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Boston bombings: beware the multi-million dollar Islamophobia industry

Local commentators have variously described reactions to the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured 183 others, as “restrained”, “refreshingly honest” and wholly different to what…

The ‘Islamophobia’-related responses to last week’s Boston bombings have been somewhat measured in comparison to 9/11. EPA/CJ Gunther

Local commentators have variously described reactions to the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured 183 others, as “restrained”, “refreshingly honest” and wholly different to what unfolded after September 11, 2001.

True, this time round we were spared the “with us or against us” clash of civilisations rhetoric from those in power. And thankfully, save for a hijab-clad woman punched while dropping her daughter at a Boston playgroup and a Bangladeshi man bashed for looking Arab in the Bronx, we have not seen the same wave of violent attacks on Muslims that gripped the US in the wake of 9/11.

Nevertheless, the US Islamophobia industry has seized on the bombing to bolster its campaign of misinformation and fear-mongering, and we would do well to pay careful attention.

Within hours of last Monday’s explosions, a number of media outlets, including the New York Post, named a young Saudi man as a suspect, when he was in fact a witness injured in the blasts. The story, unfortunately, refused to die.

By Thursday, US conservative commentator Glenn Beck was issuing ultimatums to the Obama administration: admit that the bombing was the work of a “bad, bad, bad” Saudi national who has since been deported back to the Kingdom, or Beck would expose the government’s complicity in the culprit’s escape from justice. Once one Tsarnaev brother was killed and the other taken into custody, Beck merely expanded this fanciful story to include them as co-conspirators, demanding Obama’s impeachment.

While it is unclear where Beck sourced his wild allegations, they bear a striking resemblance to the nonsense that former CNN reporter and self-styled terrorism expert Steven Emerson consistently spouted throughout the week. Emerson told C-Span that the irrefutable evidence of the Saudi student’s guilt was the fact that his burns bore traces of explosive residue which matched the compound used in the bombs. This was hardly surprising, given that the student was injured by one of those bombs.

Although officials emphatically stated that the Saudi student was not a suspect, within days Emerson was pushing the story that Obama had attended a hastily scheduled meeting with the Saudi government to arrange the student’s deportment: “This is the way things are done with Saudi Arabia,” Emerson told Fox News. “You don’t arrest their citizens, you deport them because they don’t want them to be embarrassed and that’s the way we appease them.”

Emerson has an impressive and well-documented record of spreading false information. The US media watchdog FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) has been drawing attention to Emerson’s consistently anti-Muslim and anti-Arab reporting since the early 1990s. In 1999, FAIR chronicled a raft of Emerson’s wrong assertions about Muslim involvement in acts of terrorism, including the bogus 1998 claim that Pakistan was planning a nuclear strike on India, which escalated tensions in the region to boiling point.

Most notorious was Emerson’s claim in the immediate aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma bombing – which turned out to be the work of far-right extremist Timothy McVeigh – that it bore a “Middle Eastern trait” because it “was done with the intent to inflict as many casualties as possible”. That same year he wrote in the Jewish Monthly that Islam “sanctions genocide, planned genocide, as its religious doctrine”.

Like many other self-appointed terrorism experts, Emerson’s career blossomed in the wake of 9/11. Lately he has come to focus on what he terms “legal insurgency”, claiming last month that Islamists are succeeding in a plot to “quietly” take over the US by means of:

Faustian deals with the media where the ultra-fascist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood is totally consistent with the ultra-left-wing ideology of the media and it’s reflected on campuses in academia and student groups, it’s reflected in books and it’s also reflected in policies by the US government.

Emerson’s ideas are not only warmly received by the Christian Right and the pro-Israel lobby, they have also made inroads into Congress. After 9/11, Emerson testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and distributed copies of his 1994 video Jihad in America to all 535 members of Congress. Republican congressman Chris Smith told the Washington Post that the film “played a real role” in the passing of the 2001 Patriot Act.

Emerson’s is but one voice in a well-resourced industry of Islamophobia in the US. This network includes Daniel Pipes, Frank Gaffney, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Brigitte Gabriel and others, and a seemingly endless stream of funding ensures that its anti-Muslim diatribe is a steady feature of mainstream US political discourse.

A Centre for American Progress report found that between 2001 and 2009, Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism organisation, along with Daniel Pipes’s Middle East Forum, Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, the David Horowitz Freedom Centre, the Clarion Fund, Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, the American Congress for Truth, and the Counterterrorism and Security Education and Research Foundation received over US$42 million from just seven major foundations.

The largest single donation, over US$17 million transferred from Donors Capital to the Clarion Fund in 2008, paid for a DVD titled Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West that was distributed to over 28 million swing-state voters in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential elections. The same fund’s large-scale backing of climate change denial groups has been blamed for creating a backlash against Obama’s environmental agenda and ruining the chances of Congress taking action on climate change.

In the wake of the gun lobby’s successful scuttling of any hope of even the most moderate gun law reform in the US by paying off senators, the threat that cashed-up conservatives pose to democracy cannot be ignored.

While Muslims may not have faced as many random attacks on the street this time round, they remain fixed in the crosshairs of a multi-million dollar industry dedicated to the sole purpose of hating them.

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  1. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    Some commentators seem more concerned about the imagined unhinged reactions of the hoi polloi to Islamist terrorism, than the terrorism itself.

    In fact, normal people are pretty reasonable. The number of anti-Moslem hate crimes after Bali, 7/7, the Times Square bomb attempt and now Boston has been negligible. The article itself seems to highlight the fact we're not incited to violence by a few bigots in the media.

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    1. Chloe Patton

      Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding at University of South Australia

      In reply to James Jenkin

      I think you're quite right with respect to street violence in that there hasn't been the same level of attacks on Muslims that immediately followed 9/11. However, if you have a look at Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Isma report, Australian Muslims have been the targets of random physical attacks and incivility from strangers on the street over the whole period since 9/11. It's certainly not negligible, it just rarely makes the news.

      The point I was making, however, concerns ideological violence. Most of what these professional Islamophobes are saying is nuts, but it has a real impact on mainstream political discourse. The congressman quoted in the article attributed an inflammatory video made by one of these groups with getting the Patriot Act through Congress. That Act had devastating consequences for the rights of US Muslims, and inspired similar legislation here.

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    2. emily vicendese

      undergrad

      In reply to Chloe Patton

      "Ideological violence"? What a nefariously tendentious concept. Surely one can disagree without resorting to tactics such as labeling a mere opinion violent?

      I'm sorry to say it, but your analysis is superficial and completely one-sided. And, in case anyone is reaching for their ad hominem button, let me just say that no, I am not a right-wing Muslim-hating loony. I consider myself in the third camp: I am against American militarism and Islamism.

      You, however, seem to be one of those anti-Westerners who love to pretend as thought violent, power-hungry Islamism doesn't exist, and as though American militarism is the only evil.

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    3. Chloe Patton

      Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding at University of South Australia

      In reply to emily vicendese

      Emily, I agree that it sounds a bit pompous; it's not like an idea can come up and punch you in the face. But these characters are receiving a lot of money to spread misinformation and hateful ideas about a certain group, and they are having undue influence on public debate. Ideas become violent when people's rights are impinged upon because of them. I would include myself in your camp: I certainly don't think American militarism is the only evil. The bombings in Boston are dramatic proof that terrible things are done in the name of Islam.

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    4. James Jenkin

      EFL Teacher Trainer

      In reply to Chloe Patton

      Thanks very much for the response Chloe.

      Is it possible to have a link for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities report? Also, I'm very interested - what consequences did the Patriot Act (and similar legislation in Australia) have for Moslems?

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    5. emily vicendese

      undergrad

      In reply to Chloe Patton

      Chloe, I think in order to make your case stronger, you need to show exactly WHAT "these characters" are saying and WHY it is wrong.

      While it may be true that they are funded by Zionists, this does not make their claims about Islam incorrect.

      Also, I don't think it is enough to say that "terrible things are done in the name of Islam" just as it is not enough to say "terrible things are done in the name of the U.S.A." There are cultural and ideological conditions which are causing these "terrible things" to be perennially and systematically perpetrated.

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    6. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to emily vicendese

      emily, I think you're making a 'heroic' (and somewhat irrational) leap there: it's a pretty basic fallacy of reasoning to argue that, because you oppose one thing you automatically support another thing. Unless those two things are direct, polar opposites, this just doesn't stand up to sober reasoning. To write an article expressing concern at extermism of the 'Clarion Fund' kind, and the risk that it poses to the social capital and political discourse of a nation, is in no way "anti-Westerner" or…

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    7. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Chloe Patton

      If all you ever got from an idea was a mere punch in the face we wouldn't have much to worry about. ideas can be far more dangerous than that!

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  2. Russell Walton

    Retired

    A well-resourced "Islamophobia industry" is indeed a cause for concern, particularly if there's no distinction made between the Islamic ideology and Moslems. I'd be extremely interested in learning what organisations are the sources of the funds. That said, I'll admit to being something of an "Islamophobe" in regard to the religion as it's totalitarian and anti-democratic. It's essential that we don't conflate anti-Moslem prejudice with a critique of the ideology itself.

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    1. Chloe Patton

      Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding at University of South Australia

      In reply to Russell Walton

      It's very difficult to tell who is funding these groups because they channel funds through intermediary trusts such as Donors Capital so as to remain anonymous. The CAP report I cite in the article makes a guess concerning the source of the $17 million donated to the Clarion Fund, but there's no way of knowing for certain.

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    2. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Chloe Patton

      All of the sites I've visited are pro-Israel to some extent and some can only be described as anti-Arab, anti-Moslem hate sites.

      "He who pays the piper calls the tune"

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    3. Bob Down

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Chloe Patton

      A bit of a ratbag comment, but the logo for the University of SA, looks very Jewish and Torah like. Just saying!

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  3. Leigh Burrell

    Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

    http://pewglobal.org/files/2010/12/Pew-Global-Attitudes-Muslim-Report-FINAL-December-2-2010.pdf

    "About eight-in-ten Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan (82% each) endorse the stoning of people who commit adultery; 70% of Muslims in Jordan and 56% of Nigerian Muslims share this view. Muslims in Pakistan and Egypt are also the most supportive of whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery; 82% in Pakistan and 77% in Egypt favor making this type of punishment the law in their countries, as do
    65% of Muslims in Nigeria and 58% in Jordan. When asked about the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion, at least three-quarters of Muslims in Jordan (86%), Egypt (84%) and Pakistan (76%) say they
    would favor making it the law;"

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    1. Mac Hoban

      Retired psychologist

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Marvellous isn't it? The West reacts with horror to the idea that Muslims might be discriminated against in any way, yet Muslims widely hold views that are completely incompatible to western democratic values.

      By all means let's discriminate against the enemies of the Enlightenment. Democracy is not so well established that we can afford to embrace and shelter those who despise it

      The trouble is, democracy is so efficient. When you create a society that enables every member to realize their full potential the result is prosperity and general happiness. Muslims from basket-case countries full of hatred and oppression want to live in the west but unfortunately they bring their toxic religion with them.

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    2. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Wasn't sure if you posted these Pew results as an example of the multi-million dollar Islamophobia industry at work.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mac Hoban

      " Muslims from basket-case countries full of hatred and oppression want to live in the west but unfortunately they bring their toxic religion with them. "

      So no chance as far as you're concerned Mac that there may be Muslims who would just like to be able to live a peaceful life whilst following their religion and may emigrate to western countries to enable that to occur, leaving the toxicity aspects behind.
      How many Muslims do you know btw Mac?

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      Islam is it's own worst enemy.

      You may defend it as a a religion, but reality is mirrored in fact.

      Saudi Arabia is a brutal monarchy/dictatorship that tortures and murders it's own citizens.

      Have a look at street scenes in many Islamic countries -,no women.

      And so it goes on.......that is reality.

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    5. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I'm not much inclined to defend any biblical religion, but when I see people being framed and punished for crimes they didn't commit, I'm inclined to spring to their defence. Since the wars instigated as a result of the 9/11 crime, we no longer hold the moral high ground, and that's the main thing that would have allowed us to persuade Muslims to consider any disagreements we have with their ways.

      Saudi Wahhabism represents the worst of what Islam has to offer, yet the Americans are as thick as thieves with them. A sure sign that the "clash of civilizations" meme is just a cover story for an underlying reality that they're determined the masses remain unaware of.

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    6. Mac Hoban

      Retired psychologist

      In reply to Greg North

      "When asked about the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion, at least three-quarters of Muslims in Jordan (86%), Egypt (84%) and Pakistan (76%) say they would favor making it the law;"

      OK, I admit that I don't know many Muslims because those I've met have mostly been dull unimaginative people. But this is not about them, it's about Islam as a culture, and what I see is that the more Muslims live in a country, the more likely that country will be poor, brutal and nasty.

