Archive for Radical

Protests Against the Bigotry of Purdue Professor Maurice Moshe Eisenstein

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by loonwatch

Professor Maurice Moshe Eisenstein is a tenured associate professor of Political Science at Purdue University Calumet. He is under fire from student protesters for past and present remarks targeting various groups but particularly Muslims.

This is how a local paper described the events:

Nearly two dozen students demonstrated Wednesday outside Purdue University Calumet in protest of a political science professor who they say made racially prejudiced remarks verbally and on his Facebook page, particularly targeting Muslim students.

The student who organized the protests is one Christopher Ramirez. Ramirez believes that prof. Eisenstein purposefully posted inflammatory remarks aimed at Muslims on his Facebook page on the Muslim festival of Eid-Al Adha:

Christopher Ramirez, who organized the protest, pointed to associate professor of political science Maurice Eisenstein’s Facebook page, where he posted a picture and comment Sunday about 100 black Christians who were killed by radical Muslims. Ramirez said the picture and comment were posted on the first day of Eid, a traditional Muslim holiday.

Eisentstein for his part believes he is the victim of a conspiracy by Jew-haters:

They say I teach religion in class. I believe the person who started this is a faculty member, and I believe that many of these are her students. I am the only one who comes in every day with a kippah (a cap) on. I don’t know the answers to your questions. I made myself available. No one spoke to me. They are saying all of these bad things about me, but they wouldn’t talk to me.”

Maurice Eisenstein, who believes he is being targeted because he is an Orthodox Jew.

Actually, it would seem professor that the students are quite right to take umbrage at your Facebook postings. Viewing it today, we captured this screen shot of what we assume is the offending post that has riled up the student protesters:

It is quite condescending for a political science professor to coach his view of the sectarian violence in Nigeria in such black and white terms as “decide if you are with the radical or civilized people,” clearly he is generalizing about Islam and Muslims, and casting them in the “radical” and hence “uncivilized” camp. Students who saw this posting and read it in the context of the professor’s past statements can be excused for thinking he meant to tar all Muslims.

Yet, what we found even more egregious and definitely inexcusable is the link the professor posted just a few scrolls down on his Facebook page. It is a link to the hate site run by the fanatical queen bee of Islamophobia, Pamela Geller’s AtlasShrugs:

This is inexcusable. Pamela Geller is not only a radical anti-Muslim but a racist to boot, if you don’t believe us (there’s ample evidence to believe us), then maybe you will take the word of the ADL and the SPLC. Such a link cannot be a mere faux pas, it’s akin to linking to the neo-Nazi Stormfront website, and the administration at Purdue University Calumet should take a stronger stand than it has:

“Purdue Calumet by its nature as a public university welcomes and encourages the exchange of thoughtful and diverse views and opinions. Likewise, the university does not condone expressions that are considered offensive, intolerant or disrespectful.

“That stated, certain, recent unpleasant comments exchanged between Associate Professor of Political Science Maurice Eisenstein and others have been communicated on the Professor’s personal Facebook page. In no way do these comments reflect the university’s position and commitment to tolerance and respect with regard to the right of free expression by all individuals.

“Nonetheless, though Professor Eisenstein is a tenured faculty member, tenure has no bearing on the nature of free expression, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, that Purdue Calumet faculty members choose to exercise on their personal Facebook page. Neither are there Purdue Calumet policies and regulations that extend to personal Facebook pages.”

Such mealy mouthed pronouncements from the administration do nothing to help. Loonwatchers should let them know that they should review the professor’s treatment of his students, not only due to the protests but also the troubling links the professor maintains. Ask them if they would be okay with a professor linking to neo-Nazi websites? And then inform them of the disgusting, bigoted, racist, genocidal comments Geller has made, as well as her associations.

Here is the contact page for the University:

Contact

Purdue University Calumet
Office of University Relations
2200 169th Street
Hammond, IN 46323-2094

Phone:
219/989-2400
1-800 HI-PURDUE, x.2400
Locally within Indiana & Illinois

E-mail:
univrel@calumet.purdue.edu

Contact the professor as well:

219) 989-2688
Office: CLO 294
email: m_eisens@purduecal.edu

B.Sc. Purdue University,
M.A. Purdue University,
Ph.D. (1993) Purdue University

Video of the Student protest:
http://media.nbcchicago.com/designvideo/embeddedPlayer.swf

FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’

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

FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’

by Spencer Ackerman

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired. In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity.

