Archive for Hate! for America

Omar Baddar: Who is Brigitte Gabriel?

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2011 by loonwatch

Omar BaddarOmar Baddar

This is a decent video from anti-loon Omar Baddar exposing the insanity, contradictions and bigotry of Brigitte Gabriel:

Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT! for America Draws Crowds with Anti-Muslim Message

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by loonwatch
Brigitte Gabriel

We have been reporting on “Brigitte Gabriel” and her hate organization ACT! for America since we began our site a few years ago. It seems now people are speaking out more against her extremist hate due to recent flagrant Islamophobic events such as the one in Yorba Linda.

Brigitte Gabriel’s personal story is a crock, what she presents to her ignorant crowds is a crock, she presents a black and white world in which Muslims are the enemies of humanity, Christianity and Civilization.

For more on her read: A Case Study in Sincere Hypocrisy: Brigitte Gabriel

ACT! for America is Better Known as Hate for America!

Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN (New York Times)

FORT WORTH — Brigitte Gabriel bounced to the stage at a Tea Party convention last fall. She greeted the crowd with a loud Texas “Yee-HAW,” then launched into the same gripping personal story she has told in hundreds of churches, synagogues and conference rooms across the United States:

As a child growing up a Maronite Christian in war-torn southern Lebanon in the 1970s, Ms. Gabriel said, she had been left lying injured in rubble after Muslims mercilessly bombed her village. She found refuge in Israel and then moved to the United States, only to find that the Islamic radicals who had terrorized her in Lebanon, she said, were now bent on taking over America.

“America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America,” she said. “They have infiltrated us at the C.I.A., at the F.B.I., at the Pentagon, at the State Department. They are being radicalized in radical mosques in our cities and communities within the United States.”

Through her books, media appearances and speeches, and her organization, ACT! for America, Ms. Gabriel has become one of the most visible personalities on a circuit of self-appointed terrorism detectors who warn that Muslims pose an enormous danger within United States borders.

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of Long Island, will conduct hearings Thursday in Washington on a similar theme: that the United States is infiltrated by Muslim radicals. Mr. King was the first guest last month on a new cable television show that Ms. Gabriel co-hosts with Guy Rodgers, the executive director of ACT! and a Republican consultant who helped build the Christian Coalition, once the most potent political organization on the Christian right.

Ms. Gabriel, 46, who uses a pseudonym, casts her organization as a nonpartisan, nonreligious national security group. Yet the organization draws on three rather religious and partisan streams in American politics: evangelical Christian conservatives, hard-line defenders of Israel (both Jews and Christians) and Tea Party Republicans.

She presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion. She has found a receptive audience among Americans who are legitimately worried about the spread of terrorism.

But some of those who work in counterterrorism say that speakers like Ms. Gabriel are spreading distortion and fear, and are doing the country a disservice by failing to make distinctions between Muslims who are potentially dangerous and those who are not.

Brian Fishman, a research fellow at both the New America Foundation in Washington, and theCombating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point, said, “When you’ve got folks who are looking for the worst in Islam and are promoting that as the entire religion of 1.5 or 1.6 billion people, then you only empower the real extremists.”

Ms. Gabriel is only one voice in a growing circuit that includes counter-Islam speakers like Pamela GellerRobert Spencer and Walid Shoebat. What distinguishes Ms. Gabriel from her counterparts is that she has built a national grass-roots organization in the last three years that has already engaged in dozens of battles over the place of Islam in the United States. ACT! for America claims 155,000 members in 500 chapters across the country. To build her organization, Ms. Gabriel has enlisted Mr. Rodgers, who had worked behind the scenes for the Christian Coalition’s leaders, Ralph Reed and the television evangelist Pat Robertson. (Ms. Gabriel herself was once an anchor for Mr. Robertson’s Christian television network in the Middle East).

As national field director, Mr. Rodgers planted and tended Christian Coalition chapters across the country, and is now using some of the same strategies as executive director of ACT! Among those tactics is creating “nonpartisan voter guides” that rank candidates’ responses and votes on issues important to the group.

Just as with the Christian Coalition’s voter guides, the candidates whose positions most often align with ACT!’s are usually Republicans. Mr. Rodgers previously served as campaign manager forPatrick J. Buchanan’s presidential run in 1996, and as a consultant for John McCain in 2008.

Ms. Gabriel and Mr. Rodgers declined to be interviewed in person or over the telephone, but agreed to respond to questions by e-mail. They permitted interviews with only their national field director and two chapter leaders they selected, though half a dozen other interviews were conducted with chapter leaders before they were told not to talk.

Ms. Gabriel says she is motivated not by fear or hatred of Islam, but by her love for her adopted country.

“I lost Lebanon, my country of birth, to radical Islam,” she wrote. “I do not want to lose my adopted country America.”

She insists that she is singling out only “radical Islam” or Muslim “extremists” — not the vast majority of Muslims or their faith. And yet, in her speeches and her two books, she leaves the opposite impression. She puts it most simply in the 2008 introduction to her first book, “Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America.”

“In the Muslim world, extreme is mainstream,” she wrote. She said that there is a “cancer” infecting the world, and said: “The cancer is called Islamofacism. This ideology is coming out of one source: The Koran.”

In what ACT! is calling “Open a Koran” day this September, the group plans to put up 750 tables in front of post offices, libraries, churches and synagogues and hand out leaflets selectively highlighting verses that appear to advocate violence, slavery and subjugation of women.

In the last year, the group played a key role in passing a constitutional amendment in Oklahoma banning the use of Shariah, a body of Islamic law derived from the Koran and from the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s teachings, sayings and acts. Most Muslims draw selectively on its tenets — in the same way that people of other faiths pick and choose from their sacred texts.

But group members and their allies have succeeded in popularizing the notion that American Muslims are just biding their time until they gain the power to revoke the Constitution and impose Shariah law in the United States.

“We can’t let Shariah law take hold,” said Susan Watts, who leads a large chapter in Houston.

ACT! members are challenging high school textbooks and college courses that they deem too sympathetic to Islam. A group leader in Eugene, Ore., signed up to teach a community college course on Islam, but it was canceled when a Muslim group exposed his blog postings denouncing Islam and denying the scope of the Holocaust.

A chapter in Colorado recently featured a guest speaker on “How to minister to Muslims,” and “Conversion success stories.” Mr. Rodgers said in a written response that ACT! does not encourage such activities.

Ms. Gabriel’s approach and her power appear rooted in her childhood trauma in the civil war in southern Lebanon. The war was a chaotic stew in which ever-shifting alliances of clan-based militias made up of Christian, Shiite, Sunni, Palestinian and Druse made war on one other, often with the backing of other countries. But in the rendering Ms. Gabriel shares with her American audiences, it was black and white. As her father explained to her, “The Muslims bombed us because we are Christians. They want us dead because they hate us.” (The refrain became the title of her first book.)

She moved to Israel in her early 20s to work for Middle East Television. Ms. Gabriel often mentions in lectures that she was an anchor for the network, but does not reveal that Middle East Television was then run by Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network to spread his politically conservative, Pentecostal faith in the Middle East.

On air as a reporter, Ms. Gabriel used the name Nour Saman. She married an American co-worker and in 1989 moved to the United States. They started a film and television production company, which says it has produced programs on terrorism for “Good Morning America” and “Primetime.”

She said she uses a pseudonym, voted on by her organization’s board, because she has received death threats.

Ms. Gabriel has given hundreds of lectures, including to the Heritage Foundation and the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. Her salary from two organizations she founded, American Congress for Truth and ACT! for America, was $178,411 in 2009. And the group’s combined income was $1.6 million.

In Fort Worth, Ms. Gabriel spent nearly an hour after her speech signing books and posing for pictures with gushing fans.

“She really opened up my eyes about Islam,” said Natalie Rix Cresson, a composer, clutching a signed copy of Ms. Gabriel’s book. “I didn’t realize it was so infiltrated in the schools, everywhere.”