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Mac Hoban

      "Yet (Catholics as well as) Muslims widely hold views that are completely incompatible to western democratic values".
      Both enemies of the Enlightenment?
      Case in point, not so many years ago the Vatican complained that Australian Catholic Bishops were being too adversely affected by Australian democratic values.
      That was before Tony abbott's confessor was apponted Cardinal.
      A pro or anti-democratic move?
      Pardon me if I "hatefully"expand the gambit of toxic religions in defence of democracy…

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    8. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mac Hoban

      So, Marc, shall we lower ourselves to that level in order to combat it? You're pretty much suggesting that the only way to defend liberal democracy is to destroy it.

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    9. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mac Hoban

      Yup, Marc, and most Christians would endores the book of Leviticus, then?

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  4. John Campbell

    farmer

    It is of course only part of the fear and hate campaigns so popular with lazy politicians and fascist groups.

    Keep the population ignorant,uninformed and full of fear Then frequently they will believe the spin and become compliant to any madman's wishes (eg G Bush).

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  5. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    Whilst so many crimes and outrages are committed in the name of Islam, it won't find much currency with the rest of the world.

    The moderate Muslims may try to tell us that Islam is a beneficent faith, but the truth speaks differently.
    On Foreign Correspondent this week the focus was on Timbuktu. A street scene showed young students in a street class - not one female. This outrage is endemic in many Islamic countries.

    Rose-coloured glasses cannot gloss over the pernicious influence of the Islamic faith.

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    1. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Thank heavens they don't raise armies and attack other nations with the vigour and monotonous regularity that Christians do, or the world would be in a real mess.

      Rose-coloured glasses indeed.

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    2. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      Well, actually, they did, from the 7th to the 17th centuries Europe was under continual Moslem attacks, including slave raids, which only ended when Europe gained its overwhelming technological advantage over the Moslem world. The concept of "Holy War" is an Islamic development, unknown to the early Christians or the Byzantines.

      So, there's not much difference between the record of Christianity and Islam, it's just a matter of relative power.

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    3. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      they are too busy blowing each other to pieces.

      We were not discussing Christianity, but now that you bring it up - another pernicious religion with no redeeming qualities.

      Both should be dumped onto the scrap-heap of history.

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    4. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      They both have redeeming qualities, but I agree with you that they should be dumped. Unfortunately it's more likely that we'll extinguish all life on the planet than it is that we'll dump the bible religions.

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    5. Carol Daly

      Director

      In reply to Russell Walton

      And the response of the European Christians was to mount the Crusades, bloody massacres and genocides right through Islamic countries from Eastern Europe through the Middle East.
      The 'overwhelming technological advantage' of the pushback was built on the advanced mathematics and science of the Islamic world which came back to Europe with the Crusade survivors. The 7th century early crusaders were in the Dark Ages and learnt their craft fighting the Vikings!
      History is important. Particularly when you single out one religion as a warmongering one, and get the wrong one!

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    6. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Carol Daly

      Re the Ottoman Empire >>

      **At the beginning of the 17th century the empire contained 32 provinces and numerous vassal states.**

      All of them begged to be conquered I suppose.

      And don't forget the Persian, Mogul, Mamluk etc.

      For all of it's incredible culture and inventions, there was a lot of war and conquering going on in the Islamic world.

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    7. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Carol Daly

      "History is important. Particularly when you single out one religion as a warmongering one, and get the wrong one!" That's a straw man.

      Indeed it is, where did I "single out one religion, I thought I'd made it clear that both religions have appalling records.

      (1) The Crusades were a relatively minor event both militarily and in terms of the relative death toll compared to the Ottoman attacks on Eastern Europe. The Moslem invasion of India resulted in an enormous death toll, millions of Hindus…

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    8. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      "so what do you make of Bill Warner's version of History over the last 1400 years which he summarizes in this youtube video?"
      I haven't actually watched, by I salute anyone who condenses 1400 years of history in a youtube video.
      E.H Carr, eat your heart out.

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    9. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to John Phillip

      In this century and the last, and the one before that if my count is correct, Christians have slaughtered way more living souls than Muslims. We've just finished destroying the nation of Iraq, and we're about to walk away from the rubble of Afghanistan. If you're struggling to recall, George Bush started these wars because God wanted him to. Or so he said at the time.

