Archive for discrimination

Dearborn Anti-Islam Conference Discriminates Against Muslim Women it Claims to Save

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by loonwatch

Omar Baddar and a host of other organizations responded to the hateful anti-Islam and anti-Arab conference put on by professional bigots Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. The founders of SIOA crassly titled the event, “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference.” Seeking to manipulate and abuse the memory of a young Muslim girl who was murdered by her step-father.

Her murder had nothing to do with Islam, but the hate-mongerers insist on trying to smear Islam at any opportunity.

In the following video we get the facts. We see how discriminatory and racist to the core the anti-Islam brigades behind the “conference” really are! We also see how scared they are of confrontation and being challenged on their hateful bigotry:

Texas Schools Association Discriminates against Muslims as Well as Jews

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2012 by loonwatch

A really egregious story out of Texas:

Texas schools association discriminates against Muslims as well as Jews

A Houston Islamic academy was denied membership to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools after being grilled about the Koran and the mosque located at Ground Zero.

Iman Academy applied for membership to TAPPS in 2010, but the association denied the school’s request. After being rejected two years ago, Principal Cindy Steffens did not go public with the story, but The New York Times uncovered the Houston academy’s name last week and ran an article about the controversy.

TAPPS represents more than 220 private schools in the state. The association drew national attention last week after refusing to reschedule a basketball game for a Jewish Orthodox day school Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, which could not play at the time because the players observed the Sabbath. After the parents threatened legal action, Beren was allowed to play its semi-final game.

The Iman Academy received a questionnaire as part of their application to apply for the TAPPS. Steffens said the questionnaire had provocative and loaded questions, including how the school addresses Christmas. Among the questions sent to Iman Academy and the other Islamic schools that applied were:

  • Historically, there is nothing in the Koran that fully embraces Christianity or Judaism in the way a Christian and/or a Jew understands his religion. Why, then, are you interested in joining an association whose basic beliefs your religion condemns?
  • It is our understanding that the Koran tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into that category. Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is in disagreement with your beliefs?
  • How does your school address certain Christian concepts? (i.e. celebrating Christmas)
  • Does your school teach that the Bible is corrupt? When was the  Bible allegedly polluted? Does the Koran actually  state that the Bible is polluted?
  • What is your attitude about the spread of Islam in America? What are the goals of your school in this regard?

In 2004, two other Islamic schools applied for membership and received a response letter that they perceived as hostile to their faith. They chose not to answer the questions, but Iman Academy did.

School officials were invited to an interview before the TAPPS board in November 2010, and Steffens said one board member said he wanted to discuss the “elephant in the room.” She said the board asked questions that seemed irrelevant to joining an association to play sports, such as asking her opinion about the mosque located near Ground Zero in New York City.

Steffens said another board member told her, “I know all Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

Houston Chronicle, 6 March 2012

NYPD Document: Gather Intel Info at Shiite Mosques

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2012 by loonwatch

NYPD

This story just gets worse and worse. I doubt Muslims in New York will trust the NYPD again, it will take a long time to repair the damage:

NYPD document: Gather intel info at Shiite mosques

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department recommended increasing surveillance of thousands of Shiite Muslims and their mosques, based solely on their religion, as a way to sweep the Northeast for signs of Iranian terrorists, according to interviews and a newly obtained secret police document.

The document offers a rare glimpse into the thinking of NYPD intelligence officers and how, when looking for potential threats, they focused their spying efforts on mosques and Muslims. Police analysts listed a dozen mosques from central Connecticut to the Philadelphia suburbs. None has been linked to terrorism, either in the document or publicly by federal agencies.
The Associated Press has reported for months that the NYPD infiltrated mosques, eavesdropped in cafes and monitored Muslim neighborhoods with plainclothes officers. Its spying operations were begun after the 2001 terror attacks with help from the CIA in a highly unusual partnership.

The May 2006 NYPD intelligence report, entitled “US-Iran Conflict: The Threat to New York City,” made a series of recommendations, including: “Expand and focus intelligence collections at Shi’a mosques.”

The NYPD is prohibited under its own guidelines and city law from basing its investigations on religion. Under FBI guidelines, which the NYPD says it follows, many of the recommendations in the police document would be prohibited.

The report, drawn largely from information available in newspapers or sites like Wikipedia, was prepared for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. It was written at a time of great tension between the U.S. and Iran. That tension over Iran’s nuclear ambition has increased again recently.

Police estimated the New York area Shiite population to be about 35,000, with Iranians making up about 8,500. The document also calls for canvassing the Palestinian community because there might be terrorists there.

“The Palestinian community, although not Shi’a, should also be assessed due to presence of Hamas members and sympathizers and the group’s relationship with the Iranian government,” analysts wrote.

The secret document stands in contrast to statements by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said the NYPD never considers religion in its policing. Kelly has said police go only where investigative leads take them, but the document described no leads to justify expanded surveillance at Shiite mosques.

The document also renews debate over how the NYPD privately views Muslims. Kelly has faced calls for his resignation recently from some Muslim activists for participating in a video that says Muslims want to “infiltrate and dominate” the United States. The NYPD showed the video to nearly 1,500 officers during training.

Documents previously obtained by the AP show widespread NYPD infiltration of mosques. It’s not clear, however, whether the May 2006 report prompted police to infiltrate the mosques on the list. One former police official who has seen the report said that, generally, the recommendations were followed but he could not say for sure whether these mosques were infiltrated.

A current law enforcement official, also familiar with the report, said that since it was issued the NYPD learned that Hezbollah was more political than religious and concluded that it’s not effective to monitor Shiites.

Both insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program.
Neither David Cohen, the NYPD’s top intelligence officer, nor department spokesman Paul Browne responded to emails or phone calls from The Associated Press this week.
Iran is an overwhelmingly Shiite country, but Shiites are a small percentage of the U.S. Muslim population. By contrast, al-Qaida is a Sunni organization and many U.S. leaders consider Shiite clerics as allies in the fight against homegrown extremism. Shiites are often oppressed overseas and many have sought asylum in the West.

The document is dated just weeks after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Congress that, “We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.”
Even now, the U.S. remains particularly concerned with Iran, not only because of its nuclear research but also because intelligence officials don’t believe they know how Iranian sympathizers inside the United States would respond if the two countries went to war. By far, the largest group of Iranians in the U.S. lives in or around Los Angeles. Yet the NYPD, with a smaller Iranian population that police estimated at about 8,500 in New York City, shared the concerns about reactions to an open military conflict.

Asad Sadiq, president of the Bait-ul-Qaim mosque in the Philadelphia suburb of Delran, N.J., said the NYPD was being unfairly broad.

“If you attack Cuba, are all the Catholics going to attack here? This is called guilt by association,” Sadiq, a dentist, said after seeing his mosque in the NYPD document. “Just because we are the same religion doesn’t mean we’re going to stand up and harm the United States. It’s really absurd.”

The AP showed the document to several veteran counterterrorism analysts. None said they had seen anything like it.

“It’s really problematic if you make a jump from a possible international conflict to saying therefore we need to monitor Shiite mosques writ large,” said Brian Fishman, the former research director at West Point’s Combatting Terrorism Center. “It doesn’t follow.”

For instance, the NYPD analysts focused much of the report on the Alavi Foundation, a New York nonprofit group that the federal government has since accused of being secretly controlled by the Iranian government. Analysts then looked at a mosque where Alavi members prayed and that police say may have been linked to an effort to buy information about rocket technology for Iran.

There is no explanation, however, for how those suspicions warranted expanding surveillance to other Shiite mosques, including those far outside the department’s jurisdiction in Connecticut and New Jersey.

“Any time that you begin to isolate certain communities from a policing perspective because you think there’s risk, you have the potential that somebody overreaches,” said Robert Riegle, a former Department of Homeland Security analyst who oversaw efforts to work with state and local agencies.

At the Al-Mahdi Foundation mosque in Brooklyn, worshippers intoned their prayers Wednesday while touching their foreheads to disks of clay on the floor, a Shiite tradition.
“After 1,400 years, the Shias are being targeted in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, everywhere,” imam Malik Sakhawat Hussain said after being told that his mosque was in the NYPD document. “If U.S. authorities become suspicious of the Shias, I would say we are a very oppressed community of the world.”

At the Masjid Al-Rahman, a prayer hall in the basement of a Brooklyn apartment building, manager Abo Maher was surprised to see his mosque on the NYPD’s list of Shiite locations.
“This isn’t even Shia,” he said. “Their information is wrong.”

The police department’s Demographics Unit, the secretive squad of plainclothes officers used to monitor restaurants, social clubs and other gathering spots, found similar issues in Iranian neighborhoods, one former NYPD official recalled.

Muslims make up only a fraction of New York’s Iranian community so squad members returned from their rounds in Iranian neighborhoods and reported finding Jews and Christians, the former official said.

Sadiq, the New Jersey mosque president, said about 250 families — mostly Pakistanis and Indians and few Iraqis — attend his mosque. Every few years, he said, an FBI agent stops by, introduces himself and asks whether there’s been any radical rhetoric in his mosque and whether he knows anyone with connections to Iran. The most recent meeting was just Wednesday, he said, and the NYPD would be welcome if it came openly.

The intelligence unit operates in secrecy with little outside oversight. The City Council is not told about secret intelligence programs. And though the unit operates under the auspices of a federal anti-drug task force and receives federal money, it is not overseen by Congress. The Obama administration, including the Justice Department, has repeatedly sidestepped questions about whether it endorses the NYPD’s tactics.

“They think that they can do whatever they want and get away with it,” Sadiq said.
The document also suggests a broader international intelligence mission than the department has previously acknowledged. The NYPD has officers stationed in 11 foreign cities such as London, Paris, Madrid, and Tel Aviv, where they work with local police and act as the NYPD’s eyes and ears overseas.

In their recommendations for the foreign liaison unit, analysts wrote that officers should: “Focus international intelligence collection on the Iranian threat, to include the activities of the IIS, Hezbollah, Hamas etc. throughout Europe and the Middle East.”

NYPD officers abroad are not supposed to be spies and do not answer to the U.S. director of national intelligence or the CIA station chiefs who coordinate America’s efforts to gather intelligence on Iran. In fact, the NYPD’s international officers aren’t even paid by the department. Rather, the program is paid for through a nonprofit foundation that raises money from corporate donors.

It has not previously been known that the NYPD would consider gathering overseas intelligence on Iranian intelligence services. The police department does not disclose details about the inner workings of the international program to the City Council, to Congress or to U.S. intelligence agencies.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Terror-Free All American Muslim

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2011 by loonwatch

Jon Stewart

Terror-Free All American Muslim

On tonight’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart took a look at the controversy surrounding TLC’s new show, All American Muslim, and the Tampa-based group that hates it. Because the Muslims depicted in the show aren’t shown to be terrorists bent on destroying America, the Florida Family Association can’t abide it. Like most zealots, all they want is their stereotypes reinforced. Is it too much to ask for Bravo to whip up a season of the The Real Martyrs of Jalalabad? Sheesh.

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:thedailyshow.com:404235

The Daily Show
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Muslim-Americans Banished by Government, Banned from Air Travel and Told They Can Swim Back

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2011 by loonwatch

Much has been said (not enough though) about how the imperial government in the White House can assassinate U.S. citizens without trial (see Glenn Greenwald’s discussion here).  For now, the main targets of this presidential assassination program are Muslim-Americans living abroad.

But there is another far more common way that the U.S. government infringes on the rights of Muslim-Americans who travel abroad: the modern-day equivalent of banishment.  The way it works is this: you’re a Muslim-American who decides one day to travel abroad to (let’s say) visit family.  After a few weeks, you decide it’s time to head back home, the United States of America.  But as you try to board the plane at the airport, you’re informed that your flight has been canceled and that you need to talk to the American embassy.  After a few days of being left in mystery, you might be told that you were put on a no-fly list.  But you’ll never be given any explanation for why you were put on this list or how to get off of it.

It’s difficult to say how many Muslim-Americans have faced this fate.  The ACLU says it has been contacted “by a dozen people” in a similar situation with “half of them” stranded abroad:

The American Civil Liberties Union says it has been contacted by a dozen people who say they have been improperly placed on the no-fly list since December, half of them Americans abroad.

“For many of these Americans, placement on the no-fly list effectively amounts to banishment from their country,” said Ben Wizner, a senior staff attorney with the A.C.L.U. He called such treatment “both unfair and unconstitutional.”

The actual numbers are almost certainly much higher:

Exactly how many people are on the government’s lists is unclear. Some of the most recent estimates, from late 2009, state that about 400,000 individuals are on the “watchlist,” which requires a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is known or suspected to be engaged in terrorist activities. A much smaller number — about 14,000 — is on the “selectee list,” meaning they will likely have to undergo rigorous screening to travel. And officials estimated that 3,400 individuals, including roughly 170 U.S. residents, are on the no-fly list.

We won’t ever actually know how many (unless Wikileaks informs us) since the Most Transparent Administration Ever™ won’t ever tell us, much like how we won’t ever know how many civilians our drones kill.

All of this prompted the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim-American civil rights group, to issue a “travel advisory” to Muslim-Americans warning of the threat of “forced exile.”  So, if you Fly While Muslim (FWM) and travel abroad, you risk assassination and forced exile.

