Archive for Xenophobia

Pamela Geller, Guide Dogs, and Genocide

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by loonwatch

Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller

More lunacy from the looniest blogger ever:

Pamela Geller, Guide Dogs, and Genocide

by Sheila Musaji (The American Muslim)

Pamela Geller posted a letter she received from an Atlas Shrugs reader calling himself Scott Sylte.  She introduces this letter saying Remember, there is no golden rule under Islam.

Here is the text of the posted letter

I have a disability which requires that I use a service dog. His name is Ray and he helps to counterbalance, alert and guide me. Under Federal Law, The Americans with Disabilites Act of 1990, a disabled person with their service dog must be allowed public accomodation and admittance. Among such places include Airplanes, Public Transportation, Businesses which serve the gerneral public, restaurants, etc.

One evening two friends, myself and my service dog Ray entered a kabob restaurant in Virginia. Within seconds a man, apparantly who was the owner, made a scene about my service dog and asked me to leave. I was fairly certain he was Pakistani Muslim. There were other people in the restaurant who apparantly were also Muslim because of their coverings. Anyhow, I told him about the ADA, which he knew nothing about, and I told him that I was refusing to leave the restaurant and demanded that we be served the food we ordered. He was obviously very, very unhappy about it, yet he did eventually very reluctantly comply.

If he had insisted that my dog and I leave and refused to serve us in his restaurant, I would have filed a Human Relations Complaint of Discrimination or a ADA complaint with the US Dept. of Justice. If that would ever happens I wonder if this Islamization has gone that far that it would limit me from entering a Muslim owned or opperated establishment which serves the public? It’s sad to see our society begin sliding down the slippery slope of making these kinds of self serving accomodations. The people who are in favor of these kinds of accomodations as being in the friendly spirit of Freedom and Liberty are missing the point that our strong tendancies for “cultural” and “religious” acceptance are really being used to undermine our very freedoms and liberties in a very clandestine manner.

The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherants about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.

Respectfully submitted, Scott Sylte

This individual is claiming that someone at a kabob restaurant in Virginia that he believed to be a Muslim asked him to leave the restaurant with his guide dog.  After he explained about the ADA, the man reluctantly served him.  He does not say what his disability is, or what kind of a service dog.  Since he is describing the appearance of people in the restaurant, it seems that he is not blind, and perhaps his disability was not readily apparent.  The law does not require service dogs to wear identifying markings, and if this was the case it is possible that the restaurant employee/owner simply thought it was a man and his dog coming in to eat.

He says that if he had not been served he would have filed an official complaint of discrimination.  That is absolutely appropriate, and he would have been well within his rights to do so – if this is an accurate recounting of a genuine incident.  If, however, there was no way for the man who worked in the restaurant to know that he was disabled, and that his dog was a service dog, then that would be a very different story.

However, the last paragraph of Mr. Sylte’s letter makes me doubt everything he claims.  I’ll repeat that paragraph

The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherents [sic] about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.

I would have highlighted the genocidal take on what is required of Christians out of their love for their Muslim neighbors, but the entire paragraph would need to be highlighted.

He is saying that he would like to believe that most Muslims are not out to kill “us”, but since their religion (in his view) teaches Muslims to lie about their murderous intentions, then the command to kill Muslims before they kill you mandated in Christianity “should be closely examined”.  We should consider that it might be a “Christian mandate” to begin killing Muslims.  He does not give any references to particular verses of Christian “sacred scriptures”, but I am certain that whatever passages he believes would justify such genocide are being misinterpreted by him.

That Pamela Geller thinks such hatred is deserving of a positive mention, and of being published on her site is yet more evidence as to why the SPLC lists not only her Atlas Shrugs site, but her partner Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch site, and their joint organizations AFDI and SIOA as active anti-Muslim groups, and why they are listed in our Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.  This is hatred pure and simple.

As to the issue that set off this tirade – Muslims who serve the public refusing service to people with guide dogs – that has happened.  There needs to be a clear statement issued by scholars in the U.S. and Canada clarifying this, and that statement needs to be widely distributed and discussed in mosques.  The problem is that many immigrants confuse cultural and religious beliefs, and some are not aware of the law.

This process has begun, and Muslim scholars are attempting to educate people, but to avoid any such difficulties in the future, this needs to be much more widely discussed.  Here are a few examples of community efforts to educate:

In 2008, the issue of service dogs came up in England and a fatwa
was issued

“The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association described the decision as “a massive step forward for other blind and partially-sighted Muslims”. Previously, all dogs were banned from mosques because the Islamic faith historically sees them as being for guarding and hunting only. However, the position was softened because guide dogs could be classed in the “working dogs” category. The animals are still barred from entering the prayer hall for the sake of hygiene but are allowed to guide their owners to the area where shoes are placed, the fatwa says.

A special rest area has been set up in the entrance of the Bilal Jamia mosque for Vargo while Khatri is praying. Previously, the teenager, who attends the RNIB College in Loughborough, had to be accompanied to the mosque by a sighted helper. “

…  After issuing the fatwa, Muhammad Shahid Raza, director of the Imams and Mosques Council UK and secretary of the Muslim Law (Sharia) Council UK, said: “I hope that all existing mosques will follow Bilal mosque in serving the disabled people in a similar way by providing facilities to them. I also believe that, in all new mosques, such facilities for disabled people will be an essential part of their design.”

You can see a video about this here

In a case in Minnesota, the local CAIR-MN chapter issued a statement

The moral and legal need to accommodate individuals using service dogs far outweighs the discomfort an individual Muslim might feel about coming into contact with a dog, which is one of God’s creatures, said CAIR-MN Communications Director Valerie Shirley.

Muslims believe the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual ablution performed before prayer. For this reason, it has become a cultural norm for individuals not to have dogs in their houses – not because the dog is unclean.

The Prophet Muhammad allowed the use of dogs for protection and for hunting. He related several traditions (hadith) in which individuals were rewarded by God for protecting animals and punished for mistreating them.

Shirley mentioned that in 2007, a similar misunderstanding took place between Minneapolis cab drivers and passengers with guide dogs. After CAIR-MN facilitated dialogue between the two groups and cleared the misunderstanding, the Muslim taxi drivers offered free rides to attendees of the American Council of the Blind Convention in downtown Minneapolis. Abdinoor Ahmed Dolal, owner of Twin Cities Airport Taxi, said “Islam forbids us to turn away a blind passenger, whether they have a guide dog or not. Their rights come first.”

CAIR-MN says it will continue to work with the Muslim community in Minnesota to educate them about their Islamic and legal duty to accommodate those using service or guide dogs.

In another case in Vancouver, Canada a local Imam issued a clarification

An Iman from the local Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre, Javed Jaffri, researched the dog topic and served as an expert witness for a blind man refused passage by a Muslim taxi driver. Jaffri spent long hours on this, and provided an unbiased interpretation of the Koran that indicated “there is nothing saying that one must refuse service to another person because of the fear of contamination by a dog.”

He also said that “there can be exceptions to blanket refusals to deal with dogs, especially if it means helping someone in need. All that would be required in most circumstances would be for a Muslim person to wash their hands before eating if they have been in contact with a dog. That’s not a terrible task to go through,” he said.

“There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you. Qur’an 6:38.

“The Holy Prophet told of a prostitute who, on a hot summer day, saw a thirsty dog hovering around a well, lolling its tongue. She lowered her socks down the well and watered the dog. God forgave her all her sins (for this one act of kindness)”  Sahih Muslim

SEE ALSO:

A Fatwa on dogs, Khaled Abou El Fadl http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/tloofesfaond.html

All-American Muslim and Wrigley the Dog, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/wrigley-dogs

Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity, Ikhwan al-Safa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/books_the_animals_lawsuit_against_humanity

Animals in Islam, al-Hafiz B.A. Masri, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/an1.htm

Dogs in the Islamic tradition and in nature, Khaled Abou El Fadl http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/dinistrandna.html

Islam and Experiments on Animals *, al-Hafiz B.Z. Masri http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_experiments_on_animals1

Misconceptions About Islam and Dogshttp://misconceptions-about-islam.com/dogs-allowed-muslims.htm

Quotes from Qur’an and Hadith about dogs as service animals http://toledomuslims.com/criterion/Article.asp?ID=288

What’s up with Muslims and dogs?, Dr. Ingrid Mattson http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-mattson/whats-up-with-muslims-and_b_1144819.html

Anti-Muslim Hate Comes to Hillsborough County School Board Meeting

Posted in Feature, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Parents, and Adults attend Hillsborough School Board Meeting

Parents, and Adults attend a Hillsborough School Board Meeting

Hillsboroughbilly County, Florida–

In November 2011, a Tampa, Fla., high school invited a Muslim lecturer, Hassan Shibly to speak about Islamic history and tradition to college level advanced placement students. When anti-Muslim extremists David Caton and Terry Kemple found out, they brought dozens of Islamophobes to spread lies, fear and hatred against Islam and Muslims at school board meetings (H/T: A. Lessirey):

David Caton was described in a Tampa Bay Times column as a “theo thug,” and a “Biblical bully” with a history of anti-Muslim activism:

Perhaps the best way to get your hands around this latest example of theo-thugs gone wild is to think of local sanctimonious mouth foamer David Caton as the North Korea of faux piety.

For whenever Caton feels he’s fallen off the publicity-hound radar and isn’t being paid enough attention, the vicar of vituperativeness feels compelled to engage in some really daffy behavior as if to reassure the world he’s just as loopy as ever.

Well, brother and sisters — he’s back! It was this man of fleece who just a few weeks ago managed to persuade Lowe’s, a Fortune 500 company, to drop its sponsorship of All-American Muslim on TLC.

Caton got his sackcloth in a wad because the series revealed Muslims in America are quite capable of living just as stultifyingly boring, law-abiding lives as Protestants, rather than spending their days assembling car bombs.

And Lowe’s fell for it, acquiescing to the Islamaphobic demands of a single illiterate hate-monger who should have about as much influence on the affairs of the day as the defense minister of Groucho Marx’s Freedonia.

Now, fresh off his Florida Family Association campaign to make Lowe’s look like corporate America’s answer to a cowering puppy that just piddled on the kitchen floor, Caton, the Ernst Blofeld of the Bible, has set his myopic sights on Kelly Miliziano, a history teacher at Steinbrenner High School, who committed the unpardonable, unforgiveable sin of (dare it be said) educating her students.

For several years Miliziano has invited speakers representing various faiths to meet with her classes. The idea here is to expose students to a range of ideas and beliefs, which in the end will serve to make them better informed, discerning, well-rounded, independent-thinking, educated members of society.

Miliziano obviously posed a threat to Caton’s recruitment efforts. After all, if these kids learn stuff, well, the next thing you know, they’ll figure out obtuse gasbags like Caton are full of hooey. And that’s bad for the bigotry business, which needs a steady stream of lemmings to keep the flames of malevolence burning.

Another Tampa Bay Times article described the school board meeting as one of “did-I-just-hear-that” intolerance. It went on to criticize Caton and Kemple, saying,

What’s not good is wrapping your hands around the eyes and ears of kids out of fear. What’s not good is assuming a local Muslim leader, a young lawyer raising a family here, comes not to educate but to indoctrinate and steal young minds — and that teachers are either in on it or too clueless to care.

Such rhetoric is unhelpful and it seems that students who actually participated in the class don’t think it was a big deal.

But for those who believe they are on a Crusade against Islam, such as Caton and Kemple the Muslim speaker’s presentation represents the apocalypse!

NYTimes: Killing of Iraqi Woman Leaves Immigrant Community Shaken

Posted in Loon People, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2012 by loonwatch

Alawadi

Alawadi’s daughter

Background on El Cajon, CA in light of the tragic murder and possible hate crime against Shaima AlAwadi:

Killing of Iraqi Woman Leaves Immigrant Community Shaken

By IAN LOVETT and WILL CARLESS (NYTimes)
Published: March 27, 2012

EL CAJON, Calif. — Shaima Alawadi’s family says they found the first note taped to the front door of their house on a quiet suburban street here. It said: “This is my country. Go back to yours, terrorist,” according to her 15-year-old son Mohammed.

Like many others in the neighborhood, Ms. Alawadi and her husband, Kassim Alhimidi, are immigrants from Iraq. Mr. Alhimidi says he wanted to call the police. But his wife said no, insisting the note was only a child’s prank. In 17 years in the United States, they had been called terrorists before, he said.

But last Wednesday, her 17-year-old daughter found Ms. Alawadi in their dining room, lying unconscious in a puddle of blood with a severe head wound. Nearby lay another threatening note, similar to the one the family found a week earlier.

Ms. Alawadi, 32, died three days later, and the police say they are still trying to determine whether she was, indeed, targeted because of her religion or ethnicity, calling that just one possibility.

“At this point, we are not calling it a hate crime,” said Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon police department. “We haven’t made that determination. We are calling it an isolated incident, because we don’t have any evidence of anything similar going on at this point.”

Isolated or not, the crime has shattered the sense of security for Iraqi immigrants in El Cajon, exposing cultural tensions and distrust that have often simmered just below the surface since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Hanif Mohebi, director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that many Muslim women in the area were worried that Ms. Alawadi had been targeted because she wore a headscarf in public, as many observant Muslim women do.

“The majority of the community that wears scarves are concerned,” Mr. Mohebi said. He cautioned against a rush to judgment before the police had finished investigating. Still, he added, “the community has gone through some hate crimes before, and the assumption the people have is that they’re going through one now.”

Just two decades ago, El Cajon, just northeast of San Diego, was largely white and English-speaking. But as wars in their homelands pushed more and more Iraqis and other people to emigrate, the Middle Eastern population here has exploded. El Cajon now houses one of the largest Iraqi communities in the country. Middle Eastern groceries and restaurants dot both sides of Main Street, while on the sidewalks, many families stroll by speaking only in Arabic.

Ms. Alawadi and her family moved to the United States from Saudi Arabia in 1995, after fleeing Iraq during the first Gulf War. They have five children, and, for the most part, Mr. Alhimidi said, the neighbors made them feel welcome.

Still, even before this month, he was already familiar with the kind of language he says was on the notes left at his house.

“Some neighbors, I say ‘hi’ to them, and they just turn away,” Mr. Alhimidi said in Arabic, with his son Mohammed translating. “More than 95 percent of the time, I feel welcome. But once in a while, people shout at you. They shout ‘terrorist,’ or ‘go back to your country.’ ”

Most people in town lamented Ms. Alawadi’s killing as a tragedy. Janet Ilko, a middle school teacher, said the news had come as a shock to students.

“It was upsetting to everyone,” Ms. Ilko, 47, said. “Our community is very close-knit. Our students get along very well. People have been here a long time.”

But tension between the newcomers from the Middle East and some of the town’s other residents was also readily apparent on Main Street, even this week. One woman, 30, who was at a park with her children and refused to give her name, called the city’s Iraqi residents “territorial,” adding, “maybe because we are at war with them.” She said her own background was Mexican, though she had grown up in Southern California.

That tension extends to non-Muslims as well.

“I’ve lived here for 32 years, and I’ve been told many times to go back to my country,” said Sascha Atta, an immigrant from Afghanistan. “Here in El Cajon, most of the Iraqis are not even Muslim, they are Christian, but people don’t know the difference.”

One of those Iraqi Christians is Lara Yalda, 18, who fled the country with her family in 2004, living in Syria for six years before coming to El Cajon, where she is now in high school. She said that last year one teacher told all of the Iraqi students to go back to their country, complaining that they took welfare and other money from the United States. That teacher does not teach Iraqi students any more but still works at the school, she said.

Ms. Yalda said Ms. Alawadi’s death frightened her.

“Yeah, I’m scared,” Ms. Yalda said. “I feel sad, because here it is a free country, and there is no reason to kill her. She has a family. So why they kill her? ”

The killing does not make sense to Ms. Alawadi’s son Mohammed either.

“There’s only three people that know what happened,” he said. “God, my mom and the guy who did it.”

Support for Geert Wilders’ “Freedom Party” Drops Over Crisis

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

If Geert Wilders’ consistent and prolonged anti-Islam/Muslim diatribes weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If Geert Wilders anti-freedom policies and attacks on civil liberties weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If  Geert Wilders xenophobic fearmongering about Polish and Eastern European immigrants to the Netherlands weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

There’s another reason: The defection of a senior Freedom Party (PVV) MP Hero Brinkman, an ideological counterpart who parted ways with Wilders due to his “autocratic nature” and “unqualified stance against immigration.”

At least that is what polling data seems to be showing:

Geert Wilders support drops over party crisis

The anti-immigration party would now have 21 seats in parliament, three less than the number of seats it won at the last elections, held nearly 18 months ago. MP Hero Brinkman, seen as a key ideologue, left the party earlier this week in protest at Mr Wilders’ autocratic style and unqualified anti-immigrant stance. However, if elections were held now, Mr Brinkman would lack enough support to gain an independent seat, according to the weekly survey.

The minority government of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte depends on Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party for a majority in parliament. Now that Mr Brinkman has broken ranks with Mr Wilders, the conservative cabinet may have to rely on other parties as well, in particular on the tiny Christian fundamentalist SGP party.

The minority cabinet has already relied on Labour, the Democrats 66 and the Green Left parties for all those policies not supported by Mr Wilders, such as giving financial aid to Greece and bolstering the euro in general.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

We can’t read too much into these sorts of polls, especially when one considers the fickle nature of polling. However, it is significant, in that it exposes not only rifts and cracks in Wilders movement, but also potential fallout.

What remains to be seen is how Wilders and company will react to all this. Will they ignore this trend or just plain dismiss it? Will they become more aggressive and double down? Will they tone down their jingoistic rhetoric?

In the meantime it seems Wilders hatemongering is continuing to have repercussions:

The Polish Wilders Hates Poles

“I don’t just hate the Poles who work in the Netherlands, I hate all Poles” says Geert Wilders.

It’s not the real Wilders, it’s a satirical programme on Polish television. The Freedom Party leader himself hasn’t gone that far. However, his party does have a website where Dutch people can leave their complaints about Eastern European immigrants. It has been stirring up emotions in Poland for weeks, according to our correspondent Ekke Overbeek.

Szymon Majewski is a well-known Polish comedian with a popular show on the country’s biggest commercial station. In front of a backdrop of windmills, ‘Wilders’ begins the sketch by saying good evening in Dutch (goeie avond). The word goeie, however, means something unpleasant in Polish, so the stage is set. He then explains, in Polish, that he hates all Poles because they drink too much.

Another film, posted on YouTube, has an Asian man telling us that all foreigners, even Dutch, are welcome in Poland. Having nearly been run over by foul-mouthed Dutch people on bikes, he invites all Dutch people to come to Poland for the European football championships. “Poles are friendly and helpful. All the ugly, nasty, greedy Poles are over in the Netherlands”. He is joined by the same fake Wilders who says “Holland for the Dutch.”

Jokes about drugs, euthanasia and abortion follow. The final gag: “You may have a world famous Red Light District, but we have something better. Here you get screwed as soon as you step into a taxi at the airport.”

The Freedom Party’s complaints website has regularly made the news in Poland for over a month. The affair drags on because the Dutch government, which owes its parliamentary majority to Geert Wilders’ support, refuses to disown the website. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says it is an initiative by a political party and has nothing to do with his government. He was asked to appear before the European parliament and explain this stance but chose not to go.

The appearance of a Wilders clone on Polish TV shows that the controversy is beginning to affect the Netherlands image abroad. Until recently, most Poles thought of the Netherlands as a tolerant country, with good job prospects. The number of Polish people in the Netherlands is estimated at between 150 and 200 thousand.

(imm)

For those of you who speak Polish (there are no subtitles), here is the second clip:

UK: Racists Convicted of Attack on Muslim Taxi Driver

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2012 by loonwatch

According to Islamophobes, this taxi driver probably deserved his beating:

Racists convicted of attack on Muslim taxi driver

A taxi driver today told how he feared for his life after a group of passengers launched a racist attack on him before threatening to “take him down a side street and kill him”.

During the terrifying incident, father-of-five Muhammed Hussain, from Holme Slack, Preston, was spat at, punched in the face, grabbed around the neck and called racist names. His attackers even threatened to cut off his beard.

The Millers taxi driver, who has been in the trade for 10 years, gave evidence in Urdu via an interpreter at the trial of his attackers, Shaun Burns, 19, of Mayfield Avenue, Ingol, and Callum Tennant, 20, who lives with his grandparents on Marshall Grove, Ingol.

Preston Magistrates Court found both men guilty of racially aggravated assault and criminal damage to the taxi, which was kicked and dented when Mr Hussain pulled over to let them out at Lane Ends pub in Ashton.

Burns’ girlfriend Bryanne-Serrita Langham, 22, of Sylvancroft, Ingol, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a taxi and making off without paying the £4.50 fare.

Today Mr Hussain, 36, told the Evening Post: “I thought they were going to kill me. This is the first time someone has been so violent towards me. It is out of order particularly being spat on – that was an insult. I believe it was because I am a Muslim. I was scared for my life.”

Lancashire Evening Post, 23 March 2012

Hero Brinkman: Defector From Geert Wilders anti-Islam Party Says PVV is Bankrolled by US Supporters

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2012 by loonwatch

Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center

Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center

Tell us something we didn’t already know (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Wilders’ anti-Islam party is bankrolled by US supporters, says former MP

American lobbyists make large donations to a foundation set up by the anti-immigration PVV, Hero Brinkman, the MP who left the party on Tuesday, told a television talk show on Tuesday evening.

Brinkman said he could not rule out the money being used to pay for Geert Wilders’ defence on racial hatred charges but declined to comment further on what the money had been spent on. Nor would he comment on the size of the donations.

The PVV is thought to generate significant funding from Israeli and far-right supporters in the US.

Because the PVV has no members, it does not receive government subsidies to run the campaigning side of its operations and relies instead on donations.

Dutch News, 21 March 2012

Brinkman’s allegation about the PVV’s finances confirms what had already been revealed in the Dutch press. Last year Dutch Newsreported that the two main US sources for the PVV’s funding were David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes.

See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders has made a name for himself through his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric, and for this reason he is, to quote Robert Spencer, one of the “heroes” of the anti-Muslim movement.

We have consistently pointed out however that Geert Wilders and his allies are not one stop bigots. Behind the “acceptable” attacks on Muslims is hidden a wider xenophobia against ‘the other.’ A bigotry which if not born out of any consistent ideological character is definitely a reflection of the realization that playing on the fears of the majority may lead to positive results at the ballot box.

Wilders and his party, the PVV are riding a wave of popularity through the launch of an anti-Polish/anti-Eastern European website which has been the cause of much controversy and embarrassment in the Netherlands. After launching the site it was reported that the PVV,

would gain 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today, the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

Wilders’ PVV site displays,

news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the website but this hasn’t ebbed the disastrous PR that Wilders move has generated.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.(emphasis mine)

The issue was taken to the European parliament which just yesterday announced its ‘dismay’ and formal response to Wilders most recent populist move:

EP condemns PVV website, exec puts ball in Netherlands’ court

By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Wednesday 14 March 2012 (Europolitics.info)

Representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament, on 13 March, unanimously called upon the Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to condemn a website launched by his far-right political ally, the PVV party headed by Geert Wilders. Said website, up since early February, urges Dutch citizens to report problems they experience with nationals of Central and Eastern European countries. “Unacceptable,” “a disgrace,” “scandalous” – said MEPs. The European Commission, for its part, announced it would not get involved from a legal point of view and leaves the responsibility of assessing the lawfulness of the website to the Dutch authorities. A joint parliamentary resolution will be put to the vote, on 15 March (see box).

The EPP, which counts among its ranks the junior partner in the Netherlands’ government, the centre-right CDA, was particularly vocal. “We cannot tolerate, from a party that takes part in a coalition government, a call to hatred against nationals from another member state. That is unacceptable,” said EPP leader Joseph Daul (France).

Despite the fact that Rutte is part of the Liberal political family, ALDE Chair Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium) was unequivocal about condemning the “silence” of the Dutch government and the message sent by the website. “My group has nothing but contempt for Mr Wilders’ initiative.” Recalling the need to be even-handed in criticising populist tactics, Verhofstadt lumped together French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Wilders. “I wonder who is the extreme-right wing candidate [in France], is it [Marine] Le Pen or Sarkozy?” he asked.

Reactions from other political group leaders all condemned Rutte’s passivity, whose hands are tied by his need for Wilders’ support, and who thus claims it is not a governmental issue. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) called for the website to be closed down. Polish deputy Jacek Kurski (EFD) said Rutte’s lack of reaction is “scandalous”. “The prime minister [of the Netherlands] is not taking up his responsibility,” said Marije Cornelissen (Greens-EFA, Netherlands). “The prime minister ought to have directly condemned this website,” said Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands), adding, however, that the EP holding a debate on this issue is “too much honour” for Wilders.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who had already condemned the PVV website in February, welcomed the comments made in the plenary chamber. “It is unacceptable that EU citizens become target of xenophobic attitudes because they have exercised their right to move from one state to another,” she said. Reding also called upon on the Dutch authorities to “fully investigate the lawfulness of the website under Dutch law and Union law”.

According to Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE-NGL, France), this is not enough. “You continue to refer to member states and their tribunals but I thought that the Commission was the guardian of the treaties, that freedom of circulation and non-discrimination were part of the European values,” she said. “I notice that certain values are more important than others and that in economic matters when the free circulation of goods and capital is concerned, competition barriers the Commission is prompter to condemn,” added Vergiat.

Mosque in Belgium Targeted for Second Time

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by loonwatch

Mosque in Belgium targeted for second time

(World Bulletin)

A mosque in Belgium affiliated with Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs has been the target of a racially-motivated attack for the second time in the past year.

Last July, an image of a pig attached to a wooden cross was left in the grounds of the Alaaddin Mosque in the Marchienne-au-Pont neighborhood of Charleroi and the Turkish flag outside the building was torn.

Now, less than a year later, a similar attack has taken place at the same mosque, where a number of racial and İslamophobic slurs, including “Go home foreigners,” have been sprayed on the walls of the building and grounds. Those involved in the attack have not been identified.

A spokesman for the mosque said the local Muslim community felt deeply aggrieved by the attack and the slurs directed towards them and their religion. Further, disappointment was expressed by the DİB that authorities made no effort to follow up on the last attack or bring the perpetrators to account for their actions.

The incident is part of a growing trend of Islamophobic attacks, which have become increasingly common in Belgium over the past decade.

Cihan

“Islamophobia” is not a Neologism Anymore–it’s Mainstream

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by loonwatch
Islamophobia definitionIslamophobia

“It isn’t Islamophobia when they really are trying to kill you!,” goes the oft quoted refrain of Islam haters when their bigotry and wild-eyed conspiracy theories are brought to the fore. Setting aside the inherent prejudice implied by the usage of “they,” the heart of the quote is, Islamophobia.

The first occurrence of the term Islamophobia “appeared in an essay by the Orientalist Etienne Dinet in L’Orient vu de l’Occident (1922),” however it did not enter into “common parlance” until the early 90′s.

“Islamophobia”, like many other words in the English language is imperfect and hence subject to criticism. This criticism however does not mean, as some suggest, that it should be discarded and a new word or phrase take its place.

Islamophobia is not as contested a term as it once was, especially since the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, (Thanks Pamela???). Before the controversy there was much discussion on whether Islamophobia was a term that was imprecisely applied to a wide range of phenomena, from “xenophobia to anti-terrorism.”

The fog on one portion of this debate has been lifted, if not since the Islamophobiapalooza (to quote Jon Stewart) of 2010, then certainly since the killing spree by anti-Muslim/anti-socialist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. It is clear that there are a lot of unfounded and completely bats**t crazy, *cough*, I mean irrational and unreasonable beliefs about Islam and Muslims in the world today.

It is also clearer that a certain segment of critics of the term Islamophobia always had nefarious intentions. Under the guise of the labels “anti-terrorism” and “pro-freedom” they trumped up an Islamic threat that would emerge like the Borg and conquer the Western world, either spectacularly or slowly over a period of many years. The Islamophobesphere, led by the likes of Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch, Pamela Geller’s AtlasShrugs, Fjordman’s Gates of Vienna, Daniel PipesMiddleEastForum and backed by billionaires such as Aubrey Chernick coalesced into an organized trans-Atlantic anti-Muslim movement that inspired Breivik and will inspire more like him.

Islamophobia is a phobia? Does it Matter?

The supposedly still not-so-clear part about this debate concerns the breakdown of the term Islamophobia. Is Islamophobia a phobia? Does Islamophobia as a descriptor of an existing phenomenon need to be an actual phobia in the same sense as the psychological traumas of arachnophobia, xenophobia or acrophobia? Is the term Islamophobia too vague?

According to Dr. Jalees Rehman, ‘Islamophobia’ is not a phobia. He quips that there is a danger that “without a reasonable effort to delineate what is and what is not ‘Islamophobia’, this term could be easily used to stigmatize or suppress legitimate criticisms of Muslim society, culture or theology.”

This is not necessarily true, there is a fair amount of effort to delineate “what is and what is not ‘Islamophobia.’” We do it on our site all the time (this seems to be true of other sites that tackle Islamophobia as well). As many of our authors have pointed out “mere criticism of Islam and Muslims” is not at issue, what crosses the line into Islamophobia is irrational and unreasonable beliefs, statements or actions directed at Islam and Muslims.

For instance stopping the construction of a Mosque may or may not be Islamophobic. In some cases it may really be a zoning issue, or as in the scenario of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” the attempt by opponents of the mosque to have it stopped by declaring the site a “Landmark” was based on their irrational belief that the developers were building a “victory mosque.”

The argument also suffers because the same could be said of other terms that describe hateful phenomena. We are not going to stop using anti-Semitism because some fail to delineate “what is and what is not ‘anti-Semitism.’” Or because the term excludes Semites who are non-Jews.

The other part of Dr. Rehman’s critique of Islamophobia regards the psychiatric concept of “phobia”:

[a]nother troubling aspect of this neologism is the fact that it invokes the psychiatric concept of “phobia”. Phobias fall under the category of anxiety disorders and describe pathological fears; while many know the term from the infamous expression “arachnophobia” (pathological fear of spiders), many different types of phobias have been observed in patients. The standard manual of the American Psychiatric Association is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR) and refers to “Specific Phobia” as a,

“Marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood).”

There are additional criteria that characterize a phobia, but I find the following one extremely interesting: “The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable for discussing the term.”

This is the strongest portion of Dr. Rehman’s critique though it misses the point. Is the Islamophobes fear of Islam “marked” and “persistent,” is it “cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation?” Does “the person recognize that the fear is excessive or unreasonable?”

According to Dr. Rehman, “anti-Muslim fears, hostility or prejudice do not really constitute a ‘phobia’ in the psychiatric sense.”

Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg in their book, Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy, on the other hand seem to remark that though Islamophobia is not a “phobia” in the strict psychological sense it nevertheless is a reflection of a social anxiety,

Islamophobia: “anxiety of Islam”? Can this really be compared to individual psychological traumas such as acrophobia, arachnophobia or xenophobia? The authors believe that “Islamophobia” accurately reflects a social anxiety toward Islam and Muslim cultures that is largely unexamined by, yet deeply ingrained in, Americans. Instead of arising from traumatic personal experiences, like its more psychological cousins, this phobia results for most from distant social experiences, that mainstream American culture has perpetuated in popular memory, which are in turn buttressed by a similar understanding of current events. (p.5)

There is another reason to differentiate Islamophobia from the strict psychological connotations of phobia that has hitherto not been mentioned in the discussion. Phobias such as arachnophobia are uncontrolled, and it is not something that the one who suffers from really enjoys. However Islamophobia, in many instances, especially the organized variety is motivated.

Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Anders Behring Breivik, Geert Wilders, the EDL, SIOA and others are motivated by a hate for Islam and its practitioners. They are motivated by the romantic notion that they are a select group of superheroes who are saving Western Civilization from Muslim domination, and they hope in the process to become famous (and rich) in their cause.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, the discussion of whether or not Islamophobia is a phobia in a psychiatric sense misses the point. The discussion borders on the pedantic since the term Islamophobia is by now understood to refer to irrational and unreasonable beliefs, statements and actions directed toward Islam and Muslims. The line that distinguishes “Islamophobia” from “criticism” of Islam and Muslims is self-evident.

Furthermore, “Islamophobia” has crossed the threshold of acceptability into the mainstream, and in those instances in which their may be vagueness, employing “anti-Muslim” or “anti-Muslim Islamophobia” suffices to describe the phenomenon. Rather than get bogged down in trivial semantics or useless details, let us remember that language is never perfect. When a word organically captures the sense and reality of an existing phenomenon, as is the case with “Islamophobia,” it is important to understand its imperfections but not to be distracted from all it offers.

The Word “Haboobs” Causing Chaos in Arizona?

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by loonwatch

What is going on in Arizona? The word “Haboobs” is being criticized because it is Arabic? Ridiculous, I thought the objection might be that to some ears the word is close to a certain slang term referring to women’s breasts? That would be reason to keep the term, it would be great fodder for comedians or regular citizens playing off the term!

‘Haboobs’ Stir Critics in Arizona

(NYTimes)

PHOENIX — The massive dust storms that swept through central Arizona this month have stirred up not just clouds of sand but a debate over what to call them.

The blinding waves of brown particles, the most recent of which hit Phoenix on Monday, are caused by thunderstorms that emit gusts of wind, roiling the desert landscape. Use of the term “haboob,” which is what such storms have long been called in the Middle East, has rubbed some Arizona residents the wrong way.

“I am insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a haboob,” Don Yonts, a resident of Gilbert, Ariz., wrote to The Arizona Republic after a particularly fierce, mile-high dust storm swept through the state on July 5. “How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?”

Diane Robinson of Wickenburg, Ariz., agreed, saying the state’s dust storms are unique and ought to be labeled as such.

“Excuse me, Mr. Weatherman!” she said in a letter to the editor. “Who gave you the right to use the word ‘haboob’ in describing our recent dust storm? While you may think there are similarities, don’t forget that in these parts our dust is mixed with the whoop of the Indian’s dance, the progression of the cattle herd and warning of the rattlesnake as it lifts its head to strike.”

Dust storms are a regular summer phenomenon in Arizona, and the news media typically label them as nothing more than that. But the National Weather Service, in describing this month’s particularly thick storm, used the term haboob, which was widely picked up by the news media.

“Meteorologists in the Southwest have used the term for decades,” said Randy Cerveny, a climatologist at Arizona State University. “The media usually avoid it because they don’t think anyone will understand it.”

Not everyone was put out by the use of the term. David Wilson of Goodyear, Ariz., said those who wanted to avoid Arabic terms should steer clear of algebra, zero, pajamas and khaki, as well. “Let’s not become so ‘xenophobic’ that we forget to remember that we are citizens of the world, nor fail to recognize the contributions of all cultures to the richness of our language,” he wrote.

Although use of the term often brings smirks, Mr. Cerveny said the walls of dust could have serious consequences, toppling power lines and causing huge traffic accidents. Although ultradry conditions in the desert are considered one cause for the intensity of this year’s storms, Mr. Cerveny pointed to another possible factor: the housing bust that left developments half-finished and unmaintained, creating more desert dust to be stirred up.

Pamela Geller and Co. Waging a War Against Common Sense

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by loonwatch

Pamela Geller and her cronies are waging a personal war, and once again her line of target is the silent evil enemy: common sense.

Not content with spreading venom in the USA, Pam is now screaming that Europe has bowed to the shackles and chains of imperialist “Islamic supremacists,” after French and European authorities “cancelled” a Stop the Islamisation of America (SIOA) and Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE)“freedom” rally, that aimed to protest outside the European Parliament, over “the Islamic takeover of Europe.”

As ridiculous as Pam’s event sounds I for one wouldn’t mind seeing Pam Geller and her friends make a fool of themselves, so was her rally really “cancelled?”

Yes, the European authorities seem to have annulled the Pam and co. rally, but is it in the context of “pro-Jihadism submission to Islamic Supremacism,” as the hate-mongers are claiming?

Let’s dissect the truth behind this “cancellation”:

Pam Geller’s Fascist Message and the Implications for Violence

Geller writes,

Democracy collapses in Europe: EU cancels SIOA/SIOE free speech rally — Freedom from jihad flotilla to launch on 9/11

STRASBOURG, FRANCE, June 28: In a capitulation to Islamic supremacists and violent radical Leftists, French and European Union authorities have canceled a free speech rally planned by a coalition of American and European human rights organizations in Strasbourg, the seat of the European Parliament. The human rights organizations Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) were planning to hold their first-ever transatlantic summit in Strasbourg, France, on July 2.

The SIOA/SIOE summit was dedicated to the defense of the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law – all principles denied by Islamic law.

The evidently responsible and comprehensible actions of the European and French authorities, who were prompted to cancel the potentially violent event, is now being used by Geller as proof of European and French authorities’ “support for Islamic terror and anti-Semitism.”

The authorities may have cancelled the event due to many factors. Firstly, an event justifying racism, fascism and bigotry towards a minority, Muslims in this case, is one big red flag! While some Americans may reflexively take exception to the cancellation of the rally on the grounds that it compromises “free speech,” here in Europe we take our practised laws of equality and freedom very seriously. Authorities have to balance “freedoms” and “rights” with the competing issues of “security,” “community harmony,” and defense against “hate speech” that incites violence, and so decisions to cancel rallies are taken very seriously.

Secondly, a main factor in the cancellation of the event seems to be the crowds that would flock and gather for the rally: neo-nazis, thugs, violent fringe groups, racists, and xenophobes masquerading as self-proclaimed ‘human rights’ activists. This event would have been a grave security threat to the people of Strasbourg, an event purely designed to deliberately provoke the liberals, Muslims and opposition groups and hence would be a breach of French and European law.

The Gellerists attempts in Europe give us pause, after all, Europe is home to one of the most inhuman crimes in history, the Holocaust, which was the result of propaganda, scapegoating and persecution. The rational expertise of the authorities recognised these signs, and sanctioned it in the appropriate manner. In this case, they have cancelled a palpable hate rally that had the potential to turn violent.

Human Rights and Muslim Takeover in the Bizzare-o World of Pamela Geller

The atypical, and apocryphal view of Geller’s interpretation on the meaning and definition of ‘human rights’ is comical. She calls for an international deployment to “defend the rights of man,” when she herself is partaking in an epic act of human oppression:

“The SIOA/SIOE Freedom From Jihad aid flotilla,” Geller explained, “is intended to be a direct response to the capitulation of French, European, and American authorities to Leftist and Islamic supremacist forces of oppression and injustice. It is set to launch after our national Rally for Freedom at Ground Zero on the tenth anniversary of the Islamic jihad attacks that murdered three thousand Americans.”

The “Freedom from Jihad aid flotilla,” is obviously a mock-term employed by Geller to demean theGaza Freedom Flotillas, which she derisively describes as “Jihad flotillas.” Geller dare not admit that Gaza has been and is in need of desperate aid due to the inhumane and oppressive blockade instituted by the Apartheid state of Israel because, well…you know, Israel is sugar and spice and everything nice!!

Let us analyze the facts here. It is estimated that 857 million people are citizens in Europe, and 58 million Muslims in Europe, 14 million of these numbers directly living under the European Union, including those who have converted to the religion of Islam. Where is the indication that Islam is in a takeover of Europe, when the numbers of non-Muslims to Muslims ratio is incomparable and far greater. This is a tool of hysteria and sensationalism on the part of Pam Geller, to insert misinformation to promote a repugnant agenda.

Another important point to note here is that Geller, on the mention of the tragedy of 9/11, conveniently makes no mention of the numerous Muslim victims that died on 9/11, who also were equally victims of such a heinous crime. The lack of acknowledgement of those Muslim deaths, only reiterates her pure uncompromising hatred of Muslims.

The SIOA Freedom From Jihad Flotilla will call upon the international community to act in defense of these basic human rights:
The freedom of speech – as opposed to Islamic prohibitions of “blasphemy” and “slander,” which are used effectively to quash honest discussion of jihad and Islamic supremacism;The freedom of conscience – as opposed to the Islamic death penalty for apostasy;The equality of rights of all people before the law – as opposed to Sharia’s institutionalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims. The Flotilla will call upon all free people of all races and creeds to stand with us to defend our freedoms against the radically intolerant ideology codified in Islamic law.

Geller wants to galvanize the globe to fight 12th century medieval law books that are not applied in the Muslim world, and are particularly irrelevant in light of the Arab Spring. Geller has a condensed and inept understanding of the term “Human Rights,” one which is limited in scope, and only applies to her circle of hate and dogmatism. According to her human rights apply to everyone –except Muslims. That is not human rights, it’s the selected persecution of a minority group, which in-turn presents this whole so called ‘freedom from jihad’ flotilla as nothing more than an opportunity to channel Islamophobic extremism from the right of the spectrum. There are no two ways about this issue.

Geller and co. have a very idiosyncratic strategy to illuminate the principles of ‘violence’ and ‘hatred’ in Islam. In order to combat and deplete the notion of Islamist extremism and hatred, the Gellerists have adopted the very same model of intolerance and prejudice, in order to stamp out the very elements they oppose. What a paradoxical stance, where two wrongs never will make a right. In what parallel universe would such an absurd theory make any sense? Only in the world of Pamela Geller.

Sofia Mosque Warden Assaulted, Beaten – Chief Mufti

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2011 by loonwatch
An injured Muslim worshipper holds a towel on his head after suffering a wound in clashes supporters of the Bulgarian ultra-nationalist party Ataka (L) during Friday prayer in front of the Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia, 20 May. Photo by EPA

(hat tip Euro against Islamophobia)

Sofia Mosque Warden Assaulted, Beaten – Chief Mufti

The warden of the main mosque in downtown Sofia has suffered a brutal assault at the hands of unidentified attackers just minutes before the start of the morning prayer on Sunday, the Chief Mufti‘s Office announced.

“Today we witnessed yet another attack against Sofia mosque. This morning, 20 minutes before the morning prayer, the warden of the mosque in Sofia was cruelly beaten. Unknown people have jumped over the fence of the mosque, beaten the keeper, destroyed the security room and burst into the mosque,” says the statement.

The man was found by worshippers who came to the mosque for the morning prayer, covered in blood and unconcious, it said. He has been taken to the emergency Pirogov hospital.

“Hate crimes, acts of xenophobia and Islamophobia have risen dramatically in recent months,” says the statement of the Chief Mufti‘s Office.

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry has issued no official information about the incident so far.

The news comes just a month after a Muslim man and five policemen were hurt in clashes between supporters of Bulgaria’s ultra-nationalist Ataka party and worshippers outside the Banya Bashi mosque in Sofia on May 20.

The incident was condemned by authorities and human rights groups as an example of a worrying escalation of xenophobia and religious hatred.

Jewish and Muslim leaders join forces to combat xenophobia

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2011 by loonwatch

A very worthwhile and important effort.

via. Islamophobia Today

Jewish and Muslim leaders join forces to combat xenophobia

By Shlomo Shamir at Haa’retz

Russian and Ukrainian Jewish and Muslim leaders meet in Kiev to discuss rise in Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as part of month-long European efforts to heighten awareness and fight racism, extremism and discrimination.

80 leading Jewish and Muslim leaders from across Ukraine and Russia met in Kiev on Thursday May 12, pledging to work together to fight a rising cascade of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the two countries.

In the first-ever “Muslims and Jews United Against Hatred and Extremism” conference held in the Ukrainian capital, community leaders from both countries heard chilling accounts of discrimination and abuse.

Conference participants spoke of the beating and harassment of Muslims and Jews in the two former Soviet republics, desecration of Muslim and Jewish cemeteries and bombings as well as other attacks on communal institutions of the two faiths.

The leaders pledged to work together to combat forces of extremism and hate and to put pressure on their local authorities to take a more assertive stand in fighting perpetrators of Islamophobic and anti-Semitic attacks.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) and vice president of the World Jewish Congress, hailed the historic event in Kiev, commenting; “The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, together with our partners, is gratified to be standing in support of joint actions by Muslims and Jews in the former Soviet Union and across Europe.

He added that the meeting’s “purpose is to make clear that Jews and Muslims will be there for each other if either is being unfairly attacked, and will stand united in support of principles of democracy and pluralism that will ensure a decent future for all Ukrainians and Russians.”

The Kiev conference was sponsored by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and the Institute of Human Rights and the Prevention of Extremism and Xenophobia under the leadership of the noted Member of Parliament and business leader Oleksandr Feldman, in cooperation with FFEU.

80 Muslim and Jewish leaders from across Ukraine and Russia participated in the historic conference.

The Kiev conference was one of nine Muslim-Jewish events being held in countries in Europe during the month of May in commemoration of Europe Day.

Events opposing racism, extremism and prejudice against Muslims and Jews are being held in Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, in addition to the Ukraine throughout May, and are sponsored by FFEU, the World Jewish Congress, European Jewish Congress, World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations and the Muslim-Jewish Conference.

The events will culminate in Brussels on May 30, when top Jewish and Muslim leaders are to present a joint declaration to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, committing to “resolve to work together to counter efforts to demonize or marginalize either of our communities. Bigotry against any Jew or any Muslim is an attack on all Muslims and all Jews. We are united in our belief in the dignity of all peoples.”

Mr. Shirk Cannot Stand by His Own Words, Too Cowardly to Name Loonwatch

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2011 by loonwatch

Originally posted at Spencerwatch

Recently, we published a devastating exposé of the typical anti-freedom hate speech being pumped out everyday at Jihadwatch. I called out Mr. Roland Shirk for suggesting that all Muslims (without exception) should be forced into “enclaves” and endure various forms of religious discrimination. In case you think I twisted his words, he ended his piece with this Islamophobic call to arms:

Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat.

Now, Mr. Shirk has responded to us (albeit indirectly) at Jihadwatch. Mr. Shirk gloats about how his writings have been picked up by various media outlets, including Loonwatch, who he refuses to name except with ad-hominem attacks (such as calling us “Islamic supremacists” or “stealth jihadists”). This follows a regular pattern of desperation at Jihadwatch, as Loonwatch has published numerous devastating rebuttals of Spencer’s hateful anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.

In this very weak response to Loonwatch, Mr. Shirk cites my offending passage:

Lately, Spencer has posted articles by the mysterious Roland Shirk, someone we know nothing about, probably because he is another one of Spencer’s pen-names (like Hugh Fitzgerald). Apparently, Mr. Shirk is a mouthpiece for JihadWatch’s more belligerent attacks on the constitutional freedoms of indigenous law-abiding Muslims.

Mr. Shirk has a problem not with my accusation that he wants to force Muslims into segregated, ghettoized communities or that he incites direct calls for violence against Muslims on the site. No, rather, Mr. Shirk is upset that I suggested he might just be another one of Spencer’s pseudonyms. His entire article ignores my central point: his “belligerent attacks on the constitutional freedoms of indigenous law-abiding Muslims.”

Mr. Shirk, I don’t care if you are Robert Spencer or not. That one line was not the point of my article. What I care about is that you write to dehumanize Muslims and deny their fundamental human rights based solely on Spencer’s deliberate self-servingdistortions of Islamic religious beliefs. Only in the comments section, after someone else repeatedly called you out, do you attempt to address my point:

I never said anywhere the Muslims should be confined by the state to ghettos. I proposed that they should be politically neutralized, prevented from migrating into Europe, and prevented from using the European welfare state to breed at the expense of native residents. To do that, I proposed dismantling that state for everyone. At no point did I suggest that Muslims receive unequal treatment at the hands of the law.

This comment smacks of disingenuous insincerity. You never said anything about dismantling the welfare state for everyone. Your original piece argues clearly that MUSLIM immigration should be stopped, not all immigration. Your article decries the “demographic treason committed by Western leaders who admitted so many Muslims.” You never said anything about limiting Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, or other immigrants; only Muslims. Are you having a hard time swallowing what you wrote?

Second, no, you didn’t outright say Muslims should be confined to ghettos. You just strongly implied it by saying, “Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat.” How you plan to make Muslims live “at your feet” without supporting unequal legal treatment is impossible. You want to force law-abiding people out of your country, take away their political rights, and impose austerity on them? Perhaps you do not understand that preventing lawful migration, forcing people to be “politically neutralized,” and denying welfare are three factors that form ghettoes.

Third, if you are going to write a hateful article against all Muslims, then at least stand by what you wrote instead of dishonestly pretending you were against immigration as a whole. We called you out and you have not responded meaningfully to any of our points.

Next time you want to respond to us, have the courage to address the substance of our points rather than veering off into the nether realm of obfuscation and semi-coherent apologia.

 

Allen West Defends Selection of Joyce Kaufman

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by loonwatch

The political insane asylum in this country just gets larger and larger.

Allen West Defends Joyce Kaufman (Via Huffington Post)

Tea Party-backed Congressman-elect Allen West (R-Fla.) broke his silence over a controversial chief of staff pick this weekend, aggressively defending his selection of radio show host Joyce Kaufman despite the fact that the decision failed to come to fruition.

Here’s CNN’s report on their discussion with West:

“I was not hiring a talk radio host; I was hiring a very brilliant political mind, someone that has been in South Florida politics for 20 plus years. But unfortunately the liberal left showed that I guess they are threatened and intimidated by me, and so they went into the attack dog mode, which is something that they did the entire time in our campaign,” West told CNN Sunday in an interview at a downtown hotel where incoming freshmen were gathering for orientation.

Reports by the “attack dog” media turned upnumerous incidents in which Kaufman had spoken with incendiary rhetoric against illegal immigrants and Muslims. Soon after the reports, she turned down West’s chief of staff offer.

According to one such glance back at her past of public speaking, Kaufman reportedly said: “If you commit a crime while you’re here, we should hang you and send your body back to where you came from, and your family should pay for it.”

Oddly enough, West seemed to contend that the examination of Kaufman’s past of extreme speech was a sign that liberals had “issues with racism” against him.

“I think the American people are sick of, and that despicable, disgusting action and the way that they went after Joyce Kaufman shows that not only this liberal left has some issues with racism,” West told CNN. “I guarantee you, if I was a black Democratic Congressman-elect, they would not be doing these type of actions, and the fact that they’re attacking a woman like this, that shows me something about sexism and misogynist behavior.”

Kaufman reportedly addressed the incident herself over the weekend, as well. This from theBroward Palm Beach New Times.

“This is not about me,” she said of the threats. “This is the first attack on this man [Allen West].” She called the incident, “an attempt to try to make us look bad,” adding, “We didn’t fall into the trap!” She said she is remembering the individuals who have “demonized” her in the last few days, the columnists, the bloggers, and that she will call them out by name soon. She said she’s already received an offer to write a book about her ordeal.

 

Geert Wilders: “Jordan is the Only Palestinian State that Will Ever Exist”

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2010 by loonwatch

Geert Wilders, the peroxide dyed anti-Muslim neo-Fascist Dutch politician is adding to his list of bigoted comments. Not only is he for banning the Qur’an, taxing the hijab, expelling immigrants, and ending all Muslim immigration to the Netherlands but he is now pontificating on the Palestinian/Israeli issue.

Forget the two-state solution! Wilders believes Palestine will never exist as an independent country, and he repeats the Golda Meir line that Jordan is the only Palestinian state. Essentially he has thrown his weight behind Occupation, displacement, theft of land and violence against Palestinians…again. The question is how crucial is the Palestinian/Israeli issue to the Netherlands in the first place, and why does Wilders see a need to comment on it? (Hat tip: Anneke Auer)

Wilders’ Tweet:

Jordan is the only Palestinian state that will ever exist. Judea/Samaria are Israel’s the more settlements their the better

 

Greenwald: Anti-Muslim bigotry needed for fear campaigns

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on October 22, 2010 by loonwatch
Glenn Greenwald, the first nomination for induction in the Anti-Loon Hall of Fame

Glenn Greenwald is on point as usual. He summarizes the core issue of the Juan Williams firing from NPR – that anti-Muslim bigotry is needed by many in power to keep the masses scared of the Muslim boogeyman in order to further their agendas, whether domestically or internationally. The entire episode also shows the hypocrisy of many in the media on the issue of free speech – when it’s anti-Muslim speech it’s all good!

The real danger from NPR’s firing of Juan Williams (Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald)

I’m still not quite over the most disgusting part of the Juan Williams spectacle yesterday:  watching the very same people (on the Right and in the media) who remained silent about or vocally cheered on the viewpoint-based firings of Octavia Nasr, Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez, Eason JordanPeter ArnettPhil DonahueAshleigh BanfieldBill MaherWard ChurchillChas FreemanVan Jones and so many others, spend all day yesterday wrapping themselves in the flag of “free expression!!!” and screeching about the perils and evils of firing journalists for expressing certain viewpoints.  Even for someone who expects huge doses of principle-free hypocrisy — as I do — that behavior is really something to behold.  And anyone doubting that there is a double standard when it comes to anti-Muslim speech should just compare the wailing backlash from most quarters over Williams’ firing to the muted acquiescence or widespread approval of those other firings.

But there’s one point from all of this I really want to highlight.  The principal reason the Williams firing resonated so much and provoked so much fury is because it threatens the preservation of one of the most important American mythologies:  that Muslims are a Serious Threat to America and Americans.  That fact is illustrated by Washington Post Op-Ed today from Reuel Marc Gerecht, who is as standard and pure a neocon as exists:  an Israel-centric,Iran-threateningWeekly Standardand TNR writer,  former CIA Middle East analyst, former American Enterprise Institute and current Defense of Democracies “scholar,” torture advocate, etc. etc.  Gerecht hails Williams as a courageous “dissident” for expressing this “truth”:

[W]hile his manner may have been clumsy, Williams was right to suggest that there is a troubling nexus between the modern Islamic identity and the embrace of terrorism as a holy act.

Above all else, this fear-generating “nexus” is what must be protected at all costs.  This is the “troubling” connection — between Muslims and Terrorism — that Williams lent his “liberal,” NPR-sanctioned voice to legitimizing.  And it is this fear-sustaining, anti-Muslim slander which NPR’s firing of Williams threatened to delegitimize.  That is why NPR’s firing of Williams must be attacked with such force:   because if it were allowed to stand, it would be an important step toward stigmatizing anti-Muslim animus in the same way that other forms of bigotry are now off-limits, and that, above all else, is what cannot happen, because anti-Muslim animus is too important to too many factions to allow it to be delegitimized.  The Huffington Post‘s Jason Linkinsexplained the real significance of NPR’s actions, the real reason it had to be attacked:

Yesterday, NPR cashiered correspondent Juan Williams for doing something that had hitherto never been considered an offense in media circles: defaming Muslims. Up until now, you could lose your job for saying intemperate things aboutJews and about Christians andabout Matt Drudge. You could even lose a job for failing to defame Muslims. But we seem to be in undiscovered country at the moment.

There are too many interests served by anti-Muslim fear-mongering to allow that to change.  To start with, as a general proposition, it’s vital that the American citizenry always be frightened of some external (and relatedly internal) threat.  Nothing is easier, or more common, or more valuable, than inducing people to believe that one discrete minority group is filled with unique Evil, poses some serious menace to their Safety, and must be stopped at all costs.  The more foreign-seeming that group is, the easier it is to sustain the propaganda campaign of fear.  Sufficiently bombarded with this messaging, even well-intentioned people will dutifully walk around insisting that the selected group is a Dangerous Menace.

“The Muslims” are currently the premier, featured threat which serves that purpose, following in the footsteps of The American-Japanese, The Communists, The Welfare-Stealing Racial Minorities, The Gays, and The Illegal Immigrants.  Many of those same groups still serve this purpose, but their scariness loses its luster after decades of exploitation and periodically must be replaced by new ones.  Muslims serve that role, and to ensure that continues, it is vital that anti-Muslim sentiments of the type Williams legitimized be shielded, protected and venerated — not punished or stigmatized.

Beyond the general need to ensure that Americans always fear an external Enemy, there are multiple functions which this specific Muslim-based fear-mongering fulfills.  The national security state — both its public and private arms — needs the “Muslims as Threat” mythology to sustain its massive budget and policies of Endless War.  The surveillance state — both its public and private arms — needs that myth to justify its limitless growth.  Christians who crave religious conflict; evangelicals who await the Rapture; and Jews who were taught from birth to view the political world with Israel at the center, that the U.S. must therefore stay invested in the Middle East, and that the “Arabs” are the Enemy, all benefit from this ongoing demonization.

Beyond that, nationalists and militarists of various stripes who need American war for their identity, purpose and vicarious feelings of strength and courage cling to this mythology as desperately as anyone.  Republicans gain substantial political advantage from scaring white and Christian voters to shake with fear and rage over the imminent imposition of sharia law in America.  And political officials in the Executive Branch are empowered by this anti-Muslim fear campaign to operate in total secrecy and without any checks or accountability as they bomb, drone, occupy, imprison, abduct, and assassinate at will.  Add that all together and there is simply no way that NPR could be permitted to render off-limits the bigoted depiction of Muslims which Juan Williams helped to maintain.

And then there’s the more amorphous but arguably more significant self-justifying benefit that comes from condemning “Muslims” for their violent, extremist ways.  I’m always amazed when I receive emails from people telling me that I fail to understand how Islam is a uniquely violent, supremely expansionist culture which is intrinsically menacing.  The United States is a country with a massive military and nuclear stockpile, that invaded and has occupied two Muslim countries for almost a full decade, that regularly bombs and drones several others, that currently is threatening to attack one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, that imposed a sanctions regime that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslim children, that slaughters innocent people on a virtually daily basis, that has interfered in and controlled countries around the world since at least the middle of the last century, that has spent decades arming and protecting every Israeli war with its Muslim neighbors and enabling a four-decade-long brutal occupation, and that erected a worldwide regime of torture, abduction, and lawless detention, much of whichstill endures.  Those are just facts.

But if we all agree to sit around and point over there – hey, can you believe those primitive Muslims and how violent and extremist they are — the reality of what we do in the world will fade blissfully away.  Even better, it will be transformed from violent aggression into justified self-defense, and then we’ll not only free ourselves of guilt, but feel proud and noble because of it.  As is true with all cultures, there are obviously demented, psychopathic, violent extremists among Muslims.  And there’s no shortage of such extremists in our own culture either.  One would think we’d be more interested in the extremists among us, but by obsessively focusing on Them, we are able to blind ourselves to the pathologies which drive our own actions.  And that self-cleansing, self-justifying benefit — which requires the preservation of the Muslim-as-Threat mythology — is probably more valuable than all the specific, pragmatic benefits described above.  All this over a “menace” (Terrorism) which killed a grand total of 25 noncombatant Americans last year (McClatchy:  ”undoubtedly more American citizens died overseas from traffic accidents or intestinal illnesses than from terrorism“).

The double standard in our political discourse — which tolerates and even encourages anti-Muslim bigotry while stigmatizing other forms — has been as beneficial as it has been glaring.  NPR’s firing of Juan Williams threatened to change that by rendering this bigotry as toxic and stigmatized as other types.  That could not be allowed, which is why the backlash against NPR was so rapid, intense and widespread.  I’m not referring here to those who object to viewpoint-based firings of journalists in general and who have applied that belief consistently:  that’s a perfectly reasonable view to hold (and one I share).  I’m referring to those who rail against NPR’s actions by invoking free expression principles they plainly do not support and which they eagerly violate whenever the viewpoint in question is one they dislike.  For most NPR critics, the real danger from Williams’ firing is not to free expression, but to the ongoing fear-mongering campaign of defamation and bigotry against Muslims (both foreign and domestic) which is so indispensable to so many agendas.

 

Racist Billboard of Obama in Colorado

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2010 by loonwatch

Someone in Colorado thought it would be a good idea to put a billboard of Obama as a Suicide bomber, pimp, Mexican bandito, and a gay person.

If you ever wondered what was wrong with Republicans this is it:

 

Sweden Democrats win big as Islamophobia Increases Across Europe

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on September 22, 2010 by loonwatch
Sweden Democrats’ Leader

The big news from Europe recently has been the somewhat surprise victory of the Sweden Democrats, a group with roots in Nazism that is thoroughly anti-Islam and anti-Immigrant with views parallel to those of Geert Wilders. This victory is no surprise to those analyzing events in Europe where the general trend has been a reassertion of nativist rhetoric and policies coupled with anti-Muslim/Islam parties emerging victorious.

Russia TV has a good article on this trend,

Austria’s far right riding anti-Islamic wave in elections

Far-right parties are boosting their influence across Europe amid anti-Islamic agendas and calls for tougher immigration laws.

Such rhetoric has helped elect the Sweden Democrats to parliament for the first time. Now the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party is fueling nationalism in its campaign, hoping for resurgence this weekend.

The “Bye Bye Mosque” game was released by the Freedom Party as part of its bid for election into regional government in Styria – Austria’s second largest province – and the game’s message has hit a raw nerve.

The aim is simple: take aim and shoot down as many new mosques as you can, as they rise relentlessly above Austria’s Alpine skyline. If you are not quick enough, the country is Islamized.

“We are defending our rights, our traditions and our culture. We do not want to be dissolved into Islam, nor do we want there to be parallel Islamic societies in our country,” states Dr. Gerhard Kurzmann, a Freedom Party Candidate.

Within 24 hours, the game received more than 200,000 web hits.

Within a week it was banned.

[Update:] The real Sweden turns out to support its minorities, reassert its values and demonstrate against the Sweden “Democrats” (hat tip: Rob):

 

Sarah Wildman: Islamophobia Imported from Europe

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on September 4, 2010 by loonwatch

A very good piece.

Islamophobia Imported From Europe: An Ugly Trend Gets Uglier

Among the many strange things this ugly August has wrought, perhaps the most peculiar — and distasteful — is a new kinship of intolerance many Americans now seem to share with Europeans. As born out by the “Ground Zero mosque” controversy, it is a fellowship of hate and of fear, a fellowship we once would have spurned because Americans, by self-definition, believe in religious freedom, in religious pluralism, in multicultural identities, in a nation up built by the immigrant experience.
For many years, anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe, embodied by protests against mosque minarets and headscarves, was a wave that did not reach our shores. But now we have headscarf controversies and mosque-banning campaigns of our own, from Tennessee (where some residents of a Nashville suburb are convinced that a mosque is really a terrorist training ground) to Wisconsin to California to, of course, Lower Manhattan. “Politicians, pundits and ordinary Americans see Islam — not political groups using Islamic rhetoric — as an existential threat to Western secular norms,” Joceylne Cesari, director of the Islam in the West Program at Harvard, wrote Tuesday at CNN.com.
As if to cement our embrace of such seemingly imported notions, Geert Wilders, the rabidly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim politician from the far-right “Freedom” Party of the Netherlands, has been invited to speak at a memorial rally at Ground Zero on Sept. 11. This is a man who has declared war on immigration from Muslim nations, who was once banned from the U.K. for his positions, who has called Islam “fascist” and who told the Guardian in 2008 that Islam was “the ideology of a retarded culture.” He has, according to his website, agreed to appear at the New York rally next month.
Even Newt Gingrich has balked at appearing alongside Wilders, though Gingrich has done his best to stir the national pot about the planned Lower Manhattan Islamic center — which had been a local issue, primarily of concern to New Yorkers.
Wilders is a symptom — and possibly also a cause — of a larger trend. Polled in early spring,54 percent of Austrians say they consider Islam a “threat to the West” and 74 percent believe Muslims have an inability to adapt to their host countries. In Belgium and France, the push for a full ban on burqas has progressed in recent months, and Spain has also considered banning them. In Switzerland, minarets were banned last November. And in Warsaw, anti-mosque protests were held this past spring. Echoing the campaign in Switzerland, protest posters showed minarets in the form of missiles. 

This is not new. The European far right (and even the center right) has expressed what has ranged from distrust to downright disgust at Muslim presence in Europe for some time.

Farhad Khosrokhavar, an Iranian who has lived in Paris for 30 years and is a professor at l’École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, says the embedded presence of Islamic culture is creating tension within Western nations because they must grapple with such “classical questions” as whether Islam is compatible with democracy, “secularizable,” and able to adapt to human rights.

The reason for this discomfort and questioning, he says, is because “Islam is from now on part of the ‘internal’ landscape of the West, not only an outsider, and this is a hard pill to swallow for a ‘Judeo-Christian’ or ‘secular’ West.”

For years Americans could look at Europe and cluck their collective tongues at such rabid, ragged behavior fueled by far-right political parties with ties extending back to mid-20th-century fascism (think: Nazi apologist Jörg Haider ). In Antwerp, Felip Dewinter, the head of the right-wing Flemish secessionist party Vlaams Belang, summed up the perspective of Europe’s right wing when I met him in the fall of 2006. “Islam is not only a religion,” he said, echoing what we now hear in Manhattan and Alaska. “[It is] a way of life. They have their own values.” We were in his offices to discuss how the Vlaams Belang was, counter-intuitively, reaching out to Jews as a campaign tactic. “The Islamic laws . . . are opposed to our Western European, Western laws and way of thinking and way of life. . . . We had to struggle for centuries and centuries to achieve the way of life we have now. . . . We shouldn’t be naïve about Islam. Because Islam as a religion wants to conquer. . . . They tried for more than 1,000 years to conquer Europe with a sword. Now they are doing it with the demographical weapon.”
What he referred to was this: Vienna came under siege by Turks (i.e. Muslims) in the 16th and 17th centuries. Those Turkish invasions are often conjured by the far right in Europe to fuel anxiety over immigrants in Europe now. That anxiety was earlier stirred by Muslims who came to European shores in the postwar period, first from colonial nations such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, to work in the suddenly booming factories. But when the economies of Europe took a turn for the worse in the late 1960s and early 1970s, these immigrant populations, never wealthy, grew poorer. Immigration was cut off but the immigrants stayed, even if their host countries weren’t entirely sure they were welcome. In France, entire populations of immigrants were housed in high-rises called cites, an experiment in urban planning (and urban segregation) that would turn sour by the latter part of the 20th century. The children born to those original workers found themselves betwixt and between, neither Algerian (or Moroccan or Tunisian) nor French, neither European nor North African. And so some found their identity by turning to Islam, starting in the 1980s. (In Eastern Europe, some of that anxiety comes from newer immigrants, from places like Kosovo and Chechnya, but the language used against them is often the same.)
In the United States, Muslim immigrants had a better time of it economically, geographically, and professionally. We don’t think of the children of immigrants here as “second generation;” we think of them as “Americans.”
But try telling that to the Ground Zero mosque protesters, who co-opted Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” to voice their concerns — as though any Muslim could not be American-born.