressivism would mean standing up for Muslims against right wing nut jobs, she’ll be sure to write a piece chastising Muslims.

As a colonial feminist and colonial liberalist, Asra Nomani provides the U.S. government with the proper environment for it to continue waging endless wars against the Muslim world, and to continue occupying their lands. This is no different than what the colonialists aforetime did.  And the Arabs, Africans, and Asians are well aware of it.  The British would always find some chump from amongst the natives to chant the colonialist line.  Back then they used to shower that chump with gifts, money, and positions of power.  In exchange, that person would sell out his own people.  Today, the same dynamic exists: Asra Nomani says what they want her to say, and in exchange she gets media appearances on Fox News, sells her books for millions, and gains positions of prestige.  (How Yale took her as a fellow amazes me.)

Whilst claiming to be the voice of progressive and liberal Islam, she remains chummy with the right wing nuts who find her ever the useful tool.  As a proud progressive myself, I cannot understate the degree of harm that her type of self-hating Muslim-bashing “liberals and progressives” have done.  Due to people like her, the term “liberal and progressive” has a negative connotation in the Muslim world.  And why shouldn’t this be the case, when all the Muslims have heard from such so-called “liberals and progressives” is how barbaric they are, and how great the West is compared to them?  People like her make it harder for true liberals and progressives to market themselves in the Muslim world.

Interesting is the fact that despite saying what they want her to say, many extreme right wing characters hate Muslims to such an extent that they can’t tolerate Asra Nomani because she still refers to herself as a Muslim.  And so, the colonial analogy comes full circle: the chumps-for-hire were generally hated by their own people and scorned by the colonialists themselves.  This oneYouTube conversation between bigcherry99 and bronco200005 is accidentally very insightful:

bigcherry99: asra is a really nice lady, but i cannot believe she hasn’t completely denounced islam. what the hell is wrong with her?

bronco200005: @bigcherry99 well if she denounces islam wat will she be left to milk?? Christianity?? Judaism maybe?? I dnt fink so

I don’t “fink” so either.  Her utility is only in that she is a Muslim.  That’s what she milks.  Her article promoting racial and religious profiling would hardly have gotten such significance had she been another non-Muslim calling for profiling of those Dark-Skinned Bad People.  But because she plays (and exploits) the I’m-a-Muslim card, her writings are thus pushed to the forefront.

Career bigot and hate blogger Robert Spencer, who advocated a militant video calling for the genocide of Pakistanis and joined a genocidal Facebook group against Muslims of Turkey, gave high praise of Asra Nomani, saying: “why are voices like this so rare among Muslims in the West?”  And he lauds her as “courageous.”  She is praised elsewhere on his vitriolic website.  Why is it, Ms. Asra Nomani, that one of the world’s leading Islamophobes is praising you so? If you are really a “liberal and progressive” Muslim, why is an extreme right wing website speaking so fondly of you?  Is it perhaps because you say the exact same things that they normally do against Muslims?

Thankfully, almost no Muslims are buying what Asra Nomani is selling.  Instead, her fans consist of right wing non-Muslims, who love the fact that A REAL LIFE MUSLIM is saying exactly what they say.  One article critical of Nomani asked (perhaps rhetorically):  “Are her remarks given any more weight or legitimacy by the fact that she herself is Muslim?”  The answer to that question is obvious: if she wasn’t a Muslim, nobody would have heard of her.  She’d have to get a real job then, or at least struggle for a job in the already saturated I-am-an-ex-Muslim-writing-a-book-against-Islam market.

And so, with the latest anti-Muslim controversy, Nomani once again sides with the voices of bigotry.  As many of you know, many Americans are protesting the TSA (Transit Security Administration) and their invasive ways, including “touching [your] junk” and using XXX-ray scanners to see you naked. But as the ever astute Glenn Greenwald (a real liberal and progressive, unlike the right wing loon Asra Nomani) notes:

[The] American People. They’re not angry that the Government had adopted inexcusably invasive and irrational security measures.  They’re just angry that, this time, it’s being directed at them — rather than those dark, exotic, foreign-seeming Muslims who deserve it, including their own fellow citizens.  And if there were a successful bombing plot against a passenger jet, many of those most vocally objecting now would be leading the way in attacking the Government for not having kept them Safe, and would be demanding even more invasive measures — just directed at those Other People, the Bad Dark People over there.

Asra Nomani, ever the self-hating loon, tries to reassure Good Judeo-Christian Folk that they shouldn’t need to get screened like that, and that it’s better to just target Her People.  This then is her “difficult solution” that “we need to consider”, namely “racial and religious profiling.”  In other words, the “cop-a-feel strategy” (her words) ought to be used only against Muslims and Muslim-looking peoples.

Her article is full of weak arguments to prove her point.  The article starts out with the following introduction (emphasis is mine):

In the wake of yet another Muslim terror plot, we can’t ignore the threat profile any longer–or the solution.

Which “Muslim terror plot” is she referring to?  She clarifies in her article:

…the Somali-born teenager arrested Friday night for a reported plot to detonate a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Oregon.

It amazes me that this loon was allowed to blog for Salon.com (which is one of my favorite sites).  Another writer for Salon, the epic blogger Glenn Greenwald, wrote an excellent piece about how “the Somali-born teenager” was in fact set up by the FBI:

The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot

…The FBI — as they’ve done many times in the past — found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a “Terrorist plot” which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction.  Having stopped a plot which it itself manufactured, the FBI then publicly touts — and an uncritical media amplifies — its “success” to the world, thus proving both that domestic Terrorism from Muslims is a serious threat and the Government’s vast surveillance powers — current and future new ones — are necessary.

How Asra Nomani’s conclusion from this entire escapade was that we need to adopt racial and religious profiling against Muslims (an essentially more right wing position than is currently in place, at least officially)–instead of reflecting on the backwards approach of the authorities in combating terrorism–only a self-hating loon could explain!  But this indeed is where Nomani misses the mark entirely.  Terrorism to her is the fault of “literal interpretations of the Quran” which supposedly sanction “terrorism, militancy, and suicide bombings in the name of Islam.”  The Somali-born teenager was ready to kill children because of “literal interpretations of the Quran”, or at least so the argument goes.  See!, argues the Islamophobe, even a Muslim herself says that the Quran is to blame for terrorism, militancy, and suicide bombing!

Of course, the reality is that the Quran forbids terrorism, suicide, and targeting of civilians.  No literal interpretation of the Quran could justify such things.  Neither did traditional Islam ever tolerate such.  In fact, ultraconservative traditionalists–including the Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia–have declared terrorist tactics to be strictly prohibited in Islam, a view that is entirely consistent with the Islamic tradition.  Contrary to popular misconception, Al-Qaeda types justify such deeds not in the Quran or Islamic tradition, but based on the political situation today, wherein the West (the United States and Israel in specific) invade, occupy, and bomb Muslim countries.  Greenwald writes:

Finally, there is, as usual, no discussion whatsoever in media accounts of motive.  There are several statements attributed to Mohamud by the Affidavit that should be repellent to any decent person, including complete apathy — even delight — at the prospect that this bomb would kill innocent people, including children.  What would drive a 19-year-old American citizen — living in the U.S. since the age of 3 — to that level of sociopathic indifference?   He explained it himself in several passages quoted by the FBI, and — if it weren’t for the virtual media blackout of this issue — this line of reasoning would be extremely familiar to Americans by now (para. 45):

Undercover FBI Agent:  You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?

Mohamud:  Yeah, I know, that’s what I’m looking for.

Undercover FBI Agent:  For kids?

Mohamud:  No, just for, in general a huge mass that will, like for them you know to be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.  And then for later to be saying, this was them for you to refrain from killing our children, women . . . . so when they hear all these families were killed in such a city, they’ll say you know what your actions, you know they will stop, you know. And it’s not fair that they should do that to people and not feeling it.

And here’s what he allegedly said in a video he made shortly before he thought he would be detonating the bomb (para. 80):

…For as long as you threaten our security, your people will not remain safe. As your soldiers target civilians, we will not help to do so.  Did you think that you could invade a Muslim land, and we would not invade you..

We hear the same exact thing over and over and over from accused Terrorists — that they are attempting to carry out plots in retaliation for past and ongoing American violence against Muslim civilians and to deter such future acts.  Here we find one of the great mysteries in American political culture:  that the U.S. Government dispatches its military all over the world — invading, occupying, and bombing multiple Muslim countries — torturing them, imprisoning them without charges, shooting them up at checkpoints, sending remote-controlled drones to explode their homes, imposing sanctions that starve hundreds of thousands of children to death  — and Americans are then baffled when some Muslims — an amazingly small percentage — harbor anger and vengeance toward them and want to return the violence.   And here we also find the greatest myth in American political discourse:  that engaging in all of that military aggression somehow constitutes Staying Safe and combating Terrorism — rather than doing more than any single other cause to provoke, sustain and fuel Terrorism.

Even Asra Nomani’s article itself betrays this point, as she quotes Usama bin Ladin as follows (emphasis is mine):

Our response to the barbaric bombardment against Muslims of Afghanistan and Sudan will be ruthless and violent,” he said in a statement. “All the Islamic world has mobilized to strike a prominent American or Israeli strategic objective, to blow up their airplanes and to seize them.”

Naturally, pointing out the obvious–that nothing promotes Terrorism more than us “invading, occupying, and bombing” their countries–would be anathema to a fake “liberal and progressive” like Asra Nomani.  Instead, she’d rather agree with the likes of the Tea Party and other right wing nuts who–even though the United States has killed way more Muslims than “the Muslims” have killed Americans–wonder mysteriously why a few Muslims would want to attack us.  It’s much easier to blame The Other for being so violent, and then have a self-hating loon affirm this for them.  It is only by removing this key element–our invading, occupying, and bombing their countries–that we can condescendingly discuss what’s wrong with Islam.  The truth is, however, that terrorism is directly related to our own foreign policy.  As Nomani herself says (except she’s talking about racial and religious profiling):

I know this is an issue of great distress to many people. But I believe that we cannot bury our heads in the sand anymore.

Yes, it does cause great distress to many people that we dare cogitate that we are responsible for our own plight.  But I believe that we cannot bury our heads in the sand anymore.  How the media completely blacks out the obvious–and how any politician who dares argue this point must be immediately ostracized–is indicative of its truth.

Not only is Asra Nomani’s article ethically repugnant, she deceitfully cites “studies.”  She cites the Rand Corporation’s study entitled “Would-Be Warriors.”  Only a self-hating loon could read that entire report and only glean the point that she did!  In fact, I wrote an article summarizing the Rand Corporation’s findings here:

Rand report:  Threat of homegrown jihadism exaggerated, Zero U.S. civilians killed since 9/11

The “threat profile”, as Nomani asserts, is defined as follows by Rand:

[Of the] 83 terrorist attacks in the United States between 9/11 and the end of 2009, only three…were clearly connected with the jihadist cause.

Fifty of the 83 terrorist attacks were committed by environmental extremists and animal rights fanatics, “which account for most of the violence.”  Five civilians were killed by the anthrax letters.

