Stephen Yaxley-Lennon Arrested, Will Pamela Geller Be Next?

Stockholm, 8/4/12: US Islamophobes, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with co-founder and EDL thug, Stephen Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson.

(h/t: Jai)

SION’s closest UK allies are in deep water. On top of 53 EDL activists being arrested, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) was also arrested by Met police for entering the USA illegally.

Following yesterday’s police operation that saw 53 EDL activists including EDL leaders Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll arrested, things are looking a little bleak for the tiny tinpot racist.

Tommy has been released on bail pending further enquiries and he has taken to Twitter to reveal how much trouble he is actually in.

Not forgetting several court cases that are pending with Robinson, he appears to be on the point of being remanded in prison for entering the USA illegally last month.

Tommy writes “Been arrested for fraud for flying to America for invitation to speak in new York on Sept 11th. Met police are a joke …#political policing”

He also claims he has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting the Luton based Islamic extremist Sayful Islam.

Tommy isn’t happy, but if his Twitter claims are true I am !!

For more on the arrests of Yaxley-Lennon and his comrades, see: “Tommy Robinson Remanded: In Custody for Entering the US Illegally“, “Tommy Robinson and 53 EDL supporters held after Police Motorway Sting,” and the “Statement by the Met Police.”

This may bode ill for Pamela Geller considering the fact that (according to an article by the British anti-racism organisation “Hope Not Hate”) at the time Geller is also on record as claiming that she was involved in “sneaking Yaxley-Lennon into the country,” it will be interesting to see if she is arrested/prosecuted by the relevant US immigration authorities too. Yaxley-Lennon appears to have been aware that he was in trouble about all this, as last week he tweeted Geller about his recent trip to the US and expressed his wish to privately discuss matters further:

Pamela Geller is going hysterical at the moment on her blog ranting with the usual verbal diarrhea about the UK government being “dhimmis” and “weak” and how this is an unprecedented attack on “freedom fighters” like herself, etc. Sounds like she is scared that she will be exposed  in this mess as well.

“Jewish” Pamela Geller’s “Christian” EDL ally rants about non-Christians being “pagans”

Robert Spencer – Kevin Carroll – Pamela Geller – Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – Stockholm August 2012

Original guest article by Jai

Readers will be aware that Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s main British allies are the English Defence League/British Freedom Party leadership. The EDL’s “second-in-command” is Kevin Carroll, who is also the BFP’s co-deputy leader. Along with EDL leader/BFP deputy leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”), Kevin Carroll was involved in hosting the anti-Muslim demonstration in Stockholm in August 2012 alongside Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, BFP leader Paul Weston, and European neo-Nazis.

Kevin Carroll at Pamela Geller’s “SION” anti-Muslim conference in New York

Along with Yaxley-Lennon, Kevin Carroll was also one of the main speakers at Geller’s anti-Muslim conference in New York on September 11th 2012, a fact that Geller has enthusiastically publicised on her “Atlas Shrugs” website. Other speakers included David Yerushalmi, who has represented Geller in various lawsuits. Kevin Carroll himself repeatedly made false claims about the current situation in the United Kingdom and continued his long-term behaviour pattern of hijacking Christianity. He previously attended Geller’s demonstration against the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York in September 2010.

Kevin Carroll’s views on non-Christians

Ironically, in December 2010, Kevin Carroll wrote a number of very revealing comments on Facebook which were posted online on his behalf by Yaxley-Lennon’s PA Hel Gower (multiple screenshots here). In these comments:

