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Updated: 3 hours 47 min ago

Montana: One-man Protest With Rifle Outside Montana Mosque

13 January, 2017 - 19:37

KRTV.com | Great Falls, Montana

(h/t: Frank S.)

By Jennifer Cruz, Guns.com

A one-man protest Monday outside of a mosque in Bozeman, Montana, led to a brief lockdown at a nearby school until police determined the protester wasn’t a threat.

The protester, who was not shy about showing his face but did not want to he identified, showed up at the Islamic Center of Bozeman that morning carrying an American flag with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

“I’m responding to the message of hate that’s being shown here,” he told reporters.

But the gun the protester was carrying prompted a response from the police department. Authorities said the man was compliant and, although he wasn’t breaking any laws by doing so, agreed to put his rifle away.

He continued the protest while carrying an American flag and by the afternoon, a counter-protester, Andy Boyd, could also be found outside of the place of worship. Boyd said he was there to show support for the country’s religious freedom, a right which he said the nation was founded upon.

Then, a little later, a woman who said she was a Muslim, walked out to the snow-covered sidewalk and offered the protester a cup of coffee. The woman said the protester had every right to do what he was doing and there was no reason for them to fear one another. But the woman said she was glad to see the man put the rifle away, citing the close proximity to the school, which she said made people nervous.

The woman said there has been Muslims in the Bozeman area since the 70’s and there has never before been a problem.

“Most of us just want a place to pray in peace,” she said.

Austin: Mosque Under Construction Burned To The Ground

12 January, 2017 - 19:49

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Travis County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a fire that destroyed a mosque under construction near Lake Travis.

Authorities say no injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

The Islamic Center of Lake Travis is collecting donations to help rebuild the mosque. To donate, click here.

South Africa: ‘Islamophobia’ Behind Mosque Desecrations

12 January, 2017 - 19:39

The community of West Cape, South Africa has experienced two incidents of desecration against mosques. Authorities are saying that the incidents bear the hallmark of a “calculated use of Islamophobic methods.”


Achmat Sity, the imam of the 110-year-old Kalk Bay Mosque, urged Muslims to remain calm and called for unity.

“This mosque has been here for over 100 years and this is the first time an incident like this has happened,” he told Al Jazeera.

“There have been burglaries in the past, but this was despicable.”

The local branch of the ruling ANC party condemned the attacks as “disgusting” and called on South Africans “to stand united in protecting the culture of coexistence”.

Pigs are an animal considered ritually unclean in Islam and believers are prohibited from consuming them.

The desecrations came less than a week after a white Western Cape resident posted a message on a community Facebook page calling for mosques to be burned down. The post has since been deleted.

Farid Sayed, the editor of Muslim Views, a national newspaper, said that while the attacks may be isolated in nature, they indicated a failure of some segments of post-apartheid South Africa to fully integrate.

“Racist attitudes are still very deeply embedded in post-apartheid South Africa, all it took was a simple Facebook post to spark this,” he said.

“People living in white-only communities believe they have to fight to keep Muslims out, they think they don’t have the state’s backing.

“This anger – from these racists and bigots – has been heightened by right-wing media outlets that continue to demonise and insult Muslims,” he added.

Continue reading…

No Breitbart, a Muslim mob didn’t set fire to Germany’s oldest church

7 January, 2017 - 22:45

No Breitbart, a Muslim mob didn't set fire to Germany's oldest church
St. Reinold’s Church in Dortmund. Photo: DPA.

Journalists have condemned a report by Breitbart news that claimed a mob of 1,000 men had attacked police and set fire to a church, calling the article a distortion of facts.

By Emma Anderson 5 January 2017 14:34 CET+01:00

Breitbart wrote an article about New Year’s Eve in Dortmund on Tuesday with the headline “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve”.

“At New Year’s Eve celebrations in Dortmund a mob of more than 1,000 men chanted ‘Allahu Akhbar’, launched fireworks at police, and set fire to a historic church,” the alt-right website reported.

The report was attributed to local news site Ruhr Nachrichten, which fired back on Wednesday, accusing Breitbart of “using our online reports for fake news, hate and propaganda.”

Ruhr Nachrichten pointed out how Breitbart attributed separate unconnected incidents to a larger, collective “mob”.

There was in fact a total of around 1,000 people gathered to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Leeds Square, including “large and small groups” of young, foreign men as well as families with children, according to Ruhr Nachrichten.

The original report by the local news site from that night describes how some individuals did start launching fireworks from within the crowd towards police, who told them to stop but were ignored. Broadcaster WDR reported that officers then issued orders for some people to leave and took some into custody.

While Breitbart wrote that the “mob” set the roof of Germany’s oldest church on fire, Ruhr Nachrichten pointed out that this was also not accurate.

St. Reinold is not Germany’s oldest church – that would be the Cathedral of Trier – and a small fire had started on some netting on scaffolding around the church, not the roof, due to one firework.

And while Breitbart states that the “fireworks were launched at” the church, there was no indication from local news outlets or from the fire services that the fire had been started intentionally.

The fire was small and lasted 12 minutes before firefighters put it out, Ruhr Nachrichten reports.

Police told local media that overall it was a quiet night.

Continue reading …

For The Coming Year: What Would You Like To See?

6 January, 2017 - 20:20


By Garibaldi and Ilisha

Dear Loonwatchers,

First, I want to thank you for your continued commitment to reading and engaging, you have made the site worthwhile and better. I will admit that over the past year, and even before then, the output of our content has really slowed, and I want to apologize for that. The main reason for this is that we, the writers (all volunteers), just cannot commit the hours of research, writing and editing necessary to produce good material AND balance work-life responsibilities (i.e. we need to recruit MORE writers).

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has emboldened the same Islamophobes that we have challenged, refuted and exposed for years now. Many of these same Islamophobes will be in positions of power or close to the “officials” who will make up the incoming administration.

Paying attention to and investigating the inner machinations, policies and programs formulated by Trump and his team of bigots is going to be crucial for the next four years (Trump may not last that long but his administration will). I’d like to say that I feel the media and social media activists are up to the task but our present-day reality is that we are traversing uncharted waters, where “fake news” and lies are given credence and repute over facts and truth. For quite some time the trend of online media consumers has been to consume that news which already conforms to one’s worldview or ideological and political convictions. (So my question here is how can we be effective in this environment?)

The new political and media landscape means we have to change things up here at Loonwatch, it isn’t 2009 anymore. Your feedback as how best to realize this change is vital. Our initial remit has been fulfilled: taking on the loons and Islamophobes on the internet. Many of our articles, have helped shed nuance and light in the conversation on Islam, Muslims and Muslim Americans. The same articles have challenged the prejudiced narratives about Islam and Muslims. When it comes to legitimacy, the likes of Spencer and Geller have been defeated on the plane of ideas and banned from travel to the UK; a nation with strict laws against hate speech. While Spencer and Geller may have been defeated their propaganda has been taken up by others who have political cache, and with Trump’s election has propelled the ideas of the Islamophobia movement into a greater relevance.

I hope you can share what you would like to see this year? How can we improve? What topics, issues should be covered? I can predict that for sure, consistent content is on the top of the list. As a way of starting us off I want to ask: how valuable and interested are you in seeing more satire? Would you like more articles and media that take on concepts that are twisted by Islamophobes, such as articles done by Danios in the past on Jihad, Taqiyyah, etc.? Any of your thoughts and ideas, whether it be related to design of the site, content and media, integrating social media, and animation are welcome, don’t hold back!

The United States of Donald Trump

13 November, 2016 - 22:30

“It feels like 9/11.”

This is how a large swathe of racist America felt after Barack Hussein Obama was elected in 2008.

Now they are empowered.

The United States elected a fascist. A man who whipped up hate and xenophobia to shocking and unprecedented levels. The people surrounding and advising Donald Trump are the same people we have been warning about and exposing for years now. There was never a doubt that any Republican victory in the presidency would embolden this network of professional and career fear-mongers; Trump’s candidacy was worse than all of them.

This thread is for you to share your reflections and thoughts on the election of an American fascist.


The “War On Terror” In The Coming Presidency Of Hillary Clinton

28 October, 2016 - 23:08


By Garibaldi

A flashback to a scene from the early years of America’s “War on Terror” and how the US put the Muslim American community under a national microscope, pressuring it to police it’s own communities. Back then some Muslim institutions reacted to the pressure by creating campaigns to prevent radicalization and terrorism. Today the US government is doing the same through programs such as Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).

The main talking point of a 2004 news conference by US Attorney General John Ashcroft was to tell the American public the not-so-earth-shattering news that “Alqaeda intends to attack the United States in the coming months.” Ashcroft shared photographs of seven people being sought in connection with terrorism investigations. CNN described another portion of Ashcroft’s address which focused on possible threats in these strange terms,

He also warned that terrorists may not have a typical look and that ‘the face of al Qaeda may be changing.’ Our intelligence confirms al Qaeda is seeking recruits who can portray themselves as Europeans,’ he said.” (emphasis mine)

The word “typical” in the CNN report is jarring, since it implies “terrorists” in general have a particular, predominant appearance, i.e. brown men with Middle East/Arab or Indo-Pakistani  features. This hearkens to the well-worn stereotypes discussed in works such as John Woods article “Imagining and Stereotyping Islam” and Edward Said’s book, “Covering Islam” among others.

America is being told, be on guard for anyone, it’s no longer safe to only be suspicious of the stereotypical brown looking terrorist, even your convert neighbor in suburbia could stealthily kill you. This of course means that converts to Islam are also under suspicion. This “diversified” representation of terrorists found its way onto TV dramas such as Sleeper Cell and more recently Homeland.

An important aspect to highlight from the Ashcroft news conference is that the seven who were described as “Wanted Alqaeda suspects at-large” were named by Khaled Shaikh Mohammed. Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, one of the professed planners behind 9/11 was extensively “waterboarded” (a torture technique) over 183 times in March 2003 (Terry, p.605). If the names of the seven were extracted under the duress of torture it adds an additional issue of the government using unreliable and tainted information to instill fear in the populace.

Tom Ridge, who was director of Homeland Security at the time stated that the “color-coded terror alert level” would not be raised. Later that year, for the only time, the terror alert level was raised, from yellow (elevated), to orange (high risk of terror attacks). The move was controversial as it was an election year and Democrats accused Republicans of raising the threat level for political reasons.

At the time, Tom Ridge towed the administration line and stated that the decision to raise the alert level had nothing to do with politics. However, in 2009 he revealed that he raised the alert level due to political pressure.

At the news conference the FBI director, Robert Mueller added that:

“We need the public, both in the United States and — I’ll emphasize — overseas to be on the lookout for these seven individuals. We want to know whether you’ve seen them in your communities, or that someone might be hiding them. If you have any idea where they might be, we need you to come forward.” (emphasis added) (CNN)

It was in this context and in response to these specific calls by the heads of government law enforcement agencies that MPAC decided to hold its own press conference announcing a national campaign to end terrorism.

MPAC was responding to a situation in which Muslim Americans were under intense scrutiny to prove they were loyal to the United States. Islamophobic narratives that are still common and widespread found ample breathing room in 2004. Maleiha Malek, quoting Field writes, “there has been an increased ‘tendency to criticize the inactivity of the Muslim population as a whole, and not just its leaders,’ arising from a belief that the ‘Muslim community had not done enough to prevent support in its midst.’” (Malik, Maleiha. Anti-Muslim Prejudice: Past and Present. London: Routledge, 2010. Print. p.146)

our-motto-is-when-they-go-low-we-go-high-5542974Fast-forwarding to today, when you analyze the track record of the Obama administration you see that he has continued and escalated the “War on Terror,” even if the language used to describe it has softened. Is it any wonder then that Homeland, a popular TV series, which plays on the simplified complex representation of Muslims, and the bifurcation of Muslims into the categories of either “good and bad” was at one time Obama’s favorite TV show?

The prevalence of Islamophobia, so fully on display during this presidential campaign season, is not simply a right-wing phenomenon. Obama administration-led initiatives, such as Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) are meant to co-opt Muslim communities and leaders into a program designed to sell war efforts while proclaiming to help Muslim Americans “fight radicalization.”

Arun Kundnani has shown that CVE is an outgrowth of the UK’s failed neo-con PREVENT program. It also has the contradictory effect of dangerously violating the ‘separation of religion and state,’ since the government is putting itself in the position of adjudicating what is “good, moderate Islam,” (Muslims uncritical or supportive of government policy) and “bad, radical Islam” (Muslims critical of government policies). (Spooked! How Not To Prevent Violent Extremism)

Relief from viewing the Muslim community and Islam through a politicized discourse revolving around ‘securitization’ will not be found in a Hillary Clinton presidency. Barack Obama’s presidency is going to be considered a honeymoon for Muslim Americans when hawkish Hillary takes over.

As indicated by troubling statements/positions by Bill Clinton and Hillary herself, Muslim Americans are accepted into the fabric of society on the condition that they offer their bodies and lives on the “frontlines” of the greater project to sustain American imperialism abroad and social control at home by policing their own communities.

Myanmar: Director of Religious Affairs Allegedly Bans Quran Reading At Homes

26 October, 2016 - 22:39

By Emperor

The Rohingya Muslims according to experts on genocide face the “final stages of genocide.” Part and parcel of the persecution of Rohingya has been targeting their religious identity and practice. According to Rohingya activists on the ground previously this meant that the public practice and appearance of Islam was restricted, now it has been extended to religious practice at home.

One activist, Aung Aung Sittwe, has reported that the District Director of Religious Affairs in the capital city of NayPyiDaw, has instructed subordinates not to let Muslims learn the Qur’an at home any longer. How this can or will be implemented is anyone’s guess. It is, if authentic, one more salvo in the anti-Rohingya campaign led by bigoted military officials and Buddhist nationalists.

The Rohingya are not welcome in Myanmar’s public school system, among other limitations the stateless ethnic minority faces in their homeland.

Challenging Domestic Violence in Tunisia

25 October, 2016 - 19:07


Yes, it’s true that laws too often in some majority Muslim nations restrict and discriminate against the rights of women, as do certain societal and cultural norms. At the forefront of upending such discriminatory practices are Muslim women politicians from the Ennahda party.

via. The Guardian

Almost half of women aged 18-64 – 47.6% – had experienced some form of violence, according to a 2010 survey. There is little evidence that the situation has improved since the uprising that ended the dictatorship of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and led to a democratically elected government.

However, this month Tunisia’s parliament is debating a bill to strengthen legislation on violence against women. Championed by Ennahdha, a conservative reformist party with Islamic roots and a clutch of dynamic female MPs and officials, the bill is expected to be passed by the end of 2016.

The proposed law, which would be incorporated into other legislation and government policies, would introduce sweeping definitions of gender-based violence, covering psychological and economic harm in both the public and domestic spheres. Marital rape would be outlawed and there would be an end to impunity for rapists if their victims are under 20 and they subsequently marry them. Penalties for sexual harassment at work would be increased and police officers and hospital staff trained in gender issues.

The scope of the bill may challenge western stereotypes of Islam, but Mehrezia Labidi, an Ennahdha MP and chair of the parliamentary women’s committee, said: “We see no contradiction between Islam and protecting women’s rights. We have a progressive reading of Islam.”

Sayida Ounissi, 29, another Ennahdha MP and secretary of state for entrepreneurship in the coalition government led by the secular Nidaa Tounes party, said: “It’s good to have conservatives like us saying violence against women is not acceptable. Some conservatives might argue that the state should not interfere in the private space [of the family], but when a person’s physical integrity is harmed, the state needs to step in.”

Tunisia may have a better record on women’s rights than other countries in the region, “but we compare ourselves to international standards”, she added.

Continue Reading

On The Četnik Atrocities Against Muslims

21 October, 2016 - 21:08


The Balkan Muslims and the Muslims of Eastern Europe have faced many trials and tribulations over the years. Their communities have been targeted for systematic destruction several times.

Recently, I came across the interesting work and writings of Ćamil Jusuf Avdić, a pioneering Muslim scholar in America, in a nice volume called: “A Heritage of East & West: The Writings of Imam Ćamil Jusuf Avdić.”

In the process of reading some of the his writings I encountered a shocking fact that hitherto I have not read before. It relates to the destruction and murder of 200,000 Bosnian Muslims during World War II. I reproduce below selected passages dealing with the crimes perpetrated by the Četniks and their leader, General Draža Mihailović.

“The Četniks were paramilitary, pan-Serbian units, whose duty, in the beginning, was for the struggle against the Turks, and afterwards against all Muslims in the Balkans, as well as against Croats and Bulgars, Hungarians and Germans. They were both national and religious fanatics. Colonel Mihailović was promoted by King Peter to the rank of general and minister of war to the Yugoslav government in exile. This title and post was a reward for his ‘heroic’ exploits against Muslim children, women and old men, as we shall see. The Western Allies also raised him to the rank of a ‘hero’ due to the propaganda of the Yugoslav government-in-exile. We shall prove here through objective argument what the real plans and actions of this man were, and against whom the Četniks were directed. Firstly the order du jour of Draža Mihailović issued on the 20th December 1941, No. 370, wherein he stated the need to, ‘Create a common frontier between Serbia and Montenegro by cleaning the district of the Sandžak of Novi Pazar of its Muslims, and ridding Bosnia-Hercegovina of all Muslims and Catholics.’


Following this declaration Mihailović let loose his force of Četniks to put into execution his orders. Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandžak became a hell for the unarmed and abandoned Muslim masses. More than 200,000 were killed in a most inhuman and horrible manner; villages and hamlets became graveyards; thousands and thousands of refugees fled to Sarajevo and other great cities.” (p.52-55)

White Terrorists Planned Attack On Somali Muslim Immigrants

17 October, 2016 - 18:20


Calling themselves “Crusaders,” three members of a Kansas militia have been charged with attempting to blow up an apartment complex where Somali Muslim refugees live. The “Crusader” ideology is prevalent among the Islamophobia movement and we have documented this for years.

via. Slate

They called themselves the “Crusaders” and had a clear purpose: launch an attack against Muslims that would lead to a “bloodbath.” With any luck that would help spark a religious war. But their plans were thwarted as three Kansas men were arrested on Friday for planning an attack on a Garden City, Kansas, apartment complex filled with Somali immigrants that is also home to a mosque. They planned to carry out the attack one day after the November election.

“They discussed obtaining four vehicles, filling them with explosives and parking them at the four corners of the apartment complex to create a large explosion,”the Department of Justice said.

“They chose the target location based on their hatred of these groups, their perception that these groups represent a threat to American society, a desire to inspire other militia groups, and a desire to ‘wake people up,’ ” according to the criminal complaint.

About 120 people live and worship in the apartment complex they planned to attack.

Continue Reading

The Genocide Of Cambodia’s Muslims

14 October, 2016 - 20:00


Southeast Asia is currently witnessing the destruction of the Rohingya Muslim community. This is not the first time in modern history this has happened. The Cham Muslims of Cambodia were slaughtered during the rule of the bloody Khmer Rogue in the 1970s.

The Khmer Rogue killed 500,000 ethnic Cham Muslims, almost 25% of their 2 million victims. For perspective consider that the Cham Muslims were only 1% of Cambodia’s population. Yet, there are still individuals who question whether it amounted to genocide even though there is documented evidence that the Cham were targeted due to their religious beliefs:

The Muslim Cham were rounded up by Khmer Rouge forces, forced to eat pork, and banned from using their traditional language. Qurans were collected and burned.

The current Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, was a Khmer Rogue commander in areas where atrocities against the Cham were committed. Nowadays he proclaims to be a champion of religious diversity though in 2013 he said Muslims were “lucky to live in Cambodia.”

New Jersey: Bayonne Mosque Targeted In Hate Vandalism

14 October, 2016 - 18:46

Another Islamophobic vandalism. Bayonne mosque in New Jersey was vandalized with despicable words, including: “F— Allah,” “F— Arabs,”Donald trump.” Clearly, a very deplorable individual thought this was a good idea. (h/t: Kamran M.)


Oppression of Rohingya May Have Led Some To Raise Arms

14 October, 2016 - 18:34


The Rohingya Muslims, a stateless minority who has faced systemic persecution including state-led violence at the hands of the Myanmar government and military authorities for decades are under siege once again. There has never been a meaningful militancy on the part of the Rohingya despite enduring what amounts to a genocide.

The narratives painting Rohingya and Muslims in Myanmar as terrorists, advanced by Buddhist nationalist extremists such as Wirathu may have received a boon through the current attacks on border outposts in the Western Rakhine state of Myanmar where a majority of Rohingya live. Videos that have not been authenticated show men speaking the Rohingya language and calling for “jihad” to liberate themselves from the oppression they face. It is unclear exactly what unfolded and who is responsible but the response by the Myanmar government has been excessive, already 26 Rohingya have been confirmed killed.

By Fiona MacGregor, Myanmar Times

Whether, when its shape becomes clearer, it will be revealed to also include some aspects of international terrorism remains to be seen, but the new form of ethno-religious conflict now stalking Rakhine State is unlikely to be vanquished quickly or easily, or without further loss of life.

Those who are at pains to point out that the public at least do not yet know who committed the attacks on three border police stations in northern Rakhine on October 9 – killing nine officers, and allegedly shouting the name “Rohingya” – are correct.

But what we do know is this: Rakhine is witnessing the worst violence it has seen since the 2012 troubles and there are now videos circulating on social media which apparently show armed men calling for jihad in the name of the Rohingya cause – videos that are being reposted by, among other high-profile figures, former information minister U Ye Htut.

In response, the military has launched violent assaults on Rohingya communities around Maungdaw, purportedly targeted as attackers, but which rights groups have said are extra-judicial killings. Yesterday, helicopters were seen at Sittwe Airport. They were there, officials said, to evacuate teachers from Maungdaw, but were clearly armed with rocket launchers.

With conflicts in other parts of the country now proving ongoing military impunity for war crimes and human rights abuses, the potential for death and destruction in Rakhine is manifold.

This is the most-dreaded scenario, feared by all those engaged in finding, and hoping for, a solution to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Rakhine. As of yesterday morning, a tally of state media reports indicated that 43 people – 30 alleged attackers and 13 security personnel – have been killed.

With senior authorities yet to divulge details or alleged affiliation of those accused of the attacks who have been capture alive, speculation has abounded.

Initial allegations by local government officials named the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation as being behind the incidents. The claim prompted widespread debate about whether such a group – last confirmed to have been active in the 1990s, but blamed by the government for a number of smaller-scale attacks on the border in the past two years – is still even in existence in any relation to its initial incarnation.

But the appearance of the two videos, which feature young men calling for jihad in the Rohingya language, has bolstered claims that there is at least some appetite for armed action among some minority Muslims, whatever name their group goes by.

Even if the current situation is brought under control quickly, these videos are not going to be forgotten by those who seek to stir nationalist aggression in this country – radical monk U Wirathu has inundated the internet with gleeful “told you so’s”. Nor can their implication be avoided by those who seek to uphold the rights of the vast majority of Rohingya who have remained peaceful despite suffering longstanding rights abuses.

A Rohingya representative speaking to The Myanmar Times yesterday rejected claims the attacks were drugs-related rather than representing some form of uprising.

Myanmar Border Police on October 11 prepare the flag-draped coffins bearing nine bodies of border guards killed two days earlier.AFPMyanmar Border Police on October 11 prepare the flag-draped coffins bearing nine bodies of border guards killed two days earlier.AFP

Nearly 7 million narcotics tablets, with an estimated street value of K14 billion (US$11.1 million), were seized during two raids in Maungdaw last month, leading some to speculate that the attacks on the police bases were some form of reprisal. However, the representative said that restrictions on movement meant large-scale involvement in, or serious profiteering from, the illegal trade would be difficult for people in Rohingya communities.

Abdul Rashid, a Rohingya rights campaigner, confirmed that those who appeared in the jihadist videos spoke the Rohingya language with a Rakhine (rather than Bangladeshi) accent. He added that one man “maybe studied” in Saudi Arabia as he was speaking Arabic, but the rest appeared to be local, based on their speech. None of his contacts in Maungdaw recognised any of those who appeared in the videos, he added.

“Most of them appear to be very young men or even boys. I don’t think they have leadership,” he said, rejecting the involvement of terrorists from other Eastern countries and describing it as a “small-scale” response arising out of “frustration” and deliberately fuelled by those seeking to destablise the current democratically elected government.

Nevertheless, this frustration – created by years of deliberate oppression – was something that needed to be addressed urgently, he said. He added that he had been warning the international community about such a threat and the possibility of such frustrations being used to further others’ agendas for a long time, but they had not taken his concerns seriously.

continue reading…

Boredom Will Do

11 October, 2016 - 22:26


Original Guest Article, Part 6/6

By Umar Lee

In 1992 I had just met a young enthusiastic convert to Islam named Randy Royer. In fact I was the first person he met when he walked into the masjid for the first time and I was a witness for his shahadah. Although the two of us both grew-up in St. Louis County our families, neighborhoods, schools, and path to both Islam and political activism was much different.

Randy grew-up in an artistic and educated family and I grew-up in a blue-collar Southern Baptist family. Randy lived in an upper middle-class neighborhood in West St. Louis County  (which I saw as fabulously wealthy at the time) and I lived in the working-class Ferguson-Florissant area.

We were both teenagers at the time and had both done poorly in high school. While we were poor students in school we were both bookish and had a love for learning and bonded over books and being the only two teenagers in a mosque mostly populated by men our parents age.

In 1992, just as in 2016, Washington University in St. Louis, hosted a presidential debate. Randy told me he would be protesting the debate along with a group of his punk rock buddies from West County and invited me to join. That would be the first of many political protests in my life.

I won’t bore you about the slightly amusing details of that day or our run-ins with supporters of President George H.W. Bush. Instead I want to use 1992 to talk about 2016.

1992 featured the fresh face of Democratic Nominee Bill Clinton playing saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show, answering questions about his underwear on MTV,  facing rumors about his womanizing, and answering veterans for his failure to serve in Vietnam. The race also featured H. Ross Perot who like Donald Trump was a billionaire political-outsider promising to run America like a business. Then you had the incumbent President Bush who had all the enthusiasm his son Jeb would display in 2016.

The election of 1992 seemed like a wild-ride at the time. Looking back it seems like a black and white movie or an old action film without modern film-making technology. Nothing in our past has prepared us for the pure crassness and lunacy of the candidacy of Donald Trump.

Randy would go on to be known as Ismail and would become a prominent Muslim activist living and working in Washington, DC. Working for CAIR, AMC, and MAS, Ismail helped win some major civil-rights victories for Muslims. However, it was his activism outside of DC that would lead my friend Ismail to trouble.

Watching the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia on TV Ismail wasn’t satisfied to just write his Congressman or participate in marches. Ismail went to Bosnia and volunteered to fight with the mujahideen. Later he’d do the same in Kashmir.

Today Ismail is nearing the end of a 20 year prison sentence. Ismail, like a lot of other good and sincere Muslims, fell victim to overzealous federal prosecutions after 9/11.

I never went to Bosnia and Kashmir. Perhaps it was due to my blue-collar upbringing and a keen sense of knowing when something spells trouble or having enough adventure at home.

Ismail sought to help create a more perfect world. Pessimists like myself reject utopian ideologies knowing that you may be able to improve the world a little bit; but humanity is so flawed we will never come near perfection. That’s why I have no problem compromising and voting for a Hillary Clinton or a Chris Koster. Yeah, they’re not great, but people aren’t great and for the moment it’s the best we can do.

On the flip side of the coin you have other utopian believers. They want to Make America Great Again and they’ve placed all of their faith in Donald Trump.  In their utopian vision America peaked in the 1950’s and they want to bring it back. Like all utopian visions, from left to right (Jill Stein included), it can’t be achieved without massive destruction to actual humans.

I mentioned before that Ismail  (and me to be honest) found it too boring to write our congressman. Ismail’s congressman happened to be Richard Gephardt. A flawed congressman indeed with a shady racial past as a St. Louis Alderman. Congressman Gephardt, while we were busy talking about Bosnia, was helping to make St. Louis the biggest hub for Bosnian refugees in America. Today St. Louis is home to a thriving Bosnian community with minarets surrounded by malls.

Sometimes boring will suffice.

After $1.7 Million Settlement, Threat to Bomb Islamic School In Michigan

6 October, 2016 - 19:26

Pamela Geller, that throwback to a not so by-gone era of Islamophobic blogging, was all in a fit over the $1.7 million dollar settlement awarded to an Islamic school that was prevented from building in a Michigan town. The judgement is historic and hopefully will send a message that a denial of the religious freedom of any group is not acceptable in the USA. Geller’s followers of course responded with the usual invective and hate, calling for the Islamic School to be bombed. This is a threat that should be looked into by the authorities:


Boca Raton: A Center For Islamophobic Groups

3 October, 2016 - 18:33


The Boston Globe has an intriguing story about how Islamophobic groups and individuals in Boca Raton are crusading against a local mosque being designated as a polling center for the upcoming November presidential elections. The response of some locals has been extremely bigoted, as many of them assert the usual conspiracy theories we have grown accustomed to and which Donald Trump has tapped into to rise to the top of the GOP.

via. The Boston Globe

Ted Seymour, 77, a local Republican committee member with a Trump bumper sticker on his Mazda SUV, frequently drives past the mosque. He chatted with Bassem Alhalabi and his wife at an interfaith event just outside of town, and they invited him to visit the Islamic center, but he has yet to find the time to stop in.

It’s not that he doesn’t like Muslims, he says, describing himself as a Christian missionary. He has befriended many Muslims during his travels to Dubai, Egypt, and Lebanon. He even speaks enough Arabic to stumble through greetings.

But Seymour says he believes rumors that the Islamic center has connections with extremism. So when he received word that the mosque would be his new polling site, he recoiled and immediately contacted the county’s GOP leaders.

“It’s an uncomfortable place to vote with all that’s going on,” said Seymour, a retired salesman. “Just common sense would tell you that with all the radical Islamic terrorism happening and the hatred of Jews, it doesn’t make sense to have a polling place at a mosque right in the middle of an Orthodox Jewish community.”

Other voters echoed similar sentiments in calls and e-mails to Boca Raton’s mayor, Susan Haynie, a Republican who ended up urging the county to find an alternative polling site — somewhere “more familiar to voters.’’

“They were mostly fear-based concerns,” Haynie told the Globe. “I’m not going to judge whether their concerns were founded, but any location that would have a negative impact on voter turnout should be rethought.”


It is not hard to find anti-Muslim activism in this part of Florida. Two hours north of Boca Raton, in Viera, a security guard stood posted at the entrance of a government building. Inside, as thunder boomed and lightning illuminated the night sky, Roger Gangitano kicked off a local chapter meeting of ACT for America, an organization that claims 1,000 chapters across the country and bills itself as the “NRA of national security.”

Before him sat more than 50 graying citizens, including about a dozen veterans. Also in attendance: a county commissioner and a candidate for City Council in a neighboring town. One man, a retired economist, wore a bright red Trump T-shirt beneath a tweed blazer.

The Gatlin Brothers played over the sound system. Gangitano playfully danced by the lectern, as members passed a collections basket around the room. Then he delivered the invocation.

“Dear God,” said the Long Island transplant, “teach us not to be judgmental.”

He proceeded to accuse “almost all Muslim organizations in America” of being front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood. Muslims, he said, are waging a “settlement jihad” in the United States.

“By 2020, they will probably be putting up a presidential candidate,” Gangitano warned.

A woman in the crowd gasped. “Oh God!” she said.

Gangitano seized on the Boca Raton mosque controversy to illustrate why its members must remain vigilant against the encroachment of Islam into American civic life and “defend our Democratic values.”

Tony Verzi, a longtime member seated in the front row, stood to update the group on refugee resettlement — “one of the best-kept secrets in American history.” He urged them “to be on the lookout” and attend county commissioner meetings to make sure Syrian refugees aren’t being let into the county.

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The Barbary Wars and Modern Islamophobia

30 September, 2016 - 19:36


By Garibaldi

The Barbary Wars are a period of much modern polemic in the West, specifically the United States. Islamophobes and racists such as the late Christopher Hitchens popularized the notion that today’s “War on Terror” is just the most current manifestation of a long, continuous and unbroken history of conflict pitting the United States against Islam or so-called “Islamic terrorism” to use their language. In their telling the aggressors have always been Muslims, driven by Islamic doctrine and an urge to take over the West.

The ahistorical use of the Barbary wars fails to account for the nuances of the time period and the motives of Barbary, and other states in the Mediterranean Sea. The following excerpt from “The Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli: The Rise of the US Navy and Marines” critiques the distortions of Islamophobic propagandists who seek to satisfy contemporary political agendas, i.e. unending wars in Muslim majority nations.

“Even when light is shone on this long-forgotten period, reality is occasionally distorted by those who would seek to satisfy a political agenda rather than establish historical fact. In no way is this more obviously so than with respect to the role – or lack thereof – played by religion in America’s wars against the Barbary States. Despite the many parallels recently drawn between these conflicts and that between United States and al-Qaeda, the historical record does not lend itself to comparison. In short, the Barbary Wars, did not constitute, as at least one author maintains, “America’s first war on terror.” America did not perceive itself at war with terrorists, however defined, and while piracy was clearly a scourge to American trade, the religious component to the wars was confined to the Barbary States’ notion that Christians, being infidels, were inferior to Muslims. In recognizing this, one must not ignore the fact, that conversely, Christians felt themselves superior, morally and theologically speaking, to their Muslim opponents, as is clear from contemporary literature.

Yet however much the two sides condemned the other as deviants from the one true faith, they did not emphasize differences of religion in any more than peripheral terms – much less claim them as a motive for war. The Barbary States were not theocracies, with Muslim clerics controlling the levers of power. There was no “jihad,” except insofar as the stirring of religious hatred served the interests of powers bent on profit. Nor had the United States, specifically founded on the basis of a separation of church and state, any religious agenda to pursue. It, too, sought profit, but in the form of free trade rather than piracy.

If a degree of hypocrisy creeps into the debate over the motives behind America’s wars against the Barbary States, no more is this so than with respect to the issue of white slavery. Morally reprehensible though the enslavement of Christians by Muslims certainly was, it was no more unpalatable than the Western practice of enslaving black Africans. Slaves on American plantations had virtually no prospect of eventual release (known as manumission): they were denied citizenship, and their inferior status also denied them recourse to the judicial system to challenge the legal basis that categorized them as property rather than as people. Nor did sharing a common Christian faith – clearly interpreted differently by slaves and slave-owners – protect them from bondage.

By contrast, not only did the Barbary States decline to enslave co-religionists, they had a vested interest in releasing slaves, for freedom came at the price of ransom, for the purpose of which the captives had been taken in first place. If, pending their release, the white slaves held by the Barbary States were put to hard labor, poorly fed, and subjected to abuse, the same was true for slaves in South Carolina or Jamaica – the difference being that whereas a white slave in North Africa could hold out some hope of eventual release, the same could not be said for his black counterpart in North America. It is important, moreover, to compare the scale of slavery as practiced, for instance, in the United States on the one hand, and Algiers on the other. Whereas in 1790 there were nearly 700,000 slaves in America, there were only 3,000 in Algiers. Even an aggregate total for the whole of North Africa would not begin to approach the scale of slavery as conducted in the United States alone, not to mention the West Indies and other parts of the New World. Western powers situated on the Atlantic seaboard, practically all of which themselves practiced slavery, naturally did not recognize this apparent paradox.”

Dresden: Police Assume ‘Xenophobic’ Motive In Mosque Attack

28 September, 2016 - 17:04


Horrible news out of Germany. (h/t Mend)

via. The Guardian

Police suspect a far-right motive after two improvised explosive devices detonated outside a mosque and congress centre in Dresden just before and after 10pm on Monday.

No one was injured during the two attacks in the eastern German city, but the mosque’s 46-year-old imam, his wife and their two children were inside the building when the first bomb went off.

Imam Hamza Turan told Sächsische Zeitung newspaper that six bottles filled with explosive gas had been found at the site of the attack. “They attacked us because they hate us, because we are Muslims”, Turan’s 10-year-old son told the local paper.

The second improvised device exploded on a terrace facing the river Elbe, between the International Congress Centre and the Maritim hotel. The hotel bar was evacuated as a result.

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