Crowdfunding Hate: Indiegogo Profits From Anti-Muslim Campaign by Nathan Lean

Crowdfunding Hate: Indiegogo Profits From Anti-Muslim Campaign

by Nathan Lean

Indiegogo may sound like the name of a 1970s funk band, but it’s actually one of the fastest growing crowd-funding sites on the Internet. Founded in 2002 by a former Wall Street analyst, the funding platform allows inspired individuals to grow projects or personal campaigns by pooling money from donors. If you desire, you can drop a few bucks to help a startup bakery. You could also help finance new stables at a therapeutic horse ranch or sponsor an orphanage in Haiti.

Everything is fair game, as long as you play by the rules. And the rules are clear: User terms stipulate that you can’t promote hate.

Strange, then, that among those partaking in Indiegogo’s services is the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an organization classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. They are using the platform to raise money — and lots of it — to put out another batch of their now-infamous anti-Muslim metro and bus ads. Led by bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, AFDI has come under fire in recent months for waging a culture war in subway stops withad campaigns that single out Muslims and the religion of Islam and conflate them with the actions of a fraction of extremists. The latest placards, which to date have raised $22K of a $50K goal, urge the cessation of aid to “Islamic countries” and feature a fierce quotation sprawled across a Palestinian flag which reads, “It’s Saturday, so massacre the Jews; on Sunday massacre the Christians.” The obvious missing group — the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims — is thought to be doing the massacring. “Our dead in the cause of Islam have taught us plenty,” the description on the group’s Indiegogo campaign page reads. “Over 20,000 jihad attacks around the world since 9/11, each with the imprimatur of a Muslim cleric, have taught us all we need to know.”

It’s that type of language that caused the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reject the application of Geller and Spencer’s group, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA). It’s also that type of language that the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik digested in the summer of 2011 before he went on a shooting rampage and killed 77 youths. Breivik cited Geller and Spencer dozens of times as informing his views on Muslims and Islam. Recently, several organizations have canceled the duos speeches, including the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), aMassachusetts Diocese and a New York synagogue.

Erica Labovitz, Director of Strategic Programs at Indiegogo commented in an email exchange that, “The views reflected by the campaign owners are not necessarily those of Indiegogo.” That may well be the case. But it does little to explain how a campaign that singles out the followers of an entire religious faith with incendiary associations and stereotypes does not violate the company’s “no hate” policy. Would an antagonistic ad campaign directed at Jews or Catholics receive a pass too? What does Indiegogo classify as hate?

Several activists have reached out to Indiegogo with little success. In an essay at Salon, Chris Stedman, an interfaith leader, assistant chaplain at Harvard, and author of the memoir “Faitheist,” urged the company to reconsider its support for provocative AFDI ads that pitted Muslims and gays against each other. Emails sent through the company’s website were unanswered as were tweets to company execs. Geller and Spencer’s followers, however, were more vulgar. Dozens of them bombarded Stedman with homophobic insults and slurs, while also leveling derogatory attacks at Muslims. The reaction underscored precisely the nasty consequences of AFDI’s program to cleave society into warring factions.

Also troubling is that not only does Indiegogo offer its fundraising services to AFDI’s minority-bashing crusaders, but it also gives them a discount. As a non-profit organization, AFDI is entitled to a 25 percent reduction in platform fees. Beyond that, Indiegogo is profiting from anti-Muslim hate. The company charges a 9 percent fee on funds raised. If the group reaches their goal, Indiegogo gives 5 percent back, leaving them with a profit of 4 percent. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a cool couple of grand to pocket from prejudicing a minority population.

AFDI should be afforded their rights to free speech, but that doesn’t mean that organizations like Indiegogo are obligated to host these campaigns. Enabling divisive and hurtful rhetoric against Muslims or any community is something that they can and should refuse to do. Indiegogo has an opportunity to be a force for good in the world, empowering those who desire to bring about positive change with the means to realizing their goals. The vilest of hate groups should not be among them — even if there is a profit involved.

You can contact Indiegogo the following ways:

On Twitter: @Indiegogo

Slava Rubin, CEO | slava@indiegogo.com | Twitter: @gogoSlava

Danae Ringelmann, Founder | danae@indiegogo.com | Twitter: @gogoDanae

Erica Labovitz, Director of Strategic Programs | erica@indiegogo.com | Twitter: @gogoErica

Stop Trying to Split Gays and Muslims

Geller is attempting to pinkwash Islamophobia, but many in the LGBT and Muslim communities will not allow it to happen.

Chris D. Stedman, a humanist, who is also homosexual has been an outspoken fighter against anti-Muslim bigotry and takes on Geller and her cohorts’ claim that they have support from the gay community head on.

Homosexuality is a controversial topic in many Muslim American communities in which there is heated debate about the topic, but there appears to be a consensus that despite disagreements on homosexuality, respect and support for equal rights before the law, especially in the case of the marginalized has to be part and parcel of securing ones own rights.

Stop trying to split gays and Muslims

Anti-Islam crusader Pam Geller’s effort to foment hate between the two groups is based on lies and doomed to fail

BY 

I have an earnest and sincere question for the LGBT community: Do you support Pamela Geller?

Geller, who is one of the most active proponents of anti-Muslim attitudes in the United States, rose to notoriety as one of the key instigators of the Park51 backlash, misrepresenting a proposed Islamic Community Center (think a YMCA or Jewish Community Center) by calling it the “Ground Zero mosque” and engaging in dishonest rhetoric and blatant fear-mongering. Her organization, Stop the Islamization of America, was identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, alongside extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis. And it’s earned that label — Geller and her allies have dedicated countless hours and millions upon millions of dollars to drum up hatred, fear and xenophobia toward Muslims.

Last week I learned that Geller and one of her biggest allies, Robert Spencer, are hosting a fundraiser for their anti-Muslim advertisements on the website Indiegogo. This disturbed me for a number of reasons, but particularly because Indiegogo’s terms explicitly prohibit “anything promoting hate.” (Despite reports from me and many others, Indiegogo has so far declined to remove the fundraiser; if so inclined, you can let them know what you think about that here.)

While I was looking into this, I discovered that Geller recently announced plans to run a series of anti-Muslim advertisements in San Francisco quoting Muslim individuals making anti-LGBT statements. Why? Because members of San Francisco’s LGBT community criticized other anti-Muslim ads she has run there.

I tweeted my appreciation that the LGBT community in San Francisco is standing up against her efforts to drive a wedge between LGBT folks and Muslims. Soon after, Geller retweeted me, claiming that she in fact has “huge support in Gay community.” Immediately, her supporters began to lob insults and even threats at me; Spencer himself suggested that I should be rewarded for supporting Muslims by someone “saw[ing] off [my] head.” (Meanwhile, though Geller, Spencer and their supporters kept tweeting at me that Muslims “hate gays” and want to kill me, many Muslim friends and strangers alike tweeted love and support for LGBT equality at me.)

As things settled down, I realized that Geller had stopped responding to me when I requested more information to back up her assertion that she has “huge support in Gay community,” after the only evidence she provided was a link to a Facebook group with 72 members. I’ve since asked her repeatedly for more information, but have not gotten a response.

I couldn’t think of a single LGBT person in my life that would support her work, but I didn’t want to go off of my own judgment alone. So I started asking around. It wasn’t hard to find prominent members of the LGBT community who do not share Geller’s views.

“The idea that the LGBT community should support Islamophobia is offensive and absurd,” said Joseph Ward III, director of Believe Out Loud, an organization that empowers Christians to work for LGBT equality. “[American Muslims] are our allies as we share a common struggle to overcome stereotypes and misconceptions in America.”

“Trying to drive a wedge between the LGBT community and other communities is old, tired and [it] doesn’t work,” said Ross Murray, director of News and Faith Initiatives for GLAAD. “Pitting two communities [like the Muslim and LGBT communities] against one another is an attempt to keep both oppressed. Wedge strategies are offensive and, in the long run, they do not work. Geller is not an LGBT ally — she’s posing as one because it is convenient to her [anti-Muslim] agenda.”

“As with any attempts at a wedge, these efforts seek to erase the real and powerful reality of LGBT Muslims and seek to create a false dichotomy: All the LGBT people are non-Muslim/Islamophobic and all the Muslims are straight and homophobic,” said Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, program director of the Institute for Welcoming Resources at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “Particularly given the oppression, marginalization, hatred and violence visited upon the LGBTQ community, it is critically important that we use our spiritual, communal and political power to speak out against the victimization and vilification of any other community. As a Christian lesbian, I must stand against any attempts to victimize another because of their personhood.”

“There’s no doubt that there’s a great deal of religion-based bigotry against LGBT people, although it’s hardly limited to Islam. The Hebrew Scriptures also prescribe the death penalty for some homosexual conduct, but you don’t typically see people using this to inflame anti-Semitic or anti-Christian sentiment,” said John Corvino, author of “What’s Wrong With Homosexuality?” and coauthor of “Debating Same-Sex Marriage.” “To single out Muslims in this way is both unhelpful and unfair.”

Despite her claim, the work of Geller and her colleagues has plenty of opposition in the LGBT community. Why?

For starters, it’s wrong.

As Junaid Jahangir writes in a recent piece at the Huffington Post, “[Geller’s] selective references provide a misguided view of the current Muslim position on queer rights issues.” He rightly notes that her advertisements lift up the views of a controversial Muslim cleric, but ignore the “over 2,500 Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries [that] not only called for an international treaty to counter such clerics, but also called for a tribunal set by the United Nations Security Council to put them on trial for inciting violence.” In his piece, which is a must-read, Jahangir goes on to quote many influential, pro-equality Muslim leaders. Pointing to the activism they are doing to support LGBT rights, he demonstrates that Geller is unfairly — and dangerously — presenting a skewed picture of Muslim views on LGBT people.

“There’s no question that homophobia is rampant among the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims — but that doesn’t negate the fact that there are huge groups of Muslims who have easily reconciled their faith and sexual orientation, like LGBT people in other faith communities,” said Reza Aslan, author of “No God but God” and “Beyond Fundamentalism,” in a recent phone interview. “For a woman who leads an organization that has been labeled a hate group to try to reach out to a community like the LGBT community, by trying to make a connection based on bigotry, is harmful and ridiculous. Bigotry is not a bridge.”

Of course, members of the LGBT community are right to be concerned about the dangers of religious extremism and totalitarianism — whether it is Christian, Muslim or any other expression. But demonizing another community won’t help reduce the influence of religious fundamentalism.

You can be honest about your disagreements without being hateful. I’m a queer atheist, and I believe that there are ideas and practices promoted by Muslims in the name of Islam that are not only false — they’re extremely harmful. But to rally against Muslims and Islam as if they and it are some monolithic bloc is counterproductive; it creates enemies where we need allies. There are many Muslims who oppose cruelty and violence done in the name of Islam and favor equality for all people, and they are positioned to create change. We should be working with them, not standing against all of Islam. Based on my own experiences, I know that this is a much more constructive approach. In my book “Faitheist,” I tell several stories about Muslim friends who are not only accepting of my sexual orientation, but are also fierce allies for LGBT equality.

That’s the problem with Geller’s advertisements, and with sweeping, generalizing statements about entire groups of people: They don’t account for the diversity of ideas and traditions that exist within any given community. Geller focuses on a ridiculously tiny minority of Muslim extremists in order to paint her picture of Islam, and in doing so she neglects to account for the rich and varied traditions of generosity, selflessness, social progress and forgiveness present within Islam. Not only that, but her efforts alienate key allies — Muslim and non-Muslim alike — who share her concerns about Muslim extremists, but who also recognize that her narrow approach is unfair and dishonest.

Instead of adopting Geller’s approach, LGBT people should focus on building relationships. After all, support for marriage equality more than doubles among people who know a gay person. The Pew Research Center reports that of the 14 percent of Americans who changed their mind and decided to support gay marriage in the last decade, 37 percent (the largest category) cited having “friends/family/acquaintances who are gay/lesbian” as the primary reason. The second largest group in this astounding shift, at 25 percent, said they became more tolerant, learned more and became more aware.

In 2011, I wrote an essay encouraging more cooperation and solidarity between the LGBT community and the Muslim community:

[In 2009], a Gallup poll demonstrated something the LGBTQ community has known for some time: People are significantly more inclined to oppose gay marriage if they do not know anyone who is gay. Similarly, Time Magazine cover story featured revealing numbers that speak volumes about the correlation between positive relationships and civic support. Per their survey, 46 percent of Americans think Islam is more violent than other faiths and 61 percent oppose Park51, but only 37 percent even know a Muslim American. Another survey, by Pew, reported that 55 percent of Americans know “not very much” or “nothing at all” about Islam. The disconnect is clear: When only 37 percent of Americans know a Muslim American, and 55 percent claim to know very little or nothing about Islam, the negative stereotypes about the Muslim community go unchallenged.

The Muslim and LGBTQ communities face common challenges that stem from the same problem—that diverse communities don’t have robust and durable civic ties. This is why the Muslim and LGBTQ communities ought to be strong allies.

I continue to believe this, and Geller’s work isn’t helping. Geller, Spencer, and their supporters are wrong to try to pit the queer community against Muslims. Their efforts to force a wedge between us and the Muslim community are little more than fear-mongering — a tactic that has long been used to keep the LGBT community marginalized and oppressed.

Read the rest…

Pamela Geller Wrong About “Sexual Jihad” Fatwa

Pamela Geller Wrong About “Sexual Jihad” Fatwa

by Sheila Musaji

Pamela Geller has published Islamic ruling encouraging “Sexual Jihad”: Prostitution for the holiest in which she introduces an article from Al Monitor Tunisians Raise Alarm on Possible Fatwa Encouraging ‘Sexual Jihad’

Of course, Geller opens with her her own comments (as did her partner in the hate group AFDI), Robert Spencer): “That’s one wild and crazy religion you got there. Islamic religious authority has sanctioned prostitution for terrorists as “sexual jihad.” Who said there is no feminism in Islam?  Daniel Greenfield quips that jihadists have found a way to legalize prostitution by calling it “Sexual Jihad,” giving Muslim women three life paths. 1. Staying indoors 2. Killing themselves 3. Becoming Islamic prostitutes.”

Key points from the Al Monitor article on which she bases her faulty observations:

- it is a possible fatwa (i.e. may not even exist) and was circulated anonymously on the internet
- when Tunisian people heard about it they were upset
- the Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs Noureddine al-Khadimi rejected any such “sexual jihad” fatwas, saying that the Tunisian people and state institutions are not obligated to adhere to them.
- the reports that such a fatwa even existed came from the internet, primarily Syrian regime websites, the goal of which may be to tarnish the image of the Islamic fighters.
-  this fatwa was not issued by a Tunisian cleric or a religious institution — whether official or civil
- News websites and social networks in Tunisia circulated a fatwa attributed to Sheikh M. A., in which he calls upon “Muslim women” to perform jihad through sex. However, sources close to the sheikh denied that he had issued the fatwa, stressing that anyone who circulates or believes it is insane.

So, a simple reading of the article would tell anyone with basic reading skills that no “religious authority” had issued this fatwa, actual religious authorities condemned any such fatwa, there may not even have been a fatwa issued by anyone, there is no “Islamic ruling encouraging sexual jihad”.  None of this reflects on Islam as a “wild and crazy religion”.

All of this sounds remarkably like a series of recent “fatwa alarms” spread by these same Islamophobes as if they represent mainstream Islam and Muslims.  Here articles responding to these claims:

About that Supposed Egyptian Necrophilia Law & fatwa, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/about-that-egyptian-necrophilia-law
Crucifixions in Egypt & Al Azhar Fatwas Encouraging Violence?: More Islamophobic Nonsense, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/crucifixion-story
Cucumber “fatwa” seems to be only shoddy reporting, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/cucumber-fatwa
Exhibit A in How an Islamophobic Meme Can Spread Like Wildfire Across the Internet, (fabricated story of a Saudi cleric issuing a fatwa condoning gang rapes in Syria) Sanam Naraghi Anderlini http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/exhibit-a-in-how-an-islamophobic-meme-can-spread-like-wildfire-across-the-i
Holier than thou: extremism against Islam, Sheikh Musa Furberhttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/holier-than-thou-extremism-against-islam
How AlterNet and Salon fell for Saudi “gang rape” fatwa peddled by Islamophobes, Ali Abunimahhttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/how-alternet-and-salon-fell-for-gang-rape-fatwa-peddled-by-islamophobes
Islamophobes See “Jihad” Everywhere, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/jihad-everywhere
Resources for dealing with Islamophobes, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/there-is-a-reason/0019403
What everyone “knows” about Islam and Muslims, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what_everyone_knows
Yes, MEMRI, there is a Fatwa from Khamenei forbidding Nukes, Juan Colehttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/yes-memri-there-is-a-fatwa-from-khamenei-forbidding-nukes
What is a fatwa? Who can give one? (supposed Al Azhar fatwa authorizing violence against protestors), Sheikh Musa Furber http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what-is-a-fatwa-who-can-give-one

What sort of human being spends their life looking for anything that can even remotely be used to defame an entire religion, and spreading those stories without any fact-checking?  And, when even their creative minds can’t find something to distort, simply make up lies.  This behavior is an example of pure Islamophobia.

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RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY

The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade.  They have a manifestofor spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films.  They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally.   They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”

Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated,  demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations:    There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month.   Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.   Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover.  Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”.  SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy.  A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day.   AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country.   AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads.  There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat.   They are even bringing their hate messagesinto public schools.

Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”.  Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?.  And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech.    None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”

The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences.   The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.

Sadly, the Islamophobic echo chamber has been aided by some in the Jewish and Christian clergy, and even by some of our elected representatives, particularly in the GOP.

The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or thatnothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence,  are nonsense.  The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist,  or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.

These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyyajihadsharia, etc.).

The most commonly repeated false claims about Muslims and Islam are that:

Everyone “knows” that most or all terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe), and that Muslims are all militant, inherently violent, more likely to engage in violence against civilians, and more likely than other Americans to be radicalized.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not interested in dialogue.  That Muslims don’t helpChristians in need.  That Muslims can’t have Christians as friends, and are anti-Semites,Holocaust deniers, and intolerant of other faiths.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t unequivocally denounce terrorism, that American Muslim leaders have not responded to radicalization in their community,  that mosques are the sourceof radicalization, that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, and a fifth column,  that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that Muslims are notloyal to America, that they are not a part of our American heritage,

Everyone “knows” that Islam itself is the problem and makes Muslims “backward”, that Muslims have made no contribution to the West, that Islam is “of the devil”, a Crescent menace, a“green peril”, that was spread by the sword,  an “evil encroaching on the United States”, andnot a religion.

Everyone “knows” that this is a Christian nation, which the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law which is a threatto America, and a threat to our judicial system, by purposefully having more children than others to increase their numbers, and they will be the majority in this country in 20 years.  Muslims are a threat to America

Everyone “knows” that Muslims have no respect for the Constitution, they don’t obey the laws of the United States,  that they are opposed to freedom of speech, don’t allow and freedom of religion.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are given a pass by the elite media.  It’s “us versus them”.

Everyone “knows” that the Muslims’ goal is world domination under a Caliphate, and the proposed Cordoba House in NYC is a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism, and that Muslims planned to open it on the anniversary of 9/11.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t speak out against extremism or terrorism, and even those Muslims who do speak up or seem moderate are simply lying or practicing taqiyyah.

Everyone “knows” that the Qur’an is uniquely violent, that the Islamic concept of God doesn’t include God’s love, and does not include the concept of a Golden Rule,  that Allah is a moon god.

Everyone “knows” that Islam is a monolith and all Muslims are the same, like the “Borg”.  This means that every act committed by an individual who is a Muslim is directly attributable to Islam, and never because the individual is crazy, criminal, or perverted.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t have a sense of humor

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are like the Fascists and Nazis and that in fact they supported those movements.

The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong.  These self-righteous and incorrect statements are usually followed by a demand that the Muslim community do something about whatever is the false flag of the day or face the inevitable consequences.

Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist.   They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad.  The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.

Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam.    Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as:  – we are in danger from creeping Sharia, – the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized,  -  There have been 270 million victims of “jihad”  -  There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11    - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded.  Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or theunindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.

When Islamophobes are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.

When Islamophobes are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.

There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic.  There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE)  are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”.  There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.  There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.  — the NYCLU reportReligious Freedom Under Attack:  The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State.  — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security.  — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.   There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature.   There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.

See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.

Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989.  Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism,  and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia.  Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan.    Biography  You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji (https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )

The Islamophobes Latest Fantasy Rape Fatwa

The Islamophobes Latest Fantasy Rape Fatwa

Sheila Musaji

Robert Spencer wrote Syria: Christians flee rebel areas as fatwa authorizes rape of non-Sunni women.  He introduces an article from Independent Catholic News with his own comment: “According to the sheikh, capturing and raping Alawi or Christian women is not contrary to the precepts of Islam.” Imagine the outcry if a Christian cleric had said that capturing and raping non-Christian women was not contrary to the precepts of Christianity. But no one will take any particular notice of this.”

The same story was peddled by Raymond Ibrahim on David Horowitz’ Frontpage Magazine.  (Spencer’s Jihad Watch site is also a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.)  Ibrahim even brings up again the “gang rape fatwa” claim of another such fatwa by Muhammad al-Arifi which has been thoroughly debunked by Ali Abunimah in the article How AlterNet and Salon fell for “gang rape” fatwa peddled by Islamophobes.

Such false stories spread by the Islamophobia rumor mill have become common, and whether or not to respond to them has been a serious discussion within the Muslim community.  As Robert Crane said in Gang Rape and Global Ethics: The New Challenge of Phobic Orientalism

… The question is whether the power of the internet to expose Islamophobic disinformation and delegitimize it is greater than the power of the internet to promote falsehood either deliberately or innocently, as in the case of Muslims who spread the now debunked myth of a Saudi shaykh legitimizing gang rape.

The Qur’an states that whoever is guilty of spreading defamatory tales about another person without proof is just as guilty as is the originator. But does this apply to one whose objective is to attack the story in order to bring out truth and support justice?

…  The media industry of Islamophobia has been in full swing ever since the collapse of Communism almost a quarter century ago. One question is whether it would it be better to ignore it and instead explain enlightened Islam, or whether the emphasis should be on exposing and thereby spreading the lies of the Islamophobes as a means to stop it?

Perhaps there is no answer to this factual and moral question, but the power of evil going viral in the era of instantaneous communication by individuals to millions of other individuals makes this issue increasingly important in the new era of global ethics and normative jurisprudence, once termed “moral theology” in traditional Christian philosophy and now in Islamic jurisprudence called the maqasid al shari’ah.

Sheikh Musa Furber looked into the “facts” behind this latest story.  He writes Latest Episode in the “Gang Rape” Fatwa Frenzy:

Earlier I wrote about the media’s (and public’s) infatuation with scandalous fatawa, like the“gang rape” fatwa currently making its rounds. This latest fatwa story made its way into English via an article in [Human Events] which attributed the fatwa to “Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni,” currently residing in Jordan and formerly in Damascus. Another piece by the same author links to a March 12 article on tayyar.org as its source. Ten minutes of digging produces an earlier March 11 article in Jordan News, naming the Salafi Sheikh as “Yasin al-‘Ajlawni,” currently residing in Irbid, Jordan. The article includes comments from a “Yasin Ahmad Yasin al-‘Ajlawni” who explains the backstory of his fatwa. He explicitly denounces calling for the rape of Syrian non-Muslim women and states that his fatwa called for protecting Syrian women from the rapes committed by the Syrian army itself.

The latest development comes in an April 7 article in Independent Catholic News concerning Aleppo’s Christian community. It includes the following:

Fr David [Fernandez, a missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word] said: “Yesterday, Yasir al-Ajlawni – a Jordanian Salafi sheikh, resident in Damascus, released a fatwa on Youtube, declaring that it is lawful for opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad to rape “any Syrian woman not Sunni. According to the sheikh, capturing and raping Alawi or Christian women is not contrary to the precepts of Islam.”

There is much wrong with this claim. First, the Jordanian Salafi would be “Yasin al-Ajlawni” not “Yasir al-Ajlawni.” Second, he is a resident of Irbid, Jordan, not Damascus, Syria. Third, Yasir al-Ajlawni denied making such a fatwa. Forth, the fatwa he referred to predates April 6 by many weeks.

There is a story here. But the story is not about actual gang rape fatwas but rather the use of hoax fatwas in the propaganda war against the Syrian opposition.

Are there some extremist Muslim scholars, and some who have issued fatwas that require a response from mainstream Muslim scholars.  Absolutely!  Are mainstream Muslim scholars attempting to counter these extremists with clarifying fatwas and statements?  Absolutely!

Continuously coming up with these “fantasy fatwas” as part of an effort to demonize the entire Muslim community does no one any good. I have long wondered why it is that if Muslims and Islam are so terrible, why do Islamophobes find the need to make up so many lies in order to prove that allegation?

The fact that these “news stories” and articles are simply wrong doesn’t change the fact that they are “out there” and that they will be read and believed by many of the same folks who believe the supermarket tabloids.  They will be forwarded or passed on, and commented on, and the stories will grow and more and more people will accept them as “facts”.

When Muslims are charged with something the word Islam or Muslim is attached to whatever crime they are accused of, and the story makes the front page headlines, when they are found not guilty or innocent, that goes somewhere on the back pages in small print.

The comments left on internet sites by the readers of these sorts of articles show the sort of response this sort of propoganda provokes.  What I don’t understand is who gains by such demonization of an entire faith.

See also:

About that Supposed Egyptian Necrophilia Law & fatwa, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/about-that-egyptian-necrophilia-law
About that “wear a veil or be raped story”, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/about-that-wear-a-veil-or-be-raped-story
Crucifixions in Egypt & Al Azhar Fatwas Encouraging Violence?: More Islamophobic Nonsense, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/crucifixion-story
Cucumber “fatwa” seems to be only shoddy reporting, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/cucumber-fatwa
Exhibit A in How an Islamophobic Meme Can Spread Like Wildfire Across the Internet, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini http://www.alternet.org/world/exhibit-how-easily-islamophobic-meme-can-spread-wildfire-across-internet
Fatwas & Statements by Muslim Scholars & Organizationshttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslim_voices_against_extremism_and_terrorism_part_i_fatwas
Gang Rape and Global Ethics: The New Challenge of Phobic Orientalism, Dr. Robert D. Cranehttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/gang-rape-and-global-ethics-the-new-challenge-of-phobic-orientalism
Pamela Geller Wrong About “Sexual Jihad” Fatwa, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/pamela-geller-on-sexual-jihad-fatwa
Geller and Spencer Fantasize About “Muslim Rapists” in Norway, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/geller_and_spencer
Holier than thou: extremism against Islam, Sheikh Musa Furberhttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/holier-than-thou-extremism-against-islam
Islamophobes See “Jihad” Everywhere, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/jihad-everywhere
The Media’s Infatuation With “Gang Rape” Fatwa, Sheikh Musa Furberhttp://musafurber.com/blog/blog/2013/04/04/the-medias-infatuation-with-gang-rape-fatwa/
Resources for dealing with Islamophobes, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/there-is-a-reason/0019403
Sharia, Fatwas and Women’s Rights, Asghar Ali Engineerhttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/sharia_fatwas_and_womens_rights
Syrian rape ‘fatwa’ hoax exposed, Alexander Baron http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/347521
What everyone “knows” about Islam and Muslims, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what_everyone_knows
What is a fatwa? Who can give one? (supposed Al Azhar fatwa authorizing violence against protestors), Sheikh Musa Furber http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what-is-a-fatwa-who-can-give-one
Yes, MEMRI, there is a Fatwa from Khamenei forbidding Nukes, Juan Colehttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/yes-memri-there-is-a-fatwa-from-khamenei-forbidding-nukes

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RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY

The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade.  They have a manifestofor spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films.  They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally.   They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”

Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated,  demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations:    There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month.   Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.   Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover.  Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”.  SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy.  A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day.   AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country.   AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads.  There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat.   They are even bringing their hate messagesinto public schools.

Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”.  Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?.  And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech.    None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”

The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences.   The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.

Sadly, the Islamophobic echo chamber has been aided by some in the Jewish and Christian clergy, and even by some of our elected representatives, particularly in the GOP.

The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or thatnothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence,  are nonsense.  The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist,  or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.

These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyyajihadsharia, etc.).

The most commonly repeated false claims about Muslims and Islam are that:

Everyone “knows” that most or all terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe), and that Muslims are all militant, inherently violent, more likely to engage in violence against civilians, and more likely than other Americans to be radicalized.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not interested in dialogue.  That Muslims don’t helpChristians in need.  That Muslims can’t have Christians as friends, and are anti-Semites,Holocaust deniers, and intolerant of other faiths.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t unequivocally denounce terrorism, that American Muslim leaders have not responded to radicalization in their community,  that mosques are the sourceof radicalization, that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, and a fifth column,  that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that Muslims are notloyal to America, that they are not a part of our American heritage,

Everyone “knows” that Islam itself is the problem and makes Muslims “backward”, that Muslims have made no contribution to the West, that Islam is “of the devil”, a Crescent menace, a“green peril”, that was spread by the sword,  an “evil encroaching on the United States”, andnot a religion.

Everyone “knows” that this is a Christian nation, which the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law which is a threatto America, and a threat to our judicial system, by purposefully having more children than others to increase their numbers, and they will be the majority in this country in 20 years.  Muslims are a threat to America

Everyone “knows” that Muslims have no respect for the Constitution, they don’t obey the laws of the United States,  that they are opposed to freedom of speech, don’t allow and freedom of religion.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are given a pass by the elite media.  It’s “us versus them”.

Everyone “knows” that the Muslims’ goal is world domination under a Caliphate, and the proposed Cordoba House in NYC is a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism, and that Muslims planned to open it on the anniversary of 9/11.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t speak out against extremism or terrorism, and even those Muslims who do speak up or seem moderate are simply lying or practicing taqiyyah.

Everyone “knows” that the Qur’an is uniquely violent, that the Islamic concept of God doesn’t include God’s love, and does not include the concept of a Golden Rule,  that Allah is a moon god.

Everyone “knows” that Islam is a monolith and all Muslims are the same, like the “Borg”.  This means that every act committed by an individual who is a Muslim is directly attributable to Islam, and never because the individual is crazy, criminal, or perverted.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t have a sense of humor

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are like the Fascists and Nazis and that in fact they supported those movements.

The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong.  These self-righteous and incorrect statements are usually followed by a demand that the Muslim community do something about whatever is the false flag of the day or face the inevitable consequences.

Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist.   They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad.  The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.

Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam.    Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as:  – we are in danger from creeping Sharia, – the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized,  -  There have been 270 million victims of “jihad”  -  There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11    - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded.  Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or theunindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.

When Islamophobes are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.

There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic.  There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE)  are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”.  There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.  There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.  — the NYCLU reportReligious Freedom Under Attack:  The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State.  — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security.  — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.   There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature.   There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.

See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.

Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989.  Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism,  and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia.  Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan.    Biography  You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji (https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )

Dear Rightwing Catholic Islamophobes: Pope Francis just washed the feet of a Poor Muslim

Dear Rightwing Catholic Islamophobes: Pope Francis just washed the feet of a Poor Muslim

by Juan Cole (Informed Comment)

Pope Francis on Maundy Thursday declined to address enormous crowds. Instead he went to a prison to emulate Jesus’s act of humility before his crucifixion in washing the feet of his 12 disciples. The pope washed and kissed the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women and two of them Muslim (one of the women was Muslim). It is reported that some of the prisoners broke down in tears.

CNN reports ,

Pope Francis’s willingness to wash the feet of a Muslim woman shows his concern for the very lowest stratum of society. Europe has millions of Muslims, and some are well off and well integrated into society. But many Muslims who immigrated into France and Italy for work got caught when the jobs dried up, and live in poor areas of the cities, being excluded from mainstream society or much hope of betterment. Women have lower status than men in such communities, so a poor Muslim woman in jail is just about the bottom of the social scale.

Pope Francis is from Argentina, which has a large, successful Arab-heritage community that includes Muslims, and he is said to have deeply disagreed with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, over the latter’s Regensburg speech in which he said things that Muslims found insulting.

The thing that strikes me about all this is that there is a small strand of American Catholic conservatism that frankly despises both the poor and Muslims, and is one of the pillars of prejudice against Muslims (some call it Islamophobia) in the United States. Most Catholics in opinion polls have a more positive view of Islam and Muslims than is common among evangelical Protestants, but the rightwingers among them have a thing about Muslims (and about poor people).

An example is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Rep. Peter King of New York also comes to mind. Robert Spencer has made a career of defaming Islam and Muslims. Then there is professional bully Sean Hannity of Faux News. Paul Ryan uses the insulting language of “Islamic fascism” (fascism is a Western invention; most fascists in history have been of Christian heritage; and it has nothing to do with the Muslim faith). Ryan, far from serving the poor, wants to cut social services to them by savaging the government budget, and openly boasts of following prophet of selfishness Ayn Rand.

These purveyors of hate speech against Muslims claim to be Catholics, and some of them are annoyingly Ultramontane, insisting on papal infallibility and trying to impose their values on all Americans.

Yet the person they hold to be the vicar of Christ has just given humankind a different charge, of humility and of service to the least in society, many of whom are Muslims.

So when will we see Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity and the others go to a prison to comfort inmates, and serve the Muslims among them? When will we see them kiss a Muslim’s feet? Or are they cafeteria Catholics, parading only the values that accord with their Ayn Rand heresy?