Posts Tagged “neocrusade”
America’s Neocrusaders are a strange and sometimes conflicted lot. They rage and fume at what they view as the excesses and extremes of Islam, and want to ban it from the US (if not eradicate it everywhere), but frequently they’re guilty of more than a few excesses and extremes of their own. An example of this is Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL, a Christofascist crank I’ve blogged about many times, who turns out to have run afoul of the authorities in Germany during the time he tried to missionize there.
A more recent example, though, is the character who appears to have created and promoted the anti-Islam movie “Innocence of Muslims.” The New York Times reports that he’s had criminal convictions, and has been questioned about the way he marketed his video (WebCite cached article):
One of the men behind the anti-Muslim film trailer on YouTube that has sparked violent protests at Western embassies across the Middle East, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was taken in for questioning by federal probation officers early Saturday morning, law enforcement officials said. …
In June 2010, Mr. Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for orchestrating a check-kiting scheme.
Though he served only about a year in prison, part of his sentence also prohibited him from using the Internet for five years without permission from his probation officer, court record show.
The incendiary, amateurish video, which depicts the prophet Mohammad as a buffoon, a womanizer, and a child molester, was first uploaded to YouTube in June and translated to Arabic and uploaded several more times in the week leading up to the Sept. 11 anniversary.
Authorities are questioning whether or not Nakoula had used the Internet in order to produce and/or promote the movie, and thus violated his probation. He certainly had been deceptive, while producing the film:
Mr. Nakoula, the former owner of a gas station near his home, apparently used a series of pseudonyms while making and discussing the film, even when dealing with some of the actors, who believed they were making a film called “Desert Warriors.”
One actress said she had no idea Mohammad was even a character in the film, which was produced in 2011 in the remote hills of Los Angeles County.
In addition, as part of the bank fraud scheme for which he was convicted in 2010, prosecutors also alleged that Mr. Nakoula possessed at least 15 credit and debit cards in the names of other people, along with at least five identification documents that were not issued lawfully.
I question the degree to which Nakoula’s cast and crew could have been this ignorant of the content of the movie they were making … but it is possible, I suppose, for some — i.e. those with small parts or minor production involvement — to have been unaware of its true nature.
The bottom line is, people who complain about the evils of Islam, have no moral ground to stand on, if it turns out they have questionable pasts, themselves. They are, in short, hypocrites. In the case of Christians who fit this description, they’re guilty of disobeying the founder of their own religion, who clearly and explicitly ordered them never to engage in hypocritical behavior of any kind, at any time.
Photo credit: Bret Hartman / Reuters, via the (NY) Daily News.
P.S. I love how this character is willing to produce a film that insults Islam, and is enough of a publicity hound to work hard at promoting it as widely as he can … yet he doesn’t have the courage to show his face, and feels the need to parade around dressed up like a bandito in some campy old Western. Yeah, he’s a hypocrite all right. In multiple ways.
, innocence of muslims
, nakoula basseley nakoula
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The nation’s Neocrusaders have carried their war against Islam into the Nutmeg State, and have claimed several Metro North commuter-train stations as their beachhead. The Connecticut Post reports on this latest propaganda effort (WebCite cached article):
The series of billboards paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative are the latest chapter in an ongoing battle of trackside messages financed by advocacy groups on opposite sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The current ad campaign posted at five Connecticut stations on the New Haven Line — Greenwich, Cos Cob, Noroton Heights, Darien and South Norwalk — include the slogan “It’s not Islamophobia, It’s Islamorealism,” in red lettering on a black background.
Above the slogan, the poster lists the number 19,250, the purported number of terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The signs were put up by a group led by Pamela Geller, a prominent and vocal Jewish Neocrusader, part of a pissing contest she’s gotten into with a critic of Israel:
Geller said the ads, which will run through Sept. 2 were bought to counter a round of platform advertisements critical of Israel that were financed by retired Wall Street broker Henry Clifford of the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, she said in an email exchange.
Call me unimpressed with Geller’s signs, which state that Palestine belongs to solely to Jews and that everyone else needs to get the fuck out — now. This is the sort of attitude that all sides in the Middle East conflict have been hurling at each other for decades now, and I note that it has accomplished absolutely nothing whatsoever. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how continuing this sort of rhetoric is going to do any good; after all, one of the clichéd definitions of insanity is, “Doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results.”
I note that at least one of Geller’s signs is non-factual. Have a look at it:
One of several controversial advertisments is posted at the Cos Cob train station. This ad reads ‘Jews have had a continuous presences in Israel for over 3,000 years. Ancient Israel was renamed ”Palestine” by the conquering Romans in 135 CE. By any name it has always been the Jewish homeland.’ Photo: Lindsay Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate. Via the Connecticut Post.
Let’s go over the sign’s claims. First, we have: “Jews have had a continuous presences in Israel for over 3,000 years.” This part is true. The people from whom modern Jews descended, were living in the region, c. 1,000 BCE. So far so good for Geller.
But then we have: “Ancient Israel was renamed ‘Palestine’ by the conquering Romans in 135 CE.” While it’s true that Emperor Hadrian renamed the province “Syria Palaestina” in the early 2nd century CE, it’s absolutely not true that the name “Palestine” was a Roman invention. No way! The Romans followed a precedent that was ancient, even in their own day: Egyptians had known the area as “Peleset” for a millennium or more, and that name ended up becoming “Palaistina” in Herodotus and — yes! — “Pelesheth” in the Old Testament. Far from inventing a previously-unknown name, the Romans merely used an older one that they were aware of.
Lastly we have: “By any name it has always been the Jewish homeland.” This statement obfuscates the facts. The region known as Palestine may be “the Jewish homeland,” but it also happens to be “the Canaanite homeland” and “the Samaritan homeland” as well. Many other peoples have lived there through history: Phoenicians, Syriacs, Philistines, & Arameans, not to mention Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Greeks, and any number of others. Really, the concept of assigned “homelands,” and deciding to which people a region “belongs,” is juvenile and ridiculous in any event. One can select any arbitrary window in history and then say the people who were in a region at that time, “own” it forever and ever. But the odds are, that people moved in there at some point, either adding to or displacing another people who previously had “owned” that region. All of humanity migrated out of Africa, so quite literally, no other area can be said to be the ultimate “homeland” of any people.
I’ve said it before and will say it again: The mature way to respond to one form of religionistic extremism, is not to hurl another form of religionistic extremism back at it. It’s childish, and it’s not going to help anyone.
I’ll close this post by pointing out that the “American Freedom Defense Initiative” is a contradiction in terms. Geller and the other folks behind it, are not promoting true “freedom.” If they had their way, Islam would be outlawed, and very likely so too would be non-belief. That sort of effort is the opposite of “freedom.”
Photo credit, top: Wikimedia Commons; middle, Lindsay Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate, via Connecticut Post.
, american freedom defense initiative
, committee for peace in israel and palestine
, henry clifford
, metro north
, middle east
, pamela geller
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The Great Neocrusade pulled out all the stops in its effort to prevent a mosque from opening up in Murfreesboro, TN. I’ve blogged about the measures taken against it — both legal and illegal — by militant, furious Neocrusaders. But all of it was for naught. As the New York Times Lede blog reports, the mosque opened this weekend (locally-cached article):
After years of attacks, threats and court action, an Islamic center in Tennessee cleared one last hurdle that allowed it to open its doors on Friday to worshipers, allowing them to honor the occasion with prayers on what is Islam’s main congregational day of the week. But the opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was overshadowed by concerns after the shooting of worshipers at a Sikh temple on Sunday in Wisconsin and an arson attack on a mosque in Missouri this week. …
The mosque faced arson, vandalism and a court battle before it cleared [cached] a final step when it passed inspection this week and was given a temporary certificate of occupancy for 30 days.
Even in spite of their having ultimately lost this battle, some Neocrusaders still chose to be on hand to whine about the mosque’s opening:
Standing in the parking lot, Dan J. Qualls, 50, a former car plant worker, said he came to the center to protest. Mr. Qualls, wearing an “I Love Jesus” hat, said he understood that the First Amendment protects the right to worship freely but said he believed Islam represented violence.
To be clear, Mr Qualls and the rest of you Christofascist Neocrusaders … your own religion is violent, too. Moreover, you know it, even if you’d prefer not to have to admit it. Complaining about Islam being violent (and yes, it can be!) does not grant you the right to act as though your own religion is non-violent. It most certainly is not.
I suggest that Neocrusaders crack open their Bibles for once and actually read the reported teachings of Jesus Christ himself, the founder of their own religion:
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:3-5)
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Lk 6:41-42)
Before you militant Christians can presume the right to critique other peoples’ religions, you should begin following your own. Please start doing so.
Photo credit: Stephen Lance Dennee/AP, via the New York Times.
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, Lk 6:41-42
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This issue isn’t really new. Wired magazine has been reporting on this particular issue for quite some time (cached). It seems anti-terror instruction in the US military has been taken over by Neocrusaders who’ve made any number of outrageous claims about Islam as a whole and are trying to inculcate hatred of Muslims generally among the ranks. I blogged about this particular influence within the FBI when Wired reported on it last year. But the influence of the Neocrusade in the military seems to be worse, more pervasive, and more extensive.
Last year the Pentagon began a review of its anti-terror training materials, and the results of that review are starting to emerge. MSNBC elaborates on an Al Jazeera report on aspects that have come to light already (WebCite cached article):
As the Pentagon reviews all military classes following the disclosure of one that advocated “total war” against Muslims, the news website Al-Jazeera reported Saturday that it had received materials from a similar course and that both were put together by the same group, a nonprofit that offers classes and workshops to military and government officials.
Al-Jazeera said [cached] it received course slides from an unnamed military officer who said “this bigoted conspiracy cabal is both disgusting and so deeply un-American.”
The slides leave the impression that Hamas extremists have infiltrated the U.S. government, media and education via U.S. Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Al-Jazeera said. …
The documents indicated the two courses were prepared by the consulting firm Strategic Engagement Group, Inc., Al-Jazeera said. The website for Strategic Engagement [cached] does include statements similar to those in the materials cited by Al-Jazeera, msnbc.com found.
I decided to nose around in Strategic Engagement’s Web site to see what they offer. The first link I clicked on was this PDF version of a Powerpoint presentation entitled “CAIR Is Hamas” (cached). It didn’t take long for me to discover that these people are spewing factual errors. For instance, slide 3 of the presentation says:
In the 1920’s, after WWI and the Turkish Revolution, Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk” became the leader of the new nation-state Turkey. He dissolved the nearly 700 old Islamic State (Caliphate) known as the “Ottoman Empire,” outlawed the wearing of hijab, the growing of Islamic beards, the call to prayer, replaced Arabic with Latin, did away with Shariah (Islamic Law) and replaced it with secular law, and built an army to protect secular Turkey.
First, while it’s true that Ataturk did establish a new, and secular, government in Turkey, his new state did not encompass all of what had once been the Ottoman Empire. That dismantled state was succeeded, in those other regions, by other less secular states, or they became colonies of western powers and only later became independent states. So it’s factually incorrect to state that “the Ottoman Empire” was succeeded uniformly by the “secular” state of Turkey.
Second, the Ottoman Empire was not really a “Caliphate.” While some of its rulers did use that title, sporadically, even when they did, it was not universally recognized across Islam. Moreover, that they did so, doesn’t really mean a lot: Ottoman rulers sometimes arrogated other titles, such as “Roman Emperor,” and that’s also difficult to take very seriously. The title that best applies to the Ottoman rulers was “sultan,” not “caliph,” making the Ottoman Empire a “sultanate” rather than a “caliphate.”
Third, Ataturk did not “replace Arabic with Latin.” Within Ataturk’s new state of Turkey, the dominant language had been Turkish, not Arabic, and it remains so. While Turkish had long been written mostly using the Arabic alphabet, it was less than ideal; Ataturk did encourage the use of a Latin-based alphabet instead. But it is simply not true that Turkey went from speaking Arabic to speaking Latin.
I hardly need to investigate these Neocrusading wingnuts any further, given their loose command of basic history. Listen, I get it. Really I do. I get that the United States has been attacked by Islamic terrorists who feel compelled to kill others — and themselves — out of a violent religiofascistic impulse. I also get that there are immature, violent Muslims who are prone to explode in insane fury at the slightest provocation. I concede there are still some dangerously fanatical Muslims out there who think their religion orders them to maim and kill. That’s very much in evidence, and only a fool would say otherwise. What concerns me are these two basic premises of the Neocrusade:
- Islamofascist terrorists are not the “fringe” of Islam, they are its heart; which means that all Muslims, not just some, are murderous fanatics.
- Only Islam has any murderous impulses; other religions, particularly Christianity, do not.
The former premise is just not true, as witnessed by the fact that there are plenty of “moderate,” non-terrorist Muslims around the world, who at this moment are fighting the terrorist element of their religion. And other religions, including Christianity, most certainly also have their own terrorizing, murderous extremists. Eradicating Islam completely — which is the Neocrusade’s ultimate goal — cannot and will never end terrorism. To assume so is not only irrational, it’s delusional. The cold fact is that nearly any religion, anywhere, is capable of inciting violence and even terrorism in its followers. None is immune to it. The sooner we understand this, the better off we’ll all be.
Tags: al jazeera
, christian right
, christian terrorism
, islamofascist terror
, religious right
, religious terror
, religious terrorism
, religious violence
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Neocrusading pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville FL is no stranger to this blog. I’ve mentioned his childish antics any number of times in the past, and even pointed out his shady history while he was a “missionary” in Germany. Jones is absolutely beside himself with fury, you see, because there’s this horrific religion out there called “Islam,” and its followers (Muslims), you see, have this holy book, called the “Qur’an.” Jones just can’t handle the fact that these Muslims dare to revere and read their Qur’an, you see. Why, it’s an outrage! It can’t be tolerated! In Jones’s juvenile mind, no one but Christians are allowed to have any holy books, and the only holy book they’re allowed to have, is his own (Protestant, of course!) Bible.
Jones was so enraged that these Muslim types have so insolently dared keep their own holy book, that he threatened to burn some Qur’ans; after catching flak for that, Jones waffled and said he might cancel it; then, he dropped his uncertainty and promised to burn them anyway; then Jones inexplicably let the deadline pass without burning any Qur’ans; and burned one only later on, when no one was looking.
It seems Jones still hasn’t gotten over his sanctimonious outrage that Muslims still exist and still revere their Qur’an. The New York Post reports that he went and burned some more (WebCite cached article):
A controversial Florida pastor held another Koran-burning ceremony outside his church to protest the imprisonment of a Christian clergyman in Iran, The Gainesville Sun reported.
Jones, who made headlines worldwide by videotaping a similar Koran-burning ceremony in March 2011, burned several copies of the Islamic holy book alongside an image depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad on Saturday evening.
Jones uses Iran’s imprisonment of Youcef Nadarkhani as a pretense for his “protest.” But somehow, I’m not sure getting into a pissing contest with the Iranian government over who can be more religiously intolerant, is really all that great of an idea. It amounts to “two wrongs make a right” thinking, and is fallacious. And I can’t see how it can get Iran’s theocratic mullahs to release Nadarkhani.
The sad part of this is, I’m sure Jones’s childish antics will be met with even more childish and violent antics by Muslims elsewhere in the world, as happened previously when he’d first stirred up this controversy. Ground zero for the flare-up is almost certain to be Afghanistan, home to hovels full of enraged Muslims who — just like Jones — cannot seem to handle the idea that there are actually people in the world who dare refuse to believe as they do.
Well, I have news for both Jones and any Muslims who respond to his Qur’an-burning by rioting, looting, pillaging, and/or killing: Here’s one skeptical, godless agnostic heathen who refuses to believe what either of you demands I believe. Don’t like it? Burn away. I’m not changing my mind, and there is nothing in the universe you can do to stop me.
For the record, while I support the right to blaspheme, I consider book-burning — of any kind of book, aside maybe from one which one is actually disposing of because it’s been ruined somehow — to be a crime against the intellect, and an action which is far too Nazi-like for my taste.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.
, book burning
, book burnings
, dove world outreach center
, gainesville FL
, koran burning
, koran burnings
, pastor terry jones
, qur'an burning
, qur'an burnings
, terry jones
, youcef nadarkhani
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Connecticut isn’t in the Bible Belt (or should I call it, as its natives do, the Bobble Bayelt?), nor is it intensely religious, in spite of the fact that it’s home to a triad of reactionary-activist Catholic bishops. Thus, I’m astonished to note that a Neocrusader came to deliver another of their classic denunciations of Islam, at — of all things! — a business gathering. The Torrington Register-Citizen reports on how former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey used his speech to northwestern Connecticut businesspeople to dress down a religion he despises (WebCite cached version):
President George W. Bush is long gone from the White House, but one of the stalwarts of his tenure appeared Friday in northwest Connecticut in the form of U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, inparting [sic] fear of the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad and Shariah law to a predominantly business-driven crowd at Fairview Farm Golf Course.
Mukasey served as the 81st U.S. Attorney General under Bush, and on Friday, served the business community as a keynote speaker during Thomaston Savings Bank’s 14th Annual Business Breakfast.
Pardon me if I don’t see the propriety of this speech. It defies reason — even if there was a very loose pretense:
Before Thomaston Savings Bank donated a check to Wounded Warriors through Mukasey, the former law firm co-worker of Rudy Giuliani dove headfirst into warning the crowd of Islamic terrorists.
“Jihad is obligatory on every Muslim,” he said. “[An] obligatory struggle on Shariah law in the Western world.”
Yes, I get it. All Muslims are required by their religion to kill constantly … all the time, everywhere, without relenting. I wasn’t aware they were all doing that, but I suppose I should take Mukasey’s word for it, no? Of course, Christianity has its own notion of “just war,” which it has used to evoke violence all over the world, numerous times … but Mukasey, like all the rest of the dutiful Neocrusaders, ignores that. What a fucking hypocrite!
The R-C thoughtfully provides video of this Neocrusader’s speech, which you can see here:
Again, I’m stunned that Mukasey chose this type of event, and this type of audience, to deliver his anti-Islam speech. I suggest he — and everyone else — worry more about the excesses of domestic religious militants rather than those abroad. They threaten our freedom, too.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: business breakfast
, harwinton CT
, holy war
, michael b mukasey
, michael mukasey
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I’ve blogged about attacks on mosques around the US (including churches mistaken for moques!), and about a mosque in New York City that was Molotoved recently (although likely not for religious reasons). But this Neocrusading activity is not limited solely to the US. A mosque in Canada has been a repeated target of vandalism recently, as the CBC reports (WebCite cached article):
A mosque in Gatineau, Que., that has been a target of vandalism was spray-painted with graffiti overnight Thursday, prompting a condemnation from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Workers at the Outaouais Islamic Centre awoke Thursday to discover swear words and derogatory references to Arabs and Allah spray-painted in white. …
The mosque had earlier been vandalized Monday morning when someone smashed the windows of two cars and attempted to set fire to them in the parking lot. …
Police said it was the fourth incident in the last six months.
Muslim and Jewish groups alike are condemning this vandalism … the latter possibly because stars of David were among some of the graffiti. At any rate, the lesson here is that Neocrusading is not a phenomenon unique to the US. It’s yet another American export that the rest of the world definitely does not need.
Photo credit: CBC.
, gatineau QC
, mosque attack
, mosque attacks
, outaouais islamic centre
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Note: See the update below for an important update to this blog post!
I’ve blogged a number of times about a movement I call “the Neocrusade” — a modern effort by “Christian nationers” to eliminate Islam within the U.S. It’s mostly found in the same parts of the country as Religious Rightism, i.e. in the Bobble Bayelt (er, Bible Belt), but it can be found elsewhere too, including the New York City metropolis. As CBS News reports, there’s a chance that Neocrusading vigilantes might once again be active in the Big Apple (WebCite cached article):
Authorities are investigating four fire attacks in New York City, including one at an Islamic center and one at a house used for Hindu worship.
Police say three attacks Sunday night involved molotov cocktails. There were no injuries. Police are investigating the attacks as bias crimes.
The fact that non-Islam-related targets were hit, certainly suggests these attacks weren’t Neocrusade-motivated. But then again, Neocrusaders have been known to lash out at the wrong targets, so it can’t be ruled out quite yet.
If this is, in fact, the work of militant Christian Neocrusaders, the irony of Christianists resorting to terror and violence in their campaign against a religion they consider violent and terror-promoting, is precious.
Update: It turns out this may have not been Neocrusaders’ work, after all. The New York Times reports a suspect has been arrested, police say the fires he set all resulted from specific, personal grudges, not out of religious fervor (cached).
Photo credit: WCBS via CBS News.
, christian nation
, imam al-khoei foundation
, militant christianity
, militant christians
, new york city
, new york NY
, queens NY
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