Archive for Rush Limbaugh

A Journey Out of Islamophobic Darkness

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2012 by loonwatch

 

islamophobia-drfus

Leaving the Islamophobia nightmare

The Islamophobia propaganda machine has its roots in years of concerted online, media and marketing campaigns. This well oiled machine of hate has attracted many followers, and they can be broken up into several groups (there may be considerable overlap):

1.) Those who were ripe for the picking. These individuals already had a hate for Islam and Muslims or Arabs, they were already racist in one way or another, and easily attached themselves to Islamophobia.

2.) Opportunists. These individuals are always looking for a way to make a buck, to line their pockets. Real, honest work doesn’t suit their tastes and so they’ve devoted themselves to that centuries old money-maker, hate.

3.) True believers. They may come from various ends of the ideological spectrum, most of them are very afraid, fear courses through their every waking moment, they are made even more afraid by modern interpretations of say Biblical prophecies, or fears about the existential threat of the end of Western society.

4.) The gullible or the naive. These individuals read and believe the Islamophobic propaganda because they perceive the arguments as objective, factual, honest, and fitting with their worldview, or answering their confusion and incomprehension of world events or history.

There may be a few other groups not identified here, but those in the last category, the “gullible or the naive,” are usually individuals who later become enlightened and realize the true nature of Islamophobia. They start to question the poor “analysis,” the skewing of “facts,” the blindly subjective and hateful methodology employed by those they once respected as honest brokers on the issues of Islam and Muslims.

One such individual is Charles Johnson. Loonwatch documented his groundbreaking and public quarrel with his former allies, JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller of AtlasShrugs. For Johnson it was their too easy comfort and alliance with fascists like Geert Wilders that broke the proverbial camel’s back, and ever since, he has been outspoken in his criticism of Islamophobes.

Their have been many like Johnson, some who have changed their minds because of our site or their own introspection. One such individual is regular Loonwatch commenter and tipster CriticalDragon. CriticalDragon was quite involved with right-wing anti-Muslim sites, respected the leading lights of Islamophobia, and even commented (under a different screen name) on Jihad Watch amongst other blogs.

We asked CriticalDragon to tell us about how he at one time embraced Islamophobia, and how and why he eventually left the quagmire of hate:

LW: What first attracted you to the “counter-jihadists?”

CD: Prior to 9/11, I was naive and had an overly simplistic and overly positive view of my country and the world. It’s not that I thought that America had done no wrong, but I believed that in every war since World War II, its intentions were noble.

I always considered myself an anti-bigot, which was ironic since I would become a bigot myself. Although I wasn’t as bad as some of the Islamophobes out there, I said and supported some things that I’m now really ashamed of. One of the reasons why I fell for the “counter jihadists” may have been in part because prior to 9/11, I didn’t hear much about anti-Muslim bigotry.

I did however have a very black and white view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I got most of my information on that from people like Rush Limbaugh. Although I wouldn’t call Rush an Islamophobe, he always portrayed the Palestinian side as evil. However, he did not make a connection between the conflict and Islam.

Right after 9/11 occurred, I wanted to find out why we were attacked. What had America done to deserve such an attack in their eyes, and why were they so willing to die to hurt us?

I knew about suicide bombers in Israel, but I really knew that I didn’t understand what motivated them either, but I didn’t think much about it, because I was not involved in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It didn’t affect me much, or anyone I knew, but now I felt that my country was in danger of being attacked again at any moment. I became aware shortly after the event of the fact that the 9/11 hijackers were Muslims, but I did not connect the two until later.

Searching for answers I came across the “counter Jihad blogs.” I can’t remember if the first one I came across was Jihad Watch or another one, but at some point I reached Jihad Watch. I read it and some other relatively moderate “Counter Jihad” blogs and basically believed everything I read without doing enough research to determine if they were true or not. For a while I assumed that what they were saying did not apply to most Muslims, and tried, but not hard enough, to find some peaceful liberal Muslims who denounced terrorism.

Even after visiting those sites I probably wouldn’t have bought into the Stealth Jihad or Population Jihad conspiracies if not for two events.

First, I assumed that after we overthrew the Taliban, the government in Afghanistan would be a genuine liberal democracy with religious freedom. At the time, and even though I believed people like Spencer in regards to what they presented as the “teachings of Islam” (death to the infidels, lying to the infidels, oppressive theocracy), I assumed most Muslims did not follow such “teachings.” But after the war was over, I remember an Afghan man who was set to be put to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, and it not only disappointed me, it kind of shocked me.

I literally believed what George W. Bush said about people wanting to live in freedom, and the Afghan people had chosen to install a government without freedom of religion, even after living under a brutal theocracy, and it seemed to me that we had even encouraged it to some degree.

Second was the cartoon riots, which really scared me, because it looked like large numbers of Muslims around the world spontaneously erupted over harmless cartoons, and I saw what looked like Western governments caving-in to their demands.

LW: Which Islamophobic blogs did you frequent?

CD: Mostly The Infidel Blogger’s Alliance, Bosch Fawstin, Citizen Warrior, FrontpageMag, Culturism, and Religion of Peace, which is the worst of them all. It literally scared me, every time I visited it.

They’re really deceptive in how they cherry pick news stories and post hundreds of terrifying stories about Islam and Muslims to support their agenda.

I might suggest that Loonwatch take the “Religion of Peace” website to task more often, except most of the stuff on there isn’t written by them. Most of it is just links to articles on other websites.

Although I read at least two of Robert Spencer’s books I did not spend a lot of time at Jihad Watch. I may have admired him at the time but I didn’t spend much time on his blog. The same is true for Pamela Geller and her Atlas Shrugs blog. One of the reasons why I didn’t realize how nuts she was may well have been because I didn’t spend much time there.

If you are going to take on one of the Islamophobic bloggers whose blog I used to follow I would recommend laying the smack down on Citizen Warrior. He’s kind of like Robert Spencer, but maybe a bit more sophisticated, although he hasn’t written any books that I’m aware of.  You might also want to take on John Kenneth Press (AKA Culturist John) who wrote the book Culturism, and runs the blog by the same name, and eviscerate some of his arguments, although he usually doesn’t deal with Islam or Muslims.

LW: You’ve mentioned in your comments that you truly believed in the threat of “stealth jihad.” Were there any other major themes that seemed to make sense to you at the time?

CD: I’m really embarrassed to say this, but after reading Marks Steyn‘s America Alone, I actually became convinced that Muslims in Europe were having far more children than non-Muslims, and given enough time, they would become the majority. I believed they would most likely turn those countries into Islamic theocracies, because at the time, that’s what I thought most of them wanted, or they wouldn’t be willing to resist when the fanatics started taking over.

I thought it might take centuries but still it scared me, the idea that these people with such an alien worldview might destroy Western culture and eventually replace it with Sharia’. I know its stupid, but I wasn’t thinking too hard at the time unfortunately.

Note that I never saw this in racial terms, always cultural terms. I was Islamophobic, but I was not a racist. I believed that Muslims in the West were raising their children in such a way that they would not share our values. It was not something genetic, but rather how I thought they were raising their children.

I also believed that the West was at war with Islam, yet simultaneously did not believe that all Muslims were evil, or even our enemies. I know that’s a contradiction, but I didn’t think about it too much at the time. On the occasions when other people would bring that up, I just rationalized it away. However, the fact that I realized that not all Muslims could be evil, would eventually help bring me out of the Islamophobic nightmare.

LW: For how long were you a regular visitor to the “counter-jihadist” blogs?

CD: Sadly, I was a follower and supporter of “counter jihad” blogs for about ten years following 9/11. I only really stopped being an Islamophobe some time in late September of 2011, and even then it would be another month or two before I completely rejected all their nonsense. For example I was still somewhat suspicious of CAIR until I realized that just about every blog that suspected them of being connected to terrorist groups like Hamas, recommended Jihad Watch and by that time I had come to see Robert Spencer as the bigot and liar that he really is.

LW: About Ten Years? Why did it take you so long to see the light?

CD: I got scared and I did not do a very good job of questioning what I was told. I was terrified, and I wanted to stop Jihadists from destroying our freedom. It seemed so obvious to me, because I was getting such a distorted picture of reality.

Early on when I joined the counter jihad movement, most of the information I was getting on what was going on in the world involving Islam and Muslims was incredibly biased to say the least, and I did not try very hard to critique it, because all the evidence seemed so overwhelming at the time. Most of the blogs I frequented outside of the “Counter Jihad Movement” rarely mentioned Islam or Muslims. I occasionally, though rarely, visited left wing political blogs.

One of the few exceptions was American United for the Separation Of Church and State, but I don’t even think they talked about Islam until people in the states started trying to pass anti-Shariah legislation. I spent the vast majority of my time on right-wing Islamophobic blogs, and my preferred news channel was Fox News, which rarely debunked Islamophobes. For those reasons, I almost always saw what left wing bloggers wrote refuting Islamophobic claims through the eyes of Islamophobes, and I rarely heard about Muslims protesting evil done in the name of their faith.

However, if I had been willing to do a bit more research to see what groups like Act For America really based their opposition on, outside of the Islamophobic blogs I frequented I would have seen just how wrong they were. In addition I was too quick to dismiss arguments against their positions.

There were some skeptical science blogs and YouTube channels that I really enjoyed, and they tended to be rather left wing, but they rarely mentioned Islam, that is until the idea of Everybody Draw Muhammad day and the issue of the “Ground Zero Mosque” came up, which was years after 9/11 and the cartoon riots.

Even then, too often, I tended to just dismiss them unless I already agreed with them. I got to the point where I really did not want to admit I was wrong. Maybe I didn’t want to admit I was being a bigot.

Case in point, when atheist YouTuber and foe of creationists everywhere, “Thunderf00t” came out in support for Everybody Draw Muhammad day, and made at least one anti “Ground Zero Mosque” video, I tended to dismiss the arguments that other, better, Youtuber skeptics made against him.

I admired “ThunderF00t,” for his strong stance for science and reason and against the “backwardness of Islam.” Ironically I would eventually come to respect and admire the people on YouTube who opposed him like Coughlin 666 (now Coughlin 616 and Coughlin 000) and Ujames1978 (now Ujames1978Forever and Pirus The God Slayer).

I was a horrible skeptic to say the least. For a long time I fell for just about every single prominent Loon.

I believed most of the things that they said, and it seemed like there were just so many “former Muslims” out there talking about how “evil” Islam is, and how the West was destined to be Islamized if we did not do anything to stop it, because there were just so many fanatical Muslims out there determined to force us to convert or submit. I used to really admire Wafa Sultan and, although I thought Walid Shoebat‘s fundamentalist Christian beliefs were a bit nonsensical to say the least, I never doubted that he really was a “former Muslim terrorist” until much later.

I had managed to entrap myself in my own nightmarish digital web of Islamophobia.

LW: What effect, if any did self-proclaimed Muslim supporters of Robert Spencer, such as Zuhdi Jasser have on you?

CD: They actually encouraged me to support the “counter jihad movement” early on and likely contributed to my own Islamophobia, but ironically and counter-intuitively they also were one of the factors that prevented me from seeing all Muslims as the enemy.

Let me explain.

By doing the things that he did, such as being the host of the Clarion Fund‘s anti-Muslim propaganda film, “The Third Jihad,”Jasser likely convinced a lot of people that there really was a conspiracy among American Muslims to “Islamize” the country. Some Islamophobic websites link to his organization, the “American Islamic Forum for Democracy,” and they use it as a way of claiming that they’re not really bigoted against Muslims because some Muslims support them and vice versa.

This certainly reinforced all of my fears, but at the same time, since I couldn’t come up with what I thought would be a good reason for him to be lying about this, it encouraged me to think that not all Muslims were bad. In fact, he was one of the few Muslims that I was certain was not lying to me.

Ironically, I didn’t lose respect for Jasser even while other anti-Muslim bigots tried to convince me that he was really a Stealth Jihadist as well. The only thing that made me completely lose respect for him was something he did after I left the “anti-jihad” movement, when he made a video defending Lowes at the moment they gave into intimidation and pressure from anti-Muslim bigots to drop support for the show “All American Muslim.” I was no longer an Islamophobe at that point and was in fact trying to fight anti-Muslim bigotry.

I’m not sure if Jasser is a “self hating Muslim” for lack of a better term, but he may be a useful idiot for Islamophobes. I have come across multiple instances where Islamophobes accused him of being a Stealth Jihadist as well, just because he’s a Muslim, they think he is lying to them and that he really supports groups like AlQaeda. What he and his organization are doing is perpetuating baseless conspiracy theories about Muslims, and he won’t convince Islamophobes who are already convinced that he’s the enemy that he’s a friend.

In fact, if he ever comes to see how baseless the Stealth Jihad conspiracy really is, and turns around and stops supporting “counter jihadists,” then a bunch of people who used to support him will become  convinced that he really was a stealth Jihadist all along.

LW: What changed your mind? Was it a single event or a process over time?

CD: It was a process, but there were some definite events.

I recall these events not in any particular order:

Even before 9/11, I considered myself a conservative, but I had some views that were not stereotypical of a conservative. For one thing I was a supporter of the separation of Church and State. I considered myself a secularist and a skeptic. I may have rightfully rejected things like scientific creationism, but a good skeptic would never have fallen for someone like Spencer or Geller, or if they had, they would have had too many doubts as soon as they started talking about things like the Stealth Jihad, or learned that they had their “scholarly” work published in the same series of books that promoted creationism and other forms of pseudoscience.

When I learned that Spencer’s, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades,” had been published by the same people who published “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Creationism and Intelligent Design,” it should have set off some red flags, but I had allowed myself to become too convinced that he was correct by then, and that he was a “real scholar.”

I was shocked when secularist groups like American’s United For the Separation of Church and State actually came out against the anti-Sharia’ legislation. I assumed they would support such laws, because in my mind it was fighting for secularism. The problem was that since I believed in those nonsensical anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, I actually believed that Muslim fanatics were a greater threat to our freedom than the religious right.

Like all bigots I was closed minded, but maybe not as closed minded as some. Part of the problem was that I was getting most of my information on Islam and Muslims from right-wing sources and they were incredibly biased. It made it look like there was a large number of Muslims out to take over the world. While I’m certain there are some blogs out there run by genuine right wing anti-loons, I didn’t come across too many. When I happened to come across a video debunking the claim that Muslims were likely to become the majority through immigration I began to doubt it for the first time.

Earlier, I came across another more “moderate critic” of Islam who went by the user name, “Klingschor.”  He started out as a supporter of Robert Spencer and at one time had favorited the ridiculous “Three Things You Probably Don’t Know About Islam” video on his YouTube channel.  However, as Klingschor got more educated, he eventually turned against Spencer. He created a video supporting the “Ground Zero Mosque,” and Imam Rauf, where he viciously attacked Spencer and Geller for being bigots.  (The video is no longer on his channel, although now I wish he’d repost the original or remake it).  I admired Spencer and Geller and I was convinced that Rauf was a “stealth jihadist,” so this shocked me, since I admired Klingschor as well and he didn’t seem pro-Islam to me. I wondered why he wasn’t convinced as I was that Rauf was up to no good and why he had suddenly turned on Spencer and Geller.  I had trouble explaining it.

In addition, I began to realize that if things did not change, a lot of innocent people were going to get hurt, and not by Muslim jihadists. I knew that not all Muslims were our enemies, and I would sometimes get into arguments with other people who held worse views than I did; people who wanted to nuke Mecca and kill every single Muslim on the planet.

Even when I pointed out to them how innocent people would be killed, it did not phase them. These nuke Mecca/kill all Muslims people were so bad that I saw them as anti-Muslim bigots even when I was an anti-Muslim bigot. That’s how bad they were.

Then something else happened, something that was somewhat of a watershed moment.

Most people in the “counter Jihad movement” assumed Anders Breivik was a Muslim when news of his rampage first came out. I was not really that shocked by the fact that he was not a Muslim, since I knew non-Muslim terrorists existed, but I was shocked by his motive.

He went on his rampage and murdered innocent people including many children, believing it was necessary to stop the Islamization of Europe. Of course excuses were made for Spencer and Geller not being responsible, and I bought into them at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that their rhetoric did nothing to discourage a Breivik.

Even if Breivik got his beliefs from somewhere else, he idolized Spencer and Geller and was an avid supporter, not to mention other prominent figures in the “counter Jihad Movement.” If anything, they encouraged his behavior even if they did not specifically tell him to commit violent acts.

It was also about this time that I found out that a couple of the lesser known Islamophobes that I admired were racists.  No one you’ve probably heard of, just a couple of nobodies really, but I had admired them and thought they were smarter than they actually were. This was another shock to my system because I had really respected them, and I had always regarded racism as abhorrent and stupid. I instantly lost respect for them.

Plus I saw a video by Coughlin 616, called “Pamela Geller Busted.” Although at the time I thought he was wrong to oppose Geller and believed he was far too concerned with neo-Nazis as compared to Jihadists, I decided to watch the video. After watching it, and checking Coughlin’s sources, I realized that he had proven that Geller was a liar. What’s more she might have been covering for Breivik or someone like him. I suddenly had a lot more respect for Coughlin and a lot less respect for Geller.

In the meantime, I saw more videos by Klingscor, and another Youtube atheist critic of Islam, CEMBadmins, that actually debunked some common Islamophobic claims. One of them was taqiya, both of them made videos on the subject thoroughly debunking the claim that taqiya is lying for Islam and that Muslims are more likely to lie than non Muslims.

CEMBadmins really made it hard for me to continue to believe in the taqiya conspiracy since he was not only a critic of Islam, but an ex-Muslim. In his video, he talked about a poll taken of members of the Council of Ex-Muslims (his organization) and it turned out that most of them had never even heard of taqiya, and those that had regarded it as a defensive mechanism to protect themselves from persecution, not lying to promote Islam like I had been taught by others in the “counter jihad movement.”

I thought to myself, “Why would ex-Muslims lie for Islam?” It slowly began to hit me just how wrong people like Spencer were on the subject.

Soon, I saw a couple of videos on Muslims who helped save Jews during the Holocaust. At least one of them I came across on Loonwatch. Although I always knew there were at least some rare instances when Muslims helped non Muslims, I had no idea that so many Muslims had done so much at one time to help a large group of non-Muslims. I was slowly realizing just how much the evil done by Muslims to non Muslims like myself in the name of Islam was exaggerated by people in the “counter jihad movement,” and how much they ignored the good done by Muslims in the name of Islam.

The final nail in the coffin for my support for those “counter jihad” blogs and Spencer and Geller was when I realized that Islam has not traditionally endorsed terrorism.  When I found Loonwatch and looked at the actual statistics for the first time I realized that very few terrorists in the United States and Europe were even Muslims.

I came to realize just how wrong I was, and I felt an odd combination of happiness and relief as well as guilt and shame, simultaneously.

LW: Why do you spend so much time trying to help fight anti-Muslim bigotry now?

CD: For one thing, ever since I allowed myself to see the light, I have come to realize just how wrong I was. I’ve come to see that the people I once admired and supported like Geert Wilders are actually a greater threat to our freedom than the threat they claim to be fighting.

Since Stealth Jihad and Islamization are myths, there’s no need for any legislation to fight them. If anything, a lot of innocent people are going to be hurt by “counter jihadists” including innocent Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and for what? To fight imaginary conspiracy theories?

Also, the Christian religious right is more likely to turn America into a theocracy. With Muslims at less than one percent of the American population, they don’t have the numbers to do so, even if they all wanted to. In fact, I now understand that as someone who normally wouldn’t support the religious right, by trying so hard to fight the imaginary threat of Islamization, I made myself a useful idiot of the religious right. The same is true for any secularist who supports them out of fear of Jihadists taking over and turning the West into an Islamic theocracy.

Finally, I want to make up for the mistake of supporting the “counter jihadists.” The only way I can clear my conscious now is to actively oppose the people and organizations I once endorsed. I feel a lot of guilt, I did and said a lot of things that I regret now.

LW: Do you have any suggestions for those who still admire bloggers like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller?

CD: If you want to hear people criticize Islam, look for people who are not bigots, and do not believe in nonsensical conspiracy theories, like “the stealth Jihad.” Make sure they reject the idea that Islam teaches Muslims to lie to promote their faith and that Muslims are more likely to lie than non Muslims. Find people who are at least trying to be objective and who avoid making sweeping generalizations about Muslims.

Also listen to what Muslims have to say about themselves, their politics, their philosophy and their faith. In many cases it will be completely counter to the negative stereotypes. Let me use someone who appears on Loonwatch from time to time as an example.

When I first saw “Dawah Films”  respond to “Thunderf00t,” I saw it only through the eyes of “Thunderf00t.” I thought he was threatening to kill him for criticizing his religion, but when I actually watched other videos he made, and talked to him about it, years later, I realized how radically different his motives actually were. Contrary to the way “Thunderf00t” portrayed him, he supported free speech and he even defended another YouTuber, “ZOMGitscriss,” against death threats from genuine Muslim extremists, when she made some minor criticisms of Islam.

In addition to listening to Muslims and moderate, rational critics of Islam, you should also take an Islamic Studies course at an accredited university, if you have the time. I’m hoping to do that, since contrary to what I used to believe, I don’t know much about Islam, and if I’m going to fight anti-Muslim bigotry, I’m going to have to know more about Islam and its history. If you can’t do that, or even if you can do that, in addition, try to find a few books about Islam written by genuine scholars who studied Islam within academia.

LW: How did you find Loonwatch?

CD: I believe I first heard about Loonwatch on a conservative blog that I used to visit from time to time.

The person behind the blog wrote a story critiquing something you wrote, but I don’t remember if I read it or not, but either way, I didn’t check his sources, so I didn’t find out what Loonwatch was until much later, after I left the “counter Jihad” movement.

After I stopped being an Islamophobe, I wanted to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and I started looking around and I came across Loonwatch and its sister site, SpencerWatch. However, I did notice that “Dawah Films” recommends you guys on his channel, but I can’t remember if I clicked on his link before or after I did a Google search.

LW: Do you regularly visit any other anti-bigotry sites, and if so, which ones?

CD: I really think the Southern Poverty Law Center is an excellent resource, especially if you include their blog “HateWatch.” The anti-Defamation League is also generally a good anti-bigotry organization. I know the American Civil Liberties Union does not specialize in fighting bigotry, but they do a very good job of protecting civil liberties including the civil liberties of minorities. More recently I started exploring Sheila Musaji’s “The American Muslim,” which also does a good job debunking anti Muslim myths as well.

I’d also recommend more than a few Youtube channels that have done a lot to fight irrational hatred and bigotry. I’ve already mentioned Coughlan and Ujames1978Forever’s channels, and would like to add EvoGenVideos and HannibaltheVictor13. EvoGenVideos is a genetics student who sometimes uses his scientific knowledge to debunk racists. HannibaltheVictor13 is an anthropologist who has also debunked racists.

LW: Is there any meaning behind your nickname, Critical Dragon1177, that you’d like to share?

CD: When I realized how wrong I was to support the “counter Jihad” movement, I also realized that I had said some incredibly stupid and often bigoted things that I was ashamed of. Plus I wanted to disassociate from those bigoted anti-Muslim blogs that I used to visit.

In order to do what I wanted to do, I needed a new user name. I made a new years resolution to be a better skeptic.

I realized that the biggest reason that I fell for what Islamophobes were telling me, and continued to believe them for so long, despite the overwhelming evidence against what they were saying was my lack of critical thinking on the matter. My story is really about the danger of not thinking critically, and of giving into your emotions.

That’s where the first part of my user name comes from. I added ‘Dragon’ because I like fantasy, and I love fantasy creatures. The numbers were added just in case someone else had that name.

LW: In conclusion is there anything else you would like to share with the LW audience?

CD: I’ve read a book called A World Without Islam that I highly recommend. It’s by Graham E. Fuller.

According to his biography over at Amazon.com,

“Graham E. Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, a former senior political scientist at RAND, and a current adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University. He is the author of numerous books about the Middle East, including The Future of Political Islam. He has lived and worked in the Muslim world for nearly two decades.”

In his book, “A World without Islam,” Fuller goes a long way to debunk the claim that we are at war with Islam, and that Islam is the cause of terrorism and our problems involving Muslims and Muslim majority societies.

I haven’t read any of his other books, but based on this one, he’s largely anti Robert Spencer, and he has far better credentials than him. In fact if I had read something like this book just after 9/11 instead of going to all those bigoted “counter jihad” sites, I don’t think I would have taken people like Spencer seriously at all.

It was recommended to me by my friend, Klingschor, along with another book by Tamim Ansary called “Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes,” which I’ve started reading as well.

I also have a friend on Youtube that I would like to introduce, he goes by the user name, Ramio1983. He’s made at least one video fighting anti-Muslim bigotry, and I think he’s working on another one, maybe someone here could help him.

LW: Thank you, CriticalDragon, for sharing your story here on Loonwatch, and for joining the fight against bigotry.

CD: You’re Welcome.  I’m pleased to be able to share my story.  My hope  is that it will help someone else to see the truth.

Rush Limbaugh Defended Joseph Kony, Leader Of Rebel Militia Accused Of Atrocities

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2012 by loonwatch

Rush Limbaugh Defended Joseph Kony, Leader Of Rebel Militia Accused Of Atrocities

Joseph Kony, the African strongman who is suddenly a major villain thanks to a viral video about his atrocities, has a friend in Rush Limbaugh.

In 2011, President Obama sent American troops to fight Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerilla group in Uganda. The LRA has been condemned for human rights violations and using child soldiers to carry out atrocities. A video from the charity group, the Invisible Children, about Kony and the violence in central Africa, has garnered nearly 40 million views since it went up on Youtube three days ago.

But last October, Limbaugh blasted the president for committing troops to “wipe out Christians.”

WATCH:
http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/pl55.swf

Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians.  It means God.  I was only kidding.  Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians.  They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan.  And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them.  That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill.

So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and — (interruption) no, I’m not kidding.  Jacob Tapper just reported it.  Now, are we gonna help the Egyptians wipe out the Christians?  Wouldn’t you say that we are?  I mean the Coptic Christians are being wiped out, but it wasn’t just Obama that supported that.  The conservative intelligentsia thought it was an outbreak of democracy.  Now they’ve done a 180 on that, but they forgot that they supported it in the first place.  Now they’re criticizing it.

Lord’s Resistance Army objectives.  I have them here.  “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out.  The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following:  “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.”  Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

NFL Team is on the Verge of Sharia Compliance!

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by loonwatch

After people heard that the owner and coach were replaced by a Pakastini-born Muslim and an African American, there was an uproar of Islamophobic and racist comments. If we want this country to prosper once again, we need to grow up, but when we allow comments like this to filter in, my hope diminishes:

“I wonder if Khan has any friends who are terrorists?,” asks forgotten man on www.FreeRepublic.com. “Rush Limbaugh was not allowed to buy into the Rams, but a Muslim from Pakistan can buy the Jaguars. Go figure.”

Fanning The Flames: New Jacksonville Jaguars Owner’s Muslim Faith Stirs Stupidity

[Jacksonville, FL] Last week, it was announced that the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team had been sold to super-successful Illinois businessman Shahid Khan. The deal was reported to be worth $760 million and includes a somewhat controversial first for the league.

Khan is a Pakistani-born Muslim, and will be the first of his faith to own a National Football League team. NFL team ownership is considered to be the ultimate trophy for American billionaires.

The sale is not 100% final, however, it still has to get approval from the league and the other owners, but Khan has had an ongoing relationship with the league for ten years so it seems a sure thing.

The Muslim-American community, which has been under attack since 9-11, no doubt sees Khan’s ownership as a sign that America is moving in the right direction, despite a vocal minority hell bent on demonizing all Muslims.

“He is the first … shows how American Muslims are integrating,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American Islam Relations.

The Jacksonville Jaguars press release talking up the sale didn’t mention the fact that Khan was Muslim. That was probably a good thing – on the same day the sale was announced, it was also revealed that long-time head coach Jack Del Rio had been fired and assistant coach Mel Tucker – an African-American – would be taking over.

This year, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made a bigger impact in the news than on the field This year, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made a bigger impact in the news than on the field

For redneck racist types – and in North Florida there are more than a few – the fact that the white owner and white coach of their hometown NFL franchise were replaced by a Pakistani-born Muslim and a black guy was just too much to take, especially in ONE DAY.

This Jaguars ownership change could be the final straw that sends Confederate flag flyers fleeing pro football for the warm, white blanket of NASCAR.

Just last year, members of the Jacksonville City Council jumped on the Muslim hate train in what was described as a huge embarrassment for the region. Parvez Ahmed – a University of North Florida professor, Fulbright Scholar and Muslim – had his Human Rights Commission nomination sent back to the Rules Committee because of “constituent concerns.”

It had already been approved, mind you. But that was before the Islamophobes in the ACT! For America organization made a bunch of noise and the spineless jellyfish on the city council caved to their concerns.

Almost on cue, conservative news sites were rife with ugly comments about Khan’s big play.

“I wonder if Khan has any friends who are terrorists?,” asks forgotten man on www.FreeRepublic.com. “Rush Limbaugh was not allowed to buy into the Rams, but a Muslim from Pakistan can buy the Jaguars. Go figure.”

Forgotten man must have forgotten that Limbaugh has made multiple controversial racist remarks about black athletes over the years and that many players indicated that they would not play for Limbaugh’s team if he was even a part owner.

Khan just happens to have a religion in common with some people who have committed terrorist acts in the name of their god. The same could be said about any of the major religions.

When CNN ran the story, the comments sections was literally boiling over with stupidity, hate and a bit of Star Trek movie related humor (1982′s Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan features Captain Kirk famously yelling “KHAAANNNN!,” a familiar refrain in the comments section).

The awful stuff was counteracted by some progressive Jags/NFL fans protective of their city/league and of the new owner.

On CNN, Terri surmised, “That is how the Pakistani’s will get even with the United States. They plan to buy the NFL, one team at a time, and move it to Pakistan.”

Also on CNN, someone calling themselves Pakastani [sic] wrote, “The name of the new team will be the Jacksonville Jihadis. Expect the cheerleaders to show some ankle during games!”

DisgustedNY was concerned that, “Now you have some guy who grew up in Pakistan dictating what happens with an American tradition.”

But they weren’t all an embarrassment to America’s melting pot philosophy. JaxFan noted the political ramifications of Khan’s ownership, saying that, “The level of religious ignorance and intolerance represented in some of the city’s supposed leaders will make it absolutely hilarious to see those same anti-gay, anti-Muslim religious righties having to kiss the butt of a Muslim who now holds the keys to the Jaguars and their possible relocation.”

The Jacksonville community loves their team (and t-shirt cannons) The Jacksonville community loves their team (and t-shirt cannons)

“I think any comments challenging the prospective buyer’s ‘credentials’ as an American are immature,” offered Jeremy. “The guy has been here 40+ years, went to school for engineering here (actually did a degree that is USEFUL), worked for an American company, started his own American company (notice from the link posted above, that ALL the factories for his company are in the US?), and finally has had a dream of buying an NFL team.”

“America was founded based on principles of freedom of religion,” continued Jeremy. “I say let him take the team and see what he can do with it!”

Things were about the same on Yahoo! News … Mac offered: “A new way to launder money to the terrorists. Wonderful.” And from John: “Sold to Islamic Terrorist from Pakistan.”

Jake was downright racist in saying that, “schweet! sell them to a Sand Monkey.” And from Thomas: “I think he got the money to buy the team by tipping off where Bin Laden was hiding.”

DEF appeared to be a buoy of reason in a sea of hate and stupidity, analyzing that, “As a 20-year resident of Jacksonville, I can say that this is the most conservative bible belt town I have ever lived in. It has a huge redneck/conservative Christian base not to mention that many of them have their predisposed prejudices against Muslims.”

“This new owner … has a great opportunity to change Jacksonville for the better,” he said.

Although DEF cautions Khan – and he makes a good point in doing so that if Khan moves the team from Jacksonville (as has been widely speculated) that he, “could certainly see many in Jacksonville reacting by building a much deeper hatred for Muslims. … It could get ugly.”

I think you mean uglier.

By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate

Rush Limbaugh Endorses the Lord’s Resistance Army

Posted in Loon Radio with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch
Lord's Resistance ArmyLord’s Resistance Army

Rush Limbaugh the terror supporters.

