Archive for Peace

Redditch Unites as EDL March Ends Peacefully

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2012 by loonwatch

Those who oppose fascism outnumber the hate-mongering EDL:

Redditch unites as EDL march ends peacefully

(Redditch Standard)

REDDITCH residents put on a show of unity and defiance as a march through the town from the EDL passed off peacefully.

More than 100 officers were drafted in from across the West Mercia force area as well as Warwickshire, West Midlands and British Transport Police to help control the event and tensions were high throuhgout the day as a large counter demonstration, made up of residents from all sections of Redditch’s community and members of United Against Facism, attemped to get near to the main EDL rally.

Between 100 and 150 members of the EDL from across the region turned out for Saturday’s rally which saw speeches made from the bandstand although police officially estimate the figure at about 40.

The event lasted for about half an hour during which members of the group urged people to ‘wake up to the facts’ about Islam and made a number of anti-islamic statements and chants.

Trouble flared when passers-by from the afro-caribbean community angered by some of the comments attempted to intervene with the rally and a lager can appeared to be thrown from the EDL side, but officers quickly intervened. In total there were three arrests – one for a breach of the peace and two on suspicion of assault – and police say they were all men and believed to have been attached to the counter EDL demonstration.

EDL member Ed Stevens said they were trying to raise awareness about the threat of Islamic grooming of young white girls.

“It’s an awareness campaign, more than anything particularly connected to Redditch. There have been one or two minor incidents around this town but the main thing is we are coming to town and cities everywhere to say take notice of what’s going on in your country.”

But after the group left about 3pm the larger counter demonstration, with an estimated 500 people involved and which had been held back for most of the day in Easemore Road, marched through the town down to the railway station and back again before holding a brief rally also at the bandstand.

There are now plans to set-up a Redditch Against Facism group.

Safder Hussain, one of the organisers of the counter-protest, said: “The message we have sent to day is straightforward, we do not want the EDL here, we are united and we are strong in that.

“Redditch is a mixed community, I have personally lived here for 40 years and I have never had race relation problems, 99 per cent of Redditch people are the friendlist, nicest people you could ever hope to meet. These people from outside Redditch are coming in to Redditch to spread their malicious, evil, garbage.”

Smallwood resident Charlotte Gallen added: “I have lived here all my life, we are proud of the diversity in our town and we always have been.”

Other faith groups across Redditch also lent their support to the counter-protest.

Read more: Redditch unites as EDL march ends peacefully | Redditch Standard

Nigerians Want to Transcend Sectarian and Ethnic Violence

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by loonwatch

There are those who look at violence between Muslims and Christians with glee, such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. For them, when Muslims act criminally or hatefully it is more fodder to smear Islam, while dismissing the same logic for Christian attacks on Muslims.

What boggles their mind however is when Muslims and Christians come together and oppose sectarianism and actively seek peace and reconciliation.

This is the case in Nigeria, where many want to transcend sectarian and ethnic violence (h/t: SK).

Here for example are pictures of recent protests in Nigeria showing solidarity and unity between Nigerians and Muslims:

Muslim and Christian Nigerians holding up their respective symbols

An Imam and a Pastor in a show of unity

Christians protesters protecting praying Muslim protesters (something we also saw in Egypt):

Muslims are also protecting Christian centers of worship. This needs to become a movement within Nigeria (h/t: Thomas Miles):

Protest: Muslim Youths Guard Churches

Some youths, mainly Muslim faithful, organised themselves into groups yesterday to guard worshippers in some churches in parts of Minna, Niger State capital, as part of a solidarity gesture against the removal of oil subsidy.

LEADERSHIP observed in Kpakungu area of Minna that some of the youths earlier dispersed by the Police on Friday from protesting at the Polo Field, Minna, had regrouped to protect some of the churches.

It was observed that the youths mounted the gates of the churches as their Christian counterparts were worshipping, and conducted themselves peacefully in order not to cause any apprehensions.

