Counter Ads: Jews and Christians Strike Back

Choose LoveCounter Ad: Rabbis for Human Rights, North America

Pamela Geller’s hate ads seem to have backfired. The latest round of  counter ads promoting love and tolerance are truly inspiring.

In addition to subway ads,  the progressive Christian group, Sojourners, is also sponsoring a billboard near the Toledo mosque that was the site of a recent arson attack. (H/T: Young & Free)

Pro-Muslim Subway Ads to Hang Near Anti-Jihad Ads

By ASHWAQ MASOODI, New York Times

Updated, 6:47 p.m. | Striking back against an anti-jihad advertisement in the subways widely perceived as anti-Muslim, two religious groups – one Jewish, one Christian – are taking out subway ads of their own to urge tolerance.

Rabbis for Human Rights – North America and the group Sojourners, led by the Christian author and social-justice advocate Jim Wallis, are unveiling their campaigns on Monday. Their ads will be placed near the anti-jihad ads in the same Manhattan subway stations, leaders of both groups said and transit officials confirmed. The groups said their campaigns were coincidental.

The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights turns the language of the earlier ad, placed by a pro-Israel group, on its head. The original ad says, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights says, “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”

“We wanted to make it clear that it is in response to the anti-Islam ad,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, whose members include rabbis from all streams of Judaism.

The Sojourners ad simply says, “Love your Muslim neighbors.”

Another Christian group, United Methodist Women, an affiliate of the United Methodist Church, has placed similar ads in the same 10 Manhattan stations where the anti-jihad appears. The ads, which went up on Wednesday, say, “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.”

One of the Methodist group’s ads, in Times Square station, is posted right next to one of the anti-jihad ads.

The anti-jihad ads, placed by the American Freedom Defense Initiative in 10 Manhattan stations, went up only after the group successfully sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which wanted to ban them. They were posted late last month – in the wake, as it happened, of violent protests that had erupted in many parts of the Muslim world over an American-produced video ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad, and one of them was immediately defaced. They have been defaced at least 15 times since then, said Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the authority.

Last week, the authority changed its advertising rules to ban ads that could “imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace.”

Mr. Donovan said the new ads “are accepted and conform with our guidelines,” adding, “The M.T.A. doesn’t endorse any of the ads we carry.”

The executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, Pamela Geller, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new ads.

 A new subway ad by United Methodist Women is also a response to the anti-jihad ad.

Rabbi Jacobs said: “Geller thinks she is speaking for the entire Jewish community. We are a group of 1,800 rabbis and we want everyone to know that we have to work in partnership with the Muslim community and do not believe in dehumanizing them.”

Sojourners’ campaigns manager, the Rev. Beau Underwood, said, “An essential tenet of Christianity is to love our neighbors.” He added: “In the face of religious extremism, the best response is to treat others like we would want to be treated. Our ad campaign has a simple message that is at the heart of our faith.”

Sojourners, together with some local interfaith communities, recently put up “Love your Muslim neighbors” billboards in Joplin, Mo., where a mosque was burned in August.

Sojourners solicitation for donations says: “Hateful anti-Muslim ads only result in violence, hatred, and more fear. Everyone — regardless of race, religion, or creed — deserves to feel welcome & safe when riding public transit in the United States.”

Kevin Forts: U.S. Breivik Admirer Charged With Making Bomb Threat

We reported on Kevin Forts in April, as an example of the kind of effect that anti-Muslim ideologues/terrorists are having, as well as the profound double standards his correspondence with Breivik highlighted. He has now been charged for making a bomb threat.

Charge against Mass. backer of Norwegian killer

(Boston.com)

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A former college student who wrote letters of support to a man convicted of setting off a bomb and fatally shooting 77 people in Norway was charged on Tuesday with making a campus bomb threat last year.

The charge against Kevin Forts stems from literature found in September 2011 at Assumption College in Worcester, an hour’s drive west of Boston.

