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…

North East Infidel Nazis Join EDL March at Shotton Colliery Protest

After condemning “North East Infidels” as Nazis the EDL are teaming up with them again.

Two arrested at EDL Shotton Colliery protest

Two men were arrested yesterday during a protest over a planned Muslim education centre in the North.

Police estimate that around 200 members of the English Defence League turned out to the protest in the former pit village of Shotton Colliery, County Durham.

The arrests were made for breach of bail conditions, a spokesperson for Durham Police said.

Superintendent Helen McMillan said: “Although Durham Constabulary respects the right for people to take part in peaceful protests, we will ensure that law and order is maintained at all times.

“We had effective resources in place to ensure the event proceeded peacefully for the safety of everyone,” she said. “The men are currently being held in a local police station where they are helping police with enquiries.”

The protest took place between 2pm and 4pm and was supervised by officers from across the force. An onlooker said the protest was “well behaved but not completely peaceful”, adding that fireworks were thrown down the street.

He said at one stage a woman emerged from a house near the village green, where the EDL members were based, to confront the protesters.

Businessman Kaiser Choudry applied for permission earlier this year to turn the Melrose Arms, a disused pub in Front Street, into a centre for the local Muslim community.

Durham County Council received a 102-signature petition and 13 letters against the conversion. The majority of the objections were about potential parking and traffic problems rather than the planned purpose of the building.

Mr Choudry had previously made an application to turn the old pub into a prayer hall, but this was withdrawn.

The businessman said earlier this year: “I have been in the village for 25 years and the community has been supporting me. I want to give something back to the community.”

Sunday Sun, 3 December 2012

The EDL have hailed the Shotton Colliery protest as proof that their organisation is not on its death bed. You’ll see that the EDL were pleased to welcome a contingent from the North East Infidels on the demonstration. Only months ago the EDL were denouncing the North East Infidels (entirely accurately) as Nazis, but now apparently the NEI have been transformed into “great patriots”.

Dispatch International: CounterJihad Publishes a Paper

Original Guest article

by Torbjörn Jerlerup

An international paper, published by counterjihad activists that believe that islam is “like the nazi ideology” and that muslims “are like nazis”?

A new paper, Dispatch International, was launched last month. The founders, and current editors, are Lars Hedegaard and Ingrid Carlqvist of the so called “Free Press Societies” of Denmark and Sweden. The founders plan to make it a regular weekly newspaper. They plan to publish the first regular issue in January next year, in several languages, including english.

The paper was presented at the “2012 International Conference for Free Speech and Human Rights in Brussels” (a european counterjihad conference where Fjordman, among others, participated) on July 9 this year:

We didn’t settle for running one Free Press Society each; since we both have a solid background as journalists we decided to start a newspaper. A good old, old-fashioned printed newspaper. We decided to call it Dispatch International because our vision is that this newspaper will become worldwide one day. But first we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin. Or rather – first we take Scandinavia and then we take the world! (…) We will let the facts talk, the facts that mainstream journalists hide from people.

What “facts” do they want to focus on? A closer look at the sample issue shows what they belive are “facts”: the claim that both multiculturalism and “muslims” threaten the world today.

As you can see on the frontpage, they have a picture of women dressed in Niqabs, and their kids, on it. Next to it is an article about Muslim demography. “Islam” is stronger than ever, it is claimed, and the number of “Muslims” are increasing more and more in Europe and outside Europe. Another article below the picture claims that their religion is based on a belief in a violent “warlord,” the prophet Mohammed.

If you open the paper and look at page 4, the slanders continue.

Lars Hedegaard writes about the “Truth”. The “Truth” according to Hedegaard is that Islam can be compared to Nazi ideology.

We consider Islam the most dangerous challenge to the Nordic countries and the entire West since the democracies succeeded in crushing Nazism and Fascism and beat back the third totalitarian ideology of the 20th Century, Communism.

That is why we will write a lot about Islam and Muslim immigration. Similarly, the politicians and authorities whose obligation it was to defend democracy and our Western civil liberties, but who chose to close their eyes to Islamization, are going to hear from us.

Dispatch International will be accused of hysteria and of being overly concerned with a problem that most journalists, politicians and experts consider trivial. During the 1930s the same accusation was leveled at the few newspapers that provided systematic coverage of Nazism and Nazi Germany’s aggressive plans. So we are in good company.

As if this was not enough there is an article by Paul Weston, of the nationalistic British Freedom Party, on the same page as the article by Hedegaard. In it he writes about “multiculturalism” and the “drawbacks of mass Islamic immigration.”

“Multiculturalism is a state-sanctioned tool used to encourage division to an extent that amounts to Apartheid; to destroy the Nation State; to politically and mentally disarm the native and indigenous populations and to ensure the total breakdown of civil society. Such an inevitable and anarchic situation could only then be countered by more and more rules and regulations, leading eventually to full totalitarian rule of a socialist bent – a slow-motion revolution as it were.

We can certainly expose multiculturalism as a totalitarian ideology of racial and cultural genocide. Only once this is accepted by the electoral majority can we reclaim Western Civilisation.”

The Muslims threaten the West with “racial and cultural genocide”…’Western Civilization is threatened’… That sounds like a seriuos paper, right? Or, not!

Lars Hedegaard and Ingrid Carlqvist

Who are Lars Hedegaard and Ingrid Carlqvist?

Hedegaard won international fame as an “expert” on islamization during the Danish Mohammed-cartoon affair. He created the “International Free Press Society” in 2009, modelled upon the Danish Free Press Society he founded back in 2004. It is an integrated part of the international counterjihad movement.

The irony is that the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who wants to ban the quran, is in the advisory board of the IFPS. So much for this “freedom” to publish anything. Freedom for all – except Muslims, it seems!

The other founder is Ingrid Carlqvist, a Swedish journalist.

Carlqvist and the political worldview of Breivik

Lets take a closer look at the worldview Carlqvist has. It is shows us what we can expect in the future from this new paper.

Carlqvist has a worldview which is typical of the counterjihad movement. It is a worldview similar to the view of the Norwegian terrorist Breivik, who murdered 77 people last year in Oslo and Utoya.

Breivik believes in the myth of “Eurabia,” the clam that Muslims are conspiring to occupy Western nations. According to him Europe is occupied by evil people that are “like the nazis,” that is the Muslims, and run by “Quislings” that cooperate with these new Nazis. (The term “quisling” was coined during WWII. Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian who collaborated with the Nazis.)

On his Facebook page Breivik described himself as the “Max Manus” of 2011. Max Manus was a famous resistance fighter during World War 2 who fought the Nazis and the Quislings, and murdered several Nazis during the war. Breivik compared himself to Max Manus and believed that the people he murdered were as evil as the Nazis and the Quislings in the ’40s.

The Leftist youth at Utöya were “quislings,” representatives of an occupying power, that had to be murdered, as he viewed it.

Breivik got this rhetoric from the counterjihad movement. Counterjihad likens the Muslims to the Nazis and Islam to Nazi ideology all the time.

Carlqvist shares this worldview. All of it, except perhaps, the belief in violence.

In a recent conversation with her on twitter I asked her what she meant by a tweet she made about the need to expose “dangerous ideologies.” “Do you mean that islam is a dangerous ideology?” I asked. “Yes, it is as dangerous as National Socialism, or more”, she answered.

In another exchange on facebook she stated:  In english this is: “Yes islam is dangerous, even if not all muslims are dangerous. Exactly like National Socialism is dangerous even if not all nazis are dangerous” (“Ja, islam är farlig även om inte alla muslimer är det. Precis som nazism är farligt även om inte alla nazister är det.”)

“Nazis” and “Quislings”

At a forum on Facebook called Free Press Forum, she has previously written similar things. She wrote a lot about Bruce Bawer, another European counterjihadist that Breivik admired.

Bruce published a book, The New Quislings: How the International Left Used the Oslo Massacre to Silence Debate About Islam, 2012, that Carlqvist recommended at the forum with the words: “Bruce Bawer compares the leftists with Vidkun Quisling, he is a brave man.”

She also compared Islam to Nazi ideology at the forum and the opponents were compared to quislings.

When confronted with the fact that Breivik too descibed the leftists that he murdered as “quislings”, she said: “you reason the way you do because you are one of the quislings…you are seeking to slander those of us who are critizising the islamization, by comparing us to Breivik”.

The threat, as she views it, is not only cultural, it is racial too. Europe is treathened by immigrants that have a lower IQ, she claims. Not surprisingly she believes that they are coming from MENA, that is, that they are Muslims.

Despite her frequent rants about Muslims and IQ, Carlqvist claims that she is not a racist and that Dispatch International is not racist because “the paper is critical to islam.”

/Torbjörn Jerlerup, researcher and blogger

Terrorist Inspirer Robert Spencer Compares Muslims to Nazis, Says Muslims Can’t Be Trusted

Spencer is working hard to disassociate himself from one of his fans-Anders Breivik

Even if you’re a Muslim who is heading and escalating the drone program against the enemies of the USA (killing many innocents in the process), you risk Spencer labeling you an “evil suspect Mooslim.”

That’s exactly what Spencer did recently on his blog in response to a Washington Post profile on the leader of the CIA’s drone program, “Roger” who also happens to be Muslim. (H/T: BA, JD)

A rational individual may actually criticize the substance of the Washington Post profile of “Roger.” A rational individual may choose to point out that the drone program has killed thousands of innocents, destabilized whole regions, and probably endangered the security of the USA further, maybe for years to come.

Instead, the irrational loony Spencer chose to criticize the “Muslamic” nature of “Roger,” considering the wild possibility that he could actually be an “undercover terrorist.”

This was not the most flagrant looniness from Spencer, he also compared Muslims to Nazis, implying that Muslims are worse:

The question is this: some might liken Roger to a top American official joining the Nazi Party during World War II. Others would liken Roger to a top American official marrying a German immigrant during World War II, and coming under unjust suspicion as a result. German Americans, of course, could oppose and fight against National Socialism unequivocally, without any lingering allegiance to it; Muslims who profess to reject and abhor Islamic terrorism, however, still profess belief in a book and a prophet that have inspired Islamic violence and supremacism worldwide, even among believers who have no institutional connection to al-Qaeda or any other jihad group.

This goes back to the fact that Spencer wants Muslims to take loyalty tests.

Islamophobe Robert Spencer Questions Loyalty Of Top CIA Counterterror Official

(ThinkProgress)

The long Washington Post profile this weekend of a top Central Intelligence Agency official contained a remarkable number of details about the man that heads the Agency’s Counterterrorism Center — remarkable because the man remained shrouded in mystery, referenced only by the first name of his cover identity, “Roger.” Roger chain smokes, swears, worked in Africa, was “pudgy” in his youth, and — oh, yeah — he’s Muslim.

This last fact was too much for one of America’s foremost Islamophobes to bear: to an Islamophobe, Islamic extremist terrorism is inseparable from Islam at large, so how could a Muslim head up a counter-terrorism operation? Leave aside that Roger presides over a CIA unit that he expanded from three unmanned drone aircraft to an entire fleet firing missiles that have crippled militant networks — including Al Qaeda — in Pakistan.

Leave aside that Roger presides over a CIA unit that he brought from having three unmanned drone aircraft to a fleet of them that fire myriad missiles which crippled militant networks — including Al Qaeda — in Pakistan. Never mind that retired Gen. David Petraeus, who now heads up the CIA, said of Roger: “No officer in the agency has been more relentless, focused, or committed to the fight against al-Qaeda than has the chief of the Counterterrorism Center.”

None of that was enough to convince Robert Spencer, a long-time ally of anti-Muslim mainstay Pamela Geller, that “Roger” just might be a Manchurian candidate foisted upon the CIA by Muslim extremists looking to destroy America:

[I]f Islamic supremacists wanted to subvert the U.S. defense against jihad terror, they couldn’t do it more easily than by turning someone in a position like Roger’s. The worst part of this story is that no one is even examining that as a possibility.

Maybe the Post’s Greg Miller simply realized that a guy who blows up the actual dangerous “Islamic supremacists” on a regular basis would make an unlikely candidate to be a plant within the system. Perhaps that’s because, under Roger’s watch, “core al Qaida’s ability to perform a variety of functions — including preserving leadership and conducting external operations — has weakened significantly,” according to Capitol Hill testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

But Spencer knows all that. He even says so:

The Washington Post, of course, follows the mainstream media line that Islam is a Religion of Peace that has been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, and so takes for granted that “Roger” has no loyalty issues, and proffers the drone campaign and the killing of bin Laden as proof.

Why still the questions, then? Because, Spencer says, “It is impossible to tell from this how serious he is about Islam.” The obvious implication in Spencer’s thinking is that “serious(ness)” about one’s faith — when that faith is Islam — means disloyalty to the U.S. Spencer should consider that the “mainstream media” might be right about this one.

SPLC: SIOA is a Hate Group

Good news for Freedom lovers:

For quite sometime now we have been pointing out that the SPLC should add SIOA as an anti-Muslim hate group to its list of hate groups. Now they have done that and it is official, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are in the same league as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. Check out our piece: SIOA is an anti-Muslim Hate Group

Southern Poverty Law Center lists anti-Islamic NYC blogger Pamela Geller, followers a hate group

Manhattan blogger Pamela Geller and her posse of anti-Islamic protesters have been branded a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Stop the Islamization of America was included in the civil rights organization’s annual roundup of extremist groups – a rogue’s gallery that includes everything from the Ku Klux Klan to white supremacists and Nazis.

Geller’s group was one of the most vocal opponents of the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero.

The group was also behind ads that were placed on city buses urging Muslims to leave “the falsity of Islam.”

Geller, who runs a blog called Atlas Shrugs, dismissed the Law Center as an “uber left” group that has “failed to address the greatest threat to our national security.”

“My group is a human rights group,” she said. “And these people are taken seriously? This is the morally inverted state of the world.”

An Islamic organization that has been a frequent target of Geller’s barbs said it was not surprised she made the bigot list.

“One need not go beyond the name of this hate group, Stop the Islamization of America, to recognize the validity of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation,” said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Bill Keller, a fire-and-brimstone Florida preacher who led a crusade against the Islamic Center in lower Manhattan, also made the Law Center’s list.

csiemaszko@nydailynews.com