By Sheila Musaji
Apr 13, 2013
Pamela Geller is very angry about a statement by Rabbi White in this article. She is angry that Jews are not backing her wholeheartedly since she is Jewish. There has been a great deal written about the back and forth between those who have objected to Geller’s invitation to speak at a Great Neck synagogue on the topic of Sharia law and “Imposition of Sharia in America”, and those who think that she should speak. Most of the issues raised have been free speech issues.
As a Muslim, I find other aspects of this controversy more important. Before the Geller talk at the Great Neck Synagogue was cancelled, the synagogue issued a statement: “We believe that it is important to hear what she has to say and we are confident that intelligent and fair minded individuals will consider her views in reaching their own conclusions…. We reject the categorizing of any religious majority based on the actions of a minority. …. We do, though, believe that it is appropriate to speak about the actions of that minority.”
So, according to the synagogue where Geller was invited to speak on Sharia - this is an issue of freedom of speech, and people can make up their own minds about the validity of the views of the speaker. It is “appropriate” to discuss the actions of extremist Muslims in a synagogue. And, the fact that the speaker has absolutely no qualifications or expertise on the subject doesn’t matter.
Following exactly the same logic. There are some extremist and even terrorist Jews who justify their actions by their interpretations of halakha, Torah, Talmud, etc. So, it should not be a problem for any mosque, or Muslim organisation to have a program inviting an individual with no expertise at all in the subject matter (even one known for anti-Semitic views) to come and speak on the subject of Halakha or Talmud or any topic about Judaism. Perhaps a mosque could invite a known anti-Semite from the Muslim lunatic fringe to speak on the dangers of Halakha to the American legal system, or perhaps the viciousness of kosher slaughter. This should not be considered confrontational or hostile to Muslims as long as the group arranging the program publishes a statement saying: “We reject the categorizing of any religious majority based on the actions of a minority. …. We do, though, believe that it is appropriate to speak about the actions of that minority.” Geller pretends not to realize the similarities between Kosher and Halal: Halakha and Sharia Requirements or between Islamic Sharia and Jewish Halakha Arbitration Courts. However, continuing to stir up a hornet’s nest of bigotry will sooner or later make this similarity noticed by the bigots she appeals to, and this will not be good for the Muslim or Jewish communities.
Following exactly the same logic, there should not be a problem with Muslim groups running an ad series countering each ad in the ad series being run by Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer of the hate groups AFDI/SIOA. And, as long as the group running these ads says, we are not anti-Jewish, only anti-Judaism, or anti-Halakha, or anti-Talmud - or, we are not anti-Christian, only anti-Christianity, then any objection from the Jewish community or the Christian community would just be an attempt to shut down freedom of speech. In EVERY case, counter ads could be run, for example:
— The use of a violent verse from the Qur’an against the backdrop of the World Trade Centre collapsing. There could be a counter ad with the verse “Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.” (1 Samuel 15:3) and pictures of an atrocity committed by Christians or Jews. In fact, there could be a whole series of ads quoting violent verses from the Torah and New Testament.
— The use of a bigoted, hateful homophobic quote by a Muslim cleric to “prove” that Islam and Muslims are somehow exceptional. There could be a counter ad with Rabbi Nachum Shifren’s quote when asked “What do you say about the very law that says kill the homosexuals? ..... Do you think God was right in giving this command?” “Whatever it says in the Torah is straight from God’s will.” “So, God was right to command to kill the homosexuals?” “That’s right.”
— The use of a quote by President Erdogan of Turkey praising the idea of a theocratic state to “prove” that Muslims want the return of the Caliphate. There could be a counter ad with The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion. From the proposed NC law that would have allowed the establishment of a state religion.
— The use of a quote by a Muslim cleric insulting Jews. There could be a counter ad with “One can’t mix impure and pure. Of course we must stay apart from all the nations. You must stand in the breach and prevent this. It is forbidden to mix darkness with light. The nation of Israel is pure. The Arabs are a nation of donkeys. They are an affliction, a demon, a pestilence. “Why, one may ask, did God not create them to walk on all fours, since they are donkeys? The reason is that they must build and clean, but must always understand that they are donkeys. There is no room for them in our schools.” Rabbi David Batzri, or
— The use of a quote by a Muslim cleric justifying terrorism or violence towards others based on their interpretation of the law. There could be a counter ad with “It is permissible to kill the Righteous among Nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation,” he wrote, adding: “If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments - because we care about the commandments - there is nothing wrong with the murder.” Rabbi Itzhak Shapira
— The use of a quote by a Muslim cleric claiming that Muslims/Islam are superior to others. There could be a counter ad with “Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us.” Explaining why God allowed non-Jews long lives, he added: “Imagine that your donkey would die, you’d lose your income. [The donkey] is your servant. ... That’s why he [the gentile] gets a long life, to work well for the Jew.” Rabbi Yovadia Yosef (former Israeli Chief Rabbi)
I don’t believe that this would be an ethical course of action. I don’t believe that the statements or actions of individuals should be presented as if they are representative of an entire religion. I don’t believe that unleashing the forces of bigotry does any community any good. It would be wrong for Muslims to run such ads, and it is wrong for Jews to run such ads.
Based on the logic of the synagogue, the background of the speaker should not be an issue. However, I believe that it is an issue. A Canadian mosque once published an article by David Duke, and it was absolutely appropriate for the local Jewish community to object. The mosque ultimately pulled the article and apologized, saying they were unaware of who the author was until it was brought to their attention.
Here are some statements made by Pamela Geller and her associates in the hate groups AFDI/SIOA. These are individuals Geller works with, praises, has chosen to be on boards of these organizations. These statements clearly show their attitude towards Islam and Muslims - not some Muslims or some interpretations of Islam - but ISLAM and MUSLIMS generally. I believe that they are clearly hate speech, and that individuals holding such views are not “appropriate” individuals to speak in any house of worship:
Babu Suseelan of AFDI/SION: “If we do not kill the bacteria, the bacteria will kill us. Otherwise, he warned, “Muslims will breed like rats and they will be a majority. “Islam can be stopped! And it can be wiped out.” **
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) of EDL/SIOE/SION/AFDI “It has been left to us to educate the uneducated of this country to the difference between Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam. Islam is a disease….it is a disease. Winston Churchill once said, ‘Islam in a man is the same as rabies in a dog’.” **
Ali Sina of AFDI/SION”We strive for the unity of Mankind through the elimination of Islam, the most insidious doctrine of hate. Islam can’t be reformed, but it can be eradicated. It can’t be moulded, but it can be smashed.” — “If any city in the West is nuked I am 100% for nuking tens of cities in Islamic countries. I don’t see Muslims as innocent people. They are all guilty as sin. It is not necessary to be part of al Qaida to be guilty. If you are a Muslim you agree with Muhammad and that is enough evidence against you.” — “At FFI, we do not want to reform Islam. We want to eradicate it. Just as cancer cannot be reformed and the only way to cure the patient is to eradicate it, Islam can’t be reformed either and it must be eradicated for the world to be saved.” “I believe that “Islam, like fascism, appeals to people with low self esteem and low intelligence.” **
Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller’s partner in AFDI/SIOA (also a Deacon in the Catholic Church, therefore he is “clergy”)” “Islam itself is an incomplete, misleading, and often downright false revelation which, in many ways, directly contradicts what God has revealed through the prophets of the Old Testament and through his Son Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh… For several reasons… Islam constitutes a threat to the world at large.”—“The misbegotten term “Islamo-fascism” is wholly redundant: Islam itself is a kind of fascism that achieves its full and proper form only when it assumes the powers of the state.”—“I have written on numerous occasions that there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists. ” - “There is no reliable way for American authorities to distinguish jihadists and potential jihadists from peaceful Muslims.” There are “many elements of traditional and mainstream Islam that are at variance with our system of government, our Constitution, and our entire way of life.” Robert Spencer. **
Pamela Geller of AFDI/SIOA/SION “I believe that “Al-Qaeda is a manifestation of devout Islam ... It is Islam.” I believe that “Hitler WAS inspired by Islam” - “It’s the Muslims who are dragging the rest of the world with them, in their genocidal dreams of annihilating goodness, creativity, production, inventiveness, benevolence, charity, medicine, technology, and all of the gifts of the Jews. Our goodness makes them ill.” - “I believe that “Islam is a mental illness”. - ”Muslims have no right to invoke Moses and Abraham. This is a delegitimisation of Judaism. It is offensive and vile. And while Jesus is not my guy, the same thing goes for him. It is a delegitimisation of Christianity. These are not Muslim prophets.”—“How dare they use the word “extremists”? That is Islamophobic! These are devout Muslims. There are no moderates. There are no extremists. Only Muslims.” — “Islam is the most brutal and oppressive ideology on the face of the earth”. “Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.” - ”Devout Muslims should be prohibited from military service. Would Patton have recruited Nazis into his army?” “Arabic is not just another language like French or Italian, it is the spearhead of an ideological project that is deeply opposed to the United States.” The only voices of reason in the Muslim world are lapsed Muslims or apostates. “It’s the Muslims who are dragging the rest of the world with them, in their genocidal dreams of annihilating goodness, creativity, production, inventiveness, benevolence, charity, medicine, technology, and all of the gifts of the Jews. Our goodness makes them ill.” ** and ** and ** and **
David Yerushalmi AFDI/SIOA’s attorney: “On the so-called Global War on Terrorism, GWOT, we have been quite clear along with a few other resolute souls. This should be a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful…At a practical level, this means that Shari’a and Islamic law are immediately outlawed. Any Moslem in America who adopts historical and traditional Shari’a will be subject to deportation. Mosques which adhere to Islamic law will be shut down permanently. No self-described or practicing Muslim, irrespective of his or her declarations to the contrary, will be allowed to immigrate to this country…” “I believe that “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.” **
John Jay of AFDI: “There is a need for an “old fashioned war with wholesale slaughter including indiscriminate death of innocents and babes. down to the last Muslim, if necessary.” **
That any synagogue believes that it is appropriate for the views of such an individual to be represented in the synagogue is very alarming. For Jews not to see the similarities between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism is surprising.
Geller’s speech has now been cancelled by the synagogue, and the synagogue issued this statement announcing that cancellation: “As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and it’s [sic] member families. In an era of heightened security concerns it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate. Accordingly, the Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club will no longer be sponsoring the appearance of Pamela Geller this coming Sunday, and no event will be taking place in our facility.”
The Greatneck Patch reported that: “Geller said while she understands the synagogue’s action, she deplores the cancellation of her “message of freedom.” “This incident shows how urgently this topic needs to be discussed. Leftist thugs, pushed and prodded by Islamic supremacist Habeeb Ahmed and his co-conspirators, threatened a march on the shul (among other things),” said Geller to Patch.
This statement by the synagogue simply further insults the Muslim community. They are not cancelling the talk because they have looked into the background of the speaker and found her to be a bigot in fact; the statement calls her “a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate”.
What “debate” might that be? Will they debate - whether or not Islam is a “mental illness” - or perhaps whether or not Muslims should be arrested or deported if they insist on practicing Islam - whether or not Islam is the most brutal and oppressive ideology on the face of the earth - whether or not Islam constitutes a threat to the world at large - whether or not since Islam can’t be reformed it must be eradicated for the world to be saved - whether or not Islam is a disease - whether or not Muslims breed like rats - Whether or not Muslims are a bacteria, and if we do not kill the bacteria, the bacteria will kill us? Is this a debate that belongs in a synagogue?
They are not cancelling the talk because they are concerned about damaging relationships between American faith communities. Why are they cancelling the talk? Because of “notoriety and media exposure”, “legal liability”, and “security concerns”. And using this vague term “security concerns” gave an opening to anti-Muslim bigots like Geller to claim that Muslims have threatened some sort of violence.
In fact, this additional anti-Muslim slant is popping up in many places.
The Jewish Press said “The Great Neck Synagogue pulled out at the last minute due to what has been described as the intimidating and relentless tactics engaged in by certain leftist Jews, notably Rabbi Jerome Davidson and Rabbi Michael White, the vice president of a local mosque, Habeeb Ahmed, and a Long Island Interfaith group.”
Island Now quotes Geller as saying: “Due to relentless intimidation, bullying and threats, the Great Neck Synagogue is cancelling my talk at the Great Neck Synagogue on Sunday. Ironically, the subject of my talk was the war on free speech, and this incident shows how urgently this topic needs to be discussed. Leftist thugs, pushed and prodded by Islamic supremacist Habeeb Ahmed and his co-conspirators, threatened a march on the shul (among other things),” wrote Geller in a statement on her blog. “It is a very sad day for freedom-loving peoples when fascist tactics trump free speech. This reinforces a terrible precedent: that Islamic supremacists and leftists can get whatever they want, and silence their opponents, by keeping up pressure on decent people until they cave in. In America, they don’t assassinate their foes, but they assassinate their character.”
Helen Freedman, Executive Director, Americans for a Safe Israel wrote: ” ... Geller was scheduled to be the guest speaker at a Men’s Club breakfast at a Great Neck Synagogue this Sunday, May 14. A vigorous anti-Geller campaign was initiated by the Muslims, and the Synagogue caved in today, crying that it could not bear the pressure. This is a warning to all Americans. Appeasement and fear in the face of terror will only breed more terror. Those of us who understand the dangers inherent in this cowardice will work even harder with Pamela Geller and the others sounding the alarm, in order to get their voices heard over the threats and shouts of our enemies. ... ”
Lori Lowenthal Marcus in the Jewish Press laments Geller’s cancellation, and quotes Geller as saying ”...The synagogue didn’t turn on me, it did what it felt it needed to do to protect the Sunday School children. Once the thugs announced they were going to organize a mob march of leftist Jews and Muslims on the shul on Sunday morning, when all the children are there to attend Sunday School – the parents were terrified and the shul had to respond,” Geller told The Jewish Press, just hours after she learned of the cancellation. “Still, it’s a sad day. The synagogue should not have had to make a choice between protecting Sunday School children and allowing me to speak about the dangers of Sharia.”
This is unconscionable. If someone made threats, please report them to law enforcement. If not, simply questioning whether or not hate speech belongs in a house of worship, and asking the synagogue to reconsider their invitation based on Geller’s past statements and actions, or planning a peaceful protest outside the venue where she is speaking IS NOT intimidation, Islamic supremacism, thugishness, fascist tactics, or terrorism, etc. A group of people standing peacefully with signs expressing their disappointment in a speaker is not “terrifying intimidation” and did not force the synagogue to make a choice between “protecting children and allowing Geller to speak”. To make such a suggestion is truly evil. It was not only Muslims who expressed their disappointment in the synagogue hosting this speaker on this topic.
Nechama Liss-Levinson who was one of the people planning a peaceful protest wrote in The Jewish Daily Forward:
... I wish my synagogue had spoken of the moral question. I wish the leaders had stood up and said, “We didn’t initially realize what Geller represents. Now that we do know, we will stand proudly against hate speech.” I wish that they had noticed that Geller’s concerns about radical Islam often morph into a vilification of all Muslims and the Islamic faith. Her language encourages denigration and dehumanization, rather than constructive discussion and cooperation.
What is even more distressing to me is the reaction that the cancellation has engendered. The commentary on the blogosphere, including a statement posted on Geller’s website, now denigrates the synagogue and its leaders. The vitriol and hatred in these postings are frightening. Both sides in this conflict feel that they are right, that they own the moral high ground, and that an evil is being perpetrated. But a quick survey of these postings will find that the supporters of Geller have totally lost the capacity for civil discourse.
... When I got into my car this morning at 8:00 a.m., a radio newscast informed me that Geller had declared that her talk was cancelled due to “relentless intimidation, bullying and threats.” In fact, she said, “leftist thugs, pushed and prodded by Islamist supremacist…… threatened a march on the shul.”
I sat in the car stunned. What was true was that my husband and I had petitioned the Village of Great Neck for permission for a peaceful demonstration, which would have taken place across the street from the synagogue on the Sunday morning of Geller’s talk. It was clearly written in the petition that the demonstrators would be “polite and law abiding.” There were no microphones or speeches planned for our event, just placards with messages like “Say NO to Religious Bigotry” or “Great Neck Synagogue Members Support Religious Tolerance.”
The organizers were all members of Great Neck Synagogue, parents and grandparents, community leaders and community activists. We wanted to show that not all members of the synagogue agreed with the decision to invite Geller. We wanted to be able to stand proudly. We wanted, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, wrote, “to pray with our feet.” As of yesterday, we were the only group to file a petition to assemble on the day of Geller’s speech. I have been called many things, but this was the first time I have been branded a “leftist thug.”
Why did we plan to protest? We want our synagogue to be known for the many extraordinary programs in which we’ve participated: sending busloads of demonstrators to Washington D.C. to protest the genocide in Darfur; organizing a 25-person relief mission to rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; sending food for the holidays to impoverished Jewish families as well as to the food pantry sponsored by a local church; and being home base for a Women’s Tefila group, which offers meaningful rituals for many of the developmental milestones that Jewish girls and women face. And so it seemed untenable that this synagogue would be stuck in such a terrible morass, getting attention for offering a platform to hatred and bigotry.
I am thrilled that the Great Neck Synagogue has cancelled the event for Geller. I remain broken-hearted for the underlying anxieties, fears and hatreds that it exposed.
May God bless such voices of reason and human decency!
After this particular talk was cancelled, two other synagogues stepped forward, and Geller will now be speaking at both of those synagogues this Sunday. She will also be leading her own protest at Habeeb Ahmed’s office at the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights. Ahmed was one of those who objected to her speaking at the Great Neck Synagogue. Geller says: We will [sic] we be reading Quranic texts and teachings that command Jew-hatred, demanding that Habeeb Ahmed and all Islamic clerics condemn the religious texts that fuel the hatred of Israel and Jewish people across the world. Let us truly further interfaith dialogue. This nonsense about Islam commanding “Jew hatred” has been thoroughly debunked. See Pamela Geller Is Wrong About “Islamic Jew Hatred Commanded by the Qur’an”— Unholy Prayer: “Jews” Are Not Our Enemy.
I don’t know what branch of Judaism these synagogues represent, but can make an educated guess that it is not Reform Judaism, as Pamela Geller has stated in an article attacking Rabbi Jill Jacobs that (emphasis mine): Remember, every AFDI/SIOA ad we ran was a response to vicious attack ads on Jews, on freedom, ... The quisling “rabbi” Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah, which spent $10,000 on ads last fall to oppose my pro-Israel ads, said “I wish that none of this had ever started.” Really, “Rabbi”? Jacobs will answer to higher authority. Jacobs was silent when vicious anti-Israel ads ran in cities across the country. Jacobs only got involved to condemn me for standing up against the vicious anti-semitic ad campaigns running on transit platforms from NY to California. Jacobs is not a rabbi—Jacobs is a quisling, an enemy with a Mona Lisa smile. She should be stripped of any rabbinical status (I am sure she’s of the ridiculous “reformed” movement—which no practicing Jew takes seriously).
In a previous article on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, I closed with this
I believe that any human being, whose heart and mind are not closed by hate, must see the parallels.
For Jewish and Christian members of the Islamophobia industry, I would appeal to you to consider that there is no claim about some particular Imam somewhere saying something extreme or just plain stupid that can’t be matched by a Rabbi or a Reverend doing the same. There is no act of violence carried out by Muslims that can’t be matched by those carried out by Christians and Jews. There is no community that is free of criminals and hateful people. There is no more violence in the Qur’an than in the Torah or the New Testament. There is no religious community that doesn’t have individuals (even individuals who should know better) who attempt to use religion to justify their wrong actions, or who make distorted interpretations of their religion to justify themselves.
Jews, Christians, and Muslims need to step up and be counted, do what they can to marginalize their own extremists, and stop demonizing each other. American Muslim Imams And Community Leaders issued a strong statement against Holocaust Denial & anti-Semitism. In 2009 when a speaker at the ISNA conference made an anti-Semitic statement, ISNA apologized to the Jewish community. The ADL has issued statements against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry. There are many interfaith efforts to build bridges and work cooperatively on the many issues of mutual concern.
However, it seems that much too often, it is the voices of hate and division that get the most media attention and therefore have an opportunity to spread their poison more widely.
All of us as members of whatever faith group need to counter hateful speech with thoughtful speech, and to be aware that such tendencies exist among all groups. As Hans Kung has pointed out so beautifully, “There can be no peace among nations until there is peace among the religions. There can be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions”. Somehow we must find a way to change the diatribe into dialogue (as Muslim scholars have requested in the Common Word document) in the interest of working together towards peace.
Anti-Semitism is wrong, racism is wrong, homophobia is wrong, and Islamophobia is wrong. Decent people need to make it clear that expressions of hatred towards anyone are simply not socially acceptable.
A few years ago when a bigoted speaker, Amir Abdel Malik Ali, was invited to speak by a Muslim student group, Hussein Ibish wrote an article protesting this in which he said
It is immoral and counterproductive to promote extreme and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Moreover, it is impossible to take a serious and effective stance against “Islamophobia” while promoting or condoning anti-Semitism. These two forms of bigotry are intimately connected, both thematically and historically. Neither the Jewish community nor the Islamic community can advance its legitimate interests or perspectives by promoting fear and hatred of one another.
I would ask these synagogues to seriously consider what purpose they believe is served by magnifying and endorsing the voices of hatred and division over the voices of mutual respect and dialogue.
Resources for Dealing with Islamophobia Summary
The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”
Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated, demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations: There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover. Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”. SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy. A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day. AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country. AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads. There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat. They are even bringing their hate messages into public schools.
Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”. Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defence of free speech. None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”
The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences. The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.
Sadly, the Islamophobic echo chamber has been aided by some in the Jewish and Christian clergy, and even by some of our elected representatives, particularly in the GOP.
The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broad-brush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or that nothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence, are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as Taqiya, jihad, Sharia, etc.).
The most commonly repeated false claims about Muslims and Islam are that:
Everyone “knows” that most or all terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe), and that Muslims are all militant, inherently violent, more likely to engage in violence against civilians, and more likely than other Americans to be radicalized.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not interested in dialogue. That Muslims don’t help Christians in need. That Muslims can’t have Christians as friends, and are anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and intolerant of other faiths.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t unequivocally denounce terrorism, that American Muslim leaders have not responded to radicalization in their community, that mosques are the source of radicalization, that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, and a fifth column, that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that Muslims are not loyal to America, that they are not a part of our American heritage,
Everyone “knows” that Islam itself is the problem and makes Muslims “backward”, that Muslims have made no contribution to the West, that Islam is “of the devil”, a Crescent menace, a “green peril”, that was spread by the sword, an “evil encroaching on the United States”, and not a religion.
Everyone “knows” that this is a Christian nation, which the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards Shariah law which is a threat to America, and a threat to our judicial system, by purposefully having more children than others to increase their numbers, and they will be the majority in this country in 20 years. Muslims are a threat to America
Everyone “knows” that Muslims have no respect for the Constitution, they don’t obey the laws of the United States, that they are opposed to freedom of speech, don’t allow and freedom of religion.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are given a pass by the elite media. It’s “us versus them”.
Everyone “knows” that the Muslims’ goal is world domination under a Caliphate, and the proposed Cordoba House in NYC is a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism, and that Muslims planned to open it on the anniversary of 9/11.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t speak out against extremism or terrorism, and even those Muslims who do speak up or seem moderate are simply lying or practicing Taqiya.
Everyone “knows” that the Qur’an is uniquely violent, that the Islamic concept of God doesn’t include God’s love, and does not include the concept of a Golden Rule, that Allah is a moon god.
Everyone “knows” that Islam is a monolith and all Muslims are the same, like the “Borg”. This means that every act committed by an individual who is a Muslim is directly attributable to Islam, and never because the individual is crazy, criminal, or perverted.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t have a sense of humour
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are like the Fascists and Nazis and that in fact they supported those movements.
The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong. These self-righteous and incorrect statements are usually followed by a demand that the Muslim community do something about whatever is the false flag of the day or face the inevitable consequences.
Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist. They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad. The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.
Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as: - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized, - There have been 270 million victims of “jihad” - There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11 - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded. Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.
When Islamophobes are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamisation of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Centre has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — The People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — The NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — The Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.
Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989. Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism, and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia. Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan.