Documentary producer Ami Horowitz interviews members of the Somali community in Minneapolis and finds support for Islamic law (Sharia) over American law and restrictions on freedom of speech.
COMMENT: The Somalis constitute a sizable ethnic group in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Some estimates are that 1 out of every 3 people with Somali ancestry in the U.S. live in Minnesota – a 2010 survey estimated the Somali community to be at 85,700 in the United States. The largest growth influx occurred as a result of refugee program efforts in response to the Somali civil war escalation in the 1990s.
The Minneapolis area has been experiencing a number of incidents involving ISIS recruitment. A February 2015 NPR article notes:
In the discussions at the White House this week, one city has focused minds: Minneapolis-St Paul. It had been ground zero for terrorist recruiters in the past, and is fast becoming the center of ISIS’ recruitment effort in the United States.
See this post from the Refugee Resettlement Watch blog regarding April 2015 terror arrests in the area along with information on the US government contractors involved in the refugee resettlement program.
Either Islam will reform, or it will be in constant conflict with the West until one side or the other gives up.
– Jonathan Keiler
In a May 9, 2015 American Thinker blog post, Jonathan Keiler writes that Islam needs to reform and drop taboos that place it at odds with Western culture:
Pamela Geller’s “draw Mohammed” contest in Texas was provocative, but the problem is not with Geller or the contest organizers, it is with Muslims who insist that they were provoked because it violated a Muslim taboo against representational art. Muslims should not have been provoked by a contest that was about free speech. In the West free speech and activities that are offensive but don’t infringe the rights of others, are not only tolerated, but often celebrated. They are part of the fundamental fabric of society.
Muslims are entitled to their taboos; every religion has them. Religious taboos emerge, evolve, change or dissipate over time, and Islam is no exception to this process. Islam began without an accepted taboo requiring women to veil themselves, the practice becoming widespread only after the conquest of Mesopotamia. And over time, and depending on place, that taboo has waxed and waned.
Art has always been a part of religion, and beliefs about art within religions are not static. Western Christian iconography changed dramatically over time as Christianity grew from a small Jewish cult to an imperial faith. Byzantium celebrated icons, broke them, and celebrated again. In Buddhism, as the faith moved along the Silk Roads from India to China, Buddha changed from an aesthetic priest into a chubby party animal.
COMMENT/ANAYLSIS: Keiler further points out that the common trend of taking a politically correct apologist stance with Islam needs to stop:
Western pundits and politicians ought to do what they can to encourage reform, not hinder it by parroting Islamist positions in an attempt to assuage Muslims. This not only leads to moral absurdities — like blaming the victims of the terror attack in Texas instead of the perpetrators and their sympathizers — but it gives Muslims little reason to reform their religion.
We agree. Appeasing Islamists only bolsters their influence within Muslim communities, lessening chances for meaningful reform. As we pointed out in a follow-up to the Garland terror attack, this type of stance is simply a “win” for Islamists in using fear and intimidation to silence those that oppose them.
Related article by Keiler: An Islamic Reformation?, Jan 19, 2015
… treating Islam as a monolith, denying the possibility of reform, and demonizing Muslims en masse is not the answer.
– Cathy Young
Pam Geller and Robert Spencer are being viewed as free speech champions for their “Draw Muhammad” contest, which turned tragic in Dallas last week. But once a moderate Muslim begins speaking, they quickly turn into what they hate.
The day after two gunmen were killed by police while trying to shoot their way into a Garland, Texas community center hosting a Mohammed cartoon contest, reformist American Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser appeared on Fox News not only to condemn the attack but to unconditionally affirm the right to free expression—including the right to insult Islam—and praise defiance against blasphemy bans.
What Jasser graciously did not mention was that the people whose speech he was defending—contest organizers and anti-Islam polemicists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer—had viciously attacked him in the past. In a 2011 article published by the right-wing website The American Thinker in response to Geller’s screed on the same site, Jasser documented the duo’s smear campaign in which he was sometimes dismissed as a faux Muslim and sometimes denounced as a camouflaged extremist practicing taqiyya, the doctrine which supposedly allows Muslims to lie in the cause of Islam.
This sordid episode is typical of the way Geller and her comrade-in-arms Spencer, co-founders of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, conduct their misnamed “anti-jihadist” battle. It is also a good example of why the two are no heroes for free speech. No, Geller did not “provoke” the terror attack in Garland, as a number of pundits (and even the New York Times editorial board) have deplorably suggested; her cartoon contest is not the moral equivalent of the attack, and she does not need to apologize for the exercise of her First Amendment rights or for the terrorists’ actions. She does, however, have to answer for a lengthy record of peddling anti-Muslim hysteria, targeting Muslims’ First Amendment right to worship, smearing innocent people as jihadists, and even excusing the slaughter of Muslims in the former Yugoslavia. We cannot allow terrorists to curb our speech; but we also cannot allow them to turn hatemongers into heroes.
Whatever valid concerns Geller, Spencer, and their allies may raise about political Islamism wind up being eclipsed by the fact that they not only conflate Islamist radicalism with all Islam but make disturbingly little distinction between criticism of Islam and hostility toward Muslims.
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/10/in-pam-geller-s-world-everybody-jihads.html
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: Young points out that, “… , what’s obfuscated by the hate is that some “anti-jihadists” do have legitimate points that are too often dismissed by liberal commentators in debates over Islam and Islamophobia”. We couldn’t agree more.
The irony comes from claims of harmful “Islamaphobia” by two lawmakers associated with groups supporting antisemitism, destruction of Israel, and destroying the Western civilization from within.
Several members of the U.S. Congress are taking a cue from the Muslim Student Association (MSA) tactic of banning speakers they find offensive.
On Apr 28, 2015, The Daily Caller reported …
The two Muslim members of Congress have called on two U.S. Cabinet members to block Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders from entering the U.S. because they believe he is “Islamophobic.”
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison and Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson penned a joint letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson last Thursday. Foreign Policy reported it on Tuesday.
“We write to raise our deep concern regarding the visit of Mr. Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker known for perpetuating Islamophobia,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote, citing a 1998 law, the International Religious Freedom Act. The law allows the State Department to deny foreign leaders guilty of “severe violations of religious freedom” from entering the U.S.
Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, is scheduled to speak at several events throughout the US. His stance on “Islamisation” of the Netherlands is quite clear – calling for an end to Muslim immigration and a ban on the building of new mosques. His political party considers Islam a violent ideology rather than a religion. Islamists have called for his death.
A copy of his scheduled speech to the Conservative Opportunity Society in Washington D.C. can be viewed here.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: Rep. Ellison was a past representative/member of the Nation of Islam. From an article in an October 2006 edition of the Weekly Standard:
Having spoken out over many years as an advocate of the Nation of Islam under guises including Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison, and Keith Ellison-Muhammad, Ellison might reasonably prompt Fifth District voters to wonder where he really stands. His recent account of the nature and extent of his relationship with the Nation of Islam cannot be squared with the public record. During his congressional campaign, Ellison has nevertheless held himself out as a friend of the Jewish people and of Israel. As if to shore up his identity as a Muslim activist, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, flew to Minneapolis to appear as a featured guest (along with Ellison himself and Guantánamo chaplain James Yee) at an Ellison fundraiser in suburban Minneapolis on August 25. Awad is notable, among other things, for his past expressions of support for Hamas.
From April 2006 to November 2014 it is reported that Rep. Ellison has received over 212 separate political donations totaling over $212,000 from Islamists. From January 2008 to October 2014, Rep. Andre Carson reportedly received 60 separate political donations totaling over $36,000. The vast majority of the these donors are affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood front groups that include the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
In October 2014, we reported on the efforts of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to have the US Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate an Arkansas gun range whose owner declared the business to be a ‘Muslim-Free Zone’.
This past week, CAIR published a news release that the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ has decided to “monitor” the gun range. According to the release:
CAIR has now received a letter from the DOJ informing the Washington-based civil rights organization of the decision to monitor the Arkansas case.
The business: Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range located in Hot Springs, AR about an hour south of Little Rock.
The sad part is witnessing educational institutions – described as bastions of free speech – submit to the the will of the MSA. Meet the “Brown shirts” of this century.
‘American Sniper’ derailed by Muslim complaints at University of Maryland
From: The Washington Times
By: Douglas Ernst, April 24, 2015
The University of Maryland joins the University of Michigan in the ranks of educational institutions with an “American Sniper” controversy.
Muslim student protests prompted the University of Maryland at College Park to announce the cancellation of the movie about deceased Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
“American Sniper only perpetuates the spread of Islamophobia and is offensive to many Muslims around the world for good reason. This movie dehumanizes Muslim individuals, promotes the idea of senseless mass murder, and portrays negative and inaccurate stereotypes,” the university’s Muslim Students Association said in its petition, Fox News reported Thursday.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: The cited Fox News article notes that this is not the first time that Muslims and their supporters have made an effort to silence this movie. The University of Michigan cancelled a screening only to reverse the decision after national outrage and as of this writing a petition drive was made to ban the film at George Mason University.
The the Muslim Students Association (MSA) frequently moves to silence people/concept/ideas that it finds offensive on campuses (i.e. appearances by Ayaan Hirsi Ali). The sad part is witnessing educational institutions – described as bastions of free speech – submit to the the will of the MSA. Meet the “Brown shirts” of this century.
As noted by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, The MSA was founded in 1963 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood fleeing their home countries and leaders of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), another U.S. Brotherhood organization, played instrumental roles in its founding and early years.
CAIR Asks DOJ to Probe Arkansas Business Declared ‘Muslim-Free Zone’ by Owner
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/7/14) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate a Hot Springs, Ark., shooting range that has been declared a “Muslim-free zone” by its owner.
The owner claims the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agrees with her claimed right to bar customers based on their faith.
The full text of the CAIR letter can be found HERE
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: When the original story of the range being “Muslim Free” by owner Jan Morgan came out, it was just a matter of time before CAIR would get involved. CAIR’s letter requests a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation noting that the range owner is discriminating based on race and religion. We are not sure what race a Muslim is, but CAIR has been increasing efforts to embrace a “race card” as of late. The religious discrimination argument tends to be in CAIR’s favor.
Ms. Morgan comments on CAIR’s request to the DOJ are addressed in this post, Islamic Organization With Ties to HAMAS Asks Holder to Investigate Me. She brings up some interesting points, but we suspect Ms. Morgan may be out gunned (pardon the pun) in regards to this issue.
Her blog entry of Sep 28 , 2014 is now titled, “Why I Want My Range to be a Muslim Free Zone” , but when it was originally posted it read as, “My Business is a Muslim Free Zone“. The later is what was picked up by the media and brought to the attention of CAIR. It may be too late to try and defend the post as simply expressing her opinion … in other words an issue of constitutionally protected free speech.
The Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range is located in in Hot Springs, AR about an hour south of Little Rock.
“Public officials, and that includes public school officials, violate the free speech clause of the First Amendment whenever they censor speech merely because it offends someone… Unfortunately, we are seeing this trend grow as Muslim activists play the victim card.”
– William J. Becker, Jr., Freedom X’s president and general counsel (8/12/2014 Examiner.com)
At issue was an April 24, 2014 after-hours town hall meeting at a local area high school planned by the Knoxville chapter of ACT! for America . The event was to feature Dr. Bill French (aka Dr. Bill Warner), an expert on Islam, and Matt Bonner of Crescent Project, a Christian ministry reaching out to Muslims with the Gospel.
In late 2013, the Knoxville chapter of ACT! for America had requested and received approval to use Farragut High School for the planned event. In March 2014 a press release was sent to the local newspaper promoting the event.
Around April 8, 2014, the County School offices received an email from AbdelRahman Murphy, the University of Tennessee (UTK) Muslim Chaplain and director of “Roots” a Muslim outreach program. Murphy’s email characterized ACT! Knoxville as an organization with a history of engaging in hate speech
Around that same time as Murphy’s email, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper sent a letter to Farragut High School Principal Michael Reynolds expressing concerns about the event calling ACT! for America a hate group and characterizing French as a bigot. The letter closed with:
We support the First Amendment right to free speech — even the kind of hate speech used by these speakers — but believe, because of the need for a safe and inclusive learning environment, that a school is not the proper setting such an event.
I therefore respectfully request that you review district policies to determine whether you high school is an appropriate venue for a potentially hate-filled program.
On April 11, 2014, the School system sent a letter to the Knoxville chapter of ACT! for America, rescinding the agreement for the April 24th event:
The administration at Farragut High School has express ed concerns to me about the disruption your event scheduled for April 24th is causing to the educational environment at the school.
The primary purpose of our school facilities is to provide a safe, healthy and comfortable learning environment for our students. When other uses of the facility begin to impinge on or interfere with the administrations ability to provide a suitable educational atmosphere, it is necessary for us to reconsider that use.
A local news station reported on the cancellation indicating the decision to rescind approval was because “some” said the event discriminated against Muslims.