Can you imagine how absolutely, positively angry we’d be if Iran gave these two options to Jewish-Iranians traveling abroad?

*  *  *  *  *

The latest case of forced exile seems especially egregious since it may involve the government targeting a Muslim father’s children.  Here’s a report from MSNBC:

Muslims often put on no-fly list without explanation

Landing on the U.S. government’s watchlist can be a legal, bureaucratic nightmare

McLEAN, Va. — The calls have reached a point of repetitive regularity for civil rights lawyer Gadeir Abbas: A young Muslim American, somewhere in the world, is barred from boarding an airplane.

The exact reasons are never fully articulated, but the reality is clear. The traveler has been placed on the government’s terror watchlist — or the more serious no-fly list — and clearing one’s name becomes a legal and bureaucratic nightmare.

On Monday Abbas sent letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and FBI Director Robert Mueller requesting assistance for his two most recent clients. One is a resident of Portland, Ore. who is trying to fly to Italy to live with his mother. The other, a teenager and U.S. citizen living in Jordan, has been unable to travel to Connecticut to lead prayers at a mosque.

“All American citizens have the unqualified right to reside in the United States,” Abbas wrote Monday in a letter to secretary of State Hillary Clinton seeking a change in status for the client in Jordan.

Abbas, a lawyer with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, tries to piece together the reason why a client has been placed on the list. Perhaps a person has a similar name to a known terrorist. Maybe their travels to Yemen or some other Middle East hot spot have garnered suspicion. Maybe they told the FBI to take a hike when they requested an interview.

Ultimately, though, the reasons are almost irrelevant. From Abbas’ perspective, the placement on the no-fly list amounts to a denial of a traveler’s basic rights: U.S. citizens can’t return home from overseas vacations, children are separated from parents, and those under suspicion are denied the basic due process rights that would allow them to clear their name…

“The amount of people who experience tragic, life-altering travel delays is significant,” said Abbas, who estimates he gets a call at least once a month from a Muslim American in dire straits because their travel has been restricted.

Government officials, of course, see it differently. They say they have a Traveler Redress Inquiry Program that lets people wrongly placed on the no-fly list, or the much broader terrorist watchlist, fix their circumstances.

More broadly, the government has argued in court that placing somebody on the no-fly list does not deprive them of any constitutional rights. Just because a person can’t fly doesn’t mean they can’t travel, the government lawyers argue. They can always take a boat, for example.

Or perhaps they can swim across.  Or maybe they can build a bridge across the ocean out of Lego pieces.  Or why not drill an underground hole from China?

They can always take a boat!?  Are you effing kidding me!?

The article goes on:

“Neither Plaintiff nor any other American citizen has either a right to international travel or a right to travel by airplane,” government lawyers wrote…

Exactly how many people are on the government’s lists is unclear. Some of the most recent estimates, from late 2009, state that about 400,000 individuals are on the “watchlist,” which requires a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is known or suspected to be engaged in terrorist activities. A much smaller number — about 14,000 — is on the “selectee list,” meaning they will likely have to undergo rigorous screening to travel. And officials estimated that 3,400 individuals, including roughly 170 U.S. residents, are on the no-fly list.

Calls and emails to the Department of Homeland Security and State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs were not returned.

Of course not.  State Secrets and all.

And near the end of the article:

In another case, an 18 year-old U.S. citizen living in Jordan with his parents was bounced from an EgyptAir flight to New York. Amr Abulrub had planned to lead Ramadan prayers at a Connecticut mosque.

After a few days of confusion, Abulrub learned from airline officials that the U.S. government had instructed EgyptAir to cancel his ticket. U.S. embassy officials in Amman have subsequently told Abulrub he can travel under certain restrictions, including a requirement that his flight to the U.S. be booked on an American airline. But Abulrub is leery of traveling at all for fear that he won’t be allowed to go back to Jordan.

Abulrub’s father, Jalal Abulrub, suspects his son has come to the attention of U.S. authorities because of his own writings. Jalal is a Salafist scholar who has sometimes written provocative articles and antagonized Christian evangelists he believed were disrespectful to Muslims. While Jalal says his family is Salafist — generally considered a fundamentalist sect of Islam — he is quick to point out that he has a long history of writing in opposition to the ideology espoused by Osama bin laden and al-Qaida.

“I am not going to let this go,” Jalal said, referring to his son’s inability to travel. “We don’t allow anyone to oppress us.”

Amr Abulrub is the latest victim of the modern day banishment system enacted by the United States.  And he might have been placed on that list due to the writings of his father, Jalal Abulrub, a conservative Muslim preacher.  Jalal Abulrub is known for debating Evangelical Christians, and even though some of his articles might seem abrasive, they are no more so than those Christians he debates with.  More specifically, Jalal Abulrub has consistently denounced Al-Qaeda, terrorism, and the targeting and killing of civilians (unlike the majority of American Christians who accept the idea).

Is the government targeting a man’s children?  I don’t know.  Jalal Abulrub certainly thinks so, and it certainly deserves investigation.  But we’ll never know, since everything is a state secret.

*  *  *  *  *

Here is the bottom line, enunciated by CAIR:

“If the F.B.I. wishes to question American citizens, they should be allowed to return to the United States, where they will be able to maintain their constitutional rights free of threats or intimidation,” Mr. Awad wrote.

If the government wants to arrest and try them in court, that’s fine too.  But leaving them in limbo makes no sense, and runs completely contrary to everything this country was founded upon.  And that’s the rub of this Abulrub situation: the government is telling these same Muslim-Americans that they can travel back to the U.S. on a boat.  If they really were terrorists or involved in anything terrorism-related, then why would the government still allow them back if they take a different mode of transportation?  This proves that the government really has nothing on them, and that this entire thing is just one big farce.

*  *  *  *  *

Check out this disgusting anti-Muslim website (BareNakedIslam) which boasts the title:

“MUSLIM ‘NO FLY’ list has unintended (but welcome) consequences — ‘Forced Exile’

Hatred makes people take great delight in the sickest of things.

When White is Right: Asian people 42 times more likely to be held under terror law

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2011 by loonwatch

This reminds me of something from The Guardian in 2010:

Black people are 26 times more likely than whites to face stop and search

Analysis of government data shows shocking discrepancy in stop and search figures for England and Wales

Black people are 26 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by policein England and Wales, the most glaring example of “racial profiling” researchers have seen, according to an international report.

The analysis of government data has brought claims of discrimination from campaigners who say the findings corroborate concerns that black and Asian Britons are being unfairly targeted. The US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, who arrives in London today to launch a campaign aimed at curbing what he says is stop-and-search discrimination, described the figures as “astonishing”.

The figures relate to stop-and-searches under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which was introduced to deal with football hooligans and the threat of serious violence. It allows police to search anyone in a designated area without specific grounds for suspicion.

Analysis by the London School of Economics and the Open Society Justice Initiative found that there are 41.6 Section 60 searches for every 1,000 black people, compared with 1.6 for every 1,000 white people – making black people 26.6 times more likely to be stopped and searched. Asians were 6.3 times more likely to be stopped than whites, according to the analysis of Ministry of Justice figures for 2008-09…

And now this, also from The Guardian:

Asian people 42 times more likely to be held under terror law

People from ethnic minorities more likely than white people to be stopped under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act

People from ethnic minorities are up to 42 times more likely than white people to be the target of a counter-terrorism power which allows the stopping and searching of the innocent yet grants them fewer rights than suspected criminals, official figures seen by the Guardian show.

The power is contained in schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows police to stop people at ports and airports for up to nine hours without the need for reasonable suspicion that they are involved in any crime.

The figures have led to accusations that police have resorted to “ethnic profiling”, which they deny.

British Muslims have given written statements to the Guardian alleging that the police and the security service MI5 are abusing the power by holding people and pressing them into becoming spies.

Those stopped have no right to maintain their silence, and failure to answer questions can be a criminal offence.

Questioning can begin without a lawyer present and those stopped must pay for one themselves if they want legal representation.

The authorities fear the random nature of schedule 7 means a legal challenge could see the power struck down for being arbitrary, a counter-terrorism official said. This is what eventually happened to the part of the act that allowed stop and search in the street without any suspicion, which was ruled unlawful by human rights judges.

The uncovering of official figures by the Guardian is the first time an ethnic breakdown of who is stopped under schedule 7 has been made public.

The calculation that 42 times as many Asians are stopped as white people is based on comparing the percentage of Asians in the UK population to the percentage of those stopped under schedule 7. Ethnic breakdowns for those entering and exiting the UK are not available.

The disproportionality faced by ethnic minorities is at its most pronounced where a person is stopped and questioned for over an hour. White people make up 19% of stops, Asian people 41%, black people 10% and others (including Middle Eastern and Chinese) 30%.

Asians make up 5% of the UK population, black people 3% and others 1%. White people make up 91% of the population.

Where people are stopped and held for under an hour, the breakdown is: white people, 45% of stops; Asian people, 25%; black people, 8%; other ethnicities, 22%.

One of those stopped, Asif Ahmed, 28, said he was asked to spy after landing at Edinburgh airport.

He said he was separated from his wife and taken to a room and told he must answer questions about his beliefs and faith. “They asked if I would like to work with special branch, to keep an eye on the Muslim community in Edinburgh. They asked me three times. They said do it covertly.”

Despite official claims that profiling on the basis of ethnicity is banned by the police, the official figures give strength to the argument that people are having their human rights infringed on the basis of what they look like and which god they pray to. Those stopped can also have their DNA taken and stored.

Ben Bowling, professor of criminology at King’s College London, said the data undermines claims ethnic profiling is not being used. “They lend weight to the view that ethnic profiling is going on,” he said. “The use of these powers at the border should be based on reasonable grounds and in ways that are properly transparent and accountable. At present they are opaque and unaccountable and seem little more than arbitrary and discriminatory, especially from the point of view of the person detained without reason.”

One person subjected to a schedule 7 stop has provided a written statement alleging an MI5 officer tried to recruit him as a spy. When he refused, he says he was threatened with torture abroad.

Another, Alam Sheikh, 29, was stopped under the counter-terrorism power in January at Gatwick airport after a short holiday with friends in Morocco.

He was baffled when asked by police if he was involved in the Arab uprisings: “They asked do you know anyone who is part of the protests?

“One of my friends is a trainee lawyer. Even he was shaking. It wasn’t fair. Most of us were smartly dressed. It wasn’t like we were wearing Arab clothing or beards.”

An exact figure on the disproportionate use of schedule 7 is difficult to arrive at because no figures are kept on the ethnicity of people entering and leaving the UK. Police forces have claimed releasing an ethnic breakdown of figures force by force could damage national security, and thus have previously refused to release them when requests were made under freedom of information legislation.

The figures published on Tuesday were released following a freedom of information request from the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.

In 2009 the National Policing Improvement Agency issued guidelines to officers about the use of the power, warning against ethnic profiling. “Examining officers must take particular care to ensure that the selection of people for examination is not based solely on their perceived ethnic background or religion,” the agency said. “The powers must be exercised in a manner that does not discriminate … to do so would be unlawful.”

The guidelines make clear that ethnic profiling would damage the police: “Officers should be aware that the way in which people are selected has a potentially far-reaching effect on the public and their acceptance of counter-terrorism powers.

“Misuse of the powers can damage the relationship between the police and sections of the public.”

But even some serving officers say the official selection criteria given to police makes it more likely officers will seek out those linked to Muslim communities. The guidelines talk of basing selection on “any information on the origins and location of terrorist groups” and “possible current, emerging and future terrorist activity”.

Zaheer Ahmad, president of the National Association of Muslim Police said: “We are concerned about the disproportionality reflected in the number of people stopped from ethnic backgrounds – we have seen no acceptable reason as to why this is taking place. The police service must take an intelligence-based approach to minimise the impact of this power on the travelling public.”

In 2009-10, 85,557 people were stopped and examined at UK borders under the schedule 7 powers. The government said: “A very low percentage of 220 million passengers travelling through UK ports were stopped, with only 0.03% of those travelling being examined.”

John Donlon, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national co-ordinator for ports policing, said: “Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is important legislation in support of national security work at ports.

“The examining officers’ code of practice enforces that the examination of a person cannot be based solely on perceived ethnicity or religion. Activity is intelligence-led and officers deployed at ports do not single out particular ethnic groups for examination.”

We must keep White People Safe.

U.S. Monitoring 11 Sites for Possible Discrimination Against Muslims

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2010 by loonwatch

(via. Reuters)

U.S. monitoring 11 sites for possible discrimination against Muslims

The U.S. Justice Department has said it is monitoring 11 cases of potential land-use discrimination against Muslims, a sharp increase in cases under a federal law designed to protect religious minorities in zoning disputes.

In a report on discrimination against mosques, synagogues, churches and other religious sites, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said on Tuesday it has monitored 18 cases of possible bias against Muslims over the past 10 years.

Eight of those have been opened since May, around the time when plans for a Muslim community center and mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan seized media attention and caused a national political uproar. “This fact is a sober reminder that, even in the 21st century, challenges to true religious liberty remain,” the report said.

The report made no mention of the planned Muslim center in New York, known as Cordoba House. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to discuss monitoring activities but stressed that no investigations were under way in those cases.

 

A Muslim-American Veteran Laments about So-Called Ground Zero Mosque Bigotry

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by loonwatch
Zia Ulahaq

Osman Adnan is a Muslim-American veteran. He is for the mosque near Ground Zero. Is he an Islamic supremacist?  Here’ a great piece by Salon.com:

A loyal Muslim American laments the mosque mess

I am a lifelong resident of Middletown, N.J., the town that lost more victims per capita on 9/11 than anyplace in the state, and the second hardest hit city after New York. Almost 50 of our neighbors died that day, in a town of 60,000. Most of those who died worked at Cantor Fitzgerald. Although I was only 18, I was an enlisted medic with the New Jersey National Guard on that day, and I wound up on many Homeland Security missions in my four-year stint after the attack. My older brother commissioned as a U.S. Army officer after Sept. 11, and was awarded a Purple Heart during his service in Iraq. To this day he has shrapnel lodged in his body from the IED that blew up his convoy.

My brother and I are also Muslim Americans, born in the United States, of Pakistani heritage.

In our town, the wounds of 9/11 haven’t healed. Just this last July 4, I sat with a longtime friend as he cried about a mutual friend who died that day. With tears in his eyes, he thanked me and my brother for our service to our country. Now that we have returned home to New Jersey, my brother and I are sad to see that some of our fellow Americans would like to deprive us of our rights to pray for our country and our loved ones at the proposed Muslim Cultural Center near ground zero. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich even said that building a mosque in that area would be analogous to having a Nazi sign next to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Maybe Gingrich should visit Middletown and get a reality check. I do not remember anyone chasing me out of a funeral for one of the 9/11 victims because they were offended by my being a Muslim. In Middletown, we grieved the people we lost together, as a community.

Our town is close-knit, and many of my childhood friends still reside here. I attended public school in Middletown from kindergarten through high school.  I went to grammar school birthday parties, Little League games, bar mitzvahs, proms and now weddings with the same large yet close group of friends. My first cousins are Jewish, as is my older brother’s fiancée. Another first cousin’s last name is Plumb and he is half Irish. My older brother graduated from the local Catholic high school. One of his classmates died on 9/11. He’d been born on the 4th of July; in fact, he’s the same person our friend wept remembering on this past Independence Day. A close high school friend’s father also died in the attacks. I see her from time to time, and she is one of the most remarkable people I know, carrying on with her life the way she does. I still see the pain of family members and those who lost loved ones, or who escaped from the vicinity of the World Trade Center.

In the direct aftermath of the attacks, friends and neighbors checked up on my family, not because they were suspicious, but because they wanted to make sure we were OK. When I am introduced at family or Christmas parties I never hear a bigoted remark. You could always tell how proud my friends and their parents were of me, “This is Osman, he is in the service.”

In Middletown, I belong. But beyond Middletown, it seems as though some people can’t even conceive of my existence: a Muslim American who is a patriot, who served his country, who cherishes its ideals. I am also aware of the low public perception of the United States in many Muslim countries, including Pakistan. After I graduated from law school, I decided to work as an American, building a school on the Pakistani side of Kashmir, an area where terrorists roam freely. As I got on the plane to fly to Islamabad, my mother told me, “Show them what an American is.” Carrying an American flag in my backpack and traveling dangerous roads and mountains, I helped establish a school for Afghan war refugees.

I remember teaching a young girl how to read; she was 11 years old and had never been to school before. Pulling out the American flag from my backpack, I wanted to make sure she knew Middletown, and America, meant her no harm. Later, Pakistan’s national broadcast channel came to interview me. During the interview I told them that American aid was coming to build more of these schools, thanks to the Kerry-Lugar aid bill, passed just prior to my arrival in the area, which funded school construction in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Schools like this keep our troops safe in Afghanistan by limiting the recruiting ability of the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan, as local people begin to see that Americans have a humanitarian mission, they are not just invaders.

I see the impulse that drove me to work as an American in Kashmir in the desire to build the Park51 Community Center. Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and his partners want to combat Muslim extremism, terrorism and anti-Americanism, showing that America’s tradition of religious tolerance extends to Muslims, and that Muslims can live in peace with neighbors of every religion, as well. Imam Rauf, a Sufi, is no “extremist”; he advised the State Department under the past Bush administration, and worked with the FBI after 9/11. Every religion has its own group of fanatics, and extremism is not confined to Islam. New York Rep. Peter King, a Park51 opponent, not too long ago overtly supported efforts to raise money to buy weapons for the Irish Republican Army, which was considered a terrorist organization. We can take strange sections out of every religion’s holy books, if we want to paint the worst picture of that particular group.

I believe Rauf’s goal with Park51 is in harmony with the goals of our nation’s founders. George Washington himself once wrote to a Jewish congregation in Rhode Island, reassuring them of our nation’s religious tolerance. “For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” I flew halfway around the world to promote that great vision, and my brother came close to giving his life to protect it.

George Washington also reminded us to guard against the “imposters of pretended patriotism.” Mr. Gingrich and Mrs. Palin: Please do not confuse the public and slander all Muslim-Americans as being responsible for 9/11. Please don’t tell my shrapnel-scarred war hero brother that he is no different than the 9/11 hijackers. Sadly, you represent the very spirit of intolerance you attack in others.

 

Arab Jailed for Having Sex with Israeli Woman

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

A very interesting and unbelievable case from Israel.

Arab jailed for sex with Israeli woman

By Adrian Blomfield, The Daily Telegraph July 20, 2010 1:02 PM

A Palestinian man has been convicted of rape after consensual sexual intercourse with an Israeli woman who believed he was Jewish because he introduced himself as “Daniel”. An Israeli court made international legal history by jailing Sabbar Kashur, from East Jerusalem, for 18 months.

The 30 year-old delivery man was convicted of “rape by deception” after a criminal trial that drew criticism from across Israel.

Kashur was accused of misleading the woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, by introducing himself with the traditionally Jewish name when they met on a street in central Jerusalem in 2008. After striking up a conversation, they went into a nearby office block and engaged in a sexual encounter, after which Kashur quickly left.

The woman discovered his true racial background later, lawyers said.

Although conceding that the sexual intercourse was consensual, Tzvi Segal, the district court judge, concluded that the law had a duty to protect women from “smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price”.

She said: “If she hadn’t thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have co-operated.”

A conviction for rape by deception on the grounds of racial misrepresentation is believed to be internationally unprecedented, according to British legal experts.

The charge is rarely used in the West. In 2007, a Syrian pilot walked free from a court in Swansea after being accused of tricking a woman into intercourse by saying it could cure a sexually transmitted disease. While forced sexual intercourse by deception is an offence under Israeli law, experts say it is a charge used sparingly in cases involving protracted deceit and a promise of marriage.

Adnan Aladdin, Kashur’s lawyer, said he had filed an appeal to ensure the verdict was not considered to be setting a precedent, adding that otherwise “many men would find themselves in jail”.

Israeli legal experts said they found the verdict disquieting. “It puts the law in the position of what could loosely be described as discrimination. I would feel intuitively uncomfortable about prosecuting someone for something like that,” said a former senior justice ministry official.

Gideon Levy, a leading liberal commentator, said: “What if this guy had been a Jew who pretended to be a Muslim and had sex with a Muslim woman? Would he have been convicted of rape? The answer is: of course not.”

The prosecutor was unavailable for comment. District attorney officials declined to discuss the case.

© Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph

 

Pakistanis pose as Indians to get hired in the U.S.

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2010 by loonwatch
At least *this* was a better stereotype...At least *this* was a better stereotype…

Reuters reports:

Pakistanis pose as Indians after NY bomb scare

(Reuters) – Pakistani merchants and job seekers in the United States, still reeling from economic hardship since the September 11 attacks of 2001, are posing as Indians to avoid discrimination in the wake of the Times Square bomb attempt.

“A lot of Pakistanis can’t get jobs after 9/11 and now it’s even worse,” said Asghar Choudhri, an accountant and chairman of Brooklyn’s Pakistani American Merchant Association. “They are now pretending they are Indian so they can get a job.”

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, creating hostilities that ordinarily would lead a Pakistani to resent being mistaken for an Indian.

Merchants in New York, many of whom declined to be named, still remember reprisals after September 11. Soon after the attacks, there was a drive-by shooting in Brooklyn at a Pakistani restaurant, which is now closed.

The local merchants association has shrunk to 150 members, from about 250 merchants almost a decade ago.

The FBI also arrested many undocumented workers in the neighborhood, leading to a wave of deportations, and residents would call law enforcement to make claims against their neighbors, including many false claims, Choudhri said…”We are embarrassed that the name of Pakistan came up.”

 

Muslim American community finds Arizona law “appalling”; LoonWatch agrees

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2010 by loonwatch
The fight against illegals...The fight against illegals…

An op-ed in The Washington Post reads:

Arizona’s draconian new immigration law is an abomination — racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust.  About the only hopeful thing that can be said is that the legislation, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday, goes so outrageously far that it may well be unconstitutional.

Brewer, who caved to xenophobic pressures that previous governors had the backbone to resist, should be ashamed of herself. The law requires police to question anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being an undocumented immigrant — a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months…

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon — who wrote an op-ed in The Post calling proponents of the law “bitter, small-minded and full of hate” — hopes to file a lawsuit against the state…

How are police supposed to decide whom they “reasonably suspect” of being in the country illegally? Since the great majority of undocumented immigrants in Arizona are from Mexico, aggressive enforcement of the law would seem to require demanding identification from anybody who looks kind of Mexican. Or maybe just hassling those who look kind of Mexican and also kind of poor. Or maybe anyone who dares to visit the Mexican consulate.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued the following statement on behalf of Muslim Americans:

CAIR-AZ Condemns Signing of Anti-Immigrant Bill

(PHOENIX, AZ, 4/28/2010) — The Arizona chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) today expressed disappointment at the signing into law of Senate Bill 1070. CAIR-AZ and other civil liberties groups say the law legitimizes suspicion based on appearance and will result in racial profiling and discrimination.

“It’s natural for the Muslim community to find this new law appalling” says CAIR-AZ Chairman Anas Hlayhel. “The Quran instructs Muslims to stand up against injustice and racism, which this bill seems to advocate. No matter what good this bill claims to bring, we see that its harm will outweigh its good. We see it as a desperate attempt to legitimize racial profiling in order to hide the failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. It is a reminder of recent attempts to legitimize racial profiling at airports.”

Hlayhel said the new law is a major setback to civil rights accomplishments in America.

LoonWatch agrees.  By the passage of this discriminatory law, police are obligated to stop anyone whom they “reasonably suspect” of being an illegal immigrant.  Realistically, this means stopping anyone with brown skin, and Hispanics in particular.  The good people of Arizona have succumbed to the forces of intolerance, hatred, and xenophobia.  This law is quite simply un-American, and those who backed it don’t seem to believe in the ideals of this country.

Right-wingers in general and the anti-Islam camp in specific have pushed hard to legitimize racial profiling at airports, calling for all Arabs or Muslims to receive extra screening.  This campaign has met with considerable success, with very little uproar from the public.  Justifying racial profiling in one context legitimizes it in another; a bad precedent opens up pandora’s box.  Now we find the discussion moved from Arabs/Muslims to Hispanics, and who’s to say it will stop there?  Could police officers eventually be granted the right to randomly pull over black Americans driving through white neighborhoods?  Where do we stop?  If we tolerate discrimination against Arabs/Muslims and Hispanics, then it opens the door to discrimination against everyone that does not look exactly like the majoritorian group.

The right-wing fear factory has created this imaginary boogie man of so-called “stealth jihad”, claiming that “the other” is seconds away from overthrowing democratic rule and enacting a brutal interpretation of Sharia in North America and Europe.  Meanwhile, these right-wing fear-mongers are the ones hacking away at the roots of our democracy, pushing their hate-filled agenda in the shroud of rationalized legislation, justifying racial profiling, warrantless wiretapping, torture, the suspension of habeas corpus, secret prisons, targeted assassinations of citizens, and the pursuit of imperial conquest abroad.

Since the creation of our great nation-state, there has been an element in us that has said “we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,” and paradoxically another element that has called for some people to be considered only three-fifths human.  Throughout U.S. history, the country has wrestled between these two sides: the tolerance inherent in our nation’s ethos on the one hand, and the wretched flame of intolerance on the other.  It’s time for Americans of conscience everywhere to stand in solidarity for the ideal of tolerance, and against this repugnant law.  This nation was founded and built by immigrants (illegal ones at that).  While sensible immigration reform is something desirable, we cannot allow xenophobia to snuff out the country’s legacy of multiculturalism.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free…

 

Half of Europeans oppose headscarf, support crucifix in classrooms

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2010 by loonwatch

hijab-ban1

(hat tip: Islamophobia-watch)

Nowadays, racists and bigots usually come up with justifications to cover up their racism and bigotry, to give cover to it and to package it in something nicer.  Bans on the Muslim headscarf (hijab) were no doubt a reflection of deep-seated Islamophobia, yet we heard politicians claiming that the bans were not targeting Muslims.  Rather, we were told, it is a reflection of Europe’s secularism, and would apply equally to religious gear of all faiths.

A recent poll, however, says otherwise: over fifty percent of Europeans favored banning the hijab from schools, but were meanwhile perfectly fine with (and in fact supported) the placement of crucifixes in classrooms.  To us Yankees, that seems downright backwards.  The hijab is something the individual chooses to wear, not the state–and therefore does not at all impinge on secularism.  Meanwhile, the crucifix is placed in the public school classroom, thereby breaching separation of church and state.

Belgium and France lead the pack when it comes to hijabophobia, and France even seems to be considering a law banning hijab in public altogether.  Secularism my ass (forgive my French).

50% of Europeans opposed to Islamic veil in schools: Study

MADRID – Just over half of Europeans surveyed opposed allowing Islamic headscarves in schools but backed the presence of crucifixes in classrooms, according to a Spanish study obtained by AFP Wednesday…

Opposition to the veil was highest in Bulgaria with 84.3 per cent against and France with 68.7 per cent opposed and it was lowest in Poland with only 25.6 per cent against followed by Denmark with 28.1 per cent opposed.

By contrast 54.4 per cent of those polled were in favour of classrooms displaying crucifixes.

In Spain and Italy, two nations with a strong Roman Catholic tradition, support for the use of crucifixes in classrooms stood at 69.9 per cent and 49.3 per cent respectively.

Support for the use of crucifixes in classrooms shot up to 77 per cent in Britain and 78.8 per cent in Denmark.

The issue of the use of Islamic headscarves has been thrust into the spotlight once again in Europe due to controversial moves by France and Belgium to ban Muslim full face veils.

Last week France announced it would seek a law to ban Muslim residents and visitors from wearing a burqa or a niqab in public, while Belgium was poised to pass a similar ban until its ruling coalition collapsed on Thursday…

source

Apparently, many European Christians don’t like this headscarf thing too much, but love the crucifix.  I’m pretty sure that’s a bit strange considering that the man who they believe died on the crucifix was born to this woman here:

mary

If the Virgin Mary was alive today, Europeans would say to her: you have to take that heathen headscarf off!  You can keep the crucifix, though.

 

Muslim Woman Denied Foster Kids Because She Doesn’t Eat Bacon

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2010 by loonwatch

tyt

The part I find most interesting about this is how loons always come up with justifications to hide their blatant Islamophobia.  Here, they argue that the woman is being “inflexible” with regard to her no-pork diet.  Obviously, this is a bunch of baloney, since (as the ACLU rightfully points out) I doubt they would have denied fosterhood to strict vegetarians.  But somehow when you throw in Islam and Muslims into the mix, suddenly these sorts of justifications make sense.  It has nothing to do with pork: it has to do with Islamophobia, plain and simple.  Robert Spencer and Pam Geller will obviously come to the swift defense of bigotry here, and it really shows how they are on the wrong side of history.  They will have egg (and ham) on their faces, just as those people who discriminated against blacks in the sixties are now scorned.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ode_G72nKUQ 300 250]

 

Belgian Committee Votes to Ban Face Veil

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on April 5, 2010 by loonwatch
BelgiumBelgium

Belgium is home to about half a million Muslims, around a dozen or so who wear the face veil, but feels threatened enough to move to ban the veil.

Belgian Committee Votes to Ban Face Veil (via. Islamophobia-Watch)

A Belgian parliamentary committee has voted to ban face-covering Islamic veils from being worn in public.

The home affairs committee voted unanimously to endorse the move, which must be approved by parliament for it to become law. Such a vote could be held within weeks, correspondents say, meaning that Belgium could become the first European country to implement a ban.

The BBC’s Dominic Hughes reports from Brussels that there are about 500,000 Muslims in Belgium, and the Belgian Muslim Council says only a couple of dozen wear full-face veils.

Several districts of Belgium have already banned the burka in public places under old local laws originally designed to stop people masking their faces completely at carnival time.

The wording of the draft law approved by the parliamentary committee says the ban would apply to areas accessible to the public – which would include people walking in the street or using public transport – and would be enforced by fines or even prison.

Denis Ducarme, from the Belgian centre-right Reformist Movement that proposed the bill, said he was “proud that Belgium would be the first country in Europe which dares to legislate on this sensitive matter”. A colleague, Corinne De Parmentier, said: “We have to free women of this burden.”

BBC News, 31 March 2010

See “Europe’s Paranoia on Veil”, MCB press release, 31 March 2010

 

Study Shows French Muslims Hit by Bias

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by loonwatch
Muslim and patriotic at the same time?Muslim and patriotic at the same time?

Is this the reason that France is so focused on the face veil debate? To deflect attention away from the every day discrimination that French Muslims face?

Study Shows French Muslims Hit by Bias

French Muslims face considerable discrimination based purely on their religion instead of their country of origin, according to a study released Thursday by French and American researchers.

The study, “Are French Muslims Discriminated Against in Their Own Country?” found that Muslims sending out resumes in hopes of a job interview had 2.5 times less chance than Christians of a positive response to their applications. It also showed that monthly salaries of Muslims was on average euro400 less than Christians.

“The discrimination Muslim candidates endure in the French labor market therefore seems to have concrete repercussions on their standard of living,” the study says.

The study bills itself as the first to isolate Islam as the source of discrimination in the labor market.

The work was conducted by two Stanford University professors, David Laitin and Claire Adida, and a colleague at the Sorbonne University, Marie-Anne Valfort. It was carried out in conjunction with the French-American Foundation and a grant from the US National Science Foundation.

To determine whether Muslim French citizens of immigrant origin suffered specifically religious discrimination, the researchers fabricated nearly identical resumes for two single, 24-year-old women from Senegal.

Immigrants hailing from sub-Saharan Africa are “less spontaneously associated with Islam” in the collective mind, the study explains.

Batches of resumes for the two women, Marie Diouf and Khadija Diouf, plus a third woman with a typically French name, Aurelie Menard, were sent out in response to published job offers in hopes of getting an initial interview.

Marie’s resume showed a period of work as an assistant accountant at Secours Catholique and volunteer work with French Scouts of France. Khadija’s showed the same accounting work with Secours Islamique. and volunteer work with Muslim Scouts of France.

Marie received 21 percent of positive responses, Khadija received 8 percent.

Another study looked at 511 households of Senegalese origin and found that Muslims made euro400 a month less, on average.

France, with Western Europe’s largest Muslim population, has been wrestling with how to better integrate citizens of immigrant origin, particularly its estimated 5 million strong Muslim population, mainly from former colonies in North Africa.

There is, in particular, widespread concern that some Muslims are compromising secularism, a value inscribed in the France’s constitution and meant to assure that all citizens are equal.

Laitin said the study suggests that “the goals of secularism (have) not been fulfilled …,” Laitin said. “At present, their own ideals have not been fully met.”

 

D.O.E. Discriminated, Rules Federal Commission

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2010 by loonwatch
Debbie Almontaser was discriminated against for her religion.Debbie Almontaser

The New York Times reports:

Federal Panel Finds Bias in Ouster of Principal
By Andrea Elliot
Published: March 12, 2010

A federal commission has determined that New York City’s Department of Education discriminated against the founding principal of an Arabic-language public school by forcing her to resign in 2007 following a storm of controversy driven by opponents of the school.

Acting on a complaint filed last year by the principal, Debbie Almontaser, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that the department “succumbed to the very bias that creation of the school was intended to dispel and a small segment of the public succeeded in imposing its prejudices on D.O.E. as an employer,” according to a letter issued by the commission on Tuesday.

The commission said that the department had discriminated against Ms. Almontaser, a Muslim of Yemeni descent, “on account of her race, religion and national origin.”

The findings, which are nonbinding, could mark a turning point in Ms. Almontaser’s battle to reclaim her job as principal of the school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn.

The commission asked the Department of Education to reach a “just resolution” with Ms. Almontaser and to consider her demands, which include reinstatement to her old job, back pay, damages of $300,000 and legal fees. Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the dispute will end up in court, her lawyer said.

Commission officials declined to answer questions about the case, citing federal confidentiality law, but Ms. Almontaser’s lawyer provided a copy of the letter to The New York Times.

“There is no question that this is an important step in the road to her ultimate vindication,” said Alan Levine, Ms. Almontaser’s lawyer. “Up until now, the D.O.E. has really had its way and hasn’t had to answer for its actions.”

In a statement, a lawyer for the city disputed the commission’s findings.

The Department of Education “in no way discriminated against Ms. Almontaser and she will not be reinstated,” said Paul Marks, the city’s deputy chief of labor and employment law in the Law Department. “If she continues to pursue litigation, we will vigorously defend against her groundless allegations.”

The controversy surrounding the dual-language school began in early 2007, shortly after the city announced that Ms. Almontaser, a longtime teacher, would lead it. A group of opponents, including conservative commentators and a City University trustee, mounted a campaign against the school and Ms. Almontaser, claiming that she carried a militant Islamic agenda.

Despite Ms. Almontaser’s longstanding reputation as a moderate Muslim, her critics succeeded in recasting her as a “9/11 denier” and a “jihadist.”

The conflict came to a head that August, when Ms. Almontaser’s opponents, who had formed the Stop the Madrassa Coalition, asserted that she was connected to T-shirts bearing the words “Intifada NYC.” While Ms. Almontaser was on the board of an organization that rented space to the group that distributed the shirts, she was unaware of them, she said. (The commission determined that she had no connection to the T-shirts.)

Nonetheless, in response to mounting inquiries about the shirts, the Department of Education pressured her to give an interview to The New York Post, she said. In that interview, with a department employee listening in, she explained that the root of the word intifada meant “shaking off,” but that it had acquired other connotations because of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle.

The next day, The Post published the article under the headline “City Principal Is ‘Revolting’ — Tied to ‘Intifada NYC’ Tee Shirts,” stating that Ms. Almontaser had “downplayed the significance” of the T-shirts. (Federal judges later issued a ruling — related to a lawsuit brought by Ms. Almontaser — stating that The Post had reported her words “incorrectly and misleadingly.”)

It was The Post’s article, the commission wrote in its letter this week, that prompted the Department of Education to force Ms. Almontaser to resign. (City officials have said that she resigned voluntarily.)

“Significantly, it was not her actual remarks, but their elaboration by the reporter — creating waves of explicit anti-Muslim bias from several extremist sources — that caused D.O.E. to act,” the commission’s letter said.

Pressure soon mounted for Ms. Almontaser to step down. Randi Weingarten, the head of the teacher’s union, published a letter in The Post that was sharply critical of Ms. Almontaser. She finally resigned on Aug. 10, under pressure from the mayor’s office, she said. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the resignation on his radio show, saying, “she’s certainly not a terrorist,” while adding that she was “not all that media savvy, maybe.”

Ms. Almontaser continued working with the department in an administrative job, at her principal’s salary of about $120,000, but that job was eliminated and she was demoted.

The lawsuit that she filed against the city, claiming that her First Amendment rights had been violated because she was forced to resign after saying something controversial, was dismissed. She is appealing that decision.

A lawyer for the Stop the Madrassa Coalition said he found the commission’s determination predictable. “I think the E.E.O.C. is constitutionally constructed to find discrimination in a high-profile case,” said the lawyer, David Yerushalmi.

But the development struck other lawyers as surprising. Bill Lann Lee, a labor-law expert in San Francisco, said the commission rarely issued such rulings, and so its decision might help Ms. Almontaser if she pursued a discrimination lawsuit.

“The courts tend to consider what the E.E.O.C. finds,” he said, adding that “the courts know generally that these findings are very rare, so if there is such a finding, there’s a general belief among lawyers and judges that there may be something there.”

Jenny Anderson and Jennifer Medina contributed reporting.

Big ups to the E.E.O.C.  Way to be on the ball on this one.

 

Euless Apartments Refuse apartments to Muslims

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by loonwatch

A Texas apartment complex was telling its employees to deny Muslims or Muslim looking people entry into or residency in the complex. Two brave employees, Daniesha Davis and Michelle Williamscame forward and reported the discrimination.

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

Euless Apartments accused of refusing apartments to Muslims

EULESS — A North Texas apartment complex is facing accusations that it segregates Muslims in buildings away from other tenants — or refuses to rent to them at all.

The complaint comes from former leasing agents at the StoneBridge at Bear Creek complex in Euless. They say Muslims were routinely denied apartments even when there were vacancies.

“If somebody called over the phone inquiring about an apartment, we were told that if they have an accent or a different name that we are supposed to tell them that we didn’t have anything available,” said Daneisha Davis, who worked there for a year-and-a-half.

Michelle Williams was Davis’ co-worker. She says Stonebridge’s manager told her, on a regular basis, to turn away potential walk-in renters if they looked Asian or Middle Eastern.

“Make it undesirable for them to want to come back,” is what Williams says she was told. “Even though we were only 80 percent full, or 75 percent full. We had plenty of apartments we could’ve rented out.”

“She referred to them as ‘curry people.’ And they used curry to cook with, that they smelled bad and they were dirty,” said Davis.

For the duration of the time the women worked at Stonebridge, they say they were told there was one condition under which they could rent to Muslims: If they were all kept in the same two buildings of the 21-building complex.

“She definitely made it clear to both of us that she didn’t want other residents complaining about having to live next to ‘curry people,’”  Davis said.

“Wow. Wow. That’s unfortunate,” said AbdulNasir Jangda, an Imam at the Islamic Association for the Mid-Cities. “When we start grouping people together, we’re creating a very divisive element. How are we supposed to understand and relate and appreciate one another if we can’t stand to live next together?”

