Archive for Hate

Report On “Rescuing Human Rights” Conference at UC San Diego

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by loonwatch

tritons-4-israel

Tikkun Olam has an update to the Stand With Us “rescuing human rights” event, where bigots such as Zuhdi Jasser were invited and human rights was discussed by casting Islam as the opposite of ‘human rights’:

My impression is that SWU has launched a crafty but potentially risky plan to engage on human rights issues and they have selected Islamophobia as the main avenue of approach, telling graphic stories of Islamic-based abuses of human rights.

REPORT ON “RESCUING HUMAN RIGHTS” CONFERENCE AT UC SAN DIEGO

Davey, a long time member of the Tikun Olam reader community, lives in San Diego and attended theRescuing Human Rights program hosted by StandWithUs at UC San Diego this week.  I wrote about the eventbefore it occurred.  His report is below:

Stand With Us and Tritons for Israel presented “Rescuing Human Rights” on Wednesday evening May 15th at the University of California San Diego.  Moderated by Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, the panelists included Brooke Goldstein, a human rights attorney, Zuhdi Jasser, described as a “devout Muslim” and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and last and least, Avi Bell, Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and at Bar-Ilan University, an expert on the laws of war.

There was no organized counter demonstration, but three armed police were visibly at the ready.  On entering the auditorium, signs reminded attendees that placards and uncivil behavior would not be tolerated.  The early attendees were an older crowd, about one-half over 60 I would guess.  These attendees arrived largely as couples or families and form perhaps the loyal backbone of the local “Stand With Us” organization.

The evening began with a harangue by the moderator about the many instances of human rights violations worldwide that are not reported or investigated by certain human rights agencies, including the UN.  The list of horrors was long and graphic.  Stephens stated several times that these agencies were derelict except in the case of “one state.”  He went on to distinguish between “real” human rights abuses and the human rights issues in Israel, though the distinction was lost on me.

Jasser’s theme was that religion is an individual thing and that governments should get out of the way.  He claimed that he was freer to practice Islam in the US than in many Islamic states and that such states are dominated by Sharia law, law dispensed by clerics.

Bell emphasized that the self-appointed guardians of Human Rights are simply not doing their jobs.  He explained that private land transactions–an Arab selling his land to a Jew–is a capital crime in the West Bank and that such a law is plainly anti-Semitic.  Yet such legal restrictions on the buying and selling of land are very much on the books in Israel! Are these laws anti-Semitic, as well?  Amnesty International was faulted for finding “facts tailored to their agenda.”  One might object to such a claim by responding that, even so, they nonetheless have facts.

Finally, Ms. Goldstein offered a vivid description of the abuse of children by Islamists, teaching children the glory of martyrdom and stuffing them into suicide belts.  We should be aghast that the rights of these children are not protected and advanced.  She asked why the human rights agencies aren’t focused on these abuses.

The arguments made, the ideas broached, seem almost inconceivable to me given the sponsorship of the meeting by the State of Israel (Stand With Us.)  And that is the point:  Israel would love to change the nature of the human rights discourse, and the evening was indeed devoted to that purpose.  Yet, how can a State so utterly deficient on the subject, suddenly come to sponsor human rights events?  It is a brazen concept, even insulting.

The risk of opening debate on human rights is so severe for Israel, that one might think they would not want to take it.  Apparently, they are so bedeviled on these matters, they must feel they have nothing to lose!  But, every argument offered by the panel was specious and easily-deflated.  For example, a listing of unreported, unrecognized human rights abuses worldwide does not relieve Israel of its own culpability.  Any parent surely comes to know that the child caught doing wrong will attempt to divert blame by pointing to a sibling or a neighbor and their yet more horrendous deeds.  All parents learn to discount these transparent efforts. Yet, here it is again.  Israel’s accountability is not diminished one bit by the sins of other states.  And Jasser’s call for separation of Church and State would not play well in the Jewish State where rabbinical organizations and religion in general is State-sponsored.

Ms. Goldstein, however, was particularly smug and self-righteous in her condemnations of the Islamist abuse of children as suicide bombers, human shields, and warriors.  Here, too, the bubble is easily popped:  During Q & A, I asked, via notecard, that inasmuch as her specialty is the violations of children’s human rights, would she comment on the abuse of the 300 children killed in operation Cast Lead?  She backed away from the question, reiterating that we can agree that it is not right for Islamic children to be abused, which I took as a plea of nolo contendre. Bell, however, offered a heated response rooted in the fiction of human shields and the rules of “war” etc.  (Of course, Cast Lead was only war from the Israeli point of view as there was no actual other side, just a civilian population subjected to F-16’s and tanks!  War?  More like murder.)  Bell’s remarks were greeted with some perfunctory applause, all of it from the front section of older people, the neatly attired old guard who arrive early and fill up the first rows.

The mention of the 300 children, a fact that I cannot escape and I do not let others escape, did cast a pall, if only for the moment, over the proceedings and crashed whatever silly hope the organizers might have had that perhaps nobody would rub their collective noses in Israel’s abundantly terrible record.  Given this moment, I stalked dramatically out of the auditorium unnoticed by anyone.

My impression is that SWU has launched a crafty but potentially risky plan to engage on human rights issues and they have selected Islamophobia as the main avenue of approach, telling graphic stories of Islamic-based abuses of human rights.  The program should crash in any open forum precisely because the record in Israel is so well-known and documented by the very agencies they assault.  So, the preacher only preaches to the converted, the old-guard.

The attempt to hide the sins of Israel behind other outrages worldwide servesonly to open the door to discussion of Israel’s crimes. If SWU cannot animate new, sophisticated individuals, it is just spinning its wheels.  Let them spin:  If this is the best they can muster, I am that much more assured that I am on the right side of things here and that they will not win many young hearts and minds by this approach.  The discussion offered no insight or perspective, and is in this sense just as vapid and hypocritical as anything from Dershowitz, Oren, and the rest of the Israel gang out there.  Human rights will not be advanced or “rescued” by a paid charade such as this.

Osman Mirghani on Islam, the Rochdale Grooming Case and the Exploitation of Minors

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2012 by loonwatch

BNP and Far-Right Demonstrate

The Rochdale grooming of minors for sexual exploitation case has devolved into an opportunity for some to Islam-bash.

Islam and the issue of exploiting minors

by Osman Mirghani (Al-Arabiyya)

Over the past few days, Britain has been preoccupied with the prosecution and imprisonment of nine Muslim men (eight Pakistanis and one Afghani) on charges of being part of a child sex exploitation ring. Much has been said about the religious and ethnic background of the defendants, not to mention their victims, who were all white minors suffering from social problems, to the point that all issues became tangled up and intertwined; criminal considerations, religious and ethnic backgrounds and racial sensitivities. The result was heated discussions that mostly inclined towards unfair generalization, the promotion of a stereotyped image of Islam and false accusations against it.

Islam is a religion that is embraced by over 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe, approximately 2.8 million of whom live in Britain. Islam is Britain’s second largest religion, and Muslims make up nearly 5 percent of the country’s population. Of course, there were some rational and balanced discussions of this case; however this all went out the window amidst the clamorous voices that highlighted the religious and racial features of a purely criminal case in which the defendants are a small handful of people who represent only themselves and their own deviant behavior.

This climate served as the perfect opportunity for racists to exploit, and so some movements staged anti-Muslim and anti-immigration demonstrations in which they raised slogans like ‘No to Islam’, ‘Protect our Children…Expel the Rapists’ and ‘Our Children are not Halal Meat’, in a reference to the sale of halal meat to Muslims. Such movements are now active in numerous Western states, and they are exploiting the financial and economic crises as well as the widespread negative image of Islam since the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent terrorist operations, including – of course – the 7 July, 2005 tube bombings in London. This image has contributed to feeding the negative climate which has produced laws banning the niqab and hijab, as well as the construction of minarets in some Western capitals, provoking extremist violence as was the case with the crimes of Anders Behring Breivik in Norway.

The grave problem is that this climate is being strengthened by the statements that are issued by some politicians or so-called specialists, not to mention the superficial articles which promote stereotypical, mistaken, ignorant or sometimes malicious images of Islam and Muslims. In addition to this, there are also some press reports that intend to provoke public opinion or controversy by publishing some defamatory images. For example, a television report screened during the trial session of the nine defendants who were prosecuted on charges of rape, sexual assault and trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, amongst other crimes, showed the defendants standing in front of a mosque.

This represents a dangerous suggestion linking these terrible crimes with Islam, particularly as these defendants were not religious and their crimes were committed in Asian restaurants or empty houses and apartments, nowhere in the vicinity of a mosque! The comparison is truly scandalous when compared with the manner in which crimes involving the sexual abuse of children inside churches at the hands of priests are dealt with, for despite the noise and controversy surrounding such scandals, we have never heard anybody linking this to Christianity as a religion or to the priests’ ethnic background. It is true that there were discussions about deviations within the church, and there were calls for the Catholic Church and others to put an end this phenomenon and uncover its perpetrators, yet no one saw this as something implicating Christianity as a whole or as something that raises moral or ethical questions about all Christians.

The crime of sexual assaulting children deserves the strongest condemnation, regardless of the identity of the perpetrators, their ethnic background or religious affiliation, and this is something that is not confined to individuals of Pakistani or Muslim descent. Statistics and reports prepared by specialists stress that with the exception of Pakistani men being oversubscribed in such crimes, most sexual crimes against minors are committed by ‘white men’. This is how the majority of media outlets used this term in their reports, rather than saying ‘White Christians’, for example, in the same manner that the Pakistanis were described as ‘Asian Muslims.’

One of the striking examples of intentionally linking Islam with the issue of sexual exploitation of children can be seen in an article published by the British Times newspaper last Thursday entitled ‘Let’s be honest. There’s a clear link with Islam’. The title clearly demonstrates that there is an intention to target Islam, distort its image and use the crimes and deviation of a tiny minority to put forward a negative image of all Muslims.

Read the Rest…

Watch Rep. Peter King Lie Through His Teeth: “NYPD, Doesn’t Profile Muslims”

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by loonwatch

That the NYPD was profiling Muslims based on their religion is an indisputable fact, but King of course can’t and won’t admit it. His entire political career at the moment hinges on the “radicalization of Muslim Americans” myth:

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2012/05/14/exp-point-king-profiling-exchange.cnn

The lies are not a surprise, but reporters need to do a better job at challenging politicians like King.
Rep. Peter King On NYPD Muslim Surveillance: ‘There Is No Profiling‘

(HuffingtonPost)

Representative Peter King (R-NY) said Monday during an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien that “there is no racial profiling” by the New York Police Department.

The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza asked King first what he thought of profiling as a practice, and then insinuated that perhaps King’s staunch defense of everything NYPD is problematic.

House Democrats Thursday introduced a resolution calling on the NYPD to end programs that infiltrated mosques and spied on innocent muslims.

King responded to Lizza, “First of all, there is no profiling. And that’s the absolute nonsense that people like you and others are propagating.”

Lizza quickly defended his question. “I’m not propagating anything,” he said. “I’m just telling you that there’s been some very good questions raised about what the NYPD’s doing. ”

King replied, “I’m telling you there is no profiling. So, I want you to take that back…. You have no evidence of profiling at all. They use terms like profiling, spying, casually and cavalierly. And you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

And when guest anchor Brooke Baldwin interjected that Izza was just brining up some valid points, King responded emphatically, “They’re not valid points!”

King and fellow New York Republican Rep. Bob Turner demanded Democrats apologize for the resolution Friday, issuing a statement that read, “We are utterly dumbfounded and shocked that after such a slanderous attack, the overwhelming majority of congressional Democrats and the entire Democratic leadership voted for the Holt amendment and against the NYPD. We believe the Democrats owe New York and the NYPD an explanation for their shameful surrender to political correctness.”

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2012/05/14/exp-point-king-profiling-exchange.cnn
This isn’t the first time King–who chairs the House’s Homeland Security Committee and who has held hearings on the radicalization of Islam in the US– has defended the NYPD from criticism over its surveillance of muslim communities.

In March, when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie criticized the NYPD’s operations in Newark, King responded, “It’s really disturbing and disappointing to have someone like Chris Christie join on this politically correct bandwagon. I wish Chris Christie was more concerned about keeping people alive than he is about trying to score cheap political points.”

Also in March, King joined the narrator of “The Third Jihad” at a rally held by muslims in defense of NYPD surveillance of muslims.

Nachum Shifren: Racist Rabbi Still Trying to Run For Senate Seat

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by loonwatch

Nachum Shifren is still trying to run for senate. He thinks “White Americans” like “him” are under assault by everyone else. In the past we exposed Shifren for being the racist and hate-monger he is in our article, Rabbi Nachum Shifren: Rides the Wave of Islamophobia and Rabbi Nachum Shifren: EDL is the Salvation of the West from the “Muslim Dogs”.

I am not even sure if Shifren is still a Jew, how can he say this and remain a Jew, perhaps he is a “self-hating” Jew?:

… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.

Clearly he didn’t mean to say that he is a “Christian,” maybe he forgot to add the “Judeo” part?

Also see Richard Silverstein’s take: California Tea Party “White Christian” Settler Rabbi for US Senate

California: EDL-supporting Senate candidate claims to defend ‘white Americans’ against threat of Islam

San Mateo, CA — In the US Senate primary in California on June 5th, where 23 candidates vie to challenge Senator Dianne Feinstein in November, conservative candidates were recorded on videoverbally attacking teachers, Muslims, and minority groups to excite their base at GOP and Tea Party venues.

The video was recorded at a “Get to Know Your Candidates” event hosted by the San Mateo GOP at the American Legion Hall here. Dr. David Levitt, the candidate who recorded the event, reports unmasked homophobia, Islamophobia, and racism in the Republicans’ speeches.

In the video Republican candidate Rabbi Shifren cries, “… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.”

PRWeb, 14 May 2012

In October 2010 Nachum Shifren visited the UK to express his solidarity with the English Defence League, joining them for ademonstration in support of Israel and against “Islamic fascism” at which he was the main speaker. Fired up by Shifren’s Islamophobic rhetoric – he described Muslims as “dogs” who were trying to “take over our countries” – three EDL members attacked an Islamic literature stall and were later convicted of public order offences, with one of them receiving a seven-day prison sentence and a five-year CRASBO.

Dearborn Anti-Islam Conference Discriminates Against Muslim Women it Claims to Save

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by loonwatch

Omar Baddar and a host of other organizations responded to the hateful anti-Islam and anti-Arab conference put on by professional bigots Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. The founders of SIOA crassly titled the event, “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference.” Seeking to manipulate and abuse the memory of a young Muslim girl who was murdered by her step-father.

Her murder had nothing to do with Islam, but the hate-mongerers insist on trying to smear Islam at any opportunity.

In the following video we get the facts. We see how discriminatory and racist to the core the anti-Islam brigades behind the “conference” really are! We also see how scared they are of confrontation and being challenged on their hateful bigotry:

AAI Community Town Hall Shatters Anti-Muslim Narrative

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2012 by loonwatch

The counter to the anti-Freedom voices:

AAI Community Town Hall Shatters Anti-Muslim Narrative

by Omar Baddar

Yesterday, more than a hundred people gathered at a town hall at the Doubletree Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan to stand in solidarity with the Arab American and American Muslim communities against Islamophobia. The town hall, organized by AAI and local community groups, was held in response to an anti-Muslim conference at the Hyatt in Dearborn, organized by Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and other leading Islamophobes.

Islamophobes try to portray themselves as “the real Americans” defending America from the allegedly foreign presence of Muslims, but it was our community town hall that was attended by many elected officials, including Michigan Congressmen John Conyers, Jr. and Hansen Clarke. Elected officials’ presence at our event reiterated the integrality of the American Muslim community in the U.S. and the fringe nature of those who are pushing America to become otherwise.

The town hall opened with an educational panel that included Fear Inc. co-author Eli Clifton, writer Sarah Posner, and AAI President Jim Zogby. Clifton explained in detail the funding sources that finance the anti-Muslim network, while Posner discussed the influence of Islamophobia on American politics. Zogby shed light on the reasons behind the recent rise in Islamophobia, and gave a broader analysis of its implications on U.S. political culture. AAI Executive Director Maya Berry moderated the discussion.

The educational panel was followed by remarks from local community leaders. Noel Saleh of ACCESS talked about the long history of the Arab American and American Muslim communities as an essential part of the fabric of American society. Dawud Walid of CAIR noted how traditional racism played a significant role in the rise of Islamophobia, including the disputing of President Obama’s faith. Osama Siblani of the Arab American News gave a passionate talk about the inevitable defeat of Islamophobes in America because they are working against American values and against history. Others, including Imam Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America, Suehaila Amen of the Lebanese American Heritage Club, Imad Hamad of ADC-Michigan, Nabih Ayad of the Arab American Civil Rights League, and interfaith stalwarts Rev. Dan Buttry and Victor Begg also offered powerful remarks at the event.

Congressmen Conyers and Clarke offered passionate words of solidarity with the Arab and Muslim communities. Congressman Clarke noted that Islamophobia should not be a “Muslim issue,” but an American one that is combatted vigorously by all Americans. He also urged the community not to only criticize elected officials who engage in anti-Muslim pandering, but to press those who are silent to speak out against Islamophobia. The town hall concluded with a lively Q&A which left everyone in a positive spirit, ready to take on the challenges we face.

Because of our presence in Dearborn to challenge the anti-Muslim narrative, virtually all media coverage accurately described the other event as the anti-Muslim event and ours as the community response to bigotry. As long as our community stands up and speaks out against Islamophobia, and as long as public officials and the broader American community continue to stand with us, the bigots will never build momentum that can disrupt the diversity and tolerance that characterize our society.

After the conclusion of our event, my colleague Omar Tewfik and I tried to attend and cover the anti-Muslim conference, but were denied entry (quite the contrast from our open-to-all event). We’ll be sharing our story very soon, accompanied with video footage and interesting details.

France: Muslim Section of Cemetery in Carros Desecrated by Vandals

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on April 30, 2012 by loonwatch

cemetery_desecrated_Carros_France

A Muslim section in a Carre cemetery was desecrated

This is a report from the French website, Al-Kanz which does a good job in covering anti-Islam and anti-Muslim trends and attacks, they also alerted us to this story. Here is an approximate translation via. Google:

Desecrated Muslim section near Nice

Hatred of the living led some to attack the dead. The Muslim section of a cemetery in Carros, near Nice, has been desecrated, as reported by France Soir .

The brave Snatchers drew swastikas in reverse and inscribed “Vive Le Pen” and “Arab dehor” outside without s. The UMP proposed a few days ago to reform the spelling. Utility is measured. Like drawing classes with swastikas in place?

Here is the original in French:

La haine des vivants conduit certains à s’en prendre aux morts. Le carré musulman d’un cimetière à Carros, près de Nice, a été profané, comme le rapporte France Soir.

Les courageux profanateurs ont dessiné des croix gammées à l’envers et inscrit « Vive Le Pen » et « Arabe dehor », dehors sans s. L’UMP proposait il y a quelques jours de réformer l’orthographe. On mesure l’utilité. Tout comme des cours de dessin de croix gammées à l’endroit ?

German Far-right Party Plans to Demonstrate Outside Mosques

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2012 by loonwatch

anti-Mosque protests

This seems to be the strategy for the foreseeable future amongst far-right groups in Germany:

German far-right party plans to demonstrate outside mosques

A far-right party on the campaign trial in Germany’s most populous state is threatening to put caricatures of Mohammed outside mosques in a string of cities.

The “Pro NRW” party in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia has already shown anti-Islamic caricatures in Essen and Gelsenkirchen, though the police prevented demonstrations taking place directly outside mosques.

Police have also banned “Pro NRW”, which is campaigning on an Islamophobic platform, from using the Danish cartoons that caused massive protests in the Islamic world in 2005.

But “Pro NRW” intends to send activists to 25 mosques throughout the state in the run-up to the election on May 13, staging protests in Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Aachen, Wuppertal and Solingen. Areport in Die Welt newspaper on Sunday said the far-right party intended to post around 100 what it called “Islam-critical” drawings outside the mosques.

Interior Minister in state Ralf Jäger condemned the campaign and expressed support for planned counter-demonstrations. “Pro NRW is committing spiritual arson,” he told the paper. “The party is consciously taking into account that Muslims will feel provoked and upset. The authorities will exhaust all legal avenues to prevent a xenophobic hate campaign.”

The federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich is reportedly worried about violent confrontations with the Salafists, the fundamentalist Muslims who began distributing free copies of the Koran in Germany three weeks ago. A report in Der Spiegelmagazine over the weekend said his ministry had been in contact with the North Rhine-Westphalia state government in recent weeks to find a way to de-escalate the situation. The election there is on May 13.

“Pro NRW” campaign manager Lars Seidensticker says he did not understand the outrage over the campaign, and says his party would bear no responsibility for any violence.

“If the situation is so tense that you can’t do a campaign like this against Islamist influences any more, then the politicians are responsible for doing away with Germany,” he said, alluding to the title of a 2010 book by banker Thilo Sarrazin (“Germany Does Away with Itself”), which criticized Islamic immigrants in Germany.

“Mosques are potential centres of a new civil war that we have to prevent,” said Seidensticker. “That’s why we have to pull out the Islamist evil by its roots.”

“Pro NRW”, which boasts 250 members, is also planning to award a cash prize for the “best” anti-Islamic caricature, named after Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who was responsible for the 2005 images. Westergaard has distanced himself from the competition and is reportedly considering legal action against the party for using his name.

The Local, 30 April 2012

In Norway’s Tragedy and a Nation’s Response Lies a Lesson For Us All

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by loonwatch

Anders Behring Breivik’s destructive actions will not define a nation’s response and the lesson’s learned: (h/t: Roger via. Islamophobia Today)

In Norway’s Tragedy and a Nation’s Response Lies a Lesson For Us All

International media has been gripped by the trial of Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. A self-declared ‘Knights Templar Crusader’ who believed he was acting in ‘defense’ of Norway by killing a future generation of aspiring Leftist leaders he accused of abetting the ‘Islamization’ of Europe.

During the initial reporting of the rampage the speculation of who or what could be behind the attack was rife, most media outlets zeroed in on Muslims with many (mis)attributing the attacks to ‘Islam.’

“AlQaeda”… “the Muslims, who else,” many thought and were told. The rush to judgement was swift.

When the culprit was captured, Breivik’s Scandanavian features and anti-Islam manifesto belied the narratives swirling in the media, shell shocking a media-world expecting the arrest of a “disgruntled, unintegrated, bearded ‘brown’ emigre” from a Muslim majority nation.

Breivik’s ideology was formed in the far recesses of the internet, within the chambers of the blogosphere, where anti-Islam rhetoric coupled with conspiracies about the pending decline of the West created a toxic lethal cocktail of xenophobia and violent bigotry.

Ironically, Breivik claimed to be acting in the name of “Christianity,” claiming to be a scion and reviver of the medieval “Knights Templar” order of Crusaders, defending Europe from Islam while preserving its “Christian” culture and identity.

In the swift “rush to judgement” and the resultant revelation that the actual perpetrator of the atrocities in Oslo and Utoya was a man claiming to act in the interests of “Christianity” lies a lesson for us all.

It is well known that Christianity is a religion that promotes peace. The overwhelming majority of Christians in the world are averse to violence against innocents and view murder in the name of “Christ” as both illegitimate and unchristian. Just as we must recognize that the great religion of Christianity cannot be besmirched by the actions of a lone man, we must also ask the opinion-makers to be consistent and declare that Islam should not be essentialized as a “religion of violence” because of the actions of a lunatic fringe.

There is also another lesson that we can take away from the violence in Norway, and it relates to the response of the Norwegian people to the attacks.

Anger, a natural fiery fuel with the potential to engulf was present early on, but its tide ebbed because of the response of a nation. They were resolved, resolute that their disposition was not going to suffer a paradigm shift because of the actions of one man.

Quickly, the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg who suffered his own personal loss in the attacks said, “we will respond to hate with our values.” A nation mourned, Christians and Muslims held joint services, healing songs were sung, and flowers left by citizens covered the destroyed, mangled concrete at the scene of the attacks.

A need to cover up the ugly…a need to respond to it with beauty. This characterized the essence of the collective Norwegian spirit, not a turn to fear and hate, but a response that said, ‘we will uphold our values.’ A reminder, it seemed to me, of the oft-repeated Quranic maxim, “return evil with good.”

Beauty will face ugliness and transform it, as the famous tradition relates, “God is beautiful and loves beauty.” In the response of the Norwegians to the nightmare of Oslo and Utoya lies a lesson for all of us, do not succumb to fear and hate, instead respond to it with justice, goodness and love of the most beautiful kind.

Anti-Islam Courses Being Taught in the Military

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Gen. Martin Dempsey

Whodathunkit? Only the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the NYPD. So why not the US Military as well:

Military Halts Class Teaching Anti-Islam Material

(HuffingtonPost)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has suspended a course for military officers that officials say contained inflammatory material about Islam.

Defense Department spokesman Capt. John Kirby said Wednesday that among problems with the course taught at Norfolk, Va., was a presentation that asserted the United States is at war with Islam. Kirby noted that officials across two American administrations have stressed that the U.S. is at war with terrorists who have a distorted view of the religion.

Kirby declined to detail what he said were other problems with the course, called “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism.”

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has ordered all service branches to review their training to ensure other courses don’t use anti-Islamic material.

Daily Mail Continues to Publish Inflammatory Headlines

Posted in Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , on April 21, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Daily Mail Eid rape headline

The above was a recent headline in the Daily Mail. One wonders if the Daily Mail would ever run an article titled, “Christian gang kidnaps and rapes two girls as part of their Christmas celebration?”

The wholesale misattribution of the criminal conduct of these men to Islam fits a long pattern of Islamophobic reporting at the Daily Mail.

Bob Pitt of Islamophobia-Watch breaks it down below :

Another inflammatory anti-Muslim headline in the Mail

That’s the headline to an article in today’s Daily Mail, reporting on the conviction of a group of men for abducting, assaulting and raping two girls, aged 15 and 16.

The article quotes one of the convicted men as claiming that sex with the two girls was consensual: “It was Eid. We treated them as our guests. OK, so they gave us [sex] but we were buying them food and drink.”

And that single quote is the sole the basis for an inflammatory headline that plays to the poisonous far-right racist myth that Muslims are directed by their faith to sexually molest young girls.

It’s worth noting that the report is written by Katherine Faulkner, who last year co-authored the equally irresponsible and misleading report of a drunken assault in Leicester, which led to an EDL protest against so-called “anti-white racism” in the town.

It is no accident that the Mail was one of Anders Breivik’s favourite English-language newspapers. It is cited numerous times in the manifesto he published to justify his terrorist killings and an article by Melanie Phillips is reproduced in its entirety.

Volker Kauder: Merkel Ally Says Islam Not Part of Germany

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Volker_Kauder

In America, if someone were passing out Qurans it would not be controversial, except in maybe Tennessee or the like, but in Germany it has caused a ridiculous firestorm of controversy. More so you have Chancellor Merkel’s ally, Volker Kauder saying while “Muslim do belong in Germany…Islam does not.” How do you have Islam without Muslims in a country?

Merkel ally says Islam not part of Germany

(Reuters)

A leading conservative politician said on Thursday that Islam did not belong in Germany, fuelling tension at a conference on integrating Muslims that also debated a controversial Salafist campaign to hand out copies of the Koran across the country.

“Islam is not part of our tradition and identity in Germany and so does not belong in Germany,” Volker Kauder, head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, told the Passauer Neue Presse.

“But Muslims do belong in Germany. As state citizens, of course, they enjoy their full rights,” he added.

His remarks added to a highly charged nationwide debate about a campaign by an ultra-conservative Salafist Muslim group to hand out millions of free German translations of the Koran to non-Muslims.

The conference was one of a series hosted by the government to improve the integration of the four million Muslims living in Germany, about half of whom have German citizenship.

Kauder’s comments quickly drew fire. “Volker Kauder is the last crusader for the conservatives. He is putting a bomb in the Islam conference,” said senior opposition Social Democrat (SPD) lawmaker Thomas Oppermann.

Two years ago a painful row erupted over a bestseller by former central banker Thilo Sarrazin, who said Turkish and Arab immigrants sponged off the state and threatened German culture.

Soon after, Germany’s then-President Christian Wulff won wide praise from Muslims by saying that Islam was part of Germany.

Reuters, 19 April 2012

Associated Press Interviews Marine Le Pen

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Associated Press interviews Marine Le Pen

She calls herself the “voice of the people,” the anti-system candidate who will ensure social justice for the have-nots and purify a France she says is losing its voice to Europe and threatened by massive immigration and rampant Islamization.

She wants to drastically reduce the number of immigrants – to 10,000 a year – and, a top theme, to crack down for good on what she claims is the growing footprint of Islamic fundamentalists in France. “They are advancing in the neighborhoods. They are putting pressure on the population. They are recruiting young boys” to train for jihad, she said.

Le Pen insisted that fighting so-called Islamization won’t breed a mass killer such as Anders Behring Breivik, the anti-Muslim extremist who is now on trial in Norway after confessing to killing 77 people. The fight must not stop “out of fear of a crazy man,” she said.

Le Pen cites as proof of the Islamist threat in France the case of Mohamed Merah, a young Frenchman of Algerian origin who last month killed three French paratroopers, a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren before he was shot dead by police trying to capture him.

She also refuses to be categorized as extreme right, saying that her party is populist.

The image Marine Le Pen projects is less linked to the extreme-right than that of her father, said Nonna Meyer, an expert on the extreme-right vote at the prestigious university Sciences Po.

“She’s younger, she’s a woman, she condemns anti-Semitism. She often says things differently than her father,” Meyer said. “She says she is tolerant, it is Islam that is intolerant … She upends the discourse. But the foundation of the program is the same. If you look at the values her party defends, it is a system at once authoritarian and rejecting of others, rejecting the difference.”

Associated Press, 18 April 2012

France: Young Muslim Woman Attacked, Threatened and Beaten in Islamophobic Attack

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by loonwatch

In France a young Muslim woman was threatened, beaten and had her hijab ripped from her head. (via. Al-Kanz)

The below is a rough google translation and video of the victim speaking about the violent experience. The original is in French:

The CCIF (suit against Islamophobia in France) met S., a young woman struck and insulted, her veil ripped off in Juvisy-sur-Orge, near Paris. Treated as a terrorist and threatened by an armed individual, S. relates in the video below the story of the Islamophobic aggression.

Below is a copy of the complaint:

Feel free to contact the CCIF at the slightest Islamophobic aggression. The work done by the watch group since 2003 has, despite a strong desire to hide the reality, created awareness to many that Islamophobia is real.

Visit the CCIF: http://www.islamophobie.net

Murfreesboro Mosque Saga May be Finally Coming to an End

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by loonwatch

A lot has happened since the Murfreesboro mosque first became a point of controversy for bigots and hatemongers. We hope to do a a feature piece summarizing the drama that played out over it, what it means for freedom of religion and the future in an upcoming article:

Attorneys ask judge to throw out legal challenge to Murfreesboro Islamic Center

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The final legal hurdle over construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro may be over.

County attorneys asked a judge to throw out the final legal challenge on Wednesday. Opponents have argued the county failed to give sufficient public notice before approving the project.

The judge will review the motion on April 19. County officials are hoping he will toss out a lawsuit that claims they did not give proper notice when approving building plans for the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.  Mosque opponents say they are readying a response.

Meanwhile, major progress has been made in construction of the center.  Distinctive arches have taken shape, the frame of the building is complete and workers are starting to put bricks around it.

“We are so excited,” said Imam Ossama Bahloul.  “I think when we have the new facility it will be a time for us to celebrate freedom of religion.”

Islamophobia and Adoption

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2012 by loonwatch

orphanage_Islamophobia

The beds in my orphanage in Beirut lie vacant; the doctors and lawyers have cut the middleman out of the picture to make a bigger profit.

by Daniel Ibn Zayd

To quote from Stephen Sheehi‘s book, Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims:

The issue of gender has been a key prong in the strategic trident to unify bi-partisan and mass support for US interventionism in the Muslim world. Both Arabic and English media have been flooded by a slew of contrived, opportunistic, and charlatan Muslim and Arab women, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, and Brigitte Gabriel, advancing Western-centric attacks on Islam.

As Sheehi points out, these attacks have mostly focused on issues such as the veil, as well as honor crimes, with the advocates so listed vaulted to the top of expert panels and best-seller lists by virtue of their parroting the dominant discourse, as befits the role of the comprador class. To this shameful compendium we can add another woman, as well as another line of attack: Asra Nomani, and adoption in the Muslim world.

As an adoptee who has returned to his birthplace of Lebanon, I have been actively watching the rise of this trope in the media, on online forums, as well as in private online exchanges for the past seven years. For one example, in 2009 the AP reported on a couple trying to adopt from Egypt. Compared to the crime of this couple and the corruption of government officials there, it is nonetheless Islam that bears the burden of opprobrium in the article: Adoption in Egypt is defined as being “snarled in religious tradition”. This became a contentious discussion on the web site Canada Adopts[1], where the given of the argument was basically how to get around these Islamic invocations, as if they somehow were to blame for the legal transgressions of the would-be adopters.

For another example, we need go to Pamela Geller’s web site Atlas Shrugged. Here the tables are turned on would-be adoptive parents of Moroccan children who would be required to maintain the child’s Muslim faith[2]. Ms. Geller describes this as some evil Islamic fifth column in the making, despite the fact that most every orphanage on the planet is Christian-based and missionary in outlook and likewise requires that the parents be of a particular faith in order to adopt.

Similarly, in her article for The Daily Beast, Asra Nomani writes an article which implies that the orphaned children of Pakistan are being recruited by Al-Qaeda as future suicide bombers. Her answer to this problem? To undo the “antiquated, shortsighted, and regressive stricture that makes adoption illegal [within Islam]“. This focus on Islam as a problem for adoptive parents who supposedly want to help the orphans of the world is quite loaded, and needs to be deconstructed on two levels, first in terms of the historical and economic/political function of adoption, and second in terms of linguistic and theologic use/misuse of the term.

The Big Picture: Economics and Politics
Whatever the motivation for adoptive parents in the First World, it is a fact that adoption source countries have followed a particular pattern that would quite easily make an additional chapter to Naomi Klein‘s The Shock Doctrine, in which children become just another resource to plunder and export. Geller and Nomani, in their acceptance of adoption as a given institution in the civilized world, follow in the footsteps of the founding spokeswoman for the so-called plight of orphans, Pearl S. Buck, who in 1964 published the book Children for Adoption. In terms that mimic today’s rhetoric concerning these children, which we currently see repeated in the current hype concerning Kony in Uganda, attention is shifted from the needs of parents (to start a family, to procreate) to those of children (need for a nuclear-family environment), while simultaneously castigating the seeming indifference of their cultures and countries and their inability to care for them.

This infantilization of other countries, now requiring the intervention of a “doting Uncle”, leaves unremarked the fact that such countries–Korea in the 1950s; Uganda today–have been targets of First World punishment via war, sanctions, and economic exploitation. This would explain the presence in Nomani’s article of cliched photographs of children in Iraqi orphanages, as the move is made to the last holdout against such wanton appropriation of foreign children. Nine long years after the invasion of Iraq, however, their inclusion here begs the question: Where has Ms. Nomani been for the past five American administrations, the sanctions, warfare, and sponsored internecine battles of which have killed more children outright than could possible ever be adopted to the West? Furthermore, on a list of countries that allow refugees from these Muslim lands, the U.S. remains near the bottom, behind countries such as Sweden, not to mention leagues behind Iraq’s neighbors that have taken in millions of refugees.

To focus on these children without focusing on their families or communities thus becomes an ignoble hypocrisy; as if to say, “give us your huddled masses–but only if they are cute children and can be indoctrinated from an early age.” This brings us to the other propaganda photos used on the Daily Beast, showing children dressed as soldiers, evoking the specter of infants inculcated with anti-American sentiment, the major fear expressed by the article. Similar to the willful ignorance of the plight of women by Islamophobes in their own locales, Nomani seems not to notice her own culture’s use of such imagery and cultural tropes: she need just visit the Intrepid Navy Museum, or any Civil War town, to see the red, white, and blue version of what she claims to fear most.

But we don’t have to dig so deep when Nomani wears her sentiment on her sleeve:

The council, noting that the Prophet Muhammad was an orphan, supports adoption, citing a Quranic verse enjoining us to practice islah, or “to make better,” the condition of orphans. It says: “And they ask you about orphans. Say: Making things right for them (islah) is better.” (2:220) The women argue that adoption encourages ‚Äúthe protection and promotion of healthy minds.‚Äù Indeed. Perhaps it protects kids from becoming terrorists as well.

It might behoove the author to define “terror”, especially given the millions of Arabs and Muslims who have died as a result of overt American attempts to exploit their countries, or of subsidiary attacks from Israel, or via the dictators put in place to keep oil running freely.

This hypocrisy was perhaps best exemplified by an adoption that was lauded in the American press during the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006 [3]. “Logan”–inauspiciously named after the airport of his arrival–was “rescued” from Lebanon with special visas provided by U.S. Senators, while many Americans waited days and days for evacuation, and in racially profiled order. No mention is made of the 1400+ civilians killed in that conflict, a third of them children.[4] More importantly, nowhere do we read the fact that Lebanon has a long history of trafficking children. Sayyed Mohammad Fadlallah‘s orphanage system in the South, going back to the 1950s, was created in no small part in response to the trafficking of children from the poor and rural areas of the country. In this light, the Spence-Chapin organization exalted in Nomani’s article is no better than the Holt International Adoption Agency of post-war Korea: Not a civilizing entity, but instead a gentle face put on a monstrous industry. That Morocco sees fit to participate in such trafficking should not be seen as a sign of its enlightenment. Quite the opposite.

Most important to note is how one-sided the adoption argument is in all of these cases. Adoptive parents and the agencies and industries that support them speak of adoption as being the given. This ignores all evidence to the contrary, but most importantly the growing number of voices of adoptees, mothers, fathers, extended families, and communities who are speaking out against adoption which has become simply another form of humanitarian imperialism. Whether in the lyrics of the Moroccan-born French rapper YAZ [5], the laws passed by Korean-American adoptees who have returned to their place of birth and have effectively halted adoption from that country as of this year, or the court writs of mothers in Guatemala who are suing to have their children repatriated to them from the United States, the tide is definitely turning against the ongoing efforts of those such as Nomani who would use adoption as a juggernaut against the Third World, and Islam more specifically. In an effort to paint adoption as a given, a marker of civilization, she and others like her revert to the worst tropes of colonialism, Orientalism, as well as Islamophobia.

The Subtleties: It’s All in the Language
The tactics used in this article that attempt to reframe the Qur’an as supportive of Nomani’s claim are disturbing, and they are also with precedence, mostly from within evangelical Christian circles. Comparative use of the Bible to allow missionary inroads into subordinate populations now finds its equivalent in those who would propound the Qur’an as advocating for the equivalent treatment of Muslim communities. On the Christian evangelical side, “adoption” is redefined to mean our relationship to Jesus (pbuh), and by extension, adopting a child is therefore to be seen as “Christ-like”. Nomani gives us the mirrored reflection of this when she states that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was himself “adopted”.

Nomani further follows this evangelical/missionary lead when she advocates the use of the Qur’an as supportive documentation for such efforts. In both cases, though, the logic used is hugely flawed. Learning Arabic these past seven years and reading Qur’an on a daily basis has given me an idea of what Aramaic might have been like in a purely conceptual sense, both being Semitic languages of the same region. Furthermore, Levantine Arabic differs from Standard Arabic in its use of Aramaic and Syriac words, and thus I am working with a wider possible vocabulary to make the following points. Based on this, I can state that the word used for the modern-day idea of “adoption” is most likely a conceptual back formation from the English or the French–a colonial hand-me-down–or at best is a completely metaphoric use, since it also carries the meaning similar to the English “to start using [something]“, as in “cell phone adoption”.

Most telling is that the word I use in Modern Standard Arabic to describe myself–mutabanna (vaguely, “en-son-ed”)–is not the same words translated in the Qur’an as “adopted”. One such term, translated as “adopted sons”–‘ad‘iya’akum–comes from a root that means to be claimed by, such as a townsperson is claimed by a town; they are an extension thereof, a part of a greater whole. Here we see a positive use of the term. Another word used in the Qur’an (itakhadha) means moreso “taken in”, as in this example from the story of Joseph: “perhaps he might benefit us or we might take him in as a son”. This is more like acquiring a boy servant than it is adopting a child into one’s family. More to the point, Joseph’s “adoption” comes after he is bartered “as a merchandise”, according to the Qur’anic description; furthermore the Qur’an is very explicit that these are temporary and invalidated situations, and here we might say that this is a negative use of the term.

Our analysis here is aided by the English use of “adoption” which has strayed from its original meaning as well, especially since we know that adoption conceptually within the Anglo-Saxon tradition was about indentured servitude, and not family creation. This is made most obvious to me by the fact that the use of this word only has currency within a certain class of the population here in Lebanon, which lives closer to a globalized and globalizing Anglo-Saxon model than anything locally relevant culturally speaking. For everyone else not of this stratum I cannot say “mutabanna“, I have to state that I was an “orphan” (‘atm), or that I was in an “orphanage” (dar al-’aytam). My adoption, as understood locally, involving a “bartering of merchandise”, maps much more closely onto the example of Yusuf–seen as negative–than any other invocation that might be painted in a positive light.

The main point still holds true: The modern-day concept of adoption, as practiced in primarily first-world nations, has no precursor from Biblical times that would allow the imposition of this current notion on Biblical or Qur’anic readings or texts–it’s current use is a fabrication of modern-day needs and conceits. It thus becomes disturbing the lengths to which current interpreters of these Writs will go to twist the language and the stories to suit their purposes, such as the recent example found in the book Reclaiming Adoption, and now in this article by Nomani.

Comparatively speaking, and contrary to Nomani’s analysis, the Qur’an is extremely enlightening in this regard, if only because its language is unchanged and untranslated since its inception. Readings of the Qur’an reveal that its supreme invocation concerning orphans–representing the most vulnerable members of society–is that they be taken care of, that they remain within their community, that their filiation remain intact, that the community preserve their property until they should be of age to make use of it. This is very much in line with the given social fabric of the countries of this region, despite it being stretched to the breaking point by globalization and other foreign pressures.

But Nomani willfully leaves out the following, where the Qur’an also states: “None are their mothers save those who gave them birth” (–Al-Mujadalah, 58:2), and:

God did not give any man two hearts in his chest. Nor did He turn your wives whom you estrange (according to your custom) into your mothers. Nor did He turn your adopted children into genetic offspring. All these are mere utterances that you have invented. God speaks the truth, and He guides in the (right) path.

You shall give your adopted children names that preserve their relationship to their genetic parents. This is more equitable in the sight of God. If you do not know their parents, then, as your brethren in religion, you shall treat them as members of your family. You do not commit a sin if you make a mistake in this respect; you are responsible for your purposeful intentions. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful. –Al-Ahzab, 33:4‚Äì5

This call to communal care is offensive to Ms. Nomani and her advocates because it is preventing them from fulfilling their familial role as proscribed for them by Anglo-Saxon Capitalism, borrowing Margaret Thatcher’s maxim that there is no basis for society but the nuclear family. This way of seeing things is radically different from the majority of the planet that serves as source material for the wishes of those in the First World who plunder their children via adoption and surrogacy. This is best summed up by Mohammad Al-Haddad, after a scandal involving the kidnapping of Chadian children to France:

But why don’t the rich bother themselves with the poor? Now, we forbid immigration to poor adults, but we allow it for their children? All the same, to decide if a child can be adopted, we do not apply the same criteria in the West as in the Third World. In the West, the family is “nuclear”; the conditions that make a child adoptable are therefor the absence of a mother and father. In many African countries, on the other hand, the family is extended–that is to say it includes equally the grandparents, as well as maternal and paternal aunts and uncles: All work in solidarity to take care of the child. [6]

This lack of a strict concept of nuclear family on the scene where I find myself now, or anything outside of what is a given here–extended family and communal solidarity–explains the reaction of most of those who hear my story from this perspective: They apologize that I was removed from my family, my place, my land. They sympathize wholeheartedly with my efforts to re-establish an identity here and find family, because historically and culturally the notion of “adoption” or “guardianship” is, as locally understood, about the importance of place: One’s people, one’s house, one’s community. This is a welcome relief from the endless barrage of statements such as “you were chosen”, or “you are lucky” that most of us grew up hearing; furthermore, it explains why these tropes of being “chosen” or “lucky” are projected onto Biblical accounts, ignoring the historical context of the book and its cultural underpinnings.

The deceit of adoption revivalists is most revealed then by what they omit. In terms of the Bible, each and every invocation concerning the “fatherless” also contains within the same passage a call to care for widows and others who are unable to sustain themselves. Would not a logical conclusion of this be that the expectant mother–especially if she be single, or widowed–be afforded this same zealous care and protection?

In terms of the Qur’an, let’s re-examine the cited reference from the article, but in full this time:

And they will ask thee about orphans. Say: “To improve their condition is best.” And if you share their life, they are your brethren: For God distinguishes between the despoiler and the ameliorator. –The Cow, 2:219

This ayat from the Qur’an, in the deceptively abridged form put forth by Nomani, might support this Western modern-day notion of adoption, but only if one espouses supremacist ideas of certain cultures being better or more valid than others. Obviously, given the inability to read one ayat of the Qur’an out of the context of the whole, this is not valid. Everyone who is claimed to have been “adopted” in both the Bible and Qur’an, most notably Joseph (Yusuf) as mentioned, but also Moses (Moussa) (pbut), in fact pose a contrary argument to those who would read these Books so literally. For both were adopted against the wishes of their parents; their removal caused great anguish to their families; they did not start the true calling of their lives until they were returned to their rightful place, status, and people.

This is especially poignant in the Qur’anic story of Joseph, who is sold to and “taken in” by first a wealthy lord and then the king but whose destiny is to be returned to his family (note the class differential here). The Qur’anic story of Moses is even more pointed, when it states that Moses was taken in by “those who were his enemy, and the enemy of his people”. The Qur’an also forbids forced conversion, one of the primary motivating factors for missionary adoption practice historically speaking.

Analyzing the Qur’an even further, we can state that the removal of someone from their family is an ultimate act of self-inflicted alienation, since the only instances of such separation used in the Qur’an are metaphors for the punishment of removing oneself from the community of God–meaning, the result of one’s own sin. Thus you have the son of Noah (Noh) drowned, the wife of Lot (Loteh) left behind and destroyed, the progeny of Abraham (Ibrahim) as being “on their own” in terms of their deeds and the judgment thereof, etc. The point being that such a separation–as punishment–supercedes the strong familial bond otherwise implied. How then, could there be a willful separation of child from parent, condoned by God at that?

