Archive for Hypocrisy

Washington’s High-Powered Terrorist Supporters

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by loonwatch

Glenn Greenwald, the first nomination for induction in the Anti-Loon Hall of Fame

Greenwald is like the canary in the coal mine, warning about the grave threat to our civil liberties and the abuse of the rule of law at the hand of the political elite:

Washington’s high-powered terrorist supporters

by Glenn Greenwald (Salon.com)

We now have an extraordinary situation that reveals the impunity with which political elites commit the most egregious crimes, as well as the special privileges to which they explicitly believe they — and they alone — are entitled. That a large bipartisan cast of Washington officials got caught being paid substantial sums of money by an Iranian dissident group that is legally designated by the U.S. Government as a Terrorist organization, and then meeting with and advocating on behalf of that Terrorist group, is very significant for several reasons. New developments over the last week make it all the more telling. Just behold the truly amazing set of facts that have arisen:

In June, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 6-3 ruling in the case of Holder v. Humanitarian Law. In that case, the Court upheld the Obama DOJ’s very broad interpretation of the statute that criminalizes the providing of “material support” to groups formally designated by the State Department as Terrorist organizations. The five-judge conservative bloc (along with Justice Stevens) held that pure political speech could be permissibly criminalized as “material support for Terrorism” consistent with the First Amendment if the “advocacy [is] performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization” (emphasis added). In other words, pure political advocacy in support of a designated Terrorist group could be prosecuted as a felony — punishable with 15 years in prison — if the advocacy is coordinated with that group.

This ruling was one of the most severe erosions of free speech rights in decades because, as Justice Breyer (joined by Ginsberg and Sotomayor) pointed out in dissent, “all the activities” at issue, which the DOJ’s interpretation would criminalize, “involve the communication and advocacy of political ideas and lawful means of achieving political ends.” The dissent added that the DOJ’s broad interpretation of the statute “gravely and without adequate justification injure[s] interests of the kind the First Amendment protects.” As Georgetown Law Professor David Cole, who represented the plaintiffs, explained, this was literally “the first time ever” that “the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment permits the criminalization of pure speech advocating lawful, nonviolent activity.” Thus, “the court rule[d] that speech advocating only lawful, nonviolent activity can be made a crime, and that any coordination with a blacklisted group can land a citizen in prison for 15 years.” Then-Solicitor-General Elena Kagan argued the winning Obama DOJ position before the Court.

Whatever one’s views are on this ruling, it is now binding law. To advocate on behalf of a designated Terrorist group constitutes the felony of “providing material support” if that advocacy is coordinated with the group.

Like most assaults on the Constitution in the name of Terrorism during the Obama presidency, criticism of that Court decision was rare in establishment circles (that’s because Republicans consistently support such assaults while Democrats are reluctant to criticize them under Obama). On the day the Humanitarian Law decision was released, CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer interviewed Fran Townsend, George Bush’s Homeland Security Advisor and now-CNN analyst, and Townsend hailed the decision as “a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration.” Here’s how that discussion went:

BLITZER: There is a related case involved that the Supreme Court came out with today and I want to talk to you about this. The Supreme Court ruling today in the fight against terrorism . . . .The 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court, the justices rejecting the arguments that the law threatens the constitutional right of free speech. You read the decision, 6-3, only three of the Democratic appointed justices decided they didn’t like this. They were the minority. But the majority was pretty firm in saying that if you go ahead and express what is called material support for a known terrorist group, you could go to jail for that.

TOWNSEND: This is a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration. It’s interesting, Wolf, Elena Kagan the current Supreme Court nominee argued in favor of upholding this law. This is an important tool the government uses to convict those, to charge and convict, potentially convict those who provide money, recruits, propaganda, to terrorist organizations, but are not what we call people who actually blow things up or pull the trigger.

BLITZER: So it’s a major decision, a 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court. If you’re thinking about even voicing support for a terrorist group, don’t do it because the government can come down hard on you and the Supreme Court said the government has every right to do so.

TOWNSEND: It is more than just voicing support, Wolf. It is actually the notion of providing material support, significant material support.

BLITZER: But they’re saying that if material support, they’re defining as expressing support or giving advice or whatever to that organization.

TOWNSEND: That’s right. But it could be technical advice, bomb-building advice, fundraising.

So Fran Townsend lavishly praised this decision — one that, as Blitzer put it, means that “If you’re thinking about even voicing support for a terrorist group, don’t do it because the government can come down hard on you.”  And while Townsend was right that the decision requires “more than just voicing support” for the Terrorist group, the Court was crystal clear that such voicing of support, standing alone, can be prosecuted if it is done in coordination with the group (“the term ’service’ [] cover[s] advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization“).

But look at what is happening now to Fran Townsend and many of her fellow political elites. In August of last year, The Christian Science Monitor‘s Scott Peterson published a detailed exposé about “a high-powered array of former top American officials” who have received “tens of thousands of dollars” from a designated Terrorist organization – the Iranian dissident group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) — and then met with its leaders, attended its meetings, and/or publicly advocated on its behalf. That group includes Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean, Michael Mukasey, Ed Rendell, Andy Card, Lee Hamilton, Tom Ridge, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Michael Hayden, John Bolton, Louis Freeh — and Fran Townsend. This is how it works:

Former US officials taking part in MEK-linked events told the Monitor or confirmed publicly that they received substantial fees, paid by local Iranian-American groups to speaker bureaus that handle their public appearances.

The State Dept. official, who is familiar with the speech contracts, explains the mechanism: “Your speech agent calls, and says you get $20,000 to speak for 20 minutes. They will send a private jet, you get $25,000 more when you are done, and they will send a team to brief you on what to say.”

As but one example, Rendell, the former Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania and current MSNBC contributor, was paid $20,000 for a 10- minute speech before a MEK gathering, and has been a stalwart advocate of the group ever since.

Even for official Washington, where elite crimes are tolerated as a matter of course, this level of what appears to be overt criminality — taking large amounts of money from a designated Terrorist group, appearing before its meetings, meeting with its leaders, then advocating on its behalf — is too much to completely overlook. The Washington Times reported on Friday that the Treasury Department’s counter-Terrorism division is investigating speaking fees paid to former Gov. Rendell, who, the article notes, has “become among [MEK’s] most vocal advocates.” According to Rendell, “investigators have subpoenaed records related to payments he has accepted for public speaking engagements” for MEK. As the article put it, ”some observers have raised questions about the legality of accepting payment in exchange for providing assistance or services to a listed terrorist group.” Beyond the “material support” crime, engaging in such transactions with designated Terrorist groups is independently prohibited by federal law:

David Cole, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, noted that “any group that’s on the list is also, by definition, on the Treasury Department’s list for specially designated global terrorists.”

Anyone in the United States is prohibited from engaging in any transaction with such an entity,” he said.

While Mr. Cole stressed his personal belief that individuals have a “First Amendment right to speak out freely” for an organization like the MEK, he said that “it is a crime to engage in any transaction, which would certainly include getting paid to do public relations for them.

Rendell has a lot of company in the commission of what very well may be these serious crimes — including the very same Fran Townsend who cheered the Humanitarian Law decision that could be her undoing. After someone on Twitter wrote to her this weekend to say that she should be prosecuted (and “put in GITMO indefinitely”) for her “material support”of MEK, this is how — with the waving American flag as her chosen background — she defended herself in reply:

How reprehensible is the conduct of Fran Townsend here? Just two years ago, she went on CNN to celebrate a Supreme Court decision that rejected First Amendment claims of free speech and free association in order to rule that anyone — most often Muslims — can be prosecuted under the “material support” statute simply for advocacy for a Terrorist group that is coordinated with the group. And yet, the minute Fran Townsend gets caught doing exactly that — not just out of conviction but also because she’s being paid by that Terrorist group — she suddenly invokes the very same Constitutional rights whose erosions she cheered when it came to the prosecution of others. Now that her own liberty is at stake by virtue of getting caught being on the dole from a Terrorist group, she suddenly insists that the First Amendment allows her to engage in this behavior: exactly the argument that Humanitarian Law rejected, with her gushing approval on CNN (“a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration“; This is an important tool the government uses to convict those . . . who provide []  propaganda, to terrorist organizations”).”

What is particularly repellent about all of this is not the supreme hypocrisy and self-interested provincialism of Fran Townsend. That’s all just par for the course. What’s infuriating is that there are large numbers of people — almost always Muslims — who have been prosecuted and are now in prison for providing “material support” to Terrorist groups for doing far less than Fran Townsend and her fellow cast of bipartisan ex-officials have done with and on behalf of MEK. In fact, the U.S. Government has been (under the administration in which Townsend worked) and still is (under the administration Rendell supports) continuously prosecuting Muslims for providing “material support” for Terrorist groups based on their pure speech, all while Fran Townsend, Ed Rendell and company have said nothing or, worse, supported the legal interpretations that justified these prosecutions.

The last time I wrote about these individuals’ material support for MEK, I highlighted just a few of those cases:

  • A Staten Island satellite TV salesman in 2009 was sentenced to five years in federal prison merely for including a Hezbollah TV channel as part of the satellite package he sold to customers;
  • a Massachusetts resident, Tarek Mehanna, is being prosecuted now ”for posting pro-jihadist material on the internet”;
  • a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, Jubair Ahmad, was indicted last September for uploading a 5-minute video to YouTube that was highly critical of U.S. actions in the Muslim world, an allegedly criminal act simply because prosecutors claim he discussed the video in advance with the son of a leader of a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba);
  • a Saudi Arabian graduate student, Sami Omar al-Hussayen, was prosecuted simply for maintaining a website with links “to groups that praised suicide bombings in Chechnya and in Israel” and “jihadist” sites that solicited donations for extremist groups (he was ultimately acquitted); and,
  •  last July, a 22-year-old former Penn State student and son of an instructor at the school, Emerson Winfield Begolly, was indicted for — in the FBI’s words — “repeatedly using the Internet to promote violent jihad against Americans” by posting comments on a “jihadist” Internet forum including “a comment online that praised the shootings” at a Marine Corps base, action which former Obama lawyer Marty Lederman said ”does not at first glance appear to be different from the sort of advocacy of unlawful conduct that is entitled to substantial First Amendment protection.”

Yet we have the most well-connected national security and military officials in Washington doing far more than all of that right out in the open — they’re receiving large payments from a Terrorist group, meeting with its leaders, attending their meetings, and then advocating for them in very public forums; Howard Dean, after getting paid by the group, actually called for MEK’s leader to be recognized as the legitimate President of Iran  – and so far none have been prosecuted or even indicted. The Treasury Department investigation must at least scare them. Thus, like most authoritarians, Fran Townsend suddenly discovers the importance of the very political liberties she’s helped assault now that those Constitutional protections are necessary to protect herself from prosecution. It reminds me quite a bit of how former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman — one of the most reliable advocates for Bush’s illegal spying program — suddenly started sounding like a life-long, outraged ACLU member as soon as it was revealed that her own private communications were legally surveilled by the U.S. Government.

One can reasonably debate whether MEK actually belongs on the list of Terrorist organizations (the same is true for several other groups on that list). But as a criminal matter, that debate is irrelevant. The law criminalizes the providing of material support to any group on that list, and it is not a defense to argue after one gets caught that the group should be removed.

Moreover, the argument that MEK does not belong on the Terrorist list — always a dubious claim —  has suffered a serious blow in the last couple of months. An NBC News report from Richard Engel and Robert Windrem in February claimed that it was MEK which perpetrated the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and that the Terrorist group “is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service” (MEK denied the report). If true, it means that MEK continues to perpetrate definitive acts of Terrorism: using bombs and guns to kill civilian scientists and severely injure their wives. Yet Townsend, Rendell, Dean, Giuliani and other well-paid friends continue to be outspoken advocates of the group. Even the dissenters in Humanitarian Law argued that the First Amendment would allow “material support” prosecution “when the defendant knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization’s unlawful terrorist actions.” A reasonable argument could certainly be advanced that, in light of these recent reports about MEK’s Terrorism, one who takes money from the group and then advocates for its removal from the Terrorist list “knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization’s unlawful terrorist actions”: a prosecutable offense even under the dissent’s far more limited view of the statute.

But whatever else is true, the activities of Townsend, Rendell, Dean, Giuliani and the rest of MEK’s paid shills are providing more than enough “material support” to be prosecuted under the Humanitarian Law decision and other statutes. They’re providing more substantial “material support” to this Terrorist group than many people — usually vulnerable, powerless Muslims — who are currently imprisoned for that crime.  It’s nice that Fran Townsend suddenly discovered the virtues of free speech and free association guarantees, but under the laws she and so many others like her have helped implement and defend, there is a very strong case to make that her conduct and those of these other well-connected advocates for this Terrorist group is squarely within the realm of serious criminal behavior.

Glenn Greenwald
Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.More Glenn Greenwald

Iran: Yet Another Case Study in Robert Spencer’s Hypocrisy and Double Standards

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2011 by loonwatch

 

JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer just posted an article with the following title:

How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet: Iran promotes genocidal book by Muslim seminarians, published by Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance

He’s taking exception to an anti-Israeli book supposedly written by some religious students in Iran, called “How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet.”  Spencer calls this a “genocidal book.”

This is why LoonWatch exists.  We’ve been documenting what loons like Robert Spencer say so that we can pull Jon Stewart moves like the one I am going to pull now…

The reader is referred to Robert Spencer’s post in March 2010 wherein he promoted a “genocidal video” calling for “wiping Pakistan off the map” and nuclear annihilation of Pakistan:

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Wipe Pakistan Off the Map

And my article on the topic back then:

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller Promote Video by Militant and Genocidal Group

When Iranians/Muslims call to “wipe Israel off the map” or “eliminate Israel from the planet”, then it is a “genocidal book” and all freedom-loving people must be outraged by this.  When anti-Muslim extremists call for the same against Muslims, then that’s a “genocidal freedom-loving video” that all freedom-loving people must support.  As George Orwell put it: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

(Image at the top of the page comes from an earlier article exposing Robert Spencer: LoonWatch Exclusive: Robert Spencer’s “f**kallah.com” & “f**kislam.com”)

Anti-Muslims and Politicians Find Common Cause with Iranian Terrorist Organization

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by loonwatch

The surreal world of anti-Muslim Islamophobia knows no bounds. Islamophobes and the political class that panders to them have been caught with their pants down–figuratively for once. Since 9/11, these traffickers in hate have profited from the development of an industry of “terror expert professionals,” consisting of so-called: “ex-terrorists,” “ex-Muslims,” “scholars,” “think tank gurus,” pontificating on the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy, the danger of a growing Muslim populace in the West, the need to be suspicious of Muslims, Muslims’ susceptibility to terrorism, etc.

This narrative belies reality, Muslims who commit terrorism are an extreme minority, in fact what is most glaring in the face of this propaganda is what Charles Kurzman terms, The Missing Martyrs (book review to come soon). For all the hackneyed anti-Muslim diatribe and hypotheses of an omnipresent and ever dangerous “Islamic terrorism,” what is remarkable is the absence of “would-be martyrs,” let alone a threat level that is blown out of all proportion. The Arab Spring has, more than anything else, dealt a stinging, if not lethal blow to the harbingers of doom.

What is most irksome is that the real radicals, the ones who draw us into endless war, increase hostilities amongst communities, and hob nob with anti-freedom organizations are the same individuals projecting their worldview onto Muslims.

Where else (with the exception of perhaps a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel) could we witness a House Homeland Security Sub-committee Hearing being chaired by a Congressman who once was the most outspoken advocate of a terrorist organization. Rep. Peter King’s involvement with the IRA while they were targeting and murdering civilians is well known, and the hypocrisy and double standard of him chairing hearings on “American Muslim radicalization” is painfully evident.

This however is not the only, or even the most glaring example we can turn to of Congressmen or former high ranking government officials supporting or advocating on behalf of a terrorist organization.

Congressmen (including Democrats) and former government officials have met with the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an organization that was designated a terrorist group in 1997 when the list was first compiled, and is STILL ON THE LIST–for now.

MEK has a very aggressive and organized lobby effort in Washington D.C. According to one House staffer, the MEK is “the most mobilized grassroots advocacy effort in the country — AIPAC included.” Their mission is to be delisted as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), push the USA to foment war with Iran, i.e. “regime change,” and have themselves installed into power. Sound familiar?

They attempt to pass themselves off as the sole legitimate opposition to the Iranian regime, going so far as to claim that they are the Green Movement or the government in exile. Now there is a quiet push to have them delisted from the FTO list:

Members of Congress led by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) have introduced a resolutioncalling on the Secretary of State and the President to throw the support of the United States behind an exiled Iranian terrorist group seeking to overthrow the Iranian regime and install themselves in power. Calling the exiled organization “Iran’s main opposition,” Filner is urging the State Department to end the blacklisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) — a group listed by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The resolution currently has 83 cosponsors and is gaining significant ground.

Such a move would have disastrous repercussions for the USA, and would inevitably lead to blowback considering what the MEK is about:

[F]or the record, here are the facts about the MEK (you can find this and more at www.mekterror.com):

  • The State Department reports the MEK is a terrorist group that has murdered innocent Americans and maintains “the will and capacity” to commit terrorist attacks within the U.S. and beyond. [1]
  • The MEK claims to have renounced terrorism in 2001, but a 2004 FBI report states “the MEK is currently actively involved in planning and executing acts of terrorism.” [2]
  • RAND and Human Rights Watch have reported that the MEK is a cult that abuses its own members. [3] [4]
  • MEK has no popular support in Iran and has been denounced by the Green Movement, Iran’s peaceful democratic opposition movement.[5]

Iran’s Opposition Green Movement Rejects the MEK

  • The leaders of the Green Movement, Iran’s true popular opposition movement, have denounced the MEK and warned that the Iranian government seeks to discredit Iran’s opposition by associating it with the MEK:
  • “The Iranian Government is trying to connect those who truly love their country (the Greens) with the MEK to revive this hypocritical dead organization.” – Mehdi Karroubi, Green Movement leader. [6]
  • “The MEK can’t be part of the Green Movement. This bankrupt political group is now making some laughable claims, but the Green Movement and the MEK have a wall between them and all of us, including myself, Mr. Mousavi, Mr. Khatami, and Mr. Karroubi.” – Zahra Rahnavard, Women’s rights activist and wife of Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi[7]

Iraqi National Congress Redux?

  • The MEK claims it is “the main opposition in Iran,” yet similar to Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress that helped bring the United States into war with Iraq, the MEK is an exiled organization that has no popular support within Iran[8]
  • RAND reports that the MEK are “skilled manipulators of public opinion.” The MEK has a global support network with active lobbying and propaganda efforts in major Western capitals. [9]
  • Members of Congress have been deceived and misinformed into supporting this terrorist  organization:
  • In 2002, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen led efforts for the U.S. to support the group, prompting then-Chairman and the Ranking Member of the House International Affairs Committee, Henry Hyde and Tom Lantos, to send a Dear Colleague warning against supporting the MEK.  They cautioned that many Members had been “embarrassed when confronted with accurate information about the MEK.” [10]
  • In the current Congress, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) have each introduced resolutions calling for MEK to be removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

A Capacity and Will to Commit Terrorist Acts in the U.S. & Beyond

  • The Bush administration determined in 2007 that “MEK leadership and members across the world maintain the capacity and will to commit terrorist acts in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, and beyond.” [11]
  • The Canadian and Australian governments have also designated the MEK as a terrorist organization. The Canadian government just reaffirmed its designation in December.[12] [13]
  • An EU court removed the MEK from its list of terrorist organizations, but only due to procedural reasons.  According to a spokesperson for the Council of the European Union, the EU court “did not enter into the question of defining or not the PMOI [MEK] as a terrorist organization.” [14]

Saddam Hussein’s Terrorist Militia

  • The MEK received all of its military assistance and most of its financial support from Saddam Hussein, including funds illegally siphoned from the UN Oil-for-Food Program, until 2003. [15]
  • The MEK helped execute Saddam’s bloody crackdown on Iraqi Shia and Kurds. Maryam Rajavi, the MEK’s permanent leader, instructed her followers to “take the Kurds under your tanks.” [16]

A Cult That Abuses Its Own Members

  • Human Rights Watch reports that MEK commits extensive human rights abuses against its own members at Camp Ashraf, including “torture that in two cases led to death.”[17]
  • RAND report commissioned by DOD found that the MEK is a cult that utilizes practices such as mandatory divorce, celibacy, authoritarian control, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse, confiscation of assets, emotional isolation, and the imprisonment of dissident members. [18]
  • RAND concluded that up to 70% of the MEK members at their Camp Ashraf headquarters were likely recruited through deception and are kept there against their will. [19]
  • The FBI reports that the MEK’s “NLA [National Liberation Army] fighters are separated from their children who are sent to Europe and brought up by the MEK’s Support Network. […] These children are then returned to the NLA to be used as fighters upon coming of age.  Interviews also revealed that some of these children were told that their parents would be harmed if the children did not cooperate with the MEK. ”[20]

A History of Anti-Americanism

  • One of the founding ideologies of the MEK is anti-Americanism—the MEK is responsible for murdering American businessmen, military personnel, and even a senior American diplomat[21]
  • The MEK strongly supported the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, vigorously opposed their eventual release, and chastised the government for not executing the hostages[22]

The MEK was Not “Added” to the FTO List as a Goodwill Gesture to Iran

Delisting MEK: Disastrous Repercussions

The MEK is opposed by the Iranian people due to its history of terrorist attacks against civilians in Iran and its close alliance with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war.

  1. The greatest beneficiaries of delisting MEK would be Ahmadinejad and Iranian hardliners who seek to link the U.S. and the Green Movement to MEK.
  2. U.S. support for MEK would be used as a propaganda tool by hardliners to delegitimize and destroy Iran’s true democracy movement.
  3. American credibility among the Iranian people would be ruined if the U.S. supported this group.

This should all gives us pause. Do the elected and former government officials who support delisting the MEK know the troubling anti-American, terrorist history of the MEK? If they do, then how in good conscious can they actively push to delist them?

The scenario that keeps coming to mind is cover for war or a possible Israeli attack against Iran. A possibility that seems ever more likely as MJ Rosenburg wrote recently:

A longtime CIA officer who spent 21 years in the Middle East is predicting that Israel will bomb Iran in the fall, dragging the United States into another major war and endangering US military and civilian personnel (and other interests) throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Earlier this week, Robert Baer appeared on the provocative KPFK Los Angeles show Background Briefing, hosted by Ian Masters. It was there that he predicted that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is likely to ignite a war with Iran in the very near future.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Robert Spencer’s link to the MEK. Spencer frequently spews insults at Reza Aslan for being a board member of the NIAC. In his “expert” opinion true Iranian Freedom organizations oppose the NIAC, and view them as tools of the Mullahs.

A contemptuous claim if it wasn’t so laughable, considering that the NIAC has frequently spoken out against the Iranian regime and has thrown its weight completely behind the Green Movement.

Spencer comes to this conclusion based on the opinion of his friends in a group called the PDMI or Pro-Democracy Movement of Iran. No one really knows how many people are in the PDMI, all they have is a blogspot website which Spencer links. The website is quite strange, it has an image of former Iranian dictator Reza Shah, and also articles supporting the MEK. Is it another MEK front group? One recent article from July 15 is titled “Iran, Mujahedin-e Khalq, and the US State Department,” by Hamid Yazdanpanah, who writes:

[W]hat has consistently been a go-to practice in appeasing Tehran? The harassment and terrorist listing of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)…the terrorist designation of the MEK arose purely out of appeasement of the Iranian regime…The terrorist designation of the MEK has not only failed to appease the Iranian regime, it has resulted in severe harm and restriction for an organization devoted to the liberation of the Iranian people. The State Department has a moral and legal obligation to undo this grave error and delist the MEK.

It looks as if on top of all the conspiracies, hatred, and anti-Freedom ideas that Spencer pushes he is also linked to the terrorist MEK. Human Events, another website Spencer writes for contains articles supporting the MEK, such as this one by James Zumwalt. Can we now begin every piece on Spencer with, “The MEK linked Robert Spencer…”?

Sadly, this chimera world in which the Islamophobes and their allies turn everything upside down or sweep it under the rug hoping no one will find the truth is real. We are confronted with an organized mechanism of propaganda seeking to profit from endless war, occupation, hatred, hypocrisy and double standards. We are in an age in which the Supreme Court has upheld a “criminal prohibition on advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization,” and yet our Congressmen, and their lobbyist friends can get away with doing exactly that when it suits their purposes!

*Update: There are more Islamophobes involved in the cynical nexus of bringing legitimacy to the MEK. One such longtime advocate has been neo-Conservative Daniel Pipes, who rather seems like a mild Islamophobe these days. For his support of the MEK see, Daniel Pipes: My Writings on the Mujahedeen-e Khalq. (hat tip: NassirH)

Who Has the Right to Speak Out Against the Ban on Women Driving in Saudi Arabia?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on June 22, 2011 by loonwatch

In Saudi Arabia, women still do not have the right to drive.  Recently, a group of Saudi women have challenged this ban, running the risk of prosecution and punishment by their government.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton initially refrained from being too hard on the Saudis, arguing instead for “quiet diplomacy.”  It is now being reported that Clinton has abandoned this approach and has issued a public statement of support for Saudi Women for Driving.

However, the initial reluctance to issue a public statement and the mildness of the issued public statement make us wonder if the United States has tempered its criticism based on its (perceived) national interest and regional “needs.”  The Saudi government may well be the most ultra-conservative and fundamentalist regime since the Taliban’s Afghanistan, but the Saudi leadership is subservient to American power–and is therefore acceptable.

Simply put, the Saudis are our favorite type of tyrants–U.S. friendly tyrants–ones we can work with and do business with.  Of course, if they ever get out of line like our former-friend-turned-enemy Saddam Hussein did, then we can always invade and occupy them.  But for now, as long as they do our bidding, we could care less if they repress their people, whether it be women or Shi’ites.

From time to time, the U.S. will be forced to issue public statements against certain actions of Saudi Arabia, just as it sometimes does against Israel.  But these statements will not be too forceful, and certainly won’t be the “ratcheting up of rhetoric” of war and aggression that would take place had this been Iran that was involved.