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  6. Joseph Bernard

    Director

    Beware of Islamophobia? Beware of Multimillion dollar industry?
    So what do we make of the carnage in Swat valley when to Taliban took over the region? Sorry Pakistan and the millions of people that were affected! “you are being Islamophobic!”
    What about more recent events in Mali and the the brutality of the islamic “freedom fighters”.. what do we say to the people there? “you are being Islamophobic!”
    Watched a special on lateline on Syria and what is happening there.. Heaven forbid that…

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  7. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    Cannot help but thinking that many in this Islamophobia industry, especially in Boston, reached into their pockets to fund the catholic terrorist bombings in London.
    What is that noise that crickets make to indicate deep silence?
    All those carefully orchestrated "troubles" went a long way to keeping the centuries-long child abuse scandal buried out of sight.
    Allow some time for the long-pervasive, thought-impeding stench of hypocrisy on religiously directed terrorism to dissipate and then read this again.
    Lest we forget, indeed!

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    1. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to John Phillip

      You seem to be getting a bit shrill and hysterical there John.
      Catholic terrorists were granted entry visas to Australia where they openly touted for financial support for their bombing campaigns against innocent Londoners.
      The US was a funding source for the same catholic terrorists and the US refused to extradite convicted catholic terrorists back to the UK scenes of their crimes for justice.
      Has your "Faith" blinded you and your ilk to these catholic funded and perpretrated terrorist atrocities?
      Certainly Islamophobia helps to hide the evidence of other religiously inspired terror.
      As that infamous catholic dictator of the 20th century wrote the purpose of terror is to stop people thinking.
      Certainly Islamophobia has prevented some from remembering anything anything at all about the catholic terrorist bombing campaign against the English.
      You certainly don't want to think about it, do you John?

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    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to James Hill

      James you have made this accusation :'Cannot help but thinking that many in this Islamophobia industry, especially in Boston, reached into their pockets to fund the catholic terrorist bombings in London. "
      Can you back it up with facts ie WHO are the individuals of which you speak>

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  8. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Thanks Chloe for your revealing investigation.

    Following this one line of enquiry, the incitement of antiMuslim sentiment in US society, unearths a decidedly undemocratic tendency within US politics. The well-funded activities of Steven Emerson and Pamela Geller in particular in this case highlight the proactive and some would say propagandist nature of their political activism. The quote from Emerson cited by RightWingWatch which you include, especially demonstrates the (darkly) artful practice…

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    1. emily vicendese

      undergrad

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Actually, did you know that post 9-11 the most commonly attacked religious minority was, as always, Jews?

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    2. Chloe Patton

      Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding at University of South Australia

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Good point about the Israeli lobby, Pat. Steven Emerson presented a paper at the AIPAC annual conference just last month. Alex Kane over at Mondoweiss had this to say about it:

      "The appearance of a major fomenter of Islamophobia at AIPAC is a prominent example of how Islamophobia has become entwined with strong support for Israel--particularly the right-wing brand of Zionism, though more mainstream Zionist organizations, like AIPAC, also legitimize anti-Muslim sentiment.

      Emerson’s appearance is in line with how the Israel lobby utilizes Islamophobia to further its own goals by trying to marginalize Muslim American political organizing and by casting the Israel/Palestine conflict as a civilizational clash between Christianity and Judaism on one side and Islam on the other."

      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/approval-islamophobe-emerson.html

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    3. Chloe Patton

      Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding at University of South Australia

      In reply to emily vicendese

      You're not quite right there, Emily, at least as far as Australia is concerned. Whether you define 'most commonly attacked" as physical violence, attacks on property (e.g Synagogues and Mosques), verbal abuse in the street or ideological attacks, Muslims and Arabs experience more by a long shot in this country (check out the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission's Isma report http://www.humanrights.gov.au/isma-listen-national-consultations-eliminating-prejudice-against-arab-and-muslim-australians

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    4. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Chloe Patton

      Muslims aren't members of a "race".

      Defining the community of Moslems as constituting a race could have serious consequences for the exercise of free speech, it's obvious where the "thin edge of the wedge" might be.

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    5. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Russell Walton

      When it suits them they are, when it does not not they are killing each other.

      At least they are no different from Christians et al.

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    6. emily vicendese

      undergrad

      In reply to Chloe Patton

      Thanks for the reply Chole. I was actually referring to the U.S., not Australia, on the basis of an article I read a few years after the 9-11 attacks, as your article seems to be predominantly about the U.S. But I should have made that clear, sorry.

      My concern is that there seems to be a big effort to paint Muslims as perpetual victims of the West: a picture I feel is inaccurate and dangerous. It reinforces a siege-mentality which is a gift for Islamists and Jihadists, and does NOT help in the cause of "Muslim and non-Muslim understanding". It stifles non-Muslim or ex-Muslim criticism of Islam, which, again, is a gift for Islamists and Jihadists.

      Asides from worries about social / political consequences, accounts like yours are unbalanced in themselves. The unspoken in your article means a lot. Have you ever investigated Muslim violence or verbal abuse against non-Muslims in Australia?

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    7. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to emily vicendese

      "...Muslims as perpetual victims of the West: a picture I feel is inaccurate and ..."

      Agreed, It didn't all start with the Crusades, actually the Moslems started the conflict , and lost, unfortunately people who are remarkably ignorant of history fall for that scam.

      The other effective ploy is to define Moslems as a "race" and prejudice against Moslems is therefore "racism". Using that logic, when Moslems, in a majority Islamic nation, such as Indonesia, persecute Christians it's a racist act.

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    8. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Of course not, where did I either say or imply that?

      I was agreeing with Emily Vicendese that the image of Moslems as "perpetual victims" is nonsense.

      In the interests of clarity--In my opinion the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were war crimes--there's nothing to finish.

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  9. Leigh Burrell

    Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

    Academic calls for end to 'ritualised humiliation'

    BY:RACHEL BAXENDALE From: The Australian April 26, 2013 12:00AM

    THE University of Melbourne has declined to condemn gender segregation at public events held by Islamic organisations at its Parkville campus, despite its leading gender-politics academic describing the practice as "sexual apartheid" and a form of "ritualised humiliation".

    On April 13, a lecture entitled "Islamic rulings on Jihad in Syria & why great scholars' silence" (sic) was held in the university's Copland Theatre by Islamic education organisation Hikmah Way.

    At the entrance to the lecture, attended by The Australian, signs directed "sisters" to the back of the theatre, and "brothers" to the front. Asked whether seating was segregated, a male attendee said: "It usually is here, yeah."

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/academic-calls-for-end-to-ritualised-humiliation/story-e6frgcjx-1226629597535

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  10. John Phillip
    John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Grumpy Old Man

    Chloe, it is only when muslims stop strapping explosives to their children, beheading hostages on you tube, murdering any 'infidel' close at hand for insulting their god, posting vile messages of sdeath and destruction to the infidel, stating their claim is to turn every nation in which they reside into a cliphate etc, etc ,etc that they will find themselves clear of suspicion. You should be more concerned about the multibillion dollar industry that is promoting the global 'vision' of Whabbism. The tolerance and freedoms we take for granted in the west are not in any way compatible with Islam.

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  11. Andrew Smith

    Education Consultant at Australian & International Education Centre

    There is no coincidence that a network appears to be funding and orchestrating Islamophobia, and Emerson's links go further i.e. contributing a review of "American Jihad" to John Tanton's Social Contract Press some years ago http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1502/article_1281.shtml

    John Tanton and Social Contract Press "Network's" specialty is more anti immigration and anti population growth http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/2009/07/07/the-john-tanton-network-and-the-anti-immigrant-movement-in-america/

    Similar strategy of influencing media negatively through mobilising various organisations, but all part of same network.

    "The Top Seven Newspapers And Newswires Cited Anti-Immigrant Organizations Or Their Activists 284 Times. According to a study of news coverage by Media Matters" http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/06/18/nations-top-print-media-cited-anti-immigrant-gr/186705

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  12. Warren Mills

    Director

    The problem Islam has yet to overcome is the teachings and example of their singular self appointed prophet, Muhummad, who cannot be challanged without the threat of death.

    How can Islam be compared to the Judeo Christian evolution and the teachings of Christ, who both said and demonstrated what it meant to "love your neighbour (including enemies) as yourself"?

    Suggestions that the crusades are equal to the current activities of Islam demonstrate ignorance both of the crusades as a farcical attempt by the church to assert justice on its own terms, and the self correcting strain that runs through Christian history in response to its teachings.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Wasn't always the case Warren, the Inquisition springs to mind.

