The Fruits of Tunisia’s Uprising: An Extraordinary Constitution

 

Tunisia_Constitution

The Fruits of Tunisia’s Uprising: An Extraordinary Constitution

By Garibaldi

Before the Arab Uprisings a narrative almost as well known as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was indoctrinated into the minds of many US and European citizens; the claim that Arabs and Muslims were inclined to tyranny and dictatorship. Columnist David Brooks of the New York Times encapsulated this frame of mind, about Egyptians he wrote, “they don’t have the mental ingredients for democracy.”

Islamophobes were appalled by the uprisings which saw their myths and prejudices regarding “subservient” Arabs and Muslims who either “only know dictatorship or theocracy” fall apart. Bigots such as Deacon Spencer were quick to claim that these nations would quickly be living inIranian-style theocracies.

While the uprisings and revolutions have faltered or are continuing at varied paces in most of the nations that have seen uprisings, the country that birthed the momentous wave of protest and upheaval, Tunisia, has achieved a tremendous milestone: a Constitution through consensus and hard, political work.

Tunisia was well placed for this achievement, considering its history of Constitutionalism,

Tunisia was the first Arab country ever to draft its own constitution – the qanoon al-dawla al-tunisiyya, or ‘law of the Tunisian state’ – which came into force in 1861.”

The process took two years, every jot and tittle was fought over and at times the impasse between the secularist opposition and the Ennahda led government seemed to be teetering on the brink of disaster and all out chaos: a happy prospect for those who have a seething hate for Arabs, Muslims and Islam and cheer on whenever they see disorder.

The naysayers were disappointed when the Ennahda led coalition and Nida Tounes negotiated a deal under the auspices of civil society organizations that paved the way for: a resignation of the government, a completion to the Constitution and an interim care-taker government of technocrats until fresh elections will be held later this year.

So what happened when Tunisia passed its constitution? Wallah! The praise has come in from all quarters: The New York TimesFrance24The EconomistThe Washington PostFox News, etc. had forgotten their age old prejudices and “congratulated” Tunisians.

Equally as important as the Constitution is to Tunisians it is also an example to the nations in the region. It shows that if one is ready to negotiate, compromise, to see beyond the simplistic demonizations of one’s opponent, you can overcome religious, ethnic, ideological and political divisions.

The outcome is a document that the vast majority of Tunisians have unanimously accepted and, crucially, has popular legitimacy.

The document isn’t perfect and contains some self-contradictions that highlight fissures and insecurities in Tunisian society. For instance what does it mean to protect ‘freedom of conscience and speech’ and at the same time outlaw takfir (declaring a Muslim to be a non-Muslim)? What does it mean for the state to ensure the “neutrality of mosques” and “protect sanctities?”

On the other hand it is a document that is confident in its identity, history and heritage, enshrines freedom of religion, conscience, individual rights, minority rights, gender parity, and a separation of powers.

It rivals any constitution in ambition and scope, and is more progressive in several ways than our own 226 year-old US Constitution that still contains outdated language stating for instance that slaves are the equivalent of “3/5ths” of a full vote. A few years ago the Congressional reading of the Constitution omitted this section which caused some right-wingers, like Glenn Beck, to throw a fit. Maybe it’s time we had another Constitutional convention ourselves?

The future for Tunisia is still wide open and by no means have Tunisians arrived at a moment in which the aims of their uprising have been fully realized,

Measured against the aims of the revolution, the constitution can be said to have met a number of key expectations. But for those in the marginalized parts of the country, seeking tangible improvement in their social and economic situation, the constitution is not going to do that-not immediately at least-and, in truth, does not guarantee it on the long-run. The state, in Article 12, promises no more than “striving to,” rather than the much demanded “commits to” achieve regional balance within the framework of positive discrimination.

The hope is that the spirit of negotiation, determination and compromise will continue until those aims are reached. However, what can be said is that despite tremendous pressures from the West, regional neighbors and fissures within Tunisian society, Tunisians have made it happen — and that is something not only to congratulate but to emulate.

Video: Tunisia Gets New Constitution

Stop Trying to Split Gays and Muslims

Geller is attempting to pinkwash Islamophobia, but many in the LGBT and Muslim communities will not allow it to happen.

Chris D. Stedman, a humanist, who is also homosexual has been an outspoken fighter against anti-Muslim bigotry and takes on Geller and her cohorts’ claim that they have support from the gay community head on.

Homosexuality is a controversial topic in many Muslim American communities in which there is heated debate about the topic, but there appears to be a consensus that despite disagreements on homosexuality, respect and support for equal rights before the law, especially in the case of the marginalized has to be part and parcel of securing ones own rights.

Stop trying to split gays and Muslims

Anti-Islam crusader Pam Geller’s effort to foment hate between the two groups is based on lies and doomed to fail

BY 

I have an earnest and sincere question for the LGBT community: Do you support Pamela Geller?

Geller, who is one of the most active proponents of anti-Muslim attitudes in the United States, rose to notoriety as one of the key instigators of the Park51 backlash, misrepresenting a proposed Islamic Community Center (think a YMCA or Jewish Community Center) by calling it the “Ground Zero mosque” and engaging in dishonest rhetoric and blatant fear-mongering. Her organization, Stop the Islamization of America, was identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, alongside extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis. And it’s earned that label — Geller and her allies have dedicated countless hours and millions upon millions of dollars to drum up hatred, fear and xenophobia toward Muslims.

Last week I learned that Geller and one of her biggest allies, Robert Spencer, are hosting a fundraiser for their anti-Muslim advertisements on the website Indiegogo. This disturbed me for a number of reasons, but particularly because Indiegogo’s terms explicitly prohibit “anything promoting hate.” (Despite reports from me and many others, Indiegogo has so far declined to remove the fundraiser; if so inclined, you can let them know what you think about that here.)

While I was looking into this, I discovered that Geller recently announced plans to run a series of anti-Muslim advertisements in San Francisco quoting Muslim individuals making anti-LGBT statements. Why? Because members of San Francisco’s LGBT community criticized other anti-Muslim ads she has run there.

I tweeted my appreciation that the LGBT community in San Francisco is standing up against her efforts to drive a wedge between LGBT folks and Muslims. Soon after, Geller retweeted me, claiming that she in fact has “huge support in Gay community.” Immediately, her supporters began to lob insults and even threats at me; Spencer himself suggested that I should be rewarded for supporting Muslims by someone “saw[ing] off [my] head.” (Meanwhile, though Geller, Spencer and their supporters kept tweeting at me that Muslims “hate gays” and want to kill me, many Muslim friends and strangers alike tweeted love and support for LGBT equality at me.)

As things settled down, I realized that Geller had stopped responding to me when I requested more information to back up her assertion that she has “huge support in Gay community,” after the only evidence she provided was a link to a Facebook group with 72 members. I’ve since asked her repeatedly for more information, but have not gotten a response.

I couldn’t think of a single LGBT person in my life that would support her work, but I didn’t want to go off of my own judgment alone. So I started asking around. It wasn’t hard to find prominent members of the LGBT community who do not share Geller’s views.

“The idea that the LGBT community should support Islamophobia is offensive and absurd,” said Joseph Ward III, director of Believe Out Loud, an organization that empowers Christians to work for LGBT equality. “[American Muslims] are our allies as we share a common struggle to overcome stereotypes and misconceptions in America.”

“Trying to drive a wedge between the LGBT community and other communities is old, tired and [it] doesn’t work,” said Ross Murray, director of News and Faith Initiatives for GLAAD. “Pitting two communities [like the Muslim and LGBT communities] against one another is an attempt to keep both oppressed. Wedge strategies are offensive and, in the long run, they do not work. Geller is not an LGBT ally — she’s posing as one because it is convenient to her [anti-Muslim] agenda.”

“As with any attempts at a wedge, these efforts seek to erase the real and powerful reality of LGBT Muslims and seek to create a false dichotomy: All the LGBT people are non-Muslim/Islamophobic and all the Muslims are straight and homophobic,” said Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, program director of the Institute for Welcoming Resources at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “Particularly given the oppression, marginalization, hatred and violence visited upon the LGBTQ community, it is critically important that we use our spiritual, communal and political power to speak out against the victimization and vilification of any other community. As a Christian lesbian, I must stand against any attempts to victimize another because of their personhood.”

“There’s no doubt that there’s a great deal of religion-based bigotry against LGBT people, although it’s hardly limited to Islam. The Hebrew Scriptures also prescribe the death penalty for some homosexual conduct, but you don’t typically see people using this to inflame anti-Semitic or anti-Christian sentiment,” said John Corvino, author of “What’s Wrong With Homosexuality?” and coauthor of “Debating Same-Sex Marriage.” “To single out Muslims in this way is both unhelpful and unfair.”

Despite her claim, the work of Geller and her colleagues has plenty of opposition in the LGBT community. Why?

For starters, it’s wrong.

As Junaid Jahangir writes in a recent piece at the Huffington Post, “[Geller’s] selective references provide a misguided view of the current Muslim position on queer rights issues.” He rightly notes that her advertisements lift up the views of a controversial Muslim cleric, but ignore the “over 2,500 Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries [that] not only called for an international treaty to counter such clerics, but also called for a tribunal set by the United Nations Security Council to put them on trial for inciting violence.” In his piece, which is a must-read, Jahangir goes on to quote many influential, pro-equality Muslim leaders. Pointing to the activism they are doing to support LGBT rights, he demonstrates that Geller is unfairly — and dangerously — presenting a skewed picture of Muslim views on LGBT people.

“There’s no question that homophobia is rampant among the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims — but that doesn’t negate the fact that there are huge groups of Muslims who have easily reconciled their faith and sexual orientation, like LGBT people in other faith communities,” said Reza Aslan, author of “No God but God” and “Beyond Fundamentalism,” in a recent phone interview. “For a woman who leads an organization that has been labeled a hate group to try to reach out to a community like the LGBT community, by trying to make a connection based on bigotry, is harmful and ridiculous. Bigotry is not a bridge.”

Of course, members of the LGBT community are right to be concerned about the dangers of religious extremism and totalitarianism — whether it is Christian, Muslim or any other expression. But demonizing another community won’t help reduce the influence of religious fundamentalism.

You can be honest about your disagreements without being hateful. I’m a queer atheist, and I believe that there are ideas and practices promoted by Muslims in the name of Islam that are not only false — they’re extremely harmful. But to rally against Muslims and Islam as if they and it are some monolithic bloc is counterproductive; it creates enemies where we need allies. There are many Muslims who oppose cruelty and violence done in the name of Islam and favor equality for all people, and they are positioned to create change. We should be working with them, not standing against all of Islam. Based on my own experiences, I know that this is a much more constructive approach. In my book “Faitheist,” I tell several stories about Muslim friends who are not only accepting of my sexual orientation, but are also fierce allies for LGBT equality.

That’s the problem with Geller’s advertisements, and with sweeping, generalizing statements about entire groups of people: They don’t account for the diversity of ideas and traditions that exist within any given community. Geller focuses on a ridiculously tiny minority of Muslim extremists in order to paint her picture of Islam, and in doing so she neglects to account for the rich and varied traditions of generosity, selflessness, social progress and forgiveness present within Islam. Not only that, but her efforts alienate key allies — Muslim and non-Muslim alike — who share her concerns about Muslim extremists, but who also recognize that her narrow approach is unfair and dishonest.

Instead of adopting Geller’s approach, LGBT people should focus on building relationships. After all, support for marriage equality more than doubles among people who know a gay person. The Pew Research Center reports that of the 14 percent of Americans who changed their mind and decided to support gay marriage in the last decade, 37 percent (the largest category) cited having “friends/family/acquaintances who are gay/lesbian” as the primary reason. The second largest group in this astounding shift, at 25 percent, said they became more tolerant, learned more and became more aware.

In 2011, I wrote an essay encouraging more cooperation and solidarity between the LGBT community and the Muslim community:

[In 2009], a Gallup poll demonstrated something the LGBTQ community has known for some time: People are significantly more inclined to oppose gay marriage if they do not know anyone who is gay. Similarly, Time Magazine cover story featured revealing numbers that speak volumes about the correlation between positive relationships and civic support. Per their survey, 46 percent of Americans think Islam is more violent than other faiths and 61 percent oppose Park51, but only 37 percent even know a Muslim American. Another survey, by Pew, reported that 55 percent of Americans know “not very much” or “nothing at all” about Islam. The disconnect is clear: When only 37 percent of Americans know a Muslim American, and 55 percent claim to know very little or nothing about Islam, the negative stereotypes about the Muslim community go unchallenged.

The Muslim and LGBTQ communities face common challenges that stem from the same problem—that diverse communities don’t have robust and durable civic ties. This is why the Muslim and LGBTQ communities ought to be strong allies.

I continue to believe this, and Geller’s work isn’t helping. Geller, Spencer, and their supporters are wrong to try to pit the queer community against Muslims. Their efforts to force a wedge between us and the Muslim community are little more than fear-mongering — a tactic that has long been used to keep the LGBT community marginalized and oppressed.

Read the rest…

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

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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.

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

Subway Push Death

(h/t:JD)

NYC Subway Shoving Death: One Woman In Custody

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EDL Leader Stephen Lennon Charged with Mortgage Fraud

EDL leader Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) has been charged with multiple counts of mortgage fraud. So on top of being an anti-Muslim bigot and all around Islamophobe he’s also a suspected criminal who loves committing fraud through the tactic of false representation.

These charges are separate from the investigation relating to Yaxley-Lennon’s prosecution and (current incarceration) for illegally entering the US to attend Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s conference in New York in September 2012. (h/t: Jai)

EDL leader Stephen Lennon charged with mortgage fraud

(BBCNews)

Stephen Lennon, 30, is accused of three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to a mortgage application.

Mr Lennon is due before St Albans Magistrates Court on 7 December.

He will appear with five others, from Luton, Silsoe in Bedfordshire and Watford, who were arrested as part of the same investigation.

They face charges including fraud, money-laundering and possession of drugs with intent to supply.

One wonders about the silence of the Yaxley-Lennon’s US partners Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. No doubt they will continue their defense of the EDL leader and claim he is being persecuted due to politically correct multiculti influenced Sharia.

Related Posts

EDL leader charged with mortgage fraud (LutonNews)

EDL Leader Charged With Fraud (HopeNotHate)

Loony Pamela Geller: Petraeus Resignation Is an Obama Plot to Put a Muslim in Charge of the CIA

Typical Geller hysteria. This is what we can expect over the next four years, more of the same. (h/t:CriticalDragon):

Loony Pamela Geller: Petraeus Resignation Is an Obama Plot to Put a Muslim in Charge of the CIA

by Charles Johnson (LGF)

The right wing universe is now in full-bore conspiracy theory mode over the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, just as I predicted. It’s a case study in the conservative movement’s decline into bad craziness; they’re all muttering darkly about cover-ups and hidden connections and “questioning the timing.”

One of the most brain-dead of the wingnuts, loony hateblogger Pamela Geller, has a typical post on the subject; for her it’s all part of the Islamic supremacist stealth shariah takeover of America, of course:

GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS RESIGNS – Atlas Shrugs.

I do not believe it was the real reason was [sic] an extramarital affair. I believe it was Benghazi. He refused to be the fall guy. When did an affair ever stop a Democrat. If anything….

Perhaps one of Obama’s many Muslim Brotherhood advisors are on the shortlist to replace him.

Pamela Geller: “The Ultimate Definition of a Criminal Troll”

Geller on Russell Brand’s show Brand X. Geller’s views are “completely unacceptable”:

http://youtu.be/CDePmk6gv7U
Watch the complete interview here.

Michigan City: Judge Bans Pamela Geller’s anti-Muslim Ads

Sounds like a lot of legal minutia that could have gone either way. At the end of the day I don’t think it would be a big issue if Pamela Geller‘s ads about “Leaving Islam” were to go up. I find her racist Ayn Rand “Savages” ad more problematic and likely to be rejected.

Of course Geller is going bonkers over the issue, framing it as “Shariah law” submission and the whole lot, when it has to do with technical legalese rather than any impending “dhimmi” capitulation to “Islamization.” But what do you expect?:

Michigan City Bans Anti-Islam Bus Ads

(Opposing Views)

CINCINNATI (CN) – The public transit authority in southeastern Michigan has the right to ban advertisements that it deems political for targeting Islam, the 6th Circuit ruled.

Though a federal judge in Detroit had previously granted the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) an injunction, a three-judge appellate panel upheld the viewpoint-neutral ban on political advertising enforced by the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART).

AFDI, a nonprofit that “acts against … government officials, the mainstream media and others,” had said that SMART violated its First Amendment rights in refusing to run its ad promoting the website RefugeFromIslam.com.

The ad read as follows: “Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get Answers! RefugefromIslam.com.”

In granting the injunction last year, U.S. District Judge Denise Hood noted that SMART had allowed an atheist advertisement by the Detroit Coalition for Reason.

The appellate panel rejected this comparison, however, because “the atheist advertisement could be viewed as a general outreach to people who share the Detroit Coalition’s beliefs, without setting out any position that could result in political action. The fatwa advertisement, however, addresses a specific issue that has been politicized.”

Advertising space on SMART buses is a nonpublic forum, according to the ruling. “SMART … has completely banned political advertising, showing its intent to act as a commercial proprietor and to maintain its advertising space for purposes that indicate that the space is a nonpublic forum,” Judge John Rogers wrote for the court. “Allowing the discussion of politics would likely decrease SMART’s revenue,” he added. “For example, if a fast-food restaurant sold advertising space on the side of its store to a neo-Nazi political group for a campaign advertisement, the restaurant would be likely to lose business. Similarly, SMART’s ridership likely would diminish were SMART to allow political advertisements.”

AFDI argued that the ban on political advertising was unconstitutional, but Rogers countered by citing the 1974 case Lehman v. City of Shaker Heights, writing that “an outright ban on political advertisements is permissible if it is a ‘managerial decision’ focused on increasing revenue to limit advertising ‘space to innocuous and less controversial commercial and service oriented advertising.’”

After confirming that SMART’s policy against political advertising is permissible, the panel concluded that “it was reasonable for SMART to conclude that the content of AFDI’s advertisement – the purported threat of violence against nonconforming Muslims in America – is, in America today, decidedly political.”

The panel cited AFDI’s own complaint for evidence of its political agenda, writing that “the complaint explains that AFDI ‘promotes its political objectives by, inter alia, sponsoring anti-jihad bus and billboard campaigns, which includes seeking advertising space on SMART vehicles.’”

Margaret Hassan and Thomas Hassan: Targets of the Islamophobic Looniverse

Daniel Greenfield, operative of the extremist SultanKnish blog, paid shill of David Horowitz and regular trafficker in “genocide” talk about Muslims recently blogged about Margaret “Maggie” Wood Hassan, who is running as the Democratic candidate for Governor in New Hampshire. Hassan has been endorsed by Bill Clinton and other bigwigs in the party and has a good shot at winning the election. (h/t: Michael Elwood)

Maggie’s husband, Thomas Hassan is principal of the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy. Phillips Exeter Academy has invited Muslims to speak at the school in the past about Islam and American Muslims, a couple of whom are associated with CAIR. This has set off alarm bells in the panicked minds of Islamophobes such as Greenfield. As Michael Elwood noted, Maggie and her husband Thomas are “being portrayed as stealth jihadis.”

Greenfield writes,

Margaret Hassan is married to Thomas Hassan, principal of the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, that some are beginning to describe as the Phillips Exeter Madrassah.

As principal, Mr. Hassan is culpable for enabling members of radical Islamists organizations like CAIR, MSA, and the Muslim Brotherhood, to propagandize the impressionable student body at the Student Assemblies.

Will Margaret Wood Hassan do New Hampshire what her husband did to Phillips Exeter Academy?

The “some” who are describing Phillips Exeter Academy as “Phillips Exeter Madrassah” are well known anti-Muslim loons in the Islamophobia echo chamber, the likes of AtlasShrugsPamela Geller and JihadWatch‘s Robert Spencer. No reputable news agency worth its name would describe Phillips Exeter Academy as a “maddrassah” unless they wanted to be laughed off the presses.

It is not all too clear whether Maggie or Thomas Hassan are Muslims (Update: They aren’t Muslim. H/T: JSB), not that it would matter to Islamophobes, the name “Hassan” would be sufficient to create a fevered hysteria in the same crowd horrified that the president’s middle name is “Hussein.” Also, as has been repeated ad nauseum about other “Muslimish” politicians, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with Maggie Hassan being a “Mooslim” if she were one. Is it too much to ask that their records as civil servants and educators be examined and critiqued instead of what religion they follow and with who they’ve shared a podium?

Of course the tendentious “guilt by association” and fear-mongering tactics about mainstream Muslim organizations being “Muslim Brotherhood” fronts or setup by “Hamas” are not only libelous but a propaganda tool that has been exhausted. How long do those in the Islamophobia movement believe they can employ these tactics? It is just not as effective anymore.

Such desperate attempts on the part of right-wing Islamophobes and their allies to smear and character assassinate individuals such as Margaret Hassan and Thomas Hassan who have devoted their lives to civil service and education reminds us of the stark difference between Islamophobes and their targets: Maggie Hassan and Thomas Hassan work to build the USA up, the Greenfield’s, Geller’s and Spencer’s work to destroy and divide it.

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.”