Archive for Wajahat Ali

Goat Milk: Death by tweet? How Hamza Kashgari’s fate will shape the face of Islam today

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Kashgari

Visitors sometimes ask why we don’t devote more of our articles to criticizing some of the regressive views within the Muslim community.

For one thing, there is already an overwhelming amount of criticism leveled at the Muslim community, which in itself is not a bad thing. However, much of what passes as “criticism” is actually pure and unadulterated hatred, something we highlight daily. The well funded machinery of anti-Muslim Islamophobic hate propaganda is an industry with thousands of websites, growing organizational structure and reach. It takes time and effort to combat this hate, and at the moment we are one of the only sites taking on the misinformation and bigotry emerging from the hatemongers on a daily basis. So of course that is our focus and will remain as such.

Also, loaded words like “moderate,” “liberal,” “reformer” and “critic” are at times code words used by self-proclaimed “Muslim” spokesmen/women who play the role of modern-day Uncle Toms and Sally Hemings, (see: Tarek Fatah, Zuhdi Jasser or Asra “Quranolatry” Nomani, etc.).

Still, the question remains, should one really leave the “criticism” to those who sell out the Muslim community for personal aggrandizement?

The fact is there are many Muslims across the world and in America who “criticize” without being agents of empire and imperialism and who do so not for reasons of personal enrichment. In fact, the most effective “criticism” originates within Muslim communities and it is they who should be seen as leaders in this regard. Interestingly, one of the regular Islamophobic talking points forwards the opposite notion, that Muslims are a monolith who have no critical voice when it comes to regressive forces within their community. Anyone who cares to do a minimal Google search on this topic can quickly dispel that belief.

Regressive views garner widespread attention, and are a public relations bonanza for hatemongers like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. In fact, a tiny group of regressive throwbacks in the Muslim community are arguably the best allies for anti-Muslim hatemongers, and for that reason, it makes sense to voice dissent and offer some alternative views from time to time.

This brings us to Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari, whose tweets on the occasion of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday landed him in the midst of a controversy and a possible “death sentence.”

All Muslims are indicted in the public imagination, even if a majority find the case frivolous and absurd. However, there are voices of thoughtful opposition, criticizing the persecution of Kashgari. Adeel Ahmed’s article, published on Goat Milk, discusses the case and its implications, arguing it will either lead the Muslim community a step forward–or several steps back.

Death by tweet?: How Hamza Kashgari’s fate will shape the face of Islam today

by Adeel Ahmed, Goat Milk

On the occasion of Mawlid, the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, a young 23-year-old former columnist for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Bilad newspaper tweeted a conversation he imagined he would have if he were to meet the Prophet Muhammad.

-On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.

-On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.

-On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.

Almost immediately after the posts he was running for his life. He hopped a plane in Jeddah hoping to reach New Zealand. In Malaysia, where he had to change planes, he was stopped and held until a private plane arrived to take him back home to Saudi Arabia. Now, he sits in a Saudi jail awaiting a possible death sentence.

Yes, death.

Saudi cleric Nasser al-Omar called for Kashgari to be tried for apostasy. Outrageous, I first thought, living here in the Western world. Although I don’t believe that the tweets validate in labeling Kahsgari as an apostate even if he did insult the Prophet Muhammad, let’s just agree with al-Omar’s point of view. If Kashgari is an apostate like al-Omar says, we must look into what Islam says about capital punishment, apostasy and those two linked together.

The Qur’an states: “…Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom” (6:151). Key words here are “by way of justice and law.” It is clear that capital punishment can be applied by a court as long as it is justifiable and lawful, which fall under two crimes: intentional murder and Fasad fil-ardh, or spreading mischief in the land. The term “spreading mischief in the land” is generally interpreted as crimes that affect a community as a whole and destabilize society. These include treason/apostasy, terrorism, land, sea and air piracy, rape and adultery.

That being said, it must mean that al-Omar’s argument to punish Kashgari with the death sentence for apostasy is valid, correct? No. What al-Omar fails to realize is how that ruling originated and under which circumstances.

During the time of war, if one were to abandon his Muslims by committing treason and declaring himself as an apostate and then fight against Muslims, it would be valid to punish the individual with the death sentence. However, Kashgari is not fighting against his home country, and as a result, is not committing treason. The problem rests in that al-Omar, along with many others, tie apostasy to treason instead of realizing that apostasy is not always linked to war and treason, especially not in this day and age. So, if he is an apostate, should the death sentence apply? Is speaking ill of the Prophet Muhammad considered an act of mischief large enough to punish Kashgari with capital punishment, given that he is considered an apostate?  This is where I searched further to see what Islam says about punishments for the act of apostasy on its own, without being linked to treason.

In Surah 4: 137, the Qur’an reads, “Behold, as for those who come to believe, and then deny the truth, and again come to believe and again deny the truth and thereafter, grow stubborn in their denial of the truth, God will not forgive them, nor will He guide them in any way.” With this passage it’s evident that even after rejecting Islam twice, no punishment is prescribed for the apostate.

Furthermore, Dr. Maher Hathout, a leading American Muslim spokesperson, underscores in his recent book “In Pursuit of Justice: The Jurisprudence of Human Rights in Islam” that while apostasy may be a sin in the eyes of God, it is not considered criminal behavior.

Subhi Mahmassani, an Islam scholar and jurist from Lebanon, has observed that the death penalty was meant to apply not to simple acts of apostasy from Islam, but when apostasy was linked to an act of political betrayal of the community. The Prophet never killed anyone solely for apostasy. This being the case, the death penalty was not meant to apply to a simple change of faith but to punish acts such as treason, joining forces with the enemy and sedition. [Arkan Huquq al-Insan fi l-Islam (Bases of Human Rights in Islam), Beirut: Dar al-‘Ilm li-l-Malayin, 1979, cited in Kamali, as above]

Executing a person because of conversion to another faith or out of faith clearly contradicts the Qur’an, the ultimate source of Islamic law. Without the apostasy being linked to treason that leads to a matter of national security or security of a Muslim community, capital punishment cannot be permitted.

