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Updated: 2 hours 9 min ago

India: Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Followers Riot After His Rape Conviction

25 August, 2017 - 19:39

Reza Aslan should’ve interviewed this guy when he went to India along with Agoras.

Indian Guru Ram Rahim Singh, has all the markers of a charlatan who takes advantage of the followers of his sect in the same way that televangelists do in the US. The flamboyant Guru is also a self-styled “movie star,” and “singer.”

via. AlJazeera English

At least 28 people have been killed in India as violent protests erupted after a court convicted a self-styled “godman” of raping two female followers.

Friday’s verdict angered thousands of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s supporters who said he was innocent.

Singh was found guilty in a case dating back to 2002 at the headquarters of his Dera Sacha Sauda group in the northern town of Sirsa.

Supporters rampaged in response, setting fire to government buildings, attacking railway stations, petrol stations and television vans in towns across the northern states of Punjab and Haryana soon after the verdict was announced, witnesses said.

Hundreds of Indian police and soldiers patrolled Panchkula, the town where the court gave its verdict on Singh, as local officials feared an outbreak of violence.

Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse the protesters.

The violence left at least 28 dead, including some with bullet wounds, and more than 250 injured, according to BS Sandhu, a top Haryana police official.

He said more than 1,000 of the guru’s supporters had been detained in Panchkula on charges of arson and destruction of public property.

Read the rest of the article…

Alex Morton holds the keys to defeating ’Islamism’

10 August, 2017 - 17:49

Guest post By J. Spooner & Jono Stubbins

Alex Morton holds the keys to defeating “Islamism”. He’s been gracious enough to share them in Conservative Home. Presumably, Alex knows what he is talking about. After all, he was an advisor to Prime Minister Cameron when the UK supported an Islamist jihad in Libya. First he must set up the false premises on which his policy suggestions will be based.

Islamism is a threat both inside and outside the Islamic world on a scale comparable with fascism and communism in the 20th century

This is absurd. The West is largely allied with the major players in the Muslim world. There is no existential threat from without, least of all from within from any imagined fifth-column. Comparing the so-called Islamic State with the capabilities of the militarised Third Reich and the expansionist and nuclear armed Soviet Union is alarmist nonsense.

It needs a comparable response.

This response includes a new World War. Sixty-million people were killed in our most recent World War.

There is an ongoing conflict within Islam, and we are not neutral in this struggle.

The conflict is not “within Islam”. It is conflicts between rival powers with the Muslim World. When Al Qaeda are shooting back at Daesh it has no more to do with Islamic doctrine than the Gambinos fighting the Castellanos has to do with Catholicism.

However, Morton is correct on the following point, “we are not neutral in this struggle” – Wildly inconsistent but never neutral. Examples include: Supporting the anti-Soviet Sunni Jihad in Afghanistan in the 80’s, siding with the secularist PLO in their coup against Sunni Hamas, empowering Shia Iran by invading and occupying Iraq in the 2000s, financing and training Sunni jihadists to overthrow the Secular Gadaffi regime, supporting the Sunni Rebels in Syria and enabling the Wahabbi Saudi Arabian bombing of the Houthis in Yemen.

Not all versions of Islam are compatible with our society. There is no other way of saying this. Islamism believes that government must enforce (almost always a strict version of) Islam, and crucially rejects freedom of religion, thought, and secularism based on its readings of the Quran and the hadiths. It is incompatible with a secular liberal democracy, and is by nature extremist on the Government definition of “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.

Ironically, by the Government’s definition Morton is also an “extremist”.

Not all versions of Islamism are compatible with our society. This much is true, However, disingenuously conflating all Islamist movements with Daesh as Morton does, only muddies the water. Consider that not all versions of Zionism (such as Kahanism) are compatible with our society yet all three major British political parties have significant and influential ”friends of Israel” sub-groups.

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood predates al-Baghdadi’s monstrosity in Iraq and Syria by almost a century. Contrary to Morton’s vapid claims they have embraced democracy, denounced violence and remain committed to the non-violent protest of the removal of their democratically elected President Morsi in a fascist coup.

This is not to say that Islam, the religion, is incompatible with a secular liberal democracy. There are various more tolerant versions of Islam and some Muslims focus on other parts of the Quran, such as those stating there is no compulsion in religion or action (e.g. verses 2:256 and 18:29). There are good and bad versions of Islam – and most Muslims believe in a mixture of the good and bad elements. But Islamism believes in use of government power and brute force in enforcing its version of Islam on others, and attacks the moderate or tolerant strains.

This is a roundabout way of saying I will reluctantly tolerate an existence with Muslims as long as their faith doesn’t influence their politics i.e. the ethnics don’t get any ideas above their station. This is anti-democratic. Morton is again qualifying under the ”extremist” definition he provided.

True to form he is justifying his own advocacy of oppression through the lie that all Islamists are de-facto violent and anti-democracy. Islamist groups have denounced violence and embraced democracy (despite having already been betrayed by the promise of democracy and suffered terrible atrocities).

Islamists try to demand special treatment for Islam and, once they have it, use it to force their more aggressive version of Islam forward, arguing those who disagree are blasphemous or not respecting Islam. Countries which have tried to placate Islamist extremists became trapped in a cycle in which Islamists are given freedom to bully others, and have used this freedom to drive their version of Islam forward. This is why for Islamists and quasi-Islamist states such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan there is no crime worse than blasphemy – because enforcing their version of Islam is the foundation of their power.

This is a bizarre and predictably disingenuous passage which wouldn’t find itself out of place in Anders Breivik’s Manifesto. Morton buttresses his Muslims as a fifth-column conspiracy with his fabricated fantasies of these undetermined nations who are allowing themselves to be bullied by ”Islamist extremists”. These under-the-boot-of-Muslims tropes are what drives the anti-state and anti-Muslim militants. He then proceeds to connect this imagined fifth-column to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

When I worked in Number Ten, the people who grasped most clearly Islamism’s threat were my Muslim co-workers, because they knew Islamists were determined to destroy more tolerant and decent versions of Islam and replace it with their own cancerous version – using a mixture of theology, guilt and brute force to theorise and terrorise those who oppose them, both non-Muslims and Muslims.

The ambivalence (not shared by David Cameron) in government came from guilt ridden non-Muslims and those Muslims who buy into one of the main Islamist narratives – that no version of Islam is a problem, and only ‘Islamophobia’ is the problem. This ignores the widespread abuse of human rights by Islamist states or states that want to placate Islamism.

Thankfully, Morton worked as a housing advisor to David Cameron and not in counter-terrorism. Morton presents the tired and patently ridiculous strawman of the leftist say “no version of Islam is the problem”. Literally nobody (outside of ISIS supporters) has ever said that ISIS isn’t a problem. This is proceeded by alluding to the ”white guilt” of leftists and the “ISIS or Islamophobia” false dichotomy. His claimed anecdotal evidence is suspect given either his inability to understand the ”Islamist threat” or perhaps more likely his dishonesty in addressing it.

The Left has largely capitulated to Islamism

With honourable and principled exceptions such as Nick Cohen, much of the Left has long since abandoned those who are women, LGBT, minority faiths or nonreligious, and others unfortunate enough to be born where Islamism is strongest. They will speak out against Saudi Arabia, but only in the same breath as condemning the USA’s support for it – because for them this is all about the West. They see themselves as educated multiculturalists but they are, ironically, deeply ignorant about what Islamism is and how it works.

Morton creates the perfect strawman to knock down. That of the self-hating western liberal who for reasons unknown has a secret affinity for Islamism – Which in Morton’s world is al-Baghdadi himself.

Their use of the weasel word “Islamophobia” and attempt to blame every failure in the Middle East on western intervention is deeply harmful.

So there we have it, simply using the word Islamophobia and not Islamophobia itself is ’deeply harmful.

Western intervention has made things worse, but Islamism and the Middle East’s difficulties are part of an internal struggle with modernity that the Muslim world is going through. Islamophobia – as opposed to discrimination against Muslims as individuals, and which should never be tolerated – is a word that Islamists love because they can twist it. Cartoons of Mohammed – Islamophobia. Stopping Islamist indoctrination in state schools – Islamophobia. Concerns about basic human rights in Islamic countries – Islamophobia.

Morton disingenuously lists off a series of non-Islamophobic scenarios to debunk the entire existence of Islamophobia. It’s pure sophistry.

Yet if the Left has capitulated, the Centre and Right have failed to understand what is necessary. In fighting Islamism, there are various key policies – fortunately few of which require legislation:

  • Islam is not to be given special treatment and sensitivity will not prevent enforcement of the law or the same treatment being given to Islam as other religions.
  • Islamists (as opposed to Muslims) are to be excluded from every government funding source, platform, and other official interaction and publicly criticised.
  • We will work with anti-Islamist Muslims wherever possible.

So these are Morton’s supposed solutions? Measures which are already in place? Excluding peaceful Islamists from the democratic process pushes towards the fringes. Closing doors on the democratically elected “taghut” Morsi opens doors for Baghdadi. Morton’s dishonest and coded zero-sum war on Muslims is typically short-sighted and counterproductive. His “Clash of Civilizations” is from the same cloth as the Islamic State’s.

Hollywood Harris and the Best Defence Money Can Buy

27 July, 2017 - 19:28

Guest post By Jonas Spooner & JB Stubbings

October 03, 2014, Los Angeles: A trembling Sam Harris sits head in hands in an otherwise empty and dark CBS changing room. His carefully crafted and hugely profitable brand was in peril. He had just been accused of racism on national television by Ben Affleck. Nobody was going to pay $35,000 for a racist to speak. It was time to react.

Dialling down on the nativism wasn’t an option. Sam knew it was part of his appeal. Yes, he could (and did) secretly scrub his website for his calls to “ethnically-profile” Muslims but he could only conceal so much. His rancid conspiracy theories of impending “ominous demographic trends”, of “barbarians (Muslim immigrants) at the gates” and “sensible speaking fascists” were a part of the public record. Sam knew he needed more to ride this storm and preserve his brand. If only he could throw money at this problem to make it go away! But maybe he could? Inspired by the IDF’s use of Palestinian human-shields in their latest onslaught of Gaza only months before, Sam committed to purchasing the loyalties of Muslims and ex Muslims alike to act as his attack dogs. How could he be racist if some of his best friends were brown?

While the above is fiction, it is consistent with the facts – facts which provide fertile ground for a Harris-esque “thought experiment”.

Sam Harris’ familial background isn’t academia, it isn’t even reality. It’s the superficial world of Hollywood where the Harris family are royalty. In the Harris family mansion Emmys sit beside Oscars on the mantelpiece. His mother Susan Harris is a legendary sitcom producer and creator of the Golden Girls, his father Berkley Harris was a Hollywood actor and his step-father Paul Junger-Witt is a successful movie producer. Harris was born into the gated-communities of white privilege. White supremacism and entitlement is his natural environment.

Samuel Harris: The Wandering Hippy Dropout With His Mother’s Blank Cheques   

The silver-screen provided a silver-spoon for the young Harris and he greedily grabbed it with both hands. His screenwriter mother couldn’t have created a more stereotypical spoiled brat character for her sitcom Mama’s Boy than Samuel.  Aged 19, Harris began experimenting with drugs and dropped out of college to jet around the world to meditate for an incredible eleven years – All of this was financed by his mother whom he dedicated his first book The End of Faith to in a act of gratitude.

He began writing it the day after 9/11 – The day history begins for people like Harris. It was originally rejected by fifteen publishers before Norton decided to cash-in on the emerging anti-Islam market as Americans were in mourning and demanding answers. The true motive for the attacks didn’t support the propaganda being pushed by the establishment media and the neoconservatives in the Bush administration who were lying their nation into an illegal war. Christopher Hitchens had found himself at the service of Bill Kristol and had begun regurgitating Dick Cheney’s lies about Al Qaeda in Iraq and yellowcake in Prague and was cultivating a receptive yet naive liberal audience.

The misled liberals had found their simplistic answers through Hitchens’ disinformation: ‘Muslims hate us for our freedoms’. Harris was to add a layer of misinformation onto the Bush-era war propaganda: ‘Muslims hate us for our freedoms because their evil God told them to’.  

Decades of western imperialist provocations in the Muslim world had been erased. All geopolitical and sociopolitical context was stripped away in the dual Washington-Media’s narrative. The half a million Iraqi children murdered by US sanctions was now not simply ‘worth it” but their lives had been erased from the pages of history. What remained was the war propaganda which scapegoated Islam. Emerging now was the birth-pangs of ‘liberal’ Islamophobia which was to typify the emerging ‘new atheist’ movement. It would soon become socially acceptable to demonise and dehumanise Muslims (exclusively) provided you’ve dressed it up as “criticising ideas”. The antisemitism and McCartyism of old was being dusted down and recast as Islamophobia. The first seeds of the anti-Muslim-centric Alt-Right and Trumpism were being laid and Sam Harris was a “gateway”.

The End of Faith was a commercial success but realistically didn’t qualify Harris to dine at atheism’s top table in 2008 as one quarter of the “Four Horsemen” – Yet the Hollywood scion got pushed to the front of the queue.  The other three ‘Horsemen” Hitchens, Dennett and Dawkins had all achieved successes in their respective fields over decades. Harris had a philosophy diploma, had  published just two books and hadn’t even obtained his PhD yet. But Sam was working on this.

Along with his wife and Jai Lakshman, Harris established The Reason Project (later renamed Project Reason). The Hollywood spring-board was in full effect as Project Reason took up a Los Angeles office in the same building as mother Susan Harris and her business partner Wayne Rogers of M*A*S’*H fame. In 2009 he was to be the beneficiary of Director Robert Zemeckis’s generosity with Project Reason receiving $5,000 from the Oscar winners foundation.  Zemeckis and Harris step-father Paul Junger-Witt are close – They sit on the same Advisory Boards, attend movie premieres together and curiously along with Susan Harris shared a $28,000-a-plate table at an Obama fundraiser prior to the Project Reason grant.

Regarding Harris’ PhD, online blog site ‘The Rhizzone’ acutely observes that:

“Sam had no history in neuroscience and he had never conducted an experiment in his life. It’s hard to imagine the UCLA neuroscience department accepting his PhD proposal”.

Further research at Shadowtolight documents how Harris’ maligned thesis project in 2009 was partially funded through Harris’ nonprofit, while tax forms confirm Project Reason ‘donated’ $10,000 to UCLA Board of Regents around this time. Coincidentally or not, Junger-Witt’s non-profit, the Environmental Defense Fund, also donated $40,000 to the UCLA Board of Regents that very same year. Coincidence? Hollywood money undoubtedly played a supporting role in Harris’ life, from funding his PhD to helping him purchase further credibility. Something to consider when Harris next castigates the Muslim world for it’s lack of academic successes.

Losing My Religion

Harris is to many the fearless hero, a white knight riding the horse of science and ‘reason’, slaying all religions in his wake, regardless of his unhealthy and agenda-exposing focus on Islam. Project Reason’s mission statement encapsulates this very theme:

Project Reason is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. The foundation draws on the talents of prominent and creative thinkers in a wide range of disciplines to encourage critical thinking and erode the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world”

However, over the years, militant atheist Harris himself is listed as the secretary/treasurer for the Hanuman Foundation, another Non-Profit whose tax documents list it’s purpose as “Religious publishing activities; Other religious activities”. Further digging into Hanuman show that the Chairman is the same Jai Lakshman who is the trustee for Project Reason. Hanuman is a bizarre, mystical type foundation with it’s roots in hinduism and other spiritual leanings. The name Hanuman is based on “a divine monkey” as wikipedia elaborates;

Hanuman (/ˈhʌnʊˌmɑːn/; IAST: Hanumān)[3] is a divine monkey and an ardent devotee of Rama.[1] He is one of the central figures in the various versions of the epic Ramayana found in Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia…Hanuman is the son of Anjana and Kesari and is also son of the wind-god Pawan, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth…Beyond being a popular deity in Hinduism, Hanuman is also found in Jainism and Buddhism.

Hanuman’s founder, Ram Dass appears to have had quite the influence on the younger, hippy/drop-out version of Harris. Dass was also obsessed with psychedelics and LSD, even writing books about them. Dass “considered himself an atheist and did not profess any religion during his early life”, describing himself as “inured to religion. I didn’t have one whiff of God until I took psychedelics.” For Harris it appears, drugs had the opposite effect. These strange links appear to contradict the zero sum game Harris plays with his dismissal of the religions of others.   

Not only has Harris engaged and enveloped himself in his own forms of religion, Project Reason has used it’s atheist donor-solicited funds to financially support those pushing their own anti-secular agenda. In perhaps his most brazen act of agenda-exposing behaviour, Harris facilitated a $10,000 donation from Project Reason to Israeli intelligence-linked MEMRI, in 2014. Besides specialising in crafting its own propaganda, the pro-Israel organisation, as the Guardian reported, has it’s own vested interests::

Evidence from Memri’s website also casts doubt on its non-partisan status. Besides supporting liberal democracy, civil society, and the free market, the institute also emphasises “the continuing relevance of Zionism to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel”.

“IT’S GROSS, IT’S RACIST”

In fact, 2014 was a crucial period in the timeline of Harris’ public relations juggernaut. He made the best of a potentially career-defining situation whilst demonstrating true insight into the inner workings of the media and public opinion. It was a an exhibition of PR 101, undoubtedly assisted by his first hand experience of Hollywood politics and the power of the chequebook.

In early 2014, Sam Harris via Project Reason made a very wise investment, donating $10,000 to EXMNA. EXMNA or Ex Muslims of North America, are an organisation whose self described objectives are to “aim to reduce discrimination faced by those who leave Islam, advocate for acceptance of religious dissent, and promote secular values.”

In terms of Non-Profit Organisations, EXMNA is relatively small fry. Especially pre-2014. It did not have to complete tax filings or publicly release any financial data prior to 2014, as it’s stated annual income was ‘less than 25k’. Since crossing paths with Harris, funnily enough, IRS records show that EXMNA’s income has increased to ‘less than 50k’. It’s founders include Sarah Haider and Muhammad Syed, who up until this point, were relative unknowns. In 2014, EXMNA must have almost doubled their annual income by accepting Project Reason’s grant – would a time come when they felt the need to pay it back?

Then, in late September 2014, Harris’ good Hollywood friend and fellow Project Reason board member Bill Maher, found himself with his pant’s down thanks to a CNN demolition job by academic and author, Reza Aslan. Aslan called Maher out on his bigotry and corrected several misconceptions of Islam spewed forth by Maher on his chat show, Real Time. This CNN interview clip of Aslan went viral on Youtube and social media, gaining millions of views whilst leaving Maher red-faced and exposed for his superficial understanding of Islam. ‘New atheist’ podcasts, websites and chat shows were left reeling from the globally accessible take down of one of their ringleaders, and in typical fashion resorted to aggressive smear tactics and personal attacks against Aslan. Aslan was public enemy number one. Enter EXMNA.

Following Aslan’s embarrassment of Maher, the newly Sam Harris sponsored Haider and Syed wrote an online reply to Aslan’s comments, highlighting what they saw were factual errors in Aslan’s statements on that CNN clip. EXMNA, or perhaps more specifically, Haider and Syed, became overnight sensations with the Atheist fundamentalists as their post was devoured by the online mob, hungry for a point of reference to counter Aslan’s arguments. The cult popularity of EXMNA within inner ‘New Atheist’ circles was well and truly on the rise and in particular, Haider was on her path to becoming Harris’ new “hero”. Haider and Syed had surely repaid the ‘faith’ that Project Reason had shown in them, while needless to say Haider and Syed made no such post critiquing Maher’s views.

Maher’s own image however, was still in need of a much more public rebuttal to Aslan’s comments, and so he reverted to Harris, who he knew he could count on to eloquently justify his bigotry. A week later then, and Harris appeared on Real Time, spouting his now infamous “Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas” comment, amongst all his usual talking points. Yet before Maher had a chance to bask in his redemption, another, much more famous guest on the show stole the limelight. Ben Affleck, condemned Harris’ comments in the now infamous spat as “Gross” and “Racist”. Even though this was not the first time the label ‘racist’ had been thrown at Harris, it was no doubt a hammer blow for a man who understood the PR influence that Affleck’s comments could have on his carefully constructed public image. Affleck was a household name thus, regardless if he was wrong or right, an amount of this mud was bound to stick. What Harris would do next, could determine just how much.  

Real Time’s clip of the Maher/Harris/Affleck confrontation was perhaps even more popular than Aslan’s CNN segment. Social media and Youtube were having a field day. Haider and Syed at this point, who were still being interviewed by various websites for their post on Aslan, were now asked to comment on this latest drama. During an interview with The Humanist Hour Podcast on October 15th, Haider and Syed both critiqued what they saw as Affleck’s reflexive dismissals and when asked whether they agreed with Harris’ “Mother lode of bad ideas” quote, both became squirmish and refused to condemn him for it.

The media was having a field day with the Real Time segment and Harris’ was now haemorrhaging credibility thanks to Affleck. He needed further reinforcements. Haider’s profile was on the rise and Harris more than understood the steadying influence that having Muslims and Ex Muslims on his side could provide to brand Harris. Relying on the ‘I’m friends with Ayaan Hirsi Ali’ routine was getting old and so Harris once again reverted to his default tactic of buying his way out of trouble. Less than a month later, Harris sent $20,000 to The Quilliam Foundation, a British organisation run by a new friend of his, a British Muslim he had been having some correspondence with by the name of Maajid Nawaz.

Harris and Nawaz would go on to consummate their coming together in the form of a book. Not your typical book, rather it was a published version of correspondence between the two, printed, bound and made available for a very reasonable price, of course. Such enlightening discussions are not available for free – they aren’t aimed at everybody. (No doubt this is the same result Harris was hoping to have with Noam Chomsky in 2015, when he first wrote to him hoping to have a similar ‘discussion’. Unfortunately Chomsky, who was not beholden to further publicity, slammed Harris’ ideas of making personal conversations public as a “strange form of exhibitionism”. I think we can guess what Chomsky would have said about going a step further and putting a price on it). But it is of course exhibitionism, which is the very lifeblood of ‘Hollywood Harris’, and thus it yields no surprise that this book is now morphing into a feature-length documentary film (featuring Hirsi Ali, of course), to be coming soon to all ‘strange’ and ‘exhibitionist’ cinemas near you. By the end of 2014, Harris was secure in the trenches, huddled in with a real life ‘Muslim Reformer’ on one side of him and EXMNA on the other. Harris had successfully doubled down on his tactic of purchasing his own army of PR credibility, helping to shield him from any future criticism.

This as stated earlier, was a successful tactic from Harris. He was able to somewhat restore his public image, with regards to criticising Islam, by referring to more ‘credible’ voices on the matter such as EXMNA or Quilliam/Nawaz, who were now on the Harris gravy train and happy to oblige. Harris has a lot invested in Haider’s loyalty especially, with Project Reason matching fundraising donations totaling up to $30,000 to EXMNA in 2015/2016. This pattern of Harris throwing his money at whomever he believes will boost and defend his image can be traced back further than 2014, however.

The Price of Loyalty

Public tax filings show in 2013, Harris’ Project Reason donated $10,000 to the AHA Foundation, an organisation set up by none other than Ayaan “Islam must be defeated” Hirsi Ali. Ali is an ex-muslim, she has her own backstory of escaping oppression in her homeland, had a public profile that at this time was on the rise and she was even referred to as the potential fifth horseman/horsewoman of the apocalypse. Needless to say, she fitted the bill for Harris. Like Nawaz, Ali enjoys a mutually beneficial arrangement with Harris which consists of boosting her own image (and her foundation’s bank account) in exchange for acting as the barrier to accusations of racism/white supremacism/chauvinism directed his way.

Hirsi Ali is a lost cause, firmly embedded within the Neoconservative Lobby. She considers fascist junta leader Sisi a “reformer” and racist war criminal Netanyahu a “man of peace”. Her AHA Foundation was set up with a mysterious $425,000 gift from an anonymous donor – which she promptly staffed with war-hungry neocons and Zionists. She has little-to-no interest in “reforming” Islam. Her preference is to “crush” it. The Islamophobic terrorist and mass-murderer Anders Breivik understood this well and he worshipped Hirsi Ali. From Breivik’s manifesto:

Because of her background she has made criticism of Islam acceptable to people who would otherwise find it difficult to digest the arguments she presents…She is an invaluable asset to the fight against global Jihad and as worthy of the Prize as any other living person

Similarly, between 2011 and 2013, Harris via Project Reason donated a total of fifteen thousand dollars to the Inârah Institute for Research on Early Islamic History, a German non-profit organisation supported by Saarland University. The Inârah institute is heavily entwined with anti-islam authors and scholars such as Ibn Warraq, who is named as one of the trustees. Like Ali, Warraq was raised as a practicing Muslim, and uses these experiences to claim superior insight into the inner workings of Islam. Warraq’s Wiki cites:

Fred Donner, a professor in Near Eastern studies, notes his lack of specialist training in Arabic studies, citing “inconsistent handling of Arabic materials,” and unoriginal arguments, and “heavy-handed favoritism” towards revisionist theories and “the compiler’s [i.e. Ibn Warraq’s] agenda, which is not scholarship, but anti-Islamic polemic.”

Warraq has been involved with the Robert Spencer run, Pamela Geller funded anti-Islamic hate group, Jihad Watch, which welcomed him with open arms onto their board in 2006 and have continued to promote his work ever since.  As well as using Harris’ funding to help promote his views, Warraq has also been provided a platform from Harris via his podcast, ‘Waking Up’. Warraq’s works have been a source of inspiration for another of Breivik’s idols, the online blogger and anti-islamic, hate-preaching (“Islam, and all those who practice it, must be totally and physically removed from the entire Western world”) Fjordman, who Breivik cited 110 times in his own manifesto.

As good a job as Ali et al do in forming the inner ring of public-relations security around the seemingly unflappable Harris, he has since increased his annual spending on defence even further. Harris has acquired his very own pack of online/social media guard dogs, frothing at the mouth and ready to pounce on any whisper of criticism of their moral/spiritual leader. Through his Patreon (website for harnessing the donations of fans and other ‘artists’) account, Harris has (financially) ‘supported’ fellow ‘New Atheist’ fanatics, helping reinforce the bonds of ideological alliance with additional, financial ones. Brand Harris, it appears, is now offering online banking. Harris-supported ‘Patreons’ include:

Stephen Knight  (aka Godless Spellchecker) – Perhaps the most relentless and loyal Knight at the round table of Lord Harris, Godless Spellchecker has been one of Harris’ longest lasting defenders and social media lap dogs. (Clueless?) Spellchecker uses his blog site to rush to the defence of his Patreon saint Harris and attack anybody who criticises him. The list of articles he has written condemning anybody who dares speak ill of his idol/sugar-daddy appears almost endless: Examples can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and also here.

Dave Rubin – Rubin’s love affair with this man appears to go further than simply a pay-for-say relationship as Rubin appears to wish he actually was Harris. Idolising his Jedi Master and praying at his feet, Rubin is one of Harris’ first Twitter bodyguards when the likes of Glenn Greenwald and Cenk Uygur criticise him. Harris not only compensates Rubin for his efforts, but has, like Ali, found a place for him in the upcoming documentary. Rubin has also repaid the favour by promoting Harris on his talk show, following in the footsteps of Maher.

Claire Lehman/Quillete – Lehman is the colleague of right-wing extremists at Rebel Media and founder and senior editor at Quillette, which is an online blogging site that will publish your views, as long as your ‘pitch’ is accepted by Lehman. Quillette’s site claims “At Quillette we respect ideas. Even dangerous ones. We feature writing from non-journalists and strive to give writers freedom to take risks and express controversial ideas” and is a self labelled “platform for free thought”. However, ironically, Quillette’s Patreon site proudly parades a review that promotes it as a site “without any Regressive Leftism”,  exposing its own agenda and casting doubt on any serious freedom of opinion it claims to advocate for. Lehmann ensures that her ‘platform for free thought’ has Harris’ back. All this ‘freedom’ for Lehman’s writers coincidentally results in (at the time of writing) exclusively pro-Harris articles such as the aptly named “In defence of Sam Harris” . See also here, here, here, here, and here.

Josh Zepps – Another fairly recent, in a long line of Harris recruits. It’s still early days for Zepps, however we can still see him here, putting himself in the line of fire.     

From leaving school to today, Harris has been blessed with the ability to throw money at any obstacle that comes his way. He is is only too aware of his own brand and it’s influence on his ever-expanding bank account. In a recent interview with Omer Aziz, where, ironically, Aziz accused him of acting foremost in the interest of brand Harris, Shadowtolight observes:

“At 33:40, he complains that accusations of him being racist are closing off other opportunities for him to make money, at 34:00 he clearly states that being called a bigot and racist isn’t good for his career (and his “career” is to sell books and get paid for speeches), at 38:30 he complains about the “cost” of dealing with this issue, from 38:40 to 39:30 he makes it clear accusations of racism/bigotry interfered with his ability to promote his meditation book, and at 43:15 he complains about the “reputational costs” associated with such accusations”.

Hollywood Harris and his carefully crafted image, are testament to what big money and big name contacts can help you achieve. When brand Harris was lacking in credibility, it was these factors that came to his rescue. Again, when Harris was under attack, out came the chequebook as the first line of defence. And as Harris explains, it’s the best defence money can buy:

“If racism and bigotry were my underlying motive, explain…my friendships with current and former Muslims who I do everything in my power to defend from slander and hate. People like Maajid Nawaz, Asra Nomani, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Or explain the solidarity I feel with freethinkers like Sarah Haider, Ali A. Rizvi, Faisal Saeed al Mutar, Ibn Warraq, and all the other Muslim and ex-Muslim authors…If I’m a bigot, I’m one of the most confused bigots who ever lived.”

Well Sam, we have to agree with you there.

*** Author Update *** –  Following the completion of this article, Harris has since announced that come September 2017, he will be withdrawing his Patreon account. Sighting the shutting down of Laura Southern’s account by the Patreon team, Harris has stated that although he believes in Patreon and what they are trying to achieve, he simply “cannot afford” the risks associated with receiving his crowdfunded income via third party regulation. If we are to take this explanation from Sam at face value, one must assume that he is doing what he does best – protecting his financial interests – and that he will continue to give financial support to those he supports via Patreon, using alternative channels. What is worth noting however, is that Patreon has recently launched a new ‘Patreon Relationship Manager’, or ‘PRM’ function, which Inc.com describes as:

“The PRM is reminiscent of a simplified version of Salesforce or a similar CRM. It allows creators to take notes on conversations with different supporters, view their pledge history and lifetime pledge amounts, and segment patrons based on various attributes. “It’s this huge sortable, filterable, searchable database with all your patron information in it,” Conte explained. This offering is head-and-shoulders above the relationship management and analytics capabilities that previously existed within Patreon.”

Basically, the PRM allows Patreon users or ‘creators’ to obtain a much more detailed account of the nature and specifics of each donations. A more sophisticated money trail, if you like. Food for thought.

Aljazeera: Muslims return to CAR to find their homes are gone

21 July, 2017 - 21:13

There has been an extraordinary amount of violence perpetuated against Muslims in the Central African Republic. At one point all its Muslims had been ‘ethnically cleansed’ and all its mosques essentially destroyed. Ilisha series from a few years ago on CAR is a must read.

Now some of those who were driven out are returning “to nothing.”

Bangui, Central African Republic – M Babakir Ali cuts a lonely figure sitting on a plastic chair outside a rundown cafe in the PK5 district of Bangui.

Once the owner of five houses and 18,000 square metres of land in the Foulbe district of Pk13, on the outskirts of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, Ali is now reduced to a pair of jeans and a short white sleeved shirt. The thin vertical stripes are faintly visible beyond the creases. He is a refugee in his own city.

“I left for Chad in January 2014 because of what happened on the streets of Bangui,” Ali says.

Ali says he watched as bodies of young Muslim men were dragged through the streets of the capital and then piled at a local mosque in what was to signal the changing fortunes for Muslims in the country.

He was right.

In early January, Muslims in the PK5, PK12, PK13 districts of Bangui were hunted down, mutilated, burned alive and left on the streets. Muslims in the towns of Bossangoa, Bozoum, Bouca, Yaloke, Mbaiki, Bossembele and others also fled, as Anti-balaka embarked on a reign of terror across the northwest and southwestern regions.

Ali gathered his family, and fled to neighbouring Chad, too.

With the unrest in Bangui lifting in 2016 as the country neared elections, he decided to come home.

But he knew he would face a new struggle on his return.

“I knew my houses and my land, that everything had been taken,” 45-year-old Ali says. “I knew I would be coming back to nothing.”

Ali speaks in short and abrupt sentences. The already battered plastic chair bends and shifts with his every gesture. There is a calm dissonance in his moist, jaundiced eyes even as he explains that his property was sold to a third party by a local chief.

“I am not the only one. So many from my district have returned, and have nowhere to go,” Ali says, looking away.

Read the rest…

Study Finds Militants Have Little Knowledge of Islam

20 July, 2017 - 19:01

Bangkok, Thailand – February 20, 2014 : Apple Iphone5s held in one hand showing its screen with Facebook and WhatsApp application icons.

Reports over the years have established that individuals who join militant organizations such as ISIS are either completely ignorant or have very little knowledge of Islam. Muslims have been pointing this out for ages. Now there is a study, this time out of Germany that confirms this fact once again.

via. Huffington Post

A group of German scholars at the Universities of Bielefeld and Osnabrück analyzed 5,757 WhatsApp messages found on a phone seized by police following a terrorist attack in the spring of 2016. The messages were exchanged among 12 young men involved in the attack. The attack itself was not identified in the report.

Deutsche Welle noted that the timeframe suggested it may have been a bombing at a Sikh temple in Essen carried out in April of that year by a group of German teens with reported links to Islamic extremism.

Researchers conducting the study said the young men’s conversations demonstrated little understanding of their professed faith and that the group constructed a “Lego Islam” to suit their purposes.

People don’t join these groups out of a commitment to Islam but usually because of a perceived or actual grievance, and the influence of a close circle of peers.

Serbian Appeal Court Halts Srebrenica War Crimes Trial

13 July, 2017 - 19:08

Many are still uneducated and unaware of the fact that 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were systematically massacred by the Serb national army, and thousands of women and girls raped.

Thousands gathered across the world to remember the worst massacre in Europe since the end of World War II, letting the world know that this will never be forgotten or swept under the rug. In Srebrenica, over 20,000 gathered, while Serbian officials chose to miss the commemoration.

On the heels of the commemoration of the genocide at Srebrenica, an appeals court in Serbia halted the first ever war crimes trial.

via. Daily Sabah

Serbian appeals court has stopped a landmark trial of eight former Bosnian Serb police officers charged with taking part in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre Thursday.

The court in Belgrade said it has accepted defense complains that the indictment against the eight is invalid because it was filed when Serbia did not appoint the chief war crimes prosecutor.

The ruling meant that the whole proceeding will have to start over from scratch.

The eight former members of a Bosnian Serb special police unit went on trial in February this year, accused of organising and participating in the shooting of more than 1,300 Bosniak civilians in an agricultural warehouse in the village of Kravica near Srebrenica in July 1995.

It appears to have been halted over a technicality. Hopefully, the trial proceeds sincerely and factually, so that Serbia can live up to the genocidal crimes committed in the name of Serbian nationalism and Orthodox religion.

The Myth about the “aggressive Muslim”

22 June, 2017 - 06:49

Hatred against Jews and hatred against Muslims have a lot in common. One thing in particular is that throughout history Jews and Muslims have been accused of being prone to criminality, rape and violence. The Nazis in the 30’s did so and many antisemites still today spread the lie. The exact same kind of lies are spread about Muslims.

You have all heard the Myth about the aggressive Muslim: the “terrorist”, the “criminal”, the “rapist”, the person that “inherently is prone to violence” just because he is Muslim.

This myth has its origin in classical antisemitism. I wrote about one part of the myth earlier this year: “are Muslims Rapists“. The slander about “aggressive” and “criminal” Muslims has the same origin.

Nicolai Sennells, a Danish psychologist, is often referred to as the main “expert” on this alleged  “Muslim aggressivity”. In Jihadwatch some years ago he claimed:

In Muslim culture, anger is seen as a sign of strength. To Muslims, being aggressive is in itself an argument and a way of gaining respect. But we should not be impressed when we see pictures of bearded men hopping up and down, shouting like animals and shooting in the air. We should take it for what it is: the local madhouse passing by…

In Western culture, self-confidence is connected with the ability to meet criticism calmly and to respond rationally. We are raised to see people who easily get angry when criticized, as insecure and immature. In Muslim culture it is the opposite; it is honorable to respond aggressively and to engage in a physical fight in order to scare or force critics to withdraw…

In general, Westerners are taught to be kind, self-assured, self-responsible and tolerant, while Muslims are taught to be aggressive, insecure, irresponsible and intolerant.

When the racists reports about “Muslim violence” they all do the same. They take reports about things that one Muslim or a small group of Muslims have done, or allegedly have done, and extrapolate it on all Muslims. Islam and “Muslim culture” were “responsible” for the individual crime, it is claimed. The Muslim is demonized and people are tricked to be afraid of him or her.

Thus: to be a Muslim is an accessory to murder, violence, rape and criminality.

Antisemitism

“To be a Jew is an accessory to murder, violence, rape and criminality”. That is what the Nazis in the 1930s claimed and what antisemites of all times have claimed. The nazis did the same as the islamophobes today: all Jews and Jewish culture were blamed for the things a few had done or was claimed to have done.

By now you might ask whether a Muslim or a Jew has ever raped a woman, or if there are no aggressive or criminal Muslims or Jews? Of course there are individual Muslim rapists, thiefs, thugs and murderers, as well as there are such among Trump supporters, among farmers, Americans, Christians, Russians, carpenters, farmers and stamp collectors.  But if you claim that Muslims, Jews, Trump supporters or Christians or farmers are rapists or aggressive thugs you are spreading a dangerous lie.

According to Breitbart there is a “Muslim Rape Culture” and that Muslims are “violent” The Nazis spread the same lies about Jews in the 30’s, as Breitbart and others does today in respect to Muslims, and claimed that there was such a thing as “Jewish Rape Culture” and that Jews were “violent”. The German magazine Der Sturmer was especially famous for spreading these kinds of slanders and its editors were put on trial after World War 2, at Nuremberg.

The Jew was  demonized and people were tricked to be afraid of him or her.

In the picture below, from Der Sturmer,  you can see the satanic Jewish “snake” that is seen raping a woman, and in the background you can see the Talmud. The headline deals with legacy-hunters, also implying that Jews try to “take over” Germany. The text on the bottom of the page says: “the Jews are our unluck”.

Antisemitism Germany 5

 

The myths about the violent Jews and Muslims has often been based on sex. Der Sturmer reported much about “Jewish sex crimes”. The example below is from Der Sturmer 1927. According to the article, an American Jew has raped and abused a German woman in Ohio. “Defamation of the Race in America” is the headline. The implied message is that “all Jews are like that.”
 

Here are two other examples from 1936 and once again Der Sturmer. About criminal cases that had to do with fraud. Der Sturmer combined violent articles about how Jews and Jewish holy books were inciting the Jews to violence with news that seemingly “comfirmed” the claims made in the longer articles.

First you read about Jews that was claimed to have committed fraud, thus being criminal, then you read articles about how Jewish culture and holy books (The Talmud) allegedly encouraged Jews to kill, lie and steal from non Jews. The text below is about the claim that Jews were allowed to kill nonjews (The same is said about Muslims today. It is claimed that Muslims are free to rape, and kill “kuffar”, i.e. non Muslims.)

The Jews were even using the blood of children in their food, The Nazis claimed. The ultimate “evidence” of Jewish aggressivity and criminality: human sacrifice.

The Nazi book “the Jew as a Criminal” is translated and can be read online.

“The frequent criminality of the Jew is as well known a fact as its peculiar inclination and aptitude for fraud, dirty enterprises, cheating in gambling, usury, sexual offenses of all kinds, pickpocketing, high treason, etc. These things shall find their confirmation here.  Beyond this, however, evidence is introduced that the role of Jewry incriminality does not limit itself to a more or less large participation, but rather is much more significant. In actually, the final threads of the criminal world come together in the hand of the Jew. The Jew is not only beneficiary of crime, he is also the leader and wire-puller of the criminal Underworld…”

The method of the book was simple: statistics. It was claimed that Jews were over-represented in criminal statistics.

“Up to the year 1929, of 348 international drug dealers, 98 were Jews, i.e., 28%… For the little Jew, the characteristic crime is pickpocketing. Here the Jewish element is decisive; it is his ‘profession’ before he has ‘arrived.’ [The English idiom for this would be ‘made it.’] The following numbers bear this out: In Berlin in 1931, 136 international pickpockets were arrested. Of these, not fewer than 106 were Jews — that is, 78%. In 1932, the number of arrested climbed to 163, of whom 134, or 82%, were Jews.”

That was not true as actual statistics from the 30s reveal. Jews were under-represented in criminal statistics. But that is not the main point. Even if there had been an over-representation if would still have been wring to blame all Jews and Jewishness becaise of that.

Chapter eight deals with sexual crimes:

“The Jew is sexually undisciplined and uses every opportunity to satisfy his sexual greed.”

Well, about the same as they say about Muslims today, right?!

Antisemitism is still a very big problem and the lie that Jews are criminals is still very widespread. But today the Muslims are blamed too, with the same racist logic the Nazis used against the Jews 80 to 90 years ago.