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Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts To Manufacture Hate in America

16 February, 2015 - 20:57


An 87 page follow up report/study to the original Fear, Inc. report that outed the funding of the Islamophobia network.

via.Center For American Progress

By Matthew Duss, Yasmine Taeb, Ken Gude, Ken Sofer

In 2011, the Center for American Progress published “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” in order to identify and expose the organizations, scholars, pundits, and activists comprising a tightly linked network that spread misinformation and hateful propaganda about American Muslims and Islam. The report found that seven charitable foundations spent $42.6 million between 2001 and 2009 to support the spread of anti-Muslim rhetoric. The efforts of a small cadre of funders and misinformation experts were amplified by an echo chamber of the religious right, conservative media, grassroots organizations, and politicians who sought to introduce a fringe perspective on American Muslims into the public discourse.Watch this video to learn about the Fear, Inc. interactive websiteIn the three years since “Fear, Inc.” shined a light on the Islamophobia network and exposed the network’s key members, a number of them have been marginalized by the mainstream media and politicians. For example, the American Conservative Union publically reprimanded misinformation expert Frank Gaffney and made it clear that he is no longer welcome at their annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Conservative politicians from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney have pushed back against the “sinister accusations” of the Islamophobia network. And the anti-Muslim caucus in Congress took a huge hit by losing some of its loudest members, such as Reps. Allen West (R-FL) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

Although the American public largely dismisses such prejudiced views, the Islamophobia network’s efforts to target American Muslim communities remain significant and continue to erode America’s core values of religious pluralism, civil rights, and social inclusion. The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, offers the Islamophobia network a new opportunity to leverage unrelated geopolitical events in order to create a caricature of Islam, foment public anxiety, and push discriminatory policies against American Muslims. The Islamophobia network’s new effort to equate mainstream American Muslims with the perverted brand of Islam promoted by ISIS is a reminder of the ongoing vigilance needed to push back against the anti-Muslim fringe.

This report examines several key elements of the Islamophobia network, including:

  • The civilization jihad narrative and theories of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government
  • The Islamophobia network’s influence among the religious right and faith groups combating anti-Muslim sentiment
  • The impact of the Islamophobia network on law-enforcement training
  • The response to the Boston Marathon bombing and the narrative of Islamic extremism
  • Politically motivated Islamophobia and pushback by mainstream conservatives

The first “Fear, Inc.” report sought to expose elements of the Islamophobia network by giving the mainstream public the information it needed to refute the claims and distortions made by the network’s misinformation experts. This report identifies the Islamophobia network’s ongoing efforts to promote policies that violate and contradict core American values and interests. The defense of these core values remains ongoing. As this report demonstrates, it only takes one individual with disproportionate influence to negatively affect the treatment of an entire group of American citizens.

Read the entire article…

Full Fear, Inc. 2.0 report

DemocracyNow!: Tens of Thousands Join North Carolina Moral March to Protest GOP Takeover, Racism & Islamophobia

16 February, 2015 - 20:38


via. DemocracyNow!

Tens of thousands gathered Saturday in the North Carolina capital of Raleigh on Saturday for what organizers are calling one of the largest civil rights rallies in the South since the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. The Mass Moral March is held annually to fight moves by Republican lawmakers to attack voting rights, education, the environment, healthcare and women’s rights. North Carolina Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the state Legislature. Today, the first official Moral Monday protest of the year will include a “people’s court” to indict them for pursuing policies that have hurt the people of the state. In an emotional address, two brothers who have lost siblings spoke side by side: Farris Barakat, brother of Deah Barakat, one of three Muslim students killed in Chapel Hill last week in what family members call a hate crime; and Pierre Lacy, brother of Lennon Lacy, an African-American teenager who was found hung to death under suspicious circumstances last year in Bladenboro, North Carolina. It was the ninth Mass Moral March led by our guest, state NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber.

As Houston Islamic Center Burns, Firefighter Posts, “Let it burn…block the fire hydrant.”

16 February, 2015 - 20:08

As Houston Islamic Center Burns, Firefighter Posts, “Let it burn…block the fire hydrant.”

On Friday morning, part of the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston went up in flames, and local firefighters spent over an hour battling the blaze before extinguishing it, saving the institute’s school and mosque. The building set ablaze, which stored religious books, was completely destroyed, and came after the center’s staff chased off a masked man from the premises earlier this week.

Houston officials believe the fire was set intentionally, and many are calling for this to be investigated as a hate crime. Unfortunately, the hate which likely ignited this fire wasn’t just contained to the blaze, for as news of the fire spread, a retired Houston-area firefighter who still volunteers for Crystal Beach Fire & Rescue posted the following:

a a

This arson attack happened in the wake of the execution of three Muslim-Americans in Chapel Hill, a likely hate crime which has shaken a Muslim-American community already reeling from an uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes and speech since the premier of American Sniper.

Of course, this uptick must be placed within the backdrop of growing Islamophobia which continues to spread throughout American society since 9/11. Indeed, in the 13 years since 9/11, anti-Muslim hate crimes have been occurring at a steady and alarming rate. Today, Muslim-Americans are five times more likely to be targeted for such a crime than before the “war on terror” and the Islamophobia which now runs rampant in America.


Continue reading …

Also check out his other views on race and Islam. With views like this I would hate to see what he thinks of Black Muslims.


Chapel Hill shooting: My best friend was killed and I don’t know why

15 February, 2015 - 20:22

A heartbreaking article from the Chapel Hill shooting victims best friend. Also striking is her recalling a past encounter the victims had with the shooter “While he was at the door talking to Yusor, he was holding a rifle, she told me later. ” Amira Ata

Chapel Hill shooting: My best friend was killed and I don’t know why by Amira Ata

21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha was shot in the head alongside her husband and her sister in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday. A preliminary police investigation suggests that the fatal shootings were the result of a parking dispute, but the possibility that it was a hate crime has not been ruled out. A 46-year-old neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, has been arrested and charged.

Here, Yusor’s friend, Amira Ata, a teacher, tries to make sense of the tragedy—and recalls an evening when the alleged shooter arrived at the victims’ apartment because he thought they were making too much noise playing a board game. He came to the door with a rifle, Yusor told her.

As told to Latoya Peterson.

Yusor Abu-Salha was like a sister to me.

We’ve always been together. Starting in third grade, we went through elementary school, middle school, high school, undergrad in Raleigh, North Carolina. We were inseparable.

I’ve never felt anything like this before. There’s always trends on Facebook and Instagram because of loss. You feel something, but you still scroll past because it doesn’t affect you. This time feels different. I still remember every outfit, where everything is in her room. It’s shocking. I almost don’t believe it happened. I can’t text her anymore. We were planning a trip for spring break. We were thinking about D.C. but we weren’t sure. It just doesn’t seem real. Even though it’s everywhere, it’s on the news, I still can’t quite believe it.

Words can’t really describe who she was. She’s such an amazing person. I feel like people always say that after they lose someone. This isn’t to boost her after her death—she really was a good person.

She always put others ahead of herself, just like her husband, Deah Barakat. I am the person I am today because of her. She’s a really sweet person, you never catch her angry. She’s patient, very loving, like her mom, she’s caring. She’s a good person. She was newly married and getting used to that life transition. She had just been accepted at Chapel Hill for dentistry.

Over the summer, Yusor went to Turkey. I’m a teacher at a small private school in Raleigh, and my school ran a collection drive for Project Refugee Smiles. My students were so excited to help. They collected so many toothbrushes and packages of dental floss that Yusor couldn’t carry it—she had to pay extra bag fees. She went with her mom to assist.



Amira Ata, front left, with Yusor Abu-Salha, front right. Courtesy of Amira Ata


When Yusor came back, she brought cupcakes to say thank you. It was raining, and it was a wonderful treat. The kids left cupcake icing all over my dress. Everyone was happy. Yusor was always interested in the helping side of medicine. She’s been on the same career path since we were little, it’s what we grew up around. Her dad is a psychiatrist, her mom helps with the practice and in the home. I want to be a psychiatrist like her father, he’s been my inspiration since we were kids.

I feel sad, but I also feel happy because she didn’t die alone. I’m not really sure how I feel exactly. I wish I could see her again—last time I saw her was Sunday. We were just talking about pictures she had posted from her surprise bridal shower in the mountains. I was planning on seeing her tomorrow, just to hang out. It’s just very unreal. It doesn’t make sense. I’m trying to stay faithful.

I don’t know if I believe she was targeted for her beliefs. I don’t think so – I think the shooter, Craig Steven Hicks, is just an angry person. I know Yusor didn’t do anything to him – there’s no way she could have said even one thing wrong to him because she doesn’t get mad. She never says anything back even if someone yells at her. Her husband is even nicer, her sister is even nicer – none of them would have said anything to make someone that angry.

Three lives literally are gone just to justify…whatever he was thinking.

I understand people look down on our religion. They think a lot of things, like we are terrorists. People don’t understand us Muslims are embarrassed of these people who are using Islam in bad ways to justify being cruel. Yusor and Deah represented a big part of our community—they were two good Muslims. Yusor believes in her religion. She is peaceful and she was raised well. She chose a healthy way of life. We weren’t extreme. We are the middle path. We aren’t strict on stuff outside of the head covering. I think there is a lot of misinterpretation of what Islam is.

I can’t understand why someone would hate them enough to kill them.

I read articles about this guy and they say he’s an atheist, but I don’t really know if that’s the connection the media makes it out to be. I’m not really sure if he thinks his act is justified.

Honestly, I don’t want to say, “Why her?” because I don’t want this to happen to anyone. What we’ve been feeling over the last 12 hours I don’t want anyone to ever feel.


Amira Ata, left, with Yusor Abu-Salha. Courtesy of Amira Ata

 Continue reading …

Arson Investigators Probe Blaze at Houston Islamic Center

15 February, 2015 - 20:07

Houston_Mosque_Arson Arson investigators probe blaze at Houston, TX Islamic center By Camilo Smith Feb. 14, 2015 | 12:41 PM |

REUTERS – Houston arson investigators on Saturday were working to determine what caused a fire that destroyed a building at an Islamic institute in the city, officials said.

No one was injured in the early Friday blaze at the Quba Islamic Institute, fire officials said.

The fire destroyed one of three buildings at the center, which remains fully operational.

Arson investigators with the Houston Fire Department were working to pinpoint the cause of the blaze, but no official determination has been made, fire officials said.

In a video on the institute’s Facebook page, Ahsan Zahid, an assistant imam, said fire officials told him the fire appeared to be arson.

He also urged the Islamic community and supporters not to assign blame until the investigation concluded.

Zahid told Reuters a series of odd events preceded the blaze.

On Thursday, members were shaken when a man drove by yelling at them.

“We were leaving the premises, and a person driving a pickup truck was chanting in Arabic phrases, like terrorist do before they explode suicide bombs,” he said.

The chants mockingly repeated the name of Allah, he said.

Earlier in the week, a man with his face covered had to be chased from the property, he said.

Continue reading …

#ChapelHillShooting: Father Says This Was A Hate Crime

11 February, 2015 - 22:09

Deah Barakat, left, Yusor Mohammad, center, and Razan Mohammad Abu

Deah Barakat, left, Yusor Mohammad, center, and Razan Abu Salha

It seems remarkable that a parking dispute would lead to the apparent premeditated murder of three members of the same family! Usually parking disputes that to lead to violence occur spontaneously and in the heat of the moment.

Reports indicate that Hicks was an avowed anti-theist/atheist. How much of that ideology factored into what to me seems like an evident hate crime? The father of the murdered has stated that the three victims had run-ins with the terrorist neighbor and he had expressed hateful anti-Islam/Muslim views.

RIP to: Deah Barakat, Yosra Mohammad and Razan Abu-Salha.

via. HuffingtonPost

Three members of a Muslim family shot to death Tuesday in their home near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus may have been killed over a parking dispute.

The suspect, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, surrendered and was arrested on charges of first-degree murder. He is accused of killing Deah Barakat, 23, Barakat’s wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Yusor’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19.

Police responded to reports of gunshots at about 5:15 p.m., Tuesday, when they found the victims’ bodies. The shooting happened in a neighborhood that is mostly rental apartments where students live, and crime there is low, according to the News and Observer.

That night, frantic parents waited outside Finley Forest Condominiums, where police were investigating the triple homicide, the Daily Tarheel reports. One mother broke down in tears after she inquired about her daughter and son-in-law, while a father screamed, “It’s been hours! Just tell me if he’s alive!”

“Why do I cry?” Farris Barakat, Deah’s brother, wrote on Facebook. “So many times I’ve grabbed my phone to text my brother, Yusor, and Razan. Except seconds later I realize that I’ve taken them for granted and imagine their phone laying by their bodies. That’s not okay guys.”

On Wednesday, police said the motive behind the shooting may have been an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking, rather than a hate crime.

“We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of these young people who lost their lives so needlessly,” Chief Chris Blue of the Chapel Hill Police Department said at a press conference.

UPDATE 3:15 P.M.: In a press conference, Hicks’ wife of seven years, Karen, said she “never would have expected this.” She said that the shooting had nothing to do with race or religion, and everything to do with parking problems.

She said she didn’t know what drove Hicks to allegedly shoot three people, but her lawyers said that the suspect didn’t single out the victims and had problems with other neighbors in the past. Hicks’ ex-wife, Kristen, told The Huffington Post that she hadn’t “heard from or seen him in 10 years,” and had no further comment.


Still, the father of two victims, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, believes hate led to the killings.

“It was execution style, a bullet in every head,” he told the News Observer. “This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far.”

In a press conference Wednesday, Deah’s eldest sister Suzanne echoed Abu-Salha’s sentiments.

“We’re still in a state of shock and will never be able to make sense of this horrendous tragedy,” she said. “We ask that the authorities investigate these senseless and heinous murders as a hate crime … We ask that you celebrate the memories of our family members.”


The gruesome scene has sparked an outcry on Facebook and Twitter, as word circulated that Hicks described himself as an “anti-theist” and criticized religions online, according to The Independent. That revelation, as well as a lack of media attention to the shooting Tuesday night, reportedly led to a “#MuslimLivesMatter” hashtag.

Read the entire article…

Jews and Muslims: Its Complicated (II)

11 February, 2015 - 01:15


Original Guest Post by Mehdi

See part I in this series: Jews and Muslims: Its Complicated

The history of the relationship between Islam and Judaism cannot be done justice in this short series, not least because the topic is massive and has also been subjected to falsifications and manipulations by agenda driven commenters.

In my research on the topic I have come across a few interesting contributions of collective work that I highly recommend, such as the recent work led by respected historian Benjamin Stora and the late Abdelwahhab Meddeb.

That being said, the following points are clearly established:

  • Judaism’s presence in the Arabian peninsula before the birth of Islam was strongly established. Many tribes/clans were Jewish, established in locations such as Yathrib (the future Medina) or Khaybar, and had strong socio-political and commercial relations with other tribes.
  • Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was strongly influenced by his encounters with Jews and Christians before and after the beginning of his prophecy. As the Islamic doctrine was gradually established, not only did he insist on the direct continuity of his message from Judaism and Christianity, there were also many gestures towards Judaism not only in spiritual terms but also through rites like: fasting (especially before Ramadan was established), prayers (towards Jerusalem in the beginning), dietary rules about pork meat, etc.
  • The relationship between Jewish tribes (there wasn’t a single Jewish community) and the early Muslim community was driven by a complex mix of: theological proximity (as they had common practices, prayed to the same God, referred to the same Prophets), rivalry (theological differences, the fact that prophet Muhammad pbuh was not seen as a prophet by most Jews, and his growing successes made him and his emerging Ummah grow more confident and autonomous), as well as political alliances and political conflicts that resulted in moments of cooperation but also conflicts such as the fate of the Banu Qurayza or the battle of Khaybar.

When reading the Quran, hadith, and any historical document that sheds light on such events, it is important to have these aforementioned elements in mind. Many commentators tend to generalize about Muslim-Jewish relationships and completely toss aside the context behind events. Context was and has always been key when understanding the conditions that lead to proximity or conflict.

After the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the first Muslim conquests and expansion, a set of rules were codified and documented to establish the status of Christians and Jews living under Islamic law (herein enters the debate over the pact of Umar and whether it was a historical forgery).

These rules, which were not canonical from an Islamic perspective, impacted several aspects of Christians and Jews’ collective rights which were protected in exchange for allegiance, payment of Jizya tax, and acceptance of a ban on carrying weapons (except when recruited for military service, which would exempt them from the Jizya tax).

Rebellions or attempts to resist the conquest were repressed (as for al Kahina, whose fate is not clear, she is assumed to have died either fighting the Arab conquerors or by committing suicide, her children would later cooperate with them), which was consistent with war doctrines at the time.

Though the Dhimma status prohibited them from carrying weapons, many historical accounts show that Jews participated in military conquests. Jewish Berbers were directly involved in the conquest of Andalusia or during battles such as in Poitiers which shows that the concept of “Muslim conquests” is slightly simplistic. Besides, many stipulations of the Dhimma laws were not always executed or monitored completely, there were pragmatic usages depending on the time, place and general circumstance.

The Dhimma status, now subject to a lot of vilification by Islamophobes, while not ideal was advanced during its time (for instance compared to the Christian perpetual servitude). It represented a drastic improvement for Jews living in Wisigoth Spain. Dhimma status guaranteed protection and collective rights to communities though it was often subject to the goodwill of local rulers.


Ibn Nagrela

When times were good it opened the door to many prominent Jews to hold important positions, such as Hasdai Ibn Shaprut or Samuel Ibn Naghrela. Not only did Ibn Naghrela contribute to the revival of Hebrew poetry, he was also a respected military commander who liked to call himself “The David of my times” while leading a Muslim army for the Taifa kingdom of Granada. His son Joseph Ibn Naghrela would succeed to his father’s position as Vizier of Granada before being murdered during the Granada massacre. At times, the status of dhimma also meant that prominent intellectuals such as Moses Maimonides expressed public views and stirred controversies.

Nevertheless, that coexistence also had its low periods, such as the Granada massacre that happened after the Almoravids arrived in Andalusia, or the persecution of Maimonides himself by the Almohads, which pushed him to exile (first to Morocco and then to Egypt).

These episodes should be researched and analyzed, they underline that relations between Jews and Muslims were not some mythological utopia. Jews lived as second class citizens and suffered massacres during unstable times (in Granada as mentioned or Fez in 1033). Such instances were however less violent than the sectarian conflicts that were setting Europe ablaze during the Middle Ages: massacres committed by crusaders after the siege of Maa’rra (with instances of cannibalism) or the pillaging of Jerusalem.

Violent episodes such as those mentioned remain exceptions and not the general rule. Recent polemics and historical studies on these topics (such as Bernard Lewis’) are more often dictated by contemporary agendas than by historical research. This is a recurring problem, as historical events are hijacked by Islamophobes on the one hand and apologists on the other, then manipulated for contemporary political purposes.

I borrow this quote from the comprehensive article written by Danios on the topic. Israeli historian Nissim Rejwan addresses the situation under Ottoman rule, and sums matters well in his book “Israel’s Place in the Middle East: A Pluralistic Perspective”:

Under Ottoman Islam, which by the beginning of the sixteenth century dominated Syria [including Palestine] and Eygpt, the conditions under which the Jews were permitted to live contrasted so strikingly with those imposed on their coreligionists in various parts of Christendom that the fifteenth century witnessed a large influx of European Jews into the [Ottoman] Sultan’s dominions. During the first half of that century, persecutions had occurred in Bohemia, Austria, and Poland, and, at about this time, two German rabbis who sought and secured refuge in the Ottoman Empire wrote a letter to their community extolling the beauties and advantages of their new home.

But it was the measures taken against the Jews in Spain, culminating in their expulsion in 1492, that gave the greatest momentum to this migration. The Jews who chose to settle in various parts of the [Ottoman] empire found their surroundings rather congenial, and they, in turn contributed greatly to the flowering of Ottoman civilization…Marranos, who in Christian Spain had embraced Christianity to escape persecution and death, abandoned their disguise and returned to Judaism. Istanbul soon came to harbor the largest Jewish community in the whole of Europe, while Salonika became a predominantly Jewish city. The degree of the Jews’ integration into the life of Ottoman Islam was such, indeed, that two notable non-Jewish students of modern Islam found that there has been, in their words, “something sympathetic to the Jewish nature in the culture of Islam,” since “from the rise of the Caliphate till the abolition of the ghettos in Europe the most flourishing centers of Jewish life were to be found in Muslim countries: in Iraq during the Abbassid period, in Spain throughout the period of Moorish domination, and thereafter in the Ottoman Empire.”

…At the turn of the eighteenth century, the Jewish community in Jerusalem experienced a growth in numbers at an inordinate rate…According to a recent study by Tudor Parfitt, however, the startling increase in Jewish immigration to Jerusalem in the nineteenth century took place “not because the attraction of Jerusalem as the holy city grew, but because political and other factors made such immigration increasingly possible.”

…In nineteenth-century Palestine, he adds, such tolerance was “a consistent part of the relationship between the Ottoman authorities and the Jews.” He quotes European travelers as remarking on “the perfect religious freedom” that prevailed…One of these travelers, J. Wilson, is quoted as saying that “entire freedom of worship…is now accorded to [the Jews] and they are left to manage their own internal affairs without interference from any other quarter.” …

By way of conclusion, a word of caution is in order…It must be pointed out that the picture has not been uniformly so rosy and that instances of religious intolerance toward and discriminatory treatment of Jews under Islam are by no means difficult to find. This point is of special relevance at a time in which, following a reawakening of interest in the history of Arab-Jewish relations among Jewish writers and intellectuals, certain interested circles have been trying to…[question the] Judeo-Arabic tradition or symbiosis by digging up scattered pieces of evidence to show that Islam is essentially intolerant…and that Muslims’ contempt for Jews was even greater and more deep-seated than that manifested by Christians…

Such caricatures of the history of Jews under Islam continue to be disseminated by scholars as well as by interested publicists and ideologues. Indeed, all discussion of relations between Jews and Muslims…is beset by the most burning emotions and by highly charged sensitivities. In their eagerness to repudiate the generally accepted version of these relations (a version which, it is worthwhile pointing out, originates not in Muslim books of history but with Jewish historians and Orientalists in nineteenth-century Europe), certain partisan students of the Middle East conflict today seem to go out of their way to show that, far from being the record of harmonious coexistence it is often claimed to be, the story of Jewish-Muslim relations since the time of Muhammad was “a sorry array of conquest, massacre, subjection, spoilation in goods and women and children, contempt, expulsion–[and] even the yellow badge…”

…[But] by the standards then prevailing–and they are plainly the only ones by which a historian is entitled to pass judgment–Spanish Islamic tolerance was no myth but a reality of which present-day Muslim Arabs are fully justified in reminding their contemporaries…Tolerance, then, is a highly relative concept, and the only sensible way of gauging the extent of tolerance in a given society or culture in a given age is to compare it with that prevailing in other societies and cultures in the same period…

The only plausible conclusion one could draw from the whole debate is that, while Jewish life in Muslim Spain–and under Islam generally–was not exactly the idyllic paradise some would want us to believe, it was far from the veritable hell that was the Jews’ consistent lot under Christendom.

In general, Jews and Muslims shared a similar fate, together they were the target of horrible massacres during the crusades, and were both victims of the Spanish Reconquista. As a result of the massacres and expulsions (which today would be described as genocide/ethnic cleansing), most Spanish Jews chose to seek protection and flee to North Africa or lands under the rule of the Ottoman empire.

The cooperation between both Jews and Muslims in North Africa, Andalusia, the Middle East and Balkans has created a civilizational legacy that still lives on today in fields such as science, philosophy literature, music, etc. It contributed to the effervescence of ideas that provided a framework for the European renaissance.


Sabbatai Zevi

To be clear, Jews lived under the rule of Muslim empires and monarchies, which were subject to the appreciation of local rules, and had to respect those laws. The fate of messianic figures such as Sabbathai Zevi and his millenarian movement in 1666 (proclaiming himself as a messiah, expanding his movement before publicly ending it and undergoing a forced conversion to Islam) shows that there was a lot of room for expression but that there were red lines.

Religious freedom was prevalent but involved restrictions (such as non-Muslims being prevented from entering the Cave of the Patriarchs). That was a time where there was no sense of secularism, and little consideration for democracy or individual human rights. It was a time when rights were addressed for communities and less so for individuals. This is what makes any comparison with today’s political systems and world order problematic. On the other hand comparisons with political systems that existed at the same time show that the condition of Jews in the “Muslim world” was still far better than in many European lands.

Things started to change as the era of revolutions and imperialism gradually brought Muslim majority lands under the sphere of European domination. At the same time competing modernities brought new challenges and changed the rules of the game for minorities in these lands. In the next installment in the series I will discuss the great shifts caused by foreign interference, the many responses and interactions with various modes of modernity and the affect this had on Jewish-Muslim relations.

Muslims Infiltrate the White House! Me Included!

10 February, 2015 - 23:49


So the #MuslimMeeting has neo-cons and other assorted Islamophobes going haywire. Although it would be an understatement to say the Obama administration has a complicated relationship with the American Muslim community especially on civil liberties and foreign policy. Nonetheless this is a good effort to reach out to a diverse array of individuals from the American Muslim community.

Muslims Infiltrate the White House! Me Included!

I was one of the 14 ‘Muslim-American leaders’ invited to meet with President Obama on Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what it was like.

By: Dean Obeidallah

I can’t believe it but Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann were right after all. Muslims have infiltrated the White House—and at the highest levels. Sharia law can’t be far behind, so I hope you like turkey bacon and non-alcoholic beer because that’s all you will be getting once these Muslims have their say.

What am I talking about? Well, on Wednesday, I was one of 14 Muslim-American leaders to attend a one-hour meeting with President Obama at the White House. I must admit I was thrilled at the prospect of actually having a conversation with the president about issues of concern to our community.

Once I was in The White House, two main thoughts came to mind. First, it looks just like House of Cards. I kept waiting for Frank Underwood to walk out and share his plans for world domination.

And secondly, after I sat down in the Roosevelt Room and observed the glasses and plates that bore the White House insignia, I immediately began plotting how to sneak one out with me. Seriously, you would’ve had the same thoughts if you saw it. They are really impressive/cool. (No plates or cups were ultimately stolen.)

In any event, why was this meeting happening? Farhana Khera, a lawyer and executive director of Muslim Advocates, who spearheaded the effort, explained, “We’ve been asking for a meeting with the president since he came to office.”

Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Muslim-American leaders who have an ongoing working relationship with the administration. But there has never been a meeting with leaders from around the country with Obama before this. (And just so it’s clear, there are many other great Muslim-American leaders other than just the 14 at this meeting, but the White House wanted to keep this event small to encourage a discussion.)

So what happened at this meeting? Well, I’m happy to announce that I’m now the new ambassador to the United Kingdom. OK, not exactly. In fact, there are certain ground rules to these meetings, so I can’t disclose everything.

Continue reading …

List of those who attended:

Diego Arancibia, board member and associate director of the Ta’leef Collective; Azhar Azeez, president of the Islamic Society of North America; Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute; Hoda Elshishtawy, Muslim Public Affairs Council; Rahat Husain, Universal Muslim Association of America; Farhana Khera, president of Muslim Advocates; Dr. Sherman Jackson, professor of religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California; Farhan Latif, chief operating officer, Institute of Policy and Understanding; Imam Mohamed Magid, representative of the Adams Center; Haroon Mokhtarzada, CEO of Webs; Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, Muslim chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania; Dean Obeidallah, comedian; Bilqis “Qisi” Abdul-Qaadir, director of women’s basketball operations at Indiana State University; Arshia Wajid, founder of American Muslim Health Professionals.

France: Islamic Declaration of Faith Lands a Moroccan in Prison

10 February, 2015 - 21:18


An appeal hearing is set to begin Monday to review the case of a Moroccan librarian who was arrested in the French city of Lille last month for publicly condoning an act of terrorism.

French Free Speech.

via. Morocco World News

The French-Moroccan man, 59,  was sentenced to one year in prison after the police allegedly found a small flag in his bookshop bearing the Islamic declaration of faith, or Shahada: There is no god but God, and Mohammed is the mssenger of God.

For non-Mulslims, the flag might bring to mind pictures of terrorist organization the Islamic State or other extremist groups, but the Shahada is a common affirmation of faith among Muslims.

For this `act of terrorism´, the bookshop owner has been under arrest for nearly a month now and his shop remains closed until further notice.

When asked by the judge if the flag found in the entrance of his bookshop was that of Daesh,the Arabic acronym of so-called Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, or Al Qaeda, the man replied that the flag does not belong to neither one or the other. He said that they are the flags of all Muslims.

´These people have taken them saying it’s ours,´ he said. It’s not theirs. They belong to one billion Muslims. Unfortunately, we cannot do anything against them. Suicide attacks are not allowed in Islam. It is forbidden to kill innocent Muslims.´

The Moroccan librarian was arrested on January 15th in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that claimed the lives of many cartoonists and police officers.

Collective hysteria has apparently engulfed France since the terrorist attacks.

Read the entire article…

Yogi Adityanath: Idols In Every Mosque If Given the Chance

9 February, 2015 - 20:55


A BJP member of parliament (the party that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to), Yogi Adityanath dreams of idols in mosques.

The Asian Age

In yet another statement that could raise hackles, BJP MP Mahant Yogi Adityanath has announced that he will install idols of Gauri-Ganesh in every mosque, if given a chance.

Mr Adityanath was speaking at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Virat Hindu Sammelan organised as part of its golden jubilee year celebrations in Varanasi.

The BJP MP, while referring to the Gyanvapi mosque which was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb after he demolished the original Kashi Vishwanath temple, said, “Has it happened anywhere in the world that Gauri and Ganesh are placed inside a mosque? Every time a Hindu visits the Vishwanath temple, the Gyanvapi mosque taunts us. If given a chance, we will install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque.”

He further said, “Everyone, irrespective of religion, can come to Kashi but only Muslims are allowed in Mecca and Medina. This is the century of Hindutva, not just in India but in the entire world.”

The firebrand MP also justified the ghar wapsi programme and asked, “When Christian missionaries carry out conversions by alluring innocent tribal people and dalits in the name of service to humanity, why do these secular forces keep quiet?”

Britain: Norwich Mosque Attacked

9 February, 2015 - 20:42


via. OnIslam

NORWICH – A mosque in Norwich city in the British central county of Norfolk was vandalized on Saturday, February 7, sending a shock wave among the Muslim community who vehemently condemned the Islamophobic attack.

“When I heard the glass being smashed I thought we were under attack,” Rashid, who was at the mosque during the attack, told EDP 24.

“It is not nice to feel scared in a place of peace.”

Norwich Ihsan mosque, in Chapelfield East, came under attack on Saturday at about 6:30am.

With 11 panes of mosque glass damaged, hundreds of dollars are needed to replace to glass and leading, according to the mosque board.

The attack, that comes almost a month after Paris attacks, has alarmed Norwich Muslim community who has been living in peace for decades.

According to Rashid, Saturdays’ attack was the first of its kind against Ihsan mosque.

“With what has been going on in the world lately I would not be surprised if it was a deliberate attack against us,” Rashid said.

Muslims in Europe have been facing an increasing resentment after Paris attacks that left 17 killed, including two Muslims.

The National Observatory Against Islamophobia said over one hundred incidents have been reported to the police since Charlie Hebdo attacks of January 7-9.

The rise in attacks over the last two weeks represents an increase of 110 percent over the whole of January 2014, the organization said.

Moreover, a Muslim father was stabbed to death in his own home in southern France this week by a neighbor who claimed to be avenging Charlie Hebdo.

Another Eritrean immigrant has been murdered in Germany’s Dresden.

Mosques in Sweden and Germany were also attacked following the attacks.

Mixed Reactions

Saturday’s Islamopobic attack against Norwich mosque has sparked mixed reactions from residents.

Many have condemned the attack, considering it “terrible”.

“Terrible news terrible,” one Facebook user said.

Another one wrote: “Mindless vandalism by louts, people need to realize and drop the hate you cannot blame a whole community for the actions of few.

“I have many friends at the Isher Mosque and have been there many times they are a peaceful community.”

On the other hand, that attack has fanned hate comments.

“Muslims behead, we smash windows!!! Sounds about right,” a Facebook user posted.

Other comments were more neutral. “When will people realize it’s not the Muslims that are the problem but the 0.1% of them that are extremists,” one wrote on Facebook.

Appealing for witnesses, Norwich police urged anybody with information to contact Sgt Dan Cocks at Bethel Street Police Station.

Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.

A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.

A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.

The Intercept: Is Your Child a Terrorist? U.S. Government Questionnaire Rates Families at Risk for Extremism

9 February, 2015 - 20:35


By Murtaza Hussain, Cora Currier, and Jana Winter

Are you, your family or your community at risk of turning to violent extremism? That’s the premise behind a rating system devised by the National Counterterrorism Center, according to a document marked For Official Use Only and obtained by The Intercept.

The document–and the rating system–is part of a wider strategy for Countering Violent Extremism, which calls for local community and religious leaders to work together with law enforcement and other government agencies. The White House has made this approach a centerpiece of its response to terrorist attacks around the world and in the wake of the Paris attacks, announced plans to host an international summit on Countering Violent Extremism on February 18th. 

The rating system, part of a 36-page document dated May 2014 and titled “Countering Violent Extremism: A Guide for Practitioners and Analysts,” suggests that police, social workers and educators rate individuals on a scale of one to five in categories such as: “Expressions of Hopelessness, Futility,” “Talk of Harming Self or Others,” and “Connection to Group Identity (Race, Nationality, Religion, Ethnicity).” The ranking system is supposed to alert government officials to individuals at risk of turning to radical violence, and to families or communities at risk of incubating extremist ideologies.

Families are judged on factors such as “Aware[ness] of Each Other’s Activities,” as well as levels of “Parent-Child Bonding,” and communities are rated by access to health care and social services, in addition to “presence of ideologues or recruiters” as potential risk factors.

A low score in any of these categories would indicate a high risk of “susceptibility to engage in violent extremism,” according to the document. It encourages users of the guide to plot the scores on a graph to determine what “interventions” could halt the process of radicalization before it happens.

“The idea that the federal government would encourage local police, teachers, medical and social service employees to rate the communities, individuals and families they serve for their potential to become terrorists is abhorrent on its face,” said Mike German, a former FBI agent who is now with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. German called the criteria used for the ratings “subjective and specious.”

Arun Kundnani, a professor at New York University, said that enlisting communities in the way the administration suggests in the guide, “leads a range of non-policing professionals to cast particular suspicion on Muslim populations and profile them for behaviors that have no real connection to criminality.”

Kundnani also questioned the science behind the rating system. “There’s no evidence to support the idea that terrorism can be substantively correlated with such factors to do with family, identity, and emotional well-being,” he said.

The guide itself notes that the effects of Countering Violent Extremism programs are “not easy to quantify.”

The U.S. government isn’t alone in its attempts to spot youth allegedly at risk of becoming terrorists. The government of France recently issued a widely mocked graphic demonstrating ostensible warning signs of radicalization, which suggested that abrupt diet or lifestyle changes are correlated with proclivities for violent extremism. (White House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco last April warned parents and community members to look out for “subtle” signs, like “sudden personality changes in their children at home—becoming confrontational.”)

The British government has put forward a plan to begin monitoring signs of radicalization at the pre-school level, and in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, children in France as young as eight years old have been detained and questioned by police for allegedly espousing radical views.

Read the entire article…

Channel 4’s Cathy Newman Was Not “Ushered Onto the Street” During “Visit My Mosque Day”

7 February, 2015 - 20:39


By Jessica Elgot, Huffington Post

Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman has apologised after CCTV footage obtained by The Huffington Post UK appeared to contradict her claim that she was “ushered out of the door” of a London mosque on the weekend.

The South London Islamic Centre, where Newman claims she was turned away despite turning up wearing a headscarf, says surveillance video shows the reporter arriving at the mosque, being directed by a male congregant, but leaving alone through the courtyard.

Newman sparked a social media firestorm after tweeting she was “ushered onto the street” during ‘Visit My Mosque Day’ which the mosque said provoked threatening voicemails which it has reported to police.

cathy newman

Footage from inside the mosque of the Channel 4 presenter arrivingcathy newman

The man in the striped jumper (circled) can be seen in a brief exchange with Newman inside the mosque but does not follow hercourtyard

Cathy Newman leaving South London Islamic Centre aloneBut the mosque, which initially apologised, claims Newman’s story is “not correct” and Newman has now apologised for any “misunderstanding”.

After Newman tweeted that she had been “ushered out of the door”, the story was covered by the national media, including the Guardian, Daily Mail, Independent and The Huffington Post.

It later emerged Newman had actually gone to the wrong location, and her Channel 4 colleagues were waiting for her 15 minutes away at a mosque that was taking part in the open day.

The CCTV clips show the journalist entering the mosque and beginning to take off her shoes while having a very brief conversation with a congregant in the lobby. The man gestures several times to the left, pointing her in a specific direction. She puts her shoe back on, and leaves alone, walking through the courtyard. The entire encounter lasts just seconds.

Mimouna Teaches Students Moroccan-Jewish History

5 February, 2015 - 23:12

Slat Alfassiyine synagogue in the northern Moroccan city of Fez, pictured on February 14, 2013. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Image)

Slat Alfassiyine synagogue in the northern Moroccan city of Fez, pictured on February 14, 2013. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Image)

By Zachary Schrieber, Tablet Mag

In the grand sanctuary of Manhattan’s Congregation Shearith Israel last Thursday, a group of more than 200 people gathered to hear from the leaders of Mimouna, a group of Moroccan Muslims dedicated to preserving Jewish Moroccan culture. This particular Jewish experience began with, of course, the food; a wide array of Moroccan kosher delicacies, including fig liqueur.

Afterwards, the crowd headed upstairs for remarks and a panel discussion. Moroccan Counsel General Mohammed Benabdeljalil kicked off the event by wishing everyone a belated “Shana Tova” and highlighted Moroccan efforts to preserve national Jewish landmarks.

Mimouna is an organization founded seven years ago by Elmehdi Boudra with the purpose of teaching young Muslim college students about the rich history of unity between Jewish and Muslim Moroccans. The organization, which has grown to include chapters on four college campuses in Morocco, is named after the holiday celebrated by Moroccan Jews the day after Passover, in which many families would invite their Muslim neighbors for a feast signifying the end of the holiday. The group now offers Hebrew classes on campuses, fosters interfaith dialogue amongst students, and holds a Moroccan Jewish day with authentic kosher cuisine, music, and a mini-museum of artifacts.

The evening served a dual purpose: attendees were able to learn about Mimouna and hear from its leaders, but the event was also a way to introduce Ashkenazi Jews to the history of the Sephardi community. Jason Guberman, the executive director of the American Sefardi Federation (and the project coordinator for Diarna, a group dedicated to documenting Jewish cultural sites throughout North Africa) said he hoped the event would “celebrate the beauty, complexity, and diversity of Sephardi history and culture, which is an often overlooked but integral part of the Jewish experience.”

The representatives from Mimouna spoke about why they’ve dedicated so much of their time to this particular cause. Vice president Laziza Dalil recounted the time was was the victim of verbal anti-Semitism, having been mistaken for a Sephardi Jew while traveling in Paris. “This place was much cleaner when the Germans were here,” she was told.

Boudra said he was inspired by the happy memories his grandmother shared with him about her childhood growing up in a Jewish neighborhood. Houda Ougaddoum, the group’s general secretary, said that though she had never met a Jew before joining Mimouna, she connected to Judaism through music.

Andrew Marcus, a Sephardi Jew, was inspired by the evening. “I knew of the rich heritage of Moroccan Jewry,” he said. “But I had no idea that there were Muslim groups working to educate the broader community about the unique history of Muslim-Jewish cooperation.”


Read the entire article…


FAIR: Muslims Are Nazis, USA Today Jokes

4 February, 2015 - 22:18



It’s not a terribly hard cartoon to parse: Islam is the modern equivalent of Nazism, and threatens a new Holocaust. The cartoon lists entities that have nothing in common with each other aside from their connection to Islam–political movements like Hezbollah and Hamas, who have been the targets of far more violence than they are responsible for, along with groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, terrorist groups whose victims are primarily Muslim. Hezbollah and ISIS are actually engaged in intense warfare with each other.

In case you missed the point, the cartoon puts one of the holiest phrases in Islam–”Allah Akbar,” or “God is great”–in the mouth of a Nazi skeleton.

(Along with its roll call of Muslim villains, the cartoon includes the phrase “politically correct”– which I can only take to mean that people who criticize the politics of cartoons — for example — are a kind of Nazi too.)

No doubt defenders of the cartoon will say that it’s only talking about the bad kind of Islam, which is just as persuasive as making a list of all the horrible people you can think of from a particular ethnic group and then saying that you’re only talking about the bad people from that ethnic group. One would hope USA Today would decline to make such a smear its daily editorial cartoon.

UPDATE: You can send feedback to USA Today’s  editorial page editor Brian Gallagher at bgallagher@usatoday.com.

Rania Khalek: Israeli Man Describes Muslims As Nazis At Far-Right Rally In Frankfurt

3 February, 2015 - 20:11


For quite some time now Loonwatch has noted the prominent and intentional use of the Israeli flag by Islamophobes, mostly, but not limited to the Far-Right wing. From the EDL, Geert Wilders, to rowdy anti-Muslim Texans and Germany’s Pegida, the Israeli flag has become an ubiquitous feature of many anti-Muslim/Islam rallies.

By Rania Khalek, Electronic Intifada

Addressing a recent rally in Frankfurt, a self-identified Israeli man equated Muslims with Nazis, murderers and rapists, and implored the crowd to “never feel ashamed” of Germany’s past.

The rally was called by Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, a far-right organization founded last October in Dresden. Its demonstrations initially attracted hundreds of people protesting what they believe is Islam’s takeover of Germany. More recently, the number of people to attend has been in the thousands.

An assortment of rightwing groups, including neo-Nazis, have been taking part. Following the attacks on the paper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris last month, a 12 January rally drew more than 25,000 people.

A video, which was posted to YouTube by Journal Frankfurt last week, shows a man, wrapped in a German flag, describing himself as an Israeli with German heritage during a Pegida rally.

“I come from Israel. Germany is yours!” he tells the crowd, to thunderous cheers.

He continues: “Germany’s not Nazis. I am Jewish. My family lived here in Germany for 700 years. And I can tell you that I see here no Nazis. The Nazis are in the left.

“Right here I see only patriots who love their country and want to save Germany from the Islam that wants to take over, to take your traditions, to take your beliefs, to take all of you down. But we will not let it.”

After naming Muslims as the true Nazis, the man goes on to forgive Germany for the Nazi-led genocide of European Jews during the Second World War.

“We will stand together and we will face the real Nazis. The Nazis are inside the Islam mentality and those who want to sell Germany for votes,” he says, adding, “Israel is with Germany. We respect you, we forgive, we love you. You are the best country in the world. Save it.”

“All the world is looking at you now and we are proud. You are the true spirit of Germany,” he snarls. “Islam wants to take you and to drink from the milk of Germany.”

As the hate sermon continues, the man implores the crowd to “Never feel ashamed of yourselves, not even because of the past.”

He then declares himself a proud Islamophobe while advancing a blood libel against Muslims, characterizing them as rapists and murderers who must be feared.

“The Muslims say that we are Islamophobes. Yes, I am Islamophobe because phobia is fear and I am afraid of murder. I am afraid to be raped,” he roars.

“So they can call you Islamophobes, they can call you Nazis and racists. But we are not. We are Germans. We are patriots. We love this country.”

Antifa [German slang for anti-fascists], fuck you! We are stronger! We will win!”

Mosque defaced with swastikas

As smaller Pegida offshoots spread to other parts of the country, they have sometimes been met with even larger anti-racist counter-demonstrations.

Yet Pegida’s reach is growing as the group held its first demonstration in Austria, on Monday night. In the lead-up to the march, vandals defaced a Vienna mosque with swastikas. This was just the latest in a string of anti-Islam attacks across Austria. “In December unknown culprits left a pig’s head and intestines in front of the door of another mosque in the capital. A street sign was changed to read ‘Sharia Street’ in September,” the news agency AFP reported.

(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)
Video: Israeli man describes Muslims as Nazis at far-right rally in Frankfurt
Submitted by Rania Khalek on Tue, 02/03/2015 – 11:09
Ein Israeli spricht bzw. brüllt für Pegida Frankfurt

Addressing a recent rally in Frankfurt, a self-identified Israeli man equated Muslims with Nazis, murderers and rapists, and implored the crowd to “never feel ashamed” of Germany’s past.

The rally was called by Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, a far-right organization founded last October in Dresden. Its demonstrations initially attracted hundreds of people protesting what they believe is Islam’s takeover of Germany. More recently, the number of people to attend has been in the thousands.

An assortment of rightwing groups, including neo-Nazis, have been taking part. Following the attacks on the paper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris last month, a 12 January rally drew more than 25,000 people.

A video, which was posted to YouTube by Journal Frankfurt last week, shows a man, wrapped in a German flag, describing himself as an Israeli with German heritage during a Pegida rally.

“I come from Israel. Germany is yours!” he tells the crowd, to thunderous cheers.

He continues: “Germany’s not Nazis. I am Jewish. My family lived here in Germany for 700 years. And I can tell you that I see here no Nazis. The Nazis are in the left.

“Right here I see only patriots who love their country and want to save Germany from the Islam that wants to take over, to take your traditions, to take your beliefs, to take all of you down. But we will not let it.”

After naming Muslims as the true Nazis, the man goes on to forgive Germany for the Nazi-led genocide of European Jews during the Second World War.

“We will stand together and we will face the real Nazis. The Nazis are inside the Islam mentality and those who want to sell Germany for votes,” he says, adding, “Israel is with Germany. We respect you, we forgive, we love you. You are the best country in the world. Save it.”

“All the world is looking at you now and we are proud. You are the true spirit of Germany,” he snarls. “Islam wants to take you and to drink from the milk of Germany.”

As the hate sermon continues, the man implores the crowd to “Never feel ashamed of yourselves, not even because of the past.”

He then declares himself a proud Islamophobe while advancing a blood libel against Muslims, characterizing them as rapists and murderers who must be feared.

“The Muslims say that we are Islamophobes. Yes, I am Islamophobe because phobia is fear and I am afraid of murder. I am afraid to be raped,” he roars.

“So they can call you Islamophobes, they can call you Nazis and racists. But we are not. We are Germans. We are patriots. We love this country.”

“Antifa [German slang for anti-fascists], fuck you! We are stronger! We will win!”
Mosque defaced with swastikas

As smaller Pegida offshoots spread to other parts of the country, they have sometimes been met with even larger anti-racist counter-demonstrations.

Yet Pegida’s reach is growing as the group held its first demonstration in Austria, on Monday night. In the lead-up to the march, vandals defaced a Vienna mosque with swastikas. This was just the latest in a string of anti-Islam attacks across Austria. “In December unknown culprits left a pig’s head and intestines in front of the door of another mosque in the capital. A street sign was changed to read ‘Sharia Street’ in September,” the news agency AFP reported.

In recent years, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant incitement has become a rallying cry of the increasingly popular rightwing elements undergoing a resurgence across Europe. Although many right-wing European parties have neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic roots, they identify deeply with Israel and Zionism, which are often used as vehicles to promote hatred for Islam and multiculturalism in Europe as well as the United States.

Read the entire article…

A Message From the Dispossessed Chris Hedges on Roots of Terrorism and Free Speech Hypocrisy

3 February, 2015 - 19:10

Broken pens were placed in a pool of simulated blood Friday outside the French Consulate in Istanbul in memory of the victims of the shooting at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. AP/Emrah Gurel

A Message From the Dispossessed Chris Hedges

The terrorist attack in France that took place at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was not about free speech. It was not about radical Islam. It did not illustrate the fictitious clash of civilizations. It was a harbinger of an emerging dystopia where the wretched of the earth, deprived of resources to survive, devoid of hope, brutally controlled, belittled and mocked by the privileged who live in the splendor and indolence of the industrial West, lash out in nihilistic fury.

We have engineered the rage of the dispossessed. The evil of predatory global capitalism and empire has spawned the evil of terrorism. And rather than understand the roots of that rage and attempt to ameliorate it, we have built sophisticated mechanisms of security and surveillance, passed laws that permit the targeted assassinations and torture of the weak, and amassed modern armies and the machines of industrial warfare to dominate the world by force. This is not about justice. It is not about the war on terror. It is not about liberty or democracy. It is not about the freedom of expression. It is about the mad scramble by the privileged to survive at the expense of the poor. And the poor know it.

If you spend time as I have in Gaza, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt and Sudan, as well as the depressing, segregated housing projects known as banlieues that ring French cities such as Paris and Lyon, warehousing impoverished North African immigrants, you begin to understand the brothers Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, who were killed Friday in a gun battle with French police. There is little employment in these pockets of squalor. Racism is overt. Despair is rampant, especially for the men, who feel they have no purpose. Harassment of immigrants, usually done by police during identity checks, is almost constant. Police once pulled a North African immigrant, for no apparent reason, off a Paris Metro subway car I was riding in and mercilessly beat him on the platform. French Muslims make up 60 to 70 percent of the prison population in France. Drugs and alcohol beckon like sirens to blunt the pain of poor Muslim communities.

The 5 million North Africans in France are not considered French by the French. And when they go back to Algiers, Tangier or Tunis, where perhaps they were born and briefly lived, they are treated as alien outcasts. Caught between two worlds, they drift, as the two brothers did, into aimlessness, petty crime and drugs.Becoming a holy warrior, a jihadist, a champion of an absolute and pure ideal, is an intoxicating conversion, a kind of rebirth that brings a sense of power and importance. It is as familiar to an Islamic jihadist as it was to a member of the Red Brigades or the old fascist and communist parties. Converts to any absolute ideal that promises to usher in a utopia adopt a Manichaean view of history rife with bizarre conspiracy theories. Opposing and even benign forces are endowed with hidden malevolence. The converts believe they live in a binary universe divided between good and evil, the pure and the impure. As champions of the good and the pure they sanctify their own victimhood and demonize all nonbelievers. They believe they are anointed to change history. And they embrace a hypermasculine violence that is viewed as a cleansing agent for the world’s contaminants, including those people who belong to other belief systems, races and cultures. This is why France’s far right, organized around Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-immigrant Front National, has so much in common with the jihadists whom Le Pen says she wants to annihilate.

When you sink to despair, when you live trapped in Gaza, Israel’s vast open-air prison, sleeping 10 to a floor in a concrete hovel, walking every morning through the muddy streets of your refugee camp to get a bottle of water because the water that flows from your tap is toxic, lining up at a U.N. office to get a little food because there is no work and your family is hungry, suffering the periodic aerial bombardments by Israel that leaves hundreds of dead, your religion is all you have left. Muslim prayer, held five times a day, gives you your only sense of structure and meaning, and, most importantly, self-worth. And when the privileged of the world ridicule the one thing that provides you with dignity, you react with inchoate fury. This fury is exacerbated when you and nearly everyone around you feel powerless to respond.

The cartoons of the Prophet in the Paris-based satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo are offensive and juvenile. None of them are funny. And they expose a grotesque double standard when it comes to Muslims. In France a Holocaust denier, or someone who denies the Armenian genocide, can be imprisoned for a year and forced to pay a $60,000 fine. It is a criminal act in France to mock the Holocaust the way Charlie Hebdo mocked Islam. French high school students must be taught about the Nazi persecution of the Jews, but these same students read almost nothing in their textbooks about the widespread French atrocities, including a death toll among Algerians that some sources set at more than 1 million, in the Algerian war for independence against colonial France. French law bans the public wearing of the burqa, a body covering for women that includes a mesh over the face, as well as the niqab, a full veil that has a small slit for the eyes. Women who wear these in public can be arrested, fined the equivalent of about $200 and forced to carry out community service. France banned rallies in support of the Palestinians last summer when Israel was carrying out daily airstrikes in Gaza that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths. The message to Muslims is clear: Your traditions, history and suffering do not matter. Your story will not be heard. Joe Sacco had the courage to make this point in panels he drew for the Guardian newspaper. And as Sacco pointed out, if we cannot hear these stories we will endlessly trade state terror for terror.

Continue reading …

Here is Chris Hedges on Breaking The Set, Hedges makes some excellent points on over blaming fundamentalism for terrorism.

This study obliterates the myth that Muslims are more violent

3 February, 2015 - 18:59

A woman shows a banner reading during a Muslim community tolerance rally on January 13, 2015 in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. (Kay Nietfeld/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite the fact that the following article speciously argues that western foreign policy isn’t a major contributing factor in violent extremism (a fact that even former MI-5 head acknowledged) it does a good job of relating professor M. Steven Fish’s study on whether “Muslims are more violent” than others.

This study obliterates the myth that Muslims are more violent

Updated by Zack Beauchamp

Whenever the subject of Islamist terrorism comes up, the national conversation almost always circles back to a somewhat bigoted question: are Muslims more violent than other kinds of people because of their religion?

What these conversations usually lack is data; that is, evidence that Muslim societies are actually more violent than other ones. And it turns out, according to UC-Berkeley Professor M. Steven Fish, that judging by murder rates, people in Muslim-majority countries actually tend to be significantly less violent (bolding is mine):

Predominantly, Muslim countries average 2.4 murders per annum per 100,000 people, compared to 7.5 in non-Muslim countries. The percentage of the society that is made up of Muslims is an extraordinarily good predictor of a country’s murder rate. More authoritarianism in Muslim countries does not account for the difference. I have found that controlling for political regime in statistical analysis does not change the findings. More Muslims, less homicide.

Fish further fleshed out these findings, for example by re-running the numbers to exclude non-Muslim-majority states with extraordinarily high murder rates (Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Lesotho, South Africa, and Venezuela). Countries with lots of Muslims were still less murder prone by a pretty large margin. You can read more details on Fish’s findings in his book, titled Are Muslims Distinctive?

If Islam itself were in fact the key cause of Islamist terrorism, you’d expect ordinary Muslims to be more violent than ordinary non-Muslims. There are over a billion believing Muslims globally; if their religion were intrinsically prone to violence, the data would bear that out. In fact, it does nothing of the sort.

Continue reading …

Cenk Ugyur of the Young Turks ran a segment on the Fisher’s report.

Notice the comments are predominantly anti-Muslim and anti-Islam with Cenk even being called a “secret Muslim”: