Bavaria was pleased to welcome bears to the state, he said. Provided they are normal bears. Stoiber’s definition at the time: “The bear that normally resides in the forest, doesn’t leave it and kills perhaps one or two sheep per year.” So far, so good. But Bruno, who wandered over from Italy’s Trentino province, had a well-documented penchant for killing livestock, pets and other animals. “And we see a difference between the normal bear, the malicious bear and the problem bear,” Stoiber explained. And, yes, “it is very clear that this bear is a problem bear,” he concluded. via spiegel.de
WikiLeak: The Death of Bruno the Bear – Environmental Controversy over Germany’s 1st Bear in 170 yearsDecember 3, 2010
This morning on Good Morning America, an Indian Muslim-American named Eboo Patel was strenuously emphasizing that mainstream Islam in America has nothing to do with the extremists. He is very well-spoken and I have no doubt that he is sincere. (video)
The interviewer, Robin Roberts, asked Eboo whether he had any personal experiences of feeling discriminated against in recent weeks. The only example he gave was that his mother called him and suggested that perhaps his kids’ names sounded too Muslim, and she was worried about them being bullied in school.
While this is just a single anecdote, it indicates that the real problem is not that ordinary Americans discriminate against ordinary Muslims, but the media playing up the idea that redneck right-wing Republicans are out there harassing members of that faith. The number of incidents of anti-Muslim activities is diminishingly tiny – dwarfed by anti-semtitic incidents in America. Yet the media has been obsessing over this non-issue, and they have been acting as fear-mongers, causing people like Eboo’s mom to worry over nothing.
Many American public schools are filled with kids whose names represent dozens of cultures; the fear that someone named “Khalil” would be bullied because of his name is ridiculous. This unfounded fear is purely because of the media frenzy over “Islamophobia” and has little to do with reality.
Over the recent Fourth of July weekend, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) interviewed attendees of the 47th annual Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention about their experiences in dealing with “Islamophobia.” Shortly afterwards, on July 6, CAIR called on the FBI to investigate an act of arson at a Georgia mosque, saying that hate crimes were increasing because of a “vocal minority in our society promoting anti-Muslim bigotry.” The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) referred to it as one of the “incidents of Islamophobia [that] are on the rise in this country.” However, police later arrested a Muslim suspect.
As Daniel Pipes has documented for years, Islamist organizations in the West are quick to label crimes as anti-Muslim hate crimes as part of their effort to make Muslims feel under attack and to paint themselves as Muslims’ protectors. For example, immediately following the Fort Hood shooting, CAIR asked Muslims to respond by donating to it. “We need financial help to meet these crises and push back against those who seek to score political points off the Muslim community in the wake of the Fort Hood tragedy,” the fundraising pitch read. To no one’s surprise, an anti-Muslim backlash did not ensue.
Cutting through the propaganda requires understanding the ways in which crimes are misrepresented as hate crimes — and why. There are two main culprits to consider: Muslims who stage fake hate crimes and Islamist organizations that seek to exploit them.
Why would anyone fabricate a hate crime against himself or his mosque? History indicates a pair of common motives.
In some cases, the faker has an obvious political goal of demonstrating the supposed prejudice against Muslims. A classic example occurred in 2008, when a 19-year-old female Muslim student named Safia Z. Jilani at Elmhurst College in Illinois claimed that she had been pistol-whipped in a campus restroom by a male who then wrote “Kill the Muslims” on the mirror. The alleged attack occurred just hours after she spoke at a “demonstration called to denounce the anti-Islamic slurs and swastika she had discovered … in her locker.” A week later, however, authorities determined that none of this had taken place and she was charged with filing a false police report.
Similar incidents recently unfolded overseas. A Muslim community leader in London named Noor Ramjanally reported that he had been kidnapped by members of the quasi-fascist British National Party; he also said that he had received death threats and his home had been firebombed. His claim received widespread attention, causing him to boast, “I have got the whole UK Muslim community behind me now.” Ramjanally later was arrested for faking the crime. Furthermore, last year in Australia, a prominent imam, Taj Din al-Hilali, told police that his mosque had been vandalized. When confronted with the security tape, which shows that he is the one who kicked in the door, he insisted that it had been manipulated.
In other cases, individuals are driven to fabricate hate crimes not for political reasons, but to cover up more mundane criminal activity. Take the bizarre story of Musa and Essa Shteiwi, Ohio men who received media attention in 2006 after reporting several attacks on their store, the third being with a Molotov cocktail. A fourth “attack” then occurred, when an explosion was set off and badly burned the father and son, injuries from which they later died. CAIR highlighted it as a hate crime. However, investigators found that the two had set off the explosion themselves after they poured gasoline in preparation for another staged incident and one of them foolishly lit a cigarette. The pair had hired a former employee to carry out the previous attacks as part of an insurance fraud scheme.
Now let us turn to the motives of groups such as CAIR for exaggerating the prevalence of hate crimes against Muslims.
First and foremost, Islamists try to undermine and delegitimize their opponents by placing blame upon them for hate crimes. For example, a 2008 CAIR report attributes an alleged increase in hate crimes — “alleged” because the claimed increase is wholly contradicted by FBI statistics — to “Islamophobic rhetoric in the 2008 presidential election” and people who are “profiting by smearing Islam.” Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is specifically rebuked for titling a campaign ad “Jihad.”
CAIR’s 2009 report takes aim at the anti-Islamist film Obsession, a bête noir among promoters of the hate crime narrative. To cite one example of this approach, on September 26, 2008, law enforcement was notified that a 10-year-old Muslim girl at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton had been attacked with pepper spray. A member of the board immediately attributed it to advertisements for the documentary. However, the FBI found no trace of chemicals in the mosque or on the alleged victim; the pepper spray was discovered inside the mosque four days later. It concluded that there was no evidence that a hate crime had occurred.
Islamist groups also use the fear created by their publicizing of alleged hate crimes and anti-Muslim sentiment to try to mobilize the community into opposing counterterrorism programs. As Daniel Pipes has noted, CAIR started down this path a decade and a half ago, when it described the prosecution of World Trade Center bomb plotter Omar Abdel Rahman and the arrest of Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook as hate crimes.
Similar tactics remain in play. In February 2009, the American Muslim Task Force and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) condemned the FBI after a story broke about the use of an informant in a mosque. They accused the government of an anti-Muslim conspiracy, saying that the informant was paid to “instigate violent rhetoric in mosques,” and threatened to end outreach efforts with the FBI. Then, in October 2009, a Michigan-based, pro-terrorist imam named Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who had been preparing his followers to wage war against the U.S. government, opened fire when the FBI tried to arrest him for criminal activity. Abdullah died in the shootout, but CAIR and the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) are attempting to attribute his demise to foul play.
These groups assume the worst of the FBI’s intentions and try to make the Muslim community feel as if it is threatened by its own government committing state-sanctioned hate crimes. True to form, attendees of the ISNA convention this past July were told how the FBI supposedly is targeting Muslims and advised that they should not talk to FBI personnel without a lawyer.
In summary, while real anti-Muslim hate crimes deserve the harshest of condemnation, claims about anti-Muslim hate crimes always should be taken with a grain of salt. CAIR and other Islamist groups thrive off of convincing Muslims that they are under constant assault from roving bigots and an oppressive state. Individual Muslims then feel empowered to fabricate hate crimes in order to paint themselves as victims.
For Islamists, the fear, isolation, and suffering of the Muslim community are nothing more than weapons to enhance their own prestige and pursue their political agenda.
Ryan Mauro is the founder of WorldThreats.com, national security advisor to the Christian Action Network, and an intelligence analyst with the Asymmetric Warfare and Intelligence Center (AWIC). This article was sponsored by Islamist Watch.
Another attempt to blame America for Islamic extremism and act as if it isn’t Islam that is to blame. The Wahabis and the Mullahs are nothing new. America’s mistake is being tolerant to a religion that we didn’t understand… and it is obvious that Stephen Schwartz doesn’t understand it either. We should not of done business with the Wahabis, but that mistake was because our country listened to the likes of people like Schwartz. We will keep on making the same mistake until we respect other cultures enough to take what they say seriously.
Most Canadians and many Americans are familiar with the jibe alleging that Canadian identity is defined negatively, as “not American.” Some Americans apparently have felt so embarrassed by their citizenship that when visiting Europe they pretend to be Canadian. Before the star of President Barack Obama faded, the seldom-funny American satirical writer Garrison Keillor wrote on Salon.com that U.S. citizens travelling abroad could now, with Obama in the White House, celebrate ourselves: “No need anymore to try to look Canadian.”
Since Obama has taken office he has managed to not turn one enemy and has pissed off allies. the latest apparently is Karzai… but don’t let me obscure the rest of this guys diatribe against the U.S.
I have been visiting Canada for almost 35 years and have no idea how one would try to “look Canadian,” except perhaps by putting on a maple leaf backpack patch. I like Canada and find its approach to multi-ethnicity fascinating. In one immediately relevant way, Canada is different from the U.S. today: in its Islamic communities. Canadian Islam is more moderate, more diverse and more open to debate than American or even British Islam.
hard to believe this is a
American Sunni Islam functions under the domination of a “Wahhabi lobby” of organizations financed by radicals in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, while American Shias cleave to the line set out by the Iranian clerical regime. British Islam, as I have learned by direct observation, is deeply divided between radicals, who account for about 30% of the Muslims attending mosques in the U.K., and a large moderate majority. (so all those terrorist attacks in the U.K. were an illusion? wha?) How did it come about that Islam in the U.S. became the playground of Wahhabis, representing the most reactionary, exclusivist, fundamentalist and violent phenomenon in the recent history of Sunnism? The “Wahhabi lobby” includes the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which was established and is sustained with Saudi support; the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA), ISNA’s predecessor; and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which also benefits from Saudi largesse. ISNA and MSA established the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), which holds title to mosques around the U.S. As stated on its website, NAIT “facilitates the realization of American Muslims’ desire for a virtuous and happy life in a shariah-compliant way.”
The “Wahhabi lobby” took direction of American Islam for demographic as well as geopolitical reasons. Real Islam, both Sunni and Shia, in contrast with the “Islamic” cultural fantasies of the so-called “Black Muslims,” began to expand in the United States after immigration reforms that were adopted as the 20th century came to a close. With the opening of immigration, numerous South Asian and Arab Muslims came to the United States, and the number of recognized mosques reached some 1,200. Many of these newcomers sought to get away from radical Islam in their countries of origin. I believe most of them were astonished to discover that American Islam was Wahhabized. They quite logically supposed the U.S. would not encourage Islamist extremism on its territory.
But migrants from South Asia and the Arab lands underestimated the influence of Saudi Arabia on American policy, because of energy issues, as well as the consequences of American blindness to the role of Pakistani radicals in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan — and I supported and still support the U.S. assistance to the Afghans against the Russians. When Islam in America began to expand, the Saudis recognized a gap — the absence of community structures. They stepped in to fill that void, and the Saudis created the “Wahhabi lobby.” The Shias generally dislike Wahhabis, but in the U.S. the dominant Shia communities, which are Iraqi and Pakistani, have surrendered to Wahhabi dictation.
American Islam is, at the same time and paradoxically, very American, in being “corporate” Islam — it stands for financial, political and other institutional interests outside the country, rather than the spiritual challenges facing American Muslim believers. American Muslims are in the country, but not of it. American Islam is intellectually impoverished. There is more debate in the mosques of Saudi Arabia, which often serve as refuges for private conversation, than in any American Sunni Muslim community, aside from the Balkan Muslims, who are fully European. Among Shias, we see Iran in upheaval as its people wrestle with the moral and political decadence of the clerical regime. But the public silence of American Islam has also prevented Iraqi, Pakistani and Indian Shias in the U.S. from favouring the Iranian freedom movement.
American Islam has produced no serious exponents of the faith; it leaves articulation of its destiny to Arabocentric academics who dominate Middle East Studies in the colleges and universities. Aside from them, American Islam produces demagogic preachers. It is mentally and psychologically inert. To compare the nullity of American Islamic imagination and publications with the literary heritage of American Catholics, Jews and Buddhists — to cite others who began as minorities — is, for a Muslim, to despair.
No religious community has ever been distinguished by anything but the inspired discourse of its acolytes. Erecting overbearing mosques in the Saudi style, and manipulating South Asian believers to produce income and other benefits for Pakistani jihadist movements has accomplished nothing positive for American Muslims. Rather, these blandishments have aggravated the suspicion felt toward American Muslims by many of their non-Muslim neighbours.
America has always been a home to different faiths, and a seat at the big table of American religions would never have been denied Islam. But the “Wahhabi lobby,” in addition to being radical, is separatist. They do not want a seat at the American table. They want a table of their own. And the American media and political leaders have effectively granted the “Wahhabi lobby” special status, by including its representatives in the high councils of U.S. government. Ingrid Mattson, president of ISNA, who wears a headscarf more elaborate than those typically seen in many Muslim countries, was welcomed to participate in Obama’s inauguration. Dalia Mogahed, another woman in an exhibitionistic head covering, gave a U.K. television interview by telephone, praising public shariah as a protection for women’s dignity — after her appointment to the American President’s “Office of Religious Partnerships.”
