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Vandals target display of multifaith artworks at Gloucester Cathedral

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 February, 2017 - 00:04
Artist hits out at Islamophobia after exhibition on various religions sparks death threats and accusations of blasphemy

Controversial artworks on display at Gloucester Cathedral in an exhibition celebrating a spectrum of religious beliefs have been stolen and vandalised.

The art show, Faith, put together by portrait artist Russell Haines, was at the centre of an international row last month when Christian groups heavily criticised the use of Islamic images and the reciting of a Muslim prayer inside the historic cathedral buildings.

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Who are ‘Liberty GB’ anyway?

Indigo Jo Blogs - 11 February, 2017 - 15:17

Picture of Barbara Ntumy, a Black lady with long, braided red hair extensions wearing a shirt showing large white flowers on an orange backgroundYesterday Channel 4 News broadcast a conversation involving Jack Buckby, the “outreach officer” and former parliamentary candidate for ‘Liberty GB’, and Barbara Ntumy, deputy president of the London Metropolitan University students’ union and a member of the NUS’s Black students’ campaign, in which Buckby handed Ntumy an application form for resettling a Syrian refugee and told her, “put your money where your mouth is … take in a Syrian refugee; I hope you don’t get raped”. The suggestion stunned her into silence for a few seconds before she told him she lived in a one-bedroom house and didn’t have the financial means to do so, but he probably did. But the question remains: what was he doing there?

Liberty GB, formed by former members of UKIP, the British Freedom Party and the BNP and whose main founder is said to believe that there would be a war between immigrants and the white working class (though his wfie is Romanian), is not a big organisation; it was registered with the Electoral Commission in 2013 and according to Wikipedia, its membership is 400. Its candidates in the south-east constituency for the 2014 European parliamentary election received only 0.11 of the vote (2,494 actual votes); they came 14th, after “An Independence from Europe”, the Roman Party and “YOURvoice”. In the Batley and Spen by-election, triggered by the assassination of the previous Labour MP by a local far-right extremist, Buckby polled just over 1% (220 votes) and lost his deposit; they have never polled more than 0.6% in any other parliamentary election. So, given his lack of expertise, qualifications or public office (even UKIP have MEPs), what was he doing on the programme? The only explanation, as with so many previous instances in the British media, is that C4 invited him because a good barney would make “good telly”.

It’s despicable that this man should be allowed to suggest on national TV that a woman having contact with a Syrian refugee would likely result in her being raped. It’s simply racist, even taking into consideration the sex attacks in Cologne last year, which were assumed to be by Syrian refugees despite lack of evidence that they were anything other than men with (in some cases) foreign accents, which gave racist mischief makers the green light to accuse the Syrians. But in any case, a woman who agreed to take in a Syrian refugee would probably be assigned a woman, perhaps one with a young child, so there is no risk of her being raped. I subscribe to a video channel by a young woman in south London who has hosted refugees; if you are interested, you can see her videos on the subject here.

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FYI Israeli-French Citizens: Israel Is Also Racist

Loon Watch - 10 February, 2017 - 23:21

Marine LePen, ultra-nationalist, whose party the “Front National” a court in France ruled can justifiably be described as “fascist” has said that dual nationalities, those who hold Israeli and French citizenship would have to choose one or the other.

In a display of irony, Haaretz published a report on LePen’s proclamation that says many dual French-Israelis would choose Israel over France. My question to these folks: you do realize that Israel is an aggressively racist, colonial-settler state, right? So you aren’t okay with racism and neo-colonialism in France but just enjoy the Israeli flavored racism? Is it because it targets you and in Israel it targets Palestinians and Muslims?

Many French Jews who have immigrated to Israel told Haaretz that in such a case they would choose to remain citizens of the Jewish state, but said they fear for the physical and financial safety of those who continue to live in France or who travel between the two countries.

“My choice is made, I would remain Israeli, because Le Pen’s behavior is truly fascist,” said Agnes Hanna Goldman, a 60-year-old who works in public relations and movie production and is in the process of moving to Tel Aviv.

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On Black Suffering and the Legacy of Liberating Black Spirituality

altmuslim - 10 February, 2017 - 16:55
Insisting on silent suffering as a requisite for salvation, on supplication as a substitute for struggle and demanding deference to dogma or to Muhammadan descendants, whose silence is indicative of both disengagement and distance from the black and Muslim experience, as conditions of Divine deliverance from oppression is to misrepresent the meaning of mercy.

Flemming Rose Denounces Steve Bannon

Loon Watch - 10 February, 2017 - 14:59

“What baffled me the most, in our conversation, was that Bannon apparently believed that war can have a cleansing effect: that we need to tear down things from time to time to rebuild it from scratch… He believed that there is no way we can avoid an armed conflict, if Europe is to be saved. It cant be stopped by peaceful means. We are at war with Islam…” (Steve Bannon to Flemming Rose)

Flemming Rose is one of the editors of Jyllansposten in 2005, when they published the so called Muhammed Cartoons and is currently a researcher at the CATO institute, in the U.S.A.  He wrote an article in the Danish paper Weekendavisen some days ago about that day last fall, when he met Steve Bannon, with the headline “The Revolutionary”. Rose was not impressed, quite the oppposite.

He met with Steve Bannon last year when having an appointment with another person in New York.

The meeting was not preannounced, Steve entered the room unannounced while Flemming spoke to that other person that he had an appointment with (a person that “was worried about the influence of Islam on the West”). Steve “was somewhat fat, with ruddy face, medium long grey hair, and stubble… He was my age, perhaps a bit older, was barefoot and had hos shirt hanging outside the trousers. He introduced himself as Steve, and after a while I realized that his last name was Bannon and that he was the director of Breitbart News”, Flemming Rose wrote.

Bannon believed that Flemming Rose, the famous editor of Jyllandsposten, that now is a Senior Researcher at the Cato Institute, shared his view on Islam and could become a political ally, but he was wrong.

“It started as a friendly discussion but very soon developed into an occasionally heated exchange of opinions. Bannon obviously initially believed that I shared his ideas. When it became obvious for him that we had different views about how to deal with Islamic terror, we had a verbal clash. … Parts of what Bannon said was worrying, not the least now when we know that he has a key position in the White House. Bannon is angry, the subject of his anger is what he calls the ‘Globalized Elite’. He said that he views Trump as he beginning of a rebellion, that will increase gradually the coming years. He told me that he has travelled all over U.S.A and that his impression is that ordinary Americans view themselves as betrayed and that they are angry and frustrated. Not the least in the aftermath after the financial crisis 2008 and 2009. Capitalism has to be rescued from itself.”

“What baffled me the most, in our conversation, was that Bannon apparently believed that war can have a cleansing effect: that we need to tear down things from time to time to rebuild it from scratch. It seemed like he had lost his faith in Europe. Christianity has lost much of its power and as a result of that Europe has lost its will to contront the demands of Islam to get special treatment, and power [in Europe]. He meant that if Europe is to be saved, there is no way we can avoid an armed conflict. It cant be stopped by peaceful means. We are at war with Islam…”

Flemming Rose did not like what Bannon told him.

“I explained that I disagree and added that, as far as I can see it, we are in a warm war with violent Islamists and in a cold war with non violent Islamists, but not with Islam. It is a struggle between ideas, and it is crucial that believing Muslims fight on the side of secular democracy, I said. Bannon shook his head. He disagreed very much. After another verbal tirade and an emotionally loaded outburst from him, he looked at me, slightly embarrassed. Unlike him I had not been agitated that hour we met. And then he said: ‘Flemming, I hope we can make it with your methods, but  am not entirely sure about that,’

Translated from the Danish original. It was published in the Swedish Daily Dagens Nyheter too.

 

 

Ross Cameron defends claim New South Wales Liberal party is 'basically a gay club'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 February, 2017 - 06:31

New South Wales Liberal party distances itself from homophobic comments made at anti-Islamic event in Sydney

The New South Wales Liberal party has distanced itself from homophobic comments reportedly made by the former MP and Sky News commentator Ross Cameron, who described the party as “basically a gay club” at an anti-Islamic event in Sydney on Thursday night, according to a Fairfax Media report.

“I don’t mind that they are gay, I just wish, like Hadrian, they would build a wall,” Cameron told a meeting of the far-right Q society, Fairfax reported.

