- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Imagine if Native Americans were denied the right to commemorate the loss of their land and heritage, and if they do so, they would be charged with treason and sentenced to prison.
That is basically the news coming out of Israel these days. Right-wing members of the Israeli Knesset, who now have a majority in that legislative body, are introducing new racist laws (as if Israel does not have enough already) that would target non-Jewish minorities, restrict their freedom of speech, deny them the right to advocate for equal rights for all Israeli citizens, and. in the most cruel colonialist style, forbid the indigenous Palestinian populations to mourn the ethnic cleansing of their parents and the appropriation of their historic land by mostly European settlers.
Note that over one-fifth of the present population of Israel are non-Jewish (of course that does not include the millions of Palestinians who live under Israel occupation and/or siege in the West Bank and Gaza).
How can a state claim to be “democratic” while at the same time implement laws and practices that favor only one religion and treat all non-Jews as second class citizens? Is a country that builds roads, schools, towns, and jobs for Jews only democratic? Is a country that gives Jews, from anywhere in the world the right to become citizen, but deny that same right to non-Jewish indigenous Palestinians who can trace their living on that land for centuries and centuries?
On a side note, by now, had I been an Israeli, I would have been sent to prison for my last couple of questions, based on the new bill. Remember, the new laws will stipulate that it is a crime to question Israel’s democratic nature.
Thank God we live in America and thank God for our Constitution that guarantees our equality and free speech, regardless of the religion we choose to follow or not to. May be one day, the Holy Land will rid itself from all those racist laws and the hatred that they produce. May be one day, Palestinian refugees will be allowed to return to their homes and villages. May be one day, Muslims, Christians, and Jews can live together in peace in the city of peace.
Until then, I pray that enough Jewish voices of peace and tolerance, and there are many of them, would help prevent those new bills from becoming law, from becoming a new wall that separates the offspring of Abraham.
US Jews discomfited by rightist bills
By HAVIV RETTIG GUR
The Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2009
Several new legislative initiatives from right-wing parties are causing discomfort among mainstream US Jewish advocacy organizations who worry that efforts to forbid anti-Israel activism in the country may be tinged with racist intentions and lead to infringements on freedom of speech.
The bills in question include a proposal by Israel Beiteinu MK Alex Miller to criminalize the marking of Independence Day as a day of mourning, a common practice among sections of the Israeli Arab public; a bill presented by Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev that seeks to criminalize those who "incite against or attempt to undermine" - in Orlev's words - the Jewish and democratic nature of the state of Israel, and a bill being prepared by Israel Beiteinu that will demand an oath of loyalty to the state from anyone seeking to receive an Israeli ID card for the first time, including new immigrants and Israeli minors who reach the age of 16.
"It's one thing to legislate allegiance to the state, but it is discrimination to target one population group for loyalty," Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday…
But, he adds, "a loyalty oath won't solve anything and is impossible to implement in practical terms. It also looks populist and demagogic and goes against the whole grain of democracy."
Zuroff notes that there are also Jewish communities in Israel who do not approve of the "Jewish and democratic" character of the state, the formulation used in Israel's Basic Laws to define the state's founding tenets...
According to Kadima MK Ze'ev Bielski, a former chairman of the Jewish Agency who has worked closely with US Jewry, "I am certain that the vast majority of Jews both in Israel and in the Diaspora oppose these initiatives. We are a people that has paid a price for racism, and as a Jewish and democratic state we have certain obligations to our minorities. This kind of legislation can only be harmful and divisive."
"This kind of criticism from Diaspora groups is a rare event," said Labor MK Ophir Paz-Pines. "It shows that major Diaspora organizations are much more left-wing right now than the Israeli government. Being a minority, Jews around the world are uncomfortable that the Jewish majority in Israel sometimes does things it shouldn't do, like a 'Nakba law.'"
Israeli Arab committee slams 'racist, fascist' bills
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondent
Israel debates 'loyalty' law
Calls to end Israel may incur jail term
Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.
28 May 2009
The Guardian Newspaper
At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.
Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.
Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.
Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.
Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.
The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published...
Among the graphic statements, which were later released under US freedom of information laws, is that of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas in which he says: “I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s ***…. and the female soldier was taking pictures.”
The translator was an American Egyptian who is now the subject of a civil court case in the US.
Three detainees, including the alleged victim, refer to the use of a phosphorescent tube in the sexual abuse and another to the use of wire, while the victim also refers to part of a policeman’s “stick” all of which were apparently photographed.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
New details of informant’s actions prompt Muslim group’s concerns
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/26/2009) A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today questioned the FBI’s tactics leading up to the arrest of four New York men for allegedly plotting to attack Jewish institutions in that state.
