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Tag Archives: Islamophobia

Tony Blair attacks Islam as “fundamentally extremist” religion

(Bush-Blair, file photo)

Press TV

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has shamelessly attacked Islam as a “fundamentally extremist” religion, which could threaten future security of the UK.

In an interview with the BBC, Tony Blair lashed out at opposition Labour Party chief Ed Miliband for opposing the coalition government’s push for launching an invasion against Syria, moaning that the country “could become a potent source of extremists”.

The former head of the Labour party, who engineered the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq together with former U.S. president George W. Bush on the pretext of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), acknowledged that the true reason western warmongers are spearheading wars in the Middle East region was fighting Islam.

There is a “fundamental battle about religion and politics within Islam, which has vast consequences for our future security”, Tony Blair claimed.

“The truth is, the reason why Iraq makes us hesitant is because Iraq showed that when you intervene in the circumstances, where you have this radical Islamist issue, both on the Shia side and the Sunni side, you are going to face a very difficult, tough conflict”, the warmonger former premier added.

Blair and fellow invading countries in Iraq failed to find even a trace of WMDs in the country, but left the scene with hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed and millions more displaced as a result of expansionist policies of certain warmongers both in the UK and the U.S.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair conceded the fear western warmongers cannot sleep with whenever there is Iran and its anti-imperialistic ideology.

He called for a military intervention in Syria to topple the popular government of President Bashar al Assad, warning “without intervention there would be an Assad-dominated state, and that means in this instance an Iran-dominated state, probably around the borders of Lebanon and controlling most of the wealth of Syria.

“And then you’ll have a larger geographical hinterland to the east that will be controlled by various Sunni groups, most of whom are likely in these circumstances to be extreme, and you could have a breeding ground for extremism actually much worse and much more potent than Afghanistan.”

Blair went on to say that he was “disappointed” that the House of Commons killed a government motion that called for invading Syria militarily.

“This is something where I just have to disagree with the leadership of the party,” he said. “I know it’s a difficult position for political leaders to be put in when they have got to take decisions like this.”

Blair was forced to resign as premier in 2007 in the aftermath of the failed military invasion of Iraq, after 10 years in office.

Responding to Blair’s intervention, a Labour source told The Independent, “We have learnt the lessons of the Iraq War. That is why Ed was determined to stop David Cameron’s ill-judged and reckless rush to war.”

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Swedes wear hijab to support Muslim woman

Al Ahed news

Swedish women have been posting photos of themselves in traditional Muslim headscarves in solidarity with a woman attacked apparently for wearing a veil.

Among the protesters from various faiths were politicians and TV hosts.

The “hijab outcry” campaigners urged the government to “ensure that Swedish Muslim women are guaranteed the right to… religious freedom”.

The victim was taken to hospital after the attacker tore off her hijab and hit her head against a car on Saturday.

The assailant also shouted racist insults at the woman – who was pregnant – during the attack on Saturday in a Stockholm suburb, the victim’s friends told Sweden’s media.
Police are now investigating the incident.

Using the hashtag #hijabuppropet [hijab outcry] a number of women across Sweden published pictures of themselves on Twitter and other social media websites on Monday.

Among the protesters were lawmakers Asa Romson and Veronica Palm, and also TV host Gina Dirawi.

The campaigners said they wanted to draw attention to the “discrimination that affects Muslim women” in Sweden.
“We believe that’s reason enough in a country where the number of reported hate crimes against Muslims is on the rise – and where women tie their headscarves extra tight so that it won’t get ripped off – for the prime minister and other politicians to take action to stop the march of fascism,” they wrote in the Aftonbladet newspaper.

In response, Justice Minister Beatrice Ask said such attacks “must be taken very seriously”, according to the TT news agency.

The minister is expected to meet the campaigners.

In parallel, some men also supported the campaign posting photos in which they covered their heads.
Joel Almorth tweeted: “Yes wear veils today to show solidarity for all women, are put up with harassment and attacks!”

In an opinion piece published in the Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, the organizers of “hijabuppropet” urged Justice Minister Beatrice Ask to take measures to “ensure that Swedish Muslim women are guaranteed the right to personal safety and religious freedom, without being subject to verbal and physical attacks”.

“In addition, we demand that responsible politicians actively draw attention to and fight the structural discrimination that affects Muslim women.

Fraudulent, Islamophobic “terrorism expert” hired to train Chicago-area police

by Charlotte Silver, EI

Update, 17 August: Police training by Islamophobe canceled

Three Chicago-area police departments canceled a planned training by notorious Islamophobe Sam Kharoba, CAIR-Chicago announced last night.

CAIR-Chicago commended the Lombard, Highland Park and Elmhurst police departments for canceling the training and “thanked the dozens of callers from the community, as well as partner coalition members from the Jewish, African-American and Latino communities, who expressed outrage at the trainings and support for CAIR’s outreach efforts.”

Original Post

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced last year that it had terminated known-Islamophobe Sam Kharoba from his post as instructor of counterterrorism training programs for local police officers.

Since then Kharoba has maintained a low profile. But last week, Kharoba’s name popped up again, this time in Illinois. In the coming weeks, Kharoba is scheduled to conduct at least two Islamic terrorism courses for Elmhurst and Highland Park police departments in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.

But the Council on Arab-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is pressuring law enforcement in that state to cancel Kharoba’s training program. However, the director of North East Multi-Regional Training (NEMRT)—the regional department responsible for hiring Kharoba—doesn’t appear likely to budge.

NEMRT is an organization that provides “in-service training to law enforcement and corrections personnel throughout the metropolitan Chicago land area” and to police forces in Wisconsin and Indiana. Its advisory board includes a number of area police chiefs, including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

“Counterterrorism” cottage industry

Kharoba belongs to the cottage industry of “counterterrorism” professionals that has flourished since 9/11. Made up of private individuals and companies posturing as experts in “Islamic terrorism” that conduct training programs, they have collected millions of dollars through Department of Homeland Security federal grants distributed lavishly and with little oversight until 2011.

As an exhaustive investigation by the Political Research Association documented, the courses’ curriculum is made of little more than Islamophobic myths and anti-Muslim fear-mongering, including the well-worn and invalidated canons of the industry such as the “radicalization” theory and threat of “encroaching sharia” — Islamic law — in US courtrooms.

Fraudulent expertise and plagiarism

Kharoba, one of many such “experts, ” authored a training manual titled, A Law Enforcement Guide to Understanding Islamist Terrorism, 79 percent of which was found to be plagiarized from Wikipedia articles, according to a 2012 analysis by CAIR.

Furthermore, his manual relies heavily on the writings of Serge Trifkovic, Robert Spencerand Bat Ye’or, all of whom are prominent figures in the anti-Muslim circle of pseudo-experts and, notably, repeatedly cited in Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik’s “2083 Manifesto”.

In a 2011 The Washington Monthly expose of Kharoba and his nefarious teachings conducted throughout Florida, he is documented as telling his class:

“When I look at the life of Muhammad, I get a very nasty image,” going on to describe Muhammad as “a pedophile, a serial killer, a rapist”.

And this:

“Anyone who says that Islam is a religion of peace…is either ignorant or flat-out lying.”

And then going on to expressly advocate for the “legal harassment” of “these people”:

“ ‘Look at the owners of convenience stores. Corner stores are one of the principal ways Hezbollah launders money in the United State’s,’ he said. (The claim is not true.) ‘You only need one precedent… Health inspectors, alcohol trade officers, these guys can turn a convenience store upside down without a warrant.’ ”

CAIR campaign ended Florida trainings

Florida paid Kharoba to hold at least 20 such counterterrorism training courses for local law enforcement agencies before finally pulling the plug on him in 2012 in response to a concerted information campaign led by CAIR’s Florida chapter.

In an interview, Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of CAIR’s Chicago chapter, told this blog, “There was a nationwide trend in which people with little expertise were contracted to train police forces. When our organization stepped in to raise a red flag and cite the problematic backgrounds of these trainers there were mixed reactions, but overall there was recognition that this was problematic.”

Loose local standards

In 2011, after years of lining the pockets of these pseudo-experts on Islam and counterterrorism, the federal government finally reformed its standards for contracting out to private companies. In its publication of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training: Guidance and Best Practices, the DHS implemented a stricter set of standards for trainers hired with federal funding.

Corey Saylor, CAIR’s National Legislative Director, told me that the federal government’s reform has been successful, “So far we have not received any reports that those reforms did not work in the military or the Department of Justice.”

However, those federal reforms do not prevent state and local law enforcement from contracting with these questionable “experts”.

“At the state level there has been no such reform, and the federal government can’t tell the state who to use or not use at the local level.” Therefore, if Illinois can find the funds to pay Kharoba, NEMRT is able to hire him.

Going underground

“Since 2011, a lot of [the experts] don’t advertise themselves the way they used to, they’ve gone a little underground,” explained Saylor.

Last week was the first time Saylor and Rehab had heard of Kharoba conducting any training classes since Florida cut ties with him last year.

“Kharoba confuses and befuddles the line between terrorism and Islam. Much of his training is saying Islam itself is a problem,” Rehab emphasized to me.

Head of training firm defends hiring Islamophobe

Despite this record, Phil Brankin, the director of North East Multi-Regional Training, sees nothing wrong with hiring Kharoba to teach local officers.

In an interview with me, Brankin was eager to find out if I was associated with an “Islamic organization” and, especially after learning that I write for outlets such as The Electronic Intifada and Al Jazeera English, was very reticent to speak to me about Kharoba. But when I probed him on Kharoba’s background he responded:

“The truth is the truth. Sam Kharoba teaches materials that I have looked at, I think the materials he teaches are relevant and applicable to training police for counterterrorism. You don’t have to agree with anything, this is a free nation and we aren’t under Sharia law yet, so we can still talk about the good and bad of Islam.”

On why his department thought they needed to hold a training course on “Islamic terrorism,” Brankin said:

“We planned this training because we want officers to have counterterrorism preparation for all sorts of terrorists. From what I read, the vast majority of terrorist attacks in this country are motivated by Islam and everything I see and read the vast majority of terrorist attacks in this world are motivated by Islam. I think officers and citizens need to be aware of the good and bad points of this religion and all other religions, so we are prepared to live our life in freedom and safety.”

I then asked him to comment on the fact that even the US Department of Homeland Security has been critical of police departments being trained by instructors who malign the entirety of the Islamic religion.

“How many people were killed this week in Egypt? How many Christians were killed in Nigeria? You want to have the DHS tell you about those attacks? Police officers need to know about the Islamic tenets, and if that offends someone in the Islamic community, well that’s too bad.”

I asked him, what are those tenets?

“You probably need to study the Quran.”

Profiling Muslims

Brankin did not wish to disclose to me any details of what Kharoba planned to teach this month. But according to a description of the training on the NEMRT’s website, “The emphasis will be on assessing and evaluating terrorist threats,” and will include:

  • Identification of Islamist Militant groups and individuals
  • Law abiding Muslims, fanatical observers, and terrorist sympathizers
  • Proactive strategies to prevent Islamist terrorist threats
  • Information collection and use
  • Terrorist financing operations, fraud, and charitable operations
  • Terrorist covert communication channels/cyber intelligence operations
  • Jail, school, and prison presences
  • Recruitment activities

Rehab told me that, “Our expectation is the police departments will drop Kharoba because that’s what we’re going to ask for and we won’t settle for anything else.”

Whether or not Kharoba’s trainings will be given a second life in Illinois remains to be seen, but Brankin’s sparse interview makes it is clear that the only worrisome “tenets” being proselytized are not those of Islam, but Islamophobia.

Islamophobia in Paris: Two attackers rip veil off teenager

Al Ahed news

A 16-year old girl was attacked in Paris’s suburb when two attackers tore off the Islamic veil she was wearing.

The teenager was leaving a friend’s house in Trappes at about 5:45 pm, when she was attacked by two “European-looking” men.

The men shouted anti-Muslim and racist phrases before tearing off her veil, pushing her to the ground and hitting her.

A third man then intervened and saved the girl while the attackers fled by car.

A source told the newspaper le Parisien that she was treated for “light scratch marks” on her face and throat.

“I severely condemn this newest demonstration of anti-Muslim hatred and intolerance. Police services have been fully mobilized so that the authors of this unacceptable attack are identified, found, arrested and handed over to the courts,” The French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said.

This comes as French authorities are pushing for banning Islamic veils in universities after banning them in schools back in 2004.

Physical assaults on Muslim women in France increasing

Press TV

Physical assaults by neo-Nazi groups on Muslim women who wear hijab, headscarves or burkas are on the rise in France, Press TV reports.

In the latest incident, a young Muslim woman was attacked in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil for wearing a veil on June 13.

On June 17, her lawyer announced that the 21-year-old, who was four months pregnant, suffered a miscarriage and lost her baby.

Two men attacked the young woman in the middle of the street, trying to rip her headscarf. She is also said to have been kicked in the stomach.

Meanwhile, angry of protesters gathered in front of the town hall of Argenteuil to express their outrage at the rising attacks by neo-Nazi groups.

“The latest attack was exactly the same as mine. The guys cross your path then they turn back and walk toward you and they pull off your headscarf or in my case the hijab then they hit you, throw you on the ground…,” Rabia, a Muslim woman told Press TV.

The mayor of Argenteuil has strongly condemned the attacks, saying there is no place for Islamophobia in his town. However, the demonstrators say the groups of skinheads have been spotted in some central locations in Argenteuil.

“Stop. We want this aggression to stop. We have had enough. We are told that in France women’s rights are respected… [but] what we are seeing is that the attacks are becoming commonplace, a kind of trend,” a protester said.

Neo-Nazi groups have also attacked those French citizens who support the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in the country.

The French government says it will impose a ban on the extremist groups, but it is not clear whether a ban is enough to prevent further attacks on Muslims and other minorities.

Boston, Brazil and Islam: Irrational rhetoric, illegal wars

by Ramzy Baroud, source

During his talk sponsored by the New American Foundation in March 2008, author Parag Khanna addressed the rising challenges facing the US’s global hegemony. According to Khanna, China and the European Union are the new contenders with the battlefield being a global ‘geopolitical marketplace.’

Aside from Khanna’s insight, one statement particularly puzzled me greatly. “Why am I talking about Europe, China, and the United States? What about Russia, what about India, what about Islam ..what about all those other powers?” Initially, I thought it must have been an error. The speaker must surely realize that Islam is a religion, not a political entity with a definable ‘geopolitical marketplace.’ But it was not an error, or more accurately, it was a deliberate error. Khanna went on to explain that Islam doesn’t have ‘that kind of coherence’ that allows it to spread its power and influence, unlike the dominant other powers which he highlighted. According to that odd logic, Islam and Brazil were discussed in a similar context.

This sort of twisted reasoning has flourished as an academic discipline-turned-industry since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Sure, it existed prior to this date, but its ‘experts’ and their then few think-tanks were largely placed within a decidedly pro-Israel, Zionist and right-wing political orthodoxy. In the last decade or so, the relatively specialized business multiplied and became mainstream wisdom. Its numerous ‘experts’ – who are more like intellectual purveyors – became well-known faces in American news networks. Their once ‘politically incorrect’ depiction of Arabs, Muslims and the non-western world at large, became acceptable views which were then translated into actual policies used for invading countries, torturing prisoners and flushing Holy Korans down toilets.

It is impracticable to rationally argue with those who are essentially irrational. Many of us have tirelessly tried to wrangle with those who want to ‘kill all Muslims’ whenever someone claiming to be a Muslim is accused of carrying out or planning to carry out an attack somewhere in the world. The ‘debate’ rages on, not because of the power of its logic, but because of the heavy price of blood and gore that continues to be paid due to the deliberate misinformation, utter lies and subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) intellectual racism that defines much of the American media and academic discourses.

Numbers are of no relevance in such discussions because absurd media pundits are not swayed by facts. In the United States, there have been nearly 900,000 gun fatalities in the last 30 years or so (1980 to present) compared to around 3,400 terrorism-related fatalities in the last 40 years or so (1970 to present). These figures include victims of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. This unsurprising fact was recently referenced by MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes and raises some critical points.

If the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen (plus numerous other lesser acts of violence committed in the name of ‘fighting terror’) were indeed compelled by the preciousness of American lives, then the least US Congress should do is tighten gun control laws in their own country. But respected members of Congress are fighting the good fight to keep things as they are, in the name of protecting the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution – “..the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

But rights are infringed at will whenever it suits US foreign policy makers and their intellectual peddlers. Despite the fact that the war on Iraq was illegal and that torture of prisoners is a loud violation of the US’s own Constitution and the Bill of Rights, America’s war rages on and the Guantanamo gulag is thriving. One cannot help but think that the US’s legal, political and even moral blind spots must always somehow involve Muslims.

But of course it’s more complicated than this. Muslims are not targeted because they are Muslim. Yes, of course, religion and skin color are important layers in the massive ‘crusade’ – a George W. Bush term, not mine – in America’s so-called war on terror. But ‘hating Islam’ is also a convenient pretense to achieve foreign policy objectives that are centered around imperial domination, thus natural resources. Neither American foreign policy makers, nor their media cheerleaders who hardly take a day off from smearing everything Muslim, are not interested in Islamic theology, history, spirituality or values that are meant to espouse uprightness in the individual and righteousness in the collective. But there is an army of dishonest people who would rather comb through every shred of Islamic text to highlight passages out of context just to prove that Islam is fundamentally flawed, teaches hate or ‘anti-Semitism’ and that it celebrates a supposed ‘culture of death.’ These very men and women would have done the same, as their predecessors have, to demonize any other culture, religion or community that sat on large deposits of oil or dare exist in an area of strategic importance to the United States or within an alarming proximity to Israel.

The anti-Islam tirade received another boost following the Boston Marathon Bombings of April 15, 2013, which were blamed on two American-Chechen brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The anti-Muslim circus was back in town, as political jugglers, along with media acrobats seemed to reach the ever predicable conclusion: hate all Muslims and do whatever possible to exploit any tragedy to further US hegemonic interest in the Middle East. Eric Rush, a Fox News pundit, summed up that sentiment when he called for the killing of all Muslims following the bombings and then later claimed that his tweets were meant to be sarcastic. Ann Coulter, on the other hand, called for women to be put in jail for ‘wearing a Hijab.’

This type of hate-mongering is of course not random, no matter how palpably ‘crazy’ the people behind it are. It is an essential component of ensuring that a largely uninformed public is always on board whenever the US is ready for yet another military adventure involving Muslim countries.

All of this rhetoric must also be juxtaposed with what is happening in the Middle East. There, yet a new war is brewing, one that is largely aimed at ensuring that the current chaos underway in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ countries will yield favorable results from the view points of Israel, America and the west. The new push for military intervention started with Israeli allegations that the Syrian regime is using chemical weapons against opposition forces, followed by British-French allegations, and finally, despite brief hesitation, concurred by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Over 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the Syrian – war. In the last two years it has become a hub for unprecedented regional and international rivalry, a Great Game of sorts. The US, Israel and their allies have watched as Syria, once considered a ‘threat’ to Israeli security, descended into inconceivable brutality involving the Syrian army, various factions and bands of fighters from near and far. It was a matter of time before the US and its allies made their move to seal Syria’s fate and to ensure quiet at the Israeli northeastern frontier.

For that to happen, Muslims must be hated and dehumanized in ways that would make war a tad less ugly and future violence, in some odd way, ‘justifiable.’

The official purpose of Hagel’s recent visit to Israel was to finalize US arms sales to Israel and other countries which total about $10 billion. Knowing how such weapons have been used in the past, one can hardly appreciate the ‘sarcasm’ in Eric Rush’s tweet of wanting to ‘kill them all.’ Per the history of US foreign policy, violent words often translate into violent action and here lies the real danger of the supposedly crazy bunch who equate Islam to Brazil and wish to incarcerate women for wearing scarves.

The Boston bombing produces familiar and revealing reactions

As usual, the limits of selective empathy, the rush to blame Muslims, and the exploitation of fear all instantly emerge

by Glenn Greenwald, source

There’s not much to say about Monday’s Boston Marathon attack because there is virtually no known evidence regarding who did it or why. There are, however, several points to be made about some of the widespread reactions to this incident. Much of that reaction is all-too-familiar and quite revealing in important ways:

(1) The widespread compassion for yesterday’s victims and the intense anger over the attacks was obviously authentic and thus good to witness. But it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade, with very little attention paid. My Guardian colleague Gary Younge put this best on Twitter this morning:

younge tweet

Juan Cole this morning makes a similar point about violence elsewhere. Indeed, just yesterday in Iraq, at least 42 people were killed and more than 250 injured by a series of car bombs, the enduring result of the US invasion and destruction of that country. Somehow the deep compassion and anger felt in the US when it is attacked never translates to understanding the effects of our own aggression against others.

One particularly illustrative example I happened to see yesterday was a re-tweet from Washington Examiner columnist David Freddoso, proclaiming:

Idea of secondary bombs designed to kill the first responders is just sick. How does anyone become that evil?”

I don’t disagree with that sentiment. But I’d bet a good amount of money that the person saying it – and the vast majority of other Americans – have no clue that targeting rescuers with “double-tap” attacks isprecisely what the US now does with its drone program and other forms of militarism. If most Americans knew their government and military were doing this, would they react the same way as they did to yesterday’s Boston attack: “Idea of secondary bombs designed to kill the first responders is just sick. How does anyone become that evil?” That’s highly doubtful, and that’s the point.

There’s nothing wrong per se with paying more attention to tragedy and violence that happens relatively nearby and in familiar places. Whether wrong or not, it’s probably human nature, or at least human instinct, to do that, and that happens all over the world. I’m not criticizing that. But one wishes that the empathy for victims and outrage over the ending of innocent human life that instantly arises when the US is targeted by this sort of violence would at least translate into similar concern when the US is perpetrating it, as it so often does (far, far more often than it is targeted by such violence).

Regardless of your views of justification and intent: whatever rage you’re feeling toward the perpetrator of this Boston attack, that’s the rage in sustained form that people across the world feel toward the US for killing innocent people in their countries. Whatever sadness you feel for yesterday’s victims, the same level of sadness is warranted for the innocent people whose lives are ended by American bombs. However profound a loss you recognize the parents and family members of these victims to have suffered, that’s the same loss experienced by victims of US violence. It’s natural that it won’t be felt as intensely when the victims are far away and mostly invisible, but applying these reactions to those acts of US aggression would go a long way toward better understanding what they are and the outcomes they generate.

(2) The rush, one might say the eagerness, to conclude that the attackers were Muslim was palpable and unseemly, even without any real evidence. The New York Post quickly claimed that the prime suspect was a Saudi national (while also inaccurately reporting that 12 people had been confirmed dead). The Post’s insinuation of responsibility was alsosuggested on CNN by Former Bush Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend (“We know that there is one Saudi national who was wounded in the leg who is being spoken to”). Former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman went on CNN to grossly speculate that Muslim groups were behind the attack. Anti-Muslim bigots like Pam Geller predictably announced that this was “Jihad in America”. Expressions of hatred for Muslims, and a desire to do violence, were then spewing forth all over Twitter (some particularly unscrupulous partisan Democrat types wereidentically suggesting with zero evidence that the attackers were right-wing extremists).

Obviously, it’s possible that the perpetrator(s) will turn out to be Muslim, just like it’s possible they will turn out to be extremist right-wing activists, or left-wing agitators, or Muslim-fearing Anders-Breivik types, or lone individuals driven by apolitical mental illness. But the rush to proclaim the guilty party to be Muslim is seen in particular over and over with such events. Recall that on the day of the 2011 Oslo massacre by a right-wing, Muslim-hating extremist, the New York Times spent virtually the entire day strongly suggesting in its headlines that an Islamic extremist group was responsible, a claim other major news outlets (including the BBC and Washington Post) then repeated as fact. The same thing happened with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, when most major US media outlets strongly suggested that the perpetrators were Muslims. As FAIR documented back then:

“In the wake of the explosion that destroyed the Murrah Federal Office Building, the media rushed — almost en masse — to the assumption that the bombing was the work of Muslim extremists. ‘The betting here is on Middle East terrorists,’ declared CBS News’ Jim Stewart just hours after the blast (4/19/95). ‘The fact that it was such a powerful bomb in Oklahoma City immediately drew investigators to consider deadly parallels that all have roots in the Middle East,’ ABC’s John McWethy proclaimed the same day.

“‘It has every single earmark of the Islamic car-bombers of the Middle East,’ wrote syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer (Chicago Tribune, 4/21/95). ‘Whatever we are doing to destroy Mideast terrorism, the chief terrorist threat against Americans, has not been working,’ declared the New York Times’ A.M. Rosenthal (4/21/95). The Geyer and Rosenthal columns were filed after the FBI released sketches of two suspects who looked more like Midwestern frat boys than mujahideen.”

This lesson is never learned because, it seems, many people don’t want to learn it. Even when it turns out not to have been Muslims who perpetrated the attack but rather right-wing, white Christians, the damage from this relentless and reflexive blame-pinning endures.

(3) One continually encountered yesterday expressions of dread and fear from Arabs and Muslims around the world that the attacker would be either or both. That’s because they know that all members of their religious or ethnic group will be blamed, or worse, if that turns out to be the case. That’s true even though leading Muslim-American groups such as CAIR harshly condemned the attack (as they always do) and urged support for the victims, including blood donations. One tweeter, referencing the earthquake that hit Iran this morning, satirized this collective mindset by writing: “Please don’t be a Muslim plate tectonic activity.”

As understandable as it is, that’s just sad to witness. No other group reacts with that level of fear to these kinds of incidents, because no other group has similar cause to fear that they will all be hated or targeted for the acts of isolated, unrepresentative individuals. A similar dynamic has long prevailed in the domestic crime context: when the perpetrators of notorious crimes turned out to be African-American, the entire community usually paid a collective price. But the unique and well-grounded dread that hundreds of millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslims and Arabs around the world have about the prospect that this attack in Boston was perpetrated by a Muslim highlights the climate of fear that has been created for and imposed on them over the last decade.

(4) The reaction to the Boston attack underscored, yet again, the utter meaninglessness of the word “terrorism”. News outlets were seemingly scandalized that President Obama, in his initial remarks, did not use the words “terrorist attack” to describe the bombing. In response, the White House ran to the media to assure them that they considered it “terrorism”. Fox News’ Ed Henry quoted a “senior administration official” as saying this: “When multiple (explosive) devices go off that’s an act of terrorism.”

Is that what “terrorism” is? “When multiple (explosive) devices go off”? If so, that encompasses a great many things, including what the US does in the world on a very regular basis. Of course, the quest to know whether this was “terrorism” is really code for: “was this done by Muslims”? That’s because, in US political discourse, “terrorism” has no real meaning other than: violence perpetrated by Muslims against the west. The reason there was such confusion and uncertainty about whether this was “terrorism” is because there is no clear and consistently applied definition of the term. At this point, it’s little more than a term of emotionally manipulative propaganda. That’s been proven over and over, and it was against yesterday.

(5) The history of these types of attacks over the last decade has been clear and consistent: they are exploited to obtain new government powers, increase state surveillance, and take away individual liberties. On NBC with Brian Williams last night, Tom Brokaw decreed that this will happen again and instructed us that we must meekly submit it to it:

“Everyone has to understand tonight that, beginning tomorrow morning early, there are going to be much tougher security considerations all across the country, and however exhausted we may be by that, we’re going to have to learn to live with them, and get along and go forward, and not let them bring us to our knees. You’ll remember last summer, how unhappy we were with the security at the Democratic and Republic conventions. Now I don’t think we can raise those complaints after what happened in Boston.”

Last night on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show, an FBI agent discussed the fact that the US government has the right to arrest terrorism suspects and not provide them with Miranda warnings before questioning them. After seeing numerous people express surprise at this claim on Twitter, I pointed out that this happened when the Obama administration exploited the attempted underwear bombing over Detroit to radically reduce Miranda rights over what they had been for decades. That’s what the US government (aided by the sham “terrorism expert” industry) does in every single one of these cases: exploits the resulting fear to increase its own power and decrease everyone else’s rights, including privacy.

At the Atlantic, security expert Bruce Schneier has a short but compelling article on how urgent it is that we not react to this Boston attack irrationally or with exaggerated fear, and that we particularly remain vigilant against government attempts to exploit fear to impose all new rights-reducing measures. He notes in particular how the more unusual an event is (such as this sort of attack on US soil), the more our brains naturally exaggerate its significance and frequency (John Cole makes a similar point).

In sum, even if the perpetrators of Monday’s attack in Boston turn out to be politically motivated and subscribers to an anti-US ideology, it will still be a very rare event, one that poses far less danger to Americans than literally countless other threats. The most important lesson of the excesses arising from the 9/11 attacks should be this one: that the dangers of overreacting and succumbing to irrational fear are far, far greater than any other dangers posed by these type of events.

‘Israel’s’ incoming defense minister evaded war crimes arrest, called Palestinians “cancer”

(Qana-Lebanon, 1996-File photo)

by Asa Winstanley, EI

This is Moshe Ya’alon, the Likud parliamentarian set to become minister of “defense” in Israel’s new hard-right coalition government due to be sworn in early next week.

In a 2002 interview with Israeli paper Haaretz, when he was Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, Ya’alon said the “Palestinian threat” was “like cancer” and an “existential threat.” He explained that his solution was “applying chemotherapy.”

The “chemotherapy,” was the massive destruction his forces visited on Palestinian society during the second intifada. Israeli forces infamously fired over a million bullets at Palestinian demonstrators within the first few days of that popular uprising.

Under pressure, Ya’alon later back-pedaled, saying his statements were “inopportune,” but that he had been “taken out of context” reported financial publication Globes in Hebrew.

War crimes

In 2005, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit against Ya’alon, charging him with war crimes for his role in the Israeli army’s 1996 attack on a United Nations compound in Qana, Lebanon that killed more than 100 Lebanese civilians who had taken shelter there, injuring many more.

At the time of the lawsuit, Ya’alon was a fellow at the AIPAC-founded Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, DC.

In 2006 a federal judge dismissed the case on the grounds that Ya’alon enjoyed immunity under the Foreign Sovereigns Immunities Act. But Ya’alon’s legal problems did not end there.

He was invited to a 2009 fund-raising event for Israeli soldiers in London, but had to cancel the trip for fear of arrest on suspicion of war crimes.

The charges to have been brought against him related to the infamous 2002 Israeli bombing of an apartment block in Gaza, which killed 14 civilians, including children. Hamas military leader Salah Shehadeh was also killed in the attack.

This is the same incident for which the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights brought a case against Ya’alon and Israeli air force commander Dan Halutz in the Spanish National Court in 2008. An appeal against a lower court decision to close the case was pending before Spain’s constitutional court as of 2011.

Ya’alon had been invited to London in 2009 by the Jewish National Fund. According to The Guardian, one of the lawyers who advised Ya’alon not to travel was Daniel Taub, now the Israeli ambassador in London.

Notorious Islamophobe

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ya’alon is vaunted by Pamela Geller, a notorious Muslim-hater and leading demagogue among racist bloggers.

Geller once described him as “Israel’s best shot for the right leadership” and boasts of having interviewed him alongside other Zionist bloggers.

In that interview, Ya’alon seemed to concur with some of Geller’s disturbing ideology, agreeing with Geller that:

Yes, this is the main challenge… to create what I call an awakening in the West. The West is sleeping. In many terms it reminds of the situation before World War II. It’s very clear, the threat [of Islamic jihad] is very clear.

Geller was one of the key inspirations for the Muslim-hating, pro-Israel, convicted terrorist Anders Breivik, so it is grimly fitting she would take inspiration from killers like Ya’alon.

With thanks to Ali Abunimah for his contribution, and Dena Shunra for translation from Hebrew, research and analysis.

France to ban website documenting police violence against Muslims: Video

“Control of the preferred narrative”. ‘Why we hate them: Arabs in Western eyes’

A new PBS documentary reveals how films and other media have shaped an anti-Muslim narrative.

by Philip Giraldi, source

Control of the preferred narrative is essential in today’s instant-news political culture. This has been particularly true since 9/11, as the United States government and the cooperative media have worked together to make sure that a series of enemies are identified and then attacked as a response to what has been shaped as a global terrorist threat. Narrative-shifting also protects against failure, by making it more difficult to advance any actual inquiry either to learn what motivates terrorists or to explore the apparent inability of the federal government to respond effectively. The best known attempt to shift the blame and thereby redirect the narrative was President George W. Bush’s famous assertion that “those evildoers” of 9/11 “hate us because of our freedom.” Other, more plausible motives need not apply.

Later this year PBS will release to its affiliates a documentary film that it co-produced called “Valentino’s Ghost.” I recently watched a preview copy. In its full version it is 95 minutes long, and it lays out a roughly chronological account of how Muslims, particularly Arabs, have been perceived in the West since the 1920s. Written and directed by Michael Singh, it includes interviews with a number of well-known authorities on the Middle East, including Robert Fisk, Niall Ferguson, John Mearsheimer, and the late Anthony Shadid, the New York Times journalist killed in Syria last February. The film explores the political and cultural forces behind the images, contending that the depiction of Arabs as “The Other” roughly parallels the foreign policies of Europe and America vis-à-vis the Middle East region. The title of the film is taken from the first great cinematic “Arab,” Italian Rudolph Valentino, who starred in the 1922 silent film “The Sheik.” When asked regarding the plausibility of the script, in which English aristocrat Lady Diana falls for the “savage” Sheik, Valentinoresponded “People are not savages because they have dark skins. The Arabian civilization is one of the oldest in the world…the Arabs are dignified and keen brained.”

Valentino’s cinematic triumph was followed by other films extolling Arabian exoticism, including 1924’s “The Thief of Baghdad,” starring Douglas Fairbanks. But the cinematic love affair with Arabia did not last long. The 1920s also witnessed Anglo-French moves to divide up the Arab provinces of the defunct Ottoman Empire and to gain control of Iran’s oil supply.The Arabs, not surprisingly, resisted, which forced a rethink of who they were and what they represented as reflected in Eurocentric movies made in the 1930s, including “Beau Geste,” “The Lost Patrol,” and “Under Two Flags.”

Arabs were increasingly depicted in the cinema as lawless savages who mindlessly opposed the advanced civilizations of Europe, not unlike the American Indians who had stood in the way of manifest destiny. The possible motives for their savagery were strictly off limits, as they were in the American historical narrative. The good Arabs were the ones who were “obedient” and sought accommodation with the French and British. The bad Arabs were the “disobedient” who sought to maintain their traditional ways of life.

The rise of the Zionist movement and the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, with its forced relocation of most Palestinians — which Mearsheimer describes as “ethnic cleansing” — made further shifts in the narrative essential, particularly to demonstrate that Jews had a historic right to the land of Palestine and that the creation of the Jewish state was humanely carried out in a land that did not exist politically and was largely empty and undeveloped. Movies like “Exodus” and “Lawrence of Arabia” appeared, with the former omitting the Zionist terrorism that had led to the creation of Israel while also emphasizing historic Jewish claims to the land. The latter film expressed some sympathy for Arab nationalism but also demonstrated that savage and undisciplined Arabs could only triumph militarily under European leadership. The two films together largely completed the process of defining the Arab in Western popular culture. In “Lawrence of Arabia,” Peter O’Toole, playing Lawrence, described Arabs as “a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel.” Nothing more need be said.

The Six-Day War further added to the denigration of Arabs in general. Israel’s surprise-attack triumph over its neighbors, in which it was able to exploit superior military resources, was seen as a victory of good over evil in the U.S. media. Walter Cronkite announced on the evening news that “Jerusalem has been liberated.” Footage of long columns of Palestinian refugees appeared briefly on television but then disappeared completely. Mearsheimer describes the post-1967 unwillingness to discuss either the Palestinians’ plight or the nature of the Israeli relationship with Washington as “The Great Silence” fueled by “The Great Silencer,” namely the charge of anti-Semitism or Jewish self-hating inevitably leveled against any critic of Israel. The circle of immunity from scrutiny for Israel also extends to the principal Israel lobby AIPAC, which was last featured on an investigative report on U.S. television in 1977.

The Israeli occupation triggered a wave of terrorism, and the Palestinians sought to have their story told. Limited media attempts to understand the Arab point of view perhaps understandingly vanished completely in 1972 after 11 Israeli athletes were murdered in Munich. When Arabs subsequently sought to use an economic boycott to force the West to stop Israeli expansion on the West Bank, the U.S. media depicted the action as an affront engineered by greedy oil Sheiks.

The increasingly harsh political environment, soon to be framed as a clash of civilizations, corresponded with a rise to prominence of evangelicals in the U.S., together with the popularity of end-times narratives in books and other media, including Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. Evangelical pastors such as John Hagee conflated the return of the Jews to Israel with the Second Coming of Christ, leading to unlimited political support for Israel and identification of its Arab neighbors as the enemy that would have to be confronted and destroyed at Armageddon.

The Iranian Embassy hostage crisis further hardened views of Islam, with Ayatollah Khomeini lampooned on American television and ABC News featuring a one-hour block each night on “America Held Hostage,” more intensive coverage than the network had given to the Vietnam War. Ronald Reagan referred to the Iranians as “barbarians,” and there was little effort made to learn if there might be some legitimate grievances (there were, dating back to the ouster of Mohamed Mossadeq and the installation of the Shah in 1953).

In 1992 the Disney animated movie “Aladdin” featured a song during the opening credits that referred to Arabia as a land “where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric.” Other major Hollywood movies produced in the 1990s routinely depicting Arabs as terrorists, even if an “obedient” Arab frequently appears among the good guys, included “Rules of Engagement,” “True Lies,” and “The Siege.” 9/11 converted the disturbing or sometimes vaguely amusing Arab into the Arab as attacker, as an existential threat — witness the success of the recent television series “24″ and “Homeland.” The denigration of Arabs in the media has real-world consequences:  it is unlikely that Madeleine Albright would have said the death of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it or that Rush Limbaugh would have described Abu Ghraib as a “college fraternity prank” if one had been speaking of European or American victims.

Niall Ferguson notes that the justification provided through the hyping of a dark and fearful external threat in support of a burgeoning overseas empire inevitably leads to a suspension of the rule of law back at home. Robert Fisk observes that the shifts in language and metaphor make the entire Middle East unintelligible to most Americans, even to those who claim to be well informed. Colin Powell, while secretary of state, stopped referring to the West Bank as occupied by Israel – he instead referred to the area as “disputed,” a practice that continues to this day in the mainstream media. That went along with Jewish settlements being referred to in the media as “neighborhoods” and the border wall being called a “security fence.” Why would those disgruntled Arabs want to fight over something that is only disputed or object so strongly to a neighborhood or a fence?

One of the more interesting vignettes in the film takes place near the end, with Hillary Clinton saying in March 2011 that many Americans are viewing Qatar-owned television channel al-Jazeera for “real news” because U.S. news programs have become so devoid of content. Would that it were so. Al-Jazeera is only available in New York; Washington, D.C.; Burlington, Vermont; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, Rhode Island — and only intermittently in many of those locations, due to political objections over its “Arab” and “anti-American” point of view.

If I have a problem with “Valentino’s Ghost” it is that it tries to do too much. It takes on many issues too superficially given the film’s technical constraints and time limitations. I have been informed that over the objections of the producer the original 95-minute version has been edited down considerably for the version that will be released to PBS affiliates. PBS indicated that it would not use the film without considerable changes. Much of the excising relates to segments critical of Israel and its policies, as well as its U.S. lobby, AIPAC. The affiliates themselves can choose whether or not to air the film, so there will probably be pressure coming from donors and local programming boards not to show it. This would be a shame, as “Valentino’s Ghost” exposes widespread bigotry and the deliberate shaping of a narrative against Arabs while also providing considerable insights into why American foreign policy continues to fail in an important part of the world. One has to wonder what the reaction would be if the film were to be viewed in the White House.

Love messages in response for anti-Muslim ads


Moqawama

After anti-Muslim ads hit NYC subways last month, Jewish and Christian groups responded with a message of love – hanging pro-Muslim posters to condemn intolerance and celebrate the city’s diversity.

Rabbis for Human Rights – North America and the Sojourners Christian group will place their adverts right next to the anti-Islam messages that were released by pro-Zionism group; the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).The organization covered 10 Manhattan stations, despite strong objection by the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The original text by the AFDI declared “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support “Israel”. Defeat Jihad.”

The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights- North America, which will go up on Monday, will say “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”

“Love your Muslim neighbors,” is the message on the promised ad.

Freedom of speech: Insults, incitement and Islam

by Graham Peebles, source

Graham Peebles argues that to reduce the issue of the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” to notions of freedom of speech versus censorship “is a convenient distraction fabricated in order to avoid discussing the filmmakers’ intention and the underlying causes of hurt and anger among Muslims which arise largely out of American foreign policy”.

Across the Muslim World there is outrage and hurt at the latest calculated attack on Islam, in the form of the film trailer “Innocence of Muslims. All who hold human rights and moral decency close to their heart share their indignation.

Freedom of speech is a basic human right, protected under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states:

Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference, and
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression.

Rights enshrined in law that are nevertheless denied to many, rights supposedly honoured in democratic countries.

Expressions of free speech that are little more than propaganda, that consciously incite hatred and spark acts of violence are rightly restricted under the very law that protects our freedom of expression. Article 20, paragraph 2 of the same covenant states that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law…

Intended fury

The film has unsurprisingly prompted widespread protests throughout the world. On 11 September in Cairo protesters scaled the walls of the American embassy, pulled down the US flag and called for the expulsion of the US ambassador to Cairo. In Libya, the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other American staff members were killed in the American embassy in what appears to have been an unrelated, pre-planned military-style attack.

Other protests directly triggered by the offensive, degrading film, and sadly resulting in many deaths, have since taken place in a number of countries with large Muslim populations, including Sudan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Qatar, Afghanistan, Britain, Nigeria and Kashmir.

Free speech or incitement?

The film and the reaction to it has prompted much to be written and spoken about unrestricted free speech and the dangers of censorship. Writing in The Observer, Nick Cohen argues that “Nothing, however vile, justifies censorship. Even in the hardest of cases such as this anti-Islamic film, the old arguments against censorship remain the best.” The observation of basic human rights is the foundation for any democratic society and free speech is a fundamental requirement. Where it is absent, totalitarian control of one kind of another becomes possible, perhaps inevitable.

There are though many methods of control and restriction of freedoms, both crude and subtle. Is for example the manufacturing of consent, a form of sociological coercion commonplace in America and elsewhere compatible with freedom and/or democratic principles of independent thinking and participation. As Noam Chomsky says, “the anti-democratic thrust of opinion in what are called democratic societies is really ferocious, and for good reason. Because the freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow.” The “great beast” is, of course, us – the 99 per cent.

The making and distribution of this film is not an expression of freedom of any kind; it contributes nothing of value to the political environment or social discourse and has no artistic merit. The Anna Lindh Foundation reinforced this view in a statement in which it described the film as “an inflammatory pamphlet, the distribution of which – on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 11 September – cannot be abridged to a manifestation of freedom of expression”.

International law, acting as a guide and aid to clarity of thinking, states there are limits to free speech. Where such expression is clearly based on racial or religious hatred and incites violence, then it is illegal and the perpetrators should be subject to prosecution. For where the law is infringed consequences follow – something Israel should be made aware of. What is crucial is the motive. If something is spoken, written, painted, drawn, filmed ,etc. with the premeditated intention of causing offence, because it is rooted in hatred of one kind or another, it is outside the law.

Freedom of expression is indeed a fundamental human right, but it does not stand alone, or above other related rights, such as human dignity and mutual respect. All need to coexist and indeed all are indivisible.

Unless the filmmakers of “Innocence of Muslims” are completely naïve or plain stupid, they would have known that producing – film – would inevitably cause offence and would probably result in violent demonstrations. Therefore, the film breaches international guidelines on free speech, and should be banned, its makers charged and prosecuted. Al-Jazeera quotes the filmmaker Danny Schechter, whose view on the film is clear: “It is very political from beginning to end. It’s not about free expression; it’s about propaganda. The film is incitement – it’s not information, it’s not filmmaking and it’s really intended as a technique of war-making.”

What good can possibly come from continuing to allow such a distasteful film to be circulated? It serves no purpose other than to provoke further potential violence. It enables Muslims to be marginalized and demonized again and constructs a perverse justification for continued American and Israeli intimidation, aggression and the spreading of paranoia. Allowing this film to be shown or not has little to do with censorship and/or free speech, and to reduce this issue to such notions is a convenient distraction fabricated in order to avoid discussing the filmmakers’ intention and the underlying causes of hurt and anger among Muslims which arise largely out of American foreign policy.

Simmering resentment “the safeguard of justice”

Opinion among large numbers of Muslims throughout the world towards America is overwhelmingly negative. The Pew Research Centre found in a recent survey that there remains “a widespread perception that the US acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries. In predominantly Muslim nations, American anti-terrorism efforts are still widely unpopular.” In fact, according to the Pew Centre report only 15 per cent of Muslims have confidence in President Barack Obama, approve of his foreign policies and hold favourable views of America in general. The Pew Centre states: “In a number of strategically important Muslim nations, America’s image has not improved during the Obama presidency.” In fact, it has deteriorated, as US policies throughout the region continue to cause consternation among large numbers of Muslims (and of course more widely).

American support for Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, which violates a host of international and indeed national laws and contravenes numerous UN resolutions, is perhaps top of the list. It is followed by the Iraq war, US involvement in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, long running proxy wars in Somalia, and US support for “friendly dictators”. Add to this confinement without trial, abuse and torture in Guantanamo and Bagram prisons, the burning of the Quran by US soldiers in Afghanistan and by Florida “pastor” Terry Jones, and disrespecting the dead bodies of Afghans. The list is indeed long and damning, and so it goes on.

The recent demonstrations were simply sparked by the film “Innocence of Muslims”, but the the film was not the root cause of the protests. As Shashank Joshi, Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, states, “we are witnessing profound anti-Americanism, dormant for much of last year, fused with religious extremism – with the controversial ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film merely a trigger”. Of course, extremists were involved and never miss an opportunity, their violent actions distorting the events, feeding prejudice and creating a convenient diversion from the issues.

US ideals of peace justifying conflict

All violence is to be condemned and the attacks that caused deaths and injuries resulting from these protests are no exception – they should not be allowed to take centre stage, and it must be stated that the vast majority of actions undertaken have been peaceful and without incident. The Anna Lindh Foundation says in relation to the protests that “the vast majority of Muslim public opinion has expressed its anger to [sic] the release of the film peacefully and individually, and the Arab governments of the region have reiterated their commitment with [sic] cultural inclusiveness while condemning the attacks to [sic] diplomatic delegations.”

To speak with solemnity and shock, calling for justice against the perpetrators of violence as US officials have, is expected and indeed right, albeit hypocritical. In order to create peace, it is necessary to remove the causes of conflict, in this case those causes are complex and not confined to one poorly-made and deeply offensive film. It is offensive, let us add, not just to Muslims, who are understandably enraged, but to all right-minded men and women respectful and tolerant of others’ beliefs and cultures.

American foreign policy is seen by many to be that which seeks to extend the influence and maximize the power of America, safeguard its interests at the expense of others and the natural environment, and support criminality – Israel comes to mind. Such distasteful American foreign policies go back decades. As Noam Chomsky states: “Even in the 1950s, President Eisenhower was concerned about what he called a campaign of hatred of the US in the Arab world, because of the perception on the Arab street that it supported harsh and oppressive regimes to take their oil.” A perception that has proved to be correct.

Ideologically driven, Washington’s attitude is that when all follow America’s lead on matters relating to economics, politics, religion and social affairs, peace will inevitably follow, and not until. With this doctrine in mind, America has sought to dominate the world, repeatedly making war in the name of peace.

Peace, though, is beyond ideology. For peace to envelop our world as men ad women everywhere hope, there must be tolerance, cooperation and understanding of others, not ideological imposition – of any kind. The equitable sharing of natural resources, of knowledge, ideas and experience will create justice.

Dissipating mistrust and resentment will lead to peace and a natural movement towards unity that encourages the greatest possible diversity, enriching the lives of us all.

‘War on Terror’ euphemism for ‘War on Islam’

by Anthony Mathew Jacob, source

“A (true) believer does not taunt, damn, slander and abuse people.” These are the words of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the same Prophet who’s being taunted, damned, slandered and abused in the name of free speech.

The whole of Middle East is in chaos, thanks to the ones who funded the movie, those who made the movie, and those who are defending it in the name of freedom of speech. Neither is this the first time the religion of Islam has come under attack nor is it the first time that such acts are being shielded under the garb of freedom of expression.

Instead of condemning and punishing the perpetrators of this heinous offense, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton says freedom of speech is an ideal that Washington upholds even when the results denigrate some. “[O]ur country does have a long tradition of free expression, which is enshrined in our Constitution and in our law. We do not stop individuals from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be.”

Yes Mrs. Clinton. We know what your “freedom of speech” is doing to Bradley Manning, ex US army soldier who is languishing in jail on the suspicion of sharing details of your “War on Terror” in Iraq, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters in your country are greeted with tear gas, batons and pepper sprays. While “reverend” Pastor Terry Jones, who openly burned the Holy Quran and arranged the screening of this blasphemous movie, roams around freely.

Last year, your government stripped Wiki Leaks of its ability to raise money via PayPal, MasterCard and Visa. The CEO of the whistle blower website; Julian Assange has taken asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London fearing arrest by the Swedish authorities and a subsequent deportation by Washington. His fault is that he exposed inhumane acts like assassination, sabotage, espionage and black operations your “freedom-loving” government carries out through the large network of its embassies and consulates all over. God bless your government and your idea of freedom.

Experts believe that there is more to what appears about this unrest; everything seems to be well planned. Every year, Washington, Israel and their allies spend millions of dollars in spreading Islamophobia and encourage and support those who insult this religion and its Prophet. In the last ten years alone, close to USD 40 million was spent to meet these ends. The very “War on Terror” is nothing but a euphemism for “War on Islam”. 9/11 set the stage for this war and after eleven years it still continues.

“According to hundreds of pages of course material and reference documents obtained by Danger Room (wired.com), the US military held a course at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College and taught the students that they had to use a Hiroshima-style in Muslim countries and target the ‘civilian population wherever necessary’.” (US declares ‘total war’ on Islam by Dr. Ismail Salami, May 20, 2012, Press TV)

The officer in charge of the hate lessons was Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley who believes that there are no moderate Muslims. He still maintains his position at the Norfolk, Virginia College. “Sadly, those who sat in his classes are now in the top positions in the US military.” This course titled ‘Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism’ was recently scrapped following protest and a consequent inquiry.

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, the cartoons in the European media, the burning of the Holy Qur’an in Afghanistan, Pastor Terry Jones’ shameful deeds, the latest blasphemous movie and other acts of profanity are just the tip of the iceberg, there is lot more than what meets the eye.

The very timing of this movie and the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya coincide with 9/11 and the forthcoming US presidential elections. Only time will tell whether the consulate attack in Benghazi was another 9/11 meant to blame, attack, occupy and more importantly win a second term in office or get elected to the office.

The world has changed a lot since 9/11; people have become much more aware and alert. CNN, BBC, FOX and other cunning media houses that are driven by wicked agenda are not considered to be the word of God anymore.

“Scientific polls show that more than three-quarters of the world’s Muslims and two-thirds of American Muslims, 89% of the German people and somewhere between 36% and 84% of the American people know or suspect that 9/11 was an inside job.” (11 years on, more people believe 9/11 was “inside job,” by Kevin Barret, September 12, 2012, Press TV)

Analysts believe that one of the prime motives of this movie, is to create a rift between the Muslims and Christians in the Middle East, especially Egypt and Lebanon. Muslim and Christian leaders have urged both communities to stand united against the enemies’ plot to divide them. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, has stressed that “all Muslims and even Christians in the region are united against any insult against religions and called for a series of rallies which will be held in various areas in Lebanon.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has severely criticized those involved in this dastardly act and said: “What lies behind this wicked move is the hostile policies of Zionism, America and other leaders of the arrogant powers, who are vainly trying to make young generations in the Islamic world lose respect for what is held sacred and to extinguish their religious sentiments. If they had refused to support the previous links in this evil chain – namely Salman Rushdie, the Danish cartoonist and Holy Qur’an-burning American pastors – and if they had not ordered tens of anti-Islam films from the companies affiliated with Zionist capitalists, today this great and unforgivable sin would not have been committed.”

Today, Muslims in Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kashmir, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Gaza, Morocco, Syria, Kuwait, Nigeria, Kenya, Australia, Britain, the United States, France, Belgium, and some other countries are holding many demonstrations to condemn the insulting movie.

The sacrilegious movie has wrenched the hearts of more than 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the world. If Washington claims to be innocent of this odious crime, then it should prove itself by punishing the perpetrators of such crimes and make sure that abhorrent acts such as these are not committed in the future. As for those giving sermons on free speech, its time you realize that “Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins.”

…Calls for law criminalizing insults to Islam, other religions

Press TV

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has called for international laws criminalizing insults to Abrahamic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Addressing hundreds of thousands of Lebanese protesters, angry over an anti-Islam film produced in the US, Nasrallah said on Monday that Arab and Islamic governments should press for an enforceable international law banning insults to Islam and other religions.

Nasrallah said lack of such laws has resulted in the production of the US film that insults Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

He also urged the removal of the sacrilegious film from the Internet and warned about the dire consequences of broadcasting the entire film.

“We witnessed the Islamic world’s outrage over a 15-minute movie. What will happen if the whole film is shown?,” Nasrallah asked in a surprise public appearance in Beirut…

Sinister September: Zionist anti-Islam plot simmering

by Ismail Salami, source

The month of September has witnessed an accelerated trend of coordinated attempts in desecrating Islam and tarnishing the image of the Muslims across the globe.

That a blasphemous movie desecrating the person of the holy Prophet of Islam has been released in the United States simultaneously with the 9/11 tragic incident cannot be looked upon as sheer coincidence.

In a coordinated effort, UK channel 4 broadcast a documentary called ‘Islam: The Untold Story’ last week in stark distortion of Islam. Director Tom Holland who is so dismally bereft of any knowledge on Islam claims there is little written contemporary evidence about the origin of Islam and the life of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Even barely noted for his vampire and supernatural stories, Holland’s non-fiction books have nothing to do with religious matters or Islam.

In the documentary, he has included Patricia Crone, an infamous pseudo-scholar affiliated to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton who has intensely voiced her seasoned antagonism against Islam in the past. In ‘Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World’ which she coauthored with her associate Michael Cook, Crone fallaciously argues that the Holy Quran was composed, possibly in Syria or Iraq, more than fifty years after the Prophet’s death and ascribed to the Prophet. Crone also says that the Holy Book was fabricated during the reign of Caliph Abdul Malik (685-705) in an attempt to legitimize an expanding empire. The authors refer to early Muslims as Hagarenes, the descendants of Prophet Abraham by Hagar in order to differentiate them from the Jews, who are the descendants of Abraham by Sarah.

These words which are basically tinged with blind bias and reek of insufficient and destructive knowledge about the glorious faith issue from the mouth of those who are fully aware of the vanity of their claim and who follow a financially rewarding agenda.

The documentary was faced with a deluge of criticism from the Muslim community and received over 1000 complaints with the channel and another 200 with the UK media regulator Ofcom.

By way of avoiding an investigation into the matter, an Ofcom spokesman has said, “We will assess them and if we believe there has been a possible breach of the broadcasting code, we would hold an investigation, but no decision to that effect has been taken.”

As a matter of fact, there are influential parties in the UK which are actively engaged in disseminating the seeds of antagonism against Islam. A representative group which is funded by the Zionist Jews and Christians in the UK is the English Defense League (EDL). The group has over the recent years developed multiple sister branches in Europe and America. With their main agenda to foster enmity against the Muslim community in any part of the world, the EDL naturally spares no efforts in their hate-mongering campaign, defiling the name of Islam and inviting their members to crusade against the Muslims.

One of the wicked spawns of this pervert group is Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik who went on a shooting spree and killed 77 innocent people in 2011 in Norway. He reportedly had hundreds of EDL members as Facebook friends. The NDL or Norwegian Defense League is a sister organization of the EDL. The two organizations are practically run and managed by one single person and the two follow the same policy. On a number of occasions, members of the NDL have travelled to the UK to receive training or instructions from the EDL.

In October 2010, American Rabbi Nachum Shifren, went to the UK where he was warmly received by the EDL members whom he described as “one group in England with moral courage.” In his hate speech, he spewed out the most loathsome words, and referred to the Muslims as dogs that “eat each other alive.”

He told EDL, “History will be recorded that on this day, read by our children for eternity, one group lit the spark to liberate us from the oppressors of our two governments and the leftist, fifth column, quisling press, and that it was the EDL which started the liberation of England from evil.”

It is manifest that these evil forces work hand in hand to spread hatred and stoke violence.

Also, firebrand American pastor Terry Jones who has long been making strenuous efforts to legitimize the burning of the Holy Quran and whose call to fight Islam has resulted in a number of deaths is closely connected with the EDL.

On September 11, Terry Jones had a live stream on the internet where he showed about a 13-minute promotional clip of the blasphemous film the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ which is purportedly directed by an American Jew called Sam Bacile, a real estate developer, who claims he has received USD 5 million from 100 Jews for making the film. Though the real identity of the director has remained unknown, there are good reasons to believe that such a person does not exist and that the film may have been made by the pastor himself as it is devoid of any cinematic technicality and that those involved in the film are a bunch of paid hate-mongers in service of Zionism. No wonder, Terry Jones so passionately defends the film and has brought it to the attention of international community.

In the meantime, western mainstream media try to deceive public opinion and interpret the making of the film in the light of freedom of speech. Hurting the sentiments of over one billion Muslims across the world does not fit in the definition of freedom of speech. In fact, it is an affront not only to all the Muslims but also to believers of all faiths and religions.

Spearheaded by calculated directives, Terry Jones is not a lunatic in the common sense of the word. Nor is he a sociopath. In fact, he is a trained Mossad agent tasked with pushing ahead a dangerous agenda in the Muslim world. In 2011, he burned copies of the Holy Qur’an and posted the video on the internet which provoked a very strong reaction, leading to the death of nine people.

Is there not a sinister across-the-board plan in the offing?