Archive for Fear Inc

Why Islamophobia Must Fail – The Case of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on April 10, 2012 by loonwatch

Why Islamophobia Must Fail – The Case of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

by Rabia Chaudry, Huffington Post

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the latest victim of an intricate web of half-truths and outright lies woven for political profit and as part of a broad, well funded, Islamophobia network. The Congresswoman was slated to be the keynote speaker at an April 21 event for the group EMERGE USA, but backed off after a scathing blog post by Joe Kaufman, who happens to be running for a Congressional seat for Florida’s District 20.

EMERGE USA is a non-profit committed to empowering minorities through increased civic engagement and education about the political process. The organization has strong roots in the community and has been publicly supported by one of Florida’s senior statesmen, former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, an expert on terrorism and intelligence. However, the fact that EMERGE USA was founded and is run by Muslims seems to be the proverbial bee in Kaufman’s bonnet. Ultimately, Kaufman’s Glen Beck-esque acrobatics in trying to link EMERGE USA board members and staff to “questionable” organizations and associations can be easily dismissed because of factual errors and deliberate obfuscation.

The truly insidious aspect of this entire incident, however, is that it can be linked to a multi-pronged attack on Muslims nationwide through the creation of an Islamophobia network with deep pockets and an agenda to marginalize American Muslims at every turn. The Center for American Progress’s 2011 report “Fear, Inc.” thoroughly documents this network’s funding, messengers and reach. Its efforts have manifested in anti-sharia legislation in dozens of states, bigoted trainings for law enforcement and intelligence communities, the character assassination of mainstream national Muslim organizations and even promotion of the idea that President Obama is a Muslim.

The nightmarish narrative disseminated by the numerous think tanks, pundits and self-appointed “experts” on Islam and terrorism has not only successfully influenced the American discourse on Islam and Muslims, but has had significant political impact. The Islamophobia network focuses much of its time and energy on influencing and supporting politicians who promulgate its world view. It provides politicians with talking points, platforms and agenda items to keep the suspicion and fear of Islam and Muslims in the news. Examples of such politicians cited by the “Fear, Inc.” report include the following:

  • Rep. Peter King: held numerous hearings on Islamic radicalization
  • Rep. Sue Myrick: called for congressional inquiry on the CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, held hearings on influence of Muslim Brotherhood, leading Congressional fearmonger against Muslims
  • Rep. Trent Franks, Rep. John Shadegg and Rep. Paul Broun: supporters of the CAIR congressional investigation
  • Rep. Allen West: declared Islam as the enemy, claimed it is not a religion and held a briefing called “Homegrown Jihad in the USA”
  • Rep. Renee Ellmers: made the Park51 into an issue, calling it a ground zero victory mosque
  • Rep. Michelle Bachman: frequently raises concerns over homegrown Islamic threat and engages in anti-sharia rhetoric

While the influence of the Islamophobia network on right-wing politicians is more visible, the pressure it exerts on progressives is more troubling. Left-leaning politicians are also vulnerable to manipulation, as can be seen in Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s case. The Congresswoman is not the first Democrat to distance herself from a Muslim organization after being attacked by Islamophobes. To American Muslims who are mostly progressive in their politics, abandonment by Democratic politicians feels like betrayal.

The politicians who continue to be used to spread or confirm the network’s ugly narrative must realize something very important: while winning small battles, they are losing the war. History has proven that bigots, racists, xenophobes, anti-Semites and other variations on the same brand of fear and suspicion have never succeeded — socially or politically. Even genocide, the extreme expression of bigotry, has left nothing but failed ideology in its wake.

A simple understanding of the human psyche tells us that people tire of living in fear, worn out from perpetually being “anti-other.” Over time, we make up and move on. The battle of the Islamophobes will also eventually be lost because American Muslims and their allies will continue to push back against false narratives. The lifespan of Islamophobia in the United States will undoubtedly end up a sad blight on our history like other failed “anti” movements — but politicians, both Republican and Democrat, should ask themselves on what side of history they wish to be.

Rabia Chaudry is an attorney, President of the Safe Nation Collaborative, and an Associate Fellow of the Truman National Security Project.

Robert George Refuses to Explain Funding Anti-Muslim Extremists

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by loonwatch

Robert George was recently appointed to the USCRIF along with Zuhdi Jasser. In the video below George is clearly unwilling to answer the question about whether or not he sees a contradiction between his stated position of “supporting Muslim rights” while at the same time serving on the board of a foundation well known for funding anti-Muslim organizations:

Robert George Refuses to Explain Funding Anti-Muslim Extremists

Posted by Kristin Ford (Faith in Public Life)

Last November, Fear, Inc., an extensive Center for American Progress report, revealed who was funding prominent anti-Islam organizations.  One of the financial sponsors of Islamophobia they unearthed was the Bradley Foundation.

As we noted, prominent Catholic intellectual Robert George sits on the board of this foundation and hasn’t reconciled this position with his ostensible public commitment to defending the religious freedom of Muslims

Nick caught up with Robert George today at an event hosted by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center and asked about this contradiction:

Here’s what Nick asked and George’s response:

FAITH IN PUBLIC LIFE: So you don’t see a conflict between your being on  a board that has funded these things, as public knowledge, and your personal beliefs about this?

GEORGE: My record is very clear. I will not discuss with you confidential matters that go on in the Bradley Board. The Bradley Foundation does fund many, many different  organizations. Some of them are run by Muslims, some of them are trying to advance good relations between Muslims and other American citizens and that’s all I have to say on the matter.

As you can see, George refused to discuss the issue, but didn’t deny the facts. He apparently thinks it’s acceptable to simultaneously stand up for Muslims’ religious freedom in public and participate in the work of an organization that’s trying to dismantle that very right. George might not see an ethical conflict here, but we do, and we’d be interested to see if the Muslim Americans he works with see that contradiction as well.

Here’s a reminder of who the people the Bradley Foundation funds, via the Fear, Inc. report:

David Horowitz

  • Described Muslims in the Middle East as “Islamic Nazis” who “want to kill Jews, that’s their agenda.”
  • Alleges that Muslim Student Associations at American schools “are Wahhabi Islamicists, and they basically support our enemies.”
  • Promulgates the debunked smear that 80% of U.S. mosques are controlled by radicals

Daniel Pipes

  • Describes his Legal Project website as “a source of information on ‘Islamist lawfare’–that is, attempts by supporters of radical Islam to suppress free discourse on Islam and terrorism by (1) exploiting Western legal systems and traditions and (2) recruiting state actors and international organizations such as the United Nations.”
  • Claims President Obama is a former Muslim who “practiced Islam.”

Frank Gaffney

  • Said “It is now public knowledge that nearly every major Muslim organization in the United States is actually controlled by the MB [Muslim Brotherhood] or a derivative organization. Consequently, most of the Muslim American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution.”
  • Alleged that there is “mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.”
  • Believes that conservative paragon Grover Norquist is running a “Muslim Brotherhood influence operation” to infiltrate the conservative movement.

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.

Pamela Geller Turns Hollywood Shooting Tragedy Into an Islamophobic Hate Fest

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon Politics, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2011 by loonwatch
Pamela Geller
Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller Turns Hollywood Shooting Tragedy Into an Islamophobic Hate Fest

by Sheila Musaji

On Friday, there was a tragic incident in Hollywood, California.  A man began shooting people randomly near the corner of Hollywood and Vine, and injured two men, one critically, before he was finally shot and killed by police.

Pamela Geller had an article online right away titled HOLLYWOOD JIHAD: SHOOTOUT, GUNMAN CALMLY TARGETED DRIVERS AND PEOPLE WHILE SHOUTING ALLAHU AKBAR!  She said in her lede “What is most disturbing about this story, apart from the obvious horror, is that not one news account reported what one witness said the shooter was screaming: “allahu akbar.” Not one news account. The media is the enemy.”

The initial local news video about the incident did include one witness saying that the shooter shouted “Allahu Akbar!” but at this point no other witness has confirmed that.  Whether or not that one witness was accurate about what he thought he heard, no one yet knows, and none of the cell phone videos of the incident as it happened at this point confirm this allegatioin.  Other witnesses said that they heard the shooter shout “Is this the end?”  and “kill me” and “I’m gonna die” during the rampage.  Witnesses also identified the shooter variously as “white” and as “hispanic”.

Of course, as soon as Geller posted her story, the Islamophobic echo chamber reposted her story with their own sensational headlines.  Geller’s partner Robert Spencer posted his own article referring to Geller.  Sheikh Yermami called it “Hollywood Jihad”,  Bare Naked Islam called it “Sudden Jihad Syndrome”.  Debbie Schlussel called it a “terrorist attack”.  Free Republic re-posted,  Creeping Sharia re-posted.  Even the Grant County Tea Party site re-posted Geller’s article.  Gateway Pundit said“Once again the media hid the truth from the American public.”  The Muslims are Terrorists site posted the headline Muslim goes on shooting spree in Hollywood! Shouts allah akbar, media omits that detail to protect jihadists! with the lede “Thankfully one less muslim is wandering the streets tonight!”

More often than not, Geller is the first to churn out some anti-Muslim meme, and then her willing accomplices echo her message and pass it on.  It takes on a life of its own.  Geller is one of the key players and in our Who’s Who of Islamophobes and it is almost impossible to keep up with her rantings and update our backgrounder on her as fast as she can churn out her hateful messages.

On Saturday the identity of the shooter was released by the authorities.  According to KTLA News“The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has identified the man police shot and killed Friday after he opened fire on unsuspecting cars in the middle of a busy Hollywood intersection.  The 26-year-old man was Tyler Brehm.  Few details about the man are available but a Facebook page belonging to a man bearing the same name reveals that man ended a relationship four days ago. It has not yet been confirmed that the Tyler Brehm depicted on the Facebook page is the same Tyler Brehm involved in Friday’s shooting, but the Facebook page indicated its owner lives in Hollywood and was originally from Carlisle, Penn.  The Baltimore Sun reports that Brehm’s ex-girlfriend, Alicia Alligood, told KTLA 5 she and Brehm dated for four years before breaking up this month.  The end of their relationship may have acted as a trigger that led to Friday’s fatal events, she said in a phone interview with KTLA 5’s David Begnaud. …  She said Brehm was “really stressed out lately.” He met a woman he thought was a pharmaceutical saleswoman, who had given him some kind of pills, Alliegood said. He began taking the pills, which was alarming because he never took drugs before.  One of Brehm’s neighbors described him as unstable.

The actual story as far as what anyone knows to date is that a young man named Tyler Brehm went on a shooting spree.  Witness reports are varied.  The police are investigating.  Little is known about the shooter beyond his name, the fact that he is from Pennsylvania, is unemployed, and recently broke up with his girlfriend.  He may have been emotionally distressed.  He may have been taking drugs.  The Hollywood Reporter has the most recent information and an interview with one of the victims..

Outside of law enforcement, only Pamela Geller and her echo chamber “know” more than this.  Publishing such baseless speculation is irresponsible, and only proves that the only motivation is pure hatred.

This sort of behavior on the part of Geller and her cohorts in the Islamophobia echo chamber is not new, and we even have a collection of some of Geller’s previous false claims here and of the attempts by Geller and friends to cover up evidence of their false claims here.  Here is just one example of this pattern of jumping to false conclusions

In July of 2011, Pamela Geller published a post titled Vehicular Jihad in Arizona which was Geller’s take on a simple story about a terrible car accident in Arizona in which the driver of a vehicle crashed into 3 parked vehicles in a parking lot and was killed.  The man was a physician named Ajaz Rahaman.  As soon as the man’s name was released, Geller posted her article.  This was before there were any autopsy findings released,  before police investigations were completed – before anyone knew what happened.  The name of this man sounded as if he might be a Muslim.  However the name Walid Shoebat might also be identified as a Muslim name.  That’s all the proof Geller needed to call this “vehicular jihad”.  I published an article giving the facts titled “Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer Discover Muslim Vehicular Jihad Plot” and within a day Geller pulled the original article from her site but that the article still exists on google cache.  Why did they try to cover this up.  Because the doctor simply had a heart attack and died at the wheel which is why the car crashed.

