Archive for Eli Clifton

ThinkProgress: The American Enterprise Institute’s Islamophobia Problem

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton recently wrote a 2 part report on the Islamophobic views held by some of the “prominent” think tankers at the neo-Conservative American Enterprise Institute.

One such think tanker is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In the first part of the report below Gharib discusses Ali’s recent speech in which she sympathizes with terrorist Anders Behring Breivik and shifts blame for his massacre onto the “advocates of silence,” i.e. liberals. Gharib also tip us for flagging the speech.

(Make sure to check out the second part of this report as well here.)

Conservative Think Tank Scholar Promotes Claim That Norway Terrorist Attacked Because He Was Censored

by Ali Gharib (ThinkProgress)

In a speech earlier this month, a scholar at an influential think tank and flagship of contemporary Washington conservatism, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), gave voice to one of the justifications for Norwegian anti-Muslim terrorist Anders Breivik‘s attacks, explaining that Breivik said “he had no other choice but to use violence” because his fringe views were “censored.” While accepting a prize this month from the German multimedia company Axel Springer, Somali-born Dutch AEI scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke on the “advocates of silence” — those she admonishes for purportedly stifling criticisms of radical Islamic extremism.

In the speech, flagged by the website Loonwatch, Hirsi Ali noted that she herself appeared in Breivik’s 1,500-word manifesto (Breivik reprinted a European right-wing article saying Hirsi Ali should win the Nobel Peace Prize). While she denounced Breivik’s views as an “abhorrant” form of “neo-fascism,” she then postulated that Breivik was driven to violence because his militant anti-multicultural views were not given a fair airing in the public discourse.

After speaking about how the “advocates of silence” repress discussion about radical Islamism, Hirsi Ali said:

Fourthly and finally, that one man who killed 77 people in Norway, because he fears that Europe will be overrun by Islam, may have cited the work of those who speak and write against political Islam in Europe and America – myself among them – but he does not say in his 1500 page manifesto that it was these people who inspired him to kill. He says very clearly that it was the advocates of silence. Because all outlets to express his views were censored, he says, he had no other choice but to use violence.

Watch a clip of the speech:

Hirsi Ali’s exclamation that the “advocates of silence” stifle discourse so effectively that Breivik was driven last July to kill 77 people — 69 slaughtered at a summer youth camp — is contradicted even by her own speech. In closing, Hirsi Ali said, “The good news is that recently the leaders of established conservative parties in Europe have broken the pact of silence,” citing comments against multiculturalism by the leaders of Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Hirsi Ali has herself been a Dutch parliamentarian, a frequent contributor to mainstream U.S. and international publications, and author of a New York Times best-selling autobiography. Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders enjoys considerable success in Hirsi Ali’s own Netherlands. Views against multiculturalism don’t get censored, though some of the most bigoted ideologies are often driven to the margins in free societies.

Neither AEI nor Ayaan Hirsi Ali replied to requests for comments about her talk. But a public affairs official at AEI wrote to ThinkProgress, “AEI does not take institutional positions on policy issues. When our scholars speak, they speak for themselves.”

In her speech, Hirsi Ali said that “to speak out against radical Islamism is to be condemned as an Islamophobe.” But as detailed in the Center For American Progress’s report on Islamophobia, “Fear, Inc.,” the Islamophobe label applies not to those who rail against “radical Islam,” but rather against Islam as a whole. Not surprisingly, Hirsi Ali is herself in this latter category — yet another indication that Islamophobic views are not censored. In a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine, Hirsi Ali called for Islam to be “defeated.” The interviewer asked: “Don’t you mean defeatingradical Islam?” Hirsi Ali replied bluntly: “No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.”

Police Remove Muslim Women From Pam Geller’s ‘Human Rights Conference’

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

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer only preach to their minions, and anyone else is not accepted.

Police Remove Muslim Women From Pam Geller’s ‘Human Rights Conference’

By Eli Clifton on Apr 30, 2012 at 9:30 am, ThinkProgress

Yesterday in Dearborn, Michigan, noted anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer hosted a conference promising to advocate for “human rights” in one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. Geller, writing on her blog on Sunday, warned, “We will meet fierce resistance by Islamic supremacists who will do anything, say anything to impose the sharia and whitewash the oppression, subjugation and slaughter of women under Islamic law.”

But surprisingly, Muslim women found themselves denied entry to the conference and, after patiently waiting in the corridor after being told to wait, were removed from the Hyatt Hotel by the Dearborn Police Department and Hyatt security.

Several of the young women commented that they shared a similar appearance with Jessica Mokdad, the young women who Geller and Spencer claim was murdered in an “honor killing” (a conclusion not shared by Mokdad’s family or Michigan prosecutors).

ThinkProgress attempted to attend the event and was turned away, and eventually removed from the Hyatt by the police, along with the young women. One of the women commented, “I tried emailing [Pamela Geller to register] and I literally couldn’t get any kind of response back.” That comment seems to contradict Geller’s claim that she wants to help Muslim women and that the conference was in defense of the human rights of Muslim women.

Another woman who tried to attend the conference told ThinkProgress:

Coming in, I was asking where the human rights conference is. [Hyatt Security and Dearborn Police] were like, ‘what are you talking about?’ I’m like, ‘the human rights conference on the second floor.’ They were like, ‘the anti-Islam conference?’ That’s what they’re calling it now.

And another woman expressed surprise that Geller, who has asked to hear from more Muslim voices on human rights issues, was denying Muslims access to her event. “I watched an interview with her […] and she said, ‘Where are the Muslims?’ Well, we’re here!” Watch it (police arrive to escort the women off the Hyatt premises at 3:58):


Pamela Geller emailed ThinkProgress, “They didn’t register. We’ve been announcing for weeks that only registered attendees would be admitted.”

Geller and Spencer play prominent roles in the Islamophobia “echo chamber,” as detailed in the Center for American Progress’s report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”

Eli Clifton: Time For The National Review To Take A Stand Against Islamophobia

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Media with tags , , , , on April 13, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Don’t hold your breath:

Time For The National Review To Take A Stand Against Islamophobia

The National Review has been cleaning house over the past week. Last week the conservative publication fired John Derbyshire for a racist rant and today the magazine terminated its relationship with Robert Weissberg for his ties to a white nationalist group.

But while the National Review has decided to very publicly purge itself of white supremacists and racists, bigotry toward Muslims appears to go unchallenged in the pages of the magazine and on its blog, National Review Online (NRO). NRO contributing editor Andrew McCarthy, who accused President Obama of standing with the Muslim Brotherhood against 9/11 families in his post “The President Stands With Sharia,” told Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims:

What “radicalizes” Muslims is Islam — the mainstream interpretation of it. The “radicals” propagating it do not need the “captive audience” provided by the prison environment. The “radicalization” is happening in plain sight.

The denigration of Islam and Muslim Americans isn’t limited to McCarthy’s screeds. A number of noted Islamophobes are regularly given free rein to guest post on NRO’s site or write in the magazine, including:

  • Robert Spencer, who just last month concluded that “Islamic supremacists” may have subverted the “U.S. defense against jihad terror,” because the man who heads the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorism Center — and is credited with crippling Al Qaeda and other militant networks in Pakistan — was identified as a Muslim in a Washington Post profile.
  • David Horowitz, who, in an interview last year, stated, “What has the Arab world contributed except terror?…The theocratic, repressive Arabic states do no significant science, no significant arts and culture.”
  • Daniel Pipes, who, in the pages of The National Review in 1990, wrote, “All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

The National Review has been notified of the Islamophobic statements made by a number of their contributors in the past. To date, they appear to have decided to do nothing. Perhaps now is the time for The National Review to take a hard stance against all bigotry, intolerance and racism.

Islamophobic Filmmakers Promote Comment Seeking To Legitimate Norway Terrorist’s Views

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2012 by loonwatch

Islamophobic Filmmakers Promote Comment Seeking To Legitimate Norway Terrorist’s Views

By Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib on Feb 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm

The Clarion Fund, an organization which produces Islamophobic documentaries, came under renewed scrutiny last month when news broke that their film “The Third Jihad” was screened at an NYPD conference. Facing calls for his resignation, NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly, after some dissembling, admitted he was interviewed for the project and apologized for his role, calling the film “inflammatory.” Clarion, however, bragged about the attention.

Now, Clarion appears to be throwing caution to the wind — along with any plausible defense that the group is not Islamophobic — by promoting a comment from a reader seeking to redeem the views of the anti-Muslim right-wing extremist who terrorized Norway this summer, killing 77, including 69 people at a youth camp. In an e-mail newsletter to supporters, Clarion Fund quoted the reader suggesting that a recent report that militant Islamic extremism posed the top threat to Norway redeemed the unheralded warnings of Anders Breivik, the anti-Muslim killer.

The newsletter, published by the organization’s radicalislam.org website, promoted the comment from a “reader in Norway.” It read:

What a hot current topic this is! Just today the news came out in Norway, “officially” and in spite of all the PC-ness of this government, that according to the national security forces, the threat of Islamist terrorism is the foremost threat against Norway. You probably remember the July 22 shootings. One of Breivik’s arguments was that the authorities were not taking this threat seriously because you musn’t offend a Muslim. Interesting development.

Clarion’s willingness to promote and publish an e-mail sympathetic to Breivik seems a bizarre move for an organization under fire for Islamophobia, especially when the comment obfuscates the bigoted point Breivik was making about Islam at-large — the very same conflation between extremism and the whole faith the Clarion Fund has repeatedly been accused of making.

Breivik’s warnings did not focus on Muslim extremism, but rather on Islam at-large. Breivik’s1,500-page manifesto is littered with comments about Islam in general, for instance arguing that the Muslim veil “should more properly be viewed as the uniform of a Totalitarian movement, and a signal to attack those outside the movement.” He called Islam a “totalitarian, racist and violent political ideology,” and said its holy book, the Koran, should be banned. Breivik’s warning was not about, as the reader wrote, “Islamist terrorism,” but about Islam:

What is likely to happen to the West, if it continues to follow its present policy of ‘political correctness’ and apathy towards the hostile teachings of Islam, [will be like] “the Islamic conquest of India…”

“In order to wake up the masses,” the soon-to-be killer wrote before attacking government offices and a political youth camp, “the only rational approach will be to make sure the current system implodes.”

Breivik went on in his manifesto to cite the writings of numerous American right-wing Islamophobes and recommended the Clarion Fund’s film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” for “further studies.” He even included a link to it.

While the Norwegian security services’ report did indeed cite Islamic-inspired extremism as the country’s top threat, that assessment actually proves Breivik’s assertion wrong: Norwegian authorities seem rather well-attuned to the serious threat posed by the few radicalized, extremist Muslims in Norway.

Despite the citations, Clarion is not, of course, responsible for Breivik’s attack. But by singling out and publishing a reader comment that whitewashed and sought to exonerate Breivik’s murderous ideology, the Clarion Fund may be tipping their hand as to how closely their views dovetail with his. (HT: Demographics United)

Islamophobe Frank Gaffney Endorses Newt Gingrich’s Anti-Muslim Comments

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by loonwatch

Islamophobe Frank Gaffney Endorses Newt Gingrich’s Anti-Muslim Comments

By Eli Clifton

Newt Gingrich’s statement that he would only support Muslim presidential candidates if they “would commit in public to give up Sharia” was met by harsh comments from both Muslim American organizations and academic experts on Islamic law. “Newt Gingrich’s vision of America segregates our citizens by faith. His outdated political ideas look backward to a time when Catholics and Jews were vilified and their faiths called a threat,” said Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Legislative Director Corey Sayolor.

But Gingrich’s anti-Muslim crusade found an ally with noted Islamophobe Frank Gaffney. Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, leaped on Gingrich’s anti-Shariah comments yesterday in a column for National Review Online and on his radio show, Secure Freedom Radio. His column reads:

Newt is absolutely right in making such a distinction [between a “moderate person who worships Allah” or “a person who belonged to any kind of belief in sharia, any kind of effort to impose that on the rest of us]. The danger we currently face from the so-called Muslim world arises not from the fact that people are Muslim, but from the extent to which they adhere to the totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine of sharia.

Speaking on his radio show yesterday, Gaffney took a similar line:

With his successive warnings about sharia…Newt Gingrich has, in my judgement, rendered a real public service. We must know who are enemies are and we must defeat, not accommodate, those who in the name of Sharia are obliged to wage Jihad against us. And we must keep America Sharia free.

But Gaffney’s concerns about religious and personal freedoms rarely extend to Muslim Americans. Last year, he said:

A mosque that is used to promote a seditious program, which is what Sharia is…that is not a protected religious practice, that is in fact sedition.

Newt Gingrich makes no secret of his hostility toward Muslims but Frank Gaffney’s defacto endorsement — he also picked up an endorsement from anti-Muslim activist and Gaffney ally Pamela Geller — might not be helpful as Gingrich attempts to appeal to moderate voters and chip away at Mitt Romney’s momentum in the primaries. Gaffney is a noted member of the Islamophobic far-right and his organization, the Center for Security Policy, was highlighted as a major nexus for the anti-Sharia initiatives sweeping the country in the Center for American Progress’s report, Fear, Inc.

The Dangers Of Gingrich’s War Against Islam

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2011 by loonwatch

Gingrich reasserts his commitment to the Sharia Hysteria and now suggests “a federal law that says ‘no court, anywhere in the United States, under any circumstances, is allowed to consider Sharia as a replacement for American law.”

The Dangers Of Gingrich’s War Against Islam

By Eli Clifton

Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson examines Newt Gingrich’s history of anti-Muslim fear-bating and concludes that “those views demonstrate a disturbing tendency: the passionate embrace of shallow ideas.” But Gerson fails to acknowledge that Gingrich’s “shallow ideas” are more than just rhetoric. Gingrich has a plan to put them into action.

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute last year, Gingrich told the audience:

It’s time we had a national debate on this. And one of the things I’m going to suggest today is a federal law that says ‘no court, anywhere in the United States, under any circumstances, is allowed to consider Sharia as a replacement for American law.’ Period.

Watch it:

And Gingrich’s 2010 documentary, “America At Risk: The War With No Name,” portrays a disturbing vision of the world in which the U.S. and its western allies are at war with Islam. “This war will go on until either the entire world either embraces Islam or submits to Islamic rule,” says historian Bernard Lewis, while appearing in the film.

Further exemplifying his anti-Muslim sentiments, In an interview last week, Gingrich explained that the Palestinians are an “invented people,” a statement effectively denying the right of Palestinians to a state. Such a position would end U.S. support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and rejects the policy positions of the Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations.

Gerson’s effort to flag Gingrich’s anti-Sharia rhetoric as “simplistic” is a welcome pushback against the growing Islamophobia in the far-right. (We addressed this problem in our recent report “Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America.”) But Gerson fails to acknowledge the potential domestic and foreign policy implications of Gingrich’s anti-Muslim statements.

Daniel Pipes Misrepresents CAP Report on Islamophobia to Solicit Funds

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2011 by loonwatch
Daniel Pipes

by Farha Khaled

Recently, the MiddleEastForum’s failed academic with a history of Islamophobia, Daniel Pipes sent out a fund raising email, full of misrepresentations and lies regarding a Center for American Progress report that described his anti-Muslim activities.