The question now remains, if Islamic law prohibits capital punishment for apostasy, where did Muslims get the idea that it is valid? In Josef Van Ess’s book “The Flowering of Muslim Theology” he observes this issue and the first execution of someone who spoke ill of the Prophet Muhammad. Dating back to the 8th Century, Syrian scholar Muhammad Ibn Said Al-Urdunni was executed for statements he made about the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Urdunni stated that, although Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet, if Allah wanted, He would and could create another Muhammad. He simply was stating that Allah, the Almighty, has the ability to do whatever he wants, which includes creating another Muhammad. It is as unknown as to whom exactly made the final decision to charge Al-Urdunni with apostasy, but the Syrian government issued the death sentence for disrespecting the Prophet Muhammad by even imagining that there could be another prophet after him. The intentions behind the Syrian government are unknown, however, one is to assume that they could have been trying to set an example for Muslim citizens—if Al-Urdunni is executed, people will not dare to speak ill of the Prophet. It seems that al-Omar is using the same philosophy of the 8th Century government in Syria. But we sit here now, in the 21st Century with the same problem that Syrians tried to squash in the 8th Century. So, does al-Omar really believe that the death sentence will in fact put fear in citizens from talking badly about the Prophet?

It is unfortunate that Muslim scholars don’t stand together to stop al-Omar and the Saudi government from this to move forward. Apostasy is not the equivalent of treason. Kashagri wasn’t out to destroy a Muslim community. There should not even be a trial. Under Islamic law, people of other faiths and people who leave Islam are not to be harmed.

The problem is that Saudi Arabia strives to both move forward in the world of high technology while they govern strict limitations and boundaries upontheir citizens. Their strong and strict Wahabbi interpretation of Islamic law will be a crutch for Muslims all over the world, especially the Western world, where Muslims constantly try to prove that Islam is a religion of peace and forgiveness and that Muslims can coexist in a world with other religions. The decision on Hamza Kahsgari’s case will leave a mark. It can either be a huge step in the right direction or send Muslims back another ten.

Adeel Ahmed is an actor and writer. His work has been featured at Sundance and SXSW. Credits include Law & Order CI, Saturday Night Live, Domestic Crusaders. He will next be seen on Hum TV’s drama series Hum Tho Huay Pardesi as well as Rangoon on Theatre Row in New York City. 

Read the original here: http://goatmilkblog.com/2012/03/07/death-by-tweet-how-hamza-kashgaris-fate-will-shape-the-face-of-islam-today-adeel-ahmed/

Wajahat Ali: How turkey came to our Thanksgiving table

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from Salon)

Once shunned by my Muslim family, the bird finally found a place in our home, just like so many American traditions

By: Wajahat Ali

My Pakistani and American Muslim social circles celebrate Thanksgiving each year alongside our Eid festivities and Super Bowl Sunday parties, featuring homemade guacamole dip, chips and samosas. But it wasn’t always like this. For my family, this marriage between East and West was three decades in the making.

The 1980s:  An “Amreekan Holiday”

As a child, I often asked my mother what we were eating for Thanksgiving.

“Food,” she replied matter-of-factly.

“Are we eating a turkey?” I asked.

“No, only Amreekans eat turkey.”

Any immigrant or child of immigrants understands that “Amreekan” is a code word for “the mainstream,” which really means “white people.” In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey, here are some other things we learned only “Amreekans” do:

  • Wear shoes inside the home
  • Receive “time out” as a valid form of punishment for unruly behavior
  • Talk back to elders
  • Have sex before marriage
  • Put grandparents in senior homes
  • Sleep over at friends’ homes
  • Tattoos
  • Christmas trees
  • Cable television
  • Shop at stores other than Ross, K-Mart, outlet stores, Marshalls and Mervyns (RIP)

Now, I don’t begrudge my parents their position toward turkey. It’s a confounding bird for most immigrants, who are generally more comfortable with the bleats of a goat or a lamb, the squawks of the simple-minded chicken. The turkey was an enigma: a heavy, feathered bird with its “gobbledygook” mutterings, freakish red wattle and vast supply of dry, juiceless meat.

“Do the Amreekans realize it is dry?” ask my still perplexed relatives living in Pakistan. “Where is the masala? The taste? The juices? Why do they eat this bird?”

Besides, most first-generation immigrants in America retain the romantic, deluded concept that “We will eventually go back home to the Motherland.” They will never be “Amreekan.”

Of course, they never do go back and instead firmly plant their familial, cultural, economic, religious and political roots in this foreign yet welcoming “Amreekan” soil. They have second-generation kids — yours truly — who are as “Amreekan” as apple pie, burritos and biryani.

And so Thanksgiving traditions began to leak into our old-school immigrant mentality. I watched the annual Macy’s parade, hoping to see a Spider-Man float. I played Super Mario on my Nintendo and looked forward to spending the evening with Snoopy, Linus, Charlie Brown and the gang, all the while eating a traditional Pakistani dinner. No turkey — yet.

The ’90s: Introducing the Thanksgiving Chicken

In my teen years, I discovered hair in new places and found the courage to demand authentic “Amreekan” requests from my parents.

“Give me turkey, woman!” I once commanded my mother for the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities.

“Here’s some money. You buy it and make it yourself if you like it so much,” she replied.

Foiled again. She knew my inherent culinary uselessness and overall laziness far too well. Well played, Mother. Well played.

During this decade of grunge and Bill Clinton, the immigrant generation in our family gradually replaced the “We will go back to the motherland” mantra with disillusioned rants about how “The motherland is going to hell” after they returned from visiting.