Rush Limbaugh Endorses the Lord’s Resistance Army

I don’t have a really strong view on whether or not it’s advisable to dispatch a small number of US combat troops to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army. My instinct is to be skeptical. I want to see less military intervention, not more. But Rush Limbaugh’s instinct is to embrace brutal murderers:

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill. […]

Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

This post is illustrated with a photo of a man who survived a Lord’s Resistance Army machete attack and has the gashes on his head to prove it. You can read more about it courtesy of Human Rights Watch:

LRA forces attacked at least 10 villages, capturing, killing, and abducting hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes.

The LRA also killed those they abducted who walked too slowly or tried to escape. Family members and local authorities later found bodies all along the LRA’s 105-kilometer journey through the Makombo area and the small town of Tapili. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the “stench of death.”

I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not chasing a relatively small band of depraved mass murderers around central africa is a reasonable thing for American military personel to be doing. But let’s make no mistake—these are depraved mass murderers. And yet Rush Limbaugh is pleased to welcome them as fellow Christian allies.

NY Times Exposes Geller, Mentions LoonWatch

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on October 10, 2010 by loonwatch
The more Geller gets attention, the more her looniness is exposed

The New York Times ran a feature on anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller. The Times feature also mentioned LoonWatch! While it’s noteworthy for our site to be mentioned by the New York Times, we won’t let it get to our collective head. There’s too much work in exposing right-wing nuts like Geller to allow for that.

Outraged, and Outrageous (New York Times) h/t Rob

PAMELA GELLER’S apartment, in the fashion of the blogosphere, doubles as her office. It is a modern full-floor unit in a high-rise on the East Side of Manhattan that could belong to a socialite or the editor of a lifestyle magazine. There is ample light and a tasteful lack of clutter. The kitchen appliances are made of brushed steel; the countertops are slate. In the earth-toned living room hangs a painting, in vibrant colors, of a woman in a swimsuit.

It is in this genteel setting that Ms. Geller, 52 and a single mother of four, wakes each morning shortly after 7, switches on her laptop and wages a form of holy war throughAtlas Shrugs, a Web site that attacks Islam with a rhetoric venomous enough that PayPal at one point branded it a hate site. Working here — often in fuzzy slippers — she has called for the removal of the Dome of the Rock from atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; posted doctored pictures of Elena Kagan, the Supreme Court justice, in a Nazi helmet; suggested the State Department was run by “Islamic supremacists”; and referred to health care reform as an act of national rape.

Ms. Geller has been writing since 2005, but this summer she skyrocketed to national prominence as the firebrand in chief opposing Park51, the planned Muslim community center she denounces as “the ground zero mega-mosque.”

Operating largely outside traditional Washington power centers — and, for better or worse, without traditional academic, public-policy or journalism credentials — Ms. Geller, with a coterie of allies, has helped set the tone and shape the narrative for a divisive national debate over Park51 (she calls the developer a “thug” and a “lowlife”). In the process, she has helped bring into the mainstream a concept that after 9/11 percolated mainly on the fringes of American politics: that terrorism by Muslims springs not from perversions of Islam but from the religion itself. Her writings, rallies and television appearances have both offended and inspired, transforming Ms. Geller from an Internet obscurity, who once videotaped herself in a bikini as she denounced “Islamofascism,” into a media commodity who has been profiled on “60 Minutes” and whose phraseology has been adopted by Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

FOR Ms. Geller, the battle against Park51 is only part of a much larger crusade in which she is joined by an influential if decentralized coalition that includes formergeneralsnew-mediapolemicistsresearchers and evangelicals who view Islam as a politically driven religion, barbaric at its core and expansionist by nature. Her closest partner is Robert Spencer, the proprietor of Jihadwatch.orgIncorporation papers for their American Freedom Defense Initiative list as founding members Anders Gravers, a Danish “anti-Islamization” activist (“Jihad is the knife slicing the salami of freedom”) and John Joseph Jay (“There are no innocents in Islam”). Their lawyer, David Yerushalmi, has sought to criminalize the practice of Islamwhen defined as adherence to Shariah, Islamic religious law.

This loose-knit cadre’s vision of Islam in an age of terror is not unlike a cold war view of Communism: a stealthy global threat creeping into nodes of power that must be opposed at all cost. “In the war between the savage and the civilized man,” Ms. Geller says, “you side with the civilized man.”

It remains unclear how much Ms. Geller is driving opposition to the Islamic center and how much she reflects it — polls suggest most Americans oppose the project — but her involvement can hardly be ignored. Atlas Shrugs, which gets about one million unique visitors a month, helped draw thousands to protests against Park51 on June 6 and Sept. 11. Ms. Geller, supported by a divorce settlement and blog advertisements, also played an important role in winning the resignation in 2007 of Debbie Almontaser, a Muslim principal who started an Arabic-language public school in Brooklyn; brought 200 people to Ohio last year to support Rifqa Bary, a Muslim girl who accused her parents of abuse; and helped draw vociferous objectors to a hearing this summer on a since-scrapped proposal for a mosque on Staten Island.

In conversation, Ms. Geller habitually refers to herself as a “racist-Islamophobic-anti-Muslim-bigot” — all one word in her pronunciation — which hints at her sense of humor and her evident frustration at her public persona. She wields a similarly broad brush against opponents, using terms like “diabolical” and “stealth jihadist” even for people like the journalist Christiane Amanpour and the Republican operative Grover Norquist.

The outrageous and the solemn are deeply intertwined in her character. Ms. Geller admits to using Atlas Shrugs to test topics significant (the conflict in Sudan) and outlandish (that a young Barack Obama slept with “a crack whore”). She has taken up arms against “honor killings” as well as against a Disneyland employee who fought to wear a head scarf. She inspires laughs at sites like Loonwatch, but critics say her influence is serious: a spreading fear of Islam and a dehumanization of Muslims comparable to the sometimes-violent anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism of earlier eras. Even some of her former right-wing allies say she has gone too far.

“I think she’s enabling a real bigotry — a lot of people are convinced by the propaganda she repeats like a mantra,” said Charles Johnson, who runs the blog Little Green Footballs, where Ms. Geller got her start as a frequent commenter. “Nine-eleven didn’t happen in a vacuum — it came from a long history. But when people like Pam Geller are the loudest voices out there talking about it, it drowns out everything else and makes everyone look crazy.”

Like many writers, Ms. Geller is fond of what she calls her “little darlings” — rhetorical flourishes, such as accusing the imam behind Park51 of “totalitarian Khomeinism.”Asked during an interview on Sept. 28 whether these extreme constructions undermine her credibility, Ms. Geller spontaneously erupted into song. “I gotta be me,” she sang, sounding not too bad, though not at all like someone who has opined extensively about the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Iranian revolution. “I gotta be free.

“I’m serious,” she added, returning to her Long Island-accented voice. “I haven’t thought about that song in a million years. But it’s really true.”

THE day last December when The New York Times first reported plans to build a Muslim community center two blocks from ground zero, Atlas Shrugs immediately objected. “I don’t know which is more grotesque,” Ms. Geller wrote, “jihad or the NY Times preening of it.”

She dropped the topic until May 5, when the project — including a mosque, sports facilities and cultural programs to promote understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims — won unanimous approval from a committee of Community Board 1.

The next day, Atlas bristled with outrage. It was a “monster mosque.” It was “sort of like a victory lap” — analogous to Muslims’ reconsecrating the iconic Hagia Sophia cathedral as a mosque after conquering Constantinople in 1453. “Insulting and humiliating.” “A stab in the eye of America.”

“This is Islamic domination and expansionism,” Ms. Geller declared. The only Muslim center appropriate near ground zero, she said, would be devoted to “expunging the Koran” of “incitement to violence.” (Though, she added, such a center “probably wouldn’t last two minutes without being bombed by devout Muslims.”)

Two days later, Ms. Geller invited readers to protest the “9/11 monster mosque being built on hallowed ground zero,” in a post that was among the first to spread the misimpressions that the project was at the World Trade Center site and would solely house a prayer space. The next week, The New York Post took up the cause (“Mosque Madness at Ground Zero”). Fox News booked Ms. Geller on Mike Huckabee’s television programSean Hannity hosted her on the radio.

The community board received hundreds of letters and calls from across the country; Ms. Geller had posted its contact information. She advertised its May 25 hearing, which was packed and marked by heckling (“You’re building on a Christian cemetery!”).

Next, the organization she and Mr. Spencer took over in April, Stop Islamization of America, held a rally on the anniversary of D-Day, which Ms. Geller marks as the moment Park51 became a national sensation. A post about it by El Marco, a conservative blogger, “went viral,” she said, a rare instance of a big debate’s bursting on the scene without “the mainstream media telling people what to think.”

Ms. Geller, though, had some suggestions. She and other bloggers quoted selectively from the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, stressing his description of United States policy as partly responsible for 9/11. They branded him a “radical Islamist.” They declared that his talks against extremism and violence were “taqiyya” — the hiding of true beliefs, religiously sanctioned for Muslims, usually minority Shiites, under hostile rule. And Ms. Geller said, without evidence, that the center’s financing might be tied to terrorists.

Her assertions became common talking points for Republican leaders and other opponents. Soon, Rick A. Lazio, running for governor of New York, was calling the imam a “terrorist sympathizer.” Rush Limbaugh was describing Park51 as a “victory mosque.” Mr. Gingrich was talking about fighting “stealth jihad,” a favorite Geller phrase and the title of a book by Mr. Spencer.

Over the summer, Ms. Geller, irresistibly appealing to television bookers, appeared on programs across the political spectrum as the face of opposition to the Muslim center. Her claims were disputed often enough that the liberal media-tracking group Media Matters called on stations(ineffectually) to stop presenting her as an expert.

Opposition to Park51 grew — and with it, antipathy for Islam. A New York Times poll last month found that two-thirds of city residents thought the project should be relocated. A Quinnipiac University poll of likely New York State voters showed that 90 percent of Republicans — compared to 34 percent of Democrats — thought that a mosque near ground zero was wrong. And the portion of Americans with a favorable view of Islam reached its lowest ebb since 9/11 — 37 percent, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Ms. Geller said in the interview that it was “insulting to the American people” to suggest that she and her allies inspired the anger over the project. But if many people have a general unease over the idea of a mosque downtown, Ms. Geller has provided a vocabulary to express it and a framework to understand it: worries about Islam.

“I have an interesting play on words sometimes,” she said. “If people like it, I think that’s great.”

Mr. Spencer says Ms. Geller’s “genius” is translating his sometimes-obscure concepts into vernacular, plus a “charm and appeal” that motivates people to take action. Rich Davis, a founding member of their group, likened her to the lead singer who made the Who’s challenging music popular.

“I think of her like Roger Daltry,” said Mr. Davis, a Navy veteran from Pennsylvania. “He had a good look, a strong personality, and that’s how I think of her. She’s the front man for so many of us who feel the same way.”

PAMELA GELLER was born in 1958, the third of four girls. She grew up in Hewlett Harbor, one of Long Island’s Five Towns, an affluent, heavily Jewish enclave that spawned notables like the fashion designer Donna Karan. Her father, Reuben, owned a textile mill in Brooklyn and often worked 16 hours a day; he died in 1996. “I was closer to my dad than anyone,” Ms. Geller has written. “There was no one like him. He came up the hard way and made a success of his life the hard way.”

Her mother, Lillian, who died in 2006, was often in the kitchen when Pamela and her sisters — two became doctors, one a teacher — returned from school for lunch. Pamela was the most adventuresome and the most enthralled by New York, said Jessica Geller, the eldest. “She was the girl who couldn’t wait to drive,” Jessica added. “She loved everything about the city, the buzz, the excitement, the vibrancy.”

Theirs was, Jessica Geller said, an “unremarkable” postwar suburban household — mom, dad, school, work, cars, boys. The sisters went to Hebrew school, but attended synagogue mainly on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. (“It was more of a fashion show in many respects,” Jessica Geller recalled.)

Israel, which now forms a crucial piece of Pamela Geller’s politics, was not frequently discussed. Both parents were Democrats, but, in Jessica Geller’s view, “the liberal moms and dads of the ’60s and ’70s would be considered right-wing nuts by today’s standards.”

Pamela Geller said her early years were imbued with a sense of American power and rectitude, so pervasive that it need not be articulated. Many of her current concerns — political correctness, media cowardice, changing national identity, eroding individual rights — can be connected to those times.

“Growing up as the sort of tail end of the baby boomers, there was this feeling of invincibility in America,” she said. “We were free. The good guys won. The good cop is on the beat. I certainly don’t get a sense of that anymore.” (Jessica Geller put it this way: “What my sister really wants is for everything to get back to normal in America.”)

Pamela went to Lynbrook High School and Hofstra University, but left without a degree. She worked on the business side of The New York Daily News through the 1980s, then became the associate publisher at The New York Observer.

Colleagues at The Observer remembered her as brassy and vulgar — not an easy fit with the salmon-colored broadsheet’s effete ethos. Ms. Geller recalled pushing the publisher to endorse Rudolph W. Giuliani in his first mayoral bid, and being satisfied when the paper issued no endorsement. Married in 1990 to Michael H. Oshry, a wealthy car dealer from the Five Towns who was himself the son of a wealthy car dealer from the Five Towns, she quit in 1994 to stay home with her daughters.

Ms. Geller got nearly $4 million when the couple divorced in 2007, and when Mr. Oshry died in 2008, there was a $5 million life-insurance policy benefiting her four daughters, said Alex Potruch, Mr. Oshry’s lawyer. She also kept some proceeds from the sale of Mr. Oshry’s $1.8 million house in Hewlett Harbor.

“Pamela wanted to live in the city,” Mr. Potruch said. “He made certain that she had sufficient support to buy a co-op in the city and survive there without having to work.

“He supported her blogging,” the lawyer added, “even though he didn’t always agree with what she was saying.”

IT was 9/11 that drove Ms. Geller to her keyboard. She had barely heard of Osama bin Laden, she said, and “felt guilty that I didn’t know who had attacked my country.”

She spent the next year educating herself about Islam, reading Bat Ye’or, a French writer who focuses on tensions over Muslim immigrants in Europe; Ibn Warraq, the pseudonym for a Pakistani who writes about his rejection of Islam; and Daniel Pipes, whom she ultimately rejected because he believes in the existence of a moderate Islam.

Ms. Geller commented prolifically on Web sites focused on Islamic militancy, like Little Green Footballs. “She was always one of the first ones to start going way out there,” said Mr. Johnson. (Ms. Geller, in turn, dismissed him as “a reviled figure” who had abandoned his principles.) A fellow commenter called Pookleblinky urged Ms. Geller to start her own blog. She named it in homage to Ayn Rand’s championing of individual rights — Ms. Geller, unlike some of her allies, favors abortion rights — and, perhaps, to conjure the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Readership grew steadily, and spiked whenever she took on hot-button issues. In early 2006, when Muslims rioted over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad printed in a Danish newspaper, Atlas — unlike much of the news media — posted the cartoons, and hits leaped from scores to tens of thousands.

During the Lebanon-Israel war later that year, Ms. Geller video-blogged from an Israeli beach, flicking water at the camera, arching her bikini-bared back provocatively and equating Palestinianswith Hamas.

In 2007, she wrote often about Ms. Almontaser, the teacher who founded the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn — Ms. Geller called Arabic-language instruction a front for Islamist indoctrination. She joined Stop the Madrassa, an organization formed to fight the school, which later thanked her for speeding Ms. Almontaser’s ouster. It was this victory, critics say, that emboldened Ms. Geller’s circle and set it on a path to national influence.

“New York is the cosmopolitan city of the world,” Ms. Almontaser said last week. “They figured that if they could do it here, they could do it anywhere. And sadly, they did.”

The next turning point for Ms. Geller, a few months later, was a “counter-jihad” conference in Brussels. It threw her — and Mr. Spencer of Jihad Watch — together with anti-Islamic Europeans whom even some allies considered too extreme, like Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang, an offshoot of a Belgian party banned that was for racism and was allegedly founded by Nazi sympathizers.

Mr. Johnson of Little Green Footballs, a former comrade, attacked Ms. Geller and Mr. Spencer — whose interest in Islam began with family lore about a Greek great-grandfather killed by Turks — for meeting with “neo-Nazis.” They insisted they were not responsible for the views of everyone who stands in a room with them (though they have lobbed similar guilt-by-association accusations at Muslims, including the people behind Park51).

Ms. Geller went on to champion as patriotic the English Defense League, which opposes the building of mosques in Britain and whose members have been photographed wearing swastikas. (In the interview, Ms. Geller said the swastika-wearers must have been “infiltrators” trying to discredit the group.) And she formed a lasting partnership with Mr. Spencer.

It is partly philosophical: They and the anti-Islam movement in Europe share a fear of Muslim takeover. And it is partly practical: He helps her raise money and source some assertions; she helps him spread his ideas and, he said, “get results.”

THEIR first collaboration was informal. In 2008, Mr. Spencer posted Ms. Geller’s appeal to raise $4,000 for a headstone for Aqsa Parvez, a Muslim-Canadian immigrant killed by her father and brother for not wearing a head scarf. More recently, Mr. Spencer worked with Ms. Geller on her book “The Post-American Presidency,” published this summer by Simon & Schuster for what she described as a six-figure advance. He helped her sober up her tone, she said, by removing those “little darlings,” in hopes of bolstering the credibility of her argument that Mr. Obama is “not only presiding over but actively promoting the decline of America.”

The pair populated the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference with anti-Islam sympathizers by renting a room in the same hotel and hosting a talk by Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-Islam activist who has tried to ban the Koran in his country. At this year’s conference, they hosted Mr. Gravers, head of Stop Islamization of Europe, whose motto is “Racism is the lowest form of human stupidity, but Islamophobia is the height of common sense.” Mr. Gravers then asked Ms. Geller and Mr. Spencer to take over his group’s American affiliate, and turn it from a staid Web site into a political force.

They delivered. In April, they founded a nonprofit group called American Freedom Defense Initiative, which also uses the name Stop Islamization of America. They took out bus ads offering to help Muslims who wanted to leave the religion but were afraid of violent reprisals — and won in court when cities tried to suppress the ads. They brought crowds to support Rifqa Bary in Ohio and urged people to oppose the mosque on Staten Island.

Then Park51 emerged.

Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller said they would rather have galvanized the nation with accounts of Muslim girls killed by male relatives over violations of family “honor.” But, Mr. Spencer said, to many Americans the plight of a Muslim immigrant girl is too abstract. “Most people are only concerned with their families and friends and their immediate circle,” he said. “There is a visceral connection that Americans have with 9/11 that is not felt about other issues.”

It is difficult to determine who finances their movement, since their new organization has yet to win tax-free status requiring documentation of donations. Mr. Spencer estimated that since 2009, the two have raised and spent about $150,000 for things like the bus ads and giant television screens for the 9/11 rally, some of it donated through Mr. Spencer’s Jihad Watch, a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency. In recent years, Jihad Watch has been a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which pays him a $132,000 salary and, as Politico.com has reported, has received significant contributions from philanthropists who back the Israeli right.

Asked how much her blog collects in reader donations and advertisements (one promotes a creationist Web site), Ms. Geller said only that it was enough to live on.

She is barreling ahead. Just last week, Atlas called on readers to boycott Campbell’s soup after the company announced that it planned to certify some products as halal — the Muslim equivalent of kosher — with the supervision of a group that Ms. Geller considers a front for terrorists.

“Warhol,” she wrote, “is spinning in his grave.”

 

Jabba the Rush

Posted in Loon TV, Loon-at-large, Video with tags , , , , on April 22, 2009 by loonwatch
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omSqEwaO_X0&feature=channel_page 300 250]