U.S. Politics

How Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Is Fueling ISIS

How Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Is Fueling ISIS

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a USA Thank You Tour event in Mobile, Alabama. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

THE NATIONAL MEMO

The jihadis shoot their propaganda across the internet in search of the Western world’s frightened and dispossessed. On Twitter and Facebook, from YouTube to Google Play, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) traffics in lies, bombarding Western Muslims seeking adventure, compatriots or an outlet for their religious fervor.

The message is stark, terrifying: Your countries hate you. They despise your beliefs. They seek to destroy your faith and convert you to theirs. Your safety, your obligation to true Muslims, is to join the camp of Islam, the caliphate, and take up arms against the infidels.

Since the horrors of 9/11, American presidents operating under the advice of the intelligence community’s counterterrorism experts have understood that countering this propaganda has been among the most essential parts of the fight against ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other murderous jihadi extremists. Through carefully selected language and—for the most part—considered policy, the United States has worked to expose the lies and convince young Muslims drawn by the propaganda toward hate that they are welcome and appreciated in America.

Related: Trump’s claims about “underreported” terror attacks are bogus 

That era appears to be over. President Donald Trump, in office for less than two months, has gutted the strategy used by Republicans and Democrats alike—out of ignorance, hubris or both—sending a new message from the White House, one that reinforces the jihadi extremists’ propaganda and increases the likelihood that more Americans will die in attacks.

“If there was a scriptwriter for ISIS, he could not have written a better script than what is coming out of the White House,’’ said M. Ehsan Ahrari, a professor of national security and strategy at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College. “Since President Trump came into office, he has been going out of his way to make statements and decisions that are hurting America’s cause.”

The intricacies of fighting against jihadi attacks are complex. They involve military, cultural, linguistic, pattern recognition, social media and counter-propaganda skills, and they cannot be learned in a few days or by watching cable television. What might seem logical to the uninformed horrifies the experts who have spent years, even decades, trying to learn what drives jihadi movements and how best to reduce the danger of attacks. Ideas formed based on uneducated surmises, particularly those by people with poor knowledge of Islam, can backfire horribly. American leaders would never have taken the country into war against the Nazis without a comprehensive analysis of Hitler, his fascist ideology and its role in German nationalism. But in a matter of weeks, Trump has shown a willingness to do just that: make reckless actions that sound like common sense and lead his supporters to cheer, while exposing America to a greater danger from attacks than it faced before he entered the Oval Office.

The problem stems from the White House’s inability or unwillingness to understand two principles that have formed the core of American strategy in countering the jihadi threat. First, American Muslims and governments in Muslim-majority countries are the most important allies in the U.S.’s fight against extremists. And second, the enemies of America’s enemies are America’s friends. This requires understanding that not all Muslims practice their faith in the same way. Just as Catholics and Protestants murdered each other over doctrinal disputes in the wake of the Reformation 500 years ago (scholars estimate at least 50 million Christians died), the violent wars between the primary sects of Islam—the Sunnis and the Shiites—continue to this day. The large-scale attacks in the U.S. and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have involved Sunni extremist sects, including the most prominent of the violent groups, who tend to be practitioners of a particularly harsh form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism.

Moreover, the radical Sunnis kill non-radicals. So because Muslims are essential to combating jihadi extremists, and because many Sunni Muslims are sickened by the violent militants, every administration until Trump’s has taken care not to alienate Muslim allies, based on the counterterrorism analysis of American intelligence agencies.

For instance, during his time in office, President George W. Bush steadfastly refused to say “radical Islamic terrorism,” although he would occasionally mention “radical Islam” as a perversion of the Muslim faith. President Barack Obama also would not use the phrase, and Republicans condemned him relentlessly for bowing to “political correctness” that led America to downplay the nature of the threat.

Why did the two men avoid that label? Because the CIA told them to. The major jihadi threats to the U.S.—first Al-Qaeda and then ISIS—have desperately tried to portray their campaign of violence as a battle between Islam and the Western nations purportedly trying to destroy it. Counterterrorism experts at organizations like the Rand Corp. have found that Muslims convinced that Islam is under attack are more likely to join in the cause of violent groups. Muslim clerics can condemn fundamentalists, but when non-Muslims do so, it feeds into the ISIS narrative and empowers the organization. The emotional reaction of Muslims who are torn about whether to fight against the West would be strong, as it would for evangelists if violent killers in the Ku Klux Klan were called radical Christian terrorists (and make no mistake, the KKK, just like the Christian Identity movement, has claimed they are inspired to commit violence by their religion).

On his first day of office, Trump tossed aside 16 years of advice from the CIA’s counterterrorism experts. After just over 1,000 words in his inaugural speech, Trump said “radical Islamic terrorism” would be eradicated from the earth. Conservative commentators cheered, relieved that our commander in chief was no longer hesitant to use words they believed Obama and others had avoided out of political correctness. But experts cringed, seeing the phraseology as ignorant bullying that, for a few seconds of nationalistic joy, raised the danger level.

No one has to spend hours in a mosque to understand the importance of avoiding the phrase and others like it; just look at recent interactions between the leaders of two of America’s strongest allies. On February 2, Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, stumbled by using the phrase “Islamist terror” while on a state visit to Turkey, a friend of America’s that has allowed the U.S. Air Force to use one its bases as a major staging area for bombing and surveillance missions against ISIS. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted in fury at Merkel’s slip. “The term ‘Islamist terror’ seriously upsets us Muslims,’’ he said. “The term should not be used…. The word Islam means peace. Therefore, if we use a word that means peace alongside terror, that will upset members of that faith…. So please, let’s not use that term. So long as it is used, we have to stand up to it. If we stay silent, it means we accept it. Personally, as a Muslim, as a Muslim president, I can never accept this.”

As intelligence analysts explained to both Bush and Obama, harsh words linking extremist Islam to terrorism should come only from Muslims, which Merkel made clear she understood at a speech at the Munich Security Conference in February. “It is not Islam that is the source of terrorism but a falsely understood Islam,” she said. “I expect from religious authorities of Islam to find strong language in order to delimitate peaceful Islam from terrorism committed in the name of Islam. We as non-Muslims cannot do this. It should be done by Islamic clergy and authorities.”

Soon after Merkel spoke in Munich, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech to the same audience and ignored the warnings of Erdogan, the German chancellor and the CIA. Four times he said variations of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” and portrayed its practitioners as fighting a war on Western civilization. ISIS could not have asked for more. If such words can anger an ally as important as the Turkish president, what impact does it have on ordinary Muslims being bombarded with the ISIS message that they are in a fight to save Islam?

But that sort of language is nothing compared with one of the greatest bungles in years to undermine counterterrorism efforts: Trump’s travel ban. The executive order banned visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Under the order, people from those nations were forbidden to enter the U.S. for 90 days regardless of whether they had valid non-diplomatic visas. For refugees, the order was worse—none could be admitted for 120 days, while Syrian refugees were banned indefinitely. Meanwhile, U.S. officials proclaimed that Christian refugees should be given top consideration for admission.

While federal courts have since blocked the order, the images and stories of Muslim families being torn apart, of children being held in detention, of old women being blocked from boarding planes, have gone worldwide. From a counterterrorism perspective, whether the most horrific tales are true or not—and some, such as the one about a woman dying in an airport, are false—does not matter. The fact that untold numbers of Americans turned up at airports to protest is also irrelevant. The tales of disrespect and mistreatment have spread across social media and been the focus of commentary and anger in Muslim communities in America and abroad.

Almost immediately, Islamists filled pro-ISIS social media platforms with declarations that the predictions offered by leading extremists were coming true. Some postings cited the words of former Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who said the “West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens.” (An American drone strike killed al-Awlaki in 2011.) ISIS picked up the same theme years later in its magazine, Dabiq. “Muslims in the crusader countries will find themselves driven to abandon their homes…as the crusaders increase persecution against Muslims living in Western lands so as to force them into a tolerable sect of apostasy,” one article read.

Aside from reinforcing Islamist propaganda, Trump’s travel ban doesn’t make Americans any safer. And it signaled that the White House is acting not on expert knowledge but on mere suppositions more likely to be spouted by a group of buddies hanging out at a bar.

In defending the Trump ban, White House officials said militants have set up training camps in the countries they identified in the ban. True but also irrelevant. Muslims eager to join the fight against the West do not just go down the street to their friendly neighborhood militant-training camp. Think of the camps as being more like a Caribbean resort: People travel there, then head home. Citizens of those countries are less likely to spend time in those camps because it makes them easily identifiable to local anti-extremists law enforcement. (The largest segment of people killed by ISIS and other Islamist groups are Muslims; they have as much interest in fighting the militants as Western governments do.) Volunteers who attend the camps overwhelmingly head off to battle in the Middle East, not the U.S.

In reality, no immigrants from any of the seven nations on the list have killed an American in an attack. Little of the threat, as identified by the CIA as far back as the Bush administration, comes from jihadis traveling to the U.S.; instead, it emerges from the spread of their ideology—often known as bin Ladenism—using online propaganda, message boards and social media. The West is primarily fighting an ideology, not a religion or a group of people from somewhere else. Trump’s travel ban has helped that ideology spread. In words echoed by American intelligence officials unwilling to speak on the record, Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, one of the countries affected by Trump’s executive order, tweeted that the travel ban “will be recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters.” Iran is led by a Shiite government whose militia forces was described by former Secretary of State John Kerry as “helpful” in the United States and Arab allies fight against ISIS.

What Trump doesn’t seem to understand is that the nature of the jihadi threat to America has changed dramatically since 9/11, and he is fighting the last battle. Today, the primary danger comes not from overseas but from here in the U.S. Contrary to the public perception advanced by alarmist, ill-informed or dishonest politicians, ISIS as an organization is struggling after significant defeats on the battlefield. It has lost large amounts of territory, its ranks of foreign fighters from the United States—and other Western nations—has collapsed, and many of its sources of financing have dried up.

Meanwhile, homegrown radicalization is on the upswing as more Americans and legal residents buy into the propaganda of bin Ladenism. “Al-Qaeda and [ISIS] continue to target Muslim-American communities in our country to recruit and inspire individuals to commit acts of violence,’’ George Selim, then the director of the Office for Community Partnerships at the Department of Homeland Security, testified before a congressional committee last September. In early February, the House’s Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Republican Michael McCaul of Texas, issued a report called the “Terror Threat Snapshot.” The document states that “there has been an unprecedented spike in the homegrown terror threat, primarily driven by the rise of ISIS.”

Despite Trump’s false representations, the procedures put in place after 9/11 have made it extremely difficult for jihadi attackers to get into the U.S. In fact, all recent attacks in the U.S. were committed by citizens or legal residents. In the past year, according to the Homeland Security Committee’s report, there have been 39 homegrown jihadi criminal cases in 19 states.

The U.S. has already developed a series of strategies for rooting out domestic jihadi threats—that’s part of why there have been dozens of criminal cases and relatively few attacks. The key to this effort is Muslims themselves. They are the ones at the mosques, in the community, listening to the words of the peaceful—and the potentially violent among them. They have been law enforcement’s greatest asset in identifying the small number of dangerous people hidden among them. Fathers have turned in sons they feared had become radicalized, while students reported classmates who seemed to pose a growing danger.

“Well-informed families and communities are our best defense against terrorist ideologies, which represent the current threat from [ISIS’s] propaganda,’’ Selim testified in September. “Within this context, working with communities to prevent radicalization to violence has become imperative.”

This is the same message that virtually every expert has voiced since 9/11. “Embedded within these communities are the linguistic skills, information and cultural insights necessary to assist law enforcement in its efforts to identify suspicious behavior,’’ Deborah Ramirez, a law professor at Northeastern University, wrote in 2004. “In order to have access to these critical tools and information, law enforcement recognized the need to build bridges required for effective communication with these groups.” Indeed, a 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service found that community policing through the establishment of relationships between law enforcement and Muslims had seen success in an array of cities, including New York, Chicago, Boston and San Diego.

Muslims have also been important in countering the online propaganda of jihadis. When the extremist narrative espoused on social media and message boards goes unchallenged, recipients of those messages are confined to an information bubble. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security established a program called Peer-to-Peer, or P2P, contests, a government-sponsored competition where university students design online campaigns to counter violent extremism online. The government then uses the ideas that show the most success and scales them up for use around the world.

In 2015, Facebook joined with the government in sponsoring these student teams, allowing for the number to increase last year to 100 groups around the world. The Department of Homeland Security has described the effort as “essential” in creating positive messages to counter violent Islamist propaganda. Now vast numbers of those students have been insulted; most likely, many have families that would have been barred from coming into the U.S. by Trump’s order.

Equally worrisome: The travel ban also damages America’s efforts to combat the militants overseas. Even with all of the money spent by the United States in foreign countries on counterterrorism efforts, the majority of the work is performed by local Muslims partnering with American military and intelligence personnel. American troops and counterterrorism specialists, for instance, are working directly with local forces in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. By allowing American fighters and intelligence advisers to assist them—as well as by having government-to-government cooperation—the Muslim combatants, politicians and informants opposing the radical jihadis are putting their lives at greater peril. Now, by issuing the travel ban, the Trump administration has sent them a message: that America believes all Muslims are the same.

“The success of each mission [fought in the Middle East by American troops and intelligence personnel] requires local capabilities and knowledge, and the foundation of these efforts is trust,’’ the Soufan Group, a private intelligence service, said in a report issued as word leaked of Trump’s plan for the travel ban. “The news that those paying the highest toll in supporting U.S. counterterrorism efforts would be summarily barred from entering the U.S. could only have destructive effects.”

The damage caused by the recklessness of the Trump administration’s policies are even more wide-ranging than they might appear. For example, Iran has its own propaganda narrative—which Trump has now reinforced by including the country in the travel ban—that the American government does not differentiate between Sunnis and Shiites. The point is reinforced by the fact that Iraq, Syria and Yemen also have large Shiite populations.

Until now, American presidents have carefully balanced interests between maintaining local partners in counterterrorism activities while working to frustrate Iran’s efforts to increase its influence in the region. The U.S. depends on the predominantly Shiite Iraqi government as its primary ally in fighting ISIS. Since the fall of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Iran has been trying to gain greater influence over its majority-Shiite brethren in that neighboring country. And already relations between the U.S. and its allies in the Iraqi government have soured. With the news of the travel ban, the Iraqis called for a reciprocal ban on Americans coming into their country. Meanwhile, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, a group of powerful Iran-sponsored militia groups, have called for all Americans to be expelled from the country too. Trump has reinforced both the Sunni narrative of ISIS and the Shiite narrative of Iran, setting back U.S. counterterrorism efforts by almost a decade, according to a former government official with direct ties to the U.S. intelligence community, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Time is slipping away. With each day, America’s enemies spread untold numbers of messages, videos, posts and articles across the internet, trying to persuade ordinary Muslims that their families, their friends and their faith are under attack. Because of Trump’s failure to act on the advice of experts, this fantasy that Islam faces its own version of Pearl Harbor could inspire increasing numbers of Muslims to join in the extremists’ fight against the West.

Trump, like every president, is duty bound to protect the lives of all Americans. If he does not learn that the intelligence community and the military know more than he does about how to fight the militants and how to stop the spread of their poisonous ideology, the president of the United States will fail at his most sacred, fundamental task: protecting the lives of its citizens.

Kurt Eichenwald

U.S. Politics

The growing smear campaign against Keith Ellison

CREDIT: AP Photo/Molly Riley

THINK PROGRESS

Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress , and now he’s being painted as a ‘radical’ with ‘ties to the Nation of Islam.’

With the Democrats in disarray following President-Elect Donald Trump’s surprise victory, the horse-race for the next Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair is tense, messy, and potentially crowded. Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison is one of the favorites — and conservatives are already trying to tear him down with false equivalencies and smear tactics.

One common thread to the complaints: Ellison’s religion. Ellison is the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, as well as the first Black congressman from Minnesota.

This tactic is hardly new. When Ellison was first seeking national office, Minnesota Republicans used his faith to attack him, alleging ties to the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan. Blatant Islamophobia erupted when, because he is Muslim, he requested to be sworn in on the Quran instead of the Bible.

At the time, Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode (R), who endorsed Trump in 2015, wrote a letter to his constituents claiming that “if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran.” (Goode endorsed Trump for President in Breitbart last year).

Ellison ultimately used a Quran owned by Thomas Jefferson. President Obama cited his swearing in an example of America’s religious tolerance in a 2009 speech in Cairo.

When the controversy first erupted in 2006, Ellison denied that he was ever a member of the Nation of Islam. He clarified that, while he had never joined the group, he had organized a Minnesota delegation to the 1995 Million Man March, at which the Nation’s leader Farrakhan spoke.

Ellison also apologized at the time for some positive articles he had written as a student in the late 1980s about Farrakhan, saying he hadn’t “adequately scrutinized the positions” of the movement’s leaders. He said then that he believed “they were and are anti-Semitic.”

Now, the same allegations are being floated on the right as a pre-emptive argument against his bid for DNC chair.

TruthRevolt, a conservative site founded by former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro and David Horowitz, branded Ellison a “Muslim Brotherhood Shill” and a “radical.” On Fox News, pundit Pete Hegseth called Ellison a “radical congressman.”

Fox News also published an article which painstakingly lays out the allegations against Ellison, titled “Who is Keith Ellison? Left-wing congressman with past ties to Nation of Islam wants DNC job.”

And in Commentary Magazine, Ellison was described as an example of the left’s “embrace of radicalism,” part of the democrats “big bet on fanaticism,” and “a former disciple of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.”

“Though he had since denounced Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, Ellison has kept the torch of antipathy for Israel burning,” Noah Rothman writes.

In another article in Commentary, Editor John Podhoretz positions Ellison as the balance to Steve Bannon, Trump’s new Chief Strategist. Bannon was formerly the head of Breitbart and turned it into a “the platform the the alt-right.”

In the article, Podhoretz details some of the objections against Bannon, most notably his association with anti-Semitism.

“With Bannon in a senior role at the White House and the possible appointment of the radical congressman Keith Ellison as head of the Democratic National Committee, we could be seeing our political system devolving to its extremes,” he writes.

Ellison has been a Congressman from Minnesota since 2007, and is the co-chair of House’s progressive caucus. In his official bio, he says his priorities in Congress are “ building prosperity for working families, promoting peace, pursuing environmental sustainability, and advancing civil and human rights.”

In his official announcement on Monday, Ellison staked his case for DNC chair on advocacy for the working class:

“Democrats win when we harness the power of everyday people and fight for the issues they care about. It is not enough for Democrats to ask for voters’ support every two years. We must be with them through every lost paycheck, every tuition hike, and every time they are the victim of a hate crime. When voters know what Democrats stand for, we can improve the lives of all Americans.”

Ellison has been endorsed by outgoing Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV), incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

U.S. Politics

Muhammad Ali Sent Trump A Powerful Message That The World Needs To Read

Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

ADDICTING INFO

The right wing loves to appropriate revolutionary icons. Muhammed (sic) Ali is very much one of those icons. Since his passing on Friday, the boxing champion and political agitator’s legacy has been praised by those who have agendas that are antithetical to the The Champ’s views on the world. This is probably best exemplified by the message that he sent to Donald Trump (though Trump was not named explicitly) and anyone else who wants to take Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States seriously.

 Trump recently sent out a tweet, where he praised Ali for being “a truly great champion and a wonderful guy.”

That tweet stands out in stark contrast to the disgusting one that Trump sent out about Muslim athletes just a few months prior to Ali’s passing.

While Trump and Ali had a friendly relationship prior to Trump’s political campaign, Ali sent Trump a letter denouncing the idea that Muslims should be banned from entering the United States.

“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”

As we all know, Trump has not heeded that message. Trump’s entire campaign stands in opposition to what Ali preached.

Like the great man himself, Ali’s powerful message floats with the grace of a butterfly, yet should sting those who they are addressed to like a bee.

By Joe Fletcher

U.S. Politics

Ice Cream Parlor Responds Perfectly To Anti-Muslim Bigotry

THE HUFFINGTON POST

As a Muslim woman who wears the headscarf in America, 22-year-old Nura Takkish says she expects to be the target of Islamophobia — just not when she and her friends are enjoying ice cream at their neighborhood ice cream parlor.

Takkish was sitting with two of her friends at Andrew’s Ice Cream and Dessert in Orange County, California, on Monday, May 23, when they noticed a commotion at the counter. A customer was being asked to leave for saying “racist and nasty things,” the shop’s baker, Jessie Noah, later told The Huffington Post.

Takkish’s friend Malaak Ammari started to record the incident on her phone.

In the 20-second clip, Noah can be heard saying to the man, “You can give somebody else your business,” as she returns him $3 he spent on ice cream.

“If you can’t be nice, we don’t want you,” Cindy Ramsay, the shop owner’s wife, adds.

As he heads to the door, the man points a finger at the two women in headscarves and says, “I don’t want them near my country.”

“Too bad, we’re here,” Ammari replies, still filming. “Sucks for you.”

“Sucks for me? You’ll see what happens,” the man replies threateningly. Then Noah walks to the door and closes it as the man walks away.

Takkish says she posted the video on Twitter Monday evening to show how common anti-Muslim bigotry has become.

report released earlier this month by the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University states that there were more acts of anti-Muslim violence and vandalism in 2015 than in any year since the Sept. 11 attacks. And in the month after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernandino late last year — as presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S. —hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. tripled. The Huffington Post has also documented the near-daily acts of harassment, violence and discrimination faced by Muslims in the U.S. in recent months.

FACEBOOK | Nura Takkish, left, and Malaak Ammari, right, were in a local ice cream shop when they noticed a man being escorted out. Ammari started filming.

But Takkish said she also shared the video because she was so impressed by the way the shop responded to the man.

Noah, who was seen escorting the man out in the video, said she had never experienced such outward racism before, and felt the need to defend the women.

“To treat them as lesser because of their beliefs is not American,” she told HuffPost.

To date, the video has been retweeted over 24,000 times. While some on Twitter defended the man’s bigotry, many have also expressed support for the women. Several people have also taken to Yelp to commend the shop.

The encouragement has extended beyond social media. Greg Ramsay, the shop’s owner, was not present at the time of the incident, but told HuffPost that he received a call from a Muslim community member offering to organize an event encouraging the area’s Muslims to come to the shop and buy ice cream as a way of showing gratitude for the employees’ actions.

“There’s been an expression from a lot of people to say thank you,” Ramsay said.

The day after the incident, the women went back to the shop to thank the employees for defending them. When they left, Ramsay explained to a couple waiting to order ice cream the reason for the women’s visit. Ramsay said another woman nearby overheard the story, and she placed a $20 bill on the counter and said she didn’t want ice cream but would like to pay for whoever ordered ice cream after she left. When Ramsay explained to the next customers why they didn’t have to pay for ice cream, other people in the shop heard and gave money as well, until Ramsay had $60 worth of pre-paid ice cream.

“It took me about two to three hours to get rid of it before I could start charging people again for ice cream,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to solicit money, but I would tell people and they’d like it.”

Yasmin Nouh

U.S. Politics

Miss Puerto Rico Suspended For Anti-Muslim Comments On Twitter

DONALD KRAVITZ VIA GETTY IMAGES

THE HUFFINGTON POST

“Her words do not represent the integrity and esteem of our program.”

Miss Puerto Rico 2015 has been indefinitely suspended from her role by the island’s official Miss America organization for launching a tirade against Muslims on Twitter.

Destiny Velez, 20, fired off a series of tweets at filmmaker Michael Moore on Thursday in which she blasted the religion, The Washington Times reported.

Moore had posted a picture of himself outside Trump Tower in New York City with a sign reading, “We are all Muslim.” His image was in response to Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., which prompted the #WeAreAllMuslim Twitter hashtag.

Velez tweeted directly at Moore multiple times, saying Muslims had “terrorizing agendas,” Latin Times reported.

Her tweets and Twitter account have since been deleted. The phrases she used can still be seen on the Latin Times site, however.

“All what Muslims have done is provided oil & terrorize this country & many others!!!!” she wrote. “There’s NO comparison between Jews, Christians & Muslims. Jews nor Christians have terrorizing agendas in their sacred books.”

“If we are all the same then Muslims need to take off their napkins off of their heads cuz I feel offended by it,” she added.

Velez — who placed outside the top 15 in September’s Miss America 2016 competition, won by Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell — sparked a furious backlash online.

Many Twitter users labeled her a bully, and the hashtags #nonosrepresentas (you don’t represent us) and #verguenzaajena (embarrassment) started trending in Puerto Rico, per Morocco World News.

It led the Miss Puerto Rico Organization, which runs an official preliminary competition for the Miss America Organization, to release a statement Saturday saying Velez had been “suspended indefinitely.”

Continued

Fox News

Watch a Fox News host’s unhinged rant about Muslims, mosques, and Kenya

This is what Faux News is all about.  Fear mongering and hatred of the “other”.  The following tirade by Fox News host Bob Beckel is fodder for their xenophobic viewers…

The Week

“No more mosques being built here until [Muslims] stand up and denounce what’s happened in the name of your prophet.”

Forget the Ground Zero mosque.

Fox News co-host Bob Beckel doesn’t want any more mosques anywhere in the U.S., until American Muslims denounce the Kenyan mall attacks.

On Monday, Beckel went on a tirade about Islam, saying it was “not the religion of peace,” and insisting that “the time has come” for moderate Muslims to “stand up and say something.”

“No Muslim students coming here with visas,” he said. “No more mosques being built here until you stand up and denounce what’s happened in the name of your prophet.”

Mainstream Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations have already condemned the attack.

Beckel’s rant starts around the two-minute mark in the above video.

Islamophobia

Xenophobic Australian quits election race after Islam gaffe

Screencap of Stephanie Banister

The Raw Story

A candidate for Australia’s anti-immigration One Nation party dropped out of the election race Saturday after a blundering interview in which she referred to Islam as a country.

Stephanie Banister, 27, had been campaigning for just 48 hours when she gave the interview to the Seven Network which quickly went viral online and saw her labelled “Australia’s Sarah Palin”, who was pilloried for her gaffes as US vice-presidential candidate in 2008.

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Banister said in Wednesday’s taping.

She went on to say only two percent of Australians follow “haram” — actually meaning the Koran — and muddied matters further by voicing her support for kosher foods for Jewish people.

“Jews aren’t under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ,” she said of Judaism, which in fact sees Jesus as an ordinary man and not the messiah.

Banister on Saturday withdrew her candidacy for the September 7 election, which she was contesting for anti-immigration firebrand Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in Queensland.

Party leader Jim Savage denied that Banister had been dropped and said she continued to have the “full support of the One Nation executive”.

“However, due to the threats against Stephanie’s family, herself, her children, the abuse she’s copped and the enormous pressure she’s been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin,” Savage said.

“We have accepted it with regret.”

In brief remarks to the media as she confirmed her withdrawal from the race, Banister said the interview was edited to make her look “quite the fool”.

“I’d like to apologise to One Nation, to my friends and family, for any embarrassment this has brought to them,” she said.

One Nation was founded in 1997 by the divisive Hanson, who famously warned that Australia was being swamped by Asians.

She has made several failed bids to return to politics after losing her federal seat in 1998, including a 2007 run for a national Senate seat in which she campaigned for an end to immigration by Muslims to protect “Australian culture”.

Hanson has announced she is running for a Senate seat in the September elections with the One Nation party.

Ahead of Banister’s withdrawal Hanson reportedly told Seven that the mother of two was clearly “not ready” for national politics.

 

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Tea Party Congressman: Muslim Brotherhood Is Guiding Obama In Boston Bombings Investigation

Bat-s**t crazy Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) is at it again.

The problem with this guy’s statements is that there are hundreds of thousands of disenchanted Republicans, mainly those who vote against their own financial interest and don’t like Barack Obama. They believe what they hear.   Gohmert, Bachmann, Palin and every other Obama hater and Fox newscasters know this.  Those people are their target audience.

History indicates that powerful people speaking out against a leader for ideological or political differences is basically harmless.  However, when those statements about that leader turn into lies and rants with no basis in truth bad things can happen to the person being ostracized.  Not by the hands of the powerful politician or media savvy news person but perhaps simply a guy who wants to put the “white” back in the White House.

I have to wonder if that’s the goal of some of those liars.

Think Progress

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told aconservative radio program this week that the Obama administration “bungled” the investigation of the Boston bombing due to internal guidance from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Appearing on World Net Daily’s radio show, Gohmert speculated that Attorney General Eric Holder read bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights to “shut him up” and undermine the investigation into the brothers’ possible ties to radical Islam. “It’s very clear to everybody but this administration that radical Islam is at war against us,” he said, before noting that Obama has displayed a “real pattern” of “incompetence” in responding to the threat from extremists during his tenure. He then suggested that members of the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the administration and are leading the president astray:

Q: Some people are wondering whether or not the fact that it looks like radical Islam is once again a factor here is potentially a narrative that some folks don’t want publicly out there. Do you think that’s playing into this at all?

GOHMERT: I think it is… It’s very clear to everybody but this administration that radical Islam is at war agains us… Radical Islam is at war with us. Thank God for the moderates that don’t approve of what’s being done. But this administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America.

Hate - mongering · Hate Crimes · Hate Radio

The Usual Suspects

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Mario Piperni

Less than 24 hours after the tragedy at Boston and without a clue as to whom the perpetrator might be, thebigots have crawled out from under the rocks they call home…not that they were ever hiding.

In an email to members today, Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips claimed that the Boston marathon bombing occurred because “we have a government that is not committed to protecting America” since it isn’t willing to “destroy radical Islam.” Phillips said that “Radical Islam and perhaps even non-radical Islam” is a danger to western civilization, arguing that Muslims believe that “non-Islamic nations may be conquered or otherwise taken over.”

The email (in part):

Unfortunately the sad truth is we will be hit again. It will happen sooner or later. It will probably be sooner than later.

There are two reasons why we will be hit again. First, we have a determined enemy who hates us. Second, we have a government that is not committed to protecting America.

It is a pretty safe bet right now that this attack was carried out by an Islamist. It was a well-coordinated attack. In its publication, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula called for just this kind of attack…The only way we make sure this never happens again is to identify our enemy and then craft a strategy to totally defeat that enemy.

Meanwhile, on cue, the regular gang of narrow-minded bigots who oppose immigration reform are using Boston as further reason to push their hate agenda.

Rep. Steve King:

“Some of the speculation that has come out is that yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa,” King says. “If that’s the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture.”

On immigration, King says national security should be the focus now, and any talk about a path to legalization should be put on hold. “We need to be ever vigilant,” he says. “We need to go far deeper into our border crossings. . . .We need to take a look at the visa-waiver program and wonder what we’re doing. If we can’t background check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where.”

Laura Ingraham:

This, in my mind, raises all sorts of questions. I mean, again, we don’t know who did this, motivations, all of that. But it is interesting that at this moment — we are considering legalizing or giving regularized status to millions of people. Pretty much none of them have gone through any rigorous background checks, to have a temporary status in the United States. And we don’t — I just think that there are all sorts of security implications aside from the other arguments on immigration — national security implications that we don’t talk about with enough frankness and I think certitude here. We can’t stop every attack, but my goodness, if we had borders that were shut down and we actually had a proper screening process, maybe we could stop some of them.

Let’s say it again…ignorance and bigotry of the type displayed by King, Ingraham and the teabagger who crafted the letter above, pose more danger to the well-being of the United States than anything any terrorist group could ever accomplish.

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New York · Pastor Terry Jones

FL pastor Terry Jones Drowned Out In Times Square By NYC Crowd Singing ‘All You Need Is Love’

Compelled to share this…

Democratic Underground

From Huffington Post:

Anti-Islam, Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones Drowned out in Times Square

New Yorkers are famously terse, not known for patience or excessive diplomacy — and certainly not for loud public displays of love.

So when anti-Islam, Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones showed up in Times Square last year, spewing anger and sporting a T-shirt that read, “Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Islam I Learned On 9/11,” the results were certain to be dicey.

But a surprisingly touching video of that event, posted Monday by the New York Times just in time for the holiday season, shows humanity outweighs Jones’ rage.

The video, filmed on Sept. 10, 2011, but only recently published, begins predictably: Jones standing in the square, advocating intolerance and hate. Several passersby attempt to argue with him to no avail. Soon a man begins reading out loud, then singing, “All You Need Is Love,” the iconic classic by The Beatles.