Category Archives: Islam

‘My Fellow American’: New Online Project To Push Back On Islamophobia

So many Americans, like myself, don’t agree with the Islamophobia that’s so rampant in our country today.  We’ve been frustrated by the ineffectiveness of  small efforts like blog posts, and television pundits who publicly denounce Islamophobes, to no avail.

This project sounds promising…

Think Progress

One of the more unfortunate repercussions of the Islamophobia echo chamber is their ability to mainstream bigoted discourse towards American Muslims. As the Center for America Progress’ “Fear, Inc.” report documents, “some well-established conservative media outlets are a key part of this echo chamber, mixing coverage of alarmist threats posed by the mere existence of Muslims in America.”

This mainstreaming of hateful rhetoric gives fodder to respected community, political and civic leaders, radio talk show hosts, and Christian right preachers. Talking points that Obama is a Muslim, or that American mosques are places of stealth jihad, and other routine demonizing statements towards American Muslims have become the norm in our post 9/11 discourse on Islam in America.

But this relationship between mainstream media and the Islamophobia network is not surprising. What is more alarming is that voices of civility and sanity have not taken action to counter this reality. In an effort to push against the mainstreaming of hateful speech towards Muslims, Unity Productions Foundation has launched a new online project called “My Fellow American.” Centered on a short emotional video that juxtaposes voices of anti-Muslim hate with everyday American Muslims, it serves as a call to conscience to everyday Americans.

Watch the video:

Continue reading here…

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Filed under Islam, Islamophobia

King Hearing Casts Muslim Americans as Clueless, ‘Not Intellectually Equipped’

The fact is, it is Rep. King who is clueless and not intellectually equipped!

The Nation

When Representative Keith Ellison, one of just two Muslim members of Congress, broke down during Representative Peter King’s hearing on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response,” you could feel the entire room holding its breath. “He’s crying,” whispered Haris Tarin, director of the Washington, DC, office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), who was sitting next to me. Ellison began sobbing as he recounted the heroism and patriotism of Muhammad Salman Hamdani, a first responder and a Muslim, who died on 9/11 attempting to rescue his fellow Americans in the World Trade Center.

If King felt moved to weep or mourn or possibly salute, he neither said anything about it nor showed any reaction to his colleague. King has no problem with exploiting the emotional potency of 9/11; in fact the hearing room had been adorned with framed photographs, including a poster-sized photograph of the Twin Towers in flames. But King wasn’t going to let the heroism of a Muslim in the face of terrorism get in the way of a good witch hunt. He’s on a mission to establish that Muslims aren’t patriotic, that they don’t engage with law enforcement and that Muslim “radicalization” poses a risk to the homeland and our way of life.

Before his testimony, Ellison made his presence felt in the hearing room, greeting members of the public, grinning and saying “shalom” to Rabbi Marc Schneier of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. Schneier is a member of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Steering Committee, an interfaith group that has condemned the hearings, accusing King of “bearing false witness” against America’s Muslims by asserting “that Muslims as a broad group are not deeply devoted to America’s safety and the peaceful interaction of its entire citizenry.”      More…

 

 

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Filed under Islam, Islamophobia, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Peter King

Jon Stewart: Has Rep. Peter King Met His Terrorist Sympathizing Past Self?

Mediaite

Jon Stewart discussed Republican Congressman Peter King’s efforts to hold hearings on the alleged “radicalization” of Muslim Americans. In doing so, Stewart unearthed some past footage of King and suggested King might want to think twice about targeting people who might have any association with terrorist organizations.

Stewart asked, “it’s not enough for U.S. Muslims to be law-abiding – to avoid congressional investigation, they have to be actively stopping terror plots?” After humorously asking Italian celebrity chef Mario Batali about crime amongst people of his nationality, Stewart unveiled an old clip of King speaking favorably of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Stewart concluded the terrorist sympathizing King of the past would be in big trouble if today’s Congressman King got a hold of him.

Watch the clip from Comedy Central here…

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Filed under Islam, Islamophobia, Muslim Witch Hunt, Rep. Peter King

Katie Couric: Maybe We Need A Muslim Version Of The Cosby Show

Cropped headshot of Katie Couric

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The problem with Katy Couric’s logic is two-fold.  The Bill Cosby Show did not reduced racial tensions in our country, witness the past three years. 

Secondly, Muslims view their religion as the foundation of their life.  How will Islam  play out on a sitcom?  Not very well, I’m sure…

Meidaite

As 2010 comes to a close, the media industry is taking its annual breather to reflect upon all the things it had to cover in the past year. Katie Couric, in her CBSNews.com review of 2010, highlighted the controversy surrounding the Park51 project. “The bigotry expressed against Muslims in this country has been one of the most disturbing stories to surface,” she told her panel. In that media narrative, she saw “a seething hatred many people feel for all Muslims,” which she theorized could be remedied by another, more lighthearted narrative: “Maybe we need a Muslim version of The Cosby Show.”

She came to the situationally comedic solution after offering this take on American Islamophobia:

I also think sort of the chasm between, or, the bigotry expressed against Muslims in this country has been one of the most disturbing stories to surface this year. Of course, a lot of noise was made about the Islamic Center, mosque, down near the World Trade Center, but I think there wasn’t enough sort of careful analysis and evaluation of where this bigotry toward 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, and how this seething hatred many people feel for all Muslims, which I think is so misdirected, and so wrong—and so disappointing.

So could funny Muslims in even funnier sweaters be the answer? “I know that sounds crazy,” she said, “But The Cosby Show did so much to change attitudes about African-Americans in this country, and I think sometimes people are afraid of what they don’t understand—like you, Mo.” She was referring to Daily Show veteran and NPR regular Mo Rocca, who was present for the discussion. A Harvard alumnus, Rocca shamefully confessed that despite having attended “really fancy schools,” he knows basically “nothing about Islam.”

The two then “totally agree[d]” that “religion should be taught as an academic subject in public schools.” A funny solution, given that Rocca had just admitted-slash-joked that even his expensive private schooling had been insufficient.

But not as funny as a Muslim Cosby Show! Of course, there would be one catch: we’d need a Muslim Bill Cosby. Do we have one, America? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure: Aziz Ansari would make a great Theo Huxtable.

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Filed under Humor, Islam, Islamophobia, Katie Couric

30 Days in Muslim America: (Photos)

Boing Boing:

Our Ramadan road trip this year drew much interest from big media, thanks to the “Ground Zero Mosque controversy” and Terry Jones’ Quran-burning fiasco. It was unsettling to sit through interview after interview, fielding questions about mosque construction and the state of the American Muslim community. Every TV interview eventually veered into “Islam on trial” territory, and we were the ones defending it. Aman and I became Ambassador Muslim. It sucked.

But I’ll miss every other part of our 30-day adventure. It’s been two weeks since we’ve been back and already I miss the road, the people we met, and the America I experienced.

The following photos come from our month-long road trip through Muslim America. I’ve selected a special assortment of images for Boing Boing, and am honored to share these photos with you.

Read the whole story: Boing Boing

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Filed under Islam, Islamophobia

Gingrich Calls For Federal Ban On Shariah Law In US

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spea...

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Ok, I want to know what is it in the genetic make-up of far right wingers that make them say the craziest things?  I mean, what is the purpose of placing a “federal ban” on Sharia Law when it would never occur in this country anyway?  This is all about fear-mongering and hate-mongering.  It’s shameful and it’s loathsome.

TPM DC

The second morning of speeches at the Values Voter Summit here in DC was dominated by a man who is swiftly becoming the nation’s spokesperson for Islamophobia — former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Fresh off the release of his Islam-focused film “America At Risk,” Gingrich told the crowd at VVS that it’s time to take federal action to prevent Shariah Law from infiltrating courtrooms in the US.

“We should have a federal law that says sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States,” Gingrich said to a standing ovation from the audience. The law will let judges know, Gingrich said, that “no judge will remain in office that tried to use sharia law.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Morals, Morals, Morals! Conservatives Gather For Values Voter Summit]

Gingrich made a not-so-subtle reference to the right wing meme about freshly-minted Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan which claims that Kagan is “sympathetic” to Shariah and — as some suggested during her confirmation hearings — might allow it to be recognized as law in the United States.

But beyond the Kagan hit, Gingrich’s anti-Shariah talk inserted him directly into the most extreme end of the Islamophobic push-back against mosque projects all over the country.

Opponents of Islamic building projects in New York City, Tennessee and Temecula, California and Florence, Kentucky have often raised fears that the goal of Muslims seeking to build new houses of worship is to slowly make America comfortable with Shariah before using political power to allow it to become the law of the land.

Fear of sharia law’s encroachment was at the center of the whole “Burn The Koran Day” brouhaha, too. And that — according to David Petraeus, among others — put U.S. troops at risk in the Middle East. Pastor Terry Jones, the would-be book burner in Gainesville, Florida, said torching Korans was supposed to send a message about American distaste for Shariah.

Gingrich, who’s been looking more and more extremist lately, now has made himself into the latest voice of paranoia crying that the Muslims are coming to take over us all.

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Filed under Fear Mongering, Hate - mongering, Islam, Islamophobia, Newt Gingrich, Values Voter Summit

Nicholas Kristof – “Message to Muslims: I’m Sorry”

Nicholas D. Kristof, Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times  recently wrote this:

Many Americans have suggested that more moderate Muslims should stand up to extremists, speak out for tolerance, and apologize for sins committed by their brethren.

That’s reasonable advice, and as a moderate myself, I’m going to take it. (Throat clearing.) I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.

I’m inspired by another journalistic apology. The Portland Press Herald in Maine published an innocuous front-page article and photo a week ago about 3,000 local Muslims praying together to mark the end of Ramadan. Readers were upset, because publication coincided with the ninth anniversary of 9/11, and they deluged the paper with protests.

So the newspaper published a groveling front-page apology for being too respectful of Muslims. “We sincerely apologize,” wrote the editor and publisher, Richard Connor, and he added: “we erred by at least not offering balance to the story and its prominent position on the front page.” As a blog by James Poniewozik of Time paraphrased it: “Sorry for Portraying Muslims as Human.”

I called Mr. Connor, and he seems like a nice guy. Surely his front page isn’t reserved for stories about Bad Muslims, with articles about Good Muslims going inside. Must coverage of law-abiding Muslims be “balanced” by a discussion of Muslim terrorists?

Ah, balance — who can be against that? But should reporting of Pope Benedict’s trip to Britain be “balanced” by a discussion of Catholic terrorists in Ireland? And what about journalism itself?

I interrupt this discussion of peaceful journalism in Maine to provide some “balance.” Journalists can also be terrorists, murderers and rapists. For example, radio journalists in Rwanda promoted genocide.

I apologize to Muslims for another reason. This isn’t about them, but about us. I want to defend Muslims from intolerance, but I also want to defend America against extremists engineering a spasm of religious hatred.

Continue reading…

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Filed under Ground Zero Mosque, Islam, Islamophobia, Park 51 Islamic Center

Anti-Park 51 Rally Attendees Echo Fox News Misinformation And Right-Wing Islamophobia

Fox News Channel

Image via Wikipedia

This is not surprising at all…

Think Progress

For months starting in May, conservatives, right-wing media, and Republican lawmakers engaged in a campaign of misinformation, paranoia, fear, and anger toward Muslims, sparked by (old) news that the Cordoba Initiative led by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf would begin an effort to build an Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York. The hysteria culminated in a protest rally near Ground Zero on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Saturday. Led by the group, Stop the Islamization of America, rally attendees regularly chanted, “No mosque here!”

Fox News and the network’s hosts and Republican guests — such as Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity — led much of the charge against Park 51, regularly trying to tie Rauf and his organization to either terrorists, terror funders or Hamas. Other conservative figures smeared Islam, made no distinction between the terrorists who claim to act on behalf of Islam and normal, moderate Muslims, or claimed Park 51 is a victory monument.

ThinkProgress attended the anti-Park 51 rally near Ground Zero on Saturday and witnessed placards and interviewed dozens of attendees. Not surprisingly, many of them echoed the right-wing noise machine’s anti-Islam rhetoric of the past few months:

PARK 51 A VICTORY MONUMENT: “History shows us that they do build where they have conquered,” said one woman. “We came, we conquered and now we’re putting our mosque on this sacred spot. That’s what we believe,” said another.

ATTACKS ON ISLAM: One attendee said, “They kill in the name of their god, it is not a peaceful religion,” while another claimed, “I don’t think Islam is religious at all.” “They’re not peaceful people,” one woman said. “Islam is a political system parading as religion,” said a gentleman we talked to.

ATTACKS ON IMAM RAUF: “I think he’s a liar,” a rally-goer said, adding, “It’s gonna be a Sharia law mosque which, they believe in the Jihad.” “His intentions are not what he says,” said another attendee. “Hamas’s financier is financing this,” said another.

ThinkProgress also spoke with one New York resident observing the day’s events. “I’m so emotional here. It’s really crazy. It’s so aggressive…it’s all fear and it’s all anger, and it just makes me cry. … What is wrong with a mosque? It’s just the same, it’s a great religion just as all the others.” Watch a compilation of the interviews:

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Filed under Fox News, Fox News Distortions, Islam, Islamophobia

Obama On U.S. Muslims: ‘We Don’t Differentiate Between Them And Us — It’s Just Us’ (Video)

TPM DC

President Obama concluded his press conference today with a statement on the importance of protecting the rights of American Muslims. “We don’t differentiate between them and us,” he said. “It’s just us. And that is a principle that I think is going to be very important for us to sustain.”

Obama was asked about the controversial Park51 Islamic center, and said: “I think I’ve been pretty clear on my position here. And that is: This country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights, and one of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely.”

“What that means,” he continued, “is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site.”

“We’ve got millions of Muslim Americans, our fellow citizens in this country,” Obama said. “They’re going to school with our kids. They’re our neighbors. They’re our friends. They’re our coworkers. And when we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them?”

He continued that there are also Muslims fighting in Afghanistan: “They’re out there putting their lives on the line for us, and we’ve got to make sure that we are crystal clear for our sakes and their sakes — they are Americans, and we honor their service.”

Watch:

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Filed under Islam, Islamophobia