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New Report Identifies Organized Conspiracy to Promote Islamophobia

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by glynch, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    As we often see with various wierd philosophies: extreme anti-tax movements; Islamaphobia, obsession with possible social security shortfalls decades in the future etc; there is an organized movement sometimes just initated by a few cranky billionaires that is pushing the issue into the mainstream. As the report states the objective is not quite sure. Is it just an extreme attempt to defend the status quo in Israel? Another of a long list of attempts to get the American poor and middle class to vote for the party of the wealthy-- the GOP?

    New Report Identifies Organizational Nexus of Islamophobia

    by Jim Lobe, August 27, 2011

    A small group of inter-connected foundations, think tanks, pundits, and bloggers is behind the 10-year-old campaign to promote fear of Islam and Muslims in the U.S., according to a major investigative report released here Friday by the Center for American Progress (CAP).
    The 130-page report, "Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America," identifies seven foundations that have quietly provided a total of more than 42 million dollars to key individuals and organizations that have spearheaded the nationwide effort between 2001 and 2009.
    They include funders that have long been associated with the extreme right in the U.S., as well as several Jewish family foundations that have supported right-wing and settler groups in Israel.

    The network also includes what the report calls "misinformation experts" – including Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), Daniel Pipes of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum (MEF), Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, David Yerushalmi of the Society of Americans for National Existence, and Robert Spencer of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) – who are often tapped by television news networks and right-wing radio talk shows to comment on Islam and the threat it allegedly poses to U.S. national security.

    "Together, this core group of deeply intertwined individuals and organizations manufacture and exaggerate threats of ‘creeping Sharia’, Islamic domination of the West, and purported obligatory calls to violence against all non-Muslims by the Quran," according to the report whose main author, Wajahat Ali, described the group as "the central nervous system of the Islamophobia network."

    "This small band of radical ideologues has fought to define Sharia as a ‘totalitarian ideology’ and legal-political-military doctrine committed to destroying Western civilization," the report said. "But a scholar of Islam and Muslim tradition would not recognize their definition of Sharia, let alone a lay practicing Muslim."

    Nonetheless, the group’s messages receive wide dissemination by what the report calls an "Islamophobia echo chamber" consisting of leaders of the Christian Right, such as Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson, and some Republican politicians, such as presidential candidates Representative Michele Bachmann and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

    Other key disseminators include media figures, especially prominent hosts on the Fox News Channel and columnists in the Washington Times the National Review; as well as grassroots groups, such as ACT! For America, local "Tea Party" movements, and the American Family Association, which are behind current efforts by Republican-dominated state legislatures to ban Sharia in their jurisdictions.

    The report also cited the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI), a press-monitoring agency created here in 1998 by former officers in the Israel Defense Force that translates selected items from Middle Eastern print and broadcast media, as a key part of the broader network, providing it with material to bolster its claims regarding the threat posed by Islam. MEMRI, which has just been awarded a State Department contract to monitor anti-Semitism in the Arab media, has often been accused of selectively spotlighting media voices that show anti-western bias and promote extremism.

    Judging by recent polls, the network has proved remarkably successful, according to the report which cited a 2010 Washington Post poll that showed that 49 percent of U.S. citizens held an unfavorable view of Islam, an increase of ten percent from 2002.

    The same network also succeeded in inciting a national controversy around the proposed construction of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan – the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" – which, according to Gaffney and others, was intended celebrate the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and "to be a permanent, in-our-face beachhead for Sharia, a platform for inspiring the triumphalist ambitions of the faithful."

    "It’s remarkable what a small number of people have achieved with a small group of committed and generous donors," said Eli Clifton, a co-author of the report and a national-security reporter at CAP, a think tank which is close to the administration of President Barack Obama, who has himself been a prime target of the Islamophobic network.

    The report, which was funded by the financier George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI), comes at a particularly sensitive moment – just two weeks before the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and less than a month after the murders of 76 people in Norway by Anders Breivik whose Internet manifesto not only echoed themes propagated by the key U.S. Islamophobic ideologues, but also quoted directly from their writings in dozens of passages.