Based on early reports of a foiled plot to bomb a synagogue and a Jewish community center and to shoot down military planes, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) initially applauded the FBI and the other law enforcement agencies that took part in the investigation.
In a statement issued today, CAIR cited newly-revealed details of the case that indicate the alleged “plot” may have been based more on the financial inducements of a government informant than on the predisposition to terrorism of three petty criminals and a mentally ill Haitian immigrant. The Associated Press described the alleged plotters as “down-and-out ex-convicts living on the margins in a faded industrial city.”
SEE: Islam Not to Blame for Bronx Terror Plot (Huffington Post)
“This entire scheme seems to be the product of sending yet another FBI agent provocateur into an American mosque to instigate a ‘plot’ that would likely never have been hatched but for the rhetorical and financial inducements of the government informant. As a defense attorney said of the informant in this case, who was also the informant in a previous case, ‘Where he goes conspiracies blossom.’ According to the family of one of the suspects, the FBI informant even promised to pay for a liver transplant for his dying brother.
“We need to know who first suggested the specific targets in this plot and, if it was the FBI informant, why a government agency would create a scenario that may drive a wedge between two American religious minorities.
“These arrests seem to be based on a government formula for announcing law enforcement ‘victories’ that we have seen all too often in the past - take a paid informant, insert him into a mosque or community without probable cause of criminal behavior, locate marginal characters open to financial or rhetorical inducements, facilitate criminal actions suggested by the provocateur, and then announce ‘terror’ arrests with great fanfare.
“This formula, which could be used in any faith community, produces flashy arrests but rests on shaky constitutional ground and does little to advance legitimate law enforcement goals. It also serves to alienate an entire religious minority and provides fodder for those who seek to demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.”
CAIR’s statement reiterated the American Muslim community’s longstanding repudiation of terrorism in all its forms and encouraged anyone who is aware of criminal activity to immediately contact law enforcement authorities.
The statement also restated CAIR’s concerns about Justice Department guidelines, implemented under the Bush administration, which allow race and ethnicity to be factors in opening an FBI probe.
In an interview with the New York Post, the girlfriend of the alleged ringleader said the informant was constantly around, “It was like he was stalking him." The girlfriend of one of the other alleged plotters said: "They aren't radicals they were just financially motivated. They aren't terrorists. If [the informant] wasn't in the picture they would've never come up with this idea. This was not their idea. They make it sound like they sought him out and said we want to do this when he's the one who approached them. He enticed them with money.”
The New York Times wrote: “Everyone called the stranger with all the money ‘Maqsood.’ He would sit in his Mercedes, waiting in the parking lot of the mosque in Newburgh, N.Y., until the Friday prayer was over. Then, according to members of the mosque, the Masjid al-Ikhlas, he approached the young men.”
A lawyer who represented the last terror suspect tried in New York state called the FBI’s operation “a foolish waste of time and money.” He said, “It is almost as if the FBI cooked up the plot and found four idiots to install as defendants.”
CAIR noted that the FBI informant in a similar case in California recently stated that he views Islam as a threat to national security.
In March, a coalition of major national Islamic organizations announced that it is considering suspending outreach relations with the FBI, citing similar incidents in which American mosques and Muslim groups have been targeted. The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) also called on the FBI to reassess the use of informants as agents provocateurs within the Muslim community.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
May 23, 2009
New York Post
A slick FBI informant roped four Muslim converts into a horrific terror plot to blow up synagogues and military jets by handing them piles of cash and gifts and even bags of weed, relatives of the suspects said today...
Co-conspirator David Williams's girlfriend Cassandra McKoy insists the men were duped into the plot with the lure of a cash payday and that religious hatred had nothing to do with it.
"They aren't radicals they were just financially motivated. They aren't terrorists. If Maqsood wasn't in the picture they would've never come up with this idea," she said. "This was not their idea. They make it sound like they sought him out and said we want to do this when he's the one who approached them. He enticed them with money.
"Maqsood wasn't even allowed inside the mosque, he waited in the parking lot for them and offered them $25,000 to join."
Sources say Maqsood was really Shahed Hussain -- a Pakistani native who runs hotels upstate and has worked for the FBI since 2003 after getting into trouble in a fraud case. He played an integral role in unraveling another terror-related case in Albany in 2004.
Baynes, 42, dated Cromitie -- a career criminal who has been in jail more than 20 times -- for six years. She said he converted to Islam during his last prison stint but wasn't serious.
"James is a wannabe Muslim. He wasn't real Muslin. He never prayed," she said.
But during the course of the year, Maqsood kept trying to steer Cromitie down a path to jihad - giving him religious pamphlets, clothing and prayer rugs. In the end, it seemed that cash and gifts worked better...
