Archive for Extremism

How Christian Fundamentalists Plan to Teach Genocide to Schoolchildren

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by loonwatch

Child with Bible

While many in the West are myopically focused on Muslim extremists, another form of religious extremism is poised to reach thousands of children in public schools across the US.

Aside from the disturbing implications for those who advocate a clear separation between church and state, the alarming content of the curriculum begs a question about the sponsors: What if they were Muslim?

How Christian Fundamentalists Plan to Teach Genocide to Schoolchildren

By Katherine Stewart, Guardian UK

Good News Clubs’ evangelism in schools is already subverting church-state separation. Now they justify murdering nonbelievers.

The Bible has thousands of passages that may serve as the basis for instruction and inspiration. Not all of them are appropriate in all circumstances.

The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It’s not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don’t intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:

“Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job.

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. “In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,” writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperCollins).

This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.

There are now over 3,200 clubs in public elementary schools, up more than sevenfold since the 2001 supreme court decision, Good News Club v Milford Central School, effectively required schools to include such clubs in their after-school programing.

The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that “the Amalekites were completely defeated.” In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:

“You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.”

“That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?” the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads:

“The Amalekites had heard about Israel’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment.”

The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

Asking if Saul would “pass the test” of obedience, the text points to Saul’s failure to annihilate every last Amalekite, posing the rhetorical question:

“If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, ‘I did it!’?”

“If only Saul had been willing to seek God for strength to obey!” the lesson concludes.

A review question in the textbook seeks to drive the point home further:

“How did King Saul only partly obey God when he attacked the Amalekites? (He did not completely destroy as God had commanded, he kept the king and some of the animals alive.)”

The CEF and the legal advocacy groups that have been responsible for its tremendous success over the past ten years are determined to “Knock down all doors, all the barriers, to all 65,000 public elementary schools in America and take the Gospel to this open mission field now! Not later, now!” in the words of a keynote speaker at the CEF’s national convention in 2010. The CEF wants to operate in the public schools, rather than in churches, because they know that young children associate the public schools with authority and are unable to distinguish between activities that take place in a school and those that are sponsored by the school.

In the majority opinion that opened the door to Good News Clubs, supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas reasoned that the activities of the CEF were not really religious, after all. He said that they could be characterized, for legal purposes, “as the teaching of morals and character development from a particular viewpoint”.

As Justices Souter and Stevens pointed out in their dissents, however, the claim is preposterous: the CEF plainly aims to teach religious doctrines and conduct services of worship. Thomas’s claim is particularly ironic in view of the fact that the CEF makes quite clear its intent to teach that no amount of moral or ethical behavior (pdf) can spare a nonbeliever from an eternity in hell.

Good News Clubs should not be in America’s public elementary schools. As I explain in my book, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, the club exists mainly to give small children the false impression that their public school supports a particular creed. The clubs’ presence has produced a paradoxical entanglement of church and state that has ripped apart communities, degraded public education, and undermined religious freedom.

The CEF’s new emphasis on the genocide of nonbelievers makes a bad situation worse. Exterminist rhetoric has been on the rise among some segments of the far right, including some religious groups. At what point do we start taking talk of genocide seriously? How would we feel about a nonreligious group that instructs its students that if they should ever receive an order to commit genocide, they should fulfill it to the letter?

And finally, when does a religious group qualify as a “hate group”?

What Radical Anti-Islam Christians Teach Their Flock: Islam “Does Not Teach” Charity

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

tim-wildmon

This is supposed to be a positive picture of Tim Wildmon

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon says, “Islam does not teach charity.”

It is a blatant lie, since one of the five pillars of Islam is Zakat, or mandatory charitable giving. The Qur’an, if these right-wingers would ever read it is also filled with exhortations on nearly every page extolling the virtues of Sadaqah or voluntary charity.

Tim Wildmon Says Islam ‘Does Not Teach’ Charity

(Right-Wing Watch)

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon today used his column praising the admirable works of Christian charitable organizations to criticize Muslims.

If there ever was a contrast in worldviews, it is with Christianity and Islam. One of the most striking differences is that Christianity teaches, practices, and encourages charity. Islam does not. It is the Christians from America who are doing the majority of the private charity and humanitarian work around the world. Just these past couple of weeks alone, I was reminded by several examples of this.

American Family Association/American Family Radio has been participating in this project with Gospel for Asia for several years. Why do we care about the outcast people of India? Because in the Bible, Jesus instructs us to do so.

There is no such comparable work being done around the world by Islamic groups or organizations — because the Koran does not teach such charity.

Religion, more than anything else, affects the values and morals of a culture, a society, a country.

In fact, charitable giving is one of the five pillars of Islam. Wildmon could have done a simple Google search to find the names of major Muslim charitable organizations like Islamic ReliefRed Crescent Societies and Muslim Aid, but seeing that the American Family Association is one of the most malicious purveyors of misinformation and bigotry in this country, it should come as no surprise that its leader can twist an article about the importance of charitable work into an attack on the Muslim people.

Colbert Report: ThreatDown – Barack Obama, Fundamentalist Flippers & Coked Up Diplomats

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2012 by loonwatch

Colbert believes that under the sea, Bin Laden might be finding young impressionable dolphins who are willing to wage Jihad.

