Archive for Cordoba Initiative

Mayor Bloomberg: Candidate for Anti-Loon of the Year

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2010 by loonwatch

Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg is a candidate for anti-Loon of the year due to his consistent defense of religious liberty and steadfast support of the political hot-potato issue of the Park51 Cultural Center, aka the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

Bloomberg Launches Another Impassioned Defense Of Cordoba House

by Sam Stein

In a rousing address before a predominantly Muslim audience Tuesday night, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg reaffirmed his commitment to the controversial Islamic cultural center near the former site of the World Trade Center.

Bloomberg, who hosted the annual Ramadan Iftar dinner at his official Gracie Mansion residence, did not back away from his position as the most vocal and public defender of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque.” If anything, he couched his defense of the project in even deeper moral and political terms, calling the Cordoba House a telling illustration of intrinsic American principles and a valuable tool in the war on terror.

From Bloomberg’s prepared remarks:

But if we say that a mosque and community center should not be built near the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, we would compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom.

We would undercut the values and principles that so many heroes died protecting. We would feed the false impressions that some Americans have about Muslims. We would send a signal around the world that Muslim Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen. And we would hand a valuable propaganda tool to terrorist recruiters, who spread the fallacy that America is at war with Islam.
Islam did not attack the World Trade Center — Al-Qaeda did. To implicate all of Islam for the actions of a few who twisted a great religion is unfair and un-American. Today we are not at war with Islam — we are at war with Al-Qaeda and other extremists who hate freedom.[snip]

The members of our military are men and women at arms — battling for hearts and minds. And their greatest weapon in that fight is the strength of our American values, which have always inspired people around the world. But if we do not practice here at home what we preach abroad — if we do not lead by example – we undermine our soldiers. We undermine our foreign policy objectives. And we undermine our national security.

While some of the cultural center’s other early supporters have backed away from their defense of the project, Bloomberg has emerged as perhaps the least fickle of its supporters. And he’s been hailed for that defense — locally, nationally and among the commentariat — even though a majority of the public opposes the Cordoba House’s proposed location.

Addressing those calling for a compromise location for the center, Bloomberg offered the logical rejoinder. “The question will then become, how big should the ‘no-mosque zone’ around the World Trade Center be?” he remarked. “There is already a mosque four blocks away. Should it too, be moved?”

However the debate ends, of course, there will be hard feelings. Still, the Mayor ended his remarks with an appeal to the lessons of history.

I know that many in this room are disturbed and dispirited by the debate. But it is worth keeping some perspective on the matter. The first colonial settlers came to these shores seeking religious liberty and the founding fathers wrote a constitution that guaranteed it. They made sure that in this country the government would not be permitted to choose between religions or favor one over another.

Nonetheless, it was not so long ago that Jews and Catholics had to overcome stereotypes and build bridges to those who viewed them with suspicion and less than fully American.

UPDATE: Video of Bloomberg’s speech is below.

 

The Untold Story Behind the “Mosque at Ground Zero”

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by loonwatch

A powerful piece by Ahmed Rehab in the Huffington Post laying the bottom line about the swelling controversy surrounding the “mosque at Ground Zero.”  (hat tip: Schmorgus)

The Untold Story of the Mosque at Ground Zero

by Ahmed Rehab | Huffington Post

Americans have a right to assemble and worship freely in this country, period. It’s not only a founding principle of this nation, but a main justification for its founding. It is why many White Christians flooded to this country in the first place.

Those opposed to American Muslims practicing their right to build a religious and cultural center on their private property near Ground Zero and in concordance with all laws and regulations reluctantly concede that they have no legal grounds to challenge it. So they argue instead that they should voluntarily forgo their right out of sensitivity for the sacredness of that site.

2010-08-20-nomosquesign.jpgThis is a particularly disingenuous line.

If it is about sensitivity for the sacred, then why aren’t those same people opposing the deli, bar, coffee shop, and offices, or strip club for that matter, that are open for business in that same sacred vicinity?

What is particularly indecent or insensitive about American Muslims building a house of peace, community, and worship that doesn’t apply to the New York Dolls gentlemen’s club?

Let’s be blunt: it is only indecent and insensitive if you buy into the canard that American Muslims are somehow collectively guilty for 9/11. That is the coded message at the heart of opposition to the center. It is a message we reject on its face.

American Muslims bear no collective guilt or blame for the crime of 9/11. We have nothing to apologize for and everything to be proud of, including our loyalty and hard-earned livelihoods. We are not guest citizens, we are not second-rate citizens; we reject marginalization and require no validation. We are equal citizens living and worshipping in our country.

We are part and parcel of the diversity of America including the diversity of the 3,000 people who died on 9/11. We are part of the diversity of the hundreds who were injured and those who were first responders to Ground Zero. We are part of the diversity of the millions who grieved and still grieve. When “they” attacked “us,” we were attacked. We are part of the “us” not the “they.”

The whole brouhaha about the “Mosque at Ground Zero” is frankly bogus. It has little to do with sacred ground, or sensitive hearts. It does however have everything to do with the exploitation of the sacred and the sensitive for the furtherance of the sacrilegious and the insensitive: the phenomenon of Muslim-bashing that is ravaging our nation today.

The Cordoba House, now Park51, is an old story. In fact, it was reported on in the New York Times and other mainstream media as far back as two years ago. Why the frenzy now?

That’s not all: Muslims have been worshipping at Mosque Manhattan a few blocks away from Ground Zero, long before Ground Zero was Ground Zero; in fact, since 1970, before the twin towers were the twin towers.

So again, why the sudden frenzy?

Failure to ask “why” is a collective indictment of the media establishment (with a fewnotable exceptions). Just as the media shirked its responsibilities in questioning the Bush administration on the justifications for the war in Iraq, now too it fails to properly investigate, scrutinize, and report the origins of this controversy. Here is what it failed to tell you:

2010-08-20-spencer_geller.pngThe”Ground Zero Mosque” fiasco is a fabricated controversy that traces its origins to a couple of long-time anti-Muslim goons from the annals of the hate blogosphere by the names ofRobert Spencer and Pamela Geller as a flagship campaign of their newly founded organization,Stop the Islamization of America(SIOA). SIOA is part of an emerging phenomenon ofastroturf anti-Muslim organizations that seek to project any public expression of Muslim life in this country as tantamount to a stealth “Islamization of America.” (Except it’s not so stealth since everyone and their mother is talking about it).

It was SIOA that first coined the misnomer “Mosque at Ground Zero,” purposely twisting the reality that the proposed Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero is neither a Mosque nor at Ground Zero. It was the SIOA that sought to redefine Imam Rauf as a radical Imam even though he was heralded by the Bush administration, the FBI and others as a moderate voice of reason. It was the SIOA and its partners that ruthlessly sought to stoke the fears and suspicions of otherwise good, unsuspecting Americans.

The fact that bigots see fit to peddle sensational drivel for a living is not shocking.

The fact that the media is unwilling or incapable of calling it out is disturbing.

The fact that a significant segment of this population stands to be duped by it is disappointing.

And the fact that public officials who should know better are all too content pandering to the bigoted, misguided, and confused in search of votes this election season is outright nauseating.

Here’s another under reported fact:

The battle raging on now is not one that pits Muslims on one side and non-Muslims on the other as critics would have you believe. It is in fact a showdown between Americans of all backgrounds (Muslim and otherwise) who are fighting for the freedom and dignity of what it means to be American, on one side; and those who are willing to throw those values under the bus in exchange for publicity, notoriety, ratings, or votes, on the other.

