Archive for Ground Zero Mosque

Who Commits Terrorism?

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Afghan VillagerA mourner cries over the bodies of Afghan civilians shot dead in their homes by a U.S. solider in Alkozai village of Panjwayi district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan on March 11, 2012. Photographer: Jangir/AFP/Getty Images

“Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.” ~ Peter Ustinov

Who Commits Terrorism?

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

If the Fox News promoters of racial profiling had been in charge of investigating the terror attacks in Norway on July 22, 2011, they might well have encountered blond, blue-eyed Anders Behring Breivik and his two smoking-hot guns only long enough to ask if he’d seen any suspicious-looking Muslims around.

After all, it has been a touchstone of the American Right, as well as right-wing Israelis, that Muslims are the source of virtually all terrorism and thus it makes little sense to focus attention on non-Muslims. A clean-cut Nordic sort like Breivik, who fancies himself part of a modern-day Knights Templar, is someone who would get a pass.

Or, as Israel’s UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2006, “While it may be true – and probably is – that not all Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim.” [Washington Post, March 7, 2006]

So, if you were tuned in to Fox News after the Norway attack, you would have seen smug-looking Fox talking heads recounting how this attack was surely an act of Islamic terrorism and even one exchange about the value of racial profiling to avoid wasting time on non-Muslims.

Yet, while the biases of Gillerman and Fox News represent a large chunk of the conventional wisdom, the reality is that terrorism is far from some special plague associated with Muslims. In fact, terrorism, including state terrorism, has been practiced far more extensively by non-Muslims and especially by Christian-dominated nations, both historically and in more modern times.

Terror tactics have long been in the tool kit of predominantly Christian armies and paramilitaries, including Breivik’s beloved Crusaders who slaughtered Muslims and Jews alike when Jerusalem was conquered in 1099.

Terror, such as torture and burning “heretics” alive, was a big part of the Roman Catholic Inquisition and the intra-Christian bloodletting in Europe in the middle of the last millennium. Terror played a big role, too, in genocides committed by Christian explorers against the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere and other unfortunate targets of colonialism.

More Crusading ‘Knights’

During the Jim Crow era in the American South, white Christians organized Ku Klux Klan chapters, which, like Breivik’s Templars, considered themselves Christian “knights” harkening back to the Crusades. The KKK inflicted terror on blacks, including lynching and bombings, to defend white supremacy.

In the 20th Century, there were countless examples of “red” and “white” terror, as Communists challenged the Capitalist power structure in Russia and other countries. Those violent clashes led to the rise of German Nazism which empowered “Aryans” to inflict terrifying slaughters to “defend” their racial purity from Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other “inferior” races.

To prevail in World War II, the Allies resorted to their own terror tactics, destroying entire cities from the air, such as Dresden in Germany and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

After World War II, the United States created the CIA to conduct what amounted to a war of terror and counter-terror against revolutionary movements around the world. This “low-intensity conflict” sometimes spilled into massive slaughters, such as U.S. terror bombings that killed estimated millions across Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

The CIA also recruited, deployed and supported proxy terrorists throughout Latin America. A generation of South and Central American military officers was schooled in how to intimidate and repress political movements seeking social change.

A fierce slaughter occurred in Guatemala after the CIA ousted an elected government in 1954 through the use of violent propaganda that terrified the nation. The CIA’s coup was followed by military dictatorships that used state terror as a routine means of controlling the impoverished population.

The consequences of the U.S. strategy were described in a March 29, 1968, report written by the U.S. embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Viron Vaky.

“The official squads are guilty of atrocities. Interrogations are brutal, torture is used and bodies are mutilated,” Vaky wrote. “In the minds of many in Latin America, and, tragically, especially in the sensitive, articulate youth, we are believed to have condoned these tactics, if not actually encouraged them. Therefore our image is being tarnished and the credibility of our claims to want a better and more just world are increasingly placed in doubt.”

Vaky also noted the self-deceptions within the U.S. government that resulted from its complicity in state-sponsored terror.

“This leads to an aspect I personally find the most disturbing of all – that we have not been honest with ourselves,” Vaky said. “We have condoned counter-terror; we may even in effect have encouraged or blessed it. We have been so obsessed with the fear of insurgency that we have rationalized away our qualms and uneasiness.

“This is not only because we have concluded we cannot do anything about it, for we never really tried. Rather we suspected that maybe it is a good tactic, and that as long as Communists are being killed it is alright. Murder, torture and mutilation are alright if our side is doing it and the victims are Communists. After all hasn’t man been a savage from the beginning of time so let us not be too queasy about terror. I have literally heard these arguments from our people.”

Vaky’s lament, however, mostly fell on deaf ears. Before long, much of Latin America was governed by murderous regimes, including the Southern Cone dictatorships which went so far as to create an international assassination combine called Operation Condor to spread terror among political dissidents by killing critics as far away as Washington and European capitals.

The Bush Role

These terror operations reached a peak when George H.W. Bush was CIA director in 1976. In that year, U.S.-backed Cuban terrorists blew up a Cubana Airline plane killing 73 people, with the evidence pointing at Cuban anti-communists Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles.

But those two right-wing Cubans continued to receive help and protection from the United States, including from the next generation of Bushes, Jeb and George W. (Thanks to the Bushes and their readiness to harbor these terrorists, Bosch lived out his golden years in Miami and Posada was spared extradition to Venezuela.)

Some of the worst examples of state terrorism occurred in Central America during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Reagan threw the support of the U.S. government behind the blood-soaked militaries of Guatemala and El Salvador (ironically, in the name of fighting terrorism). He also unleashed a terrorist organization, known as the Contras, against the leftist government in Nicaragua.

The butchery was shocking. Tens of thousands were slaughtered across Central America with the U.S.-backed Guatemalan army engaging in genocide against Indian populations of the highlands.

Though Reagan was the leading proponent in this application of terror in the 1980s, he is today one of the most honored U.S. presidents with scores of government facilities, including National Airport in Washington, named after him. (He is routinely cited by all sides in policy debates, including by President Barack Obama.)

Though Israel has been the victim of many horrible acts of Islamic [sic] terrorism, it also is not without guilt in the dark arts of terrorism. Militant Zionists employed terrorism as part of their campaign to establish Israel as a Jewish state in the 1940s. The terrorism included killings of British officials who were administering Palestine under an international mandate as well as Palestinians who were driven violently from their land so it could be claimed by Jewish settlers.

One of the most famous of those terrorist attacks was the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem where British officials were staying. The attack, which killed 91 people including local residents, was carried out by the Irgun, a terrorist group run by Menachem Begin. Another veteran of this campaign of Zionist terrorism was Yitzhak Shamir.

And, these Jewish terrorists were not simply obscure figures in Israeli history. Begin later founded the Likud Party and rose to be Israel’s prime minister. Shamir was another Likud leader who was later elected prime minister. (Today, Likud remains Israel’s ruling party.)

In the early 1990s, as I was waiting to interview Shamir at his Tel Aviv office, I was approached by one of his young female assistants who was dressed in a gray and blue smock with a head covering in the traditional Hebrew style. As we were chatting, she smiled and said in a lilting voice, “Prime Minister Shamir, he was a terrorist, you know.” I responded with a chuckle, “yes, I’m aware of the prime minister’s biography.”

Defining Terrorism

The classic definition of “terrorism” is the use of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal. But the word ultimately has been transformed into a geopolitical insult. If “our” side is the target, it’s “terrorism,” even if it’s a case of local militants attacking an occupying military force. Yet, when “our” side is doing the killing, it is anything but “terrorism.”

Ramadan Present

So, for instance, when Palestinians trapped in the open-air prison called Gaza fire small missiles at nearby Israeli settlements, that is decried as “terrorism” because the missiles are indiscriminant. But in 1983, when the Reagan administration lobbed artillery shells from the USS New Jersey into Lebanese villages (in support of the Israeli military occupation of Lebanon), that was not “terrorism.”

Yet, when Lebanese militants responded to the U.S. shelling by driving a truck bomb into the U.S. Marine base at the Beirut airport, killing 241 American troops, that was widely deemed “terrorism” in the American news media, even though the victims weren’t civilians. They were military troops belonging to a country that had become a participant in a civil war.

As a Washington-based reporter for the Associated Press then, I questioned the seeming bias that the wire service was showing in its selective use of the word “terrorist” as applied to the bombing. Responding to my concerns, a senior AP executive quipped, “Terrorist is the word that follows Arab.”

Working journalists understood that it was an unwritten rule to apply the word “terrorism” liberally when the perpetrators were Muslims but avoid the term when describing actions by the United States or its allies. At such moments, the principle of objectivity went out the window.

Eventually, the American press corps developed such an engrained sense of this double standard that unrestrained moral outrage would pour forth when acts of “terrorism” were committed by U.S. enemies, but a studied silence – or a nuanced concern – would follow similar crimes by the United States or its allies.

So, when President George W. Bush carried out his “shock and awe” assault on Iraq, there was no suggestion that the destruction might be an act of terror – despite the fact that it was specifically designed to intimidate the Iraqis through acts of violence. Bush then followed up with a brutal invasion that has since resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths.

Many Muslims and others around the world denounced Bush’s Iraq invasion as “state terrorism,” but such a charge was considered far outside the mainstream debate in the United States. Instead, Iraqi insurgents were labeled “terrorists” when they attacked U.S. troops inside Iraq.

[This pattern continues to this day. On Monday, after Taliban fighters attacked Afghan government targets and offices related to NATO’s occupation of the country, the New York Times’ lead story characterized the offensive as “the most audacious coordinated terrorist attacks here in recent years.” However, the Times never describes raids by U.S. military forces, which have claimed large numbers of civilian lives, as “terrorism.”]

This double standard reinforces the notion that “only Muslims” commit acts of “terrorism,” because the Western news media, by practice, rarely applies the t-word to non-Muslims (and then only to groups opposed to the United States). By contrast, it is both easy and expected to attach the word to Muslim groups held in disfavor by the U.S. and Israeli governments, i.e. Hamas and Hezbollah.

Islamophobe Hearings

This double standard was on display in 2011 at Rep. Peter King’s Homeland Security Committee hearings on the “radicalization” of American Muslims. King refused to expand his investigation to include what some see as a rising threat from Christian Right “radicalization.”

Much like the Norway slaughter, a number of examples of domestic terrorism in the United States have emanated from the Right’s hostility toward multiculturalism and other policies of the modern American state.

Such cases of domestic terrorism have included the gunning down of presumed liberals at a Unitarian Church in Kentucky; violent attacks on gynecologists who perform abortions; the killing of a guard at Washington’s Holocaust Museum; and the shooting of a Democratic congresswoman and her constituents in Arizona.

From Breivik’s manifesto urging European Christians to rise up against Muslim immigrants and liberal politicians who tolerate multiculturalism, it is also clear that the Nordic/Christian mass murderer was inspired by anti-Muslim rhetoric that pervades the American Right. That bigotry has surfaced in ugly campaigns to prevent mosques from being built across the country or even an Islamic community center that was deemed to be too close to 9/11′s Ground Zero.

Rep. King’s hearings were inspired by the work of noted Islam-basher Steven Emerson, whose Investigative Project on Terrorism has sought to link the locations of mosques to the incidence of terrorism cases. Emerson, who has close ties to Israel’s Likud and American neocons, also was a key figure in the campaign to block the Islamic community center near Ground Zero.

In 2010, Emerson went on right-wing activist Bill Bennett’s national radio show and insisted that Islamic cleric Feisal Abdul Rauf, the leading force behind the community center, would likely not “survive” Emerson’s disclosure of supposedly radical comments that Rauf made a half decade earlier.

