Archive for Christian

Church shows support for Murfreesboro Islamic Center

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

Those who seek peace, harmony and co-existence will overcome the voices of hate and bigotry, especially when members of different faiths and perspectives gather together and lend each other a hand.

(via. IslamophobiaToday.com)

Church shows support for Murfreesboro Islamic Center

Christian and Muslim leaders came together to support the Murfreesboro Islamic community and imam Ossama Bahloul Sunday afternoon at The Village Church in East Nashville. “We just really wanted to reach out to him and to let him know that we cared about his community and him and that we would be praying with them,” said Dr. Andrew Anyabwile, Village Church pastor.

On Tuesday, a Rutherford County judge nullified the permit to build a multimillion dollar Islamic center in Murfreesboro after ruling that not enough public notice was given before a planning commission meeting where the construction was approved.

“It seems like the Muslim community being singled out in this because we did follow the exact process of everyone else,” said Ossama Bahloul, the Murfreesboro Islamic center imam. “If we respect our constitution, then we’ll have no choice but to support each other because the freedom of religion is the core of our constitution.”

While the congregation at the Village Church had a very vocal support for the imam’s words, the Murfreesboro Islamic center still has plenty of opponents. “If they’re this peaceful, loving religion, that they claim they are, they need to abide by the laws that all of us have to,” said attorney Joe Brandon, who has been representing clients that oppose the construction of the Islamic center.

Brandon has voiced several controversial claims like the stance that Islam was not an actual religion, and the group is out to spread Sharia law. “Sharia law provides that their law dominates the law of Tennessee, the laws of all 50 states, the law of the U.S. constitution,” Brandon said.

“It seems like this is a small group with a very vocal voice against the freedom of religion in Murfreesboro,” Bahloul said. “But I am really optimistic because I know that what’s right will prevail by the end.” Bahloul said he hopes the Islamic center will open in July to celebrate the month of Ramadan.

WZTV, 4 June 2012

See also “Murfreesboro mosque ruling stirs confusion”, The Tennessean, 3 June 2012

Tom Trento Tries to Rally Shock Troops to Protest Local Muslim Conference

Posted in Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by loonwatch

Florida loon Tom Trento is perhaps only out shined in his lunacy by Joe “Nuke the Mooslims” Kaufman. (h/t: JH):

Tom Trento Tries to Rally Shock Troops to Protest Local Muslim Conference

by Jacob Hausner (Islamophobia Today)

That Tom Trento is a hate-filled propagandist is common knowledge by now. He is as much a ‘human rights’ activist as David Duke or any racist who relies on lies, half-truths and innuendo to plead his case.

Trento has for quite some time been active in agitating anti-Islam and anti-Muslim efforts in Florida. In 2008, in the run up to the election of President Barack Obama, Trento was busy peddling the hate-filled anti-Muslim movie, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War with the West.”

The website, Obsession for Hate, both catalogued and detailed the propagandistic efforts of the funders of “Obsession,” Aisha HaTorah and the Clarion Fund, to affect the outcome of the election. The not-so veiled strategy was to freely distribute 28 million DVD’s of Obsession in newspapers inside key electoral swing states, to fear-monger about the so-called pending Islamization of the USA. If anyone recalls the election of 2008, Barack Obama’s faith was a central talking point in which Republicans sought to take advantage, thinking they could sway voters by maligning the president as an evil, madrassa-indoctrinated, fifth-columnist “Muslim.”

“Obsession” failed, but that did not stop Trento.

It is 2012 now, and another election is around the corner, queue-in Trento and his fanatical band of doomsday, fear-mongering naysayers! Once again Islam and the Muslims are to be feared, and even more so, ironically because of the Arab Spring!

Trento produced the video below, calling on his compatriots to join him to protest an upcoming Islamic Society of North America conference in Florida:


Now, I would have been content to just post this article in response: ‘The United West’ Video: Is It From the Onion? No, This Lunacy is Real!, but on further consideration I don’t want to leave the Islamophobes with any excuses!

About the only thing that Trento got right in the above video is that, yes, Hasan Al-Banna did create the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928.

By now there is a plethora of well researched, academic and even lay literature on the “Muslim Brotherhood.” Just Google “Muslim Brotherhood” and you will come out with dozens of interesting titles.

One does not have to agree with or like the Muslim Brotherhood to, at the very least, concede that the Muslim Brotherhood never “joined” the Nazis in World War II. That is just a blatant lie!

So let’s look at the lies presented by Trento, one by one:

Trento Lie #1.) “Muslim Brotherhood joined the ‘Nazis’ during World War II.”

Truth: As Matthias Kuntzel noted in his book, “Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11″ (Telos Press, 2007),

‘it would be wrong to characterize the Muslim Brothers as ardent followers of the Nazis.’

Richard Wolin in an exchange with Jeffrey Herf (author of “Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World”) comments on this, saying,

Here there is simply no squaring the circle; too many aspects of Nazi ideology–its paganism, its Aryan racial doctrines, its conception of Germanic geopolitical supremacy–are incompatible with the key tenets of political Islam. As Küntzel rightly concludes, Hassan al-Banna was too devout a Muslim to latch on to someone as impious as Hitler as a political role model.

Trento Lie #2: “In 1981, that same Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Anwar Sadat.”

Truth: A quick read on Wikipedia could have easily disabused Trento of this embarrassing falsity. Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Khalid Islambouli and a group of renegade Egyptian military soldiers. Islambouli, in fact was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood but instead of a group called the “Egyptian Islamic Jihad,”

After graduating from the Egyptian Military Academy with excellent grades, he was accepted as an officer in the Bombardment Forces of the Egyptian Army with the rank of Lieutenant. Sometime after this appointment, Islambouli joined the proscribed Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement.

Trento Lie #3: “In 2011, that same Muslim Brotherhood overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, for the express purpose, as the United West predicted, to establish the Islamic caliphate in Egypt.”

Truth: Trento seems to be living in the past when the internet and new media wasn’t readily available. As it turns out it wasn’t the “Muslim Brotherhood” that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, (who wasn’t really a “president” as Trento so reverently refers to him, but a “dictator”) they were actually late to the protest game, it was a mass popular movement of “Egyptians” that toppled Mubarak. To suggest otherwise is tantamount to spitting on the sacrifices of all those brave souls who were killed, injured and tortured by Mubarak-thugs. Most rational people realize this.

Trento Lie #4: “Obama…gave the Muslim Brotherhood 1.5 billion dollars”

Truth: Seriously? Do we have to even answer this one? In fact, the money was not given to the Muslim Brotherhood, but to Egypt, just as it has been for over thirty years ever since the Camp David accords, when President Jimmy Carter reached a peace deal between Egypt and Israel.

Trento Lie #5: “Now, in May, the Muslim Brotherhood is coming to Tampa Bay, Florida for the express purpose of continuing the ‘cultural jihad’ to turn the United States eventually into an Islamic State.”

Truth: Trento is referring to the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA) “East Zone Conference.” ISNA happens to be one of the oldest and largest Muslim organizations in the United States, and perusing their website, ISNA.net, and looking at the program and topics of the conference, there was surprisingly NOT one lecture, seminar or group activity relating to “cultural jihad to turn the United States eventually into an Islamic State.”

If we were to find anything relatively close to what Trento is talking about I am sure it would have been on ISNA’s own website, right!? Alas, it does not exist, and much like Trento’s ludicrous video, this too is an outlandish, kooky lie, ginned up to try and rally anti-Islam bigots and shock troops to counter a peaceful Muslim conference.

