In what can only be called propaganda 2.0 masquerading as “journalism,” The National ran a hate piece on our Islamic antisemitism ads that is such blatant fiction, it’s an insult to the intelligence of news consumers. This fresh on the heels of the arrest of a Muslim in the Jewish Museum massacre in Belgium.
The fifth estate has evolved — now it’s creative writing parading as journalism. We are used to seeing this in Arab media, and considering that this is an Abu Dhabi newspaper, it’s not surprising. What’s troubling is that we are seeing this propaganda increasingly in the American and European press.
The idea, for example, that the Muslim interviewed repeatedly for this piece of fiction sees our bus ad everywhere in Washington DC (we ran 20 bus ads in the whole city): when going to work, on a Saturday night at a cafe with friends, when dropping his child at “church”-run day care (of course!) and the church workers expressing shock and dismay (of course!).
First off, let me say that I had numerous email exchanges in an interview with Taimur Khan, the “reporter” of this article. It is obvious what team Khan is playing for, but didn’t his handlers at Hamas-CAIR teach subtlety, or is that archaic, too? No need for subtlety: club people over the head like baby seals.
The oft-quoted Muslim in the article, Irfaan Noorudin, compares my group to the KKK. That’s like James Earl Ray calling Martin Luther King a racist assassin.
Here is the interview between Khan and me, which of course did not run:
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KHAN:- How do you respond to the charge by critics that these ads are not engaging with a particular political issue — such as the defense of Israel — but are maligning the adherents of an entire religion, which they would characterize as hate speech?
GELLER: Those who claim that my ad is maligning the adherents of an entire religion are actually the ones doing so. They are the ones implying that all Muslims hate Jews and take the anti-Semitic Qur’anic passages literally. They are the ones implying that all Muslims share the views of the Mufti of Jerusalem who collaborated with Hitler. And if calling for an end of aid to Muslim countries maligns the adherents of an entire religion, then the American Muslims for Palestine ad calling for an end of aid to Israel maligns the adherents of Judaism. But the AMP is never accused of that.
KHAN:- What would you say to the American Muslims who say these ads distort their religion and their communities, and the incendiary language makes them feel less safe in their own country?
GELLER: In what way dos the ad distort their religion? What is false in it? What language is incendiary in it? Anti-Semitic hate crimes are eight times more common than anti-Muslim hate crimes. That would suggest that the AMP’s anti-Israel ad is making American Jews less safe in their own country. Have you asked the AMP about how they’re stirring up Jew-hatred?
KHAN: – What was AFDI’s intention in placing these messages on public transport? Apart from the American Muslims for Palestine’s ads, are they in direct response to broader anti-semitism by Muslims in the US? Where in the Quran does it call for all Jews to be hated?
GELLER: I hope the ad will help people start to become aware of Islamic history and the role of Muslim world during the Holocaust, particularly the Mufti of Jerusalem and his support for Hitler. I hope they will begin to understand and explore Islamic history and the terrible toll that ignorance of that bloody history exacts. Once this is understood, the Islamic/Israeli conflict makes complete sense, the Hamas charter (citing Allah and predicting that Islam would destroy Israel) makes complete sense, and the jihad against the Jews makes complete sense.
2:65 Allah transforms disobedient Jews into apes
“For you are well aware of those from among you who profaned the Sabbath, whereupon We said unto them, “Be as apes despicable!”
2:89 Unbelievers, particularly Jews, are accursed
“And whenever there came unto them a [new] revelation from God, confirming the truth already in their possession – and [bear in mind that] aforetime they used to pray for victory over those who were bent on denying the truth -: whenever there came unto them something which they recognized [as the truth], they would deny it. And God’s rejection is the due of all who deny the truth.”
3:110-112 Muslims are the best of people, Jews have earned Allah’s anger
“You are indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God. Now if the followers of earlier revelation had attained to [this kind of] faith, it would have been for their own good; [but only few] among them are believers, while most of them are iniquitous: [but] these can never inflict more than a passing hurt on you; and if they fight against you, they will turn their backs upon you [in flight], and will not be succoured. Overshadowed by ignominy are they wherever they may be, save [when they bind themselves again] in a bond with God and a bond with men; for they have earned the burden of God’s condemnation, and are overshadowed by humiliation: all this [has befallen them] because they persisted in denying the truth of God’s messages and in slaying the prophets against all right: all this, because they rebelled [against God], and persisted in transgressing the bounds of what is right.”
3:181-182 Jews are bound for hell
“God has indeed heard the saying of those who said, ‘Behold, God is poor while we are rich!’ We shall record what they have said, as well as their slaying of prophets against all right, and We shall say [unto them on Judgment Day]: ‘Taste suffering through fire in return for what your own hands have wrought – for never does God do the least wrong to His creatures!’”
4:160-161 Jews do evil, turn away from Allah
“So, then, for the wickedness committed by those who followed the Jewish faith did We deny unto them certain of the good things of life which [aforetime] had been allowed to them;and [We did this] for their having so often turned away from the path of God, and [for] their taking usury – although it had been forbidden to them, and their wrongful devouring of other people’s possessions. And for those from among them who [continue to] deny the truth We have readied grievous suffering.”
5:41 Jews listen to falsehood and pervert the meaning of their Scriptures
“O Apostle! Be not grieved by those who vie with one another in denying the truth: such as those who say with their mouths, ‘We believe,’ the while their hearts do not believe; and such of the Jewish faith as eagerly listen to any falsehood, eagerly listen to other people without having come to thee [for enlightenment]. They distort the meaning of the [revealed] words, taking them out of their context, saying [to themselves], ‘If such-and-such [teaching] is vouchsafed unto you, accept it; but if it is not vouchsafed unto you, be on your guard!’”
5:51 Don’t take Jews and Christians as friends and allies
“O you who have attained to faith! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies: they are but allies of one another – and whoever of you allies himself with them becomes, verily, one of them; behold, God does not guide such evildoers.”
5:59-60 Jews cursed, made into apes and swine
“Say: ‘O followers of earlier revelation! Do you find fault with us for no other reason than that we believe in God [alone], and in that which He has bestowed from on high upon us as well as that which He has bestowed aforetime? – or [is it only] because most of you are iniquitous?’ Say: ‘Shall I tell you who, in the sight of God, deserves a yet worse retribution than these? They whom God has rejected and whom He has condemned, and whom He has turned into apes and swine because they worshipped the powers of evil: these are yet worse in station, and farther astray from the right path [than the mockers].’”
5:64 Jews accursed
“And the Jews say, ‘God’s hand is shackled!’ It is their own hands that are shackled; and rejected [by God] are they because of this their assertion. Nay, but wide are His hands stretched out: He dispenses [bounty] as He wills. But all that has been bestowed from on high upon thee [O Prophet] by thy Sustainer is bound to make many of them yet more stubborn in their overweening arrogance and in their denial of the truth.”
5:82 Jews most hostile to the Muslims
“Thou wilt surely find that, of all people, the most hostile to those who believe [in this divine writ] are the Jews as well as those who are bent on ascribing divinity to aught beside God.”
6:91 Jews deny, conceal divine revelations
“For, no true understanding of God have they when they say, ‘Never has God revealed anything unto man.’ Say: ‘Who has bestowed from on high the divine writ which Moses brought unto men as a light and a guidance, [and] which you treat as [mere] leaves of paper, making a show of them the while you conceal [so] much – although you have been taught [by it] what neither you nor your forefathers had ever known?’ Say: ‘God [has revealed that divine writ]!” – and then leave them to play at their vain talk..’”
6:146 Jews involved in “evildoing”
“And [only] unto those who followed the Jewish faith did We forbid all beasts that have claws; and We forbade unto them the fat of both oxen and sheep, excepting that which is in their backs or entrails or that which is within the bone: thus did We requite them for their evildoing – for, behold, We are true to Our word!”
7:166 Jews are apes
“And then, when they disdainfully persisted in doing what they had been forbidden to do, We said unto them: ‘Be as apes despicable!’”
9:29 Fight and subjugate the Jews and Christians
“[And] fight against those who – despite having been vouchsafed revelation [aforetime] – do not [truly] believe either in God or the Last Day, and do not consider forbidden that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and do not follow the religion of truth [which God has enjoined upon them] till they [agree to] pay the exemption tax with a willing hand, after having been humbled [in war].”
9:30 Jews and Christians to be destroyed by Allah
“And the Jews say, ‘Ezra is God’s son,’” while the Christians say, ‘The Christ is God’s son.’ Such are the sayings which they utter with their mouths, following in spirit assertions made in earlier times by people who denied the truth! [They deserve the imprecation:] ‘May God destroy them!’ How perverted are their minds!”
9:31 Jews and Christians have taken their clergy and holy men as lords
“They have taken their rabbis and their monks – as well as the Christ, son of Mary – for their lords beside God, although they had been bidden to worship none but the One God, save whom there is no deity: the One who is utterly remote, in His limitless glory, from anything to which they may ascribe a share in His divinity!”
62:6-7 Jews are evildoers who should long for death
“Say: ‘O you who follow the Jewish faith! If you claim that you [alone] are close to God, to the exclusion of all other people, then you should be longing for death – if what you say is true!’ But never will they long for it, because [they are aware] of what their hands have wrought in this world; and God has full knowledge of evildoers.”
98:6 Jews and Christians who reject Islam are the worst of creatures
“Verily, those who [despite all evidence] are bent on denying the truth – [be they] from among the followers of earlier revelation or from among those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God – will find themselves in the fire of hell, therein to abide: they are the worst of all creatures.”
KHAN- Do you think Jewish Americans generally share the sentiments expressed in AFDI’s latest ads?
GELLER: I have been inundated with messages of gratitude from Jews and non-Jews who are so happy that the truth is finally being told. I have received hundreds of emails in support, and a wave of additional donations to take the campaign nationwide.
KHAN: – The AMP ads called for ending aid to Israel, and didn’t mention Judaism — why do you accuse the group of stirring up Jew-hatred?
GELLER: I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr.: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”
KHAN: And do you view them as being driven by what you describe as Quran-inspired antisemitism, similar to Hamas?
GELLER: This isn’t just my personal view. The Hamas charter contains an epigraph from Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood: “Israel will arise and remain until Islam obliterates it.” Would you tell me that has nothing to do with Islam? The basis of the Islamic opposition to Israel, and the reason why there has been no negotiated settlement and all attempts at one have failed, is Qur’an-inspired antisemitism. Rather than coexisting with Jews, Muslim groups opposed to Israel want to “drive them out as they [ostensibly] drove you out” (Qur’an 2:191).
KHAN: – Is the wave of additional financial support coming in the form of relatively smaller amounts by individual supporters from around the country who have been inspired by the ads, or is it more from supportive organizations? Both?
GELLER: Individual supporters in large numbers have given relatively small amounts.
KHAN: – With this support coming in, are you currently planning to buy space for the current ads in additional cities?
GELLER: Yes, we are planning to roll out this campaign nationwide.
Here is Khan’s islamo-prop:
Anti-Islam ad sparks US free speech debate
Taimur Khan, The National, May 31, 2014
NEW YORK // The first time Irfaan Noorudin saw the black-and-white ad equating Islam with antisemitism, he was sitting in traffic not far from the US Capitol when a bus bearing the incendiary message rolled past.
“It’s still so jarring”, he said, even though the ad, which also features a picture of the colonial-era mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al Husseini, with Adolf Hitler, is only the latest in a string of ads placed on public transport across the country by anti-Islam groups.
The next time Mr Noorudin was confronted with the ad, he was dropping off his young daughter at her church-run daycare.
“How is that even allowed? That’s so weird”, members of the church staff and fellow parents said to him.
A few days later, the financial advisor and a group of friends were enjoying a Saturday night at a Washington cafe when a bus emblazoned with the message was stuck in traffic beside the patio where they were seated, drawing eyes and muting conversations.
“Even though you may not want that to be a message that’s received, it will be because so many people are going to see it, and it may substantiate what they think or just become all they know,” Mr Noorudin, 32, said. “And I don’t think there’s any way to really thwart it – how do you respond?”
Along with the Second World War-era photograph, the ads feature the slogan, “Islamic Jew-hatred: it’s in the Quran”, and says US foreign aid to Muslim countries should be cut off to “stop racism”. The group that placed the ad to run on 20 of Washington’s public buses through the middle of this month plans to place them in other cities after raising more than US$20,000 (Dh73,400) in donations from many individual supporters over the past two weeks, according to its co-founder, Pamela Geller.
The American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI), Ms Geller’s organization, has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a non-profit organisation that tracks hate groups in the US. She was banned from entering Britain to attend a far-right rally last year.
Ms Geller is one of the country’s most prominent Islamophobes, and has sown controversy – and gained support – in North America and Europe for her high-volume activism against Islam, a religion she claims is antisemitic and whose followers are actively seeking to impose Sharia on the US.
