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Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI): Love Me or Hate Me

altmuslim - 29 January, 2015 - 22:37
The Muslim Leadership Initiative, sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute, has been a topic of great controversy in the American Muslim community and beyond. Altmuslim is publishing a few perspectives this week, and we welcome your comments below. By Samar Kaukab Here is a fact: most Americans, and even many American Muslims, have never heard [Read More...]

BBC: The Russians Fighting A ‘Holy War’ In Ukraine

Loon Watch - 29 January, 2015 - 20:59

Holy_Russia

What if they were Muslim?

By Tim Whewell, BBC

Even when the morning sun catches the gold domes of its Orthodox churches, the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, stronghold of the pro-Russian rebels, doesn’t look much like Jerusalem. Trolley-buses trundle through the dirty snow, past belching chimneys and the slag-heaps from the coal-mines on the edge of town.

But through the smoke and grime, Pavel Rasta sees a sacred city – and he’s fighting for it, Kalashnikov in hand, just like the Crusaders fought for the heart of Christendom centuries ago. He may be a financial manager – most recently working in a funeral parlour – who’s never held a gun before in his life, but he sees himself as the modern version of a medieval knight, dedicated to chivalrous ideas of Christian purity and defending the defenceless.

And the defenceless, for him, are the citizens of eastern Ukraine, mainly Russian-speaking, who are under attack, as he sees it, by a ruthless Ukrainian government intent on wiping them out culturally, or even physically.

Ukraine_Russian_Orthodox_Christian_CrusadersPavel, from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don – a tall man in his late 30s with a fashionably trimmed beard and a bookish air – is just one of hundreds, perhaps as many as 1,000, Russian volunteers fighting in Ukraine.

The conflict around the self-proclaimed separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk has now dragged on for eight months – with at least 4,600 killed, even by the most conservative, UN, estimate. Despite Kremlin denials, evidence from intelligence sources, and Russian human rights groups, suggests thousands of regular Russian troops have also been fighting there, alongside a larger number of local rebels. But men like Pavel say they aren’t there under orders, or for money, but only for an idea, the idea of restoring a Russian empire. It would be Orthodox, like the empire of the tsars, including Ukraine and Belarus.

“Why do I say Donetsk is Jerusalem? Because what’s happening here is a holy war of the Russian people for its own future, for its own ideals, for its children and its great country that 25 years ago was divided into pieces,” Pavel says.

We’re sitting on his narrow, squeaky bed in a barracks in Donetsk, our conversation interrupted periodically by the boom of shelling and the crackle of gunfire. Like the other Russians here, he says he’s paid for much of his equipment and travel arrangements himself. Some kit and food comes from donations channelled through Russian nationalist organisations, while their weapons – in this unit, mostly rifles – are from the rebel military authorities, originally captured from Ukrainian forces or supplied by Russia.

Few Western journalists have been allowed to meet the volunteers before – revealing any Russian involvement in the war is sensitive – and some of his comrades in this unit of Russian and Ukrainian volunteers are nervous about our presence.

They’re a mixed bunch: some are retired professional soldiers hardened by Russia’s wars against the Chechen rebels, some former policemen – and possibly, secret service agents – who later went into business, some youngsters who’ve never even served in the army. And their cultural reference-points are bewilderingly eclectic. The image of Orthodox Crusaders sits uneasily with the emblem of the brigade they serve in – a skull-and-crossbones – and their motto: “The more enemies – the more honour.”

Badge on uniform

Read the entire article…

Sharia Watch UK and the Metamorphosis of Anne Marie Waters

Loon Watch - 29 January, 2015 - 20:38

Ann Marie Waters

Ann Marie Waters

By Hilary Aked, Institute of Race Relations

Spinwatch, which investigates and campaigns on PR, propaganda and lobbying in politics, is currently investigating the counterjihad movement. If we want to empower and inform the anti-racist movement to build a stronger counter-narrative challenging the increasingly mainstream nature of anti-Muslim bigotry, we need to know about the counterjihad ‘intellectuals’ spreading Islamophobic ideas. This article is part of that investigation. 

Following the indefensible massacres in Paris there have been equally unjustifiable attacks on Muslim communities in France, including the murder of a Moroccan man near Avignon. Meanwhile Germany has been startled by the rapid rise of ‘PEGIDA’, a movement which claims to oppose ‘the Islamisation of the West’ and may be linked to the murder of an Eritrean man in Dresden, where the protests began. Islamophobic politics across Europe is marching into the mainstream. The UK is far from immune.

The far-right English Defence League (EDL) – which emerged in 2009 just as rapidly as PEGIDA did in late 2014 – did not disappear with the departure of former leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson). It has, however, been complemented by emerging, ostensibly more respectable groups. One such group is Sharia Watch UK, led by a woman called Anne Marie Waters.

Anne Marie Waters joins UKIP

When prominent British Muslim journalist Mehdi Hasan spoke for the motion ‘Islam is a peaceful religion’ in a February 2013 debate at the Oxford Union, he joked that one of the opponents of the motion, Anne Marie Waters (then working for an organisation called One Law For All, which has since condemned her), should join UKIP. Her anti-Islam views were virulent even then, but at that point she still claimed to be merely a ‘left wing critic’ of Islam. Indeed just eighteen months ago she was nearly selected as a parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party. However, in May 2014 Waters announced that she had in fact joined UKIP – and declared herself ‘proud’ to stand as that party’s candidate for Basildon and Billericay.

Since then she appears to have been de-selected as a UKIP candidate. This might be because her lurch to the right did not stop there. She founded the organisation Sharia Watch UK, and has begun to appear in public alongside prominent European figures involved in the ‘counterjihad’ movement, a network of groups and individuals specifically hostile to Muslims and Islam but also strongly anti-immigrant. Recently, she even appears to have attracted the admiration of the man who used to fund the EDL, suggesting that Sharia Watch – despite being deemed legitimate enough to be a source for stories in the Daily Mail and Sunday Telegraph – has similar politics to the EDL itself.

Counterjihad connections: Lars Hedegaard and Alan Ayling

In June 2014, Waters shared a platform in Copenhagen with Lars Hedegaard, the man behind the anti-Islam organisation the International Free Press Society. A video of the event- the launch of a Swedish edition of Hedegaard’s book Muhammad’s Girls: Violence, Murder and Rape in the House of Islam - shows her sitting next to the Dane, who was convicted of hate speech in 2011 after stating that ‘Muslims rape their children’, though he successfully appealed this conviction, on ‘free speech’ grounds, the following year. Chairing the event was Ingrid Carlqvist, a key member of the Swedish counterjihad network. Also on the panel was psychologist Nicolai Sennels of the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, a prolific purveyor of Islamophobia dressed up as science. The video was produced by Dispatch International (DI), a mouthpiece for the counterjihad movement – for which Waters has written extensively – founded by Hedegaard and Carlqvist.

In her speech, Waters linked Islam to child abuse, saying (16:08) ‘it’s all linked to Islam’, which she characterised as a dangerous ‘ideology’ being ‘appeased’, adding (17:45): ‘it is exactly the same appeasement that is allowing young girls to be raped in Britain, it’s got nothing to do with race, it’s got to do with the fact that we will not confront the misogyny at the very, very heart of this religion’.

Waters also seems to have another far-right admirer, of more significance in the UK context. Alan Ayling (aka Alan Lake) helped set up, fund and strategise for the EDL, as an investigation by The Sunday Times revealed. A millionaire evangelical Christian, Ayling’s links with the counterjihad movement led Scotland Yard to interview him after Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 massacre in Norway.

In a series of videos taken in October 2014 at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, which show Waters and others delivering diatribes against Islam, Ayling (wearing a black jacket and black t-shirt with yellow writing) can be seen in the group that appears to be supporting her between 1:08 and 1:19 in this video and from 4.40 in this clip.

Ayling may have showed up uninvited or coincidentally. Though Waters’ various online links to the EDL have been documented, there is no definitive evidence of any offline connection. Ayling, in fact, is believed to have parted ways with the EDL, though his views have not changed. He now runs the website ‘Four Freedoms’ and has links to the far-right Sweden Democrats party. Waters did not respond to repeated requests to clarify her relationship with Ayling or to comment on other matters raised in this article.

Sharia Watch UK and Baroness Caroline Cox

Waters also failed to respond to repeated questions about who funds the organisation Sharia Watch UK – and whether Hedegaard or Ayling were among its donors.

Sharia Watch states that it works ‘to document the advancement of sharia law in Britain’. But much of its output attacks Islam in its entirety. Its articles range from the absurd (a conspiracy theory suggesting that halal meat is funding terrorism) to the deeply offensive, such as a piece entitled ‘Shariah and child abuse – is there a connection?‘, claiming that sharia law ‘stems from the justification of acts of physical and sexual violence of one man some 1,400 years ago.’

Articles appearing on its site include one  written by Sam Solomon, a key player in the UK’s anti-Muslim scene, and a guest post by Alan Craig of the right-wing Christian People’s Alliance, who campaigned against the building of a new mosque in East London. Despite these connections, and the fact that the activities of Sharia Watch UK have strong echoes of the English Defence League’s ‘creeping Sharia’ discourse and the hysteria in the US over the so-called ‘Ground Zero mosque‘ it has been granted a veneer of respectability by some.

Founded in April 2014, Sharia Watch UK was launched in the heart of the British establishment at the House of Lords. It was able to hold its launch in this prestigious venue thanks to having friends in high places, one powerful ally in particular: Baroness Caroline Cox. Cox is the peer who previously twice attempted (once successfully in 2010) to host the increasingly influential anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders in parliament. (There, he showed his incendiary film Fitna, which spliced images of violence together with passages from the Koran, implying an inextricable connection. Prosecutors in the Netherlands decided not to charge him with inciting racial hatred over the film, but recently announced they would do so over a public promise to followers that his Party for Freedom could arrange for there to be ‘fewer Moroccans’ in the country.)

Baroness Cox was a major figure of the New Right in the 1980s[1] and has a long history at the forefront of Christian Zionism in the UK. Her championing of right-wing causes has included advocating a Cold War counter-subversion approach to the ‘war on terror’, and more recently she has appeared on a list of governors for the New York-based think tank the Gatestone Institute, which publishes work by Wilders and other anti-Islam ideologues. Cox did not respond to repeated requests for information about her relationship with Sharia Watch UK or for comments for this article. In a recent interview in the Telegraph about her efforts to stop the use of sharia law in divorce settlements, Cox denied that she was ‘Islamophobic’ and said she believed in ‘freedom of speech’.

Muslim ‘infiltration’ or creeping Islamophobia?

Though deselected, under unclear circumstances, as a parliamentary candidate, Waters is still a UKIP member. Her anti-Islam radicalisation provides supporting evidence for the claim that UKIP is ‘a party of Islamophobes’ (an allegation made by one Labour MP after former UKIP leader Lord Pearson, who co-hosted the  screening of Fitna with Cox, said that Muslims needed to ‘address the violence in the Qur’an’). Other top party personnel including Gerard Batten and Magnus Nielsen have counterjihad links too, and in the days after the Paris attacks Nigel Farage himself used rhetoric reminiscent of the far-right movement, talking of ‘fifth columns’, ‘Judeo-Christian heritage’ and Muslim ‘no go areas’. It is clear that UKIP, like PEGIDA, contains deep wellsprings of anti-Muslim, as well as anti-immigrant hostility.

One factor that helps to explain how these types of actors have nonetheless managed to attract thousands of citizens to their cause is the platform they are given in the media. According to the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA), journalists from The Times and the Daily Telegraph were present at the launch event for Sharia Watch UK. Adopting the counterjihad movement’s favoured pose of being undemocratically ignored by an establishment cowed by ‘political correctness’, ICLA’s writer stated: ‘It will be interesting to see whether those news outlets actually report anything about the event or whether [it] will be conveniently ignored’.

Though these papers did not report on the launch, it appears, there are major media outlets which are all too happy to enable conspiratorial counterjihad discourses about Muslim ‘infiltration’ to enter the mainstream. The Daily Mail and Sunday Telegraph have both used Sharia Watch as a source for stories about ‘Islamic extremists’ allegedly ‘infiltrating’ schools, universities and ‘even Scout groups’. Sharia Watch’s only other attentive audience for these assertions were the likes of the EDL and Britain First.

After Spinwatch complained about a planned launch for Sharia Watch’s report, due to take place at a London university, which – along with students’ complaints – caused the event to be cancelled, the Daily Telegraph was outraged. But the real outrage is the platform given to a non-transparent hard-right group by supposedly respectable newspapers.

This is just one example of the alarming mainstreaming of Islamophobia which is helping the counterjihad movement’s influence to grow. It’s not ‘creeping Sharia’ but creeping Islamophobia that ought to worry us.

Rabah Kherbane: A Muslim’s Response to the 25,000 Anti-Islam Protesters in Germany

Loon Watch - 29 January, 2015 - 20:29

Pegida via. Huffington Post, By Rabah Kherbane

Dear 25,000 Anti-Islam Dresden Protesters and Pegida,

I hear you marched in your thousands against my religion. Last week, and last month. You marched against immigrants, foreigners, and anyone a shade darker. I will not draw comparisons to Nazi Germany. I will not call you bigots, I will not insult you, and I will not label you. But we do have a problem.

You marched with banners claiming your city is overcrowded with Muslims. Yet 0.1% of Dresden are Muslim. You marched claiming immigrants are cramming your schools and leaving your children to travel miles for an education. Yet 2.5% of Dresden are foreign-born.

You claim that Germany is being invaded by Muslims. Yet only 5% of Germans are Muslim.

You march “against the Islamization of the West”. Yet within a century containing two World Wars, the decolonisation process, countless civil conflicts, foreign intervention, globalisation, and further displacement, Muslims remain a fringe minority in Europe. Less than 6%. A pretty lousy colonisation process, no?

You marched against refugees and asylum seekers, claiming Germany is their target for welfare and social security. Yet according to UNHCR, there are 51.2million refugees worldwide. Germany caters for less than 0.01% of them. Is that too much to ask? Is such a humanitarian obligation too large for the Refugee Convention 1951 your government ratified? Or is it actually punitive, for example, in comparison to Lebanon where every fourth person is a Syrian refugee?

Protesters, you are not alone. In my country, Britain, we have our own anti-immigration party. Ukip won their first seat in Clacton with nothing but anti-migrant rhetoric. Yet only 4.3% of Clacton are foreign-born. In a Parliamentary-based system, where each constituency elects a representative to voice their views, there is nothing Ukip can do for the people of Clacton.

Do you see a pattern? Perhaps I should explain. Your kind tend to establish themselves where their “problem” does not actually exist. Is this therefore an issue of negative perception? Fear of the unfamiliar? Intolerance in ignorance? Scapegoating an underclass? Media misinformation?

I will elaborate. London has a 36.2% foreign-born population. Relatively, that is fifteen times the population of foreigners in Dresden. A far greater diversity. Ukip poll the lowest in London compared to the rest of the country- in every demographic, foreign or not. London is a metropolis of brown, black, and white working side by side. We thrive. I saw an atheist today. Guess what? I did not try to convert him nor behead him for blasphemy; I helped him off the bus. He was 74 years old.

Does that make sense?

Your only insight into Islam is a box in your living room. Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance infest the information you expose yourself to. Information which dehumanises and polarises anyone unlike you.

You enjoy the far-right media portrayal of Islam. It makes you feel good. Superior. Better. The barbaric Muslims, we are. We disrespect women, and we impose our beliefs on to others.

Yet did you know that Turkey, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, all Muslim majority states have had more elected female heads of state than almost every other Western country? Did you know that the Quran explicitly says “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:256), and our Prophet clarified “whomever hurts a non-Muslim will not smell a whiff of paradise”?

Did you know that your twisted misrepresentation of my religion helps the terrorists? Did you know that you and the terrorists agree on what seems to form an integral part of your identity: that Islam is violent? Did you know that you even use the same methodology to proclaim this; taking a verse out of context and evading any intellectual discourse?

What are Muslims to you, anyway? Arabs? Less than 20% of us are Arab. Indian or Pakistani? Again, less than 20%. Turkish? Less than 5%. Nothing else? That is more than half of us you cannot identify.

You assume our identity by our race. Is it not disheartening to you that such a narrow world view is legitimately held by so many? Does it not display a perspective so constrained to the contents of immediate life and prejudice? Is that not likely to lead to ignorant assumptions and offence in face of what is unbeknownst?

What becomes of the German Muslim, I wonder? Is he spared because he is white? Or is he declared a traitor and shunned? Is it difficult to choose between racism and neglecting a fellow countryman? Choose neither. Choose education. Tolerance. Kindness.

Detach from the vicious cycle of far-right media (who are unfamiliar with foreigners) feeding the far-right populace (who are unfamiliar with foreigners) what they should think about foreigners.

I ask you, have you ever met a Muslim? “Met” is not a synonym for shouting abuse at or stabbing to death in or outside their home. No, have you ever sat with a Muslim? Talked to a Muslim? Worked with a Muslim?

You should. At an airport perhaps, where we are 42 times more likely to be searched, and thus declared safe for human interaction.

Sincerely,
A Real-Life Muslim (not the ones on TV)

True story of Mughal emperor who built Taj Mahal makes London debut

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 January, 2015 - 07:00
Staging of Dara by Shahid Nadeem is first time the National has adapted an original south Asian production for a British audience

The story of Dara, the newest production to take to the boards at the National Theatre, is one that begins thousands of miles away from the concrete jungle of London’s South Bank.

It is a play that made its debut four years ago in the Pakistani city of Lahore, before being seen in Karachi, Islamabad and all across India.

Related: Dara review – epic drama depicts battling sons of man who built Taj Mahal

Related: Plan your week’s theatre: top tickets

Continue reading...

‘Love jihad’ in India and one man’s quest to prevent it | Aman Sethi

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 January, 2015 - 06:00
Vijaykant Chauhan believes that, all over India, gangs of Muslims are seducing Hindu women and forcing them to convert to Islam – and he’s made it his mission to stop them. Aman Sethi reports on India’s rising religious tensions

Every few days, Vijaykant Chauhan WhatsApps me a photograph of himself. The photographs are invariably scenes of crowds gathered on a north India street corner. Chauhan is right in front: a thickset, mustachioed man in his late 30s, in faux-army fatigues, a camouflage-print baseball cap and sunglasses. He stands with his fists tightly bunched, arms upraised. Occasionally the police make an appearance – their faces creased by patient smiles, their hands held close to their chests, palms facing outwards, in gestures of pacification.

These are photographs of protests, celebrations, rallies and, most often, “cultural programmes”: neighbourhood events usually organised under the patronage of the local political representative to promote good values in society. Onlookers peer out from the margins, their faces inscrutable amid all the posing and scuffling, shouting and jostling.

Anyone who attacks the four pillars of Hindustan deserves to be put to death

They are using our daughters to breed children who are sent to madrasas, trained in Pakistan and turned into terrorists

When the mob came for my nani, she squeezed herself under a pile of fresh corpses that lay in the local vegetable market

This love jihad idea has ruptured what remains of Uttar Pradesh’s social fabric

Continue reading...

Forging New Muslim-Jewish Engagement: Reflections on MLI

altmuslim - 29 January, 2015 - 00:08
The Muslim Leadership Initiative, sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute, has been a topic of great controversy in the American Muslim community and beyond. Altmuslim is publishing a few perspectives this week, and we welcome your comments below. By Maggie Siddiqi Last year, I was feeling pretty tired of the Jewish-Muslim dialogue scene in North [Read More...]

Everyone calm down: Michelle Obama's Saudi outfit was plenty respectful

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 January, 2015 - 20:24

The first lady’s decision to forgo a headscarf makes her neither the first nor the last visiting female official to do so in Saudi Arabia – and does not flaunt protocol

Yes, Michelle Obama wore her hair uncovered during an official visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. And yes, some people on the internet found this inappropriate. But no, dear sweet internet, no, she is neither the first female US official nor the first western official to bare her hair in the kingdom.

Michelle Obama landed in Riyadh wearing a pair of loose-fitting trousers and a loose-fitting blouse, topped with a long-sleeved jacket that hit right at the knee. Despite her jacket’s bright hues, the outfit was respectful and modest, with nary a collarbone in sight – seemingly appropriate attire in which to pay respects to the deceased monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah.

Kudos to @FLOTUS for standing up for women & refusing to wear Sharia-mandated head-scarf in Saudi Arabia. Nicely done http://t.co/TlSw4Qc9KQ

Continue reading...

Birmingham school unites faiths: not through grand gestures but hard work

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 January, 2015 - 14:11
St Alban’s C of E academy, in city reeling from Trojan horse scandal, highlights common bits shared by religions in effort to truly integrate communities

It is Friday morning at St Alban’s Church of England academy in Highgate, a gleaming new £17.6m building whose colourful exterior spreads a warm glow over this deprived corner of Birmingham.

The school, where the vast majority of students are Muslim, is a stone’s throw from Birmingham central mosque, one of the largest Islamic centres in western Europe, and a short bus ride from the schools thrown into turmoil last year by allegations of a hardline Islamist takeover – the so-called Trojan horse affair.

Related: St Alban's ARK Academy in Birmingham – in pictures

We have more confidence in tackling issues head on. We have a clear rationale … We know what we are doing

Continue reading...

PakistanToday: Hindu woman saves 10 Muslims during Bihar clash

Loon Watch - 28 January, 2015 - 00:50

Hindu_Woman_Saves_Muslim

The heroic actions of Shail Devi reminds us that we must not essentialize any community and that even at the darkest moments there are beacons of light who are not willing to sacrifice their humanity or values.

Hindu woman saves 10 Muslims during Bihar clash

Shail Devi, a frail widow in her early 50s, risking her own life, gave shelter to her Muslim neighbours when a mob of more than 5,000 people attacked Azizpur Bahilwara village after a 20-year-old Hindu boy’s body was found on Sunday.

He was allegedly abducted and killed over his love affair with a Muslim girl.

“I provided shelter to my Muslim neighbours to save their lives because the mob could have killed them,” Shail said on Wednesday.

Shail, a poor woman fighting for her survival like many others in this village, said that she along with her two daughters stood guard outside her house when a mob was targeting Muslims in the village. She told them that it was a house of a fisherman.

“I lied to rioters that I had not given shelter to Muslims in my house. Though some people tried to enter my house but I stopped them and they returned,” she said.

“She has proved again that humanity is still alive, we are proud of her,” Arvind Kumar, a villager, said.

Ash Mohammad, a man in his 60s, who was one of the 10 Muslims whose lives were saved by Shail, said that she is like an ‘angel’ to them.

“Shail was like god-sent angel to us…,” Mohammad said.

Mohammad admitted that all of them could have been killed if Shail had not given shelter to them.

A day after she saved lives of her Muslim neighbours, some Hindu villagers warned her that she may be targeted by some people of the mob for doing it, Shail said.

“I was so frightened that I along with my two daughters and a son on Monday took shelter in Mohammad’s house but after district administration persuaded, I returned to my home,” she said.

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who visited the village on Wednesday, met Shail. He lauded her role and compared her with legendary Rani Lakshmibai.

Manjhi also announced a cash reward of Rs51,000 for her.

Pamela Geller’s Ugly Islamophobic Ads Beautified By Muslim Super Hero

Loon Watch - 28 January, 2015 - 00:02

These are absolutely lovely.

via. Dead State

Anyone who thought that running Islamophobic ads on buses in San Francisco – a famously liberal city – was going to come without consequence, probably deserves any kind of humiliation they get.

That’s exactly what’s happening with ads disseminated by the U.S. branch of the Freedom Defense Initiative (classified as a hate group in the U.K.), which seeks to compare Muslims with Nazis.

fdi

Some quick-thinking person decided to ad a twist to the ads, by defacing their garbage message with pictures of Kamala Khan, Marvel Comic’s first Muslim superhero.

Here are some the of ads that the website Street Cred spotted and posted to their Facebook page:

ad 1ad 2ad 3 h/t io9

Fox News Host: “We Have Saved the Planet” with Wars like Iraq

Loon Watch - 27 January, 2015 - 21:10

Charles Payne

Charles Payne

Gawker perfectly summarizes the ridiculousness that is the most recent bout of #FoxNewsFacts.

via. Gawker, By Hudson Hongo

Remember the planet before America started invading parts of it? God, what a shithole. Just a total mess. Since then, though: pretty much perfect, right? That’s the improbable assessment Fox News’ Charles Payne delivered on Sunday while discussing criticism of American Sniper.

“It’s a pretty simple thing, you watch the movie, he saved American lives,” said Payne of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. “And he went through a tough struggle to do it, but it was a job that had to be done.” A mostly empty if not unfamiliar sentiment about the war in Iraq. Payne, however, was just getting started:

Look at the death toll that we had protecting people in a different country because that’s what America does. We’ve been the world’s policeman, and guess what’s happened over the time we’ve become the world’s policeman?

A billion people in other countries have moved into the middle class. We had India on TV earlier. If it wasn’t for Americans dying around the world, the rest of the world would be in abject poverty.

“We have saved the planet,” concluded Payne, “and if we go away as [the world’s] policeman, it’s going to be hell to pay for everyone.”

In most places—including the opinion page of The Wall Street Journal—America’s role as “the world’s policeman” is treated as a question, but to the Fox Business host, it’s just a neat fact. In case you were having trouble keeping track, here are all the accomplishments Payne attributes to American interventionism:

  • A billion people moving into the middle class
  • India being on TV
  • The rest of the world staying out of (?) abject poverty
  • The planet’s salvation

“So true,” agreed co-host Anna Kooiman.

[h/t Raw Story]

Anti-Islamization Leader Steps Down Amid Uproar Over Hitler Selfie

Loon Watch - 27 January, 2015 - 02:45

Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann styled as Adolf Hitler

Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann styled as Adolf Hitler

From earlier in the week…this one was a doozy and somehow so unsurprising.

Anti-Islamization leader steps down amid uproar over Hitler selfie

By: Eliott C. McLaughlin CNN Updated 6:24 PM ET, Wed January 21, 2015

As thousands-strong anti-Islamization rallies make headlines in Germany following the Charlie Hebdo attack, one of the rallies’ organizers has resigned as leader of a right-wing group after a newspaper published a months-old selfie of him posing as Adolf Hitler.

The photo shows Lutz Bachmann, leader of PEGIDA, which translates in English to Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West. It appeared Wednesday on the cover of German tabloid BILD.

Bachmann resigned as chairman of the group following the backlash to the Hitler photo, as well as another image Bachmann posted of a man in a Ku Klux Klan robe with the caption, “Three K’s a day keeps the minorities away.”

“I apologize to everybody who has felt attacked by my online postings. They were comments made without serious reflection, which I would no longer express today. I am sorry that I thereby damaged the interests of our movement, and draw the appropriate conclusion,” Bachmann said in Dresden.

Bachmann also posted a photo of a Ku Klux Klansman.

Bachmann also posted a photo of a Ku Klux Klansman.

The selfie was an act of satire, his spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel said on Facebook. While every citizen has the right to engage in satire, she wrote, insulting foreigners is not satirical.

Though Bachmann apparently has deleted his own Facebook account, screen grabs published by numerous media outlets suggest Bachmann posted the Hitler photo in September, while the KKK image is from 2012.

Bachmann told BILD, “I took the photo at the hairdressers, for the publication of the audiobook of the satire ‘He’s Back.’ … You need to be able to joke about things now and then.”

Continue reading ….

Counterterrorism is supposed to let us live without fear. Instead, it's creating more of it | Lyric R Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 January, 2015 - 12:52

How many ‘terrorism plots’ initiated by FBI informants will the agency interrupt before Congress finally performs some oversight?

People think that catching terrorists is just a matter of finding them – but, just as often, terrorists are created by the people doing the chase.

While making our film (T)ERROR, which tracks a single counter-terrorism sting operation over seven months, we realized that most people have serious misconceptions about FBI counter-terrorism efforts. They assume that informants infiltrate terrorist networks and then provide the FBI with information about those networks in order to stop terrorist plots from being carried out. That’s not true in the vast majority of domestic terrorism cases.

Continue reading...

China bans wearing burqa in biggest Muslim city

Loon Watch - 25 January, 2015 - 23:04

uighur-china_3163099b

China continues to link Islamic practices to political violence, specifically targeting Muslim Uyghurs in an attempt to control and subjugate the populace in resource rich Xinjiang.

China bans wearing burqa in biggest Muslim city

Beijing (CNN)Legislators in China’s far-western Xinjiang province have passed a law to prohibit residents from wearing burqas in public, state media reported, in a continued campaign against what authorities view as religious extremism.

The new ban in Urumqi was approved by local legislators last month, and given the greenlight by the regional legislature at the weekend.

The ordinance name suggests it targets outer garments covering someone’s full body including the face, which is called a burqa in some Islamic traditions.

A spate of recent violent incidents has rocked Xinjiang, a resource-rich region long inhabited by the Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim Uyghurs.

The arrival of waves of Han Chinese, the country’s predominant ethnic group, over the past decades has fueled ethnic tensions.

Chinese officials have blamed the recent attacks on Uyghur separatists — whom they also label “religious extremists” seeking to establish an independent state.

Continue reading …

Al Jazeera Stream did a realy good show on the recent tension with Uyghurs in China.

What’s at the heart of mounting tensions between the Chinese government and ethnic Uyghurs?

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