I should clarify, however, that I don’t want the United States or Clinton to “ratchet up” the rhetoric of war and aggression against Saudi Arabia.  As a peacenik, I don’t support any of America’s wars, let alone want yet another Muslim country to be invaded.  I’m merely commenting on the double standard of American foreign policy, which is even more apparent in the way the U.S. talks about the “Arab Spring” democratic movement in Libya versus in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain.

*  *  *  *  *

Certain right-wing elements support the ratcheting up of the rhetoric of war and aggression against Saudi Arabia, with some even advocating the use of military force.  On the other hand, conservative Muslim Hebah Ahmed has argued on CNN that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t meddle in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia at all and that foreign intervention will be resented by the Saudi citizenry.

The first view, calling for an aggressive posture against Saudi Arabia, would of course be counter-productive.  The opposing view espoused by Hebah Ahmed–that only Saudis and Saudis alone have a right to speak out against the women driving ban–is also wrong.

First things first, it is worthwhile to point out a few errors in Hebah Ahmed’s analysis.  She opens up by saying “this is not a religious issue.”  She is correct in saying that there is nothing in Islam that prohibits women from driving.  Quite the opposite in fact.  The early Muslim women in the time of the Prophet Muhammad freely “drove around” on camels and horses.  Neither the Islamic prophet or his disciples forbade this.  There is absolutely no reason then, argue most Muslims, to prohibit women from driving.

However, Ahmed is incorrect in saying that the Saudi ban on women driving is not a religious issueat all. In fact, the Saudi clerics have forbidden women from driving based on religious grounds.  They have used a contested and open-ended concept of Islamic jurisprudence, sadd al-dhara’i (which means “blocking the means” to sin), to ban women from driving.  What this means is that it is licit to forbid something which in and of itself is not sinful because that something will likely lead to something else that is sinful.

The principle of “blocking the means” is a contentious one, and accounts for the differing Muslim views on various issues.  The principle has a very limited role and is used sparingly especially amongst the more liberal minded, whereas it is used expansively and widely by ultra-conservative Islamic clerics who ban everything from university education to women driving.

The late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, known as Ibn Baz, issued the following religious verdictforbidding women from driving:

People have spoken a great deal in the al-Jazeerah newspaper about the issue of women driving cars. It is well known that it leads to evil consequences which are well known to those who promote it, such as being alone with a non-mahram [stranger] woman, unveiling, reckless mixing with men, and committing haraam [forbidden] actions because of which these things were forbidden. Islam forbids the things that lead to haraam [forbidden] and regards them as being haraam [forbidden] too.

Not only was Grand Mufti Ibn Baz the highest religious authority in the country, but he is highly respected by the group and religious sect followed by Hebah Ahmed.  This is not to say that Hebah Ahmed necessarily agrees with every view espoused by Ibn Baz.  Yet, it is clearly incorrect to say that this is not a religious issue at all!

It is very much a religious issue: the debate is between a more tolerant Islamic interpretation on the one hand and ultra-conservative interpretation on the other hand.  In the specific case of women driving, the Saudis are alone in the Islamic world in forbidding it.  Clearly, we all should support the more tolerant view.

Hebah Ahmed also argues that this is a “cultural issue” and that Saudi women may have different views on it.  This is not merely a cultural issue: it is a basic issue of human, civil and women’s rights.  You are either on the side in support of an inherent right or you are defending a backward rule.  Whether or not some Saudi women may be on the latter side is irrelevant.  Ahmed argues that any movement must “come from within Saudi Arabia”, not forced onto it by the outside.  Yet, this is exactly the case here: it is Saudi women who are involved in the protest.

*  *  *  *  *

Yet, I share some of Hebah Ahmed’s discomfort with the idea of Hillary Clinton issuing a public statement on this issue.  This leads me to the question of: who has the right to speak out against the women driving ban in Saudi Arabia?

The United States has very little credibility in the Islamic and Arab world.  This is due to a policy of inconsistency, double standards, and hypocrisy in the region.  The U.S. has one standard for human and civil rights abuses in Iran and a completely different one for Israel.  One of the many pretexts for invading Iraq was that Saddam Hussein attacked, killed, and displaced Kurds in the late 1980′s.  When Israel attacks, kills, and displaces Palestinians, the U.S. not only doesn’t impose sanctions on Israel or attack it, but in fact continues to fund Israel and shield it from international criticism.

The examples of U.S. hypocrisy in the region are endless, and are well-known in the Islamic and Arab world.  Perhaps the greatest hypocrisy of all is that the United States posits itself as the defender of human rights in the world–often chastising other countries for their abuses in this regard–while at the same time the U.S. is involved in more wars of aggression and occupation than any other country in the world.

It is a fundamental human right to live, and the U.S. takes this right away from hundreds of thousands–if not millions–of people by dropping bombs on their heads.  In fact, the right to life is the most sacred and most important human right.  The United States lost its human rights credibility when it embarked on a path of Endless War–of military occupation and world domination.

Those involved in or those who defend the taking away of the most fundamental of human rights from thousands or millions of people have absolutely no right to speak about human rights in another country.  This applies to Hillary Clinton, and it also applies to the right-wing elements who support Endless War on the one hand and criticize other countries for their human and civil rights abuses on the other hand.

So, who then has the right to speak out against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and other such human and civil rights abuses in the world?  Surely, it is those few, lone voices who speak the truth no matter who it is for or against.  Throughout history and in every nation have there been such truth-seekers, those who refuse to become ideologues or propagandists.  These are people like Glenn Greenwald, who will hold his own government accountable for what it does wrong, even holding a Democratic president’s feet to the fire.  These are people who are not beholden to governmental power, or to national or religious affiliation or affinity.  They are beholden to nothing but the truth.

The holy book of the Muslims, the Quran, well describes the maxim followed by such people:

Stand up firmly for justice, as witnesses before God, even if it be against your own selves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor. (Quran, 4:135)

When American officials and pundits can only see what is wrong with others, especially their perceived enemies–while simultaneously ignoring the same in themselves and their allies–this is not standing up for justice.  Neither is it standing up for justice when certain conservative Muslims see everything wrong with the United States and Israel but ignore the wrongs committed by a regime that follows their particular interpretation of Islam.

Yet, neutral observers who consistently oppose injustice–those who “stand up firmly for justice…even if it be against [their] own selves…or [their] kin”–have every right to speak out against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia.  Such truth-seekers and upholders of justice–whether they be inside of or outside of Saudi Arabia–should condemn the Saudi government (and the clerical establishment that provides religious justification) for forbidding women from such a basic human right.

*  *  *  *  *

Because Saudi Women for Driving itself requested Hillary Clinton to issue a public statement, it is of course reasonable that she did.  Yet, the hypocrisy of America criticizing others for human rights abuses while simultaneously being one of the worst offenders should not be lost.

It should also be noted that U.S. concerns over women’s rights in the Islamic world will quite naturally (and correctly) be seen as “colonial feminism.”  The U.S. does, after all, have a long history of using the excuse of human rights to justify its wars of aggression, occupation, and domination.  This is the white elephant in the room and no matter how unjust, discriminatory, and oppressive these Muslim regimes are, nothing will allow the United States to have a moral superiority over them until these wars of aggression–“the supreme international crime”–are brought to an end.

We should not let ourselves be cowered into defending injustice due to false claims of “patriotism” nor should Muslims do so based on a sense of religious “brotherhood.”  To the latter aspect, Muhammad–the Islamic prophet–specifically commanded Muslims to “help your brother [even if] he is an oppressor…by preventing him from oppressing others” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol.3, Book 43, #624).

We ought not be silent on U.S. crimes because we have been browbeaten with the need to be “patriotic,” nor should Muslims or people of any other religion have another separate standard for their own “Ummah.”  Justice has one standard which should be applied to all, irrespective of nationality or religion.

Being vocal when crimes are committed by one’s opponents while silent when the same is done by oneself or by one’s allies or ideological group is not justice; it is nothing but ideologue-driven political opportunism.

Spencer’s Hypocrisy With Election Violence

Posted in Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2011 by loonwatch

Spencer’s Hypocrisy With Election Violence

Robert Spencer, or “Police Blotter Bobby” as we have come to know him here, is completely hypocritical when it comes to Muslims and violence. His “IIT,” or “Islamophobe in Training,” Marisol blogged about theviolence in Northern Nigeria in the wake of the victory of the Christian candidate Goodluck Jonathan. Mr. Jonathan said that the violence was “not a spontaneous reaction,” and “I don’t want to accuse anybody but we believe that people must be behind this.” That can mean anything.

Marisol, however, translated that statement into this conclusion:

[…]

the inclination toward violence was already there, waiting for another excuse to make a show of force and abuse non-Muslims. And as with those “protests,” we have seen that even the flimsiest of pretexts will do. If it is not one excusedu jour, it might be the next day’s “provocation” or “humiliation.”

These incidents would not happen — and would not keep happening — if not for an able and willing populace, and pre-existing hatred and intolerance of non-Muslims.

Here, of course, there is another angle. It is quite reasonable for President Jonathan to surmise that many Muslims in the north were poised and ready to let loose once the votes were counted. The election results show the Muslim candidate didn’t stand a chance, but that didn’t matter: if the Muslims could win the election, Islamic law could advance that way. If they lost, they would attempt to advance Islamic law the old fashioned way, demanding concessions through violence and threats.

Complete nonsense and betrayal of the facts on the ground. According to an analysis on the very same BBC article Marisol cited, which was not in the post, said this:

Both the winner of Nigeria’s election, Goodluck Jonathan, and his main rival, Muhammadu Buhari, have called for calm following the post-poll riots in the north. But the tensions cannot be plastered over.

Most of those behind the rioting have been unemployed young men – uneducated and deprived. Often they are only remembered by politicians at elections, when they are sometimes paid to do their bidding. They could send any conflict out of control, because it provides them with an opportunity to loot and attack the people they perceive as their enemies.

Irrespective of political party and region, 12 years of civilian rule have brought little change to the lives of Nigerians. But the north is far behind the south in terms of development, education and the availability of economic opportunities. Good governance, not political platitudes from the elite, is what many say is needed for the future.

Nothing about Islam, violence, Islamic law, Sharia, etc. But, of course, the “scholars” at JihadWatch will never tell you this.

What’s more, they were completely silent about the election violence in nearby Ivory Coast. For over four months, violence has raged in that African nation after Alassane Ouattara defeated incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. But, Gbagbo refused to step down, and as a result, thousands were killed and millions displaced.

But, since this has nothing to do with Islam, they don’t seem to care at all. Can you really take Spencer seriously?

Shameless Political Exploitation, Academic Hypocrisy at Front Page Magazine

Posted in Feature, Loon People, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by loonwatch

Just because a person has a PhD in one field does not make them an authority in another field. For example, a person with their PhD in Chemistry does not make them an authority in Physics, even if they know a lot about Physics. This is because academia has a system of checks and balances through peer-reviewed scholarship that makes sure the university or organization is presenting the most authentic information possible. In our case, many anti-Muslim loons come from a variety of academic fields but they cannot speak with authority on issues involving Islam and Muslims. Simply, they do not possess the requisite knowledge.

For our latest example, observe Jamie Glazov, the editor of Front Page Magazine (part of the same Horowitz-Spencer closed information system). He boasts of his “PhD in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy.” He must really know what he is talking about when it comes to Muslims, right? But is he fluent in any classical Islamic language: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu? Is he proficient in at least two or three of them, as required by many Islamic studies departments in the United States? Is he proficient enough in a European research language (French, German) to be able to consult what prior scholars of Islamic studies have said? From the look of his daily Muslim-bashing, the answer is no.

Recently, Glazov exploited the tragedy of an Iraqi woman, Noor Almaleki, to use the generic Islamic villain as a stick to bash the Democrats:

The honor killing trial begins in Phoenix today (Monday, Jan.24) of Faleh Hassan Almaleki, an Iraqi Muslim immigrant who killed his 20-year-old daughter, Noor Almaleki, on October 20, 2009, because she had become too Westernized…

After killing his daughter, Almaleki himself boasted that he had to take Noor’s lifebecause she had dishonored his family by her “Western” behavior. Evidence reveals that Almaleki had tried to impose strict Islamic codes on Noor and that he had attempted to force her into an arranged marriage when she was 17…

Almaleki was trained from birth to see the world through the lens of Islamic misogyny, where women are the property of men. Under the vicious and sadistic system of Islamic gender apartheid, women’s autonomy must be suffocated on all levels.

First, notice from the outset that Mr. Glazov makes no distinction between different interpretations of Islam; between the extremist acts of a single individual and what many mainstream Muslim scholars, leaders, and institutions have said on the issue of honor killings, specifically Muslim women scholars, specifically in Iraq.

Second, Glazov forgets to remind his readers that the citizens of Iraq are not living under normal conditions like most people. Perhaps he forgot about the ongoing Iraq War, the military occupation, and, among other things, the chaos unleashed by private military contractors. Glazov wants you to think that Iraqis are living normal, comfortable lives; therefore, their erratic behavior, such as this case, can only be explained by Islamic teachings,  rather than the complex reality-based mix of social, economic, cultural, and historical factors (studied by sociologists) which shed light on why people do things. Glazov would rather just explain this tragedy as just another manifestation of the monolithic Islamic “monster” (his expression, not mine).

