Temple University, Philadelphia: Protestors Condemn Geller and Spencer’s ‘Irrational Hatred’

These protesters support freedom of speech, and they realize that Geller and Spencer’s irrational hatred in no way exemplifies freedom of speech.

Temple University, Philadelphia: protestors condemn Geller and Spencer’s ‘irrational hatred’

PROTESTERS who had filled the auditorium seats at an anti-Muslim event on Temple University’s campus Monday night left the room quite empty when they marched out in opposition after the discussion began.

The organization hosting the “Islamic Apartheid Conference,” Temple University Students for Intellectual Freedom, says its mission is to introduce controversial issues often left out of mainstream debates and defends its right to political incorrectness. Panelists at the conference included Robert Spencer, contributor to the blog Jihad Watch, and Pamela Geller, famous for her hostility to the proposed construction of an Islamic community center near the site of the World Trade Center.

After walking out, more than 50 demonstrators, consisting of North Philadelphia residents, campus groups and Occupy Philly protesters, remained outside in the rain, holding signs and confronting attendees as they left the event in Ritter Hall, on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 13th Street.

Walter Smolarek, a freshman education major at Temple University, said that the content of the conference is “based solely on irrational hatred toward people, in this case, because of their religious faith, and we don’t feel like it falls under the umbrella of free speech, or should be part of political debate.

“An attack against Muslim communities is an attack against all working people,” said Smolarek.

Though Temple University approved the conference for its calendar, it did not promote the event in the daily campus-events email distributed to the student body.

Jihad By Any Means Necessary?

The following is a part of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series, which is a refutation of Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  Specifically, I am herein refuting chapter one of his book, entitled “Muhammad: Prophet of War.”

An anti-Muslim canard that has gained considerable popularity in the post-9/11 world is the idea that Muslims can do anything, no matter how morally questionable, if it furthers the Islamic cause.  According to this idea, jihad can be waged “by any means necessary.”  Robert Spencer argues this in his book, writing:

Islam’s only overarching moral principle is “if it’s good for Islam, it’s right.” [1]

Spencer traces the birth of this Islamic “principle” to the life story of the Prophet Muhammad, specifically the raid at Nakhla.  To properly debunk this conspiracy theory, we must then transport ourselves back in time to this controversial event.

In the year 610 A.D., Muhammad declared his prophethood.  His people, the Quraysh of Mecca, violently rejected him.  The early Muslims suffered heavy-handed persecution, which they endured with patience for well over a decade.  Finally, the God of the Quran permitted them to take up arms in self-defense.  Muhammad and his followers, who had regrouped in the nearby city of Medina, engaged in guerre de course (commerce raiding) against the powerful Quraysh.

I have discussed Muhammad’s guerre de course in quite a lot of detail in a previous article.  This tactic was not only something considered acceptable in the Arabian context of the time, but also has a celebrated history in the American–as well as French and German–naval traditions.  Historically, it has been considered a valid military strategy and a means of waging economic warfare against a more powerful enemy.

The early military operations led by the Muslims were largely unsuccessful–that is, until the raid at Nakhla.  Muhammad had dispatched Abdullah bin Jahsh with secret instructions contained in a letter that were not to be opened until after traveling two days journey.  (This precaution was designed no doubt to thwart potential spies, who may have informed the Quraysh of Muslim “troop” movements, which could explain the earlier failed military expeditions.)

When Abdullah opened Muhammad’s letter, it read:

When you have read this letter of mine proceed until you reach Nakhla between Mecca and Al-Ta’if. Lie in wait there for [the] Quraysh and find out for us what they are doing. [2]

On the way to Nakhla, Abdullah and his fellow riders happened across a poorly armed Qurayshite caravan.  They debated among themselves whether or not to waylay it, for it was the last day of the month of Rajab.  The pre-Islamic culture at the time assigned four months of the year as sacred (of which Rajab was one), in which fighting was proscribed.  In addition to the four sacred months, fighting was forbidden in certain holy sanctuaries (i.e. Al-Bayt Al-Haram, the area around the Kaabah).

Abdullah’s contingent faced a difficult choice:

If [we] leave them alone tonight they will get into the sacred area and will be safe from [us]; and if [we] kill them, [we] will kill them in the sacred month. [3]

They were also not quite sure what day it was.  Was it the last day of the sacred month of Rajab or the first day of of the next month, Jumada (in which fighting was permitted)?  Prof. Reuven Firestone writes of this:

The uncertainty of the day is a natural result of the calendrical system of that period, in which the moon was the primary measurer of time, because the beginning of the month was established only by actual observation of the new crescent moon. [4]

Making matters worse was the fact that, according to the lunar calendar used by the Arabs, days change at sunset, not midnight.  One of the men explained to Muhammad later that

it was becoming evening. We looked at the crescent moon of Rajab, and we did not know whether we [struck during] Rajab or in Jumada. [5]

Initially, Abdullah and his men hesitated, but then decided to attack.  The Muslims shot and killed one of the Quraysh (a man by the name of Amr Ibn Al-Hadrami), captured two of them, and seized the caravan’s goods.  By killing Ibn Al-Hadrami, the Muslims had violated the pre-Islamic Arabian custom forbidding bloodshed during the sacred month.

When Abdullah and his men returned to Medina, Muhammad rebuked them, saying:

I did not order you to fight in the sacred month! [6]

Sir Thomas W. Arnold wrote of this incident:

In so doing, [Abdullah] had not only acted without authority but had violated the sacred truce within Arab custom caused to be observed throughout the month of pilgrimage.  Muhammad received him coldly with the words, “I gave thee no command to fight in the sacred month;” dismissed the prisoners, and from his own purse paid blood-money for a Meccan who had lost his life in the fray. [7]

Other Muslims in Medina also chastised the men.  Meanwhile, the Quraysh exploited the incident to further their war propaganda against the Islamic nation.  They effectively drove a wedge in the community of Medina, with Muslims distancing themselves from other Muslims, and non-Muslims from Muslims.  Muhammad’s leadership itself was called into question.

It was in this crisis that the following Quranic verse was revealed:

They ask you about fighting in the sacred month. Say, ‘Fighting in that month is a great offense, but to bar others from God’s path, to disbelieve in Him, prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its people, are still greater offences in God’s eyes: [their] persecution is worse than the killing [of Amr Ibn Al-Hadrami].’ They will not stop fighting you [believers] until they make you renounce your faith, if they can. If any of you renounce your faith and die as disbelievers, your deeds will come to nothing in this world and the Hereafter, and you will be inhabitants of the Fire, there to remain.  But those who have believed, who were driven out from their homes, and who strive for God’s cause, it is they who can look forward to God’s mercy: God is most forgiving and merciful. (Quran, 2:217-218)

This response from the God of the Quran successfully rallied the Muslims around their leader and their cause.  Muhammad’s treatment of the raid was splendidly balanced, neither making the Muslims look too warlike nor too humiliated: on the one hand, he paid blood money for the Qurayshite man that was killed (blood money was a form of restitution given to a victim’s family) and freed the two Qurayshite prisoners.  On the other hand, he released the two Qurayshite prisoners only in exchange for two Muslim prisoners, and also accepted the confiscated goods as legitimate spoils of war.

*  *  *  *  *

Robert Spencer writes of the Nakhla raid:

In Medina, these new Muslims began raiding the caravans of the Quraysh, with Muhammad personally leading many of these raids.  These raids kept the nascent Muslim movement solvent and helped form Islamic theology–as in one notorious incident when a band of Muslims raided a Quraysh caravan at Nakhla, a settlement not far from Mecca.  The raiders attacked the caravan during the sacred month of Rajab, when fighting was forbidden.  When they returned to the Muslim camp laden with booty, Muhammad refused to share in the loot or to have anything to do with them, saying only, “I did not order you to fight in the sacred month.”

But then a new revelation came from Allah, explaining that the Quraysh’s opposition to Muhammad was a worse transgression than the violation of the sacred month.  In other words, the raid was justified.  ”They question thee, O Muhammad, with regard to warfare in the sacred month.  Say: warfare therein is a great transgression, bu to turn men from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel his people thence, is a greater sin with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing” (Quran 2:214).  Whatever sin the Nakhla raiders had committed was overshadowed by the Quraysh’s rejection of Muhammad.

This was a momentous revelation, for it led to an Islamic principle that has had repercussions throughout the ages.  Good became identified with anything that redounded to the benefit of Muslims, regardless of whether it violated moral or other laws.  The moral absolutes enshrined in the Ten Commandments, and other teachings of the great religions that preceded Islam, were swept aside in favor of an overarching principle of expediency. [8]

In true Spencerian fashion, he misleads the reader using lies of omission and commission.  Spencer does not clearly state that Muhammad had dispatched the “band of Muslims” on a reconnaissance mission, in order to “find out for us what [the Quraysh] are doing.”  This is why the Prophet of Islam later disavowed Abdullah’s actions, for he had “acted without authority.”  Also, no mention is made in Spencer’s book of the difficulty in ascertaining the day and month in which the raid took place.

Spencer’s biggest lie, however, is the following doozie:

Whatever sin the Nakhla raiders had committed was overshadowed by the Quraysh’s rejection of Muhammad.

In fact, it was not merely “the Quraysh’s rejection of Muhammad”, but, in the words of the Quran itself, their persecution [of the Muslims that] is worse than the killing” of Amr Ibn Al-Hadrami.  Here, the Islamic holy book was referring to the over decade-long period of Qurayshite persecution, during which the early Muslims suffered beatings, imprisonment, torture, and forced conversions; some of the early believers were even killed.  This, the God of the Quran argued, was worse than what the “band of Muslims” had done.  It would be difficult to argue otherwise.

Spencer goes on to say:

In other words, the raid was justified.

No, it wasn’t.  In fact, the Quran recognized and affirmed that the Muslims had committed a grave sin: “Fighting in [the sacred] month is a great offense.”

Many Western commentators have claimed that Muhammad and the Quran, by this passage, abandoned observation of the ban on fighting during the four sacred months.  The insistence on this view is based on their blind acceptance of the traditional opinion [9], held by various Islamic exegetes in medieval times, that this was a pre-Islamic tradition that was overturned by the advent of Islam.

Yet, a neutral reading of the Quranic text–both this passage and those that follow it–reveals the exact opposite: the Prophet Muhammad affirmed and respected the sanctity of the four sacred months.  The Quranic verse starts by saying, “They ask you about fighting in the sacred month.”  Obviously, Muhammad was being accosted by all sides about the raid at Nakhla, which threatened to be a public relations disaster for the Muslims.  How much easier it would have been for the Prophet of Islam to have simply declared the four sacred months a “pagan belief” that the Muslims did not accept.

After all, in another controversy in early Islam’s history, when Muhammad received significant criticism for having married his adopted son’s ex-wife Zaynab bint Jahsh, the Quran justified the act by declaring that: firstly, unlike in the pagan custom of the time, in Islam there is no prohibition against such a thing; and secondly, it was God himself who commanded Muhammad to marry Zaynab, and therefore, “the Prophet is not at fault for what God has ordained for him” (Quran, 33:38).  (It should be noted that the Islamic permission to marry one’s adopted son’s ex-wife is no more disconcerting than Judaism’s permitting of marriage to one’s nieces.)

The point is that the Quran didn’t just take the easy way out, which would have been to reject the four sacred months altogether.  (Muhammad could have also simply declared the pagans to be “disbelievers”, licit to be attacked at any place or any time.)  Instead, the Quran affirmed that it was indeed a grave offense to fight therein, and in fact, commanded Muhammad to tell the people so:

They ask you about fighting in the sacred month. Say, ‘Fighting in that month is a great offense.’ (Quran, 2:217)

The Islamic affirmation of the four sacred months occurs throughout the Quran.  Muslims are not to fight in these months, so long as the other side respects this prohibition:

Fight during the sacred months if you are attacked therein, for a violation of sanctity is subject to the law of just retribution.  So, if anyone commits aggression against you, attack him as he attacked you. (Quran, 2:194)

The Quran also affirms the idea of sacred spaces:

Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight you there. (Quran, 2:191)

This topic deserves greater elaboration, but for now, suffice to say that even in the jihad passages of chapter nine of the Quran–which the Islamophobes insist are (in the words of the anti-Muslim website ReligionOfPeace.com) “the final ‘revelations’ from Allah” about jihad–the four sacred months are affirmed.  For example, in the so-called “verse of the sword” (ayat al-saif), the Quran declares:

When the sacred months are passed, then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them… (Quran, 9:5)

Leaving aside for now the fact that the verse right before this one (verse 9:4) explains that this injunction refers only to those pagans who broke a treaty and waged war against the Muslims, there is another obvious point to be made here: Islamophobes insist that this passage was revealed in Muhammad’s last years and was his final, all-out call to war against non-Muslims.  (I will refute this argument in a future article.)  If we are to accept this claim, then we see that–even in this late stage of Muhammad’s decrees about jihad–the sacred months are to be respected.

In fact, the Quran goes so far to claim that it was God himself who decreed these months to be sacred.  More than this, the God of the Quran chastises the Qurayshite pagans for violating the four sacred months by “transposing them” for other months in the year, something they did out of convenience:

God decrees that there are twelve months–ordained in God’s Book on the Day when He created the heavens and earth–four months of which are sacred: this is the correct calculation. Do not wrong your souls in these months–though you may fight the idolaters at any time, if they first fight you–remember that God is with those who are mindful of Him.  Transposing sacred months is another act of disobedience by which those who disregard God are led astray: they will allow it one year and forbid it in another in order to outwardly conform with the number of God’s sacred months, but in doing so they permit what God has forbidden. Their evil deeds are made alluring to them: God does not guide those who disregard Him.  (Quran, 9:36-37)

In conclusion, it is not true that Muhammad justified the Nakhla raid, nor is it valid to claim that the Prophet of Islam simply made it legal when Muslims did it.  Spencer’s claim that ”if it’s good for Islam, it’s right” finds no basis.

The Quran acknowledged that the killing of Amr Ibn Al-Hadrami in the sacred month was a “grave offense” and Muhammad offered restitution to the victim’s family.  This mea culpa indicates that the Prophet of Islam acknowledged that wrong had been committed and he sought to right it.  Meanwhile, the “band of Muslims” involved in the escapade were duly chastised.  After they had expressed remorse for their sin, the God of the Quran forgave them “for God is Forgiving, Merciful” (2:218), and reassured them of their salvation.  That forgiveness was necessary in the first place indicates that they had committed a sin.

What the Quran didn’t do is claim that the Muslims had done nothing wrong.  All it did was point out the hypocrisy of the Quraysh, for they had committed greater offenses against the Muslims.  Robert Spencer would quickly claim that the Quran was committing a tu quoque fallacy, but there is a difference between a valid tu quoque argument and an invalid tu quoque fallacy.  Tu quoque (“you too”) arguments are not always illegitimate.  Of significance is the fact that, following the Nakhla raid, Muhammad (1) admitted that the Muslims had committed an offense, and (2) willingly submitted to the penalty of that offense (i.e. paid blood money).

The Prophet of Islam didn’t try to make something right because the enemy did something wrong.  More importantly, he didn’t try to get out of the penalty for the offense.  Instead, he admitted that his side had done something wrong, paid the penalty for it, and then pointed out that his accusers had committed far greater offenses without making any amends for it.  He was not trying to get out of the penalty, but only highlighting the Qurayshite hypocrisy so that they would not exploit the incident to further anti-Muslim propaganda.

Islamophobes today are also guilty of hypocrisy on this front: they are among America and Israel’s most hawkish proponents of war in Muslim lands.  During Muhammad’s pre-Badr expeditions, the Muslims had killed only one person, and this was in violation of their orders.  What about the hundreds and hundreds of Muslim victims who die at the hands of the American and Israeli military, without any form of restitution given to them?  We are told then that “this is war”…But when Muhammad’s men kill one person, then it’s the greatest tragedy in all of history.

Related to our opening question (Is Islam more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity? Was Muhammad the most violent prophet or religious figure in history?) lies another question: the Biblical prophets–such as MosesJoshuaSamson,DavidSaul, etc.–engaged in genocide against the natives of Canaan.  Thousands and thousands of innocent people were slaughtered.  Are there any stories in the Bible of any of these Judeo-Christian prophets and holy figures giving restitution to the victim’s families?  One can already hear Robert Spencer crying “tu quoque, tu quoque!”, a word that he obviously does not properly understand.  Islam, identified as our enemy in the post-9/11 war, is put through a special standard, one that Spencer’s own religion could not withstand.

*  *  *  *  *

The Islamic principle of justice is to apply the law equally to all.  There are numerous verses of the Quran to this effect (i.e. 16:90: “God commands you to uphold justice and to do good to others”) and this topic would require another article to elucidate fully.  For now, however, it would suffice us to refer to the opening of sura (chapter) five, which is said to be among the final revelations of the Quran.  It was revealed after the conquest of Mecca.  In it, we see once again that the Quran affirms the idea of sacred months and sacred spaces.  More importantly, it commands Muslims to uphold justice and be fair even to their enemies:

Do not violate the sanctity of God’s rites or the Sacred Months…or the people coming to the Sacred Space…Do not let your ill-will towards a people–because they barred you from the Sacred Mosque–cause you to transgress against them.  Help one another to do what is right and good.  Do not help one another towards sin and aggression. (Quran, 5:2)

Robert Spencer traces “Islam’s only overarching moral principle” of “if it’s good for Islam, it’s right” to the raid at Nakhla, but the evidence simply does not bear his argument out.  Instead, all that becomes apparent is the Islamophobic tactic: if it makes Islam and Muslims look bad, let’s run with it.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Footnotes
1. Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), p.79
2. Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah, p.287 (tr. A. Guillaume)
3. Ibid.
4. Reuven Firestone, Jihad, p.57
5. Ibid.
6. Ibn Ishaq, p.287
7. Thomas W. Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, p.30
8. Spencer, pp.5-7
9. It should be noted that the nineteenth century gave birth to the modernist movement within Islamic thought, which redefined jihad and challenged the long-held “traditional” opinion on the matter.  Today, the “traditional” opinion is held only by a few ultra-conservative Muslims, a view that should not to be conflated with that held by Radical Muslims such as Osama Bin Laden.

Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Norway Gunman Complains Of Being ‘Subjected To Racism’

Defendant Anders Behring Breivik in court prior to the opening of day 6 of the trial in Oslo, Monday April 23, 2012. Breivik has admitted setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters, killing eight, before unleashing a shooting massacre at the governing Labor Party's youth camp on Utoya. (AP Photo/Lise Aserud, POOL)Defendant Anders Behring Breivik in court prior to the opening of day 6 of the trial in Oslo, Monday April 23, 2012. Breivik has admitted setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters, killing eight, before unleashing a shooting massacre at the governing Labor Party’s youth camp on Utoya. (AP Photo/Lise Aserud, POOL)

Breivik’s delusional fantasies continues. The victim card will not work for him.

Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Norway Gunman Complains Of Being ‘Subjected To Racism’

OSLO, Norway — Anxious to prove he’s not insane, confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik told a court Monday that questions about his mental health are part of a racist plot to discredit his extreme anti-Muslim ideology.

Breivik, who has admitted to killing 77 people in a bombing and youth camp massacre, said that no one would have asked for a psychiatric examination had he been a “bearded jihadist.”

“But because I am a militant nationalist, I am being subjected to grave racism,” he said. “They are trying to delegitimize everything I stand for.”

Breivik rejects criminal guilt for the rampage on July 22, saying the victims had betrayed their country by embracing immigration.

Even the defense admits there is virtually no chance of an acquittal, so the key issue to be determined in the trial is whether Breivik is criminally insane.

Two psychiatric examinations reached opposite conclusions on that point. In a statement to the court, the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine asked for additional information from two pscyhiatrists who found Breivik sane, saying their report was incomplete.

Breivik himself insists he is sane, and accuses the prosecutors of trying to make him look irrational.

“I know I’m at risk of ending up at an insane asylum, and I’m going to do what I can to avoid that,” he told the court.

Breivik became defensive as prosecutors quizzed him about sections of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the attacks. It describes uniforms, medals, greetings and codes of conduct for the “Knights Templar” militant group that he claims to belong to. Prosecutors don’t believe it exists.

In one section, read by prosecutor Svein Holden, Breivik speculated that in his future society, the loyalty of potential knights might be tested by asking them to undergo surgical amputation and castration. Breivik chastised the prosecutor for what he called “low blows” and said the segment was taken out of context.

Breivik, 33, showed no remorse as he continued his shocking testimony about his shooting spree at the annual summer youth camp of the governing Labor Party.

Calling the rampage “necessary,” Breivik compared being shunned by those close to him to the grief of the bereaved.

“The only difference was that for my part it was a choice,” he said.

The self-styled crusader apologized to the family of a pub owner who was among the eight people killed in the blast outside the government offices in Oslo, saying it was not his intention to kill “civilians.”

Holden asked him if he wanted to express a similar apology to the families of the other victims, including the 69 killed on the youth camp on Utoya island.

“No I don’t,” Breivik said. “Utoya is a political indoctrination camp.”

“I see all multicultural political activists as monsters, as evil monsters who wish to eradicate our people, our ethnic group, our culture and our country,” he said.

Jon Hestnes, who heads a support group for victims’ families and survivors, told The Associated Press it was “gruesome” to listen to Breivik’s apology.

“It’s an insult to the 76 other people who actually died because of that man,” Hestnes said.

“He’s not in our world. He isn’t, and he doesn’t have humanity at all. The way I slap little mosquitoes in the summer, that’s how he is about human lives,” Hestnes said.

Speaking calmly, Breivik said he used a handgun to kill victims if the distance was less than 10 meters. Otherwise he used his rifle.

Asked why he spared one man who survived the shooting spree, Breivik said he thought it was because the man’s appearance made him look “right wing-oriented.”

“When I looked at him I saw myself,” Breivik said. “I think that was the reason that I didn’t fire shots at him.”

If found sane Breivik would face 21 years in prison, though he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. If sentenced to psychiatric care, in theory he would be released once he’s no longer deemed psychotic and dangerous.

A Journey Out of Islamophobic Darkness

islamophobia-drfusLeaving the Islamophobia nightmare

The Islamophobia propaganda machine has its roots in years of concerted online, media and marketing campaigns. This well oiled machine of hate has attracted many followers, and they can be broken up into several groups (there may be considerable overlap):

1.) Those who were ripe for the picking. These individuals already had a hate for Islam and Muslims or Arabs, they were already racist in one way or another, and easily attached themselves to Islamophobia.

2.) Opportunists. These individuals are always looking for a way to make a buck, to line their pockets. Real, honest work doesn’t suit their tastes and so they’ve devoted themselves to that centuries old money-maker, hate.

3.) True believers. They may come from various ends of the ideological spectrum, most of them are very afraid, fear courses through their every waking moment, they are made even more afraid by modern interpretations of say Biblical prophecies, or fears about the existential threat of the end of Western society.

4.) The gullible or the naive. These individuals read and believe the Islamophobic propaganda because they perceive the arguments as objective, factual, honest, and fitting with their worldview, or answering their confusion and incomprehension of world events or history.

There may be a few other groups not identified here, but those in the last category, the “gullible or the naive,” are usually individuals who later become enlightened and realize the true nature of Islamophobia. They start to question the poor “analysis,” the skewing of “facts,” the blindly subjective and hateful methodology employed by those they once respected as honest brokers on the issues of Islam and Muslims.

One such individual is Charles Johnson. Loonwatch documented his groundbreaking and public quarrel with his former allies, JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller of AtlasShrugs. For Johnson it was their too easy comfort and alliance with fascists like Geert Wilders that broke the proverbial camel’s back, and ever since, he has been outspoken in his criticism of Islamophobes.

Their have been many like Johnson, some who have changed their minds because of our site or their own introspection. One such individual is regular Loonwatch commenter and tipster CriticalDragon. CriticalDragon was quite involved with right-wing anti-Muslim sites, respected the leading lights of Islamophobia, and even commented (under a different screen name) on Jihad Watch amongst other blogs.

We asked CriticalDragon to tell us about how he at one time embraced Islamophobia, and how and why he eventually left the quagmire of hate:

LW: What first attracted you to the “counter-jihadists?”

CD: Prior to 9/11, I was naive and had an overly simplistic and overly positive view of my country and the world. It’s not that I thought that America had done no wrong, but I believed that in every war since World War II, its intentions were noble.

I always considered myself an anti-bigot, which was ironic since I would become a bigot myself. Although I wasn’t as bad as some of the Islamophobes out there, I said and supported some things that I’m now really ashamed of. One of the reasons why I fell for the “counter jihadists” may have been in part because prior to 9/11, I didn’t hear much about anti-Muslim bigotry.

I did however have a very black and white view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I got most of my information on that from people like Rush Limbaugh. Although I wouldn’t call Rush an Islamophobe, he always portrayed the Palestinian side as evil. However, he did not make a connection between the conflict and Islam.

Right after 9/11 occurred, I wanted to find out why we were attacked. What had America done to deserve such an attack in their eyes, and why were they so willing to die to hurt us?

I knew about suicide bombers in Israel, but I really knew that I didn’t understand what motivated them either, but I didn’t think much about it, because I was not involved in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It didn’t affect me much, or anyone I knew, but now I felt that my country was in danger of being attacked again at any moment. I became aware shortly after the event of the fact that the 9/11 hijackers were Muslims, but I did not connect the two until later.

Searching for answers I came across the “counter Jihad blogs.” I can’t remember if the first one I came across was Jihad Watch or another one, but at some point I reached Jihad Watch. I read it and some other relatively moderate “Counter Jihad” blogs and basically believed everything I read without doing enough research to determine if they were true or not. For a while I assumed that what they were saying did not apply to most Muslims, and tried, but not hard enough, to find some peaceful liberal Muslims who denounced terrorism.

Even after visiting those sites I probably wouldn’t have bought into the Stealth Jihad or Population Jihad conspiracies if not for two events.

First, I assumed that after we overthrew the Taliban, the government in Afghanistan would be a genuine liberal democracy with religious freedom. At the time, and even though I believed people like Spencer in regards to what they presented as the “teachings of Islam” (death to the infidels, lying to the infidels, oppressive theocracy), I assumed most Muslims did not follow such “teachings.” But after the war was over, I remember an Afghan man who was set to be put to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, and it not only disappointed me, it kind of shocked me.

I literally believed what George W. Bush said about people wanting to live in freedom, and the Afghan people had chosen to install a government without freedom of religion, even after living under a brutal theocracy, and it seemed to me that we had even encouraged it to some degree.

Second was the cartoon riots, which really scared me, because it looked like large numbers of Muslims around the world spontaneously erupted over harmless cartoons, and I saw what looked like Western governments caving-in to their demands.

LW: Which Islamophobic blogs did you frequent?

CD: Mostly The Infidel Blogger’s Alliance, Bosch Fawstin, Citizen Warrior, FrontpageMag, Culturism, and Religion of Peace, which is the worst of them all. It literally scared me, every time I visited it.

They’re really deceptive in how they cherry pick news stories and post hundreds of terrifying stories about Islam and Muslims to support their agenda.

I might suggest that Loonwatch take the “Religion of Peace” website to task more often, except most of the stuff on there isn’t written by them. Most of it is just links to articles on other websites.

Although I read at least two of Robert Spencer’s books I did not spend a lot of time at Jihad Watch. I may have admired him at the time but I didn’t spend much time on his blog. The same is true for Pamela Geller and her Atlas Shrugs blog. One of the reasons why I didn’t realize how nuts she was may well have been because I didn’t spend much time there.

If you are going to take on one of the Islamophobic bloggers whose blog I used to follow I would recommend laying the smack down on Citizen Warrior. He’s kind of like Robert Spencer, but maybe a bit more sophisticated, although he hasn’t written any books that I’m aware of.  You might also want to take on John Kenneth Press (AKA Culturist John) who wrote the book Culturism, and runs the blog by the same name, and eviscerate some of his arguments, although he usually doesn’t deal with Islam or Muslims.

LW: You’ve mentioned in your comments that you truly believed in the threat of “stealth jihad.” Were there any other major themes that seemed to make sense to you at the time?

CD: I’m really embarrassed to say this, but after reading Marks Steyn‘s America Alone, I actually became convinced that Muslims in Europe were having far more children than non-Muslims, and given enough time, they would become the majority. I believed they would most likely turn those countries into Islamic theocracies, because at the time, that’s what I thought most of them wanted, or they wouldn’t be willing to resist when the fanatics started taking over.

I thought it might take centuries but still it scared me, the idea that these people with such an alien worldview might destroy Western culture and eventually replace it with Sharia’. I know its stupid, but I wasn’t thinking too hard at the time unfortunately.

Note that I never saw this in racial terms, always cultural terms. I was Islamophobic, but I was not a racist. I believed that Muslims in the West were raising their children in such a way that they would not share our values. It was not something genetic, but rather how I thought they were raising their children.

I also believed that the West was at war with Islam, yet simultaneously did not believe that all Muslims were evil, or even our enemies. I know that’s a contradiction, but I didn’t think about it too much at the time. On the occasions when other people would bring that up, I just rationalized it away. However, the fact that I realized that not all Muslims could be evil, would eventually help bring me out of the Islamophobic nightmare.

LW: For how long were you a regular visitor to the “counter-jihadist” blogs?

CD: Sadly, I was a follower and supporter of “counter jihad” blogs for about ten years following 9/11. I only really stopped being an Islamophobe some time in late September of 2011, and even then it would be another month or two before I completely rejected all their nonsense. For example I was still somewhat suspicious of CAIR until I realized that just about every blog that suspected them of being connected to terrorist groups like Hamas, recommended Jihad Watch and by that time I had come to see Robert Spencer as the bigot and liar that he really is.

LW: About Ten Years? Why did it take you so long to see the light?

CD: I got scared and I did not do a very good job of questioning what I was told. I was terrified, and I wanted to stop Jihadists from destroying our freedom. It seemed so obvious to me, because I was getting such a distorted picture of reality.

Early on when I joined the counter jihad movement, most of the information I was getting on what was going on in the world involving Islam and Muslims was incredibly biased to say the least, and I did not try very hard to critique it, because all the evidence seemed so overwhelming at the time. Most of the blogs I frequented outside of the “Counter Jihad Movement” rarely mentioned Islam or Muslims. I occasionally, though rarely, visited left wing political blogs.

One of the few exceptions was American United for the Separation Of Church and State, but I don’t even think they talked about Islam until people in the states started trying to pass anti-Shariah legislation. I spent the vast majority of my time on right-wing Islamophobic blogs, and my preferred news channel was Fox News, which rarely debunked Islamophobes. For those reasons, I almost always saw what left wing bloggers wrote refuting Islamophobic claims through the eyes of Islamophobes, and I rarely heard about Muslims protesting evil done in the name of their faith.

However, if I had been willing to do a bit more research to see what groups like Act For America really based their opposition on, outside of the Islamophobic blogs I frequented I would have seen just how wrong they were. In addition I was too quick to dismiss arguments against their positions.

There were some skeptical science blogs and YouTube channels that I really enjoyed, and they tended to be rather left wing, but they rarely mentioned Islam, that is until the idea of Everybody Draw Muhammad day and the issue of the “Ground Zero Mosque” came up, which was years after 9/11 and the cartoon riots.

Even then, too often, I tended to just dismiss them unless I already agreed with them. I got to the point where I really did not want to admit I was wrong. Maybe I didn’t want to admit I was being a bigot.

Case in point, when atheist YouTuber and foe of creationists everywhere, “Thunderf00t” came out in support for Everybody Draw Muhammad day, and made at least one anti “Ground Zero Mosque” video, I tended to dismiss the arguments that other, better, Youtuber skeptics made against him.

I admired “ThunderF00t,” for his strong stance for science and reason and against the “backwardness of Islam.” Ironically I would eventually come to respect and admire the people on YouTube who opposed him like Coughlin 666 (now Coughlin 616 and Coughlin 000) and Ujames1978 (now Ujames1978Forever and Pirus The God Slayer).

I was a horrible skeptic to say the least. For a long time I fell for just about every single prominent Loon.

I believed most of the things that they said, and it seemed like there were just so many “former Muslims” out there talking about how “evil” Islam is, and how the West was destined to be Islamized if we did not do anything to stop it, because there were just so many fanatical Muslims out there determined to force us to convert or submit. I used to really admire Wafa Sultan and, although I thought Walid Shoebat‘s fundamentalist Christian beliefs were a bit nonsensical to say the least, I never doubted that he really was a “former Muslim terrorist” until much later.

I had managed to entrap myself in my own nightmarish digital web of Islamophobia.

LW: What effect, if any did self-proclaimed Muslim supporters of Robert Spencer, such as Zuhdi Jasser have on you?

CD: They actually encouraged me to support the “counter jihad movement” early on and likely contributed to my own Islamophobia, but ironically and counter-intuitively they also were one of the factors that prevented me from seeing all Muslims as the enemy.

Let me explain.

By doing the things that he did, such as being the host of the Clarion Fund‘s anti-Muslim propaganda film, “The Third Jihad,”Jasser likely convinced a lot of people that there really was a conspiracy among American Muslims to “Islamize” the country. Some Islamophobic websites link to his organization, the “American Islamic Forum for Democracy,” and they use it as a way of claiming that they’re not really bigoted against Muslims because some Muslims support them and vice versa.

This certainly reinforced all of my fears, but at the same time, since I couldn’t come up with what I thought would be a good reason for him to be lying about this, it encouraged me to think that not all Muslims were bad. In fact, he was one of the few Muslims that I was certain was not lying to me.

Ironically, I didn’t lose respect for Jasser even while other anti-Muslim bigots tried to convince me that he was really a Stealth Jihadist as well. The only thing that made me completely lose respect for him was something he did after I left the “anti-jihad” movement, when he made a video defending Lowes at the moment they gave into intimidation and pressure from anti-Muslim bigots to drop support for the show “All American Muslim.” I was no longer an Islamophobe at that point and was in fact trying to fight anti-Muslim bigotry.

I’m not sure if Jasser is a “self hating Muslim” for lack of a better term, but he may be a useful idiot for Islamophobes. I have come across multiple instances where Islamophobes accused him of being a Stealth Jihadist as well, just because he’s a Muslim, they think he is lying to them and that he really supports groups like AlQaeda. What he and his organization are doing is perpetuating baseless conspiracy theories about Muslims, and he won’t convince Islamophobes who are already convinced that he’s the enemy that he’s a friend.

