Archive for Muslim Brotherhood

Caner K. Dagli: Did the Muslim Brotherhood invent the term “Islamophobia”?

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by loonwatch

Academic, Caner K. Dagli debunks another myth:

Did the Muslim Brotherhood invent the term “Islamophobia”?

by Caner K. Dagli

(Updated below)

Today in NRO Andrew McCarthy writes:

“Islamophobia” was coined by the Muslim Brotherhood and seamlessly adopted by its Western confederates.

One of the common means by which the anti-Muslim agitators like to undercut attempts to expose them is to pretend that the term “Islamophobia” was invented by nefarious Muslims. In so doing they hope to create the impression that the actual phenomenon is simply imaginary.

The term was used by the Runnymede Trust in the U.K. back in 1992, in a report entitled A Very Light Sleeper, which then led to a report, also by Runnymede, entitled, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, in 1997. Christopher Allen points outthat it was used in the U.S. in Insight in 1991, but somewhat differently from the way the term is employed today.

The single piece of evidence that Islamophobes cite that “the Muslim Brotherhood” coined this term comes from the personal recollection of one Abdur Rahman Muhammad:

Muhammad said he was present when his then- allies, meeting at the offices of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Northern Virginia years ago, coined the term “Islamophobia.”

Muhammad said the Islamists decided to emulate the homosexual activists who used the term “homophobia” to silence critics. He said the group meeting at IIIT saw “Islamophobia” as a way to “beat up their critics.”

That quote comes from CT huckster Stephen Emerson‘swebsite. Let us assume that this account is completely true. Even on this man’s account, IIIT decided to make use of the term “Islamophobia”, like many have in the last decade. Note the absence of a date, or any kind of corroboration. Also note that IIIT is not the Muslim Brotherhood. And note that the term pre-dates 9/11 by almost ten years.

Claire Berlinski gave this myth some life in 2010, and bears some responsibility for it.

Of course, it is only one small detail in the overall paranoia-inducing fantasy that all (that is, every last one) of the mainstream American Muslim organizations are “fronts” for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Update (May 21):

Some have sent me notes indicating even earlier usage in English and also in other languages such as French (though I don’t see these as being exactly continuous with the use of the term these days). My point was not to determine the first usage of the term, but simply to point out how phony it is to pretend it was invented by “the Muslim Brotherhood”. I put the latter in scare quotes because as used by Islamophobes it’s not meant to be precise or to refer to some actually existing organization with a discernible structure. It is meant to sound ominous and scary.

More ‘Anti-Islam’ Courses at US Military, AlJazeera Reveals

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2012 by loonwatch

AlJazeera uncovered another “anti-Islam” class in the US military. The class seems to have been lifted directly from the talking points of extremists such as Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer:

US Military Under Fire for ‘Anti-Islam Class’

(AlJazeera)

The United States military has called for a review of all its training classes after receiving criticism for a course taught to senior officers that allegedly encouraged war against Islam.

The controversial class presented slides that accused dozens of Islamic groups, many widely recognised as mainstream advocacy groups, of infiltrating the US media, education system, government and military.

One slide titled “The Muslim Brotherhood and Violence” showed a photo of an al-Qaeda beheading, erroneously conflating the two groups.

Through the slides and other presentations, the course created a picture of a US government co-opted by subversive Muslim elements.

Al Jazeera’s Josh Rushing reports from Washington.

Egypt’s Coptic Pope Celebrates Christmas with Call for Unity

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2012 by loonwatch
Coptic ChristmasEgypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church holds Christmas mass at the Abassiya Cathedral in Cairo. Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA

The Islamophobes would like nothing more than strife and disunity between Muslims and Copts in Egypt. Much to their dismay however Pope Shenouda calls for unity in the country.

Egypt’s Coptic pope celebrates Christmas with call for unity

David Shariatmadari and Damien Pearse (The Guardian)

As Coptic Christians celebrated their first Christmas after the Egyptian revolution, their pope called for national unity amid fears that their community will suffer under Islamic majority rule.

Copts, who use of a 13-month calendar dating back to pharaonic times, celebrated Christmas Day on Saturday.

At the start of the festive celebrations in Egypt, prominent figures from across the political spectrum, including leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and members of the ruling military council, attended Friday night mass at Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral.

The Coptic pope, Shenouda III, commended their presence and appealed for national unity for “the sake of Egypt”. He said:

For the first time in the history of the cathedral, it is packed with all types of Islamist leaders in Egypt. They all agree … on the stability of this country, and in loving it and working for it, and to work with the Copts as one hand for the sake of Egypt.

The call for unity follows an escalation in violence against the Christian minority, an estimated 10% of Egypt’s 85 million people, over the past year.

Many Christians blamed a series of street clashes, assaults on churches and other attacks on radical Islamists who have become increasingly bold after Mubarak’s downfall.

The Coptic church traces its origins to 50 years after the death of Christ, when Mark the Evangelist took the gospel to the pagan city of Alexandria.

British Copts, expatriate members of the Egyptian denomination, have also expressed their concerns over the events of the Arab spring.

“Because of the problems in the last 12 months, overall attendance every Sunday has increased significantly,” said Nabil Raphael, a GP who has lived in London for the past 35 years. He is a regular at St Mark’s church in Kensington. “Whenever there are problems in the mother church, people naturally get more interested and attend more regularly.”

Christmas services took place across Britain, with centres of worship in London, Hertfordshire, Birmingham, Newcastle and Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

As families gathered for the late-night church services marking Christmas Eve, there was a sense of nervousness, as well as joy. “Last year started horrifically for us,” said Egyptian-born Bishop Angaelos, who is based at the Coptic Centre, a manor house on the outskirts of Stevenage, Hertfordshire. “Just as we were going into new year celebrations we heard about the bombing.”

The 1 January 2011 attack outside al-Qiddissine church in Alexandria, the worst sectarian violence in Egypt for more than a decade, left 23 dead.

Attacks on the community continued after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, prompting thousands of Copts to take to the streets in protest that no culprits had been brought to justice. The military violently quashed the most recent demonstration in October, leaving 27 dead and provoking further outrage.

“At the beginning [of the revolution] there was a great euphoria, a sense of hope for the future,” said Angaelos. “The problem is that because of the lack of law and order, you then had a lot of extremism. We saw in the past 10 months more attacks on Christians and churches than over the past two years before that.”

Amir Michaeel, 26, saw the revolution as a moment of hope for the country, which he left aged 12 when his father came to the UK to work. But he is concerned by the emergence of more organised Islamic parties.

Raphael is more categorical. “There is real concern about the likelihood of harsher treatment for the Copts if radical Islam is to rule Egypt.”

Bishop Angaelos said the community had no issue with a Muslim majority government as long as the rights of Copts were protected: “What we want is a government which represents everyone in the country, not just one sector over another.”

It Didn’t Take Long for the anti-Muslims to Link the “Occupy Protests” to a Muslim Brotherhood Conspiracy

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch

Tom Trento believes the Muslim Brotherhood is behind “Occupy Orlando.” Just watch him in the video below stretching and trying to grasp at anything to come up with his absurd conspiracy theory.

Trento and his friends seem like stalkers. It’s also quite funny how he passes off the “Rifqa Bary” case as a victory when in fact none of the objectives that he and his friends, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer wished to achieve were actualized. The whole Rifqa Bary episode was a colossal and humiliating defeat for the Islamophobes.

Hasner ally says Muslim Brotherhood is behind Occupy Orlando

By | 10.17.11 | 1:56 pm

In a video clip and blog post published today, a right-wing activist with ties to GOP Senate candidate Adam Hasner alleges that Occupy Orlando, a Central Florida group that has sprung up in solidarity with the New York-based Occupy Wall Street movement, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Occupy Orlando held its first event this past weekend, beginning its “occupation” at Senator Beth Johnson Park, outside of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce, at 8 a.m. Saturday.

In a recent post on the website for The United West, an anti-”Shariah Islam” organization, the group’s director, Tom Trento claims that his team found what they consider evidence that the Occupy Wall Street-inspired group in Orlando is part of a “move by a Muslim activist to take over control of ‘Occupy Orlando,’ in the ‘spirit of the Arab Spring.’”

Trento writes:

For those with eyes to see, ears to hear and a wee bit of cranial activity, the jury is in, the facts are known and the words “Arab Spring,” are synonyms for “Muslim Brotherhood.” Though there is strong evidence for the Ikhwan’s involvement initiating the various revolutions in Egypt and the northern Maghreb, it is indisputable that the Brothers are exploiting the incoherent chaos in these countries and taking a leadership role either overtly or through compliant proxies to move toward a shariah-compliant state. In the spirit of Rahm Emanuel, the Muslim Brotherhood will never let a good crisis go to waste.

As The United West video teams circulated (overtly and covertly) through hundreds of protestors at “Occupy Orlando, “ I was informed that a Muslim activist lawyer with whom  we had confrontations in the past, was at this demonstration. Though it has been two years, we could never forget the easily-agitated, Mr. Shayan Elahi. Yes, Orlando, this is the same Muslim who lost a race in 2010 to become a Judge.

After Elahi’s second try at “intimidating” us (yes, it was comical) it became obvious to us that he was not just an observer at this event but a participant…and then it all came together. Shaya Elahi is the leader (of the leaderless) Occupy Orlando! It turns out that he is the “official” legal counsel for this movement and indeed one of the key people, if not the main person calling the shots!

Once we watched Shayan Elahi in action, running around, signing up speakers, providing direction, telling people what to do, we started to connect the dots to the stated Face Book Mission Statement of “Occupy Orlando,” which reads, “…we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America.”

In his post, Trento asks United West supporters if they think Elahi “is looking for a place to mark up his first win by coopting a incoherent movement primarily made up of ‘hippies and anarchists’ so that he can build a political base for his Islamic goals?”

Groups that have sprung up in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street have, for the most part, been leaderless — much like the original movement. Occupy Orlando’s Facebook page describes itself as a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions.”

A recent press release from Occupy Orlando states that there were “approximately 200 speakers and more than 1,500 participants spanning across many political and generational spectrums gathered to share dialogues ranging from pro-life to dismantling the federal reserve” at the event.

As Trento mentioned, he and Elahi have had run-ins in the past. Elahi was an attorney for Rifqa Bary’s parents after she separated herself from her Muslim parents in Ohio as a minor when she converted to Christianity. Trento, along with other anti-Islam activists in Florida, fought in the legal battle to keep Bary in the state and away from her parents.

During an interview in Trento’s video, Elahi pulls aside one of the frustrated protesters Trento is talking to and tells her, “He is one of the biggest bigots in town.” Elahi also turns to Trento and calls him a “racist bigot.”

GOP Senate hopeful Adam Hasner has called Trento a “good friend” and was among the group of Florida activists that tried to keep Bary in Florida. He and Trento founded the Florida Security Council together in 2008; that group eventually expanded to become The United West.

Watch Trento’s “investigation” for yourself:

Justice Department Official: Muslim ‘Juries’ Threaten ‘Our Values’

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2011 by loonwatch

My favorite Spencer, Spencer Ackerman once again has the scoop. It turns out that “FBI Intelligence analysts weren’t the only ones teaching their colleagues that the U.S. is at war with the Islamic religion,” Justice Department officials and the military were in on the game as well.

They are using the trope pushed by Islamophobes that there is a “civilizational jihad” between Islam and the West. We note Tarek Masoud’s comments at a House hearing regarding this Islamophobic talking point in our article, Sue Myrick’s Muslim Brotherhood Hearing.

Justice Department Official: Muslim ‘Juries’ Threaten ‘Our Values’

by Spencer Ackerman (Wired.com)

A slide from a 2010 PowerPoint prepared by Justice Department intelligence analyst John Marsh

FBI intelligence analysts weren’t the only ones teaching their colleagues that the U.S. is at war with the Islamic religion. Justice Department officials — and even teachers at the Army’s top intellectual center — are delivering similar messages.

Danger Room has acquired a 2010 PowerPoint presentation compiled by an intelligence analyst working for the U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Reminiscent of FBI training materials exposed by Danger Room in September, the PowerPoint warns of a “Civilizational Jihad” stretching back from the dawn of Islam and waged today in the U.S. by “civilians, juries, lawyers, media, academia and charities” who threaten “our values.” The goal of that war: “Replacement of American Judeo-Christian and Western liberal social, political and religious foundations by Islam.”

When Danger Room questioned the Justice Department about the briefing, it issued a statement pledging to join the FBI in scrubbing its counterterrorism training for signs of material that equate average Muslims with terrorists.

“To ensure that Justice Department standards are upheld,” the statement reads, “the Department has today instructed all components and U.S. Attorney’s Offices to review all training materials and presentations provided by Justice Department personnel to ensure that any material presented is consistent with the Department’s standards, goals and instructions.”

But the Justice Department is hardly alone in hosting bigoted and counterproductive counterterrorism training. Even if federal prosecutors and FBI agents no longer go through such instruction, Danger Room has learned that anti-Islam training material has spread into the military. Some of the Islamophobic presenters hired by the FBI also lecture at premiere schools for military intelligence; at an online university favored by students seeking jobs in U.S. intelligence agencies and with affiliated contractors; and even at the Army’s intellectual center, Fort Leavenworth.

In other words, what the FBI once told Danger Room was an isolated incident — occurring one time in one lecture session — has spread throughout numerous government agencies over the years.

And in addition to being dubious as a matter of civil rights, experts say that the training places U.S. counterterrorism efforts at risk. “Boneheaded is a generous way to describe this training,” says counterterrorism analyst Jarret Brachman, author of Global Jihadism: Theory and Practice. “I’d lean more towards hateful, paranoid and completely counterproductive.”

Another slide from a 2010 PowerPoint prepared by Justice Department intelligence analyst John Marsh

The presentation in question is the work of John Marsh, a self-described “intelligence specialist” working for the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Titled “21st Century Terrorism: History, Perspective, Development” and dated May 19, 2010, it was apparently delivered to a Defense Department hazardous-materials conference.

Marsh’s presentation, which claims to be “one analyst’s view” and not that of the U.S. government, paints a harsh view of Islam. “Internal Islamic Failures/Collapse,” it advises, “Did NOT Start on 9/11,” but instead date back “~1400 years” — that is, to the birth of Islam itself and the death of the Prophet Muhammad. (Other slides take a meandering tour through world history, and specifically the very pre-Islamic Roman Empire.) “2 Inescapable facts” about contemporary terrorists, Marsh presented, are “1. All Say they are Muslims. 2. All believe they are acting as followers of the true Islam.” Oddly, Marsh doesn’t mention the 2009 shooting spree at the U.S. Holocaust Museum or the 2010 attack on an Austin, Texas IRS office; both strikes were clearly acts of terror, but neither perpetrator was Muslim.

Still, Marsh provides “disclaimers” that Muslims “can separate politics [from] religion.” He acknowledges distinctions between Shiites and Sunnis, and between average “Muslims” and hardcore “Islamists.” Some slides list “positive contributions” from Muslims, particularly in the fields of medicine, art and architecture. “Many Muslims do desire peace,” Marsh allows.

But several of Marsh’s other slides blur those distinctions. They describe Islam as operating along a “broad Muslim belief spectrum,” spanning from average “Muslim” to “Jihadi supporters/terrorists.” (The “Two ‘Faces’ of Islam,” in Marsh’s telling.) The briefing contends, “No Major Muslim group has ever renounced the doctrines of jihad of the sword.” Underscoring his point, a picture of the burning Twin Towers is paired with two minarets. Over them reads a quote: “The West never remembers and the East never forgets.”

Those aren’t the only quotes Marsh uncritically presents. A famous line borrowed from Samuel Huntington’s influential book The Clash of Civilizations — also the title of one of Marsh’s briefing slides — reads, “Islam is CONVINCED of the superiority of its CULTURE; and OBSESSED with the inferiority of its POWER.” Marsh also presents a quote from the son of the founder of Hamas, a convert to Christianity: “What matters is not whether my father is a fanatic or not, he’s doing the will of a fanatic God. It doesn’t matter if he’s a terrorist or a traditional Muslim. At the end of the day a traditional Muslim is doing the will of a fanatic, fundamentalist, terrorist God.” And bookending his presentation is a quote from Princeton’s Bernard Lewis that seems to anticipate the objections to Marsh’s own briefing: “Self censorship and political correctness will destroy our ability to discuss issues critical to our survival.”

If that sounds reminiscent of William Gawthrop, the FBI intelligence analyst who compared Islam to the Death Star, it may not be an accident. One of Marsh’s slides cites a briefing of Gawthrop’s, titled “The Sources and Patterns of Terrorism in Islamic Law,” which presents straight-line arrows leading from “Islam” to “Hostile Islamic Groups,” “Hostile or Facilitating Islamic Nations” and ultimately an “Insurgency Environment.” The countries Gawthrop lists as afflicted by Islamic insurgencies include Iraq — but also the Netherlands, England, France and even the United States.

“Ironically, this briefing could have been delivered by Osama bin Laden himself,” says Brachman. “The fact that it’s getting airtime is a disaster for our government and the American Muslim community alike.”

Marsh refused to speak to Danger Room about his presentation. Both he and his boss, U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith, referred Danger Room to the Justice Department for comment. The Justice Department promptly disavowed Marsh’s briefing — and pledged to join the FBI in reforming its counterterrorism curriculum.

“The presentation in question does not reflect the views of the Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania or the FBI. The presentation represented ‘one analyst’s view,’ as stated in the slides, and the opinions expressed were only those of the presenter,” reads a statement prepared for Danger Room.

Nevertheless, the Department statement continues:

To ensure that Justice Department standards are upheld, the Department has today instructed all components and U.S. Attorney’s Offices to review all training materials and presentations provided by Justice Department personnel to ensure that any material presented is consistent with the Department’s standards, goals and instructions. This is particularly important with regard to training related to terrorism, countering violent extremism and other training that may relate to ongoing community outreach efforts.

Marsh, it turns out, does a fair amount of speaking on the perceived Islamic threat. In March 2011, he spoke to a Harrisburg community college’s homeland security conference on the subject of “Stealth Jihad: A Long-Term Threat to America?” (.pdf) Back in 2008, Marsh was invited to speak at the annual convention of the National Institute of Justice, the Justice Department’s R&D agency. The subject of his panel? (.pdf) “Hotbeds of Radicalization in Contemporary American Society.”

But the Justice Department is hardly the only government agency playing host to briefings that take a skeptical view of Islam. At least 10 times since 2007, Stephen Coughlin, a former consultant on Islamic law for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has lectured at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the Army’s intellectual nerve center.

Coughlin has given presentations before conservative audiences that claimed Muslim nations have a “ten year plan” to make criticism of Islam illegal under international law. He has criticized ex-President George W. Bush’s assurances that the U.S. is not at war with Islam for having a “chilling effect” on intelligence analysis. Now a visiting fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington, Coughlin gave a January talk to the FBI’s D.C. field office allegedly claiming Islamic law was incompatible with the U.S. Constitution.

“I brief the FBI, brief the Department of Defense,” Coughlin told Danger Room during a short telephone conversation.

Danger Room has confirmed that Coughlin regularly lectures before a class at the Army’s Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth. The course is known as FA30, an “Information Operations” course, which instructs mid-career Army officers how to get the military’s message out.

When Danger Room initially called the course’s supervisor, an Army civilian named John Warner, to ask about Coughlin’s lectures, Warner abruptly ended the conversation, saying, “There’s really not a need for you guys to know this.”

Coughlin would not discuss the content of his briefings: “There’s a degree of confidentiality. If they want to talk, that’s their decision.” Before ending the conversation, he added, “I think you’re doing a hit and run and it’s pretty sleazy.”

Later, Army Col. Mike Dominique, who is in charge of training Army information operations officers at the Combined Arms Center, decided he did want to talk about Coughlin’s briefings. Dominique elaborates that his own “focus is the extremist groups” — the ones that the majors who take the FA30 course have to confront. And that is why Coughlin will continue to be invited to lecture at Leavenworth. “What Mr. Coughlin brings is a certain level of expertise on these extremist groups. He brings a perspective to the audience,” Dominique says.

But Coughlin also discussed Islam itself in the Leavenworth class. “Does he draw parallels between religion and the extremist groups? That can be seen. He uses that as an example,” Dominique says. “His only area of expertise is Islamic law. I can tell you this — and I’d like to really focus on this — my teaching point is not on the Islamic religion. That’s something we are very careful about. Who are the folks we have to deal with? We have IO [Information Operations] officers and American soldiers who are of the Muslim faith. We don’t focus on the religion aspect, but on the extremist aspect.”

A spokesman for the Combined Arms Center, Army Lt. Col. Steve Leonard, acknowledges that “in other venues, [Coughlin] may have created a negative message.” But Leonard says that even when Coughlin discusses Islam at Fort Leavenworth, he does not cross a line into anti-Islam sentiment.

“He helps the students develop a mental model of extremist groups and the process they use to influence moderate Muslims,” Leonard tells Danger Room. “He explains how extremists use the Quran and Sharia law to build a jihadist narrative that creates significant influence within a moderate population.”

In 2007, as Stephen Coughlin began lecturing on Islam at Fort Leavenworth, William Gawthrop began delivering a similar message at the premiere school for U.S. military intelligence. The class was catalogued as NFI 533, “Intelligence and Homeland Security.” It took place at the National Defense Intelligence College, the professional education institution run by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

According to a 2007 email Gawthrop sent to colleagues, obtained by Danger Room, Gawthrop saw his pedagogic activities as part of a self-initiated effort to build a “knowledge bank” of analysts “whose interests include Islamic Law and its impacts on Homeland Security.” The “informal” group would study Islamic Law’s influence on such issues as “immigration, birth rates and demographics,” “aggressive civil suits,” “Sharia Economics,” “Academia, Information Operations, and Parallel Structures.”

A spokeswoman for the DIA, Susan Strednansky, confirms to Danger Room that Gawthrop taught the 2007 course. The previous fall, he also taught a course called “Intelligence and National Security Policy Structure and Process.” Strednansky did not explain why Gawthrop’s lecturing ended.

That was not the only venue Gawthrop had to instruct U.S. intelligence analysts.

Gawthrop remains on the faculty of American Military University, an online higher-learning institution that caters primarily to military veterans and students interested in entering the security field. Gawthrop teaches classes on intelligence.

AMU is an 20-year old university — first a correspondence school, later exclusively online — that offers a variety of bachelor’s and master’s programs to its 97,000 students. About two-thirds of its students are active-duty troops or reservists. And it’s attractive to them because AMU accepts academic course credits that troops can earn in on-base education centers, so they don’t have to start their education from scratch when they finish their service. Most military and intelligence contractors require a college degree for their highest-paying jobs — and accordingly, many of AMU’s alumni are in “public safety or first-responder careers,” says AMU spokesman Brian Muys.

Gawthrop has taught at AMU since August 2007, to a “variety” of courses, each averaging about 14 students per class. “As a matter of university policy, his personal views expressed in any public forums — like those of all our other faculty — do not necessarily represent those of AMU itself,” says Muys. “Similarly, his appearance at public forums outside of our classroom environment does not otherwise imply any AMU endorsement of, or involvement in, such events.”

But American Military University recommended Gawthrop as a lecturer on Islam to the New York chapter of Infragard, a partnership organization between the FBI and the private sector, according to chapter president Joseph Concannon. On June 8, 2011, Gawthrop lectured to the group, instructing that al-Qaida was “irrelevant” compared to the threat of Islam itself. (Muys said he was unable to comment on the matter.)

The FBI explains that several of its employees have second jobs. It refused to comment on Gawthrop specifically. And as it has since the beginning of Danger Room’s expose, the FBI refused to make him available for an interview or explain why it continues to employ him.

The FBI’s parent agency, the Department of Justice, may not be taking any action to fire Gawthrop or Marsh. But in announcing its new vetting for anti-Islamophobic material in its training session, it emphasized that it views American Muslims as partners, rather than targets of the mass suspicion portrayed in the briefings.

“The Justice Department is fundamentally committed to upholding the civil rights of all Americans and is responsible for bringing to justice those who violate civil liberties,” the statement issued to Danger Room reads. “The Department’s commitment to protecting the rights of the Muslim and Arab-American communities has never been stronger, and its outreach to these communities continues daily around the country. Members of the Muslim community are indispensable partners in a shared effort to combat national security threats.”

The FBI and the Justice Department both are now reviewing their counterterrorism training for anti-Islam messages. Will the U.S. military follow suit?

Images: Justice Department intelligence analyst John Marsh’s 2010 briefing on “21st Century Terrorism.” Photo: Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Fox Invites Anti-Muslim “Expert” To Lash Out Against Islamophobia Report

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2011 by loonwatch

That Eric Bolling is a terrible host is not a new revelation. Recently he had Islamophobe Steven Emerson on his show to discuss the CAP report on the Islamophobia Network (video below). Bolling once again reveals himself to be a shill for Right-Wing anti-Muslim hacks:

“I find it hard to believe that a group of four or five people are — who are responsible for what is perceived Islamophobia. I think it has a lot more to do with 3,000 people dying at the World Trade Center 10 years ago.”

What irks me more than Bolling however is Emerson professing he is merely a “messenger.” Messengers generally don’t claim to be scholars or experts. By saying he is merely a “messenger” Emerson hopes to secure the victim card and divert attention away from any responsibility for his Islamophobic statements and actions.

It is no coincidence his Islamophobe contemporaries, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, acted the same exact way during the Norway Massacre.

Fox Invites Anti-Muslim “Expert” To Lash Out Against Islamophobia Report

August 31, 2011 2:11 am ET by Terry Krepel

Last week, the Center for American Progress published a report detailing the network of anti-Muslim “experts” who relentlessly promote Islamophobia in America, as well as the sources of their funding. One of those featured in the report, Steve Emerson, appeared on the August 30 edition of Fox Business’Follow the Money to misrepresent the report and attack CAP in an attempt to discredit the report’s claims.

Emerson said on Fox that he felt “somewhat complimented because they’re attributing to me and four other people the ability to control the minds of 300 million Americans for 15 years.” In fact, the report features a dozen “main players who conjure up and spread misinformation about American Muslims and Islam,” as well as seven major financial contributors and an echo chamber that includes the religious right, the media, politicians, and grassroots organizations.
http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/pl55.swf
Emerson went on to suggest that some level of Islamophobia is justified because “65 to 70 percent of all international terrorist attacks are carried out by radical Muslims, so there’s a fear based on that.” He accused CAP of quoting “terrorist organizations” and “a front group for Hamas” in its report, dismissing CAP as a “$38 million-a-year organization that looks like the Democratic Party in exile.”

Emerson also falsely suggested that the report somehow denies that Islam is used as a justification for terrorist acts:

What’s interesting here is that when it comes to looking at Islamic terrorist attacks, what they deny and what they claim is racist is the assertion that Islamic terrorism is motivated by Islamic extremist clerics, mosques, statements –

In reality, the report states:

Around the world, there are people killing people in the name of Islam, with which most Muslims disagree. Indeed, in most cases of radicalized neighbors, family members, or friends, the Muslim American community is as baffled, disturbed, and surprised by their appearance as the general public. Treating Muslim American citizens and neighbors as part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, is not only offensive to America’s core values, it is utterly ineffective in combating terrorism and violent extremism.

During his Fox appearance, Emerson also offered this bizarre comparison: “This reminds me of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or, you know, it reminds me of someone who attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center because they attacked the Ku Klux Klan. Right? I’m the messenger.”

Emerson later said:

They believe that the only reason there exists suspicion against Islam — popular suspicion, and it’s not a majority, it’s a minority — is because of people like me who are orchestrating it like, you know, the Wizard of Oz. The bottom line is it comes from so many rampant sources — if you go on YouTube, on the Internet. Most of the Islamic organizations in the United States, they’re run by the Muslim Brotherhood or they were created by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that believes in imposing Islam and the sharia around the world. We’re coming out with a documentary –

Host Eric Bolling echoed Emerson: “I find it hard to believe that a group of four or five people are — who are responsible for what is perceived Islamophobia. I think it has a lot more to do with 3,000 people dying at the World Trade Center 10 years ago.”

Frank Gaffney’s Latest Conspiracy: Herman Cain Met with the Muslim Brotherhood

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Frank GaffneyFrank Gaffney

By Scott Keyes on Aug 2, 2011 at 11:31 am

ThinkProgress filed this report from the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, CO.

Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain met with Muslim leaders outside Washington, DC in a laudable attempt to make amends for the Islamophobic positions that had come to characterize his candidacy. Cain had previously declared he will not appoint Muslims in his administration — he later backtracked and said he would only require a special loyalty oath from Muslim appointees — and argued that Americans have the right to ban mosques.

However, not everyone was pleased with the former pizza executive’s recent move.

Last weekend, ThinkProgress spoke with Frank Gaffney, a conservative conspiracy theorist who nevertheless enjoys outsized influence on the right. The Center for Security Policy president had a unique take on the matter: Herman Cain had actually been meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to Gaffney, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, where Cain met with Muslim leaders last Wednesday, is “a prominent Muslim Brotherhood apparatus in Washington DC.” The Center’s Imam, Mohamed Magid, is actually, says Gaffney, “the president of the largest Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States”:

KEYES: Where would you say Herman Cain’s at now?

GAFFNEY: I only saw one press report of it, and it sounded as if some of what you just described was said by people, Muslim Brotherhood people frankly, with whom he was meeting rather than the candidate himself. […]

KEYES: Those were Muslim Brotherhood people that he was meeting with?

GAFFNEY: Oh yeah. The ADAMS Center is a prominent Muslim Brotherhood apparatus in Washington DC. It’s one of the most aggressive proponents of its agenda in the city. […] Specifically, meeting with Mohamed Magid who is the president of the largest Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States, who happens also to be the Imam at the ADAMS Center. It’s one of those things, it’s a very problematic departure from what I think had been a generally sensible… I don’t agree everything he has said and some of the positions he has taken, but I think generally speaking he’s been forthright in raising a concern that I think is warranted. And if in fact he’s now changed his position in ways that are being reported, that’s even more troubling than if he was spending time with Muslim Brothers.

Watch it:

Such a charge would be shocking, were it not made by a man who says the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the federal government and CIA chief David Petraeus is submissive to Sharia law.

Cain joins a long list of prominent figures that Gaffney accuses of working with the Muslim Brotherhood, including CPACGrover NorquistDavid Petraeus, the federal government, and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

Despite Gaffney’s outlandish beliefs, he remains an extraordinarily influential figure on the right. Members of Congress regularly appear on his radio show, Secure Freedom Radio. He is anadvisor and close friend to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. And along with a small group of like-minded conservatives, Gaffney has turned Islamophobia into an industry.

With his latest accusation against Herman Cain, Gaffney is well on his way to becoming the 2011 version of Rudy Giuliani. Gaffney’s every utterance now boils down to “a noun, a verb, and ‘Muslim Brotherhood.’”

In Muslim community, Lee Baca wins support through conversation, not confrontation

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by loonwatch

Sheriff Lee Baca, a Republican,  made LoonWatch’s 2010 list of anti-Loons and is in one of the leaders for 2011. Here he is still doing a tremendous job.

In Muslim community, Baca wins support through conversation, not confrontation

The L.A. County sheriff, a Republican with a strong reputation as a crime fighter, believes in building trust within minority communities. He reads the Koran and shuns hard-line tactics.

By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

April 19, 2011

Reporting from New York— Three young women, all wearing delicate hijabs, are gathered outside a TriBeCa lecture hall in eager anticipation. It’s not an actor or a pop star they’re waiting for. The object of their giddiness is Sheriff Lee Baca, in town for just one night.

It might be unusual for a lawman anywhere to have fans, let alone one a continent away from his jurisdiction. But such is the life of Los Angeles County’s chief law enforcement officer since his outspoken support of American Muslims vaulted him into the national spotlight.

“I just want to meet you and thank you,” one young woman blurts out after catching Baca outside a recent speaking engagement on Muslim outreach. “You gave us a voice.”

In an only-Nixon-could-go-to-China kind of way, Baca, a former Marine reservist and registered Republican, has been largely immune to the innuendo that has caused other politicians to distance themselves from Muslims post 9/11. He has bucked the hard-line law enforcement approach of security checks and surveillance in favor of outreach and cooperation.

His law-and-order credentials have made him an irresistible ally for Muslim advocates, earning him shout-outs on national TV shows, including “The Colbert Report” and invitations to the halls of Congress. On more than one occasion he’s been the only law enforcement official willing to mix it up with Republican lawmakers on the issue.

In New York, where Baca preached the benefits of Muslim outreach on a panel about national security, the sheriff seemed energized by his warm reception. “Did you see those girls? Do they look like terrorists to you?” he said of the gaggle of young Muslim women who greeted him. “They’re not terrorists. I know my public.”

Reading the Koran

The events of 9/11 quickly took Baca in an unusual direction. When many politicians chose an arms-length approach to Muslims, Baca chose the Koran — literally. In the black sedan that ferried him from one engagement to another, he pored over the book, reading it from front to back, memorizing passages.

Within days of the terrorist attack, Baca met with local Muslim leaders, promising them protection. Responding to reports that Pakistani store owners were being hassled, Baca ordered his deputies “to go by the 7-Elevens and offer support.”

His empathy for a persecuted minority, he says, isn’t rooted in any sort of shared experience as a Mexican American but in an unusual childhood.

The son of a seamstress who had to care for three children on her own, Baca was sent as a boy to live with his pensioner grandparents in East L.A. His developmentally challenged uncle, then in his 30s, still lived at the home.

“He was a pound and a half at birth,” Baca said. “Couldn’t read, write, speak sentences. My uncle had no faculty, no capacity.”

With no household car, 7-year-old Leroy, his uncle and his grandmother traversed the city by bus. Those rides had a lasting effect.

“People would sneer at my uncle, laugh at him, make fun of him, and I believe that’s wrong,” Baca recalled. “We’re not bothering anyone. So how about just leaving us alone? Is that asking too much?”

His affinity for minority communities had political benefits. A long-shot candidate for sheriff in 1998, Baca got creative in his campaigning, tapping ethnic groups other candidates ignored.

“I had to have other bases of support outside the traditional realms,” he said. Among them were Iranians, Lebanese and other groups with large Muslim populations.

But his decision to intensify those ties post 9/11, he says, wasn’t political. Lapses on the federal level exposed by the attacks put a newfound pressure on local law enforcement. “All of our lives have been changed by 9/11,” Baca said. “We’re the ones who will get slammed if something falls through the cracks.”

Thousands of tips flooded law enforcement agencies after 9/11. Even leads that seemed silly had to be followed. “The one you don’t follow will end up being the one that matters,” Baca said. In one instance, a local group of Muslim men frequenting paintball facilities were investigated as potential terrorist snipers. They turned out to be “a buncha guys who just liked paintballing,” Baca said. “What are you gonna do? Ignore it?”

To pinpoint legitimate concerns, Baca needed his deputies inside Muslim communities. His focus on homegrown terror grew after the 2005 London Underground bombings, when four men, all living and working in England for years, killed 52.

“I realized we didn’t have a strategy for homegrown terrorism,” Baca said. “Cops are not gonna be invited into an extremist plot. That’s rule No. 1…. But if you get people to tell you something that’s troubling them, that’s the first sign of success.”

To build enough trust to be tipped off to extremist plots, Baca needed his deputies to become hyper-responsive to the Muslim community’s more routine crime concerns.

Less upfront tactics have at times backfired on other agencies. In Orange County, the FBI is still suffering from the fallout of a 2006 operation in which a paid informant posing as a Muslim convert infiltrated mosques.

The mole, equipped with a microphone keychain and a hidden camera, was outed soon after his talk of violent jihad became so extreme that one mosque was granted a restraining order. Many Muslims still point to the incident as proof that they’re too often treated by law enforcement as suspects, not partners.

Baca is reluctant to criticize the FBI, but his disdain for its style of covert intelligence gathering shows.

“I think they learned on their own what the plusses and minuses are. I believe terror plots are more sophisticated. I’m more of a chess player,” he said. “There are so few Muslim extremists in America. You can’t burn all the hay to find the needle, because the people are the hay.”

After initial struggles to make inroads, Baca’s Muslim community affairs unit, which staffs two deputies fulltime, has well-attended community exchanges and receives regular calls from Muslims with concerns that are terrorism-related and other issues. Baca’s personal involvement has softened up many of the community’s older, more reluctant leaders. The department employs about a dozen Muslim deputies and half that many Arabic speakers.

“They want to be able to say ‘I know the sheriff,’” said Sgt. Mike Abdeen, who leads the unit. “They like to go back to the community and say I know so and so, I’m a man of influence.”

Baca has been quick to accept their invitations — and fully participates when he does. At a PakistanDay celebration, he wore traditional garb. With Iranians, he’ll throw in some Farsi; with Pakistanis, a bit of Urdu. He keeps a Koran in his office and another at home and is known to quote passages from memory. Inside mosques, he removes his shoes and during prayers, he joins in, going to his knees and pressing his forehead to the ground.

“He might not understand what he’s doing,” said Deputy Sherif Morsi, the other officer in the unit. “But the point is he’s letting people know ‘I’m your sheriff, I support you.’”

That commitment has taken Baca to more than a dozen Middle Eastern countries since 9/11. The tangible benefits of the trips aren’t always clear, but Baca maintains they give him a unique window into Muslim cultures and to counterterrorism where the fight’s the fiercest.

In Saudi Arabia, he watched hundreds of police recruits march as he and other officials sat in “very elegant seats as if we were heads of state.” Afterwards, they sat on rugs in police headquarters and feasted on a barbequed lamb. “They ripped out the choicest pieces of meat for us with their hands,” Baca raved.

In Egypt, he chatted with the national police chief about his “surgical” approach to beating back the Muslim Brotherhood on the Sinai Peninsula. In Pakistan, then-President Pervez Musharraf agreed to have Baca briefed on two assassination attempts. In one, Pakistani authorities used an Israeli cellphone scrambler to halt a remote bomb detonation. When Baca returned home, the Sheriff’s Department purchased its own.

“I met the police chief of Mecca and I understand who he is. I’m on the street, you don’t learn these things in your office,” Baca said.

Baca’s effort has not been without criticism.

Far right-wing websites have derisively described Baca as an “international” lawman, and a “Hamas-affiliated CAIR” sheriff, referring to the Council on American Islamic Relations, a Muslim group Baca defends. Last year, the innuendo followed Baca to Washington, D.C. One congressman seemed to surprise the sheriff by accusing him at a hearing of cozying up to CAIR despite the group’s “radical” speech. “You’ve been 10 times to [its] fundraisers,” the congressman said.

“And I’ll be there 10 more times,” Baca shouted back.

CAIR is generally considered a moderate, if aggressive, Muslim civil rights group. Attacks against it haven’t dissuaded Baca. Hussam Ayloush, director of CAIR’s regional branch, said Baca is one of the few public officials who have asked for his organization’s side of the story.

“Most politicians I’ve worked with would have avoided the headache. It’s not about the truth, it’s about perception, and they don’t want to touch it,” Ayloush said.

Naive? That’s OK

On a recent evening, Baca strolled along a seedy street in Manhattan’s Chinatown. It was his second East Coast trip in as many weeks, both times to speak on Muslim outreach.

Street vendors, unaware that the stick-thin man before them was a major law enforcement figure, tried one after another to sell him knock-off purses and wallets. “How are you?” Baca greeted them, smiling wide.

Pulling in close as if to share a secret, Baca said he knew his post-9/11 stance has been attacked. Even among friends he’s been warned of being naive. He’s OK with it.

“I’m not endorsing Muslim groups. I’m defending them. ‘Oh he’s a Muslim lover, he’s a Jew lover.’ I don’t pay attention to bigots.

“I know I’m a little naive. I know I am overly trusting. That’s who I choose to be. If you’re uncomfortable with others, you’re not in a position to lead. I’ve created somewhat of a palace in my mind because, if you don’t, this world is your prison…. I can take the attacks. Attack me! Am I going to change who I am? No. Because it works.”

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

Sue Myrick’s Hearing on the Muslim Brotherhood Threat

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by loonwatch
Sue Myrick wrote the foreward for Muslim Mafia

Rep. Sue Myrick held her House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence hearing to examine the history, beliefs and positions of the Muslim Brotherhood internationally and in Egypt. It is the third hearing that in some measure has dealt with the American Muslim community and Islam. First it was Rep. Peter King and his McCarthyesque  hearings on “the Radicalization of the Muslim American community,” then New York State Senator Greg Ball held a hearing on “Security and preparedness since 9/11″ which included such anti-Muslim bigots as Nonie Darwish and Frank Gaffney.

Myrick’s hearing didn’t contain the high profile loons that the other two hearings did, but the theme or intent was still to cast a pall of suspicion over American Muslims. The witnesses consisted of Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Lorenzo Vidino, a representative of the RAND corporation, Ahmed S. Mansour, a Quranist who claims to be a Muslim scholar, Tarek Masoud, an academic and assistant professor at Harvard University and Nathan Brown, a professor of Political Science.

The charge was leveled either implicitly or directly that some American Muslims may be a “fifth column” considering a 1991 memo written by a Muslim Brotherhood member from Egypt named Mohammed Akram. This is the same memo that Islamophobes and anti-Muslims such as Robert Spencer and co. often use to forward the idea that Muslims are trying to take over.

Tarek Masoud took this issue head on during questioning from the intrepid Rep. Luis Gutierrez,

Chairman Myrick, you mentioned this 1991 explanatory memorandum, Lorenzo mentioned it as well, this document that was written by this Brotherhood guy named Mohammed Akram. So I got it and I read it, it seemed to be a document where this Brotherhood member in the United States is writing to his people back home, trying to encourage them to try and make the United States a priority for proselytization, for political activism, for all kinds of things. And the page in that document that has caused the most controversy is the page that lists all of these organizations, that Lorenzo called Muslim Brotherhood front organizations. My question, if you look at the title of that page, it says “there are the organizations of us and our friends in America,” second line says in brackets “imagine if they all marched together,”and I thought to myself, what a really odd thing for an organization like the Muslim Brotherhood to be saying. If these were really the arms of the Muslim Brotherhood octupus then why would he need to whimsically think, “if only one day all these organizations could work together,” and this is important because it seems to me that that list is an aspirational list, it may include movements or groups that emerged out of the Brotherhood, I’m not making a factual statement, but based on interpreting that document, I am surprised that we jumped to saying that these are Muslim Brotherhood front organizations because it seemed to me to be a list of Muslim organizations that the Brotherhood would like to organize and coordinate. I would like to find out if there is some information there that some folks like me don’t have?

Gutierrez also asked a very interesting question to the panelists beforehand, “what are the intelligence gathering methods or apparatuses which you used? And do you fear that the government’s broad intelligence gathering efforts have been duped?” This question was a slap in the face of Sue Myrick who penned a forward to a book called “Muslim Mafia” which argued that nefarious Muslims have infiltrated our government through a network of spy interns. This belief was voted one of the “worst conspiracy theories” of 2009 by Newsweek.

Lorenzo Vidino, the RAND corp. representative said he wouldn’t use the word “duped” but instead that they have been “inconsistent.” Rep. Gutierrez told him, “inconsistency” is not the same as “fear,” and asked him whether or not we should “fear” that our security agencies have been compromised or “hoodwinked?” Vidino seemed to answer “no” to that question.

There were other highlights during the testimony, like the near incoherence of Ahmed S. Mansour who had the WTF comment of the Day: “Make America the biggest, most superpower of the war of ideas in the world” and something about “create an agency dealing with the war of ideas.” At times it seemed Mansour was trying to get America to back his sect of Islam by bringing up how “successful” his group has been in proselytizing to other Muslims.

At the end of the day the GOP is trying to use Islam/Muslims and buzzwords such as Sharia’ to further promote hatred and bigotry and their own twisted brand of populism. Fear-mongering about a looming Muslim threat feeds well into their base of support and also highlights the immense hypocrisy on the Right. In reality, the biggest threat today to our Constitution comes from the rabid Right-Wing, which is shot through and through with theocrats and theocratic sympathizers.

One only has to look at Rep. Myrick’s own shoddy associations to se what we mean,

Rep. Myrick supports the work of The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools whose goals are clearly in opposition to the first amendment of the U.S.

Rep. Myrick is listed as a sponsor on the website of Capitol Ministries, along with Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert,  Mike Pence, Tom Price, Lamar Smith, Joe Wilson and various others.  (Read more on Capitol Ministries here)

Rep. Myrick believes that Osama Bin Laden and his ilk – “are acting in accordance with Islam”.

Rep. Myrick and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan sent a letter that attacked the Justice Department for sending envoys to an ISNA convention because, the lawmakers said, the Islamic Society of North America was a group of “radical jihadists”

Rep. Myrick launched a YouTube video series. In the first video, called Beyond Terrorism: The Whole Story, she warns that extremists live in our midst, “even in positions in our government.” But the wide-eyed Myrick tells the camera: “You’re not being told the whole story… This is something that nobody ever tells you.”

Rep. Myrick supports Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT for America, and put out a letterenthusiastically endorsing them.  It was reported in February that Hal Weatherman, longtime chief of staff for Sue Myrick, is leaving to join the staff of ACT for America.  (Read about Brigitte Gabriel and ACT for America here.)

Rep. Myrick wrote the forward to Dave Gaubatz’ Muslim Mafia book.  (Read more about Gaubatz and this book here)

Rep. Myrick is reported as saying:  “I believe Hezbollah and the drug cartels may be operating as partners on our border.” That department’s spokesman replied that the U.S. “does not have any credible information on terrorist groups operating along the Southwest border.”  (Read more on this charge and responses to it here.)

Rep. Myrick and Rep. Peter King were among the lead sponsors of a bill introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf [R-VA]  to create a panel of outside experts – fresh eyes – to help develop new strategies to combat the violent Islamic jihad as well as its stealth component.

Out of Thin Air: Robert Spencer’s Loony Rants About the Imminent Take Over of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2011 by loonwatch

You know that you have been hearing an inordinate amount of news about the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the Egyptian uprising that occurred over the last few weeks. FOX News in particular has been bringing in anyone, whether with the requisite credentials to speak on the subject or not, who will share their viewpoints on the Muslim Brotherhood. Our good friend, Robert Spencer, has been receiving quite a bit of air time to opine about the Brotherhood and how they will soon take over Egypt and implement a brutal Islamic state. The only problem with Spencer’s assertion, among others that he has made over the last few weeks in regards to the Egyptian uprising, is that it flies in the face of the facts.

As we have documented at LoonWatch, Spencer does not hold the requisite credentials to speak on the topic of Islamic law and history. Neither does he hold any credentials in the study of the modern Middle East. No, Spencer isn’t qualified to speak on any of those subjects.

Despite these facts Spencer has been ranting and raving nearly every day on his hate site about how the Muslim Brotherhood will take over Egypt. He has repeatedly argued that the Egyptian people, from the very beginnings of the uprising, were Islamic supremacists fed up with a “secular” Mubarak regime and wanted it replaced with an Islamic one. The protestors, he argued, were “pro-Sharia, pro-Brotherhood” and were “fed up with Mubarak’s relatively secular Arab nationalism.” His proof for this? Some of the protestors were chanting “Allahu akbar” when the Egyptian military came in to fortify the area around the protestors.

In fact, as news reports showed, the protests were largely secular in nature with little sign of being led by religion: “Egypt’s ongoing intifada or uprising has been largely leaderless, planned initially by secular online activist groups and quickly gathering a momentum of its own…” And “Islamist slogans were noticeable by their absence.” The New York Times added that “Demonstrators in Egypt have protested against rising prices and stagnant incomes, for greater freedom and against police brutality. But religion, so often a powerful mobilizing force here, has so far played little role.”

Spencer’s first idea was to portray the protests as (Islamically?) extreme in nature. But all evidence on the ground showed that the protests were about the economy, jobs, freedom, dignity and democracy. Islam, shariah? No, much to Spencer’s chagrin. If Spencer were an expert on Egyptian society then he would know the role religion plays there. Instead, he has to make things up out of thin air to keep up the appropriate fear levels so he can cash his Jihad Watch checks. So instead of listening to a loon like Spencer, we would be better served to listen to an actual expert on the Middle East, someone like Haroon Mohgul:

Egypt’s revolution doesn’t have to be Islamic because Islam isn’t at the heart of the problem on the ground. In fact, the non-political Egyptian Islam of the last few decades has succeeded in deeply Islamizing Egyptian culture, making Muslim piety interwoven with the everyday rhythms of Egyptian life… Egypt’s society is a deeply Muslim one, and the very success of this non-political religious project has negated the need for a confrontational Islam. Egyptians know their religious identity is not under threat.

Egyptians are comfortable with their religious identity. The Egyptian people were not protesting because they were “fed up with Mubarak’s relatively secular Arab nationalism.” No, they were protesting because they were fed up with oppression and corruption, a lousy economy that did not provide economic opportunities for the people of Egypt, and the lack of democratic processes. Yet, Spencer continued to moan about how absurd this all was. Spencer was sure that this was an uprising dedicated to creating an Islamic state.

Spencer’s next scare tactic was to relentlessly tell his readers and FOX News that the Muslim Brotherhood was poised to take over Egypt as soon as Mubarak fell from power. “Over the course of Egypt’s revolution, the mainstream media has been intent on downplaying the popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood,” says the expert. “Nonetheless, it may be able to steer post-Mubarak events in Egypt its way precisely because it is the foremost exponent of political Islam in Egypt.  A Pew Research Center survey conducted in Egypt in spring 2010 found that no fewer than 85% of Egyptians thought that Islam was a positive influence in politics… But if the Egyptian people are allowed to express their will, almost certainly an Islamic regime will follow…”

A small tangent is warranted here: Even in America, “overwhelmingly, Americans favor more, not less, religion in the country.” But you don’t find frightened “experts” freaking out about how the United States may become a Christian regime. So goes expert analysis on the Middle East, where someone like Robert Spencer – who holds nary a certificate let alone a degree in Middle Eastern studies – can pontificate on cable television about current affairs in Middle Eastern countries… because he has a blog.

This is Spencer’s argument: A majority of Egyptians think Islam is a positive influence in politics. The Brotherhood is the strongest Islamist group in Egypt. Therefore, Egyptians will elect the Brotherhood to create an Islamic state.

Well, unfortunately for Spencer and other wannabe Middle East experts, polling shows that the Brotherhood has little pull amongst many Egyptians. Even while many Egyptians think that Islam is a force for good in politics, it doesn’t mean they want the Brotherhood involved in their government.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy provided the following analysis after it conducted a poll in Cairo and Alexandria during the protests in Egypt:

This is not an Islamic uprisingThe Muslim Brotherhood is approved by just 15 percent of Egyptians — and its leaders get barely 1 percent of the vote in a presidential straw poll. Asked to pick national priorities, only 12 percent of Egyptians choose sharia (Islamic law) over Egypt’s regional leadership, democracy, or economic development. And, when asked to explain the uprising, the issues of economic conditions, corruption, and unemployment (around 30 percent each) far outpace the concern that “the regime is not Islamic enough” (only 7 percent).

So what do we have here? Is the Brotherhood the big, scary boogeyman that Spencer makes them out to be? No. While they certainly have a significant following in Egypt, all indications, both from the Brotherhood and outside the Brotherhood declare they are far from being capable of dominating Egyptian politics.

The other major concern of right-wingers like Spencer is the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel. Professor Juan Cole sums it up:

There is no indication from the opinion polling in Egypt, moreover, that [the Muslim Brotherhood] would be able to dominate parliament even if that were its goal. Some of its leaders have spoken of putting the peace treaty with Israel to a popular referendum. But the still-powerful Egyptian military probably would not allow any such step, and even if it did, the polling suggests that the peace treaty would win.

One issue in respect to this however is that many Egyptians viewed the government of Mubarak as complicit with Israeli oppression of Palestinians especially in regards to the blockade in place at the Rafah crossing. One may expect amendments in that regard and a more vocal opposition to Israeli crimes against Palestinians, similar to Turkey’s outspoken and bold policies toward Israel.

Spencer continues to argue in the face of this evidence that Egypt will become a Brotherhood dominated nation where it will become an extreme Islamic state akin to “Iran”:

…the Brotherhood would win any free election

The Muslim Brotherhood is best situated to take power in Egypt after Mubarak’s fall, and to impose Islamic law.

…the Muslim Brotherhood is poised to take power. They are the leading opposition group… This is gonna be another Islamic state like Iran… They are the group that is in the driver’s seat that is going to succeed Mubarak… The Brotherhood will win any election that is free in Egypt and then you’re gonna have an Islamic state there…

With 15% of Egyptians saying they approve of the Brotherhood, it’s baffling how Spencer can even suggest this, it is plain Spencerian fear-mongering meant to convey the idea that some sort of brutal theocracy is certain to take over in Egypt. But arguing from facts has never been Spencer’s methodology. He would much rather just make things up out of thin air and pass along those ideas as expert analysis. Whatever pays the bills, I guess.

 

Robert Spencer Opposes Egyptian Democracy, Smears Obama

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer cannot stand that democracy is at the doorstep of the Arab world. In his latest hit piece, Spencer follows the lead of Frank Gaffney’s paranoid fearmongering by greatly exaggeratingthe role of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest Islamist organization:

Game over: Barack Obama has endorsed a role for the Muslim Brotherhood in a new, post-Mubarak government for Egypt.

Game over! The end is neigh! The sky is falling! Why? Because President Obama’s spokesperson Robert Gibbs said that a post-Mubarak Egyptian ruling group “has to include a whole host of important non-secular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner.” In other words, the Obama administration would no longer like to continue the undemocratic policies of Hosni Mubarak that outlawed peaceful democratic opposition to his pro-torture regime.

This is the nature of democracy. Everyone should be allowed to participate peacefully in a free and fair election, even candidates or parties we disagree with. For the record, the Muslim Brotherhood has officially and consistently renounced terrorism and embraced democracy. However, Islamophobes like Spencer have always been very selective and self-serving in their advocacy of freedom.

Nevertheless, Mohamed Elbaradei, the noble-prize winning nuclear watchdog and a possible key leader in the new interim government, completely rejects the arguments of those who exploit fears of the Brotherhood to stifle Egyptian democracy:

ElBaradei himself says he is willing to work with the Muslim Brotherhood, denying that they want to replicate Khomeini’s Iran.

“The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian model, has nothing to do with extremism as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places. The Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group. They are a minority in Egypt,” he told CNN.

“I have been reaching out to them. We need to include them. They are part of the Egyptian society, as much as the Marxist party here,” he said.

He rejected the idea that Islamic fundamentalists are set to undermine Egypt.

“This is a myth that was sold by the Mubarak regime — that it’s either us, the ruthless dictators, or… the al Qaeda types,” he said.

In reality, Obama is simply putting America’s democratic rhetoric into practice. The Muslim Brotherhood has a right to peacefully participate in Egypt’s new political landscape, even if you strongly disagree with their platform. Let the voters decide. That’s democracy!

However, even if the Brotherhood is the “prototypical Islamic supremacist, pro-Sharia group of the modern age,” rather than a conservative religious group, as Spencer claims, the reality is that the organization is simply too weak to overtake the secular opposition.

Analyst Abulhimal is convinced Egyptians would not let the Muslim Brotherhood seize power — not least because the military would stand in its way.

“Neither the people nor the secular leaders would allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take it, and more importantly the army would never allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take it,” he said. “If the army said, ‘We would support the people in the street and we would have a deal with President Mubarak to have an orderly transition,’ as the Americans said yesterday — this would definitely not include the Muslim Brotherhood.”

A similar sentiment is repeated in Justin Elliot’s excellent interview at Salon with Nathan Brown, a political science professor at George Washington University and director of its Institute for Middle East Studies:

We’ve got a big headache in Egypt. The regime in its current form is toast. Our regional policy has been based on a very close working relationship with the Egyptian government since 1974, so we’ve got fundamental rethinking to do. The Brotherhood is part of that headache. It’s not the biggest part. Is there cause for concern? Yes. Is there cause for fearful reaction? Absolutely not.

So, on both theoretical and practical grounds, Spencer has misrepresented the Islamist Brotherhood boogeyman to quietly push for the dictator’s victory in Egypt. Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz calls it like it is:

The late Arab-American scholar Edward Said appears to have been right. We’re all suffering from Orientalism, not to say racism, if the sight of an entire people throwing off the yoke of tyranny and courageously demanding free elections fills us with fear rather than uplifting us, just because they’re Arabs…

People are scaring us with talk of an Islamist takeover of our big neighbor. The Muslim Brotherhood will certainly play an important role in any political democratic structure that emerges in Egypt, and that has to be dealt with. But then, we also have religious fundamentalists in the [Israeli] government. That is the price of a parliamentary democracy. And the previous U.S. administration was intimately linked to fundamentalists, but that’s okay too, because evangelical Christians love Israel.

Of course, Spencer’s double standards concerning democracy and the presence of fundamentalists in government abound (Jewish/Christian fundamentalists good, Muslim fundamentalists bad). What about the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel? This is a legitimate concern, but it appears the worst case scenario is avoidable. Pfeffer continues:

Hundred of Egyptians who were asked about that [peace treaty] this week on the streets of Cairo said that they support continued diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt. Even among supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, it was difficult to find someone calling for the Israeli Embassy to get out of the country, though there were a few.

It is clear that democracy is on the march in Egypt and the Arab world, despite armies of fake democrats like Spencer who feed us specious arguments about why unelected dictators who torture are better for America’s security than a free and fair Egypt. Ultimately, whatever happens will determine what the future holds not only for Egypt, but for America and the world.

At this moment America has an important decision. As Dr. Maher Hathout expressed it in the L.A. Times:

The United States today has a clear choice. It can stand with the people or with the dictator.

 

Crazy Frank Gaffney in Ultra Fear-mongering Mode

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by loonwatch
Frank Gaffney

Even loyal Bush aides are not free from the Islamophobic machine. Suhail Khan debates Frank Gaffney on Anderson Cooper’s 360 and makes Gaffney look like a wacko.

 

Frank Gaffney Thinks Some Conservatives are Muslim Brotherhood

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2011 by loonwatch
Frank Gaffney

More wackiness from Gaffney.

Conservatives claim anti-tax crusader secretly leading Muslim indoctrination

(RAWstory)

Are a growing cross-section of American conservatives really secret Muslims bent on destroying western civilization?

Answer: No.

But that’s not stopping right-wing activist Frank Gaffney from claiming the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) had been infiltrated by radical Muslims because of the inclusion of Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist and former Bush staffer Suhail Khan.

American Conservative Union (ACU), the oldest conservative lobbying organization in the country which hosts CPAC, is involved in a “stealthy effort to bring Shariah” to the United States, according to Gaffney.

“This is a ticking time bomb for the conservative community,” he told the conservative conspiracy website WorldNetDaily. “An influence operation is contributing materially to the defeat of our country.”

 

 

Gaffney alleges that Norquist and Khan are secretly working for the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamist group, and trying to influence conservative groups in a plot to “Islamize” America. Both Khan and Norquist are ACU board members.

Khan, a conservative activist who previously worked for the Bush administration, allegedly has ties to the radical Islamists from his time as consultant for The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He has also served on committees at the Islamic Society of North America, according to Gaffney.

Gaffney also claimed that Khan’s father was a founding member of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. In a report by Talking Points Memo, Khan called the allegation “laughable” and said his father was from India, noting that the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt.

He is now a senior fellow for Christian-Muslim Understanding at the Institute for Global Engagement.

Norquist, founder of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, was also accused of secretly providing the Muslim Brotherhood with access into the highest reaches of the conservative movement.

“Grover Norquist is credentialing the perpetrators of this Muslim Brotherhood influence operation,” Gaffney said. “This is part of tradecraft, to get people who have standing in a community to give it to people who lack it, so they can do what they’re assigned to do in terms of subversion. We are in a war, and he has been working with the enemy for over a decade.”

Gaffney is no stranger to making wildly unsubstantiated claims. He said in 2009 that there was mounting evidence that President Barack Obama “not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.”

“The man now happy to have his Islamic-rooted middle name featured prominently has engaged in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich,” he added.

CPAC was facing a boycott from a number of conservative groups for inviting the conservative gay Republican group GOProud to the conference. The Family Research Council, Concerned Women For America, American Values, the American Principles Project, the Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and Liberty University have said they will not attend the conference in February.

 

Pat Robertson continues the fight against Halal food

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by loonwatch

The halal food hysteria continues to whip up irrational anxiety on the extreme right. You may remember the last debacle concerning Pam Geller’s embarrassing crusade against Campbell’s halal soups. This time Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network is continuing the fight with its latest smear attack on the Muslim community.

The headline begins by asking a leading question, “Muslim Halal food sales supporting terrorism?”

Muslim halal food is creeping into the food chain not only in France, but worldwide, including the United States.

CBN News visited a butcher shop in a Muslim area of Paris. But it was no ordinary butcher shop. Our camera operator was warned to stop taping.

Why would a butcher shop care if it was being photographed? One reason, according to an Islamic expert we consulted, may have been that our camera operator, who is not a Muslim, was unclean and this was a halal butcher shop.

Notice the use of the trademark Islamophobic phrase “creeping” sharia. We are given the ominous imaginary picture of a dark-skinned, hostile Arab shuffling the CBN camera crew out because, our anonymous Islamic expert tells us, Muslims (maybe) view all non-Muslims as “unclean.” This little anecdote nobody saw is enough to lead some readers to think that somehow Halal butchershops are threateningmenacing. In reality, it is far more likely that the Muslim shop owner didn’t want the camera crew of an anti-Muslim loon causing trouble in his shop. I guess we’ll just have to take CBN and their anonymous Islamic expert’s word for it. The article continues:

Leading the fight against Quick’s sale of halal food is Charles Aslangul, a 21-year old city councilman, college student, and president of the Republican Order.

“Islam is introducing sharia into our society and that’s not clear for people,” Alain Wagner, a French activist with the Alliance Against Sharia, said. “When you see halal food in shops you think, ‘Oh, it’s just a kind of food.’ No. it’s sharia.”

According to some experts, a portion of the proceeds from halal food sales in France go to groups tied to terrorism.

When a French consumer buys Halal food, part of the price paid goes as a fee to Halal Islamic experts. Some of those experts are certified by the UOIF, the Union of the Islamic Organizations in France, which the Simon Wiesenthal Center reports has strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational political organization that supports terrorism.

When French journalist and author Alexandre del Valle began investigating how the Muslims Brotherhood was attempting a mafia-style takeover of France’s Halal food industry, his life was threatened.

“Nearly 60 percent of halal food is controlled by organizations belonging to the Muslim brotherhood,” he explained.

Again, relying on dubious “experts” we are told that most Halal food sales are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorism, therefore Halal food supports terrorism. Nevermind that absolutely no concrete evidence at all is presented to substantiate the claim that these Halal food organizations have “strong ties” to the Muslim Brotherhood. But even if this completely made up figure of “nearly 60%” were true, that does not in any way mean these sales are supporting terrorism. The Brotherhood’s public position on political terrorist violence is well-known. The CFR website states:

At various times in its history, the group has used or supported violence and has been repeatedly banned in Egypt for attempting to overthrow Cairo’s secular government. Since the 1970s, however, the Egyptian Brotherhood has disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics. The U.S. State Department does not include the group on its list of terrorist organizations. The Brotherhood denounced the April 7 bombing in Cairo by a previously unknown militant group, the Al-Ezz Islamic Brigades, calling it a “cowardly act,” The Associated Press reported.

Nevertheless, baseless speculation and smear by cynical innuendo seems to be the preferred CBN method of journalism instead of actually taking the time to research these things. The CBN article continues:

Journalist Del Valle said Halal food has been a brilliant political and business strategy for the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The food was two victories in one. We split people. We divide two societies inside a society. And we make money,” he said.

Some say halal food is no different than Kosher, but Wagner disagrees.

“No, it’s not like kosher food. Kosher-eating people are not preaching for the destruction of democracy. Halal is sharia. And we need to ban any sharia-related thing in our society,” he said.

This passage takes for granted the ignorance of CBN’s readership. The whole basis of fearing Halal soup has been its nefarious connection to the allegedly omnipresent terrorist-supporting Muslim Brotherhood. However, in this passage, we are also told to associate “Halal” and “Sharia” with “destruction of democracy.” Yet, the Muslim Brotherhood has long been pushing for fairer and freer elections in Egypt. In contrast, it has been the U.S. allied ruling Mubarak regime that has suppressed the democratic opposition, not the Brotherhood. But again, CBN appears to rely on unidentified Islamic “experts” (who are they? where did they study Islam?) rather than mainstream sources. The truth is that those who say Halal is no different than Kosher are correct:

This day good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. (Quran 5:5)

This verse of the Quran allows Muslims, Christians, and Jews to eat each other’s food because of their common belief in the same God (i.e. the God of Abraham). Instead of spreading unfounded fears about Halal food, perhaps the Christian Broadcasting Network should encourage their viewers to get to know their Muslim neighbors by sharing a meal.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

Wouldn’t that be more Christian?

 

Rashad Hussain Under Fire from Right-wing Bails on OIC

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by loonwatch
Rashad Hussain

Rashad Hussain was appointed by President Barack Hussein Obama to be the United States’ second Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). After he was appointed he became the subject of much scrutiny and anti-Muslim rhetoric from right-wing Islamophobes. He was called every name in the book.

Now the American Islamic College (AIC) and the OIC is jointly organizing a conference fromSeptember 28-30 on the topic of “Islam and Muslims in America” to be held at the AIC. Rashad Hussein was one of the headline speakers for the conference and his presence was essentially a sure thing considering that his JOB is to be the special envoy to the OIC. The Islamophobe-sphere went buck wild when they heard that Hussain would be a speaker and responded with their usual hate smears calling it a “supremacist gathering,” a “Muslim Brotherhood event,” throwing in all the usual buzz words and the kitchen sink like “Hamas,” “Shariah,” “Khilafah,” yada yada.

In light of these attacks Rashad Hussain canceled his scheduled speech at the conference last minute citing a “scheduling conflict”  according to the emcee (hat tip: Joel).

Are you serious? So at the last minute the Special Envoy to the OIC has a “scheduling conflict”? What possible “scheduling conflict” would keep the special envoy to the OIC from attending a major OIC conference right here in the United States, in fact in his hometown? Did he have another scheduled event at the OIP (Organization of Intimidated Pushovers)?

Where is this guy’s priorities? And why is he kow-towing to the Right-wing hate machine? Why is he submitting to the intimidation and smear tactics that have so successfully exposed the glaring weakness of the Obama administration? Are the higher ups telling him to sit this conference out because it will be bad for PR? Do they and he not realize that this essentially empowers the goons on the far-right that no one in the Muslim community gives the light of day or takes seriously?

This episode reveals a very troubling problem, Rashad Hussain seems to be nothing more than window dressing used by the noodle-kneed Obama administration to create the image that Obama is trying to reach out to the Muslim world.

This intimidation and acquiescence to hate and fear mongering has to stop and if the Obama administration is truly serious about reaching out to the Muslim world he has to go beyond symbolic action and translate that symbolism and usage of pretty words into tangible and concrete results. Pulling the plug at the last minute means you aren’t serious and only furthers the perception that all the talk is just for show.

 

Another Sunday, Another Protest Against the Mosque

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2010 by loonwatch

The hysteria of the anti-Mosque crowd continues in Staten Island.

Another Sunday, another protest against proposed Staten Island mosque

by Virgina N. Sherry

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. –  Midland Beach residents opposed to the sale of the empty convent of St. Margaret Mary parish to a Muslim group rallied yesterday afternoon for the second straight Sunday in front of the 2½ -story building, and this time other Staten Islanders joined them, carrying their own protest signs.

“I’m here to support this community because of how frightened everyone is of this group coming in to the neighborhood — the terrorism factor is a big part of it,” said Suzanne Adamo of Castleton Corners, who was born and raised in Midland Beach. She was referring to the Muslim American Society, a national organization whose Brooklyn/Staten Island chapter signed a contract last month with Rev. Keith Fennessy, the parish pastor, to purchase the convent.

“To me, they’re too closed,” added her husband Sal Adamo. “We don’t know them. It’s up to them to show us what and who they are. It’s very frightening.”

One sign on bright yellow cardboard read in black capital letters: “Muslim Brotherhood You Are Not Welcome Here.”

A major issue that has energized opponents of the convent-to-mosque conversion is the alleged links of MAS founders to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and the belief of many neighborhood residents that the Muslim Brotherhood is itself a terrorist organization.

The U.S. State Department maintains a publicly available list of foreign terrorist organizations. The most current list, dated January 2010, includes the names of 45 groups from around the globe. The Muslim Brotherhood is not on the list.

‘NO FOREIGN TIES’

“Everyone in this country has safety concerns, and I think that’s fair and valid, especially in the wake of September 11,” MAS local spokeswoman Lana Safah said in a phone interview on last night.

“We want to reiterate that we have no ties or affiliations to any foreign entities whatsoever,” she added. “And we have maintained the same position from the beginning — we are willing to speak to whoever wishes to speak to us.”

“I’m very against the way this sale went through — it was deceitful and sinful,” said Carolyn Pinto of New Dorp, who attended St. Margaret Mary elementary school. “This is a Christian community. The people here are the church. Archbishop [Timothy] Dolan has hurt the Catholics of Midland Beach, and it cuts like a knife.”

Anthony Sagona, also New Dorp, saw no nuance. “We don’t want the mosque. This is a nice neighborhood and we hope to keep it that way,” he said, adding that he was born in Midland Beach and lived there for 50 years. “I hope the deal falls through.”

Native Islander Christine Marra of Grant City said she was “opposed to the sale of the convent to a non-Christian organization,” and held a hand-written sign that read “Tell the Archdiocese No Mosque. Boycott the Basket.”

“I feel betrayed by the New York Archdiocese,” she commented. “I’ve been donating money my entire adult life with the intention of spreading the Gospel and the Christian message.”

TENSION OVER A BANNER

Some division in the anti-mosque crowd became apparent when a long banner was unfurled, emblazoned with color photographs and the words “We Will Never Forget!” It referenced the killing of Coptic Christians in Egypt, where they remain a beleaguered minority without full civil rights, including freedom of worship and the right to freely build churches.

The U.S. State Department, in its 2009 “Report on International Religious Freedom,” said that Egypt’s constitution “provides for freedom of belief and the practice of religious rites,” but added that “the Government restricts these rights in practice. Islam is the official state religion, and Shari’a is the principal source of legislation.”

One of the people holding up the banner was Magdi Saweres, a Cairo-born Copt who has lived in Midland Beach for the last eight years.

“You see..they [Islamic extremists] killed these kids in Egypt,” he explained to someone reading the large banner.

“That’s not our issue! They should not be here!” said Rosemary Vasquenz, an officer of the Midland Beach Civic Association, who then walked away in disgust.

“We’re not in Egypt — we’re in the U.S.” another resident chimed in.

“They’re on our side, believe me,” intervened Thomas Bosco of Grasmere, who was helping to hold up the large banner.

Unlike the first rally last Sunday, yesterday’s included a uniformed police presence, and officers restricted protestors to the sidewalk after many spilled out onto Greeley Avenue, raising signs and cheering when drivers of passing vehicles slowed down and honked horns in support.

The rally, with about 175 people at its height, was periodically interrupted by a lone counter-demonstrator standing across the street from the convent. His shouts were ignored by the vociferous yet peaceful crowd.

It concluded at 1:30 p.m., with the crowd chanting “USA! USA!” as they dispersed.

MAS REACTION

The Advance received this written statement from MAS in reaction to yesterday’s rally:

“We as Americans understand and fully appreciate the need to feel safe, and the right and necessity to look into the background of any party or group.

“However, it is equally as important for individuals to do their homework, not just rely on the research and propaganda of other parties.

“We have and continue to make ourselves available for any sit downs or questions, be it with the Church board, Community Leaders or individuals in the community. We are committed to communication and dialog, and are willing at any time to address any valid community concerns.”

Archbishop Dolan said it best on his blog: “Yes, it is acceptable to ask questions about security, safety, the background and history of the groups hoping to build and buy… What is not acceptable is to prejudge any group, or to let fear and bias trump the towering American virtues of hospitality, welcome, and religious freedom.”

 

Wafa Sultan: A Poseur Playing off of Ignorance to Further Hate

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2009 by loonwatch

Wafa Sultan: A Poseur Playing off of Ignorance to Further Hate

"Atheist Muslim reformer" Wafa Sultan with anti-Muslim loon Pamela Geller
“Atheist Muslim reformer” Wafa Sultan with anti-Muslim loon Pamela Geller

We must begin this profile with a question: Is there a more contemptible poseur than Wafa Sultan who calls herself an atheist but in the same breath also claims to be a Muslim reformer, which would kind of be like Christopher Hitchens calling himself a Christian reformer? It is difficult to answer that question with certainty considering the wide pool of bigots who combine charlatanism with raving and incorrigible insanity. But for sure one thing is certain, she is completely undeserving of the 15 minutes of fame she has succeeded in procuring.

In this sense, Wafa Sultan falls into the same category as Walid Shoebat, Brigitte Gabriel, Nonie Darwish, Kamal Saleem, Zachariah Anani and other self-proclaimed turn coats from their Arab and Muslim identities. As we mentioned before this group attempts to parlay their “otherness,” and so-called “insider knowledge of the Muslim world,” (the “I’ve been there, I know” line) into a cash cow. Meanwhile, we are supposed to be duped into freaking out and running back to them for more “expert” advice brought to us from our loyal friend who ventures into the other side on our behalf.

Sultan is no different, her tale of flight into Islamophobic stardom is a curious and thoroughly modern one. In the beginning of this tale Sultan was invited onto a show hosted by the well known anchorman of AlJazeera’s Opposing Viewpoints (Ittijaah al-Mu’aakas), Faisal Al-Qasim for the purpose of a debate with professor Ibrahim al-Khouly from Al-Azhar on the topic of the Clash of Civilizations and the Clash of Religions. Al-Qasim, brought her onto the show originally after noticing some of her articles on the Arabic website called AnNaqed (The Critic). The New York Times reported that the website was an Islamic reform site, but in actuality it turns out that it is a Christian website,

[T]he web site called Annaqed (www.annaqed.com) she supposedly wrote for before being noticed by Al-Jazeera Television is not an “Islamic reform Web Site” as was reported in the New York Times article, but rather an Arab nationalist blog run by a Syrian Christian who defines it as being “in line with Christian morality and principles.” The site is also replete with anti-Muslim writings.

On the show she supported the thesis of a clash and stated that the conflict between the West and Islam is,

a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century… a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality.

MEMRI, (Middle East Media Research Institute) which peddles in biased, selective, de-contextualized, error-filled, and misleading translations of news, shows and opinion from Middle East television took the 45 minute show and per its modus operandi chopped up and edited the show into a 5 minute sound bite of Wafa Sultan’s attack on Muslims and Islam. In the process, and without any respect for translational integrity they also attempted to deceptively frame Professor Khouly as proclaiming Sultan a “heretic,” when, as this fully translated transcript shows he did no such thing. Instead Khouly responded to Sultan’s jibes with questions that though we might not agree to the way he frames them are far from irrational or undebatable,

…here we must ask a question, who facilitated the conflict and indeed initiated it; is it the Muslims? Muslims now are in a defensive position fighting off an aggressor… who said Muslims were backward? They may be backward in terms of technological advances, but who said that such are the criteria for humanity?

That is just the beginning of the story, the MEMRI produced video was downloaded to YouTube where it went viral receiving over a million hits and like wild fire the anti-Muslim blogosphere picked it up. Instantly, over night, Sultan was a star. In this consumer age, MEMRI’s rendition of the show gave the public what it wanted to see: a spectacle. It fit in well with the narrative of an oppressed Mooslim woman “finally” standing up for her rights and taking on the world of Islam.

Sultan capitalized on the spotlight she had and with all the ingenuity and creativeness of a con-artist spun a tale which essentially boils down to her “dark days growing up in the barbaric ‘Islamic nation’ of Syria.” A good example of her deception can be gleaned from a recent article she wrote for the neo-conservative website Hudson New York,

As an Arab woman who suffered for three decades living under Islamic Sharia, it is clear to me that Islam’s political ideology and Sharia must be fought relentlessly by Western civilization to prevent its application in a free society. (emphasis added)

This encapsulates the opportunism that motivates Sultan and it also reveals the contempt with which she holds her readers whose intelligence she seeks to insult with such a blatant lie. She attempts to paint her three decades in Syria as a nightmare in which she suffered the brutal force of a Taliban-esque regime that implemented Islamic law on her constantly. The absurdity is only matched by the bravado of her claim, as anyone who cared to check (Wikipidea for instance) could tell you that the regime that ruled Syria had nothing to do with Islam.

The regime in Syria, during much of the time period that Sultan talks about was ruled by the secular, anti-Shariah Ba’athist dictator Hafiz al-Assad who happens to come from the same privileged sect that Sultan was born into: the Alawies. Her allegation is even more obscene considering the fact that Hafiz al-Assad massacred 20,000 villagers in Hama, Syria who were members of the Muslim Brotherhood. One has to ask Sultan, if you were made to suffer for thirty years under Islamic Sharia’, how could you, a woman, have finished your medicine degree at the University of Aleppo? On top of that, would an Islamic Sharia state as horrid as you describe have funded your education for free?

Another good example of her 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.

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.

Half-truths and lies corroborate and reveal the true motive behind Sultan’s hate and invective against Islam: money. The article reveals more,

Adnan Halabi*, a Syrian expatriate who met and got to know the Sultans when they first came to the United States, spoke at length about the Wafa Sultan that very few people know.

According to Halabi, Dr. Wafa Ahmad (her maiden name) arrived in California with her husband Moufid (now changed to David) in the late 80s on a tourist visa. Contrary to what she told the New York Times, they came as a couple, leaving their two children back in Syria.

Another source named Nabil Mustafa, also Syrian, told InFocus that he was introduced to Moufid Sultan through a personal friend who knew the family well, and both ended up having tea at the Sultans’ one-bedroom apartment one evening in 1989. It was then that Moufid told Mustafa the story of how he was reunited with his two children. According to Mustafa, Moufid Sultan told him that a short time after they arrived in the country, his wife, Dr. Wafa Sultan, mailed her passport back to her sister Ilham Ahmad in Syria (while the passport still carried a valid U.S. tourist visa). With Ilham bearing a resemblance to her sister Wafa, the plan was to go to the Mexican Embassy in Damascus and obtain a visa to Mexico, making sure that the airline carrier they would book a flight on would have a layover somewhere in the Continental United States.

With an existing U.S. visa on Wafa Sultan’s passport, Ilham Ahmad had no trouble obtaining an entry permit to Mexico. Shortly after, Ilham and Wafa’s two children landed in Houston, Texas. She and the children then allegedly made their way through customs and were picked up by Moufid and brought to California.

Taking advantage of an amnesty law for farmers, the Sultans applied for permanent residency through a Mexican lady who worked as a farm hand. She helped Moufid with the paperwork by claiming he had worked as a farmer for four years. The application went through and the Sultans obtained their green cards.

As incredible as the story sounds, Mustafa told InFocus that to the best of his recollection, this was the exact account he heard from Moufid Sultan. Halabi, who is not acquainted with Mustafa, corroborated the story, which he heard from Dr. Wafa Sultan herself but with fewer details. Dr. Wafa Sultan declined InFocus’ repeated requests to be interviewed or comment on the allegations. InFocus contacted the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to check on the veracity of the story but an official said that they would look into the allegations, which could take months to investigate.

Halabi alleges that Ilham Ahmad lived as illegal resident with her sister Wafa for years until she met an Arab Christian named Khalid Musa Shihadeh whom she ended up marrying (they were married in Nevada on 12/8/1991 and filed for divorce in 2002). It was during that time that Halabi got to know the Sultans well.

Halabi alleges that the Sultans lived in dire poverty. “Their rent was over $1,000 per month and Moufid was only making $800,” he said. Dr. Wafa Sultan was forced to rent out a room in her apartment and work at a pizza parlor in Norwalk, Calif. where a personal friend used to pick her up and drop her off daily. This same friend used to help the Sultans out with groceries and occasionally loaned them money just so they could make it through the month. “It was a serious struggle,” Halabi recalled. “The Sultans lived hand to mouth for years on end.” Further, Halabi said that at no point during the period he knew the family did Sultan ever discuss religion, politics or any topic relevant to her current activities. “She is a smart woman, articulate and forceful, but she never meddled in religion or politics to the extent she is doing now,” Halabi said.

Sultan is not condemned only by Muslims, non-Muslims have come out and strongly condemned her as well.

Sultan’s detractors include not only Muslims but members of the Jewish community as well. In an op-ed piece published in the Los Angeles Times (June 25, 2006) and titled “Islam’s Ann Coulter,” Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, who attended a fundraiser for a local Jewish organization where Sultan was a speaker, wrote, “The more Sultan talked, the more evident it became that progress in the Muslim world was not her interest…. She never alluded to any healthy, peaceful Islamic alternative.”

The rabbi mentioned that Judea Pearl, father of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, “was one of the few voices of restraint and nuance heard that afternoon. In response to Sultan’s assertion that the Koran contains only verses of evil and domination, Pearl said he understood the book also included ‘verses of peace’ that proponents of Islam uphold as the religion’s true intent. The Koran’s verses on war and brutality, Pearl contended, were ‘cultural baggage,’ as are similar verses in the Torah.”

He added, “Sultan’s over-the-top, indefensible remarks at the fundraiser, along with her failure to mention the important, continuing efforts of the Islamic Center (of Southern California), insulted all Muslims and Jews in L.A. and throughout the nation who are trying to bridge the cultural gap between the two groups. And that’s one reason why I eventually walked out of the event.”

The hope is that more and more people like Rabbi Stephen Stein will see Wafa Sultan for who she is: a hateful, opportunistic poseur. The atheist who calls Islam and Muslims “backward and primitive,” “incapable of reform,” the Qur’an as only filled with “evil,” yet can’t see the self-contradiction in her befuddling statements that growing up in secular Syria she “suffered from Islamic Shariah” and “I even don’t believe in Islam, but I am a Muslim.” Go figure.

UPDATE: In retrospect, our piece on Wafa Sultan seems not to have been harsh enough on her hate. In light of recent comments she has made while on her book tour at synagogues and churches, the poseur can properly be renamed, Wafa Stalin Sultan because the atheism that she believes in is propelled by the same genocidal and insane impulses that led another loon, Joseph Stalin.

Atlas Shrugs (read: Pamela Geller on Drugs) made our jobs easy by posting a video clip of Wafa Stalin Sultan going off the deep end. In the video, Sultan is addressing a group at a synagogue in NYC and says,

“I believe King Abdullah can change Islam overnight, but you need to put pressure on him to do it, and the same kind of pressure you put on Japan, you might need it” at that moment someone from the audience interjects and asks, “atom bombs?” Wafa Sultan replies, “Yes. At some point the West will need to do it.” At the end of her speech, she utters something quite strange for an atheist, “God bless you and God bless America.” More charlatanism?

During the question and answer session she divides moderate Muslims into three categories: 1.) a majority, 80% who are unaware of the real teachings of Islam, 2.) huge chunks of them are practicing Taqiyyah, 3.) a very small progressive group who have no effect. All talking points from the far right-wing wing.

The rest of the question and answer session is interesting as well, and pocked full of more and more lies from Wafa Stalin Sultan. Check it out for yourselves.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDeqlwhE2xc 300 250]

This disgusting little woman continues with her fascist fearmongering, she says, “Islam is infiltrating and you are doing nothing about it.” Someone from the audience then asks Sultan, “How would we stop it from infiltrating?” Sultan replies, “Get involved in politics, you have to know the kind of leaders you are choosing.” The man then says, “If we got involved in politics, what would our platform be, what would we say?” Sultan replies quoting Geert Wilders, “Islam is not religion!” The man interrupts and asks, “what would our platform be, what would A, B and C be?” Sultan replies, “the same you dealt with Nazism. The same way, the same exact way. The same way!” To this she receives a big applause from the all too captive audience…”you reversed the Japanese culture, the same, you might need to do it, you might need to do a heavy pressure, I cannot predict the kind of pressure, you understand it, I don’t have to say it.” Quite chilling the way she nonchalantly advocates nuking Muslims.

Sultan also says, “You know Geert Wilders has said if he becomes Prime Minister of Holland he will ban the Quran, I admire him for that.” The audiences glibly agrees with her with mutterings of “yes.” If you want to see how fascism takes hold then watch the video. My only question is how much are these synagogues and churches paying her for her speaking appearances?

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQaix-jM82M 300 250]

Douglas Farah’s Delusional Delight

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2009 by loonwatch
Douglas Farah

Douglas Farah

In a blog entry titled, “The MB Inroads Into the Obama Administration,” Douglas Farah, yet another so-called “investigative” consultant, sets out to link American Muslim organizations to planet Zorbex, that global superpower which is able to operate in perfect coordination yet secrecy toward “sneaking in” an evil empire in the United States — Zorbex is also known as the Muslim Brotherhood, or affectionately as MB.

Douglas Farah throws a few punches around at the usual American Muslim organizations, but hones his venom in this piece at Prof. John “the architect” Esposito, and Dalia “the insider” Mogahed.

Let’s start with Esposito:

Farah: “The architect is Dr. John Esposito, a long time defender of the MB and the head of the Saudi-financed Georgetown University Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service.”

Why is Douglas Farah threatened by the concept of Muslim-Christian Understanding?

Because it actually gets people talking to each other, rather than secluding from each other and retiring to wild speculation and demagoguery about one another. The latter is what the Douglas Farah’s, Daniel Pipes’, and Steven Emerson’s of the world desperately need in order to stay in business.

For most people, universities, especially well-established and credible top institutions like Georgetown University are a service to society. Not so to the conspiracy loons like Douglas Farah. He is willing to argue that Georgetown with all of its gargantuan bureaucracy and what that may include in checks and balances is but one sweeping front for the Muslim Brotherhood. In a similar vein, all of the national American Muslim organizations (Farah’s blog piece mentions CAIR, MPAC, and CSID by name) are but one sweeping secretive front for that same ominous superpower, that struggling Egyptian party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

But hey, Douglas Farah is no dummy. He is sure to provide proof for his arguments. You ready? Georgetown, presumably like those orgs, is….. “Saudi-financed!”

Who is he talking about? Well, Prince Al Waleed bin Talal. Who is Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, that prince of darkness and anti-Americanism? Well, we’ll get to that in the last of three points that explain the major problems with Douglas Farah’s argument:

  1. The much larger picture. Has he ever heard of philanthropy? That thing that tends to be a long and strong legacy in the United States. How does he think most US private institutions receive a good chunk of their assets? There are hundreds of examples of wealthy financiers of US academic institutions both American and foreign. Does he pin an agenda on each depending on where they were born or the faith they espouse? For example, does he look at a Jewish Hungarian philanthropist who donates to an Ivy league school and scream “Zionist agenda?” Not only does he not do so, but if others did, he would be blogging about anti-Semitism. Good, but then why does he engage in the reverse?
  2.  

  3. The slightly larger picture. Georgetown is Saudi-financed? As in Georgetown exclusively? How about the United States is Saudi-financed? Try on the order of $860 billion in Saudi investments to the U.S. economy. Now one may legitimately have an issue with that. It’s a good debate to have. But Douglas Farah is being hypocritical when he cherry picks Georgetown for criticism on that point.
  4.  

  5. The full picture. Much has been made about Prince Al Waleed bin Talal’s donations to Georgetown and American Muslim organizations. The donations are made out to be some sort of dubious evil secretive Wahhabi endeavor. But again, anyone familiar with reality can see through the bull. The conspiracy theorists happen to neglect a few small facts that may give an entirely different picture. Georgetown and these American Muslim organizations are in the same league with AOL, Apple Inc., Worldcom, Motorola, News Corporation Ltd, the Four Seasons hotel chain and the Plaza Hotel in New York, London’s Savoy Hotel, Monaco’s Monte Carlo Grand Hotel, Euro Disney SCA, Fairmont Hotels — and yes, President George H. W. Bush. Al-Waleed who is a major investor in all of these companies donated $500,000 to the George Herbert Walker Bush Scholarship Fund, established by Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, to honor the former President.Or how about the epitome of Western intelligensia: Harvard University. Al-Waleed donated $20 million to Harvard, one of its 25 largest donations. Al-Waleed donated $10 million to Cornell University to study complex genomic and cellular systems as they relate to medicine and biology by using mathematical models, physics and high-speed computing. Al-Waleed donated $20 million to the Louvre Museum in Paris, the World’s top temple of art, its largest gift ever.Now if Al-Waleed is part of an undercover Wahhabi front to establish a caliphate in the West, he is one dumb bastard. I mean that would be one heck of an expensive route with way too much irreversible contradictions on the way. Here’s a whopping $30 million in financing for “Western” halmarks like liberalism, art, and genomes — oh but then here’s a tiny fraction of that amount given to the evil Muslim organizations that will trump all of that – and some – with their impending anti-Western Caliphate. It’s fool proof. Ingenious! Nihohaha.

Next is Dalia Mogahed:

There is no need to even get into Doug’s off-point hate there. Hussein Ibish hit it on the head in a comment on the same blog:

OK, so let’s review, then, the case against Dalia Mogahed:

  1. Born in Egypt
  2. Worked for Gallup
  3. Wrote a book with a Georgetown professor
  4. Had a co-worker who used to work for MPAC
  5. Used to work for a mosque in which one person lost a security clearance and another person has immigration issues
  6. Father is associated with a different mosque, whose website links to American Muslim organizations
  7. That mosque was headed by a guy who now has a job with one of those groups.

Egypt, Gallup, Georgetown, a former coworker, some guy’s immigration problems, a mosque’s website, some other guy’s new job. Wow. Case closed. She is definitely an operative of the Muslim Brotherhood. Another brilliant piece of reporting, Doug!

    — Hussein Ibish Apr 14, 03:27 #

As you seem to not know, the MB is a web of relationships, including and particularly Georgetown and Esposito. Sorry that was lost on you.

    — Douglas Farah Apr 14, 09:07 #

oooh. Doug got you there Hussein! How can the web be lost on you? How can anyone with a name like Hussein be trusted to get it right anyway…

The serious question though is, why does Douglas Farah, an investigative consultant (whatever that means) fail to “investigate” and disclose the full facts to his readers? Why does he do the sloppy cut-and-paste thing, giving a tiny portion of the facts, and then filling in the rest with conspiracy theories?

Because that is the modus operandi of the Loons. And that’s why there’s a loonwatch.

Like Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes, Farah is not interested in uncovering the real terrorist threat, he is committed to a different agenda: delegitimizing credible and mainstream Muslims, under the guise of fighting terror while taking advantage of everyone else’s genuine concerns about real terror.

While these “investigative” loons are busy with their politicization and keeping others busy with them, real terrorists will slip by as they have in the past.