‘Anti-Mosque Activity’ in More than Half of US States

Rev. Stacy Walker-Frontjes, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in DeKalb, Ill., talks with Mohammed Labadi as she tours the house that serves as the group’s mosque.

Anti-Mosque activity has been rampant in the USA over the past five years:

Proposed mosques spark opposition in some U.S. communities

(USA Today)

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which were carried out by hijackers from Arab countries, animosity toward Muslims sometimes has taken the form of opposition to construction of mosques and other Islamic facilities. National debate erupted over plans for a community center that became known as the “Ground Zero mosque” in Lower Manhattan.

In the last five years, there has been “anti-mosque activity” in more than half the states, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Some mosques were vandalized – a $5,000 reward is being offered in a 2011 Wichita mosque arson case – and others were targets of efforts to deny zoning permits.

Mosque opponents often raise concerns about traffic and parking, but Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU’s freedom of religion program, says they can be “sham arguments” that mask anti-Muslim sentiment.

Mosque opponents often raise concerns about traffic and parking, but Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU’s freedom of religion program, says they can be “sham arguments” that mask anti-Muslim sentiment.

“I hope that eventually there will be greater acceptance for all faiths, including Islam,” Mach says.

Read the rest…

Zuhdi Jasser: Shill For Islamophobes Resorts to Projection and Deflection

Zuhdi Jasser, the useful tool of Islamophobes everywhere has faced increasing and sustained opposition to his appointment to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The USCIRF was, as the ACLU reported, created and guided by ‘special interests’ and has a history of deep anti-Muslim bias,

[S]ince its inception, the commission’s been beset by controversy. People who watch the commission closely say it was created to satisfy special interests, which has led to bias in the commission’s work. Past commissioners and staff have reported that the commission is “rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism.” They’ve said that commissioners focus “on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background.” In particular, past commissioners and staff reported ”an anti-Muslim bias runs through the Commission’s work.”

In this context it is not surprising that a Zuhdi Jasser should be appointed. However, the biased nature of the USCIRF does not take away from the very troubling aspects of Jasser’s appointment, no US governmental organization should be used and abused in this manner.

What is interesting this time around is that all pretense to objectivity has fallen and the ‘work’ of the USCIRF will forever be tainted.

A petition calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment has received nearly 3000 signatures, (I urge everyone to sign it and pass it along. We need to be more active than the hate-mongers!)

In response to the large push back against the biased nature of the USCIRF and Jasser’s appointment, Jasser is trying to hit back, smearing everyone who sheds light on his alliance with hate-mongers and anti-Freedom positions as evil, fifth-column “Islamists.”

Classic case of projecting while deflecting

On the only medium that will let Jasser spew his fact-less innuendo unopposed, i.e Right-Wing media such as “The Daily Caller,” Jasser  says,

“You could actually use the list of people protesting us, it’s a pretty good list of some of the leaders of the Islamist movement in America.”

No surprise here, what else do you expect from the main protagonist of what has been lampooned as a bigoted, fear-mongering anti-Muslim film: The Third Jihad.

The article, written by one Caroline May goes on to claim that,

Last week 64 Muslim organizations — including Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) — expressed “deep concern” with Jasser’s appointment in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

The only problem for May and Jasser is that it wasn’t only Muslim organizations (or ‘Islamists’ as they would have it) but also non-Muslim organizations calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment. It was a veritable coalition of Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious organizations:

More than 50 Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious groups asked leading senators on Thursday (April 12) to rescind the appointment of an outspoken Muslim activist, Zuhdi Jasser, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

But facts, those pesky things, why let them get in the way right? So, Jasser goes on to say,

Jasser contends, however, that the real enemy of religious freedom is the coalition of groups opposing him.

Classic projection and deflection. Instead of answering the very real concerns leveled against him, Jasser clams up, hoping the “Islamist” label will stick on his opponents and that the attention will subside.

To this day Jasser has not answered the following very specific concerns expressed by those dismayed that he would even been considered for the USCIRF:

1.) Most problematically, Jasser allies himself with and receives funding from anti-Muslim organizations and personalities who work tirelessly to curb the religious and civil liberties of Muslims in the USA.

Jasser’s organization has received funding, to the tune of $100,000 from a major backer of Rick Santorum, Foster Friess. Friess was featured as one of the major backers of Islamophobic organizations in the Center for American Progress‘s groundbreaking report, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.

According to the Washington Post,

“Jasser received a $100,000 donation from Christian conservative financier Foster Friess, who is now bankrolling the super-PAC supporting Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. Jasser declined to elaborate on exactly how much Friess had given AIFD, though he said the financier contributed $70,000 to his organization in 2010 for a Muslim youth retreat hosted by the group. (Friess told MSNBC that he was backing Santorum because he is ‘incredibly versed in one of the number one issues of our time—and that is violent Islamic extremism.’)”

Jasser told Mother Jones that the AIFD had accepted $5,000 from the Center for Security Policy:

“The center published a report in 2010 warning that American Muslims are seeking to replace the Constitution with a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The “expert” in Islamic religious law cited in the report, an attorney named David Yerushalmi, is responsible for authoring draft anti-Shariah legislation that has served as a blueprint for anti-Shariah laws across the US. Yerushalmi has suggested that “acting in furtherance of Islam” should be a felony.”

Mother Jones also reports that,

“Jasser said his group has also received a one-time, unsolicited donation of $10,000 from the Clarion Fund, which is associated with Aish HaTorah, a right-wing Israeli group described by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic as ‘just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today.’

The Clarion Fund has released several films that warn of Muslim conspiracies to reestablish a global caliphate. Jasser is a Clarion board member and in 2008 narrated a documentary bankrolled by the group called The Third Jihad, which darkly warns that Muslim extremists are attempting to “infiltrate and dominate America,” a conspiracy implicating most prominent American Muslim organizations. The New York Times reported that the film was shown to thousands of NYPD officers as part of their counterterrorism training, which the police department later apologized for.”

2.) In another blow to the religious liberties and freedoms of American Muslims, Jasser’s organization the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) supports state wide legislative bans on Muslim personal religious practice relating to: marriage, prayer, wills, etc. Jasser’s organization has published press releases “applauding” such legislation, which many, including US Courts have considered unconstitutional infringements on the religious liberties of Muslims.

3.) Jasser was outspoken in his opposition to an interfaith and Islamic Center in Manhattan, supporting efforts to block it from being built, remarking that, “This center is trying to change the narrative of 9/11 — to diminish what happened at Ground Zero.”

4.) Jasser’s advocacy and support for the NYPD’s illegal profiling and secret surveillance program targeting Muslims for monitoring at their houses of worship, businesses and universities is not only unconscionable but contradicts the USCIRF’s purported goals of reviewing “the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.” 

Jasser deflects from the above points and questions about his sordid relationship with those who undermine religious freedom here in the US because his real purpose is to be a shill for the Right-Wing propaganda machine.

Articles like the one in the Daily Caller are not meant to inform or provide analysis, but are geared specifically to justifying Right-Wing and Conservative causes. The Conservative audience is expected to swallow them whole and regurgitate it to the rest of the sheep, preserving and securing the echo chamber.

Robert Spencer Hates the U.S. Constitution

Robert Spencer hates the U.S. Constitution

Robert Spencer, director of the hate site Jihad Watch, has been steamed by the arguments of certain individuals and groups who have protested against the killing of Anwar Awlaki, such as the ACLU, Rep. Ron Paul, and writer Glenn Greenwald.

He says the following:

Perhaps the ACLU, CAIR, Greenwald and Paul would have been satisfied if we had airlifted an elite corps of defense attorneys into Yemen, along with a couple of cops to read al-Awlaki his Miranda rights and give him a chance to lawyer up.  Along with them, CNN could have sent all the equipment necessary to set up a satellite feed, so that al-Awlaki could have been given an international platform to spread his message of anti-Americanism, hatred and Islamic jihad.

Then everyone would have been satisfied that the rights of this stalwart American citizen had been respected, and al-Awlaki himself could have had time to ensure that his efforts to murder innocent Americans in the name of Islam would go on unimpeded if he were convicted and imprisoned for a long stretch.

What all these statements fail to take into account is that we are at war, and that this war is different from all wars that have gone before it. Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen, yes.  He was also a traitor. He was waging war against his native country.  He was an enemy combatant. If an American citizen had gone to Germany and joined the Wehrmacht in 1942, and was killed in battle against American forces, would anyone have been raising “constitutional issues” over the killing?

Al-Awlaki was on the battlefield of this war when he was sitting at his computer exchanging e-mails with the Fort Hood jihad mass murderer, Nidal Hasan​ , or working out the details of the plot to blow up American cargo planes last year.  Thus American forces were perfectly justified, legally and morally, to take him out in such a setting, without sending him a lawyer or reading him his rights or spending a few million dollars to give him a global forum to air his views.

As the nature of warfare has changed, so must also our response to it.  Al-Awlaki was not a cat burglar assassinated by rogue cops.  His killing is not a violation of anyone’s civil rights.  That this question has even been raised is indicative of just how thick the fog of ignorance still remains about the nature of the conflict we’re in, who it is exactly that we’re fighting, and what precisely we should do about it.

The short answers:  This is an Islamic jihad.  Al-Awlaki was a jihadist, dedicated to killing Americans.  He got what was coming to him.

Well then, it’s very simple, you see. President Obama, or anyone in government, can say so-and-so is a terrorist and voila! That person should be deemed an existential threat to the United States and be killed without any due process of law.

First, Spencer says that Awlaki was a traitor. He may very well have been a traitor, but we have constitutional provisions that handle this issue in Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. But if it were up to Spencer then the President or someone else in government could simply declare someone a traitor and have that person’s life taken away.

I find this logic by Spencer very illustrating not because of how mainstream this type of warped thinking is in the U.S. amongst the political punditry, but because of the hypocrisy he shows when it’s a Muslim country that does the same thing.

Recently Iran declared one of its citizens, Yusef Nadarkhani, an apostate and, as Spencer’s hate site reports it, has now dropped that charge and replaced it with a charge of treason. The same charge Spencer throws at Awlaki. Iran declares one of its citizens to be a traitor without any evidence and Spencer is there to protest against this. But the United States declares one its citizens to be a terrorist without a shred of proof offered and Spencer is smiling at the prospect at the death of the accused.

Don’t expect Spencer to catch the contradiction there.

Second, Spencer said that Awlaki was waging war. How does he know that? Because the U.S. government says so.

But didn’t the Iranian government say that Yusef Nadarkhani was a traitor? Why not believe them, too? I’m sure they have secret evidence as well.

In all seriousness, the situation with Nadarkhani should make Spencer pause and think about the implications of what he is saying about Awlaki and how it can affect civil rights in America. Instead of lusting for blood, if Spencer cared at all about civil rights he would be concerned about the abuse or potential abuse that Obama’s decision to kill Awlaki could have in the future.

But evidence doesn’t matter to Spencer – except when it’s an evil Muslim country that is attempting to punish its citizens without due process. Spencer just eats up whatever proof the U.S. government gives him – even when that proof is admittedly weak.

The Obama administration has not made public an accounting of the classified evidence that Awlaki was operationally involved in planning terrorist attacks.

But officials acknowledged that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki’s hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy.

And:

Officials said at the time the United States had voice intercepts involving a phone known to have been used by Awlaki and someone who they believed, but were not positive, was Abdulmutallab.

The proof the U.S. is offering is not even of the “full proof” variety. It’s “patchy” and they’re admittedly not even “positive” it was Awlaki who was allegedly giving instructions to another person to commit a terrorist operation.

But for Spencer, and other fake patriots like him, whatever accusations the government hurls at someone are holy, while any attempts to examine the accusations of the government are met by hostile resistance from such fake patriots. Spencer and the fake patriots care little about the Constitution, but are more concerned with killing people who haven’t been proven guilty of any crime.

Look at Spencer jumping out of his seat to show this “proof” to his readers that Awlaki was a criminal:

Spencer says:

Here is more evidence that al-Awlaki was an enemy combatant — a commander in a new kind of war.

And then Spencer offers this damning evidence:

The Homeland Security/FBI bulletin, obtained by Fox News, specifically says Awlaki, an influential new-generation figure in Al Qeada, showed the suspected Christmas Day bomber how to detonate the bomb he is accused of hiding in his underwear….

See! Homeland Security said that Awlaki taught the underwear bomber how to detonate the bomb he hid in his underwear! Never mind that this “evidence” offered by Homeland Security and Spencer is simply an accusation. Also never mind that the accused underwear bomber himself, who is not even a U.S. citizen, is getting his day in court, while Awlaki – who was a U.S. citizen and had no opportunity to defend himself against the accusations made against him – had a missile fired at him from a drone that ultimately killed him.

This is how constitutional freedoms die. They die at the hands of fools who wrap themselves in the flag, while they simultaneously smash the essence of the country they claim to be fighting for because they are cowards.

Tariq Ramadan, “stealth jihadist,” exposed!

Tariq Ramadan

Tariq Ramadan

As you know, Dr. Tariq Ramadan – Muslim scholar, writer, and thinker – has had his visa to enter the country reinstated, and he used this to his advantage: speaking at various engagements across the United States. We here at LoonWatch alerted our fellow citizens of the arrival of the “stealth jihadist,” coining the terminology of Robert Spencer. Yet, we didn’t want to stop just there. We wanted to report on what this man was saying.

So, we were able to secure a confidential LW operative to infiltrate the CAIR-Chicago Annual Banquet, his first public speaking engagement since being allowed to come to the U.S., to report on his speech. This operative approached us initially, telling us that he would be attending Dr. Ramadan’s speech.  He posed as a regular member of the Muslim community and took clandestine notes and reported them back to us. This was a unique opportunity as Dr. Ramadan was speaking to an audience largely composed of Muslims, and so he can “let loose” and not show his “taqqiya,” as he would if he were speaking to non-Muslims. We could not pass this up.

In the beginning of his speech, he thanked those who helped him come back to the United States, such as the ACLU and others, and he said that he was blocked from coming to the United States because he spoke his mind, especially about the war in Iraq (on which, it turns out, he was correct). He said that people cannot confuse a government with its people.

He mentioned that there was one Islam: unified in its principles and beliefs, but many different cultures, interpretations, and schools of thought. It is an accepted diversity in Islam’s application. At the same time, however, he noted that there was a crisis in the understanding of Islam among Muslims, and that there were many challenges within the Muslim community that needed to be addressed. The main problem with Muslims is psychological in his opinion: he affirmed the need of Muslims to examine what is wrong with themselves, but they should also acknowledge the enormous strides Muslims – especially those in the West – have made in the last 30-50 years.

He urged Muslims to become more involved in their communities and differentitate between victimhood and having a “victim mentality.” He urged his listeners to struggle (aka “jihad”…dah dah daaaaaaah!!!!) against the victim mentality. He reminded the audience that whenever you work for justice, you will be opposed. Whenever you talk about love, he said, people will respond with hate.

Dr. Ramadan also touched upon spirituality, which is more than just praying. It is being strong from within. He quoted the verse about the parable of a good word:

Are you not aware how God sets forth the parable of a good word? [It is] like a good tree, firmly rooted, [reaching out] with its branches towards the sky, yielding its fruit at all times by its Lord’s permission. And [thus it is that] God propounds parables unto men so that they might bethink themselves [of the truth]. (14:24-25)

The roots of the tree are your heart, and the fruits of the tree are your actions, he said. An activist without spirituality is an agitated man, he said. He then gave advice about how to speak to fellow Americans: speak to them softly, and he advised the audience to behave like the “The Servants of the Most Merciful”:

And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk on the earth with humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” (25:63)

God is Beautiful, and He loves beauty, Dr. Ramadan said. Muslims’ mantra must be this: By serving the people, I serve Him. He also said that he does not like defining Islam as “submission.” In his understanding, Islam is entering into God’s peace, as the verse proclaims:

O you who believe! Enter into Islam [“peace”] whole-heartedly, and follow not the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy. (2:208)

One of the first things the Prophet Muhammad said, he reminded the audience, when he entered Medinah is, “Spread peace.” That is what Muslims should do. No Muslim should say that you can’t love your neighbor if he is not Muslim. This is your home, he told the American Muslim audience. Americans are your people; you cannot call fellow Americans as “them.” When American Muslims say “we,” it must be an inclusive “we,” including all Americans. Spreading peace, justice, and ethics is the purpose of Muslims in America, not to convert non-Muslim Americans to Islam. Muslims are here to make society better; the hearts of the people are not their concern. That is the realm of God.

Now comes the “smoking gun” (pun intended): Dr. Ramadan spoke of Jihad! (dah dah daaaaaaah!!!)
Jihad, he said, did not start with fighting, or qital. The first act of Jihad in the Qur’an was knowing how to use the Qur’an against those who opposed the message:

Hence, do not defer to [the likes and dislikes of] those who deny the truth, but strive hard against them, by means of this [divine writ], with utmost striving. (25:52)

He then ended his speech by turning a critical eye toward the Muslim community itself, which, he said, is very important. He bemoaned the many divisions in the Muslim community: divisions along ethnic lines, cultural lines, class lines, and economic lines. He said that there should be “Americans” in the mosques: people from all cultures. Muslims from different cultures should mix together, he said. He pointed out that many African-American Muslims feel like they are second class Muslims, and many converts feel they have to Arabize, and he criticized both phenomena. Muslims must also improve in their treatment of women, as well. If you want America to be better, he said, then Muslims must start in their own communities.

His final words were this: Never forget that you Muslims are American. He urged them to speak about Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, and do so as Americans, not Muslims. Moreover, Muslims need to institutionalize their presence in America: Muslims need institutions, and they must work with all people. The key is confidence and humility: be confident about your position, but be humble at the same time.

There you have it, folks. Those were the words (paraphrased by our operative) of Dr. Ramadan at his speech to the CAIR-Chicago banquet. As you can see, it was full of intolerance, hatred, Islamism, and Jihadism. What was the American government thinking when it let him in?