AFDI has been involved in pushing state legislatures to pass bills that ban Islamic law, even though there is no legal recognition of Sharia in the US. Ms Geller gained notoriety for leading the successful 2010 movement against the construction of an Islamic centre in lower Manhattan.
The latest ads were placed in response to a bus-ad campaign by a pro-Palestine pressure group, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), that coincided with the US tax deadline and called on the US to “stop aid to Israel’s occupation”. Even though the ads did not mention Jews or Judaism, the “basis of the Islamic opposition to Israel, and the reason why there has been no negotiated settlement and all attempts at one have failed, is Quran-inspired antisemitism”, and that the AMP was “stirring up Jew-hatred” because criticism of Israel is inherently antisemitic, Ms Geller told The National in an email.
In response to AFDI’s ads, the AMP said they reject Ms Geller’s “attempt to conflate our political speech with anti-Semitism. AMP also rejects Geller’s response to our political speech ad with a racist and Islamophobic one”.
Many Americans, Muslim and non-Muslim, are puzzled that a public transport system is carrying AFDI’s ads, and some feel the issue is more political than legal.
“If the KKK or other groups [placed] ads like that it wouldn’t be allowed, so why is it allowed for Muslim Americans to be targeted in that way?” Mr Noorudin said.
But just because AFDI’s ads target an entire religion does not place them outside the bounds of American free-speech laws, which only censors speech that is likely and intended to incite immediate violence.
That is an exceedingly high bar to meet, said Leslie Kendrick, a professor specialising in free speech law at the University of Virginia law school.
“This neutrality ends up creating a platform for extremely repugnant groups – like the KKK, like Geller’s group… but it also avoids government favoritism,” Ms Kendrick said. “We worry a lot when the government starts to decide who it can discriminate against and who it can’t.”
AFDI has sued city governments across the country that have refused to allow them to place their ads on public transport, and generally it has won. In 2012, a federal court judge ruled that the Washington transit system had to allow AFDI ads that called those opposed to Israel as “savages”, because they sell space for political ads generally and cannot limit those sales because of its message.
“We’re not able to refuse ads on the basis of content,” a spokeswoman for the Washington metro told AFP, citing the 2012 decision.
The ads ran in both the New York and Washington subway systems. But last month a federal appeals court ruled that Ms Geller could not trademark the phrase, “Stop the Islamisation of America” because it was offensive to Muslims.
“Trademark law has historically been treated differently,” Ms Kendrick said, perhaps because the government is entering a partnership and can choose that it does not want to sponsor such speech. “They do involve different specific areas of law, but one might question how different they should ultimately be.”
Although existing on the fringe of political discourse in the US, groups such as AFDI will continue to have outsized visibility because of campaigns such as the DC bus ads, and many Muslims fear that their ideas do have an effect on the way Islam is perceived in the country, especially outside of diverse cities.
In New York and Washington, however, the response was overwhelmingly against AFDI. After the public transit ads in 2012, riders in New York tore some of the posters down, and at least one person was arrested for spray painting over the ads.
Rabbi Rachel Gartner, of the capital’s Georgetown University, wrote in the Huffington Post in regard to the ads, “As an American, I insist on the right to free speech, even when I deplore the message. As a rabbi, I insist on the responsibility to speak out against hateful speech, particularly when it comes from one of our own.”
The task of countering AFDI’s messages in the public sphere has been led by interfaith groups generally, not Muslim organisations, who condemn but rarely have creative follow-up campaigns.
But this time, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim organisations in the US, is planning an ad campaign to counter Ms Geller’s message.
“Campaigns like this have been launched against the Jewish community, the Italian community, the Japanse community, the African American community for centuries, and [AFDI] is just the latest hateful social group to try and alienate others,” said Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director. “When she spreads false information we see it is important to reset the record and provide an opportunity for the public to learn about Islam.”
Mr Noorudin doubts that such campaigns will be able to make much of a difference, though he hopes that new tactics are used because “we can’t just ignore it and pretend it’s only a lunatic yelling from the mountain”. Groups such as AFDI do appear to be well funded, and have been able, for example, to produce an anti-Islam movie that was added as an insert into newspapers nationwide during the 2012 elections.
But he also senses a feeling of fatigue among American Muslims, many of whom are tired of having to defend their religion and their communities.
“You’re almost like: ‘Well, that’s just what people think,’” he said. “Because in people’s minds, whatever you say, the next morning a bombing in Pakistan or the kidnapping of 300 girls in Nigeria will easily take away anything you’ve said.”
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