American pop culture effortlessly coexisted within the confines of our Pakistani-American home. Visiting from college one day, I descended the stairs to Nusrat belting out a qawwali in Punjabi. Moments later my father changed the track to Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.” He was in the kitchen rubbing traditional South Asian spices into pieces of steak he would later cook on his brand-new George Foreman grill.

My mother relented to my requests and made a meal on Thanksgiving. Instead of cooking a turkey, though, she insisted on roasting two whole chickens.

“What’s the point of having a chicken on Thanksgiving of all days?” I asked. “It’s like passing out omelets to kids on Easter instead of colored eggs.”

“I like chickens. I can cook a chicken. Chickens are tasty,” my mother replied. “I’m not wasting my time cooking a dry bird.”

She ruled the kitchen with an Iron Ladle.

But the consumption of “some form of a bird” on Thanksgiving was remarkable progress toward fully celebrating this Amreekan holiday. Furthermore, the religious clergy in our communities realized the obvious: Thanksgiving dinner is actually harmonious with Muslim values. After all, aren’t we reconciling with our family and communities and being thankful and grateful for all of our blessings? Isn’t that what Muslims are supposed to do on a daily basis?

Score one for theology in supporting rational arguments to consume dead birds.

That night, we ate two fully roasted whole chickens (quite tasty), and my mother also made basmati rice, daal (lentls), chicken khorma (curry) and kheema (South Asian ground beef.)

It wasn’t perfect — but it was a start.

The new century: Let there be turkey

The 21st century opened the culinary floodgates. It was a brave new world. Turkeys were unleashed to South Asian and Muslim American homes on Thanksgiving with wild abandon. No American holiday would be left unattended and no holiday sale would be forsaken by the immigrant communities! The musings of “going back to the motherland” have now transformed into semi-annual visits to see relatives and nothing more.

Even Muslim butchers are readily selling Halal turkeys in their local community shops. (Halal meat refers to animals slaughtered according to Islamic custom similar to Kosher slaughtering practices for Jews).

2002 was the “Great Turkey Explosion,” when Chandni, the neighborhood South Asian restaurant/wedding reception hall/religious ceremony hall/miscellaneous space used for all celebrations, started offering an “authentic Thanksgiving buffet” for $11 on Nov. 24-25. I had heard rumors of this awesomeness, but I had to drive there and witness morsels of turkey flesh swimming in a broth of fat and oil to believe it myself. And, lo and behold, in front of the South Asian buffet table — which featured lamb karahi, chicken tikka masala, and saag ghosht (spinach with meat) — there was “Thanksgiving” buffet table with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and bread rolls.

In our home, my father made the official decree that the Ali family would now and forever more eat turkey on Thanksgivings – provided he could successfully cook it, which meant “Not cooking it like the Amreekans who always make it too dry.” He felt ambitious in his old age and wanted to test his expanding baking skills by finally tackling the Gobbling-Goliath.

His initial attempt in 2003 was conservative, baking the turkey over several hours as per custom. There was also corn. The mother made some chicken khorma as emergency along with Basmati rice. Some cans of mango and lime pickle achar (relish) were opened just in case. The turkey was both edible and tasty. The family had successfully conquered the mythical bird and stuffed it with so much masala juice it developed a South Asian accent, bhangra dance moves, good credit and IT tech support skills.

A few years later, the family decided to up the ante and “brine” the turkey after some intense Googling sessions researching “Best Way to Cook + Turkey.” This time, we added gravy, mashed potatoes and soft rolls to the menu, along with corn.

Some Thanksgiving staples, however, remained foreign. Yams could only be justified if it was added with meat to a curry. Pumpkins were still regarded as an “exotic vegetable” only to be seen and carved on Halloween. Cranberry sauce was something you drank out of a bottle as a juice concentrate and never ate on the side. “Stuffing” was still only understood as a verb and not an edible noun.

Fast-forward a few years to 2011, and lo and behold, our turkeys have been successfully baked, roasted, brined, deep fried — and thoroughly enjoyed. The annual turkey now sits on a large dining table next to homemade sweet yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn bread, rolls, corn on the cob, and store-bought pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. And yes, there is always a South Asian curry dish just in case.

We also wash down the gluttony with the American Muslim version of Cristal: Martinelli’s Apple Cider.

But this isn’t just a story about how we integrated a strange-looking bird into our dinners. It’s how my American Muslim Pakistani family integrated into the American cultural fabric. It’s the same messy, colorful but inevitable way immigrants all over enter the American narrative, bringing their own flavors to collide, merge and spill outside the pot.

It’s as Amreekan as turkey and chicken khorma.

Wajahat Ali continues to awkwardly pray in Gap stalls.  He is a playwright, attorney and journalist.  His first play, “The Domestic Crusaders,” was recently published by McSweeney’s.  He is currently writing an HBO pilot with Dave Eggers.

The Stealth Halal Jihadist Turkey: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Muslim Trojan Horse

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2011 by loonwatch

Guest Article by: Wajahat Ali 

American Muslim communities celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional Turkey feast represents an encouraging sign of integration with American values and rituals.

But, of course, we Muslims fooled you.

Yet again.

You should have known that our baked, brined, and deep-fried masala turkeys were simply veiling our nefarious, anti-American plots to replace McDonald’s arches with minarets and convert the White House to the United Colors of Benetton House.

Pam Geller, our anti-Muslim Paul Revere

However, not all patriotic Americans were gullible and naïve! Nay, some America-holic crusaders, like bloggers Pam Geller and her fearless co-horts, called out our “stealth jihadist turkey plot!” Like modern-day Paul Reveres, they blogged, tweeted and mass mailed our ingenious plot “to submit unassuming Americans to Islam by feeding them halal Turkey” this holiday season. (Halal meat is slaughtered according to Islamic custom, similar to Jewish Kosher laws.)