Third, to suggest that women are viewed as “the property of men” is just a flagrant canard. It belies what the Quran clearly states:

The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise. [Quran 9:71]

O you who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dower ye have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings through it a great deal of good. [Quran 4:19]

It further ignores an objective history of early and contemporary Islam. Again, I am curious to see how he explains the fact that a Muslim country like Pakistan, allegedly under “Islamic gender apartheid,” has twice elected a woman Prime Minister.

Fourth, the fact that he “had attempted to force her into an arranged marriage” is a violation of a basic tenet of Islamic jurisprudence on marriage. As recorded in the Prophet’s traditions:

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her, and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission.”

[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7 Book 62 Number 67]

If he really wanted to force her into marriage, then this is strong evidence that the man was acting against Islamic teachings, not in accord with them. But remember Spencer’s Islamophobic indoctrination principle: whenever a Muslim does something evil, that is true Islam; but when Muslims speak out against evil, they are acting against Islam.

Glazov is following Spencer’s manual to the letter, and then it starts really going downhill:

It is in the Left’s interest that the murders of thousands of innocent Muslim girls like Noor, Aqsa and the Said girls, and the monstrous Islamic ideology that engendered such murders, are pushed into invisibility. For the Left, it is crucial that historical amnesia is imposed on these uncomfortable matters (i.e. the extermination of Muslim girls), for the truth about Islamic honor killing makes it difficult for the Left to pursue its top priority: waging war on capitalism and on its own host society. Indeed, if an adversarial culture and religion turns out to actually be evil, then we might have to admit that there is something good and superior about our own civilization and that it is worth defending. This notion is anathema and unfathomable to the Left — and it explains why leftist feminists like Naomi Wolf engage in a romance with the burqa.

This was the whole point in the first place: to attack the Left (i.e. Democrats). It is all part of the evil Left-Moozlim alliance. The Left is part of the murdering Islamic machine, we are told. The Left is waging war on everything you hold dear, we are warned. No nuance, qualification, specification, or clarification. It is simply Us vs. the Left (and Islam). So, really it’s all about dirty far-right politics as usual; demonizing the enemy, don’t give them an inch.

After examining Glazov’s article in light of the facts, this can be taken as another example of Muslim-bashing with a false academic veneer. We have already seen how fake scholar Robert Spencer, whose masters degree is in early Christianty, makes him in no way an authority on Islam. He cannot stand up to peer-reviewed scholarship (i.e. for his anti-Muslim theories to actually be scrutinized by facts); even his own professor warns about him. Similarly, Glazov’s seemingly impressive credentials in no way validate anything he says. He does not speak the primary languages; it seems he has not even checked sources in English.

I find it offensive that Glazov exploits this tragedy for politics as usual. I have a very hard time believing Glazov really cares about Muslim women when he spends his days and nights bashing them for political gain. Today it is Noor Almaleki; tomorrow it will be the next anti-Muslim story (with Noor’s case all forgotten). I don’t buy it.

Nevertheless, what should we expect from someone who thinks “just nuke ‘em” Pamela Geller is a “modern-day freedom fighter”?

 

Robert Spencer Opposes Egyptian Democracy, Smears Obama

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer cannot stand that democracy is at the doorstep of the Arab world. In his latest hit piece, Spencer follows the lead of Frank Gaffney’s paranoid fearmongering by greatly exaggeratingthe role of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest Islamist organization:

Game over: Barack Obama has endorsed a role for the Muslim Brotherhood in a new, post-Mubarak government for Egypt.

Game over! The end is neigh! The sky is falling! Why? Because President Obama’s spokesperson Robert Gibbs said that a post-Mubarak Egyptian ruling group “has to include a whole host of important non-secular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner.” In other words, the Obama administration would no longer like to continue the undemocratic policies of Hosni Mubarak that outlawed peaceful democratic opposition to his pro-torture regime.

This is the nature of democracy. Everyone should be allowed to participate peacefully in a free and fair election, even candidates or parties we disagree with. For the record, the Muslim Brotherhood has officially and consistently renounced terrorism and embraced democracy. However, Islamophobes like Spencer have always been very selective and self-serving in their advocacy of freedom.

Nevertheless, Mohamed Elbaradei, the noble-prize winning nuclear watchdog and a possible key leader in the new interim government, completely rejects the arguments of those who exploit fears of the Brotherhood to stifle Egyptian democracy:

ElBaradei himself says he is willing to work with the Muslim Brotherhood, denying that they want to replicate Khomeini’s Iran.

“The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian model, has nothing to do with extremism as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places. The Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group. They are a minority in Egypt,” he told CNN.

“I have been reaching out to them. We need to include them. They are part of the Egyptian society, as much as the Marxist party here,” he said.

He rejected the idea that Islamic fundamentalists are set to undermine Egypt.

“This is a myth that was sold by the Mubarak regime — that it’s either us, the ruthless dictators, or… the al Qaeda types,” he said.

In reality, Obama is simply putting America’s democratic rhetoric into practice. The Muslim Brotherhood has a right to peacefully participate in Egypt’s new political landscape, even if you strongly disagree with their platform. Let the voters decide. That’s democracy!

However, even if the Brotherhood is the “prototypical Islamic supremacist, pro-Sharia group of the modern age,” rather than a conservative religious group, as Spencer claims, the reality is that the organization is simply too weak to overtake the secular opposition.

Analyst Abulhimal is convinced Egyptians would not let the Muslim Brotherhood seize power — not least because the military would stand in its way.

“Neither the people nor the secular leaders would allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take it, and more importantly the army would never allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take it,” he said. “If the army said, ‘We would support the people in the street and we would have a deal with President Mubarak to have an orderly transition,’ as the Americans said yesterday — this would definitely not include the Muslim Brotherhood.”

A similar sentiment is repeated in Justin Elliot’s excellent interview at Salon with Nathan Brown, a political science professor at George Washington University and director of its Institute for Middle East Studies:

We’ve got a big headache in Egypt. The regime in its current form is toast. Our regional policy has been based on a very close working relationship with the Egyptian government since 1974, so we’ve got fundamental rethinking to do. The Brotherhood is part of that headache. It’s not the biggest part. Is there cause for concern? Yes. Is there cause for fearful reaction? Absolutely not.

So, on both theoretical and practical grounds, Spencer has misrepresented the Islamist Brotherhood boogeyman to quietly push for the dictator’s victory in Egypt. Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz calls it like it is:

The late Arab-American scholar Edward Said appears to have been right. We’re all suffering from Orientalism, not to say racism, if the sight of an entire people throwing off the yoke of tyranny and courageously demanding free elections fills us with fear rather than uplifting us, just because they’re Arabs…

People are scaring us with talk of an Islamist takeover of our big neighbor. The Muslim Brotherhood will certainly play an important role in any political democratic structure that emerges in Egypt, and that has to be dealt with. But then, we also have religious fundamentalists in the [Israeli] government. That is the price of a parliamentary democracy. And the previous U.S. administration was intimately linked to fundamentalists, but that’s okay too, because evangelical Christians love Israel.

Of course, Spencer’s double standards concerning democracy and the presence of fundamentalists in government abound (Jewish/Christian fundamentalists good, Muslim fundamentalists bad). What about the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel? This is a legitimate concern, but it appears the worst case scenario is avoidable. Pfeffer continues:

Hundred of Egyptians who were asked about that [peace treaty] this week on the streets of Cairo said that they support continued diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt. Even among supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, it was difficult to find someone calling for the Israeli Embassy to get out of the country, though there were a few.

It is clear that democracy is on the march in Egypt and the Arab world, despite armies of fake democrats like Spencer who feed us specious arguments about why unelected dictators who torture are better for America’s security than a free and fair Egypt. Ultimately, whatever happens will determine what the future holds not only for Egypt, but for America and the world.

At this moment America has an important decision. As Dr. Maher Hathout expressed it in the L.A. Times:

The United States today has a clear choice. It can stand with the people or with the dictator.

 

Al Jazeera English Blacked Out Across Most Of U.S.

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on January 31, 2011 by loonwatch

Al Jazeera English Blacked Out Across Most Of U.S.

WASHINGTON – Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can’t do is watch the network directly.

Other than in a handful of pockets across the U.S. – including Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C. – cable carriers do not give viewers the choice of watching Al Jazeera. That corporate censorship comes as American diplomats harshly criticize the Egyptian government for blocking Internet communication inside the country and as Egypt attempts to block Al Jazeera from broadcasting.

The result of the Al Jazeera English blackout in the United States has been a surge in traffic to the media outlet’s website, where footage can be seen streaming live. The last 24 hours have seen a two-and-a-half thousand percent increase in web traffic, Tony Burman, head of North American strategies for Al Jazeera English, told HuffPost. Sixty percent of that traffic, he said, has come from the United States.

Al Jazeera English launched in the fall of 2006, opening a large bureau on K Street in downtown Washington, but has made little progress in persuading cable companies to offer the channel to its customers.

The objections from the cable companies have come for both political and commercial reasons, said Burman, the former editor-in-chief of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “In 2006, pre-Obama, the experience was a challenging one. Essentially this was a period when a lot of negative stereotypes were associated with Al Jazeera. The effort was a difficult one,” he said, citing the Bush administration’s public hostility to the network.

“There was reluctance from these companies to embark in a direction that would perhaps be opposed by the Bush administration. I think that’s changed. I think if anything the Obama administration has indicated to Al Jazeera that it sees us as part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Burman said.

Cable companies are also worried, said Burman, that they will lose more subscribers than they will gain by granting access to Al Jazeera. The Canadian experience, he said, should put those fears to rest. In Canada, national regulators can require cable companies to provide certain channels and Al Jazeera ran a successful campaign to encourage Canadians to push the government to intervene. There has been extremely little negative reaction over the past year as Canadians have been able to view the channel and decide for themselves. “We had a completely different process and result here in Canada — a grassroots campaign that was overwhelmingly successful,” said Avi Lewis, the former host of Al Jazeera’s Frontline USA. (He now freelances for Al Jazeera while working on a documentary project with his wife, Naomi Klein.)

Media critics have begun to push for Al Jazeera’s inclusion. “It is downright un-American to still refuse to carry it,” wrote Jeff Jarvis on Sunday. “Vital, world-changing news is occurring in the Middle East and no one-not the xenophobic or celebrity-obsessed or cut-to-the-bone American media-can bring the perspective, insight, and on-the-scene reporting Al Jazeera English can.”

Al Jazeera follows a public broadcasting model similar to the BBC, CBC and NPR and is largely funded by the government of Qatar, which Burman said takes a completely hands-off approach to content. Al Jazeera is the scourge of authoritarian governments around the Middle East, which attempt to block it. The network, however, covers much more than the Middle East, and now has more bureaus in Latin America than CNN and the BBC, said Burman. “As proud as we are of our Middle Eastern coverage, we are in other places in the world that are never, never seen on television in American homes,” he said.

Burman said that he will use the experience with the Tunisia and Egyptian uprisings in upcoming meetings with cable providers as the network continues its push. Comcast did not respond to requests for comment.

“Why in the most vibrant democracy in the world, where engagement and knowledge of the world is probably the most important, why it’s not available is one of these things that would take a PhD scholar to understand,” Burman said.

UPDATE I: A reader emails to say that Al Jazeera programming is also being carried by the satellite channel LinkTV, which can be found on channel 9410 on Dish Network and 375 on DirecTV.

UPDATE II: Another reader emails to say that Al Jazeera broadcasts over some of the Pacifica stations, including WBAI (New York, 5-6 AM, 99.5 FM), KPFA (Berkeley, 6-7 AM, 94.1 FM) and KPFT (Houston, 5-6 AM, 90.1 FM).

 

Imran Garda: Never-ending Cartoon Chaos

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by loonwatch

A thought provoking piece about the cartoon debacle by AlJazeera’s Imran Garda.

Never-ending cartoon chaos

by Imran Garda (AlJazeera)

At a meal of halal pasta at a Johannesburg restaurant in 2004 , I found myself defending my one-time work colleague, Graeme Joffe, at a table of young Muslim men, after a joke he had made on a local radio station.

“Even if he thinks he’s funny, this was insulting to us, and the brothers are right to launch a complaint,” said one.

“They should fire him. Do you even know what he said? ‘What do you call a Bangladeshi cricketer with a bacon sandwich on his head? Ham’head. And if he has two bacon sandwiches? Mo’Ham’head!’ Disgusting!”

I tried to interject diplomatically, “I know Graeme, he’s one of the most polite, least offending, self-deprecating people you can meet. It’s a light-hearted radio show, come on. I worked with him at Supersport; if anything they should fire him because the joke was so bad!”

“Garda, you don’t understand”, insisted the most annoyed. “No matter how harmless the intention” and, with the surest of conviction, he continued: “When it comes to the prophet, there are no jokes.”

Joffe and the radio station were censured after South Africa’s Broadcasting Complaints Commission saw his joke as “hate speech” that violated the constitution. And yes, it has been no joke since late 2005, when 12 cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten seemed to ignite frenetic flames of fury that just wouldn’t die down.

