Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hassan Shibly: CAIR's Position on Terry Jones (the Qu'ran burning pastor who's moving to Tampa)

"Be tolerant and forgiving, command what is right and pay no attention to foolish people." ~Translation of the Holy Quran 7:199
"The servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk humbly on the earth, and who, when the foolish address them, reply, ‘Peace’" ~ Translation of the Holy Quran 25:63
God commands Muslims to turn away from those that insist on ignorance; He commands us to reply to words of hate and foolishness with words of peace.
Where else can such beautiful advice apply, than to the likes and actions of people like Terry Jones, who soon plans to move to Tampa and is seeking headlines by threatening to burn thousands of copies of the Holy Quran. 
The reality is that the best response to people like Jones is simply to ignore him.  However, some in the media have insisted on giving him attention. Therefore, the purpose of this post is to clarify once and for all our position on people like Jones and share general advice on how to respond to such ignorance and hatred.
People like him are not worth our time, and are simply ignorant seekers of attention. 
They do not reflect the beautiful teachings of Jesus (Peace be Upon Him) who taught loving thy neighbor. Nor do they reflect American values which teach freedom of religion and respecting diversity.
They often view the world through a hypocritical double standard. They show simple mindedness by conveniently blaming an entire faith for the criminal acts of a few when the faith is alien to them. To them, if a Muslim does something bad, they blame Islam. Yet ironically, they do not blame their own faith for the inquisition, the witch-hunts, the enslavement of Africa, the killing of millions of Native Americans, the bombing of abortion clinics,the shootings of Sikhs, the burning down of mosques, the mass shootings by white supremacists, and so on. 
They demonize an entire faith and people because of the acts of a few, but ignore the fact that many more people have been killed by members of their own faith; that most terrorists have no association with any religion; that even then such terrorists are motivated by political grievances, not religion; and that the threat of terrorism from any particular community is extremely over-hyped.
I mention these points to make it clear, it is simple mindedness, ignorant, and hypocritical to blame an entire group of people for the acts of a few. There are good and bad people among us all and all faiths have been hijacked to advance political agendas and commit heinous crimes. 
The likes of Jones are no different than so-called Muslim extremists, who claim that Islam and America are incompatible. 
Their actions show nothing but insecurity about their own beliefs and are reminiscent of the book burning of the dark ages when thousands of books science, religion, and philosophy were burnt by a church that felt insecure by the thoughts and ideas contained in the books.
While they can burn books, they cannot extinguish the light that such books produce in the heart of humanity. In fact, the fires they burn only increases the light, as the more attention they bring to Islam, the more people study it on their own and see the beauty of the faith for themselves. So the more awareness and attention they bring Islam, the better.
The hatred and intolerance the likes of Jones promote only serves to bring together the moderates in the community, and the American people as a whole have rejected his hateful message. 
If anything, his actions are unproductive and just causes more pollution in our beautiful Florida environment. Can you imagine the carbon footprint the burning of 3,000 books will unnecessarily cause?
There is concern that their hateful speech actually sometimes incites violence against minorities. In the past year many Sikh and people perceived to be Muslim have been shot or killed by people who follow Jones' type of intolerance, several mosques have been burnt down, and in 2011 Anders Breivik, a Christian white supremacist killed dozens of children citing Islamophobes to justify his violence. 
Thus the best reaction to ignorant individuals preaching hatred to seek attention is simply to ignore them, and make them irrelevant. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Return of the Anti-Muslim Bigots

BY:  I I May 10, 2013 I [Original Article]

“These are not the droids you’re looking for.” One reason that Obi Wan Kenobi quote is so well known and so often invoked with a wink is because it succinctly captures American politics’ most favorite bait and switch: the tactic whereby partisans deny the existence of a phenomenon that’s there for everyone to see, all so that the phenomenon can continue unabated. This “Star Wars”-ism, indeed, is a perfect way to understand the way Islamophobia works in America, and not because of Tatooine’s Arabian aesthetic (it was filmed in Tunisia), but because the way so many seem intent on pretending anti-Muslim sentiment doesn’t exist, all to make sure it continues to flourish.
The aftermath of 9/11 is, of course, the best example. In the years following the attack, conservatives from Rush Limbaugh to Commentary magazine’s Jonathan Tobin have insisted with straight faces that there was never any evidence that many Americans blamed all Muslims for the act of a small group of terrorists. Willfully ignored in such analyses was the fact that after 9/11 violent anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by 1,600 percent; Muslim communities have been subjected to mass surveillance in New York (even though, as CUNY’s Diala Shamasnotes, “the NYPD still cannot point to a single lead or prosecution that has resulted from this strategy”); mosques have been targeted for attack; polls documented a spike in open prejudice against Muslims (including one showing almost half of the country supportive of curtailing the constitutional rights of Muslim citizens); and Muslims now face a disproportionately high rates of job discrimination. Meanwhile, after 9/11, conservative media outlets became megaphones for Islamophobic rhetoric.

Now, unfortunately, the same thing is playing out after the Boston bombing.
 Limbaugh has insisted that innocent Muslims “will be in no way associated with” the attack and pundits like the Telegraph’s Brendan O’Neill claim that anti-Muslim bigotry is just “a figment of liberals’ imaginations.” Yet, here is but a taste of what’s happened in just the three weeks since the Boston attack:
- The Boston Globe reports that a Palestinian woman walking with her baby daughter was assaulted in the Boston suburb of Malden by an assailant blaming her for the bombing.
- The New York Post reports that a Bangladeshi man was beaten nearly unconscious by New Yorkers as retribution for the Boston bombing.
- The Washington Post reports that a Muslim cab driver, who was also a U.S. Army reservist Iraq War veteran, was assaulted by a passenger who “compared him to the men accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon.”
U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called for Muslims to be subjected to more intensive mass surveillance.
Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., appeared on national television to declare that America’s “enemy” are all “young Muslim men.”
- Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League (an organization whose mission is to combat rather than foment bigotry), publicly justified proposals for mass surveillance of all Muslims.
- On national television, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade called for installing listening devices in mosques.
Ann Coulter appeared on syndicated radio to declare that all mosques be put under police surveillance.
- On national television, Fox News host Bob Beckel not only called for barring Muslim students from visiting the United States, but also said that young Muslims already in America on visas “should be sent back home or sent to prison.”
Conservative comedian Erik Rush said the Boston bombing proves Muslims “are evil — let’s kill them all.”
As evidenced by the pattern after the Boston bombing — and by how the pattern follows pre-Boston bombing trends — these are not isolated incidents. On the contrary, they are part of an unsurprising pattern. As conservative media outlets at once pretend there is no Islamophobia in America but then use the horrible actions of a handful of Muslim extremists as an excuse to vilify all Muslims, Islamophobic bigotry and the threat of hate crimes follow. It is as predictable as it is lamentable.
To know that this is specifically Islamophobia and not just generalized anger following an inexcusable act of violence, just remember that, as Tim Wise notes, America saw no similar rhetorical or physical assaults targeted at specific demographic groups after the violence of:
Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols and Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph and Joe Stack andGeorge Metesky and Byron De La Beckwith and Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton and Herman Frank Cash and Robert Chambliss and James von Brunn and Lawrence Michael Lombardi and Robert Mathews and David Lane and Chevie Kehoe and Michael F. Griffinand Paul Hill and John Salvi and Justin Carl Moose and Bruce and Joshua Turnidge andJames Kopp and Luke Helder and James David Adkisson and Scott Roeder and Shelley Shannon and Dennis Mahon and Wade Michael Page and Jeffery Harbin and Byron Williamsand Charles Ray Polk and Willie Ray Lampley and Cecilia Lampley and John Dare Baird and Joseph Martin Bailie and Ray Hamblin and Robert Edward Starr III and William James McCranie Jr. and John Pitner and Charles Barbee and Robert Berry and Jay Merrell andBrendon Blasz and Carl Jay Waskom Jr. and Shawn and Catherine Adams and Edward Taylor Jr. and Todd Vanbiber and William Robert Goehler and James Cleaver and Jack Dowell and Bradley Playford Glover and Ken Carter and Randy Graham and Bradford Metcalf and Chris Scott Gilliam and Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder and Buford Furrow and Benjamin Smith and Donald Rudolph and Kevin Ray Patterson and Charles Dennis Kiles and Donald Beauregard and Troy Diver and Mark Wayne McCool and Leo Felton and Erica Chase and Clayton Lee Wagner and Michael Edward Smith and David Burgert and Robert Barefoot Jr. and Sean Gillespie and Ivan Duane Braden and Kevin Harpham and William Krar and Judith Bruey and Edward Feltus and Raymond Kirk Dillard and Adam Lynn Cunningham and Bonnell Hughes and Randall Garrett Cole and James Ray McElroy andMichael Gorbey and Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman and Frederick Thomas and Paul Ross Evans and Matt Goldsby and Jimmy Simmons and Kathy Simmons and Kaye Wigginsand Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe and David McMenemy and Bobby Joe Rogers andFrancis Grady and Cody Seth Crawford and Ralph Lang and Demetrius Van Crocker andFloyd Raymond Looker and Derek Mathew Shrout and Randolph Linn.
Noting the disparity in how we react to different acts of terrorism is not to argue that other demographic groups should be treated the way American Muslims are too often treated. Quite the opposite, in fact; it is to argue that there are unfortunately violent extremists who hail from most demographic groups, and we should focus our anti-terrorism actions intensely on those individuals. However, we shouldn't blame whole groups of innocent people for the acts of those individuals.
That ideal is the kind of principle our country may not always live up to, but that we do at least conceptually value to the point of teaching it to kids in kindergarten. Indeed, it’s hard to be publicly against the notion of not blaming groups for the actions of individuals because the principle is basically a version of the Golden Rule — that is, it is how everyone wants to be treated in their own lives. Thus, why we so often hear conservatives’ laughable “not the droids you’re looking for” denials from Limbaugh et al. about anti-Muslim bigotry, all while they turn around and stoke such bigotry.
Why the bait and switch? More specifically, why are conservative media outlets and politicians obsessed with stoking anti-Muslim animus? That’s a  subject for a whole other article (or, better yet, book) involving everything from the right’s notions of a religious war to neoconservative ideas about foreign policy to just straight up bigotry. But there’s also undoubtedly a shrewd political calculation at work.
Right now, the Republican Party is tearing apart at the seams. Simply put, for various (obvious) reasons, the GOP’s unholy alliance of super-wealthy country clubbers and working-class cultural conservatives is now fraying. Ratings-hungry conservative media outlets and desperate politicians are therefore grasping for any issue or cause that unifies the conservative audience across increasingly wide economic, cultural and class lines. According to polling data, Islamophobia is sadly one of the few things that can achieve that among Republicans. So it has become a central organizing principle on the right.
Conservative leaders cannot openly admit to that political calculation, of course. Thus, the “these are not the droids you’re looking for” denials. But that’s clearly what’s at work, and if it isn’t routinely called out, it will continue, and probably get worse.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2013 Legislative Session Summary: Anti-Sharia Bill Defeated!!

By LobbyTools I The Florida Current I May 7, 2013 I [Original Article]

2013 Session Summary: Crime and Law Enforcement
Florida legislators didn't do anything about guns or touch the state's much-discussed "stand your ground" law during the 2013 session.
'No Foreign Law' Bill, aka the 'Anti-Sharia Law' Bill died on Friday May 3rd. 
On the final day of the session, a bill by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, forbidding application of any foreign legal code in Florida courts was killed. It did not mention any country or creed, but was widely called the "Sharia law" bill because proponents feared that some people might apply tenets of their faith to trump American constitutional rights.
Policy Note: Application of Foreign Law
The full House approved HB 351 to ban the use of foreign nations' laws in Florida courts, while the Senate companion languished the Senate Rules committee until withdrawn April 30. References to "Sharia law" in past failed attempts to pass such a law have been replaced with "foreign law." These failed this year, too.

Get the full summary here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The same motive for anti-US 'terrorism' is cited over and over

By: Glenn Greenwald  | The Guardian  |  April 24, 2013  | [Original Article]

"In the last several years, there have been four other serious attempted or successful attacks on US soil by Muslims, and in every case, they emphatically all say the same thing: that they were motivated by the continuous, horrific violence brought by the US and its allies to the Muslim world - violence which routinely kills and oppresses innocent men, women and children..."

"It should go without saying that the issue here is causation, not justification or even fault. It is inherently unjustifiable to target innocent civilians with violence, no matter the cause (just as it is unjustifiable to recklessly kill civilians with violence). But it is nonetheless vital to understand why there are so many people who want to attack the US as opposed to, say, Peru, or South Africa, or Brazil, or Mexico, or Japan, or Portugal. It's vital for two separate reasons."

First, some leading American opinion-makers love to delude themselves and mislead others into believing that the US is attacked despite the fact that it is peaceful, peace-loving, freedom-giving and innocent. As these myth-makers would have it, we don't bother anyone; we just mind our own business (except when we're helping and liberating everyone), so why would anyone possibly want to attack us?

With that deceitful premise in place, so many Americans, westerners, Christians and Jews love to run around insisting that the only real cause for Muslim attacks on the US is that the attackers have this primitive, brutal, savage, uncivilized religion (Islam) that makes them do it. Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan favorably cited Sam Harris as saying that "Islamic doctrines ... still present huge problems for the emergence of a global civil society" and then himself added: "All religions contain elements of this kind of fanaticism. But Islam's fanatical side - from the Taliban to the Tsarnaevs - is more murderous than most."

Jon Stewart Skewers Fox News' Hypocrisy on the Constitution amid Boston Bombing Manhunt

ML Rosenberg: It's Time to Reconsider US Policies That Create Terrorists

By MJ Rosenberg | The Huffington Post | April 24, 2013 |  [Original Article]

There is one change that the United States could make in response to the terrorism threat that is never discussed. That is to consider the part U.S. policies have played in creating and sustaining it.

I understand that we are not supposed to say this, as if discussing why we are hated justifies the unjustifiable: the targeting of innocent Americans because of the perceived sins of their government.

But nothing justifies terrorism. Period. That does not mean that nothing causes it.
Acts of terror do not come at us out of the blue. Nor are they directed at us, as President George W. Bush famously said, because the terrorists "hate our freedom." If that was the case, terrorists would be equally or more inclined to hit countries at least as free as the United States, those in northern Europe, for instance. No, terrorists (in this case Muslim terrorists) target the United States because they perceive us as their enemy. And with good reason.

We have been at war with the people of various Muslim countries for decades, since perhaps as early as 1953 when we engineered Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh's overthrow in Iran after he nationalized the oil industry. Since then the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, on a pretext that was shown to be phony, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. That war came after over a decade of U.S.-sponsored sanctions that resulted in the deaths of more than a million Iraqis, including more than a half million children due to malnutrition and diseases caused by the lack of clean water and medicine.

Then there are the current sanctions against Iran, ostensibly to deter its government from developing nuclear weapons but, in practice, punishing the Iranian people by degrading their quality of life as well as their health. (Just one example: the Iranian civilian airline has experienced a major spike in air crash deaths since sanctions have prevented it from purchasing parts needed to replace worn and outmoded machinery).

Then there are the drone attacks. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in February that, as of then, U.S. drone attacks had killed 4,700 men, women and children (including, he notes, "innocent people") in Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan.

Juan Cole: Terrorism and the other Religions

By Juan Cole I Islamophobia Today I April 23, 2013 I [Original Article]

Contrary to what is alleged by bigots like Bill Maher, Muslims are not more violent than people of other religions. Murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States.
As for political violence, people of Christian heritage in the twentieth century polished off tens of millions of people in the two world wars and colonial repression. This massive carnage did not occur because European Christians are worse than or different from other human beings, but because they were the first to industrialize war and pursue a national model. Sometimes it is argued that they did not act in the name of religion but of nationalism. But, really, how naive. Religion and nationalism are closely intertwined. The British monarch is the head of the Church of England, and that still meant something in the first half of the twentieth century, at least. The Swedish church is a national church. Spain? Was it really unconnected to Catholicism? Did the Church and Francisco Franco’s feelings toward it play no role in the Civil War? And what’s sauce for the goose: much Muslim violence is driven by forms of modern nationalism, too.
I don’t figure that Muslims killed more than a 2 million people or so in political violence in the entire twentieth century, and that mainly in the Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 and the Soviet and post-Soviet wars in Afghanistan, for which Europeans bear some blame.

relviolenceCompare that to the Christian European tally of, oh, lets say 100 million (16 million in WW I, 60 million in WW II– though some of those were attributable to Buddhists in Asia– and millions more in colonial wars.)
Belgium– yes, the Belgium of strawberry beer and quaint Gravensteen castle– conquered the Congo and is estimated to have killed off half of its inhabitants over time, some 8 million people at least.
Or, between 1916-1917 Tsarist Russian forces — facing the Basmachi revolt of Central Asians trying to throw off Christian, European rule — Russian forces killed an estimated 1.5 million people. Two boys brought up in or born in one of those territories (Kyrgyzstan) just killed 4 people and wounded others critically. That is horrible, but no one, whether in Russia or in Europe or in North America has the slightest idea that Central Asians were mass-murdered during WW I and looted of much of their wealth. Russia at the time was an Eastern Orthodox, Christian empire (and seems to be reemerging as one!).
Then, between half a million and a million Algerians died in that country’s war of independence from France, 1954-1962, at a time when the population was only 11 million!

I could go on and on. Everywhere you dig in European colonialism in Afro-Asia, there are bodies. Lots of bodies.

Now that I think of it, maybe 100 million people killed by people of European Christian heritage in the twentieth century is an underestimate. Read more here...

CBSMiami reports 'Anti-Foreign Law Bill Can't Pass Senate'

By Staff Writer | CBSMiami  | May 3, 2013  | [Original Article]

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – A bill that would have banned Islamic, or Sharia Law, along with other foreign laws from being applied in state courts died in the legislature Friday.
Senate President Don Gaetz on Friday declared the bill (HB 351) “resolved” after its sponsor decided not to ask for the unanimous vote required to move the bill forward. It had failed a previous procedural vote on Thursday. The House approved the legislation on a 79-39 vote last month.

The bill is similar in scope to bills in a handful of other states. The push for the bills began a few years ago when extremist wings of political parties began to spread the word that Sharia Law could be creeping into the United States.

The theory has been pushed by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and others. Bachmann has repeatedly said in the past that President Barack Obama wants to institute Sharia Law in the United States, even though President Obama isn't Muslim.

Florida’s law doesn't mention a specific set of foreign laws and instead targets foreign laws in general. But the need for such a law doesn't seem to be needed, according to the Florida Bar Association. No case could be found where a Florida court applied foreign law.
It led critics to call the foreign law ban a solution to a “phantom menace.”

Read more on this 'phantom menace' phenomenon here.

Western Islamophobia And How It Has Everything To Do With Ignorance

By Fatimah I Carbonated TV I April 23, 2013 I [Original Article]

Everyone saw that coming. Islamophobic rhetoric was inevitable as soon as it was announced that the FBI and law enforcement agencies had started looking for suspects responsible for the horrific Boston Marathon explosions.

Obnoxious anti-Islamic and Islamophobic statements from hate-mongering right wingers like Pamella Geller, Peter King, and Glenn Beck etc were more or less expected. Let’s analyze them one by one.
Republican Peter King said on Saturday, “It is time to recognize the real threat to the United States that comes from Islamic Terrorism which means law enforcement must keep a heightened focus on Muslim communities.”

Notorious Islamophobic blogger Pamela Geller wrote a blog (in a hurry) following the arrest of a Saudi national who turned out to be a witness later. Geller wrote, “Jihadi Arrested in Horrific Boston Marathon Bombing.”

Glenn Beck, a conservative radio show host is adamant that the Saudi national, who was initially a suspect, is in fact tied to the attacks and Beck has ‘incontrovertible evidence’ to prove it.
And last but certainly not the least; Erik Rush was probably one of the first media personalities to initiate anti-Muslim rhetoric after the explosions. He tweeted that all Muslims in the world deserve to be killed.  

Read More from Fatimah and Carbonated TV

Western Islamophobia

Friday, May 3, 2013

Terrorists in the Military!

I just got off the phone with Brett Roark, father of Mike Roark. Mike and his girlfriend were executed by a Military Terrorist Group FEAR which planned to do many terrorist acts throughout the east coast and kill the president:

Last month, another one of the FEAR members was charged with killing his wife to collect insurance money to finance weapons for attacks from Georgia to Washington State: and

Apparently there is an ongoing investigation of FEAR in the military. 

Brad has two concerns: First, that based on what prosecutors have told him, he strongly believes there are still members of FEAR serving in the military, and second he wonders why the public is so focused on threats from the Muslim community, but very little attention given to a Military Terrorist Cell that murdered 4 people and was planning on committing terrorist attacks throughout the States and killing the president?