Archive for Crusades

Class Materials from Military’s anti-Islam Class Repeatedly Cite Islamophobic Authors

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2012 by loonwatch

When it was first revealed that anti-Islam classes were being taught by the US military we were pretty certain that the anti-Muslim authors that we are so familiar with were likely heavily cited, now it has been confirmed:

Class materials from military’s anti-Islam class repeatedly cite Islamophobic authors

A class taught by the military to officers at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, came under fire when a report on Wired’s Danger Room blog last week exposed it for teaching soldiers to engage in a “total war” on Islam and taking a war on Islam “to the civilian population wherever necessary.”

The full set of course materials, hundreds of documents and slide shows obtained by ThinkProgress, reveal just how deep Islamophobia ran through the military instruction. The material contained dozens of citations to the work of some of America’s best known anti-Muslim bigots.

Not all of the material in the course, however, was anti-Muslim. Materials from reputable sources such as the Brookings Institution and RAND corporation also appeared among the readings, and only some of the presenters to the class used blatantly Islamophobic material. (The public affairs officer of the Joint Forces Staff College didn’t respond to repeated inquiries by press time.)

But the “Islamophobia network,” discussed in the Center for American Progress’s report, “Fear, Inc.“ played a prominent role in many of the 266 documents acquired by ThinkProgress.

ThinkProgress, 15 May 2012

The Islamophobes named are Robert Spencer, David Yerushalmi and Daniel Pipes, along with Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. Right-wing anti-Muslim publications like the Washington Times and the National Review are also cited numerous times in the documents.

I’ll See Your Jihad, and Raise You One Crusade

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by loonwatch

Modern Day Crusaders

Eric Prince, Modern-Day Crusader and founder of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater

by Ilisha

“I’ll See Your Jihad, and Raise You One Crusade” is a popular refrain among loons convinced they’re modern-day crusaders locked in an epic battle with Islam. Unfortunately, their apocalyptic visions are not confined to the lunatic fringe. Eric Prince, the reclusive co-founder of Blackwater “private military company” used to outsource US wars fancies himself a modern-day crusader, and he’s not alone.

Blackwater is infamous for its brutality, belligerence, and reckless disregard for the lives of Iraqi and Afghan civilians. This month, Harper’s Magazine featured an exposé, “The Warrior Class”: The Blackwater Videos, by Charles Glass on the rise of private “security contractors” in the years since 9/11. Video clips featured in the article are reminiscent of scenes  from George Miller’s 1979 dystopian action film, Mad Max, but for Iraqis, this was real life–and all too often, death.

In one of the most disturbing clips, a Blackwater vehicle struck down a veiled pedestrian and never bothered to stop, or even to pause. Subsequent vehicles in the convoy also barreled past with total disregard for the victim, apart from making the effort to capture the monstrous crime on video:  (H/T: Saladin)

Video of Blackwater Contractors Driving Over Iraqi Woman


In 2007, Blackwater mercenaries massacred 17 innocent Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, including 9-year-old Ali Kinani. In January of this year, the “private military contractor” reached a wrongful death “settlement” with the victim’s families and survivors, though criminal charges were dropped, allowing the perpetrators to escape accountability.

Ali Kinani9-year old Ali Kinani

In 2009, Blackwater re-branded itself as Xe (pronounced “Zee”), apparently to escape its well-deserved image as a gang of ruthless thugs or hire.

What’s missing from the Harper’s Magazine article, and much of the coverage surrounding Xe, is that Erik Prince is a fundamentalist Christian who built his military empire around the notion of Christian Dominionism. An exclusive video featured on Democracy Now revealed previously undisclosed details regarding the companies methods and motives.

The Economist provided more shocking details in an article entitled, “Erik Prince and the last crusade,” : (H/T: MasterQ)

In an affidavit lodged with a court in Virginia, one of the witnesses said that Mr Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.” The statement continues:

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”

Mr Prince is further accused of trying to cover up Blackwater’s misdeeds, which allegedly include profiteering and arms smuggling, by killing employees who tried to blow the whistle on the company….

Sending Christian crusaders to a Muslim country where you’re trying to restore peace is what I would call a very bad idea. Perhaps that wasn’t the case, but sending freelance soldiers into a country unbound by any laws is still a terrible strategy. It breeds a shoot first, ask questions later mentality. And for Blackwater, at times, it was more like shoot first, drive on. The latest allegations are shocking, but much of the story is not surprising at all.”

No, modern-day crusader themes and utter contempt for the lives of innocent Iraqis shouldn’t be surprising at all, and it isn’t confined to private “security” contractors like Xe. Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik also fancied himself as a modern-day crusader who sought to restore the medieval Knights Templar, though he certainly wasn’t alone in this peculiar brand of madness.

It seems Christian-themed holy wars have captured the imaginations of prominent US politicians, journalists, and military leaders. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then President George Bush  referred to the so-called “War on Terror” as a “crusade,” sparking widespread criticism in the Islamic world, and even in Europe. Four years later, the BBC reported that Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq:

“President Bush said to all of us: ‘I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, “George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.” And I did, and then God would tell me, “George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq .” And I did.”

A “born again” dry drunk, Bush appealed to millions of conservative Christians, some of the biggest backers of the Iraq war and endless conflict in the Middle East to fulfill their apocalyptic visions:

This is the dark side to their religious world view. Their fantasy is often sung to uplifting gospel music of a soon-to-come Paradise. Its concomitant message (not openly discussed) is that God will then (brutally) kill the entire human race except for Christians (for many meaning “born again” Christians). The Left Behind book series dwells on how God will eviscerate, torture and kill all non-Christians. Why so many of them dwell on this is not clear.  Perhaps it gives meaning to their lives.  Or instilling fear is a way to keep them in line under their preachers’ domination. In any case they are cleverly used by the Israeli lobby, imperial neoconservatives and (more profitably) by the military industrial complex.

