EDL vows to return to Cambridge in bigger numbers

EDL Cambridge 2013 2.jpg

EDL vows to return to Cambridge in bigger numbers

The English Defence League has vowed to return to Cambridge in bigger numbers – despite a low turnout and several arrests.

Its rally on Christ’s Pieces on Saturday ended early after only about 40 members turned up. More than 400 officers were drafted in to police them and a counter-demonstration by Cambridge Unite Against Fascism which had more than 500 people in its ranks, according to police.

EDL members said they were furious, claiming they were “penned in” during attempts to protest against a planned mosque in Mill Road. Scores of police surrounded the EDL protesters who were behind fences next to Drummer Street bus station.

EDL members were heckled by passers-by and began to fight among themselves as their stewards tried to eject a man who had a “banned” Nazi banner. When counter-protesters marched past, with the two groups separated by a police “no-go zone”, one EDL member broke through but was quickly stopped by police.

A spokesman for the group’s East Anglia Division told the News: “We are not thugs or extremists. We are the silent majority but we have been penned in like pigs while the police allow the lefties to march through the city.

“But we will be back in bigger numbers. The leaders are planning a national protest here in Cambridge. All we want to do is have a peaceful protest against a mosque that is not in keeping and will cause no end of traffic problems as it holds 1,000 but has just 80 parking spaces. We are not against Muslims. We are anti-Islam.”

Tourist Vic Synott, 50, of Ayr, Scotland, came across the EDL chanting “we are the famous EDL”. He said: “They are just showing themselves up by their behaviour. They are a disgrace.”

EDL speakers hit out at MEP Richard Howitt for branding them “extremists”.

The Euro MP told the counter-marchers the party had sent him a note “adorned with Nazi swastikas” and accusing him of being “a traitor to civilisation and democracy”. He added: “There is only one group that represents everything in our society which is uncivilised and undemocratic. The traitors to Britain’s traditions of tolerance, fairness and respect – the true traitors – are the EDL themselves. They are a joke.”

Cambridge News, 25 February 2013

As you can see from the YouTube link, the so-called Nazi banner featured the word “ISLAM” with the letter “S” replaced by a swastika. The individual holding it shouted that “Islam is fascism – anti-democratic, misogynistic, anti-gay”, while his drunken supporters chanted “stick your fucking Islam up your arse”. However other EDL members, who were presumably too thick to understand the message behind the banner, attacked him on the basis that he had broken the EDL’s ban on the public display of Nazi symbols.

EVF anti-Islam protest Birmingham

EVF Birmingham protest 4

EVF anti-Islam protest Birmingham

The decline and break-up of the English Defence League has prompted a number of extremist groupings to try and establish a replacement anti-Islam street movement. While their stated aim is invariably to unite the far right, all they have succeeded in doing so far, thankfully, is contributing to its further fragmentation.

One of these groups is the English Volunteer Force, which was launched in July last year. It shares the EDL’s rabid Islamophobia along with its lightminded attitude to the English language. As the EVF’s mission statement explains: “We are convinced this country is currently being Islamified, This is apparant with recent immigration pattern’s over the past 20 years, Also our food chain is being exploited & overran by the flood of cheap Halal meat being covertly sold in most supermarket’s, In our opinion this need’s to be governed much stronger.”

Yesterday the EVF held its first public event, a demonstration in Birmingham “against the Islamification of Great Britain”, which featured Tony Curtis, formerly a leading figure in the EDL, as a guest speaker. Reports by far-right sympathisers claimed an attendance of 150-200, although photographic evidence suggests that the actual figure was much smaller. The police estimate was 50.

Nor did the demonstration last very long. The Birmingham Mail reported: “The group continued their protest for 30 minutes until a cry of ‘Let’s all go to the Brasshouse’ – a pub on Birmingham’s Broad Street – was heard, and the demonstrators dispersed.”

#MyJihad: Can “jihad” survive Pam Geller?

MyJihad3

An excellent article by Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon.com on the background, import and history of the #MyJihad campaign and the “counterjihad” effort to derail it.:

Can “jihad” survive Pam Geller?

by Alex Seitz-Wald (Salon.com) 

MyJihad.org bus ad featuring two volunteers, an American-Muslim and an Israeli-Jew. (Credit: MyJihad.org)

So you want to rebrand a word. It’s hard to think of a more difficult rebranding project than “jihad.”

Since Sept. 11, the term has become synonymous with terrorism and villainy — but now a group of Muslims is trying to reclaim the word from the extremists, and redefine “jihad” to mean something normal and peaceful and good. They realize this won’t be easy.

The campaign hinges on the idea that “jihad” has two commonly accepted usages. One is the violent, physical struggle most of us are familiar with. The other, which many Muslims and Islamic scholars consider the more correct definition, refers to the inner struggle to do good and follow God’s teaching; Muslims strive to attain this every day. This is the “proper meaning” being promoted by My Jihad, a public education campaign recently launched on billboards and on buses in Chicago.

“The campaign is about reclaiming Islam, and not just ‘jihad,’ from both Muslim and non-Muslim extremists,” said Ahmed Rehab, the leader of the effort, in an interview. “Whether it’s the bin Ladens and the al-Qaidas of the Muslim world, or the Pam Gellers and Frank Gaffneys of the non-Muslim world, ironically — even though they come from the two opposite ends of the spectrum — they agree exactly on the same definition of ‘jihad’ and on the same worldview of Islam versus the rest of the world.”

In fact, the ads were directly inspired by Geller, the anti-Muslim blogger and activist, who has plastered her own billboards on subways and buses in New York. They label Muslims as “savages” and incite viewers to “defeat Jihad.”

