Archive for Sharia

Nonie Darwish on C-Span: Spreads Anti-Muslim Hate at Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute

Posted in Feature, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by loonwatch

Nonie giving a passionate anti-Muslim lecture

Nonie Loonie Darwish‘s new book, “The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East” pretends to provide insight on the Arab Spring. For Darwish, this is just another ample opportunity to spew her well-worn (phony) tale of woe and Islamophobic diatribe.

Surprisingly C-Span allowed itself to be used as a platform for this hatred, featuring her over one and a half-hour speech rant at the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute (a Conservative group, amongst who’s goal is to produce more “Sarah Palin’s.”)

Here are some of the choice quotes that I caught in just the last 20 minutes (if anyone has the stomach to listen to the rest of it and provide us quotes we’ll be happy to add it):

  • When asked about Obama’s relationship with the Muslim world her response was as the following. ”From his [Barack Obama] books and from what he says, he doesn’t unfortunately. He has a lot of sympathy towards Islam and a lot of closing the eyes like apologizing a lot for things that we should be apologized for.”
  • “Where are the Muslim leaders who will stand up and say ‘We apologize for 9-11?”
  • “All the ills of Muslim society go back to Sharia.”
  • She repeatedly says “Islam has already been interpreted.”
  • “In America, we have a growing population of Muslims who are now, many of their leadership is calling for sharia. The application of Sharia.”
  • “The ultimate goal of being a Muslim is living under an Islamic state.”
  • “Our college campus is becoming like the West Bank and Gaza. They are not allowing the freedom of speech of people like me.”
  • “Another generation of America who have been brought up with a lot of guilt about their country, have been brought up with  an educational system that told them that there bad, you’ve hurt the world. Islam is a religion of peace. Christianity is bad. Your constitution should be changed. American constitution is no longer, it’s an old document. “
  • “In fifty years, we can have a Chechnya in America, which means, we can have a population, a majority population of Muslims in a certain state or certain area and they might say they want to live under sharia.”
  • “We want to call our state, Islamist Republic of Michigan.”
  • “There is no feminist movement in the Middle East, in the Muslim world.”
  • “Women who call themselves Muslims are not standing up.”

At the core of Darwish’s rhetoric is that Muslims are taking over America. She full-heartedly claims that there is a systematic way in which Muslims are working to achieve the dissolution of the USA. First, they act passive, and then they demand rights. Once we succumb to the evil Mooslims’ demands, they will rise to power and implement Sharia and have states that will be called…“Islamist Republic of Michigan.” Darwish’s loony conspiracy that Muslims want to secede from the states and over throw the constitution is an insult to intelligent Americans.

She forgets that we live in a country that is supposed to protect the rights of all citizens. In reality, what Americans are, and need to be skeptical about are individuals like Darwish who write books and speak on Conservative platforms for the twin goals of: self-enrichment and driving fear of the other.

This type of Islamophobic rhetoric hearkens to the anti-Semitic rhetoric of old: They control the media. They control the banks. etc… Such  conspiratorial language is non-nonsensical, illogical and unproductive toward making this country one that we can be proud of.

For anyone that is interested in watching the video, you can do so here: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Nonie

For more on Darwish see our previous articles: Nonie Darwish Caught in a Pool of Lies and Nonie Darwish: “Because Islam should be feared, and should be fought, and should be conquered, and defeated, and annihilated, and it’s going to happen.”

The Islamophobia Excuse

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by loonwatch
Sharia HysteriaPhoto by Ann Hermes / The Christian Science Monitor

Why would politicians and pundits want Americans to hate Islam and Muslims?

Many reasons, argues Philip Giraldi, including promoting Israel’s interests and justifying an endless series of wars in far away lands. (H/T: MasterQ)

The Islamophobia Excuse

by , Antiwar.com

It seems that the Republican presidential aspirants’ fervor to confront Islam has receded a bit with the decline and fall of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, but one can likely still count on Rick Santorum to come up with some bon mots on the threat posed by Shariah law. Those who fear that hands will soon be lopped off shoplifters caught in Cleveland appear to be making much ado about nothing, but there is a much broader and more insidious agenda that is really playing out behind the scenes. Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum are all smart enough to know that Islamic law is hardly poised to dominate the U.S. legal system, but they are using it as the wedge issue to deny the patriotism of Muslims in general and fuel the demands to exercise a military option against Iran.

Promoting fear of Shariah law is essentially a red herring. There are more than 50 predominantly Muslim countries in the world, and, while most have elements of Shariah in their civil and family law, only two have it as their criminal codes. They are Saudi Arabia and Iran, one a close ally of the United States and the West and the other currently playing the cameo role of a threat to the entire world, to borrow a phrase from the eminent Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel. The countries that do not have Shariah as their criminal codes have modeled their laws on European and American models, some borrowing from Roman law and others from British common law.

Depicting Islam as manifestly medieval, backward, and cruel is not new, as it has been going on in one form or another since the Israelis and Palestinians first locked horns. Recognizing that the propaganda that is being ground out in the mainstream media derives from that conflict, it is easy to understand why Muslims are persistently portrayed in negative terms. And it should be equally unsurprising to learn that those who are denigrating Muslims and Islam are almost invariably among the most uncritical supporters of Likudist Israel and all its works.

The list of those who are passionate about how bad Islam is has a familiar ring to it. It is led by the truly vicious and fanatical like Pamela Geller and includes John Bolton, David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, and Charles Krauthammer. Geller has written that there is “a systematic campaign to impose Shariah on the secular marketplace” and to pervert the justice system in favor of Islamic exemptions, a theme that has been picked up by Gingrich and Santorum, both of whom favor pointless laws banning Shariah in any form. In a milder form, the same viewpoint is reflected in both the news coverage and the editorial pages of newspapers like The New York PostThe Washington Post, and even The New York Times. The arguments being made are not necessarily intended to convince anyone other than those who are already more than half onboard, but they are designed to keep the issue of how Muslims are not quite like the rest of us on the back burner to so that the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and other Arabs will somehow always seem suspect. It also fuels other narratives that the neoconservatives and their friends support, like perpetual warfare against Islamic countries to bring about regime changes, suggesting that there is something that is not quite right in the way that Muslim countries govern themselves. The real objective is, however, spelled out in the paper that the neocons presented to Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, “A Clean Break,” advocating the breakup of Arab countries into smaller components that would be perpetually at war with themselves, thereby assuring Israeli predominance in the region. As is so often the case, the conversation in the United States is really all about Israel.

The broader agenda of Islamophobia also fuels arguments to continue to stay the course in places like Afghanistan. Urinating on corpses, hunting and killing local farmers for sport, shooting women and children in the middle of the night, and burning Qurans are all justified because American soldiers find themselves in a difficult and stress-filled environment where the enemies are everywhere and are manifestly not quite real people in the same sense that boys from Kansas are. Muslims become abstractions, and there is the undercurrent of “Don’t they know we are there to help them?” The rarely spelled-out subtext in all the narratives that seek to explain or mitigate the barbaric behavior on the part of America’s finest is that the Afghans are not quite like us and they are not being grateful enough. Their otherness comes partly from the perception that they are primitive but even more from the fact that they are Muslims.

Moving beyond Shariah, those who wish to marginalize Muslims in American life point to the terrorism arrests of Muslims who are American citizens or legal residents of this country. There have indeed been such cases, but a careful reading of the court records suggests that the arrests are mostly what once would have been considered entrapment. A disgruntled young man toys with jihadist websites, is identified, and suddenly finds himself with a new friend who presents him with an unusable bomb to blow himself up in Times Square. He is then arrested and finds himself facing 20 years in prison. The reality, however,  is that of 14,000 murders in the United States in 2010, not a single one was attributed to a Muslim terrorist.

So why should Americans hate or fear Muslims? If it were only the idiosyncrasies of their culture that were an irritant, one would reasonably observe that the United States has absorbed plenty of cultures and lifestyles equally outside of the Western European mainstream. The fact is that the Islamophobia we are currently seeing really has two objectives. First and foremost it is to protect Israeli interests, making Muslims appear to be a threat and a group that is irredeemably un-American, while Israelis are presented as people who are more or less just like us. That means that only one voice will be heard on the Middle East, which is precisely what has taken place. The second objective is to justify the seemingly unending series of wars in Asia, presenting the local people as lacking in the civilized moral and political values that we all hold dear. Ironically, this latter argument is self-defeating, as it is the foreign wars of the past 11 years that have stripped Americans of many of their liberties and constitutional rights. What we choose to fear in Islam and deplore in Muslim regimes — the lack of individual rights — has come home to us.

Islamist Party Says Islamic Law Doesn’t Need to be Enshrined in New Tunisian Constitution

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by loonwatch

rachid_ghannouchi1

Ennahda Party leader Rachid Ghannouchi

I think someone’s head just exploded in the anti-Muslim movement.

They have zero understanding of the differing histories, philosophies or political thought of the various Islamist trends within the Muslim world. To them Islamists are all AlQaeda or some other such offshoot.

Of course, the hatemongers will revert to form and declare that this is all just taqiya, they will be unable to explain why, when Ennahda has a clear majority and is in a position to implement whatever they want, they instead forge a national unity government. They will also be unable to explain why Ennahda says their position are in line with Islamic values and principles.

Islamic Law Won’t Be Basis of New Tunisian Constitution

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Islamic law will not be enshrined in Tunisia’s new constitution, preserving the secular basis of the North African nation, Tunisia’s ruling Islamist Ennahda Party said Monday.

The first article of the new constitution would remain the same as in the 1959 version and it will not call for Shariah, Islamic law, to be the source of all legislation, as many conservatives had wanted.

The decision marks a break between the moderate Islamist Ennahda and an increasingly vocal minority of ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis who have been demanding Islamic law in a country long known for its progressive traditions.

“We do not want Tunisian society to be divided into two ideologically opposed camps, one pro-Shariah and one anti-Shariah,” said Rachid al-Ghannoushi, the founder of the Ennahda Party in a press conference. “We want above all a constitution that is for all Tunisians, whatever their convictions.”

He added that in his opinion, 90 percent of Tunisia’s existing legislation was already in line with the precepts of Islamic law.

Ziad Doulatli, another party leader, told The Associated Press that decision was taken so as to “unite a large majority of the political forces to confront the country’s challenges.”

“The Tunisian experience can serve as a model for other countries going through similar transformations,” he added.

In Egypt, as well as many other Muslim countries, Shariah is enshrined in the constitution as the source of all legislation.

Under more than 50 years of secular dictatorship, Tunisia stood out in the Arab world for its progressive laws, especially regarding the status of women. Many leftists and liberals feared this would be rolled back with the victory of an Islamist party at the polls.

Ennahda, however, has always pledged to maintain the character of the state and formed a coalition government with two secular parties.

The decision, however, is bound to provoke a backlash from the Salafis — some 10,000 of whom demonstrated Sunday in Tunis, the capital, calling for Islamic law.

Despite their numerous demonstrations, the degree of support that the Salafis have from the broader Tunisian society is not clear. Ennahda’s decision to spurn their demands suggests they do not have widespread appeal.

The first article of Tunisia’s constitution states that “Tunisia is a free, sovereign and independent state, whose religion is Islam, language is Arabic and has a republican regime.”

Tunisians overthrew their dictatorship in a popular uprising last year that inspired pro-democracy movements across North African and the Middle East.

In October, they elected a new assembly to govern as well as write the country’s new constitution. Secular and Islamist groups have been holding demonstrations to influence the new document.

According to Fadhel Moussa of the leftist Democratic Modernist Axis, the agreement on the first article settles a long debate in the assembly and opens the way to creating the rest of the new constitution.

Tariq Al-Suwaidan: “Freedom Comes Before Sharia’”

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

Tariq_Suwaidan

Muslim scholar Tariq Suwaidan

I am unfamiliar with this scholar’s prominence but he seems to have some impact considering this was reported in AlArabiyya. What he said seems pretty uncontroversial, it is similar to what many other Muslims have said and is a point that Suwaidan himself made “three years ago.”

Suwaidan also said that, “If Islamists start to become tyrants in the countries that were hit by the Arab Spring, we will revolt against them just like we did against their predecessors.”

Islamophobes will likely say this is “taqiyaa” or that this man is not following Islam as he should because you know they are the experts on Islamic doctrine:

Prominent Kuwaiti Muslim scholar says ‘freedom comes before Shariah’

(Al’Arabiyya English)

A prominent Kuwaiti scholar and popular TV talk show host reiterated his belief that freedom must come before Sharia.

Tariq al-Suwaidan, who is head of the Kuwait-based Al-Risala TV station, and has his own TV program, was speaking at the al-Nahdha conference for a graduates association in Kuwait on Saturday when he said “If Islamists start to become tyrants in the countries that were hit by the Arab Spring, we will revolt against them just like we did against their predecessors.”

“Freedom is a holy right and is one of the principles in Islam … Freedom is to do and say what a person wishes but in a polite manner and without hurting others.”

Suwaidan who was later defensive over his remarks, took to his Twitter page and wrote: “I gave the same lecture three years ago, and [my views] do not represent the views the graduates association or the al-Nahdha Conference, but are my beliefs.”

The scholar, who said that it was liberals who eradicated slavery in Islam and not the Islamists, added, “a human being is free in his movements and where he wants to belong, and convictions are what move people, and not force…”

Suwaidan has spoken before on freedom coming before Sharia on his TV program three years ago and was reiterating his belief.

He also questioned how Muslims shun Christian missionaries in their countries while Christians allow Muslims to propagate Islam on their lands.

He also expressed his disdain on not allowing churches to be built in some Muslim countries.

(Written by Dina al-Shibeeb)

*I’d also like to point out that we are not familiar with Suwaidan’s views, and as one commenter has pointed out he has said, “In 2006 he demanded that the European Union, as well as the rest of the world, enact “a law that forbids the insult to religious figures and religious sacred opinions.” A stance which Loonwatch certainly does not agree or support.

Latest Conspiracy Theory: ‘In Allah We Trust’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , on March 3, 2012 by loonwatch

In God We Trust

Just when you thought the loons couldn’t get any loonier…

Latest Conspiracy Theory: Muslims Altering US Dollars to Read ‘In Allah We Trust’

Cross-posted from Right Wing Watch (H/T Believing Atheist)

Self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” Kamal Saleem tells quite a story about his life, claiming that he worked for late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and fought with Al Qaeda in Tora Bora, all before coming to the United States in order to carry out the “culture jihad.” Sure his entire story is a fabrication, but that hasn’t stopped this descendent of the imaginary “Grand Wazir of Islam” from getting speaking gigs across the country where he criticizes Islam and warns of impending Sharia law in the United States. Yesterday, Saleem sat down again with fellow anti-Muslim activists Jerry Boykin and Rick Joyner on Prophetic Perspectives where he warned that as part of the effort of Muslim-Americans to usher in an Islamic theocracy, they are replacing the words “In God We Trust” on the dollar with “In Allah We Trust”:

Robert P. Jones: The State of Anti-Sharia Bills

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Bad news for the hate brigades? It looks like  the ever shifting poll numbers are indicating that the anti-Sharia’ drive is no longer as popular with Americans now that it impedes upon the free exercise of religion by Jewish and Christian groups and also makes life difficult for business leaders:

The state of anti-sharia bills

by Robert P. Jones (WaPoBlog)

Earlier this month, before the furor over several proposed abortion bills threw Virginia into the national spotlight, another controversial bill began moving in the House of Delegates.

House Bill 825 proposes to ban the use of any legal code established outside the United States in U.S. courtrooms. While it is largely understood that the primary target of the legislation was sharia, or Islamic law, the expansive bill has drawn unexpected criticism from other groups that are concerned that, as written, it could easily be interpreted to ban the use of halacha, Jewish law, and other Catholic canon laws. Muslim advocates had already condemned the bill, as they’ve done with the dozens of state-level bills that have explicitly or implicitly targeted Islamic law. But Jewish groups were also speaking out, saying that the law could limit their ability to settle family matters like wills and divorces according to their religious guidelines. Catholic officials also voiced concerns that bills like these could prevent the Roman Catholic Church (based in Italy) from owning parish buildings and schools. Business leaders also added their voices to the clamor against the bill, citing concerns that it could hurt international business relations. Deciding to reevaluate their approach, the bill’s proponents sent the bill back to committee.

Virginia is just one of two dozen states with bans on foreign laws moving in their legislature. Last week, a similar bill made its way out of Florida’s House Judiciary Committee, amid protests from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Florida Bar’s Family Association, and the ACLU. A third measure preventing the use of foreign law in U.S. courtrooms headed toward a vote in the Georgia House of Representatives.

But as the debate in Virginia shows, the tide could be changing. Lawmakers have had to revamp their approach since an Appeals court struck down Oklahoma’s earlier version as discriminatory for specifically mentioning sharia law. In order to pass constitutional muster, the new bills are written with broad-strokes prohibitions, which have had the unintended effect of drawing other religious groups and business interests into the fray.

Public opinion is also shifting. While these legal challenges evolved, Americans’ concerns about the threat that sharia law’s threat to the American legal system have fluctuated considerably, largely in response to public events that captured national attention. A year ago, when Rep. Peter King’s congressional hearings on alleged radicalization among American Muslims, 23 percent of Americans agreed that American Muslims want to establish sharia as the law of the land in the U.S. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) disagreed, while 13 percent said they did not know. In September 2011, near the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and amidst debates around the Park 51 Community Center and Mosque in Manhattan, which opponents dubbed the “ground-zero mosque,” this number rose to nearly one-third (30 percent) of the general population. Over six-in-10 (61 percent) disagreed, while 8 percent said they did not know.

Over the few months, though, these issues have had a much lower media profile. And in the absence of prominent national stimuli, concerns about the threat of sharia have dropped by more than half since September. PRRI’s February 2012 Religion and Politics Tracking Survey showed only 14 percent of Americans agree that American Muslims want to establish sharia or Islamic law as law of the land. More than two-thirds (68 percent) disagree, and nearly 1-in-5 (17 percent) say they do not know.

These two trends suggest that, despite early momentum, the sponsors of anti-sharia legislation may have an uphill battle ahead of them. By widening the bills’ scope to include all laws that originate outside the U.S., sponsors of anti-sharia legislation are wading more deeply into the waters of religious liberty. Given that 88 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. was founded on the idea of religious freedom for everyone, including religious groups that are unpopular, fighting these legislative battles openly on religious liberty terrain may be difficult. It certainly won’t help that the current bills are being considered at a time when Americans’ concerns about the threat of sharia law have ebbed.

By   |  03:55 PM ET, 02/29/2012

Pennsylvania “Sharia Court”: Loons Jump the Gun AGAIN on Ginned up “Legal Jihad”

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Zombie Atheists

Zombie Pope and Zombie Muhammad Marching in a Halloween Parade

by Ilisha

(H/T: CriticalDragon1177)

All across the looniverse, there is an uproar over an alleged triumph of Sharia in a Pennsylvania court case presided over by a “Muslim” judge.  It’s not the first time anti-Muslim bigots pounced on a story of so-called “legal jihad” before they got their facts straight.

This time, Pennsylvania State Director of American Atheists, Ernest Perce V, was parading down the street as “Zombie Muhammad,” when an outraged Muslim bystander allegedly grabbed him, choked him from behind, and attempted to remove a “Muhammad of Islam” sign from around his neck. Both men complained to  police, Perce for assault and Elbayomy because he apparently thought insulting Islam was a criminal offense.

Perce filed charges, but a judge dismissed the case after he allegedly said, “I’m a Muslim,” and chastised the atheist in question for his misinterpretation and lack of understanding concerning Islam. Judge Martin is not a Muslim, and later said himself he is Lutheran.

Parts of the court video are garbled, and it seems he either misspoke or part of his statement was inaudible.  In any case, his statements and decision to dismiss the case have sparked a fresh controversy over  the limits of free speech.

The judge said in part:

Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it. That makes you look like a doofus…

Here in our society, we have a constitution that gives us many rights, specifically, First Amendment rights. It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers really intended. I think our forefathers intended that we use the First Amendment so that we can speak our mind, not to piss off other people and other cultures, which is what you did.

I don’t think you’re aware, sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – uh, I understand you’re an atheist. But, see, Islam is not just a religion, it’s their culture, their culture. It’s their very essence, their very being. They pray five times a day towards Mecca. To be a good Muslim, before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca unless you are otherwise told you cannot because you are too ill, too elderly, whatever. But you must make the attempt…

Then what you have done is you’ve completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very, very, very offensive. I’m a Muslim, I find it offensive. [Unintelligble] aside was very offensive.

But you have that right, but you’re way outside your bounds on First Amendment rights.

Pamela Geller’s hate site, Atlas Shrugs, blared the headline: “AMERICAN MUSLIM JUDGE WHO IMPOSED SHARIA IN PENNSYLVANIA COURT THREATENS TO JAIL INFIDEL VICTIM FOR BLASPHEMY — RELEASING RECORDED AUDIO OF THE CASE

The inflammatory headline was followed by, “Infidel victim, Ernest Perce, has received 471 verifiable threats.” No source was cited to substantiate the claim.

Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch declared:

This is enforcement of Sharia in a Pennsylvania court. The attacker supposedly got off because he “is an immigrant and claims he did not know his actions were illegal, or that it was legal in this country to represent Muhammad in any form. To add insult to injury, he also testified that his 9 year old son was present, and the man said he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet.”

Though part of the statement on Jihad Watch is in quotes, it’s unclear who Spencer is quoting. A full transcript of the judges statement is here, and the defendant’s immigrant status and lack of legal knowledge are not cited as reasons for dismissing the case.

Spencer also doesn’t explain how this is an example of Sharia. What Islamic Law did the judge cite in this case? Spencer doesn’t say, and apparently that’s fine with his no-evidence-required audience.

Although Eugene Volokh of  The Volokh Conspiracy strongly disagreed with the judge’s decision, he said:

…This is not a situation where the judge “applied Sharia law” in any normal sense of the phrase. The judge claimed that he simply didn’t find enough evidence against the defendant. Perhaps the judge was biased against the victim because of the victim’s anti-Muslim speech, but an anti-Sharia law wouldn’t have helped avoid that. More broadly, a law banning judges from “consider[ing] … Sharia Law” (in the words of the Oklahoma anti-Sharia amendment) wouldn’t keep judges from concluding that someone who insults members of other religious groups should be admonished, punished, or even stripped of the right to legal protection — they would just conclude this based on their own notions of refraining from offending other groups….

The case has nothing do with Sharia, and everything to do with the interpretation and application of American Law.

In the US, free speech is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and in most cases, speech that is distasteful, inflammatory, racist, sexist, or even outright hate speech, is usually permitted. However, there are exceptions, including ”fighting words” and “incitement to imminent lawless action.” Though the judge did tell the plaintiff it was his opinion he’d gone way outside the bounds of free speech, this was not the stated reason for dismissing the case.

In response to the controversy, Judge Martin gave a statement clarifying :  ((H/T: Just Stopping By)

This story certainly has legs. As you might imagine, the public is only getting the version of the story put out by the “victim” (the atheist). Many, many gross misrepresentations. Among them: I’m a Muslim, and that’s why I dismissed the harassment charge (Fact: if anyone cares, I’m actually Lutheran, and have been for at least 41 years).

I also supposedly called him and threatened to throw him in jail if he released the tapes he had made in the courtroom without my knowledge/permission (Fact: HE called ME and told me that he was ready to “go public” with the tapes and was wondering what the consequences would be; I advised him again to not disseminate the recording, and that I would consider contempt charges; he then replied that he was “willing to go to jail for (his) 1st amendment rights”- I never even uttered the word “jail” in that conversation).

He said that I kept a copy of the Quran on the bench (fact: I keep a Bible on the bench, but out of respect to people with faiths other than Christianity, I DO have a Quran on the bookcase BESIDE my bench, and am trying to acquire a Torah, Book of Mormon, Book of Confucius and any other artifacts which those with a faith might respect).

He claims that I’m biased towards Islam, apparently because he thinks I’m Muslim. In fact, those of you who know me, know that I’m an Army reservist with 27 years of service towards our country (and still serving). I’ve done one tour in Afghanistan, and two tours in Iraq, and am scheduled to return to Afghanistan for a year this summer. During my first tour in Iraq, I was ambushed once, attacked by a mob once, sniped at once, and rocketed, bombed, and mortared so many times that I honestly don’t know how many time I’ve been attacked. Presumably by Muslim insurgents. My point: if anyone SHOULD be biased towards Muslims, one would think it would be me. I’m not, however, because I personally know or have met many good, decent people who follow Islam, and I shouldn’t characterize the actions of those who tried to kill me as characterizations of all Muslims.

When I asked him why he dressed up as “Muhammad zombie,” he told me that it was because he was reflecting the Muslim belief that Muhammad rose from the dead, walked as a zombie, and then went to heaven. That was one of the reasons I tried to spend 6 whole minutes trying to explain and de-mystify Islam through my own knowledge, and in an attempt to prevent an incident like this recurring in my community. Unfortunately, the message was obviously not received in the vein that I had intended. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I did use the word “doofus,” but didn’t call him that directly; I said something akin to “ if you’re going to mock another religion or culture, you should check your facts, first- otherwise, you’ll look like a doofus.”;

In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.

A lesson learned here: there’s a very good reason for Rule 112 of Rules of Criminal Procedure- if someone makes an unauthorized recording in a Court not of Record, there’s no way to control how it might be manipulated later, and then passed off as the truth. We’ve received dozens upon dozens of phone calls, faxes, and e-mails. There are literally hundreds of not-so-nice posts all over the internet on at least 4 sites that have carried this story, mainly because I’ve been painted as a Muslim judge who didn’t recuse himself, and who’s trying to introduce Sharia law into Mechanicsburg.

Attempts to link the case to Islamic Law are illogical and absurd, but will no doubt provide convincing “evidence” for those already inclined to believe “creeping sharia” is a genuine threat to America.

However, the case may very well spark a wider debate. The idea that a judge may have sacrificed free speech on the alter of religious and cultural sensitivity is bound to attract attention, especially as Western democracies increasingly grapple with issues of multiculturalism, provocation, and the boundaries of free speech.

**********

The judge’s controversial statements begin in minute 29: