Archive for jim crow

Raphael Magrik: Commentary Whitewashes Discrimination

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by loonwatch

Muslims women gather for a special Eid ul-Fitr morning prayer at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Muslims women gather for a special Eid ul-Fitr morning prayer at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Commentary Whitewashes Discrimination

by , The Daily Beast

Only three weeks since Passover, and some people already need refreshers.

Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin argues that Islamophobia in the United States must be a myth because… look! the Muslims are breeding like rabbits. Citing newly released census data showing that the population of American Muslims more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, Tobin asks: “Is it possible or even likely that Islam would be thriving in the United States if it were not a society that is welcoming Muslims with open arms and providing a safe environment for people to openly practice this faith?”

Yes, it’€™s very possible. Let’s start with the Passover story: in particular, Exodus 1:12, in which the Egyptians discover that, “€œthe more they afflicted [the Israelites], the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.” It looks like Tobin skipped that section of the haggadah.

And this Biblical wisdom holds up well under scrutiny: historically, discrimination and prejudice haven’€™t done much to hinder population growth. The African American population quadrupled (from under five million to nearly twenty million) between the end of the Civil War and the 1964 Civil Rights Act: does Tobin think that a century of Jim Crow, housing discrimination and the Ku Klux Klan provided Blacks “€œa safe environment”€? The fact is, Islam is growing everywhere: doubling over the last thirty years in Europe, and on pace to reach 2.2 billion worldwide by 2030 (it’€™s currently 1.6 billion). Its growth in America is just one piece of this broader trend.

Here’s another fact: Islamophobia is alive and well in America. Tobin claims that there are “€œno obstacles to Muslim advancement or systematic ill treatment.” Tell it toHani Khan, who was fired from her job at Abercrombie & Fitch when she wouldn’€™t remove her headscarf. In 2009, Muslims filed 803 religious discrimination claims with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That’€™s about 25% of the total claims, even though Muslims make up, according to the Pew Research Center, less than 1% of the American population. Resumes with Muslim names get lower response rates from employment firms than resumes with names from any other ethnic or religious group. And it extends beyond employment. In a 2010 Gallup poll, 43% of Americans self-reported some prejudice against Muslims, compared to 15% for Jews and 18% for Christians.

What’€™s sad is that we’€™ve seen all this before. Muslims aren’€™t the first religious group to be accused of cooperating with America’€™s international enemies. Just as Muslims today are called terrorists, American Jews were once tarred as the servants of Moscow. Similarly, attempts to outlaw Sharia recall centuries of anti-Semitic paranoia about Jewish religious law. In every generation, my haggadah teaches me, bigots rise up to discriminate against and attack minorities. If Jonathan Tobin cannot see that, if he continues to turn a blind eye to the oppression of Muslims among us, well then, I’€™ve got a couple more Bible verses he ought to read.

Max Blumenthal: Anti-Muslim hate rally summons the ghosts of Jim Crow

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics, Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by loonwatch

Max Blumenthal on the anti-Muslim rally and its parallels to the Jim Crow era.

Anti-Muslim hate rally summons the ghosts of Jim Crow

(Max Blumenthal)

While watching the unforgettably hideous (and now viral) footage of the recent anti-Muslim demonstration in Yorba Linda, California, I could not help but think of Elizabeth Eckford, the African-American student who was forced to walk through a phalanx of violent white racists chanting “Lynch her! Lynch her!” during the federal government’s first attempt to integrate Little Rock Central High School. This iconic image was immediately recalled by the video of Muslim-American children walking through a crowd of protesters calling them terrorists, threatening them, and chanting “Go home!” as they proceeded towards a local community center for a charity event. Eckford was badly scarred by her experience; the trauma affected her life for decades. I wonder how the children who had to be marched through the gauntlet of racists in Yorba Linda will remember their experience.

Billed as a “Patriotic Rally,” the anti-Muslim demonstration was organized by official hate group leader Pam Geller, Tea Party outfits including the North Orange County Conservative Coalition and We Surround Them OC 912; and Rabbi David Eliezrie of the Yorba Linda chapter of Chabad-Lubavitch, a messianic Orthodox Jewish group. Though Chabad does not make its political positions explicit, I have learned through first hand experience how extreme its leadership is, especially in Southern California.

In 2002, I took a Hebrew class with a rabbi (I wanted to improve my very poor reading at the time), who led the West L.A. Chabad chapter and was supposedly a renowned teacher of the Kabbalah. At some point, the rabbi invited me and some other students over for a shabbat dinner which, given Chabad’s mission to proselytize within the Jewish community, would eventually lead to some form of pressure to join the organization. The rabbi’s father, who was also a rabbi, led off dinner with a bold prediction: “Within five years, the Palestinians will be eliminated by nuclear energy!” I was shocked and did not know what to say. At first, I attempted to politely register my displeasure. But nothing would stop him. “Either we use nuclear energy or we transfer them all!” he said. No one at the table seemed to have any problem with these wishes for genocide. “So will you use cattle cars to transfer them?” I asked. “We can use camels. Whatever,” he responded. Several of the men at the table chuckled at this remark. I excused myself from dinner soon after and would never have contact with Chabad again.

Rabbi David Elriezie at the Yorba Linda hate rallyCorrection: This photo does not show Rabbi David Eliezrie, however, Eliezrie has admitted to participating in the rally

Chabad’s Rabbi Eliezrie appeared at the Yorba Linda hate rally with an Israeli flag in one hand and an American flag in the other. Other participants displayed the Israeli flag as well. In fact, the Israeli flag seemed to be peeking out from a cluster of American flags that formed the backdrop for speakers including Republican Rep’s Ed Royce and Gary Miller, who both railed against the Muslim presence in Orange County. At 4:06 in the video, the crowd can be seen hectoring a Muslim couple with the chant, “We support Israel!” As even Haaretz has noticed, the Israeli flag is becoming a key symbol for a trans-Atlantic neo-fascist axis that thrives on violent resentment towards Muslim and Arab immigrants. Given the ethnocratic basis of the Israeli state and the country’s settler-colonial ethos, the trend is not ironic or very surprising.

Back in 1957, in Little Rock Central High, an awkward, acne scarred boy sat behind Elizabeth Eckford every day in class, muttering in a low drone, “Nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger.” Harassment from him and scores of white students would eventually drive Eckford to attempt suicide several times. Fifty years later, that awkward student, whose name is Charles Sawrie, expressed deep contrition for what he had done. “It was all kind of stupid,” he told journalist David Margolick. “I just wanted to get a name for myself. I don’t remember anything about her except she was black and my job was to make it as rough for the blacks as I could.”

Demonstrators celebrate their intimidation of Muslim familiesDemonstrators celebrate their intimidation of Muslim families

On the Facebook page of the North Orange County Conservative Coalition, adults who behaved just as Sawrie did as a high school student in the Jim Crow South are overflowing with pride. “This was a great opportunity to speak out against an oppressive threat to us all. The speakers were GREAT as were the Patriots who joined us,” remarked someone named Gibbs Carol. Another protester named Desare Ferraro commented: “Americans are finally waking up to the dangers of multi-culturalism and putting out the “NOT WELCOME” sign to terrorist supporting fundraisers in our communities.” “What a great rally yesterday in Yorba Linda!” said Neil O’Brien.

Below are two videos. The first is of the Arab American Institute’s congressional briefing on Rep. Peter King’s upcoming hearings on radicalization in the Muslim community, which will essentially function as a congressional legitimization of the anti-Muslim crusade. I speak at about 32:00 and describe the trans-Atlantic Islamophobic axis:

The second video contains my appearance on Viewpoint with Jim Zogby, where I discuss the Islamophobic axis in further detail with Maya Berry: