Archive for Congressman

Congressman Mike Quigley’s Remark About Rising Islamophobia Stirs the Blogosphere

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by loonwatch

Congressman Mike Quigley addressed a crowd at the American Islamic College and apologized for the “rising Islamophobia” in the United States. Many in the Right-Wing took exception to this with Quigley being castigated as a dhimmi-leftist pandering to “the Mooslims” about a fictional “rise in Islamophobia.”

Bill O’Reilly even thought it fit to do a segment on his show about it, having anti-loon Ahmed Rehab on. At the end of the segment O’Reilly admitted that Rehab’s stats on the “rise of Islamophobia” bolster his argument.

(hat tip: Francis)

Congressman’s Remarks Stir the Blogosphere

by James Warren (New York Times)

Mike Quigley knows about cheap shots on ice. Now he’s an expert on being blindsided on the Internet and cable TV.

Mr. Quigley, a Democratic Chicago congressman, had a relatively light Saturday recently. He played ice hockey in the morning, did a beach cleanup with the Sierra Club and hit four block parties in the 32nd, 43rd and 44th Wards. Along the way he surfaced at a conference held by the American Islamic College. It was a quick in-and-out, with remarks to perhaps 100 attendees about the strengths of American pluralism, the sort he makes to many groups. They included:

“Forms of discrimination come in many forms, many shapes and many guises. You have my pledge to work with you to fight them, and I think that it is appropriate for me to apologize on behalf of this country for the discrimination you face.”

He then bicycled to the first block party. The Islamic College audience was apparently grateful but didn’t find his appearance especially notable as they returned to the business of their meeting.

Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, found the address nice and patriotic. “What we’d expect of a congressman,” he said.

Neither he, Mr. Quigley nor anybody else there was prepared for the response initiated in the conservative blogosphere, then intensified on radio and TV.

The congressman was attacked harshly, with at least one death threat on a Fox News site that by week’s end was still not taken down despite requests.

Andrew Breitbart, a conservative activist, blogged that Mr. Quigley made a “surprise appearance”  before “the primarily Muslim audience. He rambled on about the typical racism and discrimination that the liberal left is so convinced America is rampantly infected with.”

The appearance was not a surprise, even if not on the formal program. But the nefarious implication was repeated on blogs and the Fox News Channel. Video links included the lines above but not related comments about the legacies of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others.

Social media posts and hundreds of nasty calls, e-mails and faxes poured in to his offices, which deleted profane and violent posts and passed direct threats to law enforcement.

But the conservative echo chamber was in high dudgeon. Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host, decided that Mr. Quigley’s remarks were a story and thus conferred high-profile legitimacy to the bloggers’ vituperation on Tuesday. Mr. Quigley could not appear, but Mr. Rehab did, initially nonplused that the remarks were deemed newsworthy.

With “Questionable Apology” emblazoned on the screen, Mr. O’Reilly repeated the same two sentences Mr. Quigley had uttered and declared: “Wow! What discrimination?”  Statistics don’t support claims of bias against Muslim Americans, he said.

Much data and polling contradicts him. As an unabashed Mr. Rehab told him, “You’d have to be living under a rock” to miss the overarching reality.

Mr. Rehab cited federal figures on rising workplace complaints of anti-Muslim discrimination and polls showing both that 39 percent of Americans would require Muslims to carry special identification and that one-third don’t think Muslims should be allowed to run for president.

“O.K., those stats bolster your argument,” Mr. O’Reilly conceded. “But in economic realms, Muslim Americans are doing well, pretty well,” he said. “We don’t want anybody to be anti-Muslim. Thank you for coming on here,” Mr. O’Reilly concluded brusquely, with Mr. Rehab having clearly failed to fulfill a role of self-righteous liberal piñata.

But Fox wasn’t done.

On Wednesday, its morning “Fox and Friends” show saw Mr. Quigley, 52, called a “silly old fool” by Ralph Peters, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and advocate of aggressive military actions. He belittled Muslims with a series of mock apologies like “We should apologize for preventing them from beating their daughters to death for flirting.”

Eboo Patel, an Indian-born Muslim and former Rhodes Scholar who runs the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Corps, found the response offensive. But he noted a Gallup poll finding that American Muslims remain very optimistic despite facing discrimination.

He mentioned that his nephew in Houston was hassled when, for religious reasons, he wouldn’t eat school pizza with pork.

Well, at least we occasionally try to curb school bullies. We clearly don’t when it comes to the bullies who can drive our public dialogue.

jwarren@chicagonewscoop.org

Allen West Practicing Taqiyya?

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by loonwatch

We have done our fair share of coverage of the loony House representative from Florida, Allen West, but this guy is just amazing sometimes in the nonsense he spits out. West has made some seriously Islamophobic remarks in the past, arguing in point blank statements that Islam is not a religion, but an ideology:

“We already have a 5th column that is already infiltrating into our colleges, into our universities, into our high schools, into our religious aspect, our cultural aspect, our financial, our political systems in this country. And that enemy represents something called Islam and Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion. It has not been a religion since 622 AD, and we need to have individuals that stand up and say that.”

So said West back then, in the company of other right-wing loons, that “Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion.” It seems pretty clear to anyone with half a brain that he was not trying to say “radical Islam” is wrong, or that he is against “extremist” versions of Islam, or “Islamism” or anything else. He makes it very clear in that speech he is against Islam, period. He also makes it clear that he does not think Islam is a religion.

In early February 2011, West was contacted by religious leaders who became aware of West’s rhetoric against Rep. Keith Ellison, one of two Muslim Congressmen in the House of Representatives. West said that Ellison represented “the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established”:

Several religious leaders told South Florida Congressman Allen West on Wednesday they have “deep concern” over his recent comments about a Muslim colleague in Congress and about “your tendency to offer intemperate comments about Islam.”

In contrast to the blunt comments about Islam he made during the right-wing program mentioned above, West changed his tune:

“It is the extremist, radical element that has hijacked Islam that presents a dangerous threat to both our country and our allies throughout the world,” West said in a return letter. “This radical jihadist movement has no place in the United States of America or anywhere on earth.”

So now it was the “extremist, radical element” that had “hijacked Islam” that West was concerned about. I would like to offer a more cogent and intellectual analysis of West’s statements, but let’s be real here folks. It isn’t required. He is changing his tune because he does not want to appear to be the bigot that he clearly is. West was speaking from his heart to his like minded loons last year at that right-wing program where he said that “Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology.” But when respected religious leaders contacted him after his verbal attack on Rep. Ellison, West backtracked to save face. West, it could be argued, is practicing the definition of “taqiyya” that so many anti-Muslim loons claim that Muslims practice. West is hiding his true beliefs about Islam from civil society because he knows it can only serve to make him look like a bigot. Meanwhile, the Congressman ramps up the anti-Islam rhetoric once he’s in front of his fellow Muslim-bashing compatriots.

However, West’s true face was shown once again when he felt pushed into a corner about his views on Islam. On Monday, Feb. 21, West got into a heated exchange with the director of CAIR Florida, Nezar Hamze. Hamze had the audacity to question West’s knowledge about Islam. How dare he! It’s quite obvious that someone of West’s stature, being a Congressman and all, would have the requisite knowledge to speak about Islamic theology and history. I mean, don’t most U.S. Congressmen and Congresswomen know a whole lot about Islamic theology and history? Isn’t that why they are elected to Congress – because they know a lot about Islam?

Well, of course not. But, Hamze stood before the bigoted Congressman and asked West to point out where in the Qur’an it says to attack Americans or innocent people. This gave West the opportunity to show how prolific his knowledge of Islamic history was (and how big of a wise guy he is). West told the lowly Muslim that of course there’s no mention of attacking Americans in the Qur’an because America was not even around when the Qur’an was written.

Duh, you stupid Muslim!

West then made mention of certain battles in early Islamic history. LoonWatch is currently working on a lengthy response to West’s dubious claims, one that he and other Islamophobes constantly refer to in order to argue that Islam is violent. Stay tuned for that response – it will be posted soon. However, make no mistake that West’s alleged understanding of Islamic law and history is way off base, as is his understanding of the Muslim American community today.

In response to the question Hamze asked, West alleged that Maj. Nidal Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar” when he killed those innocent people at Fort Hood and that the 9-11 hijackers also yelled “Allahu Akbar” when they flew planes into the Twin Towers, as if to show that these people represent Islam. Of course, West is attempting to link all Muslims to what Nidal Hasan and the 9-11 terrorists did through the use of common Islamic terms. Just because some extremists shouted out a religious term when committing acts of violence against innocent people does not mean that others who also use those religious terms share in the guilt of those atrocities or that Islam somehow would condone these actions because these murderers attempted to “Islamicize” these heinous actions. West is treading on a slippery slope. One that will make him fall on his face. Which brings us to his final statement at the town hall event that fateful evening.

Hamze told West that he was ashamed that West was attacking his religion, whereupon West burst out and yelled “You attacked us! You attacked us!”

Wow.

This is a United States Congressman? This is not only an absurd statement to make, because for one Hamze obviously had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks, but two, West is essentially laying guilt for 9-11 on every single Muslim American. By saying “You attacked us,” West is telling us what he truly believes. That Muslim Americans, like Nezar Hamze, are co-conspirators in the 9-11 attacks. That Muslim Americans are guilty people (sounds like West is applying Robert Spencer’s definition of dhimmi on Muslim Americans).

And you know what that means. It means West’s followers will associate every Muslim living in America with terrorism and make them worthy of ridicule, contempt, distrust, and then eventually this type of thinking will lead to violence against innocent Muslims in America. You can already see the type of vitriol that is being practiced against Muslim Americans when viewing the anti-Muslim protestin Orange County, CA.

This is disgusting behavior on the part of a U.S. Congressman. West is not clever. He’s not smart. He doesn’t know squat about Islam or Islamic history. He’s the worst of what America has to offer. He is a disgrace to his constituents and a danger to law-abiding Muslim Americans who simply want to live a normal life in America. He is simply an un-American fake tough guy who loses his temper when questioned about things he knows nothing about. The fact that this jerk is a U.S. Congressman speaks volumes about the state of Islamophobia in America today. He’s also clearly practicing“taqiyya” by saying one thing to his right-wing constituents about Islam and then saying another thing to religious leadership in order to hide his bigoted views of Islam and Muslims. But never fear, Loon Watch is here – to expose loony frauds like Allen West and put them in their rightful place of shame.

 

Daniel Pipes says Keith Ellison is a threat to Western Civilization

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by loonwatch
Daniel PipesDaniel Pipes

Daniel Pipes, the academic who dropped academia long ago to pursue anti-Islam polemics and apologia for Israeli policy is at it again. In a Nov, 24, 2009 article in the Jerusalem Post, Pipes writes about his favorite topic, “the Muslim threat to Western Civilization.”

According to the illogic of Pipes the greatest threat doesn’t come from Al-Qaeda, Ayatollah Khomeini or Nidal Hasan but rather from people like Dr. Tariq Ramadan and Congressman Keith Ellison. He accuses the two of being part of something he terms “Islamism 2.0.” This ridiculous term translates essentially into what Islamophobe Robert Spencer calls “Stealth Jihad,” or the subtle takeover of the West by peaceful, law-abiding Muslims who have a secret, sinister (stealth) goal to takeover the West and replace Democracy with Shariah law: in other words it’s a conspiracy theory.

Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, and Nidal Hasan represent Islamism 1.0, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (the prime minister of Turkey), Tariq Ramadan (a Swiss intellectual), and Keith Ellison (a US congressman) represent Islamism 2.0. The former kill more people but the latter pose a greater threat to Western civilization. (emphasis mine)

That Erdogan, Ramadan and Ellison can even be mentioned in the same sentence as equivalent to, or even more dangerous and threatening to the West than Bin Laden speaks volumes about Pipes’ preposterous agenda. Would Bin Laden have Turkey make peace with Armenia as Erdogan did? Would Bin Laden affirm Democracy as the way forward to better governance and equal rights as all three do? Would Bin Laden pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America on Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an as Keith Ellison did?

All of the above are of course rhetorical questions because there is an obvious wide gulf that separates the likes of a Bin Laden and a Keith Ellison. Keith Ellison, is an American whose family history in the Americas goes back centuries, longer even than Pipes’ family history. He is a liberal Democrat who believes in Democracy, the rule of law, universal suffrage and equal rights for all. That is why his district in Minnesota overwhelmingly voted for him.

The most condescending aspect to the vile piece from Pipes and what he ignores or fails to mention is that Erdogan, Ramadan and Ellison are Westerners. In fact, they represent all that is good about the West, they are consistent on their values, are educated, active and participatory citizens: one doesn’t have to agree with their beliefs or ideas to see the common values in that. They call on their fellow citizens to be active and educated and they foster understanding between different communities while also being self-critical; that is more than we can say for Daniel Pipes.

Pipes goes on to state that “lawful Islamism” is growing in the West and may be worse than “violent Islamism” which is retreating,

Other once-violent Islamist organizations in Algeria, Egypt, and Syria have recognized the potential of lawful Islamism and largely renounced violence. One also sees a parallel shift in Western countries; Ramadan and Ellison represent a burgeoning trend.

In conclusion, only Islamists, not fascists or communists, have gone well beyond crude force to win public support and develop a 2.0 version. Because this aspect of Islamism undermines traditional values and destroys freedoms, it may threaten civilized life even more than does 1.0′s brutality.(emphasis added)

Instead of bizzarely bemoaning the fact that these once violent organizations have renounced violence, Pipes should see it as most sensible people do, a positive development which brings these groups into the system and opens them up to the scrutiny of checks and balances and eventually the electorate. Also notice the highly disingenuous way in which Pipes again lumps these once violent organizations onto the same wavelength as Ramadan and Ellison who, yes, are proud Muslims (not a crime by the way) but at the same time are staunch Democrats who are the fiercest and most affective opponents of the violent ideology that motivates groups such as Al-Qaeda.

Ellison and Ramadan stand as a strong counter example against Bin Laden and his cohorts for Muslims, especially young Muslims. They see two Muslims, strongly grounded in their faith, belonging to their society and giving back on various levels from the social to the political; instead of deriding them Pipes should be encouraging them. As more examples such as theirs increase in the West it will enable Muslims to better fight those minority elements within their faith that seek to cause chaos and violence and that is what really threatens Daniel Pipes who seems to be motivated by the paranoid fear that the “enfranchisement of American Muslims…will present true dangers to American Jews.”

So what does Daniel Pipes propose? How do we stop this “stealth Islamism 2.0?” Do we restrict the free speech of Tariq Ramadan and deny him entry into the US? ( Pipes does support that) Do we disallow Muslims such as Keith Ellison from holding public office? Do we not allow Muslims to enter into the military? Do we watch Muslim peoples’ every move? What practical solutions is Pipes proposing from this highly opinionated and doomsday scenario article?

We can only assume that he is in league with other believers in these conspiracy theories who do put forward pratical solutions to the “stealth Muslim problem.” Believers like Geert Wilders whose solutions include: no religious freedom for Muslims, banning the Quran, taxing Muslim women who wear the Hijab, deporting Muslim citizens etc.

One must ask Daniel Pipes, does he agree with such a program? Some of his colleagues and friends such as Robert Spencer have already given their backing to Wilders, where does Pipes stand? Does he stand for Democracy, equal rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion or is he a hypocrite cloaking himself as a champion of Western civilization when in reality with every word he undermines it?