Category: Islamaphobia

Bourke St: I am feeling nothing less than rage, alienation and despair

I am feeling nothing less than rage, alienation and despair at the moment. Muslims have been on trial for 17 years now. Seventeen years in the dock, in community detention, on parole, out on bail. Seventeen years of punishment and accountability, of collective culpability that turns inwards into confusion, anger, helplessness, shame. Seventeen years ago I was a university student in Melbourne when I was pronounced guilty for the crimes that took place in another country. Seventeen years on and my children now inherit my sentence.

Source: Bourke St: I am feeling nothing less than rage, alienation and despair

German Anti-Muslim Party Member in Surprise Conversion to Islam | Informed Comment

German Anti-Muslim Party Member in Surprise Conversion to Islam

Arthur Wagner, a former leading member of German far-right anti-Muslim party Alternative for Germany (AfD), based in Brandenburg, has announced his conversion to Islam in a surprise move.

If Arthur Wagner can flip so can Andrew Bolt

 German Anti-Muslim Party Member in Surprise Conversion to Islam | Informed Comment

How Far will Americans take anti-Muslim Hate? Making them wear Green Stars? | Informed Comment

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – – The de facto criminalization of being Muslim or speaking Arabic, which …

Source: How Far will Americans take anti-Muslim Hate? Making them wear Green Stars? | Informed Comment

Sufi Boxer Muhammad Ali’s last fight was against Extremism & Politicians’ Islamophobia

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – – Boxer Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, on …

Source: Sufi Boxer Muhammad Ali’s last fight was against Extremism & Politicians’ Islamophobia

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, from Irving, Texas arrested after his school mistakes homemade clock for bomb – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A 14-year-old Muslim boy is arrested after a homemade clock he brought to school is mistaken for an explosive device.

Source: Ahmed Mohamed, 14, from Irving, Texas arrested after his school mistakes homemade clock for bomb – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

What Chapel Hill means for Muslim-Americans Muslim Americans are now the Other Americans just as Italians, Irish and Japanese before them. This applies so much in Australia as well.

Their deaths have been shrugged off as a mere 'parking dispute', writes Marashi [Getty]

Their deaths have been shrugged off as a mere ‘parking dispute’, writes Marashi [Getty]

About the Author

Ibrahim Al-Marashi

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an assistant professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of “Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History.”

@ialmarashi

This week Craig Stephen Hicks murdered, execution-style, three American Muslims in North Carolina.

When terrorist groups like ISIL conduct brutal executions it makes headline news around the world. When an American killed three fellow Americans, the story was practically buried in the US, ironically in a 24-hour news cycle that is often desperate for news. Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha were murdered before any of them had reached the age of 25. America did not just lose three Muslims this week. It lost three ambassadors of a new generation of Muslim-Americans trying to make a difference in their communities.

My family knew the young victims of this attack in North Carolina. We shared friends among the northern California Muslim-American community I grew up in. Deah, Yusor and Razan represented a new generation in the Muslim-American community that took decades in the making. We constitute a generation, who for the most part, are the children of Muslims who formed the brain drain trend, when American visas were given out eagerly to professionals from the Muslim world in the 1960s and 1970s, or other Muslims who came over with nothing and made a life for themselves and their families. Our parents told us to pursue the professions or careers that carried prestige back in the Middle East and Islamic world: medicine, engineering, or law.

Trajectory set by sacrifice

Working with computers in Silicon Valley was fine since it generated a hefty paycheck. Our parents told our generation any work in the humanities, arts, social or public policy was a waste of time and a distraction. Our trajectory was set by their sacrifices. They worked to raise us in the United States so we could have the opportunity to pursue professional degrees, earn money, marry, and buy a home in suburbia. The American dream.

Was it a hate crime?

What characterised my generation of Muslim Americans coming of age right before or after 9/11 was that we diversified our pursuits. Some, like myself went into academia, others became writers, or comedians, while others, like Deah and Yusor sought to pursue time-intensive medical degrees, and yet still devoted their skills and free time to social work and community engagement, such as feeding the homeless in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Razan, Yusor’s sister, was about to begin her university career studying architecture combined with environmental design. Deah, Razan, and Yusor were denied an opportunity to continue this saga of post-9/11 generation of Muslim Americans who were committed to civic commitment. And the news media in the US would have neglected their desires had it not been for hashtag activism asking why these victims were not getting any media attention.

And still their deaths have been shrugged off as a mere “parking dispute”, suggesting that the murders were part of a road rage incident gone out of control (which this New Yorker article reminds us has equally chilling implications of how the US has become numb to murder).

