Sunando Sen Shoved to His Death by Woman Who Hates “Muslims and Hindus”

Subway Push Death

(h/t:JD)

NYC Subway Shoving Death: One Woman In Custody

NEW YORK — A woman who told police she shoved a man to his death off a subway platform into the path of a train because she has hated Muslims since Sept. 11 and thought he was one was charged Saturday with murder as a hate crime, prosecutors said.

Erika Menendez was charged in the death of Sunando Sen, who was crushed by a 7 train in Queens on Thursday night, the second time this month a commuter has died in such a nightmarish fashion.

Menendez, 31, was awaiting arraignment on the charge Saturday evening, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. She could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted. She was in custody and couldn’t be reached for comment, and it was unclear if she had an attorney.

Menendez, who was arrested after a tip by a passer-by who saw her on a street and thought she looked like the woman in a surveillance video released by police, admitted shoving Sen, who was pushed from behind, authorities said.

“I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up,” Menendez told police, according to the district attorney’s office.

Sen was from India, but police said it was unclear if he was Muslim, Hindu or of some other faith. The 46-year-old lived in Queens and ran a printing shop. He was shoved from an elevated platform on the 7 train line, which connects Manhattan and Queens. Witnesses said a muttering woman rose from her seat on a platform bench and pushed him on the tracks as a train entered the station and then ran off.

The two had never met before, authorities said, and witnesses told police they hadn’t interacted on the platform.

Police released a sketch and security camera video showing a woman running from the station where Sen was killed.

Menendez was arrested by police earlier Saturday after a passer-by on a Brooklyn street spotted her and called 911. Police responded, confirmed her identity and took her into custody, where she made statements implicating herself in the crime, police spokesman Paul Browne said.

The district attorney said such hateful remarks about Muslims and Hindus could not be tolerated.

“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare,” he said.

On Dec. 3, another man was pushed to his death in a Times Square subway station. A photo of the man clinging to the edge of the platform a split second before he was struck by a train was published on the front page of the New York Post, causing an uproar about whether the photographer, who was catching a train, or anyone else should have tried to help him.

A homeless man was arrested and charged with murder in that case. He claimed he acted in self-defense and is awaiting trial.

It’s unclear whether anyone tried – or could have tried – to help Sen on Thursday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday urged residents to keep Sen’s death in perspective as he touted new historic lows in the city’s annual homicide and shooting totals.

“It’s a very tragic case, but what we want to focus on today is the overall safety in New York,” Bloomberg told reporters following a police academy graduation.

But commuters still expressed concern over subway safety and shock about the arrest of Menendez on a hate crime charge.

“For someone to do something like that … that’s not the way we are made,” said David Green, who was waiting for a train in Manhattan. “She needs help.”

Green said he caught himself leaning over the subway platform’s edge and realized maybe he shouldn’t do that.

“It does make you more conscious,” he said of the deaths.

Such subway deaths are rare, but other high-profile cases include the 1999 fatal shoving of aspiring screenwriter Kendra Webdale by a former psychiatric patient. That case led to a state law allowing for more supervision of mentally ill people living outside institutions.

Racist Geert Wilders Promises to “Step Up International Anti-Islam Campaign”

geert-wilders (1)

After his party, the PVV completely failed to deliver anything to the Dutch people, Wilders is resorting to the tried and true method of attacking minorities in Holland and promising more war against Islam. He also made the hilarious comment that it is “Moroccan racism that they do not rob one another.”

Keep chugging away Geert! You will really take care of Islam this time, really!

Wilders to step up international anti-Islam campaign

(Dutch.News.nl)

PVV leader Geert Wilders is to step up his campaign against Islam in 2013, the parliamentarian told Nos television in an interview.

The fight against Islam is a mission for life, Wilders told the broadcaster.

Wilders said he would step up his fight against ‘the biggest sickness’ the Netherlands has had at home and internationally, ‘from Australia to America, from Switzerland to wherever.’

Wilders also again renewed his statement that the Netherlands has a ‘Moroccan problem’. It is Moroccan racism that they rarely rob each other, Wilders said.

Colorado faith leaders combat anti-Muslim ads with ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ campaign

Love thy neighbor launch

Colorado faith leaders combat anti-Muslim ads with ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ campaign

Standing in Denver’s main mosque on Christmas Eve, Christian, Muslim and Jewish community leaders launched an ad campaign promoting understanding and tolerance between the religious groups. “Love Thy Neighbor” ads on Denver buses are intended to combat anti-Muslim ads produced by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The controversial group attracted attention with hateful posters in New York subways and DC metro stations.

The Colorado Muslim Society paid $5,000 for the “Love Thy Neighbor” ads, which focus on love as “a shared concept in the three religions.” Other religious leaders and interfaith groups then publicly embraced the message:

They said the ad they unveiled — at a time on the calendar devoted to love and understanding — is meant to respond to recent national tragedies and to replace anti-Muslim ads placed on buses last month.

“Our country is in the midst of a lot of divisions,” Temple Emanuel Senior Rabbi Joe Black said.“Hatred is only going to further violence and the breakdown of society.”

Denver’s tolerance initiative follows the lead of many faith groups around the country protesting the Islamophobic ads. The Denver ads proclaim: “9,757 Deadly Islamic Attacks Since 9/11/01. It’s Not Islamophobia. It’s Islamorealism.” Colorado’s religious leaders also stood together in solidarity after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Public renunciation of anti-Muslim bigotry is much needed, as hate crimes against Muslims have held steady at a record high. Meanwhile, anti-Islamic rhetoric has become commonplace in mainstream media.

Think Progress, 25 December 2012

Meet Robert Spencer’s Fellow Christian Extremist: “Usama Dakdok”

Pastor Usama Dakdok, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

Pastor Usama Dakdok, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer

by Garibaldi

Robert Spencer is in his own right an extremist anti-Muslim who is motivated by a belief that he is in a militant Christian Crusade against Islam.

“We wanted Catholics to become informed about Islam because not only is Islam the church’s chief rival in terms of religion but Islam is a serious threat to the peace and well-being of the Western world in general.”

Spencer’s extremist allies in this cause are many, on the other side of the pond it’s the EDL, Geert Wilders, etc. and here in the USA it’s individuals like Pastor Usama Dakdok, who has said things like, every Muslim is a demon.” Dakdok has gotten high praise from Islamophobic rags such as the David Horowitz funded and operated FrontPageMag which described Dakdok as a “scholar.” Well, he must be, right? Just look at the company he’s in,

“scholars like Dakdok, Robert Spencer, Walid Shoebat”

Yup…Walid Shoebat. I’m willing to agree with this assessment by FrontPageMag, Spencer certainly is in the field of scholarship and caliber of the likes of Dakdok and Shoebat. I’m just waiting for these two to get blurbs from Spencer for any of their upcoming “scholarly” books.

Dakdok is also a presenter on the Aramaic Broadcasting Network (ABN), an anti-Islam extremist Christian proselytizing group that features Spencer very often, usually with him debating the likes of useful idiots Anjem Choudhary and Omer Bakri. Interestingly, Spencer still refuses to debate Danios.

Recently, Dakdok was speaking at a Tea Party conference in Ohio where he stated that we are “at war with Islam,” Barack Obama was the product of Muslim rape, Muslims were infiltrating the government, Muslims will kill children in America for not eating halal through beheading and other really vile nonsense. Of course Spencer will never repudiate these remarks or his association with Pastor Dakdok.

What’s disconcerting is all the applause and cheers Dakdok received at the Tea Party conference. (h/t: JD)

See Video: Tea Party Anti-Muslim Hate Comes to Ohio School

(Vimeo)

(CLEVELAND, OHIO, 12/19/12) – The Cleveland office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Ohio chapter (CAIR-Cleveland) today released a video highlighting anti-Muslim hate preached at a recent Tea Party event at a school in that state, which included claims that American Muslims “will kill your children” and that “we are in war with Islam.”

At the December 10 event, titled “Infiltration of Islam in America?” and sponsored by the Mansfield North Central Ohio Tea Party, at Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Ohio, speaker Usama Dakdok called Islam a “wicked cult” and made hate-filled claims such as: (NOTE: Speaker’s linguistic errors retained.)

“The day will come and Muslim in America will have the upper hand, and they will kill your children for not eating what is liked. For not eating the lawful foods.”

“What happened to the women and the children? They were raped. By who? By Muhammad and his followers. And they got pregnant, and they had babies, and the baby was born by the name Fatima, and Khadija, and Obama, and Hussein, and Barack, and all those wonderful Muslim names.”

“[W]ithout Allah they will die and for sure they would spend eternity in hell with Muhammad and with all previous Muslims, and Baptist, and Presbyterian, and Catholic, and everyone who’s think by going to some church will make it to heaven.”

“Killing you is a small matter [for Muslims].”

“We were not in war with Bin Ladin, we are in war with Islam.”

“[T]hen you have a revival in America among the Muslim, and that’s when they start beheading your children and your grandchildren.”

“So they say this month two and a half percent of the profit [American banks] made will go to Egypt. To help to get rid of illiteracy. What do they mean by illiteracy? They meant Christian. We are gonna kill some Christian. Or this month we are gonna get rid of some AIDS. What is AIDS? That is the Jews.”

CAIR-Cleveland had called on people of conscience to ask the Tea Party group to drop Dakdok from the December 10 program.

“Our nation’s schools should be havens from the kind of hatred spewed by Mr. Dakdok,” said CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson. “We urge Ohio’s religious and political leaders to repudiate this and all other forms of bigotry being promoted by a vocal minority nationwide – bigotry which can and does lead to violence.”

Shearson noted that another charge was added yesterday to those filed against an armed Indiana man arrested for burning the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in September.

Also yesterday, New Jersey white supremacists faced hate crime charges for allegedly attacking several men of Egyptian descent in 2011. One of the alleged attackers wrote on a website: “(W)e went to hunt down some sand n**gers, it was me and my other bro on like 6 or eight and we whooped them.”

As an example of recent campaigns to promote anti-Muslim bigotry, CAIR cited efforts of the designated hate group headed by blogger Pamela Geller to place Islamophobic ads in transit systems nationwide.

A scheduled 2011 speech by Dakdok at the same school was cancelled by the Mansfield City School Board after complaints from the NAACP and CAIR, but the decision was challenged by a lawsuit brought on behalf of the Tea Party.

With legal fees mounting, the Mansfield School District recently settled the law suit and granted permission for the hate preacher to speak at the school.

British Freedom Party Flounders

British_Freedom_Party

Jai has tipped us to the fact that the British Freedom Party has been de-registered by the electoral commission:

The British Freedom Party, the EDL’s “political wing”, has been de-registered by the electoral commission in the UK. It means that the BFP are now defunct as a political party and the EDL leadership’s plans have therefore collapsed completely on this front.

This is very welcome and important news.

You will recall that BFP leader Paul Weston has become one of Geller & Spencer’s closest allies and, like EDL leaders Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) and Kevin Carroll, Weston attended Geller & Spencer’s anti-Muslim conference in NY in September 2012. Jai provided more background information on Weston in an LW article about Spencer.  Geller & Spencer’s efforts to spread their poison to the British political sphere via the BFP/EDL have utterly failed.

Note that Yaxley-Lennon himself is of course still incarcerated for illegally entering the US to attend Spencer & Geller’s conference alongside Kevin Carroll and BFP leader Paul Weston. Yaxley-Lennon’s court trial is pending in 2013. Potentially he will also be extradited to the US for his crime.

British Freedom surrender under a cloud of secrecy

(EDL News)

The English Defence League’s political wing, the British Freedom Party, appears to have wound up it’s operations and de-registered themselves from the electoral commission by not sending them their £25 fee. Nothing has been posted on any of their social media websites since the 12th December which is the day after they were de-registered.

This means that they will not be able to field any candidates under the parties name but could field independents.

The party, set up to catch the vote from EDL supporters failed to take off due to the fact that support of the EDL was rapidly declining and many EDL members were more interested in a drunken day out than taking their views down the political road.  The EDL’s support is currently at an all time low and they have become a liability.

Their local election results last year were a shambles where they fielded five candidates and the highest vote they got for one candidate was 79.  They had slightly more success putting their deputy leader, Kevin Carroll, up for the PCC elections in Bedfordshire but that was largely put down to voter apathy.

Jailed leader of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, was until recently deputy leader of the BFP but had to resign due to his alleged criminal activity surfacing and the imminent threat that he was to be jailed.

Their current deputy leader, Kevin Carroll, is on bail on suspicion of ‘conspiracy to cause a public nuisance’ after a furniture van full of balaclava clad EDL supporters were stopped on the motorway, suspected of being on their way to target a mosque in London.  Carroll answers bail in February.

It appears the party has gone under due to the fact that they had no credibility within the far right due to their association with the English Defence League who are generally seen as a bit of a joke by other nationalist groups.

“#MyJihad” Brings Out Anti-Muslim Rage Amongst Hypocritical Islamophobic Warmongers

Social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz with the anti-extremism campaign MyJihad: Reclaiming Islam. On Twitter the trending hashtag #MyJihad has been quite lively as the reclamation of this very central theological term and concept has been met with a warm welcome from audiences, specifically Muslims who have long felt misrepresented by the misappropriation and manipulation of the term “Jihad” in the public conscience (due in large part to the actions of extremists such as Bin Laden and their counterparts, the self-described “counter-Jihad” extremists like Anders Behring Breivik, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.)

According to the MyJihad website the campaign officially kicked off on Tuesday, December 11. We first got wind of the campaign back in September when it unofficially launched on Facebook and twitter. Back then, Garibaldi wrote about the campaign,

It is clearly an attempt to reclaim the meaning of Jihad from the extremists and absolutists in both the “West” and the “East,” who feed off of each others hate.

Garibaldi’s article focused on a Twitter exchange between the founder of the MyJihad campaign Ahmed Rehab and JihadWatch director Robert Spencer in which Spencer inadvertently admitted that Jihad means more than “warfare” or as he likes to paint it “terrorism” against innocents, which proves the campaign’s purpose:

Robert_Spencer_Ahmed_Rehab_My_Jihad

The campaign is now displaying ads on buses that essentially have Muslims explaining how they relate to Jihad in their daily lives, a reality that has long gone missing from the overall discussion which tends to take the side of the extremists and the sensational.

Jihad in the face of personal loss:

MyJihad1

Jihad has to do with making friendship across the isle:

MyJihad2

A Muslim man with prayer beads and a Jewish man with Hebrew on his shirt (which I can’t really make out) building friendships:

MyJihad3

This Jihad has to do with the challenge of wearing a veil and judging those who “cover”:

MyJihad4

These advertisements challenge the prevailing idea about Jihad being foremost about “Holy War,” a view which is most enthusiastically propagated by the hate group AFDI/SIOA and their founders Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer (whose Ad campaigns this past year have sent an opposite message of hate and racism.)

In response to the bus ads Islamophobes are going berserk, which is understandable as they have pegged their careers and lives on demonizing Islam and Muslims. The question I would ask is: If Muslims are telling you that they don’t believe in the “Jihad” of Bin Laden why tell them they have their religion wrong? What interest does it serve Geller and Spencer to propagate the Jihad of Bin Laden as the correct Jihad? That seems to be the height of absurd Islamophobia.

Of course Geller and Spencer are resorting to conspiracy theory, pushing the idea that this is all “Taqiyya,” and that the non-Muslims who are involved are a bunch of “dhimmi” half-wits. It seems that in response they want to reproduce their own Ad which essentially copy the MyJihad campaign but emphasize the voices that MyJihad is pushing against:

BinLaden_GellerAd

It is apt, here, to highlight what MyJihad founder Ahmed Rehab has said about his motivations in initiating this campaign. He remarked in a tweet that he was inspired by the words of a South Side Chicago Imam who said that,

“When you have a glass of dirty water on the side of the road all you have to do is put a clean glass of water next to it and let the people decide which one to choose.”

‘Jews Against Islamophobia’ condemns latest round of Geller ads in NYC

images

‘Jews Against Islamophobia’ condemns latest round of Geller ads in NYC

by Adam Horowitz

Jews Against Islamophobia issued the following press release this morning:

Jewish Groups Condemn (Yet Again) Ads

Promoting Hate and Anti-Muslim Bigotry:

Call for Unequivocal Repudiation of Islamophobia

Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 The Jews Against Islamophobia (JAI) Coalition condemns the latest hate-mongering ads, sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), that are scheduled to appear in New York City subway stations today. “New York residents have already demonstrated that we don’t want such ads in our city. In a month when many people gather with their loved ones for Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and other seasonal celebrations, Jews must recommit ourselves anew to standing up against these ads and all forms of Islamophobia,” pledged JAI Coalition member and director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), Marjorie Dove Kent.

The ad shows a picture of the World Trade Center in flames, next to a quote from the Koran, and reads: “Soon shall we cast terror into the heart of the unbelievers.”

“But, of course, a bigot can play this game of selective quotation with any religion. Find a picture of horrifying violence committed by some Jews or Christians — there are a depressingly large number — and juxtapose it with one of the following quotes from scripture: “I come not to bring peace, but a sword” [Matthew 10:34] or “Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” [Deuteronomy 20:16]),” notes JAI Coalition member Alan Levine.

The AFDI ad—which cost about $70,000—is part of a nationwide campaign to demonize Muslim and Arab Americans. In the past six months, AFDI has funded hate ads in Westchester, New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. In each of these cases, a wide range of interfaith and civil rights groups came together to denounce the ads and to stand up for unity and solidarity. The AFDI’s Pamela Geller is co-founder of Stop the Islamization of America, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

“Geller’s ads contribute to creating an even more hostile climate than already exists for the Muslim community, many of whom are already living in fear of street harassment, bullying, and other forms of verbal and physical violence,” says JAI Coalition member Jon Moscow. “We all have a responsibility to make sure this does not continue. We call on New Yorkers to respond individually and collectively to repudiate this vicious attempt to divide our city and to strongly condemn these ads.”

This anti-Muslim ad campaign takes place in the context of a post-9/11 atmosphere of fear, hate, and bigotry in the United States that targets Muslims, Arabs, Middle Easterners, Sikhs and other South Asians. “While we find shocking the blatant Islamophobia in the ads and strongly condemn this vicious hate speech, we also condemn ongoing governmental policies of racial and religious profiling,” emphasized director of Jewish Voice for Peace, Rebecca Vilkomerson, whose group is also a member of the JAI Coalition. “For example, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has been engaged in police surveillance of Muslims that has flagrantly violated the community’s civil and human rights. These Islamophobic acts help make possible the hate-filled atmosphere in which people like Geller thrive.” Despite the NYPD commitment of time, money, and personnel to its widespread surveillance and spying program in the Muslim community, it has not, according to the Commanding Officer of the NYPD Intelligence Division, generated a single lead or triggered a terrorism investigation. Communities have organized in response to NYPD surveillance and spying, including groups coming together to support City Council bills that would begin to hold the NYPD accountable for these actions.

People across New York City are once again joining the Muslim community to oppose these ads and to ensure that the rights of all our communities are fully protected and that no group is subjected to any form of harassment or racism. The JAI Coalition pledges to continue to be part of that movement for justice.

The Jews Against Islamophobia (JAI) Coalition consists of three groups: Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and Jews Say No! (JSN!). http://www.jewsagainstislamophobia.org/

Alaska House of Representatives employee illegally used state resources to promote SIOA

sioa_hate_group

Looks like another story proves that the real “infiltration” is from anti-Muslim Right-wing crazies who are part of hate groups such as Stop the Islamization of America.

Alaska House of Representatives employee illegally used state resources to promote SIOA

A legislative aide who joined an anti-Islam group and became obsessed with its mission crossed the line and illegally used state resources to promote its interests, a state ethics panel concluded in a ruling released Friday.

Minutes after the ruling was made public, Karen Sawyer’s new boss, state Rep. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, announced that Sawyer resigned her job.

Sawyer’s activism on behalf of Stop Islamization of America became an issue when she was chief of staff to Palmer Rep. Carl Gatto before his death this year. Hughes was appointed to replace Gatto on May 1.

The House subcommittee of the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics recommended that Sawyer be fired and permanently banned from rehire by the Legislature.

The far-right, anti-Islam group describes its goals as support of human rights, religious liberty and freedom of speech, and opposition to Sharia, or Islamic, law. But the Southern Poverty Law Center calls it an anti-Muslim hate group, as does the Anti-Defamation League.

Sawyer allowed an operative for the anti-Islam group, a man named David Heckert, to set up shop inside the Wasilla Legislative Information Office, where he worked for months, according to one of two reports about the ethical lapses by the ethics panel that were released Friday. Sawyer let Heckert use her personal laptop and Internet card, and provided him a cellphone number under her family plan. She herself used state equipment to plan events for the group. She even gave Heckert her key to the Wasilla LIO so he could get in while she was out of town, the report said.

Anchorage Daily News, 14 December 2012

See also Associated Press, 14 December 2012

EDL Forgets It’s Not Supposed to Be Racist–Again

Geller and Spencer’s British buddies whipping up racial fears and hatred of immigrants, but we’re supposed to believe them when they say that the EDL is not racist.

Look at message that the “defenders of freedom and democracy” are pushing on Twitter.

EDL My race is dying

Yes, “freedom” and “democracy” it seems as long as you’re a White Christian.

(via. Islamophobia-Watch)

Prayer bumps, Muslim haters, and the danger of scientific popularization

prayer_bump_zebibah

A good article by anthropologist Gabriele Marranci debunking a very strange article by Conservo Examiner writer Timothy Whiteman who discusses topics he doesn’t have any knowledge of: Islam, Muslims and science. It kind of reminds me of the theme that some Islam/Muslim haters such as Robert Spencer and Nicolai Sennels put forward about Muslims being inferior genetically and intellectually.

Prayer bumps, Muslim haters, and the danger of scientific popularization

by Dr. Gabriele Marranci

Recently I came across a short article titled: The Muslim ‘prayer bump’ and Traumatic Brain Injury. Since I am interested in both religion as well as neuroscience, I eagerly read the short post. To my disappointment, I had to conclude that this was another, yet more sophisticated and insidious, attempt to demonstrate that Islam has horrible consequences for practising individuals. The gist of the article is as follows. Muslims pray five times per day, and as part of the Muslim prayer (salah), the Muslim prostrates and  touches the ground with his or her forehead and nose (sujud). The article proceeds to inform the reader that in doing so, millions of Muslims develop what, in Islamic jargon, is called  zebibah(Arabic for raisin), or a prayer bump. In other words, the repeated pressure of the head on the prayer mat will produce a discolouration of the skin in the area of contact, and in some cases, apparently, provoking a ‘bump’.

Now the article, after presenting a photo gallery of notoriously controversial, and in some cases criminal, people identified as Muslims, goes on to introduce some recent scientific research published by Oxford University, which advances a new hypotesis in neurotrauma arguing that repeated traumatic brain injury may result in cumulative damage to cells of the brain. The article, through selective quotations, informs us that this produces memory loss and alters cognitive function so that the affected individual is prone to violence and fanaticism.

Finally, we know why Muslims are terrorists, why they protest violently, why they mistreat women, why they commit honor crimes and are dangerous people in general. It is Islam. Of course, we have heard similar accusations before from people like Robert Spencer. However, this article has moved the argument one step further by creating the missing link that was needed to finally demonstrate the deeply dangerous effects of Islam.

In this case, the argument is supported by science, by neurotrauma theories. Science, today, is the holy grail of populist truth. When simplified and made accessible to a general audience, science can become a very powerful weapon since a majority of readers are likely to buy the argument without too much pause.    Many would not have the time, patience (much of scientific literature  can be rather long-winded or difficult for a non-specialist to follow), or will to read the linked literature and reflect on its application in any given article. Moreover, from our days at school, we have been taught to trust science and not to question it.

So, are millions of Muslims really brain damaged by Islam?  Of course not. The article misuses neurological research and provides misinformation about Muslim practices and Islam. Indeed, it is very simple to deconstruct this piece.

We start from the claim that millions and millions of Muslims have zebibah.  It is interesting to notice that academic literature about zebibahis practically inexistent. Yet for sure Muslim haters have paid more attention to the ‘prayer bump’ than academics (eg. here and here). Although the ‘pious mark’ can be seen among some Muslims in Egypt, it is rather unusual in other parts of the Muslim world, and very rare in Southeast Asia (the most Muslim region of the world).  Personally, I have never seen a woman with a zebibah and after asking some informants, they confirmed that women tend not to have itAn article in the New York Times shows that zebibah is fashionable in Egypt as a marker of piousness, that in certain contexts may be useful (to find a good wife, or a job or be respected as an imam and so on).

The Times article also mentions something very relevant. It sugests that some Muslims in Egypt may ‘facilitate’ zebibah by forcefully pressing their foreheads on the carpet during the prayer. Yet it is also alleged that some may ‘sandpaper’ the spot on their foreheads. I was not aware of sandpaper, but instead I remember being told more than once of other practices to ‘darken’ the skin on that spot.  Indeed, as part of a correct prayer, Muslims should not, and do not, ‘smash’ their heads against the floor during sujud.

Even if a person were to perform five prayers a day as well as non- obligatory prayers, the time needed to develop the zebibah would be substantial. Indeed, it is something rarely seen even in old men and in the case of Shi’a, who perform sujud with their foreheads against a piece of clay, I have almost never seen a zebibah.  So, can zebibah be used to detect, as some seem to believe, overly pious, or even fanatic, Muslims? Well, just check Khomeini or bin-Laden’s forehead and you may conclude that: 1) they were not pious, or 2) thezebibah has more than one explanation, including the possibility of make-up (some even told me about applying shoe polish to ‘darken the spot’!)

After exposing this point, I can also show that assuming that the Muslim prayer produces brain damage is a rather difficult allegation to make and also that to do so scientifically we would need much more data.

Read the rest..