The very depiction of Prophet Muhammad was an affront to Muslims, who do not depict him for fear of idolatry, among numerous other theological reasons. He has been depicted before, to the annoyance of many Muslims, but not much more. What seemed to tip the saga into the epicly dangerous territory that it has occupied since is that a substantial number of the images of him had sometimes tacit, sometimes overt references to Muhammad and misogyny, Muhammad and violence, Muhammad and terrorism.

Manufacturing anger?

But was that it? Was there merely an impulsive, collective rising up, a synergy of the insulted? Had the outcry been devoid of any larger outside forces prodding, pricking, planning – manufacturing anger?

The recent WikiLeaks revelations suggest otherwise. They show that the US charge d’affaires in Damascus, Stephen Seche, believed that Syria actively encouraged violent protests in which the Danish and Norwegian embassies were attacked. The leak reminded me of another meal in another African country, Egypt, in 2008.

“Mashallah, you’re from South Africa? I do a lot of work there; we are training 600 da’ees (Muslim missionaries) to approach fans during the World Cup in 2010.”

Imam Fadel Soliman paused for another spoonful of molokhiyya, an Egyptian soup dish. He was hungry – he had been fasting all day. We shared our Ramadhan iftaar before recording an Inside Story programme later that night, where he appeared as one of our guests.

A big, friendly man, who seemed permanently out of breath, with an engaging presence, Imam Fadel was bursting with a faith he was keen to share; he later dished out DVDs on Islamic guidance to our film crew and producers, in multiple languages to boot. He was like an ambassador for Islam, but it was what he told me about another ambassador which was of infinite interest to me:

“Do you know our Egyptian ambassador to South Africa, Mona Attiah?” he asked as he wolfed down some more Iftaar.

“I can’t say I do.”

“Mashallah, she’s a good sister, has done a lot for Muslims. She doesn’t wear hijab, but she’s a good woman.”

He continued.

“Are you sure you don’t know her?”

“I’m sorry”, I said. I wasn’t sure whether it was my South African or Islamic credentials which were beginning to wane in his eyes.

“She was in Denmark before South Africa. She was the ONE ambassador who really stood up to the Danish government, and insisted on a meeting with them over those cartoons about our prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam (peace be upon him). And when they said they didn’t want to meet and can’t stop ‘freedom of expression’, she stood firm! She was the one who got the other ambassadors on board to go the Arab League in Cairo together to show our united condemnation, that the cartoons were unacceptable! Mashallah.”

It was what he said next that I’ll never forget:

“If it wasn’t for her, we may never even have heard of those cartoons.”

Two Danish imams carried the cartoon “dossier” throughout the Middle East with some extra cartoons thrown into the mix – images that were never published in Jyllands-Posten. One wasn’t even a cartoon, but a photocopied photograph of a picture lifted off the internet of a man wearing a pig-snout.

Ever since the outbreak of the crisis, it has been noted that many usually undemocratic governments, often brutal in their suppression of mass protests which call for political reform, or rally against the price of bread – suddenly wholeheartedly embraced (and maybe even sponsored) the protest fever.

CCTV footage from the building that housed the Danish embassy in Beirut shown in Karsten Kjaer’s film Bloody Cartoons even suggests that the Lebanese army allowed protesters to converge on the building, Molotov cocktails in hand.

Does it come then as any surprise that years later, with over a hundred dead since the first spasm of violence, three men have recently been charged with plotting to mow down the staff of Jyllands-Posten with machine guns?

In early 2006 even mainstream scholars, like Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, hated by many hardliners for his liberal and forward-thinking opinions on issues of Islamic jurisprudence, called for a “day of anger” around the Muslim world in response to the cartoons. He said Muslims are not “donkeys to be ridden on” but “lions that roar”.

In context, seen along with his and other scholars’ calls for an economic boycott of Denmark and strong political lobbying against the country and the newspapers that published the cartoons, many would interpret his call to “roar” metaphorically. As a call for a stern but peaceful response against a provocation from Jyllands-Posten that smacks of goading, demeaning and ostracising Muslims.

But (and it’s a big but) an obvious, glaring problem is with the rise of the far-right in Europe, where issues of Muslims veils and minarets, anti-immigration and integration dominate the discourse: will every offended Muslim interpret the call that way? Much of the post-cartoon rhetoric left ample room for subjective interpretation. Are we not seeing the fallout continuing to unfold before our eyes?

Freedom of Expression

“Freedom of Expression” – it has a post-modern, sacrosanct, warm-fuzziness about it. But are those who claim it entirely consistent?

The editor responsible for the cartoons, Flemming Rose, pledged to Christiane Amanpour in an interview that Jyllands-Postenwas attempting to make contact with the Iranian newspaper that ran cartoons about the Holocaust, and hoped to publish them too. He reneged on his promise, and was put on a short “leave of absence” by the paper.

At the time, cat-eyed Anders Fogh Rasmussen was the Danish prime minister. His devotion to “Freedom of Expression” and “Freedom of the Press” in his country was indisputable and was tested from multiple corners, diplomatic and otherwise.

He cannot have been too impressed when he went from being the head of a friendly, isolated Scandinavian country to seeing effigies of himself burnt on the streets of Pakistan.

But now, as the secretary-general of NATO, the most powerful fighting force history has ever known, RSF (Reporters Without Borders) claims his NATO forces in Afghanistan have treated “journalists working in difficult provinces … like dangerous criminals”.

Afghan journalists, like Al Jazeera cameraman Mohammed Nader, have found themselves arrested and later released without charge, on suspicion of having links with the “enemy” because of alleged links to the Taliban and their spokespersons.

This dovetails with an Afghan government order in March 2010 banning all coverage of “insurgent attacks” in the country with the threat of prosecution of any journalist who does – an ominous message to journalists there.

Is the dedication of men like Flemming Rose and Anders Fogh Rasmussen to “Freedom of Expression” relative to an ideological worldview? Are they dedicated to a complete freedom of expression only of the “good guys” – but heaven forbid you let the “bad guys” express themselves.

As Noam Chomsky put it – “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

Blame

Who’s to blame? Jyllands-Posten? The Danish government? Global Islamophobia and its racist defenders or global Islamism and its idealogues? Or the governments who may have actively encouraged their citizens to get angry?

In the five-year long cartoon crisis, anger ebbs and flows, condemnation bursts and retreats and worldviews collide. Art meets politics, satire meets the sacred, and provocation cries crocodile tears when it meets a response it claims it never expected.

Maybe, just maybe, the seemingly never-ending cartoon chaos was epitomised by the guy who held up the banner at the cartoon protest rally in London, saying “Freedom of Expression Go To Hell!”

 

David Cole: Chewing Gum for Terrorists

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by loonwatch

David Cole writes about reforming the material support laws.

Chewing Gum for Terrorists

By DAVID COLE

DID former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Tom Ridge, a former homeland security secretary, and Frances Townsend, a former national security adviser, all commit a federal crime last month in Paris when they spoke in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq at a conference organized by the Iranian opposition group’s advocates? Free speech, right? Not necessarily.

The problem is that the United States government has labeled the Mujahedeen Khalq a “foreign terrorist organization,” making it a crime to provide it, directly or indirectly, with any material support. And, according to the Justice Department under Mr. Mukasey himself, as well as under the current attorney general, Eric Holder, material support includes not only cash and other tangible aid, but also speech coordinated with a “foreign terrorist organization” for its benefit. It is therefore a felony, the government has argued, to file an amicus brief on behalf of a “terrorist” group, to engage in public advocacy to challenge a group’s “terrorist” designation or even to encourage peaceful avenues for redress of grievances.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe Mr. Mukasey and his compatriots had every right to say what they did. Indeed, I argued just that in the Supreme Court, on behalf of the Los Angeles-based Humanitarian Law Project, which fought for more than a decade in American courts for its right to teach the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey how to bring human rights claims before the United Nations, and to assist them in peace overtures to the Turkish government.

But in June, the Supreme Court ruled against us, stating that all such speech could be prohibited,because it might indirectly support the group’s terrorist activity. Chief Justice John Roberts reasoned that a terrorist group might use human rights advocacy training to file harassing claims, that it might use peacemaking assistance as a cover while re-arming itself, and that such speech could contribute to the group’s “legitimacy,” and thus increase its ability to obtain support elsewhere that could be turned to terrorist ends. Under the court’s decision, former President Jimmy Carter’s election monitoring team could be prosecuted for meeting with and advising Hezbollah during the 2009 Lebanese elections.

The government has similarly argued that providing legitimate humanitarian aid to victims of war or natural disasters is a crime if provided to or coordinated with a group labeled as a “foreign terrorist organization” — even if there is no other way to get the aid to the region in need. Yet The Times recently reported that the Treasury Department, under a provision ostensibly intended for humanitarian aid, was secretly granting licenses to American businesses to sell billions of dollars worth of food and goods to the very countries we have blockaded for their support of terrorism. Some of the “humanitarian aid” exempted? Cigarettes, popcorn and chewing gum.

Under current law, it seems, the right to make profits is more sacrosanct than the right to petition for peace, and the need to placate American businesses more compelling than the need to provide food and shelter to earthquake victims and war refugees.

Congress should reform the laws governing material support of terrorism. It should make clear that speech advocating only lawful, nonviolent activities — as Michael Mukasey and Rudolph Giuliani did in Paris — is not a crime. The First Amendment protects even speech advocating criminal activity, unless it is intended and likely to incite imminent lawless conduct. The risk that speech advocating peace and human rights would further terrorism is so remote that it cannot outweigh the indispensable value of protecting dissent.

At the same time, Congress also needs to reform the humanitarian aid exemption. It should state clearly that corporate interests in making profits from cigarettes are not sufficient to warrant exemptions from sanctions on state sponsors of terrorism. But Congress should also protect the provision of legitimate humanitarian aid — food, water, medical aid and shelter — in response to wars or natural disasters. Genuine humanitarian aid and free speech can and should be preserved without undermining our interests in security.

David Cole is a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

 

Henry Kissinger: “Jews in Gas Chambers is not an American Concern”

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by loonwatch

Henry Kissinger, one of the only Nixon officials to escape the taint of involvement in Watergate has officially had his reputation destroyed. A recently released Nixon tape has Kissinger saying that it is not a concern of America if Jews are sent to gas chambers.

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.” — Henry Kissinger

Christopher Hitchens who I am generally wary of linking to has an excellent piece on this most recent expose of the heinous views of Kissinger. He makes an excellent point that Kissinger should now be shunned by society and that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which is quick to condemn anti-Semitism when it is uttered by Jesse Jackson or Mel Gibson need to break their silence and condemn Kissinger.

Christopher Hitchens: Latest Nixon tape buries Kissinger’s reputation 

(Slate)

In the past, Kissinger has defended his role as enabler to Nixon’s psychopathic bigotry, saying that he acted as a restraining influence on his boss by playing along and making soothing remarks. This can now go straight into the lavatory pan, along with his other hysterical lies. Obsessed as he was with the Jews, Nixon never came close to saying that he’d be indifferent to a replay of Auschwitz. For this, Kissinger deserves sole recognition.
It’s hard to know how to classify this observation in the taxonomy of obscenity. Should it be counted as tactical Holocaust pre-denial? That would be too mild. It’s actually a bit more like advance permission for another Holocaust. Which is why I wonder how long the official spokesmen of American Jewry are going to keep so quiet. Nothing remotely as revolting as this was ever uttered by Jesse Jackson or even Mel Gibson, to name only two famous targets of the wrath of the Anti-Defamation League. Where is the outrage? Is Kissinger — normally beseeched for comments on subjects about which he knows little or nothing — going to be able to sit out requests from the media that he clarify this statement? Does he get to keep his op-ed perch in reputable newspapers with nothing said? Will the publishers of his mendacious and purloined memoirs continue to give him expensive lunches as if nothing has happened?

Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/12/14/christopher-hitchens-latest-nixon-tape-buries-kissingers-reputation/#ixzz18ILqW8kA

 

What if they Were Muslim?: Creeping Halacha in Orange County?

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2010 by loonwatch

Imagine if Muslims had put up a similar sign, or if Muslim women were scowling at visitors who dressed in daisy dukes and halter tops. Islamophobes like Bikini Vlogger Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer would be howling to the moon about how Muslims are trying to take over America andimpose Islam on the masses. (hat tip: ELi)

 

 

Welcome to Kiryas Joel: Please Dress Accordingly

KIRYAS JOEL, N.Y. (CBS 2) – You may never see a more unusual “Welcome” sign in Orange County.

A sign in Kiryas Joel, the Hasidic Jewish enclave, is evoking mixed reaction.

Monroe resident Jessica Pantalemon stopped to cash a check in Kiryas Joel wearing a bright pink tank top and white shorts. She said she noticed scowling faces.

“Just from the women, mostly,” she said. “The guys let me walk by, the women stop and stare, start whispering to each other…I just ignore them.”

The tradition in the village of Satmar Hasidic Jews is modesty. Even on the hottest of days, most residents cover up from head to toe. But visitors don’t necessarily follow that tradition, and now the main synagogue is asking them to comply.

Congregation Yetev Lev posted signs at the village’s entrance – in both English and Spanish – asking outsiders to cover their legs and arms, use appropriate language and maintain gender separation in public.

“It’s a way of respect,” said one resident.

In fact, most residents say it’s simply a polite reminder to respect the local culture, and many visitors take the signs in that spirit.

“It’s nice to request that people behave in a way respect to their beliefs,” said Barry Kaufmann of Wantagh.

But the sign struck a sour note with some.

“They’re telling us that we can’t come into their community unless we dress a certain way,” said Adia Parker, an Orange County resident.

“I feel like my constitutional rights are being violated,” said Tyrone Wheeler, a day laborer in the village seeking work.

A village trustee pointed out the signs said nothing about consequences for violating these guidelines – because there are no consequences.

“We’re not threatening anyone,” said Rabbi Jacob Freund. “Everybody is free to come in and be the same, like all other places in the United States.”

So dressing like Jessica Pantalemon may elicit a scowl, but it won’t earn you a summons.

The New York Civil Liberties Union said because the signs were paid for privately and are not on public land and they pass constitutional muster.

 

Robert Spencer used to be a Communist

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2010 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer, a Christian crusader who likes to cover his anti-Muslim fanaticism with a pretense to scholarship is fond of saying “Obama may be a Muslim,” and his buddy Pamela Geller often dubs Obama as a “Socialist” and “Communist.”

That’s why it is quite ironic to learn that Spencer himself in a previous incarnation used to be a Communist. In his younger days before he went zealous with Christianity Spencer was a devoted Communist,

Robert Spencer…[a] canny operative who likely has the inside track on the State Department’s Middle East affairs desk should the tea party win the White House in 2012, Spencer nonetheless offered that he had spent part of his youth working at Revolution Books, which is run by the Revolutionary Communist Party (and its cultish leader Bob Avakian), a hard-line Maoist group most sixties-style radicals, like, say, Bill Ayers, would consider beyond the pale.

Not only was Spencer a Commie but he was a hard core Communist, such that even the boogie monster known as Bill Ayers wouldn’t want to touch.

It is also another point of similarity between Spencer and his boss David Horowitz who used to be a Communist and now is a hardcore Conservative. Interestingly enough Spencer’s embrace of capitalism has been quite profitable, he is making six figures for his anti-Muslim work.

The article in the New York Magazine also reveals some other interesting if irrelevant tid-bits about Spencer, his father used to work for the Voice of America.

The following is the relevant portion relating to Spencer in the article, I suggest everyone read the whole thing by Mark Jacobson titled, Muhammad Comes to Manhattan:

Dhimmitude was the state to which Muslim caliphs reduced their “useful” but decidedly second-class subjects, those who had to be made to “feel themselves subdued” (the Koran, Sura 9:29), Robert Spencer told me as we dined in the T.G.I. Friday’s on the scenic lower level of Penn Station. A canny operative who likely has the inside track on the State Department’s Middle East affairs desk should the tea party win the White House in 2012, Spencer nonetheless offered that he had spent part of his youth working at Revolution Books, which is run by the Revolutionary Communist Party (and its cultish leader Bob Avakian), a hard-line Maoist group most sixties-style radicals, like, say, Bill Ayers, would consider beyond the pale. Spencer—whose father worked for the Voice of America during the Cold War—contended that terror, the threat of the A-bomb in the burka, while worth worrying about, was “just one tactic” in Islam’s clash with the U.S. What was afoot was a more insidious thing, a burrowing infiltration of the enemy.

 

“Muslims are the first immigrant group that has ever come to this country with a ready-made model of society and government they believe to be superior to what we have here,” Spencer told me. The thinking was clear to anyone who took the trouble to study the plan, the blogger and author of Stealth Jihad contended. “Muhammad said, ‘When you meet the unbelievers, invite them to accept Islam; if they refuse, offer them the dhimma—second-class status—and, if they refuse that, go to war with them.’ That’s it. Conversion, subjugation, or war. Three steps. Conversion, subjugation, or war … That’s what Muhammad said. And in chapter 33, verse 21 of the Koran, it says Muhammad is the excellent example for the Muslim, you ask any Muslim and they’ll tell you that: That is nonnegotiable, what Muhammad said goes, and that’s not some hijacker extremist Islam, that’s mainstream … This is how it is, you don’t need a bomb. I don’t think Feisal is ever going to blow anything up, because that’s not his game; his game is a societal, cultural penetration … ”

After that, Spencer peered up from his plate of Caribbean chicken and bid me to look around the T.G.I. Friday’s. “Remember this moment and this spot,” he said. “Because the freedoms we enjoy are in danger. You might not know it now, because it is just beginning. But 25 or 30 years from now you’re going to think of this place and say to yourself, Spencer was right.

 

Some Want Loonwatch to Be Silenced

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by loonwatch

Loonwatch is obviously being attacked by rogue hackers who want to silence the anti-hate, pro-freedom voice. The hackers present themselves as Arabs from Egypt or Morroco, but an investigation into their IP’s casts doubt on where the attacks are really originating.

We have seen in the time since we started publishing online that those who proclaim to be “freedom lovers”, standing up for “freedom of speech” and “Western civilization” have turned out to be the biggest hypocrites.

This is exposed by their malicious attack on our site. They do not wish to play by the rules of the game, sincere and factual criticism backed up by a plethora of evidence scares the “beejezus” out of them and so they resort to dirty tactics such as these.

Is it surprising that they chose to attack us on our highest traffic day? Someone out there wants Loonwatch to be silenced.

 

Exposing David Wood: Of Mosques and Men, Pt. 2

Posted in Feature, Loon Media, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by loonwatch
David Wood Rambles

In my last article I debunked the lies and disinformation in the first half of David Wood’s anti-Muslim/anti-Mosque diatribe. Since then we have received a lot of comments and tips regarding the background of David Wood. Apparently David Wood is a Teaching Fellow at Fordham Universitywhere he is pursuing his PhD in Philosophy. I wonder if the administration at Fordham would consider Wood’s anti-Muslim activities as being in line with its Jesuit traditions and values? Maybe we should start a campaign to let them know?

Paul Williams, of the Muslim Debate Initiative has also stated that David Wood told him during a debate, in front of an audience of a hundred or more, that he attempted to murder his father and that he was sent to a mental institution for the attack which left his father permanently disabled,

About a year ago I moderated a debate at Westbourne Park Baptist Church (my old church here in London), between Wood and a Muslim. In front of an audience of probably one hundred people, mostly Christians, Wood told the audience of some of the more disturbing aspects of his past including his unspeakable attack on his own father with a hammer. Happily his father did not die (though Wood says he really wanted to kill him). His father is permanently disabled however. Wood spent time in a mental institution.

Yahya Snow, an Islamic apologist who has been following David Wood’s work also commented that Wood told him that, “his blog is not about evangelising to Muslims but about ‘warning’ non-Muslims about Islam.” This would explain why he and his group were the sole Christian Evangelical group arrested at the Dearborn Arab Festival, slamming on its face the argument that they were being “persecuted” for preaching Christ.

In fact, a few Evangelical Christians who witnessed the event wrote on David Wood’s blog (via. MDI),

Spiffy the Basset said…

‘This is a complete and total lie and David and Nabeel should be ashamed of themselves. Tonight, just as last night, there were dozens of Christians and former muslims at the festival witnessing to muslims. None of them had problems with people. None of the other several dozen “Christian preachers” were arrested. Lies, lies, and more lies.

The same happened last night. I saw Nabeel and David showboating and trying to cause a scene and know they were not only expecting to be arrested, but to some degree, trying to get arrested.

They care more about their hatred for islam than their love for muslims. I have evangelized in many continents and in places far more hostile than the dearborn festival, but can say with experience that they did not at all suffer for the cross, they suffered for their egos.’

June 19, 2010 10:52 PM

All of this makes me wonder if I should waste time even debunking the rest of the anti-Mosque video. David Wood is an obvious huckster with real problems. Maybe a longer stay at the mental institution was in order?

Anyhow, someone has to drudge through the swamp and refute the lies, lies, lies.

Of Mosques and Men

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxFzFIDbKpg&feature=player_embedded 350 300]

Picking up from the 3:00 mark David says,

This is when I first realized that there were two forces at work within Western Muslims like Nabeel. On the one hand he was born and raised in the United States, his father was in the US military, he loved America, but on the other hand, even though he came from the most peaceful sect of Islam there was something in Nabeel that allowed him to smile when there were terrorist attacks. Now those of you who know personally, who know Muslims close enough to where they can tell you what they really think, you know that this is really quite common, good citizens in public, not so good citizens in private.

What words can describe the above verbal barf and pseudo-psychological sewage spewed by Wood? He uses Nabeel, a Christian apologist and leader in Wood’s organization, (who seems not to mind being used as his ex-Muslim-mascot-that-evidences-the innate-evil-of Muslims-example) to drive the point home that even if you are a “peaceful Muslim,” there is something hidden, somethingstealth about you.

If this doesn’t sound eerily similar to the anti-Semitic racism and sinister conspiracies about Jews that were propagated in the past then you need to read up on history. Wood’s entire monotone delivery has the timbre of a sleazy used car salesman combined with a soothsaying Nazi propagandist trying hard to sound like Captain Kirk.

The hypocrisy is also glaring, someone needs to tell David Wood that if he really wants to talk about “good citizens in public, not so good citizens in private” he should look towards his Christian brethren; to the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, not to mention those family value politicians who love to trumpet their Christian bona fides while fondling male pages at the same time. I think there was once a Jewish carpenter who summed it up best, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Wood is not content to end the disinformation and pseudo-psychological babble about “duel-Muslim natures,”

Interestingly, this duel Muslim nature is advocated in the Quran. If you turn to Surah 3, verse 28, you will see that the Quran says, “Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security.” So if you’re a Muslim you are not supposed to be friends with unbelievers unless to protect yourself.

What this means is that if Muslims feel threatened by a stronger advisory, say the United States of America, they can pretend to be friendly in order to protect themselves, in order to guard themselves against these unbelievers. The greatest Islamic  commentator of all time, Ibn Kathir comments on Surah 3:28, and he says, that when Muslims are outnumbered by a stronger advisory, “…believers are allowed to show friendship outwardly but never inwardly.”

He goes on to quote Muhammad’s companion, Abu Darda who said “we smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.”

Wood again propagates half-truths and lies to further mislead his audience into viewing Muslims as a sinister bunch not to be trusted even when they smile. He throws out context, history, theology and the polyvalent interpretations within Islamic canon. All with the aim of portraying Muslims as a deceiving group of untrustworthy criminals who telepathically communicate taqqiyah with each other like mindless ants as part of a plot to destroy the West.

THE FACTS:

The Literalist Ultra-Conservative interpretation:

The truth is there is a minority of Literalist ultra-Conservative Muslims who hold the opinion that Muslims should not be intimate friends with non-Muslims (I would venture to say 1% or less), because they fear Muslims will be put into a position of harm (physically and spiritually), will lose their religion, and take on the ways and mores of other religions.

However, even here there is a necessary caveat that must be made, this literalist minority while espousing the belief that one should not be close intimate friends with non-Muslims also states that one should deal justly and kindly with them, they say this based on the verse,

Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity. (60:8)

As for the latter part of the verse, the interpretation and selective quotation of Ibn Kathir, (presumptuously labeled the “greatest Islamic commenter ever” by Wood when no such position or authority exists) does not support Wood’s theory. In fact, it is an intellectually deceptive attempt that leaves out the true import of the verse and is even a clumsy handling of the Ultra-Conservative interpretation.

The ellipses that Wood inserted is the key to understanding the context. No where does Ibn Kathir mention “when Muslim are outnumbered by a stronger advisory,” (David Wood made that up whole-cloth). What he actually writes is,  ‘do not take disbelievers as friends in preference to Muslims,’ and the portion in question, unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, is rendered as unless you indeed fear a danger from them. Ibn Kathir then interprets it as “meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.”

So clearly we see that the ellipses purposely inserted by Wood hides the true interpretation given by Ibn Kathir. Ibn Kathir was essentially saying that Muslims who fear for their lives may be friendly in order to guard themselves from harm.

Think for example of the Spanish Inquisition, that was a time and a place where Muslims (and Jews) might have put the above into practice. Fearing for your own and your families safety is cause enough to show a “duel nature.” In fact, many Jews and Muslims under intense persecution proclaimed outwardly to have converted to Catholicism, while inwardly they remained Muslims and Jews, these crypto-Muslims (Moriscos) and crypto-Jews (Marranos) were known as Conversos.

Can David Wood honestly find fault with a verse that gives a dispensation to Muslims to save their lives and protect their religion by hiding it or acquiescing to their enemy in the face of danger or persecution?

David Wood bastardizes the verse by attributing an interpretation to Muslims that does not exist. He does this by asserting half-truthfully the minority ultra-conservative literalist interpretation.

The lie comes in the second half of the verse, where he attempts to say that when Muslims are “outnumbered,” they can be friendly with non-Muslims but inwardly they must hate them until a time comes when they have the numbers to take over, a position that the ultra-conservatives don’t advance. We have demonstrated that the literalist ultra-conservatives are in fact referring to a situation of danger that Muslims may find themselves in and not a tactic of domination.

The Context:

When we analyze this verse and its surrounding verses in context we learn that the verse was directed at the “hypocrites” (Munafiqoon), a group who entered Islam in outward appearance only in an attempt to destroy it. They had allied themselves with the sworn enemies of Islam, the pagan Meccans and their allies.

The Prophet Muhammad was speaking to his community in Medina and prophesied to them that one day they would hold sovereignty over the lands of Persia and Byzantium. The hypocrites responded by saying, “How preposterous!”

In response to this, verses 3:26-29 were revealed,the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, written about 100 years after Ibn Kathir’s exegesis explains,

When the Prophet (s) promised his community sovereignty over the lands of Persia and Byzantium, the hypocrites said, ‘How preposterous!’, and so the following was revealed, “Say, ‘O Allah , Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are over all things competent.’” (3:26)

“You cause the night to enter the day, and You cause the day to enter the night; and You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give provision to whom You will without account.” (3:27)

Then we come to the verse in question, in it the word Awliya, which instead of being translated as  “friends” is more accurately rendered in the context as “allies,”

Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing with Allah , except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination.(3:28)

The Tafsir Jalalayn explains,

Let not the believers take the disbelievers as patrons, rather than, that is, instead of, the believers — for whoever does that, that is, [whoever] takes them as patrons, does not belong to, the religion of, God in anyway — unless you protect yourselves against them, as a safeguard (tuqātan, ‘as a safeguard’, is the verbal noun from taqiyyatan), that is to say, [unless] you fear something, in which case you may show patronage to them through words, but not in your hearts… (emphasis added)

The hypocrites in particular and humanity in general is then told,

Say, “Whether you conceal what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it. And He knows that which is in the heavens and that which is on the earth. And Allah is over all things competent. (3:29)

Tafsir al-Jalalayn explains,

Say, to them: ‘Whether you hide what is in your breasts, in your hearts, of patronage to them, or disclose it, manifest it, God knows it and, He, knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth; and God is Able to do all things, and this includes punishing those who patronise them.

The above is indicative of how the majority of Muslims explain these verses; revelation in a context of war and betrayal. Particularly in response to the hypocrites who claimed to be Muslims but concealed their alliance and patronage with enemies who wanted to annihilate the nascent Muslim community.

We also see that the dispensation referred to in verse 3:28 pertains to particular situations Muslims might find themselves in when they are in danger.

This becomes even more evident when we realize that at the time of the revelation of this verse there were Muslims who lived in pagan Mecca who concealed their religion and had to show patronage to the enemies of the Muslims due to fear of death or torture. Referring to them the Quran says, ‘you may outwardly show that you are allied with those who are at war with Muslims and may harm you for being Muslim, but inwardly you should feel differently.’

To drive the point home we look at one more verse that puts this subject into context,

For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you with regard to those who fight you for your faith, and drive you out of your homes and support others in driving you out, from turning to them for protection (or taking them as wali). Those who seek their protection they are indeed wrong- doers. (60:9)

Also, logically we have to question, if Islam doesn’t allow Muslims to befriend non-Muslims, why would it allow Muslim men to marry non-Muslims? Marriage is even more intimate than friendship, it is based on love and friendship.

Abu Darda’s statement: “We smile in the face of some…”:

David Wood then goes on to quote Muhammad’s companion, Abu Darda who said, “we smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.”

The above quote from Abu Darda, which Wood employs as a means to bash us into the belief that Muslims have a “duel nature” actually comes back to bite him in the butt.

Abu Darda’s (hadith) statement can be found in Saheeh Bukhari, under the chapter heading, Al-Mudaaraah ma3 An’Naas which means “Politeness/Gentleness with the People.” So rather than being something Taqqiyah or Jihad related, this statement actually pertains to polite manners and etiquette!

In explaining the statement, Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, writer of one of the seminal explanations of Saheeh Bukhari wrote,

Ibn Battaal  said: Politeness is part of the attitude of the believers, and it is lowering the wing of humility to people, speaking gently, and not speaking harshly to them, which are among the best means of creating harmony.

Ibn Muflih, an eminent 14th century scholar of the Hanbali school wrote concerning Abu Darda’s statement,

This attitude of Abu Darda does not mean approving of something haram (prohibited); rather it is politeness that may achieve some purpose.

Ibn Abd’ al-Barr, an eminent scholar and jurist who predates Ibn Kathir also quoted Abu Darda’s statement with regard to the virtues of good manners.

Abu Darda’s statement was intended to be a spiritual teaching, meant (in Islamic theological semantics) as a “heart softener” toward those who have “hard hearts.” The context given is that some individuals have brash and very rude manners, and the best way to deal with them, even though you dislike them in your heart is through politeness and good manners, because that may eventually lead to the rude individual reforming him or herself. It is the actualization of the Quranic verse, “Repel evil with that which is better,” i.e. respond to evil with goodness.

“Don’t trust those evil Mooslims, please!”:

Wood continues,

What’s my point you ask? Well, the Muslims who want to construct a massive mosque here, assure us that they are doing it to honor the victims of 9/11 and not to construct a symbol of Islamic supremacy. They assure us that they are going to build a beacon of understanding and harmony. A place where people of all faiths to gather and condemn extremism.

[Pause]

Do you believe that?

If so, I would like to sell you a bottle of Wood’s magical cure all, from the miracle springs of Poland for the low low price $870.

This mocking and very ineffectual attempt at a joke falls dead on delivery. In this instance David Wood may not be selling “magic” holy water like many of his televangelist preacher/prophet brethren are want to do, but he is selling something else — hate.

Wood is pitching the idea that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a supporter of American intervention in Afghanistan and a Sufi is in cahoots with Bin Laden. You see, David Wood tells us, Muslims are all the same at the end of the day, when they speak of harmony and peace, and when they condemn terrorism they are not to be trusted.

What makes this especially ironic is that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf knew people in the Twin Towers! Many of his congregants worked there, but in Wood’s world those facts just don’t matter because the “Muslim other” cannot be allowed to share in the tragedy and suffering of 9/11, that would humanize them, that you would make them Americans.

Of Churches and Men?:

Wood then attempts to prove his point,

My friends, what did Muslims do when they conquered Mecca? They went to the Ka’ba, the center of pagan worship and they claimed it for Islam, what did Muslims do when they took Jerusalem, where did they build their mosque, they built it on the Temple Mount, when Muslims conquered Damascus, where did they build their mosque? They demolished the Church of St. John the Baptist and replaced it with a mosque. Why?

Cordoba Mosque with the Cathedral in the Middle

While Muslims have had their share of taking over Churches or other places of worship and converting them into Mosques (Hagia Sophia), in that age and time that was the practice of most religions, including Christianity. The Spanish did it when they invaded Cordoba and transformed the famous Cordoba Mosque into a Catholic Church by plopping a Cathedral right in the middle of the Mosque.

As far as the capturing of Mecca goes, then the uniqueness of the circumstances and context must be elaborated. According to Arab tradition, the founder of the Ka’ba was Prophet Abraham who dedicated it to the One God. The Muslims, whether we view them as correct or not, believed essentially that they were only restoring the Ka’ba for its original purpose as the House of the One God, similar to the Temple created by Solomon in Jerusalem. They did not believe that by abolishing the practice of idolatry at the Ka’ba that they were supplanting the old and original religion with a new one.

As for Jerusalem, we must note that when Muslims gained sovereignty over the city, the Temple Mount was being used as a trash dump by the Christians. There was no Jewish Temple and it is highly likely there was no Church. In fact, it was only under Muslim rule that Jews were allowed to come back to Jerusalem to worship, having previously been banned by the Byzantine Christians.

As for the Church of St. John the Baptist or what is known as the Umayyad Mosque today, then we are about to give David Wood a history lesson. Damascus is one of the, if not the, oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The site of the Umayyad Mosque has an interesting and unique historyof conquerors building religious structures devoted to their specific God(s) and cults,

It was 1000 BC at the latest when the Arameans built a temple here for Hadad, the god of storms and lightening. A basalt orthostat dating from this period, depicting a sphinx, has been discovered in the northeast corner of the mosque.

In the early first century AD, the Romans arrived and built a massive temple to Jupiter over the Aramean temple. The Roman temple stood upon a rectangular platform (temenos) that measured about 385 meters by 305 meters, with square towers at each corner. Parts of the outer walls of the temenos still survive, but virtually nothing remains of the temple itself.

In the late fourth century, the temple area became a Christian sacred site. The Temple of Jupiter was destroyed and a church dedicated to John the Baptist was built in its place. The church was (and is) believed to enshrine the head of the Baptist, and the site became an important pilgrimage destination in the Byzantine era.

Initially, the Muslim conquest of Damascus in 636 did not affect the church, as the building was shared by Muslim and Christian worshippers. It remained a church and continued to draw Christian pilgrims; the Muslims built a mud-brick structure against the southern wall where they could pray.

Under the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid, however, the church was demolished and the present mosque was built in its place between 706 and 715. An indemnity was paid to the Christians in compensation.

The Mosque still contains relics attributed to John the Baptist. It is a beacon of interfaith interaction and draws Christians (such as Pope John Paul II) and Manadeans. One notices also that the Church of St. John the Baptist itself was built after the destruction of a Roman Temple dedicated to Jupiter! Will David Wood say that act was a practice of Christian supremacy? Can we link that action with current projects by American Christian missionaries in Iraq and say that they are a sign of Christian supremacy?

In contrast to the Byzantines, the early Muslims who conquered Syria left the Christian Holy places untouched. If it was a practice of Muslims to convert the Holy places of non-Muslims into mosques to “show that they are in control,” surely the zealous companions of Muhammad would have immediately gone to the Church and made it into a mosque? However, it was 70 years later that the Mosque was built in its place, and quite out of pattern for conquerors, the Muslims actually paid an indemnity to the Christians as compensation for demolishing the Church.

The Conspiracy Theory Rears its Ugly Head:

Keep in mind, this was in the mind of Muslims all along, right after the September 11th attacks, Muslims were joking about filling the city with mosques and now they tell us that they are doing it to honor the victims of 9/11. Smiling in our faces while cursing us in their hearts. Come out of the cave America, it’s dark in there.

This brutally long and disgusting ode to disinformation, Islamophobia and bigotry finally comes to a close with one final outright and bold embrace of the conspiracy theory that has been the theme of this whole video: “keep in mind, this was in the mind of Muslims all along.”

Those crafty Muslims have been conspiring this whole time to take over our country and subjugate us to Islam! Somehow, in David Wood’s world the so called proposed Cultural Center and Mosque which he repeatedly and falsely refers to as “massive” was in the “mind of Muslims all along.” Bin Laden and his goons were working with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to build this Mosque. The plans announced by Cordoba Initiative that this is not a “massive mosque” but a center that will honor the victims (which by the way included 300 Muslims), contain a mosque, theater, gym, etc. cannot be believed because what Muslims say should never be trusted.

Why do I get the feeling that the only one who is truly smiling in our faces and cursing us in his heart is David Wood? A loon trying by any means possible to sow seeds of hate and suspicion. Such a person would benefit from the teaching of another famous Jew who was instructing his flock, “what­ever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

 

Pamela Geller: Two faced Liar

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by loonwatch

Debbie Schlussel must have been right, Pamela should be better known as “Scamela.”

Pamela Geller gets on TV, and knowing that she has to act some what normal says, “I love Muslims.”A statement belied by her constant hate and fear mongering about Islam and Muslims. She wants todestroy the Golden Dome in Jerusalem, is that love?

From LGF:

Pamela Geller: I have no problems with Muslims except ‘goodness makes them ill’

I wouldn’t post about this hateful creature again so soon, but this is a case of absolutely classic shrieking harpy hypocrisy. Yesterday Pamela Geller posted this:

“I believe I’m fighting for Muslims here,” she said. “I have no problem with Muslims.”

Today she posts this:

The Muslims are finishing the work of the Mufti al-Husseini, Hitlers ally and mass slaughterer of Jews during the the holocaust. Sixty years later, it’s the Muslims who are dragging the rest of the world with them, in their genocidal dreams of annihilating goodness, creativity, production, inventiveness, benevolence, charity, medicine, technology, and all of the gifts of the Jews.

Our goodness makes them ill.

Right — she has no problem with Muslims at all! They’re just all Nazi-allied genocidal murderers who want to destroy everything good in the world.

Who would ever get the idea that Geller has a problem with Muslims?

 

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Wipe Pakistan Off the Map

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2010 by loonwatch
Robert Spencer with loon Pamela GellerRobert Spencer with loon Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer hosted a video of a young Hindu girl obviously inspired by extremists such as the fanatics who destroyed the Babri Mosque on their respective websites. (hat tip: Jack) In the video she calls for “wiping Pakistan off the map.” Does that sound familiar? Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer now have no right to complain about Ahamdinejad’s statements to “wipe Israel off the map” as it rings hollow and hypocritical as they are more than happy to entertain the destruction of a whole country when it is predominantly “Mooslim.”

This is the video that both Pamela and Robert hosted on their site:

Pamela Geller commented that: “Perhaps with an online Colb. (collaboration) we can run her for president in ’16. She gets it.”

