Love thy neighbor, unless that neighbor is a Muslim updated 1/9/13

Sheila Musaji

Posted Dec 31, 2012      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Love thy neighbor, unless that neighbor is a Muslim

by Sheila Musaji

An article in the Denver Post about a simple interfaith ad campaign with signs saying “Love Thy Neighbor” would seem to be a welcome message.  The Jewish-Christian-Muslim interfaith clergy announcing the ads said that this was “shared concept in the three religions”, and was in response to recent national tragedies and the recent anti-Muslim AFDI ads that ran in Denver. 

Americans have lived through a number of terrible tragedies in the past year, and we have seen the bitter fruits of violence and bigotry, and lack of concern for our neighbors.  It would seem that messages like this one are exactly what is needed to promote understanding, tolerance, non-violence,  dialogue, and love. 

It doesn’t seem possible that anyone could object to this, but it brought a vicious response Cue the craven Quisling crew - rabbis and priests wage jihad in Denver from Pamela Geller.  In the course of her rant, she called the Christian and Jewish clergy who are part of this interfaith coalition: “quislings, craven, cowardly, knaves, and clowns”.  She said that these Christian and Jewish clergy are “doing the bidding of annihilationists and Jew haters, providing cover for the most brutal and extreme ideology on the face of the earth and further obfuscating the most lethal threat the free world faces.”  She goes on to claim that “There is no golden rule in Islam”, Jews and Christians are simply not murdering people and justifying the murders by quoting their Scriptures. The violence in the bible is descriptive while the Qur’an is prescriptive. Never do we see Jews slaughtering in the name of HaShem or Christians in the name of Jesus Christ.”

All of her points are wrong, but that has never stopped her.  Who are these evil people she is referring to as annihilationists and Jew haters?  She is not referring to actual criminals and terrorists, she is referring to ordinary American Muslims living in Colorado. 

And, who are the “quislings, craven, cowardly, knaves, and clowns” who are “enabling” and “obfuscating”,  “providing cover for the most brutal and extreme ideology on the face of the earth”, and “waging jihad”  They are Christians and Jews who disagree with her characterization of Muslims and Islam.  What crime did they commit?  The crime was to make this a project that included Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and that might give the impression that Muslims are equally human, and one of the Abrahamic faiths. 

And, what is “the most brutal and extreme ideology on the face of the earth” and “the most lethal threat the free world faces”?  It is the religion of Islam, not a specific extremist interpretation, not a specific cultural manifestation — but the religion itself.

Not content with spewing that sort of hatred, Geller posted a second article Jewish and Christian clerics for jihad on both her site and another Islamophobic echo chamber site, World Net Daily.  This article repeats much of the original, but adds a few more slurs.  The non-Muslims involved are now also “self-righteous nudniks”, “standing with those who are oppressing and subjugating their brothers and sisters”.

She then uses the opportunity to question why these clergy don’t instead against what she believes to the the “truth” about Islam and Muslims.  In her world-view, in every country on earth in which there is a conflict, if that conflict involves Muslims, then it is always the Muslims who caused the conflict, and who are responsible for any violence.  If the Muslims carry out the violence, then it is because they are Muslims, and Islam made them do it.  If the Muslims are the victims of the violence, then it is because they brought it on themselves.  If Muslims are not involved at all and it is violence between other religious groups (e.g. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.) then that has nothing to do with their religion.  Any criminal act carried out by anyone anywhere in which the perpetrator is a Muslim must have that religious identity included in any discussion, but if the criminal act was committed by a non-Muslim, then their religion should not be raised.  Non-Muslims may have political, economic, cultural, or mental issues that motivate a criminal action.  This is never true of Muslims, any criminal action they carry out is only due to their religion. 

Based on her other writings, it is clear that Geller believes all of us - every man, woman, and child who is a Muslim and follows Islam is guilty until proven innocent in every situation, in every country, in every time and place.  And, based on past performance, it is certain that her partner, Robert Spencer, and the rest of the Islamophobia echo chamber will all either re-post her articles or add their own two cents in the attack on those who have spoken up.  This is their modus operandi.  If any individual or organization is insufficiently hostile towards Muslims, or even treats Muslims with tolerance as fellow citizens, they attack that individual or organization in the most despicable ways.  Perhaps in the hope that others will be discouraged from speaking up.

Geller is right about one thing - these Jewish, Christian, and Muslim clergy are involved in a jihad, but it is not a jihad that Geller would understand, it is a JIHAD FOR LOVE, a JIHAD FOR TOLERANCE, a JIHAD FOR UNDERSTANDING, a JIHAD FOR HUMANITY, a JIHAD AGAINST BIGOTRY, a JIHAD FOR CIVILIZATION.

In an article on the attempt to marginalize the American Muslim community, I discussed the attacks on Muslims and Arabs who are foolish enough to want to actually participate as equal citizens in active community service.  I also discuss the attacks on any non-Muslim who treats Muslims or Arabs as equal citizens.  The constant demonization of Muslims doing anything at all outside of the Muslim community, or of non-Muslims who accept Muslims as equal citizens and participants in American society extends to just about any situation:  Here is what can be expected for standing up against bigotry directed at Muslims:

BUSINESSESBest Buy was attacked for an ad that included a small bubble wishing Happy Eid to Muslim customers. — Butterball Turkey was attacked for selling halal Thanksgiving turkeys —Campbell’s soup was attacked for offering halal soup certified by ISNA-Canada —Google Corp. was attacked for having an “Islamic” crescent in one of their logos. — Lowe’s, and other advertizers were attacked for advertising on TLC’s All-American Muslim program. — Whole Foods was accused of “whoring itself out to Islam” for offering halal foods during Ramadan

JOURNALISTS AND NEWSPAPERS Christiane Amanpour was accused of “enthusiastically fronting for the Islamic supremacists and dissemblers” for her program on Islam in America (and it didn’t help that she is half Iranian).  —Spencer Ackerman was called “the tool of the jihadis” for exposing problems with training on Islam — Bradley Burston was called “a pox on our people” and a “judenrat greasing the wheels of the genocidal machinery” by Pamela Geller for publishing an article critical of her views. — Jeffrey Goldberg was attacked as a “jihadist sympathizer” for writing a negative review of a book by Pamela Geller claiming the “Islamization of America”. — The Israeli paper Haaretz called “viciously anti-Israel newspaper” by Pamela Geller for publishing an article critical of her views.  - The Knoxville News Sentinel was attacked for publishing a children’s page in a newspaper focusing on Eid which was described as a “toxic propaganda plot”. — The Los Angeles Times accused of repeating “Islamic supremacist talking points” in its coverage of the cancellation of a Geller speech. — Jonah Lowenfeld of the Jewish Journal attacked for calling Pamela Geller an “anti-Muslim activist”. — The New York Times accused of dhimmitude for refusing to print one of Stop the Islamization of America’s (SIOA) anti-Islam ads —Philip Weiss was called a Jewicidal kapo for an article pointing out Pamela Geller’s Islamophobia. — Andrew Rosenthal of the NYT was called a dhimmi for an article critical of NYPD spying program. — Diane Sawyer of 20/20 was accused of “proselytizing for Islam” and “advancing a fallacious Islamic supremacist narrative” on a program on Islam. — Max Blumenthal was called a “kapo” and “notorious Jew hater” for an article critical of Pamela Geller. — The Washington Post was called a “dhimmi” press and the “enemedia” and accused of “enforcing Sharia” for not running a SIOA anti-Muslim ad. 

LEADERS & POLITICIANSMayor Bloomberg called a dhimmi for supporting the construction of a local mosque.  — John Boehner was attacked for allowing Imam Nayyar Imam to give the prayer invocation in Congress. — When Herman Cain met with Imam Magid of ISNA and other Muslim leaders to apologize for some anti-Muslim statements, Gaffney objected and accused Cain of meeting with Muslim Brotherhood operatives.  — Judge James Cacheris attacked for granting citizenship to a Muslim who had been accused of affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood (after checking the facts and finding the charges false). —  Gov. Chris Christie was accused of “abetting treason” for appointing a Muslim.  — Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana was attacked for accepting an award from the Arab American Institute. — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel criticized for appointing Ahmed Rehab to the mayor’s New Americans Advisory Committee. — GOP Presidential Candidates were asked by Frank Gaffney to sign a “pledge” or loyalty oath against Sharia.  and they were attacked for refusing to sign. — A tea party group is demanding some sort of action against Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee for appointing Samar Ali to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. — Rep. Mike Honda was attacked for objecting to the content of the AFDI anti-Muslim ads on public transportation. — Karen Hughes, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy was attacked for attending an ISNA conference. —  Valerie Jarrett was attacked for attending an ISNA convention, and for being born in Iran (to American parents). — Elena Kagan was accused of “enabling efforts to insinuate” Shariah law in the United States.  — State Sen. Ted Lieu of CA called a “dhimmi” for objecting to attack on the TLC program “All-American Muslim” — The Mayor of Redmond, WA, John Marchione,  called a “dhimmi” and an “Islamopanderer” for accepting an award from CAIR. — FBI Director Robert Mueller called a “slave to Islam” for investigation into anti-Muslim training materials.  — Janet Napolitano attacked for defending Mohamed Elibiari — Gaffney claimed that Grover Norquist “is helping the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrate the conservative movement”. — Gaffney called President Obama “America’s first Muslim president”, and claimed that President Obama is advancing Sharia Law and the ‘Radical Homosexual Agenda’ in the Military, and said that Obama’s respect for Muslims is a secret code telling “those who adhere to Sharia [Muslims] that we will submit to Sharia.”  — Pres. Obama was also criticized for holding a White House Iftar. — Nancy Pelosi was attacked for hiring Faiz Shakir. — Gov. Rick Perry was attacked by Islamophobes simply for his friendship with the Aga Khan and not being anti-Muslim enough.  — Gov. Perry was also called an “Islamo-panderer” for not being opposed to the Cordoba House/Park 51 project.  — Gen. David Petraeus was accused of of “submission to Sharia law”.  — Colin Powell was attacked for defending Muslims when he said “And what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” — “Marco Rubio, John McCain, and John Boehner were attacked as “Islamo-pandering Republi-dhimmis” for their denunciation of Michele Bachmann’s charges. — Peter Swiderski, mayor of the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York called a dhimmi for opposition to SIOA anti-Muslim ads — State Sen. Dave Thompson of MN called a dhimmi for pulling a proposed anti-Sharia bill.

ORGANIZATIONS — The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were attacked for having Muslim badges and an Islamic Scouting group. — Frank Gaffney claimed that the Center for American Progress was part of ‘red-green axis’ with Muslim Brotherhood.  — The Children’s Museum of Manhattan was attacked for an exhibit on the cultural heritage of the Muslim world.
Metropolitan Museum of Art accused of “whitewashing Islam” and “passing off stolen intellectual property as Islamic” in exhibit on Islamic Art Treasures. — National Geographic accused of promoting “Islamist propaganda” in a “fabricated exhibit” that “presents myths as fact” for 1001 Muslim Inventions Exhibit. — NYC Transit Authority accused if “Sharia enforcement” in accordance with Islamic “blasphemy laws”  for stating that they will review their policies on posting of political ads. — Gaffney called the U.S. Missile Defense Agency Logo “evidence of Obama’s ‘Submission To Shariah’.” — The U.S. Post Office was accused of selling a “terrorist stamp” when it issued a Muslim holiday Eid stamp — The U.S. Dept. of Defense, Dept. of State, and Dept. of Justice were accused of having been “infiltrated” by “Islamic supremacist groups and their operatives” — YMCA of San Diego was accused of “enforcing Sharia” for adding an additional time for women only swimming (paid for by the swimmers)

RELIGIOUS & INTERFAITH LEADERS & ORGANIZATIONSKaren Armstrong was attacked by Robert Spencer for speaking at ISNA. — Auburn Seminary and its Center for Multifaith Education, Interfaith Center of New York, Intersections International, Odyssey Networks, Quest, and The Tanenbaum Center and its Religion and Diversity Education Program were accused of being part of a “leftist/Islamic machine”, and setting up “Goebbels-style propaganda websites” producing “jihadist propaganda” by Pamela Geller for an interfaith 9/11 program promoting healing and reconciliation. — The ADL Interfaith Coalition on Mosques was called a “dhimmi-Jew stunt” which was “kowtowing to the Islamic Jihad”. — Abraham Foxman of the ADL was called a “dhimmi Jew” “kowtowing to the Islamic jihad”. — Any Jew who suports, organizes, or fund raises for Pres. Obama was accused of being like Jews who had a gathering in 1933 Berlin in which uniformed Nazis participated. — J Street accused of being “Jewicidal” and “traitors and JINOs” “masquerading as a Jewish organization” for its positions on Israeli policy and the Palestinian issue. — The Los Angeles Jewish Federation were called “Dhimmi Jews” and “Jewicidal, JINOs” by Pamela Geller for not allowing her speak at their offices. — The Pope was accused of “engaging in dawah” for expressing respect for Islam — Cardinal McCarrick was attacked for his friendship with Imam Mohamed Magid — Rabbi Marc Schneier called a “dhimmi Rabbi” for his involvement in Jewish/Muslim dialogue. — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was attacked for signing an interfaith letter on anti-Muslim prejudice. —  Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz was attacked for writing an article against the anti-Sharia movement.  He was accused of “doing the bidding of Islamic supremacist Sharia” and an “enemy” of the Jewish people. 

TELEVISION & RADIO PERSONALITIES AND PROGRAMS — Conservative personalities Michelle Malkin, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Kathryn Lopez of National Review, Mark Levin, Michael Savage were all accused by Pamela Geller of “sanctioning the jihad and sharia” for not being vocally anti-Muslim enough. — The Family Feud television game show was attacked for simply having a Muslim family compete. — The Learning Channel (TLC) was accused of engaging in a “cultural jihad” for running a reality program featuring ordinary Muslims. — Dr. Phil McGraw was called an “Islamo-panderer” for being sympathetic to Muslim guests. — Rachel Ray accused of being unpatriotic and supporting terrorists for wearing a floral paisley scarf in a Dunkin Donuts ad. — Jon Stewart called a “judenrat” for his defense of Muslims and condemnation of Islamophobia.— Donald Trump was called a “dhimmi” over a Muslim beauty contest winner. — Oprah Winfrey was attacked when she aired a program on Islam

It takes courage to speak out against Islamophobia (or any bigotry).  It takes courage to defend the ideals of America.  It takes courage to stand for the principles and values of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Many of those speaking out in defense of American Muslims have been attacked in such articles coming out of the Islamophobic echo chamber.  Often those articles have requested their readers to write letters, make phone calls, add comments to articles promoting a different point of view, send out twitters, post FaceBook messages, boycott products or businesses, etc.  And, these voices of division and bigotry are magnified because they actually do those things.  We need to be as committed to tolerance, respect, and understanding as they are to bigotry and division. 

American Jews Are Speaking Out Against Anti-Muslim AdsChristian and Jewish groups, as well as an interfaith coalition also ran ads, countering what they perceived as a hateful message being promoted by the AFDI/SIOA ads. Some of our Elected Representatives & Government Officials HAVE Questioned Islamophobia.  Some, like Rep. Mike Honda, and Colin Powell have been there time and again for Muslims.  We need to be there for them.

Those who have spoken out against bigotry are good people who have taken seriously the adage that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  They have been there for us, and we need to be there for them.  Write a note to thank these individuals.  And, while you’re at it, write notes of encouragement and thanks to Muslim activists who are engaging in such work.  You can be certain that they will hear from the haters, they also need to hear from those who support them.

I appeal to the American Muslim community to make a New Year’s Resolution that they will make a sincere effort to develop the habit of sending a letter, leaving a comment on articles, and in any way they can defending those who are attempting to build bridges and countering those who are attempting to spread divisiveness and bigotry.  If we can do this, and not fall into the trap of sinking to the level of the bigots in our responses, we can make a difference. This is something that ordinary people can do.  We can help to marginalize the extremists of all religious persuasions by engaging in such simple actions as our JIHAD FOR LOVE.


UPDATE 1/9/2013

Rabbi Bruce Warshal has written an article A Jewish Problem: Anti-Muslim Hate-Mongers which is another example of having the courage to speak out against the tide of anti-Muslim hatred, including that coming from some in the Jewish community.


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

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.

The Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam.   They consistently push the false memes that:  - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized,  - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded.  Every Muslim organization is connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label.  Individual Muslims and Arabs, and their organizations are accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc. 

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.

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

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.