This kind of rampant racism is still going on in America


Before I make the post, Domino’s Pizza has issued a statement on the page where the video below appears and it reads

Domino’s does not tolerate discrimination against customers. This store was owned and operated by an independent franchisee and that franchisee exited our system in 2013.

Michael P. Jarvis of Winter Haven is named in the Circuit Court suit along with his company, Michael J’s Pizzaria, Inc., which owned the Domino’s Pizza where the incident occurred. Jarvis has said  he sold the store about two years ago and  he was unaware of the lawsuit.  He declined to comment further.  Here’s the video

Here’s the story

Hakima Bennadi

Hakima Bennadi

Hakima Benaddi said she had picked up pizza at a Domino’s store in Davenport dozens of times since she moved to the neighborhood in 2011.

The only difference from her routine July 27, 2012, Benaddi said, was that she was wearing a Muslim head scarf.

A lawsuit filed in her behalf contends she was discriminated against by employees, including an accusation by one that she threatened to blow up the building.

The charges were later dropped, but Benaddi said Thursday that her life was turned upside down because of the false accusations.

She’s suing the former owner of the Davenport pizzeria and his company. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Circuit Court on behalf of Benaddi by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida.

Benaddi said she’s still shaken over being handcuffed and put into jail.

“I never imagined I’d be in that situation,” Benaddi said, standing next to her lawyer, Thania Diaz Clevenger, civil rights director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Florida, at a news conference outside the Polk County Courthouse. “I know they discriminated against me.

A Domino’s Pizza spokesman at corporate headquarters in Detroit said the corporation didn’t own the store and wasn’t named in the lawsuit.

“The employees were his (the franchisee), and he is no longer with our system,” said spokesman Tim McIntyre.

Benaddi moved to the United States in 2009 from Morocco.

She was arrested by Polk County sheriff’s deputies on charges of making a bomb threat after the July 27, 2012, incident at Domino’s Pizza, 45717 U.S. 27 N.

The charges were dropped in August 2012 because of “conflicting witness statements,” according to the lawsuit. Her arrest record was ordered expunged on Sept. 13, 2013, by a circuit judge, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, which is seeking damages, Benaddi’s civil rights were violated and she was wrongly arrested because of false statements made by the store’s assistant manager, Whitney Green.

Green was the only employee who told investigators she heard a bomb threat. “The woman came into the store screaming about her pizza,” Green told deputies, according to an arrest report. “When I went to find out what was wrong, she started yelling, ‘It’s because you’re American, and I’m Muslim. I’m gonna come back with a bomb. I’ll blow you all up.’?”

The argument started over a vegetarian pizza Benaddi ordered. Benaddi said it was her first time wearing a hijab, the Muslim head scarf, at the Domino’s. She bought the pizza and, when she got home, found it was missing toppings, some crust and cheese. She called the store to complain and returned with the pizza.

The suit said when Benaddi asked for a refund, she was told by Green and two other employees that there was nothing wrong with the pizza. Following a verbal confrontation with Green, Benaddi said, “You can keep your pizza” and left the store, the suit says.

Green called deputies about the bomb threat after Benaddi left about 6 p.m. Sheriff’s Deputy William Tull investigated the complaint, placed the pizza box into evidence then questioned Benaddi. She was arrested about midnight, according to the lawsuit.

Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilder said he couldn’t discuss the case because the criminal records had been expunged.

This kind of racism is illegal and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  I congratulate Ms. Bennadi for doing just that and hope she prevails.  Lying because of poor service rendered to a paying customer is unacceptable.

A comment is needed for this latest Islamophobic display


When I saw this the first thing that came to mind was the poor, ignorant people responsible for this “display” probably were including traffic tickets received by the Muslims who live in their area.  I wasn’t too far off

Factually, the number of “*19,250 Islamic attacks (*and counting)” is a purposeful fabrication….this so-called “Islamic Terrorism ticker” that gives us the oddly precise round number of 19,250 is taken from the anti-Muslim website “The Religion of Peace” (TROP)

Many of the attacks listed by TROP relate to nationalist insurgencies, such as the conflict involving Baluchi nationalists seeking independence from Pakistan. Some of the attacks listed by TROP are in fact crimes committed by Muslims or people with Muslim sounding names that have nothing to do with Islam or terrorism, such as honor killings, the killing of local policemen, petty assault, etc.

In other words, the people who come up with these figures have managed to include everything that was ever done by someone with a Muslim sounding name as terror related and I may not be too far off in wondering if traffic tickets have been included in the mix.  I’m a bit conflicted however, to read that the people who are obliged to post such displays acknowledge they are offensive but run them because of free speech requirements in place in society.  They have come up with an answer  to assuage their conscious by saying they will donate profits from the ad to education campaigns against discrimination.  May I suggest they give such proceeds to CAIR or any other Muslim organization in their area who in turn will produce and organize  the education campaigns.  With such a stipulation attached to the airing of such displays there’s no doubt in my mind they will cease to appear on the American landscape.  Does anyone have the courage to propose such a thing to the voices of hatred and bigotry?

Two recent terrorism cases


Some people made a big deal about Hani Nour Eldin, a member of Egypt’s dissolved parliament, getting a U.S. visa and meetings with U.S. officials despite his membership in Egypt’s Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which the State Department deems a “foreign terrorist organization.”  It didn’t matter to those same people that the group Gama’a al-Islamiyya renounced violence  at around the turn of this century.  Nor did it matter to them  that the group’s renounciation was accepted by our ally, Egypt’s Hosni Mubara.  The problem was/is  the US State department, now headed by the dreaded and hated spouse of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton that the Right has pilloried ever since their appearance on the political stage had gone over to the Islamist/terrorist  side.  But as in most things that originate from the right side of America’s political spectrum these days, there really wasn’t much substance to their concern for America…..it did give the right the opportunity to sling mud at its two biggest political existential threats, the Obama Administration and Muslims.

It’s little wonder that members of the Right were silent about this bit of news. The Syrian government’s Muslim religious leader,  Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun was quoted last October as saying, ‘I say to all of Europe, I say to America, we will set up suicide bombers who are now in your countries, if you bomb Syria or Lebanon. From now on, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ The as dreaded as the Clinton’s State Department, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) in today’s America wasn’t going to let that kind of rhetoric go unnoticed and protested

We urge you to deny entry to Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, who has threatened our nation’s national security with calls for suicide attacks and whose state-appointed function is to provide a religious veneer for a brutal regime that has killed and tortured thousands of its own people…

Hassoun’s entry into the United States would only serve to provide credibility for his false claim that the ongoing revolution against the Assad dictatorship is inspired by foreign interests, instead of the Syrian people‘s clear desire for peace, freedom and the rule of law.

By allowing Hassoun entry to the United States, we would send a contradictory and counterproductive message to the beleaguered people of Syria at time when they are suffering such hardships at the hands of the regime’s forces.

No doubt CAIR’s diligence is due in no small part to criticism about how Muslims do very little self-policing of themselves which CAIR did to a rather successful conclusion but it will do little to stem the name calling they are part of a larger Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy.  They needn’t worry about that however, since it seems EVERYONE is a part of the takeover of America by the Muslim Brotherhood. Neither should CAIR expect anyone from the Right will give them credit for the organization’s  outspokenness on an issue that they, the Right  likes to call its own….pointing out or highlighting religiously connected terrorism.  By co opting the Right’s  issue of choice, CAIR has made the Right irrelevant.  At the least they deserve an ‘attaboy!

Look what we have here


Islamophobes really need to read and listen to what American Muslims say about their religion instead of relying on what some other Islamophobe says about it.  (Peter King are you listening?) I was directed to this rather extraordinary website by the excellent website The American Muslim.  Apostasy and Islam was put together by a Muslim American academic Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq, whose main purpose was to authentically refute  the notion that Islam condemns killing Muslims who convert to another religion.  That assertion has been one of the main cries of Islamophobes who claim that Islam, contrary to the religious texts, is not a religion of freedom but of coercion, force and fear.  Farooq will have none of that…having compiled 100 sources that directly refute the claim.  Take a look

As presented in excerpts from numerous sources below, and links to works available online, there is no worldly punishment solely for apostasy [i.e., changing of one’s faith/religion] mentioned in the Qur’an. ……

…..there is no hadith confirming punishment or retribution solely for apostasy. In every single case, where punishment has been meted out, riddah involved treason or rebellion. The following is an example of how the Prophet dealt with solely apostasy.

A bedouin gave the Pledge of allegiance to Allah’s Apostle for Islam. Then the bedouin got fever at Medina, came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Cancel my Pledge,” But Allah’s Apostle refused. Then he came to him (again) and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Cancel my Pledge.” But the Prophet refused Then he came to him (again) and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Cancel my Pledge.” But the Prophet refused. The bedouin finally went out (of Medina) whereupon Allah’s Apostle said, “Medina is like a pair of bellows (furnace): It expels its impurities and brightens and clears its good. [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 9, #318]

Notably, as Dr. M. E. Subhani explained in his book: “This was an open case of apostasy. But the Prophet neither punished the Bedouin nor asked anyone to do it. He allowed him to leave Madina. Nobody harmed him.”

Or there is this

Some people accepted Islam during the period of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, who is called the fifth rightful caliph of Islam. All these people renounced Islam sometimes later. Maimoon bin Mahran the governor of the area wrote to the caliph about these people. In reply Umar bin Abdul Aziz ordered him to release those people and asked him to re-impose jizya on them. [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, pp. 171-10, cited in M. E. Subhani,Apostasy in Islam (New Delhi, India: Global Media Publications, 2005), pp. 23-24. Abdur Razzaq ibn Humama (d. 211 AH). This is the earliest musannaf (a hadith collection arranged in topical chapters) work in existence.]

From Egypt, which just recently elected an “Islamist” president comes this pronouncement

“The Islamic Research Department of Al-Azhar University has called the penalty for apostasy as null and void and has said that the ways of repentance are open for the whole life. … So an apostate can repent over his mistake anytime during his life and there would be no fixed period for it.” [Al-Alamul Islami, the weekly organ of Rabita Alam al-Islami, 23rd August 2002, quoted in Dr. M. E. Subhani, Global Media Publications, 2005, p. 25]

From one of the sons of the dreaded Muslim Brotherhood, the much maligned organization that is pointed to in order to show extremism, comes this tidbit from Tariq Ramadan

I have been criticised about this in many countries. My view is the same as that of Sufyan Al-Thawri, an 8th-century scholar of Islam, who argued that the Koran does not prescribe death for someone because he or she is changing religion. Neither did the Prophet himself ever perform such an act. Many around the Prophet changed religions. But he never did anything against them. There was an early Muslim, Ubaydallah ibn Jahsh, who went with the first emigrants from Mecca to Abyssinia. He converted to Christianity and stayed, but remained close to Muslims. He divorced his wife, but he was not killed.” [Interview: Tariq Ramadan]

From the equally maligned American Islamic organization CAIR comes this

Islamic scholars say the original rulings on apostasy were similar to those for treasonous acts in legal systems worldwide and do not apply to an individual’s choice of religion. Islam advocates both freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, a position supported by verses in the Quran, Islam’s revealed text … ‘Religious decisions should be matters of personal choice, not a cause for state intervention. Faith imposed by force is not true belief, but coercion. Islam has no need to compel belief in its divine truth. As the Quran states: ‘Truth stands out clear from error. Therefore, whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks.’ (2:256)

Finally, Muslims living in America have this to say about apostasy in Islam and what if anything should be the punishment

…the Qur’an is the definitive clear authority for protecting the rights of an individual in expressing himself in faith and supercedes any of the distorted interpretations of the hadiths in question. Executing a person because of conversion to another faith contradicts the Qur’an, the ultimate source of Shari’ah.” [The Ruling on Apostasy]-(Muhammad Hanooti)

The Quran states categorically and unequivocally, there shall be no coercion in matters of faith. (2:256). This cornerstone tenet of Islamic faith is violated when an individual is put on trial for converting away from Islam. This verse, very clearly teaches that faith is a personal matter between the individual and God. (Islamic Center of Long Island, New York)

Discussions of Islamic law by non-Muslims (and, all too often, by Muslims as well) suffer from confusion between the concepts of apostasy and treason. The majority view is that the death penalty applies only to treason during wartime, including providing aid and comfort to the enemy, rather than mere conversion. According to the Constitution [Article III, section 3], treason consists only ‘in levying war against [the United States], or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.’ That Muhammad shared this view can be seen in the fact that he never executed apostates except when they made war or propaganda against the Muslims. (Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad President/Director, Minaret of Freedom Institute, Maryland, USA

 

One could go on and on, but the evidence is there on the printed page for all to see and it clearly dispels the notions put forth by Islamophobes that people in the West should be fearful for their lives if they leave the Islamic religion.  Surely there are some who believe that but there is no substantive textual evidence that justifies killing someone because they have stopped being Muslim.  This literature is vast, authentic and easily available.  One should ask the question why is it not mentioned by the detractors of Islam; what else is it they don’t want you to really know about the religion of Islam?

Courage


Sometimes all it takes is for someone to take a principled stand against people who intimidate by fear and hatred.  That’s what Hillsborough County school board chair Candy Olson did at a school board meeting this month when confronted by parents who were upset the school system allowed a Muslim to speak to classrooms about Islam.

They (assembled parents)  said the presentation by CAIR’s Hassan Shibly — made to an advanced-placement world history class in November at Steinbrenner High — was a threat to children, to schools, to America.

“As a father to a child, this breaks my heart to know this is even considered in the schools,” said William Terrell of Tampa.

“CAIR funds homicide bombers to do what they do. They fund the ability of rockets being shot into Israel,” said Ryan Italiano, an 11-year-old who is home-schooled.

“Why you’ll let this religion be taught in our schools but you won’t let the religion that this country was made of be taught in the schools. What’s the point in teaching religion that caused the twin towers to fall down?”

Finally, after 17 speakers on the topic, and with dozens more anti-CAIR forces in the crowd who didn’t speak, school board Chairwoman Candy Olson had heard enough. And she unleashed on the group.

“Our teachers do need to give our students a broad view of the world,” she said, clearly irritated. “The Muslim faith is here to stay. I don’t think we can protect our children from the fact that there are people in this world who believe in Islam.”

She called those in the audience out of touch and criticized what she labeled a negative and mostly anonymous e-mail campaign that she said was meant to intimidate.

“This was one speaker for part of one class. This wasn’t an indoctrination,” Olson said. “How dare you show such disdain for people who are by and large competent professionals? It is essential, it is imperative we support our teachers in showing a broad view of the world.”

Olson said that despite speakers’ statements to the contrary, there were plenty of opportunities for other faiths to be present in the schools. After all, Olson said, there are Bible studies and clubs such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Instead of being bullied, cowed or merely quiet, Olson took a stand on the issue and held her ground.  She needs to be congratulated for that.  Too many have capitulated to assembled voices of hatred and not defended the rights and responsibilities we all have and share, regardless of faith, color or creed.  Olson would have none of that however and held fast.  Would that American politicians on both sides of  politics had such bravery; it’s a trait that’s sorely missing in them. Kudos, Ms Olson!

The Rise of Racist Islamophobia


My Breaking Point


Everyone has their breaking point for hate speech and racism.  Mine came when I watched the video you can find here, where what started out to be a “decent” interview between a Fox reporter, Megyn Kelly, and a representative of the Media Research Center and Council of American-Islamic Relations ended with the Fox reporter shouting ‘that’s way out of line, that’s way out of line’  at the CAIR representative as if to imply he had no businesss making the assertion that more abortion clinic personnel  have been killed by members of the Christian right who protested what is  a legal right women have to abortion than people who’ve been killed by Muslims protesting depictions of the Last Messenger and Prophet.   Evidently that fact doesn’t fit into Fox News’ ideas of domestic terrorism and who the adherents of terrorism are especially if they are white Christians and not brown skinned bearded, covered and menacing Muslims.

Glen Greenwald’s breaking point must have come when he read a New York Times editorial by one Ross Douthat a rather nasty Islamophobe who has been featured in the pages of Miscellany101 before here.  Douthat’s piece put forth the premise Muslims can intimidate artists who live by poetic license into not offending Muslim sensibilities but law abiding Christians who supposedly don’t engage in the same polemic are  offended by artists who are not afraid of them nor have any respect for Christian religious beliefs.  Greenwald pretty much slams the door on Douthat and by extension the visibly upset FoxNews reporter’s argument thusly:

It looks like Ross Douthat picked the wrong month to try to pretend that threat-induced censorship is a uniquely Islamic practice.  Corpus Christi is the same play that was scheduled and then canceled (and then re-scheduled) by the Manhattan Theater Club back in 1998 as a result of “anonymous telephone threats to burn down the theater, kill the staff, and ‘exterminate’ McNally.”  Both back then and now, leading the protests (though not the threats) was the Catholic League, denouncing the play as “blasphemous hate speech.”

I abhor the threats of violence coming from fanatical Muslims over the expression of ideas they find offensive, as well as the cowardly institutions which acquiesce to the accompanying demands for censorship.  I’ve vigorously condemned efforts to haul anti-Muslim polemicists before Canadian and European “human rights” (i.e., censorship) tribunals.  But the very idea that such conduct is remotely unique to Muslims is delusional, the by-product of Douthat’s ongoing use of his New York Times column for his anti-Muslim crusade and sectarian religious promotion.

The various forms of religious-based, intimidation-driven censorship and taboo ideas in the U.S. — what Douthat claims are non-existent except when it involves Muslims — are too numerous to chronicle.  One has to be deeply ignorant, deeply dishonest or consumed with petulant self-victimization and anti-Muslim bigotry to pretend they don’t exist.  I opt (primarily) for the latter explanation in Douthat’s case.

As Balloon-Juice’s DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue and Ashliegh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who were banned by their corporate executives from running stories that reflected negatively on Bush and the war.  When he was Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani was fixated on using the power of his office to censor art that offended his Catholic sensibilities.  The Bush administration banned mainstream Muslim scholars even from entering the U.S. to teach.  The Dixie Chicks were deluged with death threats for daring to criticize the Leader, forcing them to apologize out of fear for their lives.  Campaigns to deny tenure to academicians, or appointments to politicial officials, who deviate from Israel orthodoxy are common and effective.  Responding to religious outrage, a Congressional investigation was formally launched and huge fines issued all because Janet Jackson’s breast was displayed for a couple of seconds on television.

All that’s to say nothing of the endless examples of religious-motivated violence by Christian and Jewish extremists designed to intimidate and suppress ideas offensive to their religious dogma (I’m also pretty sure the people doing this and this are not Muslim).  And, contrary to Douthat’s misleading suggestion, hate speech laws have been used for censorious purposes far beyond punishing speech offensive to Muslims — including, for instance, by Christian groups invoking such laws to demand the banning of plays they dislike.

It’s nice that The New York Times hired a columnist devoted to defending his Church and promoting his religious sectarian conflicts without any response from the target of his bitter tribalistic encyclicals.  Can one even conceive of having a Muslim NYT columnist who routinely disparages and rails against Christians and Jews this way?  To ask the question is to answer it, and by itself gives the lie to Douthat’s typically right-wing need to portray his own majoritarian group as the profoundly oppressed victim at the hands of the small, marginalized, persecuted group which actually has no power (it’s so unfair how Muslims always get their way in the U.S.).  But whatever else is true, there ought to be a minimum standard of factual accuracy required for these columns.  The notion that censorship is exercised only on behalf of Muslims falls far short of that standard.

(1) Several people are insisting that the problem of violence and threats by Muslims is far greater than, and thus not comparable to, those posed by Christians and Jews.  This is just the same form of triabalistic, my-side-is-always-better blindness afflicting Douthat.  Who could possibly look at the U.S. and conclude that brutal, inhumane, politically-motivated, designed-to-intimidate violence is a particular problem among Muslims, or that Muslims receive special, unfairly favorable treatment as a result of their intimidation?  Do you mean except for the tens of thousands of Muslims whom the U.S. has imprisoned without charges for years, and the hundreds of thousands our wars and invasions and bombings have killed this decade alone, and the ones from around the world subjected to racial and ethnic profiling, and the ones we’ve tortured and shot up at checkpoints and are targeting for state-sponsored assassination?

(2) There’s no question that violence or threatened violence by Islamic radicals against authors, cartoonists and the like is a serious problem.  But (a) simply click on the links above — or talk to workers in abortion clinics about the climate in which they work — and try to justify how you can, with a straight face, claim it’s not very pervasive among extremists and fanatics generally, and (b) avoid exaggerating the problem.  The group that threatened the South Park creators is a tiny, fringe group founded by a former right-wing Jewish-American settler in the West Bank who converted to Islam and spends most of his time harrassing American Muslims (the former “James Cohen”; h/t Archtype); they’re about as representative of Muslims generally as Fred Phelps and these people are representative of Christians.  Moreover, numerous blogs displayed the Mohammed cartoons and plan to do so again; the notion that the Western World is cowering in abject fear from Muslim intimidation is absurdly overblown.

(3) Sarah Palin recently defended the Rev. Franklin Graham’s statement that Islam is “a very evil and wicked religion.”  That barely caused a ripple of controversy.  Imagine if a leading political figure had said anything remotely similar about Christianity or Judaism.  The claim that Muslims receive some sort of special protection or sensitivity is the opposite of reality.

I might add everywhere you see The New York Times and or Ross Douthat in Greenwald’s piece above, you can safely insert FoxNews and Megyn Kelly, or any other corporate media type and their corresponding lackey/reporter….the rhetoric is essentially the same and equally perverse.  If you want to really get a flavor for Greenwald’s piece read it in its entirety here.

What is common about these two media encounters, mine and Greenwald’s is how it appears media wants to inflame public passions against a group of people who are 0.00067% of the Muslim population (548 members of Revolution Muslim out of an estimated population of 6 million Muslims)  of the US in such a way as to imply they can possibly limit or even do away with the freedoms of speech we hold so dearly when it has been the government’s response to this minuscule number that  poses a greater threat to that freedom than anything the Revolution Muslim can conjure.   Such is the rhetoric which drives media and government ever closer to the precipice of destroying the social order in a way no amount of terror, Islamic, foreign, domestic, militia driven or otherwise could ever do and yet the general public seems alright with that notion that freedom and liberty are ok to forfeit or lose at the expense of persecuting minorities, the opposition, but certainly for now Muslims.  It is a notion we have embraced to readily in our past and it’s time to forgo it now.