    Indeed, Spencer’s blog, Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, another group identified by the report as part of the Islamophobic network, was cited 162 times, while Pipes and the MEF receive 16 mentions, and Gaffney’s CSP another eight.

    According to the report, Jihad Watch has been supported via the Horowitz Center primarily by the Fairbrook Foundation, which is run by Aubry and Joyce Chernik. Between 2004 and 2009, Fairbrook provided nearly 1.5 million dollars to Islamophobic groups, including Act! For America, CSP, the Investigative Project, and MEF.

    The Cherniks also supported the far-right Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and Aish Hatorah, a far-right Israeli group behind the U.S.-based Clarion Fund, which produced the video, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West that was, in turn, heavily promoted by the Islamophobic groups featured in the report. Breivik praised it in his manifesto.

    Some 28 million DVD copies of the Obsession film were distributed to households in key swing states on the eve of the 2008 presidential elections in an apparent effort to sway voters against Obama. Some 17 million dollars in funding for their distribution was provided by a Chicago industrialist, Barry Seid, according to a Salon.com report published last year, and was channeled through Virginia-based Donors Capital Fund, which includes several prominent right-wing and neoconservative figures on its board.

    Donors to the Fund have also contributed 400,000 dollars to the Investigative Project and 2.3 million dollars to the MEF between 2001 and 2009, according to the report.

    Other major donors to Islamophobic groups include several foundations controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife; including 2.9 million dollars to CSP and 3.4 million dollars to Horowitz’ Freedom Center. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which has often coordinated its political philanthropy with Scaife’s foundations, provided some 300,000 dollars to MEF, 815,000 dollars to CSP and 3.4 million dollars to the Freedom Center. In addition to more traditional charitable activities, both Scaife and Bradley have long been major supporters of far-right and neoconservative causes.

    Other major donors included the Newton D. and Rochelle F. Becker foundations, the Russell Berrie Foundation, and the Anchorage Charitable Foundation and William Rosenwald Family Fund, according to the report.

    In its mission statement, the Russell Berrie Foundation cited as one of its principal goals "fostering the spirit of religious understanding and pluralism".

    "The intellectual nexus of the network is well understood," said Faiz Shakir, CAP’s vice president. "We know it’s driven primarily by hatred against Muslims; what we don’t know is what are the motivations of the funders. We don’t know to what extent they are aware of what is being funded," he said.

    Horowitz denounced the report in a statement issued on its website, calling it a "typical fascistic attempt to silence critics and scare donors from supporting their efforts to inform the American public about the threats we face from the Islamic jihad."

    Efforts to obtain comments from MEF and CSP were not successful.

    http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/20...ntifies-organizational-nexus-of-islamophobia/
     
  2. ILoveTheRockets

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    good find. this is way more detailed than the article I posted a few days ago.

    misinformation of the masses is soooooo 1700ish
     
  3. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    I don't think they needed much help after 9/11.... It does prolong the healing process and tolerance for the wars we're in.

    I'm more inclined to think the latter is where the money is directed at rather than simple hate mongering, though there are activist, rich and racist sobs out there.
     
  4. Commodore

    Commodore Contributing Member

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    MEMRI is an invaluable resource, one of the only places to find translations of Islamist media in the Middle East. Here we see Egyptian protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, burning the Israeli flag and waving signs saying "The Gas Chambers Are Ready".

    <iframe src="http://www.memritv.org/embedded_player/index.php?clip_id=3083" width="404" height="356" frameborder="0"></iframe>

    But I guess that's just Islamophobia. ("Your concern is just ignorant bigotry!")

    And Obsession is a great film.

    <iframe width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6Bev054pNzI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Nothing to see here. All religions have stuff like this. Move along.

    I like how the term Islamophobia is used as some irrational fear of something, like claustrophobia. As if there is no basis for concern over religious extremism.
     
  5. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    Worrying about Muslim terrorists making terror plots is rational. I don't think anyone is protesting that the U.S. government or anyone else is actively pursuing these very real dangers.

    When most of us we talk about Islamophobia, we are talking about things like this:


    <iframe width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/y83z552NJaw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


    Is fear about Sohail Mohammed being appointed to the NJ Superior Court rational?
     