The youths, under the umbrella of Concerned Minna Residents, were last Friday dispersed by the police for lack of identity, with the Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Mohammed Maishanu,  saying they could not be granted a permit to hold protest.

The leader of the group, Awaal Gata, told LEADERSHIP in an interview at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Kpakungu, said, “we are protecting our fellow Christian brothers and sisters to show the people that our leaders cannot use religion to divide us.

“In this struggle, we are determined to make sure that the removal of fuel subsidy will not stay; we want to send a signal – by coming here to protect our Christians friends and to show that we are one and our Christian brothers will do same on Friday,” he added.

Asked whether they got police permit to do what they were doing, he said: “We are peaceful; we are here to protect ourselves and to emphasize that security is not only in the hands of the police –  security is the responsibility of every citizen.”

These are the forces and the voices who should be promoted. Yet extremists on both sides want to see violence in a push for power.

Offers of Aid Pour in After Fire at Mosque

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2011 by loonwatch
Fire Tears Down MosqueFire Tears Down Mosque

When bigotry leads to the eventual outcome of violence, the response of the community is important. In this case the community has stepped up to the plate and offered to right a wrong by offering aid to a mosque that was burned down in Kansas.

This is the type of story that doesn’t get much coverage, and it is similar to Muslims rebuilding Churches that have been burnt down in Egypt but that is something the Islamophobes won’t ever tell you.

Offers of aid pour in after fire at mosque

When the Rev. Jackie Carter learned of the fire that heavily damaged a mosque in west Wichita early Monday morning, she knew what she needed to do.

“They are welcome to use the worship space at our building,” said Carter, pastor of First Metropolitan Community Church at 156 S. Kansas. “We believe it’s important for everyone to have sacred space, and now they don’t.”

It’s just one of numerous offers of assistance for the mosque and those who pray there, said Hussam Madi, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Wichita.

The society posted a letter of appreciation on its website today.

“On behalf of the Islamic Society of Wichita, we would like to thank the Wichita community for the outpouring of support we continue to receive in response to the fire at the Westside Islamic Center,” Jenaya McHenry, office manager for the Islamic Society of Wichita, stated in the letter.

“We have received numerous phone calls and e-mails from individuals and churches offering kind words, support, services and space to aid the Muslim community in Wichita. We are truly grateful to be part of such a giving community and for each and every person who has reached out to us.”

The cause of the fire at the mosque at 3406 W. Taft, southeast of Maple and West streets, remains under investigation.

“There are plans to rebuild,” Madi said. “It’s going to require some fundraisers.”

Preliminary cost estimates are in the $120,000 range, he said.

People wishing to send financial donations for the mosque can send them to the Islamic Society of Wichita, 6655 E. 34th St. North, 67226.

“We deeply appreciate the help and the offers from other peoples of faith in our city,” Madi said.

“That makes us feel that we are a part of this community, which we work hard to be a part of.”

Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2011/11/02/2087434/offers-of-aid-pour-in-after-fire.html#ixzz1ckj8RFAV

Rabbis Stand In Solidarity With Burned Mosque In Israel

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

(cross-posted from HuffPo)

By Josef Kuhn
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) More than a thousand rabbis from around the world have signed a statement denouncing the burning of an Israeli mosque as police arrested a suspect who is alleged to be a Jewish extremist.

“We condemn those in Israel who exacerbate conflict and strife, and who insist that only one people or religion belongs to this land,” said the statement, which organizers say was overwhelmingly signed by U.S. rabbis.

The statement was presented on Thursday (Oct. 6) by a delegation of dozens of rabbis and peace activists to the imam of Tuba-Zangria, the Galilean village where the mosque was torched.

The statement was initiated by the New Israel Fund (NIF), an organization that promotes human rights and religious pluralism in Israel.

David Rosenn, the chief operating officer of NIF and a Conservative rabbi, called the mosque arson “a flagrant challenge to Jewish history and values.”

The envoys to Tuba-Zangria were led by a coalition established in 2009 in response to a book that argued that, in times of war, Jewish law permits the pre-emptive killing of noninvolved gentiles, including children.

The arson has been condemned by Israel’s chief rabbis and a host of Jewish groups in the United States, including the Anti-Defamation League, which said the attack represented “the violence and hatred among fringe groups of Israeli Jewish extremists.”

Israeli officials have arrested a suspect in the arson, described by The Associated Press as an “18-year-old seminary student with ties to one of the most hardline Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”

Ron Paul’s Unforgivable Sin of Opposing America’s Sacred Wars, And Why Are Muslims So Warlike?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by loonwatch
Image taken from kickapathy.com

As the GOP debates and subsequent presidential campaigns unfold, one very popular Republican candidate will get the cold shoulder from the mainstream media machine: the esteemable Congressman and good doctor Ron Paul. No matter how many straw polls the man wins, no matter how much money he raises from enthusiastic supporters, and no matter how many soldiers enlist in the Ron Paul Army, nothing will make him a Serious Candidate in the eyes of the mainstream media. He is Unserious–a Fringe Candidate who stands no chance of winning an election.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is put into effect: the MSM refuses to cover him “because he can never win an election;” because he receives no MSM coverage, he can never win an election.

As Glenn Greenwald puts it:

They are also vital in bolstering orthodoxies and narrowing the range of permitted views.  Few episodes demonstrate how that works better than the current disappearing of Ron Paul, all but an “unperson” in Orwellian terms.  He just finished a very close second to Michele Bachmann in the Ames poll, yet while she went on all five Sunday TV shows and dominated headlines, he was barely mentioned.  He has raised more money than any GOP candidate other than Romney, and routinely polls in the top 3 or 4 of GOP candidates in national polls, yet — as Jon Stewart and Politico‘s Roger Simon have both pointed out — the media have decided to steadfastly pretend he does not exist, leading to absurdities like this:

And this:

.

What has Ron Paul done to earn the wrath of the mainstream media and the Very Serious Establishment? Paul certainly has some strange views when it comes to the budget: strangulating medicare, medicaid, and welfare, as well as cutting funding for education and other vital public programs. Yet, it is unlikely that any of these political stances could ostracize him or make him Unserious, since some Very, Very Serious Republican candidates hold similar views on such issues.

What makes Dr. Paul stand out from the rest of the pack are his views with regard to the war and civil liberties–his complete rejection of the so-called War on Terror. He rejects the conventional wisdom that necessitates endless wars to Keep Us Safe against Terrorism. Paul refuses to cheerlead America’s Endless Wars, and is brave enough to point out the injustices in our foreign policy. Paul points out that if we point one finger at the Evil Muslim Enemy, four fingers point back at us.

For pointing out that the emperor wears no clothes, Ron Paul earns the contempt of Serious Journalists, who ensure that Paul is marginalized. He must be silenced and made irrelevant.  When he speaks about such topics in the press, people get antsy.  So the establishment desperately attempts to shut him up.

Greenwald says (emphasis added):

There are many reasons why the media is eager to disappear Ron Paul despite his being a viable candidate by every objective metric…

But what makes the media most eager to disappear Paul is that he destroys the easy, conventional narrative — for slothful media figures and for Democratic loyalists alike. Aside from the truly disappeared former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (more on him in a moment), Ron Paul is far and away the most anti-war, anti-Surveillance-State, anti-crony-capitalism, and anti-drug-war presidential candidate in either party…That the similarly anti-war, pro-civil-liberties, anti-drug-war Gary Johnson not even allowed in media debates — despite being a twice-elected popular governor — highlights the same dynamic…

The steadfast ignoring of Ron Paul — and the truly bizarre un-personhood of Gary Johnson — has ensured that, yet again, those views will be excluded…

Paul and Johnson committed the unforgivable crime of opposing war (not just one war, but all of America’s wars), and for this they will be punished. For this, they will never be able to even dream of being considered a Serious presidential nominee, let alone President of the United States.  The media’s selection of who is Serious and who is Unserious is all a part of the manufactured consent that Noam Chomksy so eloquently wrote about many years ago.

Think about that for a minute: our country is so absolutely and steadfastly pro-war that there is no room for peaceniks. The Just War theory forbids war except in self-defense. None of America’s many wars fits this description: that’s quite easy to see when we note that our troops are deployed in far away, foreign lands. We’re not defending ourselves from an invader who occupies Southern California or who is stationed in Maine. Even the thought of another nation’s army marching into any U.S. state is completely unthinkable, almost as unrealistic as Martians landing on earth.  We have no need to engage in Just War since we are actually very, very safe and secure–our defense is virtually impregnable, such that there is no plausible scenario where our territory could be occupied or our capital advanced upon.

My point is: if a person believed in the Just War theory and rejected war except when it fulfilled those very narrow conditions, it would then be necessary to reject each of America’s wars. But doing so would mean departing from the acceptable parameters of national debate; it would mean becoming part of the Fringe and Unserious.

One simply simply cannot be taken Seriously unless one is a war-monger. Is it not strange that such a nation as this would somehow be absolutely mystified that another peoples, those living under the boots of their American or Israeli occupiers, would glorify jihad?

One simply must be a warmonger in America to be taken Seriously–as the current president himself is and all of the Serious presidential candidates are–yet somehow Those Warlike Moozlums Over There are so violent for glorifying jihad against the occupier.

Truly opposing the concept of wars of aggression (the supreme international crime)–to have a minimum commitment to peace by at least adhering to the Just War doctrine–does not mean simply opposing one of America’s wars and accepting another. Many of those on the Left somehow think they aren’t war-mongers even while they strongly supported (and some continue to support) the Afghanistan war.  After all, what can we think about a people who respond in such a brutal manner–devastating an entire country (and then another after that)–in retaliation for one terrorist attack (committed by a non-state actor no less) except that they are warlike? Even Ron Paul himself initially voted to invade Afghanistan, although he redeemed himself by becoming an outspoken critic of the war. Yet there continue to exist liberals who support the Afghanistan war, even while they think of themselves as “peaceful.”

War is so sacred in America that truly opposing war makes a presidential candidate Unserious and un-electable.  How truly grave a political sin this is can be gauged by the fact that Ron Paul is now Unserious, even while Michelle Bachman is slowly being considered a Serious candidate. Newt Gingrich is a Very Serious candidate, even though he has supported virulently anti-Muslim propaganda and the absolutely loony, fear-mongering idea of “stealth jihad” and “creeping sharia.” Those ideas aren’t Unserious enough to warrant exclusion from the mainstream media’s blessing, but opposing war is an automatic trip to the Unserious waste bin. Unabashed bigotry is acceptable whereas peacemaking is Unserious, Fringe, and unacceptable.

* * * * *

Would you consider voting for Ron Paul?  Why or why not? Let us know in the comments’ section below.

Daniel Barenboim: Peace Concert in Gaza

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Peace through Music and justice.

Barenboim to conduct ‘peace concert’ in Gaza

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim will on Tuesday lead an orchestra of European musicians in a peace concert in Gaza, in the first-ever performance there by such a prestigious international ensemble.

The rare concert, which will take place at lunchtime at the Al-Mathaf Cultural House, was announced on Monday by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process (UNSCO).

It will be the first time that Barenboim, an outspoken proponent of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, has visited the coastal territory, a spokeswoman for the chamber orchestra told AFP.

“It is the first time,” Judith Neuhoff confirmed, saying that the ensemble, which is made up of 25 musicians and known as the “Orchestra for Gaza,” had been put together especially for the visit.

In a statement released by UNSCO, Barenboim said he was “very happy” to be coming to Gaza. “We are playing this concert as a sign of our solidarity and friendship with the civil society of Gaza,” he said.

The musicians, who belong to five prestigious European orchestras, were expected to enter Gaza from Egypt on Tuesday, via the southern Rafah border crossing, a UNSCO spokesman said.

They will travel directly to the venue where they will play a programme of pieces by Mozart including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and the G minor symphony to an audience of between 300 to 400 people, which will include music students and other members of Gaza’s civil society.

“The concert is to try and bring something to the people of Gaza,” he said. “It is not a political event in any sense.”

Ibrahim al-Najjar, director of Al-Qattan Music School, the only such establishment in Gaza, told AFP that he and a group of his students would greet the 68-year-old maestro and his delegation, which numbers around 50 people, at the Rafah border.

“This visit is very important to us for many reasons, both cultural and civil,” he told AFP.

Although a handful of musicians had visited Gaza in recent months to support the school and to teach classes, it was the first time such a large group of so many prestigious players was coming, he said.

The ensemble includes players from the Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, the Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and the Orchestra of La Scala di Milano.

“We love culture, and music is a way of expressing peace and showing that we Palestinians are civilised,” Najjar said, adding that it was important that people had a chance to meet the orchestra and get to know different musical instruments.

“And from a political perspective, it is important to show that Gaza is a safe place,” he said.

Israelis are forbidden by law to venture into Palestinian territory. Barenboim has previously been refused entry to Gaza by the Israeli army — most recently in April 2010 — meaning the only way for him to enter the Hamas-run territory is via Rafah.

The legendary conductor, who lives in Berlin and holds Argentine, Israeli and Spanish citizenship, also accepted honorary Palestinian citizenship in 2008, saying he hoped the move would be an example of the “everlasting bond” between Israelis and Palestinians.

He has long used his fame as a conductor and pianist to promote the cause of peace between Israel and its neighbours, and in 1999 co-founded a “peace orchestra” with his friend Edward W. Said, a Palestinian-American scholar who died in 2003.

Known as the East-West Divan orchestra, it brings together Israeli, Arab and international musicians, and in 2005 it performed in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Barenboim performs regularly in the West Bank, but has never performed in Gaza, which has been subjected to a crippling Israeli blockade since 2006, which was eased somewhat last year following international pressure.

Jewish Voice for Peace Chief Threatened for Being “Pro-Palestinian”

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by loonwatch

No word from Spencer on this yet. Imagine if a Muslim had done this, there would be cries about the intolerance of Muslims and how inherently Islam cannot deal with dissension.

Jewish Voice for Peace chief threatened over pro-Palestinian campaign

(Haaretz)

The head of the pro-Palestinian organization Jewish Voice for Peace received a threatening poster at her Los Angeles area home this weekend for her involvement in the organization.

Estee Chandler, the organization leader on the West coast, said she found a poster on her front porch last week reading “WANTED for treason and incitement against Jews.”

According to Chandler, the poster displayed her picture, her workplace, other personal details and names of her relatives.

The poster charged her with using “her own presumed Jewishness as a weapon against the Jewish People and the Jewish State of Israel while conspiring with other well-known anti-Israel groups to assist in Israel’s destruction and to otherwise engender hatred and incite further violence against the Jewish People and the Jewish State of Israel.”

In a statement responding to the threat published on the organization’s website, Chandler said  “I was forewarned about extremists when I first decided to start a Jewish Voice for Peace chapter here in my hometown of Los Angeles. I went into it with my eyes open. While I didn’t think anything would happen this soon, i cant say it wasn’t something I didn’t anticipate. Ultimately I think these people really are cowards, and not really to be feared.”

“We are the silent majority of American Jews and its time for us to stop being silent. if we raise our voices a fraction of the level of these people- we will become the message, too many people who are with us are afraid. ultimately nonviolence is the only thing that has ever won out,” she added.

In October last year, the Anti-Defamation League named the Jewish Voice for Peace — which champions the rights of Palestinians and is considered an anti-Israel organization by many Americans, especially after calling to boycott companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza – among the top 10 anti-Israel groups in America.

The organization, however, maintains the stand that they are not fighting against Israel or challenging its right to exist, but rather questioning the Israeli government’s policies and actions in the Palestinian territories.

The distributors of the threatening poster have yet to be found, according to the JVP.