Archive for Huffington Post

A Global War on Christians in the Muslim World?

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by loonwatch
Newsweek
February 12 Cover

Career hatemonger Aayan Hirsi Ali‘s alarmist screed in the February 12 issue of Newsweek is a jumble of half truths culled together with the obvious purpose of demonizing Muslims. Despite her agenda-driven fear mongering, Hirsi has sparked an important debate about the plight of religious minorities caught in the crossfire as the so-called “Clash of Civilizations” continues to escalate.

We previously cross-posted an article from Jadaliyya refuting Hirsi’s account, and now offer another perspective from John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University.

A Global War on Christians in the Muslim World?

by John L. Esposito, Huffington Post

Religious minorities in the Muslim world today, constitutionally entitled in many countries to equality of citizenship and religious freedom, increasingly fear the erosion of those rights — and with good reason. Inter-religious and inter-communal tensions and conflicts from Nigeria and Egypt and Sudan, to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia have raised major concerns about deteriorating rights and security for religious minorities in Muslim countries. Conflicts have varied, from acts of discrimination, to forms of violence escalating to murder, and the destruction of villages, churches and mosques.

In the 21st century, Muslims are strongly challenged to move beyond older notions of “tolerance” or “co-existence” to a higher level of religious pluralism based on mutual understanding and respect. Regrettably, a significant number of Muslims, like many ultra conservative and fundamentalist Christians, Jews and Hindus are not pluralistic but rather strongly exclusivist in their attitudes toward other faiths and even co-believers with whom they disagree.

Reform will not, however, result from exaggerated claims and alarmist and incendiary language such as that of Ayan Hirsi Ali in in a recent a Newsweek cover story, reprinted in The Daily Beast.

Hirsi Ali warns of a “global war” and “rising genocide,” “a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities” and thus “the fate of Christianity — and ultimately of all religious minorities — in the Islamic world is at stake.”

Hirsi Ali’s account, for surely it is not an analysis, mixes facts with fiction, distorting the nature and magnitude of the problem. It fails to distinguish between the acts of a dangerous and deadly minority of religious extremists or fanatics and mainstream society. The relevant data is readily available. Nigeria is not a “majority-Muslim” country of 160 million people with a 40 percent Christian minority” as she claims (and as do militant Islamists). Experts have long described the population as roughly equal and a recent Pew Forum study reports that Christians hold a slight majority with 50.8 percent of the population.

Boko Haram, is indeed a group of religious fanatics who have terrorized and slaughtered Christians and burned down their churches, but they remain an extremist minority and do not represent the majority of Nigerians who reject their actions and anti-Western rhetoric. Gallup data finds that a majority of Nigerians (60 percent) “reject the anti-Western rhetoric” of Boko Haram.

Curiously, Hirsi Ali chooses not to mention that in the Jos Central plateau area both Christian and Muslim militias have attacked each other and destroyed mosques and churches.

Another example of failing to provide the full facts and context is the Maspero massacre. Coptic Christians have a real set of grievances that have to be addressed: attacks on churches, resulting in church destruction and death and injuries, the failure of police to respond to attacks, and a history of discrimination when it comes to building new churches and in employment.

Hirsi Ali rightly attributes the genesis for the assault against Christians to the Egyptian security forces. Although some militant Egyptian Muslims did in fact join the violence against Christians, she overlooks the fact that increasingly Christians have been joined by many Muslim Egyptians in calling for this discrimination and backlash to be addressed. Thus, she fails to mention the many Muslims marched in solidarity with the Christians against the security forces and were also injured as a Reuters article dated Oct. 14, 2011 reported: “At least 2,000 people rallied in Cairo on Friday in a show of unity between Muslims and Christians and to express anger at the ruling military council after 25 people died when a protest by Coptic Christians led to clashes with the army.”

She also fails to recognize the continuing state violence in Egypt against activists and protestors regardless of their faith.

Thousands of Muslims turned up in droves outside churches around the country for the Coptic Christmas Eve mass, in solidarity with a beleaguered Coptic community offering their bodies, and lives, as “human shields,” making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and build an Egypt free from sectarian strife: “Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields.”

Ali also points to the “flight” of Christians from the Middle East as proof of widespread persecution. According to Gallup surveys in Lebanon, however, Muslims are slightly more likely than their Christian counterparts to want to flee the country permanently and for Muslim and Christian alike the reason they give is primarily economic.

More problematic and deceptive is Hirsi Ali’s charge that: “What has often been described as a civil war is in practice the Sudanese government’s sustained persecution of religious minorities. This persecution culminated in the infamous genocide in Darfur that began in 2003.” Sudan has certainly been a battleground for decades, but to say that Darfur is an example of the Muslim-Christian genocide is flat out wrong. The black African victims in Darfur were almost exclusively Muslim. The killers were Arab Sudanese Muslims (janjaweed) who murdered black Sudanese Muslims.

Addressing the issue of religious freedom requires greater global awareness and a concerted effort by governments, religious leaders, academics and human rights organizations, as well as curricula reform in many seminary and university religion courses (particularly comparative religion courses), to counter religious exclusivism by instilling more pluralistic and tolerant visions and values in the next generation of imams, priests, scholars and the general public. However, when lives are at stake and the safety and security of all citizens threatened, accurate and data driven analysis is crucial. Inflammatory statements and unsubstantiated generalizations exacerbate the problem, risk more strife or even violence and do little to contribute to finding a solution.

Rabbis Stand In Solidarity With Burned Mosque In Israel

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from HuffPo)

By Josef Kuhn
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) More than a thousand rabbis from around the world have signed a statement denouncing the burning of an Israeli mosque as police arrested a suspect who is alleged to be a Jewish extremist.

“We condemn those in Israel who exacerbate conflict and strife, and who insist that only one people or religion belongs to this land,” said the statement, which organizers say was overwhelmingly signed by U.S. rabbis.

The statement was presented on Thursday (Oct. 6) by a delegation of dozens of rabbis and peace activists to the imam of Tuba-Zangria, the Galilean village where the mosque was torched.

The statement was initiated by the New Israel Fund (NIF), an organization that promotes human rights and religious pluralism in Israel.

David Rosenn, the chief operating officer of NIF and a Conservative rabbi, called the mosque arson “a flagrant challenge to Jewish history and values.”

The envoys to Tuba-Zangria were led by a coalition established in 2009 in response to a book that argued that, in times of war, Jewish law permits the pre-emptive killing of noninvolved gentiles, including children.

The arson has been condemned by Israel’s chief rabbis and a host of Jewish groups in the United States, including the Anti-Defamation League, which said the attack represented “the violence and hatred among fringe groups of Israeli Jewish extremists.”

Israeli officials have arrested a suspect in the arson, described by The Associated Press as an “18-year-old seminary student with ties to one of the most hardline Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”

Once Again: “Police Blotter Bob” Not Interested in Facts

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by loonwatch

Once again, “Police Blotter Bob” shows that he could care less about facts when it comes to Islam and Muslims. In his “response” to the Center for American Progress report on Islamophobia, Bob claims that he is not attacking all of Islam, but just the “radicals” and the “jihadists.”

My work…has never been against Muslims in the aggregate or any people as such, but rather against an ideology that denies the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people.

Yet, statement after statement, and post after post on his website talks about “Muslims” and “Islam” as just that: an aggregate. Take this latest post:

The fact that Muslims do not like Jews and Israel, I know, because many of my correspondents, Islamic leaders, Emirs, the heads of armed groups and ordinary Mujahideen talked about this at every meeting and every interview with me.

The fact that Islam is a nation and that Muslims have no other nationality is what I also heard from religious leaders supporting the Jihad.

The fact that Muslims can adapt and play by the political process more than once I saw myself.

They know how to do represent themselves as the victims of inhumane aggression through the media. And the same information is transmitted to the Islamic world in a different manner — as a victory for Jihad and death for the sake of Allah.

No nuance, no teasing out the particular…no, rather ”Muslims do not like Jews and Israel.” That is a general statement. That is what Spencer and his minions do again, and again, and again.

Yet, the facts tell a completely different story:

A World Public Opinion (WPO) survey done in collaboration at that time with the University of Maryland reported that 51 percent of Americans believe “bombings and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are sometimes justified,” while only 13 percent of American Muslims hold a similar view, with a full 81 percent saying violence against civilians is never justified.

A recent Gallup survey (2011) asks the same question separately — first for a “military attacks against civilians” and then “individuals and small groups attacking civilians.” Muslim Americans came out as the staunchest opponents of both overwhelmingly as compared to their neighbors.

In response to military attacks against civilians, 78 percent of Muslim Americans said such attacks are never justified as compared to 39 percent of Christians and 43 percent of Jews. Only 21 percent Muslim Americans approve of it “sometimes” as compared to 58 percent of Christians and 52 percent of Jews.

Eighty-nine percent of Muslim Americans surveyed by Gallup rejected violent individual attacks on civilians as compared to 71 percent of Christians and 75 percent of Jews. Muslims are the least likely to justify attacks on civilians. Only 11 percent of Muslims justified that sometimes such attacks are acceptable as compared to 27 percent of Christians and 22 percent of Jews.

The same is true when it comes to opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Muslim Americans are way ahead in their opposition to wars as compared to their neighbors.

However, when the Pew survey first came out in 2007, it did not provide any relief for Muslim Americans from Islamophobic media frenzy. Most reporters used it as an opportunity to fan hatred against Muslim Americans, focusing on the smaller number of Muslim Americans who justified attacks on civilians without comparing it to Christian Americans, who did the same even in a larger numbers.

Right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin proclaimed in the National Review that the poll “should be a wake-up call.” Mark Steyn said it demonstrated the existence in America of “a huge comfort zone for the jihad to operate in,” and on CNN, Anderson Cooper was horrified — just horrified — that “so many” American Muslims would support such violence.

Well, I was also horrified myself until I checked what our neighbors are saying about intentionally targeting civilians. As a peacemaker, I will only be satisfied fully when all Muslims and people of other faiths oppose killing civilians fully, whether that is by a military or a terrorist group. But these statistics do offer me comparative relief.

FBI Evidence

The same evidence of a peaceful Muslim community was provided by Michael E. Rolince, former FBI Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism, D.C. Field Office. He said the FBI conducted about 500,000 interviews without finding a single lead which could have helped the agency prevent the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

That number means that almost 40 percent of all Muslim households in the United States were probably touched by this investigation. Here is what this presidential award recipient with 30 years of counterterrorism and counterintelligence experience said on Dec. 17, 2005, one month after his retirement, at the Muslim Public Affairs Committee’s annual convention in a panel titled, “Muslim Americans & Law Enforcement Partnership” (Here is an mp3 of his speech. His statement appears in the Q & A section):

“We conducted about a half a million interviews post 9/11 relative to the attacks of 9/11, and this is important because your community gets painted as not doing enough and you could have helped. I’m not aware — and I know 9/11 about as well as anybody in the FBI knows 9/11 and that’s not bragging that’s just the reality — I’m not aware of any single person in your community who, had they stepped forward, could have provided a clue to help us get out in front of this. The reality of that attack is that 19 people came here with what they needed. They spoke the language well enough to order meals and rent cars and hotel rooms. They had money coming in from overseas. Four people knew how to fly planes and 15 others were willing to be the muscle. They didn’t need any witting help from anyone to do what they did. And thus far, and I’m not saying this is conclusive because 10 years from now someone might find something that changes it, we’ve not found a sitting single witting individual in your community, and that’s a fact that gets overlooked because you get painted and that’s why I’m so committed and remain committed to projects like this because what we are in the business of is facts and the truth.”Anxiety about Muslim Americans is at an all-time high thanks to a well-funded campaign of Islamophobia.

Rand Corporation Findings

A 2010 Rand Corporation report rightfully states that “The volume of domestic terrorist activity was much greater in the 1970s than it is today. It is important to note that Rand is mostly a Defense Department-funded think-tank. This report has a whole section called “The 1970s Saw Greater Terrorist Violence.” The report asserts that, “Thus far, there has been no sustained jihadist terrorist campaign in the United States.” And one possible reason for this, according to this Rand report, is, “The local Muslim community rejected al Qaeda’s appeals and actively intervened to dissuade those with radical tendencies from violence.”

But, facts mean very little to “Police Blotter Bob”…

‘Sharia Law’ Laws

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by loonwatch

By: Steve Lehto

A legislator in Michigan has decided to jump on the anti-Sharia bandwagon and has proposed legislation to protect us from Sharia law. Tennessee has proposed such a law, and Oklahoma has passed one (although it was later struck down by a court and presumably will be tied up in the courts for a while). While this appears to be a trend, it is confounding.

First, here is Rep. Dave Agema, quoted in the Detroit News: “Our law is our law. I don’t like foreign entities telling us what to do.” His bill, he says, will prevent anyone “who tries to shove any foreign law down our throats.”

So, Agema is proposing a state law to keep “foreign entities” from “telling us what to do.” I presume he is being colloquial; who cares if they try and “tell us” what to do? We don’t have to listen, do we? Presumably, he is suggesting that there is some way that they can force us into doing something we don’t want to, unless there is a law preventing it. So he has proposed his bill, which will presumably protect us from this ominous threat.

Too bad he hasn’t read our Constitution. I’m not talking about the Constitution of the State of Michigan; I’m talking about the big kahuna: The Constitution of the United States. Article VI reads in part:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. [Emphasis added.]

Forgive my italicizing; the drafters of the Constitution didn’t feel the need to italicize the important parts of the document because they thought later generations would read it carefully for themselves.

So, what Dave Agema has missed — and the others who are trying to pass these stupid laws — is that when it comes to the law, the Constitution already trumps whatever a “foreign entity tell[s] us” to do. (See italicized portions above.)

Don’t get me wrong; I know that some people have heard of Sharia law being applied by parties willingly to their own disputes. That is, both sides to a dispute have decided to use Sharia law as a guide for settling their dispute. While you might not want it applied to your dispute, who cares how other people settle their disputes?

You may not know this, but across America everyday litigants choose to step outside the court system and let arbitrators decide their disputes for them. In these arbitrations, different rules are often applied. Rules of evidence are modified, juries are not used and appeals are barred. To a lawyer, those three things alone are enough to cause nightmares. Yet it is perfectly legal because the parties have agreed to resolve their dispute in that manner.

There have also been the oddball resolutions where parties have agreed to settle their disputes with a coin toss. Frankly, if I had to choose between Sharia law and a coin toss, I’d go with Sharia law. Does that mean we should outlaw the coin toss? Quick! Mr. Agema — I have another law I need you to work on!

The strange thing is that the law would be legally meaningless if passed. The Constitution is already the supreme law of the land; another legislative statement affirming the Constitution’s supremacy would not change or add anything. What is upsetting is that everyone knows these laws are simply being passed as anti-Muslim statements. After all, they serve no legitimate purpose.

Mlevludin Oric, Bosnian Muslim Soldier, Discusses Surviving Mladic’s Killing Fields

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2011 by loonwatch

(Via IslamophobiaToday)

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The hardest part was the ants. They crawled over his arms and legs, over his face and into his mouth, hour by hour as he pretended to be dead in a pile of corpses slowly turning stiff.

Mevludin Oric lay for nine hours in one of the Srebrenica killing fields where Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic’s troops executed 8,000 Muslim men and boys in July 1995. He escaped in the dead of night, after the soldiers had satisfied themselves that everyone in the sea of bodies was dead.

On Thursday, Oric returned for the first time to the execution ground – a pretty V-shaped meadow surrounded by a forest – with Associated Press journalists to share his feelings about the capture of the man who orchestrated Europe’s worst carnage since World War II.

He brought his eldest daughter, 17-year-old Merima. He wanted her to know what happened here – he wants everyone to know, vowing to testify against Mladic at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands.

“I can’t wait to look into the eyes of that animal,” said the lanky 42-year-old, his eyes lighting up after a morning spent on the verge of tears.

Serbia extradited Mladic to the Netherlands on Tuesday to face genocide charges; he was arrested last week in a village north of Belgrade after 16 years on the run.

Oric, a Bosnian Muslim soldier captured by Serbs as he fled through the woods, is one of four men known to have survived the Srebrenica massacre. All endured the unspeakable ordeal of playing dead while Serb troops patrolled the blood-soaked field, finishing off anybody who showed signs of life with a pistol shot to the head.

Ants bit Oric as they prowled his body, but he didn’t dare move. Nearby, an old man begged for his life: “Children, we didn’t do anything. Don’t do this to us.” He, too, was shot.

On top of Oric was his dead cousin Hars. In the execution line, Hars took Oric’s hand and whispered: “They’ll kill us all.” When the gunfire erupted, Oric threw himself to the ground, as Hars fell over him, groaning in agony.

At one point, Oric saw a Serb soldier walk in his direction. The soldier paused to shoot a man in the head, then continued walking toward Oric. It’s my turn, he thought.

“I closed my eyes,” Oric said, looking at Merima, “and I thought about you and your mother. And for a few seconds before the expected shot, I wondered what it is like in heaven, or in hell.”

The shot never came. But it would be hours more before Oric would be free.

As he toured the meadow Thursday, Oric deciphered its grim geography: “This is where I lay… This is where the pit was…”

“This here is soaked with blood,” he said. “I should have been here. But destiny…” His voice trailed off.

“I would like to cry,” said the construction worker, who lives with his mother and three daughters in central Bosnia. “But there’s something in my throat that doesn’t allow me to cry.”

Close to midnight, the shooting stopped and the Serbs left. Oric’s arms and legs were numb, but he managed to shake off his cousin’s body and stand up. Moonlight shone over the field of bodies; he saw a shadow approach.

“It was the shadow of a man like a ghost” he said. “First I thought it was a soldier left to stand guard.”

But it was Hurem Suljic, a Bosnian Muslim bricklayer with a bum leg who had also survived. Suljic got closer and asked, “Are you wounded?” Oric said no.

Looking around, they saw others still alive but destined to die from rifle wounds. One man had a gash in his side exposing his kidney. “Can you give me a jacket?” he pleaded, “I’m cold.” Oric took a jacket from a dead man and gave it to him.

Oric saw another man crawling on his arms, dragging behind his bullet-riddled legs. “Run, brother,” the man said. “Don’t mind me. I won’t make it.”

Oric and Suljic stepped over corpses and headed into the forest. The journey was hard because of Suljic’s bad leg. At times, Oric said, he had to carry the older man on his back. Four days later, they crossed a mine field at the front line and were met by Bosnian soldiers.

Before the trip back to Srebrenica, Oric took Merima to the school gymnasium where he and hundreds of other Bosnian Muslim captives had been held by Serb forces before the massacre.

Oric said Mladic was there too on that day, inspecting the prisoners minutes before they were loaded onto trucks and driven to the execution ground. Suljic has given similar testimony.

In the school gym, the Muslim men were told they would be part of a prisoner swap. But the men had doubts because they heard gunfire all around.

As Oric and his daughter toured the grounds, people in surrounding houses in the Serb-dominated area called out.