The Rand study states:

There are more than 3 million Muslims in the United States, and few more than 100 have joined jihad—about one out of every 30,000—suggesting an American Muslim population that remains hostile to jihadist ideology and its exhortations to violence. A mistrust of American Muslims by other Americans seems misplaced.

Only a self-hating loon could argue that 3 million Muslims should be profiled for the crimes of 100.  In fact, the Rand study blasts people like Asra Nomani who fear monger about the “threat profile.”  Says Rand:

Public reaction is an essential component of homeland defense. Needless alarm, exaggerated portrayals of the terrorist threat, unrealistic expectations of a risk-free society, and unreasonable demands for absolute protection will only encourage terrorists’ ambitions to make America fibrillate in fear and bankrupt itself with security…Panic is the wrong message to send America’s terrorist foes.

Nomani argues for widened governmental power, including invasive security measures.  Yet, the Rand report argues the opposite.  As I wrote in that previous article:

Americans have ceded their civil liberties to the government due to the misplaced fear of terrorism.  The first group affected by these heavy-handed laws are Muslim Americans, which hampers anti-terrorism efforts by alienating the very community whose cooperation is so necessary.  The report declares:

In response, the country has conceded to the authorities broader powers to prevent terrorism. However, one danger of this response is that revelations of abuse or of heavy-handed tactics could easily discredit intelligence operations, provoke public anger, and erode the most effective barrier of all to radicalization: the cooperation of the community.

We argue that the loss of civil liberties and rise in xenophobia have a more significant and longer lasting effect than acts of terrorism.

In any case, the Rand study is an excellent one, and enough to refute loons like Asra Nomani.  I urge our readers to read my summary of it as well as the original study.

Asra Nomani writes:

According to a terrorism database at the University of Maryland, which documents 60 attacks against airlines and airports between 1970 and 2007, the last year available, suspects in attacks during the 1970s were tied to the Jewish Defense League, the Black Panthers, the Black September, the National Front for the Liberation of Cuba, Jewish Armed Resistance and the Croatian Freedom Fighters, along with a few other groups.

In each of these groups’ names was a religious or ethnic dimension. For that time, those were the identities that we needed to assess. Today, the threat has changed, and it is primarily coming from Muslims who embrace al Qaeda’s radical brand of Islam.

So, terrorism was before linked to Jews, blacks, and Hispanics in the 1970′s.  But now it is linked to Muslims.  Hence, we should racially and religiously profile Muslims.  OK, so would Asra Nomani have agreed to racially and religiously profiling Jews, blacks, and Hispanics in the 1970′s?  (Notice how the “threat profile” is always The Other, never Good Christian White Folks, but Jews, blacks, Hispanics, and now the Evil Muslims!)  I suspect Nomani will issue a response to my article, and if she does, then I want a direct yes/no answer from her: would she agree that it would have been the right thing to do at that time to racially and/or religiously profile Jews, blacks, and Hispanics?

But we need not restrict this to a hypothetical in the 1970s.  Rather, it can be applied to the situation today.  Nomani’s argument is very simple: Muslims are (according to her) the number one terrorists, therefore it makes sense to racially and religiously profile them.  Extending that logic, one could easily sanction racial and religious profiling of blacks and Hispanics by police.  One could cite studies and statistics just like Asra Nomani did against Muslims.  For example,the government released a report which showed that “more than three times as many black people live in prison cells as in college dorms.”  And: “The ratio is only slightly better for Hispanics, at 2.7 inmates for every Latino in college housing.”   The same study found that the percentage of U.S. inmates that are black is 41%, and the percentage that are black and Hispanic is 60%.   The same is the case in the UK, where the Metropolitan Police found that 54% of those who committed street crimes were blacks, 59% of robberies were by blacks, and 67% of gun crimes were by blacks.

One racist website breaks it down for us:

The chilling report by The New Century Foundation, called The Colour of Crime [PDF], shows in unflinching statistical detail, that in the USA:

  • Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.
  • The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.
  • Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.
  • Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.
  • Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.
  • Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.

Meanwhile, over here in Our Country the pattern appears to be much the same

  • Blacks are 5 times more likely to commit violence against the person.
  • Blacks are 4 times ‘more likely’ to commit sexual offences.
  • Blacks are fifteen times ‘more likely’ to commit robbery.
  • Blacks are over six times ‘more likely’ to commit fraud and forgery.
  • Blacks are over twice as likely to commit criminal damage.
  • Black are five times ‘more likely’ to commit drugs offences.

Source: The UK Government

This is of course all “threat assessment.”  Another racist website argues that we are curtailing the government’s ability to Protect and Keep Us Safe by prohibiting racial profiling of blacks (emphasis is mine):

Data suggest ‘racial profiling’ may have scientific basis

1. African-Americans commit 90% of the approximately 1,700,000 interracial crimes of violence that occur in the United States every year, and are more than 50 times more likely to commit violent crime against whites than vice versa.

Study: blacks commit 90% of interracial crime

2. Blacks are so much more likely than Americans of other races to commit crimes that police may be justified in stopping and questioning them more frequently – just as they stop men more often than women and young people more often than old people.

These are some of the controversial findings of a new think tank report based on extensive cross-analysis of government crime statistics. The study finds that Asians consistently commit the smallest number of crimes, followed by whites. Hispanics commit violent crime at approximately three times the white rate, and blacks are five to eight times more violent. In one of its most startling conclusions the report finds that blacks are as much more violent than whites as men are more violent than women.“This is the painful reality that gives rise to ‘racial profiling,’ “ said Jared Taylor, the report’s author. “Police quickly learn who the bad guys are. When there is a murder they don’t look for little old ladies. They look for young men – unfortunately, they are often justified in looking for young black men.”