ISNA president Mattson was born in Canada, but it is probably no accident that she has risen to prominence south of the border, because Canadian Islam is different. While CAIR-Canada is active in the media scene, ISNA and MSA have a lower media profile in Canada than in the United States. Their place has been assumed by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), which has distinguished itself by its campaign to exploit Canadian laws against hate speech, by attacking such mainstream media as the National Post and Maclean’s. This is the dark side of the Canadian difference. Unlike Canada, the U.K., and many European countries, the U.S. adds extra punishments for “hate crimes” — violence and other violations of law in which a prejudicial motivation can be proven — but does not criminalize any form of speech except incitement to immediate, physical harm. America only punishes acts of personal aggression, including murderous assaults as well as terrorist conspiracies.
Still, the CIC has not succeeded in intimidating Canadian media. Although I disagree strenuously with both the non-Muslim Mark Steyn and the Muslim “dissident” Irshad Manji, both are more widely read, proportionately to their audiences, than any non-Muslim critic or Muslim dissenter in the U.S. Full disclosure here: In 2003, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produced a four-way debate including myself, Manji, Sheema Khan of CAIR-Canada and Dr. Jamal Badawi, the latter being one of the most extreme Sunni fundamentalists in the English-speaking world. Such an encounter on national television is almost inconceivable in the U.S. In addition, Salim Mansur, columnist for the Sun Media newspaper chain, is a prominent member of the organization I founded, the Centre for Islamic Pluralism. Mansur provides a lively and informed Muslim perspective absent from the American dailies, which are typically satisfied to offer Muslims space only for “politically correct” presentations of an Islam without problems. A Canadian Muslim and former student of Mansur at the University of Western Ontario, Imaad Malik, works on prison issues for CIP.
Every honest Muslim knows the worldwide Islamic community faces serious challenges, as represented by Saudi and South Asian fundamentalism, whether known as Wahhabism or Deobandism, as well as the peculiar mix of Arab nationalism and Wahhabi-style fundamentalism embodied in the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Iranian radicalism. The umbrella term “Islamism” is not very helpful to Muslims in dealing with these ideologies — it is vague, and in conflicts such as that affecting the future of global Islam, wisdom consists of making distinctions rather than confusing them. Nor, in my view, is the condemnation of “political Islam” particularly useful. Before moderate Islam in the West can defeat the radicals and emerge as a normal faith community, moderates must become “political.” Indeed, Muslim anti-radicalism is as “political” as Muslim jihadism, by its very nature. The Saudi hardliners, terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iranian tyrants and competitors in fanaticism like the Egyptian MB and the Turkish Justice and Development party will not be defeated by a withdrawal of Western Muslims, much less those in their own countries, from public life. Spiritual Sufis may continue to emphasize their individual cultivation of religiosity. But Sufis have been notable public combatants for moderate Islam in the Balkans, Morocco, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and now Iran.
Still, what makes Canadian Islam different? I think the answer lies in encouragement of two streams of Muslim immigration that differ from the influx to the U.K. or the U.S. Numerous Canadian Muslims came with Commonwealth passports to English Canada from countries in Africa and elsewhere, their forebears having been harried and even killed by nationalist dictators. Their Islam had always been heterodox, and they included Ismaili Shias, many of them known as Khojas. Some obey the guidance of the Aga Khan, the world Ismaili leader, who has endowed a foundation to support Muslim social progress. Others are Bohras, a different Ismaili variety. Khojas and Bohras alike have blended their Shia Islam with Hindu traditions. Yet another group in Canada, like the majority of moderate Muslims in the U.K., follow the Qadiri and similar Sufi traditions.
In addition, Quebec has drawn French-speaking Muslim immigrants from countries like Tunisia, which is secularist, and Algeria, which underwent a brutal terrorist assault in the last decade of the 20th century. Unfortunately, few such moderate, much less heterodox, Muslims have a significant voice in the U.S. For Americans, including many who oppose radical Islam, the “Wahhabi lobby” continues to be seen as the only authoritative Islamic voice. We should be glad that Canada is different, and offers a place where Muslim sanity is prized, rather than dismissed. Finally, a real transformation of the lands of Islam may benefit most from social reforms in Saudi Arabia and Iran, along with a rescue of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey from religious nihilism. Yet Canada may still offer a more positive example of Islamic community life in the West than either the U.S. — where Muslims are well-off, atomized and conformist in the face of radical manipulation — or Britain, where Muslims are marginalized by their class and religious status, and government has chosen to appease rather than to oppose radical Islam.
blame everything but the source… yawn. Blame America for Islam. Did you expect them to blame anything else?
so let’s see what is really going on in Canada… shall we?