“There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”

The FBI isn’t just treading on thin legal ice by portraying ordinary, observant Americans as terrorists-in-waiting, former counterterrorism agents say. It’s also playing into al-Qaida’s hands.

Focusing on the religious behavior of American citizens instead of proven indicators of criminal activity like stockpiling guns or using shady financing makes it more likely that the FBI will miss the real warning signs of terrorism. And depicting Islam as inseparable from political violence is exactly the narrative al-Qaida spins — as is the related idea that America and Islam are necessarily in conflict. That’s why FBI whistleblowers provided Danger Room with these materials.

Over the past few years, American Muslim civil rights groups have raised alarm about increased FBI and police presence in Islamic community centers and mosques, fearing that their lawful behavior is being targeted under the broad brush of counterterrorism. The documents may help explain the heavy scrutiny.

They certainly aren’t the first time the FBI has portrayed Muslims in a negative light during Bureau training sessions. As Danger Room reported in July, the FBI’s Training Division has included anti-Islam books, and materials that claim Islam “transforms [a] country’s culture into 7th-century Arabian ways.” When Danger Room confronted the FBI with that material, an official statement issued to us claimed, “The presentation in question was a rudimentary version used for a limited time that has since been replaced.”

But these documents aren’t relics from an earlier era. One of these briefings, titled “Strategic Themes and Drivers in Islamic Law,” took place on March 21.

The Islam briefings are elective, not mandatory. “A disclaimer accompanied the presentation stating that the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government,” FBI spokesman Christopher Allen tells Danger Room.

“The training materials in question were delivered as Stage Two training to counterterrorism-designated agents,” Allen adds. “This training was largely derived from a variety of open source publications and includes the opinion of the analyst that developed the lesson block.”

Not all counterterrorism veterans consider the briefings so benign. “Teaching counterterrorism operatives about obscure aspects of Islam,” says Robert McFadden, who recently retired as one of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service’s al-Qaida-hunters, “without context, without objectivity, and without covering other non-religious drivers of dangerous behavior is no way to stop actual terrorists.”

Still, at Quantico, the alleged connection between Islam and violence isn’t just stipulated. It’s literally graphed.

An FBI presentation titled “Militancy Considerations” measures the relationship between piety and violence among the texts of the three Abrahamic faiths. As time goes on, the followers of the Torah and the Bible move from “violent” to “non-violent.” Not so for devotees of the Koran, whose “moderating process has not happened.” The line representing violent behavior from devout Muslims flatlines and continues outward, from 610 A.D. to 2010. In other words, religious Muslims have been and always will be agents of aggression.

Training at Quantico isn’t designed for intellectual bull sessions or abstract theory, according to FBI veterans. The FBI conducts its training so that both seasoned agents and new recruits can sharpen their investigative skills.

In this case, the FBI’s Allen says, the counterterrorism agents who received these briefings have “spent two to three years on the job.” The briefings are written accordingly. The stated purpose of one, about allegedly religious-sanctioned lying, is to “identify the elements of verbal deception in Islam and their impacts on Law Enforcement.” Not “terrorism.” Not even “Islamist extremism.” Islam.

What’s more, the Islamic “insurgency” is all-encompassing and insidious. In addition to outright combat, its “techniques” include “immigration” and “law suits.” So if a Muslim wishes to become an American or sues the FBI for harassment, it’s all just part of the jihad.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), warned that law enforcement lacks “meaningful standards” to prevent anti-Islam material from seeping into counterterrorism training. Some FBI veterans suspect the increased pressure on American Muslims has a lot to do with the kind of training that Quantico offers.

“Seeing the materials FBI agents are being trained with certainly helps explain why we’ve seen so many inappropriate FBI surveillance operations broadly targeting the Muslim-American community, from infiltrating mosques with agents provocateur to racial- and ethnic-mapping programs,” Mike German, a former FBI agent now with the American Civil Liberties Union, tells Danger Room after being shown the documents. ”Biased police training can only result in biased policing.” (Full disclosure: This reporter’s wife works for the ACLU.)

The chief of the Training Division, Assistant FBI Director Thomas Browne, came into his current job in January. His official biography lists no terrorism expertise beyond serving as a coordinator for a bureau “Domestic Terrorism Program” in Tennessee sometime in the last decade.

