Friday, April 08, 2011

"CNN Special: Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door" & "Traditional Values Coalition Jumps on Anti-Shariah Bandwagon" -Southern Poverty Law Center

Right wing extremist organization The traditional Values Coalition (TVC) has joined the fear mongering anti-Islam crowd.
They make the same old erroneous arguments that Obama 's administration is pro-Sharia and that there are Muslim Americans and their supporters who are working diligently to bring Sharia Law to all 50 states and that Sharia law if implemented would trump US laws and that Sharia laws would be applied to all Americans not just Muslim Americans.

None of this is true but anti-Islam groups and individuals have so far been able to have an effect on a significant portion of American citizens who just don't know any better.The Islamophobes saturate the media and the internet with their propaganda of lies and half-truths and their skewered views on Islam. They insist erroneously that all Muslims without exception are in favor of a harsh medieval form of Sharia and are out to convert or to kill or oppress all non-Muslims.

And here in lies a big part of the problem which is that these anti-Islam groups and individuals manage to get a lot of serious coverage in the Media especially on Fox News and right wing talk radio. There are also a number of anti-Islamic websites such as Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch, or Pam Geller's Stop The Islamization of America organization and her personal blog Atlas Shrugs. or Daniel Pipes Front Page .
All of these individuals and groups and bloggers and web site hosts present a rather slanted and negative and somewhat inaccurate portral of Islam. (continued below after the SPCL article)

CNN has produced a series about Muslims in America and the response to Muslim Americans by non-Muslim Americans.

The anti-ground Zero Mosque propagandists have had a negative impact on Americans across the country . They have been told that the building of Mosques is symbolic for Muslims as a victory or triumph over non-Muslim Americans. And so when Muslims in their town or city put forth plans to build a Mosque and Islamic community center it is misinterpreted as an attack on America and on Christianity and other religions.

CNN CNN Special: Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door (Part 1)

Traditional Values Coalition Jumps on Anti-Shariah Bandwagon
by Evelyn Schlatter Southern Poverty law Center on April 5, 2011

The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), long listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its demonizing and false propaganda directed at LGBT people, is casting its net of hate even wider.

The organization has created a new grassroots campaign called “The Task Force to Stop Shariah Law in America.” According to one of the latest TVC fundraising letters, the group seeks to “ban Radical Islam’s Shariah Law in every state in America.” Rev. Lou Sheldon, TVC’s founder and chairman, claims in one of the enclosures in the fundraising packet that radical Islam is “subverting our Constitution” and will place “you and your family under Shariah Law.” Also in the packet is a “survey” asking if respondents are aware that the Shariah takeover plot is already in full swing.

All of this, of course, is utter nonsense – the Constitution, which has stood resolutely for 220 years, is in no danger of being supplanted by Shariah or any other type of religious or foreign law. But, the TVC says, you can still prevent the tragic demise of constitutional governance in America if you’ll “make the best donation you can” to help raise over $3 million. The money will be used, the letter claims, to educate and mobilize Americans; launch a website to educate more people and raise more funds; train pastors and activists on how to confront the “Shariah threat”; and provide travel money enabling Andrea Lafferty, Lou Sheldon’s daughter and president of TVC, “go to as many states as possible” to lobby against Shariah Law. Not a dime will be spent to explain to people that absolutely none of this is necessary because no “Shariah threat” exists.

This isn’t the first time TVC has dipped its toe in the anti-Shariah/anti-Islam pool. In 2008, Sheldon reflected on the 9/11 terrorist attacks in an article posted on the TVC website, stating that “Islamists” want to destroy America and western civilization by “conquering nation after nation” and imposing Islamic (Shariah) law upon them. In 2010, Lafferty expressed opposition to the planned Park51 mosque in Lower Manhattan, stating, “We cannot allow the standard for decision-making to become whether or not an action disappoints violent Muslim fanatics. We cannot give the homicide bombers a veto over the lives of free people.”

Like other TVC fundraising letters, the latest one is full of conspiracy theories and patently false claims, including the allegation that “Shariah Law trumps the Law of any land – including our own Constitution.” That’s not true, University of Washington professor of law Clark Lombardi, who is a specialist in Islamic law, told Hatewatch. No government in the United States can impose laws that violate the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Furthermore, he said, Shariah is not a fixed concept, with different variations utilized in Muslim-majority countries. “Highly repressive forms of Shariah that are trotted out [by anti-Shariah activists] as examples … are actually followed by the smallest number of Muslims around the world.” Most Muslims, he said, don’t want to live under those extreme forms, either.

Nevertheless, TVC raises the specter of “judges who support Shariah,” and claims that newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan “believes in Shariah Law and has actively worked to advance it in the United States.” The idea that the Obama administration is promoting Shariah through judges sympathetic to it has been circulating throughout right-wing outlets for months. According to the TVC fundraising letter, Kagan “promoted an initiative called ‘The Islamic Legal Studies Program’” while she was dean at Harvard Law School. The program, the TVC says, was funded with Saudi oil money.

That’s not true, either. There is an Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard, but it was established in 1991, 12 years before Kagan became dean of the law school. Kagan was not even at Harvard in 1991. The “Saudi oil money” TVC is referring to may be the $20 million donation that a former president of Harvard, Larry Summers, accepted in 2005 from American-educated Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal (known for his pro-American stances and investments). The money was to be used for the creation of a university-wide program in Islamic studies, including funding new senior faculty and digitizing Islamic documents in Harvard’s possession to make them available online. Georgetown University also accepted a $20 million donation from the prince that same year, but TVC doesn’t mention that in its letter, possibly because no jurist who is politically unpopular with the extreme right was on Georgetown’s staff at the time.

A third outlandish claim the TVC letter makes is that the “Obama Department of Education” plans to spend “our taxpayer money for mandatory Arab and Islam classes in Texas public schools.” Once again, that’s a highly exaggerated claim. The truth: A single school district, the Mansfield Independent School District located southeast of Fort Worth, received a Foreign Language Assistance Program grant from the Department of Education to implement special Arabic language classes in elementary and middle schools. These language grants were made possible under Title V of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act – legislation passed during the George W. Bush administration – because of the shortage of American speakers of “critical languages” including Arabic, Chinese and Russian. The district is currently working with parents in the implementation of classes, according to a press release available on its website, which also states, in bold face, “There are no ‘mandatory Arabic classes’ as being falsely reported in the media.”

But facts never get in the way of a TVC fundraising letter.

Islamophobes Like any sort of prejudiced groups they dig up the most fanatical members of a group and then argue that is how all members of the group in question believe.
So the anti-Islam or Islamophobes use the example of the most brutal and medieval style Sharia implemented for instance by the Sunni Wahhabi Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that of the Wahhabi sect which controls Saudi Arabia.
The Wahhabi sect of Islam rejects modernity and is struggling to have all "Real Muslims" give up their life styles and their religious beliefs and practices which are considered innovations by which these Muslims shirk their duty and so if they persist they become heretics, apostates and so are no longer Muslims and so can be punished, incarcerated, publicly humilited or even executed .

According to the Wahhabi Sunni sect for instance all those who claim to be Muslims and yet belong to the Shiite sect are not "Real Muslims" and so must be brough back to the true path of Islam by persuasion or force and if they don't recant they can be killed with impunity or are to be killed because this is the duty of all True Believers.

Other Muslim jurists and notables argue that Wahhabiism is itself an innovation which is not found to be based upon the Qur'an or baswed on the sayings and the example of the actions of the Prophet Muhammad (Haddith) and Islamic traditions or traditional orthodox interpretations of the Qur'an or the Haddith .

Part of what has occurred over the centuries since the founding of Islam is that certain cultural norms and traditions have been added to Islam . But this is not unique to Islam and is a fairly common experience for all major religions .
Not all of these traditions or cultural norms though innovations are not necessarily seen as a detriment to the basic beliefs of Islam while other such additions and inovations may be in direct contradiction to the basic beliefs, theology and philosophy of Islam.

For instance in the case of alleged adultery the Qur'an sets up a situation in which the onus is not on the alleged adulterer but rather on the community to prove its case.
The Qur'an state there must be four witnesses who saw the couple engaged in coitus. The reason for this is for Muslims to take seriously such a charge and that it can not be based upon rumor or circumstantial evidence. Muhammad was given this instruction by the Angel Gabriel after there had been accusations and rumors in the fledgling community of believers concerning allegations that one of Muhammad's wives had committed adultery- the only proof was that of circumstantial evidence and the peoples indulgence in gossip as entertainment.

The Sunni Taliban and Wahhabi have turned this formulation on its head and erroneously applies this paradigm to cases of alleged rape.
Once again they set up the case in such a way that it is almost impossible to prove a case of rape since the victim's word carries no weight and that she must produce four witnesses who saw the rape take place. In reading the Qur'an this appears to go against the very spirit of the Qur'an and the legitimate sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Prophet Muhammad by way of the word of God/Allah transmitted to him by the Angel Gabriel argued that before Allah all are equal , including men and women and all those of different races or ethnic origins. Muhammad was concerned foremost with the plight of orphans and widows and the poor and believed an Islamic society would protect all who are oppressed or who are weak . That further that it is the duty of all Muslims to treat all men and women as equals and that it is their duty to take care of the weak, the old, the sick including orphans and widows.

There are many Christians who would claim that the Nazarene / Jesus preached in a similar vein to take care of the poor, the sick and the needy. There are other Christians who have adopted the opposite view that Jesus was more concerned with those who didn't need anybody else's help I guess except that is God's help.
Many of the Americanized Evangelical Christian Nationalists use the Bible as a means of proof for their own preconceived prejudices , beliefs and traditions. So the promoter of capitalism insists that Jesus was a capitalist and preached that Christians must obey legitimate authorities so for centuries in Christendom the people were told they must obey the monarchs and royal families and the Lords , dukes and so on because they have been placed in power by God and men have no right to question their authority as long as they adhere to the beliefs, rituals and traditions of Christianity.

For more from Hatewatch at Southern Poverty Law Center -which focuses on hate crimes and hate groups in the United States-

Most of the Mainstream Media are unwilling or uncomfortable about covering these Hate Crimes so they deal with these incidents in various ways such that many of the hate crime stories are either ignored, given as little attention as possible or played down or dismissed as not really qualifying as Hate Crimes even if they are.
There are those in the media typified by Fox News especially their pseudo journalist such as Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck who are always arguing that these stories of Hate Crimes are overblown and that they do not reflect any sort of trend or as deeply rooted in the American psyche or since many of these crimes are committed by white people they will claim that this is just part of the anti-white ant-Christian propaganda of the left.

Hatewatch Headlines at Southern Poverty Law Center- April & March 2011.

[CA] Skinhead Attack in San Francisco Is Second Alleged Incident
San Francisco Examiner / April 6, 2011
[AZ] Jason Bush Sentenced to Death in Arivaca Double-Killing Case
Arizona Daily Star / April 6, 2011
[AZ] ‘Sheriff Mack’ Wielding New Weapon: A Message
Arizona Daily Star / April 5, 2011
[AK] ‘241′ Militia Murder Plot Defendants Appear Together in Court
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / April 5, 2011
[TX] Sheriff: White Supremacist Group Linked to Texas Murder
KFDM / March 30, 2011
[OH] Ohio Man Guilty of Bomb-Related Charges; More Counts Await
Cleveland Sun News / March 29, 2011
[AK] Documents: Two Informants Helped FBI in Fairbanks Militia Bust
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / March 29, 2011
[CT] Hal Turner Appears in Connecticut Court on Threatening Charges
WSFB / March 25, 2011
[AK] Alaska Militia ‘Supply Sergeant’ Vanishes as Alleged Murder Plot Unfolds
Alaska Dispatch / March 22, 2011
[CA] Neo-Nazis, Immigrant Rights Activists Face Off in California
Los Angeles Times / March 20, 2011
[CAN] White Supremacists, Anti-Racism Activists Square Off in Calgary
Montreal Gazette / March 19, 2011
[AZ] Glenn Spencer to Address Arizona Senate Committee
Associated Press / March 16, 2011
[GA] 12 ‘Sovereign Citizens’ Indicted in North Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution / March 15, 2011
[OH] Kyle Bristow’s Novel on Race Sparks Debate
Toledo Blade / March 12, 2011
[TN] Months After Home Burned, Women Wait for Answers
Knoxville News Sentinel / March 10, 2011
[WA] Erich Gliebe, National Alliance Leader: “Most White Americans Agree With Our Message”
Seattle Weekly / March 10, 2011
[AR] FBI May Investigate Arkansas Dragging Death as Hate Crime
Associated Press / March 9, 2011
[GA] FBI: ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Cases on the Rise
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / March 7, 2011
[KS] A Rare Look Into Westboro Baptist Church
Washington Post / March 3, 2011
[DC] Westboro Baptist Church to ‘Quadruple’ Funeral Protests After Ruling
ABC News / March 2, 2011
[AZ] Arizona Bombing Suspects’ Trial Delayed
Fox Phoenix / March 2, 2011

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