 

Sue Myrick’s Chief of Staff to Join anti-Muslim Hate Group

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on February 15, 2011 by loonwatch
Sue Myrick wrote the foreward for Muslim Mafia

Sue Myrick who wrote the forward to Muslim Mafia by the racist Islamophobe Dave Gaubatz is saying farewell to her longtime chief of staff. However he wont be far off as he will be joining the anti-Muslim hate group ACT! for America.

Myrick’s chief of staff leaving

Charlotte Observer

Hal Weatherman, longtime chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, is leaving to join a non-profit group focused on national security and what it calls “the assault of radical Islam.”

Weatherman has been with Myrick since 1995, her first year in Congress, and served the last 12 years as her chief of staff.

He’ll become national communications and marketing director for Act! for America, a Pensacola-based group that claims over 160,000 members nationwide.

“It would be impossible to exaggerate Hal’s value to my office,” Myrick said in a statement. “This move affords him the ability to pursue a vital shared objective without government restrictions.”

Like Myrick, Weatherman has developed a deep interest in terrorism-related issues and has spoken to local groups about terrorism and homeland security. He called his time with Myrick “an awesome experience.”

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/02/14/2062517/myricks-chief-of-staff-leaving.html#ixzz1E3IS2sOB

 

Educating or fear-mongering? The controversy over ACT!

Posted in Loon People, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on December 28, 2010 by loonwatch
Brigitte Gabriel

One piece would have saved Deirdre a lot of time: ACT! For America is better known as HATE! For America.

Educating or fear-mongering? The controversy over ACT!

By Deirdre Conner
When ACT! for America’s Jacksonville chapter began attacking a local Muslim scholar this year, it might have appeared to be the isolated action of a fringe group.

Far from it.

Over the past year, ACT has engaged in similar skirmishes across the country that have raised the group’s profile, its membership and its revenue.

It describes itself as educating concerned citizens and exposing the threat of radical Islamic terrorists they believe are multiplying on American soil. When the local chapter protested the appointment of University of North Florida professor Parvez Ahmed to the city’s Human Rights Commission, they claimed he had ties to terrorist organizations, despite his written record of condemning violence and terrorism.

But the episode is also one of many reasons ACT has come under increasing scrutiny from critics. They say that at best, the group is promoting misinformation among an American public still largely uninformed about Islam, and at worst, it is exploiting people’s worst fears to propagate bigotry and hate speech against Muslims.

Related: Anti-Muslim activist who led fight against Jacksonville commissioner owes state more than $500K

Its detractors include Muslim civil rights groups as well as scholars and even the Southern Poverty Law Center, all of which say the group denigrates all Muslims, not just extremists.

Despite controversy over ACT’s message, the group has found more and more willing ears from the public, and, in some cases, elected officials.

ACT! for America has a full-time lobbyist in Washington and says it ended 2010 with 155,000 members nationally. In Florida, the group’s membership has more than doubled since 2009, to 19,233 members, said Guy Rodgers, the group’s national executive director. Those members, he said, have been key in the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” strategy.

Busy agenda

It counts among its successes:

– The passage of a ballot initiative in Oklahoma banning courts from considering “international law or Sharia Law” in making decisions.

Related: What sharia is – and isn’t

– The investigation and suspension of the Muslim Student Union at University of California-Irvine for disrupting a speech by Israel’s ambassador to the U.S.

– Protesting the cancellation of a course called “What is Islam?” at an Oregon community college, which was to be taught by one of the group’s chapter leaders.

Together, the Pensacola-based ACT! for America and its affiliated research group, American Congress for Truth, raised more than $1.6 million in 2009, according to the latest tax returns available. Rodgers attributes growing interest in the group to the rise in domestic terrorism threats from Islamic militants over the past two years.

“More and more Americans are beginning to in their consciousness wonder, what is causing this?” Rodgers said.

