Archive for Zuhdi Jasser

Report On “Rescuing Human Rights” Conference at UC San Diego

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by loonwatch

tritons-4-israel

Tikkun Olam has an update to the Stand With Us “rescuing human rights” event, where bigots such as Zuhdi Jasser were invited and human rights was discussed by casting Islam as the opposite of ‘human rights’:

My impression is that SWU has launched a crafty but potentially risky plan to engage on human rights issues and they have selected Islamophobia as the main avenue of approach, telling graphic stories of Islamic-based abuses of human rights.

REPORT ON “RESCUING HUMAN RIGHTS” CONFERENCE AT UC SAN DIEGO

Davey, a long time member of the Tikun Olam reader community, lives in San Diego and attended theRescuing Human Rights program hosted by StandWithUs at UC San Diego this week.  I wrote about the eventbefore it occurred.  His report is below:

Stand With Us and Tritons for Israel presented “Rescuing Human Rights” on Wednesday evening May 15th at the University of California San Diego.  Moderated by Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, the panelists included Brooke Goldstein, a human rights attorney, Zuhdi Jasser, described as a “devout Muslim” and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and last and least, Avi Bell, Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and at Bar-Ilan University, an expert on the laws of war.

There was no organized counter demonstration, but three armed police were visibly at the ready.  On entering the auditorium, signs reminded attendees that placards and uncivil behavior would not be tolerated.  The early attendees were an older crowd, about one-half over 60 I would guess.  These attendees arrived largely as couples or families and form perhaps the loyal backbone of the local “Stand With Us” organization.

The evening began with a harangue by the moderator about the many instances of human rights violations worldwide that are not reported or investigated by certain human rights agencies, including the UN.  The list of horrors was long and graphic.  Stephens stated several times that these agencies were derelict except in the case of “one state.”  He went on to distinguish between “real” human rights abuses and the human rights issues in Israel, though the distinction was lost on me.

Jasser’s theme was that religion is an individual thing and that governments should get out of the way.  He claimed that he was freer to practice Islam in the US than in many Islamic states and that such states are dominated by Sharia law, law dispensed by clerics.

Bell emphasized that the self-appointed guardians of Human Rights are simply not doing their jobs.  He explained that private land transactions–an Arab selling his land to a Jew–is a capital crime in the West Bank and that such a law is plainly anti-Semitic.  Yet such legal restrictions on the buying and selling of land are very much on the books in Israel! Are these laws anti-Semitic, as well?  Amnesty International was faulted for finding “facts tailored to their agenda.”  One might object to such a claim by responding that, even so, they nonetheless have facts.

Finally, Ms. Goldstein offered a vivid description of the abuse of children by Islamists, teaching children the glory of martyrdom and stuffing them into suicide belts.  We should be aghast that the rights of these children are not protected and advanced.  She asked why the human rights agencies aren’t focused on these abuses.

The arguments made, the ideas broached, seem almost inconceivable to me given the sponsorship of the meeting by the State of Israel (Stand With Us.)  And that is the point:  Israel would love to change the nature of the human rights discourse, and the evening was indeed devoted to that purpose.  Yet, how can a State so utterly deficient on the subject, suddenly come to sponsor human rights events?  It is a brazen concept, even insulting.

The risk of opening debate on human rights is so severe for Israel, that one might think they would not want to take it.  Apparently, they are so bedeviled on these matters, they must feel they have nothing to lose!  But, every argument offered by the panel was specious and easily-deflated.  For example, a listing of unreported, unrecognized human rights abuses worldwide does not relieve Israel of its own culpability.  Any parent surely comes to know that the child caught doing wrong will attempt to divert blame by pointing to a sibling or a neighbor and their yet more horrendous deeds.  All parents learn to discount these transparent efforts. Yet, here it is again.  Israel’s accountability is not diminished one bit by the sins of other states.  And Jasser’s call for separation of Church and State would not play well in the Jewish State where rabbinical organizations and religion in general is State-sponsored.

Ms. Goldstein, however, was particularly smug and self-righteous in her condemnations of the Islamist abuse of children as suicide bombers, human shields, and warriors.  Here, too, the bubble is easily popped:  During Q & A, I asked, via notecard, that inasmuch as her specialty is the violations of children’s human rights, would she comment on the abuse of the 300 children killed in operation Cast Lead?  She backed away from the question, reiterating that we can agree that it is not right for Islamic children to be abused, which I took as a plea of nolo contendre. Bell, however, offered a heated response rooted in the fiction of human shields and the rules of “war” etc.  (Of course, Cast Lead was only war from the Israeli point of view as there was no actual other side, just a civilian population subjected to F-16’s and tanks!  War?  More like murder.)  Bell’s remarks were greeted with some perfunctory applause, all of it from the front section of older people, the neatly attired old guard who arrive early and fill up the first rows.

The mention of the 300 children, a fact that I cannot escape and I do not let others escape, did cast a pall, if only for the moment, over the proceedings and crashed whatever silly hope the organizers might have had that perhaps nobody would rub their collective noses in Israel’s abundantly terrible record.  Given this moment, I stalked dramatically out of the auditorium unnoticed by anyone.

My impression is that SWU has launched a crafty but potentially risky plan to engage on human rights issues and they have selected Islamophobia as the main avenue of approach, telling graphic stories of Islamic-based abuses of human rights.  The program should crash in any open forum precisely because the record in Israel is so well-known and documented by the very agencies they assault.  So, the preacher only preaches to the converted, the old-guard.

The attempt to hide the sins of Israel behind other outrages worldwide servesonly to open the door to discussion of Israel’s crimes. If SWU cannot animate new, sophisticated individuals, it is just spinning its wheels.  Let them spin:  If this is the best they can muster, I am that much more assured that I am on the right side of things here and that they will not win many young hearts and minds by this approach.  The discussion offered no insight or perspective, and is in this sense just as vapid and hypocritical as anything from Dershowitz, Oren, and the rest of the Israel gang out there.  Human rights will not be advanced or “rescued” by a paid charade such as this.

UC San Diego Students Need to Protest the “Stand With Us” Destroying Human Rights Conference

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by loonwatch

tritons-4-israel

An update to this story. It is confirmed that certain anti-Muslim hate-mongers will be involved. Muslims and their partners on campus need to protest this, as Richard mentions a good part of the $20K or so being spent to secure these speakers,

…comes from student fees, meaning that all students, including those who are Muslim, are supporting this hate fest.

STANDWITHUS: DESTROYING HUMAN RIGHTS AT UC SAN DIEGO

by Richard Silverstein (Tikkun Olam)

Thanks to Audrey Jacobs of StandWithUs, I’ve managed to confirm that the far-right Israel advocacy group is indeed sponsoring Rescuing Human Rights, and that the program will feature four controversial figures in the national anti-jihadi movement. This event is part of Israel Awareness Week on campus. This in turn is directly connected to Israel Apartheid Week held at the same time. One of SWU’s key missions is to take the pro-Israel message directly to those it considers enemies on campus. Getting in the face of campus Muslim or Palestinian groups is SWU’s stock-in-trade.

SWU has done us the favor of uploading three of the speaker agreements between Tritons for Israel and SWU indicating they’re paying Zuhdi Jasser $4,250 plus hotel and travel, and Brooke Goldstein $3,500 plus expenses. The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens is being paid $8,500 plus expenses.  Avi Bell, who teaches law at the Catholic institution, the University of San Diego may be speaking gratis.  That’s well north of  $20,000 if you include speaker expenses and rental of Price Theater, where the event will be held.  A good part of this comes from student fees, meaning that all students, including those who are Muslim, are supporting this hate fest.

The SWU promotional material notes the “inspiration” for the title and substance of the event supposedly comes from a Wall Street Journal column Stephens wrote, The Decline of Human Rights.  One of the key “bright ideas” in the piece is that there are “too many” human rights.  By allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry to claim their rights have been abused, we’ve cheapened the principle.  It’s something akin to the argument that there are too many sex discrimination or rape claims made in courts because every woman has come to see them as her meal ticket.  Yup, pretty damn offensive.

After reviewing the piece, it seems to me that Stephens filched some of his ideas from, and that the title for the UCSD event comes from the Henry Jackson Society essay, Rescuing Human Rights, which I referred to inyesterday night’s post.

In order to bolster Zuhdi Jasser’s Muslim bona-fides, SWU calls him a “devout” Muslim.  In fact, Jasser’s own promotional material make this claim.  I wouldn’t trust his claims as far as I could throw ‘em unless they were independently verified.

SWU and like-minded anti-jihadi pro-Israel groups are quick to point out the supposed international Muslim conspiracy to topple western civilization and replace it with a caliphate or Sharia law (depending on which anti-Muslim extremist you talk to). What few people are noticing is that there is a similar coordinated international pro-Israel campaign financed and directed in large part by the Israeli government. Though the pro-Israel cabal at times maintains its own initiative, funding and agenda.

This is far more than lobbying. It’s much more akin to the surreptitious surveillance and flacking for war against Iran which I described in my posting about the work on which Shamai Leibowitz and I collaborated. In the current case, we can call this an all-out campaign to legitimize Israel and in the process delegitimize anything or one that stands in the way.

The May 15th conference is a perfect example. Human rights are a terrific thorn in the side of Israel. If SWU and HJS can redefine and defang the contemporary concept of human rights then Israel will once more be able to stand tall in the international community. In fact, this program doesn’t “rescue human rights.” It destroys human rights as a robust principle for reining in the worst excesses of authoritarian regimes. If conferences like this “rescue” anything it’s state-sponsored torture (see last night’s post) and murder (seemy critique of John Brennan’s apologia for targeted killing and dronicide).

The premise of the pro-Israel anti-jihadis is that western civilization is at war with Islam (they claim only “radical Islam,” but make little or no distinction between the two). In such a war, there must be a no-holds barred approach to terror, since the Islamists know the weaknesses in our system and exploit it to their advantage. That’s why we need to emulate Israel and kill and torture more bad guys. There’s only one way to stop them. By being tougher and meaner than they are. That’s why human rights as currently defined are not only expendable, but inimical to the SWU anti-jihadi world view.  So bring on torture, bring on targeted killings as long as they get the bad guys–except when they miss and get a few of the innocents.  But can any Muslim truly be innocent?

Returning to pro-Israel flackery, some of my pro-Israel readers are fond of pointing out that lobbying is as American as apple pie. Indeed it is. But Israel’s activities and that of its “Amen choir” is more than lobbying. It’s no holds barred pull out all the stops advocacy. It skirts the bounds of propriety and even legality at times. It’s opaque, often mendacious, always slick and slimy.

StandWithUs, UC San Diego Pro-Israel Group, Host Anti-Muslim Conference

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by loonwatch

Zuhdi Jasser to speak on 'Muslim terror' at UC San Diego, May 15th (Seth Wenig/AP)

Zuhdi Jasser to speak on ‘Muslim terror’ at UC San Diego, May 15th (Seth Wenig/AP)

Zuhdi Jasser, who in a great feat of Orwellian irony was ridiculously appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), is now speaking on behalf of StandWithUs. It should come as no surprise that StandWithUs:

…manages an impressive stable of Zionist speakers, including several who are Arabs, Muslims, or ex-Muslims: Brigitte Gabriel, Ishmael Khaldi, Walid Shoebat, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Nonie Darwish.

These speakers are not only “Zionist” as described above, but also extremely “anti-Muslim” and “Islamophobic.” Add to that list, Zuhdi Jasser who will be joining “Stand with Us” for a conference titled, “Rescuing Human Rights.” It’s likely as concerned about human rights as Pamela Geller’s Jessica Mokdad ‘Human Rights’ Conference was:

STANDWITHUS, UC SAN DIEGO PRO-ISRAEL GROUP, HOST ANTI-MUSLIM CONFERENCE

by Richard Silverstein (Tikkun Olam)

Next week, StandWithUs and the UC San Diego pro-Israel student advocacy group, Tritons for Israel, will host a rather mysterious campus event.  According to a speaker contract SWU uploaded to the web in March, it is a conference called, Rescuing Human Rights, featuring the Wall Street Journal’s leading anti-jihadi columnist, Brett Stephens, necon legal scholar Avi Bell who was one of the Goldstone Report’s harshest critics, anti-jihadi “human rights” lawyer Brooke Goldstein, and the anti-jihadi Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser.  He was the founder of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, and featured star of several Clarion Fund Islamophobic films including Obsession and Third Jihad.

Mid-May is Apartheid Week across many American campuses and the suitable pro-Israel response seems to be to host events accusing Muslims of being the dark forces of the universe.  That appears to be the origin of this pro-Israel campus event on May 15th.

Why is this so mysterious?  Because I can’t find any online record of this event.  I do know thanks to a tweet in his Twitter timeline that Zuhdi Jasser, at least, will be speaking on campus next week.  Jasser is the go-to figure for the pro-Israel neocon right whenever it needs a Muslim who excoriates other Muslims who aren’t sufficiently right-wing or patriotic.  He is a devout supporter of Israel and also supported the NYPD’s illegal surveillance of local Muslim community members.  Jasser also makes common cause with the Tea Party types and has publicly attacked Muslim Americans running for office as Democrats and engaged in Muslim baiting.  In short, Zuhdi Jasser is “our” sort of Muslim, a “moderate” one who can be counted on as a bulwark against the swarms of jihadist Muslims seeking to overrun western civilization.

StandWithUs’ speaker contract guarantees Jasser $4,250 for his May 15th campus appearance plus hotel and travel expenses. These fees will be jointly paid by SWU and Tritons for Israel. However, I found a UC San Diego student fund allocation for $4,280 for this event that went to Tritons for Israel. This may be funding Jasser or the other three speakers listed  Students at UDSD will be interested to know that their student fees are paying for an Islamophobic campus hate fest.

Interestingly, I’ve found no online reference to the event itself notifying anyone where or when it will be held.  I’m not even sure the conference for which funding was requested in April is still happening (though Jasser is certainly speaking).  My guess is the sponsors are trying to keep it under the radar so it won’t generate the off-campus visibility I’m trying to offer to it here. They’re probably trying to isolate the promotion to campus. But I hope the local Arab/Muslim community will find out about this shandeh and turn out en masse to let the community know that it won’t stand still and allow Islamophobes define them.

In researching this post, I discovered that another ersatz pro-Israel human rights group, the UK’s Henry Jackson Society has held confabs featuring the same name for the past few years. They’ve also produced an essay by that name, written by a pro-Israel Tory solicitor arguing that international human rights law as practiced in Europe is fahrkochteh and should be scrapped. Of course, what especially irks him is that Israeli generals and politicians with blood on their hands may be arrested and indicted for war crimes if they step foot on British soil.  This is yet another example of the international nexus of pro-Israel advocacy groups who take cover under the guise of human rights, but whose agenda is serving as a promoter of Israel’s nationalist agenda and an apologist for its faltering human rights record.

For more on Brigitte Gabriel, see: Brigitte Gabriel: A Case Study in Sincere Hypocrisy

For more on Walid Shoebat, see: Walid Shoebat

For more on Khaled Abu Toameh, see: Khaled Abu Toameh: Obsession for Hate

For more on Nonie Darwish, see: Nonie Darwish: Caught in a Pool of Lies

Zuhdi Jasser: Shill For Islamophobes Resorts to Projection and Deflection

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Zuhdi Jasser, the useful tool of Islamophobes everywhere has faced increasing and sustained opposition to his appointment to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The USCIRF was, as the ACLU reported, created and guided by ‘special interests’ and has a history of deep anti-Muslim bias,

[S]ince its inception, the commission’s been beset by controversy. People who watch the commission closely say it was created to satisfy special interests, which has led to bias in the commission’s work. Past commissioners and staff have reported that the commission is “rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism.” They’ve said that commissioners focus “on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background.” In particular, past commissioners and staff reported ”an anti-Muslim bias runs through the Commission’s work.”

In this context it is not surprising that a Zuhdi Jasser should be appointed. However, the biased nature of the USCIRF does not take away from the very troubling aspects of Jasser’s appointment, no US governmental organization should be used and abused in this manner.

What is interesting this time around is that all pretense to objectivity has fallen and the ‘work’ of the USCIRF will forever be tainted.

A petition calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment has received nearly 3000 signatures, (I urge everyone to sign it and pass it along. We need to be more active than the hate-mongers!)

In response to the large push back against the biased nature of the USCIRF and Jasser’s appointment, Jasser is trying to hit back, smearing everyone who sheds light on his alliance with hate-mongers and anti-Freedom positions as evil, fifth-column “Islamists.”

Classic case of projecting while deflecting

On the only medium that will let Jasser spew his fact-less innuendo unopposed, i.e Right-Wing media such as “The Daily Caller,” Jasser  says,

“You could actually use the list of people protesting us, it’s a pretty good list of some of the leaders of the Islamist movement in America.”

No surprise here, what else do you expect from the main protagonist of what has been lampooned as a bigoted, fear-mongering anti-Muslim film: The Third Jihad.

The article, written by one Caroline May goes on to claim that,

Last week 64 Muslim organizations — including Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) — expressed “deep concern” with Jasser’s appointment in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

The only problem for May and Jasser is that it wasn’t only Muslim organizations (or ‘Islamists’ as they would have it) but also non-Muslim organizations calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment. It was a veritable coalition of Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious organizations:

More than 50 Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious groups asked leading senators on Thursday (April 12) to rescind the appointment of an outspoken Muslim activist, Zuhdi Jasser, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

But facts, those pesky things, why let them get in the way right? So, Jasser goes on to say,

Jasser contends, however, that the real enemy of religious freedom is the coalition of groups opposing him.

Classic projection and deflection. Instead of answering the very real concerns leveled against him, Jasser clams up, hoping the “Islamist” label will stick on his opponents and that the attention will subside.

To this day Jasser has not answered the following very specific concerns expressed by those dismayed that he would even been considered for the USCIRF:

1.) Most problematically, Jasser allies himself with and receives funding from anti-Muslim organizations and personalities who work tirelessly to curb the religious and civil liberties of Muslims in the USA.

Jasser’s organization has received funding, to the tune of $100,000 from a major backer of Rick Santorum, Foster Friess. Friess was featured as one of the major backers of Islamophobic organizations in the Center for American Progress‘s groundbreaking report, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.

According to the Washington Post,

“Jasser received a $100,000 donation from Christian conservative financier Foster Friess, who is now bankrolling the super-PAC supporting Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. Jasser declined to elaborate on exactly how much Friess had given AIFD, though he said the financier contributed $70,000 to his organization in 2010 for a Muslim youth retreat hosted by the group. (Friess told MSNBC that he was backing Santorum because he is ‘incredibly versed in one of the number one issues of our time—and that is violent Islamic extremism.’)”

Jasser told Mother Jones that the AIFD had accepted $5,000 from the Center for Security Policy:

“The center published a report in 2010 warning that American Muslims are seeking to replace the Constitution with a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The “expert” in Islamic religious law cited in the report, an attorney named David Yerushalmi, is responsible for authoring draft anti-Shariah legislation that has served as a blueprint for anti-Shariah laws across the US. Yerushalmi has suggested that “acting in furtherance of Islam” should be a felony.”

Mother Jones also reports that,

“Jasser said his group has also received a one-time, unsolicited donation of $10,000 from the Clarion Fund, which is associated with Aish HaTorah, a right-wing Israeli group described by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic as ‘just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today.’

The Clarion Fund has released several films that warn of Muslim conspiracies to reestablish a global caliphate. Jasser is a Clarion board member and in 2008 narrated a documentary bankrolled by the group called The Third Jihad, which darkly warns that Muslim extremists are attempting to “infiltrate and dominate America,” a conspiracy implicating most prominent American Muslim organizations. The New York Times reported that the film was shown to thousands of NYPD officers as part of their counterterrorism training, which the police department later apologized for.”

2.) In another blow to the religious liberties and freedoms of American Muslims, Jasser’s organization the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) supports state wide legislative bans on Muslim personal religious practice relating to: marriage, prayer, wills, etc. Jasser’s organization has published press releases “applauding” such legislation, which many, including US Courts have considered unconstitutional infringements on the religious liberties of Muslims.

3.) Jasser was outspoken in his opposition to an interfaith and Islamic Center in Manhattan, supporting efforts to block it from being built, remarking that, “This center is trying to change the narrative of 9/11 — to diminish what happened at Ground Zero.”

4.) Jasser’s advocacy and support for the NYPD’s illegal profiling and secret surveillance program targeting Muslims for monitoring at their houses of worship, businesses and universities is not only unconscionable but contradicts the USCIRF’s purported goals of reviewing “the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.” 

Jasser deflects from the above points and questions about his sordid relationship with those who undermine religious freedom here in the US because his real purpose is to be a shill for the Right-Wing propaganda machine.

Articles like the one in the Daily Caller are not meant to inform or provide analysis, but are geared specifically to justifying Right-Wing and Conservative causes. The Conservative audience is expected to swallow them whole and regurgitate it to the rest of the sheep, preserving and securing the echo chamber.

ACLU: A Look at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2012 by loonwatch

 

The ACLU goes into even more detail about the problematic history of the USCIRF and the recent appointments of Zuhdi Jasser and Robert George.

A Look at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

In 1998, Congress created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to draw attention to violations of religious freedom in other countries. The commissioners vote annually to list countries that are of particular concern or place others on a watch list of countries that should be monitored closely for religious freedom violations.

But, since its inception, the commission’s been beset by controversy. People who watch the commission closely say it was created to satisfy special interests, which has led to bias in the commission’s work. Past commissioners and staff have reported that the commission is “rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism.” They’ve said that commissioners focus “on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background.” In particular, past commissioners and staff reported ”an anti-Muslim bias runs through the Commission’s work.”

The commissioners’ personal biases have led to sharp divides both within the commission and with the State Department, which it is supposed to advise. One expert calls the commission’s relationship with the State Department “adversarial,” and “not conducive to effective dialogue, let alone cooperation.” And the divisiveness within the commission itself is obvious, ranging from how it dealt with when a policy analyst claimed her contract with the commission was cancelled because she was Muslim to its most recent report in which five commissioners voted to include Turkey on the list of countries of particular concern (alongside a few others like China and North Korea) over the strong objections of the four other commissioners.

Given the commission’s history of letting the commissioners’ personal biases drive its agenda, in light of recent appointments, it seems especially relevant to look at what two new commissioners have done.

First, Zuhdi Jasser. He is highlighted in a recent report that describes a network of Islamophobia “misinformation experts,” as someone who “validate[s] and authenticate[s] manufactured myths about Muslims and Islam.” His organizationlauded a statewide ban on Sharia law, which was later overturned by federal courtsbecause it was blatantly discriminatory and singled out one faith for official condemnation. He has tried to justify the so-called “radicalization” theory, which conflates First Amendment-protected practices with involvement in terrorism. He narrated the film shown on a continuous loop at an NYPD training facility that says American Muslim leaders cannot be trusted and “Muslim extremists are attempting to ‘infiltrate and dominate America.’” And when it came to light that the NYPD had conducted constitutionally suspect surveillance of the Muslim community in New York and other states, he commended the department’s actions.

Second, Robert George. George also has ties to the Islamophobia industry. He sits on the board of the Bradley Foundation, which the Center for American Progress reportedprovides funding to organizations that advocate for anti-Islam or anti-Muslim agendas.

But he is better known for his advocacy against the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. He helped author the failed federal marriage amendment that would have amended the U.S. Constitution to enshrine discrimination against gay and lesbian couples by limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. He helped start the National Organization for Marriage, which advocates for discriminatory state constitutional amendments on marriage and keeping the so-called Defense of Marriage Act on the books. Throughout his career, George has written about religious liberty; but when he works to enshrine one religious view of marriage over another while some religious faiths and denominations have decided, based on their own religious teachings, to sanction marriage of same-sex couples, he harms this very principle.

Religious freedom means that people of all faiths are able to live and worship without suspicion that they are being targeted by their government and that the law should not be used to promote one set of religious beliefs over others. We hope the commission will be able to condemn these sorts of actions and not be sidetracked by commissioners’ personal agendas.

Learn more about religious freedom: Sign up for breaking news alertsfollow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Opposition Grows to Religious Freedom Nominee, Zuhdi Jasser

Posted in Loon People, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Zuhd Jasser does not belong on the USCIRF, sign the petition:

Muslim opposition grows to religious freedom nominee

By Lauren Markoe| Religion News Service, Published: April 12 (The Washington Post)

More than 50 Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious groups asked leading senators on Thursday (April 12) to rescind the appointment of an outspoken Muslim activist, Zuhdi Jasser, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Jasser, a Navy-trained physician, is decrying the effort – and others to oust him from the independent watchdog panel – as a “smear tactic.”

A separate online petition that began circulating last week, also asking for his ouster, has garnered more than 2,000 signatures.

“Their letter is patently dishonest, deceptive, and continues their unprofessional unbridled smear campaign against anyone who chooses to take on Islamic reform against Islamist ideologies and groups regardless of whether we are observant traditional Muslims,” Jasser wrote in an email to Religion News Service.

The signatories to the letter, sent to three key senators, argue that Jasser’s rhetoric and activism contribute to a culture that treats Muslims as suspects, and that he would subvert the work of the bipartisan commission, which advises federal officials on the status of religious freedom abroad.

“His consistent support for measures that threaten and diminish religious freedoms within the United States demonstrates his deplorable lack of understanding of and commitment to religious freedom and undermines the USCIRF’s express purpose,” they wrote.

They cite Jasser’s effort to prevent the construction of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, his support for the New York Police Department’s spying on Muslim institutions, and his defense of anti-Shariah laws, which most Muslim civil rights groups say unfairly paint Muslims as anti-American.

Adam Serwer: Muslim Group Leader to NYPD: Thanks For Spying On Us

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

Excellent piece by Adam Serwer exposing Zuhdi Jasser.

Also see our articles: Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah and Zuhdi Jasser: ‘Please! Pretty Please Spy on Me!’

and: Zuhdi Jasser’s Astroturf Muslim Groups Behind Rally to Support NYPD Spying

Muslim Group Leader to NYPD: Thanks For Spying On Us

by Adam Serwer (MotherJones)

In early March, members of a Muslim group gathered for a press conference at Manhattan’s One Police Plaza to send a clear message to the New York City Police Department about its controversial surveillance program targeting Muslim Americans.

That message was: Thanks for spying on us.

“We are not here to criticize the NYPD,” declared Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), who was joined by House Homeland Security chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), “but rather to thank them for doing the work that we as Muslims should be doing, which is monitoring extremism, following extremism, and helping counter the ideologies that create radicalization in our communities.”

Jasser later said in an interview that he wanted to provide an alternative voice to the criticism of the NYPD coming from Muslim and civil liberties groups. “We just wanted the media reports to finally show balance, that there’s diversity, that some Muslims don’t have a problem with this.” Several news reports described attendance at the event as light.

An Arizona physician and Navy veteran, Jasser has lately become the right’s go-to guy when it comes to providing cover for policies or positions that many Muslim Americans contend are discriminatory. When controversy over the so-called Ground Zero mosque erupted, Jasser, a frequent guest on Fox News, accused the builders of trying to “diminish what happened” on September 11, 2001. He has supported statewide bans on Shariah law in American courts and has helped bolster conservative warnings that American Muslims seek to replace the Constitution with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. “America is at war with theocratic Muslim despots who seek the imposition of Shariah and don’t believe in the equality of all before the law, blind to faith,” Jasser testified during hearings held by King’s committee last year on homegrown terrorism. There he also supported conservative allegations that many American Muslim organizations—and particularly the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)—are Islamists seeking to “advance political Islam in the West.” Jasser sometimes refers to other Muslim organizations as “Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups.”

Zuhdi Jasser’s Astroturf Muslim Groups Behind Rally to Support NYPD Spying

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2012 by loonwatch

The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) recently held a joint rally to express support for the NYPD and the tactics it uses (including racial profiling and spying on American Muslims).  Media reports used the following sorts of headlines:

Muslim group rallies to support NYPD spying

Islamic leaders support NYPD

Islamic Leaders Plan Pro-NYPD Rally in Support of NYPD

Muslims Rally In Support Of NYPD Mosque Surveillance Program

etc.

The issue is now being portrayed as: Some American Muslims oppose the NYPD’s tactics but others approve of them.  Now that there is an equivalency, whose to say which side is right?  In spite of the embarrassingly low turnout for the pro-NYPD rally, some elements are even insinuating that this misguided handful of individuals somehow represents the “silent majority” of the American Muslim community.

In reality, American Muslims as a whole oppose the NYPD’s tactics of racial profiling and spying.  Finding a few token Muslims on the other side of the divide doesn’t change that.

In fact, these are astroturf Muslim groups, with absolutely no grassroots support in the American Muslim community itself, which explains why they had such a paltry showing at the rally.  The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) seems to consist of only twelve members; of these, most are inactive–they contribute nothing to the AILC and their only purpose seems to be to create some semblance of a “group.”  Three of the individuals in the list of twelve aren’t even American Muslims.

In reality, the AILC is really just one man, who is the group’s founder: Zuhdi Jasser, every right-winger’s favorite Muslim and the narrator of the anti-Muslim film, The Third Jihad.  The contribution from many of the other members in the group seems minimal to non-existent.  One of the exceptions might be Tarek Fatah, who is not even an American Muslim to begin with.

What of the second group, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD)?  If you click on their “leadership” tab, only one man’s name comes up: you guessed it, it’s Zuhdi Jasser, who “is the Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).”  Who else is a part of this astoturf group is a mystery.

The AILC site claims that it is “representative of the overwhelming ‘silent majority’ of Muslims in America.”  Yet, the group itself revolves primarily around one individual with no grassroots support, evidenced by the lack of turnout to their scheduled rally: only about twenty-something people showed up for it.  Is that what they mean by the “silent majority” of Muslims in America?  How is it that Zuhdi Jasser, Tarek Fatah (who is not even an American Muslim), and a small group of nobodies decide to call themselves the “leadership” of the “silent majority” of American Muslims?  They in fact lead nothing but astroturf groups with no real membership or support in the community they claim to represent.

Zuhdi Jasser and his astroturf groups are fake in another way too: they claim to be “liberal and progressive Muslims”, and yet they “pal around” with far right-wing elements.  Just a few days ago, for instance, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy–which is, of course, little more than Zuhdi Jasser–issued their/his undying love for and praise of the far-right wing extremist Andrew Breitbart.

I have nothing against dissenting voices in any faith community critically challenging tradition, especially if this is done to further liberalism, tolerance, and peace.  But, don’t be fooled by the AILC, AIFD, and whatever other acronym/astroturf group they create next.  Their central figure is a man who doesn’t have a liberal or progressive bone in his body.  He’s as right-wing as they come.  And he certainly doesn’t speak for American Muslims.

Zuhdi Jasser is just a token Muslim figure who the far right-wing anti-Muslim bigots can prance around to say all the things they believe with the only difference being that he proudly carries around his official “Muslim card”; this “I’m a Muslim” routine gives these loony, bigoted, and simplistic ideas a modicum of credibility.  The operative logic is: if a Muslim himsef says it, it must be true!

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah and Zuhdi Jasser: ‘Please! Pretty Please Spy on Me!’

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2012 by loonwatch

Zuhdi_Jasser_Tarek_Fatah_Peter_King

Tarek Fatah, Zuhdi Jasser, and Peter King

Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah and Zuhdi Jasser have ridden in on their clown car to rally in support of being “spied on” by the NYPD. Using their “Muslim” cards they have either written in support of, or participated in a rally in solidarity with the NYPD’s secret surveillance. Such endless stupidity knows no bounds, and is not limited to Muslims. Self-hating loons are part of every culture and faith. (We have already written about why the NYPD surveillance is deceptive, wrong-headed, immoral and ineffective, so no need for us to repeat ourselves here.)

The loons agree with each other, being “Muslim” or “Muslim like” is sufficient just cause to infringe on the civil liberties of all Muslims. For these loons, being Muslim is enough of a reason to be accompanied by undercover agents on whitewater rafting trips, to have your mosque infiltrated, to have a who’s-who of ‘Muslamic’ eateries profiled. For these loons the tricky fact that this deceptive surveillance is probably illegal is to be ignored at all cost.

(Have you ever wondered what interesting terroristic tidbits those gum-shoe NYPD infiltrators gathered at, say, Habib Restaurant in Newark? I can just imagine:

Muslim patron of Habib Restaurant: This shawerma sandwhich is the bomb!

NYPD undercover agent jotting down in notebook: ”Stealth food Jihad!!??” I saw this on the Third Jihad that we watched in an endless loop for months! Check with Ray Kelly.)

It’s okay they say, go ahead and cast a pal of suspicion over the whole Muslim community. They  are essentially telling Bloomberg, Kelly, etc.:

“Look at us masta’. We da good Mooslims. You spy on us, entrap us, bomb us wid’ yo bombs, it’s otay.”

The loons’ rally attracted 20 or so supporters and…*gasp*…Rep.Peter King. Whodathunkit? The fact that IRA supporting Peter King would stand with the very same non-expert neo-Con witness he called at his McCarthyesque witch-hunt trials and declare, “you are the real face of Islam in America” is so shocking (note: thinly-veiled sarcasm).

Oh yes, Sheikh Peter King is now pontificating on who the “real” Muslims are. You are a real Muslim if you align yourself with the right-wing, agree with your community being spied on, (thereby undermining every citizens civil liberties), agree with the over-exaggerated “homegrown terrorism” threat, agree with entrapment, agree with the Greater Islamophobia of “bombing, invading and occupying” Muslim majority nations.

Lets continue the myth, they say, that Muslims have not cooperated with law enforcement and are not doing enough to condemn terrorism.(Even though over 40% of all tips regarding potential Muslim terrorists come from Muslims). This will finally convince those Tea Partiers that Asra loves at the Tennessee Freedom Coalition that real Islam is in fact a religion that should be afforded the guarantees of “religious freedom,” and not as they say, a 1400 year old political-fascist-totalitarian-cult threatening to overtake Christianity and “Islamize” the USA.

Asra in her Daily Beast article, Why NYPD Monitoring Should Be Welcome News to Muslims didn’t limit herself to attacking and libeling Muslims, in fact her words will comfort Colombians particularly,

“just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community”

As one astute commenter on her article noted,

The Colombian community should be just as offended as the Muslims at being directly compared to the KKK which is by definition a gang of white extremists.

Nomani of course sees no problem, Colombians and Muslims are just like the KKK in her mind, and that is the true face of self-hating loons.

The sparse number of pro-surveillance and pro-anti-Muslim indoctrination ralliers indicates that most American Muslims are overwhelmingly opposed to the NYPD’s bigoted indoctrination of its officers as well as the warrantless surveillance of Muslims. An opposition that is born not just out of their recent plight, being cast as “today’s enemy,” but out of a consistency of principal; no one should be profiled based simply on religion or race, no group should endure warrantless surveillance.

One can imagine that in a not too distant future, these very same self-hating loons, eager to be profiled and spied on, will also be saying, “please, please intern me, somebody, please intern me!”

Update I:

Make sure to check out Danios’s article on the same topic: Zuhdi Jasser’s Astroturf Muslim Groups Behind Rally to Support NYPD Spying.

Raphael Shore: Director of Clarion Fund’s “Third Jihad” Upset NYPD Won’t Be Showing His Anti-Muslim Movie

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by loonwatch
Raphael_ShoreRaphael Shore

It was revealed in January 2011 that the NYPD was using an anti-Muslim documentary entitled “The Third Jihad” in its counter terror training courses. At the time “a top police official denied it, then said it had been mistakenly screened ‘a couple of times’ for a few officers.”

It turns out that the police official was lying, it had been screened for thousands of police officers:

A year later, police documents obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Law reveal a different reality: “The Third Jihad,” which includes an interview with Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, was shown, according to internal police reports, “on a continuous loop” for between three months and one year of training.

During that time, at least 1,489 police officers, from lieutenants to detectives to patrol officers, saw the film.

We exposed the Third Jihad way back in 2009 when it was first released! We clearly laid out the facts: (1) Clarion Fund is an arm of Aish HaTorah, an Israeli advocacy and educational organization:

According to the Delaware Department of Corporations, Robert (Rabbi Raphael) Shore, Rabbi Henry Harris and Rebecca Kabat incorporated Clarion Fund. All three of whom are reported to serve as employees of Aish HaTorah International.

(2) Clarion Fund’s free mass distribution of the anti-Muslim movie, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War on the West (also directed by Shore) a few months prior to the 2008 presidential election was an attempt to sway the election in John McCain’s favor:

Unless you were sleeping in a cave during the 2008 Presidential election you’re probably aware that the mysterious Clarion Fund is the same organization that distributed 28 Million DVD’s of their controversial film Obsession, which compares Islam to Nazism, in newspapers in swing states across America.

The movie was widely discredited for its cast of radical and extreme pundits, some of whom (Daniel PipesBrigitte Gabriel, Walid ShoebatSteven Emerson) we have featured on LoonWatch.  As our articles showed, these Islamophobes have a history of bigoted and derogatory statements regarding Muslims and Islam.

The film itself was compared to Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 pro-Nazi film Triumph of the Will. Broward-Palm Beach New Times called it “misleading and dangerous.” Jeff VanDenBerg, director of Middle East Studies at Drury University, called the film “a blatant piece of anti-Muslim propaganda.”

During the campaign to distribute Obsession, news reports at the time quickly revealed that their main motivation was to shift the focus during the Presidential election from the Economy to the issue of National Security, the area in which John McCain led in polls.

Shore and his cohorts efforts failed as they over-reached in their attempt to paint the radical-stealth-Islamic boogeyman menace to America as similar to Nazism during WWII. They changed tactic with the Third Jihad and attempted to redirect the hate, though they only offered a thin vanilla (Zuhdi Jasser) covering for the bigotry that is clearly all over the film:

Third Jihad paints a picture of a nefarious plot by a cabal that includes all mainstream Muslim organizations to take over and dominate America. The movie, reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, centers around the purported discovery of a document describing a strategic secret plot by Muslims to undermine Democracy and replace it with Sharia’ laws.

The recent exposes in the mainstream media showing that thousands of NYPD officers have watched the anti-Muslim films, coupled with Ray Kelly himself being interviewed in the film has caused much embarrassment to the NYPD, which is already suffering from poor relations with the Muslim community. The NYPD and Ray Kelly have apologized, (Kelly now calls the movie “inflammatory”), but many are calling for Kelly to be fired.

In a press release Raphael Shore complained about his anti-Muslim film being dumped from the training of NYPD officers:

“We regret that the film has been taken out of the counterterrorism training program of the NYPD.  The New York Times stories are proof positive that the Clarion Fund’s high-quality and impactful documentaries touch very sensitive nerves.

“Those that have blasted the film are attempting to stifle an important debate about the internal state of the Muslim community in America, and whether politicized Islam and indoctrination pose tangible security threats.

Yes, Raphael is concerned with the “internal state of the Muslim community in America”/sarcasm. He’s as concerned about it as Pamela Geller is no doubt. The truth is Raphael, your hate work on Islam is no longer going to get a free pass. People can see the nexus that aligns Right-Wing Islamophobes abroad and at home and they are tired of it.

The Truth About ‘The Third Jihad’:

The Third Jihad is essentially an updated and reconfigured version of Obsession or as some have called it “Obsession on steroids.” Instead of the overt comparisons of Islam with Nazism, or of a cosmic battle between good and evil, the object this time is to warn against a threat they term  “Cultural Jihad” carried out from within by American Muslims.

In Third Jihad, just as in Obsession, there is the cliche disclaimer at the start of the film that the movie is not about the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful, yet in Third Jihad just as in Obsession, the rest of the film quickly and completely trumps what becomes an empty disclaimer.  Both films fail to make consistent distinctions between Islam and Radical Islamism, and at times conflate the two.  As the IPS (Inter Press Service) notes:

Radical Muslims, by having children, spreading their faith, and ensuring their ability to practice Islam as they see fit, are working a ‘demographic jihad’ in which they see themselves emerging as a majority and making Islam the dominant religion of the U.S. – eventually to take over the nation altogether – contend Jasser and the films creators.

But that prospect seems unlikely in the U.S., where Muslim Americans are generally regarded as well-assimilated and not radicalised.

The film itself also contains inconsistencies in terms of differentiating between Islam and radical Islam.

For example, the graphic that the film used to demonstrate the spread of an Islamic state across the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe used a tiled picture of a green crescent with a star between its points. The crescent and star are the symbol of Islam in general.

The documentary was produced by the Clarion Fund, a U.S.-based non-profit that was embroiled in controversy last year when it distributed its last movie, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” to nearly 30 million homes in the ‘swing states’ that normally decide U.S. presidential elections.

Its 501(c)(3) status as non-profit means the group is legally exempt from paying taxes and is prohibited from involvement in electoral politics.

IPS investigations also tied the production and distribution of “Obsession” to right-wing Israeli groups and U.S.-based neoconservatives.

The central focus of the film is the purported discovery of a document which claims Muslim organizations are seeking to “destroy” the West from within and replace Democracy with Islamic law worldwide. This ploy is similar to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion which is a tract alleging a Jewish and Masonic plot to achieve world domination. Purportedly written by a secret group of Jews known as the Elders of Zion, the document underlies 24 protocols that are supposedly followed by the Jewish people.

The movie also suffers from a lack of credibility with most of the pundits it chooses to interview.  For example one of the pundits is Tawfiq Hamid (!) who is labeled an ex-terrorist. Tawfiq’s story is not corroborated by any independent sources, he has also made blatant statements describing Muslims as terrorists and Islam as evil. On the Orla Barry Show he stated, “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.” He is also featured on radical Islamophobe Walid Shoebat’s website  and has appeared with him on talk shows and other venues.

This hate movie is available online and its central protagonist is Zuhdi Jasser who is also the narrator of the film. Jasser is cast as an all American hero, clips of him having moments with his family are reminiscent of episodes out of Full House, complete with sentimental  muzak equivalent to the quality one hears in elevators. Jasser is the lone American Muslim (all the others are either “scared” or “silent”) standing up against radicals. He is the “moderate” who is seeking to reform Islam while at the same time save America from the ignored threat of “homegrown radical Muslims.”

Is Jasser an unbiased chronicler of American Islam, and is he the right advocate to counter radical Muslims?

Considering his radical associations and partisan attachment to the far right wing of the Republican party, the answers are no.

As Richard Silverstein writes, “To put it plain and simple, Jasser is a Muslim neocon.” He created a 501c3 designated organization AIFD (American Islamic forum for Democracy) whose agenda is a “barely concealed” form of radical Republicanism. 501c3 designated organizations are not allowed to meddle in partisan politics.

Jasser has himself publicly participated in the political process. In this endorsement of a far-right pro-Israel Colorado Republican legislative candidate, he strangely takes aim at the candidate’s Republican American Muslim opponent:

“A brief word about Mr. Sharf’s primary opponent. Mrs. Rima Barakat Sinclair has no apparent record, prior to this election of…any traditional conservative issues. Previously, her sole political agenda seems to have been anti-Israel activism. Her candidacy seems to be more a product of Islamist politics than of ideas central to conservative American principles and activism. Sadly, candidates out of this mold, who conflate the Israeli-Palestinian crisis with their Islamic identity actually harm more than they help the genuine pluralistic advancement of American Muslims. Most Muslims are actually quite diverse in their domestic and foreign policy politics and do not accept the collectivist agenda of political Islam (Islamism).”

It is certainly no accident that Sinclair’s opponent, Joshua Scharf, is a right-wing pro-Israel militant.

In this National Review interview, Jasser enthusiastically promotes a Republican agenda:

“Lopez: Do you like what you’re hearing out of any of the presidential candidates?

Jasser: (First a necessary caveat – the following is my personal opinion only and in no way that of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy).

Yes, I think most of the Republican presidential field is much more honest than the Democrats in articulating the real stakes in this war of ideas of the free world versus the Islamists. While most of the Republican candidates are in the right anti-Islamist arena, only a few have been able to articulate it clearly enough and with enough candor to get my attention. I am far from making up my mind on a candidate yet, but am encouraged by a lot of what I see from some of the candidates.

I am most heartened by what I am hearing from Rudy Guliani’s campaign, with Governor Mitt Romney very close behind in my mind. Mayor Guliani understands the toxicity of the Saudis and their Wahhabis…He is not afraid to articulate the conflict in ideas between Western freedom and Islamist theocracy…He names our enemies by name, and is not afraid to stand for principle and substance in foreign policy over diplomatic platitudes (i.e. against the Saudis, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood), and other Islamists.

Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign has also demonstrated a willingness to mince no words when discussing the ideologies we are facing. He identifies jihadists as our enemies and uses his important position of national and global leadership to clearly frame the debate as one between the ideology of Islamism (Caliphism, jihadism, and theocracy) versus freedom.

…John McCain’s articulation of the stakes in the Iraq war has always been very impressive, and I hope that other candidates can look to his clarity on the issue as an example of principle.”

His disclaimer is a laugh since the group’s website lists him as founder and president. Only one other individual is listed on the entire website as a staff member of the group. No board members are listed (though he refers to the existence of one). So Jasser IS AIF. If Jasser is a right-wing Republican, so is AIF. Which makes a 501c3 designation problematic.

Jasser is also a member of the Middle East Forum created and ran by neo-con Daniel Pipes as well as “the pro-Israel and neocon Committee on the Present Danger. He has spoken before the Hudson Institute. He writes for Family Security MattersMiddle East Quarterly, and other far-right websites.”  If this doesn’t give you a hint about the agenda that drives Jasser and the purpose of this film nothing will.

Ana and Cenk do a better and more succinct job in eviscerating Third Jihad and the NYPD’s attempted cover-up:

In Police Training, a Dark Film on U.S. Muslims

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by loonwatch
An Islamic flag atop the White House in “The Third Jihad.”
An Islamic flag atop the White House in “The Third Jihad.”

In Police Training, a Dark Film on U.S. Muslims

By MICHAEL POWELL

Ominous music plays as images appear on the screen: Muslim terrorists shoot Christians in the head, car bombs explode, executed children lie covered by sheets and a doctored photograph shows an Islamic flag flying over the White House.

“This is the true agenda of much of Islam in America,” a narrator intones. “A strategy to infiltrate and dominate America. … This is the war you don’t know about.”

This is the feature-length film titled “The Third Jihad,” paid for by a nonprofit group, which was shown to more than a thousand officers as part of training in the New York Police Department.

In January 2011, when news broke that the department had used the film in training, a top police official denied it, then said it had been mistakenly screened “a couple of times” for a few officers.

A year later, police documents obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Law reveal a different reality: “The Third Jihad,” which includes an interview with Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, was shown, according to internal police reports, “on a continuous loop” for between three months and one year of training.

During that time, at least 1,489 police officers, from lieutenants to detectives to patrol officers, saw the film.

News that police trainers showed this film so extensively comes as the department wrestles with its relationship with the city’s large Muslim community. The Police Department offers no apology for aggressively spying on Muslim groups and says it has ferreted out terror plots.

But members of the City Council, civil rights advocates and Muslim leaders say the department, in its zeal, has trampled on civil rights, blurred lines between foreign and domestic spying and sown fear among Muslims.

“The department’s response was to deny it and to fight our request for information,” said Faiza Patel, a director at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, which obtained the release of the documents through a Freedom of Information request. “The police have shown an explosive documentary to its officers and simply stonewalled us.”

Tom Robbins, a former columnist with The Village Voice, first revealed that the police had screened the film. The Brennan Center then filed its request.

The 72-minute film was financed by the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit group whose board includes a former Central Intelligence Agency official and a deputy defense secretary for President Ronald Reagan. Its previous documentary attacking Muslims’ “war on the West” attracted support from the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major supporter of Israel who has helped reshape the Republican presidential primary by pouring millions of dollars into a so-called super PAC that backs Newt Gingrich.

Commissioner Kelly is listed on the “Third Jihad” Web site as a “featured interviewee.” Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, wrote in an e-mail that filmmakers had lifted the clip from an old interview. The commissioner, Mr. Browne said, has not asked the filmmakers to remove him from its Web site, or to clarify that he had not cooperated with them.

None of the documents turned over to the Brennan Center make clear which police officials approved the showing of this film during training. Department lawyers blacked out large swaths of these internal memorandums.

Repeated calls over the past several days to the Clarion Fund, which is based in New York, were not answered. The nonprofit group shares officials with Aish HaTorah, an Israeli organization that opposes any territorial concessions on the West Bank. The producer of “The Third Jihad,” Raphael Shore, also works with Aish HaTorah.

Clarion’s financing is a puzzle. Its federal income tax forms show contributions, grants and revenues typically hover around $1 million annually — except in 2008, when it booked contributions of $18.3 million. That same year, Clarion produced “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” The Clarion Fund used its surge in contributions to pay to distribute tens of millions of copies of this DVD in swing electoral states across the country in September 2008.

“The Third Jihad” is quite similar, in style and content, to that earlier film. Narrated by Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim doctor and former American military officer in Arizona, “The Third Jihad” casts a broad shadow over American Muslims. Few Muslim leaders, it states, can be trusted.

“Americans are being told that many of the mainstream Muslim groups are also moderate,” Mr. Jasser states. “When in fact if you look a little closer, you’ll see a very different reality. One of their primary tactics is deception.”

Footage of an interview with the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, is used in the movie.Footage of an interview with the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, is used in the movie.

The film posits that there were three jihads: One at the time of Muhammad, a second in the Middle Ages and a third that is under way covertly throughout the West today.

This is, the film claims, “the 1,400-year war.”

How the film came to be used in police training, and even for how long, was not clear. An undated memorandum from the department’s commanding officer for specialized training noted that an employee of the federal Department of Homeland Security handed the DVD to the New York police in January 2010. Since then, this officer said, the video was shown continuously “during the sign-in, medical and administrative orientation process.” A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said it was never used in its curriculum, and might have come from a contractor.

As it turned out, it was police officers who blew the whistle after watching the film. Late in 2010, Mr. Robbins contacted an officer who spoke of his unease with the film; another officer, said Zead Ramadan, the New York president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, talked of seeing it during a training session the previous summer. “The officer was completely offended by it as a Muslim,” Mr. Ramadan said. “It defiled our faith and misrepresented everything we stood for.”

When the news broke about the movie last year, Mr. Browne called it a “wacky film” that had been shown “only a couple of times when officers were filling out paperwork before the actual course work began.”

He made no more public comments. Privately, two days later, he asked the Police Academy to determine whether a terrorism awareness training program had used the video, according to the documents.

The academy’s commander reported back on March 23, 2011, that the film had been viewed by 68 lieutenants, 159 sergeants, 31 detectives and 1,231 patrol officers. The department never made those findings public.

And just one week later, the Brennan Center officially requested the same information, starting what turned out to be a nine-month legal battle to obtain it.

“It suggests a broader problem that they refuse to divulge this information much less to discuss it,” Ms. Patel of the Brennan Center said. “The training of the world’s largest city police force is an important question.”

Mr. Browne said he had been unaware of the higher viewership of the film until asked about it by The New York Times last week.

There is the question of the officers who viewed the movie during training. Mr. Browne said the Police Department had no plans to correct any false impressions the movie might have left behind.

“There’s no plan to contact officers who saw it,” he said, or to “add other programming as a result.”

Cain: Majority of US Muslims Share Extremist Views

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by loonwatch
Only if you stayed making pizza...Only if you stayed making pizza…

A brief look into the inanities of Herman Cain. Take a look!

March of 2011: GOP Presidential Candidate “Resents” Muslim-Americans

… Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim, either in your cabinet or as a federal judge?

Cain: “No, I would not. And here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempted to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. … The question that was asked that ‘raised some questions’ and, as my grandfather said, ‘I does not care, I feel the way I feel.’ …

May of 2011: Cain Continues Walk-Back of Muslim Comments

“I immediately said, without thinking, ‘No, I would not be comfortable.’ I did not say that I would not have [Muslims] in my cabinet. If you look at my career, I have hired good people regardless of race, religion, sex gender, orientation and this kind of thing.”

June of 2011: Herman Cain Would Require Muslim Appointees To Take A Special Loyalty Oath

BECK: So wait a minute. Are you saying that Muslims have to prove their, that there has to be some loyalty proof?

CAIN: Yes, to the Constitution of the United States of America.

BECK: Would you do that to a Catholic or would you do that to a Mormon?

CAIN: Nope, I wouldn’t. Because there is a greater dangerous part of the Muslim faith than there is in these other religions. I know that there are some Muslims who talk about, “but we are a peaceful religion.” And I’m sure that there are some peace-loving Muslims.

July of 2011: Herman Cain: Americans Can Stop Mosques

“So, you’re saying that any community, if they want to ban a mosque…” Wallace began.

“Yes, they have the right to do that,” Cain said.

July of 2011 Part II: Herman Cain Issues Apology After Meeting With Muslim Leaders

On Wednesday, Cain met with four Muslim leaders in Sterling, Va. He said in a statement later he was “truly sorry” for comments that may have “betrayed” his commitment to the Constitution and the religious freedom it guarantees.

He also acknowledged that Muslims, “like all Americans,” have the right to practice freely their faith and that most Muslim Americans are peaceful and patriotic.

October of 2011: Herman Cain Defends His Sharia Conspiracy: ‘Call Me Crazy’

CAIN: Call me crazy. … Some people would infuse Sharia Law in our courts system if we allow it. I honestly believe that. So even if he calls me crazy, I am going to make sure that they don’t infuse it little by little by little. … American laws in American courts, period.

AMANPOUR: American laws are in American courts. So the people of this country should be safe for the moment.

Now Cain gives us another quote for November:

I have had one very well-known Muslim voice say to me directly that a majority of Muslims share the extremist views

I wonder who it was who told you. Maybe, Zuhdi Jasser, who was a star witness in the Peter King Trials?

Cain: Majority of US Muslims share extremist views

Herman Cain said that he believes a majority of American Muslims share extremist views in an interview published on Monday.

In an interview that included a few eyebrow-raising comments, Cain’s exchange about American Muslims may get the most attention.

“I have had one very well-known Muslim voice say to me directly that a majority of Muslims share the extremist views,” Cain said in an interview with GQ.

Asked if he thought this individual — whom Cain would only identify as “a very prominent voice in the Muslim community” — was right, Cain said that although he found it hard to believe, ultimately he trusted his adviser.

“Yes, because of the respect that I have for this individual. Because when he told me this, he said he wouldn’t want to be quoted or identified as having said that,” Cain said.

In March, Cain made waves when he said that if he were elected, he would not feel “comfortable” in appointing Muslims to his Cabinet.

The interview — which included questions from GQ‘s food critic — also touched on some of the culinary themes that have permeated the Republican nominating contest. Cain famously described himself as not the flavor of the week or month after his rise to the top of the polls, joking that instead he was Häagen-Dazs’s black walnut, a flavor that “tastes good all the time.”

The GQ writers challenged Cain to assign flavors to his competitors and Cain obliged, labeling Mitt Romney plain vanilla and Texas Gov. Rick Perry rocky road. He was then asked what flavor Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) would be:

“Michele Bachmann … I’m not going to say it. I’m not going to say it,” Cain said.

But pressed by his interviewers, Cain relented, saying that Bachmann would be “tutti-frutti.”

“I know I’m going to get in trouble,” Cain said.

The interview was conducted at Capitol Hill pizzeria Seventh Hill, and Cain — the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza — was asked what he could tell about a man from the toppings he ordered.

“The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is,” Cain responded. Pressed, he laughingly elaborated that “the more manly man is not afraid of abundance” and that a pizza piled high with vegetables was “a sissy pizza.”

The GQ comments were the latest in a string of questionable jokes and comments that might have derailed other candidates. Cain acknowledged as much, asking the GQ writers, “That probably wasn’t politically correct, was it?” at the conclusion of the interview.

At last week’s Republican presidential debate, Cain referred to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as “Princess Nancy,” but walked back the name almost immediately after the debate.

So far, Cain’s candid remarks and allegations of sexual harassment that have surfaced in recent weeks have done little to ding his popularity. A pair of polls released Monday from NBC and Battleground both show Cain still leading the Republican field.

Update: Herman Cain was talking about the other Muslims: spokesman

It turns out, when Herman Cain said the majority of Muslim Americans hold extremist views, he didn’t mean “Americans” as in Americans. Not at all. What he really meant, his campaign spokesman has clarified, was Muslims from some other country.

Cain just shut up!

Update II:  We just can’t keep up with Herman Cain’s fails; check out the latest:

Herman Cain: Thank God My Arab Doctor Wasn’t Muslim!

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by loonwatch

Loonwatch was live blogging the controversial (anti)-Muslim Hearings being chaired by bigoted ex-IRA terrorist supporter Peter King. It was a circus. It devolved along partisan lines with Republicans predictably falling behind the rhetoric and narrative of Peter King. Democratic Congressmen/women issued strong rebukes: Rep. Sheila J. Lee, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Sanchez, and others delivered the message home that these Hearings were nothing more than political theater meant to castigate and intimidate a minority group and most importantly they were bereft of facts and therefore unbeneficial.

The leading witnesses for King were non-experts, Zuhdi Jasser, AbdiRizak Bihi and Melvin Bledsoe, all of these individuals were bereft of any credentials or expertise in the field of radicalization, terrorism or extremism. Zuhdi Jasser is considered an apologist for Neo-Cons and is viewed with suspicion amongst American Muslims for his close association with Islamophobes and war-mongerers. AbdiRizak was incomprehensible at times and much of what he and Bledsoe said were anecdotal and not factual evidence.

King began the hearings with what can only be classified as a bigoted comment, he said, “Moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community.” He said this to set up a straw man argument for what would become a recurring attack on CAIR, almost making it into a hearing about CAIR.

After getting its name wrong, calling it the “Committee of American Islamic Relations,” he and other Congressmen labeled CAIR a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood group. This is the usual trope brought forth by Right-wingers and anti-Muslims such as Robert Spencer and co., the best response came from Sheriff Lee Baca (one of the anti-Loons of 2010) when he said, ‘If CAIR is this terrorist group or has terrorist links then why hasn’t the FBI prosecuted them? Why haven’t they charged them? They wouldn’t be around if they were terrorist or terrorist sympathizers.’

Some highlights included:

Keith Ellison made three important points: 1.) Security is important to all American Muslims, 2.) Hearings threaten our security and 3.) We need increased engagement with Muslims.

Ellison also got quite emotional while mentioning the story of a Muslim first responder who died saving people but was the victim of a smear campaign by Islamophobes who attempted to link him to the 9/11 attacks.

Andre Carson brought up an excellent point about the fact that cooperation between law enforcement and communities such as the American Muslim community is endangered by the backdoor actions and methodologies of  organizations such as the FBI when they send agent provocateurs into Muslim mosques. Such actions cause distrust and engender fear that Muslims’ civil rights and liberties are being violated. One really only has to look at the example in California of the criminal Craig Montielh who was later arrested and confessed that he was sent by the FBI on a fishing expedition to entrap Muslims.

There were also other quite interesting WTF moments: Such as when Peter King mentioned Kim Kardashian and CAIR in the same sentence. Or when non-expert witness Melvin Bledsoe told Rep. Al Green “you don’t know what these hearings are about.” There was also the earlier moment when Peter King denied making the comment that “there are too many mosques in America.” A blatant falsity.

We will have more in depth coverage but it is safe to say that American Muslims are in for a rocky Islamophobic time with these hearings.

Glenn Beck: Off the Rails and into the Abyss with Joel Richardson and Zuhdi Jasser

Posted in Feature, Loon Media, Loon Pastors, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2011 by loonwatch

Glenn Beck recently has been harping on and on about the impending doom of Armageddon, and he has figured out who the Anti-Christ is, an “Islamic figure” known as the “12th Imam” or “Mahdi.” To help promote his pseudo-religio-apocalyptic propaganda he had Joel Richardson (fundamentalist Christian) and Zuhdi Jasser, token Muslim beloved by Neo-Cons and wacko Islamophobes.

Beck claims he has been studying this “issue” for nearly five or six years, which is hard to believe when he can’t distinguish between Shi’as and Sunnis:

This hysteria is quite revealing. The Christian right-wing has always scapegoated or somehow cast America’s perceived “enemies” at one time or another as the Anti-Christ. During the Cold War the Soviet Union and its Premieres were the Anti-Christ, during the Gulf War it was Saddam Hussein, at various points throughout history it has been the Pope, and Jerry Falwell thought it obvious that theAnti-Christ was a “male Jew.”

It would almost be an exercise in futility (since they are so obvious) to rebut the horrendous, blatant factual inaccuracies regarding Islamic Eschatology here, but a brief response is necessary.

In the first instance it must be noted that Islamic Eschatology is a debated topic with various theological opinions amongst scholars, and both Sunni Islam and Shia’ Islam have different views of the events and also place different levels of importance on these End Times characters/scenarios. For Shia’ Twelver Islam the Mahdi is a central figure of their Faith whereas amongst Sunnis he is not central to the Faith.

Before we approach this subject it must be made abundantly clear that Muslims believe that no one, not the Prophets, Saints nor the Angels know when the Last Day/End Times will begin. This knowledge belongs only to God because he is the one who has decided it:

“They ask you about the Hour (Day of Resurrection): ‘When will be its appointed time?’ Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (Alone). None can reveal its time but He. Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth. It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden.’ They ask you as if you have a good knowledge of it. Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with God (Alone), but most of mankind know not.’”

[al-‘Araf 7:187]

2 – God says:

“People ask you concerning the Hour, say: ‘The knowledge of it is with God only. What do you know? It may be that the Hour is near!’”

[al-Ahzaab 33:63]

Ibn Katheer (3/527) said:

God tells His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that he has no knowledge of the Hour and that when the people ask him about that, he should refer the matter to God.

Al-Shanqeeti said (6/604):

It is known that the word innama (translated here as “only”) has the effect of limiting or restricting the meaning, so what the verse means is: No one knows when the Hour will come except God alone.

3 – God says:

“They ask you (O Muhammad) about the Hour — when will be its appointed time?

You have no knowledge to say anything about it.

To your Lord belongs (the knowledge of) the term thereof

You (O Muhammad) are only a warner for those who fear it”

[al-Naaz’iaat 79:42-45]

al-Sa’di said:

Because knowing the time of the Hour serves no spiritual or worldly purpose for people, rather their interests lie in it being concealed from them, the knowledge of that has been kept from all of creation and God has kept it to Himself. “To your Lord belongs (the knowledge of) the term thereof.” (via. IslamQA)

It also must be made abundantly clear that according to Islamic doctrine no one, I repeat no one has the ability to hasten the Last Day/End Times. The logic goes: How can one hasten something God has already decided? Nothing any Muslim or non-Muslim does or doesn’t do has one iota of an effect on hastening or bringing closer the End Times. This is completely and utterly in the power of God. To believe otherwise is considered disbelief and counter to Orthodox Islamic teaching amongst all Sunni groups and schools of thought, and I would venture to say most Shia’ groups and schools of thought as well (Shia’ readers feel free to add comments).

Furthermore, Islamic ‘Aqeeda, belief that Allah knows everything and all things happen through His power and Will is so profound and deeply ingrained that the idea of hastening the Last Days never occurred as a theological possibility, it was unimaginable! There is not much said about it over 1400 years of Islamic history precisely because it was inconceivable and absurd from an Islamic viewpoint.

In fact, throughout history individuals who have claimed to have been mahdis or messiahs have generally not had a very happy end: they have either been persuaded to repent, forced to repent, jailed, killed or castigated as false pretenders. (hat tip: Ahmed)

The cult of Juhayman al-Otaibi is a case in point. He is the famous mastermind behind the siege of the Grand Mosque of Mecca in 1979. He was forwarding the concept that his brother-in-law was the awaited Mahdi. To do so — amongst other things — he attempted to fulfill some of the “signs of the Last Hour” mentioned in Hadith. Juhayman and 67 of his followers were (after being captured) summarily executed.

What we are really seeing from Glenn Beck and the Christian Right crowd that he is pandering to with these insane antics is a classic case of PROJECTION. It is in fact many in the Christian Right who believe that the End Times, the Last Days can be hastened. They actually believe they have a role in bringing Jesus Christ back to Earth!

One of the violent consequences of this disastrous theology is that they believe the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque must be destroyed and the Third Jewish Temple be built for Jesus to return to earth. Imagine the repercussions if they are successful in this mad dash to instigate cataclysm?

The one piece of evidence that Islamophobes, Beck and his ilk use to try to instill fear in the populace is their de-contextualized recital of a hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad) and its variations that says, ‘the Last Day will not arrive until the Jews fight the Muslims and the Muslims defeat them.’

Beck and company want to pass off and interpret these ahadith as somehow calling for a hastening of the End Times. Not only is this interpretation antithetical to Islamic creed, not only is it an interpretation NEVER forwarded in the 1400 years of Islamic history by any of the hadith commentators (I have Fath al-Bari by Imam Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, Sharh Sahih Muslim by Imam Nawawi, and other commentaries open in front of me right now), but it exposes a profound and disgustingly immense historical amnesia.

Why wouldn’t Muslims over the course of 1400 years, at a time when Christian Europe was murdering and enslaving Jews under the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude have exterminated Jews if Beck and his cohorts are right? Why were Jews thriving in the Muslim world? Why were they being appointed as Viziers, Advisors, Diplomats, Physicians to the Caliphs, Sultans and Amirs? Why was the Golden Age of Jewish thought and culture, the revivification of Hebrew (a previously near dead language) in lands ruled by Muslims? (I am currently writing a book review for LW on The Oranament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal).

No doubt these ahadith have been used in a bellicose and bigoted manner over the past 80 or so odd years due to the political situation in the Middle East, i.e. the conflict between the creation of Israel and occupation and repression of Palestinians. But can the anti-Muslims who forward the claim that Muslims are using these ahadith to hasten the End Times bring one shred of evidence in which these ahadith have been used to instigate or incite pogroms or to usher in the Last Days over the last 1400 years? Maybe Bernard Lewis can help in this regard?

What Beck and co. are saying would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that it was so dangerous. Some nut or group of nuts is going to see his show and start arming himself against the evil Mooslims and think to himself that he has to get the Mooslims before they get him.

 

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.

 

NYPD’s Muslim Horror Flick Sparks Outcry

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by loonwatch

Did Spencer sneak into the room or something?

NYPD’s Muslim Horror Flick Sparks Outcry

A major city Islamic organization is putting a few tough questions to the NYPD about how a loony Muslim-bashing movie came to be shown to city cops, as reported in this week’s Voice.

“Our nation’s battle against terrorism is only made more difficult whenever security officers are taught to view all Muslims, and the faith of Islam itself, with suspicion,” saidCouncil on American-Islamic Relations-New York Board President Zead Ramadan. “We call on Commissioner Kelly to order an internal probe of how this propaganda film came to be used and to put policies in place to ensure that NYPD training is not biased by agenda-driven materials — or trainers — targeting any religious or minority community.”

Ramadan said he has asked for a meeting with NYPD officials to find out how cops came to view “The Third Jihad” — a blood-splattered 72-minute feature suggesting that even moderate Muslims are engaged in a conspiracy to put America under radical Islamic rule. The Voice asked police officials the same question after a cop complained that he and others undergoing anti-terror training were made to sit through the film this month at a police training facility in Coney Island.

Deputy police commissioner Paul Browne initially said the film had never been shown to cops, but later confirmed that the movie was shown at least twice. The screenings were a mistake, Browne said.

Makers of the movie, a secretive right-wing nonprofit group called the Clarion Fund, are still ducking their own questions about how they got so lucky to get their flick screened by impressionable young law enforcement officers.

 

Reza Aslan Rips Republican Zuhdi Jasser on Mosque

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2010 by loonwatch

Reza Aslan, an Islamic scholar and an accomplished writer, blogger, and emerging popular culture figure was on CNN opposite Zuhdi Jasser, a contributor to Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum and a contributing writer for the virulently anti-Islam Family Security Matters.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOp4O9FwzRw 350 300]

 

The Clarion Fund’s Second Dud: The Third Jihad

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large, Loonwatch Updates with tags , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2009 by loonwatch
Clarion Fund

Clarion Fund

The Clarion Fund has released a new film following up on their 2005 movie Obsession: Radical Islam’s War against the West called The Third JihadThird Jihad paints a picture of a nefarious plot by a cabal that includes all mainstream Muslim organizations to take over and dominate America. The movie, reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, centers around the purported discovery of a document describing a strategic secret plot by Muslims to undermine Democracy and replace it with Sharia’ laws (More on the movie below).

Unless you were sleeping in a cave during the 2008 Presidential election you’re probably aware that the mysterious Clarion Fund is the same organization that distributed 28 Million DVD’s of their controversial film Obsession, which compares Islam to Nazism, in newspapers in swing states across America.

The movie was widely discredited for its cast of radical and extreme pundits, some of whom (Daniel Pipes, Brigitte Gabriel, Walid Shoebat, Steven Emerson) we have featured on LoonWatch.  As our articles showed, these Islamophobes have a history of bigoted and derogatory statements regarding Muslims and Islam.

The film itself was compared to Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 pro-Nazi film Triumph of the Will. Broward-Palm Beach New Times called it “misleading and dangerous.” Jeff VanDenBerg, director of Middle East Studies at Drury University, called the film “a blatant piece of anti-Muslim propaganda.”

During the campaign to distribute Obsession, news reports at the time quickly revealed that their main motivation was to shift the focus during the Presidential election from the Economy to the issue of National Security, the area in which John McCain lead in polls:

“An editorial in the Palm Beach Post outlined the apparent political motivation behind the Clarion Fund campaign:

“Distribution of the DVD…was timed with the post-Labor Day start of presidential election season. About 95 percent of the papers that contained the DVD are in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and New Hampshire.

“Notice a pattern? Right, those are the swing states that most analysts believe will determine the election. The issue on which polls consistently show John McCain ahead of Barack Obama is national security. One way to make voters worry less about the economy and more about national security would be to send out a DVD that opens with clips of 9/11 and includes scenes of Muslims chanting ‘Death to America!'”

The Clarion Fund is linked to Aish HaTorah, an Israeli educational and advocacy group. During the election there was a wide outcry as to whether or not the Clarion Fund violated its non-profit status by promoting John McCain on its website.

According to the Delaware Department of Corporations, Robert (Rabbi Raphael) Shore, Rabbi Henry Harris and Rebecca Kabat incorporated Clarion Fund. All three of whom are reported to serve as employees of Aish HaTorah International.

This is the track record with which we are confronted when it comes to the Clarion Fund,  dishonest techniques stripped of any context in an attempt to further their own right-wing agenda.

The Third Jihad

This leads us to the Clarion Fund’s newest hit job that paints mainstream American Muslim organizations as a fifth column, insidious secret society looking to rule the United States. The Third Jihad is essentially an updated and reconfigured version of Obsession or as some have called it “Obsession on steroids.” Instead of the overt comparisons of Islam with Nazism, or of a cosmic battle between good and evil, the object this time is to warn against a threat they term  “Cultural Jihad” carried out from within by American Muslims.

In Third Jihad, just as in Obsession, there is the cliche disclaimer at the start of the film that the movie is not about the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful, yet in Third Jihad just as in Obsession, the rest of the film quickly and completely trumps what becomes an empty disclaimer.  Both films fail to make consistent distinctions between Islam and Radical Islamism, and at times conflate the two.  As the IPS (Inter Press Service) notes:

Radical Muslims, by having children, spreading their faith, and ensuring their ability to practice Islam as they see fit, are working a ‘demographic jihad’ in which they see themselves emerging as a majority and making Islam the dominant religion of the U.S. – eventually to take over the nation altogether – contend Jasser and the films creators.

But that prospect seems unlikely in the U.S., where Muslim Americans are generally regarded as well-assimilated and not radicalised.

The film itself also contains inconsistencies in terms of differentiating between Islam and radical Islam.

For example, the graphic that the film used to demonstrate the spread of an Islamic state across the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe used a tiled picture of a green crescent with a star between its points. The crescent and star are the symbol of Islam in general.

The documentary was produced by the Clarion Fund, a U.S.-based non-profit that was embroiled in controversy last year when it distributed its last movie, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” to nearly 30 million homes in the ‘swing states’ that normally decide U.S. presidential elections.

Its 501(c)(3) status as non-profit means the group is legally exempt from paying taxes and is prohibited from involvement in electoral politics.

IPS investigations also tied the production and distribution of “Obsession” to right-wing Israeli groups and U.S.-based neoconservatives.

The central focus of the film is the purported discovery of a document which claims Muslim organizations are seeking to “destroy” the West from within and replace Democracy with Islamic law worldwide. This ploy is similar to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion which is a tract alleging a Jewish and Masonic plot to achieve world domination. Purportedly written by a secret group of Jews known as the Elders of Zion, the document underlies 24 protocols that are supposedly followed by the Jewish people.

The movie also suffers from a lack of credibility with most of the pundits it chooses to interview.  For example one of the pundits is Tawfiq Hamid (!) who is labeled an ex-terrorist. Tawfiq’s story is not corroborated by any independent sources, he has also made blatant statements describing Muslims as terrorists and Islam as evil. On the Orla Barry Show he stated, “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.” He is also featured on radical Islamophobe Walid Shoebat’s website  and has appeared with him on talk shows and other venues.

This hate movie is available online and its central protagonist is Zuhdi Jasser who is also the narrator of the film. Jasser is cast as an all American hero, clips of him having moments with his family are reminiscent of episodes out of Full House, complete with sentimental  muzak equivalent to the quality one hears in elevators. Jasser is the lone American Muslim (all the others are either “scared” or “silent”) standing up against radicals. He is the “moderate” who is seeking to reform Islam while at the same time save America from the ignored threat of “homegrown radical Muslims.”

Is Jasser an unbiased chronicler of American Islam, and is he the right advocate to counter radical Muslims?

Considering his radical associations and partisan attachment to the far right wing of the Republican party, the answers are no.

As Richard Silverstein writes, “To put it plain and simple, Jasser is a Muslim neocon.” He created a 501c3 designated organization AIFD (American Islamic forum for Democracy) whose agenda is a “barely concealed” form of radical Republicanism. 501c3 designated organizations are not allowed to meddle in partisan politics.

Jasser has himself publicly participated in the political process. In this endorsement of a far-right pro-Israel Colorado Republican legislative candidate, he strangely takes aim at the candidate’s Republican American Muslim opponent:

“A brief word about Mr. Sharf’s primary opponent. Mrs. Rima Barakat Sinclair has no apparent record, prior to this election of…any traditional conservative issues. Previously, her sole political agenda seems to have been anti-Israel activism. Her candidacy seems to be more a product of Islamist politics than of ideas central to conservative American principles and activism. Sadly, candidates out of this mold, who conflate the Israeli-Palestinian crisis with their Islamic identity actually harm more than they help the genuine pluralistic advancement of American Muslims. Most Muslims are actually quite diverse in their domestic and foreign policy politics and do not accept the collectivist agenda of political Islam (Islamism).”

It is certainly no accident that Sinclair’s opponent, Joshua Scharf, is a right-wing pro-Israel militant.

In this National Review interview, Jasser enthusiastically promotes a Republican agenda:

“Lopez: Do you like what you’re hearing out of any of the presidential candidates?

Jasser: (First a necessary caveat – the following is my personal opinion only and in no way that of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy).

Yes, I think most of the Republican presidential field is much more honest than the Democrats in articulating the real stakes in this war of ideas of the free world versus the Islamists. While most of the Republican candidates are in the right anti-Islamist arena, only a few have been able to articulate it clearly enough and with enough candor to get my attention. I am far from making up my mind on a candidate yet, but am encouraged by a lot of what I see from some of the candidates.

I am most heartened by what I am hearing from Rudy Guliani’s campaign, with Governor Mitt Romney very close behind in my mind. Mayor Guliani understands the toxicity of the Saudis and their Wahhabis…He is not afraid to articulate the conflict in ideas between Western freedom and Islamist theocracy…He names our enemies by name, and is not afraid to stand for principle and substance in foreign policy over diplomatic platitudes (i.e. against the Saudis, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood), and other Islamists.

Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign has also demonstrated a willingness to mince no words when discussing the ideologies we are facing. He identifies jihadists as our enemies and uses his important position of national and global leadership to clearly frame the debate as one between the ideology of Islamism (Caliphism, jihadism, and theocracy) versus freedom.

…John McCain’s articulation of the stakes in the Iraq war has always been very impressive, and I hope that other candidates can look to his clarity on the issue as an example of principle.”

His disclaimer is a laugh since the group’s website lists him as founder and president. Only one other individual is listed on the entire website as a staff member of the group. No board members are listed (though he refers to the existence of one). So Jasser IS AIF. If Jasser is a right-wing Republican, so is AIF. Which makes a 501c3 designation problematic.

Jasser is also a member of the Middle East Forum created and ran by neo-con Daniel Pipes as well as “the pro-Israel and neocon Committee on the Present Danger. He has spoken before the Hudson Institute. He writes for Family Security Matters, Middle East Quarterly, and other far-right websites.”  If this doesn’t give you a hint about the agenda that drives Jasser and the purpose of this film nothing will.

Third Jihad is the newest product that Clarion Fund and its supporters are seeking to peddle after Obsession failed to make Americans believe that there was an insiduous global conspiracy by Muslims to destroy the West. Its use of innuendo, hearsay, questionable associations and disreputable pundits makes the film fit nicely into the long history of demonizing propaganda that seems to be the hallmark of the Clarion Fund.