Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Neocons Racism & Religious Bigotry Encouraging Islamophobia

NOTE: UPDATED 8:47 March 11, 2008

Since the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, members of the Christian Right in the United States and some sectors of the Western Media have continued this tradition of hostility, claiming that Muhammad was irredeemiably addicted to war. Some have gone so far as to claim that he was a terrorist and a pediophile.(pp. 17-18 MUHAMMAD , Karen Armstrong ))

We can no longer afford to indulge this type of bigotry,because it is a gift to extremists who can use such statements to "prove" that the Western world is indeed engaged on a new crusade against the Islamic world . Muhammad was not a man of violence . We must approach his life in a balanced way , in order to appreciate his considerable achievements. To cultivate an inaccurate prejudice damages the tolerance, liberality, and compassion that are supposed to characterize Western culture. (p.18 MUHAMMAD , K.A.)

As a paradigmatic personality, Muhammad has important lessons , not only for Muslims, but also for Western people. His life was a jihad...this word does not mean " holy war " but " struggle ". Muhammad literally sweated with the effort to bring peace to war-torn Arabia, and we need people who are prepared to do this today. His life was a tireless campaign against greed, injustice, and arrogance. He realized that Arabia was at a turning point and that the old way of thinking would no longer suffice, so he wore himself out in the creative effort to evolve an entirely new solution. We entered another era of history on September 11, and must strive with equal intensity to develop a different outlook. (p. 19 MUHAMMAD, K.A.)

Anyway part of course of what is disturbing about the Straussian Neocon's is their belief that because they are doing what's best for society or humankind or just for the powerful elite they belong to or wish to belong to is that they therefore see nothing wrong with lies and fabrications and using whatever methods they wish to defeat those who stand in the way of their agenda or their radical political & social program.

and so these Neocons or those influenced by them are willing to spread malicious rumors about opponents or use an individuals race or religious beliefs or what have you to defeat the individual or for that matter any group to which they are opposed i.e. liberals, Muslims , socialists, immigrants (legal or illegal ) , minorities, the poor, the homeless , gays .( see for instance Ann Coulter's Godless which is an attack on anyone who dares disagree with the Radical Religious Right's and Fascistic Neocon's Agendas )

So for instance when they talk about the War on Terror they do not just talk about various groups which commit acts of terror who then claim that they did so because their religion demands it of them . So the 9/11 terrorists who are Muslims are characterized by the Neocons and the Religious Right as representing not just a fringe group within the Islamic world but rather as typical of all Muslims everywhere and at all times. In the end what they want to spread is virulent form of racism against Islam . This form of racism is referred to as Islamophobia. While those who adhere to this form of racism or religious bigotry often use their code words such as " Islamofascists " or " Jihadists " or simply " Terrorists " by which they mean " Islamic " or " Arab " or " Palestinian Terrorists " which really in their vocabulary means all Muslims and all Arabs everywhere. That is all Muslims are therefore in their view potential " Terrorists ". So Muslims living in America have become quite aware of the animosity towards them by Christian Americans and by the media in general. But many keep silent hoping things will not deteriorate .

So for instance we get these articles and books of revisionist history which blame the whole of the Christian Crusades from their beginnings in 1097 and over the course of several centuries on the Islamic World. Some historians argue that the Crusades in Europe continued into the 17th century and others claim it continued right through to the First World War and General Allenby's entering of Damascus in 1919. There are those like myself who believe the Crusades never really ended and will not end until all of the Middle East and all Muslim nations have been conquered or destroyed by Western Christianity.

What is also disturbing is even someone like Chistopher Hitchens whom I admire otherwise in his book attacking religion GOD IS NOT GREAT:How Religion Poisons Everything makes a point of after attacking all religions as irrational takes special delight in criticizing Islam claiming Muhammad was a charlatan and a war monger and a sexual pervert. Much of what Hitchens claims about Muhammad is debatable. But one wonders why he reserves such venom for Muhammad and Islam . For one thing it is fashionable among certain intellectuals to attack Islam because as of 9/11 it is an easy and permissible target. It is odd for someone who claims to be an expert on Religion that he seems to know very little about the life of Muhammad . As an intellectual it is duty to learn more about his subject matter ,at least, on the most superficial level .Only reading books on Islam which were written by Neoconservative propagandists and toadies just doesn't wash. Now unfortunately I have to pay more attention to Hitchens and others to discover what other groups they have an unwarranted hate on for.

So the Neocons and the Radical Religious Right expound negative views about Islam as if their views were beyond question . And these views have permeated through Western Culture and so hatred of all Muslims and Islam itself has become an acceptable form of racism and bigotry.

As for interpretations of the Qu'ran there are still debates among Muslims about the meaning of certain passages in the same way that many Christians disagree about the meaning of various passages in the Bible from Genesis through to the Gospels and the Book of Revelation. This is apparent to anyone who has given any thought to the matter or who has investigated and researched the History of Christianity. My fear is that most people don't think about such matters and prefer to be spoon-fed what they are told they are supposed to think about religion or politics or anything else. The problem is that there are always those ideologues such as the Neocons or others who are quite willing to fulfill that role.

Anyway in the same way as Christians argue about the meaning of the Gospels so do Muslims argue about the meaning of the Qu'ran. In earlier times those who disagreed with official Church doctrine were banished or were tortured told to recant and then were hanged , drawn and quartered or burned at the stake. These were not a mere handful but counted in the tens of thousands throughout Europe besides the Crusades into various parts of Europe into the Balkans for instance etc. or massacres such as the killing of between 20,000 to 100,000 Hugenots on St. Bartholomews Day in France.

So in Islam as Karen Armstrong points out
" The process continues today. Some Muslim fundamentalists have based their militant ideology on the life of Muhammad; Muslim extremists believe that he would have condoned and admired thei atrocities. Other Muslims are appalled by these claims , and point to the extraordinary pluralism of the Qu'ran which condemns aggression and sees all rightly guided religions as deriving from the one God.

We have a long history of Islamophobia in Western Culture that dates back to the times of the Crusades. In the twelfth century,Christian monks in Europe insisted that Islam was a violent religion of the sword , and that Muhammad was a charlatan who imposed his religion on a reluctant world by force of arms; they called him a lecher and a sexual pervert. This distorted version of the Prophet's life became one of the received ideas of the West, and Western people have always found it difficult to see Muhammad in a more objective light. ( Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time, p.17 pub.2006)

a little racism on the side:

In this article below " Worshippers of Death " by Dershowitz in his typical fashion characterizes not just a few Muslims who are part of extremist groups as being fanatical but rather he suggests all Muslims are part of some sort of " death cult ". What he and other Islamophobes believe contrary to historical fact is that Islam is a religion of violence and that its founder Muhammad was an unethical charlatan and sexual deviant and whatever else their fertile imaginations can come up with . Some of the views expressed by these religious bigots are rooted in the the beliefs and urban legends of the Superstitious and paranoid delusions of the Christians in the Dark Ages. This is also due to the fact that many Westerns still see the Crusades as a brilliant moment in out history rather than what it really was which is one of the lowest points in our history. But again contrary to historical facts as usual Dershowitz claims that Christians have in contrast always been peaceful loving and compassionate . So the killing of tens of thousands of Pagans by the Christians once they had become the official and only religion permitted in the Roman Empire from 400 A.D. (C.E.) onward. Well I guess after all they were Pagans and therefore according to to most Christians these human beings unwilling to become Christians deserved to die for denying Christ as the Messiah.

When not killing Pagans the 'holier-than-thou' Christians deemed all those Christians who didn't abide by the theology adopted by the official church as Heretics who were then murdered . But that we are told was a good thing because all heretics deserve to die.

And when the Europeans became restless in the eleventh century or so they decided to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims. It didn't matter that the Muslims had been living in these lands for a few hundred years. So the Church geared up its own propaganda machine of lies , myths, and urban legends claiming Muslims were killing pilgrims to the Holy Land and had desecrated Jerusalem etc. So began the mass murdering of Jews , Muslims and Christians who lived side by side in the Holy Land. So began a thousand years of crusading by Europeans and now Americans claiming the Holy Land as the rightful property of Western Christian Civilization.