Emerson said, “We have found audiotapes of Imam Rauf defending Wahhabism, the puritanical version of Islam that governs Saudi Arabia; we have found him calling for the elimination of the state of Israel by claiming he wants a one-nation state meaning no more Jewish state; we found him defending bin Laden violence.”

However, when Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism released its evidence several days later, it fell far short of Emerson’s lurid descriptions. Rauf actually made points that are shared by many mainstream analysts – and none of the excerpted comments involved “defending Wahhabism.”

Imbalanced Propaganda

As for Rauf “defending bin Laden violence,” Emerson apparently was referring to remarks that Rauf made to an audience in Australia in 2005 about the history of U.S. and Western mistreatment of people in the Middle East.

“We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims,” Rauf said. “You may remember that the U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations. And when Madeleine Albright, who has become a friend of mine over the last couple of years, when she was Secretary of State and was asked whether this was worth it, [she] said it was worth it.”

Emerson purported to “fact check” Rauf’s statement on the death toll from the Iraq sanctions by claiming “a report by the British government said at most only 50,000 deaths could be attributed to the sanctions, which were brought on by the actions by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.”

What Emerson’s “fact check” ignored, however, was that Rauf was accurately recounting Leslie Stahl’s questioning of Secretary of State Albright on CBS “60 Minutes” in 1996. Emerson also left out the fact that United Nations studies did conclude that those U.S.-led sanctions caused the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five.

In the 1996 interview, Stahl told Albright regarding the sanctions, “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright responded, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

Later, an academic study by Columbia University’s Richard Garfield put the sanctions-related death toll of Iraqi children, under five, at 106,000 to 227,000.

Emerson didn’t identify the specific British report that contained his lower figure, although even that number – 50,000 – represents a stunning death toll and doesn’t contradict Rauf’s chief point, that U.S.-British actions have killed many innocent Muslims over the years.

Also, by 2005, when Rauf made his remarks in Australia, the United States and Great Britain had invaded and occupied Iraq, with a death toll spiraling from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands with some estimates of war-related deaths in Iraq now exceeding one million.

Far from “defending bin Laden violence,” Rauf’s comments simply reflected the truth about the indiscriminate killing inflicted on the Muslim world by U.S.-British interventions over the decades. British imperialism in the region dates back several centuries, a point that Emerson also ignored. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Islam Basher Claims to Unmask Cleric.”]

It is Emerson’s kind of anti-Muslim propaganda that has infected the ability of the U.S. political system to deal fairly with Middle Eastern issues. Rep. King’s one-sided hearings became another opportunity to exacerbate American hostility toward Muslims.

Emerson has boasted about his role in helping to structure King’s hearings, but lashed out at King when the congressman refused to include Emerson on the witness list. “I was even going to bring in a special guest today and a VERY informed and connected source, who could have been very useful, possibly even critical to your hearing, but he too will not attend unless I do,” Emerson wrote to King. “You have caved in to the demands of radical Islamists in removing me as a witness.”

In a particularly weird twist, Emerson somehow envisioned himself as the victim of McCarthyism because he wasn’t being allowed to go before the House Homeland Security Committee and accuse large segments of the American-Muslim community of being un-American. [Politico, Jan. 19, 2011]

But such is the strange world of the propagandists who have managed to associate the crime of “terrorism” almost exclusively with Muslims, when the ugly reality is that the blood of innocents covers the hands of adherents to many other faiths (and political movements) as well.

It is that sort of anti-Muslim bigotry which feeds the Christian Right terrorism of an Anders Behring Breivik.

[In the wake of Breivik’s killing spree, the Center for American Progress produced a report on the well-funded bigotry of Emerson and other Muslim-bashers. Entitled “Fear, Inc.,” the 129-page report listed Emerson as one of five “scholars” who act as “misinformation experts” to “generate the false facts and materials” that are then exploited by politicians and pundits to frighten Americans about the supposed threat posed by Muslims. To read more on Emerson’s “misinformation” role, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Unmasking October Surprise ‘Debunker.'”]

 


Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, “Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush,” was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, “Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq” and “Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’” are also available there.

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At RJC Forum, Gingrich says he’ll Appoint John Bolton as Secretary of State

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2011 by loonwatch

At RJC Forum, Gingrich Says He’ll Appoint John Bolton As Secretary of State

by Charles Johnson Wed Dec 7, 2011

Speaking today at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Candidates Forum, Newt Gingrich announced that for Secretary of State, his pick would be John Bolton.

Yes, that would be the same John Bolton who wrote the foreword for the deranged anti-Obama book by hate bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America, and who appeared in a recorded message at Geller’s ugly “Ground Zero Mosque” hatefest last year. (Newt, in typical Gingrich fashion, agreed to speak too but then bailed out.)

Muslim Scholars Issue Fatwa Declaring No Conflict Between Islamic Law And U.S. Constitution

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by loonwatch
President Obama hosts Iftar dinner at White House for American Muslims during Ramadan.President Obama hosts Iftar dinner at White House for American Muslims during Ramadan.
http://www.5min.com/Video/Study-Muslim-Americans-Experience-a-Mixed-Bag-517153474

Muslim Scholars Issue Fatwa Declaring No Conflict Between Islamic Law And U.S. Constitution

Islamic scholars tired of conservative charges that Muslims in the United States constitute a radical fifth column bent on subverting American values and obligated by their religion to launch jihadist terror attacks are fighting back by issuing a fatwa.

The Islamic religious ruling, a “Resolution On Being Faithful Muslims and Loyal Americans,” is a response to what its authors call “erroneous perceptions and Islamophobic propaganda” that has built up for a decade following the 9/11 attacks and subsequent terrorist plots by adherents of al-Qaida and other extremist groups. It was issued in Virginia late last month by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), a group of Islamic scholars who meet several times a year to draft opinions on issues of concern to American Muslims.

“As a body of Islamic scholars, we the members of FCNA believe that it is false and misleading to suggest that there is a contradiction between being faithful Muslims committed to God (Allah) and being loyal American citizens,” the fatwa declared.

“Islamic teachings require respect of the laws of the land where Muslims live as minorities, including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so long as there is no conflict with Muslims’ obligation for obedience to God. We do not see any such conflict with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The primacy of obedience to God is a commonly held position of many practicing Jews and Christians as well.”

Muslims make up less than 1 percent of the nation, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, yet the fast-growing community has been a constant target of right-wing groups. From protests against the so-called “ground zero mosque,” to efforts in more than a dozen states to ban Sharia lawin courts, to recent Capitol Hill hearings on Islamic radicalization that brought comparisons to McCarthyism, Muslims have had to assert their loyalty.

And that troubles members of the Los Angeles Police Department, who in recent years have been at the forefront in building bridges to the Muslims in order to combat radicalization and enlist the community in the fight against terrorism.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and other law enforcement officials will attend a meeting Thursday at the Islamic Center of Reseda to talk about the new fatwa as part of his department’s Muslim Community Forum. Muzammil Siddiqi, director of religious affairs of The Islamic Society of Orange County and the president of the Fiqh Council of North America, will be on hand to discuss the origins of the fatwa.

For many non-Muslims, perhaps the best-known fatwa was the one against authorSalman Rushdie for his book ”The Satanic Verses.” Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared it blasphemous and called for Rushdie’s death.

This new decree might face a warmer welcome.

“We’re always fighting two sides of extremism. There’s the violent ideological side and the neo-conservative side that is creating hate campaigns against American Muslims …which is a bunch of BS,” said Michael Downing, commander of the LAPD’s Counter Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau. “The majority of American Muslims are as patriotic as you and I. This declaration says it is not a conflict to be a faithful Muslim and loyal American.”
http://www.5min.com/Video/Muslim-Event-Condemns-Terrorism-517166793

Rep. West to screen controversial film on ‘Ground Zero mosque’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by loonwatch

Rep. West to screen controversial film on ‘Ground Zero mosque’

By Jordy Yager – 08/02/11 11:22 AM ET

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is planning to screen a controversial film on Capitol Hill about attempts to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero in Manhattan.

The film, “Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mosque,” was produced by the conservative Christian Action Network (CAN) and has begun to garner criticism from such groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The 45-minute film is largely focused around a series of interviews conducted with survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and members of their family. The interviews, according to CAN’s website, delve into the feelings they experienced last summer when a group proposed building an Islamic center blocks away from where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

Efforts to build the Islamic center, which was set to include a swimming pool and a mosque among other amenities, were the focus of nearly every news agency last summer and brought a slew of politically charged arguments from members of Congress.

CAN attempted to get permission to show the film in New York City parks over the week leading up to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but it was denied out of concern for the content.

According to CAN’s website, West plans to host the event during the week Congress returns from recess, on Sept. 8 in the Rayburn House Office Building.

This will not be the first time a controversial film about Muslims has been shown on Capitol Hill. In 2009, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) hosted the controversial Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders and showed his movie, “Fitna,” which many Muslims have designated anti-Islamic. Following an anti-screening campaign by the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association, no members of Congress reportedly showed up to watch the film.

West came under fire last year for commenting during a conference that terrorists were fulfilling mandates laid out by the Quran.

A spokeswoman for West did not immediately return a request for comment.

FBI ‘Islam 101′ Guide Depicted Muslims as 7th-Century Simpletons

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2011 by loonwatch

FBI ‘Islam 101′ Guide Depicted Muslims as 7th-Century Simpletons

As recently as January 2009, the FBI thought its agents ought to know the following crucial information about Muslims:

  • They engage in a “circumcision ritual”
  • More than 9,000 of them are in the U.S. military
  • Their religion “transforms [a] country’s culture into 7th-century Arabian ways.”

And this was what the FBI considered “recommended reading” about Islam:

All this is revealed in a PowerPoint presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit(.pdf), which trains new Bureau recruits. Among the 62 slides in the presentation, designed to teach techniques for “successful interviews/interrogations with individuals from the M.E. [Middle East],” is an instruction that the “Arabic mind” is “swayed more by words than ideas and more by ideas than facts.”

The briefing presents much information that has nothing to do with crime and everything to do with constitutionally-protected religious practice and social behavior, such as estimating the number of mosques in America and listing the states with the largest Muslim populations.

Other slides paint Islam in a less malicious light, and one urges “respectful liaison” as a “proactive approach” to engaging Muslims. But even those exhibit what one American Muslim civil rights leader calls “the understanding of a third grader, and even then, a badly misinformed third grader.”

One slide asks, “Is Iran an Arab country?” (It’s not.) Another is just a picture of worry beads.

“Based on this presentation, it is easy to see why so many in law enforcement and the FBI view American Muslims with ignorance and suspicion,” says Farhana Khera, the executive director of Muslim Advocates, a legal aid group. “The presentation appears to treat all Muslims with one broad brush and makes no distinction between lawful religious practice and beliefs and unlawful activities.”

A grainy copy of the PowerPoint was obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Northern California chapter and the Asian Law Caucus, a San Francisco-based civil rights group, and provided to Danger Room. The two groups filed a Freedom of Information Act request last year inquiring about government surveillance of American Muslim communities.

“In order for FBI training to be effective it has to present useful, factual and unbiased information. This material fails on all three criteria,” said Mike German, a former FBI agent who now works for the ACLU. “Factually flawed and biased law enforcement training programs only expand the risk that innocent Muslim and Arab Americans will be unfairly targeted for investigation and prosecution, and stigmatized in their communities.” [Full disclosure: My fiancee works for the ACLU.]

In response to queries from Danger Room, the FBI issued the following statement about the PowerPoint: “The FBI new agent population at Quantico is exposed to a diverse curriculum in many specific areas, including Islam and Muslim culture. The presentation in question was a rudimentary version used for a limited time that has since been replaced. It was a small part of a larger segment of training that also included material produced by the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point.”

