Islamophobes Spencer and Greenfield Push Fabricated Mohammad Al-Arifi Fatwa Story

Mohammad Al-Arifi

Mohammad Al-Arifi

I want to hat tip Rookie who first alerted us to the story about a fabricated fatwa that allegedly gave Syrian rebels permission to engage in “intercourse marriage/gang rape,” the fabricated fatwa was attributed to a Saudi preacher by the name of Mohammad Al-Arifi.

Robert Spencer was pushing the false story on his JihadWatch and made a grudging update to the story quite some time after it was revealed to be fabricated in which he couldn’t help but take a dig at Shi’a Muslims.

Daniel Greenfield, premiere Genocide-inciter at David Horowitz’s FrontPageRag also published an article on the fabricated fatwa that attempts to paint it as real. Greenfield’s article has no update and in fact was headed with an incendiary picture from an older hoax being pushed by Islamophobes regarding a supposed “mass pedophilia wedding” in Gaza in 2009.

Greenfield titled this picture: “Hamas Muslim Child Brides“:

Hamas-Muslim-Child-Brides

I debunked this absurd hoax back in August of 2009 in the article, Anti-Muslim Blogosphere Runs Amuck: Forced to Eat Crow. Clearly, Greenfield wasn’t phased and continues to push this lie despite it being debunked  over three years ago.

AlterNet, which it self was fooled but had the decency to apologize for its mistake has the full story on the fabricated fatwa:

Exhibit A in How an Islamophobic Meme Can Spread Like Wildfire Across the Internet

January 2, 2013  |  Editor’s note: On January 2, AlterNet was one of several outlets that published what turned out to be an article based on a false report. We would like to apologize to our readers for the error.

On January 2nd, the story of a Saudi Sheikh issuing a fatwa that condoned ‘intercourse marriage’ or gang rape in Syria exploded over the internet.

According to various sources, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Arifi had stated that foreign fighters in Syria had the right to engage in short term marriages to satisfy their sexual desires and boost their determination to fight against the Assad regime. Syrian girls and women from age 14 upwards were considered fair game and apparently secured their own place in heaven if they participated in these ‘intercourse marriages’.

By the evening a simple Google search of the words, ‘Saudi Sheikh’ , Syrian, and ‘women’ brought up some 5 million references and at least 3 pages of links to articles spreading the news. Not surprisingly there was immediate online uproar too, though as one commentator put it, much of the discussion was about whether these arranged temporary marriages technically constituted ‘rape’. This in itself is worrying.

There was also skepticism from many quarters about the veracity of the report, particularly among savvy Mideast experts.  Rightly so. The story, much like the one a few months ago about Egyptian Islamist MPs proposing laws that permitted sex with a deceased spouse up to 6 hours after his/her death, turned out to be a gross lie.  Sheikh Al-Arifi has issued a denial via his Facebook page. Over the next few days, the various websites and media outlets that spread the story will no doubt issue their retractions. But the story also raises many questions.  For starters, where did it come from? AlterNet inadvertently picked it up from the overtly anti-Islamic Clarion Fund site. Others pointed to the Iranian regime backed Press TV as the primary source on December 31 2012.  But the earliest English language reporting comes on December 29 from an obscure YouTube news site called Eretz Zen, tagged as a YouTube channel by a “secular Syrian opposed to having [his] country turned into a Taliban-like state.”

What’s extraordinary and depressing is that a slew of websites picked up the story and ran with it, some claiming legitimacy because the other had posted it and clearly no one bothered to do some basic fact checking. Arguably this is just the nature of the net and minute by minute news updates. The story was too sensational to give up. But one would imagine that if a similar story emerged about a Christian cleric or a Rabbi, someone, somewhere would have paused before posting it. Sadly, in the case of stories about Muslim clerics or Islamists the same red flags don’t seem to apply.

Perhaps western journalists are so ignorant of Islam and the cultures in the Middle East that they are willing to believe anything. It’s nothing new — after all Western notions of the East were always immured in sexual decadence and the allure of harems. That was a trademark of the patronizing Orientalism of the past. Today we have a phobic version of Orientalism — expecting and only seeing and reporting the bad and the ugly.

Read the rest…

Geller’s new anti-Islam ad to debut in New York – with disclaimer

Pamela Geller is using and abusing the symbolism of the Twin Towers and coupling it with verses from the Quran again, she says,

I refuse to abridge my free speech so as to appease savages.”

Of course for the racist Geller, anyone, especially a Muslim who criticizes her and exposes her loonieness is a savage. She just goes out of her way to display hate. I’m thinking this campaign will be another dud with various interfaith organizations and representatives of mainstream religious groups condemning her and the wider populace ignoring her crazy rantings.

Geller’s new anti-Islam ad to debut in New York – with disclaimer

Pamela Geller is at it again.

The outspoken blogger and Executive Director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has just purchased a slew of advertising space in several subway stations and on numerous Metro-North platforms in order to display her newest anti-Islam message.

Her latest ads, shared exclusively with The Observer, will feature a panorama of the sky the moment the World Trade Center burst into flames in 2001, accompanied by a quote from the Quran that reads “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers.”

However, an MTA disclaimer taking up 25% of the ad space will be presented in conjunction with Ms. Geller’s message for the first time. “This is a paid advertisement sponsored by American Freedom Defense Initiative. The display of this advertisement does not imply MTA’s endorsement of any views expressed,” it reads.

The MTA’s new disclaimer policy came in September of this year following an incident in which protestor Mona Eltahawy, 45, was filmed spray-painting another AFDI advertisement, which equated Muslims with savages.

Following the September incident, Ms. Geller has been busy crafting new advertisements for her campaign beginning December 17. The new ads will be plastered across at least 50 different locations, the MTA confirmed, the result of an ad buy worth more than $10,000.

“I refuse to abridge my free speech so as to appease savages,” Ms. Geller told The Observer.

New York Observer, 7 December 2012

Sheila Musaji: Robert Spencer Discovers Halloween Jihad

Let the loony Islamophobic conspiracies about a war on Halloween begin. (h/t: CriticalDragon)

Robert Spencer discovers Halloween Jihad

by Sheila Musaji

Robert Spencer finds it noteworthy enough to note on Jihad Watch that Seattle elementary school bans Halloween costumes: they could offend students from “other cultures”.

He engages in his typical snarky innuendo:

Gee, I wonder which culture would have students in the Seattle elementary schools who would be offended by Halloween costumes. Still, there is no indication that any Islamic supremacist group demanded this ban; the school officials are just playing the dhimmi on their own initiative. Please write them, politely and respectfully, and ask them why American culture always takes a back seat to others, and why they’re pandering to an imaginary offense.

And, of course, his partner Pamela Geller also posted an article on this non-story, sayingDismantling America, piece by cultural piece, law by American law …… the parents ought to protest en masse – in costume.

The article Spencer and Geller refer to says only that a Seattle school has banned students from dressing up in costume for Halloween this year at school.  One district representative said that costumes “could offend and upset students who come from other cultures”.  The principal of the school said that “This decision was made by the entire staff after two deep and detailed discussions. The initial conversation was initiated by staff members who suggested that since Halloween falls this year on a half day of school, we not allow costumes. It takes students a while to change into their costumes, and students are distracted taking away from the already limited instructional time.

That’s it, the whole story that is known from this.  We don’t know whether or not any parent made any request or complaint to the district or to the school.  We don’t know what is the demographic of the community where this school is located.  Blaming this decision on some sort of Muslim plot, or a self-imposed fear of a possible Muslim reaction, to take away an American holiday is absolute nonsense.

To jump to the conclusion that Spencer does from this very limited information is a clear sign of his deeply held Islamophobia.  We know that Spencer is blaming Muslims for this school decision because he says the school officials are “playing dhimmi” on their own initiative.  Is it only some Muslims who don’t celebrate Halloween?

Here is a quote from one such “dhimmi” who refuses to participate in American culture:

“I think we ought to close Halloween down. Do you want your children to dress up as witches? The Druids used to dress up like this when they were doing human sacrifice…[The children] are acting out Satanic rituals and participating in it, and don’t even realize it.”Pat Robertson, “The 700 Club,” 1982-OCT-29

Robertson is not exactly known for his fondness for Islam or Muslims.  I wonder is Spencer will ask his followers to write letters to The 700 Club to complain about Robertson’s attempts to “dismantle America”.

If any parents did say something to the school or district administration, they might have been parents from just about any religious or cultural background.

Yes, there are some Muslims who are opposed to celebrating Halloween, for a variety of reasons.  The reasons given are pretty much identical with the reasons that many Christians and Jews are opposed to celebrating the holiday.  There is a wide range of opinion within all of these communities about the holiday, what it means, and why it should not be celebrated, or can be celebrated as simply a cultural event.

Read the rest…

Eric Allen Bell: JihadWatch Zombie Still Obsessed with Obliterating Mecca

The increasingly unstable Eric Allen Bell (aka Eric Edborg) isn’t backing down from his calls to destroy Mecca. His genocidal predilections are endless. Last week I covered his cutesy attempt at fanning the flames of his Islamophobic followers fanatical anti-Muslim hate.

Now Bell is at it again, the chicken hawk wants the US military to hover over the Ka’ba and remove it.

Bell, having taken notice of the fact that his deluded hate-mongering is well known, gives his followers an empty warning, telling them to be careful of what hate they say because evil Obama-Mooslim-Brotherhood-Hamas-AlQaeda-linked-CAIR is watching:

Clearly Bell doesn’t know the meaning of “contradiction.”

As hollow a disclaimer as you will ever read, Bell who is extra-vigilante to ban those who oppose his hate goes ahead and leaves comments such as these up from Kim Bruce:

or James Garner:

You can check the thread out yourself and see all the other calls for nuking and killing, it would take a long time for us to load all of the screenshots.

JihadWatch Zombie Eric Allen Bell Curious About the “Pros” and “Cons” of Nukin’ Mecca

"Can I haz cheeeezeburger?"

Every now and then an anti-Muslim Islamophobe wonders about the exigency of nuking Mecca and or Medina when he really means to want to destroy the sacred cities. To destroy Mecca and Medina has been an ardent desire of Islamophobes for centuries, harking back to at least the Crusades, if not earlier.

In a recent manifestation of such desire we have Jihadwatch zombie Eric Allen Bell (aka Eric Edborg) masking a call to nuke Mecca in a “question.” Who actually wonders about the “pros” and “cons” of “nuking Mecca” except someone who actually wants to do it?

Notice the lovely responses from those in Bell’s little echo chamber of hate. Bell didn’t repudiate any of these gung-ho nuke Mecca advocates. Most people responded by either saying such a move would not be practical or in fact coming to realize that Bell had gone “too far this time.” Many of these comments were deleted by Bell.

A significant chunk of comments actually looked something like the following however:

It seems clear to me that Bell had always had some sort of deep seated hatred and antipathy towards the “other.” One doesn’t wake up suddenly one day and ponder the merits of nuking the holy city of one of the oldest and largest religions in the world unless there is something deeply wrong with you.

More Fairytales from Geller about the EDL’s Bristol Demonstration

Pamela Geller‘s defense of the EDL falls in the face of logic and facts–once again (Islamophobia-Watch):

More fairytales from Geller about the EDL’s Bristol demonstration

Having confidently predicted that “thousands” would be marching with the English Defence League yesterday to protest against the “Islamification of Bristol“, Pamela Geller has failed to explain why only a few hundred people turned out for what was advertised as a national mobilisation by the EDL.

Shifting her ground, she has now decided to emphasise the supposedly respectable, non-violent character of the EDL, reporting that they were “well-behaved” and “maintained a calm and peaceful assembly” during their Bristol protest (in contrast to their anti-fascist opponents, who Geller claims “trashed the city and assaulted police”).

However, as you can see from the above photograph (via the Press Association), it was only the weight of police numbers (officers had to be drafted in from as far away as Yorkshire to allow the deployment of a 1,000-strong riot control force) that prevented the EDL from attacking their opponents.

On their way home from the march, and without a police presence to restrain them, the EDL were free to indulge in their proclivity for drunken violence, as is illustrated by this Facebook comment (viaEDL News) from a witness who was, until then, an EDL supporter (and still shares their hatred of “scummy muslims”).

You can understand why Geller might want to cover up the violent nature of the EDL. She and her friend Robert Spencer are jointly launching a “worldwide counter-jihad alliance” with this gang of drunken thugs in Stockholm next month.

And we’re still waiting for Geller and Spencer to explain their support for an organisation that recently carried out an attack on a peaceful anti-monarchist protest in co-operation with the neo-Nazi, white supremacist and antisemitic National Front.

LGF: PJ Media Comments for Robert Spencer: ‘All Muslims Are Terrorists and Must Die!’

Robert Spencer is lost

Robert Spencer, PJ Media’s most recent Islamophobic blogger says Bloomberg may not be a Muslim but he’s acting like one. Spencer you will recall has in the past speculated on Barack Obama being a Muslim, though then he said that the President may, in fact be a Muslim (h/t:Critical Dragon).

PJ Media Comments for Robert Spencer: ‘All Muslims Are Terrorists and Must Die!’

by Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs)

Today at PJ Media, hate group leader Robert Spencer turns in another exercise in blatant bigotry: PJ Media » Is Michael Bloomberg Secretly a Muslim?

He’s only “kidding,” of course. He doesn’t really think Michael Bloomberg is a secret Muslim.

He just thinks Bloomberg is acting like a Muslim, and we know what that means to Robert Spencer. The point of his article is to argue again that America urgently needs laws to protect us from imminent shariah takeover by the real secret Muslims.

The real question, then, is not so much whether Bloomberg is secretly a Muslim — of course he isn’t — but whether Islamic law is inherently totalitarian and inimical to the spirit of respect for individual rights upon which this nation was founded. And despite all the increasingly frantic mainstream media attempts to obscure Sharia’s true contents and nature from the American people, it is increasingly clear that it is. Sharia legislates for every aspect of human life, such that the pious Muslim faces no ethical difficulties, no moral dilemmas, no hard choices, no tough judgment calls: everything is set out for him to the last detail, and all he need do is obey. This results in a stunting of the moral character that leads not only to the atrophy of the individual’s abilities of ethical discernment, but also to a diminishment of both the value of the individual and the power of the individual in society. Human beings are not individual moral actors, but only subjects of the authoritarian power, who directs them in every detail of how to behave. The human will is cheapened, and human life itself is cheapened.

This is a key reason why anti-Sharia laws in the U.S. are so urgently needed. The United States at its founding accorded an extraordinary and largely unprecedented respect for the individual; the struggle against Sharia is yet another episode in the never-ending war of the bullying authority against the individual will. What played out in National Socialist Germany, as well as in the Soviet Union and other Communist states, will play out again in America as we decide in the coming months and years how much Islamic law we’re going to accommodate, and when (if ever) we’re going to resist the imposition of more: the struggle between the individual and the collective.

And the comments for Spencer’s nasty little screed are just as hateful and sickening as you might expect, advocating mass deportations and genocide.

Well,if you want to stick your unclean,midieval,barbarian ass in the air like some kind of punk wanting to be mounted by an alpha male by bowing down to a meteorite in the middle of the Arabian desert so you can honor an illiterate mass murdering pedophile who claimed to be the messenger for some obscure Arabian moon ‘god’,then who am I to judge?….personally,I use a page from the koran every time I have to take a mohammed….it’s just sooo much softer than Charmin

[…]

Simply put WE DONT TRUST Muslims – end of story, if we were smart in USA we would deport ALL NON-Resident Muslims including those i univesity. YOUR history of slavery, torture of women & children has not changed since 1700′s

[…]

If you want to practice this abomination go back to any of the 7th century hellholes you already have and stay there!

[…]

May all who worship the false prophet Muhammad (a thousand curses be unto his pig name) be slaughtered like the sub-human scum they are. I spit on your false prophet. The bottom of my feet are prettier than his ugly face. All muslims are terrorists and must die!

Sheila Musaji: Geller & Spencer Attempt to Turn Congressional Race into a Religious War

More religion-baiting and Islamophobic anti-Muslim hate-mongering from the premiere religious bigots of the day, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.

Geller & Spencer attempt to turn Congressional race into a religious war

by Sheila Musaji (TAM)

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are outraged that a political campaign in New Jersey has included the issue of one candidates support for Israel.

Both Spencer and Geller refer their readers to an article in the Washington Free Beacon about the democratic primary race between Reps. Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell.

That one-sided article noted that “For the first time in recent American political history, we are witnessing a proxy battle between supporters and detractors of Israel, and it’s playing out in the Ninth District of New Jersey,” said one veteran campaign strategist who is knowledgeable about the district.  And, it noted an ad by an Arab group in the community supporting Pascrell that produced an ad urging the “Arab diaspora community” to “elect the friend of the Arabs” and billed the race as “the most important election in the history of the [Arab] community.”  It also refers to an article by Aref Assaf published in February titled Rothman is Israel’s man in District 9.  It also included this quote “I don’t read Arabic well, but I am pretty sure that the pro-Pascrell posters that have appeared across the district are not calling to elect the candidate who supports a strong relationship between America and the only democracy in the Middle East, one which is rooted in progressive Western values—women’s rights, gay rights, tolerance, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.,” said Josh Block, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

It is impossible to believe that Mr. Block was unaware that it was a letter from a group of Rabbis that began this entire discussion.  It is also impossible to believe that the author of this article, Adam Kredo, was also unaware of the implications of that letter (since he mentions it later in his article).  Nevertheless, Kredo’s article was the basis for both Geller and Spencer’s posts.

Geller says

A New Jersey congressional race is becoming a referendum on a candidate’s Judaism. Muslims are going after a Jewish congressman. Islamic Jew-hatred rears its ugly [be]head for the first time in a congressional race. But believe you me, it won’t be the last time. Islamic Jew-Hatred—it’s in the quran.

It’s very ugly, and the enemedia, self-enforcing the sharia, is not covering it. And the local press is giving the Islamic supremacists all the column inches the haters demand. Aref Assaf, president of the New Jersey-based American Arab Forum, is a vile nazi who has been getting the lion’s share of press.

Assaf wrote in an oped in the New Jersey Star Ledger that the Jewish candidate under attack, Steve Rothman, “is using his support of Israel as the centerpiece of his campaign.” It is Assaf and his Jew-hating constiuency [sic] that are making it all about Rothman’s Judaism and Israel. The Muslim Jew-haters are making it the centerpiece of their campaign. Rothman “has consciously avoided adding fuel to the ethnic fire by focusing instead on his congressional record, note political observers in both New Jersey and Washington, D.C.”

Spencer titles his article “We want this Jew out of office”: Islamic antisemitism invades New Jersey Congressional primary race and calls this An ugly new development in American politics: Muslim voters lining up to defeat a Jewish candidate.

It would be worthwhile to read the actual article written by Assef that would provoke Geller to call him a “vile nazi” and “Muslim Jew-hater”.  Here is what Assef wrote

It may be Kosher but is it illegal? As the Record reported on February 17, 2012, several presidents of Orthodox synagogues are urging the Republican-registered members of their respective congregations to switch party affiliation in order to vote for Steve Rothman. Rep. Steve Rothman is battling fellow Democrat Rep. Bill Pascrell for the newly redrawn Ninth Congressional District.

The primary elections are set for June 5 and because the district is heavily democratic, the winner will most likely carry the November elections too. The Record’s article is based on a letter first posted in the Passaic Clifton Jewish Community News. The Record calls into question the legality of such a letter signed by well-known religious leaders and debates the possible IRS code violations that such a position entails. Skirting the gray line of legality, these letters do carry the weight of the religious institutions the signers represent and when you consider the Orthodox community in Passaic is closely-knit, even when the names are not attached to their religious affiliations, they are still a known entity. While religious institutions may engage in local, state, and even federal elections, there are clear guidelines they must not cross to maintain their tax-exempt status under Section 501 of the IRS code, which governs non-profit and tax exempt entities. Such entities are clearly prohibited from endorsing political candidates and/or contributing to their campaign funds and must provide equal access to all competing candidates.

The question remains when such activities exceed the limit of the law and spill over being a mere informational letter. As quoted in the Record, one of the letter signers, Akiva Hirth, said, “It’s a free country,” adding that “religious leaders were merely communicating with their congregants, not forcing them to take any action.” Yet a closer read tells a different story; and I quote from the original letter: “Our community has the unique opportunity to significantly impact this race. The choice is clear – support the candidate who best understands our needs and interests. Congressman Steve Rothman is the obvious choice in this Primary election.” This is clearly a political endorsement. The IRS is called upon to investigate the legal ramifications of such a violation.

It may turn out to be a non-issue, but I am puzzled that so many Jewish Rabbis would and for mere temporary political expediency encourage their congregation to go against their faith and register Democratic. Like observant American Muslims who also favor the Republican Party, Orthodox Jews would choose the Republican platform for strictly religious reasons dealing with abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, and support for Israel. I would not want my Imam to urge me to change my party label so irreverently. It’s just plain dishonest.

But if it is Kosher for Orthodox rabbis to preach to their members on political candidates, then it must be Halal for Muslim Imams to do the same. We will soon find out if Muslim religious leaders will reach out to their respective congregations. Imams, like rabbis, wield disproportionate leverage in and uncontested access to their congregations.

American Muslims are said to be evenly split between those registered as Democrat and Republicans. If Republican Muslims in New Jersey emulate the Jewish voters, and assuming their numerical symmetry, they will at least cancel out the ‘converted’ Jewish votes. Real democratic voters will then decide the election outcome. I will be reporting back on developments.

Unquestionably, this primary election is pitting two otherwise harmoniously coexisting communities: the Muslim and Jewish communities. To what extent the Muslim community will be energized by these developments will have to be determined. As total and blind support for Israel becomes the only reason for choosing Rothman, voters who do not view the elections in this prism will need to take notice. Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America’s.

The incident that Assef was responding to was reported on in an article titled Letter asks Orthodox Jews to switch parties and support Rothman.  Here is the text of that article:

PASSAIC — The leaders of Orthodox Jewish synagogues in the city are urging their congregants to switch parties from Republican to Democrat so they can vote for Rep. Steve Rothman in the June 5 primary against Rep. Bill Pascrell.

A letter endorsed by 15 presidents of Passaic shuls was mailed last week to the homes of Orthodox Jews in the city’s Passaic Park section who are registered Republicans. In the letter, the presidents urge them to register as Democrats by the April 11 deadline so they so they can support Rothman, who is considered more pro-Israel than Pascrell.

“Our community has the unique opportunity to significantly impact this race,” the letter reads. “The choice is clear — support the candidate who best understands our needs and interests. Congressman Steve Rothman is the obvious choice in this Primary election.”

The letter, which carries the heading “A Message from Passaic’s Shul Presidents,” was paid for by the Rothman campaign. It notes that the redrawn boundaries of the 9th congressional district heavily favors Democrats. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will likely capture the seat in November.

The letter, which has also been published in the Passaic Clifton Jewish Community News, is an outgrowth of the recent endorsement of Rothman by Gary Schaer, a prominent member of Passaic’s Orthodox Jewish community who is also City Council president and a state assemblyman.

Although political leaders are free to endorse anyone they want, the letter raises questions about whether religious leaders violated the IRS guidelines that restrict religious non-profits from endorsing political candidates.

Section 501 of the IRS code says religious non-profits are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” The code further prohibits “voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates…”

Marc Owens, a Washington, D.C tax lawyer who headed the IRS’ tax exemption unit from 1990 to 2000, said the issue is whether the synagogue leaders were acting as individuals or on behalf of their religious institutions when they wrote the letter.  “Is it the religious institution speaking or are they speaking as individuals?” Owens said.

Only one of the 15 synagogue presidents who signed the letter could be reached for comment on Friday. In a brief telephone interview, Akiva Hirth said he signed the letter because he was within his rights to do so.  “It’s a free country,” Hirth said, adding that religious leaders were merely communicating with their congregants, not forcing them to take any action.

The Jewish vote is considered crucial for both Rothman and Pascrell, who are locked in a tight battle in the Democratic primary. Spokesmen for both candidates played down the issue on Friday.

Paul Swibinski, a spokesman for Rothman, defended the letter as a legitimate voter registration tactic. “I don’t see anything improper here at all,” he said. “There are no names of synagogues or temples listed in the letter. It is clearly a personal endorsement from leaders of these synagogues. It is not an endorsement by the synagogues themselves.”

Pascrell wasn’t eager to make an issue of it, either. “If anyone is violating tax laws, then we clearly have a concern,” he said.

It would seem that simply following the timeline of events clarifies this whole incident.  A group of Jewish Rabbis raised the issue of a candidates support for Israel as a reason to vote for that candidate.  After they sent out a letter encouraging the Jewish community to support one candidate based on this issue, Aref Assaf wrote his article calling their actions into question on the basis of U.S. law.  He also expressed his sadness that such behavior in a local primary election “is pitting two otherwise harmoniously coexisting communities: the Muslim and Jewish communities” against each other.

It is sad to see this being made into a “religious issue” rather than a simple political issue.  Who is the best candidate to represent the citizens of the 9th district of New Jersey should be the issue.

Geller and Spencer are old hands at stirring the pot of religious bigotry in political campaigns.  This is simply the most recent example.

When Gary Boisclair ran a congressional campaign vs Keith Ellison that was based entirely on hatred of Muslims – Pamela Geller was upset at Youtube for pulling Boisclair’s anti-Muslim ad. Geller called it “enforcing Sharia” and she said More sharia (Islamic law): this is enforcement of blasphemy laws, do not insult Islam. How much more of our freedom are we going to allow them to seize?

When there was a furore over Keith Ellison’s use of the Qur’an in a photo opportunity after his swearing in as a Congressman – Robert Spencer wrote This is allegedly a political masterstroke by Ellison, but it really just begs the question. Thomas Jefferson, obviously, was not a Muslim. In his famous statement on religious freedom he wrote about whether one’s neighbor believed in one god or twelve “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” But what no one is willing to discuss here is whether the Qur’an and Islam really fit into that framework. When I have mentioned that it sanctions lying to unbelievers (3:28 and 16:106, in the mainstream understanding of those verses by Islamic theologians and schools of jurisprudence; cf. Ibn Kathir and many others), people have responded that the Bible is full of nasty stuff as well. But people aren’t swearing on the Bible because it is full of nasty stuff, or endorsing any of it that might actually be there. The idea of swearing on the Bible arises from Christian belief and is buttressed by Christian theology—Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant—that requires honesty and eschews all dishonesty as coming from the “Father of Lies.” The permissions to be dishonest in the Qur’an are not mitigated by Islamic belief, tradition, and theology, but are in fact reinforced—by Muhammad’s statements that “war is deceit” and that lying is permissible in wartime, and more.

In short, to swear on the Bible is to affirm, among other things, that one is part of a tradition, and to swear on the Qur’an does not amount to an affirmation of the same tradition, no matter how much Glenn Beck or Ed Koch or anyone wishes it does or assumes it does. Islamic teachers daily use the Qur’an to establish principles that differ radically from those of Judeo-Christian tradition. These questions need to be discussed in a forthright and honest manner by Ellison and by the mainstream media, instead of being swept under the rug or condemned as bigotry.”

The decent people of the 9th Congressional District of New Jersey don’t need such bigoted individuals involving themselves in this election and fueling the fires of mutual distrust and bigotry.

Robert Spencer to Debate Achmed the Dead Terrorist and The Dictator

Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim (TAM) has been keeping a close eye on the loons who write for Jihad Watch.  The chief loon of JW, Robert Spencer, had initially been slated to debate David Wood, another Christian loon like himself.  Realizing no doubt that they are on the same side of the loony equation, the debate has been scrapped.  Instead, both Spencer and Wood have agreed to face off against Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri.

As Musaji presciently noted, “[b]oth Choudary and Bakri are part of the Muslim lunatic fringe.”  The nefarious duo are very familiar to the Muslim community of the U.K., not because they have a large following (they don’t), but because they are routinely trotted out by anti-Muslim right-wingers.  The set-up is always the same: a right-winger pundit will invite one of these two clowns onto their show for a “debate.” By making the hated Choudary and Bakri the representative for the Muslim side, the debate is of course already won.  Muslims are left thinking, “with friends like these, who needs enemies…”

Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri are absolutely despised by the vast majority of the Muslim community, even by the ultra-conservative and radical Muslims they pretend to represent.   They are caricatures, just one step away from being Achmed the Dead Terrorist or a character thought up by Sacha Baron Cohen (like Ali G or Admiral General Aladeen, A.K.A. The Dictator).  Choudary and Bakri play the part of terrorists and radical Islamists, which is why hateful Islamophobes love giving them ample air time: look at how crazy those Moozlums are!

It’s absolutely no surprise then that Robert Spencer and David Wood, two loons in their own right, would debate two even loonier loons.  Spencer wastes his time engaging such unserious clowns, because–just as Sheila Musaji noted long time ago–he has a pattern of seeking out complete fools to debate with so that he can then crow in victory afterward.  Meanwhile, Spencer will doggedly avoid debating anyone (1) with a serious grasp of knowledge of the topic at hand and (2) the debating skill to back it up.  And of course, (3) anyone named Danios.  What’s interesting is that even Robert Spencer’s debating partner, David Wood, seemed to imply on his website that Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri are weak debaters.  Wood agrees with Choudary and Bakri’s view that Muhammad existed, but he doesn’t think that they will be able to make the convincing argument.  Why not just debate Achmed the Dead Terrorist or The Dictator?  It would certainly be just as enlightening and perhaps a bit more entertaining.

Robert Spencer’s homepage boldly declares that he is “the acclaimed scholar of Islam”, and yet he has no educational qualifications to validate that lofty claim.  In fact, all he has is an M.A. in Christian studies…If I get an M.A. in Buddhist studies, does that mean I get to be “the acclaimed scholar of Judaism”?  Spencer has never had his work submitted for peer review in the academic world, and so his arguments–while they certainly might pass off in the non-scholarly world–have never been tested by the real experts in the field.  Spencer’s version of peer-review is debating the equivalent of Achmed the Dead Terrorist and The Dictator.

In any case, let’s not beat around the bush.  It’s me in particular who Robert Spencer fears. One would think that he would want to debate me now that I’ve won the Brass Crescent Award for Best Writer last year (and was runner-up the year before), in no small part due to my writings against Spencer.  I have been refuting his book for a long time now, decimating his arguments one by one.  Spencer can’t respond intelligently, so of course, he naturally fears facing off in debate.  It has now officially been 684 days–that’s 1 year, 10 months, and 14 days–since I agreed to have a radio debate with Robert Spencer.  In that time, Spencer has furiously been generating excuse after excuse to avoid the debate.

Spencer continues to use my anonymity as an excuse to cover up his cowardice.  I’m an anonymous blogger and I have expressed my intent in preserving that anonymity for now.  Yet, Spencer repeatedly insists on a public venue–so that I “show my face”–knowing full well that I won’t accept such a condition.  In this way, Spencer gets out of the debate and can then disingenuously claim that I was the cause of the impasse.

Robert Spencer engages in typical right-winger projection: look how cowardly Danios is that he doesn’t show his face.  But, it is Spencer who is the coward, at least when it comes to defending his views.  What difference does it make who I am or what I look like?  The obvious answer is that Spencer wants to engage in ad hominem attacks against me, instead of focusing on the substantive value of his arguments, which my writings have shown to be severely lacking.  It’s now quite evident to all who want to see it: my refutations of his book are irrefutable.  I know it, you know it, he knows it.

And that’s why Robert Spencer will keep running away from me.  Instead, he’ll debate fools and loons.  Yawn, what’s new?

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

*  *  *  *  *

Here is Sheila Musaji’s article from TAM:

David Wood and Robert Spencer “Debate”?

by Sheila Musaji

David Wood is not as well known as Robert Spencer, so a little background is in order.  Wood is an Evangelical pastor and has a series of polemical articles on Answering Islam.  His focus seems to be on anti-Muslim polemics.

Kiera Feldman reported on an incident in 2010:

Organized by Stop the Islamization of America, the first rally against the “Ground Zero mosque” was held in a plaza near the site of the Twin Towers on June 6th—D-Day. “We are not hatemongerers!” Pamela Hall proclaimed from the podium. “We just want our families and our future to be safe from the racist, bigoted ideology that murdered 3,000 people.” In the crowd, signs ranged from “Everything I need to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11” to crude drawings of Mohammed with the label “beast.”

Toward the end of the rally, two dark-skinned men were overheard speaking Arabic. The crowd transformed into an angry mob, surrounded the men, and shouted, “go home” and “get out.” The Bergen Record reported that the two scared men, Joseph Nasralla and Karam El Masry, had to be extricated by police. It turned out they weren’t even Muslim. They were Egyptian Coptic Christians who’d trekked cross-country from California to join the cause against the “Ground Zero mosque.” Nasralla later told John Hawkins of Right Wing News that the Record coverage was indeed accurate, adding that he’d been shoved and his camera knocked to the ground. “He said he was worried that things might have really gotten out of hand if the police hadn’t escorted him and Karam El Masry away,” Hawkins wrote.

“I actually caused that by accident,” an evangelical pastor named David Wood told me with a chuckle. He meant the near race riot. Wood is a PhD student in philosophy at a respectable New York institution whose name he didn’t want me to use. Passionate about proselytizing to Muslims, Wood’s expertise is Christian apologetics, the practice of arguing unbelievers into faith. He is best known as the creator of a viral video “Of Mosques and Men,” which argues all Muslims—even those who seem “peaceful,” like “good citizens in public”—had an urge to “smile when there were terrorist attacks.” But Wood allows himself a little laugh about violence when Muslims are on the receiving end.

As he tells the story of that day, “[The Copts] were complaining about not having anything to hand out. And I said, ‘I’ve got some pamphlets on Islam, specifically on whether Islam is a religion of peace.” The pamphlets contained passages of the Qur’an selected to suggest the answer is no. “People thought they were there to defend the mosque and promote Islam,” Wood explained. “Lots of people were fired up about that.” But it was a goofy case of mistaken identity, a funny little mix-up. “The guys who were doing it were actually Christians,” Wood told me as if clearing up the whole matter. “They weren’t Muslims.” In other words: the mob’s anger and actions were justified, but misdirected. Aim better next time?

Garibaldi of Loonwatch has written exposes about Wood in two articles here and here

Wood and Robert Spencer will have a “debate” this coming Sunday on the thesis of Spencer’s new book Did Muhammad Exist?  This “debate” will be moderated by Pamela Geller.  That may be the only time that you will see the combination of Pamela Geller and moderation in the same sentence.

Wood made the “challenge to a debate” by video and Spencer accepted the “challenge”.

Spencer is still falsely claiming that Muslims are afraid to debate him, and says in his acceptance: So David Wood will do their work for them.  Read my article Danios vs Spencer:  18 months and Spencer still avoiding a debate for the Saga of Spencer’s avoidance of a debate with Danios.  See The Muslim Communities Useful Idiots for information on some of Spencer’s past debates with Muslims, and why I believe that engaging with bigots is not productive.

These are not individuals who hold respectable, if controversial opinions.  These are bigots, and engaging them in such a forum only provides them with some veneer of respectability.

Hosts like Hannity, or Bolling can claim that they have been “fair and balanced” because they included a Muslim.  And, full time, paid mercenaries in a “holy war” against Islam like Spencer, will claim “victory” no matter what the outcome.  If they have no “facts” that will stand up to scrutiny, they will stoop to ridiculous slurs, as they did with Christina Abraham.  And, when all else fails, if any Muslim says anything reasonable, they will say that it is taqiyya.

This sort of devious, unethical, and downright childish behavior, is not surprising from individuals who consistently “get it wrong” when it comes to Islam and Muslims, and who see no ethical problem with simply removing articles from a site when they are proven to be inaccurate.  Not too surprising for individuals who are co-founders (Spencer & Geller) of a group, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The group is also described by the ADL in the following terms: “Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), created in 2009, promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam. The group seeks to rouse public fears by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy “American” values. The organization warns of the encroachment of shari’a, or Islamic law, and encourages Muslims to leave what it describes as the “falsity of Islam.”

I believe that it is not “cowardly” to leave these folks alone, just sensible.   It is not that their claims cannot be, and have not been answered, but rather that they have proven themselves time and time again to be untrustworthy and dishonorable in both their tactics and their responses to reasoned argument.

Spencer and Wood seem to have a mutual admiration society.  Spencer posted a notice about the “debate” with a note to watch Wood’s video, and Wood posted a notice with a note to read Spencer’s book.

The notice points out that this “debate” will be right after Geller and Spencer’s “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference” (their most recent anti-Muslim hate fest) ends.  It is worth noting that David Wood will be a speaker at Spencer and Geller’s conference.  I’m sure their promotional video will be more exciting than the actual “debate”.

It seems pretty obvious that rather than a debate, this is a calculated publicity stunt to gain a little more notoriety for their conference, and to publicize Spencer’s book.  I’m sure that they will both have an opportunity to get in a few anti-Muslim zingers in the course of this “debate”.  Let the bigots talk among themselves.

UPDATE 4/30/2012

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more strange.  Robert Spencer just posted a new notice about tonights “debate”.  The debate is now to be between Spencer and Wood (on the same side) versus Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri.

Both Choudary and Bakri are part of the Muslim lunatic fringe.  Just type their names or the term lunatic fringe into our TAM search engine for more information on these disreputable folks.

I’m curious as to how Spencer is going to talk to Omar Bakri since the last I heard he had been denied re-entry to England, and arrested in Lebanon.

Dearborn: Muslims and Members of Other Faiths Successfully Counter Anti-Muslim Conference

MSNBC describes it as “dueling in Dearborn.” I think the real story is the rejection of Islamophobia, and the anti-Islam outsiders who arrived only to agitate:

Dueling in Dearborn over murder of a 20-year-old woman

By Kari Huus, msnbc.com

In Dearborn Mich., a Detroit suburb known for its concentration of Muslim Americans, anti-Islam leaders from around the country are gathering to discuss how to rescue women from that faith. The “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference on Honor Killings” on Sunday is named for a local Muslim woman murdered one year ago.

But Muslims, civil rights groups and other religious leaders say the conference is merely another event put on by well-known bigots to attack the minority religion. Their response was to schedule a town hall meeting just a few miles away on Sunday called “Rejecting Islamophobia: A Community Stand Against Hate.”

The honor killing conference, organized by Pamela Geller, who became nationally famous for her vocal opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque, aka Park 51 in Manhattan, is based on the premise that Mokdad, 20 years old when she died in April 2011, was the victim of an honor killing justified by Islam.

Mokdad’s family maintains that the killing was a tragedy that has nothing to do with their Islamic beliefs, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.

“It’s not a case based on honor,” Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Cataldo, chief of homicide, told the Free Press on Friday.

In court, prosecutors have said the motive for Mokdad’s killing was that her stepfather, Rahim Alfetlawi had “been sexually abusing her,” Cataldo said, according to the report. They argue that when she threatened to go public about the abuse he killed her.

Cataldo said the family strongly objects to the conference using Mokdad’s killing, which they say was a tragedy that had nothing to do with their faith.

Geller insists this was an honor killing carried out by a devout Muslim because his stepdaughter was not following Islam, and that the family is covering it up. She alleges that law enforcers systematically cover up honor killings here and elsewhere under “stealth enforcement” of Islamic shariah law.

On her web site, Geller says: “Despite pressure from the media and members of Jessica’s family who want to cover up the honor killing aspect of her murder, we are not going to change the name of the conference. Unlike those closest to her, we are going to honor Jessica’s memory and stand up against the brutal practice that took her life.”

The Dearborn conference will feature speeches by Geller and Robert Spencer — author of the blog “Jihad Watch” — as well as several like-minded legal and religious figures. They have also invited a young man who says he was Mokdad’s friend to offer “firsthand testimony” that she was a victim of honor killing.

Stop the Islamization of America, which Geller and Spencer founded, has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights watchdog.

“Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead,” according to a profile published by SPLC on its web site. ”She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims.”

The Arab American Institute, a decades-old community organization in the Detroit area, discouraged Muslims and their supporters from protesting at the site of Geller’s conference.  But they organized a competing event, said AAI president Jim Zogby, because Geller and Spencer have become too prominent to ignore.

“Geller and Spencer have thousands of followers, and are given airtime to spew their hate on major American news networks, as if they are respected analysts with just another viewpoint,” Zogby said on the AAI announcement for the “Rejecting Islamophobia” town hall in Detroit.

Although many Americans have never encountered a Muslim in person, about 43 percent questioned in a recent Gallup Poll said they felt at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims.

“This group, we cannot ignore. This is the time for our community to take a stand, along with all those who value America’s commitment to diversity and freedom of religion, against the politics of division and bigotry promoted by the Islamophobes.”

A variety of community, interfaith and religious leaders and Michigan public on their agenda, for a “community conversation about how to respond to these continued attacks,” said Zogby.

One participant who was just on his way to the town hall was Dawud Walid, who heads the Michigan office of the Council on American Islamic Relations, a civil rights advocacy group for Muslims.

“I think firstly we have to better expose who these anti-Muslim bigots are as well as their funders,” said Walid. “We believe that the Islamophobia that permeates our country is being pushed by a well-organized, highly-funded network.”

He says that while Dearborn and Detroit have become a focus for the activities of Geller and others of like mind, the problem is bigger.

“Islamophobia is a national illness,” he said.