Friends of Hamas?:  Islamophobes discover non-existent organization - updated 9/7/13

Friends of Hamas?:  Islamophobes discover non-existent organization

by Sheila Musaji


You may have seen Ben Shapiro’s story on Breitbart News Secret Hagel Donor?: White House Spox Ducks Question on ‘Friends of Hamas’.  When I first saw this, I set it aside in my “requires a response” folder to investigate.  It was soon picked up by many in the Islamophobia echo chamber, like Gateway Pundit.  I found it a very strange story.  Fortunately, others looked into this and turned up the actual information.

David Weigel reported on Slate “Friends of Hamas”: The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn’t Actually Exist:

On February 7, Breitbart News’s Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro published an explosive-looking story under the headline “Secret Hagel Donor? White House Ducks Question on ‘Friends of Hamas.’” Quoting “Senate sources,” Shapiro claimed that crucial documents on Hagel’s “foreign funding” might be kept from the Senate Armed Services Committee because “one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.” It was a short item, three paragraphs, the third paragraph consisting of White House assistant communications director Eric Schultz blowing off Shapiro. ...


In that article he notes than Sen. Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and numerous right wing news sites including Breitbart News added fuel to the fire and repeated the rumor as if there really was such a group as “friends of Hamas”, and in their zeal to be sure Chuck Hagel was not confirmed.

Alex Koppelman reported in the New Yorker

...  About two weeks ago, Breitbart News editor-at-large Ben Shapiro reported:

On Thursday, Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed that one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.”

There was, it turns out, a problem with the story: Friends of Hamas does not exist, and never has.  Slate’s Dave Weigel did the work to prove this last week, and on Wednesday, the New York Daily News’ Dan Friedman followed up, disclosing that he was, by way of a jokey hypothetical apparently filtered through Capitol Hill’s version of the telephone game, the source for the idea that Friends of Hamas existed and that it might in some way be connected to Chuck Hagel.

It may have taken a couple weeks and the work of a couple good reporters for Friends of Hamas’s non-existence and Shapiro’s grievous mistake to be definitively proven, but the flaw in Shapiro’s post was evident as soon as it was published, and should have been clear to him even before that. The day that Shapiro’s story first came out, I searched both Google and Lexis-Nexis to find information about Friends of Hamas; the only records of its existence I was able to find were Shapiro’s post and links to it. That wasn’t definitive proof that the group didn’t exist, but it was a strong indicator, and anyone else who took the five or ten minutes necessary to conduct those searches would have seen the same thing. Yet Shapiro and Breitbart.com went ahead with the report anyway, and a significant number of outlets on the right, from radio shows and blogs to the National Review, picked up the news and ran with it based on nothing more.

Now, Shapiro and Breitbart.com are refusing to admit that Shapiro made a serious mistake, and attacking anyone who suggests otherwise.

After this “friends of Hamas” rumor was debunked, Dan Friedman had the decency to write an apology in the Daily News ‘Friends of Hamas’: My role in the birth of a rumor which included this statement:

...  The revelation could have doomed President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense: He gave a paid speech to a group called “Friends of Hamas.”

Fortunately for Hagel, this claim, which galloped across the Internet, was bogus. I know, because I was the unwitting source.  In the process, I became part of an inadvertent demonstration of how quickly partisan agendas and the Internet can transform an obvious joke into a Washington talking point used by senators and presidential wannabes.  ...

The Colbert Report took on the “friends of Hamas” rumor. 

Tim Murphy at Mother Jones reported People You Didn’t Realize Were Friends of Hamas in which he noted:

...  On Wednesday, after reporters at mainstream publications could find no evidence of any such organization even existing, Shapiro* Breitbart News doubled down: “The mainstream media have ignored the fact that at least one prominent supporter of Hamas has donated money to an organization associated with former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)—namely, the Atlantic Council, which receives support from the Hariri family of Lebanon, whose most prominent member, former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, publicly backs Hamas.” ...

He then discusses all of the people who could be labeled as “friends of Hamas” based on this nonsense. 

After all of this, unlike Dan Friedman, Shapiro, Breitbart, and the Islamophobia echo chamber have not admitted their error, or apologized for their part in this outright lie.


UPDATE 9/7/2013

You would think that Breitbart and Ben Shapiro would have realized that their credibility was pretty much shot after this “friends of Hamas” debacle, but you would be wrong.  They have announced Breitbart Editor-at-Large Shapiro to Launch Anti-Media Matters Counterpunch with David Horowitz which is a new project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.  Ben Shapiro’s articles are now appearing on Horowitz’ Front Page magazine along with those of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer

According to Horowitz’ Freedom Center site: “The Freedom Center now includes several other programs, Jihad Watch, The Israel Security Project, and TruthRevolt.  Jihad Watch, run by author Robert Spencer, is a watch dog site that traces the efforts of Islamic radicals in their terror campaign abroad and their efforts at home to infiltrate and subvert Western institutions and civic life and is the most popular website of its kind.  Caroline Glick, an editor and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post and a former captain of the Israel Defense Forces and onetime Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is the director of the Israel Security Project.  Reporting from Jerusalem, he adds an authoritative voice to the Freedom Center’s coverage of the Mideast conflict.  TruthRevolt is our newest program, run by Shillman Senior Fellow Ben Shapiro.  Its goal is to unmask leftists in the media for who they are, destroy their credibility with the American Public, and devastate their funding bases.  TruthRevolt will launch in the Fall of 2013.”

It will be interesting to watch how this newest TruthRevolt propaganda effort plays out.  See David Horowitz and the Freedom Center for information on Horowitz, and the many organizations he has created.  Other Horowitz projects are the Jihad Watch site run by Robert Spencer and the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Weeks on college campuses.  There are so many inter connections between this group of hard core Islamophobes that it is sometimes difficult to keep track.  See A Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry for more information. 

 

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RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY

The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade.  They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films.  They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally.   They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”

Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated,  demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations:    There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month.   Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.   Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover.  Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”.  SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy.  A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day.   AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country.   AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads.  There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat.   They are even bringing their hate messages into public schools.

Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”.  Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?.  And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech.    None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”

The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences.   The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.

Sadly, the Islamophobic echo chamber has been aided by some in the Jewish and Christian clergy, and even by some of our elected representatives, particularly in the GOP.

The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or that nothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence,  are nonsense.  The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist,  or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense

These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyya, jihad, sharia, etc.).  Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist.   They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad.  The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.

Here are just a few ridiculous claims about nonsensical Muslim plots:

An Eid Celebration for Muslim Special Needs Kids was described as a “stealth jihad”.   A children’s page in a newspaper focusing on Eid was described as a toxic propaganda plot.  Joel Hinrichs (a Christian) had a beard and had walked through the parking lot of a campus mosque thus proving that his crime was an example of sudden jihad syndrome.  Leon Alphans Traille, Jr., the Arlington, Virginia Mall Bomber was accused of possible “sudden jihad syndrome” just because he had a beard, obviously, a case of beard jihad.   
Tyler Brehm who carried out the Hollywood shooting jihad was accused of “sudden jihad syndrome” because he shouted something that one witness from the Philippines said he might have shouted “Allahu Akbar”.  This report was not backed up by any other witnesses.  The awful April 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech by a Korean student was also called Islamic jihad because Cho’s father had once worked in Saudi Arabia (before he was married and before Cho was born).    A Muslim doctor had a heart attack and died at the wheel of his car which then crashed into a shopping mall and this was described as “vehicular jihad”.   A Muslim cab driver objected to what he considered pornographic ads on the roof of his cab, and that became a stealth-jihad plot to impose Sharia on America.  Any Muslim who has sued an employer for violation of their rights under the EEOC is engaged in employment jihad, or litigation jihad.  Muslim environmentalists are said to be actually engaged in “civilizational jihad”.  A cartoon series “The 99” aimed at young Muslims was described as “cultural jihad”.  The victims of the terrorist attack of 9/11 included Muslims, they were accused of dying as martyrs in an act of jihad. Muslims hoped to open a Muslim hospital in the U.S. and that was called hospital jihad.

The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking” Muslim jihad plots.  They have uncovered:

bumper sticker jihadThanksgiving turkey jihadpaisley scarf jihadmarriage to important men jihadspit jihad —  fashion jihadspelling bee jihadrape jihaddefacing dollar bills jihadpopulation jihadcreeping Sharia jihad —  mosque building jihadterror baby jihad“creeping Sharia” jihadpedophilia jihadbus driver prayer jihadforehead bruise jihadpostage stamp jihadsoup jihad —  banning alcohol jihadfake hate crimes jihadpiggy bank jihadtv reality series jihadhandshake jihadprom jihadinterfaith jihadArabic language jihadpublic school jihadreligious accommodation jihadCrescent moon jihadChristmas tree tax jihadoath of office jihadimmigration jihad community fundraiser jihadpublic school/madrassa jihadpost office jihadfood jihadpyramid jihadcrucifixion jihad in Egyptfireworks jihadcomputer donation jihadcivic participation jihadOlympic “judo” jihadstealth name jihadpre-violent jihadLove jihadfashion jihad 2#MyJihad ad jihadtalk show host jihadart museum jihadHalloween jihadDNC Muslim Prayer Jihadcat crucifixion jihad in GhanaScottish Muslim women’s stealth jihadanti-democracy jihadun-neighborly Musims in Paris jihadjihad on Christopher ColumbusIranian smallpox jihadMuslim Christmas grinch jihad#MyJihad twitter jihadMuslim takeover of National Parks jihad

 

Nothing is too trivial to escape the eagle eyes of these “defenders of Western civilization” against devious Muslim stealth jihad plots.  Christina Abraham (a Muslim) has a name that is not recognizably Muslim enough and so we have stealth name jihad. And, if a Muslim somewhere is not doing anything at all suspicious, then they are engaged in pre-violent jihad.

Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam.    Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as:  - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized,  -  There have been 270 million victims of “jihad”  -  There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11    - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded.  Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.

When Islamophobes are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence. 

Islamophobes do not understand freedom of speech or that freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech and they are quick to call for censorship and repression of speech they don’t like.

There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic.  There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE)  are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”.  There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.  There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.  — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack:  The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State.  — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security.  — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.   There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature.   There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred. 

See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.

Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989.  Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism,  and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia.  Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan.    Biography  You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )

 

 

Originally posted 3/5/2013

 

 


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