Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Dictator Created

then destroyed by America, writes Robert Fisk in the Independent:
Saddam to the gallows. It was an easy equation. Who could be more deserving of that last walk to the scaffold - that crack of the neck at the end of a rope - than the Beast of Baghdad, the Hitler of the Tigris, the man who murdered untold hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis while spraying chemical weapons over his enemies? Our masters will tell us in a few hours that it is a "great day" for Iraqis and will hope that the Muslim world will forget that his death sentence was signed - by the Iraqi "government", but on behalf of the Americans - on the very eve of the Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, the moment of greatest forgiveness in the Arab world.

But history will record that the Arabs and other Muslims and, indeed, many millions in the West, will ask another question this weekend, a question that will not be posed in other Western newspapers because it is not the narrative laid down for us by our presidents and prime ministers - what about the other guilty men?

No, Tony Blair is not Saddam. We don't gas our enemies. George W Bush is not Saddam. He didn't invade Iran or Kuwait. He only invaded Iraq. But hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead - and thousands of Western troops are dead - because Messrs Bush and Blair and the Spanish Prime Minister and the Italian Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister went to war in 2003 on a potage of lies and mendacity and, given the weapons we used, with great brutality.

In the aftermath of the international crimes against humanity of 2001 we have tortured, we have murdered, we have brutalised and killed the innocent - we have even added our shame at Abu Ghraib to Saddam's shame at Abu Ghraib - and yet we are supposed to forget these terrible crimes as we applaud the swinging corpse of the dictator we created.
Riverbend reflected on the issue prior to the execution:
Why make things worse by insisting on Saddam's execution now? Who gains if they hang Saddam? Iran, naturally, but who else? There is a real fear that this execution will be the final blow that will shatter Iraq. Some Sunni and Shia tribes have threatened to arm their members against the Americans if Saddam is executed. Iraqis in general are watching closely to see what happens next, and quietly preparing for the worst.

This is because now, Saddam no longer represents himself or his regime. Through the constant insistence of American war propaganda, Saddam is now representative of all Sunni Arabs (never mind most of his government were Shia). The Americans, through their speeches and news articles and Iraqi Puppets, have made it very clear that they consider him to personify Sunni Arab resistance to the occupation. Basically, with this execution, what the Americans are saying is "Look- Sunni Arabs- this is your man, we all know this. We're hanging him- he symbolizes you." And make no mistake about it, this trial and verdict and execution are 100% American. Some of the actors were Iraqi enough, but the production, direction and montage was pure Hollywood (though low-budget, if you ask me).
I ask, when will we execute those other war criminals who were chaperoning Saddam Hussein when he was committing his worst crimes? You know, those who walk around in suits and ties and throw words like "freedom" and "civilization" into the faces of poor people while shooting them down!?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Defining/Defiling America for European Past

Hat tip to islam.about.com. Vote in their poll whether Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim convert, should be allowed to hold the Qur'an in the swear-in ceremony. As you might expect, this has caused immense outrage among talk-show hosts (can't tell the difference between conservative and liberal these days) and fellow Congressmen. We had just got over Dennis Prager's preposterous comments that make a subtle comparison between the Qur'an and "Hitler's Mein Kampf". Now we have Virgil Goode, another ignoramus, attacking Mr Keith Ellison:
Goode wrote that to "preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States," an immigration overhaul was necessary to avoid "many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran."
CNN reports that Mr Keith Ellison replied that Mr Virgil Goode "would be wise to learn more about Islam". Quite true. But I don't want to just leave you with updates (with which you might already be familiar). What I found common in the comments of both these critics is the trumpeting of what America means: stuff like "American civilization" and "America's culture" and "what America decides". Well, I'm going to take these two at their own game.

1. The Native American culture is the true representation of the US and if we're going to have a single book or text, it is the Native American text people should be holding. David Rovics recently wrote on how "the Arizona Snowbowl Corporation is making plans to build a 14-mile pipeline from the city of Flagstaff to the nearby San Francisco Peaks. They want to expand a ski resort there, and make snow out of the wastewater. These mountains are sacred to 13 different local tribes..." No outrage against sacrilege there.

2. Christians in the US are no more "Americans" than Muslims, chiefly people of African origin. The European origin is simply an equivalent of the African origin unless one subscribes to the theory of the master race. Hence, Mr Ellison is as much as an American with Islam as his religion as the Christian Virgil Goode.

3. Do the American Christian people, the majority, value a Muslim who sincerely takes oath on his religious book and means what he says on committment or a Muslim who for-the-sake-of-it swears on the Bible and makes proclamations which he may carry out but not be committed to?

Conclusion: People like Virgil Goode and Dennis Prager need to read their history. They could start with Alex Haley's Roots and Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The bottomline is that the days of the plantation owners and aristocrats and British imperialism in the Americas are long over.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Freedom of Speech in Iran

One of my favourite blogs, Austrolabe, which I urge everyone to bookmark, has an excellent dissection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Denial Conference by the writer Amir. The first paragraph is especially telling on what it was all about:

The conference of ex-KKK leaders, trucker’s daughters, contrarian Jews, and innocent Canadian professors with tendencies towards career self-harm recently convened by the Iranian state to “discuss” the supposedly fake Holocaust has been cast by some as striking a blow for “freedom of speech”. (Of course, people promising dissenting views were banned from attending; even Iranian understandings of free speech have their limits).

Later, in the almost surgical procedure, Amir lists a couple of bullet points with explanatory quotes on the habits of Iran pertaining to freedom of speech: "good old fashioned censorship of books", "arrest journalists for criticising the state", "shut down newspapers that criticise the State", "ban students from attending university because they are 'outspoken'”, "blocked the New York Times internet site, Youtube and even Wikipedia" etc. etc.

In short, a mild totalitarian state (but don't jump up and down, George Bush -- this doesn't give you the right to "bring them freedom" as you're fit for the shackles of the Hague, and the Iranian people can manage without your cluster bombs and genocidal sanctions and they've recently shown Ahmadinejad that they dislike blusterers).

I recommend everyone read Does Iran support freedom of speech? in its entirety on the Austrolabe site. This Holocaust Denial Conference in my view is deeply abusive and disparaging to the Jewish minority in Iran who have one seat in the Majlis, and they might feel how Danish Muslims felt when the Flemming Rose attacked them with racism and Orientalism. Any centre which takes potshots at the minorities or slanders another people in the name of virtue and freedom proves nothing but that it is so fattened with all the power and authority that it can't even move to the window to see the Face of Freedom.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fighting Bernard Lewis's Liberty

I've had this on my radar screen for quite a while, but for several reasons: naturally lazy, hesitance on not having widely read Lewis and busy with other stuff, I couldn't write a critique on this intellectual aspersion of scholarship. Rather than go about doing all that, I'll leave you to make your own conclusions. I have now read some of Lewis's writings, but there is not even a mild requirement to equip oneself to tear down Lewis's mask and examine his words in this case, words that haven't been cloaked in subtlety. Instead Lewis makes no bones of the fact that now at over ninety, he can say whatever's on his mind without hints or queues. That's what you do when you're caught several times. I'll just give you Islamophobia Watcher's brief background into Lewis's train of thought. To learn more about the Orientalist, visit the Wikipedia page.

Whether he is asking What Went Wrong? or pontificating on The Crisis of Islam and The Roots of Muslim Rage, it’s all the same – the failure of what Lewis calls "Islam" to acknowledge the success and brilliance of "our Judeo-Christian heritage". The pioneer of the Hitlerian science of the clash of civilizations, much of the world torn by imperialist war and strife, owes its tragedies indirectly to Lewis and the other government-appointed or patronized heirs to the growing international class system of intellectuals like Fouad Ajmi, the proponents of sadistic war and imperialism. It doesn’t surprise some of us that his most faithful disciples are all rabid Zionists.

