Robert Spencer

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Geert Wilders

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The Nuclear Card

Pennsylvania “Sharia Court”: Loons Jump the Gun AGAIN on Ginned up “Legal Jihad”

Posted on 26 February 2012 by Ilisha

Zombie Atheists

Zombie Pope and Zombie Muhammad Marching in a Halloween Parade

by Ilisha

(H/T: CriticalDragon1177)

All across the looniverse, there is an uproar over an alleged triumph of Sharia in a Pennsylvania court case presided over by a “Muslim” judge.  It’s not the first time anti-Muslim bigots pounced on a story of so-called “legal jihad” before they got their facts straight.

This time, Pennsylvania State Director of American Atheists, Ernest Perce V, was parading down the street as “Zombie Muhammad,” when an outraged Muslim bystander allegedly grabbed him, choked him from behind, and attempted to remove a “Muhammad of Islam” sign from around his neck. Both men complained to  police, Perce for assault and Elbayomy because he apparently thought insulting Islam was a criminal offense.

Perce filed charges, but a judge dismissed the case after he allegedly said, “I’m a Muslim,” and chastised the atheist in question for his misinterpretation and lack of understanding concerning Islam. Judge Martin is not a Muslim, and later said himself he is Lutheran.

Parts of the court video are garbled, and it seems he either misspoke or part of his statement was inaudible.  In any case, his statements and decision to dismiss the case have sparked a fresh controversy over  the limits of free speech.

The judge said in part:

Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it. That makes you look like a doofus…

Here in our society, we have a constitution that gives us many rights, specifically, First Amendment rights. It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers really intended. I think our forefathers intended that we use the First Amendment so that we can speak our mind, not to piss off other people and other cultures, which is what you did.

I don’t think you’re aware, sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – uh, I understand you’re an atheist. But, see, Islam is not just a religion, it’s their culture, their culture. It’s their very essence, their very being. They pray five times a day towards Mecca. To be a good Muslim, before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca unless you are otherwise told you cannot because you are too ill, too elderly, whatever. But you must make the attempt…

Then what you have done is you’ve completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very, very, very offensive. I’m a Muslim, I find it offensive. [Unintelligble] aside was very offensive.

But you have that right, but you’re way outside your bounds on First Amendment rights.

Pamela Geller’s hate site, Atlas Shrugs, blared the headline: “AMERICAN MUSLIM JUDGE WHO IMPOSED SHARIA IN PENNSYLVANIA COURT THREATENS TO JAIL INFIDEL VICTIM FOR BLASPHEMY — RELEASING RECORDED AUDIO OF THE CASE

The inflammatory headline was followed by, “Infidel victim, Ernest Perce, has received 471 verifiable threats.” No source was cited to substantiate the claim.

Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch declared:

This is enforcement of Sharia in a Pennsylvania court. The attacker supposedly got off because he “is an immigrant and claims he did not know his actions were illegal, or that it was legal in this country to represent Muhammad in any form. To add insult to injury, he also testified that his 9 year old son was present, and the man said he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet.”

Though part of the statement on Jihad Watch is in quotes, it’s unclear who Spencer is quoting. A full transcript of the judges statement is here, and the defendant’s immigrant status and lack of legal knowledge are not cited as reasons for dismissing the case.

Spencer also doesn’t explain how this is an example of Sharia. What Islamic Law did the judge cite in this case? Spencer doesn’t say, and apparently that’s fine with his no-evidence-required audience.

Although Eugene Volokh of  The Volokh Conspiracy strongly disagreed with the judge’s decision, he said:

…This is not a situation where the judge “applied Sharia law” in any normal sense of the phrase. The judge claimed that he simply didn’t find enough evidence against the defendant. Perhaps the judge was biased against the victim because of the victim’s anti-Muslim speech, but an anti-Sharia law wouldn’t have helped avoid that. More broadly, a law banning judges from “consider[ing] … Sharia Law” (in the words of the Oklahoma anti-Sharia amendment) wouldn’t keep judges from concluding that someone who insults members of other religious groups should be admonished, punished, or even stripped of the right to legal protection — they would just conclude this based on their own notions of refraining from offending other groups….

The case has nothing do with Sharia, and everything to do with the interpretation and application of American Law.

In the US, free speech is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and in most cases, speech that is distasteful, inflammatory, racist, sexist, or even outright hate speech, is usually permitted. However, there are exceptions, including ”fighting words” and “incitement to imminent lawless action.” Though the judge did tell the plaintiff it was his opinion he’d gone way outside the bounds of free speech, this was not the stated reason for dismissing the case.

In response to the controversy, Judge Martin gave a statement clarifying :  ((H/T: Just Stopping By)

This story certainly has legs. As you might imagine, the public is only getting the version of the story put out by the “victim” (the atheist). Many, many gross misrepresentations. Among them: I’m a Muslim, and that’s why I dismissed the harassment charge (Fact: if anyone cares, I’m actually Lutheran, and have been for at least 41 years).

I also supposedly called him and threatened to throw him in jail if he released the tapes he had made in the courtroom without my knowledge/permission (Fact: HE called ME and told me that he was ready to “go public” with the tapes and was wondering what the consequences would be; I advised him again to not disseminate the recording, and that I would consider contempt charges; he then replied that he was “willing to go to jail for (his) 1st amendment rights”- I never even uttered the word “jail” in that conversation).

He said that I kept a copy of the Quran on the bench (fact: I keep a Bible on the bench, but out of respect to people with faiths other than Christianity, I DO have a Quran on the bookcase BESIDE my bench, and am trying to acquire a Torah, Book of Mormon, Book of Confucius and any other artifacts which those with a faith might respect).

He claims that I’m biased towards Islam, apparently because he thinks I’m Muslim. In fact, those of you who know me, know that I’m an Army reservist with 27 years of service towards our country (and still serving). I’ve done one tour in Afghanistan, and two tours in Iraq, and am scheduled to return to Afghanistan for a year this summer. During my first tour in Iraq, I was ambushed once, attacked by a mob once, sniped at once, and rocketed, bombed, and mortared so many times that I honestly don’t know how many time I’ve been attacked. Presumably by Muslim insurgents. My point: if anyone SHOULD be biased towards Muslims, one would think it would be me. I’m not, however, because I personally know or have met many good, decent people who follow Islam, and I shouldn’t characterize the actions of those who tried to kill me as characterizations of all Muslims.

When I asked him why he dressed up as “Muhammad zombie,” he told me that it was because he was reflecting the Muslim belief that Muhammad rose from the dead, walked as a zombie, and then went to heaven. That was one of the reasons I tried to spend 6 whole minutes trying to explain and de-mystify Islam through my own knowledge, and in an attempt to prevent an incident like this recurring in my community. Unfortunately, the message was obviously not received in the vein that I had intended. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I did use the word “doofus,” but didn’t call him that directly; I said something akin to “ if you’re going to mock another religion or culture, you should check your facts, first- otherwise, you’ll look like a doofus.”;

In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.

A lesson learned here: there’s a very good reason for Rule 112 of Rules of Criminal Procedure- if someone makes an unauthorized recording in a Court not of Record, there’s no way to control how it might be manipulated later, and then passed off as the truth. We’ve received dozens upon dozens of phone calls, faxes, and e-mails. There are literally hundreds of not-so-nice posts all over the internet on at least 4 sites that have carried this story, mainly because I’ve been painted as a Muslim judge who didn’t recuse himself, and who’s trying to introduce Sharia law into Mechanicsburg.

Attempts to link the case to Islamic Law are illogical and absurd, but will no doubt provide convincing “evidence” for those already inclined to believe “creeping sharia” is a genuine threat to America.

However, the case may very well spark a wider debate. The idea that a judge may have sacrificed free speech on the alter of religious and cultural sensitivity is bound to attract attention, especially as Western democracies increasingly grapple with issues of multiculturalism, provocation, and the boundaries of free speech.

**********

The judge’s controversial statements begin in minute 29:

119 Comments For This Post

  1. Glorfindel Says:

    I saw this on yahoo news and thought something doesn’t smell quite right here…turns out the stench is the same old (how very old) cretins, Spencer, Geller and their witless horde.

    I think on balance the Judge should have dismissed the case and not bothered to educate the moron who thought Mohammed rose from the dead (I think you would find it was Jesus who did that in Christianity). I don’t think it should be the job of lawmakers to cure ignorance that should be the job of the Schools but they are pretty much fucked as well – so what are you going to do? I think his dismissing the case was probably to do with lack of evidence, but also I think he (if he is a religious man) is aware of bigotry dressed up as ‘Athiesm/Secularism’ and how they selectively picked targets – Muslims/Catholics – never Jewish figures or Jesus or Evangelicals.

    Funny they didn’t do a Zombie Jesus did they? What with the whole country being drunk on Jesus juice anyways vis-a-vis the Republican Race; he probably would’ve got more then a bruising if he insulted the ostensible ‘son of God’, heck he might have found himself being labelled a crypto-Muslim in the Geller/Spencer arse-dribbling analysis afterward!

    I guess when you life is dedicated to eradicating the world of various forms of Islam, you jump at anything the electrifies your otherwise oxygen starved cranium.

    It all seems to be a bit of a to do about nothing if you ask me.

  2. JT Says:

    The loons are desperately looking for cases to demonstrate that Sharia Law is taking over America. They can’t find anything so they have to resort to this.

    The judge seems like a good man and it’s outrageous that Islamophobes are tarnishing his reputation in their campaign against Islam.

  3. QulifiedAgnostic Says:

    Not meaning to offend, but militant atheists who engage in this kind of shit aren’t just doofuses, they are complete dumbasses.

    I’m obviously agnostic, but I still devote time to learning about beliefs other than my own. This also gives me respect and sensitivity for those beliefs through understanding.

    Also, Muslims, whenever seeing Islam ridiculed are urged to treat the offender with kindness and pray for him/her. Thus, the Muslim man’s attack was unjustified, however it was also understandable since that guy’s messages were also deeply inciting and offensive.

    And lastly, Geller as well are complete idiots. They need to be debunked much in the same manner as Shoebat was.

  4. QulifiedAgnostic Says:

    This only serves to illustrate the anti-religion fanaticism and brazenness so often displayed by militant atheists…

  5. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    Ilisha,

    I’m glad you we’re able to do something with the story I told you about. I hope this goes a long way towards showing people just how baseless the sharia threat really is.

  6. deccal Says:

    muslim man attacked. thats all there is to it. the 2nd amendment allows people to denigrate Muhammed all they want. This judge who claims that this is not allowed by the 2nd amendment is an idiot, and I expect him to be disbarred soon.

  7. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Deccal

    Sorry but I have to correct you. The second amendment is the one dealing with the right to keep and bear arms, not free speech, that’s the first amendment. Plus the person was supposedly attacked in this case was not a Muslim. It was the guy who supposedly did the attacking that was a Muslim.

  8. Truth Seeker Says:

    Why are the Catholics not protesting about their Holy Father being portrayed as a Zombie?The Muslims must suffer from guilty conscience.Mohammad never rose from the dead.His bones could still be founf buried in Madina.Muslims have great imagination to make up fake stories.Muslims are the true ZOMBIES who can not think rationally for themselves.

  9. WebDawah Says:

    The judge was being respectful. I however, will call the defendant a doofus. He did not even understand his own reference of the Qur’an, yet he proudly displays it on the video like typical Robert Spencer “scholarship.”

  10. Nadir Says:

    Great, balanced article on this topic. Particularly what you acknowledge in the last paragraph. Where do we draw the line?

    Personally, I think what the aethiest was doing was legal and he should be able to act like an idiot without fear of physical violence, I think the judge overstepped his bounds and violated the separation between church and state with his lecture to the victim (not his verdict) – whether the judge was Muslim, Luthern, or agnostic.

    The context strongly suggested that the judge said “I’m not Muslim.”

  11. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Truth Seeker

    You don’t get it do you? Look at this story more carefully. Look at how quickly the top counter jihad blogs like Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs jumped on this without getting their facts straight. Look at how they saw a Muslim Judge imposing his religion on Americans, when the Judge in question who made the ruling did not base his decision on sharia but American law, and he wasn’t even a Muslim. Regardless of weather or not he made the right decision in the case, there is no Islamization, there is no creeping sharia. The United States is not in any danger of becoming an Islamic theocracy, and neither is the west in general. But you don’t see that, or you refuse to see it. Instead you just come here and insult Muslims. Please Truth Seeker, please admit that you were wrong. Do yourself a favor, and wake up from the Islamophobic nightmare.

  12. mindy1 Says:

    Friggen hysteria does NOT help

  13. Susie Says:

    @deccal The 2nd ammendment is the right to bear arms. And the judge dismissed the case because of lack of evidence for the dude’s claims. Read the article again.

  14. WebDawah Says:

    The judge clearly said “I’m not Muslim, I find it offensive.”

  15. Solid Snake Says:

    I am a Muslim as many of you would know *GASP!*

    1. The atheist had all the right to do what he pleased under US law. Do I like it? NO, but too bad I am not allowed legally to do anything. nor would I do anything physical to stop him because words (or intellect) are sharper than swords..or something.

    2. if the Judge dismissed it because he offended us Muslims Then I am in disagreement despite it being a verdict in our favor. I dont want any Judge to dismiss any act of violence because the victims actions “offended” us. The atheist has free speech and can offend as many people as he likes.

    3. If he dismissed the case due to insufficient evidence then I am with him all the way. That is the law.

    4. It doesn’t matter if he lectured the atheist about religion. It did not factor in his verdict. He could give a sermon as long as it does not factor into his final verdict.

  16. QulifiedAgnostic Says:

    Freedom of speech doesn’t include extremely offensive material which is likely to incite.

  17. Farlowe Says:

    The judge , I believe, dismissed the charge through lack of evidence. And that is fair enough. That happens all the time. But I don’t believe any judge has the job description to let him lecture anyone about any religion even if the person he is talking to shows a complete lack of knowledge. If I lectured people about religion (or atheism) in my job I would get sacked. It is not my role.

  18. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Ilisha

    I wonder if Spencer or Geller will continue to run with this story now that their error has been expose. I wonder if they’ll just try to act like they never made the mistake or if they’ll just say Judge Martin was lying and that he really is a Muslim out to impose sharia, or they’ll try to find some other reason why this should still matter.

  19. Ilisha Says:

    @CriticalDragon1177

    It would be interesting to go through some of the sites and see if they’ve made updates, in this case and others. In my experience, they aren’t very concerned with being truthful or accurate.

    But in the case of the Catholic University story we posted previously, where Muslims weren’t behind the legal complaint in question, it was The Blaze, a right wing site founded by Glenn Beck, that helped set the record straight. I was surprised by that.

    Islamophobes Jump the Gun on Ginned up “Jihad” Against Catholic University
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/11/islamophobes-jump-the-gun-on-ginned-up-jihad-against-catholic-university/

  20. Nadir Says:

    @solid snake: I like what you’re saying, but disagree with point 4: It doesn’t matter if he lectured the atheist about religion. It did not factor in his verdict. He could give a sermon as long as it does not factor into his final verdict.

    Yes, it does matter. He was doing it from the bench to a captive audience. That’s highly inappropriate.

  21. Believing Atheist Says:

    I support Zombie Muhammad, anti-semitic language/anti-semites, homophobes and Islamophobes and all other bigots for the same reason Noam Chomsky does.

    Chomsky says: “On the contrary, it would make it all the more imperative to defend them since, once again, it has been a truism for years, indeed centuries, that it is precisely in the case of horrendous ideas that the right of free expression must be most vigorously defended; it is easy enough to defend free expression for those who require no such defense.”
    http://www.chomsky.info/articles/19801011.htm

    Chomsky wrote this when he defended an anti-semite and Holocaust denier called Robert Faurisson. I also was against the trial of David Irving and Geert Wilders. I support both of their rights to spew bigotry.

    I will give any bigot intellectual support if that bigot is persecuted and attacked for what he/she says i.e., for his/her ideas.

  22. Jack Cope Says:

    The most amusing part here was the guy who got his religions confused… no wonder the Judge had a bit of a face palm and tried to clear this up for him.

    But yes, it shows the intellectual caliber of all these people, both the incident and the reaction to it. It is only because they are so bone headed and noisy fanaticism that keeps this all alive. Think of Mr Pork, he’s been commenting the same shite day in day out for years on this site! How can you fight that…

    Jack

  23. Solid Snake Says:

    @Nadir

    “Yes, it does matter. He was doing it from the bench to a captive audience. That’s highly inappropriate.”

    It depends. In this case I believe it was appropriate only because the Judge was attempting to promote understanding.

    Now, if the Judge promoted religion chronically, in every case that he has presided over, then that is inappropriate. In this case it was relevant. had it been a traffic accident case and he began to lecture the person regarding any religion then that would constitute some sort of abuse on the Judges part. Its all about context and whether the subject is relevant to whatever case he is presiding over.

  24. QulifiedAgnostic Says:

    Farlowe,

    OK, but you do realize that this is a judge, and part of his job does in fact include hearing cases dealing with religion and explaining to individuals such as this case his ruling….

  25. QulifiedAgnostic Says:

    Believing atheist,

    I too support freedom of speech. And I think that is also a value in Islam as well. However, in the U.S., freedom of speech does not cover things which are extremely offensive and can incite, and it was based on this in which the judge made his justified ruling.

  26. JD Says:

    Militia leader told informant he would kill police

    http://news.yahoo.com/militia-leader-told-informant-kill-police-004212659.html

    DETROIT (Reuters) – The leader of a Midwestern militia group bragged to an FBI informant in secretly recorded conversations played this week at his federal trial that he would kill police and their families to try to keep other officers from enforcing federal laws.

    David Brian Stone Sr., one of seven members of a group called the Hutaree facing trial on federal charges that they were plotting to kill police to spark a wider insurrection, did not say what would trigger the attack.

    “The guys with the little stars on their chest are enforcing all the new world order laws,” Stone could be heard saying on one recording made by the informant. “We’re going to pop ‘em.

    Defense attorneys have contended the Hutaree was a social group whose members were exercising their right of free speech. Prosecutors on Thursday and Friday sought to prove otherwise with the recordings and testimony by the informant.

    “Now am I going to be cruel and mean? Yeah, I’m going to take the ID’s of the first guys that we shoot, and we’ll go back to their houses and burn their houses down. And if I kill their wives and their children inside, well then so be it, because I’m sending a message to the rest of them,” Stone said at one point.

    That message, Stone says on the recording, is that, “Every time you respond to a call, your family is on the line … .”