And of course according to Dershowitz in his revisionist history Arabs and Muslims have always been anti-semitic but Christians never were. So he wants us to forget that the Christian Church going back to the Early Church Fathers preached anti-semitism . The Catholic Church up until the 1960s promulgated the view that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ and so were made to suffer of course their suffering in diaspora would not have been so bad if Christians weren't persecuting them by way of restrictive laws, pogroms, massacres, denial of their civil and human rights and in the end leading to the Holocaust and the Final Solution. But of course according to Dershowitz and the Pope Hitler and all his followers and all those millions of Europeans who collaborated with Hitler and those who gleefully rounded up the Jews in their countries to send them as far away as possible they must have all been secretly Muslims and Arabs or whatever group Dershowitz wants to demonize.

He mentions the children in a way reminiscent of anti-semites and Nazis or like the KKK speaking about African Americans
or how Americans in the old west talked about Native Americans even their children had to be killed till their numbers were reduced till they were no longer seen as a threat.

an article posted on Information Clearing House
Pro Torture Zionist Professor Demonizing Islam and Arabic Culture? Worshippers of Death By Alan M Dershowitz

03/03/08 "Wall Street Journal" - -- Zahra Maladan is an educated woman who edits a women's magazine in Lebanon. She is also a mother, who undoubtedly loves her son. She has ambitions for him, but they are different from those of most mothers in the West. She wants her son to become a suicide bomber.

At the recent funeral for the assassinated Hezbollah terrorist Imad Moughnaya -- the mass murderer responsible for killing 241 marines in 1983 and more than 100 women, children and men in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994 -- Ms. Maladan was quoted in the New York Times giving the following warning to her son: "if you're not going to follow the steps of the Islamic resistance martyrs, then I don't want you."

Zahra Maladan represents a dramatic shift in the way we must fight to protect our citizens against enemies who are sworn to kill them by killing themselves. The traditional paradigm was that mothers who love their children want them to live in peace, marry and produce grandchildren. Women in general, and mothers in particular, were seen as a counterweight to male belligerence. The picture of the mother weeping as her son is led off to battle -- even a just battle -- has been a constant and powerful image.

Civilian casualties also increase when terrorists operate from within civilian enclaves and hide behind human shields. This relatively new phenomenon undercuts the second basic premise of conventional warfare: Combatants can easily be distinguished from noncombatants. Has Zahra Maladan become a combatant by urging her son to blow himself up? Have the religious leaders who preach a culture of death lost their status as noncombatants? What about "civilians" who willingly allow themselves to be used as human shields? Or their homes as launching pads for terrorist rockets?

The traditional sharp distinction between soldiers in uniform and civilians in nonmilitary garb has given way to a continuum. At the more civilian end are babies and true noncombatants; at the more military end are the religious leaders who incite mass murder; in the middle are ordinary citizens who facilitate, finance or encourage terrorism. There are no hard and fast lines of demarcation, and mistakes are inevitable -- as the terrorists well understand.

We need new rules, strategies and tactics to deal effectively and fairly with these dangerous new realities. We cannot simply wait until the son of Zahra Maladan -- and the sons and daughters of hundreds of others like her -- decide to follow his mother's demand. We must stop them before they export their sick and dangerous culture of death to our shores.

‘Unwavering Commitment’ to Inequality

By Ramzy Baroud

07/03/08 "ICH" -- -- Death hovered over Gaza long before locally-made Palestinian rockets struck near the Israeli southern town of Sderot on February 27, killing Roni Yechiah and sparking an Israeli ‘retaliation’ that has already claimed over 120 Palestinian lives.

Yechiah’s death was actually the first of its kind in nine months, and understandably so. The crude Palestinian rockets were often criticised even by Palestinians as useless in the tit-for-tat style of war underway, while easily used by Israeli officials as a cacus belli, or at least as an excuse for keeping Gaza ‘contained’, besieged and on the brink of starvation.

