Anti-Muslim Bigot Robert Spencer Comes to the Defense of Genocidal Site “BareNakedIslam”

Extremist far right anti-Muslim, MEK-Terror linked, Terrorist Inspirer, and conservative Catholic apologist Robert Spencer‘s bigotry and hatred for Islam and Muslims is evident to most rational individuals. Just take a brief glance at our copious documentation of his words, statements and activities if you are unsure of what we mean. You can also see what others have said about Spencer.

Spencer is so stuck in his goofy 11th century Crusader mentality that he is once again defending open calls to genocide. I guess he didn’t learn anything from the Anders Breivik fiasco, you know, the “insane” terrorist who thought Robert Spencer deserved the “Noble Peace Prize.”

This time Spencer is going to bat for the loony-even-by-Geller-standards, BareNakedIslam website, which was briefly shut down by WordPress for violating its terms and conditions.

A few days ago, Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim reported on the unanimous cacophony of sadistic joy displayed by the owners and commenters on BareNakedIslam regarding repeated arson attacks on mosques in France,

An anti-Muslim site called Bare Naked Islam has posted an article celebrating this. The article is titled “WOO HOO! Yet ANOTHER anti-Muslim attack on a French mosque”.  Just in case they take it down, CAIR has saved the page here.  The headline of the article states Apparently, Hell hath no fury like a Frenchman scorned. It’s the third attack on a mosque just this month. Will the Muslims ever get a clue that they are not welcome in France?

Most of the comments below the Bare Naked Islam article are hateful.  Some examples:

The following six comments are from the same individual, Keith Mahone:

Musaji notes:

This last comment by Keith Mahone is the most extreme, and a particular concern since he says in his long rambling rant that he regularly drives past a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, and that the sight of that mosque causes him distress.

I waded through a few articles on the site and the comments, and found that this sort of rabid hatred of Muslims and encouragement of not only limiting the civil rights of American Muslims, and encouragement of not only limiting the civil rights of American Muslims, but also actually murdering them is common.

Read Sheila Musaji’s complete piece, it details even more examples of the rabid and visceral genocide-calling on BareNakedIslam.

Spencer has linked to BareNakedIslam for years now and they seem to have a mutual admiration for one another. Spencer does not take issue with BNI’s anti-Muslim genocidal rants nor does he condemn them, rather he resorts to conspiracy theory and forwards the argument that BNI is a victim of “Islamic supremacist” warfare.

Instead of apologizing for associating with BNI he rushes full hog into their corner, lauding them as an “anti-Jihad website.” He gives the meager caveat that “he doesn’t agree with everything they write,” and that “he doesn’t condone threats” but then he goes on to deflect, saying they were just a few “unhinged comments.”

No Spencer, they aren’t a few comments, they are a sample of the consistent violent anti-Muslim rhetoric pervasive in the Islamophobesphere, including your own blog (one example out of many):

Spencer oddly attempts to deflect by posting screen shots by commenters “Mosizzle” and “RefutingActs” from Spencerwatch.com which he interpreted as a threat; however even some of Spencer’s own followers considered this a ludicrous stretch.

It is really a pathetic attempt at “deflection” when anyone with half a brain knows that what is written on a daily basis on JihadWatch and BareNakedIslam cannot compare to our meticulous care in deleting hateful or bigoted remarks, and even allowing some virulent Islamophobes such as “halal pork” to post.

At the end of the day, Spencer is so far down the rabbit hole he probably doesn’t understand what he is doing. More likely however is that this is how he truly feels, he wishes to see the end of Islam and Muslims and he is willing to realize that goal by any means.

Pamela Geller Comes Out Against Kosher Laws

Pamela Geller Comes Out Against Kosher Laws

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Recently, my arch-nemesis Pamela Geller, who gives the fight against Islamist terrorism a bad name, denounced the good people who bring us Butterball turkeys for allowing their birds to be slaughtered according to Muslim custom. These halal birds, she said, are tortured in the name of Islam:

In a little-known strike against freedom, yet again, we are being forced into consuming meat slaughtered by means of a torturous method: Islamic slaughter.
Halal slaughter involves cutting the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular vein, and letting the blood drain out while saying “Bismillah allahu akbar” — in the name of Allah the greatest. Many people refuse to eat it on religious grounds. Many Christians, Hindus or Sikhs and Jews find it offensive to eat meat slaughtered according to Islamic ritual (although observant Jews are less likely to be exposed to such meat, because they eat kosher).

Well, Eric Kleefield picked-up on something unusual about Gellers’ description of halal slaughter (he tweeted about his discovery at @erickleefield): The method used to kill a bird according to halal requirements is also the method used to slaughter a bird according to the dictates of kashrut, or the kosher laws. Geller’s statement that “Jews are less likely to be exposed to such meat because they eat kosher” has to count as one of the most ridiculous things she has ever said. Jews who observe kashrut are eating birds whose tracheas have been cut. It’s as simple as that. Her desire to blame Islam for anything and everything she dislikes blinds her to the contradictions, fallacies and lies built into her arguments.

Unless, of course, Geller was actually making an indirect critique of kashrut. If Geller is suggesting that the kosher laws are inhumane (I know people who might beileve this is so) then she should come out and say it. If she wants to attack Judaism, then she should just do so in a direct manner.

Peter King’s Muslim Hysteria

Peter King’s Muslim Hysteria

By Wilfredo Amr Ruiz

Once again, New York Congressman Peter King has made his appearance before the Islamophobic Muslim Hysteria Circus. Reacting to Jose Pimentel’s arrest on alleged terrorism charges, King thoughtlessly stated that Muslim “converts are definitely a threat”. According to a recent Huffington Post report, King stated that converts who become radicalized are sometimes “the most dedicated, if you will” to carrying out violent attacks. These irresponsible and reckless statements are completely baseless and aimed to nurture xenophobia. His rhetoric bashes anything related to Islam with the outrageous goal of exploiting Muslims in America for personal political gain. In the past, King convened various Congressional hearings targeting a so-called radicalized Muslim community.

Radicalization and terrorism do not have a particular face, ethnicity or religion. As a matter of fact, the worst terrorist act perpetrated by American citizens on our soil were not committed by fanatic Muslims, but by people outside the Muslim community. Case in point is that of Timothy McVeigh and his bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building claiming nearly 200 hundred lives and 700 casualties.

The real issue that poses an imminent threat to our citizens is the proliferation of Islamophobia and intolerance. Stereotypic rhetoric has fueled radical extremists such as Anders Behring Breivik, who recently killed dozens of innocents in multiple terrorist acts. Again, it was not Muslim converts who inspired his public manifesto. Rather, he took his operational and inspirational guidance from American neo-fascists. The terrorist technique of utilizing fertilizers as explosives was clearly copied from McVeigh in Oklahoma; and his psychopathic motivation resembles that of the well-known Unabomber and anti-Islam groups such as the one led by Robert Spencer. Spencer is a well-known Islamophobe engaged in a relentless full-time campaign to disparage Islam and Muslims. He was cited on Breivik’s terrorist manifesto over 50 times.

Pimentel’s arrest is a sad story that presents challenges to all components of our society, Muslim or non-Muslim communities alike. Many are still trying to understand how an individual under NYPD surveillance for two years failed to catch the attention of federal law enforcement agencies and the most sophisticated counter-terrorism teams. In two years of surveillance, not a single person or institution, foreign or domestic, was involved in any way whatsoever with Pimentel’s dealings. The legal community anxiously awaits an explanation regarding the extent of NYPD police informant involvement in the planning and execution of the criminal acts. Meanwhile, police procedures evoke media attention the past two weeks, as NYPD is under fire regarding allegations of police brutality while dispersing Occupy Wall Street protesters. Additionally, the Department is undergoing another wave of vigorous disapproval from an appalled Muslim community that alleges victimization by racial, ethnic and religious profiling and spying in the past years by a coordinated scheme of the “NYPD Demographics Unit” together with the CIA.

Recently, the Associated Press exposed an operation in which NYPD spied on Muslim leaders who figure prominently in community outreach efforts, and infiltrated Muslim student groups not suspected of committing any crime. Meanwhile, we saw Mayor Bloomberg present a well-orchestrated press conference in which NYPD was lauded for foiling an imminent terrorist attack. Let us all be alert as to how this investigation proceeds and what findings are presented.

Peter King’s targeting of the Muslim community is wrong and should cease swiftly. His attitude damages not only the Muslim community but all minority communities. King must learn once and for all that terrorism and extremism come from right and left; conservatives and liberals; believers and non-believers; Jews, Christian and Muslims. Terrorism does not have a face and trying to strictly associate it with Islam is very dangerous. King’s statements that “converts are definitely a threat” constitute fickleness to the principle of Freedom of Religion on which the founding fathers established the American Nation. Peter King’s disregard for our rights is a clear act of treason and betrayal of the Constitution he swore to defend.

Follow Wilfredo Amr Ruiz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnalistaInter

The Stealth Halal Jihadist Turkey: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Muslim Trojan Horse

Guest Article by: Wajahat Ali

American Muslim communities celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional Turkey feast represents an encouraging sign of integration with American values and rituals.

But, of course, we Muslims fooled you.

Yet again.

You should have known that our baked, brined, and deep-fried masala turkeys were simply veiling our nefarious, anti-American plots to replace McDonald’s arches with minarets and convert the White House to the United Colors of Benetton House.

Pam Geller, our anti-Muslim Paul Revere

However, not all patriotic Americans were gullible and naïve! Nay, some America-holic crusaders, like bloggers Pam Geller and her fearless co-horts, called out our “stealth jihadist turkey plot!” Like modern-day Paul Reveres, they blogged, tweeted and mass mailed our ingenious plot “to submit unassuming Americans to Islam by feeding them halal Turkey” this holiday season. (Halal meat is slaughtered according to Islamic custom, similar to Jewish Kosher laws.)

Our nation’s Cassandra, Pam Geller – the preeminent anti-Muslim blogger and conspiracy theorist aficionado –  believes President Obama is a Muslim, illegitimate son of Malcolm X who once went to Pakistan for drugs and jihad. She also uncovered Arabic is not just a language, but actually a spearhead for anti-Americanism. Thanks to her, we discovered radical Islam has infiltrated our government, which is secretly being run by Islamic supremacists. She also accused Muslims of engaging in stealth cultural jihad by wearing their headscarves at Disneyland.

Truth be told, we’ve already converted Goofy. Donald Duck was always our Manchurian candidate. Mickey was the first to turn Benedict Arnold.  As for Porky Pig, he better watch out; we’re coming for him next…with our scimitars.

Damn you, Pamela Geller, your anti-Muslim, detective nose is too evolved and sophisticated in sniffing out our dastardly plots!

I guess the feathered, red wattled bird is out of the proverbial bag. There’s no reason to hide the secret any longer.

It’s true. The turkey is our new Trojan Horse.

After spending decades learning to cook and enjoy the famously-dry turkey, we Muslims decided to use the bird to launch our turkey jihad after successfully conquering it in our respective kitchens.  We’ve evolved from creeping sharia into states to creeping cholesterol and obesity into American diets. After taking over all the street meat vendors in New York, the Islamization of the turkey bird was inevitable.

Turkey: The Greatest Weapon of Mass Distraction

The Turkey is our greatest weapon of distraction. Even more so than hummus, biryani, shwarmas, kebobs, naans, and Lupe Fiasco.

The fatty bird’s high levels of tryptophan act like a paralyzing agent, causing intense drowsiness and lethargy when Americans overeat on Thanksgiving Day. The ensuing food coma paves the way for The Muslim Agenda to stealthily accomplish its ambitious goal of radically transforming America into a radical Caliphate guided by Sharia law.

Pam Geller, the 21st century’s Velma, uncovers The Great Halal Turkey Conspiracy:

Across this great country, on Thanksgiving tables nationwide, infidel Americans are unwittingly going to be serving halal turkeys to their families this Thursday. Turkeys that are halal certified… [this] is just the opposite of what Thanksgiving represents: freedom and inclusiveness, neither of which are allowed for under that same Islamic law.

Blast her foresight and remarkable sleuthing skills!

In this land of religious freedom, tolerance and pluralism, it is utterly unacceptable – downright un-American, I say – to allow a diversity of slaughtering options for mass consumers! And allowing Turkeys to be slaughtered according to a religious custom similar to Jewish Kosher laws? Shudder the thought!

Indeed, it is more patriotic to consume a steroid-pumped, undernourished, traumatized turkey hurled onto a mechanical conveyor belt – along with thousands of its gobbling brethren – awaiting its rapture under the guillotine of economic efficiency and other profit-maximizing instruments of death.

That, my friends, is truly the American way!

Muslims, we’re like the Green Bay Packers

But, even American superheroes like Pamela Geller can’t stop our momentum. Muslims are like the current Green Bay Packers of fifth-column, culinary stealth jihadists– we’re on a hot streak!

First, we infiltrated America by creating a hot, Lebanese American beauty pageant named Rima Fakih who won Miss USA and stole the tiara from the infidels. Then, we installed a biracial man with Kenyan roots in the Oval Office, who happens to be a practicing Christian that celebrates Easter, accepts Christ as his savior, and has yet to step foot in a mosque during his three years as President. Moreover, he drinks alcohol and publicly eats bacon. Indeed, the hallmark traits of a Muslim President.

Most recently, we have invaded mainstream American television sets with our very own reality TV show, TLC’s All American Muslim. Move over Kim, Paris and Snookie, Arab-American Muslim Shadia is creeping to take over your botox and photoshopped US Weekly covers. According to Pamela Geller’s Justice League of Islamophobes, TLC’s real intention in creating the show is to force “submission to Islam through the hijab.” (Our clandestine plots foiled yet again!)

Halal Turkey Victory: The Icing on the Cake

But this latest victory is the icing on the cake, or I should say, the honey on the kanafeh. Ha!

Who was our mighty warrior leading us to victory, you ask? Our Alexander? Our Achilles? Our Obama? Our Aaron Rogers? The Trojan horse of our stealth victory was none other than the Thanksgiving turkey.

In fact, we’ve been so successful at integrating, we’ve inspired the mega corporation Butterball to become our preeminent stealth jihadist and unleash stealth halal turkeys on unsuspecting Americans and citizens abroad.

After all, what’s more anti-American than introducing a uniquely American bird, Turkey, to new global consumer markets thereby promoting American products, advertising brand names, and stimulating the national economy? That’s downright Communistic!

But, even this is too much for Geller, who is asking for Butterball to be held accountable for allegedly serving Americans unlabeled halal meat. She has created the “Boycott Butterball Turkey” Facebook page.

Even fellow American Muslims are upset! All this time they could’ve purchased turkey at affordable prices from their local supermarkets instead of shelling out extra money for halal-certified birds from their community butchers! How come no one told the rest of them about Butterball’s ingenious stealth halal turkey jihadist plan?

(We have to keep them in the dark. We can’t afford to activate all of our of culinary stealth jihadists at once. Most of them have to live as if they are actually moderate, peaceful, loyal, normal Americans going about their day to day lives dealing with real problems and concerns that are shared by their neighbors, friends and co-workers. Lateral thinking.)

The Muslim Agenda Fortune Cookie

If you’re lucky, you’ll find The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca (or, “The Muslim Agenda”) stuffed in your Butterball turkey this holiday season. It outlines the plans for our next American cultural takeovers.  If you look closely, deep inside your Butterball turkeys, there will be leaked cell phone photos of a circumcised Easter Bunny praying towards Mecca right before he hands out Kosher eggs and crescent-shaped chocolates to kids from his Easter basket, which we imported from China.

Apparently he’s also developed an insatiable sexual urge for white female rabbits and has started his own “Hare’s Harem.” Rumor has it he’s been fasting during Ramadan and partying like it was Mardi Gras during Lent.

And, wait until you see what we have in store for Christmas! Red-nosed camels and a Santa Claus named Abu Qhlaws: a hairy, overweight Moroccan man with a bushy beard giving chicken tagine to school kids in the malls.

There’s a rumor that American Muslim families will be giving snickers and tandoori chicken pieces for Halloween. Trick or Treat?

We’ve successfully brainwashed the Tooth Fairy as well. She now wears a burqa and was forced to marry Imam Rumpelstiltskin (Come on, that wasn’t a shocker, right?).  Instead of replacing children’s teeth with coins, she now places small Qurans published in Saudi Arabia under their bedroom pillows. She also sprinkles fairy dust on the children, consisting of turmeric and zaatar.

The battle of the absurd, paranoid, and demented is thankfully yearlong and not contained to seasonal limitations. This Thanksgiving, however, please do enjoy your Turkey, whether it be kosher, halal, vegan, vegetarian, American or even foreign.

To appease Pamela Geller and company, just please make sure your dead, cooked bird is tasty, America-holic and not a radical, stealth agent of jihad.  Just to be safe, stab the bird a few times Pulp Fiction-style with the baster. Because, after all, you can never really know and you can never really be too sure.

Wajahat Ali is a playwright, attorney, journalist and humorist.  He blogs at Goatmilk and is the author of the award-winning Domestic Crusaders.  He will be basting his halal turkey in America-holic juices this Thanksgiving.

Is your Thanksgiving Turkey a Muslim? Anti-Islam Blogger Warns of ‘Stealth Halal Turkeys’

How well do you know your turkey?
How well do you know your turkey?

Is your Thanksgiving turkey a Muslim? Anti-Islam blogger warns of ‘stealth halal turkeys’

by 

Anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller is warning Americans to be on the lookout for “stealth halal turkeys” this Thanksgiving.

It may be dead – and poultry – but that won’t stop your Thanksgiving turkey playing its part in jihad.

At least, that’s what rightwing blogger and anti-Islam paranoiac Pamela Geller thinks.

Geller decided to incite some festive hate with this post on Monday, in which she repeats her accusations that the US meat industry does not separate halal from non-halal meat, and accuses popular turkey supplier Butterball of sneaking birds prepared according to Muslim requirements onto non-Muslim tables.

Geller claims halal slaughter methods are “torturous and painful” for the turkeys, and an assault on everyone else’s freedom to have them killed in whichever way they choose:

“Across this great country, on Thanksgiving tables nationwide, infidel Americans are unwittingly going to be serving halal turkeys to their families this Thursday. Turkeys that are halal certified — who wants that, especially on a day on which we are giving thanks to G-d [sic] for our freedom? I wouldn’t knowingly buy a halal turkey — would you? Halal turkey, slaughtered according to the rules of Islamic law, is just the opposite of what Thanksgiving represents: freedom and inclusiveness, neither of which are allowed for under that same Islamic law.”

Geller is calling on those who agree with her to boycott Butterball’s “stealth halal turkeys” and write to the company to register their disapproval.

Those who don’t have been responding to Geller’s arguments in the comments section of her website.

Her readers’ ripostes range from the factual – ‘Gothelittle’ points out the similarity of halal slaughter methods to kosher ones, and the arguable benefits of both compared to non-religious mass meat production – to the pragmatic, courtesy of ‘JonathanMurray’:

“If someone was actually concerned about this silliness, they’d need to know *before* it was time to start thawing that frozen bird. Four days in the fridge… today is three days before Thanksgiving. Dumb.”

Meanwhile, Adam Serwer of Mother Jones points out that if all Butterball turkeys are indeed certified halal, it’s presumably because meat sellers are responding to market demand:

You might even be tempted to observe that Muslim Americans marking a secular, American holiday celebrating pluralism and freedom from religious persecution might be a sign of the extent to which American Muslims have assimilated into American culture. What you didn’t know was that when markets respond to the demands of Muslim consumers, freedom dies.

And Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim expresses her surprise that halal turkeys are apparently so freely available, having struggled to find them in previous years – and invites Geller to come and share a kosher turkey with her and her family this Thanksgiving.

Those halal turkeys must be stealthier than even Geller could imagine.

Exclusive Loonwatch Interview with Reza Aslan

Exclusive Loonwatch Interview with Reza Aslan

Recently we sat down with Muslim scholar and best selling author Reza Aslan for an in-depth interview on a wide range of issues. This is the first in what will hopefully be a longstanding series of interviews that are planned with high profile scholars and movers and shakers in pop culture.

We covered Reza’s days as a break dancer, conversion to Christianity and return to Islam, his thoughts on Islamophobia, Robert Spencer, the Arab Spring, reformation of Islam and the current saber-rattling with Iran.

It was a fascinating and hilarious interview and I think you will find we covered new ground, such as the breaking news that Reza is willing to finally reciprocate Robert Spencer’s man crush!

Loonwatch (LW): I heard you used to break dance?

Reza Aslan (RA): Yes, (laughter) I used to be a break dancer. My name used to be El Penguin, because I was so bow legged.

LW: Did you ever graduate to doing head spins and flares?

RA: I could do a really poor head spin but it was definitely not my forte with my footwork. I was in a (laugh) break dance troupe called Etron, which was Norte spelled backwards because we were on the north side of Fresno.

LW: Do you still break once in a while?

RA: Hell no. If I tried to break dance today I would definitely break something. Oh, I could still pop-block with the best of them but break dancing, no.

LW: We heard in the course of one of your interviews that you converted to Evangelical Christianity at one point in your life?

RA: Yes, when I was 15 years old…

LW: Were you practicing taqiyyah?

RA: Yes. (laughter) My entire life is just one big practice of taqiyyah. Like everything I do as a human being.

Actually, it was part of this group called Young Life, pretty famous nation-wide group. They go into High Schools and Junior High Schools and they evangelize. I went to this summer camp where you hear the Gospel message, and yeah when I was 15 years old, a sophomore, and so it was before my sophomore year of HS. Yeah, I found Jesus, he was awesome.

LW: How was that, what was that experience like when you were an Evangelical?

RA: It’s magical! The thing about Evangelical Christianity and why I think it is so appealing, particularly to young people is that I mean it is just such a brilliant and profoundly moving story. There is a reason why it is called the greatest story ever told, right? That God had this physical son, like His little baby boy you know that came down to earth and because you yourself are such an awful human being, because of all the terrible things you do, God decided to have His son tortured and murdered in order to save you from yourself and that if you don’t accept that story, not only are you spitting in God’s face but oh yeah you are also going to burn in hell for all eternity.

It’s an amazing story, that’s why it is so appealing. Now the important thing to understand is that is what it precisely is, a story. I am not by any means discounting it or criticizing it. All religion is story, all mythology is story but that is a particularly good one, and it’s a story, I think particularly for young people looking for easy answers to complicated questions can flock to, and the last 2000 years are testimony to that.

LW: That is quite profound. I was wondering, going from that to becoming an Islamic scholar and someone who regularly speaks on Islam, how did you return to Islam? Was it a going back to your roots?

RA: Well, after High School, like most people who are introduced to Evangelical Christianity when they’re kids then go to college you realize, “oh wow, a lot of the stuff that I was told by my youth leaders and my pastors was kind of nonsense actually” and so you begin to question those issues, question those ideas.

I went to a Catholic College, a Jesuit Catholic College and began studying the Bible and particularly the New Testament from a scholarly perspective and the more I kept studying the more I realized almost everything I was told about the Bible and about the New Testament and frankly about the Gospel story was false. More importantly the truth behind the Gospel story, the truth behind who Jesus was and what Jesus really said was far more interesting, far more profound and frankly far more appealing than the false notions of it that I was fed as a kid. So throughout my early years in college I decided to get a degree in Biblical Studies. I became fluent in Greek and became a young scholar about the origins of Christianity and the historical Jesus and then when I graduated I was heading off to Harvard to get a Masters degree in that topic when one of my undergraduate professors, one of my mentors, Katherine Bell sat me down and basically said, “Why aren’t you studying Islam?” and I said “what do you mean?”

She basically said something at the time that really changed my life, which was by the time I get my PhD in Bibilical Studies no one is going to care about Biblical Studies anymore, everyone is going to want to have scholars and experts on Islam. You know, this was in 1995 when she said this, she obviously was quite prescient in what she was talking about. She gave me a couple of books and obviously my family was nominally Muslim, well not really, culturally Muslim, just as most Christians are culturally Christian and I had grown up surrounded by Muslim culture, so I was somewhat familiar with it, but of course like most people of a particular religion I really knew nothing about the religion that I “called my own.”

I spent the summer before I went off to Harvard just reading some books about Islam, reading the Quran really for the first time as an adult and the more I started reading about it, the history, the theology, the Quranic studies, the more I was just kind of excited about it. I always talk about how I had an emotional conversion to Christianity but a rational conversion to Islam. Reading about the way Islam talks about the divine and the relationship between human beings and God and conceptions of the universe and ideas of the transcendent, these made a hell of a lot more sense to me cosmologically speaking than some old man in the sky impregnated a virgin and His son came out and died for us.

It’s just that the symbols of Islam suddenly broke through and made sense to me in a way that traditional Protestant Christianity never really did, and then when I entered Harvard the first day of class I had to get all new classes and change my advisers and tell everyone, “by the way I am not here to do what I told everyone I was going to do, instead I am going to study Islam.”

LW: Wow, fascinating, you don’t hear today, discussion about Islam and rationality often…

RA: There is no more rational religion than Islam. Islam is founded upon reason and rationality, very much like Judaism. You have to understand that Islam and Judaism are legalistic religions, Christianity is a creedal religion. Christianity is all about belief, right? In fact, if you are a Catholic that creedal formulation is a complex formula, “I believe in God the Father maker of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus His only begotten son, I believe in the Holy Spirit, I believe in the Holy Apostolic Church, etc. etc.”

In Judaism and Islam there is no creedal statement as such. In Islam the creedal statement is as simplistic as it possibly can get. “There is no god but God, Muhammad is God’s messenger,” that’s the sum in total of creed when it comes to Islam, as a result both Islam and Judaism developed as highly legalistic religions. In legalistic religions the people who usually control the interpretation are scholars. In a creedal religion the people who control interpretation are preachers, priests and pastors, you see what I mean?

In other words, and by no means am I saying priests aren’t intelligent, of course they are, and often times they go through enormous amounts of religious training, but their job is to shepherd a flock, not to deal with the very high rational concepts of legal theory that is born from a religion founded on orthopraxy, correct practice instead of orthodoxy, correct belief.

It’s just another wide spread misperception in the United States about Islam, that Islam is a religion that cannot reconcile reason and faith.

The only real global religion which has dealt with that problem really is Christianity. I mean if you are talking about Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine and all the way to Paul Tillick and Reinhold Niebuhr, these are the great Christian theologians that for thousands of years have been struggling to reconcile faith and reason. That hasn’t really been that strong of an argument in Judaism and Islam, the argument has been about the different “rational answers” that are possible to the various questions, theological questions that Islam and Judaism bring up, but the question is not should reason even play a role.

LW: It seemed the Pope didn’t help that case with the Regensburg Address. What was he after with that? When Pope Benedict made that speech, he used Islam as a counter example to Christian rationality.

RA: Yeah, that’s the thing. Of course the Pope was advancing an old Papal argument against Islam that goes back to the Crusades, but again what the Pope is talking about is it took Christianity 1600-1700 years to reconcile  reason and faith and so therefore Islam needs to do the same, without recognizing that during those 1700 years in which reason and faith were divorced in Christianity, they were married very well in both Islam and Judaism.

LW: This might be a good time to segway to the Anti-Muslim Catholic polemicist Robert Spencer, one of the premiere Islamophobes today. He is funded by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which in turn is funded by right-wing foundations, you’ve probably read about this in the Fear Inc. report already. We’ve been tracking him and what he says about you…

RA: Oh yeah he is in love with me.

LW: (laugh)He calls you all sorts of names, calling you a “metrosexual,” “boy Reza Aslan,” “Bright Young Muslim Thing,” “little boy Reza,” “pathetic little Islamic Supremacist Reza,” “pseudo-Moderate,” etc. What is behind all this name calling, he seems to have a crush on you?

RA: I do think he has a crush on me. As a lot of people know, this guy is someone who poses as some sort of pseudo-scholar because he has a one year Masters degree from a school in North Carolina and because of that a lot of people let him get away with the asinine things that he says. I think I was probably the first person to utterly embarrass and shame him on national television and since that time he has taken all the internal feelings of inadequacies that I am sure he has, poured it all out on me and I am perfectly happy with that. The fact of the matter is that if Robert Spencer thinks you are wrong then you got to be right.

I am pleased as punch, every word that Robert Spencer writes about me puts a gigantic smile on my face. You know he used to actually email me his columns as though I actually care, you know, to read the drivel that he writes. We reply to him just making fun of him.

In fact, I’m going to say right now, and you can publish this, I’m kind of in love with Robert Spencer.

(laughs)

There’s something about that giant beer gut and the furry face, there’s this kind of walrus quality to him, that, I don’t know how to say this, that just turns me on, and I think I am pretty sure, that he feels the same about me.

LW: He definitely has a man crush on you.

RA: He definitely has a man crush on me and I guess what I am trying to say is that for the first time I am ready to publicly admit those feelings are reciprocated.

LW: (laughs)This is breaking news.

RA: And I know Robert Spencer reads Loonwatch and I just want him to know: “Robert, I think we may have something here. Robert I think there is a possibility for the two of us to have a future together, this could really be a beautiful love story.” And, if he is willing to finally admit to his true feelings for me, I am in the position now where I can reciprocate those feelings.

LW: Amazing, maybe he will finally admit what he has been feeling all this time.

RA: I think he is ready to admit it. But only if his mom lets him…and by his mom I mean Pamela Geller…

(laughs)

LW: Who in this relationship, between him and Geller, who holds more sway?

RA: Are you kidding me! I’m surprised that in pictures of the two of them that she is not holding a leash.

(laughs)

LW: He is enthralled by her, always defending her loony comments, such as her advocating the nuking of Tehran, Mekka and Medina.

RA: Of course Pamela Geller is known  most for her rationality.

(laughs)

It’s not a surprise to hear those comments. No look…

LW: How does she get away with it?

RA: What do you mean!? This is how the world works, the more insane you are the more attention you get, exhibit A: Herman Cain…this is how it works, but in all honesty I do just want to say I make fun of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer because they are clowns and you are supposed to laugh at clowns.

This idea that these are people who deserve engagement (laughs)…Spencer’s fans email me all the time and say “you’re afraid to debate Robert Spencer.” No, I don’t debate Robert Spencer for the same reason I don’t debate a four year old child because this is not about a conversation. You cannot have a rational conversation with a clown and the fact of the matter is that the reason Robert Spencer is constantly begging people like myself to debate him is because he knows that appearing on the same platform legitimizes his view.

You are not going to have a debate about the African American experience in the United States with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (laughs), that person does not belong in that debate. To have him there by definition legitimates his position.

So Spencer, Geller, Emerson, these guys belong in the gutter where they are. That’s where they are, that’s where they belong. They get a lot of attention because Fox News keeps inviting them and good for them. Fox News has become the go to Islamophobic network for these kinds of guys, and that’s great, and they are going to keep preaching to the same choir that watches Fox. Good for them but the notion that these guys somehow belong in the mainstream, that they belong  on a dais debating socio-religious matters with an actual scholar is absurd.

LW: As you know we have been trying to debate Spencer, and as you say he tries to get you guys so he can legitimate his views. However, he has been avoiding our entreaties to debate, why do you think that is.

RA: I’ll tell you why because you’ll make fun of him. You know, I call this the Colbert Principle. People always ask me how do I respond to these anti-Muslim clowns like Geller and Spencer and my answer is I don’t respond to them, I make fun of them. It’s the Colbert Principle, if you respond to the inanities that come out of Robert Spencer’s mouth by definition you are saying that it’s worth a response and it’s not, what it is, is worth making fun of, and in this case I would really like to thank Geller and Spencer for being so easy to make fun of. It’s really effortless.

Robert Spencer and Julius Streicher

LW:   Recently we posted a piece comparing quotes Spencer has made about Islam and Muslims to those by a precursor to the Nazi era, Julius Streicher’s quotes about Jews and Judaism. It’s interesting because if you just change “Jew” to “Muslim” or “Judaism” to “Islam” they are identical. Yet Spencer in one of his posting calls you the modern day “Fritz Kuhn,”  the leader of the American Nazi party. Would you consider this unintended projection on his part?

RA: One thing we shouldn’t forget about these guys is that they have been accused by organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish organizations of being anti-Semitic. It’s not only that they hate Muslims, they like to pretend that they are supporters of Israel, etc. but the statements they have made about Jewish politicians, look at what they have said about Elena Kagan.

Alicia Rosenberg, the Atlantic writer who just wrote a piece on All American Muslim was called a dhimmi Jew by Pamela Geller, I mean these guys are anti-Semites. Again that’s not me, that’s the Southern Poverty Law Center calling them anti-Semites, that’s the anti-Defamation League calling them anti-Semites. I think their words speak for themselves.

LW: I don’t want to spend too much time on Spencer but one thing I did want to bring up is Spencer’s frequent attempts to link you to the “Mullahs” of Iran. He casts aspersions on really what seems to be a great organization that you are a board member of named, NIAC, National Iranian American Council.

RA: It’s a council actually that is trying to keep Iran and the United States from engaging in a global war, so of course they are obviously agents of the Iranian Republic. You know, come on, don’t we all know this.

Yes, I am also ready to admit that my parents brought me here at 7 years old as a sleeper agent and I am going to be activated any moment now, my code word is Cello Kabob, if I hear Cello Kabob then I am immediately activated and then my training as an agent for the Islamic Republic kicks in, so be careful.

LW: (laughs) He links to this group called the Pro-democracy Movement of Iran, I don’t know if you have ever heard of this group, PDMI, we went to their website and it’s a ridiculous website. It has articles on there supporting the Mujahideen-e Khalq.

RA: Exactly, which is all you need to  know. These “pro democracy sites” are run by neo-conservatives, by people with a very clear agenda, the same agenda that they had for Iraq, so the very fact that they support a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of a number of American citizens as well as Iranian citizens, Iranian non-combatants. An organization that has repeatedly been cited for torturing its own members, for brainwashing its own members, for taking children and turning them into armed militants, but the idea that these pro-democracy movements in the United States are supporting the MEK is really the only thing you need to know about these organizations.

LW: All of this exposes a deep hypocrisy when they are badgering Muslim organizations on the flimsiest of guilt by association smears. Regularly calling Muslim Advocates, CAIR, ISNA “Hamas-linked,” this is their favorite trope.

RA: But again this is what I’ve been trying to say, this is just an indication of why these groups do not deserve a response because when they say NIAC is a Hezbollah supporting group, you can’t respond to idiocy, you can’t respond to those kinds of moronic statements, because again that sort of bigotry does not reside in the mind, that bigotry resides somewhere more visceral. It’s much more, it’s something that exists in the gut, in the chest and that kind of feeling can not be deflected by logic, by reason. It’s immune to reason.

LW: Staying on the topic of Iran, there has been a lot of discussion about Iran in the media. Of course not too long ago we had the case of the alleged car dealer mastermind terrorist. One day it was news and the next day it wasn’t, you said about it, “It’s sloppy. It’s uncharacteristic,” … “It really does not serve Iran’s interest in any legitimate way.”

Do you think all this activity regarding Iran is just a preliminary way to pave the way for war with Iran, much in the same way as was done with Iraq?

RA: No. We are not going to war with Iran. Nobody is going to war with Iran, neither the United States or Israel. I can tell you for a fact that Israel is not going to war with Iran because Israel keeps talking about it. If anybody who has studied Israeli politics at all can tell you anything is if Israel talks about bombing Iran then that means it has no intentions of doing it. When the Israelis want you dead you just die, OK.

No one sends an invitation first, no one issues a press release and this is exactly what is going on and I love it, it’s like the media is a monkey that sees something shiny in the corner. There was this great piece that I circulated not too long ago in which it was just a collection of headlines from major newspapers and magazines: the Atlantic, Harpers, New York Times, Los Angeles Times.

A collection of headlines describing imminent war, the imminent bombing of Iranian nuclear sites by Israel and or the United States, the collection was from the last fifteen years, so again, all we have to remember is the cover of Atlantic last month, Jeffrey Goldberg’s article that Israel is six months from bombing Iran. This is every few months, people start to raise this specter that Israel is going to bomb Iran. Israel, America these aren’t stupid countries. They know better than you and I the repercussions of such a conflict. I can show you half a dozen quotes from Ehud Barak himself, the defense minister of Israel stating in no uncertain terms the idiocy of such a campaign. So the idea that he has all of a sudden changed his mind and is planning to bomb Iran is ridiculous, I think this is just what Israel does every few months to ratchet up the pressure on the United States to be more aggressive and robust in trying to counter Iran’s nuclear program.

LW: Well  that really puts it in perspective. So you think it is only saber rattling and positioning within the region.

RA: That’s all it is and that’s all it’s ever been for the last 20 years.

LW: Interesting. OK, to pick your theological brain for a second, Joel Rosenberg wrote this article for Fox News about why Iran’s leaders believe the end of days has come, and this is a regular idea thrown out there by Islamophobes; that we have to fear a dangerous off shoot of Shia’ Eschatology. Is there any truth to this idea?

RA: No. It’s as true as George Bush thinking that Jesus made him president so to bring about the Messiah’s return, people were saying that as well. It doesn’t mean that George Bush didn’t believe that Jesus made him president, it’s not that George Bush didn’t believe the Messiah would return some day, but the notion that, that belief predicated his foreign policy is nuts and the same thing with Iran.

Mahdi

It’s just part of this fear-mongering that has been going on for a very long time and again predicated on this idea that Iran is this irrational actor, that if they manage to get a nuclear weapon, the first thing they would do is commit suicide with it. Of course, don’t you know it! That’s all they want, so that all 75 million Iranians could be nuked off the face of the earth as soon as possible.

Again, the stupidity of that statement speaks for itself. Iran is an oppressive, autocratic, blood-thirsty government that tortures and murders its own citizens, that supports terror organizations around the world because it feels as though it benefits from doing so, but it is not stupid. What your readers should understand more than anything else about the Iranian government is that they care more about their own survival than they care about anything else. So again, these kinds of statements are not the kind made by foreign policy experts, these are not statements by experts in the region, these are statements by the amateurs who read an article one day about the fact that the Shia believe in a Messiah and then continued to regurgitate the same nonsense over and over again and in any case it doesn’t matter because these people have no effect whatsoever on what our government does.

It’s not as though the state department is sitting around wondering what Frank Gaffney thinks about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

LW: One of the topics that you hit upon in your work in No God but God and in speeches and lectures is that Islam is in a reformation period. Seeing the events in the Arab Spring, and the changes sweeping the region how do you see that idea of reform playing a part in these protests, if any?

RA: The reformation of Islam is not something that is new or unique, it has been going on for over one hundred years, and again you have to remember reformation is an actual, technical term. It doesn’t mean reform, what it means is the inevitable conflict that arises in all religious institutions over who has the right to define faith, is it the individuals, or is it the institution itself.

That conflict is ever present, it exists in all religious traditions, but in times of societal stress, in times of social ruptures that conflict jumps to the surface as it did with Temple Judaism in first century Palestine that ultimately resulted in the destruction of the Temple and the construction of Rabbinic Judaism. As it did in the fifteenth and sixteenth century in Europe, in which the conflicts over the Pope’s authority to define Christianity ultimately fractured Christianity into competing sects and schisms based on sola scriptura; that individuals should define what scripture means for themselves, not have the Pope tell them what it means, and it’s been going on in Islam since really the end of the 19th century as a result of the colonial experience in the Middle East and the rapid rise of literacy and education.

So this idea that the Islamic reformation being something new or unique is really borne out of a misunderstanding of what that even means, and so the relationship to what is happening with the so called Arab Spring and the phenomenon that I am talking about and writing about is very clear.

These are kids, these are young people who because of their education, because of their literacy, because of their access to new ideas, new sources of information are no longer interested in the answers given to them about religion and society, whether its by religious institutions, the clerics, the Mullahs or even political organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood or the National Islamic Front.

Nor are they interested in their governmental institutions at all. What you saw on the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Syria is not an Islamic Awakening by any means, these people are not calling for Islam, on the contrary the traditional Islamic authorities have been totally left behind by these protests, they didn’t have anything to do in starting them, they didn’t have anything do in perpetuating them and they have nothing to do with defining them so this generation of young people is the inevitable result of a century long process whereby individuals in the Muslim world have begun to decide for themselves without the mediation of any institutional authority, whether religious or governmental, what it means to be Muslim in the modern world, what the answers to Islam are as a result of the rapid changes that are taking place in their society.  I’ve been saying it’s going to happen for over a decade and so those people who were saying the Arab Spring came as a surprise or it wasn’t going to happen weren’t paying attention.

LW: You wrote in Tablet and Pen “The United States has displaced the old colonial powers to become, for better or worse, a dominant and unavoidable presence in the lives of the people of the Middle East. The consequences of American involvement in the region will be felt for many years to come.” How do you think America and our government in particular has reacted to this, do they know what they are doing over there?

RA: No, of course not. The American public? Of course not. I think the American public recognizes that we have had a fairly destructive presence and influence in the Middle East and in the pursuit of our national security and economic interests we’ve made a lot of enemies in that region. So i think most young people know that now, it’s kind of part of the national narrative, whether those young people know how embroiled we still are in the region, and how we still are making disastrous choices not just for the peace and stability of the Middle East, but when it comes to our own safety and security I think for the most part young people are more interested in Snookie’s panties than they are in what is going on in Yemen or Syria.

(laughs)

LW: You debated one of the New Atheists, Sam Harris. Is Sam Harris a smart guy? What were your thoughts about him?

RA: There is no doubt Sam Harris is a smart guy, he has a PhD in neuro-science. You can be a smart guy and be ignorant about particular topics and issues. The problem with Sam Harris is that he tends to write about the things he is ignorant about, (laughs) I think Sam Harris should stick to writing about neuro-science, I think his last book was great. When Sam Harris writes about neuro-science, in other words his expertise, I think it’s great, I love reading his work. When he talks about religion, a topic he knows nothing about, that he’s never studied as an academic discipline, that he’s done no field research in whatsoever, and in which he frankly is unqualified to opine about, that’s the problem. I don’t write about nero-Science because I’m not a neuro-scientist.

LW: On a random note you compared Osama Bin Laden to Freddie Mercury, (laughs) can you expand on that?

RA: Yes, I did, the point I was making was that what made Bin Laden attractive to young people was his personal charisma not his intellectualism or writings on Islam. Again Bin Laden was an engineer. He cannot talk intelligently about Islamic Law, or Philosophy and for the most part he doesn’t do that, what he has, and everyone knows this, even his biggest enemies know this about him, he had this intense magnetic appeal, this charisma that drew people to him.

People like Peter Bergen and Fawaz Gerges, who have met Bin Laden, who have spoken to his followers, who have spoken to people who were on their way to commit suicide on his behalf but were caught, what they find is the same thing, that Sheikh Bin Laden is this mystical being. People talk about dreams in which Sheikh Bin Laden comes to them and tells them to pick up a gun and join the fight, it’s that intense mystical quality that has transformed Bin Laden even after his death into a pop culture phenomenon like Freddie Mercury or the other person I compared him to was Che Guevara. Like Freddi Mercury or Che Guevara who have entered the pop culture zeitgeist in a way that goes beyond their particular talents or their particular ideas.

LW: There is a quote In your book No God but God, you wrote that in 2005…

RA: That’s when it was published…

LW: I found this quote in which you write:
“Simply put, Islam in the United States has become otherized. It has become a receptacle into which can be tossed all the angst and apprehension people feel about the faltering economy, about the new and unfamiliar political order, about the shifting cultural, racial, and religious landscapes that have fundamentally altered the world. Across Europe and North America, whatever is fearful, whatever is foreign, whatever is alien and unsafe is being tagged with the label ‘Islam.’”


RA: That is from the new introduction from the updated version that just was released in 2011…

LW: This is of course still the case today. Are you encouraged that Muslims are breaking through this concept of being “otherized” or their religion being “otherized”?

RA: This is not the first time in America’s history that a religious minority has been otherized and told they are the internal enemy, that they are not American. Every single word that is being said about Muslims today by these radical anti-Muslim zealots was said by anti-Semites in the 1920′s and 30′s about Judaism, by anti-Catholic activists in the 19th century by the Know Nothings and preachers like Lyman Beecher. This is not a new thing, this is what we do in this country, we so often define ourselves, what it means to be American which is of course a malleable and slippery identity by defining ourselves in opposition to somebody else whether: Catholics, Jews, Japanese or Germans and now it is just Muslims.

There should be no question in anyones mind, anyone who has bothered to study  for even a few minutes should know that in a generation from now we are going to look on the anti-Muslim zealots of today, these clowns like Pamlea Geller, Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney and Steven Emerson with the same exact shame, disdain, mockery and derision that we look back at the anti-Jewish and anti-Catholicism of our past. That’s guaranteed. These guys have always been there, they have always been around, they have always been on the fringes and on the margins and you know in a generation from now when Muslims become as much a part of the American religious fabric, as much as Jews and Catholics have become, I am sure these guys will show up again and start picking on some other religious or cultural minority. This is an issue that they have themselves. They have a psychic problem, bigotry is a psychic problem and it’s part of the human condition, and you know lets not kid ourselves, it’s always going to be around, it’s just that it’s target is going to change.

LW: I think this is good place to wrap up, we have a lot to unpack here. Thank you for your time!

RA: Awesome. Thank you, it’s been my pleasure.

Robert Spencer Loses His Mind Over Muslim Reality Show, Asks Why “All-American Muslim” Doesn’t Include Terrorist Family

Before I begin, I must disclose my general disdain for reality television.  I think this phenomenon is part of a generalized “dumbing down” of America.  I’ll even go so far as to say that I lose a bit of respect for those who watch Jersey ShoreKeeping Up With the Kardashians, etc.

But, when I heard about TLC’s All-American Muslim, I was naturally intrigued.  It was a clear violation of the rule that Muslims can only be portrayed in American media as terrorist villains or, occasionally, as the token Muslim helping “the good guys” against the Evil Muslim Terrorists.  The idea of depicting what real Muslims are like–instead of the caricature in the media–is something I support.

Indeed, there is probably nothing more important in the battle against Islamophobia than humanizing Muslims and making them relatable, which this television show just might do (or at least help in doing so).  Katie Couric argued that a “Muslim Cosby Show” would be a great idea: just as it helped many white Americans see that black Americans weren’t all that different from them, so too could a show about American Muslim families help other Americans realize that they aren’t all that different from each other.

JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer and other Islamophobes absolutely hate that idea.  That’s why Spencer grumbled that “[t]he point of the show is to depict Muslims as ordinary folks just like you and me who are subjected to unjust suspicion.”

How DARE the show depict Muslims as ordinary folks!  Doesn’t TLC know that Muslims are not ordinary at all, that they eat infidel babies for breakfast, shoot jihad laser beams from their eyes, and fart 100% pure radioactive Sharia?

Spencer bellowed:

TLC’s much-ballyhooed All-American Muslim reality show makes its agenda clear in its opening sequences: shots of a hijabbed girl roller-skating, Muslims dancing at a wedding, an American flag waving proudly in the breeze, and newspaper clippings proclaiming “4 in 10 Americans ‘suspicious’ of Muslims,” “Outrage at Ground Zero ‘Mosque,’” and “Muslims Brace for Backlash.” The point of the show is to depict Muslims as ordinary folks just like you and me who are subjected to unjust suspicion.

And so we meet one zaftig girl who loves to have fun and go to clubs, and who is in the process of getting married. Another young woman, provocatively dressed by Muslim standards, is trying to open up a club of her own. A young hijab-wearing wife shares the joy of her pregnancy with her loving husband. They’re balancing the demands of faith and family with life’s daily pressures, just like most Americans. So why—the show implies—are non-Muslim Americans so mean to them?

Yet it is noteworthy that both the woman who is getting married and the one who is trying to open a club acknowledge that they are not all that religious. And that is the problem at the heart of All-American Muslim. The Muslims it depicts are for the most part undoubtedly harmless, completely uninterested in jihad and Islamic supremacism…

But Americans aren’t suspicious of Muslims who are trying to get married, open clubs, and play football. Americans are suspicious of Muslims who are trying to blow up American buildings, subvert American freedoms, and assert the primacy of Islamic law over American law.

Robert Spencer is upset that All-American Muslim didn’t portray a family of terrorist Muslims–perhaps they could have named them the Al-Kablams.  Here is where Spencer lives in his Islamophobe fantasy: he imagines that American Muslim families are “jihadis” and Islamic supremacists who want to “blow up American buildings, subvert American freedoms, and assert the primacy of Islamic law over American law.”

If Jersey Shore were really about Italian-Americans (as some incorrectly thought it was), do you think it would be justified to demand that the show include a mafioso family in it?  Does a reality show about Catholic families in America need to include a family led by a child-molesting priest? Would a reality television show about Mexican-American families be “misleading” if it didn’t include at least one family of illegals?  Would a show about Russian or Chinese-Americans be incomplete if it didn’t include at least one family of radical communists?  Is a show about black Americans incomplete if it doesn’t include a family of ex-cons?

What utter nonsense.

This would be like arguing that the Cosby Show was misleading white America, since it showed “harmless blacks,” and not the ones “who are trying to rob, rape, and kill whites,” which was a prevailing stereotype of the time.  The entire purpose of the Cosby Show–and now All-American Muslim–is to counter stereotypes.  So why on earth would All-American Muslim include a terrorist family?  Why does anyone take Robert Spencer’s nonsense seriously?

The fact that All-American Muslim chose to include characters who were not very religious had Robert Spencer in quite the tizzy.  Interesting, some American Muslim viewers were also taken aback by this.  However, AltMuslim.com’s Tuqa Nusairat gave an appropriate response to this criticism, saying:

Let’s stop assuming that Muslims do not drink, have tattoos, or own clubs. If you were somehow shocked by the scenes on this episode, it simply indicates your lack of intermingling with a representative sample of American Muslims.

Only a very small percentage of American Muslims are observant.  (The exact percentage is hotly debated, but there is no question that they are in the minority.)  And only a fraction of those who are religious wear the headscarf (hijab).  Therefore, one could even say that the observant Muslim population is over-represented in All-American Muslim.

This is another reason, among the many, that Islamophobic fear-mongers are wildly off the mark when they portray the American Muslim population as a threat to American democracy.  If only a fraction of Muslim women even wear the headscarf in America, what percentage of American Muslims do you think want to overthrow American democracy to replace it with Taliban-style Sharia?  (Answer: 0.000000001%)

This is not to buy into Robert Spencer’s false dichotomy between Good, Nominal Muslims on the one hand, and Bad, Observant Muslims on the other.  Spencer writes:

[T]here are people who are very knowledgeable about its doctrines and serious about putting them into practice, and others who don’t know and don’t care about what their religion teaches but still identify themselves as members of it, and every gradation in between. It would never happen for obvious reasons, but All-American Muslim would be much more interesting if it tracked one of its secular, attractive nominal Muslims as he decided to get more serious about his faith, and ended up participating in jihad activity or Islamic supremacist efforts to demonize and marginalize those who resist that activity.

He assumes that religious observance would necessitate participation in terrorism and Islamic supremacism.  In fact, as I noted above, many of the actors are observant: they reconcile their faith with modernity–and set themselves to being productive citizens; there is no contradiction for them, and millions of others, between being religious and being a good citizen.  In fact, they see the two things going hand-in-hand.  And Robert Spencer et al. absolutely hate that.

*  *  *  *  *

Elsewhere in the same diatribe, Robert Spencer says:

All-American Muslim addresses nothing of that supremacist ideology, although at times it makes an appearance despite the producers’ best efforts. The woman who is getting married is marrying a Roman Catholic, who converts to Islam in order to marry her. Her father insists on the conversion as a condition of the wedding, and at one point we are told in passing that while a Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, a Muslim woman is not free to marry a non-Muslim man.

There are two issues here: (1) an alleged double standard between Muslim men and women with regard to marrying non-Muslims, and (2) a supposed supremacist attitude that demands that Muslims can only marry fellow Muslims.

Despite the fact that it wasn’t discussed in the first episode of the show (perhaps it will be in future episodes), there exists an alternative opinion with regard to Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, a view grounded in the Quran no less.  This dissenting, reformist opinion is expressed by the Islamic intellectual Khaled Abou El Fadl, who allows Muslim men and women to marry non-Muslims.

The traditional opinion uses verse 2:221 of the Quran to completely prohibit Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims (see, for instance, this ultra-conservative Islamic website):

And do not give your women in marriage to idolaters until they believe: a believing slave is certainly better than an idolater, even though he may please you.   Such people call you to the Fire, while God calls you to the Garden and forgiveness by His leave.

Yet, the first half of the verse, addressed to the men, is conveniently left out (in bold):

Do not marry idolatresses until they believe: a believing slave woman is certainly better than an idolatress, even though she may please you. And do not give your women in marriage to idolaters until they believe: a believing slave is certainly better than an idolater, even though he may please you. Such people call you to the Fire, while God calls you to the Garden and forgiveness by His leave.

It’s the exact same restriction upon Muslim men.  The Quran says in another verse (5:5):

Today all good things have been made lawful for you. The food of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) is lawful for you as your food is lawful for them. So are chaste, believing, women as well as chaste women of the people who were given the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians), as long as you have given them their bride-gifts and married them, not taking them as lovers or secret mistresses.

Clearly, the first verse (2:221) prohibits marriage to idolaters only, not to all non-Muslims.  In fact, throughout the Quran, the “People of the Book” (which includes Jews and Christians) are referred to separately from “idolaters,” an indication that these two groups are not simply interchangeable.

The reformist argument goes: since the exact same word is used for women–in the very same verse, no less–it seems that the Quran is only prohibiting Muslim women from marrying idolaters, not all non-Muslims–it is certainly not referring to Jews and Christians (such as Jeff).  Based on this understanding, Muslims are allowed to marry Muslims or non-Muslims, so long as they are chaste.

There are much wider implications to this discussion, including the way different ideological groups within the Islamic community…

1) …choose to emphasize or de-emphasize traditional views.

2) …choose to emphasize or de-emphasize “ijma.”

3) …view the religious texts: do they view the Quran with “fresh eyes” or do they only read the Quran “through” ancient commentaries?  Also, is it really true that the stricter, more conservative views are “more authentic” and are more closely grounded in Quranic evidence?

4) …view non-Muslims: are they all idolaters?  Or can non-Muslims enter Paradise?

5) …view women and patriarchy.

These and other issues I plan on discussing in greater detail in the future.  They are very important to understand if one truly wants to understand the American Muslim community and Islam in general.  This understanding and depth of knowledge is needed to tackle Islamophobia as well, and it is critical in order to counter the myths spread by Robert Spencer and co.

*  *  *  *  *

Robert Spencer then says:

Left unanswered in the show is the question of what might have happened if the couple had decided to get married in the Roman Catholic Church, or to leave Islam at some later date. No doubt this non-observant woman’s Muslim relatives would have been less solicitous in that event.

So too are many devout Catholic parents “less solicitous” when their children wish to marry outside the faith.  In fact, the Catholic Church blocks all marriages to non-Christians, calling it a “disparity of cult.”  One must seek a special exemption from a bishop to conduct such a marriage; the bishop’s job is to try to get the non-Christian partner to agree that the children will be raised Catholic.  Is this then a reflection of the supremacist attitude of Catholicism?

How would Robert Spencer himself react if his son or daughter wanted to marry a Muslim?  We all know how “solicitous” he’d be feeling.

Certainly, many Protestant Christian groups, especially Evangelicals, insist on only dating and marrying fellow believers.  Many outright forbid marriage outside the faith, citing the Biblical verse 2 Corinthians 6:14:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Two of the three major branches of Judaism (Orthodox and Conservative) similarly forbid Jews from marrying non-Jews.

But, remember, when Muslims say that they should only marry fellow believers, that’s a proof of inherent Islamic supremacism!

The lady–in this case, Robert Spencer–doth protest too much, methinks.

Also, it should be pointed out that there is no indication that Shadia is fearful for her life should she choose to marry a non-Muslim.  A reasonable assumption is that her father would be upset with her, stop speaking to her for some time, and/or not attend the wedding.  Only in Spencer’s mind would it be reasonable to assume that he is going to “honor kill” her.  Considering that the total number of Muslim honor killings in the United States can be counted on the hand, why should the show depict that as representative of the millions of American Muslim families?

In fact, Shadia’s father already knows that his daughter is dating Jeff; she even kisses Jeff in front of him.  Shadia’s father also knows that she has tattoos and drinks alcohol, among other “un-Islamic” things.  He hasn’t killed her yet.  In fact, he is loving towards her.

Even though the father’s demand–that Jeff convert to Islam if he wants to marry Shadia–is completely unreasonable, it should be noted that really the father is asking for Jeff to make a token, fake conversion–one that he probably knows is not considered valid in Islam.  Contrary to what was depicted on the show, conversion to Islam does not require just saying a simple sentence and presto!  Rather, Islam stresses that conversion starts in the heart; without conviction, the conversion meant nothing.

Similarly, Robert Spencer whines elsewhere:

There are many women in the show who are wearing hijabs and many who are not, but we are not allowed to see what might happen if one of the hijab-wearing women decides to take it off.  Such conflicts would not serve The Learning Channel’s agenda.

Here again he assumes that the women on the show are forced to wear hijab by their families.  This shows Spencer’s unfamiliarity with American Muslim community.  One can bet that there are other women in the same family who don’t don the hijab–and nothing happens to them.  In fact, it has been a phenomenon that younger American Muslim women don the hijab of their own accord, often against their parent’s wishes.  In any case, there is no reason at all to assume that anything at all would happen to them if they chose to take it off.  Such considerations would not serve JihadWatch’s agenda.

*  *  *  *  *

Robert Spencer concludes with a sentence that makes clear his views endorsing collective guilt and punishment:

[A]ll that All-American Muslim gives us is a denunciation of “Islamophobia” featuring Muslims who could never have conceivably inspired any suspicion of Islam in the first place.

Spencer seems to be of the opinion that Radical Muslims are the ones to blame, not Islamophobia, for the suspicion the Muslims in All-American Muslim must deal with.  Can you imagine how quickly a person would be dubbed a racist if they were to say something outlandish like “black criminals, not white racists, are responsible for racism against the black community”?

Insert any race or religion for “Muslims” and Spencer’s bigotry becomes clear.  His beef with All-American Muslim is an argument steeped in Islamophobia, which the show may help to counteract–and that’s why it is only natural that people like Robert Spencer would steadfastly oppose it.  The Islamophobes can’t stomach Americans viewing American Muslims as “ordinary folks just like you and me.”  And that’s reason enough to support the show, at least in my book.

*  *  *  *  *

Addendum I:

Aman Ali, co-creator of 30 Mosques in 30 Days, offered some legitimate criticism of All-American Muslim.  The show failed to show the ethnic diversity within the American Muslim community:  all the Muslims in the show are Arab-Americans.  This reinforces the myth that all Muslims are Arabs, and all Arabs are Muslims.  In fact, “[o]nly about 12 percent of Muslims worldwide are Arabs”, and in the United States only 1 in 4 Muslims is of Arab ethnicity.

All-American Muslim didn’t bother to include any characters from the Asian and black communities, even though these two groups make up a greater percentage of the American Muslim population.  Writes Ali:

Brilliant! What better way to show the mainstream public an insight into how multicultural and intellectually diverse Islam’s followers are… with a show focusing on just Arabs (20 percent of the world’s Muslim population) who follow the Shia sect of Islam (about 10 percent of the world’s Muslim population).

The show, which premiered over the weekend, presents itself as a glimpse into the American Muslim community but ignores an overwhelming majority of the cultures that comprise it. South Asians like my parents, who came from India, make up one of the largest group of Muslim immigrants in the United States.

That doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that the show makes no reference to African-American Muslims, another huge American Muslim group. Many of the black slaves that built the foundation of this country with blood, sweat and tears were Muslim.

And Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Dave Chappelle and Lupe Fiasco are all American Muslims, too. Hell, Detroit is right next to Dearborn. All the producers had to do was turn around and they’d find one of the most active African-American Muslim communities in the country.

AltMuslim.com’s Tuqa Nusairat countered by saying:

The “reality” is that “Jersey Shore” doesn’t represent Italians in NJ, “Sister Wives” doesn’t represent all Mormons, “Kate Plus Eight” doesn’t represent all families of multiples, so why would would we expect this show to represent all American Muslims?

The problem with Nusairat’s retort is that Italians did and do criticize Jersey Shore for not being representative of their community.  They were certainly justified in doing so, even though the show was not called All-American Italians.  Similarly, Mormons did and do criticize Sister Wives, because they feel that it is not representative of their faith community.  (And I’ll be honest: I’ve never heard of Kate Plus Eight so no comment there.)

Jersey Shore was a poor choice for Nusairat to have relied on to make her argument.  However, I agree with her article overall and share her optimistic opinion with regard to the show, which is a refreshing change from the same-old Muslim as Terrorist role that Robert Spencer insists upon.  Since people today don’t like reading, the best way to counter Islamophobia and reach the average Joe is not through the long and intricate articles I write, but through the boob tube.  All-American Muslim is a step in the right direction.

LGF: Pamela Geller-Robert Spencer Allies Arrested in London for Planning Attacks

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller have had a lot to say about the Occupy movement, except when a group they wholeheartedly support were planning to attack peaceful protesters.

Pamela Geller-Robert Spencer Allies Arrested in London for Planning Attacks

by Charles Johnson

Anti-Muslim demagogues Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have expressed their unqualified support for the fascist English Defence League on many occasions, despite the EDL’s frequently violent demonstrations and the presence of many outright neo-Nazis among their ranks.

Yesterday in Britain, police arrested nearly 200 members of the EDL for planning to attack Occupy protesters at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

This is the kind of thuggish, violent bigotry Geller and Spencer are working to bring to America.

Police arrested 179 members of the English Defence League after reports of repeated threats to attack Occupy protesters camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral on Armistice Day.

Scotland Yard said they believed a breach of the peace was about to take place after they got intelligence that the EDL were planning the Armistice Day attack. The law states officers can arrest if they believe the breach of the peace to be “imminent.” …

The English Defence League had issued statements and made threats on Facebook to burn down protesters tents if they were still outside St Paul’s on Remembrance Sunday, according to Phillips.

Some members of the EDL had also attempted to enter the encampment, most recently on Thursday night.

A statement by the EDL on Thursday was read to the Occupy LSX general assembly on Friday morning to make people aware that there was a threat being made. “They called us all sorts of names in the statement and said we should leave “their” church and stop violating their religion,” said Phillips.

Protests Against the Bigotry of Purdue Professor Maurice Moshe Eisenstein

Professor Maurice Moshe Eisenstein is a tenured associate professor of Political Science at Purdue University Calumet. He is under fire from student protesters for past and present remarks targeting various groups but particularly Muslims.

This is how a local paper described the events:

Nearly two dozen students demonstrated Wednesday outside Purdue University Calumet in protest of a political science professor who they say made racially prejudiced remarks verbally and on his Facebook page, particularly targeting Muslim students.

The student who organized the protests is one Christopher Ramirez. Ramirez believes that prof. Eisenstein purposefully posted inflammatory remarks aimed at Muslims on his Facebook page on the Muslim festival of Eid-Al Adha:

Christopher Ramirez, who organized the protest, pointed to associate professor of political science Maurice Eisenstein’s Facebook page, where he posted a picture and comment Sunday about 100 black Christians who were killed by radical Muslims. Ramirez said the picture and comment were posted on the first day of Eid, a traditional Muslim holiday.

Eisentstein for his part believes he is the victim of a conspiracy by Jew-haters:

They say I teach religion in class. I believe the person who started this is a faculty member, and I believe that many of these are her students. I am the only one who comes in every day with a kippah (a cap) on. I don’t know the answers to your questions. I made myself available. No one spoke to me. They are saying all of these bad things about me, but they wouldn’t talk to me.”

Maurice Eisenstein, who believes he is being targeted because he is an Orthodox Jew.

Actually, it would seem professor that the students are quite right to take umbrage at your Facebook postings. Viewing it today, we captured this screen shot of what we assume is the offending post that has riled up the student protesters:

It is quite condescending for a political science professor to coach his view of the sectarian violence in Nigeria in such black and white terms as “decide if you are with the radical or civilized people,” clearly he is generalizing about Islam and Muslims, and casting them in the “radical” and hence “uncivilized” camp. Students who saw this posting and read it in the context of the professor’s past statements can be excused for thinking he meant to tar all Muslims.

Yet, what we found even more egregious and definitely inexcusable is the link the professor posted just a few scrolls down on his Facebook page. It is a link to the hate site run by the fanatical queen bee of Islamophobia, Pamela Geller’s AtlasShrugs:

This is inexcusable. Pamela Geller is not only a radical anti-Muslim but a racist to boot, if you don’t believe us (there’s ample evidence to believe us), then maybe you will take the word of the ADL and the SPLC. Such a link cannot be a mere faux pas, it’s akin to linking to the neo-Nazi Stormfront website, and the administration at Purdue University Calumet should take a stronger stand than it has:

“Purdue Calumet by its nature as a public university welcomes and encourages the exchange of thoughtful and diverse views and opinions. Likewise, the university does not condone expressions that are considered offensive, intolerant or disrespectful.

“That stated, certain, recent unpleasant comments exchanged between Associate Professor of Political Science Maurice Eisenstein and others have been communicated on the Professor’s personal Facebook page. In no way do these comments reflect the university’s position and commitment to tolerance and respect with regard to the right of free expression by all individuals.

“Nonetheless, though Professor Eisenstein is a tenured faculty member, tenure has no bearing on the nature of free expression, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, that Purdue Calumet faculty members choose to exercise on their personal Facebook page. Neither are there Purdue Calumet policies and regulations that extend to personal Facebook pages.”

Such mealy mouthed pronouncements from the administration do nothing to help. Loonwatchers should let them know that they should review the professor’s treatment of his students, not only due to the protests but also the troubling links the professor maintains. Ask them if they would be okay with a professor linking to neo-Nazi websites? And then inform them of the disgusting, bigoted, racist, genocidal comments Geller has made, as well as her associations.

Here is the contact page for the University:

Contact

Purdue University Calumet
Office of University Relations
2200 169th Street
Hammond, IN 46323-2094

Phone:
219/989-2400
1-800 HI-PURDUE, x.2400
Locally within Indiana & Illinois

E-mail:
univrel@calumet.purdue.edu

Contact the professor as well:

219) 989-2688
Office: CLO 294
email: m_eisens@purduecal.edu

B.Sc. Purdue University,
M.A. Purdue University,
Ph.D. (1993) Purdue University

Video of the Student protest:

Muslim Graves Vandalized at Disputed Jerusalem Site

The cemetery dates from the 12th century and is the resting place of several Sufi saints (AFP, Ahmad Gharabli) The cemetery dates from the 12th century and is the resting place of several Sufi saints (AFP, Ahmad Gharabli)

The “Price Tag” vandals attack again.

Early in October they vandalized a mosque by setting it on fire. And also, last year around the same time, Safed, a small town in Israel had grafiti that the “Price Tag” vandals are known for:

In a city park next to a college building on a recent afternoon, “Death to Arabs” was scrawled on a gatepost. The park is a hangout for the Arab students, who were scattered on benches during a break between classes.

Let us imagine if these “Price Tag” vandals were Muslims. They would be considered a terrorist group threatening the state of Israel’s existence. Spencer and Geller would make claims that they are here in America terrorizing our citizens daily.

This time around, the vandals thought to ante up their game and vandalize a Muslim cemetery instead.

Muslim graves vandalised at disputed Jerusalem site

JERUSALEM — Racist slogans were sprayed over gravestones in an old Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, site of a dispute between Palestinians and supporters of a museum being built alongside, police said on Thursday.

An AFP photographer, who arrived at the cemetery in the city centre, said he saw graffiti on 15 tombs reading “price tag” and “death to the Arabs.”

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that “the slogans were painted several weeks ago” and had not yet been erased by municipal authorities.

Hardline Jewish settlers have adopted what they call a “price tag” policy — a euphemism for revenge attacks against Palestinians and their property following Israeli government measures against settlements.

In recent months, the scope of such attacks has broadened, with vandals targeting Israeli army vehicles, mosques and cemeteries inside Israel and Israeli anti-settlement activists.

On Wednesday, police said they had arrested a suspect in a graffiti attack and bomb hoax at the Jerusalem offices of Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now on Sunday, in which a wall was daubed with the words “price tag”.

In the Jerusalem cemetery dispute, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights group, is building what is termed a “Museum of Tolerance” alongside the disused graveyard.

The project has sparked controversy because it is being built on land belonging to the Ma’man Allah cemetery, commonly called Mamilla, which dates from the 12th century and is the resting place of several Sufi saints.

Descendants of those interred in the west Jerusalem cemetery say it also houses the remains of soldiers and officials of legendary Muslim ruler Saladin.