It is a struggle between those wishing to affirm our pluralism and our equality as color-blind, race-blind, and faith-blind citizens and those wishing to immerse us into identity politics that make some more equal than others.

The Park51 battle is a microcosm of this generation’s struggle for the soul of America.

That’s the untold “Mosque at Ground Zero” story any red-blooded American journalist who still has respect for the integrity of the profession should be telling.

 

TIME: Majority Oppose Mosque, Distrust Muslims

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by loonwatch

TIME has come out with a poll on the prevailing mood amongst Americans toward the mosque and toward their fellow Muslim citizens. What does this mean for the future of religious freedom and the failure of our leaders and the media in tackling this story?

Majority Oppose Mosque, and most Distrust Muslims

Opponents of the planned Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan have public opinion firmly in their corner. According to a new TIME poll, 61% of respondents oppose the construction of the Park51/Cordoba House project, compared to 26% who support it. More than 70% concur with the premise that proceeding with the plan would be an insult to the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Opposition to the project appears to derive largely from the conviction that the proposed site of the project — just two blocks from Ground Zero, in a building that formerly housed a Burlington Coat Factory outlet — is so close to “hallowed ground,” as President Obama put it.

Yet the survey also revealed that many Americans harbor lingering animosity toward Muslims. Twenty-eight percent of voters do not believe Muslims should be eligible to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Nearly one third of the country thinks adherents of Islam should be barred from running for President — slightly higher than the 24% who mistakenly believe that the current occupant of the Oval Office is himself a Muslim. In all, just 47% of respondents believe Obama is a Christian; 24% declined to respond to the question or said they were unsure, and 5% believe he is neither Christian nor Muslim. (See TIME’s photo-essay “Muslim in America.”)

And while more Americans are open to the idea of having a mosque built in their neighborhoods than near Ground Zero, it’s still not an overwhelming majority; 55% of respondents say they would favor the construction of an Islamic community center and mosque two blocks from their own homes, and an equal number say they believe most Muslims are “Patriotic Americans.”

As he attempts to shepherd the U.S. through the sluggish economic recovery and galvanize Democratic voters ahead of a congressional election cycle in which the party is expected to sustain heavy losses, Obama’s approval rating has held relatively steady, at a near-even split: 46% of respondents back his job performance, with 45% expressing disapproval. Voters are far less enthusiastic about the President’s policies, however, with 57% asserting the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction.

That wasn’t the only grim news for Democrats. The GOP has snatched the lead in generic Congressional balloting, with 43% of likely voters saying they would vote for a Republican candidate if the midterm elections were held today, compared to 37% for Democrats. (Last month, Democrats held a slight edge in generic balloting, 43%-42%.) While those figures augur well for the GOP, harping on the mosque issue — a tactic many Republicans appear to have embraced as the overheated debate nears a boiling point — seems unlikely to give the party’s fortunes a significant boost. Nearly three quarters of voters told TIME the issue will not have any impact on their decisions in the ballot box.(Read “Ground Zero: Exaggerating the Jihadist Threat.”)

While the poll revealed that prejudice toward Muslims is widespread, respect for other religions traditions remains sturdy. Respondents held the Jewish faith in the highest regard, with 75% professing to hold a favorable impression-just slightly higher than attitudes toward Protestants and Catholics. Fifty-seven percent say they have a favorable view of the Mormon faith, compared to 44% for Muslims. Despite (or perhaps because of) this widespread antipathy, 62% of respondents say they don’t personally know a Muslim American.

The poll, conducted by ABT SRBI, surveyed 1,002 adults — 89% of whom identified themselves as likely voters — on Aug. 16-17.

 

Salon.com: How the “Ground Zero Mosque” Fear mongering Began

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by loonwatch

Justin Elliot has a good piece on Salon.com, but he would have benefited from our pieces, Pamela Geller: The Looniest Blogger Ever and SIOA is an anti-Muslim Hate Group.

How the “ground zero mosque” fear mongering began

by Justin Elliot

A group of progressive Muslim-Americans plans to build an Islamic community center two and a half blocks from ground zero in lower Manhattan. They have had a mosque in the same neighborhood for many years. There’s another mosque two blocks away from the site. City officials support the project. Muslims have been praying at the Pentagon, the other building hit on Sept. 11, for many years.

In short, there is no good reason that the Cordoba House project should have been a major national news story, let alone controversy. And yet it has become just that, dominating the political conversation for weeks and prompting such a backlash that, according to a new poll, nearly 7 in 10 Americans now say they oppose the project. How did the Cordoba House become so toxic, so fast?

In a story last week, the New York Times, which framed the project in a largely positive, noncontroversial light last December, argued that it was cursed from the start by “public relations missteps.” But this isn’t accurate. To a remarkable extent, a Salon review of the origins of the story found, the controversy was kicked up and driven by Pamela Geller, a right-wing, viciously anti-Muslim, conspiracy-mongering blogger, whose sinister portrayal of the project was embraced by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.

Here’s a timeline of how it all happened:

  • Dec. 8, 2009: The Times publishes a lengthy front-page look at the Cordoba project. “We want to push back against the extremists,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the lead organizer, is quoted as saying. Two Jewish leaders and two city officials, including the mayor’s office, say they support the idea, as does the mother of a man killed on 9/11. An FBI spokesman says the imam has worked with the bureau. Besides a few third-tier right-wing blogs, including Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs site, no one much notices the Times story.
  • Dec. 21, 2009: Conservative media personality Laura Ingraham interviews Abdul Rauf’s wife, Daisy Khan, while guest-hosting “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox. In hindsight, the segment is remarkable for its cordiality. “I can’t find many people who really have a problem with it,” Ingraham says of the Cordoba project, adding at the end of the interview, “I like what you’re trying to do.”
  • (This segment also includes onscreen the first use that we’ve seen of the misnomer “ground zero mosque.”) After the segment — and despite the front-page Times story — there were no news articles on the mosque for five and a half months, according to a search of the Nexis newspaper archive.
  • May 6, 2010: After a unanimous vote by a New York City community board committee to approve the project, the AP runs a story. It quotes relatives of 9/11 victims (called by the reporter), who offer differing opinions. The New York Post, meanwhile, runs a story under the inaccurate headline, “Panel Approves ‘WTC’ Mosque.” Geller is less subtle, titling her post that day, “Monster Mosque Pushes Ahead in Shadow of World Trade Center Islamic Death and Destruction.” She writes on her Atlas Shrugs blog, “This is Islamic domination and expansionism. The location is no accident. Just as Al-Aqsa was built on top of the Temple in Jerusalem.” (To get an idea of where Geller is coming from, she once suggested that Malcolm X was Obama’s real father. Seriously.)
  • May 7, 2010: Geller’s group, Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), launches “Campaign Offensive: Stop the 911 Mosque!” (SIOA ‘s associate director is Robert Spencer, who makes his living writing and speaking about the evils of Islam.) Geller posts the names and contact information for the mayor and members of the community board, encouraging people to write. The board chair later reports getting “hundreds and hundreds” of calls and e-mails from around the world.
  • May 8, 2010: Geller announces SIOA’s first protest against what she calls the “911 monster mosque” for May 29. She and Spencer and several other members of the professional anti-Islam industry will attend. (She also says that the protest will mark the dark day of “May 29, 1453, [when] the Ottoman forces led by the Sultan Mehmet II broke through the Byzantine defenses against the Muslim siege of Constantinople.” The outrage-peddling New York Post columnist Andrea Peyserargues in a note at the end of her column a couple of days later that “there are better places to put a mosque.”
  • May 13, 2010: Peyser follows up with an entire column devoted to “Mosque Madness at Ground Zero.” This is a significant moment in the development of the “ground zero mosque” narrative: It’s the first newspaper article that frames the project as inherently wrong and suspect, in the way that Geller has been framing it for months. Peyser in fact quotes Geller at length and promotes the anti-mosque protest of Stop Islamization of America, which Peyser describes as a “human-rights group.” Peyser also reports — falsely — that Cordoba House’s opening date will be Sept. 11, 2011.

Lots of opinion makers on the right read the Post, so it’s not surprising that, starting that very day, the mosque story spread through the conservative — and then mainstream — media like fire through dry grass. Geller appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show. The Washington Examiner ran an outragedcolumn about honoring the 9/11 dead. So did Investor’s Business Daily. Smelling blood, the Post assigned news reporters to cover the ins and outs of the Cordoba House development daily. Fox News, the Post’s television sibling, went all out.

Within a month, Rudy Giuliani had called the mosque a “desecration.” Within another month, Sarah Palin had tweeted her famous “peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate” tweet. Peter King and Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty followed suit — with political reporters and television news programs dutifully covering “both sides” of the controversy.

Geller had succeeded beyond her wildest dreams.

 

Russia TV: Views About Mosque at Ground Zero from New Yorkers

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by loonwatch

If you listened to Pamela and company who would’ve thought there were New Yorkers for the mosque and cultural center?

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBzK-bSkKzU&feature=related 350 300]

 

Barack Obama in Freedom of Religion Speech: Muslims Have a Right to Build in NYC

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by loonwatch

Barack Obama commented on the Cordoba Center that will be near Ground Zero, reaffirming freedom of religion as an essential American value.

Islamophobes were furious about this. For many of them this probably confirmed their belief that Obama is a Muslim.

Robert Spencer was on record writing,

Obama is in effect saying that you can build a triumphal mosque marking Islam’s superiority and victory — which is how the Ground Zero mosque will be viewed in the Islamic world — and you can lie about your funding, and lie about your commitment to interreligious dialogue and harmony, and refuse to denounce jihad terrorists, and all that is just fine with him.

Pamela Geller had this to say through an SIOA news release,

Obama “has, in effect, sided with the Islamic jihadists and told the ummah (at an Iftar dinner on the third night of Ramadan) that he believes in and supports what will be understood in the Islamic world as a triumphal mosque on a site of Islamic conquest.”

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvFUakL-bqw 350 300]

Obama throws support behind controversial Islamic Center

Washington (CNN) — President Obama threw his support behind a controversial proposal to build an Islamic center and mosque near New York’s ground zero, saying Friday that “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”

“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” Obama said at a White House Iftar dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The president’s remarks drew praise from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced his support for the Islamic center last week.

Bloomberg compared Obama’s speech to a letter President George Washington wrote in support of a Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. “President Obama’s words tonight evoked President Washington’s own august reminder that ‘all possess alike liberty,’ ” Bloomberg said in a statement.

“I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion tonight,” he said.

To learn more about the “ground zero” mosque, see CNN’s Belief Blog

Critics of the proposed Islamic center quickly denounced Obama’s remarks. “President Obama is wrong,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). “It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero. Unfortunately, the President caved into political correctness.”

“While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque, they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much,” King said in a statement. “The right and moral thing for President Obama to have done was to urge Muslim leaders to respect the families of those who died and move their mosque away from Ground Zero.”

What do you think about this issue? Tell us on video

Obama, who said he was speaking both as a citizen and as president, invoked the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which critics of the Islamic center cite as the main reason for preventing its construction.

“We must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of lower Manhattan,” Obama said, according to his prepared remarks. “The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”

“The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable,” he continued. “So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.”

 

But Obama said one “reason that we will win this fight” against terrorism is “our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect to those who are different from us — a way of life that stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.”

Repeatedly invoking the nation’s founders and examples of religious tolerance from American history, the president argued that national ideals and the Constitution demanded that the project proceed.

He noted that Thomas Jefferson hosted the the first Iftar dinner at the White House more than 200 years ago and said that the country had previously seen “controversies about the construction of synagogues or Catholic churches.”

“But time and again,” he said, “the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues.”

“This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable,” Obama said. “The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.”

The proposed Islamic center has provoked vocal opposition from some families of 9/11 victims and other groups. Nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose the plan, according to CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released Wednesday.

“Obama came out for the Islamic supremacist mosque at the hallowed ground of 911 attack,” Pamela Geller, a leading foe of the Islamic center, wrote on her blog Friday night. “He has, in effect, sided with the Islamic jihadists.”

Muslim Americans, meanwhile, applauded the speech. “It was pitch perfect and it was cut and dry,” said Eboo Patel, executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core and a Muslim adviser to the White House on faith issues. “He said that our Founding Fathers built a nation on religious freedom where people from different faiths can pray and thrive and that is that.”

Some Muslims said they were surprised to hear the president weigh in on the controversy.

“It’s such a hot potato and he’s already got so much on his plate and people jumping on him for any hint of an Islamic connection,” said Akbar Ahmed, an American University professor who attended Friday’s White House dinner. “But he plunged in and took a very bold position.”

The Islamic center’s leaders say they plan to build the $100 million, 13-story facility called Cordoba House three blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. The developer, Sharif El-Gamal, describes the project as an “Islamic community center” that will include a 500-seat performing arts center, a lecture hall, a swimming pool, a gym, a culinary school, a restaurant and a prayer space for Muslims.

On Wednesday, the project’s developers declined an offer by New York Gov. David Paterson to relocate the project to a state-owned site.

Earlier this month, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously denied landmark status for the building where the proposed Islamic center would stand, allowing the project to move forward.

 

Pamela Geller Falsely Claims Imam Rauf Made Comment “Blaming Jews” for 9/11

Posted in Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by loonwatch
Plastic Pam or Catwoman?

Pamela Geller accused Imam Rauf of “blaming Jews for 9/11,” which is just more lies from her and her cronies. Media Matters exposes their lies.

Geller falsely claims Imam Rauf made comment blaming “the Jews” for 9-11

Pam Geller falsely claimed that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is heading an initiative to build an Islamic community center in Manhattan, once blamed “the Jews” for 9-11 and said, “If Americans only know it was the Jews’ fault, they would have done to the Jews what Hitler did.” But those comments have been widely attributed to Sheik Muhammed Gemeaha, a one-time imam at the Islamic Cultural Center in New York City who  reportedly made those inflammatory comments after resigning and returning to Egypt in 2001. Center officials roundly condemned the comments.

Geller accused Rauf of making the comments with the following headline:

rauf

But in a November 4, 2001, New York Times Magazine piece, Jonathan Rosen attributed the comments to Gemeaha: “Recently, I read an interview with Sheik Muhammad Gemeaha — who was not only the representative in the United States of the prominent Cairo center of Islamic learning, al-Azhar University, but also imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York City. The sheik, who until recently lived in Manhattan on the Upper West Side, explained that ‘only the Jews’ were capable of destroying the World Trade Center and added that ‘if it became known to the American people, they would have done to Jews what Hitler did.’ ” Gemeaha reportedly made his comments to the websitewww.lailatalqadr.com and translated excerpts were posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

As Rosen noted, by November 2001, Gemeaha no longer lived in New York City. The Times reportedon October 23, 2001, that Gemeaha had “moved his family back to Cairo” and had “sent a letter of resignation to the mosque.” The Times further reported that members of the mosque’s board condemned his comments:

Neither The Times nor the sheik’s associates at the mosque in Manhattan were able to reach him in Cairo to ask him about the remarks attributed to him. But colleagues said that if he made the comments, they would be a dramatic turnaround for a Muslim leader who was a mainstay at interfaith events with New York’s rabbis and ministers.