“Let Mladic go!” they yelled.

Open Letter to President Obama from a Muslim Family

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2011 by loonwatch

A good piece from Kari Ansari.

Open Letter to President Obama from a Muslim Family

Dear President Barack Obama,

Along with many American Muslims, my family and I listened to your speech today on the Middle East and North Africa. While I appreciate your encouraging statements to the people of the Muslim world — particularly to those who are currently fighting for dignity and civil rights in their own lands — I also couldn’t help feeling that many Americans are not setting the example of which you spoke when it comes to our own Muslim citizens.

Currently, 20 states have introduced anti-Muslim legislation, with more pending. Some of our country’s lawmakers and politicians have made very bigoted inflammatory comments about Muslims and Islam. Very recently, Tennessee, under extreme pressure, rewrote a bill that would have made it a crime punishable by 15 years in prison for Muslims to worship together in groups of two or more. Organized groups are staging hate rallies against Muslims building houses of worship around the country. Local municipalities are playing the zoning game by zoning Islamic schools and mosques out of the community. Mosque playgrounds are being torched. Muslim family homesproperty, and mosques are being vandalized. Children are being bullied and harassed because they are Muslim. Shockingly, last week the Editor of the Gainesville Times in Florida published a letter that called for the expulsion of all Muslims from America. Recently, several Muslim clerics, and also a young Muslim woman were pulled off airplanes for no other reason other than they were dressed in recognizable Muslim attire. This is all being seen through the modern technology’s “window into the wider world” that you mentioned in your speech, but like all windows, you can also look from the world outside and see what’s happening inside.

What does it say to the world when our President speaks about rights for people in the Muslim world that “include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion” when our own people are being hindered from building mosques, and schools, and our right to worship freely is even being threatened?

Mr. President, Muslims in America know that you do not stand with this kind of bigotry and hatred. During your announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden you said,

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.

We appreciated this statement, however, judging by the uptick in anti-Muslim incidents since the death of bin Laden, the words weren’t enough to resonate with those in America who feel threatened by their Muslim neighbors.

Mr. President, Muslims need your leadership, your strong voice, and your support in this regard. You are a friend to the world’s Muslims, especially those fighting for their freedom, but Muslims need your friendship here on our own soil. Anti-Islam bigotry is getting worse in America — not better.

In our home, we love and respect you as our President; will you show us the same love and respect as a patriotic American family by speaking out strongly against this growing trend of anti-Muslim bigotry?

Follow Kari Ansari on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KariAnsari

Muslim Leaders Kicked Off Flight

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

Reportedly, they were heading to an Islamophobia conference.

Muslim Leaders Kicked Off Flight

By RANDALL DICKERSON

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two Muslim religious leaders say they were removed from a commercial airliner in Memphis on Friday and were told it was because the pilot refused to fly with them aboard.

Masudur Rahman, who is also an adjunct instructor of Arabic at the University of Memphis, said by telephone from the terminal at Memphis International Airport that he and another imam had already been allowed to board their Delta Connection flight to Charlotte, N.C., before they were asked to de-board.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jon Allen in Atlanta confirmed the incident and said it was not initiated by that agency.

A Delta Air Lines spokeswoman said the flight was operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which is also based in Atlanta. ASA didn’t immediately respond to telephone calls seeking comment.

Rahman said he was dressed in traditional Indian clothing and his traveling companion was dressed in Arab garb, including traditional headgear.

Rahman said he and Mohamed Zaghloul, of the Islamic Association of Greater Memphis, were cleared by security agents and boarded the plane for an 8:40 a.m. departure.

The aircraft pulled away from the gate, but the pilot then announced the plane must return, Rahman said. When it did, the imams were asked to go back to the boarding gate where Rahman said they were told the pilot was refusing to accept them because some other passengers could be uncomfortable.

Rahman said Delta officials talked with the pilot for more than a half-hour, but he still refused.

The men were taken to a lounge and booked on a later flight.

They called the Council on Islamic-American Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

“It’s racism and bias because of our religion and appearance and because of misinformation about our religion.” Rahman said. “If they understood Islam, they wouldn’t do this.”

He said a Delta manager apologized for the pilot’s actions, but that he and Zaghloul never spoke directly with the pilot.

Ibrahim Hooper, of the Islamic-American organization, said the group will follow up with the airline and with the TSA to help ensure such incidents do not continue to occur.

Hooper said airline officials at Memphis tried to resolve the situation, but the pilot refused.

Obama Birth Certificate Released By White House (PHOTO)

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by loonwatch

Islamophobes and birthers here is your evidence. Are you happy? I know you won’t stop here, but if this is what you want to see, here it is.

Obama Birth Certificate Released By White House (PHOTO)

WASHINGTON — Per his directive, the White Housereleased on Wednesday President Barack Obama’s “long form” birth certificate, the document whose absence has long been at the heart of the conspiracy-riddled discussion over Obama’s legitimacy to serve as the nation’s commander in chief.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO OF BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND VIDEO OF OBAMA’S RESPONSE)

The move came as a surprise to the press corps, many of whom had not shown up for Wednesday’s early-morning White House briefing. By the time word had spread that Obama would be making a 9:45 a.m. statement on the matter, however, the top anchors at all the networks had scurried into the briefing room.

Once there, they received a presidential scolding for their concern with “silliness.” Obama began his five-minute statement with the complaint that he wouldn’t be able to get the networks to break into their regularly scheduled programming for a speech on policy proposals.

“I know that there is going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest,” Obama said. “But I am speaking for the vast majority of the American people as well as for the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve.”

“We are not going to be able to do it if we are distracted, we are not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other … if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts, we are not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers,” the president declared earlier.

The document released by the White House differs from the one that Obama’s aides made public during the 2008 presidential campaign. Instead of a “certification” of live birth, this was a “certificate,” clearly recording that the president was born on Aug. 4, 1961 in the Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu.

For years, Obama’s circle of aides had resisted calls to make the latter form public, noting that a certification is legally sound and what any citizen of Hawaii receives upon requesting documents of birth. And indeed, for some time, that explanation — supported by a a wide swath of other contemporaneous evidence – seemed to suffice.

But some who challenged the president’s citizenship remained unsatisfied, and in recent weeks they found a high-profile megaphone for their cause: business tycoon and presidential flirt Donald Trump.

“This issue was resolved in 2008. It has not been an issue,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said during a morning briefing in which he and other officials took care not to mention Trump’s name. “None of you have asked about it, called about it or reported on it until the last few weeks … [not releasing it] would probably be good for the president politically. Despite that, the president said he was struck by how this was crowding out the debate.”

Last Friday, the president himself wrote Loretta J. Fuddy, the director of health at the State of Hawaii, requesting “two certified copies of my original certificate of live birth.” Fuddy complied. Shortly thereafter, the president’s counsel, Judith Corley of the firm Perkins Coie, flew to Hawaii to pick up two copies of the form. The trip was not taxpayer funded but, rather, paid out of the president’s personal account. Corley returned on Tuesday at roughly 4 p.m. with the copies. The White House announced a “morning gaggle” for reporters shortly thereafter. One aide explained that they did not want to “hold” on to the documents for release on a later date.

Many members of the press confessed to being “stunned” as it became clear what was about to be discussed. White House press assistants handed out a six-page stapled packet of photocopies showing the new and old birth certificates as well as the White House’s legal correspondence with Hawaii’s Department of Health.

And yet it was the press that played a large role in forcing the administration’s hand. CNN’s Ed Henry had pressed White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on the issue just one day earlier, despite the fact that his own network had done a thorough investigation debunking the claims of the conspiracy theorists.

“There will always be some selection of people who will believe something. That is not the issue,” Pfeiffer said when asked if Wednesday’s move would silence the doubters. “This issue is, this is not a discussion happening just among conspiracy theorists. It is happening here in this room, on all of the networks, and it is something that every major political figure of both parties — instead of talking about real issues — is being asked about this. So the president decided to release this.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

Religious Animal Slaughter Ban Considered In Netherlands

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by loonwatch

Religious Animal Slaughter Ban Considered In Netherlands

AMSTERDAM — One of Europe’s first countries to allow Jews to practice their religion openly may soon pass a law banning centuries-old Jewish and Muslim traditions on the ritual slaughter of animals.

In the Netherlands, an unlikely alliance of an animal rights party and the xenophobic Freedom Party is spearheading support for the ban on kosher and halal slaughter methods that critics say inflict unacceptable suffering on animals.

The far right’s embrace of the bill, which is expected to go to a parliamentary vote this month, is based mostly on its strident hostility toward the Dutch Muslim population. The Party for the Animals, the world’s first such party to be elected to parliament, says humane treatment of animals trumps traditions of tolerance.

Jewish and Muslim groups call the initiative an affront to freedom of religion.

“I can speak for the Dutch Jewish Community and I think for the wider Jewish world, that this law raises grave concerns about infringements on religious freedom,” said Ruben Vis, spokesman for the Netherlands’ CJO, an umbrella of Jewish organizations.

Abdulfatteh Ali-Salah, director of Halal Correct, a certification body for Dutch halal meat, said he felt the debate made Muslims in the Netherlands feel Dutch society is more interested in animal welfare than fair treatment of its Muslim citizens.

“If the law goes through now there’s nothing else to do but protest,” he said. “And that’s what we’ll do.”

As in most western countries, Dutch law dictates that butchers must stun livestock – render it unconscious – before it can be slaughtered, to minimize the animals’ pain and fear. But an exception is made for meat that must be prepared under ancient Jewish and Muslim dietary laws and practices. These demand that animals be slaughtered while still awake, by swiftly cutting the main arteries of their necks with razor-sharp knives.

Most Dutch favor a ban, but many centrist parties feel the issue is a distraction from the more serious issue of abuses at regular slaughterhouses. One of the two parties in the Cabinet, the Christian Democrats, opposes the law out of fear for damage to the country’s international image as a haven of tolerance for religious minorities. The other, the pro-business VVD Party, has yet to say which way it will vote.

If the Netherlands does outlaw procedures that make meat kosher for Jews or halal for Muslims, it will be the first country outside New Zealand to do so in recent years. It will join the Scandinavian, Baltic countries and Switzerland, whose bans are mostly traceable to pre-World War II anti-Semitism.

Holland has proud traditions of tolerance and was one of the first countries in Europe to allow Jews to live openly with their religion in the 17th Century.

After years of campaigning unsuccessfully, the Party for the Animals won a seat parliament in 2006, the first time an animal rights party had entered a national parliament. Around the same time, the anti-Islam Freedom Party of maverick politician Geert Wilders was gaining strength. It finished third in national elections last year on an anti-immigration platform.

The Muslim population, built on a wave of migration in the 1990s, is now about 1 million in a country of 16 million. Dutch Jews number an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 after 70 percent of their community died in Nazi concentration camps.

The two political parties pushing hardest for the ban make for an odd couple, falling at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

“Religious freedom isn’t unlimited,” said Party for the Animals leader Marianne Thieme in an interview. She said the law will be “good news for the two million animals that are slaughtered (without stunning) each year in our country. It’s not a small amount.”

Wilders first brought the issue forward in 2007, when he heard that halal meat was being served at a public school in Amsterdam. “Muslims at our schools must adjust to Dutch norms and values and not the other way around,” he wrote in a letter questioning government policy.

Wilders and the Freedom Party did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

The U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor have both spoken out against the proposed ban.

“What’s worse is that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that slaughter without stunning is more harmful or painful for animals,” Vis of the CJO said.

Science surrounding animal slaughter is contentious. A 2009 study in New Zealand that monitored calf brain waves during ritual slaughter concluded the animals probably were aware of their pain. That led the country to ban the practice in 2010.

However, noted American animal welfare expert Temple Grandin of Colorado State University has criticized flaws in the New Zealand study, remarking in particular that the knife used was probably too short.

“The special long knife used in kosher slaughter is important,” she wrote in a paper published on her website. In her experience “when the knife is used correctly on adult cattle, there was little or no behavioral reaction,” she wrote – indicating that the animals did not show signs of suffering before falling unconscious.

The Royal Dutch Veterinary Association has come out in favor of banning the practice.

The organization said in a position statement it believes that during “slaughter of cattle while conscious, and to a lesser extent that of sheep, the animals’ well-being is unacceptably damaged.”

Scientists, animal rights groups and religious groups disagree about the amount of pain and suffering animals experience during slaughter under regular conditions – though all say violations of current law are widespread.

Ali-Salah predicted an outright ban would fail not only due to Dutch domestic political considerations, but also because it is not workable in practice.

“How are one million people going to obtain halal meat from a new source?” he said. “They are certainty not going to stop eating meat overnight.”

Wajahat Ali: Understanding Sharia Law

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2011 by loonwatch
Wajahat Ali

Another great piece from Wajahat Ali.

Understanding Sharia Law

(Huffington Post)

In the past year, a group of conservative pundits and analysts have identified sharia, or Islamic religious law, as a growing threat to the United States. These pundits and analysts argue that the steady adoption of sharia’s tenets is a strategy extremists are using to transform the United States into an Islamic state.

A number of state and national politicians have adopted this interpretation and 13 states are now considering the adoption of legislation forbidding sharia. A bill in the Tennessee State Senate, for example, would make adherence to sharia punishable by 15 years in jail. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives and potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has called for “a federal law that says Sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States.”

The fullest articulation of this “sharia threat” argument, though, is in the September 2010 report, “Sharia: The Threat to America,” published by the conservative Center for Security Policy. The authors claim that their report is “concerned with the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time: the legal-political-military doctrine known within Islam as ‘Shariah.’” The report, according to its authors, is “designed to provide a comprehensive and articulate ‘second opinion’ on the official characterizations and assessments of this threat as put forth by the United States government.”

The report, and the broader argument, is plagued by a significant contradiction. In the CSP report’s introduction, the authors admit that Islamic moderates contest more conservative interpretations of sharia:

Sharia is the crucial fault line of Islam’s internecine struggle. On one side of the divide are Muslim reformers and authentic moderates … whose members embrace the Enlightenment’s veneration of reason and, in particular, its separation of the spiritual and secular realms. On this side of the divide, Sharia is a reference point for a Muslim’s personal conduct, not a corpus to be imposed on the life of a pluralistic society.

The authors later assert, however, that there is “ultimately but one shariah. It is totalitarian in character, incompatible with our Constitution and a threat to freedom here and around the world.”

The initial concession that Muslims interpret sharia in different ways is accurate and of course contradicts the later assertion that sharia is totalitarian in nature.

But by defining sharia itself as the problem, and then asserting the authenticity of only the most extreme interpretations of sharia, the authors are effectively arguing that the internecine struggle within Islam should be ceded to extremists. They also cast suspicion upon all observant Muslims.

It’s important to understand that adopting such a flawed analysis would direct limited resources away from actual threats to the United States and bolster an anti-Muslim narrative that Islamist extremist groups find useful in recruiting.

It would also target and potentially alienate our best allies in the effort against radicalization: our fellow Americans who are Muslim. According to the “sharia threat” argument, all Muslims who practice any aspect of their faith are inherently suspect since sharia is primarily concerned with correct religious practice.

This brief will explain what sharia really is and demonstrate how a misrepresentation and misunderstanding of sharia — put forth in the CSP report and taken up by others — will both harm America’s national security interests and threaten our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

What is Sharia?

The CSP report defines sharia as a “legal-political-military doctrine.” But a Muslim would not recognize this definition — let alone a scholar of Islam and Muslim tradition. Muslim communities continue to internally debate how to practice Islam in the modern world even as they look to its general precepts as a guide to correct living and religious practice.

Most academics studying Islam and Muslim societies give a broad definition of sharia. This reflects Muslim scholars struggling for centuries over how best to understand and practice their faith.

But these specialists do agree on the following:

  • Sharia is not static. Its interpretations and applications have changed and continue to change over time.
  • There is no one thing called sharia. A variety of Muslim communities exist, and each understands sharia in its own way. No official document, such as the Ten Commandments, encapsulates sharia. It is the ideal law of God as interpreted by Muslim scholars over centuries aimed toward justice, fairness and mercy.
  • Sharia is overwhelmingly concerned with personal religious observance such as prayer and fasting, and not with national laws.

Any observant Muslim would consider him or herself a sharia adherent. It is impossible to find a Muslim who practices any ritual and does not believe himself or herself to be complying with sharia. Defining sharia as a threat, therefore, is the same thing as saying that all observant Muslims are a threat.

The CSP report authors — none of whom has any credentials in the study of Islam — concede this point in several places. In the introduction they say, “Shariah is a reference point for a Muslim’s personal conduct, not a corpus to be imposed on the life of a pluralistic society.” Yet the rest of the report contradicts this point.

The authors, in attempting to show that sharia is a threat, construct a static, ahistorical and unscholarly interpretation of sharia that is divorced from traditional understandings and commentaries of the source texts.

The “sharia threat” argument is based on an extreme type of scripturalism where one pulls out verses from a sacred text and argues that believers will behave according to that text. But this argument ignores how believers themselves understand and interpret that text over time.

The equivalent would be saying that Jews stone disobedient sons to death (Deut. 21:18- 21) or that Christians slay all non-Christians (Luke 19:27). In a more secular context it is similar to arguing that the use of printed money in America is unconstitutional — ignoring the interpretative process of the Supreme Court.

In reality, sharia is personal religious law and moral guidance for the vast majority of Muslims. Muslim scholars historically agree on certain core values of sharia, which are theological and ethical and not political. Moreover, these core values are in harmony with the core values at the heart of America.

Muslims consider an interpretation of sharia to be valid so long as it protects and advocates for life, property, family, faith and intellect. Muslim tradition overwhelmingly accepts differences of opinion outside these core values, which is why sharia has survived for centuries as an ongoing series of conversations. Sharia has served Muslims who have lived in every society and in every corner of the planet, including many Americans who have lived in our country from before our independence down to the present day.

Recent statements from Muslim religious authorities, such as the 2004 Amman Message, show the dynamic, interpretive tradition of Islam in practice. In fact, the Amman Message is a sharia-based condemnation of violence. So if CSP wants Muslims to reject sharia they are effectively arguing Muslims should reject nonviolence.

The fact that the Amman Message is a sharia-based document shows the problem with the “sharia threat” argument: By criminalizing sharia they also criminalize the sharia-based message of nonviolence in the Amman document.

It is surprising that a group claiming to be invested in American national security would suggest that we make nonviolent engagement criminal.

Suspicion Based on Religious Misinterpretation

The CSP report’s contradictions can only be resolved through unconstitutional means. And the authors propose doing so with no sense of irony.

They argue that believing Muslims should have their free speech and freedom of religion rights restricted: “In keeping with Article VI of the Constitution, extend bans currently in effect that bar members of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan from holding positions of trust in federal, state, or local governments or the armed forces of the United States to those who espouse or support Shariah.”

The authors have already conceded that even mainstream Muslims espouse sharia. So by the report’s own analysis, CSP are recommending that even mainstream American Muslims, who follow sharia in their personal lives, be prohibited from serving in the government or the armed forces.

The authors cite Quran verses that “are interpreted under Sharia to mean that anyone who does not accept Islam is unacceptable in the eyes of Allah and that he will send them to Hell,” concluding, “When it is said that Sharia is a supremacist program, this is one of the bases for it.”

It is no secret that many Christians interpret their own faith to mean that non-Christians are destined for Hell. Is this too a form of supremacism?

Many advocates of the “sharia threat” also refer to taqiyya, an Arabic word that means concealing one’s faith out of fear of death, to mean religiously justified lying. Not all Muslims subscribe to the theological concept of taqiyya, however. In fact, it is a minority opinion.

The charge of “taqqiya” is often deployed by “sharia threat” advocates when confronted with evidence that refutes their thesis. Under this methodology one cannot trust any practicing Muslim. Even if a Muslim preaches and practices nonviolence the CSP authors would say that person is either not a true Muslim or is practicing taqiyya.

They have, in fact, used this tactic against Muslim-American leaders who advocate strong civic engagement. Responding to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s assertion that the proposed Park 51 Islamic Center in New York would be a venue for interfaith dialogue, CSP’s Frank Gaffney wrote in The Washington Times: “To be sure, Imam Rauf is a skilled practitioner of the Sharia tradition of taqqiya, deception for the faith.”

While providing a mechanism for critics to ignore any disconfirming evidence, adopting such an interpretation of taqiyya would almost certainly result in every observant Muslim being branded a liar.

The authors of the CSP report are clearly aware of this, and they try to temper their conclusions: “This is not an argument for trusting or mistrusting someone in any particular instance,” they write. “It is, though, an argument for professionals to be aware of these facts, to realize that they are dealing with an enemy whose doctrine allows — and at times even requires — them not to disclose fully all that they know and deliberately to misstate that which they know to be the truth.”

In other words, all Muslims are suspect simply by virtue of being Muslims.

Biased Premises Lead to Bad Policy

The CSP report’s premise is that sharia is the problem and that observance of sharia results in extremism. The authors do not acknowledge that sharia is something the extremists are attempting to claim.

This purposeful misconstruction of the security issues America faces ignores multiple data points and turns all Muslims into traitors. According to a report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 85 percent of all terrorist victims are Muslims. The Muslim community, therefore, has good reason to ally with American interests to defeat extremists. Those who assert the most extreme definition of sharia agree with the extremists’ definitions of Islam and help create an environment of alienation and distrust — which serves extremist interests, not American interests.

Adopting the CSP’s analysis — and the hysteria over the “sharia threat” that it is clearly intended to provoke — will prevent us from working with our natural allies and weaken our ability to protect ourselves. The war against extremism cannot be labeled as a war against Islam. Taking such a civilizational, apocalyptic view could well become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Further, we actually allow extremists to operate more freely without a clear identification of the threat and a consistent and constitutionally defensible system for recognizing and tracking extremists.

It is important to recognize that Muslims are in an ongoing conversation to define what their faith will look like. They have engaged in that conversation for centuries. But the challenge of faith and modernity is not unique to Muslims, and we cannot single them out for their beliefs.

Finally, it’s important to note that even if the most extreme interpretation of sharia were the correct one, there is no evidence that the U.S. legal system is in any danger of adopting tenets of sharia.

To put this in perspective, the extreme Christian right in America has been trying for decades to inscribe its view of America as a “Christian nation” into our laws. They have repeatedly failed in a country in which more than three-quarters of people identify as Christians.

It’s extremely unlikely that an extreme faction of American Muslims, a faith community that constitutes approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population, would have more success. We need to both respect constitutional freedoms and understand that the Constitution and our courts guarantee a separation between church and state.

The “sharia threat” argument is so irresponsible as to almost demand a comic response, were it not for the disastrous consequences of adopting it. It’s important that its claims be interrogated rigorously, in order to understand that they should not be taken seriously.

This article was co-written by Matthew Duss, National Security Editor at American Progress. It was first published at the Center for American Progress.

Matthew Duss is the National Security Editor at American Progress and Wajahat Ali is a Researcher for ThinkProgress.

Additional contributions from Hussein Rashid, associate editor, Religion Dispatches, and Haroon Moghul, executive director, The Maydan Institute.

Follow Wajahat Ali on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WajahatAli

HuffPo: Why Christians Should Support the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2010 by loonwatch

Counterterrorism experts have said that the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy and the anti-Islam protests benefit Islamic extremists “by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.”  But Muslims should not fall into the trap of thinking of all Americans as a monolithic group, just as they themselves do not want to be viewed that way.  In fact, some of the most vocal supporters of the Islamic cultural center include Jews, such as Rabbis in the Manhattan community and stalwarts like Jon Stewart, Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, etc. etc.  And there are Christian supporters of the Cordoba initiative.  And why shouldn’t there be?  Just as Islam is the religion of peace for mainstream Muslims, so too is Christianity a religion of love for its true followers.  Muslim-Americans should not forget that.  Even the Quran, the holy book of Islam, says:

Not all of them are alike.  Of the People of the Book (the Jews and the Christians) are those who are righteous, who recite the words of God, who bow down in worship at night. They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and strive with one another in hastening to good deeds.  These are amongst the righteous. (Quran, 3:113-114)

Here is an excellent article on the Huffington Post from one such Evangelical Christian (good to know LoonWatch is being used as a resource by so many people!):

Why Christians Should Support the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

By Lisa Sharon Harper (Executive Director of NY Faith and Justice, author, poet, and award-winning playwright)

Of the 1366 people who died on 9/11, 59 were Muslims. Yet Reuters reported yesterday that New York Governor David Paterson will pressure the developer of the proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan to relocate. This is nuts.

As an Evangelical Christian, three pillars of my faith guide my response to this trumped-up controversy: forgiveness rooted in the Cross, the value for Truth, and the call to love our neighbor.

Evangelicals believe in the power of the Cross, the place where Jesus died at the hands of his enemies; the place where Jesus uttered, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”; the place that makes radical forgiveness possible. Yet the Muslim world did not perpetrate the terrorist acts of 9/11, so there is actually no need to forgive Muslims for 9/11. The fault sits squarely with Al Qaeda, a small terrorist organization. And therein lies is the irony. We have failed to do the lesser thing. Jesus calls us to follow him into forgiveness of our enemy. But forgiveness isn’t politically profitable. So we have been led by Evangelical hacks like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to feed on misdirected bitterness rather than follow Jesus’ lead.

Fear and hysteria are no excuse for muddled language and twisted truths. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Thus, to suppress truth is to suppress Jesus himself. Why would Jesus care about truth? Because lies destroy people made in the image of God, thus destroying the image of God on Earth. We would do well to remember that the next time Newt Gingrich rants that building a mosque in the shadow of the World Trade Center is like the Nazis putting a swastika next to the Holocaust Museum. Come on.

So what is the truth?

Dr. Sarah Sayeed, president of Women in Islam, Inc. and program director for the Interfaith Center of New York, explained in a recent interview:

There has been a mosque on Warren Street, four blocks from the World Trade Center site, for many many years. My dad used to go there for prayers when I was a little kid. A lot of the Muslim people who work at City Hall or in the financial district would go to that mosque.

The Warren Street Mosque lost its lease and had to find a new location. Some people in that community came together and were able to purchase the building on Park Place and West Broadway, where the Islamic Community Center is now proposed; two blocks closer to Ground Zero. The people in the purchasing community partnered with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who had another mosque in Tribeca — also close to Ground Zero. Imam Feisal serves on the board of the Interfaith Center of New York.

Their vision included a full-blown community center that serves the wider community, not just the Muslim community. It’s conceived in the tradition of the YMCA, with a pool, a place for seniors to congregate, a place for the arts and a multi-faith chapel and prayer space. So, it’s really a cultural center that is being built by a group of Muslims. They’re also talking about having an interfaith advisory group to help shape the work in the building.

In light of this truth, to ask this long-established community to relocate is a first step down the long road to ethnic cleansing. It is the antithesis of Jesus’ call to love our neighbor.

Governor Patterson and other politicians are trading truth for political points. And worse, without realizing it, they are following the lead of right-wing liar, Pamela Geller, founder of Stop the Islamization of America, a crude website dedicated to stopping the spread of Islam in the U.S. and worldwide. Loonwatch.com lists Geller as “the looniest blogger ever.” The mosque controversy traces directly back to Geller. And it is true to form. During the 2008 elections, Geller claimed that Obama was a Muslim and that purple is the official “gangsta” color of the Obama administration — no connection, just goof-ball.

My faith’s values for forgiveness, truth, and love of neighbor lead me to conclude that politicians using the Islamic community center as an opportunity to score political points are mounting a direct assault against the honor of the dead — not just the 59 Muslim Americans who died but also all those whose lives were stolen by the hands of terrorists on September 11, 2001. They are betraying the heart of our country. Worse, they are betraying the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees the free exercise of religion. And this is the one freedom Islamic extremists despise most.

 

David Yeagley: Bad Eagle or Plain Loon?

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by loonwatch
“Bad Eagle” or just “Plain Loon”?

What happens when you cross a white supremacist with someone who claims to be half-white and half-Native American? Answer: David Yeagley (hat tip: Mallorcaman). Yeagley is a rare and strange specimen, self-described as the “lone Conservative Indian voice,” he rails against Native Americans and anyone who he considers to be liberals. He is known amongst Native Americans, for reasons we will come to shortly as the Indian apple,

apple n. An Indian who is red on the outside, white on the inside.
Tonto n. Sidekick, lackey, Indian Uncle Tom.
Tepee Tom n. Native American version of an Uncle Tom. Synonyms: Tonto, Fort Indian, Hang-around-the-fort Indian

Amongst his many peculiarities is that he claims to be the descendant of a Comanche Indian chief, Bad Eagle, while at the same time allying with and espousing White supremacist beliefs,

Yeagley is associated with a long list of figures on the far right, the John Birch Society, white nationalists VDare, neo-Nazis Stormfront, the White Boy Society, and the National Alliance, and eugenics groups Gene Expression and American Renaissance.

Native Americans find him offensive for many reasons and also dispute his claims of being a Comanche,

According to sources at the Comanche headquarters, David is not Comanche. His adopted mother is Comanche.

One website devoted to exposing Yeagley, DavidYeagley.blogspot.com, has skewered him and exposed him for the fraud that he is. It is run by Al Carrol, a scholar who is truly descended from Natives. On the site we find more expositions of Yeagley’s persistent White supremacy and anti-Native American stances,

Yeagley describing a gathering of white supremacists and anti-Indian groups:

“It’s their people that created America, not Indians. Only a diabolically self-righteous liberal politician would take America out of the hands that created it, and give it to those who either lost it, or never had anything to do with it.”
“The white blood flowing is the purest I’ve ever seen.”http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=13399

“Superior beauty is in the white race, with its scintillating varieties of color: red, brown, amber, golden hair… green, blue, light brown, gray eyes. In the darker races, everything is always the same, dark brown and black a beastly bore.”

“These days the white woman is expected to humble herself before the darkie.”

“Judeo-Christian religion allowed the European Caucasian race to advance above all other people.The darker races now encroach through integration and intermarriage.”

“Maybe Hitler was partially right on ‘the hated white race’ thing.”

“There is a reason for differences. This is to keep the human race separated into smaller groups. Love of race is the only ‘saving grace’ left in the world.”http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=273

“Indian men… and also typical of black women, together, is just the kind of thing that says these races deserve to be on the bottom of the barrel. They cannot appreciate good will, they are possessed by envy, and have no higher thought than lies.”http://www.indianz.com/board/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=14169&whichpage=3 (Quoting from Yeagley on his Badeagle forum. Note that the poster quoting him was neither an Indian man nor a Black woman. It is typical of Yeagley’s racist paranoia to assume a “plot” by the races he hates.)

And as if to remove all doubt, Yeagley’s conversation with a white supremacist reluctant to admit it until he reassured her he believed the same:

“You are simply a white supremacist, complete with a theology to justify it.
THAT’s OKAY! I’m not knocking that. But you can’t talk about it. You have to guise it in different terms. That’s NOT exactly okay….you DON’t believe in equality, and THAT’s OKAY, TOO. I really mean that. ”
http://www.badeagle.com/cgi-bin/blog/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=650

Yeagley wrote a lot of these supremacist rants on Frontpagemag, David Horowitz’s zany far-right rag, where he was a regular contributor, and on his own website. Not too long ago he also posted a piece called White Man Rising: The Confederacy, which extols the South as the last bastion of true America.

Amongst Yeagley’s other novel pursuits has been his support for the portrayl of Native Americans asmascots. A touchy issue with Native Americans, amongst whom a consensus against such mascots exists. Isn’t it strange for a self-proclaimed descendant of a Comanche chief, who claims to want to help the Comanche, to then go and support the use of Indian mascots?

Yeagley’s maniacal hate and demented racism manifests itself when it comes to Muslims and Arabs. Yeagley writes about Rima Fakih nearly a dozen times on his site, bringing up the familiar wacko claims that she is a secret Hezbollah plant. He writes that she is a Muslim mascot propped up by Muslims to infiltrate and “rape the West.”

The Huffington Post’s Ahmed Rehab in an excellent piece entitled, Miss USA Scrutiny indicates Weird Obsession with Islam, ripped into the loon world who were obsessing over Rima Fakih for being a Muslim, and accusing her of everything from cultural infiltration to being a terrorist. He linked to Bad Eagle as an example, calling it a “Kooky blog.”  That really hurt David Yeagley’s feelings causing him to once again unleash his hate filled feelings about Islam, Muslims and all Americans,

Rima Fakih, the Lebanese immigrant supported by terrorists, who was “judged” to be the new Miss USA 2010, is clearly a nude mascot for Muslims. She is Islam, stripped of all pretense. Despite the pathetic defense of terrorist associate Ahmed Rehab, both on Huffington Post and Celebutopia, Islam is offensive to America. Muslims are repugnant. They have made their name to stink in all the free world. Rehab, typically Muslim, typically liberal, attempts to denigrate and demean Americans who happen to be offended by Islam, and by the unpredecented hypocrisy of the Rima mascot. Americans don’t have “a weird obsession” with Islam. We hate it!

I call you out, Mr. Ahmed Rehab, and everyone like you. I call you a deceiving coward, liar, and enemy of America. Go home. You, who are afraid to reveal your family background and country of origin; you who presume to represent American freedom, but speak only for Muslims, or Communist Democrat liberals; I challenge you, one on one, man to man. Was it not you who had the audacity to post your Twittered comment(No.21) on my site? Or was it some lackey in the office? It doesn’t matter. I call you an extremely offensive individual, and I don’t want you in the free world. You need to be in Saudi, or whatever country believes like you do. You are an unwanted and odious alien in this country. I despise how you think, and what you represent. You are not welcome here in this country. Leave. Now.

The delusions held by this self proclaimed descendant of Bad Eagle are momentous. To him Rimais Islam, and all Muslims are de facto terrorists, Islam not only isn’t American it is “liberal” and “alien.”

Ahmed Rehab must have really pissed Yeagley off, (not a hard task: just say you are a Muslim or not white) considering he wants to expel him from the “free world.” Does Yeagley notice the contradiction, or is his brain so muddled with right-wing racist propaganda that he can’t see the contradiction in wanting to expel someone from the “free world” for not believing or being the same as him? Freedom obviously has a different meaning for Yeagley than the one in the Constitution.

Moreover, in Yeagley’s typical self-victimizing fashion, the old kook tried to argue that he was being ridiculed by Rehab because he was “Indian” not because he was a Kook.

Rehab didn’t mention BadEagle.com in hisHuffington Post defense of Rima the Muslim Mascot, but instead mererly linked to my article behind the words, “kooky blog.” So, an American Indian patriot site is “kooky.” Kooky because I quoted Debbie Schlussel? Or kooky because I hate liars like Ahmed Rehab?

Arab Muslims immigrants apparently feel superior to all other races, and are anxious to demonstrate it. They come from a history of lording over others, from enslaving others, from humiliating others. This is their visceral way of exalting themselves. Equality is anathema to them. I am not suprised that Rehab should consider the American Indian the lowest of the low, or merely “kooky.” We’re easy to denigrate. And honesty is certainly not Rehab’s strong point. Truth he must demean, or nullify somehow. Rehab’s attitude is abundantly clear. Islam has no respect. Islam was the invention of an angry Arab. It is a military death cult from the day it was born. Deceptive, specious words in the societies of the free world may fool those willing to be fooled, but, not me.

I am an American Indian conservative patriot. I hate Islam, and everything it stands for. I hate liars, who attempt to pawn Muslims off as a blessing to the free world. Islam is the enemy of freedom. I love freedom, and I love what America has provided, despite the ironies of history. I defend America, at least verbally, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Amed Rehab is an invader, an enemy, and a lying deceiver. This is what I say, because this is what I see.

Rehab responded directly on Bad Eagle’s blog by calmly ripping him a new one,

Show me where I made any disparaging remarks about Indians. Copy and paste them here for all to see. I challenge you.

You will fail to do so because I never made a single negative remark about Indians, and you sir are a liar.

I merely called your blog kooky – because it is.

You generalized my opinion of your blog to an opinion of all Indians, mostly because you are a dishonest person; I myself did not and would not make that generalization.

Badeagle.com is not representative “Indians,” it is representative of “David Yeagley”

In the same vein, in venting your anger at my negative opinion of your blog, you proceeded to disparage Islam and Muslims at large, rather than to limit your reaction to me. Again, stupid generalization is your sin.

As to the “Kooky” designation for your blog, I stand by that. While your lackeys may entertain your madness, I have no doubt that any objective person will take a look at this blog and reach the conclusion that it is kooky, and that you sir are a classic kook.

Your blog posts are all over the place, your arguments make no sense, you seem to suffer from an ego the size of Alaska, and a good number of delusions, such as that you somehow speak for Indians just because you claim Indian ancestry or that you have the moral authority to decide who is an American and who is not. Your grammar sucks, your posts are filled with schoolboy typos, etc. Most significantly, your blog posts and the comments from your friends are filled with ridiculous generalizations and filthy hatred of Muslims.

I imagine that self-respecting Indians cringe to see someone like you claim to speak for them. You defile the sanctity, glorious history, and honor of the great native tribes of this country. I count Native Americans as friends, I find them to be compassionate, intelligent, and some of the least bigoted people I know.

That anybody would take you seriously is an enigma. Fortunately, your kookiness speaks for itself. I imagine most people who browse your blog can only laugh at what a silly individual you are.

Good luck to you sir.

Ouch. Bad Eagle down.

David Yeagley, the Indian Apple?

Yeagley’s filthy racist attacks are plenty, he writes about Arabs,

Arab Muslims should be immediately deported from the free world, and returned to their own homelands, with a travel ban placed on all of them for the next decade.

Not only does he believe that Arab Muslims should be immediately deported, he also believes that,

The Arab personality is the perfect cohabitation of fear and aggression. It reacts to itself. It comprises fear of the Jew, and the assertion of superiority, not only to the Jew, but to all other races. The Arab personality is desperate for superiority. It must achieve superiority–by any means. Words are first, then actions. It is characterized by impatience, argumentativeness, arrogance, violence, and cruelty. It is essentially a mindless reaction to its own fear. It is a most private writhing, manifested in offense to all other people. It seeks to overcome its fear by enslaving or lording over others. That is its natural way. That is its approach to reality–a jaded reaction to itself. There is no objectivity, no self-reflection, or moral evaluation.

He has a lot in common with other more savvy and less out right racist Islamophobes such asRobert Spencer and Pamela Geller (both people he cites favorably on his site). They hold common conspiracy theories such as “Obama is a Mooslim,” “Muslim demographic take over of the West,” etc.

In the end, David Yeagley is just another garden variety loon who belongs in the category of dejected and unknown backwater wingnuts such as Bob Beers, i.e the Loon blog dungeon. His semi-coherent verbal diarrehea and racist Hitler-esque meanderings serve only as a warning to mankind that such inanities and impossibilites are possible.

 

Seeing the ‘Other’ as American: Moving Past Islamophobia

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on June 14, 2010 by loonwatch
Asma Uddin

(cross-posted from the Huffington Post)

By Asma Uddin

Writers, philosophers, professors, and politicians have referred to the United States of America as “a nation founded by immigrants.” This fact can hardly be refuted — especially considering the existence of the term “Native American.” America has dealt with the question and issues resulting from immigration since its birth in the 18th century. The most cancerous aspects of America’s response to immigration are bigotry and racism, and they are flaring up again, this time in reference to Muslims.

America’s unofficial “open-door” attitude during the colonies’ infancy worked to bring the new nation out of economic obscurity. Yet the American legacy, built on the backs of immigrants, has not been historically favorable to its creators. Quakers in colonial Massachusetts were subjected to auto-de-fé (“act of faith”), a ritual associated with the Spanish Inquisition that involved public penance of condemned heretics and apostates. The Blaine Amendments, whose adoption in many states was made an explicit condition for entering the Union, were motivated by anti-Catholic animus and remain on the books in several states today. Anti-Irish sentiment permeated the U.S. during the Industrial Revolution; the Catholic Irish who immigrated to America in the late 1850s faced “No Irish Need Apply” (NINA) notices in New York City shop windows, factory gates, and workshop doors for years.

Mormons, too, faced discrimination. The Missouri Executive Order 44, or “extermination order,” was issued by Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs to ensure that “the Mormons … be treated as enemies, and … be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace. The Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century faced anti-Chinese riots, lynching, murders, and the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 — even after helping the nation complete the Transcontinental Railroad. Jewish Americans also faced bigotry and discrimination. And perhaps the most devastating case of racism: the Japanese internment camps starting in 1941, which targeted all Japanese, regardless of citizenship. In each case, the anti-immigrant backlash was fueled by paranoia — a deep-seated fear of those who are different.

The latest outbreak of this paranoia is the anti-Muslim sentiment that is becoming increasingly common and increasingly pernicious. While by no means at the level of interment camps or extermination orders, the anti-Muslim rhetoric nonetheless raises serious concerns. A Houston radio host feels comfortable advocating that a mosque be bombed if built near the site of Ground Zero. A few weeks ago, a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida actually was bombed — the most recent of several mosque bombings that have occurred over the past few year.

Richard Bernstein’s recent New York Times piece, “The Danger of Demonizing Adherents of Islam,” focuses on another egregious incident of anti-Muslim paranoia. He describes a bus ad campaign created by Pamela Geller, the executive director of Stop the Islamization of America and the editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com. The Geller bus ads ask questions like “Leaving Islam?” “Fatwa on your head?” and “Is your family or community threatening you?” Geller started her campaign in response to a bus ad campaign in San Francisco intended to inform and educate the general public about the Islamic faith. According to Geller, these informational ads put out by Muslim groups were mere bait to first convert people to Islam and then to violently punish anyone who decided to thereafter leave the religion.

How Geller came up with this bizarre interpretation of the ads is a mystery. As Bernstein rightly notes in his article, there is scant evidence that Muslim Americans hold such a belief, much less actively go out and ensnare innocent Americans into a deathtrap. While in some Muslim countries apostasy is a crime punishable by death, such absurdities do not make the faith.

Geller and others are welcome to pose sincere theological or ideological questions to Muslims, as theological debate about any religion, including Islam, helps keep it vibrant and relevant to changing times. But generalized stereotypes rooted in hate and suspicion simply perpetuate what Bernstein calls a “vicious cycle.” Well-meaning initiatives like the San Francisco bus campaign, a vehicle of a counter-narrative to radicalism, are denounced by Geller-ites as symbols of precisely that radicalism. In turn, “if there are more terrorist attempts by Muslims on American soil, there will be more Americans paying for bus ads and other things to express their rage at Islam itself as well as at Muslims in America, and to encourage the idea that America is, or ought to be, its and their enemy.” Creating that dichotomy then just serves to create more enemy Muslims. Endlessly spiraling downward, such a cycle may lead to the death of “the live-and-let-live civility of American life.”

Undoubtedly correct in his analysis, Bernstein overlooks one point: Americans, generally living in peace with one another, nonetheless created that peaceful coexistence after years of strife suffered by minority groups at the hands of the majority. Geller and her supporters are, in that sense, traditional Americans. What complicates their position, though, is the fact that while roughly half of the Muslim American community consists of first-, second-, or third-generation immigrants, the other half are African-American Muslims who have been here since this country’s inception. The Islam of the Black American had, however, constituted “Black Religion” — what Dr. Sherman Jackson describes in Islam and the Blackamerican as a “holy protest against anti-black racism.” Only with the influx of immigrant Muslims has Islam become a religion to be contended with by the broader culture.

Geller’s relegation of Islam to enemy status creates an Islam to be feared and abhorred. It is a conception that is not grounded in reality, but it is nonetheless propelling American society down the same road it has traveled many times before, to its own detriment. Reflecting upon this historical trajectory should help us see past the present environment, fraught with fear, and move to the next stage of coexistence, where we learn to look past two-dimensional stereotypes and generalizations and see the newcomer not as “other” but as “American.”

 

John L. Esposito: Tom Friedman Gets it Wrong Again

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by loonwatch

john-esposito

Professor John L. Esposito, a renowned expert on Islam and Muslim societies has come out with an excellent piece on Huffington Post, rebutting a horrendously inaccurate article from long time New York Times opinion columnist Thomas Friedman that has gotten a lot of circulation in the media.

John L. Esposito: Tom Friedman on Muslims and Terrorism: Getting it Wrong Again

Thomas Friedman, in his Dec. 15 column “www.jihad.com” repeats and reinforces the same tired, totally incorrect, but commonly-made generalization preached in his July 9, 2005 column, “If it’s a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution,” that “no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.” In his most recent column, Friedman continues to assert, despite readily available information to the contrary, that ” a “violent, jihadist minority seems to enjoy the most ‘legitimacy’ in the Muslim world today” and that “Few political and religious leaders dare to speak out against them in public”…..”How many fatwas — religious edicts — have been issued by the leading bodies of Islam against Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda?” Friedman asks and then answers his own question with “Very few.”

The real truth is that Muslim religious leaders have indeed spoken out strongly and often to condemn terrorism and violence, but mainstream media like the NY Times and columnists like Friedman have chosen to ignore them. For example, Muslim scholars’ and organizations’ condemnations (including fatwas) of the 9/11 attacks, given from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia to the US, can be seen here. Asreported by the BBC, already on September 14, 2001, statements condemning terrorism in general and Bin Laden in particular were made by a significant, influential and diverse group of religious leaders, ranging from Shaykh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, the Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar University in Cairo (viewed by many as one of the highest authorities in Sunni Islam) to Ayatollah Kashani in Iran. In addition, the North America Fiqh Council joined with other internationally prominent Islamic scholars in issuing a formal fatwa on 27 September 2001 condemning bin Laden’s actions of 9/11 and also sanctioning Muslim participation in the United States’ military response in Afghanistan. For a more comprehensive list of statements made by individual leaders and organizations pre and post- 9/11, attacks in Europe and elsewhere, click here.

It is inconceivable that a knowledgeable reporter could be so unaware of major polls on Muslim attitudes towards religious extremism and terrorism and the many statements made by important Islamic leaders and organizations around the world denouncing acts of terrorism. Given Friedman’s knowledge of the area and best selling book on the Middle East, we are dismayed by what can only be willful ignorance. The Gallup World Poll and the recent PEW Center poll of American Muslims provide hard evidence that refutes Friedman’s views of the Muslim majority. Gallup data from 35 Muslim countries from North Africa to Southeast Asia, (see Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think) found that Muslims and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustified. The PEW study American Muslim attitudes concluded:

“Recent events such as the Fort Hood shootings and the arrest of five Muslim American students in Pakistan have raised questions about the threat of homegrown terrorism in the United States. However, the Pew Research Center’s comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests it is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than Muslim minority communities in other countries. Violent jihad is discordant with the values, outlook and attitudes of the vast majority of Muslim Americans, most of whom reject extremism.”

Friedman says “a corrosive mind-set” has developed that “says that Arabs and Muslims are only objects, never responsible for anything in their world, and we are the only subjects, responsible for everything that happens in their world.” If he is so concerned about encouraging Arab and Muslim responsibility and building more resistance against the terrorists, then a positive response from him and the New York Times would be to promulgate and support rather than ignore or deny statements from Muslim leaders and the mainstream majority of Muslims who are speaking out against terrorism in the name of Islam. For Friedman and the Times not to recognize this is more than simply irresponsible journalism; it borders on a polemical advocacy that alienates our most valuable partners, mainstream Muslims, and US-Muslim world relations. This post was co-written by John L. Esposito and John O. Voll, both from the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

 

Update: Robert Spencer Whines and Whimpers After Being Exposed

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2009 by loonwatch
Robert Spencer: Exposed

Robert Spencer: Exposed

We recently wrote about the bruhaha that occurred when it was revealed that anti-Muslim polemicist Robert Spencer was invited by the ALA (American Library Association) to participate on a panel discussing the topic, Perspectives on Islam: Beyond The Stereotypes.

To summarize, close to the date of the event one of the panelists, Dr. Marcia Hermansen, discovered that Spencer would be on the panel. She informed the other panelists, one of the panelists decided to drop out in protest while Hermansen and the other panelist decided to stay on.

In the meantime various scholars, ALA member librarians, concerned citizens contacted the ALA to lodge their protest and demand to know why a notorious Islam hater was on a panel meant to dispel stereotypes about Islam, as did groups like CAIR-Chicago and CIOGC later on. The ALA lagged in their response and the remaining two panelists decided to drop out which lead the ALA to cancel the event.

It turns out the ALA did not know a thing or two about Spencer when he was curiously lobbied for by Ellen Zyroff, the co-chair of ALA’s EMIERT’s Jewish Information Committee and a leader at the San Diego chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, and were caught like a deer in headlights when it later became apparent to them that they had invited a discredited hatemonger. They are not entirely innocent however, how they let Zyroff decide who gets to be on a panel about Islam as opposed to someone on the Islamic Information Committee (if one even exists) is an untold story in and of itself.

In response to the cancellation and unanimous rejection to his participation Spencer started to cry “bloody censorship.” He accused CAIR of orchestrating a campaign to silence him and attack free speech when in reality all of the panelists had decided to drop out independently of CAIR contacting the ALA. By their own admission, they cited the ALA’s “failure to address their concerns” as well as the ALA actively misrepresenting the event to them.

As a result of most self-respecting people not wanting to associate with his rabidly anti-Muslim discourse, the apocalyptic Spencer and his shock troops began to cry that our whole Western Civilization was now under threat.  Closer to the truth seems to be that increasing incidents, such as these involving Spencer, reinforce his marginalization and highlight who he is: a bitter, bigoted Islamophobe with an ego the size of Alaska.

Unable to let the incident go with one 2300 worded diatribe, he penned another (shorter) assault in which he turned his venom from his former ally Charles Johnson onto CAIR-Chicago Director, Ahmed Rehab, in what seems to be an outrageous display of juvenility and senility that further exposes his lack of serious academic prowess or professional standards. In it, he claims that Ahmed Rehab “strong armed” the ALA into canceling the event, and that it is all part of his campaign “against free speech” and the so-called “truth of Islamic Jihad.” In reality, Ahmed Rehab had performed his organization’s stated mission of fighting bigotry by simply exposing the facts about Robert Spencer’s discredited methodology that would earn him an F in the academic world.

Ahmed Rehab, in his own article on the Huffington Post, articulately laid out the facts and even pre-empted this obvious line of attack from Spencer by stating that,

In fact, CAIR-Chicago’s call on the ALA to rescind Spencer’s invitation was not about Spencer but about the ALA, specifically: a) questioning why a respectable organization like the ALA would secretly invite an Islam-basher for an event designed to dispel stereotypes about Islam, and b) demanding that the ALA take responsibility for its misrepresentation of the panel event to the other panelists involved and to the public, and to provide an appropriate remedy for their error.

In Spencer’s self-inflated grandiose world he is unable to see that what concerned the diverse coalition of Americans that rejected him had nothing to do with him, or censoring him, but everything to do with the ALA and what it stands for, as well as the obvious incongruity in providing a platform to someone who makes a living from perpetuating stereotypes to speak on dispelling stereotypes.

Is that really so hard to understand?

Spencer further claimed that the participants knew about the event a month in advance, but he seems to be caught in a contradiction. On July 6, a few days from the event, Dr. Marcia Hermansen discovered that Spencer would be on the panel,

From: Marcia Hermansen
Date: July 6, 2009 8:07:26 AM CDT
To: xxxx@LISTS.xxxx.EDU
Subject: Marcia Hermansen and Robert Spencer
Reply-To: Marcia Hermansen

Thanks–I didn’t know about this–I thought I was on an informational panel for librarians–I guess this turns up the heat!

“xxxx” [xxxx@xxxx.xxxx] 07/06/09 3:06 AM >>>
Dear Colleagues,

I just found out on from the MELA list that Marcia Hermansen and Robert Spencer will be on an invited panel at the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) panel at the American Librarians Association annual meeting on July 12.

What Spencer may not want to admit is that this episode was never about censoring free speech which, when one considers Spencer’s explicit endorsement and support for Geert Wilders who is on the record stating that the “Qur’an should be banned” and that “freedom of religion should not apply to Islam”, seems just a tad bit hypocritical and disingenuous.

It was about principles of consistency, of not giving a platform to Islamophobes just as we don’t give platforms to racists and holocaust deniers. In that vein it seems the overwhelming majority of people agree and as one librarian expressing her own and her colleagues’ sentiments wrote:

Being a librarian I did my own homework. I verify my sources. I can tell that Ahmed Rehab did an excellent job in laying out the facts. Just check the facts again. Call the panelists and ALA organizers. Do your own investigation. The format of this panel was totally UNETHICAL. The main reason was to sneak Robert Spencer and impose a “fait accompli” to other panelists. The whole thing was flawed.

So, let Spencer claim that the world is out to get him and there is a nefarious plot to subvert his free expression of speech. It is his right, under — you guessed it — freedom of speech, but he shouldn’t be such a sore loser when others exercise their free speech and call him out for using his free speech to push lies and support for hatred and bigotry. He can always take solace in that while the sane world rejects him, he will always have his troop of “Crazy McCain ladies” cooing over his innuendo at his David Horowitz-funded extremist blog, “Jihadwatch.”

Audra Shay and the Rituals of Elephants and Donkeys

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2009 by loonwatch

audra_shay

Click on the above image

I am never amazed by the Republicans or the Democrats, their mundane and consistent descent into a sort of ritualistic behavior reminds one of visiting the zoo and seeing the zoo animals go about their daily routine without nary a change.  You might say, ‘What did you expect, their symbols are the Elephant and the Donkey?’ Well let’s just say I am tired of them.

First ritualistic behavior: It occurred when Audra Shay who at the time was running to be the Chairman of the Young Republicans responded to one of her friends bigoted and racist remarks on her Facebook page by acknowledging and supporting it. Her friend, Eric S. Piker wrote at 1:54 pm (grammatical mistakes his),

“Osama bin Lauden is the new terrorist….muslim is on there side …..need to take back this country from all these mad coons………and illegals,” eight minutes later at 2:02 Shay responded with “You tell em Eric! lol”

Some young Republicans on her page took exception to her response to the bigotry and racism. When Shay realized her mistake and that it might hurt her chances for the Chairmanship she released a statement,

I immediately deleted the derogatory and outright disgusting comments and subsequently posted a statement on my Facebook Status stating that in no way, shape or form are the comments posted by other individuals a reflection of me or my beliefs as an American, a Veteran, a Mother or a Candidate. I do not, nor would I ever, condone that type of language or behavior.

Did she also delete her comments in immediate response to Eric? She claims that she was unaware of the racial comments until later and that she was replying to her friend’s other comment. This doesn’t make much sense considering she had at least eight minutes to see and read her friend’s comments and what she was replying to. Even if this were the case it is highly suspicious considering that she has made equally ugly remarks in the past.

The Daily Beast noted, after an effigy of Sarah Palin was hung, she said,

What no ‘Obama in a noose? … I am wondering if the guys with the Palin noose would care if we had a bunch of homosexuals in a noose.” She’s also written that President Obama “attacks white people” and posted a video claiming Obama believes he has to help African-Americans over whites to “ensure his own salvation.”

The ritualistic aspects in this is another Republican caught saying or supporting racist and demeaning things about minorities. Also the knee jerk response when feeling the heat to apologize and distance themselves from views that they have a track record of holding.

Second ritualistic behavior: The Democrats in their usual reactionary manner jumped all over this to score political points. In reality, they have a right to jump on this and mock the Republicans but what they fail to do because either they don’t see it as a problem, or they see that they can’t score any political points off of it, is condemn not just the racist reference to remove “coons” and “illegals” but also the implication that all Muslims are with “Osama bin Laden.” No one, not the Huffington Post or any other liberal commentator even brought that up.

It continues the passive and narrow reactionary behavior of the Democrats — to feed off of the present sentimental feelings in culture while not being consistent on their principles by condemning bigotry in all its form and not be selective. We saw this during the Democratic primary in which accusations were leveled at Barack Obama that he was a Muslim. Instead of responding to these charges properly like Colin Powell did when he said, “the proper answer is he isn’t Muslim, but even if he was it shouldn’t matter” the Democrats reacted by in effect saying it was a “smear” to be a Muslim and called on supporters to “combat this smear.”

The lesson is that not much has changed with Republicans or Democrats and their perpetuation, enabling and disregard for anti-Muslimism and Islamophobia needs to be brought to their attention. Most importantly it highlights the fact that Islamophobia is not disconnected from other forms of prejudice. Many times, and this seems to be the rule, when you see an Islamophobe he is also a racist and vice-versa.