Forts, who was a senior at the Roman Catholic college, later was suspended for public statements he made in support of Anders Behring Breivik’s July 2011 attacks in Norway.

Breivik, after setting off a bomb in Oslo, went on a shooting rampage at a summer camp for youth for more than an hour before police arrested him. The self-styled anti-Muslim militant showed no remorse at trial, accusing his victims of betraying Norway by embracing a multicultural society, and was sentenced in August to at least 21 years in prison.

Police in Worcester said in a statement released Tuesday that they were called to a campus of Assumption College on Sept. 23, 2011, and were shown documents containing threatening literature that indicated that a violent act would occur that day.

‘‘A copy of the Norway massacre suspect’s manifesto was also found with the documents,’’ they said. ‘‘Two additional copies of these documents were found in other buildings on campus.’’

The buildings were evacuated, searched and cleared by police. An investigation ensued, and police said they established a probable cause to arrest Forts on Tuesday.

Forts, 23, turned himself in at police headquarters and was arraigned later in the day at Worcester District Court. A plea of not guilty was entered for him, said Tim Connolly, a spokesman for District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.

Forts, who’s from nearby Shrewsbury, was released on his own recognizance and was ordered to stay away from the college. He and his attorney did not promptly return calls seeking comment.

Robert Spencer’s Attacks on #MyJihad Campaign Debunked

Garibaldi of Loonwatch wrote about a recent twitter exchange between terrorist inspirer and pseudo-scholar Robert Spencer and Civil Rights activist Ahmed Rehab. Spencer was forced into undermining his career long effort to demonize Islam and Muslims, reluctantly conceding that the term Jihad means more than “terrorism” and “violence,” a position he is loathe to share on a daily basis with his readers since it doesn’t fit his scheme of evil Muslim hordes Islamizing the universe.

This fits a pattern of doublespeak on Spencer’s part: on the one hand he tells his audience that there are “no distinctions between peaceful and violent Muslims” and that the “only good Muslim is a bad Muslim,” yet when pressed in public about his positions he backtracks, and says things like, “Islam makes a lot of people be very moral and upright and live fine lives.”

This brings us to Spencer’s recent double speak, in which he tells his fans that the “true meaning” of Jihad is the one that is forwarded by radical Muslim preachers. Intriguingly, Spencer finds himself in the unenviable company of agreeing with extremists such as Omar Bakri, Anjum Chaudhry, Osama Bin Laden and others who believe that the targeted killing of innocents is a legitimate expression of Jihad in Islam.

Spencer’s article begins by first trying to delegitimize the #MyJihad campaign, he writes,

“The deceptive and misleading #MyJihad campaign…”

Off the bat one can see that Spencer has already made up his mind, for him anything that runs counter to the “Jihad is evil” mantra is unacceptable. That is why he is eager to hide the true import of the campaign: giving voice to how millions of Muslims relate to Jihad in their daily lives. The #MyJihad campaign also clearly states on both its website and Facebook page that its goal is, “taking back Jihad from anti-Muslim and Muslim extremists alike.”

One would think that if Spencer was honest about promoting peace and justice (words he bandies about meaninglessly), and not being anti-Muslim he would welcome such an initiative. Of course Spencer would be out of a David Horowitz Subsidized job if he welcomed the campaign. Spencer goes on to write,

This campaign is designed to foster complacency among Americans, and to blind them to the fact that Islamic jihadists are committing violence in the name of jihad around the world every day.

Spencer is worried by the educational potentiality of the #MyJihad campaign and attempts once again to obfuscate its message. Clearly Spencer missed the memo about what this whole campaign actually is about, let’s repeat it for him,

“taking back Jihad from anti-Muslim and Muslim extremists alike.”

Robert Spencer’s many faulty claims regarding Jihad have been directly debunked in Danios’ Understanding Jihad series. In this series Danios tackles Spencer’s assertions one by one, adding context and facts and also criticizing the enormous falsities Spencer forwards about Jihad, thereby putting “Jihad” in proper perspective. This may be the reason why to this day Robert Spencer refuses to reply to Danios’ rebuttals in the series and has also ran away from Loonwatch’s open invitation to debate.

Also read Sheila Musaji’s article: AFDI/SIOA Roll Out 8 More Anti-Muslim Ads

Islamophobia, Left and Right

(h/t: Jason perkins)

Islamophobia, Left and Right

by JEFF SPARROW
‘Koran discovered with coffee cup stain on the front cover, US marines deployed to all Starbucks franchises.’

The quip, retweeted by celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins, exemplifies the belligerent incomprehension with which so many, including self-proclaimed liberals, have responded to protests against the film The Innocence of Muslims.

Rioting over a YouTube clip that offends the Muslim sky fairy? How tremendously foolish! How childish; how superstitious; how very, very silly!

Well, we’ve certainly seen ignorance paraded over the last few days but it’s as much by smug progressives as anyone else.

Consider a historical analogy.

In 1857, Bengali soldiers (known as ‘sepoys’) shot their British officers and marched upon Delhi. The Great Indian Rebellion became very violent, very quickly. The rebels massacred prisoners, including women and children; the British put down the revolt with a slaughter of unprecedented proportions.

Now, that rebellion began when the troops learned that their cartridges, designed to be torn open with their teeth, would be greased with beef and pork fat, an offence to the religious sensibilities of Hindus and Muslims alike. Had Twitter been an invention of the Victorian era, London sophisticates would, no doubt, have LOLed to each other (#sepoyrage!) about the credulity of dusky savages so worked up about a little beef tallow. Certainly, that was how the mouthpieces of the East India Company spun events: in impeccably Dawkinesque terms, they blamed ‘Hindoo prejudice’ for the descent of otherwise perfectly contented natives into rapine and slaughter.

But no serious historian today takes such apologetics seriously. Only the most determined ignoramus would discuss 1857 in isolation from the broader context of British occupation. In form, the struggle might have been religious; in content, it embodied a long-simmering opposition to colonial rule.

That’s why those who pretend the protests against The Innocence of Muslims came from nowhere merely reveal their own foolishness.

‘Today, many Americans are asking — indeed, I asked myself — how could this happen?’ said Hillary Clinton after the riots in Libya. ‘How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.’

The echoes of George Bush’s infamous query ‘Why do they hate us when we’re so good?’ suggests nothing whatsoever has been learnt from the last decade and the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

For this is, of course, the same Hillary Clinton who, as recently as 2009, proclaimed Mubarak, Egypt’s torturer-in-chief, and his wife, ‘friends of my family’, acknowledging a relationship that exemplified the pally connections between the US elite and every dictator and despot in the region. Mubarak might have been crossed off the Clinton Christmas list but President Obama forges ever closer relations with the tyrants of Saudi Arabia, delivering the biggest ever arms deal in US history to fortify a reactionary and criminal government against its populace.

No, Hillary Clinton might not recall such matters. But the people of the Muslim world are considerably better informed – and that’s the context for their anger.

But what about the movie itself? Why should such a shoddy piece of amateur filmmaking become such a flashpoint?

Again, shift to a more familiar referent and the outrage becomes at once markedly less strange. The Protocols of Zion were, of course, also a bodged-up job, a childish forgery thrown together by racist cranks from the Tsarist secret service. But no-one’s surprised when Jews (and their anti-racist allies) mobilise against some fresh incarnation of that notorious document, since we all, quite correctly, recognise any new publication of the Protocols as a conscious and deliberate attempt to promote hatred.

The Innocence of Muslims should be understood in the same fashion. This is a film produced at a time in which, across Europe and the United States, the far right has developed an Islamophobic doctrine that replicates, almost exactly, the key tropes of traditional anti-Semitism.

Jews will not integrate. Jews are more fertile than Christians and are outbreeding them. Europe is becoming a province, a colony, of a Judaic entity. Europe will either be Judaicised or there will be a civil war. Most likely, Jews will resort to terrorism as part of their takeover. They are already spoiling for violence.

All of that sounds like the rantings of an old-school fascist. But replace ‘Jew’ with ‘Muslim’, and you’re left with a workaday opinion piece from any mainstream conservative paper.

The structural homology here is not accidental. Mattias Gardell notes how:

The tradition of Islamophobia is, like anti-Semitism, rooted in the medieval Christian hostility to the ‘enemies of God’, with these perceptions disseminated, expanded upon, restructured, rearticulated and reactivated in various social and political contexts, from the Turk scare in early modernity, via the colonial expansion, to the War on Terror.

Many stories told about Jews in medieval and early modern Europe were also spun around what were then termed Moors, Saracens or Red Jews: Muslims were devil-worshipping, sexually deviant, man-eating monsters; Muslims ritually defamed the cross and consumed the blood of ceremonially slaughtered Christian children in blasphemous communions. Church art portrayed Mohammed as the Antichrist, and Muslims as horned devils, Christ-killers, dogs or a hybrid race of dog-men. Lars Vilks – the Swedish artist who depicted Mohammed as a dog – may claim originality, but the dog motif goes back hundreds of years and is as old as the Judensau (the medieval depiction of Jews in obscene contact with a sow).

Elsewhere, the journalist Colm Ó Broin has produced a neat demonstration of the relationship between the old hate and the new hate, with a close comparison of the writings of the notorious Islamophobe Robert Spencer on Muslims alongside the propaganda of Julius Streicher, the editor of, Der Stuermer. Streicher, you’ll recall, went to the gallows at Nuremberg – but Spencer holds forth regularly on FOX News.

The labour leader August Bebel famously dubbed anti-Semitism the ‘socialism of fools’, since some supposed radicals subscribed to crackpot theories about Jewish finance. In a similar fashion, Islamophobia today often gets served up as an add lepated secularism by vulgar atheists, indifferent to how often their conversations about Muslim theology slide neatly into anguish about Muslim birthrates (an obvious giveaway of the racialised imagination and its biological concerns).

Should Muslims be worried about rising Islamophobia? Of course they should! As the recent report by the Institute of Race Relations, Pedlars of Hate, makes clear, anti-Islam bigotry is becoming a key element of the revival of the far Right – a Right that doesn’t merely slander Muslims but also takes action against them.

The Innocence of Muslims was, quite obviously, intended as a provocation, and many Muslims have argued that the minority of shrilljihadis who raised their sectarian and violent slogans at protests around the wold fell entirely into the intended trap.

Then, again, this too is familiar. Twentieth century race-baiters knew all about goading their victims into a certain response, and then using that response to justify a fresh pogrom. Not unexpectedly, German far-right extremists (who have some historical experience with this strategy) are now planning fresh screenings of the film.

Those who call themselves progressive might note that a certain Karl Marx followed the Great Indian Rebellion closely. While he acknowledged and decried the excesses of the rebels, he declared these were ‘only the reflex, in a concentrated form, of England’s own conduct in India.’

In other words, Marx, one of history’s more famous atheists, stood firmly with the ‘ignorant’ sepoys against their ‘enlightened’ opponents.

‘John Bull,’ he wrote, ‘is to be steeped in cries for revenge up to his very ears, to make him forget that his Government is responsible for the mischief hatched and the colossal dimensions it has been allowed to assume.’

Add ‘Uncle Sam’ to that sentence, and you have a remarkably apt assessment of what’s taking place today.

Jeff Sparrow is the editor of Overland magazine and the author of “Money Shot: A Journey into Porn and Censorship.

Horowitz: Obama ‘Would Never Be President if He Weren’t Black’

(h/t: CriticalDragon)

Spencer’s Boss, mouths off.

Horowitz: Obama ‘Would Never Be President if He Weren’t Black’

Far-right activist David Horowitz has been out promoting his new book, Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion, and told conservative talk show host Steve Deace yesterday that President Obama, much like professor Cornel West, is taken seriously simply because he is black. During an incoherent rant, Horowitz asserted that Obama “would never be president if he weren’t black” as no one with the same “curious background and radicalism would ever have been nominated, let alone elected president if he weren’t black.” “Part of the racism of our society is if you’re black you can get away with murder,” Horowitz concludes.

Cornel West is just symbolic of the corruption of our culture and not unlike Obama who would never be president if he weren’t black, no white person with his resume and his thoughts and curious background and radicalism would ever have been nominated, let alone elected president if he weren’t black. So Cornel West is an empty suit who has twenty honorary degrees and he’s taught at all these prestigious universities but is basically an airhead, most people who’ve seen him on TV they’ve noticed. Part of the racism of our society is if you’re black you can get away with murder.

Later, Horowitz repeated his smear of Huma Abedin and said that she is a “Muslim Brotherhood operative” and the “chief adviser to the American government right now on Muslim affairs.” Not only is patently it absurd to claim that Abedin is a secret agent for the Brotherhood but she is also not a policymaker.

After attacking Obama as someone who “sympathizes with our enemy” and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, Horowitz said that conservatives are much nicer and more open minded than liberals. But he couldn’t even make that audacious claim without attacking Obama: “we don’t set out to destroy the character of people. Obama is a Communist.” Not only is Obama a Communist, Horowitz explained, but so are his advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, whom he says all serve this “evil cause” with religious zeal.

Obama basically sympathizes with our enemy and Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser, the chief adviser to the American government right now on Muslim affairs is Huma Abedin, who is a Muslim Brotherhood operative. The Muslim Brotherhood, for people who don’t know, that’s the organization that created Osama bin Laden, it’s the parent organization of Hamas, and it’s agenda — well they’re already doing it in Egypt — is to turn it into an Islamic, fascist state, meaning that everybody is under Islamic laws, this seventh century law.

People have to stop thinking of them as liberals. Conservatives are liberal people, we believe in two sides to a question, we don’t shut people up, when we have channels on television there is more than one viewpoint, we don’t set out to destroy the character of people. Obama is a Communist. Stanley Kurtz has written a really good book called “Radical-in-Chief” and his entire life has been spent in the same left that I came out of, which is the radical, Marxist left. Only it’s even worse. [David] Axelrod, his family is all—they’re communists. Valerie Jarrett, I mean literally members of the Communist Party. And I know as somebody who came out of the left, you know if you’re involved with an evil cause and you leave it, you denounce it, you tell people, particularly if you’re a political person, you warn people. These people are really dangerous but they haven’t done that, they are still committed to this cause. I think that’s the main thing, people have to suddenly awaken and realize, and that’s one reason I wrote this book “Radicals” because it’s a portrait of this mentality, it’s a very religious mentality.

Not two, but three more “films” coming our way

Sheila Musaji discusses the fact that not two, but three more films are in the works.

Not two, but three more “films” coming our way

by Sheila Musaji (TAM)

Daniel Greenfield noted appreciatively on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine that Ali Sina and Mosab Hassan Yousef have upcoming films on Prophet Muhammad.  He even includes a picture of what seems to be a poster advertising one of the films “Muhammad: The True Story of a False Prophet” and at the bottom “in theaters this summer”.  Not surprising that he would approve since he also published Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’? encouraging more films like “Innocence of Muslims.  Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller have also encouraged publishing more cartoons/films etc. until as Pipes said Muslims “become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”  Daniel Pipes added an update to his article A Muhammad Cartoon a Day  noting that “The Los Angeles Times tells about two ex-Muslims, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Ali Sina, who have plans to make big-budget derogatory films showing Muhammad on screen.  To which I can add a third ex-Muslim with the same intent, Imran Firasat.”

Mosab Hassan Yousef has gone through a number of ideological changes in the past few years.

Yousef’s conversion to Christianity was through the preaching of Father Zakaria Botros Henein.

In 2010 he published a book Son of Hamas.  The title refers to the fact that he is the son of a senior Hamas figure, although he became a spy for the Shin Bet.  At this time, Pamela Geller called Yousef “a brave heroic apostate out of Islam”.  He faced deportation hearingsdue to some claims in his book.  At this time, Alex Nowrasteh on David Horowitz’ Newsreal Blog said “Mosab is also the most valuable source of intelligence on Hamas that Israel has ever produced.”  Debbie Schlussel wrote about Yousef saying “I am very suspicious of Youssef. I don’t know how much he actually aided Israel as a spy …  And even if he did as much as he claims, so have many other anti-Israel Jew-haters Israel recruits as spies. There are no swans in the sewer. . . and the sewer is the general habitat of informants.”

In 2011, Walid Shoebat repudiated Yousef and Yousef and his former Shin Bet handler responded to Shoebat’s attack.  Pamela Geller also repudiated him and called him “a fraud”.

In June 2012, Yousef visited Israel and spoke at the Israeli Parliament  where he read a statement – he says he is now “free, loving, and forgiving” “truth and forgiveness are the solution for the Middle East’s problems”.  He visited Israel as a guest of Likud MK Ayoub Kara.  During that visit he announced that he was making a film on Prophet Muhammad that would reveal his “real nature” to Muslims.”  While in Israel he also spoke at an event in Jerusalem hosted by Media Central, a pro-Israel press relations organization.  Yousef isworking with Israeli film producer and actor Sam Feuer.  Feuer will produce both a feature film adaptation of Son of Hamas as well as the Muhammad movie.  Feuer said the movie has already interested sponsors and a major screenwriter who is in the process of creating the script.

The link Daniel Pipes provided about the film being made by Imran Farasat is to Farasat’s site in Spain, announcing that he will make a film and that it will be released in 2012 in 4 to 5 languages.  Based on the site, and on limited google searches, Farasat is a Pakistani ex-Muslim now living in Spain.  He seems to be a very marginal character who will produce something to be released on YouTube.

All of this adds credence to Justin Raimondo’s speculation about an Israeli connection behind at least some of these films.

SDL Flops, EDL Thugs Clash with Police at Walsall Protest

Another flop for the Scottish Defence League

The Scottish Defence League (SDL) held a static protest outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, while Unite Against Fascism organised its own counter-protest. Police said that around 60 people attended the SDL event, which lasted for around 45 minutes. The majority arrived by coach.

Meanwhile Unite Against Fascism said its march from the City Chambers on the Royal Mile to the Parliament attracted over 300 people. Police put the figure at around 250.

Lothian and Borders Police created a “sterile” area outside Holyrood, with the two groups separated by barriers and accompanied by police officers. Members of the public were kept away from the area.

Speaking after the event, Luke Henderson, co-ordinator for Unite Against Fascism, said: “The march was absolutely fantastic and we were very happy that we had a great turn out. Our march had representatives from the many diverse communities that make Edinburgh a vibrant and open city.”

Press Association, 29 September 2012

Update:  See also “Scotland and Islam”, Sunday Herald, 30 September 2012

Arrests at EDL Walsall protest after clashes with police

Police clashed with members of the English Defence League during protests in Walsall town centre today.

During speeches given by leaders of the EDL, the crowd surged towards police lines on Leicester Street. Officers with riot gear used batons and shields to hold back the demonstrators. Scores of missiles – including bricks, bottles and litter bins – were hurled at police.

At 3pm officers cleared Lichfield Street with a shields charge as members of the EDL were herded on to buses to transport them away from the town centre.

West Midlands Police said they have no power to ban a static protest and the right to protest peacefully was a sign of a healthy democracy.

Birmingham Mail, 29 September 2012

 

Click to read more …

Not A Shocker: More Muhammad movies planned, film-makers reveal

The anti-Muslim Movie Festival that we are likely to encounter in the upcoming months and years is just beginning. The Islamophobia machine has whet its appetite, and those who thrive off of instigating civilizational and cultural conflict are salivating at the chance to incite another conflagration. The Innocence of Muslims is not the first anti-Muslim hate movie produced, it is just another in a long line, but the Geller’s and Spencer’s of the world see an opportunity, will their counterparts in the Muslim world, the loony and extremist fringe oblige? One prays not.

The following Guardian article details Geller and Spencer’s production of an upcoming “Muhammad movie,” but that’s not the only one, there are reports that former Mossad agent Musab Youssef, who bills himself the “Son of Hamas” is also working on a movie about the Prophet Muhammad. (h/t: Jai)

More Muhammad movies planned, film-makers reveal

By Ben Child (The Guardian)

Protests have erupted across the Muslim world after clips from a film depicting Muhammad appeared on YouTube. Now, according to the LA Times, there could be more provocation to come: the newspaper says it has uncovered evidence that at least two further film-makers are planning movies which will show the prophet on screen.

Innocence of Muslims, the film currently at the centre of a religious firestorm, has caused anger for its depiction of Muhammad as a womaniser and paedophile, but has also upset worshippers who believe that it is blasphemous to depict him on screen. The Times says two further film-makers are both planning to do just that. Just as worryingly for US relations with the Muslim world, both are ex-believers who no longer embrace Islam and both are raising funds for their biopics in the United States.

The newspaper names the first film-maker as Mosab Hassan Yousef, a Palestinian who moved to Los Angeles several years ago. He told the LA Times he had already cast a “prominent Hollywood actor” in the title role of his $30m (£18.5m) film, titled simply Muhammad. “My goal is to create this big mirror to show the Muslim world the true image of its leader,” Yousef says, adding that the film would feel similar to the Mel Gibson drama The Passion of the Christ. The film-maker was reportedly inspired to convert by the radical Egyptian Christian Zakaria Botros Henein, who has described Muhammad as a paedophile and buffoonand who may have also influenced the makers of Innocence of Muslims.

The second film-maker is named as Ali Sina, a Canadian atheist who was raised as a Muslim in Iran. He says he has secured $2m (£1.2m) for a film that will portray Muhammad as a cult leader in the style of David Koresh or Jim Jones. Sina hopes to shoot next year if he can raise an extra $8m. He has been planning his film for a decade but says it only recently became a possibility due to technical advances in film distribution.

“We can bypass theatres completely and sell the movie online with a profit to a large number of people, especially Muslims,” Sina said. “They can download it and watch it even if they are living in Karachi or Mecca or Medina.”

Perhaps the best known film about the life of Muhammad is The Message, a 1977 film by Halloween producer Moustapha Akkad; described as the story of Islam, it was ultimately financed by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi after Hollywood refused to fund it. Starring Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas, the film avoided any depiction of Muhammad on screen. Scenes were occasionally shown from the prophet’s perspective but he was not seen and his voice was not heard. Even so, the film drew anger among Muslims who had heard a rumour that Quinn was playing Muhammad. In March 1977, the film was named as a grievance (among others) by an armed group who took 149 hostages and killed a radio journalist and a police officer during a standoff in Washington, DC.

At least 51 people, including the US ambassador to Libya, have been killed in violence linked to protests over Innocence of Muslims. So far, only clips from the film have been aired and it is not clear whether a full cut exists.

Jewish Jihadi Delivers Message of Solidarity and Peace

A beautiful message of solidarity and understanding from Marcia Kannry, a Jewish Jihadi and founder of the Dialogue Project! I urge everyone to write to them and thank Ms. Kannry for her effective and bold statement.:

On Yom Kippur, I am fasting and reflecting. I am a Jewish Jihadi.

Jihad is an Islamic process of reflection and struggle to bring thoughts, words and actions in alignment with prayer and best ethical practices. So too as Jews we practice sleichot (asking for forgiveness), and teshuva (return to good), offering compensation, asking forgiveness from the humans whom we have offended.

Indeed the Jewish month of Elul, comes from a Semitic language of ancient times called Akkadian – and it is also the month of Eylul in Arabic. Our roots are interwoven as is our spirituality. I ask my Muslim brothers and sisters to forgive those Jews whose fear and ignorance only points outward, rather than inward as this day of Yom Kippur asks us to do. To my fellow Jews — G’mar Hatima Tova.

B’shalom

Marcia Kannry

The Dialogue Project

#MyJihad Twitter Bout Takes One Round

by Garibaldi

Danios has been writing a series on Understanding Jihad which rebuts Robert Spencer‘s lies, decontextualized and selective usage of Islamic texts and history to advance myths regarding Jihad. The series is unfinished, but has been credited for bringing much needed facts and perspective to the understanding and meaning of Jihad.

One aspect that is yet to be covered is how the majority of everyday, regular Muslims relate to Jihad, and what it means to them. Today, in response to Geller’s racist ad campaign calling Muslims and Arabs “savages” whilst juxtaposing “Supporting Israel” with “Defeating Jihad,” Muslims (and non-Muslims) have taken to Twitter to relate what Jihad means to them with the hashtag #MyJihad (h/t: Fred A.). Here’s a description from the Facebook page about the impetus for the campaign,

There has been a lot of commotion recently in broadcast and social media about hate ads placed in the NY Subway by islamophobe Pamela Geller that states:

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
What many on both sides of the debate are missing is that at the heart of the problem is the blatant misuse of the word “Jihad” as if it were an acceptable synonym of say “terrorism.”

Islamophobes aside, many Americans remain confused about this.

The best response to the hateful ad campaign is to convert it into an opportunity to get to the heart of the problem and to reclaim the word “Jihad,” a word many Muslims have shied away from and left to the ravaging of the ignorant in both the Muslim extremist and anti-Muslim extremist circles – both of whom seem to ironically agree on a bloody definition for the word. I love Jihad! Not Jihad the perverse way Bin Laden & Pam Geller define it. But: the struggle against ignorance, injustice & hate. It is the struggle against the darkness in ones own soul. It is the struggle to be patient in times of adversity etc.

Jihad is not savage, except in the minds of those who are too lazy or too careless to wish to understand a well-documented 1400 year old concept in both Islamic literature and Muslim life.

My Grandma’s Jihad was against diabetes and MS while bedridden for seven years. #MyJihad is against bigotry and hatemongering. What’s yours?

1. Tweet #MyJihad and tell us what your Jihad is.

Also this will be more than a twitter campaign. There will be an ad campaign as well in public transportation in various cities. The best tweets will be used as ads, so tweet away.

so:

2. Donate and help us get physical ads on billboards.
http://www.cairchicago.org/make-a-donation-form

Non-Muslims welcome, tell us about your Jihad too!

Anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge of the Arabic language and Islam knows that Jihad literally translates to “struggle.” Hence, the preponderance of involved Twitterati are relating the concept of Jihad to their everyday struggles and tying it to a spiritual dimension rooted deeply in their faith. It is clearly an attempt to reclaim the meaning of Jihad from the extremists and absolutists in both the “West” and the “East,” who feed off of each others hate.

An interesting interaction involving perennial anti-Loon Ahmed Rehab and hate monger Robert Spencer underscored how such campaigns can be effective tools in turning the hate machine’s propaganda on its head:

Robert Spencer made the mistake of tweeting at Ahmed Rehab with what he thought was a wisecrack and witty side-busting tweet, but ended up receiving a rhetorical Jiu Jitsu flying kick which left him floored. The question still stands Spencer, are you going to “watch” yourself now as part of your “Jihadwatch?”