Islamophobia in America: Protocols of the Elders of Islam?
- Protocols of the Elders of Islam?
By Nick Schou in The Hilarious Haters
Tuesday, May. 19 2009 @ 1:58PM
As its name suggests, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in LA is supposed to promote the kind of cultural dialog that brings people together rather than pushes them apart. So it's more than a little bit odd that the center showed a movie last weekend that has been compared to the gold-standard of anti-Semitic propaganda: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The latter tome was supposedly written by the Jews who secretly want to take over the world. Actually it's pure fiction, but the book nonetheless helped pave the way for Russian pogroms in the 19th Century and the Nazi-era holocaust. The film in question, "The Third Jihad," was screened at the Museum of Tolerance last Sunday. Like the book before it, the film claims to provide evidence of a global plot of subversion, in this case a plot to subvert America by blood-thirsty terrorists posing as regular-guy American Muslims.
"The Third Jihad" begins with a disclaimer saying that most Muslims are okay folks, and that this movie only talks about the ones that want to kill all Americans. It was produced by a shadowy outfit called the Clarion Fund, which according to an Institute for Policy Studies report has ties to right-wing supporters of Israel who oppose all talks with the Palestinians. 28 million copies of a previous film by this outfit, Obsession: Radical Islam's War with the West, were distributed to voters in 14 swing states just before last November's presidential election, perhaps to inflame fears that Barack HUSSEIN Obama might be part of this purported Muslim takeover plot.
The supposed evidence for this plot against America is a secret "American Muslim Brotherhood Jihad Manifesto" that the film's producers claim was discovered and later released by the FBI in connection with its probe of the Holy Land foundation last year. Efforts by the Weekly to verify the existence, much less the text of that memo were inconclusive. Google "American Muslim Brotherhood" and "Jihad Manifesto" and all you get are links to stories about the "Third Jihad" movie.
On May 15, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Greater Los Angeles Area chapter, sent a letter asking the Simon Wiesenthal Center to call of its showing of the film. "As an institution that claims as its goal battling hatred and bigotry across the world, I am disappointed to see the Wiesenthal Center engage in promoting hatred and bigotry against another minority--American Muslims," Ayloush wrote.
The center wrote back saying that it wasn't going to cancel the film because it wants to promote discussion. For his part, Ayloush says there's a big difference between debating what American Muslims think about U.S. society and promoting the concept -- familiar to Jew-baiters throughout modern history -- that American Muslims want to take over the world.
"Claiming that American Muslims are part of some world-wide conspiracy to take over America is nothing short of concerted hateful fear mongering that intends to build animosity and even eventual violence against Muslims," he argues. "The Holocaust in Europe and the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda did not happen in a vacuum. They were preceded with such baseless hateful material that dehumanized the intended targeted community and were promoted by many enablers who falsely hid behind the claim of "generating discussion and sharing views."
World's Most Respected Islamophobes to Gather in Nashville for Symposium
By Jack Silverman
Thursday, May. 21 2009
Perhaps motivated by recent news that Tennessee has become a stronghold for radical Islamic forces, leading Islamophobes from around the world will be gathering in Nashville at the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel May 29-30 for "Understanding the Jihad in Israel, Europe and America," the first annual symposium presented by the online pub New English Review.
What is the New English Review, you ask? I'm still scratching my head on that one, too. There's no discernible mission statement or "about us" page, though there are individual bios of the various editors, publishers and contributors. A brief stroll through NER's current featured headlines reveals heady, reasonably well-written stories reflecting a nonetheless kooky, far-right stance. Think of it as The New Yorker for the Teabagger set. (Or is it the "Tea Bagger set"? For the sake of beleaguered copy editors everywhere, AP Style better settle this issue soon.)
Case in point:
It was evening, the prelude to that dreaded, protracted obscurity of seemingly endless night. The sky was handsomely streaked with crimson and indigo, amber and violet, vermilion and fuchsia, reproducing those alluring, decorative colors of autumn that celebrate incipient death. To the east, a snow capped Mount Lebanon thrust a silvery, humped silhouette into the darkening cerulean sky.
I mean, you're not going to mistake that for the barely lucid ramblings of Stacey Campfield now, are you? That passage is from a short story titled "The Blasphemy," by Ares Demertzis, a parable whose message could simply be put as "Kill the Muslims before they kill you."
And therein lies the thematic thread running through NER: Islam is an inherently sinister religion, and it's coming to gitcha! It's all there in the Koran, people! This has nothing to do with complex geopolitical situations, poverty or extremism, folks. The problem is simply that Islam and its Koran are inherently evil, according to the folks at NER. (I wonder if they've read our "holy book" lately--some of the stuff in there is pretty batshit crazy too, no? Not to mention our beloved Rummy's use of Christian scripture to promote the war in Iraq.)
That's why you need to sign up right now for "Understanding the Jihad in Israel, Europe and America"! Don't delay--the future of white people everywhere depends on you! Registration deadline is May 25!
Read about some of the featured disseminators of hatred and intolerance speakers, after the jump.
Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament and the leader of the Party of Freedom, will speak to the symposium by video. He's featured in the above YouTube video, calling Islam "retarded," and has been quoted as saying, "I don't Muslims. I hate Islam."
Hugh Fitzgerald, vice president and senior editor for Jihad Watch, which the Council on American-Islamic Relations calls an "Internet hate site" and which Guardian reporter Brian Whitaker describes as a "notoriously Islamophobic website."
Dave Gaubatz, a former agent for the U.S. Air Force's Office of Special Investigations and a right-wing loon. He also claims to have found WMDs in Iraq--or at least he found sites that weren't searched and he's certain there were WMDs there, which is the same thing, right?--and believes the Bush administration was involved in a massive cover-up to hide the discovery of WMDs (which, if you're completely out of your mind, makes a whole lot of sense).
Rebecca Bynum, New English Review senior editor and publisher, and current secretary of World Encounter Institute. Formerly news editor and board member of the aforementioned Internet hate site Jihad Watch.
It should be noted that there are several other speakers who are respected in various fields, though all share extreme views on Islam. And amusingly, one of the common gripes they all express is how Islam divides the world into believers and nonbelievers. Why does that sound familiar? Seems to remind me of some other religion I keep hearing about. And judging from our last presidential administration, it would seem Muslims have no monopoly on the holy war concept.
Dorval Mosque vandalized a third time
by Raffy Boudjikanian
Article online since May 20th 2009, 16:20
A small mosque in a quiet, residential neighbourhood in Dorval has fallen victim to a third graffiti vandalism attack in the space of 11 months, with no suspects retained after the first two incidents.
""This person is not a graffiti artist. This person is trying to give a message," said Dorval Mosque's president Mehmet Deger, alluding to the nature of the scrawls left each time on one of the mosque's walls.
In this instance, the words "Koran 8,12" appear in blue on the wall facing the parking lot. As in the past two writings left in June 2008 and this last February, respectively, the reference is to a verse in the Muslim holy book that could be taken to mean it encourages the murder of infidels or non-believers.
"We still would like to talk to these people," said Deger, repeating his call for the perpetrators to come forward. "I don't know whether they are a group of people," he added. "But they are giving a message. And it looks like they are a bit brain-washed."
The writing appears to be lower on the surface of the wall than in the two previous cases, which leads Deger to believe a child, or children, were used. "If they educate children this way, it's no good," he said.
The wall in question is adorned with a single video camera, but, covered as it was with spider webs, Deger said it is unlikely to do much good. "There is a moment there (on the tape) but you cannot see clearly," he said.
The incident must have happened overnight between May 17 and 18, Deger said, since he was there at the mosque until 11:30 p.m. on the 17th, and only discovered the graffiti on the morning of the 18th.
A police report was made, but an investigation may not go too far, according to Station 5 community relations officer Liliana Belluci. "I know a police officer was there and he gave (the mosque) some security tips," she explained. When informed the camera's footage is unclear though, she said it could be difficult to pursue the investigation.
In April, following media reports of the winter vandalism incident, a national Muslim advocacy group condemned the attack and demanded Montreal police pursue it vigorously.
Reached today over telephone, the Canada Council on American-Islamic Relations' executive president seemed unaware of the latest attack. "If it has been vandalized again, I can tell you our statement still stands," said Ihsaan Gardee. "We would call again for the authorities to investigate this as a matter of urgency."
Meanwhile, the mosque is scheduled to receive a visit by federal Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, who is currently on a trip to the Middle East.
"Our office initially heard about the vandalism acts in the paper and then followed up with the mosque and they informed us of the situation," explained Kenney's press secretary Julie Carmichael.
The visit is scheduled for May 29
never again? Simon Wiesenthal Center to screen Islamophobic film "The Third Jihad"
I've argued in the past that muslims and jews in the West should make common cause in fighting against prejudice and tolerance - and in doing so, lead by example in terms of demonstrating the value of tolerance and respect based on our shared Abrahamic heritage. One ideal joint project would be for the ADL and CAIR to join forces and compile a national database of anti-semitic and Islamophobic incidents and hate crimes, for example, and perhaps start a group blog project discussing various issues.
Unfortunately, despite many previous examples of common cause that move such a vision forward, sometimes the innate prejudices of both groups moves the process backwards. Case in point - the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles will screen the grotesquely Islamophobic film The Third Jihad. As CAIR's Los Angeles chapter explains in a letter to the SWC, The Third Jihad is the equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as far as its intention in portraying muslims in the United States and Islam as a whole as a fifth column, a Dolchstoßlegende for the modern era.
The full text of the letter from CAIR-LA to the SWC is reproduced below. This is shameful indeed and only underscores the importance of working together so that this rift cannot widen.
Rabbi Marvin Hier
Dean & Founder
Simon Wiesenthal Center
1399 South Roxbury Drive
Los Angeles, California 90035
May 14, 2009
Rabbi Marvin Hier:
I am contacting you to express the American Muslim community's deep concern and dismay at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's plans to show the universally discredited anti-Muslim propaganda film, "The Third Jihad," this Sunday at the "Museum of Tolerance."
This film, like its discredited predecessor "Obsession," seeks to portray American Muslims as a fifth column within the United States. It is the moral and ethical equivalent of the scurrilous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." You, of all people, should know the negative impact such false and defamatory portrayals can have on a minority community.
Screening "The Third Jihad" is akin to showing the Nazi-era film "Triumph of the Will," which stereotyped Jews, or "Birth of a Nation," which vilified African-Americans. Would you show "Triumph of the Will" or "Birth of a Nation" to your audiences? No, and rightly so.
The film disingenuously claims it is only targeting "radical Islam," yet a Twitter account of the Washington, D.C., screening on Wednesday night stated:
"`Three Jihads' First, 7th century burst out of Arabia...Second, Turks push to gates of Vienna... Third, TODAY...The 1400-hundred year war" clash has been going on since the beginning of Islam."
These statements encompass the entirety of Islamic history and culture. Is that what the Wiesenthal Center believes we are fighting and have been fighting since the inception of Islam?
Furthermore, "The Third Jihad" resorts to innuendo, minimalism, sensationalism, and conjecture. In a pluralistic society in which healthy community relations are a necessity, agenda-driven films such as this do little to defuse confusion about religious minorities and educate the public in an honest and credible manner.
Following the release of "The Third Jihad" last year, the producers were forced to remove demonstrably false information. The film's narrator, Zuhdi Jasser, also makes the false claim that CAIR avoided participating in a Muslim rally against terrorism he sponsored in Arizona in 2004. In fact, representatives of both CAIR's Arizona and national offices asked to join in the effort, but Jasser refused.
As an institution that claims as its goal battling hatred and bigotry across the world, I am disappointed to see the Wiesenthal Center engage in promoting hatred and bigotry against another minority - American Muslims.
An investigative report in the St. Petersburg Times revealed ties between the film's distributor, the Clarion Fund, and the Israel-based group Aish HaTorah. It is unfortunate that, per your institution's stated mission, it apparently continues to believe it is benefiting the state of Israel by promoting anti-Muslim prejudices and propaganda.
I urge you to cancel the film screening and join the American Muslim community and many other Americans in finding ways to bring about peace and harmony among all people.
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area
Related: my earlier post about the fallacy that Islam is inherently anti-Semitic, and previously discussed the differences between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Also, recall that the Third Jihad is a sequel by the same people who brought us the film Obsession, whose trailer I hosted at this blog in the name of free speech, and which was an incitement for the Dayton mosque tear-gassing incident. There's a lot more on the agenda of the producers of the Third Jihad at the debunking and response site, Obsession with Hate.
KENNEDY: For gun owner, a choice he wanted to avoid
A 50-year-old Fort Worth man has carried a gun for years.
But he never wanted to use it.
On May 6, the moment that he’s always dreaded came in an Azle grocery parking lot. He saw a man running from the store with employees in pursuit — and then he saw the getaway car coming straight at him.
"I knew he was not going to stop," said the man, unnamed here because he is a witness in a case in which charges might include either shoplifting or robbery.
"I didn’t want to hurt anybody. I was only trying to stop him."
For the first time in his four years carrying a gun under Texas’ concealed-handgun-license law, he drew.
Two men and two women now face possible charges after the man — a restaurant owner — shot out one of their rear tires. Then, he chased the car until Azle police arrived.
Azle Police Chief Steve Myers said witnesses agreed that the restaurateur was in the car’s path.
The first 911 call reported an "undercover officer" shooting in self-defense at somebody who "tried to run him down."
The restaurant owner isn’t an officer. He’s simply one of Texas’ 300,000 licensed gun owners sworn to shoot only to protect themselves or others.
He said he drew his gun as he jumped clear and shot down at the tire as the car swerved past.
According to police, Kyle Scott, 21, of Fort Worth was seen taking items including a box of toaster pastries and a pack of cotton swabs. Police say Michael Reiser, 38, an ex-con with a theft and forgery record, was driving.
"I didn’t know what had happened in the store," the restaurant owner said last week.
He’s been reading blog debates arguing whether he is (1) a crime-fighting hero or (2) an irresponsible gun owner for firing instead of just jumping away from what turned out to be a petty-shoplifting suspect.
"We had eye contact, and I knew the driver was not going to stop," the restaurant owner said.
He thought there might be a child in the car.
"I didn’t want to hurt anybody," he said, "and I didn’t want him to hurt me or go on and hurt somebody."
The restaurant owner climbed into his pickup and chased the suspects two miles west on Texas 199. With rubber peeling, the car finally ground to a stop in a residential area behind an Allsup’s store.
The three passengers were arrested at the scene, according to police. Reiser ran and was arrested a couple of blocks away.
For the restaurant owner, it was the kind of split-second decision he had feared ever since the day four years ago when he decided to start carrying a gun.
He was driving alone on North Main Street in Fort Worth on the way to work one morning, he said. Two men forced him off the road and attacked him in a road-rage run-in.
"I said it was never going to happen to me again," he said.
Now he hopes nothing like this ever happens again.
Bud Kennedy’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538
Man says he ID'd Middle Easterners at gyms for FBI
FBI declines to address allegations, citing ongoing investigations.
By SALVADOR HERNANDEZ
The Orange County Register
An Irvine man who claims to have worked as an FBI informant said he was asked by agents to identify photos of Middle Eastern men who worked out at Orange County gyms as part of an effort to identify terrorist cells in the U.S.
Craig Monteilh said he worked as an informant from July 2006 to October 2007. He said he identified hundreds of Middle Eastern men in pictures that appeared to be taken from surveillance footage from several O.C gyms. He said agents asked him to act as a "magnet" for members of the Muslim community - work out with them, and provide information, such as names and telephone numbers, to the FBI.
Agents were interested only in young Middle Eastern men, Monteilh said, and when a picture was identified as someone that was not, "they (pictures) were discarded," he said.
Officials at the FBI declined to address on specific allegations, saying they could not comment on investigative techniques or ongoing investigations, but said suggestions that the agency may be racially profiling an ethnic group were absurd and unfair.
"To suggest that the FBI targets individuals based on their ethnicity is beyond absurd, and can unfairly damage the reputation of a community," said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI. "Investigations are structured to protect the civil liberties of all, and are conducted with strict adherence to the Constitution."
Monteilh, 46, in February identified himself as an informant who used the name Farouk al-Aziz to infiltrate local mosques. He came forward shortly after a Tustin man was arrested on immigration-fraud charges – a man authorities claim lied about links to terrorist organizations and a brother-in-law suspected of being Osama bin Laden's security coordinator.
In a bail hearing for Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, Special Agent Thomas J. Ropel III said Niazi was recorded by an informant talking about blowing up buildings and taking up jihad. Ropel did not identify the informant.
Monteilh said he began identifying young men in pictures in November 2006 and continued to meet with agents, once a week for about nine months, identifying men in pictures from several gyms, particularly those in Irvine.
"Every week, twice a week sometimes, I'd be handed 80 to 120 photos of specifically Middle Eastern-looking men," Monteilh said. He would then write the name of the men in the back of the pictures, and hand over telephone numbers if he obtained them.
Monteilh, who worked as a fitness consultant, has been arrested for fraud and grand theft, including a case where he was convicted of conning two women out of more than $157,000.He said the FBI asked him to use his background as a trainer in local gyms to workout with Muslim men and provide information.
"I was told there were terrorist cells in Orange County and they were going to do everything possible to (identify) these terrorist cells," Monteilh said.
FBI TACTICS QUESTIONED
For months, members of Orange County's Muslim community have been calling into question the FBI's tactics. During a demonstration in May 2007, a confrontation between a student at UC Irvine and a FBI agent inside a car with tinted windows sparked several questions of whether the FBI was monitoring Muslim students.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Council on Islamic American Relations, said he wouldn't be surprised if Monteilh's allegations of surveillance in OC gyms were true.
"Any normal activity, conducted by others, once it is conducted by Muslims, it's labeled suspicious," Ayloush said. "Many Muslims were questioned about suspicious activity, but the fact they were Muslim is what rendered these activities suspicious."
Having to circle an airport because of missing a terminal, taking pictures of tourist areas, hunting, paint ball, or "building muscles," are misconstrued as suspicious when conducted by someone who appears to be Middle Eastern, Ayloush said.
Monteilh said he had brought up concerns about racial profiling while he identified men in photos, but was told by one agent that, "little white old ladies didn't slam planes into buildings."
Adam Krowlikowsky, an attorney representing Monteilh, said he and his client also planned to file lawsuit against the agency for, "having suffered as a result of a violation of his rights as an individual and services he provided to the agency."
No written agreement was made between the FBI and Monteilh, the attorney said, but his client could be entitled to up to $10 million, he said. He declined to comment on whether he or Monteilh had been in contact with FBI officials regarding the claim.
Monteilh said he was paid between $6,000 and $11,200 a month by the FBI to work as an informant and was promised lump sump payment at the end of his work. He also said a 2008 conviction of grand theft was related to work he was conducting as an informant.
Contact the writer: shernandez@... or 949-454-7361
Justice For All? Or Only Non-Muslims?By Muslim Public Affairs Council , Making Muslims Part of the Solution - April 26, 2009
Lawyers are generally taught that deliberately using race, religion or ethnicity in prosecuting a defendant violates Equal Protection rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. In light of his repeated anti-Arab and anti-Muslim statements, it seems that Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg needs to be reminded of this fundamental principle.
Gordon Kromberg, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has made repugnant statements about Muslim women, has suggested to a jury that Muslims believe it's religiously acceptable to lie, and has promoted the notion that Muslims are killers due to their nature. MPAC today filed a complaint with the Office of Professional Responsibility calling on the Department of Justice to review Mr. Kromberg's statements and to investigate the discriminatory remarks made by him about Arabs and Muslims.
Representing the U.S. government, Kromberg argued before a district judge last fall that Dr. Sami Al-Arian should not be released in to his daughter's custody because, "in this particular culture," a woman could not prevent her father from fleeing.
When Al-Arian's Tampa attorney, Jack Fernandez, asked Kromberg to delay the defendant's transfer 30 days until after the Islamic religious holidays of Ramadan, Kromberg responded: "If they can kill each other during Ramadan, they can appear before the grand jury. All they can't do is eat before sunset. I believe Mr. Al-Arian's request is part of the attempted Islamization of the American Justice System. I am not going to put off Dr. Al-Arian's grand jury appearance just to assist in what is becoming the Islamization of America."
The motion released by Dr. Al-Arian's attorneys calling in to question the bias of Prosecutor Kromberg states that Kromberg joked about the torture of a Virginia man name of Ahmed Abu Ali, who was then being held in Saudi Arabia. The suspect's lawyer, Salim Ali, said that when Mr. Kromberg was asked about Abu Ali's prospects for returning to America, Kromberg smirked and stated "He's no good for us here. He has no fingernails left." Kromberg later stated in a declaration that he had no recollection of making the statement.
In the trial of Virginia cancer researcher and Muslim religious leader Ali al-Timimi, who was accused of exhorting others to wage war against America by joining the Taliban, Kromberg said, "If you are a kaffir, Timimi believes in time of war, he's supposed to lie to you."
Discriminatory statements have no place in our courts and Mr. Kromberg has become a stain on the great standing and reputation of the Department of Justice and the American judicial system. As the Supreme Court in Yick Wo v. Hopkins (118 U.S. 356, 1886) stated over a century ago, when "laws are applied and administered by public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the Constitution."
We are confident that Attorney General Holder will make clear that the Department of Justice will not tolerate its attorneys making generalizations about members of a particular race, religion or ethnic group in our courts.
Civil War Raging in Right-Wing Blogosphere
Terrorism-Watching Conservative Blogs Split Over Accusations of Bigotry and Treason
By David Weigel 4/21/09 12:48 PM
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, jazz musician and Web designer Charles Johnson has devoted his blog, Little Green Footballs, to exposing Muslim extremism in and outside the United States. His targets have included the Council on American-Islamic Relations, filmmaker Michael Moore, Reuters, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Dan Rather, and the late pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie — who some LGF commenters (not Johnson) call “St. Pancake,” a tribute to the Israeli steamroller that killed her. LGF helped write the lexicon of the self-styled “anti-Jihadist” blogosphere — from “moonbat” (”an unthinking or insane leftist”) to “anti-idiotarian” (”anyone who grasps the significance of and does his or her best to combat the post-9/11 political alliance between the ‘Old Left’ and militant Islam”).
But in the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency, LGF has become better known for the various fights it picks with many on the right — including conservative bloggers, critics of Islamic extremism, and critics of Islam in general who used to be Johnson’s fellow travelers.
Johnson has blasted Fox News host Glenn Beck, promoting a video from a Beck-inspired party that shows conservatives ranting about evolution and arguing that “this turn toward the extreme right on the part of Fox News is troubling, and will achieve nothing in the long run except further marginalization of the GOP.” In response to the news that the Department of Homeland Security was watching for increased right-wing extremism — something that most of the conservative blogosphere, like most Republicans, responded to with angry ridicule — Johnson pointed to the recent arrests of right-wing terrorists and criticized bloggers for buying into “distorted claims” about the DHS report. When Obama genuflected before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Johnson found archival video of President Bush bowing to take a medal from the King and urged conservatives to turn down their “hyperventilating nonsense.”
This has the blogger’s peers asking themselves the same question, over and over: What the heck happened to Charles Johnson?
“I don’t think I’ve changed,” Johnson said. “I’ve always been pretty independent. This is something I’ve really tried to put out there on my blog. I don’t consider myself right-wing.”
It sounds strange coming from a blogger who played an underrated role in forcing CBS News to back down from its 2004 story on President George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service, and whose first reaction to Obama’s election in November — after a quick post congratulating him — was to note that the Muslim Brotherhood, “the world’s largest jihadist organization,” was pleased.
Johnson supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, but he spent some of the campaign attacking anti-Obama conspiracy theorists, and he rejected the idea designs were malicious, rather than merely naive. Johnson worries, in conversation and on his blog, that his old allies have been duped by far-right European political parties and have bought into wild attacks on the president that discredit their own causes.
“I don’t think there is an anti-jihadist movement anymore,” Johnson said. “It’s all a bunch of kooks. I’ve watch some people who I thought were reputable, and who I trusted, hook up with racists and Nazis. I see a lot of them promoting stories and causes that I think are completely nuts.”
Johnson’s disgust with the terrorism-focused conservative blogosphere has had a traumatic effect on a dogged and dogmatic community of bloggers and scholars. When Johnson began blogging about Islam and terrorism after 9/11, he inspired untold other supporters of an aggressive war on terror to start their own Websites, link up, and push back against “Dhimmitude” — organizations and foreign policy decision makers that were “soft” on terrorism. Now, some of his followers have started blogs that track Johnson’s “madness,” while a video that portrays Johnson as Adolf Hitler going mad in his bunker makes the rounds.
“He’s the reason I started blogging,” said Atlas Shrugs editor Pamela Geller, a New Yorker who says she was “mugged by Sept. 11″ and started reading LGF for news and fellowship. “I wrote birthday messages to him. I respected and admired him.”
Robert Spencer, the director of JihadWatch and the author of the bestselling, “Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam,” had an established career as a critic of militant Islam before he met Johnson. “But right after 9/11, he was the only one out there reporting on this,” Spencer said. “He built my Website. I learned how to blog from reading his stuff.”
Johnson has turned hard against Spencer and Geller, attacking the former for joining a “genocidal Facebook group,” while referring to the latter as a “shrieking lunatic,” and labeling both of them “hatebloggers.” Johnson now points to Geller’s posts about Barack Obama’s heritage and her quest to fund a headstone for the victim of a Muslim honor killing as proof that “the woman is deranged.” Other bloggers in the movement have been purged from Johnson’s blogroll or pilloried on the site, never to be mentioned again. The most successful sites that arose in LGF’s wake, including Gateway Pundit, Gates of Vienna, and Brussels Journal, are also on the outs.
While Johnson’s own blog was a launchpad for the movement and his comment sections have often been a place for anti-Muslim and anti-liberal rage — one Web quiz lets users guess whether a quote comes from “Little Green Footballs or Late German Fascists” — Johnson believes that LGF is now policed for fringe activity. “A lot of the people most responsible for causing our bad reputation are now gone,” he said. “I wrote all the backend software, and I have ways of cleaning up the site.”
Johnson’s former allies can pinpoint the month, if not the moment, when he started to turn on them. In October 2007, some of the leading terrorism-focused conservative bloggers flew to Belgium for a Counterjihad Summit sponsored in part by the Center for Vigilant Freedom (now the International Civil Liberties Alliance), an outgrowth of the LGF-inspired blog Gates of Vienna.
“It was the best conference I ever went to,” remembered Geller. But the summit included members of Vlaams Belang, a controversial Belgian political party that criticizes Islam and Shariah law, and had been attacked within the Netherlands for its connections to extremism and racism. Johnson went to work exposing this, and the attendees reeled from the negative attention.
“He chose to portray the Brussels Conference as evil and he unconscionably slandered the people who attended,” said Dymphna, one of the editors of Gates of Vienna. Baron Bodissey, the other site editor (both editors use pen names), worries that Johnson “did serious damage to the American blogosphere’s view of European nationalists who oppose the EU, even those who have no anti-Semitic tendencies.”
“Not only that,” said Bodissey, “he made it harder for certain American anti-jihad groups to raise funds if they failed to repudiate his designated ‘fascist-enablers’ like us.”
Johnson is unapologetic about his actions. While he was attacking the attendees of the Counterjihad Summit, he was also blasting Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for taking money from, and being photographed with, the owner of the extremist Web site Stormfront.org.
“Some people at that summit in Belgium were not people we should have been associated with,” Johnson said, pointing out that since 2007 the terrorism-focused conservative bloggers have become supporters of Dutch politician Geert Wilders , who wants to outlaw Islam in his country. “Some of these people outright want to ban Islam from the United States, which I think is crazy, completely nuts. That’s not something we do in this country. These people will outright defend banning the Koran or deporting Muslims. That’s popular with the Geller/Spencer crowd.”
When they talk about Johnson today, the rest of the terrorism-focused bloggers alternate between anger and regret. He has smeared them, they say, and according to Dymphna he’s “destroyed a lot of networking that was beginning to emerge” between American and European critics of Islamic extremism. “He’s really gone off the deep end,” Geller said, pointing to Johnson’s more and more frequent criticisms of creationists, such as the attack on the anti-evolution, Glenn Beck-inspired event, which made the host angry enough to lash out at LGF on his show. “He’s a leftist blogger now.”
Johnson brushes that criticism aside. “A lot of people think I discovered this creationism thing overnight,” he said, “but that’s not true. I was posting about this before 9/11. After 9/11 I had other things on my mind. And now I’ve come back to it.” But Spencer accuses Johnson of losing sight of the threat of extremist Islam by obsessing over the American religious right and equating the two faiths.
“There is no global movement of Christians trying to subjugate the world,” Spencer said. “There is such a movement on the extreme of Islam. I wrote a book called ‘Religion of Peace’ — which Johnson wrote a favorable review of — and I looked, and didn’t find, Christian extremists who were trying to replace the Constitution with Biblical law. They’re a myth. They’re the Santa Claus of the left.”
Some of Johnson’s former allies experienced a decrease in traffic numbers when he started attacking them, but they all now feel they’ve recovered from the break. “LGF tried to destroy my reputation so I wouldn’t have the access I have to my sources in law enforcement and academia,” said Spencer, “but that hasn’t happened.”
Geller has rebounded with increased prominence — she was a guest on the Fox News show “Red Eye” last week — and she said she has survived the “besmirching” of her reputation and she now fills the information-spreading role that Johnson once did. “I get my stuff from people on the inside,” she said, “from people in Europe. I field 800-900 emails a day. We all depend on our readers for these tips. That’s where Charles was getting his stuff. And now he’s cracked and he’s not getting that anymore.”
Johnson brushes off that kind of criticism. LGF is his site, and if it has to name names and shame the people who are debasing the movement against extremist Islam, he’ll do it. “I’ve definitely seen an uptick in craziness since the election,” he sighs. “Well, I don’t know if Geller got crazier. She always was nuts.”
Detroit mosque fire investigated
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News
Monday, April 20, 2009
Detroit -- Police and fire officials are investigating a fire inside the Tawheed Center, a mosque on West Warren, which was discovered early Saturday by a person arriving for morning prayers.
Members of the mosque say a back window was broken, and an accelerant, perhaps gasoline, was poured through the window and set on fire. Damage to the mosque was minimal, officials said.
Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations said members of the mosque have had difficulty with some people in the neighborhood in recent days, and the fire does not appear to be a hate crime.
Detroit officials would say only that the incident is under investigation.
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