‘Political correctness’

ACT also is concerned that the government is not thoroughly investigating places in America they feel could be breeding ground for Islamic militants, such as jihadist websites or camps they believe are paramilitary training grounds for terrorists.

So why does ACT believe the government isn’t as vigilant as it should be?

“Political correctness, I think that’s why,” Rodgers said. “We believe that is shackling many in the government … from tackling that issue head-on.”

It was political correctness, the group believes, that led to Ahmed being appointed to the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission, a volunteer board.

Ahmed is the former chairman of the national board for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. ACT claims CAIR is a front for Hamas, a militant Palestinian organization designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. government. And ACT points to CAIR being named in 2007 as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a terrorism-funding trial.

But CAIR was one of hundreds of unindicted co-conspirators. And it was never accused of wrongdoing by the government. For his part, Ahmed has personally condemned violence against both Palestinian and Israeli civilians.

In numerous blog posts and op-eds for The Times-Union and national media, Ahmed has rejected extremist views and violence and writes frequently about how religions can coexist peacefully.

Related: Parvez Ahmed speech transcript: ‘Is Islam compatible with American values?’

And although nearly a third of the City Council voted against his appointment, he found many more supporters among politicians, business leaders and citizens concerned that the episode could paint Jacksonville as a place of intolerance.

Difficult to dismiss

ACT! for America has, both locally and nationwide, found common ground with tea party members and extreme conservatives who helped Republicans retake the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections.

One of its key allies, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., announced plans this month for hearings on Muslim-Americans and terrorism when he assumes the chairmanship of the House Homeland Security Committee.

That’s why even its opponents say the group shouldn’t be dismissed.

“If they were just yahoos … then why did you have people running for Congress or government officials who are otherwise well educated playing that [Muslim] card?” said John L. Esposito, a Georgetown University professor who studies discrimination against Muslims.

“They played that card because a significant number of voters believe that.”

Esposito said ACT! for America is Islamophobic, and he compares it to anti-Semitic and racist groups.

He said that ACT – along with politicians and pundits who agree with it – is capitalizing on people’s fear, which is heightened because of the trauma of terrorism and a painful economy.

“People don’t look at the numbers,” Esposito said. Islamic terrorists “are an infinitely small but dangerous part of the population, and that’s a group that most people reject.”

He compared it to stereotyping all anti-abortion advocates as violent extremists just because there have been incidents of violence against abortion providers.

“It’s a dangerous thing,” he said, “but nobody blows the numbers out of proportion on this.”

Despite its crusade against political correctness, ACT officials deny they are anti-Muslim.

Yet its national leaders – including its founder, the Lebanese-born Christian Brigitte Gabriel – repeatedly say that Islam itself creates terrorists.

In her book “They Must Be Stopped,” Gabriel writes that “The freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedoms that Muslims enjoy in this country have not tempted them to renounce their dreams of destroying the United States.”

In 2008, she told the New York Times Magazine that she disapproves of Islam because it “calls for the killing of other people.” In a speech to U.S. Navy SEALS that same year, she said that the West is doomed to failure until it identifies Islam as the “real enemy.”

A slideshow presented as educational material on ACT! for America’s website refers to Muslims’ birth rates as a “demographic timebomb” and says that moderate Muslims are the true radicals.

But Rodgers, the group’s executive director, said the group is not prejudiced, and that it works with Muslims who want to reform Islam. Islam has “issues” that need to be addressed, he said.

“Embedded within Islamic doctrine is a supremacist political ideology,” Rodgers said. “Does every Muslim agree with that ideology? No. Does every Muslim practice it? No. But it’s that particular political ideology that is at the root of militancy, whether it’s violent militancy or what we call ‘cultural jihad.’ ”

When it comes to the information about Islam and terrorism that ACT espouses, the group is less than transparent. In its tax return, American Congress for Truth notes that it conducted 700 hours of research on the issues, but Rodgers declined to name any of those researchers.

‘This filthy doctrine’

If the difference between being anti-Islam and anti-radical Islam is nuanced, some of ACT’s supporters don’t appear to get the message.

Facebook “fans” of the group repeatedly post anti-Islamic sentiments on the page. In the past week, one posted that “this filthy doctrine needs to be wiped off the face of the earth,” and another declared hatred of Muslims. The week before, one post praised ACT for “fighting the good fight” against Islam, and another called on “God-lovin” Americans to disrupt a Muslim prayer service in New York City.

But Rodgers said the group tries to keep tabs on members who cross the line. He pointed to a video posted this year by CAIR, in which an ACT member is shown saying that the Quran should be used as toilet paper.

Rodgers said ACT condemned those actions when it found out about them. The group can’t know about the beliefs of every one of its members, he said.

What isn’t in dispute is how little most Americans know about Islam and the roots of terrorism.

An August poll from the Pew Research Center shows that 55 percent of Americans say they do not know very much or know nothing at all about the Muslim religion and its practices.

Yet just 62 percent of respondents said Muslims should have the same rights as other groups to build houses of worship.

And 38 percent believe Islam encourages violence more than other religions, a figure that has increased substantially in the nine years since President George W. Bush visited a mosque and reminded Americans that Islam is a religion of peace.

Republicans and people with less education are far more likely to express an unfavorable view of Islam, Pew found, and people with more knowledge of the religion are more likely to view it favorably.

Concern over rising volume

Groups that exploit that lack of information to spread fear about Muslims seem to have become louder over the past few years, said Brannon Wheeler, professor of history and director of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy. He does not speak on behalf of the academy.

More insidious, he said, is when groups “take a 10th century legal text [regarding sharia] … and find stuff in that text and say, this is what Muslims all around the world believe.”

Just as Christians around the world have diverging beliefs on certain issues, Muslims around the world are also quite diverse – if not more so, Wheeler said.

“It was my hope … that after the tragedy of Sept. 11, many people would learn more about Islam,” Wheeler said. “But I fear that what has happened in general is that most people’s stereotypes have become more entrenched and more widespread.”

On the whole, Muslims in America are far more integrated into society than in Europe, where there have been more violent conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Still, American Muslims – who make up less than 2 percent of the overall population – say they are more often experiencing discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has seen a surge in discrimination complaints by Muslims in the past two years, the New York Times reported in September.

Although there are many different and complex ways that people become radicalized, discrimination can be a factor, said Gary LaFree, director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. Known as the START Center, it is a partner with the Department of Homeland Security, known as a Center of Excellence.

“The more you marginalize any minority in your population, the more grievances they have, and the more their grievances will be supported,” he said. “[It’s] a way of provoking people who had peacefully coexisted.”

That, LaFree said, is something that Osama bin Laden expressed hope would happen.

“If one of the main purposes of this type of terrorism is to drive a wedge between the Muslim and non-Muslim population,” he said, “it seems this is playing right into that.”

deirdre.conner@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4504

 

ACT! For America’s Veteran Defenders of America

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by loonwatch

ACT! For America, or as they are better known Hate! for America have created what they are dubbing a joint project, Veteran Defenders of America. ACT! for America is the organization led by class A loon Brigitte Gabriel, it regularly defames Muslims and insists Islam is trying to take over America.

In my previous article, ACT! for America is better known as Hate! for America I wrote,

ACT! for America has a problem. Its first problem is that it was founded by Brigitte Gabriel. Yes, the same Brigitte Gabriel the New York Times called a “radical Islamophobe” and who in the past has made statements like “Arabs have no soul,” and “Arabs are barbarians.” She might be novel eye candy for some (which I’m guessing is the reason Bill Maher had her on his show) but it is clear that Brigitte Gabriel is a whacked out fundamentalist with a seething rage against Muslims and a determination on the one hand to destroy Islam and on the other to make as much profit in the process.

The other problem with ACT! is that it is an organization filled with the types of people we see at Tea Party rallies. You know the ones who dress up in late 18th century regalia a la George Washington or carry around posters about Obama being a Kenyan, or Hitler, or Joker or a Marxist Mooslim anti-Christ coming to change America from a Christian nation into the Soviet Union.

