Archive for Walid Phares

Mitt Romney Appoints anti-Muslim Militiaman Walid Phares

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by loonwatch

There is a troubling track record on the Right-Wing of nominating hatemongerers, bigots and now potential associates to war crimes to key positions in their cabinets. Is it willful ignorance, stupidity, or purposeful?

We reported last on Walid Phares when Rep. Peter King announced he was going to call Phares to testify at his “Muslim American radicalization hearings.” King eventually walked back that announcement due to pressure. For God sake, Walid Phares joined an organization whose slogan was, “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall Enter Paradise.”

Mitt’s Muslim Problem

(Daily Beast)

After a prominent Baptist minister proclaimed last week that Mormonism is a non-Christian “cult” that would ideally disqualify adherents from the White House, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney enjoyed a full-throated defense from people all over the political spectrum who considered the pastor’s remarks an ugly example of religious bigotry. But Romney, a practicing Mormon, may soon find himself facing allegations of intolerance from another religious minority: American Muslims.

The Daily Beast has learned that the nation’s leading Muslim advocacy group sent a letter to the Romney campaign late Tuesday calling for the ouster of the candidate’s recently appointed foreign-policy adviser, Walid Phares. In the letter, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) refers to Phares as “an associate to war crimes” and a “conspiracy theorist,” citing ties to a violent anti-Muslim militia. Scholars and leaders throughout the Islamic community are adding pressure on Romney to drop the adviser immediately. (The Romney campaign and Phares did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

The controversy comes at an awkward time for the campaign. Hours before CAIR’s letter was sent, Romney called on primary rival Perry to “repudiate” the anti-Mormon remarks made by the Rev. Robert Jeffress, who has endorsed the Texas governor, and touted the importance of tolerant discourse. “I just don’t believe that kind of divisiveness based on religion has a place in this country,” Romney said at a New Hampshire press conference.

Yet Phares is a divisive figure in the minds of some leading U.S. Muslims. To admirers, Phares is a well-regarded scholar who has testified before the Defense and State departments, and has worked as a terrorism expert for professional news outlets such as NBC and, most recently, Fox News.

But to critics, Phares has long been a lightning rod for charges of Islamophobia and outright aggression toward Muslims. According to CAIR, Phares, who was born in Lebanon, worked as an official in the Lebanese Forces, a Christian militia that reportedly took part in “the 1982 massacre of civilian men, women, and children at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.” In 1984, another Lebanese militia with which Phares was allegedly associated rounded up a group of men for questioning and then slaughtered them with guns and grenades, according to a news report. (There is no indication that Phares was directly involved in the violence; his roles in the organizations are reported to have been administrative.)

When he emigrated to the United States in the 1990s, Phares positioned himself as an expert on Islam and Middle East relations, allying himself with conservative think tanks and appearing frequently on television. Throughout his career as a pundit, he has warned that some Muslims are plotting a secret takeover of American institutions with the end goal of imposing Sharia.

This history of inflammatory rhetoric has drawn scorn from many corners of the American Muslim community, and CAIR’s concerns were echoed by a chorus of Islamic scholars reached by The Daily Beast.

“[Phares] is hostile to Muslims and Romney has adopted an expert who is going to alienate him from a good section of the voting public,” said Ebrahim Moosa, a Duke professor of Islamic studies.

“Frankly, it is a pathetic reflection on Governor Romney to have surrounded himself with such a person for advice on the Middle East and Islam,” said Omid Safi, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. “It would be akin to turning to [former KKK member] David Duke to get advice on race relations.”

Correy Saylor, legislative director for CAIR, is willing to give Romney the benefit of the doubt and assume he was largely unaware of Phares’s past. Saylor credits Romney with showing an increased sensitivity to Islam over the years.

During his 2008 presidential candidacy, Romney reportedly told supporters in a private meeting that he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet. But he later walked back that comment, and in this election cycle he has occasionally found himself defending Islam against his opponents’ intolerance. Saylor cited an early primary debate during which Herman Cain hypothesized that appointing a Muslim to his cabinet could open the door to the implementation of Sharia in the U.S. Romney dismissed the paranoid theory, insisting that “people of all faiths are welcome in this country.”

“He’s getting better,” Saylor concluded. “But this appointment is a step in the wrong direction.”

Peter King: “Walid Phares, as of Now not Testifying at ‘Muslim Hearings’”

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by loonwatch
Peter King supported the IRA

It seems as if Rep. King has changed his tune on Walid Phares somewhat. He will no longer be calling him to testify:

King: Phares not testifying

(Politico)

A potentially controversial witness, Walid Phares, isn’t expected to appear at Pete King’s hearings on Muslim radicalization, King told POLITICO just now.

Robert Costa’s report this week that the witness included Walid Phares, a Fox News analysts and conservative terrorism scholar, raised some eyebrows.

That’s because King has told us, among others, that he plans to rely on Muslim witnesses. That angered some outside critics of the community, but King hoped it would lend the hearings credibility and avoid some distracting controversy.

But Phares is of Lebanese Christian descent, and Muslim groups accuse him of ties to Christian militias in Lebanon’s brutal civil war (whose sectarian battles echo in various ways through the current American politics of Islam.

“As of now, he is not testifying,” King said through a spokesman.

What is the reason for this sudden turn around, did it have anything to do with our piece exposing Phares’ membership in genocidal and racist Christian militias? Did it have anything to do with our intrepid Loonwatchers contacting the Congressman and their local officials? (Good job guys!):

REP. PETER KING TO CALL WALID PHARES, FORMER LEBANESE FORCES MILITIAMAN AT MUSLIM HEARINGS

(Loonwatch)

Rep. Peter King, slated to hold hearings on the threat of “terrorism in the American Muslim community” is well known for his checkered past in regards to terrorism as well as outlandish and overtly bigoted statements against Muslims.

For instance Peter King has claimed that “85% of Muslim leadership in America are enemies among us,” though when pressed he has not provided one shred of evidence on how he arrived at this number. King has also expressed his belief that there are “too many mosques in America.” This is on top of the fact that Rep. King was one of the staunchest supporters of the IRA at a time when they were targeting non-combatants in bombing campaigns, kidnappings and shootings.

Now it has come to light that amongst those expected to address the “Muslim hearings” will be a former Lebanese Forces militiaman and spokesman, Walid Phares. The Lebanese Forces were responsible for some of the most horrific slaughters and pogroms during the Civil War in Lebanon, amongst them the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

As’ad Abu Khalil of angryarab.net reported on Phares’ involvement with the Lebanese Forces as well as the Guardians of the Cedar whose slogan during the civil war was, “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall Enter Paradise,” way back in 2007. (hat tip: Akkad)

Walid Phares and the Lebanese Forces

(angryarab.net)

by As’ad Abu Khalil

I am aware that Phares now likes to deny his past role with the Lebanese Forces (the right-wing, sectarian Christian militia that–among other war crimes–perpetrated the Sabra and Shatila massacres). Somebody yesterday posted a comment challenging my statement about Phares and his association with the Lebanese Forces. These are only two of many newspaper clips that I have in which his affiliation is clearly noted. In the top one, (As-Safir, 12/6/1987), it said that “Member of the Command Council of the Lebanese Forces, [and] head of the Lebanese Immigration Apparatus in the Lebanese Forces, Walid Phares, lectured on “the Role of Free Christianity in Lebanon and the Middle East.” In the lecture, he also “criticized the mechanism of the development of Lebanse Christian resistance over 12 years.” In the second one above, (As-Safir, 27/8/1991), Phares was identified as the “vice-chair” of the Extraordinary Emergency Committee for the Lebanese Front (the political leadership committee of the Lebanese Forces) (the chairperson was Etienne Saqr (who founded the Guardians of the Cedar, which during the civil war raised the slogan “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall enter heaven,” and he now resides in Israel). And it has to be said that his rise in the Lebanese Forces took place at a time when it was aligned with the regime of….Saddam Husayn. (emphasis mine)

Even before Abu Khalil’s revelatory post, Iviews.com reported on Walid Phares’ activities and association with Etienne Saqr, founder of Guardians of the Cedar in 1999. In a piece about ties between an American Jewish Organization and Lebanese Terrorists that is well worth the complete read we learn that:

Walid Phares, who founded the WLO and is now a professor at Florida Atlantic University left Lebanon for the United States in 1990. But during the Lebanese civil war he was himself a Christian militiaman. (12) Phares told iviews.com that he was in charge of foreign affairs for the Lebanese Front, the political directorate of the Lebanese Forces. The Lebanese Forces was an umbrella coalition of several right wing militias, including Saqr’s Guardians of the Cedar and the Phalange, perpetrators of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. The current chairman of the Lebanese Front is Etienne Saqr. (13)

Asked about the atrocities attributed to Saqr, Phares replied, “Everybody did silly stuff, on both hands…but amazingly enough, the Guardians of the Cedars have been the most moral fighters.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that Saqr is a “leading member” of the WLO, (14) but Phares denies this. “The WLO had a strong alliance with Saqr, not anymore though, because Saqr had been advocating extreme positions, asking the Israelis to intervene directly in Lebanese affairs,” said Phares. Asked when the WLO cut off ties with Saqr, Phares replied, “No, there’s no cut-off, but I would say about six months ago, seven months ago.”

But in June of this year, Phares joined Saqr, Baraket, and an Israeli professor at a symposium in Israel to do just what he says caused him to end his “strong alliance” with Saqr. (15) The four urged Israel to set up an independent Lebanese Christian “entity” in South Lebanon, to be controlled by a “vastly expanded and strengthened [Lebanese Christian] militia.” (16) The aim, they said, was to “revitalize ties with Israel at a time when there is a trend of loosening those bonds.”

“If Israel leaves Lebanon, it has an obligation towards us, we have been faithful allies,” Phares said at the symposium. (emphasis mine)

These are not small revelations, they highlight the fact that this hearing is an absurdity. Led by someone whose own hands are muddied in support of foreign terrorists, we are now expected to hear from a so-called expert, Walid Phares, a former member of a terrorist militia that slaughtered thousands of innocents.

The profound irony should not be lost on anyone, these hearings are going to be McCarthyist to its core. The point will not be to effectively combat extremism or domestic terrorist threats, but to intimidate the American Muslim community while inspiring fear amongst the general population. It has all the recipes of a disaster waiting to happen. I call on Loonwatchers to contact their local congressmen, representatives or embassies to expose the sham that this hearing is going to be.

Unfortunately however Rep. King has not distanced himself from Phares or condemned Phares’ long history with a terrorist militia that has killed many Muslims and Palestinians:

(Homeland Security)

Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement on Professor Whalid Phares:

“Professor Walid Phares is a respected author, scholar and expert on Islamist Jihadism.  For several months Professor Phares has been advising the Homeland Security Committee staff and me in preparing for Committee hearings on Islamist or Jihadi radicalization.  Professor Phares has been extremely helpful and cooperative, even agreeing to my request that he consider being a witness at a hearing, should the need arise.  His only caveat was to warn me that certain elements would charge that as a Christian he is not qualified to testify as a representative from Muslim communities.  I assured him that would not stop me from asking him to testify.

“I did, for a time, consider asking Professor Phares to be a witness at the first hearing to provide an overview of Jihadi ideologies.  Approximately three weeks ago, however, I decided to focus that first hearing on specific instances of radicalization within the American Muslim community from an American Muslim perspective. While Professor Phares will not be a witness at the first hearing on March 10, I certainly expect to call him to testify at future hearings regarding Jihadi ideologies and strategies.  My staff and I will also continue to rely upon Professor Phares for his advice and counsel as these hearings go forward.”

Unrepentant as ever. This does not bode well for the future.

 

Rep. Peter King to Call Walid Phares, Former Lebanese Forces Militiaman at Muslim Hearings

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by loonwatch
Walid Phares, ex-Terrorist

Rep. Peter King, slated to hold hearings on the threat of “terrorism in the American Muslim community” is well known for his checkered past in regards to terrorism as well as outlandish and overtly bigoted statements against Muslims.

For instance Peter King has claimed that “85% of Muslim leadership in America are enemies among us,” though when pressed he has not provided one shred of evidence on how he arrived at this number. King has also expressed his belief that there are “too many mosques in America.” This is on top of the fact that Rep. King was one of the staunchest supporters of the IRA at a time when they were targeting non-combatants in bombing campaigns, kidnappings and shootings.

Now it has come to light that amongst those expected to address the “Muslim hearings” will be a former Lebanese Forces militiaman and spokesman, Walid Phares. The Lebanese Forces were responsible for some of the most horrific slaughters and pogroms during the Civil War in Lebanon, amongst them the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

As’ad Abu Khalil of angryarab.net reported on Phares’ involvement with the Lebanese Forces as well as the Guardians of the Cedar whose slogan during the civil war was, “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall Enter Paradise,” way back in 2007. (hat tip: Akkad)

Walid Phares and the Lebanese Forces

(angryarab.net)

by As’ad Abu Khalil

I am aware that Phares now likes to deny his past role with the Lebanese Forces (the right-wing, sectarian Christian militia that–among other war crimes–perpetrated the Sabra and Shatila massacres). Somebody yesterday posted a comment challenging my statement about Phares and his association with the Lebanese Forces. These are only two of many newspaper clips that I have in which his affiliation is clearly noted. In the top one, (As-Safir, 12/6/1987), it said that “Member of the Command Council of the Lebanese Forces, [and] head of the Lebanese Immigration Apparatus in the Lebanese Forces, Walid Phares, lectured on “the Role of Free Christianity in Lebanon and the Middle East.” In the lecture, he also “criticized the mechanism of the development of Lebanse Christian resistance over 12 years.” In the second one above, (As-Safir, 27/8/1991), Phares was identified as the “vice-chair” of the Extraordinary Emergency Committee for the Lebanese Front (the political leadership committee of the Lebanese Forces) (the chairperson was Etienne Saqr (who founded the Guardians of the Cedar, which during the civil war raised the slogan “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall enter heaven,” and he now resides in Israel). And it has to be said that his rise in the Lebanese Forces took place at a time when it was aligned with the regime of….Saddam Husayn. (emphasis mine)

Even before Abu Khalil’s revelatory post, Iviews.com reported on Walid Phares’ activities and association with Etienne Saqr, founder of Guardians of the Cedar in 1999. In a piece about ties between an American Jewish Organization and Lebanese Terrorists that is well worth the complete read we learn that:

Walid Phares, who founded the WLO and is now a professor at Florida Atlantic University left Lebanon for the United States in 1990. But during the Lebanese civil war he was himself a Christian militiaman. (12) Phares told iviews.com that he was in charge of foreign affairs for the Lebanese Front, the political directorate of the Lebanese Forces. The Lebanese Forces was an umbrella coalition of several right wing militias, including Saqr’s Guardians of the Cedar and the Phalange, perpetrators of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. The current chairman of the Lebanese Front is Etienne Saqr. (13)

Asked about the atrocities attributed to Saqr, Phares replied, “Everybody did silly stuff, on both hands…but amazingly enough, the Guardians of the Cedars have been the most moral fighters.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that Saqr is a “leading member” of the WLO, (14) but Phares denies this. “The WLO had a strong alliance with Saqr, not anymore though, because Saqr had been advocating extreme positions, asking the Israelis to intervene directly in Lebanese affairs,” said Phares. Asked when the WLO cut off ties with Saqr, Phares replied, “No, there’s no cut-off, but I would say about six months ago, seven months ago.”

But in June of this year, Phares joined Saqr, Baraket, and an Israeli professor at a symposium in Israel to do just what he says caused him to end his “strong alliance” with Saqr. (15) The four urged Israel to set up an independent Lebanese Christian “entity” in South Lebanon, to be controlled by a “vastly expanded and strengthened [Lebanese Christian] militia.” (16) The aim, they said, was to “revitalize ties with Israel at a time when there is a trend of loosening those bonds.”

“If Israel leaves Lebanon, it has an obligation towards us, we have been faithful allies,” Phares said at the symposium. (emphasis mine)

These are not small revelations, they highlight the fact that this hearing is an absurdity. Led by someone whose own hands are muddied in support of foreign terrorists, we are now expected to hear from a so-called expert, Walid Phares, a former member of a terrorist militia that slaughtered thousands of innocents.

The profound irony should not be lost on anyone, these hearings are going to be McCarthyist to its core. The point will not be to effectively combat extremism or domestic terrorist threats, but to intimidate the American Muslim community while inspiring fear amongst the general population. It has all the recipes of a disaster waiting to happen. I call on Loonwatchers to contact their local congressmen, representatives or embassies to expose the sham that this hearing is going to be.

 

Tawfik Hamid: The Shemp of the Three Stooges

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2009 by loonwatch
Tawfik Hamid

Tawfik Hamid

In one of our earliest features we wrote about the Three Stooges of Islamophobia: Walid Shoebat, Zachariah Anani and Kamal Saleem who represent Larry, Curly, and Mo, but in the same way as there is Shemp, there is also Tawfik Hamid.

Tawfik Hamid, like his counterparts, describes himself as an “ex-terrorist” but as we will come to see his claims are as vacuous and silly as the other three.  The difference between the other three and Tawfik Hamid is that the other three claim to be converts to Evangelical Christianity while Hamid vacillates between claiming to be not only a Muslim and an Islamic Reformer but also a follower of Judaism and Christianity and in other instances a non religious person.

In 2007, Hamid served as a keynote speaker for the neo-Conservative  Intelligence Summit and now sits on their advisory board. Amongst the other speakers at the summit, such as Steven Emerson, Joe Kaufman, Nonie Darwish and Walid Phares, there was David Gaubatz, a white supremacist, who led the now defunct Mapping Sharia project (under the tutelage of Society of Americans for National Existence or SANE) which stated that Black people are predisposed to violence,

Is there something unique about the Black American…that leads him to murder so disproportionately and to most often kill and victimize his own? Do we see patterns of Black culture that arise out of Africa and the wanton murder of blacks by blacks there? Why have the colonized blacks of the African continent, after having acquired their freedom and independence, so willingly slaughtered their own and live in despicable disease and squalor despite a land of enormous riches while Indians of the Indian sub-continent have successfully moved from British rule to democracy and relative civility even in a country that still maintains social inequalities as a fact of their culture?

Gaubatz, in 2007, was a leading member of SANE which declared on its now password protected site that, “adherence to Islam as a Muslim is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the US.” It wants the government to ban adherence to Islam and put Muslims under surveillance as stated in its rules, “It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam.”

If this sounds unbelievably deranged, that’s because it is. We don’t make these facts up. Why would any sane, normal Muslim let alone Muslim reformer as Tawfik proclaims himself to be — speak at a hostile summit in which one of the participants wants to ban him from practicing his faith and make it a punishable offense? One answer is that Tawfik isn’t a Muslim and in fact hates Islam and Muslims which would also mean he is a charlatan. The other answer, which is related to the first, is that this is just part of the strange and twisted world that is produced when those chasing the Islamophobic cash cow converge together and let their strange and contradictory pathologies manifest like an insane asylum having a picnic (apologies to insane asylum’s).

Hamid says that he is a former member of the terrorist organization GI (Gamaa’ Islamiyya) and was a friend of Ayman Al-Zawahri, the number two man in Al-Qaeda. A claim that is not corroborated by any independent sources or governmental law agency. Again the million dollar question is, If this guy is a former terrorist then why aren’t the CIA and FBI all over this guy, watching his movements and interrogating him? Wouldn’t it be a point of interest for our government that someone who was a friend of Ayman Al-Zawahari, the number two of Al-Qaeda, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is roaming around the country giving speeches? Either Tawfik is lying or our government has missed a big one.

On his new website, Tawfik identifies himself as “a Muslim by faith…Christian by the Spirit…a Jew by heart…and above all I am a human being.” This is a sharp departure from his previous statements in which he stated, “I am a Muslim by birth, a Christian by spirit, a Jew by heart, and above all I am a human being.” Someone must have told Tawfik that it might help his claim to be a “Muslim reformer” if he actually claims Islam as his “faith” instead of just something he was “born” into.

Richard Silverstein, who runs Tikun Olam, did a piece on Hamid after getting an email from Walid Shoebat’s list-serve that Tawfik Hamid would be speaking at Georgetown University. In it he devastatingly highlights the contradictions as well as obvious hate that Tawfik Hamid has for Islam and Muslims.

In Richard’s piece we also see a description of Tawfik on Shoebat’s website that is not there anymore. Notice the similarities between the biographies of Tawfik and Walid,

Here’s what Shoebat’s website tells you about Hamid:

Born in Egypt to a secular Muslim family. At the age of 16 young Hamid started to search for answers to the universal questions about creation and life’s meaning.

Later on, Tawfik started to read the bible as an attempt to criticise it in the ongoing religious debates between Muslims and Christians, but ended up studying the Bible with increased vigour and genuine interest.

If you compare that last paragraph to Shoebat’s own biography at the same site you have to wonder whether a single person is writing their ad copy:

Walid studied the Tanach (Jewish Bible) in a challenge to convert his wife to Islam. Six months later, after intense study, Walid realized that everything he had been taught about Jews was a lie. Convinced he was on the side of evil, he became an advocate for his former enemy.

It seems that these two “ex-terrorists” weren’t creative enough to come up with differing stories and instead didn’t think anyone would see the similarities in their testimonials. As Richard wrote, “you have to wonder whether a single person is writing their ad copy.”

Tawfik Hamid at the time of Richard’s article was charging $13, 500 for “speaking out against Islamic Fundamentalism that prevails in the world today.”

Yet it seems that Tawfik like his Christian Zionist counterparts doesn’t stop at speaking out against Islamic Fundamentalism but instead also speaks out against mainstream Muslims. For instance on the Orla Barry Radio Show he stated that,

There are different degrees of evil [within Islam]. Jemaah Islamiya represents the active evil or active terrorists let us call them who are ready to commit violent acts and all such atrocities. But the majority of Muslim are all passive terrorists. They believe in this evil. They support it either by money or emotionally they are not against it.

According to Tawfik the majority of Muslims are what he terms passive terrorists. This reveals a great contempt for Muslims who he views as nothing more than terrorists in one form or another. For him most Muslims are not law abiding individuals and even if they don’t commit violence or preach it then secretly they are still terrorists. This trope that is used by Islamophobes pretty much assumes Muslims are all guilty before proven innocent and that they are inherently violent.

Tawfik’s bumbling and inconsistent story in which at times he is a Muslim reformer, at other times a Muslim only by birth, then a Christian and a Jew or his declarations that most of his coreligionists are passive terrorists, his sharing the stage with white supremacists and well known Islamophobes and becoming a member of their advisory council is hard to follow let alone comprehend. It is contradictory and as we see quite lucrative — he fits in perfectly as Shemp to the Larry, Curly and Mo of Islamophobia.