Islamophobes Discover Non-Existent Arabic Jihad Plots
by Sheila Musaji
On 9/22/2011 CBS reported that Feds Probe Possible Arabic-Type Markings On Southwest Jets. Almost immediately, Pamela Geller posted an article referring to this article, but with the title Feds Probe Arabic Writing On Southwest Jets.
She immediately came to her own conclusions about what the markings were. Geller commented: “Hmmmmmmm, I’d like to know what the arabic writing says. Is it quran quotes? Or a warning that they can gain access, designed to cause fear? Mind you, we are only hearing about this now. This has been going on since February, and has been escalating in recent weeks. Once again, media and law enforcement are covering up for jihadists and Islamic threats.” Not only has she concluded that it was Arabic writing, but that “media and law enforcement are covering up for jihadists and Islamic threats”, so it is a crime that has been committed by Muslims.
Her partner, Robert Spencer also saw this as something that an “acclaimed scholar of Islam” should be concerned about. He posted an article with the intro: “This is not just graffiti. This is not “Kilroy was here.” The messages are unlikely to be saying, “Islam is a Religion of Peace” or “Islamophobia is the real problem.” This is not casual scrawling: note that “the writing appears to have been etched using a chemical process and is visible only after an auxiliary power unit is turned on.”
On April 23rd those who actually wait for the evidence to come out before jumping to conclusions found out that not only was the graffiti not Arabic, but they may not even be graffiti. “Officials did not say whether the markings are messages of any sort, or if they are words or simply scribbling. They do not know if they were made on purpose or were caused by a mechanical issue.”
Surprisingly, (as this is the only instance of posting a correction that I have seen), Spencer added an update to his story admitting that the alarm may have been unnecessary: “Now that pictures of these markings have finally been released, we can see that they aren’t Arabic at all. They don’t even look like Arabic. Someone who was investigating this case was a complete idiot.” He is still blaming someone else for forcing him to jump to a false conclusion, but that’s better than Geller, who never added an update.
The problem with this Muslims are guilty until proven innocent mentality is that even when, as is often the case, the Islamophobes have manufactured a negative story out of whole cloth, their readers have gotten their message loud and clear. No facts will change their minds. Here are a few comments from Spencer’s site:
—I bet it says “The Infidels must die.” Or, “Kill the Western pigs in the name of Allah.” Or, “Behead the Unbelievers.”
— and Muslims will be insulted and demand an apology if those writings are erased!! Muslims are great in demanding an apology from infidels. If no apology is forthcoming then they go for beheadings. Morons!!
— Damn, didn’t we just observe a memorial to about 3,000 people murdered by this kind of extremism? And that is what this is.
— Same mind game as when they start praying together on airplane flights.
— Muslim Somali’s working at airports? That’s like hiring a pack of wolves to herd sheep. Even other Africans regard Muslim Somali’s as “the worst of the worst”. What a surprise when something bad comes out of this.
These folks are obsessed with making certain that they get out the message that anything associated in any way with Islam or Muslims must be a bad thing. The Arabic language is associated with Islam, so even a language, a means of communication, becomes something dangerous.
This incident with Southwest is only the most recent of their attacks on the Arabic language.
Regarding proposed Arabic language classes (as well as classes in Chinese and many other languages) at a school in Texas, Geller said:
“Arabic is not a language like French or Spanish, it is the language of Islam. What you have to understand is that the spearhead of the ideologically project of Islamic religious imperialism is spread through Arabic.” ... When asked by a fellow guest if she meant that “Arabic is not a language”. Geller responds It is a language, but it is more than a language. It is the spearhead of an ideological project that is deeply opposed to the United States of America.” And, a little later in the program she repeats: “You need to understand that the language of Islam is used as a spearhead to advance the ideology of Islam.”
If Arabic is so dangerous, should speaking the language be banned? Is it only Muslims speaking Arabic that is a problem? Is Arabic alright when it is spoken by Christian Arabs? Or by Jewish Arabs? Does the language itself corrupt those who speak it?
On another occasion, Geller wrote often about Debbie Almontaser, the teacher who founded the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn — Ms. Geller called Arabic-language instruction “a front for Islamist indoctrination”. She joined Stop the Madrassa, an organization formed to fight the school, which later thanked her for speeding Ms. Almontaser’s ouster. A TAM article collection about this incident here. This, like her objection to the Park51 community center is an ongoing obsession with Geller.
Jeff Siddiqui has written about why it is important for Muslims not to allow such individuals to impose their false definitions on Islamic or Arabic terms in the article Dare I say “Jihad”?. He notes in relation to the term “jihad” that:
Occasionally, I use the term “Jihad” in my articles, as the action needed to help make changes to better the ills of society. I often get feedback in which people worry more about my use of the word “Jihad”, than they do about the injustice about which I wrote; some wonder why I would use such a charged word among non-Muslims.
I intentionally use “Jihad”, because I want to jolt Muslims AND non-Muslims; “Jihad” cannot and must not become de-legitimized just because some people do not care to understand the true meaning of a sacred term and decide to associate it with terrible things.
“Jihad” springs from the Arabic “Jhd” which means “struggle”; “Jihad” means the act of struggle, “Mujahid” (Plural, Mujahideen) is someone who is doing “Jihad”.
At the core (the highest level), it is the duty of every Muslim to struggle against the basic negative predispositions we all have as humans…greed, envy, jealousy, rage, deceit, theft, murder etc. At the next level, it is the duty of every Muslim to fight against the ills that beset Mankind…hunger, disease, homelessness, illiteracy, injustice, lack of water, pollution etc. At the least important level, Muslims are required to fight those who attack us AFTER we have exhausted all other efforts towards peaceful resolution. Even then, if peace is at hand, even at mid-battle, one has to stop and accept terms that are just and preserve the dignity of all parties.
I would imagine these are things that every person needs to subscribe to, not just Muslims.
Yet, there is a growing body of opinion in the non-Muslim West, that “Jihad” can ONLY be equated with murder and mayhem and thus, anyone using the word, can be presumed to be associated with supporting murder and mayhem.
I would suggest that supporters of the body of opinion that would like to taint “Jihad”, are people who consider themselves at “War!” with Islam, Muslims and Arabs. They may be a growing number of people, but they are wrong and it would be wrong for Muslims to lend credence to this opinion by shying away from “Jihad” in word, or in action.
Not so long ago, the Jewish organization ADL, launched an attack on some Muslim groups because the Muslims were wearing the Muslim Affirmation… “Shehada” (“There is no God but one God, and Mohammed is His prophet”) on their headbands and the ADL said that the Shehada stood for terrorism.
There are a growing number of bigots who state that Islam’s holy book, the Quran, is a symbol of evil and violence.
What should Muslims do? Abandon the Shehada and the Quran?
Some may say that we should just not use the Shehada on headbands, why not? Either the Affirmation (Shahada) is sacred or it is not; if it is sacred, then wherever it is used, as long as the use is not profane, is also sacred. If the Shehada is used in a profane manner, then the reflection is not upon the Shehada, but on the abuser.
Hitler took the Swastika as his symbol and today, it strikes fear and revulsion in the hearts of many, especially Jews. However, the Swastika is thousands of years old and among Hindus, the “Savas Tika” (“Peace sign”) is a holy symbol, it is used to adorn temples and used by Hindus at almost every occasion…it can be clockwise or counter-clockwise.
Should the Hindus be asked to abandon the Savas tika as a symbol?
If we dared to make such an absurd demand, we would be laughed off the stage.
The Star of David strikes fear and revulsion among millions of Palestinian men, women and children; should the Jews be asked to abandon the Star of David as their symbol?
I am betting millions of Bosnian Muslims shudder a little when they see a Crucifix, or the Christian Orthodox cross, because of the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by the Serbs and the Croats in the name of Christianity in the 1990s; should those symbols be cast aside?
The principle of “use it or lose it” is quite valid here. If we retreat for any reason, we are acknowledging that our sacred and holy terms or symbols are sometimes themselves, evil. Once we give that ground, then we can no longer use our Savas Tikas, our Crucifixes or our terms…THEN, the bad guys have truly won.
I believe that as reasoned and rational people, we cannot allow ourselves to fall victim to populist bigotries. We must look at what the symbol actually stands for, rather than associate it with the negative events that were tied to it by evil people; we must be able to differentiate between Nazi Swastikas on one hand, and symbols and words that are sacred, on the other.
Jihad; it is a sacred duty for every Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu…for every human being of good will.
Geller is once again enraged that a public school in NYC will be offering Arabic classes to its’ students. She sees this as “Your taxpayer dollars at work to advance Islamic culture. Islamic supremacism on the march in the public square.” Geller, as is her habit only tells part of the story, and slants that with her own bias.
DNA Info notes that any parent who adamantly opposes the classes will be given alternatives.
According to an article in the New York Post which also noted that it is a “choice school and no kids, even those living nearby, are forced to attend it.” And, even more importantly, there is a very good reason for the school’s decision:
One reason Principal Nicky Kram Rosen selected Arabic — as opposed to more common offerings, such as Spanish or French — is because it will help the school obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate standing.
“She proposed this to the parent association. They were very supportive,” said Angela Jackson, CEO of the Global Language Project, which is backing the initiative.
“Arabic has been identified as a critical-need language,” she said, citing students’ future “career trajectories.’’
“It means they can spin the globe and decide where they want to work and live.”
Geller was not alone in her insane response to this simple story. Media Matters reports that there has been a Right-Wing Freak Out Over Arabic Classes At Optional NYC Public School. After listing some of the bigoted comments they report that
Far from being “dangerous,” learning Arabic is actually important for our national security. In remarks to a January 2006 summit of U.S. university presidents, George W. Bush introduced a language initiative to teach students—starting in Kindergarten—languages important to national security, such as Arabic:
[O]ne of the reasons why the Secretary of Defense is here. He wants his young soldiers who are the front lines of finding these killers to be able to speak their language and be able to listen to the people in the communities in which they live. That makes sense, doesn’t it, to have a language-proficient military—to have people that go into the far reaches of this world and be able to communicate in the villages and towns and rural areas and urban centers, to protect the American people.
We need intelligence officers who, when somebody says something in Arabic or Farsi or Urdu knows what they’re talking about. That’s what we need. We need diplomats—when we send them out to help us convince governments that we’ve got to join together and fight these terrorists who want to destroy life and promote an ideology that is so backwards it’s hard to believe. These diplomats need to speak that language.
So our short-term strategy is to stay on the offense, and we’ve got to give our troops, our intelligence officers, our diplomats all the tools necessary to succeed. That’s what people in this country expect of our government. They expect us to be wise about how we use our resources, and a good use of resources is to promote this language initiative in K through 12, in our universities. And a good use of resources is to encourage foreign language speakers from important regions of the world to come here and teach us how to speak their language.
You’re going to hear a lot about the specifics of the program. What I’m trying to suggest to you that this program is a part of a strategic goal, and that is to protect this country in the short-term and protect it in the long-term by spreading freedom.
A report from the Bush-era Department of Education on the National Security Language Initiative launched by his administration noted that “foreign language skills are essential for engaging foreign governments and peoples, especially in critical world regions, and for promoting understanding, conveying respect for other cultures, and encouraging reform. These skills are also fundamental to the economic competitiveness and security interests of the nation.” From the report:
The secretaries of state, education, and defense, and the director of national intelligence (DNI) launched this comprehensive and coordinated national initiative. The launch was based on a strategy developed during more than a year of joint advance planning to expand U.S. critical foreign language education beginning in kindergarten and continuing through elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education and into the workforce. NSLI programs target the Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian languages and the Indic, Persian, and Turkic language families, as determined by the four agencies.
In this article Geller once again raised the issue of her fight against Debbie Almontaser and the Khalil Gibran School that she says “led to the prinicpal Almontaser’s ouster”.
And again, she doesn’t give the whole story. The ouster of Debbie Almontaser was not something that she should be proud of, and as we have noted previously, the EEOC investigation led to
... a determination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that city officials discriminated against Debbie Almontaser “on account of her race, religion and national origin” by removing her as interim principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in 2007 and disqualifying her for the permanent position as principal of that Arabic language school.
In a letter, the EEOC stated that the Department of Education (DOE) “succumbed to the very bias that creation of the school was intended to dispel and a small segment of the public succeeded in imposing its prejudices on D.O.E. as an employer.” SEE: Federal Panel Finds Bias in Ouster of Principal (NY Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/nyregion/13principal.html
Jamie Glazov had Nonie Darwish on his TV show to discuss How Arabic Stifles Individualism and Freedom. Glazov described the program as “shedding light on how the Arabic language impedes psychological growth and sabotages the path to democracy.”
The stupidity of such comments doesn’t require any additional comment.
First posted 9/30/2011