Right-wing Christian evangelist and famed Skeletor impersonator Pat Robertson is at it again, implying that the Boston Bombings were committed by Muslim terrorists. To be clear for the hundredth time, no one knows who committed this horrible act, or why. And it is completely disrespectful to both the victims of the tragedy, and to the nation’s and world’s Muslim communities to continue to declare that all terrorist actions are committed by Muslims, especially when there is absolutely no evidence to back up these claims. Watch the video here.
ROBERTSON: Our hearts go out to these people who were wounded and injured. On a joyous day, Patriots’ Day, in Boston and the Boston Marathon draws people in from all around the world, about 26 or 7 thousand participants about 17,000 I understand it finished — crossed the finish line before this bomb went off.
But to think that somebody would be so vicious, so evil as to want to kill little children, and maim families who were there rejoicing in a sporting contest on a beautiful day in Boston, it just makes you sick at your stomach. Don’t talk to me about religion of peace, no way.
“Every time you look up — these are angry people, it’s almost like it’s demonic that is driving them to kill and to maim and to destroy and to blow themselves up,” Robertson said of Islam. “It’s a religion of chaos.”
He went on to say, “I hardly think to call it a religion, it’s more of — well, it’s an economic and political system with a religious veneer.”
For example, today on the 700 Club’s “Bring It On” segment where viewers ask Robertson questions, one man wondered how he should go about repairing his marriage with a wife who “insults” him and once tried to attack him.
“Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her,” Robertson responded. “This man’s got to stand up to her and he can’t let her get away with this stuff,” Robertson continued, “I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done.”
He later said the woman is a “rebellious child” and pondered if she has psychological problems. Robertson told the viewer that since he “can’t divorce her according to the Scripture, so I say: move to Saudi Arabia.”
Palestinian Christians take part in the Holy Fire procession on the eve of Orthodox Easter in Gaza City. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)
The story of congregants from the Gaza‘s tiny Christian community being held against their will and forcibly converted to Islam quickly went viral all across the looniverse, and even made its way to countless mainstream news sites.
Christians in overwhelmingly Muslim Gaza have long fretted in private about the survival of their tiny community.
But their fears exploded publicly when two members of the flock recently converted to Islam. Christians staged a rare public protest, accusing Muslims of pulling followers from their faith.
The converts, who had been hiding to evade angry relatives, eventually surfaced and said they voluntarily changed religions. Gaza’s ruling Islamic militant Hamas movement reiterated respect for freedom of worship and Christian institutions. [emphasis mine]
But the uproar highlighted the growing sense of vulnerability among Christians here. They are a dwindling minority among a mostly devout Muslim majority, mostly hemmed into the tiny sliver of land because of movement restrictions imposed by Israel and Egypt. And they say some Muslims are doubling their efforts to convert them, emboldened by the atmosphere of Islamic fervor fostered by Hamas since it seized [sic] power [correction: through parliamentary elections in] Gaza in 2007.
Because there is so little accountability today, even in the professional media, tomorrow’s sensational headlines and misleading stories will likely continue to poison interfaith relations and demonize Islam in the public imagination. The Electronic Intifada was one of the few sites that bothered to dig up the truth:
CBN embellished the story with its own “analysis” claiming that “Forced conversion to Islam is not a new phenomenon in Gaza.”
It is also now making the rounds of virulent Islamophobic websites such as Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch and has also been disseminated by top pro-Israel official William Daroff of The Jewish Federation…
Except that the story is not true.
Voluntary conversions and no coercion
Given the highly sensitive nature of these issues, it was very important that the matter be investigated independently.
The highly respected Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said in a statement that it had pursued “the different declarations and allegations regarding this incident that may affect the Palestinian social fabric.”
It confirmed that:
On Wednesday, 11 July 2012, PCHR received a complaint from the family of Hiba Abu Dawood (31). Based on this complaint, Abu Dawood left with her 3 female children to an unknown location. She then sent a SMS to her husband telling him that she had converted to Islam.
On Sunday, 15 July 2012, PCHR received another similar complaint from the family of Ramez al-Amash. Al-Amashhad left a letter for his family in their house telling them that he converted to Islam and asking them to accept his decision.
PCHR detailed the investigations and mediation that it carried out:
Over the few past days, PCHR held meetings with Abu Dawood and al-Amash and their families. On Thursday, 12 July 2012, PCHR met with Abu Dawood. It is clear that Abu Dawood converted to Islam under her own free will without any coercion.
PCHR also met with al-Amash on Sunday, 15 July 2012. PCHR organized another meeting on Monday, 16 July 2012, between al-Amash and his family.PCHR found out that al-Amashhad also converted to Islam under his own free will without any coercion.
According to information made available to PCHR, al-Amash went back to live with his family after they said that they will accept his decision. Today, 19 July 2012, PCHR organized a meeting between the 3 daughters of Abu Dawood and their father at PCHR’s head office.
PCHR reaffirmed that “the right to freedom of thought and religion that is guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
Christians in Gaza
The position of Christians in Gaza – as in the rest of Palestine – is precarious, not because of forced conversions, but because this is a minority and one that has had a very high rate of emigration.
“Anyone who dares to say that Islamists in Gaza have been repressing us Christians is absolutely wrong and false,” Kamal Tarazi, a Christian man in his forties, told The Electronic Intifada at the YMCA.
That does not mean that occasionally people do not experience some petty harassment, as we also reported:
Riham, 22, who only gave her first name, also said that she felt there had been no difference in terms of neighborly or friendly relations between Christians and Muslims in recent years. But, she said that sometimes as she walks down the street she hears comments from passersby because she does not cover her head.
Given the speed of information, AP has already taken too long.
And given the levels of Islamophobia in much online media, even if AP does correct, the false claims about “forced conversions” will be recycled and embellished to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment and damage Muslim-Christian relations for years to come.
A 700 Club viewer asked Pat Robertson today if he should marry his Muslim girlfriend of three years even though he is a Christian, to which Robertson responded, “no way.” “She wants to do her Muslim thing and you want to do your Christian thing,” Robertson said, “walk away.” He urged him to pray for her to become a Christian, “and if that doesn’t work say, ‘I’m sorry, good bye.’” Robertson, who is no fanof Muslims, explained that it isn’t necessarily Christ-like to be “nice and friendly” as “he’s not gentle Jesus, meek and mild, he really isn’t.”
Everyone knows the Taliban are just the Afghan version of the Pat Robertson’s of the world, right? Pat Robertson was asked on air by a concerned Christian named “Jenny” about a moral quandary she had relating to her roommate’s “Buddha statue.”
Jenny: My friend who is a Christian has a Buddha statue next to her Christian ones. Is this ok?
Pat Robertson, who always speaks Biblically gave a pretty unequivocal answer, “Destroy it.”
Pat Robertson: No its not. Take it away and break it. Break it! Destroy it.
So the message is Christian statues are OK but not Buddhist ones, oh and don’t respect the property of other peoples!
Here at WITWM, we frown upon all acts of religious desecration. When the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in March of 2001 it was not only unIslamic but immoral on many levels. Now Pat Robertson is calling for similar measures, can one imagine if a Muslim Imam had said something similar? As of now there is barely a peep about this. (h/t Critical Dragon)
If Pat Robertson’s CBN News wants to be treated as a credible news source, it probably should stop elevating the story of Kamal Saleem.
Saleem, who was also prominently featured in The Call: Detroit – where he urged other Muslims to convert to Christianity – and told rally attendees that he is the descended of the “Grand Wazir of Islam.” However, the title is not found anywhere in Islam. While preparing for The Call:Detroit, Saleem said that President Obama planned “to break down Article 6” of the Constitution in order to enforce “Islamic law,” warning “if he breaks this, the Sharia law will be supreme in America.”
An investigation by CNN found that Saleem is one of a handful of “fundamentalist Christians posing as ex-terrorists,” and a Middle East studies professor at the conservative Calvin College said his story “is not verifiable and without it he’s no different from other fundamentalist preachers.” Howard even wrote a review of Saleem’s book, which he called “obsessively, sadistically violent,” highlighting Saleem’s many contradictions in his backstory and his blatant and bizarre misrepresentations of Islam, saying, “Suffice it to say that if the subject were Jews, this book could not have been published.” Howard even points out that Focus on the Family, a former employer of Saleem, even had doubts about Saleem’s conversion story.
Haroon Moghul of Religion Dispatches also points out inconsistencies in his story of working for rival Palestinian secular and Islamist groups simultaneously and his claim that as a Muslim he was “allergic to Jesus,” even though Muslims consider Jesus the Messiah.
Why would CBN News bolster such a clear fabricator?
CNN notes that “Saleem, whose real name is Khodor Shami, worked for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network for sixteen years.”
On Friday, CBN’s The 700 Club featured a story on Saleem where he discussed how he tried “to wage Cultural Jihad” in the Bible Belt:
Kamal was seven when his parents sent him to Muslim training camps to learn to use weapons and engage and kill the enemy. The boys were also taught another, more subtle form of warfare…
“We were training for what’s called, ‘Culture Jihad,’ which is shifting cultures. Culture Jihad is unlike the sword, unlike the rifle. It is the Jihad that will come into your world.”
By his 20s, Kamal was chosen to wage Cultural Jihad on America.
“In Islam, liberty, freedom, monarchy, all these are idols and must be brought down. So the liberty that you have in United States of America is anti-Islam, so America must be changed. So I moved to the ‘Bible Belt’ specifically. The Bible Belt was the strongest of the strongest. That’s where the stout Christians are, and I want to take on the best of the best, because I considered myself as the sword of Islam. I thought, ‘I’m anointed. I’m unique. I’m selected. I’m coming to a country and a culture to change it. I have the power of Allah with me.’”
Spencer told Robertson, who was upset that no one in the media was telling “the truth about this cult,” that the “hard left” media hate America and Christianity, and therefore “love” radical Islam. Later in the program, Robertson blasted the “anti-American” media for embracing “something out of the Eighth Century B.C.” (note: Muhammad was born in 570 AD) and denounced Islam for supposedly endorsing violence and restricting the rights of women (things Robertson has never, ever supported).
Robertson: Tell me what it is about the media today that seems to be in favor of radical Islam, why do they want to put down anybody who tells the truth about this cult?
Spencer: Well I tell you I think the unpleasant truth about it is, is that the media being hard left is essentially anti-American. And so anything that’s American, that’s Western, that’s Christian, that’s Judeo-Christian, they hate. And so they see Islam and it’s non-Western and non-Christian and they love it.
Robertson: ladies and gentlemen, it’s out there. You know, you ask the media in this country: What in name is wrong with you? Are you so anti-American, are you so opposed to this great nation and the freedoms you have that you want to embrace something out of the Eighth Century B.C. that restricts the role of women and causes hideous fighting, jihad, the killing of innocent civilians? Why do you embrace that? And you ask yourself, the media in America, why do you embrace that? You’re living in the freest, nicest, most beautiful nation on earth, what’s wrong with you? Wake up!
NEW YORK (PIX11)— Former presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, is cashing in on the upcoming, 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks by marketing an educational “cartoon” about the events that sent the United States back to war.
“You can go to Learn Our History.com,” Huckabee told viewers this week on Pat Robertson‘s “700 Club” cable show. The one-timeArkansas governor is producing a series of DVD’s, and he told the TV audience, “The first one’s $9.95, and then it goes to $11.95.”
“Someone to profit off the worst day in American history is unheard of,” fumed retired, FDNY fire chief, Jim Riches, who lost his firefighter son, Jim Jr., on 9/11.
“Three thousand Americans were murdered, and it’s for his personal gain. I think it’s blood money,” Riches told PIX 11.
A preview of Huckabee’s cartoon for the “Time Cycle Academy” shows a plane heading toward the Twin Towers on a clear day, with someone shouting below “No!” before the jet crashes into the first tower. The cartoon also shows a “Wanted” poster for Al Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden — long before he was fatally shot by U.S. Navy Seals this past May — portraying an animated Bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan, as he proclaims, “The time for jihad is upon us, death to the Americans!”
When PIX 11 traveled to the Tribute Center right next to Ground Zero on Wednesday, a Utah tourist, Heather Robertson, said this about Huckabee’s history lesson: “I don’t know if I like it in cartoon form.” Robertson continued, “I think it diminishes what took place on 9/11.”
A laborer named Frankie, who was working in a hard-hat re-building World Trade Center Tower 4, said this about Huckabee’s efforts, “Then do it for free. He’s about making money. He ain’t about teaching anybody anything. If he’s doing not-for-profit, then that’s a different story. But I’m sure he’s making money on it.”
David Yi, a Korean immigrant who lives in New Jersey, did not think the cartoon was such a bad idea for kids. “We have to teach them freedom to protect ourselves,” he told PIX 11.
Huckabee’s representatives have not been responding to requests for comment.
Jim Riches had plenty more to say, however. “I think for politicians trying to teach our kids, we’re in trouble. Leave it to the teachers, the educators.”
Riches also noted the recently-passed Zadroga Law to help sick, 9/11 “First Responders” leaves certain people out. “The people who have cancer aren’t even going to be covered,” Riches told PIX 11. “And I think that would be another good place to put the money, instead of putting it in his pocket.”
On the 700 Club today, Pat Robertson once again spoke out against American Muslims, singling out the construction of mosques and the purported threat of creeping Sharia law. Robertson likened critics of Muslims to opponents of Nazis and rejected claims that his opposition to rights for Muslims is bigotry, asking, “I wonder what were people who opposed the Nazis, were they bigots?”
“Why is it bigoted to resist Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and to say we don’t want to live under Nazi Germany?” Robertson said. “But oh it’s bigoted if we speak out against a force that slowly but surely is trying to exercise domination over the world.”