It is unclear what vetting process the FBI used to approve these briefings; if any Muslim scholars contributed to them; and what criteria Quantico uses to determine Islamic expertise. “The development of effective training is a constantly evolving process,” says FBI spokesman Allen. “Sometimes the training is adapted for long-term use. This particular training segment was delivered a single time and not used since.”

Several of these briefings were the work of a single author: an FBI intelligence analyst named William Gawthrop. In 2006, before he joined the Bureau, he gave an interview to the website WorldNetDaily, and discussed some of the themes that made it into his briefings, years later. The Prophet “Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism,” Gawthrop told the website, which would later distinguish itself as a leader of the “birther” movement, a conspiracy theory that denies President Obama’s American citizenship.

At the time, Gawthrop’s major suggestion for waging the war on terrorism was to attack what he called “soft spots” in Islamic faith that might “induce a deteriorating cascade effect upon the target.” That is, to discredit Islam itself and cause Muslims to abandon their religion. “Critical vulnerabilities of the Koran, for example, are that it was uttered by a mortal,” he said. Alas, he lamented, he faced the bureaucratic obstacle of official Washington’s “political taboo of linking Islamic violence to the religion of Islam,” according to the website.

Back then, however, Gawthrop didn’t work for the FBI. He had recently stepped down from a position with the Defense Department’s Counterintelligence Field Activity. That agency came under withering criticism during the Bush administration for keeping a database about threats to military bases that included reports on peaceful antiwar protesters and dovish Church groups. It is unclear how Gawthrop came to work for the FBI.

Through an intermediary, Gawthrop told Danger Room that he was unavailable for comment before our deadline.

The FBI didn’t always conflate terrorism with Islam. “I never saw that,” says Ali Soufan, one of the FBI’s most distinguished counterterrorism agents and author of the new memoir The Black Banners, who retired from the bureau in 2005. “Sometimes, toward the end of my time, I started noticing it with different entities outside the FBI. You started feeling like they had a problem with Islam-as-Islam, because of the media. But that was a few people, and was usually hidden behind closed doors.”

Soufan, a Muslim, has interrogated members of al-Qaida and contributed to rolling up one of its cells in Yemen after 9/11. But by the logic of the FBI’s training materials, Soufan’s religious practices make him a potential terrorist.

McFadden, the former NCIS counterterrorist, has a lot of respect for his FBI colleagues, who he believes are ill-served by these Islam briefings. “These are earnest special agents and police officers who want to know how do their job better,” McFadden says.

Too often, McFadden says, counterterrorism training becomes simultaneously over-broad and ignorant. “Instead of looking for indicators of nefarious behavior, you have a sweeping generalization of things like, for instance, the Hawala system,” McFadden explains. “It’s a system that most of the developing world and expatriates from it use to move money around, including terrorists. But you can’t say the whole hawala system is about terrorism, just like you can’t say that Islam as a whole has anything to do with bad behavior.”

McFadden, a Catholic, believes that obsessing over obscure Koranic verses is as useful a guide to terrorist behavior as “diving into the rite of exorcism” is to understanding Catholicism.

On April 6, barely two weeks after the “Islamic Motivations for ‘Suicide’ Bombers” briefing at Quantico, FBI Director Robert Mueller defended the bureau’s budget before a congressional committee. Among his major points: the FBI needs cooperation from American Muslims to stop the next terrorist attack.

“Since September 11th, every one of our 56 field offices and the leadership of those offices have had outreach to the Muslim community,” Mueller said. “We need the support of that community … our business is basically relationships.” That is exactly the opposite message sent in the training rooms of Quantico, where the next generation of FBI counterterrorism is shaped.

Photos: Flickr/Cliff1066, ISAF

Allen West and ACT! for America: Radical anti-Muslim Activists

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by loonwatch

ACT! for America, or as they are better known ACT! for Hate, held a meeting recently headlined byRep. Allen West. Allen West of course is an anti-Muslim Islamophobe extraordinaire, we’ve covered his rise to prominence within the hardcore radical anti-Muslim right-wing quite extensively.

The main themes of his speech revolved around the usual wacky fear-mongering and hatred about how suspicious Muslims are, how they want to take over the world, how we need to be real “Americans” and fight them instead of “surrendering.”

At the end of the day it is plain nutty stuff, but here is the cause for concern: Allen West is a Congressman, he has a cult-like following among Conservatives, and there will be a few who will take his call for action and translate that into violence against Muslims.

You can find the video of his speech on YouTube, I am not linking to it since it directs to a hate channel. Interestingly, the video was shot by Austrian anti-Muslim politician Elizabeth Sabbaditsch-Wolff who was recorded a few years ago saying, “Muslims rape children.” Wolff seems to be a favorite amongst right-wing anti-Muslim nut-jobs, she appears frequently at their rallies and conferences.

Here are some of the choice cuts from Allen West’s diatribe against Muslims and Islam:

“I like Irish Spring, but I don’t much care for Arab Spring”

“If you’re going to act for America first you have to be like America…the America in which there was an understanding and a seeking of a merciful god…a Judeo-Christian God”

“We are not out of the woods yet, it’s something totally different, it’s called lawfare, a new line of attack. We have long seen such victories in Europe and its backdoors (inaudible), over thirty years Europe has traveled down that path, appeasement, obfuscation and cultural abdication in pursuit of short sighted political and economic gain and benefits, she observes that ‘today, Europe has evolved from a Judeo-Christian civilization with post-Enlightenment secular elements to a simple nation of dhimmitude Eurabia, a secular Muslim transitional society with its judeo-christian mores rapidly declining

“where is the outrage from millions of peaceful Muslims and Muslim nations when their religion is supposedly hijacked?”

“the Quran is longer than the Bible”

“In order to act for America, you have to act like Americans”

“you have to ask yourself, is our liberty important enough to fight for?”

“Is Western civilization worth saving?”

“We stand at the brink of a new dark age”

“Find out if Muslim Student Associations are terrorizing students on university campuses”

“Help our European brothers and sisters, there are a number of organizations fighting back in this clash of civilizations”

“War is an ugly thing, but it is not the ugliest thing”

“Act like Americans, not the poor timid soul who would surrender the greatest nation the world has ever known.”

West’s statements are increasingly becoming radical which is in line with the general trend in the Islamophobesphere. As they find that their words, actions and exhortations are not gaining traction with mainstream society their speech gets increasingly hostile and inflammatory. The Islamophobes long ago dropped rational discourse and have increasingly latched onto emotional and irresponsible rhetoric. It is only a matter of time before we see a crazy guy acting on the fears and anxiety stoked by the likes of West throwing a bomb into a mosque while people pray.

Salon.com: Fox’s Favorite Muslim radical

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2011 by loonwatch

Elliot’s main point echoes a lot of what we were saying in our article, Islam and the Media in the Age of Islamophobiapalooza.

Fox’s favorite Muslim radical

By Justin Elliot

On Thursday, the radical Muslim and veteran provocateur Anjem Choudary plans to hold a demonstration in front of the White House calling for an extreme form of sharia to reign in America.

Whether the protest actually goes forward — there’s a real chance it won’t, if Choudary’s past stunts are any guide — doesn’t really matter. Choudary, who is known for applauding terrorism and calling for stonings of gay people and the overthrow of democratic governments, has already logged several appearances on Fox and CNN, generated a bunch of articles in the right-wing press, and even prompted a member of Congress to demand that he be banned from the country. All that in the last month.

Choudary is a London-based preacher who has over the past decade become the face of radical Islam in the British press — especially in the tabloids, and even more especially the right-wing papers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. — despite having no religious credentials and virtually no public support. In fact, according to those who have tracked his career in Britain, Choudary is wholly a press creation.

“He’s a media whore,” says Mehdi Hasan, a senior editor at the New Statesman who has covered Choudary. “There are real Islamist groups that can get crowds together but his is not one of them. He doesn’t have the numbers to make good on his claims. What he does have is a media that’s very happy to play the game with him.”

Now, Choudary, 43, is using the same formula — making deliberately offensive statements and trumpeting plans for provocative demonstrations — in the United States, where the media has proved all too willing to accommodate him. He can be understood as the Muslim analogue of Terry Jones, the obscure Florida preacher who created an international controversy last year with plans for a “Burn the Quran Day.” He is a radical with minuscule public support, but one who can, given enough free airtime, do real-world damage.

Last month on Fox Sean Hannity had a sparring match with the preacher that ended with Hannity calling him “one sick, miserable, evil SOB.” (It’s worth noting that Fox has the same parent company, News Corp., as some of the U.K. tabloids that obsessively cover Choudary.) Here’s a taste of the exchange:

Two weeks later, Choudary was back on the network, where an angry Gretchen Carlson told him that “I can tell you one thing, Americans don’t want sharia law.” Adam Serwer has argued that Choudary is, for Fox, a “cartoonish buffoon who can be counted on to confirm every stereotype about Islam and Muslims.”

But it’s not just Fox. Late last year Eliot Spitzer had Choudary on CNN and heroically derided him as a “violent and heinous terrorist.” In February, Spitzer hosted him again to argue that the revolution in Egypt was an “Islamist uprising.” Choudary has also been on programs with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

So where did Choudary come from? Born and raised in Britain, his rise to prominence came as the right-hand man of Omar Bakri, a founder of the extremist group Al Muhajiroun. Like Choudary today, Bakri was a press-hungry provocateur, but he also played a role “in the radicalization of some young men,” according to the BBC. Bakri left the U.K. for Lebanon after the 7/7 bombings in 2005. The British government has since barred him from re-entering the country, and Bakri has been charged in Lebanon with forming a militant group to undermine the government there.

In Bakri’s absence, Choudary became the leader of Al Muhajiroun’s successor group, Islam4UK. Both were proscribed in 2010 under a British law that allows for groups to be banned if they “unlawfully glorify the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism.”

(Choudary has not always been so devout. The Daily Mail published an exposélast year revealing that, while he was student at Southampton University, he had been a hard-partier who gambled, drank, used drugs, looked at porn and had sex with Christian women. The paper had pictures to prove most of the charges.)

When I spoke to Choudary Tuesday, he refused to discuss how many followers he had, beyond claiming that he can attract 150 people to his lectures. “I’m not going to give you details of our administration,” he said. But according to Inayat Bunglawala, a Muslim commentator who is involved in combatting extremism in Britain, Choudary’s record for getting large numbers of people to turn out to events is thin. Bunglawala points to a 2009 demonstration at a parade in the town of Luton in which Choudary and his cohort held signs assailing British troops returning from Iraq as “butchers” and “terrorists.”

Choudary and some of his followers had advertised the event by leafletting for a week among the 20,000-strong Muslim population in the town, says Bunglawala, who has closely tracked Choudary’s career. But the turnout was vanishingly small. “Literally only 20 people showed up and yet they got the front pages of just about every right-wing tabloid the next day. Even the BBC gave them a lot of coverage on that.” Bunglawala observes: “It’s almost a symbiotic relationship between Choudary and the right-wing papers.”

Choudary also has a long history of publicizing demonstrations that never actually happen. In 2009, for example, he planned a “March for Sharia” in central London that drew widespread press attention. The promotional effort included Photoshopped images of what Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square would look like under Choudary’s vision of the caliphate, with minarets and the like. But at the last minute, he canceled the event, claiming threats from right-wing groups.

None of this has stopped the tabloids from regularly calling Choudary to weigh in on pretty much anything in the news. There is, for example, this typical lead from a recent Daily Star piece: “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary last night urged a Muslim uprising against the royal wedding … He said it would be against Islam for Muslims to celebrate the nuptials.”

Choudary does his part by making himself extremely easy to reach; his mobile phone number is posted all over his website and he responded to my e-mail seeking an interview in just a few hours. He even once agreed to have a bull session over milkshakes with Vice Magazine, which noted his favorite flavor is chocolate.

Now, in advance of the planned “Shariah4America” demonstration in Washington, Choudary is following a familiar script. His group has postedimages online of the White House with minarets and the Statue of Liberty wearing a veil. It’s not hyperbole to say that everything he does is for media consumption. When I asked him about a 2003 episode in which Al Muhajiroun unveiled posters hailing the Sept. 11 hijackers as the “Magnificent 19,” Choudary was candid: “It was a media ploy in order to attract the attention of the media and the general public about why such things take place.”

Whether or not the demonstration actually happens Thursday, the Choudary phenomenon is at least as much about the laziness — and, arguably, irresponsbility — of the media as it is about Islam. Says terrorism analyst Daveed Gartenstein-Ross: “One lesson from our experience with would-be Quran burner Terry Jones is that when fringe or relatively fringe figures … are given a great amount of media exposure, it generally increases their power rather than diminishing it. Unfortunately, the media either has not absorbed that lesson, or else does not want to.”

Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott