Islam in the United States

O’Reilly Demands To Know Why Obama Didn’t Condemn Islam Immediately After Boston Bombing

Think Progress

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly chose on Tuesday night to slam President Obama for failing to condemn Islam in the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings and claimed that American Muslims aren’t doing enough to stand up against jihad.

During his “Talking Point Commentary” segment, O’Reilly called the President “seriously wrong” for urging the country on Friday to not to jump to conclusions about the bombing suspects’ motivations.

“It’s all about motivation and it’s all about a specific group of people,” O’Reilly declared, referring to Muslims. He then went on to say that suspected Dzhokar Tsarnaev and his deceased brother Tamerlan were definitively jihadists, stating that “only radical Islam allows terror murder.”

What O’Reilly failed to mention is that Obama’s Friday statement was made before anything was known about the brothers or what led them to place explosives at the Boston Marathon. The FBI didn’t release the two suspects’ pictures until Thursday afternoon, kicking off a massive manhunt. While on Friday morning the media learned that the two were ethnic Chechens, that information alone provided no further knowledge of the motivation behind the attack. Only after questioning alleged bomber Dzohkar Tsarnaev in custody did authorities learn that thewars in Iraq and Afghanistan provided at least part of the impetus for the bombing.

While attacking Obama for not speaking out against radical Islam, O’Reilly begrudgingly acknowledged that there are Muslim countries that are our allies, particularly those that utilize “secret police” to combat terrorism. He was disappointed, however, that more Muslims — including Muslim-Americans — aren’t doing their part to help combat radicalism. “Most Muslims on this Earth are good people, but they are not helping to neutralize the jihad,” he said. “They are not standing up against it in any numbers. And that includes American Muslims. They largely remain silent.”

Watch O’Reilly’s statements here:

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who appeared on the program, shared O’Reilly’s views that Obama isn’t doing enough to speak out about the threat that Muslims pose. Despite their worries, it was Muslim-Americans who found themselves the targets during the media’sexcessively flawed coverage of the attacks. At least one Muslim woman was attacked based on the media’s shoddy reporting.

Counter to O’Reilly’s claims, there are many instances of Muslim communities standing upagainst radicalism in their ranks. Just this week, a Toronto imam was lauded for reporting suspicious behavior to the Canadian authorities, leading to a possible major terrorist plot being foiled. Leaders of the Muslim-American community also reiterated their opposition to terrorism at a press conference held on Friday.

 

Lowe’s, Bank Of America, And Others Pull Ads From Muslim Reality TV Show After Pressure

Unfortunately, Muslim hatred, i.e., hatred of Islam, is prevalent in American society and politics

Think Progress

The TLC reality TV show All-American Muslim chronicles the lives of a group of Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan. The show has been well-received for its fair and realistic portrayal of the Muslim American experience in the United States. Watch a trailer for the show here.

But a reality TV show that lets Americans relate to the lives of Muslims in the United States is an offensive idea to those who want to demonize Islam. The Florida Family Association (FFA) launched a campaign earlier this year to get companies to pull their advertising from the program. FFA claims that 65 of the 67 companies targeted have done this, including home improvement giant Lowe’s and megabank Bank of America:

The Florida Family Association, a Tampa Bay group, has led a campaign urging companies to pull ads on “All-American Muslim.” The FFA contends that 65 of 67 companies it has targeted have pulled their ads, including Bank of America, the Campbell Soup Co., Dell, Estee Lauder, General Motors, Goodyear, Green Mountain Coffee, McDonalds, Sears, and Wal-Mart.

One of the companies that FFA claims pulled commercials, Amway, told the Washington Post that such reports were “misleading” and that it has done no such thing. Lowe’s told the paper that it did indeed pull advertising. “We understand the program raised concerns, complaints, or issues from multiple sides of the viewer spectrum, which we found after doing research of news articles and blogs covering the show,” said Katie Cody, a spokeswoman for Lowe’s.

The Islamic Circle of North America is urging concerned citizens to call Lowe’s and protest their withdrawal of advertising: “We urge the American Muslim community and our friends, family, neighbors and all people of conscience to call Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock at (704) 758-2084 or Executive Support Mr. Andrew Kilby at (866) 900-4650 and respectfully complain about this decision.”

UPDATE

Lowe’s issued this statement on Facebook confirming that it pulled the ads:  “Lowe’s has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program.”

UPDATE

The Florida Family Association, the right-wing group responsible for manufacturing a campaign against All-American Muslim, says this about the show:

Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.

‘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…

Thursday 8-11-2011 Blog Round Up

Airstrike reportedly kills insurgent who downed U.S. chopper 

White House rejects claim about bin Laden raid film

US Debt Downgrades as Revenge for Dodd-Frank?

Sirota: Obama isn’t weak (he just isn’t a liberal) 

Democrats eye Wisconsin governor recall after loss

Fox News: Obama only honoring troops to distract from economy

Verizon Workers Strike: Phone Company Turns To Court To Limit Picketin..

Facebook Goes Down: Users Take To Twitter To Report Outage (UPDATE)

Obama’s Ramadan Dinner Speech Pays Tribute to Muslim Americans 

Chase Bank Sells Off Soldier’s Home On The Very Same Day He Returns Fr..

Fox Whitewashes Rob Portman’s “Interesting Background” ..

The Next Big Change Moment: Who Will Win? The People or the Banks? 

NJ Gov. Chris Christie Accused Of Treason For Appointing Muslim Judge

New Jersey Governor was once the establishment GOP’s pick to beat the current lineup on the GOP primary roster.  It appears those days are over after Christie picked a Muslim judge for a state judgeship…

Alan Colmes

The crazies are at it again.

Robert Spencer said it was like if “Christie had appointed as a judge someone who was an attorney for the Ku Klux Klan, or the Aryan Nations,” and Andy McCarthy of the National Review attacked Christie for encouraging the supposedly “anti-Western, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, anti-assimilationist” leadership in the Muslim-American community. McCarthy appeared on the Center for Security Policy head Frank Gaffney’s radio show yesterday to discuss Christie, and during the interview Gaffney jumped into the fray.

Gaffney accused Christie of “corruption” and even suggested that the governor is guilty…

Read more » 

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Herman Cain Takes Weeklong Beating From Conservatives After Apologizing To Muslims

I love it when conservatives fight among each other…

TPMDC

How important is warning about encroaching sharia to the modern conservative electorate? Judging by attacks Tea Party favorite Herman Cain has suffered since reaching out to American Muslims, pretty darn important.

Since shifting gears from his role as the campaign’s pied-piper of sharia to the guy who may actually preach at a mosque someday soon, Cain has suffered the slings and arrows of his supporters and prominent voices on the anti-sharia right. He’s also been lauded by some supporters, but it seems clear that, in aggregate, the new more tolerant Cain has not gone over well.

The best place to start is Cain’s own Facebook page. Within minutes of the campaign posting Cain’s long and contrite statement apologizing for his past rhetoric about American Muslims on the campaign trail, supporters started to hate online. Here are some screengrabs of the Facebook comments captured by TPM on July 27, the day the statement went up.

And here’s a quick sampling of what the critics had to say:

“it’s all or nothing with the muslim religion…no means no…please stand firm Mr Cain please or run on the democrat ticket””what in heaven’s name are you doing? Don’t you know you can’t trust ONE WORD that comes from their mouth? they’re lying to get on your good side, Mr. Cain! :/”

“You are sounding more and more like a politician every day. what happened to May 20th Herman Cain???? You said what you said because you believe what you said. Just own it and move forward. This strategy is insanity.”

“Jesus Christ Herman !! That just makes you look like you are guilty of something! You have NOTHING to worry about… the American Voter understands what you were saying and in the context you said it!! So you had to go to Islamic rehab and get your infidel re-education.”

There were some supporters, too. Here’s an example:

“Why don’t you all get off his Mr. Cain’s back??….you sound like babies….”

Continue here…

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Gov. Christie Defends Appointing Muslim Judge: ‘This Sharia Law Business Is Crap’

I don’t like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but I have to agree with him in this instance…

Mediaite

At this juncture, it may be more efficient to highlight which interactions between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the media are notnewsworthy. The Republican’s appointment of Muslim-American Sohail Mohammed to a state bench this week ruffled some feathers among some who fear the threat of Sharia Law, but when asked about those concerns, Gov. Christie made clear he had no patience for such “ignorance,” calling the complaints “crap.”

“Ignorance is behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed,” he told a reporting asking about the complaints that he may be inadequate to be a judge because he defended Muslim Americans who were wrongly arrested post-9/11. “He is an extraordinary American who is an outstanding lawyer and played an integral role in the post-September 11th period in building bridges between the Muslim American community in this state and law enforcement,” Gov. Christie argued, adding that he was “disgusted, candidly, by some of the questions he was asked… at the Senate judiciary committee.”

But it was a follow-up question on the fear of Sharia Law that set the governor off. “Sharia Law has nothing to do with this at all, it’s crazy!” he cried. “The guy is an American citizen!” He concluded that the “Sharia Law business is just crap… and I’m tried of dealing with the crazies,” adding with disgust and frustration that “it’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background.”

For most blue state governors, a fervent statement of support for a Muslim appointee would not exactly be news. It wouldn’t be news for a red state governor under most circumstances, either, but 2010 and 2011 haven’t precisely been the most Muslim-friendly years in American politics, the former being defined by the “Ground Zero Mosque” nontroversy and the latter seeing the looming “threat” of Sharia Law gain traction in Republican primary debates. Primary debates, it should be noted, in which many Republicans would have loved to see Gov. Christie participate.

Sure, the clip is entertaining because any clip of Gov. Christie being combative at a reporter is so, but it is particularly significant in that it gives one a idea of what Gov. Christie would sound like on the matter as a presidential candidate. It begs the questions: what would Gov. Christie have said on a podium across from Herman Cain while he insisted that “American law in American courts, period” was one of the more important platform issues of his campaign, or how he would respond to other states banning Sharia Law? The topic seems to put him in a far more centrist position than many others running.

Watch Gov. Christie defend Mohammed’s appointment here…

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Peter King blocks Keith Ellison from testifying at Islamic radicalization hearing

Peter King’s motives are so transparent.

It’s quite evident that he’s only looking to grandstand and appease people who are anti-Muslim like he is.  Facts only get in the way of his “show” hearing.

Hence, his reason for not wanting Rep. Ellison to testify again.

Daily Kos

Via Think Progress, Rep. Keith Ellison has been denied a request to testify at a House Homeland Security hearing chaired by Rep. Peter King.

Ellison, a Democrat who is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, sent King a letter Monday asking if he could testify at a hearing on the Al-Shabaab terrorist organization operating in Somalia. The hearing is the third in a series of controversial meetings on the matter of radical Islam in America.

King responded that Wednesday’s hearing is an extension of the first couple the committee has held, and since Ellison testified at the first hearing on the issue, in March, he would not be permitted to testify Wednesday.[...]

Minneapolis has the largest Somali community in the United States. A Minneapolis man pleaded guilty this month to helping Al-Shabaab recruit men to travel to Somalia and fight in various conflicts in the country.

King’s excuse? Ellison already testified at one of his hearings, so even though he might have special insight into this issue, since the community involved is in his own state, he’s had his say. It’s enough to make one suspect King is more interested in fear-mongering than fact-finding in his hearing.

This, by the way, is the hearing King is having instead of focusing on right-wing domestic terror, a topic that would be much more timely and important in the wake of the Norway attacks.

Here’s part of Ellison’s powerful testimony at the previous hearing.

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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…

28 House Members — And Counting — Oppose King’s Radicalization Hearings

In only three days, Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) controversial hearings into the threat of radical Islam will begin on Capitol Hill. Already, hundreds of faith leaders in King’s district and in California have asked him to cancel the hearings. Protests at his district office and in Times Square have drawn hundreds of demonstrators, and one member of Congress who spent time in a World War II-era Japanese-American internment camp has pleaded with King not to “divide or target Americans simply on the basis of their faith or ancestry.”

Now, more lawmakers on Capitol Hill are speaking out. Twenty-six House members have signed onto a letter being circulated by Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA) and John Dingell (D-MI) that expresses “[deep concern] that the stated narrow scope and underlying premises of these hearings unfairly stigmatizes and alienates Muslim Americans.” The letter, a copy of which was provided to ThinkProgress, asks King to “reconsider” the hearings:

Dear Chairman King:

We are writing regarding the Homeland Security Committee’s upcoming hearings, which you have stated will focus exclusively on radicalization among Muslim Americans and homegrown terrorism. We agree that Congress and all levels of government have a duty to protect America from terrorism, whether from abroad or homegrown. We are, however, deeply concerned that the stated narrow scope and underlying premises of these hearings unfairly stigmatizes and alienates Muslim Americans. We ask that you reconsider the scope of these hearings and instead examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist beliefs, rather than unfairly focusing on just one religious group.

We believe that the tone and focus of these hearings runs contrary to our nation’s values. Muslim Americans contribute to our nation’s wellbeing in many professions including as doctors, engineers, lawyers, firefighters, business entrepreneurs, teachers, police officers and Members of Congress. Their hard work helps to make our country exceptional.

Signatures are still being collected until the close of business tomorrow. Current co-signers of the letter are Reps. Baldwin (D-WI), Blumenauer (D-OR), Chu (D-CA), Conyers (D-MI), Edwards (D-MD), Frank (D-MA), Fudge (D-OH), Grijalva (D-AZ), Gutierrez (D-IL), Hirono (D-HI), Holt (D-NJ), Honda (D-CA), Jackson (D-IL), Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Kucinich (D-OH), Lee (D-CA), McCollum (D-MN), McDermott (D-WA), Meeks (D-FL), Moran (D-VA), Polis (D-CO), Rush (D-IL), Schakowsky (D-IL), Scott (D-VA), Serrano (D-NY), and Waters (D-CA).

Elsewhere, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), one of two Muslim members of Congress, and who used to work in the anti-terrorism unit of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, told NPR that he also felt the hearings are too narrowly focused. “Are there Islamic bozos out there who really want to see harm done to Americans? Absolutely,” Carson said. “And we have to act and isolate the threat and deal with the threat effectively. However, there are other groups, particularly racial supremacist groups, who pose a greater threat to our internal security.”

More…