The ACT! for America scheme essentially boils down to an organization masquerading as a “defender of Western Civilization” akin to the claims of other Islamophobes such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. They have a binary view of the world, the Bush mantra of “you’re either with us or against us.”

Now Brigitte and her goons are creating an organization of veterans who will be opposing “terrorism” (i.e. Islam) under the guise of “protecting our freedoms.” This development is pretty hair raising in light of the fact that threatening rhetoric has been observed from members of other anti-Muslim organizations who profess to also be veterans or soldiers in the US military.

We reported earlier on the existence of self-purported veterans in Stop the Islamization of America(SIOA) who made pronouncements of murder and genocide against Muslims,

Veterans know how to “lock and load.” They have honed their skills in the greatest and most powerful military in the world. When populists and fear-mongers unite to dredge up xenophobia, bigotry and hate against Islam and Muslims it lends itself to influencing our veterans and military personnel, especially considering they are involved in two wars in Muslim countries and are stationed on bases throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Simple logic forces us to question: how many of the returning veterans are going to leave the fight against Muslims on the battlefield? Is it safe to venture that the process of dehumanizing the enemy, his religion, his culture, his race will not be limited to the battlefield but will actually see itself transported to the homeland, at least by a small minority?

When we combine this with those who seek to capitalize on anti-Muslim hysteria it is a volatile cocktail, and if the Veteran Defenders of America are any indication it is getting organized — and armed.

Richard Van Waes, founder and operating chair person of the Veteran Defenders of America has this message on his website,

The United States of America has long enjoyed freedoms no other country in history has ever known. The founders of our nation had vision to give us documents that entrusted freedom to all citizens.

As veterans, we swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and to defend it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Quite simply, unlike any period in our long history, our freedoms are in jeopardy. Our domestic borders have been silently invaded with people who intend to harm us. There are thousands of terrorists and terror cells within the United States borders who have one goal as their agenda – the destruction of America as we know it. This simply cannot take place.

Most of us have families. I have children, grandchildren and extended family who all need protection. You, as a veteran, have training, skills and experience that uniquely enable you to respond to our government’s message that encourages family and community preparedness, citizen awareness and service to our families and our communities.

We’re asking all able-bodied veterans to join Veteran Defenders in an alliance to ensure our freedoms. REMEMBER, we ALL can contribute some of our skilled training, in some small way. Over 18 million strong, we are a valuable and frequently overlooked resource to our nation.

May God bless you, your family and our nation. The time is now, join us.

The idea that our domestic borders have been “invaded by people who intend to harm us,” that there are “thousands of terrorists and terror cells” within the United States who seek to take our freedom and destroy America is quite familiar. It is the language of paranoia, the language of those who sow the seeds of conspiracy to advance their own agenda. It is the same language that was used against Japanese Americans to justify the Internment camps, against Blacks to take away their personal freedoms and to perpetuate Jim Crow.

It is vital to the future of our nation that such organizations do not go unopposed and that the military, veterans of conscious, institutions such as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) band together to ensure that this vitriol against Islam and Muslims does not spiral out of control.

Update: We thought it would be notable to point out the views of some veterans in response to this.John Bryant a former veteran himself and loonwatcher has this to say in response to the article,

“As a vet with kids in uniform, I find it unbelieveably offens[ive] that these assholes would use the symbols of our five services who fight to defend the constitution (including the first amendment, all of it!) to somehow equate service and patriotism with hate and bigotry!”

 

ACT! for America is better known as Hate! for America

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2010 by loonwatch
Brigitte GabrielBrigitte Gabriel

ACT! for America has a problem. Its first problem is that it was founded by Brigitte Gabriel. Yes, the same Brigitte Gabriel the New York Times called a “radical Islamophobe” and who in the past has made statements like “Arabs have no soul,” and “Arabs are barbarians.” She might be novel eye candy for some (which I’m guessing is the reason Bill Maher had her on his show) but it is clear that Brigitte Gabriel is a whacked out fundamentalist with a seething rage against Muslims and a determination on the one hand to destroy Islam and on the other to make as much profit in the process.

The other problem with ACT! is that it is an organization filled with the types of people we see at Tea Party rallies. You know the ones who dress up in late 18th century regalia a la George Washington or carry around posters about Obama being a Kenyan, or Hitler, or Joker or a Marxist Mooslim anti-Christ coming to change America from a Christian nation into the Soviet Union.

tea_party

The ACT! for America scheme essentially boils down to an organization masquerading as a “defender of Western Civilization” akin to the claims of other Islamophobes such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. They have a binary view of the world, the Bush mantra of “you’re either with us or against us.”

Brigitte Gabriel pretentiously declares on the ACT! site, “I founded this organization to give Americans their voice back…” Brigitte, Americans never lost their “voice,” unless the “voice” you want to give back is the Jim Crow voice that unleashed the dogs and water hoses on Southern blacks fighting for civil rights and against White racism because that is the historical parallel which fits into your rhetoric.

Those White racists were saying the same thing Brigitte is saying today, that we need to “defend Western civilization.” To the White racists of the South, Western civilization equaled White and Christian. Today Brigitte claims a bigger tent though it is bigoted just the same, to her Western Civilization equals Judeo-Christian and de facto excludes any Muslim.

ACT! is an organization shot through and through with Christian fundamentalists. That is why at many of their events one will see a Christian missionary preaching the Gospel while other ACT! custodians will be passing out anti-Islam literature.

In this video a representative for a Florida Chapter of ACT! for America spews his hate filled beliefs about Islam. He brags about using the Quran as toilet paper and urinating in Muslim ablution sinks (starts at 45 seconds):

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn5UfW6GOc4 350 300]

I guess that is defending Western Civilization for you. The original user (an ACT! member) who put up the above video on YouTube has removed it. Obviously realizing that it hurts their credibility, but luckily someone else downloaded it.

Also in Florida where they seem to be the most active, ACT! for America chapters were angered at the appointment of Parvez Ahmed to Jacksonville’s Human Rights Commission. They couldn’t countenance a Muslim being appointed to anything in an official capacity (even though 90% of them probably believe that Barack Obama is a Mooslim). So they began a campaign to smear Parvez, saying he was filled with Taqiyyah, that he was a terrorist, a terrorist supporter, etc. To do so they brought up his time as an employee with CAIR. ACT! members falsely held the belief that they could shout “CAIR!” and it would be enough to stop the train and ruin someones career and reputation.

An anti-Muslim organization is lobbying Jacksonville City Council members to vote against confirming a University of North Florida professor to the city’s Human Rights Commission.

Parvez Ahmed, who is Muslim, was appointed to the voluntary advisory board by Mayor John Peyton and recommended for confirmation by the council Rules Committee. A vote on his confirmation is scheduled to occur at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The group ACT! for America caught wind of his appointment last week and e-mailed a 20-page report Friday accusing Ahmed of having ties to extremist groups through his service on the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“When it comes to a human rights commissioner, Jacksonville can do better than this nomination,” said Randy McDaniels, leader of ACT’s Jacksonville chapter.

The mayor’s office and some City Council members dispute the organizations’ claims and said there is no proof Ahmed has radical ties. Deputy General Counsel Cindy Laquidara will attend Tuesday’s council meeting to answer questions about Ahmed’s background.

Councilman John Crescimbeni, who initially suggested Ahmed to the mayor’s office for a nomination, said the group and its last-minute claims against the professor have no credibility.

“In fact, I checked out some of those allegations made in the original e-mail that came out last Friday,” Crescimbeni said. “It looked like a cut and paste job. It’s pure hate on their part.”

Crescimbeni said Ahmed, who is a Fulbright Scholar with decades of public service under his belt, would be an asset to the Human Rights Commission.

“I can’t think of a better person to serve on that commission than him,” he said. “He is the guy that’s all about peace, and he’s all about getting along.”

