Robert Spencer needs to learn to do a fact check
by Sheila Musaji
An individual using the twitter name @LearningKoran posted two hateful and unacceptable tweet on the #MyJihad hashtag. Here are those tweets:
Many Muslims involved with the #MyJihad campaign responded to him as soon as we saw the tweets.
The MyJihadOrg account administrator tweeted him and told him they don’t condone such talk and consider himself blocked.
I posted a reminder that Sheikh Ali Gomaa said Violence is never an acceptable answer to provocation. I told him that such a statement was totally outside the bounds of Islam, and that I found it fascinating that the #MyJihad campaign angers Musim extremists & Islamophobes.
Angie Emara posted a series of reminders: calling him a hypocrite and an extremist and someone trying to sabotage the campaign. She told him that it’s funny how you & Islamophobes share the EXACT sentiment towards majority Muslims! She asked him “what’s wrong w u? Islam was never ever by force. U ruin the beauty of Islam picking ayat out of context 4 ur benefit”. She asked him to “change the condition of your heart” and told him “you have major issues.seek therapy. That’s not Islam.”
Within hours he stopped posting, and when his twitter name was clicked on it said he was suspended.
No one involved with #MyJihad knows who this person was, whether he/she is a Muslim, or why he would make such a hateful post. Sad little incident, but handled as well as anyone connected with #MyJihad could handle unsolicited tweets.
However, that was not the end of the saga. Robert Spencer posted an article with a screenshot of the tweet and Spencer’s own comments. Spencer said “The deceptive and misleading #MyJihad campaign has apparently attracted at least one persistent Misunderstander of Islam. No doubt Hamas-linked CAIR’s Ahmed Rehab is in deep talks with this fellow already, explaining to him that jihad doesn’t really involve killing anyone, but is really just romping through the daisies.”
He is correct that the individual misunderstands Islam. The rest is simply an attempt to cast aspersions on the #MyJihad campaign as if they can control individuals tweeting using that hashtag. Spencer also does not mention any of the responses to this individual. Not only do Islamophobes not know how to do a “search”, they also don’t know how to follow a conversation on twitter.
All Spencer would have had to was to follow the conversation, and he would have seen that the individual was immediately called to task and condemned for what he had said, asked to stop, and ultimately suspended.
But, Spencer is too busy demonizing Islam and Muslims to be concerned about facts. He used this non-incident to stir up a frenzy among his readers. The comments under Spencer’s article show how easily they are influenced. Here are a few:
— John Spielman “These pagan muslim’s blind devotion to their demon god Allah’s cult of death is getting tiresome.” — Meryl Petkoff “The psychological projection of pedohammedans is f’ing SURREAL!. Poe’s Law is all that comes into mind when i read verbiage like that.”— Iloveport “I say, bring it on!!! You camel urine drinking numbnut maniacs. I’m ready and able. You’re not kidding when you say this is getting tiresome. I’m so tired of the major a**kissing going on to appease these bozo’s. Let’s dance….
And since he began the title of his article with the #MyJihad hashtag, many of these folks are tweeting this, again overwhelming the hashtag with hate.
Anyone who visits the hashtag can see over the course of any day how many Islamophobes come there and post hateful messages. Some individuals post scores of messages each day, many of them repeat whatever is the current meme in an article on Pamela Geller or Robert Spencer’s sites that begins with the #MyJihad hashtag. Some post the exact same comment over and over. See the article Anti-Muslim Propaganda Against #MyJIhad Campaign for many of the claims made and responses to them. Sometimes 20 or 30 of them will retweet or repeat the same comment over the course of a few minutes. It is amazing that there are human beings who can find so much time to do nothing except spread hatred.
Some are more hateful than others one calling himself @pissedizard calls Muslims “vermin”, “demons” and “disgusting”, says “all Muslims smell like ass. Dead,rotting ass”, and has made a number of tweets suggesting directly that Muslims should be killed. One of his tweets appears at the top of this article.
Robert Spencer would never notice such hatred directed at Muslims. And, that is not surprising, since there has been plenty of it from his own AFDI/SION board and he has made no condemnations. He also does not remove hateful comments from his site.
I wish we knew how the solitary nut job @LearningKoran was suspended by twitter, as the gang of about 30 Islamophobic nut jobs who are serial spammers of the hashtag should also be suspended, but continue with no problems.
All of this is very frustrating, but the Muslims involved with the #MyJihad campaign are resolute and committed to taking back Islam and the term jihad from both the Muslim extremists and Islamophobes.
It would be wonderful if not only more Muslims, but also any non-Muslims who believe in mutual respect, bridge building, and understanding would visit the hashtag and help to keep it from being overrun by haters.
It is amazing that projects such as #MyJihad through which American Muslims are attempting to counter extremist interpretations are seen as so threatening to those who say they wish Muslims would speak up. Whatever claim or catch-phrase is put out by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer becomes the meme of the day, endlessly repeated by their followers on the #MyJihad hashtag and drowning it in hate. All they are doing is making it more difficult for American Muslims to counter actual extremism. They are a painful distraction.
David Wood on a site called Answering Muslims posted an article about these tweets from @LearningKoran. He titles his article “Muslim Tries to Educate Me about Peaceful Islam, Then Calls for the Execution of Critics!”.
Even David Wood notes that @LearningKoran became angry when he was condemned by individuals involved in the #MyJihad campaign, and before he was suspended by twitter posted this tweet:
Wood is one of the individuals who has been a serial tweeter of anti-Muslim messages, so not surprisingly his view of this exchange casts blame on Muslims and Islam.
The reality is that no one knows who this person @LearningKoran is, or whether or not he is a Muslim. He could be anybody. One of the difficulties with social media like twitter is that individuals can set up an account and a screen persona using any name they wish and post anonymously.
Whoever @LearningKoran is, he deserves condemnation as does @pissedlizard and others who have posted such messages threatening Muslims. You can see screen shots of a few of these hateful anti-Muslim posts at the bottom of the page.
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.).
The most commonly repeated false claims about Muslims and Islam are that:
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.
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 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 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.
The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong. These self-righteous and incorrect statements are usually followed by a demand that the Muslim community do something about whatever is the false flag of the day or face the inevitable consequences.
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, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.
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 )