"Maqsood gave him a lot of marijuana," she said...
Read full article
May 24, 2009
The Times (UK)
On the steps of New York city hall on Friday, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor, praised the police officers and federal agents who helped disrupt an apparent terrorist plot to blow up a synagogue and shoot down military aircraft.
The mayor was flanked by more than 100 homeland security and counter-terrorist specialists, all of whom had a hand in an elaborate sting that netted four alleged Muslim extremists. Their plan, according to FBI agents, was to detonate a “fireball that would make the country gasp”...
Yet not every New Yorker was impressed by the latest in a long line of purported anti-terrorist triumphs that have supposedly averted tragedy in New York, Chicago, Toronto and several other North American cities since September 11, 2001.
“This whole operation was a foolish waste of time and money,” claimed Terence Kindlon, a defence lawyer who represented the last terror suspect to be tried in New York state. “It is almost as if the FBI cooked up the plot and found four idiots to install as defendants.”
Kindlon’s complaints were echoed by other legal experts who have repeatedly questioned the FBI’s reliance on undercover informants – known as confidential witnesses (CWs) – who lure gullible radicals into far-fetched plots that are then foiled by the agents monitoring them...
The other question that US security experts were debating was how much had been achieved by assigning more than 100 agents to a year-long investigation of three petty criminals and a mentally ill Haitian immigrant, none of whom had any connection with any known terrorist group. “They were all unsophisticated dimwits,” said Kindlon...
This unlikely crew was said to have planned to use remotely detonated C4 explosives to bomb synagogues in the New York suburb of Riverdale; they then intended to drive north to a National Guard base near Newburgh to shoot down military aircraft with a Stinger missile supplied by a man they believed was working with Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based terrorist group.
That man is now understood to have been Shahed Hussain, a former New York state motel owner who became an FBI informant in 2002 to avoid deportation to Pakistan after being arrested on fraud charges. Hussain appears to have met Cromitie at a Newburgh mosque where the plot to bomb Jewish targets was hatched...
The FBI is known to have infiltrated mosques, and many anti-terrorist experts believe a mosque is the last place a serious Islamic terrorist would plot an attack. “Anyone with any smarts knew to stay away from [Hussain],” said Muhammad. Yet nobody will accuse Cromitie and his cohorts of being smart.Read full article
By the now, it's maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it's revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne'er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur.
I've seen this movie before.
In this case, the alleged perps -- Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen -- were losers, ex-cons, drug addicts. Al Qaeda they're not. Without the assistance of the agent who entrapped them, they would never have dreamed of committing political violence, nor would they have had the slightest idea about where to acquire plastic explosives or a Stinger missile. That didn't stop prosecutors from acting as if they'd captured Osama bin Laden himself. Noted the Los Angeles Times:
Prosecutors called it the latest in a string of homegrown terrorism plots hatched after Sept. 11.
"It's hard to envision a more chilling plot," Assistant U.S. Atty. Eric Snyder said in court Thursday. He described all four suspects as "eager to bring death to Jews."
Actually, it's hard to imagine a stupider, less competent, and less important plot. The four losers were ensnared by a creepy FBI agent who hung around the mosque in upstate New York until he found what he was looking for. Here's the New York Times account:
Salahuddin Mustafa Muhammad, the imam at the mosque where the authorities say the confidential informant first encountered the men, said none of the men were active in the mosque. ...
Mr. Cromitie was there last June, and he met a stranger.
He had no way of knowing that the stranger's path to the mosque began in 2002, when he was arrested on federal charges of identity theft. He was sentenced to five years' probation, and became a confidential informant for the F.B.I. He began showing up at the mosque in Newburgh around 2007, Mr. Muhammad said.
The stranger's behavior aroused the imam's suspicions. He invited other worshipers to meals, and spoke of violence and jihad, so the imam said he steered clear of him...
So a creepy thug buttonholes people at a mosque, foaming at the mouth about violence and jihad? This is law enforcement? Just imagine if someone did this at a local church, or some synagogue. And the imam says the people "believed he was a government agent."
Preying on these losers, none of whom were apparently actual Muslims, the "confidential informant" orchestrated the acquisition of a disabled Stinger missile to shoot down military planes and cooked up a wild scheme about attacking a Jewish center in the Bronx.
It gets even more pathetic:
The only one of the four suspects who appears to have aroused any suspicion was Payen, a Haitian native who attended the Newburgh mosque. Assistant imam Hamid Rashada said his dishevelment and odd behavior disturbed some members, said the assistant imam, Hamid Rashada.
When Payen appeared in court, defense attorney Marilyn Reader described him as "intellectually challenged" and on medication for schizophrenia. The Associated Press said that when he was asked if he understood the proceedings, Payen replied: "Sort of."
Despite the pompous statements from Mayor Bloomberg of New York and other politicians, including Representative Peter King, the whole story is bogus. The four losers may have been inclined to violence, and they may have harbored a virulent strain of anti-Semitism. But it seems that the informant whipped up their violent tendencies and their hatred of Jews, cooked up the plot, incited them, arranged their purchase of weapons, and then had them busted. To ensure that it made headlines, the creepy informant claimed to be representing a Pakistani extremist group, Jaish-e Muhammad, a bona fide terrorist organization. He wasn't, of course.
It is disgusting and outrageous that the FBI is sending provocateurs into mosques.
The headlines reinforce the very fear that Dick Cheney is trying to stir up. The story strengthens the narrative that the "homeland" is under attack. It's not. As I've written repeatedly, since 9/11 not a single American has even been punched in the nose by an angry Muslim, as far as I can tell. Plot after plot -- the destruction of the Brooklyn Bridge! bombing the New York Subways! taking down the Sears Tower! bombing the Prudential building in Newark! -- proved to be utter nonsense.
Read whole article
Orange County Weekly
As its name suggests, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in LA is supposed to promote the kind of cultural dialog that brings people together rather than pushes them apart. So it's more than a little bit odd that the center showed a movie last weekend that has been compared to the gold-standard of anti-Semitic propaganda: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The latter tome was supposedly written by the Jews who secretly want to take over the world. Actually it's pure fiction, but the book nonetheless helped pave the way for Russian pogroms in the 19th Century and the Nazi-era holocaust. The film in question, "The Third Jihad," was screened at the Museum of Tolerance last Sunday. Like the book before it, the film claims to provide evidence of a global plot of subversion, in this case a plot to subvert America by blood-thirsty terrorists posing as regular-guy American Muslims.
"The Third Jihad" begins with a disclaimer saying that most Muslims are okay folks, and that this movie only talks about the ones that want to kill all Americans. It was produced by a shadowy outfit called the Clarion Fund, which according to an Institute for Policy Studies report has ties to right-wing supporters of Israel who oppose all talks with the Palestinians. 28 million copies of a previous film by this outfit, Obsession: Radical Islam's War with the West, were distributed to voters in 14 swing states just before last November's presidential election, perhaps to inflame fears that Barack HUSSEIN Obama might be part of this purported Muslim takeover plot.
The supposed evidence for this plot against America is a secret "American Muslim Brotherhood Jihad Manifesto" that the film's producers claim was discovered and later released by the FBI in connection with its probe of the Holy Land foundation last year. Efforts by the Weekly to verify the existence, much less the text of that memo were inconclusive. Google "American Muslim Brotherhood" and "Jihad Manifesto" and all you get are links to stories about the "Third Jihad" movie.
On May 15, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Greater Los Angeles Area chapter, sent a letter asking the Simon Wiesenthal Center to call of its showing of the film. "As an institution that claims as its goal battling hatred and bigotry across the world, I am disappointed to see the Wiesenthal Center engage in promoting hatred and bigotry against another minority--American Muslims," Ayloush wrote.
The center wrote back saying that it wasn't going to cancel the film because it wants to promote discussion. For his part, Ayloush says there's a big difference between debating what American Muslims think about U.S. society and promoting the concept -- familiar to Jew-baiters throughout modern history -- that American Muslims want to take over the world.
"Claiming that American Muslims are part of some world-wide conspiracy to take over America is nothing short of concerted hateful fear mongering that intends to build animosity and even eventual violence against Muslims," he argues. "The Holocaust in Europe and the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda did not happen in a vacuum. They were preceded with such baseless hateful material that dehumanized the intended targeted community and were promoted by many enablers who falsely hid behind the claim of "generating discussion and sharing views."
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sounds like a devilish plan from a "Pinky and the Brain" episode. (If you don't know what show this is, then you are too young or too old. Sorry.)
Anyway, back to my more serious point. The video is nothing short of a typical propaganda production to promote fear and paranoia of immigrants in general and Muslims in specific. Basically, the "film" is screaming at us: "The Muslims are coming! Run for your life or do something about it."
Ironically and surprisingly, a few Muslims were sending the link out to fellow Muslims. I guess they are feeling such pride and a false sense of achievement in these exaggerated and fabricated statistics. How pathetic can we be! Are we so intellectually defeated and feeling inferior that even forged statistics about irrelevant "success" make us feel satisfied.
Since when does Islam teach us to worry about numbers? Are we in some kind of a race with others? For the record, we are not. Islam wants quality and not quantity from us. A small number of ethical, educated, productive, just, honest, and compassionate Muslims is better than huge masses of marginal Muslims who are not contributing to our world's well-being, not helping end poverty and war, and not living Islam's principles of peace, mercy, and equality.
The main distribution of the video link has been done by people who are not Muslim. I have been copied on dozens of such email messages in which the senders add their comments reminding fellow Americans and Christians about the supposed danger of Islam and Muslims. In one message, the sender wrote, "every church and synagogue must show this video." In another message, the sender qualified his actions by assuring recipients that "I am the last person to be a racist and I personally have met many peaceful Muslims, but we cannot ignore those stats." My favorite message was the one that ended with, "In Christ's Love." You can have my word that Christ (peace be upon him) does not appreciate his name nor his love being linked to such hatred and ignorance.
The video itself, so far viewed by over 7 million people, was posted by someone who obviously dislikes Islam and believes that the solution is to evangelize the world. The video parades numerous inaccurate and even fabricated statistics and claims that the growth in the number of Muslims is in itself as threat to mankind (that is bigoted to begin with) and that is somehow planned by Muslims. Obviously the producer of this video has no clue about Muslims. We can't even agree on when to begin and end the fasting month of Ramadan or when to celebrate Eid, does he/she really believe that we could agree on such an elaborate plan? That's really comical.
- Muslims are NOT planning to take over any place.
- Having more Muslims, Jews, Christians and all type of good people around is not a bad thing; it actually helps us sharpen our social skills and appreciate each other.
- Spreading fear and bigotry is not cool.
- Immigrants are lovely people who enrich our societies.
- Stop being paranoid about having people who are different than you.
- Take time to meet and learn about people who are different. You will realize how much in common we all have.
- Learn to make friends with all people and find ways to cooperate with them to turn our world into a better place for our children.
- The internet can be a dangerous tool for spreading rumors, lies, and fear. Use it to promote dialogue, justice, peace, and positive activism instead.
Here is a link to a good response to the video. It addresses the many false claims. It is a must read.
"...The point of the video is to say that Europe will be predominantly Muslim within fifty years or less, as a result of low birthrates among native Europeans and high birthrates among Muslim immigrants. I’ve seen these arguments over the past few years. It’s stuff promoted mainly by American Right-wing Christians, often with dire warnings that Europe will be Islamicized within 50 years, and America will stand alone in the world...
In case you have no idea what I am referring to, here is a link to the video:
Tuesday May 19, 2009
I've argued in the past that muslims and jews in the West should make common cause in fighting against prejudice and tolerance - and in doing so, lead by example in terms of demonstrating the value of tolerance and respect based on our shared Abrahamic heritage. One ideal joint project would be for the ADL and CAIR to join forces and compile a national database of anti-semitic and Islamophobic incidents and hate crimes, for example, and perhaps start a group blog project discussing various issues.
Unfortunately, despite many previous examples of common cause that move such a vision forward, sometimes the innate prejudices of both groups moves the process backwards. Case in point - the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles will screen the grotesquely Islamophobic film The Third Jihad. As CAIR's Los Angeles chapter explains in a letter to the SWC, The Third Jihad is the equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as far as its intention in portraying muslims in the United States and Islam as a whole as a fifth column, a Dolchstoßlegende for the modern era...
(LOS ANGELES, CA, 5/15/2009) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) to cancel a Sunday screening of a film called "The Third Jihad" that the civil rights group says portrays Muslims as a "fifth column within the United States."
In a letter to SWC founder Rabbi Marvin Hier, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush wrote in part:
"This film, like its discredited predecessor 'Obsession,' seeks to portray American Muslims as a fifth column within the United States. It is the moral and ethical equivalent of the scurrilous 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion.' You, of all people, should know the negative impact such false and defamatory portrayals can have on a minority community.
SEE: Obsession with Hate
"Screening 'The Third Jihad' is akin to showing the Nazi-era 'Triumph of the Will,' which stereotyped Jews, or 'Birth of a Nation,' which vilified African-Americans...
"The film disingenuously claims it is only targeting "radical Islam," yet a twitter account of the Washington, D.C., screening on Wednesday night stated: '`Three Jihads' First, 7th century burst out of Arabia...Second, Turks push to gates of Vienna...Third, TODAY...The 1400-hundred year war' clash has been going on since the beginning of Islam.'
"These statements encompass the entirety of Islamic history and culture. Is that what the Wiesenthal Center believes we are fighting and have been fighting since the inception of Islam?...
"In a pluralistic society in which healthy community relations are a necessity, agenda-driven films such as this do little to diffuse confusion about religious minorities and educate the public in an honest and credible manner...
"As an institution that claims as its goal battling of hatred and bigotry across the world, I am disappointed to see the Wiesenthal Center engage in promoting hatred and bigotry against another minority - American Muslims..."
SEE: Letter to Simon Wiesenthal Center
Last year, CAIR-LA denounced the Wiesenthal Center for building a "Museum of Tolerance" in Jerusalem on what was once the largest Muslim cemetery in Palestine.
SEE: An Intolerable Spot for a Museum (Forward)
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Hussam Ayloush on KOCE "OC Insider" discussing Muslims, moles and the FBI.
Is the FBI keeping us safe or invading privacy?
Show aired on Wed. May 13, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Haaretz, May 13, 2009
The Military Police are investigating allegations that Israel Defense Forces soldiers assaulted, abused and stole from a Palestinian man detained during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year. The police are investigating a number of complaints of thefts from Palestinians during the recent war...
It states that Qanoa, from the Atatara neighborhood of Gaza City, was detained by the IDF on January 4, along with family members. They were released the following day, but he was transported, bound and blindfolded, to another location, where he was kept for two more days. During that time, he said soldiers denied him water, beat and kicked him, and on three occasions forced him to drink urine.
He says soldiers also stole his cell phone as well as $1,000 and NIS 2,500 in cash. He also said he was forced to tell an individual presented as a foreign journalist that he was being treated well...
Last weekend, two soldiers from the Givati reconnaisance unit were arrested on suspiciion of stealing a credit card from a home in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza and using it to withdraw NIS 1,600 in central Israel. One of the two confessed on Tuesday and was remanded for six days. The other was released.
|Al Jazeera English, May 13, 2009|
Pope Benedict XVI has called the separation wall between Israel and the West Bank a symbol of "stalemate", during a tour of the occupied Palestinian territory.
The pontiff was speaking at the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem alongside Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, as part of his first trip to the West Bank...
The pope said he understood the frustration felt by Palestinian refugees.
"Your legitimate aspirations for permanent homes, for an independent Palestinian state remain unfulfilled.
"Instead you find yourselves trapped ... in a spiral of violence, of attack and counter-attack, retaliation and continual destruction. The whole world is longing for this spiral to be broken, for peace to put an end to the constant fighting."
The pontiff earlier told Palestinians in Bethlehem's Manger Square that he believes they have the right to a sovereign Palestinian homeland.
"Mr President, the Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbours, within internationally recognised borders," the pope said...
Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian leader of the political faction Hamas, had called on the pope to visit Gaza to see what he described as "the real holocaust against the Palestinian people".
In 2008, Israel launched a three-week assault on the occupied Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,300 people and destroying much of the impoverished area's infrastructure.
Gaza, however, is not on the itinerary for the pope's week-long pilgrimage to the region.
Al Jazeera English, May 13, 2009
Barack Obama, the US president, is to appeal a legal ruling ordering the release of dozens of images depicting abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Obama, who had previously supported the release of the photographs, acted on advice from military commanders that publishing them could endanger US troops overseas, the White House said on Wednesday.
"The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger," Obama told journalists on Wednesday...
The US department of defence was to release the images by May 28 in response to legal action filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The photographs come from more than 60 criminal investigations between 2001-2006 and are of military personnel suspected of abusing detainees, officials said in April...
The ACLU was quick to condemn Obama's decision.
"The decision to not release the photographs makes a mockery of President Obama's promise of transparency and accountability,'' said Amrit Singh, an ACLU lawyer...
Monday, May 11, 2009
Friday, May 08, 2009
May 1, 2009
PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup Poll Daily tracking during President Obama's first 100 days in office finds broad support for him among Americans affiliated with most major U.S. religions. U.S. Muslims and Jews give Obama his highest job approval ratings, at 85% and 79%, respectively. He also receives solid majority support from Roman Catholics (67%) and Protestants (58%), and more approval than disapproval from Mormons.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Idaho Citizens' Constitutional Militia is not like the other chaotic and "sloppy" militias. This one is a very "professional" one.
It clearly states:
Understand that this militia will be as professional, well trained, disciplined, physically fit, and proficient as any U.S. military unit...
There are many militias across America that are undisciplined, have sloppy attire, and contribute to a continuing negative image of the militia in the minds of many Americans. This will not be one of them. I seek to recruit only those who are seriously minded about forging a formidable civil defense force and will accept nothing less than the same excellence required of our members of the armed forces.
Good to know that this militia cares about discipline.
Not only that, in the eligibility section, it makes it clear that it is an open-minded and progressive militia. I guess, gone are those days when people associated militias with racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and paranoia. The Idaho Citizens' Constitutional Militia almost convinced me that today's militias are more like an upgraded boy scout club. Read for yourself:
Welcome. 1. All ages. Physical requirements will be age adjusted. It's my philosophy that children should be introduced into the Militia as soon as possible. All members under 18 must have written permission from a parent or guardian. All members under 16 must be accompanied by that parent or guardian at all times. Minors will not be considered for rank.
What an amazing sense of responsibility. This is every parents' dream; a place where our kids can learn about honor and discipline.
2. Male and Female. I strongly encourage women to participate...Women serve in other state militias and do so with honor, dignity, and competence. I expect my male and female soldiers to conduct themselves professionally.
Yes, honor and dignity. Where else can one go and be reminded about such important values? And who is better than the militias to set the example for us?
3. All races. Your commander is Hawaiian, and you will be serving with blacks, hispanics, asians, whites, and all other races and backgrounds.
And all those years, people falsely accused so many militias of being racist. I am telling you, people are just so unfair sometimes.
I will not tolerate the infiltration of hateful ideologies. I understand that many from Christian Identity and Aryan nations will seek to join because of shared values when it comes to individual liberty.
You heard it from the militia. There is zero-tolerance for hate. This is a progressive, enlightened, and self-respectful association.
If you are mature and can show restraint in dealing with Jews and other ethnicities, you are welcome and encouraged to join.
What? Restraint? Restraint from doing what exactly? What kind of people are you anticipating joining the militia? This must have been a typo from the old and unrevised eligibility rules. Look at the positive side, at least now they are calling for restraint toward "Jews and other ethnicities." So racism is all behind us now. Right? Wait, it says:
Muslims, atheists, Wiccans etc need not apply. The Militia has always maintained a common faith in God (not allah or anyone else).
Oh no. My community can not join! (Someone needs to explain to them that Allah is God's name in Arabic, as used by Arab Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. I guess intelligence must not be a requirement for eligibility)
There must be some misunderstanding here. Let me check under the "Not Welcome" section in the eligibility page.
1. Federal agents or persons with ties to federal agencies. This includes U.S. Marshalls, FBI, BATFE, CIA, NSA, or any SWAT members affilitated (sic) with federal agencies. This is a state militia defending the interests of Idaho and you are not welcome here.
Not to worry, several of those agencies are too busy to have time to join the militias anyway. If everyone joins the militias, then who would be torturing detainees, assassinating foreign leaders, overthrowing unfriendly governments, engaging in religious profiling, harassing American Muslims, spying on young Muslim males at gyms, or monitoring American mosques?
2. Current U.S. military members. (To clarify) *Any current active service, reserve, or guard members will be (like everyone else) required to swear an oath of allegience (sic) to the state of Idaho and its people above all other allegiences. Unless you are ready to side with the citizens of Idaho should a conflict arise between us and the federal government, you should not apply. If your first allegience is to Idaho, then you are welcome to join.
Conflict with the federal government? What conflict? Wouldn't that be terrorism?
3. Members or affiliates of the United Nations. This Militia is actively opposed to the presence and influence of the United Nations in the United States and will resist UN attempts to compromise US sovereinty using all measures up to and including force of arms. If you have ties to the UN, you are not welcome here.
OK, now they are starting to sound really paranoid.
4. Felons and all others lawfully prohibited from possessing a firearm. This applies unless by court order, the prohibition of firearms possession has been rescinded.
Like any group, this one has moral standards that it abides by. It is important to protect the militia from those who bring a bad reputation to the group. After all, an upstanding moral reputation is obviously very important to the militia membership. The funny thing is that the militia has a stricter recruiting requirement than the FBI. While the militias do not welcome felons, the FBI has frequently hired the services of convicted felons, such as Craig Monteilh.
5. Muslims. It is the opinion of the Militia that there is a world wide effort on the part of Islam to populate Western nations and, when numbers are sufficient enough, declare Sh'ria law. Islam is not a religion that accomodates (sic) other faiths or shares western values concerning freedom of religion. For that reason, we must reciprocate by declining your membership.
Now I am really hurt and offended. Ok, Ok, not that I really had any interest in joining a militia, but I don't like to be blatantly excluded. So now we officially are the only religion or population segment to be openly discriminated against. And by whom? The militia? That really hurts. And based on what? On some idiotic Islamophobic ignorant belief that Muslims are planning to take over the "Western nations". Yeah, if we are so organized, then how come we can not even agree on when to start and end the fasting month of Ramadan? But wait, there is hope. The rule adds:
If you are a Muslim but feel strongly that my reasons don't describe your temperment (sic), then email me and I'll consider your case.
I knew there are exceptions.
