Archive for Justice

Anti-Loons of the Year: 2010

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by loonwatch
From Molly Norris, one of the Anti-Loons of the Year

We reviewed the Year in Islamophobia, and it was a crazy year. However, we noted that at the end of the day there was “hope.” There were those willing to stand up, take a stand firmly against hate directed towards Muslims and Islam. Here we recount some of the best anti-loons of 2010. There are many more whom we may have omitted and who deserve equal attention and recognition.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald published countless articles on Salon.com in which he took to task the complicity of the media in regard to Islamophobia, the double standards that exist when Muslims commit crimes as opposed to when non-Muslims do and the stark difference in coverage. He was outspoken on the root causes of terrorism and the willful neglect and negligence of our government and politicians when it comes to honestly discussing the causes of terrorism, namely — occupation. Greenwald’s colleagues Justin Elliot and Alex Pareene also contributed significantly to the discussion and had great coverage of the tidal wave of Islamophobiapalooza.

Jon Stewart

The Daily Show brought us plenty of laughs but also penetrating analysis and insight into the state of affairs in America today. Stewart’s mock news show was hailed for bringing more news to us than mainstream media. He was all over the coverage of the Park51 mosque controversy, and even before then he was seminal in covering and satirizing the rhetoric on Fox News, amongst Tea Partiers, as well hate crimes that were rising all over the country. His seminal “Rally to restore Sanity” which he co-hosted with Stephen Colbert was a watershed moment and though its detractors tried to minimize its importance, it frankly eclipsed Glenn Beck’s ghoulish “Rally to restore Honor.” His show also coined the word of the year, “Islamophboiapalooza.”

Stephen Colbert

The Colbert Report is a show that many are in love with, the host’s over the top adulation of himself combined with the incisive satire and biting sarcasm that no doubt turns Bill O’ Reilly and others in the Right-wing into a heaping pile of anger during the weekdays beamed onto our screens and left a residue of warmth and compassion. Colbert was everywhere, Capitol Hill for hearings on immigration, on the Mall for his “Rally to Restore Sanity and or March to Keep Fear Alive.” His commitment to justice led him to take on the pervasive atmosphere of anti-Muslim hysteria and in doing so he contributed to restoring sanity and dispelling fear.

Reza Aslan

Aslan is the man that Islamophobes love to hate. They can’t stand him. Robert Spencer published dozens of blog posts on him alone. Aslan has been vocal in the mainstream media about the anti-Muslim Islamophobia that swept America in 2010 and its main progenitors. He has delivered speeches, engaged in debates, written articles and books all towards attempting to foster understanding, and his implicit nod to Loonwatch on the Colbert Report was much appreciated.

Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal’s pieces on Pamela Geller, SIOA, video footage of rabid anti-Muslim rallies, and coverage of the Great Islamophobic crusade bring him into the spotlight as one of the leading anti-Loons of 2010. Blumenthal is also notable for being one of the first investigative journalists to quote and link to Loonwatch.

Lee Baca

Sheriff Lee Baca is a tough as nails LA County Sheriff who went toe-to-toe with a right-wing republican Representative over the politicians attempts to intimidate Muslims and cast Muslim leaders as affiliated with terrorist organizations.

Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) impugned Baca during a House Homeland Security subcommittee meeting, saying the sheriff had allied himself with a Muslim American group that engaged in “radical” speech by going to its fundraisers. Baca not only attacked that description of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, but he also told Souder he would be fine with going to more fundraisers for the group.

“If he thinks I’m afraid of what he said, I will go to 10 fundraisers because he said it,” Baca declared Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before a town hall meeting with the Muslim American community.

Actually, Baca said, he’s been to only two fundraisers for the organization in four years, but that, he added, is not the point. What rankled Baca — aside from what he took as Souder personally challenging the sheriff’s patriotism — was what he saw as the congressman’s inaccurate assessment of the group.

“In other words, he’s an amateur intelligence officer,” Baca said.

Several times a year, the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress — an independent group set up to advise Baca and forge a partnership between the department and Muslim Americans — and the Sheriff’s Department’s Muslim Community Affairs Unit hold forums to discuss issues. The one Tuesday night was scheduled before the dust-up in Washington offered a charged topic for discussion.

When Baca spoke at the Tuesday event, he was given a standing ovation by the 75 or so people at the Omar ibn Al-Khattab Foundation near USC.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg stood up at a crucial moment during the Park51 (Ground Zero Mosque) controversy and didn’t back down. He gave an impassioned defense of religious liberty and freedom in a historic speech during the firestorm and took a lot of heat for it from people in his party.

Honorable Mentions:

-Wajahat Ali

-Richard Silverstein

-Keith Olbermann

-Rachel Maddow

-Molly Norris

-Cenk Uygur

-Lesley Hazelton

 

Update: Islamophobic Murderer Goes on Trial

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by loonwatch

Update: Islamophobic Murderer goes on Trial

 

"For What Sin Was she Killed"
“For What Sin Was she Killed”

An update from AlJazeera English on the horrific murder of Marwa Sherbini.

German on Trial for Murder

A man accused of killing a pregnant Egyptian woman in court in a frenzied anti-Islamic attack has gone on trial in Germany in a case that inflamed tempers throughout the Muslim world.

Prosecutors say the defendant, identified as Alex W, stabbed Marwa el-Sherbini, who was wearing a hijab, at least 16 times on July 1, in the same courthouse in the eastern city of Dresden where the trial has opened.

A verdict is expected on November 11.

“In this trial we will try to get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding the death of a young woman who was deeply integrated in her family and society,” Wiegand said.

The unemployed defendant, who arrived in Germany from Perm in the Urals in 2003, reportedly struggled with bouts of depression.

El-Sherbini worked as a pharmacist while her husband is a geneticist working on his doctorate in Dresden.

El-Sherbini bled to death at the scene watched by her three-and-a-half-year-old son, Mustafa.

Prosecutors say the attack was motivated by “a pronounced hatred of non-Europeans and Muslims”.

Elwy Ali Okaz, who was stabbed as he tried to protect el-Sherbini, his wife, was then shot in the leg by police who apparently took him for the attacker.

Egyptian anger

Testifying on Monday, Okaz said: “The perpetrator suddenly attacked my wife, he hit her several times and when I tried to help he hit me too.

In video

The case sparked deep anger across the Muslim world

“It was only then that I noticed he had a knife and that he had stabbed her. Then he began stabbing me too.”Okaz said the alleged attacker continued stabbing his wife even after she was on the ground.

Egyptian media quickly dubbed el-Sherbini a martyr and there were huge protests against the murder in countries including Egypt, Iran and Turkey.

Amr El-Kahky, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Cairo, said: “Since the killing of Marwa el-Sherbini in Dresden, every Egpytian has been angry and they are all asking for justice.

“The picture of Marwa el-Sherbini has been published in most of the papers … everyone is waiting to see what this man will plead in the case.”

‘Hated Muslims’

El-Sherbini and the defendant met in August 2008, when she asked him to clear a playground swing where he sat smoking a cigarette so Mustafa could use it.

He refused, calling el-Sherbini an “Islamist”, a “terrorist” and a “whore”. She pressed charges for defamation and he was fined $1,170.

An appeal against the conviction brought them together again in July.

The defendant allegedly plunged an 18cm kitchen knife into the chest, back and arm of el-Sherbini, 31, three months pregnant at the time with her second child.

El-Sherbini was three months pregnant
at the time of her murder [EPA]

“He stabbed them out of pure hatred against non-Europeans and Muslims. He wanted to annihilate them,” Frank Heinrich, a prosecution lawyer, told the court on Monday, where many people were wearing badges with el-Sherbini’s face.

About 200 police officers were on hand as the defendant entered the court in a hooded top and sunglasses, which Birgit Wiegand, the judge, asked him to remove.

He lowered the hood but kept the glasses on, prompting Wiegand to give him a $75 fine.

She threatened him with another fine when he refused to confirm his name or place of birth.

Court psychiatric experts who examined the defendant, who is also charged with attempting to kill Okaz, say they found no evidence of diminished responsibility.

Germany criticised

The attack, and a slow reaction by the German media and political class, sparked accusations of neglectful handling of hate crimes against Muslims.

Thousands also rallied in Dresden in el-Sherbini’s memory.

The Egyptian government on Sunday demanded the maximum sentence under German law, life in prison, for the attack.

Asked what ordinary Egyptians hoped would emerge from the trial, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, Egypt’s ambassador to Germany, said: “This was a heinous crime and they are expecting justice to be administered in a swift way.”

El-Sherbini’s family appeared in Dresden as co-plaintiffs, represented by lawyers hired by the Egyptian government, the Egyptian foreign ministry said, adding that it was “confident in the German justice system’s impartiality”.

Representatives from the prosecutor’s office in her hometown of Alexandria were also in the courtroom, as were Egyptian reporters.