Archive for Islamophobia

Leaked NYPD Document Lists Watched Mosques, Islamic Schools

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

More on the NYPD spying debacle:

Leaked NYPD Document Lists Watched Mosques, Islamic Schools

By ELIZABETH FLOCK

A former police reporter leaked a list of monitored areas the NYPD watched as part of a questionable program used to spy on Muslims

A website dedicated to following the New York City Police Department published a document Monday detailing Islamic schools, NGOs, mosques, student associations, and persons of interest that were monitored by the NYPD in 2006 as part of its secret and legally questionable program to spy on Muslims.

The program was first exposed in an Pulitzer Prize-winning series by the Associated Press last year.

Leonard Levitt, a former Newsday police reporter who runs NYPD Confidential, writes Monday that the NYPD’s own Intelligence Division document from 2006 refute claims that the police force is innocent.

According to the new document, NYPD’s undercover officers or informants infiltrated places as varied as the Westchester Muslim Center mosque, an Islamic student association at Brooklyn College, and the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR).

“It doesn’t suprise me at all,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. “It seems every organization, leader, mosque, and cab driver was on their list… But what we’re concerned about is the individual Muslims who were targeted for this spy campaign without a warrant or any evidence of wrongdoing on anyone’s part.”

In all, NYPD compiled information on 250 mosques, 12 Islamic schools, 31 Muslim student associations, 263 “ethnic hotspots,” such as restaurants and businesses, and 138 “persons of interest,” according to NYPD Confidential.

While the AP also published a number of NYPD documents as part of its ongoing series, today’s 2006 Intelligence Division documents appear to be newly leaked.

Levitt writes that he felt compelled to publish it because of attempts by Mitchell Silber, who recently left the NYPD intelligence department, to discredit the AP’s work. Silber has written in multiple publications that the AP’s work is “rife with inaccuracies.”

Levitt writes that the monitoring outlined in the 2006 document is so “sweeping” that it “resembled files of the former Communist East German secret police.”

Requests for comment from the NYPD, Westchester Muslim Center and Brooklyn College Islamic Society were not immediately returned.

Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report.You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her onTwitter and Facebook.

Geert Wilders’ War Against Islam

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

Geert Wilders book in review (via. Islamophobia-Watch.com):

Wilders’ war against Islam

By the end of Marked for Death, we see what Wilders is leading up to – a horrifying vision of a fortress Europe, defending “freedom” through the deployment of totalitarian state powers to expunge Islam from the continent. His recommendations are reminiscent of the discriminatory social control measures taken against Jews and other minorities under Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Wilders, of course, is careful to disavow violence and reiterate he hates Islam, not Muslims. But it is difficult to deny the implicitly violent subtext of his sweeping proposals, including a halt to all Muslim immigration, payments to settled immigrants to leave, cessation of building of mosques, and taxation of Muslim religious practices such as the headscarf. Most disturbing is his endorsement of Israeli-style “administrative detention” (indefinite internment without trial on security grounds) in Europe as part of criminal operations in Muslim communities; not to mention the forcible deportation of tens of millions of Muslims from Europe for “thinking” about “crime” or “Shari’ah”.

Yasmin Qureshi and Nafeez Ahmed examine the political programme presented in Geert Wilders’ Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me.

Independent, 4 June 2012

Church shows support for Murfreesboro Islamic Center

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

Those who seek peace, harmony and co-existence will overcome the voices of hate and bigotry, especially when members of different faiths and perspectives gather together and lend each other a hand.

(via. IslamophobiaToday.com)

Church shows support for Murfreesboro Islamic Center

Christian and Muslim leaders came together to support the Murfreesboro Islamic community and imam Ossama Bahloul Sunday afternoon at The Village Church in East Nashville. “We just really wanted to reach out to him and to let him know that we cared about his community and him and that we would be praying with them,” said Dr. Andrew Anyabwile, Village Church pastor.

On Tuesday, a Rutherford County judge nullified the permit to build a multimillion dollar Islamic center in Murfreesboro after ruling that not enough public notice was given before a planning commission meeting where the construction was approved.

“It seems like the Muslim community being singled out in this because we did follow the exact process of everyone else,” said Ossama Bahloul, the Murfreesboro Islamic center imam. “If we respect our constitution, then we’ll have no choice but to support each other because the freedom of religion is the core of our constitution.”

