US religious freedom rep funded by Islamophobes

uscirf-vice-chair-zuhdi

(h/t: JD)

“Other Abstraction Fund-backed groups include Jihad Watch, an anti-Muslim blog published by Robert Spencer.”

US religious freedom rep funded by Islamophobes

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the US’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, repeated its request to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to investigate one of its own members, this time for being funded by the same group that backs a notorious Islamophobe.

Earlier this year, CAIR asked for an investigation of USCIRF Vice Chair Zuhdi Jasser for apparently seeking to deny religious rights to Muslim military personnel.

In a letter sent to USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George, Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, wrote in part:

“We are writing today to expand upon the concerns regarding Dr. Zuhdi Jasser that were expressed on our letter to you dated January 24, 2014. Additional information has come to light regarding the financial dependence of Dr. Jasser’s American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) on groups known for promoting Islamophobia in the United States.

“Tax filings for the New York-based Abstraction Fund reveal that between 2010 and 2012, Jasser’s organization accepted $45,000 in grants and contributions. In 2012, 82 percent of the Fund’s total $1,982,930 contributions and grants went to groups known for their active role in spreading anti-Islam prejudice.”

The Center for Security Policy

Saylor’s letter cited funding of anti-Islam groups such as the Center for Security Policy, the head of which was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit against a mosque being built in Tennessee, where he promoted the notion that mosques want to “destroy western civilization from within.”

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Another group funded by the Abstraction Fund and cited in the letter is Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, which recently published an Islamophobic article stating: “Europe is still … captivated by the specious charms of the Arabs and Islam” and ” … pitiful Arab, whose inherent culture left him no shred of sincerity, creativity or courage.”

Jihad Watch

Other Abstraction Fund-backed groups include Jihad Watch, an anti-Muslim blog published by Robert Spencer. The Boston Globe has described Spencer as a man who “depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion.” Spencer has referred to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a “con man. Someone who is knowing [sic] that what he is saying is false, but is fooling his followers.”

In June 2013, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento requested that the Kolbe Academy, a Catholic school, rescind a speaking invitation they extended to Spencer. The diocese referred to Spencer as a “key leader in the anti-Islam hate movement in the United States.”

Stop Islamization of America 

Spencer is a co-founder of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Spencer’s Jihad Watch blog is also designated as a hate group by the SPLC, which named Spencer as part of the nation’s “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”

The Middle East Forum 

The Middle East Forum (MEF), headed by Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, also received funds from the Abstraction Fund. Pipes is infamous for quotes such as: “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene. All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” [Jasser has accepted donations from Middle East Forum.]

In concluding his letter to USCIRF, Saylor wrote:

“CAIR values, advocates for and has pursued legal action to protect free speech and freedom of expression. Dr. Jasser has every right to advocate for the causes and organizations with which he chooses to align AIFD. At issue here is the reasonable concern that arises regarding Dr. Jasser accepting financial support from anti-Muslim groups while he is serving on a commission advocating for religious freedom.

“Given the expanding evidence of AFID’s financial dependency on groups funding anti-Muslim prejudice in the United States, we do not believe Dr. Jasser can act as an honest voice regarding religious freedom domestically or internationally.”

In 2013, CAIR published a major report, “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States,” which identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting the type of anti-Islam prejudice that can lead to bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims. The Islamophobia report is available on Kindle.

Jasser was featured in that report as an enabler of anti-Muslim bigotry. The report noted that Jasser heads a group that “applauded” an amendment to Oklahoma’s state Constitution that would have implemented state-sponsored discrimination against Islam.

Jasser also narrated “The Third Jihad,” a propaganda film created by the Clarion Fund, which depicts Muslims as inherently violent and seeking world domination. Following revelations that the film was shown as part of training at the New York Police Department, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called it “wacky” and “objectionable.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Most Terrorist Plots in the US Aren’t Invented by Al Qaeda — They’re Manufactured by the FBI

FBI-director-J-Edgar-Hoov-001

The FBI has manufactured the most terrorist plots in the USA.

Most Terrorist Plots in the US Aren’t Invented by Al Qaeda — They’re Manufactured by the FBI

Trevor Aaronson (AlterNet)

Antonio Martinez was a punk. The twenty-two-year-old from Baltimore was chunky, with a wide nose and jet-black hair pulled back close to his scalp and tied into long braids that hung past his shoulders. He preferred to be called Muhammad Hussain, the name he gave himself following his conversion to Islam. But his mother still called him Tony, and she couldn’t understand her son’s burning desire to be the Maryland Mujahideen.

As a young man, Martinez had been angry and lost. He’d dropped out of Laurel High School, in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and spent his teens as a small-time thief in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. By the age of sixteen, he’d been charged with armed robbery. In February 2008, at the age of eighteen, he tried to steal a car. Catholic University doctoral student Daniel Tobin was looking out of the window of his apartment one day when he saw a man driving off in his car. Tobin gave chase, running between apartment buildings and finally catching up to the stolen vehicle. He opened the passenger-side door and got in. Martinez, in the driver’s seat, dashed out and ran away on foot. Jumping behind the wheel, Tobin followed the would-be car thief. “You may as well give up running,” he yelled at Martinez. Martinez was apprehended and charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle—he had stolen the vehicle using an extra set of car keys which had gone missing when someone had broken into Tobin’s apartment earlier. However, prosecutors dropped the charges against Martinez after Tobin failed to appear in court.

Despite the close call, Martinez’s petty crimes continued. One month after the car theft, he and a friend approached a cashier at a Safeway grocery store, acting as if they wanted to buy potato chips. When the cashier opened the register, Martinez and his friend grabbed as much money as they could and ran out of the store. The cashier and store manager chased after them, and later identified the pair to police. Martinez pleaded guilty to theft of one hundred dollars and received a ninety-day suspended sentence, plus six months of probation.

Searching for greater meaning in his life, Martinez was baptized and became a Christian when he was twenty-one years old, but he didn’t stick with the religion. “He said he tried the Christian thing. He just really didn’t understand it,” said Alisha Legrand, a former girlfriend. Martinez chose Islam instead. On his Facebook page, Martinez wrote that he was “just a yung brotha from the wrong side of the tracks who embraced Islam.” But for reasons that have never been clear to his family and friends, Martinez drifted toward a violent, extremist brand of Islam. When the FBI discovered him, Martinez was an angry extremist mouthing off on Facebook about violence, with misspelled posts such as, “The sword is cummin the reign of oppression is about 2 cease inshallah.” Based on the Facebook postings alone, an FBI agent gave an informant the “green light” to get to know Martinez and determine if he had a propensity for violence. In other words, to see if he was dangerous.

The government was setting the trap.

