Archive for August, 2010

Who’re You Calling a ‘Bigot’?

Who’re You Calling a ‘Bigot’? Middle East Studies Professors Attack Opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque

by Brendan Goldman
American Thinker
August 29, 2010


John Esposito, director of the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, having observed that a large majority of Americans oppose an Islamic center at ground zero, could not decide whether American society now more closely resembles that of Birmingham, Alabama circa 1963 or Nazi Germany on the eve of Kristallnacht:

[Newt Gingrich is] somebody…from the South [who] can remember the problem of racism and civil rights. He’s also reportedly a Christian…. He’s got to remember how a theology of anti-Semitism led to a history of pogroms that ultimately led to the Final solution.

Such callous historical analogies were but one component of a concerted effort by a group of Middle East studies professors to discredit the opponents of the ground zero mosque, whom they helpfully labeled “rural rednecks,” “so-called Christian ministers,” and “the Israel lobbies.”

Most of the academics echoed a warning that a “tidal wave of ‘Islamophobia'” would soon overtake America — act two of the “wave of hate crimes” that occurred “post-9/11.” These statements ignore a basic fact: no such “wave” ever occurred. As columnist Jonah Goldberg writes, despite the rhetoric of the Left, statistics demonstrate this country is not particularly susceptible to “Islamophobia.”

In 2001 (the year of 9/11), there were twice as many anti-Jewish incidents [in America] as there were anti-Muslim, according to the FBI. In 2002 and pretty much every year since, anti-Jewish incidents have outstripped anti-Muslim incidents by at least 6 to 1.

Undeterred by facts, these same academics offered spirited defenses of the “moderate” ground zero mosque Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf — who called America an “accessory” to the 9/11 attacks and said Osama Bin-Laden was “made in the USA”. What they rarely revealed is that their conception of a Muslim “moderate” is defined on a spectrum utterly alien to their American audience.

The prominent Egyptian sheikh, Yusuf al-Qardawi, sits at the center of the academics’ spectrum. According to mosque supporter Marc Lynch, associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, Qardawi is a practitioner of wastataniyya or “centrism” and “a barometer of Muslim opinion.” Esposito likewise calls Qardawi a “reformist”. Rauf says the sheikh is “the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.”

The problem: Qardawi, as a “reformist” and exemplar of “centrist” Islam has said, for instance, that “[Hitler] put the Jews in their place,” that homosexuality is an “abominable practice” which warrants the death penalty, and that women should be genitally mutilated to protect their chastity. Reassurances of Rauf’s moderation ring hollow when this context becomes clear.

Although, according to these academics’ definition of the spectrum of Muslim public opinion, one might expect that only fringe voices in the Islamic world would reject the mosque, in reality such prominent Muslims as Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid, director-general of Al-Arabiya TV, oppose its construction. As al-Rashid, perhaps one of the best placed sources for analyzing popular opinion in the Arab-Islamic world, said:

I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a monument or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers.

But a genuine debate over the choice of location for the mosque, the radical connections of its leadership, and the opaque sources of its $100 million budget was apparently less edifying than painting all of the mosque’s opponents as bigots. In the process, the academics revealed their own striking prejudices.

Richard Bulliet, professor of Islamic history at Columbia University, suggested one theory — the malignant influence of Jewish paranoia.

I see [some of the opposition to the mosque] as linked to broad apprehensions, both in this country and in Israel that evil deeds…suspected of being a part of a Muslim master plan, pose an existential threat to the Jewish people.

The professor provided no evidence for his assertion, but perhaps he simply mixed-up the subject of the conspiracy theory he ridiculed: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which outlines a farcical Jewish “master plan” to rule the world, is a perennial best-seller in many parts of the Islamic world.

Moataz Abdel-Fattah, associate professor of Middle East Studies at Central Michigan University, took a swipe at Christians too, arguing that opposition to the mosque is rooted in “the theological bias of the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

Muqtedar Khan, the director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware, chose to be vaguer, warning that “dark elements” have formed an alliterative “pernicious partnership between politics and prejudice.” He added, “[This ‘partnership’s’] anger could manifest in myriad forms of discriminatory behavior towards Muslims.”

Khan is an expert on “discriminatory behavior,” having refused to sit on an academic panel with Israeli-American Scholar Asaf Romirowsky, because Romirowsky, like all citizens of the Jewish state, served in his country’s armed forces.

Other scholars sought Khan’s “myriad forms” of anti-Muslim behavior in an isolated incident in which the pastor of a small church in Gainesville, Florida called for burning the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The pastor was the subject of countless academics’ editorials in which they stigmatized American society as “Islamophobic.”

Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University, was one such scholar; he warned in a CNN op-ed of “those promoting an orgy of Quran burning.” Dabashi failed to mention that “those promoting” this “orgy” consisted of precisely one man, and that the state denied the pastor a permit necessary to do so.

Stephen Zunes, chairman of Middle East Studies at the University of San Francisco, told the Islamic Republic of Iran’s state funded Press TV that, “We have seen [this pastor’s] kind of extreme rhetoric for some time now,” adding:

If you really look at Western history, you can see scapegoat[ed] minorities…. It shows an ugly aspect of Western societies despite claims of religious pluralism.

This “ugl[iness]” is obviously a uniquely Western phenomenon, since in enlightened “Eastern societies” like Iran Jews historically were not allowed to leave their homes when it rained because they were considered polluted, practicing Baha’is are still regularly arrested without pretense and — of course — “there are no gays.”

Esposito seconded Zune’s bizarre theme of America’s exceptional intolerance in the eyes of the Islamic world, telling his American audience that opposition to the ground zero mosque “stunned…the vast majority of Muslims.” Muslims living under the rule of Esposito’s Saudi sponsors must be “stunned” by Americans’ opposition to the construction of a thirteen-story Islamic center at ground zero, considering the erection of the most humble synagogue or church anywhere in Saudi Arabia is prohibited and non-Muslims may not even enter the cities of Mecca or Medina.

If you find yourself asking why the defenders of the ground zero mosque keep recycling hyperbolic accusations of bigotry, listen to the analysis of many of our nation’s “leading” Middle East studies scholars. Their attempts to characterize all opposition to the mosque as examples of “Islamophobia” ignore the complicated emotions evoked by the 9/11 attacks and the genuine concerns of many Muslims and non-Muslims alike over the mosque’s fundraising, location, and the radical connections of its leadership. Finally, if one must embrace these professors’ infatuation with perceived prejudices, then associating “centrist” Muslims with homophobes, misogynists and anti-Semites — while embracing conspiratorial charges against “so-called Christian ministers,” “rural rednecks” and “the theological bias of the Judeo-Christian tradition” — seems to fit the very definition of bigotry.

Brendan Goldman, a member of New York University’s class of 2010, earned a B.A. in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. This essay was sponsored by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

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[AP]  Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Friday that Iraqi intelligence indicated an al-Qaida front group and members of Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath party are collaborating to launch attacks “to create fear and chaos and kill more innocents.” 

Link: (http://us.lrd.yahoo.com/_ylc=X3oDMTJhdDcwZ2duBF9TAzk3MTgwMDM0OARnc3RhdGUDMQRwb3MDNwRzZWMDbndfdG9wc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDdGl0bGUEdGFyA25ld3MueWFob28uY29t/SIG=13ie3di7f/**http%3A//us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100828/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq)

For better or for worse, they are on their own.  Keeping the people of Iraq, their leaders and their defenders in my prayers in the coming months as they adjust to the weight of regained sovereignty.

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Absolute Craziness

3 more American soldiers died in Afghanistan yesterday.

The press is hailing “the last unit to leave Iraq” a day or two ago and today the headline is “only 50,000 troops left in Iraq”!  Well – which is it?  We are either out or we’re not!  Don’t rally us to the end of the Iraq war when we are still a presence there – and what torques me more is we pull out (prematurely?) and wait to see if the Iraq security forces succeed and if they fail we get to go back and start the whole thing over again?????  Except this time the insurgents have our knowledge and our training – good call leaders (read everyone who is pressuring the Obama administration and those who made the call)!!  What a waste of 5 years of lives and money and efforts to bring balance to the Iraqi people.

Adding insult to injury with this headline – the accompanying photo is a draped coffin being unloaded from a carrier….how ’bout we bring them home ALIVE!!

I’ve been praying for all the above as well as the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and all other middle east countries and citizens for wisdom, strength and justice.

You just can’t make this shit up!

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by Raymond Ibrahim
Pajamas Media
August 19, 2010


In a recent article, I argued that the Ground Zero mosque is counterproductive to Islam. The following day, on August 5, the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm reported that none other than Al Azhar — one of Sunni Islam’s most authoritative institutions — agrees. My translation of the relevant excerpt follows:

A number of Al Azhar ulema expressed their opposition to building a mosque near [where] the events of September 11 [occurred], convinced that it is “a conspiracy to confirm a clear connection between the strikes of September [11] and Islam.” Dr. ‘Abd al-Mu’ti Bayumi, a member of the Islamic Research Academy [of Al Azhar] told Al Masry Al Youm that he rejects the building of any mosque in this area [Ground Zero], because the “devious mentality” desires to connect these events [of 9/11] with Islam, though he maintains that Islam is innocent of this accusation. Instead, it is a “Zionist conspiracy,” which many are making use of to harm the religion. Likewise, Dr. Amna Nazir, professor of doctrine and philosophy at Al Azhar, expressed her rejection that a mosque be built near the World Trade Center, saying: “Building a mosque on this rubble indicates bad intention — even if we wished to shut our eyes, close our minds, and insist on good will. I hope it is a sincere step, and not a new conspiracy against Islam and Muslims.”

Aside from the hackneyed “Zionist conspiracy” charge, Al Azhar has it right: from negative media attention to subliminal associations with the 9/11 strikes, the “9/11 mosque” has great potential to backfire on Islam. Many other Muslims agree. That Al Azhar has labeled it a “Zionist conspiracy”— an appellation usually reserved for especially heinous charges attributed to fellow Muslims, such as the strikes of 9/11 — is indicative of how absurd the mosque project must appear to them.

Lest Al Azhar be accused of feigning disapproval, bear in mind that its reaction is not a product of sensitivity to, or the desire to peacefully coexist with, the United States (which would be suspect). Indeed, Dr. Bayumi is an open advocate of suicidal jihad: “I say in all honesty that we recruit the people of Islam, and instill in them the spirit of the true Jihad, which is death for the sake of Allah, for the sake of our faith, and of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Now, here’s the question: if Al Azhar scholars are fully aware of how detrimental the erection of a 9/11 mosque can be, why are American Muslims (such as of the Cordoba Initiative) still relentlessly pursuing it?

Much of this, I believe, has to do with the differing mentalities of Western, as opposed to Middle Eastern, or “indigenous,” Muslims. The latter, who have had little experience of the West, simply cannot believe that Muslims would be so foolhardy as to pursue such an obvious affront to their host nation; put differently, they cannot believe a non-Muslim nation would tolerate such effrontery. Used to seeing, and treating, “infidels” as second-class citizens, it is only natural that the indigenous Muslim mentality expects reciprocity when on infidel soil.

Westernized Muslims, on the other hand, have learned that they can get away with almost anything — so long as they slap the words “tolerance,” “pluralism,” “dialogue,” or “bridge-building” to their endeavors, as the 9/11 mosque supporters do regularly. In short, a correlation exists between how well or how little a Muslim knows the West, and how aggressive or passive their Islamism becomes.

Moreover, religious buildings are seen as symbols of supremacy by many Muslims; hence the reason mosques are ubiquitous to the Muslim world whereas churches are all but — and in some Muslim nations totally — banned. It is precisely because of this ingrained view regarding the significance of religious buildings that Al Azhar is convinced that no sane Muslim would adamantly pursue the construction of a 9/11 mosque, which must instead be “a new conspiracy against Islam and Muslims.”

Incidentally, how does one interpret President Barrack Hussein Obama’s recent support for the 9/11 mosque? He certainly spent enough time growing up in the Muslim world to have a better understanding of the Muslim mindset — including its take on religious buildings as symbols of supremacy — than the average American. Far from approving it, then, he of all presidents should appreciate the triumphalist overtones a mega-mosque so near to Ground Zero conveys to Islamists.

Either way, especially now that Obama has gotten himself into the mix — even if he did try to backpedal — the potential for the 9/11 mosque project to backfire on Islam continues to grow. At a time when nearly 70 percent of Americans already oppose the mosque plan, continued media attention and 9/11 rallies may well help realize Al Azhar’s worst fears: that the 9/11 mosque will serve as a permanent reminder of “a clear connection between the strikes of September [11] and Islam.” (That Muslims will be seen celebrating this coming September 11 as part of Eid al-Fatr probably won’t help either.)

In closing, should the mosque be built, it will be an Islamist triumph. However, at the rate things are going — this issue is set to be a hot topic for upcoming elections — time may well reveal that the victory of erecting a mega-mosque near Ground Zero was as much symbolic as it was pyrrhic, not just for Islamists, but their political supporters as well.

Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College.

Related Topics:  Antisemitism, Conspiracy theories, Radical Islam  |  Raymond Ibrahim

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After reading this article I may have to change my opinion.

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Freedoms taken for granted

Yesterday I received a letter from my ips stating that I had violated a copyright infringement; after further investigation I learned that my IP address had apparently been used to distribute bootleg copies of the movie Grown Ups – no details were available and as this is a first offense no consequence at this time.   I now have to file a counter-notification to them.

2nd offense is a heap of paperwork, 3rd offense is having this computer permanently banned from using their service.  The issue equates to the idea that my identity has been stolen.  I’m doing further investigation…

Apparently the thieves have more rights than I do since there is no consequence to them…I digress.

I just read this article: 

Rallies over mosque near ground zero get heated

The issue of the Ground Zero Mosque is complicated and I do believe we need to stand and defend freedom.  Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to demonstrate and there was one section in the article that I wholeheartedly agree with “Muslims are welcome here! We say no to racist fear!”.  Yes-say no to all forms of racist fear and by all means let’s separate the chaff from the whey and say no to Islamists’ involvement in our policies both here and abroad.  The people who attacked the United States, who continue to spread hate around the world, who daily kill soldiers in Afghanistan, who took down the twin towers and who now covet the ear of the POTUS and who are manipulating the very system that guarantees freedom for all.

“The imam behind the project is in the middle of a Mideast trip funded by the U.S. State Department that is intended to promote religious tolerance. He has discussed efforts to combat extremism, but has avoided any comments on the rancor over the planned Islamic center.”

He is supposedly making efforts to promote religious tolerance while promoting division by his actions?  Do what I say, not what I do.

Link:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100822/ap_on_re_us/us_nyc_mosque

For purporting to be a structure intended to “build bridges” it has effectively polarized the country.  keep watching.

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by Daniel Pipes
August 16, 2010
Cross-posted from National Review Online


Some observations:

  • Cordoba House (or Park51) was announced in early April; that it remains an item of debate over four months later, and not just locally but nationally, points to Islam in the United States becoming a populist issue.
  • Politicians who support the Islamic center, notably New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg, are paying a political price for their stand.
  • As in the case of French hijabs or Swiss minarets, this is a case of going after a very visible but merely symbolic problem. What would victory achieve, exactly? I’d rather focus, say, on Islamist penetration of security services.
  • Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan proved not ready for prime time; ongoing investigations increasingly reveal what unsavory Islamists they are.
  • As Raymond Ibrahim points out, the huge debate over this Islamic center has done significant damage to the lawful Islamist cause.

And my position on this controversy? While Muslims have every legal right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, this initiative carries the unmistakable odor of Islamic triumphalism. More importantly, Abdul Rauf’s dubious background and associations give reason to worry that his center will spread Islamist ideology. Therefore, it should be barred from opening.

Related Topics:  Muslims in the United States, Radical Islam This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.

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August 14, 2010

Rick Moran

Two things of note in this revelation. The first is the astonishing number of Democratic House members who not only belong to the Socialist Party of America, but even more incredible, don’t mind if people find out about it.

Jim Hoft:

Source:  The American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/08/socialist_party_of_america_rev_1.html

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