Archive for Michigan

Police Remove Muslim Women From Pam Geller’s ‘Human Rights Conference’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer only preach to their minions, and anyone else is not accepted.

Police Remove Muslim Women From Pam Geller’s ‘Human Rights Conference’

By Eli Clifton on Apr 30, 2012 at 9:30 am, ThinkProgress

Yesterday in Dearborn, Michigan, noted anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer hosted a conference promising to advocate for “human rights” in one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. Geller, writing on her blog on Sunday, warned, “We will meet fierce resistance by Islamic supremacists who will do anything, say anything to impose the sharia and whitewash the oppression, subjugation and slaughter of women under Islamic law.”

But surprisingly, Muslim women found themselves denied entry to the conference and, after patiently waiting in the corridor after being told to wait, were removed from the Hyatt Hotel by the Dearborn Police Department and Hyatt security.

Several of the young women commented that they shared a similar appearance with Jessica Mokdad, the young women who Geller and Spencer claim was murdered in an “honor killing” (a conclusion not shared by Mokdad’s family or Michigan prosecutors).

ThinkProgress attempted to attend the event and was turned away, and eventually removed from the Hyatt by the police, along with the young women. One of the women commented, “I tried emailing [Pamela Geller to register] and I literally couldn’t get any kind of response back.” That comment seems to contradict Geller’s claim that she wants to help Muslim women and that the conference was in defense of the human rights of Muslim women.

Another woman who tried to attend the conference told ThinkProgress:

Coming in, I was asking where the human rights conference is. [Hyatt Security and Dearborn Police] were like, ‘what are you talking about?’ I’m like, ‘the human rights conference on the second floor.’ They were like, ‘the anti-Islam conference?’ That’s what they’re calling it now.

And another woman expressed surprise that Geller, who has asked to hear from more Muslim voices on human rights issues, was denying Muslims access to her event. “I watched an interview with her […] and she said, ‘Where are the Muslims?’ Well, we’re here!” Watch it (police arrive to escort the women off the Hyatt premises at 3:58):

Pamela Geller emailed ThinkProgress, “They didn’t register. We’ve been announcing for weeks that only registered attendees would be admitted.”

Geller and Spencer play prominent roles in the Islamophobia “echo chamber,” as detailed in the Center for American Progress’s report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”

Dearborn: Muslims and Members of Other Faiths Successfully Counter Anti-Muslim Conference

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2012 by loonwatch

MSNBC describes it as “dueling in Dearborn.” I think the real story is the rejection of Islamophobia, and the anti-Islam outsiders who arrived only to agitate:

Dueling in Dearborn over murder of a 20-year-old woman

By Kari Huus,

In Dearborn Mich., a Detroit suburb known for its concentration of Muslim Americans, anti-Islam leaders from around the country are gathering to discuss how to rescue women from that faith. The “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference on Honor Killings” on Sunday is named for a local Muslim woman murdered one year ago.

But Muslims, civil rights groups and other religious leaders say the conference is merely another event put on by well-known bigots to attack the minority religion. Their response was to schedule a town hall meeting just a few miles away on Sunday called “Rejecting Islamophobia: A Community Stand Against Hate.”

The honor killing conference, organized by Pamela Geller, who became nationally famous for her vocal opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque, aka Park 51 in Manhattan, is based on the premise that Mokdad, 20 years old when she died in April 2011, was the victim of an honor killing justified by Islam.

Mokdad’s family maintains that the killing was a tragedy that has nothing to do with their Islamic beliefs, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.

“It’s not a case based on honor,” Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Cataldo, chief of homicide, told the Free Press on Friday.

In court, prosecutors have said the motive for Mokdad’s killing was that her stepfather, Rahim Alfetlawi had “been sexually abusing her,” Cataldo said, according to the report. They argue that when she threatened to go public about the abuse he killed her.

Cataldo said the family strongly objects to the conference using Mokdad’s killing, which they say was a tragedy that had nothing to do with their faith.

Geller insists this was an honor killing carried out by a devout Muslim because his stepdaughter was not following Islam, and that the family is covering it up. She alleges that law enforcers systematically cover up honor killings here and elsewhere under “stealth enforcement” of Islamic shariah law.

On her web site, Geller says: “Despite pressure from the media and members of Jessica’s family who want to cover up the honor killing aspect of her murder, we are not going to change the name of the conference. Unlike those closest to her, we are going to honor Jessica’s memory and stand up against the brutal practice that took her life.”

The Dearborn conference will feature speeches by Geller and Robert Spencer — author of the blog “Jihad Watch” — as well as several like-minded legal and religious figures. They have also invited a young man who says he was Mokdad’s friend to offer “firsthand testimony” that she was a victim of honor killing.

Stop the Islamization of America, which Geller and Spencer founded, has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights watchdog.

“Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead,” according to a profile published by SPLC on its web site. ”She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims.”

The Arab American Institute, a decades-old community organization in the Detroit area, discouraged Muslims and their supporters from protesting at the site of Geller’s conference.  But they organized a competing event, said AAI president Jim Zogby, because Geller and Spencer have become too prominent to ignore.

“Geller and Spencer have thousands of followers, and are given airtime to spew their hate on major American news networks, as if they are respected analysts with just another viewpoint,” Zogby said on the AAI announcement for the “Rejecting Islamophobia” town hall in Detroit.

Although many Americans have never encountered a Muslim in person, about 43 percent questioned in a recent Gallup Poll said they felt at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims.

“This group, we cannot ignore. This is the time for our community to take a stand, along with all those who value America’s commitment to diversity and freedom of religion, against the politics of division and bigotry promoted by the Islamophobes.”

A variety of community, interfaith and religious leaders and Michigan public on their agenda, for a “community conversation about how to respond to these continued attacks,” said Zogby.

One participant who was just on his way to the town hall was Dawud Walid, who heads the Michigan office of the Council on American Islamic Relations, a civil rights advocacy group for Muslims.

“I think firstly we have to better expose who these anti-Muslim bigots are as well as their funders,” said Walid. “We believe that the Islamophobia that permeates our country is being pushed by a well-organized, highly-funded network.”

He says that while Dearborn and Detroit have become a focus for the activities of Geller and others of like mind, the problem is bigger.