Robert Spencer remarks: “The girl is right: do not fear. Fight back against the jihad. Fear hands the jihadis a weapon.”

One thing that Pamela and Robert don’t seem to understand or care about is that this girl’s hatred is not limited to Muslims but it extends to Christians and Americans. At 24 seconds the video translates what she says as, “Tell those clerics, Pakistanis and Jihadis that you do not fear bomb blasts and acts of terrorism,” in fact what she says is, “Tell those clerics, Pakistanis and Christians that you do not fear bomb blasts and acts of terrorism.” A mistranslation that seems to have ironically gone right over the head of the “scholar” Robert Spencer and his lunatic buddy Pamela Geller.

Commenters on Geller’s site were enthusiastic, calling the girl a “natural-born leader,” “incredible,” “amazing,” “fantastic,” while a few of the more “restrained” commenters argued that while they were all for nuking Pakistan it wouldn’t solve the problem. The video drew little heated debate and exchanges on JihadWatch with the usual commenters fawning over her calls for the destruction of Muslims, while a few critical voices accused of “taqiyyah” pointed out the fact that Spencer was a hypocrite for hosting this video.

Daniel Pipes Equates Keith Ellison to Hitler

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by loonwatch
The Moral ContortionistThe Moral Contortionist

On November 25th, we wrote about a wacky article that the failed academic and full time Likud apologist, Daniel Pipes wrote for the Jerusalem Post, in which he argued that US CongressmanKeith Ellison, intellectual Tariq Ramadan and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan were a greater threat to Western Civilization than Al-Qaeda.

We wrote at the time,

According to the illogic of Pipes the greatest threat doesn’t come from Al-Qaeda, Ayatollah Khomeini or Nidal Hasan but rather from people like Dr. Tariq Ramadanand Congressman Keith Ellison. He accuses the two of being part of something he terms “Islamism 2.0.” This ridiculous term translates essentially into what Islamophobe Robert Spencer calls “Stealth Jihad,” or the subtle takeover of the West by peaceful, law-abiding Muslims who have a secret, sinister (stealth) goal to takeover the West and replace Democracy with Shariah law: in other words it’s aconspiracy theory.

Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, and Nidal Hasan represent Islamism 1.0, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (the prime minister of Turkey), Tariq Ramadan (a Swiss intellectual), and Keith Ellison (a US congressman) represent Islamism 2.0. The former kill more people but the latter pose a greater threat to Western civilization. (emphasis mine)

That Erdogan, Ramadan and Ellison can even be mentioned in the same sentence as equivalent to, or even more dangerous and threatening to the West than Bin Laden speaks volumes about Pipes’ preposterous agenda. Would Bin Laden have Turkey make peace with Armenia as Erdogan did? Would Bin Laden affirm Democracy as the way forward to better governance and equal rights as all three do? Would Bin Laden pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America on Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an as Keith Ellison did?

We never imagined Daniel Pipes would offer a response, as he usually isn’t too keen to get into a debate with anyone who challenges his weak and biased arguments. However, it seems this time Pipes couldn’t hold himself back. Prompted by a reader of his website, Aliya, who alerted Pipes to our rebuttal of his article, he responded by bringing the all too familiar response of those who have no arguments: comparing your subject to Hitler.

Submitted by Aliya (United Kingdom), Nov 27, 2009 at 06:49

Dr Pipes

Loon Watch, the Islamist Jewish/Eurabian (apparently George Soros and Saudi funded) website which wrote about your report

Daniel Pipes says Keith Ellison is a threat to Western Civilization

http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/11/daniel-pipes-says-keith-ellison-is-a-threat-to-western-civilization/

They’re asking, because Ellison is a Westerner, and Turkey will join the EU soon, Turks are European, Westerners already, so how can you say theTurkish President and Congressman Ellison are enemies of the West when they are westerners?

What would be your response to this?

Kind Regards

Aliya


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened for relevance, substance, and tone, and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome, but comments are rejected if scurrilous, off-topic, vulgar, ad hominem, or otherwise viewed as inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the Guidelines for Comments. For informational purposes, we identify countries from which comments are sent.

Daniel Pipes replies:

Hiitler was a Westerner too, and he arguably did more to destroy Western civilization than anyone else in history.

The questioner sounds like another loon that we know, Pamela Geller who surmised that Loonwatch was a George Soros funded website, but she takes it a step further and includes all the possible conspiracy theories she can think of, not only are we George Soros funded but we are an, “Islamist Jewish/Eurabian (apparently George Soros and Saudi funded) website.” I love these loons, if half of what they said were true (Alas, my meager pockets) we would be rolling in the dough!!  Soros and company we are still waiting on our checks!

Notice that Daniel Pipes really didn’t answer any of the arguments or questions in our article, my guess is he probably didn’t even read it. He looked at the way Aliya framed the question and answered it by equating Keith Ellison, Tariq Ramadan and Recep Erodogan, all fierce proponents of Democracy to the greatest mass-murderer of the 20th century. Quite despicable, and it seems to have become Daniel Pipes’ forte to side on the side of the despicable.

The real question however is, if Pipes is truly interested in “protecting Western Civilization,” why is he as silent as a mouse on the real threat: the new little Hitler’s springing up all over Europe? Why does Pipes ignore neo-fascist Geert Wilders who calls for the deportation of Mooslims, banning of the Quran, taxing the hijab, etc? Why does he not speak out against the fascist Northern League, why does he give his tacit approval of the minaret ban in Switzerland which he charachterizes as a vote against “Islamization?”

The new amendment also validates and potentially encourages resistance to Islamization throughout the continent.

The reality is ever clearer, Mr.Pipes doesn’t give two hoots about Democracy, for him Democracy is convenient when it fits his agenda but should be discarded the moment it is no longer of use.

 

The Blog Wars: Robert Spencer Goes Postal on Charles Johnson

Posted in Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2009 by loonwatch
Robert SpencerRobert Spencer

The blog wars have started again. Charles Johnson, seems to have gotten under the skin of good ole’ Robert Spencer once more. In a recent post on Little Green FootballsJohnson lays out the top 10 reasons he has parted ways with the Right-wing, of which he was formerly a solid member. He writes in his ninth reason that he left the Right because of,

9. Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide (see: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, etc.)

Spencer, takes umbrage at being accurately described as a bigot and responds with what can only be described as a volley of insults calling Johnson a “CAIR tool,” “libelblogger” who has “betrayed all his principles, friends, and associates.” He also plays the victim card and states that Johnson is a thug who is inciting his followers to hate and frenzied hysteria,

The thuggish libelblogger incites his sycophants and whips them into a frenzy of hate.

It is pathetic and ironic to watch Spencer, who we have exposed as a persistent Islam haterMuslim basherdisingenuous liar, supporter of Euro-Supremacism and neo-Fascism to project onto his ex-ally, his own failings. Spencer, along with the rest of the Right-wing is in the throes of a strange evolution that sees it devolving into a group of hate-filled conspiracy theorists who either have to reform and transform or will remain defeated, forced by their own hand to witness the slow migration of its more sane and rational members to other platforms.

Spencer ends his diatribe by waxing ineloquent and asks,

One can only wonder what sickness of soul would lead this man to devote so much time and effort to lying about other people and trying to destroy them.

“Sickness of soul” indeed. The irony is overwhelming. Spencer is one of the biggest liars in the blogosphere, he has a whole website devoted to bashing Islam and skewing reality while destroying anyone who disagrees with him. All Johnson did was write a single sentence about Spencer, yet it seems it is enough for Spencer to think Johnson is stoking a (excuse the term) crusade against him. It seems some one’s conscious is bothering them.

Meanwhile, in the same post one of Spencer’s supporters takes a shot at LoonWatch. After deleting one commenters link to a LoonWatch truth piece on Spencer, Darcy writes,

lol,You think we would actually check out the repellent, idiotic, “loonwatch?”

Only loons go there, like you. Take your trash elsewhere, loonatic (misspelling deliberate).

The truth hurts. The fact is Spencer and his drones can’t bear to feel the fire, and are despondent at ever adequately and substantively rebutting any of the facts provided here on LoonWatch, such as thelatest piece by Danios which all but obliterates Spencer’s Dhimmi argument.

 

Daniel Pipes says Keith Ellison is a threat to Western Civilization

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by loonwatch
Daniel PipesDaniel Pipes

Daniel Pipes, the academic who dropped academia long ago to pursue anti-Islam polemics and apologia for Israeli policy is at it again. In a Nov, 24, 2009 article in the Jerusalem Post, Pipes writes about his favorite topic, “the Muslim threat to Western Civilization.”

According to the illogic of Pipes the greatest threat doesn’t come from Al-Qaeda, Ayatollah Khomeini or Nidal Hasan but rather from people like Dr. Tariq Ramadan and Congressman Keith Ellison. He accuses the two of being part of something he terms “Islamism 2.0.” This ridiculous term translates essentially into what Islamophobe Robert Spencer calls “Stealth Jihad,” or the subtle takeover of the West by peaceful, law-abiding Muslims who have a secret, sinister (stealth) goal to takeover the West and replace Democracy with Shariah law: in other words it’s a conspiracy theory.

Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, and Nidal Hasan represent Islamism 1.0, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (the prime minister of Turkey), Tariq Ramadan (a Swiss intellectual), and Keith Ellison (a US congressman) represent Islamism 2.0. The former kill more people but the latter pose a greater threat to Western civilization. (emphasis mine)

That Erdogan, Ramadan and Ellison can even be mentioned in the same sentence as equivalent to, or even more dangerous and threatening to the West than Bin Laden speaks volumes about Pipes’ preposterous agenda. Would Bin Laden have Turkey make peace with Armenia as Erdogan did? Would Bin Laden affirm Democracy as the way forward to better governance and equal rights as all three do? Would Bin Laden pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America on Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an as Keith Ellison did?

All of the above are of course rhetorical questions because there is an obvious wide gulf that separates the likes of a Bin Laden and a Keith Ellison. Keith Ellison, is an American whose family history in the Americas goes back centuries, longer even than Pipes’ family history. He is a liberal Democrat who believes in Democracy, the rule of law, universal suffrage and equal rights for all. That is why his district in Minnesota overwhelmingly voted for him.

The most condescending aspect to the vile piece from Pipes and what he ignores or fails to mention is that Erdogan, Ramadan and Ellison are Westerners. In fact, they represent all that is good about the West, they are consistent on their values, are educated, active and participatory citizens: one doesn’t have to agree with their beliefs or ideas to see the common values in that. They call on their fellow citizens to be active and educated and they foster understanding between different communities while also being self-critical; that is more than we can say for Daniel Pipes.

Pipes goes on to state that “lawful Islamism” is growing in the West and may be worse than “violent Islamism” which is retreating,

Other once-violent Islamist organizations in Algeria, Egypt, and Syria have recognized the potential of lawful Islamism and largely renounced violence. One also sees a parallel shift in Western countries; Ramadan and Ellison represent a burgeoning trend.

In conclusion, only Islamists, not fascists or communists, have gone well beyond crude force to win public support and develop a 2.0 version. Because this aspect of Islamism undermines traditional values and destroys freedoms, it may threaten civilized life even more than does 1.0′s brutality.(emphasis added)

Instead of bizzarely bemoaning the fact that these once violent organizations have renounced violence, Pipes should see it as most sensible people do, a positive development which brings these groups into the system and opens them up to the scrutiny of checks and balances and eventually the electorate. Also notice the highly disingenuous way in which Pipes again lumps these once violent organizations onto the same wavelength as Ramadan and Ellison who, yes, are proud Muslims (not a crime by the way) but at the same time are staunch Democrats who are the fiercest and most affective opponents of the violent ideology that motivates groups such as Al-Qaeda.

Ellison and Ramadan stand as a strong counter example against Bin Laden and his cohorts for Muslims, especially young Muslims. They see two Muslims, strongly grounded in their faith, belonging to their society and giving back on various levels from the social to the political; instead of deriding them Pipes should be encouraging them. As more examples such as theirs increase in the West it will enable Muslims to better fight those minority elements within their faith that seek to cause chaos and violence and that is what really threatens Daniel Pipes who seems to be motivated by the paranoid fear that the “enfranchisement of American Muslims…will present true dangers to American Jews.”

So what does Daniel Pipes propose? How do we stop this “stealth Islamism 2.0?” Do we restrict the free speech of Tariq Ramadan and deny him entry into the US? ( Pipes does support that) Do we disallow Muslims such as Keith Ellison from holding public office? Do we not allow Muslims to enter into the military? Do we watch Muslim peoples’ every move? What practical solutions is Pipes proposing from this highly opinionated and doomsday scenario article?

We can only assume that he is in league with other believers in these conspiracy theories who do put forward pratical solutions to the “stealth Muslim problem.” Believers like Geert Wilders whose solutions include: no religious freedom for Muslims, banning the Quran, taxing Muslim women who wear the Hijab, deporting Muslim citizens etc.

One must ask Daniel Pipes, does he agree with such a program? Some of his colleagues and friends such as Robert Spencer have already given their backing to Wilders, where does Pipes stand? Does he stand for Democracy, equal rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion or is he a hypocrite cloaking himself as a champion of Western civilization when in reality with every word he undermines it?