“My Jihad” Campaign Angers Hizb-ut Tahrir and AFDI Extremists
by Sheila Musaji
A few months ago, a series of twitter campaigns were launched in New York responding to AFDI hate ads. #MySubwayAd #AntiHate #MyJihad were the tags. The #MyJihad campaign was officially announced on Facebook in September with the motto: “Taking back Jihad one hashtag at a time from anti-Muslim and Muslim extremists. Taking back Islam.” (See TAM articles published on these “savage/civilized/jihad/Islamorealism” ad wars that have been going on for some months.)
As I said in the article How Muslims understand the term “jihad” written at the time the first AFDI ads came out:
... Any Muslims engaged in terrorism, or attacks on civilians are not engaged in jihad but in HIRABAH, no matter what their self definition. The use of the term jihad to describe acts that are reprehensible is an attempt to justify unjustifiable actions. ... The claim that terrorists are engaged in any act of lawful jihad is false. The Islamophobes’ definition of jihad, based on the same specious thinking as the terrorists, is also false. 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.
There are only two groups who equate jihad and terrorism - the terrorists and the Islamophobes. There is an extremist element within the Muslim community (exemplified by groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban) that attempts to spread their extremist interpretations of Islam which claims that they can justify criminal acts as “jihad”. Muslims, particularly our scholars, will continue to counter the arguments of this extremist element. Muslims must also attempt to educate young and impressionable Muslims so that they can see why the arguments of the extremists are false. Muslims will also continue to counter the false claims of the Islamophobes.
... Criminal political movements like al-Qaeda who attempt to convince other Muslims that their actions are somehow “Islamic” attempt to call their terrorist acts Jihad, and when their false claims are echoed in the media in the West, that adds some legitimacy to their claims, at least for uneducated Muslims.
Terrorism is not a legitimate part of jihad according to traditional Islamic scholars, and mainstream Islamic scholars, and ordinary Muslims regularly attempt to point this out because they are aware that the only appeal to reason that might influence extremists who claim an Islamic justification in any way is an appeal to Islamic teachings.
If you must use an Arabic word, use the correct word HIRABAH which is the word that would correspond to these acts of terrorism. But, why use an Arabic word at all in English? Just call it TERRORISM! ...
The #MyJihad twitter campaign expanded into a My Jihad ad campaign with a website http://www.myjihad.org Last week the first of these print ads began running on Chicago buses. The bus ad campaign was begun by Ahmed Rehab, the director of CAIR-Chicago, and this first series of ads was sponsored by CAIR-Chicago. Here is the first of those ads
As the “about” page for this campaign says in part:
Jihad is a term that has unfortunately been widely misrepresented due to: a) first and foremost, the actions of Muslim extremists, b) attempts at public indoctrination by Islamophobes who claim that the extremists are right and the rest of us are wrong, c) a selective media that understandably focuses on the sensational.
For Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists (who ironically are on perfect agreement), Jihad is synonymous with terrorism, blowing up things, and spilling innocent blood. This campaign is about reclaiming our faith and its concepts from these extremists, both Muslims and anti-Muslim, as well as their cheerleaders and clap-trappers, all of whom have for too long now effectively hijacked and dumbed-down the conversation about Islam and Muslims. ... Most of all this campaign is about representing our voice, our lives — our reality. The “My” in MyJihad is as important as the “Jihad.” The purpose of the campaign is to bring forth the mainstream majority moderate voice that is often squeezed out between two extremes.
There are only two groups who equate jihad and terrorism - the Muslim extremists and the Islamophobes, and both of them are now attacking the My Jihad campaign.
Hizb-ut Tahrir, a Muslim lunatic fringe group had some members of their discussion forum attacking the message of the ads and saying that this was not the correct view of jihad. We have discussed this group previously on TAM Hizb-ut-Tahrir, part of the Muslim lunatic fringe, and that article contains an extensive article collection. The posters on the Hizb-ut Tahrir board made statements like “It seems like the apologetics [sic] are being drawn into this battle and are pushing the west’s campaign to weaken and attack the ideas of Islam - especially the noble and integral idea of Jihad.” And, “Clearly the battle of idea is taking place with attacks on jihad. Its sad that the Muslims are being dragged in and are pushing the west’s line by choosing the wrong side. If we remember speeches where it was said this battled against the “ideology”, the battle of ideas is ongoing and can only be won from within….”
Clearly, the Muslim extremists are feeling the heat, and realize that more and more ordinary Muslims are speaking out against, and do not accept their interpretations. They are not happy about such efforts on the part of mainstream Muslims to counter their specious arguments. They are not happy that their views are being challenged publicly by ordinary Muslims. They see the handwriting on the wall, that they are becoming irrelevant.
And, the AFDI hate group is just as unhappy as Hizb-ut Tahrir that American Muslims refuse to accept their definition of Jihad or their version of Islam. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, the co-directors of this hate group are writing articles and planning yet another series of hate ads. Geller and Spencer are unhappy that American Muslims don’t accept Osama bin Laden or Hizb-ut Tahrir’s interpretations of Islam, and that we don’t accept Geller or Spencer’s interpretations of Islam. Neither the Muslim extremists or the Islamophobes have any right to tell us what we are supposed to believe.
Predictably, the focus of Geller and Spencer’s wrath is aimed at CAIR, as if CAIR members were the only people who found their ads offensive. Every Muslim organization is attacked regularly by Islamophobes, but CAIR particularly is connected by them to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document, the unindicted co-conspirator label, and accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, etc. In a sense, CAIR is an easy target, but focusing on them is simply a diversion. CAIR Chicago sponsored this ad series, but it is being promoted and participated in by ordinary Muslims who are not affiliated with any particular organization.
Pamela Geller published an article yesterday AFDI Launches #MyJihad Bus Campaign in Chicago to Counter Hamas-CAIR #CloakingJihad Ads. Her partner, Robert Spencer also published an article praising this new campaign. Although Spencer seems to have been distancing himself from previous AFDI ads, in this article he says “This new AFDI ad campaign is Pamela Geller’s most brilliant campaign yet. (And I am proud to note that I helped choose some of the quotes and images.)”.
And, here, from Geller’s article, is the first of what they say will be a new series of ads that they will be running in Chicago to counter the My Jihad ads being run by members of the Muslim community.
MyJihad is a public education campaign that seeks to share the proper and true meaning of Jihad (see below). Much thanks to Big Fur Hat for execution.
The myjihad.us link given simply takes you to Geller’s Atlas Shrugs site to an article titled #myjihad. The #myjihad hashtag is actually the hashtag belonging to the American Muslim My Jihad campaign. The purpose of including this in the AFDI anti-Muslim ads can only be to encourage their followers to use the hashtag to spread their venom. Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller themselves sent out twitters using the #myjihad hashtag to spout their propaganda, and their followers have jumped in flooding the hashtag with negative posts.
Robert Spencer noted Hizb-ut Tahrir’s comments. He said “Hizb ut Tahrir is an organization of Islamic supremacists around the world, dedicated to imposing Sharia. Apparently they didn’t get the memo about how the witless unbelievers need to be deceived about the nature and meaning of jihad, and so they’re taking issue with Ahmed Rehab and his cosmetics.”
Spencer got the wrong message from these comments. Hizb-ut Tahrir did get the memo that their message is being rejected by the majority of American Muslims. Muslims have been speaking out for a long time. See Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism for fatwas, articles, and statements, by scholars, organizations, community leaders, and activists. Too often those statements did not get media attention. Perhaps efforts such as these twitter campaigns and the My Jihad ads on buses in Chicago, being carried out by ordinary everyday American Muslims will be heard.
That is the message that Muslim extremists Hizb-ut Tahrir received. And, they don’t like it one little bit. That is also the message that the Islamophobes received, and they also don’t like it one little bit. As Ahmed Rehab said “The MyJihad campaign is about reclaiming jihad from the Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists who ironically, but not surprisingly, see eye to eye on jihad.”
The reality is that the Islamophobes are so angry about these ads because they also see the handwriting on the wall, that they are becoming irrelevant. American Muslims are defining themselves, and not allowing the Muslim extremists or the Islamophobes to define us. This is what religious freedom looks like.
What is my Jihad? It is a A spiritual jihad against extremism and terrorism.
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” 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.”
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, 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. They have uncovered:
— Everyone “knows” that most or all terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe), and that Muslims are all militant, inherently violent, more likely to engage in violence against civilians, and more likely than other Americans to be radicalized. — Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not interested in dialogue. That Muslims don’t help Christians in need. That Muslims can’t have Christians as friends, and are anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and intolerant of other faiths, and in fact hate Jews. — Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t unequivocally denounce terrorism, that American Muslim leaders have not responded to radicalization in their community, that mosques are the source of radicalization, that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement.— Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, and a fifth column, that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that Muslims are not loyal to America, that they are not a part of our American heritage— Everyone “knows” that Islam itself is the problem and makes Muslims “backward”, that Muslims have made no contribution to the West, that Islam is “of the devil”, a Crescent menace, a “green peril”, that was spread by the sword, an “evil encroaching on the United States”, and not a religion. — Everyone “knows” that this is a Christian nation, which the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law which is a threat to America, and a threat to our judicial system, by purposefully having more children than others to increase their numbers, and they will be the majority in this country in 20 years. Muslims are a threat to America— Everyone “knows” that Muslims have no respect for the Constitution, they don’t obey the laws of the United States, that they are opposed to freedom of speech, don’t allow and freedom of religion. — Everyone “knows” that Muslims are given a pass by the elite media. It’s “us versus them”. — Everyone “knows” that the Muslims’ goal is world domination under a Caliphate, and the proposed Cordoba House in NYC is a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism, and that Muslims planned to open it on the anniversary of 9/11. — Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t speak out against extremism or terrorism, and even those Muslims who do speak up or seem moderate are simply lying or practicing taqiyyah. — Everyone “knows” that the Qur’an is uniquely violent, that the Islamic concept of God doesn’t include God’s love, and does not include the concept of a Golden Rule, that Allah is a moon god. — Everyone “knows” that Islam is a monolith and all Muslims are the same, like the “Borg”. This means that every act committed by an individual who is a Muslim is directly attributable to Islam, and never because the individual is crazy, criminal, or perverted. — Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t have a sense of humor— Everyone “knows” that Muslims are like the Fascists and Nazis and that in fact they supported those movements. And, all of these memes that everyone “knows” ARE FALSE.
— Muslim celebration for special needs children jihad — “vehicular jihad” — objecting to pornographic ads jihad — employment jihad — litigation jihad — “environmentalist jihad”. —— “comic book jihad” — Muslim victims of 9/11 accused of dying as martyrs in an act of jihad — hospital jihad — Muslim Family Day jihad — Muslim Prayer event jihad — 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 — fireworks jihad — computer donation jihad — civic participation jihad — Olympic “judo” jihad — stealth name jihad— pre-violent jihad
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.