While the congregation at the Village Church had a very vocal support for the imam’s words, the Murfreesboro Islamic center still has plenty of opponents. “If they’re this peaceful, loving religion, that they claim they are, they need to abide by the laws that all of us have to,” said attorney Joe Brandon, who has been representing clients that oppose the construction of the Islamic center.

Brandon has voiced several controversial claims like the stance that Islam was not an actual religion, and the group is out to spread Sharia law. “Sharia law provides that their law dominates the law of Tennessee, the laws of all 50 states, the law of the U.S. constitution,” Brandon said.

“It seems like this is a small group with a very vocal voice against the freedom of religion in Murfreesboro,” Bahloul said. “But I am really optimistic because I know that what’s right will prevail by the end.” Bahloul said he hopes the Islamic center will open in July to celebrate the month of Ramadan.

WZTV, 4 June 2012

See also “Murfreesboro mosque ruling stirs confusion”, The Tennessean, 3 June 2012

Germany: How Far-Right Islamophobes Hijacked Political Debate

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

(Via Islamophobia-Watch.com)

Germany: how far-right Islamophobes hijacked political debate

Germany’s Salafist Muslims are back in the spotlight. Since early May, hardly a week has gone by without another regional or national politician in the country proposing new ways to counter the group’s extremist version of Islam or a major German newspaper publishing yet another exposé on the group’s insular isolation from the mainstream. Just on Friday, interior ministers from Germany’s 16 states, at a regularly scheduled conference with federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, resolved to be increasingly firm in their dealings with the Salafists.

Such hand-wringing in Germany about its Muslim population, extremist or otherwise, is not uncommon. This one, however, is different. Far from being an accidental upheaval of angst resulting from the publication of a book by the likes of the anti-immigration treatise by Germany’s provocateur-in-chief Thilo Sarrazin or comments from the country’s top politicians, its timing and nature was determined far from the country’s conventional opinion makers. It is a particularly unique case of the tail wagging the dog – and in this case, the tail is the tiny, Islamophobic political party Pro-NRW.

Spiegel Online, 1 June 2012

Germany: How Far-Right Islamophobes Hijacked Political Debate

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

(Via Islamophobia-Watch.com)

Germany: how far-right Islamophobes hijacked political debate

Germany’s Salafist Muslims are back in the spotlight. Since early May, hardly a week has gone by without another regional or national politician in the country proposing new ways to counter the group’s extremist version of Islam or a major German newspaper publishing yet another exposé on the group’s insular isolation from the mainstream. Just on Friday, interior ministers from Germany’s 16 states, at a regularly scheduled conference with federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, resolved to be increasingly firm in their dealings with the Salafists.

Such hand-wringing in Germany about its Muslim population, extremist or otherwise, is not uncommon. This one, however, is different. Far from being an accidental upheaval of angst resulting from the publication of a book by the likes of the anti-immigration treatise by Germany’s provocateur-in-chief Thilo Sarrazin or comments from the country’s top politicians, its timing and nature was determined far from the country’s conventional opinion makers. It is a particularly unique case of the tail wagging the dog – and in this case, the tail is the tiny, Islamophobic political party Pro-NRW.

Spiegel Online, 1 June 2012

Burmese Buddhists Attack Muslim Pilgrims, Killing 9

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

The attack on Muslims traveling to a mosque must be viewed in a much larger perspective, the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (i.e Burma).

Authorities are saying that “anti-Muslim sentiment” played a roll in at least one of the attacks:

Muslims killed in attack in Burma’s Rakhine province

(BBC)

Buddhist residents in western Burma have killed at least nine Muslims as sectarian tension worsens in the region, police say.

Reports say a crowd attacked a bus in Rakhine province after blaming some of the passengers for the gang rape and murder of a Buddhist woman.

In another incident, at least 10 people were injured in the state capital Sittwe when police broke up a protest.

It is the worst violence to hit the province in recent months.

Sectarian and ethnic tension persists in the country despite a new, supposedly tolerant climate introduced by the civilian-led government which came into power 15 months ago.

Mob attack

The bus attack took place near the town of Taungup in Rakhine province, which borders Bangladesh, on Sunday evening, police and residents said.

It was thought to be carried out by mostly Buddhist ethnic Rakhine people.

“More than 100 people beat and killed those people,” a resident told AFP news agency. “The residents even torched the bus.”

The reason for the attack is unclear, but some residents say it was a revenge attack following the rape and murder of a Buddhist girl in another part of the province last month.