Related: Cory Bernardi and George Christensen to speak at $150-a-head dinner for anti-Islam group

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Counsel To Muslim Social Justice Activists

Muslim Matters - 10 February, 2017 - 05:12

Islam is a faith concerned with the wellbeing of all humankind. Like other Abrahamic religions, it combines service to God with service to humanity. It is focused neither exclusively on the hereafter nor solely on sociopolitical concerns. If the most recent US elections exposed the gravity of polarization in American society, it also uncovered a clash of communal visions between some Muslim social justice activists and classically trained Muslim scholars. Social justice is one of the noblest and most essential of causes, and the activists involved with efforts to universalize justice are involved with prophetic work. The support and participation of all Muslims in whatever capacity they can in such work is absolutely essential.

We, as an assembly of experts on the study of Islam and other concerned parties committed to traditional Islamic mores, concerned for both the unity and moral integrity of Muslims living as ethnic and religious minorities, open our hands, hearts, and ears to those Muslims involved in political mobilization and communal organization as a sincere gesture of peace and reconciliation upon the teachings of Islam and universal human concerns.

We wish to both acknowledge and remind others that for every political alliance formed with groups with special interests, those alliances potentially and/or actually alienate others. Alliances are important. But, when those alliances unduly alienate large swaths of the demographic that activists and/or religious scholars themselves claim to represent, it should become a matter of great concern. And, one should pursue ways to attract, rather than repulse potential members and advocates for one’s cause.

Activism is not the exclusive purview of those designated as activists. It is the fulfillment of the Islamic obligation of “enjoining good and forbidding wrong” or “correcting wrongs with one’s hand, tongue, and heart.” Islam cautions us against the threat of external and internal oppression. We must remain vigilant against allowing our opposition to external injustice to make us forget about the danger of internal transgressions against the Creator’s laws. Before our efforts are to be given prophetic sanction, our advocacy must pass the test of prophetic scrutiny and/or imperative.
Our children should not be confused or misled about the mores bequeathed to us by our beloved Prophet Muhammad—God’s peace and blessing upon him. But, victims of oppression are also not to be blamed for their plight even if they can be called to introspect about their own failures to uphold their duty to God and justice to others. Those who fail to make this distinction by placing the crux of responsibility on the oppressed rather than oppressors are derelict in their duty, and their silence in such cases is more useful to the masses.

We believe that the way forward in the US political arena requires a synthesis of the best that both liberals and conservatives have to offer, not merely maintaining a blind commitment to the democratic, republican, or independent parties. Our main desire is that Islam and the preservation of its values be given priority and not sacrificed on the altar of political opportunism. If the mores of others are worth emphasizing, Islamic mores should be worth showcasing as well, even if they clash with those of our allies at times.

This is what creates space for genuine dialogue and understanding, which can lead to long-term peaceful coexistence. It is also what real freedom of expression, thought, and conscience look like. We believe that “all” people agree on the “majority” of issues and concerns. The points of disagreement and difference pale in comparison. We all are members of one human family, from the same mother and father: Adam and Eve. Our true enemy is Satan.

Our call is for:

  • the prioritization of the non-negotiable teachings of Islam instead of viewing our religion and scripture through the strictures of uncritical moral assumptions, be they liberal or conservative.
  • a commitment to insulating all members of the community even those with whom we strongly differ from the attacks of those who wish us physical and spiritual harm.
  • a call to initiate regular dialogue with one another about areas of disagreement rather than public antagonism and assuming the worse about one another’s intentions.
  • Lastly, we invite activists and scholars together to form more holistic and inclusive strategies to protect our civil, religious, and human rights.

With that said, let us work together to secure our rights and persons as fellow Americans, while preserving all that is special about being Muslim in the process. This will ensure that our moral legacy is passed onto our children, and that the mark we make in history underscores the Islamic principles which guided us to our success.

—–##—–

Join the effort by filling out the form below:

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Dr. Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, Zaytuna College & Lamppost Education Initiative
Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood & Deputy Amir, MANA
Ustadha Ieasha Prime, Barakah Inc
Imam Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-Michigan
Haytham Soliman, CEO MuslimMatters Inc.
Shaykh Khalil Abdur-Rashid, Yaqeen Institute
Shaykh Abdul-Karim Yahya, Munazzamah Dar al-Rahmah
Imam Sulaimaan Hamed, The Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam
Shaykh Amin Muhammad, Masjid Muhammad of Atlantic City
Shaykh Joe Bradford, Wellspring Endowment
Aisha H.L al-Adawiya, Founder of Women In Islam Inc.
Ustadha Muslema Purmul, Institute of Knowledge
Shaykh Kafani Cisse, Student and Teacher and Cultural ambassador of A.A.I.I. and Namsrul Ilm America. #helpforhumanity
Bilal Ansari, Chaplain/Community Organizer
Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, Bayyinah Institute
Arbazz Mohammed, Sahaba Initiative
Daniel Haqiqatjou, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research
Anas Hlayhel, Masjid esSalaam, Chandler, AZ

'Complete victory': attorney general celebrates Trump travel ban verdict – video

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 February, 2017 - 01:27

Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson hails the unanimous verdict of the ninth US circuit court of appeals in upholding the suspension of Donald Trump’s travel ban, saying it ‘granted everything we sought’. He told the news conference in Seattle: ‘We are a nation a of laws ... those laws apply to everybody and that includes the president of the United States.’ Ferguson singled out the president’s claim that his executive orders were ‘unreviewable’, saying the judges said: ‘There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability.’

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Trump travel ban hits major setback after judges uphold temporary restraining order

The Guardian World news: Islam - 9 February, 2017 - 23:17

Judges upheld order issued last week to prevent 90-day travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries and 120-day freeze on US admission of any refugees

Related: Travel ban: judges refuse to reinstate Trump's order – live

Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban suffered a major setback on Thursday after a panel of three judges upheld a temporary ruling which had halted the president’s limit on people arriving from seven Muslim majority countries.

Related: Travel ban ruling suggests supreme court would be tough to convince

Related: Trump tries to salvage travel ban amid numerous legal briefs to block it

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Citizenship is not just a visa

Indigo Jo Blogs - 9 February, 2017 - 23:02

A picture of Simon Danczuk, a middle-aged, balding white man wearing a white shirt, dark blue tie and grey jacket with his lips turned down, standing in front of some old brick housesToday three members of the notorious ‘grooming gangs’ who raped and sexually abused girls in the Rochdale area lost an appeal against deportation to Pakistan. Two of the men, who were jailed in 2012, have been released on licence after serving part of their sentences; a third received a 22-year sentence and will remain in prison. All were born in Pakistan and were naturalised as British citizens; one of them came to the UK in 1967, aged 14, and has four children (presumably adults given his age) in the UK. His appeal includes the claim that his conviction is unsound because it was a “conspiracy” of all involved, that the jury was all white and that it was “fashionable to blame everything on Muslims these days”, a defence that was unsurprisingly rejected. The local MP, Simon Danczuk, has demanded that “foreign-born criminals should not be able to hide behind human rights laws to avoid deportation”.

There was a previous occasion in which I saw a tweet linking to a case in which a man, born in the UK but not a citizen because of his parents’ immigration status at the time of his birth, who was facing deportation to their home country of Jamaica. I immediately lost all sympathy when I read of his lengthy criminal record which dated back to his teenage years. However, I am also against first-world countries expelling criminals who had been there since childhood back to their countries of origin, usually third-world countries. Such policies caused devastation in Latin America, where thousands of criminals were deported from the USA; those deported for making one mistake were lost in their countries of birth where they had no remaining connections, while the gangsters re-formed their gangs and got back to business. It’s not ethical to deport someone who, while not born here, was ‘made’ as a criminal here. These three men were very likely not rapists when they left Pakistan; it was in their particular circle of British Asians in the fast-food and minicab industries that this happened. Pakistan is not to blame for their crimes and should not have to pay for or accommodate them; we may think we are protecting women and girls by deporting him but Pakistan has quite a high female population of its own.

I fully approve of removing people who committed crimes shortly after coming to the UK, and more so those who came here for that purpose. However, the whole idea of citizenship is that this is your country now, for better or worse, which is why it is not given out to just anyone. It is about belonging, not merely the right to live somewhere. Naturalisation is only revoked when it is found to have been obtained dishonestly, such as by lying about one’s parentage or concealing a criminal record or one’s conduct during a war; it may be revoked for treason or espionage, but not for common crimes or because the government believes that someone’s presence is not “conducive to the public good”, a phrase used as a justification for excluding foreign visitors because, for example, they are hate preachers.

One may not sympathise with these three men (I certainly do not) or any other individual affected. I am more concerned with the fact that it is getting easier and easier to throw people out of the country; anyone the government wants to throw out who has connections to another country, they can, and I suspect it will not stop with naturalised citizens, much as it did not stop with people who were not citizens but had been in the country for all their adult lives and had a spouse and children here (or, as has been documented in the USA, adoptees who were brought as babies or small children but whose adoptive parents neglected to naturalise them). If citizenship can be revoked after decades for committing a crime, or because a politician decides the country would be better off without you, it’s not citizenship at all; it’s just a kind of enhanced visa.

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By the Pen: Black History Month

Muslim Matters - 9 February, 2017 - 21:36

“And He taught Adam the names – all of them.” (Qur’an 2:31)

Colonial historians depicted Africans as peoples without a history, while exceptionalizing African Muslim civilizations because they had written records. But civilizations without literature still have histories. Africans passed on narratives through poems, griots, and visual art, as well as forms of communication such as drumming and dance that not easily collected by Western historians. Africanist scholars have been creative in demonstrating change over time and how skills and knowledge continue to be passed on from generation to generation in societies without written language. For those of us who are descendants of enslaved Africans forcibly migrated to the Americas, however, the narrative transmission of our history is often ruptured. Watching Roots (2016) reminded me that my ancestors lived stories full of heroism, tragedy, faith, levity, survival, and irony, grand narratives that have been erased through time. Naming our oppression and writing our own stories are powerful acts of creation and resistance against anti-Blackness.

Writing is powerful. The Qur’an was revealed to the the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) with the verse “Read in the name of your lord.” The Surah continues:

(3)اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ (4)الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ (5)عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

 

  1. Read (Proclaim), and your Lord is the Most Generous,
  2. who taught by the Pen,
  3. Taught man that which he knew not.

The written word is transformative, miraculous, and truly beautiful.  Yet, a little over 150 years ago, it was a crime to teach my enslaved ancestors to read. Why? Because reading and writing would create a pathway for us to write ourselves to freedom. And it continues to this day. One of my first early blog entries was in March 2006, where I wrote “Write or Die”  to reclaim my voice. I wrote:

I just heard a poet say that he was writing for his life. It just came to me at that moment that I’m in that same position, it’s write or die. The primary way that I convey my mastery over material and make an argument is through my ability to write. I have to produce, and master their language their rhetorical style, their mode of conceptualizing the world, their way of conveying reality. It is publish or perish and write or die. I write to eat, to travel to dream, to earn respect, to pay my rent, to clothe myself, to earn my place, to make my mark. I write to learn, to make sense of what I’m doing. Through the construction of words I convey to the institution that I am a worthy apprentice. This year, I hope to attain that document that says I am a master. I would have mastered something, entered that elite sphere of masters. Master, but not a slave? And mastery over what? Incomplete knowledge? I write to become a candidate, to take that next step!

For me, reading and writing has been an act of survival and struggle for self definition in the face of a society that devalues me for being Black and being Muslim and being a woman.

Phillis Wheatley, Poet

From Al Jahiz in the 9th Century to Ahmad Mubarak and Dawud Walid in the early 21st Century, written word has been used to argue for the equality of Black Africans in the Ummah.  Likewise, African American writers opened the eyes of people to the intelligence of African Americans, garnering support for the Abolitionist movement in antebellum America and the Civil Rights movement in the 20th Century. Abolitionists pointed to the powerful voices of enslaved Black women such as Phillis Wheatley (d. 1784) and Harriet Jacobs (1897) and enslaved Muslims including Omar ibn Said and Ibrahim AbdurRahman whose literacy in Arabic countered the stereotypes about uncivilized Africans.  Genetics, written narratives, and archival research have allowed us piece together our history. African Americans have a rich collective heritage of survival, resilience, and accomplishment under unbelievable obstacles.

Harriot Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Being able to name the obstacles my people faced has freed me from internalized racism, complacency, and despair. The story in the Qur’an, where Allah teaches Adam the names of all things,  is a powerful allegory of the importance of language and meaning. Naming created things gives us mastery of our own experiences.  When we are able to name our mental chains, to map out structural barriers, and decode oppressive social norms, we can develop strategies for freedom. Frederick Douglass demonstrates the power of written language and rhetoric  in autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. He writes, “The
 reading
 of
 these
 documents
 enabled
 me
 to
 utter
 my
 thoughts,
 and
 to
 meet
 the
 arguments
 brought
 forward
 to
 sustain
 slavery…” Being able to name the practices and ideologies that oppress us, that prevent Black people from self determination, is a powerful act of resistance.

Frederick Douglass

As a historian, as a writer, as an educator, I am taking control of my narrative and demanding that my people who are most affected by oppressive policies be part of the decision making process. I resist through writing, through naming and making visible the invisible structures that stifle our voices of dissent. When I committed myself to earning an undergraduate degree and transfer from community college to Santa Clara University in 1997, I also committed myself to becoming an educator. Just fought for ten years to overcome barriers to earning a bachelor’s degree, and for four years in graduate school to create a space where I could bring my full self as a Black American Muslim woman, I fight for others whose communities face anti-Black racism, settler colonialism, xenophobia, securitization and criminalization, all the things that rob us our ability to reach our full potential. Largely, I do it through written word. With the written word, we carve away at barriers, revealing the Truth about the systems that oppress us. We leave impressions that we, the historically disenfranchised, were here and pointing to pathways to freedom. Written language is a miraculous invention that helps us preserve our narratives for posterity and actualize our imagination as we build new worlds. Connecting with Black Liberation struggles of our past and present is a key to us all getting free.  

 

 

 

Trump's terror policies are bad enough now. What about after an attack? | Trevor Timm

The Guardian World news: Islam - 9 February, 2017 - 20:30

The president has already shown a willingness to upend constitutional norms and gratuitously spread fear. Just think what he’d do in a time of crisis

Donald Trump has spent the bulk of his new presidency playing tough in the face of terrorism. Yet pretty much everything he’s proposed, beyond being bigoted in the extreme, shows just how terrified and weak he is – all while putting the country at greater risk.

This week, Trump spent much of his time claiming – falsely – that the media downplays terrorist attacks for “reasons” he did not explain. “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” he proclaimed at a military event on Tuesday. “And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.” The White House followed up with a list of 73 terror attacks over the past few years which they claimed were “under-covered”.

Related: The media under-reports threat of Islamic terrorism – to Muslims

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The Antisemitic Origin of the Myth that Obama is a ”Muslim Mole”

Loon Watch - 9 February, 2017 - 19:09

There are many similarities between antisemitism and Islamophobia: One is that political leaders of the world often have been accused of being secret “Jews” or “Muslims.” The intent is to smear them by using antisemitic or Islamophobic slurs. Words like “Muslim” or “Jew” to many are nasty words that imply that the person is an “unpatriotic traitor” or “terrorist.”

Modern and historical antisemitism and Islamophobia is often based on the myth that there is a global conspiracy to conquer the world: antisemitic myths about a global Jewish or Zionist conspiracy like the Protocols of the elders of Zion and Islamophobic theories of a Muslim takeover of the west such as the Eurabia myth. Different national leaders that are seen as a threat to the racists are either branded as “Jews” or “Muslims” or as quisling collaborators of each.

Of course, to all decent and sane human beings there is nothing wrong in being a Jew or a Muslim. A political leader that is a Jew or a Muslim is no different from leaders that are, for example, Christian or Atheists. The only thing that matters is what is in your mind and in your heart, not what religion or ethnicity you have.

But racists are not decent. For them calling someone Jew or Muslim has a specific purpose: to slander a person (and the group of people you hate).
One typical example of this is how the current president of the USA, Donald Trump, has attempted to use the word “Muslim” as a slander against former President Barack Obama;  implying that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

The myth behind this Islamophobic slander is that Obama was not born in the USA. He has a “false birth certificate.” He was born in Kenya as a Muslim, it is claimed. He was therefore never a legitimate president. To top it all off he was a part of the conspiracy to make the Muslims conquer the USA. Obama was a security risk since “all know that Islam and terrorism are connected.”

Obama was supposedly brought into this country as a little baby, a kind of Muslim baby-agent and was later raised with the intent to destroy the USA and the west, according to this myth.

“He doesn’t have a birth certificate. He may have one, but there’s something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim.”  ”I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that.” (Trump to Fox News 2011)

You can read more about this myth at Snopes or google it.