    #5 Carl Herrera, Aug 27, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  6. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    So justifying paranoia by calling others paranoid, interesting.
     
  7. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    I have to admit that I chuckled a little about this part.
    [rquoter]The report, which was funded by the financier George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI),[/rquoter]

    I don't think Soros' funding debunks this piece (I am sure some will say it does) but it is funny that a piece about following the money trail is also funded by someone who is frequently accused of having an agenda.
     
  8. ILoveTheRockets

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    The Islamic supremacist propaganda machine cranks out another "Islamophobia" report

    “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” from the Center for American Progress is just the latest in an ever-lengthening string of markedly similar “exposés” of so-called “Islamphobes.” Each purports to show that the anti-Sharia movement in America is a sinister cabal of well-funded, dishonest hacks stirring up hate against innocent Muslims in order to profit from it. Each has been highly distorted and markedly unfair, twisting the facts and cooking the data in order not to enlighten but to manipulate, not to educate but to propagandize.

    Just in recent months there have been two other reports, both almost identical in substance to “Fear, Inc.”: the far-Left Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Jihad Against Islam” and the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations’ “Same Hate, New Target: Islamophobia and Its Impact in the United States.” Each of these is lavishly produced, printed on glossy paper and full of colorful illustrations. With the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the midst of a full-scale, years-long campaign at the United Nations to compel the West to criminalize any honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to recruit and motivate terrorists, it would be useful to know who is funding these slickly produced reports; but, true to form, the mainstream media instead glosses over the radical and genuinely sinister ties of the organizations that produced them, and repeats their agitprop as if it were fact.

    But it isn’t. In what follows I must, for reasons of time, limit myself largely to responding to the report’s attacks on me; however, the “Fear, Inc.” attacks on my colleagues and others doing similar work are no more substantive or less manipulative and propagandistic.

    The misinformation starts on the first page, when the “Fear, Inc.” authors call me “one of the anti-Muslim misinformation scholars we profile in this report.” The term “anti-Muslim” is immediate evidence of the manipulative, propagandistic nature of this report: my work, and the work of the other scholars and activists demonized in “Fear, Inc.,” has never been against Muslims in the aggregate or any people as such, but rather against an ideology that denies the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people. In fact, years ago at Jihad Watch I had an exchange with an English convert to Islam. I said: “I would like nothing better than a flowering, a renaissance, in the Muslim world, including full equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies: freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, equal employment opportunities, etc.” Is all that “anti-Muslim”? My correspondent thought so. He responded: “So, you would like to see us ditch much of our religion and, thereby, become non-Muslims.”

    In other words, he saw a call for equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies, including freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, and equal employment opportunities, as a challenge to his religion. To the extent that they are, these facts have to be confronted by both Muslims and non-Muslims. But it is not “anti-Muslim” to wish freedom of conscience and equality of rights on the Islamic world -- quite the contrary.

    The report also contains a – by now obligatory – lengthy excursus on Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik: “While these bloggers and pundits were not responsible for Breivik’s deadly attacks, their writings on Islam and multiculturalism appear to have helped create a world view, held by this lone Norwegian gunman, that sees Islam as at war with the West and the West needing to be defended.” While granting that we are not responsible for Breivik’s acts, the report also takes pains to point out that “Robert Spencer and his blog were cited 162 times in the nearly 1,500-page manifesto of Anders Breivik, the confessed Norway terrorist who claimed responsibility for killing 76 people, mostly youths.” Not surprisingly, it doesn’t mention that I have never sanctioned or justified violence, or that Breivik was plotting violence in the 1990s, before I had published anything about Islam, or that he complained that I was not recommending violence, or that he recommended making common cause with jihadists, which I would never do – indicating that his “manifesto” is actually ideologically incoherent, and not a legitimate counter-jihad document at all. These facts are not mentioned in “Fear, Inc.,” because they would interfere with its propagandistic agenda.

    As for the claim that Breivik committed his murders because of the worldview we had created that “sees Islam at war with the West,” “Fear, Inc.” is also silent about the many Muslims who have declared that they are indeed at war with the West, in the name of Islam. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said: “Have no doubt... Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.” CAIR cofounder and longtime Board chairman Omar Ahmad said in 1998: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.” (He now denies saying this, but the original reporter sticks by her story.) The prominent American Muslim leader Siraj Wahhaj said in 2002: “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.” The most influential Islamic cleric in the world today, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has said: “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice.”

    True to form for these “Islamophobia” reports, “Fear, Inc.” ignores such statements and many others like them, attempting to create the impression that the only ones responsible for the idea that Islam is “at war with the West” are the “Islamophobes.”

    Without offering any substantive refutation, “Fear, Inc.” dismisses as “inaccurate and perverse” my statement that Islam is “the only religion in the world that has a developed doctrine, theology and legal system that mandates violence against unbelievers and mandates that Muslims must wage war in order to establish the hegemony of the Islamic social order all over the world.” What is “inaccurate and perverse” is the report’s denial of this, since it is a matter of objective verification that all the mainstream Islamic sects and schools of Islamic jurisprudence do indeed teach that the Islamic umma must wage war against unbelievers and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. The report does not and cannot produce any evidence that Islam does not contain sects and schools that teach this.

    Most of what “Fear, Inc.” says about me is just name-calling, but it makes an attempt at substance with this: “Spencer’s views on Islam—and his credibility in discussing Islam at all—are challenged by scholars at his own alma mater. He has ‘no academic training in Islamic studies whatsoever,’ according to Islamic scholar Carl W. Ernst, Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Instead, Professor Ernst says Spencer selectively uses textual, religious evidence to mainstream the claim that ‘Islam is not a religion of peace.’ Indeed, Spencer gives misplaced credence to the ‘Sharia threat’ argument that is then mainstreamed by the Islamophobia network.”

    Ernst’s dismissal of my work on the basis of my having “no academic training in Islamic studies whatsoever,” besides being false, is completely void of substance: the determination of whether or not one’s work is accurate is not decided by the number of one’s degrees, but by the nature of the work itself. What’s more, Ernst’s claim is especially laughable given the ideological dominance of the far-Left Middle East Studies Association (MESA) among academics in this field today, such that dissenting voices are seldom, if ever, heard. Ernst’s own objectivity, moreover, is in severe doubt after he flew to Tehran in December 2008 to accept an award from Iran’s anti-Semitic, genocide-minded Islamic supremacist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Another compromised authority that “Fear, Inc.” cites is Charles Johnson, the “Little Green Footballs” blogger who several years ago moved from the right to the hard Left, betraying his former friends and posting vicious and arguably libelous false charges about them. For “Fear, Inc.,” Johnson’s blog is “popular” and “right-leaning,” when in fact it is no longer either one.

    “Fear, Inc.” likewise trumpets the 2004 Amman Message as a “Sharia-based condemnation of violence from the world’s leading Islamic authorities.” The report deceptively fails to mention, however, that the Amman Message forbids Muslim-on-Muslim violence based on takfir, or declarations by one Muslim group that another is apostate. The Amman Message’s three points, mentioned in “Fear, Inc.,” do not address violence or non-violent jihad activity against non-Muslims at all, and the Amman Message’s website actually endorses an undefined “legitimate jihad.”

    That is indicative of the dishonesty and one-sidedness of this report. The chief indication of that dishonesty is the wildly misleading presentation of financial data – making the sums involved appear much greater than they actually were by lumping together donations given to disparate organizations over a period of many years. When examined closely, the sums involved are actually far lower than those regularly received by Leftist and Islamic supremacist groups such as the ones that have produced the recent “Islamophobia” reports. Hamas-linked CAIR just announced today that it had almost reached its goal of raising $650,000 during Ramadan. I have never received that kind of support for Jihad Watch during any comparable period of time.

    An honest presentation about “Islamophobia” would address the American people’s reasonable concern about the continuing series of violent acts committed by Muslims in the name of Islam, and outline ways in which the Muslim community could lessen suspicion against Muslims by cooperating fully and honestly with law enforcement anti-terror activities. But instead, “Fear, Inc.” is designed to portray Muslims as victims and demonize all those who stand in the way of the misogynistic and unjust agenda of the Islamic jihad, whether advanced by violent or non-violent means. As such, it is simply an instrument of that jihad.

    UPDATE: Hard-Left pseudo-journalist propagandist Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post writes a predictably shoddy and biased piece about the report here. It contains absolutely none of the substantive refutation that I posted above, although it links to this point on my name, without alerting readers to the fact that the link on my name would take them to my response to the report. Also, earlier today I sent Boorstein this:

    The $42 million figure is wildly misleading. It is an aggregate amount covering many years and many organizations. When are you going to cover the much more substantial funding of hate groups such as Hamas-linked CAIR, the SPLC, etc.?
    This is a witch hunt designed to smear and discredit all who dare to speak out against Islamic Sharia-inspired misogyny, denial of the freedom of conscience, etc. Just today I have a story at Jihad Watch about a Muslim apostate whose life was threatened by Islamic supremacists in Norway. Why do you ignore the Westward spread of such Sharia-based thuggery and demonize those who stand for the human rights of such people?

    She rendered that as: "Robert Spencer, another subject of the report, said the financial picture it gives is misleading because it lumps together various organizations over time."

    Nor does Boorstein's piece contain any of the substantive points that David Horowitz raises here or Pamela Geller here. Boorstein "reports" the already wildly misleading figure of $42 million as "about $50 million."

    She has served her masters well, although she does inadvertently reveal the report's true anti-free speech goal of defaming and discrediting freedom fighters: "'This isn’t playing games. We want to end Islamophobia. If we want to do that, we have to identify motivators of this hate industry, marginalize them and demand they be held accountable,' Shakir said." That's Faiz Shakir, one of the authors of the report and a Center for American Progress Vice President.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/08/t...e-cranks-out-another-islamophobia-report.html
     
  10. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    http://www.peachpundit.com/2008/11/...r-american-progress-engaged-in-partisan-lies/

    Why is Faiz Shakir, Research Director for the Non-Partisan Center for American Progress, Engaged in Partisan Lies?

    This is Faiz Shakir. He is a research director at the Center for American Progress and editor of Think Progress.

    Center for American Progress is the “think tank” that only thinks about how to spin Democrat agenda items into publicly acceptable public policies.

    And Faiz Shakir is one of their hit men — running Think Progress to help set a media narrative in favor of Democratic policy. Or he is he?

    Earlier today he sent an email to Saxby Chambliss’s campaign from his gmail account:


    From: Faiz Shakir [mailto:faiz.shakir@gmail.com]
    Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 11:27 AM
    To: Michelle
    Subject: press list

    Hi, I’m coming down to Atlanta to cover the campaign for a few conservative blogs. Any chance I can get on your press list? Thanks

    Yes, I’ve confirmed faiz.shakir@gmail.com is the same Faiz Shakir at Center for American Progress.

    So is he really covering the campaign for conservative blogs? No. Of course not. He’s lying trying to get a press list from Chambliss’s campaign.

    But why is a research director at a left-wing “think” tank playing partisan games?

    “The Center for American Progress is a non-profit, non-partisan organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code,” according to CAP’s website. CAP’s head honcho is in charge of Obama’s transition team. Is Shakir following orders in the fight to get a 60 seat Democrat majority to push Obama’s agenda?

    Again, why is the research director of a non-partisan, non-profit think tank playing games — lying to get contact information from Saxby Chambliss’s campaign?

    -----------

    Taquiya?
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. Raven

    Raven Member

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    Muslim terrorist are the biggest promoters of Islamophobia.
     
  12. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    Excellent basso-style linking to deranged long articles. Great parody!
     
  13. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    there's a website called "jihadwatch.org"?
     
  14. NMS is the Best

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    AroundTheWorld to the rescue! :p
     
  15. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    I thought this was a good response:

    Exacerbating the ‘Perception Problem’: Center for American Progress Chronicles the American Right’s Decade of Baseless Aggression Against Islam


    The far-left Center for American Progress (CAP) today released a report on the “Islamophobia network” it claims is responsible for the “genesis of anti-Muslim propaganda” in America, which coincidentally began, the report claims, ten years ago (“even foundations over the past decade have helped fan the flames of anti-Muslim hate in America,” writes Faiz Shakir at the CAP’s ThinkProgress blog).

    It’s both typically ironic and sadly predictable that CAP lays blame for the instigation of the last decade of skepticism about Islam and its adherents’ aims in the west and around the world at the feet of a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy while almost entirely ignoring another, far more responsible and relevant event that took place ten years ago: the hijacking of four airliners by radical Islamist terrorists and the murdering of 1,629 Americans in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. September 11, 2001 is mentioned only twice in the 130 page CAP report, and both times it is entirely in passing (pp. 42 and 75, with both mentions using 9/11 only as a reference point for supposedly extremist commentary by members of the “Islamophobia network” CAP seeks to unmask). Additionally, blame is laid at the feet of this “Islamophobia network” for the actions of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian extremist who murdered nearly seventy people in a bombing and shooting spree in July, while also blaming the “network” for the speculation that abounded while Breivik’s attacks were ongoing that the perpetrator(s) might be Islamist extremists (bear in mind that credit for the attacks was claimed on a jihadi message board while they were ongoing).

    That unsubstantiated attacks on Muslims exist is undeniable. Unfortunately, the Center for American Progress’s predictably hyper-partisan “scholarship” and presentation only serves to further exacerbate the extreme rhetoric and factually-challenged talking points that characterize our important national discussion about the nature of Islam, Islamism, and violent jihad, and how it should best be dealt with and, when necessary, combated. An example of the grievances aired by the CAP writers can be seen on pp. 94-95, where the authors take the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) to task for translating and disseminating the words of international Muslims and Islamists. Such selective outrage, which blames “Islamophobia” on those who translate and publicize what Islamists themselves are saying (within a document that seeks to lay the blame for initiating a decade of Islamic skepticism at the feed of right-wing Westerners), is not only utterly useless in terms of furthering our national discussion of these important issues, but only further widens the divide between the involved parties.

    This is unfortunate, because this is an important topic, and one which deserves clear-eyed, fact-based discussion. Even more unfortunate is the fact that efforts like this to execute smear campaigns while avoiding the simplest of facts – like the role of the 9/11 attacks in initiating the last decade of increased skepticism of Islam and Islamism – further add to the Perception Problem that Islam currently faces in the West.

    I’ve briefly discussed this Perception Problem before, and though there is limited space with which to address it here, it is a serious problem for both American and international Muslims which (a) should be properly addressed, and (b) is only further exacerbated by hyper-partisan hit jobs like CAP’s divisive, selectively-researched “study.” The core of the Perception Problem is made up of two western views of many Muslims, which are directed in varying ratios depending on the object. These views are (a) most Muslims are at best tacit acceptors (if not supporters) of violent jihadi activities, some of whom are persuadable to violent action against the greater population; and (b) most Muslims support (if they are not actively engaged in) the establishment of Shari’a law in the West.

    Neither of these statements is entirely true; further, the perception that first and more serious of the two is (or even that it may be) accurate is significantly reinforced in three ways:

    (1) First, and most obviously, is the attempting and carrying out of terrorist attacks by Muslim actors, which was not a new development ten years ago, but which forcefully entered the awareness of Americans who had been willing and able to largely ignore them up to that point. It bears repeating that all terrorists are not Muslims, and all Muslims are not terrorists (far from it in both cases, though particularly in the latter); however, from the 9/11 attacks, to the 7/7/2005 London bombings, to the Sports Drink Suicide bombing attempt, to the Bali bombings, the Times Square bombing attempt, the FedEx printer cartridge bombs, and the 2009 attack on Mumbai, the majority of high-profile terrorist attacks and attempted attacks on the West have been the work of violent jihadis.

    Where the attempts and attacks themselves have not caught the attention of the American people, the massive, costly, and intrusive security “enhancements” implemented in their wake have been, from the forced removal of shoes and ban on liquids and gels greater than one ounce at airports in the aftermath of “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and the Sports Drink Suicide plot, to the full-body scans and invasive TSA pat-downs that have escalated in the wake of the failed underwear bombing of Christmas 2009. Each of these has been attempted or carried out by an individual or group conducting violent jihad in the name of Islam, and each of these actions further damages the West’s perception of this religion and its adherents, be they members of the peaceful majority or among the minority of violent actors. The negative impact of these activities on the western perception of Islam and Muslims is exponentially increased when Americans are involved in such attempts and attacks, particularly on American soil. Exhibits A and B of this (of several) are Nidal Hasan, the Army officer who murdered fourteen at Fort Hood in 2009, and Naser Abdo, the private arrested last month for plotting to blow up a Killeen, TX restaurant just months after being heralded by major news media outlets like ABC as a vocal proponent of peaceful, non-violent Islam.

    (2) Second, the perceived silence of the significant Muslim population on the subject of violent jihad and Islamist terrorism continues to add to the perception that a far greater percentage of Muslims support terrorism (even tacitly) than actually do. Though inaccurate (and unfair), and though certainly helped along by shrill voices on the right who see creeping Shari’a under their beds at night, this conclusion has been unfortunately and firmly drawn by many western observers. This is partly a result of the celebrations seen around the Islamic world in response to attacks on the West, and partly a result of the virulent and preemptive accusations made by self-appointed defenders of Islam in the aftermath of such actions (see #3 below for more on this). Though neither right nor fair, the reality of the matter that the onus is currently on the Muslim majority that values peace and continued integration into society (to say “coexistence” would portray westerners practicing Islam as outsiders, which in many cases is grossly incorrect) to be vocal in their disavowal of the terrorist activities carried out by those who act in the name of their shared religion. While the vast majority personally oppose such actions, the perception exists – and is widespread – that this majority is unwilling to speak out against those who pervert Islam, which in turn causes the horrific actions of a few to stain a great many through mere association.

    (3) Finally, and in my view most importantly at this time, is the preemptively offensive orientation of many of those who claim to represent Muslims or to study “Islamophobia” in the West. Rather than condemning the actions of violent jihadis and distancing themselves and those they represent from people who carry out such attacks in the name of Islam, the response to attempted or successful terrorist attacks by groups like CAIR and other Muslim-interest and left-wing organizations is often to go on the offensive, preemptively accusing Americans of Islamophobia and warning them against associating the action – carried out by Islamists in the name of Islam – with Islam in any way. This is further exacerbated by media reports of such incidents which are laughably absurd in their refusal to acknowledge the Islamic orientation of violent jihadis, and their purported confusion about the motives of those who kill in the name of Islam.

    This unwillingness to identify Islamists’ successful and unsuccessful terrorist attacks on western targets with the religion in whose name they are being carried out, combined with Islamic and left-wing groups’ first reactions to terrorist attacks being not a condemnation of the act but a warning to the greater public not to accuse or discriminate against Muslims, has greatly worsened the Perception Problem faced by western adherents to Islam. Efforts like this CAP report to place the blame for Islamic skepticism on a right-wing “Islamophobia network” while refraining almost entirely from mentioning the actions that ignited that skepticism in the first place only widen the chasm between the perception of Muslims and far more benign reality.

    Unfortunately, the more that organizations which seek to defend Muslims engage in preemptive and offensive verbal and communication warfare, the more they hurt their cause, as such offensive volleys engender both ill will and increasingly greater pushback. Additionally, the overreaching inherent in such advocates’ effort to disassociate Islam from the actions of Islamist radicals has its own rebound effect, as attempts to protect everyday Muslims through a proactive defense of radicals against religious association or religiously-based criticism, while the insinuation that criticism of, or attacks on, violent jihadis equates to criticism of, or attacks on, all Muslims (and Islam as a whole) only further associates the radical Islamist fringe with everyday Muslims in the minds of the public at large.

    The spiral inherent in this system of preemptive strike and further entrenchment is obvious, as should be the damage it causes as both sides further dig in, causing in turn an important conversation and problem to migrate from the domain of rational discourse toward spectral extremes. This situation only makes the Perception Problem faced by western Muslims far greater, and exponentially increases the amount of work which must be done to overcome it, for the good of the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful members of society, and for our society as a whole.

    http://www.redstate.com/jeff_emanue...-decade-of-baseless-aggression-against-islam/
     
  16. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    New report shows people have opinions we don't like.
     

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