Council President Richard Clark said Ahmed’s appointment is currently included on the consent agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, meaning it would be approved quickly with several other items. However, he said, any council member can request that it be taken off the consent agenda and discussed separately.

“I have no intention of pulling it,” Clark said. “If people felt that strongly about it, they should have spoken up long before the confirmation process at Rules.”

McDaniels said ACT learned of Ahmed’s nomination after media reports surfaced about the Rules Committee vote and Councilman Clay Yarborough’s questioning of the professor’s opinion on separation of church and state and gay marriage.

Yarborough voted to recommend the professor after receiving responses he considered satisfactory, but he now says the ACT report has given him pause. He said he wants to know more about its claims before deciding whether he will vote for Ahmed’s confirmation.

“If need be, I will adamantly oppose confirmation of his appointment on the floor tomorrow if there are established links here that are of concern,” Yarborough said Monday.

The ACT report ties Council on American-Islamic Relations to extremists because it was listed as one of 300 unindicted co-conspirators in a Department of Justice terrorism financing trial. That matter ended in mistrial, and CAIR was never accused of wrongdoing.

McDaniels’ group offered no evidence that Ahmed had directly attempted to support terrorist groups.

The mayor’s office is standing by its decision to nominate Ahmed to the Human Rights Commission, saying it conducted the same criminal background and reference checks as all other nominees to a board or commission.

Ahmed said the scrutiny he has experienced in recent days has not deterred him from wanting to serve on the commission, but he worries about the message it is sending.

“I am afraid other qualified individuals may be discouraged to pursue public service,” he said. “Hate groups like ACT do not belong in our Democratic process.”

Councilman Art Shad, who is chairman of the Rules Committee, expressed the same concern and said the next two weeks will be important for the City Council as Ahmed and two others come up for confirmation to the Human Rights Commission.

“We want to be very careful in how we act because we need to set the example of being level-headed, although we want to be thorough in our view,” Shad said.

He said any council member has a right to ask questions of nominees, but he hopes there is an air of respect to the process and to those who want to volunteer their time.

tia.mitchell@jacksonville.com
(904) 359-4425

Unfortunately for ACT! people aren’t buying into the conspiracies anymore, and their cries about CAIR are falling on unsympathetic ears.

Jacksonville panel votes again to recommend Ahmed for commission

After nearly two weeks of controversy, the City Council Rules Committee voted 4-1 today to recommend University of North Florida professor Pervez Ahmed as a member of the city’s Human Rights Commission.

The nomination now goes to the full council for approval.

Only Councilman Clay Yarborough voted against Ahmed. He had voted to approve Ahmed at the last Rules meeting.

Mark WoodsJacksonville councilman Clay Yarborough takes turn at answering questions

“I have too much of a reasonable doubt based on the research I’ve done over the last week and a half,” Yarborough said.

Voting in favor were Art Shad, John Crescimbeni, Denise Lee and Bill Bishop. Council Vice President Jack Webb left the room before the vote was taken; he told The Times-Union he stepped out to get a soft drink and was surprised that the vote came so soon.

The meeting was interrupted by shouting and several people walked out.

Ahmed said of the vote, “It’s a vindication for the City of Jacksonville more than for me … The city needed an outcome that demonstrated courage, that demonstrated moral clarity.”

Ahmed’s nomination was opposed by ACT! for America, an anti-Islamist group. Randy McDaniels, head of the group’s Jacksonville chapter, said, “It is surprising that so many people are pushing this individual and I would ask why.”

This story isn’t over but it is clear that the days of maligning Muslims for standing up for their civil rights will not get a free pass. However, the dogged persistence of hate groups such as ACT! for America means Americans of all stripes will have to be vigilante and work hard to fight hate.

ACT! for America maybe more properly known as Hate! for America because that is what they represent, as is evident by the bigotry of their founder Brigitte Gabriel, the witch hunt against Parvez Ahmed and the video of the hate filled ACT! for America representative make plain.