“Islamophobia is a national illness,” he said.

Rejecting Islamophobia: Town hall counters ‘Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference’ in Dearborn

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by loonwatch



Jessica Mokdad “loved Islam” according to her parents.

Striking back and rejecting Islamophobia:

Rejecting Islamophobia: Town hall counters ‘Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference’ in Dearborn

Dearborn, home to one of the nation’s largest concentrations of Arab Americans, once again will become a focal point for debate over the practice and persecution of Islam in the west.

Pamela Geller, conservative activist and co-founder of Stop Islamization of America, is scheduled to host the “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference” from the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dearborn on Sunday at 5 p.m.

The event is named after a 20-year-old woman fatally shot by her stepfather last year in Warren. Initial reports suggested Rahim Alfetlawi shot Mokdad because he believed she had strayed from Islam, but prosecutors have since said that religion did not play a role.

Despite opposition from family members who say Mokdad’s murder has nothing to do with Islam, Geller has refused to rename the conference, suggesting an attempt to cover up what she continues to call an “honor killing.”

“Unlike those closest to her, we are going to honor Jessica’s memory and stand up against the brutal practice that took her life,” Geller said in a statement announcing the conference.

Local leaders say the conference is misleading and argue that Dearborn has become a convenient target for anti-Muslim groups, pointing to recent protests led by activist Pastor Terry Jones.

To counter Geller’s conference, The Arab American Institute and partners have scheduled a competing town hall on Sunday titled “Rejecting Islamophobia: A Community Stand Against Hate.” It is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Dearborn.

“This is clearly not the first time our community in Michigan has had to deal with a hate group,” AAI President Jim Zogby said in a statement. “Despite repeated efforts to target Arab Americans and American Muslims, the community has remained resilient and poised, sometimes choosing to ignore the fervor.

“This group we cannot ignore and this is the time to stand up and make our voices loud and clear in opposition to the politics of division and bigotry.”

Spelling Bee for Muslim schools provokes Islamophobic Hate Fest

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2012 by loonwatch


Sheila Musaji discusses the anti-Muslim hysterics over Muslim school spelling bees:

Spelling Bee for Muslim schools provokes Islamophobic Hate Fest

by Sheila Musaji

There will be a Muslim Spelling Bee this year for students of Islamic schools across the country.  This is the first year that Muslims have held such an event.

OnIslam reported that

A Michigan Muslim school is planning to organize the world’s first national spelling bee in an effort to help connect the sizable minority with the wider American society.

The competition will “help connect the Muslim community to the mainstream community.” Tausif Malik, the owner of TMA Worldwide with his wife Asma, told Ann Arbor news portal.

“Muslims are not aware of spelling bees because they are focused on getting their children into engineering or medicine.

Sounds like an excellent idea, certainly not one that anyone could object to, or at least that’s what any reasonable person would think.

There are many other such events for other private and religious schools and groups.  Here are just a few:

—A Hebrew Spelling Bee in Cleveland, and a tri-county Hebrew Spelling Bee in Florida
— a spelling bee for Jewish Day Schools in New York, and for the Jewish community inOmaha, Nebraska,
— a spelling bee for Catholic grade schools in Philadelphia, and another in Minnesota,
— a spelling bee for Lutheran schools in Michigan
— Christ Methodist Church School has a spelling bee in Memphis, Tennessee

Nevertheless, there are some who are so filled with hatred towards Islam and Muslims that even such a simple activity as holding a spelling bee for children becomes an opportunity to spread their poisonous bile.

Bonni Benstock-Intall of Bare Naked Islam posted an article MICHIGANISTAN: ‘Muslim-Only’ Spelling Bee which opened with

So much for integration and assimilation with the filthy kuffar. Then again, how many of us pork eaters know how to spell ‘Intifada’ in Arabic?

Here are a few of the comments left by readers

—We should sponsor a little infidel into the contest and when they disqualify our little infidel – SUE THE CRAP OUTTA THEM!!! Lawfare can go both ways!!

— AMEN! Can you spell A-S-S-L-I-F-T-E-R?!

— Well its always nice to see the future terrorists of the world at least able to spell allah,or dirt bag,or mohammad,or virgin,before they detonate their bomb vest in one of our schools.

— Like Mr. Rogers: Now children, can you spell “DEPORTATION” ? How about “BEHEADING” ? Maybe “INBRED” ?

— Muslims can’t spell. They’re too f*&%ing inbred and retarded to spell. F*&% Muslims. Jesus sent Mohammed to hell f*&%ers.On the site the actual swear words are spelled out

— Can you believe that this is happening? We are watching them take over our county piece by piece.

— Imagine the uproar if there was a Christian only spelling bee.

This goes beyond Islamophobia into the realm of pure hatred, and such hatred is truly savage. They should be ashamed, but I don’t believe that they are capable of even that much awareness.


A Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry

Bonni Benstock-Intall and Bare Naked Islam

Dearborn Islamic Center Vandalized

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on February 15, 2012 by loonwatch
Chaldean_Mafia_IslamophobiaDearborn: Mosque Vandalized

Police Investigating Vandalism of Dearborn Mosque

By Jessica Carreras

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is urging houses of worship in metro Detroit to take extra precautions following several cases of vandalism.

Dearborn police are investigating several incidents of possible anti-Muslim vandalism in the city, according to a press release sent out Tuesday by the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

According to CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, the American Moslem Bekaa Center, located on Chase Road north of Ford Road, was targeted in the spray-painting, as well as a building nearby on Chase that is soon to be opened as a restaurant.

Both buildings were tagged with the words “Chaldean Mob” or “MB.”

Walid said the names are related to the Chaldean Mafia, a group that was notorious for drug trafficking in the Detroit area in the 1980s and ’90s. However, any specific ties to that group have not been established in this case.

Also still undetermined is whether the vandalism was motivated by ethnic or racial bias. However, said Walid, “It should be investigated with the potential to be a hate crime.”

The incidents in Dearborn follow a case of vandalism of a Sikh house of worship earlier this month in Sterling Heights.

Though there’s no indication that the cases are related, Walid said it’s enough to cause worry.

“We’re asking all mosques to take extra security precautions,” he said. “It’s a sad commentary on our society that there are (people) who would desecrate houses of worship. It seems that nothing is sacred these days.”

