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9575Islamophobia in USA: Chapel Hill Murders Blamed on 'American Sniper'

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  • Zafar Khan
    Feb 15, 2015
      Chapel Hill Murders Blamed on 'American Sniper'
      OnIslam & Newspapers
      Friday, 13 February 2015 00:00


      CAIRO – A leading Arab-American advocacy group has linked the lack of media coverage of the brutal killing of the young Muslims in North Carolina to the rise of Islamophobia inspired by the new Hollywood film “American Sniper”.

      “It may not be directly linked to the film, but the overall way that Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment are moving in this country is portrayed in the words of those who watched American Sniper," Abed Ayoub, the legal director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), told The Independent.

      “The film gave us a look into how these individuals were feeling and for the first time we were getting raw, real messages – and they were frightening.”

      Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23 his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead at a condominium complex off campus.

      The gunman, identified as 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, reportedly turned himself into police.

      The ADC legal director has blamed the film industry, government and right-wing political commentators for the increase of the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment in the US.

      Ayoub also argued that coverage of the execution-style murder could have been different in case the victims were non-Muslims.

      “Absolutely 100 per cent this would have been covered differently if the roles were reversed.

      “This country needs to realize that acts of terrorism are not confined to a single religion or ethnicity.

      “This [Islamophobia] is something that needs to stop and we would like the media to pay more attention and cover this more to show the impact of hate crime and hate."

      In January, the ADC has called on the American Sniper film crew to denounce its hateful language that promotes discrimination and hostility, following receiving dozens of violent threats since the release of the film.

      The biographical war drama film is based on the story of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper who killed 160 in Iraq during US invasion.

      The film was criticized for glorifying war on Iraq as well sanitizing a sniper "who called Muslims savages in his memoir".


      Keeping silent over Chapel Hill shooting, the US president has been criticized for not offering condolences to the American Muslim families.

      “If you stay silent when faced with an incident like this, and don’t make a statement, the world will stay silent towards you,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, condemning those responsible for the crime, the Guardian reported.

      Meanwhile, the legal director of the ADC described the government's approach to invite Muslims to its counter terrorism as an example of where it “needs to change”.

      "There are key individuals who could tone down the Islamophobic rhetoric,” Ayoub said.

      “You have people on the extreme right that just push that Islam is an evil religion and Muslims and Arabs are these evil people.

      “They could take action and tone that down a little bit - you are entitled to your opinion but don’t attack the community and don’t paint us with a broad brush."

      Twitter users started to employ the hashtag "#MuslimLivesMatter," to comment on how the mainstream media ignored the news of the murder which did not make national headlines.

      “I share strong feelings of outrage and shock with my fellow citizens and University students – as well as concerned people everywhere," Chapel Hill mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said in the aftermath of the shooting.

      "Chapel Hill is a place for everyone, a place where Muslim lives matter.”

      On Wednesday, more than two thousand students, faculty and members of the community gathered in North Carolina University for a vigil to remember and pay tribute to the three young Muslim-Americans.

      Since the 9/11 attacks, US Muslims, estimated between 6-8 million, have complained of discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.

      A US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.

      A Gallup poll also found that the majority of US Muslims are patriot and loyal to their country and are optimistic about their future.

      Chapel Hill Shooting: Was it a hate crime?
      Killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina widely seen as hate crime after parking dispute cited as cause.
      14 Feb 2015 02:20 GMT | Gun violence, US



      Texas’ Islamophobia Runs Deeper Than Capitol Protests
      by Forrest Wilder Published on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 3:05 CST


      Condemnation of the anti-Muslim rage at the Capitol on Thursday was fairly widespread among the media, elected officials and other members of the political mainstream. House Speaker Joe Straus put out a statement saying, in part, “legislators have a responsibility to treat all visitors just as we expect to be treated—with dignity and respect.” The Dallas Morning News editorialized that the “disgusting spectacle at the state Capitol and Rep. Molly White’s ignorant Facebook babble make you embarrassed to be Texan.”

      Even Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), a Christian right pol who’s sponsoring an anti-Sharia bill, tried to elevate the day out of the muck.

      It was a rare moment of unity among an increasingly bitter and partisan—and dare I say, extreme—environment at the Capitol.

      Some were eager to paint the two dozen or so Islamophobic protesters as a marginal group unrepresentative of Texas. The Dallas Morning News, in a tone uncharacteristic of staid editorial pages, put forth a #NotAllTexans argument: “Tell your in-laws in New York that we’re not all hateful, hayseed, redneck, ignorant Bubbas. Yes, we do have hateful, hayseed, redneck ignorant Bubbas in Texas.”

      And that’s true as far as it goes: Most Texans don’t spend their days screaming at middle- and high-school students and dragging their knuckles around in public. Explaining how a state rep came to believe that the way to greet her constituents was to taunt them with the flag of a foreign nation and demand they take a loyalty oath is a harder task, though. Still, some tried. Erica Grieder of Texas Monthly pointed out that Rep. Molly White is a true freshman (no redshirts in the Lege) and probably has a bit of “a learning curve” to deal with. And this is true in its way too.

      Surely Rep. White will think twice before she lets loose with full-throated bigotry again. Someone will show her how to use a dog-whistle instead.

      But Rep. White and the anti-Muslim protesters did not appear out of nowhere. What happened last week is merely an extreme manifestation of deep-seated Islamophobia in Texas. If you care to scratch beneath the surface, the hatred of Muslims in tea party circles is palpable. White, for example, has spoken at least three times in the past few months on Raging Elephants Radio—a tea party radio program run by Apostle Claver, a black tea partier from Beaumont. On one recent show, the host, Doc Greene praised mosque burnings in Sweden, said Islam should be made illegal in Texas and told his listeners, “We need to make Muslims in Texas feel unsafe.”

      This is not conservatism. This is crypto-fascism, the kind of jackbooted thuggery that is on the march in Europe today. Is Rep. White aware of Greene’s views? Does she share them?

      Granted, Greene and White are outliers on the political spectrum. But virulently racist and paranoid rhetoric directed at Muslims is far from unusual. The Oak Initiative, a religious right organization active in Texas, has been beating the drum about an Islamic takeover of America for years. Here’s an example from a recent email to supporters:

      Islam is one of the biggest threats in the world. It is the anti-Christ system that is rising and Christians are called to confront it head on. In order to do so you must be informed.

      As Christians, we do not hate muslim people, but we do stand against the spirit of Islam that has millions in bondage and is seeking to bring the United States under its subjection through the implementation of Sharia Law (Islamic Law).

      In 2011, the Oak Initiative leadership, based in Kerrville, claimed to have helped former state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville) write an anti-Sharia bill. The legislation didn’t go anywhere, but the notion that Sharia is somehow taking over courts in Texas, where judges are elected, just won’t die. The whole interplay of Sharia and American law has been wildly distorted and exaggerated. And not just by obscure radio programs. Ted Cruz has been on the Sharia bandwagon for years, calling it an “enormous problem” in 2012. Breitbart Texas has moved from beating up on Central American child refugees to hyperventilating over a non-story about Sharia courts in North Texas, which was then picked up by Fox News.

      Oklahoma House member takes misuse of media office to a new low
      by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: January 15, 2015


      A state lawmaker and an Islamic advocacy group engaged in a war of words last year following news that ISIS was on the march in Iraq. In their latest dustup, state Rep. John Bennett and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are again battling over words — specifically words in Islam’s holy book.

      US media over represents Muslims as perpetrators of domestic terrorism
      Saturday January 10, 2015 7:39 PM, Agencies


      Washington: Viewers of national television news in the United States see far more images of Muslims as domestic terrorists and Latinos as immigrant lawbreakers than is actually the case in statistics, according to a recently published study by a communications professor at the University of Illinois.

