Robert Spencer turns lemonade into acid
by Sheila Musaji
Robert Spencer posted Boston: 20 Muslims rally against terrorism. In this article, Spencer notes the tiny turnout - and brings up Kamal Nawash’s failed “Free Muslims March Against Terror” of a few years ago. Spencer says:
“In the run-up to the event it got enthusiastic national and international publicity, but it ended up drawing about twenty-five people. And that is about as many as this demo in Toronto drew. Now the group appears to be defunct; its website hasn’t been updated since December 2011.”
First, this Boston rally was organized by a few local Muslims, and was meant as their personal statement. It was not meant to be anything other than a local event to raise awareness in their community. They made an effort and that should be applauded.
Spencer, only uses this Boston event in order to gain another opportunity to work in as many anti-Muslim talking points as possible and to bring up the Free Muslims. Spencer takes a positive story about Muslims and attempts to turn it into a negative story. Some people turn lemons into lemonade, Spencer turns lemonade into acid. Not surprising for an individual who attacked a Scottish Muslim women’s group for their campaign against domestic violence.
The Free Muslims march was an entirely different story, and certainly Spencer is well aware of why it had such a small turnout. This was seen by the American Muslim community as a publicity stunt by individuals whose track record in the Muslim community was very negative. In fact, these astroturf Muslims regularly fail to draw any sort of crowds. The Free Muslims received only negative publicity except from the Islamophobes, and their rally was not promoted in the American Muslim community at all. This stunt was much like the current AMPAC “Million Muslim March” all hype and no substance.
Spencer knows that his attempt to use this as some sort of proof that Muslims just don’t speak out against terrorism or extremism is nonsense. [See Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism.] He also knows that traditional, mainstream Muslims like Tahir ul Qadri have been able to turn out thousands of Muslims to rally against extremism. [See Peace for Humanity Rally and Declaration for Global Peace.] Perhaps it is projection, since Spencer and Geller’s AFDI/SIOA/SIOE/SION/EDL/BF Global Alliance Rally in Stockholm was a complete washout, although, all of this alphabet soup of hate groups did widely promote and advertise it, and called it a “Global Counter Jihad rally”.
The TAM article Kamal Nawash and Free Muslims Against Terrorism has details about this group and this event, and why it failed:
Kamal Nawash founded the Free Muslims Against Terrorism Coalition and co-founded the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC). [See Zuhdi Jasser-AIFD/AILC - Identified by Rep. King as Ideal American Muslim Leadership for more on this group.] Their website lists 11 members of this coalition including Zuhdi Jasser and Tawfiq Hamid His Free Muslims group sponsored a March against terrorism in 2005 which only attracted about 50 people. Not because mainstream Muslims are not against terrorism, but because they distrust Nawash and his group.
The “about us” section of the Free Muslims site says The Free Muslims’ efforts are unique; it is the only mainstream American-Muslim organization willing to attack extremism and terrorism unambiguously. Unfortunately most other Muslim leaders believe that in terrorist organizations, the end justifies the means. This is the sort of inflated claim for Nawash’s own importance and broad-based attack on American Muslim leaders that causes distrust. This claim about being the only American Muslim organization willing to attack extremism and terrorism unambiguously can be easily disproven by simply clicking on the “Muslims Denounce Terrorism” logo on the front page of The American Muslim site.
Zahed Amunalluh reported (read his full article with lots of links)
Billed as the first mainstream Muslim rally against terror in Washington DC (the qualifiers came after rallies were pointed out elsewhere, notably AMILA’S well-documented march in 2002), the march was organised by the Free Muslims Against Terrorism, or more accurately by its president Kamal Nawash.
However, the march’s low turnout highlighted the leader’s notoriety for high publicity (in non-Muslim circles and Fox News) and rejection by most mainstream Muslim groups (of which FMAT claims to be part of). “For certain people, I’m a hero. For certain people, I was sent by God,” said Nawash, prior to the event (with angels fluttering above, no doubt). “Someone described me as the Martin Luther of Islam. To me, that’s not bad.” Nawash has been criticized in the past by Muslim-watchers such as Daniel Pipes for his defense of Abdurahman Alamoudi while working as an attorney for the ADC (he has since won back Pipes graces and left the ADC). But a recent critique (to put it mildly) by former ADC colleague and Progressive Muslim Union board member Hussain Ibish highlighted Nawash’s failed political aspirations and accused him of selling out. “It looks like an effort to force people into choosing to give Kamal completely undeserved credibility by joining him, or face possible denunciation as agents of terror by declining the poisoned offer,” predicted Ibish (somewhat correctly). “It’s a typically crude ploy, and nobody should be fooled for a second by it.” Furthermore, the bizarre list of supporters (including groups who said they never signed on and a sneaked-through anagram insult to Nawash) undermined claims of mainstream Muslim support.
Larry Scholer reported
The sponsors have aroused suspicion from Muslim and non-Muslim groups.
Of the 80 sponsors for the rally, many were not Muslim organizations. The sponsors included right-wing organizations—Rightalk.com, Free Republic Network, and the Objectivist Center—and organizations that promote democracy—the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Alliance for Democracy in Iran, the Government of Free Vietnam. Other sponsors, as critics of the Free Muslims have noted, seemed unrelated to the cause of the Free Muslims. These organizations included JPJ Fashions, Marion Meadows Entertainment, and Scentual Fragrance, as well as various law offices.
“We are looking at everything from clothes shops in Arizona, Moonies, right-wing Zionists, and Christian fundamentalists, to Iranian monarchists, Iraqi supporters of the occupation, Darfurian exiles and Lebanese Pphalangists,” wrote Hussein Ibish, the communications director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), on the weblog muslimwakeup.com. [See Free Muslims Against Terrorism: Kamal Nawash’s Very, Very Strange Bedfellows where it was fortunately cross posted to TAM before MuslimWakeup was taken offline.]
“Also, I confess that I am somewhat puzzled by a list of endorsers that includes Marion Meadows Entertainment, JPJ Fashions, The Law Offices of Andrew Pakis, The Nawash Law Office, Rask Law Office, and Scentual Fragrance. What do these groups have to do with terrorism and jihad? What does their presence on the endorser list do except pad the list—enabling FMAT to send out a press release recently touting the March’s endorsement by over 50 groups?” wrote Robert Spencer, a harsh critic of Islamism, on his jihadwatch.org website.
Critics, like Ibish, of the Free Muslims and the march have looked with skepticism on Nawash, the organization’s president, who once ran for Virginia delegate as a Republican. They see Nawash as using the Free Muslims to revive his political career and to curry favor with figures such as David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes, former critics of Nawash. Ibish described the Free Muslims as “the group set up to stop criticism of Kamal Nawash by right-wing Zionists like Daniel Pipes and bolster his failed career as a Republican party candidate for local office in Virginia.”
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.
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 jihad — Thanksgiving turkey jihad — paisley scarf jihad — marriage to important men jihad — spit jihad — fashion jihad — spelling bee jihad — rape jihad — defacing dollar bills jihad — population jihad — creeping Sharia jihad — mosque building jihad — terror baby jihad — “creeping Sharia” jihad — pedophilia jihad — bus driver prayer jihad — forehead bruise jihad — postage stamp jihad — soup jihad — banning alcohol jihad — fake hate crimes jihad — piggy bank jihad — tv reality series jihad — handshake jihad — prom jihad — interfaith jihad — Arabic language jihad — public school jihad — religious accommodation jihad — Crescent moon jihad — Christmas tree tax jihad — oath of office jihad — immigration jihad — community fundraiser jihad— public school/madrassa jihad — post office jihad — food jihad — pyramid jihad — crucifixion jihad in Egypt — fireworks jihad — computer donation jihad — civic participation jihad — Olympic “judo” jihad— stealth name jihad— pre-violent jihad — Love jihad — fashion jihad 2 — #MyJihad ad jihad — talk show host jihad — art museum jihad — Halloween jihad — DNC Muslim Prayer Jihad — cat crucifixion jihad in Ghana — Scottish Muslim women’s stealth jihad — anti-democracy jihad — un-neighborly Musims in Paris jihad — jihad on Christopher Columbus — Iranian smallpox jihad — Muslim Christmas grinch jihad — #MyJihad twitter jihad — Muslim 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.
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 )