”It does not represent at all the policy and the beliefs of the Islamic Cultural Center, nor what Imam Gemeaha was teaching the Islamic community during his three and a half years here,” said Mohammad Abdullah Abulhasan, Kuwait’s ambassador to the United Nations, who heads the mosque’s board. ”It really took me by surprise to see this.”

Rauf serves as a member of the Islamic Center’s board of trustees.

Geller has since updated her post. No longer directly attributing the comments to Rauf, Geller now excerpts the comments, attributes them to no one, and then purports to provide “more ugly dirt on radical Imam Rauf”:

rauf2

*Correction: I previously wrote that Gemeaha reportedly made the comments before resigning and returning to Egypt. I regret the error.

 

Jon Stewart Takes on Ground Zero Mosque Protesters

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by loonwatch

Hilarious Jon Stewart once again, this time taking on the growing anti-Muslim sentiment across the nation.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Returns Award to the ADL

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on August 8, 2010 by loonwatch

CNN host returns ADL award over group’s opposition to Ground Zero mosque

(Hat tip: Mondoweiss)

Columnist and TV host Fareed Zakaria has returned a First Amendment award to the Anti-Defamation League in protest of the organization’s opposition to a proposed mosque near Ground Zero, the site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Zakaria, a Washington Post columnist and CNN host, has been the editor of Newsweek International, a journal with a circulation of 24 million, for almost a decade. He published a blog on Friday publicly announcing that he had returned the ADL’s Hubert H. Humphrey Freedoms Prize.

“I was thrilled to get the award from an organization that I had long admired. But I cannot in good conscience keep it anymore. I have returned both the handsome plaque and the $10,000 honorarium that came with it. I urge the ADL to reverse its decision. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain a reputation.”

The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement Friday that it was saddened and stunned by Zakaria’s decision to return the prize they awarded him in 2005. ADL National Director Abe Foxman said he hoped that Mr. Zakaria “will come to see that ADL acted appropriately” and would reclaim the award bestowed upon him.

The ADL, a U.S. Jewish civil rights group, has said that the location of the planned mosque is counterproductive to the healing process of the families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

 

Brad Burston: Rethinking Boycotts, the ADL and a Mosque

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2010 by loonwatch

Brad Burston is one of my favorite writers at Haaretz. His articles are always insightful, analytical and the commentary always makes you think.

In this article he writes about the ADL’s comments on the Cordoba Center as well as his opinions in general about boycotts.

A Special Place in Hell / Rethinking Israel boycotts, the ADL and a N.Y. mosque

by Brad Burston

In theory, the first purpose of boycotts is to cause people to think. To discover or reconsider an issue.

In theory, the first purpose of the Anti-Defamation League is the same. To cause people to discover, to rethink, to become aware of and combat bigotry, within themselves as well as in others.

This week a boycott campaign caused me to rethink boycotts against Israel. And a campaign by the Anti-Defamation League caused me to rethink the Anti-Defamation League.

The boycott was the decision by the Olympia, Washington Food Co-op, to remove Israeli products from the shelves of its two stores.

In a move as courageous as it was overdue, the co-op also featured and published online a pamphlet strongly opposing manifestations of anti-Semitism in leftist movements.

“Unfortunately,” the co-op’s blog observed, “anti-Semitic statements have abounded in a lot of the ‘support’ that the co-op has received in regard to the Israeli-products’ boycott.”

Protester calling for boycott of Israel A protester calling for a boycott of Israel.
Photo by: AP

The Olympia Food Co-op has taken an important step in distinguishing between opposition to the policies of Israel on the one hand, and anti-Jewish hatred on the other.

It has also worked to identify and distance Islamophobia and anti-Arab bigotry from the wider discussion of boycotts and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Which makes it all the more curious that when longtime ADL National Director Abraham Foxman chose to publicly oppose the construction of a mosque and Muslim cultural center near the Ground Zero site, his rationale was troubling, to say the least:

“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” Foxman, himself a survivor, told The New York Times.

“Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, ‘Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.’”

There is something at once refreshing and destructive about Foxman’s words. Refreshing, in the sense that this sounds like unfiltered honesty. Destructive, in the sense that this is precisely the rationale under which many on the left have justified or excused non-progressive, at times overtly bigoted, statements and actions by militant Palestinians.

It is high time to strike bigotry of all forms – by both sides – from the debate over the Mideast conflict.

It is time, as well, for the Jewish community as a whole to relate differently to those in their midst who have a serious difference of opinion with Israel.

In this regard, it is time for the Jewish community to engage those who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, rather than effectively excommunicating them.

Perhaps what is most profoundly needed is for those who care about the Mideast equation to genuinely say what they think, and to abandon the time-honored codes in which each side attacks the other.

Allow me to begin.

I fully recognize as valid the opinions of those who oppose the idea of a specifically Jewish state. I would only ask that they be honest and open about it.

If you think a Jewish state is a bad idea, an institution that should be disbanded, I believe that it is the honest thing – honest to yourself, before all else – to come out and say so.

As a supporter of the idea of a truly democratic Jewish state alongside an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, what I cannot accept is the idea that formally Muslim states are acceptable, where a Jewish state is not.

In the past I have been vociferous in opposing boycotts. I now realize that it was not the boycott per se that cause me rage, but the tolerance for a double standard that said “While others – including our own United States – commit war crimes, engage in oppression, and have a long history of subjugating, disenfranchising and dehumanizing minorities, Israel will be our sole target.”

Something else angered me as well – not the fact that some of the people who advocated boycotting Israel were actually against the idea of having a state of Israel, but the fact that for tactical reasons, they refused to come out and say so.

In general, I oppose boycotts as a tactic, first because I oppose collective punishment of all kinds, whether practiced by Israel against Gazans, or by progressives against Israelis as a whole. I also believe that boycotts against Israel tend to be self-defeating.

Having said that, I recognize that nearly everyone tends to boycott those they do not care for, while making efforts to support those whom they do. Moreover, some of those who most strongly oppose the BDS movement continually launch boycotts of their own.

I want to thank the Olympia Food Co-op Israel boycott. Something extremely valuable is happening there. Something truly radical. An awareness that people who are truly in favor of social justice must take a stand against bigotry, no matter the target.

The mayor of New York has set an example in this regard, saying of the mosque and its critics, “What is great about America, and particularly New York, is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us?”

It’s a lesson that Abraham Foxman needs to relearn.

 

Exposing David Wood: Of Mosques and Men, Pt. 2

Posted in Feature, Loon Media, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by loonwatch
David Wood Rambles

In my last article I debunked the lies and disinformation in the first half of David Wood’s anti-Muslim/anti-Mosque diatribe. Since then we have received a lot of comments and tips regarding the background of David Wood. Apparently David Wood is a Teaching Fellow at Fordham Universitywhere he is pursuing his PhD in Philosophy. I wonder if the administration at Fordham would consider Wood’s anti-Muslim activities as being in line with its Jesuit traditions and values? Maybe we should start a campaign to let them know?

Paul Williams, of the Muslim Debate Initiative has also stated that David Wood told him during a debate, in front of an audience of a hundred or more, that he attempted to murder his father and that he was sent to a mental institution for the attack which left his father permanently disabled,

About a year ago I moderated a debate at Westbourne Park Baptist Church (my old church here in London), between Wood and a Muslim. In front of an audience of probably one hundred people, mostly Christians, Wood told the audience of some of the more disturbing aspects of his past including his unspeakable attack on his own father with a hammer. Happily his father did not die (though Wood says he really wanted to kill him). His father is permanently disabled however. Wood spent time in a mental institution.