It is unclear when the FBI stopped using the PowerPoint.

Among the most provocative aspects of the presentation is its recommended reading list. One book offered is The Truth About Mohammed: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion, by Robert Spencer. Spencer is one of the ringleaders of the protest against the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” and the co-founder of Stop the Islamicization of America, which “promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda,” in the view of the Anti-Defamation League. A manifesto written by the Norwegian terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik cited Spencer 64 times.

Another book cited is The Arab Mind, by Raphael Patai. The volume was briefly infamous in 2004, after Seymour Hersh reported its influence among certain Iraq war hawks in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal. According to Hersh, the takeaway of Patai’s book is that “Arabs only understand force” and are susceptible to “shame and humiliation.”

“It’s like asking law enforcement to learn ‘the facts’ about the African American experience by reading a book by the grand wizard of the KKK,” says Khera. “It is deplorable and offensive that the nation’s top law enforcement agency would promote such hateful so-called ‘experts’ on Islam.”

An FBI spokesman said Spencer’s book is no longer on the reading list but was not sure about the others. “We encourage our agents to seek out a variety of viewpoints. That does not mean we endorse or adopt the view of any particular author,” the bureau’s statement continues. “Broad knowledge is essential for us to better understand and respond to the threats we face. Knowledge also helps us defeat ignorance and strengthen relationships with the diverse communities that we serve.”

When dealing with Muslims and counterterrorism, the FBI’s record is mixed. It’s sent informants into mosques and used operatives to coax suspected extremists into active terror plots, arresting them before anyone was hurt. But its agents also stood up against torture at Guantanamo Bay and in the CIA’s undisclosed prisons. FBI Director Robert Mueller testified in 2008 that many of its terrorism cases “are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States.”

In recent years, law enforcement agencies around the country have proven receptive to anti-Muslim crusaders. The Washington Monthly recently reported on the “growing profession” of terrorism consultants who get paid to make “sweeping generalizations about Muslims” to rapt audiences of cops. Adam Serwer at the American Prospect reports that another Breivik favorite, Walid Shoebat, also gets government cash to tell police things like “Islam is the devil.”

At a Capitol Hill event on Monday, a Florida-based researcher named Peter Leitner claimed that up to 6,000 Muslims in America are a “fifth column.” According to Leitner’s official biography, he founded a group called the Higgins Counterterrorism Research Center; Higgins claims to have provided counterterrorism instruction to “FBI Counterterrorism Special Agents,” various police departments countrywide and even Blackwater.

“These characterizations of Islam and of Arab and Muslim people are not just disheartening — they are frightening,” says Veena Dubal, an attorney with the Asian Law Caucus. “Degrading and inaccurate characterizations of Islam and of the ‘Arab mind’ don’t help individual agents fight terrorism. Rather, they imbue law enforcement with an extremely biased view of a diverse community.”

Photo: newmanchu/Flickr

The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle

Posted in Loon People, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2011 by loonwatch

The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle

By Robert Steinback
Illustration by Bri Hermanson

The apparent recent surge in popular anti-Muslim sentimentin the United States has been driven by a surprisingly small and, for the most part, closely knit cadre of activists. Their influence extends far beyond their limited numbers, in part because of an amenable legion of right-wing media personalities — and lately, politicians like U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who held controversial hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims this March —who are eager to promote them as impartial experts or grassroots leaders. Yet a close look at their rhetoric reveals how doggedly this group works to provoke and guide populist anger over what is seen as the threat posed by the 0.6% of Americans who are Muslim — an agenda that goes beyond reasonable concern about terrorism into the realm of demonization.

Of the 10 people profiled below, all but Bill French, Terry Jones and Debbie Schlussel regularly interact with others on the list. Most were selected for profiling primarily because of their association with activist organizations. People who only run websites or do commentary were omitted, with two exceptions: Schlussel, because she has influence as a frequent television talk-show guest, and John Joseph Jay, because he is on the board of Pamela Geller’s Stop Islamization of America group. Three other activists, Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes and Frank Gaffney, have interacted with many of the core group as well and also have offended many Muslims, but they are somewhat more moderate in their views of Muslims than those who are profiled below.

Bill FrenchBILL FRENCH
ORGANIZATION
 Heads the for-profit Center for the Study of Political Islam in Nashville. 

CREDENTIALS Former Tennessee State University physics professor; author of Sharia Law for Non-Muslims (2010; under the pen name Bill Warner).

SUMMARY French has no formal training or background in law, Islam or Shariah law — which in any case is not an established legal code, as the book title implies, but a fluid concept subject to a wide range of interpretations and applications. He garnered attention recently by leading the opposition to a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “The two driving forces of our civilization are the Golden Rule and critical thought. … There is no Golden Rule in Islam. … There is not really even a Ten Commandments.”
—Quoted in The [Blount County, Tenn.] Daily Times, March 4, 2011

“This offends Allah. You offend Allah.”
— Quoted in The Tennesseean, Oct. 24, 2010, speaking to opponents of the Murfreesboro mosque while pointing to an American flag

Brigitte GabrielBRIGITTE GABRIEL 
ORGANIZATIONS Founder and head of ACT! for America and American Council for Truth.

CREDENTIALS Author of Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America (2006) and They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It (2008). Co-producer and co-host of weekly ACT! for America television show.

SUMMARY Gabriel views Islam in absolute terms as a monolithic threat to the United States, Israel and the West. She is prone to sweeping generalizations and exaggerations as she describes a grand, sophisticated Muslim conspiracy bent on world domination. Of the people profiled here, she alone has focused on building a grassroots organization, claiming 155,000 members and 500 chapters around the country. Questions persist about the accuracy of her autobiographical account of being a victim of Muslim militancy in Lebanon.

IN HER OWN WORDS “America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America. They have infiltrated us at the C.I.A., at the F.B.I., at the Pentagon, at the State Department.”
— Quoted in The New York Times, March 7, 2011

“The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arabic world is quite simply the difference between civilization and barbarism. It’s the difference between good and evil and this is what we’re witnessing in the Arab and Islamic world. I am angry. They have no soul! They are dead set on killing and destruction.”
— From a speech delivered to the Rev. John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel Convention, July 2007

“Tens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America, operating in sleeper cells, attending our colleges and universities, even infiltrating our government. They are here — today. Many have been here for years. Waiting. Preparing.”
— ACT! for America website, undated

P. David Gaubatz

P. DAVID GAUBATZ
ORGANIZATION Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE).

CREDENTIALS Co-author of Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America (2009). As director of operations for SANE’s Mapping Shariah project (see David Yerushalmi, below), a privately operated effort to infiltrate American mosques in an attempt to expose radical elements, Gaubatz was paid $148,898, according to Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim website.

SUMMARY A civilian agent who worked in the Middle East for the U.S. Air Forces Office of Special Investigations, Gaubatz made it a personal project — and the theme of his book — to prove the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is linked to international terrorism. In October 2009, four members of Congress led by Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) held an embarrassing press conference claiming the book revealed a Muslim plot to infiltrate government. Their hardest “evidence” was a document showing that CAIR had encouraged young Muslims to become Capitol interns — much like many other Washington, D.C., interest groups.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “As an ideology [Islam] is a terminal disease that once spread is hard to destroy. Once the ideology (cancer) takes hold it is like trying to remove millions of cancerous cells in one’s body. Not impossible to remove, but very, very unlikely.”
— Essay on the Northeast Intelligence Network website, June 10, 2008

“[T]he political ideology of winning over the West and the world for an Islamic Caliphate is NOT specific to some extremist group of Muslims. This is mainstream Islam and Shari’a. … The goal remains the same: all of the non-Islamic world, and indeed all of the Islamic world, must submit to Shari’a. A Muslim who refuses to do so will be killed. … A non-Muslim, assuming he is not a pagan (typically a Christian or Jew) might be given the opportunity to live in a subservient status in an Islamic society and pay a special head tax to prove his submission. But this option is left to the Caliph or ruler at the time.”
— Essay carried by the Assyrian International News Agency, Feb. 13, 2008

PAMELA GELLER Pamela GellerORGANIZATIONS Executive director and co-founder (with Robert Spencer; see below) of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA)

and the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an umbrella group encompassing SIOA. Both are listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Runs the Atlas Shrugs blog.

CREDENTIALS Self-styled expert on Islam with no formal training in the field. Co-produced with Spencer the film “The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks,” which was first screened at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. Co-author with Spencer of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (2010).

SUMMARY Geller has seized the role of the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and influential figurehead. Her strengths are panache and vivid rhetorical flourishes — not to mention stunts like posing for an anti-Muslim video in a bikini — but she also can be coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam. Geller does not pretend to be learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to SIOA partner Spencer. She is prone to publicizing preposterous claims, such as President Obama being the “love child” of Malcolm X, and once suggested that recent U.S. Supreme Court appointee Elena Kagen, who is Jewish, supports Nazi ideology. Geller has mingled with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists and defended Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic. She is a self-avowed Zionist who is sharply critical of Jewish liberals.

IN HER OWN WORDS “Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.”
— On Fox Business’ “Follow the Money,” March 10, 2011

“No, no, they can’t. … I don’t think that many westernized Muslims know when they pray five times a day that they’re cursing Christians and Jews five times a day. … I believe in the idea of a moderate Muslim. I do not believe in the idea of a moderate Islam. I think a moderate Muslim is a secular Muslim.”
— Quoted in The New York Times, responding to a question as to whether devout practicing Muslims can be political moderates, Oct. 8, 2010

“In the war between the civilized man and the savage, you side with the civilized man. … If you don’t lay down and die for Islamic supremacism, then you’re a racist anti-Muslim Islamophobic bigot. That’s what we’re really talking about.”
— Quoted in The New York Times, Oct. 8, 2010

DAVID HOROWITZ

ORGANIZATION Front Page Magazine (online), published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.David Horowitz

CREDENTIALS Organized “Islamofascism Awareness Week” which brought prominent anti-Muslim activists to college campuses in 2007. Author of several books including Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (2004), which claims that American leftists support Islamic terrorists.

SUMMARY Horowitz, who spent his young years as a Marxist, has in recent years become a furious far-right antagonist of liberals and leftists. He also provides some funding support for other anti-Muslim ventures, including, according to the blog SpencerWatch.com, paying Spencer $132,537 to run the JihadWatch website. Horowitz sees no philosophical gradations; if you’re not in total agreement with his view of Islam, you’re in favor of Muslim hegemony. He believes the Muslim Brotherhood and “Islamofascists” control most American Muslim organizations, especially Muslim student groups on college campuses.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “I spent 25 years in the American Left, whose agendas are definitely to destroy this country. The American left wanted us to lose the Cold War with the Soviets and it wants us to lose the war on terror. So I don’t make any apologies for that.”
— On the “Riz Khan” Show, Al Jazeera, Aug. 21, 2008

“Some polls estimate that 10 percent of Muslims support Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. An al-Jazeera poll put the number at 50 percent. In other words, somewhere between 150 million and 750 million Muslims support a holy war against Christians, Jews, and other Muslims who don’t happen to be true believers in the Quran according to
bin Laden.”
— In the Columbia Spectator, Oct. 15, 2007

“There are 150 Muslim Student Associations on American campuses. The Muslim Student Associations were created by Hamas and funded by Saudi Arabia. … [The associations] are Wahhabi Islamicists, and they basically support our enemies.”
— On Fox News’ “Neil Cavuto Show,” Aug. 15, 2006

JOHN JOSEPH JAYJohn Joseph Jay
ORGANIZATION summer patriot, winter soldier (a website; Jay doesn’t use capital letters in his website’s name or in his writings). Board member, SIOA. Listed as one of the founders of American Freedom Defense Initiative, SIOA’s umbrella group (see also Pam Geller, above).

CREDENTIALS Jay worked for 25 years as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. Geller’s Atlas Shrugs blog describes him as a constitutional scholar. In addition to his anti-Muslim commentary, Jay blogs prolifically on the right to bear arms.

SUMMARY Jay is remarkable for his unreconstructed hatred of all Muslims. He believes attacks by Muslim terrorists justify any violence directed at any Muslim, adding that, as he sees it, the Koran itself justifies such blind retaliation.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “every person in islam, from man to woman to child may be our executioner. … there are no innocents in islam. … there is no innocence in islam. all of islam is at war with us, and … all of islam is/are combatant[s.] … islam has established without intellectual doubt that there are no innocent muslims, that the myth of the ‘moderate muslim’ is precisely that, and that muslims are no more entitled to exemption or protection from retaliation that [sic] any of the other ‘non-innocent’ combatants in the world. … there are no innocent muslims.  islam is subject to killing on grounds of political expediency on the same basis as islam kills its victims, and islam cannot ethically and morally claim otherwise.”
— From his website, July 14, 2010

“in short, dear muslims, g_d in his infinite wisdom saw in advance this struggle between men and religions to win his favor, and the only thing that is foreordained, is that the strong and the resolute shall win his favor, and so far, it has been amply demonstrated that he has chosen the jews as his people, and favored christianity with science, technology, culture and military power. to islam, he has given the hind and dry tit, and the sewers and the deserts of the world in which to inhabit, and in which to fester.”
— From his website, June 27, 2010

TERRY JONESTerry Jones
ORGANIZATION Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Fla. Listed by the SPLC as a hate group.

CREDENTIALS Pastor of Dove World; instigator of “International Burn a Koran Day,” which was slated for Sept. 11, 2010, but canceled after worldwide protests and calls from senior officials of the Obama Administration. On March 20, however, Jones did burn a Koran, leading to several days of rampages in early April by religious rioters in Afghanistan, including the storming of a United Nations compound, that resulted in the deaths of at least 20 people. Jones showed no remorse over the deaths, which included at least seven foreigners. Author ofIslam is of the Devil (2010). Jones has admitted never having read the Koran. He has no academic or theological degree; his “doctorate” is honorary.

SUMMARY A true fanatical extremist who seems to be driven mostly by the need for self-promotion and publicity. Operates entirely outside of the core circle of anti-Muslim activists. Jones is also virulently anti-gay.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “Here’s your opportunity, all you so-called peaceful Moslems [Jones’ pronunciation]. … We are accusing the Koran of murder, rape, deception, being responsible for terrorist activities all around the world. … Present to us your defense attorney who is going to defend the Koran. Let us really see. We challenge you: do it. Let us not talk. Let us have some action and proof. … The Koran, if found guilty, can be burned … Or the Koran will be drowned. Or the Koran will be shredded into little bitty pieces … or the Koran will face a firing squad.”
— From an undated video on the Dove World Outreach website announcing “International Judge the Koran Day”

“The world is facing a great danger, which, if it is not stopped, will sooner or later be a threat to freedom in all nations and specifically to the United States. This danger is the growing religion of Islam.”
— From the introduction to Islam is of the Devil, 2010

DEBBIE SCHLUSSELDebbie Schlussel
ORGANIZATION Columnist; eponymous website.

CREDENTIALS The granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Schlussel is a Detroit-based attorney and MBA. Frequent guest on conservative talk shows.

SUMMARY Uncompromising, viciously anti-Muslim commentator who dismisses ostensible allies if they are willing to believe in the concept of moderate Islam. She has even berated Hollywood for its failure to depict Muslims as sufficiently villainous. She has referred to Muslims as “animals.” Her intense animosity toward Muslims appears rooted in strong pro-Israel sentiments.

IN HER OWN WORDS “So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows. Or so we’d hope. … How fitting that Lara Logan was ‘liberated’ by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the ‘liberation.’ Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Alhamdillullah (praise allah) [sic].”
— From her website, following the gang sexual assault on CBS Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Lara Logan in Cairo, Feb. 15, 2011

“[T]he fact is that the majority of Muslims support terrorism. The vast majority. Not just a few hijackers and a few suicide bombers. But the MAJORITY. This isn’t me saying it. It’s Muslims saying it. And not just in poll after poll of Muslims around the world including in America. Go to the streets of ‘moderate Muslim’ Dearbornistan [Dearborn, Mich.] and see how many Muslims dare condemn Hezbollah and HAMAS. It’s like playing “Where’s Waldo?”
— From her website, Oct. 8, 2008

ROBERT SPENCERRobert Spencer
ORGANIZATION Runs the Jihad Watch website, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Co-founder with Pamela Geller (see above) of Stop Islamization of America and the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

CREDENTIALS Spencer has a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Co-produced with Geller the film “The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks” (2011). Author of numerous books including The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion (2007) andThe Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (2005).

