Pascal Abidor, an American PhD candidate in Islamic Studies at McGill, who was detained and interrogated last year crossing from Montreal to New York because of his choice of academic study and his travels overseas to Jordan and Lebanon. This is your read of the day.
If you can stomach it, here are several more. I bookmarked this sometime yesterday. I wasn’t going to post it here as I don’t particularly care for Buzzfeed, but these comments are vile and the deep-seeded racism and ignorance in this country needs to be pointed out, always.
The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”
To be fair, Paul also dropped a few truth bombs that were met with boos.
Eliyahu Stern, Don’t Fear Islamic Law in America, a NY Times Op-Ed on the anti-Semitic forebears of contemporary Islamophobia.
The revelation by CNN that Norwegian right wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik kept a diary in which he obsessed about the dangers of cultural Marxism, multiculturalism, and the “Islamification” of Europe will remind many Americans of the tactics of our own right wing (only these themes have been taken up by people much more mainstream in the US than Breivik is in Norway!) The movement to ban the shariah, the castigation of a progressive income tax as “Marxist,” the condemnation of multiculturalism as a threat to Western values, are all themes commonly heard in the US Tea Party and in the right wing of the Israel lobbies. […]
Breivik’s thinking is not new under the sun. Protestant Nativists of the “Native American” and later “Know-Nothing” (i.e. secret society) movement in the 1830s through 1850s in the United States felt exactly the same way about Catholic immigrants to the US. America wouldn’t be America if this went on. Their values were inherently incompatible with the Constitution. Their loyalties were to an anti-modern foreign court dedicated to reinforcement of political and intellectual tyranny. The hordes of them would take over the country before too long. The combination of black-and-white thinking and a conviction that undesirable change is coming very rapidly often provokes violence. […]
Catholic immigrants to the US, like Muslim immigrants to Europe, cannot in fact be characterized in a black and white way. Catholics in the contemporary US are politically and socially diverse, but on the whole are more socially liberal than evangelical Protestants. That is, if the Know-Nothings were afraid of an anti-Enlightenment religious movement, it would have been to their own, Protestant ranks, that they should have looked.
Likewise, making a black-and-white division between “Christian” Europe and “Islam” is frankly silly. The European continent is itself a fiction (it is geologically contiguous with North Africa, and there is no eastern geographical feature that divides it from Afro-Asia). Islam has been the religion of millions of Europeans over the past 1400 years, whether in Umayyad Spain, Arab Sicily, or Ottoman Eastern Europe, and Muslim contributions to European advances are widely acknowledged.
As for contemporary Muslims in Europe, they are diverse. Overwhelmingly, e.g., Parisian Muslims say that they are loyal to France. About half of the Turks in Germany are from the Alevi sect, a kind of folk Shiism, and most of those are not very religious and politically are just social democrats (oh, the horror of Breivik’s nightmare– Muslim progressives in Europe!) That the few hundred thousand Muslims in Spain (pop. 45 mn.) , or the 4 million in Turkey (5 percent of the population) could effect a revolution in European affairs of the sort Breivik fears is frankly absurd, especially since Muslims are not a political bloc who agree with one another about politics and society. They are from different countries and traditions. Many do not have full citizenship or voting rights, most of the rest are apolitical. But even if they became a substantial proportion of the population, they would be unlikely to change Europe’s way of doing things that much.
Worrying about the impact of immigration is not pernicious. Opposing leftist political ideas is everyone’s right in a democracy. Disagreeing over religion is natural. But when you hear people talking about lumping all these issues together; when you hear them obliterating distinctions and using black-and-white rhetoric; when you hear them talk of existential threats, and above all when you see that they are convinced that small movements that they hate are likely to have an immediate and revolutionary impact, then you should be afraid, be very afraid. That is when extremism learns to hate, and turns to violence.
Al Qaeda is targeting Muslim women with a brand new U.S.-style glossy magazine that offers home and beauty tips alongside testimonials from the wives of suicide bombers and female jihadists. The first 30-page issue ofAl-Shamikha was recently made available for purchase online by the Al Fajr Media Centre.
Want to know what’s up with those Peter King Muslim hearings, anyway? Tim Murphy has you covered:
Answers to all the questions in “Peter King’s Radicalization Hearings, Explained.”
Real-time updates from the hearings. Now with more sardonic humor.
Oh, and some background: “Peter King’s Terrorism Problem.”
Ellison at the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on radicalization of Islam.
Article in the Star Tribune.
From Muslim-American Rep. Keith Ellison testimony at the Muslim radicalization hearing.