Hugh Fitzgerald’s ‘Supermarket Tabloid’ Islamophobia is Showing
by Sheila Musaji
It seems that there are some people who are so blinded with hatred of Islam that they insist on denigrating and insulting everything about Islam and Muslims. All of these folks claim that they have no problem with “moderate Muslims” only with extremists, but their definition of moderation requires nothing less than becoming a non-Muslim. And, their tactics and rhetoric stirs up those among their readers who are much more extreme.
As I noted in a recent article If Muslims Are So Terrible, Why The Need To Make Up So Many Lies? “The fact that these “news stories” and articles are simply wrong doesn’t change the fact that they are “out there” and that they will be read and believed by many of the same folks who believe the supermarket tabloids. They will be forwarded or passed on, and commented on, and the stories will grow and more and more people will accept them as “facts”. One of those often writing a great many of these Islamophobic articles is Hugh Fitzgerald.
Hugh Fitzgerald has been writing for Jihad Watch since 2004, although any biographical information on this individual does not appear anywhere else. According to the Jihad Watch site he is Vice President of the Jihad Watch board. Some have even questioned whether or not the name is simply an alias for Robert Spencer. In an article Who is Hugh Fitzgerald? it was noted that:
Hugh Fitzgerald is JihadWatch’s mystery man, no one knows who he is, his Wiki page is one sentence long. Alongside Robert Spencer, Fitzgerald is a co-administrator and contributor to JihadWatch. Robert Spencer claims that he elevated Hugh Fitzgerald to Vice President of JihadWatch in 2004, which is curious considering Fitzgerald is neither listed as Vice President on the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 990 tax return nor does it mention him receiving any sort of salary.
Some have claimed that Hugh Fitzgerald is in fact Robert Spencer, an accusation Spencer denies, though he leaves much to be desired when answering critics. For instance Spencer claimed that Fitzgerald was with him at the David Horowitz lead Conference, Restoration Weekend. However, only Spencer corroborated this account while no film was taken of the event and not a single picture exists of Hugh Fitzgerald anywhere on the web.
Photos of Spencer abound: he has one on his site, Jihad Watch, and he has posted over the years numerous photos of himself at various events. He has also posted videos of himself, not only delivering lectures but also in debates with others. Not a single photo seems to exist of Hugh Fitzgerald. Not only this, but no explanation has ever been put forth for this odd dearth of documentation of a major figure in the anti-jihad movement when we have photos of all the other major players, such as David Horowitz, Andrew Bostom, Daniel Pipes, Nonie Darwish, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, etc. It seems silly to continue maintaining this queer blackout on Fitzgerald’s physiognomy, particularly when Spencer has to keep denying the equally silly rumors of their identity with each other.
Fitzgerald claims to be an atheist, teaming up with Spencer to fight the “threat of Islam.” A tactic it seems to try and enlist people to the anti-Muslim cause from various, (not just Christian Conservative backgrounds) by claiming it as a universal priority for Westerners who want to preserve their Judeo-Christian culture and values.
The anonymity of “Hugh Fitzgerald” affords him the ability to say things that Spencer otherwise would never utter, and also allows Spencer to play the card that JihadWatch is not just a biased Christian-centric, Judeo-Christian Supremacist blog but a site that brings together individuals from differing backgrounds into a coalition opposed to “the Jihad.”
Cathy Young points out the following about one of Fitzgerald’s Islamophobic comments:
... After the sister of Mohammed Taheri-Azar, the Iranian-born young man who had plowed his car into a crowd of students in North Carolina this March, expressed shock at her brother’s act, contributor Hugh Fitzgerald commented,
“Why should Infidels take a chance, if the likelihood of their being able to distinguish the ‘moderate’ from the ‘immoderate’ Muslim is even slimmer than that of the closest relatives of those Muslims found to have engaged in…acts of terrorism?”
Fitzgerald’s phrasing may be fuzzy, but his sentiment is clear: All Muslims are a threat. Indeed, in another post Fitzgerald asserted that any Muslim who claims Islam’s teachings have been distorted by terrorists is “objectively furthering the Jihad”—and that a moderate Muslim who has not renounced Islam is still dangerous because his children may revert to the extremist form of the religion.
Fitzgerald said “When I see thousands of people in a mosque, I am put in mind not of a gathering at St. Peter’s, but rather, of a Nuremberg Rally, a horizontal collective affair, rather than vertical, with the prostration itself performing, or signifying, blind obedience of the kind that, at the real Nuremberg, is signified by the heil-hitlering salute of thousands, yelling in unison, and saluting, and re-saluting.”
In a 2005 article Hugh Fitzgerald gave his take on the “clash of civilisations” thesis.
And what solution does he propose? “... to put a complete stop to Muslim immigration, and to find creative ways to deport all Muslim non-citizens. These two measures would be accompanied by the creation of an environment where the practice of Islam is made not easy but difficult. Meanwhile, authorities would engage in wholesale efforts to explain, both to the population of Europe and to the Muslims in its midst, the real nature of Islam. They would explain why it is encourages despotism ... economic paralysis ... intellectual failure ... and moral failure.”
As I noted in the article Islamophobia Does Not Represent American Ideals
On July 21, 2007 Jihad Watch posted an article by Hugh Fitzgerald regarding Bob Crane’s recent article in TAM. The article opens with the following statement:
Former Nixon aide Robert D. Crane is a convert to Islam, and his biography—the one he himself composed—shows other evidence of mental bizarrerie
(to see it, google “Robert D. Crane” and “Posted by Hugh” and “Jihad Watch”). He has a vested interest in protecting Islam, and protecting as well his own emotional investment in Islam, as a convert. At this point, he is unlikely to say—it would be impossible for him to say, given his mental makeup, to say or even to allow himself a glimmer of a hint of saying or thinking anything like this: “Yes, you’re right, I ‘reverted’ to something I did not understand.”
“Islam is quite different from what the naïve revert may think.
Those who are born into Islam and have managed to defect or escape are intellectually and morally superior people
. These include Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq and Ali Sina and Azam Kamguian and Irfan Khawaja and a great many more. In those ranks I would also place those who, largely out of filial piety, continue to call themselves “cultural Muslims” or even, in the case of Magdi Allam, “Muslims.” By contrast, aren’t so many “reverts,” from Leopold Weiss (Mustafa As’ad) to St. John Philby to John Walker Lindh and David Hicks and Richard Reid and Yvonne Ridley, just a little, or a very great deal, off?”
The negative labels are applied for no crime other than being a Muslim, or what seems to be considered as an even worse “crime”, a Muslim convert. The danger in this sort of labeling is that it sets off those among us who are only to happy to have a scapegoat on which to vent their rage. There are a number of sites that regularly feature articles that demonize Muslims, and the comments left on these sites are possibly more illuminating than the articles that set off the rage of the readers.Here are just a few snippets from these comments:
“GOD BLESS AMERICA” minus the MUSLIMS!” -JB. “...a ‘revert’ to Islam, is an agit prop for Islam, both are traitors among us, both are enemy agents. They should be treated as such.” - Sheikh Yer’mami. ”Islam is one of the symptoms of mental unbalance” - Capitalist Gig “Every time I see a multitude of muslims surrounding the black shrine of kabaa in mecca, I fantasize about B-1s flying over and taking them all out. Or perhaps, this is less painful, a mass sterilization. Just think, if 50% of all muslims suddenly disappeared, so would 50% of the world’s misery. The goal should be 100%.” - Capitalist Gig. “I prefer to think that one “perverts” to Islam, rather than “converts” or “reverts”. It seems to fit better, since Islam is a perverted mixture of Judaism, Christianity, and various pagan sources. And Mo himself was a pervert.” ebonystone. “And yes, let us compare them to those dimb bulbs and wierdos who “revert” into Islam. Islam is like a semi-permeable membrane that lets intelligence out and stupidity in. Combine that with a propensity for marriage of relatives and the future doesn’t look bright for the moon god people.” Brett. “... “There is no such thing as a Muslim that is not very near to being a murderer! They read a book of murder called the Koran, and there is no other way to look at it - all Muslims are strongly inclined by culture and the Koran, to be cold blooded murderers - When we do not say this, and teach it everywhere, we just contribute to the murder and slavery that grows bigger and more dangerous everyday, everyway - there never will ever be such a thing as a fully sane Muslim who is not a great danger to have around ... .” Tom. “People like Crane and Norquist are traitors who merit the punishment of traitors. Or, have we forgotten what that means and how to deal with it?” Fred.
In the article Robert Spencer’s 10 Points of Obfuscation discussing his infamous “test” to prove moderation on the part of a Muslim (as well as a number of other such tests), I said
But Hugh Fitzgerald’s suggestion that “Sheila Musaji needs to read Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan. They were all born into Islam. They were all raised in Muslim milieus. They have all testified as to what Muslims say in front of Infidels, and what they say when they think they are among only fellow Muslims” really shows up what they are after - the bottom line for these folks is that in order to be a “good Muslim” or a “moderate Muslim” you must be an ex-Muslim. If that is what it takes to be a “moderate” then count me out.
In one article, Fitzgerald called the Zebibah a “bathetic bruise of piety” . Bathetic is not a common word, so I needed to look it up. It means Affectedly or extravagantly emotional - characterized by bathos (bathos means 1. An abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect. An anticlimax. 2. Insincere or grossly sentimental pathos).
In the article he says, “Of course, the notion that only those with telltale zebibahs need worry us is comforting, but because it offers false comfort, it is itself a source of worry. It is not only those who flaunt that bathetic bruise of piety who are deeply committed to the duty of Jihad, but hundreds of millions of Muslims who take that duty seriously, but need have no zebibah as an outward sign of an inward determination.”
The Zebibah is a mark or bruise that is sometimes seen on the foreheads of individuals who spend a great deal of time in prayer with a person’s forehead pressed to the ground.
A Muslim who follows the Islamic practice of praying five times a day will press their forehead to the ground at least 34 times each day (if they also say the Sunna prayers this number will increase). Although many Muslims pray regularly, not all have this mark. It is considered to be a gift from God and is much respected.
Fitzgerald points to the infamous Ayman Al-Zawahiri having a zebihah on his forehead as if this proves his point that only fanatics would have such a mark. Actually, most of the zebihah’s that I have seen have been on the foreheads of Sufi’s and other pious and gentle souls.
The only positive thing about Fitzgerald’s drivel is that it shows just how desperate the Islamophobes are becoming when they have to stoop to such tactics in order to continually stir up the emotions of their readers. At this point, just like the shocking supermarket tabloid headlines it begins to look bathetic.
Shame on you Mr. Fitzgerald!
In November of 2010 it reported that Fitzgerald was no longer with Jihad Watch. And, since his departure a new mystery man has appeared in his place — someone named Roland Shirk about whom there is also no information to be found elsewhere.
A response to Hugh Fitzgerald, Lawrence Auster http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/007919.html
Anti-Islamic Sentiment on the Rise http://www.islamtimes.org/vdchz-ni.23nz-d10t2.html
Fitz disses the brothas, Yusuf Smith http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2006/02/05/fitz_disses_the_brothas
Fitz says kick the Muslims out of Europe, Yusuf Smith http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2007/08/17/fitz_says_kick_muslims_out_of_europe
Hugh Fitzgerald Islamophobic article “Tips For Visiting a Mosque” August 2006 http://www.jihadwatch.org/2006/08/fitzgerald-tips-for-visiting-a-mosque.html
The Jihad Against Muslims, Cathy Young http://reason.com/archives/2006/06/06/the-jihad-against-muslims
Mr. Shirk Cannot Stand by His Own Words, Too Cowardly to Name Loonwatch http://www.islamophobiatoday.com/2011/02/16/sue-myrick%E2%80%99s-chief-of-staff-to-join-anti-muslim-hate-group/
Nadia Abu El-Haj according to Hugh Fitzgerald, James Crossley http://earliestchristianhistory.blogspot.com/2005/10/nadia-abu-el-haj-according-to-hugh.html
The politically incorrect guide to Robert Spencer, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_politically_incorrect_guide_to_robert_spencer/