Archive for USA

Islam and the Religious Demographic Shifts in the USA

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by loonwatch

American_Islam

Rather than viewing the apparent growth of the Muslim populace with alarm, it should be viewed in perspective and historical context:

Islam and the Religious Demographic Shifts in the USA

(StraightRecord.org)

The Puritans, colonial settlers in New England were originally Protestants from Great Britain, they helped to shape the early religious makeup and cultural milieu of what would become the republic of the United States of America.

As colonial settlers expanded their control over the land, forcing Native American populations further West, pre-existing indigenous religions became marginalized and the first seeds of manifest destiny were planted.

While a complete book would be necessary to do justice to this topic alone, it is important to note that many Natives have until this day preserved, to varying degrees of success, their religious stories and practices.

In the end, the descendants of the Protestants, possessing military advantage and missionary zeal, became the religious hegemons of the early United States.

“Protestant work ethic” and Protestant concepts of “morality” became deeply ingrained within the fabric and history of the United States, and have survived as catch-phrases and concepts in our culture to this day.

Over time, the religious hegemony of Protestants in the USA would eventually encounter change, first with the forced arrival of African slaves, and then with the arrival of Catholic and Jewish immigrants from Europe.

One of the most significant changes has occurred in the past half century, as America has been introduced to religions that it had hitherto been unfamiliar with, or only knew through exotic tales of the Orient.

Today, the religious landscape of America is a mosaic, including varying Christian denominations, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Atheists and of course Muslims.

While Islam first arrived on American shores long ago, its sojourn into the nation’s conscious has been more recent.

A study by Hartford Institute for Religion Research (Hartford Seminary), the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, as well as the nation’s largest Islamic civic and religious groups found that the number of mosques in the US has increased 74% since 2000.

While protests against new mosques in New York, Tennessee and California made headlines, the overall number of mosques quietly rose from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010.

The number of Muslims in the United States is also believed to have increased,

A new survey reveals the dramatically changing face of religion in America, with the number of Muslims in the U.S. soaring 67% in the decade since the 9/11 attacks.

Data released Tuesday from the 2010 U.S. Religion Census shows Islam was the fastest growing religion in America in the last 10 years, with 2.6 million living in the U.S. today, up from 1 million in 2000.

Statistical studies are never an exact science and are open to interpretation, but what these numbers indicate is a definite growing presence of Islam and Muslims in the USA. According to Dale Jones, data analyst and mapping specialist for the Religion Census, one ironic contribution to the rise in Muslim numbers may be the strong anti-Islam sentiment prevalent today in certain sectors of society,

“Persecution is sometimes good for a religious group — in the sense of being able to attract more followers, for some reason,” Jones said. “Rarely is opposition a very effective tool in stopping the growth of a movement.”

Dr. Tariq Ramadan, speaking in the context of Europe, notes that instead of such growth in the “visible” presence of Muslims being viewed with suspicion and alarm, it should be viewed positively, for what it actually is, signs of healthy Muslim integration into the fabric of the nation.

Millions of Muslims are, in fact, already proving every day that “religious integration” is an accomplished fact, that they are indeed at home in the Western countries whose tastes, culture and psychology they have made their own. (Manifesto for a new “We”)

Ramadan notes that Muslims are already integrated within Western societies. Millions of Muslims, by going about their daily lives working, respecting the law, partaking in all aspects of the larger culture such as politics, sports, music, etc. have already proven that they are integrated.

The growing Muslim population should not be seen as a threat to the USA but rather as one more manifestation of the religious tolerance and freedom of religion that has made the US great.

Fear-mongers have existed in every age, and Muslims are not the first religious group to face heightened scrutiny and bigoted attacks. Similar language and rhetoric as we see employed against the growing Muslim presence today have been used against Jews and Catholics in the past.

We should not forget the very real “fear” that existed in the 19th and early 20th century regarding the Catholicization of America, or the “fear” of our first Catholic President, John F. Kennedy possibly taking orders from the Pope. Such hysteria eventually died down over time and will with Islam as well.

Geert Wilders: Asks Muslims to Leave Islam, When Will He Leave America?

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

Non-shocking tidbit of the day from the moronic fascist corner of Euro politics: Geert Wilders wants Muslims to leave Islam.

What we should ask Wilders is when will he leave the US? Or are we now the prime choice for washed-up, has-been Euro anti-Islam/Muslim propagandists?

PVV leader Geert Wilders has called on Muslims throughout the world to leave Islam. He made his call in a speech in New York, to promote his English-language book Marked for Death.

Wilders claims that his book explains that Islam is a “totalitarian ideology” and is an encouragement to freedom-loving Muslims to turn their back on Islam. “I support those who fight for freedom in the Islamic world completely. The Arab, Turkish, Iranian, Pakistani and Indonesian peoples have enormous potential. If they could free themselves of the yoke of Islam, if they could stop seeing Mohamed as their role model and if they could break away from the rancorous Koran, then they could achieve amazing things,” Wilders said in his speech.

With reporters, Wilders went into the political situation in the Netherlands last week when he caused the collapse of government by pulling out of the budget negotiations with the conservatives (VVD) and Christian democrats (CDA). Wilders calls this a difficult decision, but says he had no other choice.

”We are now concentrating on elections on 12 September. Our campaign will be on the need to revive our national sovereignty, as without this we cannot defend our identity and fight against Islamisation.” Wilders said he was not planning to move to the United States. “I am really staying in the Netherlands and will campaign for the elections with very much enthusiasm and very much good sense,” he said yesterday on Radio 1.

A number of media suggested last week that Wilders might be considering an international career because his role in the Loer Hose appears to have been played out for the coming period. Former VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, also a fighter against Islam, moved to the US in 2005 and was subsequently named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential persons.

NIS News Bulletin, 2 May 2012

WhatIfTheyWereMuslim?: 5 Anarchists Nabbed in Terrorist Plot to Blow up Ohio Bridge

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Ohio_Anarchist_Terrorism

The above individuals are charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials. Imagine if they were “brown” or “Muslamic” looking, this would be called a terrorist plot from the get go. (via. WhatIfTheyWereMuslim)

This piece was reported not as a “terrorist” plot but rather simply a “bomb plot”:

By Pete Williams, NBC News justice correspondent
(msnbc.com)

Federal agents have arrested five people who were plotting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio, an incident not connected to the anniversary of former al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden’s death, officials say.

Douglas L. Wright, 26, Brandon L. Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on April 30 on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Also arrested were Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23. Charges are pending against them.

The five were “controlled by an undercover FBI employee,” and agents had them under extensive surveillance for a long period of time. The explosives they allegedly purchased were inoperable.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

“There was never any danger,” one federal official said.

Court documents say the FBI became aware of the men in October. A confidential source told the FBI that they were acting suspiciously at a protest event, wearing masks, talking on radios, and saying they didn’t believe in peaceful protest. They carried flags associated with anarchist groups.

From that point on, the informant was in constant touch with the group members. Their goal, one of them said, was to destroy private property “to send a message to corporations.” Last November, they discussed setting off smoke grenades on Veterans Memorial Bridge in Cleveland as a diversion while they would be knocking bank signs off the tops of tall buildings downtown.

Federal officials say Wright, Baxter and Hayne describe themselves as anarchists who considered a series of evolving plots over several months.

As Stevens and Stafford came into the plot, they started talking about using explosives.

The informant brought in two people he said could help them get explosives. These people were actually FBI undercover agents. The group members agreed to buy tear gas and gas masks. Two weeks later, they said they wanted to buy plastic explosives.

A photo of the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge taken in 1995 as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering Record projects for the U.S. National Parks Service.

In late April, they settled on trying to blow up the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge. This bridge crosses from Brecksville, Ohio to Sagamore Hills, Ohio over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

On April 29, they met with the undercover agents and bought what they thought were two homemade bombs for $450. They planned to place them on April 30 but were arrested by the FBI.

The members of this group had a strong desire to commit acts of violence but no idea how to do it. At one point, a member of the group says what they needed was “mainly bleach,” because, he said, that’s what land mines and hand grenades were made with during World War II.

“The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven Dettelbach. “The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.”

Geert Wilders and Islamophobia in the US—on their way out?

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2012 by loonwatch

We speculated that Wilders star was fading in Europe and that he will try to cash in on the anti-Islam buzz in the USA amongst the “fanatical anti-Islam movement.”

Geert Wilders and Islamophobia in the US—on their way out?

Published on : 30 April 2012 – 8:00am | By John Tyler (Photo: Freefoto.com)

Geert Wilders’ autobiographical book Marked for Death: Islam’s War against the West and Me will be presented in New York on Tuesday. Will his message against Islam and the West’s alleged “Islamification” still resonate in the United States? Here in the Netherlands this week’s political upheaval has seriously dented his influence.

Now that Wilders has disqualified himself from governing, relegating his party to opposition status, his political future here is limited. Even if his Freedom Party emerged as the largest in September’s elections, he would find it difficult, if not impossible, to find any coalition partners. No other party will be eager to work with a politician who has proved so unreliable.

So where does a savvy Islam-basher turn when he is down on his luck? To the United States, of course. Following her stint in Dutch politics, Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali embarked on a successful career as Islam-critic in the US. There is speculation that Wilders may follow her example.

Frequent flyer

Wilders is no stranger to American shores. He has travelled there frequently, raising money and giving lectures. He most famously gave a speech in New York in the autumn of 2010 opposing the building of a Muslim Centre a few blocks from Ground Zero. The protest against the centre gave Wilders a platform for his message against Islam. He said New York “must defend itself against the powers of darkness, the force of hatred and the blight of ignorance. …This means we must not give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us.” His speech received broad coverage in the American press.

Changed attitudes 
Two years later, however, Wilders will find that attitudes in the US have changed. Anti-Muslim sentiment has been fading. A Gallup poll released in the summer of 2011 showed that Muslims, while still facing discrimination, are more confident about their future than any other group in the US. The standard of living among Muslims is improving faster than among other groups.

Gallup researcher Mohamed Younis: “The debate about Islam flares up when something happens, but the last couple of years have been pretty quiet and the public’s interest has waned. Wilders will have a hard time selling his book right now.”

There is more evidence that the attitude toward Muslims in the US is softening. The most outspoken anti-Islam candidates in the Republican presidential primaries did not do well. Mitt Romney, who is all but certain to win the Republican nomination, is known for his moderate views on American Muslims.

As for entertainment, a reality programme called “All-American Muslim” was cancelled, not because it generated a small controversy, but because it failed to attract viewers. People were bored by the premise that Muslims were everyday, normal Americans, and the show got poor ratings. And the New York Muslim Centre Wilders tried to block is going ahead, albeit in a more modest form. The protests have petered out.

Fringe element
American opinion toward Islam may be evolving, but there’s still an energetic minority of writers and bloggers who continue to warn of the imminent danger that Islam allegedly poses to the US. The small publishing house which is bringing out Wilders’ book is a driving force in such circles.

Regnery Publishing specialises in far-right conspiracy theories and scare-mongering. Books currently featured on the website include: Fast and Furious: Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up,Secret Weapon: How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the U.S. Stock Market and Why It Can Happen Again, and After America: Get Ready for Armageddon.

The author of the last work, Mark Steyn, a fervently anti-Islam journalist from Canada, has written the introduction of Wilders’ new book. Regnery’s head, Marji Ross, says she knows Wilders’ views are seen as extreme, but “that’s what makes the book exciting and bold and newsworthy.”

Judging from the response to review copies of Marked for Death, it fails to fulfil Ms Ross’ expectations. It is reported to be a relatively dry description of how Wilders got to where he is, with hardly anything polemical about it. It also appears to lack the verve of Fitna, his short anti-Islam film of 2008.

Curiously, there is no mention of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who helped elevate Wilders to the powerful position he held for the past 18 months. On the other hand, he refers a few times to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, claiming they think along the same lines.

One reviewer said the book could be considered Wilders’ calling card to America. But in contrast to Hirsi Ali’s books Infidel and Nomad, published by mainstream houses and selling well, Marked for Death is not likely to attract a wide readership outside the fanatical anti-Islam movement.

Deafening silence
When Wilders spoke in parliament earlier this week after bringing down the government, MPs largely ignored him. With one exception, no one bothered to confront him. Apart from a few trusted Islam bashers, the broader public in the US may greet Wilders with the same deafening silence.

(cl)

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Anti-Islam Courses Being Taught in the Military

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Gen. Martin Dempsey

Whodathunkit? Only the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the NYPD. So why not the US Military as well:

Military Halts Class Teaching Anti-Islam Material

(HuffingtonPost)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has suspended a course for military officers that officials say contained inflammatory material about Islam.

Defense Department spokesman Capt. John Kirby said Wednesday that among problems with the course taught at Norfolk, Va., was a presentation that asserted the United States is at war with Islam. Kirby noted that officials across two American administrations have stressed that the U.S. is at war with terrorists who have a distorted view of the religion.

Kirby declined to detail what he said were other problems with the course, called “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism.”

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has ordered all service branches to review their training to ensure other courses don’t use anti-Islamic material.

Kevin Forts: One of Anders Breivik’s US Admirers

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Imagine if a Muslim were corresponding with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, expressing support for his terroristic actions, wouldn’t he be locked up for material support of terrorism?

Kevin Forts is not the only US Breivik admirer out there:

Breivik’s US admirer

The young man has black hair and a piercing gaze, and poses with his arms behind his back. He wants to appear decisive and courageous for the photographer. His parents and friends have tried to dissuade him from taking this step, says Kevin Forts from Worcester in the US state of Massachusetts. “But I want to, so that I can represent the views of Anders Breivik that have otherwise been demonized by the mass media,” the 23-year-old told reporters from the Norwegian tabloid VG, the country’s most-read newspaper.

In a major story the newspaper reveals that Forts shares the views of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. “I represent a nationalist alternative, just like Breivik,” he says. Forts writes letters to the assassin and exchanges ideas with him. As proof he shows off one letter the mass murderer wrote him from his prison cell.

Breivik praises the somewhat haggard looking American. VG quotes from the letter Breivik reportedly sent to Forts, in which he writes: “I have received letters from supporters in 20 countries, but you appear to be someone who can write well. Yes, I am absolutely interested in discussing ideological issues with you and am thinking about how we can work together.”

It could be a craving for attention that is now pushing the young American into the public eye. Since the attacks of July 22, 2011, the right-wing, anti-Islam scene has largely retreated from the digital public sphere. Its protagonists, who until then had used the Internet for regular exchanges, have rushed to distance themselves from Breivik’s acts. Chief among them is Fjordman, a Norwegian blogger, who until the killings had regularly exchanged ideas with Breivik and is considered to be a kind of ideological mentor to him. “It should be painfully obvious by now that Breivik does not care for anything greater than himself,” the anti-Islam author wrote in his blog of the ongoing trial this week.

Most are distancing themselves from Breivik, but not Kevin Forts. In a video of the interview posted on the VG website on Wednesday in which he explained why he is defending the murders, Forts said: “I believe it demonstrates a sense of nationalism and a moral conscience. He’s fighting against cultural Marxism and the Islamization of Norway and he found that the most rational way to accomplish that was through terrorist actions on Utøya and in Oslo.”

When asked how one could defend the murder of innocent children, Forts added: “Because I believe that he used it as an unprecedented attack. I don’t believe that it should occur again, but I do believe that it was atrocious but necessary in that it has raised awareness for it and Breivik did that with the executions.”

Forts says he believes Breivik is a “nationalist and a patriot and not the terrorist neo-Nazi that the media portrays him to be.” He continues by saying, “Now, all you see is the shock and the gore on Utøya and in Oslo, but you do not see the actual political ramifications that will come true in the future. I believe that, at that point, it will be impossible to hate Breivik, and you will see that he was actually acting in a matter of preemptive war.”

Spiegel Online, 18 April 2012

Seymour Hersh Reveals that MEK Terrorists Were Trained in the USA by the Pentagon

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by loonwatch

As Glenn Greenwald noted in his book “With Liberty and Justice for Some,” equality before the law is an illusion in the United States. If you are wealthy and have political clout you are most likely to get away with breaking the law and committing crimes, such as “material support” of terrorism.

We reported in July of last year that many politicians from both parties were working with and receiving money from a US State Department designated terrorist organization, the MEK. A group Islamophobes are also quite fond of at the moment.

It was then revealed that the US and Israel have been supporting the MEK to carry out terrorist missions in Iran. Now it has been revealed by the trailblazing investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh that the Pentagon has been training the MEK in Nevada for years, starting in 2005:

US Pentagon Trained Iranian terrorists in Nevada: Hersh

Posted on 04/07/2012 by Juan Cole

The intrepid Seymour Hersh reports at the New Yorker that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) of the US military gave members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK or People’s Holy Jihadis) training in signals intelligence at a facility in Nevada during the Bush era. The MEK was then and is now on the US State Department’s terrorism watch list, so the Pentagon’s deployment of this group was quite illegal.

The MEK was given a base in eastern Iraq by Saddam Hussein, who used the some 4,000 guerrillas who gathered there to harass the Islamic Republic of Iran. The MEK had its origins in an Islamic-Marxist guerrilla group of the 1970s that fought the forces of the Shah. It joined in the revolution against the Shah in 1978-79 but broke with the Khomeini regime and turned to a massive campaign of bombing and sniping against it. In return, the regime killed some 10,000 suspected MEK members, many of whom it just shot down in the street. The group evolved into a political cult, with insistence on glaze-eyed absolute obedience to the leader, Maryam Rajavi, and cult-like practices such as forced marriages and divorces (not to mention the long history of violence inside Iran).

When the US occupied Iraq, some in the Pentagon adopted the MEK at Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border for use against Iran. The MEK has bought a lot of big American politicians and seems to have promised the Israelis it would recognize Israel if it ever came to power in Iran; figures connected to the Israel lobbies have hypocritically campaigned to have the MEK delisted as a terrorist organization, despite it long and bloody record of attacks on civilians. As recently as this year, NBC quoted unnamed US government officials alleging that the MEK has been assassinating Iranian scientists in Iran.

Hersh reveals a trail of blatant hypocrisy on the part of the US government. “Our” terrorists are not terrorists even if they have blown up non-combatants, but national liberation groups such as Hizbullah in Lebanon are designated terrorists. Government officials have even brandished the word “terrorism” to describe perfectly peaceful protesters and dissidents inside the US, while JSOC was flying dyed-in-the-wool terrorists to Nevada for training.

The USG Open Source Center translated a report in the MEK newspaper regarding the hobnobbing of Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and others with the MEK leadership in Paris recently:

“– On 24 March, the NCRI secretariat website published a report on an international conference held in Paris to address MEK concerns and issues, which was attended by NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi as well as former high ranking officials from the United States and Europe including Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge, John Bolton, Patrick Kennedy, and Colonel Wesley Martin.. According to the report, the issues raised included the adoption of a “decisive policy” against Iran’s regime, protection of the rights of Camp Ashraf and Liberty residents, and the elimination of MEK’s “terrorist label.” Rajavi said that “the only way to prevent an Iranian atomic bomb or the occurrence of an unprecedented conflict” was “regime change” by the Iranian people and resistance. On the issue of Camp Liberty, Rudy Giuliani said: “Let us go there. Let us see it with our own eyes.” He added: “Currently the enemy of stopping Iran becoming nuclear is appeasement. This wrong perception has made Iran more determined in becoming nuclear. Let us stop appeasement. Let us stop the efforts for negotiations. Stop writing letters to the ayatollahs. Let us rise up and say as Americans that we are for regime change in Iran and we will take every step necessary to stop Iran becoming nuclear” (National Council of Resistance of Iran in Persian — Website of an exiled political umbrella coalition of Marxist and Islamist organizations — Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO), National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA), People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and Muslim Iranian Students Society (MISS); on US State Department’s list of terrorist groups since 1997; URL: http://www.iranncr.org/).”

As Sheila Musaji points out, lots of American Muslims are in jail for ‘material support of terrorism,’ but American politicians and pundits get a free pass for actively supporting the MEK– which, remember, is definitively on the terrorism watch list.

Note to the US government and the Neocons: George Orwell’s 1984 was a dark political satire, not a blueprint for how you should do things.