Did AFDI’s “Savage/Jihad” hate ads inspire bus threats?
by Sheila Musaji
Pamela Geller posted an article with the hysterical title CAIR’s #myjihad Chicago campaign inspires .... bus jihad - Wannabe Jihadist threatens ‘jihad’ bombing on Chicago bus. Robert Spencer posted his own misleading article. She includes a link to a Chicago Tribune article. She and her partner in hate, Robert Spencer also tweeted a link to their articles using the #MyJihad hashtag, and their minions followed suit.
What is the story
The Chicago Tribune reported that a man named Caleb Russell threatened to blow up a CTA bus in Chicago and told police he was “jihad against the white devil”. Several passengers told police that Russell made derogatory and racial remarks and threatened to “blow this (expletive) up.”
His booking photo included is quite alarming, and may speak to his mental state. A few other news sources have posted on this, but none have any additional information. That’s all that is known so far.
No idea if the man is a Muslim or not, no idea about his mental state, no idea about anything at all except that this incident happened.
How would Geller know his motivation or what inspired him. Her “defeat jihad” ads have also run in Chicago. Whether this man was influenced in any way by either of these ads is impossible to say. However, it certainly is possible to make an educated guess.
The implication of the AFDI ads is that jihad and terrorism are synonymous which could give an ignorant person the idea that such an act was covered by the word “jihad”.
The #MyJihad campaign ads (whose motto is ““Taking back Jihad one hashtag at a time from anti-Muslim and Muslim extremists. Taking back Islam.”) are giving a very opposite message to both Muslim and non-Muslim extremists. See “My Jihad” #MyJihad Campaign Angers Hizb-ut Tahrir and AFDI Extremists. Which includes the statement:
“There are only two groups who equate jihad and terrorism - the terrorists and the Islamophobes. Neither terrorists or Islamophobes have the right to co-opt or hijack or defame the term jihad by their criminal interpretations. We reject the terrorist definition and we reject the Islamophobes definition of Jihad in favor of the traditional, legitimate, respectable, spiritual concept. JIHAD is not a dirty word.”
Which ad and which worldview is more likely to have given anyone the impression that terrorism against civilians is the meaning of jihad?
The original subway ad (Photo Credit: American Freedom Defense Initiative/ABC News)
Using nothing except common sense, and a heart not filled with hate, any rational person can see which ad is likely to stir such base passions.
This is a case of simply making something up without any facts at all.
See the full article Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for much more information about and links to responses to many claims, including critical reports on the Islamophobia Industry. Here is a 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.”
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.
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, Abrogation (Naskh) in the Qur’an, 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.
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. When Islamophobes are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.
The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences.
You would never know from listening to any of the members of the Islamophobia Industry that Muslims have defended freedom of speech, participated in interfaith dialogue, defended freedom of faith against apostasy laws, condemned blasphemy laws, condemned holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, promoted non-violent solutions to the many problems we face, called for protecting all houses of worship and condemned any attacks on churches or synagogues anywhere, condemned violent responses to numerous incidents including the response to the Innocence of Muslims film, spoken out against child marriage, are working to stop domestic violence in our community, etc. Type condemn into the TAM search engine and 145 statements of condemnation come up in addition to the collections in our lengthy section Muslim voices against extremism terrorism and violence Muslims speak out loudly and clearly condemning our own extremists, and their extremist statements and actions. Type “lunatic fringe” into the TAM search engine for many such articles condemning particular extremists and extremist groups and activities.
You would never know that Muslims are decent, hardworking, productive citizens, making a positive contribution to this society. Muslims haven’t just spoken out against abuses carried out anywhere in the world that dishonor Islam, but also worked doing positive things.
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 reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.
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 (SPLC) 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. , and that the SPLC calls Pamela Geller “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam.
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.
Click on the logo “Muslims denounce extremism and terrorism” on the front page of TAM for an extensive resource listing not only Muslim responses to extremism, but also resources for countering Islamophobia.
Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM). 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 )