In January, Davis filed a Federal Fair Housing complaint against Stonebridge, alleging discrimination. The complaint made, via e-mail, was sent on a Saturday.

The next Tuesday, Davis was reassigned to other properties inside the company.

She has since quit and is looking for work.

Though she hasn’t sued, Davis does have a lawyer. “It’s obviously suspicious in the case of the timing,” said attorney Ty Gomez.

Stonebridge denied a News 8 request for an on-camera interview. But on the phone, the company said Davis’ re-assignment had been in the works. It says an internal investigation found no evidence of discrimination or steering minorities into specific buildings.

And Stonebridge says it has residents of all ethnicities throughout the property.

The federal government has transferred Davis’ complaint to the Texas Work Force Commission — Civil Rights Division. She hopes the agency will be able to right what she sees as a fundamental wrong.

“People come here for a chance at a better life and to be treated fairly, and they’re not being treated fairly,” she said. ” And I don’t even think they know it.”

“I am paying a pretty high price, but it’s worth it.”

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

 

Geert Wilders Seeks Hijab Ban at the Hague

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2010 by loonwatch
Wearing a Yarmulke (Yamaka) is okay but not the HijabWearing a Yarmulke (Yamaka) is okay but not the Hijab

Geert Wilders previously called for a tax on the Hijab, now a recent political event reveals a new tactic in his  discriminatory political agenda. On a side note this is a good compliment to Danios’ article, as it ironically reveals that it is contemporary, if marginal Westerners who want to repress religious freedom and are advocating repressive conditions and restrictions on minorities akin to the ones in the fabled ‘Pact of Umar.’

Wilders goes for headscarf ban in the Hague

A ban on headscarves for city council workers and in all institutions and clubs which get local authority money will be the most important point in the PVV´s negotiations to join governing coalitions in Almere and the Hague, says party leader Geert Wilders.

Speaking to RTL news, Wilders said the ban would be central to talks to form new local authority executives in the only two cities where the party is contesting the March 3 local elections.

The ban will apply to ‘all council offices and all other institutions and clubs which get even one cent of council money,’ he said.

The PVV is tipped to emerge as the biggest party in Almere and second biggest in the Hague.

Speech

Wilders brought up the ban again in a speech to supporters in Almere, where he entered the room to the Rocky theme tune Eye of the Tiger.

The ban will not apply to other religious items such as Christian crosses and Jewish skull caps because these are symbols of our own Dutch culture, Wilders said in hisspeech, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.

The speech began with a ‘lengthy tirade’ against the ‘arrogant Labour party’, according to the Volkskrant report of the meeting. ‘If you translate the PvdA’s Arabic language election brochures they say ‘bring your family here. You get benefits, we pay for everything’, the Volkskrant quoted the PVV leader as saying.

‘Almere must become the safest city in the Netherlands,’ he said. ‘There will be an end to subsidies for Turkish macramé and Arabic finger painting. Not just the Netherlands but all of Europe will look to Almere.’

Discrimination

Wilders is currently facing charges of discrimination and inciting hatred against non western immigrants and Muslims. He always maintains he is opposed to Islam, not Muslims themselves.

Earlier this week, Wilders told the Telegraaf the PVV´s commitment to maintaining the current retirement age of 65 would be crucial in negotiations to form a new national government, following the collapse of the CDA, Labour and ChristenUnie alliance last weekend.

Most parties have already ruled out forming a coalition with Wilders. Only the Christian Democrats and right wing Liberals VVD have not done so.

Opinion polls make it likely that four parties will be needed to form a new government after the June 9 vote.

 

The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca; The Final Word on the Pact of Umar

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2010 by loonwatch

This is the second part of a three part rebuttal of Robert Spencer on the topic of dhimmitude.  Check out part 1 herehere, and here.

The Conspiracy

During the Middle Ages, a forged document–known as the Pact of Umar–came into existence; it stipulated certain very restrictive conditions that governed the lives of non-Muslims living under Islamic rule.  Robert Spencer outlines these humiliating conditions:

This Pact is worth close examination, because it became the foundation for Islamic law regarding the treatment of the dhimmis. With remarkably little variation, throughout Islamic history whenever Islamic law was strictly enforced, this is generally how non-Muslims were treated. Working from the full text as Ibn Kathir has it, these are the conditions the Christians accept in return for “safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion” – conditions that, according to Ibn Kathir, “ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace.” The Christians will not:

1. Build “a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk”;
2. “Restore any place of worship that needs restoration”;
3. Use such places “for the purpose of enmity against Muslims”;
4. “Allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims”;
5. Imitate the Muslims’ “clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names”;
6. “Ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons”;
7. “Encrypt our stamps in Arabic”
8. “Sell liquor” – Christians in Iraq in the last few years ran afoul of Muslims reasserting this rule;
9. “Teach our children the Qur’an”;
10. “Publicize practices of Shirk” – that is, associating partners with Allah, such as regarding Jesus as Son of God. In other words, Christian and other non-Muslim religious practice will be private, if not downright furtive;
11. Build “crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets” – again, Christian worship must not be public, where Muslims can see it and become annoyed;
12. “Sound the bells in our churches, except discreetly, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets”;
13. “Bury our dead next to Muslim dead”;
14. “Buy servants who were captured by Muslims”;
15. “Invite anyone to Shirk” – that is, proselytize, although the Christians also agree not to:
16. “Prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so.” Thus the Christians can be the objects of proselytizing, but must not engage in it themselves;
17. “Beat any Muslim.”

Meanwhile, the Christians will:

1. Allow Muslims to rest “in our churches whether they come by day or night”;
2. “Open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby”;
3. Provide board and food for “those Muslims who come as guests” for three days;
4. “Respect Muslims, move from the places we sit in if they choose to sit in them” – shades of Jim Crow;
5. “Have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist” – these are so that a Muslim recognizes a non-Muslim as such and doesn’t make the mistake of greeting him with As-salaamu aleikum, “Peace be upon you,” which is the Muslim greeting for a fellow Muslim;
6. “Be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.”

The Christians swore: “If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.”

Today, the Islamophobes believe this document to be of critical importance, and it forms one of the pillars of their anti-Islam ideology.  Notice how Spencer calls the document “the foundation for Islamic law regarding the treatment of the dhimmis.”  Spencer et al. believe–or at least they would like you to believe–that Muslims are on the verge of once again implementing the Pact of Umar upon non-Muslims.  Spencer’s goal, as enunciated by his comrade-in-arms Pamela Geller, is to  “scare the bejeezus outta ya.” It is necessary then, these Islamophobic bigots argue, to get “them” before “they” get you.  (Most forms of hate revolve around instilling senseless fear.)

The Pact of Umar Has Fallen into Disuse and Obscurity

Admittedly, the Pact of Umar did reach some level of significance during the Middle Ages.  It is found in the books of many classical Islamic jurists, and was also implemented (inconsistently) to various degrees. (Please read this here.)  Yet, the reality is that the Pact of Umar has fallen into disuse and obscurity.  Whereas some of the medieval jurists gave importance to the document–such as Ibn Taymiyyah who went so far as to call it the foundation of Muslim-dhimmi relations–it is now virtually non-existent in modern day Islamic texts.  Mention of the document has now been relegated to two basic categories: reprints of medieval texts, and responses to critics of Islam.

I myself contacted several Muslim clerics, asking them about their opinion on the Pact of Umar.  The majority of them responded that they had no knowledge of the document (i.e. “I’d have to look it up”), or had only heard the name in passing.  In fact, the Pact of Umar has in the Islamic world fallen into such disuse and obscurity that the vast majority of Muslims have never heard of it.  Those who do know what it is almost invariably heard of it first from critics of Islam; many of them will then look up the Muslim responses to these anti-Islam attacks.  (How many Christians–including priests–have heard of the Church’s doctrine of Perpetual Servitude?)

The idea, furthered by lunatics like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, that Muslims are secretly instructed in the Pact of Umar (the “stealth Jihad” is coming to get you!) is not only conspiratorial but absurd.  Ninety-nine percent of Muslims have never heard of it–until of course Robert Spencer et al. inform them of it.  Zaid Shakir, an Islamic scholar from the Zaytuna Institute, said:

There is this absurd idea spread by these bigots that Muslims want to implement this pact today.  Most Muslims have never even heard of it! [1]

Robert Spencer et al. knows this very well.  So don’t be fooled by this Islamophobic conspiracy talk.  It is calculated fear-mongering.

But could it be that the Pact of Umar is inherently part of the Islamic religion, even if the vast majority of Muslims are not aware of this?  One only needs to read the Islamic responses to the anti-Islam ideologues to know that this is not the case.

Contemporary Muslims Recognize the Pact of Umar as a Forgery

The document is attributed by medieval jurists to Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph (secular leader) of the early Muslim community.  However, modern day Islamic scholars–such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi [2], Maher Abu-Munshar, and Abdulaziz Sachedina–reject the authenticity of the Pact of Umar.  Abu-Munshar writes:

The humiliating conditions enumerated in the so-called “Pact of Umar” are utterly foreign to the mentality, thoughts and practices of this caliph…The deficiencies [in the textual integrity] support the contention that Umar was not the originator of the document.  In addition to the remarkable care and concern displayed in Umar’s attitute to dhimmis confirms the rejection of the so-called Pact of Umar as attributable to Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab.  The Pact of Umar was not the work of Umar Ibn al-Khattab. [3]

Sachedina writes:

It is a historical fact that the Prophet condemned oppression of the ahl al-dhimma [dhimmis] as a sinful deviation declaring in no uncertain terms, “On the Day of Judgment I myself will act as the accuser of any person who oppresses a person under the protection [dhimmi] of Islam, and lays excessive [financial or other social] burdens on him”. In the most highly rated compilation of Hadith among the Sunni Muslims, the Sahih of al-Bukhari, there is a chapter-heading that reads, “One should fight for the protection of the ahl al-dhimma and they should not be enslaved.” Under this heading Bukhari narrates the following instructions on the authority of Umar b. al-Khattab, when the latter was stabbed anddied of the wound inflicted upon him by a Persian slave: “I strongly recommend him [the next caliph] to take care of those non-Muslims who are under God and His Prophet’s protection [dhimmat allah wa dhimmat rasulih] in that he should remain faithful to them according to the covenant with them, and fight on their behalf and not burden them [by imposing high taxes] beyond their capacity. After reading these instructions, left by the caliph as the head of Muslim state to honor the sacred covenant offered by God and his emissary to the people of the Book, it is hard to believe that the Pact of Umar ascribed to the second caliph could be authentic in its representation of the situation of the non-Muslims in the early days of Islam. [4]

These Muslims argue that as a forgery the document has no religious value at all and ought to be ignored.  They believe that in actuality Umar ibn al-Khattab ratified the tolerant Umari Treaty, and not the restrictive Pact of Umar. The Umari Treaty explicitly prohibits Muslims from degrading or belittling non-Muslims; the text reads (emphasis is mine):

In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Beneficent.

This is what the slave of God, Umar b.Al-Khattab, the Commander of the Faithful, has offered the people of Illyaa’ of security granting them amaan (protection) for their selves, their money, their churches, their children, their lowly and their innocent, and the remainder of their people:

Their churches are not to be taken, nor are they to be destroyed, nor are they to be degraded or belittled, neither are their crosses or their money [to be harmed], and they are not to be forced to change their religion, nor is any one of them to be harmed…

Upon what is in this book is the word of God, the covenant of His Messenger, of the Caliphs and of the believers if they gave what was required of them of the poll tax. [4]

Ibn Kathir, an Islamic exegist of the medieval era, writes that the Pact of Umar stipulated “conditions that ensured [the] continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace” of the People of the Book (seeTafsir Ibn Kathir, 9:29).  Surely then, argue contemporary Muslims, the Pact of Umar–which advocated “humiliation, degradation, and disgrace”–conflicted with the Umari Treaty, which categorically prohibited “degrad[ation] and belittle[ment]” of non-Muslims.

Western scholarship itself considers the Pact of Umar to be a forgery, falsely attributed to Umar ibn al-Khattab.  In fact, Umar was known for his relative mildness towards non-Muslim subjects, and the Umari Treaty is much more in line with his views than the Pact of Umar.  It is known that generally “the [Four] Rightly Guided Caliphs left the people of the protected religions alone.” [5]

Historian Abraham P. Bloch concludes:

Omar ibn al-Khattab (634-644), the second caliph, conquered Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Persia, and Egypt.  Jews and Christians were permitted to continue their communal existence.  Omar was a tolerant ruler, unlikely to impose humiliating conditions upon non-Muslims, or to infringe upon their religious and social freedoms.  His name has been erroneously associated…with the restrictive Covenant of Omar. [6]

Interestingly, not even Robert Spencer contests the doubtful historicity of the document.  Spencerwrites:

Now: did I actually say the thing was historical? Nope…I wasn’t actually dealing with the question of whether or not it was a real seventh-century document. I was and am interested in the patent and manifest fact that it became the basis for Islamic law regarding dhimmis. Whether the law came first and then was read into a fictional pact Umar made, or whether there really was a Pact of Umar and the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) regarding dhimmis was influenced by it, simply doesn’t concern me, except as a matter of historical interest.