    Stone and the informant, Dan Murray, 57, of Dearborn, Michigan, were heard agreeing that police officers are allowed by fellow officers to get away with drunk driving, speeding and even shootings in the name of the “brotherhood.”

    On Friday, defense attorney James Thomas sought to discredit Murray, a key prosecution witness who spied on the Hutaree from late 2008 to January 2010.

    Under questioning by Thomas, who represents defendant Joshua Stone, the son of David Brian Stone Sr., Murray said he did not pay taxes on about $25,000 the FBI gave him, usually by cash in an envelope, when he met with his FBI contact for lunch.

    Murray said he has a full-time job as an internet technology specialist that pays at least $100,000, and did not infiltrate the Hutaree for the money paid by the FBI.

    Murray also disclosed that he had been sentenced to probation for a 2010 incident in which during an argument with his wife he fired a gun into a door, but not in her direction.

    In another incident that year, Murray said he had stabbed himself in the abdomen during a heated argument with his wife and initially told police his wife had stabbed him.

    The cross-examination of Murray is to continue Monday. An FBI agent is expected to testify for prosecutors as the case unfolds.

    The trial is expected to take about eight weeks before U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts. It began on February 13.

    The trial is the latest instance of the U.S. government prosecuting what it views as a growing threat of violence from home-grown anti-government extremists, the most dramatic case of which was the 1995 bombing of an Oklahoma City government building that killed 168 people.

    As of late 2011, there were about 250 active militia groups in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The Hutaree militia is classified as a militia with a religious twist because it has a militia ideology and activities, and maintains contacts with other groups, the ADL has said.

    Defense attorneys have argued the group did not demonstrate real intent to carry out acts of terrorism and no attacks were carried out.

    Prosecutors contend the group had met regularly since 2008 to conduct military style training and were preparing for an upcoming attack when authorities executed search warrants and swept them up in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

    Federal agents seized machine guns, unregistered short-barrel guns, ammunition, explosive devices and materials that could be used to make explosives, according to court documents.

    The charges against all seven include sedition, the attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and firearms offenses. Nine members of the group were indicted, one pleaded guilty and trial has been delayed for another suspect.

  27. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Ilisha

    You wrote,
    ————————————————————————–
    It would be interesting to go through some of the sites and see if they’ve made updates, in this case and others. In my experience, they aren’t very concerned with being truthful or accurate.

    But in the case of the Catholic University story we posted previously, where Muslims weren’t behind the legal complaint in question, it was The Blaze, a right wing site founded by Glenn Beck, that helped set the record straight. I was surprised by that.

    Islamophobes Jump the Gun on Ginned up “Jihad” Against Catholic University
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/11/islamophobes-jump-the-gun-on-ginned-up-jihad-against-catholic-university/
    ————————————————————————–

    I know, if they were really concerned about accuracy and they did their research, few if any of them would still believe in these anti Muslim conspiracies, as well as the idea that Islam is the cause most of the world’s terrorism. There’s just too much that contradicts all that. It is kind of surprising through that Glenn Beck would be the one to site the record straight. You wouldn’t think that, especially since he’s still part of the Islamophobic machine, is he not?

  28. Nadir Says:

    @solid snake: I get what you’re saying. Not sure I agree, but that’s a fair point.

  29. Believing Atheist Says:

    @QA,

    Law Professor Jonathon Turley of George Washington University has stated that from a legal perspective what the Judge did was unconstitutional.

    “The reference to the cultural motivations for assaulting Perce seems to raise a type of cultural defense. I have spent years discussing this issue with state and federal judges on the proper role of culture in criminal and civil cases. This is not a case where I would view that defense as properly raised. There are certainly constitutional (and yes cultural) norms that must be accepted when joining this Republic. One is a commitment to free speech. If culture could trump free speech, the country would become the amalgamation of all extrinsic cultures — protecting no one by protecting everyone’s impulses. Those countries referenced by the court took a different path — a path away from civil liberties and toward religious orthodoxy. It is a poor example to raise except as an example of what we are not. The fact that this man may have formed his views in such an oppressive environment does not excuse his forcing others to adhere to his religious sentiments.”
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/24/pennsylvania-judge-throws-out-charge-for-harassing-atheist-while-calling-the-victim-a-doofus/

    The atheist should file an appeal and see if the Judge can be disbarred.

  30. HGG Says:

    “Funny they didn’t do a Zombie Jesus did they?”

    According to this, yes, they did Zombie Jesus, too.

    http://skepchick.org/2012/02/zombie-muhammad-vs-zealot/

  31. H. Torrance Griffin Says:

    The Zombie Mohammed (or Zombie ) probably crossed the line to needless Provo. Jumping the fellow did the cause of Muslims no good. The judge should have fined both of them for being fools. The RightBlogophere demonstrated their usual respect for reality and facts. NEXT!

  32. HGG Says:

    “The Zombie Mohammed (or Zombie ) probably crossed the line to needless Provo.”

    No, he didn’t.

    And the Law Professor BA quoted is exactly right. The judge should be disbarred.

  33. JD Says:

    NYPD wrongly uses White House anti-drug grant to spy on Muslim neighborhoods.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/nypd-muslim-surveillance_n_1303400.html

    WASHINGTON — Millions of dollars in White House money has helped pay for New York Police Department programs that put entire American Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance.

    The money is part of a little-known grant intended to help law enforcement fight drug crimes. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA.

    Some of that money – it’s unclear exactly how much because the program has little oversight – has paid for the cars that plainclothes NYPD officers used to conduct surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods. It also paid for computers that store even innocuous information about Muslim college students, mosque sermons and social events.

    When NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly was filled in on these efforts, his briefings were prepared on HIDTA computers.

    The AP confirmed the use of White House money through secret police documents and interviews with current and former city and federal officials. The AP also obtained electronic documents with digital signatures indicating they were created and saved on HIDTA computers. The HIDTA grant program is overseen by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    The disclosure that the White House is at least partially paying for the NYPD’s wholesale surveillance of places where Muslims eat, shop, work and pray complicates efforts by the Obama administration to stay out of the fray over New York’s controversial counterterrorism programs. The administration has championed outreach to American Muslims and has said law enforcement should not put entire communities under suspicion.

    The Obama administration, however, has pointedly refused to endorse or repudiate the NYPD programs it helps pay for. The White House last week declined to comment on its grant payments.

    John Brennan, Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, last year called the NYPD’s efforts “heroic” but would not elaborate. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose department also gives grant money to the NYPD and is one of the lead federal agencies helping police build relationships with Muslims, has refused in recent months to discuss the police tactics. Tom Perez, the Justice Department’s top civil rights lawyer, has repeatedly refused to answer questions about the NYPD.

    Outside Washington, the NYPD’s efforts drew increased criticism last week. College administrators at Yale, Columbia and elsewhere issued harsh rebukes for NYPD’s infiltration of Muslim student groups and its monitoring of school websites. New Jersey’s governor and the mayor of its largest city have complained about the NYPD’s widespread surveillance there, outside New York’s police jurisdiction.

    The White House HIDTA grant program was established at the height of the drug war to help police fight drug gangs and unravel supply routes. It has provided about $2.3 billion to local authorities in the past decade.

    After the terror attacks, law enforcement was allowed to use some of that money to fight terrorism. It’s unclear how much HIDTA money has been used to pay for the intelligence division, in part because NYPD intelligence operations receive scant oversight in New York.

    Congress, which approves the money for the program, is not provided with a detailed breakdown of activities. None of the NYPD’s clandestine programs is cited in the New York-New Jersey region’s annual reports to Congress between 2006 and 2010.

    NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not respond to questions the AP sent to him in two emails about the White House money and the department’s intelligence division.

    Most of the money from the White House grants in New York and New Jersey has been spent fighting drugs, said Chauncey Parker, director of the program there. He said less than $1.3 million was spent on vehicles used by the NYPD intelligence unit.

    “Those cars are used to collect and analyze counterterrorism information with the goal of preventing a terrorist attack in New York City or anywhere else,” Parker said. “If it’s been used for specific counterterrorism effort, then it’s been used to pay for those cars.”

    Former police officials told the AP those vehicles have been used to photograph mosques and record the license plates of worshippers.

    In addition to paying for the cars, the White House money pays for part of the office space the intelligence division shares with other agencies in Manhattan.

    When police compiled lists of Muslims who took new, Americanized names, they kept those records on HIDTA computer servers. That was ongoing as recently as October, city officials said.

    Many NYPD intelligence officers, including those that conducted surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods, had HIDTA email addresses. Briefing documents for Kelly, the police commissioner, were compiled on HIDTA computers. Those documents described what police informants were hearing inside mosques and which academic conferences Muslim scholars attended.

    When police wanted to pay a confidential informant, they were told to sign onto the HIDTA website to file the paperwork, according to a 2007 internal document obtained by the AP.

    Parker said the White House grant money was never used to pay any of the NYPD intelligence division’s confidential informants. The HIDTA computer systems, he said, are platforms that allow different law enforcement agencies to share information and work.

    “I am shocked to hear that federal dollars may have helped finance the NYPD’s misguided efforts to spy on Muslims in America,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., one of 34 members of Congress who have asked the Justice Department and House Judiciary Committee to investigate the NYPD.

    The connection between NYPD and the White House anti-drug grant program surfaced years ago, during a long-running civil rights lawsuit against police. Civil rights attorneys asked in court about a “demonstration debriefing form” that police used whenever they arrested people for civil disobedience. The form carried the seal of both the NYPD Intelligence Division and HIDTA.

    A city lawyer downplayed any connection. She said the NYPD and HIDTA not only shared office space, they also shared office supplies like paper. The NYPD form with the seal of a White House anti-drug program was “a recycled piece of paper that got picked up and modified,” attorney Gail Donoghue told a federal judge in 2003.

    The issue died in court and was never pursued further.

    Last week, the controversy over NYPD’s programs drew one former Obama administration official into the discussion.

    After the AP revealed an extensive program to monitor Muslims in Newark, N.J., police there denied knowing anything about it. The Newark police director at the time, Garry McCarthy, has since moved on to lead Chicago’s police department where President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is now the mayor.

    “We don’t do that in Chicago and we’re not going to do that,” Emanuel said last week.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the NYPD surveillance in his state was “disturbing” and has asked the attorney general to investigate. Christie was New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor and sat on the HIDTA executive board during 2006 and 2007 when the NYPD was conducting surveillance in New Jersey cities. Christie said he didn’t know that, in 2007, the NYPD catalogued every mosque and Muslim business in Newark, the state’s largest city.

    “I kind of think I would have remembered that,” he said on Fox Business News last week.

  34. JD Says:

    Santorum: Separation Of Church And State ‘Makes Me Want To Throw Up’
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/santorum-church-and-state_n_1302246.html

    Rick Santorum on Sunday took on separation of church and state.

    “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute,” he told ‘This Week’ host George Stephanopoulos. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

    The GOP candidate was responding to comments he made last October. He had said that he “almost threw up” after reading JFK’s 1960 speech in which he declared his commitment to the separation of church and state.

    Santorum also on Sunday told Meet The Press host David Gregory that separation of church and state was “not the founders’ vision.”

    The GOP candidate has been doubling down on religious rhetoric in an effort to court evangelical voters ahead of Super Tuesday. Last week, he questioned Obama’s spiritual beliefs.

    “[Obama believes in] some phony ideal, some phony theology … not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology,” he said.
    =================
    More proof of Christian Sharia take over of America <–insert racist bigot comment and call to deport them all

  35. Jeff Says:

    Interesting the way you Photoshop the words on the atheists sign in your photos and videos. What else have you altered to prove your case? Now you claim there are words garbled by the judge. In this country we cherish free speech whether you like it or not. What about the atheist’s beliefs? He may very well find Muslim traditional clothing offensive. He does not physically assault you. Your reasoning and justification is fundamentally flawed. You have offered martyrdom to the Atheist and his cause.

  36. Ilisha Says:

    @Jeff

    We didn’t Photoshop at all. Where’s an original for comparison?

    How do the words on the sign serve our agenda, and what is that agenda according to you?

    [NOTE: Based on his email/IP address, is a new "Jeff" and not the one who just convinced us on another thread that he was sincere and here to do research in good faith.]

  37. Just Stopping By Says:

    @Ilisha and @Jeff: Here is a video of the parade, with the sign in question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP-X3hpCfR8. The sign matches the image used by Loonwatch.

  38. Rocky Lore Says:

    No surprise that LoonWatch is yet blaming the victim of a savage attack by a “peaceful” Muslim…again. This IS Sharia Law because the Muslim got away with it. Just like what happened to Rhea Page.

    By the way, LoonWatch, why didn’t Christians attack the real victim (no, it’s not the Muslim) when he had ZOmbie Jesus and Zombie Pope. LoonWatch believes in one set of laws for Muslims and one set for everyone else.

  39. TheBig-T Says:

    @ Rocky Load

  40. Rajesh Says:

    The judge sounds like a fair minded man to me. This incident proves that atheists are just as prone to radicalism and degenerate behavior as religious fanatics. Denigrating entire communities is not free speech. Imagine the outrage if American soldiers aka war criminals were treated in such a way, the outrage and no one would be saying free speech then.

  41. Ilisha Says:

    Just for clarification, there were two major points I wanted to make in publishing this article:

    (1) The judge is not a Muslim.

    (2) The decision was not based on Sharia.

    People who plainly don’t have the first clue about Islamic Law immediately made the unsubstantiated claim the judge based his decision on Sharia.

    Sharia is derived primarily from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Did the judge cite some primary or secondary source of Islamic Law? Did he mention Islamic jurisprudence or Islamic case law of any kind? If he did, please show me the evidence.

    The judge is not a Muslim and he didn’t employ Sharia. If someone wants to say otherwise, produce the evidence.

    As for the judge, the atheist, and the Muslim involved in the case, I tried to be neutral and not take sides. Please cite the portion of the article where I clearly stated one of these parties was right or wrong.

    Also, I am a huge advocate of free speech. I admire and cherish the American legal system, the Constitution, and the broad interpretation of the First Amendment that usually characterizes our court rulings.

    Where did I endorse curtailing anyone’s free speech?

    Finally, the judge quite clearly said he dismissed the case because of insufficient evidence. He disapproved of the atheists use of free speech, but he didn’t invoke a free speech exception, such as incitement, in his ruling.

    Was there enough evidence to convict the defendant? That’s a matter for debate, but the article doesn’t take a stand either way.

    I really wonder sometimes if people actually read an article before they make comments. Sometimes it seems the reaction is more emotional and based on assumptions than logical and based on facts.

  42. Jack Cope Says:

    “I really wonder sometimes if people actually read an article before they make comments. Sometimes it seems the reaction is more emotional and based on assumptions than logical and based on facts.”

    I think you have been an author long enough to understand that people who send you emails are split into two groups; the ones who read and the ones who didn’t.

    Sadly the ones who didn’t are by far in the majority and send the most mail. I get bored of telling people to read what I wrote and get back to me.

    Jack

  43. Ilisha Says:

    @Jack Cope

    “I think you have been an author long enough to understand that people who send you emails are split into two groups; the ones who read and the ones who didn’t.”

    You’re right, of course. But for some reason, it continues to amaze me.

  44. Just Stopping By Says:

    @Ilisha: Thank you for this: “I really wonder sometimes if people actually read an article before they make comments. Sometimes it seems the reaction is more emotional and based on assumptions than logical and based on facts.”

    I was thinking of saying what you did about the comments generally. A lot of them just did not follow from the article. And this is not the only article where that is true.

    And personally, I find that people are divided into 10 groups: those that understand binary and those that don’t.

  45. Believing Atheist Says:

    @llisha,

    Law Professor Turley disagrees wtih you.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/24/pennsylvania-judge-throws-out-charge-for-harassing-atheist-while-calling-the-victim-a-doofus/

    Anyway here is some latest Islamphobic news you might wish to report (or not).

    The White House Helps Pay for Muslim Surveillance
    Millions of dollars in White House money has helped pay for New York Police Department programs that put entire American Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance.
    The money is part of a little-known grant intended to help law enforcement fight drug crimes. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA.
    Some of that money — it’s unclear exactly how much because the program has little oversight — has paid for the cars that plainclothes NYPD officers used to conduct surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods. It also paid for computers that store even innocuous information about Muslim college students, mosque sermons and social events.
    When NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly was filled in on these efforts, his briefings were prepared on HIDTA computers.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5goI6Wnl2FLVcP5_K-5TtDk17Fgwg?docId=7563f134de75404395f87390312401e4

  46. Ilisha Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    In what way did Turley disagree with me? I read it and I’m not seeing it.

    I made two assertions, and I don’t see where he contradicts either.

    He apparently doesn’t believe the judge dismissed this case because of insufficient evidence. I didn’t take a position on that. I merely repeated the judge’s stated rationale.

  47. Believing Atheist Says:

    @llisha

    You said:

    Finally, the judge quite clearly said he dismissed the case because of insufficient evidence. He disapproved of the atheists use of free speech, but he didn’t invoke a free speech exception, such as incitement, in his ruling.

    That’s not true as Turley highlighted in bold. These were the judges words:

    “It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers intended. I think our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to piss off other people and cultures – which is what you did.”

    And also these were the Judges words highlighted in bold by Turley:

    “But you have that right, but you are way outside your bounds of First Amendment rights.”…

    Turley then says:

    “I fail to see the relevance of the victim’s attitude toward Muslims or religion generally. He had a protected right to walk in the parade and not be assaulted for his views. While the judge laments that “[i]t’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others,” that is precisely what the Framers had in mind if Thomas Paine is any measure.”

    And he continues:

    Martin’s comments also heighten concerns over the growing trend toward criminalizing anti-religious speech in the use of such standards as the Brandenburg test, a position supported by the Obama Administration.

    As for this comment of yours: “Finally, the judge quite clearly said he dismissed the case because of insufficient evidence”

    Turley disagrees with that stating; “I can understand the judge’s claims of conflicting testimony on the crime –though it seems to be that the officer’s testimony and the tape would resolve those doubts.”

    I hope there is an appeal and I hope Judge Martin is reprimanded

  48. Ilisha Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    What I said is correct.

    The judge’s stated reason for dismissing the case was insufficient evidence.

  49. khushboo Says:

    Oh BOOHOO, atheist making fun of other religions and not expect a reaction?? it was DELIBERATELY PROVOCATIVE! Stop with the VICIM ACT! I guess this militant atheist got his 15-minutes of fame and alot of sheep behind him pointing the blame at the “bad Muslim”. I’m sure he’s happy now.

  50. Garibaldi Says:

    @BA,

    Ilisha is correct. The judge clearly stated the reason for dismissing the case; insufficient evidence.

  51. Believing Atheist Says:

    @llisha,

    But he is lying! That’s the entire point I am trying to get at. The judge blatantly said that and I quote: “But you have that right, but you are way outside your bounds of First Amendment rights.”…

    If the reason for dismissing the case was about insufficient evidence then (1). That could be cleared up with Police testimony and the tape and (2). No need for a lecture on First Amendment Rights. Why did the judge even mention that the atheist went beyond his First Amendment rights? If the problem is insufficient evidence then the 1st Amendment does not come into play here and is irrelevant.

  52. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Rocky Lore

    You Wrote,
    —————————————————————————
    No surprise that LoonWatch is yet blaming the victim of a savage attack by a “peaceful” Muslim…again. This IS Sharia Law because the Muslim got away with it. Just like what happened to Rhea Page.

    By the way, LoonWatch, why didn’t Christians attack the real victim (no, it’s not the Muslim) when he had ZOmbie Jesus and Zombie Pope. LoonWatch believes in one set of laws for Muslims and one set for everyone else.
    —————————————————————————

    Okay, how is Loon Watch blaming anyone? Also since the judge’s decision had nothing to do with sharia law, how is this a victory for sharia? Seriously, even if according to sharia, Elbayomy should not have been convicted for attacking Ernest Perce, and was not convicted, but the decision not to convict had nothing to do with sharia, how’s this a victory for sharia? Even If someone else is convicted or let go based on US law, and us law, even if also happens that the judge made the right decision according to sharia, how’s that victory for sharia? The Judge’s decision had nothing to do with sharia. If you’re saying we should have convicted Elbayomy just because that would have gone against sharia, that’s kind of dumb. You seem to be trying desperately to salvage the idea that this is a case of creeping sharia, when it clearly is not. Granted the judge may have made a bad decision, but regardless it had nothing to do with sharia.

  53. Ilisha Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    You can have that debate, but not with me. I’m not wading into that swamp. Turley can’t agree or disagree with me on an opinion I never expressed.

  54. Nadir Says:

    Khushboo: Many have used the “deliberately provocative” line for a wide range of crimes, from simple assault to rape. It doesn’t hold water. It can’t be used consistently and objectively across the board, and it doesn’t ever excuse a physical response.

  55. Believing Atheist Says:

    SHARIA ALERT!

    This just in today from RightWing Watch

    Will ‘Michigan Become the First Islamic State in America’?

    Today the United States Reformation Prayer Network, an organization of “prophetic voices” using “strategic targeting coordinates for reformation prayer” founded by Cindy Jacobs, sent out a prayer alert for Michigan’s Tuesday primary which warned about the state’s Muslim community. Rick Joyner of the Oak Initiative previously warned that “there is actually an attempt to make Michigan our first Muslim state,” and in the prayer alert from Anita Christopher of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network and the West Michigan Prayer Center made the same claim today: “There seems to be an underlying agenda by Islam to have Michigan become the first Islamic state in America.” She went on to call for Michigan to ‘come into its Kingdom destiny” and for the government to “make covenant decrees over the people.” While such a claim is absurd on its face, it appears even more ridiculous after learning that Michigan’s Muslim community represents approximately 3 percent of the state’s population:
    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/will-michigan-become-first-islamic-state-america

    The Sharia Alert was sarcasm btw. Unfortunately I have to make this Disclaimer for my own protection since there are at least two people out there who don’t understand sarcasm and well…you can fill in the rest.

  56. moHAMmud Says:

    Dude…nothing is more comical than seeing you infidels defend stuff like this. You’re heads will be separated from your body before your life is over by a muslim that thinks you’re an animal because his imaginary friend is better than yours…rofl… Buncha goofus dufus mofos in here.

  57. khushboo Says:

    Nadir, I’m not excusing the physical response because that’s wrong but seriously, after all the reaction you hear from Muhammad cartoons, what was he really expecting?? It’s obvious he was hoping for something like this so it could get some publicity.

  58. khushboo Says:

    mo, another hateful troll to ignore.

  59. Nadir Says:

    Khushaboo: A physical response is exactly what was expected – such behavior depends on a bad reaction. Just like anything that relies on shock value, if nobody pays it any attention, it has no reason to exist. Just like moHAMed up there.

  60. HGG Says:

    “Oh BOOHOO, atheist making fun of other religions and not expect a reaction?? it was DELIBERATELY PROVOCATIVE! Stop with the VICIM ACT! I guess this militant atheist got his 15-minutes of fame and alot of sheep behind him pointing the blame at the “bad Muslim”.”

    The “Bad Muslim” is at fault. That you seem to blame Zombie Muhammed really doesn’t help.

  61. HGG Says:

    “The GOP candidate was responding to comments he made last October. He had said that he “almost threw up” after reading JFK’s 1960 speech in which he declared his commitment to the separation of church and state.”

    What a coincidence! Anytime I hear Santorum speak I want to throw up, too!

  62. Nadir Says:

    @Khushaboo: As an analogy, some guy walks down the street in Dallas sporting a “Cowboys Suck!” t-shirt. A die-hard Cowboys fan runs up and tears it off of him. In court, the judge gives a long lecture to the victim about how, in Dallas, they take football really seriously and explains that the Cowboys won several Superbowls – so “before you start mocking someone else’s football team you may want to find out a little bit more about it. That makes you look like a doofus.” The judge goes on to say that he himself is offended by it, even though he’s a Dolphins fan. Then he throws the case out because of a “lack of evidence” while concurrently telling the victim he doesn’t have the right to wear a “Cowboys Suck!” t-shirt in Dallas because it’s offensive to fans of that team. Can you imagine the brawls that would take place at sporting events if logic like this was acceptable from a judge? Defense lawyers would have a field day. It sets a bad precedent if this judge isn’t harshly admonished for his behavior.

  63. Ilisha Says:

    @CriticalDragon1177

    You wondered if Spencer and Geller would correct their stories? Atlas Shrugs did…kind of.

    “Much is being made of whether the judge said he was a Muslim (it sounds like he says just that in the audio from the trial). But it is irrelevant if he is or he isn’t. What is germane is his sharia ruling. It’s worse if he’s not a Muslim. In Islam, sharia supersedes all manmade laws. It is the law of [A]llah, so one might understand (though not condone) a Muslim judge defaulting to sharia. But an American judge admonshing [sic] an infidel victim while holding up the quran is shocking. You hear the quran slam down in the audio.”

    You were right: “…they’ll try to find some other reason why this should still matter.” It’s just a new spin.

  64. Solid Snake Says:

    @Nadir

    Your analogy is fine if all other variables are held constant. But surely the atmosphere in today’s world regarding religion and Islam specifically is what sets these two analogies apart.

    Say for instance the NFL was not broadcasting any football games in Dallas on purpose and was spying on a majority of Cowboy fans using the local police, and say there was a huge industry backed financially by The Ravens organization to demonize all of the Cowboys star players, coaches, legends, and fans to the point where fans of other teams actively seek out fans that “look” like cowboy fans in order to harm or intimidate them. What if NFL spokespersons routinely called the Cowboys organization “a hate filled organization” and called the Cowboys playbook “A load of crap, poor play design, high school students can beat this stupid team”. What if Maiami, San Francisco, Tennessee, The Patriots, all tried to pass rules within their own stadiums to ban any Cowboy fans displaying Cowboy shirts, hats,or rooting for the Cowboys if they are playing there.

    Now Imagine all that happening to Muslims but instead its killings, drone strikes, kill teams, harassment, lies, hate, etc etc

    I would probably understand if a Cowboys fan gets pissed at a “Cowboys Suck” shirt.

    My main point is that I believe the Judge did that because of the current political and social climate. he just wanted both parties to respect each other.

    Although if there is enough evidence that the Muslim guy assaulted our Zombie friend then he should be punished. As a Muslim he should know that if you immigrate to a land where u are granted safety YOU MUST FOLLOW THE LAWS! Unless it actively attempts to stop you from practicing the basic tenets like praying. If indeed you cannot practice Islam then you leave! Simple! I mean as long as your home country is still intact! Right?

  65. Believing Atheist Says:

    There is a petition going around to impeach judge Mark Martin. I don’t like the language of the petition. It states: Pennsylvania House of Representatives: Impeach pro-sharia Judge Mark Martin

    He is not pro-Sharia. He just has a distorted view of the law. But nonetheless I signed it because I value the Constitution and Free Speech and this judge is detrimental to both.

    Whoever else values the Constitution and Free Speech should sign it to
    http://www.change.org/petitions/pennsylvania-house-of-representatives-impeach-pro-sharia-judge-mark-martin

  66. Believing Atheist Says:

    My above post the last sentence, the to should be too I believe. That was a mistake.

    Also here is the latest update on the stupidity of Judge Mark Martin.

    Interviewer: When I spoke to him over the phone, Judge Martin acknowledged it’s his job to protect the rights of people like the atheist, no matter how offensive they might be.

    Interviewer to Judge Martin: … There are some who believe you were failing to protect that right.

    Judge Martin: No, I don’t think so. Here’s the thing: It’s a right, it’s not a privilege, it’s a right. With rights come responsibilities. The more that people abuse our rights, the more likely that we’re going to lose them.

    But I don’t quite see how this is “the thing,” at least in the sense of an explanation of the judge’s actions at the trial. I don’t think that we’re in danger of losing our free speech rights because some people say things that are offensive to Muslims. I do think that free speech rights are in danger when judges berate alleged crime victims for their anti-Islam speech, and thus convey the message that the legal system may be biased against those who engage in such speech and may fail to protect those people because of such speech.
    http://volokh.com/2012/02/27/more-from-judge-mark-martin-of-the-zombie-mohammed-incident-on-cnn/

    Also here is the latest update from Law Professor Turley:

    Notably, however, Martin says that he didn’t doubt that the incident occurred and the defendant admitted that he acted in response to an insult to Islam. Yet, this is not viewed as sufficient to sustain a harassment charge.
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/26/judge-in-zombie-mohammed-case-responds/

    The Muslim defendant admitted that he acted in response to an insult to Islam, yet the IMBECILE JUDGE MARK MARTIN ruled against the Atheist. WTF!!! The Muslim admitted his transgression.

  67. khushboo Says:

    Beautifully said Solid!

  68. Ilisha Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    That petition contains distortions and factual errors:

    “…dismissed assault charges”

    The charge was harassment, not assault.

    “egregious pro-sharia bias,” “citing sharia”

    The judge never “cited” Sharia. I really don’t think we should be promoting this Sharia hysteria.

    “He is heard telling Perce ‘I am a Muslim and this offends me.’”

    Those are weasel words, and the judge has said he’s not a Muslim.

    This whole thing is beginning to have a lynch mob feel.

    If people want to sign a petition, I’d suggest writing/finding one that’s at least factually accurate.

  69. HGG Says:

    The wording of that petition is indeed problematic. The failure of the judge was in his complete disregard of the Constitution and his stupidity in trying to protect “feelings” An aptly worded petition shouldn’t include the word “Sharia” in it at all.

    BA, if you start a correctly worded petition, I’ll support it.

  70. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    If you think the Judge should be impeached and you have good reason to believe that, than find an alternative. If you have reason to believe that Judge Martin ought to loose his job other than what’s stated in that Islamophobic petition, at the very least you should start your own petition and not even encourage people to sign that one. Ilisha is correct. At the very least, you will be giving legitimacy to Loons if you promote that petition and you don’t want to do that. Would you encourage people to sign a petition with racist or antisemitic language, even if you agreed with the stated goal of the petition, and stated goal of the petition was not racist or antisemitic?

  71. Isa Says:

    I know that this isn’t the most important part of the article, but is anybody else disturbed by how ignorant this man is about Islam, as attested by the following statement?

    “When I asked him why he dressed up as “Muhammad zombie,” he told me that it was because he was reflecting the MUSLIM BELIEF THAT MUHAMMAD ROSE FROM THE DEAD, WALKED AS A ZOMBIE, AND THEN WENT TO HEAVEN.” (my emphasis)

    I can’t think of any Muslim sect or group, in the history of Islam or in its present day, that holds this belief. Was he mistakenly referring to the “Night Journey”, wherein Muhammad FELL ASLEEP and traveled to Jerusalem, Hell, then Paradise (wherein some Muslims don’t take literally, while some do)? This man’s polemic sounds more like a jibe at Christianity, because most Christians do believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and ascended to Heaven.

  72. The Knocker Says:

    How ironic, where were these protestors when Judges have allowed child molester free throughout the U.S.

  73. RDS Says:

    “…he told me that it was because he was reflecting the Muslim belief that Muhammad rose from the dead, walked as a zombie, and then went to heaven.”

    wait, what?

  74. Believing Atheist Says:

    @Critical Dragon and @HGG,

    Don’t worry guys I am currently writing a new more accurate petition. (I didn’t write that petition btw). Will you sign my petition if it reflects simply the facts, Critical Dragon? I know HGG is on board.

  75. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    If you can come up with a convincing argument I will consider it, but I was under the impression that the Judge throw out the case for lack of evidence.

  76. TheTruth Says:

    The judge threw out the evidence (video tape and police eyewitness testimony) and then concluded there was a lack of evidence. In fact, the judge claimed that the evidence was against the plaintiff rather than simply concluding there wasn’t enough evidence. Say what?

    Also, apparently, as mentioned in the comments, the defendant admitted to attacking the plaintiff and used the argument that he thought it was legal to attack people who mock religion in this country.

    So, no, this wasn’t about a lack of evidence. Perhaps apart from the loony judge’s mind.

  77. Believing Atheist Says:

    @Critical Dragon,

    Please read below:

    Notably, however, Martin says that he didn’t doubt that the incident occurred and the defendant admitted that he acted in response to an insult to Islam. Yet, this is not viewed as sufficient to sustain a harassment charge.
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/26/judge-in-zombie-mohammed-case-responds/

    So the Muslim admitted that he attacked the atheist for what he deemed to be an insult to Islam. That’s a confession. How much more evidence do you need?

  78. Ilisha Says:

    @TheTruth

    “The judge threw out the evidence (video tape and police eyewitness testimony) and then concluded there was a lack of evidence.”

    I must not have seen the correct video, or I missed something, because I couldn’t make out exactly what happened. Can you link to a video (maybe from a different angle) where we can really see the altercation? Maybe highlight the time frame for us?

    Also, please provide a link to the “police eyewitness testimony.” The reports I read (as noted in this article) suggested both men searched and found a police officer. There’s no mention of an officer on the scene.

    I think your sources would be helpful for people trying to evaluate the evidence, especially if they’re considering signing a petition against the judge.

  79. Believing Atheist Says:

    @llisha,

    Come on you need more proof that the Judge was wrong?

    I gave you the Muslim man’s confession.

    A previous link to Turley’s blog contained the video.

    Now here is the latest update of the bias of this IMBECILE JUDGE MARK MARTIN:

    First, while the judge insisted in his later statement that there was simply no witnesses to the incident to support the charge, Perce says that the person dressed as the Pope did appear in court to testify but Martin refused to allow him to testify. Perce notes that on 33:15 on the tape you can hear the witness (the VOmbie Pope) and the judge say, “put your hands down you’re not a witness.” Second, Martin refused to allow the admission of the cellphone video (though he did allow the admission of a statement of Perce on the YouTube video that Perce made later to show his alleged bias against Muslims).
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/27/atheist-in-zombie-mohammad-case-responds/

  80. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    Thanks. I’ll take a look at your sources.

  81. Ilisha Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    You’re once again making assumptions. I haven’t said what I think of the judge’s decision. I try very hard not to make snap judgments, especially without a careful evaluation of the facts.

    TheTruth made assertions, and I asked for the evidence. Where’s the clear video, and where’s the police eye witness testimony? I would like to see this evidence.

    If people are going to sign a petition against this judge, they should have the facts first, so they can make an informed decision. This is important when your actions may have an impact on someone’s career and reputation.

  82. Garibaldi Says:

    Here are some facts:

    1.) Judge is NOT a Muslim.
    2.) Judge has affinity to faith in general, due to his tour in Iraq he believes he has knowledge of Islam and can speak on it. (I believe he never should have said anything)
    3.) Judge lecturing the atheist using the language he did was inappropriate, however did he violate a procedural rule or any other rule in this regard? This point seems to me to be the reason why so many got upset at the judge.
    4.) Judge did throw out the video. The video is not convincing to anyone that the zombie atheist was attacked. Is there another video? I thought there was another one that I had seen but can’t find anymore which I find strange.
    5.) Did the judge throw out the Police officer’s report? If so, why?
    6.) Judge claims he based his decision solely on the law and the fact that there is not enough evidence against the defendant, nothing else.

    I also find it interesting the group think that emerges…even amongst *gasp* atheists. Atheists do not have an infallibility cloak when it comes to logic and reason. They are as susceptible when they feel one of their tribe has been injured or dealt with unjustly to get heated and upset. Clearly this is how the story has reached them, even though there are many conflicting accounts as to what happened. The zombie atheist himself has a part to play in spreading misinformation, claiming the judge was Muslim, buying into the “sharia” hype, etc. He is also clearly antagonistic and not shy from trying to capitalize on this through media attention.

    If the Muslim did put his hands on the guy that would be assault. We know the Muslim got offended by the zombie portrayal, for some reason he thought it was illegal (maybe cuz he’s an immigrant), there was an incident, but did he actually assault the zombie atheist, did he harass him, or in anyway go beyond the law? The police officer said the Muslim admitted to such, however the Muslim claims he didn’t at court. The main thing I’d like to know is why was the police officer’s report deemed not worthy of being admitted if indeed it wasn’t as @The Truth claims above.

    In the end I’ll just say this whole thing has been blown way out of proportion.

  83. Believing Atheist Says:

    Okay everybody see if this is a factually accurate petition. Again it was not written by me but I think it is the best one I’ve seen so far.

    It reads:

    Last October, Ernie Perce was attacked during a Halloween parade by Talaag Elbayomy. Elbayomy’s motive: Perce was wearing a “zombie Mohammed” costume, which offended Elbayomy as a Muslim. He believed that he needed to defend his Prophet and show his young son that those who insult Islam must b silenced.

    There was video evidence (Elbayomy cannot be seen on the video, but he can be heard yelling at Perce and the sounds of a struggle can also be heard) of the attack and testimony from a police officer to whom Elbayomy ADMITTED attacking Perce. Judge Mark Martin excluded this evidence and dismissed the charge of harassment against Elbayomy, then lectured Perce, the victim, on Islam and scolded him for his behavior (which is protected under the First Amendment).

    There are many countries where assaults on those who speak against Islam are permitted or even encouraged by the government. America should not be one of those countries. Judge Martin’s actions show that he believes that if an atheist expresses his beliefs and offends a religious person, then the religious person has a right to batter the person who offends him. No judge should be allowed to use his position to condone violence against atheists or any other religious group. No judge should be allowed to essentially confer immunity from the law on a person based on his religion. This is America, and we are not barbarians. This is a country of laws. Our right to free speech is enshrined in our Constitution, and that right is meaningless if the justice system allows people to be assaulted for exercising it. The Bill of Rights does not include right not to be offended, for Muslims or anyone else.

    We must demand that this situation be taken seriously by the state of Pennsylvania and that Judge Mark Martin be investigated for judicial misconduct. No judge should be above the law he is sworn to uphold.
    https://www.change.org/petitions/judicial-conduct-board-of-pennsylvania-thomas-corbett-governor-of-pa-investigate-judge-mark-martin-for-condoning-religious-violence#

  84. Believing Atheist Says:

    @Garibaldi,

    That’s not entirely accurate because the Judge admits the Muslim admitted he attacked the atheist because he felt there was an insult to Islam.

    I quote law professor Turley:

    Notably, however, Martin says that he didn’t doubt that the incident occurred and the defendant admitted that he acted in response to an insult to Islam. Yet, this is not viewed as sufficient to sustain a harassment charge.
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/26/judge-in-zombie-mohammed-case-responds/

  85. khushboo Says:

    Did the muslim defendant actually admitted to hurting the so-called victim? were there any bruises? is there proof that he physically hurt him? or was it just the defendant admitting to removing his mask and a verbal attack?

  86. Just Stopping By Says:

    @Believing Athiest says, “I quote professor Turley: Notably, however, Martin says that he didn’t doubt that the incident occurred…”

    That’s obviously a second-hand source. Do we know exactly what Martin stated the he believed occurred? Did he say that “some incident” occurred, for example, or that one guy got physical with another, or that there was a loud argument?

    I don’t have the time to review the tape of the hearing, but if someone who is interested could post a link and a cite to the right point in time (and if they are really nice, their own transcription of what the judge said), perhaps this discussion would be a lot clearer for everyone.

  87. Ilisha Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    “…admitted he attacked the atheist because he felt there was an insult to Islam.”

    No, he didn’t admit that he “attacked” the plaintiff. He admitted he was offended and confronted the plaintiff, but in court, the defendant testified he didn’t actually touch Zombie Muhammad.

    Zombie Muhammad says he did touch him, and that’s why the judge said it’s one person’s word against the other. The plaintiff wasn’t injured and there was no destruction of property.

    Once again, let’s remember that the prosecutor apparently didn’t think this rose to the level of an assault, because the charge was harassment:

    http://law.onecle.com/pennsylvania/crimes-and-offenses/00.027.009.000.html

    The only evidence we have of harassment is:

    1) a grainy video that doesn’t show what actually happened
    2) a phantom eyewitness police report no one can produce
    3) the defendant’s “confession” that he was offended and confronted the plaintiff.

    The controversy seems to arise largely from the judge’s editorial comments. But there is a distinction between holding and dictum–editorial comments are not usually authoritative in the case.

    Now, some may argue his commentary exposes bias, but either there was evidence to convict or there wasn’t. The judge dismissed the case due to insufficient evidence, and the rest is his commentary.

    In short, I agree with what Garibaldi wrote, and especially this: “In the end I’ll just say this whole thing has been blown way out of proportion.

    Obviously, visitors are free to evaluate the evidence/arguments and decide for themselves if they want to sign a petition against the judge.

  88. Believing Atheist Says:

    First I want to say that I just got this update from the Washington Post a half an hour ago.

    “Martin said he dismissed the case for lack of evidence after Elbayomy testified that the confrontation was not physical, an apparent contradiction of what he told police the day of the parade. Court records spelled his first name Talaag, an online listing had Talaat and Perce’s video called him Talaaq.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/pa-judges-dismissal-of-harassment-case-criticized-after-zombie-muhammad-posts-trial-audio/2012/02/28/gIQA5kUggR_story.html

    So Elbayomy is a big time liar who lacks credibility.

    As for the comments concerning eyewitnesses:

    “Perce says that the person dressed as the Pope did appear in court to testify but Martin refused to allow him to testify. Perce notes that on 33:15 on the tape you can hear the witness (the VOmbie Pope) and the judge say, “put your hands down you’re not a witness.”
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/27/atheist-in-zombie-mohammad-case-responds/

    Turley also says:

    Putting aside the basis for an assault charge, it would seem that the video shows at a minimum an intent “to harass, annoy or alarm another person.” (Same source).

  89. Ilisha Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    “So Elbayomy is a big time liar who lacks credibility.”

    How did you come to that conclusion?

    I would like to know why the judge wouldn’t let Zombie Pope testify. Is there evidence of this, besides the plaintiff’s word? If so, what reason was given?

    From the Washington Post article:

    “The uproar led the court system on Tuesday to temporarily move Martin as a security precaution to the county courthouse in Carlisle, about 10 miles from his regular courthouse in the Harrisburg suburbs.

    The judge had to leave his regular courtroom as a security precaution? Over this?!? Given the uproar, you’d think he let a confessed child serial killer go free.

    All this hysteria and outrage…largely from people who regularly rail against Muslims for their alleged hair-trigger outrage. Amazing.

  90. Believing Atheist Says:

    First we should not be threatening this Judge. We are not a nation of vigilantism. We are a nation of law. If you don’t like the judge there is a legal way to remove him.

    Furthermore, let’s tell the whole story. The judge is not alone in receiving death threats.

    “I have also been informed that both Perce and Martin have received death threats, which is a sad reflection on our society. Perce was exercising his free speech and this Judge was doing what he believed was required under the law. I obviously have questions about the decision and objections to some of the comments. However, there are some people who seem eager to add mindless threats and violence to such disagreements. The suggestion that Judge Martin was “applying Sharia” law in the United States is silly. He never suggested that he was applying the same standard or approved of putting people to death for insulting the Prophet. While I believe his comments were worthy of criticism, the attacks on his character and loyalty are grossly unfair.”
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/27/atheist-in-zombie-mohammad-case-responds/

    Now if you contradict yourself and tell two different stories what does that make you? A truth-teller?

    I will inform you about why the Judge didn’t let Zombie Pope testify once I know.

  91. Ilisha Says:

    @Believing Atheist

    “Now if you contradict yourself and tell two different stories what does that make you? A truth-teller?”

    If everyone who tells a lie is immediately transformed into a “big time liar who lacks credibility,” then I think that describes pretty much everyone.

    Maybe he lied. Maybe he was nervous and confused, and maybe his English isn’t very good. You’re simply assuming that he not only lied, but that he is a liar.

    Have you read the police report?

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume he lied.

    That doesn’t change the fact there was insufficient evidence. The evidence in the case remains unchanged.

    We have the sworn, contradictory testimony of the plaintiff and the defendant, and a poor quality video that doesn’t really tell us what happened.

  92. Zakariya Ali Sher Says:

    @ Believing Atheist:

    Spelling variations are not uncommon for many Muslim names, given that many of us have roots in countries where the Arabic script or some variant is used, and many sounds such as qaf (ق), ghayn (غ) and kha (خ) simply don’t exist in English. Turkish and Azeri have standardized the Latin script, but even so, I fear most Americans wouldn’t recognize ‘Ramazan’ as being ‘Ramadan.’ I’ve seen DOZENS of different spellings for Gaddafi/Qadhafi/Khaddafi/Gadhafi/Qaddafi/etc, but in ARABIC his name is consistently spelled as قذافي, and indeed can ONLY be spelled as such.

    I wouldn’t say that multiple transliterations of his name automatically make him a liar; it could very well be that other people are having difficulty transliterating his name.

  93. Believing Atheist Says:

    @Zakariya Ali Sher,

    Sir, I believe you misunderstood. The multiple translations of his name is not what makes him a liar. In my opinion telling two different and contradictory stories makes him a liar.

    According to the Dictionary a liar is:

    a person who has lied or lies repeatedly
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/liar

  94. Zakariya Ali Sher Says:

    Ah, THAT would agree with, though in all fairness I wouldn’t be likely to take either individual’s story at face value. People lie, and more often than not about dumb things, but especially about things that could get them in trouble.

  95. Patrick James Says:

    Illisha, the judge lectured the complainant about how he had hurt a Muslim’s feelings, how he had offended their very essence. This was done by insulting Mohammed. This is Sharia Law in action, it is the very same Sharia that has seen the rage over the accidental burning of the Korans in Afghanistan. Those who mock Mohammed die. Would the judge have lectured the complainant if an aggrieved Catholic had attacked him? I doubt it. I am an Aussie and I do not pretend to know all the ins and outs of your first amendment, but I would be surprised if “He hurt my feelings by what he said” is a legitimate reason to restrict free speech.

  96. Ilisha Says:

    @Patrick James

    I repeat:

    People who plainly don’t have the first clue about Islamic Law immediately made the unsubstantiated claim the judge based his decision on Sharia.

    Sharia is derived primarily from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Did the judge cite some primary or secondary source of Islamic Law? Did he mention Islamic jurisprudence or Islamic case law of any kind? If he did, please show me the evidence.

    The judge is not a Muslim and he didn’t employ Sharia. If someone wants to say otherwise, produce the evidence.

    ****

    Simply throwing around the word “Sharia” doesn’t constitute evidence.

    As I have also mentioned several times, the judge dismissed the case because of insufficient evidence. The rest was commentary.

    Usually a free speech defense is invoked by the defendant, not the plaintiff. As I mentioned in the article, most speech is permitted in the US, with very few exceptions.

    Zombie Muhammad was the plaintiff, not the defendant, and thus he wasn’t using a free speech defense. He didn’t need to because he wasn’t defending himself. He was scolded and may have felt on the defensive, but he was not the person charged with an offense.

    The judge didn’t deprive anyone of free speech rights. He gave a controversial lecture.

    Some argue he was biased, or that he failed to protect Zombie Muhammad’s right to exercise free speech unmolested. However, if there isn’t enough evidence for a conviction, then what options does the judge have? Should he manufacture evidence?

    The plaintiff is still free to exercise his right to free speech by parading around as Zombie Muhammad.

    As I said before, people are free to judge the arguments/evidence and draw their own conclusions. I’m still open to changing my position, but that would require actual evidence.

  97. Just Stopping By Says:

    @Ilisha says, “Zombie Muhammad was the plaintiff, not the defendant,…”

    Actually, this was a criminal case, so the government was the plaintiff, as in “the people versus alleged assailant.” Zombie Muhammad was technically just a witness, as well as the (alleged) victim. In part, that’s part of the reason for somee of the outrage: Zombie Muhammad was not a party to the case and one could argue in some sense therefore did not sign up to be lectured by the judge.

  98. Just Stopping By Says:

    @Ilisha and @Patrick James: I should have also noted that Zombie Muhammad was also not “the complainant” as Patrick James said.

  99. Patrick James Says:

    Ilisha, thanks for your detailed reply. I readily agree with you that Sharia was not invoked in dismissing the complaint. I was not arguing that myself.

    What I was concerned about was that the judge told the plaintiff that he had stepped well outside the boundary of his first amendment rights. But from what I have read on other blog sites, the judge’s assertion is inaccurate. Do you agree?

  100. Nadir Says:

    @solid snake: Got behind – I read your response to my analogy and have to say I think we’re basically in agreement. I think there’s a difference between understanding and maybe even empathizing with someone’s actions and condoning them or absolving them from facing the consequences. Maybe the point we’ll have to agree to disagree on is whether or not it’s the judge’s place to lecture the victim about religious tolerance from the bench. The law just can’t work that way, and the judge needs to face the consequences for overstepping the boundaries of his position.

  101. khushboo Says:

    Well well well, after the threats were made to the judge, he had to move. Interesting!

    http://www.abc27.com/story/17038131/judge-in-zombie-muhammad-case-moved-after-threats

  102. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Patrick James

    There is no evidence that Judge Martin even considered sharia. If you are going to insist that because this decision corresponded to sharia in some way that the Judge applied sharia or that was a victory for sharia, you are being illogical, even if you can show us that he would have come to the same decision if he had used sharia instead of the U.S constitution. Imagine if a Jewish person was accused of a crime but not convicted. Than someone told you that it was a victory for Halakha (Jewish Law) over the constitution. If the man was not able to show you specifically where the judge sited Halakha, would you not suspect that he was an antisemitic bigot? Ilisha is correct, unless you can show us that the judge used sharia as a basis for his decision, you have no case. Also how has anyone’s free speech rights been restricted here? Ernest Perce, the man who wore the “zombie Muhammad” costume won’t go to jail, he won’t be fined, he won’t be punished by the state in anyway.

  103. Ilisha Says:

    @Just Stopping By

    Thank you for that clarification. Obviously, I’m not a lawyer.

    Remember when I wrote to Believing Atheist, “I’m not wading into that swamp”??

    Well, that’s because I know I’m not qualified to be talking about the particulars of a legal case. :) So why did I wade into the middle of the swamp?

    Because if LW is going to be the vehicle for a petition against this judge, I want the facts. I don’t want to contribute to hysteria and a lynch mob mentality.

    Anyway, let’s clear up the language. Zombie Muhammad was not the defendant and he wasn’t charged with an offense. Therefore, he wasn’t invoking a free speech defense.

    That was the point I was trying to make. Is that right?

  104. Just Stopping By Says:

    @Ilisha: You are correct that Zombie Muhammad was not invoking a defendant, not charged, and therefore not invoking a free speech defense.

    The only question is whether the judge was implicitly accepting some type of defense for the alleged assailant for being unduly provoked. The judge never claimed that such a defense existed or was invoked, but he certainly accepted that the defendant was provoked. It would be similar to a self-defense claim or perhaps temporary insanity, if (and again the judge never made said he was rendering a decision on this basis) used.

  105. Ilisha Says:

    @Just Stopping By

    “The only question is whether the judge was implicitly accepting some type of defense for the alleged assailant for being unduly provoked.

    I’m not sure how to evaluate that aspect of the case, but at least we’re past howling about “Sharia.” :)

    By the way, the last time I stopped by Jihad Watch, they’d shifted to “dhimmi judge.” Even Robert Spencer now acknowledges the judge was not a Muslim.

  106. Believing Atheist Says:

    This is the latest update I have on the Zombie Muhammad case:

    The attending police officer, Sgt. Bryan Curtis testified that Elbayomy had attempted to choke Perce shortly following the incident.
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/29/zombie-muhammad-judge-relocated-due-to-threats-criticism/

    It’s from the Daily Caller (Tucker Carlson’s site) so I don’t know how reliable it is. But if it is true then the Judge is tremendously BIAS and decided not to believe a police officer. Amazing.

  107. HGG Says:

    @BA, I think that’s just The Caller’s brand of shoddy reporting. Curtis didn’t testified he had seen the attack, but rather that the attacker had admitted he choked Zombie Muhammed.

  108. Skeptic Says:

    I’m sure Perce must be practising taqiyya as he shakes his camera vigorously to setup the muslim.

    :rollseyes:

  109. Just Stopping By Says:

    @Believing Atheist: Which one of you militant atheists do we get to assault for this? ;-) http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/01/atheist-group-targets-muslims-jews-with-myth-billboards-in-arabic-and-hebrew/?hpt=hp_t3

    And tell your friends that they switched the order of the sentences in Hebrew! It actually reads: “With this, you have a choice. You know that’s a myth.” I’m not sure that’s what they intended.

  110. Believing Atheist Says:

    @Just Stopping By,

    This is why I love your people. They have a beautiful mind, From your source:

    “A recent Gallup survey found 53% of Jews identified as nonreligious.”

    Mazel Tov, Masha’Allah, they have seen the light. Our teachings and information has worked with the Jewish people.

    If you are the one that wishes to assault us JSB :P then let me inform you that:

    “Halakha requires one to inform a Jew of harm that might befall him and which could be avoided; this is based on the verse “Do not stand by while your brother’s blood is being shed.”
    http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/RabbinicCounseling2.html

    Since some of your fellow Jews are atheists and no doubt members of this group that made the billboards, (you said in a previous thread the Jewish community still considers them Jews), you have an obligation to inform them of the harm that might befall them.

  111. Just Stopping By Says:

    @Believing Atheist: I believe you mean to say that they have seen the lack of light.

    And, again, yes, Jewish atheists are still Jews. My guess is that they like to claim that they are the logical extension of Judaism. After all, one of Judaism’s biggest achievements was to get its adherents to stop believing in the many gods that others around them believed in. Jewish atheists just stopped believing in one more.

  112. khushboo Says:

    B/A did you just say “Masha’Allah”? There’s hope yet…lol

  113. JT Says:

    “A recent Gallup survey found 53% of Jews identified as nonreligious.”

    Interesting. Is there an explanation for so many Jews no longer believing in religion, because that figure seems quite high to me.

  114. Just Stopping By Says:

    @JT: ” Is there an explanation for so many Jews no longer believing in religion, because that figure seems quite high to me.”

    Nonreligious can mean a lot of different things, depending on the respondent. Consider a Jew who eats non-kosher beef and chicken but doesn’t eat pork for religious reasons. Religous or not? Given the numerous commandments in Judaism, I think that Jews who do as much for their religion (such as following some dietary rules) as say a typical Christian are likely to classify themselves as less religious. Still, I am surprised that more didn’t say “moderately religious.”

    The underlying poll results are here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/152732/religious-higher-wellbeing-across-faiths.aspx. Go to the end to see the breakdown. But, can anyone explain the approximately 2% of “No religion/atheist/agnostic” who are “very religious”?

  115. Just Stopping By Says:

    @JT: I should also add that this is consistent with different religions’ views of atheists. If you are a Christian who becomes atheist, you probably move out of the Christian category. If you are a Jew who becomes an atheist, you identify as a non-religious Jew. Hence the relatively large number of non-religious Jews.

  116. Stoned Gremlin Says:

    When the judge said “I’m Muslim and I find this offensive” what did he mean? Or was that a misquote or something?

  117. HGG Says:

    “And tell your friends that they switched the order of the sentences in Hebrew! It actually reads: “With this, you have a choice. You know that’s a myth.” I’m not sure that’s what they intended.”

    It obviously was intended as a slight against Jedis, too!

  118. CriticalDragon1177 Says:

    @Stoned Gremlin

    I think Judge Martin was either misquoted or the audio was bad.

  119. JT Says:

    I’m pretty sure Judge Martin was saying “If I’m a Muslim…” but the audio wasn’t the best and the people heard what they wanted to hear.

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