Archive for the ‘Right Wing’ Category


Reclaim Australia Dominated by a Christian Cult Leader

brothernalliahd

Many may be surprised to find out that fervent nationalist group Reclaim Australia is driven primarily by a religious cult, Catch the Fire Ministries, and its political arm, Rise Up Australia. And the group wanting to “Keep Australia Australian” is headed by a Sri Lankan evangelist, Daniel Nallian, who moved to Australia in 1997.

Stating this fact by no means implies recent immigrants can’t have legitimate views about traditional Australian values, and multi-culturalism, (of course they can and do), but this challenges the common perception of Reclaim Australia as an extreme racist movement. Whilst convenient to the apologists of Islam to label them this way, the strange evangelical focus and multicultural nature of half its members provides a different narrative, albeit not one which is necessarily more conducive for an intelligent discussion regarding the perceived clash of Islamic and Western values.

According to “Evangelist Daniel’s” bio, Hillsong founder, Frank Houston, unsuccessfully “prophesied” over him in Sri Lanka, prior to his conversion by a member of his rock band. The Assembly of God evangelist claims that Jesus has saved his life multiple times.

Three months after experiencing salvation he came across his first trial during the communal violence in Sri Lanka when he was confronted with a mob who wanted to kill his parents. But praise God, his prayer as a new Christian was answered when the mob left without touching anyone. That day he said, “Lord, I will serve you as long as I have breath”.

Daniel Nalliah moved to Saudi Arabia to attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity, and was miraculously saved by Jesus again.

Pastor Daniel and his family were most miraculously saved from death and torture twice. He says, “If not for Jesus being alive, we would not be alive”! His testimony has touched the hearts of many all over the world.

Well, it’s good to have Jesus on your side.

The President of Rise Up Australia also believes Jesus communicates with him personally, and has ordained him with a special mission from God.

 While in Saudi Arabia, following an encounter he had with Jesus on 21st July 1997 (from 3.40am to 6.00am), in obedience to this, he decided to move to Australia and set up a base known as Catch The Fire Ministries Inc.

Then, Jesus appeared to Daniel again.

Dear Family in Christ,

On April 9, 2000 at 5:00am while in Ethiopia the Lord Jesus Christ woke me from sleep and spoke about Australia. He very clearly told me, Son, if my people will rise up and be proactive, they will stop the disaster which is coming on the land. But if my people sit back, relax and be reactive they will pay a heavy price to take back their land spiritually. He then spoke to me through (The Bible) 2 Chr. 7:14 and said, Gather my people across the land together and tell them to humble themselves, repent, pray and seek my face in one accord, then I will heal their land. This was the start of RISE UP AUSTRALIA prayer meetings.

There’s nothing like an argument from authority. Besides the obvious charlatanism these comments indicate a providential connection with “the land” which only aboriginal Australians lay claim to. One suspects the nationalism espoused by this particular Sri Lankan born follower of Jesus is subsumed by a larger cause.

Daniel Nalliah has claimed the Black Saturday bushfires were the result of the Victorian Government decriminalising abortion. The Queensland floods were due to Kevin Rudd speaking against Israel. He ran for a Senate seat for Family First party and disseminated brochures asking people to pray for God to pull down “Satan’s strongholds” which included bottle shops, gambling houses, brothels, mosques, and Buddhist and Hindu temples.

Reclaim Australian oppose multiculturalism, not multi-ethnicity. They oppose the melting pot of various cultures, insisting we enforce puritan Christian values on the whole society. Opposing Islam, abortion, gay marriage, promiscuity, pornography, and seeking Judeo-Christian focussed education, and other values of the religious right.

Unfortunately, this group adds nothing to debate on Islam, and the appropriate government response to jihadism.

Opposing Islamism with equally extreme ideas only adds height to the walls shielding Islam from appropriate examination. The core beliefs in jihad, martyrdom, the dar al-Harb, subjugation of women, and enforced religious belief underpin the ideologies of terrorist groups. The religion provides the ideology, and social network, to sustain the hatred, warmongering and predisposition towards violence which disenfranchised young men find so attractive.

Reclaim Australia provides succour to liberals whose knee-jerk response to any criticism of Islam is to brand it racism. Note the following in an otherwise well written expose by Jeff Sparrow:

 Let’s leave aside the question of how you can be “against Islam” without “targeting Muslims” (rather like being against Judaism without targeting Jews, one would have thought).

Many people say bad things about Christianity without facing accusations of “targeting” white Christians. Could we be against Nazism in the 1930’s without “targeting Germans”? Conflating the race of Jews and cultural traditions of Muslims provides a shield of political correctness.

Although, Sparrow’s remark paled in comparison to the apologetics of Anne Aly, who views criticism of Islam as the same thing as criticism of Muslims, at the hands of “bigots” and “racists.” Way to give your culture a free pass.

Applying the “racist” label too often shuts down debate, and censures the freedom to discuss the very ideas central to the conflict. Accusations of “racism” are too easy, and too convenient, a blunt instrument used to disarm opposing arguments. They also divert attention away from what appears to be significant motives within groups like Reclaim Australia, which is the debate about religious values, and the culture wars.

Reclaim Australia consists of a front for evangelical Christians. Those goose-stepping for God, combining religious zeal with associating with hate groups, are only reclaiming an historical bigotry. Australia was once a Christian country but never the sort of hollering, miracle worshipping, tele-evangelistic freak show that the backers of Reclaim Australia imagine.

This isn’t our country they are reclaiming. We should disavow their ideas, but for the right reasons. Opposing one totalitarianism with another misses the point altogether, providing a contradictory argument which undermines the Secular argument, the argument for tolerance and pluralism, freedom of speech, and religious freedom without religious coercion, within the framework of an agreed set of human rights and values.


Ronald Reagan Taliban234
Is it the Left that fails to oppose Islamism, or Rightwing Imperialists?

It is commonly asserted that Leftists· refuse to criticise Islam (or theocratic Islam).[1] There are variations on this trope: some claim that Leftists refuse to criticise Islam due to a gratuitous sense of political-correctness;[2] some claim that Leftists are blind to the problems inherent within Islam;[3] and some claim that Leftists are actively supporting theocratic or militant Islam through some kind of insidious political collaboration.[4]

An examination of the relationship between the Right, the Left, and Islamism over the last half-century renders this narrative trivial at best, and deceitful at worst.

