Archive for Missouri

The Silence of Others: Exploring Islamophobia Through Images

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2011 by loonwatch
Members of a role-play team after their act at a local community event in London, on June 26, 2011. The play explored many problems that young Muslims face (right) and how they can live a better life by following the examples of ancient Islamic leaders (left).Members of a role-play team after their act at a local community event in London, on June 26, 2011. The play explored many problems that young Muslims face (right) and how they can live a better life by following the examples of ancient Islamic leaders (left).

To view all the images click on the link right below:

The Silence of Others: Exploring Islamophobia Through Images 

By Jared T. Miller

“Osama! Osama!”— yelled a pair of complete strangers, as photographer Bharat Choudhary walked to his apartment from the University of Missouri campus in 2009, where the photographer was pursuing a Master’s degree in photojournalism. Islamophobia is a personal issue for Choudhary, who is an Indian Hindu.

“I had a big beard at that time,” adds Choudhary, who used the incident as inspiration for his current project, which documents Muslim life in the United States and England. Titled The Silence of Others, the series captures similar situations and their effects on the project’s participants, as well as the lives of young Muslims and the communities to which they belong.

Choudhary traces the origins of the idea back to his time as a student in India, where he worked with CARE India in Ahmadabad in 2004. The organization provided rehabilitation to victims of ethnically charged violence, who lost limbs or were paralyzed in the 2002 riots in the Indian state of Gujarat. The images he saw there formed an experience that Choudhary says “will always be there with me.”

He began working on the project in the Midwest, where he documented stories in small towns across Missouri and Illinois, as well as larger cities like Chicago. Choudhary is continuing the second phase of the project in England, broadening the geographic reach of the body of work and expanding it as a platform to help Muslims and non-Muslims understand each other.

Though the growing body of work represents a variety of life stories—a Missouri couple’s efforts to establish the state’s first Mosque, a Caucasian woman’s conversion to Islam and the development of Muslim communities in Chicago, London and elsewhere—Choudhary says he has found similar themes of alienation and ostracism of his “Others” on both sides of the Atlantic. But it’s precisely the challenge of breaking through their silence that captivates Choudhary and pushes him to continue the project.

“It’s finding the right kind of people who would be willing to talk and be photographed—that is one thing that keeps me awake all night,” Choudhary says. “It’s been quite an interesting journey so far.”

Bharat Choudhary is a photographer based in London, England. The Silence of Others is currently supported by a grant from the Alexia Foundation for World Peace and Cultural Understanding. Select images are on display at ”Moving Walls 19,” an exhibition opening at the Soros Foundation in New York on Dec. 1.

Action Required: Mayor Don Reimal Invites Bigoted Fake Ex-Terrorist Kamal Saleem to Speak

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2011 by loonwatch

Loonwatchers action is required! For some reason “Kamal Saleem” has been invited by Mayor Don Reimal of Independence, MO to speak at his Prayer Breakfast.

An Interfaith group from Independence has called the Mayor out on his selection of Saleem:

An inappropriate speaker for Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Independence

Independence, MO —An open letter to Independence Mayor Don Reimal.

The purpose of this letter is to address the selection of Kamal Saleem as the guest speaker for this year’s Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.

It is the opinion of the Interfaith Progressives of Independence that Mr. Saleem is a poor choice for this community event. Mr. Saleem’s message is one of division and fear. He paints Islam as a religion bent on world domination and violence. We don’t understand how this message is appropriate for our community.

On his own website (Kamalsaleem.com), one can find him stating things such as this: “there are people coming here (USA) who want to convert the stars on the American flag into crescents.” (www.kamalsaleem.com)

Mayor Reimal, we find such sentiments to be inappropriate for the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. It is important that civic events be welcoming to all people in Independence.

The Interfaith Progressives of Independence believe it is important that all our Muslim, Jewish, atheist and other citizenry are treated with respect. In our opinion, the choice of Mr. Saleem is disrespectful to our non-fundamentalist Christian residents.

Rev. Brian Morse
Mark Matzeder
Michele Yancey Bigler
Terry Flowers
Paul Neidlinger
Michele Spillman
Interfaith Progressives of Independence

Lets show solidarity with the Interfaith organization and contact the Mayor to let him know that Kamal Saleem is a very poor selection for the Prayer Breakfast.

Phone: (816) 325-7027
Home Phone: (816) 461-6044
Fax: (816) 325-7012
E-mail: dreimal@indepmo.org

Here is some info to share with him on Kamal Saleem:

The Three Stooges Coming to a Campus Near You!

Kamal Saleem Still Selling His Fake Ex-Muslim Story

Fake Ex-Terrorist Kamal Saleem Trying to Swindle Michiganians

Kamal Saleem: Fake “Ex-Terrorist” Wants Sharia’ Banned in Missouri

Update:

The Mayor as of now is sticking by his choice of Saleem:

Despite several pleas to Mayor Don Reimal’s office to reconsider the choice for the Independence Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast keynote speaker in two weeks, the selection committee’s unanimous choice for a presenter remains in place.

A chaplain in the Missouri National Guard also emailed Reimal and said he would no longer attend the breakfast because of the speaker choice. That person, Reimal said, represents the only cancellation – to his knowledge – based solely on the selection of a speaker.

Kamal Saleem: Fake “Ex-Terrorist” Wants Sharia’ Banned in Missouri

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2011 by loonwatch
Kamal Saleem looks scared

The last time we visited the “Grand Wazir” Kamal Saleem it was for our “Three Stooges” piece about the profound loonieness of the “ex-terrorist” racket which consists of a bunch of middle aged men whose only claim to fame is that they speak Arabic. Their personal bios are all uncorroborated and in many instances have been shown to be outright false, filled with logical inconsistencies, blatantly based in Evangelical polemics, horrendously racist, hysterical and genocidal.

Now a days Kamal is trying to pass himself off as an expert to the Missouri legislature, unfortunately in the following piece “St.Louis Today” takes Saleem’s story at face value without questioning it or corroborating it,

Former terrorist urges legislators to ban Sharia law in courts

(STL.Today)

A former terrorist, Kalam Saleem, phoned in to a House committee today, urging legislators to ban Sharia law in state courts.

Saleem was formerly associated with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and later with Saddam Hussein, according to the biography he offered by phone to members of the House Judiciary Committee.

During the call, he offered support for a bill sponsored by Rep. Don Wells, R-Cabool, which proposes changing the state constitution to block courts from making decisions based on foreign laws – specifically Sharia law, the religious code of Islam.

Saleem, who now practices Christianity, said that Sharia law should not be allowed in state courts because it is restrictive and oppressive, and that it discriminates against women and homosexuals.

Wells took a similar stance, if a less subtle one: That Islamic law is a dangerous influence on secular judicial proceedings.

“This is to protect the people of America,” Wells said of his bill.

He went on to compare Sharia law to a disease, like polio. Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, stopped him to confirm.

“Sharia law is like polio?” Kander asked.

“Absolutely, as far as I’m concerned in this country,” Wells responded.

Kander, who spent time in Afghanistan gathering intelligence for the military, said he found that “offensive.”

Wells’ bill is one of two measures currently under consideration by the Judiciary Committee that would ban foreign laws in Missouri courts.

The reality about Kamal Saleem is that he doesn’t know much about Islam and most likely is involved in fraud, as we wrote then,

Kamal Saleem claim’s to be the descendant of someone called the “The Grand Wazir of Islam,” which  Hedges points out is ”a title and a position that do not exist in the Arab world.” It can be further noted that the religion of Islam has no clerical hierarchy similar to the Catholic Church with defined positions such as the Pope, Bishops, Priests, etc. Kamal’s blooper in his bio is either a result of an ignorance of Islam and its structure or an attempt to manipulate the ignorance of his audience.

I can see Kamal’s claim to fame running out soon, kinda like the disgraced pastor Ergun Caner. A website by the name http://www.muslimwatch.com, a project of CAIR-Michigan has more analysis on Kamal’s story and why it doesn’t add up (hat tip: Daveed):

Saleem claims to be from a Lebanese Sunni Muslim family, which is a descendant of the “Grand Wazir of Islam,” and that he was a terrorist with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).Furthermore, Saleem states that his terrorism affiliation with the PLO inspired by Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood ended after receiving the “Holy Ghost” and accepting Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him) in his life. Saleem’s story like his other wannabe “ex-terrorist” comrades, however, just does not add up.

For starters as author Chris Hedges points out, there is no such title as the “Grand Wazir of Islam.”Saleem’s “Grand Wazir” lineage claim is also bizarre due to the fact that the adjective “grand” would not be used in front of the term wazir (advisor) to begin with. Even the title “Grand Wazir” was not bestowed upon Aaron (Peace Be Upon Him), who was a prophet and the wazir of Moses (Peace Be Upon Him) according to the Qur’an!

It’s also very interesting that Saleem claims to have been a terrorist inspired by Islam as a member of the secular, Marxist influenced PLO, whose long time executive committee member and long time spokeswoman, Hanan Ashrawi, was a Christian. Saleem wants us to believe that Ashrawi, George Habash and the countless others from Christian backgrounds in the secular PLO were also inspired by Islam as he claims was his “terrorist” motive in dealing with the pesky problem of illegal Israeli occupation.

Furthermore the Muslim Brotherhood, who Saleem claims he had dual affiliation with, was averse to the secular, Marxist leaning PLO during the time that he claimed to have been a member. In fact, it is also well known that the Muslim Brotherhood inspired Hamas was supported by Israel to be an “Islamist” counter to the secular PLO/Fatah. To this day, Hamas and the PLO have been at odds with each other to the point of killing each other in the streets of Palestine in recent years. Hence, Saleem’s claim of being an “Islamist” terrorist in the PLO while having felicity to the Muslim Brotherhood is utterly preposterous.

The reality is that Saleem has made a nice career for himself collecting honorariums, writing a book and getting exposure from the hyper-Islamophobic Aramaic Broadcasting Network (ABN) since the tragedy of 9/11. If he were indeed an “ex-terrorist,” I’m sure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would have deported him by now for fraud because people with terrorism ties cannot get entry visas much less obtain American citizenship. And the FBI does not simply let “ex-terrorists” walk the streets because they claim to have received the “Holy Ghost” without detaining them for questioning. Changing idelogies does not absolve persons under American law from terrorism ties that they admit to.

The unfortunate part about Saleem’s bogus career is not his snake oil peddling but that there are so many individuals who do not care about the truth and lack intellectual honest that provide him a platform.

Missouri: Vandalism at Islamic Center costly to clear

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2011 by loonwatch

A strange sort of hate crime in Missouri. Spencer is probably scratching his head, “Islamophobia, what Islamophobia?”

Vandalism at Islamic Center costly to clear

(News-Leader)

A spokesman for the Islamic Center of Springfield says removing the graffiti left on the group’s building late Friday or early Saturday could cost $1,000 to have sandblasted off.

Joseph Pollpeter said the graffiti was discovered on three outside walls when members showed up for the 6 a.m. prayer Saturday morning. Those who attended prayer Friday night did not see any.

Pollpeter said he contacted the Springfield police, as well as the FBI. He believes the messages constitute a hate crime.

He described graffiti left on the building at 2151 East Division St. as including: a phallic symbol near the door where women enter; phrases saying “gay insurrection,” “gay is ok” and a reference to Allah being gay; profane four-letter words; and the words “You bash us in Pakistan we bash you here;” a pentangle; and a Star of David.

“I don’t know if the people happened to be gay or bisexual or not, or if they were just using terms to be insulting,” said Pollpeter. “There is no one we have our fingers pointed at. We are on good terms with all our neighbors.”