Why should you stop my grandma instead of that young black man?  Isn’t that wasting resources?  Any argument that Nomani and other right wingers make against Muslims in support of racial or religious profiling could be applied even more so to blacks and Hispanics.  In fact, violent crime on the streets accounts for a hundreds times more American deaths than from terrorists.  So if there is an urgency that must be met–if we simply just cannot avoid racial or religious profiling of terrorists due to the imminent threat–then surely there is an even greater urgency to apply such standards to our domestic police force.

This is Asra Nomani’s logic to justify racial and religious profiling.  There is no logical way for her to support the racial and religious profiling of Muslims, and to be against it when it comes to black people and Hispanics.  My point here is not to argue for the profiling of blacks and Hispanics.  Rather, it is to show that we all immediately have a visceral reaction to the mere thought of this (as we should).  But when people on national media routinely suggest the profiling of Muslims, then it’s something that is seriously debated.  This proves that although blacks and Hispanics are certainly low on the social totem pole, the Muslims are the absolute lowest.

On the other hand, even passingly mentioning the idea of racially and religiously profiling Jews would be met with absolute shock. Yet, if we were to use Asra Nomani’s logic (and that of the right wing in general), then wouldn’t Iran be justified in racially and religiously profiling Jews in their country?  After all, logic dictates that a Jewish guy is much more likely to be an Israeli spy than anyone else.  Wouldn’t this be justified in light of the fact that Israel has repeatedly threatened Iran?  Shouldn’t national interest trump everything else?  So I’m sure we wouldn’t have a problem if the Iranians racially or religiously profiled Jews, right?

Racial and religious profiling is immoral.  Our nation had already come to this conclusion.  It is sad that Islamophobia has reintroduced this ugly evil.  Asra Nomani, like all bigots, has to justify her bigotry with the necessary disclaimer: “I’m not racist, but…”  She states:

I realize that in recent years, profiling has become a dirty word, synonymous with prejudice, racism, and bigotry…

Yes, she is correct.  It is certainly synonymous with prejudice, racism, and bigotry.  Too bad she didn’t stop there.  Nomani concludes (emphasis is mine):

We have to choose pragmatism over political correctness, and allow U.S. airports and airlines to do religious and racial profiling.

Pragmatism?  Perhaps Asra Nomani is a “racial realist”?  Racial realists are just being “pragmatic” when they argue for racially profiling young black men.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with pragmatism, or any desire to actually stop terrorism.  Terrorists do not fit one mold, and in fact come in all different shapes, sizes, and races.  TheUnderwear Bomber was a black guy, and so was the recent Somali would-be bomber…Show both pictures to any random person on the street, and see how many of them would recognize them as “Muslim.”  On the other hand, most people would see two black guys.  Asra Nomani argues not just for religious profiling, but racial profiling.  So is she arguing for racial profiling of black people?  Or perhaps just young black men?  The Underwear Bomber was Nigerian and the Oregon would-be bomber was Somali.  Nomani states that “they trace their national or ethnic identity back to specific countries.”  So, are we to screen out only Nigerians and Somalis as opposed to other black people?  How many people could make that fine distinction?  I’m sure there are plenty of black people–born and bred here in the United States–who could pass off as Nigerian or Somali.  Should we also profile them?

(Many Islamophobes will chime in that they oppose racial profiling but support religious profiling…Would it then be OK to religiously profile Jews in the 1970′s or for Iran to do so today?  The famous line “you-can’t-be-racist-against-Muslims-since-Muslim-is-not-a-race” is debunked by simply asking “would it be OK to discriminate against Jews in a similar fashion?”)

Asra Nomani came to Juan Williams’ defense, arguing that Williams was justified in fearing passengers who wore “Muslim garb.”  Yet, Al-Qaeda operatives are told to blend in.  They are not dressed in stereotypical “Muslim garb.”  Oftentimes, they are as clean-shaven as they come, and wearing Western clothes just like you or I.  Does Asra Nomani think that Al-Qaeda cannot recruit blue-eyed blond-haired terrorists?  They sure can, and they have.

There are certainly times when we must choose between the ideologically sound choice and the expedient one.  Even if that were the case here–even if we had to choose between being racially/religiously equal vs Being Safe–then our moral conscience should choose the former.  Evenif racial or religious profiling made us safer, we should not opt for that route, since it goes against our moral character.  Benjamin Franklin famously said: “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.”

But in this case, racial and religious profiling of Muslims does not make us safer at all. Andrew Curry wrote an excellent article on Salon.com (why on earth did a great website like Salon.com ever hire a right wing Tea Party sympathizing loon like Asra Nomani!?) on how a recent study found that “such profiling is not only ineffective, it’s counterproductive.”  (Not like the proponents of racial and religious profiling actually care about keeping us Safe; if they really did, they would be the first to oppose U.S.-led invasions, occupations, and bombings of Muslim countries.) The article reads:

In a study released on Tuesday, the Open Society Institute — a think tank and democracy-promotion organization funded by billionaire George Soros — argues that racial profiling of Muslims is essentially a public relations tool designed to make people feel safer in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack. After the 2006 bus and subway bombings in London, for example, highly publicized raids on mosques or ID checks in Muslim areas gave the public the impression the police were taking action.

There is also the desire to use racial and religious profiling to single out and blame Muslims.  Yourpeople are to blame.  And Asra Nomani, the ever eager self-hating loon, chants: my people are to blame for all this.  But just because she is Muslim, it does not give her the right to cede Muslim rights to the majority population.  She cannot be allowed to speak for all Muslims, no more than Uncle Tom was allowed to speak for black people.  Neither should Nomani be thought of as some Muslim “liberal and progressive”, when in fact she has nothing to do with liberals and progressives.  Liberals and progressives stand for all minority groups, be they Christians being targeted in Iraq by Muslim extremists or Muslims being targeted by Jewish extremists in Israeli Occupied Territories.  We stand up for them not to score cheap political points, nor to reinforce the Team Muhammad vs Team Jesus mentality.  The last thing we tolerate is the demonization and singling out of one community, which is what Asra Nomani facilitates.  She is not a liberal or progressive Muslim; she is a self-hating loon and self-absorbed opportunist.

This entire “I’m a Muslim, Please Profile Me” nonsense is theatrics.  Nomani knows she would be immune from scrutiny due to her fame.  Subjecting her fellow Muslims to such treatment–which she herself calls “cop-a-feel strategy” and knows is an outrage to The Real Americans (Good Judeo-Christian White Folks)–this she has no problem with.  She has no qualms about selling out her religious community for the fame and money it provides her.

Update #1:

It seems that the last article Asra Nomani wrote for Salon was in 2003.  Perhaps she realized that a right wing nut like herself has no reason to write for such a website.  In light of the fact that Nomani’s last article on Salon was so many years ago, it might be making much ado about nothing to question that site about this.  Nonetheless, I think it might behoove people to message Salon and especially people like Glenn Greenwald to give them a heads up that Asra Nomani does not in any way, shape, or form represent Muslims.  This is not to say that a Muslim is not allowed to give a dissenting opinion from the Standard Muslim Line…I’m all for that.  But, notice how she seems to use her Religious Affiliation as an immunity card, always making sure that it is known that she is a Real Life Muslim.  Furthermore, she posits herself as a representative for Muslims, using such constructs as “The Tea Party activists actually express the sentiments of Muslims such as myself…”  A Muslim supporting the Tea Party is as much of a political oddity as a gay black man supporting the Republican party.  Ms. Nomani, try making an argument without seeking to validate it with the “I’m-a-Muslim” routine.

Update #2:

Asra Nomani’s support for the right wing Islamophobia machine was highlighted in a previous profile of the loon Wafa Sultan by our very own Garibaldi. Sultan, like Nomani, lives off of the anti-Muslim cash cow–the “I’m a real life (former?) Muslim” canard–and she uses it to deliver speeches and write books declaring Islam a greater threat to civilization than Nazism.  Amongst other things, Sultan is friends with and is admired by career Islamophobe Pamela Geller, who she often lectures with.  Sultan was seen at a synagogue calling for nuclear strikes on Muslim countries.

Asra Nomani, the so-called “liberal and progressive”, has expressed her deep admiration for Wafa Nuke-the-Muslims Sultan, referring to her as a fellow “bad girl of Islam.”  From Garibaldi’s article on Sultan:

Another good example of her (Sultan’s) tale of woe is the profile carried by self-described “bad girl of Islam” Asra Nomani in TIME magazine. Asra Nomani, who can’t pen anything without including herself writes,

I connected with her (Sultan’s) anger and pain. She questioned Islam in 1979, when, she says, she witnessed the murder of a professor by men with alleged ties to the ultraconservative Muslim Brotherhood political group.

One wonders if Nomani was so moved by her “connection” with Sultan that she (and her editors) forgot to fact check whether or not Sultan actually could have witnessed the murder of her professor in her classroom. InFocus, a California based magazine did more thorough research into the matter than TIME in a piece titled Wafa Sultan: Reformist or Opportunist,

As to the claim that her professor (thought to be Yusef Al-Yusef) was gunned down before her eyes in a faculty classroom at the University of Aleppo, Halabi said the incident never took place. “There was a professor who was killed around 1979, that is true, but it was off-campus and Sultan was not even around when it happened,” he added.

InFocus contacted the University of Aleppo and spoke to Dr. Riyad Asfari, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, who confirmed Halabi’s account. “Yes, the assassination took place off-campus,” he said. Dr. Asfari was keen to add that no one had ever been killed in a classroom anytime or anywhere at the university.

Syrian expatriate Ghada Moezzin, who attended the University of Aleppo in 1979 as a sophomore, told InFocus that she never heard of the assassination. “We would’ve known about the killing if it had happened,” she said. “It would have been big news on campus and I do not recall ever hearing about it.” Moezzin, who lives in Glendora, Calif., added that government security was always present around the university given the political climate in Syria at the time.

Update #3:

Anyone read Asra Nomani’s article entitled “My Big Fat Muslim Wedding?” In it, she uses her n=1 experience to stereotype Pakistani men as brutish.  A great reply to her silly article was written by G. Willow Wilson:

Asra Nomani’s recent essay in Marie Claire, My Big Fat Muslim Wedding, lays out a scenario that has become familiar to everyone in the post-9/11 world: despairing Muslim woman is forced to choose between her (literally) white knight and a traditional marriage to a boorish, vaguely ominous Muslim man. Losing love to Islam has become as universal a theme as finding love in Paris. It’s the subject of high art, low art and everything in between: Samina Ali’s Madras on Rainy Days springs to mind, as does the much-hyped failed marriage of Princess Meriam Al-Khalifa and Lance Corporal Jason Johnson. The implication of Nomani’s story, like those I’ve just listed, is that there are no decent Muslim men on planet Earth–or, if by some miracle they do exist, they are so difficult to find that it’s not worth the bother. This is the crux of the argument that Shari’a law should be changed to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, and perhaps the reason even liberal Muslim groups can be defensive and traditionalist when it comes to this point. It is an implicit condemnation of Muslim men everywhere: in the eyes of women, they do not measure up in any way that counts.

Nomani’s complaints about her Muslim ex-husband are indeed cringeworthy: he is cold, withdrawn, childish, and sexually worse than useless. But this litany of failings is not limited to Muslim men–not by a long shot. The story of a passionate woman in a stale marriage is as old as Helen of Troy. The theme is so perennial that without the specter of Islam to dress it up, it’s almost boring. This is a case of cultural amnesia: as soon as a Muslim man enters the picture, women everywhere forget about Thelma and Louise,The Good Girl and The Divorcee, and pretend that sullen oafish husbands are an Islamic phenomenon. If this was really true, poor Shakespeare–along with hundreds of thousands of modern divorce lawyers–would have been out of a career.

Out-marriage is an issue religious groups have been wrestling with for some time. Of course men and women fall in love. Of course it’s not always convenient to their respective cultural and spiritual norms. Out-marriage is of such concern in the Jewish community that its leaders have gone to extraordinary lengths to encourage romantic relationships between young Jews. If they are successful, it is because they are not up against the same barrier: Jewish men are not perceived (by Jewish women or anyone else) as inherently threatening and perverse. In western culture, Muslim men start the marriage process with a handicap–because of the way they are portrayed and the example that is made of them, even Muslim women have begun, consciously or unconsciously, to view them with suspicion.

This puts those of us in healthy Muslim marriages to good Muslim men in a difficult position. On one hand, there is an onus on us to provide a counterexample, and inject a little hope into the grim picture of Islamic marriage. On the other hand, people in happy marriages are usually (and for good reason) unwilling to write about the intimate details of their sexual and domestic lives in magazines. So I will close with the conclusion I’ve come to after years of listening to girlfriends Muslim and non complain about men: the reason Asra Nomani discovered a dirth of eligible Muslim men is the same reason Carrie Bradshaw discovered a dirth of eligible Manhattanite men. The good ones go first, and they go fast. The battle of the sexes–love gained and lost, marriages failed and personalities mistaken–was raging long before the demonization of Muslim men became fashionable. Choosing a spouse with religion in mind is not always a mistake, especially if your heritage and your faith are important parts of who you are. The trick is, as always, to recognize a good thing when you see it–and never mistake the bad for something more.

G. Willow Wilson is author of the Eisner Award-nominated comic book series AIR. Her memoir The Butterfly Mosque is forthcoming from Grove Press.

 

Wafa Sultan: A Poseur Playing off of Ignorance to Further Hate

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2009 by loonwatch

Wafa Sultan: A Poseur Playing off of Ignorance to Further Hate

"Atheist Muslim reformer" Wafa Sultan with anti-Muslim loon Pamela Geller
“Atheist Muslim reformer” Wafa Sultan with anti-Muslim loon Pamela Geller

We must begin this profile with a question: Is there a more contemptible poseur than Wafa Sultan who calls herself an atheist but in the same breath also claims to be a Muslim reformer, which would kind of be like Christopher Hitchens calling himself a Christian reformer? It is difficult to answer that question with certainty considering the wide pool of bigots who combine charlatanism with raving and incorrigible insanity. But for sure one thing is certain, she is completely undeserving of the 15 minutes of fame she has succeeded in procuring.

In this sense, Wafa Sultan falls into the same category as Walid Shoebat, Brigitte Gabriel, Nonie Darwish, Kamal Saleem, Zachariah Anani and other self-proclaimed turn coats from their Arab and Muslim identities. As we mentioned before this group attempts to parlay their “otherness,” and so-called “insider knowledge of the Muslim world,” (the “I’ve been there, I know” line) into a cash cow. Meanwhile, we are supposed to be duped into freaking out and running back to them for more “expert” advice brought to us from our loyal friend who ventures into the other side on our behalf.

Sultan is no different, her tale of flight into Islamophobic stardom is a curious and thoroughly modern one. In the beginning of this tale Sultan was invited onto a show hosted by the well known anchorman of AlJazeera’s Opposing Viewpoints (Ittijaah al-Mu’aakas), Faisal Al-Qasim for the purpose of a debate with professor Ibrahim al-Khouly from Al-Azhar on the topic of the Clash of Civilizations and the Clash of Religions. Al-Qasim, brought her onto the show originally after noticing some of her articles on the Arabic website called AnNaqed (The Critic). The New York Times reported that the website was an Islamic reform site, but in actuality it turns out that it is a Christian website,

[T]he web site called Annaqed (www.annaqed.com) she supposedly wrote for before being noticed by Al-Jazeera Television is not an “Islamic reform Web Site” as was reported in the New York Times article, but rather an Arab nationalist blog run by a Syrian Christian who defines it as being “in line with Christian morality and principles.” The site is also replete with anti-Muslim writings.

On the show she supported the thesis of a clash and stated that the conflict between the West and Islam is,

a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century… a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality.

MEMRI, (Middle East Media Research Institute) which peddles in biased, selective, de-contextualized, error-filled, and misleading translations of news, shows and opinion from Middle East television took the 45 minute show and per its modus operandi chopped up and edited the show into a 5 minute sound bite of Wafa Sultan’s attack on Muslims and Islam. In the process, and without any respect for translational integrity they also attempted to deceptively frame Professor Khouly as proclaiming Sultan a “heretic,” when, as this fully translated transcript shows he did no such thing. Instead Khouly responded to Sultan’s jibes with questions that though we might not agree to the way he frames them are far from irrational or undebatable,

…here we must ask a question, who facilitated the conflict and indeed initiated it; is it the Muslims? Muslims now are in a defensive position fighting off an aggressor… who said Muslims were backward? They may be backward in terms of technological advances, but who said that such are the criteria for humanity?

That is just the beginning of the story, the MEMRI produced video was downloaded to YouTube where it went viral receiving over a million hits and like wild fire the anti-Muslim blogosphere picked it up. Instantly, over night, Sultan was a star. In this consumer age, MEMRI’s rendition of the show gave the public what it wanted to see: a spectacle. It fit in well with the narrative of an oppressed Mooslim woman “finally” standing up for her rights and taking on the world of Islam.

Sultan capitalized on the spotlight she had and with all the ingenuity and creativeness of a con-artist spun a tale which essentially boils down to her “dark days growing up in the barbaric ‘Islamic nation’ of Syria.” A good example of her deception can be gleaned from a recent article she wrote for the neo-conservative website Hudson New York,

As an Arab woman who suffered for three decades living under Islamic Sharia, it is clear to me that Islam’s political ideology and Sharia must be fought relentlessly by Western civilization to prevent its application in a free society. (emphasis added)

This encapsulates the opportunism that motivates Sultan and it also reveals the contempt with which she holds her readers whose intelligence she seeks to insult with such a blatant lie. She attempts to paint her three decades in Syria as a nightmare in which she suffered the brutal force of a Taliban-esque regime that implemented Islamic law on her constantly. The absurdity is only matched by the bravado of her claim, as anyone who cared to check (Wikipidea for instance) could tell you that the regime that ruled Syria had nothing to do with Islam.

The regime in Syria, during much of the time period that Sultan talks about was ruled by the secular, anti-Shariah Ba’athist dictator Hafiz al-Assad who happens to come from the same privileged sect that Sultan was born into: the Alawies. Her allegation is even more obscene considering the fact that Hafiz al-Assad massacred 20,000 villagers in Hama, Syria who were members of the Muslim Brotherhood. One has to ask Sultan, if you were made to suffer for thirty years under Islamic Sharia’, how could you, a woman, have finished your medicine degree at the University of Aleppo? On top of that, would an Islamic Sharia state as horrid as you describe have funded your education for free?

Another good example of her tale of woe is the profile carried by self-described “bad girl of Islam” Asra Nomani in TIME magazine. Asra Nomani, who can’t pen anything without including herself writes,

I connected with her (Sultan’s) anger and pain. She questioned Islam in 1979, when, she says, she witnessed the murder of a professor by men with alleged ties to the ultraconservative Muslim Brotherhood political group.

As to the claim that her professor (thought to be Yusef Al-Yusef) was gunned down before her eyes in a faculty classroom at the University of Aleppo, Halabi said the incident never took place. “There was a professor who was killed around 1979, that is true, but it was off-campus and Sultan was not even around when it happened,” he added.

InFocus contacted the University of Aleppo and spoke to Dr. Riyad Asfari, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, who confirmed Halabi’s account. “Yes, the assassination took place off-campus,” he said. Dr. Asfari was keen to add that no one had ever been killed in a classroom anytime or anywhere at the university.

Syrian expatriate Ghada Moezzin, who attended the University of Aleppo in 1979 as a sophomore, told InFocus that she never heard of the assassination. “We would’ve known about the killing if it had happened,” she said. “It would have been big news on campus and I do not recall ever hearing about it.” Moezzin, who lives in Glendora, Calif., added that government security was always present around the university given the political climate in Syria at the time.

Half-truths and lies corroborate and reveal the true motive behind Sultan’s hate and invective against Islam: money. The article reveals more,

Adnan Halabi*, a Syrian expatriate who met and got to know the Sultans when they first came to the United States, spoke at length about the Wafa Sultan that very few people know.

According to Halabi, Dr. Wafa Ahmad (her maiden name) arrived in California with her husband Moufid (now changed to David) in the late 80s on a tourist visa. Contrary to what she told the New York Times, they came as a couple, leaving their two children back in Syria.

Another source named Nabil Mustafa, also Syrian, told InFocus that he was introduced to Moufid Sultan through a personal friend who knew the family well, and both ended up having tea at the Sultans’ one-bedroom apartment one evening in 1989. It was then that Moufid told Mustafa the story of how he was reunited with his two children. According to Mustafa, Moufid Sultan told him that a short time after they arrived in the country, his wife, Dr. Wafa Sultan, mailed her passport back to her sister Ilham Ahmad in Syria (while the passport still carried a valid U.S. tourist visa). With Ilham bearing a resemblance to her sister Wafa, the plan was to go to the Mexican Embassy in Damascus and obtain a visa to Mexico, making sure that the airline carrier they would book a flight on would have a layover somewhere in the Continental United States.

With an existing U.S. visa on Wafa Sultan’s passport, Ilham Ahmad had no trouble obtaining an entry permit to Mexico. Shortly after, Ilham and Wafa’s two children landed in Houston, Texas. She and the children then allegedly made their way through customs and were picked up by Moufid and brought to California.

Taking advantage of an amnesty law for farmers, the Sultans applied for permanent residency through a Mexican lady who worked as a farm hand. She helped Moufid with the paperwork by claiming he had worked as a farmer for four years. The application went through and the Sultans obtained their green cards.

As incredible as the story sounds, Mustafa told InFocus that to the best of his recollection, this was the exact account he heard from Moufid Sultan. Halabi, who is not acquainted with Mustafa, corroborated the story, which he heard from Dr. Wafa Sultan herself but with fewer details. Dr. Wafa Sultan declined InFocus’ repeated requests to be interviewed or comment on the allegations. InFocus contacted the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to check on the veracity of the story but an official said that they would look into the allegations, which could take months to investigate.

Halabi alleges that Ilham Ahmad lived as illegal resident with her sister Wafa for years until she met an Arab Christian named Khalid Musa Shihadeh whom she ended up marrying (they were married in Nevada on 12/8/1991 and filed for divorce in 2002). It was during that time that Halabi got to know the Sultans well.

Halabi alleges that the Sultans lived in dire poverty. “Their rent was over $1,000 per month and Moufid was only making $800,” he said. Dr. Wafa Sultan was forced to rent out a room in her apartment and work at a pizza parlor in Norwalk, Calif. where a personal friend used to pick her up and drop her off daily. This same friend used to help the Sultans out with groceries and occasionally loaned them money just so they could make it through the month. “It was a serious struggle,” Halabi recalled. “The Sultans lived hand to mouth for years on end.” Further, Halabi said that at no point during the period he knew the family did Sultan ever discuss religion, politics or any topic relevant to her current activities. “She is a smart woman, articulate and forceful, but she never meddled in religion or politics to the extent she is doing now,” Halabi said.

Sultan is not condemned only by Muslims, non-Muslims have come out and strongly condemned her as well.

Sultan’s detractors include not only Muslims but members of the Jewish community as well. In an op-ed piece published in the Los Angeles Times (June 25, 2006) and titled “Islam’s Ann Coulter,” Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, who attended a fundraiser for a local Jewish organization where Sultan was a speaker, wrote, “The more Sultan talked, the more evident it became that progress in the Muslim world was not her interest…. She never alluded to any healthy, peaceful Islamic alternative.”

The rabbi mentioned that Judea Pearl, father of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, “was one of the few voices of restraint and nuance heard that afternoon. In response to Sultan’s assertion that the Koran contains only verses of evil and domination, Pearl said he understood the book also included ‘verses of peace’ that proponents of Islam uphold as the religion’s true intent. The Koran’s verses on war and brutality, Pearl contended, were ‘cultural baggage,’ as are similar verses in the Torah.”

He added, “Sultan’s over-the-top, indefensible remarks at the fundraiser, along with her failure to mention the important, continuing efforts of the Islamic Center (of Southern California), insulted all Muslims and Jews in L.A. and throughout the nation who are trying to bridge the cultural gap between the two groups. And that’s one reason why I eventually walked out of the event.”

The hope is that more and more people like Rabbi Stephen Stein will see Wafa Sultan for who she is: a hateful, opportunistic poseur. The atheist who calls Islam and Muslims “backward and primitive,” “incapable of reform,” the Qur’an as only filled with “evil,” yet can’t see the self-contradiction in her befuddling statements that growing up in secular Syria she “suffered from Islamic Shariah” and “I even don’t believe in Islam, but I am a Muslim.” Go figure.

UPDATE: In retrospect, our piece on Wafa Sultan seems not to have been harsh enough on her hate. In light of recent comments she has made while on her book tour at synagogues and churches, the poseur can properly be renamed, Wafa Stalin Sultan because the atheism that she believes in is propelled by the same genocidal and insane impulses that led another loon, Joseph Stalin.

Atlas Shrugs (read: Pamela Geller on Drugs) made our jobs easy by posting a video clip of Wafa Stalin Sultan going off the deep end. In the video, Sultan is addressing a group at a synagogue in NYC and says,

“I believe King Abdullah can change Islam overnight, but you need to put pressure on him to do it, and the same kind of pressure you put on Japan, you might need it” at that moment someone from the audience interjects and asks, “atom bombs?” Wafa Sultan replies, “Yes. At some point the West will need to do it.” At the end of her speech, she utters something quite strange for an atheist, “God bless you and God bless America.” More charlatanism?

During the question and answer session she divides moderate Muslims into three categories: 1.) a majority, 80% who are unaware of the real teachings of Islam, 2.) huge chunks of them are practicing Taqiyyah, 3.) a very small progressive group who have no effect. All talking points from the far right-wing wing.

The rest of the question and answer session is interesting as well, and pocked full of more and more lies from Wafa Stalin Sultan. Check it out for yourselves.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDeqlwhE2xc 300 250]

This disgusting little woman continues with her fascist fearmongering, she says, “Islam is infiltrating and you are doing nothing about it.” Someone from the audience then asks Sultan, “How would we stop it from infiltrating?” Sultan replies, “Get involved in politics, you have to know the kind of leaders you are choosing.” The man then says, “If we got involved in politics, what would our platform be, what would we say?” Sultan replies quoting Geert Wilders, “Islam is not religion!” The man interrupts and asks, “what would our platform be, what would A, B and C be?” Sultan replies, “the same you dealt with Nazism. The same way, the same exact way. The same way!” To this she receives a big applause from the all too captive audience…”you reversed the Japanese culture, the same, you might need to do it, you might need to do a heavy pressure, I cannot predict the kind of pressure, you understand it, I don’t have to say it.” Quite chilling the way she nonchalantly advocates nuking Muslims.

Sultan also says, “You know Geert Wilders has said if he becomes Prime Minister of Holland he will ban the Quran, I admire him for that.” The audiences glibly agrees with her with mutterings of “yes.” If you want to see how fascism takes hold then watch the video. My only question is how much are these synagogues and churches paying her for her speaking appearances?

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQaix-jM82M 300 250]