The Lies of Islamophobia





John Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, writes its regular World Beat column, and will be publishing a book on Islamophobia with City Lights Press in 2011. His past essays, including those for TomDispatch.com, can be read at his website.  He would like to thank Samer Araabi, Rebecca Azhdam, and Peter Certo for research assistance. Reprinted with the kind permission of TomDispatch.

The Muslims were bloodthirsty and treacherous.  They conducted a sneak attack against the French army and slaughtered every single soldier, twenty thousand in all.  More than one thousand years ago, in the mountain passes of Spain, the Muslim horde cut down the finest soldiers in Charlemagne’s command, including his brave nephew Roland.  Then, according to the famous poem that immortalized the tragedy, Charlemagne exacted his revenge by routing the entire Muslim army.

The Song of Roland, an eleventh-century rendering in verse of an eighth-century battle, is a staple of Western Civilization classes at colleges around the country.  A “masterpiece of epic drama,” in the words of its renowned translator Dorothy Sayers, it provides a handy preface for students before they delve into readings on the Crusades that began in 1095.  More ominously, the poem has schooled generations of Judeo-Christians to view Muslims as perfidious enemies who once threatened the very foundations of Western civilization.

The problem, however, is that the whole epic is built on a curious falsehood.  The army that fell upon Roland and his Frankish soldiers was not Muslim at all. In the real battle of 778, the slayers of the Franks were Christian Basques furious at Charlemagne for pillaging their city of Pamplona.  Not epic at all, the battle emerged from a parochial dispute in the complex wars of medieval Spain.  Only later, as kings and popes and knights prepared to do battle in the First Crusade, did an anonymous bard repurpose the text to serve the needs of an emerging cross-against-crescent holy war.

Similarly, we think of the Crusades as the archetypal “clash of civilizations” between the followers of Jesus and the followers of Mohammed.  In the popular version of those Crusades, the Muslim adversary has, in fact, replaced a remarkable range of peoples the Crusaders dealt with as enemies, including Jews killed in pogroms on the way to the Holy Land, rival Catholics slaughtered in the Balkans and in Constantinople, and Christian heretics hunted down in southern France.

Much later, during the Cold War, mythmakers in Washington performed a similar act, substituting a monolithic crew labeled “godless communists” for a disparate group of anti-imperial nationalists in an attempt to transform conflicts in remote locations like Vietnam, Guatemala, and Iran into epic struggles between the forces of the Free World and the forces of evil.  In recent years, the Bush administration did it all over again by portraying Arab nationalists as fiendish Islamic fundamentalists when we invaded Iraq and prepared to topple the regime in Syria.

Similar mythmaking continues today.  The recent surge of Islamophobia in the United States has drawn strength from several extraordinary substitutions.  A clearly Christian president has become Muslim in the minds of a significant number of Americans.  The thoughtful Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan has become a closet fundamentalist in the writings of Paul Berman and others.  And an Islamic center in lower Manhattan, organized by proponents of interfaith dialogue, has become an extremist “mosque at Ground Zero” in the TV appearances, political speeches, and Internet sputterings of a determined clique of right-wing activists.

This transformation of Islam into a violent caricature of itself—as if Ann Coulter had suddenly morphed into the face of Christianity—comes at a somewhat strange juncture in the United States.  Anti-Islamic rhetoric and hate crimes, which spiked immediately after September 11, 2001, had been on the wane.  No major terrorist attack had taken place in the U.S. or Europe since the London bombings in 2005.  The current American president had reached out to the Muslim world and retired the controversial acronym GWOT, or “Global War on Terror.”

All the elements seemed in place, in other words, for us to turn the page on an ugly chapter in our history.  Yet it’s as if we remain fixed in the eleventh century in a perpetual battle of “us” against “them.”  Like the undead rising from their coffins, our previous “crusades” never go away.  Indeed, we still seem to be fighting the three great wars of the millennium, even though two of these conflicts have long been over and the third has been rhetorically reduced to “overseas contingency operations.”  The Crusades, which finally petered out in the seventeenth century, continue to shape our global imagination today.  The Cold War ended in 1991, but key elements of the anti-communism credo have been awkwardly grafted onto the new Islamist adversary.  And the Global War on Terror, which President Obama quietly renamed shortly after taking office, has in fact metastasized into the wars that his administration continues to prosecute in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.

Those in Europe and the United States who cheer on these wars claim that they are issuing a wake-up call about the continued threat of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other militants who claim the banner of Islam.  However, what really keeps Islamophobes up at night is not the marginal and backwards-looking Islamic fundamentalists but rather the growing economic, political, and global influence of modern, mainstream Islam.  Examples of Islam successfully grappling with modernity abound, from Turkey’s new foreign policy and Indonesia’s economic muscle to the Islamic political parties participating in elections in Lebanon, Morocco, and Jordan.  Instead of providing reassurance, however, these trends only incite Islamophobes to intensify their battles to “save” Western civilization.

As long as our unfinished wars still burn in the collective consciousness—and still rage in Kabul, Baghdad, Sana’a, and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan—Islamophobia will make its impact felt in our media, politics, and daily life.  Only if we decisively end the millennial Crusades, the half-century Cold War, and the decade-long War on Terror (under whatever name) will we overcome the dangerous divide that has consumed so many lives, wasted so much wealth, and distorted our very understanding of our Western selves.

The Crusades Continue

With their irrational fear of spiders, arachnophobes are scared of both harmless daddy longlegs and poisonous brown recluse spiders.  In extreme cases, an arachnophobe can break out in a sweat while merely looking at photos of spiders.  It is, of course, reasonable to steer clear of black widows.  What makes a legitimate fear into an irrational phobia, however, is the tendency to lump all of any group, spiders or humans, into one lethal category and then to exaggerate how threatening they are.  Spider bites, after all, are responsible for at most a handful of deaths a year in the United States.

Islamophobia is, similarly, an irrational fear of Islam.  Yes, certain Muslim fundamentalists have been responsible for terrorist attacks, certain fantasists about a “global caliphate” continue to plot attacks on perceived enemies, and certain groups like Afghanistan’s Taliban and Somalia’s al-Shabaab practice medieval versions of the religion.  But Islamophobes confuse these small parts with the whole and then see terrorist jihad under every Islamic pillow.  They break out in a sweat at the mere picture of an imam.

Irrational fears are often rooted in our dimly remembered childhoods.  Our irrational fear of Islam similarly seems to stem from events that happened in the early days of Christendom.  Three myths inherited from the era of the Crusades constitute the core of Islamophobia today:  Muslims are inherently violent, Muslims want to take over the world, and Muslims can’t be trusted.

The myth of Islam as a “religion of the sword” was a staple of Crusader literature and art.  In fact, the atrocities committed by Muslim leaders and armies—and there were some—rarely rivaled the slaughters of the Crusaders, who retook Jerusalem in 1099 in a veritable bloodbath.  “The heaps of the dead presented an immediate problem for the conquerors,” writes Christopher Tyerman in God’s War.  “Many of the surviving Muslim population were forced to clear the streets and carry the bodies outside the walls to be burnt in great pyres, whereat they themselves were massacred.”  Jerusalem’s Jews suffered a similar fate when the Crusaders burned many of them alive in their main synagogue.  Four hundred years earlier, by contrast, Caliph ‘Umar put no one to the sword when he took over Jerusalem, signing a pact with the Christian patriarch Sophronius that pledged “no compulsion in religion.”

This myth of the inherently violent Muslim endures.  Islam “teaches violence,” televangelist Pat Robertson proclaimed in 2005.  “The Koran teaches violence and most Muslims, including so-called moderate Muslims, openly believe in violence,” was the way Major General Jerry Curry (U.S. Army, ret.), who served in the Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr. administrations, put it.

The Crusaders justified their violence by arguing that Muslims were bent on taking over the world.  In its early days, the expanding Islamic empire did indeed imagine an ever-growing dar-es-Islam (House of Islam).  By the time of the Crusades, however, this initial burst of enthusiasm for holy war had long been spent.  Moreover, the Christian West harbored its own set of desires when it came to extending the Pope’s authority to every corner of the globe.  Even that early believer in soft power, Francis of Assisi, sat down with Sultan al-Kamil during the Fifth Crusade with the aim of eliminating Islam through conversion.

Today, Islamophobes portray the building of Cordoba House in lower Manhattan as just another gambit in this millennial power grab: "This is Islamic domination and expansionism,” writes right-wing blogger Pamela Geller, who made the “Ground Zero Mosque” into a media obsession.  “Islam is a religion with a very political agenda,” warns ex-Muslim Ali Sina.  “The ultimate goal of Islam is to rule the world.”

These two myths—of inherent violence and global ambitions—led to the firm conviction that Muslims were by nature untrustworthy.  Robert of Ketton, a twelfth-century translator of the Koran, was typical in badmouthing the prophet Mohammad this way:  “Like the liar you are, you everywhere contradict yourself.”  The suspicion of untrustworthiness fell as well on any Christian who took up the possibility of coexistence with Islam.  Pope Gregory, for instance, believed that the thirteenth-century Crusader Frederick II was the Anti-Christ himself because he developed close relationships with Muslims.

For Islamophobes today, Muslims abroad are similarly terrorists-in-waiting.  As for Muslims at home, “American Muslims must face their either/or,” writes the novelist Edward Cline, “to repudiate Islam or remain a quiet, sanctioning fifth column.”  Even American Muslims in high places, like Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), are not above suspicion.  In a 2006 CNN interview, Glenn Beck said, “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’"

These three myths of Islamophobia flourish in our era, just as they did almost a millennium ago, because of a cunning conflation of a certain type of Islamic fundamentalism with Islam itself.  Bill O’Reilly was neatly channeling this Crusader mindset when he asserted recently that “the Muslim threat to the world is not isolated. It’s huge!”  When Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence William Boykin, in an infamous 2003 sermon, thundered"What I'm here to do today is to recruit you to be warriors of God's kingdom," he was issuing the Crusader call to arms.

But O’Reilly and Boykin, who represent the violence, duplicity, and expansionist mind-set of today’s Western crusaders, were also invoking a more recent tradition, closer in time and far more familiar.

The Totalitarian Myth

In 1951, the CIA and the emerging anti-communist elite, including soon-to-be-president Dwight Eisenhower, created the Crusade for Freedom as a key component of a growing psychological warfare campaign against the Soviet Union and the satellite countries it controlled in Eastern Europe.  The language of this “crusade” was intentionally religious.  It reached out to “peoples deeply rooted in the heritage of western civilization,” living under the “crushing weight of a godless dictatorship.”  In its call for the liberation of the communist world, it echoed the nearly thousand-year-old crusader rhetoric of “recovering” Jerusalem and other outposts of Christianity.

In the theology of the Cold War, the Soviet Union replaced the Islamic world as the untrustworthy infidel.  However unconsciously, the old crusader myths about Islam translated remarkably easily into governing assumptions about the communist enemy:  the Soviets and their allies were bent on taking over the world, could not be trusted with their rhetoric of peaceful coexistence, imperiled Western civilization, and fought with unique savagery as well as a willingness to martyr themselves for the greater ideological good.

Ironically, Western governments were so obsessed with fighting this new scourge that, in the Cold War years, on the theory that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, they nurtured radical Islam as a weapon.  As journalist Robert Dreyfuss ably details in his book The Devil’s Game, the U.S. funding of the mujahideen in Afghanistan was only one part of the anti-communist crusade in the Islamic world.  To undermine Arab nationalists and leftists who might align themselves with the Soviet Union, the United States (and Israel) worked with Iranian mullahs, helped create Hamas, and facilitated the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though the Cold War ended with the sudden disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1991, that era’s mind-set—and so many of the Cold Warriors sporting it—never went with it.  The prevailing mythology was simply transferred back to the Islamic world.  In anti-communist theology, for example, the worst curse word was “totalitarianism,” said to describe the essence of the all-encompassing Soviet state and system.  According to the gloss that early neoconservative Jeanne Kirkpatrick provided in her book Dictatorships and Double Standards, the West had every reason to support right-wing authoritarian dictatorships because they would steadfastly oppose left-wing totalitarian dictatorships, which, unlike the autocracies we allied with, were supposedly incapable of internal reform.

According to the new “Islamo-fascism” school—and its acolytes like Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, Bill O’Reilly, Pamela Geller—the fundamentalists are simply the “new totalitarians,” as hidebound, fanatical, and incapable of change as communists.  For a more sophisticated treatment of the Islamo-fascist argument, check out Paul Berman, a rightward-leaning liberal intellectual who has tried to demonstrate that “moderate Muslims” are fundamentalists in reformist clothing.

These Cold Warriors all treat the Islamic world as an undifferentiated mass—in spirit, a modern Soviet Union—where Arab governments and radical Islamists work hand in glove.  They simply fail to grasp that the Syrian, Egyptian, and Saudi Arabian governments have launched their own attacks on radical Islam.  The sharp divides between the Iranian regime and the Taliban, between the Jordanian government and the Palestinians, between Shi’ites and Sunni in Iraq, and even among Kurds all disappear in the totalitarian blender, just as anti-communists generally failed to distinguish between the Communist hardliner Leonid Brezhnev and the Communist reformer Mikhail Gorbachev.

At the root of terrorism, according to Berman, are “immense failures of political courage and imagination within the Muslim world,” rather than the violent fantasies of a group of religious outliers or the Crusader-ish military operations of the West.  In other words, something flawed at the very core of Islam itself is responsible for the violence done in its name—a line of argument remarkably similar to one Cold Warriors made about communism.

All of this, of course, represents a mirror image of al-Qaeda’s arguments about the inherent perversities of the infidel West.  As during the Cold War, hardliners reinforce one another.

The persistence of Crusader myths and their transposition into a Cold War framework help explain why the West is saddled with so many misconceptions about Islam.  They don’t, however, explain the recent spike in Islamophobia in the U.S. after several years of relative tolerance. To understand this, we must turn to the third unfinished war: the Global War on Terror or GWOT, launched by George W. Bush.

Fanning the Flames

President Obama was careful to groom his Christian image during his campaign.  He was repeatedly seen praying in churches, and he studiously avoided mosques.  He did everything possible to efface the traces of Muslim identity in his past.

His opponents, of course, did just the opposite.  They emphasized his middle name, Hussein, challenged his birth records, and asserted that he was too close to the Palestinian cause.  They also tried to turn liberal constituencies—particularly Jewish-American ones—against the presumptive president.  Like Frederick II for an earlier generation of Christian fundamentalists, since entering the Oval Office Obama has become the Anti-Christ of the Islamophobes.