      Louie Gohmert Thought He'd Be the Speaker of the House. Here Are 14 Other Crazy Things He Believes.
      The would-be House speaker has put forth some ridiculous ideas over the years. Remember "terror babies"?
      —By Sam Brodey | Tue Jan. 6, 2015 6:15 AM EST


      Update: Rep. Gohmert lost his bid for Speaker of the House, earning just three votes. Speaker John Boehner was re-elected.

      On Sunday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) released a statement announcing his intention to challenge Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) for the speaker's gavel. The five-term congressman from northeastern Texas says he was "urged" by colleagues and friends, who were fed up with the insufficiently conservative leadership of Boehner, to seek the position.

      It's highly unlikely that Gohmert will unseat Boehner as speaker. Still, it's worth asking, if only to get a glimpse inside the mind of a powerful Republican leader: What could we expect from a Speaker Gohmert? To get an idea, here are some notable policy highlights and political proclamations from his illustrious career. There are many:

      1. America is being infiltrated by "terror babies."
      In 2010, Gohmert argued that Muslim terrorists were sending pregnant women to the United States to give birth to babies who "could be raised and coddled as future terrorists" to "help destroy our way of life." CNN's Anderson Cooper asked him for evidence, of which there was none, and Gohmert melted down on-air.

      Rabbis keeping distance from Teaneck rabbi's online post
      NOVEMBER 24, 2014, 9:31 PM LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2014, 10:40 PM


      Orthodox rabbis have distanced themselves from a Teaneck rabbi who wrote in an online blog post that Israel should permanently prohibit the creation of a Palestinian state, destroy the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and jail Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as a war criminal.

      Writing in his blog last Friday, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky also called for Israel to deport relatives of terrorists, “up to and including first cousins,” and destroy their homes, and if a second terrorist is found in a village to destroy that village and deport all its residents.

      Pruzansky, who leads the Bnai Yeshurun congregation, which claims to be the largest synagogue in Teaneck, said his remarks were based on “a single premise: that there is a war for the land of Israel that is being waged, and the Arabs who dwell in the land of Israel are the enemy in that war and must be vanquished.”

      Prusansky’s remarks prompted expressions of dismay from other Orthodox Jewish clergymen, who said they were reluctant to criticize another rabbi but nonetheless distanced themselves from his language.

      Rabbi Shmuel Goldin of Englewood said he could understand Pruzansky’s frustration, but disagreed with his conclusions.

      “Rabbi Pruzansky’s statements reflect the frustration that he feels and that many of us feel as we view the unfolding events in the Middle East,” Golden said. “However, his conclusions and recommendations certainly do not represent my view nor the view of many others in the Orthodox Jewish community.”

      Rabbi Lawrence Zierler of Teaneck said: “I would distance myself from this language. The rabbis have developed a very different approach. People at the margins add insult to injury when they use intemperate language. It pains me that people would take so readily and quickly to the blogosphere, and it is unfortunate that people would write in such a manner.”

      People of Palestinian origin in North Jersey were more outspoken in their criticism of Pruzansky.

      “Our state’s mainstream Jewish leadership should speak out strongly against extremists in their midst, just as American Muslim leaders have spoken out against religious extremism,” said Mohamed El Filali, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

      Salaheddin Mustafa of Clifton said he was outraged but not surprised, adding that Pruzansky was “echoing the statements that are coming from senior members of the Israeli government right now.”

      Pruzansky’s essay was disclosed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a report printed in The Times of Israel.

      The blog post, titled “Dealing With Savages,” has since been removed, but it remained available in an Internet cache of deleted items until Monday afternoon, when it disappeared from that. However, before it became inaccessible, The Record made a copy of the full text of the blog post.

      Contacted at his home on Sunday night, Pruzansky said the JTA report was not accurate. “They distorted it, just like they do everything else,” he said.

      Pruzansky said he was responsible for deleting his own blog post. Asked why he had done so, he replied: “Two words: unspecified threats.”

      “Everything I wrote was entirely reasonable, but they didn’t report that,” he said of the JTA report. “I wrote that Arabs who are peaceful should be allowed to live side by side with Israelis.”

      A close reading shows that Pruzansky stated near the end of the deleted 1,900-word blog entry: “Of course, those who wish to stay and be peaceful, acknowledging the sovereignty of the Jewish people in the land of Israel, are welcome to stay.”

      Prior to that mitigating language, Pruzansky wrote: “Israel should make clear that a Palestinian state will never be created between the river and the sea. There will be no non-Jewish national entity tolerated. The Muqata in Ramallah should be destroyed and ‘President’ Abbas should be incarcerated as a war criminal.

      “Terrorists will be killed, not captured,” he continued. “Their bodies will not be returned to their families but will be cremated, and perhaps the ashes buried with deceased pigs. The homes of the extended family (up to and including first cousins) of the terrorist will be destroyed, and they will all be deported to the Muslim country of their choice.

      “A second terrorist in a village results in the destruction of that village and the deportation of its residents to a friendlier country. (If the homes in that village would be useful to Jews, then they should be retained and given to Jews after the evil residents are deported.”

      He went on to say: “Anyone who riots or throws a stone at a Jew should be shot — with real bullets. Rubber bullets and tear gas should be sold to the Amish. Those who wish to be martyred and who celebrate death should be accommodated as often as possible.”

      Pruzansky called for prohibiting news coverage. “The media should be barred from scenes of violence, cell service canceled and cameras confiscated, like in most war zones,” he said.

      Arabs, he said, “must be made to feel that that they have no future in the land of Israel — no national future and no individual future.”

      It was not the first time that Pruzansky’s rhetoric caused consternation among fellow rabbis. Recently, for example, he compared the publication Jewish Week to a German Nazi propaganda newspaper during World War II, prompting criticism by the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America, of which he is a member of the executive committee.

      Staff Writers Hannan Adely and Deena Yellin contributed to this article.

      Muslim Community Denounces Fox News Bigotry Against Islam
      Thursday 13 November 2014 - 23:54


      Our treatment of Muslims is 21st-century disgrace
      By Beverly Keel 8:59 a.m. CST November 2, 2014


      Head of Joint Chiefs asks Muslim man, 'Are you Taliban?'
      By Ben Kamisar - 10/31/14 05:27 PM EDT


      Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey jokingly asked a bearded man during a speech at Syracuse University whether he was a member of the Taliban, in an exchange first reported by Syracuse.com.

      When a man stood up to ask Dempsey a question during a Q&A session, Dempsey asked him, “Are you Taliban?” before quickly adding that he was kidding.

      Dempsey's office later said the chairman's joke didn't have to do with the Islamic faith and was instead a joke about the man's beard.

      Video catches Molotov cocktail thrown at Islamic Center of NM
      By Aaron Drawhorn and Chris McKee
      Published: October 24, 2014, 12:35 pm


      Wery: I won't quit after Muslim exchange
      Scott Cooper Williams, Press-Gazette Media 8:49 p.m. CDT October 22, 2014


      Green Bay Alderman Chris Wery is refusing calls for his resignation following an exchange with a Muslim woman in which he asked whether she condemns Islamic terrorism.

      Many people have called for Wery to step down from the City Council via their comments on Press-Gazette Media's Facebook page. Some are calling the elected official's interaction with a Muslim woman who had inquired about city bus service "shameful" and "horrible."

      Watch police frisk man in Muslim dress - moments after letting him walk past in Western clothes
      20:56, 19 October 2014 By Alex Wellman


      YouTube stars Adam Saleh and Sheikh Akbar normally make prank videos but got so fed up of how they were treated when wearing traditional dress they wanted to show the world the difference

      A shocking video that apparently shows a New York police officer pushing two Muslim men up against a wall just because of how they are dressed has sparked fury online.

      YouTube star Adam Saleh uploaded the video to the internet after claiming he had had enough of police officers ‘racially profiling’ him when he is dressed in traditional Muslim clothing.

      Police stop and frisk Muslim man: The stat behind the Youtube stunt

      Adam runs a YouTube account called TrueStoryASA with his friend Sheikh Akbar where the two young men make funny and prank videos.

      However, they decided to make a new video for their 650,000 subscribers after becoming frustrated at police following them when they are dressed in traditional Muslim attire.

      In the three minute video, branded "messed up and cruel" by online fans of the pair, the two young men are first seen wearing western clothing and having an argument in American accents.

      A police officer stands close by and appears to watch as the two play out a row that, at one point, gets physical.

      Despite Adam ‘threatening’ and pushing Sheikh, the officer does nothing.

      Just 20 minutes later, the two young men have changed into traditional Muslim dress and are walking past the officer again.

      How One Man Refused to Spy on Fellow Muslims for the FBI—and Then Lost Everything
      The case of Ayyub Abdul-Alim fits a decades-long pattern of government criminalization of African-American Muslims.
      Arun Kundnani, Emily Keppler and Muki Najaer October 14, 2014


      On the night of December 9, 2011, Siham Stewart called her husband, Ayyub Abdul-Alim, as he closed down his corner store, Nature’s Garden, in Springfield, Massachusetts. She asked him to bring home a gallon of milk. A few minutes later, she watched from the window of their second-floor apartment as he was seized in the street and handcuffed by two police officers.

      Forty-eight hours after Abdul-Alim’s arrest, FBI agent James Hisgen and Springfield police officer Ronald Sheehan offered him the chance to walk away free of charges if he agreed to become an informant on the Muslim community. He refused the deal and is now held at the Cedar Junction maximum-security prison in Massachusetts, facing up to sixteen years behind bars.

      While awaiting trial, Abdul-Alim discovered that his wife received cash payments from the FBI totaling at least $11,949. The receipts were signed by Sheehan and Hisgen. Stewart testified against Abdul-Alim in court and admitted to working as an informant. This past April, Abdul-Alim was found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm that he alleges the officers planted on him as part of their attempt to pressure him to work for the FBI.

      Abdul-Alim, 36, grew up in New York City in a family of African-American and Puerto Rican heritage. Prior to his arrest, he founded and ran the Quran and Sunnah Community Center in Springfield, which offered free meals and prayer services, and Connections Transportation, which transported people to visit their loved ones in prison. He was also a small business owner, an apartment complex manager, a husband, and a father figure to Stewart’s son.

      His life began to change in 2010 after he returned from a three-week religious trip to Mecca. Abdul-Alim reports that he began to receive calls from James Hisgen, an agent at the FBI’s Springfield field office, who asked him questions such as, “Do you love America?” and told him to call back if he was interested in working as an informant.

      American Rabbi Calls for Extermination of Muslims
      Sunday 12 October 2014 - 12:34


      New York – In an alarming hate speech that went unreported in American mainstream media, an American Rabbi called simply for extermination of Muslims and a “holy crusade” against them.

      In a sermon he delivered on September 29, Rabbi Shalom Lewis from Congregation Etz Chaim in the state of Georgia, said Muslims are “guilty” of terrorism and should be “exterminated.”

      This sermon against Islam comes three years after another sermon where he compared Muslims to Nazis.

      But this time around, he toughened his rhetoric and calls for the extermination of Muslims.

      “Three years later on this bima, on this very same day, standing at this podium, I cry out not ‘Ehr Kumpt – they are coming,’ I cry out, ‘Ehr daw – they are here’,” the rabbi said.

      Lewis estimated the number of Muslims worldwide to stand at 1 billion, adding 5% of them are “committed terrorists and murderers.”

      “There are one billion Muslims in the world and authorities agree that 5% are committed Islamists who embrace terror and wish to see, by any means possible, the Muslim flag fly over every capital, on every continent. I was relieved when I heard only 5%. Thank God it’s only 5%.”

      But the furry of the rabbi against Islam did not stop there. He went on to add that all Muslims are guilty of terrorism be default.

      “But what disturbs me is, where are the other 950 million Muslims who are not terrorists? Who are not bomb-blasting, acid-throwing zealots? (…) I want to believe that we have partners who dream the dreams we do and wish upon the same star. I want to believe – – but where are they? A silent partnership is no partnership. Sin is not just in the act of commission – it is also in the act of omission. Most Germans were not Nazis – but it did not matter. Most Russians were not Stalinists – but it did not matter. Most Muslims are not terrorists – but it does not matter.”

      For the American rabbi, there is only one choice for what he calls the free world to live in peace and enjoy freedom is to exterminate the “evil” represented by Islam.

      “The fury of ultimate evil is upon us and we must act – not to contain it. Not to degrade it. Not to manage it. Not to tolerate it, but to exterminate it utterly and absolutely,” he said.

      “If we fail in this holy crusade, we will live in a world bereft of color. Empty of music, of art, of romance, of laughter, of freedom, of invention. A world barren of all beauty. Depleted of all virtue,” he concluded.

      Oklahoma’s Muslim community questions their safety after threats


      ‘It’s gross, it’s racist’: Ben Affleck and Bill Maher clash over criticizing Islam
      Arturo Garcia ARTURO GARCIA
      03 OCT 2014 AT 23:54 ET


      Mosque Protest; Sign Reads: "Death to Islam"
      By Lida Alikhani. Published Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


      The Latest Cost of Islamophobia
      Paul R. Pillar
      September 10, 2014


      Islamophobia Makes a Comeback
      The ramp-up against ISIS is bringing back the ugliest features of post-9/11 America.
      By KELLEY VLAHOS • September 11, 2014


      Tulsa Muslims Shocked by Hate Comments
      OnIslam & News Agencies
      Monday, 15 September 2014 00:00


      Ex-Marine Allegedly Attacked Pakistani Immigrants In Brooklyn


      Anti-Islam ad campaign to run on New York City buses and subways
      Blogger paid $100,000 to place ads, one of which was rejected by MTA on grounds it could ‘incite or provoke violence’


      US man faces jail for attempting to remove Saudi woman's veil
      By Courtney Trenwith
      Sunday, 10 August 2014 12:16 PM


      Manassas mosque vandalized, hate crime probe sought
      August 12, 2014 - 12:57 pm


      Man who thought Garwood flag was ISIS apologizes for viral tweet; flag-owner forgives him
      By Jessica Remo | NJ Advance Media, for NJ.com
      on August 14, 2014 at 4:47 PM, updated August 15, 2014 at 6:46 AM


      Man charged with hate crime after argument, shooting at convenience store
      WFTS Webteam
      4:15 AM, Aug 21, 2014


      Fox Host Suggests All Muslims Are Like ISIS, Says Problem Should Be Solved "With A Bullet To The Head"
      Video ››› August 20, 2014


      Anti-Israel tweets cost US professor his job
      Professor allegedly loses job offer after criticising Israel's military operation in Gaza on Twitter.
      10 Aug 2014 09:53 GMT | Politics, Middle East, Education, Social media, Israel


      Jun 27th 2014
      Press Release Man Shouting 'Go Back to Your (Expletive) Country' Stabs Muslim Food Cart Vendor


      At the Walker: First-person stories of Minnesota Muslims
      Share on printShare on email
      By Pamela Espeland | 07/31/14


      Revisiting the Facts, After the Convictions
      ‘The Newburgh Sting,’ on HBO, About Bronx Bomb Plot
      By MIKE HALEJULY 20, 2014


      Islamophobia in America on the Rise, Poll Shows
      BY TAYLOR WOFFORD 7/31/14 AT 8:54 PM