Archive for Canada

Sean Hannity Interview Geert Wilders About Radical Islam (FOX NEWS)

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Is it a happy coincidence that both Geert Wilders and Robert Spencer are out hawking their books for sale?

(h/t: Haywood)

Sean Hannity Interview Geert Wilders About Radical Islam (FOX NEWS)

Production Tells Story of a Muslim Woman’s Journey

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2012 by loonwatch

Joshua Fazeli reacts to his sister Rubiya, played by Sarah Siadat, as she tries on a hijab during the The Mixed Blood Theatre Company's production of "Hijab Tube" at the Cold Spring Library Tuesday , April 24 . / Jason Wachter, jwachter@stcloudtimes.com

Joshua Fazeli reacts to his sister Rubiya, played by Sarah Siadat, as she tries on a hijab during the The Mixed Blood Theatre Company’s production of “Hijab Tube” at the Cold Spring Library Tuesday , April 24 . / Jason Wachter, jwachter@stcloudtimes.com

Production tells story of a Muslim woman’s journey

Written by Stephanie Dickrell

COLD SPRING — A unique, touring production that attempts to dispel stereotypes of Muslims in America made a stop at the Cold Spring branch of the Great River Regional Library Tuesday night.

About 40 audience members were treated to a performance of “Hijab Tube,” a production of Minneapolis’ Mixed Blood Theatre. The library has hosted other Mixed Blood productions.

This is the third year “Hijab Tube” has toured the state. It has made stops in Central Minnesota, as well as Iowa, Canada and Nebraska. The tour continues through May 6. The family show has been performed at colleges, community centers, and middle and high schools.

“The reaction (of audiences) has been tremendous,” said Artistic Director Jack Reuler. The majority of attendees around the region had been learning some basics about Islam. For other audience members, it meant seeing themselves — another Muslim person — on stage.

“When they see this play, they see themselves reflected in a positive light,” he said.

The short play follows a 20-year-old Muslim woman’s journey of identity, exploring what it means to be a Muslim in general and what it means to her.

She’s a second-generation immigrant who takes a comparative religion class at her university. She decides to take on the idea of wearing a hijab, a head covering. Her family doesn’t follow the tradition. But the play looks at a variety of ways that Islam and Muslims are seen in America.

The playwright’s premise is that Islam can be separated from the dogma of a certain country’s politics, Reuler said.

“Islam in American really holds the promise of hope,” Reuler said. The play attempts to debunk some myths and draw comparisons and similarities between the Judeo-Christian and Muslim traditions.

“It’s far more of a cultural play than a religious play,” he said.

The cast of the play comes from Muslim families whose roots are in Iran, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia — but all were born in the U.S.

After the play, they stick around to hold a brief question-and-answer session. There are questions about how a mosque works, the role of an Iman and the difference between Islam and a Muslim.

“Having a conversation is really the start,” said Sarah Siadat, who plays the main character Rubiya. She said the sessions afterward are her favorite part.

Barb Omann, an English teacher at Rocori High School, encourages her students to attend out-of-school activities with a global perspective like “Hijab Tube,” and gives them extra credit for doing so.

Andrea Overman, a Rocori 10th-grader, is doing a school report on Malcom X, who converted to Islam. She came to get a different perspective .

“I wanted to get a perspective other than his,” she said.

The Right Wing’s Election-Year Islamophobia Fuels a New Smear Campaign Against Obama

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on March 30, 2012 by loonwatch

Barack_Obama

Barack Obama

Interesting article about the evolving “Obama is a Muslim” myth and the raging Islamophobia in the GOP, as well as the reality of Obama’s relationship with Muslims in both the US and overseas:

The Right Wing’s Election-Year Islamophobia Fuels a New Smear Campaign Against Obama

by John Feffer (AlterNet)

Those who fervently believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim generally practice their furtive religion in obscure recesses of the Internet. Once in a while, they’ll surface in public to remind the news media that no amount of evidence can undermine their convictions.

In October 2008, at a town hall meeting in Minnesota for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, a woman called Obama “an Arab.” McCain responded, incongruously enough, that Obama was, in fact, “a decent family man” and not an Arab at all. In an echo of this, a woman recently stood up at a town hall in Florida and began a question for Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum by asserting that the president “is an avowed Muslim.” The audience cheered, and Santorum didn’t bother to correct her.

Though they belong to a largely underground cult, the members of the Obama-is-Muslim congregation number as many as one third of all Republicans. Arecent poll found that only 14% percent of Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi believe that the president is Christian.

These true believers treat their scraps of evidence like holy relics: the president’s middle name, his grandfather’s religion, a widely circulated photo of Obama in a turban. They occasionally traffic in outright fabrications: that he attended a radical madrasa in Indonesia as a child or that he put his hand on the Qur’an to be sworn in as president. An even more apocalyptic subset believes Obama to be nothing short of the anti-Christ.

By and large, however, this cult doesn’t attract mainstream support from the larger church of Obama haters. Indeed, these more orthodox faithful have carefully shifted the debate from Obama being Muslim to Obama actingMuslim. Evangelical pundits, presidential candidates, and the right-wing media have all ramped up their attacks on the president for, as Baptist preacher Franklin Graham put it recently on MSNBC, “giving Islam a pass.”

The conservative mainstream still calls the president’s religious beliefs into question, but they stop just short of accusing him of apostasy and concealment. What they consider safe is the assertion that Obama is acting as if he were Muslim. In this way, Republican mandarins are cleverly channeling a conspiracy theory into a policy position.

There is a whiff of desperation in all this.  After all, it’s not an easy time for the GOP. The economy shows modest signs of improvement. The Republican presidential candidates are still engaged in a fratricidal primary. By expanding counterterrorism operations and killing Osama bin Laden, the president has effectively removed national security from the list of Republican talking points.

One story, however, still ties together so many narrative threads for conservatives. Charges that the president is a socialist or a Nazi or an elitist supporter of college education certainly push some buttons. But the single surefire way of grabbing the attention of the media and the public — as well as appealing to the instincts of the Republican base — is to assert, however indirectly, that Barack Obama is a Manchurian candidate sent from the Islamic world.

Obama and the Muslim World

A succession of Republican candidates have attempted to run to the right of party favorite Mitt Romney by asserting that only a true conservative can defeat Obama in November. Most of them boasted of the same powerful backer. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all declared that God asked them to run for higher office. Together with Newt Gingrich, they have deployed various methods of appealing to their constituencies, but none is more potent than religion.

Rick Santorum, a Catholic and the favorite of the evangelical community, has been particularly adept at using his soapbox as a pulpit. The president subscribes to a “phony theology,” Santorum has claimed, “not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.” Although he occasionally asserts that “Obama’s personal faith is none of my concern,” he nonetheless speaks of the president’s attempt to “impose values on people of faith”– implying that the president is certainly no member of that community.

In his attacks on the president’s spirituality, Santorum is cleverly attacking Mitt Romney’s Mormonism as well (a theology also based on text other than the Bible). At the same time, the suggestion that Obama is somehow “other” operates as a code word for “Black” in a race in which race goes largely unmentioned.

It’s an odd set of charges. Obama, after all, did everything possible during his first presidential campaign to foreground his Christianity. He was repeatedly seen praying in churches and assiduously avoided mosques. He never made a campaign appearance with a prominent Muslim. He talked about his “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ.

The day after he clinched the Democratic Party nomination in 2008, he gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in which he reaffirmed that he was “a true friend of Israel.” Although he would occasionally mention his Muslim relatives and the time he spent in Indonesia as a child, he generally did whatever he could to emphasize only two out of the three major monotheisms.

As president, Obama has certainly “reached out” to the Muslim world. In Cairo, in June 2009, he spoke of seeking “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”

That new beginning, however, has yet to come. At home, for example, the Obama administration provided federal funds that the New York City Police Department then used to expand its surveillance of Muslim American neighborhoods. (Even the CIA was involved in this “human mapping” project.) The FBI has spent the Obama years rounding up suspected Muslim terrorists in operations that flirt dangerously with entrapment. The administration has expanded the no-fly list, though because the list is secret it’s difficult to know whether Muslim-Americans are specifically profiled. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that they are.

The administration’s record internationally is even more disappointing. The conduct of U.S. troops in Afghanistan — the night raids, massacres (including the recent murders of 16 Afghan villagers), and the Qur’an burnings — have enraged local Muslims. Obama has expanded the CIA’s drone air campaign by a considerable margin in the Pakistani borderlands. Civilian casualties, overwhelmingly Muslim, continue to occur there and in other “overseas contingency operations” as U.S. Special Operations Forces have dramatically expanded their activities in the Muslim world.

Despite right-wing charges, Obama has maintained a tight relationship with Israel and the Israeli leadership. As former New Republiceditor Peter Beinart concludes, “The story of Obama’s relationship to [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies is, fundamentally, a story of acquiescence.”

It’s no surprise, then, that surveys in six Middle East countries taken just before and two months after the Cairo speech in 2009, the Brookings Institution and Zogby International discoveredthat the number of respondents optimistic about the president’s approach to the region had suffered a dramatic drop: from 51% to 16%. A 2011 Pew poll found that U.S. favorability ratings had continued their slide in Jordan (to 13%), Pakistan (12%), and Turkey (10%).

continue reading…

Half of All Canadians Mistrust Muslims

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on March 30, 2012 by loonwatch

Our friendly neighbors to the north seem to have been infected with the same xenophobic, jingoistic, extremist anti-Muslim rhetoric sweeping the USA. (H/T: JB)

More Than Half of All Canadians Mistrust Muslims Poll Says

(Ottawa Citizen)

More than half of all Canadians believe Muslims can’t be trusted and nearly as many believe discrimination against Muslims is “mainly their fault,” say the results of a new national survey released before Wednesday’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The online poll of 1,522 Canadians, commissioned by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and Toronto-based Canadian Race Relations Foundation, also highlights how Canadians see the Internet as by far the leading conduit for racism in the country.

ACS executive director Jack Jedwab described the results as a “disturbing” sign that racism not only remains a problem in the country but that many Canadians feel comfortable holding transparently discriminatory views, then saying things like: “If we feel this way about you, it’s your fault.”

Ayman Al-Yassini, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, said the findings provide more reasons to promote better inter-faith and inter-cultural relations and to “build bridges among different communities” in Canada to combat discrimination.

Asked if Muslims can be trusted, a countrywide total of 52 per cent of respondents said either “not at all” or only “a little.” Conversely, 48 per cent of those surveyed said they trusted Muslims “a lot” or “somewhat.”

No other group asked about in the survey registered such low levels of trustworthiness.

On the question of who deserves blame for such negative feelings, Muslims again fared significantly worse than other groups in Canadian society.

Forty-two per cent of respondents said they agreed (either “strongly” or “somewhat”) with the statement: “If there is discrimination against Muslims, it is mainly their fault.”

By comparison, 36 per cent of those surveyed said aboriginal Canadians were mainly responsible for any discrimination directed toward them, while respondents considered Jewish Canadians (26 per cent), homosexual Canadians (20 per cent) and Black Canadians (19 per cent) less responsible for the discrimination they suffer.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/More+than+half+Canadians+mistrust+Muslims+poll+says/6333500/story.html#ixzz1qFhjsuxD

Why you shouldn’t tell American border guards you’re in Islamic Studies

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by loonwatch

Why you shouldn’t tell American border guards you’re in Islamic Studies

by ANDREANNE STEWART

On May 1, 2010, Pascal Abidor was riding an Amtrak train from Montreal to New York. His parents live in Brooklyn, and he was on his way to visit them. The school year at McGill had just ended, and he felt relieved and calm as the train rolled south towards America.

At about 11 a.m., the train arrived at the U.S. border and made a routine stop. A team of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers boarded the train and advanced through each car, questioning passengers. Pascal had made this trip countless times before, so when a customs officer approached him, he didn’t give it a second thought.

But Pascal had never met Officer Tulip.

After looking over Pascal’s U.S. passport and customs declaration, Officer Tulip asked two simple questions: Where do you live, and why?

Pascal answered that he lived in Canada. He lived in Canada because that’s where he was pursuing a PhD in Islamic Studies.

Next, she asked him where he had traveled in the previous year, and he answered Jordan and Lebanon. He showed her his French passport (he’s a dual citizen) with the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” stamp, and the Lebanese stamp with the little cedar tree on top.

That didn’t help. Officer Tulip immediately told him to grab his things and follow her to the train’s cafe car. Pascal gathered his luggage, but Officer Tulip carried the bag containing his laptop. At the time, he thought she was just being helpful.

In the cafe car, they were joined by five or six more CBP officers. Pascal sat across from Officer Tulip as she took out his laptop, turned it on, and asked him to enter his password, which he did.

As she scrolled through the contents of his computer, Pascal could only see her reaction. Officer Tulip signaled to her colleagues and pointed at something on the screen. She then turned to Pascal and demanded an explanation.

Pascal was now surrounded by half a dozen suspicious American border police, staring at photos – on his laptop – of Hamas and Hezbollah rallies.

Where had he gotten “this stuff,” Officer Tulip asked. Pascal explained that his PhD research is on the Shiites of modern Lebanon. This was not, in her books, a good answer. Finally, the officers told Pascal that he would have to leave the train with them.

“Take me off the train, I’ll walk back to Montreal,” Pascal offered. Given what he would go through in the next few hours, Pascal might well have preferred the walk.

Instead, he was frisked, with particular vigor around his genitals. Then he was handcuffed. Pascal winced.

As they led him off the train, the officers draped a coat over his bound wrists. They claimed it was to spare him the embarrassment of a perp walk. But as Pascal walked past the train’s windows, he tried to show the passengers that he was cuffed. He hadn’t done anything wrong, and he wanted witnesses.

Pascal was then loaded into the back of a van. Oddly, as one of the officers tried to close the van’s side door, it fell clean off. It could have been a moment of levity in a grim situation. But Pascal didn’t dare laugh.

The Detention Cell

When they arrived at the Champlain Port of Entry, Pascal was put in a five-by-ten foot cell with cinder block walls and a steel-reinforced door. He was told to wait. He stayed in the cell for about an hour. Officers came in at random intervals to ask him questions.

“I thought I was going to throw up,” he said. “I thought I was going to be sent to Guantanamo Bay.”

Pascal was then removed from the cell and brought to an interrogation room, complete with florescent lighting and a two-way mirror. He sat across from two CBP officers – Officer Tulip and a man named Officer Sweet – while another officer sat at the end of the table, seemingly in case Pascal got violent.

“They thought I was straight-up dangerous,” Pascal said.

Then the real interrogation began, an hour and a half of intensive questioning. Where was he born? Where were his parents born? What religion was he raised with? Had he ever been to a rally in the Middle East? Had he heard any anti-American statements in the Middle East? Had he ever seen an American flag burned? Had he ever been to a mosque? But the questions always came back to the same point – why Islamic Studies?

“I want to be an academic – this is just what I happen to be an academic in,” Pascal told them.

His answers seemed to fall on deaf ears. The interrogation continued. It was the same questions, over and over. They were looking for him to make a mistake.

They soon fell into a good-cop, bad-cop routine.

“He thought I was cool,” Pascal said of Officer Sweet. Officer Tulip, on the other hand, “thought I was the most evil person. She thought I was a movie villain or something.”

They claimed Pascal’s dual citizenship made him untraceable. They suggested he was attractive “to both sides.” Pascal was baffled. Both sides of what?

Finally, after about three hours in detention, he was released. But there was a catch – the CBP was keeping his laptop and hard drive.

Pascal was enraged. While he had been waiting in the cell, Pascal had given some thought to what he would say to the officers once he was free. Now, with his anger compounded by the loss of his computer, Pascal delivered a blistering speech, directed at his arch-nemesis, Officer Tulip.

“I ripped into her,” he said. “She just stood there, [then] walked away.”

When an FBI agent came up to him and attempted to apologize, Pascal stopped him mid-sentence. “I don’t want to hear your apology,” he told the agent.

Before he left, he was given his camera and his two cell phones. There was a scratch on the back of one of the phones, as if someone had tried to open it.

Taking Legal Action

After being released from detention, Pascal hitched a ride on the next bus with an open seat that came through the checkpoint. He arrived in New York at midnight. That night, he had trouble sleeping, as he would have for the next week or so.

The next morning, he sat down and wrote eleven single-spaced pages detailing exactly what had happened to him. The day after that, he began making phone calls to state senators and advocacy organizations in the hope of finding someone who would help him. Lots of them were interested in his case, including Anthony Weiner, the former New York Congressman.

Finally, Pascal settled on the ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the oldest and largest civil liberties organization in the United States. Free speech cases are its bread and butter. And they told Pascal that his right to free speech, protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution, had been violated.

Two days after his first phone call with the ACLU, Pascal was in downtown Manhattan, sitting in a meeting with a team of lawyers. The first thing they did was to write a letter to the CBP demanding that they return Pascal’s laptop. The day after the letter was sent, Pascal got a call from the CBP asking him where they should overnight his belongings.

But at this point, the damage was done. When the laptop arrived in the mail, the seam between the keyboard and the outer case that led to the internal hard drive appeared to have widened. The warranty seal on his external hard drive had been broken open, too. The government had already searched, and, they later conceded, made copies of Pascal’s electronic life.

Pascal and the ACLU were incensed. His laptop contained intimate personal information: chat logs with his girlfriend, university transcripts, his tax returns.

The problem was, everything Homeland Security had done was completely by the book.

 

The Policy

In August 2009, the Department of Homeland Security enacted a policy that allows for the search and seizure of electronic devices at the border without reasonable suspicion. Under the policy, the DHS can detain any electronic device indefinitely, and copy and share the information it contains. Between October 1, 2008 and June 2, 2010, more than 6,500 people had their electronic devices searched at U.S. border stops.

It was under this policy that Pascal’s laptop and hard drive were searched and detained.

Upon the enactment of the policy, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that, “keeping Americans safe in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully screen materials entering the United States. The new directives announced today strike the balance between respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all travelers, while ensuring DHS can take the lawful actions necessary to secure our borders.”

The policy makes a point of specifying that, “at no point during a border search of electronic devices is it necessary to ask the traveler for consent to search.”

This struck the ACLU as deeply unconstitutional. So they and Pascal decided to sue Janet Napolitano, Director of Homeland Security, to challenge the constitutionality of the policy.

In September 2010, they filed their “complaint” against Napolitano, the legal document that kicks off a lawsuit. The ACLU argued that the DHS policy violates the First and Fourth Amendments, which guarantee free speech and protection against unreasonable search and seizure respectively.

The U.S. government tried to get the case thrown out, arguing that while Pascal’s story was true, the government’s actions had not broken any laws.

On the question of the Fourth Amendment, the government effectively said that just about any kind of search is legal at the border, in the name of national sovereignty.

“Searches made at the border, pursuant to the long standing right of the sovereign to protect itself by stopping and examining persons and property crossing into this country, are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border,” the government wrote in its Motion to Dismiss, the legal maneuver for getting a case thrown out.

With regard to the First Amendment, the Motion to Dismiss stated that, “an otherwise valid search under the Fourth Amendment, does not violate the First Amendment rights of an individual – even a completely innocent individual – simply because the search uncovers expressive material.”

In other words, a border search is a border search is a border search.

And it’s true that all travelers are subject to a routine search at the border, whether or not there’s suspicion of wrongdoing.

But while the U.S. government argues that the search of laptops should be considered a part of these routine searches, the ACLU says these searches are more invasive and therefore must be held to a higher standard.

“It is different to go through someone’s shoes and contact solution, than to go through all the documents on their computer,” said Catherine Crump, one of Pascal’s ACLU lawyers.

Last July, Pascal and his ACLU lawyers went to a courtroom in Brooklyn to argue against throwing out their case. The judge has still not come to a decision.

Meanwhile, the DHS policy remains on the books. Laptops and cell phones continue to be detained and searched without reasonable suspicion at the U.S. border.

Pascal, for his part, hasn’t had a normal border-crossing since that May 1 morning. “Now, every time I cross the border, I get harassed,” he said.

In December 2010, he was crossing the border with his father. The border guards began interrogating him in unusual ways. “They refused to believe my dad was my dad,” he said. “If you saw my dad, you could not believe we were not related.”

The guards then searched the car top to bottom, and made the Abidors wait at the checkpoint for two hours.

“This is about lowering the threshold of what is acceptable to us,” Pascal said of his treatment at the hands of the CBP. “You can’t have rights and then selectively apply them.”

Niqab: ‘What if my daughter is afraid of her?’

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by loonwatch
Niqabi
Women who wear the niqab usually remove it when no men are present, as was the case at the daycare. Photograph by: PHIL NOBLE REUTERS, Freelance

A woman in Canada admits she once held stereotypical views of modest clothing, largely because her impressions of Muslim women were shaped almost exclusively by the media.  A 2010 Time Magazine article found widespread prejudice against Muslims, though 62% of Americans polled didn’t personally know a single Muslim.

Jenn Hardy’s positive experience with a daycare run by Muslim woman who wears a face veil dramatically transformed her views.

‘What if my daughter is afraid of her?’

I used to glare at niqab-wearing women on the street, but then I opened my heart and mind – to a wonderful daycare provider

By Jenn Hardy, Freelance – Montreal Gazette

Not too long ago, if I saw a woman walking down the street with her face covered by a niqab, I would feel it was my duty to glare. As a non-religious feminist, I had decided that a woman who covers her face is oppressed – that she is uneducated, and that her husband is making her cover up because he’s crazy and/or jealous.

OK, I’m exaggerating a little, but you get the point.

And yet until two months ago, I didn’t even really know a single Muslim. I went to high school in an Ottawa suburb, where I was baptized a Catholic so that I could qualify for schooling in the Catholic school system, which was considered better than the more open public system.

We had one year of religious education that gave us a glimpse of world religions. But I’m pretty sure my education about Islam came mainly from CNN, or Fox. I went to university in a small town in Ontario. I didn’t meet any Muslims there, either.

My real education about Islam came very recently, courtesy of a Montreal daycare.

Last December, I was seeking daycare for my daughter. At only 10 months old, she was still very dependent on her parents, and we wanted to find a place that would nurture her – rock her to sleep if need be, warm up my expressed breast milk and even be open to using our cloth diapers.

I punched our address into the magarderie.ca database, and the first one that came up was a 30-second walk from where we would be moving in a matter of weeks. The daycare provider, Sophie, had outlined her views on discipline, praise, healthy foods and the child-centred approach of Montessori. She was someone I felt I could get along with.

I phoned her and we talked for an hour, laughing and chatting and eventually deciding on a time to meet. She shared a great many of the values that my partner and I do. She was also highly educated, trained as a civil engineer.

Before we said goodbye, she added, “Oh, just so you know, I’m Muslim.”

I said I didn’t care, because I didn’t.

She assured me that her daycare didn’t teach religion. Cool.

But then she told me that when she’s in public, she covers her face.

She said the last time she didn’t warn a family over the phone that she wears the niqab, they walked into the meeting and then walked straight out.

I said I didn’t care, but when we got off the phone, I realized I did care. The first thing I thought was, “What if my daughter is afraid of her?”

My family drove over to meet Sophie, her husband and son.

She came to the door, dressed in black from head to toe.

It was the first time I had been in the same room as a woman wearing the niqab.

I felt nervous. But my daughter didn’t flinch.

The daycare was cozy; most of the toys were made of natural materials. There were lots of books, a reading corner and a birdwatching area. Books on Montessori activities lined the shelves. Nothing was battery-operated; there was no television.

It was perfect.

We spoke for a bit, all together in the room before Sophie’s husband put a hand on my fiancé’s back and they went downstairs to see the other half of the daycare. Once the guys left, Sophie took off the niqab.

I could feel my heart and my mind open at that very moment.

My daughter has been going to this daycare for more than two months now, and we are very happy with the care she is given.

When they are inside with the children, the daycare providers (the majority of whom are Muslim) are mostly dressed in plain clothes – jeans and a sweater, long hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. These women do not cover their faces in the presence of children, women or close family.

My daughter isn’t afraid of any of the women who take care of her, whether they have their faces covered or not. On the contrary, she reaches out to them for a hug every morning. To my daughter, the women who work at the daycare are simply the women who hold her when she’s sad, wipe blueberries off her face, clean her snotty nose and change her cloth diapers.

My daughter isn’t growing up with the same ideas about Muslim women that I did.

I’m glad she’s learning something in daycare.

So am I.

JENN HARDY is a freelance journalist and blogger who challenges mainstream parenting at mamanaturale.ca.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/What+daughter+afraid/6190977/story.html#ixzz1nJoVJAJs

Honor Killing and Even More Proof You REALLY Shouldn’t Trust Robert Spencer’s “Scholarship”

Posted in Feature, Loon Media, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2012 by loonwatch
Coran and SpencerMichael Coren and Robert Spencer

by Ilisha

It was a trial that captured headlines across Canada—the so-called “honor killing” of three teenage sisters and their father’s first wife in a quadruple murder staged to look like an accident.

On January 27, the girls’ brother, Hamed, 21, and their parents, Mohammad Shafia, 58, and Tooba Yahya, 42, were each found guilty on four counts of first-degree murder. All received the maximum sentence of life in prison.

On police wiretaps captured in the days following the murders, a remorseless Mohammad Shafia referred to his slain daughters as treacherous whores who had “betrayed Islam.”  The family is originally from Afghanistan, and sweeping statements about their cultural and religious background have put Canada’s Muslims on the defensive.

Imams across Canada and the US responded by issuing a fatwa declaring honor killing, domestic violence, and misogyny as “un-Islamic.” Nevertheless, the murders have prompted a fresh wave of anti-Islamic sentiment, and the usual assortment of crackpots have seized this tantalizing opportunity to vilify Islam.

Pseudo-scholar Robert Spencer recently discussed the case on Sun TV with English-Canadian talk show host and fascist sympathizer, Michael Coren. The 13-minute segment appears at the end of this article.

Spencer’s Five Big Lies about honor killings are refuted in this article, in order of appearance.

1. A Bogus Statistic

Spencer began with the baseless assertion that, “91% of honor killings worldwide take place among Muslims.” What is the source of Spencer’s statistic?

He makes the same claim on his website, Jihad Watch, and links to an article on the Middle East Forum as the source. This is an anti-Muslim propaganda site founded by Daniel Pipes, and the article referenced is authored by Phyllis Chesler, who is yet another rabid Islamophobe. Chesler cites an ill-defined “study” as the ultimate source of this statistic:

This study analyzes 172 incidents and 230 honor-killing victims. The information was obtained from the English-language media around the world with one exception. There were 100 victims murdered for honor in the West, including 33 in North America and 67 in Europe. There were 130 additional victims in the Muslim world. Most of the perpetrators were Muslims, as were their victims, and most of the victims were women.

The “methodology” she describes is filled with weasel words, and it’s unclear who actually conducted the study or for what purpose. Culling 172 incidents from self-selected articles in the English-language media does not constitute a valid sample.

In the very same article, Chesler concedes, “Definitive or reliable worldwide estimates of honor killing incidence do not exist.” Then how has she managed to glean a precise statistic of 91%?

We have already covered this alleged “epidemic” of honor killings extensively in a previous article, Honor Killings: The Epidemic that Isn’t, where Chesler’s “logic” was exposed as absurd:

Taking her study at face value, do you think 33 honor killings constitutes an epidemic?  Stinging insects kill more than 40 people each year in the US, which is more than the number of honor killings Chesler reported over the course of her study for all of North America.  Chesler says, “to combat the epidemic [emphasis mine] of honor killings requires understanding what makes these murders unique.”

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, have all said that honor killings cut across cultural and religious lines. No credible organization cites a statistic that supports Robert Spencer’s assertion, which Phyllis Chesler seems to have pulled out of her hat.

2. Misinterpretation and Misuse of The Reliance of the Traveller

Coren asked Spencer if it’s true that there is Qur’anic and Sharia support for honor killings, and Spencer said, “Absolutely, Michael,” and, ”Islamic Law stipulates there’s no penalty for a parent who kills a child.” As we have already established in a previous article, this is a blatant lie:

In a pathetic attempt to prove Islam sanctions honor killings, the loons have dredged up  ”Reliance of the Traveller,” a classical manual for the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence written over 600 years ago. A convoluted interpretation of select passages has gone viral, and is now routinely cited on the pages of hate sites and in comments on numerous articles related to honor killing.

Geller quotes a section of The Traveller on her website that says certain crimes, including the killing of one’s offspring, are not subject to retaliation, implying Muslim parents have a free pass to murder their children under Islamic Law, which is a bold faced LIE. Retaliation is a form of reciprocal justice, lex talionis, commonly known as “an eye for an eye.”

A crime that is not subject to retaliation can still be punished by other means. Restrictions on reciprocal justice in the Qur’an were meant to reduce blood feuds and the cycle of vengeance. The concept of retaliation is also found in Jewish and Christian scriptures, and like honor killing, traces back to the ancient Code of Hammurabi.

Even if The Traveller sanctioned honor killing (which it doesn’t), it would be the interpretation of one Islamic cleric who lived centuries ago, and not a formal part of Islamic Law. Sharia is drawn primarily from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and neither sanctions honor killing.

Honor killing is a form of murder where the victim is denied a fair trial, which is contrary to Islamic law. Islam forbids acts of murder and vigilantism, and likens the killing of one human being to the killing of the entire human race (Qur’an 5:32, 6:151, 17:33).

Is Sharia exceptionally harsh or extremely lenient, even in the case of a serious crime like murder? Apparently it’s whatever suits Spencer’s agenda at the moment. In any case, a “renowned scholar” should certainly understand the ancient concept of reciprocal justice.

Is Spencer ignorant or deliberately deceptive?

3. The Case of Syria and Jordan

Spencer cites “relatively moderate” Muslim-majority Jordan and Syria in an effort to provide real-world examples of Sharia-sanctioned honor killing. His examples fall short in two major ways.

First, although a single honor killing is one too many, these murders are not epidemic. Jordan has around 15-20 honor killings each year, and Syria has about 200. Both of these Muslim-majority countries have low overall homicide rates, in contrast to many countries in the non-Muslim world, most notably in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Central and Southern Africa.

Second, Syria and Jordan have mixed legal systems largely based on French Law, derived from the Napoleonic Code. In Syria, Articles 192, 242, and 548 have historically been invoked to reduce sentences in honor killing cases, and all are derived from the Napoleonic Code, not Sharia.

Syria’s Grand Mufti, Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, has unequivocally condemned honor killing. Hassoun specifically condemned Article 548, which has since been amended as part of Syria’s ongoing effort to abolish honor killings.

In Jordan, Articles 340 and 98 have historically been invoked to reduce sentences in honor killing cases, and they also derive from the Napoleonic Code, not Sharia.

While Spencer was correct when he said some religious and cultural conservatives in Jordan have resisted legal reform, Queen Rania and King Abudllah II have been outspoken advocates. In a report released last November, the United Nations praised Jordan for amending Article 340 so that it no longer exonerates the perpetrators of honor killings.

Spencer’s examples fall short because neither Jordan nor Syria has a high rate of homicides of any kind, and the legal loopholes in question are primarily a legacy of French colonialism, not Sharia. However, Coren asks no questions of substance, so it’s on to the next lie.

4. Khidr in Chapter 18 of the Qur’an

Spencer tries to “prove” honor killings are supported in the Qur’an, citing the well known story of Khidr in the 18th chapter as a justification.  From Jihad Watch:

Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 18, “The Cave,” verses 60-82

Verses 60-82 of Sura 18 contain one of the strangest, most arresting stories in the entire Qur’an: that of the journey of Moses and Khidr, one of the great road-trip stories of all time…

In Islamic tradition this man is identified as Al-Khadir or Al-Khidr, or, more commonly, Khidr, “the Green Man.” Some identify him as one of the prophets, others as a wali, a Muslim saint….

…Khidr murders a young man in an apparently random act, and Moses criticizes him again (v. 74)…

…Khidr killed the young man because he would grieve his pious parents with his “rebellion and ingratitude” (v. 80), and Allah will give them a better son (v. 81)….

…Another point emerges in Islamic tradition: don’t kill children, unless you know they’re going to grow up to be unbelievers. “The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used not to kill the children, so thou shouldst not kill them unless you could know what Khadir had known about the child he killed, or you could distinguish between a child who would grow up to he a believer (and a child who would grow up to be a non-believer), so that you killed the (prospective) non-believer and left the (prospective) believer aside.” The assumption thus enunciated may help explain the persistence of the phenomenon of honor-killing in Islamic countries and even among Muslims in the West…

Notice the child was not related to Khidr, and there was no honor motive. This “apparently random act” doesn’t fit the profile of a so-called “honor killing.”

The story is meant to convey the message that believers should have faith in God’s wisdom. Events may seem harsh and inexplicable, but when the veil is lifted and the broader truth is exposed, the believer will see that what has happened is ultimately for the best.

Spencer provided no examples of any Muslim citing the story of Khidr as a justification for honor killing, nor did he mention any scholars who have adopted his interpretation. In fact, the story of Khidr has historically been associated with charity and good works in the Islamic world.  

As for the Hadith Spencer quoted (Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4457), Muslims are instructed not to kill children, “…unless you could know what Khadir had known.  Khidr was granted eternal life and bestowed with direct knowledge of God’s will, which no ordinary Muslim can claim. It is simply not possible to know whether a child will grow up to be a believer, so it makes no sense to use this as a justification for murder.

In fact, it is widely known that Islam has always condemned infanticide, a common practice in pre-Islamic Arabia. The Qur’an  forbids the killing of children, expressly in 6:151 and 60:12, and implicitly in 2:49, 7:127, 7:141, 14:6, 28:4, and 40:25. Why would a “renowned scholar” of Islam be unaware of the many verses in the Qur’an that directly contradict his claims?

Is Spencer ignorant or deliberately deceptive? 

5. Islam and the Judeo-Christian Tradition

Spencer also claims that the Judeo-Christian tradition sends the “opposite message” with respect to killing children, specifically citing Genesis 22:1-13 as an example.  In this Old Testament story, the Prophet Abraham was poised to sacrifice his son Isaac to the Lord, but just as he placed a knife to the boy’s neck, God sent an angel to intercede, and Isaac was spared.

The same story exists in the Qur’an and carries the same moral message. The major difference is that Isaac is replaced by Abraham’s other son, Ishmael. A “renowned scholar” of Islam should surely be aware of the corresponding story in the Qur’an (The Rank Makers 37:100-109).

In fact, numerous verses in the Bible recount the killing of children, and stipulate harsh punishments, including the death penalty. The following is not a comprehensive list:

Exodus 21:17

17 Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

Leviticus Chapters 20 and 21 also stipulate harsh punishments for dishonoring parents and committing adultery:

Leviticus 20:9-13

9 If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head.

10 If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

Leviticus 21:9

9 If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.

Deuteronommy (13:6-10) says if your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” … You must stone him or her to death. Death by stoning is also the punishment stipulated for a “stubborn and rebellious” son in 21:18-21.

In Judges (11:30-40), Jephthah killed his young daughter (and only child) by burning her alive to fulfill his vow to God, in exchange for a victory in battle.

In 2 Kings (2:23-25), when youngsters made fun of the Prophet Elisha’s bald head, he called down a curse “in the name of the Lord,”and two bears came out of the woods and tore 42 of the youths to pieces.

As a Catholic and self-proclaimed religious scholar, it seems reasonable to assume Spencer has read the Bible, so what explains this glaring double standard?

Is Spencer ignorant or deliberately deceptive? 

The bottom line is that honor killings are not Islamic. Spencer’s lies, no matter how often they’re repeated, can’t change that fundamental truth.

 

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

‘Blow Away’ Text Lands Muslim in Canada Jail

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by loonwatch

‘Blow Away’ Text Lands Muslim in Canada Jail 

MONTREAL — A Muslim businessman in Canada became a terror suspect for telling his sales staff in a text message to “blow away” the competition at a New York City trade show, a religious association said Friday.

Moroccan-born Saad Allami, who works as a telecommunications company sales manager, was arrested three days after he sent the message in January 2011 and detained while police searched his home, said the Muslim Council of Montreal.

“The whole time, the officers kept repeating to the plaintiff’s wife that her husband was a terrorist,” said court filings in a lawsuit filed by Allami, cited by local media. Allami was released after four hours of questioning.

Some of his colleagues reportedly claimed they were also held for hours at the Canada-US border on account of the accusations made against their boss.

“Mr Allami’s statements, when considered in the context of which they were given, were nothing to draw such alarm or suspicion,” said Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal.

“It is clear that his arrest was the result of racial profiling and a knee-jerk reaction to label him as a terror suspect simply due to his religious background.”

Allami is seeking Can$100,000 ($100,603) from Quebec’s provincial police, a police sergeant and the justice department for unlawful detention, unlawful arrest, loss of income and damage to his reputation.

The Quebec Superior Court is to hear the case on March 5.

Gatineau Mosque again Hit by Vandals

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2012 by loonwatch
Police say the Outaouais Islamic Centre has been the target of vandalism four times in the last six months. (CBC) Police say the Outaouais Islamic Centre has been the target of vandalism four times in the last six months. (CBC)

Gatineau mosque again hit by vandals

WARNING: This article contains images with offensive language

A mosque in Gatineau, Que., that has been a target of vandalism was spray-painted with graffiti overnight.

Workers at the Outaouais Islamic Centre awoke Thursday to discover swear words and derogatory references to Arabs and Allah spray-painted in white.

The vandals painted messages on the front doors, across the building’s side and on two other entrances to the building.

The mosque had earlier been vandalized Monday morning when windows were damaged and someone attempted to set fire to two cars in the parking lot.

4th incident in 6 months

Gatineau police were investigating a number of incidents of vandalism at the mosque over the last few months. Police said it was the fourth incident in the last six months.

Mosque secretary general Amadou Thiam said the vandalism was a “provocation” and called on members of the mosque to remain calm.

Thiam urged police to do their utmost to find the perpetrators. The mosque has turned over security video footage to police.

Thiam also urged Gatineau city officials to show their support for the mosque.

Graffiti was spray-painted on the front door and two back doors of the mosque. (CBC)  Graffiti was spray-painted on the front door and two back doors of the mosque. (CBC)

Muslim, Jewish groups condemn attack

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) condemned the vandalism Thursday and said authorities should investigate the incident as a hate crime.

“The repeated vandalism, within days of the previous attack, of this specific mosque is deeply troubling. Attacks on all our nation’s houses of worship must be condemned by all Canadians and should be investigated and prosecuted using all available law enforcement resources,” said Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN executive director.

Jewish Stars of David were also spray painted on the walls.

Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, also condemned the attacks.

“We unequivocally condemn all acts of vandalism committed against any place of worship,” Fogel said in a statement.

National Muslim and Jewish groups have condemned the vandalism. (CBC)  National Muslim and Jewish groups have condemned the vandalism. (CBC)

Mosque member says he isn’t taking attack personally

The mosque, located off Saint Joseph Boulevard just north of St. Jean-Bosco Park, draws about 500 people for Friday prayers and serves a community estimated at close to 5,000 people.

Mosque member Walid Ali said he didn’t think the incident was a hate crime.

“Maybe someone was drunk or something, I don’t think he deeply means it,” said Ali.

“I’ve been here more than three years and this has never happened,” he said.

Original post: Gatineau mosque again hit by vandals

Mass Honor Killing Delights Loons

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2011 by loonwatch

Shafia Trial

The Shafia murder trial currently underway in Ontario, Canada is a public relations bonanza for anti-Muslim bigots who have made so-called “Islamic honor killings” a major theme in their campaign to vilify Muslims. Three of Mohammad Shafia’s daughters and his first wife were found dead in a car submerged in a shallow canal two years ago in what prosecutors say was a quadruple murder staged to look like an accident.

Mohammad Shafia, 58, his second wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, and their son Hamed, who was 18 at the time of the incident, have each been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Shafia is a wealthy Montreal businessman originally from Afghanistan, who was apparently living in a polygamous arrangement with his first (infertile) wife, his second wife, and their seven children. After leaving Afghanistan in 1992, the family had lived in Dubai, Pakistan and Australia before settling in Quebec, Canada.

Two summers ago on a return trip from a Niagara Falls vacation, the family checked into a Kingston hotel for the night. Early the next morning, police found the family’s wrecked sedan in the nearby Kingston Mill locks.

Inside were the bodies of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, and Mohammad’s first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, 52. Autopsies indicated all four victims had drowned.

At first, the couple told police their eldest daughter had taken the sedan for a joyride without their permission, resulting in a tragic accident. Inconsistencies in their story left police suspicious, and evidence found at the scene contradicted their account.

Investigators said the sedan would have had to travel past a locked gate, over a concrete curb and a rocky outcrop, and then make two U-turns to wind up in the locks of the canal. Damage found on both vehicles indicates that Mohammad Shafia’s SUV pushed the sedan into the shallow canal at an isolated, unlit location.

Police seized a laptop from the family’s Montreal home they said was owned by Shafia but used by his son Hamed. In the weeks leading up to the alleged murder, forensic experts found incriminating phrases had been entered in the Google search engine, including “Where to commit a murder,” “Can a prisoner have control over their real estate,” and ”Montreal jail.”

Shafia’s chilling statements captured on police wiretaps suggest he orchestrated the death of his daughters because they consorted with boys and dishonored his family with their defiant behavior:

“They committed treason on themselves. They betrayed humankind. They betrayed Islam. They betrayed our religion…they betrayed everything.”

An apparently remorseless Shafia told his second wife that when he views the cell phone photos of Zainab and Sahar posing with their boyfriends or in suggestive clothing, he is consoled, saying:

“I say to myself, ‘You did well.’ Were they come to life, I would do it again.”

The trial has received intense media coverage in Canada, but in the US, coverage has been mostly confined to anti-Muslim hatemongers and outrage peddlers. Frontpage Magazine, a site run by anti-Muslim loon David Horowitz, prompted some hate-filled comments from readers responding to an article about the Shafia trial:

“IslamoFascist Pigs will continue to carry out the tenets of Islam because they are 7th Century barbarians in the 21st Century. It’s unfortunate that Canada doesn’t have a death penalty.”

“…The West is drinking poison, we need to puke it out and close the door and seal every crack to keep this evil out.”

An article on The Blaze, a right wing website founded by former Fox News host Glenn Beck, provoked over 200 colorful comments, including:

“These towelheads think they are above the law. I don’t know what its going to take to wake up our country and it’s leaders.”

“ISLAM THE MUSLIM BARBARIC SATAN CULT! These are Dictator Barack Hussein Obamas chosen people! The SHARIA-LAW IS ALREADY STARTING IN OUR AMERICA!”

“Gee…if Muslims keep this up there won’t be a ‘problem’ with them. I say we need to keep hands off and let this run its course.”

“Nuke Mecca, Nuke Medina. Peace through Strength, Strength through Superior Firepower.”

Pamela Geller’s website Atlas Shrugs is also covering the story, and her readers appear to be equally hateful, paranoid, and in some cases, unaware that Afghans are not Arabs:

“Muslim DOGS is what they are… Arab DOGS!”

“Just another moderate Muslim. And that is not tongue-in-cheek. DEPORT ALL OF THEM.”

“The pathetic politically-correct wussies in the canadian parliament have totally rolled-over and caved to these islamo-crazies. Sharia will be the law of the land in canada within the next three years. It’s time to beef up our northern border.”

Notice that these comments are not confined to outrage over this specific crime, but are a wholesale denunciation of all Muslims and the Islamic religion, as well as calls for violence, deportation, and even genocide. Comments consistently expressed a visceral hatred of Muslims, belief in a sinister left-Islamist alliance, and paranoid conspiracy theories about Muslims taking over and imposing Sharia (Islamic Law) in the Western world.

Geller has a section on her website entitled, “Honor Killings: Islam Misogyny,” where she frequently repeats the lie that honor killings are sanctioned by Islamic Law.  She describes honor killing in America as, “a grotesque manifestation of [S]haria law abrogating American law,” and warns that “creeping [S]haria” will bring a myriad of barbaric practices to the US if  “Islamic supremacists” are not stopped.

The fact is that honor killings are not religiously or legally sanctioned by Islam. Rafia Zakaria is a lawyer, a doctoral candidate at Indiana University, and the Director for Amnesty International USA.  Zakaria is also a Muslim feminist and a regular contributor to Ms.blog Magazine, which covers contemporary women’s issues. On the subject of honor killing, she has said:

“That is one of the black and white statements I can make. There is absolutely nothing, either in the Qur’an or in the Hadith, or even in any secondary source that says that honor killing is something that Muslims should do or can do or that is lawful.”

Honor killing is an ancient practice that can be linked to the ancient Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, circa 1700 BC.  Barbara Kay, a harsh critic of Islam who previously sparked controversy with her column, “The Rise of Quebecistan,” says the first honor killing in Judeo-Christian civilization is recorded in the Bible in Genesis 34.  She relates the story here.

Some Muslims, a minority mistakenly believe that “honor killing” is permitted in Islam, and Mohammad Shafia’s statements in the wake of his daughters’ deaths suggest he shares this misconception, conflating culture and faith. For this reason, it is important to spread the news that Islam does NOT condone these killings, yet anti-Muslim bigots who claim they care about Muslim women are doing the opposite.

In a pathetic attempt to prove Islam sanctions honor killings, the loons have dredged up  ”Reliance of the Traveller,” a classical manual for the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence written over 600 years ago. A convoluted interpretation of select passages has gone viral, and is now routinely cited on the pages of hate sites and in comments on numerous articles related to honor killing.

Geller quotes a section of The Traveller on her website that says certain crimes, including the killing of one’s offspring, are not subject to retaliation, implying Muslim parents have a free pass to murder their children under Islamic Law, which is a bold faced LIE. Retaliation is a form of reciprocal justice, lex talionis, commonly known as “an eye for an eye.”

A crime that is not subject to retaliation can still be punished by other means. Restrictions on reciprocal justice in the Qur’an were meant to reduce blood feuds and the cycle of vengeance. The concept of retaliation is also found in Jewish and Christian scriptures, and like honor killing, traces back to the ancient Code of Hammurabi.

Even if The Traveller sanctioned honor killing (which it doesn’t), it would be the interpretation of one Islamic cleric who lived centuries ago, and not a formal part of Islamic Law. Sharia is drawn primarily from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and neither sanctions honor killing.

Of course Geller is only parroting a common anti-Muslim talking point pushed by her teacher in all things Islamic, Robert Spencer. Spencer, since the launch of JihadWatch has tried his utmost to find an Islamic text that he could contort and link to “honor killings.”

His one method has been to cite the well known story of Khidr in the 18th chapter of the Qur’an as such a justification for “honor killing” in Islam:

Khidr killed the young man because he would grieve his pious parents with his “rebellion and ingratitude” (v. 80), and Allah (SWT) will give them a better son (v. 81).

…[further down states]…

Another point emerges in Islamic tradition: don’t kill children, unless you know they’re going to grow up to be unbelievers. “The Messenger of Allah (SWT) (may peace be upon him) used not to kill the children, so thou shouldst not kill them unless you could know what Khidr had known about the child he killed, or you could distinguish between a child who would grow up to he a believer (and a child who would grow up to be a non-believer), so that you killed the (prospective) non-believer and left the (prospective) believer aside.” The assumption thus enunciated may help explain the persistence of the phenomenon of honor-killing in Islamic countries and even among Muslims in the West.

Robert Spencer shamelessly tries to mislead the reader into thinking there is some textual justification for honor killing. Seeking Ilm, a traditional conservative Muslim website takes Spencer to task for this and sheds light on the above falsities, debunking Spencer’s mythical explanation:

Such an explanation is not at all mentioned by the scholars of old or of late. None understood this story to mean that it is permitted to kill children if they will be an unbeliever.

It goes on to discuss the tradition mentioned by Spencer: first the speaker is a disciple of the Prophet Muhammad known as Ibn Abbas; second, the wording of the tradition cited by Spencer is from a shaadh (peculiar) narration of the said tradition and is therefore “weaker” and not “accepted”; third, it is narrated differently in the Sahih of Imam Muslim (one of the most authoritative books of tradition) with only these words,

“Verily the Messenger of God (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not kill children, so do not kill children, unless you know what Al-Khidr knew when he killed the child.”

The Seeking Ilm folks go on to write,

The fact is it is impossible to know what Al-Khidr knew. Imam An-Nawawi (1234-1278 CE), recognized as one of the most brilliant Muslim jurists and judges to have lived, explained these words in his commentary upon the Sahih of Imam Muslim:

“It means: Verily it is not permitted to kill them (i.e. children), nor is it permitted for you to make a connection to the story of Al-Khidr utilizing it to kill children. For verily, Al-Khidr did not kill except by the command of God, the exalted, as this was specifically allotted to him just as was mentioned in the end of the story [of khidr], “And I did it not of my own accord.” So [Ibn ‘Abbas is saying] if you came to know of such from a child then he is to be killed. And it is known such cannot be known [by a person] and so it is not permitted to kill him.” ((Sharh Sahih Muslim: Translated by Seekingilm team ))

What is also important to mention is that Imam Nawawi himself, the great Dr. in Hadith and commentator of the Sahih, places this hadith beneath the chapter title, “Women Participants in Jihad are to be Given Reward but not Part of the Spoils, and the Prohibition of Killing Children of the People of War.” This fact stresses our point that the Muslims  did not extract the meaning claimed by Robert Spencer. If Robert Spencer and crew did not get all of what we just stated, let us sum it up for the idiots out there: one of the most prominent scholars for all Muslims is clearly stating that killing children is not permitted based upon this verse, as knowledge of the child’s future is not certain save by revelation from God, as was received by Al-Khidr. Even Moses, according to the story, did not know of the plight of the child, so how is it that a layman is to know of such? Furthermore, Imam An-Nawawi known as the second Imam Ash-Shafi’i, is stating that it is totally forbidden to kill children. The fact is Spencer’s null attempt at utilizing this statement for his own fear-mongering and islamophobic agenda only shows anyone with any knowledge of Islamic law how horridly ignorant Robert Spencer is of Islam.

Horridly ignorant is right!

In any case, it seems highly unlikely that the Canadian court will consult a centuries-old manual on Islamic jurisprudence to determine sentencing in the Shafia case.

Loons, who are clearly unhinged from reality, insist liberal “wussies” are caving in to “Islamo-crazies” and will allow Muslims to invoke Sharia to get away with murder in Western courtrooms.  Apparently they see no contradiction between their belief that Islamic Law is soft on crime and simultaneously, exceptionally harsh and barbaric.

Outside of the loons’ fevered imaginations, Sharia is not a factor in the Shafia trial. The accused will be subject to the Law of Canada, and if convicted, all three face life in prison.

Should Canada ban Islamic face veils?

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

I hope more and more women protest for their freedom of religion. Has anyone thought that maybe it isn’t face veils that are oppressive but the laws themselves that try to restrain people from practicing their religious beliefs?

On the heels of the French ban it looks like Canada may follow suit.  The piece below unfortunately cites the Muslim Canadian Congress, an organization founded by the loon Tarek Fateh, which has near no credibility amongst Canadian Muslims.

Should Canada ban Islamic face veils?

by: Wency Leung

France’s ban on Islamic face veils came into force today, and already, at least two veiled women have reportedly been detained for protesting the new law.

The ban, which carries a fine of 150 euros ($207), has reignited the debate over where to draw the line between protecting a nation’s values and ensuring individuals’ freedom of expression.

Those supporting the ban say the veils oppress women and don’t fall in line with the country’s values of gender equality. Under France’s new law, anyone who forces women to wear a veil can face up to a year in prison and a fine 30,000 of euros.

But others, including some women who wear the veils themselves, believe the ban infringes on their freedom of religion and smacks of anti-Islamic sentiment.

In Canada, calls to introduce a similar ban have also prompted heated debate. For years, the Muslim Canadian Congress has urged for an end to the practice of wearing face-concealing niqabs and burkas, arguing the veils aren’t required under Islam, but are rather symbols of religious extremism and misogyny.

Canadian women who say they choose to wear the veils, however, argue that far from oppressing them, the face coverings guard their modesty.

Here, as in France, those who actually wear the veils are few.

Should Canada consider following France’s lead? Or would doing so put unfair restrictions on a minority?

EDL Holding Rally in Toronto Alongside JDL

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by loonwatch

Looks like the hate is being imported to North America.

Controversial anti-Islamist group plans rally in Toronto

Stewart Bell, National Post · Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011

TORONTO—A British right-wing group responsible for a wave of violent anti-Islamist street protests in the United Kingdom will attempt to spread its message to Canadians at a rally in Toronto next week.

A “support rally” for the controversial English Defence League is scheduled to take place at the Toronto Zionist Centre on Tuesday night. The event is being organized by the Jewish Defence League of Canada.

Tommy Robinson, the EDL leader, will speak at the rally through an on-line hookup. It is believed to be the first Canadian rally for the EDL, repeatedly linked to violence since it formed in 2009 to counter Islamist militancy in Britain.

“I am disappointed that the JDL would support an organization whose record in the U.K. is one of violence and extremism,” said Bernie Farber, CEO, of the Canadian Jewish Congress. “This is more than unwise and I sure hope they reconsider this decision.”

Dozens have been arrested at EDL protests, including Mr. Robinson, an alias used by Stephen Lennon. He was charged in November with assaulting a police officer at a confrontation with Islamists who burned poppies during a two-minute silence for veterans.

“The root cause of the problem is the Koran, it’s Islam,” he told the BBC on Nov. 19. “And no one has got the balls to admit it and say it and talk about it. We will. We’re not creating these divisions and this extremism. It’s already there. That’s why we formed. If there was no militant Islam there would be no EDL.”

Professor Matthew Goodwin said the EDL has links to football hooligan networks and draws most of its support from the young working class but unlike the traditional far right it is open to all races and faiths.

“It wants members of the Sikh community, similarly members of the Jewish community to become involved as a way of opposing what the EDL calls radical militant Islam, even though it’s actually just talking about Islam,” said Prof. Goodwin, a lecturer at the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham.

Over the past three to four months, the EDL has been trying to forge links internationally and has reached out to Dutch far right politician Geert Wilders and U.S. conservatives, he said. “This is part of that attempt to forge international links,” he said of the Toronto rally.

The EDL support rally is advertised on the JDL website. “JDL supports the EDL,” the announcement reads. “The EDL needs international support to help it support the values of freedom that Britain was once famous [for]. Now is the time to step forward and stop political Islam.”

Meir Weinstein, national director of JDL Canada, said he was visiting Israel when he met someone connected to Mr. Lennon. The two later got acquainted on the phone. He said he was aware Mr. Robison had been arrested.

“I don’t know everything about the leader of the EDL but from what we see they’re on the streets and they’re very vocal supporting Israel, supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and standing up to political Islam, so that’s about it.”

Prof. Goodwin said he doubts the EDL message will resonate in Canada. He said it appeals primarily in working class districts of northern England that have little experience with multiculturalism.

“Your nation is on the whole at ease with ethnic cultural diversity,” he said. “So I think the message itself may not resonate. What might be significant is whether this turns into some substantive links between groups in Toronto and the EDL, and whether there’s any financial resources or logistical support that comes out of that because that is what the EDL is lacking.”

sbell@nationalpost.com

 

Anne Coulter Tells Muslim Student to “take a camel”

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2010 by loonwatch

Conservatives 2012

Anne Coulter is the well known crazy Conservative who stated that the US should invade “Muslim countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity” so I guess it isn’t much of a surprise that she told a Muslim student to ‘take a camel.’

Coulter Tells an Ont. Muslim to ‘take a camel’

It didn’t take long for firebrand U.S. conservative Ann Coulter to live up to her reputation on her Canadian tour, telling a University of Western Ontario Muslim student to “take a camel” as an alternative to flying.

Coulter made the comment Monday night after she received an email about the limits of free speech in Canada from the provost of the University of Ottawa, where she appears Tuesday.

The private email, which was leaked to conservative news organizations, noted that Canada’s Charter of Rights meant that “promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.”

Francois Houle, vice-president academic and University of Ottawa provost, invited Coulter to educate herself on Canadian free speech laws.

“We, of course, are always delighted to welcome speakers on our campus and hope that they will contribute positively to the meaningful exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of a great university campus,” wrote Houle,

The letter only added fuel to the fire of Coulter’s speaking tour, which is titled, “Political Correctness, Media Bias and Freedom of Speech.”

“I was the victim of a hate crime and plan to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission,” Coulter said Monday.

Coulter, who wore a short black dress to her speech, is one of the most divisive characters in American conservatism.

She is well-known for her vehement views against Muslims. In a post-September 11 column, she wrote that the U.S. should invade Muslim countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.

It didn’t take long for her controversial views to emerge at Western.

The student, Fatima Al-Dhaher, asked Coulter about previous comments in which she said Muslims shouldn’t be allowed on airplanes and should take “flying carpets” instead. Al-Dhaher noted she did not own a flying carpet and asked what she should take as an alternative transportation.

Coulter did not deny making the flying carpet comment and replied to the university student: “What mode of transportation? Take a camel” to a mix of jeers and cheers.

Some students walked out after the comment.

“She stabbed me in the heart, she was rude,” Al-Dhaher said. “I walked out after she said that.”

“As a female, as a Muslim, as a student of this university, I felt an obligation to kind of represent that,” the student said of her question.

Coulter spoke in front of a packed audience of about 800 at the university.

It was a decidedly pro-Coulter audience. One man, who identified himself as a U.S. citizen, described U.S. President Barack Obama as a “Marxist.”

Wrong approach by U of Ottawa: MPs

Coulter, who often comments on Fox News, once said Canada is “lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent” after the Canadian government did not join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Her tour was organized by International Free Press Society, a group whose website sets up Islam as the preeminent threat to democracy in the Western world.

“This jihad, like all jihads before it, will continue until a sharia-based caliphate rules the world, or until it is defeated,” the society’s policy statement says.

The group also sells one of the infamous Danish Mohammad cartoons, signed by cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, for $250. They are currently sold out.

Among the group’s board of advisers are Canadian conservative bloggers Ezra Levant and Kathy Shaidle, author Mark Steyn and far-right Dutch political leader Geert Wilders.

Coulter reportedly commands a $10,000 speaking fee. Her fee is being covered in part by the Claire Boothe Luce Policy Institute, an American group that calls itself the “home of conservative women leaders.”

Some critics say trying to quiet Coulter is the wrong approach to discrediting her views.

“In terms of putting limits on what she … should say or shouldn’t say, I’m not sure that helps,” New Democrat MP Paul Dewar, told The Canadian Press. “It might add fuel to the fire that she will be probably starting tomorrow.”

Liberal MP Scott Brison made a similar comment.

“If you don’t agree with what she has to say, then ignore her,” he said.

Coulter’s Canadian tour wraps up at the University of Calgary on Thursday.

 

Fastrack around the Globe: Islamophobic Crime Continues

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by loonwatch

Islamophobic violence is on the march as we continue to document hate crimes on Muslims and Muslim places of worship. Of course to Robert Spencer and company Islamophobia doesn’t exist.

In Leeds, we have the story of Muslim gravestones being desecrated:

Muslim Graves Damaged in Leeds Cemetery

Nineteen gravestones have been vandalised in a section of a Leeds cemetery used by Muslims.

One headstone was broken and a number of name plaques on wooden stands were damaged at Harehills Cemetery.

Police said they were “keeping an open mind” on whether the graves were deliberately targeted because they were linked to Muslim families.

The damage is believed to have happened overnight last Thursday. Witnesses are being asked to contact police.

Insp Nik Adams said: “This incident has caused a great deal of upset and distress to a number of people in the local community.

“Over the weekend we have worked alongside community and religious leaders to identify and contact the next of kin of those whose graves have been affected by this mindless vandalism.

“At this stage in the investigation we are keeping an open mind on whether the graves were deliberately targeted because they were linked to Muslim families or whether they were vandalised because of their proximity to a nearby path and two thoroughfares that run through the cemetery.”

In the Netherlands, that bastion of tolerance and liberty where polls have shown an increase in popularity for neo-fascist Muslim hater Geert Wilders we have the story of a pig head left by a Mosque which was also smeared with blood and animal intestines.

Groningen Mosque Smeared with Blood

A mosque in the Selward neighborhood of Groningen was smeared with blood Tuesday night, police reports. In addition to the blood, animal innards and the head of a wild boar were found by the mosque.

The Groningen city council responded in shock to the attack Thursday.

“We are deeply affected, because Groningen hadn’t known such outrages till now. Only expressions of indignation and disgust are proper here,” according to deputy mayor Frank de Vries. “This doesn’t belong in our city. We immediately promised the mosque board our support.”

The police opened an investigation and will keep extra watch for the mosque and the area.

Our final story comes from Canada, where someone obviously wants to intimidate the “Mooslims.” (via: Islamophobia-Watch)

Ontario Mosque Vandalized

waterloo-mosque-graffiti

Regional police are investigating a possible hate crime after the mosque of the Muslim Society of Waterloo & Wellington Counties was vandalized this week.

Two windows were broken and offensive graffiti painted around the Erb Street building, leaving many members to question why someone would do such a thing to a place of worship. Offensive pentagonal symbols and the numbers 666 were painted around the building. The windows that were broken were in the women’s prayer area. “It’s a hate crime,” said Faheem Uddin, president of the mosque. “It’s pretty bad. It’s upsetting.”

Yesterday, a large crowd attended a funeral at the mosque, with the graffiti and broken windows in plain view. “We just pray for the person who did this,” said Abdul Mannan. “May God guide him. We’re peace-living people. We love everyone and we want everyone to love us.”

A news release sent out by Waterloo Masjid public relations states that similar incidents have occurred at mosques in Hamilton and Montreal.

The Record, 20 March 2010

See also IQRA, 21 March 2010

 

Quebec Predictably Follows France’s Lead

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2010 by loonwatch

niqab

The Niqab issue has hit North American shores. Is it a result of the divisive dialogue and law slated for spring in France that will effectively ban the face veil? This seems likely as Quebec, the French speaking Canadian province seems to be headed in the same direction.

The veil is a hot topic of debate even amongst Muslims but one point that both sides of the debate, those who do and don’t find the face veil to be an obstacle can agree upon is that it is not the job of the government to legislate what women can and cannot wear. It seems to be the height of intrusiveness for a government to inject itself into the wardrobes of women. Western nations who pride themselves on being democracies and valuing freedom should know better then to do that.

Quebec Body Rules Against Right to Wear Niqab

A woman wearing the niqab cannot demand to be served by another woman when dealing with the Quebec Health Insurance Board, Quebec’s human-rights commission has ruled.

Concluding that religious beliefs cannot stand in the way of gender equality, the commission found that when a woman wearing the Islamic face covering is required to identify herself and proceed with the photo session needed to produce a health insurance card, the Health Insurance Board has no obligation to accommodate her request to be served by a woman.

“Since freedom of religion was not significantly undermined, there is no obligation to grant an accommodation,” the order states.

The health board had previously agreed to such requests. But last fall critics argued that the health board was acceding to religious fundamentalism.

The decision was greeted with approval in Quebec’s National Assembly yesterday by MNAs of all political stripes.

Immigration Minister Yolande James suggested the ruling will form the basis of new guidelines on religious accommodation for public services, following on the action taken last week to bar a woman from attending a free French language class for immigrants unless she agreed to take off her niqab.

Globe and Mail, 17 March 2010

Not the best video from the Young Turks but interesting nonetheless. I particularly agree with the guy about how speaking with a face veil is not an obstacle in understanding or learning.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/user/TheYoungTurks#p/u/9/_1D_0CLBZVY 350 300]

In the end this is about free choice, a choice that does not effect anyone else, a choice that does not hinder a woman from going about the normal activities of daily life. Next we are going to be hearing about grocery stores not allowing people in who wear the face veil.

 

Daniel Pipes Brings Weak Sauce: Sharia, Halakha, and Double Standards; Part 2

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by loonwatch

Daniel Pipes Brings Weak Sauce to the Discussion About Shariah Courts in the West

Daniel Pipes's favorite ingredient: weak sauce
Daniel Pipes’s favorite ingredient: weak sauce

In Part 1 of this article, we discussed Daniel Pipes’s claim that Jews don’t want to force their religious views on others, unlike Muslims who supposedly do.  In Part 2, we’ll question Daniel Pipes’ claim that Islam is inherently misogynistic.

David Green, a right-winger belonging to Civitas, declared on BBC Radio that Islamic law is totally unlike Jewish law in that it oppresses women.  Daniel Pipes uses similar reasoning, arguing that Sharia should be banned because it is–unlike Jewish Halakha–“inescapably misogynistic”:

…Ignorant, isolated [Muslim] females would submit to the inescapably misogynistic Sharia, a law code that [1] permits parents to marry off pre-pubescent girls, [2] men to marry multiple women, [3] husbands alone to divorce, [4] fathers automatically to win custody of children over certain ages, and [5] sons to inherit more than daughters.

Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?  We’ll play both defense and offense:

[1] Marriage of pre-pubescent girls

Defense:  Technically, the Sharia allows Muslim parents to contract a marriage contract on behalf of their pre-pubescent daughters, but the marriage remains suspended (mawquf) until the girl reaches maturity, whereupon she is given the right of khiyar al-bulugh, i.e. the right to annul the marriage. (For a detailed discussion of this topic, please read this here starting from page 68.)

Offense: Daniel Pipes has argued that Islamic law is unacceptable since it supposedly allows marriage of pre-pubescent girls, yet on the other hand he wholeheartedly thinks that Halakha should be allowed in the West.  Yet, Jewish law itself allows marriage of pre-pubertal girls!  According to Rabbi Naftali Silberberg of AskMoses.com, the Halakha allows Jewish girls to marry at the age of three:

What is the minimum age of marriage according to Jewish law?
by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

…In ancient (and not so ancient) times however, marriage was often-times celebrated at a rather young age. Although we do not follow this dictum, technically speaking, a girl may be betrothed the moment she is born, and married at the age of three. [Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 37:1.]

The editor of the site clarifies: “There is the technical rule, and then there is the proper, practical, and wise thing to do. The Talmud, too, agrees that technically according to Torah law a girl can be married at a very young age, but the rabbis imposed a prohibition on such an unwise practice.”  In other words, the law itself allows it, but the rabbis generally discourage or even disallow it due to practical considerations. Continue reading

Daniel Pipes Brings Weak Sauce: Sharia, Halakha, and Double Standards; Part 1

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2009 by loonwatch

Daniel Pipes Brings Some Weak Sauce

Daniel Pipes's favorite ingredient: weak sauce
Daniel Pipes’s favorite ingredient: weak sauce

In 2003, Islamophobes issued a code red, claiming that the Canadian government would soon “enforce Sharia” in Ontario.  Immediately, some people began assuming that somehow democratic law was about to be overthrown and a draconian Taliban-style corporal system enacted.  Islamophobes played up these fears, and applied pressure on the government of Ontario to outlaw Sharia.

The issue of course is that most people do not exactly understand what Sharia is, and conflate it with the term Hadud (Islamic corporal punishments).  What the Ontario government was planning on doing was to allow Muslim arbitration courts, which would have absolutely nothing to do with Hadud.  (For the record, moderate Muslims do not believe in the Taliban understanding of Hadud, contrary to what the Islamophobes insist.  They have their own moderate and reformist understanding of Hadud consistent with the contemporary age.  But, alas, this is not the topic of our discussion today, as Ontario never planned on enacting the Hadud anyways!)

Let us be clear then: Ontario was never going to allow any understanding of Hadud–“enlightened” or otherwise; rather, when people said that Sharia was going to be allowed in Ontario, the meaning of this was simply that Muslims could–if they so choose–settle their family, religious, and other civil disputes according to their religious beliefs.  (And this only if both parties agreed to do so!)  But the Islamophobes used the buzz word “Sharia”–which people mistakenly conflate with Hadud (a misconception popularized unfortunately by the Taliban)–to create controversy and fear. Continue reading