Two Peas in A Pod: Tarek Fatah and Robert Spencer

Tarek_Fatah

Two Peas in A Pod: Tarek Fatah and Robert Spencer

By Emperor

Yesterday we tweeted a link to our article on the NYPD abandoning one of its spy on Muslims units,

 

In reply, the UK based journalist Sunny Hundal asked why Tarek Fatah was an “Islamophobia enabler.” A fair question for someone who may be unfamiliar with Fatah. I think however that support for the NYPD surveillance program, teaming up with Zuhdi Jasser and Rep. Peter Kingare evidence enough that Fatah supports Islamophobia.

In fact there’s such a plethora of evidence on Fatah’s support for Islamophobia that we didn’t even know where to start!

We first mentioned how Fatah is a regular on his pal, the ultra-Zionist, extremely Islamophobic, Michael Coren’s Sun News show and also the fact that Coren is a huge supporter of Spencer and Geller. Maybe this wasn’t the best place to begin. Taken alone this might not be enough to convince someone unaware of Fatah’s history of support for Islamophobic causes, right-wing politicians and forwarding of loony conspiracies.

We should have began by pointing out that Fatah has supported veil bans, opposed the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” (calling it a “deliberate provocation, aimed at ‘thumbing the nose at infidels,’” thereby feeding the hysterical fear-mongering at the time), slandered Muslims left and right as plotting to take over the federal and local governments of the USA and Canada, claimed that Dalia Mogahed was “an MB member from Egypt,” accused Tariq Ramadan of coming to Canada over Labour Day weekend “to propagate the Muslim Brotherhood credo of ‘destroying the West from within’.”

Of course there is so much more that could be highlighted to expose how Fatah fear-mongers about Islam and Muslims, provides cover for Islamophobes and their conspiracies but that will be the subject of a longer article. It should be noted that when we challenged Fatah over these issues he magically turned silent.

Fatah exclaimed incredulity that he could be mentioned in the same vein as Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer,

JW_Tarek_Fatah2

Apparently Fatah wasn’t “privy” to what we’ve written about him even though we directly tagged him in our Tweets with links and all.

Fatah’s assertions were contradicted by Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer himself, who states that Fatah was an admirer of his “work.”

JW_Tarek_Fatah1

Of course, Spencer is not exactly known for his honesty and so we will have to wait and see what video he produces. However, considering the fact that there isn’t much difference between Fatah and Spencer’s views and taking into account Fatah’s history of supporting Islamophobic causes, conspiracy theories, lies, his assaults on Muslims it isn’t far-fetched at all.

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.

UC San Diego Students Need to Protest the “Stand With Us” Destroying Human Rights Conference

tritons-4-israel

An update to this story. It is confirmed that certain anti-Muslim hate-mongers will be involved. Muslims and their partners on campus need to protest this, as Richard mentions a good part of the $20K or so being spent to secure these speakers,

…comes from student fees, meaning that all students, including those who are Muslim, are supporting this hate fest.

STANDWITHUS: DESTROYING HUMAN RIGHTS AT UC SAN DIEGO

by Richard Silverstein (Tikkun Olam)

Thanks to Audrey Jacobs of StandWithUs, I’ve managed to confirm that the far-right Israel advocacy group is indeed sponsoring Rescuing Human Rights, and that the program will feature four controversial figures in the national anti-jihadi movement. This event is part of Israel Awareness Week on campus. This in turn is directly connected to Israel Apartheid Week held at the same time. One of SWU’s key missions is to take the pro-Israel message directly to those it considers enemies on campus. Getting in the face of campus Muslim or Palestinian groups is SWU’s stock-in-trade.

SWU has done us the favor of uploading three of the speaker agreements between Tritons for Israel and SWU indicating they’re paying Zuhdi Jasser $4,250 plus hotel and travel, and Brooke Goldstein $3,500 plus expenses. The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens is being paid $8,500 plus expenses.  Avi Bell, who teaches law at the Catholic institution, the University of San Diego may be speaking gratis.  That’s well north of  $20,000 if you include speaker expenses and rental of Price Theater, where the event will be held.  A good part of this comes from student fees, meaning that all students, including those who are Muslim, are supporting this hate fest.