The Book of Revelation is the integral passion of their foreign policy, their belief that the founding of Israel foretells the imminent Second Coming, conversion or death for Jews and eternal happiness for themselves in Heaven. In their view America, as God’s instrument, should encourage wars and chaos in the Middle East in order to “hurry up” God and His agenda. One of their leaders is John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel. Senator Liebermanis a friend and favored speaker at his events. I have described The Strangest Alliance in History about how each side thinks it is using the other for its own ends.

Also in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, “conservative” journalist  Anne “All Terrorists Look Alike” Coulter said in her “battle cry”  for Washington:

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

Her sentiment was echoed in subsequent statements by prominent Christian war monger Ellis Washington, in an article featured in the far right WorldNetDaily. Such statements weren’t merely confined to the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and in fact, persist into the present day, according to an article in the Huffington Post, Newt and the Loony Religious Fringe That Now Runs the Republican Party:

America needlessly went to war in Iraq because neoconservative war mongers — who laugh at the “those rubes,” as they think of earnest Evangelical Christian Zionists, and whose own sons and daughters seem notably absent from our armed services — used the religious passion and dedication of conservative Evangelicals to provide political means and cover for the neoconservatives’ commitment to America’s military dominance of the world. In other words the Evangelicals provided the votes to put foolish warmongers like George W Bush in power. And now Gingrich wants their votes.

Gingrich shares a crowded stage with other prominent Republicans who also court the religious right, including Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachman, and Herman Cain.

Not surprisingly, the US military also is also plagued with Blackwater-like perversity and religious extremism. Gen. Tommy Franks, who directed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, callously dismissed concerns over the number of innocent civilians killed in Iraq saying, “We don’t do body counts.” Not to be outdone, Democracy Now has revealed the Pentagon refers to the victims as “Bugsplat,” the name of a computer program that estimates how many civilians will be killed in US-led bombing raids.

Adding perhaps the most infamous religious twist to this madness is Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin. An outspoken Evangelical Christian, Boykin claimed Muslims hate America, ”because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian … and the enemy is a guy named Satan.”

Referring to a battle in Somalia, Boykin also said, ”I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol,” and later he said, “We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God have been raised for such a time as this.” Boykin also claimed God put George Bush in office, and continued to frame the so-called “War on Terror” as a religious conflict, even as George Bush tried to assure the world the US was not at war with Islam.

Should these remarks be dismissed as the rantings of a lone loon?

Last January, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist  Seymour Hersh said key branches of the US military are being run by “crusaders,” According to a Huffington Post article:

“What I’m really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over,” Hersh said.

He said that the attitude that “pervades” a large portion of the Joint Special Operations Command, which is part of the military’s special forces branch and which has carried out secret missions to kill American targets, is one that supports “[changing] mosques into cathedrals.”

Hersh also said that Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before his tenure as the top general in Afghanistan, as well as his successor and many other JSOC members, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.” Blake Hounsell, the reporter for Foreign Policy, speculated that Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Catholic organization.

“Many of them are members of Opus Dei,” Hersh said. “They do see what they’re doing…it’s a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.

While the world focused myopically on “Islamic” terrorists, it seems the crusader mentality that germinated in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has flourished and permeated not only the lunatic fringe, but high-ranking officials within the US establishment. Apparently extremists on both sides of the so-called Clash of Civilizations are inspired to play their respective roles, equally hellbent on hurtling the rest of humanity ever closer to Armageddon.

Richard Dawkins: “Islam” is an “Unmitigated Evil”

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by loonwatch

Richard Dawkins, well known biologist and pop-atheist-guru (add goofball) recently brought up thequestion of whether or not atheists should support Christian missions in Africa. (hat tip: Rob)

He believes the answer is “still no,” (he doesn’t say why) but since Islam according to him is an “unmitigated evil” and atheism is not going to be making any inroads into Africa anytime soon it is a question worth “raising.”

His logic is based on a crudely partitioned breakdown of religious affiliation in Africa designed by aChristian site:

(Isn’t Dawkins supposed to question these sorts of things?)

Dawkins also believes ‘supporting missions’ may be justified on the basis that ‘the enemy of our enemy is our friend.’ That’s the extent of profundity provided by Dawkins! Such crass and cynical sentiments expose the bankruptcy of ideas and strategy in the leadership of the so-called New Atheists.

The statement is similar to “exposed as a fraud” Ayaan H. Ali’s call for Christian missionaries to evangelize Muslims. Such a call is really just a variation on the well worn Crusader-esque theme best expressed by the likes of Anne Coulter, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” (Or the recent statement by Christian Evangelical Bryan Fischer, “Muslims can either convert, or die”).

Don’t you love how some of these loony-out-for-a-buck-and-some-notoriety atheists are so quick to compromise their principles and sit at the table with the most hardcore Bible Thumpers out there? Does anyone think George Carlin would stand for that? Or Tariq Ali? Or As’ad Abu Khalil? Or Cenk Uygur? It just goes to show you that where you are born, your culture and history do have an impact on the decisions and positions you take, no matter how much you claim to be “objective” and motivated by “reason,” and the “scientific method.”

As for his comments that it is a “given” that Islam is “an unmitigated evil in the world today”…wow. First of all, what does that mean about the practitioners of Islam? Does it mean that they are all or mostly or significantly practitioners of “evil?” Because that is the import of Dawkins’ statement, I mean who else puts into reality what Islam is other then the followers of Islam?

Secondly, is anyone else taken aback by the quasi metaphysical language used here by Dawkins? “Unmitigated evil,” is the type of phrase one would expect in the sermon of a Puritan minister or perhaps as one commenter on Dawkins site asks,

Is the Professor now auditioning for a guest shot on Pamela Geller’s website for the barking mad and openly hostile? Very few things in this world are ‘unmitigated evils’: of all the things that might be unmitigated evils, I can absolutely guarantee that a major world religion practiced in a thousand different ways in a thousand different social and cultural contexts is not one of them. The chances of no good at all coming out of such a diverse multiplicity of contexts and forms of practice (that is, of any ‘evil’ not being mitigated) are almost zero. — CallumM

Thirdly, piggy-backing off of the “multiplicity” mentioned by the commenter, is Dawkins totally oblivious to the Arab Spring for instance? You know that thing sweeping the Middle East for the past 5 1/2 months, that many, including Dawkins’ friend Christopher Hitchens thought would fail or sizzle out?

Is it “unmitigated evil” when protesters in Tahrir Square mobilized in the hundreds of thousands, inspired by and chanting the Quranic verse, “God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves?” Was it “unmitigated evil” when they withstood the worst kinds of state violence and barbarity in prayer together, shoulder to shoulder? Was it “unmitigated evil” when Christians and Muslims united to protect each other?

Dawkins is out of touch with current events, and lets just say he won’t be playing in any Philosophy World Cups any time soon. The man’s field is Biology, he doesn’t know much about anthropology, sociology, history, comparative religions, or philosophy, that is why he and his buddy Sam Harris get their arse handed to them by real intellectuals such as Scott Atran and Robert Pape.

Maybe it is time for Dawkins to spend a little more time humbly learning about Islam and Muslims, engaging with critical intellectuals instead of rabid Islamophobes and probably dissecting a frog or two in the lab he’s been neglecting while pontificating on matters he has no grasp over.

Bryan Fischer: Muslims Can Either Convert…or Die

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2011 by loonwatch

Looks like the Crusades are on again. Imagine if Fischer were some Mullah instead of a Christian?

From RightwingMediaWatch:

The only thing that will give us a shot at building a democracy in an Islamic land is a mass conversion of its people to biblical Christianity. So that means if we want to see freedom come to those darkened, benighted lands, we should be sending missionaries in right after we send in the Marines to neutralize whatever threat has been raised against the United States. So we say to them, look, if you don’t want our missionaries, fine, that’s your choice, we’ll take our missionaries and our Marines, we’ll take them home, but we’re gonna let you know we have no hesitation about returning with lethal force if the forces in your country threaten us again. This time it’s Marines and missionaries, next time it’ll be Marines and missiles.

JihadWatch Calls for Unconstitutional Reforms to Ghettoize Muslims, Sparks Genocidal Rage Among Readers

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Originally published at Spencerwatch

We have long bemoaned the militant hate-speech elicited by countless inflammatory and downright fascist posts at Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch. Garibaldi exposed his “Stop the Islamization of America” as an anti-Muslim hate group based on its European counterpart.

Lately, Spencer has posted articles by the mysterious Roland Shirk, someone we know nothing about, probably because he is another one of Spencer’s pen-names (like Hugh Fitzgerald). Apparently, Mr. Shirk is a mouthpiece for JihadWatch’s more belligerent attacks on the constitutional freedoms of indigenous law-abiding Muslims. Hewrites his latest article about how religious discrimination is our only way to stop a world war against Islam:

If the influx is stopped in the next few years, and Western societies overcome the self-gelding political correctness and hysterical scrupulosity that drives them to hold their own societies to an inhuman standard of Kantian selflessness–while endlessly indulging the sins of newcomers–it’s possible that we will keep our freedoms intact without a major violent confrontation. For that to happen, we’d need to slam shut our borders, cut welfare programs that allow recent immigrants to breed irresponsibly on the taxpayers’ dime, rigorously enforce laws suppressing sedition, infiltrate and expose terror networks already in our midst, and push back hard against attempts to force an alien religion into our cultural mainstream.

Did you get that? Mr. Shirk wants us to end all Muslim immigration, period. Nevermind that this would be economically impossible or the glaring hypocrisy of the fact that Mr. Shirk’s ancestors at one time were likely immigrants in a new land. But how should we deal with the Muslims already here?

We’d essentially have to reduce Islamic enclaves to the condition of the Basques–midsized, deeply disgruntled minorities treasuring claims against our territory, without the power to do much more than disrupt the peace, and occasionally murder some policemen. (Of course, the Basques have old, and in some ways legitimate grievances, since they really were here first–while the Muslims have none–but that’s not really the issue.)

Ghettoization. Mr. Shirk is clear he sees no place for Muslims in Western society at all. Islam is “alien.”Nevermind that official U.S. government documents, such as the historical Treaty of Peace and Friendship, ensure a place for Muslims in America:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen (Muslims), and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

History has never been very important at JihadWatch anyway. Mr. Shirk goes on to accuse Western leaders of “demographic treason” for not discriminating against immigrants because of their religion. He outlines the nightmare scenario for his readers:

But that’s not even the worst conceivable outcome of the demographic treason committed by Western leaders who admitted so many Muslims. From a humanitarian point of view, it might be even worse if some European countries woke up to the Muslim threat while others did not–and the governments of those countries on either side of the divide formed into regional blocs. The divide between dhimmi and anti-dhimmi countries would become every bit as sharp as that which sundered Europe during the Cold War.

For Mr. Shirk, the very presence of Muslims, law-abiding or not, could possibly lead to a world war in Europe between so-called dhimmi and anti-dhimmi countries. He sums up his argument in the final line:

Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat. We had better decide which posture we prefer. The time is short.

Either we subjugate the Muslims (with discrimination, stigmatization, and dehumanization), or else they will destroy our civilization. For Mr. Shirk, there is no difference between normal mainstream moderate Muslims, who are proven by scientific polls to be the vast majority, and radical fringe extremists like Al-Qaeda. No need for inconvenient details or nuance. There is simply no chance for peaceful co-existence due to the inherently evil nature of Islam. Time is short.

Indeed, this is the message picked up loud and clear by his readers who vigorously encourage only the harshest measures to be applied indiscriminately against all Muslims.

Buraq, our first commenter, pulls out the usual genocidal anti-Muslim nuclear card:

Very well put! And not a word wasted.

However, if we wish to survive, then we have to ‘go nuclear’. What I mean is that Al Qur’an has to be Hiroshamized, or Nagasaki-ed, if you like…

It’s as simple as that.

Armed Infidel wants to declare war on all Muslim countries and “confiscate” all mosques:

With the full and unyielding support of our National Command Authority and ALL our Congressional Representatives, the following actions should implemented:

• Declare war on all nation states, non-state actors, or proxies (e.g. Hamas and Hezbollah) anywhere in the world that are based upon or support the Islamic doctrine of Sharia, in particular Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran…

• Systematically deport all Muslims from inside our national borders and stop the legal immigration and/or entry of all Muslims into America who are unwilling to denounce all aspects of Sharia, swear allegiance to our American Constitution, and assimilate fully (by way of their actions and deeds) into our American culture and way of life as loyal and law-abiding citizens…

• Confiscate all existing Islamic mosques under the laws of eminent domain. Prohibit the building of all new mosques. Declare that all mosques are nothing more than political and military command and control centers for Islam.

How one swears allegiance to the Constitution while systematically denying fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Constitution is left to our legal imagination.

John K thinks having normal relationships with Muslims is akin to appeasement of Hitler because the real Muslim-Christian holy war is yet to come:

Having been an ardent student of WWII Europe in my youth, I can see the same patterns emerging here as we relive the Chamberlain appeasement phase at the present time. I can also see that we are not going to do anything about Islam until the real war starts. What we have now are just the Rhineland and Sudetenland occupation phases.

Rich thinks Islam shouldn’t be protected under the First Amendment:

There are two ways to win.

1. Stop the massive immigration

2. By declaring Islam a Political ideology and removing its protection as a religion.

Ethoman explains his understanding of what Muslims believe:

They plan to subjugate and murder our children the same exact way they subjugate and murder non-Muslims all over the world that have fallen under their dominion. They believe “God” promised them this … They are quite confident right now.

DP111 explains the pickle in which the anti-Muslim movement finds itself:

The question is how to stop Muslim immigration without it appearing as religious discrimination. The next question is how to reverse Muslim immigration. Both need to be done in a manner that does not appear discriminatory, does not require laws to be passed that are viewed as unconstitutional.

Advancing an unconstitutional agenda while not appearing unconstitutional? Yes, that is very tricky. But alas, DP111 has a solution to save Western civilization:

The only solution left is total war, which is the way Western nations operate. Muslims do not seem to understand that Western nations modern war strategy is based on total war till the enemy surrenders, ie unconditional surrender.

Battle of Tours agrees:

“Violent confrontation” with Islam/Jihad/Sharia societal violence is inevitable, no matter what or who happens. This is the “Next World War” in the making.

R.K.MacUalraig also agrees:

Not only am I in favor of all Muslims in the West being deported, but I’m for a reconquista of all formerly Christian and Jewish lands in the Middle East, EU, and Asia.

Sonofwalker thinks that spitting on local Muslims or otherwise indiscriminately insulting them is a good way to fight the “crusade” against Islam:

As an example, one might spit on a Muslim shop window or litter on a mosque property. One man doing so is a small thing, and it’s not going to see anyone harmed. If all the informed readers in this field would do some small act, then there would be multiple thousands of acts daily that in combination would accumulate into a massive action against Islam. That’s how I would attempt to destroy Islam, step by tiny step till there is a storm of activities. It is, in effect, a crusade.

Susan thinks all Muslims should be punished for the next terror attack by destroying Mecca or another “fancy mosque”:

I heard a fellow on the radio say that we had to tell Muslims that every time they committed a terrorist act, we would obliterate one of their holy shrines, starting with that big black box thing in Saudi Arabia. And after they got over the shock of seeing the black box thing laying in splinters on the ground, we would then (following their next terrorist act) obliterate one of those fancy mosques.

Perhaps Susan does not realize that collective punishment is a war crime (or perhaps that does not concern her).

EliasX thinks we should “rollback” the Muslims (in other words, repeat the expulsions carried out during the Crusades):

Roland,

Interesting piece.

You omit one strategy that worked in the past vis-à-vis Muslim conquest and colonization: “rollback.” This happened in southern France and southern Italy, Spain, Sicily, central Europe, the Balkans, and Russia, not to mention during the Crusades. Thus, “expulsion” is a viable option for a society threatened with extinction or “subjugation.”

These comments are a typical day of Muslim-bashing at JihadWatch. Perhaps Newt Gingrich will think twice before bragging about Spencer’s endorsement. But remember, Spencer isn’t legally responsible for the rampant hate speech he provokes as per his disclaimer: “The fact that any comment remains on the site IN NO WAY constitutes an endorsement by Jihad Watch, or by Robert Spencer or any other Jihad Watch writer, of any view expressed, fact alleged, or link provided in that comment.”

In other words, Spencer wants to use his right to declare Islam an evil religion whose adherents “can only be at your feet or at your throat” but then he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his readers actually following his argument to its logical conclusion: hate crimes. In the name of free speech, he leaves comments on his website that directly call for violence against Muslims. But again, he’s not responsible… technically.

How else are concerned citizens able to protect their country from the imminent Islamic invasion being facilitated by the secret Moozlim President?

 

Seymour Hersh: Military Branch Being Run By ‘Crusaders’

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by loonwatch

Sy Hersh has been one of the foremost investigative journalist in America for the past 25 years. This revelation is a whammy, imagine if the script were turned, and a Muslim nation’s army was being accused of being run by “Jihadists.” We would never hear the end of it. Can we now blame Christianity for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Seymour Hersh: Military Branch Being Run By ‘Crusaders’

The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh alleged in a speech in Qatar that key branches of the U.S. military are being led by Christian fundamentalist “crusaders” who are determined to “turn mosques into cathedrals.”

Hersh was speaking at the Doha campus of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service earlier this week. He made the comments while discussing a forthcoming book he is writing. A writer for Foreign Policy magazine attended the event and reported his remarks.

“What I’m really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over,” Hersh said.

He said that the attitude that “pervades” a large portion of the Joint Special Operations Command, which is part of the military’s special forces branch and which has carried out secret missions to kill American targets, is one that supports “[changing] mosques into cathedrals.”

Hersh also said that Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before his tenure as the top general in Afghanistan, as well as his successor and many other JSOC members, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.” Blake Hounsell, the reporter for Foreign Policy, speculated that Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Catholic organization.

“Many of them are members of Opus Dei,” Hersh said. “They do see what they’re doing…it’s a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”

He also criticized President Obama, saying, “Just when we needed an angry black man, we didn’t get one.”

The Washington Post asked Hersh about his comments after getting a denial from McChrystal that he was a part of the Knights of Malta.

“I’m comfortable with the idea that there is a great deal of fundamentalism in JSOC,” Hersh said. “It’s growing and it’s empirical…there is an incredible strain of Christian fundamentalism, not just Catholic, that’s part of the military.” He said the “angry black man” comment was a joke which the audience laughed at.

The Post also talked to New Yorker editor David Remnick, who said, “Sy is one of the greatest reporters the country has ever known, and that is all I need to know about him.”

 

The Politics Behind Misunderstanding Islam

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2010 by loonwatch

John Feffer wrote an excellent piece on the politics underpinning he “misunderstanding of Islam.”

The Politics Behind Misunderstanding Islam

John Feffer: The Myths Underpinning Islamophobia Share a Long History

The Muslims were bloodthirsty and treacherous. They conducted a sneak attack against the French army and slaughtered every single soldier, 20,000 in all. More than 1,000 years ago, in the mountain passes of Spain, the Muslim horde cut down the finest soldiers in Charlemagne’s command, including his brave nephew Roland. Then, according to the famous poem that immortalized the tragedy, Charlemagne exacted his revenge by routing the entire Muslim army.

The Song of Roland, an eleventh century rendering in verse of an eighth century battle, is a staple of Western Civilization classes at colleges around the country. A “masterpiece of epic drama,” in the words of its renowned translator Dorothy Sayers, it provides a handy preface for students before they delve into readings on the Crusades that began in 1095. More ominously, the poem has schooled generations of Judeo-Christians to view Muslims as perfidious enemies who once threatened the very foundations of Western civilization.

The problem, however, is that the whole epic is built on a curious falsehood. The army that fell upon Roland and his Frankish soldiers was not Muslim at all. In the real battle of 778, the slayers of the Franks were Christian Basques furious at Charlemagne for pillaging their city of Pamplona. Not epic at all, the battle emerged from a parochial dispute in the complex wars of medieval Spain. Only later, as kings and popes and knights prepared to do battle in the First Crusade, did an anonymous bard repurpose the text to serve the needs of an emerging cross-against-crescent holy war.

Similarly, we think of the Crusades as the archetypal “clash of civilizations” between the followers of Jesus and the followers of Mohammed. In the popular version of those Crusades, the Muslim adversary has, in fact, replaced a remarkable range of peoples the Crusaders dealt with as enemies, including Jews killed in pogroms on the way to the Holy Land, rival Catholics slaughtered in the Balkans and in Constantinople, and Christian heretics hunted down in southern France.

Much later, during the Cold War, mythmakers in Washington performed a similar act, substituting a monolithic crew labeled “godless communists” for a disparate group of anti-imperial nationalists in an attempt to transform conflicts in remote locations like Vietnam, Guatemala, and Iran into epic struggles between the forces of the Free World and the forces of evil. In recent years, the Bush administration did it all over again by portraying Arab nationalists as fiendish Islamic fundamentalists when we invaded Iraq and prepared to topple the regime in Syria.

Similar mythmaking continues today. The recent surge of Islamophobia in the United States has drawn strength from several extraordinary substitutions. A clearly Christian president has become Muslim in the minds of a significant number of Americans. The thoughtful Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan has become a closet fundamentalist in the writings of Paul Berman and others. And an Islamic center in lower Manhattan, organized by proponents of interfaith dialogue, has become an extremist “mosque at Ground Zero” in the TV appearances, political speeches, and Internet sputterings of a determined clique of right-wing activists.

This transformation of Islam into a violent caricature of itself — as if Ann Coulter had suddenly morphed into the face of Christianity — comes at a somewhat strange juncture in the United States. Anti-Islamic rhetoric and hate crimes, which spiked immediately after September 11, 2001, had been on the wane. No major terrorist attack had taken place in the U.S. or Europe since the London bombings in 2005. The current American president had reached out to the Muslim world and retired the controversial acronym GWOT, or “Global War on Terror.”

All the elements seemed in place, in other words, for us to turn the page on an ugly chapter in our history. Yet it’s as if we remain fixed in the eleventh century in a perpetual battle of “us” against “them.” Like the undead rising from their coffins, our previous “crusades” never go away.  Indeed, we still seem to be fighting the three great wars of the millennium, even though two of these conflicts have long been over and the third has been rhetorically reduced to “overseas contingency operations.” The Crusades, which finally petered out in the seventeenth century, continue to shape our global imagination today. The Cold War ended in 1991, but key elements of the anti-communism credo have been awkwardly grafted onto the new Islamist adversary. And the Global War on Terror, which President Obama quietly renamed shortly after taking office, has in fact metastasized into the wars that his administration continues to prosecute in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.

Those in Europe and the United States who cheer on these wars claim that they are issuing a wake-up call about the continued threat of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other militants who claim the banner of Islam. However, what really keeps Islamophobes up at night is not the marginal and backwards-looking Islamic fundamentalists but rather the growing economic, political, and global influence of modern, mainstream Islam. Examples of Islam successfully grappling with modernity abound, from Turkey’s new foreign policy and Indonesia’s economic muscle to the Islamic political parties participating in elections in Lebanon, Morocco, and Jordan. Instead of providing reassurance, however, these trends only incite Islamophobes to intensify their battles to “save” Western civilization.

As long as our unfinished wars still burn in the collective consciousness — and still rage in Kabul, Baghdad, Sana’a, and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan — Islamophobia will make its impact felt in our media, politics, and daily life. Only if we decisively end the millennial Crusades, the half-century Cold War, and the decade-long War on Terror (under whatever name) will we overcome the dangerous divide that has consumed so many lives, wasted so much wealth, and distorted our very understanding of our Western selves.

The Crusades Continue

With their irrational fear of spiders, arachnophobes are scared of both harmless daddy longlegs and poisonous brown recluse spiders. In extreme cases, an arachnophobe can break out in a sweat while merely looking at photos of spiders. It is, of course, reasonable to steer clear of black widows. What makes a legitimate fear into an irrational phobia, however, is the tendency to lump all of any group, spiders or humans, into one lethal category and then to exaggerate how threatening they are. Spider bites, after all, are responsible for at most a handful of deaths a year in the United States.

Islamophobia is, similarly, an irrational fear of Islam. Yes, certain Muslim fundamentalists have been responsible for terrorist attacks, certain fantasists about a “global caliphate” continue to plot attacks on perceived enemies, and certain groups like Afghanistan’s Taliban and Somalia’s al-Shabaab practice medieval versions of the religion. But Islamophobes confuse these small parts with the whole and then see terrorist jihad under every Islamic pillow. They break out in a sweat at the mere picture of an imam.

Irrational fears are often rooted in our dimly remembered childhoods. Our irrational fear of Islam similarly seems to stem from events that happened in the early days of Christendom. Three myths inherited from the era of the Crusades constitute the core of Islamophobia today: Muslims are inherently violent, Muslims want to take over the world, and Muslims can’t be trusted.

The myth of Islam as a “religion of the sword” was a staple of Crusader literature and art. In fact, the atrocities committed by Muslim leaders and armies — and there were some — rarely rivaled the slaughters of the Crusaders, who retook Jerusalem in 1099 in a veritable bloodbath.

“The heaps of the dead presented an immediate problem for the conquerors,” writes Christopher Tyerman in God’s War. “Many of the surviving Muslim population were forced to clear the streets and carry the bodies outside the walls to be burnt in great pyres, whereat they themselves were massacred.” Jerusalem’s Jews suffered a similar fate when the Crusaders burned many of them alive in their main synagogue. Four hundred years earlier, by contrast, Caliph ‘Umar put no one to the sword when he took over Jerusalem, signing a pact with the Christian patriarch Sophronius that pledged “no compulsion in religion.”

This myth of the inherently violent Muslim endures. Islam “teaches violence,” televangelist Pat Robertson proclaimedin 2005. “The Koran teaches violence and most Muslims, including so-called moderate Muslims, openly believe in violence,” was the way Major General Jerry Curry (U.S. Army, ret.), who served in the Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr. administrations, put it.

The Crusaders justified their violence by arguing that Muslims were bent on taking over the world. In its early days, the expanding Islamic empire did indeed imagine an ever-growing Dar-al-Islam(House of Islam). By the time of the Crusades, however, this initial burst of enthusiasm for holy war had long been spent. Moreover, the Christian West harbored its own set of desires when it came to extending the Pope’s authority to every corner of the globe. Even that early believer in soft power, Francis of Assisi, sat down with Sultan al-Kamil during the Fifth Crusade with the aim of eliminating Islam through conversion.

Today, Islamophobes portray the building of Cordoba House in lower Manhattan as just another gambit in this millennial power grab: “This is Islamic domination and expansionism,” writes right-wing blogger Pamela Geller, who made the “Ground Zero Mosque” into a media obsession. “Islam is a religion with a very political agenda,” warns ex-Muslim Ali Sina. “The ultimate goal of Islam is to rule the world.”
These two myths — of inherent violence and global ambitions — led to the firm conviction that Muslims were by nature untrustworthy. Robert of Ketton, a twelfth century translator of the Koran, was typical in badmouthing the prophet Mohammad this way: “Like the liar you are, you everywhere contradict yourself.” The suspicion of untrustworthiness fell as well on any Christian who took up the possibility of coexistence with Islam. Pope Gregory, for instance, believed that the thirteenth century Crusader Frederick II was the Anti-Christ himself because he developed close relationships with Muslims.

For Islamophobes today, Muslims abroad are similarly terrorists-in-waiting. As for Muslims at home, “American Muslims must face their either/or,” writes the novelist Edward Cline, “to repudiate Islam or remain a quiet, sanctioning fifth column.” Even American Muslims in high places, like Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), are not above suspicion. In a 2006 CNN interview, Glenn Beck said, “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’”

These three myths of Islamophobia flourish in our era, just as they did almost a millennium ago, because of a cunning conflation of a certain type of Islamic fundamentalism with Islam itself. Bill O’Reilly was neatly channeling this Crusader mindset when he asserted recently that “the Muslim threat to the world is not isolated. It’s huge!”  When Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence William Boykin, in an infamous 2003 sermon, thundered “What I’m here to do today is to recruit you to be warriors of God’s kingdom,” he was issuing the Crusader call to arms.

But O’Reilly and Boykin, who represent the violence, duplicity, and expansionist mind-set of today’s Western crusaders, were also invoking a more recent tradition, closer in time and far more familiar.

The Totalitarian Myth

In 1951, the CIA and the emerging anti-communist elite, including soon-to-be-president Dwight Eisenhower, created the Crusade for Freedom as a key component of a growing psychological warfare campaign against the Soviet Union and the satellite countries it controlled in Eastern Europe. The language of this “crusade” was intentionally religious. It reached out to “peoples deeply rooted in the heritage of western civilization,” living under the “crushing weight of a godless dictatorship.” In its call for the liberation of the communist world, it echoed the nearly thousand-year-old crusader rhetoric of “recovering” Jerusalem and other outposts of Christianity.

In the theology of the Cold War, the Soviet Union replaced the Islamic world as the untrustworthy infidel. However unconsciously, the old crusader myths about Islam translated remarkably easily into governing assumptions about the communist enemy: the Soviets and their allies were bent on taking over the world, could not be trusted with their rhetoric of peaceful coexistence, imperiled Western civilization, and fought with unique savagery as well as a willingness to martyr themselves for the greater ideological good.
Ironically, Western governments were so obsessed with fighting this new scourge that, in the Cold War years, on the theory that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, they nurtured radical Islam as a weapon. As journalist Robert Dreyfuss ably details in his book The Devil’s Game, the U.S. funding of the mujahideen in Afghanistan was only one part of the anti-communist crusade in the Islamic world. To undermine Arab nationalists and leftists who might align themselves with the Soviet Union, the United States (and Israel) worked with Iranian mullahs, helped create Hamas, and facilitated the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though the Cold War ended with the sudden disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1991, that era’s mind-set — and so many of the Cold Warriors sporting it — never went with it. The prevailing mythology was simply transferred back to the Islamic world.  In anti-communist theology, for example, the worst curse word was “totalitarianism,” said to describe the essence of the all-encompassing Soviet state and system.

According to the gloss that early neoconservative Jeanne Kirkpatrick provided in her book Dictatorships and Double Standards, the West had every reason to support right-wing authoritarian dictatorships because they would steadfastly oppose left-wing totalitarian dictatorships, which, unlike the autocracies we allied with, were supposedly incapable of internal reform.

According to the new “Islamo-fascism” school — and its acolytes like Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, Bill O’Reilly, Pamela Geller — the fundamentalists are simply the “new totalitarians,” as hidebound, fanatical, and incapable of change as communists. For a more sophisticated treatment of the Islamo-fascist argument, check out Paul Berman, a rightward-leaning liberal intellectual who has tried to demonstrate that “moderate Muslims” are fundamentalists in reformist clothing.

These Cold Warriors all treat the Islamic world as an undifferentiated mass — in spirit, a modern Soviet Union — where Arab governments and radical Islamists work hand in glove. They simply fail to grasp that the Syrian, Egyptian, and Saudi Arabian governments have launched their own attacks on radical Islam. The sharp divides between the Iranian regime and the Taliban, between the Jordanian government and the Palestinians, between Shi’ites and Sunni in Iraq, and even among Kurds all disappear in the totalitarian blender, just as anti-communists generally failed to distinguish between the Communist hardliner Leonid Brezhnev and the Communist reformer Mikhail Gorbachev.

At the root of terrorism, according to Berman, are “immense failures of political courage and imagination within the Muslim world,” rather than the violent fantasies of a group of religious outliers or the Crusader-ish military operations of the West. In other words, something flawed at the very core of Islam itself is responsible for the violence done in its name — a line of argument remarkably similar to one Cold Warriors made about communism.

All of this, of course, represents a mirror image of al-Qaeda’s arguments about the inherent perversities of the infidel West. As during the Cold War, hardliners reinforce one another.

The persistence of Crusader myths and their transposition into a Cold War framework help explain why the West is saddled with so many misconceptions about Islam. They don’t, however, explain the recent spike in Islamophobia in the U.S. after several years of relative tolerance. To understand this, we must turn to the third unfinished war: the Global War on Terror or GWOT, launched by George W. Bush.

Fanning the Flames

President Obama was careful to groom his Christian image during his campaign. He was repeatedly seen praying in churches, and he studiously avoided mosques. He did everything possible to efface the traces of Muslim identity in his past.

His opponents, of course, did just the opposite. They emphasized his middle name, Hussein, challenged his birth records, and asserted that he was too close to the Palestinian cause.  They also tried to turn liberal constituencies — particularly Jewish-American ones — against the presumptive president. Like Frederick II for an earlier generation of Christian
fundamentalists, since entering the Oval Office Obama has become the Anti-Christ of the Islamophobes.

Once in power, he broke with Bush administration policies toward the Islamic world on a few points. He did indeed push ahead with his plan to remove combat troops from Iraq (with some important exceptions). He has attempted to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to stop expanding settlements in occupied Palestinian lands and to negotiate in good faith (though he has done so without resorting to the kind of pressure that might be meaningful, like a cutback of or even cessation of U.S. arms exports to Israel). In a highly publicized speech in Cairoin June 2009, he also reached out rhetorically to the Islamic world at a time when he was also eliminating the name “Global War on Terror” from the government’s vocabulary.

For Muslims worldwide, however, GWOT itself continues. The United States has orchestrated a surge in Afghanistan. The CIA’s drone war in the Pakistani borderlands has escalated rapidly. U.S. Special Forces now operate in 75 countries, at least 15 more than during the Bush years. Meanwhile, Guantanamo remains open, the United States still practices extraordinary rendition, and assassination remains an active part of Washington’s toolbox.

The civilians killed in these overseas contingency operations are predominantly Muslim. The people seized and interrogated are mostly Muslim. The buildings destroyed are largely Muslim-owned. As a result, the rhetoric of “crusaders and imperialists” used by al-Qaeda falls on receptive ears. Despite his Cairo speech, the favorability rating of the United States in the Muslim world, already grim enough, has slid even further since Obama took office — in Egypt, from 41% in 2009 to 31% percent now; in Turkey, from 33% to 23%; and in Pakistan, from 13% to 8%.

The U.S. wars, occupations, raids, and repeated air strikes have produced much of this disaffection and, as political scientist Robert Pape has consistently argued, most of the suicide bombings and other attacks against Western troops and targets as well. This is revenge, not religion, talking — just as it was for Americans after September 11, 2001. As commentator M. Junaid Levesque-Alam astutely pointed out, “When three planes hurtled into national icons, did anger and hatred rise in American hearts only after consultation of Biblical verses?”

And yet those dismal polling figures do not actually reflect a rejection of Western values (despite Islamophobe assurances that they mean exactly that). “Numerous polls that we have conducted,” writes pollster Stephen Kull, “as well as others by the World Values Survey and Arab Barometer, show strong support in the Muslim world for democracy, for human rights, and for an international order based on international law and a strong United Nations.”

In other words, nine years after September 11th a second spike in Islamophobia and in home-grown terrorist attacks like that of the would-be Times Square bomber has been born of two intersecting pressures: American critics of Obama’s foreign policy believe that he has backed away from the major civilizational struggle of our time, even as many in the Muslim world see Obama-era foreign policy as a continuation, even an escalation, of Bush-era policies of war and occupation.

Here is the irony: alongside the indisputable rise of fundamentalism over the last two decades, only some of it oriented towards violence, the Islamic world has undergone a shift which deep-sixes the cliché that Islam has held countries back from political and economic development. “Since the early 1990s, 23 Muslim countries have developed more democratic institutions, with fairly run elections, energized and competitive political parties, greater civil liberties, or better legal protections for journalists,” writes Philip Howard in The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Turkey has emerged as a vibrant democracy and a major foreign policy player. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is now the largest economy in Southeast Asia and the eighteenth largest economy in the world.

Are Islamophobes missing this story of mainstream Islam’s accommodation with democracy and economic growth? Or is it this story (not Islamo-fascism starring al-Qaeda) that is their real concern?

The recent preoccupations of Islamophobes are telling in this regard. Pamela Geller, after all, was typical in the way she went after not a radical mosque, but an Islamic center about two blocks from Ground Zero proposed by a proponent of interfaith dialogue. As journalist Stephen Salisbury writes,“The mosque controversy is not really about a mosque at all; it’s about the presence of Muslims in America, and the free-floating anxiety and fear that now dominate the nation’s psyche.” For her latest venture, Geller is pushing a boycott of Campbell’s Soup because it accepts halal certification — the Islamic version of kosher certification by a rabbi — from the Islamic Society of North America, a group which, by the way, has gone out of its way to denounce religious extremism.

Paul Berman, meanwhile, has devoted his latest book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, to deconstructing the arguments not of Osama bin-Laden or his ilk, but of Tariq Ramadan, the foremost mainstream Islamic theologian. Ramadan is a man firmly committed to breaking down the old distinctions between “us” and “them.” Critical of the West for colonialism, racism, and other ills, he also challenges the injustices of the Islamic world. He is far from a fundamentalist.

And what country, by the way, has exercised European Islamophobes more than any other? Pakistan? Saudi Arabia? Taliban Afghanistan?  No, the answer is: Turkey. “The Turks are conquering Germany in the same way the Kosovars conquered Kosovo: by using higher birth-rates,” arguesGermany’s Islamophobe du jour, Thilo Sarrazin, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party. The far right has even united around a Europe-wide referendum to keep Turkey out of the European Union.

Despite his many defects, George W. Bush at least knew enough to distinguish Islam from Islamism. By targeting a perfectly normal Islamic center, a perfectly normal Islamic scholar, and a perfectly normal Islamic country — all firmly in the mainstream of that religion — the Islamophobes have actually declared war on normalcy, not extremism.

The victories of the tea party movement and the increased power of Republican militants in Congress, not to mention the renaissance of the far right in Europe, suggest that we will be living with this Islamophobia and the three unfinished wars of the West against the Rest for some time. The Crusades lasted hundreds of years. Let’s hope that Crusade 2.0, and the dark age that we find ourselves in, has a far shorter lifespan.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.