CAIR-MI put out a request to community members to call police with any information on the incidents.

“There’s a lot of traffic in that area, so someone must’ve seen something. I’m hoping that if someone saw any individuals they would immediately call the Dearborn police.”

Walid said that he had spoken with Dearborn Chief of Police Ronald Haddad, who confirmed that the department is investigating the vandalism.

Chief Haddad was not immediately available for comment on the case.

Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to contact the Dearborn Police Tip Line at 313-943-3030.

Sikh Temple Vandalized–but were Muslims the Intended Target?

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2012 by loonwatch
Images of the vandalism at the Sterling Heights Sikh temple Images of the vandalism at the Sterling Heights Sikh temple

Sikh Temple Vandalized–but were Muslims the Intended Target?


Vandals targeted a Sikh house of worship in suburban Detroit this week. But there are signs they intended to target Muslims.

According to the Sikh Society of Michigan, the Sikh temple (known as a Gurdwara) in Sterling Heights has been under construction for several years, without any incidents or controversy.

That changed when someone vandalized the building sometime on Sunday night.

The vandals spray painted “don’t builed” [sic] on an outside wall. They also left images of a cross, a gun, and a misspelled version of the name “Mohammed.”

Muslims revere Mohammed as a prophet, but it has nothing to do with the Sikh religion. The word leads many to believe to believe the vandals thought they were targeting Muslims.

Dawud Walid, executive director for the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), calls the vandalism a hate crime.

“We joined the Sikh community in calling for local and federal law enforcement to use their full resources to investigate this recent hate crime,” Walid said.

The US Justice Department in Detroit says the incident is on their radar. They’ve met with members of the Sikh community about it.

But a DOJ spokeswoman says it’s yet how they’ll be involved in the investigation, or any potential prosecution. Anyone with information about the incident should contact Sterling Heights Police.

Walid also suggests the incident could stem from politicians’ “fanning the flames” of xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in an election year.

“We hope that they will be a little more responsible,” Walid said. “They should understand that their statements and ads may push people over the edge, and they do have consequences.”

The US Sikh community has fallen victim to anti-Muslim sentiment before. A Sikh man was murdered in Arizona soon after the September 11th attacks. The killer thought he was Arab or Muslim.

Mind-Boggling: Fake Ex-Terrorists Still Profiting Off of Lies

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by loonwatch
Kamal Saleem has his scared face on

For a long time the Islamophobia Industry has been pushing fake ex-Muslims and fake ex-terrorists. The insanity went as far as having the charlatan Walid Shoebat teaching security officials about the “dangers of Islam.”

Kamal Saleem is one such fake ex-terrorists whose been banking on the hate and fear of Islam. We have exposed him several times before,

A political organization by the name, “Constituting Michigan-Founding Principles” is hosting Saleem along with Rep. Dave Agema who has introduced something along the lines of an “anti-Sharia” bill which he is passing off as legislation against “foreign law.” How much do you think they are paying Saleem to speak?

There is no doubt that Rep. Dave Agema is trying to curry favor with the radical right, but he should be ashamed of himself for participating in an event alongside a well known liar and charlatan like Saleem.

Alleged former terrorist Kamal Saleem to speak in Allegan

by Joe Stando (

ALLEGAN — Allegan County political organization Constituting Michigan-Founding Principles will host a self-proclaimed former terrorist on Thursday at the Allegan High School Events Center.

Kamal Saleem claims to have been a former Islamic radical and terrorist before converting to Christianity. He has since published a book detailing his experiences and makes regular tours speaking about his life and views.

”He had entered the U.S. and gotten in an accident, and received medical care,” said Carol Dannenberg, of Constituting Michigan-Founding Principles. “He thought, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t want to hurt these people.’ He was raised to believe that there was no hope, that killing was a good thing.”

”I met Saleem in my travels to Lansing,” said Bill Sage, one of the co-founders of Constituting Michigan. “He’s here to talk about keeping American law in American courts, to make sure that the Constitution is what we’re drawing from.”

Sage characterizes the organization’s main focus as education reform and a return to focusing on the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights in schools. Sage will also be speaking at the event, as will state Rep. Dave Agema, according to organizers. Agema is one of the sponsors of House Bill 4769, which seeks “to restrict the application of foreign laws” in Michigan. Opponents have characterized the bill as discriminatory towards Islam.

Saleem himself is also the subject of controversy. Questions have been raised regarding the authenticity of his claims, as well as the goals of his speeches.

”I believe he’s a complete fraud, and his claims are bogus,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, an American-Islamic relations council. “He says he’s been reformed by the Holy Ghost. If he were an actual former terrorist who snuck into the U.S., the FBI or immigration services would’ve detained and deported him by now.”

Walid claims that Saleem’s real name is Khodor Shami and that many details of his background do not add up.

”He’s profiting off the cottage industry of Islamophobia,” Walid said. “If he thinks that I’m lying, that I’m trying to falsely discredit him, he should sue me for defamation.”

Sage claims much of the controversy surrounding Saleem is the result of media bias.

”People don’t like his message, they don’t want him out there,” said Sage. “But if you listen to Kamal, you’ll understand.”

Walid encourages caution.

”Individuals should research his claims, and form their own opinions,” said Walid. “Don’t be taken in just because it sounds interesting.”

Contact Joe Stando at or 269-388-8553.

Jesus, Carpet Bomb My Heart: An Undercover Muslim in Detroit

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2011 by loonwatch

An evocative inside look into the Evangelical crusade for Muslim hearts.

Jesus, Carpet Bomb My Heart: An Undercover Muslim in Detroit

by Haroon Moghul (Religion Dispatches)

I’m the one they’re after. I’m “the enemy,” the believer in the “false idol,” “the darkness” Jesus needs to cast out of America, the reason they’re spending all night in Detroit’s Ford Field, sending prayers over Michigan mosques “like sending special forces into Afghanistan.” And there are thousands of them, come because Pastor Lou Engle asked them to.

Founder of TheCall, Engle warns that an Islamic movement is rising in Dearborn, Michigan—“Ground Zero” for America’s spiritual future (and site of a new TLC reality show, All-American Muslim). When I heard the goals for TheCall Detroit—healing America in a time of crisis, accomplishing racial reconciliation, and (here’s where I come in) bringing Jesus to Muslim hearts—I figured a Muslim in the crowd could be a nice twist.

