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.

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

Not Kosher

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

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

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

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

Guest Post by Just Stopping By

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deacon Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller Lie About “Muslim Mob” Attacking Jews in Australia

Deacon Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller Lie About “Muslim Mob” Attacking Jews in Australia

Australia_Jews_Attacked

By Garibaldi

Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer and Pamela “the looniest blogger ever” Geller both ran a story titled,Australia: Muslim mob severely injures five Jews in an unprovoked anti-Semitic Attack. The original story is about a Jewish family in Australia that was assaulted and racially taunted by a group of “youth” as they were headed home after a Sabbath dinner. (h/t: Ramey E.)

In Spencer and Geller’s account the news reports on the incident were hiding the “real” identities of the youth as part of a media conspiracy to protect Islam and Muslims.

Spencer’s article claimed that,

True to form, the mainstream media doesn’t mention the identity of the perpetrators, but that in itself is a clue as to who they were: if the attackers had been neo-Nazis, the Herald would have had no trouble saying that. Only when it comes to Muslims do “brawls” and “bombings” and “violence” just happen by themselves, with no clear perp. Also, the mention of the facts that the attack was “racially motivated” and in a “multicultural area” makes clear the identity of these “youths” (a common mainstream media term for violent young Muslims in any case).

One of the idiotic aspects to this aside from its conspiratorial and baseless nature is that the media often gets matters related to Islam and Muslims horrifically wrong (take the recent example of “Sexual Jihad“) and does its utmost to perpetuate sensationalist headlines (the Daily Beast article on “Muslim Patrols“) that have little to no grounding in reality.

Geller in her usual hate-filled ranting added a bit of innuendo and fear-mongering to juice up the lies she was about to peddle labeling it as evidence of “Islamic antisemitism,”

Wherever Muslim immigration increases, so do attacks on Jews. Everywhere.

The story has been picked up by the Islamophobe network and beyond, hence creating greater ignorance and hatred.

When the extremely Right-Wing, Sheldon “Nuke Iran” Adelson owned newspaper Israel Hayomstated that the perpetrators of the attack were not Muslim, Geller wrote:

[M]edia fastidiousness about identifying perpetrators from groups that enjoy politically correct victim status is now extending to other groups as well.

In reality this attack had nothing to do with “Islam” or “Islamic movements” as Australian police made clear but I guess they are just foolish dhimmis.

According to police and one of the youths parents those who took part in the assault on the Jewish family are bostom_Robert_Spencerpart of a gang and had been partying and drinking all night, not really the norm of what is associated with “Islamic” behavior.

For some reason when Spencer and Geller see any violence by alcohol fueled gangs in an “immigrant” area they immediately think: Muslims.

I happen to think Spencer probably types half of his blog-posts inebriated. It would explain a lot.

By Mark Morri & Taylor Auerbach, The Australian

TWO Sydney teenagers accused making racial taunts during an alleged assault on a Jewish family and two of their friends were on bail at the time for assaulting a police officer.

Just weeks before allegedly calling the group “f…ing Jews” and assaulting them, the two 17-year-olds were charged with using unlawful violence against Constable Chun-Yuan Shieh and a number of others at Coogee beach on a Saturday at 11pm.

They were also charged with affray for assaulting the police officer in the execution of his duty on September 7.

The pair were part of a group of eight mainly Pacific Islander youths who have been charged with attacking the family and friends walking home from a Sabbath Dinner just after midnight on Saturday morning at Bondi. A 23-year-old was arrested and charged on the night before being released to appear in court on December 3.

The remaining five are still being hunted by police who are now scouring CCTV footage in the area near Blair and Glenayr Streets where the attack took place.

A 27-year-old man, his father, 66, and mother, 62 along with two other males aged 48 and 39, all ended up being hospitalised after the attack suffering from concussion, fractured bones, bleeding on the brain and serious abrasions.

The mother of one of the accused said her son was not a racist and she works at a Jewish nursing home.

She said her son struggles with alcohol addiction and only got out of juvenile detention last week.

“He’s been in a lot of trouble,” she said yesterday.

“When he’s at home he’s not racist but when they get together they like to pick on people, it only takes drinking.”