The SWU promotional material notes the “inspiration” for the title and substance of the event supposedly comes from a Wall Street Journal column Stephens wrote, The Decline of Human Rights.  One of the key “bright ideas” in the piece is that there are “too many” human rights.  By allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry to claim their rights have been abused, we’ve cheapened the principle.  It’s something akin to the argument that there are too many sex discrimination or rape claims made in courts because every woman has come to see them as her meal ticket.  Yup, pretty damn offensive.

After reviewing the piece, it seems to me that Stephens filched some of his ideas from, and that the title for the UCSD event comes from the Henry Jackson Society essay, Rescuing Human Rights, which I referred to inyesterday night’s post.

In order to bolster Zuhdi Jasser’s Muslim bona-fides, SWU calls him a “devout” Muslim.  In fact, Jasser’s own promotional material make this claim.  I wouldn’t trust his claims as far as I could throw ‘em unless they were independently verified.

SWU and like-minded anti-jihadi pro-Israel groups are quick to point out the supposed international Muslim conspiracy to topple western civilization and replace it with a caliphate or Sharia law (depending on which anti-Muslim extremist you talk to). What few people are noticing is that there is a similar coordinated international pro-Israel campaign financed and directed in large part by the Israeli government. Though the pro-Israel cabal at times maintains its own initiative, funding and agenda.

This is far more than lobbying. It’s much more akin to the surreptitious surveillance and flacking for war against Iran which I described in my posting about the work on which Shamai Leibowitz and I collaborated. In the current case, we can call this an all-out campaign to legitimize Israel and in the process delegitimize anything or one that stands in the way.

The May 15th conference is a perfect example. Human rights are a terrific thorn in the side of Israel. If SWU and HJS can redefine and defang the contemporary concept of human rights then Israel will once more be able to stand tall in the international community. In fact, this program doesn’t “rescue human rights.” It destroys human rights as a robust principle for reining in the worst excesses of authoritarian regimes. If conferences like this “rescue” anything it’s state-sponsored torture (see last night’s post) and murder (seemy critique of John Brennan’s apologia for targeted killing and dronicide).

The premise of the pro-Israel anti-jihadis is that western civilization is at war with Islam (they claim only “radical Islam,” but make little or no distinction between the two). In such a war, there must be a no-holds barred approach to terror, since the Islamists know the weaknesses in our system and exploit it to their advantage. That’s why we need to emulate Israel and kill and torture more bad guys. There’s only one way to stop them. By being tougher and meaner than they are. That’s why human rights as currently defined are not only expendable, but inimical to the SWU anti-jihadi world view.  So bring on torture, bring on targeted killings as long as they get the bad guys–except when they miss and get a few of the innocents.  But can any Muslim truly be innocent?

Returning to pro-Israel flackery, some of my pro-Israel readers are fond of pointing out that lobbying is as American as apple pie. Indeed it is. But Israel’s activities and that of its “Amen choir” is more than lobbying. It’s no holds barred pull out all the stops advocacy. It skirts the bounds of propriety and even legality at times. It’s opaque, often mendacious, always slick and slimy.

StandWithUs, UC San Diego Pro-Israel Group, Host Anti-Muslim Conference

Zuhdi Jasser to speak on 'Muslim terror' at UC San Diego, May 15th (Seth Wenig/AP) Zuhdi Jasser to speak on ‘Muslim terror’ at UC San Diego, May 15th (Seth Wenig/AP)

Zuhdi Jasser, who in a great feat of Orwellian irony was ridiculously appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), is now speaking on behalf of StandWithUs. It should come as no surprise that StandWithUs:

…manages an impressive stable of Zionist speakers, including several who are Arabs, Muslims, or ex-Muslims: Brigitte Gabriel, Ishmael Khaldi, Walid Shoebat, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Nonie Darwish.

These speakers are not only “Zionist” as described above, but also extremely “anti-Muslim” and “Islamophobic.” Add to that list, Zuhdi Jasser who will be joining “Stand with Us” for a conference titled, “Rescuing Human Rights.” It’s likely as concerned about human rights as Pamela Geller’s Jessica Mokdad ‘Human Rights’ Conference was:

STANDWITHUS, UC SAN DIEGO PRO-ISRAEL GROUP, HOST ANTI-MUSLIM CONFERENCE

by Richard Silverstein (Tikkun Olam)

Next week, StandWithUs and the UC San Diego pro-Israel student advocacy group, Tritons for Israel, will host a rather mysterious campus event.  According to a speaker contract SWU uploaded to the web in March, it is a conference called, Rescuing Human Rights, featuring the Wall Street Journal’s leading anti-jihadi columnist, Brett Stephens, necon legal scholar Avi Bell who was one of the Goldstone Report’s harshest critics, anti-jihadi “human rights” lawyer Brooke Goldstein, and the anti-jihadi Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser.  He was the founder of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, and featured star of several Clarion Fund Islamophobic films including Obsession and Third Jihad.

Mid-May is Apartheid Week across many American campuses and the suitable pro-Israel response seems to be to host events accusing Muslims of being the dark forces of the universe.  That appears to be the origin of this pro-Israel campus event on May 15th.

Why is this so mysterious?  Because I can’t find any online record of this event.  I do know thanks to a tweet in his Twitter timeline that Zuhdi Jasser, at least, will be speaking on campus next week.  Jasser is the go-to figure for the pro-Israel neocon right whenever it needs a Muslim who excoriates other Muslims who aren’t sufficiently right-wing or patriotic.  He is a devout supporter of Israel and also supported the NYPD’s illegal surveillance of local Muslim community members.  Jasser also makes common cause with the Tea Party types and has publicly attacked Muslim Americans running for office as Democrats and engaged in Muslim baiting.  In short, Zuhdi Jasser is “our” sort of Muslim, a “moderate” one who can be counted on as a bulwark against the swarms of jihadist Muslims seeking to overrun western civilization.

StandWithUs’ speaker contract guarantees Jasser $4,250 for his May 15th campus appearance plus hotel and travel expenses. These fees will be jointly paid by SWU and Tritons for Israel. However, I found a UC San Diego student fund allocation for $4,280 for this event that went to Tritons for Israel. This may be funding Jasser or the other three speakers listed  Students at UDSD will be interested to know that their student fees are paying for an Islamophobic campus hate fest.

Interestingly, I’ve found no online reference to the event itself notifying anyone where or when it will be held.  I’m not even sure the conference for which funding was requested in April is still happening (though Jasser is certainly speaking).  My guess is the sponsors are trying to keep it under the radar so it won’t generate the off-campus visibility I’m trying to offer to it here. They’re probably trying to isolate the promotion to campus. But I hope the local Arab/Muslim community will find out about this shandeh and turn out en masse to let the community know that it won’t stand still and allow Islamophobes define them.

In researching this post, I discovered that another ersatz pro-Israel human rights group, the UK’s Henry Jackson Society has held confabs featuring the same name for the past few years. They’ve also produced an essay by that name, written by a pro-Israel Tory solicitor arguing that international human rights law as practiced in Europe is fahrkochteh and should be scrapped. Of course, what especially irks him is that Israeli generals and politicians with blood on their hands may be arrested and indicted for war crimes if they step foot on British soil.  This is yet another example of the international nexus of pro-Israel advocacy groups who take cover under the guise of human rights, but whose agenda is serving as a promoter of Israel’s nationalist agenda and an apologist for its faltering human rights record.

For more on Brigitte Gabriel, see: Brigitte Gabriel: A Case Study in Sincere Hypocrisy

For more on Walid Shoebat, see: Walid Shoebat

For more on Khaled Abu Toameh, see: Khaled Abu Toameh: Obsession for Hate

For more on Nonie Darwish, see: Nonie Darwish: Caught in a Pool of Lies

Zuhdi Jasser: Shill For Islamophobes Resorts to Projection and Deflection

Zuhdi Jasser, the useful tool of Islamophobes everywhere has faced increasing and sustained opposition to his appointment to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The USCIRF was, as the ACLU reported, created and guided by ‘special interests’ and has a history of deep anti-Muslim bias,

[S]ince its inception, the commission’s been beset by controversy. People who watch the commission closely say it was created to satisfy special interests, which has led to bias in the commission’s work. Past commissioners and staff have reported that the commission is “rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism.” They’ve said that commissioners focus “on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background.” In particular, past commissioners and staff reported ”an anti-Muslim bias runs through the Commission’s work.”

In this context it is not surprising that a Zuhdi Jasser should be appointed. However, the biased nature of the USCIRF does not take away from the very troubling aspects of Jasser’s appointment, no US governmental organization should be used and abused in this manner.

What is interesting this time around is that all pretense to objectivity has fallen and the ‘work’ of the USCIRF will forever be tainted.

A petition calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment has received nearly 3000 signatures, (I urge everyone to sign it and pass it along. We need to be more active than the hate-mongers!)

In response to the large push back against the biased nature of the USCIRF and Jasser’s appointment, Jasser is trying to hit back, smearing everyone who sheds light on his alliance with hate-mongers and anti-Freedom positions as evil, fifth-column “Islamists.”

Classic case of projecting while deflecting

On the only medium that will let Jasser spew his fact-less innuendo unopposed, i.e Right-Wing media such as “The Daily Caller,” Jasser  says,

“You could actually use the list of people protesting us, it’s a pretty good list of some of the leaders of the Islamist movement in America.”

No surprise here, what else do you expect from the main protagonist of what has been lampooned as a bigoted, fear-mongering anti-Muslim film: The Third Jihad.

The article, written by one Caroline May goes on to claim that,

Last week 64 Muslim organizations — including Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) — expressed “deep concern” with Jasser’s appointment in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

The only problem for May and Jasser is that it wasn’t only Muslim organizations (or ‘Islamists’ as they would have it) but also non-Muslim organizations calling on the Senators to rescind Jasser’s appointment. It was a veritable coalition of Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious organizations:

More than 50 Muslim and non-Muslim civic and religious groups asked leading senators on Thursday (April 12) to rescind the appointment of an outspoken Muslim activist, Zuhdi Jasser, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

But facts, those pesky things, why let them get in the way right? So, Jasser goes on to say,

Jasser contends, however, that the real enemy of religious freedom is the coalition of groups opposing him.

Classic projection and deflection. Instead of answering the very real concerns leveled against him, Jasser clams up, hoping the “Islamist” label will stick on his opponents and that the attention will subside.

To this day Jasser has not answered the following very specific concerns expressed by those dismayed that he would even been considered for the USCIRF:

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

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

According to the Washington Post,

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

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

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

Mother Jones also reports that,

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

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

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

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

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

Jasser deflects from the above points and questions about his sordid relationship with those who undermine religious freedom here in the US because his real purpose is to be a shill for the Right-Wing propaganda machine.

Articles like the one in the Daily Caller are not meant to inform or provide analysis, but are geared specifically to justifying Right-Wing and Conservative causes. The Conservative audience is expected to swallow them whole and regurgitate it to the rest of the sheep, preserving and securing the echo chamber.

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Loonwatch was live blogging the controversial (anti)-Muslim Hearings being chaired by bigoted ex-IRA terrorist supporter Peter King. It was a circus. It devolved along partisan lines with Republicans predictably falling behind the rhetoric and narrative of Peter King. Democratic Congressmen/women issued strong rebukes: Rep. Sheila J. Lee, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Sanchez, and others delivered the message home that these Hearings were nothing more than political theater meant to castigate and intimidate a minority group and most importantly they were bereft of facts and therefore unbeneficial.

The leading witnesses for King were non-experts, Zuhdi Jasser, AbdiRizak Bihi and Melvin Bledsoe, all of these individuals were bereft of any credentials or expertise in the field of radicalization, terrorism or extremism. Zuhdi Jasser is considered an apologist for Neo-Cons and is viewed with suspicion amongst American Muslims for his close association with Islamophobes and war-mongerers. AbdiRizak was incomprehensible at times and much of what he and Bledsoe said were anecdotal and not factual evidence.

King began the hearings with what can only be classified as a bigoted comment, he said, “Moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community.” He said this to set up a straw man argument for what would become a recurring attack on CAIR, almost making it into a hearing about CAIR.

After getting its name wrong, calling it the “Committee of American Islamic Relations,” he and other Congressmen labeled CAIR a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood group. This is the usual trope brought forth by Right-wingers and anti-Muslims such as Robert Spencer and co., the best response came from Sheriff Lee Baca (one of the anti-Loons of 2010) when he said, ‘If CAIR is this terrorist group or has terrorist links then why hasn’t the FBI prosecuted them? Why haven’t they charged them? They wouldn’t be around if they were terrorist or terrorist sympathizers.’

Some highlights included:

-Keith Ellison made three important points: 1.) Security is important to all American Muslims, 2.) Hearings threaten our security and 3.) We need increased engagement with Muslims.

Ellison also got quite emotional while mentioning the story of a Muslim first responder who died saving people but was the victim of a smear campaign by Islamophobes who attempted to link him to the 9/11 attacks.

-Andre Carson brought up an excellent point about the fact that cooperation between law enforcement and communities such as the American Muslim community is endangered by the backdoor actions and methodologies of  organizations such as the FBI when they send agent provocateurs into Muslim mosques. Such actions cause distrust and engender fear that Muslims’ civil rights and liberties are being violated. One really only has to look at the example in California of the criminal Craig Montielh who was later arrested and confessed that he was sent by the FBI on a fishing expedition to entrap Muslims.

There were also other quite interesting WTF moments: Such as when Peter King mentioned Kim Kardashian and CAIR in the same sentence. Or when non-expert witness Melvin Bledsoe told Rep. Al Green “you don’t know what these hearings are about.” There was also the earlier moment when Peter King denied making the comment that “there are too many mosques in America.” A blatant falsity.

We will have more in depth coverage but it is safe to say that American Muslims are in for a rocky Islamophobic time with these hearings.

Spencer’s Friend Joel Richardson on Glenn Beck Pushing Myths about Islam

Glenn Beck is promoting the idea that Muslims are trying to hasten the End Times. On his show he had Joel Richardson whose book, “Anti-Christ: Islam’s Awaited Messiah,” he enthusiastically endorsed saying,

“A fascinating and provocative work. Joel has definitely expanded the frontiers in the ongoing exploration of the relationship between Islam and the rest of the world. A must read for priests and pastors, students and lay readers everywhere. Bravo!”

In Spencer’s debate with his mentor Peter Kreeft he directly mentioned his belief that Islam encourages the murder of Jews as a laudable action that will hasten the End Times:

There is a hadith, it isn’t in the Qur’an that says the Muslim must kill the Jews, and the Jews hide behind trees and the trees cry out and say, O’ Muslim there is a Jew behind me come and kill him, that is an authenticated hadith, and so it is considered to be a laudable practice for a Muslim to kill a Jew because it is something that hastens the coming of the end times in which all things will be consummated, but its not specifically in the Quran like that.

In this post at Loonwatch we counter these absurdities that Spencer and his colleagues propagate:

Glenn Beck recently has been harping on and on about the impending doom of Armageddon, and he has figured out who the Anti-Christ is, an “Islamic figure” known as the “12th Imam” or “Mahdi.” To help promote his pseudo-religio-apocalyptic propaganda he had Joel Richardson(fundamentalist Christian) and Zuhdi Jasser, token Muslim beloved by Neo-Cons and wacko Islamophobes.

Beck claims he has been studying this “issue” for nearly five or six years, which is hard to believe when he can’t distinguish between Shi’as and Sunnis:

This hysteria is quite revealing. The Christian right-wing has always scapegoated or somehow cast America’s perceived “enemies” at one time or another as the Anti-Christ. During the Cold War the Soviet Union and its Premieres were the Anti-Christ, during the Gulf War it was Saddam Hussein, at various points throughout history it has been the Pope, and Jerry Falwell thought it obvious that the Anti-Christ was a “male Jew.”

It would almost be an exercise in futility (since they are so obvious) to rebut the horrendous, blatant factual inaccuracies regarding Islamic Eschatology here, but a brief response is necessary.

In the first instance it must be noted that Islamic Eschatology is a debated topic with various theological opinions amongst scholars, and both Sunni Islam and Shia’ Islam have different views of the events and also place different levels of importance on these End Times characters/scenarios. For Shia’ Twelver Islam the Mahdi is a central figure of their Faith whereas amongst Sunnis he is not central to the Faith.

Before we approach this subject it must be made abundantly clear that Muslims believe that no one, not the Prophets, Saints nor the Angels know when the Last Day/End Times will begin. This knowledge belongs only to God because he is the one who has decided it:

“They ask you about the Hour (Day of Resurrection): ‘When will be its appointed time?’ Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (Alone). None can reveal its time but He. Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth. It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden.’ They ask you as if you have a good knowledge of it. Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with God (Alone), but most of mankind know not.’”

[al-‘Araf 7:187]

2 – God says:

“People ask you concerning the Hour, say: ‘The knowledge of it is with God only. What do you know? It may be that the Hour is near!’”

[al-Ahzaab 33:63]

Ibn Katheer (3/527) said:

God tells His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that he has no knowledge of the Hour and that when the people ask him about that, he should refer the matter to God.

Al-Shanqeeti said (6/604):

It is known that the word innama (translated here as “only”) has the effect of limiting or restricting the meaning, so what the verse means is: No one knows when the Hour will come except God alone.

3 – God says:

“They ask you (O Muhammad) about the Hour — when will be its appointed time?

You have no knowledge to say anything about it.

To your Lord belongs (the knowledge of) the term thereof

You (O Muhammad) are only a warner for those who fear it”

[al-Naaz’iaat 79:42-45]

al-Sa’di said:

Because knowing the time of the Hour serves no spiritual or worldly purpose for people, rather their interests lie in it being concealed from them, the knowledge of that has been kept from all of creation and God has kept it to Himself. “To your Lord belongs (the knowledge of) the term thereof.” (via. IslamQA)

It also must be made abundantly clear that according to Islamic doctrine no one, I repeat no one has the ability to hasten the Last Day/End Times. The logic goes: How can one hasten something God has already decided? Nothing any Muslim or non-Muslim does or doesn’t do has one iota of an effect on hastening or bringing closer the End Times. This is completely and utterly in the power of God. To believe otherwise is considered disbelief and counter to Orthodox Islamic teaching amongst all Sunni groups and schools of thought, and I would venture to say most Shia’ groups and schools of thought as well (Shia’ readers feel free to add comments).

Furthermore, Islamic ’Aqeeda, belief that Allah knows everything and all things happen through His power and Will is so profound and deeply ingrained that the idea of hastening the Last Days never occurred as a theological possibility, it was unimaginable! There is not much said about it over 1400 years of Islamic history precisely because it was inconceivable and absurd from an Islamic viewpoint.

In fact, throughout history individuals who have claimed to have been mahdis or messiahs have generally not had a very happy end: they have either been persuaded to repent, forced to repent, jailed, killed or castigated as false pretenders. (hat tip: Ahmed)

The cult of Juhayman al-Otaibi is a case in point. He is the famous mastermind behind the siege of the Grand Mosque of Mecca in 1979. He was forwarding the concept that his brother-in-law was the awaited Mahdi. To do so — amongst other things — he attempted to fulfill some of the “signs of the Last Hour” mentioned in Hadith. Juhayman and 67 of his followers were (after being captured) summarily executed.

What we are really seeing from Glenn Beck and the Christian Right crowd that he is pandering to with these insane antics is a classic case of PROJECTION. It is in fact many in the Christian Right who believe that the End Times, the Last Days can be hastened. They actually believe they have a role in bringing Jesus Christ back to Earth!

One of the violent consequences of this disastrous theology is that they believe the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque must be destroyed and the Third Jewish Temple be built for Jesus to return to earth. Imagine the repercussions if they are successful in this mad dash to instigate cataclysm?

The one piece of evidence that Islamophobes, Beck and his ilk use to try to instill fear in the populace is their de-contextualized recital of a hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad) and its variations that says, ’the Last Day will not arrive until the Jews fight the Muslims and the Muslims defeat them.’

Beck and company want to pass off and interpret these ahadith as somehow calling for a hastening of the End Times. Not only is this interpretation antithetical to Islamic creed, not only is it an interpretation NEVER forwarded in the 1400 years of Islamic history by any of the hadith commentators (I have Fath al-Bari by Imam Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, Sharh Sahih Muslimby Imam Nawawi, and other commentaries open in front of me right now), but it exposes a profound and disgustingly immense historical amnesia.

Why wouldn’t Muslims over the course of 1400 years, at a time when Christian Europe was murdering and enslaving Jews under the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude have exterminated Jews if Beck and his cohorts are right? Why were Jews thriving in the Muslim world? Why were they being appointed as Viziers, Advisors, Diplomats, Physicians to the Caliphs, Sultans and Amirs? Why was the Golden Age of Jewish thought and culture, the revivification of Hebrew (a previously near dead language) in lands ruled by Muslims? (I am currently writing a book review for LW on The Oranament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal).

No doubt these ahadith have been used in a bellicose and bigoted manner over the past 80 or so odd years due to the political situation in the Middle East, i.e. the conflict between the creation of Israel and occupation and repression of Palestinians. But can the anti-Muslims who forward the claim that Muslims are using these ahadith to hasten the End Times bring one shred of evidence in which these ahadith have been used to instigate or incite pogroms or to usher in the Last Days over the last 1400 years? Maybe Bernard Lewis can help in this regard?

What Beck and co. are saying would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that it was so dangerous. Some nut or group of nuts is going to see his show and start arming himself against the evil Mooslims and think to himself that he has to get the Mooslims before they get him.