You may remember from last year the laughable story about the Muslim Brotherhood using puppies as weapons by dousing them in petrol, setting them on fire and then throwing them at the Egyptian army. Both Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller reduced themselves to objects of ridicule by taking that nonsense seriously.
Well, apparently this form of urban warfare has caught on elsewhere. Under the headline “Puppy jihad: New levels of cruelty reached by Muslims in Jerusalem”, Geller reports that Palestinians in the West Bank town of Abu Dis have attacked an Israeli police patrol by throwing four puppies at them, resulting in the death of the animals so callously used as missiles.
Quite what military advantage the perpetrators hoped to gain from their action is unclear, as in this case the puppies weren’t even set alight. But according to the report reproduced by Geller, Palestinians now prefer to throw soft, furry animals rather than rocks at Israeli state forces.
Geller happily repeats this story, which originates on a Facebook page rather than the Israeli press, while quoting the same hadiths that Spencer used to explain the first case of “puppy jihad”. In the present case, Spencer has so far failed to endorse the report. Perhaps he reasons that, having made a laughing stock of himself once, there’s no point doing so a second time.
Even President Obama is not safe from the Hamas smear
Lauren Green’s interview of Reza Aslan backfired on Fox News. Green’s obvious bias generated sympathy for Aslan. Many Americans were horrified at her blatant display of Islamophobia. Yet, Lauren Green’s statements were actually very mild compared to the anti-Muslim smears that Reza Aslan and other prominent Muslims are routinelysubjected to–which few Americans speak out against.
Perhaps the crudest attack–used almost invariably against a Muslim who reaches any form of prominence whatsoever–is the Hamas smear. Its ubiquity is such that we ought to name a law after it. We’ve all heard of Godwin’s Law:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
The Hamas smear deserves its own law. For vanity’s sake, let’s call it Danios’s Law. And, it goes something like this:
As a Muslim person becomes more prominent, the probability of anti-Muslim bigots linking that Muslim to Hamas* approaches 1.
*Or some other extremist group
It may not sound as elegant as Godwin’s Law, but it’s equally true.
How commonly the Hamas smear is used against Muslims became painfully obvious when I read Salon essayist Wajahat Ali’s guest article he wrote for LoonWatch. Ali masterfully used comedy to make impotent the very ugly “stealth jihadist” accusations levied against Muslims. Then, I realized that Muslims in general tend to have a running joke about this, since the Hamas smear is so prevalent against them. They have re-appropriated the smear, much as black Americans have re-appropriated the n-word. That’s how common (and hurtful) the bigoted slur has become.
Front Page Magazine and other right-wing media outlets tied Wajahat Ali to Hamas by pointing out that Ali was a member of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) during college. This, even though his joining the MSA during college is as intuitive as a black, Mexican, or Jewish person joining the black student union, the Mexican-American Student Association, or the Jewish Student Union respectively.
Islamophobes often use the MSA or CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to play a connect-the-dots game back to Hamas. CAIR is the largest and most respected American Muslim civil rights organization. Once again using dubious connections, CAIR is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, and in turn, to Hamas. With both the MSA (the largest American Muslim college organization) and CAIR (the largest American Muslim civil rights organization) connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and from there to Hamas, it is only a matter of connecting an American Muslim to the MSA or CAIR in order to link that individual to Hamas itself.
Sooner or later, any prominent Muslim is bound to be smeared in this way and linked to Hamas or some other radical organization. Even Rima Fakih, the Arab-American beauty pageant contestant who won Miss USA, was not safe from the smear. She stood accused of being tied to Hezbollah. The Hezbollah smear is a modified version of the Hamas smear, often employed against Shi’ite Muslims. (Hamas is a Sunni organization, whereas Hezbollah is a Shi’ite one.) In other words, being a bikini-clad beauty pageant winner is not enough to insulate oneself from being called a radical “Islamist.”
After the now notorious Fox News interview, the Daily Caller published an article claiming that Reza Aslan has “ties to extreme Islamists” and “is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Elsewhere Aslan was called a “Khomeinist” and tied to the Iranian regime (yet another Shi’ite-centric version of the Hamas smear). These six degrees of separation sort of accusations are far more pernicious than anything Lauren Green said to Reza Aslan. They reek of McCarthyism, with “Islamism” being substituted for communism.
The list of American Muslims libeled with the Hamas smear is endless. But, what’s interesting is that not even non-Muslims are safe from this smear. President Barack Obama, who has a Muslim-ish enough sounding name, has been tied to both the Muslim Brotherhood and, in turn, Hamas.
I write for LoonWatch.com, arguably the internet’s most popular Islamophobia watchdog website. And, lo and behold, it did not take long for the Hamas smear to come along my way. The Islamophobes don’t even know my faith but they are certain that I am an “Islamist” and Hamas supporter. Whether a Muslim or simply a “Muslim sympathizer”, one can automatically be linked to Hamas using the Islamophobic approach.
Eric Allen Bell, a former diarist for The Daily Kos (he was banned by the unanimous consensus of the Daily Kos community for being an unrestrained bigot), accused LoonWatch of being tied to Hamas. Bell’s “connecting-the-dots” mentality and “math” prove how loosely the Hamas smear is used; Bell opined:
Loonwatch works with CAIR by broadcasting CAIR’s point of view. They are very consistent on this. Loonwatch is never in disagreement with CAIR. CAIR thanks Loonwatch in their “Hate Report”.
Connecting all of these dots is deeply, deeply concerning. Here is the math: Out of the Muslim Brotherhood come a number of terrorist organizations including Al Queda and Hamas. Out of Hamas comes C.A.I.R. and Loonwatch becomes a mirror for anything that C.A.I.R. wants to convey to Americans about how harmless Islam is.
All the evidence Eric Allen Bell needs is that “LoonWatch is never in disagreement with CAIR”, ergo LoonWatch must be working with CAIR. Does it take a mathematician to figure out the flaw in his “math” and the logical fallacy here?
Alright, so LoonWatch is linked to CAIR because we are, according to him, “never in disagreement”–and because CAIR supposedly thanks us in their “Hate Report” (I wonder why an American Muslim civil rights group would thank a website that monitors Islamophobia?). Ergo, LoonWatch = CAIR. Since Hamas = CAIR, therefore LoonWatch = Hamas. Oh yeah, let’s throw in Al-Qaeda into the mix as well. You see, it’s so plain to see, LoonWatch = CAIR = Hamas = Al-Qaeda.
Searching “LoonWatch” on YouTube reveals a video entitled “Loonwatch and Hamas”, created by a regular commentator on JihadWatch. The video is a painful ten minutes long, with a rambling “connect-the-dots” approach to smear me. What’s interesting is that the Islamophobic narrator mentions that I specifically condemned and denounced Hamas (which is what right-wingers always demand of Muslims and their sympathizers: “Do you, sir, condemn Hamas?”), but then goes on to explain why my condemnation and denouncement of Hamas aren’t genuine.
Hamas and LoonWatch Video:
So, what’s his argument to make this claim? The narrator intones: “A look at the numerous LoonWatch pages that come up from the term ‘Hamas’, we see that Danios and Hamas are quite compatible politically.” Really? I’m a strong supporter of pluralistic, secular, liberal democracy, whereas Hamas supports an ultra-conservative Islamic “Sharia state.” How’s that for compatibility?
The narrator then points to an article I wrote about Debbie Schlussel. In that article, I criticized Schlussel for insulting the victims of the Oslo terrorist attack in which seventy-seven innocent people were killed by a far-right wing extremist. Schlussel called the child victims of this heinous attack “bitches.” Interestingly, in the article I also pointed out that Schlussel linked the victims to Hamas, calling them “HAMASniks.” (Here again we see the Hamas smear in action, this time against murdered children.)
I passingly mention the Freedom Flotilla in the article, because Debbie Schlussel accused the child victims of having sympathized with it. (The Freedom Flotilla had attempted to provide humanitarian aid to the starving people of Gaza.) There is the narrator’s hook! He says that we should “place the Flotilla at the center of our discussion.”
The connect-the-dots is about to begin. It’s confusing, but it goes something like this:
Danios writes an article where the Freedom Flotilla is mentioned –> The Freedom Flotilla was organized by the Turkish NGO IHH and the Free Gaza movement –> the Free Gaza Movement is made up of forty different groups and individuals –> Huwaida Arraf (an Arab-American Christianby the way) is one of these people –> Arraf is the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement –> The International Solidarity Movement’s website linked to the Free Marwan Barghouti campaign –> Huwaida Arraf is dedicated to her beliefs so much so that she would die for them –> Martyrdom is a hallmark of Hamas, therefore –> Huwaida Arraf = Hamas. Therefore, as you can clearly see, Danios = Hamas. Don’t you see?
The rest of the video goes on to find more threads between the Freedom Flotilla movement and Hamas, then linking all of that somehow to me. (I have nothing to do with the Freedom Flotilla, by the way.)
Oh yes, and we are told that our website LoonWatch.com also links to the “Hamas apologist Glenn Greenwald.” (Yet another “Muslim sympathizer” tarnished with the Hamas smear.)
The Hamas smear is an empty and meaningless line of attack, devoid of any intellectual substance. Unfortunately, however, it is all too often an effective means of tarnishing a person’s character. The only silver lining is that the Hamas smear is used so often and so flippantly by the Islamophobes that they might actually just wear it out.
Far-right activist David Horowitz has been out promoting his new book, Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion, and told conservative talk show host Steve Deace yesterday that President Obama, much like professor Cornel West, is taken seriously simply because he is black. During an incoherent rant, Horowitz asserted that Obama “would never be president if he weren’t black” as no one with the same “curious background and radicalism would ever have been nominated, let alone elected president if he weren’t black.” “Part of the racism of our society is if you’re black you can get away with murder,” Horowitz concludes.
Cornel West is just symbolic of the corruption of our culture and not unlike Obama who would never be president if he weren’t black, no white person with his resume and his thoughts and curious background and radicalism would ever have been nominated, let alone elected president if he weren’t black. So Cornel West is an empty suit who has twenty honorary degrees and he’s taught at all these prestigious universities but is basically an airhead, most people who’ve seen him on TV they’ve noticed. Part of the racism of our society is if you’re black you can get away with murder.
After attacking Obama as someone who “sympathizes with our enemy” and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, Horowitz said that conservatives are much nicer and more open minded than liberals. But he couldn’t even make that audacious claim without attacking Obama: “we don’t set out to destroy the character of people. Obama is a Communist.” Not only is Obama a Communist, Horowitz explained, but so are his advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, whom he says all serve this “evil cause” with religious zeal.
Obama basically sympathizes with our enemy and Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser, the chief adviser to the American government right now on Muslim affairs is Huma Abedin, who is a Muslim Brotherhood operative. The Muslim Brotherhood, for people who don’t know, that’s the organization that created Osama bin Laden, it’s the parent organization of Hamas, and it’s agenda — well they’re already doing it in Egypt — is to turn it into an Islamic, fascist state, meaning that everybody is under Islamic laws, this seventh century law.
People have to stop thinking of them as liberals. Conservatives are liberal people, we believe in two sides to a question, we don’t shut people up, when we have channels on television there is more than one viewpoint, we don’t set out to destroy the character of people. Obama is a Communist. Stanley Kurtz has written a really good book called “Radical-in-Chief” and his entire life has been spent in the same left that I came out of, which is the radical, Marxist left. Only it’s even worse. [David] Axelrod, his family is all—they’re communists. Valerie Jarrett, I mean literally members of the Communist Party. And I know as somebody who came out of the left, you know if you’re involved with an evil cause and you leave it, you denounce it, you tell people, particularly if you’re a political person, you warn people. These people are really dangerous but they haven’t done that, they are still committed to this cause. I think that’s the main thing, people have to suddenly awaken and realize, and that’s one reason I wrote this book “Radicals” because it’s a portrait of this mentality, it’s a very religious mentality.
In another such lie, in June, Islamophobes started spreading a video titled: “Graphic video: Muslims slaughter Christian convert in moderate Tunisia”. I won’t post the video itself, as it is too gruesome, but the link is provided for whoever wishes to see it for themselves. This title when searched on Google produces 7,000 results. When one searches “beheading+Christian+Tunisia” or similar search terms one comes across more than 300,000 results.
The Anatomy of a Lie
The video of the beheading actually surfaced in May, not June, and was titled “‘Free Syrian Army’ Behead a Civilian.” For anyone who has knowledge of the region, the video is definitely not from Tunisia. As the original YouTube user who uploaded the video, TimeToFightBack1 wrote in an update to the video, “the dialect, the terrain and the clothing are all suggestive of Syria.” The murderers refer to their victim as “Rafidi” a demeaning term used exclusively to refer to Shias, and in the mouths of AlQaeda and their affiliate extremists is also usually accompanied by proclamations of being “renegades” and “apostates,” all the more to cheapen the life of their victims and to justify the spilling of their blood. (h/t: MAbdullah)
The perpetrators of this beheading were likely one of the AlQaeda linked or influenced groups who have infiltrated the Free Syrian Army or claim to be part of the Free Syrian Army (a very underreported and undocumented phenomenon in Western media).
The video failed to go viral in its original manifestation, perhaps because it doesn’t jibe with the prevailing narrative of a united, just, and Free Syrian Army fighting for democracy, rule of law and to overthrow the despotic Bashar al-Assad.
In early June, Egyptian T.V. (Masr al-Youm, “Egypt Today”) personality Tawfiq Okasha played part of the beheading video on his TV show. Okasha is well known for his over-the-top animosity and virulent disdain for Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. He described the beheading as happening in Tunisia, nowhere did he identify how he came to this conclusion, but in light of his political agenda it is clear why he would forward such a narrative.
Understanding the political context in Egypt gives us some clues. Okasha was using the video, in the lead up to the second round of Egyptian presidential elections to forward a fear-mongering premise to his Egyptian viewers, essentially telling them: look at what is happening in Tunisia as a result of the Islamist party of Rachid Al-Ghannouchi, ‘Al-Nahda’ having won elections, radicals are killing civilians and minorities. If the Muslim Brotherhood wins the upcoming presidential election you can expect the same thing in Egypt.” A few weeks after this aired, on June 24 Mohammed Morsi was declared president. Okasha recently announced the formation of a new political party, Egyptian National People’s Party, presenting himself as Egypt’s “champion against a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Raymond Ibrahim (the same individual who forwarded the Muslim Brotherhood Crucify Opponents hoax), a Coptic-American and long time writer on JihadWatch got a hold of the video, and the rest is history. The video that originally was posted in May as “Free Syrian Army Beheads a Civilian” had completely transformed into a viral news story in the looniverse, “Graphic Video: Muslims Behead Christian Convert in ‘Moderate’ Tunisia.”
One can easily discern the motive for such deception on the part of Islamophobes. The manipulated story validates, in one fell swoop, their prejudices against Islam, Muslims and the “Arab Spring,” while at the same time affirming for their audience the narratives of persecution of minorities (specifically Christians), the supposed “unique” violent nature of Islam, and most importantly the idea that changes being brought about by the Arab uprisings will not herald freedom, democracy, dignity, and rights (the slogans of Arab revolutionaries), but “radical Islam” a la the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
On its own the video is a potent reminder of violent fundamentalist extremism. The re-packaging and re-titling of the video is not only a detriment to factual news reporting and information gatherers, it is an insult to the memory of the poor Shia’ man who was murdered by these extremists.
The damage from this story has already been done, the looniverse has consumed it, reinforcing their own prejudices. It is hoped this article will go some way in dispelling the false re-packaging and re-titling of the video–and may the unnamed, murdered man rest in peace.
Lurid tales of the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood allegedly “crucifying” President Mohammed Morsi’s political opponents has gone viral all across the looniverse, but skepticism seems to have surfaced in an unlikely place.
The American Thinker is not generally friendly to Muslims, and articles from notorious loons like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer routinely “grace” its pages, as evidenced by their respective archives here and here. Yet, despite the ridiculous assertion that rabid anti-Muslim bigot and serial fabricator Raymond Ibraham is “usually reliable,” the American Thinker indulged in a bit of fact checking and concluded the tale of crucifixion is, “at best, an exaggeration, and at worst, a hoax.”
At the time of this writing, Google searching the phrase, “Muslim Brotherhood crucifixion” in quotes yields 341,000 results. Despite this bout of ”lone wolf” fact checking by the American Thinker, this fabricated tale will no doubt be recycled endlessly, masquerading as “proof” of alleged Muslim depravity for months, or even years, to come.
This story is hard to believe but comes to us from multiple sources, including the usually reliable Ray Ibrahim. The problem is that the original report is from the Arab media. And while Ray, no doubt, faithfully translated the stories, there is no reliable source that could confirm the substance of the report.
However, it certainly is not beyond imagining that Salafists allied with the Muslim Brotherhood could have carried out such a barbaric act.
Last week in Egypt, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters terrorized the secular media, several Arabic websites-including Arab News, Al Khabar News, Dostor Watany, and Egypt Now-reported that people were being “crucified.” The relevant excerpt follows in translation:
A Sky News Arabic correspondent in Cairo confirmed that protestors belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others. Likewise, Muslim Brotherhood supporters locked the doors of the media production facilities of 6-October [a major media region in Cairo], where they proceeded to attack several popular journalists.
That there were attacks and violence-both in front of Egypt’s presidential palace and at major media facilities, is well-documented. An August 9 report by El Balad, a widely read Egyptian website, gives the details:
Last Wednesday, August 8, “thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters” attacked 6-October’s media facilities, beat Khaled Salah-chief editor of the privately-owned and secular Youm 7 newspaper-prevented Yusif al-Hassani, an On TV broadcaster, from entering the building, and generally “terrorized the employees.”
El Balad adds that the supporters of Tawfik Okasha, another vocal critic of President Morsi-the one who widely disseminated the graphic video of a Muslim apostate being slaughtered to cries of “Allahu Akbar”-gathered around the presidential palace, only to be surrounded by Brotherhood supporters, who “attacked them with sticks, knives, and Molotov cocktails, crucifying some of them on trees, leading to the deaths of two and the wounding of dozens.”
“Crucified in front of the presidential palace?” One would imagine that something so barbaric done so openly would catch the attention of at least some western news outlets. Or even al-Jazeera, who would almost certainly report such an atrocity. They can’t all want to cover up for the Brotherhood. A story like this is just too juicy to pass up in the name of political correctness or ideology.
A check of the Sky News website shows no story about crucifixions.. In fact, there is no time or date of the crucifixions reported by Ray at all.
These are all red flags that makes me think that this widely disseminated story is, at best, an exaggeration, and at worst, a hoax…
Newt Gingrich with hate group leader Pamela Geller
The “Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration” conspiracy theory still has life. Anderson Cooper discusses the ongoing saga and how the likes of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney’s Islamophobic adviser, John Bolton are voicing their support for the Bachmann five:
“Islamophobia” was coined by the Muslim Brotherhood and seamlessly adopted by its Western confederates.
One of the common means by which the anti-Muslim agitators like to undercut attempts to expose them is to pretend that the term “Islamophobia” was invented by nefarious Muslims. In so doing they hope to create the impression that the actual phenomenon is simply imaginary.
The term was used by the Runnymede Trust in the U.K. back in 1992, in a report entitled A Very Light Sleeper, which then led to a report, also by Runnymede, entitled, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, in 1997. Christopher Allen points outthat it was used in the U.S. in Insight in 1991, but somewhat differently from the way the term is employed today.
The single piece of evidence that Islamophobes cite that “the Muslim Brotherhood” coined this term comes from the personal recollection of one Abdur Rahman Muhammad:
Muhammad said he was present when his then- allies, meeting at the offices of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Northern Virginia years ago, coined the term “Islamophobia.”
Muhammad said the Islamists decided to emulate the homosexual activists who used the term “homophobia” to silence critics. He said the group meeting at IIIT saw “Islamophobia” as a way to “beat up their critics.”
That quote comes from CT huckster Stephen Emerson‘swebsite. Let us assume that this account is completely true. Even on this man’s account, IIIT decided to make use of the term “Islamophobia”, like many have in the last decade. Note the absence of a date, or any kind of corroboration. Also note that IIIT is not the Muslim Brotherhood. And note that the term pre-dates 9/11 by almost ten years.
Claire Berlinski gave this myth some life in 2010, and bears some responsibility for it.
Of course, it is only one small detail in the overall paranoia-inducing fantasy that all (that is, every last one) of the mainstream American Muslim organizations are “fronts” for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Update (May 21):
Some have sent me notes indicating even earlier usage in English and also in other languages such as French (though I don’t see these as being exactly continuous with the use of the term these days). My point was not to determine the first usage of the term, but simply to point out how phony it is to pretend it was invented by “the Muslim Brotherhood”. I put the latter in scare quotes because as used by Islamophobes it’s not meant to be precise or to refer to some actually existing organization with a discernible structure. It is meant to sound ominous and scary.
The United States military has called for a review of all its training classes after receiving criticism for a course taught to senior officers that allegedly encouraged war against Islam.
The controversial class presented slides that accused dozens of Islamic groups, many widely recognised as mainstream advocacy groups, of infiltrating the US media, education system, government and military.
One slide titled “The Muslim Brotherhood and Violence” showed a photo of an al-Qaeda beheading, erroneously conflating the two groups.
Through the slides and other presentations, the course created a picture of a US government co-opted by subversive Muslim elements.
Al Jazeera’s Josh Rushing reports from Washington.
Gaffney and McCarthy, who both are mentioned in CAP’s report as part of the influential “Islamophobia network,” make a series of unfounded allegations against CAP and the report.
McCarthy, the author of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, has made no secret of his dislike for Muslims and progressives. His eagerness to create a grand-conspiracy between the two was on full display during the interview.
But Gaffney and McCarthy take a turn into uncharted, and wildly unsubstantiated, territory when they float the theory that the CAP report was, as Frank Gaffney declares, a product of “a red-green axis between George Soros’ friends and beneficiaries on the radical left like the Center for American Progress and the Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood most notably.”
Listen here (Gaffney’s theory of a “red-green axis” starts at 3:45):
Gaffney, and his allies like Robert Spencer and David Horowitz, have been desperate to paint Fear, Inc. and CAP as a radical institution aligned with violent Islamists. But their attempts to make their fantasies a reality has resulted in some bizarre attempts at guilt-by-association.
Gaffney, McCarthy, and most critics of the report — Islamophobe Pamela Geller said the authors should “choke on their own vomit” — are eager to discredit CAP and the report’s authors using factually baseless attack and wildly speculative conspiracy theories. McCarthy responded to Gaffney’s “red-green axis” theory that, “the evidence [that radical Islamists and the Center for American Progress] cooperate is so strong, that the real question that the interesting quesiton is ‘why this happened’ not ‘whether it happened.’
Conveniently, neither McCarthy nor Gaffney provide any actual evidence of this bizarre theory. But the report does show plenty of evidence of their hostility toward American Muslims. In 2009, Gaffney announced there is “mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims but may actually be one himself” and, after the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) banned Gaffney for making baseless accusations against board members, he declared that the Muslim Brotherhood had “infiltrated” CPAC.
While Gaffney might be finding fewer friendly audiences for his anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, he and his friends still have a home on AM radio, every weeknight.
Silly Spencer: From the weird interview titled, Abedin-Weiner a Marriage Made by Hillary Clinton and the Muslim Brotherhood
“the rumors that the Abedin/Weiner union is a political marriage of convenience are true. After all, in 2008, Hillary Clinton was running for president. There were widespread insinuations that she was involved in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with Abedin, her ever-present personal assistant. Those whisperings persisted into Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Abedin’s 2010 marriage to Weiner, at which Bill Clinton presided, put those rumors to rest.”