Her son is part of a “gang” that often uses her residence as a place to sleep.

“What can I do? I’ve already told him not to drink but you can only do so much.

“I’m really, really upset. I’m worried about him because I haven’t seen him … He’s a loving boy. He’s like Dr Jekkyl an Mr Hyde.

“I spoke to him (Sunday) night, I said ‘boy you’re naughty’ and he said ‘yeah mum but it’s not my fault’.

“According to my son, he stops the fights.”

The mother said the gang had been drinking at a party on Bondi Beach on the night of the alleged bashing and described his friendship with the co-accused as “very, very, very, very close.”

“He’s just got out of (juvenile detention) last week.

“When he was 16 he was in there for a very long time … for robbery at a train station.”

The two teenagers were yesterday refused bail when they appeared in Bidura children’s court and ordered to reappear next month.

Senior police emphasised that those allegedly involved in the attack had nothing to do with any Islamic movements.

The family also released a statement calling for tolerance.

“We thank God that we are alive,” the family said.

“Our overriding concern is that such an attack should not happen again – to anyone. Our objective at this time is not vengeance, but justice and concern. We want justice to be done in regard to the perpetrators. And we are concerned about the need for the education of future generations about the importance of goodwill and tolerance, and the need for society to embrace those concepts. We would like to see proactive measures in that regard.

“People should be free to walk the streets in safety, without fear of being attacked because of the colour of their skin or the race to which they belong.

“We wish to thank the police for their fast response on the night of the incident, as well as St Vincent’s Hospital emergency staff, the ambulance service, the shopkeepers who offered assistance, the locals who tried to help, the hotel bouncers who eventually came to our aid. We also thank the Premier, Opposition Leader, ministers, shadow ministers, MPs and leaders of the many faith groups and organisations across the wider community which have expressed support and concern. We also thank friends and members of the community. The support is deeply appreciated and reminds us that what occurred is not what Australia is about.

The Jewish community is still in shock over the attack.”

About that Muslims Harass Christian & Jewish Neighbors, Police Refuse to Help Story

PamelaGellerUndead-e1277488194648-1

About that Muslims Harass Christian & Jewish Neighbors, Police Refuse to Help Story

by Sheila Musaji

This particular strategy of the Islamophobia network is getting tiresome.

Pamela Geller posted #MyJihad in Paris: Muslims Harass, Attack Christian and Jewish Neighbors, Police Refuse to Help in which she published an email she received from an anonymous “Atlas reader” in Paris.

We are supposed to take her word for it that this individual’s statement is true.  Geller, of course, will take the word of anyone who has anything negative to say about Islam and Muslims.

What is the story that Geller must share with the world?

An anonymous reader of her site asks Pamela to help her “tell the world about what is going on here so that people will fight these horrible pigs.”  [the “pigs” she refers to are Muslims.] In her story she complains about the French “socialist government”,  altercations with Muslim neighbors, and bizarre incidents that she is aware of (like Muslims forcing a Jewish child to eat pork or they would kill her parents).

This would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that there are individuals who do take Geller’s postings seriously.  This is the sort of incoherent story you get from people walking the streets and talking to themselves.

Not content with putting this story out on her site, Geller also tweeted it out using the #MyJihad hashtag, as part of her ongoing effort to undermine that positive effort by Muslims to take back the term from both Muslim extremists and Islamophobes.  And, her followers followed suit, tweeting and re-tweeting this “story” using the #MyJihad hashtag.

Interestingly, the two groups who share extremists views about Islam – the Muslim extremists and the Islamophobes - both attacked the campaign.  Geller & Spencer accused the #MyJihad campaign of inspiring a Chicago bus threat.  They also began churning out articles with the hashtag #MyJihad in their titles, and then tweeting the titles of those articles and encouraging others to re-tweet, in an attempt to take over the #MyJihad hashtag by overwhelming it with hateful messages.  Many of the articles they have come up with have been, even by their standards, disgraceful.  Here are just a few of these false hate pieces from the past few days:  (Don’t worry, the links take you to responses, not the original)  #MyJihad: Egyptian Cleric Warns Christian Women: If You Don’t Wear a Veil You’ll Be Raped - #MyJihad: Muslim cleric tells converts to bury their Christian parents as if they were dead dogs - #MyJihad in Serbia: Kosovo Muslims destroy Serbian Orthodox monastery.  In addition to these new lies, they are recycling many of their old lies in tweets including the hashtag, e.g. #MyJihad 270 million victims of over a millennium of jihadi wars - #MyJihad 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11, etc.   See the RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY section below for links to responses to many of these current and previous hateful claims.

Based on Geller’s past performance it is difficult to believe that any sane person could take her rantings seriously, but they do.  I prefer to save myself the trouble and just use the Pamela Geller:  Shrieking Harpy Rant Generator to get my dose of Geller “humor” for the day.

Why does this story sound so familiar?

Geller, and her partner Robert Spencer have proven hundreds of times that they have a Tenuous Grasp of the Concept of “Truth Telling”.

One of the many previous lies they spread was very similar to this current one.  In that case Geller posted an article titled “Hate Crime” which shared an email from a reader who had supposedly been harassed by Muslims in her neighborhood and was unable to get law enforcement or elected officials to do anything about it.

In that case, the writer calling herself “Danusha (Redacted) PhD” claimed a Muslim man accosted her and “impeded” her ability to walk down the street, and that Muslims regularly mock her, and one even hit her with his SUV.

When the article was originally posted it included this introduction to the email by Geller:  “The hypocrisy loooms [sic] large. Here’s a letter I thought I should share with you. I expect the gutless congressman who witnessed his Muslim constituents dancing on 9/11/01 will do nothing but hide beneath his desk. If this continues — auxiliary law enforcement will be necessary.”

Subsequently the original email from the “victim” was removed from Geller’s site, as was Geller’s lead in to the article, and replaced with an almost incoherent rant. In that rant, Geller claimed that ” I’ve removed the letter from this post because of threats to its author. The incredible evil that is standard operating procedure for those on the left led them to try to identify the author, and effectively target her for retribution. Thus I removed the letter. Imagine: this woman lives in fear every day, and the response to this violation of her basic human rights was an attempt to out her and put her life in jeopardy. That’s what we’re dealing with.” 

An article I wrote at the time exposing this nonsense, notes that according to Charles Johnson

… the individual who wrote this letter is Danusha Goska and he links to an email sent to a site called VDARE from this person in 2008.  That email complained about “Hispanic noise pollution” in her neighborhood.  In that email she included a copy of a letter that she had sent to her local mayor and claims that her complaints have gone unanswered.  The VDare site posts a note at the bottom of this post saying Goska, a teacher and Democrat, previously wrote to us about her experience with National Public Radio. with a link to this previous letter.

That link takes you to an email she sent which included an “essay” she had sent to NPR.  At the bottom of the “essay” is this:  Goska, a writer, teacher and Ph.D. from Indiana University does “manual labor to make ends meet.” She submitted this essay to NPR (e-mail) which rejected it.

Johnson also turned up a strange film review posted by a person named Danusha Goska.

In a simple google search I turned up a number of articles including this one - Islam and Terror: Some Thoughts after 9/11 by Danusha V. Goska, PhD.

She seems, like Geller to be focused on anti-Muslim rabble rousing.  Geller, rather than explain that she had been taken in by an email from a seemingly unstable person, instead pulled the email, and substituted a rant that still managed to make it seem as if the information contained in that original email was accurate.

This pattern of making outrageous claims based on no evidence at all, and then if caught out, attempting to conceal the evidence is a pattern.

Counter Ads: Jews and Christians Strike Back

Choose LoveCounter Ad: Rabbis for Human Rights, North America

Pamela Geller’s hate ads seem to have backfired. The latest round of  counter ads promoting love and tolerance are truly inspiring.

In addition to subway ads,  the progressive Christian group, Sojourners, is also sponsoring a billboard near the Toledo mosque that was the site of a recent arson attack. (H/T: Young & Free)

Pro-Muslim Subway Ads to Hang Near Anti-Jihad Ads

By ASHWAQ MASOODI, New York Times

Updated, 6:47 p.m. | Striking back against an anti-jihad advertisement in the subways widely perceived as anti-Muslim, two religious groups – one Jewish, one Christian – are taking out subway ads of their own to urge tolerance.

Rabbis for Human Rights – North America and the group Sojourners, led by the Christian author and social-justice advocate Jim Wallis, are unveiling their campaigns on Monday. Their ads will be placed near the anti-jihad ads in the same Manhattan subway stations, leaders of both groups said and transit officials confirmed. The groups said their campaigns were coincidental.

The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights turns the language of the earlier ad, placed by a pro-Israel group, on its head. The original ad says, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights says, “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”

“We wanted to make it clear that it is in response to the anti-Islam ad,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, whose members include rabbis from all streams of Judaism.

The Sojourners ad simply says, “Love your Muslim neighbors.”

Another Christian group, United Methodist Women, an affiliate of the United Methodist Church, has placed similar ads in the same 10 Manhattan stations where the anti-jihad appears. The ads, which went up on Wednesday, say, “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.”

One of the Methodist group’s ads, in Times Square station, is posted right next to one of the anti-jihad ads.

The anti-jihad ads, placed by the American Freedom Defense Initiative in 10 Manhattan stations, went up only after the group successfully sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which wanted to ban them. They were posted late last month – in the wake, as it happened, of violent protests that had erupted in many parts of the Muslim world over an American-produced video ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad, and one of them was immediately defaced. They have been defaced at least 15 times since then, said Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the authority.

Last week, the authority changed its advertising rules to ban ads that could “imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace.”

Mr. Donovan said the new ads “are accepted and conform with our guidelines,” adding, “The M.T.A. doesn’t endorse any of the ads we carry.”

The executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, Pamela Geller, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new ads.

 A new subway ad by United Methodist Women is also a response to the anti-jihad ad.

Rabbi Jacobs said: “Geller thinks she is speaking for the entire Jewish community. We are a group of 1,800 rabbis and we want everyone to know that we have to work in partnership with the Muslim community and do not believe in dehumanizing them.”

Sojourners’ campaigns manager, the Rev. Beau Underwood, said, “An essential tenet of Christianity is to love our neighbors.” He added: “In the face of religious extremism, the best response is to treat others like we would want to be treated. Our ad campaign has a simple message that is at the heart of our faith.”

Sojourners, together with some local interfaith communities, recently put up “Love your Muslim neighbors” billboards in Joplin, Mo., where a mosque was burned in August.

Sojourners solicitation for donations says: “Hateful anti-Muslim ads only result in violence, hatred, and more fear. Everyone — regardless of race, religion, or creed — deserves to feel welcome & safe when riding public transit in the United States.”

Gaffney upset Jews, Gays, Feminists aren’t anti-muslim

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney

I think you will find that there are Jewish, Gay and feminist anti-Muslims, but I guess it is a good sign that Gaffney is whining that there aren’t enough. (h/t: CriticalDragon)

Gaffney upset Jews, Gays, Feminists aren’t anti-muslim

by Brian Tashman (RightWingWatch)

Yesterday on Secure Freedom Radio, Frank Gaffney hosted the vociferously anti-Muslimanti-gayanti-Obama Rabbi Aryeh Spero to discuss his new book, “Push Back: Reclaiming the American Judeo-Christian Spirit.” Gaffney asked Spero why women’s rights and gay rights advocates, along with “the Jews who make up many of the most visible members of the international or at least domestic left,” are “making common cause” with Islamists.

In Gaffney’s view, any opposition to efforts by him and other anti-Muslim activists to undermine the religious freedom and civil rights of Muslim-Americans is tantamount to the promotion of Sharia law and Islamism. Spero replied to Gaffney’s ridiculous question by claiming that the left has “partnered up with Islam” and have become “tools of Islam” in order to bring about “the destruction of Judeo-Christian ethos” and “the destruction of the historic American civilization.” Spero also falsely claimed that feminists and gay rights supporters are silent on abuses in Muslim-majority countries, which is of course not thecase.

Gaffney: We’re often struck by the seeming commitment of those you’ve properly characterized as leftists seeking a transformation of the United States, to the Islamists who are seeking their own transformation of the United States and indeed the entire world. To what do you attribute the fact that despite when you’ve used the terms misogyny, the hatred of women, that the Islamists routinely engage in as they promote Sharia with a community of people who are all about feminism; the antipathy of the Islamists to homosexuality yet being supported by people who prize homosexual rights and have many of them in their ranks; the artists; the Jews who make up many of the most visible members of the international or at least domestic left. How can they possibly be making common cause against the culture, the Judeo-Christian culture of America with people who so clearly oppose them on all of those fronts?

Spero: Now this is actually what I consider the most important question of the day: how is it that those on the left who are always championing certain rights are now partnered up with Islam who is the very antithesis of the rights that the left is always championing. I think it forces us to see the left in a light that we’ve never saw before. I don’t think that the left is concerned is concerned so much with civil rights. If they were the feminists would be the first ones condemning what is happening to women all throughout the Muslim world and they are quiet and the people on the left and the homosexual lobby would be condemning Islam for what they’re doing in curtailing freedoms and killing homosexuals. I think what we now see, what the left has always wanted or what the left wants today is the destruction of Judeo-Christian ethos and I think that they want the destruction of the historic American civilization.

Spero: The left, who wish to control, they think that they are going to live with this blissful partnership with Islam becomes stronger in the country; they’re going to share all this power with Islam. Fools that they are, they are being used by Islam, they are tools of Islam, but it is wewho will be the victim.

At the end of the interview, Spero said that Obama is a Marxist who identifies with “Muslim Brotherhood Islam,” which Gaffney agreed with.

Spero: This election’s very important because the General, the poster child behind the economic Marxism and transnationalism and the acceptance of Muslim Brotherhood-type Islam is Barack Obama. How this happened to America is a very unfortunate and alarming condition that we are faced with that we elected a man that basically did not believe in Americanism, he’s an economic Marxist and he identifies with Islam but actually it’s the Muslim Brotherhood Islam that he identifies with.

Gaffney: You’re absolutely right.

Former Councillor for Wilders’ PVV Active on Neo-Nazi Stormfront Website

Monica Nunes a former councillor with Geert Wilder PVV was an active member on the neo-Nazi Stormfront website. She claims she was on the site to try and persuade Nazis away from their racism, however she had no qualms in bashing Muslims in her comments:

Former councillor for Wilders’ PVV active on neo-nazi Stormfront website

A former councillor for the anti-immigration PVV in Noord Holland has close ties to the neo-nazi group Stormfront and submitted 2,200 items to the organisation’s website, the Noord-Hollands Dagblad reported on Friday.

Monica Nunes is one of three provincial councillors who left the PVV earlier this year to go it alone.

In her writings on the site, which ended around three years ago, Nunes says all Muslims should be sent back to their country of origin and “Jews have a good nose for money”, the paper said. Nunes used the name Doubt while active on the site. Her role was uncovered by anti-facist research group Kaftka.

In a statement Nunes said she had been a member of the Stormfront website, but with the aim of persuading other members to think differently.

“I might have been stupid to join a debate with these nazis,” she said. “But I argued against their most insane racial theories and always defended the Jewish community and existence of Israel.”

Dutch News, 5 July 2012

See also “Monica Nunes, (oude) medestander Brinkman actief op neonaziforum”, Antifascistische Onderzoeksgroep Kafka, 1 June 2012

Nunes’ comments on Stormfront included the following, which gives an indication of her motives for joining the PVV: “I wish we had a leader who would expel Muslims from the country, back to their country of origin. I don’t want to smash or kill these people. I just want them to go away …. far away.”

Geert Wilders’ War Against Islam

Geert Wilders book in review (via. Islamophobia-Watch.com):

Wilders’ war against Islam

By the end of Marked for Death, we see what Wilders is leading up to – a horrifying vision of a fortress Europe, defending “freedom” through the deployment of totalitarian state powers to expunge Islam from the continent. His recommendations are reminiscent of the discriminatory social control measures taken against Jews and other minorities under Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Wilders, of course, is careful to disavow violence and reiterate he hates Islam, not Muslims. But it is difficult to deny the implicitly violent subtext of his sweeping proposals, including a halt to all Muslim immigration, payments to settled immigrants to leave, cessation of building of mosques, and taxation of Muslim religious practices such as the headscarf. Most disturbing is his endorsement of Israeli-style “administrative detention” (indefinite internment without trial on security grounds) in Europe as part of criminal operations in Muslim communities; not to mention the forcible deportation of tens of millions of Muslims from Europe for “thinking” about “crime” or “Shari’ah”.

Yasmin Qureshi and Nafeez Ahmed examine the political programme presented in Geert Wilders’ Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me.

Independent, 4 June 2012

Don’t Be Fooled. Europe’s Far-right Racists are Not Discerning

French politician Marine Le Pen is among European far-right figures courting the Jewish community. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images
French politician Marine Le Pen is among European far-right figures courting the Jewish community. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

A good piece, reconfirming what we have been saying all along:

Don’t be fooled. Europe’s far-right racists are not discerning

(The Guardian)

On Saturday, in the Danish city of Aarhus, a Europe-wide rally organised by the English Defence League will try to set up a European anti-Muslim movement. For Europe’s far-right parties the rally, coming so soon after the murders in south-west France by a self-professed al-Qaida-following Muslim, marks a moment rich with potential political capital.

Yet it’s also a delicate one, especially for Marine Le Pen. Well before the killings, Le Pen was assiduously courting Jews, even while her father and founder of the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was last month convicted of contesting crimes against humanity for saying that the Nazi occupation of France “wasn’t particularly inhumane”. Marine must disassociate herself from such sentiments without repudiating her father personally or alienating his supporters. To do so she’s laced her oft-expressed Islamophobia (parts of France, she’s said, are suffering a kind of Muslim “occupation”) with a newfound “philozionism” (love of Zionism), which has extended even to hobnobbing with Israel’s UN ambassador.

Almost all European far-right parties have come up with the same toxic cocktail. The Dutch MP Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigrant Freedom party, has compared the Qur’an to Mein Kampf. In Tel Aviv in 2010, he declared that ”Islam threatens not only Israel, Islam threatens the whole world. If Jerusalem falls today, Athens and Rome, Amsterdam and Paris will fall tomorrow.”

Meanwhile Filip Dewinter, leader of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang party, which grew out of the Vlaams Blok Flemish nationalist party, many of whose members collaborated with the Nazis during the second world war, has proposed a quota on the number of young Belgian-born Muslims allowed in public swimming pools. Dewinter calls Judaism “a pillar of European society”, yet associates with antisemites, while claiming that ”multi-culture … like Aids weakens the resistance of the European body”, and “Islamophobia is a duty”.

But the most rabidly Islamophobic European philozionist is Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom party, who compared foreigners to harmful insects and consorts with neo-Nazis. And yet where do we find Strache in December 2010? In Jerusalem alongside Dewinter, supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.

In Scandinavia the anti-immigrant Danish People’s party is a vocal supporter of Israel. And Siv Jensen, leader of the Norwegian Progress party and staunch supporter of Israel, has warned of the stealthy Islamicisation of Norway.

In Britain EDL leader Tommy Robinson, in his first public speech, sported a star of David. At anti-immigrant rallies, EDL banners read: “There is no place for Fascist Islamic Jew Haters in England”.

So has the Jew, that fabled rootless cosmopolitan, now suddenly become the embodiment of European culture, the “us” against which the Muslim can be cast as “them”? It’s not so simple. For a start, “traditional” antisemitism hasn’t exactly evaporated. Look at Hungary, whose ultra-nationalist Jobbik party is unapologetically Holocaust-denying, or Lithuania, where revisionist MPs claim that the Jews were as responsible as the Nazis for the second world war.

What’s more, the “philosemite”, who professes to love Jews and attributes superior intelligence and culture to them, is often (though not always) another incarnation of the antisemite, who projects negative qualities on to them: both see “the Jew” as a unified racial category. Beneath the admiring surface, philozionism isn’t really an appreciation of Jewish culture but rather the opportunistic endorsement of Israeli nationalism and power.

Indeed you can blithely sign up to both antisemitism and philozionism. Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik described himself as “pro-Zionist” while claiming that Europe has a “considerable Jewish problem”; he saw himself as simultaneously anti-Nazi and pro-monoculturalism. The British National party’s Nick Griffin once called the Holocaust the “Holohoax”, subsequently supported Israel in its war “against the terrorists”, but the day after the Oslo murders tweeted disparagingly that Breivik was a “Zionist”.

Most Jews, apart from the Israeli right wing, aren’t fooled. They see the whole iconography of Nazism – vermin and foreign bodies, infectious diseases and alien values – pressed into service once again, but this time directed at Muslims. They understand that “my enemy’s enemy” can easily mutate into “with friends like these …”.

The philozionism of European nationalist parties has been scrutinised most closely by Adar Primor, the foreign editor of Haaretz newspaper,who insists that ”they have not genuinely cast off their spiritual DNA, and … aren’t looking for anything except for Jewish absolution that will bring them closer to political power.”

Similarly Dave Rich, spokesman of the Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors antisemitic incidents in Britain, told me that far-right philosemites “must think we’re pretty stupid if they think we’ll get taken in by that. The moment their perceived political gain disappears they revert to type. We completely reject their idea that they hate Muslims so they like Jews. What targets one community at one time can very easily move on to target another community if the climate changes.” Rich’s words, spoken before the murder of Jews in Toulouse, now sound chillingly prescient. The president of the French Jewish community, Richard Pasquier, judges Marine Le Pen more dangerous than her father.

French Muslim leaders rallied round Jewish communities last week. Next week sees the start of Passover, a festival celebrating the liberation of Jews from slavery in Egypt, when Jews often think about modern examples of oppression. Let’s hope that French Jewish leaders use the occasion to rally round Muslim communities, and to remember that ultimately, racism is indiscriminate.

• This article was amended on 28 March 2012. It originally referred to the Community Security Trust as the Community Service Trust. This has now been corrected

‘The Jews have stopped the billboard’ – American Atheists’ Leader Complains that ‘God is a myth’ ad near Hasidic Neighbourhood has Been Blocked

Bob Pitt of Islamophobia-Watch rightly questions whether Islamophobes who allied themselves with American Atheists over the Zombie Muhammad issue will now cry that Jews are attacking freedom of speech and expression, as they surely would if Muslims had stopped the billboard:

(via. Islamophobia-Watch)

‘The Jews have stopped the billboard’ – American Atheists’ Leader Complains that ‘God is a myth’ ad near Hasidic Neighbourhood has Been Blocked

by Bob Pitt

This time atheists found themselves answering to a higher power – a picky landlord. A Southside loft owner refused to allow a billboard questioning Judaism to be installed atop his S. Fifth Street building on Tuesday amid outrage in Williamsburg’s Hasidic community.

National atheist leaders tried to take out a month-long ad adjacent to Williamsburg’s Orthodox Jewish stronghold with text in English and Hebrew reading: “You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice.” But at the last minute, landlord Kenny Stier refused to allow workers from the advertising company Clear Channel into his building, according to American Atheists president David Silverman.

Silverman claims powerful neighborhood rabbis convinced Stier to block the non-believing billboard and called the religious leaders and the landlord “anti-atheist bigots”. “The Jews have stopped the billboard,” said Silverman. “It’s really ugly bigotry. As a former Jew, it’s repugnant to see Jews act like this.”

Several Hasidic leaders said they had nothing to do with the landlord’s decision to block the billboard, and Stier declined to comment. “I don’t want to get involved in this,” he said.

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg) said the billboard showed a “severe lack of sensitivity” at a time when Brooklyn should be striving to have open conversations about religion.

“Even if we were to ignore the antagonistic placement of this billboard near the Williamsburg Bridge, the content of the message is conveyed in a disrespectful manner,” said Levin. “This does not appear to be a genuine attempt to engage in a dialogue, but is here merely to insult the beliefs of this community.”

The Brooklyn Paper, 6 March 2012

We look forward to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who have been enthusiastically supporting American Atheists over the “Zombie Muhammad” controversy, joining Silverman in condemning this development as an outrageous attack on freedom of expression – as they undoubtedly would if it had occurred in a Muslim neighbourhood. But don’t hold your breath.