Map

But the Burmese Muslim Association said most of those killed were Muslims visiting a mosque from central Burma.

That account was corroborated by unnamed residents quoted by Reuters news agency, who said those killed were not from the area.

No arrests have been made. A police investigation is under way.

In another, apparently unrelated incident at least 10 people were injured after police fired rubber bullets at a mob who attacked their police station in Sittwe, reports said.

A 13-year-old protester was among those injured, witnesses said.

There were contradictory reports about what triggered the protest, but some accounts suggested anti-Muslim sentiment could have played a part.

Rakhine is home to Burma’s largest concentration of Muslims, including much-persecuted Rohingya Muslims, and their presence is often deeply resented by the majority Buddhist population.

In a joint statement quoted by Reuters, eight Rohingya rights groups based outside Burma condemned the attack on the Muslims on the bus, whom they termed “Muslim pilgrims”.

Although it appears those on the bus were not Rohingyas, the groups said the attack followed months of anti-Rohingya propaganda stirred up by “extremists and xenophobes”.

Even OBL Admitted that Homegrown Terrorism is Un-Islamic? What the Bin Laden Letters Reveal

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by loonwatch

The United States government recently released a select few letters from a trove of Al-Qaeda documents recovered from Osama Bin Laden’s final hideaway in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  Leaving aside the obvious fact that the release of 17 documents out of thousands is nothing short of war propaganda–and ignoring the absolute vacuous nature of the political punditry that passes as “terrorism expertise” in this country–there was one gem buried in the Bin Laden letters that has gone unnoticed thus far.

In a 2010 letter from Bin Laden to “Shaykh Mahmud” (SOCOM-2012-0000015), Al-Qaeda’s leader mentions the case of Faisal Shahzad, an American Muslim of Pakistani origin who unsuccessfully attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square.  It is Bin Laden’s views towards Shahzad’s actions that reveal something quite noteworthy.

After the failed Times Square bombing, the cottage industry of Very Serious Terrorism Experts began warning the American people of the looming threat of “homegrown terrorism.”  A CNN article entitled Analysis: The spread of U.S. homegrown terrorism declared:

Nearly a decade ago, a group of Saudis and other men from the Middle East came to the United States to carry out the worst terrorist attack on the U.S.

Not a single one had American citizenship.

Almost nine years after the September 11 attacks, the threat of another major terror strike is still a concern, but where the threat is coming from has changed.

A growing number of American citizens and longtime residents of the United States are becoming radicalized enough by al Qaeda’s extremist ideology to kill their fellow Americans, counterterrorism officials say.

It is difficult to call this “analysis” as the title implies.  Rather, this is another case of the media operating as the government’s stenographer.  The CNN article itself quotes the Homeland Security Secretary:

“In the 9/11 world and in the immediate aftermath, the theory was and the reality was that a terrorist attack, if it were to occur again on U.S. soil, would be someone coming from abroad and coming in to the United States,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “That paradigm has changed, and there are now individuals in the United States, some who have grown up here and are American citizens. … They haven’t done anything to violate the law, but yet they have become radicalized to the point of violent extremism and to the point of … considering coming back to the homeland and conducting an attack of some sort.”

As Stephen Colbert put it in his 2006 speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (via Glenn Greenwald):

But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works. The President makes decisions. He’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ‘em through a spell check and go home.

In this case, the government wanted to spread the idea that homegrown Islamic terrorism is the new threat, and that Al-Qaeda was now actively recruiting American citizens.  In fact, this claim was nothing new.  As early as 2007, President Barack Obama had ominously warned of Al-Qaeda recruiting in U.S. jails:

I will address the problem in our prisons, where the most disaffected and disconnected Americans are being explicitly targeted for conversion by al Qaeda and its ideological allies

Following the failed Times Square bombing in 2010, by 2011 this issue had become such a grave issue that the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security held Congressional hearings “on radicalization in the U.S. Muslim community” to assess the threat of homegrown terrorism.

The idea, that Americans need to fear their fellow Muslim compatriots, is very troubling from a sociological point of view.  Throughout American history, various minorities–such as Jews, Catholics, and Japanese–have been portrayed in the fifth column role.  Indeed, Islamophobes of the worst order have made a living selling books warning of the “stealth jihad” being waged by American Muslims right here in the United States.

We are told by these anti-Muslim conspiracy nuts that Islam itself permits “holy lying” (a dubious translation of the word taqiyya).  To bolster this claim, they reproduce an isolated text from a corpus attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, in which he says “war is deceit.”

