Oral Traditions in Islam and Judaism

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Oral Traditions in Islam and Judaism

Original Guest Post

by JustStoppingBy

Both Judaism and Islam rely on oral traditions that explain and put texts into context and can help counter misperceptions of the religions.

One of the sources of Islamophobia and Judeophobia is the selective quoting of religious passages that, either taken out of their literal context or without the context of how they have been interpreted, suggest that the adherents of Islam and Judaism repeat and harbor seemingly harsh views.  When the literal context is missing, sometimes just referring to the preceding or following verses is sufficient to counter any misconceptions and let a stereotype go.  In other instances, the religions’ oral traditions may help elucidate how adherents read those verses.

As Passover approaches, I want to highlight two well-known (at least among Jews) portions of the Jewish oral tradition that appear at the Passover seder and how, in broad terms, they relate to some well-known portions of the Islamic oral tradition because they are used by adherents to help put other texts into context.  The Passover seder relates the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt.  Within the story, there is a listing of the ten plagues with which the Egyptians were smitten.  As each plague is recited, Jews either spill a drop of wine or use a finger (more traditionally) or utensil to take a drop of wine from their cup and discard it on a plate or napkin.  It is not clear how far back the common explanation for this ritual goes, though it is at least as far as Rabbi Yitzhak Ben Yehuda Abarbanel, or Don Isaac Abarbanel. (1437-1508) who wrote, “The custom is to drip drops of wine out of the cup when counting the plagues to indicate that our joy is not whole because on our account an entire people was punished. Even though the enemy deserved that defeat, it does not cause us real joy.”

My guess is that the explanation, if not the tradition itself, developed over time.  A likely reason is that Jews saw a “difficult text,” or one that can have multiple interpretations, and wished to emphasize the interpretations that resonated with their view of their religion’s morality.  A similar portion of oral history that works its way into many seders  is a midrash, or interpretation of the Torah, found in the Talmud that describes what was happening in Heaven as the Red Sea closed over the Egyptian army that was pursuing the Children of Israel: “The ministering angels wanted to chant their hymns, but the Holy One, blessed be He, said, The work of my hands is being drowned in the sea, and shall you chant hymns?”  As is the case with many midrashim, some Jews take this as a literal revelation and others as a story made up later to provide a moral lesson.  For my purposes here, it does not matter which it is.  Rather, what matters is that hundreds of years after this midrash was first recorded, Jews find it worthwhile to retell every year because it provides context for our understanding of an important Jewish text.

Turning to Islam, I would like to highlight a few portions of its oral history.  One I take from anessay by Imam Shamsi Ali, who writes, “Our oral history records Muhammad’s last sermon as containing the following guidance: ‘Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another.  No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another.  You are brothers.’”   I chose this quote not because of its meaning, but because of how Imam Shamsi Ali explicitly ties it to the oral history.  Still, an Internet search shows that this is indeed a popular quote, appearing in numerous locations.  That should not be surprising given that it is the type of quote that should resonate with Muslims when thinking about the moral messages provided by Islam, with the equality of human beings being one of those messages.

A second piece of the Muslim oral tradition was cited by Arsalan Iftikhar in his interview with Loonwatch: “…we should be reminded of a well-known Islamic parable that tells the story of the Prophet Mohammed and his interactions with an unruly female neighbor, who would curse him violently and then dump garbage on him from her top window each time he walked by her house. One day, the prophet noticed that the woman was not there. In the spirit of true kindness, he went out of his way to inquire about her well-being. He then went on to visit his unfriendly neighbor at her bedside when he found that she had fallen seriously ill.”  This is indeed a well-known parable, found frequently on the web, including in comments at Loonwatch.

But, here is one potentially surprising thing about this particular story: it is not clear that it is authentic.  While there are similar stories, some investigations of this particular one have yielded results such as “I have not found a basis for this specific incident in the books of hadeeth or reliable works of prophetic biography, and it seems as though this story has become popular on the tongues of people without any source to support it, and Allah knows best” as well as “although the record of this particular incident is found in almost all the books of ‘Seerah’ or biography of the Prophet (saws) and is oft-repeated by the Muslims, to the best of our knowledge there is no record of this specific incident in any of the authentic and established Books of Sunnah. And Allah Alone Knows Best.”  As with the midrash on the angels preparing to rejoice, for my purposes it does not matter if this story is authentic.  The fact that this story is so popular even without it being found in what may be called the reliable or authentic hadith or Books of Sunnah only strengthens the point that Muslims repeat this story not because they are “forced” to because it is part of canonical literature that must be repeated, but, rather, they repeat it because its message resonates with their view of the morality of Islam.

Another reason that I chose the quotation provided from Imam Shamsi Ali is the further observation provided by his co-author, Rabbi Marc Schneier, in one of his essays in the samebook.  Rabbi Schneier writes, “Most Jews and most Muslims, however, are simply unaware of the good news that the other side has an oral tradition that moderates the sometimes harsh language of the written law.  The ignorance among the majority in both faiths allows the demagogic purveyors of hate to peddle their poison virtually unchallenged.”

Compare this with a statement by one such demagogic purveyor of hate, Robert Spencer, who has written, “Rabbinic Judaism ever since the destruction of the Temple had evolved non-literal ways to understand such commands, while in Islam such literal interpretation is still very much alive.”  In fact, Spencer is misleadingly inaccurate on both counts: Judaism had evolved non-literal ways of interpreting “problem texts” before the destruction of the Temple, and there are both literal and non-literal interpretations of “problem texts” very much alive in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.   It is the latter point, however, that is the more important.  By suggesting solely that there are literal interpretations of “problem texts” in Islam, Spencer hides the existence of similar interpretations in Judaism and Christianity as well as the many Muslims who highlight stories such as Muhammad’s concern for a woman who would throw trash on him (whether the story is literally true or not) as a lens through which they interpret any texts that could be read to call for retaliation for aggressive acts.  As Imam Shamsi Ali writes in one essay, “The guidance found in scripture is not meant to be taken only literally.  … Our stance is that though the Qur’an is sometimes exact, to extrapolate the wisdom in its passages, we need not see the texts as simply static, literal words.”

Strikingly, the Qur’an has no problem citing Jewish Oral Law.  “Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.” Qur’an 5:32.  The reference may be to Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 (“Therefore was the first man, Adam, created alone, to teach us that whoever destroys a single life, the Bible considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single life, the Bible considers it as if he saved an entire world. Furthermore, only one man, Adam, was created for the sake of peace among men, so that no one should say to his fellow, ‘My father was greater than yours…’”) or potentially other similar references such as Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a).  Whether one  believes an Islamic interpretation that Qur’an 5:32 was revealed to Muhammad, or a secular one that the ayah  repeats something that Muhammad heard, this ayah shows a continuity of belief and a tie between the oral Jewish tradition (which by that point had been written down) and written Muslim tradition.

Yet for some “demagogic purveyors of hate,” as Rabbi Schneier calls them, this is not a sign that Muslims view the Qur’an as part of a continuous revelation sometimes referencing Jewish and Christian scriptures.  Instead, these Islamophobes claim to “find further proof of plagiarism of apocryphal Jewish literature; this time in the Jewish Mishnah Sanhedrin” or title a section of an anti-Islam screed “Plagiarism in Quran,” citing the same passages.   If only the Qur’an had managed to avoid the charge of plagiarism by introducing the text by saying something like “We decreed upon the Children of Israel.”  Oh wait, it did!  Presumably, the demagogic purveyors of hate would not be satisfied with anything short of a footnote and embedded hyperlink in the text when it was compiled over 1300 years ago.

Certain Islamophobes who accuse the Qur’an of plagiarism in this verse, despite the explicit reference to a decree to the Children of Israel, seem less concerned with how Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:12 (“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”) does not reference Tobit 7:15 (“And what you hate, do not do to anyone”) or a well-known (among Jews) saying of Hillel the Elder(traditionally c. 110 BCE, died 7 CE): “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”  One notable demagogic purveyor of hate, Ali Sina, has written, “There is nothing in the Quran and Hadith that would make us believe that Islam is compatible with the Golden Rule.”  Actually, Wikipedia provides a dozen quotes from the Qur’an and Hadith that are variants of the Golden Rule.  The one that struck me the most was one that echoed Hillel: “A Bedouin came to the prophet, grabbed the stirrup of his camel and said: O the messenger of God! Teach me something to go to heaven with it. Prophet said: ‘As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them. Now let the stirrup go! [This maxim is enough for you; go and act in accordance with it!]’ —Kitab al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 146.”

All three of the Abrahamic faiths thus not only cite the Golden Rule in some form, but have traditions citing it as a maxim that sums up the morality of their religious texts or beliefs.  It is only by being selective in what they cite from the written and oral traditions that the demagogic purveyors of hate could hope to obscure this commonality.   Instead, it is worth taking the time to review the full range of the traditions of each religion, notably those cited repeatedly by their adherents because they resonate with their view of their religion’s morality.  And then, it is time to let the stereotype, and the stirrup, go.

From Moses to Moses: Traversing two Maimonides Quotes on Muslims

From Moses to Moses: Traversing two Maimonides Quotes on Muslims

March 30 marks the birthday of Moses Maimonides. As such, it seemed to be a good time to discuss two of his quotes that have been used in discussions of Islam and Islamophobia in part due to the range of views that seem to be expressed in them by the same author.

Original Guest Post

By JustStoppingBy

Recently, Robert Spencer tried to make a distinction between Allah and God, arguing that “even though they may share a name, any examination of the particulars of Christian and Islamic theology reveals that the deities in question are quite different in character.”

Note that Spencer does not say that Christians and Muslims have “different views of the same deity” but discusses “the deities in question.” In doing this, he invites the reader to reach the conclusion that the “Muslim Allah” is not the same as the “Christian God.” Danios has already provided a thorough explanation on the use of the term Allah by Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic times. As Danios points out, a common Islamophobic response is to claim that Muslims appropriated the term Allah while referring to a different entity, perhaps a moon god, but not to the god that Jews and Christians worship.

To further create a distinction between Allah and the Christian God, Spencer has asked whether the hajj is an act of apostasy based on his claims that the rites involved in the hajj are of Hindu origin. Of course, it is widely accepted that polytheists made pilgrimages to Mecca and that the Ka’bah was a pagan shrine that contained idols before the advent of Islam, including a belief that pre-Islamic pilgrims to Mecca, “[w]ith all their polytheism and idolatry, they too used to circle the Ka’bah and kiss the Black Stone.” So, even if Spencer were right, that would not seem to be a particularly Earth-shattering revelation.

Since many who propound this “deities” theory won’t listen to Danios perhaps they will listen to some other views. We can start by moving a little away from the Christian-Muslim deity distinction that Spencer wants to draw and referring to a statement by perhaps the most renowned post-Biblical Jewish scholar, Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam). In Responsa #448, Maimonides writes as follows (ellipses in Wikipedia, bolding added; alternate translation also available):

The Ishmaelites are not at all idolaters; [idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts; and they attribute to God a proper unity, a unity concerning which there is no doubt. And because they lie about us, and falsely attribute to us the statement that God has a son, is no reason for us to lie about them and say that they are idolaters … And should anyone say that the house that they honor [the Kaaba] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship,then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven … [Regarding] the Ishmaelites today – idolatry has been severed from the mouths of all of them [including] women and children. Their error and foolishness is in other things which cannot be put into writing because of the renegades and wicked among Israel [i.e., apostates]. But as regards the unity of God they have no error at all.

Maimonides’ life covered various phases of Muslim-Jewish relations. Maimonides was born in Córdoba in 1135, at the tail end of the longest potential extent of the “Golden Age” of Spanish Jewry, which saw the blossoming of Jewish culture and the attainment by individual Jews of high positions in commercial and public life. As a result of the Arab political dominance, Maimonides knew Arabic, read many texts in Arabic, and composed many of his most famous works in Arabic and referred to God as Allah in his Arabic writing.

In 1148, Córdoba was conquered by the Almohads, an Berber-Muslim dynasty that revoked the dhimmi status of Jews. There is, no doubt, much debate about the quality of the life of a dhimmi, but scholars have noted that “in any historical case, these relatively abstract and general provisions of the dhimma could and did materialize as either a tolerant and even liberating arrangement, or at the other extreme, a culturally repressive policy within which religious freedom is a hollow formality.” (María Rosa Monocal, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain,” p. 73. Garibaldi reviews the book here.) Life for Jews under the Almohads went from the previous tolerant and liberating arrangement to the other extreme, with the result that “[m]any Jews were forced to convert, but due to suspicion by the authorities of fake conversions, the new converts had to wear identifying clothing that set them apart and made them available to public scrutiny with many forced to convert or go into exile.” The point of this is not to dwell on history, but to put Maimonides’ responsa into context. It was written not by someone who had experienced only positive relations between Muslims and Jews, but who had also witnessed among the harshest of relations. And one should note that after fleeing Córdoba, Maimonides eventually again found himself in a place where he could establish good relations with Muslim authorities, becoming court physician to Saladin.

So, what does Maimonides have to say about how Muslims view God? Returning to the quote, we see that Maimonides says that “[idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts.” This, is in fact the same story told in Islam’s view of its own history: before Muhammad, the Ishmaelites (as Maimonides refers to them) in and around Mecca were idolaters. But, since the advent of Islam, “they attribute to God a proper unity.” The Islamic term for a “proper unity” istawhid, which, in essence, is not just a superficial form of “unity” but a “proper unity” that has an influence on Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence. It is also possible that Maimonides was even distinguishing between the “proper” Jewish and Muslim view of God’s unity and what he would consider the “improper” Christian view of a trinitarian unity. Nowhere does Maimonides even suggest that Muslims are worshiping some different deity or that they do not share the Jewish view of God’s character.

Maimonides further argues that “should anyone say … [the Kaba’a] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship, then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven.” This can be read as a pre-rebuttal to arguments made by Robert Spencer about the Kaba’a and the hajj based on views, true or not, about their pre-Islamic origins. As Maimonides points out, if Muslims view Allah as the same god Jews view in Heaven and direct their prayers accordingly, pre-Islamic history does not affect their monotheism. Say what you want about any possible idol remnant in the Ka’bah or the etymology of the term Allah, it is clear that the “hearts of [Muslims] today are only toward Heaven.”

Now, why is Maimonides such an interesting person to quote from when countering Spencer’s Islamophobic rhetoric? For one thing, Spencer’s polemical partner Pamela Geller has also quoted from Maimonides, believing that it helps the position that she and Spencer take in general and in her fights about her ads about a choice “between the civilized man and the savage” in particular. Here is a quote she uses, from Maimonides’ Epistle to Yemen:

Let Ye understand, my brothers, the Holy One Blessed HE through the trap created by our iniquities cast us amongst this nation, the people of Ishmael [Muslims] whose oppressiveness is firmly upon us and they connive to do us wrong and despicably downgrade us as the Almighty decreed against us (Deuteronomy 32:31, “Your enemies shall judge you”).

There never came against Israel a more antagonistic nation. They oppress us with the most oppressive measures to lessen our number, reduce us, and make us as despicable as they themselves are [Psalms 120:5].

Geller, misleadingly introduces this quote by saying that Maimonides “said this of Islam.” She further introduces the purely religious term Muslims in brackets where Maimonides referred to the “people of Ishmael,” a term that could have ethnic, political, and/or religious connotations.

On the religious aspect, while Maimonides did not accept Islam, it is clear from the earlier quote that he fully accepted that Muslims, or Ishmaelites, were monotheists whose hearts are directed only toward heaven in prayer. Instead, the conflict he describes is a political one, in particular with the Yemeni Shi’a of the time. Ultimately, “Maimonides interceded with Saladin in Egypt, and shortly thereafter the persecution came to an end.”

There are a few additional points worth noting in this quote from Maimonides. First, the reference to “the people of Ishmael” may sound like a form of generalization today, but no more so than the positive references to Ishmaelites in the first Maimonides quote or his reference to Jews as Israel in the second.

Second, unlike Geller, Maimonides does not attempt to create a picture in which one side is civilized and the other savage. Indeed, Maimonides describes Israel’s exile as a “trap created by our iniquities.” Traditionally, this referred to the “baseless hatred,” or the religious and political disputes, mistakes, violence, and venom that existed at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple and the onset of the Exile. Thus, Maimonides’ approach was not to turn a political dispute or suffering persecution into a basis for misrepresenting the religious views of others. Nor did he argue that those of his religion were pure and those of another religion were not; rather, he pointed out sinful behavior in both. In Maimonides’ view, monotheism was a good quality, and, from the first quote, we see that he was able to acknowledge what he saw as the good in his political opponents rather than feeling the need to suppress any of those qualities or actions as if his entire position would fall apart if his political adversaries had any good side. In addition, when Maimonides corresponded with a community of Jews who were being persecuted by a Muslim majority, he made a point of noting that even the Jews who then felt persecuted should not ignore their group’s own history of hatred and violence, including political mistakes that were part of the reason for their exile.

While there are aspects to the two quotes from Maimonides that one can agree or disagree with, they do reflect an overall attitude that contrasts sharply with those of Spencer and Geller.

While Maimonides had political differences with various Muslim groups, he did not seek to mischaracterize their religion or their religious beliefs. For there can be no true peace with the Other without recognition of the truth of their beliefs and behavior and honest dialogue based on those truths, a sharp contrast to the insidious Spencer/Geller policy of no peace, no truthful recognition, and no honest dialogue. Compare Maimonides’ recognition of Islam’s positive monotheistic quality, even when he disagreed politically with Muslims, with Spencer, who has argued that “the only good Muslim is a bad Muslim,” meaning that in his view, the only morally good Muslim is one who is not an Islamically good Muslim.

In terms of lessons for today, it may be helpful to see how Maimonides separated the political battles he faced from the opportunities to engage in religious prejudice against the beliefs of the Other. This did not mean that he refrained from political activity, as seen by his appeal to Saladin. But, neither did he refrain from standing up for the truth about another group’s religious beliefs. In viewing how Maimonides conducted these two fights, perhaps it can be said that the lesson is that we should fight our political battles as if there were no religious prejudice, and we should fight religious prejudice as if there were no political battles.

Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller discover “puppy bomb jihad”

Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller discover “puppy bomb jihad”

US anti-Islam activists Pamela Geller (L

Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller discover “puppy bomb jihad”

by Sheila Musaji

Pamela Geller posted ‘Puppy Bombs’: Puppies being used as living firebombs by Muslim Brotherhood

Her partner in hate, Robert Spencer, posted Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood using “puppy bombs” dipped in gasoline and set on fire.

Geller and Spencer both list the same article from Arutz Sheva Israel National News ‘Puppy Bombs’ Rescued from Egyptian Violence as the source for their information.

The Arutz Sheva article by Ari Yashar refers to “Robyn Urman, a pet rescuer in Tenafly, New Jersey, as reported by CBS 2” as the source for his article.

I found the article on CBS 2 Refugee Puppies From Egypt Looking For New Homes In U.S.  This article on CBS 2 New York says nothing about gasoline, bombs, the Muslim Brotherhood, or anything else except that homes are needed for puppies from Egypt.

Two dogs from Egypt are in need of a good home here.

Robyn Urman, a pet rescuer in Tenafly, N.J., said she received a Facebook message from an animal rescue volunteer in Egypt, who said two puppies, Cleopatra and Cairo, needed homes.  The volunteer asked if Urman be willing to take the dogs.  Urman agreed and the pooches were on a flight to New York. …

 

I was puzzled as to how this story had morphed, but Bob Pitt of Islamophobia Watch reports that the original article on CBS 2 is not the same as the article that I found that now appears there.

He has saved a screen image of the original article here posted on 10/28 at 8:00 a.m. (Note, the story now appearing on CBS 2, with all the propaganda removed was posted 10/29 at 1:04 p.m.).

In that original article, the source for the “gasoline, bombs, the Muslim Brotherhood” part of the story is given as a Facebook message to Urman from someone named Mervat Said in Egypt.  But, all the aspects of the story supplied by this individual are now removed from the story that remains online.

So, it seems that CBS 2 had some serious thoughts about the accuracy of this story and removed the original and replaced it with an article that includes none of the propaganda.  There is nothing at all printed that would inform anyone that the article has been changed, or why that has been done.

Shame on CBS for not being more careful about their sources in the first place.  This non-story became an excuse for Islamophobes to rant, and their readers got their message loud and clear.  Here is one of the comments under Geller’s article on Atlas Shrugs (and yes, it was written in all caps):

lovezion said… THERE’S NO PLACE ON EARTH FOR SUCH PRIMITIVE, BRAINLESS SAVAGES WHOSE INTELLIGENCE AND EVEN BRILLIANCE CONSISTS IN HATING, CUTTING THROATS, MAKING THEIR OWN WOMEN AND CHILDREN SLAVES AND MUCH MORE EVIL!
SO IF WE DON’T WANT TO CONTINUE BEING MURDERED BY THEM AND EVENTUALLY MADE SLAVES REGARDLESS OF WHAT RELIGION OR ANYTHING ELSE WE ARE, THEN THERE’S NO OTHER WAY BUT TO ANNIHILATE THEM ALL COMPLETELY, WITHOUT LEAVING ANY SEEDS AT ALL! OTHER THAN THIS, WE ARE PITIFULLY WASTING OUR LIVES, TIME, MONEY, ENERGY, TERRITORY AND….COMPLETE CONQUEST TO THEIR GLOBAL RULES!

I have placed the key point the Atlas Shrugs reader gives in his comment in bold.  This is a clear call for genocide.  Not surprising, since Geller has previously posted articles from her readers calling for genocide.  And, Babu Suseelan of Spencer & Geller’s AFDI/SION Board said at their 9/11/2012 “Global Alliance Event” in NY that ”“If we do not kill the bacteria,” the jowly Suseelan scolded the audience, “the bacteria will kill us.” Otherwise, he warned, “Muslims will breed like rats and they will be a majority.” Still, he concluded hopefully, “Islam can be stopped! And it can be wiped out.”  You can read about this statement, and others by other AFDI/SION “dignitaries” in the article AFDI/SION’s Leadership: Arrests & Scandals.

Interestingly, this Global Alliance event is where these hatemongers came up with their AFDI/SION bigoted, anti-Muslim 18-point platform which they have the nerve to describe as a “platform for defending freedom”.
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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 manifesto for 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.”

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.

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 taqiyyajihadshariaAbrogation (Naskh) in the Qur’an, etc.  Hundreds of examples with responses here

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.  You can find detailed information about and responses to these false claims here

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,   -  most or all terrorists are Muslims  – 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 the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning HamasHamas linked, or are Jew haters.  When Islamophobes are caught in the act ofmaking up or distorting claims or omitting key facts,  they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence often by “disappearing” articles.

Islamophobes do not understand freedom of speech or that freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech and they are quick to call for censorship and repression of speech they don’t like.

The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences.

You would never know from listening to any of the members of the Islamophobia Industry that Muslimshave defended  freedom of speech, participated in interfaith dialogue, defended freedom of faith against apostasy laws,  condemned blasphemy laws, condemned holocaust denial and anti-Semitism,promoted non-violent solutions to the many problems we face, called for protecting all houses of worship and condemned any attacks on churches or synagogues anywherecondemned violent responses to numerous incidents including the response to the Innocence of Muslims film, spoken outagainst child marriage, are working to stop domestic violence in our community, have many active programs and efforts in the community to counter radicalization and extremism and to work to protect minority rights in Muslim majority countries etc.  Type condemn into the TAM search engine and 145 statements of condemnation come up in addition to the collections in our lengthy section Muslim voices against extremism terrorism and violence  Muslims speak out loudly and clearly condemning our own extremists, and their extremist statements and actions.  Type “lunatic fringe” into the TAM search engine for many such articles condemning particular extremists and extremist groups and activities.

You would never know that Muslims are decent, hardworking, productive citizens, making a positive contribution to this society.  Muslims haven’t just spoken out against abuses carried out anywhere in the world that dishonor Islam, but also worked doing positive things.   See our TAM collection of good news stories about Muslims 2012 for many examples.

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.

The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.

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 (SPLC) 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. , and that the SPLC calls Pamela Geller “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam. 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 andUnderstanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.  — the NYCLU report Religious 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.

There is a reason that Spencer and Geller were both recently banned from entering Great Britainto participate in an EDL event, and that their own words and actionsproved the charges against them.

Click on the logo “Muslims denounce extremism and terrorism” on the front page of TAM for an extensive resource listing not only Muslim responses to extremism.  See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes & Islamophobia for information about the Islamophobia industry as well as a detailed listing of false claims and responses to those false claims. See the TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry for links to resources about particular individuals and organizations.  See the TAM collection of Existing Reports, Polls, and Studies on Islam, Muslims & Radicalization.  This collection includes many reports relating specifically to the Islamophobia Industry.

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 )

It Took Stephen Lennon Only 4 Years to Figure Out the EDL Was Populated with Neo-Nazis & Anti-Muslim ‘Morons’

EDL_Tommy_Robinson_Resigns

Quilliam’s Maajid Nawaz with Stephen Lennon and Kevin Carroll.

It’s always nice to hear about the light bulb flickering on in someone’s head and at least Tommy Robinson/Stephen Lennon and Kevin Carroll are far ahead of their North American peers, Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller who likely still consider the EDL that they used to lead to be defenders of freedom.”

After 4 years it has dawned on Lennon and Carroll that the organization they lead is populated with A LOT of neo-Nazis and “anti-Muslim morons.” WE’VE BEEN TELLING YOU TOMMY!!

CriticalDragon, by way of HopeNotHate has cautioned us however that this may not be a real awakening and may in fact be a ruse.

Sure Quilliam gets to justify that government money they get and Tommy is able to shift strategy and leave the baggage of hate he has helped promote for several years now but, golly gee, we can’t just forget about the past 4 years!

(h/t: Seeker)

EDL leader Tommy Robinson QUITS and brands violent anti-Muslim supporters ‘morons’

(Express)

The counter-extremism think tank Quilliam has brokered the move with Tommy Robinson and his right hand man Kevin Carroll.Today the pair said they now wanted to resist all forms of extremism and Quilliam called for both radical Islamists and far-right supporters to follow their lead.Tommy Robinson said: “I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognise that though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive.“I acknowledge the dangers of far right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”

Speaking on the BBC’s 5 Live radio later, he said he was tired of being associated with ”morons” who advocate violence against Muslims.

He said: “When some moron lifts up his top and has got a picture of a mosque saying boom and it’s all over the national newspapers – it’s me.

“It’s when I pick up my kids from school the parents are looking at me, judging me on that.

“That’s not what I stood for. My decision is to be true to what I stand for and whilst I want to lead a revolution against Islamist ideology I don’t want to lead a revolution against Muslims.

“I believe the revolution needs to come from within the Islamic community and they need to stand up and I believe this is a step forward not a step back.”

Read the rest…

4 MPs in Geert Wilders Party Wear Badges with Neo-Nazi Insignia

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This is Robert Spencer‘s “defenders of freedom”: Neo-Nazis.

Row after four MPs wear badges in Dutch parliament featuring neo-Nazi insignia

(IrishTimes)

A row has broken out over four MPs of Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party who wore badges in the Dutch parliament this week featuring a well-known neo-Nazi insignia which has links to the country’s infamous national socialist party of the 1930s.

The display came on Thursday after exchanges the previous day when the leader of the centre-left D66 party, Alexander Pechtold, called on Mr Wilders to distance himself from extremists who waved the Prinsen flag and gave Nazi salutes at a Freedom Party rally in The Hague last weekend.

Against an all-time high in opinion polls, the rally was the start of what Mr Wilders has promised will be a popular backlash against EU austerity measures “imposed” by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s trailing Liberal-Labour coalition government “at the behest of” Brussels.

Right-wing umbrella
He has also revealed plans for an alliance of right-wing parties – including the National Front in France, Alternative for Germany, and the Northern League in Italy – to fight European Parliament elections next May, a strategy supported recently by National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Spats in parliament featuring Geert Wilders are nothing new, but his exchanges with Mr Pechtold were unusually bad-tempered and vitriolic.

When Mr Pechtold asked how he felt about Ms Le Pen’s belief that “Jewish skull caps should be banned”, Mr Wilders replied by describing Mr Pechtold as “a sad, miserable, hypocritical, little man” whose question was “too miserable to be taken seriously”.

The Freedom Party leader said he was “proud” of last weekend’s rally, and “proud of everyone who attended it”.

Not anti-Semitic

However, he did qualify that: “It goes without saying that the PVV [Freedom Party] and its thousands of supporters have nothing to do with extremism or anti-Semitism. The PVV has nothing to do with that sort of idiocy.”

The following day, however, the four MPs – including Martin Bosma, one of Mr Wilders’s closest associates – sat together in parliament wearing badges featuring the Prinsen flag, which is virtually identical to the Dutch flag except that its red horizontal bar is replaced with an orange one.

The Prinsen flag was first carried by followers of William of Orange in the 80 Years War against Spain in the 16th century, and is still used by extreme right-wing groups such as Stormfront. It was adopted by the national socialists during the 1930s because of its links with “a golden age” for the Netherlands. Because of those Nazi associations, it was replaced with the current flag in 1937 on the instructions of Queen Wilhelmina, who fled to London during the war.

Mr Wilders has refused to comment, as in 2011 when the Prinsen flag was photographed in his party’s offices.

No, Jesus WASN’T a Pacifist: The Problem with the Muhammad vs. Jesus Comparisons

jesus vs muhammad

This is part 5-ii of the Understanding Jihad Series.  Please read my “disclaimer”, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

Throughout his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), professional Islamophobe Robert Spencer misleads the reader by selectively comparing Muhammad to Jesus.  Muhammad is portrayed as a “warrior prophet” and contrasted with the (supposedly) non-violent Jesus.  Spencer argues on page four of his book that his “Muhammad vs. Jesus” comparisons are intended to “draw a distinction between the core principles that guide the faithful Muslim and Christian.”  We are told that Islam’s militancy stems from its founder, as Christianity’s peacefulness traces back to its earliest figure.  Although Robert Spencer is a fringe extremist, his sentiments are shared by many average Christians (and even non-Christians).  To the average Westerner, Muhammad was a man of violence, whereas Jesus was the quintessential pacifist.

Prof. Philip Jenkins explored a similar mindset when it came to the Koran and the Bible. Jenkinsexplained (emphasis added):

Unconsciously, perhaps, many Christians consider Islam to be a kind of dark shadow of their own faith, with the ugly words of the Koran standing in absolute contrast to the scriptures they themselves cherish. In the minds of ordinary Christians – and Jews – the Koran teaches savagery and warfare, while the Bible offers a message of love, forgiveness, and charity…

But in terms of ordering violence and bloodshed, any simplistic claim about the superiority of the Bible to the Koran would be wildly wrong. In fact, the Bible overflows with “texts of terror,” to borrow a phrase coined by the American theologian Phyllis Trible. The Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Koran, and biblical violence is often far more extreme, and marked by more indiscriminate savagery.  The Koran often urges believers to fight, yet it also commands that enemies be shown mercy when they surrender. Some frightful portions of the Bible, by contrast, go much further in ordering the total extermination of enemies, of whole families and races – of men, women, and children, and even their livestock, with no quarter granted.

I have extensively (and painfully) elaborated on this point earlier in this article series.

The comparisons between Muhammad “the warrior prophet” and Jesus “the pacifist” are equally faulty.  For one thing,  many were the “warrior prophets” in the Judeo-Christian tradition before Muhammad, including MosesJoshuaSamsonDavidSaul, and so many others.  Moses, the prototypical “warrior prophet”, was the key figure of Judaism–would these Islamophobes vilify Judaism as they do Islam?  (Nowadays it is often considered socially taboo to criticize Judaism but completely acceptable to malign Islam.  Why the double standard?)

For the record, these Biblical prophets and holy figures are just as much a part of Christianity as they are Judaism.  Christian theology holds these personalities in very high regard.  Therefore, to suddenly limit the discussion to Jesus alone is misleading.  Yet, this disingenuous tactic is critical to the Islamophobic rhetoric.  If Islam is to be deemed a violent faith based on the personality of Muhammad, then both Judaism and Christianity must similarly be designated as violent faiths based on the personalities of Moses, Joshua, and all the other myriad of figures in the Bible who engaged in acts of violence far more atrocious than anything Muhammad stands accused of.

Leaving aside this point, it ought to be noted that Jesus as a pacifist is pure fiction.  Prof. Reza Aslan recently published a book on Jesus, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, which disproves the myth of the pacifist Jesus.  Although Aslan’s message may be news to some lay persons, it is in fact (as Reza Aslan himself points out) “old news” in scholarly circles.  Thanks to the viral Fox News interview and Aslan’s addictive writing style, Zealot became a best-seller.  Christian Islamophobes wrongfully assumed, without reading the book, that Aslan was attacking the character of Jesus.  In fact, however, Aslan reveres Jesus, even while he dispels many of the myths about the man.

One of the myths that Aslan dispels is the idea that Jesus was a pacifist.  Many Christians think of Jesus separately from the personalities of the Old Testament.  But, in fact, there is a great deal of continuity in the Biblical narrative.  According to the Bible, God rescued Moses and his people from Egypt and promised them the land of Canaan.  However, Canaan was occupied by pagans, so God commanded the Jews to completely annihilate the indigenous population.  This divinely sanctioned genocide helped establish a Jewish kingdom in the Promised Land.  After some time, however, the Jews were conquered by outside forces.  By the time of Jesus, the Jews were under imperial occupation by Rome.

What many Christians (and others) fail to realize was that Jesus was a Jew.  He was in fact one of many different Jews who claimed to be the Messiah.  The Messiah, it was believed, would be a conquering king sent down to liberate the Jewish people, “fight Hashem’s [God's] wars” (Maimonides in Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 11:4), and then not only conquer but punish (with great vengeance) the enemies of Israel.  Jesus’s connection to the war heroes of the Bible is underscored by the fact that he is called “a Davidic king”–the same David who engaged in acts of war and genocide against the Philistines and Amalekites.  Aslan writes:

[A] fair consensus about who the messiah is supposed to be and what the messiah is supposed to do: he is the descendant of King David; he comes to restore Israel, to free the Jews from the yoke of occupation, and to establish God’s rule in Jerusalem.  To call Jesus the messiah, therefore, is to place him inexorably upon a path–already well trodden by a host of failed messiahs who came before him–toward conflict, revolution, and war against the prevailing powers.

This was the role Jesus was claiming for himself by saying he was the Messiah.  This is why the Romans crucified him.

In his book, Reza Aslan writes:

It was a direct commandment from a jealous God who tolerated no foreign presence in the land he had set aside for his chosen people. That is why, when the Jews first came to this land a thousand years earlier, God had decreed that they massacre every man, woman, and child they encountered, that they slaughter every ox, goat, and sheep they came across, that they burn every farm, every field, every crop, every living thing without exception so as to ensure that the land would belong solely to those who worshiped this one God and no other…

It was, the Bible claims, only after the Jewish armies had “utterly destroyed all that breathed”…only after every single inhabitant of this land was eradicated, “as the Lord God of Israel had commanded” (Joshua 10:28-42)–that the Jews were allowed to settle here.

And yet, a thousand years later, this same tribe that had shed so much blood to cleanse the Promised Land of every foreign element so as to rule it in the name of its God now found itself laboring under the boot of an imperial pagan power, forced to share the holy city with Gauls, Spaniards, Romans, Greeks, and Syrians–all of them foreigners, all of them heathens–obligated by law to make sacrifices in God’s own temple on behalf of a Roman idolater who lived more than a thousand kilometers away.

How would the heroes of old respond such humiliation and degradation? What would Joshua or Aaron or Phineas or Samuel do to the unbelievers who had defiled the land set aside by God for his chosen people?

They would drown the land in blood. They would smash the heads of the heathens and the gentiles, burn their idols to the ground, slaughter their wives and their children. They would slay the idolaters and bathe their feet in the blood of their enemies, just as the Lord commanded. They would call upon the God of Israel to burst forth from the heavens in his war chariot, to trample upon the sinful nations and to make the mountains writhe at this fury.

Jesus was crucified by the Romans before he could mete out vengeance on the enemies of Israel, but–as a I detail in my earlier article Jesus Loves His Enemies…and Then Kills Them All–he will fulfill this task during his Second Coming:

Jesus will “will release the fierce wrath of God” (19:15) on them, and “he shall execute the severest judgment on the opposers of his truth”.   Because of this, “every tribe on earth will mourn because of him” (Rev. 1:7), and they will “express the inward terror and horror of their minds, at his appearing; they will fear his resentment”.  Just as the people of Canaan were terrified by the Israelite war machine, so too would the unbelievers “look with trembling upon [Jesus]”.  This is repeated in the Gospels, that “the Son of man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn” (Matthew 24:30).  “All the nations of the world shall wail when he comes to judgment” and the enemies of Jesus “shall mourn at the great calamities coming upon them”.

Far from the meek prophet of the First Coming, Jesus on his return will command a very strong military force that will “destroy[] every ruler, authority, and power”.  Not only is this consistent with the legacy of conquests by the Biblical prophets, it is actually a fulfillment or completion of the task that Moses initiated: holy war and conquest in the name of God.  In First Corinthians (part of the New Testament) it is prophesied that instead of loving his enemies, Christ will subdue and humble them under his feet:

1 Corinthians 15:24 [Jesus] will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power.

15:25 For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet.

Reza Aslan concludes:

[T]he Jesus that emerges…[is] a zealous revolutionary swept up, as all Jews of the era were, in the religious and political turmoil of first-century Palestine–[which] bears little resemblance to the image of the gentle shepherd cultivated by the early Christian community.

Once Jesus is understood as a continuation and culmination of the Biblical narrative, it becomes clear that he was not a pacifist.  The Biblical war ethic that Jesus believed in was arguably more violent than the equivalent Koranic discourse Muhammad operated from.  (More on this in a future article.)  The only difference was that Jesus’s rebellion was cut short by his crucifixion, whereas Muhammad triumphed against his former tormentors.

It should be noted that Jesus, like Moses and Muhammad, was an enigmatic personality; nobody can know for certain who the real Jesus was.  People (including scholars) subconsciously project into Jesus their own self-image.  Remembering Jesus as a pacifist is a healthy option for the Christian believer, especially when it forms the basis of a peace-loving theology.  But, once that pacifist image is used by right-wing warmongers as a stick to bash Muslims over the head with, it’s time to call foul.

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

Tennessee judge rules infant’s name must be changed from ‘Messiah’

Seven-month old Martin DeShawn McCullough being held by his mom Jaleesa Martin.

Oh look Not a single word of Christian Sharia Christian Takeover or anything. Anyone want to guess how much apeshit they ( Pam Geller and Fatty Spencer) would go if we sub Messiah for Mohammed? (H/t: JD)

——

Tennessee judge rules infant’s name must be changed from ‘Messiah’

NEWPORT, Tenn. –  A judge in Tennessee changed a 7-month-old boy’s name to Martin from Messiah, saying the religious name was earned by one person and “that one person is Jesus Christ.”

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change last week, according to WBIR-TV . The boy’s parents were in court because they could not agree on the child’s last name, but when the judge heard the boy’s first name, she ordered it changed, too.

“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Ballew said.

It was the first time she ordered a first name change, the judge said.

Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names.

The judge in eastern Tennessee said the baby was to be named Martin DeShawn McCullough, which includes both parents’ last name.

The boy’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, of Newport, said she will appeal. She says Messiah is unique and she liked how it sounded alongside the boy’s two siblings — Micah and Mason.

“Everybody believes what they want so I think I should be able to name my child what I want to name him, not someone else,” Martin said.

Ballew said the name Messiah could cause problems if the child grows up in Cocke County, which has a large Christian population.

“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” the judge said.

Freedom of Speech does not mean accepting voices of incivility

Robert Spencer. AP photo

Freedom of Speech does not mean accepting voices of incivility

BY 

The First Amendment is one of the most cherished hallmarks of America. There is no other nation on earth that has such a robust right for citizens to articulate their thoughts – including scientific discourse, the ability to challenge the government, and even expressions of hatred and bigotry.

Eastern Michigan University recently hosted a debate on Islam in which an anti-Muslim critic named Robert Spencer was the key participant. People ranging from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to prominent rabbis have criticized anti-Muslim intolerance spewed by Spencer and his affiliate organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

I believe that Spencer has the fundamental right to speak hatefully about fellow Americans. I also know that people of goodwill have the right not to engage him in his rhetoric. Moreover, we have the right to challenge his bigotry by not granting him dignified platforms.

Passivity in the face of hate speech has cumulative consequences. Words matter, and discrimination is inspired by those who have loud voices that repeat sweeping false generalizations and stereotypes.

Spencer – and peers like Pam Geller, Pastor Terry Jones et al who seek attention and revenue from their exploits – come to our region to prove a point about Michigan Muslims that denigrates Muslims who have been here over a century. The oldest mosque in America was established in Highland Park in 1921, and the oldest socio-political expression of American Muslims comes from Detroit. America’s first Muslim judge, Adam Shakoor, hails from Detroit, and America’s first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, is a Detroit native and Wayne State graduate.

Muslims guided by faith have been overwhelmingly law-abiding, peaceful and productive citizens of Michigan and America in general – counter to Spencer’s narrative.

We don’t have control over the United Kingdom barring Spencer from speaking there, nor do we have influence over other governments and people to force them to live according to American standards. We do, however, have the ability to influence civility. This includes pushing back against those who foment ethnic and religious intolerance such as Spencer and his acolytes. I encourage government officials and interfaith leaders to use their freedom of speech to drown out the speech of Spencer, Westboro Baptist Church and other merchants of vitriol who seek to prosper off of the backs of Michiganians.

The Hamas Smear: How Islamophobes Use Six Degrees of Separation to Smear Muslims

The Hamas Smear: How Islamophobes Use Six Degrees of Separation to Smear Muslims

obama

Even President Obama is not safe from the Hamas smear

Lauren Green’s interview of Reza Aslan backfired on Fox News.  Green’s obvious bias generated sympathy for Aslan.  Many Americans were horrified at her blatant display of Islamophobia.  Yet, Lauren Green’s statements were actually very mild compared to the anti-Muslim smears that Reza Aslan and other prominent Muslims are routinely subjected to–which few Americans speak out against.

Perhaps the crudest attack–used almost invariably against a Muslim who reaches any form of prominence whatsoever–is the Hamas smear.  Its ubiquity is such that we ought to name a law after it.  We’ve all heard of Godwin’s Law:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

The Hamas smear deserves its own law.  For vanity’s sake, let’s call it Danios’s Law.  And, it goes something like this:

As a Muslim person becomes more prominent, the probability of anti-Muslim bigots linking that Muslim to Hamas* approaches 1.

*Or some other extremist group

It may not sound as elegant as Godwin’s Law, but it’s equally true.

How commonly the Hamas smear is used against Muslims became painfully obvious when I read Salon essayist Wajahat Ali’s guest article he wrote for LoonWatch.  Ali masterfully used comedy to make impotent the very ugly “stealth jihadist” accusations levied against Muslims.  Then, I realized that Muslims in general tend to have a running joke about this, since the Hamas smear is so prevalent against them.  They have re-appropriated the smear, much as black Americans have re-appropriated the n-word.  That’s how common (and hurtful) the bigoted slur has become.

Front Page Magazine and other right-wing media outlets tied Wajahat Ali to Hamas by pointing out that Ali was a member of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) during college.  This, even though his joining the MSA during college is as intuitive as a black, Mexican, or Jewish person joining the black student union, the Mexican-American Student Association, or the Jewish Student Union respectively.

Islamophobes often use the MSA or CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to play a connect-the-dots game back to Hamas.  CAIR is the largest and most respected American Muslim civil rights organization.  Once again using dubious connections, CAIR is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, and in turn, to Hamas.  With both the MSA (the largest American Muslim college organization) and CAIR (the largest American Muslim civil rights organization) connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and from there to Hamas, it is only a matter of connecting an American Muslim to the MSA or CAIR in order to link that individual to Hamas itself.

Sooner or later, any prominent Muslim is bound to be smeared in this way and linked to Hamas or some other radical organization.  Even Rima Fakih, the Arab-American beauty pageant contestant who won Miss USA, was not safe from the smear.  She stood accused of being tied to Hezbollah.  The Hezbollah smear is a modified version of the Hamas smear, often employed against Shi’ite Muslims.  (Hamas is a Sunni organization, whereas Hezbollah is a Shi’ite one.)  In other words, being a bikini-clad beauty pageant winner is not enough to insulate oneself from being called a radical “Islamist.”

After the now notorious Fox News interview, the Daily Caller published an article claiming that Reza Aslan has “ties to extreme Islamists” and “is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”  Elsewhere Aslan was called a “Khomeinist” and tied to the Iranian regime (yet another Shi’ite-centric version of the Hamas smear).  These six degrees of separation sort of accusations are far more pernicious than anything Lauren Green said to Reza Aslan.  They reek of McCarthyism, with “Islamism” being substituted for communism.

The list of American Muslims libeled with the Hamas smear is endless.  But, what’s interesting is that not even non-Muslims are safe from this smear.  President Barack Obama, who has a Muslim-ish enough sounding name, has been tied to both the Muslim Brotherhood and, in turn, Hamas.

I write for LoonWatch.com, arguably the internet’s most popular Islamophobia watchdog website.  And, lo and behold, it did not take long for the Hamas smear to come along my way.  The Islamophobes don’t even know my faith but they are certain that I am an “Islamist” and Hamas supporter.  Whether a Muslim or simply a “Muslim sympathizer”, one can automatically be linked to Hamas using the Islamophobic approach.

Eric Allen Bell, a former diarist for The Daily Kos (he was banned by the unanimous consensus of the Daily Kos community for being an unrestrained bigot), accused LoonWatch of being tied to Hamas.  Bell’s “connecting-the-dots” mentality and “math” prove how loosely the Hamas smear is used; Bell opined:

Loonwatch works with CAIR by broadcasting CAIR’s point of view. They are very consistent on this. Loonwatch is never in disagreement with CAIR. CAIR thanks Loonwatch in their “Hate Report”.

Connecting all of these dots is deeply, deeply concerning. Here is the math: Out of the Muslim Brotherhood come a number of terrorist organizations including Al Queda and Hamas. Out of Hamas comes C.A.I.R. and Loonwatch becomes a mirror for anything that C.A.I.R. wants to convey to Americans about how harmless Islam is.

All the evidence Eric Allen Bell needs is that “LoonWatch is never in disagreement with CAIR”, ergo LoonWatch must be working with CAIR.  Does it take a mathematician to figure out the flaw in his “math” and the logical fallacy here?

Alright, so LoonWatch is linked to CAIR because we are, according to him, “never in disagreement”–and because CAIR supposedly thanks us in their “Hate Report” (I wonder why an American Muslim civil rights group would thank a website that monitors Islamophobia?).  Ergo, LoonWatch = CAIR.  Since Hamas = CAIR, therefore LoonWatch = Hamas.  Oh yeah, let’s throw in Al-Qaeda into the mix as well.  You see, it’s so plain to see, LoonWatch = CAIR = Hamas = Al-Qaeda.

Searching “LoonWatch” on YouTube reveals a video entitled “Loonwatch and Hamas”, created by a regular commentator on JihadWatch.  The video is a painful ten minutes long, with a rambling “connect-the-dots” approach to smear me.  What’s interesting is that the Islamophobic narrator mentions that I specifically condemned and denounced Hamas (which is what right-wingers always demand of Muslims and their sympathizers: “Do you, sir, condemn Hamas?”), but then goes on to explain why my condemnation and denouncement of Hamas aren’t genuine.

Hamas and LoonWatch Video:

So, what’s his argument to make this claim?  The narrator intones: “A look at the numerous LoonWatch pages that come up from the term ‘Hamas’, we see that Danios and Hamas are quite compatible politically.”  Really?  I’m a strong supporter of pluralistic, secular, liberal democracy, whereas Hamas supports an ultra-conservative Islamic “Sharia state.”  How’s that for compatibility?

The narrator then points to an article I wrote about Debbie Schlussel.  In that article, I criticized Schlussel for insulting the victims of the Oslo terrorist attack in which seventy-seven innocent people were killed by a far-right wing extremist.  Schlussel called the child victims of this heinous attack “bitches.”  Interestingly, in the article I also pointed out that Schlussel linked the victims to Hamas, calling them “HAMASniks.”  (Here again we see the Hamas smear in action, this time against murdered children.)

I passingly mention the Freedom Flotilla in the article, because Debbie Schlussel accused the child victims of having sympathized with it.  (The Freedom Flotilla had attempted to provide humanitarian aid to the starving people of Gaza.)  There is the narrator’s hook!  He says that we should “place the Flotilla at the center of our discussion.”

The connect-the-dots is about to begin.  It’s confusing, but it goes something like this:

Danios writes an article where the Freedom Flotilla is mentioned –> The Freedom Flotilla was organized by the Turkish NGO IHH and the Free Gaza movement –> the Free Gaza Movement is made up of forty different groups and individuals –> Huwaida Arraf (an Arab-American Christianby the way) is one of these people –>  Arraf is the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement –> The International Solidarity Movement’s website linked to the Free Marwan Barghouti campaign –>  Huwaida Arraf is dedicated to her beliefs so much so that she would die for them –> Martyrdom is a hallmark of Hamas, therefore –> Huwaida Arraf = Hamas.  Therefore, as you can clearly see, Danios = Hamas.  Don’t you see?

The rest of the video goes on to find more threads between the Freedom Flotilla movement and Hamas, then linking all of that somehow to me.  (I have nothing to do with the Freedom Flotilla, by the way.)

Oh yes, and we are told that our website LoonWatch.com also links to the “Hamas apologist Glenn Greenwald.”  (Yet another “Muslim sympathizer” tarnished with the Hamas smear.)

The Hamas smear is an empty and meaningless line of attack, devoid of any intellectual substance.  Unfortunately, however, it is all too often an effective means of tarnishing a person’s character.  The only silver lining is that the Hamas smear is used so often and so flippantly by the Islamophobes that they might actually just wear it out.

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

Did you like this article?  If so, make sure to contribute to LoonWatch’s IndieGoGo campaign and we’ll send you Danios’s upcoming book.

“Henry Jackson Society” Associate Director Douglas Murray & “Daily Mail” journalist Melanie Phillips exposed: The facts

Robert Spencer and Douglas Murray photo

“Henry Jackson Society” Associate Director Douglas Murray & “Daily Mail” journalist Melanie Phillips exposed: The facts

Original guest contribution

by Jai Singh

Regular readers will be aware that the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary recently banned the American anti-Muslim propagandists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller from the UK (details here,hereherehere, and here). Spencer and Geller had intended to speak at the Far-Right English Defence League’s demonstration in London on 29 June 2013.

Several very high-profile British figures subsequently published articles objecting to the ban and defending Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller:

Exhibiting a clear case of double-standards himself, “Henry Jackson Society” Associate Director (and contributing editor to The Spectator magazine) Douglas Murray promptly complained about alleged “double-standards over hate speech”, despite the fact that he had certainly not objected to the Home Secretary previously banning an extremist Muslim individual. (Note: The Spectator also recently published an article defending & whitewashing the explicitly racist, anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, titled “A fascist takeover of Greece ? We should be so lucky”.)

Daily Mail journalist Melanie Phillips similarly rushed to Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s defence after the banning. Although Phillips claims she “does not support the approach taken by either Geller or Spencer to the problem of Islamic extremism. Both have endorsed groups such as the EDL and others which at best do not deal with the thuggish elements in their ranks and at worst are truly racist or xenophobic”, in the same article Phillips defends Spencer and Geller, claiming that they “don’t go around…..spreading conspiracy theories and lies to foment hysteria and hatred”, and describing the banning as “a serious blow to the credibility of these two writers, with particular damage being done to Spencer”. Phillips goes on to praise Spencer’s so-called “scholarship”.

In the same article, Melanie Phillips also claims that “the reason for the ban is that the British government is now telling people that certain interpretations of Islam are to be proscribed, even if they may be true”. Considering the fact that, in the same paragraph, Phillips explicitly states that she is basing this claim on the text of the Home Secretary’s letter to Robert Spencer, it is worth noting that Phillips is actually referring to Spencer’s own statements about Islam and claiming that Spencer’s “interpretation” is the “true” version of the religion.

Robert Spencer himself has responded to Melanie Phillips’ piece by writing a rambling articlecriticising Phillips and defending the EDL.

However, there is much more to this story. Considering the information detailed below, it is astonishing that Douglas Murray and Melanie Phillips are regularly invited as guests on various high-profile BBC debate programmes here in the UK, especially Question Time; most recently, Murray and Phillips were part of the Question Time debate panel in July and June 2013 respectively. Murray has also repeatedly been a guest on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live discussion programme (most recently on 28 July 2013, on the subject “Are Muslims being demonised ?” Full video footage and revealing further details below). These prestigious programmes have millions of British viewers.

Not only are Douglas Murray’s real views on Muslims & Islam far, far more extreme than is generally known by the British public (especially Murray’s statements when the audience is not the mainstream British media), but it also turns out that both Douglas Murray and Melanie Phillips have actually been heavily involved with the Robert Spencer-David Horowitz cabal. In 2009, Murray even stated “I happen to know Robert Spencer; I respect him; he is a very brilliant scholar and writer”.

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ROBERT SPENCER’S INNER CIRCLE

Before I address the issue of Douglas Murray, the Henry Jackson Society, and Melanie Phillips, for the public record it is worth reiterating the following relevant facts about Robert Spencer and a number of key members of his inner circle:

Robert Spencer:

1. Robert Spencer is the author of the virulently anti-Muslim website “JihadWatch”; he is also co-head of the “Stop Islamization of Nations”, “Stop Islamization of America”, and “American Freedom Defence Initiative” organisations. Spencer’s pivotal role in the multimillion-dollar international anti-Muslim propaganda network has been heavily documented. An extensive and fully-referenced list of examples of Spencer’s statements (a) demonising the entire Muslim population and (b) demonising the religion of Islam as a whole is available here.

2. Robert Spencer and “JihadWatch” were the most heavily cited sources of propaganda in the terrorist Anders Breivik’s manifesto; in fact, Breivik explicitly stated “About Islam, I recommend essentially everything written by Robert Spencer”.

3. Robert Spencer is formally allied with racist white supremacists and European neo-Nazis, and has even organised joint public demonstrations with them.

4. Robert Spencer is an ordained Catholic deacon (also see here) who has repeatedly made demonstrably false statements about Islam & Muslims (eg: see hereherehereherehere andhere) and repeatedly tried to hide the evidence when his misinformation was exposed. Spencer haspublicly admitted that his actions are heavily motivated by his [unilateral] agenda for the dominance of the Catholic Church.

5. Robert Spencer’s actions are in direct violation of official Vatican policy towards Islam and Muslims. Spencer’s actions also directly undermine the extensive Christian-Muslim interfaith bridge-building efforts of his own Catholic sect’s global leadership (see here and here) and indeed the admirable message promoted by Pope Francis himself (see herehere, and here).

6. Robert Spencer is now being publicly supported by Father C.J. McCloskey, a senior priest in the controversial Catholic organisation “Opus Dei” which is notoriously secretive about revealing the identities of its members. McCloskey has been described as “priest to Washington’s conservative establishment” and “the Catholic Church’s K Street lobbyist”. Promoting Spencer’s latest book in anarticle for the National Catholic Register, McCloskey made a series of extremely bigoted and derogatory statements about Islam and “the Muslims”. His actions are in direct violation of official Vatican policy along with the message promoted by Pope Francis.

7. In 2002-2003, Robert Spencer was an Adjunct Fellow at the Free Congress Foundation, an arm of the Heritage Foundation. Both organisations were founded by Paul Weyrich, a convert to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, which is the same Catholic sect that Spencer belongs to; Weyrich was ordained as a protodeacon in this sect. The Anti-Defamation League identified the Free Congress Foundation and Weyrich himself as closely affiliated with “Dominionism”; furthermore, the ADL identified the FCF and Weyrich as part of an alliance of more than 50 of the most prominent conservative Christian leaders and organizations that threaten the separation of church and state in the US. The FCF’s strategic plan, whose authorship was guided by Weyrich and which was published in 2001, has been described as calling “for the use of deception, misinformation and divisiveness to allow conservative evangelical Christian Republicans to gain and keep control of seats of power in the government of the United States.” (Note: Dominionism is an extreme interpretation of Christian fundamentalism deriving from “Christian Reconstructionism”, which involves the belief that rule by non-Christians anywhere in the world is sacrilege, explicitly approves of the historical slavery of African-Americans, and openly advocates the replacement of American law with Old Testament injunctions including the death penalty for apostasy and homosexuality; Dominionism also claims that its adherents have a God-given mandate to infiltrate the highest echelons of power and subsequently impose their beliefs on the entire world).

8. Furthermore, Robert Spencer is on record as stating “Paul Weyrich taught me a great deal, by word and by example, about how to deal both personally and professionally with the slanders and smears that are a daily aspect of this work”. Spencer also named Weyrich as a mentor of his writings on Islam. Spencer’s first book on Islam was published in 2002. Weyrich himself is on record as making the following extremely anti-Semitic statements on his website shortly before Easter in 2001, in which he directly blamed “the Jews” for the death of Jesus: “Christ was crucified by the Jews…..He was not what the Jews had expected so they considered Him a threat. Thus He was put to death.” During the subsequent outrage (particularly from Jewish organisations) at Weyrich’s statements, he was defended by David Horowitz, Spencer’s boss.

9. Robert Spencer has been proven to have made completely false statements about historical Popes and major Jewish figures, and to have subsequently tried to conceal the evidence when his actions were exposed. Full details here and here.

10. Robert Spencer is not actually a “scholar of Islam” in any credible sense of the term; he has precisely zero academic, professional or linguistic qualifications in this subject, and therefore cannot credibly be described as a “scholar” or an “expert” in the matter at all. In fact, Spencer’s own alma mater, the University of North Carolina, have publicly described Spencer’s writings as “perpetuating a type of bigotry similar to anti-Semitism and racial prejudice. They are to be viewed with great suspicion by anyone who wishes to find reliable and scholarly information on the subject of Islam.”Full details here

11. Robert Spencer’s anti-Muslim propaganda has been proven to be identical to the anti-Semitic propaganda of Julius Streicher, a Third Reich-era Nazi whom the US subsequently prosecuted at the Nuremberg Trials and convicted on the charge of crimes against humanity; even Spencer’s arguments in his own defence are identical to Streicher’s statements at the time.

12. Robert Spencer is on record as claiming that there is “no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists”.

13. Robert Spencer is on record as denying the Srebrenica genocide, explicitly describing it as “the-genocide-that-never-was” and proposing “the possibility that Muslims could have carried out any deceptive atrocity-manufacturing in the Balkans”.

14. Robert Spencer is on record as repeatedly promoting the work and writings of Serge Trifkovic (also see here), the former spokesman for Radovan Karadzic, one of Serbian war criminals charged with genocide during the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia; Spencer and Trifkovic have even held joint interviews and collaborated on an anti-Islam documentary film. Trifkovic is on record as making the following extremely anti-Semitic statements: “Since the late 1800’s the Jews have had a disproportionate impact on a host of intellectual trends and political movements which have fundamentally altered the civilization of Europe and its overseas offspring in a manner deeply detrimental to the family, nation, culture, racial solidarity, social coherence, tradition, morality and faith.”

15. Furthermore, Serge Trifkovic openly supports and defends Ratko Mladic, whom the United Nations Tribunal has indicted on 16 counts of genocide and war crimes. In 2003, Trifkovic appeared as a defence witness during the trial of Milomir Stakic at the Hague Tribunal; Stakic was subsequently found guilty of multiple counts of murder along with crimes against humanity such as extermination, persecutions and deportations. In 2008, Trifkovic appeared as a defence witness during the trial of Ljubisa Beara, who was subsequently convicted of genocide, extermination, murder and persecution. Trifkovic was also cited by Anders Breivik in his manifesto.

16. In 2009, Robert Spencer publicly admitted to having joined a genocidal white nationalist Facebook group titled “Campaign for the Reconquest in Anatolia”, whose mission statement openly advocates the ethnic cleansing, mass sterilisation and euthanasia of Turkey’s entire Muslim population, targeting “up to 150 million people”. Readers can draw their own conclusions about Spencer’s convoluted explanation after his actions were exposed. Full details here. Spencer’s own website has also promoted the aim of “freeing Constantinople from Muslim occupation” (eg: see this article written by Spencer).

17. Robert Spencer has made extremely disparaging statements about the prestigious West Point military institution and has described Far-Right terrorists in the United States as “ordinary Americans who believe in individual rights”. Full details here..

18. When the Washington Post asked Robert Spencer if he was being deliberately combative and provocative, Spencer chuckled and said “Why not ? It’s fun”.

Pamela Geller:

1. The Board of Deputies of British Jews recently released a lengthy statement supporting Pamela Geller’s banning from the UK. Full details here. The article includes Geller’s own response to the Board’s statement, including the fact that Geller appears to blame Jews for the Holocaust.

2. Pamela Geller is the author of the virulently anti-Muslim website “Atlas Shrugs”; she is also co-head of the “Stop Islamization of Nations”, “Stop Islamization of America”, and “American Freedom Defence Initiative” organisations. An extensive and fully-referenced list of examples of Geller’s statements (a) demonising the entire Muslim population and (b) demonising the religion of Islam as a whole is available here.

3. Pamela Geller has repeatedly made demonstrably false statements about Islam & Muslims, and repeatedly tried to hide the evidence when her misinformation was exposed.

4. Pamela Geller has repeatedly made false statements about her own actions, despite the fact that her extensive anti-Islam/anti-Muslim writings are a matter of public record.

5. Pamela Geller was repeatedly cited by Anders Breivik in his manifesto.

6. After Breivik’s terrorist attack in Norway, Pamela Geller wrote an article claiming that the victims (predominantly children) were not innocent; she also included a photograph with the caption “Note the faces which are more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian”. Full details here.

7. Pamela Geller is formally allied with racist white supremacists and European neo-Nazis; she has even organised joint public demonstrations with them, and then tried to hide the evidence when her allies’ explicitly Nazi sympathies were publicly exposed.

8. Pamela Geller is now on record as publicly advocating what is effectively a “Final Solution” targeting British Muslims, including mass-murder.

9. Pamela Geller is on record as insisting “There are no moderates. There are no extremists. There are only Muslims”.

10. Pamela Geller is on record as denying the Srebrenica genocide, describing it as a “fabricated narrative”, a “lie”, and a “manufactured genocide” that is part of a “classic Islamic modus operandi of self-killing and manipulating media coverage”. Geller is also on record as defending the Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Extensive details here.

David Yerushalmi:

1. David Yerushalmi is Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller’s lawyer. He has been directly involved in supporting the SION/SIOA/AFDI leadership.

2. David Yerushalmi heads an organisation whose mission statement explicitly declares that its [currently unidentified] members are “dedicated to the rejection of democracy” in the United States.

3. David Yerushalmi believes that American women shouldn’t even have the right to vote.

4. David Yerushalmi is on record as claiming that there is a racial hierarchy of intelligence, with black people at the bottom.

5. David Yerushalmi is General Counsel for Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, an extreme right-wing organisation actively trying to infiltrate & influence US domestic, foreign and (particularly) military policy; the CSP’s financiers include a number of the largest weapons manufacturers in the world.

6. The Center for Security Policy is also the main source of the ridiculous conspiracy theories about “Muslim Brotherhood infiltration” of the Obama Administration.

7. Frank Gaffney himself was recently exposed as having attended networking events organised by David Cole (aka “David Stein”), a high-profile (and unrepentant) Holocaust revisionist. Commenting on Cole’s views on the Holocaust, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, stated “I’m very disappointed that someone who abused his Jewishness to get his five minutes of notoriety still stands by his lies. It’s disgusting and puts him in the camp of bigotry.”

8. According to the New York Times, Frank Gaffney is David “Yerushalmi’s primary link to a network of former and current government officials, security analysts and grass-roots political organizations” and is also able to tap “a network of Tea Party and Christian groups as well as ACT! for America, which has 170,000 members”.

9. Despite the fact that David Yerushalmi, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer publicly claim to be staunch supporters of the concept of “freedom of speech” and refer to this concept when justifying their own actions, they keep threatening to sue people who exercise their own freedom of speech against them.

English Defence League:

1. On a personal note, as a Sikh I’d like to mention that the EDL have been forcefully condemned in ajoint statement by a very long list of British Sikh temples and organisations, including the two largest Sikh temples outside India. The signatories also include the most senior Sikh religious leader outside India; he is (a) closely linked to the global Sikh authorities at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, and personally represents the global Sikh community at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, (b) the recipient of an award from England’s Queen Elizabeth II due to his Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha organisation’s humanitarian activities, and (c) the recipient of the rare honour of being one of the few non-Catholics whom the Vatican has formally declared a Knight of the Papal Order of St Gregory, due to his exemplary efforts to promote peace between people of all religions.

2. The EDL have also been publicly condemned by the Israeli Embassy and more than a dozen major Jewish organisations in the UK, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, the Community Security Trust, and Jews for Justice for Palestinians. (Alsosee here.)

3. The EDL leadership are members of the “Stop Islamization of Nations (“SION”) Presidents Council”.

4. The EDL leadership are formally allied with racist white supremacists and European neo-Nazis; they have also organised joint public demonstrations with the aforementioned neo-Nazis, in conjunction with Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller (who were also present).

5. The EDL leadership are on record as repeatedly admitting that their agenda is racially-motivated; EDL leader Stephen Yaxley (aka “Tommy Robinson/Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/Stephen Lennon/Paul Harris) himself is also on record as repeatedly making public statements clearly demonstrating that he is using the terms “Muslim” and “Islam/Islamic” as codewords for “South Asian”; furthermore, Stephen Yaxley is on record as publicly accusing “every single Muslim” of collective guilt and simultaneously threatening the entire “Islamic community” with retribution involving “the full force of the English Defence League”. Further details hereherehereherehereherehereherehere,here, and here. (Also refer to this article.)

6. Stephen Yaxley is on record as publicly promoting neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, white supremacist websites and organisations, in one instance citing defamatory material from such websites live on the BBC in front of millions of British viewers, and subsequently promoting the same neo-Nazi website online; further details of such incidents are available here and here. (Also see here andhere.)

7. During an EDL demonstration in London in May 2013, a major British news channel photographedmultiple EDL members openly doing Nazi salutes in Stephen Yaxley’s immediate vicinity; Yaxley is the man in the brown army/camouflage jacket surrounded by EDL members.

8. Stephen Yaxley is on record as giving an interview to the Norwegian media in which he publicly praised Anders Breivik, promoted Breivik’s manifesto, and claimed Breivik’s mass-murdering terrorist attack would have been “easier to justify” if the people killed had been Muslims. Full detailshere and here.

9. Stephen Yaxley has been prosecuted and convicted for illegally travelling to the US using a false passport in order to attend an anti-Muslim conference hosted by Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and David Yerushalmi in New York in September 2012. Full details herehereherehere, and here.

10. EDL co-founder Kevin Carroll is on record as ranting about non-Christians being “pagans” whom he will “never bend or bow to”; Pamela Geller, David Yerushalmi and David Horowitz are of course non-Christians themselves. Kevin Carroll also gave a speech at the aforementioned anti-Muslim conference in New York, a fact that Geller enthusiastically publicised on her own website.

11. EDL co-founder Richard Price is a convicted criminal on multiple counts of downloading child pornography; at the time, Stephen Yaxley first tried to cover this up, and then launched a campaign to try to free Price from prison. Details here and here. The EDL leadership also released an official statement defending Price, written by Yaxley (screenshot here).

12. The EDL leadership were deputy leaders of the now-defunct “British Freedom Party”, a white supremacist Far-Right political party in the UK whose extremely discriminatory religious policies targeted everyone who was not a Christian (including Jews, Hindus and Sikhs) and their respective places of worship. Furthermore, BFP chairman Paul Weston is on record as revealing his real views in an article titled “Ethnically Cleansing the English”, published on the extremely anti-Muslim websiteGates of Vienna in March 2010; Weston’s article is openly racist. The article also repeatedly implies that non-white people are automatically “Muslim”, whom Weston proceeds to stereotype and demonise in the worst terms. (Also see here). Weston was present alongside the EDL leadership, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller when they hosted a demonstration in Europe which they had organised in conjunction with European neo-Nazis.

13. An extensive list of the criminal records of EDL members is available here, including details of the criminal convictions of the EDL leadership themselves (especially Stephen Yaxley). Members of the EDL have been prosecuted and convicted for murder, arson, assault, human trafficking, child abuse, and child pornography.

14. Robert Spencer is on record as claiming that “the EDL deserves the support of all free people”.

15. The EDL’s allies and apologists claim that it is a “working class” organisation; Robert Spencer is even on record as recently describing the EDL as “made up of people from a lower social class” and claiming that opposition to the EDL is therefore based on “class” issues. Douglas Murray is on record as previously commending some aspects of the EDL, stating “If you’re ever going to have a grassroots response for non-Muslims to Islamism, that would be how you’d want it, surely.” However, a Sunday Times investigation exposed some very revealing facts about several of the EDL leadership’s wealthy British backers, particularly Alan Ayling (aka “Alan Lake”) and Ann Marchini. Furthermore, despite Stephen Yaxley’s efforts to portray himself as “working class”, along with his claims that he “has no money”, during a televised BBC debate in June 2013 Yaxley publicly admitted that one of his businesses turns over £300,000/year (video footage here; see 22m onwards); on 1 July 2013, Yaxley also admitted online that he actually “owns 7 properties which are all rented out”, with “taxable income”.

“Ali Sina”:

1. “Ali Sina” is currently unidentified.

2. “Ali Sina” is named as a Board member of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s “Stop Islamization of Nations” and “Stop Islamization of America” organisations.

3. “Ali Sina” was cited by Anders Breivik in his manifesto.

4. “Ali Sina” claims to be an “atheist”, but his own writings expose him as a fanatical Christian extremist; he also bizarrely keeps comparing his own experiences to those of Jesus.

5. “Ali Sina” is repeatedly on record as promoting the genocide of Muslims, claiming that Muslims are “diseased”, “infected”, bereft of “every trace of humanity”, “all guilty as sin”, and must be “amputated”.

6. “Ali Sina” is on record as claiming that the Prophet Mohammad was “an instrument of Satan” and that it is a “demonic plot to end humanity”.

7. “Ali Sina” is on record as exhibiting extremely anti-Semitic attitudes, claiming that the Prophet Mohammad “copied his religion from what he learned from the Jews”, “The similarity between Islamic thinking and Judaic thinking is not a coincidence”, “Islam and Judaism have a lot in common…..the main common feature between these two faiths is their intolerance”, “This intolerance in Judaic texts gave the narcissist Muhammad the power to do as he pleased…..How could he get away with that ? The answer lies in Judaism…..The reason Arabs fell into his [Mohammad’s] trap was because of the groundwork laid by the Rabbis in Arabia”.

Considering the fact that this irrefutable information about Robert Spencer and his inner circle is a heavily-documented matter of public record, it raises the question of whether (1) Douglas Murray and Melanie Phillips have been shockingly incompetent about researching their allies, (2) Murray and Phillips have been tricked by these allies, or (3) Murray and Phillips are perfectly aware of these damning facts but are still supporting and defending Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller nevertheless.

The first option, as I said, suggests gross incompetence. The second option perhaps reflects worse on Robert Spencer and his inner circle, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The third option, however, reflects extremely badly on Douglas Murray and Melanie Phillips themselves. Either way, Murray and Phillips clearly have some explaining to do.

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DOUGLAS MURRAY:

1. From Douglas Murray’s Wikipedia profile:

Douglas Kear Murray (born 16 July 1979) is a British neoconservative writer and commentator. He was the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion from 2007 until 2011, and is currently an associate director of the Henry Jackson Society.

Kingston University’s Dr Marko Hoare, formerly a senior member of the Henry Jackson Society, writes on his own website:

The HJS is a UK think-tank frequently described as ‘neoconservative’. It includes among its Trustees Michael Gove, the current Secretary of State for Education, and it is alleged to have influenced the foreign policy of David Cameron and William Hague. It currently serves as a secretariat, at the House of Commons, to the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Transatlantic and International Security and for Homeland Security.

From a Guardian article written during the launch of the Henry Jackson Society in 2005:

Richard Perle, one of the Pentagon advisers credited with persuading George Bush of the case for invading Iraq, worked for [Henry] Jackson and is one of the Society’s patrons. The list of patrons reads like a roll call of hawks: William Kristol of the rightwing Weekly Standard, the former Nato commander General Jack Sheehan and the ex-CIA director James Woolsey, among others. The supporters include a smattering of spooks, diplomats, Times journalists and grandees whom recent events have treated badly: David Trimble, Colonel Tim Collins, Irwin Stelzer (another Cameron fan) and the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove.

From a Guardian article in 2013:

When it was first created in 2005, the London-based Henry Jackson Society (HJS) appeared to offer a base for those on the centre-left and right who believed in a variant of “muscular liberalism”. Much like the senator after whom it was named, the HJS sought to fuse a concern for social justice at home with a hardline approach to totalitarianism and autocracy abroad.

As a result the organisation attracted broad parliamentary support, including 11 Labour MPs, who continue to sit on the organisation’s advisory council to this day.

In February, Labour’s shadow secretary for defence, Jim Murphy, even gave a speech on policy at an event organised by the HJS.

According to those who’ve worked behind the scenes at the HJS, however, in recent years the organisation has degenerated into something that is anything but liberal.

…..The spirit of intolerance at the HJS appears also to extend to those who have taken issue with Murray’s rhetoric.

Marko Attila Hoare, a former senior member of the Henry Jackson Society who left the organisation in 2012, told me that his opposition to Murray’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigration views saw him driven out of the organisation.

“It rapidly became clear that Murray had not tamed his politics, and that actually they were becoming the politics of the whole organisation,” Hoare told me.

Murray’s boss, HJS executive director Alan Mendoza, has form too. In March of this year he claimed that the increasing European Muslim population was to blame for Europe’s “anti-Israel feelings”, adding that the voices of Muslims “are heard well above the average Europeans”.

Eleven Labour MPs are still associated with this organisation. How, one wonders, do the views of the Henry Jackson Society sit with one-nation Labour?

I wrote to all 11 Labour MPs with my concerns about the Henry Jackson Society but none were available for comment.

2. Tom Brake, a senior British MP who is also Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, hasrecently resigned from the Henry Jackson Society after questions were raised about disturbing comments from a number of the controversial think-tank’s senior executives, including Douglas Murray.

3. Douglas Murray is the author of “Neoconservatism: Why We Need It – A Talk to the Manhattan Institute”. Full text available here.

4. Douglas Murray is also on the international advisory board of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based organisation which prominent Jewish figures and organisations such as a member of the International Council of the New Israel Fund and former Deputy Attorney General of Israel, a former New Israel Fund president, the New Israel Fund itself, a Managing Editor of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and a senior reporter for the Jerusalem Post, have all accused of promoting false information.. NGO Monitor has also been forcefully criticised by prominent figures and organisations including Human Rights Watch, journalists at The Jerusalem Post, and a former professor of Politics and Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Brandeis University. Furthermore, in January 2010, thirteen Israeli human rights organizations released a common statement which described NGO Monitor as “extremist” and accused the organisation as engaging in an “unbridled and incendiary attack” against human rights groups.

5. A rare example of Douglas Murray’s “moderate” mask dropping in front of the mainstream British media was one particularly notable incident on the BBC’s Question Time on 5 May 2011. Murray was subsequently confronted and demolished by the veteran British politician (and former special forces soldier) Paddy Ashdown. Full video footage here.

6. Douglas Murray has publicly made extremely defamatory statements about the British anti-racism organisation Hope Not Hate. Murray specifically blamed HnH for the attempted shooting of the EDL-and-Anders Breivik-linked Danish anti-Muslim propagandist Lars Hedegaard. Murray also made some further dubious statements about the Far-Right and Breivik. Full details here. (Note: HnH of course subsequently played a key role in facilitating Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s banning from the UK).

7. Douglas Murray has subsequently published a follow-up article in support of Lars Hedegaard and his organisation. Extensive details here, including information on Hedegaard’s own actions & extremely anti-Muslim statements.

8. Douglas Murray definitely has direct links to Robert Spencer, going back a number of years. Initial details in this excellent article by Richard Bartholomew.

9. Douglas Murray has repeatedly appeared as a guest on Frank Gaffney’s radio show, including this interview in 2011 when Murray defended Lars Hedegaard.

10. Video footage of Douglas Murray and Robert Spencer giving anti-Muslim speeches at a joint conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. According to the explanatory information attached to the video, the conference was hosted by a member of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. As mentioned previously, Horowitz is of course Spencer’s “boss”.

(Melanie Phillips was also one of the three main speakers at the conference, alongside Spencer and Murray. Video footage in the next section further below).

11. Douglas Murray has participated in other anti-Muslim conferences organised by the David Horowitz Freedom Center in the US, alongside Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney. For example, seehere and here. American readers in particular will recognise the senior Republican politicians and other public figures also present at these annual events (also see here and here).

12. An article was published on Robert Spencer’s “JihadWatch” website proving that Spencer’s direct links to Douglas Murray go back to 2006 at the very least (includes photographic evidence).

13. The following articles from 2010 and 2011 briefly mention Douglas Murray’s links to Robert Spencer, although it’s unclear if the Guardian authors were aware of the full scale of Murray’s direct involvement with the Spencer cabal: See herehere and here.

14. It also turns out that (a) Douglas Murray has appeared on a high-profile “Intelligence Squared” debate alongside Ayaan Hirsi Ali, where both presented anti-Muslim propaganda [see the information at the end of the "Views on Islamic fundamentalism" section on this webpage], and (b) Murray has published an article defending Hirsi Ali. Note that Hirsi Ali (whose background story has been exposed as falsified) is now on record as giving a speech in Germany in which she publicly sympathised with Anders Breivik and blamed so-called “advocates of silence” for Breivik’s mass-murdering terrorist attack. As that Loonwatch article detailing the incident also highlights, this is just the tip of the iceberg, considering an earlier interview in which Hirsi Ali revealed the full scale of her shocking beliefs — which are far more extreme than is generally known.

15. Dr Marko Hoare, a former founding member of Douglas Murray’s Henry Jackson Society, has published a considerable amount of “inside information” on the HJS leadership, including matters pertaining to Murray himself. Marko Hoare has resigned from the HJS, basically due to his disgust at (a) the organisation’s shift to the extreme Right, (b) the organisation’s hiring of Douglas Murray, (c) Murray’s extreme anti-Muslim views and his close alliance with Robert Spencer [including Spencer’s denial of the Srebrenica genocide], and (d) what appears to be the organisation’s systematic “conspiracy of silence” regarding Anders Breivik.

Marko Hoare has written very detailed articles on these issues:

—- Article focusing on Douglas Murray. It includes lengthy quotes providing a range of examples of Murray’s anti-Muslim propaganda.

—- Article detailing the aforementioned “inside information” on the Henry Jackson Society leadership, including details on Marko Hoare’s clashes with Douglas Murray, the issues involving Anders Breivik, and full details of Marko Hoare’s reasons for subsequently resigning.

I will also provide some extracts from the first article, specifically quotes of Douglas Murray’s statements that Marko Hoare has highlighted (the original article includes embedded URL links to the primary sources of information, including embedded video footage where applicable). Readers will notice that a lot of Murray’s rhetoric about Muslims sounds disturbingly familiar:

Douglas Murray: “In the middle of the last century, there was an almost negligible Muslim presence in Europe [sic !] At the turn of the twenty-first, in Western Europe alone, there were 15-17 million Muslims – that’s a very fast migration, ladies and gentlemen; one of the fastest in human history, and no society would find it easy to deal with that kind of migration. As it happens, European societies, Western European societies, have, I think, dealt with this, much better than some would. Certainly, Muslims coming to live in Britain and in Western Europe enjoy more rights and better rights, among them freedom of worship, than they do in any Islamic country on the Earth here today. We do have a problem; we have a problem when the failures of Islam throughout the world; the failures of all Islamic societies come here into Britain. Their intolerance of freedom of conscience; their intolerance of apostates; their intolerance of freedom of expression and freedom of speech; their intolerance of minorities, other religious minorities, sexual minorities; their intolerance of gays; their dislike and distrust of half of the population – women; and many, many other things. And they call, what is more, for a parallel legal system within Britain and European societies. This is monstrous; no other group behaves like this – asks for parallel laws. This is a fundamental problem, and it’s one we’re going to have to deal with. It’s a problem between a society – Western Europe – that believes that laws are based on reason, and Islam that believes that they are based on revelation. Between these two ideas, I’m not sure there is very much compromise for Europe. It is not Europe that has let down its Muslims, but the Muslims of Europe that have let down Europe. … It is not Europe that has failed its Muslims; it is Islam that has failed Europe. I’d argue, Islam has failed its Muslims”.

Douglas Murray: “It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop. In the case of a further genocide such as that in the Balkans, sanctuary would be given on a strictly temporary basis. This should also be enacted retrospectively. Those who are currently in Europe having fled tyrannies should be persuaded back to the countries which they fled from once the tyrannies that were the cause of their flight have been removed.”

[Jai’s note: Regular readers will notice that Murray’s speech immediately above, along with a speech by Murray in 2006 quoted immediately below, sound strikingly similar to the following statements by the currently-unidentified anti-Muslim propagandist who has used the online alias “Hugh Fitzgerald” and is named as Vice-President of Robert Spencer’s “JihadWatch” website. Details on “Hugh Fitzgerald” here; the information in the subsequent comments thread is also important. Anders Breivik cited “Hugh Fitzgerald” more than a dozen times in his manifesto.

“Hugh Fitzgerald” in 2005“A complete ban on Muslim migration to the Western world (which needs to be undertaken in any case), and limits put on any contact between Muslims living in the West, who may already have obtained citizenship and -- unless they are native-born converts – their countries of origin.….No, there is another way, or many other ways. And the first way is to put a complete stop to Muslim immigration, and to find creative ways to deport all Muslim non-citizens. These two measures would be accompanied by the creation of an environment where the practice of Islam is made not easy but difficult.….An end to all outward and visible signs of rhetorical "respect" for Islam…..Stop all attempts at verbal escamotage, where the listener is left, puzzled, dissatisfied with the deliberate vagueness…..Clean out the taxpayer-funded government radio and televisions stations of those who have so misled us about Islam over the past 20-30 years. Begin, possibly, by firing John Simpson, the deeply, even conspiratorially, anti-Israel and islamophilic head of the BBC World Affairs broadcasting…..What will it take for the long-suffering British license-payers to demand a change in the BBC coverage and, even before that, in the personnel in charge of reporting on the Middle East and Islam?”

Douglas Murray in 2006: ”Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition. We in Europe owe – after all – no special dues to Islam. We owe them no religious holidays, special rights or privileges. From long before we were first attacked it should have been made plain that people who come into Europe are here under our rules and not theirs. There is not an inch of ground to give on this one. Where a mosque has become a centre of hate it should be closed and pulled down. If that means that some Muslims don’t have a mosque to go to, then they’ll just have to realise that they aren’t owed one. Grievances become ever-more pronounced the more they are flattered and the more they are paid attention to. So don’t flatter them.”

[Jai’s note 1: On 28 July 2013, Murray appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Livedebate programme, opposite Huffington Post UK Political Director Mehdi Hasan, debating the subject “Are Muslims being demonised ?”. Full video footage here. During the discussion, Fiyaz Mughal, director of the “Faith Matters” think-tank and the “TellMAMA” project, quoted some of Murray’s speech above and also mentioned that Murray had advocated that mosques should be “demolished in some circumstances” in the same speech. As can be seen at 10m 50s – 11m 00s, Murray subsequently accused Fiyaz Mughal of misquoting him, claiming that he had merely advocated that mosques should be “shut down” in some circumstances, not “demolished”. However, as can be seen in the original text of Murray’s speech above, he had indeed advocated that mosques should be “pulled down”. There are only two plausible explanations: (a) Murray does not accurately remember his own statements in that speech, despite the fact that video footage and full transcripts are widely available online, or (b) Murray was deliberately lying during his “rebuttal” to Fiyaz Mughal onSunday Morning Live. Readers are also strongly advised to observe Murray’s reaction and comments when Mehdi Hasan mentioned Anders Breivik (see 6m 15s – 6m 35s).

Jai’s note 2: In October 2011, Murray wrote an article for the ConservativeHomewebsite in which he claimed to have disowned this speech a long time ago. However,as documented by Paul Goodman, the timeframe does not even remotely match the actual sequence of events involving Murray’s own public statements and actions.

Paul Goodman writes: “Murray claims to have realised that the speech was poorly expressed "some years ago". But as I pointed out earlier, he defended it in print only last October: "I refused to change my opinions", he wrote. Furthermore, he cited the support of others for them. "What I advocated had been argued by members of the conservative party of Holland and was, and is, being argued by mainstream politicians across Europe". Readers will scour the piece in vain for the slightest hint that the views of the speech are "not opinions I hold", or for the faintest indication that he considered his words "poorly expressed". In short, Murray praised a speech twelve months ago that he now claims to have disowned for years.

Furthermore, I can find no previous record of him renouncing his Amsterdam speech - the course that I recommended to him when we met before the election. It is thus reasonable to ask whether he would have done so had I not raised the matter recently. Readers must decide for themselves whether first surreptitiously to remove a speech from a website, then laud it in print without direct quotation, and finally disown it under pressure - while claiming to have done so long ago - is decent or not. I believe it is part of a pattern of disingenuousness.”].

Douglas Murray: ”If there were one thing I would wish Muslims in Europe could learn today, as fast as possible, it would be this: you have no right, in this society, not to be offended. You have no right to say that because you don’t like something, you would use violence or you would like something to be stopped or censored…”

[Jai’s note: Murray has also spoken at conferences dedicated to attacking Muslims for employing libel “lawfare” to silence criticism of Islam (video footage here and here. However, as documented here, ironically Murray himself has an extensive history of accusing his critics of “libel” and threatening to sue them; Murray’s targets so far have included the Huffington Post, Marko Hoare, and Guardian political journalist Sunny Hundal].

[Marko Hoare writes]:Murray has denounced the idea of the ‘Ground Zero mosque’ as a ’sick joke’. He has written passionately in defence of Geert Wilders, a Dutch far-right populist politician who believes that the Koran should be banned. He hasdescribed Islam as a ‘very backward ideology’, and complains that ‘Britain has already gone too far in accommodating Islamic ideology into our culture’. He hasaccused the Pope of having been ‘forced to pacify the Islamic beast’, and spoken of ‘the laughable, ahistorical and uniquely retrospective form of religious imperialism that Islam is’. In March of this year – immediately prior to the merger of the CSC with the HJS – Murray travelled to Athens to argue, alongside Melanie Phillips, against the opening of a mosque in that city, on the grounds that such a mosque could become a centre for Islamic extremism, and that ’Islam when it is in a minority, is extremely good at talking about tolerance. In a minority, Islam loves to talk about the tolerance that people must show towards minorities [but] whenever Islam is in a majority, minority rights are nowhere to be seen. It’s a one-directional talk of minority rights… You better hope, ladies and gentlemen, that your mosque here is a first internationally, and that nobody with any unpleasant statements, any unpleasant ideas could possibly come to it’, before issuing further lurid warnings of the Islamic danger to his Greek audience, including a reference to the Islamism of the current Turkish prime minister. Murray said these things in Greece, a country where the Orthodox Christian nationalist right is extremely powerful, aggressive, intolerant and Islamophobic, while the Muslim Turkish minority is denied basic democratic rights.

[Jai’s note: Readers will notice that Murray bizarrely referred to Islam (a religious belief system) as though it were a conscious, sentient entity. The nature of those statements suggests that Murray was actually referring to Muslims. Murray has a history of making similar statements, eg. “Islam is not violent per se, though they’re quite good at it when they’re in charge”. Murray’s own statements also contradict thefollowing assertion he made in 2007 (in which Murray also refuses to describe Islam as a religion): “Islam is not a race, it’s an ideology. It’s not bad to dislike someone for their ideology. That is not racism.” Murray made that assertion after a Jewish community leader commented that British Jews should be aware of the existence of Islamophobia as well as anti-Semitism.]

16. In May 2013, the Guardian published a revealing article by James Bloodworth, highlighting some new incriminating facts about Douglas Murray, the Henry Jackson Society and the Labour party. The HJS leadership are proven to be racially-motivated (eg. note Murray’s claims about white Britons “abolishing themselves” etc):

[James Bloodworth writes]: In March, Murray wrote an article following the release of the results of the 2011 census in which he bemoaned the fact that in “23 of London’s 33 boroughs ‘white Britons’ are now in a minority”. It wasn’t so much integration that Murray wanted to talk about, however, but skin colour:

“We long ago reached the point where the only thing white Britons can do is to remain silent about the change in their country. Ignored for a generation, they are expected to get on, silently but happily, with abolishing themselves, accepting the knocks and respecting the loss of their country. ‘Get over it. It’s nothing new. You’re terrible. You’re nothing’.”

[Jai’s note: Murray subsequently wrote an article making a series of demonstrably false allegations against Marko Hoare, including (a) the specific reasons for Dr Hoare’s objections to Murray’s statements quoted above, (b) grossly exaggerating the frequency of Dr Hoare’s tweets and blogs referring to Murray, (c) falsely claiming that Dr Hoare “frequently abuses” Murray, (d) grossly downplaying and distorting the nature and extent of Dr Hoare’s previous involvement with the Henry Jackson Society, and (e) falsely claiming that “It is no-one’s fault if they have not heard of Hoare. His opinions are largely self-published”, despite the fact that Dr Hoare is actually an academic at Kingston University who is well-known as a historian of the former Yugoslavia and whose work has been published by Oxford University Press.]

17. Marco Hoare has claimed that “Alan Mendoza and Douglas Murray, respectively Executive Director and Associate Director of the Henry Jackson Society, have been attempting systematically to falsify the history of the organisation they run”. Dr Hoare provides evidence supporting his claim, including screenshots of documents detailing the organisation’s founding (along with further information),here and here. Furthermore, Dr Hoare states in the second article: “Despite his spurious claim to have a ‘well-established track record of support for the Bosnian Muslim population’, Mendoza was removed a year ago from the International Expert Team of the Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada, which fights genocide denial over Bosnia, Srebrenica and the Holocaust. The IRGC’s director, Professor Emir Ramic, and its Governing Board were rather quicker than I was myself in correctly understanding him and taking appropriate action.”

18. Soon after the murder of Lee Rigby in London in May 2013, Douglas Murray published an e-booksarcastically titled “Islamophilia”. The book is published on Melanie Phillips’ new e-book company, which is also geared towards targeting audiences in the US.

19. Douglas Murray has promoted his e-book “Islamophilia” on the extremely anti-Muslim ”Sun News Network” Canadian news channel. Video footage here. The channel has previously given a platform to Robert Spencer and other members of his inner circle, including Pamela Geller, David Yerushalmi, David Horowitz, and EDL leader Stephen Yaxley.

20. Douglas Murray has publicly claimed that the prominent British atheist scientist Richard Dawkins criticises Christianity and Judaism but “avoids” Islam. As extensively documented here, in reality Dawkins has a lengthy history of writing extremely anti-Muslim/anti-Islam propaganda, and he has even been exposed as citing & promoting material from hate websites run by none other than Robert Spencer’s extremist inner circle, specifically “Ali Sina”. Furthermore, it turns out that Murray and Dawkins know each other; for example, they recently took part in a public debate at Cambridge, albeit ostensibly on opposing sides (details here and here.). On his own Youtube channel, Murray has also repeatedly promoted videos of televised BBC debates where Murray and Dawkins have appeared together (eg. see here and here). Dawkins himself recently approvingly re-tweeted the aforementioned Spectator article Murray wrote after Spencer and Geller’s banning from the UK, claiming “Douglas Murray exposes “A gross double standard over hate speech”; UK Government’s gross favouritism of Islam again”.

21. The Times and Jewish Chronicle columnist David Aaronovitch wrote an excellent article about Douglas Murray on 7 July 2013. The article is worth reading in full, but some key extracts are as follows:

“Two weeks ago in the JC the writer Douglas Murray described the idea of Islamophobia as “a crock”. Douglas and I have shared a few platforms over the years…..So it is with disappointment and trepidation that I take issue with him here. He is, I think, completely wrong. And here’s why…..[…]…..

Some of this is, whatever Douglas says, very familiar. Before the race theories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, antisemitism (or Jew hatred) was not racial. The problem wasn’t with the Jews themselves but with what they obstinately believed. If they abandoned Judaism they could become good people. So it is quite possible to posit an Islamophobia which corresponds to pre-racial antisemitism. The fact that, in this society, most Muslims are brown, can give this hatred a racial dimension…..

As to “they bring it on themselves”, well maybe some few do. But the people who then do the supplying of “it”: the attacking and scaring and intimidation of ordinary Muslims for being Muslims – the EDL foot-soldiers and the BNP and the rhetorical fringes of UKIP – well, we’ve seen them before. We see them now. We understand their atavistic urge. Whatever we call it, we who think about it know what it is.”

22. It is presently unclear if the BBC are aware of the full scale of Douglas Murray’s views, activities and affiliations.

23. Extensive further information about Douglas Murray is available hereherehereherehere, andhere. Readers are advised to familiarise themselves with the material in all of these articles.

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MELANIE PHILLIPS:

1. Melanie Phillips is currently primarily known as a journalist for the Daily Mail. On her own website, Phillips describes herself as a journalist and writer who moved from “darling of the left” to “champion” of what Phillips describes as “the moral high ground”; readers can draw their own conclusions about the accuracy of the latter statement, considering the facts highlighted in this article.

2. Melanie Phillips was cited by Anders Breivik in his manifesto; he even quoted an entire article Phillips had written for the Daily Mail.

3. Like Douglas Murray, it turns out that Melanie Phillips is also much more closely involved in joint activities with the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Robert Spencer than is publicly known here in the UK. Page after page of information is available online via Google, including sources associated with the DHFC itself.

4. Video footage of Melanie Phillips giving an anti-Muslim speech alongside Robert Spencer and Douglas Murray at the aforementioned DHFC-hosted conference in West Palm Beach is availablehere and here.

5. An “insider’s account” of a DHFC-hosted anti-Muslim conference involving Melanie Phillips, Robert Spencer and Douglas Murray is available here. According to that article, the conference was held at West Palm Beach in the US.

6. As mentioned at the start of this article, Melanie Phillips has repeatedly appeared as a panellist on the BBC’s high-profile Question Time political debate programme in the UK. Her most recent appearance was in June 2013, when she bizarrely claimed that Syria and Iran are part of a proxy war currently involving “the Soviet Union”, a nation-state that actually hasn’t existed for decades (video footage here; see 1m 08s onwards).

7. Furthermore, even though the main topic of discussion during that episode of Question Time was actually Syria, Phillips then started ranting about Iran, Shia Muslims and “the apocalypse”, including claiming that Iran cannot be negotiated with and therefore needs to be “neutralised”. Phillips’ statements triggered a vocal backlash from the audience; this resulted in further strange behaviour from Phillips, in which she insultingly shouted at audience members and accused them of being “ignorant”. Full video footage here.

8. Writing in the Daily Mail in 2009, Melanie Phillips made the following statements in an article criticising the Far-Right BNP (British National Party):

“Such distinctions [between Islamic extremists and ordinary Muslims] should fool no one. The BNP is hostile not merely to Islamic supremacists but to all Muslims, including those who threaten no one’s way of life.”

However, Phillips herself is also on record as making the following statements:

“The problem, however, is that it doesn’t understand what Muslim extremism is. Believing that Islamic terrorism is motivated by an ideology which has ‘hijacked’ and distorted Islam, it will not acknowledge the extremism within mainstream Islam itself.”

9. From LeftFootForward:

Left Foot Forward has learned that [Pamela] Geller’s inspiration is none other than the British Daily Mail and Spectator columnist, Melanie Phillips.

On her blog, Geller describes Phillips as “a great intellect and truth teller, a woman I greatly admire” and says that Phillips’ book, ‘Londonistan’, is “the most compelling book on Islamic fundamentalism, violence and intimidation in the West.”

Geller has posted videos of a talk by Phillips, and quotes Phillips as telling a US audience:

“There has been over the past 20 to 30 years an evisceration of British National identity and values which has created a cultural and moral vacuum being exploited by Radical Islamism which has come to fill that vacuum.”

Phillips has written defensively of the English Defense League in the past, writing of one clash between EDL and anti-fascist protesters:

“In any street altercation like this, the anti-Islamist demonstrators must be aggressors and those who confront them must be either their victims or heroic anti-fascists.”

“The Islamists have an incentive to provoke a violent reaction by white groups calling themselves names like English Defence League — simply in order to produce yet more demonisation of the anti-Islamists.”

She has criticised former Communities Secretary John Denham for not ‘critically engaging’ with the EDL, and called his comparison of the EDL to Mosley’s Blackshirts “absurd” and “offensive.” Phillips continued:

“The label of the ‘far right’ toxifies everything it touches. There is now a real danger than anyone who opposes Islamic supremacism will find themselves vilified not only as ‘Islamophobes’ but also as BNP fellow-travellers.”

10. Melanie Phillips is now targeting the United States via her new e-publishing company. As mentioned above, Phillips’ company has recently published an e-book titled “Islamophilia”, written by Douglas Murray. The Independent has a fairly detailed article on Phillips’ plans; some key extracts are as follows:

“Yesterday she launched a US-focused ebook publishing company called emBooks, a branch of of Melanie Phillips Electric Media LLC, which will provide a platform for a range of authors,…..

“What you’re getting is not just a set of books, you’re getting a particular viewpoint that is associated with me,” she told The Independent yesterday. Phillips, who recently described Barack Obama as a “sulky narcissist with close links to people with a history of thuggish, far-left, black-power, Jew-bashing, west-hating politics”, may hope to find a receptive audience among America’s Tea Party-aligned conservatives.

…..Phillips said that her goal was to open up public debate “with a different set of voices and a different set of attitudes”……“I do think that western society is in quite a lot of serious trouble and I want to forge a way of addressing these problems that brings people together rather than pushing people apart,” Phillips said. Although she will continue to write for the Daily Mail and appear as a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze, Phillips said that along with setting up the company in America, she would be engaging more closely with US politics.

“I’ve always looked further than Britain,” she said. “This is not an ordinary e-publishing company, I’m not simply publishing books, as any ebook company would, just because they’re interesting and I think they’re going to sell. That’s part of it, but that’s not all of it. It’s very much to do with putting across my general take on the world.”

11. From Melanie Phillips’ Wikipedia profile:

Phillips’s criticisms of liberal Jews who disagree with her positions on Israel have been condemned by Jewish writers such as Jonathan Freedland, Alan Dershowitz, and Rabbi David Goldberg. Freedland criticised Phillips’s labelling Independent Jewish Voices, a group of liberal Jews, as “Jews For Genocide”. He wrote in The Jewish Chronicle: “Now, as it happens, I have multiple criticisms of IJV [...] but even their most trenchant opponents must surely blanch at the notion that these critics of Israel and of Anglo-Jewish officialdom are somehow in favour of genocide—literally, eager to see the murder and eradication of the Jewish people [...] it is an absurdity, one that drains the word ‘genocide’ of any meaning.”

Jonathan Freedland continues (from the Jewish Chronicle):

“But it was a sentence in Melanie’s January JC column that really got me going. “Individual Palestinians may deserve compassion,” she wrote, “but their cause amounts to Holocaust denial as a national project.” Read that line again. I have, along with the entire piece that preceded it. Think about what it means: that the Palestinian urge for national self-determination — their desire to have what we Jews yearned for so long, a homeland of our own where we might govern ourselves — is nothing more than a collective plot to deny Jewish suffering. So those Palestinians living under curfew and hemmed in by checkpoints aren’t angry about this hardship or desperate to throw off a 40-year occupation. No. Their shared desire, their national project, is to join David Irving in pretending that Hitler did not murder six million Jews. Of course, it follows that such people — a nation of neo-Nazis — deserve nothing, let alone a state of their own.

Some will tell me there is no point getting agitated by such sentiments, that newspaper columns are merely tomorrow’s fish-and-chip wrap. That may be true of what most of us in the column business churn out. But Melanie Phillips is different. She has acquired a particularly devoted audience — far beyond these shores.

In the United States, Melanie has a substantial following, with thousands logging on daily to her website or lining up to hear her lectures — several of the leading lights of American Jewry among them. They snap up copies of her book Londonistan, in which Britain — a rotting, decayed island awash with amorality — is on the brink of an Islamist takeover. Above all, they swallow whole her insistence that Europe is back in the 1930s, and that Britain now seethes with Jew-hatred.

I hear this from several well-placed leaders of Britain’s Jewish organisations, who have had to hose down their American counterparts……In response, no less than the Chief Rabbi has had to join other British communal leaders to tell these visiting donors — associated with Aipac and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations, among others — that London is not the Warsaw ghetto, that Europe is not an inferno and that there is no need for the big US bodies to come to Anglo-Jewry’s rescue. They have also had to explain that the US method of doing business — offering heavy financial help to pro-Israel MPs, for example — would not play well here.

Of course, it is mad to blame one person for shaping this distorted world view. But when asked where they had picked up this apocalyptic impression of the state of British Jewry, the Americans apparently cited one name again and again. Melanie will doubtless be heartened by that — but it might not be so good for the rest of us.”

12. Melanie Phillips is also on record as making the following statements about Israel, Jews, Palestine and Palestinians:

“To repeat for the nth time: Israel was never the Palestinians’ ‘homeland’. It was never taken from them ‘by force’. On the contrary, they tried to take the Jews’ homeland from them by force – and are still trying. It was the Jews alone for whom historically ‘Palestine’ was ever their national homeland.”

13. Since the election of US President Barack Obama, Melanie Phillips has accused him of “adopting the agenda of the Islamists” and of being “firmly in the Islamists camp”. Phillips is also on record as making the following statements:

“We are entitled to ask precisely when [Barack Obama] stopped being a Muslim, and why. Did Obama embrace Christianity as a tactical manoeuvre to get himself elected?”

14. Melanie Phillips also used to write for The Spectator (as mentioned above, Douglas Murray is currently contributing editor for this magazine), but she resigned in June 2011. Further details in theGuardian and the New Statesman.

Extract from the Guardian article:

Melanie Phillips claims that she resigned from The Spectator because it published an apology for one of her blog items. She writes – on her own blog – that the apology “misrepresented my post” and has given rise to “false assumptions.”

The apology, shown here, is to a former MI6 operative, Alastair Crooke, who heads the Conflicts Forum, a body that “aims to open a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world.”

The apology states: “A blog by Melanie Phillips posted on 28 January 2011 reported an allegation that Alastair Crooke, director of Conflicts Forum, had been expelled from Israel and dismissed for misconduct from government service or the EU after threatening a journalist whose email he had unlawfully intercepted. We accept that this allegation is completely false and we apologise to Mr Crooke.”

But Phillips has distanced herself from the apology.

….In a January Spectator blog posting, Phillips described [Baroness Sayeeda] Warsi as “a stupid mouthpiece of those who are bamboozling Britain into Islamisation.”

[Jai’s note: As discussed in the aforementioned article on Richard Dawkins,Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is the target of similar extreme hostility from Dawkins and the EDL leadership. Baroness Warsi is a British Muslim Member of Parliament who is currently the Senior Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Minister for Faith and Communities; she has also repeatedly spoken out against the increasing mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry in the UK].

Extract from the New Statesman article:

…..a well-connected source tells me that the payout to Crooke cost the Spectator“tens of thousands of pounds” and left Fraser Nelson and Andrew Neil “furious” with her.

15. From Melanie Phillips’ Powerbase profile, specifically the section on Neoconservatism:

In an article published shortly before the US-led invasion of Iraq Phillips told theGuardian’s Andy Beckett: ‘I’ve been very influenced by what’s called the neo-con movement’…..Three years later she posted a review of Douglas Murray’s bookNeoconservatism: Why We Need It. She praised the book and described neoconservatism as ‘the only truly moral response to the times in which we live’.

16. From Melanie Phillips’ Powerbase profile, specifically the section on Londonistan:

In 2006, Phillips published Londonistan: How Britain Has Created a Terror State Within. Londonistan is Phillips’s variation on the Eurabia theme. In a 2008 foreword, she wrote that “Britain is even now sleepwalking into Islamisation……Some people will read that sentence and think this is mere hyperbole. That’s the problem. Britain still doesn’t grasp that it is facing a pincer attack from both terrorism and cultural infiltration and usurpation. The former is understood; the latter is generally not acknowledged or is even denied, and those who call attention to it are pilloried either as ‘Islamophobes’ or alarmists who have taken up residence on Planet Paranoia.”

17. From Melanie Phillips’ Powerbase profile, quoting Phillips’ statements on multiculturalism and minority rights:

“The doctrines of multiculturalism and minority rights, themselves the outcome of a systematic onslaught by the British elite against the country’s own identity and values, have paralysed the establishment, which accordingly shies away from criticising any minority for fear of being labelled as bigoted…Britain effectively allowed itself to be taken hostage by militant gays, feminists or “anti-racists” who used weapons such as public vilification, moral blackmail and threats to people’s livelihoods to force the majority to give in to their demands.”

From Melanie Phillips’ speech at the IAB anti-boycott conference in Israel in 2006:

“Multiculturalism and anti-racism were the weapons the minorities were handed to beat the majority [in the UK]……Anyone from the third world, however, was suitably powerless and therefore their values had to trump those of the majority……The Palestinians are the epitome of victim culture. So the cause of those who wage genocidal jihad is regarded with indifference or even supported in Britain while its victims are now excoriated as Nazis.”

18. Examples of other statements by Melanie Phillips:

“The nation-wrecking ideology of multiculturalism and the Marxist redefinition of racial prejudice into racism – ‘prejudice plus power ‘– which have turned our society inside out are the product of the left.”

“Voters have been told in effect that there is nothing standing between national suicide on the one hand and racism on the other. If you don’t want the former, you are automatically branded with the latter.”

“They are areas of very high immigration where the transformation of the ethnic, religious and cultural landscape has made indigenous inhabitants feel strangers in their own country — and yet they are told they are racist for saying so”

“In the war being waged by radical Islamism against the west, such symbolism [as mosque-building] is of the utmost importance and significance. It is itself a strategic weapon of cultural and religious demoralisation.”

19. It is presently unclear if the BBC and the Daily Mail are aware of the full scale of Melanie Phillips’ anti-Muslim activities and affiliations, particularly her involvement with Robert Spencer, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Douglas Murray.