Trump did not invent this myth. He picked it up from the nether world of right-wing “fake-news” churners: Pamela GellerAlex Jones or Breitbart. His security adviser Steve Bannon has for a long time spread the myth that Obama is a radical Islamic “mole” via Breitbart and in other venues.

If you search Breitbart you can see that Breitbart claims that “Obama is a Muslim” that wants to “eliminate the USA” and that the job of Obama was to “promote Islam.”

Search on Breitbart and read it for yourself.

“Roosevelt the Jew”

So where does this myth originate? In this case it is not so hard to find the origin. Trump and Bannon use the slogan “America First.” That reveals the origin of this myth: the pro-Nazi movement of the 1930s and 1940s.

This Islamophobic myth has an antisemitic origin.

America First was an antisemitic movement that had the aim to prevent USA from entering the war against nazi Germany. The movement promoted the idea that the USA should cooperate with the Nazis. The movement used anti-Jewish propaganda extensively and slandered Franklin Delanore Roosevelt in many ways. For them FDR was a traitor that worked with the British and the Jews. Many went so far as to say that FDR was a Jew. In order to slander him, much in the same way Obama was in his tenure.

The myth is still widespread among modern antisemites on the internet. But it is old. It was already in use during the beginning of the 1930’s by friends of Henry Ford. In 1939, a German professor, Dr. Johann von Leers, published an analysis of the ancestors of president Roosevelt and came to the conclusion that he was a Jew. His mother was called Sarah Delano and was said to have Jewish ancestors back in the 1600’s, according to this myth the family stayed Jewish “in secret” from that point on.

One “evidence” of his Jewish origin that was presented was that FDR married a cousin. According to standard myths about Muslims and Jews they often marry their cousins; FDR was a victim of this myth.

Another “evidence” was that Roosevelt allowed European Jews that fled the Nazis move to the USA. FDR is trying to make the USA “Jewish” by letting the refugees enter the country, the antisemites claimed. In a similar way Breitbart today spreads the lie that Obama was a “Muslim mole” because he allowed Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the USA; he was trying to “Islamify/Muslimify the USA.”

FDR himself knew exactly what was going on.

“We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests.” (FDR about America First.)

Antisemitic hatred against other presidents

Other U.S presidents have been victims of antisemitic slanders, as well as anti-Catholic slanders.

  • President Wilson  was president when World War I ended. According to antisemites he was a Jew and a part of the global Jewish conspiracy to take over the west.  The antisemites viewed the League of Nations, that he was in favour of, as a “Jewish conspiracy” and have connected myths about the Federal Reserve to this conspiracy. According to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Wilson had a Jewish great grandfather that was born in Poland. Besides that the KKK claimed that the second wife of Wilson was Jewish and that her father took the name Bolling when entering the USA. The antisemites claimed that the birth certificates of the relatives of Wilson had been falsified.
  • Presidenten Eisenhower was a victim of similar slanders. According to the myths he was of Swedish-Jewish origin and it was claimed that his father was called David Jacob. His birth certificate was of course falsified too, according to the legend. (For modern examples, look at  this, this and an article about the “Swedish Jew Eisenhower” here.)
  • Harry Truman was president when Israel was created was slandered by the antisemites for that. They claimed that he was a Jewish mole. Similar rumors are spread even today about Lincoln and Kennedy. But in the case of Kennedy it is claimed that his wife was a Jew and somehow involved in the assassinationKennedy was a victim of slanders about a global Catholic conspiracy. While he was alive he was describes as a Catholic mole. After his assassination some mythmakers claimed that the Pope killed Kennedy.

The argument here is not that there would have been anything wrong if they had been Jews. There was certainly nothing wrong in the fact that Kennedy was Catholic. And if Obama had been a Muslim that would have been OK too. 

What frightens me is how words like “Jew, “Muslim” and even “Catholic” through the years has been used to slander American presidents. What scares me is how racists are blaming all the evils in the world on groups of people, like Jews or Muslims.

 

For evidence of the hatred against Obama in the “alt-right” movement, do these searches on Google.

Obama + Monkey

Obama + Hitler

Obama + Muslim

Tea Party + Obama + Nazi

Tea Party + Obama + Monkey

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