Pipes begins his solicitation:

The Center for American Progress, in a much-ballyhooed study, deemed me one of the five most influential thinkers shaping the public discussion of Islam.

The study Mr Pipes is talking about is “Fear Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” and the actual words used to describe Mr Pipes in the report are “Islamophobia misinformation expert” and not “influential thinker” as he is claiming.

It was the first in-depth report into how a small cadre of bigots are fomenting and funding Islamophobia for political gain though LoonWatch has been debunking and exposing their nefarious associations for over two years now. The report states (page 6):

Five experts generate the false facts and materials used by political leaders, grassroots groups, and the media:

“These experts travel the country and work with or testify before state legislatures calling for a ban on the nonexisting threat of Sharia law in America and proclaiming that the vast majority of mosques in our country harbor Islamist terrorists or sympathizers.

Indeed, the email Pipes sent out to solicit donations would qualify as an exhibit of this misinformation. He writes:

Meanwhile, Islamist violence in America is on the rise; for example, the number of jihad-related terror indictments in U.S. courts doubled in 2010 and is on pace to reach a new high in 2011.

Jihad related attacks in 2010 were down from the previous year. He made no mention of the significant numbers of American Muslims tipping off authorities about potential threats, nor of the growing debate questioning the motives of the myth makers fueling this propaganda.

Professor Charles Kurzman, who wrote the book The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists gave an interview to Think Progress. He put the threat into context by explaining how American Muslims play a prominent role in combating what he describes as a low level threat.

Significantly, Pipes glosses over the fact that right wing terrorist threats are on the rise. Annual statistics compiled by the SPLC  in “The Year in Hate & Extremism, 2010” show:

Taken together, these three strands of the radical right — the hatemongers, the nativists and the antigovernment zealots — increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22% rise. That followed a 2008-2009 increase of 40%.

Another study, “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans” a joint project by the Duke University and the University of North Carolina reached similar conclusions. David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University and a co author of this paper suggests:

Our research suggests that initiatives that treat Muslim-Americans as part of the solution to this problem are far more likely to be successful

Elaborating further in “It’s time to confront the ‘counterjihadists’” Schanzer suggests:

Muslims need to be more aggressive in confronting mistruths about Islam that appear in discourse, whether they come from radical Muslims or anti-Islamic demagogues. The public is uneducated about Islam. This vacuum is being filled by the clash-of-civilization cheerleaders. Muslims need to tell a different story.

In the Fall of 2011, Risa Brooks, Political Science Professor at Marquette University, wrote an analysis; “Muslim ‘Homegrown’ Terrorism in the United States: How Serious Is the Threat?” It details how the exaggerated fear of Islamic terrorism in the USA diverts costly resources from more pressing threats and questions why the Department of Homeland Security downplays the rising number of  right wing terrorist threats and which are often not even labeled as such even when they qualify. She concludes:

the political dynamics noted above contribute to an unbalanced presentation of domestic terrorist threats in the country, the well-intentioned desire by public offcials and politicians to prepare people for local attacks even at the risk of overstating their probability, and perhaps more cynically, those individuals’ bureaucratic and political incentives to magnify the threat. Regardless of the source of alarmism, all Americans benefit from questioning assumptions about the Muslim homegrown threat.

Why then is Daniel Pipes engaged in focusing on and magnifying one threat? Tellingly, in ‘The End of American Jewry’s Golden Era‘ he laments:

The Jews’ Golden Age in America began in 1950, when social restrictions were eased in universities, banks, businesses, clubs, etc. This period may now be ending with the growth of the American Muslim population.

Elsewhere too, Pipes has written of his fear of the growing influence of American Muslims:

It is also the right of CAIR, AMC, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council to devote their resources to promoting the idea of Muslim victimization. But the reality is, stubbornly, otherwise: far from being victimized, the Muslim-American community is robust and advancing steadily.