Yahya Snow, an Islamic apologist who has been following David Wood’s work also commented that Wood told him that, “his blog is not about evangelising to Muslims but about ‘warning’ non-Muslims about Islam.” This would explain why he and his group were the sole Christian Evangelical group arrested at the Dearborn Arab Festival, slamming on its face the argument that they were being “persecuted” for preaching Christ.

In fact, a few Evangelical Christians who witnessed the event wrote on David Wood’s blog (via. MDI),

Spiffy the Basset said…

‘This is a complete and total lie and David and Nabeel should be ashamed of themselves. Tonight, just as last night, there were dozens of Christians and former muslims at the festival witnessing to muslims. None of them had problems with people. None of the other several dozen “Christian preachers” were arrested. Lies, lies, and more lies.

The same happened last night. I saw Nabeel and David showboating and trying to cause a scene and know they were not only expecting to be arrested, but to some degree, trying to get arrested.

They care more about their hatred for islam than their love for muslims. I have evangelized in many continents and in places far more hostile than the dearborn festival, but can say with experience that they did not at all suffer for the cross, they suffered for their egos.’

June 19, 2010 10:52 PM

All of this makes me wonder if I should waste time even debunking the rest of the anti-Mosque video. David Wood is an obvious huckster with real problems. Maybe a longer stay at the mental institution was in order?

Anyhow, someone has to drudge through the swamp and refute the lies, lies, lies.

Of Mosques and Men

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxFzFIDbKpg&feature=player_embedded 350 300]

Picking up from the 3:00 mark David says,

This is when I first realized that there were two forces at work within Western Muslims like Nabeel. On the one hand he was born and raised in the United States, his father was in the US military, he loved America, but on the other hand, even though he came from the most peaceful sect of Islam there was something in Nabeel that allowed him to smile when there were terrorist attacks. Now those of you who know personally, who know Muslims close enough to where they can tell you what they really think, you know that this is really quite common, good citizens in public, not so good citizens in private.

What words can describe the above verbal barf and pseudo-psychological sewage spewed by Wood? He uses Nabeel, a Christian apologist and leader in Wood’s organization, (who seems not to mind being used as his ex-Muslim-mascot-that-evidences-the innate-evil-of Muslims-example) to drive the point home that even if you are a “peaceful Muslim,” there is something hidden, somethingstealth about you.

If this doesn’t sound eerily similar to the anti-Semitic racism and sinister conspiracies about Jews that were propagated in the past then you need to read up on history. Wood’s entire monotone delivery has the timbre of a sleazy used car salesman combined with a soothsaying Nazi propagandist trying hard to sound like Captain Kirk.

The hypocrisy is also glaring, someone needs to tell David Wood that if he really wants to talk about “good citizens in public, not so good citizens in private” he should look towards his Christian brethren; to the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, not to mention those family value politicians who love to trumpet their Christian bona fides while fondling male pages at the same time. I think there was once a Jewish carpenter who summed it up best, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Wood is not content to end the disinformation and pseudo-psychological babble about “duel-Muslim natures,”

Interestingly, this duel Muslim nature is advocated in the Quran. If you turn to Surah 3, verse 28, you will see that the Quran says, “Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security.” So if you’re a Muslim you are not supposed to be friends with unbelievers unless to protect yourself.

What this means is that if Muslims feel threatened by a stronger advisory, say the United States of America, they can pretend to be friendly in order to protect themselves, in order to guard themselves against these unbelievers. The greatest Islamic  commentator of all time, Ibn Kathir comments on Surah 3:28, and he says, that when Muslims are outnumbered by a stronger advisory, “…believers are allowed to show friendship outwardly but never inwardly.”

He goes on to quote Muhammad’s companion, Abu Darda who said “we smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.”

Wood again propagates half-truths and lies to further mislead his audience into viewing Muslims as a sinister bunch not to be trusted even when they smile. He throws out context, history, theology and the polyvalent interpretations within Islamic canon. All with the aim of portraying Muslims as a deceiving group of untrustworthy criminals who telepathically communicate taqqiyah with each other like mindless ants as part of a plot to destroy the West.

THE FACTS:

The Literalist Ultra-Conservative interpretation:

The truth is there is a minority of Literalist ultra-Conservative Muslims who hold the opinion that Muslims should not be intimate friends with non-Muslims (I would venture to say 1% or less), because they fear Muslims will be put into a position of harm (physically and spiritually), will lose their religion, and take on the ways and mores of other religions.

However, even here there is a necessary caveat that must be made, this literalist minority while espousing the belief that one should not be close intimate friends with non-Muslims also states that one should deal justly and kindly with them, they say this based on the verse,

Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity. (60:8)

As for the latter part of the verse, the interpretation and selective quotation of Ibn Kathir, (presumptuously labeled the “greatest Islamic commenter ever” by Wood when no such position or authority exists) does not support Wood’s theory. In fact, it is an intellectually deceptive attempt that leaves out the true import of the verse and is even a clumsy handling of the Ultra-Conservative interpretation.

The ellipses that Wood inserted is the key to understanding the context. No where does Ibn Kathir mention “when Muslim are outnumbered by a stronger advisory,” (David Wood made that up whole-cloth). What he actually writes is,  ‘do not take disbelievers as friends in preference to Muslims,’ and the portion in question, unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, is rendered as unless you indeed fear a danger from them. Ibn Kathir then interprets it as “meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.”

So clearly we see that the ellipses purposely inserted by Wood hides the true interpretation given by Ibn Kathir. Ibn Kathir was essentially saying that Muslims who fear for their lives may be friendly in order to guard themselves from harm.

Think for example of the Spanish Inquisition, that was a time and a place where Muslims (and Jews) might have put the above into practice. Fearing for your own and your families safety is cause enough to show a “duel nature.” In fact, many Jews and Muslims under intense persecution proclaimed outwardly to have converted to Catholicism, while inwardly they remained Muslims and Jews, these crypto-Muslims (Moriscos) and crypto-Jews (Marranos) were known as Conversos.

Can David Wood honestly find fault with a verse that gives a dispensation to Muslims to save their lives and protect their religion by hiding it or acquiescing to their enemy in the face of danger or persecution?

David Wood bastardizes the verse by attributing an interpretation to Muslims that does not exist. He does this by asserting half-truthfully the minority ultra-conservative literalist interpretation.

The lie comes in the second half of the verse, where he attempts to say that when Muslims are “outnumbered,” they can be friendly with non-Muslims but inwardly they must hate them until a time comes when they have the numbers to take over, a position that the ultra-conservatives don’t advance. We have demonstrated that the literalist ultra-conservatives are in fact referring to a situation of danger that Muslims may find themselves in and not a tactic of domination.

The Context:

When we analyze this verse and its surrounding verses in context we learn that the verse was directed at the “hypocrites” (Munafiqoon), a group who entered Islam in outward appearance only in an attempt to destroy it. They had allied themselves with the sworn enemies of Islam, the pagan Meccans and their allies.

The Prophet Muhammad was speaking to his community in Medina and prophesied to them that one day they would hold sovereignty over the lands of Persia and Byzantium. The hypocrites responded by saying, “How preposterous!”

In response to this, verses 3:26-29 were revealed,the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, written about 100 years after Ibn Kathir’s exegesis explains,

When the Prophet (s) promised his community sovereignty over the lands of Persia and Byzantium, the hypocrites said, ‘How preposterous!’, and so the following was revealed, “Say, ‘O Allah , Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are over all things competent.’” (3:26)

“You cause the night to enter the day, and You cause the day to enter the night; and You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give provision to whom You will without account.” (3:27)

Then we come to the verse in question, in it the word Awliya, which instead of being translated as  “friends” is more accurately rendered in the context as “allies,”

Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing with Allah , except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination.(3:28)

The Tafsir Jalalayn explains,

Let not the believers take the disbelievers as patrons, rather than, that is, instead of, the believers — for whoever does that, that is, [whoever] takes them as patrons, does not belong to, the religion of, God in anyway — unless you protect yourselves against them, as a safeguard (tuqātan, ‘as a safeguard’, is the verbal noun from taqiyyatan), that is to say, [unless] you fear something, in which case you may show patronage to them through words, but not in your hearts… (emphasis added)

The hypocrites in particular and humanity in general is then told,

Say, “Whether you conceal what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it. And He knows that which is in the heavens and that which is on the earth. And Allah is over all things competent. (3:29)

Tafsir al-Jalalayn explains,

Say, to them: ‘Whether you hide what is in your breasts, in your hearts, of patronage to them, or disclose it, manifest it, God knows it and, He, knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth; and God is Able to do all things, and this includes punishing those who patronise them.

The above is indicative of how the majority of Muslims explain these verses; revelation in a context of war and betrayal. Particularly in response to the hypocrites who claimed to be Muslims but concealed their alliance and patronage with enemies who wanted to annihilate the nascent Muslim community.

We also see that the dispensation referred to in verse 3:28 pertains to particular situations Muslims might find themselves in when they are in danger.

This becomes even more evident when we realize that at the time of the revelation of this verse there were Muslims who lived in pagan Mecca who concealed their religion and had to show patronage to the enemies of the Muslims due to fear of death or torture. Referring to them the Quran says, ‘you may outwardly show that you are allied with those who are at war with Muslims and may harm you for being Muslim, but inwardly you should feel differently.’

To drive the point home we look at one more verse that puts this subject into context,

For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you with regard to those who fight you for your faith, and drive you out of your homes and support others in driving you out, from turning to them for protection (or taking them as wali). Those who seek their protection they are indeed wrong- doers. (60:9)

Also, logically we have to question, if Islam doesn’t allow Muslims to befriend non-Muslims, why would it allow Muslim men to marry non-Muslims? Marriage is even more intimate than friendship, it is based on love and friendship.

Abu Darda’s statement: “We smile in the face of some…”:

David Wood then goes on to quote Muhammad’s companion, Abu Darda who said, “we smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.”

The above quote from Abu Darda, which Wood employs as a means to bash us into the belief that Muslims have a “duel nature” actually comes back to bite him in the butt.

Abu Darda’s (hadith) statement can be found in Saheeh Bukhari, under the chapter heading, Al-Mudaaraah ma3 An’Naas which means “Politeness/Gentleness with the People.” So rather than being something Taqqiyah or Jihad related, this statement actually pertains to polite manners and etiquette!

In explaining the statement, Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, writer of one of the seminal explanations of Saheeh Bukhari wrote,

Ibn Battaal  said: Politeness is part of the attitude of the believers, and it is lowering the wing of humility to people, speaking gently, and not speaking harshly to them, which are among the best means of creating harmony.

Ibn Muflih, an eminent 14th century scholar of the Hanbali school wrote concerning Abu Darda’s statement,

This attitude of Abu Darda does not mean approving of something haram (prohibited); rather it is politeness that may achieve some purpose.

Ibn Abd’ al-Barr, an eminent scholar and jurist who predates Ibn Kathir also quoted Abu Darda’s statement with regard to the virtues of good manners.

Abu Darda’s statement was intended to be a spiritual teaching, meant (in Islamic theological semantics) as a “heart softener” toward those who have “hard hearts.” The context given is that some individuals have brash and very rude manners, and the best way to deal with them, even though you dislike them in your heart is through politeness and good manners, because that may eventually lead to the rude individual reforming him or herself. It is the actualization of the Quranic verse, “Repel evil with that which is better,” i.e. respond to evil with goodness.

“Don’t trust those evil Mooslims, please!”:

Wood continues,

What’s my point you ask? Well, the Muslims who want to construct a massive mosque here, assure us that they are doing it to honor the victims of 9/11 and not to construct a symbol of Islamic supremacy. They assure us that they are going to build a beacon of understanding and harmony. A place where people of all faiths to gather and condemn extremism.

[Pause]

Do you believe that?

If so, I would like to sell you a bottle of Wood’s magical cure all, from the miracle springs of Poland for the low low price $870.

This mocking and very ineffectual attempt at a joke falls dead on delivery. In this instance David Wood may not be selling “magic” holy water like many of his televangelist preacher/prophet brethren are want to do, but he is selling something else — hate.

Wood is pitching the idea that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a supporter of American intervention in Afghanistan and a Sufi is in cahoots with Bin Laden. You see, David Wood tells us, Muslims are all the same at the end of the day, when they speak of harmony and peace, and when they condemn terrorism they are not to be trusted.

What makes this especially ironic is that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf knew people in the Twin Towers! Many of his congregants worked there, but in Wood’s world those facts just don’t matter because the “Muslim other” cannot be allowed to share in the tragedy and suffering of 9/11, that would humanize them, that you would make them Americans.

Of Churches and Men?:

Wood then attempts to prove his point,

My friends, what did Muslims do when they conquered Mecca? They went to the Ka’ba, the center of pagan worship and they claimed it for Islam, what did Muslims do when they took Jerusalem, where did they build their mosque, they built it on the Temple Mount, when Muslims conquered Damascus, where did they build their mosque? They demolished the Church of St. John the Baptist and replaced it with a mosque. Why?

Cordoba Mosque with the Cathedral in the Middle

While Muslims have had their share of taking over Churches or other places of worship and converting them into Mosques (Hagia Sophia), in that age and time that was the practice of most religions, including Christianity. The Spanish did it when they invaded Cordoba and transformed the famous Cordoba Mosque into a Catholic Church by plopping a Cathedral right in the middle of the Mosque.

As far as the capturing of Mecca goes, then the uniqueness of the circumstances and context must be elaborated. According to Arab tradition, the founder of the Ka’ba was Prophet Abraham who dedicated it to the One God. The Muslims, whether we view them as correct or not, believed essentially that they were only restoring the Ka’ba for its original purpose as the House of the One God, similar to the Temple created by Solomon in Jerusalem. They did not believe that by abolishing the practice of idolatry at the Ka’ba that they were supplanting the old and original religion with a new one.

As for Jerusalem, we must note that when Muslims gained sovereignty over the city, the Temple Mount was being used as a trash dump by the Christians. There was no Jewish Temple and it is highly likely there was no Church. In fact, it was only under Muslim rule that Jews were allowed to come back to Jerusalem to worship, having previously been banned by the Byzantine Christians.

As for the Church of St. John the Baptist or what is known as the Umayyad Mosque today, then we are about to give David Wood a history lesson. Damascus is one of the, if not the, oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The site of the Umayyad Mosque has an interesting and unique historyof conquerors building religious structures devoted to their specific God(s) and cults,

It was 1000 BC at the latest when the Arameans built a temple here for Hadad, the god of storms and lightening. A basalt orthostat dating from this period, depicting a sphinx, has been discovered in the northeast corner of the mosque.

In the early first century AD, the Romans arrived and built a massive temple to Jupiter over the Aramean temple. The Roman temple stood upon a rectangular platform (temenos) that measured about 385 meters by 305 meters, with square towers at each corner. Parts of the outer walls of the temenos still survive, but virtually nothing remains of the temple itself.

In the late fourth century, the temple area became a Christian sacred site. The Temple of Jupiter was destroyed and a church dedicated to John the Baptist was built in its place. The church was (and is) believed to enshrine the head of the Baptist, and the site became an important pilgrimage destination in the Byzantine era.

Initially, the Muslim conquest of Damascus in 636 did not affect the church, as the building was shared by Muslim and Christian worshippers. It remained a church and continued to draw Christian pilgrims; the Muslims built a mud-brick structure against the southern wall where they could pray.

Under the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid, however, the church was demolished and the present mosque was built in its place between 706 and 715. An indemnity was paid to the Christians in compensation.

The Mosque still contains relics attributed to John the Baptist. It is a beacon of interfaith interaction and draws Christians (such as Pope John Paul II) and Manadeans. One notices also that the Church of St. John the Baptist itself was built after the destruction of a Roman Temple dedicated to Jupiter! Will David Wood say that act was a practice of Christian supremacy? Can we link that action with current projects by American Christian missionaries in Iraq and say that they are a sign of Christian supremacy?

In contrast to the Byzantines, the early Muslims who conquered Syria left the Christian Holy places untouched. If it was a practice of Muslims to convert the Holy places of non-Muslims into mosques to “show that they are in control,” surely the zealous companions of Muhammad would have immediately gone to the Church and made it into a mosque? However, it was 70 years later that the Mosque was built in its place, and quite out of pattern for conquerors, the Muslims actually paid an indemnity to the Christians as compensation for demolishing the Church.

The Conspiracy Theory Rears its Ugly Head:

Keep in mind, this was in the mind of Muslims all along, right after the September 11th attacks, Muslims were joking about filling the city with mosques and now they tell us that they are doing it to honor the victims of 9/11. Smiling in our faces while cursing us in their hearts. Come out of the cave America, it’s dark in there.

This brutally long and disgusting ode to disinformation, Islamophobia and bigotry finally comes to a close with one final outright and bold embrace of the conspiracy theory that has been the theme of this whole video: “keep in mind, this was in the mind of Muslims all along.”

Those crafty Muslims have been conspiring this whole time to take over our country and subjugate us to Islam! Somehow, in David Wood’s world the so called proposed Cultural Center and Mosque which he repeatedly and falsely refers to as “massive” was in the “mind of Muslims all along.” Bin Laden and his goons were working with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to build this Mosque. The plans announced by Cordoba Initiative that this is not a “massive mosque” but a center that will honor the victims (which by the way included 300 Muslims), contain a mosque, theater, gym, etc. cannot be believed because what Muslims say should never be trusted.

Why do I get the feeling that the only one who is truly smiling in our faces and cursing us in his heart is David Wood? A loon trying by any means possible to sow seeds of hate and suspicion. Such a person would benefit from the teaching of another famous Jew who was instructing his flock, “what­ever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

 

Exposing David Wood: Of Mosques and Men, Pt. 1

Posted in Feature, Loon Media, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2010 by loonwatch

David Wood is a Christian apologist who attempts to save Muslim souls through his organizationActs 17 Apologetics and http://www.answeringmuslims.com. In the past Wood and his entourage, including ex-Ahmadi Muslim* Nabeel Qureshi have targeted the Dearborn Arab Festival in Michigan for proselytism.

At the 2009 Arab Festival, David Wood made a controversial, and some claim one sided video that received over a million hits on YouTube which showed them getting kicked out of the festival. They claim that they were just engaged in free speech, whereas security at the festival stated that they were insulting and harassing festival goers.

Other Evangelical Christians criticized Wood and his group as being agitators,

“The Rev. Haytham Abi Haydar, a Christian evangelical convert from Islam with Arabic Alliance Church in Dearborn, said that a Christian group called Acts 17 Apologetics caused the problems at this year’s Arab festival.

They put cameras in their faces and were very antagonistic,” Abi Haydar said of the group that produced the controversial video that has drawn almost 1.4 million views on YouTube.

Just recently at the 2010 Dearborn Arab Festival, David Wood, Nabeel Qureshi and two others were arrested for disorderly conduct. Obviously intending to make a scene in an attempt at more YouTube success by portraying themselves as being persecuted.

Now David Wood, whose “love of  Muslims” seems to be akin to Pamela Geller’s (who he links to favorably a number of times) is joining arms with the anti-Muslim hate group SIOA in opposing the mosque and cultural center that is to be built a few blocks away from Ground Zero.

In the following video, filled with disinformation, falsehood and inaccuracies he expounds his reasons as to why he is against the mosque, and why he sees Muslims as a lurking evil attempting to take over the West. We expose it all in this series.

Of Mosques and Men

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxFzFIDbKpg 350 300]

10 years later, two groups of Muslims, the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement are planning to build a Massive 13 story mosque right here behind me.

Right off the bat we see the disinformation at work, this isn’t a “13 story mosque,” (why would Muslims need 13 stories to pray in the middle of Manhattan?). The fact is this is a cultural center, that along side a space for a mosque will contain a theater, swimming pool, restaurant and other facilities with the expressed goals of promoting tolerance and mutual co-operation between people of different and varying backgrounds.

“Understandably, many people here in the West are concerned…”

WTF? Many people in the “West” are concerned? I highly doubt the masses of people in Europe or Canada really care about this particular Islamophobia-driven agitation, unless the “many people” he is referring to is the small hate group SIOE (Stop the Islamization of Europe and parent organization of SIOA) whose main campaigns revolve around opposing mosques and other anti-Muslim initiatives.

“…this isn’t an attempt to honor the victims of 9/11 instead, it may be an attempt to build a symbol of Islamic victory. Now, I have the same concern, but mine is slightly different, my concern is slightly different, it is based on a photograph I saw, while I was still in College.

While I was in College my best friend was a Muslim named Nabeel Qureshi. Nabeel showed me some photographs shortly after the September 11th attacks, and I found them quite surprising. Muslims were passing these photographs around and Nabeel thought they were absolutely hilarious. The first photograph was a picture of George W. Bush as a Muslim, and I have to admit that was actually pretty funny,

The second photograph wasn’t so funny, it was a photo shopped picture of the Statue of Liberty covered in a full veil.

Now, this one bothered me a little bit. The Statue of Liberty, the symbol of freedom and justice, covered by a full veil, a symbol of oppression and Shariah Law, now these two pictures actually worked their way around the internet and lots of people are familiar with them.

The third picture, is the one that disturbed me however, it was a photo shopped picture of New York City covered in mosques and minarets, in the bottom corner it said New York City 2006.

The idea was that the terrorist attacks had cleared the ground for the construction of new mosques.

David Wood makes some audacious claims that we are supposed to take as veritable truth upon his word. First, that the photographs he saw originated with Muslims. Second, that Muslims at his College were passing them around, (ostensibly in “celebration of 9/11″). Third, that a burka is a symbol of Shariah Law, and fourth, that the third picture was meant to convey the “idea that the terrorist attacks had cleared the ground for the construction of mosques.”

The truth is that all three of the photographs originate from a comedy website called “www.joe-ks.com,” (a fact conveniently hidden by David Wood in the video) which claims to be the “largest source of internet humor.” The site is definitely not Muslim or terrorist sympathetic, essentially it is a website that has jokes about everything, and a lot of the jokes lampoon terrorists and extremists, and some of them even lampoon whole countries such as Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, etc.

For example one of their posts is titled Afghan Humour:

Q: What do Kabul and Hiroshima have in common?
A: Nothing,…. yet.

Q: How do you play Taliban bingo?
A: B-52…F-16…B-1…

Q: What is the Taliban’s national bird?
A: Duck

Q: How is Bin Laden like Fred Flintstone?
A: Both may look out their windows and see Rubble.

Q: Why does the Afghanistan Navy have glass bottom boats?
A: So they can see their Air Force.

Q: What do Osama Bin Laden and General Custer have in common?
A: They both want to know where those Tomahawks are coming from.

Q: Why aren’t there any Wal-Marts in Afghanistan?
A. Because there’s a Target on every corner.

David Wood must have seen the original post on Joe-KS which would put the pictures above into their proper context instead of the deceptive context that he has created. The pictures weren’t created or disseminated by Muslims after 9/11 as a means of celebrating or “dealing with the tragedy through humor”, in fact the post that first contained the pictures was lampooning terrorists. The post published in October 2001 was titled, If the Taliban wins the War #1#2, #3.

David Wood makes a claim that Muslims were passing these pictures around when the truth is they were created by and disseminated by non-Muslims who were making fun of terrorists and extremists. He doesn’t provide any evidence of Muslims passing these pictures out, instead we are supposed to take him at his word.

In reality it is a clever ploy that omits the fact that not only were Muslims also victims of 9/11 but all major American Muslim organizations condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms. However, he wants to caste Muslims in a dehumanized image: ‘they are not part of our suffering, in fact they are mocking our suffering and enjoy and support 9/11.’

His disingenuous claim that the third picture is meant by Muslims to convey the idea “that the terrorist attacks had cleared the ground for the construction of mosques” is a cynical attempt to link the humor piece deriding the Taliban to the current construction of the Cordoba Cultural Center.

He attempts to instill in the minds of his watchers the idea that this was the plan all along. In doing so he asserts the interesting, if off the wall conspiracy theory that Osama Bin Laden was somehow in cahoots with the founder of the Cordoba Initiative Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, (a Sufi Imam who has condemned Bin Laden and supported the War in Afghanistan).

You see, the plan all along to subvert and take over the West was that Bin Laden’s goons would fly planes into the Twin Towers, then ten years later Imam Abdul Rauf, (who has never spoken to or met Bin Laden) would telepathically (through secret Muslim Taqqiyah radar) communicate with Bin Laden to receive orders to stealthily build a gigantic 13 story Mosque a few blocks away from Ground Zero!

Stay tuned for part 2…

*Disclaimer: “Ahmadi Muslim,” otherwise known as “Qadiyanis” or “Mirzai,” are a heretical sect who are considered outside the fold of Islam by both Sunnis and Shias because of their belief that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a Prophet. This negates the fundamental Islamic creed agreed upon by the majority of Islamic schools of thought and sects that Prophet Muhammad was the last and final Messenger from God. A similar parallel amongst Christians would be groups such as the Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses. (Hat tip: Nazam, Jansen and Zaytoon)

 

NYC Mosque Protest: Protesters Turn on Each other at SIOA Hate Fest

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2010 by loonwatch
How about the 300 Muslims who died?

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, leaders of the hate organization SIOA (Stop the Islamization of America), were going nuts advertising their protest against the Cordoba House, a center that will contain a mosque, gym, swimming pool and museum that is to be built a few blocks away from Ground Zero. According to the Islamophobic duo, and their “save-Western-Civilization-from-evil-Mooslims” crowd, this protest was similar to D-Day, when the allies stormed Normandy. Hysteria much?

The protest itself was filled with anti-Muslim and Islam hating personalities. Placards read that building the mosque would be similar to building a” memorial to Hitler at Auschwitz,” labeled Prophet Mohammed a “pedophile,” “terrorist” and other names and stated that “Islam Hates Women,” etc.

According to Pamela’s highly inflated estimate, 5,000 people showed up while in reality only around 200-300 came to the event.

Geller said the NYPD and security at the rally told her about 5,000 demonstrators were there. But NYPD spokesman Sgt. Kevin Hayes said the police department’s policy is to not provide crowd estimates and that he could not confirm Geller’s number. CNN iReporter Julio Ortiz-Teissonniere, who attended the rally and sent photos to CNN, said the number was closer to 200-300 while he was there for the first 45 minutes of the event.

Can this woman ever quit with the hysterical, disproportionate and excessive lies? Another news agency put the number of protesters squarely at 300.

According to Geller and Spencer this protest not only turned out large (fictional) numbers of people, but was also looked upon with approval from the heavens! Pamela wrote joyously that, “despite weather forecasts of thunderstorms and rain, the skies were clear and beautiful — but not as beautiful as this patriotic crowd of great Americans and Europeans.” Robert Spencer hinted at Divine approval,

And the truth is powerful. The forecast had called for rain, but it didn’t start raining in New York until after the rally had broken up. Many took it as a sign that we represented the cause of right and justice.

Debbie Schlussel, an open Islamophobe and bigot, whom Robert Spencer once dubbed a “freedom fighter” refers now to her former friend Pamela Geller only as Scamela Geller, had this scathing assessment of the protest (hat tip: BMD),

a cleverly designed PR vehicle for people like car loan fraud scammer Scamela Geller and others who are using them to raise money and get attention.  Because having a whole car dealership making gazillions by ripping off banks with car loan scams using Muslim straw buyers wasn’t enough.  Nor was the murder of an investigating cop and the execution of the one honest car salesman employee who told police.  Behavior worse than a mobster’s wife apparently breeds no shame.  But it does breed faux-outrage in a “battle” that we already know won’t be won.  It’s already lost.  They have the property.  Move on to something we can win, not a car loan defrauder’s attention-whore trick, just weeks before her book is about to be released and needs to earn back a bloated advance.  If you think it’s anything other than this, you are a malleable tool, easily manipulated and not of much substance.

Wow, did Debbie just drop the elbow from the sky on Pamela here? This assessment is from a woman who wants all Muslim immigration to America to stop and for there to be no Mosques in the USA, so it can’t be said that she is sympathetic to the plight of Muslims.

Also, I have to ask why no mainstream media outlet, cable or otherwise has taken Pamela to task not only for her crazy and loonie conspiracy theories, but the fact that she isn’t only against this specific center which will house a mosque, but against mosques in general. She is the same person who called for the DESTRUCTION of the Golden Dome in Jerusalem, and for it to be replaced with a Jewish Temple (insert World War III)! Someone needs to smack her with that question.

The height of irony probably came when two Christian Arabs who came to protest the mosque were mistaken for being Muslims, and became targets of their fellow protesters bigotry and harassment. I wonder if they will dispute whether Islamophobia really exists? From Mike Kelly’s great article, On this Ground, Zero Tolerance,

At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.

“Go home,” several shouted from the crowd.

“Get out,” others shouted.

In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called “The Way.” Both said they had come to protest the mosque.

“I’m a Christian,” Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.

But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.

“I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here,” a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.

The incident underscores how contentious — and, perhaps, how irrational — the debate over the mosque has become.

A mosque, for instance, has been located since 1983 on West Broadway, about 12 blocks from Ground Zero. After the 9/11 attacks, the mosque’s imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, began shaping plans to build an Islamic cultural center closer to Ground Zero as part of an attempt to build cultural ties between Islam and America.

Called Cordoba House, the center would rise 13 stories and would include a 500-seat auditorium, a swimming pool and a mosque.

I guess the lesson here is don’t speak Arabic or look foreign at an Islamophobic protest or you might get harmed.