Our nation’s Cassandra, Pam Geller – the preeminent anti-Muslim blogger and conspiracy theorist aficionado –  believes President Obama is a Muslim, illegitimate son of Malcolm X who once went to Pakistan for drugs and jihad. She also uncovered Arabic is not just a language, but actually a spearhead for anti-Americanism. Thanks to her, we discovered radical Islam has infiltrated our government, which is secretly being run by Islamic supremacists. She also accused Muslims of engaging in stealth cultural jihad by wearing their headscarves at Disneyland.

Truth be told, we’ve already converted Goofy. Donald Duck was always our Manchurian candidate. Mickey was the first to turn Benedict Arnold.  As for Porky Pig, he better watch out; we’re coming for him next…with our scimitars.

Damn you, Pamela Geller, your anti-Muslim, detective nose is too evolved and sophisticated in sniffing out our dastardly plots!

I guess the feathered, red wattled bird is out of the proverbial bag. There’s no reason to hide the secret any longer.

It’s true. The turkey is our new Trojan Horse.

After spending decades learning to cook and enjoy the famously-dry turkey, we Muslims decided to use the bird to launch our turkey jihad after successfully conquering it in our respective kitchens.  We’ve evolved from creeping sharia into states to creeping cholesterol and obesity into American diets. After taking over all the street meat vendors in New York, the Islamization of the turkey bird was inevitable.

Turkey: The Greatest Weapon of Mass Distraction

The Turkey is our greatest weapon of distraction. Even more so than hummus, biryani, shwarmas, kebobs, naans, and Lupe Fiasco.

The fatty bird’s high levels of tryptophan act like a paralyzing agent, causing intense drowsiness and lethargy when Americans overeat on Thanksgiving Day. The ensuing food coma paves the way for The Muslim Agenda to stealthily accomplish its ambitious goal of radically transforming America into a radical Caliphate guided by Sharia law.

Pam Geller, the 21st century’s Velma, uncovers The Great Halal Turkey Conspiracy:

Across this great country, on Thanksgiving tables nationwide, infidel Americans are unwittingly going to be serving halal turkeys to their families this Thursday. Turkeys that are halal certified… [this] is just the opposite of what Thanksgiving represents: freedom and inclusiveness, neither of which are allowed for under that same Islamic law.

Blast her foresight and remarkable sleuthing skills!

In this land of religious freedom, tolerance and pluralism, it is utterly unacceptable – downright un-American, I say – to allow a diversity of slaughtering options for mass consumers! And allowing Turkeys to be slaughtered according to a religious custom similar to Jewish Kosher laws? Shudder the thought!

Indeed, it is more patriotic to consume a steroid-pumped, undernourished, traumatized turkey hurled onto a mechanical conveyor belt – along with thousands of its gobbling brethren – awaiting its rapture under the guillotine of economic efficiency and other profit-maximizing instruments of death.

That, my friends, is truly the American way!

Muslims, we’re like the Green Bay Packers

But, even American superheroes like Pamela Geller can’t stop our momentum. Muslims are like the current Green Bay Packers of fifth-column, culinary stealth jihadists– we’re on a hot streak!

First, we infiltrated America by creating a hot, Lebanese American beauty pageant named Rima Fakih who won Miss USA and stole the tiara from the infidels. Then, we installed a biracial man with Kenyan roots in the Oval Office, who happens to be a practicing Christian that celebrates Easter, accepts Christ as his savior, and has yet to step foot in a mosque during his three years as President. Moreover, he drinks alcohol and publicly eats bacon. Indeed, the hallmark traits of a Muslim President.

Most recently, we have invaded mainstream American television sets with our very own reality TV show, TLC’s All American Muslim. Move over Kim, Paris and Snookie, Arab-American Muslim Shadia is creeping to take over your botox and photoshopped US Weekly covers. According to Pamela Geller’s Justice League of Islamophobes, TLC’s real intention in creating the show is to force “submission to Islam through the hijab.” (Our clandestine plots foiled yet again!)

Halal Turkey Victory: The Icing on the Cake

But this latest victory is the icing on the cake, or I should say, the honey on the kanafeh. Ha!

Who was our mighty warrior leading us to victory, you ask? Our Alexander? Our Achilles? Our Obama? Our Aaron Rogers? The Trojan horse of our stealth victory was none other than the Thanksgiving turkey.

In fact, we’ve been so successful at integrating, we’ve inspired the mega corporation Butterball to become our preeminent stealth jihadist and unleash stealth halal turkeys on unsuspecting Americans and citizens abroad.

After all, what’s more anti-American than introducing a uniquely American bird, Turkey, to new global consumer markets thereby promoting American products, advertising brand names, and stimulating the national economy? That’s downright Communistic!

But, even this is too much for Geller, who is asking for Butterball to be held accountable for allegedly serving Americans unlabeled halal meat. She has created the “Boycott Butterball Turkey” Facebook page.

Even fellow American Muslims are upset! All this time they could’ve purchased turkey at affordable prices from their local supermarkets instead of shelling out extra money for halal-certified birds from their community butchers! How come no one told the rest of them about Butterball’s ingenious stealth halal turkey jihadist plan?

(We have to keep them in the dark. We can’t afford to activate all of our of culinary stealth jihadists at once. Most of them have to live as if they are actually moderate, peaceful, loyal, normal Americans going about their day to day lives dealing with real problems and concerns that are shared by their neighbors, friends and co-workers. Lateral thinking.)

The Muslim Agenda Fortune Cookie

If you’re lucky, you’ll find The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca (or, “The Muslim Agenda”) stuffed in your Butterball turkey this holiday season. It outlines the plans for our next American cultural takeovers.  If you look closely, deep inside your Butterball turkeys, there will be leaked cell phone photos of a circumcised Easter Bunny praying towards Mecca right before he hands out Kosher eggs and crescent-shaped chocolates to kids from his Easter basket, which we imported from China.

Apparently he’s also developed an insatiable sexual urge for white female rabbits and has started his own “Hare’s Harem.” Rumor has it he’s been fasting during Ramadan and partying like it was Mardi Gras during Lent.

