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Tag Archive | "anti-loons"

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2012: A Year of Islamophobia in Review

Posted on 02 January 2013 by Garibaldi

by Garibaldi

Before writing about the “year in review,” it’s important to note that the clock on Islamophobia didn’t begin on January 1, 2012. There are many who have just recently become familiar with Islamophobia, i.e. the irrational fear of Islam and Muslims and hence they may not be familiar with the context of the contemporary malaise we find ourselves in.

While the roots of Euro-American anti-Muslim rage can be traced to an older trans-historical phenomenon of constructing identity through multiple processes of otherization, for our purposes the past few years are enough to provide a beneficial contextual layout. 2010 was dubbed the “Year of Islamophobia” for its unprecedented rise in anti-Muslim hate, most explosively witnessed in the ginned up Cordoba Mosque/Park51 (aka “Ground Zero” Mosque) controversy as well as the increased circulation of irrational conspiracies regarding Islam and the Muslim presence in the so-called “West.” The breakthrough was that the Right would try to transform Islam into political football–just another concept to be used to stoke fears and the “culture wars,”

In the United States we saw the convergence and solidifying of a network of Islamophobes across the nation who joined arms with their brethren across the Atlantic ocean. We were also treated to the Republican party’s instrumentalization and usage of Islam for purposes of fear-mongering during the the run-up to the 2010 elections; add to this mosque controversies, hate crimes, anti-Muslim rallies and your run of the mill nuke Mecca suggestion and you had 2010.

2011 was a year that saw a continuation of the efforts of Islamophobes who sought to garner national attention any way they could. The Peter King McCarthyist hearings on the threat of Radical Islam amongst Muslim Americans was an effort to create undue suspicion of Muslim Americans while at the same time feeding the culture wars of “Shariah hysteria,” “War on Terror,” and “creeping Islamization.” Major victories included the revelations of the funders and backers of the Islamophobia Movement in the seminal Fear, Inc. report, as well as the AP’s uncovering of the NYPD’s dubious spying program on Muslim Americans. Sadly, the tragedy of Utoya and Oslo punctuated the deadly and horrific consequences of the hateful trans-Atlantic Islamophobia Movement, overshadowing efforts against the industry of hate.

2012

The Afghanistan war trudged along as did the drone war which was amplified and contributed to the Greater Islamophobia. Killing innocent, faceless, nameless and uncounted civilians in the pursuit of AlQaeda and the Taliban in undeclared wars in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. In the process our civil liberties have been eroded through the NDAA, US citizens may be killed and held in indefinite detention by our Noble Peace Prize winning Constitutional lawyer President, who is now serving as judge, jury and and executioner. On this the mainstream Right and Left seem to be in agreement: We are supposed to trust him dontchyaknow!? Of course, don’t expect any blowback! Eviscerating innocent civilian Muslims from the skies and other covert-ops have always had positive results in the past.

Oh, and the MEK, you know the first group that our State Department ever designated a “foreign terrorist organization,” you know the one we were funding and from whom prominent politicians were receiving money (i.e. material support) and training and sending to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists, well, it’s like magic–they aren’t terrorists anymore!

Spencer Ackerman of Wired.com, a website that ironically has investments in drone technology revealed that Anti-Islam courses were being taught in the US military including the idea that we are “at war with Islam.”

Globally, Anti-Muslim violence flared up in the predominantly Buddhist nations of Sri Lanka and Myanmar where Islamophobia has led to scenes reminiscent of the genocide perpetrated against Bosnian Muslims during the mid-1990′s. Thousands of Rohingyas have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced; the conflict itself does not seem to be abating. Europe has seen tremendous levels of Islamophobia against Muslims in the form of organized attacks on mosques, vandalisms, legislation against veiling, controversies over halal products and of course political parties all over the continent that hold anti-Islam/Muslim policies as cornerstones of their agendas.

Domestically, the Islamic bogeyman, the “Green menace” was still alive and well. Rep.Peter King continued his anti-Muslim hearings. The Republican presidential primary debates were like watching the Islamophobic movie Obsession on an endless loop as the GOP hopefuls tried to out-crazy one another to the top post. Sen.Dick Durbin aptly described the Republican primaries, “Now, listen to these Republican candidates for president. They’re at war with Islam.”

Hate crimes didn’t depreciate but remained high according to the SPLC even by the notoriously understated counts of the FBI. It was revealed that Joshua Scaggs stabbed a “Muslim looking man” to “save his country.” Muslims were targeted in New York in a wave of firebombings by a man who wanted to kill “as many Muslims and Arabs as possible.” Arsons, vandalisms and attacks on Mosques and Muslims (or Muslim looking people) were regular features of 2012 LoonViolence. Randolph Linn admitted that he set fire to a Toledo, Ohio Mosque because of what he learned about Muslims “from Fox News.” Shariah hysteria was still being aggressively pushed in the legislatures of some states though in general it saw a retreat.

Robert Spencer refused to debate Danios, finding one excuse after another and another and another. Instead Spencer and Geller continued to use the name of the slain Jessica Mokdad for a conference on the so-called threat of US based “Islamic honor killings,” against the wishes of Mokdad’s bereaved family. At a CPAC panel hosted by AFDI/SIOA, Geller and Spencer’s pal James Lafferty expressed how “proud” he was that most attacks against mosques occur in the South. Geller and Spencer got media attention out of their hate ads comparing Muslims and Arabs to Savages though the attention was overwhelmingly negative.

Eric Allen Bell (aka. Eric Edborg) transformed from documenting hate against the Murfreesboro Mosque to actively participating in it, becoming in the process a pliant and subservient JihadWatch Zombie who regularly engages in the new found hobby of calling for the nuking of Mecca. He eventually decided to take, as he put it, a “sabbatical from my jihad against jihad,” after he, Spencer and Jamie Glazov essentially got roasted in a 3 on 1 debate against a Muslim apologist by the name of Nadir Ahmad.

Brigitte Gabriel spent part of 2012 comparing Muslims to Hitler. The Daily Show skewered the buffoonish Joe “Nuke ‘em” Kafuman who has been relegated to the extremities of irrelevance. Andrew Breitbart kicked the bucket but his “Big” blogs are still going strong.

The Strange phenomenon of well known Muslims being detained at the airport on suspicion of terrorism, such as Shahrukh Khan, Imran Khan and Mohammed “Mo” Farah by oblivious border guards continued. Kevin Forts, a US admirer of the terrorist Anders Breivik penned a letter to his hero who is now serving time in an IKEA furnished Norwegian retreat prison after being declared sane.

Anti-Loons

2012 was also a year in which Islamophobic politicians lost big, most humorously Allen West was kicked to the curb by Floridians. Also losing were Adam Hasner, Joe Walsh, Charles Fuqua and Chip Cravaack, and while Barack Obama’s re-election is not going to change much in the long term it did stave off the possibility of a Mitt Romney presidency that would include the likes of “Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Walid Phares and others who are intimately tied with the Islamophobia movement.”

There were many manifestations of hope against hate as well as efforts for peace and reconciliation between communities. The year saw the story of a “synagogue in a mosque,” Sikhs rallying en masse against the EDL in Leicester, an Imam and a Pastor who used to lead opposing militias joining forces to teach and achieve peace in Nigeria, Pakistan’s deputy attorney general traveling to the Amritsar Golden Temple to clean the shoes of worshippers, Israelis sending Iranians messages of love and calling on their leaders not to go to war, the #MyJihad campaign to reclaim the concept of “Jihad” from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike, CriticalDragon spoke to us about his journey out of Islamophobic darkness and Coughli616 won the internets.

What if they were Muslim?

2012 was also a year that saw many instances of “what if they were Muslim?” A series that we created to point out the obvious fact that all the crimes that are uniquely attributed to “Islam and Muslims” are in fact also carried out by members of other faiths–sometimes uniquely.

Some quick samples: GOP lawmaker calls for bringing back public hangings for abortion providers, Rick Santorum expressed his disgust at the separation of Church and state believing that the Church should have a roll in the operation of government, witch-hunts, forced conversionsterrorism, iconoclasm and calling on Gays to be killed off–all from members of non-Muslim religious traditions.

Important Articles You May Have Missed But Shouldn’t Have

-Muhammad is the 99%

-A Lavish Feast: Hatemongers, Hypocrites and the Hate Du Jour

-Why Do they Hate Us? They Don’t

-TheReligionOfPeace.com: Working to Streamline the American Empire’s War on Terror

-Loon Victory: Muslim Doctor Ousted for FGM Thought Crime

-History’s First Jihad: Was it Justified?

-“The Journal for the Study of Antisemitism” Has An Islamophobia Problem

-Honor Killing and Even More Proof You REALLY Shouldn’t Trust Robert Spencer’s “Scholarship”

-Pamela Geller of AtlasShrugs: Bus Ads Inspired by Ayn Rand’s Racist Views of Arabs and Muslims

-Warrior Monks: The Untold Story of Buddhist Violence (I)

-David Yerushalmi: Pamela Geller’s Anti-Democracy Lawyer & “SION” Senior Member Exposed: The Facts

Conclusion

In conclusion, I must point out that this review article is far from comprehensive–I just barely scratched the surface of Islamophobia in 2012. The jailing of the EDL leadership, the floundering of the BFP, the proliferation of the “Innocence of Muslims” movie and so much more would require at least seven more paragraphs in themselves.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout out to Loonwatchers, who have been patient throughout this past year and stuck with us despite technical mishaps and a new comment system. It really is all of you who make this site special and worth posting articles and continuing documenting, exposing and repelling the anti-Muslim bigots.

Your tips, advice and debates are an important contribution to the fight against those who are ardent to create division and civilizational/cultural conflict. We promise in 2013 to also come through on some of the planned changes to make the site more navigable and for easy access to some of our lengthy series and rebuttals.

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Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage

Posted on 29 December 2011 by Admin

From Molly Norris, one of the Anti-Loons of 2010

(A List of the anti-Loons of 2010.)

That time where we recount and reflect upon the events and happenings of the past year is upon us. A review of 2011 is due in short order, but before we post that piece we will consider the anti-Loons of the year. This time around it would only be fair to allow loonwatchers to vote for the Anti-Loon of the Year. As we can’t create a poll, we present those we found deserving of such a consideration.

It goes without saying that we feature and cite many of Glenn Greenwald’s articles. His research is almost always exhaustive and thorough. The facts he uncovers are intertwined with phenomenal analysis that very often exposes the hypocrisy of the US government, attacks on the rule of law, double standards in media and much more.

A perennial Anti-Loon, Stephen Colbert has joined his creative prowess with biting political satire that is only challenged by his arch-nemesis Jon Stewart. Colbert lent his enormous talents quite a few times in brutally exposing the stupidity of Islamophobia.

 

 

We freakin’ love Jon Stewart! We have his image on the side of our website linking to his page on Comedy Central. He is an inspiration, and what he has done to combat Islamophobia in this country is, in my opinion, equal to the efforts of a Glenn Greenwald.

Wajahat Ali has made an extraordinary contribution towards, on the one hand, “humanizing Muslims” and “Islam” through the arts, and on the other hand factually taking apart the funding of the Islamophobia apparatus in this country. His contribution to the Center for American Progress report entitled Fear, Inc. was one of the biggest stories of the year. For this, co-authors Matt Duss and Eli Clifton deserve an honorable mention as well.

Sheila Musaji has for a long time been taking anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia to task through her website The American Muslim. She has been a premiere defender of justice, equality and freedom, and for her strong stance she draws the ire and scorn of the hatemongers. Keep up the indispensable and valuable work Sheila!

 

Sherrif Lee Baca has been a consistent defender of religious freedom and pluralism. He is someone who actually interacts with Muslims and has taken the effort to understand Islam. In his amazing testimony in front of Congress during the Peter King McCarthyesque hearings he displayed his intricate knowledge of not only Islam but the smears leveled at Muslim leaders and organizations. He provided curt, substantial, factual and logical replies to leading anti-Muslim questions that too often are not rebutted in the mainstream.

Ahmed Rehab is a consistent and seemingly tireless voice for rationality and harmony in our society today. He is one of a handful of Muslims who manages to receive airtime to annihilate any and all Islamophobes he encounters in debate; various Fox News interviews attest to that reality. His participation in the Arab Spring highlights the diversity of his activism. Recently, his article on the “Radical Right” threat to America garnered much attention and is a necessary corrective to the exaggerated focus on conspiracies of “Islamization” and “terrorism.” A point we have been making on this site for quite some time now.

Reza Aslan is one of our favorite scholars. When he is not demolishing Islamophobes in debate he is traveling the country speaking at various venues about Islam, the Muslim world and its interactions with the West. He is also a powerful voice for peace and his exclusive interview with Loonwatch was one of the highlights of the year for us:

 

 

Sarah Posner is one of the foremost writers on religion in America today. Her articles are carried widely across the country in many different venues. Her skill at in-depth analysis of religious trends makes her an important voice when she turns her attention to anti-Muslim and Islamophobic bigotry.

Haroon Mughal is a great writer, with tremendous insight and piercing analysis. He went into the lion’s den when he attended a radical Christian gathering in Detroit that was aimed at having Jesus “invade” the dreams of Muslims and turn them into Christians.

Richard Silverstein is an ally and a friend of Loonwatch. His work detailing the hate amongst extremist Zionists in Israel and their American counterparts has been significant and vital. He is a promoter of peace and is continuing the Jihad of Tikun Olam, “repairing the world.”

 

Cenk Uygur is another perennial favorite of ours on Loonwatch. His show, the Young Turks provides us with much material in exposing the fallacies of right-wing loons:

 

Aasif Mandvi is a special reporter for the Daily Show and one of the shining lights of Muslim comedy in the America today.

 

 

Russel Simmons has been out in front fighting bigotry against all people especially Muslims. He was a prominent voice supporting Park51 and recently bought all the Ad space for the All American Muslim reality show.

The Peter King hearings while bringing forth the ugly populism that lies at the heart of much of our politics also highlighted some courageous and forthright politicians who were willing to take a stand against demagoguery and hatred.

Rep. Keith Ellison’s testimony at the Peter King hearings was heart wrenching. Ellison did a good job over the past year of humanizing Muslims and being a progressive voice for justice and equality in the nation.

A friend and ally of the site, Lesley Hazleton is an erudite scholar with a tremendous sense of humor.

This by far has not been an exhaustive list. Please add any names you think are important to see here and we will update the piece. Below are some more individuals deserving of anti-Loon consideration (*not in any particular order):

*Update: Bob Pitt of Islamophobia-Watch, Muhammed Malik, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Chris Christie, Charles Johnson of LGF, Faiz Shakir, Mikey Weinstein, William Coley, Tariq Jahan.

Max Blumenthal

Spencer Ackerman

Charles Kurzman

Kenny Irwin Jr.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Andrea Elliot

Justin Elliot

Alex Pareene

Zubiru Jalloh

Rais Bhuiyan

Kari Ansari

Mevludin Oric:

Richard Bartholomew:

John Esposito:

Alan Colmes:

Two Young Chechens:

Prof Risa A. Brooks:

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Anti-Loons of the Year: 2010

Posted on 04 January 2011 by Emperor

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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