As he is nearing a century in years, the poison that at times spurted on to the shores is now a routine manifestation. Edward Said once noted that Lewis's "truth" came out when he was on television, but I see that it has also crept into his writings, not that it was "pure" by any chance erstwhile.

Whether he is telling Dick Cheney that the only way to discipline an Arab is to hit him with a big stick right between the eyes or promoting imperialism in Muslim countries as he did for Iraq, the mask of scholarship peels off all of a sudden. After unsuccessfully predicting that Iran would attack Israel on August 22 what Juan Cole called “Lewis’s weird interpretation of his millenarian beliefs”, it turns out Lewis had done a crazy striking earlier on July 16th, in a lecture aboard a cruise ship in the British Isles, what a place for another Lewis prophecy indeed:

Bring Them Freedom, Or They Destroy Us

I won't waste any time dwelling on the points Lewis makes here. You may understand them as bloated versions of the title itself. In my next article, I'll dissect another Neanderthal Orientalist, Daniel Pipes, who has been missing from this blog for a while, on his perspective on Lewis's dangerous trumpery. Well, not for long insha'Allah.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Typos!

I noticed a few typos in my last post. I must have been in a bit of a hurry. Sorry about that. I'll try to be more careful. I'm serious about spelling and grammar :).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kudos to the Indian Prime-Minister

Hat-tip to an Indian Muslim reader of this blog for pointing out this very interesting news in my email.

Side-note: Apologies to those readers who feel that the Islamophobia prevalent in their countries has not been represented here. This blog aims to be universal in its application without any partisanship, and not centre around a particular country. Feel free to write to me if there is any such development in your community or society. It is a fact that Muslim minorities are facing a daily struggle from China to America. It has also come to shore that pious Muslims are persecuted in the so-called Muslim countries like Uzbekistan and last I read, Egypt was demanding that girls remove their veils in some college if I'm not mistaken. One of the things I had in mind when I ran this blog was to record the experiences of Muslims everywhere. I acknowledge that I have also failed to deliver on another aspect: hypocrisy, which has a firm foot-hold in some Muslim circles. Hence, if Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden think that they should be the next Caliphs, Islamophobia Watcher thinks they should cool it and the Muslim community is in no need of thugs. Believe me, that's the last thing we need -- a band of deranged killers who hide in caves and torture women and children. Muslims have made it clear we don't support lunatics and terrorists who have played a big role in the suffering of innocent people.

Now turning to the news:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said plans for minorities, particularly Muslims, must have the ‘first claim’ on resources so that benefits of development reach them equitably.

"We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. These must have the first claim on resources," he said in his address at the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) in New Delhi.

The Centre's resources, he added, will be stretched with greater responsibility given to states in this regard.

"The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within its overall resource availability," he said.
Cheers to the Indian prime-minister, Manmohan Singh, for this mammoth attempt at recognizing the plight of Muslims and other minorities in his country. This, however, has annoyed the fascists in India, who last we knew were slaughtering thousands of Muslims in a a state called Gujarat:

The RSS and the BJP flayed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his remarks that plans for minorities, Muslims in particular, must have the first claim on resources.

"This is precisely the language used by Mohammad Ali Jinnah before the partition," RSS leader Ram Madhav said.

I also found a 1998 article on a Socialist website, during my research on these groups, that one of the persons they admire is Hitler:

While Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee and Home Minister L.K. Advani of the BJP refrain from praising Hitler--unlike their ally, Shiv Sena leader Bal Thakeray--they do insist that India's 120 million Muslims must "nationalize" themselves.

Good riddance that the fascists are out of power, dethroned and howling bad.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

CIA's Torture Program

This news is about a week old, but a rare victory for Muslims and other people who care for equality in the United States though no amount of apology, monetary or other, can compensate for the destruction of lives of ordinary people. Another individual worthy of mention is the Canadian Muslim Maher Arar, winner of the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, who was abducted by U.S. officials at Kennedy airport in New York in 2002, and then transported to a prison in Syria where he was confined for more than 10 months in a cell that looked like a grave. He was beaten, tortured and forced to make a false confession about having ties to Al Qaeda.

The U.S. government has agreed to pay $2 million and issue a written apology to a Muslim attorney in Oregon who was jailed two years ago after the FBI mistakenly linked him to the Madrid train bombings. Brandon Mayfield sued the FBI alleging that his civil rights had been violated and that he was arrested in part because he is a Muslim convert.

Another good news is that Ireland has decided to ban what she calls CIA's "Guantanamo Express". Proinsias De Rossa, Dublin MEP and a member of the committee, talks of 147 suspect flights having moved through Ireland.

Click here to read more about CIA's torture program. I also recommend this article which shows the participation of the Boeing Jet in these inhumane programs. You might already be aware that any non-US citizen can be legally kidnapped anywhere in the world, detained indefinitely without trial, and tortured, according to the US Congress. Welome to fascism. It's staring you right in the face and it's not "Islamo-fascism".

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Democracy Against Democrats?

"Withdrawal" in my view is a euphemism that is too soft on the ears of the trigger-happy coalition and the military brass, not just America's but the wider gang as well, which is slavishly egged on by visions of imperial grandeur. But the beautiful, suffering people of Iraq have spoken up yet again and it is time for America and other nations which call themselves democratic to heed that call. Over 70% of Iraqis have called for a "withdrawal" from their native country within one year. This is a democratic test for America, Britain, Australia and other we-drink-oil cookie lands. Quite strange that those who trumpet democracy for themselves are good at denying the same to others. We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, I as a world citizen, want all the coalition flags waving around in Iraq to be torn down and turned into rags to sweep the bloody streets of Iraq. Salute that, war-mongers.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No War With Iran!

Via United for Peace:

Click here and sign Peace Action's "No War with Iran!" petition today! This petition rejects any U.S. military action against Iran and demands direct negotiations.This petition is directed to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice; copies will go to Chairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Committee on International Relations.
One, two, three, four! We don't want your stinking war! ....

We are not going to put Yazd behind barbed wire to liberate it, as a millenarian Christian general did to Habbaniyah in Iraq.



We are not going to imprison and torture thousands of Iranians at Evin Penitentiary in Tehran, as worthy successors to the bloodthirsty Shah and Khomeini.



We are not going to kill 200,000 Iranians with aerial bombardments of Tabriz, Isfahan, Qom, Kerman, Shiraz and Mashahd.



We are not going to let dozens of US corporations loot the American people and the Iranian people alike with no-bid "contracts", embezzlement, corruption, and graft.

We are not going to let you have a war against Iran.

So sit down and shut up, American Enterprise Institute, and Hudson Institute, and Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and American Heritage Foundation, and this institute and that institute, and cable "news", and government "spokesmen", and all the pundit-ferrets you pay millions to make business for the American military-industrial complex and Big Oil.
Yup.

Friday, November 10, 2006

If This Is Love...

I want to know what hate is. Check out these nasty statements by Clippard (?), the executive director of the state Convention, a coalition of 2,000 congregations who are aligned with 16-million Southern Baptists in the United States:
Clippard reserved his strongest words for what he said he considered paramount for all Americans: the threat of Islam. "Today, Islam has a strategic plan to defeat and occupy America," he told the 1,200-strong crowd of delegates (called "messengers"), pastors and lay people, many of whom cheered his words.