I have addressed this issue numerous times in the past.  For example, when Major Nidal Hasan used his military clearance to kill U.S. soldiers, I wrote an article explaining why this was in fact strictly forbidden (haram) from an Islamic law point of view.  American Muslims must obey U.S. laws, and certainly are not permitted to harm the state or its people.

This is because the Quran–and Islam in general–affirms the importance of “covenants”, i.e. peace treaties, Visa and citizenship agreements, etc.  The Quran declares emphatically:

And fulfill every covenant.  Verily, you will be held accountable with regard to the covenants. (Quran, 17:34)

As I noted in my earlier article, “[t]he Quran does say that if the believers are being oppressed in some land, then the Muslims should come to their assistance.  But it forbids fighting against those with whom a covenant exists.”

In the case of American Muslims, they cannot aid their fellow Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere–at least not militarily or in any way that would constitute treason against the United States.  Of this, the Quran states:

If [your coreligionists] ask for your aid in religion, then you must help them, except against people with whom you have covenants with. (Quran, 8:72)

Nonetheless, right-wingers have worked Americans into a frenzy by fear-mongering about how American Muslims supposedly want to overthrow the democratic government of the United States and replace it with a “Sharia state.”  This, however, would constitute an act of treachery and treason, which is clearly proscribed in Islam.

American Muslims must constantly remind their fellow citizens of this fact, routinely reaffirming their loyalty to the country.  But, Islamophobes insist that this is just a watered down or sugar coated version of Islam, which American Muslims just try selling to Western audiences while behind the scenes they plot the downfall of the government.  To them, the Times Square would-be bomber wasn’t hijacking (or rather, carjacking) Islam, but rather, he was faithfully carrying out the commandments of Allah.

However, what the Bin Laden papers reveal is that even Osama Bin Laden–the nefarious leader of the world’s most feared Islamic extremist group–admitted that such homegrown terrorism is not proper, at least from a theological point of view.  In the 2010 letter I referenced above, Bin Laden writes to ”Shaykh Mahmud” (emphasis is mine):

Perhaps you monitored the trial of brother Faysal Shahzad. In it he was asked about the oath that he took when he got American citizenship. And he responded by saying that he lied. You should know that it is not permissible in Islam to betray trust and break a covenant. Perhaps the brother was not aware of this. Please ask the brothers in Taliban Pakistan to explain this point to their members. In one of the pictures, brother Faysal Shahzad was with commander Mahsud; please find out if Mahsud knows that getting the American citizenship requires talking an oath to not harm America. This is a very important matter because we do not want al-Mujahidin to be accused of breaking a covenant.

So, here we have even the poster boy of Islamic terrorism saying that Faisal Shahzad violated Islamic law by taking American citizenship and then harming America.  Islamophobes would be quick to dismiss these words by OBL as taqiyya (“holy lying”), but remember: these were words contained not in a public Al-Qaeda statement but in a private letter between Bin Laden and his associate.  This letter was not intended for an outside audience, and was only released by the United States government.

How then could it be a case of taqiyya?  Unless Osama Bin Laden wrote the letter in 2010 knowing that two years later the United States would raid his compound in Pakistan and then release his letter.  Those wily Islamic terrorists!

Of course, Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda are anything but consistent.  Despite Bin Laden disavowing Faisal Shahzad’s actions–and recognizing the Islamic principle that prohibits such “homegrown terrorism”–Al-Qaeda’s spokesman Adam Gadahn approved of Major Nidal Hasan’s actions and called on American Muslims to to attack the United States.  One could probably find similar inconsistencies in Bin Laden’s own words.  (In fact, most of Al-Qaeda’s bread-and-butter acts of terrorism are forbidden in Islam just based on the issue of covenants and the prohibition of being treacherous–even leaving aside the more important issue of non-combatant immunity.)

It’s also true that this doesn’t mean that homegrown terrorism isn’t a major problem. (Other articles of mine point out that homegrown terrorism is highly exaggerated.)  But, the point is that even Al-Qaeda’s head honcho, Osama Bin Laden himself, admitted that Islam prohibits homegrown terrorism, even while his group encouraged it.  He conceded that Islamic law forbids breaking a covenant, treaty, or trust–that it proscribes treason and treachery. This reinforces what is well-known to real experts of Islam, which is that A-Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists aren’t following Islam at all, despite what the Islamophobes continue to claim.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.