1. Kevin Carroll ranted about executing “traitors”, ie. opponents of the EDL.
2. Kevin Carroll continued by ranting about Britain being “a Christian country not a multicultural one”, and he also explicitly described Christianity as “the fundamental culture” of Britain.
3. Kevin Carroll is clearly (mis)using “multicultural” to mean “multireligious” (and similarly, misusing “culture” to mean “religion”).
4. Kevin Carroll ranted about Britain being a Christian country absolutely everywhere.
5. Kevin Carroll explicitly described non-Christians as “pagans”.
6. Kevin Carroll ranted that he will never “bend or bow” to such “pagans”.
7. Apart from confirming the EDL/BFP leadership’s fanatical religious supremacism, Kevin Carroll’s statements also:

a) Confirm their extreme bigotry towards non-Christians in general, not just Muslims, including the various non-Christian groups the EDL/BFP leadership are cynically trying to court as allies against Muslims;

and b) Most revealing of all, Kevin Carroll’s bigoted statements about “pagans” also expose the EDL/BFP leadership’s real attitudes towards their American Jewish allies Pamela Geller, David Yerushalmi, and Robert Spencer’s “boss” David Horowitz.

It is currently unclear whether Geller, Yerushalmi and Horowitz are aware of what their main British allies actually think of them, or whether they are so utterly lacking in self-respect that they are happy to be formally allied with individuals who are on record as explicitly stating how much they despise non-Christians and regard them as “pagans”.

Sheila Musaji: Robert Spencer Discovers Halloween Jihad

Let the loony Islamophobic conspiracies about a war on Halloween begin. (h/t: CriticalDragon)

Robert Spencer discovers Halloween Jihad

by Sheila Musaji

Robert Spencer finds it noteworthy enough to note on Jihad Watch that Seattle elementary school bans Halloween costumes: they could offend students from “other cultures”.

He engages in his typical snarky innuendo:

Gee, I wonder which culture would have students in the Seattle elementary schools who would be offended by Halloween costumes. Still, there is no indication that any Islamic supremacist group demanded this ban; the school officials are just playing the dhimmi on their own initiative. Please write them, politely and respectfully, and ask them why American culture always takes a back seat to others, and why they’re pandering to an imaginary offense.

And, of course, his partner Pamela Geller also posted an article on this non-story, sayingDismantling America, piece by cultural piece, law by American law …… the parents ought to protest en masse – in costume.

The article Spencer and Geller refer to says only that a Seattle school has banned students from dressing up in costume for Halloween this year at school.  One district representative said that costumes “could offend and upset students who come from other cultures”.  The principal of the school said that “This decision was made by the entire staff after two deep and detailed discussions. The initial conversation was initiated by staff members who suggested that since Halloween falls this year on a half day of school, we not allow costumes. It takes students a while to change into their costumes, and students are distracted taking away from the already limited instructional time.

That’s it, the whole story that is known from this.  We don’t know whether or not any parent made any request or complaint to the district or to the school.  We don’t know what is the demographic of the community where this school is located.  Blaming this decision on some sort of Muslim plot, or a self-imposed fear of a possible Muslim reaction, to take away an American holiday is absolute nonsense.

To jump to the conclusion that Spencer does from this very limited information is a clear sign of his deeply held Islamophobia.  We know that Spencer is blaming Muslims for this school decision because he says the school officials are “playing dhimmi” on their own initiative.  Is it only some Muslims who don’t celebrate Halloween?

Here is a quote from one such “dhimmi” who refuses to participate in American culture:

“I think we ought to close Halloween down. Do you want your children to dress up as witches? The Druids used to dress up like this when they were doing human sacrifice…[The children] are acting out Satanic rituals and participating in it, and don’t even realize it.”Pat Robertson, “The 700 Club,” 1982-OCT-29

Robertson is not exactly known for his fondness for Islam or Muslims.  I wonder is Spencer will ask his followers to write letters to The 700 Club to complain about Robertson’s attempts to “dismantle America”.

If any parents did say something to the school or district administration, they might have been parents from just about any religious or cultural background.

Yes, there are some Muslims who are opposed to celebrating Halloween, for a variety of reasons.  The reasons given are pretty much identical with the reasons that many Christians and Jews are opposed to celebrating the holiday.  There is a wide range of opinion within all of these communities about the holiday, what it means, and why it should not be celebrated, or can be celebrated as simply a cultural event.

Read the rest…

Margaret Hassan and Thomas Hassan: Targets of the Islamophobic Looniverse

Daniel Greenfield, operative of the extremist SultanKnish blog, paid shill of David Horowitz and regular trafficker in “genocide” talk about Muslims recently blogged about Margaret “Maggie” Wood Hassan, who is running as the Democratic candidate for Governor in New Hampshire. Hassan has been endorsed by Bill Clinton and other bigwigs in the party and has a good shot at winning the election. (h/t: Michael Elwood)

Maggie’s husband, Thomas Hassan is principal of the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy. Phillips Exeter Academy has invited Muslims to speak at the school in the past about Islam and American Muslims, a couple of whom are associated with CAIR. This has set off alarm bells in the panicked minds of Islamophobes such as Greenfield. As Michael Elwood noted, Maggie and her husband Thomas are “being portrayed as stealth jihadis.”

Greenfield writes,

Margaret Hassan is married to Thomas Hassan, principal of the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, that some are beginning to describe as the Phillips Exeter Madrassah.

As principal, Mr. Hassan is culpable for enabling members of radical Islamists organizations like CAIR, MSA, and the Muslim Brotherhood, to propagandize the impressionable student body at the Student Assemblies.

Will Margaret Wood Hassan do New Hampshire what her husband did to Phillips Exeter Academy?

The “some” who are describing Phillips Exeter Academy as “Phillips Exeter Madrassah” are well known anti-Muslim loons in the Islamophobia echo chamber, the likes of AtlasShrugsPamela Geller and JihadWatch‘s Robert Spencer. No reputable news agency worth its name would describe Phillips Exeter Academy as a “maddrassah” unless they wanted to be laughed off the presses.

It is not all too clear whether Maggie or Thomas Hassan are Muslims (Update: They aren’t Muslim. H/T: JSB), not that it would matter to Islamophobes, the name “Hassan” would be sufficient to create a fevered hysteria in the same crowd horrified that the president’s middle name is “Hussein.” Also, as has been repeated ad nauseum about other “Muslimish” politicians, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with Maggie Hassan being a “Mooslim” if she were one. Is it too much to ask that their records as civil servants and educators be examined and critiqued instead of what religion they follow and with who they’ve shared a podium?

Of course the tendentious “guilt by association” and fear-mongering tactics about mainstream Muslim organizations being “Muslim Brotherhood” fronts or setup by “Hamas” are not only libelous but a propaganda tool that has been exhausted. How long do those in the Islamophobia movement believe they can employ these tactics? It is just not as effective anymore.

Such desperate attempts on the part of right-wing Islamophobes and their allies to smear and character assassinate individuals such as Margaret Hassan and Thomas Hassan who have devoted their lives to civil service and education reminds us of the stark difference between Islamophobes and their targets: Maggie Hassan and Thomas Hassan work to build the USA up, the Greenfield’s, Geller’s and Spencer’s work to destroy and divide it.

The Growing Christian Movement Pushing Back Against Islamophobia

The growing Christian push back against Christianity’s Islamophobes is gaining steam. This has long been a reality that we are now seeing become more visible and strongly represented. This is the type of movement we’ve hoped would emerge for a long time.:

The Growing Christian Movement Pushing Back Against Islamophobia

by Amy Sullivan (The New Republic)

The loudest Christians making waves about Islam for much of this year have not been terribly, well, Christian. There have been the protests against plans to build mosques in places like Tennessee and New Jersey, and arson attacks on mosques in Joplin, Missouri and Toledo, Ohio. The anti-Muslim posters placed in New York City and Washington, DC subway stations by Pamela Geller’s organization. And that crude now-infamous video that sparked riots across the Middle East.

These contentious activities have garnered headlines and defined for many the “Christian” take on Islam in the U.S. And that’s been too much for a growing number of Christian organizations who are fed up with Islamophobia. Just in the past month, four separate campaigns have started to push back against extreme Christian voices and to preach a message of tolerance and love.

Sojourners—the community founded and led by evangelical author and speaker Jim Wallis—responded to subway ads calling Muslims “savages” by purchasing space to post its own posters in the same subway stations. The message is simple: “Love Your Muslim Neighbors.” After the mosque attacks in Joplin and Toledo, Sojourners bought billboards in both communities to broadcast the same message. “It’s only an extremist fringe that would ever attack another religion’s place of worship in this country,” explained Sojourners spokesman Tim King to the Christian Post. “But unless we offer up an alternative voice, it will be the message and acts of extremists that most across the country and the world hear.”

Geller’s subway ads also prompted a response from an interfaith coalition called Shoulder-to-Shoulder. The group worked closely with the United Methodist Women to produce a letter signed by 168 Washington-area clergy and religious organizations calling on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to donate any proceeds from Geller’s ads to charity. It also countered with its own Metro advertisement: “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.”

Two other religious campaigns are focused on educating Americans—and particularly Christian communities—about Muslims and Islam. On October 11, the Interfaith Alliance led by Baptist minister Welton Gaddy, along with the Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center, released a guide called “What is the Truth about American Muslims? Questions and Answers.” The online document addresses topics such as the role of mosques in Muslim life, whether U.S. courts can ever substitute religious law for civil law (spoiler alert: no), and the meaning of Muslim words like “jihad” and “Taqiyya.”

The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, which was founded by Rev. Richard Cizik, is also undertaking a massive effort to broaden American perceptions of Islam and challenge stereotypes. The group produced and released an hour-long documentary called “Islam in America: The Christian Truth,” which tells the stories of American Muslims, but also of conservative Christians who have exchanged their fear of Islam for tolerance and understanding. Cizik and his colleagues intended the film to prompt discussion of Islamophobia in Christian communities, and they released it after the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in the hope that churches and other religious communities could discuss honestly their fears and beliefs.

Efforts like these too often go unnoticed or uncovered by journalists because they are earnest and have the goal of bringing people together instead of tearing them apart. That’s a sad commentary on journalism, but also on all of us who react to stories of religious hatred but flip past stories of religious cooperation with a “meh.” Too many of my colleagues also question whether campaigns to promote education or civility are actually representative of American Christians, because these efforts don’t fit the assumptions they have about who American Christians are. At the same time, they rarely ask whether Pamela Geller or Terry Jones of Qur’an-burning infamy represent anyone other than a small pitchfork-wielding band of followers. Until they do, the antics of Geller and Jones will make the front page while the efforts of Christians to push back against them will remain mostly exiled to the religion pages.

Eric Allen Bell: “Zero Tolerance – DESTROY ISLAM”

"Can I haz cheeeezeburger?"

JihadWatch Zombie Eric Allen Bell (aka Eric Edborg) calls for Muslims to  be excluded from all the “free countries” in the world. Does he have a list of “free countries” in the world? Surely countries that battled Western colonialists and their imperial puppets will be counted as “free”, right?

In a height of irony he forwards his strange ideas about “freedom” only extending to the groups of his ‘choosing.’ He wants to create a test by which Muslims are questioned about Islam, and if they refuse to denounce it are “sent back home.”

Hmmm…I wonder who else advocated such positions? Oh yeah, the Conquistadores who decided to expel all Muslims and Jews from Andalucia, and the Spanish Church, who during the Inquisition burned at the stake, tortured and otherwise killed and or expelled secret Muslims and Jews, known as Moriscos and Marranos.

Of course such sentiments are in the spirit of Bell’s teacher, the self-described Crusader enthusiast and wannabe-Consquitador Robert Spencer, who has expressed his love of the Crusades in writing as well as his desire to annihilate the Turks and recapture “Anatolia” and “Constantinople” for Christianity by joining a Facebook group that advocated such positions.

Eric Allen Bell’s Accusations Typical of Islamophobic Spin Machine – updated 10/13/12

by Sheila Musaji (TheAmericanMuslim) 

On 10/11, Bell posted an article Zero Tolerance – DESTROY ISLAM.  In this truly disgusting screed, he makes the impassioned plea:

…  We cannot wait for some elected leader to get it and do the right thing. They are mostly weak. They are more interested in focus groups than following their moral intuition or even protecting the Constitution. As the saying goes, “When the people lead, the leaders will follow”.  It is the moral responsibility of all free and civilized people to fight tyranny and to end it. And no political system is more tyrannical than Islam. Followers of such an evil political ideology should not be admitted into any free country in the world – and those who refuse to denounce it must be sent back home.  We must end the tyranny of Islam. We must destroy Islam. We must end Sharia in our time. We must absolutely destroy Islam absolutely – and leave the free world a better place for generations to come.Islam appeals to the darkest qualities in the human psyche.  Freedom seeks to evolve. And that which seeks to undermine our evolution must be moved out of the way - by any means necessary.

This is as close as an individual can come to calling for genocide or violent action, and yet possibly remain within the letter of the law. It is hateful, and completely savage.

EDL turn their poison on 14 year old anti Taliban activist Malala Yousafzai

The extremists always end up agreeing with each other and being on the same side of things don’t they? In their hate for Muslims, EDL members express anger that Malala Yousafzai, victim of a horrific Taliban attack is coming to Britain for treatment. For them it’s another instance to rail against “foreigners coming to our nation to free load.” (h/t: Al)

EDL turn their poison on 14 year old anti Taliban activist Malala Yousafzai

by EDL News

Reaching new lows in their foulness, English Defence League members have turned on 14 year old anti Taliban blogger, Malala Yousafzai, describing her as ‘a piece of shit’ an ‘it’ and  ’free loading trash’.

The schoolgirl has been in the news recently because she has been campaigning for the right for women to have a proper education in her native Pakististan.  She has previously blogged for the BBC but this was to be downfall as an assassination attempt was made on her life whilst she was on her way to school.

She was unfortunately shot in the head and is in a serious condition with a brain injury.

She has acheived a lot in her short life, bringing worldwide attention to women’s rights in Taliban controlled areas and provoking massive anti Taliban protests in Karachi.

The Daily Mail reported this morning that she is to be flown to the UK for specialist treatment to try and save her life, funded by the Pakistani government.  She has since been flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to be treated alongside injured soldiers.

This however has angered the English Defence League ‘Angels’ Division run by Hel Gower and the following poison was dripping from their Facebook group this morning.


Other members described her as ‘a piece of shit’ and a ‘scumbag’

Here is Ware based racist, Lillian Wier.

Read the rest…

This is What You Can Expect From a Mitt Romney Presidency: Islamophobia

It’s going to be Islamophobia on crack if Mitt Romney wins (thanks for all who sent in tips):

Mitt Romney with anti-Muslim radical Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller, for all those who’ve forgotten is the looniest blogger ever. Everything out of her mouth competes with everything she has said in the past to be more over-the-top, racist, hateful, and Islamophobic.

Just take look at a sampling of her positions over the past three years:

Pamela Geller calls for the destruction of the Golden Dome;  Obama is a Mooslim, Jihadist, Pimp, anti-Semite who is aiding the Iranian Nuclear program;  Sharia Coke is taking over the world, it is defamation of Judaism and Christianity for Islam to include Moses and Jesus as Prophets of Islam;  Pamela Geller is a Holocaust Revisionist who claims that Hitler and the Nazis adopted Jihad;  Not only is Obama a secret Muslim, but according to Pamela Geller,  “Obama is bringing his jihad to Illinois…Obama’s treachery is breathtaking;  Pamela Geller calls for the nuking of Mecca, Medina, and Tehran;  Pamela Geller promotes a genocidal videoPamela Geller shows sympathy towards white supremacist;  Screenshot of Pamela Geller’s post on June 25th wherein she posted a video claiming that Muslims engage in bestiality;  Pamela Geller left speechless when called out for drawing a picture of the Prophet Muhammad with a pig’s face.

More serious than Geller posing in a pic with Mitt Romney is the insidious nature of Romney’s ties with the Islamophobia movement. Romney’s senior foreign policy adviser is none other than former Bush era UN Ambassador John Bolton.

One can only hope that in tonight’s debate the moderator questions Romney about his ties to radicals and inclusion of Islamophobes like John bolton on his staff. Gus from Little Green Footballs has compiled an incisive compilation of the ties between Bolton and Geller.:

Exhibit C: Mitt Romney Campaign Senior Foreign Policy Adviser John Bolton and Pamela Geller

Romney foreign policy adviser with hate group leader Pamela Geller in numerous meetings.

About John Bolton:

John Robert Bolton (born November 20, 1948) is an American lawyer and diplomat who has served in several Republican administrations. Appointed on a recess appointment, he served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006. He resigned in December 2006, when the recess appointment would have otherwise ended, because he was unlikely to win senate confirmation.

John Bolton and Mitt Romney

Bolton is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), frequent op-ed contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the National Review, Fox News Channel commentator, foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and of counsel to the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, in their Washington D.C. office…

The reader should be reminded of the connection between Anders Breivik and Pamela Geller. There is also a connection between Anders Brevik and Robert Spencer.Tommy Robinson’s hooliganism and right-wing extremism is notorious and too extensive to cover here. You can however find many articles covering his organization, the English Defence League, which has been covered extensively at LGF including his connection to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

There is no vast conspiracy at play here. However, it should be disturbing enough that the senior foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney, John Bolton, has the ear of anti-Islam extremist, Pamela Geller. Her connection with the EDL makes this plainly obvious. This my friends is the post-modern conservative movement, where we find odious characters in the Republican big tent whose lives are intertwined; in this case from Mitt Romney to Pamela Geller; Tommy Robinson (EDL), Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller; and most importantly, the close relationship of John Bolton and Pamela Geller.

Update I: Michael Elwood reminds us that another Islamophobe, Walid Phares is also a part of the Romney’s inner circle,

John Bolton isn’t the only Islamophobe in Romney’s inner circle. His main Middle East advisor is Walid Phares:

US Muslims Launch Counter Hate Campaign

US Muslims Launch Counter Hate Campaign

WASHINGTON – A US Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group has announced its plans to erect its own advertisements in Metro stations to combat anti-Muslim hateful ads that equate Muslims with “savages.”

“We take these hate messages very seriously,” Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, told WUSA news channel on Friday, October 12.

“They need to be countered through collective American efforts to reject Islamic phobia and hate mongering and celebrate the forgiveness, free speech but also civil speech.”

The counter ad campaign was planned after a federal judge ruled that no one could stop the signs from going up in Washington metro stops, citing freedom of speech.

The ad campaign is the second in an American state following earlier campaign in New York city.

The new CAIR campaign was suggested following an inflammatory advertisement equating Jihad to savagery appeared in ten subway stations in New York City.

The provocative ads were sponsored by the pro-Israel American Freedom Defense Initiative.

One ad says, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”

CAIR said the anti-Islam ads are hurtful and create a climate of fear during a time when mosques are being targeted, shot at, burned and vandalized.

Fighting islamophobic ads, CAIR decided to put up three 16 foot banners at Metro station to counter the anti-Muslim ads.

They’re going up next Tuesday at Glenmont, Georgia Avenue and U Street Metro stops.

The CAIR signs read a passage from Noble Qur’an saying: “Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.”

Getting the backing from nearly 130 organizations from all religions, CAIR purchased three ad spaces for $5400.

The CAIR signs will not be next to the hate signs but will be at three of the four stations where the anti-Muslim signs have been erected.

The signs will be up for four weeks.


Different Americans expressed support for the anti-hate campaign sponsored by CAIR.

“That’s appropriate,” Jonathan Thesley said.

“That’s humble, it shows humility and does not lash out,” he added.

Diane Tepfer was inspired on her train ride into making her own sign that reads ‘all human beings are created in the image of God.’

“I had to counteract this however I could. U street is my home.”

Many Christian and Jewish organizations have already expressed solidarity with Muslims by hanging pro-Muslim posters next to the provocative ads in New York to condemn intolerance and celebrate the city’s diversity.

Jacobs’ Rabbis for Human Rights – North America and the group Sojourners, led by the Christian author and social-justice advocate Jim Wallis, unveiled their campaigns last Monday.

The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights says, “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”

The Sojourners ad 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.”

Right-Wingers Would Be Shocked to Learn That Islam Has Been Part of American History Since Its Founding

Omar Ibn Said

The early presence of Muslims in the Americas is a favorite subject of mine that I constantly return to study, and Lynn Parramore’s contribution in this article is a great addition to the topic– on top of coming at very important time.

I believe that not only will right-wingers be shocked (their heads might explode) but many left-wingers and Muslims will also be surprised to learn about how Islam has been a part of American history for quite some time. (h/t:Critical Dragon)

Right-Wingers Would Be Shocked to Learn That Islam Has Been Part of American History Since Its Founding

Recently, just as turmoil in the Middle East erupted, New York straphangers were treated to hateful anti-Muslim billboards, courtesy of Pamela Geller, leader of “Stop Islamization of America.” The ads, which declared that radical Muslims are “savages” waging war on the civilized world, created a furor and resulted in widespread defacements (for a roundup, check out the Awl), the arrest of a journalist , and possible changes to the rules governing subway and bus advertisements that might incite violence.

Islamophobia is back with a vengeance. Geller, a self-appointed hate czar, catapulted herself to racist celebrity back in 2010 with shrill denouncements of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan near the site of the World Trade Center. Since then, her repeat warnings of Islam’s foreign threat to America have resonated powerfully in a post-9/11 world where violent protests in the Middle East over a crude anti-Muslim film have triggered a fresh wave of anxiety.

It would undoubtedly shock Geller and her Islamophobic buddies to know that Muslims have been in America for so long they could almost have formed a welcoming committee to the Daughters of the Revolution.

Consider this: Anthony “The Turk” Janszoon van Salee , son of the president of the Republic of Salé in Morocco, was among the earliest and richest settlers of Manhattan island, a devout Muslim, and the ancestor of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Whitneys, Humphrey Bogart, and, according to family lore, Jacqueline Bouvier. That’s right: the Lady of Camelot apparently had a mixed-race Muslim as an ancestor! One of van Salee’s first properties was a farm in lower Manhattan acquired in 1638 located on the north side of the stockade along present-day Wall Street, just blocks from the Park Place Islamic center characterized by Geller as a foreign presence on sacred American soil. A defender of minorities, van Salee became the first settler of Brooklyn. Coney Island, which abutted his property, was known as “Turk’s Island” until the 19th century.

Muslims are feeling unwelcome in America today, but followers of Muhammed were living here before the arrival of English in Spanish-controlled Florida and French Louisiana, where slaves were imported from the Senegambia region of Africa, home to a large Muslim population.

Influenced by the tolerance of the Enlightenment, America’s founders considered Islam’s place in the new republic despite widespread fear of Barbary pirates and a sense of European rivalry with the Ottoman Empire. As befitting a student of law in a religiously diverse land, Thomas Jefferson purchased a Quran to learn about the Islamic legal code – the same Quran that was used in the swearing inof Muslim Keith Ellison to the U.S. Congress. In 1776, John Adams published “Thoughts on Government,” which praised the prophet Muhammad as a “sober inquirer after truth.” Ben Franklin set up a non-sectarian meeting house in Philadelphia, declaring in his autobiography that “even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”

Tea Partiers occasionally know and distort these facts, but they are completely ignorant about another side of American Islam. Until recently, the study of the African transmission of Islam to America has been neglected, partly because materials are scarce, and partly because early observers were often ignorant of Islam or had reasons for downplaying the fact that God-fearing, literate people among the enslaved had to be written off as heathen and backwards in order to justify the institution.

And yet the numbers of enslaved Africans who were Muslims was significant: Conservative estimates put the number at 10 percent of all slaves, with some estimates running as high as 30 percent. A hodgepodge of sources –from plantation records to runaway slave advertisements to WPA interviews – show that Muslims went to great lengths to observe their religion; that Islam was a marker of status in the larger African American society; and that African American culture reflects the influence of early Muslims. On Sapelo Island, Georgia, for example, the congregation of the First African Baptist Church always prays to the east, the direction in which the church is pointed, and bodies are buried pointing to the east. The Nation of Islam may have been the 20th-century manifestation of a very ancient connection to a religion that had lived on in the South for centuries among African Amerians even though it was overtaken by Christianity. Historian Michael Gomez points out that Elijah Muhammad, born in 1898 in Georgia, grew up at a time when Islam may still have been practiced by African-born Muslims, and the children and grandchildren of early Muslims were likely aware of their Islamic heritage.

On plantations throughout the South, particularly in the early period of slavery, it would have been possible to see enslaved Africans with names like Mustapha and Fatima kneeling on prayer mats, their faces turned toward the rising sun. (Writing of “Arabic-Africans” along the coast of Georgia, Joel Chandler Harris called them “not the most numerous, but the most noticeable” type.) Some planters particularly sought slaves from Senegambia for their knowledge of rice cultivation, and some Southern slave owners considered Muslims superior to non-Muslims as workers, though others considered their education and literacy to be dangerous.

A few enslaved Muslims achieved notoriety, such as Bilali, a “driver” who managed a large plantation on Sapelo Island, Georgia and who, when called upon by his owner to defend the island against the British in 1813, gave a reply that revealed his status and religious pride: “I will answer for every Negro of the true faith, but not for the Christian dogs you own.” (Bilali went on to defend the plantation with a force of 80 armed slaves.) In Fayetteville, North Carolina, a jailed runaway slave from Charleston, South Carolina, astonished locals with his princely bearing and the beautiful signs he made on the wall, writing from right to left. Omar ibn Said, a Muslim scholar, was bought by the brother of the governor of the state, who was intrigued by this highly literate man who eventually wrote his autobiography in Arabic, the only slave to do so in captivity. His Arabic Bible, procured with the help of Francis Scott Key, can be seen today in the library of Davidson College.

Polls show that Americans remain unfamiliar with Islam, and according to the ACLU, anti-mosque activity has bubbled up in more than half of U.S. states in the last five years. Yet Islam is inextricably woven into the fabric of American history, from the distinctive service of Muslims in all American wars, including the Revolution, to the legacy of their descendents, which include notable figures. (Abolitionist Frederick Douglass changed his name from Frederick Bailey, and it is possible that the name “Bailey” is a form of the Arabic common name “Bilali.”)

Muslims wish to be seen as Americans, and a look at America’s Islamic roots proves that they have every right to be – even more, perhaps, than those who rail against them. It’s time to clarify the confusion about the role of Islam in early America and remind ourselves that far from being a foreign presence, Muslims have exerted an influence on American culture even greater than their numbers would suggest from the very beginning. The real foreign presence is Islamophobia, which is completely at odds with America’s founding principles.

For further information on America’s Islamic roots, see Allan D. Austin’s African Muslims in Antebellum America. Helpful articles include Michael Gomez’s “Muslims in Early America” published in the Journal of Southern History and Thomas Custis Parramore’s “Muslim Slave Aristocrats in North Carolina” published in the North Carolina Historical Review. I was aware of this history as a child because the last historian mentioned is my late father.