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Anti-Loons of the Year: 2010

From Molly Norris, one of the Anti-Loons of the Year

We reviewed the Year in Islamophobia, and it was a crazy year. However, we noted that at the end of the day there was “hope.” There were those willing to stand up, take a stand firmly against hate directed towards Muslims and Islam. Here we recount some of the best anti-loons of 2010. There are many more whom we may have omitted and who deserve equal attention and recognition.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald published countless articles on Salon.com in which he took to task the complicity of the media in regard to Islamophobia, the double standards that exist when Muslims commit crimes as opposed to when non-Muslims do and the stark difference in coverage. He was outspoken on the root causes of terrorism and the willful neglect and negligence of our government and politicians when it comes to honestly discussing the causes of terrorism, namely — occupation. Greenwald’s colleagues Justin Elliot and Alex Pareene also contributed significantly to the discussion and had great coverage of the tidal wave of Islamophobiapalooza.

Jon Stewart

The Daily Show brought us plenty of laughs but also penetrating analysis and insight into the state of affairs in America today. Stewart’s mock news show was hailed for bringing more news to us than mainstream media. He was all over the coverage of the Park51 mosque controversy, and even before then he was seminal in covering and satirizing the rhetoric on Fox News, amongst Tea Partiers, as well hate crimes that were rising all over the country. His seminal “Rally to restore Sanity” which he co-hosted with Stephen Colbert was a watershed moment and though its detractors tried to minimize its importance, it frankly eclipsed Glenn Beck’s ghoulish “Rally to restore Honor.” His show also coined the word of the year, “Islamophboiapalooza.”

Stephen Colbert

The Colbert Report is a show that many are in love with, the host’s over the top adulation of himself combined with the incisive satire and biting sarcasm that no doubt turns Bill O’ Reilly and others in the Right-wing into a heaping pile of anger during the weekdays beamed onto our screens and left a residue of warmth and compassion. Colbert was everywhere, Capitol Hill for hearings on immigration, on the Mall for his “Rally to Restore Sanity and or March to Keep Fear Alive.” His commitment to justice led him to take on the pervasive atmosphere of anti-Muslim hysteria and in doing so he contributed to restoring sanity and dispelling fear.

Reza Aslan

Aslan is the man that Islamophobes love to hate. They can’t stand him. Robert Spencer published dozens of blog posts on him alone. Aslan has been vocal in the mainstream media about the anti-Muslim Islamophobia that swept America in 2010 and its main progenitors. He has delivered speeches, engaged in debates, written articles and books all towards attempting to foster understanding, and his implicit nod to Loonwatch on the Colbert Report was much appreciated.

Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal’s pieces on Pamela Geller, SIOA, video footage of rabid anti-Muslim rallies, and coverage of the Great Islamophobic crusade bring him into the spotlight as one of the leading anti-Loons of 2010. Blumenthal is also notable for being one of the first investigative journalists to quote and link to Loonwatch.

Lee Baca

Sheriff Lee Baca is a tough as nails LA County Sheriff who went toe-to-toe with a right-wing republican Representative over the politicians attempts to intimidate Muslims and cast Muslim leaders as affiliated with terrorist organizations.

Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) impugned Baca during a House Homeland Security subcommittee meeting, saying the sheriff had allied himself with a Muslim American group that engaged in “radical” speech by going to its fundraisers. Baca not only attacked that description of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, but he also told Souder he would be fine with going to more fundraisers for the group.

“If he thinks I’m afraid of what he said, I will go to 10 fundraisers because he said it,” Baca declared Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before a town hall meeting with the Muslim American community.

Actually, Baca said, he’s been to only two fundraisers for the organization in four years, but that, he added, is not the point. What rankled Baca — aside from what he took as Souder personally challenging the sheriff’s patriotism — was what he saw as the congressman’s inaccurate assessment of the group.

“In other words, he’s an amateur intelligence officer,” Baca said.

Several times a year, the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress — an independent group set up to advise Baca and forge a partnership between the department and Muslim Americans — and the Sheriff’s Department’s Muslim Community Affairs Unit hold forums to discuss issues. The one Tuesday night was scheduled before the dust-up in Washington offered a charged topic for discussion.

When Baca spoke at the Tuesday event, he was given a standing ovation by the 75 or so people at the Omar ibn Al-Khattab Foundation near USC.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg stood up at a crucial moment during the Park51 (Ground Zero Mosque) controversy and didn’t back down. He gave an impassioned defense of religious liberty and freedom in a historic speech during the firestorm and took a lot of heat for it from people in his party.

Honorable Mentions:

-Wajahat Ali

-Richard Silverstein

-Keith Olbermann

-Rachel Maddow

-Molly Norris

-Cenk Uygur

-Lesley Hazelton

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  • May Allah bless these people, Muslims and non-Muslims. They are truthful in their speech. Their integrity is appreciated. Allah has provided them with the vision that can differntiate betwee false and truth. Truth prevails and falsehood vanishes.

    Dr. Mohsen El-Guindy

  • sanschagrins

    eric allen bell is his name .

  • Pingback: Anti-Loons of the Year: 2010 | Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts()

  • SANSCHAGRINS

    you guys forgot the young director from Tennessee who went toe to toe with that kevin smith guy.. very important !!!

  • Khushboo

    Emperor, thanks so much for your time on this! You deserve a nod too. 😀

  • KnowingTheTruth

    While it’s true that Molly did start the Everybody Draw Muhammad day, at least she left the group and admits that the people who were supporting it were very evil and sick and I can give her some respect for that. If it have been one of these cowards who started it instead, I’m sure they would of been proud of themselves for their hateful views. But yeah even if Molly still supported it I still don’t think that someone should harm her at all!

  • Mosizzle

    “She apologized ONLY because the plan backfired”

    Well, yes, but I think that she was genuinely disgusted by what was being written on Facebook about the Prophet, Muslims and Islam and the nature of the drawings being produced. Far from being the “defense of the 1st Amendment” she intended it to be, the facebook group became a forum for Islamophobes to comment on how much they hate Muslims. Of course, she must have had some idea that the whole thing would become a hatefest but when she took a good look at what was happening she must have realised that she had made a mistake. Her original drawing actually was ‘respectful’, well it mocked our respect of the Prophet but not the Prophet himself. There were plenty of other ways she could have protested against a ‘death threat’ against South Park that didn’t involve starting this ridiculous event.

    Point is, she did something loony and what she has done since has not changed what she started, therefore she may be an ‘anti-loon’ but she certainly doesn’t deserve to be on this list. Her anti-loon activities have been outweighed by the fact she has created a whole new day for worldwide mass looniness. But I think that if she is sorry, then she should be forgiven…

  • IbnAbuTalib

    Mosizzle: When starting “Everybody Draw Muhammad day”, she was fully aware that offence would be caused

    Unless she had no knowledge of the 2005 riots, which is hard to believe.

    Mossizle: she was fully aware that offence would be caused but her aim was that if millions of people draw the Prophet, extremist Muslims will not be able to make realistic death threats against all of the people. This plan backfired

    Feel free to disagree with me. She apologized ONLY because the plan backfired.

  • Mosizzle

    When starting “Everybody Draw Muhammad day”, she was fully aware that offence would be caused but her aim was that if millions of people draw the Prophet, extremist Muslims will not be able to make realistic death threats against all of the people. This plan backfired, because Anwar Awlaki just said that makes their ‘job’ easier because the government can’t offer security to all of the people involved, but Muslims did get offended to the extent that many Muslims held a boycott on the day, many deleted their profiles and vowed never to go on it again and a few Muslim programmers even made their own facebook competitor that would defend any religion if a similar attack was planned on its site.

    Starting “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” was a pretty loony thing to do but she has changed her opinion now. Maybe she now is an “anti-loon” but I certainly don’t think she should be in this list as her actions caused more looniness this year and this won’t go away with a cartoon defending the niqab. People are going to hold the event every year and Muslims will be offended every year again and again. I just don’t think she has done enough to be Anti-Loon of the year.

    Maybe Loonwatch is trying to show that they are passionate about freedom of speech but I don’t think many Muslim readers will understand why Molly Norris is now an “Anti-Loon of the year”. But taking her name down from the list at this stage will be interpreted by Islamophobes as Loonwatch giving in to “Mooslim demands”. What they should do is just write a description of why they picked Molly Norris so it is clear to Muslim readers.

  • IbnAbuTalib

    “I don’t buy that. Norris also said that she wouldn’t make fun of the holocaust. That shows how biased she was when she decided to ridicule the Prophet(saw).”

    The question is did she know that, I mean if Jesus the figure of authority of the majority religion in the USA is riduculed in the media, why to a liberal wouldn’t The Prophet be?

    ” Apparently, ridiculing a man revered by a billion people in the world is not offensive. Not that I expect you to understand that, given you are quite the Zionist sympathizer yourself. ”

    Your pathetic attempt this to link to Zionists when you clearly have no inkling of what you’re talking about perhaps explains why so few Muslim writers have credibility when it comes to fighting Islamophobia. Sooner or later all is linked to Zionists.

    and I didn’t say it was not offensive, i was saying malice wasn’t her intent, otherwise why did she apologise? she probably didn’t realise the depth of feelings it would raise. Those who bore malice used the event to vent their bigotry. She didn’t do that. She apologised on behalf of those who did bear malice.

    The thing is a lot of liberals like her don’t see religious figures as anything to revere, and are not aware, and it’s noteworthy that you didn’t add any comment as to what Muslims should do to make it a criminal law to insult Prophets. Why do you expect people who are not religious to revere relgious figures?

  • IbnAbuTalib, I suggest you look at the originality cartoon by her and her explanation for it. She never did anything with any malice at all, in fact the cartoon itself is pretty tame, showing a bunch of objects all claiming to be Mohamed. It’s not something I take offense at and I understand where she was coming from, respect her right to do it if she wishes, respect her even more for denouncing the hate fest that came after (despite threats from people saying she was a sell out) and am ashamed that people called for her death. It is not her fault that the loons took it and ran with it and her work afterward has proven her were intentions lie.

  • IbnAbuTalib

    Emperor: Her art about the Niqab is one illustration of that, and for that reason Molly Norris deserves a nod.

    You might as well nominate Salman Rushdie for an anti-loon award considering that he supported the Ground Zero “Mosque” and also opposed Terry Jones’ initiative.

  • IbnAbuTalib

    Emperor: Her art about the Niqab is one illustration of that, and for that reason Molly Norris deserves a nod.

    With all due respect, are you really that naive?

  • IbnAbuTalib

    Wikileaks: Norris wasn’t being malicious towards Muslims, she said she would do the same to Jesus, her point was that freedom to express using art should be a right, and until it is illegal or made a crime, then she has a right to do that.

    I don’t buy that. Norris also said that she wouldn’t make fun of the holocaust. That shows how biased she was when she decided to ridicule the Prophet(saw). Apparently, ridiculing a man revered by a billion people in the world is not offensive. Not that I expect you to understand that, given you are quite the Zionist sympathizer yourself.

    The Prophet(saw) said that we should love him more than we love our parents, our wives, our friends, our neighbors. He said we should love him more than we love ourselves. Do we show love for our Prophet(saw) by honoring a woman who, like it or not, came up with the idea of “Everybody Draw Muhammad”?

    What is the difference between her and Terry Jones who decided it would be fun to have an “International Burn a Koran Day?” Both pulled out, but they have set the precedent for future international anti-Islamic campaigns.

  • Dear all,

    I want to point out that this isn’t an exhaustive list, and that some very prominent names have been excluded. It’s just that with a busy schedule there isn’t time to write as thoroughly on every individual.

    There are plenty of good Muslim writers and I am certainly going to include WaJahat Ali in an update to this as some of the premiere anti-loons.

    As far as why Molly Norris was included. Her story was interesting, she started the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day in response to Revolution Muslim, her aim was not to offend, defame or slander. Well before the actual Facebook event she distanced herself and repudiated the whole thing, saying it was an anti-Muslim circus. Since then she strived to learn more about Islam and Muslims. Her art about the Niqab is one illustration of that, and for that reason Molly Norris deserves a nod.

  • IbnAbuTalib,

    “The RevolutionMuslim idiots were not categorized as anti-loon. Why would they be, considering they are loons themselves? Yes, I condemn them. Now that you brought it to my attention, they are as guilty as Norris.”

    Norris wasn’t being malicious towards Muslims, she said she would do the same to Jesus, her point was that freedom to express using art should be a right, and until it is illegal or made a crime, then she has a right to do that.

    When she realised that her principle was being abused by the likes of Geller, she apologised. She did make it clear that her intent wasn’t malicious and that she didn’t intend to insult, just to not be cowered.

    I think the people more to blame are the likes of Geller andSpencer who used her, they were the ones who printed insulting images, malice was their intent not Norris’s.

    At the end of the day, picturising the Prophets is not a crime in the USA and until it is, we cannot really condemn the likes of Norris.

    Don’t you think it would be more fruitful to push for a law that should make it a crime instead of condemning those who excercise their right to something they are entitled to? The English Queen (Head of the Church of England), had to give an award honouring to salman rushdie’s contributions to literature, a man who had insulted her religion. 300 years ago, Rushdie would simply have been led to the Tower of London and beheaded.

  • muhammad ‘abd-al haqq

    “Maybe now WikiLeaks will understand my point, now that LW has only listed one Muslim it considers to be one of the anti-loons of of 2010”

    I did understand your point then and see your side and agree with you.

    It’s not that Loon watch discriminates against Muslim writers it’s that there are not too many good ones around, that can shoot arrows that are spot on. I hope you’re one of them. The fact remains, the best Islamophobia busters are not Muslim. and they’re not all listed above,

    However the theology side can really only be tackled by Muslim, the polemics etc, so youre right there.

    You’re right that you should be some Islamophobia busters who concentrate more on the theology, that is something that I too think is missing. But remember when Danios busts Spencer he uses information gleaned from scholars.

    There are not too many good Islamophobia busters who are Muslim that can be taken seriously or who are well known. Ahmed Rehab and Cherif Bassiouni are two well known ones that have been published here, whom I think are great.

    Anyhow, i do hope your blog is successful too.

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