In fact, if he ever comes to see how baseless the Stealth Jihad conspiracy really is, and turns around and stops supporting “counter jihadists,” then a bunch of people who used to support him will become  convinced that he really was a stealth Jihadist all along.

LW: What changed your mind? Was it a single event or a process over time?

CD: It was a process, but there were some definite events.

I recall these events not in any particular order:

Even before 9/11, I considered myself a conservative, but I had some views that were not stereotypical of a conservative. For one thing I was a supporter of the separation of Church and State. I considered myself a secularist and a skeptic. I may have rightfully rejected things like scientific creationism, but a good skeptic would never have fallen for someone like Spencer or Geller, or if they had, they would have had too many doubts as soon as they started talking about things like the Stealth Jihad, or learned that they had their “scholarly” work published in the same series of books that promoted creationism and other forms of pseudoscience.

When I learned that Spencer’s, “Politically Incorrect Guide to the Crusades,” had been published by the same people who published “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Creationism and Intelligent Design,” it should have set off some red flags, but I had allowed myself to become too convinced that he was correct by then, and that he was a “real scholar.”

I was shocked when secularist groups like American’s United For the Separation of Church and State actually came out against the anti-Sharia’ legislation. I assumed they would support such laws, because in my mind it was fighting for secularism. The problem was that since I believed in those nonsensical anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, I actually believed that Muslim fanatics were a greater threat to our freedom than the religious right.

Like all bigots I was closed minded, but maybe not as closed minded as some. Part of the problem was that I was getting most of my information on Islam and Muslims from right-wing sources and they were incredibly biased. It made it look like there was a large number of Muslims out to take over the world. While I’m certain there are some blogs out there run by genuine right wing anti-loons, I didn’t come across too many. When I happened to come across a video debunking the claim that Muslims were likely to become the majority through immigration I began to doubt it for the first time.

Earlier, I came across another more “moderate critic” of Islam who went by the user name, “Klingschor.”  He started out as a supporter of Robert Spencer and at one time had favorited the ridiculous “Three Things You Probably Don’t Know About Islam” video on his YouTube channel.  However, as Klingschor got more educated, he eventually turned against Spencer. He created a video supporting the “Ground Zero Mosque,” and Imam Rauf, where he viciously attacked Spencer and Geller for being bigots.  (The video is no longer on his channel, although now I wish he’d repost the original or remake it).  I admired Spencer and Geller and I was convinced that Rauf was a “stealth jihadist,” so this shocked me, since I admired Klingschor as well and he didn’t seem pro-Islam to me. I wondered why he wasn’t convinced as I was that Rauf was up to no good and why he had suddenly turned on Spencer and Geller.  I had trouble explaining it.

In addition, I began to realize that if things did not change, a lot of innocent people were going to get hurt, and not by Muslim jihadists. I knew that not all Muslims were our enemies, and I would sometimes get into arguments with other people who held worse views than I did; people who wanted to nuke Mecca and kill every single Muslim on the planet.

Even when I pointed out to them how innocent people would be killed, it did not phase them. These nuke Mecca/kill all Muslims people were so bad that I saw them as anti-Muslim bigots even when I was an anti-Muslim bigot. That’s how bad they were.

Then something else happened, something that was somewhat of a watershed moment.

Most people in the “counter Jihad movement” assumed Anders Breivik was a Muslim when news of his rampage first came out. I was not really that shocked by the fact that he was not a Muslim, since I knew non-Muslim terrorists existed, but I was shocked by his motive.

He went on his rampage and murdered innocent people including many children, believing it was necessary to stop the Islamization of Europe. Of course excuses were made for Spencer and Geller not being responsible, and I bought into them at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that their rhetoric did nothing to discourage a Breivik.

Even if Breivik got his beliefs from somewhere else, he idolized Spencer and Geller and was an avid supporter, not to mention other prominent figures in the “counter Jihad Movement.” If anything, they encouraged his behavior even if they did not specifically tell him to commit violent acts.

It was also about this time that I found out that a couple of the lesser known Islamophobes that I admired were racists.  No one you’ve probably heard of, just a couple of nobodies really, but I had admired them and thought they were smarter than they actually were. This was another shock to my system because I had really respected them, and I had always regarded racism as abhorrent and stupid. I instantly lost respect for them.

Plus I saw a video by Coughlin 616, called “Pamela Geller Busted.” Although at the time I thought he was wrong to oppose Geller and believed he was far too concerned with neo-Nazis as compared to Jihadists, I decided to watch the video. After watching it, and checking Coughlin’s sources, I realized that he had proven that Geller was a liar. What’s more she might have been covering for Breivik or someone like him. I suddenly had a lot more respect for Coughlin and a lot less respect for Geller.

In the meantime, I saw more videos by Klingscor, and another Youtube atheist critic of Islam, CEMBadmins, that actually debunked some common Islamophobic claims. One of them was taqiya, both of them made videos on the subject thoroughly debunking the claim that taqiya is lying for Islam and that Muslims are more likely to lie than non Muslims.

CEMBadmins really made it hard for me to continue to believe in the taqiya conspiracy since he was not only a critic of Islam, but an ex-Muslim. In his video, he talked about a poll taken of members of the Council of Ex-Muslims (his organization) and it turned out that most of them had never even heard of taqiya, and those that had regarded it as a defensive mechanism to protect themselves from persecution, not lying to promote Islam like I had been taught by others in the “counter jihad movement.”

I thought to myself, “Why would ex-Muslims lie for Islam?” It slowly began to hit me just how wrong people like Spencer were on the subject.

Soon, I saw a couple of videos on Muslims who helped save Jews during the Holocaust. At least one of them I came across on Loonwatch. Although I always knew there were at least some rare instances when Muslims helped non Muslims, I had no idea that so many Muslims had done so much at one time to help a large group of non-Muslims. I was slowly realizing just how much the evil done by Muslims to non Muslims like myself in the name of Islam was exaggerated by people in the “counter jihad movement,” and how much they ignored the good done by Muslims in the name of Islam.

The final nail in the coffin for my support for those “counter jihad” blogs and Spencer and Geller was when I realized that Islam has not traditionally endorsed terrorism.  When I found Loonwatch and looked at the actual statistics for the first time I realized that very few terrorists in the United States and Europe were even Muslims.

I came to realize just how wrong I was, and I felt an odd combination of happiness and relief as well as guilt and shame, simultaneously.

LW: Why do you spend so much time trying to help fight anti-Muslim bigotry now?

CD: For one thing, ever since I allowed myself to see the light, I have come to realize just how wrong I was. I’ve come to see that the people I once admired and supported like Geert Wilders are actually a greater threat to our freedom than the threat they claim to be fighting.

Since Stealth Jihad and Islamization are myths, there’s no need for any legislation to fight them. If anything, a lot of innocent people are going to be hurt by “counter jihadists” including innocent Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and for what? To fight imaginary conspiracy theories?

Also, the Christian religious right is more likely to turn America into a theocracy. With Muslims at less than one percent of the American population, they don’t have the numbers to do so, even if they all wanted to. In fact, I now understand that as someone who normally wouldn’t support the religious right, by trying so hard to fight the imaginary threat of Islamization, I made myself a useful idiot of the religious right. The same is true for any secularist who supports them out of fear of Jihadists taking over and turning the West into an Islamic theocracy.

Finally, I want to make up for the mistake of supporting the “counter jihadists.” The only way I can clear my conscious now is to actively oppose the people and organizations I once endorsed. I feel a lot of guilt, I did and said a lot of things that I regret now.

LW: Do you have any suggestions for those who still admire bloggers like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller?

CD: If you want to hear people criticize Islam, look for people who are not bigots, and do not believe in nonsensical conspiracy theories, like “the stealth Jihad.” Make sure they reject the idea that Islam teaches Muslims to lie to promote their faith and that Muslims are more likely to lie than non Muslims. Find people who are at least trying to be objective and who avoid making sweeping generalizations about Muslims.

Also listen to what Muslims have to say about themselves, their politics, their philosophy and their faith. In many cases it will be completely counter to the negative stereotypes. Let me use someone who appears on Loonwatch from time to time as an example.

When I first saw “Dawah Films”  respond to “Thunderf00t,” I saw it only through the eyes of “Thunderf00t.” I thought he was threatening to kill him for criticizing his religion, but when I actually watched other videos he made, and talked to him about it, years later, I realized how radically different his motives actually were. Contrary to the way “Thunderf00t” portrayed him, he supported free speech and he even defended another YouTuber, “ZOMGitscriss,” against death threats from genuine Muslim extremists, when she made some minor criticisms of Islam.

In addition to listening to Muslims and moderate, rational critics of Islam, you should also take an Islamic Studies course at an accredited university, if you have the time. I’m hoping to do that, since contrary to what I used to believe, I don’t know much about Islam, and if I’m going to fight anti-Muslim bigotry, I’m going to have to know more about Islam and its history. If you can’t do that, or even if you can do that, in addition, try to find a few books about Islam written by genuine scholars who studied Islam within academia.

LW: How did you find Loonwatch?

CD: I believe I first heard about Loonwatch on a conservative blog that I used to visit from time to time.

The person behind the blog wrote a story critiquing something you wrote, but I don’t remember if I read it or not, but either way, I didn’t check his sources, so I didn’t find out what Loonwatch was until much later, after I left the “counter Jihad” movement.

After I stopped being an Islamophobe, I wanted to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and I started looking around and I came across Loonwatch and its sister site, SpencerWatch. However, I did notice that “Dawah Films” recommends you guys on his channel, but I can’t remember if I clicked on his link before or after I did a Google search.

LW: Do you regularly visit any other anti-bigotry sites, and if so, which ones?

CD: I really think the Southern Poverty Law Center is an excellent resource, especially if you include their blog “HateWatch.” The anti-Defamation League is also generally a good anti-bigotry organization. I know the American Civil Liberties Union does not specialize in fighting bigotry, but they do a very good job of protecting civil liberties including the civil liberties of minorities. More recently I started exploring Sheila Musaji’s “The American Muslim,” which also does a good job debunking anti Muslim myths as well.

I’d also recommend more than a few Youtube channels that have done a lot to fight irrational hatred and bigotry. I’ve already mentioned Coughlan and Ujames1978Forever’s channels, and would like to add EvoGenVideos and HannibaltheVictor13. EvoGenVideos is a genetics student who sometimes uses his scientific knowledge to debunk racists. HannibaltheVictor13 is an anthropologist who has also debunked racists.

LW: Is there any meaning behind your nickname, Critical Dragon1177, that you’d like to share?

CD: When I realized how wrong I was to support the “counter Jihad” movement, I also realized that I had said some incredibly stupid and often bigoted things that I was ashamed of. Plus I wanted to disassociate from those bigoted anti-Muslim blogs that I used to visit.

In order to do what I wanted to do, I needed a new user name. I made a new years resolution to be a better skeptic.

I realized that the biggest reason that I fell for what Islamophobes were telling me, and continued to believe them for so long, despite the overwhelming evidence against what they were saying was my lack of critical thinking on the matter. My story is really about the danger of not thinking critically, and of giving into your emotions.

That’s where the first part of my user name comes from. I added ‘Dragon’ because I like fantasy, and I love fantasy creatures. The numbers were added just in case someone else had that name.

LW: In conclusion is there anything else you would like to share with the LW audience?

CD: I’ve read a book called A World Without Islam that I highly recommend. It’s by Graham E. Fuller.

According to his biography over at Amazon.com,

“Graham E. Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, a former senior political scientist at RAND, and a current adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University. He is the author of numerous books about the Middle East, including The Future of Political Islam. He has lived and worked in the Muslim world for nearly two decades.”

In his book, “A World without Islam,” Fuller goes a long way to debunk the claim that we are at war with Islam, and that Islam is the cause of terrorism and our problems involving Muslims and Muslim majority societies.

I haven’t read any of his other books, but based on this one, he’s largely anti Robert Spencer, and he has far better credentials than him. In fact if I had read something like this book just after 9/11 instead of going to all those bigoted “counter jihad” sites, I don’t think I would have taken people like Spencer seriously at all.

It was recommended to me by my friend, Klingschor, along with another book by Tamim Ansary called “Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes,” which I’ve started reading as well.

I also have a friend on Youtube that I would like to introduce, he goes by the user name, Ramio1983. He’s made at least one video fighting anti-Muslim bigotry, and I think he’s working on another one, maybe someone here could help him.

LW: Thank you, CriticalDragon, for sharing your story here on Loonwatch, and for joining the fight against bigotry.

CD: You’re Welcome.  I’m pleased to be able to share my story.  My hope  is that it will help someone else to see the truth.

Round 2: THE 99 Superheroes Vs. The Loons

Wham! Bam! Islam!

By Ilisha

Last October, the loons were celebrating a small victory in their epic battle against THE 99 Comic Stealth Jihad:

THE 99 is an animated series featuring superheroes inspired by Islamic culture and society. The series was scheduled to launch in the US last week on the The Hub children’s television network, but producers have since announced the broadcast will be postponed indefinitely. Vicious anti-Muslim bigots everywhere are gleeful, boasting that their small but boisterous outcry may have prompted the delay.

The New York Post published a scathing article by outrage peddler Andrea Peyser criticizing the series and calling on anti-Muslim bigots to protest loudly so they can “cancel THE 99 before it starts.”  Peyser says the series will indoctrinate impressionable young children with Sharia-compliant Muslim superheroes “masquerading as the good guys.”

For Peyser the Hateful, Muslims are always super villains, so characters who represent the 99 virtues of God in the Qur’an will naturally use their powers to wage the ultimate jihad. She conjures up fearsome images of Jabbar the Powerful dishing out a mean stoning, and Darr the Afflicter venting his rage on hapless dhimmis

…Despite all the controversy, Dr. Al-Mutawa remains optimistic.  He has faced many hurdles in the last eight years, and his frustrations have been chronicled in the PBS documentary Wham! Bam! Islam!  ”One way or the other,” he says, “‘The 99′ will get on air in the U.S.”

Read the rest: THE 99 Superheroes Vs. The Loons

Now it seems professional outage peddler and hate sophisticate, Daniel Pipes, has at last detected THE 99 Comic Stealth Jihad and taken up the battle in his alarmist article, Islam’s Cartoon Missionaries:

Comic books as a method of missionizing for Islam (da’wa)?

Yes. One year ago, Harvard University hosted a workshop to teach comic book artists how to address Americans’ “unease with Islam and the Middle East.” And later this week, Georgetown University will air a PBS documentary, Wham! Bam! Islam! celebrating a comic book called The 99.

The 99 sounds innocuous. Adweek describes its topic as “a team of multinational superheroes [who] band together to fight the forces of evil.” The American children’s network Hub more fully explains that, “Created by noted Middle East scholar and clinical psychologist Dr. Naif al-Mutawa, [it consists of] superhero characters who must work together to maximize their powers. Each member of The 99embodies one of 99 global values such as wisdom, mercy, strength or faithfulness, and they hail from 99 different countries on seven continents. The series’ superheroes portray characters designed to be positive role models, representing diverse cultures, who work together to promote peace and justice.”

Who can object to the promotion of “global values … representing diverse cultures”?

But a closer look reveals the Islamic nature of the comic book. The title, 99, refers to Islam’s concept that God has 99 names, each of which appears in the Koran and embodies some attribute of His character: the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Kind, the Most Holy, and the All-Peaceful, but also the Avenger, the Afflicter, and the Causer of Death.

The comic book, produced by the Teshkeel Media Group of Kuwait, tells a partly-factual, partly-fantastical tale that begins in 1258 A.D., when the Mongols besieged Baghdad. Librarians supposedly saved the wisdom of the city’s main library by encoding it in 99 gems that get scattered around the world. The heroes must find these “gems of power” before an arch-villain does. Each of them is an ordinary Muslim who, through contact with a gem, achieves superhuman powers and represents one of God’s 99 attributes.

The superheroes are all Muslims (i.e., not Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist), some of whom come from Western countries like the United States and Portugal. In contrast, villains are primarily non-Muslims….

….Likewise, Barack Obama praised the comic books for having “captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam.” An Islamic investment bank whose products “fully comply with Shari’ah principles” invested US$15.9 million in Teshkeel and complimented it for “highlighting Islam’s rich culture and heritage.”

In short, The 99, available in both Arabic and English, contains overtly Islamic content and explicitly promotes Islam. Granted, its Islam has modern aspects, but among non-Muslims the series engages in surreptitious da’wa.

In addition to the comic books, Al-Mutawa has developed some spinoffs (online comics, games, lunch boxes, and theme parks) and envisages others (newspaper comics, stickers, and perhaps toys). But most of all, he wants an animated cartoon. Although the Hub network planned in 2011 to air The 99, this never happened, largely because criticism caused it to shy away from a show instilling “Islamic values in Christian, Jewish and atheist children.”

In short, to the Islamic indoctrination of Western children, already present in schools through textbooks ,additional school materials, and classroom trips, now add comic books and their many spin-offs, actual and potential. The 99 might be fine for Muslim children but, support from Georgetown University notwithstanding, non-Muslim children should not be exposed to missionizing propaganda of this sort.

Will THE 99 Comic Stealth Jihad succeed and lure our children into the clutches of the Mooslem supervillains?!? What are we to do now that Pipes the Courageous has revealed that even our Secret-Mooslem-President, Barak HUSSEIN Obama, is in on the plot?!?

Quick! Someone call Spencer Man and Geller Woman

The 19The 19: Spencer Man and Geller Woman..ugh.

…or before you can say derka derka Mohammed jihad, ”our children” will be snubbing pork rinds, and Mooslamic theme parks will be springing up like mosques in the heartland.

As Geert Wilders Star Fades in Europe, He Hopes to Make it in America

I have the strange sense that Geert Wilders ‘star’ is fading. The momentum from Fitna, the anti-immigrant rhetoric, the calls for deporting Muslims has been blunted by the departure of his former friend Brinkman, the embarrassment over the anti-Polish site his party created and other such incidents. This does not mean that he is less of a force for bigotry but for the moment it seems we may have reached a downward curve in his rise.

In America Wilders will have more luck, and will make tons of money scamming not just poor Christian right-wingers but also the small, rich anti-Muslim cadre who hang on his every word.

If fake ex-terrorist Walid Shoebat can still rake in cold hard cash from Bible thumpers even when it is well known that he is a liar, how much better will the peroxide-dyed anti-Muslim politician do?

Update (via. Al-Bakrastani): The government his (Wilders) Fascist party supported has crashed and most likely new elections will decimate his party.

(via. Hugo Treeds) Today he blew up Dutch governement and yesterday his party blew itself up in his home-district of Limburg. Almost weekly party representatives now leave the party and decimate his powerbase in cities and provinces. So your analysis very probably is correct and he will try to flee the mess he made over here in The Netherlands. So America, beware!

Wilders’ new book aimed at US market may appeal only to his ‘small, rich and fanatical group of followers’

A new book by Geert Wilders aimed at the American market is not due to be officially launched until May 1, but details gleaned from advance and review copies are already doing the rounds.

The book is entitled Marked for Death, Islam’s war against the West and me and according to Wilders’ own website ‘tells the story of Geert Wilders’ fight for the right to speak what he believes: namely that Islam is not just a religion but primarily a dangerous ideology which is a threat to Western freedoms.’

The book will be officially presented at an as-yet secret location in the US, and is regarded by some as Wilders’ calling card to America. The Dutch MP has made no secret of his international ambitions and is keen to launch and International Freedom Alliance, he said last year.

Magazine HP/De Tijd looks at one incident in the book in which Wilders writes how he was robbed by “three Arab youths” in the Utrecht district of Kanaleneiland – an area of poor housing and high unemployment.

In fact, the robbery took place in a more upmarket part of town several kilometres away the magazine says, citing references to the incident in a biography of Wilders published several years ago.

Tom Kleijn, Washington correspondent for television show Nieuwsuur says the book is a dry, almost academic recount of “how Wilders has become what he is”. The book even contains an index and sources, he points out. “Wilders has a small, rich and fanatical group of followers in America,” Kleijn said. “But it remains to be seen if this book will boost Wilders’ popularity.”

Current Dutch president Mark Rutte is not mentioned once, but Wilders states five times that he and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch Somali Muslim critic who now works for a US think-tank, are of the same opinion, Kleijn points out.

Nos correspondent Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal describes how Wilders emphasises his admiration for former US president Ronald Reagan and states current president Barack Obama is a dhimmi – a submissive non-Muslim in a Muslim state.

Zuhdi Jasser: Shill For Islamophobes Resorts to Projection and Deflection

Zuhdi Jasser, the useful tool of Islamophobes everywhere has faced increasing and sustained opposition to his appointment to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The USCIRF was, as the ACLU reported, created and guided by ‘special interests’ and has a history of deep anti-Muslim bias,

[S]ince its inception, the commission’s been beset by controversy. People who watch the commission closely say it was created to satisfy special interests, which has led to bias in the commission’s work. Past commissioners and staff have reported that the commission is “rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism.” They’ve said that commissioners focus “on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background.” In particular, past commissioners and staff reported ”an anti-Muslim bias runs through the Commission’s work.”

In this context it is not surprising that a Zuhdi Jasser should be appointed. However, the biased nature of the USCIRF does not take away from the very troubling aspects of Jasser’s appointment, no US governmental organization should be used and abused in this manner.

What is interesting this time around is that all pretense to objectivity has fallen and the ‘work’ of the USCIRF will forever be tainted.

A petition calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment has received nearly 3000 signatures, (I urge everyone to sign it and pass it along. We need to be more active than the hate-mongers!)

In response to the large push back against the biased nature of the USCIRF and Jasser’s appointment, Jasser is trying to hit back, smearing everyone who sheds light on his alliance with hate-mongers and anti-Freedom positions as evil, fifth-column “Islamists.”

Classic case of projecting while deflecting

On the only medium that will let Jasser spew his fact-less innuendo unopposed, i.e Right-Wing media such as “The Daily Caller,” Jasser  says,

“You could actually use the list of people protesting us, it’s a pretty good list of some of the leaders of the Islamist movement in America.”

No surprise here, what else do you expect from the main protagonist of what has been lampooned as a bigoted, fear-mongering anti-Muslim film: The Third Jihad.

The article, written by one Caroline May goes on to claim that,

Last week 64 Muslim organizations — including Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) — expressed “deep concern” with Jasser’s appointment in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

The only problem for May and Jasser is that it wasn’t only Muslim organizations (or ‘Islamists’ as they would have it) but also non-Muslim organizations calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment. It was a veritable coalition of Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious organizations:

More than 50 Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious groups asked leading senators on Thursday (April 12) to rescind the appointment of an outspoken Muslim activist, Zuhdi Jasser, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

But facts, those pesky things, why let them get in the way right? So, Jasser goes on to say,

Jasser contends, however, that the real enemy of religious freedom is the coalition of groups opposing him.

Classic projection and deflection. Instead of answering the very real concerns leveled against him, Jasser clams up, hoping the “Islamist” label will stick on his opponents and that the attention will subside.

To this day Jasser has not answered the following very specific concerns expressed by those dismayed that he would even been considered for the USCIRF:

1.) Most problematically, Jasser allies himself with and receives funding from anti-Muslim organizations and personalities who work tirelessly to curb the religious and civil liberties of Muslims in the USA.

Jasser’s organization has received funding, to the tune of $100,000 from a major backer of Rick Santorum, Foster Friess. Friess was featured as one of the major backers of Islamophobic organizations in the Center for American Progress‘s groundbreaking report, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.

According to the Washington Post,

“Jasser received a $100,000 donation from Christian conservative financier Foster Friess, who is now bankrolling the super-PAC supporting Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. Jasser declined to elaborate on exactly how much Friess had given AIFD, though he said the financier contributed $70,000 to his organization in 2010 for a Muslim youth retreat hosted by the group. (Friess told MSNBC that he was backing Santorum because he is ‘incredibly versed in one of the number one issues of our time—and that is violent Islamic extremism.’)”

Jasser told Mother Jones that the AIFD had accepted $5,000 from the Center for Security Policy:

“The center published a report in 2010 warning that American Muslims are seeking to replace the Constitution with a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The “expert” in Islamic religious law cited in the report, an attorney named David Yerushalmi, is responsible for authoring draft anti-Shariah legislation that has served as a blueprint for anti-Shariah laws across the US. Yerushalmi has suggested that “acting in furtherance of Islam” should be a felony.”

Mother Jones also reports that,

“Jasser said his group has also received a one-time, unsolicited donation of $10,000 from the Clarion Fund, which is associated with Aish HaTorah, a right-wing Israeli group described by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic as ‘just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today.’

The Clarion Fund has released several films that warn of Muslim conspiracies to reestablish a global caliphate. Jasser is a Clarion board member and in 2008 narrated a documentary bankrolled by the group called The Third Jihad, which darkly warns that Muslim extremists are attempting to “infiltrate and dominate America,” a conspiracy implicating most prominent American Muslim organizations. The New York Times reported that the film was shown to thousands of NYPD officers as part of their counterterrorism training, which the police department later apologized for.”

2.) In another blow to the religious liberties and freedoms of American Muslims, Jasser’s organization the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) supports state wide legislative bans on Muslim personal religious practice relating to: marriage, prayer, wills, etc. Jasser’s organization has published press releases “applauding” such legislation, which many, including US Courts have considered unconstitutional infringements on the religious liberties of Muslims.

3.) Jasser was outspoken in his opposition to an interfaith and Islamic Center in Manhattan, supporting efforts to block it from being built, remarking that, “This center is trying to change the narrative of 9/11 — to diminish what happened at Ground Zero.”

4.) Jasser’s advocacy and support for the NYPD’s illegal profiling and secret surveillance program targeting Muslims for monitoring at their houses of worship, businesses and universities is not only unconscionable but contradicts the USCIRF’s purported goals of reviewing “the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.” 

Jasser deflects from the above points and questions about his sordid relationship with those who undermine religious freedom here in the US because his real purpose is to be a shill for the Right-Wing propaganda machine.

Articles like the one in the Daily Caller are not meant to inform or provide analysis, but are geared specifically to justifying Right-Wing and Conservative causes. The Conservative audience is expected to swallow them whole and regurgitate it to the rest of the sheep, preserving and securing the echo chamber.

Joshua Haddow: Hate the Thought of Muslims Being Near You? Call Mosquebusters

We did an article on the ridiculous organization known as the Mosquebusters not too long ago. They have since changed their name to the less sexy, Law and Freedom Foundation. Their whole purpose is to use the UK equivalent of zoning laws to protest Mosque construction.

Below Vice.com interviewed director Spike Johnson went undercover and caught a lot of their extremism and loonieness:

HATE THE THOUGHT OF MUSLIMS BEING NEAR YOU? CALL MOSQUEBUSTERS

by Joshua Haddow (Vice.com)

Ever heard of Mosquebusters? It was the original nom de guerre of a gang of jerks who have vowed to help British Islamophobes oppose any plans the Muslims might have to erect big, fat mosques in their particular enclave of Albion.

But Mosquebusters don’t do this by turning at up building sites when all that’s left to do is put the crown on the minaret, or by driving bulldozers menacingly around mostly-Islamic neighbourhoods at night. They use planning permission, or rather they support anyone who wants to protest when planning permission is granted for mosques to be built. They’ve been really, really successful at it, too, citing things like a non-regulation number of parking spaces to baffle mosque planners into bureaucratic failure.

In an attempt to dent Mosquebusters’ 100 percent win rate, last year Spike Johnson (who went to the gypsy eviction at Dale Farm for us last year) spent a day working undercover with the organisation, which has now changed its name to the more corporate-friendly Law and Freedom Foundation. I spoke to Spike about his time with this secretive cabal of white-collar bigots.

VICE: Hey Spike, how are you? 
Spike: Hey, I’m good thanks.

How did you discover Mosquebusters?
I started looking at extremism for a story. On the EDL website, they have links to all kinds of pseudo-racist things. One of them was an advert asking for people to do volunteer work for Mosquebusters, but it’s gone now – at some point, they just began to shut down all their websites.

So do they still exist?
Oh, they still exist, definitely. They’re using the new name now: the Law and Freedom Foundation. It’s run by the same guys and it’s the same company.

So you applied as a volunteer to try to get access to them?
Yep. Gavin Boby – who runs Mosquebusters – was interviewing me. I was going to accompany him to court hearings and video the proceedings. He was beginning to get a lot of attention and wanted video evidence of things. To start with, I had access for maybe 24 hours and he sent me all of their instructions on how to do what they do and all of that crap. But then he figured out who I was and he shut me down.

So they try to keep what they do secret, despite a logo with a cartoon Abu Hamza on it and a name like “Mosquebusters”?
Yeah.

Is any of what they do illegal?
No, it’s all completely legal. I just think they realised that the majority of the population frown upon what they do.

You used the word “insidious” in your original investigation into what Mosquebusters do. What do you think is more damaging to the Muslim community – Islamophobes using bureaucracy to quash plans for mosques, or EDL numbskulls shouting insults at them in the street?
The former, for sure. And they realise it as well. You know, they’re not stamping their feet, they’re not waving flags. They’re being a bit quiet and cerebral about it. They realise that in order to make a change they have to go about these things from kind of a lateral route.

What did the members of the EDL that you spoke to think of Mosquebusters?
I went to a few rallies and the guys on the street don’t really know about Mosquebusters. Lately, I think Gavin Boby has been trying to distance himself from the EDL. The Mosquebusters don’t want that kind of publicity, they want to keep really quiet behind the scenes.

Did you speak to any of the everyday Islamophobes who’d used Mosquebusters’ petitions to complain about a mosque being built?
Yeah. I followed the case of this mosque that some Muslims were trying to build in West London. The people making the complaints against it sent Mosquebusters’ pre-written petition to the council.
http://youtu.be/wo6Ky6VDb_s
Continue reading at Vice.com…

Kevin Forts: One of Anders Breivik’s US Admirers

Imagine if a Muslim were corresponding with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, expressing support for his terroristic actions, wouldn’t he be locked up for material support of terrorism?

Kevin Forts is not the only US Breivik admirer out there:

Breivik’s US admirer

The young man has black hair and a piercing gaze, and poses with his arms behind his back. He wants to appear decisive and courageous for the photographer. His parents and friends have tried to dissuade him from taking this step, says Kevin Forts from Worcester in the US state of Massachusetts. “But I want to, so that I can represent the views of Anders Breivik that have otherwise been demonized by the mass media,” the 23-year-old told reporters from the Norwegian tabloid VG, the country’s most-read newspaper.

In a major story the newspaper reveals that Forts shares the views of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. “I represent a nationalist alternative, just like Breivik,” he says. Forts writes letters to the assassin and exchanges ideas with him. As proof he shows off one letter the mass murderer wrote him from his prison cell.

Breivik praises the somewhat haggard looking American. VG quotes from the letter Breivik reportedly sent to Forts, in which he writes: “I have received letters from supporters in 20 countries, but you appear to be someone who can write well. Yes, I am absolutely interested in discussing ideological issues with you and am thinking about how we can work together.”

It could be a craving for attention that is now pushing the young American into the public eye. Since the attacks of July 22, 2011, the right-wing, anti-Islam scene has largely retreated from the digital public sphere. Its protagonists, who until then had used the Internet for regular exchanges, have rushed to distance themselves from Breivik’s acts. Chief among them is Fjordman, a Norwegian blogger, who until the killings had regularly exchanged ideas with Breivik and is considered to be a kind of ideological mentor to him. “It should be painfully obvious by now that Breivik does not care for anything greater than himself,” the anti-Islam author wrote in his blog of the ongoing trial this week.

Most are distancing themselves from Breivik, but not Kevin Forts. In a video of the interview posted on the VG website on Wednesday in which he explained why he is defending the murders, Forts said: “I believe it demonstrates a sense of nationalism and a moral conscience. He’s fighting against cultural Marxism and the Islamization of Norway and he found that the most rational way to accomplish that was through terrorist actions on Utøya and in Oslo.”

When asked how one could defend the murder of innocent children, Forts added: “Because I believe that he used it as an unprecedented attack. I don’t believe that it should occur again, but I do believe that it was atrocious but necessary in that it has raised awareness for it and Breivik did that with the executions.”

Forts says he believes Breivik is a “nationalist and a patriot and not the terrorist neo-Nazi that the media portrays him to be.” He continues by saying, “Now, all you see is the shock and the gore on Utøya and in Oslo, but you do not see the actual political ramifications that will come true in the future. I believe that, at that point, it will be impossible to hate Breivik, and you will see that he was actually acting in a matter of preemptive war.”

Spiegel Online, 18 April 2012

Associated Press Interviews Marine Le Pen

Associated Press interviews Marine Le Pen

She calls herself the “voice of the people,” the anti-system candidate who will ensure social justice for the have-nots and purify a France she says is losing its voice to Europe and threatened by massive immigration and rampant Islamization.

She wants to drastically reduce the number of immigrants – to 10,000 a year – and, a top theme, to crack down for good on what she claims is the growing footprint of Islamic fundamentalists in France. “They are advancing in the neighborhoods. They are putting pressure on the population. They are recruiting young boys” to train for jihad, she said.

Le Pen insisted that fighting so-called Islamization won’t breed a mass killer such as Anders Behring Breivik, the anti-Muslim extremist who is now on trial in Norway after confessing to killing 77 people. The fight must not stop “out of fear of a crazy man,” she said.

Le Pen cites as proof of the Islamist threat in France the case of Mohamed Merah, a young Frenchman of Algerian origin who last month killed three French paratroopers, a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren before he was shot dead by police trying to capture him.

She also refuses to be categorized as extreme right, saying that her party is populist.

The image Marine Le Pen projects is less linked to the extreme-right than that of her father, said Nonna Meyer, an expert on the extreme-right vote at the prestigious university Sciences Po.

“She’s younger, she’s a woman, she condemns anti-Semitism. She often says things differently than her father,” Meyer said. “She says she is tolerant, it is Islam that is intolerant … She upends the discourse. But the foundation of the program is the same. If you look at the values her party defends, it is a system at once authoritarian and rejecting of others, rejecting the difference.”

Associated Press, 18 April 2012