Hopefully, Trento’s “protest” won’t devolve into the type of hate-filled “protests” we have come to know and expect from him and his friends:

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson: “Wherever Women are Taking Over, Evil Reigns”

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by loonwatch

Rev.Jesse_Lee_Peterson_Women_evil

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

by Emperor

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is a regular guest on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program and is usually brought in to be the token Black man who comes on to legitimate and provide cover for Hannity’s “criticism” (i.e. thinly-veiled racism) of the Black community. Hannity also happens to sit on the board of Rev. Peterson’s organization, BOND. (h/t: Ali)

Rev. Peterson is quite the kook, and of course every religion has ‘em, but here he is bemoaning the progress women have made in the US, saying all of the social ills we have today are due to women:


So I guess Conservatives don’t just believe in the “Islamization” of society, but also the “womenization” of society?

As you can see he wants women to be stripped of the right to vote, taken out of positions of power and essentially returned to being obedient, child producing, housewives who obey and submit to men. He even ridicules his grandmother!

Can one imagine the reaction if an Imam had said something similar to what Rev. Peterson said? Wouldn’t Islam once again be cast as the uniquely and inherently “misogynistic” faith that is irreconcilable with modernity?

Will we hear similar attributions of misogyny and anti-women positions to Christianity now?

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, along with Robert Spencer also happen to be on the list of the Young America’s Foundation‘s (YAF) “Conservative speakers.”

Spencer has appeared as a guest on Rev. Peterson’s radio show, directly after Peterson’s anti-women screed. There goes Spencer and Geller’s so-called concern for the ‘human rights’ of women! They have no problem schmoozing with clerics who want to role back the right of women to vote but will gladly try to smear Muslims as honor-killing-pro-pedophilia-misogynists:

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Sexist Sermon: ‘Greatest Mistake America Made Was Allowing Women To Vote’ [VIDEO]

by Jacob Kleinman (ibitimes)

Frequent Fox News guest Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson drew sharp criticism for arguing that women should not have the right to vote in a sermon that was posted on YouTube in March. The minister argued that women are destroying American society and wield too much political power.

Fox News host Sean Hannity has invited Peterson to speak on his show several times, even after the offensive sermon was posted online.

Even News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, corporate master of Fox, disagreed with Peterson’s sexist rant according to theDaily Mail. He tweeted in response, “When? Women voting is best thing in a hundred years.”

“I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote,” Peterson said in the sermon.

Peterson even went so far as to associate woman in politics with evil.

“We should’ve never turned this over to women,” he said. “It was a big mistake. … And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees (sic) with them who’re going to take us down this pathway of destruction.”

“And this probably was the reason that they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men,” he continued. “Because men, in the good old days, understood the nature of the woman. They were not afraid to deal with it and they understood that if they let them take over, this is what would happen.”

This is not Peterson’s first controversial and offensive statement. He previously said “thank God for slavery” because it brought African people to the United States.

Peterson has also stated, “Barack Obama hates white people, especially white men.” He argued that men should be legally permitted to hit their wives and expressed a desire to take “all black people back to the South and put them on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working.”

During his most recent offensive statement, the sermon titled “How most women are building a shameless society,” he said women are incapable of making good decisions because they get too emotional.

“You walk up to them with an issue, they freak out right away,” he said. “They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love.”

Peterson appeared on Fox News last week after being invited again by Sean Hannity, and was confronted by Democratic commentator Kirsten Power, who called the sermon “misogynistic.”

“I have a responsibility to tell the truth,” replied Peterson. “You’re on the side of lies. Why shouldn’t I be on the side of truth? And it’s the truth that’s going to make us free. Somebody gotta tell the truth, so I’m going to tell the truth.”

Peterson is the president and founder of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, a group pushing a conservative agenda among African Americans where Hannity sits on the board, and its allied BOND Action Inc. In the past he has hosted a radio talk show and a cable TV program. He is well known for fighting against affirmative action and is a member of Choose Black American, a black group fighting illegal immigration.

Originally posted on What if they were Muslim?

A Group of South Korean Christians Beg God to Strike Down Evil Lady Gaga

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2012 by loonwatch

South Koreans Pray

“Well, that’s your opinion, isn’t it? And I’m not about to waste my time trying to change it.” ― Lady Gaga

Hundreds of religious conservatives are praying together to prevent Lady Gaga from performing her “Born this Way” concert in Seoul.

South Korea has a substantial Buddhist population, and is home to East Asia’s largest Christian community, after the Philippines. The nation’s Muslim population is negligible.

The prayers are being organized by Christian groups who fear the American pop diva will corrupt the youth with “homosexuality and pornography,” which begs the question: What if they were Muslim? 

A Group of South Koreans Begs God to Strike Down Evil Lady Gaga

by Cassie MurdochJezebel

Did you feel a change in the energy of the Earth today? It could have been our new climate-change induced crazy weather, but it was probably because hundreds of South Koreans were busily praying as one in hopes of convincing God to stop Lady Gaga from performing her scheduled concert in Seoul. Why would they object to the reigning Queen of Pop appearing in their country? Because they want “to stop young people from being infected with homosexuality and pornography,” according to the Korean Association of Church Communities. And here we had no idea that pornography and homosexuality were diseases that could be spread through song. You really do learn something new every day!

These crazed opponents of Lady Gaga’s “lewd lyrics and performances” have been raising quite a fuss. They’ve protested outside the officies of Hyundai Card, the show’s sponsor, and they also put up banners all over Seoul. The banners were taken down, but the state did raise the show from 12 and over to 18 and over. The prayer gathering is the last hope to stop Lady Gaga’s infectious grooves from poisoning the hearts of South Koreans. Organizers of the event, which was expected to draw about 300 Protestants, said, “We will pray to God that the concert will not be realised so that homosexuality and pornography will not spread around the country.” I’m sure God will be listening with an open heart and strike down Lady Gaga with a nasty case of laryngitis—or he’ll be too busy determining the outcome of various sporting events to act. We’ll just have to wait until April 27th to find out if the show will go on without holy intervention.

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

Sacramento Muslims Open Mosque to Easter Service

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

Members of the Spiritual Life Center of Sacramento have their Easter morning services for their Christian church, at the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) auditorium next to their mosque in Sacramento, Calif., April 08, 2012.  Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/08/4399608/easter-sunday-at-salam-mosque.html?mi_rss=Photo%20Galleries#storylink=cpy

Members of the Spiritual Life Center of Sacramento have their Easter morning services for their Christian church, at the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) auditorium next to their mosque in Sacramento, Calif., April 08, 2012.

Sacramento Muslims open mosque to Easter service

http://bcove.me/7blioua1
SACRAMENTO – A Sacramento congregation was facing an Easter without a home this year until the most unlikely of locations opened their doors and welcomed them inside.

The Spiritual Life Center of Sacramento lost the lease to their church a month prior to their biggest service of the year, but Reverend Michael Moran said a dream offered hope in the face of despair.

“We were desperately looking for a place to hold our Easter services. I had a dream and in the dream I saw a newspaper headline that read, ‘Easter at the Mosque’,” reveals Moran. “But when I awoke, I said that will never happen.”

But in an act of compassion and generosity, the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) turned Moran’s dream into reality.

Ifran Itaq of SALAM said the decision to allow Moran’s congregation to celebrate their faith at the mosque was simple.

“For us, mosques, churches, synagogues are places where God’s name is mentioned and they are holy places, and this is the sharing of those faiths in one of those institutions.”

Beyond the surface-level expression of hospitality and good will, Moran believes the interfaith congregation on Easter Sunday holds much greater significance.

“Our mission from the very beginning was to bring the different faith traditions together in cooperative efforts,” Moran explains. “I love what the Dalai Lama said, he said, “Until there’s peace among the world’s religions, there will never be peace on earth. I think this is one of those steps towards peace.”

News10/KXTV

—————————————————————————————————–

At great personal risk, John Oliver witnesses Muslims praying in a church’s all-purpose room.
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-may-5-2011/big-mohammed-s-house

Robert Spencer Fail: Tries to Use Death of Pope Shenouda III to Promote Sectarianism and Islamophobia

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2012 by loonwatch

JihadWatch’s anti-Muslim fear-mongering director Robert Spencer likes to selectively highlight the most egregious and sectarian statements by Muslims to further his hate agenda against Islam/Muslims.

In the wake of the death of the Coptic Pope Shenouda III he posted a piece about how a cleric named Wagdi Ghoneim said that the death of Pope Shenouda was a “relief” because the Pope caused “sectarian strife” and sought to make Egypt into a “Coptic state.”

To address that specifically, I wonder if the irony is lost on Wagdi Ghoneim, he accused Pope Shenouda of having furthered “sectarian strife” but by writing what he did he himself engaged in “sectarian strife.”

While there are small fringe groups of Copts who wish to turn Egypt into a Coptic state, trying to push this concept as emerging from the Pope, or the mainstream of Copts is similar to the “Islamization” myth that ironically Spencer and his acolytes regularly engage in. The Pope himself was a nationalist and opposed “foreign intervention” and stated that while Copts are “marginalized” in Egypt they are not “oppressed.”

That said, the main point I want to highlight is the fact that Robert Spencer is attempting to shift focus from the overwhelming support and expressions of condolences and grief from Muslims for the passing of the Pope. He chooses one cleric and tries to attribute it as the general feeling of Muslim Egyptians.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

High ranking Muslim politicians, scholars, clerics, intellectuals and lay people expressed their sympathy and sadness at his passing.

“His holiness lived and died as a loyal patriot to his country,” Parliament Speaker Saad el-Katatni, an Islamist, told a joint meeting of the two chambers of parliament Saturday.

Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, the highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni world, offered his condolences to the Egyptian people for such a great loss, saying,

“Egypt has lost one of its rare men at a sensitive moment when it most needs the wisest of its wise – their expertise and their purity of minds.”

Egypt Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa also mourned the deceased pontiff as a great Egyptian and patriot, saying,

“His death is a tragedy and a great loss for Egypt and its people of Muslims and Christians.”

Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm and the party with the largest majority in parliament stated,

“The Freedom and Justice Party sends its deepest condolences to the Egyptian people and our Christian brothers over the death of Pope Shenouda III,” FJP leader Mohamed Mursi said.

Presidential contenders such as Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq also expressed their sadness,

Presidential aspirant Amr Moussa said he was saddened by Pope Shenouda’s death.

“We have lost a great value and a pre-eminent pope,” said Ahmed Shafiq, another presidential contender, and a Mubarak-era prime minister.

For more see: Egypt Muslims Mourn Pope Shenouda’s Passing

Here is a picture of Egyptian Christians expressing their thanks and reciprocating the “love” they received at the death of their leader:

Pope_Shenouda_Muslim_Christian_Unity

Egyptian Christians stand in front of a picture of the late Pope Shenouda III after receiving condolences from both Muslims and Christians. Signs read in Arabic (H/T: ZH):
“We feel your love. Thank you, Muslim brothers and sisters”

Hollywood Hates on a Muslim Sean Stone

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Media, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2012 by loonwatch
Sean Stone Sean Stone
Sean Ali Stone

Twitter and the general looniverse was abuzz with the angry reactions of Islamophobes to  Sean Stone’s conversion to Islam, we covered the episode in our post, Oliver Stone’s Son Converts to Islam: The “Islamization” of Hollywood Continues?

In the most recent update to the story Stone discusses the reaction he has received both in the film industry and at large:

“I’ve already experienced the reverse of anti-Semitism, having people within the film industry express a reluctance to work with me now that I have said a simple prayer, ‘There is no God but God, and Mohammed is his messenger.’ I am sure I have [bleeped] off some powerful people.”

…..

“I didn’t realize I would be so vilified. It is almost like I am a criminal for having accepted Islam. I didn’t realize Islamophobia was that deep. People have speculated that I have done this because I am from a spoiled family or that I am lost and trying to find myself. That is ridiculous.

“I don’t care if I get criticized. If I can open up a debate about religion and create some understanding, then it is worth it.”

The below report is from the NY Post, not our favorite news source, but if you get a chance you will see that the majority of the comments are exceptionally Islamophobic and anti-Muslim in tone.

H’wood snubs Muslim Stone

(NY Post)

Sean Stone, son of controversial director Oliver Stone, converted to Islam in Iran last week and says he’s already experiencing a Hollywood backlash.

The ceremony was held in Isfahan, where he is researching a documentary. He now goes by the name of Sean Christopher Ali Stone.

He told Page Six: “I’ve already experienced the reverse of anti-Semitism, having people within the film industry express a reluctance to work with me now that I have said a simple prayer, ‘There is no God but God, and Mohammed is his messenger.’ I am sure I have [bleeped] off some powerful people.” Speaking over dinner at Barrio 47, Sean told us, “Having read the Koran and having been around the Islamic culture, especially in Iran, I do believe that Mohammed is a prophet of the same god worshipped by other religions.

“I am of a Jewish bloodline, a baptized Christian who accepts Christ’s teachings, the Jewish Old Testament and the Holy Koran. I believe there is one God, whether called Allah or Jehovah or whatever you wish to name him. He creates all peoples and religions. I consider myself a Jewish Christian Muslim.

“What I am trying to do is open up a dialogue about religion. There is such Islamophobia in the West. Islam is not a religion of violence any more than Judaism or Christianity is.”

He said his dad welcomed the move.

“My dad said, ‘Allah be with you.’ My father understands that I am trying to bridge certain gaps and bring about peace.”

But he has been shocked by the reaction from others. Sean, about to release his horror movie “Graystone,” said, “I didn’t realize I would be so vilified. It is almost like I am a criminal for having accepted Islam. I didn’t realize Islamophobia was that deep. People have speculated that I have done this because I am from a spoiled family or that I am lost and trying to find myself. That is ridiculous.

“I don’t care if I get criticized. If I can open up a debate about religion and create some understanding, then it is worth it.”

At Florida Town Hall, Rick Santorum Cowardly Panders To Woman Who Alleges Obama Is ‘An Avowed Muslim’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by loonwatch

At Florida Town Hall, Rick Santorum Cowardly Panders To Woman Who Alleges Obama Is ‘An Avowed Muslim’

By Faiz Shakir

At a Rick Santorum town hall meeting in Lady Lake, Florida moments ago, a woman stood up to declare that she doesn’t like to refer to “President Obama as president because, legally, he is not.” While the audience gasped and clapped at the comment, Santorum restrained himself, refusing to utter a critical word.

The lady continued, Obama “totally ignores” the Constitution, prompting a nod of approval from Santorum. Then she went even further with her conspiracy rant:

He is an avowed Muslim. [applause] And my question is: why isn’t something being done to get him out of our government? He has no legal right to be calling himself President.

In an exemplary show of cowardice, Santorum did not tell the woman that she had her facts wrong or even bother to distance himself from the previous comments. Instead, he did the opposite, giving sanction to her views. “I’m doing my best to get him out” of office, Santorum said, “and you’re right about — he uniformly ignores the Constitution.”

The tail continued to wag the dog as the lady pressed Santorum for tougher language about Obama’s unconstitutionality. Santorum meekly responded, “I agree with you in the sense that he is – he does things that are against the values and the founding principles of our country.” Watch it:

First, of course, Obama is not an “avowed Muslim.” He is a Christian.

And he certainly has every right to be calling himself President as he was soundly elected by the people and has sworn an oath (twice) to uphold his duty to serve and protect the United States.

For Santorum, who frequently touts the need for strong “leadership” in this country, today’s profile in weakness shows he’s unable to stand up to his own right-wing fringe.

Dutch Mosques Defaced 117 Times

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by loonwatch

Dutch mosques defaced 117 times

Between 2005 and 2010 mosques in the Netherlands were defaced 117 times, according to research by social researcher Ineke van der Valk. The acts of vandalism were motivated by a hatred of Islam, the researcher is quoted as saying on VPRO radio programme Argos.

In 43 cases, the mosques were daubed with offensive symbols or slogans. In 37 instances, the mosques sustained material damage. In 99 of the incidents the police failed to find any of the culprits. In the United States there were 42 similar incidents during the same period. Most of the vandalised mosques in the Netherlands are located outside the major cities.

There are some 450 mosques in The Netherlands, which has a population of more than 16.5 million. Some five percent of the population is believed to be Muslim, some 44 percent Christian and over 41 percent agnostic. As a percentage of the population, the Netherlands has Europe’s second-largest Muslim community, inferior only to France, which has a Muslim community of more than nine percent.

(cl)

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin: If Tim Tebow Were Muslim, Would America Still Love Him?

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by loonwatch

If Tim Tebow Were Muslim, Would America Still Love Him?

The phenomenon that is Tim Tebow has extended outside the realms of the gridiron and into pop culture. Does he have God on his side? Would America love him if he was just as conservative and just as vocal, yet a member of the Islamic faith?

A version of this question was posed by Fox News recently. It was wrapped under the banner of their yearly “war on Christmas” with the subheading of a “war on Christians.” They argued that the voices calling for him to pipe down about his faith were anathema to a war on the Christian faith and that this is a growing and disturbing trend. They argued that the founding fathers initially came here for religious freedom and those freedoms were under attack.

To that last point I agree. Religious freedoms are under attack. Lots of freedoms are under attack. As a Muslim in this country there are countless examples of religious freedoms being questioned by the majority the least of which is this current fracas where the Lowe’s hardware store has pulled its money from ads on the “All-American Muslim” reality TV show. A show, from all accounts, that is neither universally reflective of American Muslims, but also, to right wing (nut) groups, does not expose Muslims for the real threat that they are.

So, it is in this cultural moment that we come to see Tebow Time every weekend. He plays terrible for three quarters and then, when all hope is lost, when the game is down to the wire, and the amazing defense of the Broncos (that love to watch him play instead of sitting when the offense is playing) puts him in a position to drive the team down the field, score to win or tie to go to overtime. They have done it consistently all season. The undefeated Green Bay Packers are now a side story to all that is the Denver Broncos led by Tim Tebow, probably the first home-schooled quarterback in American history. At the end of every game, Tebow, the child of Baptist missionaries, says the following: “First I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

I talked about this recently on Public Radio’s “The Takeaway.” It’s not like he is the first athlete to be vocal about his faith. In reality, football is a very faith-filled sport. The Lord’s Prayer is recited in almost every locker room in the country (save one town in Michigan that says the opening chapter of the Quran). As a Muslim, I know the Lord’s Prayer by heart because I played football for 13 years.

No, faith and football are not a new combination. What is new is Tebow.

What makes him irresistible is this collision of a series of factors: the media-saturated world we are in makes it so that we know far too much about athletes and public figures than ever before. Tebow is unique because he is both an underdog and a winner. He is both humble and non-judgmental — a dynamite combination for any human being. FInally, his fellow teammates love him, he does not drink, smoke or do drugs, he is celibate, unmarried, and he has a winning smile and personality.

People of faith should be cheering this model Christian on. Anyone of any passion should be exalting his independent thinking and supporting his right to speak freely about what he holds dear.

But what if he were Muslim? Americans look to people who are successful and they want to be like them. So, in some ways, young people want to be like him. If he were Muslim, would young people want to be Muslim? Would that scare people?

If he was Muslim would it be, as Fox News suggests, that everyone would be more careful when attacking him because the world is more sympathetic to Islam and on a march against Christianity?

Perhaps guilt that exists within Christians that were raised Christian but aren’t “practicing” Christianity in a particular way. They are uncomfortable about their faith. They see him out there with his public proclamations and it makes them feel like bad Christians. Would a “Muslim” Tebow, with all the qualities of humility and grace that Tebow exhibits, then make reactionary, and self-absorbed, Muslims feel like they were bad Muslims?

Tebow makes people that are faithful feel two ways. Some want him to be private about his faith and simply live by example. Others are like “Yes! That’s awesome!”

In general, some of the best people of any faith are too concerned about their own development and that challenges of living in this intensely secular culture to be worried about telling others what they should or should not be or do. That’s Tim Tebow. He’s concerned about his own development. That’s what everyone admires him for. He does not really care about what you think and you feel like he wants you to be as ecstatic about what you believe as he is. But would it be the same if he were a Muslim?

Finally, the big question: Is God on Tebow’s side? Obviously we will never know the answer. I will say this: If the Broncos continue at the pace they are going, make it to the playoffs, have a miraculous run all the way to the Superbowl, and if their defense is good enough to keep the game under 10 points and you give Tim Tebow the ball at the end of the game, then you might see Tebow as the Superbowl champion. Would we think he had God on his side this whole year?

And what if he did all that and the first thing he said in the interview was: “First, I would like to thank Allah and send blessings upon Prophet Muhammad.”

Would America think God was on his side then?

Follow Ibrahim Abdul-Matin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ibrahimSalih

Pastor Says Yoga Is ‘Demonic’; Warns Christians To Reject It

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2011 by loonwatch
Yoga_Devil“Your Yoga Instructor For Eternity”

(via. What If they were Muslim?)

This story reminds us here at “What If” of the Malaysian Fatwa against yoga and the Islamophobes who rallied against it. Robert Spencer’s writers proclaimed:
“Why should we look for other alternatives to exercise and search for peace? Yoga could cause (Muslims) to stray from their faith because its movements are according to the style and traditions of Hinduism.”
Will Spencer and his cronies repeat the same thing in a Christian context?

Pastor Says Yoga Is ‘Demonic’; Warns Christians To Reject It

In his blog, Pastor Mark Driscoll from the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, says that “yoga is a religious philosophy that is in direct opposition to Christianity”. Because of this, he believes that “yoga cannot be simply received by any Christian in good conscious”.

Say what?

Not that this is the first time we’ve heard such rubbish about the conflicts between yoga and religion, but for the last time, can someone please tell these people that yoga is not a religion?

But even if we did tell him this (and other people have), the good Pastor refuses to believe it. In fact, he says yoga is downright demonic and he compares it to being as bad as adultery–which is nothing but a huge stretch (pun intended):

There is nothing wrong with stretching, exercising, or regulating one’s stress through breathing. But when the tenets of yoga are included, it’s by definition a worship act to spirit beings other than the God of the Bible. By way of analogy, there is nothing inherently wrong with intimacy, sex, and pleasure. But when the tenets of adultery are included, it’s a sinfully idolatrous worship act. A faithful Christian can no more say they are practicing yoga for Jesus than they can say they are committing adultery for Jesus.

Pastor Mark goes on to say that we just don’t understand what yoga really is. To which I say, do you, Pastor? Have you ever tried it? Have you experienced the true goodness that can come to your mind, body and spirit when you start flowing in some of the awesome poses and vinyasas? Doubtful, because he believes that we simply cannot get down on our mats while “ignoring the religious aspects of the practice of yoga”.

Yes, some people choose to incorporate spirituality into their practice, which is completely fine. To each yogi, her own. But since when does spirituality equal religion? Can’t we just open our hearts and our minds to the possibility that we can express gratitude and thanks and creativity and acceptance without a particular religious belief being a part of that? I, for one, have never had a yoga teacher quote from the Bible or any other religious readings during class, but even if I did, I’m pretty sure I’d be OK with that.

Yet Pastor Mark still rejects the idea that we can grow spiritually without church. In fact, he says the only real way to do so is through Christianity.

Sigh.

I say we all get down on our mats today and send some hearty “OMs” to the good Pastor.

Photo: lululemonathletica.com

Islamic Center Hosts Free Clinic

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by loonwatch

Islamic Center Hosts Free Clinic

Carla Lewis had never been in a mosque before and she wasn’t sure what to expect.

“Because I’m a Christian, and you hear all this propaganda that if you’re not Muslim, you’re their enemy,” she said.

Still, she entered, a little confused for a moment about where to go and how to behave until someone showed up to assist her.

“Are you here for the clinic? Let me show you the way,” someone offered.

Lewis, a 47-year-old truck driver, said her private health insurance lapsed in April after she took a leave of absence to care for her ill child. She needed a physical exam before returning to work, so a flier in the library piqued her interest.

It was advertising a free medical clinic at the Islamic Center of Tucson.

“I came and found it was not what I thought,” Lewis said. “People were very friendly and professional and welcoming.”

When organizers first conceived of the clinic, they hoped to reach people who, like Lewis, never had direct experience with Tucson’s Islamic community.

The clinic was the brainchild of Yahya Nomaan, 20, a pre-med student at the University of Arizona and the son of a pediatrician.

With hostile rhetoric about Islam growing to a crescendo in recent years over the building of mosques in communities from New York to California, Nomaan saw the need to highlight the contributions of Muslim Americans.

“You go to any hospital, you have a Doctor Khan, you have a Doctor Hassan,” he said. “Clearly medicine is our forte.”

So Nomaan and his father, Dr. Mohammed Nomaan, decided to start a free monthly medical clinic. The Islamic Center of Tucson offered its space, and local doctors from the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America volunteered to staff it.

During a recent clinic, the younger Nomaan and other volunteers circled the brightly lighted waiting area, taking vital signs and making small talk with patients.

Maryam Tanbal – an earnest 17-year-old with a disarming smile – greeted patients and gave them the requisite paperwork.

She said sometimes people seem a little hesitant when they first arrive because they’re unsure how to behave in a mosque. They wonder if they need to take their shoes off, for example.

She assures them that while shoes should not be worn in the rooms where prayers are held, the clinic is located in a separate area, and patients should keep their shoes on.

October marked the sixth clinic at the Islamic Center, and the younger Nomaan said the operation goes smoother each time. In the past, tiny glitches have arisen – one of the rooms in the mosque was locked, or a blood pressure cuff broke.

“Today was the first clinic with no hiccups,” Nomaan said. “We have God to praise for that.”

If you go

• Clinic location: Islamic Center of Tucson, 901 E. First St.

• When: Last Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Contact: 329-1428

• Cost: Free

• Appointments: Recommended but not required

Anissa Tanweer is a University of Arizona student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at starapprentice@azstarnet.com or 573-4117.

“Strong Christian” Gunman Opens Fire, Killing Three

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch
Shareef AllmanShareef Allman

A quarry worker opened fire on his co-workers on October 5 in California, killing three and wounding six others. The man, Shareef Allman, was shot and killed by police officers the next day. The gunman was described as a “devoted single father of two, a strong Christian and the author of a novel about the evils of domestic violence.”

As the article said:

When Allman started shooting, Ambrosio said, he shouted: “You guys want to (expletive) with me? You want to (expletive) with me?”

What if he was Muslim? What do you think the Islamophobes would have been screaming?

TERRORISM!

SHARIA!

ISLAM IS EVIL!

THE QURAN IS VIOLENT!

But, when a “strong Christian” opens fire and kills innocent people…it is just an aberration. He is certainly not a terrorist. I smell double standard…don’t you?

Threat to America’s Freedom? It’s Not Islamic Law

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

Imagine, for a minute, that Muslims in America were openly advocating at meetings and conferences to take control of major sectors of public life, such as the government, media, and the law.

Imagine further that Muslims had built law schools, accredited no less, with the agenda to teach its students that America should be governed by Islamic law.

And imagine a little further that the leaders of this Muslim movement to Islamicize America were openly calling for America to become a Muslim nation.

And just imagine that all of the above was being absorbed into a major American political party and that some members of this Muslim mission were in Congress and were also looking to become the next President of the United States.

Of course, there would be mass hysteria and panic at such a notion. But none of the above is actually happening. Instead, replace Muslim with Christian and that is precisely what is currently occurring in America.

But of course, certain Islamophobes would have us worry about an imagined threat from Muslim-Americans–who make up a measly 2% of the U.S. population–rather than the Christian groups out there who are actively working to Christianize America, and who have been working at this for over three decades with the aid of one of the two main political parties.

Many of these evangelical Christian groups are actively looking to restrict the rights of women, members of the LGBT community, and to force their religious viewpoint on to the rest of the country.  Worse yet, advocates of Christian dominionism call for world conquest, to subjugate the infidel nations of the world to Christian domination.

Here is an excellent article from Sarah Posner on dominionism (emphasis added)–just imagine how utterly insane Islamophobes would go if Muslim were substituted for Christian here:

The Christian right’s “dominionist” strategy

by Sarah Posner

An article in the Texas Observer last month about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s relationship with followers of a little-known neo-Pentecostal movement sparked a frenzied reaction from many commentators: Dominionism! Spiritual warfare! Strange prophecies!

All the attention came in the weeks before and after “The Response,” Perry’s highly publicized prayer rally modeled on what organizers believe is the “solemn assembly” described in Joel 2, in which “end-times warriors” prepare the nation for God’s judgment and, ultimately, Christ’s return. This “new” movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, is one strand of neo-Pentecostalism that draws on the ideas of dominionism and spiritual warfare. Its adherents display gifts of the spirit, the religious expression of Pentecostal and charismatic believers that includes speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing and a belief in signs, wonders and miracles. These evangelists also preach the “Seven Mountains” theory of dominionism: that Christians need to take control of different sectors of public life, such as government, the media and the law.

The NAR is not new, but rather derivative of charismatic movements that came before it. Its founder, C. Peter Wagner, set out in the 1990s to create more churches, and more believers. Wagner’s movement involves new jargon, notably demanding that believers take control of the “Seven Mountains” of society (government, law, media and so forth), but that’s no different from other iterations of dominionism that call on Christians to enter these fields so that they are controlled by Christians.

After Perry’s prayer rally, Rachel Maddow featured a segment on her MSNBC show in which she warned,

“The main idea of the New Apostolic Reformation theology is that they are modern day prophets and apostles. They believe they have a direct line to God … the way that they’re going to clear the way for it [the end of the world] is by infiltrating and taking over politics and government.”

Maddow’s ahistorical treatment of the NAR, however, overlooked several important realities. For anyone who has followed the growth of neo-Pentecostal movements, and in particular the coalition-building between the political operatives of the religious right and these lesser-known but still influential religious leaders, the NAR is just another development in the competitive, controversial, outrageous, authoritarian and often corrupt tapestry of the world of charismatic evangelists.

Before the NAR came along, plenty of charismatic leaders believed themselves to be prophets and apostles with a direct line to God. They wrote books about spiritual warfare, undergirded by conspiracy theories about liberals and Satan and homosexuality and feminism and more (my own bookshelves are filled with them). They preached this on television. They preached it at conferences. They made money from it. They all learned from each other.

Before the NAR, Christian right figures promoted dominionism, too, and the GOP courted these religious leaders for the votes of their followers. Despite a recent argument by the Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg that “we have not seen this sort of thing at the highest levels of the Republican Party before,” it’s been there since at least 1980. Michele Bachmann is a product of it; so was Mike Huckabee. Ronald Reagan pandered to it; so did both Bushes; so does Perry.

In 2007, I saw Cindy Jacobs and other “apostles” lay hands on Shirley Forbes, wife of Rep. Randy Forbes, the founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which boasts some Democrats as members and many of the GOP’s leading lights. “You are going to be the mother of an army,” they told Forbes, prophesying that she would “speak the power of the word into politics and government. Hallelujah!”

The idea that Christians have a sacred duty to get involved in politics, the law and media, and otherwise bring their influence to bear in different public spheres is the animating principle behind the religious right. If you attend a Values Voters Summit, the annual Washington confab hosted by the Family Research Council, you’ll hear speakers urging young people to go into media, or view Hollywood as a “mission field.” That’s because they insist these institutions have been taken over by secularists who are causing the downfall of America with their anti-Christian beliefs.

A few days ago, the Washington Post’s religion columnist, Lisa Miller, took Goldberg and Maddow to task for overhyping dominionism as a plot to take over the world. Miller, though, misses the boat, too, by neglecting to acknowledge and describe the infrastructure the religious right has built, driven by the idea of dominionism.

Oral Roberts University Law School, where Bachmann earned her law degree, was founded with this very notion in mind: to create an explicitly Christian law school. Herb Titus, the lawyer converted by Christian Reconstructionism who was instrumental in its launch, describes his mission in developing a Christian law school as a fulfillment of a “dominion mandate.” After ORU was absorbed into Regent University in the 1980s, Titus was the mentor to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who last week was elevated to chair of the Republican Governors Association and is widely speculated to be a possible vice-presidential pick.

Christian Reconstructionists, and their acolytes of the Constitution Party, believe America should be governed by biblical law. In her 1995 book, “Roads to Dominion: Right Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States,” Sara Diamond describes the most significant impact of Reconstructionism on dominionism:

“the diffuse influence of the ideas that America was ordained a Christian nation and that Christians, exclusively, were to rule and reign.” While most Christian right activists were “not well-versed in the arcane teachings” of Christian Reconstructionism, she wrote, “there was a wider following for softer forms of dominionism.”

For the Christian right, it’s more a political strategy than a secret “plot” to “overthrow” the government, even as some evangelists describe it in terms of “overthrowing” the powers of darkness (i.e., Satan), and even some more radical, militia-minded groups do suggest such a revolution. In general, though, the Christian right has been very open about its strategy and has spent a lot of money on it: in the law, as just one example, there are now two ABA-accredited Christian law schools, at Regent (which absorbed the ORU law school) and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. There are a number of Christian law firms, like the Alliance Defense Fund, formed as a Christian counterweight to the ACLU. Yet outsiders don’t notice that this is all an expression of dominionism, until someone from that world, like Bachmann, hits the national stage.

John Turner, University of South Alabama historian and author of “Bill Bright and the Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America,” said that the NAR’s “Seven Mountains” dominionism is “just a catchy phrase that encapsulates what Bright and many other evangelical leaders were already doing — trying to increase Christian influence (they would probably use more militant phrases like ‘capture’) in the spheres of education, business and government.”

Bright, like Perry’s prayer cohorts, believed America was in trouble (because of the secularists) and needed to repent. One of the most well-known evangelicals in the country, Bright had agreed to let Virginia Beach preacher John Gimenez, a charismatic, organize the rally, despite evangelical discomfort with charismatic religious expression. In his book, Turner describes the Washington for Jesus rally of 1980:

From the platform, Bright offered his interpretation of the source of the country’s problems, asserting that “[w]e’ve turned from God and God is chastening us.” “You go back to 1962 and [196]3 [when the Supreme Court banned school-sponsored prayer and Bible-reading],” Bright argued, “and you’ll discovered a series of plagues that came upon America.” Bright cited the Vietnam War, increased drug use, racial conflict, Watergate, and a rise in divorce, teenage pregnancy, and alcoholism as the result of those decisions. “God is saying to us,” he concluded, “‘Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!’” … “Unless we repent and turn from our sin,” warned Bright, “we can expect to be destroyed.”

Unlike Perry’s rally, Ronald Reagan the candidate wasn’t present at the Washington for Jesus rally. At a 2007 gathering at his church, Gimenez recounted how he and Bright later met with President Reagan, and Bright told him, “You were elected on April 29, 1980, when the church prayed that God’s will would be done.”

In August 1980, though, after Reagan had clinched the nomination, he did appear at a “National Affairs Briefing” in Texas, where televangelist James Robison (also instrumental in organizing Perry’s event) declared, “The stage is set. We’ll either have a Hitler-type takeover, or Soviet domination, or God is going to take over this country.” After Robison spoke, Reagan took the stage and declared to the 15,000 activists assembled by Moral Majority co-founder Ed McAteer, “You can’t endorse me, but I endorse you.”

That was also a big moment for Huckabee, who worked as Robison’s advance man. It was even imitated by then-candidate Barack Obama, who met with a group of evangelicals and charismatics in Chicago and repeated Reagan’s infamous line. Obama’s group included publisher Stephen Strang (an early endorser of Huckabee’s 2008 presidential bid) and his son Cameron, whose magazines Charisma and Relevant help promote the careers of the self-declared modern-day prophets and apostles. Huckabee appeared with Lou Engle at his 2008 The Call rally on the National Mall (like Perry’s, billed as a “solemn assembly”) in which Engle exhorted his prayer warriors to battlesatanic forces to defeat “Antichrist legislation.”

When I interviewed former Bush family adviser Doug Wead for my 2008 book, “God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters,” he gave me a lengthy memo he compiled for George H.W. Bush in 1985, to prepare him for his 1988 presidential run. In the memo, he identified a thousand “targets,” religious leaders across the country whose followers, Wead believed, could be mobilized to the voting booth.

In my book, I examined the theology and politics of the Word of Faith movement (also known as the prosperity gospel) and how Republicans cultivated the leading lights of the movement. Primarily because of television, but also because of the robust (and profitable) speaking circuit these evangelists maintain, they have huge audiences. All that was in spite of — just as the scrutiny of NAR figures now is revealing — outlandish, strange and even heretical theology. What’s more, Word of Faith figures have endlessly been embroiled in disputes not just with their theological critics, but with watchdogs and former parishioners who charge they took their money for personal enrichment, promising that God would bring them great health and wealth if they would only “sow a seed.”

At Gimenez’s 2007 event, Engle and the other “apostles” were not the stars; rather, the biggest draw was Word of Faith televangelist Kenneth Copeland. In 1998, writing to Karl Rove, Wead called Copeland “arguably one of the most important religious leaders in the nation.” At Gimenez’s church, Copeland, who has boasted that his ministry has brought in more the $1 billion over his career, preached for two hours. The sanctuary was packed, with the audience hanging on every word. Gimenez introduced him as “God’s prophet,” and Copeland urged them to “get rid of the evening news and the newspaper,” study “the uncompromised word of the Holy Ghost,” and take “control over principalities.”

The commenters who have jumped on the NAR frequently overstate the size of its following. Engle’s events, for example, are often smaller than advertised, including a poorly attended revival at Liberty University in April 2010, where one would expect a ready-made audience. When I’ve covered these sorts of events, including smaller conferences by local groups inspired by figures they see on television, it’s often hard to see how the often meandering preachers are going to take over anything, even while it’s clear they cultivate an authoritarian hold on their followers. I meet a lot of sincere, frequently well-intentioned people who believe they must be “obedient” to God’s word as imparted by the “prophets.”

Most chilling, though, is the willingness to engage in what’s known in the Word of Faith world as “revelation knowledge,” or believing, as Copeland exhorted his audience to do, that you learn nothing from journalism or academia, but rather just from the Bible and its modern “prophets.” It is in this way that the self-styled prophets have had their greatest impact on our political culture: by producing a political class, and its foot soldiers, who believe that God has imparted them with divine knowledge that supersedes what all the evil secularists would have you believe.

Last week CNN’s Jack Cafferty asked, “How much does it worry you if both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have ties to dominionism?” That worry crops up every election cycle. If people really understood dominionism, they’d worry about it between election cycles.

However, it’s the Moozlums we’re supposed to worry about.

To clarify though, LoonWatch is not pressing the panic button: the threat from the religious right is very real, but we don’t think it’s a doomsday situation.  All we’re saying is that the threat from the Christian right is certainly greater than this imaginary threat from Muslims and all this Sharia-nonsense.

Daily Show with Jon Stewart: In the Name of the Fodder

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2011 by loonwatch

Jon Stewart

Daily Show with Jon Stewart: In the Name of the Fodder

The Fox rapid-response team makes a plea to distinguish violence in the name of a religion from the practitioners and tenets of that religion as long as it’s Christianity.

Norway attacks suspect admits responsibility

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2011 by loonwatch
Oslo Terrorism BombingOslo Terrorism Bombing

Norway attacks suspect admits responsibility

(AlJazeeraEnglish)

The man suspected of a gun and bomb attack in Norway has called his deeds atrocious yet necessary, his defence lawyer said.

“He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary,” defence lawyer Geir Lippestad told TV2 news on Saturday.

Lippestad said his client had said he was willing to explain himself in a court hearing on Monday. The court will decide at the hearing whether to keep the suspect in detention pending trial.

Earlier on Saturday, officials in Norway had charged a 32-year-old Norwegian man with killing at least 92 people in a gun and bomb attack described as the worst act of violence in the country since World War II.

Police confirmed to Al Jazeera on Saturday that the suspect had been named as Anders Behring Breivik.

Breivik, who confessed to firing weapons during questioning on Saturday, belonged to right-wing political groups. But officials said they are not jumping to conclusions about his motives.

Reports suggest he belonged to an anti-immigration party, wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and was a member of a neo-Nazi online forum.

But Norwegian authorities said Breivik, detained by police after 85 people were gunned down at a youth camp and another 7 killed in an Oslo bomb attack on Friday, was previously unknown to them and his internet activity traced so far included no calls to violence.

‘Beyond comprehension’

Breivik bought six tonnes of fertiliser before the massacre, a supplier said on Saturday, as police investigated witness accounts of a second shooter in the attack on Utoya.

If convicted on terrorism charges, Breivik would face a maximum of 21 years in jail, police said

If convicted on terrorism charges, he would face a maximum of 21 years in jail, police have said.

Norway’s royal family and prime minister led the nation in mourning, visiting grieving relatives of the scores of youth gunned down at an island retreat, as the shell-shocked Nordic nation was gripped by reports that the gunman may not have acted alone.

The shooting spree began just hours after a massive explosion that ripped through an Oslo high-rise building housing the prime minister’s office.

“This is beyond comprehension. It’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for those who have been killed, for their mothers and fathers, family and friends,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Saturday.

Though the prime minister cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the gunman’s motives, both attacks were in areas connected to the left-leaning Labour Party, which leads a coalition government.

The youth camp, about 35km northwest of Oslo, is organised by the party’s youth wing, and the prime minister had been scheduled to speak there on Saturday.

‘Christian fundamentalist’ views

The blond-haired Behring Breivik described himself on his Facebook page as “conservative”, “Christian”, and interested in hunting and computer games like World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2, reports say.

On his Twitter account, he posted only one message, dated July 17, in English based on a quote from British philosopher John Stuart Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to a force of 100,000 who have only interests”.

The suspect was reportedly also a member of a Swedish neo-Nazi internet forum, a group monitoring far-right activity said on Saturday.

Nordisk, a 22,000-member web forum founded in 2007, describes itself as a portal on the theme of “the Nordic identity, culture and traditions.”

In comments from 2009-2010 to other people’s articles on another website, Document, which calls itself critical of Islam, Breivik criticised European policies of trying to accommodate the cultures of different ethnic groups.

“When did multi-culturalism cease to be an ideology designed to deconstruct European culture, traditions, identity and nation-states?” said one his entries, posted on February 2, 2010.

Breivik wrote he was a backer of the “Vienna School of Thought”, which was against multi-culturalism and the spread of Islam.

He also wrote he admired Geert Wilders, the populist anti-Islam Dutch politician, for following that school. Wilders said in a statement on Saturday: “I despise everything he stands for and everything he did”.

Nina Hjerpset-Ostlie, a contributing journalist to the right-wing website, said she had met Breivik at a meeting in late 2009.

“The only thing we noticed about him is that he seemed like anyone else and that he had some very high-flying, unrealistic, ideas about marketing of our website,” she said.

Police searched an apartment in an Oslo suburb on Friday, which neighbours said belonged to Breivik’s mother.

“It is the mother who lives there. She is a very polite lady, pleasant and very friendly,” said Hemet Noaman, 27, an accounting consultant who lives in the same building in a wealthy part of town. “He often came to visit his mother but did not live here.”

Oslo Deputy Police Chief Roger Andresen would not speculate on the motives for what was believed to be the deadliest attack by a lone gunman anywhere in modern times.

“He has never been under surveillance and he has never been arrested,” Andresen told a news conference on Saturday.

Populist party member

Breivik, who attended a middle class high school called Handelsgym in central Oslo, had also been a member of the Progress Party, the second-largest in parliament, the party’s head of communications Fredrik Farber said.

He was a member from 2004 to 2006 and in its youth party from 1997 to 2007.

The Progress Party – conservative but within the political mainstream – wants far tighter restrictions on immigration, whereas the centre-left government backs multi-culturalism. The party leads some public opinion polls.

A politician who met Breivik in 2002-2003, when he was apparently interested in local Oslo politics, said he did not attract attention.

“I got the impression that he was a modest person … he was well dressed, it seemed like he was well educated,” Joeran Kallmyr, 33, an Oslo municipality politician representing the Progress Party, told the Reuters news agency.

Progress leader Siv Jensen stressed he had left the party.

Breivik was also a freemason, said a spokesman for the organisation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m not expecting an honest answer from Raymond.

Bigoted Pastor Alert: Rev. Keith Tucci Thinks All Terrorists are Muslim

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2011 by loonwatch

This pastor is giving Christians a bad name. He thinks all terrorists are Muslims, wants a background check on all Muslims who are trying to set up a mosque in the small town of Carnegie.

Pastor concerned about Carnegie mosque

(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

The Rev. Keith Tucci preaches from a pulpit more than an hour from Carnegie, but he’s concerned about a different religious community’s plans to relocate there.

Tucci, pastor of the Living Hope Church in Latrobe, said he has “serious concerns” about members of a Muslim mosque who want to move to a former Presbyterian church in the heart of Carnegie’s business district. Tucci said he and members of his congregation will travel to Carnegie on Monday to pass out “informational packets” about the Muslim faith.

“I have questions: Who are these people? Are they American citizens? Has anyone done a background check on them?” said Tucci, whose church is part of a national network of Bible-based churches with headquarters in Reserve, La., according to its website. “I’m not saying all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims. We need more information about these people before they are allowed to move in and ruin a community.”

Carnegie Councilman Rick D’Loss, president of the borough’s synagogue, Congregation Ahavath Achim, said some residents asked questions about the plan for the building but generally expressed support.

“In a town of 8,000 people, of course you’ll have some dissenting opinions, but Carnegie is a very inclusive place,” D’Loss said. “Muslims have rights just like anyone else, and they can pray as they choose. It’s a shame that we have to keep telling people that. I find it funny that a group is going to drive all the way from Westmoreland to tell us we shouldn’t allow the Muslims to be in our community.

“If we say no Muslims, then we have to say no Jews, too. Then what?”

The borough council on June 14 approved the Attawheed Islamic Center’s request to convert the 19,000-square-foot stone and brick building along East Main Street into a place for prayer and religious education. No residents expressed opposition at a public hearing about the mosque or during the council meeting that followed. The Muslim group rents space on Banksville Road.

Even with council approval, it’s unclear when the group would move into the building, which needs extensive repairs, including a roof. Al-Walid Mohsen, vice president and manager of the Attawheed Islamic Center, did not return calls for comment.

Police Chief Jeff Harbin, who is the part-time borough manager, said the Living Hope Church group has a right to come to Carnegie and pass out information and talk about concerns, as long as they do so peacefully.

“I grew up in Carnegie, and we tend to welcome everyone,” Harbin said. “We believe in the right of people to express their opinions, and we respect the First Amendment. People are free to disagree.”

Read more: Pastor concerned about Carnegie mosque – Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewhttp://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_743909.html#ixzz1QLpYPfU2

Army defuses N. Ireland van bomb, What if They Were Muslim?

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2011 by loonwatch

The IRA, a terrorist organisation that Peter King supported financially and politically through the 80′s and recently in 2005, has been quite active in recent weeks. Imagine if the bomb that was found was left by a Muslim, we would not hear the end of it. The question one should ask is: why are Muslims being put on trial?

Peter King must be happy to hear about the Homeland Security hearing in Manhattan. King started something “revolutionary,” putting Muslim Americans and Islam on trial and now his minions are following.  But King felt it was important to give praise to one special minion, Greg Ball

Here is a good summary from AlJazeera on the IRA and their recent surge in activity.

Hat tip: Europeans Against Islamophobia

Army defuses N Ireland van bomb

(AlJazeera)

Police say device was likely set by dissident Republicans to cause disruption ahead of election campaign.

Army bomb-experts in Northern Ireland have defused a 225-kilogramme van bomb near the Irish border.

The bomb, hidden underneath a motorway bridge near the main Dublin-Belfast road, was rendered inactive on Saturday following an 18-hour operation.

Police said that the bomb had been set by dissident Republicans to cause “huge devastation” in the nearby town of Newry ahead of Northern Ireland’s election campaign.

They said that it had likely been abandoned short of its target and before it could be detonated.

Two warning calls were made to police about the bomb on Friday.

“In this case, this bomb may have been on its way to the centre of the town,” David McKittrick, Ireland correspondent for the UK’s Independent newspaper, told Al Jazeera.

“The security forces were successful in stopping that happneing, but at the same time they weren’t successful in preventing the making of the bomb and there were hold-ups, once the bomb was discovered, in clearling the area.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bomb, but police said a phone call to warn about the bomb used a code word previously used by dissident Republicans.

Impatient motorists

Police shut the road following the discovery of the bomb, but impatient motorists unwilling to take a diversion moved the traffic cones and “road closed” signs.

BBC Northern Ireland footage showed dozens of cars driving directly past the van before police reinforced the barriers.

The bomb was double the size of those used in a number of bombings last year by Irish Republican Army (IRA) dissidents, none of which caused serious injuries.

Recent weeks have seen a surge in activity by IRA dissident groups opposed to the 1998 peace agreement which largely ended three decades of violence that killed more than 3,600 people.

A week ago Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old police constable, was killed when a bomb exploded under his car in Omagh, an attack police suspect was organised by IRA dissidents to scare Catholics from joining the north’s police force.

The killing prompted a public outcry in Ireland.

Detectives said they had detained a 33-year-old near Omagh on Friday night in the third arrest connected with the murder.

“America Should Be Governed By Biblical Law”: David Barton

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by loonwatch

Senior Research Director Chris Rodda chronicles the proceedings of a Conservative conference, theRediscover God in America conference, in which its belief is that America should be governed by “Biblical law”:

While most eyes were on the Conservative Principles Political Action Committee conference in Iowa on Saturday, many of us who follow the religious right were more interested in another conference, also held in Iowa, on Thursday and Friday. This other conference was the Rediscover God in America conference, where all the same potential 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls that appeared at the Saturday’s Conservative Principles PAC conference told us what they really think — that America should be governed by biblical law.

One of the principle proponents of this view is David Barton, a much-loved “historian” featured by Glenn Beck and other right-wingers. In fact, potential Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said at this conference that Americans should be forced, at gunpoint, to learn from David Barton. This statement, according to Rodda, was edited out of the webcast:

But the most outrageous statement by far came from Mike Huckabee, who expressed his admiration for Barton by saying that he “almost wished” that “all Americans would be forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message.”

Now, I wasn’t watching the Rediscover God in America conference live on Thursday when Huckabee said this. I had planned on watching and recording the whole conference when it was webcast again on Saturday, so that’s when I saw Huckabee’s speech. I was quite surprised a few days later to come across a video clip from this conference on the People for the American Way (PFAW) Right Wing Watch blog with the headline “Huckabee: Americans Should Be Forced, At Gunpoint, To Learn From David Barton.” I had watched Huckabee’s speech. How on earth could I have missed a statement like that? Well, I didn’t. It had been edited out of the webcast that I had watched.

What if this was a Muslim? Would the Right, especially “Police Blotter Bob,” be silent? While lawmakers are in search of the “threat” from Sharia, there are Americans who are actively seeking to supplant our secular, Constitutional system with Biblical law, and Mike Huckabee thinks we Americans should be forced to learn about this under threat of death. Wow.

But, they are not Muslim, so no worries…