Friday, August 31, 2012

RNC gambles with anti-Sharia platform

By A. Bedier, N. Ahmad | |
"On Tuesday, delegates to the Republican National Convention voted in support of the 60-page party platform that has been described as "the most conservative in modern history." An ultra-right wing ideology has overtaken the Republican agenda, evidenced by the platform's extreme positions on decisive issues, including immigration, women's rights, foreign policy and even Sharia law, the Muslim religious code.

While Democrats may have taken Muslim voters for granted, the Republicans have altogether discounted them to their detriment. In an election that could be decided by razor-thin margins, the proposed GOP platform is alienating undecided Muslim voters. The attempt to galvanize the party base with anti-Muslim rhetoric could backfire. Over the course of Mitt Romney's campaign, anti-Muslim bigotry has been used to extol votes and spur fundraising efforts.

... Deepa Kumar, professor and author of "Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire," said to Alternet: "The discourse about 'Muslim terrorism' is so dominant in this country, and Muslims have been so thoroughly vilified, that no savvy politician is going to come to the defense of Muslims. To do so, you would actually have to have principles and ethics, both of which have little place in our money dominated electoral system." She continued, "The Democrats at best stay silent and at worst tacitly add to this climate. At the broader level, this is because both Democrats and Republicans share a common vision for U.S. foreign policy."

The Republican delegates' official adoption of an anti-Muslim platform, will likely catalyze Muslim voters to cast a ballot against Romney. The GOP anti-Sharia position has led to a major uptick in Muslim voter registration campaigns across the country... [Read More]

...Incidentally, this election, like 2000, could be decided by a single state and a few hundred votes. If so, by pushing an anti-Muslim agenda on its party platform, the Republicans are purposefully sideswiping their Muslim constituents and gambling with potential votes. Perhaps the Republican National Convention should have been moved from the Forum to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino because in this high-stakes election the GOP is betting on the wild card of ignorance and racism"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The GOP has a Muslim problem

By Dean Obeidallah | CNN | August 29, 2012 | [Original Article]

"(CNN) -- A Catholic priest, a rabbi, an evangelical minister, a Sikh, a Greek Orthodox archbishop and two Mormon leaders walk into the Republican National Convention.

It sounds like the beginning of a joke. But the Republican Party's decision to invite representatives from all of these faiths to speak at this week's convention, but to exclude a Muslim-American imam, is anything but funny.

The Republican Party has a problem with Muslims. Of course, American Muslims can take some solace in the fact that we are not the only minority group that the Republican Party hardly welcomes.

Let's be honest, if you don't like Muslims, blacks, gays, immigrants or other minorities, which political party would make you feel most comfortable? Sure, some Republican officials are minorities, but a recent Galllup survey
found that 89% of the Republican Party is white..."

"... Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus still has time to correct this mistake. He could invite a Muslim-American imam to be a part of this week's convention. That would send a clear message that the Republican Party is truly welcoming of all major religions practiced in the U.S.

It also would send a message that there is no place for hate in the GOP against any American minority group. It's now up to Preibus to show whether the Republican Party stands for inclusiveness or division."

Monday, August 27, 2012

10 differences between white terrorists and other terrorists

By Prof.Juan Cole
  1.  White terrorists are called “gunmen.”What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.” 
  2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners. 
  3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion. 
  4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed. 
  5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream. 
  6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies. 
  7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations. 
  8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies. 
  9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane. 
  10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Poll: GOP really dislikes Muslims

By Alex Seitz-Wald | Salon | August 23, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Anyone wondering why Rep. Michele Bachmann would launch a witch hunt against Muslims or why the Republican Party would add a plank to its platform opposing Shariah law need look no further than a new poll conducted by the Arab American Institute.

The poll, released today, asked Americans for their views on various religious groups, as well as on Arabs and Arab-Americans. It also asked respondents how confident they would be that a Muslim or Arab-American holding a position of influence in government could do their job without letting “ethnic loyalty … influence their decision-making.”..."

"... Not surprisingly, those who said they knew a Muslim-American or Arab-American held significantly more positive views than those who said they didn’t know any. Interestingly, a full 60 percent of both Republicans and Democrats said they don’t personally know someone who is Arab or Muslim.

The poll was conducted by JZ Analytics, the firm run by John Zogby, the brother of Jim, who is the head of the Arab American Institute. The online survey of 1,052 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted between Aug. 15 and 16, and had a confidence interval of 95 percent and margin of error +/- 3.1 percentage points."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Spate of attacks near Ramadan trouble U.S. Muslims

By Yasmin Amer and Moni Basu | CNN | August 22, 2012 | [Original Article]

"(CNN) -- To mark the end of Islam's holiest month, Iftikhar Ali will head not to a mosque but to a convention center guarded by law enforcement officers.

That's because this month, during Ramadan, the mosque in Joplin, Missouri, burned to the ground. Its rubble smoldered for two days as a shocked Muslim community came to terms with what had happened.

"I think there are a few people who don't like anybody," Ali said. "They don't like a different color than their color or different religions."

Ali, who is the president of the Joplin mosque, said the congregation rented a convention center so people would have a place to pray and celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of fasting for Ramadan..." [Read More]

Hooper, the spokesman for the Islamic Council, said Muslims in the United States have been asked to exercise caution. The council released a tip sheet on security: know your emergency responders, post observers, report threats, install surveillance cameras.

Hooper said anti-Muslim rhetoric has been building for years, especially from groups formed specifically to fight against Islam in the United States.

"Anti-Muslim hate groups are a relatively new phenomenon in the United States, most of them appearing in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups..."

"...He said all Muslims have a right to practice their faith without fear.
On this Eid, that may not happen in some houses of worship in America."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GOP Platform Takes Hard Stance Against Imaginary Sharia Threat

By Ryan J. Reilly | TMP | August 21, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The Republican National Convention adopted an amendment to their platform supporting a ban on foreign law, with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) specifically stating that Sharia posed a threat to America.

"We see it from the top where the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly quoted foreign law in interpreting our U.S. constitution and it's actually coming in at the bottom as well, it's being raised as an argument in courts around the country," Kobach said.

"I'm not aware of any court that's accepted the argument, but in cases involving either spousal abuse or assault or other crimes against persons, sometimes defenses are raised that are based in Sharia law," Kobach said. "We actually put a provision affecting Kansas statute this year and I think it's important for us to say foreign sources of law should not be used as part of common law decisions or statutory interpretations by judges in the lower state courts as well.""

Jonathan Kay: North America is safe from Sharia

By Jonathan Kay | NationalPost | August 21, 2012 | [Original Article

"In a recent Daily Beast article, I criticized right-wing American activists who have become convinced that a network of influential Washington insiders is secretly conspiring to turn the United States into a Muslim theocracy governed by the laws of Shariah. The launching off point for my article was the recent letter-writing campaign by Michelle Bachmann, and four other GOP congressional representatives, aimed at sniffing out alleged Muslim Brotherhood operatives. But I also profiled American Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney, who served as an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration...

 ...In recent years, Gaffney has become an influential guru for Bachmann and other anti-shariah activists, and I held up his claims as an example of what I regard as paranoia. For example, his web site, muslimbrotherhoodinamerica, suggests that America is under attack from “a stealthy and pre-violent form of warfare aimed at destroying our constitutional form of democratic government and free society,” and that this secret force is the reason that America is “no closer to victory in the so-called ‘war on terror’ than we were on 9/11.” I wrote that Gaffney’s overall message, while well-intentioned, essentially amounts to a conspiracy theory — with the Muslim Brotherhood cast as arch-villain...

...That 1991 memo exemplifies the truth that there always will be isolated extremists within Western societies — whether Islamists, or white supremicists (like the Milwaukee shooter) who spend their days dreaming of revolutions that are never going to happen. When we discover them, they should be investigated and prosecuted. But I’d urge Mr. Gaffney not to puff up their revolutionary delusions to such a point that they become fuel for witch hunts."

Creeping Counterterrorism: From Muslims to Political Protesters

By Sahar Aziz | | August 21 2012 | [Original Article]

"Few Americans are surprised to hear that 9/11 shifted our domestic terrorism focus from neo-Nazis and white supremacists to Muslims in America. What may come as a surprise, however, is the pervasive use of anti-terrorism powers against non-Muslims as well, including white middle-class protesters - as we saw in the Occupy movement.

The 9/11 terrorists' warped misinterpretation of Islam triggered a maelstrom of expanded national security powers selectively enforced against American Muslims en masse. Mosques are infiltrated with dubious and highly paid informants, thereby chilling religious freedom. Mentally unstable young Muslim men are targets of overzealous counterterrorism sting operations, and Muslim student associations are under mass surveillance for no apparent reason other than the religious identity of their members. Despite the serious civil liberties implications of such selective enforcement, it has occurred with minimal opposition by the American public.

Our shortsighted forfeiture of civil liberties based on fears of the "Muslim other" now equips our government to quash political dissent..." [Read More]

"... By believing in the fallacy of the "Muslim terrorist other," we weakened our resolve to protect fundamental American values. As a result, post-9/11 counterterrorism authorities are used to spy, infiltrate, entrap, arrest and aggressively prosecute any protesters.

When we allow governments to forfeit our civil rights to protect "us" from "them," we lose sight of how quickly we can become the "them."

So, how many more Americans must be subjected to civil liberties violations before we realize that no one is immune from creeping counterterrorism?"

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Quiet Campaign of Violence Against American Muslims

By Peter Beinart | TheDailyBeast | August 20, 2012 | [Original Article]

"When muslim extremists attacked their third American church in three days, the cable networks cut away from regular programming to cover the news. When militants vandalized a Christian school in Illinois two days later, both presidential candidates issued statements denouncing the wave of jihadist violence. When terrorists shot up another church the day after that, President Obama flew to comfort the parishioners. By the sixth attack, Rush Limbaugh was demanding that the Obama administration ditch its politically correct pussyfooting and acknowledge the Muslim fifth column in our midst. After the seventh attack, lawmakers introduced legislation giving the feds additional powers to detain American citizens suspected of extremist views. After the attack, a group of congressmen suggested that the U.S. halt immigration from Muslim countries.

None of this happened. But in recent weeks, here’s what has. On Aug. 4, teenagers pelted a mosque in Hayward, Calif., with fruit. On Aug. 5, Wade Michael Page murdered six congregants and wounded a police officer at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, quite possibly because he thought the Sikhs were Muslim. That same day, a man vandalized a mosque in North Smithfield, R.I. On Aug. 6, a mosque in Joplin, Mo., was burned to the ground. On Aug. 7, two women threw pieces of pork at the site of a proposed Islamic center in Ontario, Calif. On Aug. 10, a man allegedly shot a pellet rifle at a mosque near Chicago while people prayed inside. On Aug. 12, attackers fired paintball guns at a mosque in Oklahoma City, and a homemade bomb filled with acid was thrown at an Islamic school in Lombard, Ill. On Aug. 15, assailants threw a Molotov cocktail at the home of a Muslim family in Panama City, Fla..." [
Read More]

The Muslim populace, not America, is under siege

By S. Amjad Hussain | ToledoBlade| August 20, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Most Americans reacted with disgust and revulsion when a white supremacist opened fire in a Sikh gurdwara and killed six innocent people in suburban Milwaukee this month.

It is heartwarming that all segments of society condemned this wanton act of terrorism, and the bizarre philosophy that underpins such acts. But we seldom reflect on why such things happen. What compels a man such as Wade Michael Page to go on a rampage?

Perhaps the same reasons compelled U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, a psychologist, and Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, each of whom faces charges in mass shootings, to kill innocent people in the cause of something they hold dear..."
[Read More]

"...Last year, the Associated Press published a series of investigative reports about the New York Police Department and the FBI infiltrating Muslim communities and mosques. According to the reports -- which won a Pulitzer Prize -- the NYPD sent undercover officers into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program.

The police also sent informants called "mosque crawlers" to monitor activities and sermons. This was done not as a result of specific information, but as part of a wide dragnet. Many of these mosque operations and infiltrations of Muslim student groups were put together with the help of the CIA.

The New York Times reported this month that the much-touted psychological profiling of passengers at Logan International Airport in Boston turned out to be the guise for indiscriminate racial profiling of Middle Easterners, African-Americans, and Hispanics"

Friday, August 17, 2012

‘It’s Not Islamophobia, It‘s Islamorealism’: Anti-Islamic Ads Go Up in N.Y. Suburb

By Madeleine Morgenster | | August 17, 2012 | [Original Article]

"An anti-Islamic advertisement is causing a stir in suburban New York with its message of “Islamorealism.”

It reads: “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01 (and counting). It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

Signs with the message have gone up at several Metro-North Railroad stations in Westchester County, N.Y., according to the
Journal News. They’re paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, led by activist Pamela Geller — the same group behind similar anti-jihad ads that recently appeared in San Francisco.

But not everyone agrees: Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner told the
New York Daily News he says the advertisements “encourage hatred.” He wants to see the profits from the ad campaign donated to help fight discrimination.

“There are many Muslims residing in Greenburgh and in our villages,” Feiner said. “They should not be discriminated against. The posters encourage hatred, discrimination and do not help the efforts to fight hate crimes.”..." [Read More

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fazaga v. FBI: Eroding democracy, in two dimensions at once

By Shahid Buttar | ConstitutionCampaign | Aug 16, 2012 | [Original Article]

"On Tuesday, August 14, a federal judge issued a disturbing ruling allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to evade public accountability for infiltrating faith institutions, monitoring law-abiding people, recording sexual encounters, and then lying about all of it. Carney’s decision erodes democracy in two dimensions at once, enabling ongoing constitutional violations by the executive branch while, at the same time, eroding judicial independence.

The ruling is especially surprising given the judge’s previous criticism of the FBI for lying to him in court.

Fazaga v. FBI addressed claims by a series of southern Californians challenging a long running secret infiltration of their faith institutions by an ex-convict and undercover FBI informant named Craig Monteilh. After being promised a six figure payment to infiltrate mosques across southern California—and even to record sexual encounters with women in those communities to enable subsequent blackmail—Monteilh blew a whistle and joined a case brought by the Council on American-Islamic Relations; Hadsell, Stormer, Richardson & Renick LLP; and the ACLU of Southern California..." [Read More

The US Government Can Track Your Location at Any Time Without a Warrant

By Adam Serwer | MotherJones | August 16, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Is law enforcement tracking your cell phone's GPS more like intercepting a phone call or tailing someone on the street? A federal court decision says it's more like following you—which means the authorities don't need to get a warrant to find out where you are at any given time.

The case involves a marijuana courier, Melvin Skinner, whose disposable cell phone was being tracked by the Drug Enforcement Agency as he moved his cargo from Arizona to Tennessee. The DEA got a court order (not a warrant) compelling Skinner's cell phone company to share his GPS information—the release of which led to Skinner's capture and arrest.

Skinner's lawyers argued the DEA tracking his cell was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure because the location information being given off by his phone wasn't publicly available..." [Read More]

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The sham “terrorism expert” industry

By Glenn Greenwald | | August 15, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Shortly prior to the start of the London Olympics, there was an outburst of hysteria over the failure to provide sufficient security against Terrorism, but as Harvard Professor Stephen Walt noted yesterday in Foreign Policy, this was all driven, as usual, by severe exaggerations of the threat: “Well, surprise, surprise. Not only was there no terrorist attack, the Games themselves came off rather well.” Walt then urges this lesson be learned:
[W]e continue to over-react to the “terrorist threat.” Here I recommend you read John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart’s The Terrorism Delusion: America’s Overwrought Response to September 11, in the latest issue of International Security. Mueller and Stewart analyze 50 cases of supposed “Islamic terrorist plots” against the United States, and show how virtually all of the perpetrators were (in their words) “incompetent, ineffective, unintelligent, idiotic, ignorant, unorganized, misguided, muddled, amateurish, dopey, unrealistic, moronic, irrational and foolish.” They quote former Glenn Carle, former deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats saying “we must see jihadists for the small, lethal, disjointed and miserable opponents that they are,” noting further that al Qaeda’s “capabilities are far inferior to its desires.”

In the next paragraph, Walt essentially makes clear why this lesson will not be learned: namely, because there are too many American interests vested in the perpetuation of this irrational fear:Mueller and Stewart estimate that expenditures on domestic homeland security (i.e., not counting the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan) have increased by more than $1 trillion since 9/11, even though the annual risk of dying in a domestic terrorist attack is about 1 in 3.5 million. Using conservative assumptions and conventional risk-assessment methodology, they estimate that for these expenditures to be cost-effective “they would have had to deter, prevent, foil or protect against 333 very large attacks that would otherwise have been successful every year.” Finally, they worry that this exaggerated sense of danger has now been “internalized”: even when politicians and “terrorism experts” aren’t hyping the danger, the public still sees the threat as large and imminent..." [Read More

Who's Behind the Anti-Islam Ads on MTA and Muni?

By Adam Serwer | | August 15, 2012 | [Original Article]

"They're popping up on public transit all over New York and San Francisco: Advertisements sponsored by anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller that imply Muslims are "savages," dismiss "Islamophobia" as "Islamorealism," and urge passengers to "support Israel" and "defeat jihad."

This isn't the first time Geller, who warned America about "stealth halal" turkeys last Thanksgiving, has used a public transit ad campaign to get her views out. In 2010, she sponsored ads attacking a proposed Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero as a "Mega Mosque" celebrating the 9/11 attacks. Another ad campaign Geller sponsored offered help to those who may have a "Fatwa on [their] head" and are considering "leaving Islam." This time, her ads, which are sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)—one of the many anti-Islam groups Geller is associated with, were so controversial that New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially rejected them.

One of Geller's ads features a paraphrase of an Ayn Rand quote, "in any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man." The text also urges people to "support Israel" and "defeat jihad." When the MTA rejected that ad on the grounds that it was defamatory towards a group on the basis of religion, Geller and her attorney David Yerushalmi (the man behind much of the anti-Shariah legislation being proposed in conservative states) sued..." [Read More

CAIR Asks FBI to Probe Firebomb Attack on Fla. Muslim Family

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Muslim group: Republican ‘Islamophobia machine’ encouraging violent attacks

By Stephen C. Webster | TheRawStory | August 14, 2012 | [Original Article]

an acid bomb being hurled at a Muslim school in the Chicago suburb of Lombard, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told Raw Story that the number of attacks on American Muslims has escalated recently due in part to the Republican Party’s “Islamophobia machine” encouraging a tiny minority of extremists toward increasingly violent behaviors.

About 50 people were inside the Lombard school building for Ramadan prayers when the acid bomb exploded, according to area media. The unknown attacker reportedly filled a 7-Up bottle with acid and other materials, then threw it at a window. Nobody was injured, but worshipers said they heard a loud explosion when the bomb went off. CAIR asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Tuesday morning to immediately begin searching for the individual responsible.

For Illinois Muslims, Monday night’s acid bombing marks the second attack on a Muslim-affiliated installation in less than a week. Police arrested 51-year-old David Conrad last weekend after he allegedly opened fire on a mosque in Morton Grove, Illinois, narrowly missing a security guard as worshipers prayed inside. The FBI said it would leave the investigation of the mosque shooting to local law enforcement..." [Read More]

Friday, August 10, 2012

Did Islamophobia Fuel the Oak Creek Massacre?

By Moustafa Bayoumi | The Nation | August 10, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The tragedy of the shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, is enormous. Six innocent people were gunned down in a Sikh temple by a white supremacist—but they weren’t innocent because they were Sikh, they were innocent because, well, they were innocent! Had Wade Michael Page walked into a mosque and begun shooting Muslims, the victims of his rampage would have been no more deserving of death.

It’s true that we don’t yet know Page’s precise motivations, but in all likelihood it wasn’t Sikhophobia, a term barely known in the United States. It was
Islamophobia. That’s why to say that Page made a “mistake” in targeting Sikhs, as many have reported, or that Sikhs are “unfairly” targeted as Muslims, as CNN stated, is to imply that it would be “correct” to attack Muslims. Well, it’s not, and even if this is an error embedded in the routine carelessness of cable news, we need to be attentive to the implications..."

"...But Islamophobia is real. Not only does it exist but it’s an increasingly toxic part of the political discourse of this country. To think that the compulsive hatred and fear of Muslims is reserved for the extreme right is to wall oneself off from how mainstream conservative discourse participates in this paranoid obsession that the old America is being nefariously and surreptitiously taken away from them. At bottom, this is an anxiety about the loss of privileges and power, quite likely related though not exclusively driven by downward economic mobility. (The New York Times
offered the suggestive detail that property Page owned in North Carolina was foreclosed on in January.) Whatever the causes, the form that this hatred takes is cultural, and Muslims, Mexicans, non-white immigrants, really anyone who isn’t “American” by the most conservative definition becomes suspect..." [Read More]

What makes our NDAA lawsuit a struggle to save the US constitution

By Tangerine Bolen | | August 10, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...I am one of the lead plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the president the power to hold any US citizen anywhere for as long as he wants, without charge or trial.

In a May hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against it; this week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government lawyers asserted even more extreme powers – the right to disregard entirely the judge and the law. On Monday 6 August, Obama's lawyers filed an appeal to the injunction – a profoundly important development that, as of this writing, has been scarcely reported..."

"...In the earlier March hearing, US government lawyers had confirmed that, yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA..."

... I, like many in this fight, am now afraid of my government. We have good reason to be. Due to the NDAA, Chris Hedges, Kai Wargalla, the other plaintiffs and I are squarely in the crosshairs of a "war on terror" that has been an excuse to undermine liberties, trample the US constitution, destroy mechanisms of accountability and transparency, and cause irreparable harm to millions...." [
Read More]

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Take: Sikh temple shooting is act of terrorism

By Arsalan Iftikhar | CNN | August 6, 2012 | [Original Article]

"imagine that you woke up on a beautiful Sunday morning to hear the news of a brown, bearded, gun-wielding madman who stormed into a Wisconsin church full of blond-haired parishioners and killed six innocent people.

If that scenario did occur, would most Americans have any problem calling that an act of "terrorism"?

Of course not.

Now imagine that the shooter was a white man and the innocent victims were bearded brown men and head-covered women. Suddenly, the discussion of "terrorism" gets a lot more complicated.

Of course, this is exactly what happened in a Milwaukee suburb on Sunday, when six people and the alleged gunman were killed at a Sikh temple.

… t's important for our greater American society to also condemn acts of terrorism when the perpetrator happens to be a white guy.

If not, we send millions of people of color around America the message that the term "terrorism" has been co-opted, that it shall apply only when brown bearded men are the shooters and not when they are the tragic victims.

Unless we acknowledge this attack on the Sikh temple as an act of terrorism, we will essentially be relegating brown-skinned Americans to second-class citizenry by perpetuating the myth that "terrorism" is only a Muslim, Arab or South Asian phenomenon and beyond the pale for any white person to commit.

To give another recent example, imagine that a brown Arab Muslim male tried to assassinate a member of Congress by shooting her in the head, killing six innocent people and wounding 13 others outside a grocery store during this assassination attempt.

Would we have any trouble calling this scenario above an act of terrorism? Nope.

Since authorities say the gunman was a white dude named Jared Lee Loughner, he was just a kooky loner whose mental health must have been the triggering factor. But if his name were Ali Akbar Nahasapeemapetilon, nobody in America would care a bit about his mental health issues." [Read More]

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Muslims Are Everywhere! A Response to Michele Bachmann

By Rabia Chaudry | TheHuffingtonPost | August 2, 2012 | [Original Article]

"I confess, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, until recently I didn't believe your theories of an Islamic infiltration of the U.S. government...

...But I was wrong. I realized this when, a few days ago, I sat in the Pentagon with a couple of hundred other Muslims and listened to a rousing speech on the beauty of fasting in Ramadan by the Ambassador of South Africa to the U.S., his Eminence Ebrahim Rasool. He recited Quran and narrated hadith in the Pentagon... All of it right inside the Pentagon...

... I returned home with a book entitled "Muslim Veterans of American Wars." It lists the names of hundreds of American Muslim servicemen and women who fought in every war going back to the Revolutionary War. Yes, there were Muslims who fought in the Revolutionary War. And the War of 1812. And the Civil War, WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and in our current global War on Terror. As Americans, for America..." [Read More]

...So there you have it, undeniable evidence that Muslims are indeed everywhere and the Islamification of America must therefore be well underway. We serve and work in nearly every government and private sector in the United States. American Muslims are law enforcement officers, athletes (including an American hijabi Olympic athlete!), artists and musicians, teachers,judges, business owners, you name it. We're driving your cabs, giving you root canals, ruling on your lawsuits, pumping your gas, making your gyros. And all the while innocent Americans are the mercy of our sharia-infested, Muslim Brotherhood-inspired whims. Truly the stuff of nightmares..."

FBI: New York Police Violate Muslims’ Rights

By Ronald Kessler | | August 1, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — The New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims violates their rights and produces no intelligence of any value, the FBI has found.

The disclosure comes in an epilogue to the paperback edition of my book “The Secrets of the FBI,” to be published Aug. 7.

Under Director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI not only trampled on Americans’ rights but often failed to focus effectively on real threats such as spies and terrorists. That was because Hoover did not distinguish between criminal conduct and constitutionally guaranteed expression of free speech.

New laws and rigid oversight and guidelines put an end to these practices. But FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and other top FBI officials have been shocked to find that since 9/11, the New York City Police Department has been engaging in practices reminiscent of FBI abuses under Hoover.

In early 2012, the Associated Press began disclosing the NYPD Intelligence Division’s tactics. They include indiscriminate surveillance of mosques and businesses owned by Moslems and reporting on left-wing meetings throughout the country..." [Read More]

Temple Attack Shows Jihadis Aren’t the Only Terrorists

By Spencer Ackermam| | August 6, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The FBI is treating Sunday’s attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, as a “possible act of domestic terrorism” — raising the possibility that the face of domestic terrorism in the United States looks different than the homegrown jihadism many have forecasted...

...While counterterrorism analysts have long predicted a rise in domestic terrorism from American jihadis, there haven’t been any successful attacks pulled off by homegrown Islamic militants — with the prominent exception of the 2010 Fort Hood attack committed by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. (Others, like would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, tried and failed in their attack attempts.) But there have been non-jihadist terrorist attacks committed by people who were extremists, but definitely not Muslims: the white supremacist attack on the U.S. Holocaust Museum in 2009, for instance, and the 2010 airplane attack on an Internal Revenue Service building in Austin...

...The fact that a white non-Muslim man pulled off a prospective act of terrorism is a reminder that terrorism is not limited to any race, color, religion or creed. Counterterrorism experts have long warned against racial, ethnic or religious profiling, since terror organizations recruit from non-Arab communities (British-Jamaican would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid; Nigerian would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab); and because terrorists can be non-Muslims who have not attracted the suspicions of law enforcement. Carlson said that Page had “contact with law enforcement in the past” but not enough to warrant an investigation..." [Read More]

Saturday, August 4, 2012

All Islamists now; The case that a political term has outlived its usefulness

By Thanassis Cambanis | The Boston Globe | August 4, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...As they do, "Islamist" is quickly becoming a term as broadly applicable and as useless as "Judeo-Christian" in American and European politics. If important distinctions are emerging within Islamism, that suggests that the lifespan of "Islamist" as a useful term is almost at an end that we've reached the moment when it's time to craft a new language to talk about Arab politics, one that looks beyond "Islamist" to the meaningful differences among groups that would once have been lumped together under that banner.
Some thinkers already are looking for new terms that offer a more sophisticated way to talk about the changes set in motion by the Arab Spring. At stake is more than a label; it's a better understanding of the political order emerging not just in the Middle East, but around the world..."

"...Over the years, the term "Islamist" continued to be a useful catchall to describe the range of groups that embraced religion as a source of political authority. So long as the Islamist camp was out of power, the one-size-fits-all nature of the term seemed of secondary importance.

But in today's ferment, such a broad term is no longer so useful. Elections have shown that broad electoral majorities support Islamism in one flavor or another..." [Read More]

"...They are sure to evolve as competing movements sharpen their ideologies, and as the lofty rhetoric of religion meets the hard road of governing. The importance of moving beyond "Islamism" will only grow: After all, what we call the "Islamic world" includes about a quarter of the world's population, stretching from Muslim-majority nations in the Arab world, along with Turkey, Pakistan, and Indonesia, to sizable communities from China to the United States..."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Complaint against Cape Coral counter-terrorism instructor to be heard by directors

By Cristela Guerra | | July 26, 2012 | [Original Article]

A recent complaint about counter-terrorism instructor Sam Kharoba of Cape Coral by the Council on American-Islamic Relations is going to be brought up at a meeting of the Florida Criminal Justice Training Center Directors Association on Oct. 31 in Sarasota....

...Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey made the request for the issue to be placed on the agenda in a letter reply to CAIR on Wednesday...

...They [CAIR] requested that he be removed from teaching. Kharoba is not certified to teach through FDLE though he received an exception. His academic experience is in computer software engineering and he lived in Jordan when he was younger... [Read More]

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FBI: NYPD Muslim surveillance program 'a waste of money'

By Jane C. Timm | | August 1, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...A new book hitting shelves next week finds that some of the first responders to that apartment three years ago, the FBI, find the NYPD's program to be a "waste of money" and has barred agents from dealing with the department's intelligence division, the New York Daily News reported this morning…

But FBI sources reportedly told book author Ronald Kessler, " We will not be party to it."..."

A pointless pledge on guest speakers

Times Editorial | TampaBayTimes | August 1, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The made-up controversy over guest speakers in the public schools shows how far some Hillsborough County tea party activists will go to throw the entire school system in reverse. This campaign is aimed not solely at censoring the voices of Muslims in this community. It stands as a warning shot to the board that a vocal minority not entirely sold on public education in the first place wants to micromanage the eighth-largest school district in the country.

Activists are bullying School Board candidates to sign a pledge obligating them to block the appearance of speakers from the local Council on American-Islamic Relations. Candidates would do "everything" in their power to enable parents to make the final decision on whether a child attended a presentation by CAIR or another "controversial" organization... [Read More]

...The pledge fans the myth that parents are somehow unable to take part in their child's education, when nothing could be further from the truth."