On the evening of December 2, 2010, Martinez was in another Muslim’s car as they drove through Baltimore. A hidden device recorded their conversation. His mother had called, and Martinez had just finished talking to her on his cell phone. He was aggravated. “She wants me to be like everybody else, being in school, working,” he told his friend. “For me, it’s different. I have this zeal for deen and she doesn’t understand that.” Martinez’s mother didn’t know that her son had just left a meeting with a purported Afghan-born terrorist who had agreed to provide him with a car bomb. But she wasn’t the only one in the dark that night. Martinez himself didn’t know his new terrorist friend was an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and that the man driving the car—a man he’d met only a few weeks earlier—was a paid informant for federal law enforcement.

Five days later, Martinez met again with the man he believed to be a terrorist. The informant was there, too. They were all, Martinez believed, brothers in arms and in Islam. In a parking lot near the Armed Forces Career Center on Baltimore National Pike, Martinez, the informant, and the undercover FBI agent piled into an SUV, where the undercover agent showed Martinez the device that would detonate the car bomb and how to use it. He then unveiled to the twenty-two-year-old the bomb in the back of the SUV and demonstrated what he’d need to do to activate it. “I’m ready, man,” Martinez said. “It ain’t like you seein’  it on the news. You gonna be there. You gonna hear the bomb go off. You gonna be, uh, shooting, gettin’ shot at. It’s gonna be real. … I’m excited, man.”

That night, Martinez, who had little experience behind the wheel of a car, needed to practice driving the SUV around the empty parking lot. Once he felt comfortable doing what most teenagers can do easily, Martinez and his associates devised a plan: Martinez would park the bomb-on-wheels in the parking lot outside the military recruiting center. One of his associates would then pick him up, and they’d drive together to a vantage point where Martinez could detonate the bomb and delight in the resulting chaos and carnage.

The next morning, the three men put their plan into action. Martinez hopped into the SUV and activated the bomb, as he’d been instructed, and then drove to the military recruiting station. He parked right in front. The informant, trailing in another car, picked up Martinez and drove him to the vantage point, just as planned. Everything was falling into place, and Martinez was about to launch his first attack in what he hoped would be for him a lifetime of jihad against the only nation he had ever known.

Looking out at the military recruiting station, Martinez lifted the detonation device and triggered the bomb. Smiling, he watched expectantly. Nothing happened. Suddenly, FBI agents rushed in and arrested the man they’d later identify in court records as “Antonio Martinez a/k/a Muhammad Hussain.” Federal prosecutors in Maryland charged Martinez with attempted murder of federal officers and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He faced at least thirty-five years in prison if convicted at trial.

“This is not Tony,” a woman identifying herself as Martinez’s mother told a reporter after the arrest. “I think he was brainwashed with that Islam crap.” Joseph Balter, a federal public defender, told the court during a detention hearing that FBI agents had entrapped Martinez, whom he referred to by his chosen name. The terrorist plot was, Balter said, “the creation of the government—a creation which was implanted into Mr. Hussain’s mind.” He added: “There was nothing provided which showed that Mr. Hussain had any ability whatsoever to carry out any kind of plan.”

Despite Balter’s claims, a little more than a year after his indictment, Martinez chose not to challenge the government’s charges in court. On January 26, 2012, Martinez dropped his entrapment defense and pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction under a deal that will require him to serve twenty-five years in prison—more years than he’s been alive. Neither Martinez nor Balter would comment on the reasons they chose a plea agreement, though in a sentencing hearing, Balter told the judge he believed the entire case could have been avoided had the FBI counseled, rather than encouraged, Martinez.

The U.S. Department of Justice touted the conviction as another example of the government keeping citizens safe from terrorists. “We are catching dangerous suspects before they strike, and we are investigating them in a way that maximizes the liberty and security of law-abiding citizens,” U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement announcing Martinez’s plea agreement. “That is what the American people expect of the Justice Department, and that is what we aim to deliver.”

Indeed, that is exactly what the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been delivering throughout the decade since the attacks of September 11, 2001. But whether it’s what the American people expect is questionable, because most Americans today have no idea that since 9/11, one single organization has been responsible for hatching and financing more terrorist plots in the United States than any other. That organization isn’t Al Qaeda, the terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden and responsible for the spectacular 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. And it isn’t Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Al-Shabaab, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any of the other more than forty U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations. No, the organization responsible for more terrorist plots over the last decade than any other is the FBI. Through elaborate and expensive sting operations involving informants and undercover agents posing as terrorists, the FBI has arrested and the Justice Department has prosecuted dozens of men government officials say posed direct—but by no means immediate or credible—threats to the United States.

Read the rest…

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon Arrested, Will Pamela Geller Be Next?

Stockholm, 8/4/12: US Islamophobes, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with co-founder and EDL thug, Stephen Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson.

(h/t: Jai)

SION’s closest UK allies are in deep water. On top of 53 EDL activists being arrested, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) was also arrested by Met police for entering the USA illegally.

Following yesterday’s police operation that saw 53 EDL activists including EDL leaders Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll arrested, things are looking a little bleak for the tiny tinpot racist.

Tommy has been released on bail pending further enquiries and he has taken to Twitter to reveal how much trouble he is actually in.

Not forgetting several court cases that are pending with Robinson, he appears to be on the point of being remanded in prison for entering the USA illegally last month.

Tommy writes “Been arrested for fraud for flying to America for invitation to speak in new York on Sept 11th. Met police are a joke …#political policing”

He also claims he has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting the Luton based Islamic extremist Sayful Islam.

Tommy isn’t happy, but if his Twitter claims are true I am !!

For more on the arrests of Yaxley-Lennon and his comrades, see: “Tommy Robinson Remanded: In Custody for Entering the US Illegally“, “Tommy Robinson and 53 EDL supporters held after Police Motorway Sting,” and the “Statement by the Met Police.”

This may bode ill for Pamela Geller considering the fact that (according to an article by the British anti-racism organisation “Hope Not Hate”) at the time Geller is also on record as claiming that she was involved in “sneaking Yaxley-Lennon into the country,” it will be interesting to see if she is arrested/prosecuted by the relevant US immigration authorities too. Yaxley-Lennon appears to have been aware that he was in trouble about all this, as last week he tweeted Geller about his recent trip to the US and expressed his wish to privately discuss matters further: http://twitpic.com/b3ceqv/full.

Pamela Geller is going hysterical at the moment on her blog ranting with the usual verbal diarrhea about the UK government being “dhimmis” and “weak” and how this is an unprecedented attack on “freedom fighters” like herself, etc. Sounds like she is scared that she will be exposed  in this mess as well.

“Exclusive”: U.S. groups helped fund Dutch anti-Islam politician Wilders

How much of this is really “exclusive?” That the Islamophobia industry has been funding Wilders and his cronies across the Atlantic has been known now for quite some time. It is a good development however that Reuters is picking up on this. (h/t: Wilfredo A. Ruiz)

Also see: NETHERLANDS/USA | Conservative US groups helped fund Dutch far right politician: Reports (h/t: Jai)

Exclusive: U.S. groups helped fund Dutch anti-Islam politician Wilders

By Anthony Deutsch and Mark Hosenball

AMSTERDAM/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Anti-Islam groups in America have provided financial support to Dutch politician Geert Wilders, an anti-immigration campaigner who is seeking re-election to the Dutch parliament this week.

While this is not illegal in the Netherlands, it sheds light on the international connections of Wilders, whose Freedom Party is the least transparent Dutch parliamentary group and a rallying point for Europe’s far right.

Wilders’ party is self-funded, unlike other Dutch parties that are subsidized by the government. It does not, therefore, have to meet the same disclosure requirements.

Groups in America seeking to counter Islamic influence in the West say they funded police protection and paid legal costs for Wilders whose party is polling in fourth place before the Sept 12 election.

Wilders’ ideas – calling for a halt to non-Western immigration and bans on Muslim headscarfs and the construction of mosques – have struck a chord in mainstream politics beyond the Netherlands. France banned clothing that covers the face in April 2011 and Belgium followed suit in July of the same year. Switzerland barred the construction of new minarets following a referendum in 2009.

The Middle East Forum, a pro-Israeli think tank based in Philadelphia, funded Wilders’ legal defense in 2010 and 2011 against Dutch charges of inciting racial hatred, its director Daniel Pipes said.

The Middle East Forum has a stated goal, according to its website, of protecting the “freedom of public speech of anti-Islamist authors, promoting American interests in the Middle East and protecting the constitutional order from Middle Eastern threats”. It sent money directly to Wilders’ lawyer via its Legal Project, Pipes said.

Represented by Dutch criminal lawyer Bram Moscowitz, Wilders successfully defended himself against the charges, which were brought by prosecutors in Amsterdam on behalf of groups representing minorities from Turkey, Morocco and other countries with Muslim populations.

The case heard in October 2010 was filed in response to Wilders’ comments in the Dutch media about Muslims and his film “Fitna”, which interlays images of terrorist attacks with quotations from the Koran and prompted protests by Muslims in Islamic countries worldwide. The court found he had stayed within the limits of free speech.

Pipes declined to say how much his group paid for Wilders’ defense.

Moscowitz declined to discuss payments for Wilders’ defense, citing client confidentiality.

Wilders said in an emailed statement that his legal expenses were paid for with the help of voluntary donations from defenders of freedom of speech.

“I do not answer questions of who they are and what they have paid. This could jeopardize their safety,” Wilders said.

VISITS TO THE UNITED STATES

Wilders, 49, first became a member of the Dutch parliament for the pro-business Liberal Party before winning nine seats for his own Freedom Party in 2006, campaigning against Islam, which he calls a threat to Dutch culture and Western values.

He called Islam a violent political ideology and vowed never to enter a mosque, “not in 100,000 years”. His party won 24 seats in the 150-seat lower house in June 2010.

He has been under 24-hour security for eight years after receiving death threats from radical Muslim groups in the Netherlands and abroad. Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik cited anti-Islamic comments by Wilders in an online manifesto that sought to justify his crimes. Wilders has denounced Breivik and his actions.

David Horowitz, who runs a network of Los Angeles-based conservative groups and a website called FrontPage magazine, said he paid Wilders fees for making two speeches, security costs during student protests and overnight accommodation for his Dutch bodyguards during a 2009 U.S. trip.

Horowitz said he paid Wilders for one speech in Los Angeles and one at Temple University in Philadelphia. He declined to specify the amounts, but said that Wilders had received “a good fee.”

When Wilders’ Philadelphia appearance sparked student protests, Horowitz said, he paid a special security fee of about $1,500 to the Philadelphia police department. Horowitz said he also paid for overnight accommodation for four or five Dutch government bodyguards accompanying Wilders on the trip.

Wilders said in response: “I am frequently asked to speak abroad. Whenever possible I accept these invitations. I never ask for a fee. However, sometimes the travel and accommodation expenses are paid. My personal security is always paid for by the Dutch government.”

Pipes and Horowitz denied funding Wilders’ political activities in Holland. Both run non-profit, tax exempt research and policy organizations which, under U.S. tax laws, are forbidden from giving direct financial backing to any political candidate or party. U.S. law does allow such groups to support policy debates financially.

During Wilders’ visit to Los Angeles, where Horowitz runs an organization called the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Horowitz said he organized an event at which Danish cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed were auctioned. He said he did not remember how much money this event raised or what happened to the proceeds.

Horowitz agreed with the Dutchman’s repeated, public comparison of the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Comparing the two works was a “fair analogy,” Horowitz said. He said Wilders was “fighting the good fight.”

Horowitz said U.S. backers helped Wilders raise money to pay legal fees to fight a ban from visiting Britain in 2009, where he planned to screen Fitna. The British government said at the time: “The Government opposes extremism in all its forms. The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence.”

Wilders won an appeal in the British courts in October 2009 when the ban was overturned.

Wilders has other supporters in the United States, such as Pamela Geller, who runs Stop Islamization of America and has backed Wilders in public statements. Geller remains a supporter. She says she does not provide Wilders with financial assistance.

Wilders has not revealed how his political activities are paid for. Former Freedom Party officials have said he has no personal funds and almost entirely relies on foreign donations.

Like other Dutch political parties, members of parliament for the Freedom Party have been allocated 165,000 euros ($211,200) per year for expenses. Former Freedom Party officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the money, nearly 4 million euros per year, went to the party and has not been accounted for.

Wilders said in his emailed response that former Freedom Party officials making such allegations were bitter and spiteful. “These people have other motives than telling the truth,” he said.

“Our party has a sixty euro annual budget. The rumors about millions of euros in sponsoring are complete nonsense. A Freedom Party-related foundation receives donations from Dutch or foreign sources, but these are modest amounts of money and certainly never millions,” it continued.

The Dutch government turned down requests for additional information about Freedom Party finances.

“I do not possess relevant information or documents” about the Freedom party finances or campaign contributions because the party does not receive subsidies, Dutch Minister for Internal Affairs Liesbeth Spies said in a written response.

(Editing by Janet McBride)

Rep. Joe Walsh: Muslims “trying to kill Americans”

Rep. Joe Walsh has a history of bigoted anti-Islam and anti-Muslim statements. In a recent town hall the Congressman didn’t even have the decency to correct a man in the crowd who described Islam as a “dangerous” threat to the USA,

“I’m looking for some godly men and women in the Senate, in the Congress, who will stand in the face of the danger of Islam in America without political correctness,” the man said.  “Islam is not the peaceful, loving religion we hear about.”

The line was met with applause.

Perhaps he was fearful of doing the right thing, considering all of the applause that the crowd member received. If that is the case Walsh is not only an appeaser of bigotry but also an amoral coward.

Instead, Walsh stoked the populist flames of anti-Muslim sentiments further to a crowd that clearly wasn’t able to differentiate between extremists and the vast majority of Muslims,

Walsh responded by asserting that radical Muslims are “trying to kill Americans every week,” and that “it’s not a matter of ‘if’ – it’s a matter of ‘when’” a 9/11-like attack will happen again.

“All I can tell you about the ‘when’ is, the people who would want to do this to America are trying to get their hands on weapons that will make 9/11 look like child’s play.”

Added Walsh: “So we had better be alert to this.  And as [the audience member] said … ‘Enough with political correctness!”

The crowd, which was mostly white, applauded.

This fear-mongering and over exaggeration of the threat from Islamist extremists is exactly what we don’t need from politicians. It promotes ignorance, bigotry, sectarianism and divisiveness.

Walsh: Muslims “trying to kill Americans”

by Eric Lutz (Salon.com)

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh went on another anti-Islam tirade Wednesday, calling for an end to “political correctness” in dealing with the “radical strain of Islam” he described as an imminent danger to America.

“It’s a real threat,” Walsh said at a town hall meeting in Elk Grove Village, Ill.  “And it’s a threat that is much more at home now than it was right after 9/11.”

“It’s here,” he continued, referring to “radical Islam” in the suburbs of Chicago. “It’s in Elk Grove, it’s in Addison, it’s in Elgin. It’s here.”

The remarks — captured on tape — came in response to an Egyptian-American audience member who said Muslims are taking over America and charged the freshman congressman to take a more aggressive stance against the religion.

“I’m looking for some godly men and women in the Senate, in the Congress, who will stand in the face of the danger of Islam in America without political correctness,” the man said.  “Islam is not the peaceful, loving religion we hear about.”

The line was met with applause.

Walsh responded by asserting that radical Muslims are “trying to kill Americans every week,” and that “it’s not a matter of ‘if’ – it’s a matter of ‘when’” a 9/11-like attack will happen again.

“All I can tell you about the ‘when’ is, the people who would want to do this to America are trying to get their hands on weapons that will make 9/11 look like child’s play.”

Added Walsh: “So we had better be alert to this.  And as [the audience member] said … ‘Enough with political correctness!”

The crowd, which was mostly white, applauded.

“Can you say ‘Fort Hood’?” Walsh continued, referring to the 2009 shooting at the Texas military base that left 13 dead and 29 wounded.  A report concluded the shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, was a homegrown terrorist.

“Your government was so afraid of doing its job, so afraid of offending Islam, that right in front of our noses, they saw what was happening at Fort Hood and because the government’s politically correct, Americans died.”

The Tea Party Republican, who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, has been known for his incendiary remarks since winning his House seat in 2010. He set off a media firestorm last month when he appeared to question the heroism of his opponent, Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war vet who lost both her legs in combat.

CONTINUE READING

Geert Wilders and Islamophobia in the US—on their way out?

We speculated that Wilders star was fading in Europe and that he will try to cash in on the anti-Islam buzz in the USA amongst the “fanatical anti-Islam movement.”

Geert Wilders and Islamophobia in the US—on their way out?

Published on : 30 April 2012 – 8:00am | By John Tyler (Photo: Freefoto.com)

Geert Wilders’ autobiographical book Marked for Death: Islam’s War against the West and Me will be presented in New York on Tuesday. Will his message against Islam and the West’s alleged “Islamification” still resonate in the United States? Here in the Netherlands this week’s political upheaval has seriously dented his influence.

Now that Wilders has disqualified himself from governing, relegating his party to opposition status, his political future here is limited. Even if his Freedom Party emerged as the largest in September’s elections, he would find it difficult, if not impossible, to find any coalition partners. No other party will be eager to work with a politician who has proved so unreliable.

So where does a savvy Islam-basher turn when he is down on his luck? To the United States, of course. Following her stint in Dutch politics, Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali embarked on a successful career as Islam-critic in the US. There is speculation that Wilders may follow her example.

Frequent flyer

Wilders is no stranger to American shores. He has travelled there frequently, raising money and giving lectures. He most famously gave a speech in New York in the autumn of 2010 opposing the building of a Muslim Centre a few blocks from Ground Zero. The protest against the centre gave Wilders a platform for his message against Islam. He said New York “must defend itself against the powers of darkness, the force of hatred and the blight of ignorance. …This means we must not give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us.” His speech received broad coverage in the American press.

Changed attitudes 
Two years later, however, Wilders will find that attitudes in the US have changed. Anti-Muslim sentiment has been fading. A Gallup poll released in the summer of 2011 showed that Muslims, while still facing discrimination, are more confident about their future than any other group in the US. The standard of living among Muslims is improving faster than among other groups.

Gallup researcher Mohamed Younis: “The debate about Islam flares up when something happens, but the last couple of years have been pretty quiet and the public’s interest has waned. Wilders will have a hard time selling his book right now.”

There is more evidence that the attitude toward Muslims in the US is softening. The most outspoken anti-Islam candidates in the Republican presidential primaries did not do well. Mitt Romney, who is all but certain to win the Republican nomination, is known for his moderate views on American Muslims.

As for entertainment, a reality programme called “All-American Muslim” was cancelled, not because it generated a small controversy, but because it failed to attract viewers. People were bored by the premise that Muslims were everyday, normal Americans, and the show got poor ratings. And the New York Muslim Centre Wilders tried to block is going ahead, albeit in a more modest form. The protests have petered out.

Fringe element
American opinion toward Islam may be evolving, but there’s still an energetic minority of writers and bloggers who continue to warn of the imminent danger that Islam allegedly poses to the US. The small publishing house which is bringing out Wilders’ book is a driving force in such circles.

Regnery Publishing specialises in far-right conspiracy theories and scare-mongering. Books currently featured on the website include: Fast and Furious: Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up,Secret Weapon: How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the U.S. Stock Market and Why It Can Happen Again, and After America: Get Ready for Armageddon.

The author of the last work, Mark Steyn, a fervently anti-Islam journalist from Canada, has written the introduction of Wilders’ new book. Regnery’s head, Marji Ross, says she knows Wilders’ views are seen as extreme, but “that’s what makes the book exciting and bold and newsworthy.”

Judging from the response to review copies of Marked for Death, it fails to fulfil Ms Ross’ expectations. It is reported to be a relatively dry description of how Wilders got to where he is, with hardly anything polemical about it. It also appears to lack the verve of Fitna, his short anti-Islam film of 2008.

Curiously, there is no mention of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who helped elevate Wilders to the powerful position he held for the past 18 months. On the other hand, he refers a few times to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, claiming they think along the same lines.

One reviewer said the book could be considered Wilders’ calling card to America. But in contrast to Hirsi Ali’s books Infidel and Nomad, published by mainstream houses and selling well, Marked for Death is not likely to attract a wide readership outside the fanatical anti-Islam movement.

Deafening silence
When Wilders spoke in parliament earlier this week after bringing down the government, MPs largely ignored him. With one exception, no one bothered to confront him. Apart from a few trusted Islam bashers, the broader public in the US may greet Wilders with the same deafening silence.

(cl)

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Kevin Forts: One of Anders Breivik’s US Admirers

Imagine if a Muslim were corresponding with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, expressing support for his terroristic actions, wouldn’t he be locked up for material support of terrorism?

Kevin Forts is not the only US Breivik admirer out there:

Breivik’s US admirer

The young man has black hair and a piercing gaze, and poses with his arms behind his back. He wants to appear decisive and courageous for the photographer. His parents and friends have tried to dissuade him from taking this step, says Kevin Forts from Worcester in the US state of Massachusetts. “But I want to, so that I can represent the views of Anders Breivik that have otherwise been demonized by the mass media,” the 23-year-old told reporters from the Norwegian tabloid VG, the country’s most-read newspaper.

In a major story the newspaper reveals that Forts shares the views of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. “I represent a nationalist alternative, just like Breivik,” he says. Forts writes letters to the assassin and exchanges ideas with him. As proof he shows off one letter the mass murderer wrote him from his prison cell.

Breivik praises the somewhat haggard looking American. VG quotes from the letter Breivik reportedly sent to Forts, in which he writes: “I have received letters from supporters in 20 countries, but you appear to be someone who can write well. Yes, I am absolutely interested in discussing ideological issues with you and am thinking about how we can work together.”

It could be a craving for attention that is now pushing the young American into the public eye. Since the attacks of July 22, 2011, the right-wing, anti-Islam scene has largely retreated from the digital public sphere. Its protagonists, who until then had used the Internet for regular exchanges, have rushed to distance themselves from Breivik’s acts. Chief among them is Fjordman, a Norwegian blogger, who until the killings had regularly exchanged ideas with Breivik and is considered to be a kind of ideological mentor to him. “It should be painfully obvious by now that Breivik does not care for anything greater than himself,” the anti-Islam author wrote in his blog of the ongoing trial this week.

Most are distancing themselves from Breivik, but not Kevin Forts. In a video of the interview posted on the VG website on Wednesday in which he explained why he is defending the murders, Forts said: “I believe it demonstrates a sense of nationalism and a moral conscience. He’s fighting against cultural Marxism and the Islamization of Norway and he found that the most rational way to accomplish that was through terrorist actions on Utøya and in Oslo.”

When asked how one could defend the murder of innocent children, Forts added: “Because I believe that he used it as an unprecedented attack. I don’t believe that it should occur again, but I do believe that it was atrocious but necessary in that it has raised awareness for it and Breivik did that with the executions.”

Forts says he believes Breivik is a “nationalist and a patriot and not the terrorist neo-Nazi that the media portrays him to be.” He continues by saying, “Now, all you see is the shock and the gore on Utøya and in Oslo, but you do not see the actual political ramifications that will come true in the future. I believe that, at that point, it will be impossible to hate Breivik, and you will see that he was actually acting in a matter of preemptive war.”

Spiegel Online, 18 April 2012

Seymour Hersh Reveals that MEK Terrorists Were Trained in the USA by the Pentagon

As Glenn Greenwald noted in his book “With Liberty and Justice for Some,” equality before the law is an illusion in the United States. If you are wealthy and have political clout you are most likely to get away with breaking the law and committing crimes, such as “material support” of terrorism.

We reported in July of last year that many politicians from both parties were working with and receiving money from a US State Department designated terrorist organization, the MEK. A group Islamophobes are also quite fond of at the moment.

It was then revealed that the US and Israel have been supporting the MEK to carry out terrorist missions in Iran. Now it has been revealed by the trailblazing investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh that the Pentagon has been training the MEK in Nevada for years, starting in 2005:

US Pentagon Trained Iranian terrorists in Nevada: Hersh

Posted on 04/07/2012 by Juan Cole

The intrepid Seymour Hersh reports at the New Yorker that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) of the US military gave members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK or People’s Holy Jihadis) training in signals intelligence at a facility in Nevada during the Bush era. The MEK was then and is now on the US State Department’s terrorism watch list, so the Pentagon’s deployment of this group was quite illegal.

The MEK was given a base in eastern Iraq by Saddam Hussein, who used the some 4,000 guerrillas who gathered there to harass the Islamic Republic of Iran. The MEK had its origins in an Islamic-Marxist guerrilla group of the 1970s that fought the forces of the Shah. It joined in the revolution against the Shah in 1978-79 but broke with the Khomeini regime and turned to a massive campaign of bombing and sniping against it. In return, the regime killed some 10,000 suspected MEK members, many of whom it just shot down in the street. The group evolved into a political cult, with insistence on glaze-eyed absolute obedience to the leader, Maryam Rajavi, and cult-like practices such as forced marriages and divorces (not to mention the long history of violence inside Iran).

When the US occupied Iraq, some in the Pentagon adopted the MEK at Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border for use against Iran. The MEK has bought a lot of big American politicians and seems to have promised the Israelis it would recognize Israel if it ever came to power in Iran; figures connected to the Israel lobbies have hypocritically campaigned to have the MEK delisted as a terrorist organization, despite it long and bloody record of attacks on civilians. As recently as this year, NBC quoted unnamed US government officials alleging that the MEK has been assassinating Iranian scientists in Iran.

Hersh reveals a trail of blatant hypocrisy on the part of the US government. “Our” terrorists are not terrorists even if they have blown up non-combatants, but national liberation groups such as Hizbullah in Lebanon are designated terrorists. Government officials have even brandished the word “terrorism” to describe perfectly peaceful protesters and dissidents inside the US, while JSOC was flying dyed-in-the-wool terrorists to Nevada for training.

The USG Open Source Center translated a report in the MEK newspaper regarding the hobnobbing of Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and others with the MEK leadership in Paris recently:

“– On 24 March, the NCRI secretariat website published a report on an international conference held in Paris to address MEK concerns and issues, which was attended by NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi as well as former high ranking officials from the United States and Europe including Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge, John Bolton, Patrick Kennedy, and Colonel Wesley Martin.. According to the report, the issues raised included the adoption of a “decisive policy” against Iran’s regime, protection of the rights of Camp Ashraf and Liberty residents, and the elimination of MEK’s “terrorist label.” Rajavi said that “the only way to prevent an Iranian atomic bomb or the occurrence of an unprecedented conflict” was “regime change” by the Iranian people and resistance. On the issue of Camp Liberty, Rudy Giuliani said: “Let us go there. Let us see it with our own eyes.” He added: “Currently the enemy of stopping Iran becoming nuclear is appeasement. This wrong perception has made Iran more determined in becoming nuclear. Let us stop appeasement. Let us stop the efforts for negotiations. Stop writing letters to the ayatollahs. Let us rise up and say as Americans that we are for regime change in Iran and we will take every step necessary to stop Iran becoming nuclear” (National Council of Resistance of Iran in Persian — Website of an exiled political umbrella coalition of Marxist and Islamist organizations — Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO), National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA), People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and Muslim Iranian Students Society (MISS); on US State Department’s list of terrorist groups since 1997; URL: http://www.iranncr.org/).”

As Sheila Musaji points out, lots of American Muslims are in jail for ‘material support of terrorism,’ but American politicians and pundits get a free pass for actively supporting the MEK– which, remember, is definitively on the terrorism watch list.

Note to the US government and the Neocons: George Orwell’s 1984 was a dark political satire, not a blueprint for how you should do things.

Paul Rosenberg: Exposing Religious Fundamentalism in the US

Exposing religious fundamentalism in the US

by Paul Rosenberg

With Representative Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Ames, Iowa straw poll, and Texas Governor Rick Perry’s triumphal entrance into the GOP presidential primary, there’s been a sudden spike of attention drawn to the extremist religious beliefs both candidates have been associated with – up to and including their belief in Christian dominionism. (In the Texas Observer, the New Yorker, and the Daily Beast, for example.) The responses of denial from both the religious right itself and from the centrist Beltway press have been so incongruous as to be laughable – if only the subject matter weren’t so deadly serious. Those responses need to be answered, but more importantly, we need to have the serious discussion they want to prevent.

For example, in an August 18 post, originally entitled, “Beware False Prophets who Fear Evangelicals”, Washington Post religion blogger Lisa Miller cited the three stories I just mentioned, and admitted, “The stories raise real concerns about the world views of two prospective Republican nominees”, then immediately reversed direction: “But their echo-chamber effect reignites old anxieties among liberals about evangelical Christians. Some on the left seem suspicious that a firm belief in Jesus equals a desire to take over the world.” Of course, she cited no examples to bolster this narrative-flipping claim. More importantly, she wrote not one more word about the real concerns she had just admitted.

Dominionism is not a myth

“What In Heaven’s Name Is A Dominionist?” Pat Robertson asked on his 700 Club TV show, one of several religious right figures to recently pretend there was nothing to the notion. Funny he should ask. In a 1984 speech in Dallas, Texas, he said:

“What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours – I’m talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance – it’s going to be ours! God’s going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ.”

Furthermore, C Peter Wagner, the intellectual godfather of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), actually wrote a book called Dominion! in 2008. Chapter Three was entitled “Dominion Theology”. When pressed, Peter likes to pretend that his ideas are just garden-variety Christianity, based on Genesis 1:26, in which, before the fall, God gives Adam and Eve dominion over the natural world – a far cry from dominion over other people, who did not even exist at the time, as evangelical critics of this dominionist argument have repeatedly pointed out.

Dominionism is not new

Dominionist ideas have circulated throughout the religious right for decades prior to Robertson’s 1984 speech. A primary source was the small but influential sect known as Christian Reconstructionism, founded by R J Rushdoony in the 1960s, which advocates replacing American law with Old Testament codes. Centrists like Miller make the mistake of thinking that the small size of Rushdoony’s core of true believers is the full extent of his influence. But this is utterly mistaken. As Michelle Goldberg wrote in Daily Beast, “Rushdoony pioneered the Christian homeschooling movement, as well as the revisionist history, ubiquitous on the religious right, that paints the US as a Christian nation founded on biblical principles. He consistently defended Southern slavery and contrasted it with the greater evils of socialism.”

A second source traces back to the roots of the Latter Rain movement of the late 1940s, long rejected by orthodox evangelicals because they contradicted scripture and denied primary agency to God – which is why they insist that Christians must actively establish church dominance over all of society, because God can’t do it alone.

The Latter Rain was denounced by the Assemblies of God – the largest American Pentecostal church – in 1949, not solely for dominionist ideology, but for a variety of related beliefs and practices. When similar teachings and practices re-emerged in the guise of the New Apostolic Reformation 50 years later, the Assemblies of God denounced them again in 2000.

This time, however, many Assemblies of God congregations have increasingly accepted the NAR influence. Sarah Palin’s long-time church in Wasilla is one such congregation. The most clear-cut example of NAR dominionism is the so-called “Seven Mountains Mandate”, which holds that dominionist Christians should control the whole world by infiltrating and dominating the “Seven Mountains” of culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion.

Dominionism is not a left-wing fantasy

A number of authors made charges similar to or derived from Joe Carter, web editor of First Things, who wrote: “The term [“dominionism”] was coined in the 1980s by [sociologist Sara] Diamond and is never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.”

However, at the same time Diamond was working on her dissertation – published as the book Spiritual Warfare in 1989 – evangelical writer/researcher Albert James Dager was taking similarly critical aim, though from a different direction. In 1986 and ’87, he published a multi-issue essay “Kingdom Theology” in the publication Media Spotlight. In that text he also used the terms “Kingdom Now” or “Dominion” Theology. In 1990, Dager, too, published a book, Vengeance Is Ours: The Church in Dominion.

While his main focus was doctrinal error and non-Christian practices and influences, Dager’s work traced dominionism back to the 1940s and even earlier. Many more have followed in his footsteps since then. If you Google the words “dominionism” and “heresy”, you’ll get more than half a million hits. It should be obvious to anyone that conventional conservative Christians have big problems with dominionism – if only the United States’ establishment media could figure out how to use Google.

Dominionism is not an imprecise catch-all term

Despite lingering definitional differences that are common with relatively new terminology, those who study dominionism and related phenomenon in a political framework have an increasingly common and precise terminology that most writers and researchers share. Researcher Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates provided a very useful guide, “The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy”, which addresses issues of terminology from several different perspectives – for example, between “generic dominionism” and specific dominion theologies.

Berlet also draws a distinction between “hard” and “soft” dominionists. “Soft Dominionists are Christian nationalists,” he writes. “They believe that Biblically-defined immorality and sin breed chaos and anarchy. They fear that America’s greatness as God’s chosen land has been undermined by liberal secular humanists, feminists, and homosexuals … Their vision has elements of theocracy, but they stop short of calling for supplanting the Constitution and Bill of Rights.” Hard Dominionists add something more to the mix: “They want the United States to be a Christian theocracy. For them the Constitution and Bill of Rights are merely addendums to Old Testament Biblical law.”

Rushdoony’s Christian Reconstructionists clearly fall into the hard dominionist camp. But the NAR seems to straddle the soft/hard division. On the one hand, they clearly do claim that conservative Christians are ordained to run the world, not just US society. Thus, the Seven Mountains Mandate. On the other hand, Wagner and others have argued that the Seven Mountains is compatible with democracy. The state of Hawaii shows how: Early in the 2010 election cycle, both the Republican and the Democratic frontrunners for governor were associated with the NAR. That changed when long-time Congressman Neil Abercrombie joined the race on the Democratic side, and eventually won the race handily. But for a while, the NAR came tantalisingly close to realising their dream, at least in one state – not just to win power, but to occupy all the possible paths to power.

What’s more, in a recent article at Talk2Action, Rachel Tabachnick draws attention to another hedge on Wagner’s part, quoting from Dominion! In a section entitled “Majority Rules”: “If a majority feels that heterosexual marriage is the best choice for a happy and prosperous society, those in the minority should agree to conform – not because they live in a theocracy, but because they live in a democracy. The most basic principle of democracy is that the majority, not the minority, rules and sets the ultimate norms for society.”

This, of course, is utterly false in a liberal democracy, such as the United States. Liberal democracies combine majority rule as a general governing principle with a framework of rights protecting individuals in political minorities from persecution, political repression, and the like. The fact that Wagner so utterly misunderstands the foundations of American democracy shows just how dangerous such “soft” dominionism can be. This same lesson can be drawn from Uganda as well, where several different strains of dominionist theology have combined to bring that nation to the verge of passing a law that will make homosexuality punishable by death. Such is the nature of illiberal dominionist “democracy”.

Europe’s bloody theocratic wars

This brings us, finally, to the serious discussions that dominionists and their enablers, like Miller, are trying to prevent. The first of those is about the very nature of American democracy. For nearly 200 years, Europe was torn apart by a series of religious wars and their bloody aftermath – the major reason that the United States was founded as a secular republic. We’re potentially on the verge of forgetting all that history and suffering through it again, just as we’re now suffering through forgetting the lessons of the Great Depression. Those centuries of war began with the German Peasants’ War of 1524-26, in which more than 100,000 died; continued through the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War on the European continent; and lasted until the end of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). This was the bloody European history of religious intolerance and strife that many, if not most, American colonialists were fleeing from when they came to the New World.

It was also this bloody history that gave rise to the development of classical liberalism, affirming the individual right to religious liberty and replacing the top-down theocratic justification of the state with Locke’s concept of the bottom-up social contract, based on the consent of the governed. The ideas that Locke perfected took generations to develop. Religious tolerance, for example, began as simply a matter of pragmatism: unless people stopped killing each other for differing religious beliefs, war in Europe would never end.

But gradually, the idea took hold that tolerance was a positive good, and key to this new perspective was the recognition that torturing someone to change their beliefs could not produce the desired result of a genuine heartfelt conversion. Thus, the moral rejection of torture – another feature of classical liberalism – had its roots in the evolution of the idea of religious liberty. The idea of utterly forgetting the prolonged bloody history that the United States was born out of is no laughing matter.

The same could be said of the myth that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, with laws based on the Bible. Of course most Americans were Christians at the time, but the leading intellects were decidedly less so, much more influenced by Enlightenment thought. There were many, such as Jefferson, who were better described as Deists, who believed that God had created a rational universe, but did not intervene supernaturally thereafter. They deliberately used terms like “the Creator” and “Nature’s God” to affirm their distinctive, non-Christian view.

Moreover, God was not mentioned at all in the Constitution, and religion was only mentioned to exclude its influence, stating that no religious test should be required for office. Finally, US law was based on British common law, not the Bible. The Supreme Court itself is a common law court, following common law precedents and practices. And British common law traces back to Roman law, which first came to England centuries before Rome adopted the Christian religion.

Of course the intolerant religious right wants us to forget this. How else could they ever gain power, except through massive forgetting of who and what the United States really is? Not to mention who and what they are: the most fundamental enemies of the United States, who would, if they could, return us to the centuries of blood before the US was born, the nightmare out of which the United States awakened.

Theocratic thinking threatens the US today

There are very immediate consequences that flow from the theocratic mindset. You’ll note, for example, that the “Seven Mountains” of culture do not include science. That’s not because dominionists intend to leave science alone, but rather because they see no need to dominate what they can simply cut off, ignore and deny. If science tells them that homosexuality is an inborn trait, why fight that in the realm of science when politics, the media, religion and education offer much, much better places to fight? After all, who says that education has to be based on facts? The same holds true for evolution and global warming as well, not to mention the workings of the economy.

One rightwing denier of dominionist influence, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, even framed his attack as “An unholy war on the Tea Party, while another denier complained that instead of describing the Tea Party as a movement united around concern about big government, many journalists seem to be trying to redefine the colour red by overlaying religious intent and purpose on the movement.

Yet the dominionist connection to the Tea Party goes far beyond just the two candidacies of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Ron Paul, whose extreme anti-government positions helped to fuel the emergence of the Tea Party, has much deeper dominionist connections than either of the two new darlings. During his first term in Congress, one of his aides was Gary North, Rushdoony’s son-in-law, and a leading Reconstructionist in his own right, who has written extensively on so-called “Biblical Capitalism”, an ideology profoundly at odds with traditional Biblical-based teachings on economic justice.

While libertarians once traced their descent from John Locke, and more recently from the deeply anti-Christian Ayn Rand, Reconstructionism represents an increasingly important foundation for their views. A recently released sociology study, “Cultures of the Tea Party”, found that Tea Party supporters are characterised by four dispositions: “authoritarianism, ontological insecurity, libertarianism, and nativism”. Since traditional libertarianism was purportedly the opposite of authoritarianism, this highlights how radically libertarianism has changed – a conclusion that’s echoed by the 2011 Pew Reaserch Political Typology Poll, which found that religious and economic conservatives had completely merged into one single group since 2006 and all previous polling.

What this means in the long run is far from clear. But it strongly suggests a solidfying outlook with deep Reconstructionist sympathies that actually looks at government failure to deal with major issues, such as restoring the economy, as a positive good. If faith in American institutions collapses entirely, then who wouldn’t give Biblical law a shot? The more loudly such people proclaim themselves patriots, the more loudly they cheer for US collapse. It’s not just Obama they want to fail. It’s the very idea of America.

Paul Rosenberg is the Senior Editor of Random Lengths News, a bi-weekly alternative community newsletter.

You can follow Paul on twitter @PaulHRosenberg

Rampant Sexual Harassment of Women…in the West

Rampant Sexual Harassment of Women…in the West

Anti-Muslim bigots such as Robert SpencerPamela GellerGeert Wilders and co. love to trot out the talking point that Muslims (due to Islam of course) are unique in harassing and oppressing women. According to them, anytime a Muslim man harasses or otherwise assaults a woman it is considered a result of Islam or somehow encouraged by “Islamic behavior.”

This belief, however, is not limited to anti-Muslim bigots but has also crept into the popular imagination and perception of the mainstream. This was evident during the Egyptian Revolution when reporters, pundits and opinion-makers latched onto the Lara Logan incident as a marker for Arab and Muslim societies, viewed as monoliths that are separately “unique” when it comes to the treatment of women.

Take for example Bill Maher, who took the incident as an opportunity to explain why “our culture” is better than “theirs” (Arabs, Muslims). We reported on Maher’s comments at the time:

On his last show Bill Maher went on a speel undermining the Democratic character of Revolutions sweeping across the Arab world. Amongst his ludicrous statements he claimed “women can’t vote in 19 of 22 Arab countries,” that “women who have dated an Arab man, the results aren’t good,” that “Arab men have a sense of “entitlement,” etc. He also went onto forward the argument that “we are better than them,” justifying it by implying he is not a “cultural relativist.”

Such statements not only defy facts and logic, not only are they racist but they serve to undermine the truth about the status of women in the world today. Maher’s all too typical tirade covers up the fact that what is at the heart of the problem is not a clash of cultures or civilizations (the familiar “us vs. them” paradigm), or a simple difference in the degree of harassment.

Reality asserts that at the end of the day, women are mistreated across the globe, across cultures, races, and religions at unfortunately high and gross levels.

The website Stopthestreetharassment.com deals with the issue of harassment, and in its category on statistics does away with the myth that somehow “harassment” and “assault” are unique to men from the Middle East or Muslim countries. The report indicates that this is a world-wide pandemic ranging from such divergent places as India, Europe, Egypt, Latin America and of course…the USA.

In its report on Statistics, stop the street harassment informs us:

In one of the first street harassment studies ever conducted, Carol Brooks Gardner, associate professor of sociology and women’s studies at Indiana University, Indianapolis, interviewed 293 women in Indianapolis, Indiana, over several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The women were from every race, age, class, and sexual orientation category of the general population in Indiana and the United States. She oversampled women of color to better represent their experiences. Gardner found that every single woman (100 percent) could cite several examples of being harassed by unknown men in public and all but nine of the women classified those experiences as “troublesome.”

Using a national sample of 12,300 Canadian women ages 18 and older from 1994, sociology professors Ross Macmillan, Annette Nierobisz, and Sandy Welsh studied the impact of street harassment on women’s perceived sense of safety in 2000. During their research, they found that over 80 percent of the women surveyed had experienced male stranger harassment in public and that those experiences had a large and detrimental impact on their perceived safety in public.

Laura Beth Nielsen, professor of sociology and the law at Northwestern University conducted a study of 100 women’s and men’s experiences with offensive speech in the California San Francisco Bay Area in the early 2000s. She found that 100 percent of the 54 women she asked had been the target of offensive or sexually-suggestive remarks at least occasionally: 19 percent said every day, 43 percent said often, and 28 percent said sometimes. Notably, they were the target of such speech significantly more often than they were of “polite” remarks about their appearance.

During the summer of 2003, members of the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team in Chicago surveyed 168 neighborhood girls and young women (most of whom were African American or Latina) ages 10 to 19 about street harassment and interviewed 34 more in focus groups. They published their findings in a report titled “Hey Cutie, Can I Get Your Digits?” Of their respondents, 86 percent had been catcalled on the street, 36 percent said men harassed them daily, and 60 percent said they felt unsafe walking in their neighborhoods.

In 2007, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office conducted an online questionnaire about sexual harassment on the New York City subway system with a total of 1,790 participants. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents identified as women. Of the respondents, 63 percent reported being sexually harassed and one-tenth had been sexually assaulted on the subway or at a subway station. Due to collection methods used, the report “Hidden in Plain Sight: Sexual Harassment and Assault in the New York City Subway System” is not statistically significant, but it suggests that a large number of women experience problems on the subway system.

The author’s own studies support the pervasive and widespread nature of the problem of harassment that exists in the USA,

Nearly every woman I have talked to about this issue has been harassed by men in public. Further, every woman can cite strategies, such as avoiding going in public alone at night, which she uses to avoid harassment and assault. To learn more about women’s harassment experiences I conducted two informal, anonymous online surveys about street harassment: one in 2007 for my master’s thesis at George Washington University and one in 2008 as preliminary research for a book. Between both surveys, there were 1,141 respondents. Similar to the other studies conducted on street harassment, nearly every female respondent had experienced street harassment at least once.

In my first online survey, conducted during the spring of 2007, I asked the 225 respondents: “Have you ever been harassed (such as verbal comments, honking, whistling, kissing noises, leering/staring, groping, stalking, attempted or achieved assault, etc) while in a public place like the street, on public transportation, or in a store?” Ninety-nine percent of the respondents, which included some men, said they had been harassed at least a few times. Over 65 percent said they were harassed on at least a monthly basis.

Over 99 percent of the 811 female respondents (916 respondents total) of the second informal survey I conducted in 2008 said they had experienced some form of street harassment (only three women said they had not). In one question they could indicate the types of interactions they have had with strangers in public, here is a sampling of their responses.

  • Leering
    Ninety-five percent of female respondents were the target of leering or excessive staring at least once, and more than 68 percent reported being a target 26 times or more in their life.
  • Honking and whistling
    Nearly 95 percent of female respondents were honked at one or more times and 40 percent said they are honked at as frequently as monthly. Nearly 94 percent of female respondents were the target of whistling at least once and nearly 38 percent said it occurred at least monthly.
  • Kissing noises
    Just over 77 percent of women said they were the target of kissing noises from men and 48 percent said they’ve been the target at least 25 times in their life.
  • Making vulgar gestures
    Nearly 82 percent of female respondents were the target of a vulgar gesture at least once. About twenty percent said they had been a target at least 51 times.
  • Sexist comment
    Over 87 percent of women said they were the target of a sexist comment, and about 45 percent said they’ve been a target of a sexist comment in public at least 25 times in their life.
  • Saying sexually explicit comments
    Nearly 81 percent of female respondents were the target of sexually explicit comments from an unknown man at least once. More than 41 percent have been the target at least 26 times in their lives.
  • Blocking path
    About 62 percent of women say a man has purposely blocked their path at least once and 23 percent said this has happened at least six times.
  • Following
    Seventy-five percent of female respondents have been followed by an unknown stranger in public. More than 27 percent have been followed at least six times.
  • Masturbating
    More than 37 percent of female respondents have had a stranger masturbate at or in front of them at least once in public.
  • Sexual touching or grabbing
    Nearly 57 percent of women reported being touched or grabbed in a sexual way by a stranger in public. About 18 percent said they have been touched sexually at least six times.
  • Assaulting
    About 27 percent of women report being assaulted at least once in public by a stranger.

These jarring statistics of abuse, harassment and assault upon women in the “enlightened, culturally superior” West should give us pause and a heavy dose of perspective on the meaning of that age old adage, men are pigs.

Once and for all let us quit the holier-than-thou hypocritical obfuscation of the facts and realities on the ground when it comes to women and harassment. Women do not feel safe on Western streets, not because of the “evil Mooslims” but because too many men are unable or unwilling to control themselves.

To rectify this pandemic we must not divert the truth but face it head on. Instead of resorting to racist diatribes, innuendo, hate speech and efforts to destroy a race, religion and culture, organize to stop the harassment and aid in creating a safe space for women in our societies as opposed to the present status quo on our streets.

I encourage everyone to visit StoptheHarassment.com and check out how to End It.,,