Archive for NewsRealBlog

David Horowitz’s blog spouting propaganda as usual part 2

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by loonwatch

It’s a daily barrage of explicit anti-Muslim messages over at David Horowitz’s NewsRealBlog. Not just extremist Muslims, but all Muslims (over 1 billion people) and Islam (over 1,400 years of tradition) itself. I recently called out Mr. Paul Cooper for his sweeping claims about women and Islam. Today, we find another Islamophobic underling spouting anti-Muslim talking points but whose knowledge of basic facts is, to be polite, somewhat limited.

Mrs. Lisa Graas, a self-proclaimed Catholic, is furious that Cardinal Sfeir of Lebanon is “suffering from an acute case of dhimmitude.” His crime? This single statement:

Islam is, of course, a religion that promotes worshipping the goodness in life, worshipping God and being fair to others.

Of course, what the Cardinal said is the largely accepted non-controversial stance of serious comparative religion scholars who aren’t indoctrinated with anti-Muslim libels and canards. The Quran says:

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, acquainted. (4:135)

This call for justice is universal; that is, it is applied to both Muslims and non-Muslims, as is clear from the phrase, “even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives.” It is recorded in the practice (Sunnah) of the Prophet and his early companions:

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr: The Prophet said: “Whoever killed a person protected by a treaty shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be found at a distance of forty years (of traveling).”

[Sahih Bukhari, Book 83 Number 49]

Dr. Maher Hathout, a respected American Muslim scholar, writes about the precedent set by the first four Caliphs of equal treatment, Muslims and non-Muslims, before the law:

The Caliph Ali is noted to have said, concerning non-Muslims, “they only entered the covenant so that their lives and properties would be [protected] like our lives and properties.” This point is important because it highlights the underlying purpose of entering into a treaty with the ruler. The state has the ability to provide protection for its people and both Muslims and non-Muslims enter into a political contract with the state so that they are granted equal protection.

The equality with which all are to be treated before the law is illustrated when the Caliph lost his armor in the battle of Siffin. A few days later, he noticed a Christian wearing that armor. He referred the case to a judge, and both he and the Christian appeared before the judge, each arguing that it was his armor, but the Christian stated that his possession of it was proof of his ownership. Caliph Ali could not produce any witnesses to support his own claims to it. When the judge hesitated in pronouncing the verdict, given the Caliph’s status [as chief executive], he exhorted the judge to disregard any such considerations. The judgment was in the Christian’s favor, and the Caliph accepted it.

[Hathout, M., Jamil, U., Hathout, G., & Ali, N. (2006). In pursuit of justice: The jurisprudence of human rights in Islam. Los Angeles: Muslim Public Affairs Council. P. 212]

All three branches of the United States government have acknowledged this fact about Islam; such as the 96th Congress, the United States Supreme Court, and many Presidents including Bush and Obama. In addition, Mrs. Lisa Graas, a self-described “experienced apologist for the Catholic faith,” has likewise either not read or has rejected the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions by Pope Paul VI:

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Thus, in reality, Cardinal Sfeir is being faithful to what the Catholic Church has taught about these matters; an interfaith consensus of peaceful coexistence and respect built over many, many years of painful learning from the follies our collective intolerance. But that doesn’t stop Mrs. Graas from accusing the Cardinal of betraying his symbolic Christian blood oath and paving the road for non-Muslim enslavement, simply by stating what Islam and Christianity obviously have in common. Nay! For those indoctrinated in the Spencer-Horowitz closed information system (based on pretend information), anything uttered about Islam must be in terms of pure evil, otherwise it becomes part of the conspiracy. She fusses:

While Lebanon is not yet to the point of being a Muslim-majority country enslaving, abducting, or deporting Christians, it is important to point out that attitudes like Cardinal Sfeir’s are attitudes of contentment with dhimmitude that pave the way for the advancement of Islam which itself results consistently in more oppression of non-Muslim peoples.

Cardinal Sfeir tendered his resignation to the Vatican some time ago, but the Vatican has yet to accept it. Considering that Pope Benedict XVI has been consistent in every opportunity available to address the plight of Christians under Islam, emphasizing the need for divided Christians to unite and for Christians and Jews to work together, we can believe that a suitable replacement for Cardinal Sfeir is being sought by the Vatican, and one that will actually contend for the true peace offered by Christians, Jews and other peace-loving people rather than the false peace of dhimmitude.

Mrs. Graas relies on links to the closed information-propaganda system (based on pretend information) called discover the networks which features non-expert loons like Bat Ye’or and Andrew Bostom. She essentializes Islam as pure dhimmitude, the imaginary lust for persecution of non-Muslims that is the Islamic religious impulse. She has no need to refer to any contemporary realities concerning modern Muslim interpretations of classical rulings on dhimmi (“protected”) people and citizenship, such as the recent solidarity Egyptian Muslims showed to their Coptic Christian neighbors by serving as human shields against violent extremists. Nor does she need to refer to any fundamental documents that might shed light on attitudes about citizenship in Lebanon such as, perhaps, the Lebanese Constitution:


All Lebanese are equal before the law.  They equally enjoy civil and political rights and equally are bound by public obligations and duties without any distinction.

1.     The Chamber of Deputies is composed of elected members; their number and the method of their election is determined by the electoral laws in effect.  Until such time as the Chamber enacts new electoral laws on a non-confessional basis, the distribution of seats is according to the following principles:

a. Equal representation between Christians and Muslims.

b.    Proportional representation among the confessional groups within each religious community.

c.     Proportional representation among geographic regions.

2.     Exceptionally, and for one time only, the seats that are currently vacant, as well as the new seats that have been established by law, are to be filled by appointment, all at once, and by a majority of two thirds of the Government of National Unity.  This is to establish equality between Christians and Muslims as stipulated in the Document of National Accord [The Taif  Agreement].

Rather, for Graas, Islam is the essence of every evil the human mind can conceive; persecution, war, slavery, rape, abduction, misogyny (hatred of women), irrationality; and Cardinal Sfeir is a part of the problem because he won’t describe Islam for what it allegedly is. Perhaps she should read Danios’ enlightening article about how the medevial dhimmitude she essentializes to Islam was, although second-class by today’s standard, still far better than her own historical co-religionists. Yet, we know that loons have a strong allergy to information that contradicts their anti-Muslim ideology.

Mrs. Graas, take some anti-Islamophobia-hystamine by reading a balanced primer on Islam such as, say, Huston Smith’s World Religions. It’s great for undergraduate studies (where you seem to be).

 

David Horowitz’s Blog Spouting Propaganda as Usual

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2011 by loonwatch
David Horowitz

David Horowitz’s NewRealBlog is (like FrontPageMag) a lightning rod for people who want to justify their preconceived prejudices about Islam and Muslims. Today, we find an article by Paul Cooper, a pastor, which allegedly purports to expose the reality of women under Sharia law. Of course, we’ve come to expect the usual dose of anti-Muslim bias from David Horowitz’s cash for hate scheme which regularly dehumanizes Palestinians and inspires right-wing terrorists.

Mr. Cooper exposes the “left-leaning” (what most call mainstream moderate) journalists who refuse to describe Sharia law in terms of pure evil:

Every week new articles come out from left-leaning journalists about how great Sharia law is and how we have nothing to fear. Yet we at NewsReal have written on many sad cases of how children are treated under Sharia all over the world. You don’t hear the whole story of the dangers of Islamic law unless you see how it affects women. This past week in Pakistan, for example, two women were falsely accused of blasphemy and almost beaten to death.

Cooper follows classic far right-wing tactics by using Islam as a political wedge issue; that is, to divide Americans according to their position on Islam. I’ve written before about right-wing activists using Islam as a stick to bash the Left. One wonders if his primary target is his political enemies (Democrats), not necessarily Muslims themselves.

Historically, Muslims had done away with harsh blasphemy laws in 1839 during the Reformation of the Ottoman Empire, specifically by a decree known as the Noble Edict of the Rose Chamber. For Mr. Cooper, though, a small troublesome detail like that need not prevent him from claiming that such severe laws are essential Islamic traditions practiced all over the Muslim world.

Admittedly, there are problems with Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law. But Muslims have been voicing their criticism of the Pakistani government’s heavy hand for quite some time. Yursil Kidwai, in an excellent piece for the Huffington Post, describes how so-called Sharia laws are actually tactics used by corrupt governments to distract people from their endemic corruption:

It seems more than coincidental that these ‘Sharia’ incidents occur in states that are run by atheistic/communist dictators (i.e. Saddam Hussein) or ridiculously corrupt ‘Islamo-democratic’ governments.

In Pakistan’s case, the International Crisis Group provided a report last year stating:

“Decades of mismanagement, political manipulation and corruption have rendered Pakistan’s civil service incapable of providing effective governance and basic public services. In public perceptions, the country’s 2.4 million civil servants are widely seen as unresponsive and corrupt, and bureaucratic procedures cumbersome and exploitative. Bureaucratic dysfunction and low capacity undermine governance, providing opportunities to the military to subvert the democratic transition and to extremists to destabilize the state.”

Ridiculous distractions such as modern ‘Islamic’ states opinions on blasphemy, adultery, and theft allow Islamophobes to target their favorite religion, while allowing corruption and real problems to go under the radar. These laws today serve a purpose that they never had in what was the most authentic Islamic state (now only a memory): a means to prove a government’s religiosity in a midst of lies, deceit, money and total corruption which make up most of its actual administration.

Yursil is correct that the misguided policies of unelected dictators to enforce only the most harsh Sharia laws are nothing more than superficial attempts to legitimate illegitimate governments. Islamophobes like to focus on these irregular examples as a typical day of Sharia law. However, this belies the sophisticated Ottoman legal system which, using Sharia’s own internal mechanisms (such as ijtihad and istihsan), had done away with severe punishments like stoning and blasphemy. Yursil continues:

Islamic laws which reward charity, promote honesty, promote tolerance have been forgotten in these states, while a handful of ‘Shariah’ punishments were mixed in with brand-new torturous and oppressive policies and procedures.

Interestingly enough, these selected ‘Sharia’ punishments were frowned upon under the centuries of Ottoman rule and by its end had become completely unpracticed. In Ottoman lands where Sharia was the be-all, end-all official state law, these laws were unenforced as a matter of practice. This was not through denouncing or revising Islamic Law, but by putting into practice the complete and holistic set of checks and balances built into Islamic Sharia.

Of course, most Muslim law makers are following precedents similar to the Ottoman reforms. Yet, all this history and context is simply too much information to consider before David Horowitz and company declare Sharia law a threat to all women. After recounting in detail a single anecdote from Pakistan, Cooper concludes that such events are representative of the entire Muslim world (over 1 billion people):

Sadly such stories are common in many Islamic regions. Yet news agency [sic], women’s groups, and human rights organizations continue to turn a deaf ear. Despite their indifference, some of us are listening and committed to getting the word out on the true dangers of Sharia law.

We are left to believe that women everywhere in the Muslim world, without exception, are suffering every day under Sharia law. I am curious to see how Mr. Cooper explains the fact that Pakistan, allegedly under misogynist Sharia law, has twice elected a woman Prime Minister. But what do you expect from someone who links his article to Nonie Darwish, among others, as his “resource” for Sharia?

Mr. Cooper, perhaps those “news agencies, women’s groups, and human rights organizations continue to turn a deaf ear” because they don’t pay attention to exaggerated politically self-serving claims about women and Sharia law from non-experts like yourself.