Archive for conversion

Oliver Stone’s Son Converts to Islam: The “Islamization” of Hollywood Continues?

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2012 by loonwatch
Sean_Stone_Islam_Iran
Sean Stone

Islamophobes are all upset that Oliver Stone’s son Sean Stone converted to Islam.

For some reason the Islamophobes are hurt by this, perhaps they believe that Hollywood is about to be overtaken by Muslims or that it is a symbol of the Leftist-Muslamic axis of evil. First it was Liam Neeson and now Oliver Stone’s director son!:

Oliver Stone’s Son Converts to Islam in Iran

Tehran, Iran (CNN) – The son of Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone converted to Islam in a ceremony in central Iran, a national news agency reported.

Sean Stone became a Shiite Muslim in the city of Esfahan Tuesday and chose Ali as his new Islamic name, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

“The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with,” Stone told Fars News Agency. “It means I have accepted Mohammad and other prophets.”

He did not say why he converted.

Stone, 27, is also a filmmaker and has collaborated on his father’s projects. His father is Jewish and his mother, Christian.

Oliver Stone directed “Platoon,” “Born on the Fourth of July” and “JFK.”

“Behead Those Who Convert” Says Hindu Leader Pravin Togadia

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2011 by loonwatch

Can you imagine if a Muslim had said this?

Behead those who convert Hindus: Togadia

(Indian Express News)

VHP international general secretary Pravin Togadia on Monday called for a new Indian Constitution that allows for “anyone who converts Hindus to be beheaded”.

The fiery speech, seconded by right-wing leaders, came towards the conclusion of the three-day Akhil Bhartiya Dharmaprasar Karyakarta Sammelan-2011, held a few yards away from the controversial Pirana dargah on the city’s outskirts, where he stayed during the event.

Workers of the VHP from across the country had gathered here, many of them staying in the dargah premises for the three-day conference, causing a lot of anxiety for the police, Monday being Eid-ul-Azha.

Asaram Bapu’s son Narayan Sai, who also came for the concluding ceremony on Monday, said, “I would suggest that we Hindus should include Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains because their line of thinking is no different from Hindus, except for a few small habits.”

Meanwhile, the Saiyed families residing in Pirana village offered namaaz at Imamshah Bawa Dargah on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha amid tight police security.

Around 120 families belonging to the Saiyed community reside in Pirana village and consider themselves as descendents of Imamshah Bawa. There is a controversy surrounding the Imamshah Bawa Dargah, whose trust is run by seven members of Satpanthi group, who were originally Kutchhi Patels and converted to this sect, and three members from the Saiyed community.

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.

GOP Presidential Candidate “Resents” Muslim-Americans

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2011 by loonwatch

GOP Presidential Candidate Herman Cain says that he “resents” when Muslims try to convert other people to Islam. In an interview with Christianity Today, Cain said:

The role of Muslims in American society is for them to be allowed to practice their religion freely, which is part of our First Amendment. The role of Muslims in America is not to convert the rest of us to the Muslim religion. That I resent. Because we are a Judeo-Christian nation, from the fact that 85 percent of us are self-described Christians, or evangelicals, or practicing the Jewish faith. Eighty-five percent. One percent of the practicing religious believers in this country are Muslim.

And so I push back and reject them trying to convert the rest of us…

I find this hilariously ironic, because Mr. Cain is, himself, an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta. If you look on the front page of the Church’s website it says: “Fellowship.EVANGELISM. Doctrine. Stewardship.” [Emphasis mine].

What is the definition of evangelism?

The preaching or promulgation of the gospel;

In other words, trying to convert other people to the Christian faith. Indeed, that is one of the main missions of Evangelical Christianity. So, according to Mr. Cain, who is considering a run for the Presidency in 2012, Christians can try to convert other people, but Muslims need not apply. In fact, he will “push back and reject” any sort of Muslim evangelizing, because that is “not their role” in American society.

One would scratch their head in utter amazement at the hypocrisy of this man, but when one reads the interview, it is not surprising why he would have such a view. Mr. Cain himself admitted he had little knowledge about Islam, but it did not stop him from making sweeping judgments and stereotypes:

And based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them.

Well, then, it makes sense that he would “resent” Muslim evangelism. In fact, it is patriotic of him to do so! Of course, Christians have never converted people under threat of death…(cough)…The Inquisition…(cough).

What’s more, he doesn’t even try to hide his bias against Muslims. He recounts his story battling cancer, and he said that when he found out his surgeon’s name was Dr. Abdallah (a presumptive Muslim), he was uncomfortable. When he was told, “Don’t worry, he’s a Christian,” Cain says, “he felt a whole lot better.” Wow.

Apparently, in the eyes of Herman Cain, all Americans are equal:

People use the race card, they use the class warfare card, to divide us. And the biggest challenge we face is for more and more people to be educated and not fall for those tricks and divide this nation. Do people still discriminate in some small ways against certain people because of their color or their religion? Yes. But it is nowhere near where it was 235 years ago.

It seems that Cain is trying to say that a little discrimination is OK.

When it comes to Muslims, some Americans are just more equal than others…

Addendum I:

If any Muslim candidate had said this about Jews, his career would be over faster than he could scarf down a halal beef-pretending-to-be-pepperoni pizza.  And rightfully so.  Yet, Cain says these statements with relative impunity.  Contrast this lack of reaction from the public to the hysteria that surrounded Alexandra Wallace, the UCLA girl who ranted against Asians in the library.  It’s strange that a random YouTube girl gets her academic career destroyed by such comments, whereas Cain’s political career is not over even though his comments were even more odious than hers…and even though he–unlike Ms. Wallace–never apologized for them.  He didn’t need to apologize because the public never demanded him to.  Truly, prejudice against Muslims and Arabs is the last socially acceptable form of bigotry in America.