Starts at 2:23-4:14

Colbert Report: ThreatDown – Barack Obama, Fundamentalist Flippers & Coked Up Diplomats

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/407251/january-30-2012/threatdown—barack-obama–fundamentalist-flippers—coked-up-diplomats
Barack Obama plays the same old dirty political trick of being irresistibly appealing, the Navy trains dolphins to sweep for mines, and the U.N. receives 35 pounds of cocaine. (06:11)

Daily Show with Jon Stewart: In the Name of the Fodder

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2011 by loonwatch

Jon Stewart

Daily Show with Jon Stewart: In the Name of the Fodder

The Fox rapid-response team makes a plea to distinguish violence in the name of a religion from the practitioners and tenets of that religion as long as it’s Christianity.

Robert Spencer in Damage Control After Terror Attack in Norway

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2011 by loonwatch
Spencer is working hard to disassociate himself from one of his fans

The anti-Muslim loons of the world are in a major bind right now. Their intolerant anti-Muslim attitude and constant fear-mongering is responsible for the horrible terrorist attack that occurred in Norway at the hands of self-professed Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller supporter Anders Behring Breivik. Recent reports suggest that Breivik was inspired by the writings of anti-Muslim bigots like Spencer and Geller, as well as others in the anti-Muslim circle such as Bat Ye’or and Fjordman.

Spencer himself has come out and attempted to dismiss the connection between Breivik’s violence and his own anti-Muslim bigotry, saying “no one has explained or can explain how this guy’s supposed anti-jihad views have anything to do with his murdering children.” A fair question in light of the tragic violence that Breivik was responsible for.  Did the anti-Muslim hatred inspire the violence in Oslo?

Spencer lays out his version of the logic this way, saying:

1. Freedom fighters preach free speech, freedom of conscience and equality of rights for all people, against Sharia and Islamic supremacism that denies those rights, advocating only legal means of protest and dissent.

2. Some nutcase who allegedly expressed allegiance with the freedom fighters kills people, none of whom are preaching Sharia or Islamic supremacism.

3. Media assumes that #1 caused #2 and blames freedom fighters.

The obvious problem with Spencer’s logic is that it does not include his and other anti-Muslim loons’ consistent denunciations of “leftists” as jihad-enablers. This is a key tenant of the so-called anti-jihadist movement. They hate the left, or more specifically, anyone who treats Muslims with a smidgen of fairness and tolerance. Spencer and Geller consistently and constantly portray the left as those who would sell out the West to the scary Mooslems. Spencer’s hate site Jihad Watch is filled with posts denouncing the “Leftist/Jihadist alliance,” warning his readers of how the left will happily allow the Mooslem hordes to overthrow the West and “dhimmify” its population.

Breivik adopted this view of the left.  Paul Woodward notes that Breivik argued “that cultural conservatives should not identify their main opponents as Jihadists, but instead should focus their attention on those he regards as the ‘facilitators’ of Jihadists, namely, the proponents of multiculturalism.” It was these liberals and “multi-culturalists” that were the target of his rampage.

Therefore, a more logical set-up would be as follows:

1. Anti-Muslim bigots vilify Muslims as a threat to Western culture and civilization, and argue that the left is most responsible for allowing Muslims to undermine Western civilization.  In fact, the left is more the enemy than the anti-jihadists themselves!

2. A right-wing self-proclaimed anti-jihadist chooses the capital of a famously liberal, leftist, and socialist country as the target for his attack.

3. Media is perfectly justified in establishing a link between #1 and #2.

When you preach bigotry and fear on a daily basis, don’t be surprised when one of your followers takes the next logical step.  But Robert Spencer has a reason to feign surprise and indignation over what his hatred has incited, as the link between his hate-writing and this act of terrorism becomes clear:  Richard Silverstein notes that the right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik cited Robert Spencer 46 times in his manifesto.  He was clearly quite the fan.  This certainly seems to be right-wing anti-Muslim terrorism inspired by the king of Islamophobia himself, Robert Spencer.

Kilmeade: If Rep. Ellison Is Worried About Extremism, “Maybe He Can Focus On Getting The Burqa Off” Muslim Women

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2011 by loonwatch

 

(Via IslamophobiaToday)

Using the religion card when it is irrelevant to the topic is unprofessional and bigoted, but that doesn’t phase Fox News Channel television personality Brian Kilmeade. He thought it was important to bring up the issue of the burqa and somehow connect it with Keith Ellison.

Kilmeade: If Rep. Ellison Is Worried About Extremism, “Maybe He Can Focus On Getting The Burqa Off” Muslim Women

 

Tennessee’s Anti-Muslim Bill is an American Disgrace

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

Tennessee is quickly becoming a hotbed of extremist anti-Muslim hatred.

Tennessee’s Anti-Muslim Bill is an American Disgrace

(Huffington Post) Daniel Tutt

In a matter of days, Tennessee’s state legislature is expected to pass a bill ostensibly designed to combat radical Islamic terrorism in Tennessee known as the “Material Support” bill or HB 1353. While the bill has removed direct references to Islam or Muslims at the pressure of civil rights groups such as the ACLU and others, if it is passed, it will seriously harm our security by alienating our biggest allies in combatting homegrown terrorism: our fellow American Muslims.

The impact of this bill on Muslims in Tennessee was on display in a recent training I conducted in Murfreesboro for educators and law enforcement officials. The training brought together local Muslim leaders and more than 80 civic leaders to look at ways to respond to a spike in bullying towards Muslim youth and rising reports of prejudice. Last summer, Murfreesboro was rocked by a series of protests against a mosque building project that resulted in two hate crimes directed toward the 1,000 person Muslim community, followed by a national media expose by CNN called, “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door.”

Through my discussions with community leaders in Murfreesboro, the problem seems not so much one of a widespread level of fear or bigotry toward Islam and Muslims by average Tennessean citizens. On the contrary, they felt a sense of embarrassment about what they see as a new type of anti-Muslim sentiment.

It’s important we understand the agendas and ideas that compose this movement to ban sharia in Tennessee and now more than 15 other states. On a national level, David Yerushalmi, a self-appointed expert in Islamic law and its intersection with Islamic terrorism and national security, wrote the original bill that serves as the template for each of the bills. Yerushalmi’s organization, the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) is deemed a “hate group” by multiple civil rights groups including the Anti Defamation League. SANE’s founding mission is resonantly white supremacist as it declares that historically America was “the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white.”

Yerushalmi and his associates at the Center for Security Policy have published a recent report, “Sharia and the Threat to America,” that has served as the basis for anti-sharia bills currently under vote or review in more than 14 states. In a 2007 report, Yerushalmi wrote on homegrown terrorism in the American Muslim community, called the Mapping Sharia Project, he urged Congress to declare war on the “Muslim nation,” which he defined as “Shari’a-adherent Muslims,” and further asked Congress to define Muslim illegal immigrants as alien enemies “subject to immediate deportation.”

A right-wing citizen group called the Tennessee Eagle Forum was the first group to push the bill into the state legislature. In a recent video produced by the group, “Losing Our Community,” they conflate all Tennessee Muslims with Islamic theocracies in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and seek to smear Muslim leaders in Tennessee with radical clerics such as Anwar Awlaki, without providing any tangible evidence of this association.

While Yerushalmi and his associates seek to institutionalize a series of Islamophobic bills into state legislators, American Muslims are left on the sidelines feeling isolated and alienated.

Understanding Sharia and its Meaning for Muslims

As David Schnazer of Duke University discovered in a recent comprehensive study of homegrown terrorism, “Anti-Terror Lessons of the American Muslim Community,” American Muslims are at the forefront of combatting potentially radicalized members of their community. For example, of the surprisingly small number of domestic terror threats initiated by American Muslims since 9/11 (154 in total), 46 of these perpetrators were turned over to the authorities by the American Muslim community.

The Center for American Progress has recently put forward a new policy brief, “Understanding Sharia Law,” designed to challenge the conception of sharia that Yerushalmi and others are proposing in these bills. The idea of sharia being a purely “legal-political-military doctrine” is far from accurate according to actual Islamic legal opinion and the ways that Muslims themselves interpret sharia.

Dr. Sherman Jackson, a respected scholar of Islam at University of Michigan, points out that most Muslims tend to speak not of sharia but of fiqh, which literally means “understanding” and underscores the distinction between God’s prescriptions on the one hand and the human attempt to understand these on the other.
While the common translation, “Islamic law,” is not entirely wrong, it is under-inclusive: Sharia includes scores of moral and ethical principles from honoring one’s parents to helping the poor to being good to one’s neighbor. In most all laws, sharia prescribes no “earthly punishments” for those who violate the dictates. Reward and punishment in these areas are the preserve of God in the Afterlife.

Despite Being a Non-Issue, HB 1353 Will Hurt Tennessee’s Economy

The movement to ban sharia is a non-issue both for Muslim scholars, who overwhelmingly support Muslims living by the U.S. constitution as the law of the land, and also as clearly laid out by the Supreme Court. More than half a dozen leading Muslim clerics in the United States recently produced a video PSA, “Injustice Cannot Defeat Injustice,” condemning homegrown terrorism and the misinterpretation of Islamic theology that supports it.

In a 1990 Supreme Court case, Employment Division vs. Smith, over the use of peyote for religious practices, Justice Antonin Scalia deemed that all religious laws must adhere to the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution. In other words, for law to be respected and followed, Scalia declared that the United States can have only one law.

Just last week, as legislators gathered for a hearing on the bill, 350 concerned Tennessee Muslims gathered at the Capitol to urge lawmakers not to vote in favor of the bill. They argue that the bill is more than simply anti-Muslim; it’s harmful to Tennessee’s economy. As it is currently crafted, the bill gives an unprecedented and unchecked designation of power to Tennessee’s attorney general and the governor. This consolidation of power into one lawmaker is something that citizen groups such as the Tennessee Eagle Forum ought to despise.

The bill seriously hampers the economy of Tennessee by undermining the effect of trade and commerce with Muslim-majority societies throughout Tennessee if the bill becomes law. For example, international airports such as the one in Memphis may see a marked decline in flights coming from Muslim countries. Nearly every hospital in Tennessee has a substantially high number of Muslim doctors. Dr. Gary Gunderson of Memphis notes that the bill will have serious economic repercussions for all Tennesseans because of an anticipated flight of Muslim doctors from Tennessee.

A recent survey has reported that more than 75 percent of Tennesseans are worried about the economy and jobs as their first priority, making the economic implications of the bill especially important for lawmakers weighing the bill’s legitimacy.

Daniel Tutt is the Outreach Director of Unity Productions Foundation, and a fellow at the Institute forSocial Policy and Understanding, a non-partisan think tank. An activist, speaker and Ph.D. student in philosophy and communication, his work seeks to build greater understanding across religious and cultural lines, with a particular emphasis on Islam and Muslims.

Jewish Voice for Peace Chief Threatened for Being “Pro-Palestinian”

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by loonwatch

No word from Spencer on this yet. Imagine if a Muslim had done this, there would be cries about the intolerance of Muslims and how inherently Islam cannot deal with dissension.

Jewish Voice for Peace chief threatened over pro-Palestinian campaign

(Haaretz)

The head of the pro-Palestinian organization Jewish Voice for Peace received a threatening poster at her Los Angeles area home this weekend for her involvement in the organization.

Estee Chandler, the organization leader on the West coast, said she found a poster on her front porch last week reading “WANTED for treason and incitement against Jews.”

According to Chandler, the poster displayed her picture, her workplace, other personal details and names of her relatives.

The poster charged her with using “her own presumed Jewishness as a weapon against the Jewish People and the Jewish State of Israel while conspiring with other well-known anti-Israel groups to assist in Israel’s destruction and to otherwise engender hatred and incite further violence against the Jewish People and the Jewish State of Israel.”

In a statement responding to the threat published on the organization’s website, Chandler said  “I was forewarned about extremists when I first decided to start a Jewish Voice for Peace chapter here in my hometown of Los Angeles. I went into it with my eyes open. While I didn’t think anything would happen this soon, i cant say it wasn’t something I didn’t anticipate. Ultimately I think these people really are cowards, and not really to be feared.”

“We are the silent majority of American Jews and its time for us to stop being silent. if we raise our voices a fraction of the level of these people- we will become the message, too many people who are with us are afraid. ultimately nonviolence is the only thing that has ever won out,” she added.

In October last year, the Anti-Defamation League named the Jewish Voice for Peace — which champions the rights of Palestinians and is considered an anti-Israel organization by many Americans, especially after calling to boycott companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza – among the top 10 anti-Israel groups in America.

The organization, however, maintains the stand that they are not fighting against Israel or challenging its right to exist, but rather questioning the Israeli government’s policies and actions in the Palestinian territories.

The distributors of the threatening poster have yet to be found, according to the JVP.

 

Walid Shoebat: “Kill them..including the children”

Posted in Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2010 by loonwatch
Walid Shoebat

Walid Shoebat was one of the first loons that we took to task at our site. We exposed his buffoonery and epically vile shysterism. Now, Shoebat has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar of hate once again, this time advocating the murder of “extremists” and their “children” by which of course he means all Muslims.

Counter-terror ‘expert’ tells cops: Kill militant Muslims, ‘including children’

(RAWStory)

A counter-terrorism consultant told a meeting of law enforcement officials that the way to combat militant Muslims is to “kill them … including the children,” says a news report.

Walid Shoebat, a self-described“former PLO terrorist” who “now speaks out for USA and Israel,” reportedly made the comment at a speech during a conference of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association in Las Vegas this past October, according to the Huffington Post’s Chip Berlet.

The comment highlights growing concerns among human rights advocates that US law enforcement is turning to extremists for training in the fight against terrorism. It also highlights concerns among senior counter-terrorism officials that standards for counter-terror training are inappropriate, and possibly harming national security.

According to Berlet’s anonymous source, Shoebat’s comments got a warm reception from at least some of the people attending the conference:

Our source had turned around after Shoebat’s speech and asked the woman in the chair behind them at the conference what she thought was the solution offered by Shoebat.

“Kill them … including the children … you heard him,” was the full response.

Shoebat’s Las Vegas speech was described by our source as “frightening.”

Religion writer Richard Bartholomewdescribes Shoebat as “a pseudo-expert on terrorism, Islamic extremism, and Biblical prophecy, and he teaches that Obama is a secret Muslim and that the Bible has prophesised a Muslim anti-Christ.”

In a lengthy investigation of the US’s intelligence apparatus earlier this month, the Washington Postreported that “in their desire to learn more about terrorism, many [police] departments are hiring their own trainers. Some are self-described experts whose extremist views are considered inaccurate and harmful by the FBI and others in the intelligence community.”

The article also notes that standards for counter-terrorism officers plummeted in the years after 9/11, as law enforcement agencies scrambled to refocus on the terror threat.

“The CIA used to train analysts forever before they graduated to be a real analyst,” Charles Allen, an ex-CIA official and former head of the DHS intelligence office, told the Post. “Today we take former law enforcement officers and we call them intelligence officers, and that’s not right, because they have not received any training on intelligence analysis.”

As David Neiwert notes at Crooks and Liars, this is not the first time Shoebat has found himself at the center of controversy. In 2008, he was accused of falsely claiming to be a former Muslim terrorist who converted to Christianity. Skeptics of Shoebat’s claims point to the fact he is not wanted on any arrest warrants in the US, as a known PLO terrorist ought to be.

Earlier this year, Shoebat was one of the speakers at an unofficial memorial for the soldiers killed in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, an event described by some reporters as being anexercise in Islamophobia.

In comments at the Huffington Post, Michael Riker, head of ICTOA, which sponsored the Las Vegas conference, defended Shoebat.

“What you hear from Walid is the TRUTH,” he wrote. Speaking about the Las Vegas conference, Riker said “the attendees were glued to what Walid had to say and the majority of them agreed. The liberal media is afraid to hear what the truth really is. Who has been planning attacks on our country? We are in a war of ideology and if you don’t know that you need to get you head out of the sand.”

 

Anti-Muslim loons riling up jihadis

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on August 24, 2010 by loonwatch
Anti-Muslim rhetoric is feeding jihadis overseas

These two are a match made in heaven – the anti-Muslim bigots in the West and the Muslim extremists in the East. The only problem is that the rest of humanity is stuck between the two of these loony (and dangerous) groups. They both feed each others hysteria, rhetoric and violence.

As many of our readers know, American actions overseas (two wars in the Muslim world along with unconditional support for Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestinian land) has led to increasing levels of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. This is a direct and obvious repercussion of what the U.S. government decides to do through its foreign policy. But add now the increasing levels of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam activity occurring all over the United States and that is only adding to the problem. The anti-Muslim pundits and their followers claim to be fighting against terrorism and extremism, but all they are doing is putting the country they say they love in harms way.

Protests, Rhetoric Feed Jihadists’ Fire

By Jonathan Weisman

Islamic radicals are seizing on protests against a planned Islamic community center near Manhattan’s Ground Zero and anti-Muslim rhetoric elsewhere as a propaganda opportunity and are stepping up anti-U.S. chatter and threats on their websites.

One jihadist site vowed to conduct suicide bombings in Florida to avenge a threatened Koran burning, while others predicted an increase in terrorist recruits as a result of such actions.

“By Allah, the wars are heated and you Americans are the ones who…enflamed it,” says one such posting. “By Allah you will be the first to taste its flames.”

White House homeland security adviser John Brennan told reporters Friday that he had seen no evidence that the debate over the proposed Islamic center in Lower Manhattan, other mosque protests or the planned Koran burning had affected U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

A White House official on Sunday stressed that Mr. Brennan was addressing the narrow question of whether the debates in the U.S. over Islam were having an impact on U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and that Mr. Brennan specifically declined to address whether those debates were energizing the jihadists.

A U.S. official on Sunday said the administration was taking the upswing in anti-U.S. chatter seriously. “Terrorists like al-Qaeda and its violent allies are motivated already to try to attack the United States, but when it comes to propaganda, extremists are pure opportunists. They’ll use whatever they can,” the official said.

Many opponents of the planned Muslim community center say they have no bias against Muslims but that putting the building so close to Ground Zero shows an insensitivity toward the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Controversy over the community center, which will contain a mosque and other facilities, has helped fan anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. far from Lower Manhattan in recent weeks.

Jarret Brachman, director of Cronus Global, a security consulting firm, and author of the book Global Jihadism, said al Qaeda and other groups have long used imagery from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to recruit new members. But the U.S. position has been that those wars are not against Islam and that the U.S. has Muslim allies in the fight.

Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S is different, since jihadists can use Americans’ words to make the case that the U.S. is indeed at war with Islam. The violent postings are not just on al Qaeda-linked websites but on prominent, mainstream Muslim chat forums, Mr. Brachman said.

“We are handing al Qaeda a propaganda coup, an absolute propaganda coup,” with the Islamic-center controversy, said Evan Kohlmann, an independent terrorism consultant at Flashpoint Partners who monitors jihadist websites.

Critics of the proposed Islamic center said their right to speak out shouldn’t be influenced by the possibility of jihadist threats. “We will never win a war when we are afraid to even name our enemies,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an e-mail Sunday.

The most violent threats stem not from the debate over the Islamic center but more fringe issues, such as a declaration by Terry Jones, pastor at the Dove World Outreach Center, a mega-church in Gainesville, Fla., that Sept. 11 be an “International Burn a Koran Day.”

In an interview Sunday, Mr. Jones said he planned to go ahead with the Koran burning on the evening of Sept. 11, despite the local fire department denying a permit for the event. He said the jihadist threats only confirmed his views of Muslims.

“I can understand that they would be offended. I think their reactions—violence, threats, murders terrorist attacks—that only reveals the true nature of Islam which needs to be revealed,” he said.

Threats have been posted on Jihadist web sites in response to such planned actions as Mr. Jones’s Koran burning. “Now, I wish to bomb myself in this church as revenge for the sake of Allah’s talk. And here I register my name here that I want to be an intended-martyr,” wrote a poster identifying himself as “Abu Dujanah.”

 

What if they were Muslims? Killed for Watching World Cup Instead of Gospel Show

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2010 by loonwatch

Islamophobes such as Robert Spencer frequently like to say, “there is no fun in Islam.” They gleefully then make posts about how Somali extremists killed men for watching the World Cup. Now, after a man was killed by his family for watching the World Cup instead of a Gospel program will they say that there is no fun in Christianity?

This just highlights that extremism and violence are not the sole property of Muslims.

Police: Family killed dad for watching World Cup instead of Gospel Show

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – Police say a South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious program was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country.

David Makoeya, a 61-year-old man from the small village of Makweya, Limpopo province, fought with his wife and two children for the remote control on Sunday because he wanted to watch Germany play Australia in the World Cup. The others, however, wanted to watch a gospel show.

“He said, ‘No, I want to watch soccer,”‘ police spokesman Mothemane Malefo said Thursday. “That is when the argument came about.

“In that argument, they started assaulting him.”

Malefo said Makoeya got up to change the channel by hand after being refused the remote control and was attacked by his 68-year-old wife Francina and two children, 36-year-old son Collin and 23-year-old daughter Lebogang.

Malefo said he was not sure what the family used to kill Makoeya.

“It appears they banged his head against the wall,” Malefo said. “They phoned the police only after he was badly injured, but by the time the police arrived the man was already dead.”

All three were arrested Sunday night, but Lebogang was released on $200 bail Tuesday, Malefo said. The other two are still being held in custody.

Malefo said the mother and son will reappear in the local Seshego Magistrates Court on July 27.

“He was always a happy man, never violent,” Makoeya’s nieces, Miriam and Anna, told the Daily Sun newspaper. “On Saturday, we saw him the last time at a funeral.”

The World Cup, being played in Africa for the first time, started Friday and runs through July 11. Although most the tickets for the 64-game tournament have been sold, many in South Africa are too poor to attend matches.

 

The Guardian: Against terror, our liberty is our best defence

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2010 by loonwatch
Wajahat AliWajahat Ali

by Wajahat Ali

The arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old US citizen of Pakistani descent, as the alleged driver of the vehicle used in the failed Times Square bombing represents an opportunity to respond effectively to a potential act of terrorism – instead of reacting with fear and hysteria that will inevitably be manipulated by extremist elements.

As of Tuesday morning, details are slowly emerging regarding the potential motives of suspect Shahzad, who was arrested at JFK airport as he planned to fly to Dubai, having recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan. Despite initial evidence and statements from law enforcement agencies suggesting this incident lacked the sophistication and planning of an international operation, the Pakistani Taliban has nonetheless claimed responsibility for this amateurish and failed attempt.

Their eagerness speaks volumes about their desperation to instil fear in the hearts of the American public by an act of terrorism on the US mainland. The instant resumption of New York’s kinetic lifestyle following such an incident clearly demonstrates American resilience and immunity to such intimidation.

Regrettably, however, similar moments of tension – though isolated – have in the past been used cynically by bigoted ideological pundits in both non-Muslim American and Muslim communities to sow dissension and enmity. We saw this tendency recently, when a mentally unstable Army major, Nidal Hassan Malik, opened fire and killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. A Nigerian student, Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, forever known as the underwear bomber, tried to ignite himself on an airplane on Christmas Day after, staggeringly, getting past security despite having been previously flagged (an unacceptable internal administrative mistake, revealing a lack of communication between security agencies).

Five young American Muslims were arrested in Pakistan for attempting to join a terrorist group after the children’s parents and Muslim American community members proactively contacted the FBI and assisted in their investigation (although the five have since protested their innocence). And, most recently, two clowns known as “Revolution Muslim” made veiled threats towards the creators of South Park for making a cartoon mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

These incidents of violence or attempted terrorism by radicalised individuals in America – as well as the blank space in the New York skyline that was once graced by the World Trade Center towers – serve as unending fuel for the rightwing commentators. And those bellicose pundits will inevitably squeeze every drop of righteous anger and fear from this failed Times Square plot, in order to promote a dangerously inaccurate image of an Islamic monolith comprising 1.5 billion diverse individuals as having an innate homicidal aversion to “our freedoms”. Attacks will, no doubt, be made on Barack Obama’s efforts at conciliation and partnership with Muslim communities – as evidenced by his al-Arabiya interview, his historic speech to Muslims in Cairo, and his outreach to Muslim American organisations and leaders.

Sarah Palin and her ilk will argue passionately on Fox News to “profile away” evil-doers – in effect, advocating racial profiling of ethnic minorities, especially of Middle Easterners and South Asians. Anticipating public anxiety, Obama reacted to calls for “greater security” following the failed Christmas Day bombing by implementing catch-all measures – recently amended – to extend special pat-downs and heightened profiling to individuals returning from 14, mostly Muslim, countries.

Despite overwhelming evidence showing that racial profiling and the erosion of civil liberties and due process are counterproductive in fighting terrorism, I worry that fear and divisive rhetoric will be used to undermine the mutual trust and co-operation that has been painstakingly built over the past two years between American Muslims and law enforcement agencies.

Rightwing demagogues who proclaim the virtues of the west, and argue that terrorism is unique to the “Muslim world”, should be reminded of evidence to the contrary. The recent arrest of nine members of the Christian terrorist militant group, the Hutarees, for conspiring to kill police officers and wage war on the United States government has largely been labelled an anomaly. The suicide flight of disgruntled Joseph Stack into the IRS building in Texas, which killed an innocent public employee, has been overlooked, even as Tea Party-type anger at federal government institutions has been allowed to fester.

Islam, too, has its reckless demagogues. Radicalised Muslim elements manipulate asinine episodes such as satirical cartoon depictions of the Prophet as categorical proof that the “imperialist” west is perpetuating its war on all of Islam and Muslims. Recent violence and threats against those cartoonists who have depicted the Prophet in a disrespectful manner do not emerge from a vacuum, but rather they are symptomatic of a sustained belief in a skewed and simplistic narrative of the “war-mongering west” that finds its evidence in the Iraq war, US support for Israel, civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and cozy US relations with brutal Arab dictatorships. These thugs ultimately bear the greatest blame for betraying the legacy and spirit of their Prophet, who urged moderation and civility.

In the face of the threat from extremists, the greatest mistake Americans could make would be to revisit the rhetoric and security policies of George W Bush, which proved to be disastrous in curbing global terrorism but highly successful in eroding the US’s standing in world opinion, and which damaged co-operation with Muslim communities. Ultimately, the best defence is the very same values of freedom, liberty and democracy they wish to defend and protect.

The sad reality of modern, globalised 21st century existence is that the threat of terrorism and violence is a constant, yet manageable and containable, aspect of daily life. Reactionary posturing, rampant ethnic stereotyping, scapegoating of minorities, and provoking mistrust of Muslim Americans and allies have only ever exacerbated the risks. Recent history has shown that a reasoned and moderate perspective, along with sound security measures, vigilant policing, protection of civil liberties and mutual aid are our best hope.

As more evidence in this case emerges in coming days, let us hope this philosophy prevails.

Wajahat Ali is a Muslim American of Pakistani descent. He is a writer and attorney, whose work, The Domestic Crusaders is the first major play about Muslims living in a post 9/11 America. He is the Associate Editor of Altmuslim.com. His blog is here

source: The Guardian

 

Ephraim Khantsis: A Kahane Wanna-be

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by loonwatch
Ephraim ChantzisEphraim Chantzis

From Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam. A portrait of a misguided young American Jewish Settler. Imagine if he had been a young American Muslim there would be hackles raised about “homegrown terrorism.”

Ephraim Khantsis: Portrait of KahanaWannabe American-Jewish Settler Terrorist

Haaretz is reporting that an American born-again Orthodox Jew, Ephraim Khantsis, has received a military order expelling him from the West Bank for six months for expressing solidarity with Jack Teitel and his terrorist acts against Palestinians.  Though he was enrolled in the Machon Meir Yeshiva, he spent most of his time since making aliyah to Israel four months ago at the Kfar Tapuach settlement, a hotbed of Kahanist extremism.  It was there that residents reported him.

With some key help from the intrepid Sol Salbe, I’ve learned quite a bit about our Kahane-wannabe.  He recently graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with a degree in computer science.  He grew up in Bensonhurst, known as a tough  neighborhood filled with Syrian and Russian Jews.

He was profiled back in September in quite an unlikely place, Conde Nast’s Details Magazine, where he made the rather startling confession, even before becoming an Israeli citizen, that he would shoot IDF soldiers who came to remove him from the extremist enclave where he intended to make his home:

…There’s a pledge Khantsis makes, one that it’s also possible to hear from Americans already living in settlements, that might be more troubling to Israeli authorities: If the Israeli military comes to remove him from his new home—and many in Israel believe such an event is likely—he will not leave peacefully.“I would fight against it with all my strength, and I would leave nothing back to try to stop it,” says the slim young man wearing a black yarmulke. He speaks so softly that at times it’s hard to hear him. “If they use violence, then we’re justified doing the same.” Would that include using a gun? “Yes,” he says. Is he absolutely sure that he would use a weapon against Israeli soldiers? “That’s right. I strongly hope it would never come to that,” he says. But “if they’re already shooting us, I’d have no option. I don’t think the right thing to do is turn the other cheek. It’s not a Jewish thing to do.”

The entire story is a real eye-opener as it chronicles other hard-core Hilltop Youth and their forays into violent insurrection against the secular Israeli state.  I got a dark laugh from the thought that the Shin Bet can do some of its best intelligence work by reading glossy American men’s magazines. In this day and age, even wannabe terrorists maintain social networking profiles.  He has a Facebook account, where his political views are listed as “Kach” and religious views are listed as “fundamentalist.”  One thing you have to hand to him: at least he’s honest.  He lists his hometown as “Belgorod Dnestrovskiy, Ukraine.”

I am sorry to say that Khantsis’ Ukrainian origin fits with the fact that many former Soviet Jews came to Israel and America with hardline anti-Communist views which translated into hardline nationalist political views supporting the Likud (in Israel) and parties even farther to the right (like Kach for one).  When Avigdor Lieberman first made aliyah he too made common cause with Kach.

Among the Facebook pages he features are those of Nadia Matar, the Women in Green settler extremist who called for Mahmoud Abbas assassination at a Manhattan synagogue; and Ketzeleh Katz, settler Knesset member featured here in a YouTube video foaming at the mouth against the Israeli TV satire program, Eretz Nehederet; Kahane Tzadak (“Kahane was right”); Mike Huckabee, darling of the settler extremists; and the settler news portal, Arutz Sheva.

He lists his profession as “web designer,” which somehow seems fitting in this age of internet terrorism. He has a Twitter account aptly named, Doom7777.  Seems to have had a fantatical devotion to Gilad Shalit (“Kidnapping, terrorizing, fanatical monsters will not succeed to subdue the Zionist State!”) and his freedom, though he pretty much stopped tweeting once he made aliya.

So this is the cream of American Jewish youth, our latter-day Zionist chalutzim who, like our European grandparents, came to build the land and make it bloom–with settlements, barbed wire, attack dogs, M-16s and hate.  When are we going to wake up and realize this isn’t a Zionist dream, it is a nightmare.  And in order to prevent the nightmare from turning into a cataclysm, we must crack down on this aberrant form of Jewishness and Zionism.  We must destroy these movements and ideas. If neither the Israeli nor American governments takes firmer action they will have only themselves to blame for the consequences.  We have seen what the Jack Teitels can do even with his solo reign of terror.  Imagine what an entire movement of Teitels can do with some ingenuity and intestinal fortitude.  All they have to do is think a little bigger, get someone with the vision of an Osama bin Laden.  That would be all it would take for some real mayhem.

Haaretz notes that this military expulsion order is one of the most severe measures at the disposal of the military authorities in dealing with extremist settlers.  There are currently three such orders in effect against residents of Yitzhar.

The actions taken against Khantsis bring home once again the necessity for the U.S. government to do a better job of monitoring the radical pro-settler movement in this country and the necessity for clamping down on fundraising here on behalf of extremist settlements like Yitzhar and Kfar Tapuach among many others.

For some odd reason Haaretz English omitted Khantsis’ name from its English language report, but not from the Hebrew edition.

 

Frank Schaeffer Calls out Evangelical Christians who Seek the Death of Barack Obama

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on November 19, 2009 by loonwatch
Frank SchaefferFrank Schaeffer 

There is a new prayer going around in Evangelical Christian circles and beyond for President Barack Obama. It is quite controversial as it seems to be calling for his death.

In this video Rachel Maddow discusses (at 57 seconds) the issue with former Evangelical Christian leader, Frank Schaeffer.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wo1tw6RvfM 300 250]

Anti-Muslim Rev. Bill Keller: “Obama not American Citizen”

Posted in Loon TV, Video with tags , , , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by loonwatch

Anti-Muslim Rev.Bill Keller: “Obama not an American Citizen”

Talk about having an agenda, in this case the shameless attempt to play on people’s fears to make a few bucks. It is only a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the next episode when TownHaller’s like Pamela Geller have their veiws of Obama being a Muslim parroted by Bill Keller.

A Case Study in Sincere Hypocrisy: Brigitte Gabriel

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by loonwatch
Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte Gabriel is a notorious apologist for the fascist Phalange group, Kataeb, and the terrorist group, the South Lebanon Army (SLA), who were responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacres that slaughtered 1700 to 2000 Palestinians (mostly women and chidren).

Her story is that she grew up during that nation’s long, and bloody civil war.  It was a war that claimed many lives and saw many factions shift alliances and allegiance. Groups that were enemies in the morning became allies at night. Indeed, Muslims fought Muslims and Christians fought Christians.

She seems to play up this milieu to justify her views, as if we should – moved by her “alibi” – automatically excuse and accept them. But her alibi is objectionable since most Lebanese who grew up during this same war did not turn out as rabidly racist as she did.

Gabriel believes Arabs “have no soul!”

The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism. It’s the difference between good and evil [applause]…. this is what we’re witnessing in the Arabic world, They have no SOUL !, they are dead set on killing and destruction. And in the name of something they call “Allah” which is very different from the God we believe….[applause] because our God is the God of love.

(No soul? An oddly dehumanizing thing for an alleged Christian to say, don’t you think?)

It is no wonder then that theThe New York Times Magazine describes her as a “Radical Islamophobe.”

Brigitte’s self-contradiction is notable. At times she seems to acknowledge that “moderate” Muslims exist,

It’s the duty of all moderate Muslims to speak against the hate, against the Jihad… the people in the West must support the moderates.

The same Brigitte Gabriel on another day scoffs at the notion that a Muslim can be moderate,

America and the West are doomed to failure in this war unless they stand up and identify the real enemy: Islam. You hear about Wahabbi and Salafi Islam as the only extreme form of Islam. All the other Muslims, supposedly, are wonderful moderates. Closer to the truth are the pictures of the irrational eruption of violence in reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed printed by a Danish newspaper…derived from one source: authentic Islam.

And she spills out to the Australian News her bizarre definition of a radical Muslim:

a practising Muslim who goes to mosque every Friday, prays five times a day, and who believes that the Koran is the word of God, and who believes that Mohammed is the perfect man and (four inaudible words) is a radical Muslim.

Let me get this straight, so a Muslim who essentially observes the basic five pillars of Islam is a radical? That leaves us with 1.4 billion radical Muslims, so who gets to be the “moderate” Muslim, I’m confused.

So Brigitte, what is it? Are there any moderates or not? Brigitte seems to be telling us that the only acceptable Muslims are the ones who don’t practice Islam altogether? Or perhaps, she’s even implying that the only good Muslim is an ex-Muslim? 

The question becomes, how can someone so blatantly clueless get airtime anywhere other than on America’s Funniest Home Videos?

The answer, Brigitte has found her very own litte niche to settle within the lucrative business of Muslim-bashing. Her forte is to parlay her “otherness,” and so-called “insider knowledge of the Muslim world,” (the “I’ve been there, I know” line) into a cash cow. Meanwhile we are supposed to be duped into freaking out and running back to her for more “expert” advice brought to us from our loyal friend who ventures into the other side on our behalf.

Gabriel started two organizations, American Congress for Truth (ACT) and (she seems to be running out of ideas)  Act! for America  that receive plenty of funding and “donations” from the likes of the goonish Christians United for Israel and others. Maybe she thinks Americans are gullible or maybe she is a true hypocrite as Andre Gide said,

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.

This very well may be the case with our merchant of intolerance and misunderstanding, Brigitte Gabriel.