On Genocidal West Point Professor William C. Bradford And Retractions

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West Point professor, William C. Bradford published a 200 page paper in the National Security Law Journal which’s main points The Guardian summed up,

William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.

The West Point faculty member urges the US to wage “total war” on “Islamism”, using “conventional and nuclear force and [psychological operations]”, in order to “leave them prepared to coexist with the West or be utterly eradicated”. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”. (h/t: JD)

It is surprising that this paper was able to make it past the editor and was included in the journal in the first place. It makes an elaborate case for the killing of professors and others who are deemed enemies of the state for criticizing the “War On Terror.” It employs the methodology of Robert Spencer in describing critics of the military and US policy as “useful idiots” and sympathizers of the catch-all bogeyman known as “Islamists.”

Most of the news reports have focused on Bradford’s fascistic call to eliminate professors and attack academic institutions. The retraction by the journal focuses completely on this aspect of his paper, which granted is the central thesis,

This past spring the Journal made a mistake in publishing a highly controversial article, Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column, 3 Nat’l Sec. L.J. 278 (2015), by William C. Bradford, who is currently an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy. As the incoming Editorial Board, we want to address concerns regarding Mr. Bradford’s contention that some scholars in legal academia could be considered as constituting a fifth column in the war against terror; his interpretation is that those scholars could be targeted as unlawful combatants. The substance of Mr. Bradford’s article cannot fairly be considered apart from the egregious breach of professional decorum that it exhibits.  We cannot “unpublish” it, of course, but we can and do acknowledge that the article was not presentable for publication when we published it, and that we therefore repudiate it with sincere apologies to our readers.

Moving forward, the current Editorial Board is committed to generating legitimate scholarly debate, representing all points of view, in the area of national security law. However, we have learned from this experience, and we recognize the responsibility that attends our publication decisions. The process of selecting articles is one our Editorial Board takes very seriously, and we are re-examining our selection process to ensure that we publish high quality scholarly articles.

A welcomed and necessary retraction by the Journal to save face after this embarrassing incident, though it doesn’t tell us why they published or made this “mistake” in the first place.

It is telling that the retraction doesn’t mention another factor why Bradford’s article can be considered as exhibiting an “egregious breach of professional decorum”: the fact that it considers threatening “total war” and use of nuclear strikes on “Islamists” and Muslim holy sites as a reasonable strategy! Shouldn’t that be included in the whole reason why this paper was so awful?

Dylann Roof: The Nexus Between White Supremacy’s Anti-Blackness and Islamophobia

By Garibaldi

Prof. Juan Cole posted an article Sunday with the provocative title, European Islamophobic Networks Influenced Roof to Kill in Charleston. Prof. Cole first provides some recent historical context, noting that the Islamophobia Network helped incite the terrorist mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik.  Prof. Cole then cites a paragraph from Roof’s manifesto possibly hinting to the same sort of ideological beliefs as those held by Breivik and co.,

From this point I researched deeper and found out what was happening in Europe. I saw that the same things were happening in England and France, and in all the other Western European countries. Again I found myself in disbelief. As an American we are taught to accept living in the melting pot, and black and other minorities have just as much right to be here as we do, since we are all immigrants. But Europe is the homeland of White people, and in many ways the situation is even worse there. From here I found out about the Jewish problem and other issues facing our race, and I can say today that I am completely racially aware.

The predictable retort from those who will try to disassociate what Dylann Roof believed from their hate-filled ideology will be that he doesn’t mention fascist European politicians such as Geert Wilders by name, nor does he cite Robert Spencer or Pamela Geller specifically the way Breivik did. They may even claim that Roof isn’t referencing the Muslims of Europe at all.

However, those who object would be wrong. Roof was absolutely influenced by Islamophobic conspiracies when he mentions that “the same things were happening in England and France, and in all the other Western European countries…Europe is the homeland of White people, and in many ways the situation is even worse there.”

It should be recalled that Roof cited the Council of Conservative Citizens (CoCC) as having particular influence on his murderous anti-Black racism. CoCC heightened his paranoid perception of unfairness and belief that somehow Whites were an oppressed class whose “women were being raped” by Black men who “were taking over.” Language that is very similar to what one hears from the Islamophobia Network about Muslims, especially Muslims in Europe.

In fact, a corollary to CoCC’s horrid anti-Black racism is their virulent Islamophobic hate and conspiracy theories. A simple search for the term “Islam” on the Council of Conservative Citizens’ website brings up articles, including: White supremacist Jared Taylor discussing a future third World War between Europe and “Islam”, claims that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg is censoring criticism of Islam, multiple articles supporting European groups and individuals involved with the anti-Muslim group PEGIDA, promotion of the conspiracy of “Islamization” by Geert Wilders’ PVV party, positively citing Bill Maher for his views on Islam and Muslims, fear of the spread of Islam in US prisons, claims that Jews are supporting the “Islamification” of Europe as “revenge for the Holocaust” (an Islamophobic-anti-Semitic narrative that I discussed in a previous article), pushing the conspiracy about Muslim men raping White women across Europe, targeting the predominantly Black Muslim Islamberg community (a group that was recently the target of a foiled terrorist attack by a White Christian). There are also a number of articles claiming “no one has mistreated Blacks like Muslims,” an attempt to exculpate themselves for their own racist views by projecting onto another religion.

It is therefore not a leap at all to consider that Roof’s expression of deep angst about “what was going on in Europe” was a reference to the Islamophobic language, narratives and conspiracy theories common among the differing currents and trends within the trans-Atlantic Islamophobia Nework.

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They lived a life of love and service and while worshiping were killed because of hate.

Roof’s mad manifesto is shorter than Breivik’s 1,500 page screed, yet we can gleam commonalities and some minor distinctions in their beliefs. Both Breivik and Roof see Europe as the home of Whites (their “people”), under “threat” from “outside invasion.” Roof makes no mention of Christian identity whereas Breivik explicitly considers himself part of a Neo-Crusader movement and in fact one of a group of “Templar Knights” (It should be noted here that CoCC’s “statement of principles” asserts that the US is a “Christian country,” that should be made up of “European peoples.”) Roof’s seminal preoccupation was race and seeing everything through the lens of “racial awareness,” while Breivik also focused on other aspects of civilizational identity, specifically Christian heritage.

There’s ample evidence that Roof held deeply anti-Black beliefs for years and he may not have required the influence of the pervasive White supremacist currents of the Islamophobia Network to kill and terrorize in Charleston. In the end he was a racist with a supreme hatred of Blacks and other races, (oddly he admired East Asians and thought of them as allies). Yet it is clear that Roof was further radicalized by his visits to CoCC and there is no doubt that the prominence given on their website to the narratives of the Islamophobia Network influenced and heightened his ideological belief in the oppression of Whites world-wide.

via. Loonwatch

Sniffing Out the Islamophobes in Pew Polling Data

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Sniffing Out the Islamophobes in Pew Polling Data

Original guest article

By JustStoppingBy

By comparing results from two survey questions, we can get a much more refined view of the prevalence of Islamophobia in different demographic groups.

According to a well-known quote, “Knowledge is power.”  We may think that we know who the Islamophobes are among society.  But, how accurate are our assessments?  One problem with many polls that attempt to measure the presence of Islamophobia is that they often do not distinguish between bias against or dislike of Muslims with general forms of bias or dislike of others.  For example, suppose that someone says that they oppose building mosques.  If the same person would also say that they oppose building churches, synagogues and any other house of worship, it generally makes more sense to categorize them as anti-religion rather than specifically anti-Islam.  Fortunately, the Pew Research Center put out a poll in 2009 that has two questions that, when examined together, can provide us with an interesting take on this issue by specifically isolating bias against Muslims from biases against religious groups in general.

The questions begin with the introduction, “I’m going to read the names of some specific religious groups. For each one that I name, please tell me whether you would favor or oppose this group applying for government funds to provide social services to people who need them.”  Two of the “groups” covered are interesting:  first, “Individual churches, synagogues and other houses of worship” and second, “Muslim mosques.”

What makes these interesting is that we can look at the people who favor government funding for “individual churches, synagogues and other houses of worship” and see how that figure declines when that larger group is replaced by “Muslim mosques.”  The first question should screen out people who object to government funding of any religious group providing social services, whether because they oppose government spending on social services or oppose the government outsourcing such activities (positions that are tied to views of government rather than religion) and those who oppose government providing such funding to religious groups (which could represent a view of government generally or a view on religion generally, but should not be specific to views of Islam).  Then, when we switch to the second question, about Muslim mosques, any change is due to respondents’ views on Islam in particular.  Thus, the drop in support is a relatively clean measure of Islamophobic responses separated out from other issues such as views of government or religion generally.  This drop can be examined for different subgroups, allowing us to examine the relative degrees of Islamophobia across them.  This drop may be more useful than a single question about how respondents view Muslims, as it may be the case that some groups of respondents are generally more friendly or hostile to religious groups in general as opposed to Muslims in particular.

Before presenting the results, it is worth noting a few caveats.  First, the difference in the results represents Islamophobia among those willing to provide government funding to religious organizations for the purposes of providing social services generally.  The questions do not provide any information on the degree of Islamophobia among those who oppose the government providing such funding to religious groups at all.  Second, correlation is not causation.  However, readers are invited to provide their thoughts on the reasons for the differential results across subgroups, and some thoughts will be provided below.

Now, on to the poll results.

The first subgroup examined by Pew is Age.  Here are the results of Support along with two measures of the drop in support going from houses of worship generally to mosques:

Pew_Table1

There are a few interesting things to note here. First, in both the general house of worship and the mosque categories, support declines (with one exception) as age increases. Second, if we measure the decline in percentage points (the change in the share of the total group before screening with the first question), the declines are smallest for the two youngest age categories and then seem to roughly level off. Third, if we look at the percentage change (the change share of those in support on the first question), we see the same general pattern, but even more pronounced. (The 2009 results on age are consistent with a 2013 Pew survey finding that “[m]ost young people continue to reject the idea that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers” and that younger people are more likely to say that Muslims suffer from discrimination.)

In terms of recommendations, there are two conflicting possibilities.  One is that because here is a quite limited amount of Islamophobia among the youngest group, perhaps efforts that are devoted there should be focused elsewhere.  A completely conflicting interpretation is that the near absence of Islamophobia in the youngest group is the result of those efforts, which should then be continued with future groups of young people if not expanded to cover other groups where possible.There are a few interesting things to note here.  First, in both the general house of worship and the mosque categories, support declines (with one exception) as age increases.  Second, if we measure the decline in percentage points (the change in the share of the total group before screening with the first question), the declines are smallest for the two youngest age categories and then seem to roughly level off.  Third, if we look at the percentage change (the change share of those in support on the first question), we see the same general pattern, but even more pronounced.  (The 2009 results on age are consistent with a 2013 Pew surveyfinding that “[m]ost young people continue to reject the idea that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers” and that younger people are more likely to say that Muslims suffer from discrimination.)

The next category covered in Pew is household income.  There does not seem to be much in the results, but they are presented here in case someone sees something worth discussing.  (You may also note that the Total category results change a little from those in the Age table.  This appears to be due to slight changes in the sample, perhaps based on people not being asked or not answering questions for the different types of categories.)

Pew_Table2

Next is marital status.  In this case, it seems that the results are at least somewhat related to age, with the widowed category showing one of the highest levels of Islamophobia and the never been married the least.

Pew_Table3

Next, Pew presents the results by religion.

Pew_Table4

(Other Christian = Mormon, Orthodox, Unitarian, self-identified as Christian.)

It is worth noting that the atheist/agnostic/nothing in particular category shows the smallest amount of Islamophobia.  This should be kept in mind when considering whether some of the prominent New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are representative of the broader atheist community.  Second, while Jews are pretty much tied with other religious groups when considering houses of worship generally, they show the smallest dropoff, or the least amount of Islamophobia, and end up being the only religious group (even including atheist/agnostic/nothing in particular) with a majority support for government funding of social programs at mosques.  If this were purely a question of how a minority (meaning non-Christian in the United States) religion is attentive to concerns that a minority religion would not receive its fair share of funding, we would expect to see similar results for the “other religion” category.  Instead, that group falls a little closer to the higher level of Islamophobia in three Christian categories than to lower level among Jews.  Similar to atheists, the lower than average rate of Islamophobia among Jews should be kept in mind when comparing the general Jewish population to prominent individuals; generally different from atheists, who tend to have fewer identity-specific institutions, one can think about whether mainstream Jewish education and communal/religious organizations have a substantial role in bringing about this result.(Other Christian = Mormon, Orthodox, Unitarian, self-identified as Christian.)

Next, we have education.

Pew_Table5

While support for government funding of social programs at houses of worship is relatively flat across education levels (or perhaps a bit U-shaped: higher at the ends than in the middle), it is distinctly lower for those without a high school diploma when it comes to funding for social programs at mosques.  There clearly seems to be a story and a lesson here about how education helps reduce Islamophobia (while still keeping the correlation/causation caveat in mind).

The next category covered by Pew is sex.  The differences seem to be relatively small, with a slightly greater degree of Islamophobia seen among males.  In a bit of contrast, the 2013 Pew survey showed fairly clearly that men were more likely than women to say that Islam was more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers.While support for government funding of social programs at houses of worship is relatively flat across education levels (or perhaps a bit U-shaped: higher at the ends than in the middle), it is distinctly lower for those without a high school diploma when it comes to funding for social programs at mosques.  There clearly seems to be a story and a lesson here about how education helps reduce Islamophobia (while still keeping the correlation/causation caveat in mind).

Pew_Table6

The final category studied by Pew is “political ideology.”

Pew_Table7

Depending on one’s expectations, the results here may be a bit surprising.  The highest degree of Islamophobia is among conservatives, not those who identify as very conservative.  Thoughts on this are welcome.  Another interesting point is that the moderate and liberal results appear quite similar, with a small decline in Islamophobia among the very liberal.  In this case, the 2013 Pew survey did show a clear ordering of results, with conservative Republicans most likely to say that Islam encourages violence among adherents, followed by moderate/liberal Republicans, Independents, moderate/conservative Democrats, and finally liberal Democrats.

Hopefully, the data above provide some amount of knowledge.  It should go without saying that the data represents information aggregated across groups and do not prove that any single individual is or is not Islamophobic.  After all, while those earning over $100,000 typically have below-average displays of Islamophobia in this poll, Robert Spencer falls into that category.  And while a Jewish woman with some college but no degree would display three features associated with a below-average degree of Islamophobia, we have a prominent counter-example with those three characteristics.  On the other hand, the data should not be ignored as it may provide useful information if we can figure out how to use it properly.

Two Peas in A Pod: Tarek Fatah and Robert Spencer

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Two Peas in A Pod: Tarek Fatah and Robert Spencer

By Emperor

Yesterday we tweeted a link to our article on the NYPD abandoning one of its spy on Muslims units,

 

In reply, the UK based journalist Sunny Hundal asked why Tarek Fatah was an “Islamophobia enabler.” A fair question for someone who may be unfamiliar with Fatah. I think however that support for the NYPD surveillance program, teaming up with Zuhdi Jasser and Rep. Peter Kingare evidence enough that Fatah supports Islamophobia.

In fact there’s such a plethora of evidence on Fatah’s support for Islamophobia that we didn’t even know where to start!

We first mentioned how Fatah is a regular on his pal, the ultra-Zionist, extremely Islamophobic, Michael Coren’s Sun News show and also the fact that Coren is a huge supporter of Spencer and Geller. Maybe this wasn’t the best place to begin. Taken alone this might not be enough to convince someone unaware of Fatah’s history of support for Islamophobic causes, right-wing politicians and forwarding of loony conspiracies.

We should have began by pointing out that Fatah has supported veil bans, opposed the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” (calling it a “deliberate provocation, aimed at ‘thumbing the nose at infidels,’” thereby feeding the hysterical fear-mongering at the time), slandered Muslims left and right as plotting to take over the federal and local governments of the USA and Canada, claimed that Dalia Mogahed was “an MB member from Egypt,” accused Tariq Ramadan of coming to Canada over Labour Day weekend “to propagate the Muslim Brotherhood credo of ‘destroying the West from within’.”

Of course there is so much more that could be highlighted to expose how Fatah fear-mongers about Islam and Muslims, provides cover for Islamophobes and their conspiracies but that will be the subject of a longer article. It should be noted that when we challenged Fatah over these issues he magically turned silent.

Fatah exclaimed incredulity that he could be mentioned in the same vein as Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer,

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Apparently Fatah wasn’t “privy” to what we’ve written about him even though we directly tagged him in our Tweets with links and all.

Fatah’s assertions were contradicted by Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer himself, who states that Fatah was an admirer of his “work.”

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Of course, Spencer is not exactly known for his honesty and so we will have to wait and see what video he produces. However, considering the fact that there isn’t much difference between Fatah and Spencer’s views and taking into account Fatah’s history of supporting Islamophobic causes, conspiracy theories, lies, his assaults on Muslims it isn’t far-fetched at all.

Oral Traditions in Islam and Judaism

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Oral Traditions in Islam and Judaism

Original Guest Post

by JustStoppingBy

Both Judaism and Islam rely on oral traditions that explain and put texts into context and can help counter misperceptions of the religions.

One of the sources of Islamophobia and Judeophobia is the selective quoting of religious passages that, either taken out of their literal context or without the context of how they have been interpreted, suggest that the adherents of Islam and Judaism repeat and harbor seemingly harsh views.  When the literal context is missing, sometimes just referring to the preceding or following verses is sufficient to counter any misconceptions and let a stereotype go.  In other instances, the religions’ oral traditions may help elucidate how adherents read those verses.

As Passover approaches, I want to highlight two well-known (at least among Jews) portions of the Jewish oral tradition that appear at the Passover seder and how, in broad terms, they relate to some well-known portions of the Islamic oral tradition because they are used by adherents to help put other texts into context.  The Passover seder relates the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt.  Within the story, there is a listing of the ten plagues with which the Egyptians were smitten.  As each plague is recited, Jews either spill a drop of wine or use a finger (more traditionally) or utensil to take a drop of wine from their cup and discard it on a plate or napkin.  It is not clear how far back the common explanation for this ritual goes, though it is at least as far as Rabbi Yitzhak Ben Yehuda Abarbanel, or Don Isaac Abarbanel. (1437-1508) who wrote, “The custom is to drip drops of wine out of the cup when counting the plagues to indicate that our joy is not whole because on our account an entire people was punished. Even though the enemy deserved that defeat, it does not cause us real joy.”

My guess is that the explanation, if not the tradition itself, developed over time.  A likely reason is that Jews saw a “difficult text,” or one that can have multiple interpretations, and wished to emphasize the interpretations that resonated with their view of their religion’s morality.  A similar portion of oral history that works its way into many seders  is a midrash, or interpretation of the Torah, found in the Talmud that describes what was happening in Heaven as the Red Sea closed over the Egyptian army that was pursuing the Children of Israel: “The ministering angels wanted to chant their hymns, but the Holy One, blessed be He, said, The work of my hands is being drowned in the sea, and shall you chant hymns?”  As is the case with many midrashim, some Jews take this as a literal revelation and others as a story made up later to provide a moral lesson.  For my purposes here, it does not matter which it is.  Rather, what matters is that hundreds of years after this midrash was first recorded, Jews find it worthwhile to retell every year because it provides context for our understanding of an important Jewish text.

Turning to Islam, I would like to highlight a few portions of its oral history.  One I take from anessay by Imam Shamsi Ali, who writes, “Our oral history records Muhammad’s last sermon as containing the following guidance: ‘Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another.  No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another.  You are brothers.’”   I chose this quote not because of its meaning, but because of how Imam Shamsi Ali explicitly ties it to the oral history.  Still, an Internet search shows that this is indeed a popular quote, appearing in numerous locations.  That should not be surprising given that it is the type of quote that should resonate with Muslims when thinking about the moral messages provided by Islam, with the equality of human beings being one of those messages.

A second piece of the Muslim oral tradition was cited by Arsalan Iftikhar in his interview with Loonwatch: “…we should be reminded of a well-known Islamic parable that tells the story of the Prophet Mohammed and his interactions with an unruly female neighbor, who would curse him violently and then dump garbage on him from her top window each time he walked by her house. One day, the prophet noticed that the woman was not there. In the spirit of true kindness, he went out of his way to inquire about her well-being. He then went on to visit his unfriendly neighbor at her bedside when he found that she had fallen seriously ill.”  This is indeed a well-known parable, found frequently on the web, including in comments at Loonwatch.

But, here is one potentially surprising thing about this particular story: it is not clear that it is authentic.  While there are similar stories, some investigations of this particular one have yielded results such as “I have not found a basis for this specific incident in the books of hadeeth or reliable works of prophetic biography, and it seems as though this story has become popular on the tongues of people without any source to support it, and Allah knows best” as well as “although the record of this particular incident is found in almost all the books of ‘Seerah’ or biography of the Prophet (saws) and is oft-repeated by the Muslims, to the best of our knowledge there is no record of this specific incident in any of the authentic and established Books of Sunnah. And Allah Alone Knows Best.”  As with the midrash on the angels preparing to rejoice, for my purposes it does not matter if this story is authentic.  The fact that this story is so popular even without it being found in what may be called the reliable or authentic hadith or Books of Sunnah only strengthens the point that Muslims repeat this story not because they are “forced” to because it is part of canonical literature that must be repeated, but, rather, they repeat it because its message resonates with their view of the morality of Islam.

Another reason that I chose the quotation provided from Imam Shamsi Ali is the further observation provided by his co-author, Rabbi Marc Schneier, in one of his essays in the samebook.  Rabbi Schneier writes, “Most Jews and most Muslims, however, are simply unaware of the good news that the other side has an oral tradition that moderates the sometimes harsh language of the written law.  The ignorance among the majority in both faiths allows the demagogic purveyors of hate to peddle their poison virtually unchallenged.”

Compare this with a statement by one such demagogic purveyor of hate, Robert Spencer, who has written, “Rabbinic Judaism ever since the destruction of the Temple had evolved non-literal ways to understand such commands, while in Islam such literal interpretation is still very much alive.”  In fact, Spencer is misleadingly inaccurate on both counts: Judaism had evolved non-literal ways of interpreting “problem texts” before the destruction of the Temple, and there are both literal and non-literal interpretations of “problem texts” very much alive in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.   It is the latter point, however, that is the more important.  By suggesting solely that there are literal interpretations of “problem texts” in Islam, Spencer hides the existence of similar interpretations in Judaism and Christianity as well as the many Muslims who highlight stories such as Muhammad’s concern for a woman who would throw trash on him (whether the story is literally true or not) as a lens through which they interpret any texts that could be read to call for retaliation for aggressive acts.  As Imam Shamsi Ali writes in one essay, “The guidance found in scripture is not meant to be taken only literally.  … Our stance is that though the Qur’an is sometimes exact, to extrapolate the wisdom in its passages, we need not see the texts as simply static, literal words.”

Strikingly, the Qur’an has no problem citing Jewish Oral Law.  “Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.” Qur’an 5:32.  The reference may be to Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 (“Therefore was the first man, Adam, created alone, to teach us that whoever destroys a single life, the Bible considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single life, the Bible considers it as if he saved an entire world. Furthermore, only one man, Adam, was created for the sake of peace among men, so that no one should say to his fellow, ‘My father was greater than yours…’”) or potentially other similar references such as Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a).  Whether one  believes an Islamic interpretation that Qur’an 5:32 was revealed to Muhammad, or a secular one that the ayah  repeats something that Muhammad heard, this ayah shows a continuity of belief and a tie between the oral Jewish tradition (which by that point had been written down) and written Muslim tradition.

Yet for some “demagogic purveyors of hate,” as Rabbi Schneier calls them, this is not a sign that Muslims view the Qur’an as part of a continuous revelation sometimes referencing Jewish and Christian scriptures.  Instead, these Islamophobes claim to “find further proof of plagiarism of apocryphal Jewish literature; this time in the Jewish Mishnah Sanhedrin” or title a section of an anti-Islam screed “Plagiarism in Quran,” citing the same passages.   If only the Qur’an had managed to avoid the charge of plagiarism by introducing the text by saying something like “We decreed upon the Children of Israel.”  Oh wait, it did!  Presumably, the demagogic purveyors of hate would not be satisfied with anything short of a footnote and embedded hyperlink in the text when it was compiled over 1300 years ago.

Certain Islamophobes who accuse the Qur’an of plagiarism in this verse, despite the explicit reference to a decree to the Children of Israel, seem less concerned with how Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:12 (“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”) does not reference Tobit 7:15 (“And what you hate, do not do to anyone”) or a well-known (among Jews) saying of Hillel the Elder(traditionally c. 110 BCE, died 7 CE): “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”  One notable demagogic purveyor of hate, Ali Sina, has written, “There is nothing in the Quran and Hadith that would make us believe that Islam is compatible with the Golden Rule.”  Actually, Wikipedia provides a dozen quotes from the Qur’an and Hadith that are variants of the Golden Rule.  The one that struck me the most was one that echoed Hillel: “A Bedouin came to the prophet, grabbed the stirrup of his camel and said: O the messenger of God! Teach me something to go to heaven with it. Prophet said: ‘As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them. Now let the stirrup go! [This maxim is enough for you; go and act in accordance with it!]’ —Kitab al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 146.”

All three of the Abrahamic faiths thus not only cite the Golden Rule in some form, but have traditions citing it as a maxim that sums up the morality of their religious texts or beliefs.  It is only by being selective in what they cite from the written and oral traditions that the demagogic purveyors of hate could hope to obscure this commonality.   Instead, it is worth taking the time to review the full range of the traditions of each religion, notably those cited repeatedly by their adherents because they resonate with their view of their religion’s morality.  And then, it is time to let the stereotype, and the stirrup, go.

When Neo-Cons And Liberals Unite: The Case of Anti-Muslim Crusader Ayaan Hirsi Ali

 

by  on April 12, 2014 in FeatureLoon-at-large

 

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By Garibaldi

For far too long Liberal and Neo-Con supporters of Ayaan Hirsi Ali have either ignored, evaded, denied or flat out refused to acknowledge the existence of her hateful beliefs and agenda. One likely reason is that they have spent years promoting Ayaan in every conceivable way and instead of facing the reality of her philosophy, and the implications of her proposed policy solutions to the so-called “Muslim problem,” they have chosen to bury their heads in the sand.

The recent controversy over Brandeis University first awarding and then withdrawing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “honorary degree” has demasked a lot of individuals who proclaim that they are about “equality,” “rationality,” “fairness,” “acceptance,” “freedom,” and against “violence” and “hatred.”

Take prominent Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, who, as RazaInc. brought to our attention, used his perch as a respectable academic to rally support behind Ayaan and vilify Brandeis’ decision:

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Michael Shermer, editor of the Scientific American had the blind audacity to compare Ayaan Hirsi Ali to Martin Luther King, Jr.! Comparing a preacher of non-violent peaceful civil disobedience to an individual who advocates militarily “crushing Islam.” The irony!

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFrF), an avowed secularists/atheists organization that has in the past awarded Ayaan Hirsi Ali its “Emperor has no clothes award,” (looks like FFrF actually has no clothes) came to Ayaan’s defense. FFrF uncritically parroted the liesAyaan Hirsi Ali has propagated about much of her personal biography and called on its supporters to tell Brandeis to “apologize and re-offer its honorary degree.”

Sectarian New Atheists of all political bents from the libertarian Neo-Con Sam Harris to liberals such as Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher have in the past happily trotted out Ayaan Hirsi Ali as their tokenized anti-Muslim heroine. Of course they weren’t going to allow for any criticism of their pal, and like clockwork they were backing her up:

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So what company do these Atheist academics, institutions, Neo-Cons and Liberals find themselves in? Islamophobes. Such as the banned from the UK Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller and extreme right news outlets like Breitbart (whose journalist Pat Dullard called for “massacring Muslims in the street”), Right-Wing NewsHuman Events, etc.

For her part, Ayaan Hirsi Ali did not engage the substantive criticism of students, faculty and others who called her out on her anti-Muslim invective. Instead she falsely, and with her characteristic bigotry suggests that Brandeis’ withdrawal was motivated by fear of violence from offended Muslims.

The poverty of mainstream journalism has also been exposed, as most, if not all major newspapers and media outlets continue to falsely describe Ayaan Hirsi Ali as a “critic of Islam.”

Brandeis students nix Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali. What a pity.–Los Angeles Times
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Victim of an honor killing, Brandeis-style–Fox News
Brandeis Cancels Plan to Give Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Critic of Islam–The New York Times
Brandeis withdraws honor to activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a critic of Islam–Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Tablet Gives Moses Award to Ayaan Hirsi Ali–Tablet Magazine (Interestingly as Matt Berkman notes “Your parenthetical claim that you upheld the same principle when Rashid Khalidi and John Judis were disinvited is disingenuous. What you actually did was say that disinviting people is ‘heavy-handed and inelegant,’ and then went on to argue that critics of Israel should not be allowed to speak in Jewish venues to begin with (quote: ‘To argue that only an openness to all points of view is acceptable… is to adhere to the most flightless form of relativism’”))
Brandeis, Unlike Hirsi Ali, Surrendered to Intimidation–National Review Online
Brandeis won’t give honorary degree to Islam critic–Boston Globe
Under fire, Brandeis cancels plan to honor anti-Islam feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali–Christian Science Monitor
Brandeis Scraps Honor for Dutch Anti-Islam Activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali–Jewish Daily Forward
Human Rights Activist Slams University’s ‘Deplorable’ Move to Withdraw Honorary Degree Because of Her Critical Comments About Islam–The Blaze
Brandeis Backtracks on Honor for Activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Critic of Islam–The Wall Street Journal

Ayaan supporters like Steven Pinker, Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, Freedom From Religion Foundation, David Silverman, Atheists of America, mainstream newspapers and media outlets that describe Ayaan as an “Islam critic” and “feminist” need to stop abetting mendacity, be honest and answer the following questions:

-Do you believe, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali does, that “we are at war with Islam?

-Do you believe, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali does, that “Islam must be crushed,” in “all forms,” including “militarily?”

-Do you believe, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali does, that the US Constitution should be changed specifically to discriminate against Muslims, strip them of their civil rights? “Abolish Muslim schools?”

-Do you believe, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali does, that the veil should be banned in France and minarets in Switzerland?

-Do you believe, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali does, that the “silence of the Left-wing” is responsible for the heinous mass murders by Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik (who thought Ayaan deserved a “Noble Prize”)?

-Do you believe, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali does, that Atheists and Christians must get “into the business of conversion?

These are only a few of the questions that supporters of Ayaan must answer or they are complicit in her beliefs and stand accused of their silence being their assent.

The last point I want to revisit is that there is an assumption by Neo-Con and Liberal supporters of Ayaan that she is a “women’s rights” activist and champion. What exactly has she done for women’s rights? Who has she helped?

The truth is that Ayaan actually uses serious issues around injustices in the Muslim world to promote herself (much like Clarion Fund has done with Honor Diaries). Her supporters see a self-affirming image, one that validates their beliefs: atheism, the backwardness, barbarity and danger of Islam and Muslims.

As Muslim/Islam bashers continue to blindly support Ayaan’s hatred, heroic Muslim women and their allies (including, gasp! many Muslim men) continue to challenge the injustices before them in their nations and locales. Whether it is the work of Ifrah Ahmed to end FGMAsma Hanif of Muslimat an Nisa‘s work with homeless and battered women, or organizations likeBAOBAB in Nigeria that promote women’s rights within a customary, statutory and religious law paradigm.

Also read:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an Islamophobe who hates all muslims

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the Challenge of Progressive Critique

Islamismism: Hirsi, Berman and Ramadan on Islam

 

From Moses to Moses: Traversing two Maimonides Quotes on Muslims

From Moses to Moses: Traversing two Maimonides Quotes on Muslims

March 30 marks the birthday of Moses Maimonides. As such, it seemed to be a good time to discuss two of his quotes that have been used in discussions of Islam and Islamophobia in part due to the range of views that seem to be expressed in them by the same author.

Original Guest Post

By JustStoppingBy

Recently, Robert Spencer tried to make a distinction between Allah and God, arguing that “even though they may share a name, any examination of the particulars of Christian and Islamic theology reveals that the deities in question are quite different in character.”

Note that Spencer does not say that Christians and Muslims have “different views of the same deity” but discusses “the deities in question.” In doing this, he invites the reader to reach the conclusion that the “Muslim Allah” is not the same as the “Christian God.” Danios has already provided a thorough explanation on the use of the term Allah by Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic times. As Danios points out, a common Islamophobic response is to claim that Muslims appropriated the term Allah while referring to a different entity, perhaps a moon god, but not to the god that Jews and Christians worship.

To further create a distinction between Allah and the Christian God, Spencer has asked whether the hajj is an act of apostasy based on his claims that the rites involved in the hajj are of Hindu origin. Of course, it is widely accepted that polytheists made pilgrimages to Mecca and that the Ka’bah was a pagan shrine that contained idols before the advent of Islam, including a belief that pre-Islamic pilgrims to Mecca, “[w]ith all their polytheism and idolatry, they too used to circle the Ka’bah and kiss the Black Stone.” So, even if Spencer were right, that would not seem to be a particularly Earth-shattering revelation.

Since many who propound this “deities” theory won’t listen to Danios perhaps they will listen to some other views. We can start by moving a little away from the Christian-Muslim deity distinction that Spencer wants to draw and referring to a statement by perhaps the most renowned post-Biblical Jewish scholar, Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam). In Responsa #448, Maimonides writes as follows (ellipses in Wikipedia, bolding added; alternate translation also available):

The Ishmaelites are not at all idolaters; [idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts; and they attribute to God a proper unity, a unity concerning which there is no doubt. And because they lie about us, and falsely attribute to us the statement that God has a son, is no reason for us to lie about them and say that they are idolaters … And should anyone say that the house that they honor [the Kaaba] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship,then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven … [Regarding] the Ishmaelites today – idolatry has been severed from the mouths of all of them [including] women and children. Their error and foolishness is in other things which cannot be put into writing because of the renegades and wicked among Israel [i.e., apostates]. But as regards the unity of God they have no error at all.

Maimonides’ life covered various phases of Muslim-Jewish relations. Maimonides was born in Córdoba in 1135, at the tail end of the longest potential extent of the “Golden Age” of Spanish Jewry, which saw the blossoming of Jewish culture and the attainment by individual Jews of high positions in commercial and public life. As a result of the Arab political dominance, Maimonides knew Arabic, read many texts in Arabic, and composed many of his most famous works in Arabic and referred to God as Allah in his Arabic writing.

In 1148, Córdoba was conquered by the Almohads, an Berber-Muslim dynasty that revoked the dhimmi status of Jews. There is, no doubt, much debate about the quality of the life of a dhimmi, but scholars have noted that “in any historical case, these relatively abstract and general provisions of the dhimma could and did materialize as either a tolerant and even liberating arrangement, or at the other extreme, a culturally repressive policy within which religious freedom is a hollow formality.” (María Rosa Monocal, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain,” p. 73. Garibaldi reviews the book here.) Life for Jews under the Almohads went from the previous tolerant and liberating arrangement to the other extreme, with the result that “[m]any Jews were forced to convert, but due to suspicion by the authorities of fake conversions, the new converts had to wear identifying clothing that set them apart and made them available to public scrutiny with many forced to convert or go into exile.” The point of this is not to dwell on history, but to put Maimonides’ responsa into context. It was written not by someone who had experienced only positive relations between Muslims and Jews, but who had also witnessed among the harshest of relations. And one should note that after fleeing Córdoba, Maimonides eventually again found himself in a place where he could establish good relations with Muslim authorities, becoming court physician to Saladin.

So, what does Maimonides have to say about how Muslims view God? Returning to the quote, we see that Maimonides says that “[idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts.” This, is in fact the same story told in Islam’s view of its own history: before Muhammad, the Ishmaelites (as Maimonides refers to them) in and around Mecca were idolaters. But, since the advent of Islam, “they attribute to God a proper unity.” The Islamic term for a “proper unity” istawhid, which, in essence, is not just a superficial form of “unity” but a “proper unity” that has an influence on Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence. It is also possible that Maimonides was even distinguishing between the “proper” Jewish and Muslim view of God’s unity and what he would consider the “improper” Christian view of a trinitarian unity. Nowhere does Maimonides even suggest that Muslims are worshiping some different deity or that they do not share the Jewish view of God’s character.

Maimonides further argues that “should anyone say … [the Kaba’a] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship, then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven.” This can be read as a pre-rebuttal to arguments made by Robert Spencer about the Kaba’a and the hajj based on views, true or not, about their pre-Islamic origins. As Maimonides points out, if Muslims view Allah as the same god Jews view in Heaven and direct their prayers accordingly, pre-Islamic history does not affect their monotheism. Say what you want about any possible idol remnant in the Ka’bah or the etymology of the term Allah, it is clear that the “hearts of [Muslims] today are only toward Heaven.”

Now, why is Maimonides such an interesting person to quote from when countering Spencer’s Islamophobic rhetoric? For one thing, Spencer’s polemical partner Pamela Geller has also quoted from Maimonides, believing that it helps the position that she and Spencer take in general and in her fights about her ads about a choice “between the civilized man and the savage” in particular. Here is a quote she uses, from Maimonides’ Epistle to Yemen:

Let Ye understand, my brothers, the Holy One Blessed HE through the trap created by our iniquities cast us amongst this nation, the people of Ishmael [Muslims] whose oppressiveness is firmly upon us and they connive to do us wrong and despicably downgrade us as the Almighty decreed against us (Deuteronomy 32:31, “Your enemies shall judge you”).

There never came against Israel a more antagonistic nation. They oppress us with the most oppressive measures to lessen our number, reduce us, and make us as despicable as they themselves are [Psalms 120:5].

Geller, misleadingly introduces this quote by saying that Maimonides “said this of Islam.” She further introduces the purely religious term Muslims in brackets where Maimonides referred to the “people of Ishmael,” a term that could have ethnic, political, and/or religious connotations.

On the religious aspect, while Maimonides did not accept Islam, it is clear from the earlier quote that he fully accepted that Muslims, or Ishmaelites, were monotheists whose hearts are directed only toward heaven in prayer. Instead, the conflict he describes is a political one, in particular with the Yemeni Shi’a of the time. Ultimately, “Maimonides interceded with Saladin in Egypt, and shortly thereafter the persecution came to an end.”

There are a few additional points worth noting in this quote from Maimonides. First, the reference to “the people of Ishmael” may sound like a form of generalization today, but no more so than the positive references to Ishmaelites in the first Maimonides quote or his reference to Jews as Israel in the second.

Second, unlike Geller, Maimonides does not attempt to create a picture in which one side is civilized and the other savage. Indeed, Maimonides describes Israel’s exile as a “trap created by our iniquities.” Traditionally, this referred to the “baseless hatred,” or the religious and political disputes, mistakes, violence, and venom that existed at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple and the onset of the Exile. Thus, Maimonides’ approach was not to turn a political dispute or suffering persecution into a basis for misrepresenting the religious views of others. Nor did he argue that those of his religion were pure and those of another religion were not; rather, he pointed out sinful behavior in both. In Maimonides’ view, monotheism was a good quality, and, from the first quote, we see that he was able to acknowledge what he saw as the good in his political opponents rather than feeling the need to suppress any of those qualities or actions as if his entire position would fall apart if his political adversaries had any good side. In addition, when Maimonides corresponded with a community of Jews who were being persecuted by a Muslim majority, he made a point of noting that even the Jews who then felt persecuted should not ignore their group’s own history of hatred and violence, including political mistakes that were part of the reason for their exile.

While there are aspects to the two quotes from Maimonides that one can agree or disagree with, they do reflect an overall attitude that contrasts sharply with those of Spencer and Geller.

While Maimonides had political differences with various Muslim groups, he did not seek to mischaracterize their religion or their religious beliefs. For there can be no true peace with the Other without recognition of the truth of their beliefs and behavior and honest dialogue based on those truths, a sharp contrast to the insidious Spencer/Geller policy of no peace, no truthful recognition, and no honest dialogue. Compare Maimonides’ recognition of Islam’s positive monotheistic quality, even when he disagreed politically with Muslims, with Spencer, who has argued that “the only good Muslim is a bad Muslim,” meaning that in his view, the only morally good Muslim is one who is not an Islamically good Muslim.

In terms of lessons for today, it may be helpful to see how Maimonides separated the political battles he faced from the opportunities to engage in religious prejudice against the beliefs of the Other. This did not mean that he refrained from political activity, as seen by his appeal to Saladin. But, neither did he refrain from standing up for the truth about another group’s religious beliefs. In viewing how Maimonides conducted these two fights, perhaps it can be said that the lesson is that we should fight our political battles as if there were no religious prejudice, and we should fight religious prejudice as if there were no political battles.

EXPOSED: “Muslim charter” UKIP MEP Gerard Batten directly linked to extremist anti-Muslim propaganda network

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EXPOSED: “Muslim charter” UKIP MEP Gerard Batten directly linked to extremist anti-Muslim propaganda network

Original guest post by Jai Singh

Headed by Nigel Farage, a Member of the European Parliament, the UK Independence Party(known as “UKIP”) has made huge gains in local government elections in the UK, and may achieve the support of up to 20% of voters during the impending European elections. UKIP has of course also received scrutiny due to the extreme right-wing (and often explicitly Far-Right) views of far too many of its politicians. These views have received publicity via a combination of media exposure and blunders by UKIP politicians themselves.

Such incidents are continuing to occur. For example, during a recent UKIP conference in Torquay, Nigel Farage was caught enthusiastically applauding racist “jokes” about South Asians along with similarly derogatory “humour” at the expense of Muslims. Furthermore, during the same conference, UKIP tried to ban journalists from a meeting ostensibly to discuss sharia law; the very first question at that meeting was “How can you be both a Muslim and an Englishman ?” Farage himself has also become increasingly outspoken about expressing highly offensive views; in fact, even traditionally right-wing British news outlets such as The Telegraph are nowpublishing articles describing UKIP as “an overtly racist and extremist party”.

UKIP’S “DECLARATION FORM” FOR CANDIDATES

According to BBC deputy political editor James Landale, writing on 28 February 2014:

If you want evidence of how UKIP is trying to become more professional, look no further than the form potential candidates have to fill out, a copy of which I have obtained at the party’s conference in Torquay.

Wannabe UKIP candidates have to declare the following:

“I never engaged in, advocated or condoned racist, violent, criminal or anti democratic activity.

“I have never been a member of or had links with any organisation, group or association which the national executive committee considers is liable to bring the party into disrepute.

“I have never been convicted of any offence punishable by a custodial sentence, whether or not a custodial sentence was actually imposed. I shall notify the Party Chairman and General Secretary immediately upon being interviewed under caution.”

Later the form asks specifically: “Are you or have you ever been a member of the BNP, EDL or any other organisation that might be of public interest?”

And this is my favourite: “I do not have any ‘skeletons in my cupboard’ that may cause me or UKIP embarrassment if they were to come out during the election.”

Unfortunately for UKIP, the ramifications of this will become clearer immediately below, although not in the way UKIP’s leadership intended.

UKIP MEP GERARD BATTEN AND THE ANTI-MUSLIM PROPAGANDA NETWORK

Another very senior UKIP politician who has recently featured in the British news is Gerard Batten, UKIP’s immigration spokesman. A founder member of UKIP in 1993, he has also been UKIP’s Chief Whip since 2009, and was personally appointed by Nigel Farage. Furthermore, Batten is currently UKIP’s MEP for London and a member of UKIP’s National Executive Committee. Batten was appointed a member of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence in 2004; he was appointed UKIP’s spokesman on Security and Defence soon afterwards.

In February 2014, Batten appeared as one of the main participants in several televised political debates on Channel 4 and the BBC, primarily in his capacity as UKIP’s immigration spokesman.As discussed in The Guardian, Batten has also recently received some publicity due to his proposed “Muslim Charter” requiring British Muslims to sign a “code of conduct”; despite the outcry, Batten has refused to withdraw his proposal. (Nigel Farage subsequently disownedBatten’s proposal).

Furthermore, the same Guardian article confirms that Batten is also on record as suggesting a ban on new mosques in British cities; Batten justified this by repeatedly referring to the prohibition on non-Muslim places of worship in Saudi Arabia, which he kept describing as “the heartland” of Islam. Batten is therefore proposing that British citizens who are Muslims should effectively be held hostage to the actions of foreign governments. Bear in mind that the majority of British Muslims do not have Saudi Arabian (or Middle-Eastern) backgrounds and do not even belong to the same religious “denomination” as state-sponsored Saudi Wahhabism.

On 28 February 2014, during an interview with Sky News anchor Adam Boulton, Nigel Farage insisted that UKIP had already “got rid of” everyone with any links to extremism. During his speech at the recent UKIP conference discussed above, Farage similarly claimed that “We’ve had one or two bad people. We’ve got rid of them”. However, Farage’s claims are demonstrably false: It turns out that Gerard Batten himself has a history of direct involvement with the core extremist international anti-Muslim propaganda network.

For example, in 2007, Gerard Batten personally represented the UK at a major anti-Muslim conference held in Brussels by the aforementioned propagandists. The conference brought together dozens of organisations and individuals to inaugurate the “Counterjihad Europa” network; participants included a number of the main writers at the virulently anti-Muslim websiteGates of Vienna, along with Robert Spencer, who is the main writer of the Jihad Watch website and a foreign extremist whom the British Government’s Home Office has now banned from entering the UK. Full details on the conference here and here; Gerard Batten is explicitly named.

Regular readers will recognise the names of many of the people listed, including sources cited by the mass-murdering terrorist Anders Breivik in his manifesto; Gates of Vienna owner Edward May (aka “Baron Bodissey”) is on record as explicitly describing himself as a “propagandist” and admitting that his agenda is to deliberately promote highly distorted information about Islam in order to stereotype and demonise the religion. Subsequent annual conferences have includedhigh-profile participation from the English Defence League leadership.

Gerard Batten is also directly linked to the Dutch Far-Right politician Geert Wilders, and has even held joint press conferences with him. Wilders’ extremely bigoted views on Islam are well-known (see examples via Wikipedia and the Institute for Policy Studies). Batten is on record as describing Wilders as “a brave man trying to defend western civilisation in the face of its own loss of the most basic instinct of self preservation”.

Furthermore, Gerard Batten also has a history of assisting the extremely anti-Muslim “Stop Islamisation of Europe” (SIOE) organisation. He even handed in a petition on behalf of SIOE head Anders Gravers to the mayor of Brussels. SIOE is part of Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller’s SION (“Stop Islamization of Nations”) organisation, and Gravers himself is currently a member of SION’s Presidents Council.

For the UKIP leadership’s benefit and for the public record, it is worth reiterating the following key facts. Robert Spencer is:

(a) an individual with precisely zero academic, professional or linguistic qualifications on the subject of Islam;
(b) an individual whose own alma mater, the University of North Carolina, have publicly condemned his writings;
(c) formally allied to racist white supremacists and European neo-Nazis, and has even organised joint public demonstrations with then;
(d) on record as demonising the entire Muslim population and demonising the religion of Islam as a whole;
(e) on record as repeatedly making false statements about Islam and Muslims, and repeatedly trying to hide the evidence when his actions were exposed;
(f) on record as making false statements about historical Popes and major Jewish figures, and then trying to hide the evidence when his actions were exposed;
(g) one of the most heavily cited sources in the terrorist Anders Breivik’s manifesto;
(h) an ordained Catholic deacon who has publicly admitted that his anti-Islam propaganda campaign is heavily motivated by his [unilateral] agenda for the dominance of the Catholic Church, despite the fact that his actions are in violation of both official Vatican policy and the extensive interfaith bridge-building efforts of the global leaders of his own Catholic sect;
(i) closely linked to influential American Catholic religious leaders affiliated with “Dominionism”, an extreme interpretation of fundamentalist Christianity deriving from “Christian Reconstructionism”, which involves the belief that rule by non-Christians anywhere in the world is sacrilege, explicitly approves of the historical slavery of African-Americans, and openly advocates the replacement of American law with Old Testament injunctions including the death penalty for apostasy and homosexuality; furthermore, according to Dominionism, its adherents have a God-given mandate to infiltrate the highest echelons of power and subsequently impose their beliefs on the entire world;
(j) closely linked to multiple figures who are extremely anti-Semitic as well as anti-Muslim;
(k) on record as denying the Srebrenica genocide, explicitly describing it as “the-genocide-that-never-was” and proposing “the possibility that Muslims could have carried out any deceptive atrocity-manufacturing in the Balkans”;
(l) on record as repeatedly promoting the work & writings of Serge Trifkovic, former spokesman for the Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic; Karadzic is currently charged with genocide during the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia. Spencer and Trifkovic have even held joint interviews and collaborated on an anti-Islam documentary film. Trifkovic openly supports and defends Ratko Mladic, whom the United Nations Tribunal has indicted on 16 counts of genocide and war crimes. Furthermore, Trifkovic has also appeared as a defence witness during the trials of several Serbian war criminals subsequently convicted of multiple crimes against humanity, including genocide, exterminations, persecution and deportations;
(m) on record as joining a genocidal white nationalist Facebook group called the “Campaign for the Reconquest of Anatolia”, whose mission statement openly advocates the ethnic cleansing, mass sterilisation and euthanasia of Turkey’s entire Muslim population, targeting “up to 150 million people”;
(n) on record as making extremely disparaging statements about the prestigious West Point military institution and has described Far-Right terrorists in the US as “ordinary Americans who believe in individual rights”.
(o) an individual whose SION/SIOA/AFDI organisations’ leadership is directly assisted by David Yerushalmi, the head of an organisation whose mission statement explicitly declares that its (currently unidentified) members are “dedicated to the rejection of democracy”.
[Note: Extensive further information regarding these facts along with a range of other matters involving Robert Spencer and his inner circle is available in this recent article.]

EDL ex-leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) was a member of SION’s Presidents Council until his unconvincing “defection” to the Quilliam Foundation in October 2013. Speaking to various international outlets, especially a Far-Right source, Yaxley-Lennon has admitted the real reasons for his involvement with Quilliam. It is worth noting that Yaxley-Lennon has repeatedly stated that there has actually been zero change in his extremist views, and that he continues to support Robert Spencer. Yaxley-Lennon is also on record as publicly endorsing UKIP.

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UKIP’S LINKS TO INTERNATIONAL FAR-RIGHT PARTIES

As confirmed by the New Statesman:

Ukip is part of the group Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD). The group includes representatives of the Danish People’s Party, the True Finns Party, the Dutch SGP and the infamous Italian Lega Nord – all of them far-right. Nigel Farage is co-President of the group along with Lega Nord’s Francesco Speroni, who described multiple murderer Anders Breivik as someone whose “ideas are in defence of western civilisation.”

Mario Borghezio, another member of the group, declared in a radio interview that Breivik had some “excellent” ideas. Farage’s reaction was to write a strongly-worded letter to Borghezio, asking him to withdraw his comments or Ukip would pull out of the EFD. Borghezio not only did not apologise, but responded with an extraordinary speech in which he raged: “Long live the Whites of Europe, long live our identity, our ethnicity, our race… our blue sky, like the eyes of our women. Blue, in a people who want to stay white.”

Nigel Farage did not withdraw from the EFD. He continues to co-preside over it, along with the leader of the Lega Nord. MEP Nikki Sinclaire, however, was expelled from Ukip for refusing to take part in the EFD because of their “extreme views”.

UKIP AND BRITISH FAR-RIGHT PARTIES

Via the aforementioned New Statesman article:

“Ukip has no links to the BNP,” explained Farage in 2007. The first line of any description of Ukip calls it “a libertarian, non-racist party”. What party, other than one skating close to the lines of taste and decency, needs to describe itself as “non-racist”? Farage boasted on The Andrew Marr Show (20 January 2013) that “Ukip is the only UK party to explicitly ban BNP members from joining”. What party, other than a party whose policies are attractive to such organisations, would need to do that?

…..More recently, however, Farage refused to vote to oppose moves for the European Union to fund the BNP.

The founder of the party, Alan Sked, says it has become “extraordinarily right-wing” and is now devoted to “creating a fuss, via Islam and immigrants”.

Furthermore, as confirmed by the Huffington Post on 28 February 2014, it turns out that UKIP’s “new” “Love Britain, Vote Ukip” campaign slogan is actually a rehash of the Far-Right BNP’s own slogan. A BNP spokesman subsequently complained “They’ve stolen our policies and now they’ve stolen our slogan”.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

1. For interested readers, UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s Twitter address is @Nigel_Farage.

2. UKIP “immigration spokesman” and “Chief Whip” Gerard Batten’s Twitter address is@GerardBattenMEP.

3. BBC deputy political editor James Landale’s Twitter address is @BBCJLandale.

4. Sky News anchor Adam Boulton’s Twitter address is @adamboultonSKY.

5. Huffington Post UK Political Director / New Statesman contributor Mehdi Hasan’s Twitter address is @mehdirhasan.

The Jews Are Helping Muslims Take Over The West

Abd-al-Rahman_III

The Jews Are Helping Muslims Take Over The West

By Garibaldi

One often hears Islamophobes in the “counterjihad” movement claiming to be defenders of the “Judeo-Christian” West against the spread of Islam and the enfranchisement of Muslims in Western democracies. The term Judeo-Christian gained currency in the middle of the 20th century,

“promoted by groups which evolved into the National Conference of Christians and Jews, to fight antisemitism by expressing a more inclusive idea of American values rather than just Christian or Protestant.”

Ironically, in the past several decades and especially since 9/11, Judeo-Christian has most often been used by the rightwing to exclude differing religions and cultures from staking their own claim to Americanness, specifically, to amplify the so-called “Islamic threat.”

The rightwing considers America’s “uniqueness” to be rooted in its Judeo-Christian values. Take radio host Dennis Prager, who writes,

[o]nly America has called itself Judeo-Christian. America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values. Along with the belief in liberty—as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity—Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries.

The claims about “European,” “Muslim,” and “Eastern” societies are simplistic generalizations but there is some truth to Prager’s claim that “only America has called itself Judeo-Christian,” in so far as the USA is where Judeo-Christianism was born. If one can speak in such broad terms at all of an alliance/unity between Jews and Christians it is relatively recent; only 70 years out of the past 2,000 years.

A different kind of alliance

A recent article published on Loonwatch about the Spanish government’s commitment to give descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled over 500 years ago from Andalus automatic citizenship brought to mind the longer and deeper history of Jewish and Muslim collaboration.

The history of Jewish-Muslim alliance has led some scholars to the interesting thesis that the roots of medieval European Christian anti-Semitism was rooted not in charges of deicide (Jews killed Jesus) against Jews but in their alliance and collaboration with Muslims.

In Allan Harris Cutler and Helen Elmquist Cutler’s book, “The Jews as Ally of the Muslim,” the authors,

[R]evise the traditional explanations of the roots of anti-Semitism. They contend that the great outburst of anti-Semitism in Western Europe during the Middle Ages … derived from primarily anti-Muslimism and the association of Jew with Muslim.

Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, in one of his less bellicose and polemical articles wrote a review of the book in 1987 that is worth reading, concluding that “it offers an intriguing and ultimately convincing argument.” Though he takes exception to the authors’ advice to Pope John Paul II to“transform his office and mission from a more narrowly Christian into a broadly Abrahamic one . . . to create a new spiritual and institutional unity between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.”

Among certain nationalists and White Power currents in the “counterjihad” there is a continuation of the idea that Jews are allying with Muslims to help them take over the West, just as Jews aided Muslims in conquering Hispania from Visigoth tyranny.

In the view of these counterjihadists Jewish intellectuals have opened the gates of fortified Europe and America through modern day liberalism. Hence, their usage of “Leftist” in the familiar Islamophobic expression, “Leftist-Muslim alliance to destroy the West,” is a P.C. way to refer to Jews. “Leftist” masks an undercurrent of antiSemitism, since in their view Jew=Leftist.

The website Islam Versus Europe: Where Islam Spreads, Freedom Dies, did a three part series titled, “Jewish collaboration with Muslims during the invasion of Spain” by Cheradnine Zakalwe. The website has a global Alexa ranking of 703,552 and a US ranking of 262,275.

islamversuseuropeblogspot

IslamVersusEurope is considered by other “counterjihadists” to be a “respected CounterJihad blog” and is linked and blogrolled on numerous Islamophobic sites. The site has also been approvingly linked by Deacon Robert Spencer even after Zakalwe’s series of articles. (Not surprising considering Spencer’s alliance with antiSemites such as Eric Allen Bell and the anti-Jewish stances of his ally Pamela Geller).

IslamVersusEurope_JihadWatch

The main point of Zakalwe’s three part series is summed up in his first post,

So the Jews in Spain were enslaving European Christians. This provoked the irritation of other European Christians, who then took measures against the Jews. This caused the Jews to reach out to their fellow Jews abroad and to the Arabs, urging them to invade Spain and bring this Christian oppression to an end. When they did so, the Jews eagerly collaborated with the Muslims, acting as administrators for the conquered cities and realm.

The parallels with our own time are striking, with Jewish intellectuals having paved the way for the modern Muslim conquest by pushing the benefits of immigration, diversity, tolerance, special minority protection, etc., denigrating nationalism and wielding the Nazi stick forcefully against anyone bold enough to dissent. (Emphasis mine)

These views are not limited to Zakalwe but can also be found on unabashedly racist and Islamophobic sites like Occidental Dissent and Occidental Observer.

The truth is that yes, there was a long history of collaboration and affinity between Muslims and Jews which fueled animosity on the part of European Christendom. Pipes in his review of the Cutlers’ study even notes,

[T]he Hebrew language shares much with Arabic, and Judaism shares much with Islam; on the most abstract level, both are religions of law, while Christianity is a religion of faith. More specifically, they share many features such as circumcision, dietary regulations, and similar sexual codes. Further, because the Muslims were preeminent in the medieval centuries, “Jews themselves associated Jew with Muslim.” When this became known among the Christians, it much harmed the Jews’ position. Most damaging of all, Jews on occasion helped Muslim troops against Christians (as in the initial Arab conquest of Spain) and some Jews held prominent positions in Muslim governments at war with the Christians. Even when they did not actually take part in the fighting, “Jews usually rejoiced when Christian territory fell into Islamic hands.”

Mattai and Pope Alexander

Mattai and Pope Alexander

While there were great similarities and affinities, it must be pointed out that it is only logical that Jews would ally with those who would treat them better and with whom relations would be more advantageous. If medieval European Christians were offering less discrimination and interference in religious, family and financial life than Muslims then certainly Jews would have collaborated with Christians more than Muslims. In other words one cannot discount the importance of community interests, foremost survival as the motivation for such alliances.

This was driven home to me while watching the third season of Showtime’s historical drama,The Borigas. In one of the episodes, the leader of the Jewish community, Mattai meets with Pope Alexander,

Mattai meets with Alexander and tells him the whole Turkish navy could be burned to the waves with oil. He proposes stuffing some ships with oil for Ramadan and sending them over there just in time to berth for the holy month. Once they’re there, Mattai’s connections will set them alight. That’s if Alexander issues a papal bull that eases up on the taxes on the Jews in Rome. Alexander moans that he asks for a great deal, but Mattai refuses to back down, and even gives Alexander a bit of lip…He says he needs money to buy all this oil, and Alexander says that he’ll issue the bull if Mattai can ensure the success of this scheme.

Alexander meets with Mattai, Cardinal Sforza, and a few others. Mattai tells him the ships loaded with oil are already docked and the conflagration may have already happened.

In Constantinople, oil leaking out over the water is set alight, swiftly engulfing the anchored ships.

Back in Rome, Alexander sits and signs the papal bull, while in Constantinople, the ships explode and sailors flee for their lives. In a fantastic long shot, we see the entire fleet from a distance, burning away.

While the actual historicity of these events are dubious and likely never occurred, it highlights the reasons and motivations that guide communities. Jews who aided Muslims in Spain did so not primarily because both Muslims and Jews circumcise males or eschew pork but rather because they trusted that they would have a better and freer life.

The “counterjihadists” know that “perfidious” Jews aren’t opening up the gates to Muslim hordes. It is no longer the 14th century, there isn’t a “Christendom,” let alone a “Caliphate.” Many Christians are united alongside Muslims and Jews and others to make society and the world better, that is what the interfaith movement is all about.

Opening our doors to the stranger, seeing the image of G-d in our fellow human being and their inherent dignity should not be the opposite of our values but the very core of what we struggle to achieve and become.

This however is appeasement to the paranoid and conspiratorial “counterjihadists,” who in the place of our multi-faith and multi-cultural reality want to take us back to an unrealistic mono-faith, mono-cultural world.

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