Let me see, they need a Muslim who, like them, holds radical views, hates the the U.N. and U.S. government, loves wearing military uniforms, enjoys carrying and using weapons, thrives on worldwide conspiracy theories and paranoia, trains to hide in mountains and caves, ... That sure is a tough one, but it is not a hopeless case. I can think of a few candidates.
I would pay money to be able to watch the reaction on the faces of the militiamen as their new Muslim member introduces himself to them: "Hello, my name is Osama Bin Laden and with me are my Al-Qaeda brothers".
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The US's highest ranking military officer has said it is not the US military's position to promote any specific religion, after Al Jazeera revealed footage of troops apparently preparing to convert Afghans to their Christian faith.
"From the United States' military's perspective, it is not our position to ever push any specific kind of religion, period," said Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Monday.
The US military has also confiscated Bibles that Christian US soldiers in Afghanistan had apparently intended to give to local Muslims, a military spokesman told Al Jazeera.
In addition, some of the soldiers who appeared in the video have also been reprimanded, US government and military officials told Al Jazeera's James Bays.
The video, shot about a year ago, appeared to show military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram discussing how to distribute copies of the Bible printed in the country's main Pashto and Dari languages.
In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, tells soldiers that, as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him".
"The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says...
AFP,, May 5, 2009
LONDON (AFP) – The government published a blacklist on Tuesday of people recently banned from the country including a Hamas lawmaker and a Jewish extremist, as well as anti-gay protestors and a far-right US talk show host.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she decided to publish the "name and shame" list -- which identifies 16 people banned since last October -- for the first time to clarify what behaviour Britain will not tolerate.
"I think it's important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it's a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won't be welcome in this country," she said.
"If you can't live by the rules that we live by ... we should exclude you from this country and, what's more, now we will make public those people that we have excluded," she told the GMTV broadcaster.
Between October and April the Home Office excluded 22 people for "fostering extremism or hatred" included preachers Abdullah Qadri Al Ahdal, Yunis Al Astal and Amir Siddique, said a Home Office statement.
Hamas MP Yunis Al-Astal, Jewish extremist Mike Guzovsky, former Ku Klux Klan leader Stephen Donald Black and neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe are also on the list, as is controversial radio host Michael Alan Weiner, also known as Michael Savage.
Others blacklisted include homophobic US pastor Fred Waldron Phelps, as well as Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, former leaders of a violent Russian skinhead gang which committed 20 racially motivated murders.
Smith said: "The government opposes extremism in all its forms and I am determined to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.
"This is the driving force behind tighter rules on exclusions for unacceptable behaviour," she added.
Six of those excluded recently were not named because it would not be "in the public interest," said the Home Office.
In February Britain triggered a formal protest from the Netherlands after refusing entry to far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, maker of a controversial film linking Islam to terrorist attacks.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009By DAVID OLSON
As the number of possible Inland swine flu cases rises, churches, synagogues and mosques are suspending rituals, asking sick congregants to stay home and reaching out to those in need.
In a sweeping move that will affect the hundreds of thousands of Inland Catholics who attend Mass each week, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino is prohibiting the drinking of wine from a communal cup during Mass in its 94 parishes in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The diocese is also recommending that parishioners avoid shaking hands during the sign of peace, not hold hands during the reciting of the "Our Father" prayer, and receive the consecrated bread of communion in their hands, not on their tongues.
Holy water will be sanitized weekly during the epidemic, perhaps with a small amount of bleach...
Other dioceses are only advising people who feel ill to refrain from drinking from the common chalice and shaking hands...
Riverside's Temple Beth El on Thursday posted a sign on its door asking ill congregants to seek medical attention and go home rather than attend services or enter the synagogue's offices.
During the weekly Shabbat service, a cup of wine is usually passed around to people leading the Kiddush prayer service, said Rabbi Suzanne Singer. Friday night, for fear of spreading the flu virus, Singer asked only one person to drink from the cup. "We're not in any sort of panic or anything," Singer said. "We're just trying to be cautious."
Islamic ritual has a built-in precaution that could reduce the risk of spreading the flu: Worshippers wash their hands, mouth, ears and nose before the five-times-a-day prayers, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The council is urging imams to use daily and Friday prayer services to educate congregants about swine-flu precautions.
"Having a captive audience in a mosque and being addressed by a person of authority" can effectively spread prevention messages, said Ayloush, a Corona resident..
As long as it is legal, Rice believes we have the right to do it. What a logic.
How about is it moral? Does it make our soldiers safer if they are captured in the future by another warring nation? Does it leave any credibility for us to ask other countries not to engage in torture and human rights violations?
Torture is always wrong and immoral. And it should certainly always be illegal.