Loon Watch

Subscribe to Loon Watch feed
The Mooslims, they're heeere!
Updated: 23 min 2 sec ago

The hypocrisy of Tony Blair’s Middle East vision

8 hours 12 min ago

 Matt Rourke/AP

‘Tony Blair is launching a grand ideological war that will result in far more violence.’ Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

Bush’s poodle is barking again.:

The hypocrisy of Tony Blair’s Middle East vision

By Arun Kundnani (Guardian)

Tony Blair’s speech this week at Bloomberg in London reveals a growing support for authoritarian regimes in the Middle East. A decade ago, Blair was justifying wars in the Middle East on the grounds that they would launch a democratic revolution and sweep away Arab despots. In his latest speech he embraced Arab despots whose regimes, he says, are necessary bulwarks against Islamism. Blair’s change in emphasis reflects a wider shift in neoconservative thinking over the past decade, while the underlying analysis remains as flawed as ever.

At the heart of Blair’s argument is a single formula that he uses to explain the politics not only of the Middle East, but of Muslim populations around the world. Muslims everywhere, he says, are caught in an “essential battle” between two ways of thinking about Islam.

In this “Titanic struggle”, one side is modern, pluralistic, and supportive of religious freedom and open economies. On the other side are the “Islamists”, who reject the separation of religion from politics and, like communists and fascists before them, want to impose their particular interpretation on the rest of society.

It is, of course, a hopelessly simplistic formula. Yes, reactionary interpretations of religion must be opposed. But the revolutionary upheavals in the Middle East are ultimately about freedom from authoritarian political structures and the economic marginalisation generated by neoliberal economics (Blair’s “open economies”).

Blair’s formula – derived from neoconservatives such as Bernard Lewis – puts him on the wrong side of this struggle. That’s because the only question for him is the potential power of anti-western Islamists, so he ends up supporting some of the most oppressive forces in the region.

Last summer’s military coup in Egypt that overthrew a democratically elected government is described by Blair as “absolutely necessary”. Thousands of peaceful protesters have since been imprisoned by the regime, including many prominent journalists and intellectuals. Meanwhile, officially sanctioned pop songs pay tribute to army chief Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, and his face beams from posters. Blair says he disagrees with the death sentence on 500 opponents of the regime, but asks us to show “sensitivity” in our criticisms. The Egyptian generals get his support for the simple reason that they have declared war on Islamism. To him, nothing else really matters.

While Blair’s speech lays out recommendations for Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Iran, and Palestine, one country is not even mentioned by name: Saudi Arabia – surely the natural starting point for any genuine campaign against the use of religion for reactionary politics. And the ruling family’s record of domestic repression is unsurpassed. Yet the Saudi regime gets a free pass from Blair.

The Saudi “Islamists”, it seems, are to be embraced if they buy our weapons and keep the oil flowing. This is the return of the old foreign policy formula that neoconservatives criticised after 9/11: stability first, democracy can wait.

On Syria, Blair is right to argue for a strengthened opposition that might force President Assad to the negotiating table. But Blair seems to prefer that Assad remain in power for a period of time, rather than the opposition, with its Islamist elements, enter government. That Assad is also in an alliance with the Islamists of Hezbollah simply points to the superficiality of Blair’s formula as a way of understanding specific contexts.

A decade ago, Blair joined neoconservatives in arguing that Arab despots such as Saddam Hussein needed to be removed from power because of the security threat they represented in a post-9/11 world. Saddam’s ouster was supposed to launch a pro-western democratic transformation across the region. In fact, genuine democratic change in the Middle East, where it has occurred, has been brought about not by external military force but by popular insurrection. Once it became clear that democratic revolutions would not fit the mould of pro-western liberalism and free market economics, neoconservatives decided that the old-guard despots may once again be needed in order to stabilise the region.

Blair’s supporters say he has discovered nuance. But the shift in his latest speech is not towards subtlety but a step back to the rhetoric of stability, and the abandonment of the post-9/11 neoconservative slogan of reordering the world. What remains is the hypocrisy of denouncing an ideology as inherently violent, and then launching a grand ideological war against it that results in far more violence.

Two Peas in A Pod: Tarek Fatah and Robert Spencer

24 April, 2014 - 21:58

Tarek_Fatah

By Emperor

Yesterday we tweeted a link to our article on the NYPD abandoning one of its spy on Muslims units,

In reply, the UK based journalist Sunny Hundal asked why Tarek Fatah was an “Islamophobia enabler.” A fair question for someone who may be unfamiliar with Fatah. I think however that support for the NYPD surveillance program, teaming up with Zuhdi Jasser and Rep. Peter King are evidence enough that Fatah supports Islamophobia.

In fact there’s such a plethora of evidence on Fatah’s support for Islamophobia that we didn’t even know where to start!

We first mentioned how Fatah is a regular on his pal, the ultra-Zionist, extremely Islamophobic, Michael Coren’s Sun News show and also the fact that Coren is a huge supporter of Spencer and Geller. Maybe this wasn’t the best place to begin. Taken alone this might not be enough to convince someone unaware of Fatah’s history of support for Islamophobic causes, right-wing politicians and forwarding of loony conspiracies.

We should have began by pointing out that Fatah has supported veil bans, opposed the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” (calling it a “deliberate provocation, aimed at ‘thumbing the nose at infidels,’” thereby feeding the hysterical fear-mongering at the time), slandered Muslims left and right as plotting to take over the federal and local governments of the USA and Canada, claimed that Dalia Mogahed was “an MB member from Egypt,” accused Tariq Ramadan of coming to Canada over Labour Day weekend “to propagate the Muslim Brotherhood credo of ‘destroying the West from within’.”

Of course there is so much more that could be highlighted to expose how Fatah fear-mongers about Islam and Muslims, provides cover for Islamophobes and their conspiracies but that will be the subject of a longer article. It should be noted that when we challenged Fatah over these issues he magically turned silent.

Fatah exclaimed incredulity that he could be mentioned in the same vein as Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer,

JW_Tarek_Fatah2

Apparently Fatah wasn’t “privy” to what we’ve written about him even though we directly tagged him in our Tweets with links and all.

Fatah’s assertions were contradicted by Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer himself, who states that Fatah was an admirer of his “work.”

JW_Tarek_Fatah1

Of course, Spencer is not exactly known for his honesty and so we will have to wait and see what video he produces. However, considering the fact that there isn’t much difference between Fatah and Spencer’s views and taking into account Fatah’s history of supporting Islamophobic causes, conspiracy theories, lies, his assaults on Muslims it isn’t far-fetched at all.

Lawsuit says FBI uses no-fly list in bid to recruit Muslim informants

23 April, 2014 - 22:16

hires_090120-N-0696M-103a Lawsuit says FBI uses no-fly list in bid to recruit Muslim informants

By , Published: April 22 

Awais Sajjad, a lawful permanent U.S. resident living in the New York area, learned he was on the no-fly list in September 2012 after he tried to board a flight to Pakistan at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was turned back.

At the airport, FBI agents questioned Sajjad, a Muslim, before releasing him. But they later returned with an offer. In exchange for working for them, the FBI could provide him with U.S. citizenship and compensation. The FBI, the agents reminded Sajjad, also had the power to decide who was on the no-fly list.

When he refused, the FBI agents “kept him on the list in order to pressure and coerce Mr. Sajjad to sacrifice his constitutionally-protected rights,” according to an amended lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in New York.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Sajjad and three other men, accuses the United States of violating their rights by placing or keeping them on the no-fly list after they declined to spy on local Muslim communities in New York, New Jersey and Nebraska.

“The no-fly list is supposed to be about ensuring aviation safety, but the FBI is using it to force innocent people to become informants,” said Ramzi Kassem, associate professor of law at the City University of New York. “The practice borders on extortion.”

The Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility project, which Kassem supervises, and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit on behalf of the men.

The FBI declined to comment Tuesday. But U.S. officials have in the past insisted that the process used to place individuals on the no-fly list is legal and well founded and relies on credible intelligence.

The no-fly list, which contains the names of thousands of people, was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and includes U.S. citizens and residents as well as foreigners not permitted to fly into or out of the United States because of specific security concerns.

Human rights activists have said the list has repeatedly ensnared those with no demonstrable connection to terrorism.

In 2007, a Justice Department audit found that the “management of the watchlist continues to have weaknesses” and that the department needed “to further improve its efforts for ensuring the accuracy of the watchlist records.”

U.S. citizens have also been stranded abroad and never told why they couldn’t fly home.Yahye Wehelie, who was raised in Fairfax County, couldn’t leave Egypt for weeks in 2010; he was stopped in Cairo on his way to Yemen to find a wife.

In a previous interview with The Washington Post, Wehelie said FBI agents asked him if he was willing to inform on the Muslim community in his area when he got home.

A former senior FBI official said that there are criteria for putting people on the list and that refusing to work as a confidential informant is not one of them.

“That’s not a reason,” the former official said. “It has nothing to do with potential threats to aviation.”

In 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit alleging that the FBI tried to turn Nagib Ali Ghaleb, a naturalized U.S. citizen who lived in San Francisco, into an informant. He was prevented from returning home from Yemen but was later told he could fly if he became an FBI informant in the Yemeni community in California. A court decision is expected soon on whether his right to due process was violated.

But unlike in the ACLU lawsuit, Kassem said, “this cases advances for the first time the unprecedented question about whether the FBI can infringe on their First Amendment rights by retaliating against them for not becoming informants.”

Naveed Shinwari, a legal U.S. resident and a Muslim, said he was put on the list after being questioned by FBI agents after he returned from Afghanistan in 2012.

“The more you help us, the more we can help you,” FBI agents said, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Shinwari said the decision to put him on the list cost him a job and thousands of dollars. His lawyers said he has never been convicted of a crime or posed a threat to national security.

Last month, Shinwari was finally allowed to fly within the United States but said he remains afraid that if he flies to Afghanistan to see his wife and family, he might not be able to return.

“I am very frustrated,” Shinwari said. “It has been a horrible experience. It’s very depressing. You feel helpless.”

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Greece: Athens mosque blocked again by politics

23 April, 2014 - 20:41

Parthenon Temple in Athens

Greece: Athens mosque blocked again by politics

Appeal presented against the project, referendum proposed

by Furio Morroni) (ANSAmed) – ATHENS -

The saga of the Athens mosque, the realization of which has been delayed for years and seemed a settled issue last November, continues. Work for the construction of the Muslim temple has been blocked again, this time by political maneuvers and an appeal presented by a university teacher, two navy officials, a cultural association and the ultra-conservative bishop of the Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, all of whom are against the presence of the worshipping place in the Greek capital, the only one in Europe still without a temple for its more than 200,000 residents of Muslim faith. Precisely because of the legal recourse – and the fear that a judge may rule for the complainants – the infrastructure ministry has made it known that it has not yet signed the contract to carry out the 946,000 euro project on which the tender was won five months ago by the consortium composed of four of the largest Hellenic businesses: Aktor, Terna, JP & Avax and Intrakat. The preceding four tenders for assigning construction were not successfully completed since the participating companies withdrew after threats and intimidation received from extremist right-wing groups, like the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgì (Golden Dawn) party and residents of the Votanikos neighborhood, where the place of worship is supposed to be built, all of whom are contrary to the presence of Muslims in their zone in fear that it could become a gathering place for Islamic extremists or even a “den of terrorists”.

In the meantime, in view of the next local elections, the story of the controversial mosque has also become the subject of political fighting between various Athens mayoral candidates, further complicating the issue. The latest obstacle, if it were necessary, was raised by the Nea Dimokratia (centre-right) candidate Aris Spiliotopoulos, ex-minister of public education, who proposed holding a local referendum on the construction of the Muslim temple, even though he himself voted “yes” (together with another 197 MPs) when parliament approved the project on September 7, 2011. Yesterday morning, on screens of the private television broadcaster Skai, Spiliotopoulos reiterated his position against the construction of the mosque because it could, among other things, attract illegal immigrants “for which there is no more room in Athens”, and its presence “could cause a third world tented city on the sacred hill of the Acropolis”.

He then added that the people of Athens know better than the education ministry – which is responsible for religious affairs – or the mayor where the mosque should be built, and thus it is the capital’s residents who should decide if it can exist in the city. Finally, after having reiterated that his opposition is not based on religious motives, but rather on the opportunity for choosing where to build the structure, he called once more for a referendum. Various observers have interpreted the position taken by the Nea Dimokratia candidate as a wink toward extreme right candidates. Meanwhile, for his own part, the incumbent mayor who is also running again, independent Giorgos Kaminis, emphasized the inconsistency of his adversary, and observed that the behavior of Spiliotopoulos is “contradictory” and not befitting a politician. To reduce costs to a minimum in times of serious crisis, the Greek government has decided that the mosque will not be built from scratch, but made from the renovation of a pre-existing structure. Gardens and prayer areas will be made outside the mosque, which will not have a minaret but will have the capacity to hold 350 worshippers. Four adjacent buildings will be demolished. In their place, nine new structures will be built destined for administrative offices and hygienic services.

The decision to not authorize construction of a minaret did not, however, satisfy those who oppose the project, who do not want the government to spend public money for the creation of a Muslim place of prayer in a country where 96% of the population is Greek-Orthodox. In any case, given developments in the case and renewed opposition to the project, the Muslims of Athens almost certainly will still have to wait a long time before being able to pray in their mosque. (ANSAmed).

Ergun Caner Loses ‘Fair Use’ Lawsuit In Failed Attempt To Silence Critics

22 April, 2014 - 21:03

Ergun Caner

Ergun Caner

Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer translates Arabic into gibberish and Ergun Caner speaks gibberish claiming it to be Arabic. Seems that the Islamophobes are learning from each other.

For those familiar with the website, fake ex muslims, Ergun Caner is the poster child for “fake ex-Muslims.”

Ergun Caner Loses ‘Fair Use’ Lawsuit In Failed Attempt To Silence Critics

Submitted by Brian Tashman

Ergun Caner has lost his lawsuit against a blogger who criticized the Religious Right figure as a fraud, with a federal judge ruling last week that Caner’s case had no merit.

After the September 11 attacks, Caner built a career around his purported conversion from Islamic extremism to Christianity, but his testimony was later exposed as fictitious. Not only did he completely fabricate details about his background — including facts about his birthplace, upbringing, and his family — but he also spoke gibberish during his speeches, which he claimed was Arabic.

Caner led Liberty University’s theological seminary at the time but the university cut ties with him following the revelations and he now heads Brewton-Parker College, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

A federal judge dismissed Caner’s lawsuit, a thinly veiled attempt to shut down criticism, against blogger Jason Smathers, as the Associated Baptist Press reports today:

Ergun Caner, president of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga., filed a lawsuit last summer claiming ownership of two videos that Smathers posted of Caner speaking as an expert on Islamic culture in training for U.S. Marines preparing to deploy in 2005.

U.S. District Judge Terry Means, however, said Caner failed to make a case and that Smathers used the material fairly, as copyright law permits, for “purposes such as criticism, comment, [or] news reporting.”

“His sole purpose was to expose the inconsistencies in Dr. Caner’s biography and criticize a public figure,” the judge determined. If the unauthorized reproduction of his lectures caused Caner any financial loss, he continued, it was the result of “legitimate criticism” of his words.

The misuse of video “takedown notices” — the same method employed by another Religious Right activist who tried to shut down Right Wing Watch’s YouTube page — was one of the focuses of the trial. As the judge notes in his ruling [PDF], the blogger’s actions are protected as fair use.

In 2013, Dr. Caner filed a “takedown notice” with Viddler.com, claiming that the videos were posted without authorization and in violation of his copyright. Smathers challenged the removal of the videos, which ultimately resulted in the present lawsuit by Dr. Caner, alleging copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. §§ 106,506.

Smathers claims that he posted he videos featuring Dr. Caner as a religiously based criticism of a public figure and, thus, his posting constituted fair use.

The Court notes that Dr. Caner has apparently conceded this issue since he has offered no argument in his response with respect to Smathers’s assertion of fair use.

Dr. Caner’s concession notwithstanding, the facts of this case support the application of fair use.

The affirmative defense of fair use is codified at 17 U.S.C. § 107 and provides that “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies . . . , for purposes such as criticism, comment, [or] news reporting . . . , is not an infringement of copyright.”

All of Dr. Caner’s claims of copyright infringement against Smathers are hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

- See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/ergun-caner-loses-fair-use-lawsuit-after-attempt-silence-critics#sthash.o2ab5fwk.dpuf

NYPD Abandons “Demographic Unit” That Astroturf Muslim Groups Advocated

21 April, 2014 - 22:03

Zuhdi_Jasser_Tarek_Fatah_Peter_King

Tarek Fatah, Zuhdi Jasser, Manda Zand Ervin and Peter King

By Emperor

The NYPD has decided to dump the “Demographic unit” which was responsible for mapping Muslim communities and spying on so-called “hot spots”; mosques and Muslim owned businesses such as restaurants and cafes. It was dropped because of the sustained and consistent efforts of Muslim activists and their allies who should be applauded not only for their resilience but their stand for all of our civil liberties.

At the time, two astroturf Muslim organizations, AILC and AIFD had a twenty person rally in support of the spy program. In reality, one man, the Right-Wing’s favorite Muslim, Zuhdi Jasser, was behind the rally,

The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) seems to consist of only twelve members; of these, most are inactive–they contribute nothing to the AILC and their only purpose seems to be to create some semblance of a “group.”  Three of the individuals in the list of twelve aren’t even American Muslims.

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

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

Joining Jasser were the clownish Tarek Fatah, Rep. Peter King and Asra Nomani who wrote in support of the surveillance program in The Daily Beast. Nomani infamously compared Muslims and Colombians to the KKK,

[J]ust as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community.

One wonders what these “eager to be spied on and have their civil liberties curtailed” Muslims think now? Will they rally to bring back the “spy program?” Will they condemn the NYPD’s move as they were condemning those who spoke out against the program? Maybe now they will call for Muslims to be interned?

Perhaps they are satisfied that, as Arun Kundnani noted recently at the Islamophobia Conference in Berkeley, California, “There are 10,000 counter-terrorism analysts and 15,000 paid informants” at the FBI alone. 

The truth is that in New York the spying will continue with paid informants and undercovers, as this enthusiastic article by Michael Daly in The Daily Beast notes,

The New York City Police Department is curtailing its spying ON the Muslim community, but it will continue spying IN the Muslim community.

And it will do so as part of an ongoing counter-terrorism effort that includes the use of undercovers and confidential informants.

In fact, the department is training more undercovers even now.

TV Crew Filming Episode on Unsolved Elk Grove Double Murder

21 April, 2014 - 18:57

ktxl-news-sikhshootingfolo TV Crew Filming Episode on Unsolved Elk Grove Double Murder

by   (Fox40)

An unsolved double murder in Elk Grove three years ago is getting some media attention this week. Parts of Stockton Boulevard near Power Inn Road will be closed to allow a TV show crew to film.

The crew is filming scenes for an episode about the March 2011 shooting deaths of Surinder Singh and Gurmej Atwal.

The two men were walking near their homes along Stockton Boulevard when they were shot. Singh died at the scene, Atwal was rushed to a hospital, and died several days later.

Atwal and Singh were both Sikhs, and were wearing traditional Dastar headwear at the time of the shooting.

Elk Grove investigators did not release much information about a possible suspect, but did reach out to the FBI for assistance saying the shooting is possibly a hate crime.

 

Evict Muslims from Hindu areas: Pravin Togadia

21 April, 2014 - 05:45

Praveen-Togadia Evict Muslims from Hindu areas: Pravin Togadia

(Times of India)

RAJKOT: wan’s (VHP) president Pravin Togadia sent temperatures soaring in Bhavnagar on Saturday evening with a hate speech that targeted Muslims for buying properties in Hindu areas. 

At night, Togadia joined a group of VHP and Bajrang Dal members on a street protest outside a house purchased by a Muslim businessman near Meghani Circle. While saffron groups have been regularly organizing ‘Ram Dhuns’ and ‘Ram Darbars’ to thwart such deals, Togadia went a step further by asking the protesters to take complete control of the house and put a ‘Bajrang Dal’ board on it. 

Togadia told the gathering that there were two ways to stop such deals. One is to pressurize the state government to bring in Disturbed Areas Act in Bhavnagar, which prevents inter-community sale of immovable property. The second is to take forcible possession of the house and fight a legal battle later which will go on for years. 

He gave the Muslim occupant 48 hours to vacate the house. “If he does not relent, go with stones, tyres and tomatoes to his office. There is nothing wrong in it. Killers of Rajiv Gandhi have not been hanged … there is nothing to fear and the case will go on,” Togadia told the charged-up gathering. 

“I have done it in the past and Muslims have lost both property and money,” he said. 

He also said that this election is the best time to pressurize political parties to ensure safety of Hindus. “Don’t be reluctant to pressurize Congress or BJP for the sake of Hindus’ safety,” he said. 

After the event was over, tension was palpable and police feared that the mob might attack the house. A team of policemen has been stationed outside the house to avert any trouble.

Hate crime charge in NY attack on Sikh professor

20 April, 2014 - 17:46

sikh-professor Hate crime charge in NY attack on Sikh professor

By Associated Press, Published: April 19

NEW YORK — A man accused of pulling the beard of a Sikh professor before a group of young men who had called the professor “Osama” and a “terrorist” attacked him, has been arrested and charged with a hate crime, police said Saturday.Christian Morales, 20, was charged with aggravated harassment in connection with September’s attack on Columbia University professor Prabhjot Singh, who suffered a broken jaw.Singh, 31, was walking home with a friend in upper Manhattan when he was approached by a group of 12 to 15 young men, he said days after his attack.

“I heard, ‘Get him. Osama.’ I heard ‘terrorist.’ And I felt somebody grab my beard,” Singh said then.

He was then kicked and punched in an attack that ended after other people intervened, police said.

Singh didn’t return a message seeking comment Saturday.

Morales was in custody and was unavailable for comment. A phone number for him was out of service, and it was unclear if he had an attorney.

Detectives from the hate crimes task force are investigating the case.

Sikhism is a peace-loving religion that originated in India and preaches equality and a commitment to justice. Its practitioners have been targeted by attackers who in some cases confuse Sikhism and Islam because Sikh men and boys are required to wear turbans and beards.

Singh co-authored a 2012 op-ed in The New York Times accusing the federal government of failing to accurately measure the extent of anti-Sikh violence in response to the August 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee that left six people and the white supremacist gunman dead.

In the op-ed, Singh and his co-author argued that it is wrong “to assume that every attack against a Sikh is really meant for a Muslim.” They said Sikhs have historically been targeted.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Reuters: Besieged Muslims face murder, starvation in C.African Republic

19 April, 2014 - 20:36

An internally displaced Muslim boy stands in front of his mother who is carrying another child in Boda Besieged Muslims face murder, starvation in C.African Republic

By Emmanuel Braun (Reuters)

BODA Central African Republic (Reuters) – In normal times, the rickety wooden bridges at each end of the red-dirt main street in Boda were gateways to shops and a bustling market in the diamond-mining town in Central African Republic.

Today, they mark the fine line between life and death for hundreds of Muslims living under siege, encircled by Christian ‘anti-balaka’ militia fighters bent on chasing out the country’s Islamic population.

“We live in a prison,” said Adou Kone, a tailor. “Everything is blocked, nothing comes in. It’s very expensive to buy food … Our life is at a critical stage.”

Boda illustrates the chaos that has gripped Central African Republic since late 2012 when a battle for political power degenerated into clashes between Muslims and Christians that have forced about 1 million people from their homes.

If they stray beyond either bridge, Muslims in Boda say they would be killed, like thousands of other victims of tit-for-tat violence that continues despite the deployment of French and African peacekeepers.

French flags hang from some shacks and a handful of French armoured vehicles sporadically patrol the town, 115 km (70 miles) west of the capital Bangui. In the Muslim neighbourhood, a banner praises French troops – recognition that their plight would have been far worse without the deployment.

The crisis abruptly ended a proud history of Muslims living in harmony alongside the majority Christian population and has prompted warnings of genocide in the former French colony.

“We can wait for 10 years for them to leave – and if they don’t leave, we will still be there, holding our positions,” said Captain Dopani Firmin, the ‘anti-balaka’ chief in Boda, wearing a red Paris St Germain football shirt.

“We cannot accept to live together with Muslims, long-term,” Firmin said. “It’s our right to kill Muslims.”

ETHNIC-RELIGIOUS CLEANSING

In a sign of the mounting sectarian violence, fighters from the Muslim Seleka rebels shot dead the priest of the northern town of Paoua, a church official in Bangui said on Friday. The attack came two days after Seleka gunmen briefly kidnapped the bishop of the nearby town of Bossangoa.

Virtually all Muslims have fled Bangui since Seleka, who seized power in March 2013, were forced to step aside in January. The United Nations has since reported a “cleansing” of Muslims from the country’s west. [ID:nL1N0M31ZW]

The United Nations Security Council this month authorised a 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission to be deployed in September, recognition that 6,000 peacekeepers from the African peacekeeping force (MISCA) and France’s 2,000-strong Sangaris force had failed to stamp their authority on the country.

But the operation will take time to roll out and assaults on Muslims in Boda and elsewhere are taking a heavy toll.

“While we await the deployment on Sept. 15, it is essential that we reinforce MISCA and Sangaris, whose numbers are insufficient to stabilise this country,” Abdou Dieng, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR, told a news conference.

The United Nations says over half the population of 4.5 million people needs humanitarian aid but donors have provided less than 30 percent of the $550 million needed for emergency relief. Dieng said attacks on aid workers outside Bangui had also complicated the delivery of aid, amid fears the impending rainy season would worsen disease and malnutrition.

 

Read the rest…

France: Mosque Vandalism Follows Far-Right Election Victory

19 April, 2014 - 19:43

France Threat letter to French mosque praises far right

(The Local)

A mosque in the Paris suburbs said on Friday it had filed a complaint with police after slices of pork paté and a threatening letter were stuffed into its mailbox.

Authorities at the mosque in Mantes-la-Ville, a town of 19,000 in the western suburbs of Paris, said the incidents reflected a “worrying climate” after the town last month elected a mayor from the far-right National Front.

The head of the association that runs the mosque, Abdelaziz El Jaouhari, said about a dozen mouldy slices of pork paté were discovered in the mailbox on Wednesday.

The next day, an anonymous letter arrived calling Muslims “cockroaches” and wishing “good luck” to the new mayor “because he has a lot of work to do for a good cleansing, in particular of the Muslim race”.

“There is no question this was a racist and provocative act. It is the first time in the 12 years of the mosque’s existence that it has been the target of this kind of racist attack,” the association said in a statement.

It said it had filed a criminal complaint for “provoking racial hatred or religious discrimination” with police.

The association said the incidents were “especially worrying” given the “worsening social and political context” in the town after the election of FN candidate Cyril Nauth in last month’s municipal elections.

Nauth won the town with 30 percent of the vote, becoming the only elected mayor from the FN in the Ile-de-France region that encompasses the French capital and its suburbs.

Allen West: ‘Radical’ Muslims waging ‘jihad’ in U.S. — by voting and obeying election laws

19 April, 2014 - 19:01

fox_ff_jihad_voting_140417c

One wonders: how does West propose stopping Muslims from their right to vote? (h/t: RazaInc.)

Allen West: ‘Radical’ Muslims waging ‘jihad’ in U.S. — by voting and obeying election laws

By David Edwards (The Raw Story)

Former Republican Congressman Allen West (R-FL), who is currently employed as a Fox News contributor, on Thursday warned that Muslims were organizing to “destroy” the United States by exercising their legal right to vote.

Fox News host Steve Doocy began a Fox & Friends segment with West by announcing that “radical Islamists are busy building a voting bloc to sneak the political agenda into the American system… Their goal: to wage jihad from within.”

West explained that a group of Muslim Americas had written a document in 1991, “and we come to find out it’s the blueprint, the campaign strategy for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States of America.”

The former congressman pointed to groups like Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society, and the Islamic Society of Northern America as his prime suspects.

“They’re forming some type of political party, a voting bloc as they call it,” West said.

“In this country!” Doocy emphasized.

“That’s right! To institutionalize policies that favor them,” West agreed, adding that they wanted to “destroy America from within using a civilizational jihad, and that’s exactly what you see happening.”

Read the rest…

Anti-Muslim suspicion in Britain has a whiff of McCarthyism about it

19 April, 2014 - 00:29

Birmingham Central Mosque Anti-Muslim suspicion in Britain has a whiff of McCarthyism about it

By  (The Guardian)

Allegations that 25 schools in Birmingham are at risk of an “Islamic takeover plot” reached new levels of hysteria recently. An announcement was made that a counter-terrorism expert has been drafted in to conduct yet another investigation. The minister responsible, Michael Gove, has managed at a stroke to increase fear and suspicion between Muslim and non-Muslim in the city. The fact that the chief constable of West Midlands police, Chris Sims, has denounced the decision as “desperately unfortunate”, itself an extraordinary move, gives an indication of the scale of the concern.

So what was the evidence that provoked such a serious intervention and the accompanying media frenzy? A four-page document in which “plotters” outlined their dastardly plans to oust a headteacher for not being “open to our suggestions of adhering to strict Muslim guidelines”.

It made reference to a headteacher called Noshaba Hussain, whom the alleged plotters claim to have ousted from Springfield school only for her to be reinstated by the governors, and so “we have another plan in place to get her out”. But the school has confirmed that Hussain left the school 20 years ago. Other details point to the document’s inauthenticity and Sims – the most senior police officer in the region – has told the Guardian that it could be a hoax.

Governors at the schools concerned have strongly rejected the allegations. David Hughes, a governor at Park View school for 15 years, wrote an open letter to Michael Gove and condemned “the witch-hunt against the most successful school of its characteristics in Birmingham … under the pretext of concerns about extremism and threats to the education of our pupils”. Just last year Park View School hit the headlines for achieving an “outstanding” ranking from Ofsted despite a few years earlier being one of the worst performing schools.

Muslim governors challenging the narrative meet with accusations of denial and complicity. Many have worked hard for over a decade in partnership with teachers to turn schools around. Muslims feel under siege, while being accused of besieging an unwitting and overly tolerant majority who in turn will be fearful and mistrustful.

The real scandal is how scepticism over this “dodgy dossier” seems to have been thrown to the wind. What is more heartening is that local people are coming forward to stand in unity. The Rev Oliver Cross, who also happens to be vice-chair of governors at Regents Park school, one of the schools named as among those “infiltrated”, has categorically refuted the allegations and called the appointment of Peter Clarke a “disaster for community cohesion”. He says Birmingham Muslims are now “used to accusations of ‘Islamism’ or ‘extremism’ being hurled at them, not because such things exist, but for the simple crime of being Muslims”.

Different opinions may well exist among Muslims around schooling: the conservative-liberal spectrum of opinion is not unique to us. Since when do concerns by religiously conservative parents about teaching on homosexuality, girls and boys mixing, and the reciting of prayers, require anti-terrorist experts to get involved?

This latest investigation comes after the government announced that British affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood will be investigated, and the Muslim mayor of Tower Hamlets was described in police reports as an “extremist”. When those who make criticisms of foreign policy get accused of creating the mood music for terrorism, there is understandable frustration and despair. Increasingly Muslims feel they just can’t win. On the one hand we get told we are not integrating enough and we should engage more in civic society. On the other, when we do, we get accused of having sinister agendas. There is more than a whiff of McCarthyism in the air. Chris Sims says he is concerned about the impact this will have on community cohesion. He is right to be.

Police Nab Man Who Allegedly Threatened To Kill Muslim Teen

18 April, 2014 - 18:58

muslim-hate-crime Police nab man who allegedly threatened to kill Muslim teen

Police have arrested the man who allegedly called a 15-year-old Muslim girl “a terrorist” and threatened to kill her on an MTA bus going through Kew Gardens Hills, authorities said.

Perry Germano, 50, allegedly blew a fuse when the teen’s bag brushed against him on board the crowded Q88 bus at about 9 a.m. April 7, cops said.

“F–k you! F–k your people! You Muslim! You’re a terrorist!” Germano allegedly screamed at the girlwhen the bus was near Kissena Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway, sources said.

The teen, who was dressed in traditional Muslim garb, tried to calm Germano by blaming the bumpy ride, but he only grew more aggressive, sources said.

Germano allegedly shoved and spit on the girl before saying, “I’m not scared to hit you with my fist. I will kill you,” according to sources.

He darted off the bus when it was stopped on Kissena Boulevard, authorities said.

Germano was charged with attempted assault, aggravated harassment, and menacing, police said.

He has over 40 prior arrests dating back to the 1980s, including busts for petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Police find no evidence of criminality by Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman

17 April, 2014 - 22:51

Lutfur-Rahman-and-John-Ware Police find no evidence of criminality by Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman

A police investigation into allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement by the mayor of a London council has found “no credible evidence of criminality”.

Lutfur Rahman, elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, east London, was accused by the BBC’s Panorama of more than doubling public funding to Bangladeshi and Somali groups from £1.5m to £3.6m in the face of recommendations from council officers. He denied the allegations, saying they had been motivated by racism and Islamophobia.

The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, sent inspectors into the borough to investigate Rahman’s activities, but Metropolitan police officers who reviewed the allegations found no evidence of fraud or other offences.

He will face no further action from police “at this stage”, but the force said it was appropriate for outside auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to continue their financial review of the council.

A Scotland Yard statement said: “On Friday 4 April the Metropolitan Police Service received three files of material from the Department for Communities and Local Government relating to the London borough of Tower Hamlets. These comprised material referred to the DCLG by a member of the public and by the BBC Panorama programme.

“The files have been reviewed by a team of officers over the past six days. In addition, officers have liaised with PricewaterhouseCoopers, who are conducting a full and wide-ranging audit of financial matters at the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

“There is no credible evidence of criminality within the files to provide reasonable grounds to suspect that fraud or any other offence has been committed at this stage. Therefore the MPS will not be investigating at this point in time and believe that it is appropriate for the material to be reviewed further by PwC and DCLG. We will continue to liaise with them should their audit uncover any evidence of criminality.”

PwC has been asked to report back to Pickles by 30 June. Tower Hamlets council, which says it has seen no evidence that its processes have been run inappropriately, welcomed the police statement.

Panorama alleged that Rahman doubled the recommended funding for Bengali-run charities in an attempt to buy influence. Pickles asked inspectors to focus on grant payments, the transfer of property by the authority to third parties, publicity spending decisions and contractual processes since the mayor was elected.

Rahman, who briefly led the council for Labour, fought the borough’s first mayoral contest in 2010 as an independent after being dumped by Labour’s national executive committee. He will seek re-election next month.

Before the Panorama broadcast, Rahman said he had acquired a dossier of internal documents passed on by a researcher who worked on the programme. She took copies of the production files including the script, research notes, translations and details about secret filming from a shared but secure database.

Rahman claimed these revealed “clear racist and Islamophobic overtones targeting the Bangladeshi Muslim community in Tower Hamlets” and that the broadcaster had breached its editorial guidelines. The BBC denied there was any racial, religious or political motivation to the documentary.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We continue to stand by the programme’s findings which uncovered serious concerns about the use of public money, which are still being investigated by the government. Our programme did not say there was evidence of criminality. The allegations relate to potentially unlawful expenditure, not to a criminal matter. For the avoidance of doubt, the Metropolitan Police were not investigating allegations made within the Panorama programme, and any such claims are misleading.”

Guardian, 16 April 2014

New York Drops Unit That Spied on Muslims

16 April, 2014 - 19:23

MUSLIMweb1-master675

About time isn’t it?

New York Drops Unit That Spied on Muslims

(The NewYork Times)

The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said.

The decision by the nation’s largest police force to shutter the controversial surveillance program represents the first sign that William J. Bratton, the department’s new commissioner, is backing away from some of the post-9/11 intelligence-gathering practices of his predecessor. The Police Department’s tactics, which are the subject of two federal lawsuits, drew criticism from civil rights groups and a senior official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who said they harmed national security by sowing mistrust for law enforcement in Muslim communities.

To many Muslims, the squad, known as the Demographics Unit, was a sign that the police viewed their every action with suspicion. The police mapped communities inside and outside the city, logging where customers in traditional Islamic clothes ate meals and documenting their lunch-counter conversations.

“The Demographics Unit created psychological warfare in our community,” said Linda Sarsour, of the Arab American Association of New York. “Those documents, they showed where we live. That’s the cafe where I eat. That’s where I pray. That’s where I buy my groceries. They were able to see their entire lives on those maps. And it completely messed with the psyche of the community.”

Ms. Sarsour was one of several advocates who met last Wednesday with Mr. Bratton and some of his senior staff members at Police Headquarters. She and others in attendance said the department’s new intelligence chief, John Miller, told them that the police did not need to work covertly to find out where Muslims gather and indicated the department was shutting the unit down.

The Demographics Unit, which was renamed the Zone Assessment Unit in recent years, has been largely inactive since Mr. Bratton took over in January, the department’s chief spokesman, Stephen Davis, said. The unit’s detectives were recently reassigned, he said.

“Understanding certain local demographics can be a useful factor when assessing the threat information that comes into New York City virtually on a daily basis,” Mr. Davis said. “In the future, we will gather that information, if necessary, through direct contact between the police precincts and the representatives of the communities they serve.”

The department’s change in approach comes as the federal government reconsiders and re-evaluates some of its own post-9/11 policies. Although the police department’s surveillance program was far smaller in scope than, say, the bulk data collection by the National Security Agency, a similar recalibration seems to be unfolding.

The Demographics Unit was the brainchild of the Central Intelligence Agency officer Lawrence Sanchez, who helped establish it in 2003 while working at the Police Department and while he was still on the spy agency’s payroll.

The goal was to identify the mundane locations where a would-be terrorist could blend into society. Plainclothes detectives looked for “hot spots” of radicalization that might give the police an early warning about terrorist plots. The squad, which typically consisted of about a dozen members, focused on 28 “ancestries of interest.”

Detectives were told to chat up the employees at Muslim-owned businesses and “gauge sentiment” about America and foreign policy. Through maps and photographs, the police noted where Albanian men played chess in the afternoon, where Egyptians watched soccer and where South Asians played cricket.

After years of collecting information, however, the police acknowledged that it never generated a lead. Since The Associated Press published documentsdescribing the program in 2011, Muslims and civil rights groups have called for its closing.

Mr. Bratton has said that he intends to try to heal rifts between the Police Department and minority communities that have felt alienated as a result of policies pursued during the Bloomberg administration. The meeting last week put Mr. Bratton in the room with some of his department’s harshest critics.

“This is the first time we’ve felt that comfort sitting with them,” said Ahmad Jaber, who resigned from the Police Department’s Muslim advisory board last year to protest the surveillance tactics. “It’s a new administration, and they are willing to sit with the community and listen to their concerns.”

The Demographics Unit was one aspect of a broad intelligence-gathering effort. In addition, informants infiltrated Muslim student groups on college campuses and collected the names, phone numbers and addresses of those who attended. Analysts trawled college websites and email groups to keep tabs on Muslim scholars and who attended their lectures.

The police also designated entire mosques as suspected “terrorism enterprises,” a label that the police claimed allowed them to collect the license plate numbers of every car in mosque parking lots, videotape worshipers coming and going, and record sermons using informants wearing hidden microphones.

As a candidate, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “deeply troubled” by the tactic of surveilling mosques. Despite investigations that stretched for years, the Police Department’s efforts never led to charges that a mosque or an Islamic organization was itself a terrorist enterprise.

The future of those programs remains unclear. The former police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, has said his efforts were lawful and helped protect the city from terrorist attacks. Last month, a federal judge in New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit over the department’s surveillance there, saying Muslims could not prove they were harmed by the tactics.

Two other federal lawsuits continue to challenge the department’s tactics. One legal claim has been brought under a civil rights case that dates back to the Police Department’s surveillance of student groups and protesters in the 1960s and 1970s. Martin Stolar, one of the lawyers who brought that claim, maintains that the post-9/11 surveillance programs violate the court order in that case. A judge has not yet ruled on that question.

Like Muslim community leaders, Mr. Stolar said he wanted to see exactly what the department had planned. Police officials have changed the name of the program before, he said.

“I want them to say that they’re getting rid of not just the unit, but the kind of policing that the unit did,” Mr. Stolar said. “Is it still going to be blanket surveillance of where Muslims hang out? Are they going to stop this massive surveillance?”

Based on Mr. Davis’s remarks, the Police Department appears to be moving its policies closer to those of the F.B.I. Both agencies are allowed to use census data, public information and government data to create detailed maps of ethnic communities.

U.S. Right Wing Extremists More Deadly Than Jihadists

15 April, 2014 - 21:02

Frazier_Glenn_Cross

The following article by Peter Bergen is pretty good though it fails to explicitly describe the attack on the Jewish Community Centers as ‘terrorist attacks.’

U.S. right wing extremists more deadly than jihadists

(CNN) – On Sunday, a man shot and killed a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and then drove to a nearby Jewish retirement community where he shot and killed a third person. Police arrested a suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross, who shouted “Heil Hitler” after he was taken into custody.

Cross, who also goes by Frazier Glenn Miller, is a well-known right wing extremist who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Now let’s do the thought experiment in which instead of shouting “Heil Hitler” after he was arrested, the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar.” Only two days before the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, this simple switch of words would surely have greatly increased the extent and type of coverage the incident received.

Yet the death toll in the shootings in Kansas is similar to that of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, where three people were killed and the suspects later killed a police officer as they tried to evade capture. (Many more, of course, were also wounded in the Boston attacks; 16 men, women and children lost limbs.)

In fact, since 9/11 extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology. According to a count by the New America Foundation, right wing extremists have killed 34 people in the United States for political reasons since 9/11. (The total includes the latest shootings in Kansas, which are being classified as a hate crime).

KKK: We Aren’t Hatefilled Terrorists, We Are Peaceful Christians

15 April, 2014 - 18:59

KKK_Virginia

Just last month the KKK (which has seen an increase in membership) was dropping off leaflets in Virginia on peoples lawns, claiming they aren’t hate-filled terrorists but peaceful Christians.

Now with the horrific and saddening terrorist attack on Jewish centers in Kansas the hoodies have been torn off and once again we see what kind of terrorist threat they still pose to the USA. One wonders why the FBI didn’t catch this one? Why is their a continued  focus on Muslims that only feeds anti-Muslim hysteria?

KKK: We Aren’t Hateful, We’re Christians:

Islamic centre under second ‘hate’ attack

14 April, 2014 - 21:13

ISLAMIC LIBRARY ATTACK CANBERRA Islamic centre under second ‘hate’ attack

(SBS.com)

Operators of Australia’s biggest Islamic centre have appealed for better police protection, after an attack that has caused extensive damage.

Vandals are believed to have spent several hours inside the Canberra Islamic Centre and National Islamic Library on the weekend, smashing glassware, pushing over shelving, and spraying graffiti on the walls.

President Azra Khan says the attack – the second in less than two weeks – appears to have been motivated by a hatred of Muslims.

She told Santilla Chingaipe the full extent of the damage hasn’t yet been assessed, but it’s unlikely to be fully covered by insurance.

(Click on audio tab above to listen to this item)

Pages