The concept that the orphan should be removed from a given community, however justified, only reveals the moral bankruptcy of those whose primary concern is, in fact, their own nuclear family, their own salvation that might come at the expense of others now “saved”, as well as what is left unsaid in these works: the desired conversion of the heathen multitudes; their civilization, modernization, and the end of the barbarian ways.

This is nowhere more clear than here in Lebanon, where the sordid history of children trafficked from the south and Palestine is starting to come to light. By my observations into paperwork in my orphanage, I can safely say that a full 40 to 50 percent of infants circulating through my orphanage were from Muslim families, myself likely included. Based on stories I know from other countries and locally, as well taking into consideration the Islamic concept of the orphanage, I can state that many of the parents of these children had no idea that they would never see their infants again. In this way missionary and classist disdain for the religion of these children and their families is a prime motivator in their being targeted for adoption/conversion in the first place, despite protests to the contrary.

This brings us back to the originating efforts of those such as Pearl S. Buck who saw the world through this particularly noisome lens of colonialism, conversion, oppression, and universalism. Given that this same Anglo-Saxon culture has done nothing to alleviate poverty, racism, classism, and mono-culturalism on its own home front much less in the world at large, why should anyone believe that it truly desires to improve conditions elsewhere in the world? Can we really imagine a God who would allow some of his gerents on Earth to wage economic and political wars on others, and then claim some state of grace in adopting their children away from them? How is this different from the Romans enslaving the children of the peoples they conquered, if we want a more relevant Biblical analogy?

One of the greatest ironies of Islamophobia is the projection onto Islam of the failures of Western society. Here it is no different. The communal culture that needs to be broken down to make way for individualized/nuclear family-based Capitalism now extends to abducting children from the Arab and Muslim world, now that most of the other supply countries (including the First World’s internal poverty belt) are finally making the morally right decision in preventing their children from being exported wholesale. That Nomani would take such a literal view of the words of the Qur’an in fact reveals her to be the regressive one. We should, as people of good faith, be doing everything in our power to keep families together, and to prevent the conditions of war, poverty, and illiteracy that do more to promote the ills of the world that are decried in this article than any nascent putative extremism. The “charlatans” of Islamophobia wreak more injustice with their words and deeds than any boasted threat that might come from Muslims worldwide.

There is no innocence or objectivity in terms of supporting foreign policies of bombing, pillaging, and marauding, while simultaneously pretending to advocate for “orphans”, and using the Holy Books to support this worldview. Indeed, the only “antiquated, shortsighted, and regressive stricture[s]” that need be undone are those of Imperialism as we live it today. If we are truly hoping to “save the children”, then the despoilers of Nomani’s ilk should stand up as the class and community of power that they are and change the foreign policy of their governments. There is no evidence to support adoption as being a cure-all of any kind, indeed, Ms. Nomani is one in a long line of pyromaniac firefighters who don’t know how horribly they reek of gasoline. Her pretense of speaking for women is offensive to those who work locally via religious, charitable, or civil organizations in order to keep families and communities together. But most of all, she offends those mothers that she finds no common cause with in an egregious classism masked by a selfish and narcissistic career-building Islamophobia.

Any examination of human trafficking in the world points a very accusatory finger and paints a very scathing picture of the majority of First-World nations; this is where religious references might best be applied first–and then the “orphan” problem will take care of itself. Those with an axe to grind concerning Islam such as Nomani would do better than to hide their phobic attitudes behind institutions such as adoption, the actions of which have very real consequences for those of us removed from our place, our families, our communities, our culture, and our faith. For such supposed saving grace is always resented by those on whom it is imposed against their will. And the reaped fruit of such crimes is just as bitter.

1) http://www.canadaadopts.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=14&t=000580
2) http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/05/want-to-adopt-a-child-convert-to-islam.html

3) http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x1876374699/One-year-after-adoption-from-Lebanon-child-is-thriving

4) http://www.inquisitor.com/pcgi-bin/NYD.cgi?NA=NYD&AC=File&DA=20091115GGY&TO=AD

5) http://www.inquisitor.com/pcgi-bin/NYD.cgi?NA=NYD&AC=File&DA=20111103GMO&TO=AD

6) https://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddjth7n9_2999b4fh7jx

Daniel Ibn Zayd was adopted in 1963 and returned definitively to his land of birth in 2004; there he teaches art and illustration and in 2009 founded the artists’ collective Jamaa Al-Yad. He has written for CounterPunch, The Monthly Review Zine, and The Design Altruism Project, as well as on his blog: danielibnzayd.wordpress.com. He is a contributor to Transracial Eyes, a web-based collective of transracial adoptees. He can be reached at @ibnzayd on Twitter and by email: daniel.ibnzayd@inquisitor.com.

Sheldon Adelson: “All Terrorists are Islamic”

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by loonwatch

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is the biggest patron of Newt Gingrich's presidential bid, giving a reported $10m to a Gingrich-supporting Super Pac. Photograph: Vincent Yu/AP

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is the biggest patron of Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, giving a reported $10m to a Gingrich-supporting Super Pac. Photograph: Vincent Yu/AP

Newt Gingrich’s former, and Mitt Romney’s soon-to-be sugar-daddy, Sheldon Adelson recently commented on terrorism, and how he believes all terrorists are “Islamic” or “Islamist.”

Sheldon Adelson could have saved himself from looking like a complete doofus and unintelligent moron if he read our most popular article: “All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% of Terrorists that Aren’t”

Trayvon Martin: The Myth of US Post-Racialism

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by loonwatch

We must start connecting the dots, racism, which is alive and well in the US is very much related to Islamophobia. The tragic slaying of Trayvon Martin exemplifies the point that the USA’s original sin of “racism” is still alive and well:

Trayvon Martin: The myth of US post-racialism

(AlJazeera English) by Linda Sarsour and Khalid and Khaled Beydoun

Washington, DC – Trayvon Martin was just beginning his life. Trayvon Martin was a son. He was a high school junior, with college to look forward to, a career and perhaps a family of his own.

Trayvon Martin was many things, but for George Zimmerman, he was just Black.

The teenager’s race was enough to raise “suspicion” and trigger the neighbourhood watchman – who possessed no training or authority, except for his racist prerogatives – to murder an unarmed and frightened teenager running for his life.

On November 28, 2011, no other colour but his Blackness mattered – and his rush for safe haven was intercepted by Zimmerman, and the structurally entrenched demonisation of Black men codified in our laws, perpetuated by our police forces and subscribed to by our friends and colleagues, classmates and family members.

Trayvon Martin is not, as many writers and pundits commented following his death, “a reminder of American racism”. For Africans Americans and most people of colour, racism, xenophobia and religious animus are common, if not expected, parts of their daily lives.

In the case of Trayvon Martin, a twin set of correlated racisms prematurely ended his life: Zimmerman’s view that a young Black male must be engaged in criminal or thuggish activity by virtue of his race alone; and the neighbourhood watchmen and police alike who execute the structural racism embedded in police departments and penal systems nationwide in the name of the law.

The myth of the Obama era

The election of President Barack Obama, for white America, signalled the shift away from America’s racially charged past. After 2008, white Americans have contended that the United States is experiencing the embryonic stages of a post-racial moment; Martin’s murder is a reminder of the fatal consequences of racism that makes the headlines. Yet, the intermediary steps – the institutional racism and empowering of people like Zimmerman – to police our communities either formally or informally are not deemed newsworthy.

Racism, generally understood as a conscious perspective, action or decision, is a salient core of the US’ history and present. American racism is interwoven into the country’s narrative, codified in its law and entrenched in its institutions. Its authors and gatekeepers were, and are, still largely white.

Whites seldom experience racism, either in its fatal, frequent, or latent form. This constructs the political ideology that the rest of the US has entered this racism-free utopia. Citizenship to this colour-blind state, however, is denied to African Americans, Muslim Americans and Latinos by virtue of a triumvirate of suspicions: crime, terrorism and illegal immigration.

However, whites are not the only culprits of racism. On March 10, an Arab American gas station clerk on the Westside of Detroit gunned down and killed a 24-year-old African American customer after a dispute over the high-price of condoms. Racially charged crimes and murders between Latinos and Blacks are all too frequent, and the sometimes-explosive tension between Asian American and Arab American storeowners is well documented.

