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Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

Run! Hide! An analysis of the Egyptian elections

Posted by Charles II on December 1, 2011

The right wing is doubtless cowering under their desks at the news that the first round of the Egyptians may have brought an outright majority to Islamists (The Muslim Brotherhood 40% and the Salafis 25%). I don’t see the actual percentages reported in the New York Times (they finally appeared here), and The Guardian isn’t exactly headlining them. But, if confirmed, they are an important headline, though probably not for the reasons the right (I assume) expects.

Let me preface this by saying I have no more than a generic understanding of Egyptian politics. My one strength is that I have not polluted my mind by listening to the Murdoch or the hasbara networks.

First, there are additional elections, these outside the major cities. My guess is that the current regime is stronger in the countryside (or more able to manipulate results). So, the margin may fade.

Second, the Muslim Brotherhood has stated that it does not plan to form a coalition with the al-Nour (Salafist) party. It is more likely to reach out to elements of the secular but fragmented Egyptian Bloc, which agrees on nothing except the idea that Islamic Law should not dominate government. Naturally, at the end of the day, you make whatever deals are necessary to get a majority in parliament, so the Muslim Brotherhood might yet ally with the Salafists, but my guess is that they’ll do everything they can to avoid it.

Third, and most important, the military dictatorship remains in power. Whoever gains parliamentary power will either be in direct opposition to or in support of the dictatorship. There is no middle of the road. And the Resistance, which is largely secular, is going to be looking to whoever leads the majority to, in effect, end military rule. It’s my guess that the military will do almost anything necessary to avoid that, perhaps including simply overthrowing the elected government. But, this being Egypt, what’s even more likely is to reconstruct a mask over the military government with the agreement that the oligarchy has to surrender some power and the Salafis get some concessions to Islamic law. The Brotherhood is tactically brilliant–the only reason it still exists–and cannot be written off. But winning the Egyptian elections is sort of like winning a vacation to Kilauea.

The hardest fighting, and the greatest danger of Egypt drifting into some new form of authoritarian rule is still ahead. If the Brotherhood stands down the military dictatorship, they will gain dominance in Egypt. If not, they’ll very likely end up back as an underground organization.

It’s kind of a shame that our State Department has so thoroughly discredited secular democracy by its constant equation of oligarchy with democracy. Back in the time of Ataturk, the Middle East actually wanted to emulate the West.

Added: Right on cue, howls from CFR or, at lower levels of the evolutionary scale, Allahpundit.

Now, I have to say, they could be right that this will end up with Egypt as the next , oh, say, Saudi Arabia. But considering how these guys don’t seem to know their a– from their elbows on why the different parties exist and what their supporters are trying to achieve, I’d rather be my own ignorant self.

This analysis in The Forward is probably worth reading.

Posted in Arab Spring, Islam | Comments Off on Run! Hide! An analysis of the Egyptian elections

Classy John Gilmore Update: Now with Video

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 21, 2011

Thanks to Jeremy Ryan of Defend Wisconsin, who gave permission to AmericaBlog to post this on their YouTube channel, we now have video of prominent Minnesota Republican activist and party functionary John Gilmore right as he’s about to get arrested for harassing a few women who made the mistake of being openly Muslim in his presence.

Oh, and guess what? It turns out FDL’s very own Gregg Levine was an inadvertent witness to the start of the harassment:

OMG, after looking at the videos, I realize I saw the start of this whole thing Thursday night on Nicolette Mall. I assumed Gilmore was some drunk local or tourist. He was screaming in a sort of drunk-sounding slur, THIS IS AMERICA, and holding his camera three feet in front of his face and flashing pictures while he yelled at the women.

The women in hijab had this so under control, I felt no need to intervene. Really, they were calm and smart and mostly just told him they were practicing their religion and to leave them alone–and I felt they didn’t need some pasty NYer escalating things. I didn’t realize it did escalate after I walked on.

Gilmore came off as a screaming freak. I’m glad the police intervened–he was harassing the women. And since it is now theoretically illegal to take pictures of bridges, it should at least be investigated when someone tries to intimidate by snapping picture after picture of you when you are minding your own business.

And, now that it is in context, think what lies beneath. Gilmore is taking pictures to show how insidious the left Netroots is because we include these “obviously subversive terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.” I’m sure he thought he had some sort of scoop, himself. What a pig.

This tallies well with what we see on the video as well as with the various other eyewitness descriptions, such as these at City Pages, the local arm of the Village Voice:

Elisabeth Geschiere, a pedi-cab driver, was working on Nicollet Mall when she recognized a friend, Jamila Boudlali, standing outside of the Dakota Jazz club. She came over and started talking with Boudlali, and her friend Anwar Hijaz, who were downtown for an afterparty for Netroots Nation, the progressive political blogging conference. Both Hijaz and Boudlali were wearing Muslim headscarves.

That apparently attracted the attention of a gray-haired man — 52-year-old Gilmore — who suddenly approached the trio and said the name, “Ayan Hersi Ali.” Ali is a vocal, female critic of Islam. The three women tried to brush him off, saying they did not want to debate with him.

And that, according to cops and witnesses, is when Gilmore became belligerent, taking photos of the women, and demanding to know why they were in the U.S. Geschiere says when she asked him to stop taking their photo, things only escalated.

“He started saying things like, ‘This is America, welcome to America, this is the western world,'” says Geschiere. “So I immediately retorted like, ‘Dude, we all grew up in America.'”

As bystanders started to intervene, the shouting ramped up, and Gilmore started pacing around the crowd and yelling “Andrew Breitbart — hello!” into his phone. That was the first time, says witness and visiting Netroots Nation-attendee Matt Glazer, that he realized the man was a conservative.

“He made it sounds like he was about to hurt people, so then that’s when I called the police,” says Glazer.

More on this as it develops.

Note, ladies and gentlemen, that this occurred the evening before Andrew Breitbart’s attempt to sneak into Netroots Nation without paying. Much of the early scuttlebutt about this conflated the two events, leading to confusion that still exists today in some quarters.

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

Posted in Islam, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Republican Party of Minnesota Insider: Staying Classy by Harassing Women

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 20, 2011

For the record: John Hugh Gilmore is not an employee of Andrew Breitbart. While he is a conservative blogger (of the Minnesota Conservatives blog), he does have some standards.

Gilmore lives in St. Paul, and is a pretty big wheel in Minnesota Republican politics, being in tight with the Marty Seifert and Ben Golnik/Gregg Peppin crowd as well as being a prominent Republican Party of Minnesota functionary in State Senate District 65 and a state central committee member. He backed Seifert in the 2010 Republican race for the gubernatorial nomination, but dutifully (albeit reluctantly) climbed onto the wildly careening Emmer bandwagon once Emmer’s nomination was a done deal.

He also happens to be the person who was arrested last Thursday night for getting drunk and harassing two Muslim women of Middle Eastern descent. This is the incident that triggered a flash mob protest on Saturday’s session of Right Online, and accounted for some of the passion with which Andrew Breitbart’s attempt to disrupt Netroots Nation 2011 was met. Here’s Sue Wilson’s account:

.The story started the night before when two women ventured into the streets of Minneapolis wearing the traditional Hijab (headscarf.) They were approached by John Hugh Gilmore, a 52 year attorney and self described Conservative who blogs for “Minnesota Conservatives.” According to police, he asked the women what they thought of Ayaan Hersi Ali, a Somali who is a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who decries Muslims. The women told him they weren’t exactly fans. The inebriated Gilmore then became upset and started harassing the pair, asking what right they had to be in this country, until 60 onlookers intervened. Police were called and arrested Gilmore, but not until Gilmore tried to reach Andrew Breitbart on his phone.

Mind you, this is one of the persons who makes up the ‘respectable’ wing of the local GOP, capable of doing semi-credible defenses of Democrats like Terri Bonoff on invocations — though he muffs it when he attacks her for backing nondenominational ones only: “Invoking Jesus or Yahweh does not violate the separation of church and state. This misses the point entirely but then again MC has not found democrats to be well versed in either religion or the constitution.” Sorry, that’s not what the Fourth Circuit found.

This guy is, underneath his Brooks Brothers suit, a raging Islamophobe of the Bradlee Dean variety, and he shows it in his writings and now in his actions.

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know — the local rocking-chair media actually have deigned to notice this story. Good on you, MPR!

Posted in Islam, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The face that launched a thousand drips

Posted by Charles II on May 18, 2011

OK, so a while ago, I linked a Guardian article which reported on a disturbance outside a Coptic church where, it was rumored, a woman was being held to prevent her from converting to Islam. The gist of it was that the Mubarak regime was stoking sectarian strife.

