Archive for loon

Jihad Watch University (JWU) Graduates Another Pseudo-Scholar: Sheik YerMami Declares Himself “Scholar of Islam”

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by loonwatch

Sheik Yer Mami?  This racist image appears on Sheik Yer Mami’s site.

Islamophobes rely on pseudo-scholars to validate their anti-Muslim beliefs.  One of the pioneers in this was Bat Ye’or, who with absolutely no academic qualifications to speak of, was self-anointed a “scholar of Islam.”  Robert Spencer dubbed her a “pioneering scholar” of Islamic studies.  Not long after starting his blogging career, Spencer himself donned the title of “the acclaimed scholar of Islam,” an epithet which is found on his website.  This, even though his master’s degree is in Christian studies.  He has no educational degree related to Islam, at all.

When confronted with this uncomfortable fact, Spencer’s minions point out that he has written many “best-selling books.”  So, does anyone who writes “best-selling books” become a scholar?  Is the author of the Harry Potter series a scholar?

It seems that if you devote enough hours to blogging against Islam and cyber-attend Jihad Watch University (JWU), you can eventually claim “scholar of Islam” status.  The latest claimant to this title is Sheik YerMami, a raving anti-Muslim blogger/lunatic.  He’s been blogging for long enough that the gods of the anti-Muslim blogosphere have granted him the right to call himself a “scholar of Islam.”  Here is what Sheik YerMami said (emphasis added):

I am a scholar of Islam and I rely on Koran, sira & hadith, not on loon watch.

What academic qualifications does he have to claim “scholar” status?  Anyone?

Update I:

Sheik YerMami responded with a long, incoherent, and rambling reply to LoonWatch.  He exhibits what is called a flight of ideas.  Yet, even with all that ranting and raving, not a single word defends his claim–one which we challenged–of being a “scholar of Islam.”

Pamela Geller: American patriot or extremist firebrand?

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on May 17, 2011 by loonwatch

Robert Chalmers meets the right-wing blogger to find out

(cross-posted from The Independent)

Among the many new things I have learnt from the work of Pamela Geller is that President Obama reputedly used to knock around with a crack whore.

“That,” the author, blogger and broadcaster insists, “is not what I said. You are taking this out of context. The post [on her website atlasshrugs.com] was pointing out how people were reporting lie after lie about Sarah Palin. I said to myself, there is so much about Obama we don’t print. In his youth,” she continues, repeating a story for which there exists absolutely no foundation, “he supposedly liked a girl who was a crack whore. I never reported it as fact. They say all these vile things about Palin but do we ever talk about Obama and the crack whore?”

The incredibly libellous post, entitled: “IT’S TIME TO EXPOSE THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMA” appeared on 1 August 2009. “Why not tell the truth about Obama and his reported strange sexual predilections?” Geller wrote. “It is well known that he allegedly was involved with a crack whore in his youth. Very seedy stuff … Find the ho, give her a show! Obama allegedly trafficked in some very deviant practices.”

You may not have encountered the writing of Geller, one of the more controversial ascending stars of the American extreme right. Politicised, as she says, by the events of 9/11, she inspired, then orchestrated, opposition to the construction of the planned Muslim cultural centre two blocks away from the former site of the World Trade Center, which Geller named the “Ground Zero Mosque”. A pivotal figure in the so-called “birther” movement, she has – in common with other robustly conservative figures such as Donald Trump, broadcaster Glenn Beck and her writing partner Robert Spencer – tirelessly queried details of President Obama’s ancestry, and hence his entitlement to office. Geller still has many questions in this area, despite the recent release of the “long form” of the president’s birth certificate, proving that he was born in the American state of Hawaii.

A glance at her voluminous blog reveals her disdain for institutions such as the UN (for employing “child-raping peacekeepers”) The New York Times (“Jew-haters”) and other famously subversive voices such as that of our own Sun newspaper (for whom “Jewkilling is OK, everything else is terror”) and Pope Benedict XVI (“Maybe Jew-hating,” she writes with reference to the German pontiff, “obliterates rational thought”). She didn’t like the way Campbell’s Soup went about producing a halal recipe and has described liberal Jews as “self-hating wretches”. An infamous post on Atlas Shrugs suggesting that Barack Obama was the love-child of Malcolm X was, Geller insists, not written by her. The image she posted of Obama urinating on an American flag was “a very well-circulated cartoon – so what?”

“I believe you once said that President Obama ‘wants jihad to win’.”

“I don’t know if he wants it to win, but he is certainly Islamophiliac. He is certainly aiding jihad.”

To help discourage him, Geller has provided a one-click link from her site to what she describes as “pornographic” photographs of Obama’s late mother. These are actually rather sad black-and-white pictures no more offensive than the images on hand-cranked peep-show machines from the early 20th century.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, the US’s leading political watchdog group, has classified “Stop Islamization of America” (the group she founded with professional partner Robert Spencer) as a hate organisation. She continues to defend Radovan Karadzic, whose trial she has likened to the Nuremberg hearings. Geller speaks fondly of kindred spirits such as the far-right English Defence League (EDL) and the Dutch extremist Geert Wilders, whose rhetoric recently resulted in what she calls a heresy trial.

“Wilders is generally regarded as a racist lunatic, isn’t he?”

He is, Geller insists, a “lovely man. In Pakistan, you speak against Islam and you are put to death. Here in the West, your character is assassinated. You are a racistislamophobe-republicantimuslimbigot.” The speed, not to say pride, with which she delivers what has become a one-word catchphrase, is undeniably impressive. “You get called something enough times,” she smiles, “you say it plenty fast.”

The intensity, if not the ethnic focus, of her views on national identity, recalls the correspondence between H Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling, in the course of which they discuss “the Jewish problem” [ie there are Jews, some of them in England]. On the evidence of her writing alone, you might assume its author to be a male octogenarian in tweeds carrying a 12-bore.

But Geller (whose blog carries video of opponents, referring to what they perceive to be the results of cosmetic surgery, screaming: “whore – your face is melting”) looks younger than her 53 years. She arrives for our meeting at Manhattan’s Four Seasons Hotel wearing tight jeans, boldly luxuriant eyelash extensions and a quantity of mascara and eyeshadow that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the days when, as she recalls, she used to dance to the Cramps at clubs such as CBGB’s.

She occasionally records video blogs wearing a bikini. In one clip, which defends another prominent right-wing activist Ann Coulter, Geller performs an a cappella version of Morrissey’s “Some Girls are Bigger than Others” while stroking a small dog.

A practised and articulate guest speaker on TV channels including Fox News and CBS, she isn’t fond of the American media, dominated as it is by “Obama’s serfs”. Recently, Geller tells me, she declined an interview request from the BBC. She switches on a digital recorder. “Normally,” she says, “I don’t have to use this.” But she’s dealing with “a lefty newspaper” which carries reports by Robert Fisk.

Whatever you might think of Pamela Geller, you can’t accuse her of lacking courage. Her website reproduced cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, first published in 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which led to an attempt on the life of artist Kurt Westergaard.

“Going through my notes,” I tell her, “I find you quoted as asking: ‘Does Obama know anybody that isn’t wacky, radical, militant, Judeophobe, Socialist, Marxist and Paedophile?’ Next to which I appear to have written: ‘Possibly Diana Krall.’”

“Actually I didn’t say that but I did say something that echoes that, so I don’t have a problem. There is no one in his cabinet that is not radical.”

America, argues Geller (she uses the noun to apply to the United States rather than the whole continent), is at war with evil – a force whose most pernicious incarnation is Islam, or to be more precise, “creeping Sharia”. Towards the end of what turns out to be an animated two-hour conversation I will ask her whether, had her contributions been articulated on a public stage in the UK, she would have been arrested. Under British law, she says she doesn’t know. “In Holland,” she concedes, “probably.”

She recalls how Terry Jones, a fundamentalist minister, achieved international fame after he declared he was going to burn the Koran, an action he performed in Florida, in March. “Who cares if some fringe pastor is going to burn a Koran? You burn a Bible, nobody says ‘Boo.’”

“Can you think of any good Muslims?” I ask her. “Because reading your book – The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America [co-authored with Robert Spencer]– I can’t find any.”

“That’s not true. I love Muslims. I hate an extreme ideology that oppresses women… we have seen a 1,400-year history of 270 million victims of jihadi wars.”

Geller doesn’t mind, she insists, what anybody regards as sacred. “I don’t care if you worship a stone,” she says. “I don’t care if you worship a little rock.”

“How did you know about Gordon?” I ask her. “I left him in the hotel room.”

The writer, who is, remarkably, not without a sense of irony, permits herself a smile.

“I can think of one Muslim of my acquaintance – Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens,” I tell her, “who I don’t believe would hurt a fly.”

“No. But he has said some things.”

“As he’s often explained, he was very naive at that time and he was entrapped by a British newspaper. He’s said that he would not repeat or endorse those statements as reported, and I believe him.”

“OK.”

“So who are the good Muslims that you know?”

“Secular Muslims.”

“Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron?”

“No. If you adhere to the Koran… the last chapters are very violent.”

“Have you read Deuteronomy? Ask Saladin what he thought about Richard I.”

“But there was an enlightenment. Islam has had no enlightenment. You cannot criticise Islam. You cannot speak candidly of Islam…”

“You seem to be giving it a good go.”

“Listen, you think it’s easy being me, dear? I get threats. I have my contacts at law enforcement.”

Geller has even managed to fall out with former sympathiser Zuhdi Jasser, an Arizona-based critic of what he terms “political Islam”. Jasser, once a lieutenant commander in the US Navy and no shrinking liberal, is a regular guest on shows hosted by attack dogs of conservative broadcasting, such as Sean Hannity – a man who, even Pamela Geller concedes, “is right-wing”.

“Geller and Robert Spencer’s comments… show that they are against any solution from within the House of Islam,” wrote Jasser, who is of Syrian descent, earlier this year. “This only aids and abets all Islamists. But that doesn’t matter if their target includes all Muslims and their only viable solution is conversion of one-fifth of the world’s population.”

Everything in Geller’s motivation comes back to 9/11. One of the many ways in which the United States was changed forever by the atrocity was a more widespread acceptability of the kind of hateful diatribe that had previously been the preserve of a handful of shock jocks.

Five years ago, referring to 9/11 widows who opposed George W Bush, Ann Coulter told NBC’s The Today Show: “They believe the entire country is required to marinate in their personal agony. These broads are millionaires, lionised on TV, k revelling in their status. I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”

In May 2010 Geller began her campaign against the project then called Cordoba House (a title she considered deliberately offensive in its evocation of the Moorish conquest of Spain) and now named Park 51. As currently planned, it would involve the construction of a 13-storey building on the site of a damaged factory a tenth of a mile away from the World Trade Center. Its advocates, such as chief organiser Imam Rauf, assert that – housing as it would a memorial, theatre, swimming pool and baseball court as well as a prayer site – it is neither at Ground Zero, nor a mosque.

The title of her blog on 6 May last year read: “MONSTER MOSQUE PUSHES AHEAD IN SHADOW OF WORLD TRADE CENTER ISLAMIC DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.” She raised funds for posters on New York buses, which depicted an image of the burning towers, with the slogan: “Why There?” Her campaign was supported by the New York Post and resolute conservatives such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

Geller has recently completed work on a film called The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attack. “The Ground Zero Mosque is deeply insulting, deliberately provocative and offensive,” she argues. “To build a megamosque in a building that was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks is the height of insensitivity.”

Among the people likely to visit the facility, I suggest, “will be honest believers, some of whom lost relatives and fellow Muslims in the attack”.

“I don’t separate the Muslims that died from the non-Muslims. Many moderate Muslims,” she asserts, correctly, “are against it. It is an Islamic pattern to build triumphal mosques on the cherished sites…”

“Pardon?”

“Let me finish, sir. On the cherished sites of conquered lands. There has not been one mosque of reconciliation, ever, on the site of a jihadi attack.”

“Maybe this is a good chance to start.”

“I don’t think you are going to get it from Imam Rauf.”

Geller launches into a swift character assassination of the imam, who said recently: “If I’d known that this would happen; that the project would cause this kind of pain, I wouldn’t have done it.”

“No matter how [Geller mouths the word “fucking”] much we progress, the human condition never changes. The battle is eternal and the battle is between good and evil. I think the fundamental problem today is the inability, or reluctance, to distinguish between good and evil.”

She has carried the fight all over the world, from New York to the Black Country. Geller learnt of reports of clashes in April 2010 between right-wing demonstrators and West Midlands police in Dudley, during protests against an application to build what she blogged was a “Monster Mosque”.

“Senior EDL leadership,” she wrote in the 5 May 2010 issue of the conservative online magazine American Thinker, “informed me that thousands of Muslims began rioting in Dudley… showing the true face of Islam.” Muslims, she went on, in what may come as news to residents in Sue Lawley’s home town, “are policing the streets in cars… and the dhimmi [non-Muslim living under Sharia law] Dudley police are doing nothing about it.”

I tell Geller that I’d assumed that the experience of meeting her would be similar to an uncomfortable afternoon I once spent with Arianna Huffington. That was when the Greek-American thinker was in her right-wing, Newt Gingrich period, before she performed a remarkable volte face and established herself as a prominent liberal and founded the left-leaning news website The Huffington Post. Geller isn’t flattered by this at all, and it’s true that the two women could hardly be more different. Huffington always looked like a Republican vice-president’s wife, and seemed, at least back then, more driven by ambition than ideals. Geller, by contrast – quite amazingly, given the nature of her beliefs – has the ability to laugh at herself and, as I mentioned to a well-known journalist who has studied her ascent, has a strange habit, even at the most intense moments of disagreement, of flashing you a look of what I can only describe as girlish vulnerability.

“Pamela Geller is a Ground Zero in herself,” he replied. “Angry yet fragile. Just occasionally, that flash in her eyes that you mention betrays what I interpreted as a longing to be loved. I sensed a deep insecurity in her; the time I spent with her left me feeling deeply uncomfortable.”

Geller grew up in the affluent New York suburb of Hewlett Harbor, Long Island, the daughter of Reuben, a textile entrepreneur who she describes as “a tough guy from the old school”.

“Like John Wayne?”

“Well… from the Frank Sinatra era. Robert Mitchum. You know: masculine.”

Of her three sisters, two are doctors, one a teacher.

“Do they share your views?”

Politically, Geller says, “we are all on the same page”.

As a young woman, she was heavily influenced by Atlas Shrugged, the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand, which praised the virtues of individualism, as opposed to state intervention.

In the 1980s she worked in marketing at the New York Daily News, then became a senior executive at The New York Observer. Her enthusiasms back then were fashion and music. (Geller, who has four children, left the Observer in 1994 to look after her family.)

Before 9/11, she says, she was “more socially liberal”.

She began blogging on littlegreenfootballs.com, run by the professional musician and software expert Charles Johnson. Between 2004 and 2007, she posted thousands of entries. “She was always as reactionary,” he tells me, “as you see her now.”

Johnson, who, as that remark would suggest, does not share Geller’s opinions, is described as a “mental patient” on Atlas Shrugs.

“I know Pamela Geller often calls me crazy,” he told me. “But I’m not the one who talks about the president’s birth certificate being faked or says that he’s the illegitimate son of Malcolm X, and I’m not the one who defends a war criminal and makes alliances with white supremacist groups. That would be Ms Geller. She has a very long record of absolute lunacy, mixed with bigotry and racism and I am far from the only person to point this out.”

These days, she expresses a view of the superiority of her nation reminiscent of the more entrenched kind of British patriot in the golden age of Empire. “What would be the good,” Geller asks, “of subjecting America to international norms? America has always been a light to the world.”

There is no reason, in other words, for the United States to account for its actions to the International Criminal Court, or the UN.

“I can see how that’s a very attractive view of the world,” I tell her, “but I find it difficult to accept the USA as the embodiment of perfection that all other nations should aspire to” – a recurrent theme in Geller’s writing.

“I don’t care what other nations do. I don’t care about them. I care about America.”

In order to “get America”, she argues, “you have to grow up in America. Obama is missing the DNA of the USA. It’s just not in him,” she adds, like a missionary speaking of a heathen who has never heard the name of Christ. “Through no fault of his own.”

The USA, Geller believes, is unique and superior to any other nation. “America is not an ethnicity, it’s not a creed, it’s not a colour, it’s a shared value system. And in order to get it, you have to have grown up here, or yearn for it.”

“If I was from Bruges and talked like that about Belgium, what would you think?”

“All power to you.”

“I think you’d assume that I’d gone off my rocker.”

“Why?”

“Because I would be elevating respect for a nation beyond what most people would regard as sane.”

“Respect for an ideal is insane?”

“But what you mean by America and what [say] Steve Earle or Randy Newman mean by America are two very different things.”

“That’s the beauty of America.”

The day before we met, I’d entered the words “Pamela Geller” and “mad” into a search engine.

“You come in at 606,000 hits. That’s just behind King George III; he scores 771,000 and he talked to trees.”

“Yeah,” Geller replies, “but he was cured of that, wasn’t he?”

One American she does consider “crazy” is the legendary comedian Dick Gregory: role model for Richard Pryor, diet coach to Muhammad Ali and now a full-time civil-rights activist. “I talked to Gregory recently about Barack Obama,” I tell her, and he said: ‘Imagine what they’d have done to him if he’d been useless.’ Do you see Obama as evil, or stupid?”

“I don’t see him as either. I just don’t see him as a man who loves America. In my book I explain that here is k a man who was raised, from the ages of six to 12 [others say six to 10] in a Muslim country [Indonesia] and who,” Geller claims, “studied Islam. When he came to the States he went [back] to Hawaii, which had only become a state two years before his birth.”

She has asserted that Obama visited Pakistan in 1981 looking for “jihad or drugs”.

“That was a joke.”

On a more serious note, Geller has claimed that: “The only reason there is any semblance of peace around the world is because of the military presence of the US.”

Considering her nation’s recent military excursions to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, can she point to any place where its intervention can be said to have worked? Libya, she says, was “a disaster. I don’t see what we’re doing there at all.”

“Would it bother you if the Americans had gone in there purely because of the oil?”

“Of course not. Why would it bother me?”

“Thousands of civilian dead?”

“They’re dying anyway. Isn’t that what we’re doing, saving them? Why not get oil at the same time? Why is China getting Iraq’s oil? Our blood,” she adds, in a phrase which might have come from the Crusades, or indeed The Sopranos: “our treasure.”

The phrase “war on terror” I suggest, has been a catastrophe in the way that it’s given carte blanche to any nation with enemies.

“It’s not [a war on] terror. It’s a war on jihad.”

“Where has it worked? In Iraq?”

“Iraq is now a fledgling democracy.”

“It’s a basket case. They have no fresh water; they have no electricity.”

“You telling me Iraq was the height of civilisation prior?”

“If you define civilisation by being able to turn on the tap.”

“Over there,” Geller replies, “maybe that is how they define it.”

“Is there anything Israel has done that you’re ashamed of?”

“Only Oslo,” she says (referring to the 1993 accord which allowed for the creation of the Palestinian National Authority). “And surrendering in instalments.”

“The Jenin Massacre” – a term commonly used to describe the Israeli Defence Force’s April 2002 entry into a West Bank refugee camp, in bulldozers – was, she believes, Palestinian “propaganda”.

“How about Tom Hurndall, the peace volunteer shot by the IDF while he was trying to pull an infant to safety?” Hurndall, who was wearing an orange fluorescent jacket, died in 2004 after spending nine months in a coma; the sniper responsible was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years for manslaughter, of which he will serve eight, by an Israeli court.

“I don’t believe that. I don’t believe the Israelis ever fire where there is no threat.”

Geller would like to see more settlers in the Occupied Territories (though neither of the last two nouns are ones she would recognise).

“It’s not ‘settlers’. It’s the Jewish homeland. Settler is an anti-semitic term.”

“How about Joe McCarthy [the senator responsible for the Communist witch trials of the 1950s]? How do you feel about him?”

“McCarthy was right. He went overboard, but he was right. The Communists were infiltrating and they have been very successful here in America.”

“Let’s talk about people who are white and racist.”

“I don’t know any.”

“[The South African white supremacist] Eugène Terre’Blanche? I’ve seen you described as a supporter of his.”

“He was viciously murdered. I never knew who he was, but when he was hacked to death, I condemned it. I have no interest in his ideology.”

“Can you think of any others, apart from Hitler?”

“No. Because I don’t travel in those circles.”

“I mean from history.”

“I guess the Ku Klux Klan.”

“I guess.”

“No, I’m saying that. But I don’t believe in white supremacism. Islamic supremacism is the threat I see right now.”

Pamela Geller, as you might expect for someone so powerfully attached to certain ideas and theories, has had to suffer her own conspiracy theorists.

“You married [car dealer] Michael Oshry in 1990?”

“Yes.” (The couple divorced in 2007; Oshry remarried, but died of a heart attack the following year.)

There are reports on the web concerning Oshry’s company, Universal Auto World, that offer a scenario worthy of a thriller writer such as James M Cain. A car salesman, Collin Thomas, was killed on the evening of 11 January 2007, with a single bullet, while closing one of the company showrooms, on Long Island. The subsequent police investigation revealed a large-scale fraud perpetrated by employees, who had used credit records of other individuals to obtain finance for luxury vehicles.

“My ex was a very good man,” Geller says. “He had a number of dealerships. In one there was a crook who was part of a gang. Michael was never arrested or indicted. When my ex-husband died, the whole thing was over. The guy went to jail. My ex-husband was a victim in this.”

Geller doesn’t want to say whether she is currently in a relationship. Her priorities are “working 20 hours a day, and raising my family”.

It’s noticeable that no recent developments – not even Obama’s recent tour de force of a satirical speech to the White House Correspondents Association, tormenting Donald Trump and other birthers with a self-deprecating wit and comic timing that would have done credit to Woody Allen in his prime – have diminished her zeal.

Where are Obama’s college records? asks Geller. Where are his medical records? Where is his law practice client list?

And the killing of Osama Bin Laden, on Barack Obama’s watch? “I am thrilled he signed off on it. Could Obama have said no to this operation, and gotten re-elected in 2011?”

Conversation with Geller, unless you share her world view, is invariably confrontational, and this is something you sense she enjoys. Her attitude to critics is that of a woman faced with someone who believes the world to be flat, and obstinately refuses to be persuaded otherwise.

Once she’s no longer speaking for publication, the mood lightens considerably. She sits for a while and enthuses about music: the Ramones, Al Green and Loudon Wainwright III.

There are two well-known songs, I tell her, that kept coming to mind while I was listening to her: Bob Dylan’s defiant hymn to Israel, “Neighborhood Bully” (“I love that”) and, especially, Nick Lowe’s “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding”.

“I used to love dancing to that,” she says.

“So what is so funny about it?”

“Nothing. But both sides have to want it.”

Our one point of firm agreement, in what has been an afternoon of sometimes tense discord, is that, given the current climate in America, the political tendency she represents is well-placed to advance. This belief is confirmed by the rising popularity of her blog – currently ranked 28 in the category of US politics – and a resurgence in interest in the novel Atlas Shrugged.

“If that’s all I ever achieved,” she says, in reference to Rand’s book, “I’d be happy.”

Does she see herself as a mirror reflecting pubic opinion, or a beacon for them to turn to?

“Neither. I’m happy that I am influencing the national dialogue, and disseminating information that the media refuses [to publish]. I believe I am providing a very important public service. I see myself as a quintessential American.”

Perhaps the best image of her place in the field of American politics would be as a magnifying glass capturing, focusing and intensifying the blinding prejudices of her compatriots (if such opinions can credibly be compared with sunlight) and directing them towards a pile of kindling. For a woman blessed with so many certainties in her life, you suspect that even she could be surprised at quite how fierce, alarming and widespread the eventual conflagration might be.

LoonWatch’s Response to Asra Nomani

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by loonwatch

Asra Nomani responded to my article with the following message:

Dear Friends,

Thanks for the time that you spent discussing the ideas that I’ve presented in my writings. I see that there are many differences of opinion with readers of this site, but, nonetheless, I appreciate the conversation.

It’s interesting to me how often readers of this site use the term “whore” to describe me, and I’m sorry that so many of you feel such anger. I understand that many of these issues from religion to intimacy are sensitive ones.

I would gently say to you that many of the assumptions that are made here are, I understand, an effort by some folks to make sense of ideas with which you don’t agree. Sometimes the truth is a lot less sensational. I’m not self-hating. I’m not gaining riches, and, as a journalist, I can tell you that the “fame” of a TV appearance here or there is most certainly fleeting.

I sincerely care about how Islam expresses itself in the world, and I care about our world. We may differ in opinion, but I would also gently suggest to you that, while anger and insults may be an authentic expression of your frustration, I do wish for all of us a day when we can be in more civil conversation.

If anyone would like to personally write to me, I invite you to do so at asra(a)asranomani.com.

Otherwise, I wish all of you well.

Warmly, Asra

My response is follows:

Dear Ms. Nomani,

You are certainly correct in stating that “civil conversation” is important.  However, I’d like to raise a few points with regard to this:

1)  It should be understood that this is the internet, and people tend to “say” things with less inhibitions than they would in the “real” world.  I myself have been called horrendous things on the internet.  Hence, the “colorful” language in the comments section needs to be understood in this context and as a product of this phenomenon.  I did not–and neither did any LoonWatch writer–refer to you as a “whore”.  Neither do we endorse such language.  As a progressive, I cannot condone the use of such a misogynistic word that is often hurled at women.  As for the few Muslim users who used this term, they ought to be reminded that in their faith the levying of such a charge is considered strictly prohibited (see Quran, 24:23).

2)  At the same time, I suspect that you will transform this into another piece of evidence against “the Muslims”, as if Muslims alone hurl such insults.  Yet, female personalities of all creeds are routinely called “whores” by random people (ever seen the comments on YouTube!?).  This is very unfortunate, but it is not a Muslim-specific issue.  But I’m sure you will make this all part of your anti-Muslim paradigm.  You might also feel the urge to boast about the insults you have received here, as you did with the “Uncle Tom” label in your article on profiling, and as Robert Spencer (your fan and loyal supporter) does with the e-death threat he supposedly received on some random forum (he put the quote on the cover of his book, just as the Uncle Tom quote was highlighted in your article).

3)  My own article was not nearly as “courteous” as your reply was.  But let’s be real for a second: my reply was at least more honest.  Your reply, on the other hand, is disingenuous (and as lame as Mr. Rogers).  “Dear Friends.” Are we really your friends?  “Thanks for the time you spent discussing the ideas that I’ve presented in my writings.”  Am I to believe you are actually thankful for the article we wrote about/against you?  C’mon, can’t we be real for a second?  We’ve accused you in our article of being a fake, not the real thing…and here you reply exactly that way: in a fake way.  You certainly could have responded in a courteous manner without being so blatantly fake, but I guess fake comes easier to some people than others.

4)  You said: “Sometimes the truth is a lot less sensational.”  Ahhh, if only you yourself understood this point.  You (and the right-wing loons who agree with you) sensationalize everything about Muslims and Islam.  Instead of having serious and nuanced discussion about Muslims and Islam, you engage in sensationalism and fear-mongering.

5)  While it may be commendable to respond with courtesy (although in your case I think it is simply an act), it should be noted that some very vile people make sure to respond to critics courteously.  For example, David Duke oftentimes sounds like an absolute gentleman, but his ideas are vile.  Even Robert Spencer attempts to portray himself in this way.  It is not simply the way in which a person responds that matters, but more importantly what they believe and say.  In your case, your ideas are horrendous, not the manner in which you deliver them.  You are not the “liberal and progressive” you pretend to be; you are a right-winger just like the people who you admire and/or who admire you, including Robert Spencer, Wafa Sultan, etc.

6)  On that note, you should be proud that the anti-Muslim website BareNakedIslam has come to your swift defense.  That vitriolic website responded with a post entitled LEFT WING LOONIES hating on a Muslim woman who most Americans would love.  They praise you as “a one in a billion Muslim author.”  On the very same page, they are selling shirts saying “War on Terror Islam” and “Infidel” and links saying stuff like “Islam’s Rules for Having Sex with Animals”, etc.  The site boasts a logo that reads “Proud Right Wing Extremist.”  If you are really a “liberal and progressive” Muslim as you pretend, then why is a “proud right wing extremist” infatuated with you?  You are in fact honored on their page entitled Pro-America Muslims, with such ex-Muslim luminaries as Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, etc.  Why care what we at LoonWatch think about you when you have such a great fan base at BareNakedIslam and JihadWatch?

7)  You have offered the opportunity for readers to write personally to you via email.  This makes it appear as though you are one who is willing to discuss your views.  Yet, your response is completely devoid of substance.  You have not responded to a single one of my arguments.  If you think that my article is not worthy of response, then why go through the charade of offering to respond to people privately?  Surely if you have the time to respond to people individually, you then should have the time to respond to our site.  Once again, this is all mere posturing.

You seem to enjoy being interviewed on the “Fair and Balanced” Fox “News” channel.  Why not speak with us and actually field some critical questions for once?

Warmly, Lovingly, and Cherishingly,
Danios.

 

Self-Hating Loon Asra Nomani Calls for Profiling Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2010 by loonwatch
Asra Nomani on Fox “News”, fear-mongering about Muslims

Hat tip: to all the countless people who sent us tips about Asra Nomani’s lunacy.

Islamophobia is a big business.  From pretend-scholars of Islam to pretend-apostates from Islam, it seems like every other person is trying to cash in on the cash cow that is anti-Muslim bigotry.  All sorts of opportunists have made six-digit salaries and full-time careers out of Muslim-bashing.  So it shouldn’t surprise us that some Muslims would want to get in on the action.  And so, I introduce to you one very prominent self-hating loon, namely Asra Nomani.

Nomani has become the “Muslim-for-hire”, selling out her religious community in exchange for fame and money.  Like other anti-Muslim bigots, she arose out of obscurity and shot to national prominence by fear-mongering about the Evil Muslims.  Now, she has a very steady career out of doing the neo-con bidding.  Nomani is very useful to the right wing, as she provides them with the “voice from the inside.”  She says the same things as the Islamophobes do, but when she says them, then the Islamophobes can point and say: “Look, even one of their own–a real life Muslim–says the same as we’ve been saying all along!”

This self-hating loon has consistently taken positions that are anti-Muslim.  For example, she came to the swift defense of anti-Muslim bigots who opposed the construction of an Islamic cultural center two blocks away from Ground Zero, arguing that “their fears are legitimate.”  When Juan Williams stated that he discriminates against people who “look Muslim”, it was none other than Nomani whocame to his defense.  (One wonders how she’d feel about an old woman being “worried” about a young black man walking towards her on the street?  Would Nomani defend a white person admitting being fearful of blacks–and on top of that arguing that it was a justifiable fear?)  Notice how she prefaces her statement with “I am Muslim.”  Well then, you must automatically be a spokesperson for Muslims everywhere, and whatever you say about Islam and Muslims must be true.  You are, after all, a real life Muslim!  In fact, Asra Nomani can hardly ever write an article or argue a point without injecting herself into it, such is her self-absorbed nature.

When anti-Muslim bigots began burning the Quran, Nomani couldn’t get herself to say a word against these lovely people.  (One wonders how she’d feel if people were burning Torahs?  Remember how that ended up in Europe?)  Instead, she came out on the side of bigotry once again, writing an article fit for Pamela Geller’s hate site.  When right wing bigots need a Muslim voice, who better to do their bidding than Asra Nomani?  By so doing, she allows people to say “well, there are Muslims on both sides of the aisle.”  She might be one of the only voices chanting anti-Muslim talking points, but HEY A REAL LIFE MUSLIM SAYS WHAT WE’VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG!  Suddenly there is an equivalence: “there are Muslims on both sides of the issues!”

Asra Nomani is marketed as a “progressive Muslim” and argues that what “we need [is] an expression of institutional Islam that is moderate, progressive and liberal.”  Yet there is absolutely nothing progressive about her.  Instead, she actually finds herself agreeing with right wing loons.  In the very same article, she states that “the Tea Party activists actually express the sentiments of Muslims such as myself…”  She criticizes liberal and progressive Americans like myself, saying:

Liberal and progressive Americans and their organizations have dropped the ball in having a nuanced, intelligent critique of extremist Islamic ideology, currying pluralism points instead in the name of interfaith relations.

So on the one hand, Muslims should be liberals and progressives…And on the other hand, she always is on the side of right wing loons and against real liberals and progressives.  Nomani’s so-called “liberalism and progressivism” is akin to colonial feminism.  Colonial feminism is when people with no connection to feminism suddenly become indignant about womens’ rights in Foreign-Looking Peoples and Countries.  For example, many right wingers in America became the world’s most ardent defenders of womens’ rights when it came to invading and occupying Afghanistan.  Those People Over There need to be conquered by Us, so We can show them how to treat women.  (Lost on them of course is that they are dropping bombs on the heads of women.)

In the same way, Asra Nomani is far removed from liberalism and progressivism, having no relation to it whatsoever.  Womens’ rights is nothing more than a great big stick with which to bash Muslims over the head with.  Nomani is, allow me to coin a new term (albeit a cheap rip-off of the previous neologism), a colonial liberalist.  Her liberalism and progressivism only comes in the flavor of Muslim-bashing. Her liberalism and progressivism goes into overdrive when it comes to the ultraconservative Saudi Arabia (so does mine), but meanwhile she remains silent when this Goodly Judeo-Christian Beacon of Light Country imprisons and tortures Muslims without charge.  Iran’s belligerence is then seen as the Ultimate Evil, but meanwhile our own country’s multiple unjust wars cannot be questioned.  When it comes to criticizing Muslims, she dons the mantle of liberalism and progressivism.  When liberalism and progressivism would mean standing up for Muslims against right wing nut jobs, she’ll be sure to write a piece chastising Muslims.

As a colonial feminist and colonial liberalist, Asra Nomani provides the U.S. government with the proper environment for it to continue waging endless wars against the Muslim world, and to continue occupying their lands. This is no different than what the colonialists aforetime did.  And the Arabs, Africans, and Asians are well aware of it.  The British would always find some chump from amongst the natives to chant the colonialist line.  Back then they used to shower that chump with gifts, money, and positions of power.  In exchange, that person would sell out his own people.  Today, the same dynamic exists: Asra Nomani says what they want her to say, and in exchange she gets media appearances on Fox News, sells her books for millions, and gains positions of prestige.  (How Yale took her as a fellow amazes me.)

Whilst claiming to be the voice of progressive and liberal Islam, she remains chummy with the right wing nuts who find her ever the useful tool.  As a proud progressive myself, I cannot understate the degree of harm that her type of self-hating Muslim-bashing “liberals and progressives” have done.  Due to people like her, the term “liberal and progressive” has a negative connotation in the Muslim world.  And why shouldn’t this be the case, when all the Muslims have heard from such so-called “liberals and progressives” is how barbaric they are, and how great the West is compared to them?  People like her make it harder for true liberals and progressives to market themselves in the Muslim world.

Interesting is the fact that despite saying what they want her to say, many extreme right wing characters hate Muslims to such an extent that they can’t tolerate Asra Nomani because she still refers to herself as a Muslim.  And so, the colonial analogy comes full circle: the chumps-for-hire were generally hated by their own people and scorned by the colonialists themselves.  This oneYouTube conversation between bigcherry99 and bronco200005 is accidentally very insightful:

bigcherry99: asra is a really nice lady, but i cannot believe she hasn’t completely denounced islam. what the hell is wrong with her?

bronco200005: @bigcherry99 well if she denounces islam wat will she be left to milk?? Christianity?? Judaism maybe?? I dnt fink so

I don’t “fink” so either.  Her utility is only in that she is a Muslim.  That’s what she milks.  Her article promoting racial and religious profiling would hardly have gotten such significance had she been another non-Muslim calling for profiling of those Dark-Skinned Bad People.  But because she plays (and exploits) the I’m-a-Muslim card, her writings are thus pushed to the forefront.

Career bigot and hate blogger Robert Spencer, who advocated a militant video calling for the genocide of Pakistanis and joined a genocidal Facebook group against Muslims of Turkey, gave high praise of Asra Nomani, saying: “why are voices like this so rare among Muslims in the West?”  And he lauds her as “courageous.”  She is praised elsewhere on his vitriolic website.  Why is it, Ms. Asra Nomani, that one of the world’s leading Islamophobes is praising you so? If you are really a “liberal and progressive” Muslim, why is an extreme right wing website speaking so fondly of you?  Is it perhaps because you say the exact same things that they normally do against Muslims?

Thankfully, almost no Muslims are buying what Asra Nomani is selling.  Instead, her fans consist of right wing non-Muslims, who love the fact that A REAL LIFE MUSLIM is saying exactly what they say.  One article critical of Nomani asked (perhaps rhetorically):  “Are her remarks given any more weight or legitimacy by the fact that she herself is Muslim?”  The answer to that question is obvious: if she wasn’t a Muslim, nobody would have heard of her.  She’d have to get a real job then, or at least struggle for a job in the already saturated I-am-an-ex-Muslim-writing-a-book-against-Islam market.

And so, with the latest anti-Muslim controversy, Nomani once again sides with the voices of bigotry.  As many of you know, many Americans are protesting the TSA (Transit Security Administration) and their invasive ways, including “touching [your] junk” and using XXX-ray scanners to see you naked. But as the ever astute Glenn Greenwald (a real liberal and progressive, unlike the right wing loon Asra Nomani) notes:

[The] American People. They’re not angry that the Government had adopted inexcusably invasive and irrational security measures.  They’re just angry that, this time, it’s being directed at them — rather than those dark, exotic, foreign-seeming Muslims who deserve it, including their own fellow citizens.  And if there were a successful bombing plot against a passenger jet, many of those most vocally objecting now would be leading the way in attacking the Government for not having kept them Safe, and would be demanding even more invasive measures — just directed at those Other People, the Bad Dark People over there.

Asra Nomani, ever the self-hating loon, tries to reassure Good Judeo-Christian Folk that they shouldn’t need to get screened like that, and that it’s better to just target Her People.  This then is her “difficult solution” that “we need to consider”, namely “racial and religious profiling.”  In other words, the “cop-a-feel strategy” (her words) ought to be used only against Muslims and Muslim-looking peoples.

Her article is full of weak arguments to prove her point.  The article starts out with the following introduction (emphasis is mine):

In the wake of yet another Muslim terror plot, we can’t ignore the threat profile any longer–or the solution.

Which “Muslim terror plot” is she referring to?  She clarifies in her article:

…the Somali-born teenager arrested Friday night for a reported plot to detonate a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Oregon.

It amazes me that this loon was allowed to blog for Salon.com (which is one of my favorite sites).  Another writer for Salon, the epic blogger Glenn Greenwald, wrote an excellent piece about how “the Somali-born teenager” was in fact set up by the FBI:

The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot

…The FBI — as they’ve done many times in the past — found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a “Terrorist plot” which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction.  Having stopped a plot which it itself manufactured, the FBI then publicly touts — and an uncritical media amplifies — its “success” to the world, thus proving both that domestic Terrorism from Muslims is a serious threat and the Government’s vast surveillance powers — current and future new ones — are necessary.

How Asra Nomani’s conclusion from this entire escapade was that we need to adopt racial and religious profiling against Muslims (an essentially more right wing position than is currently in place, at least officially)–instead of reflecting on the backwards approach of the authorities in combating terrorism–only a self-hating loon could explain!  But this indeed is where Nomani misses the mark entirely.  Terrorism to her is the fault of “literal interpretations of the Quran” which supposedly sanction “terrorism, militancy, and suicide bombings in the name of Islam.”  The Somali-born teenager was ready to kill children because of “literal interpretations of the Quran”, or at least so the argument goes.  See!, argues the Islamophobe, even a Muslim herself says that the Quran is to blame for terrorism, militancy, and suicide bombing!

Of course, the reality is that the Quran forbids terrorism, suicide, and targeting of civilians.  No literal interpretation of the Quran could justify such things.  Neither did traditional Islam ever tolerate such.  In fact, ultraconservative traditionalists–including the Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia–have declared terrorist tactics to be strictly prohibited in Islam, a view that is entirely consistent with the Islamic tradition.  Contrary to popular misconception, Al-Qaeda types justify such deeds not in the Quran or Islamic tradition, but based on the political situation today, wherein the West (the United States and Israel in specific) invade, occupy, and bomb Muslim countries.  Greenwald writes:

Finally, there is, as usual, no discussion whatsoever in media accounts of motive.  There are several statements attributed to Mohamud by the Affidavit that should be repellent to any decent person, including complete apathy — even delight — at the prospect that this bomb would kill innocent people, including children.  What would drive a 19-year-old American citizen — living in the U.S. since the age of 3 — to that level of sociopathic indifference?   He explained it himself in several passages quoted by the FBI, and — if it weren’t for the virtual media blackout of this issue — this line of reasoning would be extremely familiar to Americans by now (para. 45):

Undercover FBI Agent:  You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?

Mohamud:  Yeah, I know, that’s what I’m looking for.

Undercover FBI Agent:  For kids?

Mohamud:  No, just for, in general a huge mass that will, like for them you know to be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.  And then for later to be saying, this was them for you to refrain from killing our children, women . . . . so when they hear all these families were killed in such a city, they’ll say you know what your actions, you know they will stop, you know. And it’s not fair that they should do that to people and not feeling it.

And here’s what he allegedly said in a video he made shortly before he thought he would be detonating the bomb (para. 80):

…For as long as you threaten our security, your people will not remain safe. As your soldiers target civilians, we will not help to do so.  Did you think that you could invade a Muslim land, and we would not invade you..

We hear the same exact thing over and over and over from accused Terrorists — that they are attempting to carry out plots in retaliation for past and ongoing American violence against Muslim civilians and to deter such future acts.  Here we find one of the great mysteries in American political culture:  that the U.S. Government dispatches its military all over the world — invading, occupying, and bombing multiple Muslim countries — torturing them, imprisoning them without charges, shooting them up at checkpoints, sending remote-controlled drones to explode their homes, imposing sanctions that starve hundreds of thousands of children to death  — and Americans are then baffled when some Muslims — an amazingly small percentage — harbor anger and vengeance toward them and want to return the violence.   And here we also find the greatest myth in American political discourse:  that engaging in all of that military aggression somehow constitutes Staying Safe and combating Terrorism — rather than doing more than any single other cause to provoke, sustain and fuel Terrorism.

Even Asra Nomani’s article itself betrays this point, as she quotes Usama bin Ladin as follows (emphasis is mine):

Our response to the barbaric bombardment against Muslims of Afghanistan and Sudan will be ruthless and violent,” he said in a statement. “All the Islamic world has mobilized to strike a prominent American or Israeli strategic objective, to blow up their airplanes and to seize them.”

Naturally, pointing out the obvious–that nothing promotes Terrorism more than us “invading, occupying, and bombing” their countries–would be anathema to a fake “liberal and progressive” like Asra Nomani.  Instead, she’d rather agree with the likes of the Tea Party and other right wing nuts who–even though the United States has killed way more Muslims than “the Muslims” have killed Americans–wonder mysteriously why a few Muslims would want to attack us.  It’s much easier to blame The Other for being so violent, and then have a self-hating loon affirm this for them.  It is only by removing this key element–our invading, occupying, and bombing their countries–that we can condescendingly discuss what’s wrong with Islam.  The truth is, however, that terrorism is directly related to our own foreign policy.  As Nomani herself says (except she’s talking about racial and religious profiling):

I know this is an issue of great distress to many people. But I believe that we cannot bury our heads in the sand anymore.

Yes, it does cause great distress to many people that we dare cogitate that we are responsible for our own plight.  But I believe that we cannot bury our heads in the sand anymore.  How the media completely blacks out the obvious–and how any politician who dares argue this point must be immediately ostracized–is indicative of its truth.

Not only is Asra Nomani’s article ethically repugnant, she deceitfully cites “studies.”  She cites the Rand Corporation’s study entitled “Would-Be Warriors.”  Only a self-hating loon could read that entire report and only glean the point that she did!  In fact, I wrote an article summarizing the Rand Corporation’s findings here:

Rand report:  Threat of homegrown jihadism exaggerated, Zero U.S. civilians killed since 9/11

The “threat profile”, as Nomani asserts, is defined as follows by Rand:

[Of the] 83 terrorist attacks in the United States between 9/11 and the end of 2009, only three…were clearly connected with the jihadist cause.

Fifty of the 83 terrorist attacks were committed by environmental extremists and animal rights fanatics, “which account for most of the violence.”  Five civilians were killed by the anthrax letters.

The Rand study states:

There are more than 3 million Muslims in the United States, and few more than 100 have joined jihad—about one out of every 30,000—suggesting an American Muslim population that remains hostile to jihadist ideology and its exhortations to violence. A mistrust of American Muslims by other Americans seems misplaced.

Only a self-hating loon could argue that 3 million Muslims should be profiled for the crimes of 100.  In fact, the Rand study blasts people like Asra Nomani who fear monger about the “threat profile.”  Says Rand:

Public reaction is an essential component of homeland defense. Needless alarm, exaggerated portrayals of the terrorist threat, unrealistic expectations of a risk-free society, and unreasonable demands for absolute protection will only encourage terrorists’ ambitions to make America fibrillate in fear and bankrupt itself with security…Panic is the wrong message to send America’s terrorist foes.

Nomani argues for widened governmental power, including invasive security measures.  Yet, the Rand report argues the opposite.  As I wrote in that previous article:

Americans have ceded their civil liberties to the government due to the misplaced fear of terrorism.  The first group affected by these heavy-handed laws are Muslim Americans, which hampers anti-terrorism efforts by alienating the very community whose cooperation is so necessary.  The report declares:

In response, the country has conceded to the authorities broader powers to prevent terrorism. However, one danger of this response is that revelations of abuse or of heavy-handed tactics could easily discredit intelligence operations, provoke public anger, and erode the most effective barrier of all to radicalization: the cooperation of the community.

We argue that the loss of civil liberties and rise in xenophobia have a more significant and longer lasting effect than acts of terrorism.

In any case, the Rand study is an excellent one, and enough to refute loons like Asra Nomani.  I urge our readers to read my summary of it as well as the original study.

Asra Nomani writes:

According to a terrorism database at the University of Maryland, which documents 60 attacks against airlines and airports between 1970 and 2007, the last year available, suspects in attacks during the 1970s were tied to the Jewish Defense League, the Black Panthers, the Black September, the National Front for the Liberation of Cuba, Jewish Armed Resistance and the Croatian Freedom Fighters, along with a few other groups.

In each of these groups’ names was a religious or ethnic dimension. For that time, those were the identities that we needed to assess. Today, the threat has changed, and it is primarily coming from Muslims who embrace al Qaeda’s radical brand of Islam.

So, terrorism was before linked to Jews, blacks, and Hispanics in the 1970′s.  But now it is linked to Muslims.  Hence, we should racially and religiously profile Muslims.  OK, so would Asra Nomani have agreed to racially and religiously profiling Jews, blacks, and Hispanics in the 1970′s?  (Notice how the “threat profile” is always The Other, never Good Christian White Folks, but Jews, blacks, Hispanics, and now the Evil Muslims!)  I suspect Nomani will issue a response to my article, and if she does, then I want a direct yes/no answer from her: would she agree that it would have been the right thing to do at that time to racially and/or religiously profile Jews, blacks, and Hispanics?

But we need not restrict this to a hypothetical in the 1970s.  Rather, it can be applied to the situation today.  Nomani’s argument is very simple: Muslims are (according to her) the number one terrorists, therefore it makes sense to racially and religiously profile them.  Extending that logic, one could easily sanction racial and religious profiling of blacks and Hispanics by police.  One could cite studies and statistics just like Asra Nomani did against Muslims.  For example,the government released a report which showed that “more than three times as many black people live in prison cells as in college dorms.”  And: “The ratio is only slightly better for Hispanics, at 2.7 inmates for every Latino in college housing.”   The same study found that the percentage of U.S. inmates that are black is 41%, and the percentage that are black and Hispanic is 60%.   The same is the case in the UK, where the Metropolitan Police found that 54% of those who committed street crimes were blacks, 59% of robberies were by blacks, and 67% of gun crimes were by blacks.

One racist website breaks it down for us:

The chilling report by The New Century Foundation, called The Colour of Crime [PDF], shows in unflinching statistical detail, that in the USA:

  • Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.
  • The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.
  • Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.
  • Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.
  • Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.
  • Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.

Meanwhile, over here in Our Country the pattern appears to be much the same

  • Blacks are 5 times more likely to commit violence against the person.
  • Blacks are 4 times ‘more likely’ to commit sexual offences.
  • Blacks are fifteen times ‘more likely’ to commit robbery.
  • Blacks are over six times ‘more likely’ to commit fraud and forgery.
  • Blacks are over twice as likely to commit criminal damage.
  • Black are five times ‘more likely’ to commit drugs offences.

Source: The UK Government

This is of course all “threat assessment.”  Another racist website argues that we are curtailing the government’s ability to Protect and Keep Us Safe by prohibiting racial profiling of blacks (emphasis is mine):

Data suggest ‘racial profiling’ may have scientific basis

1. African-Americans commit 90% of the approximately 1,700,000 interracial crimes of violence that occur in the United States every year, and are more than 50 times more likely to commit violent crime against whites than vice versa.

Study: blacks commit 90% of interracial crime

2. Blacks are so much more likely than Americans of other races to commit crimes that police may be justified in stopping and questioning them more frequently – just as they stop men more often than women and young people more often than old people.

These are some of the controversial findings of a new think tank report based on extensive cross-analysis of government crime statistics. The study finds that Asians consistently commit the smallest number of crimes, followed by whites. Hispanics commit violent crime at approximately three times the white rate, and blacks are five to eight times more violent. In one of its most startling conclusions the report finds that blacks are as much more violent than whites as men are more violent than women.“This is the painful reality that gives rise to ‘racial profiling,’ “ said Jared Taylor, the report’s author. “Police quickly learn who the bad guys are. When there is a murder they don’t look for little old ladies. They look for young men – unfortunately, they are often justified in looking for young black men.”

Why should you stop my grandma instead of that young black man?  Isn’t that wasting resources?  Any argument that Nomani and other right wingers make against Muslims in support of racial or religious profiling could be applied even more so to blacks and Hispanics.  In fact, violent crime on the streets accounts for a hundreds times more American deaths than from terrorists.  So if there is an urgency that must be met–if we simply just cannot avoid racial or religious profiling of terrorists due to the imminent threat–then surely there is an even greater urgency to apply such standards to our domestic police force.

This is Asra Nomani’s logic to justify racial and religious profiling.  There is no logical way for her to support the racial and religious profiling of Muslims, and to be against it when it comes to black people and Hispanics.  My point here is not to argue for the profiling of blacks and Hispanics.  Rather, it is to show that we all immediately have a visceral reaction to the mere thought of this (as we should).  But when people on national media routinely suggest the profiling of Muslims, then it’s something that is seriously debated.  This proves that although blacks and Hispanics are certainly low on the social totem pole, the Muslims are the absolute lowest.

On the other hand, even passingly mentioning the idea of racially and religiously profiling Jews would be met with absolute shock. Yet, if we were to use Asra Nomani’s logic (and that of the right wing in general), then wouldn’t Iran be justified in racially and religiously profiling Jews in their country?  After all, logic dictates that a Jewish guy is much more likely to be an Israeli spy than anyone else.  Wouldn’t this be justified in light of the fact that Israel has repeatedly threatened Iran?  Shouldn’t national interest trump everything else?  So I’m sure we wouldn’t have a problem if the Iranians racially or religiously profiled Jews, right?

Racial and religious profiling is immoral.  Our nation had already come to this conclusion.  It is sad that Islamophobia has reintroduced this ugly evil.  Asra Nomani, like all bigots, has to justify her bigotry with the necessary disclaimer: “I’m not racist, but…”  She states:

I realize that in recent years, profiling has become a dirty word, synonymous with prejudice, racism, and bigotry…

Yes, she is correct.  It is certainly synonymous with prejudice, racism, and bigotry.  Too bad she didn’t stop there.  Nomani concludes (emphasis is mine):

We have to choose pragmatism over political correctness, and allow U.S. airports and airlines to do religious and racial profiling.

Pragmatism?  Perhaps Asra Nomani is a “racial realist”?  Racial realists are just being “pragmatic” when they argue for racially profiling young black men.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with pragmatism, or any desire to actually stop terrorism.  Terrorists do not fit one mold, and in fact come in all different shapes, sizes, and races.  TheUnderwear Bomber was a black guy, and so was the recent Somali would-be bomber…Show both pictures to any random person on the street, and see how many of them would recognize them as “Muslim.”  On the other hand, most people would see two black guys.  Asra Nomani argues not just for religious profiling, but racial profiling.  So is she arguing for racial profiling of black people?  Or perhaps just young black men?  The Underwear Bomber was Nigerian and the Oregon would-be bomber was Somali.  Nomani states that “they trace their national or ethnic identity back to specific countries.”  So, are we to screen out only Nigerians and Somalis as opposed to other black people?  How many people could make that fine distinction?  I’m sure there are plenty of black people–born and bred here in the United States–who could pass off as Nigerian or Somali.  Should we also profile them?

(Many Islamophobes will chime in that they oppose racial profiling but support religious profiling…Would it then be OK to religiously profile Jews in the 1970′s or for Iran to do so today?  The famous line “you-can’t-be-racist-against-Muslims-since-Muslim-is-not-a-race” is debunked by simply asking “would it be OK to discriminate against Jews in a similar fashion?”)

Asra Nomani came to Juan Williams’ defense, arguing that Williams was justified in fearing passengers who wore “Muslim garb.”  Yet, Al-Qaeda operatives are told to blend in.  They are not dressed in stereotypical “Muslim garb.”  Oftentimes, they are as clean-shaven as they come, and wearing Western clothes just like you or I.  Does Asra Nomani think that Al-Qaeda cannot recruit blue-eyed blond-haired terrorists?  They sure can, and they have.

There are certainly times when we must choose between the ideologically sound choice and the expedient one.  Even if that were the case here–even if we had to choose between being racially/religiously equal vs Being Safe–then our moral conscience should choose the former.  Evenif racial or religious profiling made us safer, we should not opt for that route, since it goes against our moral character.  Benjamin Franklin famously said: “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.”

But in this case, racial and religious profiling of Muslims does not make us safer at all. Andrew Curry wrote an excellent article on Salon.com (why on earth did a great website like Salon.com ever hire a right wing Tea Party sympathizing loon like Asra Nomani!?) on how a recent study found that “such profiling is not only ineffective, it’s counterproductive.”  (Not like the proponents of racial and religious profiling actually care about keeping us Safe; if they really did, they would be the first to oppose U.S.-led invasions, occupations, and bombings of Muslim countries.) The article reads:

In a study released on Tuesday, the Open Society Institute — a think tank and democracy-promotion organization funded by billionaire George Soros — argues that racial profiling of Muslims is essentially a public relations tool designed to make people feel safer in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack. After the 2006 bus and subway bombings in London, for example, highly publicized raids on mosques or ID checks in Muslim areas gave the public the impression the police were taking action.

There is also the desire to use racial and religious profiling to single out and blame Muslims.  Yourpeople are to blame.  And Asra Nomani, the ever eager self-hating loon, chants: my people are to blame for all this.  But just because she is Muslim, it does not give her the right to cede Muslim rights to the majority population.  She cannot be allowed to speak for all Muslims, no more than Uncle Tom was allowed to speak for black people.  Neither should Nomani be thought of as some Muslim “liberal and progressive”, when in fact she has nothing to do with liberals and progressives.  Liberals and progressives stand for all minority groups, be they Christians being targeted in Iraq by Muslim extremists or Muslims being targeted by Jewish extremists in Israeli Occupied Territories.  We stand up for them not to score cheap political points, nor to reinforce the Team Muhammad vs Team Jesus mentality.  The last thing we tolerate is the demonization and singling out of one community, which is what Asra Nomani facilitates.  She is not a liberal or progressive Muslim; she is a self-hating loon and self-absorbed opportunist.

This entire “I’m a Muslim, Please Profile Me” nonsense is theatrics.  Nomani knows she would be immune from scrutiny due to her fame.  Subjecting her fellow Muslims to such treatment–which she herself calls “cop-a-feel strategy” and knows is an outrage to The Real Americans (Good Judeo-Christian White Folks)–this she has no problem with.  She has no qualms about selling out her religious community for the fame and money it provides her.

Update #1:

It seems that the last article Asra Nomani wrote for Salon was in 2003.  Perhaps she realized that a right wing nut like herself has no reason to write for such a website.  In light of the fact that Nomani’s last article on Salon was so many years ago, it might be making much ado about nothing to question that site about this.  Nonetheless, I think it might behoove people to message Salon and especially people like Glenn Greenwald to give them a heads up that Asra Nomani does not in any way, shape, or form represent Muslims.  This is not to say that a Muslim is not allowed to give a dissenting opinion from the Standard Muslim Line…I’m all for that.  But, notice how she seems to use her Religious Affiliation as an immunity card, always making sure that it is known that she is a Real Life Muslim.  Furthermore, she posits herself as a representative for Muslims, using such constructs as “The Tea Party activists actually express the sentiments of Muslims such as myself…”  A Muslim supporting the Tea Party is as much of a political oddity as a gay black man supporting the Republican party.  Ms. Nomani, try making an argument without seeking to validate it with the “I’m-a-Muslim” routine.

Update #2:

Asra Nomani’s support for the right wing Islamophobia machine was highlighted in a previous profile of the loon Wafa Sultan by our very own Garibaldi. Sultan, like Nomani, lives off of the anti-Muslim cash cow–the “I’m a real life (former?) Muslim” canard–and she uses it to deliver speeches and write books declaring Islam a greater threat to civilization than Nazism.  Amongst other things, Sultan is friends with and is admired by career Islamophobe Pamela Geller, who she often lectures with.  Sultan was seen at a synagogue calling for nuclear strikes on Muslim countries.

Asra Nomani, the so-called “liberal and progressive”, has expressed her deep admiration for Wafa Nuke-the-Muslims Sultan, referring to her as a fellow “bad girl of Islam.”  From Garibaldi’s article on Sultan:

Another good example of her (Sultan’s) tale of woe is the profile carried by self-described “bad girl of Islam” Asra Nomani in TIME magazine. Asra Nomani, who can’t pen anything without including herself writes,

I connected with her (Sultan’s) anger and pain. She questioned Islam in 1979, when, she says, she witnessed the murder of a professor by men with alleged ties to the ultraconservative Muslim Brotherhood political group.

One wonders if Nomani was so moved by her “connection” with Sultan that she (and her editors) forgot to fact check whether or not Sultan actually could have witnessed the murder of her professor in her classroom. InFocus, a California based magazine did more thorough research into the matter than TIME in a piece titled Wafa Sultan: Reformist or Opportunist,

As to the claim that her professor (thought to be Yusef Al-Yusef) was gunned down before her eyes in a faculty classroom at the University of Aleppo, Halabi said the incident never took place. “There was a professor who was killed around 1979, that is true, but it was off-campus and Sultan was not even around when it happened,” he added.

InFocus contacted the University of Aleppo and spoke to Dr. Riyad Asfari, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, who confirmed Halabi’s account. “Yes, the assassination took place off-campus,” he said. Dr. Asfari was keen to add that no one had ever been killed in a classroom anytime or anywhere at the university.

Syrian expatriate Ghada Moezzin, who attended the University of Aleppo in 1979 as a sophomore, told InFocus that she never heard of the assassination. “We would’ve known about the killing if it had happened,” she said. “It would have been big news on campus and I do not recall ever hearing about it.” Moezzin, who lives in Glendora, Calif., added that government security was always present around the university given the political climate in Syria at the time.

Update #3:

Anyone read Asra Nomani’s article entitled “My Big Fat Muslim Wedding?” In it, she uses her n=1 experience to stereotype Pakistani men as brutish.  A great reply to her silly article was written by G. Willow Wilson:

Asra Nomani’s recent essay in Marie Claire, My Big Fat Muslim Wedding, lays out a scenario that has become familiar to everyone in the post-9/11 world: despairing Muslim woman is forced to choose between her (literally) white knight and a traditional marriage to a boorish, vaguely ominous Muslim man. Losing love to Islam has become as universal a theme as finding love in Paris. It’s the subject of high art, low art and everything in between: Samina Ali’s Madras on Rainy Days springs to mind, as does the much-hyped failed marriage of Princess Meriam Al-Khalifa and Lance Corporal Jason Johnson. The implication of Nomani’s story, like those I’ve just listed, is that there are no decent Muslim men on planet Earth–or, if by some miracle they do exist, they are so difficult to find that it’s not worth the bother. This is the crux of the argument that Shari’a law should be changed to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, and perhaps the reason even liberal Muslim groups can be defensive and traditionalist when it comes to this point. It is an implicit condemnation of Muslim men everywhere: in the eyes of women, they do not measure up in any way that counts.

Nomani’s complaints about her Muslim ex-husband are indeed cringeworthy: he is cold, withdrawn, childish, and sexually worse than useless. But this litany of failings is not limited to Muslim men–not by a long shot. The story of a passionate woman in a stale marriage is as old as Helen of Troy. The theme is so perennial that without the specter of Islam to dress it up, it’s almost boring. This is a case of cultural amnesia: as soon as a Muslim man enters the picture, women everywhere forget about Thelma and Louise,The Good Girl and The Divorcee, and pretend that sullen oafish husbands are an Islamic phenomenon. If this was really true, poor Shakespeare–along with hundreds of thousands of modern divorce lawyers–would have been out of a career.

Out-marriage is an issue religious groups have been wrestling with for some time. Of course men and women fall in love. Of course it’s not always convenient to their respective cultural and spiritual norms. Out-marriage is of such concern in the Jewish community that its leaders have gone to extraordinary lengths to encourage romantic relationships between young Jews. If they are successful, it is because they are not up against the same barrier: Jewish men are not perceived (by Jewish women or anyone else) as inherently threatening and perverse. In western culture, Muslim men start the marriage process with a handicap–because of the way they are portrayed and the example that is made of them, even Muslim women have begun, consciously or unconsciously, to view them with suspicion.

This puts those of us in healthy Muslim marriages to good Muslim men in a difficult position. On one hand, there is an onus on us to provide a counterexample, and inject a little hope into the grim picture of Islamic marriage. On the other hand, people in happy marriages are usually (and for good reason) unwilling to write about the intimate details of their sexual and domestic lives in magazines. So I will close with the conclusion I’ve come to after years of listening to girlfriends Muslim and non complain about men: the reason Asra Nomani discovered a dirth of eligible Muslim men is the same reason Carrie Bradshaw discovered a dirth of eligible Manhattanite men. The good ones go first, and they go fast. The battle of the sexes–love gained and lost, marriages failed and personalities mistaken–was raging long before the demonization of Muslim men became fashionable. Choosing a spouse with religion in mind is not always a mistake, especially if your heritage and your faith are important parts of who you are. The trick is, as always, to recognize a good thing when you see it–and never mistake the bad for something more.

G. Willow Wilson is author of the Eisner Award-nominated comic book series AIR. Her memoir The Butterfly Mosque is forthcoming from Grove Press.

 

Poll favourite may put anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders in Cabinet

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , on June 9, 2010 by loonwatch
Geert Wilders

(For everything on Geert Wilders, check out the Dutch site: Krapuul)

Here’s something scary from TimesOnline:

Poll favourite may put anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders in Cabinet

By: David Charter, The Hague

Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician who wants to tax Muslim headscarves and ban mosque building, could join the next government, the leader of the country’s biggest party said.

Mark Rutte, who is tipped to be the next Prime Minister after Wednesday’s vote, told The Times that he was prepared to share power with the anti-Islamic MP in a new coalition.

Mr Rutte’s right-wing Liberal Party (VVD) is expected to win the largest number of seats in the general election and polls suggest that it could form a majority with the Christian Democrats and Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party.

Mr Wilders, 46, was prohibited from visiting Britain last year by Jacqui Smith, the then Home Secretary, because of his inflammatory views but managed to overturn the ban. His party is in fourth place after briefly topping opinion polls this year.

Mr Rutte dismissed suggestions that his country could suffer an international backlash if he offered a Cabinet post to Mr Wilders. He said that he saw the Freedom Party as “just another party”, and disagreed with its policies on headscarves and mosques. He and Mr Wilders agreed however that the Netherlands should restrict immigration and cut benefits to recent arrivals.

Speaking to The Times during a break in campaigning in The Hague, Mr Rutte, 43, said that he was open to forming a coalition with Mr Wilders, just as he was with the Labour Party led by Job Cohen, the former Mayor of Amsterdam, which is second in the polls. “For me, the Wilders party and the social democratic Labour Party — we do not rule out a coalition with any of the two,” he said. “With both of them, we have many points of difference. But I am not distancing myself from Wilders on the basis of morality, like the Labour Party leader Job Cohen. He is saying Wilders’ party is wrong.

“The problem with Wilders is that he is quite left-wing on the economy . . . while at the same time we agree with some of the measures we could take on immigration in the Netherlands. We disagree on this issue of Islam.”

Asked if he thought that the Netherlands would suffer from problems in the Islamic world if Mr Wilders were part of the government, he said: “I don’t think so. For me it is just another party.”

Latest polls for the 150-seat Parliament put the VVD on 36 seats, Labour on 29, the Christian Democrats on 24, the Freedom Party on 18 — double its current number of MPs — and the Socialist Party on 12.

Dutch commentators believe that Mr Rutte is keeping open the possibility of coalitions involving Mr Wilders and Mr Cohen to try to attract their voters.

 

Senator James Inhofe’s un-American Call to Racially and Ethnically Profile Passengers

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by loonwatch
The un-American Senator James InhofeThe un-American Senator James Inhofe

The Republican senator from Oklahoma has called for passengers to be “racially and ethnically profiled,” because according to him, “all terrorists [or at least 90% of them] are Muslims.”  Yes, that’s true: all terrorists are Muslims…except of course the 94% that aren’t.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fQnFJ9RMws&feature=player_embedded 300 250]

Does the good senator not know the ugly history of racial profiling?  Based on this same logic, white racists justify the racial profiling of blacks.  A white supremacist on the white nationalist websiteStormfront.org says:

Blacks looking ghetto in an affluent neighborhood should send up flags. For some reason, I doubt that they are there to do the plumbing, though I am sure they wouldn’t mind relieving you of a few of your more valuable items.

These white nationalists ask, just like Inhofe: “why should my white wife be considered on the same level as a ‘ghetto’ black guy?”

That racist forum is in fact full of calls for a return to racial profiling.  And they justify their belief based on “practicality” just like Inhofe and other loons do.  These white nationalists argue that according to the Department of Justice, blacks are seven times more likely to commit murder than whites:

Racial differences exist, with blacks disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders
In 2005, homicide victimization rates for blacks were 6 times higher than the rates for whites.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

…In 2005, offending rates for blacks were more than 7 times higher than the rates for whites……………..

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

In another thread, they argue that blacks commit fifty times the number of violent crimes as whites.  There are also other points brought forth by such people, such as the fact that one in twenty adult black men are incarcerated.  Or that “more than three times the number of black Americans live in prison as in college dorms.” Or that over 55% of offenders admitted under the age of 18 are black.And on and on…All justifications to legalize racial profiling.

So if you justify profiling on airplanes by arguing that 90% of terrorists are Muslims (which is false anyways), then by that same logic you ought to be OK with profiling blacks, especially those “ghetto blacks” who happen to be walking through the suburb.  Whatever arguments you use to justify profiling of Arabs/Muslims can be used for blacks…What?  You’re not OK with that?  Then why is it OK to do that to Muslims or Arabs?

I am an American, and I oppose these un-American calls to racially and ethnically profile.  I don’t believe in such discrimination, and know that it is prohibited by the fourth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution (that annoying document that right wingers always try to circumvent).  If you don’t believe in the ideals of this country, then kindly leave.  You, Senator Inhofe, are un-American.

And if you want to lament about your wife being pulled aside for extra searching, maybe think about changing the war mongering policy that has been shoved upon us by the right wing.  You can’t reallykill hundreds of thousands of Muslims, and not expect there to be a handful of disgruntled Muslims who seek revenge.

I know that people are annoyed by the added costs of airport security.  Well, I have a very low cost solution: the U.S. would save trillions of dollars if it withdrew all troops from foreign lands, and stopped aiding the state of Israel.  (Then put the money into universal health care.)  That would take away the motivations of Islamic extremists.  But I get it: you don’t want to do that…then stop complaining when that policy ends up fueling terrorism.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

 

Cenk Uygur Obliterates Closet Islamophobe

Posted in Loon TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2009 by loonwatch
Cenk, posing as a Bollywood hero
Cenk, posing as a Bollywood hero

Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks Obliterates Closet Islamophobe

Cenk Uygur, the host of The Young Turks, rips this closet Islamophobe a new one.  I especially like how he made sure to mention George Bush’s intention behind invading Iraq (the Biblical prophecy of Gag and Magog), which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.  (But of course those civilians don’t count, since they are brown Moozlems.)

Cenk could have sealed that argument by mentioning the Christian version of Al-Qaeda, none other than the fundamentalist Evangelical Blackwater group, which has killed scores of civilians.  And he could also have mentioned the thousands of Christians who believe in the Joel’s Army theology and the general surge of Christian fanaticism in the U.S. military.

One other point: the conservative loon mentioned the idea that 90% of mosques in America are owned and operated by Saudi Arabia.  This is a blatant lie commonly peddled by Islamophobes.  “But you can google it!”  Believe it or not: but not everything on the interwebs is true.  *gasp*  In fact, the vast majority of mosques in America run on local donations.

Joy "7 million Muslims in the World?" Tiz
Joy “7 million Muslims in the World?” Tiz

Then in that same breath she says that they are funded by the Muslim Brotherhood, when in fact the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood runs contrary to that of the “Wahhabi” (Salafi) strain of Islam followed in Saudi Arabia.

But anyways, I must say that Cenk did a great job (and I give him a 10 out of 10).  Here is the debate:

Cenk vs Conservative [Loon] on Muslims in the Military

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFsV1tHEvzA 300 250]