So I was there with them for hours into the late night and hearing their ex-Muslim speaker ridiculously early in the morning, the undercover Muslim surrounded by tens of thousands beside me, praying for Jesus to invade my heart. My plan was to report from the inside, to talk to the attendees as one among devoted thousands (though probably not revealing my religious background, unless I had to and knew where the exits were).

I’d observe firsthand what goes on at a gathering like this. I’d try to understand how such Christians understand Islam. Lou Engle’s world is alien from my New England roots and New York life. I’d attended churches before, but nothing like this. We need to know where this fear and hate come from, what its intentions are, and who it appeals to.

But as the day approached, Engle’s connections to a network of right-wing activists and political Christians came into focus. From the involvement of US Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin (who has helpfully compared Islam to a diabolical religion), to a Michigan Call coordinator named Rick Warzywak (who believes that Christians should “go back and occupy or take back the land” of American Muslims), to a particularly weird twist on the theme of racial reconciliation (involving sending Detroit’s African-American Muslims, or ex-Muslims, to the Middle East), it was clear that this might be an uncomfortable assignment.

So I shaved my beard down to a goatee. Just in case.

But that anxiety only confirmed the importance of what I was doing. I needed to see this for myself. Americans, and American Muslims especially, need to know how certain interpretations of professedly apolitical Christianity become allied to a far-right agenda of foreign wars and domestic austerity, glorifying the rich while demonizing the poor.

Political Christianity’s treatment of Islam is one of the few points, and perhaps the only point, at which right-wing, political Christianity’s radical agenda is revealed, for its attitude to Islam speaks both to the narrowness of its domestic vision (America for certain Americans) and the aggressiveness of its foreign vision (going abroad to find monstrous Muslims to convert). Don’t let the language of love fool you.

A Pep Rally for Jesus

I was sure I’d be one of very few non-white folks in attendance, yet when the gates opened on Friday afternoon, I was struck by the diversity—and the juvenile vibe. I took my seat close to the stage, surrounded by people of every color, finding it hard to focus because of the pounding Christian rock music shaking the stadium. Folks were on their feet, dancing and swaying. Rather than stick out, I blended in perfectly.

People have tried to compare Islamophobia to old-school racism. And I’ve repeatedly disagreed. We have a tendency to accuse arguments rooted in religion and tradition of reaching back to the past; the truth, however, is much more complicated. As much as religion shapes the world, it is shaped by the world. Even when we invoke the past, we must accommodate the language and conclusions of today. Just fifty years ago, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann would not have been viable candidates. Hell, they wouldn’t have been candidates at all. And so too with TheCall.

The rally formally opened with a Native American band (actually, since they were Canadian, a First Nations band). Everybody seemed into it, on their feet and swaying to the beat. Judging by those first hours, this was worship at the altar of a multicultural Jesus, advertising its many ethnicities, stressing the need for racial reconciliation and forgiveness, encouraging populations pushed apart by suspicion to come together in Jesus’ name. I found it encouraging and I found it worrying.

The diversity was nice. Different languages were spoken on the stage, many different ethnicities were represented. But that diversity could be used to excuse a more subversive intolerance, all the harder to detect for the polyglot multiplicity. It’s not so different from how, since the 1960s, consumer culture has appropriated the language of diversity, and even its attitude, without dealing with its underlying and democratic point. And so we have elite institutions that are ever more racially diverse, who increasingly deploy people of different colors and backgrounds in their advertising and hierarchies, even while social mobility goes into steep decline and the middle class is eviscerated.

I’m sure Engle believes in a Christian movement that transcends race, to reach around the world. Just as I’m sure he’d be greatly pleased by my conversion to his Christianity. But this misses the deeper point, the truly political and partisan nature of TheCall; I saw this as far more than a spiritual exercise in part, I think, because I was forced to process what was happening around me as an outsider. Because, after all, religions are not interchangeable, like different color cars of the same make and model.

Raised in Sunni Muslim tradition, I always experienced worship as the effort to establish an immediate, intimate, and contemplative connection with God; in Sunni mysticism, observing the law is a necessary condition of spirituality. I say this not to establish distance, or to enforce division, but to draw our attention to how religion can be either a source of strength or a source of harm. To make a long point short, Islam is a religion of moral law; when the institutions that produce its legal scholars (who are, ideally, also spiritual authorities) are subverted, undercut, or simply insufficiently rigorous, the resulting interpretations of law become irrelevant—or dangerous.

Keeping that in mind, I found TheCall was immediately shocking.

A friend called a few hours in, concerned that I might be kidnapped (I’m sure he was joking—I hope), and asked what I made of the whole thing. And the first thing that came to mind was: “It’s like a pep rally for Jesus.”

So that Jesus Might Invade Their Dreams

Even when there were speakers, they were bookended by passionate music, deeply emotional calls to prayer, folks spontaneously joining hands and forming prayer circles, turning not to established rituals but whatever the moment led them to. A man behind me started speaking in tongues, and within a few hours, people were fainting and falling to the ground. I had never experienced anything like it.

But with all the transport out of and away from yourself, there was little time to digest what the speakers were saying, little time to think through the implications of their exhortations. In fairness, that didn’t seem to be a problem right away. As I said, the first few hours seemed to be a public relations dream come true; I heard little overtly anti-Muslim sentiment (and no mention of homosexuality).

A look at the program confirmed why. The section titled “Dearborn Awakening” was dumped in dead time, 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Since Dearborn is home to many Arabs and Muslims, as well as one of the largest mosques in America (a Twelver Shi’a mosque, incidentally), I knew this must be the part of TheCall that would confront Islam. Likely the organizers wanted to shift the more controversial stuff to when nobody would be paying attention; according to Rachel Maddow, this might also have been in the hope that, with Michigan Muslims asleep, Jesus might invade their dreams.

Engle underestimated this Muslim’s desire to see through the subterfuge.

I left Ford Field after five hours, frankly exhausted by the emotional commitment requested by TheCall. A friend took me to an Arab restaurant, where all the waitresses wore hijab. That, and seeing Arabic signs and advertisements everywhere, only fifteen minutes from Ford Field, was pleasingly jarring (and strategically reassuring: In case things turned ugly, I knew where to run, and had a reasonable sense of how fast).

I explained to one of the friendly, all-American, veiled waitresses what I was doing in Dearborn. She seemed skeptical. So I shared TheCall’s promotional literature, and she was stunned. This poor girl hadn’t realized she was part of any “Islamic movement in America” (in America, but not “American”). That night, I spoke to other Muslims about TheCall. They were either deeply concerned or just shrugged it off. As of Friday night, I would’ve been with the second group.

At midnight, I was back in my hotel, stuffed full of shish tawouk, Arab pastries, and chai. I took a two-hour nap, and then went back for more.

Like the Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood used to have a popular slogan: “Islam is the solution” (Islam huwa al-hall). “Jesus is the answer” is the same kind of sloganeering. I’m not just saying that because I know it would drive Engle nuts. It is an overly and therefore problematically easy answer to some very knotty problems. And hearing Engle insist on this point brought me back to the very format of TheCall, which rushes through speakers, condenses their points, and squishes them between loud music and unreflectively emotional appeals. There’s little time to ponder what it means for America if only Jesus can solve our problems.

In an introduction found in the event program, Engle wrote:

Revolution is in the air. But the revolution that is needed is not a revolution of snarling protesters or angry mobs; it’s a Jesus revolution, a revolution of forgiveness, racial reconciliation, compassion.

It’s one thing if he genuinely disavowed politics, but time and time again his supposedly apolitical efforts have an undeniable political goal. In fact TheCall is deeply and suspiciously political, and—at least here he is honest—revolutionary. It seeks to heal America by making a different America in its place, one whose moral conversation displaces its political discourse, one whose reference point is Jesus. Rick Perry’s prayer rally The Response was modeled on Engle’s interpretation of the solemn assembly described in Joel 2, which in turn shaped TheCall. Engle himself has traveled to Sacramento, Washington, and Kampala to praise efforts to restrict the rights of LGBT people and has led elected Republicans in a prayer session that predicted God would punish America for passing health care reform.

But most relevant here was the vacuity of the content: The solution to America’s great crisis was prayer, from start to end, and apparently little else. Any religiosity that encourages worship without broader social engagement—non-Christians were barely acknowledged over the course of an event designed to heal America’s profound crisis—while allying with those who seek to do away with much of our government is anything but apolitical. It just doesn’t have the courage to admit it.

Engle argues that America is in crisis. So do a lot of folks. But then he argues that the only way out is through Jesus. Undoubtedly every political and social crisis has a moral dimension, though to admit that means little. What matters more is to think this logic through: How will we solve political and social crises if we read them through religious lenses? While a universalized, transnational Christianity has its appeal, it doesn’t leave much room for other Americans—or America as a political project. The more I listened to Engle diagnosing America’s problems, the more I thought of old-school Islamists.

Moozlums Allergic To Jesus

Of course, I had come to hear what TheCall would say about Muslims. Engle’s disavowal of any political agenda is, on this point, either evidence of duplicity or naiveté. We are at war in numerous Muslim-majority countries, facing an America in fiscal crisis, fighting a magnificently costly war on terrorism with no defined end, and watching a movement to ban Shari’ah law to save the Constitution while our civil liberties are increasingly challenged. There is no way that any conversation about Islam in America cannot have political implications. Long story short, I’m glad I was wide awake and raptly attentive at 3 a.m.

“Dearborn Awakening” began with a preacher who could not pronounce “Muslim.” He seemed to think it was “Mooz-lum.” I wanted to raise my hand to correct him, but everyone else had his or her hands raised (for different reasons). In the singing, one of the chorus lines was “Gather the remnants/among the Muslims”—a reference to the remnant of Christians remaining during the Tribulation who will evangelize the non-Christians so they will be saved before Jesus’ return. Another speaker clued us in on Jesus’ attitude to the Muslims: “You love them, and there’s nothing they can do about that.” Leave it to TheCall to make love sound alarming, even terrifying.

But the best was yet to come, and his name was Kamal.

Kamal was the reason we were here (and awake). I didn’t know who Kamal was, and would only later learn his identity, although while he was speaking, I suspected he was a fraud. (I’m not the only one who finds Kamal Saleem dubious). Kamal introduced himself as an ex-terrorist, which usually makes me wonder, considering how others have made lucrative careers profiting from ignorance, paranoia, and naïveté. (Imagine how much money I could make as a “former Muslim” on the incestuous right-wing circuit. I’m imagining it right now, and am mildly depressed.)

I’m not saying Kamal Saleem is definitely a fraud; it may simply be that he was raised by one of the dumbest Muslim families in the world.

Kamal claimed that he was raised in “jihad” in Lebanon, and kindly shared the implications with an audience that knew no better. For example, he said, when a Muslim’s blood is first shed in the path of God, he becomes a Messiah. (Unfortunately for Kamal, there is only one Messiah in Islam, and it’s Jesus—who, to take the previous speaker’s logic to its conclusion, loves us even if Lou Engle doesn’t want him to.) Kamal then told us that Islam teaches that there is only one way to go to heaven, and that is war. In fact, he shared many “facts,” the full effect of which was to convince the audience that Islam is purely demonic. Indeed, numerous references were made to “the darkness,” “the enemy,” and “false idols,” oblique enough to avoid outright outrage, but obvious enough to anyone more than half awake.

Stressing his Muslim credentials, Kamal said that one of his uncles was “the holiest of holies,” the Muslim Pope. There is no Muslim Pope, though to be fair, Kamal’s uncle might just have been lying to the poor boy. Kamal then told us that he was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood and the PLO (a secular organization) and went on his first mission into Israel—we’re assuming that this was a military operation—at the age of seven. At the age of eight, he went on his second mission. Years later, when he first met Christians in America, Kamal was repulsed. His initial reaction was: “I’m allergic to Jesus.” (The audience loved this part.) Unfortunately for the supposed former Muslim, nobody taught Kamal that a Muslim who does not honor Jesus is by the consensus of every school in Islam not a Muslim.

Kamal then turned his sharp mind to theology, and distinguished the Muslim concept of God from the Christian, arguing that what Muslims believe in is a false idol. Christians, on the other hand, believe in the true God of love. Nobody told Kamal that one of Islam’s ninety-nine names of God is al-Wadud, the Loving, and that many other names express compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. Pretty much everything Kamal praised about the “Christian” God, short of the Trinity, could easily square with Islam’s understanding of the Divine: God is loving, forgiving, merciful, and personally concerned with us. Kamal closed with his conversion story, and a reminder that since converting, Saudi Arabia, the PLO, and the Muslim Brotherhood had all put a price on his head.

All the friendly diversity from Friday night, the warm and smiley openness, had vanished. Love and freedom were convenient catchphrases justifying the identification of nearly one-quarter of humanity with the demonic. It’s one thing to say that you’d like Muslims to convert to Christianity. Fair enough. Many Muslims want Christians to convert to Islam. It’s another thing to so brazenly misrepresent Islam. Conflicts in the past could be safely broached, but when it came to today’s war on terror, the disingenuousness and ill-spiritedness of choosing a former Muslim with the worst possible perspective on Islam revealed Engle’s agenda and its overlap with fearmongering Islamophobes.

After Kamal, there was mostly prayer and music, and prayerful music, until 6 a.m., at which time the first prayer of the day came in (I prayed at the hotel, just to be safe). Afterwards I took a long nap and came back to TheCall by late morning. But by then much had changed. Ford Field, which at best was half full, was empty and dulled. And it was hard to talk to people. Folks were friendly, but rarely chatty—though to do them justice, most of them were fasting, and probably hadn’t slept the night. The conversations I had with participants and performers were generally rushed. I didn’t want to be too obvious by raising the topic of Islam, and so it never came up.

Meanness of Spirit

Even back at the hotel, I didn’t get much traction. Most folks focused on the intensity of the experience, although my coming all the way from New York intrigued some. While taking a shower on Sunday morning, I heard a man in the room next door passionately scream Jesus’ name, but on reflection, that might have been something else entirely. There wasn’t much else to do, and I wanted the other side of the story. Saturday afternoon, I headed for Dearborn’s giant mosque, the Islamic Center of America, where I spent an hour asking the folks I met what they thought about TheCall. One activist noted that he hadn’t made any initiative to reach out to Engle; as an African American, he noted, he wouldn’t reach out to David Duke. For him, Engle was another piece of the Islamophobia puzzle.

After praying at sundown—the first time, incidentally, I’ve prayed in a Twelver Shi’a mosque (this trip was full of new religious experiences)—I visited a mosque in Rochester Hills, this one mostly South Asian and Sunni, where I was also able to get some local Muslims’ reactions to TheCall. There was of course concern, and some surprise. Many had heard, but many had not. More of the Muslims were more interested in hearing what it was like to be there. I’d live-tweeted TheCall and issued far too many Facebook updates, so some looked for clarification or explanation of certain points. I went back to the hotel by midnight and fell asleep fast, and didn’t begin to reflect on the whole experience until Sunday morning.

I was naturally disheartened, considering that the participants probably thought Kamal Saleem represented Islam. But on the drive to the airport that disappointment lifted. America is in crisis, as Engle warned, but its solution can be intimated in the popular energy that has animated engagement from Wisconsin to Wall Street to Tahrir—on the way to the airport, I drove past Occupy Detroit.

Our imaginations are once more open, as we consider the incompatibilities of unchecked capital and genuine democracy. In this time of reconstructing the way our world works, a polarizing and exclusive religious vision is not particularly relevant. America is also inescapably and increasingly diverse, and its domestic and foreign policy requires finding a method of engagement with difference that is reasonable and respectful.

But there is a more inescapable truth about Engle’s “Dearborn Awakening.” He chose a speaker who lied, obfuscated, and confused. Should any of the participants want to learn more about Islam, if even to bring Jesus to Muslims, they have already heard the worst of the worst. And they’ll quickly find out that Islam is very different from what they were told it is. All the passionate music, jubilation, and spiritual energy cannot hide the meanness of spirit that would perpetrate this kind of fraud.

As much as TheCall prayed for “Jesus to cover Dearborn in light, and cast out the darkness,” Kamal Saleem was the one speaking in the dead of night. Engle should pay more attention to his own moralizing etiology of America’s crisis. Democracy, like a free-market economy, operates on trust, and when that trust is lost, it is very hard to recover. The relationship of the faithful with their leaders is much the same. Those many thousands who were clearly lied to on Saturday morning will find out. Perhaps not immediately. But eventually. And then they’ll begin to wonder what else was a lie.

Be careful, Lou Engle.

Christians Pray for Jesus to Invade Muslims Dreams Before Michigan Becomes an Islamic State

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by loonwatch

Lou Engle wants to convert Muslims by invading their dreams, I guess that beats literally invading their countries. (hat tip: M)

Detroit prayer rally aims to convert Muslims

An evangelical group known a The Call, headed by Lou Engle, is planning a prayer rally at Ford Field in Detroit in Nov. 11 with the goal of converting Muslims before they turn Michigan into an Islamic state.

In a Youtube video, Engle and another pastor, Rick Joyner, say that the event will use prayer to send dreams of Jesus to the Muslims and convert them:

Joyner: One of the things Detroit has become known for in our nation is the largest Muslim community in our nation, and Dearborn, it’s growing. Many havesaid there actually is an attempt to make Michigan our first Muslim state…. You cannot understand our modern world today without understanding Islam, and the Lord called them hypocrites who did not know the Signs of the Times. We need to know and understand this issue, we have to. And Islam is in our face, everywhere we return. And here, in America, this is the one place where it is most in our face, right now…

Engle: At 11-11-11 the Lord just clearly showed to us, you got to pray all night long because it’s when the Muslims sleep and all over the world right now Muslims in the night are having dreams of Jesus, we believe that God wants to invade with His love Dearborn with dreams of Jesus. We’re gathering together to say God, pour out your grace and revelations of Jesus all over Dearborn and the Muslim communities of North and South America.

Joyner and Engle were also two of the primary movers behind Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer rally in Houston in early August.

Fake Ex-Terrorist Kamal Saleem Trying to Swindle Michiganians

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by loonwatch

We exposed the fraud known as “Kamal Saleem,” two years ago in our article, “Three Stooges Coming to a Campus Near You!”

Loonwatchers in Michigan and elsewhere should not stand for this fakery. They should take action and lodge complaints with their senators and congressional representatives. No longer should those who are clearly out to make a buck while trafficking in hate and lies be given a free pass.

Self-declared ‘former terrorist’ speaks at Agema rally

(Michigan Press)

The appearance of a man who claims to be a reformed terrorist at a rally against illegal immigration at the Capitol building in Lansing is raising questions both about the accuracy of his story and the propriety of his invitation to speak.

Kamal Saleem of Berkley spoke at the rally and testified before the House Commerce Committee supporting legislation introduced by Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) that would require contractors for the state and temporary agencies to use E-Verify, a federal system to verify a person’s immigration status.

E-Verify is a federal program that has been found to return false denials, resulting in people losing jobs. The legislation was tabled by the Commerce Committee for a second time.

“I came to the United States of America not to love you all. I came to be — exactly — to destroy this country as a terrorist. We crossed the Canadian border. We brought weapon caches right through cities, through Windsor,” Saleem told attendees. “This is what is all happening by allowing illegals in here to come through our borders and become a part of our country. They can become legal terrorists in your hometown to kill your children, and your grandchildren and your future as we know it.”

Saleem claims that he was a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization as well as the Muslim Brotherhood when he came to the U.S. in 1979 “for the first time.” He said the E-Verify system was important to prevent future terror attacks on American soil.

“This (E-Verify) will not allow people like me to come to this country to destroy it and would allow the American people to legally work and have their freedom in this country,” he said.

For Calvin College history professor Douglas Howard, there is much to doubt about the claim to have been a former terrorist. Howard researched Saleem’s background in 2007 when the Calvin College Republican Club invited him to present at the conservative Christian college. Howard said that as an expert in Middle East history, his department tasked him with reviewing Saleem’s credentials and advising the department on whether or not it should co-sponsor the event.

“I concluded this person is a fraud,” Howard says.

Howard tried to get the appearance canceled but it was too late in the process.

In a 2010 Books and Culture: A Christian Review article about Saleem’s book “The Blood of the Lambs,” Howard explains how he first came to question Saleem’s story.

A look at his website told me immediately that he was not who he said he was. The signature of his deception was his statement that “in my family was the Grand Wazir of Islam.” The term is ridiculous, a spurious title meant to mislead the innocent with an aura of authority.

In the conclusion of that article — in which he calls Saleem a fraud and deconstructs errors in his book — Howard writes of Saleem’s book:

“It is insulting to be told that we have to look down the barrel of a gun to see life’s inner meaning, or that only a killer can really understand Islam. Authentic experience comes when we see a man or a woman before we see a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew; when we hear a human voice before we hear ‘a thick Middle Eastern accent’; when the person next to us on the plane is a young man—with a father and a mother waiting for him—before he is a Nigerian or an American. Anything else leads down the road toward extremism. Although Kamal Saleem has forsaken much, he has evidently not yet forsaken that.”

Howard says that while he was doing research on Saleem, he called a former employer. He did not name the employer during the interview with Michigan Messenger, however, he identifies the employer as Focus on the Family in Books and Culture review.

“He claimed to have been a former football player, a placekicker for Barry Switzer (former coach of the University of Oklahoma football program) and claimed that he won a game in the last three seconds with a field goal,” Howard recalled Focus on the Family staff telling him. The problem? No such game existed and while Saleem makes a big deal about hiding his real name, Focus on the Family staff referred to him by his given name — allowing Howard to check Oklahoma rosters.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation reported in 2008 on Saleem’s history:

Kamal Saleem, whose real name is Khodor Shami, worked for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network for sixteen years, and was hired by Focus on the Family in 2003. In 2006, he launched Koome Ministries, whose mission is to “expose the true agenda of [Muslims] who would deceive our nation and the free nations of the world… America must wake-up and set a continued Christian agenda of Liberty and Truth as a standard to follow throughout the free world.”

Focus on the Family staff expressed discomfort with Saleem, Howard said, particularly with his claims of Christian conversion. Saleem alleges that he was in a near fatal car wreck, but Christians cared for him, taking him into their home and provided for him while he healed. That he says lead to his conversion. In an interview with Pat Robertson 700 Club TV show, Saleem says he called out for Allah to answer him, and when he didn’t he decided to kill himself for questioning his faith. At that moment, Saleem claims, the Christian God came to him. Robertson is transfixed by this tale.

Saleem has never identified what city or state this near fatal accident occurred in, nor has he ever identified the Christian doctor who allegedly gave him refuge and helped him pay his bills while he was recovering.

The history professor says that Saleem’s claim on Tuesday to have smuggled weapons into the U.S. is new. “It sounds like he is upping the ante,” Howard said.

The story Saleem tells is bewitching, Howard admits.

“It preys on people’s lack of information and their worries and their fears and their wanting to find a way to justify their own attitudes toward Islam and Middle East policy,” Howard says. “There’s a market out there that wants Kamal Saleem’s story to be true.”

And Saleem is not alone in this new, post 9-11 market. He has appeared with another well known former terrorist, Walid Shoebat. Shoebat was recently the subject of an investigation by CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 show. That investigation raised questions about the veracity of Shoebat’s claims to being a former terrorist.

Boyd, the DOJ National Security spokesman, declined to discuss the concerns about Saleem’s accuracy.

“Further, we have no comment on whether Mr. Saleem’s other statements are accurate or not,” he said.

Maria Elena Garcia Upson, spokesperson for the Citizenship and Immigration Services, would not comment on Saleem’s case specifically, citing privacy rules. But she did comment in general about alleged ex-terrorists receiving American citizenship.

“Well obviously it would be a concern in general, but we are not the enforcement arm, you will have to talk to Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” Upson said.

An ICE spokesperson did not return inquires by press time.

Others are arguing that if Saleem’s story is true, that raises even more questions both about his citizenship and his appearance at the rally.

“If Representative Agema recruited as a speaker an admitted terrorist who says he brought weapons into the United States my first question is why this guy isn’t in custody or in jail? And why was Mr. Saleem allowed to become a United States citizen?” asks David Holtz, executive director of Progress Michigan. “In trying to make a point about illegal immigration, Dave Agema instead makes you question his judgment and sanity. Perhaps the FBI should be invited to future Agema events since he may decide he needs more terrorists to deliver his talking points.”

State Rep. Rashida Talib (D-Detroit) went even further.

“I am unforgiving for any terrorist,” Talib said in exclusive interview with Michigan Messenger. “He should be deported for that. And you can quote me on that.”

Agema defends Saleem.

“What happened with Kamal is totally different,” Agema says of the reformed terrorist. Agema says following his conversion to Christianity, Saleem helped the federal government track down terror cells in the U.S., a claim that could not be verified.

“As a general rule, the Justice Department does not publicly comment on whether or not someone has provided assistance to the U.S. government in counter-terrorism operations,” said Dean Boyd, spokesman for the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, when asked what role, if any, Saleem had played in uncovering terror plots in the U.S.

Howard also called Agema out over Saleem’s appearance and testimony.

“It is really unfortunate that Rep. Agema has decided to align himself with this kind of cynical opportunism,” he said. “That is unbelievable that he could testify before a House committee.”

Another anti-Islam protest comes to Dearborn

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2011 by loonwatch

Another anti-Islam protest comes to Dearborn

Another protest over what organizers call “radical strains” of Islam is planned on Saturday in front of Dearborn City Hall.

The Order of the Dragon, a pro-Israeli group, is planning the 3 p.m. demonstration to call attention to the “implementation of Sharia” or Islamic law in some court rulings, said Frank Fiorello, the head of the group’s Michigan chapter.

“We have a lot of people worried about Sharia creeping into family court,” said Fiorello, a Marlette resident. “There are 23 different jurisdictions where Sharia is being implemented in family court.” Fiorello did not provide specifics, but said there are recent cases in Ann Arbor District Court.

Other groups participating in the rally include the American Defense League, ACT! For America and David Horowitz’s Freedom Center’s Palestinian Wall of Lies, Fiorello said.

Fiorello, a Detroit native, was scheduled to host controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ protest in Dearborn on April 22 but Fiorello backed off his protest after meeting with Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly and a member of an interfaith group.

Jones ended up protesting a week later after being ordered by a Dearborn district judge that he would have to post a peace bond if he wanted to protest outside the Islamic Center of America on Good Friday.

Fiorello also said he backed away from Jones after a difference of option about how the protest should be handled. ”We’re not wanting to be involved in shock tactics,” said Fiorello. “That is not our route.”

Jones, meanwhile, has planned to protest against “radical Islam” at the Arab American International Festival in Dearborn next month.

Detroit News, 25 May 2011

Roger Stockham Arrested With Explosives Outside Major U.S. Mosque

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

Roger Stockham Arrested With Explosives Outside Major U.S. Mosque

DETROIT — A 63-year-old Southern California man who was traveling with explosives in his vehicle with the intention of blowing up one of the nation’s largest mosques where mourners had gathered for a funeral was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan authorities said Sunday.

Dearborn police said Roger Stockham was arraigned Wednesday on one count of making a false report or threat of terrorism and one count of possessing explosives with an unlawful intent. Stockham had a large but undisclosed quantity of class-C fireworks including M-80s, which are outlawed in Michigan, Chief Ronald Haddad said.

“I was comfortable with the fact that we had taken him off the street – he isn’t going anywhere,” Haddad told The Associated Press Sunday afternoon. “I think the society he wanted to impact is safe.”

Haddad said Stockham was arrested Monday evening without incident in the parking lot of Islamic Center of America, while a large group was gathered inside. He said police received a 911 call from a resident.

Haddad said authorities believe Stockham was acting alone but still take him “very seriously.” He said Stockham has “a long history of anti-government activities,” though he declined to elaborate.

The chief said he called the mosque leader, Imam Hassan al-Qazwini, early Tuesday to let him know of the arrest, and later met with Qazwini and mosque board members. He said members shared concerns about copycat crimes if the arrest was publicized, and Haddad said he understood.

“We never want to put something out there that gives someone the ‘how-to,’” Haddad said.

Qazwini informed worshippers about the incident during his sermon on Friday. The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter issued a news release Saturday night and the police followed Sunday morning.

Stockham remained jailed Sunday on a $500,000 bond. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Friday.

Police didn’t know whether Stockham had an attorney. A public records search did not turn up a listed number for Stockham, though Haddad said he lives in Imperial Beach, near San Diego.

Dearborn, located about 10 miles west of Detroit, is the capital of the Detroit area’s Arab-American community, which is one of the largest in the U.S.


Blogger Schlussel renames organization after CAIR lawsuit

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by loonwatch
Schlussel’s Gained a few pounds

Update on the eccentric has-been’s trademark infringement trial.

Blogger Schlussel renames organization after CAIR lawsuit

Free Press Staff Writer

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has won a partial victory in its trademark infringement lawsuit against lawyer and conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel.

During the weekend, Schlussel renamed the identically named organization she created last year to Council of American-Israel Relations to head off a legal battle with CAIR, the nation’s largest Islamic civil rights group.

Because of that, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn declined Monday to formally order Schlussel to stop using CAIR’s full name. He also refused to prevent her from using CAIR’s acronym in Internet domain names she created.

He said he would review that issue in the coming weeks if CAIR pursues it.

“We largely got what we wanted,” CAIR attorney Gadeir Abbas said after the hearing in federal court in Detroit. He said he would file court papers within 10 days in hopes of stopping Schlussel from using CAIR in her Internet domain names.

Schlussel’s lawyer also claimed victory.

“They didn’t get anything they wanted,” said attorney Andrew Kochanowski. “They wanted a restraining order and they didn’t get it.”

CAIR sued Schlussel last week, saying she stole the group’s name and trademark last year by creating identically named organizations in Michigan.

It accused her of using the name to cause confusion among CAIR supporters and to siphon off its charitable donations.

Schlussel countered that CAIR gave up its right to the name by failing since 2001 to file legally required reports with the State of Michigan.

Schlussel told one of her Web site followers that she registered CAIR’s name and named herself executive director “to drive the Muslims crazy.”

CAIR says Schlussel spews anti-Islamic hatred on her Web site, . She says she exposes the intolerance of Islam and how it infringes on the American way of life.

Contact David Ashenfelter: