Fox News Reignites Islamophobic Campaign Against The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

Yup, Fox is really trying to dredge this “issue” up again.

Fox News Reignites Islamophobic Campaign Against The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

By Hamed Aleaziz on Dec 10, 2012, ThinkProgress

Fox News is again trying to drum up “controversy” around the Park51 Islamic community center in Manhattan. On Sunday, Fox Nation re-published a New York Post article claiming that “community programs” no longer exist at Park51, just Muslims praying. From there, Fox and Friends discussed the latest “development” on Park51. “It’s all pray and no play,” host Gretchen Carlson said and complained that the center isn’t hosting community programs and is instead attracting Muslims for prayer. Noted Islamophobe Donald Trump cited the oft-repeated far-right claim that Muslims built the community center to celebrate victory on 9/11:

GRETCHEN CARLSON: It’s all pray and no play. The controversial Ground Zero Mosque was supposed to be a cultural center, but it turns out it’s now an empty space with no community programs. Dozens of worshipers gather at the site for prayer services, but that’s pretty much the only activity in the building aside from a small martial arts class.

BRIAN KILMEADE: … Donald, do you want to finance the mosque downtown?

STEVE DOOCY: The Mosque-erade

DONALD TRUMP: No, I don’t think so, I’d certainly buy the site. But I don’t think it’s an appropriate use of the site. A lot of people don’t. You know, in the Arab world, when they have victory, they like to build a Mosque at that site. It’s very strongly out there. I think this is a terrible idea. It shouldn’t be done and let’s see what happens…

Watch it:

Fox is recycling rhetoric from more than two years ago when anti-Islam activists like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer led an all-out war in their attempt to prevent the cultural center from opening. At the time, Fox News became a major broadcaster of their Islamophobicagenda. Back then, Fox gave anti-Islam activists a platform to make their virulent attacks against the proposed Park51 community center.

Multiple news organizations, like the Washington Post, debunked the fearmongering, pointing out that the “stated point of the project is creating a world where Jews, Christians and Muslims connect again in a way that builds mutual understanding and respect. This is precisely the opposite goal of the 9/11 terrorists.” Conservatives like Orrin Hatch supported Park51. And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke up in favor of the center as well, saying that freedom of religion should be tolerated.

As far as Fox’s new angle goes, it’s hardly a new development that the center serves as a place of worship; it was always slated to provide a home for Muslim worshipers in Manhattan. And the lack of cultural events likely has more to do with the center’s perceived financial issues than with a sinister plot: last year, a rental dispute between the center and its landlord went to court.

But unlike two years ago, the center faces no legal hurdles from the city to continue operating in the site. New York City’s Landmark Preservation Commission approved the center in 2010 and Mayor Bloomberg agreed. Park51 opened up last year without protests and little to no fanfare.

Belen Fernandez: Honour Crimes and Islamophobia

Ilisha has written several seminal articles for Loonwatch on the relationship between honor killings and Islamophobia that have gone a long way in debunking the prevailing narrative frame propagated by the looniverse that casts Islam as inherently supportive of “honour crimes.”

Belen Fernandez’s article on AlJazeera English is a welcome addition to this discussion which she analyzes in light of the propensity of certain Zionist organizations and individuals/Right-wingers who adopt “honour killings as a pet topic” to further their own agendas.

I will add that the adoption of such “pet topics” is not limited to only certain Zionists and Right-wingers but also seeps into the discourse of self-declared Liberals who are employed in the business of Empire.

Honour crimes and Islamophobia

by Belen Fernandez (AlJazeera English)

On December 11, the University of Rochester in western New York state will host an event ”[t]o shed sorely needed daylight on the complex issue of honour crimes in our community”.

Organised by an assistant professor from the Rochester Medical School’s Psychiatry Department, the event will consist of various discussions with “community leaders, academics, members of law enforcement agencies, legal professionals and health providers” and will feature an Arab Israeli keynote speaker from “an organisation that works to end honour killings in Israel”.

The “complex issue” requiring psychiatric attention appears even more complicated when we consider that honour crimes don’t seem to constitute an overwhelming problem in the community. Though it could be argued that this is simply because sorely needed daylight has yet to be shed on them, it is worthwhile highlighting the ease with which daylight can be manufactured.

For example, when teenager Faheem Abdul Jaleel apparently stabbed his female cousin in a Rochester suburb in June 2011, the anti-Islamic vanguard headed by the preposterously influential commentator Pamela Geller wasted no time in decrying an “attempted honour killing”, based entirely on the ethnic connotations of the perpetrator’s name.

Also in 2011, NPR reported that the Muslim community in Buffalo, New York, had been “fighting the stereotype” of honour killings since a spontaneous misdiagnosis in the press regarding the 2009 murder of a Muslim woman by her husband.

As is meanwhile quite clear from domestic violence and homicide statistics among the 99 per cent of the US population that is not Muslim, such crimes generally take place independent of Islam.

Israel’s non-criminal killing of Arabs 

By adopting honour killings as a pet topic, Zionists and other right-wing forces seek to delegitimise and even criminalise Arab and Muslim society in general.

Consider an August 2012 essay in the neo-conservative FrontPage Magazine asserting an “Arab cultural and Islamic propensity of violence toward women”.

The author characterises the fatal stabbing of a 27-year-old Palestinian woman by her husband as a “death sentence which tragically has been shared by a long and ever-expanding list of Palestinian women and girls”. He does not care to explain why it is not also tragic that an even longer expanding list of Palestinian women, girls and all other varieties of human beings happen to share the fate of obliteration by Israeli munitions. Nor does he delve into what this might indicate about Israeli cultural propensities or those of Israel’s preferred ally and automated teller machine.

Without downplaying the obvious tragedy of honour crimes, we must ask why it is that we are supposed to be horrified by the idea that “in the past two years, 25 [Palestinian] women have been subjected to honour killings” but not by the fact that 1,400 Palestinians were wiped out in three weeks during Operation Cast Lead.

FrontPage claims that, although “honour killings have long been a staple byproduct of Palestinian society”, the world’s foremost anti-Israel institution – that is, the UN, which nonetheless somehow manages never to enforce resolutions against the Jewish state – has deceitfully implicated non-Palestinians in said byproduct:

“Not surprisingly, for some, this pervasive [Palestinian] violence has been laid at the feet of the usual suspects, namely the Israelis. This scapegoating was summarily expressed in a 2011 report by the United Nations Economic and Social Council which blamed harsh economic and social conditions created by the Israeli ’siege’, an occupation which has led to high levels of poverty, unemployment and, thus, ’violence, within families’.”

The article’s allegation that “in Muslim countries throughout the Mideast, South Asia and Africa… men more often than not treat women little better than livestock” is meanwhile followed by the suggestion that “[c]hanging that dismal equation will take more than just a cultural revolution”. This seems to prescribe further state violence as a means of ending individual violence, which is itself often inextricably linked to state violence in the first place.

Islamic imperialism and mind control 

Conveniently located to one side of the article on the FrontPage website is an advertisement for another stellar example of scapegoating: A pamphlet entitled, ”Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future“.

Penned by FrontPage founder David Horowitz and co-conspirator Robert Spencer, the pamphlet promises – for a mere three-dollar donation – to explain how Islamophobia is an invention of the Muslim Brotherhood and to expose the UN’s role in the Brotherhood’s project to “destroy the American civilisation from within” by criminalising criticism of Islam.

Lest doubts remain that Islamophobia is anything but a disease afflicting the authors themselves, the summary of the essay posits a pattern of “Islamic imperialism” in the West. Apparently, the Islamic empire is being erected on the foundations of valid complaints of Western anti-Muslim discrimination rather than, say, ubiquitous military bases and the exploitation of humans and resources that characterises other better-known forms of imperialism.

The summary also denotes as a “notable opponent of Islamic terror” the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, whose anti-terror efforts included vows to explode a mosque slated for construction in Tuscany and hysterics over the reckless American policy of permitting persons by the name of Mustafa and Muhammad to study chemistry and biology at university despite the threat of Muslim-waged germ warfare.

Clearly, Horowitz and Spencer’s purported attempt to contribute to “the global struggle against religious intolerance and totalitarianism” is an example of hypocrisy in the extreme. However, endeavours such as Rochester University’s symposium on honour killings can prove similarly problematic, providing as they do a venue for the incubation of racist and paranoid delusions and the targeting of a single religious group that has already been disproportionately subjected to civil rights violations by the New York Police Department.

Read the rest…

Note: I expect the predictable type of criticisms of the sentence in which Belen says, “By adopting honour killings as a pet topic, Zionists and other right-wing forces…” I will just say that it appears to me she is speaking about “right-wing” forces and not stating “all Zionists” adopt “honour killings” as a pet topic.

Geller’s new anti-Islam ad to debut in New York – with disclaimer

Pamela Geller is using and abusing the symbolism of the Twin Towers and coupling it with verses from the Quran again, she says,

I refuse to abridge my free speech so as to appease savages.”

Of course for the racist Geller, anyone, especially a Muslim who criticizes her and exposes her loonieness is a savage. She just goes out of her way to display hate. I’m thinking this campaign will be another dud with various interfaith organizations and representatives of mainstream religious groups condemning her and the wider populace ignoring her crazy rantings.

Geller’s new anti-Islam ad to debut in New York – with disclaimer

Pamela Geller is at it again.

The outspoken blogger and Executive Director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has just purchased a slew of advertising space in several subway stations and on numerous Metro-North platforms in order to display her newest anti-Islam message.