Don’t fit into America

Unfortunately, Muslim Americans tend to be newsworthy when implicated in acts of terrorism. Muslim Americans such as Nidal Hasan, the perpetrator of the Ft Hood massacre, Anwar al-Awlaki, of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Faisal Shazad, the “Times Square bomber”, and the Boston Marathon bombers not only garnered significant media coverage during the 24-hour news cycle, but channels like Fox News and its invited pundits repeatedly invoke them years after their terrorist plots as examples to remind Muslim Americans that we do not fit into an America based on a Judeo-Christian legacy.

We constitute a generation, who for the most part, are the children of Muslims who formed the brain drain trend, when American visas were given out eagerly to professionals from the Muslim world in the 1960s and 1970s, or other Muslims who came over with nothing and made a life for themselves and their families.

American converts to Islam, when linked to terrorism, also fit this media narrative of Muslim “home-grown terrorists”, such as John Walker Lindh, who volunteered to fight for the Afghan Taliban, or Adam al-Amriki, who emerged as the English spokesperson for al-Qaeda. Zachary Adam Chesser, a Muslim convert responsible for a death threat to the creators of South Park if they depicted the Prophet Muhammad in their cartoon series, received more media attention than the three innocent Muslims murdered in North Carolina.

Even Jon Stewart, an American of Jewish heritage who has become the most prominent defender of Muslim Americans during his career at the Daily Show, covered Chesser’s threats in 2010, but let me down twice this week, announcing he will no longer host the show, and failing to criticise on his February 11 show how the mainstream neglected the murder of these young Muslims.

Deah, Yusor and Razan’s deaths serve as a tragic reminder of a decade-long legacy of anti-Muslim sentiment in the US with no end in sight. In my lifetime as an Iraqi American Muslim, I would like to have experienced a period, just an interval, where the Middle East or the Islamic world was not in the news, generating negative stereotypes among Americans.

In the 1980s, when Iran was the public enemy, I faced discrimination because for the ignorant the difference between Iran and Iraq was one letter. They never learned to differentiate between the two countries. Unfortunately, the ignorant could discriminate “legitimately” against me as Iraq became public enemy from 1990 to 2003.

Collateral damage

On some level I can empathise with how German Americans or Japanese Americans felt during World War II. However, in the case of Muslim Americans, there is no Berlin or Tokyo to surrender and declare that war is over, allowing for a “rehabilitation” of those Americans who were demonised just because of the nation that preceded their hyphen. During that conflict their ancestral homes were nation-states.

During the “war on terror”, any Muslim, from Morocco to Indonesia is subject to discrimination in the US as long as this war continues which is open-ended in nature. For that matter, even Arab Christians (technically among the first Christians in the world) suffer discrimination in the US for just being associated with the Middle East. Even with the death of Osama bin Laden, anti-Muslim discrimination persisted in this country, and the rise of ISIL and that ongoing war seems to indicate that Muslim Americans will be collateral damage for years to come.

If I can presume to speak on behalf of myself, the three victims Deah, Yusor and Razan, and all of America’s Muslims, all we seek is to achieve some level of banality in American society. Just as Italian and Irish Catholics, Chinese and Japanese Americans, Jewish, and Latino Americans were perceived as “foreign” in the fabric of American society over time, it is our turn to be the Other American.

Granted like Deah, Yusor and Razan, we want to make a difference in our communities, but our desires as Muslim Americans are banal, just as the preceding generations of immigrants to the US. We hope to pursue our passions. We want to make a living. Hopefully change some ingrained stereotypes along the way. Unfortunately all these opportunities were denied to three young Americans this week.

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an assistant professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. 

Germany Isn’t Turning Backward

What Does Pegida Say About Germany?

very Monday. Since the terror attacks in Paris, the movement has grown: The police counted 25,000 demonstrators on Jan. 12, the Monday after the attacks, a 7,500 jump from the week before. (It canceled its Jan. 19 protest over security concerns.)

Known by its German acronym, Pegida, the group has inflicted great harm on the country’s international reputation. Our neighbors and allies are asking whether Germany is stumbling back into the darkness of xenophobia, and rightfully so. Many Germans are asking the same question these days.

There are two ways to look at the situation. The optimistic take is to note that, for all the attention Pegida gets inside of Germany and abroad, Germany has never been as liberal, culturally diverse and open toward minorities as it is today.

Last year a biennial poll conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a foundation associated with the left-wing Social Democrats (and thus unlikely to underestimate the problem), found that anti-foreigner attitudes were at a historic low. While its 2012 poll found that about a quarter of Germans reported hostile views toward foreigners, only 7.5 percent did in 2014. And anti-Semitism, which is on the rise elsewhere in Europe, has dropped significantly, to 4.1 percent from 8.6.

Apart from the polls, there is quite a bit of evidence for a new openness. On Jan. 12, 100,000 people went to the streets nationwide in counterdemonstrations against Pegida, showing their solidarity with German Muslims. In Leipzig, 4,800 pro-Pegida protesters were met by 30,000 counterprotesters.

Meanwhile, all over Germany, private initiatives are popping up to help refugees. In Duisburg, a local politician has collected 100 bicycles for refugee children. In Zirndorf, doctors are providing refugees with free medication. Even in Dresden, Pegida’s stronghold, groups are helping refugees with the hard tasks of getting settled, like providing translation services at appointments with authorities.

Still, the enormous support for Pegida requires us to consider another, darker reading of the situation, as evidence of troubling developments within German society.

One is the failure of mainstream politics. There is a tendency among the major parties to move toward the center of the political spectrum, creating an ideological void at its far right and left ends. The far right in particular has lacked political representation in the past years, which helps explain why a new populist party, Alternative für Deutschland, had such enormous success in European and state elections last year. While leaders of the Alternative, as it’s called, claim to be primarily anti-European Union, many have also expressed support for Pegida.

Another change revolves around the Internet. In this view, the Pegida people are just the usual frustrated lot looming at the edges of society. Now, emboldened by the reinforcement they find in like-minded communities online, they’re taking to the streets.

And a third is the persistence of regional differences. Though Pegida has drawn support in western Germany, it is strongest in the former East Germany. In the East, xenophobic attitudes are still more common than in the West, for a complex mix of reasons, including higher unemployment rates, but also because of feelings of inferiority.

We also have to ask what Pegida says about Germany, whatever its causes. It certainly indicates that the relative social peace we are experiencing right now is fragile. But it also shows how the country, still new to the multiethnic game, is struggling with its identity. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the first waves of immigrants arrived, the “Gastarbeiter” (guest workers) from Turkey and Italy who came to fill the labor gap in the country’s prospering postwar economy.

For decades, Germany was able to pretend that the guest workers were just that, guests. But the third generation of Turkish immigrants is now reaching adulthood. At the same time, immigration numbers are rising: Germany’s immigrant population grew by about 430,000 last year. Many came from the Southern European countries that still suffer from the euro crisis, but last year Germany also welcomed some 220,000 refugees, mostly from Syria, Eritrea, Serbia and Afghanistan.

The white face of German society is changing at a rapid pace. In this context, the Pegida protests are getting such attention because they act as a weekly checkup of German society. It’s as if every Monday, the news media are putting a trembling hand to the country’s forehead, checking its temperature, wondering whether our ugly, xenophobic past is taking over again. And we don’t have to look back to the 1930s to find that past; in the early 1990s, when the country last saw similar numbers of refugees, an irrational fear of foreigners taking the jobs of “real Germans” gripped the country, culminating in anti-immigrant riots in several cities, with several deaths, many wounded and thousands scared.

Last week, a 20-year-old refugee from Eritrea was found stabbed to death near his apartment in Dresden. Neighbors reported that swastikas had been painted onto the door of his apartment. Germans held their breath. Was this a neo-Nazi murder? Was there a connection to the Pegida rallies? Then, on Thursday, authorities arrested one of the victim’s roommates, another asylum seeker, who they say has admitted to the attack. Still, we don’t trust ourselves. Why should our neighbors? Why should you?

However the investigation turns out, I am an optimist, believing that we will not see history repeated. Germany has come a long way since even the early ’90s. And rather than causing violence, Pegida has set off a public debate on Germany’s national identity. This is long overdue. Prominent conservative politicians like Peter Tauber, the secretary general of the Christian Democratic Party, have demanded a new, clearer framework for immigration. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that “Islam is part of Germany.” It was an assessment, rather than an ideological statement. It was the simple acknowledgment of a simple reality.

Why Violent Extremists Welcome Attacks on Islam

Whenever an act of horrific terror enrages the West, a predictable second act ensues. Furious commentators and activists on the right erupt with blanket denunciations of Islam, Muslims and their supposed plots to enslave us all under Shariah, urging that we ban the religion, stigmatize its faithful and restore the Judeo-Christian exclusivity of America. Sometimes a few even seek retribution in attacks on mosques, individual Muslims and anyone unfortunate enough to “look Muslim.”

Violent or merely loud, these are the useful idiots whose divisive blundering underscores the propaganda of al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and imitators around the world. They represent precisely the opposite of what we must do and say if we are to defeat Islamist extremism in all its manifestations.

Look behind the delusional murderers who actually carry out such crimes as the massacres at Charlie Hebdo and the Paris kosher market. What is their strategic objective? Not a military victory over the French army or even an atmosphere of fear in Paris. They seek to provoke a harsh crackdown on innocent Muslims, especially the young and unemployed, along with expressions of bigotry and discrimination—to highlight the simmering communal conflicts they hope to inflame into a “war of civilizations.”

So the extremists can only be grateful when anti-Muslim propaganda, repeated constantly in right-wing publications and broadcasts, casts them as the defenders of Islam rather than its defilers. Every time Islam is publicly defined as a religion of violence, the jihadis gain prestige. Their appeals become more persuasive to oppressed young Muslims—especially if no alternative is apparent.


Yet the narrative of endless conflict and implacable distrust is not only untrue—as we saw last week when Parisians of all faiths rallied together—but deeply destructive to traditional democratic values and strategically stupid.

Yes, we must protect the right to speak freely, including when the speech is offensive to religions and even to ethnic groups, without fear of violent responses. We must also protect the rights of religious and ethnic minorities—including the right to protest peacefully against offensive speech. That requires swift action against those who will conspire to maim, murder and terrorize—and the capacity, whenever possible, to neutralize those criminals before they act.

But Americans will need to do much more than surround ourselves with police, armies and intelligence services if we ever hope to overcome our extremist enemies. Effective counterterrorism demands a contrasting narrative of coexistence, respect, fairness and opportunity.

The elements of that political arsenal exist already—in the stories of Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim policeman who died heroically in Paris, and Lassana Bathily, the young Muslim employee who led Jews in the kosher market to safety; in the undeniable fact that the extremists murder hundreds of innocent civilians, overwhelmingly Muslim, every week; and in the secure, prosperous existence that millions of ordinary Muslim families have enjoyed in this country for decades, despite outbursts of prejudice and harassment.

We ought to note with pride that Muslims serve in the U.S. military and every branch of government, including two members of Congress, because the Constitution specifically bans any religious test for public office. (Certain figures on the religious right may need to be reminded, too.) Muslims should know that their holy days are routinely celebrated in the White House by presidents of both parties—even as all religions are subject to disbelief, criticism and even jeering satire in a free society.

The consensus among ordinary Muslims is well-known to pollsters of public opinion: By large majorities, here and abroad, they fear and disdain the violent extremists who have defamed their religion. Let’s at least stop trying to change their minds.

Harlem Pastor Exposes Starbucks Sinister Sodomite Semen Scheme. Bolt’s Featured guest on the Bolt Report

starbucks

NEW YORK (CT&P) – Last Wednesday during his online radio show, Pastor James David Manning of the ATLAH Worldwide Calvary Missionary Outreach of Our Lady of the Impure Latte Church, exposed yet another fiendish conspiracy perpetrated on the American public by the dark forces attempting to turn us all gay.

This week the unhinged pastor has convinced himself that Starbucks is adding “sodomite semen” to lattes in order to control American’s sexual preferences.

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“My suspicion is that they’re getting this semen from sodomites,” said Pastor Manning. “That’s what my suspicion is. My suspicion is that semen, like cord blood, has millions and millions of little zygotes in it, and it flavors up the coffee. And it makes you think you’re having a good time drinking that cup of latte with the semen in it.”

He then claimed that the story was the reason he was criticized for calling the company “ground zero for Ebola,” calling their clientele “generally upscaled [sic] sodomites” who go there to “exchange a lot of body fluids.”

“Now I know why I don’t go to Starbucks,” Manning said. “But now I know why these other untoward types hang around that Starbucks. This investigation has not been closed as of yet.”

Indeed, the investigation is ongoing, and Pastor Manning has put some of his top woefully uneducated researchers in charge of the ongoing probe.

fred-phelps-sr-ap0603190293

“We postulate that the zygotes act on the nervous system and put you to sleep while a pod is formed nearby, and when you wake up, you’re a flaming fag with an insatiable thirst for lattes,” said Manning.

This is not the first conspiracy that the right reverend has uncovered. He was the first radio personality to reveal that aliens were urinating in McDonald’s soft drinks, and he also exposed the deadly plan by the Obama Administration to introduce Ebola to the nation’s food supply by contaminating Hardee’s breakfast biscuits.

Pastor Manning, also known as “that black kook from Harlem,” is scheduled to appear on the Bill O’Relly show next month as part of Fox’s ongoing coverage of the imaginary “War on Christmas.” He is expected to reveal the ringleaders of a nationwide conspiracy to ruin Christmas by contaminating the Strategic Eggnog Reserve (SER) with fecal material from atheists.

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