It is understandable that the senseless killing of an ambassador is bigger news than the senseless killing of an unknown, obscure Yemeni or Pakistani child. But it’s anything but understandable to regard the former as more tragic than the latter. Yet there’s no denying that the same people today most vocally condemning the Benghazi killings are quick and eager to find justification when the killing of innocents is done by their government, rather than aimed at it.
It’s as though there are two types of crimes: killing, and then the killing of Americans. The way in which that latter phrase is so often invoked, with such intensity, emotion and scorn, reveals that it is viewed as the supreme crime: this is not just the tragic deaths of individuals, but a blow against the Empire; it therefore sparks particular offense. It is redolent of those in conquered lands being told they will be severely punished because they have raised their hand against a citizen of Rome.
Just compare the way in which the deaths of Americans on 9/11, even more than a decade later, are commemorated with borderline religious solemnity, as opposed to the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of foreign Muslims caused by the US, which are barely ever acknowledged. There is a clear hierarchy of human life being constantly reinforced by this mentality, and it is deeply consequential.
Personally, I’ve never quite understood why so many of my co-religionists are so keen to kill or maim those who ‘insult’ Islam, Prophet Muhammad or the Quran. What is behind such rage and, dare I add, insecurity? Is their God so weak, so sensitive, so precious, that He cannot withstand any rejection?
Mine, for the record, isn’t.
ugh this guy is just so damn basic.
You know, this piece has a lot of really good stuff in it, including a forceful condemnation of the recent detention under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws of an 11-year-old girl who allegedly has down-syndrome. The case is horrifying, and the overall treatment of minorities in some parts of Pakistan is even worse. But I’m so sick of Muslims who write these pieces that cater to a Western-apologist mindset.
I mean, congratulations Mr. Orientalist special-sunflower on your inability to understand why “so many” Muslims are “keen to kill” everyone who insults their religion. You must be the odd one out.
What is behind such rage and insecurity you ask? Perhaps it’s centuries of colonialism and imperialism that resulted in a crippled education system and stunted economic, political, and social infrastructures, the remains of which are still being seen today. Maybe it’s the continued reaction to all of these things and the perceived (and/or real) threat of Western aggression. Or perhaps, in the case of Pakistan, it might help to point out that Zia-ul-Haq, the Pakistani dictator who instated the blasphemy laws in the first place, was a political puppet of the United States whose promotion of Islamic law in Pakistan was directly inspired by American conservatism.
But no, of course it’s much easier to write a self-serving piece about how backwards, how barbaric, how simple-minded those Pakistanis are.
[…] I do not worry about Abedin. A person of her intelligence and clout can withstand these attacks. I worry about Muslim high school and college students who wonder why they should even enter politics if they will, like Abedin, be constantly scrutinized because of their faith.
In 1999, I was an intern in Washington, DC, when I heard Abedin and Suhail Khan, a Muslim Republican himself accused of being an extremist, speak to the Muslim Public Service Network. It was Abedin and Khan who convinced me that there was—and is—space for Muslims in politics. […]
But even as I rose through the ranks of Washington, DC, I continued to face constant scrutiny over my faith. When I interviewed at a human-rights organization, I was asked more than once if I am willing to condemn suicide bombing and if I am comfortable supporting gay marriage. I told the interviewer that no self-respecting human rights advocate supports suicide bombing and opposes gay marriage. The answer did not suffice. To get the job, I had to spell it out: I am against suicide bombing; I am for gay marriage.
This happened in government agencies as well. In an interview for a research position on South Asian affairs at a US bureau, I was asked to state my views on Israel. And I have, sadly, taken it as a given that in interviews I will be asked what kind of Arab I am. When I say that I am the “Indian kind of Arab,” few understand—or appreciate—the joke.
In my most recent job interview, the head of an NGO asked how devout I am in my Islamic faith. Later that night, I pulled out of the interview process, packed up the rest of my belongings, and moved across the country to Oakland.
Zahir Janmohamed writes about prejudice against Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians in political and NGO circles. This one’s a must read — check out the full article at the source.
"If they build a mosque there, I’m going to bomb the mosque … I will give them a lot of trouble. They’re not going to stay here alive"
A Brooklyn resident and former Israeli soldier, one of many opposed to a new mosque in Brooklyn. The mosque was proposed over five years ago but still hasn’t been completed due to strong opposition from local residents backed by politicians and anti-Islam activists.
Just last week, Republican state Sen. David Storobin, who represents nearby Brighton Beach, fired off a letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg claiming the mosque “may pose a danger to public safety.” He explained to the Brooklyn Daily that his “opposition isn’t to who is building it, but to what is being built.”
Watch the full video and he basically starts foaming at the mouth. You may remember Louie Gohmert for going apeshit when being called oh his BS theory about “terror babies” by Anderson Cooper. How the fuck do these people get reelected…
"We conclude that verses extremists cite from the Qur’an do not suggest an aggressive offensive foe seeking domination and conquest of unbelievers, as is commonly assumed. Instead they deal with themes of victimization, dishonor, and retribution. This shows close integration with the rhetorical vision of Islamist extremists. Based on this analysis we recommend that the West abandon claims that Islamist extremists seek world domination, focus on counteracting or addressing claims of victimage, emphasize alternative means of deliverance, and work to undermine the ‘champion’ image sought by extremists."
A new study of propoganda from 1998 to 2011 shows that Muslim extremists are more concerned with defending against foreign intrusion than striving towards worldwide offensive Jihad. The study’s researches, Jeffry Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow and Steven Corman, assert that
continued claims to the contrary, by both official and unofficial sources, only play into a ‘clash of civilizations’ narrative that benefits the extremist cause. These claims also undermine the credibility of Western voices, because the audience knows that extremist arguments are really about victimage and deliverance.
This, of course, only adds to the longline of research that points toward motivations for extremism that don’t agree with the Islamist narrative often promoted in the West.
"I don’t have a problem making it harder. […] I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy."
Florida state Senator Mike Bennett, sponsor of a 2011 bill that dramatically changed the rules for both early voting and voter registration in Florida. In late May of this year, a federal judge blocked the law’s most controversial provisions pending a trial.
If reinstated, Bennett’s bill could unravel years of work by voting rights activists like Bracy to tear down the barriers that discourage African-Americans, Latinos and young people in particular from participating in our democracy. The law mandated for the first time in Florida’s history that people who conduct voter registration drives must themselves register with the state before signing up new voters. Once they register a new voter, they have forty-eight hours to submit that registration to the county under exacting specifications. Late or improper applications can result in stiff fines or even felony fraud charges and jail time. These requirements were burdensome enough to scare away even national groups with sophisticated processes for ensuring their registrations are valid. As the League of Women Voters’ Florida chapter president, Deirdre McNab, told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, “These new laws frighten people from registering voters.”
The racial impact of Bennett’s bill is clear. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, black and Latino Floridians are more than twice as likely as white voters to register to vote through community-based voter registration drives. In 2008, more than 1.1 million black voters cast ballots in Florida, a record turnout driven in no small part by registration campaigns led by black churches.
Atlanta’s WSB-TV recently investigated claims by area residents who said their efforts to buy iPhones or iPads were blocked by store staffers who don’t understand what a trade embargo is.
One customer, a 19-year-old college student and U.S. citizen, says she went with her uncle to the Apple store to buy an iPad, where a store employee overheard them speaking a non-English language and asked them about it.
“When we said ‘Farsi, I’m from Iran,’ he said, ‘I just can’t sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations,’” the woman tells WSB.
[…] the 19-year-old woman is a U.S. citizen living in the country, who just happens to also speak the language spoken in a country that is the subject of a trade embargo. This would be like the Apple store refusing to sell to anyone who speaks Spanish because they might have defected from Cuba. And are Apple employees asking every Korean customer whether they were born in North or South Korea?
While it’s probably just a few dumb employees misinterpreting company policy, it’s absolutely incredible to me that this could happen more than once.
Real-life scenario No. 1: A man with a weapon strides into a military medical office in Texas and opens fire, killing 13 people and wounding 29 before he is stopped and taken into custody. In the ensuing news media coverage and public discussion, the incident is widely viewed as an act of terrorism.
Real-life scenario No. 2: A man with a weapon shows up at a public gathering inside a supermarket in Arizona and opens fire, killing six (including a U.S. district judge) and wounding 13 (including a member of the U.S. House of Representatives) before he is stopped and arrested. In the ensuing media coverage and public discussion, the incident is generally not characterized as terrorism.
The difference? In the first scenario — the 2009 Fort Hood shootings — the perpetrator, Nidal Hasan, was a Muslim of Palestinian ancestry. In the second — the 2011 Tucson shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords gravely wounded — the perpetrator, Jared Loughner, was non-Muslim and white.
So it goes, according to new research by a terrorism prosecutions expert in Portland, Ore., when it comes to public perception of what constitutes terrorism. An analysis by law school professor Tung Yin of Lewis & Clark (the college where I work) reveals that race and religion strongly color portrayals of terrorism, to the point where crimes of a similar pattern — political motivation, mass destruction, indiscriminate killing, etc. — tend to be characterized differently in this country when the perpetrators are Muslim or of Arab descent.
Seventeen U.S. private citizens worldwide were killed by terrorist attacks in 2011. These deaths occurred in Afghanistan (15), Jerusalem (1), and Iraq (1). Overall, U.S. private citizen deaths constituted only 0.13 percent of the total number of deaths worldwide (12,533) caused by terrorism in 2011.
So to be clear, there were no terrorism-related deaths in the US last year (which has held true for every year since 9/11). And out of the seventeen American deaths worldwide, all of them occured in countries we’re militarily occupying or actively assisting the occupation of.
Meanwhile, we’ve spent over a trillion dollars in the War on Terror, our budget reserves ten times the amount for military spending as it does for education and health services, and our government justifies civil rights violations using the overwhelming threat of “Islamic terrorism.”
When will people realize just how absurdly overblown that threat is? Moreover, when will our government admit responsibility for the cycle of violence that results in the few deaths that DO occur from terrorism? The “threat” is used to justify military occupation, while that occupation itself is in large part the source of the threat.