This gleeful rush on the part of the Islamophobes to connect any violence to Muslims is also a pattern, as happened with the Virginia Tech shootings.  Pamela Geller, the Queen of the Islamophobes promoted the non-existent Muslim connection in the Virginia Tech massacre, in an article Ismail Ax and the Prophet Moe with the lede “Release the damn transcripts. Enough with the cover up. Don’t the dead and America, a country at war, deserve to know was is really happening? As I wrote here previously, we know Ismail Ax was written in red (color of blood) on his arm, we know he signed his suicide note Ismail Ax and sent an overnight package to NBC from A Ishmail, he made sure he had no other ID on his person after he martyred himself so you can be sure he wanted to be remembered as Ismail Ax. This is in and of itself very telling. Shaving his head and from what I can see in his pictures and martyr video- his body (that’s what they do – remember the 9/11 hijackers?) , must have added to law enforcement’s suspicions, which is why it so damning that they would say so early on that horrible day that “it was not tied to terrorism.”  And, she comments The tie-in is carefully explained at Prophet of Doom here. It’s lengthy – read it. I’ve excerpted here. “Every aspect of Cho’s rage, every nuance of his twisted and inverted morality, was lifted from the pages of Islam.”   Geller never did post an apology or a correction.

The only effect that all of this propaganda has is to stir up the readers of these sites into a frenzy of anti-Muslim hatred.  And, it works.

Here are a few of the readers comments on this Hollywood shooting incident from Gateway Pundit –The “sudden” jihad syndrome began months or years ago with the satanic infestation of this man’s soul by islam.  – Unless you want US cities to look like Kandahar…the Muslim cancer in the US must be dealt with swiftely and forcefully. Allowing these morons to bring their terror onto our soil should not be tolerated.  Here are a few comments from Geller’s site – Muslims don’t need a motive..they are born as murderous scum!  –  This is just the beginning. This will most likely be the false prophet of Rev 13. Watch out, it will be coming to your town sooner than you think. Resist now or forever hold your peace.  Here are a few comments from Creeping Sharia – Now we are seeing these MUSLIM THUGS going after any AMERICAN here in the U S A yelling ALLAHU AKBAR so why not retaliate with ALLAUH AKBAR with there MOSQUES OF HATE and NEUTRALIZE THEM AND THERE IMAM’S!!!! Lock AND LOAD. – Who do we have to blame for the growth, and infiltration of these terrorist? I would prefer to classify them as Muslim dirt bags. .The filth and actions connected with this group are beyond human comprehension. God help us to destroy the filth that is invading our country.Lord expose the plan behind the intent and people involved in the overall desire to introduce this religion. What would America have to gain by acceptance of these people? We must determine who, why. and what. – Joke what God has a name like Allah. You insult God with that handle.Your god has made a pact with the devil to destroy those he fears the most.Christians and Jews are the friends of GOD . Your so called Allah is a prophet that is dead and burning in hell with the rest of his Muslim buddies.Thank God that many Muslims are being visited by the Son of God Jesus in dreams and visions, and are bending their knees, and being set free. Protect them Lord, and allow them protection from the crazies.

And, here is an email that I received from one of these folks who takes this sort of hateful anti-Muslim propaganda as “real journalism”:  We dont want your kind here..we dont need your radical opinions..we want you out of our beautiful country and back to your camels and women beating and hostile islamic bullshit..you arent part of the human race as far as we’re concerned..you belong on another planet where you can blow shit up…LEAVE!!!!  I hope and pray that all you radical assholes are buried in hell…you are not welcome or wanted in U.S. soil, unless its 6 feet under..go back and wash your fucking camels and beat your women..die motherfuckers, die!!!!

This is the effect the sort of hate spewed by the Islamophobia echo chamber has on the “minds” of their readers.  I have by the way saved this email along with lots of others provoked by previous Islamophobic rants.

There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE)  are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”.  There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that they published Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle by Robert Steinback in their Summer 2011 Intelligence Report.  There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured prominently in the Center for American Progress “Fear Inc.” report on the Islamophobia network in America.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack:  The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.

And, no matter what the actual facts turn out to be, it won’t make any difference for most of these folks who so desperately need someone to look down on.  After all, they and only they know the “truth”.  I would hope to see some of these folks stop for a moment and really think about what sort of effect their words have on others, and perhaps reconsider or even feel some shame.  But, I don’t think I’ll hold my breath.