Now Emad Mekay in IPSNews has a story, which might describe what was going on. And it’s one of those wild stories that belongs on Jerry Springer. A young woman from an Orthodox Christian family by the name of Abeer Fakrhy married a man who was, to put it kindly, a louse. He verbally abused her. He beat her. And, since she suffers from severe anemia, requiring regular transfusions, this is serious business. The Pope, Shenouda, told her, no divorce unless you change religions so… she meets a Muslim guy, seems to be kind, and they run off together. Turns out this is not all that uncommon: Christians (Copts plus Catholics) have fallen from a majority of Egyptians to 4.6%. Fun guys like Pope Shenouda appear to be a major cause.

At this point, we’re into a Montague/Capulet meets Hatfield/McCoy mashup territory. Her family and church loose the dogs and, despite changing hiding places, Abeer is tracked down, kidnapped by her family, and held in various churches, landing at last in the Imbaba neighborhood:

Feeling helpless and alone, [Abeer’s lover] Yassen turned to a new rising power in Egypt for help – the Muslim fundamentalist group called the Salafis who, after the fall of Mubarak’s draconian secret police, have shed years of fear and became publicly active.

Dozens of the Salafis quickly congregated outside the Mar Mina church in Imbaba. Clashes erupted between Muslims and Christians at the church that left eight Muslims and four Christians dead. Some 210 were injured, and two churches were burned down.

Egyptian media, still run by executives from the Mubarak era, immediately sought a scapegoat for the bloodshed in Imbaba. They blamed Abeer. Newspapers began calling her “the cause of all troubles” and many columnists asked whether she is a worthy enough person.

She escape from the church during the clashes, but the country’s army generals tracked her down, arrested her and have accused her of stoking religious strife.

Now Abeer is behind bars in the infamous Qanater women’s prison, and blamed by almost all – including human rights organisations that have often adopted the cases of converts to Christianity from Islam but have been hesitant to come to her defence.

Somewhere, in a galaxy far, far away, Jesus and Mohammed are doing face palms.

Posted in Christianity, Islam, wrong way to go about it | 1 Comment »

So, when are the hearings on radicalization of Christians?

Posted by Charles II on March 11, 2011

Van Hipp, Fox News opinion:

The crux of the case made by opponents of Thursday’s [Muslim witchhunt] hearing is that it singles out one particular group and that terrorism in our country has many faces and origins. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok asserted just this week in a television interview that the U.S. faces a greater domestic terror threat from the radical right than radical Islam. Really?

Yeah, really! As in planning to cause as many as 30,000 deaths! That case occurred in Texas.

Congressman Peter King, who initiated these hearings was more emphatically wrong. He stated for a fact that the FBI had claimed that there was not one case in the last two years involving neo-Nazis, and that there was no equivalency between al Qaeda and right wing terrorists.

First, here’s some inconvenient reality for Mr. King and the hate spreaders:

Next, here’s just the latest refutation of King’s false claim that there isn’t any right wing terrorism.

Sam Friedman Fairbanks News-Miner:

Five people, including militia activist Schaeffer Cox, were arrested Thursday in the Fairbanks area for allegedly conspiring to kill multiple Alaska State Troopers and a federal judge.

The group had stockpiled weapons and conducted surveillance on the homes of two troopers, according to Alaska State Troopers. Some of the weapons known to be in the cache are prohibited by state or federal law, according to troopers.

In addition to Cox, those taken into custody are Lonnie and Karen Vernon of Salcha, Coleman Barney of North Pole and Michael Anderson, whose hometown was unclear. All were taken into custody without incident.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline was the judge targeted, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said.

Fairbanks Police Chief Laren Zager said earlier Thursday that the actions involved the Sovereign Citizen Movement…

The FBI describes the Sovereign Citizen Movement as a domestic terrorism group.

Members of the movement do not believe U.S. laws apply to them and sometimes make their own license plates or create their own legal trials, according to the FBI. A group of Fairbanks residents recently conducted their own trial of Cox at Denny’s Restaurant.

Cox has previously appeared as a public figure as gun rights activist and a legislative candidate. He unsuccessfully challenged Republican Rep. Mike Kelly in 2008.

He is a leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia and the Second Amendment Task Force. He has helped organize multiple gun-rights and personal freedoms rallies, including the 2009 “Freedom Fest” at the Carlson Center. Cox is a member of a “Liberty Bell network,” which sends out mass notifications to assemble a crowd of witnesses when a member believes his or her rights are being violated.

Posted in Islam, neo-Nazis, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, terrorism | 6 Comments »

Jihad: Not What You’ve Been Told It Means

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 16, 2011

Courtesy of Mohammed ibn Laith of Gorilla’s Guides:

Of all of the concepts and aspects of Islam, Jihad the struggle in the way of The Prophet is perhaps the most deliberately misrepresented and reviled in the west. To engage in Jihad is to make an effort, often a strenuous effort, to achieve a good end. Jihad connotes “struggle“, and to engage in such struggles is a duty laid by Allah upon every Muslim Sunni and Shia alike. Sunni and Shia alike take that duty seriously. Indeed, the Shi’i (Muslims such as myself who are of the Shi’at u Ali), consider the duty to wage jihad as being one of the Furū al-Dīn — one of the ten practices that Shi’a Muslims must perform. The purpose of this posting is to introduce you to Jihad and hopefully clear up some misconceptions.


If you are struggling with something and you are doing so in order to please God then you are engaging in Jihad. There are many types of Jihad. At one point during my dialogues with the American Christian priest Mike Kinman he asked me to talk to him about the practical aspects of love:

Tell me stories of how you see people in your life manifesting love. How has that changed you? How has that made you follow God’s will more closely? How do those stories give you hope?

Source: 25 Muharram 1429 (03 February 2008) Mike and Mohammed | Gorilla’s Guides

Though he did not know it he was asking me about Jihad. I told him of the women who risk their lives to get water and food to the most desperate, of the teenagers who willingly allow themselves to be locked up with a street child who wants to stop taking drugs so that the child will not endure the agonies of drug withdrawal alone. I told him of people risking their lives to collect money for school books in Touz Khormatou, and of the Red Crescent volunteers and the Red Crescent Staff who go about their business despite the many among them who have been attacked, kidnapped, killed. I told him about the people who raise money to build . I see it in the schoolmaster who continues to teach despite many death threats, and of his pupils. I told him about the people who built and who run this new orphanage. I told him about the societies for uplifting women, the societies that teach women to read and write, the societies that teach women what they need to know of law when they begin to trade, the societies that train women journalists, the societies that help the huge number of women and children in desperate need.

The millions of families who struggle to live ordinary decent lives and strive to live their lives as good Muslims against impossible difficulties of not enough food, no water, no money for fuel to cook with or to warm their houses. Those families must battel to live ordinary decent lives that too is Jihad.

While my younger brother Ali was alive that he would force himself to rise early and come and wake me when it was time for the first prayers of the day. He did this so that I could sleep a little longer and still carry out my duties of prayer. It was very difficult for him to do this (he loved to sleep late), but he did it and made sure that when he had woken me that the first thing I would see would be a smiling face – that was Jihad.

There’s much more at this link. Don’t forget to read the comments section — the author talks directly to readers therein.

(Soon to be crossposted at Renaissance Post.)

Posted in Islam | 1 Comment »

So Much For GOP Smears Vs. Keith Ellison

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 30, 2010

Wikileaks reveals that Keith Ellison, the representative for Minnesota’s Fifth US Congressional District, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Binyamin) Netanyahu in Washington in the spring of 2009.

Since the Wikileaks site is currently being slammed by conservative US hackers, here’s the Google cache link (h/t to David Brauer, a true man among men):

¶9. (C) Representative Ellison, noting that he is the first
Muslim to be elected to Congress, said he visited Gaza in
February and met with NGO representatives who could deliver
assistance without the credit going to Hamas. He urged
Netanyahu to consider opening the Gaza crossings, adding that
Gazans he had met told him they want peace and would like to
get their jobs back in Israel. Netanyahu responded that he
is looking at ways to balance Israeli security with enabling
Gazans to have a normal life. The flow of money and weapons
to Hamas remains a problem since Hamas is extending the range
and payload of the rockets it possesses. In response to
Representative Ellison’s comment that Israel should allow
USAID to return to Gaza, Netanyahu said he thought that it
might be a good thing to have USAID operate in Gaza.

Uh-oh! Wait until AIPAC sees this! Allow actual aid to Gaza? Sheldon Adelson will stamp his billion-dollar feet when he hears of Bibi’s blasphemy.

Posted in Gaza, Islam, israel, Keith Ellison, Middle East, Minnesota | 4 Comments »

Who Are Al-Qaeda’s Best Friends? Franklin Graham And Pam Geller Are Two Of Them

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 23, 2010

As is anyone who pushes the anti-Park51 bigotry.

That was made clear today, as David Dayen points out at the other blog where I write, Fire Dog Lake. Jihadist websites are posting up news articles on things like the threatened Koran burning in Florida and the whole right-wing-created Park51 bigotry-fest and using them as tools to radicalize people against the US, and convince them that the people of America cannot peacefully tolerate any Muslims at all.

Sadly, this was all predicted nearly six years ago. From Doug “Pericles” Muder’s seminal Kos diary, Terrorist Strategy 101: A Quiz:

Question 2: In radicalizing your sympathizers, who is your best ally?

No points awarded for “the media” or “sympathetic foreign governments”. In radicalizing your apathetic sympathizers, you have no better ally than the violent extremists on the other side . Only they can convince your people that compromise is impossible. Only they can raise your countrymen’s level of fear and despair to the point that large numbers are willing to take up arms and follow your lead. A few blown up apartment buildings and dead schoolchildren will get you more recruits than the best revolutionary tracts ever written.

Perversely, this means that you are the best ally of the extremists on the other side. That doesn’t mean you love or even talk to each other — they are, after all, vile and despicable demons. But at this stage in the process your interests align. Both of you want to invert the bell curve, to flatten out that big hump in the middle and drive people to the edges. That’s why extremists come in pairs: Caesar and Pompey, the Nazis and the Communists, Sharon and Arafat, Bush and Bin Laden. Each side needs a demonic opposite in order to galvanize its supporters.

Naive observers frequently decry the apparent counter-productivity of extremist attacks. Don’t the leaders of Hamas understand that every suicide bombing makes the Israelis that much more determined not to give the Palestinians a state? Don’t they realize that the Israeli government will strike back even harder, and inflict even more suffering on the Palestinian people? Of course they do; they’re not idiots. The Israeli response is exactly what they’re counting on. More airstrikes, more repression, more poverty — fewer opportunities for normal life to get in the way of the Great Struggle.

The cycle of violence may be vicious, but it is not pointless. Each round of strike-and-counterstrike makes the political center less tenable. The surviving radical leaders on each side energize their respective bases and cement their respective holds on power. The first round of the playoffs is always the two extremes against the center. Only after the center is vanquished will you meet your radical counterparts in the championship round.


Question 4: What is Bin Laden’s immediate goal?

If you’ve been paying attention, you should get this one right: His immediate goal is to radicalize the hundreds of millions of Muslims who sympathize with the vision of a restored Caliphate, but have better things to do with their lives than join the jihad. A particular problem for Bin Laden are all the Muslims who think that they can find an acceptable place for themselves in a world order dominated by the United States.

I won’t insult your intelligence by asking you who his best allies are in reaching this goal: President Bush, obviously, and all of the neo-conservatives in the Pentagon who push for the most aggressive response to the terrorist threat. Also the Christian leaders like Franklin (son of Billy) Graham, who regularly denounce Islam in terms that look fabulous on Al Qaeda’s equivalent of the locker-room bulletin board. John Ashcroft — and anyone else who mistreats assimilating Arabs and thereby convinces them that they will never really be welcome in America — is also an ally.

It doesn’t matter how much they hate him or denounce his deeds; anyone who radicalizes Muslims is doing Bin Laden’s work for him. President Bush may as well have been reading from an Al Qaeda script when he referred to the War on Terror as a “crusade”. Muslims know their history and know exactly what a crusade is: Christians invade and steal your land. People who didn’t believe this when they heard it from Bin Laden have now heard it from the Crusader-in-Chief.

FOX News and the other Cons like to paint themselves as super-smart hyper-patriots. If they really were, they wouldn’t be pushing people’s bigotry buttons on this issue just to score political points.

Posted in 2010, anti-Americanism, anti-Muslim, Islam, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, Rupert Murdoch, WTF? | 3 Comments »

The last word on the mosque “controversy”

Posted by Charles II on August 20, 2010

Bartcop gets all the good cartoons:

Posted in anti-truth, hypocrites, Islam, Republicans as cancer | 4 Comments »

President Obama Supports Muslim Community Center In NYC

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 14, 2010

This is the construction project demagogued by various right-wing bigots as “the Ground Zero Mosque”.

Of course, now that he’s come out to tell the demagoguers to shut up and go change their soiled diapers, there will no doubt be a push by The Usual Suspects to say that this proves he’s a Muslim.

Posted in Flying Monkey Right, Fox Noise, Islam, propaganda, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | 1 Comment »

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