For Israel the rockets are important as a pretext to maintain a state of siege against Hamas, and a low-intensity warfare that creates permanent distraction from the confiscation of Palestinian land and the expansion of illegal settlements – and also as justification for the slow moving ‘peace process’.

However, while pro-Israeli pundits in the US and elsewhere are prepared to defend Israel’s actions, many Israelis are no longer buying into their government’s pretexts.

According to a recent Tel Aviv University Poll, cited by the Israeli daily Haaretz on February 27, “sixty-four per cent of Israelis say the government must hold direct talks with the Hamas government in Gaza towards a cease-fire and the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit."

and the attacks on Obama ,racism & islamophobia. It seems one of the worst accusations against someone these days is to call a person a Muslim. This label is as bad as "Communist" or "liberal" or New Dealer or " Fag " or " Jew ". So our racist society carries on moving from one convenient target to another . But what can we expect its not as if we long ago left our racist past behind us.Society as Leo Strauss would argue needs its outsider group or pariahs and a common enemy to keep society united and in Strauss 's view healthy. Dershowitz and others are merely fulfilling their roles as " Good Neocons " or " Good Christians ".

People For The American Way.

March 6, 2008
Obama Must Explain His Faith

For months, rumors have been swirling around that Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim. One would think that these sorts of rumors would be easily quashed by his seemingly straight-forward declarations that he is, in fact, a “devout Christian [who has] been a member of the same church for 20 years [and prays] to Jesus every night.”

For the most, these rumors have been dismissed by anyone willing to look at the evidence or take Obama’s words at face value. But for those with a religious/political agenda to advance, it turns out that the simple question of Obama’s faith is really, really complicated.

Case in point:

Missionary to Capitol Hill and Evangelical leader Rev. Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK) takes on the thorny question of Barack Obama's religious identity in a new video blog posting called Faith and Action Live! which will post today, March 5, at 1:00 PM (EST) at www.faithandaction.org.

In his video blog, Rev. Schenck discusses Senator Obama's public profession of Christian faith, his Muslim background and the view of the Islamic world on what defines a Muslim.

Schenck reports that last year he “sent a research assistant to Chicago to investigate Obama's relationship to his church, the Trinity United Church of Christ, where until recently Obama's spiritual mentor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, was pastor” and emerged with a report that found “Obama's Christianity woefully deficient.”

At the time, Schenck seemed willing to accept that Obama was a Christian, but now Schenck is growing concerned that Obama may in fact be a Muslim because, as he put it, the issue is really how the Muslim world defines being Muslim. As he sees it, Muslims inherit their religion from their parents, specifically their fathers. Thus, to be born of a Muslim father makes one a Muslim. By Schenck’s analysis, Obama has a Muslim father and a Muslim name and while he may now proclaim himself a Christian, the question remains whether he is really just an apostate, infidel, or unfaithful Muslim rather than a non-Muslim.

For his part, Schenck declared that he has no reason not to take Obama “at his word” regarding his Christianity … and then proceeded to question the legitimacy and depth of his faith, saying “The question becomes: How serious, how profound is the religious commitment that Barack Obama has made" considering that the United Church of Christ to which he belongs has strayed dramatically from “historical, Biblical Christianity … from historic, moral Christian instruction.” Schenck also says it is interesting that Obama claims to “pray to Jesus” rather than “pray to God in Jesus’ name” and takes issue with Obama’s claim that his views on topics like civil unions and abortion don’t make him any less of a Christian, saying that “he owes the public a further explanation of that and most certainly religious people.”

Obama is accused by some Zealous Christians of claiming to be a Christian while really being a Muslim in secret or by the mere fact of his parentage - as the Nazis believed anyone born to Jewish parents was still considered a Jew even if they or even their parents or grandparents had converted to from Judaism to Christianity.

Obama was brought up as a Muslim but converted to Christianity over twenty years ago. Yet the racist and religious bigots and Neocons are looking for as many ways as they can to discredit Obama.One wonders how much has Hillary Clinton been part of this smear campaign. But being a Muslim should not determine whether or not people should vote for Obama. They should vote for him or not based on his policies and the direction in which he wishes to take America. We can all agree that there are terrorists who call themselves Muslim and believe that their actions are justified by the Quran. But the majority of the the world's Muslims do not agree with these terrorists and how they interpret the Quran.It is comparable to claiming that the terrorist Tim McVeigh is representative of all Christians or that the Ku Klux Klan represented all Christians. Did the Christians who followed Adolph Hitler and the Nazis represent all Christians or only a minority of Christians.
But what would it matter if Obama was in fact a Muslim and said as much. His religious beliefs should not matter that much except where his beliefs and his role as President could be shown to come into conflict.

To determine whether or not one was Jewish the Jesuits up till recent times also used a formula of going back several generations - if any of your distant ancestors was Jewish so then you are considered by the Jesuits to be Jewish and so you could not become a Jesuit or hold office within the Vatican -This was so because as they reasoned the curse is still upon you that is to be the wretched of the earth to wander and to be oppressed to be ill-treated and spat upon by the " good Christians " for the crime committed by your ancestors of killing Jesus. In parts of Europe after Easter Sunday 's sermon Christians would go out and find someone who was Jewish and slap their face or they would spit upon them . This is one of those traditions which has left some of us skeptical about Christianity's teachings about brotherly love and and such. If Christianity was a religion of love why is its whole history soaked in blood. Blood of the infidels, blood of the heretics, blood of the indigenous peoples of Africa, Australia, North America , South America etc.

Of course the Christian apologists claim that even the slaves kidnapped and chained and taken to America are supposed to be grateful because they then were introduced to Christianity. This is rather a perverse bit of logic. The same they would claim for the slaughter of millions of Native Americans - they either converted and therefore were saved for all eternity or they refused to convert and therefore deserved to die.

So what is the crime for which now all Muslims are being charged and found guilty for 9/11 or for the Crusades which were really attempts by Europeans to plunder and conquer the Holy Land and destroy the Byzantine Empire. Their intention was to conquer and enrich themselves or to die on the battlefield and thereby go directly to Heaven . But while they ransacked the Holy Land they did their best to kill all the Muslims , apostate Christians and the Jews.

Selected Bibliography:

On the question of the slaughter of Roman Pagans by the Established Roman Christian Church see Jonathan Kirsch 's God Against the Gods:The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism ( 2004)

& Edward Gibbons' Rise and Fall of The Roman Empire

& Will Durrant's Our Oriental Heritage,The Story of Civilization, Volume 1,( 1935)

on Muhammad and Islam see Karen Armstrong's Muhammad a Prophet For Our Time , 2006

& her book Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World , ( 2001) and she has written a number of other excellent books on religion which are worthwhile reading see my bibliography to the right.

Bernard Lewis 's The crisis of Islam : holy war and unholy terror, (2003)

& Infidels : THE conflict between Christendom and Islam, 638‑2002 , by Andrew Wheatcroft (2003)

--Constantine’s Sword: The Church and The Jews- A History , . by James Carroll(Pub. 2001)

--- The Crucified Jew: Twenty Centuries of Anti- Semitism, by Dan Cohen-Sherbok (1992)

For revisionist history on the Crusades see
:History of Reconquista against the Jihad in Spain

Definition of Jihad:
What is Jihad: The Arabic word Jihad is derived from the root word Jahada (struggle). Jihad has come to mean an offensive war to be waged by Muslims against all non-Muslims to convert them to Islam on the pain of death. Jihad is enjoined on all Muslims by the Quran.

...While all forms of religious fanaticism are negative, only Islam raises slaughter of all Kafirs (non-Muslims) to a holy creed, it teaches Muslims to gloat over the killing of non-Muslims and celebrate their death. Hence Islam is the most demented and dangerous form of religious fanaticism. And it is not Islamic fanaticism that is to be blamed for this, as Islam itself is fanaticism

And so it goes,

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