US religious freedom rep funded by Islamophobes

uscirf-vice-chair-zuhdi

(h/t: JD)

“Other Abstraction Fund-backed groups include Jihad Watch, an anti-Muslim blog published by Robert Spencer.”

US religious freedom rep funded by Islamophobes

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the US’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, repeated its request to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to investigate one of its own members, this time for being funded by the same group that backs a notorious Islamophobe.

Earlier this year, CAIR asked for an investigation of USCIRF Vice Chair Zuhdi Jasser for apparently seeking to deny religious rights to Muslim military personnel.

In a letter sent to USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George, Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, wrote in part:

“We are writing today to expand upon the concerns regarding Dr. Zuhdi Jasser that were expressed on our letter to you dated January 24, 2014. Additional information has come to light regarding the financial dependence of Dr. Jasser’s American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) on groups known for promoting Islamophobia in the United States.

“Tax filings for the New York-based Abstraction Fund reveal that between 2010 and 2012, Jasser’s organization accepted $45,000 in grants and contributions. In 2012, 82 percent of the Fund’s total $1,982,930 contributions and grants went to groups known for their active role in spreading anti-Islam prejudice.”

The Center for Security Policy

Saylor’s letter cited funding of anti-Islam groups such as the Center for Security Policy, the head of which was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit against a mosque being built in Tennessee, where he promoted the notion that mosques want to “destroy western civilization from within.”

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Another group funded by the Abstraction Fund and cited in the letter is Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, which recently published an Islamophobic article stating: “Europe is still … captivated by the specious charms of the Arabs and Islam” and ” … pitiful Arab, whose inherent culture left him no shred of sincerity, creativity or courage.”

Jihad Watch

Other Abstraction Fund-backed groups include Jihad Watch, an anti-Muslim blog published by Robert Spencer. The Boston Globe has described Spencer as a man who “depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion.” Spencer has referred to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a “con man. Someone who is knowing [sic] that what he is saying is false, but is fooling his followers.”

In June 2013, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento requested that the Kolbe Academy, a Catholic school, rescind a speaking invitation they extended to Spencer. The diocese referred to Spencer as a “key leader in the anti-Islam hate movement in the United States.”

Stop Islamization of America 

Spencer is a co-founder of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Spencer’s Jihad Watch blog is also designated as a hate group by the SPLC, which named Spencer as part of the nation’s “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”

The Middle East Forum 

The Middle East Forum (MEF), headed by Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, also received funds from the Abstraction Fund. Pipes is infamous for quotes such as: “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene. All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” [Jasser has accepted donations from Middle East Forum.]

In concluding his letter to USCIRF, Saylor wrote:

“CAIR values, advocates for and has pursued legal action to protect free speech and freedom of expression. Dr. Jasser has every right to advocate for the causes and organizations with which he chooses to align AIFD. At issue here is the reasonable concern that arises regarding Dr. Jasser accepting financial support from anti-Muslim groups while he is serving on a commission advocating for religious freedom.

“Given the expanding evidence of AFID’s financial dependency on groups funding anti-Muslim prejudice in the United States, we do not believe Dr. Jasser can act as an honest voice regarding religious freedom domestically or internationally.”

In 2013, CAIR published a major report, “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States,” which identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting the type of anti-Islam prejudice that can lead to bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims. The Islamophobia report is available on Kindle.

Jasser was featured in that report as an enabler of anti-Muslim bigotry. The report noted that Jasser heads a group that “applauded” an amendment to Oklahoma’s state Constitution that would have implemented state-sponsored discrimination against Islam.

Jasser also narrated “The Third Jihad,” a propaganda film created by the Clarion Fund, which depicts Muslims as inherently violent and seeking world domination. Following revelations that the film was shown as part of training at the New York Police Department, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called it “wacky” and “objectionable.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

The Fruits of Tunisia’s Uprising: An Extraordinary Constitution

 

Tunisia_Constitution

The Fruits of Tunisia’s Uprising: An Extraordinary Constitution

By Garibaldi

Before the Arab Uprisings a narrative almost as well known as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was indoctrinated into the minds of many US and European citizens; the claim that Arabs and Muslims were inclined to tyranny and dictatorship. Columnist David Brooks of the New York Times encapsulated this frame of mind, about Egyptians he wrote, “they don’t have the mental ingredients for democracy.”

Islamophobes were appalled by the uprisings which saw their myths and prejudices regarding “subservient” Arabs and Muslims who either “only know dictatorship or theocracy” fall apart. Bigots such as Deacon Spencer were quick to claim that these nations would quickly be living inIranian-style theocracies.

While the uprisings and revolutions have faltered or are continuing at varied paces in most of the nations that have seen uprisings, the country that birthed the momentous wave of protest and upheaval, Tunisia, has achieved a tremendous milestone: a Constitution through consensus and hard, political work.

Tunisia was well placed for this achievement, considering its history of Constitutionalism,

Tunisia was the first Arab country ever to draft its own constitution – the qanoon al-dawla al-tunisiyya, or ‘law of the Tunisian state’ – which came into force in 1861.”

The process took two years, every jot and tittle was fought over and at times the impasse between the secularist opposition and the Ennahda led government seemed to be teetering on the brink of disaster and all out chaos: a happy prospect for those who have a seething hate for Arabs, Muslims and Islam and cheer on whenever they see disorder.

The naysayers were disappointed when the Ennahda led coalition and Nida Tounes negotiated a deal under the auspices of civil society organizations that paved the way for: a resignation of the government, a completion to the Constitution and an interim care-taker government of technocrats until fresh elections will be held later this year.

So what happened when Tunisia passed its constitution? Wallah! The praise has come in from all quarters: The New York TimesFrance24The EconomistThe Washington PostFox News, etc. had forgotten their age old prejudices and “congratulated” Tunisians.

Equally as important as the Constitution is to Tunisians it is also an example to the nations in the region. It shows that if one is ready to negotiate, compromise, to see beyond the simplistic demonizations of one’s opponent, you can overcome religious, ethnic, ideological and political divisions.

The outcome is a document that the vast majority of Tunisians have unanimously accepted and, crucially, has popular legitimacy.

The document isn’t perfect and contains some self-contradictions that highlight fissures and insecurities in Tunisian society. For instance what does it mean to protect ‘freedom of conscience and speech’ and at the same time outlaw takfir (declaring a Muslim to be a non-Muslim)? What does it mean for the state to ensure the “neutrality of mosques” and “protect sanctities?”

On the other hand it is a document that is confident in its identity, history and heritage, enshrines freedom of religion, conscience, individual rights, minority rights, gender parity, and a separation of powers.

It rivals any constitution in ambition and scope, and is more progressive in several ways than our own 226 year-old US Constitution that still contains outdated language stating for instance that slaves are the equivalent of “3/5ths” of a full vote. A few years ago the Congressional reading of the Constitution omitted this section which caused some right-wingers, like Glenn Beck, to throw a fit. Maybe it’s time we had another Constitutional convention ourselves?

The future for Tunisia is still wide open and by no means have Tunisians arrived at a moment in which the aims of their uprising have been fully realized,

Measured against the aims of the revolution, the constitution can be said to have met a number of key expectations. But for those in the marginalized parts of the country, seeking tangible improvement in their social and economic situation, the constitution is not going to do that-not immediately at least-and, in truth, does not guarantee it on the long-run. The state, in Article 12, promises no more than “striving to,” rather than the much demanded “commits to” achieve regional balance within the framework of positive discrimination.

The hope is that the spirit of negotiation, determination and compromise will continue until those aims are reached. However, what can be said is that despite tremendous pressures from the West, regional neighbors and fissures within Tunisian society, Tunisians have made it happen — and that is something not only to congratulate but to emulate.

Video: Tunisia Gets New Constitution

Lega Nord denounces plan for Islamic museum in Venice

Lega-Nord-anti-Islam-poster

Spencer allied anti-Islam European group, Lega Nord, denounces plan for Islamic museum in Venice.

Lega Nord denounces plan for Islamic museum in Venice

The vaunted city of Venice has a rich history of interaction with Muslims and Islam, among its distinctions is the fact that it is home to the first ever printed Quran.

Now that Venice wants to possibly build an “Islamic Museum,” the Far-Right Lega Norda is going ballistic, complaining that it is a way to “spread Islam.” If it was a legitimate, non-xenophobic party it would make rational criticisms of Mayor Orsoni, instead of obscurantist and reactionary fearmongering, a hallmark of the anti-Muslim Far-right parties in Europe.

Lega Nord denounces plan for Islamic museum in Venice

Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni wants to put his city on the map as a site of internationally weighty institutions, and a possible Islamic museum plus study center is one of them.

On Monday, the mayor thanked Premier Enrico Letta for considering such a museum for the iconic city’s Grand Canal, which in Orsoni’s view would dovetail nicely with an existing Museum of Oriental Arts, a Council of Europe office in St. Mark’s Square that often hosts Aspen Institute meetings, and a planned Orthodox Church study center, which would rise in the Mestre district on mainland Venice.

The Italian premier said during a trip to Doha that his government “made a commitment to explore the opportunity to build an Islamic museum in Venice on the Grand Canal”. Letta is in the Persian Gulf state on a mission to drum up investment to help to pull the Italian economy after its longest postwar recession.

Orsoni said the concept fits in with Venice’s municipal goal of continuing to bring “great cultural institutions of international breadth to Venice”. The city offered “a special thanks to … Letta for his interest in the creation of an Islamic museum of great international scope in Venice, a sign of the history of this city and its openness to dialogue between cultures and religions”, added Orsoni.

The project was slammed Monday by the regionalist, anti-immigrant Northern League, which suggested Letta should focus on the economy and not cultural institutions. Massimo Bitonci, Senate whip for the League, accused Letta of working to spread Islam in Italy. “We do not want any Islamic museum in Venice”, Bitonci said. “Letta would do better to focus on the economic crisis instead of thinking (of ways) to spread Islam”, he added.

He suggested Letta was attempting to distract attention from a major industrial problem involving electrical-appliance multinational Electrolux, which last week announced a shock wage-cut plan it said was necessary to keep its Italian plants running.

That opinion was buttressed by Lorenzo Fontana, a League Member of the European Parliament, who threatened to put a spanner in the works of such a project. “We will stay day and night in front of the building site and obstruct the work,” said Fontana. “The League will never allow such a mess, the Veneto (region) wants independence, not Islamic museums,” he said, adding that such projects threaten to undermine the foundations of Italian society.

“I can’t believe he is even remotely thinking of putting money into yet another useless museum when our entire cultural heritage, and Venice itself, are at risk”, thundered Veneto Governor Luca Zaia, another Northern League member.

Gazzetta del Sud, 3 February 2014

Quilliam suddenly backtracking from EDL ex-leader, but declassified UK Government records expose Quilliam’s real plans

Quilliam_HenryJacksonSociey

Quilliam suddenly backtracking from EDL ex-leader, but declassified UK Government records expose Quilliam’s real plans

Original guest article by Jai Singh

As previously discussed on Loonwatch, the Quilliam Foundation’s leadership have been exposed as directly involved with Douglas Murray’s neocon “Henry Jackson Society” think-tank. It turns out that senior figures from these two organisations have been working closely with each other for an extended period of time. As also heavily documented in the article, Douglas Murray himself has a considerable history of virulently anti-Muslim views (especially when the audience is not the British mainstream media), and he has also made further statements complaining about “white Britons abolishing themselves”. Like English Defence League ex-leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”), Murray also has an extensive history of very close involvement with the anti-Muslim propagandist Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer, a high-profile foreign extremist whom the British Government’s Home Office has banned from entering the United Kingdom. Murray has recently become increasingly open about his support for Yaxley-Lennon too.

After the article was published, Quilliam co-founder/Liberal Democrats parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam’s “head of research” Ghaffar Hussain (who, it turns out, merely works for them in a freelance capacity and is actually a formal member of the Henry Jackson Society’s professional staff) both engaged in a lengthy Twitter argument with one of Loonwatch‘s editors on 30 December 2013. Hussain is clearly furious about being publicly exposed as working for Douglas Murray’s organisation. Nawaz’s own behaviour was a combination of bizarre, immature sneering, and blatant “psychological projection”. For example, see here andhere. There are numerous other examples visible if you scroll down to 30 December 2013 onLoonwatch’s Twitter account. Nawaz also engaged in his usual ridiculous tactic against his critics, labelling Loonwatch’s editors and writers as “Far-Left”, “Islamists”, and “Islamist apologists”.

Most striking of all was the fact that both Maajid Nawaz and Ghaffar Hussain completely avoided the main premise of the article, namely the fact that Quilliam’s leadership are directly involved with the Robert Spencer-allied Douglas Murray and the Henry Jackson Society. Nawaz and Hussain were unable to refute any of information highlighted in the article, including the details of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s statements admitting the real reasons for his involvement with Quilliam.

Neither Maajid Nawaz nor anyone else from Quilliam are publicly disclosing the aforementioned extremely incriminating facts to the British general public or the mainstream news media. It is presently unclear if they are revealing these facts to the British Government.

QUILLIAM CO-FOUNDER/LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE MAAJID NAWAZ, THE “CARTOONS CONTROVERSY”, AND THE JAILING OF EDL EX-LEADER STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON

Maajid Nawaz was recently at the center of a major controversy in the UK. I am not going to comment in detail on this issue; like Loonwatch’s editors, I think the subject is a distraction from the much bigger problems with Nawaz and Quilliam. However, it is worth noting Nawaz’s recent online statements to members of the British general public who had criticised his actions. Bear in mind that the following remarks are from someone who presents himself as a leading wannabe “reformer” of one of the world’s major religions:

Maajid Nawaz, writing on Twitter, 18 January 2014: “offence?? Get the F*^k off my timeline if you’re offended.”

Maajid Nawaz, writing on Twitter [subsequently deleted], January 2014: “If you dont like an inoffensive, rather polite cartoon, I don’t give a **** get the **** off my timeline. Why did I post it? Who gives a ****!”

Maajid Nawaz, writing on Twitter, 17 January 2014: “Ha ha!! As @IceCube once said in the intro skit to “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, while on death row. “F*** all y’all” #Radical”

Still writing on his Twitter account, Nawaz has subsequently taken to “piously” quoting various verses from the Quran.

It is interesting to note that this controversy coincides with the period of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s sentencing and jailing on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud. It is also interesting to note that Nawaz has (publicly) still said absolutely nothing about Yaxley-Lennon’s jailing.

Furthermore, although Quilliam’s leadership claim to be staunch believers in the concept of “freedom of speech”, and have recently been referring to this concept when justifying their own actions, it turns out that they actually have a history of threatening lawsuits against opponents who have used their own freedom of speech to criticise Quilliam.

QUILLIAM SUDDENLY DENYING CLOSE INVOLVEMENT WITH STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON/“TOMMY ROBINSON”

On 14 January 2014, approximately a week before Yaxley-Lennon’s jailing, Political Scrapbookreported the following developments:

Having lapped up the publicity from brokering his exit from the EDL, anti-extremism think tank Quilliam seem to be getting cold feet about Robinson after they were wrongly linked to the tour. A spokesman was at pains to deny they were paying him for anything and told Scrapbook:

“Tommy Robinson isn’t doing anything for Quilliam. He’s not a member of staff here … He’s his own man.”

“We do outreach work. Tommy Robinson does other things and he’s not working here.”

Quilliam claim that his involvement with them has so far been limited to “mentoring” — including attending classes on Islam and “theological reform”.

However, as previously discussed on Loonwatch, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon himself has been making some very different statements to various international outlets (especially a Far-Right source). He has even repeatedly confirmed his continuing support for Robert Spencer. In fact, Yaxley-Lennon has admitted the real reasons for his involvement with Quilliam, including the associated long-term gameplan. Key quotes:

[Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”Tommy Robinson]: “The fact is that I thought it would be a good idea to appear together with Quilliam in order to gain credibility. It is good to sit together with them and say: “We don’t hate Muslims but we have to solve our problems.”

- When I met the people from Quilliam, I realized that they could help me with a lot of things. I’m just a working class bloke from Luton. I don’t know how to set up and run a think tank and get donations. I asked if they would teach me and they said yes. They said: “You may have whatever opinions you like but you will get more out of expressing them in a more political way.”

[Dispatch International]: “Could one say that you are using them and they are using you?”

Tommy doesn’t answer but nods and grins

[…..]

[Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”Tommy Robinson”]: “Look at what has happened since I left the EDL. Look at my new platform.”

[…..]

“What I’m saying now is the same as I’ve been saying for four and a half years.”

[…..]

“There is a massive gap between what I can say and what the politicians can say. When I now sit with politicians in a TV studio, they may disagree with me but when the cameras are shut, they give me the thumbs up. So do many journalists who used to tear into me.”

[…..]

“We are thinking of a big launch where we will invite everybody and leaders of all kinds. This is what we are going to do and this is how we are going to do it. I think people are more willing to fund this than the EDL.”

[…..]

“Actually, my stance [towards Islam and Muslims] hasn’t dampened or softened at all – if people listen to what I say.”

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, writing on Twitter, 17 January 2014:

When have I slagged EDL off? Remember what I stood for? It’s what I stand for! Like I’ve forgot ! I live it every day.

This article includes nearly two dozen examples of Yaxley-Lennon’s extremely bigoted previous statements during his time with the EDL, including multiple examples clearly indicating that (a) Yaxley-Lennon’s agenda is actually racially-motivated, and (b) he is using the terms “Islam/Islamic” and “Muslim” as euphemisms for “South Asian”.

As highlighted by The Guardian in October 2013, there has been speculation that Quilliam’s actions are actually motivated by an agenda to secure new funding. Another Guardian articlefrom October 2013 quotes Maajid Nawaz himself:

Nawaz said he would work to introduce Robinson to his own contacts in government and the Home Office in an attempt to procure government funding.

EXPOSED: QUILLIAM CO-FOUNDER MAAJID NAWAZ REQUESTS TAXPAYER MONEY TO PAY STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON

An extensive amount of material newly released via FOI procedures has exposed the Quilliam leadership’s recent discussions with one of the British Government’s major departments.

Amongst other things, it turns out that Maajid Nawaz has been sending senior government officials begging letters requesting funding sourced from British taxpayers, in order to (a) finance Quilliam’s targeting of EDL members, and (b) especially to pay Stephen Yaxley-Lennon himself. Key extracts:

From: Maajid Nawaz
Sent: 08 October 2013 10:08
[…..]
Subject: Major development – READ now
Importance: High

[…..]

Quilliam has broken the news to the world that Quilliam has managed to facilitate the defection of the founder and leader of the EDL, Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley), and his right-hand man and co-founder Kevin Carroll from their movement. In other words, the UK’s largest right-wing street movement – the EDL – is being decapitated. By tomorrow, this will be major and probably global news.

Both men are keen to be guided by Quilliam in their transition away from this movement and towards a better way forward. In this case, Quilliam will act as a conduit.

[….]

We at Quilliam are immensely proud to have been able to help bring this transition about. We have offered to support these defections and are currently seeking to raise funds for the costs associated with supporting Tommy Robinson while he transitions away from his current financial dependency on the EDL, with a long term view of helping him reconsider his strategy and tactics under our long-term guidance.

Due to the nature of this unprecedented news, we have been coordinating this transition and all costs associated to it without a budget. Please let us know if you can urgently help us with a direct contribution so that we may fund Stephen’s transition and cut off his previous dependency on EDL donors.

Finally, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support for Quilliam as we make history in this way. Today we hope to make you proud!

Yours,
Maajid

From: Maajid Nawaz
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 4:52 PM

[…..]

Subject: RE: Major development – READ now

[…..]

Concerning our below announcement, here’s a news analysis that I believe sums it up well:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100241068/the-symbiotic-relationship-

between-the-edl-and-the-islamo-nutters-not-forgetting-the-anti-fascists/

I am keen to turning this into a project in which Tommy and I can start to reach out to his former members and pull them into the mainstream. Saturday’s Guardian will carry an apology by Tommy for the hurt he’s caused Muslims. Can we meet to discuss? Currently, this we have no funding in place to engage in this vital work.

Best,
Maajid

It is worth bearing in mind the following fact: British Government policy is that public money must not be used to fund extremist individuals and organisations.

QUILLIAM AND EDL CO-FOUNDER KEVIN CARROLL

Despite Maajid Nawaz’s claims in the first email quoted above, in reality Kevin Carroll has continued pushing virulently anti-Muslim views online. There have recently been two particularly glaring incidents, one of which included the endorsement of mass-murder. See here and here. As documented here, Kevin Carroll has also been openly promoting Far-Right conspiracy theories.

Maajid Nawaz and the rest of Quilliam’s leadership have (publicly) still said absolutely nothing to condemn Kevin Carroll’s latest actions, let alone preventing them in the first place.

QUILLIAM’S ATTEMPTED INFILTRATION OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT

Guardian article from 2010 discussed the fact that Quilliam drew up a secret list of individuals and groups they claimed were “Islamist extremists”, including one of Scotland Yard’s own counter-terrorism units, and sent this report directly to the director-general of the British Government’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a directorate of the Home Office. Quilliam’s report was rejected and condemned by a range of senior figures, including the co-founder of the aforementioned counter-terrorism unit along with the Chairman of the Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee.

The aforementioned declassified emails includes the following statements by Maajid Nawaz, in an email dated 11 June 2013, inviting “Secretary of State” [sic; his full title is actually “Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government”] Eric Pickles to a Quilliam anniversary event:

The Prime Minister has indeed been listening to us. Only a week before the Woolwich murder he called upon me to visit him and the Foreign Secretary at Chequers in order to advise officials on what our governments policy should be towards new Islamist regimes in the Middle-East.

It is presently unclear if the British Government is aware of the full scale of Quilliam’s actions and affiliations, particularly the incriminating facts highlighted in this article and the preceding associated articles. Considering the Quilliam leadership’s demonstrable history of gross dishonesty, it would therefore be appropriate to give Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague, and associated senior politicians and government officials the benefit of the doubt.

New York: Man Killed 2 Women He Said Were Witches

Lina Castaneda, a victim.

Lina Castaneda, a victim.

There have been numerous witch hunts in Africa  in the name of Jesus and Christianity, in America not so much, at least since the Salem Witch trials but now a man has killed two women with a hammer because he believed they were witches–he was later found clutching a Bible. (/t: Greg)

What if he were Muslim? Rev. Deacon Spencer’s JihadWatch would be all over it.

Man Admits Killing 2 Women With Hammer, Officials Say

(NewYorkTimes)

A woman and her daughter were bludgeoned to death in their Queens home by the woman’s live-in boyfriend, who called 911 and confessed that he had “killed them because they are witches,” law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

The suspect, Carlos Amarillo, 44, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

The Queens district attorney’s office said that when police officers arrived at the house at 24-10 87th Street in East Elmhurst around 12:15 a.m., they found the victims, identified as Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 25, in their bedrooms. The younger woman’s 7-year-old daughter was found unharmed on the bed in her mother’s room.

The women had severe head trauma and were pronounced dead at the scene, the police said.

The district attorney, Richard A. Brown, said Mr. Amarillo told a 911 operator: “Two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches. I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

A woman and her daughter were bludgeoned to death in their Queens home by the woman’s live-in boyfriend, who called 911 and confessed that he had “killed them because they are witches,” law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

The suspect, Carlos Amarillo, 44, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

The Queens district attorney’s office said that when police officers arrived at the house at 24-10 87th Street in East Elmhurst around 12:15 a.m., they found the victims, identified as Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 25, in their bedrooms. The younger woman’s 7-year-old daughter was found unharmed on the bed in her mother’s room.

The women had severe head trauma and were pronounced dead at the scene, the police said.

The district attorney, Richard A. Brown, said Mr. Amarillo told a 911 operator: “Two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches. I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

Muslim group demands apology from Harper, chief spokesman

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Muslim group demands apology from Harper, chief spokesman

Canada’s George W. Bush, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is still in power and still contemptuous of Muslim Canadians.

Harper’s spokesman Jason MacDonald has condemned the government for ignoring legitimate concerns while at the same time flinging libelous claims at the National Council of Canadian Muslims as “Hamas-linked,” echoing the way in which Islamophobes such as Robert Spencerand Pamela Geller describe any prominent Muslim organizations.

It will be a matter of time before the Canadian Zuhdi Jasser, Tarek Fatah is trotted out to repeat the government line and put an “acceptable” Muslim face on MacDonald’s libel.

Muslim group demands apology from Harper, chief spokesman

CBCNews

A major Canadian Muslim group is demanding an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his chief spokesman for a comment it says linked the organization to the militant group Hamas.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims has filed a notice of libel in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that accuses Jason MacDonald of acting maliciously when he made the comment earlier this month.

The council had criticized the inclusion of a controversial rabbi in Harper’s delegation that went to the Middle East last week.

“Rather than responding to our legitimate concerns, the PMO’s director of communications attacked us and attempted to smear our name by claiming NCCM had ‘documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas,”‘ Ihsaan Gardee, the council’s executive director, told a news conference Tuesday.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. NCCM will not let the PMO’s false statement stand.”

The council says MacDonald’s comment was a deliberate attempt to discredit the group and Harper is responsible for the words uttered by his spokesman. On CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, Gardee told host Evan Solomon that “this is school-yard bully tactics – an attempt to silence dissent from anybody who has a differing view or anybody who asks a question of this government that is more difficult to answer than did the sun rise in the east this morning.”

The libel notice is the first step in what could become a formal lawsuit.

The Prime Minister’s Office responded tersely: “As this matter may be the subject of litigation, we have no further comment.”

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told Solomon that he couldn’t comment, but directed Canadians to the internet. “I’d encourage any Canadian to Google the group in question, and do some research on their own and come to their own conclusions.”

Gardee was dismissive of that tactic: “If it’s on the internet it must be true. C’mon.”

Further legal action possible

Further legal action is possible, said Nader Hassan, lawyer for the council.

“Whether we go through with the lawsuit is going to depend on a number of factors, namely the quality, timing and content of the public apology and retraction,” he said.

Gardee said MacDonald’s comment was “categorically false, offensive and defamatory.”

The libel notice says MacDonald’s statement was unwarranted.

“The defamatory words were stated maliciously in order to discredit and insult an organization that did nothing other than exercise its constitutional right to freedom of expression to criticize a decision made by the prime minister,” it said.

“Mr. MacDonald simply made up that statement in an effort to discredit NCCM and deflect its criticism of Mr. Harper.”

The council describes itself as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit group which has worked for 14 years on human rights and civil liberties issues on behalf of Canadian Muslims. Gardee told Solomon the group has never shared any funding, staff or board members with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a U.S. group that has also faced allegations of ties to militant groups.

The groups shared names (NCCM was known as CAIR-CAN) until July 2013. Gardee said the Canadian group only used the name because CAIR was well recognized within the Muslim civil liberties movement.

A half-dozen other rights groups, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, have offered support to the Muslim group.

Farhat Rehman of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women said more than just the council was impacted by the remark.

“This defamation endangers the very valuable work of NCCM and goes against every Canadian democratic principle,” she said.

“Further, it exposes the members of NCCM and the whole Muslim community to suspicion, hatred and bigotry.”

Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer’s Ally Pastor Usama Dakdok Wants Another 9/11

Pastor Usama Dakdok, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

Pastor Usama Dakdok, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

By Mooneye

Last week Will Coley of Muslims for Liberty was a featured guest on Liberty Radio Ohio for a discussion on the relationship between Islam, Muslims, America and politics. His interview is worth listening to and begins at 53:26 as he delves into many subjects and also responds to the guest who preceded him, Pastor Usama “Muslims are demons” Dakdok.

Dakdok is an extremist preacher and good friends with Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer. The interview was amazing for the sheer lunacy and vile hatred Dakdok was able to spew in just a few minutes.

The interview with Pastor Dakdok begins at 25:50, below are some of the “gems” he spewed in what essentially was a 25 minute tirade.

*****************************************

On CAIR. He thinks they wear wonderful suits:

Pastor Usama Dakdok: CAIR is a big lawyers here in America, they are here to literally take over America with a smile on the face wearing these wonderful suits and ties.

Pastor Dakdok believes religions are vegetables in a bowl of soup and Islam doesn’t fit into the soup because it’s poison.

Bill Yarborough: What should the place of religion be in America in relation to our government or political system?

Pastor Dakdok: Well brother there is a big difference when you say Atheism, Buddhism, Agnosticism whatever…and when you put Islam into it. It’s like me and you eating a dish of soup and you can put 50 different vegetables into it. See the Coexist stickers which you see many times on cars that say ‘lets all get along.,’ America’s a melting pot. Co-exist can exist but when you add Islam to it, it cannot exist. So when you add Islam to the soup which you have 50 vegetables in it and everybody enjoy eating this soup when you add one spoon of poison to this soup it’s no longer soup.

Not only doesn’t Islam fit the bowl of religious vegetable soup but it’s a cult and Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to legally exist in America; they are here to takeover and have already infiltrated government. I wonder if this is what Rev. Deacon Spencer means when he says thatMuslims should be brought up on charges of “sedition.”

Pastor Dakdok: “Islam is a very wicked cult. It is illegal for Muslims to live in America. Why? Because that is cult that teaches no freedom of religion.”

Pastor Dakdok: “Muslim in America my friends are not here to become Americans and enjoy our freedoms, they are here to spread Shariah, they are here to takeover America for Allah.

It is illegal for Muslims to breathe air inside the America therefore we should never allow Muslims to be anywhere in our government and sadly the last five years the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Jihadi are in the White House, they are in the FBI, they are in the CIA, they are in the Homeland Security. They are here to infiltrate America through our education, through our political arena, through the media, so that’s exactly what happening in America.”

The radio host then asks Dakdok a sensible question abou what his solution is to the so-called “Islam problem”? Dakdok’s answer is that it would be better to have another 9/11 than Muslims in government like Rep. Keith Ellison.

Bill Yarbrough: “If, indeed, Islam cannot exist within our framework of laws and Constitutional protections and they are truly mutually exclusive, what is the remedy, what are you proposing from a political, legal perspective that would remedy that? If you had a magic wand what would occur so we don’t have any of the dangers of which you speak?”

Pastor Dakdok:”Well, we believe if the American people read the Quran which we have translated in our ministry, it took us four years and we sent that copy to every senator and Congress member and highest justice of the Supreme Court and I doubt any of those people have read it.

If the the American people read the Quran they will stop a man like Keith Ellison from the district of Minnesota to swear on the Quran. The man is swearing on a book that commands to kill every American until the last American become Muslim.

And if the American people read the Quran they will never allow a Muslim senator or President like Obama, or a Muslim Congressman like Keith Ellison to run for this offices.

America is losing America from inside…I don’t want the government to tell me what religion I should believe in but by allowing, giving the government the freedom to allow Muslims to run for office, to educate our children, to bring the new generation you are kissing your country completely good bye. I wish we have another September 11th, better, much better than to have Muslim senator and Muslim Congressman, Muslim mayor and Muslim educating our children on the propaganda of Islam because that is destroying the foundation of America.”

Usama ends his rant with, “We love Muslims, we want you to know the love of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.” Isn’t he merciful?

Some Jewish Reasons Why Inviting Pamela Geller To Speak Is Not Kosher

Not Kosher

None other than Spencer’s bestest friend in the whole wide world!

Some Jewish Reasons Why Inviting Pamela Geller To Speak Is Not Kosher

Loonwatch has previously pointed out that Islamophobia and Judeophobia are frequently related. In this open letter to synagogues and Jewish organizations planning to have Pamela Geller speak, Jewish Loonwatcher Just Stopping By points out that not only is Pamela Geller Islamophobic, but her Islamophobia leads her to take anti-Jewish positions as well. Loonwatchers are encouraged to send copies of or links to this letter, or to compose a polite but informative message of their own, when they hear of Geller planning to speak at a synagogue or Jewish organization.

Some Jewish Reasons Why Inviting Pamela Geller To Speak Is Not Kosher

Guest Post by Just Stopping By

An Open Letter to Synagogues and Jewish Organizations Considering Inviting Pamela Geller to Speak: Pamela Geller Promotes Hatred of Jews and Jewish Practices

Pamela Geller frequently arranges to speak at venues by claiming to be a human rights advocate. Often, when the venues involved learn of her public Islamophobia, they decide to cancel her speech.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism noted in 2013, “The recent decisions by a synagogue in Great Neck and another outside of Toronto to cancel appearances by anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller—both were rescheduled at other venues—have made headlines in the Jewish press and raised  interesting questions for the Jewish community.” Rabbi Yoffie states in his commentary that “Pamela Geller has no place in an American synagogue.  She is a bigot and purveyor of hate.”

Pamela Geller’s anti-Muslim hatred should be sufficient reason to not invite her to speak or to withdraw any invitation already given. In addition, as has often been pointed out, hate against one group often leads to hate against another. And, even if Pamela Geller does not mean to promote hate against Jews and Jewish practices, in many ways she does just that. Below are ten ideas that you may not be aware that Pamela Geller has put forth that, in fact, are conducive to promoting hatred of Jews and Jewish practices.

1. Geller is effectively against kosher meat, having described a process nearly identical to shichitah (kosher slaughtering) as an action that yields “meat slaughtered by means of a barbaric, torturous and inhuman method: Islamic slaughter. Halal slaughter involves killing the animal by cutting the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular vein, and letting the blood drain out…” The same could be said about shichitah, as the slaughtering method is subject to the same concerns.

2. Geller objects to reasonable accommodations for those who want to wear religious headwear like a kippa / yarmulke. Similarly, she points out an Obama appointee is “the first veiled Muslim woman to serve in the White House,” (bolding in Geller’s post), licensing a similar smear against kippa- or sheitel-wearing Jews.

3. Geller objects to universities offering optional classes and conferences in religious law. This is true even when those conferences serve goals such as applying pressure on non-state actors to reduce civilian casualties by addressing “the lack of standards for dealing with the rise of irregular armies or the inability of the law to accommodate asymmetric forms of attacks by non-state entities against sovereign states.” This position could be used against schools like the largest Catholic university in the United States, which has a Center for Jewish Law & Judaic Studies.

4. Geller objects when a government official uses a Semitic language to speak to an audience, calling it “speechifying in” that language. This attitude could be similarly used to criticize U.S. government officials who reach out to Jews in Hebrew or, moving beyond purely Semitic languages, in the Yiddish phrases that former Secretary of State Colin Powell sometimes invoked.

5. Geller objects to a private airline removing pork from its menu when traveling to/from a Middle Eastern country, even though many American Jews are familiar and comfortable with pork-freeflights to the Middle East.

6. Geller objects to mosques‘ existence and construction, often under the pretext of zoning issues, using arguments that could be turned against synagogues. She further “calls for immediate investigation into foreign mosque funding in the West and for new legislation making foreign funding of mosques in non-Muslim nations illegal,” a principle that could be turned against foreign funding or support for synagogues, and presumably other religious endeavors such as Chabad Houses, everywhere in the world other than in Israel.

7. Geller objects to the use of sharia courts for private dispute resolution, though this could affect b’tei din (Jewish courts) and though Jewish, Muslim, and other religious courts are publicly financed in Israel.

8. Geller objects to public schools having religious holidays off when those holidays are for religious minorities at the school, though Jewish groups often make the case for schools with large Jewish student populations having Jewish holidays off.

9. Geller promotes intolerance by using mocking terminology for religious figures, such as “Moe”for Muhammad, while Jews have rightly been upset at the use of mocking references to Jewishnames and should be uniquely concerned with nomenclature given issues such as references to the Tanakh or the “Old” Testament.

10. Geller spreads conspiracy theories about what she has called the “Islamic Geopolitical Influence in Financial Markets.” Do synagogues and Jewish organizations really want to sponsor a speaker who promulgates theories about the influence of members of a particular religion on global financial markets?

Pamela Geller’s statements about Muslims are hateful enough that on that basis alone she should not be invited to speak at a synagogue or Jewish organization. Jews would not approve of other groups making similar statements about us, and we should remember that we should not do to others what is hateful for us. Beyond that, when we go and study Geller’s statements, we see that her agenda is not pro-Jewish. In fact, it is conducive to hatred against Jews and Jewish practices; she does not even have a leg to stand on.

How far do Geller’s statements go in providing support for hatred against Jews? Consider this quote from Geller, with bolding added, about a rabbi who called out Geller’s bigotry:

The quisling “rabbi” Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah, which spent $10,000 on ads last fall to oppose my pro-Israel ads, said “I wish that none of this had ever started.” Really, “Rabbi”? Jacobs will answer to higher authority. Jacobs was silent when vicious anti-Israel ads ran in cities across the country. Jacobs only got involved to condemn me for standing up against the vicious anti-semitic ad campaigns running on transit platforms from NY to California. Jacobs is not a rabbi — Jacobs is a quisling, an enemy with a Mona Lisa smile. She should be stripped of any rabbinical status (I am sure she’s of the ridiculous “reformed” [sic] movement — which no practicing Jew takes seriously).

A speaker at a synagogue or Jewish organization should be someone whose talk leads to a good and pleasant experience for those seated in the audience, not someone who uses blog post titles to spread division-inciting baseless hatred while trivializing Jewish history. Geller’s statements are not the kind of speech that a Jewish soul should yearn for; for if it does, our hope for peace and understanding with Muslims and other Jews may be lost.

It is understandable that a synagogue or Jewish organization could be misled by a carefully edited biography about Pamela Geller that seems to show her as a civil rights activist. But, analyses by the Southern Poverty Law Center show that she is an avid anti-Muslim bigot. That should be sufficient to deny her a position as a speaker at a synagogue or Jewish organization. But, given Geller’s effective anti-Jewish agenda, if you do decide to invite her, remember not to serve kosher meat or to refer to any rabbis who oppose her, especially those of the Reform movement though also Modern Orthodox, as a rabbi (instead of as a “rabbi”), lest you do something she finds offensive. Of course, the best idea is to either not invite her at all, or, like other synagogues and Jewish organizations have done, to withdraw an invitation you have provided before being made aware of Geller’s anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish positions.

Court upholds UK ban on Geller and Spencer

Abhijit Pandya

Abhijit Pandya

Court upholds UK ban on Geller and Spencer

Over at Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Geller directs us to an article which she describes as a “thoughtful and stunning indictment of the latest tribulation in our legal battle against the de facto sharia ban on Robert Spencer and me in the UK”. The article, entitled “The end of free speech in Britain”, reveals the welcome news that last week a British court rejected Geller and Spencer’s appeal against the home secretary’s decision last June to ban them from entering the UK.

The name of the author, Abhijit Pandya – described by Geller as “one of our British solicitors” – may be familiar. That’s because Pandya has established his own reputation for frothing-at-the-mouth Islamophobia. Back in 2011, when he stood as the UK Independence Party candidate in the Leicester South parliamentary by-election, Pandya wrote a blog post in which he described Islam as “morally flawed and degenerate”and declared his agreement with Geert Wilders’ view of the faith as a “retarded ideology”. He added: “Islamic culture inherently rejects the Western way of life, more specifically the Protestant work ethic that has successfully built the economies of the West.”

The local paper, the Leicester Mercury, published an editorial condemning Pandya’s blog post as “a wildly inflammatory rant which boiled down to a crass and nasty characterisation of Muslims as lazy, intolerant spongers who are a threat to the British way of life. It was not part of a reasoned debate about multiculturalism, but a series of sweeping, unsubstantiated generalisations which demonise the Muslim community.”

So, clearly, Pandya was an entirely appropriate individual to act as Geller and Spencer’s legal representative in the UK.

A Refutation of Robert Spencer’s Attack on Prof. Akbar Ahmed

ahmed-head-1

A Refutation of Robert Spencer’s Attack on Prof. Akbar Ahmed

Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer‘s hatred of Islam and Muslims is quite evident by his consistent efforts to demonize every single Muslim who has some sort of impact on society.

His recent conspiratorial gaze and hatred has been directed at Prof. Akbar Ahmed, a well-regarded scholar and activist for peace and interfaith co-operation–anathema to Rev. Deacon Spencer.

A REFUTE OF ROBERT SPENCER’S POST ON PROFESSOR AKBAR AHMED

by Craig Considine

Robert Spencer, the administrator of the blog JihadWatch, is known for painting all Muslims as extremists. In a recent post titled “AKBAR AHMED, ADVOCATE OF ‘DIALOGUE,’ CLAIMS ‘ISLAMOPHOBES’ ARE ‘LINKING ISLAM TO VIOLENCE, TERRORISM AND INTOLERANCE,” Spencer argues that PROFESSOR AHMED, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC, is “disingenuous” in promoting interfaith dialogue and interested in converting non-Muslims to Islam. Spencer also calls him an “Islamic supremacist” and likens him to SAYYID QUTB, the 20th century Muslim extremist.

To refute Spencer’s accusations, I will look to the example of Professor Ahmed and his relationships with non-Muslims, through which he promotes interfaith dialogue. In doing so, I prove that he is a leading Muslim figure in the fight against religious extremism and that not all Muslims are extremists, as Spencer claims.

I am a Roman Catholic student and assistant to Professor Ahmed, who is like a father to me. He does not treat me differently for being Catholic because he sees Christians and Muslims as equal members of the Abrahamic family. In 2008, Professor Ahmed and his wife had dinner at our family home in suburban Boston. Over Italian food, he shared with my mother, a Roman Catholic and Italian American, several stories of his childhood days in Pakistan. He was educated by Christians at Forman Christian College in Lahore and at Burn Hall in Abbottabad, which was run by Roman Catholic priests. Touching upon these experiences in the recent New York Times article “PAKISTAN’S PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS,” Professor Ahmed wrote: “We loved and respected our Christian teachers, and they us. We never doubted that harmony and cooperation between faith groups were not only possible, but also completely normal. It was the reality of our lives.” Religious tolerance was built into Professor Ahmed’s life from his earliest days, which is why he is naturally inclined to speak and write about how Muslims and non-Muslims can coexist.

Professor Akbar Ahmed (right) celebrating Christmas with Christians in Pakistan.

Professor Akbar Ahmed (right) celebrating Christmas with Christians in Pakistan.

Professor Ahmed has also risked his own life in trying to build bridges between his Muslim and Christian friends in Pakistan. In December 2013, he gave a lecture at Forman Christian College, despite the police warning that the Pakistani Taliban had dispatched bombers to the city as an act of revenge for the killing of a former Pakistani Taliban leader. Professor Ahmed’s lecture titled “BUILDING BRIDGES OVER TROUBLED WATERS” demanded that Muslims be more tolerant of Christianity and other non-Muslim faiths in Pakistan. By supporting the rights of non-Muslims, he advocates for religious freedom and equality in a country which is rife with discrimination and persecution.

Developing friendships with Christian leaders has always been a priority for Professor Ahmed. After the events of September 11th, 2001, he befriended former BISHOP JOHN CHANE of the Washington National Cathedral, with whom he co-authored an article with him in 2010 titled “CHRISTIANS SENSELESSLY TORMENTED BY EXTREMISTS IN MUSLIM WORLD.” Professor Ahmed and Bishop Chane called for Muslims to “think of Jesus, so highly revered and loved by both Christians and Muslims,” as a way of building respect and harmony among followers of Christianity and Islam. Instead of supporting Muslims who attack Christians, Professor Ahmed challenges them on how persecuting non-Muslims is contrary to Prophet Muhammad’s philosophy on tolerance.

Professors Judea Pearl and Akbar Ahmed

Professors Judea Pearl and Akbar Ahmed

Alongside his relationships with Christian friends, Professor Ahmed has also developed a powerful friendship with PROFESSOR JUDEA PEARL, a Jew and father of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street journalist who was murdered by Muslim extremists in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002. One year later, the American Jewish Committee invited Professors Ahmed and Pearl to lead a nation-wide public dialogue on the divisions between Muslims and Jews. In 2006, they were among the recipients of the first annual Purpose Prize “in recognition of [their] simple, yet innovative approach to solving one of society’s most pressing problems.” Professor Ahmed collaborated with Professor Pearl in order to carve the path for Jewish and Muslim understanding and to promote the dialogue between, and not the clash of, civilizations.

Read the rest…