Once in power, he broke with Bush administration policies toward the Islamic world on a few points.  He did indeed push ahead with his plan to remove combat troops from Iraq (with some important exceptions).  He has attempted to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to stop expanding settlements in occupied Palestinian lands and to negotiate in good faith (though he has done so without resorting to the kind of pressure that might be meaningful, like a cutback of or even cessation of U.S. arms exports to Israel).  In a highly publicized speech in Cairo in June 2009, he also reached out rhetorically to the Islamic world at a time when he was also eliminating the name “Global War on Terror” from the government’s vocabulary.

For Muslims worldwide, however, GWOT itself continues.  The United States has orchestrated a surge in Afghanistan.  The CIA’s drone war in the Pakistani borderlands has escalated rapidly.  U.S. Special Forces now operate in 75 countries, at least 15 more than during the Bush years.  Meanwhile, Guantanamo remains open, the United States still practices extraordinary rendition, and assassination remains an active part of Washington’s toolbox.

The civilians killed in these overseas contingency operations are predominantly Muslim.  The people seized and interrogated are mostly Muslim.  The buildings destroyed are largely Muslim-owned.  As a result, the rhetoric of “crusaders and imperialists” used by al-Qaeda falls on receptive ears.  Despite his Cairo speech, the favorability rating of the United States in the Muslim world, already grim enough, has slid even further since Obama took office—in Egypt, from 41 percent in 2009 to 31 percent now; in Turkey, from 33 percent to 23 percent; and in Pakistan, from 13 percent to 8 percent.

The U.S. wars, occupations, raids, and repeated air strikes have produced much of this disaffection and, as political scientist Robert Pape has consistently argued, most of the suicide bombings and other attacks against Western troops and targets as well.  This is revenge, not religion, talking—just as it was for Americans after September 11, 2001.  As commentator M. Junaid Levesque-Alam astutely pointed out, “When three planes hurtled into national icons, did anger and hatred rise in American hearts only after consultation of Biblical verses?”

And yet those dismal polling figures do not actually reflect a rejection of Western values (despite Islamophobe assurances that they mean exactly that).  “Numerous polls that we have conducted,” writes pollster Stephen Kull, “as well as others by the World Values Survey and Arab Barometer, show strong support in the Muslim world for democracy, for human rights, and for an international order based on international law and a strong United Nations.”

In other words, nine years after September 11th a second spike in Islamophobia and in home-grown terrorist attacks like that of the would-be Times Square bomber has been born of two intersecting pressures:  American critics of Obama’s foreign policy believe that he has backed away from the major civilizational struggle of our time, even as many in the Muslim world see Obama-era foreign policy as a continuation, even an escalation, of Bush-era policies of war and occupation.

Here is the irony:  alongside the indisputable rise of fundamentalism over the last two decades, only some of it oriented towards violence, the Islamic world has undergone a shift which deep-sixes the cliché that Islam has held countries back from political and economic development.  "Since the early 1990s, 23 Muslim countries have developed more democratic institutions, with fairly run elections, energized and competitive political parties, greater civil liberties, or better legal protections for journalists," writes Philip Howard in The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.  Turkey has emerged as a vibrant democracy and a major foreign policy player.  Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is now the largest economy in Southeast Asia and the eighteenth-largest economy in the world.

Are Islamophobes missing this story of mainstream Islam’s accommodation with democracy and economic growth?  Or is it this story (not Islamo-fascism starring al-Qaeda) that is their real concern?

The recent preoccupations of Islamophobes are telling in this regard.  Pamela Geller, after all, was typical in the way she went after not a radical mosque, but an Islamic center about two blocks from Ground Zero proposed by a proponent of interfaith dialogue.  As journalist Stephen Salisbury writes, “The mosque controversy is not really about a mosque at all; it’s about the presence of Muslims in America, and the free-floating anxiety and fear that now dominate the nation’s psyche.”  For her latest venture, Geller is pushing a boycott of Campbell’s Soup because it accepts halal certification—the Islamic version of kosher certification by a rabbi—from the Islamic Society of North America, a group which, by the way, has gone out of its way to denounce religious extremism.

Paul Berman, meanwhile, has devoted his latest book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, to deconstructing the arguments not of Osama bin Laden or his ilk, but of Tariq Ramadan, the foremost mainstream Islamic theologian.  Ramadan is a man firmly committed to breaking down the old distinctions between “us” and “them.”  Critical of the West for colonialism, racism, and other ills, he also challenges the injustices of the Islamic world.  He is far from a fundamentalist.

And what country, by the way, has exercised European Islamophobes more than any other?  Pakistan?  Saudi Arabia?  Taliban Afghanistan?  No, the answer is:  Turkey."The Turks are conquering Germany in the same way the Kosovars conquered Kosovo:  by using higher birth-rates,” argues Germany’s Islamophobe du jour, Thilo Sarrazin, a member of Germany's Social Democratic Party.  The far right has even united around a Europe-wide referendum to keep Turkey out of the European Union.

Despite his many defects, George W. Bush at least knew enough to distinguish Islam from Islamism.  By targeting a perfectly normal Islamic center, a perfectly normal Islamic scholar, and a perfectly normal Islamic country—all firmly in the mainstream of that religion—the Islamophobes have actually declared war on normalcy, not extremism.

The victories of the tea party movement and the increased power of Republican militants in Congress, not to mention the renaissance of the far right in Europe, suggest that we will be living with this Islamophobia and the three unfinished wars of the West against the Rest for some time.  The Crusades lasted hundreds of years.  Let’s hope that Crusade 2.0, and the dark age that we find ourselves in, has a far shorter lifespan.


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N. Friedman - 11/16/2010

Fahrettin,

As always, your posts are well taken. I do not, for the record, say that Western imperialism/colonialism had no negative impact on the Islamic regions. I merely note that such was not the entire story, as the rise of India, South Korea, Malaysia and China show.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/15/2010

In todays Turkish Milli Gazete is one artcile typical for Islamists. Chief columnist Mehmet Shevket Eygi writes that Turkey could not become a secon japan because of the secularisation the Jews brought.

This is the newest antisemitic demagoguery from Turkey. People who have no idea how technology works believe them.

Unfortunately people who have no idea of how technology works are not going to catch up with Japan.

So much for Islamism as the approach to solving mankinds problems.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/15/2010

Omar

Most Nazi supporters were decent people trying to make a living. One guy told me "we had nothing to eat until Hitler came to power."

One day I was looking at an air raid shelter. An old lady came to me and without my asking told me the her entire family had been wiped out in an air raid.

30 years later she had not understood why. She was simply sad.

We should learn from history.

The Islamic World needs all that you think the Islamists will bring. But they are not going to bring it.

Listen to what the Jews are saying. They recognize a disaster when they see one.


Elliott Aron Green - 11/14/2010

jjb, so you're still claiming that Israel sent US forces to Iraq. But even john mearsheimer who made that claim in his book, said the opposite in an interview on NPR. In that interview, mearsheimer said that the decision was made without Israel and that when the Israelis found out about the decision to go into Iraq, they told the US [Sharon was then prime minister] that they thought that that was a mistake, that Iraq was weaker than previously and the Iran was now more of a threat. So if they wanted war, wouldn't Iran be a better target? But the Bush administration made the decision against Israel's opinion.

But you want to foolishly or fanatically blame Israel for the double amputee. What are your grounds for that belief other than the Walt-mearsheimer book, The Israel Lobby??

Now as to US-Muslim warfare, recall that America's first overseas war was with the Barbary pirates. Arabs/Muslims. Did you forget about the Barbary pirates, jjb??


omar ibrahim baker - 11/14/2010

Fahrettin
I am not telling you any tales....that is how it is whether you like it or NOT!
Do read it carefully though before junping to conclusions!
If you prefer to accept the neocon Zionist tale that is up to you.
I would rather you believe how it is , after reading it carefully
; however if you do not that is perfectly OK...no compulsion in religion !
Never the less if you are the type that makes up his mind after reading one article in a one newspaper all is the pity.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/14/2010

Come on we are brothers in religion means stop telling me tales.

I read in the Islamist press long praises of Adolf Hitler, his understanding of the Jewish problem and that he was doing the right thing about the Jewish issue but "unfortunately" could not finish the job.

It was, they say, the Jews who started WW 2. And then they continue to quote Hitler and his ideas.

Peaceful movement? Cooperation with other faiths?

Not there my friend!


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/14/2010

Omar,

different interpretations of God's will are always possible.

Last week I read an article by a Husnu Mahalli, a Syrian journalist writing in the Turkish press.

He was telling his readers that the Iranian bomb was not threatening Europe, the USA nor Turkey and will they please not poke their noses into the affair.

After that he formulated his fury that Israelis were trying to get help from their friends to avoid getting grilled by Mr Ahmedinejats bomb.

How the hell do you think people should react to the prospect of millions of them getting murdered?

Would you not expect them to get nervous and aggressive, as you complain they are?


omar ibrahim baker - 11/14/2010

To answer Friedman's rephrased question.
There is absolutely no doubt that the last four-five decades have witnessed an accelerating Moslem revivalist movement.
However unlike what the neocon/Zionist lobby would like to portray it; it is:
1-primarily targeted at Moslems both devotionally and patriotically
2-it is a peaceful and peace seeking movement except when pressured into defending Moslem interests, upholding Moslem devotional and patriotic values, safeguarding and salvaging Moslem land and sovereignty when and where ever aggressed or trespassed against
3-it seeks friendly relations and constructive cooperation with all other faiths, nations and religious communities all to be based on mutual and reciprocated acceptance and respect.
4-it rejects and condemns both STATE and organizational terrorism.


omar ibrahim baker - 11/14/2010

Elliott
"Dwell" does NOT and can NOT mean colonize and appropriate, ie usurp, for oneself to the exclusion of others who has dwelled in Palestine much longer than Jews did.
It simply means you can live there and your confessional affiliation will NOT preclude you,will NOT exclude you, from living there; UNLIKE racist Zionism which does!

If anything that is irrefutable proof of Islam's non racism, its anti racism.

Anti, non, racism is, I know, a difficult concept for you and yours to comprehend and assimilate with your traditional upbringing versed in the myth of “chosen people” ( a term recently dropped for PR considerations) with the exclusive , extra legal and extra moral privileges and religious dispensations of , for and divinely bestowed on Jews over the GOY (Goyim=Non Jews)!
( Do read Israel Shahak you will come to know more about yourself and yours!)

Conversely would that inane interpretation , you think, extend to, say, Lithuanians, Poles and Moldavians etc who were NOT Jews by Jewish own tradition: descendancy from a Jewish mother ( the ever present racist blood linkage), and to the exclusion of Moslem and Christian Arabs??

To call the Koran Zionist is an insult to a book revered by millions and millions for it would imply acquiescence to aggression, usurpation, racism and outright violation and denial of basic inalienable human civil and political rights. of non Jews!

However is it not idiotic for anyone to accept your interpretation of the Koran and ignore the standard interpretation of ALL Moslem ulamas ( scholars)?
Unless of course you are a neo Moslem scholar; an equivalent idiocy, out to convert al uma of Islamdom!
On a more sane level, should sanity mean anything to you, am I, and readers, to understand that you go by the Koran or is your inane reference just a detached selective reading, an opportunist opening, that you could not miss using presuming total ignorance and unmitigated idiocy in others?


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/14/2010

A lot of Turks think too that God gave Israel to the Jews to punish the Arabs for the support they gave the British in WW 1.

We shall see how he punishes them fro the support they are giving Mr. Erdogan and his the AKP.


Elliott Aron Green - 11/14/2010

Many Zionists have argued that Britain sold out the Jews in Israel and generally for the sake of access to Arab oil, as in Iraq. There the British army, at Foreign Office orders, allowed a massacre of Jews in 1941, the Farhud. We could go on about UK treachery against the Jews and against the British commitment made to the League of Nations to facilitate development of the Jewish National Home.


Elliott Aron Green - 11/14/2010

Omar, you forget that the Quran itself has Zionist passages. Read sura 17:104 [usual verse numbers].

And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.'
Qur`an 17:104 quoted by Abigail Radoszkowicz, Jerusalem Post, 9 February 2001
Then We said to the Israelites: 'Dwell in this land. When the promise of the hereafter comes to be fulfilled, We shall assemble you all together.'
Dawood trans., p236
104. And We said unto the Children of Israel after him: Dwell in the land; but when the promise of the Hereafter cometh to pass we shall bring you as a crowd gathered out of various nations.
Pickthall trans., XVII:104


There are some differences between the several translations. Note that the Pickthall translation of his verse echoes a passage in the Book of Zechariah. Anyhow, Omar, your own Quran is Zionist.

Now, another issue. Are you saying, Omar, that the "ingratitude" of the Jews is "legendary"?? Are we supposed to be grateful for more than 1000 years of being abused in Arab/Muslim lands as dhimmis??


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/14/2010

A small reminder:

Any article about Islam related problems which ignores the influence of oil politics is unrealistic.

The Middle East, which is producing the problems and the Jihadi/islamic Crusader idelogy (true Mr Friedman!) was engineered by the British to allow British and now American control of the oil.

I am an engineer. If anything I as an engineer do produces problems I am responsible. Think of the millions Americans get from the car producer when their car kills someone.

That includes the junk countries the British invented where the rulers stay in power with US help and spend the billions other people would use for better purposes in forwarding their Islamist ideology.

To prevent the money for local development was exactly one of the engineering deliberations which led to such people becoming rulers.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/14/2010

Here is Europe the Islamophobics are the same people as the anti semites.

The historic enemy of Islam in Europe was tsarist Russia, which with her own actions and by supporting Balkan and Anatolian Christians was responsible for the murder of 5 million European Moslems.

In recent decades the Nazi right has discovered the Moslems as the problem they think they must solve.

Mr Sarrazin, manager of the German central bank in Germany recently wrote a book about the end of Germany which the Turkish immigrants were bringing.

He was forced to resign after he started speculating about "Jewish genes". The book is a best seller having sold over a million copies.

In Germany, where most Moslems are Turks there are very few hate attacks against Jews, neither in England with her Pakistani and Banglas Deshi immigrants.

The problem region is France which has a high number of immigrants from her former colonies in Arab North Africa.


omar ibrahim baker - 11/14/2010

Only to be expected that an objective, honest and well documented, though highly concise, article relating unchallengeable historical truth should be "troubling" to Friedman and ilk!

No surprise here!


omar ibrahim baker - 11/14/2010

Elliott
I hope you and yours will go on denying the crucial total and unconditional aid and support the USA lent Israel !!
In a way that serves the USA right!

RE Jews and Zionism:
Jews were tolerated and better treated in the Arab and Moslem worlds far better than in any other major human community and that is a historical fact that you and yours, indulging your legendary ingratitute, choose to ignore as much as you deny and belitle USA aid.
No surprise here.

Zionists are a differed issue:
-Jews are people of the book to whom respect and protection is due by religious obligation;
-Zionists, be they Jewish or Christian, are aggressive, racist and usurping colonialists.
By equating Jews with Zionists you, Elliott, are rendering Jews a great disfavour !
With all the regional and universal writings on the wall you should know better than do that!


N. Friedman - 11/13/2010

It is the type of piece about which our friend Maarja ought to be complaining.


Elliott Aron Green - 11/13/2010

"America’s total and unconditional support of the Zionist colonialist project"

In fact, `Umar, this is a gross lie. Obama, for instance, is always imposing conditions on Israel for whatever he considers a favor done for Israel. Previous presidents did the same. Pres. Truman is considered a great friend of Israel. But his administration refused to sell weapons to Israel when it was assaulted by five Arab states in 1948. It wasn't till Kennedy's administration that Israel could purchase any serious American weaponry. In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel's air force had NO American military aircraft. The Israeli air force then depended on FRENCH not American aircraft. I shouldn't forget the hostility to Israel of Eisenhower's sec'y of state, JF Dulles and his CIA head, JF's brother Allen Dulles. Then we come to the destructive Carter administration and his hate-Israel "national insecurity advisor", Zbigniew Brzezinski. George Bush the First had Jim Baker who notoriously said: "F... the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway." So, Omar, if you go on making that false claim, I would have to consider you either delusional or extremely ignorant and susceptible to false propaganda or a deliberate liar. Which is it?

Now I would say that not all Arabs have been hostile to Jews at all times. In fact, some Arabs have been sympathetic. Consider Abdel-Razek Abdel-Kader, a descendant of the Abdel-Kader who fought the French. He was a Marxist who was also pro-Israel. He wrote that the British imperialists were trying to stifle Zionism and that the British were encouraging Arab govts to make war on Israel. See his: Le Conflit judeo-arabe [also in Spanish & Italian translation, not in English. I wonder why.].

It is also known that before WW I some of the leading anti-British nationalists in Egypt were interested in cooperating with the Zionists. Indeed, Isaiah Friedman, an Israeli historian, has written a new book showing how the British discouraged and prevented Arab-Jewish cooperation and therefore, much of the blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict of today could be blamed on UK policy.

So maybe Omar, you could benefit from reading some real history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, maybe starting with Friedman's book.


Elliott Aron Green - 11/13/2010

NF, as I see Feffer's piece, it is not so much "advocacy masquerading as history." It is worse. It is very clever, very well thought out, quite sophisticated propaganda. There is no good faith here at all, no scholarly integrity. There are all sorts of significant omissions, conflations of the unlike, etc. I see it as not merely advocacy but sheer propaganda. As such, it is a masterpiece, a work of art in its genre.



N. Friedman - 11/13/2010

CORRECTION:

Strike: 'Has the possibility not occurred to Mr. Feffer that we are in a period that, for Islam, is akin in many ways with what he calls an "initial burst of enthusiasm for holy war had long been spent"'

Substitute:

Has the possibility not occurred to Mr. Feffer that we are in a period that, for Islam, is akin in many ways with what he calls an "initial burst of enthusiasm for holy war," as occurred in Islam's early years?


N. Friedman - 11/13/2010

The author of the article, Mr. Feffer, writes: " By the time of the Crusades, however, this initial burst of enthusiasm for holy war had long been spent."

Has the possibility not occurred to Mr. Feffer that we are in a period that, for Islam, is akin in many ways with what he calls an "initial burst of enthusiasm for holy war had long been spent"? A better analysis is that we are, historically speaking, probably in the third great jihad, the first being that "initial burst" and the second being the "burst" forward of the Ottoman Empire.

Islam, in my view, is deservedly viewed as a great religion. It has much to offer. In some ways, it provided, in its hay day, a way of life that often effectively abated, albeit very imperfectly, religious and political extremism by requiring obedience to its holy law. At the same time, though, it was not (and still is not) a religion of peace. Whether or not Christianity is such a religion is irrelevant because, today, we face an Islam which is making war in accordance with the precepts attributed to (if not actually part of) that "initial burst," namely, in accordance with the jihad doctrine.

Another point. What Mr. Feffer writes about Paul Berman is more or less scurrilous. Tariq Ramadan is exposed by Berman as a Medieval man. Berman's criticism is entire fair.

Further, Berman examines the origins of the ideology we call Islamism, including its Islamic roots, and, which is even more important, the historic integration of Nazi ideas into Islamism, examining the work of Jeffrey Herf, Klaus-Michael Mallman, Martin Cuppers and other scholars who have chronicled the matter.

In my view, Mr. Feffer's article is simply not good scholarship. It is an example of advocacy masquerading as history.


james joseph butler - 11/12/2010

Peter, after you've had your fun with my "cheap propagandish exploitation" you might want to respond to my points.

I like "Rememberance Day". The whole point of studying history apart from entertainment ought to be how to do it better the next time. That includes war. I pray that America learned something from Vietnam but I doubt it because war is more emotional than any other public policy issue. Al Queda and 9/11 is and was imperial blowback. When was the last time a Muslim nation invaded a Western nation?

What Vietnam,Iraq, and Afghanistan, all have in common is huge sacrifice, huge ignorance and no discernable return on a surreal investment. These wars of choice by America happened because the people wanted them. The politicians wanted them. The people have the excuse of believing politicians. The politicians want to be elected. Win, win, and the bad guys get what's coming to them. Simple.

You can observe the phenomenon right here. Anyone who does not see wars as patriotic, selfless, exercises of what is best in their country is a nave or traitor. History repeats itself because emotion governs.


omar ibrahim baker - 11/12/2010

Elliott
Despite your and yours repeated attempts to insinuate the existence of a Judo phobia phenomenon in Arab and Moslem lands the truth is that there never was anything of a magnitude, spread and intensity, as in the West and Christendom, that would warrant that!
An objective and unbiased reading of Arab and Moslem history, both old and contemporary, would unequivocally support this claim!.
The usurping, colonialist and domineering ambitions and designs of Zionism on Palestine and the opposition and rejection thereof, Zioni phobia, is what has been the dominant feelings and political orientation in the Arab and Moslem Worlds particularly since the Balfour declaration .
More recently with the emergence of the Zionist-neocon ( Jewish-FundamentalistChristian) alliance and its nemesis Islamism anti Zionism did actually metastase into Judo phobia in some Arab and Moslem circles ; which is another grave loss and distinct disadvantage Zionism inflicted on Jews who historically has been much better tolerated and treated in Islandom that in any other major human community!


Peter Kovachev - 11/12/2010

And a happy Rememberance Day from Canada to all...except for you Jimmy. I would have thought that such cheap propagandish exploitation and insult of veterans would be below even your already impressive dive depth.


james joseph butler - 11/11/2010

Happy Veteran's Day all. My Wash Post this morning featured a top fold photo of a quadruple amputee veteran of America's wars of oil and Israel, Afghanistan or Iraq, it really doesn't matter, neither was necessary. Why does this American have to wake up for the rest of his life without arms and legs?

All the wise and eloquent men who speak here, how many of you believe that Islam has interfered with the West more than the reverse over the last century? Someone please cite the treaty or pact that said, Egypt or Palestine or Iran you have dominion over France or Britain or America. Please tell me when Jordan invaded Belgium or how many Frenchmen died in France in the war against Algeria.

This is all pathetically predictable. How long did the West and Israel think it could steal shock and awe before human nature kicked in?


Peter Kovachev - 11/11/2010

I, for one, commiserate with your predicament, Omar. The problem with cutting and pasting your own sweaty masterpieces of rhetorical flourish is that apart from boring readers to death, it’s really easy to get mixed up, or *fer-misht,*as they say in Yiddish. Good word to know…sounds like what it means…and if you drop it now and then, you’ll impress everyone at home, school or the office. Or the Tora Bora resort, as the case may be. Me, I’m too disorganized and lazy for the complex literary logistics involved in cutting and pasting one’s stale work, so I tend to make up my stuff as I go along. Each to his own.

And thanks for the hugs (i.e., your xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx). I count seventeen, which is pretty generous by all standards and, as a bonus, I understand it’s a significant number in Islam.

Anyhow, Omar, for readability try to keep things at Level 10 for language comprehensibility, and resort to summarizing. For example, you can condense your Fact One into: “On balance an all out war between the USA and the Moslem World is apt and more likely to hurt more the USA, interests etc, than the Moslem World.” Ok, we stand warned unambiguously.

In your Fact Two, you register your complaint about the Sykes/Picot agreement, without hinting at what to do about something that's already done. Perhaps a drawn-out war between all Muslim states would resolve the borders fairly? Just an idea. And in case we are confused about how to address the concerns of the Muslim world, all you need to say is that the first order of business for the US would be to throw Israel under the bus, hit the gas, reverse and do it again. See, how easy it is to summarize one’s points without threatening to throw your readers into a coma?


omar ibrahim baker - 11/11/2010

FOr reasons unknown to me though possibly a mis click by me or a quirk of my PC my earlier post at :"Islamophobia and the USA (#145888)by omar ibrahim baker on November 10, 2010 at 10:27 PM "
included an unmeant repetition of the two major paragraphs.
These are excised from the following and posted as orginaly meant to be .
Sorry!
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Certain elemental facts seem to escape some of the most virulent of Islamophobes:
-type one: the unknowing innocents full of Judeo/Christian zeal.
While it is the full knowledge of these very same elemental facts that is the major driving force behind the as virulent Islamophobes
-type two: the knowing, un innocent full of Zionist and neocon zeal.

FACT ONE:
That Islamophobia will necessarily breed anti American feelings and as such is a double edged weapon more likely to, ultimately, hurt America more than Islamdom!
More likely to hurt America than Islamdom for the simple reason that Islamdom has already been subjected to and seen the worst of America in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and progressively in Pakistan whereas anti Americanism has been, hitherto, more of a rhetorical than a real menace .
Except for the highly unlikely USA, acting for Israel or for itself, nuking of one or several major Moslem states the USA has already done all that is in its power to severely damage Moslems and Islamdon ranging from the sustenance and empowering of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine, Israel, to the occupation and subjugation of Afghanistan to the dismantlement and fragmentation of the state of Iraq and the destruction of the Iraqi nation/state!
On balance an all out war between the USA and the Moslem World is apt and more likely to hurt more the USA, interests etc, than the Moslem World.

No America centered rational analysis will conclude that it is in the USA’s real, long interest to make of the Moslem World its declared enemy as it was with the Communist; with the former being , by definition, an anti Moslems/Islam, both as peoples and nation states, war while the latter was, also by definition, an anti regimes (social/economic/political order) war!

FACT TWO:
That despite all that is being written and said no elemental, deep seated enmity is historically harbored against the USA in and by the Moslem World.
As a matter of historical fact the USA was held, until very recently, in high esteem and fond regard by Moslem as, at the time i.e. post WWI, the universal champion of anti colonialism.
History records, as documented in the KING-CRANE American presidential commission report, that at the fall of the Ottoman Empire (WWI) the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people, the 80% Arab of the then total population, CHOSE the USA to be the preferred mandatory power over Palestine should a mandate be imposed.
The change of heart occurred, rapidly but mostly lately (post 1948) that evolved into the present virulent enmity, dates from the adoption and pursuance of two fundamental American policies:
1- USA acquiescence to the Sykes/Picot agreement for the Anglo/French colonialist carve up of the Levant (Greater Syria and Iraq)
2- America’s total and unconditional support of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine both at the inception and sustenance stage of the state of Israel

Concern about the USA’s standing in the world and about America’s long term interests should recall and weigh in these two facts.


Peter Kovachev - 11/11/2010

Well, gosh, what can I say to that?


omar ibrahim baker - 11/11/2010

Certain elemental facts seem to escape some of the most virulent of Islamophobes:
-type one: the unknowing innocents full of Judeo/Christian zeal.
While it is the full knowledge of these very same elemental facts that is the major driving force behind the as virulent Islamophobes
-type two: the knowing, un innocent full of Zionist and neocon zeal.

FACT ONE:
That Islamophobia will necessarily breed anti American feelings and as such is a double edged weapon more likely to, ultimately, hurt America more than Islamdom!
More likely to hurt America than Islamdom for the simple reason that Islamdom has already been subjected to and seen the worst of America in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and progressively in Pakistan whereas anti Americanism has been, hitherto, more of a rhetorical than a real menace .
Except for the highly unlikely USA, acting for Israel or for itself, nuking of one or several major Moslem states the USA has already done all that is in its power to severely damage Moslems and Islamdon ranging from the sustenance and empowering of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine, Israel, to the occupation and subjugation of Afghanistan to the dismantlement and fragmentation of the state of Iraq and the destruction of the Iraqi nation/state!
On balance an all out war between the USA and the Moslem World is apt and more likely to hurt more the USA, interests etc, than the Moslem World.

No America centered rational analysis will conclude that it is in the USA’s real, long interest to make of the Moslem World its declared enemy as it was with the Communist; with the former being , by definition, an anti Moslems/Islam, both as peoples and nation states, war while the latter was, also by definition, an anti regimes (social/economic/political order) war!

FACT TWO:
That despite all that is being written and said no elemental, deep seated enmity is historically harbored against the USA in and by the Moslem World.
As a matter of historical fact the USA was held, until very recently, in high esteem and fond regard by Moslem as, at the time i.e. post WWI, the universal champion of anti colonialism.
History records, as documented in the KING-CRANE American presidential commission report, that at the fall of the Ottoman Empire (WWI) the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people, the 80% Arab of the then total population, CHOSE the USA to be the preferred mandatory power over Palestine should a mandate be imposed.
The change of heart occurred, rapidly but mostly lately (post 1948) that evolved into the present virulent enmity, dates from the adoption and pursuance of two fundamental American policies:
1- USA acquiescence to the Sykes/Picot agreement for the Anglo/French colonialist carve up of the Levant (Greater Syria and Iraq)
2- America’s total and unconditional support of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine both at the inception and sustenance stage of the state of Israel
Concern about the USA’s standing in the world and about America’s long term interests should recall and weigh in these two facts.
Islamophobia and the USA
Certain elemental facts seem to escape some of the most virulent of Islamophobes:
-type one: the unknowing innocents full of Judeo/Christian zeal
while it is the full knowledge of these very same elemental facts that is the major driving force behind the as virulent Islamophobes
-type two: the knowing, un innocent full of Zionist and neocon zeal.
FACT ONE:
That Islamophobia will necessarily breed anti American feelings and as such is a double edged weapon more likely to, ultimately, hurt America more than Islamdom!
More likely to hurt America than Islamdom for the simple reason that Islamdom has already been subjected to and seen the worst of America in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and progressively in Pakistan whereas anti Americanism has been, hitherto, more of a rhetorical than a real menace
Except for the highly unlikely USA or Israeli nuking of one or several major Moslem states the USA has already done all that is in its power to severely damage Moslems and Islamdon ranging from the sustenance and empowering of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine, Israel, to the occupation and subjugation of Afghanistan to the dismantlement and fragmentation of the state of Iraq and the destruction of the Iraqi nation/state!
On balance an all out war between the USA and the Moslem World is apt and more likely to hurt more the USA, interests etc, than the Moslem World.
No rational analysis will conclude that it is in the USA’s real, long interest to make of the Moslem World its declared enemy as it was with the Communist; with the former being , by definition, an anti Moslems/Islam, both as peoples and nation states, war while the latter was, also by definition, an anti regimes (social/economic/political order) war!
FACT TWO:
That despite all that is being written and said no elemental, deep seated enmity is historically harbored against the USA in and by the Moslem World.
As a matter of historical fact the USA was held, until very recently, in high esteem and fond regard by Moslem as, at the time i.e. post WWI, the universal champion of anti colonialism.
History records, as documented in the KING-CRANE American presidential commission report, that at the fall of the Ottoman Empire (WWI) the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people, the 80% Arab of the then total population, CHOSE the USA to be the preferred mandatory power over Palestine should a mandate be imposed.
The change of heart occurred, rapidly but mostly lately (post 1948) that evolved into the present virulent enmity, dates from the adoption and pursuance of two fundamental American policies:
1- USA acquiescence to the Sykes/Picot agreement for the Anglo/French colonialist carve up of the Levant (Greater Syria and Iraq)
2- America’s total and unconditional support of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine both at the inception and sustenance stage of the state of Israel
Concern about the USA’s standing in the world and about America’s long term interests should recall and weigh in these two facts.


Peter Kovachev - 11/10/2010

"Who benefits?" ...cui bono? From time to time you still manage to surprise me. I l-l-love i-t-t! Had a mental image of you in kafiyeh and olive drab, but got walloped by a conceptual shift towards a bloke in a deerstalker hat, a tartan cape and a meershaum pipe.

Just to give you heads up what you might be up against, logic-wise. The trillio-gazoodles tribute for access to the oily stuff in the ground, now, that is a way better cui bono question. How much human, political and financial capital has been sloshed down that hole? And just what are we getting for our investments and sacrifices? And this one is quantifiable.

And another thing. This image of the West and the US going on a revenge mission against "innocent Muslims" is too cartoonish and atavistic for anyone except a few ageing ex-hippie academics and their acolytes. Here you are merely transfering your cultural and psychological strategies; of all the possible motives for essentially trying to save the Iraqi and Afghani people from their own barbarians, revenge is not one of them. Neither can it be money, if you care about the math thing.

Other than some incomprehensible passages (e.g., "Once we do that everything falls in place and the profiteers from, and perpetrators of, present day Islamophobia cannot fail to jump to the dullest of minds!"), a marked improvement on your work, though.


Elliott Aron Green - 11/9/2010

Um, who stands to benefit? That sounds rather like an introduction to a detective novel about a murder. Was it the wicked stepmother? The chauffeur? The ne'er do well son? Or maybe the butler? Omar, are you now taking up writing detective novels?

Be that as it may, it was good of you, `Umar, to acknowledge the Christianophobia in Islamic lands. Now, all you have to do to be fully honest is to acknowledge Judeophobia in Islamic lands.


omar ibrahim baker - 11/9/2010


Islamophopbia, as much as its counterpart Christiano phobia in Islamdom, are understandable in, and to the people living at the battlefields and battlefronts of the myths, ignorance and blind obsessions that befuddled VI,VII and VIII Century (AD)of a Christian Europe and a Moslem Middle East.

Though Christianophopbia in Islamdom did NOT actually need recourse to myths and fabrications as much as Islamophobia did; with the Crusaders actually barbequing and eating Moslem children at Al Ma'ara ( North of Damascus) and with Arab Christian tribes fighting alongside Moslem armies to repel those earliest of Western colonialist endeavors.
One should just compare the Faranga (Crusades) and Moslem Conquest of Jerusalem for better to appreciate the inner, intrinsic, nature of both !

Nor was it ever Christianophobia, as such, at ALL.
Arab historians invariably refer to the incursions of the Crusaders, as known to Christendom, as the wars of “Al Faranga” (foreigners but mostly of Western provenance) for the Crusades.
Rarely are the Cross derived Crusades or Crusaders terms ever used.

Be that as it may the question here is that with both sides meeting, more than anywhere else, on the very bloody battle fields of the Islamic conquest of Spain and the Wars of Al Faranga (Crusades) both phobias for those early days are understandable.

What is NOT equally understandable, to the uncommitted but concerned, is present day virulent Islamophobia in the USA and W Europe and the clear declaration of war on Islam and Moslems made by Mrs Thatcher and meekly pursued by President Regan a decade before 9/11.
(A curious reversal of poodle roles! )
Where the criminal acts of a (Moslem) lunatic fringe was more than amply avenged by the Government of the USA, and Western allies, in Afghanistan and Iraq .
Whereby to avenge some 4000 innocent deaths at WTC the USA, and W. Allies was, still is, responsible for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi, Afghanis and Palestinian civilian deaths!
That is NOT understandable as long as we do NOT apply the primary, actually the primitive, TEST: the basic search tool of “ who stands to benefit and amass tremendous political and other profits from present day Islamophobia in the USA? And W Europe ?”!

Once we do that everything falls in place and the profiteers from, and perpetrators of, present day Islamophobia cannot fail to jump to the dullest of minds!


Peter Kovachev - 11/9/2010

John, missing from general stat data is the fact that Muslims are far more likely to be perpetrators, rather than victims of hate crimes, particularly against Jews, women and gays, a trend which is very noticable in Europe. Stats continue to mock the fictional assertions of tools like Feffer, with his "perfectly normal Islamic center." Just this morning, Jennifer Rubin of Commentary Magazine cited recent Gallup Poll results on the infamous mosque and quips:

"A plurality of Muslims (43 percent), other non-Christians (41 percent), and atheists/agnostics (42 percent) would leave the mosque there. But noteworthy is the number of Muslims who would either move it or make into an interfaith center, 44 percent, which is higher than the number siding with the Ground Mosque builders (and Mayor Bloomberg). What will the liberal blogosphere say — that a plurality of Muslims are Islamophobes?" (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/category/contentions)

Of course for the lunatic fringe left, like Feffer, stats don't count, only their "narrative," which is to cheaply distract from real, growing issues like international Muslim terrorism and insurgency, oppression of Christians and Animists, crimes again women and gays, and the alarming growth rate of Muslim-perpetrated hate crimes, especially antisemitism, in Europe and North America.




John Connally - 11/9/2010

According to recent (2008) FBI crime statistics, 65.7 percent of hate crimes in the United States were committed against Jews and 7.7 percent against Muslims. Where's the Islamophobia in those stats? Oh wait, I bet someone will explain it for me.


Peter Kovachev - 11/8/2010

Feffer appears to have settled on the fiction that there is a spike of "Islamophobia" in the US based on...let's see, an opposition by a majority of Americans to the planned "Islamic centre," the aptly named-Ground Zero Mosque aggressively pushed by an apologist for Islamism and funded by Islamists from abroad; and objections to Tariq Ramadan, his "thoughtful Islamic scholar," whom even fellow Muslims recognize as a slippery Islamist eel:

“Tariq Ramadan is an Islamist. He is among those who want political Islam, the European version of the Muslim Brotherhood, to infiltrate institutions, society, associations, parties, the media and so on, in order to pressure these same societies, to ‘reform’ them from inside, to Islamize them or re-Islamize them, the better to pervert them, to progressively bring them to accept a medieval vision of the Muslim religion.” (Mohamed Sifaoui)

Moreover, Feffer's "thoughtful Islamic scholar" was canned last year by a Swiss university for hosting a program on Iran's Press TV, and let's not forget that he has been banned from the US not for "thoughtful Islamic scholarship," but for donating money to a banned terrorist group connected to Hamas.

Professor Daniel Pipes, the hated bane of all Islamists and the chief recipient of the "Islamophobia" libel, listed a number of reasons to keep people like Ramadan away from our shores:

•He has praised the brutal Islamist policies of the Sudanese politician Hassan Al-Turabi. Mr. Turabi in turn called Mr. Ramadan the "future of Islam."

•Mr. Ramadan was banned from entering France in 1996 on suspicion of having links with an Algerian Islamist who had recently initiated a terrorist campaign in Paris.

•Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian indicted for Al-Qaeda activities, had "routine contacts" with Mr. Ramadan, according to a Spanish judge (Baltasar Garzón) in 1999.

•Djamel Beghal, leader of a group accused of planning to attack the American embassy in Paris, stated in his 2001 trial that he had studied with Mr. Ramadan.

•Along with nearly all Islamists, Mr. Ramadan has denied that there is "any certain proof" that Bin Laden was behind 9/11.

•He publicly refers to the Islamist atrocities of 9/11, Bali, and Madrid as "interventions," minimizing them to the point of near-endorsement.

This "Islamophobia" charge against Americans and the West should be put in context. It is a recent Iranian propaganda-inspired neologism popularized by Khomeini, Sayid Qutub, Anwar al Awlaki and Osama bin Laden. Coming from Feffer, it is a shameless, unprincipled and disgusting libel against a nation which has bent over backwards to provide refuge and dignity to millions of Muslims in a way no other nation, certainly not an Islamic one, has.


james joseph butler - 11/8/2010

John Feffer, bravo. Although I don't really think American civilization, let alone the electorate, is particularly Crusade conscious. A course I haven't set foot in an evangelical church in a lifetime. I favor the bio explanations. We're hard wired for fear if it's not there we make it up, see Zombies, Vampires, Catholics, Commies, etc. We, like Al Queda, also prefer cannibalism, rather than coalescing and fighting the good fight, be it imperialism or infrastructure renewal, we mire ourselves in petty internecine, Shia v Sunni, Democrat v Republican, tit for doh!, nonsense.

Oh well, I wish could feel optimistic but I'm afraid one of these wanna be martyrs will get lucky and then Pres. Palin refresh our memories of the Crusades.


Elliott Aron Green - 11/8/2010

very slick, John, what one would expect from the IPS. So many distortions, hslf-truths, falsehoods, important points omitted. Bravo! A small masterpiece of its genre.

But where to begin?
Yes, I and others have long known that the historical kernel of truth in the Roland epic was a battle between Gascons [Basques] and Charlemagne's army. And we know that the story was later adapted into an anti-Muslim saga. But why was it so adapted? Wasn't there a real struggle between Muslim conquerors in Spain [or Hispania or Iberia at that time] and the earlier Christian peoples and rulers? What kind of struggle was it? Had Spain been invaded by a Muslim army which eventually advanced into France [still Gaul at that time] and was stopped at Poitiers? Could we call that an imperialist or at least imperial invasion without being called Islamophobes?

Then John, you play a game with the term "Judeo-Christians." At that time, Christians were aware of their faith's connection to Judaism, but I much doubt that they would have wanted to identify themselves as somehow Jewish, which the name "Judeo-Christian" does. I'm sure that Christians did read the Song of Roland, but I much doubt that Jews read it. So I have to ask just what you were trying to say by using the term "Judeo-Christian." Were you trying to spread the Crusading spirit onto the Jews and thus blame Jews for the Crusades?? Islam also took much from Judaism, but Muslims don't like to acknowledge that. Consider that the item "Jews, Judaism" in Thomas Hughes' Dictionary of Islam published in Lahore has undergone drastic censorship in editions published since Pakistani independence. Whereas Hughes had acknowledged the extensive Muslim borrowing from Judaism, from the Talmud and Midrash, post-1947 editions have been censored to eliminate that specific point.

Getting back to the Jews and the Crusades, yes, I note that you correctly point out that there were "Jews killed in pogroms on the way to the Holy Land," by the Crusaders. But this is a half-truth and it seems to conceal a fact that you don't want known. The Crusaders killed many or most of the Jews in the Land of Israel at that time. That is, you seem not to want to acknowledge that Jews were a substantial part of the population of the country, of the Land of Israel or Holy Land, as you call it, when the Crusaders arrived in 1099 and started slaughtering with gay abandon [see Prof Moshe Gil et al.]. That Jewish presence would probably not fit into your anti-Zionist predilections.

Then you fail to acknowledge that Islamic conquests continued long after the Muslim defeat at Poitiers. There was the Sudan --at least the northern Sudan-- conquered in the south of the Islamic domain. To the north, there were the Ottoman conquests in Europe, in the east, the bloody wars in India to subdue the natives, and then in the north, two sieges of Vienna in the 17th century, etc. Yet, you John, suggest that the Muslim drive for conquest had somehow abated in the Middle Ages.

It is curious of course that you don't mention the word "Armenian" in your essay. Not even once. Prof. James Russell reports that Edward Said fails to mention the word "Armenian" in his apologetics for Islam. Maybe your argument in defense of Islam is inspired by the same motivation as inspired Said. Be that as it may, how do you explain the Armenian genocide?

Of course, I would not expect you to cite Quran 9:29 [in the usual verse numbering]. That verse calls on Muslims to fight the unbelievers --referring to Jews and Christians-- until they are humbled and pay tribute. How are non-Muslims supposed to feel about that verse?

Then you complain about anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States since 9-11. What you fail to say is that there have been more hate crimes in the United States in that period against Jews than against Muslims. Indeed, some of those anti-Jewish hate crimes were perpetrated by Muslims. Including murders. So maybe you should set yourself the task of persuading Muslims to show less hatred against Jews and other non-Muslims, than in railing against "Islamophobia."