Clippard said that Muslims were hoping to take over the United States government one city at a time, and that they were starting with Detroit, where there is already a large Muslim population.

"They are trying to establish a Muslim state inside America, and they are going to take the city of Detroit back to the 15th century and practice Sharia (or Islamic) law there."

In an interview Tuesday, Clippard said he believed the Islamic "strategy for taking over America" was to wait until there was a Muslim majority here and then "eradicate those who don't conform to their religion."

On Monday night, he told the crowd that "your freedom is on the floor with their foot on it, with their sword raised, and if you don't convert, your head comes off."
::Sigh:: But that isn't the worst.
Clippard said Tuesday that his message was really about love.

"I don't hate Islamic people," he said. "We need to love these folks, go after them and love them, one at a time. We need to crucify them with Christ."
Read what Islam says about the "crucifixion" of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). And we must abstain from love henceforth. I'm serious. We don't need this kind of love. Sort of like the Taliban and Afghan warlords in Afghanistan mistreating women. And they say it's love. It reminds me of this George Bush quote (Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002):
People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you.

This is the same man who bombed shut-in's houses in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

John Howard and Women

…oh, Muslim women…no, Woman herself -- and through such sweet words bestowed on the first:

In an interview marking his 10th anniversary as Prime Minister, Mr Howard also describes the burqa, the full head covering worn by some Muslim women, as "confronting".

Am I to be sure that many Muslim women, indeed all women, find this guy handsome and "appealing" -- the man who by the Nuremburg Tribunal will be considered a war criminal? Not a squeak when bombs dropped by the new and fragmented NATO ripped apart not just the veil but the flesh beneath it in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq on orders from men like him. May be Jack Straw learned some of Howard's sayings? I mean, this was back in February. And the same old diatribes are played out in Australia by weasel-worded politicians. Howard's love for women doesn't end here of course. Take for example women in the Exclusive Brethren sect, the group that campaigned for Howard in the run up to the 2004 elections. It is alright that members of this sect don't vote as per their religious beliefs. It is alright that...

The Exclusive Brethren sect excludes married women from workplaces altogether and single women are forbidden from any job where they have authority over men.

It is alright because they are a Christian sect. Howard said so on 27th September this year: "I have to say that strikes me as what you might call an unorthodox Christian...it strikes me as a little unusual, but that is their right and should be respected." Senator Brown's reaction to the double standards, even attempted by Howard on false grounds, is admirable:

Muslim children in Australia are not prohibited from their basic right to a university education. Apparently this Prime Minister thinks this radical Christian sect is beyond public admonition.

It is noted elsewhere by Senator Bob Brown that Howard blocked an inquiry into this sect which he finances/supports. Muslims, however, should not be respected. It runs contrary to our white supremacist politics and we need O.I.L (Operation Iraqi Liberation). Muslims should not be respected because we're counting on them to win the next election. Malcolm Fraser, a former Australian prime minister, under whom Howard served as "treasurer boy" and who may have been accused of "dhimmitude" in the process by the obnoxious Robert Spencer, hits the bull's eye:

"There are already suggestions that this next election will be a 'Muslim election', as a while ago it was the Tampa election," he said. "It would create a terrible and unnecessary divide between Islam and the rest of the community."

John Howard has rightly been called the most xenophobic leader in Australian history. In my mind, the buck doesn't stop there. Howard merits a number of labels on my list. Perhaps I should make one for "dangerous opportunists", too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bernard-Henri Lévy's Veil Philosophy

God is dead but my hair is perfect. ~ Michael O'Donnell on Bernard-Henri Lévy

There has not been any news coverage or speculation on the sick and derogatory comments made by Bernard-Henri Lévy on the veil issue, not that I know of, the so-called philosopher and co-endorser of that anti-Islamic manifesto. The total interview he gave to the Jewish Chronicle on 14th November 2006 is not available online. But fortunately I have the relevant quotation through Islamophobia Watch:

Our time is almost up, but BHL becomes the most animated I have seen him when I ask him about Jack Straw's intervention on Muslim women and the veil. "Jack Straw," he says, leaning close to me, "made a great point. He did not say that he was against the veil. He said it is much easier, much more comfortable, respectful, to speak with a woman with a naked face. And without knowing, he quoted Levinas, who is the philosopher of the face. Levinas says that [having seen] the naked face of your interlocutor, you cannot kill him or her, you cannot rape him, you cannot violate him. So when the Muslims say that the veil is to protect women, it is the contrary. The veil is an invitation to rape."

Imagine The Australian or any other mainstream media/press for that matter covering that? The storm over Shaykh Taj al-Hilali's comparing rape victims to a piece of meat was so big that the Aussie Mufti suffered a heart attack. Bernard-Henri Lévy is having no heart attack, not that we wish him unwell. Bernard-Henri Lévy may be wiggling his toes in his Morrocan palace for all we know. The question is why was there no criticism of Bernard-Henri Lévy for remarks that dwarf those of the Shaykh. This French imposture is practically encouraging rape of veiled women.

About the picture: I hate it when people chuck pie on each other's faces, because you have to think about those in the world who don't even have bread to eat. But for once this looks good. Noël Godin has creamed Henri-Lévy around eight times because he thinks BHL is a "vain, pontificating dandy" and "pompous". Quite right. And an Islamophobe.

“There Has Never Been An American Army As Violent and Murderous As the One in Iraq”

Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh slammed George Bush at McGill address. And shared another disturbing news on the conduct of American troops:

“Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids,” he began. “Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what they’re told to do, which is look for running people.”

“Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,” Hersh continued. “[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a soccer game.”

“About ten minutes later, [the soldiers] begin dragging bodies together, and they drop weapons there. It was reported as 20 or 30 insurgents killed that day,” he said.

If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.

“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”

Despite all this, the United States is increasing the number of troops on the ground. There are now 150,000 troops inside Iraq – the largest number since January. This has got to be the largest gathering of illegal foreign fighters in Iraq.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Precious": War on Iraqi Children

This is a video on the effect of this war on Iraqi kids with images by Robert Fisk. The first Iraqi victims of Western governments have been children. This act of terrorism that rained whole cities with napalm and bombs and applause from morally bankrupt politicians is the third cut after thirteen years of economic sanctions (the most comprehensive in human history). Watch this shattering but instructive documentary Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq by the great journalist John Pilger. These are children who have been subjected to not just DU and disease but the isolation from the minimal joys of childhood that every child deserves. A 2004 survey found that "Iraq's child malnutrition rate now roughly equals that of Burundi, a central African nation torn by more than a decade of war. It is far higher than rates in Uganda and Haiti."
The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein.
One can only imagine how it is now (in 2006), amidst the bloody violence and homelessless and sectarian divides and trigger-happy American troops.



UPDATE: Child War Victims of Iraq's War Trouble U.S. Medics

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Shaykh Taj al-Hilali Hospitalized

Hat tip to Austrolabe, which has been covering the developments very well. Shaykh Taj al-Hilali has been admitted to hospital after an angina attack (may God restore his health) in Lakemba Mosque, Sydney. And in a statement [PDF format] he isssued since then, he has apologized (sort of):

I confess that this analogy is inappropriate and unacceptable for the Australian society and the western society in general.

I am deeply saddened and distressed by the acts of some devious groups which lurk in the dark watching me, and who cannot tolerate the moderate balanced way...

Well, my viewpoint on this is that this analogy i.e. Guilty Meat But Innocent Cats is wholly inappropriate for not just Australian/Western Society but also Eastern Society. It is strictly a case of basic morality. On Islamophobic, racist sites like LGF and Jihad Watch, they're having a real go at this. Take for example this slur, all nonsense of course, by Robert Spencer (my regular readers may have observed that I don't provide links to sites featuring Islamophobic content as I have no wish directing more traffic their way):

This sort of thing may just seem silly, or even cute, until one realizes that to anyone who takes the Sheikh's claim seriously, Australia is now Muslim land. Islamic law stipulates that Muslims possess by right any land that once formed part of the House of Islam; this is a key element of the claim to Israel put forward by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The same claim has been advanced, by the way, for America.

I'm sad to note that Islam is often judged by the slightest error on the part of its followers. Nobody spoke when some rabbis justified the bombing of innocents in Lebanon and the second Qana massacre by proclaiming that there were no innocents in wartime:

The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy."

"All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians," the statement said.

Yesha Rabbinical Council is the recognized authority on Jewish religious questions in Gaza and the West Bank. This week it decreed that at least 56 Lebanese citizens of Kfar Qanna, including at least 34 children, targeted by an Israeli air strike, were not “innocent.”

The council’s edict reflects existing Israeli military/religious law. The chaplain for the IDF forces says, “In war, when our forces storm the enemies, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians that are ostensibly good.”
At least some of the Israeli religious heads are more honest and forthcoming about the intentions (as played out) by their military than the American guardhouse lawyers who have beleaguered the rest of the world with the phrase "collateral damage" during their vicious slaughter of millions for more than half a century now. P.G.Wodehouse wrote there are is no use apologizing if you make a mistake: good people will forgive you anyway, but bad people will use your apology against you. Welcome to humanity. Everyone knows that the statements by this rabbinical council doesn't speak for Judaism or ordinary Jews per se. But guess what, Islam doesn't have the privelege of unequivocal understanding. It is the Other. Whatever can be used against Muslim immigrants and our crusade against their oil-rich homelands will be splashed on our papers. C'mon, The Australian, you who are a flagship paper owned by the corporate lord Rupert Murdoch have been digging your heels on this issue as it runs parallel to your right-wing agenda. You love nothing more than to watch Muslims stumble...brings on the almighty dollar.

IOL is reporting that the Australian Federation of Isamic Council (AIFC) will vote to abolish the Mufti post that is presently held by Shaykh Taj al-Hilali. Amir, the author of the article Guilty Meat But Innocent Cats, commented well before this news appeared:

AFIC should just abandon the ridiculous idea of a mufti and stop trying to turn Islam into an “organised religion” with its own clerical class and “official leaders”. Of course, that would mean AFIC would itself have to go but then that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Hmmm...so it was AFIC who came up with this ridiculous concept in the first place.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cats and Milk...No, Meat!

Via Austrolabe:

The Australian is reporting today* and, as one might expect, the media is abuzz with Sheikh Taj al-Hilali’s alleged comments during Ramadan. According to the report — which I hope is untrue — the sheikh is reported to have likened rape victims to a piece of meat and those that rape her to cats merely dining on the meat that has appeared in their view.
I left a comment there, yet to be moderated (last checked): "I agree that these comments are utterly sick and he should be stripped off this title. It’s really sad. We don’t need muftis etc." I found the author, Amir's, feedback most succinct in this respect:
The problem is that he is seen as the “spiritual leader” of Australia’s Muslims so even though none of us have any connection whatsoever with him, we all get held hostage — like Douglas Woods — to whatever he says. His comments are then given the same weight by non-Muslims as if, say, George Pell or the Pope was to make some statement about Catholicism. That’s the real issue here. AFIC should just abandon the ridiculous idea of a mufti and stop trying to turn Islam into an “organised religion” with its own clerical class and “official leaders”. Of course, that would mean AFIC would itself have to go but then that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

* this item appeared on the 25th of October, 2006.

Additional note: Islamophobia Watcher doesn't endorse the smearing of Muslims or Islam as is being done over this issue by hate sites like Jihad Watch, LGF and other right-wing idiotorians (to use their own vocabulary against themselves). Islamophobia Watcher will insha'Allah record the progress of this situation on these media and give them a share of their due. I've decided to introduce an Introspection/Self-Criticism category, because that's one of the things that separates us from the rest -- a love for truth.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Planet of the Arabs

A trailer-esque montage spectacle of Hollywood's relentless vilification and dehumanization of Arabs and Muslims. Directed by Jacqueline Salloum, http://www.jsalloum.org/. Official Selection at the 2005 SUNDANCE Film Festival. Inspired by the book "Reel Bad Arabs" by Dr. Jack Shaheen.



Note how thoroughly and deeply the Orientalist propaganda manifests itself. The clever synchronisation of skin colour, accent, religion and race. It is much worse and carlessly constructed than Spielberg's Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom for which the director/producer got slammed. The great journalist Robert Fisk wrote on 21st Oct., 2006 in the Independent, although referring to the Hollywoodized European production of O Jerusalem, loosely based on the epic by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins:

But it's not this routine bestialisation of Arabs and Muslims that concerns me. You only have to watch the Arab slave-trader film Ashanti, again filmed in Israel and starring Roger Moore and (of all people) Omar Sharif, to see Arabs portrayed, Nazi-style, as murderers, thieves and child molesters. Anti-Semitism against Arabs - who are, of course, also Semites - is par for the course in movies. And I have to admit that in O Jerusalem, the confusion and plotting of the Arab leadership - only King Abdullah of Jordan is an honourable man - is all too realistic, not least the arrogance of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini (he who shook hands with Hitler).

No, what I object to is the deliberate distortion of history, the twisting of the narrative of events to present Jews as the victims of the Israeli war of independence (6,000 dead) when in fact they were the victors, and the Arabs of Palestine - or at least that part of Palestine that became Israel in 1948 - as the cause of this war and the apparent victors (because the Jews of East Jerusalem were forced from their homes after the ceasefire) rather than the principal victims. Take, for example, the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin, where the Stern gang murdered the Arab villagers of what is now the Jerusalem suburb of Givat Shaul, disembowelled women and threw grenades into rooms full of civilians. In O Jerusalem, the Stern gang is represented as a gang of wicked men, a kind of Jewish al-Qa'ida, hopelessly out of touch with the mainstream Israeli army of young, high-minded guerrilla fighters.

And finally I'll end with a great quote from the Danish Muslim journalist Knud Holmboe who was murdered by Italian fascists for daring to speak the truth: "In Europe one is only told that the peaceful Italians in Cyrenaica have been attacked by the bloodthirsty Arabs. Only I, who have seen it, know who the barbarians are."

Monday, October 23, 2006

"American Terrorists"

There's a very interesting wikipedia discussion page on "American terrorists" which includes people like Timothy McVeigh and John Allen Muhammad among many. People have questioned having the category on the grounds that it is very selective and POV based which didn't include George Bush, who many of us see as an international terrorist, war profiteer and war criminal. I couldn't agree more and added my view as well: Category talk: American Terrorists. Hint: Sindbad the Sailor. It's good to see people speaking up, even if on private chalk boards.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Miao/Where the Cat Goes

If you haven't watched the video yet, this is a link. The song Heaven/Where True Love Goes picks up from the closing words of the 1973 Foreigner song The Foreigner Suite. Yusuf has altered the word "girl" to "soul", and this is new albeit not-as-good musically. The other songs that reviewers have commended are Midday and Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, the latter a cover of The Animals. There's also a song for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) though it makes no direct reference. The album An Other Cup is scheduled to be released on the 14th of November, the fortieth anniversary of Stevens' first single I Love My Dog.

And Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam is again facing difficulty in the US. That's why I am writing this. News is out that his US tour may be in jeopardy. I don't know how an ageing philanthropist and former popstar who wants to spread a message of peace is a national security threat. Oh well, and the co-producers of his new album at Atlantic Records have said something very interesting in defence -- that his new lyrics don't mention Allah or the Prophet Muhammad. What difference does it make if his lyrics mention Allah or the Prophet Muhammad? How could the American administration get so paranoid about Muslim figures or even Muslim themes and subjects? Same with Tariq Ramadan. The Sovietization of the United States unforutunately seems to be in progress, but tides can turn as they have in the past. Egypt has also barred Tariq Ramadan for some absurd reason. And I read that the infamous oil-smuggler George "Democrazy" Bush had thrown an Iftar party with some of our Uncle Toms and clueless Muslims. One time George Bush is using hate speech like "Islamo-fascism" and another time praising Islam as a "religion of peace". One time he is shipping bombs for Israel to drop on Lebanon and another time he is saying Iraqis are "tolerating the violence". I'll leave you with this interesting cartoon of Cat Stevens (click to enlarge if it's not clear) from 2004 when he was taken off a plane in the United States in some little known place called Bangor:

In Search of Islamic Fascists

IOL is running a very hilarious series called In Search of Islamic Fascists. It is a sort of detective mission by Canadian journalist Alexander Gainem where he roams around like a possum in Syria, a country that has been labelled as "evil" by George Bush and his cronies. In one place in Part III of his adventure, he muses:

I was beginning to feel a sense of disillusionment descend from the heavens. I had seen no sight of Islamic, Ceramic, or Panoramic fascists for that matter.

And at the end of the first chapter:

Still, I decided to wait till day two; maybe the Islamic fascists would come out of the woodwork then.

Will The Adventure of the Islamic Fascists be solved? Hold on, Watson.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Yellow Skin and Slanted Eyes

This is a very interesting bit of news, with undertones of classic Orientalism, from Haaretz which reports the words of the Israeli ambassador to Australia:

The Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned remarks by the Israeli ambassador to Australia in which he told Haaretz that the two countries are white sisters amid "the yellow race" of Asia.

"If the article is accurate, this is a grave and unacceptable remark," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The ministry said it will not return to business as usual if an internal examination confirms that the ambassador, Naftali Tamir, in fact made the comments attributed to him.

Tamir said that due to what he characterized as the racial similarities between Israel and Australia, the two countries should work together to enhance ties with other Asian countries.

"Israel and Australia are like sisters in Asia," Tamir said in an interview with Haaretz during a visit to Israel this week. "We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don't have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not - we are basically the white race. We are on the western side of Asia and they are on the southeastern side."
Racism in my view is the never-ending fulmination of the most evil. It is that sin coupled with extreme disobedience for which Iblis was/is punished by Allah:

And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam", and they prostrated, except Iblis (Satan), he refused to be of those who prostrate. (Allah) said: "What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?" Iblis said: "I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay." S. 7:11-12

Even though Iblis refused to obey his Creator, Allah the Lord of the Worlds, the reason he gave seems to be more convincing (if we're to take the line of racists) than theirs within the human race. I wonder what some of them would say if Allah had made them djinns among men. Whether it's Irshad Manji bad-mouthing and demonizing the Palestinians and clicking photographs with two smiling children from the same camp to show her "humanity", the little ones having no idea what she conceals in real and how she advocates their present state; or George Bush saying that Iraqis are "tolerating the violence" (655000 dead!) in their bloody war for freedom which the so-called liberators said they would get. Never mind the fact that the first place the US military captured in Baghdad was the Oil Ministry. Never mind dead bodies found drifiting in the Tigris everyday. Who are they? What are their names? Did they have families? Were they happy when they last left home? Was there a real need to go out? Did they have aspirations, dreams and a simple imagination? Did they think of the fleeting pleasure on the faces of their grandparents when they were young?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Letter to the American People

Dear Fellow Men and Women beyond the Ocean,

As you know, we are living in very difficult times. And I know you’re not responsible for the atrocities and killings on earth. I have enough reason to be angry, but as I sat thinking about the 655000 dead in Iraq and North Korea, a tense silence with pin-pricks of melancholy afflicted my heart. I don’t know if this letter will reach more than a few of you but I want you to know we can change things. We can start anew, blossom and wallow in mirth for the sake of humanity and the prize of relentless love.

We people of the world, an overwhelming number of Muslims, don’t hate your way of life or freedom. We want to live side by side, shoulder against shoulder, soft skin for borders and the circle of arms for absolute brotherhood. We extend our hand of friendship to make you feel that you’re not alone. We are with you. Let us challenge the dictators who reside in ivory towers all over the world. Let us shut our ears to propaganda travelling from evening news or men swathed in government coats who claim to speak for us. No, they don’t represent any of us. We are the power but together. Let us heal the lands laid to waste by wars and sanctions but together. Let us ride into Sudan without boots and kiss and feed the children but together. See how beautiful the world is – no hate!

Let us have institutions that will be administered with honesty and link us all to the magnificent throbbing heart of humanity. Verily, on which the tears of heavens shall shine…and God’s barakah on everyone. No one is strange. No one is foreign. No one is inferior. But embraced like lovers on a star-lit night with vehement adoration for everything which has breath in its breast.

Let us start a global revolution toward goodness, tolerance, anti-war, anti-sanction and a strong point of view by me and you. Let us raise high the beams, the minarets, the walls of churches and synagogues. Let us sit at tea – United States, North Korea, Iraq, Australia, Poland and all the wonderful nations on God’s earth. Let us practice gallantries and charm – Jews, Christians and Muslims. Let us do our forefathers proud. And all the prophets who roved this earth, shed their blood for the cause of God and walked with nails under their feet – just to see us through. And what have we, the people of the world, become? We have undermined all the lovely teachings of our scriptures and set to slay our neighbours. And we’re all neighbours, aren’t we?

In the memory of every human unjustly killed and every poor orphan, let us free the blaze of conscience that flicks deep inside. For the children of tomorrow, let us stop this madness. Let us help those hurt and bereaved. Let us hold together. Let us speak up against injustice. Let us love. Let us forgive.

Yours,

Muslim, student, 20 years.


Note:
This letter was inspired by recent events in our history with the fear of reprisal against ordinary people time after time. I wrote this after reading Dumb and Otherwise Tragic Moments in the Dunya on Izzy Mo's blog.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Country Where Nothing Happened

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the bombing of Afghanistan. As I've written about the 9/11 mass murder, it is only fair I write about the Afghan victims. More civilians were killed in the bombing of Afghanistan than 9/11. But what makes this tragedy unheard of is because the victims weren't priveleged Westerners or whites or Americans. This is both advantageous and disadvantageous; advantageous because their country is not in a positition to practise hubris and go about warning and carpet-bombing the United States (which is a good thing from a human perspective), and disadvantageous because their lives count for nothing. Noam Chomsky wrote:

There had been no interest in this before September 11, or even in the month that followed. A week after the bombing began, the president reiterated that U.S. forces “would attack Afghanistan ‘for as long as it takes’ to destroy the Qaeda terrorist network of Osama bin Laden, but he offered to reconsider the military assault on Afghanistan if the country’s ruling Taliban would surrender Mr. bin Laden”; “If you cough him up and his people today, then we’ll reconsider what we are doing to your country,” the president declared: “You still have a second chance.”

John Pilger, the great journalist, who gave us the harrowing truth Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq on the criminal economic sanctions imposed on the people of Iraq by the brutal leaders of the United States and Britain, records the life of one such victim of war in his documentary on the "war on terror" called Breaking the Silence, an Afghan lady named Orifa who lost most of her family, including her husband. A five hundred pound destroyed her modern stone house. No flag or vigils for them. And as Orifa sits with her fearful children outside, homeless and cold, no one will talk about her. May Allah raise the meek like Orifa to the highest heaven on the Last Day and reunite them with their families and may He reunite the 9/11 dead with their missing families.

The following is the lyrics to the song The Village Where Nothing Happened by protest singer David Rovics based on actual events described by Richard Lloyd Parry about the fate of an Afghan town called Kama Ado:

The Army commander spooke to the media
He said, "This is a nation of laws
"We do not target civilians
"And we only bomb with cause"
And he said as he looked into the camera
With a cold, bone-chilling stare
"As for the village of Kama Ado
"Nothing happened there"

In the village where nothing happened
Most people had risen from bed
Women were preparing to cook
And make sure every mouth would be fed
Just before the beginning of Ramadan
Water was set out to boil
Little fires were heating tin kettles
Upon the dry Afghan soil

In the village where nothing happened
Children played in the street
Men were bending in prayer
Some with no shoes on their feet
It was another day like so many
That had gone down before
And nobody told Kama Ado
Just what lay in store

In the village where nothing happened
Nobody knew
That this place would be changed forever
By an American B-52
The bombs fell all around them
So many a deafening blast
And the people of Kama Ado
Learned that life can end so fast

In the village where nothing happened
The houses collapsed in the morn
Not one terrorist died there
But maybe some were born
In the village of Kama Ado
There are no underground caves
There's just rubble and dust and craters
And 115 new graves

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Two Minutes of Silence for Them

I have found it very surprising and disturbing that much of the privileged world, including the depraved Brutuses and Judases of the Muslim World, haven't spared two minutes of their existence on planet earth for the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan. No flags for these people. No funerals for these people. We don't do body counts of those we kill. And just when the morgues can't take no more, the president of the United States has warned of attacks throughout the world: "The only way to protect our citizens at home is to go on the offense against the enemy across the world. When terrorists spend their days working to avoid capture, they are less able to plot, plan, and execute new attacks on our people. So we will remain on the offense until the terrorists are defeated and this fight is won." Such apolcalyptic language deserves nothing but disdain. Everyone knows that it is exactly this sort of blunder by powers that breeds terrorists.

When we do it, it isn't terrorism. When they do it, it is a barbaric atrocity against humanity. Correction. It is a barbaric atrocity against "our" humanity. When we kill, it isn't that because those we kill aren't human beings. They don't have families, children, careers and loves. They may lie down and tremble under our bombs, chemicals and other inventions of our civilization, but we can never tell if they're human beings. We can bomb pharmaceutical companies in Sudan and kill 30, 000 people but how dare Chomsky compare that to 9/11. We in Washington, the neocolonialists, are evil racists but we want to save Africans from Arabs and Kurds from Arabs and Arabs from Arabs and Americans from everyone because we are the "lords of good behaviour", and in doing that if we wipe off half the world's population we don't care. It was never in our interest to declare: "God bless the whole world."

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Pope Debate

With the latest outrage and delight, for and against, the remarks of Pope Benedict VII, by far the most intelligent and enlightening response in my opinion has come not from media pundits or commentators but a Muslim scholar. Here is Shaykh Jaafar Idris's reply in relation to the concept of logos. You can read the entire thing on Austrolabe:

...the nature of God becomes contrary to unreasonableness only if, with the help of Greek philosophy, God is identified with Logos, Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the ‘logos’."

In the beginning was the Logos, and Logos is God, says the Evangelist.

This means that the God whose nature is compatible with reason is not the traditional God of Christianity. It is not God the Father, or God the Son, or God the Holy Ghost, or a combination of the three. The Pope must have had to resort to this understanding of God that identifies Him with reason because he cannot say about the traditional God of Christianity that unreasonableness is contrary to His nature. He cannot say so because he knows that unreasonableness characterizes the traditional conception of the nature of that God. This has always been Islam’s main objection to Christianity. The Qur’an tells them that the claim that God has a son is not compatible with reason and cannot therefore be compatible with God’s true nature.

But this is not necessarily a point that is being investigated. And we must also seek another discourse, a non-theological discourse, because I believe the issue can be resolved just by studying Manuel II, the source whom the Pope quoted when dealing with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Gary Leupp writes of this medieval figure:

Crowned co-emperor by his father, in 1373, he lost his throne to his bother, who seized it in 1376. How’d he get it back? By calling for help from the Muslim Turks! I suppose that was reasonable.

Back on the throne in 1379, no doubt acting in accordance with logos, he paid tribute to the Turkish Sultan and actually had to live as a vassal at the Turkish court!

Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc) brilliantly deconstructs the myth that Islam was spread by force, contrary to what has been discussed by the Pope, in Muhammad's Sword:

Jesus said: "You will recognize them by their fruits." The treatment of other religions by Islam must be judged by a simple test: How did the Muslim rulers behave for more than a thousand years, when they had the power to "spread the faith by the sword"?

Well, they just did not.

For many centuries, the Muslims ruled Greece. Did the Greeks become Muslims? Did anyone even try to Islamize them? On the contrary, Christian Greeks held the highest positions in the Ottoman administration. The Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians and other European nations lived at one time or another under Ottoman rule and clung to their Christian faith. Nobody compelled them to become Muslims and all of them remained devoutly Christian.

Islam in truth was spread by Arab traders and preachers. A typical example is the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia, which is surrounded by water on all sides.

I think we have to forget the past and move on for the sake of tolerance and peace between each other. This sentiment has also been expressed by the New York Times. We don't need angry words or words that divide man...no, at this time we don't! Most Catholics have disagreed with the Pope's comments.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Daniel Pipes and Freedom of Speech

Islamophobe extraordinaire Daniel Pipes wrote an article Zuhdi Jasser and "Monitoring Islamist Media" dated May 11 2006, and I shall contrast his statements there with the publication of the mythic, racist and Orientalist caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that he defended. I'll first quote from his article Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism dated February 7 2006 where he harps about "freedom of speech", a basic human right that is at times eroded by hypocrisy and employed as a weapon by centres of power to take potshots at the powerless whether they be Muslim or not.
The key issue at stake in the battle over the twelve Danish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad is this: Will the West stand up for its customs and mores, including freedom of speech, or will Muslims impose their way of life on the West? Ultimately, there is no compromise: Westerners will either retain their civilization, including the right to insult and blaspheme, or not.
All this lecture over wrong or right civilization doesn't wash. It seems Pipes is not only invoking the racist theory of the clash of civilizations but calling for a separation of Western Muslims from the West. Also notice how he refers to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as "Muslim Prophet Muhammad". And this is the same man who once had the bigotry to deny the existence of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). But what is surprising about all this is that Pipes is the founder of Campus Watch, a witch-hunting project that targets university professors and others, and "smears any critics of US policies as unpatriotic" and equates the criticism of Israeli brutalities against Palestinians as anti-Semitic or pro-terrorism. But hold your breath for now. Let's give him some more air play on this. After criticizing the more civic Western countries like New Zealand that refused to publish the caricatures, Pipes starts off talking about the Ayatollah and Rushdie -- Ayatollah being the scapegoat for much of this sort of discourse because he had the daring to overthrow the brutal US-backed Shah. And then this:
Even worse, in 1997 when an Israeli woman distributed a poster of Muhammad as a pig, the American government shamefully abandoned its protection of free speech. On behalf of President Bill Clinton, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns called the woman in question "either sick or … evil" and stated that "She deserves to be put on trial for these outrageous attacks on Islam." The State Department endorses a criminal trial for protected speech?
Note how he says "Even worse..." as he's obviously comparing this to the Rushdie affair, but he considers it "worse" because there was an "Israeli woman" involved not to mention a "poster of Muhammad as a pig". Neither he nor Rushdie give a fig over the forty Muslims killed during that crisis leave alone one or two helpers of Rushdie. One can do nothing but agree with Nicholas Burns when he called the woman "either sick or ... evil" because that's what she ultimately was. I wonder what would happen to an Arab distributing pictures of Sharon as a pig -- Moses being another "Muslim Prophet" much to the discomfort of Pipes. The Arab would be shot point-blank by the IDF. It is not the Muslims in America who are unloyal to their country but Zionists like Pipes. I now quote what Pipes says about freedom of press in his second article as he talks about Muslim media in America comparing George Bush to Ghenghis Khan. Hmmm...I should have thought of that before. Not a bad comparison as both of them destroyed and pillaged Mesopotamia. After patting the "native informant" on the back, this is what Pipes writes about freedom of press when America or Israel are at the receiving end (my empasis in pink):
We certainly defend Breek Publishing's right to freedom of speech as we do all of its sponsors and distributors. But, perhaps its sponsors or distributors are not aware that an advertisement or shelf space for distribution is a clear tacit endorsement of the acceptability of the ideology. Certainly, advertisers and distributors need not agree with all of the ideas presented in a newspaper, but when the paper travels into the distant margins whether far to the left or far to the right from mainstream America it becomes a real liability for all of its sponsors.
Aren't the double standards too obvious?

Brothers of Hate: Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer

Interestingly, an ad caught my eye on the blogs of both the vulgar Islamophobes -- Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer. The link transported me to an eerie anti-Islam movie propaganda site. Undoubtedly the agent of that film had known about the poison the two men routinely spill against Muslims. It openly declares its central theme:
An examination of Islam, violence, and the fate of the non-Muslim world.
Very clever. One rarely hears such nonsense outside the vicinity of neo-Nazi sites like Jihad Watch. How can they talk about the "fate of the non- Muslim world" after the United States has bombed two Muslim countries to the ground, and has already started a propaganda war against the third? How can they talk about the "fate of the non-Muslim world" when the Palestinians live in apartheid? How can they talk about the "fate of the non-Muslim world" as Russia continues its history of genocide in Chechnya, and the Muslims of Bosnia live in fear and poverty? And what about the Muslims all over the world? To makes this statement is not only theologically incorrect but historically rubbish. Muslims have meted out better treatment to Jews and Christians than vice-versa. But the falsehood ran deeper when I investigated further. I will insha'Allah return to this topic with refutations of the lies against Islam outlined in the project. I don't know how they can play this movie in the United States, but maybe it dishes out their global agenda.

The Nakba

Forgive me for coming on to this a bit late but it cannot be ignored. Nora Barrows-Friedman, an American Jewish woman, wrote a very passionate piece Shadows and Distortions: The Nakba in Palestine dated May 18 2006 on Counterpunch. She began by describing the present situation of the Palestinians, and how they are barred from turning the keys of the dreadful past:
As the heavy shadow of the 1948 Nakba hovers and recedes over the narrow alleyways of refugee camps and Diaspora communities this week, Palestinians remain at Israel's whim to starve, die, or become displaced and divided.

Subdued commemorations are happening all over the rocky hillsides of occupied Palestine; there are the throngs of children waving the colorful and banned Palestinian flag which whips in the hot springtime wind, the busloads of people trying to travel to city centers to hear stories of the Nakba, only to be stopped at checkpoints and ordered back to their dusty refugee camps and shrinking villages. 58 years after the Zionist militias lay siege to over 450 Palestinian towns and villages, Palestinian refugees are still waiting, holding the iron keys that unlock the doors to homes that no longer exist.
The most disturbing moment comes immediately after this when she quotes Dr. Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian reseacher and historian:
"Israel is 58 years old today. Israelis have already celebrated with barbecues and parties. And so they should, for they've pulled off an amazing stunt: the creation of a state for one people on the land of another - and at their massive expense - without incurring effective sanction."
In the name of her religion and history, she speaks out strongly against the Nakba that was defined by ethnic cleansing and deportation of the native Palestinian population by the Zionist enterprise:
As a Jewish American, I do not want this tied to my history. This ballast, this anchor now inextricably linked to my ancestor's struggles, my dead relatives' stories. How dare we as American Jews allow this to happen. How dare we. How dare we support the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. How dare we argue over oppression hierarchy. How dare we march against the war in Iraq and keep our mouths shut on Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza. How dare we let lobby groups such as AIPAC drench our collective histories in soups of militarism, imperial domination, and snarly relationships with US weapons manufacturers and fascist politicians.
Recommended Reading:

The Nakba; then and now

US Marine Committing War Crimes in Iraq

On May 4 2006, a thought-provoking article titled Message from a Vet of My Lai Time: "Our Descent Into Hell Has Begun" by Tony Swindell appeared on Counterpunch. He first addressed his concerns over the atrocities against the Iraqi people and predicted an explosion in America's face compared to which the Abu Ghraib incident would be a mere "fraternity beer bust".
In Iraq, our descent into hell, our "Apocalypse Now" moment, has begun. First there was Gitmo, then the global rendition program, then Abu Ghraib, then the pulverizing of Fallujah, and now trigger-happy raids that are filling multitudes of sandy graves with men, women and children. Has "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" become the mission in Babylon? Can't anyone remember Vietnam, where we left behind more than a million dead civilians?
He talked about the psychological trauma of soldiers who commit these crimes and went on to give an account of his experience in Vietnam, a country where the United States was responsible for mass genocide. And by the relation of Iraq with Vietnam, it was more convincing than ever the terrible suffering the Iraqi people were putting through. And two days ago, another article titled Lawmaker: Marines Killed Iraqis ‘In Cold Blood’ by Jim Miklaszewski and Mike Viqueira surfaced on NBC.
A Pentagon probe into the death of Iraqi civilians last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha will show that U.S. Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood," a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.

From the beginning, Iraqis in the town of Haditha said U.S. Marines deliberately killed 15 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including seven women and three children.

One young Iraqi girl said the Marines killed six members of her family, including her parents. “The Americans came into the room where my father was praying,” she said, “and shot him.”

On Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said the accounts are true.

Military officials told NBC News that the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right.

A videotape taken by an Iraqi showed the aftermath of the alleged attack: a blood-smeared bedroom floor and bits of what appear to be human flesh and bullet holes on the walls.

The video, obtained by Time magazine, was broadcast a day after town residents told The Associated Press that American troops entered homes on Nov. 19 and shot dead 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old girl, after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine.
There seems to be a behavioural pattern of soldiers in wars as they plunder, murder and raid -- and as Tony Sindell writes:
I listen in vain to hear the voices of young Americans who will be directly and immediately affected. Current events in the Middle East should be a paramount issue, but, inexplicably, the kids are completely nonchalant. Raised on the Internet and X-Boxes, maybe Iraq is just another Hollywood-style media production to them.
When innocent people of the world are denigrated and thought of as sub-humans or lower by any group or coalition, we have a bomb ticking somewhere in our collective humanity.

Arafat and Aid Money

Robert Spencer, who has been spearheading a campaign to dehumanize and vilify Muslims and Islam much like his neo-Nazi co-star Hugh Fitzgerald, has reported an article from the Jerusalem Post that Yasser Arafat used international aid funds to purchase weapons. His website, Jihad Watch, which serves as the breeding ground for bigotry garners a lot of participation from racist drumbeaters. My point is that it isn't a question of refutation of the charges against Yasser Arafat. They may indeeed be true. But we don't have to act like the Zionists and just degrade the Palestinians. We have to take the argument of the Zionists and turn it up. Hmmm...let's see. Since its inception through ethnic cleansing and deportation of the native Palestinians, the Zionist state of Israel has received more than 140 billion dollars. Israel is the only recipient of US aid that does not have to account for how the so-called aid money is spent. What do the Zionists do with that money? Nothing much. They just steal land, build walls of apartheid next to their nightclubs while the Palestinians starve, bulldoze buildings, murder Arab children, run their specially designed behemoths over peace activists and curse HAMAS. America's support for Israel through the so-called aid money is like funding state terrorism, something for which the United States is itself guilty of. American aid money to Israel is the very life blood of occupation.

ECRI Reprimands Denmark Over Treatment of Muslims

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) listed Muslims as a "vulnerable" group along with Roma/gypsies in its report on Denmark issued on 16th May 2006. It started off by highlighting the objectives of the previous report:
In its second report, noting with concern the climate surrounding Muslims and Islam in Denmark, ECRI recommended that the Danish Government undertake awareness-raising measures in the public sphere as well as in the education system to promote a more objective and informed perception of Muslims. ECRI also recommended that public opinion leaders promote a more informed and diverse image of Muslims and Islam.
It bemoaned the failure of the Danish Government to not only to live up to the goals, but reported a further escalation of negative climate against Muslims.
ECRI notes with deep concern that the situation concerning Muslims in Denmark has worsened since its second report. ECRI has been informed that, apart from the above-mentioned discrimination that Muslims face together with other minority groups in areas such as employment, education and housing, politicians from some political parties such as the Danish People’s Party and some media continue to make incendiary remarks about Muslims. Although, in 2003, a number of cases of incitement to racial hatred in general, and against Muslims in particular were successfully prosecuted, ECRI notes that the police are generally reluctant to investigate complaints made by Muslims concerning hate speech directed against them.
A little later on in the report, it condemned the publication of the Orientalist and racist caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):

In September 2005, with the stated intention of verifying whether freedom of speech is respected in Denmark, a widely-read Danish newspaper called on cartoonists to send in caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad; such drawings are considered to be offensive by many Muslims. This newspaper thus published 12 such cartoons, one of which portrayed the Prophet as a terrorist. The issue has caused widespread condemnation and a protest march was organised in Copenhagen as a result. The fact that, according to a survey carried out regarding the publication of these drawings, 56% of the respondents felt that it was acceptable is a testimony of the current climate in Denmark. ECRI considers that the goal of opening a democratic debate on freedom of speech should be met without resorting to provocative acts that can only predictably elicit an emotional reaction.

We can safely conclude that the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has lived up to its name and purpose, and is a model to be followed everywhere. Now the question is whether the the Danish Government will satisfactorily live up to the objectives set.

Through Osama bin Laden's Own Words

A relatively new book titled Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden which was released a few months ago makes it very clear that Osama bin Laden's ideology isn't remotely influenced by the religion of Islam. It was edited and introduced by Duke University religion professor Bruce Lawrence. The is an excerpt from the review on the news section of the Duke University site (my empasis in pink):
A major goal of the book is to show, through his own words, how bin Laden’s views differ from mainstream Islam and even other radical Muslim thought, said Lawrence, the author of several books on Islam, including “Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age” (1989), “Shattering the Myth: Islam Beyond Violence” (1998) and “New Faiths, Old Fears: Muslims & Other Asian Immigrants in American Religious Life” (2002). By reviewing the decade-long record of his public declarations, readers can better grasp how bin Laden shifts his interpretations of the Quran and manipulates his audiences to his own ends.

“It is not enough to say he is a terrorist and the scum of the Earth,” Lawrence said. “I think we need a balance. We need to better understand how bin Laden has wrapped himself in the cloak of Islamic legitimacy to support his cause and to attract followers.

"The majority of the Muslim community supports peace, equity and living in a way that balances the good and condemns the bad,” he observed. “Radical Islam exists on the fringes, yet attempts to co-opt the center, with a significant number of extremists drawn to bin Laden and his message of anger and vengeance against the world.

“My hope -– and it is the best hope, I think -- is to have more Americans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, understand the goal of bin Laden and then reject it in search of a common agenda for productive change.”

"Messages to the World" is the first of three upcoming books by Lawrence that, to varying degrees, look at bin Laden.
There you have it -- straight from the horse's mouth! It is sufficient to say that Osama bin Laden's actions are borne out of passion and rage and not Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once said that there will be some Muslims who'll say that they're fighting for Islam but in truth they'll be doing nothing of the sort. The first paragraph of the book description at Amazon hits the bull's eye:
Despite the saturation of global media coverage, Osama bin Laden's own writings have been curiously absent from analysis of the "war on terror." Over the last ten years, bin Laden has issued a series of carefully tailored public statements, from interviews with Western and Arabic journalists to faxes and video recordings. These texts supply evidence crucial to an understanding of the bizarre mix of Quranic scholarship, CIA training, punctual interventions in Gulf politics and messianic anti-imperialism that has formed the programmatic core of Al Qaeda.
Why won't Uncle Sam make the study of Osama bin Laden a priority? Are they worried that he might have some bad things to say about US policy (which are probably true), and/or will the foundation of the so-called war on terror crumble if it's found out that Islam isn't the enemy? They'll have to find new enemies then. And that seems to be a bit of an "oilee" problem.

The Further Separation of Daniel Pipes's Brain Cells

It seems Pipes won't stop romanticizing about the "Islamic threat" to America and Israel. While this is common in all his articles, in the particular article Deterring Tehran dated May 9th 2006, Pipes talks about "a further separation of civilizations". So the racist ideology of the great false prophet, Samuel Huntington, is not only being played out very well but now we find a "further separation" by Pipes as a run up to the attack on Iran. I think it's a further separation of the brain cells in Daniel Pipes' head. It's "us" (enlightened Jews and Christians) against "them" (lowly Muslims). This is what Professor Edward Said called a "Hitlerian science". And I think it is a very serious theory that should be condemned by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike.

Pipes also talks about how an attack on Iran will result in more terrorism by Muslims and oil crisis in the West, but later twists his words like his mentor Bernard Lewis, and quotes John McCain: "There's only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option. That is a nuclear-armed Iran." No word for the impact of this hubristic madness on ordinary Iranian people. And these are the sorts who are influencing American policy in violation of the American values of justice and peace, and the abuse of power vested in them by the American citizenry.

Noam Chomsky is someone we should pay heed to, because he is calling for peace: "The regional superpower Israel is threatening to attack [Iran], the U.S. is threatening to attack it. These threats alone are outright violations of international law and of the U.N. charter. Iran is in difficulty. Iran has been trying for some years to negotiate settlement but the U.S. just refuses."

Even the President of the IAEA and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Mohamed ElBaradei, has called for a diplomatic solution but the war-mongers in Washington and Israel don't have that word in their dictionary anymore.

Welcome to Islamophobia Watcher

The aim of Islamophobia Watcher is not to curtail the discussion of Islam, but to point out polemics and sophistry concealed as scholarship toward Islam. Muslim populations in many countries are subjected to hate and prejudice because of their race, colour and religion. Islamophobia Watcher will also offer articles on the reality of Islam with all its inner dynamics.