On August 4, 2014 , a lawsuit was filed by the nonprofit law firm Freedom X on behalf of John Peach, president of the Knoxville chapter of ACT! for America, and Bill French against the school system in U.S. District Court, for violating their First Amendment right of free speech and their Fourteenth Amendment rights of equal protection and due process.
On October 1st, an out of court settlement was reached. According to wbir.com:
The sides officially reached an agreement Wednesday night. Under the terms, the county will pay out roughly $17,500 in attorney fees, administrative costs and monetary damages tied to advertising for the event.
In addition, the school board on Wednesday – under the terms of the settlement – amended its policy regarding the community’s use of school facilities.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: CAIR frequently attempts to silence critics of Islam through intimidation or legal proceedings. In this case they managed to coerce the school system to do their bidding. CAIR’s input to the school system was most likely arranged by AbdelRahman Murphy, who served as an intern with the Communications Department at CAIR-Chicago in 2006. Murphy worked under the guidance of then communications director, Ahmed Rehab – the current executive director for CAIR-Chicago.
In addition to his work with “Roots” and as the Muslim chaplain at UTK, Murphy is the primary advisor to UTK’s Muslim Student Association and youth director of the Muslim Community of Knoxville (MCK). He makes appearances on the Muslim “talk circuit” and maintains a close relationship with Imam Suhaib Webb, of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC).
“Sharia law is not tolerated on German soil“
– Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere
Last week we reported on a story from Wuppertal, Germany about a group of Muslims photographed with “Sharia Police” vests. According to several news accounts, a Salafist group was patrolling the streets to recruit new members and lecture people they determined were violating Sharia law. The story was featured on a number websites and blogs, some sites even implying that the photograph was proof of an established Islamic “No Go” zone in Wuppertal. We noted that the reported actions were considered illegal and criminal charges were being considered against the group.
This week the following story was published by the Deutsche Welle (DW) media group:
Germany won’t tolerate ‘Sharia police’
The German government has strongly criticized nightly patrols in the city of Wuppertal by men calling themselves “Sharia police.” The 33-year-old behind the patrols claimed that their goal was only to raise attention.
Conservative members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition put forward a united front at the weekend against recent developments in the city of Wuppertal. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said civilians wearing uniforms bearing the logo “Shariah police” could not simply start patrolling German streets.
The groups reportedly hovered around sites like discotheques and gambling houses, telling passers-by to refrain from gambling and alcohol. Wuppertal’s police have begun pressing charges.
“Sharia law is not tolerated on German soil,” de Maiziere told mass-circulation daily Bild on Saturday. “Nobody can take it upon themselves to abuse the good name of the German police.”
Justice Minister Heiko Maas, meanwhile, told Bild that “the state alone” was responsible for the administration of justice in Germany. It was obvious, Maas said, that any illegal parallel system of law enforcement would not be tolerated. Christian Democrat party whip Volker Kauder was similarly emphatic in an interview to be published in this week’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
“Under absolutely no circumstances can we tolerate self-styled ‘Sharia police officers’ patrolling our streets and dictating what people should or should not do,” Kauder said.
The DW story noted that the person behind the Sharia patrols is Sven Lau, a 33 year old former firefighter. Lau, a Muslim convert, is a leading member of Germany’s Salafist movement and known to German security services. From DW:
Lau said that a “Sharia police” never existed, and that a group of men had simply worn the mock uniforms for a few hours. “We knew that this would raise attention,” Lau said, claiming that his goal was to spark a debate about Sharia law in Germany.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: European nations and the U.K. certainly have a growing threat being posed by Islamists pushing a Sharia based agenda that conflicts with established secular governments. It would be a mistake, however, to equate incidents in Germany as being comparable to reported “no go” zones found in France and Scandinavia. As we pointed out in our previous report, the German government regularly investigates/prosecutes Salafist activities as they would any group viewed as a threat to the German constitution. Additionally, a well placed source in Germany informed us it was inconceivable that authorities would ever tolerate a group wearing clothing/uniforms that identified them as police – it’s a clear violation of German law.
We have some doubts that media attention was the original goal behind the actions of Lau and his group, but if it was, the end results may have not been what was expected. Attempts have been made to remove any copies of the You Tube video showing the “Sharia Police” in action citing copyright violations. The original video was removed from the groups You Tube site. New videos have been posted by Lau, attempting to explain the incident away and stating there is no “Sharia Police.” These resemble attempts at damage control for fear of prosecution instead of encouraging debate.
Some additional information on Sven Lau has been reported on www.globaljihad.net