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.


Muslim, student, 20 years.

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.