Petition: Remove Hate Group Leader Robert Spencer as Catholic Deacon

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Loonwatchers please sign and spread this petition to remove hate group leader Robert Spencer as Catholic deacon to your friends and email lists.:

Remove Hate Group Leader Robert Spencer as Catholic Deacon

Target: Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas J. Samra and Eparchy of Newton
Sponsored by: Jenny Sessoms
Robert Bruce Spencer, an ordained Catholic deacon at Our Lady of the Cedars Catholic Church in Manchester, New Hampshire is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other civil rights organiations as a “hate group leader.”

His writing, which targets Muslims and the religion of Islam, was cited extensively by the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who digested Spencer’s views on Islam and slaughtered 77 people, mostly youth.

Robert Spencer is one of the individuals behind the inflammatory anti-Muslim metro and bus ads in New York, California, and Washington.

His organization, Stop the Islamization of America, was refused a trademark by the Federal Government because the group engaged in what the government deemed “hate speech.”

As Catholics and people of all faiths, we believe that our religious traditions deserves better. We believe that Mr. Spencer’s constant provocations and inflammatory comments about Muslims and their religious beliefs, as well as his associations with radical nationalist groups such as the English Defence League, cast a negative and unncessarily poor light on Our Lady of the Cedars church, the Melkite Catholic tradition, and the religion of Catholicism.

We also believe that Deacons and clergy should represent the loving spirit of God and that they have a responsibility to build bridges with people of other faiths, not burn them. We recognize that while we may have faith differences with our brothers and sisters in other traditions, those differences must be respected.

Clergy must not engage publically in confrontational battles, ideological or political, and prejudice has no place in our tradition.

We call of the Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas J. Samra and the Eparchy of Newton to carefully examine the biography of Robert Bruce Spencer, his remarks about Muslims, his blog Jihad Watch, his associations with such groups and individuals as the English Defence League and Pamela Geller, his status as a “hate group leader” and his connections to the mass murderer Anders Breivik.

We call on the Eparchy to remember that Catholics were once subjected to religious prejudice and discrimination and thus they (and especially not their clergy) should be know of its harmful effects, and the pain caused by those who fearmonger and stereotype.

We call on the Eparchy and Bishop Samra to remove Robert Bruce Spencer as a Deacon of the Our Lady of the Cedars Melkite Catholic Church in Manchester, New Hampshire. We pray that the Church will hold firm its moral obligation to be a beacon of hope and light, not division and mistrust.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Take Action: Protest Zuhdi Jasser’s Farcical Appointment to the USCIRF

Guest Editorial by J. Hausner (Islamophobia Today)

Please take the few minutes required to sign this petition!

Sen. Mitch McConnell‘s choice of Zuhdi Jasser for appointment to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) can only be described as a farce. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser has amassed a reputation as a prominent Islamophobia-enabler and ally of anti-Muslim organizations (well known for their attempts to diminish American Muslims’ civil and religious liberties).

The appointment of Jasser undermines the USCIRF’s purported goals of reviewing, “the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.” The appointment of Jasser is a “contradiction in terms” because Jasser has been a useful ally to some of the most virulent forces working against religious and civil liberties in the USA.

There are several key reasons why this is so:

1.) Most problematically, Jasser allies himself with and receives funding from anti-Muslim organizations and personalities who work tirelessly to curb the religious and civil liberties of Muslims in the USA.

Jasser’s organization has received funding, to the tune of $100,000 from a major backer of Rick Santorum, Foster Friess. Friess was featured as one of the major backers of Islamophobic organizations in the Center for American Progress’s groundbreaking report,Fear, Inc.: On the Roots of the Islamophobia Network:

According to the Washington Post, Jasser received a $100,000 donation from Christian conservative financier Foster Friess, who is now bankrolling the super-PAC supporting Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. Jasser declined to elaborate on exactly how much Friess had given AIFD, though he said the financier contributed $70,000 to his organization in 2010 for a Muslim youth retreat hosted by the group. (Friess told MSNBC that he was backing Santorum because he is “incredibly versed in one of the number one issues of our time—and that is violent Islamic extremism.”)

Jasser told Mother Jones that the AIFD had accepted $5,000 from the Center for Security Policy:

The center published a report in 2010 warning that American Muslims are seeking to replace the Constitution with a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The “expert” in Islamic religious law cited in the report, an attorney named David Yerushalmi, is responsible for authoring draft anti-Shariah legislation that has served as a blueprint for anti-Shariah laws across the US. Yerushalmi has suggested that “acting in furtherance of Islam” should be a felony.

Mother Jones also reports that,

Jasser said his group has also received a one-time, unsolicited donation of $10,000 from the Clarion Fund, which is associated with Aish HaTorah, a right-wing Israeli group described by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic as “just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today.”

The Clarion Fund has released several films that warn of Muslim conspiracies to reestablish a global caliphate. Jasser is a Clarion board member and in 2008 narrated a documentary bankrolled by the group called The Third Jihad, which darkly warns that Muslim extremists are attempting to “infiltrate and dominate America,” a conspiracy implicating most prominent American Muslim organizations. The New York Times reported that the film was shown to thousands of NYPD officers as part of their counterterrorism training, which the police department later apologized for.

How can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ”commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

2.) In another blow to the religious liberties and freedoms of American Muslims, Jasser’s organization the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) supports state wide legislative bans on Muslim personal religious practice relating to: marriage, prayer, wills, etc. Jasser’s organization has published press releases “applauding” such legislation, which many, including US Courts have considered unconstitutional infringements on the religious liberties of Muslims.

How can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ”commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

3.) Jasser was outspoken in his opposition to an interfaith and Islamic Center in Manhattan, supporting efforts to block it from being built, remarking that, “This center is trying to change the narrative of 9/11 — to diminish what happened at Ground Zero.”

How can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ”commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

4.) Jasser’s advocacy and support for the NYPD’s illegal profiling and secret surveillance program targeting Muslims for monitoring at their houses of worship, businesses and universities is not only unconscionable but contradicts the USCIRF’s purported goals of reviewing “the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.” 

Once again, how can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a ”commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

The above points are only a snippet of why the choice of Zuhdi Jasser as a US Commissioner on  International Religious Freedom makes a mockery of the legitimacy of the USCIRF.

The US cannot legitimately or conscientiously criticize other nations when one of its own commissioner’s is a flagrant violator of religious liberty at home.

Please take the few minutes required to sign this petition calling on Sen. Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner and the US Congress to repeal Zuhdi Jasser’s appointment to the USCIRF as flagrant oversight that presents a moral contradiction and a likely source of  international embarrassment to the US.