And, wait until you see what we have in store for Christmas! Red-nosed camels and a Santa Claus named Abu Qhlaws: a hairy, overweight Moroccan man with a bushy beard giving chicken tagine to school kids in the malls.

There’s a rumor that American Muslim families will be giving snickers and tandoori chicken pieces for Halloween. Trick or Treat?

We’ve successfully brainwashed the Tooth Fairy as well. She now wears a burqa and was forced to marry Imam Rumpelstiltskin (Come on, that wasn’t a shocker, right?).  Instead of replacing children’s teeth with coins, she now places small Qurans published in Saudi Arabia under their bedroom pillows. She also sprinkles fairy dust on the children, consisting of turmeric and zaatar.

The battle of the absurd, paranoid, and demented is thankfully yearlong and not contained to seasonal limitations. This Thanksgiving, however, please do enjoy your Turkey, whether it be kosher, halal, vegan, vegetarian, American or even foreign.

To appease Pamela Geller and company, just please make sure your dead, cooked bird is tasty, America-holic and not a radical, stealth agent of jihad.  Just to be safe, stab the bird a few times Pulp Fiction-style with the baster. Because, after all, you can never really know and you can never really be too sure.

Wajahat Ali is a playwright, attorney, journalist and humorist.  He blogs at Goatmilk and is the author of the award-winning Domestic Crusaders.  He will be basting his halal turkey in America-holic juices this Thanksgiving.

$42 Million From Seven Foundations Helped Fuel The Rise Of Islamophobia In America

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2011 by loonwatch

money bags

A very interesting report on the funding of the anti-Muslim movement. It is unfortunate that despite a few citations there is scant mention of our taking the haters on day in and day out for over two years.

REPORT: $42 Million From Seven Foundations Helped Fuel The Rise Of Islamophobia In America

By Faiz Shakir on Aug 26, 2011 at 9:30 am

Following a six-month long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress released a 130-page report today which reveals that more than $42 million from seven foundations over the past decade have helped fan the flames of anti-Muslim hate in America. The authors — Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and myself — worked to expose the Islamophobia network in depth, name the major players, connect the dots, and trace the genesis of anti-Muslim propaganda.

The report, titled “Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America,” lifts the veil behind the hate, follows the money, and identifies the names of foundations who have given money, how much they have given, and who they have given to:

The money has flowed into the hands of five key “experts” and “scholars” who comprise the central nervous system of anti-Muslim propaganda:

FRANK GAFFNEY, Center for Security Policy – “A mosque that is used to promote a seditious program, which is what Sharia is…that is not a protected religious practice, that is in fact sedition.” [Source]

DAVID YERUSHALMI, Society of Americans for National Existence: “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…the Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.” [Source]

DANIEL PIPES, Middle East Forum: “All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” [Source]

ROBERT SPENCER, Jihad Watch: “Of course, as I have pointed out many times, traditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful. It is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.” [Source]

STEVEN EMERSON, Investigative Project on Terrorism: “One of the world’s great religions — which has more than 1.4 billion adherents — somehow sanctions genocide, planned genocide, as part of its religious doctrine.” [Source]

These five “scholars” are assisted in their outreach efforts by Brigitte Gabriel (founder, ACT! for America), Pamela Geller (co-founder, Stop Islamization of America), and David Horowitz (supporter of Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch). As the report details, information is then disseminated through conservative organizations like the Eagle Forum, the religious right, Fox News, and politicians such as Allen West and Newt Gingrich.

Over the past few years, the Islamophobia network (the funders, scholars, grassroots activists, media amplifiers, and political validators) have worked hard to push narratives that Obama might be a Muslim, that mosques are incubators of radicalization, and that “radical Islam” has infiltrated all aspects of American society — including the conservative movement.

To explain how the Islamophobia network operates, we’ve produced this video to show just one example of how they have mainstreamed the baseless and unfounded fear that Sharia may soon replace American laws:

*We published this piece earlier but took it down for technical reasons.

Wajahat Ali: My Awkward Moments in Muslim Prayer

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by loonwatch

Muslim prayer is a beautiful thing, but sometimes it can be awkward given the circumstance. A great piece from Wajahat on his experiences and also why the anti-Muslim hysteria is misplaced.

Talk about awkward prayer moments:

My awkward moments in Muslim prayer

by Wajahat Ali

(Salon.com)

A Muslim who prays in public is like James Bond, but without the bling, sophisticated gadgets and entourage of gorgeous women eager to bed him. Both brilliantly fail at every attempt at stealth. Like the fictional secret agent, a Muslim, despite his best intentions and clandestine efforts, sticks out like a pink elephant when forced to offer his ritualistic prayer, salat, outside the comforting cocoon of his home or mosque.

Contrary to the fear-mongering asserted by professional Islamophobes, Muslim Americans do not wish to impose their religious practices and beliefs upon their non-Muslim neighbors. The reality is that most of us are simply trying to navigate the sometimes tricky — but often entertaining — balancing act of adhering to our religious values and rituals while avoiding societal awkwardness and being seen as modern-day Boo Radleys.

Each time I have to pray and am unable to find a secluded spot, I would love for a magic Muslim portal to open and take me away to a fantastic Greyskull castle. Here, I could pray in solitude, shielded from the curious eyes of fascinated and horrified observers and ride on an armored tiger named Battle Cat while drinking mango lassi from a diamond-encrusted goblet.

Unfortunately, I live in reality.

Instead, I discover I have 15 minutes left to pray the afternoon Asr prayer and I’m stuck in a crowded, Valley Fair mall in San Jose, Calif. Realizing that I’d probably be tazed and shot by Homeland Security if I decided to bust out my Arabic tai chi at the Orange Julius, I seek temporary refuge for my prayer woes in the most obvious location: the fitting room at the Gap.

I enter the clothing metropolis in a frantic state and pretend to peruse the fine clothing merchandise. I randomly pick up some accessories and head toward the fitting room stalls only to realize that I am holding skinny female jeans and a Size 2, purple dress. I hastily dump the incorrect clothing on a wooden bench — making sure no one saw me — and run to the men’s section. I decide to play “pretend” and pick up hip, expensive clothing I’d probably never wear in real life and lug the stylish suit, jacket and jeans to the fitting room.

After waiting five minutes due to the long line, the ridiculously good-looking female employee directs me to a fitting stall. I cannot bring myself to make eye contact with her lest I confess my ruse. I rush into the stall and hang the clothes on the wall and devise a complex and sophisticated strategy to secretly pray while “pretending” to try on hip, urban garments. I make sure to create as much noise as possible when changing my pants from the brown, Docker, uncle khakis to the hipster jeans so they don’t suspect my celestial intentions.

I leave the rumbled pants on the floor, along with my shoes and my outer shirt, as visible signs of evidence that I am indeed using this fitting room for normal fitting room purposes.

Now, all I have to figure out is which way is Northeast, because Muslims pray toward Mecca, and this event occurred BIP — before iPhone. I basically do an “eeny-meeny-miney-mo” with the four corners and go with my “gut,” and decided “Mecca” was probably somewhere in the corner nearest to the stall door.

All is well until the prostration, where Muslims have to touch their forehead and nose to the ground. As I’m about to go to the floor, I was overwhelmed with a sense of comfort — I honestly thought I had created a successful camouflage using limited means with limited time. I felt proud and complimented myself on being a pretty dope, on-the-fly, Pakistani, Muslim American James Bond.

My head and knees are now on the floor next to the gap in the door, and everything is going smoothly. I glance to my left and the Gap employee, having bent down, is now staring at me and asking, “Sir, is everything all right?”

F my life.

I quickly finish my prayer, mumble, “Everything is fine! Just fine!” I change my clothes and exit the door to find two Gap employees and a several customers staring at me with concern and confusion in their eyes.

“Just, uh, was praying, yeah, uh, Muslim. We, uh, five times … a day … needed space. Used the stall. Not having a heart attack. Don’t worry. Just thought — yeah, OK! Thanks!”

And I peace out like Flash, running for the exit door and deliberately trying to get lost in the crowd and become a brown blurry dot so as to outwit the imagined Gap security chasing after me.

Other classic awkward moments include the following memorable gems:

• The San Francisco Abercrombie and Fitch fitting room where the ridiculously good-looking female employee again asked me, “Are you OK?”

• The Century 21 Winchester movie theater parking lot, where hundreds of movie patrons exited the packed screening of “Mission Impossible 2″ only to find three brown men praying outside the exit door, next to the garbage cans. (Thank you, Adil, for that brilliant idea.)

• The allegedly dark, closed-off corner in AMC Metreon in San Francisco while waiting in a crowded line to see “The Lord of the Rings” — the corner was neither dark nor closed-off, and you can imagine the rest.

• Praying as a group along with several brown friends during the seventh inning of an Oakland A’s baseball game in between a closed-off escalator and a hot dog stand, and protected by an African-American park employee who said, “You all go ahead and pray. I was married to a Muslim man … once.”

• And, finally, my favorite was our extremely well planned and brilliantly executed two-minute prayer drill while visiting Alcatraz prison. We found a hidden room with antiques and I was the initial watchman, standing outside the door, vigilantly keeping an eye out for the tour group that was hovering around the corner about to bust in on our private prayer session.

In the years since these colorful incidents, some confused and ignorant Americans have begun protesting the construction of mosques in America, citing their presence as fundamentally alien to American values and proof of a Muslim takeover. Along the way, these misguided individuals seem to have forgotten the First Amendment and cultural values celebrating diversity and freedom of religion. Preventing the construction of mosques (like the recent controversy in California) will have no effect on stealth jihadists. However, it will unleash a far greater problem for America: a horde of Muslim Americans awkwardly praying in public.

 

FBI: Stop Spying on American Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by loonwatch
Craig Montielh, Wanna-be FBI Infiltrator

It is high time the FBI stop spying on American Muslims, as recent op-eds, comments from leading Muslim organizations and leaders and former intelligence officials reveal, spying is an ineffective tool that runs counter to anti-Terrorism efforts.

Instead of fostering better relations with Muslims, it creates and perpetuates an atmosphere of distrust that drives further away the number one resource –the Muslim Community– in combating terrorism and threats to our security.

Wajahat Ali writes piercingly on the topic,

Time for FBI to stop spying on American Muslims

(Guardian)

The recent arrest of the potential Christmas tree bomber is reflective of the FBI’s myopic strategy of using glitzy, expensive sting operations and dubious confidential informants to further erode Muslim American relations instead of concentrating on effective partnerships to combat radicalisation. The FBI is promoting the arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year-old Somali-born teenager accused of attempting to detonate a car bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, as a triumph of effective law enforcement. Instead, the operation reeks of gratuitous self-adulation, requiring 6 months of time and precious expenditures to “uncover” a dummy terrorist plot wholly scripted and concocted by the FBI in the first place.

Although many argue that this was simply entrapment, evidence does indicate that Mohamud became increasingly radicalised and voluntarily continued with the FBI’s fake terror plot. Regardless, CAIR attorney Zahra Billo told me, “The FBI seek out troubled people – nobody is arguing that some of these individuals aren’t deeply troubled – and then enable and facilitate their aspirations. It is the FBI’s job to stop operational terrorists. It is not the FBI’s job to enable aspirational terrorists.”

Attorney General Eric Holder recently suggested the use of such sting operations were “part of a forward-leaning way” in which law enforcement could proactively find those individuals committed to harming Americans, and a study revealed that 62% of terror prosecutions relied on confidential informants. But recent episodes suggest these tactics are neither “forward-looking”, nor effective. Instead, they contribute towards a deepening, polarising wedge between law enforcement officials and some of their most important assets in the war against extremism: Muslim American communities.

Recently, a former FBI confidential informant, Craig Monteilh, humorously codenamed “Oracle”, revealed he was paid $177,000 tax-free by the FBI to infiltrate and entrap a southern California Muslim community. The convicted forger, who went by “Farouk al-Aziz”, was served with a restraining order by the mosque after he repeatedly pestered attendees with absurd conversations about engaging in violent jihad. Not to be deterred, the FBI heavily relied upon Oracle’s superlative evidence, consisting of taped conversations, to indict an Afghan-American language instructor for allegedly making false statements regarding his ties to terrorists. Moreover, prosecutors alleged he was the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s security coordinator.

Surely, this bombshell discovery paved the way for a successful prosecution and conviction? Nearly a year and a half later, the judge agreed with the prosecutors to dismiss the case citing lack of an overseas witness and “evidentiary issues”. The result is a widening distrust of the FBI, since “the community feels betrayed,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic shura council of southern California, an umbrella group of more than 75 mosques.

In the deeply flawed 2005 Lodi terror case, the FBI boasted of capturing two, alleged high-level terrorists, Hamid and Umer Hyatt – Pakistani father and son immigrants, who drove ice cream trucks for a living – based on the evidence of an unreliable Pakistani-American informant, codenamed “Wildkat”. Indeed, his fact-finding lived up to his name, since he told the FBI he saw al-Qaida’s number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, at his Lodi, California mosque. Although the FBI [thankfully] conceded his reporting as false, they nonetheless proceeded to pay him nearly $300,000 to infiltrate the sleepy Muslim community and scour for terrorists. His taped conversations with Umer Hyatt reveal him badgering and allegedly conning Umer to make incriminating statements. Furthermore, videotapes of the Hyatts’ absurd alleged “confessions”, which former veteran FBI agent James Wedick Jr reviewed and concluded were a result of illegal questioning and coaxing, nonetheless convinced a jury to convict Hamid of providing material support to terrorists and making false statements to the FBI.

Aside from a miscarriage of justice, perhaps the most poisonous result of such belligerent law enforcement procedures, is a “chilling effect” on the Muslim American community, in which citizens legitimately feel fear and alienation from, and a deepening mistrust of, their government, as a result of such harassment. “Time and again, Muslims prove themselves to be good and smart when it comes to reporting potential crimes. The problem with this method of law enforcement is that strains the very relationships that are critical to effective community policing,” says Billo.

In a country where 60% of its citizens claim to not know a Muslim and 45% regard Islam as a religion that promotes violence, these self-aggrandising displays of “successful” prosecutions also contribute to the volatile climate of anti-Muslim bigotry and reactionary rhetoric. Recently, Glenn Beck delved into his hyperactive, paranoid imagination to produce the utterly baseless statistic that nearly 10% of Muslims are terrorists. Although many of Beck’s audience will not question the veracity of his “facts”, a comprehensive study undertaken by Duke University reveals that the number of radicalised Muslim-Americans remains very small. The study reports that “Muslim American communities have been active in preventing radicalisation… This is one reason that Muslim American terrorism has resulted in fewer than three dozen of the 136,000 murders committed in the United States since 9/11.”

Thus, a Senegalese Muslim immigrant was the first to witness and report failed jihadist Faisal Shahzad’s burning car in Times Square. A Muslim American community in Virginia went to local law enforcements and the FBI after discovering troubling videotapes left by five youths who allegedly went to Pakistan to commit jihad. A convert to Islam tipped off the FBI about the Christian militant group, the Hutarees, who were planning a terrorist attack on American soil. Even the Nigerian underwear bomber’s own father warned British authorities that his son was radicalised and could potentially harm himself and others.

Undoubtedly, radicalisation and terrorism are real threats, which afflict all US citizens, regardless of race or religion. Perhaps the FBI should now cease treating most Muslim American citizens as potential suspects, whose privacy rights and civil liberties are now curtailed in clumsy ways – such as faulty GPS tracking devices sloppily attached on their cars. Perhaps the FBI needs to spend its considerable (taxpayer-paid-for) resources to re-engage them as partners and allies – instead of contributing to the heightened climate of fear and paranoia by employing shady informants with cheesy, comic-book codenames.

 

Muslim-American Spills His Guts, Admits Barack Hussein Obama’s Taqiyya

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2010 by loonwatch

How many of you have heard of taqiyya?  It’s a religious belief of Muslims where they can lie to infidels.  Read all about this fundamental Islamic doctrine right here.

Basically, it allows them to lie about what religion they belong to, among other things!  I didn’t believe it when I read Robert Spencer’s book, but just today a prominent Muslim-American named Wajahat Ali, known for drinking goat milk (that’s what Muslims drink), spilled his guts and wrote a tell-all piece for The Guardian.  Hear it straight from his own words how all Muslim-Americans know that President, or should I say Imam Barack Hussein Obama, is doing taqiyya and has the seed of Islamin him!  Wajahat Ali demands that Obama return the seed if he is not using it.  Will a fleet enema be sufficient to flush out the seed that Obama swallowed?

Check out the amazing article for yourself:

Barack Obama, ‘Muslim’ president

Like many Muslim Americans, I had high hopes – now dashed: our brother drinks beer, eats pork and won’t fast at Ramadan …

by Wajahat Ali

Exhibit A: Barack Obama dressed as a Somali elder during his 2006 visit to Kenya. The photograph was circulated during the presidential election campaign in 2008, regarded by Democrats as a smear. Photograph: APOne wonders why only 20% of Americans believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim, considering the overwhelming evidence conclusively proving his slavish allegiance to Islam and utter disregard for Christianity.

After Obama’s wishy-washy defence of Muslim Americans’ freedom to build a community centre, which includes a mosque, two blocks away from Ground Zero, a poll from the Pew Research Centrereveals that nearly 20% of Americans – up from 11% a year ago – consider him a Muslim, and nearly 43% are unsure of his religion.

As a Muslim American, I presciently spotted the tell-tale signs of Obama’s Muslimy-ness and raucously celebrated – along with the entire monolithic entity of 1.5bn Muslims – our successful Islamisation of America. With one of us finally implanted in the White House and the other wearing a Miss USA tiara, minarets on the Capitol and a burqa-clad Hillary Clinton were only a lunar cycle away.

The smoking gun proving Obama belonged to the “stars and crescent” occurred during his interview with influential pastor Rick Warren, when he publicly admitted: “I believe Jesus died for my sins and I’m redeemed through him – that is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis.” Further testimony came with his 2009 Notre Dame graduation speech, where Obama referenced his community organising days in Chicago, boldly declaring: “… it was through this service I was brought to Christ.”

His decisive break with Christianity and subsequent undying fealty to the Islamic empire clearly then occurred at the White House Easter prayer breakfast, where he welcomed the esteemed guests as his “brothers and sisters in Christ“. And how can one forget Obama publicly denouncing Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his pastor for over 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago?

However, despite this powerful evidence of his Islamic faith, my mind is plagued with doubts concerning Obama’s authentic Muslim credibility. The world takes photos of him eating lunch during Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims in which we abstain from food and drink until sunset. Also,Obama apparently likes beer – which is strictly forbidden in Islam – and he never hesitates to flagrantly exhibit this sin. Memorable examples include his drinking bout with Professor Henry Louis Gates’ arresting officer, Sgt Crowley, or his chugging a few bottles while awkwardly bowling to pacify nervous, middle-class white voters in Pennsylvania during the primaries.

It also appears that Obama indulges in eating swine – thoroughly forbidden for Muslims – and he was subsequently caught devouring a tasty piece of salami with Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, who may also be a closet Muslim given his recent stirring and eloquent defence of religious liberties in light of the Park 51 mosque controversy.

So I worry about my Muslim brother’s observance. In over two years, Obama has yet to step foot in a mosque. Furthermore, when given the ripe opportunity to pick a Muslim judge for the supreme court – thereby implementing sharia law through stealth judicial activism – Obama instead nominated Elena Kagan (a Jew and a female to boot!). His cabinet, which counsels him on the most critical domestic and foreign policy issues, does not contain even one member with an Arabic name.

And despite all the president’s obvious Muslim credentials and avowed commitment to convert America to an Islamic theocracy, there are only two elected Muslim American officials out of 435 Congress members. What is more, hummus has not supplanted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hookahs have yet to be installed in congressional chambers, male elected officials continue shaving their facial hair, Egyptian soap operas and al-Jazeera have yet to replace Fox News and CNN, and the Iron Sheik, sadly, is still not the White House spokesman.

And yet, many impassioned and determined voices continue proclaiming Obama a “card-carrying Muslim”.

Objectively reviewing the evidence, one notices that Obama’s middle name is indeed shared by a recently deposed Iraqi dictator, and the president’s first and last name contain superfluous multisyllables. Also, Obama, who is biracial and raised primarily by his white, Christian mother, had a Kenyan father, who was a (non-practising) Muslim. Further, the family lived in Indonesia, a Muslim country, for nearly four years. Obama also wore a traditional African turban and dress – a little too confidently and comfortably – while visiting Kenya in 2006, and he said “Assalam aleikum” – a little too eloquently – while addressing Muslims in his famous Cairo speech.

If one was to disavow common sense, history, evidence and truth, and, instead, rely purely on hysteria and hearsay created out of conjecture, then perhaps superficial appearances do conclusively prove Obama is a Muslim. Following this logic, Bill O’Reilly could secretly be a Manchurian Candidate for Hamas because of his prolific knowledge of Arabic, as gleaned from his usage of “loofah” and “falafel” when allegedly attempted to sexually harass a female producer. George W Bush could potentially be a covert, homosexual Saudi Arabia spy, since photos show himholding hands with Prince Abdullah and kissing him on the cheek. Rachel Ray, that perky culinary superstar, could be cooking lethal, anthrax-laced batches of girl scout cookies for Hezbollah, because, after all, she wore a keffiyeh in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.

After review, the evidence produces a hung jury in deciding whether or not Obama is a Muslim. But, even if he is one, it appears he is a “secular Muslim” – precisely the type Pamela Geller, the rightwing blogger responsible for creating much of the anti-NYC mosque hysteria, allegedly welcomes with open arms. She and her likeminded ilk should embrace “secular” Obama, who drinks beer, eats pork and doesn’t observe Ramadan, instead of relentlessly demonising him.

It seems, after all, that his “Muslim” values coincide closely with American family values – of being married, staying loyal to your wife, raising well-behaved children, actively helping neighbours and contributing to the public good of the community members, as he did in Chicago. With his deep understanding of “Muslim culture”, the president could also foster conciliation and healing with Muslim communities in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Finally, Obama being a Muslim would permanently negate al-Qaida’s narrative that America is at “war with Islam”. How could “America” hate Islam if American citizens had elected a biracial citizen with an Arabic name and non-Christian religion as their president?

Thankfully, at least 80% of Americans seem impervious to the “Obama is a Muslim” Kool-Aid being peddled abundantly by a reactionary minority. But that 20%, maybe more, choose to remain ignorant of American principles and history, thereby paralysing their ability to reflect on how similar fear tactics, baseless doubts and paranoid allegations smeared another US president nearly 50 years ago. His name was John F Kennedy and his offence was to be a Catholic.

The irony of this shameful debacle is that Obama is, in fact, a “card-carrying Christian”. Ultimately, it suggests the question: had he actually been Muslim, or instead been Hindu, Jewish or atheist, would he be any less American?

The overwhelming evidence suggests not.