Loon Watch

Subscribe to Loon Watch feed
The Mooslims, they're heeere!
Updated: 4 hours 32 min ago

Mohammed el Gorani: A Harrowing Tale From Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp

14 December, 2014 - 22:29

gitmomemoir

Here is something you won’t see on the mainstream media actual victims of US torture speaking, this is from a 2011 article. Mohammed el Gorani  was one of the youngest prisoners at Guantanamo Bay detention Camp. He shares this harrowing tale from Guantanamo. It is important to highlight stories like these instead of glorifying the criminals who authorized it.

Diary

Mohammed el Gorani and Jérôme Tubiana

We met every afternoon for two weeks in N’Djamena. After the midday prayer, I would pick him up in a taxi at the shop he hoped to turn into a laundry. We ate fish and rice in my hotel room – he would have been recognised outside – and he just talked, beginning at the beginning.

I was born in 1986 in Saudi Arabia, in Medina, the Prophet’s city. My parents came from North Chad – I don’t know exactly where. They left Chad for Saudi because they believe that if you live in a holy place, it’s easier to go to paradise. They were nomads, from the Goran tribe. When they arrived in Medina, they took the tribe’s name as our family name, so I’m called Mohammed el Gorani, ‘the Goran’. My parents were camel herders and always had to keep moving to find grass. But when they arrived in Medina, my father did a lot of different jobs: washing cars, working in a shop belonging to a Saudi – you can’t have a shop if you’re not Saudi. There’s a lot of stupid rules about foreigners in Saudi Arabia. When my parents tried to send me to school, they said: ‘Is he Saudi?’

‘No, Chadian.’

‘There are no places left. Come back next month …’

When I was eight, I went to a school run by a man from Chad. He taught anyone who couldn’t go to a Saudi school. I was there four years until my father got ill. Then my brother and I, we had to start working. We washed cars and sold in the street cold water, prayer mats and beads – you can make good money during the Pilgrimage and the Ramadan. I went every month to Mecca with kids from Sudan and Pakistan to sell to the pilgrims. If the police came, we ran away. We had to be careful. If they capture you, they take your money and your stuff. Sometimes they take you to prison and your father had to come and sign a paper. Thus we paid for hiring our house, for the electricity. We changed house seven or eight times, but we always had electricity and tap water. Not like here in Chad.

He became friends with a Pakistani boy who lived near him. We called him Ali.

When I got 14, Ali asked me: ‘How long are you going to keep washing cars?’ He knew I wanted to be a dentist. All my friends had teeth problems, but there wasn’t a good dentist for non-Saudis – they just pull your teeth out. Also foreigners have no way to study after high school. Ali had taught me some Urdu, his mother tongue: numbers, words you need for selling, anything that’s useful with Pakistani pilgrims. Ali told me: ‘You’re good at languages. If you could speak English, you could work in a hotel in Mecca.’ His brother spoke English and had a good job in a hotel. Ali told me about English and computer lessons in Pakistan. ‘Go to Karachi. My uncles and cousins will welcome you, you just need to pay the lessons.’ I told my parents, they refused. My uncles said, ‘You’re crazy!’ but they knew if I decided something I would do it. My goal when I went to Pakistan was to help my family – life was getting difficult.

Without telling anyone, I went to Jeddah to ask for a passport at the Chadian Consulate. The consulate guy told me: ‘You need to change your name and lie on your age.’ I needed to be 18 and I was only 14 or 15. ‘And you need to pay me baksheesh.’ I had enough money. Every day I gave a part of my earnings to my family and saved the rest in a powdered milk tin that I buried in front of the house. On my last day in Medina, I went to see my Uncle Abderahman. I couldn’t say goodbye openly, but in my heart it was goodbye. It was 1 a.m., not a normal time to visit, as I was planning to leave the same night. I took his hands in mine and kissed his head, like we do in our tradition. In the morning, he told my mum I must have left.

‘Maybe he went to Jeddah, like he does usually,’ she said.

‘No, this time he’ll go far away.’

I took a plane to Karachi. Even Ali was surprised. I called his cousins and they came to the airport. Ali’s uncle taught in his house: the lessons lasted six months, three months of English lessons, and three months of English and computer lessons. I planned to go home after those six months. But two months after my arrival, there was 9/11. I didn’t pay attention – I was very busy with my lessons. Every day, I woke up, went to school, ate lunch, played football with the neighbourhood kids, studied, prayed. Every Friday, I went to pray in a big mosque not far from the house. Most of the people praying there were Arabs, because the imam was Saudi and spoke a good Arabic. One Friday, at the beginning of the sermon, we saw a lot of soldiers surrounding the mosque. After the prayers, they started questioning the people. They were looking for Arabs. They asked me: ‘Saudi?’

‘No, Chadian.’

‘Don’t lie, you’re Saudi!’ It must have been because of my accent. They put me on a truck and covered my head with a plastic bag. They took me to a prison, and they started questioning me about al-Qaida and the Talibans. I had never heard those words.

‘What are you talking about?’ I said.

‘Listen, Americans are going to interrogate you. Just say you’re from al-Qaida, you went with al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and they’ll send you home with some money.’

‘Why would I lie?’

They hung me by my arms and beat me. Two white Americans, in their forties, arrived. They were wearing normal clothes. They asked: ‘Where is Osama bin Laden?’

‘Who’s that?’

‘You’re fucking with us? You’re al-Qaida, yes!’ They kept using the F-word.

I didn’t understand this word but I knew they were getting angry. A Pakistani was in the room, behind the Americans. When they asked if I was from al-Qaida, he nodded, to tell me to say yes. I wasn’t doing it, so he got mad. The Americans said: ‘Take him back!’ The Pakistani was furious: ‘They’re looking for al-Qaida, you have to say you’re al-Qaida!’ Then they put the electrodes on my toes. For ten days I had them on my feet. Every day there was torture. Some of them tortured me with electricity, others just signed a paper saying they had done it. One Pakistani officer was a good guy. He said: ‘The Pakistani government just want to sell you to the Americans.’ Some of us panicked, but I was kind of happy. I loved to watch old cowboy movies and believed that Americans were good people, like in the movies, it would be better with them than with the Pakistanis, we’d have lawyers. Maybe they’d allow me to study in the US, then send me back to my parents.

They started taking detainees away every night, by groups of twenty. We didn’t know where they were going to, but we thought the US. One day, it was my group’s turn. The Pakistanis took away our chains and gave us handcuffs ‘made in the USA’. I told the other detainees: ‘Look, we’re going to the US!’ I thought the Americans would understand that the Pakistanis had cheated them, and send me back to Saudi.

So my hands were tied in the back and a guard held me by a chain. We were twenty, with maybe fifteen guards. They covered our eyes and ears, so I couldn’t see much. When they took off our masks, we were at an airport, with big helicopters. Then the movie started. Americans shouted: ‘You’re under arrest, UNDER CUSTODY OF THE US ARMY! DON’T TALK, DON’T MOVE OR WE’LL SHOOT YOU!’ An interpreter was translating into Arabic. Then they started beating us – I couldn’t see with what but something hard. People were bleeding and crying. We had almost passed out when they put us in a helicopter.

We landed at another airstrip. It was night. Americans shouted: ‘Terrorists, criminals, we’re going to kill you!’ Two soldiers took me by my arms and started running. My legs were dragging on the ground. They were laughing, telling me: ‘Fucking nigger!’ I didn’t know what that meant, I learned it later. They took off my mask and I saw many tents on the airstrip. They put me inside one. There was an Egyptian (I recognised his Arabic) wearing a US uniform. He started by asking me: ‘When was the last time you saw Osama bin Laden?’ ‘Who?’ He took me by my shirt collar and they beat me again. During all my time at Kandahar, I was beaten. Once it was like a movie – they came inside the tent with guns, shouting: WE CAUGHT THE TERRORISTS! And they put us in handcuffs. ‘Here are their guns!’ And they threw some Kalashnikovs onto the ground. ‘We’ve been fighting them, they killed a lot of people!’ All that was for cameras, which were held by men in uniforms. I was lying on the ground with the other prisoners. They brought dogs to scare us.

