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Anti-Muslim bias prevalent in notable federal body

The Washington Post reports:

Allegations of religious bias are being leveled against a notable federal body: the one responsible for monitoring international religious freedom.

Some past commissioners, staff and former staff of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom say the agency charged with advising the president and Congress is rife, behind-the-scenes, with ideology and tribalism, with commissioners focusing on pet projects that are often based on their own religious background. In particular, they say an anti-Muslim bias runs through the commission’s work— a charge denied by its chairman, Leonard Leo.

From the start, critics say, the commission has disproportionately focused its efforts on the persecution of Christians, while too often ignoring other religious communities and downplaying their claims of persecution.

“It was predetermined who the bad guys are and who the good guys are,” said Khaled Abou El Fadl, a Muslim who served as a commissioner from 2003 to 2007 and teaches human rights at UCLA. “There is a very pronounced view of the world, and it is that victims of religious discrimination are invariably Christian. It was rather suffocating.”

Although the persecution of minorities in many Muslim majority countries cannot be denied, there is certainly no monopoly on religious intolerance.  Muslims are persecuted in many countries, such as in China, Russia, and Israel. To its credit, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom does address some of these issues.  Yet, former and current employees allege that this is only at the insistence of the staff, which often compensates for the pro-Christian and anti-Muslim bias.  The Washington Post article goes on:

Others who work or used to work for the commission said advocacy for Muslims and the balance typically evident in the commission’s public statements are due to the professional staff.

“When anti-Muslim violence is mentioned, it’s usually because staff forces it,” said Kustin, 26, a South Asia researcher for the commission until she resigned in July to protest commissioners withdrawing Ghori-Ahmad’s contract. “The staff compensates for the biases of the commissioners.”

As with other congressionally created bodies, the commission is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, so meetings and internal communications are private. With commissioners allowed to focus on any issue, their work is vulnerable to charges of arbitrariness.

What really irks me is when ideologues exploit and abuse the suffering of people to further their agendas and push their hate-infested propaganda.  It is these people who gleefully report the persecution of their coreligionists in order simply to demonize what they see as “the other.”  They view it as a football match: each time they can report “the other” persecuting someone else, that’s a score!  The concern is not for the persecuted, but for demonizing a population.  Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller do it, and so do Usama bin Ladin and his cronies.  Two sides of the same coin.

We certainly cannot tolerate our tax dollars being used to further the propaganda of right wing Christians who view the world in a binary way.  These charges should be taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated.  And by investigated, I don’t mean it the way the Israeli government does when it says that.

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  • TMan

    I agree that Muslims are probably the most persecuted, but much of the persecution is self wrought. The human rights violations against Muslims in Muslim countries themselves is terrible. But It is true about earlier comments about China. For those who aren’t elite it can often be hell for them as well, reguardless of religion.

  • Les

    Juan P,

    I agree with you about China, but do you honestly think Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world today? It is easily the Muslims. How many Muslims are being killed every day compared to the Christians? The majority of the world’s Christians live in stable countries. You can’t say the same for the Muslims.

  • Juan P

    Thats the real China. As I said, it’s hell for everybody.

  • Juan P

    @ Mahmoud: “I’d rather be a practising Christian in Syria, Indonesia, Jordan and other countries than any western european country.”

    You’re one crazy nutjob if you actually think that….

    China is hell for everybody that isn’t middle class or one of the cronies in the Communist party. The image of a modernizing country bandied around by the media is just a shameless attempt to paper over the cracks of the oppression and suffering of hundreds of millions of people, non-Muslim and Muslim alike.

    The same goes for Russia. Plus, in Chechnya, Muslims suffer from Kremlin nutjob Ramzan Kadyrov (a Muslim), who rules with more than simply the proverbial ironfist. The numerous human rights campaigners he’s murdered would testify to that.

    Although the influence of what is probably Christian right wingers in a federal body is worrying (although not surprising), you would find it hard to convince me Danios, that Christians aren’t the most persecuted religious group in the world (in terms of numbers and the severity of the attacks against them).

  • Sir David

    Interesting article but I don’t see how it is relevent to what Danios has written, living engine

  • Mahmoud

    China is hell for Muslims. Muslims get fired for not eating in lunch breaks during Ramadan, even tortured. Many Russians hate muslims, they’re in fact very much discriminated against in general society.

    Also, I’d like to know which muslims countries, apart from saudi, are really all that opressive of minorities? I’d rather be a practising Christian in Syria, Indonesia, Jordan and other countries than any western european country.

  • Dan

    Muslims are persecuted in many countries, such as in China, Russia, and Israel.

    That’s a bit of a broad statement to make about China and Russia. Israel I agree with, but with China and Russia, I have to disagree. Yes, Russia is no saint when it comes to its brutality in Chechnya and China is guilty of its role in oppressing Uighurs, but Muslims of other ethnicities do not suffer from persecution in either of those countries. Provinces that are not known for separatism, such as Tatarstan in Russia or Ningxia in China, are peaceful and persecution is absent. The Tatars and Hui Muslims have a lot of benefits that are given to them and they are fine with their lives. In fact, China, contrary to popular belief, is VERY accommodating to Muslims and I feel that they should not be condemned for that. And plus, Chechens themselves aren’t so innocent either in persecution, especially the Chechen Salafis.

    For the rest of the post, however, good stuff!

  • iSherif

    Yup, we’ve had Danios after quite some time….but the other writers are doing a tremendous job too….more power to them!! I love Loonwatch!!

  • Pamela Geller and her anti-Arab anti-Muslim hate site play this “concern for the oppressed” all the time. She wouldn’t spill a pixel of blogging on “honor killing” if the killers were not Muslims. In fact, she has either ignored or celebrated the murder of Muslim girls and women on many, many occasions.

  • Imad

    OMG An article by danios… Sry but I think ur the best guy on loonwatch

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