The Left and Islamism

It could be granted that due to the post-911 wave of hysterical anti-Muslim bigotry from Social-Conservatives throughout the West, many Leftists have found it difficult to navigate the line between valid criticism of Muslims and anti-Muslim bigotry; in consequence, arguably, many Leftists have been hesitant to condemn the views and behaviour of conservative and theocratic Muslims, for fear of also validating this xenophobia and bigotry.[5]

Ostensibly, however, this situation is extremely recent; over the course of the preceding half-century, the Left (and Left-influenced groups and regimes) actually consistently opposed and battled with militant and theocratic Islamic movements; here are some examples:
· The ʿArab-Socialist regime of Nasser (r. 1956-1970)—despite appealing to Egypt’s Islamic heritage on occasion—outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood movement in 1954 and suppressed the organisation henceforth.[6]
· Following the 1964 Revolution in Sudan, the popularity of the Communist Party—a progressive organisation which had promoted women’s rights over the prior decades,[7] etc.—prompted their Islamist opponents to launch a campaign of violence against the Sudanese Left.[8] Several years later (in 1969), another Leftist coup d’état attempted to reverse the conservative-Islamisation of Sudan and return the country towards socially-progressive socialism.[9]
· The Islamic-Socialist regime of Gaddafi in Libya (r. 1969-2011)—despite appealing to Islamic Tradition in their syncretic Socialist ideology—repressed and imprisoned Islamists.[10]
· The Socialist government of Afghanistan—which gained power in a bloody 1978 coup d’état and continued the modernisation attempts of the prior regime, including the introduction of women’s rights—repressed Islamists and fought against the theocratic Muslim ‘strugglers’ (mujāhidūn) of the region during the 1980s.[11]
· Following the 1979 Revolution in Iran, the emerging Islamist regime of Khumaini was threatened by the secular and progressive Left, which was brutally repressed through mass-executions;[12] in 1983, the Communist Party of Iran was officially outlawed.[13]
· In Lebanon, the Communist Party was perceived as a serious threat by Islamists, who perpetrated numerous mass-killings against their leftwing foes during the 1980s; in 1987, Twelver-Shiʿi clerics in Nabatiye issued fatāwā ordering their followers to kill all Communists in the region.[14]
· At present, one of the most notable groups militarily-resisting I.S.I.S in the Middle East is the socialist Kurdistan Workers’ Party.[15]
A pattern seems to emerge from this history – over the last half-century, the progressive Left (including syncretic quasi-leftwing regimes) has consistently opposed and fought theocratic and militant Islamic movements throughout the Muslim world.

The Right and Islamism
In stark juxtaposition to this recurring Leftist legacy of struggle, the imperialistic Right—particularly the U.S.A and the U.K—consistently supported militant and theocratic Islamic movements and regimes (diplomatically, logistically, and financially) throughout the last half-century, usually against the Left and secular-nationalism; here are some examples:
· 1953 – The C.I.A of the Republican Eisenhower administration attempted to collaborate with the theocratic ayatollah Kashani (an inspiration to Khumaini[16]) to overthrow the irreligious, secular-nationalist Prime Minister of Iran, Muhammad Musaddiq.[17][18]
· 1957 – In order to counter and undermine secular-nationalism and socialism in the Middle East, the Republican Eisenhower administration attempted to style King Saud as the ‘Islamic Pope’.[19] Saudi Arabia is one of the most theocratic Islamic states in history, and despite some occasional disagreements and tension, the U.S.A strongly supported Saudi Arabia from WW2 onwards.[20]
· 1965-1966 – The Democratic Johnson administration of the U.S.A—as well as the Liberal Menzies administration of Australia and the Labour Harold administration of the U.K—supported the coup d’état of Suharto and his conservative-Islamist alliance in Indonesia, which entailed the mass-killing of up to a million leftists, workers, peasants, students, and others by the Indonesian military and their militant Islamist allies;[21][22] the C.I.A. even advised these Muslim executioners to identify atheists and Communists as ‘unbelievers’ (kāfirūn), whose deaths were necessary to religiously purify Indonesia.[23]
· 1970 – The Conservative Heath administration of the U.K attempted to undermine the Marxist rebellion ongoing in Oman by spreading religious Islamic propaganda and air-dropping leaflets with slogans such as: “The Hand of God Destroys Communism.”[24]
· 1970-1981 – Successive Republican and Democratic administrations of the U.S.A (from Nixon to Reagan) heavily supported the Islamist regime of Sadat in Egypt, which introduced Islamic Law (s̠arīʿah) into Egyptian state law and the national constitution[25] and encouraged Islamist groups (such as the Muslim Brotherhood) vis-à-vis the secular-nationalism and socialism predominating in the country.[26]
· 1977-1988 – The Pakistani general Muhammad Ziyaʾ al-Haqq—an emphatically pious Muslim—seized power in a coups d’état and undertook a policy of conservative-Islamisation in Pakistan, including the implementation of Islamic Law (s̠arīʿah);[27] he was extensively and enthusiastically supported by U.S-Republican Reagan[28] and British-Conservative Thatcher.[29]
· 1980s – The Republican Reagan administration of the U.S.A and the Conservative Thatcher administration of the U.K both heavily-supported the mujāhidūn (including proto-Qaʿidah) in Afghanistan against the secular, progressive, socialist government. [30] [31] [32]
· 1988-1992 – The Likud administration of Israel enabled and supported the rise of Hamas vis-à-vis the hitherto-dominant secular and leftwing Palestinian groups.[33][34][35]
From all of this history, an inverse pattern seems to emerge vis-à-vis the leftwing legacy described previously – over the course of the last half-century, the Right—and especially, socially-conservative governments in the U.S.A and the U.K—has consistently supported and collaborated with theocratic and militant Islamic movements and regimes throughout the Muslim world, usually against the progressive and secular Left.

Analysis: Imperialism & Media
This set of facts raises two obvious questions. Firstly: why does the Right consistently support theocratic Islamism, and the Left consistently fight it? No simple answer will suffice to account for either, but the following quote from Chomsky provides some insight:
“The U.S. has always supported the most extreme fundamentalist Islamic movements and still does. The oldest and most valued ally of the U.S. in the Arab world is Saudi Arabia, which is also the most extremist fundamentalist state. By comparison, Iran looks like a free democratic society – but Saudi Arabia was doing its job. The enemy for most of this period has been secular nationalism. U.S.-Israeli relations, for example, really firmed up in 1967 when Israel performed a real service for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Namely, it smashed the main center of secular nationalism, (Gamal Abdul) Nasser’s Egypt, which was considered a threat and more or less at war with Saudi Arabia at the time. It was threatening to use the huge resources of the region for the benefit of the population of the countries of the region, and not to fill the pockets of some rich tyrant while vast profits flowed to Western corporations.”[36]
Secondly: why isn’t this reality reflected within the popular media discourse? Once again, a quotation from Chomsky sheds some light on the subject:
“In short, major media—particularly, the elite media that set the agenda that others generally follow—are corporations “selling” privileged audiences to other businesses. It would hardly come as a surprise if the picture of the world they present were to reflect the perspectives and interests of the sellers, the buyers, and the product. Concentration of ownership of the media is high and increasing. Furthermore, those who occupy managerial positions in the media, or gain status within them as commentators, belong to the same privileged elites, and might be expected to share the perceptions, aspirations, and attitudes of their associates, reflecting their own class interests as well. Journalists entering the system are unlikely to make their way unless they conform to these ideological pressures, generally by internalizing the values; it is not easy to say one thing and believe another, and those who fail to conform will tend to be weeded out by familiar mechanisms.”[37]
For an institutional analysis of the media and the various pressures which distort information, see: Edward S. Herman & Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York, U.S.A: Pantheon Books, 1988).

Conclusion
The popular narrative that Leftists shy away from criticising Islam or Islamism, or that the Left actively conspires with ‘Islamism’, is superficial – since WW2, leftwing movements and governments—including quasi-leftist regimes—have consistently opposed militant and theocratic Islamism. By contrast, imperialistic rightwing governments in the West—particularly the U.S.A and the U.K—have a long and sordid history of supporting some of the worst theocratic and militant Islamic movements and regimes in recent history.
· Meaning: Marxists, Socialists, Anarchists, Communists, etc. ‘Liberalism’ is a pro-capitalist ideology, and therefore on the ‘right wing’ of the economic spectrum; the ‘left wing’, by contrast, is anti-capitalism. Consequently, the common conflation of ‘Liberals’ and ‘Leftists’ (as if the two terms were synonyms) demonstrates a confusion in the claims of those articulating the narrative under consideration; this is exemplified in the following article: Nick Cohen, ‘The Great Betrayal: How Liberals Appease Islam’, Standpoint (January/February, 2015): http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/5886/full

[1] For example: Rick Santorum—in a 2007 speech at the University of Oklahoma—claimed: “I will tell you, I am absolutely perplexed that the radical Left in this country—or even the mainstream Left in this country—does not join in opposing the ideology that we confront: radical Islamists.”

[2] Thus, for example, Harris claims that “the political correctness of the Left has made it taboo to even notice the menace of political Islam, leaving only right-wing fanatics to do the job.”

[3] For example: George Jochnowitz, The Blessed Human Race: Essays on Reconsideration (Lanham, U.S.A: Hamilton Books, 2007), p.35: “Leftist writers now feel free to attack Stalin and Mao, and maybe even Castro, but they remain blind to the excesses of Islamic regimes.”

[4] Notably suggested in Unholy Alliance (2004) by Horowitz and The Grand Jihad (2010) by McCarthy; this is also approximately the thesis of John Miller, Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left (London, U.K: One Law for All, 2013), which purports to identity a concerted efforts amongst some British-Leftists to support or defend militant and theocratic Islamism, which is allegedly viewed by some as a legitimate “anti-imperialist force”; these same Leftists also allegedly defend Islam in general—which they hold to be “an oppressed religion”—by means of vilification and false accusations of “racism” and “Islamophobia” (Miller, p.6). Although Miller sometimes relies upon insinuation and inference (e.g., the insinuation of perfidy on the part of German for saying “not condone” instead of “condemn”, and their not explicitly citing Washington and Pennsylvania; Miller, p.7), there are three passable examples of this approximate phenomenon chronicled within his report. Firstly: according to an article written by Tina Becker at Weekly Worker, the leadership of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’—whilst condemning Western imperialism and terrorism—declined to condemn ‘the terrorist attacks on the USA, opposition to the Taliban, for democracy and secularism everywhere’, to maximise their support-base. (Miller, pp.7-8; Miller incorrectly attributes the view of Hoskisson to the StWC at large, however; cf. http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/406/building-for-november-18/) The StWC also collaborated with the Muslim Association of Britain, an organisation with some dubious affiliations such as Qaraḍāwī (Miller, pp.8-24.) Secondly: the largely StWC-derived ‘Respect Party’—co-founded in 2004 by George Galloway—has connections to Islamist individuals, groups, and governments (Miller, pp.25-46). Thirdly: the leadership of the ‘Unite against Fascism’ coalition—founded in 2003 and dominated by the Socialist Workers’ Party—has collaborated with Islamist individuals, groups, and governments (Miller, pp.46-56). Vis-à-vis the grand narrative of Leftist betrayal, however, these three examples seem meagre and sporadic.

[5] Thus, Miller’s claim (p.6) that some Leftists consider Islam to be “an oppressed religion.”

[6] Ray Takeyh & Nikolas K. Gvosdev—The Receding Shadow of the Prophet: The Rise and Fall of Radical Political Islam (Westport, U.S.A: Praeger Publishers, 2004), pp.60-61—note that despite their participation in the 1952 Revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed by Nasser in 1954, given the conflict of their Islamic ideology with Nasser’s ʿArab-Socialism (Nasser also conflicted with proper Communists). In 1965, a mass wave of arrests saw the imprisonment of many seminal Islamist theoreticians, and in 1966 the state executed Saʿīd Quṭb, Muḥammad Yūsuf Awas̠, and ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Ismāʿīl. Despite this, Nasser still drew upon Egypt’s Islamic heritage in order to appeal to conservative Muslims. However, Islam was only really referenced as a facilitating-factor for ʿArab history and civilisation.

[7] Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, ‘Human Rights: Sudan’, in E.W.I.C, V.2, p.278: “Historically, the struggle for Sudanese women’s rights was part of the larger nationalist movement. The first organized group of women, the Sudanese Women’s Union, was formed in 1946 as part of the Sudanese Communist Party. After independence, through the 1950s and 1960s, the Women’s Union published its Ṣawt al-marʾa (Woman’s voice) in which numerous issues relating to the political and social status of women were raised, such as polygamy, divorce reform, and female circumcision. Suffrage was extended to women, not at the time of independence, but after the 1964 popular revolution against the Abboud military government, when women openly and enthusiastically demonstrated for popular democracy. Fāṭima Aḥmad Ibrāhīm, a founder of the Women’s Union, was the first woman elected to parliament in 1965. The Women’s Union was also influential in agitating for the reforms in the Sharīʿa law of marriage and divorce that took place in the 1960s and early 1970s.”

[8] Abdullahi A. Gallab—The First Islamist Republic: Development and Disintegration of Islamism in the Sudan (Aldershot, U.K: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2008), pp.63-64—notes the career of the Islamist politician Al-Ḥasan ʿAbd Allāh at-Turābī, which started in 1964: “Under the leadership of al-Turabi, the Islamists gradually became a mainstay of political activism and agitation, sometimes instigating violent campaigns against the Communist Party both on and off the campuses of universities and other institutes of higher education.” According to Abdel Salam Sidahmed—‘Islamism and the State’, in John Ryle, Justin Willis, Suliman Baldo, & Jok Madut Jok (eds.), The Sudan Handbook (Woodbridge, U.K: James Currey, 2011), p.94—the the Communist Party of Sudan was dissolved in 1965 due to the efforts of Islamists, on the charge of ‘atheism’:

[9] Diaa Rashwan (ed.) (Translated by Mandy McClure), The Spectrum of Islamist Movements, Volume 1 (Berlin, Germany: Verlag Hans Schiler, 2007), p.379: “…following the approval of the first draft of the constitution, the May coup took place, let by the Sudanese communist party in alliance with the Free Officers and the Sudanese left. The first statement issued by the coup leaders announced that they had come to burn the “yellow papers”—a reference to the draft Islamic constitution—and to restore the October 1964 revolution’s original progressive and socialist nature.”

[10] Clinton Bennet—‘Chapter 7: States, Politics, and Political Groups’, in Felicity Crowe, Jolyon Goddard, Ben Hollingum, Sally MacEachern & Henry Russell (eds.), Modern Muslim Societies (Tarrytown, U.S.A: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2011), p.163—notes the syncretic Islamic-Socialism of Gaddafi, and also the fact that “Gaddafi has imprisoned many members of Islamist movements.”

[11] For a brief overview of the 20th Century history of Afghanistan and its societal progression (from the Barakzai Kingdom to the Republic of Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, the Civil War, and the rise of the Taliban), see: Christian Parenti, ‘Ideology and Electricity: The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan’, The Nation (7th/May/2012): http://www.thenation.com/article/167440/ideology-and-electricity-soviet-experience-afghanistan

[12] Jerald A. Combs, The History of American Foreign Policy, Volume 2: From 1895, Third Edition (Armonk, U.S.A: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 2008), p.269: “The ayatollah arrested, purged, and executed moderates, Communists, and religious and ethnic dissidents.” Marsh E. Burfeindt, ‘Rapprochement in Iran’, in Thomas A. Johnson (ed.), Power, National Security, and Transformational Global Events: Challenges Confronting America, China, and Iran (Boca Raton, U.S.A: C.R.C Press, 2012), p.190: “The resulting purge led to the firing squad deaths of tens of thousands of middle-class professionals and secularists, often within hours of being taken into custody.”

[13] Ihsan A. Hijazi (‘Communist Party in Lebanon Hurt’, The New York Times (4th/March/1987): http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/04/world/communist-party-in-lebanon-hurt.html) noted: “Shiite enmity for the Communists heightened after the Iranian Government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini outlawed Iran’s Communist Party four years ago and arrested 75 of its leaders on charges of spying for Moscow.”

[14] Hijazi (‘Communist Party in Lebanon Hurt’) noted the mass-killing of Communists by Islamists, the fatāwā of the clerics to purge all Communists, the persecution of Communist due to their alleged ‘atheism’ by Islamists, and the Iranian involvement.

[15] ‘PKK joins battle against Isil’, Gulf News (15th/July/2014): http://gulfnews.com/news/region/syria/pkk-joins-battle-against-isil-1.1360183

[16] Edward Willett—Ayatollah Khomeini (New York, U.S.A: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2004), p.37—notes that “Khomeini greatly admired Ayatollah Seyyed Abolqasem Kashani” (who opposed British imperialism): “After the Allied invasion, Kashani was arrested for his anti-British opinions. That made him a hero to the younger members of the clergy. When he was released in 1945, he became closely associated with the Feda’iyan-e Islam. Khomeini paid frequent visits to Kashani’s home.” Elsewhere, Willett (p.34) notes: “Khomeini’s friend Kashani supported Mosaddeq for a time. However, Mosaddeq would not support the Feda’iyan’s demand to apply shari’a law. Kashani withdrew his support and went on to help General Fazollah Zahedi—with the help of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British—overthrow Mossadeq in August 1953.”

[17] Algar, ‘Kās̲h̲ānī’, in E.I.2, V.4, p.696: “With the beginning of the campaign for the nationalization of the oil industry, Kās̲h̲ānī’s importance grew as he came to be one of the chief organizers of mass support for Dr. Muḥammad Muṣaddiḳ’s National Front. He had, too, a number of representatives in the Mad̲j̲lis, a group known as the Mud̲j̲āhidīn-i Islām. Personal differences arose between Kās̲h̲ānī and Musaddik, and Kās̲h̲ānī became alarmed, moreover, at the militant irreligiosity that showed itself in the last days of Musaddiḳ’s rule. He therefore supported the royalist coup d’état of 19 August 1953 that overthrew Muṣaddiḳ.”

[18] According to C.I.A records, the C.I.A attempted to collaborate with religious leaders such as Kās̠ānī: Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (Hoboken, U.S.A: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008), p.178: “The indispensable Assadollah Rashidian, however, was worried that the mob would not be big enough. He urged Roosevelt to strengthen his hand by making a last-minute deal with Muslim religious leaders, many of whom had large followings and could produce crowds on short notice. The most important of them, Ayatollah Kashani, had already turned against Mossadegh and would certainly be sympathetic. To encourage him, Rashidian suggested a quick application of cash. Roosevelt agreed. Early Wednesday morning he sent $10,000 to Ahmad Aramash, a confidant of Kashani’s, with instructions that it be passed along to the holy man.”

[19] Rachel Bronson—Thicker than Oil: America’s Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia (Oxford, U.K: Oxford University Press, 2006), p.27—notes a letter from Eisenhower to King ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz mentioning “a shared interest in fighting “godless communism.”” Saudi Arabia was also held to be a counter to the revolutionary secular-nationalism of the Middle East during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Thus, “Eisenhower encouraged Saudi Arabia’s King Saud (reigned 1953-64) to become a political and religious counter to the charismatic Nasser, and the White House began referring to King Saud somewhat optimistically as “an Islamic pope.””

[20] Wynbrandt (A Brief History of Saudi Arabia, pp.195-197) notes the replacement of the U.K by the U.S.A as Saudi Arabia’s key backer during WW2, despite the Saudi opposition towards Zionism (which Roosevelt supported); Wynbrandt (pp.213) further notes the straining of U.S-Saudi relations under the pro-Israeli Truman and later during the 1973 War (Wynbrandt, p.231), but these differences were overcome: the 1979 U.S.S.R intervention in Afghanistan brought “Saudi Arabia and the United States together in creating an army of Islamic fighters, the mujahideen, to battle the Soviets” (Wynbrandt, p.233).

[21] Robert W. Hefner, ‘Chapter 7: Religion: Evolving Pluralism’, in Donald K. Emmerson (ed.), Indonesia beyond Suharto: Polity, Economy, Society, Transition (Armonk, U.S.A: Asia Society, 1999), p.223: “With covert military support, several Muslim youth groups organized violent attacks on PKI headquarters—opening actions in a fiercely anticommunist campaign that would consume the country. By the middle of 1966, hundreds of thousands of real or suspected communists had been slaughtered and the party leadership had been liquidated. Although associations representing Indonesia’s minority religions took part in the killings in some locations, Muslim youth groups working in cooperation with the armed forces were often at the forefront of the campaign.”

[22] Mike Head, ‘Interviews and documents show… US orchestrated Suharto’s 1965-66 slaughter in Indonesia’, World Socialist Website (19th/July/1999): http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/1999/07/indo1-j19.html

[23] Olaf Schumann—‘Multifaith Dialogue in Diverse Settings’, in Viggo Mortensen (ed.), Theology and the Religions: A Dialogue (Grand Rapids, U.S.A: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003), pp.202-203—notes that when Suharto and his Islamist allies took power, they were influenced by the C.I.A: “Communists and atheists and those accused of sympathizing with them were now, according to the advice of the CIA and Western economic “experts,” treated as “infidels” (kâfirûn) and therefore killed or confined to prison camps, and thus the Indonesian nation had become a truly religious one, a “nation of believers,” in accordance with the Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa.”

[24] Ian F. W. Beckett—‘The British Counterinsurgency Campaign in Dhofar 1965-75’, in Daniel Marston & Carter Malkasian (eds.), Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare (Oxford, U.K: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2010), pp.182-183—notes that the British military realised “that Islam could be used against PFLOAG at the very moment that the government information service was being established by Captain Tim Landon. Constantly re-iterated themes were “The Hand of God Destroys Communism” and “Islam is Our Way, Freedom is our Aim.” Leaflets were air-dropped on the jebel. Notices were also predominantly displayed in towns and markets, notably where inhabitants queued at perimeter gates for the customary searches looking for weapons and excessive amounts of food or medical supplies. There was a new government weekly, Al Watan, and, even more importantly, Radio Dhofar began to broadcast throughout the province.”

[25] Anthony McDermott, Egypt from Nasser to Mubarak: A Flawed Revolution (Abington, U.K: Routledge, 2013), p.192: “In 1971, Sadat had the second article of the constitution amended, making sharia a major source of law. In 1977, in the face of the mounting extremism, the government announced legislative proposals such as the death penalty for apostasy and adultery, and whipping for drunkenness.” Some of these laws were not actually implemented, but in 1980 “the People’s Assembly approved an amendment in the second article of the Constitution, taking the whole issue an important stage beyond Sadat’s 1971 amendment – for the change made sharia the rather than a main source of legislation.”

[26] Joel Beinin & Joe Stork, ‘On the Modernity, Historical Specificity, and International Context of Political Islam’, in Joel Beinin & Joe Stork (eds.), Political Islam: Essays from Middle East Report (New York, U.S.A: I. B. Tauris & Co., Ltd., 1997), p.11: “Similarly, there was no hint of any US reproach in the 1970s when the Egyptian government of Anwar al-Sadat, then on its way to becoming the second largest recipient (after Israel) of US economic and military aid, encouraged the Muslim Brothers and its radical offshoots to organize against nationalists and leftists.”

[27] Michel Boivin—‘Ziyāʾ al-Ḥaḳḳ’, in E.I.2, V.11, p.518—relates the political rise of Muḥammad and his overt religiosity, before noting the following: “From 1979 onwards, Zia promulgated a series of Islamic laws hailed by Mawdūdī as the first steps towards the installation of an Islamic state. The first series, known as the “Hudood Ordinances”, created a category of “Islamic crimes”, such as adultery, rape, theft, fornication, etc. These crimes were to be dealt with by special courts with the task of applying the Ḳurʾānic penalties. These courts were themselves placed under the authority of the Federal S̲h̲aria Court, made up of judges and ʿulamāʾ. In 1980, the second series of measures envisaged the Islamisation of the economic sector. Two Islamic taxes, the zakāt and the ʿus̲h̲r, were created. Bank loans were regulated on a basis of the Ḳurʾānic prohibition of usury, ribā. The law envisaged a division of the risks run by the borrower and the lender. Interest was fixed on the basis of a common agreement, and indexed according to the financial performance of the banks.”

[28] Samina Ahmed—‘Reviving State Legitimacy in Pakistan’, in Simon Chesterman, Michael Ignatieff, & Ramesh C. Thakur (eds.), Making States Work: State Failure and the Crisis of Governance (Tokyo, Japan: United Nations University Press, 2005), pp.157-158—notes the strong U.S support for the Ziyāʾ al-Ḥaqq regime, despite its brutality: “Benefiting from billions of US military and economic assistance, as well as US diplomatic support, the Zia regime successfully warded off its civilian contenders for 11 long years.”

In a 1982 speech to Muḥammad, Reagan proclaimed: “President Zia, Begum Zia, distinguished guests, it’s an honor for me to welcome you to the White House this evening.

Mr. President, our talks this morning underlined again the strong links between our countries. We find ourselves even more frequently in agreement on our goals and objectives. And we, for example, applaud your deep commitment to peaceful progress in the Middle East and South Asia, a resolve which bolsters our hopes and the hopes of millions.

In the last few years, in particular, your country has come to the forefront of the struggle to construct a framework for peace in your region, an undertaking which includes your strenuous efforts to bring peaceful resolution to the crisis in Afghanistan — a resolution which will enable the millions of refugees currently seeking shelter in Pakistan to go home in peace and honor. Further, you’ve worked to ensure that progress continues toward improving the relationship between Pakistan and India. And in all these efforts the United States has supported your objectives and will applaud your success.”

Reagan went on to claim: “Our relationship is deep and longstanding.” Finally, Reagan concluded: “And, Mr. President, I propose a toast to you, to the people of Pakistan, and to the friendship that binds our nations together.”

[29] In a 1981 speech to Muḥammad, Thatcher (cited in: Margaret Thatcher, ‘Speech at banquet given by Pakistan President (Zia Ul Haq)’, Margaret Thatcher Foundation (8th/October/1981): http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/104716) proclaimed that due to the threat of Socialism and other reasons, “Pakistan deserves the support of Britain and of all the nations of the world who are genuinely interested in bringing about the withdrawal of Soviet troops. On behalf of Britain, let me confirm to you—Pakistan has our support in the great problems you are facing. As Prime Minister of the country which at present holds the Presidency of the European Community, I can say too that the ten member states of that Community support you. We admire deeply the courage and skill you have shown in handling the crisis.”

[30] William Blum (‘The Historical US Support for al-Qaeda’, Foreign Policy Journal (10th/January/2014): http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/01/10/the-historical-us-support-for-al-qaeda/) notes the U.S support for the mujāhidūn in Afghanistan during the 1980s, along with other brutal groups around the world.

[31] Owen Bowcott (‘UK discussed plans to help mujahideen weeks after Soviet invasion of Afghanistan’, The Guardian (30th/December/2010): http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/dec/30/uk-mujahideen-afghanistan-soviet-invasion) notes: “Within three weeks of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the cabinet secretary, Sir Robert Armstrong, was negotiating how to channel covert military aid towards the “Islamic resistance” that was fighting the Russians. Details of how swiftly clandestine weapons routes were opened up to aid the mujahideen emerge from secret cabinet documents released to the National Archives today under the 30-year rule.” Bowcott also records: “Armstrong said intervention “would make more difficult the process of Soviet pacification of Afghanistan and [ensure] that process takes much longer than it would otherwise do; and the existence of a guerrilla movement in Afghanistan would be a focus of Islamic resistance which we should be wanting to continue to stimulate”.” Finally, Bowcott also notes: “The west’s arming of the mujahideen in Afghanistan has been seen as one of the contributing factors in the rise of al-Qaida. Osama bin Laden was a prominent Saudi financier of the mujahideen.”

[32] Martin Beckford (‘National Archives: Britain agreed secret deal to back Mujahideen’, The Telegraph (30th/December/2010): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8215187/National-Archives-Britain-agreed-secret-deal-to-back-Mujahideen.html) notes the Western support for the mujāhidūn in Afghanistan during the 1980s, including proto-Qāʿidah: “Newly published papers show that one of the country’s top civil servants held a private summit with senior American, French and German politicians at which they decided to provide “discreet support for Afghan guerrilla resistance”. One faction of the Mujahideen fighters, who were also covertly funded by the CIA, went on to become founding members of the al-Qa’eda terrorist network.”

[33] Yael Klein (‘WikiLeaks: “Israel actively supported Hamas”’, Jerusalem Online (4th/August/2014): http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/middle-east/israeli-palestinian-relations/wikileaks-israel-actively-supported-hamas-6980) notes: “During Operation “Protective Edge”, news leaks website WikiLeaks exposes secret documents which were passed between American diplomats in the 1980’s. These documents allegedly show that Israel was interested in enabling Hamas activity in its beginning, intending to weaken the Palestine Liberation Organization and ending the first Intifada.

Did Israel take part in enabling Hamas to reach its current dimensions and abilities? Documents from the 1980’s belonging to the leaking website WikiLeaks show that Israel enabled Hamas to act in the first Intifada in order to enable it to strengthen, thus to cause a splitting of the Palestinian nation – in order to weaken the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which was responsible for the Intifada.”

[34] Andrew Higgins (‘How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas’, The Wall Street Journal (24th/January/2009): http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB123275572295011847) notes: “”Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.”

[35] Robert Dreyfuss (‘How Israel and the United States Helped to Bolster Hamas’, Democracy Now! (26th/January/2006): http://www.democracynow.org/2006/1/26/how_israel_and_the_united_states) chronicles the rise of Hamas, noting: “And starting in 1967, the Israelis began to encourage or allow the Islamists in the Gaza and West Bank areas, among the Palestinian exiled population, to flourish. The statistics are really quite staggering. In Gaza, for instance, between 1967 and 1987, when Hamas was founded, the number of mosques tripled in Gaza from 200 to 600. And a lot of that came with money flowing from outside Gaza, from wealthy conservative Islamists in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. But, of course, none of this could have happened without the Israelis casting an approving eye upon it.” Dreyfuss further notes: “So there’s plenty of evidence that the Israeli intelligence services, especially Shin Bet and the military occupation authorities, encouraged the growth of the Muslim Brotherhood and the founding of Hamas. There are many examples and incidents of that. But there were armed clashes, of course, on Palestinian university campuses in the ’70s and ’80s, where Hamas would attack P.L.O., PFLP, PDFLP and other groups, with clubs and chains. This was before guns became prominent in the Occupied Territories.

Even that, however — there’s a very interesting and unexplained incident. Yassin was arrested in 1983 by the Israelis. On search of his home, they found a large cache of weapons. This would have been a fairly explosive event, but for unexplained reasons, a year later Yassin was quietly released from prison. He said at the time that the guns were being stockpiled not to fight the Israeli occupation authorities, but to fight other Palestinian factions.”

[36] Cited in: Amina Chaudary & Noam Chomsky, ‘On Religion and Politics: Noam Chomsky interviewed by Amina Chaudary’, Islamica Magazine, Issue 19, (2007): http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/200704–.htm

[37] Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies (London, U.K: Pluto Press, 1989), p.8.

by Klingschor


ayaan_hirsi_ali_nancy_drew
Exposing Anti-Islam Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Latest Deception

One of America’s most prominent Islam bashers has a long history of making things up.


cruz.insane
Rafeal Cruz: ‘Atheism Leads To Molestation’ And 4 Other Crazy Things He Said

Now that Teapublican Texas Senator Ted Cruz has officially tossed his clown hat in the 2016 presidential ring, examining this man’s extraordinarily insane background and comments is going to be easier than spearfishing out of a barrel.

Enter Ted Cruz’s Christian Taliban dad, Rafael Cruz.

Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz’s father, is slowly proving my theory that bat shit can be entered into one’s DNA. The rabidly right-wing preacher often makes extremist comments in support of his moronic right-wing fundamentalism. Relying on wacky Dominionist teachings, the batshit whisperer and father of our newly anointed 2016 republican presidential candidate, previously described his son as being the “self-anointed king of society.” It’s quite interesting how these fundamentalists are so vigorously pro-life when you consider everything they say makes pro-choice the greatest argument.

Here are 5 of the Craziest Things Said by Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz’s Preacher Daddy:

Giving a talk at OK2A, an Oklahoma Second Amendment advocacy group (Jesus loves AR-15s), Rafael Cruz said that atheism leads to sexual abuse of children:

1. There is no moral absolute, which means we operate by situational ethics, which unfortunately is something being taught in every high school in America. This means that right and wrong is dependent upon the circumstances. Of course, without God there is no value to life. That leads to immorality, that leads to sexual abuse, and there is no hope. They live without hope, because there is nothing more.”(Raw Story)

2. We have our work cut out for us,” Cruz said “We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago. I’d like to send him back to Kenya, back to Indonesia.” He went on to say, “We have to unmask this man. This is a man that seeks to destroy all concept of God. And I will tell you what, this is classical Marxist philosophy. Karl Marx very clearly said Marxism requires that we destroy God because government must become God.” (MySanAntonio.com)

3. Cruz lying bout Obama on abortion: “Do you realize,” he asked a room of conservatives, “the first bill President Obama signed into law was to legalize third trimester abortions?” (The first law Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, according to The New York Times.)(MySanAntonio.com)

4. “Socialism requires that government becomes your god. That’s why they have to destroy the concept of God. They have to destroy all loyalties except loyalty to the government. That’s what’s behind homosexual marriage. It’s really more about the destruction of the traditional family than about exalting homosexuality, because you need to destroy, also, loyalty to the family.” (MySanAntonio.com)

5. On anti-gay discrimination: “The left is trying to redefine the issue as a civil right, not as a personal choice. They have gone to the extent to even try to make it illegal for counselors to administer to these people that have certain sexual tendencies to try to work with them from the Christian, biblical standpoint,” Cruz said. (MySanAntonio.com)


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Suicide rates go up under conservative governments

Too many know at the deepest level, the black hopelessness of suicide: its words and feelings. It is the most profound expression of despair that can be enacted by an individual. I have heard the testimonies from people contemplating suicide and from those left behind after suicide; the aptly named survivors. Around six people suicide every day in Australia. Males, outnumber females, [in this sad statistic], by approximately three times as many. The numbers of those effected by a single suicide can be modestly estimated as at least five more for each death. This does not even encompass the toll exacted from suicide attempts and linked depression.

After eleven years working in suicide prevention, and responding to the desperation of those who saw no way out including, those who have tried and been supported to continue to live,I needed out myself. It became too hard to defend the worth of living against the torrent and outpouring of despair

So often I had focused on interconnectedness, the reduction of social isolation and affirmation of the worth of each single life. But this may be only part of the greater picture.

It seems that what governments do, or fail to do, to protect their citizens, does matter.

Studies of suicide rates under conservative governments compared to what I shall term, socially responsible governments, have shown that suicide rates go up under conservative governments.

Not only has this been linked recently in the US to austerity measures but also to Australian and British statistics on suicide. According to an article in the New York Times it’s not just the relationship between unemployment and poverty that kills, it’s the removal of safety nets .

Suicide rates in Greece soared under austerity, rising by eighteen per cent in 2010 to twenty five per cent higher in 2011. Cost cutting sackings,and pension losses, are sited as causal.

Researchers David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu report that:

Iceland avoided a public health disaster even though it experienced, in 2008, the largest banking crisis in history, relative to the size of its economy. After three main commercial banks failed, total debt soared, unemployment increased ninefold, and the value of its currency, the krona, collapsed.

Iceland opted to not implement austerity measures, instead to slowly pay off the debt. Its suicide rate did not increase.

At the time that I was working at Lifeline Melbourne, both conservative governments, in Victoria under Premier Jeff Kennett and Federally under Prime Minister John Howard bequeathed funding for suicide prevention programs. Incidentally, the Kennet program for youth suicide prevention, was axed by the next conservative government of Ted Baillieu. But the original funding, by wiser conservatives may have been in response to the increase in suicide rates in the late 1990’s. Or perhaps to an awareness of the rumoured ‘curse of conservatism’ that spikes the suicide rates?

So why might this be happening under a conservative government and less so under non conservative governments. As someone who worked for years in the not for profit sector and health industry, I recall the expectant angst of cuts in relation to welfare health and support services. These were dreaded, with the change to a conservative government Invariably the cuts came, with the cries of justification and of saving the economy. The tough measures were mostly directed at the poor and powerless, and at hapless public servants

This was all done in the name of fiscal responsibility. However oddly less often directed at the upper echelons. The battle for the domestic dollar is usually waged in lower socioeconomic fields. For example the rumoured raising of the tax free threshold from $6000 to $18000

Or Joe Hockey’s menacing denouncement of the ‘age of entitlement.’ In his sights were

“Government spending on a range of social programs including education, health, housing, subsidized transport, social safety nets and retirement benefits that have reached extraordinary levels as a percentage of GDP.” Now we may also add to this list, programs for sustainable living and reduction adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

I add this as a failing of the state to assume any responsibility for the most vulnerable of all: future generations who have no vote.

The current Australian government has signaled its priorities in the removal of mentions from new ministerial portfolios. No mention of mental health, aging, or disability.

The trimming of this nomenclature is not merely semantic or an economy of words. When you take words from Government Ministerial Portfolios, the lines of accountability and responsibility become blurred. To whom do interest groups appeal? How will the new National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS] be administered without a dedicated ministry.

When issues arise as they must, who is the go to person?

Glaringly there is no Science Minister and no Climate Change Minister. Because the official stance of this government is that climate change is not worthy of its concern. There is however a Sports Minister. Nor is there a designated person to reduce homelessness. Tony Abbott has said that homelessness is a lifestyle choice and that if elected he would not support the current homelessness program.

The Climate Commission that empowered the public with information on the science of climate change, has been dismantled. Foreign Aid has been cut by over $4 billion. Thus reducing our help as a rich nation, to the poorer nations.

So why might suicide rates rise, under a conservative austerity geared government?

Edwin Shneidman, who analyzed hundreds of suicide notes found the following themes were expressed. There is unbearable pain and the desire to escape form the pain, not necessarily a wish to die. Thinking becomes constricted and problems appear insurmountable. The suicidal person feels despair about the future combined with feelings of helplessness, worthlessness hopelessness and of isolation.

If the community and the state do not offer a helping hand, to the vulnerable, we leave them to grapple alone with a sense of worthlessness. We in effect say that they are not worth much. Suicide is strongly linked to depression, mental illness, trauma, grief, loss, substance abuse and gambling. Ironically we are all vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life; but in the brave new world of neo conservative philosophy, individuals are seen as solely.

responsible for their own misfortune. Government is to be kept small with regard to the so called welfare state. But as Tony Abbott has declared,Australia is under new management and is now open for business.

This conjures up a metaphor of the state as big business, not as a guardian of its citizen’s well being.

What will happen to the twelve thousand public servants Abbott has threatened to sack, as though hitherto they have been a useless drain on the budget? As though their lives, families, careers and well being were of no account. Why have they been treated so appallingly as to have their intended axing trumpeted on the air waves, as though their employment was abusing Australia’s economy?

Ultimately governments that lack compassion, set the bar very low for the entire community and the wider world we all inhabit. They model that this is a world where the so called strongest and the bullies survive and flourish, while the poor and vulnerable of our community and the world are to be abandoned.

I for one would find this an exceedingly depressing place to inhabit, so perhaps for some it does become an impossible place, in which to go on living.

 Lyn Bender is a psychologist in private practice. She is a former manager of Lifeline Melbourne and is working on her first novel.



Chapel Hill Murders: Between A Simplistic Media And Human Complexity

via. InagistBy Garibaldi

The shock I felt following the execution style killings of Chapel Hill students Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha has made it hard to write. These murders represent a low point: murders upon murders have left my heart paralyzed and I know I am not the only one, many of us feel this way. I question how much we are doing here and how much we have accomplished on Loonwatch.

Every week, more than ever, we seem to be hurled from one crisis to the next: the destruction of Gaza and thousands of its innocent lives, attacks on a Kosher market in Paris, a satirical/Islamophobic tabloid, the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot, the burning alive of a teenage Yemeni boy in a US drone attack, attacks on a Synagogue in Copenhagen, impending war in Iraq, the murders at Chapel Hill, the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians, and the many untold murders taking place everyday in our cities, along the US-Mexico border, in Central Africa, Nigeria, South Sudan and many other places I am unable to recount in this short space.

Media Hypocrisy and Double Standards

These events however do highlight the double standards and hypocrisy of media reporting, in which some lives matter more than others and many facts that matter are either ignored or conveniently dismissed.

Interestingly, Russell Brand, a sort of jester-philosopher, has proven to be far more engaging and nuanced in his breakdown of the media through his YouTube channel, Trews News, than most of what passes today for media criticism.

In his most recent episode of Trews News, Brand deconstructs media coverage of Chapel Hill by comparing it with attacks in Denmark:

Chapel Hill Vs. Copenhagen: Which is terrorism? Russell Brand, The Trews (E257)

He points out the reinforcement in the media of narratives about Muslims as dangerous terrorists and Islam as the culprit of evil ideas that along with its votaries are the chief threats to “Western values.” This is in contrast to the way Craig Hicks was depicted, a man who we were immediately told (after an initial media silence on the story until Twitter users picked it up) was simply motivated by some strange and inexplicable rage over a parking space.

A lot of ink was spilled to indicate how gentle he was, how he supported gay rights, religious freedom and even loved puppies. His atheism/anti-theism many have argued was inconsequential and not a factor in his killings. Care was taken to say and repeat, ad nauseum, that either this had nothing to do with religion or, in fact, there was something else behind the reason why Hicks just went ‘haywire’ and murdered his Muslim neighbors: perhaps he was radicalized by a movie or he was just a gun nut.

The Simplistic vs. the Complex: The Case of Bill Maher on Muslim Americans

This brings me to my point: when non-Muslims, specifically Whites carry out murders such as these, media coverage tends to look beyond superficiality and digs into complexity. Muslim perpetrators (and often victims as well) of violence are denied this complexity; Islam/Islamism/Muslim cultures are simply to blame.

Take one instructional example that parallels in many ways the events in Chapel Hill. When Bridges TV owner Muzzammil Hassan killed his wife, Bill Maher had a whole segment about the murder on Real Time.

Hassan, gruesomely killed his wife by murdering her with what Maher described in racialized tones as a “scimitar.” Maher, would repeat the line about the scimitar again during the segment and also did a cartoonish ‘Arab’ accent (even though Hassan was Pakistani-American), while swinging an imagined sword in the air in a mock imitation of Hasan killing his wife (all for cheap laughs).

To drive the points home that this was a unique Islamic murder, a degree worse than murders perpetrated by “red-blooded White American males,” and that there are no trustworthy Muslim Americans he had Islamophobe Brigitte Gabriel on the show as a special guest:

Bill Maher: He [Hasan] ran a TV station specifically to highlight how Moslems are being misconstrued in the public eye [audience laughter]…(laughs)…and then he cuts her head off with a sword…(laughs)…and so I wanted to have this lady come on and comment on this. I read about her many times, she is the founder of ACT! For America and author of They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam And How We Can Do It. Please Welcome Brigitte Gabriel. [applause].”

Now this scares people because people think here’s a guy living in America 25 years, he’s assimilated, we can trust him and then he takes a giant sword off the wall and cuts his wife’s head off.
(emphasis mine)

Maher implies here that Muslims, even those who you may know and are living exemplary lives, are untrustworthy, to be feared and a fifth column.

Now enter Gabriel to jump all over Maher’s offering:

Brigitte Gabriel: That’s right…[audience laughter]…and then he is touted as the exemplatory moderate Moslem who actually started Bridges TV which is an Islamic television to clean up the image of Islam. And what does he do? He beheads his wife, calls the police bragging about how he cut her head off and the police shows up and there’s the lady laying on the floor, in the TV station that they founded together and her head is next to her body and this guy did it in the name of honor. This is what we call a moderate Muslim businessman in the United States, it’s frightening. [audience hoots] (emphasis mine)

Maher: Well say what you really think…[audience laughter]

Gabriel: You can’t even make this stuff up.

Maher: I know.

Gabriel on Maher's Real Time.

Be afraid, be afraid of Muslims anywhere and everywhere we are being told. They cannot be trusted. I wonder if that crossed Craig Hicks mind while he plotted and planned the murder of his Muslim neighbors?

Next, Maher asks the obvious question, why is this murder different than other instances of domestic violence?

Maher: Let me ask you the other question: C’mon there are red-blooded White Americans who strangle their wives and OJ killed his wife with a knife, it wasn’t a giant sword, you know. What about the argument that this is just bigotry towards the Moslems to extrapolate all of this from this incident?

Gabriel: No, it’s very different and I have to make it very clear that I do come from the Middle East, I am an Arabic woman from Lebanon and this is strictly an Islamic practice and here’s the difference: when Westerners in the West kill their wives they usually kill their wife and run away, they try to hide the problem, they try to lie, they try to hide the evidence, [audience laughter] they do not call the police and brag about how they killed her. [audience laughter] You know there’s a major difference there. [audience applause] (emphasis mine)

Maher is asking Gabriel to give some reasons to justify the preset conclusion that they have already made regarding the murder; that it is “Islamic.” First, I’d like to point out that it’s quite funny to hear Gabriel say she is an “Arabic woman” when she has repeated in the past that Arabs are “barbarians” who “have no soul.” I guess when it is beneficial, why not be Arab, especially if it will give you supposed credibility to bash Arabs and Muslims.

In any case, we are to believe that this is an “Islamic murder” and worse than when non-Muslims kill because the guy allegedly bragged about it! This is so idiotic that even Maher has to make the obvious quip that well, it doesn’t make much of a difference to a dead wife.

Maher: [laugheter] But that doesn’t make that much of a difference to the wife…[laughter]…[applause]…You think he had that scimitar up on the wall just as a conversation piece?…[laughter]…(Ay-rab voice)“I keep it up there to remind me how far we come.” And then one day the wifey went too far, and he went: ‘bitch you are (makes sword cutting motion)’…and cut her head off.

Although, Maher makes this slight joke, he is still all in on leading the racist, anti-Arab, Islamophobic train of hate that imputes Hassan’s actions as a consequence of Islam and Muslim culture.

Next, Gabriel in her quintessential ditzy fashion tears down all her earlier claims that this was an “Islam” inspired murder by contradicting her assertion that Hassan was (her words) “an exemplatory moderate Muslim.”

In fact, he had a serial history of domestic abuse, as she herself acknowledges.:

Gabriel: Yea…off with her head. Listen this is a premeditated, calculated murder. She has reported many times domestic abuse and remember this is his third wife and the other two left him because of domestic abuse because he was beating them. This lady wanted to leave him because she was fearing for her life and finally he killed her and it’s a tragedy and I thank you for bringing it to light because no one in the mainstream media is covering the story.

Maher: I know. You start a TV station to highlight how moderate the Moslems are and you make one mistake. [laughter]

Maher, caps the surreal segment with a buffoonish reassertion of the theme that in his back-and-forth with Gabriel he’s been driving home from the beginning: “Moslems” by definition cannot be trusted.

Not only is this rhetoric the type that shapes Western cultural attitudes (Real Time has millions of viewers worldwide), it contributes to an environment where Muslim lives are dehumanized, suspect and not worthy of the same respect as other citizens. It is no wonder that behaviors such as hate crimes, discriminatory laws and police practices, as well as invasions of whole nations are normative and accepted.

It also highlights how simplistic answers and mono-causal reasons (Islam/Muslim culture) are forwarded when Muslims are involved in violence: whether it is domestic violence related, as in the case of Hassan, or the shootings perpetrated in Denmark by Omar El-Hussein, a young man who had a history of violence.

Man Kills Three Muslim Students At University Of North CarolinaIt is not surprising that the week of the Chapel Hill murders, Bill Maher made no mention of them on his program. No doubt he was uncomfortable, maybe in the back of his head he just couldn’t compute how an avowed anti-theist and self-proclaimed militant atheist (much like himself) could commit these grisly and horrid murders.

Why didn’t he, as he did with Hassan’s murder, deride Hicks’ faith based beliefs? Couldn’t he do a segment about how Hicks was an “exemplatory” citizen for 55 years of his life and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he took those “conversation pieces” (dozens of guns) down and for some inexplicable (insert: anti-theism) reason used them to murder his neighbors?

No, he can’t because it doesn’t jibe with his belief in muscular “9/11 liberalism” and his confident hatred of Islam as the “worst of the worst.” He can’t because he won’t countenance his particular sect, New-Atheism, being twisted in this manner. Maybe, it also makes him uncomfortable because it highlights the fact that human beings are not simplistic beings but complex and that maybe there are many reasons and factors driving them to do good and horrible things.


Egging on the Bolter …

Framed, a classic set up, unsourced rumours, gutless, unnamed Liberal heroes, and where are the leftist feminists defending Peta Credlin?

The lefties, they fight for a side, not for a principle.

You know, the principle of unprincipled abuse – or was it just complete blindness?

When it gets to that level, feel free to give the pond a call. We’ll do our feminist best …

Sorry, you might have already guessed, the pond broke a golden rule, and watched a few minutes of the Bolter in a furious condition of indignation, consternation, shock, outrage and horror at the way the Abbott is being set up for a fall.

Anyway, what’s wrong with throwing up a few good ideas for discussion – like suggesting that dinkum Aussies organise a unilateral invasion of Iraq …

You know, just floating a thought bubble, just putting a wacky zany idea out there, just running the idea up a flag pole and seeing if anyone salutes, just seeing if some of the chewing gum sticks to the wall, just throwing it into the cloud so everyone can see it and run it past the taste buds to see if it’s got enough bite.You know, barn and brain storming …

Sorry, don’t worry if it’s actually a dumb as stick idea.

I mean, if you’re afraid of socking the world with your best ideas, why that’s how so many great, inventive ideas get lost.

Naturally the Bolter,saw signs of hope and change in his man, before moving on to denounce click bait stories and the shocking behaviour of Murdochians, who’d troll their mother for a dollar …

Everybody on the panel seemed to agree the reptiles of Oz were the lowest of the low, regularly abusing government and running nonsensical, devious, gutter snipe stories, full of innuendo and rumour and rarely a grain of truth.

Sheesh, they even bagged the Howard government over the wheat scandal … what an appalling thing to do. Everyone knows that was one of the Howard government’s finest hours … just ask Michael Kroger …

What a disgusting paper the lizard Oz is!

And the buggers are still at it, unrepentant.

Coming at Abbott in wave after wave, like hordes of Japanese soldiers in the second world war, armed with weapons provided by pig iron Bob:

Yes, just when did he stop beating his wife …

He’s refused to answer questions about “informal ideas”. As if having a great informal idea was some sort of crime …

And that’s why this country is bereft of bright ideas. Bright generals like Abbott are now too frightened to lead with their very best thinking …

And look, the bloody shameless reptiles have even used footage of the Bolter’s report to illustrate their story.

Have they no shame?

What’s that you say? News Corp produces the Bolter’s report? It’s the only way he can get on the box?

So when the Bolter blathers on about merging the ABC and SBS, and slashing their budgets, he’s actually just another conflicted, self-interested leech or tick on chairman Rupert’s purse?

Well fancy that, lordy lordy, lah di dah …

Time for the pond to deliver its usual sophisticated, elegant insight into the world of the commentariat.

Take it away Bald Archies, and more baldness here and there.