SUMMARY Spencer is entirely self-taught in the study of modern Islam and the Koran. Critics have accused him of doggedly taking the Koran literally — Spencer considers it innately extremist and violent — while ignoring its nonviolent passages and the vast interpretive tradition that has modified Koranic teachings over the centuries. Spencer believes that moderate Muslims exist, but to prove it, they’d have to fully denounce the portions of the Koran he finds objectionable. Spencer has been known to fraternize with European racists and neo-fascists, though he says such contacts were merely incidental. Benazir Bhutto, the late prime minister of Pakistan, accused Spencer of “falsely constructing a divide between Islam and West” in her 2008 book,Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West. Spencer, she wrote, presented a “skewed, one-sided, and inflammatory story that only helps to sow the seed of civilizational conflict.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS “Osama [bin Laden]‘s use of these and other [Koranic] passages in his messages is consistent … with traditional understanding of the Quran. When modern-day Jews and Christians read their Bibles, they simply don’t interpret the passages cited as exhorting them to violent actions against unbelievers. This is due to the influence of centuries of interpretative traditions that have moved them away from literalism regarding these passages. But in Islam, there is no comparable interpretative tradition.”
— From The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), 2005

“Where is moderate Islam? How can moderate Muslims refute the radical exegesis of the Qur’an and Sunnah? If an exposition of moderate Islam does not address or answer radical exegeses, is it really of any value to quash Islamic extremism? If the answer lies in a simple rejection of Qur’anic literalism, how can non-literalists make that rejection stick, and keep their children from being recruited by jihadists by means of literalism? Of course, as I have pointed out many times, traditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful. It is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.”
— Jihad Watch, Jan. 14, 2006

DAVID YERUSHALMIDavid Yerushalmi
ORGANIZATION President of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE); principal of Stop the Madrassa.

CREDENTIALS General counsel for the Center for Security Policy (see Frank J. Gaffney Jr., above); also, an attorney representing SIOA. Yerushalmi drafted a proposed law filed this year in the Tennessee legislature that would subject anyone who advocates or adheres to Shariah customs to up to 15 years in prison; he drafted a similar bill in Georgia in 2008.

SUMMARY Yerushalmi equates Shariah with Islamic radicalism so totally that he advocates criminalizing virtually any personal practice compliant with Shariah. In his view, only a Muslim who fully breaks with the customs of Shariah can be considered socially tolerable. He waxes bloodthirsty when describing his preferred response to the supposed global threat of Shariah law, speaking casually of killing and destroying. Ideally, he would outlaw Islam and deport Muslims and other “non-Western, non-Christian” people to protect the United States’ “national character.” An ultra-orthodox Jew, he is deeply hostile toward liberal Jews. He derides U.S.-style democracy because it allows more than just an elite, privileged few to vote.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “On the so-called Global War on Terrorism, GWOT, we have been quite clear along with a few other resolute souls. This should be a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful. … At a practical level, this means that Shari’a and Islamic law are immediately outlawed. Any Muslim in America who adopts historical and traditional Shari’a will be subject to deportation. Mosques which adhere to Islamic law will be shut down permanently. No self-described or practicing Muslim, irrespective of his or her declarations to the contrary, will be allowed to immigrate to this country.”
— A 2007 commentary entitled “War Manifesto — The War Against Islam,” as reported by The American Muslim

“The more carefully reviewed evidence, however, suggests that because jihadism is in fact traditional Islam modernized to war against the ideological threat posed by the West against Islam proper,there is no way to keep faithful Muslims out of the war. If this is true, any Muslim who sticks his neck out of the mosque to yell some obscenity at the West should be considered an enemy combatant and killed or captured and held for the duration of the war. If you kill enough of them consistently enough, those disinclined to fight in the first place will find a way to reform their religion.”
— Review of Mary Habeck’s book Knowing the Enemy on the American Thinker website, Sept. 9. 2006

Anti-Muslim Nonsense Cloaked in Ground Zero Mystique

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2011 by loonwatch

The key point to this NY Daily News article is here:

The former Burlington Coat Factory building at 45-47 Park Place is no more historically significant than dozens of buildings pelted with plane parts on Sept. 11, 2001, lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey told a Manhattan court Tuesday…

City lawyer Virginia Thomas pointed out that 56 other buildings were hit by plane parts and that no one’s pushing to preserve those. Century 21 is not a monument to 9/11,” she said. “Nor is 45-47 Park Place.”

Fifty-six other buildings were hit by plane parts, including Century 21.  But for some damn reason–I wonder why!?–these people only care about the Islamic cultural center that will replace the Burlington Coat Factory. It couldn’t possibly have to do with hating Muslims, right? No, absolutely not, that’s ridiculous!  Oh wait, it’s about parking!  Umm yeah, that’s it!

Are you buying it?  I’m not.  Sounds like “anti-Muslim nonsense cloaked in Ground Zero mystique.”

Proposed Park51 mosque site does not merit landmark status for being hit by Sept. 11 debris: lawyer

by: Jose Martinez

The lawyer for the owner of a building near Ground Zero that would house a controversial mosque says it doesn’t deserve landmark status just because part of a plane hit it on 9/11.

The former Burlington Coat Factory building at 45-47 Park Place is no more historically significant than dozens of buildings pelted with plane parts on Sept. 11, 2001, lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey told a Manhattan court Tuesday.

He was arguing the merits of a lawsuit filed by an FDNY firefighter – with the backing of aWashington conservative group – challenging the city’s refusal to grant landmark status.

Bailey trashed the legal action as anti-Muslim nonsense cloaked in Ground Zero mystique.

“Our property is not at Ground Zero,” he said.

“You can’t throw a football and hit it from Ground Zero.”

Firefighter Timothy Brown‘s suit says the building deserves the status because a plane’s landing gear crashed into it on 9/11.

“That building is a monument to that day because of what happened with the landing gear,” said Jack Lester, a lawyer for Brown.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission in August rejected an application to grant landmark status to the 152-year-old Italian palazzo-style warehouse.

It’s marked as the eventual site of Park51, a project that would include a community center and a Muslim prayer space.

City lawyer Virginia Thomas pointed out that 56 other buildings were hit by plane parts and that no one’s pushing to preserve those.

Century 21 is not a monument to 9/11,” she said. “Nor is 45-47 Park Place.”

Bailey portrayed Brown as a puppet of the American Center for Law & Justice, saying the firefighter doesn’t even live in New York and cares only about shutting down the mosque.

“The 800-pound gorilla in the room is freedom of religion,” Bailey said.

While lawyers for the firefighter carefully danced around the topic of religion before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Paul Feinman, outside court they trashed the Park51 project as “un-American.”

Feinman said he will issue a ruling on the case in the next month.

jmartinez@edit.nydailynews.com