Power, politics and religion-how race is still very much a problem in America


This article resonated so deeply with me I had to share it.

nypd-muslims-350

Recently news broke of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) unbridled, secret surveillance of Muslim communities and organizations, monitoring intimate aspects of people’s lives and designating entire mosques as terrorist organizations without evidence. I reacted to this with a familiar combination of rage and fatigue.

In an interview on Huffington Post, Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York expressed a similar lack of surprise, while calling these police practices a “new low.”

The NYPD’s approach to counterterrorism policing seems to start from a place that all Muslims are inherently suspect, raising serious civil rights and safety concerns… Subjecting whole communities to blanket surveillance because of their faith is not good policing. These tactics alienate law-abiding Muslims and deepen mistrust between law enforcement and communities. That breakdown in communication puts all New Yorkers at risk.

The criminalization of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities has become appallingly, shockingly normalized in the War on Terror. For a decent yet disturbing roundup of the policies of terror waged against AMEMSA communities since 9/11, check out this article. The writer does a pretty good job of summarizing, but he also makes a common mistake, attributing the origins of this story to 9/11. In reality, the beginnings are much older.

Nineteenth Century western imperialism created false human hierarchies to justify white supremacy. It used these racial hierarchies to rationalize war, genocide, and slavery – strategies that led to the buildup of wealth and power for some through the hyper-exploitation and destruction of others. The criminalization of AMEMSA communities today is rooted in the idea of a permanent, foreign threat to American interests that demands a constant state of war. This is a centuries-old, divided view of the world into two realms: civilized and uncivilized, friend and foe. In claiming to protect the civilized realm from harm, the United States manipulates ideas of “freedom” and “democracy”, while in fact putting these goals out of reach for entire groups of people through militarized violence, criminalization and policing.

The NYPD’s police practices are also rooted in slavery and anti-black racism. After the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments, slavery had officially ended and blacks were granted citizenship. But brutal legal systems of racial control in the South granted broad police powers to regulate all aspects of black life. States throughout the South passed so-called Black Codes – laws restricting black people’s right to own property, conduct business, buy and lease land, and move freely through public spaces.

Fast forward a century later, to Nixon’s War on Crime and War on Drugs, declared after the passage of federal Civil Rights legislation. Just as the federal government yielded to demands for an end to racial discrimination, these domestic wars kicked off the massive expansion of a racialized criminal justice system that scholar Michelle Alexander now aptly calls The New Jim Crow. Today, there are more black people under the control of the criminal justice system than there were enslaved in 1850, and the United States is by far the largest jailor in the world. As for the reasons behind Nixon’s War on Crime, contrary to popular belief, scholar Naomi Murakawa points out, the “US did not confront a crime problem that was then racialized[;] it confronted a race problem that was then criminalized” – a race problem rooted in the formation of the United States. Throughout U.S. history, every step toward black liberation has been met with a countering surge in anti-black violence and criminalization.

This history raises important questions for the racial justice movement about the meaning of words like democracy, freedom, and security, when U.S. projects claiming to advance these aims clearly undermine them in reality. As acts of self-defense, we are often tempted to fall back on phrases like “law-abiding” and “hard-working” to distinguish ourselves and assert our rights, or to make overly visible gestures of patriotism like flag-waving and participation in U.S. wars. But these very words and actions feed into the divisions between “us” and “them,” between “friend” and “foe,” between “deserving” and “undeserving” – divisions that have life-threatening impacts for the most vulnerable peoples of the world, both within and beyond U.S. borders.

From the War on Crime to the War on Drugs to the War on Terror, increasingly, this us-versus-them way of sorting humanity is what “makes” race today, by dictating whose lives are safeguarded by the alleged American promise of freedom and democracy, and whose are not; and by normalizing the brutality of criminalization, mass incarceration, and war.

 

Does anyone other than me consider this more than a coincidence?


First there was this, Federal Reserve Bank bomb suspect ‘in US on student visa’ which detailed an imminent threat that was to be carried out by one Bengali student Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis here in America.  The release of information about threats that are designed to both frighten the American public as well as boost a sagging Presidential candidate’s ratings in a close election is nothing new; it was a tactic used effectively by the Bush Administration during its two terms and Obama seems willing to employ the same strategy in 2012.  We won’t talk about all the legal problems inherent in this type of operation, it has worked rather well for both administrations.  However, shortly after the headline of a thwarted plot from a Bengali national came this news about another person of Bangladeshi descent: Informant: NYPD Paid Me to ‘Bait’ Muslims which details how a 19 year old of Bangladeshi descent claims he was used to entrap or bait New York city area Muslims into incriminating statements or actions that could lead to “create and capture….creating a conversation about jihad or terrorism, then capturing the response to send to the NYPD.”  The informant, one Shamiur Rahman who is about the same  age as the terrorist suspect of our first story,  Ahsan Nafis,  21 was engaged in activity that should guarantee their paths would cross during the time they were together in the Big Apple.  In the light of these two stories, that’s a question a good reporter should ask….if they’re not too busy posing on table tops!

From the people of humanity to the rest of humanity


It’s awe inspiring to see the oldest religious tradition known to man exert the universal principle that began with that tradition that we must love and honor one another.  That’s the message of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America which they have delivered juxtaposed with the hate spewed message of the Islamophobes that has recently graced New York City billboards.  I salute such people of faith and courage who are taking a clear stand against the trends of today’s America where  hate filled  drenched  intolerance for people different from the norm has become the order of the day.  It’s encouraging to see faith still matters to enough of us to speak out, and that there are people who are compelled by their faith into positive action for all of humanity.  To the Rabbis for Human Rights – North America, kudos!

This is what the scare tactic of governance gets you


I’m sure this scene plays out in cities and towns across America.  It’s frightening and terrifying for citizens who go through it and something I don’t quite get is why law enforcement types don’t get that yet……or is it they simply don’t care?   In today’s America however, where everyone and every circumstance is enough to justify even the most strident militant response from ‘officers of the law’, it might be a good thing that municipalities are cash starved and considering layoffs of their law enforcement personnel.  I for one am a firm believer that people are responsible for their own protection and police’s role in society should be one of monitoring, reporting  and assisting citizens when needed.

Police bust in to a house that had a teenaged girl and her grandmother, looking for someone who had used the internet to issue threats against the town’s police department. In none of the reports that I read about this tragedy was there any link to the threats made besides a mention that they were personal in nature and that was enough to make the  police department  embark  on a course of terror against its citizenry.   Unfortunately for the  victims of this story, their internet connection is on an unsecured router that anyone can use to receive and post information.  But what’s regrettable   for the citizens of Evansville, Indiana is their police department personalized insults and uncivil language that was on the internet  to intimidate and infringe on the rights of the citizens of that city.  In other words speech that some may see anonymous and even protected was used by the police department of Evansville to justify  physically intruding upon and even potentially harming people who had no relationship with that speech at all.  Instead of carefully determining who were the residents of the house, police decided based on the accusation that threats were made to raid the  house in a manner befitting any shock and awe operation run during the Iraq war.  Later on, realizing the error of their ways, police went to a second suspect’s house in a much more appropriate manner…..knocking on the door, which possibly yielded more promising results.  Check out the video below

 

There was a lot of news about the New York City police department spying on Muslims in the NYC area and now I understand what motivated  the police department.  Like others in government who have reaped immense financial rewards from America’s war on terror, WOT, the NYPD has too!  With money funded by the federal government they have acquired a state of the art helicopter they say will help them in the terror fight.  They claim that they are becoming increasingly more dependent on helicopters, a very high ticket  item for fighting terror…and in order to justify such huge expenditures they ,NYPD , have to conjure up a threat sufficient enough to get governments, local, state and federal, as well as tax payers to want to appropriate the funds necessary.  That bogeyman for the NYPD has been the tri-state area Muslims. 

The New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the elite Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

Police talked to local authorities about professors 480 kilometres away in Buffalo and even sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students’ names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.

Detectives trawled Muslim student websites every day and, although professors and students had not been accused of any wrongdoing, their names were recorded in reports prepared for the New York police commissioner, Raymond Kelly.

This helicopter is supposed to be able to detect radiation and any other kind of threat from the sky…..and I’m sure the mantra will be if it makes us secure it’s worth the investment, but the question to ask is at what cost to American citizens do we want to get our hands on this type of equipment?  How far in demonizing one group of Americans, lying about them and their existence among us all the while stretching the limits of time worn freedoms and privileges do we want to go to justify getting our hands on this?  The point has been made with alarming alacrity there is no threat to America by American Muslims; in fact they are the least threatening group to inhabit our shores, yet time and time again imagery of an Islamic terrorist threat is used and its end result is usually the investment of large sums of money to those who sound this exaggerated  threat, much like the communism scare of 50 years ago which resulted in a lot of empty  bomb shelters and a cold war atmosphere that saw America spend money and fight wars against a virtually  impotent and even non-existing enemy.  The sons of the leaders of America’s cold war with communism are now leading the war against Muslims with almost the same empty results.  Is it no wonder if we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it?

Remember this guy? He’s baaack!!!


Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back in the news again and it’s not good news.  The NYC prosecutor was paid off to drop the charges against him because of innuendo dug up or revealed about Strauss-Kahn’s accuser in the case, Nafissatou Diallo, but ever since then it’s been nothing but bad news for DSK. 

First off after having the charges against him dropped in NYC, DSK faced similar charges by a French compatriot back in  France who claimed he attempted to rape her as well.  Well ‘the French public prosecutor said Thursday that while insufficient evidence was found to substantiate attempted rape, “acts that could be qualified as sexual aggression were established.” Unlike the attempted rape charge—which carries a statute of limitations of 10 years—sexual assault offenses can only be prosecuted three years after they were committed which means because the allegations go back to 2003, the plaintiff’s case is all but dead in the water.  However, the very finding that DSK engaged in sexually aggressive behavior mirrors the charges made by Diallo for which now she only has civil proceedings as a recourse.  But there’s more…….

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was handed preliminary charges Monday alleging he was involved in a French prostitution ring…In the northern French city of Lille on Monday, investigating judges summoned Strauss-Kahn for questioning and held him for about eight hours.

Lawyer Richard Malka told reporters afterward that Strauss-Kahn was given preliminary charges of “aggravated procurement in an organized gang.”

Strauss-Kahn was released under judicial supervision after paying €100,000 in bail, and was barred from contacting others charged in the case, a judicial official said.

Another Strauss-Kahn lawyer has acknowledged that the ex-IMF chief attended orgies but was unaware prostitutes were involved.

Under French law, preliminary charges mean authorities have reason to believe a crime was committed but allow more time for investigation.

This is the guy the New York city prosecutors let go free because they wanted to disbelieve a poor immigrant housekeeper who was violated by him.  There’s no doubt that DSK has these kinds of proclivities when it comes to women and his inability to control his libido.  What’s unfortunate is the human tragedies his indiscretions leave behind as he moves on to his next victim.  I hope someone can stop him.  We here in America evidently didn’t have the stomach to do so.

A tale of two faith based communities


American Atheists president David Silverman, left, wanted to erect billboards in a predominantly Muslim worshipping neighborhood and a Jewish neighborhood proclaiming his belief that there is no God and challenging the faiths of those two religions.  The response of the two faiths was dramatically different and the story is really in how they reacted.

Silverman wanted to put up a billboard written in Hebrew and English questioning Judaism in Williamsburg’s Hasidic community, a community in New York City that read, “You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice,” but liberal New York and it’s traditionally liberal Jewish community would have none of it.  Attempts by the people who put up billboards were blocked by the owner of the building upon which the offending billboard would have been placed and that was just fine with some of the residents of the predominantly Jewish community.  Silverman a “former” Jew himself said he was surprised and shocked at the reception his plans received in the neighborhood…..but it was feigned indignation at best.  He knew, as a Jew what others in that community already know, ‘The name of god is very holy (to us and) to the whole world’ as it is with any religion.  Yet Silverman’s in your face approach to freedom of speech was denied among the residents of the area and even among some politicians.

‘(t)he content of the message is conveyed in a disrespectful manner…This does not appear to be a genuine attempt to engage in a dialogue, but is here merely to insult the beliefs of this community,

said one NYC councilman, and he’s right, but freedom of expression is something we’ve been led to believe exists even if that speech is offensive to some.  Not so, say the residents of Williamsburg and members of the Hasidic community who’ve let others talk for them.  Ok, fine.

Silverman did put up a billboard in Paterson, NJ, a block away from the Islamic Center of Passaic County the largest place of worship for Muslims in that area.  The sign written in Arabic and English says:

but it seems to have angered more Christians than Muslims.  Even the writer of the article calls the billboard a “provocation” which is how the Christians in the community perceived it.  The fact that Silverman waited across the street from the mosque, not the nearest church,  to gauge Muslim reaction to his billboard further underscores that perception.  However, there was no noticeable outrage on the part of those who prayed at the  mosque and saw the billboard; rather their response seemed to emphasize that time honored right of freedom of expression.

“It’s a knock on the door,” Abdul Hamid, 40, said as he crouched to get his shoes after noon-time prayer at the Islamic Center of Passaic County. “If they want to come and have an open dialogue with us that’s great.”

Anes Labsiri, a 39-year-old plumber, said he was happy people can question religion in public.

“Some people might see it as a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing. I love that you have this freedom in this country,” said Labsiri…….

After prayer, the imam, Mohammad Qatanani, came outside to talk with Silverman, who was hanging around the neighborhood to watch for reactions to the sign.

The two discussed religion and tolerance; humanity and God.

“We have to accept everyone — we are all from dust and become dust,” Qatanani said. “Right?”

Silverman nodded his head, but added, “Well, yes, we’re all from raw matter.”

Silverman wants to be contrary and incendiary, no doubt, but he was not able to get the kind of reaction from Muslims that everyone has come to expect.  Perhaps maybe the reason is because it is a manufactured reaction that has no basis in reality, at least as far as the Muslim community in America is concerned.  In fact, Silverman’s billboards got the kind of reaction we’ve come to expect from Muslims from Jews and Christians whose outrage at his disrespect for their religious beliefs bordered on censorship and fury.  There has been no call yet, on the part of Muslim leaders, to stop Silverman from putting up his billboard, even  in his in-your-face confrontational manner in Muslim communities unlike other religious groups who  have actively opposed Silverman’s billboards. Is this an example of Muslims practicing good citizenship?  No doubt.  Is it an example of Christians and Jews practicing good citizenship?  No doubt. Two different responses to the same provocation.  Which one do you find admirable?

 

The terrorists that got away


We here like to highlight the terrorists that manage to escape mention at the hands of neo-cons and Islamophobes who like to always remind us of the Muslim terrorists in our midst.  Usually you find their terrorist committing all the crimes of murder, plunder and violence on the homeland so much so that they account for not a single U.S. civilian being killed by a Muslim terrorists looking to take his place among the 72 virgins since 9/11…not one.   However, fourteen soldiers have been killed, thirteen of those during the Fort Hood Shooting.  And did you know for the 25 years between 1980 and 2005, only 6% of all acts of terror were committed by those fanatical jihadists Muslims, yet the phobes would have you believe that all terrorists are Muslims.

So here are a few of the non Muslim terrorists they forgot to mention to you, and these have popped up within the last week.  First place goes to the guy who killed a park Ranger in Washington state and is being hunted by law enforcement there.  He’s not Muslim, his excuse for terror is he’s a veteran with PTSD back from Iraq and not able to handle the stress of living in peace.  We had to breed people like this guy……those who need war to survive or find meaning in killing to get them to do things against human nature, like invading and killing people in their own country for no reason whatsoever.  We just haven’t figured out how to turn the switch off, so Benjamin Colton Barnes, killed a Mt. Rainier park ranger in cold blood.  Along the way to perdition, he had run ins with the mother of his baby who was smart enough to see the danger he posed and requested a court order to keep him away from her and their baby because of his constant threats of violence against them and himself.  A ticking time bomb if there ever was one, and his singular act of murder against a federal employee is certainly one of terrorism, but the only place you will read him being called that is here on the pages of Miscellany101.

The next act of terrorism that more closely reminds us of 9/11 since the Christmas underwear bomber than any other is this young man of distinction…..a man with a military background as well who tried to get on an airplane with explosives.  Racial profiling was probably not being used when he tried to board a plane, just good old fashioned application of the rules for everyone.  Perhaps there are some people who normally carry explosives in their luggage whenever they travel, but we usually call such people terrorists, splash their pictures across the pages of all the papers and make sure they are public enemy #1.  Trey Scott Atwater tried to board a plane in Texas’ Midland Airport over the weekend and was found to be carrying military-grade explosives.  We have the dreaded TSA to thank for this guy’s arrest.  Atwater’s charge is attempting to board an aircraft with an explosive, yet no mention is made of the amount of explosive in his possession.  Atwater is of the right persuasion to escape the terrorist charge, but not here at Miscellany101.

Finally, it appears there is a gang of terrorists running amok in the New York city area, targeting Muslim places of worship.  I don’t know how else to classify such miscreants other than with the designation terrorist for they seem to operate at night via drive by bombings of random targets in the area.  They are reminiscent of that other all American terrorist organization, the KKK, but you don’t hear them called that anymore these days either.  It appears, in the minds of too many in America, terrorist is a pejorative term with a specific connotation that means only Muslim or Islam.  As we noted before however, that group should be the last one you should worry about for they are the ones who commit the smallest amount of  terrorist acts in America, unless you categorize all the other acts of terrorism committed by non Muslims as something other than terrorism.

 

firebombed house courtesy of the New York Times

hat tip to Loonwatch.com

 

Muslims have a right to remain silent, and they have a right to retain attorneys.


In response to Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks about the NYPD being his personal army the following op-ed piece in Al-Jazeerah deserves a look

New York, NY – The Associated Press recently reported on know-your-rights trainings happening in New York City’s Muslim communities. This was one of the latest installments in the wire agency’s series confirming what Muslim New Yorkers had long suspected – that the New York Police Department has engaged in indiscriminate surveillance on ethnic and religious grounds, without concrete suspicion of criminal activity. Curiously, the AP’s latest story turns the series on its head, giving the dangerous impression that Muslim communities are refusing to share with law enforcement tips on actual criminal activity. This could not be further from the truth.

Through the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project at CUNY School of Law, we provide know-your-rights trainings in response to the NYPD and FBI’s broad-based surveillance of Muslim communities. We advise targeted communities about their rights when law enforcement knocks on their doors, asking questions about mosque attendance, political opinions and charitable giving that are unconnected to any suspicion of criminal activity.

We were therefore quite surprised to read the AP’s latest article, beginning with its headline, “Muslims Say: ‘Don’t Call NYPD’”. Our work focuses on a very different scenario: what to do when the NYPD calls you. And, in that context, the advice we offer is standard and uncontroversial fare, such as the rights to silence and to retain a lawyer, rights that apply to all within the United States.

The NYPD’s seeming suspicion of entire communities seems to be based on the notion that when Muslims live their faith and identity or associate with other Muslims, they pose a danger to American society. Like everyone else in the US, and especially given pervasive ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim communities, Muslims have a right to remain silent, and they have a right to retain attorneys.

This basic rights awareness message is important in Muslim communities where law enforcement has interrogated at least tens of thousands of people not suspected of any crime. The government seems most concerned about legally protected activity. Agents have attempted to question our clients about the mosques they attend, about what is said in those places of worship, about what they make of recent events in the Middle East, and about the websites they visit to get their news.

Of course, the government has no business prying into protected activity or fishing for opportunities to pressure people into sharing information about their families, neighbours and communities. Accordingly, we advise the clients and communities we serve to do what any American senator, president or public figure has done when law enforcement knocks: to exercise their right to remain silent and to retain an attorney.

The AP article misses an essential distinction between the reporting of criminal activity and participation in law enforcement’s indiscriminate efforts to collect information on the expressive and lawful activities of Muslim communities. To call Muslims “uncooperative” for exercising their rights in the face of such broad-based surveillance programmes is unfair and absurd.

In fact, there is no support for the claim that Muslims do not share information with law enforcement when they suspect criminal activity. It was a Muslim community in California, for example, that reported Craig Monteilh to the police when he started talking about blowing up buildings in the name of Islam. It turned out Monteilh was an informant on the FBI’s payroll. Taxpayer dollars were funding his efforts to collect the names, phone numbers, email addresses and licence plate numbers of Muslims in southern California.

The FBI and NYPD’s covert surveillance programmes in Muslim communities rely heavily on the deployment of undercover agents and informants such as Monteilh. Many informants are vulnerable community members themselves, who are pressured by the government to report voluminous amounts of information on the lawful activities of Muslims. In the cases that we know of, the government has used money, the threat of deportation or imprisonment and other forms of coercion to recruit its informants.

Though this may come as a surprise to a segment of the general public, informants are not typically sent into Muslim communities when law enforcement fears criminal activity is afoot. Instead, often without any suspicion of criminal activity, they are dispatched to countless mosques and community spaces around the country on fishing expeditions. Sometimes, as in the case of Monteilh, the informants actually promote violence.

A recent rally organised against NYPD surveillance in Manhattan signals that there remains great reason to hope. Even in this age of surveillance and fear, Muslims joined fellow New Yorkers to reject, collectively and publicly, the hallmarks of a police state. Together, they stood, prayed and chanted so that Muslims, too, can enjoy and exercise a full panoply of rights, including the right to express political opinions, to organise and, yes, to remain silent and to retain attorneys.

What a difference a year makes


Last year about this time there were demonstrations in New York city in opposition to the building of a community center which would feature a mosque, among other places of worship, at Park 51.  Islamophobes whipped up anti Islamic fervor and garnered a lot of media attention surrounding their racist rants.  We were inundated, regaled with news articles like this and this and this. One could make the case that such constant exposure in the media was an incitement to the mosque’s opponents to continue their assault against the First amendment to the Constitution.  The New York city demonstrations were duplicated in other cities across the country, taking the form of “anti-sharia” protests, intimating that as the number of mosques grew in America the possibility of Americans being ruled by Islamic law would increase too.  Faulty assumptions built on racial prejudice, that were never called that and magnified under the  full light of America’s media and gobbled up by America’s darkside, the Ground Zero mosque debacle was fully embraced by America.  One year later and Park 51 mosque has opened, people are praying there, life is still being lived and America is no worse for that event taking place as it should have.  It is correct to point out, albeit more pointedly than a writer here that the furor over the Park 51 mosque was indeed racist, fueled by a racist media, and particularly FoxNews, that journalistic anathema  that has soiled the American conscious.

A year later and what has changed is this, there is a ground swell against the nefarious activity of Wall Street bankers who have profited greatly at the expense of  the American economy through business transactions which solely benefited them.  What has also changed is the American media’s ignoring these protests which have been equally vociferous and as well attended but which have far more impact on the lives of every American than the building of a place of worship in New York city.  Media some say  serves as a source of intelligence for the public about what is or should be important to them but it has failed miserably in the two instances for this piece, over emphasizing Park 51 demonstrators while ignoring Occupy Wall Street protestors.  It appeared media’s intent was to neglect the protests in hopes they would fizzle out, disperse and quietly go away.  That hasn’t happened, I’m sure much to the chagrin of a lot of hand wringing execs in news rooms who must now cover these protests.

If you want to know what are the goals of these demonstrations, why are they being held and what it is the people taking part in them want, you can find that information below.

 

AE911Truth Experts Speak Out


Because this isn’t as widely available as it should be we present it here.

 

Could this be the terror threat


We heard about a terror threat centered around the 9/11 anniversary remembrance taking place.  I don’t think this is the terror threat the corporate media had in mind, but it is terror nonetheless

Authorities say an anonymous caller threatened to detonate a bomb inside a mosque in Tennessee on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

According to a police report, an unidentified person made the threat Monday in a voicemail left at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The report says the message included extreme profanities and derogatory remarks toward Muslims.

Murfreesboro Police spokesman Kyle Evans told The Associated Press on Wednesday that security at the mosque has been increased and that marked and unmarked vehicles are patrolling the area.

Evans says federal authorities are helping in the investigation.

The mosque has been the target of vandals who defaced signs at the site where it plans to build a bigger site of worship. Last year, arsonists also torched construction equipment there.

 

Dead NYPD Officer’s Body Snatched By New York City To Deny Link To 9/11 Related Illness


NYPD patch, first introduced in 1971

Image via Wikipedia

An interesting tidbit discovered while browsing the web. First it shows the ethnic diversity of the New York City police department…a good thing, but it also shows a rather heavy handed approach by New York City towards the issue of 911 and associated illnesses.

 

Whose Hallowed Ground is it anyway?


All the fascists assembled together in the studios of FoxNews  crowing about the hallowed ground at Park51 that shouldn’t have an Islamic Center built on it forgot to lament the building of the World Trade Centers on the hallowed ground which is the burial site for scores of Muslim African slaves interred there since the time New York City was known as Amsterdam city.

Before the World Trade Center was even designed (with Islamic architectural elements, incidentally), the ground was indeed sacrosanct: The bones of some 20,000 African slaves are buried 25 feet below Lower Manhattan. As at least 10 percent of West African slaves in America were Muslims, it’s not out of bounds to extrapolate that ground zero itself was built on the bones of at least a few Muslim slaves. That is to say, hallowed Muslim ground.

Not that such knowledge will stop the “Deniers” as one friend calls them, from making the rounds with constitutionally protected speech  whereby they espouse unconstitutional measures against Muslims.

David Yerushalmi, (who) is an advocate for criminalizing Islam itself and imposing 20-year sentences on practicing Muslims. Yes, really. He’s not simply anti-Muslim, though; Yerushalmi also wrote a now-infamous article titled “On Race: A Tentative Discussion, Part II,” in which he advocated a return to a pre-Bill of Rights Constitution, and the restriction of voting rights to white male land-owners.

On a positive note, the Boston Globe had an excellent piece on the Quran in American history which should really dispel the notion that Islam is something strange and unfamiliar on the shores of America.

As usual, the Founders were way ahead of us. They thought hard about how to build a country of many different faiths. And to advance that vision to the fullest, they read the Koran, and studied Islam with a calm intelligence that today’s over-hyped Americans can only begin to imagine. They knew something that we do not. To a remarkable degree, the Koran is not alien to American history — but inside it….

Reports of Korans in American libraries go back at least to 1683, when an early settler of Germantown, Pa., brought a German version to these shores. Despite its foreign air, Adams’s Koran had a strong New England pedigree. The first Koran published in the United States, it was printed in Springfield in 1806.

A Piece of Americanna


Given an audience, this is how people will behave.  Is there anyone who will disavow the sentiments of this American citizen? Anyone?

The Rise of Racist Islamophobia


Cordoba House’s Developer in exclusive interview


Please take 18 minutes of your time to look at this unedited interview with Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of the        proposed Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero, who ripped his critics and said he has no plans to move the proposed location of the project.

Carpetbaggers and Scalawags


Minstrels is another name that comes to mind for these people in modern day America who travel the country inciting and inflaming people’s passions about Islam and Muslims in America.  I’m especially piqued at the prospect that a southerner from the state of Georgia who no doubt understands full well the historical role carpetbaggers played in  his state’s history, a role he no doubt would describe as detrimental,  would himself take up that calling.

I’m talking about Newt Gingrich, in another life he was a congressman from Georgia who had a rather ignominious reputation relating to personal integrity, who has gone on to New York City and weighed in on the Cordoba House which is slated to be built near the location where the World Trade centers stood before being destroyed on 9/11/01.  Nevermind the fact that this establishment in the heart of one of the most culturally diverse cities in America will have facilities for people of all faiths to pray, Muslims, Christians or Jews, or that it will have recreational facilities for all  an interfaith YM/YWCA, or that the democratically elected Mayor of New York city which will house Cordoba House has gone on record with a very constitutionally correct statement

I think our young men and women overseas are fighting for exactly this – for the right of people to practice their religion and for government to not pick and choose which religions they support, which religions they don’t

Gingrich has inserted himself in the debate with the really inappropriate analogy of the US and Saudi Arabia by saying

There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.

Of course it didn’t take long for carpetbagger Sarah Palin to join in the fracas and with her appearance the usual scalawags, locals from among the New York landscape joined in with their unhealthy doses of Islamophobic paranoia.  If you remember anything about American history you would know that “carpetbaggers”, was a derogatory term applied to Northerners who moved to the South during the post Civil War era between 1865 and 1877  looking for opportunism and exploitation of the area in which they moved. The outsiders often formed alliances with freed slaves and southern whites of like mind  nicknamed scalawags who then  politically manipulated and controlled former Confederate states for varying periods for their own financial and power gains. Carpetbaggers were viewed as dubious outsiders whose objectives were to disrupt the status quo for their own political gain.  As time went on, the terms changed, so that people who came to an area of the South, especially during the Civil Rights era, were called outsider agitators, or communists.  (I assert there is no moral equivalency between the people who agitated for change brought on during the time post Civil War era to now and the Islamophobes of today; the former was inclusive in aspiration as well as participation while the latter is exclusive)

Gingrich comes from a place in America that knows all to well how people react to outside influences, positively and negatively and seizing on that experience has allowed himself to be swept up in the racism of the Islamophobic reactionaries.  It is especially relevant because he is considering running for President in 2012, and recognizing there is a tidal backlash against Muslims and Islam has gathered his surf board and is now riding that wave.  His co-partner in crime Palin, equally ambitious and cash crazed has joined him as has the scalawags of the movement, some of them you can find mentioned here.  They are all political opportunists, demagogues whose rhetoric appeals to a segment of the population they hope will catapult them to political power.  They are segregationists in the sense they envision a limited participation of certain segments of America’s population into the everyday affairs of the public.  Gingrich and his ilk are driven by a bloodlust that has seeped into America’s conscious, in part due to two wars being fought by American troops and in part by a war of propaganda that has permeated the airwaves attaching all the necessarily repugnant stereotypes of a people in order to influence public opinion.  The people of NYC and surrounding areas would do well to listen to the patriotism of Mayor Bloomberg, whose appeal is to the rule of law and social order.  Gingrich and his band of scalawags hold such noble callings in contempt and therefore should be dismissed.

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