One day they started moving prisoners again. They picked you from your tent, put you naked, shaved your head and beard (I was too young to have a beard), then beat you. They dressed you with orange clothes, handcuffed you, and put gloves with no fingers on you, so you couldn’t open the handcuffs. ‘You guys are going to a place where there is no sun, no moon, no freedom, and you’re going to live there for ever,’ the guards told us, and laughed. They put you in completely black glasses and headphones, so that you couldn’t see or hear. With those on, you don’t feel the time. But I could hear when they were changing the guards, probably every hour. I must have spent five hours sitting on a bench, with another detainee in my back.

Then they put us in a plane – I don’t know what kind because I couldn’t see. As soon as you moved or talked, they beat you. They were shouting: IF YOU DON’T FOLLOW OUR ORDERS, WE’LL KILL YOU! I passed out. We had no water and no food. I woke up hearing voices shouting at me in different languages. They took me to my cell. I saw soldiers everywhere, and guns, like if it was war. There were big metal fences everywhere. We were in Guantánamo, in Camp X-Ray. It’s a prison without walls, without roofs – only fences. Nothing to protect you from the sun or the rain.

The sky was blue. Except for sky you couldn’t see anything. Later, when I was moved to Camp Delta, I could look by the windows. The camp was ringed with a green plastic sheet, but there were holes and I could see trees. And even the sea. I saw it even better, years later, when I was moved to Camp Iguana, where they put you before release. Through the plastic sheet, I saw the ocean, big ships and the guards swimming. Only in Iguana can you touch the sand.

In Camp Five as well, there was a window in my cell, but it was covered with brown tape. One day I was sitting, mad, sad, angry, and a woodpecker came and knocked, knocked until it broke the tape – a hole big as a coin. It did this to a lot of windows. It started doing it every day and the guards had to put new tape every day. Sometimes, they left the holes. I could see the cars, the soldiers, the sky, the sun, the life outside. We called the bird Woody Woodpecker.

For months, I didn’t know where I was. Some brothers said Europe. No, others told: ‘It’s the weather of Oman.’ Others told Brazil, also because of the weather. We arrived in February, but it was so hot in comparison to Kandahar. There we shivered night and day, especially when we were naked. After a few months, an interrogator told me: ‘We’re in Cuba.’ It was the first time I heard this name. ‘An island in the middle of the ocean. Nobody can run away from here and you’ll be here for ever.’ The older detainees knew of Cuba, but didn’t know there was an American base. I’d seen a lot of American movies, and arrested people always said: ‘I have the right to a lawyer!’ The interrogators laughed at me: ‘Not here in Guantánamo! You got no rights here!’

The night I arrived, I was still tired from the flight, I had a first interrogation. The old man started by saying: ‘We have two faces, one nice and one ugly. We don’t want to show you the ugly one.’ He carried on with questions: ‘What were you doing in Afghanistan? Are you from al-Qaida? Are you a Taliban? Have you been in training camps?’ My answers were just: no, no, no! He started to shout and he sent me back to my cell. I was tired and scared. Prisoners were tortured somewhere. When you heard them crying, you were really scared – you thought you’d be next.

In the beginning there were interrogations every night. They tortured me with electricity, mostly on the toes. The nails of my big toes fell off. Sometimes they hung you up like a chicken and hit your back. Sometimes they chained you, with your head on the ground. You couldn’t move for 16 or 17 hours. You peed on yourself.’

Suddenly he stopped. ‘I don’t see the benefit of telling you all that,’ he said. We had been talking for several days and he was tired. I called a taxi to take him home. ‘We are in the middle of our work,’ I said as he left, ‘it would be a pity to stop now.’ The next day, he agreed to carry on.

Sometimes they showed you the ugly face: torturing, torturing without asking questions. Sometimes I said, ‘Yes, whatever you ask, I’ll say yes,’ because I just wanted torture to stop. But the next day, I said: ‘No, I said yes yesterday because of torture.’ My first or second interrogator said to me: ‘Mohammed, I know you’re innocent but I’m doing my job. I have children to feed. I don’t want to lose my job.’

‘This is no job,’ I said, ‘this is criminal. Sooner or later you’re going to pay for this. Even in afterlife.’

‘I’m a machine – I ask you the questions they told me to ask, I bring them your answers. Whatever they are, I don’t care.’

Another guy told me: ‘We know you were doing bad stuff in Sudan.’

‘I’ve never been there.’

‘I know. But if you co-operate, I’ll bring you pizzas and McDonald’s. I know the food is bad here.’

Another one: ‘We know you were in London, working with al-Qaida, in 1993.’

‘You’re sure about this?’

He showed me a paper. ‘Look: ’93.’

‘You should be smart and say ’98 or ’99. In ’93, I was six.’ He laughed.

In the cells there were other kinds of torture. Above all they prevent you to sleep. They brought big vacuum cleaners to make a lot of noise. They put on music – I understood the words were bad words. At night, they switched on lights everywhere. If they saw you sleeping, they came shouting: WAKE UP! GET UP! Sometimes they put a sign on your door: NO SLEEP. Others had NO FOOD, NO EXERCISE, NO TALKING. In Camp Delta, they prevented you to sleep by moving you from your cell every hour. Every time, they came with handcuffs: DETAINEE, MOVE! It was bad, but thanks to the moving I was learning more English. I was picking up words from the guards and asked their meaning to the detainees who spoke English. But when the guards saw somebody was teaching me words, they would move one of us. I started stealing soap to write English words on the walls. I was hiding it under the door or in my shoes.

Continue Reading …

Elderly Austrian Muslim Woman Suffers Spinal Injury From Islamophobic Attack

11 December, 2014 - 21:27

Vienna_Muslim_Woman_Attacked

Another coward attacks an elderly Muslim woman.

via. The Local

Pensioner Selver S. was waiting in a queue to collect her pension at a Bawag bank branch in Schönbrunner Strasse (Meidling) when a man approached her, insulted her and repeatedly shoved her, knocking her to the floor. She was taken to hospital, suffering a spinal injury.

A 40-year-old man was arrested outside the bank shortly afterwards.

Her son Engin told the Heute newspaper that she suffered a lumbar fracture and had to spend seven days in Hanusch hospital. She had to have an operation on her spine and is now being cared for at home by her son.

Continue reading…

Malcolm X’s Oxford Union Debate — 50 Years Later

11 December, 2014 - 21:18

malcolm-x-oxford Malcolm X’s Oxford Union Debate — 50 Years Later

Medium

50 years ago this week on December 3rd, 1964 El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X) gave one of his final international speeches of his life as a part of the Oxford Union debates. Broadcast across the world via the BBC radio and television stations Malcolm was able to call the world to his vision of global solidarity and human rights. Answering the question “Is extremism justified in defense of liberty,” much of what Malcolm argues here seems like he is directly speaking to us today. 50 years later as the United States exploded with protests throughout the country over the past two weeks in response to the non-indictments in the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner there is one quote in particular that should be reflected on in our moment:

“Whenever any black man in America shows signs of an uncompromising attitude, against the injustices that he experiences daily, and shows no tendency whatsoever to compromise with it, then the American press characterizes him as a radical, as an extremist someone who’s irresponsible, or as a rabble-rouser or someone who doesn’t rationalize in dealing with the problem. That as long as a white man does it, it’s alright, a black man is supposed to have no feelings . But when a black man strikes back he’s an extremist, he’s supposed to sit passively and have no feelings, be nonviolent, and love his enemy no matter what kind of attack, verbal or otherwise, he’s supposed to take it. But if he stands up in any way and tries to defend himself, then he’s an extremist.”

This speech is the subject of two recent books if you are interested in going deeper: Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era by Saladin Ambar and The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union: A Transatlantic Story of Antiracist Protest by Stephen Tuck. The full text of the speech as well as Audio and Video of the speech are embedded below.

1-0hbqDxUjZKiWyMlulcZkNw1-zVvUZtFxnt4m6BfHZsP7jw

You can also check out a recent radio documentary from the BBC by Stephen Tuck: Malcolm X in Oxford, Archive on 4 – BBC Radio 4

Malcolm X: “Is Extremism Justified in Defense of Liberty?”

Mr. Chairman, tonight is the first night that I’ve have ever had opportunity to be as near to conservatives as I am. And the speaker who preceded me, first I want to thank you for the invitation to come here to the Oxford Union, the speaker who preceded me is one of the best excuses that I know to prove our point concerning the necessity, sometimes, of extremism, in defense of liberty, why it is no vice, and why moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. I don’t say that about him personally, but that type. He’s right, X is not my real name, but if you study history you’ll find why no black man in the western hemisphere knows his real name. Some of his ancestors kidnapped our ancestors from Africa, and took us into the western hemisphere and sold us there. And our names were stripped from us and so today we don’t know who we really are. I am one of those who admit it and so I just put X up there to keep from wearing his name.

And as far as this apartheid charge that he attributed to me is concerned, evidently he has been misinformed. I don’t believe in any form of apartheid, I don’t believe in any form of segregation, I don’t believe in any form of racialism. But at the same time, I don’t endorse a person as being right just because his skin is white, and often times when you find people like this, I mean that type, when a man whom they have been taught is below them has the nerve or firmness to question some of their philosophy or some of their conclusions, usually they put that label on us, a label that is only designed to project an image which the public will find distasteful.

I am a Muslim, if there is something wrong with that then I stand condemned. My religion is Islam I believe in Allah, I believe in Muhammed ﷺ as the apostle of Allah, I believe in brotherhood, of all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who’s not ready to practice brotherhood with our people.

I just take time to make these few things clear because I find that one of the tricks of the west, and I imagine my good friend…or rather that type from the west…one of the tricks of the west is to use or create images, they create images of a person who doesn’t go along with their views and then they make certain that this image is distasteful, and then anything that that person has to say from thereon, from thereon in, is rejected. And this is a policy that has been practiced pretty well, pretty much by the west, it perhaps would have been practiced by others had they been in power, but during recent centuries the west has been in power and they have created the images, and they’ve used these images quite skillfully and quite successfully, that’s why today we need a little extremism in order to straighten a very nasty situation out, or very extremely nasty situation out.

Extremism in the defense of liberty?

I think the only way one can really determine whether extremism in the defense of liberty is justified, is not to approach it as an American or a European or an African or an Asian, but as a human being. If we look upon it as different types immediately we begin to think in terms of extremism being good for one and bad for another, or bad for one and good for another. But if we look upon it, if we look upon ourselves as human beings, I doubt that anyone will deny that extremism, in defense of liberty, the liberty of any human being, is a value. Anytime anyone is enslaved, or in any way deprived of his liberty, if that person is a human being, as far as I am concerned he is justified to resort to whatever methods necessary to bring about his liberty again.

But most people usually think, in terms of extremism, as something that is relative, related to someone they know or something that they’ve heard of, I don’t think they look upon extremism by itself, or all alone. They apply it to something. A good example — and one of the reasons that this can’t be too well understood today — many people who have been in positions of power in the past don’t realize that the power, the centers of power, are changing. When you’re in a position of power for a long time you get used to using your yardstick, and you take it for granted that because you’ve forced your yardstick on others, that everyone is still using the same yardstick. So that your definition of extremism usually applies to everyone, but nowadays times are changing, and the center of power is changing. People in the past who weren’t in a position to have a yardstick or use a yardstick of their own are using their own yardstick now. You use one and they use another. In the past when the oppressor had one stick and the oppressed used that same stick, today the oppressed are sort of shaking the shackles and getting yardsticks of their own, so when they say extremism they don’t mean what you do, and when you say extremism you don’t mean what they do. There are entirely two different meanings. And when this is understood I think you can better understand why those who are using methods of extremism are being driven to them.

Continue reading…

India: VHP Seeks Statewide Ban On Mosque Loudspeakers

10 December, 2014 - 17:28

India_Loudspeakers

The ill intent behind this proposed legislature by the fanatical Hindutva organization VHP is evident. Instead of resolving possible issues at a community level they resort to provocation and confrontation. (h/t: U. Budye)

The Hindu

Weeks after the Devendra Fadnavis government took steps to ban cow slaughter in the State, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has stepped up its demand for the ban of loudspeakers in mosques across Maharashtra.

The outfit claims that the sound of azaan (Muslim call of prayer) is a major cause of noise pollution and will request the State government to implement laws curbing the use of loudspeakers in mosques.

“The year-long noise pollution caused by mosques is overlooked. But people are going to court to ban the use of loudspeakers during Hindu festivals like Ganapati and Navratri which have a limited duration,” said Vyankatesh Apdeo, VHP central committee member, on Tuesday.

It has demanded that the management of the four major temples —Siddhi Vinayak Temple (Mumbai), Sai Baba tempe (Shirdi), Vitthal Mandir (Pandharpur) and the Tulja Bhavani Mandir—should be handed over to Hindu trusts. Currently, the four temples are directly governed by the State.

“The money earned through donations to these temples should be used only for the welfare of Hindu society,” Mr. Apdeo said.

The VHP also has plans to organise campaigns against television shows and beauty contests to protest against “vulgarity” and what they feel is the “denigration” of women.

The VHP’s demands are going to be put forth on August 14, when then organisation will hold a Virat Hindu Sammelan in Mumbai to commemorate fifty years of its existence

‘Hate Crime': Taxi Cab Driver Survives Brutal Attack

10 December, 2014 - 17:15

seattle_adam_gaal ‘Hate crime': Taxi driver recounts brutal attack

By KOMO Staff Published: Dec 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM PST Last Updated: Dec 8, 2014 at 11:21 PM PST

SEATTLE – Officers arrested a 26-year-old man early Sunday after he called a taxi driver a “terrorist” and beat him unconscious, causing the cab to drift out of control and strike several parked cars before slamming into an apartment building in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, police said. Investigators labeled the attack a “hate crime.”

Adam Gaal, the 34-year-old cab driver, told police the incident began when he picked up three men and a woman in Belltown just before 2 a.m. Sunday and drove them to the 4200 block of 27th Avenue West.

The suspect then gave Gaal his credit card to pay for the trip and apparently became angry at how long the transaction was taking, said Andrew Garber of the Seattle police.

“He says, ‘You know where you are? You’re in America, this is not where you come from. You are an immigrant this is not your country. You are terrorist. You are ISIS,” Gaal said.

The passenger, later identified as Jesse Fleming, then leaned across the seat and repeatedly punched Gaal in the face, Garber said.

Gaal lost consciousness and his foot slipped off the brake, causing the cab to roll downhill, strike several cars and eventually come to a stop after crashing into the stairs of an apartment building.

“He just jump on me and punching me, beating me, punching me and I become unconscious,” Gaal said.

Continue reading …

Texas Christian Man Plotted Terror Attacks With His IDF Roomate On Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem

10 December, 2014 - 17:06

Adam_Livvix

(h/t: Sumayyah)

According to The Guardian Israel has indicted a Texas Christian man for plotting to attack Muslim sites in Jerusalem. Where was he radicalized and what if he was Muslim.

Israeli officials say they have indicted a 30-year-old American Christian from Texas for plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. A 30-year-old American Christian from Texas has been indicted in Israel for plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Israel’s Ministry of Justice said on Tuesday that a court had indicted Adam Everett Livix in connection with the plot. It said that Livix conspired with his roommate, an active soldier in the Israeli military, to obtain 1.4kg (3lb) of explosive material to use to blow up the unidentified Jerusalem holy sites. The ministry said the plot was discovered by a police agent in October.

Shin Bet Secretly Arrests, Imprisons Texas Christian Fundamentalist for Planning Dome of the Rock Terror Attack by Richard Silverstein on December 9, 2014

Last month, I discovered the Shabak was secretly holding a foreign citizen on suspicion of serious security offences. I tweeted this on November 26th (see tweet below). But I could not obtain further information except that his name was “Adam L.”

This morning, an Israeli security journalist confirmed the story in an e mail to me and within an hour the Shabak “coincidentally” released a full account of the arrest and charges against him. Haaretz’s Hebrew language story here.

As you read MSM accounts of this story and see this fact omitted, you may wonder why.

The suspect is Adam Livix, age 30, a resident of Texas and wanted there on drug charges. He appears to have jumped bail. As a a fugitive on the run, he might’ve fled to the West Bank to avoid capture. Bergman told me that Livix is a Christian fundamentalist and “probably not very stable.”

According to the Shabak release, he first traveled to the West Bank, where he lived in Hebron. During Pres. Obama’s trip to Israel last year, Palestinians allegedly approached him in hopes of organizing an assassination attempt.  He purportedly refused, then moved to Israel and started amassing stolen IDF weapons in order to blow up Muslim holy places.  I find this part of the story to be the most lacking in credibility.  I simply don’t believe Palestinians would attempt to assassinate the U.S. president.  It’s possible that Livix approached settlers or Palestinians with this goal in mind.  But not for Palestinians to have initiated such a plot.  I would challenge the Shabak to produce any evidence justifying this claim.

Livix was secretly arrested last month and has been held incommunicado since then. The Shin Bet statement claims that the FBI has been apprised of the arrest. I asked the agency for comment and they released this:

“We are aware of the recent arrest of an American citizen in Israel and are currently working with the Israeli authorities to assist in their investigation. The FBI continues to work closely with our counterparts in Israel to identify, apprehend, and hold accountable those who threaten the public with violence.”

This would presume that the domestic intelligence agency endorsed the Israeli secret police’s abusive treatment of Livix.   It also goes a long way to presuming Livix’s guilt since it presumes he “threatened the public with violence.”  My impression was that this needed to be proven in a court of law and couldn’t be presumed.  But given today’s release of the CIA terror report and the revelations of U.S. torture of suspected Al Qaeda militants, it appears we’re fine with Shabak’s torture techniques as well, even if used on U.S. citizens.  In fact, the CIA has exploited Israeli use of torture as a justifying precedent for its own brutality.

Generally, the Israelis arrest Jewish and Palestinians security suspects in secret.  They gag the media from reporting the story.  They hold victims without charge and without legal representation for periods of time determined solely by the secret police in collaboration with a malleable judicial system.  They use abusive interrogation techniques, even ones specifically excluded by Supreme Court rulings.  This is what Adam Livix has endured.  He has, in this case, the benefit of not being Palestinian and holding U.S. citizenship, so they probably went somewhat easy on him.  That is, comparatively easy, since U.S. officialdom has apparently washed its hands of him.

Continue reading …

 

Strange Bedfellows: Extremists, Bigots, and the Quran

10 December, 2014 - 11:20

somebeliefs

Original guest article by Michael Elwood and Tarik Abdallah

Recently, there’s been a lot in the news as to whether extremists like ISIS are being true to the message of the Quran or not.

Some, like Rep. Keith Ellison and Prof. Rashid Khalidi claim that groups like ISIS take verses of the Quran out of context in order to justify their objectionable beliefs and practices (see: Islamic State group uses only half of a Quran verse to justify beheadings — see what’s in the other half). Others, like Sam Harris and Bill Maher, claim that so-called moderate Muslims either don’t know what their own scripture says (as incredible as that sounds!), or they’re simply lying about the “violent” and “hateful” contents of the Quran. We contend it’s extremists like ISIS, and critics of Islam like Harris and Maher, who are lying about the contents of the Quran. Below, we’ll give an overview of how they do this by taking verses out of context in order to make them appear to be advocating “violence” and “hate”.

First, we’d like to point out that taking verses out of context isn’t the only way that extremists try to justify violent and hateful interpretations of the Quran. There are two other ways that this is often accomplished. One way is to play on verses that are allegorical, or that can have more than one meaning, and try to tease a violent or hateful interpretation from them. The Quran itself mentions this:

“He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses – which constitute the essence of the scripture – as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in this – all of it comes from our Lord.” Only those who possess intelligence will take heed” ~ Quran 3:7

In their footnote for 3:7, Prof. Edip Yuksel, Prof. Martha Schulte-Nafeh, et. al., point out that the verse about verses that can be interpreted in more than one way, can itself be interpreted in more than one way (See “Quran: A Reformist Translation”):

“The word [mutashabihat] can be confusing for a novice. Verse 39:23, for instance, uses mutashabihat for the entire Quran, referring to its overall similarity — in other words, its consistency. In a narrower sense, however, mutashabihat refers to all verses which can be understood in more than one way. The various meanings or implications require some special qualities from the person listening to or reading the Quran: an attentive mind, a positive attitude, contextual perspective, the patience necessary for research, and so forth.

“It is one of the intriguing features of the Quran that the verse about mutashabih verses of the Quran is itself mutashabih — that is, it has multiple meanings. The word in question, for instance, can mean ‘similar’, as we have seen; it can mean, ‘possessing multiple meanings'; it can also mean ‘allegorical’ (where one single, clearly identifiable element represents another single, clearly identifiable element).”

An example of a verse that can be interpreted in more than one way is 2:106. In this verse, some translate the word “ayah,” which means “miracle,” as “verse” in order to justify abrogating Quranic verses that are inconvenient for them (more on this later). An example of verses that are allegorical are the verses that describe heaven and hell, like 47:15. In this particular instance, the Quran actually tells us that the description is an allegory (mathalu):

“The allegory of Paradise [mathalu al-jannati] that is promised for the righteous is this: it has rivers of unpolluted water, and rivers of fresh milk, and rivers of wine – delicious for the drinkers – and rivers of strained honey. They have all kinds of fruits therein, and forgiveness from their Lord. (Are they better) or those who abide forever in the hellfire, and drink hellish water that tears up their intestines?”  ~ Quran 47:15

In his book, “The End of Faith,” and on his website, Sam Harris often cites these verses as evidence of what he calls “religious hatred” and “otherwordliness” in the Quran (see Honesty: The Muslim World’s Scarcest Resource). There are a few problems with this, however.

First, as his fellow atheist Joshua Oxley points out, these verses use imagery to portray the torments of hell:

“The verses cited aren’t quite as scary as he makes them out to be. Many of them use violent imagery–fire, mostly–to convey the judgment that us unbelievers will experience at the hands of God. Not at the hands of men and women on earth. But at the Last Day. Why should this constitute a particular kind of Islamic violence. . . . Does that scare you? It doesn’t scare me. These passages put the power into Divine hands to judge and cast out, not human. I couldn’t care less, unless individuals start citing that verse in hopes of having my head. At that point, it’s not the ‘unified message’ of the text that is to blame, but an inconsistent interpretation by the religious believer. And those are two very, very different things.

“Harris, quite frankly, presents Scripture here as a fundamentalist would. It is a dry, topical understanding, devoid of historical or textual context, that makes proof-texting possible. There is no room for interpretation, for conversation, for nuance. No different schools of thought. It’s decided, ‘The text as a whole says X’. Islam becomes a robotic, artificial existence, and humankind mere automatons. And I feel like Harris should know better. When you have a bigger audience to speak to, you take on the responsibility of presenting yourself and others with as much integrity and honesty as possible. And this article just doesn’t measure up. . . .

“Please, anyone and everyone, don’t take Harris’ analysis as your own understanding of Islam. I have to say something. This atheist, who is not a Qur’anic scholar, but who was lucky enough to spend four year in undergrad studying Islam, is interested in the Muslim and secular communities engaging in dialogue over real issues. Poorly-reasoned critiques, more diatribe than discourse, will never get people to the table. And in a society with a profound ignorance of the nature of Islam, it’s even more dangerous to promulgate some of the worst misconceptions.

“Everyone deserves to be as generously understood as possible, and it’s about time the Muslim community got similar treatment from our secular circles. If I read a Muslim thinker picking any secular text apart in this kind of manner, I’d be equally miffed.” ~Joshua Oxley, When You Just Shouldn’t Say Anything: Sam Harris and the Qur’an

Second, Harris isn’t categorically against torment. He’s just against the torment of non-Muslims (or infidels as he likes to call them) in an afterlife he doesn’t believe in, by a God he doesn’t believe in. But as he has said in his book “The End of Faith,” and in a Huffington Post article aptly titled “In Defense of Torture,” he’s all for the torment of Muslims in this life.

It’s hard to understand how the torment of some non-Muslims in the afterlife constitutes “religious hatred,” but the torment of some Muslims in this life doesn’t constitute “secular hatred”.

Third, despite Harris’ subjective impression that the Quran is full of “otherworldliness,” the objective reality is quite different. The number of times the Arabic words for this life (dunya) and the afterlife (akhira) both occur in the Quran exactly 115 times (see “Quran: A Reformist Translation”). It reminds me of the Christian apologist Dave Miller who tried to demonstrate that the Quran, unlike the Bible, emphasizes hell more than heaven. He wrote:

“While the Bible certainly emphasizes the certainty and inevitability of eternal punishment, it places the subject in proper perspective and provides a divinely balanced treatment.”   ~ David Miller, Hell and the Quran

But despite Miller’s subjective impression of the Quran placing an emphasis on hell, the objective reality is quite different. The Arabic words for heaven (jannah) and hell (jahannum) both occur in the Quran exactly 77 times (see “Interpreting the Qur’an: A Guide for the Uninitiated” by Clinton Bennett). If that’s not “balanced treatment,” what is? It should also be pointed out that Christian apologists claim that overall the Quran, unlike the Bible, is more violent (see Dark passages: Does the harsh language in the Koran explain Islamic violence? Don’t answer till you’ve taken a look inside the Bible, also see Danios’ article: What the Quran-bashers Don’t Want You To Know About The Bible).

Another way extremists and critics try to justify violent and hateful interpretations of the Quran is to just ignore or explain away “peaceful” and “loving” verses in the Quran. One of the ways they try to accomplish this is by claiming that all the “peaceful” and “loving” verses of the Quran have been conveniently abrogated. Verse 2:106, mentioned earlier, critics claim can be interpreted in more than one way through abrogation. Many also claim verse 9:5 abrogates all the other “peaceful” and “loving” verses. However, some scholars disagree:

“A popular argument against such a reading of the text is based on the claim that verses such as 22:39-40 and 2:190 have been abrogated by the so-called ‘verse of the sword,’ 9:5. Proponents of this argument generally cite the portion of the verse, which says, ‘then kill the polytheists wherever you find them,’ claiming that this abrogates any previous verses that seem to restrict fighting and killing non-Muslims. However, this argument is problematic for two very important reasons.

“First, as John Burton has clearly demonstrated, there is no agreement among Muslim scholars, past or present, on the nature of abrogation, or on the specifics of the abrogating and the abrogated.[16] More important to the present discussion, however, is the fact that a literal reading of 9:5, in the surrounding context demonstrates that its message is the same as that found throughout the Qur’an.” ~ Prof. Aisha Musa, Towards a Qur’anically-Based Articulation of the Concept of ‘Just War’

For a lengthier treatment of abrogation, see Dr. Israr Khan’s article Arguments for Abrogation in the Qur’an: A Critique. Also see the article Abrogation, the biggest lie against the Quran.

The Rising Tide in Germany of Islamophobia and Anti-Immigration Views

9 December, 2014 - 19:43

germany-syria-refugees-videoSixteenByNine540-v5

As IBTimes reported The Bavaria’s ruling party, Christian Social Union (CSU),  has put forward a proposal saying that immigrants should speak German not only in public but in the home as well.

The draft law has sparked outrage with dozens taking to social media to voice their dissent. Twitter users are commenting on the issue using the hashtag #YallaCSU. Yalla is an Arabic word that can be translated as “let’s go” and “hurry up”.” writes Ludovica Iaccino.

In German City Rich With History and Tragedy, Tide Rises Against Immigration

By ALISON SMALEDEC. 7, 2014

More refugees are seeking asylum in Germany than in any other country, straining Germans’ tolerance for foreigners and taxing the government’s ability to find housing for them.

DRESDEN, Germany — As it does every Advent, this history-laden city has erected the gift stalls, the glühwein stands and the Ferris wheel of Germany’s oldest Christmas market, around the Frauenkirche, the 18th-century church that was magnificently rebuilt after the Allies’ catastrophic bombing in 1945. But this year, there is tension behind the seasonal jollity.

For the past seven Mondays, people have taken up the battle cry of East Germans protesting their Communist government 25 years ago — “Wir sind das Volk!” (“We are the people!”) — and fashioned it into a lament about being overlooked by political leaders of the present.

Dresden’s demonstrators, echoing the populist fears coursing around Europe, are a motley mix of far right-wingers in the National Democratic Party, or N.P.D., young hooligans and ordinary folk who feel ignored as foreigners pour into Germany — at least 200,000 this year alone — seeking jobs or asylum.

Ahmad Mahayni, a Syrian refugee, had to leave his exiled family in Jordan in August so that he could fly to Berlin to seek asylum.

First hundreds, now thousands have responded to the summons from a previously unknown activist, Lutz Bachmann, 41, and an organization called Pegida, a German acronym for a title that translates roughly as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.
Continue reading the main story

On Monday, a record 7,500 showed up despite teeth-chattering cold, for an hour long march through Dresden’s center, a mix of grim Socialist architecture and gems of the pre-1945 past. National flags were flown. One placard said, “We miss our country,” while another demanded, “Protection of the Heimat,” or homeland, “not Islamization.”

Carefully kept at shouting distance by the police, several hundred opponents yelled their disagreement. “Refugees are welcome here!” they chanted in English before blocking the Pegida crowd from reaching Dresden’s famed Theater Square, bordered by the beautiful Semperoper opera house and the Zwinger museum, home to one of the finest European art collections.

Despite its rich culture and its present-day prosperity, Dresden is no stranger to right-wingers or hatred of foreigners. But as dissatisfaction simmers throughout Europe over the arrival of migrants, events in this city of 530,000 people have come as a surprise.

“They are clearly Nazis,” said Kathi Wetzel, 50, when asked at her food stall about the demonstrators, though, she added, the marches also swept up “simple hangers-on who don’t really know why they are going along.”

Martin Landseck, 32, pouring beer at another stand, took a far less definite attitude. “Let’s wait and see,” he said, about which side has the better case.

Clearly, Pegida has touched a nerve. In Germany, where the economy is still growing and more people have jobs than ever before, no equivalent has emerged to France’s Marine LePen and her populist National Front, and no leaders have ridden discontent to power like Prime Minister Victor Orban in Hungary.

The Islamization evoked by Pegida is hardly imminent, with only about 2 percent of the population in the Saxony region foreign, and only a fraction of those Muslim.

But right-wingers and soccer hooligans banded together in Cologne this fall and overran police officers in violent protests they said were aimed at Islamic extremism. Dresden is almost the anti-Cologne — determinedly antiviolent and careful in its fliers and patriotic placards to stay on the right side of laws banning hate speech — yet focused on many of the same targets.

Continue reading …

Nutcase Nicolai Sennels Still Posting on Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch

9 December, 2014 - 19:08

Sennels_JihadWatch-296x300

Spencerwatch

For some years now Nicolai Sennels has been posting on Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer’s blog, JihadWatch. Sennels is very popular in the “counterjihad” movement that has spawned the likes of Anders Breivik and the EDL.

Sennels, in much the same way as earlier racist pseudo-scientists, focuses his Islamophobic output in his supposed field of expertise: psychology. These bona fides are supposed to be enough to lend credence to what is in effect Sennels’ new-age racist Scientism. Sennels theories claim in effect that Muslims are a racial group of inbreds who are genetically inferior to non-Muslims. For more on Sennels see Sheila Musaji’s excellent article at The American Muslim aptly titled, Nicolai Sennels’ Nazi Style Propaganda.

Of course we relay this as part of being the studious fact compilers we are, there is in reality no difference in the views Sennels and Spencer. That’s why he continues to write there.

Hindu Nationalist Girl’s Camp: We’ll Build Bombs, We’ll Shoot Dead Muslims, We’ll Reclaim India

8 December, 2014 - 22:22

Hindu_Girls_Camp

By Emperor

Hindutva, or Hindu Nationalism, which combines a fundamentalist understanding of Hinduism with Indian nationalism has been on the ascendancy for decades, culminating in the presidential victory of the fascist Narendra Modi.

Hindutva organizations are highly organized, they are also opponents of Hindus converting to either Christianity or Islam. They have spearheaded anti-conversion legislation in numerous states that prevent or make near impossible the conversion of a Hindu to another religion; often justifying it as a necessary measure to counteract the use of material incentives by missionaries.  However, they have no compunction themselves in aggressively offering monetary incentives to Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism in highly publicized ‘reconversion ceremonies.’

For years now Hindutva groups, such as the Sangh Parivar have been holding training camps for youth where they are indoctrinated in an ideology that has as its central doctrine the subjugation and elimination of non-Hindu religions.

The following video highlights the dehumanizing and violent indoctrination that Hindtuva groups are leaving on the impressionable minds of India’s young girls (h/t: Abu ‘Alimah).

Girls in the video can be seen speaking of their supremacist beliefs, their love and desire for fighting and killing non-Hindus. This sort of mentality has already caused significant damage in the past to relations between India’s various religious and ethnic groups and it promises to perpetuate hate and violence.:

Also read:

-Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Wipe Pakistan Off The Map

1,000 Years of Scientific Texts From The Islamic World Are Now Online

8 December, 2014 - 21:03

e1ibvrqjrjasvi2kmyxj

A massive undertaking by the Qatar Digital Library that preserves a millennium of scientific work. (h/t: S. I.)

By Mark Strauss, io9 

Between the 9th and 19th centuries, Arabic-speaking scholars translated Greek, Latin and even Sanskrit texts on topics such as medicine, mathematics and astronomy, fostering a vibrant scientific culture within the Islamic world. Some of the most influential texts are now available at the Qatar Digital Library.

The library, a joint project of the British Library and the Qatar Foundation, offers free access to 25,000 pages of medieval Islamic manuscripts. Among some of the most significant texts:

The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (1206 A.D.), which was inspired by an earlier, 9th-century translation of Archimedes’ writings on water clocks. Devices such as the “Elephant Clock” (pictured below) were the most accurate time-keeping pieces before the first pendulum clocks were built in the 17th century by the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens.

1,000 Years of Scientific Texts From The Islamic World Are Now OnlineExpand

Another water clock design features balls dropping onto a cymbal from a bird’s head.

1,000 Years of Scientific Texts From The Islamic World Are Now OnlineExpand

This is one of the only three recorded copies of an influential treatise on the construction and use of astrolabes by Abū al-Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī (973-1048), containing 122 diagrams.

1,000 Years of Scientific Texts From The Islamic World Are Now OnlineExpand

A translation (615 AD) of Ptolemy’s mathematical and astronomical treatise, The Almagest.

1,000 Years of Scientific Texts From The Islamic World Are Now OnlineExpand

An Arabic version of De Materia Medica, an encyclopedia of herbs and medicine written in the first century AD by Pedanius Dioscorides, a Greek-born, Roman physician. This translation was completed in Baghdad in 1334 A.D.

Continue reading…

Glenn Beck faces a lawsuit over his conspiracy theories on Boston Marathon bombing

8 December, 2014 - 20:53

American Broadcaster Glenn Beck Hosts Rally At Jerusalem's Western Wall

Glenn Beck must face a  lawsuit for his slander of a Saudi victim of the Boston Marathon bombing.

by Kyle Mantyla on Tuesday, 12/2/2014 2:54 pm

Following the Boston Marathon bombing last year, Glenn Beck set out on a mission to prove that the government was engaged in a massive conspiracy to cover up the truth, during which he repeatedly asserted that one of the victims who was injured in the attack was really an al Qaeda operative responsible for the bombing.

In the weeks following the bombing, Beck repeatedly insisted that Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, a spectator who was briefly considered to be a “person of interest” by investigators though quickly exonerated, was really an al Qaeda “control agent” and the “money man” who had financed the entire operation and had recruited the Tsarnaev brothers to carry it out.

In response to these unfounded claims, Alharbi eventually sued Beck for defamation and slander, and Beck’s lawyers responded by trying to get the lawsuit thrown out on the grounds that Alharbi was “involuntary public figure” which would require Alharbi to prove not simply that Beck made false accusations against him, but that he did so with “actual malice.”

Of course, it was Beck himself who continued to focus attention on Alharbi, meaning that Beck’s legal team was essentially arguing that Alharbi became a public figure as a result of Beck’s attacks … which they said means that Alharbi cannot now sue Beck for those very same attacks because he was a public figure.

Needless to say, this novel legal argument did not get very far with the federal judge hearing the case

Continue reading …

The New Republic and the Beltway media’s race problem

8 December, 2014 - 20:47

Marty_Peretz

Then-owner of The New Republic Marty Peretz, at left, in 2005 Jemal Countess/WireImage

So there were ‘Mass resignations’ at The New Republic  (TNR) following the resignations of editors Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, over the direction the current owner Chris Hughes was taking the magazine. But where were these great principles when Marty Peretz former owner was using his position at TNR for his anti-Black, anti-Latino, anti-Arab, Islamophobic rants?

The New Republic and the Beltway media’s race problem

by Max Fisher on December 5, 2014, 2:50 p.m. ET @Max_Fisher max@vox.com

There’s little doubt that The New Republic’s young owner, Chris Hughes, treated its beloved editor, Frank Foer, poorly. Hughes’ new CEO, Guy Vidra, criticized Foer’s leadership while sitting right next to him at an all-staff meeting. Hughes hired a replacement before firing Foer — which Foer had to learn about through rumors. Hughes, a newcomer to journalism who bought his way, publicly humiliated Foer, along with also-fired literary editor Leon Wieseltier. It’s an ugly, unkind way to treat an editor, an employee, and the well-respected leader of a newsroom. Much of the publication’s masthead, outraged, has resigned in solidarity and protest.

But Hughes’ predecessor, Marty Peretz, did much worse. In the years of Peretz’s ownership, from 1974 to 2007 and then partially until 2012, he gave himself the title of editor-in-chief and regular space in the magazine and on its website, which he frequently used to issue rants that were breathtaking in their overt racism. The columns typically came during periods of turmoil for the minorities he targeted: often blacks and Latinos, later focusing especially on Muslims and Arabs.

“A publication that buoyed racism was tolerable. a publication that fired two beloved white men was not.”

The overwhelmingly white writers and editors who worked for Peretz knew his work was monstrous, and often struggled over the morality of accepting his money (as did I, during my brief internship there). But none ever resigned en masse as they did over the firing of two white male editors today. That fact is just a particularly egregious example of a much larger problem among the elite Beltway publications: a lack of diversity and a begrudging tolerance of racism that go hand-in-hand.

Here are the sorts of things that Peretz wrote or said over the years; all but the speeches here ran on the New Republic’s pages or website.

Quoted speaking on the “cultural deficiencies” of “the black population”:

Citing statistics on out-of-wedlock births among blacks, Martin Peretz, editor in chief of The New Republic, said, “So many in the black population are afflicted by cultural deficiencies.” Asked what he meant, Peretz responded, “I would guess that in the ghetto a lot of mothers don’t appreciate the importance of schooling.” Mfume challenged Peretz, saying, “You can’t really believe that. Every mother wants the best for their children.” Peretz agreed, then added, “But a mother who is on crack is in no position to help her children get through school.” Some in the audience of 2,600 young Jewish leaders hissed at Peretz’s remarks.

Writing on the “lives of Africans”:

The truth is that no one has ever really cared about the lives of Africans in Africa unless those lives are taken out by whites. No one has cared, not even African Americans like [Jesse] Jackson and [Susan] Rice. Frankly — I have not a scintilla of evidence for this but I do have my instincts and my grasp of his corruptibility — I suspect that Jackson was let in on the diamond trade or some other smarmy commerce.

Writing on the “deficiencies” of “Latin society”:

Well, I am extremely pessimistic about Mexican-American relations, not because the U.S. had done anything specifically wrong to our southern neighbor but because a (now not quite so) wealthy country has as its abutter a Latin society with all of its characteristic deficiencies: congenital corruption, authoritarian government, anarchic politics, near-tropical work habits, stifling social mores, Catholic dogma with the usual unacknowledged compromises, an anarchic counter-culture and increasingly violent modes of conflict.

By far his worst screeds, though, were reserved for Muslims and Arabs, whom he famously argued should all be stripped of free speech rights:

But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imaam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

On the “higher standards of civilization” that “we” (that most telling pronoun) hold than do Muslims:

I actually believe that Arabs are feigning outrage when they protest what they call American (or Israeli) “atrocities.” They are not shocked at all by what in truth must seem to them not atrocious at all. It is routine in their cultures. That comparison shouldn’t comfort us as Americans. We have higher standards of civilization than they do. But the mutilation of bodies and beheadings of people picked up at random in Iraq does not scandalize the people of Iraq unless victims are believers in their own sect or members of their own clan. And the truth is that we are less and less shocked by the mass death-happenings in the world of Islam. Yes, that’s the bitter truth. Frankly, even I–cynic that I am–was shocked in the beginning by the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq. But I am no longer surprised. And neither are you.

And no one resigned — including me, while I was an intern at the magazine for four months. Though I was unpaid, I eagerly accepted the resume-boosting prestige that came from working there. And, like the rest of the staff, I did it knowing it meant turning a blind eye to Peretz’s frequent screeds on the magazine’s website, fully aware that they were not just the crazy rants of an old racist but were in fact palpably damaging to the minority families who had to live in a society that was that much more intolerant because Peretz enjoyed a platform that legitimized his views.

Continue reading …

Kansas City: Muslim Teenager Murdered By Man Who Hated Islam, Compared Quran to Ebola

5 December, 2014 - 22:18

Quran_Ebola_Kansas_City

“Quran is a virus disease worestr than Ebola”

A young man of 15, Abdisamad Sheikh Hussein had his life stolen away from him, reportedly for no other reason than he was a Muslim. The perpetrator is an unidentified individual of 30, also a Somali who had a deep seated hatred of Islam and Muslims, even comparing the Quran to Ebola. The perpetrator sounds like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, except he was actually willing to carry out his hatred of Islam and Muslims in a personal bloody attack.

You can reach out to support the Somali community center and share your condolences at 816-842-2191.

The vile and hostile rhetoric from those who are a part of the industry of Islamophobia is creating monsters, monsters who dehumanize and kill. (h/t: Hadi)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 15-year-old boy died after losing too much blood when his legs were severed in what police believe was an intentional attack outside the Somali Center of Kansas City Thursday evening.

Abdisamad Sheikh Hussein, who goes by the name “Adam” was getting into a car outside the Somali Center, 1340 Admiral Blvd., when he was hit by a man driving an SUV at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Adam is a student at  Staley High School, 2800 NE Shoal Creek Pkwy, in the Northland. He was rushed into surgery at Children’s Mercy Hospital, but did not survive.  His family says he was brain-dead and they decided to take him off life support.

North Kansas City School District spokesperson Michelle Cronk says extra counselors are available to help Adam’s classmates as they learned the news on Friday.

“It became pretty clear that this was not an accidental crash, there is a considerable amount of evidence that leads us to believe it was intentional,” Sergeant Bill Mahoney with KCPD said.

According to some witnesses, the suspect, who is now in jail awaiting charges is a man known to them. They say he is also from Somalia, and that he has a history of hating Muslims.

FOX 4 had not named the suspect, pending charges.

Family and people heavily involved with the Somali Center near Admiral Boulevard and The Paseo say a man had been threatening people in the Muslim community for months now on Facebook. Several others say that same man pointed a gun at them, threatening to kill them because of their Muslim religion.

One friend of Adam’s recalled the man telling them that “Quran is worse than Ebola.”

Friday morning, Bridget Patton, FBI Public Affairs Specialist, said the FBI has opened the case as a Federal Civil Rights investigation and potential Hate Crime violation.

“A month or two ago he came to the Somali mall, two blocks from here. Things got bad, they started arguing and he pulled a gun,” Abdul Mohamed, a man who knows the victim, said.

Family told FOX 4’s Megan Brilley at the crime scene that Adam Hussein is the son of the Somali Center’s leader, and they were devastated by the events that happened Thursday night.

“Our family is very destroyed at what happened. He’s a sweet, loving kid. He doesn’t deserve this,” Khadra Dirir, the victim’s aunt, said. “I’m pretty sure it’s a hate crime from things I’ve been hearing. I hope that someone brings him to justice.”

Police quickly arrested the suspect.

“He tried to leave the scene but couldn’t get anywhere in the vehicle.  He bailed out of it, started running eastbound and was apprehended by officers,” Sgt. Mahoney said.

“He can exercise his First Amendment, but him actually come and try to run over kids, that’s just ridiculous. Like who does that?” said Khadra Dirir.

A second person hurt reportedly didn’t suffer life-threatening injuries.

Friday is a worldwide day of congregational prayer for Muslims and some were out early Friday morning at Admiral Blvd and the Paseo, where the prayer center is located.

The Heartland Muslim Council released a statement overnight which read, in part:

Kansas City Muslim community is deeply shocked at the hit and run, apparently intentional assault last evening outside a mosque on Admiral Boulevard in Midtown Kansas City. The attack resulted in the death of a teenager and serious injuries to another teenager. Our thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families and friends.

We ask the federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this attack as a possible hate crime. We commend the Kansas City Police Department for apprehending the suspected killer immediately after the crime. We hope the suspect will be charged and brought to full justice.

In light of the increased attacks on the mosques across the nation, we appeal to the law enforcement departments to provide extra safety and security to the mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim businesses.”

Damage Found at Islamic Faith Centers in St. Cloud

4 December, 2014 - 21:27

Central-Minnesota-Islamic-Center-vandalism

via. IslamophobiaWatch

Islamic leaders in St. Cloud are speaking out after saying their faith centers and worshipers’ property were targets of vandalism.

The latest case was discovered Wednesday morning by an imam, a religious leader, making his way into the Central Minnesota Islamic Center. The building is located just north of St. Cloud State University on Fourth Avenue South. Ten starburst cracks pepper a window about the size of a door frame.

Spokesperson for the center, Mohamoud Mohamed, said this is the third time the building has been vandalized over the last few weeks. Each case involved a damaged window. “At the beginning we were thinking it was isolated – a student or drunk person. But it isn’t,” he said. “It is some person or persons who are causing damage and targeting our faith facilities.”

It’s not just their building being targeted. Mohamed says vehicle windows are also being smashed as people attend morning prayer. This week, several worshipers reported damage done to vehicles outside the Islamic Center of St. Cloud, the mosque on Fifth Avenue South.

“(The vandals) know we pray before the sun rises and it is still dark,” he said. “They are coming to those parked cars and then disappearing,” he said.

Mohamed says they have reported each incident to the St. Cloud Police Department. Officers say they are investigating the crimes. Yet the damage is already done. Mohamed says repairs to just one of the center’s double-paned windows will cost nearly $1,000. He says the center also plans to install additional security cameras on the property.

“We are a part of the community and we don’t want to be singled out or targeted by a group of bad people,” Mohamed said. “We don’t want that kind of activity to divide us from the greater community.”

Mohamed says they will continue to work with police to stop the vandalism. He asks anyone who may see suspicious activity around their faith centers to contact police.

St Cloud Times, 3 December 2014

See also “CAIR-MN seeks federal hate crime probe of St. Cloud mosque vandalism”, CAIR press release, 4 December 2014

Dutch Lawmaker: “No Place For Islam” in Netherlands

3 December, 2014 - 20:44

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders called his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the night of Nov. 26. The two spoke about the integration of Turkish and Muslim immigrants in the northern European country. AFP Photo

It’s not just Wilders, but other members of his PVV party who make grotesque statements about Islam and Muslims that should have no place in a 21st century pluralistic society. Interestingly enough, a major social democratic party, the PvdA is also being charged with facilitating a hostile attitude towards Muslims and Dutch citizens of Turkish descent.

Hurriyet Daily

Turkey concerned over ‘xenophobia’

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry had previously released a statement that complained to Dutch authorities about “aggressive and racist accusations” being made against the Turkish community in the Netherlands, and warned that the issue could harm bilateral relations.

Foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a written statement on Nov. 26 that Dutch government officials had prepared a xenophobic report about Turkish associations in the Netherlands.

“Aggressive and racist accusations toward Turks who are part of Dutch society and who come from a friendly allied nation are unacceptable,” read the statement. “We have difficulty understanding why these racist attacks, which are incompatible with our long history with the Dutch nation, have been on the agenda recently.”

Turkish officials are also infuriated by a report stating that around 80 percent of young Turkish people in the Netherlands support jihadist movements.

Mosque purge suggestion

Adding fuel to the fire, a Party for Freedom (PVV) lawmaker in recently proposed that all mosques in the Netherlands should be closed. However, Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher said any closure of mosques in the country would be “unacceptable.”

“Dutch unity, identity and culture are being wrecked by immigration and incubation. We do not want Islam in the Netherlands,” PVV deputy Machiel de Graaf had said.

Two weeks ago, two lawmakers of Turkish descent from the Labor Party (PvdA) were expelled after refusing to support their party’s critical remarks about a number of Turkish organizations accused of being “too focused on promoting Turkish and Islamic identity.”

The expelled parliamentarians said they were asked to sign a declaration during a party meeting aimed at stepping up surveillance on four Turkish organizations, but they refused to do so and were removed from the party as a result.

Read the entire article…

Eric Frein Survivalist Charged With Terrorism Wanted a Revolution

3 December, 2014 - 20:32

Eric_Frein

Imagine the reaction of certain right wingers and liberal Islamophobes if he had been Muslim?! It would certainly be a massive story!

What if he were Muslim?

Eric Frein is charged with terrorism; he aimed to ‘wake people up’ By

Eric Frein, the Pennsylvania survivalist accused of killing one state trooper and shooting another, was charged Thursday with two terrorism counts after police said he told them he’d carried out the attack to “wake people up.”

After a seven-week manhunt, Frein, 31, was captured Oct. 30 and arraigned the next day on charges including murder and attempted murder. One of the new terrorism charges accuses him of trying to affect the conduct of a government. The other accuses him of trying to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.

Officials have said Frein staged an ambush-style shooting outside a state police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pa., on Sept. 12. Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, was killed. Trooper Alex Douglass, 31, was critically wounded.

In an amended criminal complaint filed Thursday, police said that while being interviewed after his arrest, Frein said that “he wanted to make a change [in government] and that voting was insufficient to do so, because there was no one worth voting for.”

Frein also said that shooting the troopers was an effort to make that change and that the fatal shooting was an assassination, the complaint says.

In an amended criminal complaint filed Thursday, police said that while being interviewed after his arrest, Frein said that “he wanted to make a change [in government] and that voting was insufficient to do so, because there was no one worth voting for.”

Continue reading …

Ridley Scott: A ‘Mohammad So-and-So’ Can’t Lead A Movie

2 December, 2014 - 18:56

exodus-gods-and-kings-christian-bale-joel-edgerton

So Ridley Scott’s new movie Exodus is being rightly criticized for the lack of diversity in its leading characters. The Egyptian population which is a ethnically diverse mixture of North African, sub-Saharan African, Middle Eastern and some European ancestry.

Haroon Moghul summed up the controversy nicely when he said “A white guy named Christian can be Moses, but any color guy named Muhammad can’t lead a movie. Any movie.”

So remember that people of color especially those of you named Muhammad, also I wonder what  this Muhammad would have to say about the fear of the name Muhammad.

Ridley Scott Refused to Cast ‘Mohammad So-and-So’ in New Film By 11/27/14 at 1:09 PM

Ridley Scott has responded to months of criticism over the lack of ethnic diversity in his latest film, Exodus: Gods and Kings, saying that his decision to to cast white actors in key roles was due to financial reasons.

“I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Muhammad so-and-so from such-and-such,” the Gladiator director told Variety magazine in an interview this week.

“I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”

Continue reading  …

*The “expert on race ” Rupert Murdoch also know for his “tolerance and love of diversity” has chimed in

Embedded image permalink

 

 

 

Jerusalem: Extremists Torch Hebrew-Arabic Bilingual School

1 December, 2014 - 22:25

Hebrew_Arabic_School_Torched

A horrendous attack on an institution that really should be replicated across Israel and Palestine.

What if they were Muslim?

Al-Arabiya

A Jerusalem Hebrew-Arabic bilingual school was damaged Saturday evening following what police suspect was an arson attack as they found hateful messages sprayed on the building’s wall, Israeli newspaper the Haaretz reported.

Emergency responders put out the fire which started in the school’s playground.

According to the Haaretz, the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School is the largest Jewish-Arab school in Israel, having been run by two principles, one Jewish and one Arab, since it was founded in 1998 by an NGO.

The messages on the wall read “Kahane was right” and “There’s no coexisting with cancer,” the Israeli daily reported, marking the latest in a string of vandalizing acts.

One wall had graffiti reading ‘Kahane was right.’ (Photo courtesy: Courtesy of Jerusalem Fire Bridgade)

Over the past few months, the institution was targeted several times by right-wing extremists who sprayed racist graffiti addressing Arabs on its walls.

“Even if they manage to dirty the school’s walls, they will not manage to bring down our enterprise [of civil cooperation],” Shuli Dichter , executive director of Hand in Hand, the NGO behind the school, said.

“In addition to denouncing [these actions] expressing support, we invite the entire Israeli public to join us in the building of Jewish-Arab civil partnership in Israel. We will continue to develop our educational and social project, where every day 1,200 students come to study, some 200 teachers come to teach, and in which thousands of family members are involved,” he was quoted as saying.

Additionally, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the alleged attack.

“We will not allow pyromaniacs and criminals who take the law into their own hands to disrupt our daily lives,” he said adding “we will continue to denounce the extremists and do whatever it takes to restore the quiet to Jerusalem.”

Barkat said he had been in contact with the Jerusalem Police chief “whose top priority is the investigation and the security of Jerusalem’s children.”

Read the rest…

Amir Khan: The two-time Muslim world champion boxer on Muhammad Ali, training during Ramadan

1 December, 2014 - 21:13

Amir_Khan Oscar Quine interviews Amir Khan: The two-time Muslim world champion boxer in The Independent. Amir Khan: The two-time world champion boxer on Muhammad Ali, training during Ramadan

What did your mum say when you started boxing?

I started at the age of eight. When I was younger I was very hyperactive so my dad took me to a boxing club in Bolton. Mum and my grandma were really happy I was going there. They didn’t want to see me get hurt, but they knew I was a tough kid.

Do you have any pre-fight rituals?

Not really, I just do my prayers before I fight. And I ring my mum before I leave the hotel for the venue because she never comes to the fight.

As a Muslim, is it tough training through Ramadan?

It’s always very hard but your body gets used to it after a couple of days. Normally I just take the month off. If I do a little bit of training it’s going to be very late, at the time I’m allowed to eat.

Are there any particular books from which you’ve drawn your philosophy in the ring, à la Sun Tzu’s Art of War?

It’s documentaries for me, mainly. I watch documentaries about Muhammad Ali and Oscar De La Hoya and Sugar Ray Leonard. That inspires you because you see what they did in their career and I’m going through exactly that myself – you learn off them when they say “Look, we did this wrong” or “If we did this, it would’ve been different”, so you work out how not to make the same mistakes.

Is there any particular fighter you look up to?

I love Muhammad Ali. I think he was a great fighter and a great person outside the boxing ring. What he did, sticking to his religion and helping others out – he was a people’s champion.

Continue reading….

Pages