“Everybody was talking about the ‘savage’ part, but to me, that’s just sort of an insult — she thinks I’m a savage, I think she’s an idiot, we’re even,” he said. “But the problem for me was the use of the word ‘jihad.’ When no one seemed to care about that, I realized that we have a problem.”

In billboards on buses and subways, smiling Muslims and non-Muslims share universal human aspirations, personalized by the individual “jihads” of the non-actor volunteers who share their struggles. In this context, a jihad is no more threatening than a New Year’s resolution. “My jihad is to stay fit despite my busy schedule,” one woman with a headscarf and a barbell says. Others deal with raising children, doing well at work, and making friendships with different kinds of people. To Rehab, jihad means that when you are “confronted with two choices, you make the right choice and not the easy one.”

Ads have already gone up on buses in Chicago and San Francisco, and will soon go up in 10 other major American cities and a handful of international ones, including London, Sydney and Melbourne. There’s a website, Facebook page and Twitter hashtag where people can share their own personal jihads.

On Monday, Egyptian activists working with the group even unfurled a giant banner in front of the main church in Cairo wishing a Merry Christmas (Coptic Christians celebrate the holiday on Jan. 7) in contravention of hard-line Islamic proclamations that Christmas should not be recognized.

That may not sound so scary, but the opposition has been predictably vitriolic. The group’s Twitter and Facebook pages have received hateful messages from hard-line Islamists. Geller, predictably, is exercised.

She has written at least a dozen posts using the campaign’s #myjihad hashtag, which currently represent about two out of every three posts on the front page of her influential anti-Muslim blog. Geller also seems determined to play a game of bait and switch to sabatoge the rival campaign. She registered the domain name MyJihad.us (the real URL ends in .org) and is even trying to run copycat ads that are clearly designed to be confused with Rehab’s. In her ads, the peaceful Muslim is replaced with pictures of Osama bin Laden and the burning twin towers. She trying to get approval from the Chicago Transit Authority for the ads to appear on city buses, but they may be rejected for infringing on My Jihad’s copyright to the template.

One would think that My Jihad is exactly the kind of moderate Muslim voice that Geller — who claims to be so threatened by Muslim “extremists” — would want to promote. But in reality, “the extremists on both sides need each other for validation. And we’re a threat to both,” Rehab said.

Rehab is the executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), but he’s doing this on his own time and with separate funds to keep it a grass-roots effort. What started as a Facebook group less than a month ago has grown into a sophisticated public relations campaign that has already raised $20,000 and recruited dozens of volunteers, most of whom are “soccer moms” who don’t want their kids to feel intimidated at school because of their religion, Rehab said. “These are the army of My Jihad,” he quipped.

But can the popular conception of “jihad” really be changed with some ads and a hashtag?

“I would look at this conflict as I would any other product: We have an image problem,” said Arash Afshar, an Iranian-American marketing consultant who is not involved with the campaign. “This is exactly what Muslims should be doing … The way to combat an image problem is not to simply sit back and hope it goes away. You develop a branding strategy and motivate your already existing fan-base.”

The challenge will be to sustain the campaign, he said, pointing to the similarly buzzy and controversial Israel Loves Iran campaign.

The challenge is no doubt immense, however, explained Jean-Pierre Dubé, a professor of marketing at Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. “The problem we have here is that this is a case where we literally want to do an about-face on the interpretation of the word. And there’s so much passion behind how people have used this term that it’s hard to imagine this is something you can change overnight.”

Still, there are plenty of examples of brands dramatically turning their image around, Dubé said. Marlboro, contrary to its contemporary image of masculine ruggedness personified by the Marlboro Man, was initially marketed as a cigarette for women. Its signature red color comes from a red band on the tip designed to hide lipstick stains — “A cherry tip for your ruby lips,” as the slogan went. Likewise, Mountain Dew successfully remade itself as a drink for the X-Games in the 1990s. There’s even some precedent, of sorts, in the religious world. Catholicism essentially tried to rebrand itself in the 1960s with Vatican II, though the success is more dubious.

But those turnarounds took a lot of time and “tons and tons of money,” Dubé noted, and there was hardly the passion around the gender connotation of Marlboro as there is around the concept of jihad. What jihad needs is a “brand hijacking,” Dubé said, like what happened to Doc Martens in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when teenage grunge rockers took over what had been a gardening boot. When Doc Martens executives realized the potential, they immediately changed gears to capitalize on the trend.

The problem here for My Jihad, however, is that there is no central authority in Islam, unlike in Catholicism or with Doc Martens, and thus no “owner” of the brand associated with jihad. So you have Rehab and his cohort trying to execute a “hijacking of a hijacking,” as Dubé put it, to take back the word from the extremists who initially commandeered it. But in the end, no one can rightfully claim to be the final arbiter of the word “jihad.”

If you talk to other Muslim activists, they’ll probably agree that the general usage of “jihad” is an unfortunate perversion, but they are wary to engage in what seems like a losing battle over semantics, especially when there are so many other pressing problems with Islamophobia. Rehab said he’s sympathetic to this argument, but that semantics are important and that his community is starting to realize it. “That was my message to the community. Not only is it so misidentified, but we as Muslims — a lot of us — have resigned ourselves to that and moved on or even stopped trying to change it.”

This isn’t the first effort to change the popular usage of “jihad.” In 2005, Islamic historian Douglas Streusand submitted a paper to the Pentagon arguing that the military should stop using the word to refer to Islamist militants. “If we are calling them ‘people who strive in the path of God,’ in other words — if we are calling them meritorious Muslims — then we are implying that we are fighting Islam, even if we’re not,” he wrote. To make a comparison more Americans would understand, Streusand said calling militants “jihadis” is “like calling Germans during the Second World War ‘National Socialist Aryan Heroes.’”

UCLA law professor Khaled Abou El Fadl, a prominent critic of puritanical interpretations of Islam, has long campaigned against the modern usage of the word. “When I write an article speaking to extremists and convincing them that they are wrong theologically and morally and legally, I consider myself in a state of jihad. I expect to be rewarded by God,” he told NPR in 2006.

Rehab and his compatriots realize it will be difficult to change the meaning of “jihad,” but he’s hoping the campaign will at least “start a conversation” about a concept that is critical to the practice of Islam, yet completely misunderstood. The same could be said about Islam more generally in the West. The religion, omnipresent in pop culture and foreign policy debates, is still mysterious to so many Americans and its popular image too often dictated by the extremists, and not its everyday adherents. If nothing else, the fact that Geller feels threatened shows they’re doing something right.

Hopefully, this campaign can start to demystify Islam by taking the edge out of the scariest word in the religion and making jihad as quotidian as going to the gym. That’s Rehab’s jihad, what’s yours?

Close

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon’s political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

Sunando Sen Shoved to His Death by Woman Who Hates “Muslims and Hindus”

Subway Push Death

(h/t:JD)

NYC Subway Shoving Death: One Woman In Custody

NEW YORK — A woman who told police she shoved a man to his death off a subway platform into the path of a train because she has hated Muslims since Sept. 11 and thought he was one was charged Saturday with murder as a hate crime, prosecutors said.

Erika Menendez was charged in the death of Sunando Sen, who was crushed by a 7 train in Queens on Thursday night, the second time this month a commuter has died in such a nightmarish fashion.

Menendez, 31, was awaiting arraignment on the charge Saturday evening, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. She could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted. She was in custody and couldn’t be reached for comment, and it was unclear if she had an attorney.

Menendez, who was arrested after a tip by a passer-by who saw her on a street and thought she looked like the woman in a surveillance video released by police, admitted shoving Sen, who was pushed from behind, authorities said.

“I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up,” Menendez told police, according to the district attorney’s office.

Sen was from India, but police said it was unclear if he was Muslim, Hindu or of some other faith. The 46-year-old lived in Queens and ran a printing shop. He was shoved from an elevated platform on the 7 train line, which connects Manhattan and Queens. Witnesses said a muttering woman rose from her seat on a platform bench and pushed him on the tracks as a train entered the station and then ran off.

The two had never met before, authorities said, and witnesses told police they hadn’t interacted on the platform.

Police released a sketch and security camera video showing a woman running from the station where Sen was killed.

Menendez was arrested by police earlier Saturday after a passer-by on a Brooklyn street spotted her and called 911. Police responded, confirmed her identity and took her into custody, where she made statements implicating herself in the crime, police spokesman Paul Browne said.

The district attorney said such hateful remarks about Muslims and Hindus could not be tolerated.

“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare,” he said.

On Dec. 3, another man was pushed to his death in a Times Square subway station. A photo of the man clinging to the edge of the platform a split second before he was struck by a train was published on the front page of the New York Post, causing an uproar about whether the photographer, who was catching a train, or anyone else should have tried to help him.

A homeless man was arrested and charged with murder in that case. He claimed he acted in self-defense and is awaiting trial.

It’s unclear whether anyone tried – or could have tried – to help Sen on Thursday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday urged residents to keep Sen’s death in perspective as he touted new historic lows in the city’s annual homicide and shooting totals.

“It’s a very tragic case, but what we want to focus on today is the overall safety in New York,” Bloomberg told reporters following a police academy graduation.

But commuters still expressed concern over subway safety and shock about the arrest of Menendez on a hate crime charge.

“For someone to do something like that … that’s not the way we are made,” said David Green, who was waiting for a train in Manhattan. “She needs help.”

Green said he caught himself leaning over the subway platform’s edge and realized maybe he shouldn’t do that.

“It does make you more conscious,” he said of the deaths.

Such subway deaths are rare, but other high-profile cases include the 1999 fatal shoving of aspiring screenwriter Kendra Webdale by a former psychiatric patient. That case led to a state law allowing for more supervision of mentally ill people living outside institutions.

SPLC Publishes Profile on Looniest Blogger Ever, Pamela Geller

The SPLC has a report on the leadership of the Radical Right, including a profile of the queen bee of the looniverse, Pamela Geller. Most of what they document about Geller is well known, but it is good to see the SPLC be more persistent in cataloguing anti-Muslim hate.
Ideology: Anti-Muslim

Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims, such as that President Obama is the “love child” of Malcolm X. She makes no pretense of being learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to her Stop Islamization of America partner Robert Spencer. Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists, defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and denied the existence of Serbian concentration camps. She has taken a strong pro-Israel stance to the point of being sharply critical of Jewish liberals.

In Her Own Words
“Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.”
— Pam Geller On Fox Business’ “Follow the Money,” March 10, 2011

“Obama is a third worlder and a coward. He will do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords.”
— Pam Geller, AtlasShrugs.com, April 13, 2010

“Hussein [meaning President Obama] is a muhammadan. He’s not insane … he wants jihad to win.”
— Pam Geller, AtlasShrugs.com, April 11, 2010

“I don’t think that many westernized Muslims know when they pray five times a day that they’re cursing Christians and Jews five times a day. … I believe in the idea of a moderate Muslim. I do not believe in the idea of a moderate Islam.”
— Pam Geller, The New York Times, Oct. 8, 2010

“Now do I see everything through the prism of Israel? No, I don’t, but I do think it’s a very good guide. It’s a very good guide because, like I said, in the war between the civilized man and the savage, you side with the civilized man. … If you don’t lay down and die for Islamic supremacism, then you’re a racist anti-Muslim Islamophobic bigot. That’s what we’re really talking about.”
– Pam Geller, The New York Times, Oct. 8, 2010

Background
Pamela Geller spent most of the 1980s working at The New York Daily News in financial analysis, advertising and marketing. Later, she became associate publisher of The New York Observer and stayed in that position until 1994. According to one online resume, she also served as senior vice president for strategic planning and performance evaluation at Brandeis University.

Married in 1990 to Michael Oshry, Geller spent the 1990s and most of the 2000s as a well-to-do Long Island housewife. After divorcing in 2007, she mostly busied herself rearing her four children, writing blogs and posting slam poetry-style videos trashing all things liberal on her YouTube channel.

Geller and Oshry were co-owners, along with Christ Tsiropoulous, of at least two car dealerships before the Gellers divorced in 2007. That was the same year Collin Thomas, one of their salesmen, was gunned down while closing their dealership, Universal Auto World, one evening.

The investigation into the murder uncovered an alleged fraud ring. According to the New York Daily News, employees enabled “underground characters,” including “known” drug dealers, to buy luxury cars using fake identities. Eleven people who worked for the dealership, including Tsiropoulous, were arrested, but Geller escaped the scandal unscathed. According to The New York Times, she received a $4 million divorce settlement, a portion of $1.8 million from the sale of the Long Island home and then a $5 million life insurance payment when Oshry died a few months after remarrying in 2008. The criminal case has not moved forward since the 2008 arrests.

In October 2010, Geller told The New York Times she was profoundly affected by the 9/11 attacks. After contributing essays to various websites that examined Muslim militancy, including Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs, she launched her own website. She named her website “Atlas Shrugs” in honor of right-wing hero and self-described objectivist author Ayn Rand, a Geller idol whose 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged celebrates pure capitalism unrestrained by government regulation or social welfare measures. The unvarnished anti-Muslim stridency of Atlas Shrugs won followers; Geller republished the 2005 cartoons of Muhammad from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, for example, when most other media demurred.

Johnson, a moderate conservative, later broke sharply with Geller, calling her an anti-Muslim “hatemonger.” After Geller, who is Jewish, posted a critique of the Islamic halal practice of slaughtering animals for food in September 2010, Johnson pointed out that kosher practice is almost identical and observed, “My GOD she is stupid.”

Geller began her evolution from blogger to public activist in 2007 when she joined Stop the Madrassa, a project of a group of intense anti-Muslim activists determined to block the opening of a secular public Arabic-English school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy, in Brooklyn, N.Y. The campaign was intended as an early stand in a planned nationwide movement to counteract the efforts of American Muslims to meld into American society, according to one of its leaders, prolific anti-radical Muslim polemicist Daniel Pipes. Though the school ultimately opened anyway, Stop the Madrassa’s efforts to cast the school’s widely admired founding principal, Dhabah “Debbie” Almontaser, as a radical extremist succeeded in pressuring her to resign.

A proposal by a New York City imam and his financier partner to renovate an abandoned building in lower Manhattan into a 13-story mosque and community center would prove to be Geller’s ticket to anti-Muslim superstardom. Geller first blogged about the project, originally known as Cordoba House but later called the Park51 project, in December 2009. Four months later, she and longtime radical Muslim alarmist Robert Spencer joined forces, taking over the organization Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), then an unexciting adjunct of a Denmark-based group called Stop Islamization of Europe. One of SIOA’s first projects was to purchase controversial bus ads in New York and Miami inviting Muslims to reject Islam.

In June 2010, just two months after taking over SIOA, Geller and Spencer staged a rally in Lower Manhattan to oppose the Park51 project. It drew thousands of demonstrators, and plenty of media coverage. As had been done with Almontaser, Geller and Spencer led an effort to depict the project’s planners as radical extremists. They insinuated – with little to go on – that the project’s financing might be tied to terrorists. They absurdly described the project as an Islamic “victory mosque” to celebrate the 9/11 attacks, modeled after Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, though no Muslim had ever suggested such a thing. Geller and Spencer were able to build SIOA into a propaganda powerhouse that the Southern Poverty Law Center listed as an anti-Muslim hate group in 2010.

By mid-2010, the telegenic Geller had become a virtual fixture on Fox News, invited to comment not only on the supposed threat posed by Muslims and Shariah law in America but even on popular unrest in Arabic countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Through her website, Geller has promulgated some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories found on the extreme right, including claims that President Obama is the love child of Malcolm X, that Obama was once involved with a “crack whore,” that his birth certificate is a forgery, that his late mother posed nude for pornographic photos, and that he was a Muslim in his youth who never renounced Islam. She has described Obama as beholden to his “Islamic overlords” and said that he wants jihad to be victorious in America. In April 2011, Geller accused Obama of withholding evidence in the then-upcoming trial of accused Fort Hood mass murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan.

Geller uses her website to publish her most revolting insults of Muslims: She posted (and later removed) a video implying that Muslims practiced bestiality with goats and a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad with a pig’s face (observant Muslims do not eat pork). Geller also has denied the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces in Srebrenica – calling it the “Srebrenica Genocide Myth,” even though the Serbian government itself issued a state apology for the massacre. She wrote, “Westerners are admitting to their role in something that didn’t happen, and digging their own graves.”

Geller will ally with virtually any individual or movement that expresses stridently anti-Muslim sentiments, no matter how otherwise repugnant. As a result, she has frequently rubbed shoulders with elements of white radicalism. In 2009, Geller was invited to address the German far-right organization Pro Köln [Cologne], described as a successor group to the neo-fascist German League for People and Homeland. Pro Köln at the time was under investigation by the German authorities because of its defamation of foreigners and suspected violations of “human dignity.” As of early 2011, Pro Köln was officially deemed a right-wing extremist group by the German authorities.

Geller is an enthusiastic fan of Dutch anti-Muslim extremist Geert Wilders. He was charged in 2009 with hate-incitement in the Netherlands, but not convicted. She invited Wilders to speak at the June 2010 “Ground Zero Mosque” rally. In June 2010, Geller spoke at an event in Paris put on by the Bloc Identitaire, which opposes race-mixing and “Islamic imperialism.”

Geller invited the notorious British anti-Muslim group English Defence League (EDL) to her September 2010 anti-mosque rally in New York. The previous May, a report by the British newspaperThe Guardian revealed the EDL as thugs who hold anti-Muslim protests intended to provoke violence. Because of its racism and history, the EDL’s leader, Tommy Robinson, was denied entry at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and sent back to England.

Yet Geller described the EDL in May 2010 as “courageous English patriots” when the group mobilized popular anger to oppose the construction of a mosque in the town of Dudley, near Birmingham, England. “There is nothing racist, fascist, or bigoted about the EDL,” she wrote. In February 2010, she wrote in her blog, “I share the E.D.L.’s goals. We need to encourage rational, reasonable groups that oppose the Islamisation of the West.”

In February 2011, she spoke favorably of Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s forced relocation and genocide of Chechen Muslims after World War II, arguing – wrongly – that they were allied with Adolf Hitler. Historians say Chechens were fighting to preserve their own freedom and culture.

Geller’s incendiary rhetoric and readiness to deny civil freedoms and the presumption of innocence to Muslims hasn’t prevented her from gaining a measure of mainstream acceptability. In late March 2011, she was even invited by the Alaska House of Representatives to testify on a proposed anti-Shariah bill.

Geller’s anti-Muslim stance has also drawn the admiration of white nationalist and even neo-Nazi proponents on the extreme right – a rather remarkable feat, considering she is Jewish. She has been the subject of positive postings on racist websites such as StormfrontVDAREAmerican Renaissance and the neo-Confederate League of the South.

Nachum Shifren: Racist Rabbi Still Trying to Run For Senate Seat

Nachum Shifren is still trying to run for senate. He thinks “White Americans” like “him” are under assault by everyone else. In the past we exposed Shifren for being the racist and hate-monger he is in our article, Rabbi Nachum Shifren: Rides the Wave of Islamophobia and Rabbi Nachum Shifren: EDL is the Salvation of the West from the “Muslim Dogs”.

I am not even sure if Shifren is still a Jew, how can he say this and remain a Jew, perhaps he is a “self-hating” Jew?:

… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.

Clearly he didn’t mean to say that he is a “Christian,” maybe he forgot to add the “Judeo” part?

Also see Richard Silverstein’s take: California Tea Party “White Christian” Settler Rabbi for US Senate

California: EDL-supporting Senate candidate claims to defend ‘white Americans’ against threat of Islam


San Mateo, CA — In the US Senate primary in California on June 5th, where 23 candidates vie to challenge Senator Dianne Feinstein in November, conservative candidates were recorded on videoverbally attacking teachers, Muslims, and minority groups to excite their base at GOP and Tea Party venues.

The video was recorded at a “Get to Know Your Candidates” event hosted by the San Mateo GOP at the American Legion Hall here. Dr. David Levitt, the candidate who recorded the event, reports unmasked homophobia, Islamophobia, and racism in the Republicans’ speeches.

In the video Republican candidate Rabbi Shifren cries, “… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.”

PRWeb, 14 May 2012

In October 2010 Nachum Shifren visited the UK to express his solidarity with the English Defence League, joining them for ademonstration in support of Israel and against “Islamic fascism” at which he was the main speaker. Fired up by Shifren’s Islamophobic rhetoric – he described Muslims as “dogs” who were trying to “take over our countries” – three EDL members attacked an Islamic literature stall and were later convicted of public order offences, with one of them receiving a seven-day prison sentence and a five-year CRASBO.

Dearborn Anti-Islam Conference Discriminates Against Muslim Women it Claims to Save

Omar Baddar and a host of other organizations responded to the hateful anti-Islam and anti-Arab conference put on by professional bigots Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. The founders of SIOA crassly titled the event, “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference.” Seeking to manipulate and abuse the memory of a young Muslim girl who was murdered by her step-father.

Her murder had nothing to do with Islam, but the hate-mongerers insist on trying to smear Islam at any opportunity.

In the following video we get the facts. We see how discriminatory and racist to the core the anti-Islam brigades behind the “conference” really are! We also see how scared they are of confrontation and being challenged on their hateful bigotry:

Robert Spencer: Muslim Appointees Deserve Special Loyalty Test (Video)

Faith in Public Life (FPL) just interviewed Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer.  I’ve reproduced their excellent article below, which is where you can see the video yourself.  In it, Spencer endorses a special loyalty test for Muslims:

FPL: Do you think Muslim appointees to office deserve a special test or a special kind of investigation before they are appointed?

Spencer: Well, I think it’s entirely reasonable.

In light of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is, in its own words, dedicated to eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house, then certainly any Muslim official that [sic] has ties to the Brotherhood organizations in the United States–of which there are very many–should be vetted very carefully.

FPL: So you think any Muslim that is appointed should be investigated for any of those ties before they are appointed?

Spencer: Yes, certainly.

FPL also points to Robert Spencer’s double standards and hypocrisy when it comes to Islam and his own religion, Christianity (specifically, Catholicism).  Those of you familiar with my writing know that whenever I point this out, Spencer starts crying “tu quoque, tu quoque fallacy!”  That’s because his own religion can’t withstand the same standard he applies to Islam.

FPL asked Spencer if he found it problematic when Muslims called themselves “Muslims first, Americans second.”  Spencer responded emphatically in the affirmative, saying: “It’s a big problem.”  Then, FPL asked Spencer if he himself was American first or a Christian first.  Spencer was caught off-guard and tried to evade answering the question.  When FPL pushed him further on the issue, he refused to answer the question, saying: “Neither one.” Then, he finally admitted that he in fact placed his faith first, even above American law.

Anybody see the glaring hypocrisy here?  It’s in fact the same double standard applied by pro-Israel Islamophobes who attack American Muslims for having “dual loyalty” to their ancestral homelands and “the Ummah”, when in fact they themselves have “dual loyalty” to America and Israel, often placing the latter’s interests above the former.

Spencer tries to justify his double standard by arguing that Christianity “isn’t incompatible with the constitutional freedoms” whereas Islam is “is manifestly incompatible” with them.  In other words, it simply hasn’t been an issue with his Christianity.

Yet, Spencer contradicts himself in the very next sentence:

FPL: So would you describe yourself as an American first and a Christian second, or Christian first and American second?

Spencer: Neither one.  I think it’s a distinction when it comes to Christianity that thus far, there has not been a problematic issue of allegiance. If it comes down to the new Obama directives with the Catholic Church, for example, forcing it to go back on its own policies and its own doctrine…then obviously those are unjust laws that ought not to be passed.

Spencer is here alluding to the issue of abortion.  It should be noted that “the Supreme Court ruled that women had a constitutional right to abortion”, yet Catholics like Robert Spencer want to deny this right to women.  Isn’t this exactly the sort of conflict that Spencer found to be “a big problem” when it comes to Muslims?  Isn’t this, using Spencer’s own standard, “a problematic issue of allegiance” between Catholic doctrine and the Constitution?

But remember: don’t dare apply the standard Spencer does to Islam to his own religion!  Only a leftist dhimmi would do that!

Here is the article:

Robert Spencer’s Double-Standard on Religious Freedom

Anti-Muslim activists often complain that Muslims living in this country don’t effectively assimilate into American culture, that they consider themselves Muslims first and Americans second. Despite the fact that polling has found that Muslim Americans are actually the most loyal religious group in the nation – 93 percent of Muslim Americans say they are loyal to America, and Muslims have the highest confidence in the integrity of the US election process – far-right pundits continue to further the myth that Muslims lack commitment to this country because their faith puts them in conflict with constitutional law.

In fact, the concept of prioritizing faith principles before the law is not unique to Muslims. Prominent Christian figures such as Pat Robertson have publicly remarked that they consider themselves Christians first and Americans second. Perhaps even more telling is the extent to which the current contraception mandate controversy is dominating the political conversation, with some Catholic leaders suggesting they would shut down their hospitals and schools or perform civil disobedience instead of complying with a law they believe conflicts with their faith.

At the recent CPAC conference here in Washington, Nick interviewed prominent anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer and found this exact double standard. Spencer criticizes Muslims for prioritizing Islam over US law, while going on to say he would put his Christian faith first in a situation where Christianity came into conflict with the law:

FPL: A lot of people point to polls that Muslims in various countries suggest that they’re Muslims first and then loyal to that country second – American second, or Spanish second. Do you think that’s a problem and are you worried about that?

Spencer: It’s a big problem, and it’s something that has to be taken into account…when it comes to Islamic law and the constitution, there are many, many ways in which Islamic law contradicts the constitutional freedoms. Then if somebody has a loyalty to Sharia, to Islam first, then that’s very problematic.

FPL: And would you describe yourself as American first, or as a person of faith first?

Spencer: I’m an American and a person of faith. And I believe that my faith, as a Christian, isn’t incompatible with the constitutional freedoms. But Islamic law is manifestly incompatible with constitutional freedoms.

FPL: So would you describe yourself as an American first and a Christian second, or Christian first and American second?

Spencer: Neither one. I think it’s a distinction when it comes to Christianity that thus far, there has not been a problematic issue of allegiance. If it comes down to the new Obama directives with the Catholic Church, for example, forcing it to go back on its own policies and its own doctrine…then obviously those are unjust laws that ought not to be passed.

FPL: So if there was a conflict between your faith and the law, you would choose your faith?

Spencer: Yeah.

The hypocrisy is apparent. If conservatives are concerned with religious liberty, then that liberty ought to be applied to faith traditions across the board, including Islam. At the same conference, conservative paragon Grover Norquist made this same point (around the 2:42 mark):

FPL: So do you think it harms the conservative argument for religious liberty…when [Republican candidates] have previously expressed some similar concerns to extending this [liberty] to Muslim Americans?

Norquist: You can’t be for religious liberty for some people and not others, or the whole thing falls apart. No one in court is going to rule that way. The court will either go with, yes you can ban synagogues, mosques, missionaries and Catholic hospitals– or you can’t do any of that…I’ve noticed that all faith traditions recognize that an attack on one is an attack on all.

As Norquist points out, Spencer’s duplicitous arguments about Islam fall flat. When it comes to religious freedom, the far right cannot have its cake and eat it too.

Spencer’s Radicalized Mosque Claim Gets Debunked

Spencer gets debunked by Rousseau

Spencer’s Radicalized Mosque Claim Gets Debunked

Robert Spencer is still trying to peddle the myth that 80% of American mosques are radicalized. In a heated post on JihadWatch on March 19, Spencer said the following in reply to Reza Aslan’s claim that all of the studies Spencer cited to support the claim that 80% of American mosques are radicalized have been debunked:

In any case, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’s 1998 study was not based on his personal opinion, as Aslan claims. Kabbani actually visited 114 mosques in this country before giving testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999 that 80% of American mosques taught the “extremist ideology.” Has Reza Aslan investigated 114 mosques in the U.S.? Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule.

Let’s break this down one by one. Kabbani said in 1999 that extremists “took over more than 80% of the mosques that have been established in the US.” How did he come up with this number? He didn’t say in his testimony. After the testimony Kabbani began to feel heat from many who were curious as to how he arrived at this “figure” and that is when he finally decided to offer up some “evidence” for his claim.

An under-fire Kabbani explained in 1999 exactly what he meant when he told the State Department that 80 percent of American mosques had been taken over by extremists. His point, he said, was that a “few extremists” were taking over leadership posts,despite a “majority of moderate Muslims,” thus “influencing 80 percent of the mosques.”

Today, he sticks even closer to his guns and adds embellishing data: Kabbani visited 114 mosques in the United States. “Ninety of them were mostly exposed, and I say exposed, to extreme or radical ideology,” he said.

Kabbani bases his exposure conclusion on speeches, board members and materials published. One telltale sign of an extremist mosque, said Kabbani, was an unhealthy focus on the Palestinian struggle.

Alright – let’s be real here. This is not a “study” as Spencer claims. It’s an insult to actual studies out there to call what Kabbani did a “study,” it doesn’t even reach the basic standard of research, documentation or analysis. He conducted a subjective investigation of American mosques, plain and simple. Mosques he went to and where he found or heard things he didn’t agree with were labeled “extremist.” Just because there was a “focus on the Palestinian struggle” at a mosque doesn’t mean it’s “extremist.” What type of absurd methodology is that? It’s remarkable that Spencer would try to pass this off as a “study.” I know, it’s hard to prove that Muslims in America are bloodthirsty jihadists, but even Spencer should be ashamed of himself for trying to pass off Kabbani’s flawed investigation as a “study” to bolster his claim that 80% of mosques are run by extremists.

The next study that Spencer claims proves that 80% of American mosques are radicalized is from theCenter for Religious Freedom. What is the methodology and scope of this study?

In undertaking this study, we did not attempt a general survey of American mosques.  In order to document Saudi influence, the material for this report was gathered from a selection of more than a dozen mosques and Islamic centers in American cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Washington, and New York. In most cases, these sources are the most prominent and well-established mosques in their areas. They have libraries and publication racks for mosque-goers. Some have full-or part-time schools and, as the 9/11 Commission Report observed, such “Saudi-funded Wahhabi schools are often the only Islamic schools.”

From their own words, the Center for Religious Freedom says that it “did not attempt a general survey of American mosques.” The study itself was designed “to document Saudi influence.” They went to fifteen mosques to complete this “study.” Fifteen mosques! According to the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, there are at least 1,600 mosques and Islamic centers in the United States. This, too, is not much of a study.

Further eroding Spencer’s point, this study does not even claim that 80% or even a high percentage of American mosques are radicalized in any way. Let me repeat that – the study makes NO claim that 80% or some other percent of American mosques are radicalized. It simply does not say what Spencer claims it says. Spencer is making it up. He is lying. But LoonWatchers shouldn’t be surprised by that.

Spencer’s deception and lack of intellectual integrity in this instance is blatant, he not only cites the Center’s “study” as proof of the 80%-percent-of-mosques-are-extremists-conspiracy-theory, but he also fails to mention that the only semblance of what he claims in the study is a regurgitation of Kabbani’s (false and discredited) assertion,

Sheikh Kabbani, perhaps the U.S.’s leading moderate Muslim leader, says that a substantial percentage of American mosques have Wahhabi-funded Imams

Isn’t this interesting? What sort of credible “study” perfunctorily sites the non-evidentiary based assertions of a lone individual without questioning his methodology? The language in the above sentence is also cause for alarm, anytime a claim such as “the U.S.’s leading moderate Muslim leader” is made we should view it not only with caution but skepticism. This sort of heavily biased and subjective language is employed now by Right-Wingers and Republicans to describe “Zuhdi Jasser” the Islamophobes favorite Muslim.

Spencer’s last piece of evidence to back up his bogus claim comes from the Mapping Sharia Project led by the loony racist anti-Muslim lawyer David Yerushalmi, David Gaubatz and conspiracy theoristFrank Gaffney. The only thing I could find on this “study” was a Jihad Watch link reporting the findings of the Mapping Sharia Project. The Jihad Watch article reports that “An undercover survey of more than 100 mosques and Islamic schools in America has exposed widespread radicalism, including the alarming finding that 3 in 4 Islamic centers are hotbeds of anti-Western extremism…”

Spencer relying on “undercover survey’s” by radical Islamophobes with pseudo-racist beliefs? Just par for the course.

Firstly, there is no web page allowing us access to examine the methodology employed by this study. When I went to the link to the Mapping Sharia Project, I was taken to the web site for David Yerushalmi’s organization, SANE (Society for American National Existence). To gain access, I had to become a member. I did not want to join this loony web site’s membership list, as I am spammed enough as it is. So Spencer’s third study does not even exist, at least out in the public. Even the link he places for the Mapping Sharia Project just takes you to another JihadWatch web page reporting the findings of the study. Guess we’ll just have to take Yerushalmi, Gaubatz, Gaffney and Spencer’s word for it that 80%… err, three out of four American mosques are radicalized.

Actually, we won’t. Spencer tried his best it seems to pass off these “studies” as evidence to support Rep. Peter King’s claim that 80% of American mosques are radicalized. None of these “studies” does that.

Kabbani’s “study” is based simply on his own opinions of the mosques and their leadership, not any objective metric gauging radicalism. If he did not agree with the viewpoints of the mosque, then he deemed them radical. That’s not a study. Spencer, someone who went to graduate school, should know better than that.

The Center for Religious Freedom study says itself that it “did not attempt a general survey of American mosques.” So how does Spencer cite this study as evidence that 80% of American mosques are radicalized? Because he’s not interested in the truth – he just needs something to cite to so he can bamboozle those who won’t actually check his sources. Sorry, Robert, but we did. And this so-called “study” does not even say what you claim it does.

The final piece of evidence Spencer clings to is the Mapping Sharia Project’s “study,” which apparently does not exist in the public domain. But considering its authors – David Yerushalmi, David Gaubatz and Frank Gaffney – I would venture to say that this “study” will not only not be very academic but thoroughly bigoted and prejudiced. Just consider some of the proposals Yerushalmi and his friends at (in)SANE have come up with:

WHEREAS Islam requires all Muslims to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic with a political system based upon Shari’a.

Whereas, adherence to Islam as a Muslim is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the US Government through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the US Constitution and the imposition of Shari’a on the American People.

HEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED THAT: It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Shari’a.

The Congress of the United States of America shall declare the US at war with the Muslim Nation.

If these “studies” and individuals are the evidence that Spencer claims back up the myth that 80% of American mosques are radicalized, then Spencer has no evidence. For a great source on the history of this myth, see Media Matters’ Zombie Lie: Right Still Clinging To Decade-Old Fabrication About Radicalized Mosques.

Cyberpath still on the War Path against Ahmed Rehab and Reza Aslan

How sad can Robert Spencer get? My colleagues at LoonWatch have termed him an Internet Psychopath. Perhaps a more fitting description would be a Cyberpath.

Blowing the whistle on Robert Spencer’s pyscho-cyber path syndrom:

Cyberpath: People that possess a NarcissisticSociopath , or Psychopath personality disorder where they use the Internet as a tool against others on the Internet (their victims) in order to harm, bully, abuse, provoke, troll, torment, created conflict, destroy, damage, deceive, flame and inflame others for their own gratification , for example, seeking personal or financial gain.

This describes Robert Spencer to a tee. He has graduated from being a psychopath to being an all out Cyberpath. His narcissistic image of himself doesn’t allow for him to let any perceived slight or blight (even if it doesn’t exist) against his person go.

This has manifested itself in his recent Crusade against two Muslims who don’t really fit the extremist mold as far as any discerning viewer can note: Reza Aslan and Ahmed Rehab.

Spencer has stooped to calling the two “Islamic Supremacists.” Their crimes, aside from blasting Spencer as belonging in the “trash bin of history” seems to be that they “look metrosexual” (I didn’t know Spencer the flobby anti-Muslim polemicist was also a fashion expert, his attire would suggest otherwise), won’t entertain Spencer and his arguments as serious but view him as a bigoted clown, and that they are active in protecting the rights of Muslims.

In a little over 48 hours Spencer has produced 7 pieces of varying length and verbiage against both Aslan and Rehab, essentially confirming himself as their cyberstalker.

Islamic Supremacist Reza Aslan: “Nothing can stop the spread of Islam” (Spencer relies on one of his followers, Evan Mark, for this “quote.” No one in the media reported it, but when we look at the actual speech we see that what Aslan is saying is that there are fundamentalists (such as Spencer) who wish to destroy Islam and to go to war with Islam and strip Muslims from practicing or preaching their religion, Aslan said that this is stupid and is not going to happen because Islam is a great world faith and all indicators are it is going to keep growing.)

Bill O’Reilly Fawns over anti-Semitic Islamic Supremacist Ahmed Rehab of Hamas-linked CAIR (I sense a bit of jealousy and envy on the part of poor ole’ irrelevant Spencer. No longer able to bask in the 5 minute glory of the ginned up “NYC Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, no one wants him on air. In fact they don’t want to be near him with a ten feet pole because he is just that ludicrous. He is sad that O’Reilly, a hardcore Right-winger, had a Mooslim with some intelligence on his program and not awkward self-proclaimed academic Robert Spencer.)

Pro-Democracy Movement of Iran protests State Department’s Sending lobbyist for Islamic Republic on tax-payer-funded jaunt to Saudi Arabia (By pro-Democracy what he means is the anti-Islamic and neo-Conservative organization PDMI, an Orwellian organization that includes one Amil Imani whose vitriol against Muslims would put Geert Wilders to shame. Not to mention that it is so “pro-Democracy” that it hosts a portrait of “His Majesty Mohammed Reza Shah,” a real scion of Democracy!.)

Juan Williams and the Left’s Intellectual Bankruptcy ( a Human Events piece that continues his worn out attacks of Leftist/Mooslim stealth conspiracy to advance Jihad)

State Department sponsors Saudi trip of apologist for Islamic Republic of Iran (Trita Parsi, the reason they dislike him, an individual who supported the Green Movement that called for Reforms in Iran, and who are the real Pro-Democracy advocates is because he isn’t a hysterical anti-Muslim bigot)

CAIR’s Ahmed Rehab and the Use of Ridicule (a hypocritical piece in which Spencer whines about being ridiculed by Ahmed Rehab while at the same time previously and in this blog piece calling Ahmed Rehab a “metrosexual who uses lipstick and eyeliner.”)

CAIR’s Brave Ahmed Rehab, who ran from debate with me, claims never to have run from a debate (The “objective scholar,” very “scholarly” slings personal attacks and lies against Ahmed Rehab. O’ Little Cyberpath (to include a variation on an Andrew Bostom quote) how can someone “duck” a debate with you when they didn’t agree to one in the first place? I guess facts don’t matter to faux-scholars!)