If we were debating the historical treatment of dhimmis, then Spencer’s point makes some sense.  I conceded as much in my rebuttal.  But now I will use Spencer’s own logic and conclude as follows: the actual historicity of the document is largely irrelevant so long as contemporary Muslims view it as a forgery.  (But in this case, the matter is even clearer: the document is a forgery and contemporary Muslims agree with that.)

In other words, if you witness a debate between an Islamophobe and a Muslim–with the former claiming that the Pact of Umar is authentic and/or that the classical scholars viewed it that way, and with the latter claiming that it is a forgery and therefore religiously invalid as a source–that in itself invalidates the Islamophobic line of argumentation.  Remember: their end game is to prove that Muslims today want to reimpose the dhimmitude as defined in the Pact of Umar.  But if contemporary Muslims view the document as a forgery–and this much is evidenced by their participation in the debate–then that’s all that matters.  If contemporary Muslims don’t view it as authentic (regardless of what the true historicity of the document is and/or what the classical scholars said), they would have no reason to reimpose it.

In conclusion, contemporary Islamic responses view the Pact of Umar as a forgery, and instead look to the tolerant Umari Treaty as more in line with the Islamic view.

The Pact of Umar is not a Part of Islamic Canon

There are of course some conservative Muslims (a small minority) who have written responses to the Pact of Umar and are unwilling to reject the historicity of the document, due to the fact (as pointed out by Spencer) that many classical scholars viewed it as authentic.  Does this fact prove Spencer’s point?  No.  Just because the document is viewed as authentic does not mean it is binding upon Muslims from a religious perspective.  The Pact of Umar is not contained in the Quran nor in the Sunnah, the twin canonical sources of Islam.  In other words, the document is not a religious document at all, but a secular and temporal agreement made between a secular/temporal authority (the caliph) and his subjects.  (I say “secular/temporal” because there is no pope in Islam; the caliph of the Muslims is their leader in worldly affairs, not religious ones.)

The pact was a political agreement made between two parties, not a divinely revealed religious text from God or His Messenger.  In fact, the document was said to be dictated by the Christians themselves, who supposedly said: “We made a condition on ourselves…”  The conservative Salafi/”Wahhabi” apologist Bassam Zawadi remarked: “How can the Pact of Umar be considered religiously inspired when it was from the mouths of the Christians themselves?” [7] In other words, Muslims believe that their religious doctrines come from God (the Quran) and His Messenger (the Sunnah).  How then can a Muslim take the words of a Christian–who doesn’t even believe in the prophethood of Muhammad–as being authoritative in matters of faith?  The Christians supposedly thought of the conditions themselves and requested them; how then can a Muslim think of these conditions as being from God or His Messenger?  (The idea that the Christians themselves requested such terms is of course absurd, which is why modern day scholarship considers the pact as a forgery;  but the point here is: those conservative Muslims who refuse to reject the authenticity of the document believe that the document was from the words of the Christians and as such they do not view it as being divine, infallible, or religiously binding.)

The classical scholars did debate whether the Pact of Umar ought to be “inherited” by the children of the Christians or be renegotiated each time.  Some of them did say that it does not need to be renegotiated but remained in effect for the children.  But the document was not binding because of the religious nature of the document; as discussed above, the Pact of Umar is not considered canonical.  Rather, the document was binding because of the religious obligation to fulfill covenants.  The Pact of Umar was a (secular and temporal) covenant of security between that particular government and the residents of the area.  It was to be fulfilled, as all covenants of security are binding.  (This is why I argue here that Muslim Americans are obligated to fulfill their covenant of security with the U.S. government.)

The jurisprudential tradition of Islam is known for its (sometimes excessive) reliance on legalism, much like the Jewish rabbinical tradition.  The classical scholars did argue that the mandatory conditions of the Pact of Umar had to be enforced, but at the same time they also forbade any additions to it.  The medieval jurist Imam al-Shawkani, a follower of the heterodox Zaydi Shi’ite sect[8], decreed that dhimmis ought to be forced to clean the latrines of the city.  This came to be known as the Latrines Decree.   Interestingly, the mainstream Muslim jurists of that era refuted Imam al-Shawkani and forbade such an addition, which they considered to be a violation of the Pact of Umar.  (One cannot add conditions to a document after it has been ratified.)  Jan Platvoet writes:

The Latrines Decree became an issue of judicial controversy…It caused confrontation between Muslim scholars (such as al-Shawkani and al-Kawkabani) almost all of whom belonged to the dominant Zaydi Shi’a…Most of them criticized the Decree, arguing that nothing can be added to or modified in the dhimma status…According to this line of argument, non-Muslims should be treated neither more leniently nor more harshly…These scholars felt they could not stand aloof while seeing the ardent wish of al-Shawkani and the authorities to worsen the dhimma stipulations. [9]

The purpose here is not to justify the discriminatory views of the medieval jurists: clearly, the need to protect the rights of minorities is morally more important than blindly enforcing a document.  But the point I am trying to make here is that the Pact of Umar was enforced not because it was viewed as being divine, canonical, or infallible, but because it was a temporal/secular covenant agreed upon by two parties, and thus ought to be honored like all covenants.  This is why modern day Muslims (even conservative ones) have no right to force the Pact of Umar on non-Muslims living in Muslim majority lands, since they [the non-Muslims] did not agree to such stipulations.  Remember: the classical jurists argued that the dhimmis ought to be fulfill the conditions of the Pact of Umar because “they themselves requested these terms!”

The Objectives Resolution (now a part of the Constitution of Pakistan) reads:

Adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures…Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality; Wherein adequate provisions shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes.

This enlightened piece of legislation is referred to as “The Islamic Provisions of the Constitution.” Clearly, contemporary Muslims believe freedom of religion and protection of minority rights to be inherently part of their religion. The Objectives Resolution is a covenant of security that guarantees protection to non-Muslims.  Enforcing the discriminatory conditions of the Pact of Umar would be impermissible in Islam because it would contradict the rights granted above.  Remember: additions to the covenant are not allowed, which is why the classical scholars forbade the Latrines Decree.  The modern day Pakistani government has a covenant that they must fulfill.

The conservative Salafi/”Wahhabi” instructor Ayman bin Khaled writes:

The Pact [of Umar] itself is just [because both sides agreed to it] and it is a contract like any other contract[;] if both sides agree to it then it is valid. No one was forced to accept such pact esp. knowing it was suggested by people of the book themselves.[10]

In other words, even the conservative Muslims who hold the document to be authentic believe that it cannot be enforced upon peoples against their will.  It was only historically applied, according to these conservative Muslims, because the Christians accepted the terms.  Not only this, but the Christians were the ones who came up with the terms to begin with.  (This, according to the traditional belief in the Islamic jurisprudential tradition.)

Precedent

Critics may argue that Umar ibn al-Khattab set a precedent, which could be emulated by Muslims today.  After all, Umar was one of the early caliphs of the Muslim community.  Yet, one could similarly argue that the manner in which the papacy treated Jews–the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude–could be considered precedent, which could be emulated by Christians today.  The papacy, unlike the caliphate, exerts far more power from a religious perspective than do caliphs.  Caliphs are not considered infallible, ever.

Furthermore, the Pact of Umar is not the only historical precedent Muslims can turn to.  Historically, there were many other covenants of security which were forged between the Islamic government and non-Muslim populations.  The very first constitution in Muslim history, the Constitution of Medina, is one such example.  In this document, signed by the Prophet Muhammad, the non-Muslims were granted “help and equality”; the document reads (emphasis is ours):

In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful.

This is a document from Muhammad the prophet (governing the relations) between the believers and Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib, and those [non-Muslims] who followed them and joined them and labored with them.

They are one community (umma) to the exclusion of all men…

To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality. He shall not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided. [11]

There are about forty-seven points enumerated in this document, and not a single one of them places any discriminatory or humiliating restrictions upon the non-Muslims.  They were not forced to wear certain clothing or hair cuts, nor forced to give up their chairs for Muslims, etc.  In all respects, they were treated as “equal[s]” and citizens of the same “nation” (ummah) as the Muslims, with similar rights and obligations as the Muslims.

After the Constitution of Medina, there is the example of the Treaty of Khaybar, signed between the Muslims and Jews of Khaybar.  Had the Prophet Muhammad wanted to “degrade” the non-Muslims with such “humiliating” restrictions as found in the Pact of Umar, then surely this would have been the time to do it, considering that–according to Islamic sources–the Jews of Khaybar had been found guilty of high treason.  Yet, we find in the Treaty of Khaybar none of the discriminatory laws of the Pact of Umar.  Similarly, the Prophet Muhammad signed the Treaty of Tabuk and the Treaty of Najran, two separate documents which afforded protection to non-Muslims without any mention of discriminatory laws, as long as taxes were paid to the government.

The Constitution of Medina promised Jews “equality”; another document attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, known as the Achtiname of Muhammad, afforded inalienable rights to Christians.  A copy of this document, sealed with an imprint representing the Prophet’s hand, is preserved in the library of St Catherine.  The Achtiname of Muhammad reads:

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far: we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.

No one of the (Islamic) nation is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day. [12]

The tone of voice in this document is 100% contrary to that in the Pact of Umar.  Nowhere does it say for Christians to be humiliated or degraded; in fact, Muslims are instructed to “hold out against anything that displeases” the Christians, and nothing can be done “that they hate.” (Surely, the humiliating conditions in the Pact of Umar would fall under this category, argue contemporary Muslims.)  Even more specifically, the Achtiname of Muhammad forbids preventing Christians from repairing their churches; the Pact of Umar violates this condition explicitly.  For the contemporary Muslim, the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad would trump even those of the Companions such as Umar.  Furthermore, the Achtiname sets out inalienable rights that must not be violated “till the Last Day.” Whereas the Pact of Umar is restricted to a single population of a single time, the Achtiname of Muhammad is for those “near and far” and “till the Last Day.”

Dr. Muqtedar Khan, Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware, writes:

The first and the final sentence of the charter are critical. They make the promise eternal and universal. Muhammed asserts that Muslims are with Christians near and far straight away rejecting any future attempts to limit the promise to St. Catherine alone. By ordering Muslims to obey it until the Day of Judgment the charter again undermines any future attempts to revoke the privileges. These rights are inalienable. Muhammed declared Christians, all of them, as his allies and he equated ill treatment of Christians with violating God’s covenant.

It should be noted that the authenticity of this document is disputed amongst Western scholarship–a fact that Islamophobes like Robert Spencer would be quick to mention.  It is strange, however, that they would so easily dismiss the Achtiname of Muhammad as a forgery, but then at the same time declare the Pact of Umar (which Western scholarship has declared to be a forgery) as the most authoritative Islamic document on the topic.  In other words, we have two documents, both of questionable authenticity, which contradict each other; one promises inalienable rights to a minority and the other invokes discriminatory conditions upon them.  The Islamophobe’s methodology is to highlight all the negative texts and dismiss the positive ones.  One could easily do such a hatchet job on Christianity, selectively quoting texts to paint a horrific picture.

Regardless of the historicity of the Achtiname of Muhammad, the fact is that contemporary Muslims view it as authentic and religiously binding (because it is attributed to the Prophet Muhammad).  In fact, the Muslim World League published the full text of the document in its journal (vol. 31, 2003).  So we can use Robert Spencer’s own logic here: the authenticity of the document is merely of “historical interest;” if contemporary Muslims view it as authentic and binding, then that’s all that matters.

Moving on, we have the example of the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who agreed to the following covenant with the non-Muslim peoples of Najran:

In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Merciful.

This is the written statement of God’s slave Abu Bakr, the successor of Muhammad, the Prophet and Messenger of God.

He affirms your rights of [being] a protected neighbor: yourselves, your lands, your religious community, your wealth, retainers, and servants, those of you who are present or abroad, your bishops and monks, monasteries, and all that you own, be it great or small.  You shall not be deprived of any of it, and shall have full control over it.[13]

There is no mention of any discriminatory laws, such as found in the Pact of Umar.  Abu Bakr was the very first caliph of Islam, and as such, his example would serve as precedent over that of Umar’s.

Another example we have is of the Muslim general Khalid ibn Waleed, a Companion of the Prophet Muhammad, who wrote in his covenant with the people of Anat:

They are allowed to ring their bells at any time of the day or night, except at the Islamic prayer times. They are allowed to bear their crosses in their festivals. [14]

Both of these allowances would contradict the Pact of Umar, which forbade the Christians from loudly ringing their bells or from bearing their crosses publicly or enjoying their festivals outdoors.  Khalid ibn Waleed allowed them to ring their bells at any time day or night, so long as it did not coincide with the Islamic call to prayer (adhan) for the five daily prayers; there is no stipulation that they use clampers, a clause that would make the requirement not to ring the bells during the adhan moot.

In light of this evidence, it would seem inappropriate to focus on the Pact of Umar, and not on the more normative and prophetic Constitution of Medina, which is of undisputed authenticity.  Though the Prophet Muhammad had extensive dealings with non-Muslims, he never once advocated laws of humiliation and degradation on any minority group.  Surely this precedent is more important to contemporary Muslims than that set by the questionable Pact of Umar.  There were several covenants of security that were established in the early days of Islam, and it seems biased to focus exclusively on the most restrictive (and spurious) of them.

Turning the Tables Around

Robert Spencer’s line of argumentation is as follows: the Pact of Umar is inherently part of the Islamic religion; after all, it is attributed to the second caliph of Islam and endorsed by classical jurists.  Any attempts to dismiss the Pact of Umar by contemporary Muslims, Spencer would argue, are not only disingenuous but theologically weak.  I will now turn the tables on Spencer, and see how he likes using this same line of argumentation against his own religion: he is a Catholic and often white-washes the papacy’s legacy.  Criticism of the Catholic popes is simply not tolerated by Spencer.

In order for Spencer to prove his claim, he must establish that the Pact of Umar is inherently part of Islam.  Yet, any of his arguments are going to be weaker than arguments that could be made by critics of Catholicism with regard to the doctrines of Witness and of the Perpetual Servitude of infidels.  (I’ve discussed this Christian doctrine here.)  Pope after pope declared their belief in the doctrines of Witness and of the Perpetual Servitude of infidels, especially Jews.  Critics of Catholicism could argue that these two beliefs are inherently part of the religion, because the papal decrees are considered infallible.  Whereas Umar ibn al-Khattab was simply a temporal/secular/worldly leader without any divine authority (there is no pope in Sunni Islam), the pope was (and is) considered a religious leader with divine authority.  Whereas Muslims believe that Umar was not infallible, Catholics believe that the popes were (and are) infallible.  Furthermore, the Pact of Umar was not really written by Umar ibn al-Khattab at all (but forged by unknown persons who have no position of respect in the Islamic religion), whereas there is no doubt that the papal decrees declaring the doctrines of Witness and of Perpetual Servitude were issued from the popes.  These were official doctrines espoused by the infallible Church.

Spencer would argue back that Catholics don’t think the Church or the papacy are infallible in all aspects, only matters of theology, faith, and morals.  The Catholic Encyclopedia writes that the Church has “immunity from…error or failure; in particular in theological usage, the supernatural prerogative by which the Church of Christ is, by a special Divine assistance, preserved from liability to error in her definitive dogmatic teaching regarding matters of faith and morals.”  The encyclopedia goes on to say that “the infallibility claimed for the pope is the same in its nature, scope, and extent as that which the Church as a whole possesses; his ex cathedra teaching does not have to be ratified by the Church’s in order to be infallible.”

I’m no expert of Catholicism, but just from my outsider perspective, the papal decrees about the Jews (the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude) fit all the criteria necessary to be considered infallible.  It is, after all, a theological issue, expressed ex cathedra (“from the chair”).  Should I now run around wildly flailing my arms declaring that the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude are inherently part of the Catholic religion, and that the Catholics are about to enforce this upon us infidels?  Of course I’ve read Catholic responses which explain why these particular papal decrees are not considered infallible; however, as an impartial outsider, the explanations honestly seemed to be unconvincing mumbo-jumbo.  I in fact ask Robert Spencer to explain why these particular decrees are not infallible according to the Catholic doctrine.  I know he will respond with some complex explanation, so I am not saying that there is no explanation for why not.  I am simply saying that the explanation is neither simple, straightforward, nor very convincing to an outsider.  Meanwhile, the Islamic responses to why the Pact of Umar is not infallible are very easy to understand: the document is a forgery, the only infallible documents in the Islamic religion are the Quran and the authentic hadiths (Sunnah), etc. (If the papal decrees supporting the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude were found to be forged–and not from the papacy at all–it would suddenly become very easy for a Catholic to deny the infallibility/applicability of said doctrines.)

But let me be very clear: I am not trying to argue that the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude are inherently part of Catholicism.  I leave that decision up to the Catholic believers.  If they say these are not infallible, who am I to insist otherwise?  But I think Muslims should also be taken at their word, especially since their responses on this particular topic seem more straightforward.  If we give the benefit of the doubt to the Catholics, then why not to the Muslims?

Quranic Endorsement of the Pact of Umar?

Robert Spencer attempts to bolster his argument, by arguing that the Quran itself endorses the Pact of Umar. Spencer writes:

Verse 29 of chapter 9 of the Qur’an, as we saw last week, mandates that the Muslims fight against the Jews and Christians “until they pay the jizya [poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” …The imperative to subjugate non-Muslims as mandated by Qur’an 9:29 and elaborated by this Pact became and remained part of Islamic law.

We shall discuss this verse (9:29) in greater detail in part 3 of this series (does it really mandate Muslims to fight against the Jews and Christians?), but right now I will focus on the last line; Spencer uses the following translation: “until they pay the jizya [poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”  The Arabic word in question is “saghirun”, which some medieval jurists translated as debasement, humiliation, etc.  Robert Spencer loves these quotes, and pretends that they are the only interpretations that exist.  You can find the following quote on JihadWatch:

Dhimmis must be kept in a permanent state of abasement (saghar). This why jizyamust be paid in a public ceremony in which the dhimmi at the moment of payment is given a tap on the neck and pushed forward to show him he has thus escaped the sword. This abasement is more important than the sum paid.

Yet, contemporary Muslims do not understand the verse this way.  In fact, there were many medieval Islamic jurists who rejected such discriminatory interpretations.  The classical jurist, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, rejected the interpretation that “saghar” means debasement:

This is groundless and the verse doesn’t imply that. It is not related that the Prophet or the companions acted like that. The correct opinion regarding this verse is that the word “saghar” means “acceptance” by non-Muslims of the structure of the Muslim right and their payment of the poll tax. [15]

Ibn Qudama, another classical jurist, wrote that the Prophet Muhammad and the four rightly guided caliphs said that the poll tax ought to be taken with gentleness and respect. (see Al-Mughni, Vol. 4, p.250) [16] In fact, the classical jurist Imam al-Nawawi wrote that the majority of scholars rejected such an interpretation:

As for this aforementioned practice [of degrading or humiliating non-Muslims], I know of no sound support for it in this respect, and it is only mentioned by the scholars of Khurasan. The majority (jumhur) of scholars say that the Jizyah is to be taken with gentleness, as one would receive a debt (dayn). The reliably correct opinion is that this practice [of degradation or humiliation] is invalid and those who devised it should be refuted. It is not related that the Prophet or any of the rightly-guided caliphs did any such thing when collecting the Jizyah. [17]

If this was the case with the medieval jurists (who had no incentive to white-wash Islam), then it is no surprise that contemporary Muslims take a similar enlightened view.  They believe that the verse must be contextualized: it was revealed during a time in which the People of the Book–namely the powerful Roman empire–were seeking to snuff out the early Islamic nation-state.  In this context, the early Muslim community was instructed in the rules of war, and it was decreed that the enemy be fought until they laid down their arms and their belligerence was subdued.  But the opponents were to be left alone once they accepted the hegemony of the Islamic nation-state, just like any nation will fight its belligerent enemies until they are subdued.

Once again, when we apply the same line of argumentation to Christianity, Robert Spencer refuses to accept it.  If we point to the numerous verses used historically by the Church to justify the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude, suddenly Spencer cannot accept this methodology.  Numerous verses in the Bible can be used to justify the subjugation and exile of Jews (i.e. the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude).  For example, the Bible reads:

The Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men…the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (I Thessalonians 2:14-16)

And there are many others.  Can these verses be interpreted in more tolerant ways?  Sure.  But so can the Quranic verse in question.  But the Islamophobes want to use one standard for Christianity and a completely different one for Islam.

But What about Extremist Muslims?

Fine, the vast majority of Muslims have never heard of the Pact of Umar, nor do they want to enforce it upon non-Muslims.  But what about the extremist Al-Qaeda types?  Is it not this document that motivates them to fight the West?  I do not think so.  Even most extremist Muslims have never heard of the Pact of Umar.  Again, those that have would most likely have first heard it from anti-Islam ideologues.  Maybe they wouldn’t reject it outright when they hear it from the anti-Islam critics, but the point is that no Muslim–not even the extremist ones–is being raised to follow this document.  It really has fallen into disuse and obscurity.  I am unaware of any Al-Qaeda literature, speeches, or videos making any reference to the Pact of Umar.  It is not the desire to reimpose the Pact of Umar that motivates them to fight; rather, they view their war with the West in terms of defensive Jihad against Western tyranny (this much is evidenced by their view that their holy war is fardh al-ayn and not fardh al-kifaya).

But ok, there are about one billion Muslims in the world…I can’t possibly deny that there may be a handful of Muslims out of the billion that believe in enforcing the Pact of Umar.  But it is really a measly minority, a fraction of even the extremist Muslim subset.  There are indeed many opinions championed by extremist Muslims that are worrisome, but this particular one (i.e. the Pact of Umar and its enforcement) does not find any level of significance in their discourse.  In fact, the paradigm trumpeted by extremists is: the Jewish/Christian West oppresses Muslims in the land, even though Muslims had historically treated them in an ideal way; based on this, they argue, Muslims must overthrow the West in order to reestablish this interfaith utopia.  For example, Hamas writes in its charter (interestingly quoted by none other than Robert Spencer!):

Under the shadow of Islam, it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam,  Christianity, and Judaism to coexist in safety and security.  Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect…Islam accords his rights to everyone who has rights and averts aggression against the rights of others. [18]

Most Muslims (extremists included) believe that historically non-Muslims lived under Islamic rule in an interfaith utopia.  (This is of course not true.)  The extremists believe that overthrowing the Western hegemony is the only way to return to this.  Therefore, they believe when they come to power, all will be treated well (unlike the Western rule).  So the idea that Muslims want to reimpose the Pact of Umar on non-Muslims is way off.  Only a handful of Muslims would believe such a thing.  This fact is illustrated by Robert Spencer’s inability to quote Muslim scholars, leaders, intellectuals, etc. who have called for the reimposition of the Pact of Umar and/or its discriminatory provisions.  In his book, Spencer is only able to quote one contemporary Islamic cleric who said such a thing.  One.  (Some guy named Marzouq Salem al-Ghamdi, who said non-Muslims ought to “rise when a Muslim wishes to sit” and that they shouldn’t “ride horses”, etc.)  That’s it.  One single quote.  (I haven’t authenticated the quote, but I’ll just give it to him.)

I think I saw one other similar quote on his site, and that’s it.  That’s all Spencer can provide.  Two or three quotes from out of the billion Muslims.  That’s the best he can do.  That’s all he’s got.  Here, I will issue a direct challenge to Robert Spencer: provide us with a list of contemporary Muslim scholars, leaders, intellectuals, etc. who have called for a reimposition of the Pact of Umar and/or its discriminatory provisions.  List as many as you can.  Every single one.  Let’s see how long your list is. I guarantee you that it will be an incredibly short list.  That is why you will avoid this challenge like the intellectual chicken you are.

The Muslim World League published the full text of the Achtiname of Muhammad in its journal.  Can Spencer provide a similar contemporary reference for the Pact of Umar?  In fact, the only contemporary texts he will find on the Pact of Umar will be responses to anti-Islam ideologues.  I challenge Robert Spencer to provide as many contemporary Islamic texts that endorse the Pact of Umar as he can.  I will then provide a list of scholars/texts that reject the Pact of Umar altogether, and definitely my list will be longer than his.

Spencer’s desperation can be gauged from what he writes in his book (emphasis is mine):

All this is still part of the Sharia today. “The subject peoples,” according to acontemporary manual of Islamic law, must “pay the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya)” and “are distinguished from Muslims in dress, wearing a wide cloth belt (zunnar)…[etc etc]” [19]

I was surprised when I saw the words “contemporary manual.”  So I checked out the footnote, which cited Umdat al-Salik as the reference.  That’s a contemporary manual?  It was written six hundred and fifty years ago.  (Tisk, tisk…How dishonest.)  Like I said earlier, the only references to the Pact of Umar you will find now are (1) reprints of medieval texts, and (2) responses to anti-Islam ideologues.  (This is where the Islamophobes use their typical deceitful argument that such-and-such medieval text is “endorsed” by such and such Islamic authority; an endorsement of a text in the Islamic tradition does not at all mean 100% agreement on every single opinion. If that is the case, then show us that Islamic authority explicitly advocating the reimposition of the Pact of Umar.)

Nowhere in contemporary Islamic texts will you find an endorsement of the reimplementation of the Pact of Umar and its discriminatory conditions; meanwhile, contemporary Muslims widely publicize the Achtiname of Muhammad as a model for the treatment of non-Muslims. If you search Muslim websites, you will find the Achtiname of Muhammad published on them. If you search Islamophobic ones, you will find the Pact of Umar. (“No no, this is what you believe!”)

Christian Extremists Continue to Believe in Perpetual Servitude

Does the fact that there might be a handful of Muslims who believe in the reimposition of the Pact of Umar justify Spencer’s agenda?  Certainly not, especially when we consider the fact that a greater number of Christians still believe in the Perpetual Servitude of Jews.  We know that the extremist Muslims are the Al-Qaeda types.  OK, so who are the extremist Christians?  The white nationalists, a sizable portion of which are extremist Christians.  But those don’t count, argue the Islamophobes.  Why not?  Because they are loonies and racists.  So let me get this straight: the Muslim extremists aren’t also loonies?  How come the Muslim loonies define the Islamic threat, but the Christian loonies don’t define the Christian threat?  As for them being racists, so?  That’s completely in line with historic Christianity.  Unlike Islam, Christianity was wedded with racist thought, with bigoted theological positions revolving around the Mark of Cain.  (But let’s not be loony about what we say: clearly, the vast majority of Christians have jettisoned such beliefs.)  Fundamentalist Muslims rigidly adhere to medieval opinions, and so do the extreme right wing Christians…And nobody can deny that such racist opinions were not alien to historic Christianity.

People always wonder why there are so many extremist Muslims, but where are the extremist Christians?  In fact, it’s quite easy to identify them: they are the white nationalists.  (Not all of them are Christians, but a sizable portion are and they base their racism in Christian belief.)  In fact, white nationalism is becoming a scourge in the world arguably greater than extremist Al-Qaeda types.  There are millions of white nationalists in the world (they are greater in numbers than jihadists), and their movement is on the rise.  But of course, our minds have been infected with “stealth racism” (to borrow a term from Robert Spencer).  So when a Muslim flies a plane into a building, it’s automatically terrorism and we’re on high alert; when someone else does, then that doesn’t count as terrorism and who cares?  Well yeah, if you’re going to always exclude all non-Muslim acts of terrorism, then it’s no surprise you can blithely ask: why are all terrorists Muslim?  Similarly, if all Christian extremists “don’t count”, then of course there will be far more Muslim extremists in your books than Christian ones.

Anyways, the fact is that there exists a rising group of white nationalists who base their racism in historic Christian belief.  And if all of the Islamic community is to be shamed because there may be a handful of Muslims who believe in reimposing the Pact of Umar, then shouldn’t we have a similar reaction to Christianity?  After all, there exist far right wing Christians who believe that the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude ought to be reinforced.  Don’t believe me?  The white nationalist website, Stormfront (which boasts an impressive membership of a couple hundred thousand), published the following article, which argues that “the theologically correct, and socially just Catholic social policy is to subjugate [the Jews], regulate them, segregate them and expel them.”If you read that article in its entirety, you will come to know that these far right wing Christians base their belief in historic Christian beliefs and the traditional interpretations of the Bible.

Conclusion

The Pact of Umar has become the Islamophobe’s equivalent to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I understand that there are certain shortcomings to this comparison, since the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were never accepted by Jews at all. But it is an apt comparison in so far as the xenophobes spreading a conspiracy that a certain religious group seeks to establish their rule and subjugate the natives. The reality is that this conspiracy is far-fetched and outright loony.  The vast majority of Muslims have never even heard of the document, let alone engage in a “stealth Jihad” to one day implement it.  Even extremist Muslims tend to focus on the utopic image of co-existence that supposedly existed in Islamic history.  The Pact of Umar has become an obscure text, with even Islamic scholars having a hard time recalling what exactly it is.  The only contemporary references to the document are in the form of responses against anti-Islam ideologues, invariably arguing against the Pact of Umar’s authenticity and/or applicability. No country on earth–including the ultraconservative Saudi Arabia and Iran–enforces the Pact of Umar. Yes, it is true that the rights of minorities are not properly protected in many Muslim majority countries, but this has nothing to do with the Pact of Umar.

The document may have reached some level of significance in the Islamic past, but it has now fallen into obscurity.  This is easy to understand when our Christian readers think about the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude.  I gander that virtually none of the Christians who read my article on that topic had ever even heard of the doctrines of Witness or Perpetual Servitude.  The first time they heard of it was from me.  This, even though these doctrines were of utmost importance at one time in Christian history.  Yet, now even religious Christians have no idea what these doctrines are.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Robert Spencer himself was unfamiliar with them.  When contemporary Christians do hear about these doctrines, they have to look for Christian responses, which explain (in a somewhat convoluted manner) why these doctrines are not infallible.

So why–when modern day Christians have no knowledge of a once popular doctrine in their religious tradition–is it so hard for them to believe that Muslims nowadays have no idea what the Pact of Umar is?  Robert Spencer and the rest of the Islamophobic goof troop trying to prove that Muslims want to reimpose the Pact of Umar is as inane as some Muslim fanatic trying to prove that the United States is attacking Muslim majority countries because they wish to reinforce the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude upon Muslims.  But for some reason, it’s so much easier to understand this about oneself, as opposed to the demonized other. 

You are a certified loon if you go on and on about how Muslims want to reimpose the Pact of Umar, just as a Muslim would be a loon if he were to claim that Christians were seeking to reimpose Perpetual Servitude.  Spencer, you are so proud of yourself that you found one spurious document from a caliph of Islam that became important in medieval Islamic texts; I can point to dozens of 100% authentic (and arguably infallible) papal decrees that became foundational to medieval Christian theology, restricting Jews and Muslims to a status of Perpetual Servitude…And yes, there continue to exist a section of Christians today who believe in reinforcing it.

(Cue Islamophobic whining of “tu quoque, tu quoque,” which translates to “please Danios stop hitting us back so hard, waah waah waah!” I will explain in a future article why this lame tu quoque chant is inappropriate and inapplicable in this context.)

Stay tuned for part 3 of this three part series, entitled “Do Muslims want to reimpose dhimmitude?” Danios has called part 2 his jab and part 3 will be his knockout punch.

Footnotes

refer back to article 1. Personal correspondence with Zaid Shakir; quote may be verified by directly contacting Shakir: http://www.zaidshakir.com/

refer back to article 2. Yusuf Qaradawi, Ghayr Al-Muslimeen fil Mujtama` Al-Islami

refer back to article 3. Maher Abu-Munshar, Islamic Jerusalem And Its Christians: A History of Tolerance And Tensions, pp.79-80

refer back to article 4. Tabari, Tarikh At-Tabari, Vol. 3, p.609

refer back to article 5. Mawdudi, The Rights Of The People of Covenant In The Islamic State, p.22

refer back to article 6. Abraham P. Bloch, One a Day: An Anthology of Jewish Historical Anniversaries for Every Day of the Year, p.314. ISBN 0881251089

refer back to article 7. Personal correspondence with Bassam Zawadi; quote may be verified by directly emailing Zawadi: b_zawadi@hotmail.com

refer back to article 8. It should be noted that Shawkani later converted to Sunni Islam.

refer back to article 9. Jan Platvoet, Pluralism and Identity: Studies in Ritual Behavior, 178-180. ISBN: 9004103732

refer back to article 10. Ayman bin Khaled, Multaqa Ahl al-Hadeeth

refer back to article 11. Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah

refer back to article 12. Testamentum et pactiones inter Mohammedem et Christianae fidei cultores. Paris, 1630

refer back to article 13. Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, p.79

refer back to article 14. Ibid., p. 146

refer back to article 15. Ahkam Ahlul Dhimma, Vol. 1, pp. 23-24

refer back to article 16. Hat tip: Bassam Zawadi

refer back to article 17. Rawdat al-Talibin, Volume 10, p.315-16

refer back to article 18. Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), p.51

refer back to article 19. Ibid.

 

Is Flying While Brown the New Driving While Black?

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by loonwatch

southwest_airlines1
The paranoid calls to profile Muslims on airplanes have become louder in recent days.  Here’s a story from 2008 that ought to make us think twice about such an un-American response (hat tip:KevinMD.com):

Doctor Flying Southwest Tries To Go To Bathroom, Ends Up In Jail

By Chris Walters on September 24, 2008

65-year-old urologist, born in India but living in the United States for 38 years now, was flying from his home in Missouri to a medical convention in Las Vegas on June 26th, 2008. Did you notice that “born in India” detail? Apparently his attempts to go to the bathroom angered and frightened a flight attendant, who wouldn’t tell Dr. Sivaprasad Madduri why he couldn’t use the lavatory (the pilot was using it) and who wouldn’t listen to Dr. Madduri’s explanation that he was taking a medicine that acts as a diuretic. When the plane landed he was arrested, spent the night in jail, and was told the next day to plead guilty and pay $2500 if he wanted a quick resolution.

Southwest has since told Dr. Madduri, “We don’t want this experience to affect your feelings about flying with us in the future,” and they’ve offered him a $100 voucher. It turns out the “apology” was meant for the other passengers, and was in fact about Dr. Madduri.

From Rediff:

Ironically, even before he filed his complaint with the Southwest Airlines officials, he got a letter from Frederick Taylor Jr, senior manager at the airline’s customer service communications, offering a $100 voucher for a future flight.

“Sometimes, an explanation for the reason why things happen is not always possible, and the bizarre behaviour of the individual during your June 26 flight to Las Vegas supports this point,” Taylor said in a letter accompanying the voucher. “While I am unable to explain the circumstances surrounding the disruption, I think it is important to offer my heartfelt apologies for any concerns you may have had as a result of this event”.

“Naturally, we don’t want this experience to affect your feelings about flying with us in the future, or for it to be your last recollection of traveling with our company. In fact we would consider it a privilege if you gave us another opportunity to provide you with better memories.”

Here’s Dr. Madduri’s story in his own words:

[I am] a physician from India who immigrated to the United States 38 years ago and [has] been in private practice in South East Missouri for more than a quarter century.

On June 26, 2008, I traveled from St Louis to Las Vegas to attend AAPI annual convention by Southwest flight 1226. Two hours into the flight, I tried to go to the bathroom ( I take a blood pressure medicine with diuretic that makes one ‘go’ more often). As I was sitting in row six, I walked to the front lavatory. The flight attendant, named Lora Lee Minton, abruptly stopped me and essentially shouted at me, “Go back! This bath room is occupied, and you cannot stand here.”

Shocked and dumbfounded at this unfriendly behavior, I went back and sat in my seat. Two minutes later, I saw the lavatory door opening and I got up and walked towards the bath room again. The same flight attendant (Lora Lee Minton) screamed at me, “I told you not to go to that bathroom,” and started pushing me into my seat. I was totally confused at this erratic behavior, and told her that I had been taking medicine and I had to go to the toilet. I even tried to walk past Ms.Minton as I was very uncomfortable.

“I told you not to go,” she pushed me into my seat! I was lost. I flew many times but had never experienced a rude and unfriendly behavior like this. Confused and not knowing what to do, I went back and sat in my seat. I saw the pilot came out of the lavatory, walked into the cockpit and closed the door behind him. Later I could use the bathroom.

The sequence of events that followed were more frightening and beyond the scope of any one’s imagination. As the plane landed in Las Vegas , I was escorted by two police officers and was handed over to the FBI. The FBI interrogated me at length and for the first time, I was told that the flight attendant, Ms.Lora Lee Minton, reported that I was causing ‘disturbance’ during the flight. I was also told that when the pilot is out of the cockpit, no one is supposed get up from their seat, till the pilot goes back to his seat. This apparently is a federal law being enforced since 9/11 and no one ever told me, nor was it announced during the flight.

That night I was taken through federal centers for further investigation. I was hand-cuffed, finger printed and was ‘processed’ as a common criminal. I was told repeatedly that my background was checked and I had no criminal record. Even after checking my back ground and even after confirming it by calling my family members (Our two children that live in St Louis and Houston, Texas ) and my professional partner (urologist from Poplar Bluff, Missouri ), I still had to go through the harassment. I was dragged through Federal court buildings that night with hand and ankle cuffs, left in cells for hours before I was interrogated and was threatened repeatedly with abusive language: ‘Shut up,’ ‘I am going to kick your ass,’ to name a few. Finally I was taken to a federal detention center in Las Vegas and was ushered into a large jail cell! I spent the night in jail with 43 prisoners – most of them drug dealers and picked up at street fights!

The next day I went through processing in a federal court building and presented in front of a Federal Judge. The public defender told me that my ‘case’ was decided and I would be released if I pleaded guilty and paid a fine of $2,500. He also told me that I could refuse to plead guilty, contest the judgment and even could win, but could be taking a long time, cost more and might result in multiple trips to Las Vegas.

Exhausted, depressed and completely deflated, I agreed to what ever the public defender suggested and got out after 24 hours of ‘living hell’.

I endured the most horrifying and traumatic 24-hours of my life for a crime I sincerely believe I did not commit. A simple statement by the flight attendant (Lora Lee Minton) in normal tone of voice that I was not supposed to wait in front of the toilet when it was occupied by the pilot, would have saved the ghastly ordeal.

I was told repeatedly by the prison guards, some of the FBI officials (not all of them were rude), the prison inmates who heard my story that the reason I was targeted was because of my skin color (brown) and ethnic background (South Asian, Indian).

When I returned home, I did not feel like lying flat and take the abuse, more so the incident involved not only me but an entire race and ethnic group. I sent my story to local, state and national news papers including all the major Indian news publications. The response was overwhelming: the news papers were very receptive; I received numerous e-mails, letters, phone-calls, sympathy and supportive cards; every one wanted me to ‘fight-it-out’ and ‘not to keep quite and do nothing.’

I did send my story to ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Missouri and Nevada , yet I haven’t heard from them yet, though I was told that my experience had merit. I contacted attorneys locally as well as in St Louis and was told that they were looking for proper attorneys that specialize in civil liberties cases; I was told by some that I should not have pleaded guilty and should find eye-witnesses that would testify in my favor.

During 30 years of my stay in America , I never felt so threatened nor my rights so violated as I did that fateful night. ‘You are not guilty until proven otherwise’, the anthem we are made to believe all the time was turned out to be not true; I was guilty until prove my self innocent. I was treated like a guilty person and was never given a chance even to tell my side of the story. Even after the incidence, I am finding it difficult to prove my innocence. I want Southwest Air Lines to realize their mistake and drop charges against me. I did contact Southwest airlines and was informed that they were standing by their stewardess and the issue had no racial profile or bias.