Institutional and structural racism is still robust in the US. This is evidenced by the disparate incarceration rates of brown and Black Americans, the decimation of affirmative action and race-conscious legislation in the US, the crumbling public education systems in minority-populated communities and the all too common cold blooded murders of people of colour – both in the US and beyond its boundaries, whether by policemen, neighbourhood patrolmen or soldiers.

The ‘worst of a national psychosis

Kumar Rao, a defence lawyer for the Bronx Defenders in New York City, stated that: “Martin’s killing reflects the absolute worst of a national psychosis: The view that Black males – young and old alike – are inherently threatening and unworthy of personal security; and that the state’s commitment to enduring that belief is perpetuated and institutionalised.”

Trayvon Martin’s murder was avoidable, but yet perversely justified through the cold silence of the state.

Zimmerman was a neighbourhood patrolman – not a police officer – but the distinction is thin in this instance. Some police officers, from Miami to Oakland, exhibit the same reckless and cavalier behaviour as Zimmerman. What is more troubling is that police officers and entire departments routinely cover up racially charged arrests, the roughing up of individuals under custody and operate with impunity under the cover of the law.

Yet, for Zimmerman, he had no such cover. This makes this case more absurd and baffling, particularly because he was given police orders to “discontinue his chase of Martin”, as revealed by 9/11 tapes released on March 19. If Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watchman – a volunteer with no training – had obeyed the policeman’s order, Martin would still be alive today.

Zimmerman ignored those order, and took the law into his own hands; he has still not been arrested.

The importance of Trayvon Martin’s is also based on the urgency of the current socio-political moment. The New York Police Department makes every Muslim in the City, whether Black or Arab, South Asian or Latino, targets of illegal spying or worse – unjust convictions of terrorism based solely on their religion and ethnicity. The fact that the NYPD so far as to label Black American Muslims as an “ancestry of interest” shows how far law enforcement would go to justify religious and ethnic profiling.

Connecting the dots

Arab and Muslim Americans in New York are connecting the dots – whether it is the stopping and frisking of young Black and Latino men or the illegal spying on the everyday aspects of Muslims, people of colour are being targeted by the largest police force in the country. In order to defeat the institutionalised racism of the NYPD and set a precedent for the rest of the country, we must build coalitions, connect our struggles and in unison demand accountability for our communities. None of us will win alone.

In June 2009, a Miami policeman shot and killed Husein Shehada, a 29-year-old Arab American, after an evening club-hopping with his brother and girlfriend. Shehada, like Martin, was unarmed and posed no threat. Yet, the white policeman, Adam Tavss, believed that Shehada’s ethnicity substantiated the suspicion to shoot and kill.

The value of Arab life – whether nameless Palestinian children bombed by American-funded fighter jets or American youth profiled, questioned and incarcerated for frequenting a particular mosque – is spiralling downwards rapidly in the US and at a more accelerated rate in the Arab World.

Trayvon Martin is not a martyr or a symbol of racial injustice. Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Malice Green or Ramaley Graham, are all other young African American men shot down and killed because of the colour of their skin and countless others that remain unnamed. Most recently, Troy Davis shook the nation as another victim of a broken justice system that continues to fail people of colour not one person at a time but through mass incarceration and mass conviction rates.

Trayvon Martin was his own person and an archetype of our brothers, our sons, our nephews, grandsons. Trayvon is Mohammed walking down Atlantic Avenue, vulnerable to patrolmen wary of his beard. Trayvon is Carlos, donning Dodger Blue in Pico Rivera, mistaken by the LAPD Gang Squad as a gangbanger because of the colour of his skin.

Linda Sarsour is Palestinian Muslim American, non-profit leader, public speaker and community organiser.

Follow her on Twitter: @Lsarsour

Khaled A Beydoun is a Washington, DC-based attorney and author.

Follow him on Twitter: @Legyptian

Tariq Ramadan and John Rees Discuss French Left and Islamophobia

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2012 by loonwatch

Tariq Ramadan

I am not generally a fan of Press TV, as it is generally heavily biased or lenient towards the Iranian regime, just as Fox News is to the Republican party, as Russia Today is biased towards Putin and AlJazeera to Qatar, etc. However this program below with Muslim scholar Dr. Tariq Ramadan and journalist John Rees is a good one. It discusses how Islamophobia is a cover for war and racism, as well as the peculiarities of the French left and why it is unique in its parlay with Islamophobia.

See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders has made a name for himself through his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric, and for this reason he is, to quote Robert Spencer, one of the “heroes” of the anti-Muslim movement.

We have consistently pointed out however that Geert Wilders and his allies are not one stop bigots. Behind the “acceptable” attacks on Muslims is hidden a wider xenophobia against ‘the other.’ A bigotry which if not born out of any consistent ideological character is definitely a reflection of the realization that playing on the fears of the majority may lead to positive results at the ballot box.

Wilders and his party, the PVV are riding a wave of popularity through the launch of an anti-Polish/anti-Eastern European website which has been the cause of much controversy and embarrassment in the Netherlands. After launching the site it was reported that the PVV,

would gain 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today, the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

Wilders’ PVV site displays,

news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the website but this hasn’t ebbed the disastrous PR that Wilders move has generated.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.(emphasis mine)

The issue was taken to the European parliament which just yesterday announced its ‘dismay’ and formal response to Wilders most recent populist move:

EP condemns PVV website, exec puts ball in Netherlands’ court

By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Wednesday 14 March 2012 (Europolitics.info)

Representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament, on 13 March, unanimously called upon the Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to condemn a website launched by his far-right political ally, the PVV party headed by Geert Wilders. Said website, up since early February, urges Dutch citizens to report problems they experience with nationals of Central and Eastern European countries. “Unacceptable,” “a disgrace,” “scandalous” – said MEPs. The European Commission, for its part, announced it would not get involved from a legal point of view and leaves the responsibility of assessing the lawfulness of the website to the Dutch authorities. A joint parliamentary resolution will be put to the vote, on 15 March (see box).

The EPP, which counts among its ranks the junior partner in the Netherlands’ government, the centre-right CDA, was particularly vocal. “We cannot tolerate, from a party that takes part in a coalition government, a call to hatred against nationals from another member state. That is unacceptable,” said EPP leader Joseph Daul (France).

Despite the fact that Rutte is part of the Liberal political family, ALDE Chair Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium) was unequivocal about condemning the “silence” of the Dutch government and the message sent by the website. “My group has nothing but contempt for Mr Wilders’ initiative.” Recalling the need to be even-handed in criticising populist tactics, Verhofstadt lumped together French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Wilders. “I wonder who is the extreme-right wing candidate [in France], is it [Marine] Le Pen or Sarkozy?” he asked.

Reactions from other political group leaders all condemned Rutte’s passivity, whose hands are tied by his need for Wilders’ support, and who thus claims it is not a governmental issue. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) called for the website to be closed down. Polish deputy Jacek Kurski (EFD) said Rutte’s lack of reaction is “scandalous”. “The prime minister [of the Netherlands] is not taking up his responsibility,” said Marije Cornelissen (Greens-EFA, Netherlands). “The prime minister ought to have directly condemned this website,” said Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands), adding, however, that the EP holding a debate on this issue is “too much honour” for Wilders.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who had already condemned the PVV website in February, welcomed the comments made in the plenary chamber. “It is unacceptable that EU citizens become target of xenophobic attitudes because they have exercised their right to move from one state to another,” she said. Reding also called upon on the Dutch authorities to “fully investigate the lawfulness of the website under Dutch law and Union law”.

According to Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE-NGL, France), this is not enough. “You continue to refer to member states and their tribunals but I thought that the Commission was the guardian of the treaties, that freedom of circulation and non-discrimination were part of the European values,” she said. “I notice that certain values are more important than others and that in economic matters when the free circulation of goods and capital is concerned, competition barriers the Commission is prompter to condemn,” added Vergiat.