Her latest ads, shared exclusively with The Observer, will feature a panorama of the sky the moment the World Trade Center burst into flames in 2001, accompanied by a quote from the Quran that reads “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers.”

However, an MTA disclaimer taking up 25% of the ad space will be presented in conjunction with Ms. Geller’s message for the first time. “This is a paid advertisement sponsored by American Freedom Defense Initiative. The display of this advertisement does not imply MTA’s endorsement of any views expressed,” it reads.

The MTA’s new disclaimer policy came in September of this year following an incident in which protestor Mona Eltahawy, 45, was filmed spray-painting another AFDI advertisement, which equated Muslims with savages.

Following the September incident, Ms. Geller has been busy crafting new advertisements for her campaign beginning December 17. The new ads will be plastered across at least 50 different locations, the MTA confirmed, the result of an ad buy worth more than $10,000.

“I refuse to abridge my free speech so as to appease savages,” Ms. Geller told The Observer.

New York Observer, 7 December 2012

Charles Davis: Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles

Charles Davis of BrandX explains his encounter with the looniest blogger ever, Pamela Geller in an article that discusses “Bigotry for Broadcast.”

While I highlight the portion in which he has the misfortune of meeting Geller the whole article is well worth the read:

Bigotry for broadcast

by Charles Davis (AlJazeera English)

The first time I ever spoke with Pamela Geller she chastised me. “I’m here at the booth and they don’t have my name,” she complained over the phone in a moderately irritated Long Island accent. The anti-Islam jingo who led the campaign against the “Ground Zero mosque” had just flown from New York to LA to, in her mind, encourage television viewers primarily between the ages of 18 and 35 to put aside whatever differences they may have and just focus on hating Muslims.

Geller, the woman behind an ad campaign on US public transit portraying plucky Israel as the “Civilised Man” (take a wild guess who the uncivilised “Savage” is) had agreed to appear on a regular segment she did not know called, “Totally Unacceptable Opinion”. As the guy who’d convinced her to come, it was my job to put on a polite smile for ten minutes and lead her to the green room; to put aside my normal pre-show routine of interrogating people in the line outside about their disgusting sex lives – every taboo violated is a tiny revolution, comrade – in favour of making nice with a hatemonger in a glittery jacket.

The Bigot, it so happens, Wears Prada.

Imagining myself a borderline not-terrible person, I put aside my well-I-oughta grumbling and did not dwell on the fact that Ms Geller had shown up at the wrong gate after ignoring my politely repeated request that she holler at me prior to arriving. No, with the confidence and grace of a god walking amongst the sure to be damned, I apologised for an error that was not mine. And carried her stupid bag.

You can see then how saddened I was to find that my pained affectation of decency was not reflected in Geller’s post-show account of her appearance in a characteristically understated column entitled, “Russell Brand’s ugly jihad“. Written in an underground hate-lair lined with row upon row of mid-80s televisions cycling at 2.5 speed through a horrific loop of car crashes, assassinations, atom bombs and natural disasters – one imagines – Geller’s column provided a livid, refreshingly fictional account of the little jingo-blogger that could doing battle with basic cable.

“Charlie is a liar.” I had led her to believe, allegedly, that her ripped from Ayn Rand hate rhetoric would be treated in a “meaningful fashion”, because that’s typically how they do things on late-night talk shows broadcast by cable channels better known for mixed martial arts. Pasted in the column were emails from me wherein I had promised we would “discuss the threat opposed by Islamists, including those living within our midst”. Do something neither author nor recipient apparently did: Read that last bit twice.

So what happened? At the taping, Geller shied away from the Islamophobic red meat she daily dishes on her blog, perhaps sensing that a Hollywood audience of 18-35 year-olds fresh from the pot dispensary probably weren’t all that concerned about the imposition of Islamic law in their lifetimes. Asked if the West should attack Iran, she replied with a simple “no” and a look of “who would ever…?” bemusement, never mind what she tells her fans: “Iran should be attacked today and their people liberated from their misery.”

She wasn’t a hatemonger who sees jihad under every hijab, but a human rights activist, Geller protested. And then someone in the audience protested that.

“Pamela’s racism kills!” shouted a young man, holding up a sign that said the same thing. After a couple chants, Russell brought him on stage where he explained his objection: Pamela Geller is a hatemonger, a belligerent and ignorant purveyor of fear and advocate of war and hate and intolerance. Or maybe those are my words.

And that was pretty much it, Russell soon booting both protester and protested off the stage. Next up: Eric Idle singing a song about fellatio. Such is television.

Reading Pamela’s account, however, depicts a cable talk show that is both suprisingly dangerous and weirdly Islamic. That protester guy? An “extremist Muslim” whose crazy outburst of disagreement made her think she was about to fall victim to a jihadist, one she claims was planted by the show. “I half expected him to pull out a knife and try to behead me.” To be fair, it would have made interesting TV.

While no one’s denying the protester wasn’t pasty white – indeed, suspiciously not so – he isn’t actually Muslim, but an atheist who, as it happens, fought with the US Marine Corps in Iraq. Geller, it seems, based her assessment that he was an Islamic extremist on two things: His opposition to her and his aforementioned lack of pastiness. If I were trying to avoid accusations of prejudice, I probably wouldn’t use “the Muslim” as shorthand for “that non-white I don’t like”. You could end up looking foolish, ya know?

Wired.com: US Media Helped anti-Muslim Bodies Gain Influence, Distort Islam

A very interesting article on an important study by Christopher Bail of the University of North Carolina.

One important finding that jumped out at us was the incestuous relationship between various anti-Muslim organizations,

“In the US all not-for-profit or non-governmental organisations are required to file documentation that describes the names of people who are on their board. My research team collected these names and created a social network map that describes overlapping board membership among the organisations. This social network analysis enabled us to determine precisely which groups are connected to each other, and how these relationships evolved over time.”

US media helped anti-Muslim bodies gain influence, distort Islam

by Liat Clark (Wired.co.uk)

A study published by a sociologist has revealed that fear-mongering non-governmental anti-Muslim organisations have been heavily influencing US media since 9/11, their messages seeping into news articles and television reporting and drawing their ethos from the fringes, straight into the mainstream.

What’s perhaps most troubling about the results is how these minor groups, which would ordinarily receive little or no air time, have gained an element of respect that has led to them receiving more funding and coupling with influential bodies. Their influence is such that they have even been able to paint mainstream Muslim organisations as radical, says the study.

“The vast majority of organisations competing to shape public discourse about Islam after the September 11 attacks delivered pro-Muslim messages, yet my study shows that journalists were so captivated by a small group of fringe organisations that they came to be perceived as mainstream,” the paper’s author, University of North Carolina assistant professor of sociology Christopher Bail, told Wired.co.uk.

“Anti-Muslim fringe organisations dominated the mass media via displays of fear and anger. Institutional amplification of this emotional energy, I argue, created a gravitational pull or ‘fringe effect’ that realigned inter-organisational networks and altered the contours of mainstream discourse itself.”

Bail and his team used plagiarism detection software to compare 1,084 press releases produced by 120 different organisations with more than 50,000 television transcripts and newspaper articles produced between 2001 and 2008. The software picked up damning similarities between the releases and stories from news outlets including the New York TimesUSA Today, the Washington Times, CBS News, CNN and Fox News Channel.

“We learned the American media almost completely ignored public condemnations of terrorist events by prominent Muslim organisations in the United States,” Bail told Wired.co.uk. “Inattention to these condemnations, combined with the emotional warnings of anti-fringe organisations, has created a very distorted representation of the community of advocacy organisations, think tanks, and religious groups competing to shape the representation of Islam in the American public sphere.”

Read the rest…

North East Infidel Nazis Join EDL March at Shotton Colliery Protest

After condemning “North East Infidels” as Nazis the EDL are teaming up with them again.

Two arrested at EDL Shotton Colliery protest

Two men were arrested yesterday during a protest over a planned Muslim education centre in the North.

Police estimate that around 200 members of the English Defence League turned out to the protest in the former pit village of Shotton Colliery, County Durham.

The arrests were made for breach of bail conditions, a spokesperson for Durham Police said.

Superintendent Helen McMillan said: “Although Durham Constabulary respects the right for people to take part in peaceful protests, we will ensure that law and order is maintained at all times.

“We had effective resources in place to ensure the event proceeded peacefully for the safety of everyone,” she said. “The men are currently being held in a local police station where they are helping police with enquiries.”

The protest took place between 2pm and 4pm and was supervised by officers from across the force. An onlooker said the protest was “well behaved but not completely peaceful”, adding that fireworks were thrown down the street.

He said at one stage a woman emerged from a house near the village green, where the EDL members were based, to confront the protesters.

Businessman Kaiser Choudry applied for permission earlier this year to turn the Melrose Arms, a disused pub in Front Street, into a centre for the local Muslim community.

Durham County Council received a 102-signature petition and 13 letters against the conversion. The majority of the objections were about potential parking and traffic problems rather than the planned purpose of the building.

Mr Choudry had previously made an application to turn the old pub into a prayer hall, but this was withdrawn.

The businessman said earlier this year: “I have been in the village for 25 years and the community has been supporting me. I want to give something back to the community.”

Sunday Sun, 3 December 2012

The EDL have hailed the Shotton Colliery protest as proof that their organisation is not on its death bed. You’ll see that the EDL were pleased to welcome a contingent from the North East Infidels on the demonstration. Only months ago the EDL were denouncing the North East Infidels (entirely accurately) as Nazis, but now apparently the NEI have been transformed into “great patriots”.