EDL vows to return to Cambridge in bigger numbers

EDL Cambridge 2013 2.jpg

EDL vows to return to Cambridge in bigger numbers

The English Defence League has vowed to return to Cambridge in bigger numbers – despite a low turnout and several arrests.

Its rally on Christ’s Pieces on Saturday ended early after only about 40 members turned up. More than 400 officers were drafted in to police them and a counter-demonstration by Cambridge Unite Against Fascism which had more than 500 people in its ranks, according to police.

EDL members said they were furious, claiming they were “penned in” during attempts to protest against a planned mosque in Mill Road. Scores of police surrounded the EDL protesters who were behind fences next to Drummer Street bus station.

EDL members were heckled by passers-by and began to fight among themselves as their stewards tried to eject a man who had a “banned” Nazi banner. When counter-protesters marched past, with the two groups separated by a police “no-go zone”, one EDL member broke through but was quickly stopped by police.

A spokesman for the group’s East Anglia Division told the News: “We are not thugs or extremists. We are the silent majority but we have been penned in like pigs while the police allow the lefties to march through the city.

“But we will be back in bigger numbers. The leaders are planning a national protest here in Cambridge. All we want to do is have a peaceful protest against a mosque that is not in keeping and will cause no end of traffic problems as it holds 1,000 but has just 80 parking spaces. We are not against Muslims. We are anti-Islam.”

Tourist Vic Synott, 50, of Ayr, Scotland, came across the EDL chanting “we are the famous EDL”. He said: “They are just showing themselves up by their behaviour. They are a disgrace.”

EDL speakers hit out at MEP Richard Howitt for branding them “extremists”.

The Euro MP told the counter-marchers the party had sent him a note “adorned with Nazi swastikas” and accusing him of being “a traitor to civilisation and democracy”. He added: “There is only one group that represents everything in our society which is uncivilised and undemocratic. The traitors to Britain’s traditions of tolerance, fairness and respect – the true traitors – are the EDL themselves. They are a joke.”

Cambridge News, 25 February 2013

As you can see from the YouTube link, the so-called Nazi banner featured the word “ISLAM” with the letter “S” replaced by a swastika. The individual holding it shouted that “Islam is fascism – anti-democratic, misogynistic, anti-gay”, while his drunken supporters chanted “stick your fucking Islam up your arse”. However other EDL members, who were presumably too thick to understand the message behind the banner, attacked him on the basis that he had broken the EDL’s ban on the public display of Nazi symbols.

Racial Abuse Shouted in Hartlepool Mosque

Masjid Nasir Hartlepool

Racial abuse shouted in Hartlepool mosque

Police are hunting two men and a woman who burst into a mosque and shouted racial abuse. The incident happened at the Nasir Mosque on Brougham Terrace, in Hartlepool, at around 7.45pm on Tuesday, February 5.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Two men and a woman entered the mosque via the main entrance and began causing a disturbance and shouting during prayer time. They were also racially abusive when asked to leave the premises.”

All are described as young, white and of slim build. The first man was wearing a black woolly hat, a blue and grey tracksuit and black trainers. The second was wearing a black and white knitted hat with plaits down the side, a dark tracksuit top and bottoms with a white stripe down the sides and was carrying a plastic bottle. The girl had long, fair hair and was wearing a cream coat with a fur-trimmed hood.

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Claire McMahon, of Hartlepool Police, on the non-emergency number 101.

Hartlepool Mail, 15 February 2013

See also Northern Echo, 15 February 2013

The same mosque was targeted by the English Defence League in agraffiti attack in 2010.

Thug spat on woman who was wearing a hijab in Humberstone Road, Leicester

Leicester hijab assault suspects

These brave men laughed when their pal spat on a young women in headscarf. How much you want to bet they are part of those “freedom fighting” EDL bunch?

Thug spat on woman who was wearing a hijab in Humberstone Road, Leicester

(This is Leicester)

A thug spat at a woman in the street apparently because she was wearing an Islamic head scarf.

Police have appealed for help tracing the man, who targeted the woman in Humberstone Road, near Leicester city centre.

The 20-year-old woman was walking near to the St Matthews service station when she noticed three young men approaching her.

One of them spat on her as they passed by and the three began laughing as they walked away.

Officers have released a CCTV image of three people they want to trace.

The incident happened shortly before 1pm on Monday, February 4.

Pc Dave Adams said: “The victim felt upset and frightened following the incident and feels that she was targeted because she was wearing a hijab.

“We will not tolerate people feeling intimidated and frightened on our streets and I would urge anyone with information to call us as soon as they can.

“The road was quite busy at the time of the incident so there is a possibility that passers-by and passing traffic may be able to help.”

The three suspects are white, 18 or 19 and of slim build.

One was wearing a peaked cap and another was wearing a black hooded top.

Contact Pc Adams on 101 or Crimestoppers, which is anonymous, on 0800 555 111.

Charles Davis: Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles

Charles Davis of BrandX explains his encounter with the looniest blogger ever, Pamela Geller in an article that discusses “Bigotry for Broadcast.”

While I highlight the portion in which he has the misfortune of meeting Geller the whole article is well worth the read:

Bigotry for broadcast

by Charles Davis (AlJazeera English)

The first time I ever spoke with Pamela Geller she chastised me. “I’m here at the booth and they don’t have my name,” she complained over the phone in a moderately irritated Long Island accent. The anti-Islam jingo who led the campaign against the “Ground Zero mosque” had just flown from New York to LA to, in her mind, encourage television viewers primarily between the ages of 18 and 35 to put aside whatever differences they may have and just focus on hating Muslims.

Geller, the woman behind an ad campaign on US public transit portraying plucky Israel as the “Civilised Man” (take a wild guess who the uncivilised “Savage” is) had agreed to appear on a regular segment she did not know called, “Totally Unacceptable Opinion”. As the guy who’d convinced her to come, it was my job to put on a polite smile for ten minutes and lead her to the green room; to put aside my normal pre-show routine of interrogating people in the line outside about their disgusting sex lives – every taboo violated is a tiny revolution, comrade – in favour of making nice with a hatemonger in a glittery jacket.

The Bigot, it so happens, Wears Prada.

Imagining myself a borderline not-terrible person, I put aside my well-I-oughta grumbling and did not dwell on the fact that Ms Geller had shown up at the wrong gate after ignoring my politely repeated request that she holler at me prior to arriving. No, with the confidence and grace of a god walking amongst the sure to be damned, I apologised for an error that was not mine. And carried her stupid bag.

You can see then how saddened I was to find that my pained affectation of decency was not reflected in Geller’s post-show account of her appearance in a characteristically understated column entitled, “Russell Brand’s ugly jihad“. Written in an underground hate-lair lined with row upon row of mid-80s televisions cycling at 2.5 speed through a horrific loop of car crashes, assassinations, atom bombs and natural disasters – one imagines – Geller’s column provided a livid, refreshingly fictional account of the little jingo-blogger that could doing battle with basic cable.

“Charlie is a liar.” I had led her to believe, allegedly, that her ripped from Ayn Rand hate rhetoric would be treated in a “meaningful fashion”, because that’s typically how they do things on late-night talk shows broadcast by cable channels better known for mixed martial arts. Pasted in the column were emails from me wherein I had promised we would “discuss the threat opposed by Islamists, including those living within our midst”. Do something neither author nor recipient apparently did: Read that last bit twice.

So what happened? At the taping, Geller shied away from the Islamophobic red meat she daily dishes on her blog, perhaps sensing that a Hollywood audience of 18-35 year-olds fresh from the pot dispensary probably weren’t all that concerned about the imposition of Islamic law in their lifetimes. Asked if the West should attack Iran, she replied with a simple “no” and a look of “who would ever…?” bemusement, never mind what she tells her fans: “Iran should be attacked today and their people liberated from their misery.”

She wasn’t a hatemonger who sees jihad under every hijab, but a human rights activist, Geller protested. And then someone in the audience protested that.

“Pamela’s racism kills!” shouted a young man, holding up a sign that said the same thing. After a couple chants, Russell brought him on stage where he explained his objection: Pamela Geller is a hatemonger, a belligerent and ignorant purveyor of fear and advocate of war and hate and intolerance. Or maybe those are my words.

And that was pretty much it, Russell soon booting both protester and protested off the stage. Next up: Eric Idle singing a song about fellatio. Such is television.

Reading Pamela’s account, however, depicts a cable talk show that is both suprisingly dangerous and weirdly Islamic. That protester guy? An “extremist Muslim” whose crazy outburst of disagreement made her think she was about to fall victim to a jihadist, one she claims was planted by the show. “I half expected him to pull out a knife and try to behead me.” To be fair, it would have made interesting TV.

While no one’s denying the protester wasn’t pasty white – indeed, suspiciously not so – he isn’t actually Muslim, but an atheist who, as it happens, fought with the US Marine Corps in Iraq. Geller, it seems, based her assessment that he was an Islamic extremist on two things: His opposition to her and his aforementioned lack of pastiness. If I were trying to avoid accusations of prejudice, I probably wouldn’t use “the Muslim” as shorthand for “that non-white I don’t like”. You could end up looking foolish, ya know?

Pamela Geller, Guide Dogs, and Genocide

Pamela Geller
Pamela Geller

More lunacy from the looniest blogger ever:

Pamela Geller, Guide Dogs, and Genocide

by Sheila Musaji (The American Muslim)

Pamela Geller posted a letter she received from an Atlas Shrugs reader calling himself Scott Sylte.  She introduces this letter saying Remember, there is no golden rule under Islam.

Here is the text of the posted letter

I have a disability which requires that I use a service dog. His name is Ray and he helps to counterbalance, alert and guide me. Under Federal Law, The Americans with Disabilites Act of 1990, a disabled person with their service dog must be allowed public accomodation and admittance. Among such places include Airplanes, Public Transportation, Businesses which serve the gerneral public, restaurants, etc.

One evening two friends, myself and my service dog Ray entered a kabob restaurant in Virginia. Within seconds a man, apparantly who was the owner, made a scene about my service dog and asked me to leave. I was fairly certain he was Pakistani Muslim. There were other people in the restaurant who apparantly were also Muslim because of their coverings. Anyhow, I told him about the ADA, which he knew nothing about, and I told him that I was refusing to leave the restaurant and demanded that we be served the food we ordered. He was obviously very, very unhappy about it, yet he did eventually very reluctantly comply.

If he had insisted that my dog and I leave and refused to serve us in his restaurant, I would have filed a Human Relations Complaint of Discrimination or a ADA complaint with the US Dept. of Justice. If that would ever happens I wonder if this Islamization has gone that far that it would limit me from entering a Muslim owned or opperated establishment which serves the public? It’s sad to see our society begin sliding down the slippery slope of making these kinds of self serving accomodations. The people who are in favor of these kinds of accomodations as being in the friendly spirit of Freedom and Liberty are missing the point that our strong tendancies for “cultural” and “religious” acceptance are really being used to undermine our very freedoms and liberties in a very clandestine manner.

The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherants about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.

Respectfully submitted, Scott Sylte

This individual is claiming that someone at a kabob restaurant in Virginia that he believed to be a Muslim asked him to leave the restaurant with his guide dog.  After he explained about the ADA, the man reluctantly served him.  He does not say what his disability is, or what kind of a service dog.  Since he is describing the appearance of people in the restaurant, it seems that he is not blind, and perhaps his disability was not readily apparent.  The law does not require service dogs to wear identifying markings, and if this was the case it is possible that the restaurant employee/owner simply thought it was a man and his dog coming in to eat.

He says that if he had not been served he would have filed an official complaint of discrimination.  That is absolutely appropriate, and he would have been well within his rights to do so – if this is an accurate recounting of a genuine incident.  If, however, there was no way for the man who worked in the restaurant to know that he was disabled, and that his dog was a service dog, then that would be a very different story.

However, the last paragraph of Mr. Sylte’s letter makes me doubt everything he claims.  I’ll repeat that paragraph

The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherents [sic] about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.

I would have highlighted the genocidal take on what is required of Christians out of their love for their Muslim neighbors, but the entire paragraph would need to be highlighted.

He is saying that he would like to believe that most Muslims are not out to kill “us”, but since their religion (in his view) teaches Muslims to lie about their murderous intentions, then the command to kill Muslims before they kill you mandated in Christianity “should be closely examined”.  We should consider that it might be a “Christian mandate” to begin killing Muslims.  He does not give any references to particular verses of Christian “sacred scriptures”, but I am certain that whatever passages he believes would justify such genocide are being misinterpreted by him.

That Pamela Geller thinks such hatred is deserving of a positive mention, and of being published on her site is yet more evidence as to why the SPLC lists not only her Atlas Shrugs site, but her partner Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch site, and their joint organizations AFDI and SIOA as active anti-Muslim groups, and why they are listed in our Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.  This is hatred pure and simple.

As to the issue that set off this tirade – Muslims who serve the public refusing service to people with guide dogs – that has happened.  There needs to be a clear statement issued by scholars in the U.S. and Canada clarifying this, and that statement needs to be widely distributed and discussed in mosques.  The problem is that many immigrants confuse cultural and religious beliefs, and some are not aware of the law.

This process has begun, and Muslim scholars are attempting to educate people, but to avoid any such difficulties in the future, this needs to be much more widely discussed.  Here are a few examples of community efforts to educate:

In 2008, the issue of service dogs came up in England and a fatwa
was issued

“The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association described the decision as “a massive step forward for other blind and partially-sighted Muslims”. Previously, all dogs were banned from mosques because the Islamic faith historically sees them as being for guarding and hunting only. However, the position was softened because guide dogs could be classed in the “working dogs” category. The animals are still barred from entering the prayer hall for the sake of hygiene but are allowed to guide their owners to the area where shoes are placed, the fatwa says.

A special rest area has been set up in the entrance of the Bilal Jamia mosque for Vargo while Khatri is praying. Previously, the teenager, who attends the RNIB College in Loughborough, had to be accompanied to the mosque by a sighted helper. “

…  After issuing the fatwa, Muhammad Shahid Raza, director of the Imams and Mosques Council UK and secretary of the Muslim Law (Sharia) Council UK, said: “I hope that all existing mosques will follow Bilal mosque in serving the disabled people in a similar way by providing facilities to them. I also believe that, in all new mosques, such facilities for disabled people will be an essential part of their design.”

You can see a video about this here

In a case in Minnesota, the local CAIR-MN chapter issued a statement

The moral and legal need to accommodate individuals using service dogs far outweighs the discomfort an individual Muslim might feel about coming into contact with a dog, which is one of God’s creatures, said CAIR-MN Communications Director Valerie Shirley.

Muslims believe the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual ablution performed before prayer. For this reason, it has become a cultural norm for individuals not to have dogs in their houses – not because the dog is unclean.

The Prophet Muhammad allowed the use of dogs for protection and for hunting. He related several traditions (hadith) in which individuals were rewarded by God for protecting animals and punished for mistreating them.

Shirley mentioned that in 2007, a similar misunderstanding took place between Minneapolis cab drivers and passengers with guide dogs. After CAIR-MN facilitated dialogue between the two groups and cleared the misunderstanding, the Muslim taxi drivers offered free rides to attendees of the American Council of the Blind Convention in downtown Minneapolis. Abdinoor Ahmed Dolal, owner of Twin Cities Airport Taxi, said “Islam forbids us to turn away a blind passenger, whether they have a guide dog or not. Their rights come first.”

CAIR-MN says it will continue to work with the Muslim community in Minnesota to educate them about their Islamic and legal duty to accommodate those using service or guide dogs.

In another case in Vancouver, Canada a local Imam issued a clarification

An Iman from the local Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre, Javed Jaffri, researched the dog topic and served as an expert witness for a blind man refused passage by a Muslim taxi driver. Jaffri spent long hours on this, and provided an unbiased interpretation of the Koran that indicated “there is nothing saying that one must refuse service to another person because of the fear of contamination by a dog.”

He also said that “there can be exceptions to blanket refusals to deal with dogs, especially if it means helping someone in need. All that would be required in most circumstances would be for a Muslim person to wash their hands before eating if they have been in contact with a dog. That’s not a terrible task to go through,” he said.

“There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you. Qur’an 6:38.

“The Holy Prophet told of a prostitute who, on a hot summer day, saw a thirsty dog hovering around a well, lolling its tongue. She lowered her socks down the well and watered the dog. God forgave her all her sins (for this one act of kindness)”  Sahih Muslim

SEE ALSO:

A Fatwa on dogs, Khaled Abou El Fadl http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/tloofesfaond.html

All-American Muslim and Wrigley the Dog, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/wrigley-dogs

Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity, Ikhwan al-Safa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/books_the_animals_lawsuit_against_humanity

Animals in Islam, al-Hafiz B.A. Masri, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/an1.htm

Dogs in the Islamic tradition and in nature, Khaled Abou El Fadl http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/dinistrandna.html

Islam and Experiments on Animals *, al-Hafiz B.Z. Masri http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_experiments_on_animals1

Misconceptions About Islam and Dogshttp://misconceptions-about-islam.com/dogs-allowed-muslims.htm

Quotes from Qur’an and Hadith about dogs as service animals http://toledomuslims.com/criterion/Article.asp?ID=288

What’s up with Muslims and dogs?, Dr. Ingrid Mattson http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-mattson/whats-up-with-muslims-and_b_1144819.html

Support for Geert Wilders’ “Freedom Party” Drops Over Crisis

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

If Geert Wilders’ consistent and prolonged anti-Islam/Muslim diatribes weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If Geert Wilders anti-freedom policies and attacks on civil liberties weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If  Geert Wilders xenophobic fearmongering about Polish and Eastern European immigrants to the Netherlands weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

There’s another reason: The defection of a senior Freedom Party (PVV) MP Hero Brinkman, an ideological counterpart who parted ways with Wilders due to his “autocratic nature” and “unqualified stance against immigration.”

At least that is what polling data seems to be showing:

Geert Wilders support drops over party crisis

The anti-immigration party would now have 21 seats in parliament, three less than the number of seats it won at the last elections, held nearly 18 months ago. MP Hero Brinkman, seen as a key ideologue, left the party earlier this week in protest at Mr Wilders’ autocratic style and unqualified anti-immigrant stance. However, if elections were held now, Mr Brinkman would lack enough support to gain an independent seat, according to the weekly survey.

The minority government of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte depends on Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party for a majority in parliament. Now that Mr Brinkman has broken ranks with Mr Wilders, the conservative cabinet may have to rely on other parties as well, in particular on the tiny Christian fundamentalist SGP party.

The minority cabinet has already relied on Labour, the Democrats 66 and the Green Left parties for all those policies not supported by Mr Wilders, such as giving financial aid to Greece and bolstering the euro in general.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

We can’t read too much into these sorts of polls, especially when one considers the fickle nature of polling. However, it is significant, in that it exposes not only rifts and cracks in Wilders movement, but also potential fallout.

What remains to be seen is how Wilders and company will react to all this. Will they ignore this trend or just plain dismiss it? Will they become more aggressive and double down? Will they tone down their jingoistic rhetoric?

In the meantime it seems Wilders hatemongering is continuing to have repercussions:

The Polish Wilders Hates Poles

“I don’t just hate the Poles who work in the Netherlands, I hate all Poles” says Geert Wilders.

It’s not the real Wilders, it’s a satirical programme on Polish television. The Freedom Party leader himself hasn’t gone that far. However, his party does have a website where Dutch people can leave their complaints about Eastern European immigrants. It has been stirring up emotions in Poland for weeks, according to our correspondent Ekke Overbeek.

Szymon Majewski is a well-known Polish comedian with a popular show on the country’s biggest commercial station. In front of a backdrop of windmills, ‘Wilders’ begins the sketch by saying good evening in Dutch (goeie avond). The word goeie, however, means something unpleasant in Polish, so the stage is set. He then explains, in Polish, that he hates all Poles because they drink too much.

Another film, posted on YouTube, has an Asian man telling us that all foreigners, even Dutch, are welcome in Poland. Having nearly been run over by foul-mouthed Dutch people on bikes, he invites all Dutch people to come to Poland for the European football championships. “Poles are friendly and helpful. All the ugly, nasty, greedy Poles are over in the Netherlands”. He is joined by the same fake Wilders who says “Holland for the Dutch.”

Jokes about drugs, euthanasia and abortion follow. The final gag: “You may have a world famous Red Light District, but we have something better. Here you get screwed as soon as you step into a taxi at the airport.”

The Freedom Party’s complaints website has regularly made the news in Poland for over a month. The affair drags on because the Dutch government, which owes its parliamentary majority to Geert Wilders’ support, refuses to disown the website. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says it is an initiative by a political party and has nothing to do with his government. He was asked to appear before the European parliament and explain this stance but chose not to go.

The appearance of a Wilders clone on Polish TV shows that the controversy is beginning to affect the Netherlands image abroad. Until recently, most Poles thought of the Netherlands as a tolerant country, with good job prospects. The number of Polish people in the Netherlands is estimated at between 150 and 200 thousand.

(imm)

For those of you who speak Polish (there are no subtitles), here is the second clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=K9vAZ15CTYM

Hero Brinkman: Defector From Geert Wilders anti-Islam Party Says PVV is Bankrolled by US Supporters

Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center
Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center

Tell us something we didn’t already know (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Wilders’ anti-Islam party is bankrolled by US supporters, says former MP

American lobbyists make large donations to a foundation set up by the anti-immigration PVV, Hero Brinkman, the MP who left the party on Tuesday, told a television talk show on Tuesday evening.

Brinkman said he could not rule out the money being used to pay for Geert Wilders’ defence on racial hatred charges but declined to comment further on what the money had been spent on. Nor would he comment on the size of the donations.

The PVV is thought to generate significant funding from Israeli and far-right supporters in the US.

Because the PVV has no members, it does not receive government subsidies to run the campaigning side of its operations and relies instead on donations.

Dutch News, 21 March 2012

Brinkman’s allegation about the PVV’s finances confirms what had already been revealed in the Dutch press. Last year Dutch Newsreported that the two main US sources for the PVV’s funding were David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes.

See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders has made a name for himself through his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric, and for this reason he is, to quote Robert Spencer, one of the “heroes” of the anti-Muslim movement.

We have consistently pointed out however that Geert Wilders and his allies are not one stop bigots. Behind the “acceptable” attacks on Muslims is hidden a wider xenophobia against ‘the other.’ A bigotry which if not born out of any consistent ideological character is definitely a reflection of the realization that playing on the fears of the majority may lead to positive results at the ballot box.

Wilders and his party, the PVV are riding a wave of popularity through the launch of an anti-Polish/anti-Eastern European website which has been the cause of much controversy and embarrassment in the Netherlands. After launching the site it was reported that the PVV,

would gain 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today, the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

Wilders’ PVV site displays,

news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the website but this hasn’t ebbed the disastrous PR that Wilders move has generated.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.(emphasis mine)

The issue was taken to the European parliament which just yesterday announced its ‘dismay’ and formal response to Wilders most recent populist move:

EP condemns PVV website, exec puts ball in Netherlands’ court

By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Wednesday 14 March 2012 (Europolitics.info)

Representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament, on 13 March, unanimously called upon the Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to condemn a website launched by his far-right political ally, the PVV party headed by Geert Wilders. Said website, up since early February, urges Dutch citizens to report problems they experience with nationals of Central and Eastern European countries. “Unacceptable,” “a disgrace,” “scandalous” – said MEPs. The European Commission, for its part, announced it would not get involved from a legal point of view and leaves the responsibility of assessing the lawfulness of the website to the Dutch authorities. A joint parliamentary resolution will be put to the vote, on 15 March (see box).

The EPP, which counts among its ranks the junior partner in the Netherlands’ government, the centre-right CDA, was particularly vocal. “We cannot tolerate, from a party that takes part in a coalition government, a call to hatred against nationals from another member state. That is unacceptable,” said EPP leader Joseph Daul (France).

Despite the fact that Rutte is part of the Liberal political family, ALDE Chair Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium) was unequivocal about condemning the “silence” of the Dutch government and the message sent by the website. “My group has nothing but contempt for Mr Wilders’ initiative.” Recalling the need to be even-handed in criticising populist tactics, Verhofstadt lumped together French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Wilders. “I wonder who is the extreme-right wing candidate [in France], is it [Marine] Le Pen or Sarkozy?” he asked.

Reactions from other political group leaders all condemned Rutte’s passivity, whose hands are tied by his need for Wilders’ support, and who thus claims it is not a governmental issue. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) called for the website to be closed down. Polish deputy Jacek Kurski (EFD) said Rutte’s lack of reaction is “scandalous”. “The prime minister [of the Netherlands] is not taking up his responsibility,” said Marije Cornelissen (Greens-EFA, Netherlands). “The prime minister ought to have directly condemned this website,” said Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands), adding, however, that the EP holding a debate on this issue is “too much honour” for Wilders.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who had already condemned the PVV website in February, welcomed the comments made in the plenary chamber. “It is unacceptable that EU citizens become target of xenophobic attitudes because they have exercised their right to move from one state to another,” she said. Reding also called upon on the Dutch authorities to “fully investigate the lawfulness of the website under Dutch law and Union law”.

According to Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE-NGL, France), this is not enough. “You continue to refer to member states and their tribunals but I thought that the Commission was the guardian of the treaties, that freedom of circulation and non-discrimination were part of the European values,” she said. “I notice that certain values are more important than others and that in economic matters when the free circulation of goods and capital is concerned, competition barriers the Commission is prompter to condemn,” added Vergiat.

“Islamophobia” is not a Neologism Anymore–it’s Mainstream

Islamophobia definition
Islamophobia

“It isn’t Islamophobia when they really are trying to kill you!,” goes the oft quoted refrain of Islam haters when their bigotry and wild-eyed conspiracy theories are brought to the fore. Setting aside the inherent prejudice implied by the usage of “they,” the heart of the quote is, Islamophobia.

The first occurrence of the term Islamophobia “appeared in an essay by the Orientalist Etienne Dinet in L’Orient vu de l’Occident (1922),” however it did not enter into “common parlance” until the early 90′s.

“Islamophobia”, like many other words in the English language is imperfect and hence subject to criticism. This criticism however does not mean, as some suggest, that it should be discarded and a new word or phrase take its place.

Islamophobia is not as contested a term as it once was, especially since the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, (Thanks Pamela???). Before the controversy there was much discussion on whether Islamophobia was a term that was imprecisely applied to a wide range of phenomena, from “xenophobia to anti-terrorism.”

The fog on one portion of this debate has been lifted, if not since the Islamophobiapalooza (to quote Jon Stewart) of 2010, then certainly since the killing spree by anti-Muslim/anti-socialist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. It is clear that there are a lot of unfounded and completely bats**t crazy, *cough*, I mean irrational and unreasonable beliefs about Islam and Muslims in the world today.

It is also clearer that a certain segment of critics of the term Islamophobia always had nefarious intentions. Under the guise of the labels “anti-terrorism” and “pro-freedom” they trumped up an Islamic threat that would emerge like the Borg and conquer the Western world, either spectacularly or slowly over a period of many years. The Islamophobesphere, led by the likes of Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch, Pamela Geller’s AtlasShrugs, Fjordman’s Gates of Vienna, Daniel PipesMiddleEastForum and backed by billionaires such as Aubrey Chernick coalesced into an organized trans-Atlantic anti-Muslim movement that inspired Breivik and will inspire more like him.

Islamophobia is a phobia? Does it Matter?

The supposedly still not-so-clear part about this debate concerns the breakdown of the term Islamophobia. Is Islamophobia a phobia? Does Islamophobia as a descriptor of an existing phenomenon need to be an actual phobia in the same sense as the psychological traumas of arachnophobia, xenophobia or acrophobia? Is the term Islamophobia too vague?

According to Dr. Jalees Rehman, ‘Islamophobia’ is not a phobia. He quips that there is a danger that “without a reasonable effort to delineate what is and what is not ‘Islamophobia’, this term could be easily used to stigmatize or suppress legitimate criticisms of Muslim society, culture or theology.”

This is not necessarily true, there is a fair amount of effort to delineate “what is and what is not ‘Islamophobia.’” We do it on our site all the time (this seems to be true of other sites that tackle Islamophobia as well). As many of our authors have pointed out “mere criticism of Islam and Muslims” is not at issue, what crosses the line into Islamophobia is irrational and unreasonable beliefs, statements or actions directed at Islam and Muslims.

For instance stopping the construction of a Mosque may or may not be Islamophobic. In some cases it may really be a zoning issue, or as in the scenario of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” the attempt by opponents of the mosque to have it stopped by declaring the site a “Landmark” was based on their irrational belief that the developers were building a “victory mosque.”

The argument also suffers because the same could be said of other terms that describe hateful phenomena. We are not going to stop using anti-Semitism because some fail to delineate “what is and what is not ‘anti-Semitism.’” Or because the term excludes Semites who are non-Jews.

The other part of Dr. Rehman’s critique of Islamophobia regards the psychiatric concept of “phobia”:

[a]nother troubling aspect of this neologism is the fact that it invokes the psychiatric concept of “phobia”. Phobias fall under the category of anxiety disorders and describe pathological fears; while many know the term from the infamous expression “arachnophobia” (pathological fear of spiders), many different types of phobias have been observed in patients. The standard manual of the American Psychiatric Association is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR) and refers to “Specific Phobia” as a,

“Marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood).”

There are additional criteria that characterize a phobia, but I find the following one extremely interesting: “The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable for discussing the term.”

This is the strongest portion of Dr. Rehman’s critique though it misses the point. Is the Islamophobes fear of Islam “marked” and “persistent,” is it “cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation?” Does “the person recognize that the fear is excessive or unreasonable?”

According to Dr. Rehman, “anti-Muslim fears, hostility or prejudice do not really constitute a ‘phobia’ in the psychiatric sense.”

Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg in their book, Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy, on the other hand seem to remark that though Islamophobia is not a “phobia” in the strict psychological sense it nevertheless is a reflection of a social anxiety,

Islamophobia: “anxiety of Islam”? Can this really be compared to individual psychological traumas such as acrophobia, arachnophobia or xenophobia? The authors believe that “Islamophobia” accurately reflects a social anxiety toward Islam and Muslim cultures that is largely unexamined by, yet deeply ingrained in, Americans. Instead of arising from traumatic personal experiences, like its more psychological cousins, this phobia results for most from distant social experiences, that mainstream American culture has perpetuated in popular memory, which are in turn buttressed by a similar understanding of current events. (p.5)

There is another reason to differentiate Islamophobia from the strict psychological connotations of phobia that has hitherto not been mentioned in the discussion. Phobias such as arachnophobia are uncontrolled, and it is not something that the one who suffers from really enjoys. However Islamophobia, in many instances, especially the organized variety is motivated.

Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Anders Behring Breivik, Geert Wilders, the EDL, SIOA and others are motivated by a hate for Islam and its practitioners. They are motivated by the romantic notion that they are a select group of superheroes who are saving Western Civilization from Muslim domination, and they hope in the process to become famous (and rich) in their cause.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, the discussion of whether or not Islamophobia is a phobia in a psychiatric sense misses the point. The discussion borders on the pedantic since the term Islamophobia is by now understood to refer to irrational and unreasonable beliefs, statements and actions directed toward Islam and Muslims. The line that distinguishes “Islamophobia” from “criticism” of Islam and Muslims is self-evident.

Furthermore, “Islamophobia” has crossed the threshold of acceptability into the mainstream, and in those instances in which their may be vagueness, employing “anti-Muslim” or “anti-Muslim Islamophobia” suffices to describe the phenomenon. Rather than get bogged down in trivial semantics or useless details, let us remember that language is never perfect. When a word organically captures the sense and reality of an existing phenomenon, as is the case with “Islamophobia,” it is important to understand its imperfections but not to be distracted from all it offers.

Mr. Shirk Cannot Stand by His Own Words, Too Cowardly to Name Loonwatch

First it was Hugh now its Roland Shirk?

Recently, we published a devastating exposé of the typical anti-freedom hate speech being pumped out everyday at Jihadwatch. I called out Mr. Roland Shirk for suggesting that all Muslims (without exception) should be forced into “enclaves” and endure various forms of religious discrimination. In case you think I twisted his words, he ended his piece with this Islamophobic call to arms:

Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat.

Now, Mr. Shirk has responded to us (albeit indirectly) at Jihadwatch. Mr. Shirk gloats about how his writings have been picked up by various media outlets, including Loonwatch, who he refuses to name except with ad-hominem attacks (such as calling us “Islamic supremacists” or “stealth jihadists”). This follows a regular pattern of desperation at Jihadwatch, as Loonwatch has published numerous devastating rebuttals of Spencer’s hateful anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.

In this very weak response to Loonwatch, Mr. Shirk cites my offending passage:

Lately, Spencer has posted articles by the mysterious Roland Shirk, someone we know nothing about, probably because he is another one of Spencer’s pen-names (like Hugh Fitzgerald). Apparently, Mr. Shirk is a mouthpiece for JihadWatch’s more belligerent attacks on the constitutional freedoms of indigenous law-abiding Muslims.

Mr. Shirk has a problem not with my accusation that he wants to force Muslims into segregated, ghettoized communities or that he incites direct calls for violence against Muslims on the site. No, rather, Mr. Shirk is upset that I suggested he might just be another one of Spencer’s pseudonyms. His entire article ignores my central point: his “belligerent attacks on the constitutional freedoms of indigenous law-abiding Muslims.”

Mr. Shirk, I don’t care if you are Robert Spencer or not. That one line was not the point of my article. What I care about is that you write to dehumanize Muslims and deny their fundamental human rights based solely on Spencer’s deliberate self-serving distortions of Islamic religious beliefs. Only in the comments section, after someone else repeatedly called you out, do you attempt to address my point:

I never said anywhere the Muslims should be confined by the state to ghettos. I proposed that they should be politically neutralized, prevented from migrating into Europe, and prevented from using the European welfare state to breed at the expense of native residents. To do that, I proposed dismantling that state for everyone. At no point did I suggest that Muslims receive unequal treatment at the hands of the law.

This comment smacks of disingenuous insincerity. You never said anything about dismantling the welfare state for everyone. Your original piece argues clearly that MUSLIM immigration should be stopped, not all immigration. Your article decries the “demographic treason committed by Western leaders who admitted so many Muslims.” You never said anything about limiting Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, or other immigrants; only Muslims. Are you having a hard time swallowing what you wrote?

Second, no, you didn’t outright say Muslims should be confined to ghettos. You just strongly implied it by saying, “Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat.” How you plan to make Muslims live “at your feet” without supporting unequal legal treatment is impossible. You want to force law-abiding people out of your country, take away their political rights, and impose austerity on them? Perhaps you do not understand that preventing lawful migration, forcing people to be “politically neutralized,” and denying welfare are three factors that form ghettoes.

Third, if you are going to write a hateful article against all Muslims, then at least stand by what you wrote instead of dishonestly pretending you were against immigration as a whole. We called you out and you have not responded meaningfully to any of our points.

Next time you want to respond to us, have the courage to address the substance of our points rather than veering off into the nether realm of obfuscation and semi-coherent apologia.