In his paranoid mind, any kind of success enjoyed by American Muslims must necessarily translate as being detrimental to American Jews. This myopic thinking would explain his uncalled for attacks on Rep. Ellison and his fixation with Muslims in every walk of life from politics to business, from the academia to beauty pageants. Both in America and around the world, Pipes and his Islamophobic allies manage to find a conspiracy behind anything that portrays Muslims in a positive light.

Simultaneously, trawling the news for any crime committed by a Muslim to exploit as the true face of Islam even if the culprit was a non practicing Muslim or a non-Muslim! He claims to be protecting American rights in the Middle East and trumpets how Campus Watch (accused of intimidating academia) and The Legal Project combat ‘lawful’ jihadism and protects free speech citing Geert Wilders as a beneficiary. Would Wilders have been a recipient if he didn’t lent support to the far right Likud agenda that neo conservatives support? Top Dutch officials have mocked Wilders for claiming Islam is a trojan horse in the Netherlands when he himself is loyal to a foreign nation. Sheila Musaji has a compilation of anti Palestinian and Islamophobic memes that Pipes has attempted to legitimise through his organisations.

Returning to the email Pipes sent out, he goes on to solicit:

As debate over Middle Eastern and Islamic issues intensifies ahead of the 2012 elections, I urge you to support our efforts by making a donation

This shouldn’t come as any surprise. Pipes had already tried to inject anti Muslim hysteria masquerading as ‘debate’, both during and after the 2008 election. Some highlights include; Equating Keith Ellison to Hitler; Propagating the falsehood of Obama being a Muslim for which he was mocked at in Islam, Israel and Insurgents a televised Q and A session; Suspecting beauty pageants of ‘affirmative action’ for their odd frequency of having Muslim winners. Although Pipes claims that he only fights ‘Islamism’, in all likelihood to keep up a pretense of scholarly repute, Eli Clifton outed him as a fully fledged Islamophobe.

Having failed to influence the 2008 election in the way he had hoped, Pipes switched tactics proceeding to advise Obama that he could save his presidency by bombing Iran. Then when Egyptians were waiting for Mubarak to step down, he saw Iran as the puppeteer lurking in the background.

Evidently, Pipes intends to get just as down and dirty in the 2012 elections as he puffs:

The Forum, a think tank I founded in 1994 to promote American interests in the Middle East and protect America from Islamist threats, is very active these days.

By now there is plenty of evidence that points to a legitimate threat being hyped by Pipes under cover of American patriotism to promote Likud politics for which an Islamist bogeyman is necessary. All this, whilst accusing American Muslims of colluding with the left to strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood.  Clearly a bad case of projection. One could conclude that Pipes is as extreme as they get, but the peace advocate and blogger Richard Silverstein notes at his website Tikun Olam, popularly known as ‘The Wiki Leaks of Israel’ that ‘Among Anti-Muslim Warriors Pipes is a Dove‘. Particularly so when compared to proponents of Religious Zionism and right wing extremists.

Robert Steinback at the SPLC offers a mirror into the minds of these anti Muslim warriors with his intelligence report ‘Jihad Against Islam‘ which he ends with :

It is particularly perplexing trying to discern the ultimate goal of this corps of activists. If their aim is to isolate and destroy the violence-prone fanatical Muslim fringe, then it doesn’t make sense to undermine moderate Muslims and argue that only confirmed terrorists are interpreting the Koran correctly. But both tactics make perfect sense if the aim is to build a widespread, irrational fear and hostility against Islam in general — encouraging, rather than helping defuse, an eventual global confrontation between East and West.

It may indeed be a cynical obfuscation employed by Pipes and his allies to further their own politics and biases, but at the very least he can bank on receiving money to continue his crusade–if his followers are daft enough to donate.

Farha Khaled blogs at http://farhakhaled.blogspot.com and http://twitter.com/farhakhaled