      Heretics have not had the greatest time under Christianity, and the "heathens" were used to justify many a masscare.

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    2. Warren Mills

      Director

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen,

      Your example needs some justification to show how the Inquisition reflected the teachings of Jesus, rather than the political, cultural religious ideas of ruling elite of the day contrary to His teachings.

      Actually, the spirit of the Inquisition has become the province of atheists and secularists, to their great shame.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Yes, Warren, but did you note that (a) the church didn't actually self-correct, but had to be dragged kicking and screaming to rationality by many generations of scientists and philosophers (some of whom were not treated vey nicely by the church) and that (b) those 'many generations' i mention indicate that it took a long time. In fact, given the work of organisations like Opus Dei and some of the fruit-llop fundamentalists in the US, it becomes clear that the process is never entirely finished...a certain amount of perpetual vigilance, unfortunately, seems necessary.

      Therefore, much as I share the contempt for and fear of Wahabbism expressed by many here, I think it's atad unfair to say that Christianity self-corrected but Islam doesn't/hasn't/won/t.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Warren I see the train has left the station with your last sentence. Any chance of giving the rest of us a map that might reference the journey to anything vaguely like reality?

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Warren Mills

      Christ is a prophet of Islam but obviouusly not of so-called Islamic terrorists, who like the catholic terror bombers of the IRA can equally be seen to be Anti-Christ.
      The god whom these terrorists most closely worship corresponds to the God of ROME ,Jove.
      Jove, the still worshipped god of right-wing, might is right extremism, absolutely nothing to do with peaceful Islam and Christianity.
      "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free".

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    6. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to James Hill

      @James

      How can you justify that Christ a prophet of Islam?

      any more fairy tails for us to believe?

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    7. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      Yes, the "Isa" of the Quran and the "Jesus" of the New Testament are entirely different individuals, the claim that Moslems 'respect the Christian Jesus' is mistaken or tendentious.

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    8. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      According to the Quran:

      "Muslims respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him) , and await his second coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God's messengers to mankind.... A Muslim never refers to him simply as `Jesus', but always adds the phrase "peace be upon him." The Qur'aan confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Qur'aan is entitled `Mary') in her time, and Mary is considered the purest woman in all creation. The Qur'aan describes the creation of Jesus as follows (interpretation…

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    9. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      @Dianna

      The claim is that Jesus is a prophet of Islam which is just not the case. And, so what if Jesus in mentioned in the quran! that does not mean that Islam supports the teachings of Jesus..

      So what can we make of the following verses. peace be upon all people of planet earth.

      The Qur'an:
      Qur'an (5:51) - "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one…

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    10. Isabel Jackson

      PhD Researcher at The University of Melbourne

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      So, Joseph, are you suggesting that there were two Jesus, both of whom were born immaculately by a mother called Mary ("Maryam" in Arabic) and who had very similar biographies?

      Your selection of verses from the noble Quran are accurate and I am guessing you have them readily at hand. I wonder however how familiar you are with the tafsir and with the accompanying verses. For example, the verses and hadith that advise that it is better to spare life, and to treat prisoners of war with kindness…

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    11. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      Joseph, save your confected incredulity for that company which shares it.
      A muslim neighbour from Afghanistan confirmed his belief in Jesus to me in conversation.
      Other commenters have delivered direct quotes.
      A Christian Slave taught Mohammed all he knew of the Bible, as a Christian would do.
      Your confected incredulity would argue that no Christian teaching about the Bible could so accurately portray his "saviour" as to have the reader accept Christ as a prophet?
      Of course there is a "sect" which claims to be Christian yet does not do much Bible reading at all.
      Too busy worshipping Jove, perhaps?
      Not much point casting any pearls before such swine.

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    12. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Isabel Jackson

      "So, Joseph, are you suggesting that there were two Jesus, both of whom were born immaculately by a mother called Mary ("Maryam" in Arabic) and who had very similar biographies?" More straw.

      Speaking of straight faces, I couldn't keep one when I read that.

      Perhaps the Christian Jesus and the Moslem "Jesus" are literary creations, probably by a number of authors, and at different periods, designed to serve the ideology they were promoting.
      We can extract any meaning we choose from any sacred text,
      the fact remains that, Islam was, unlike Christianity, propagated violently from the time of its invention.

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    13. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Such an explanation might be proven, by your previous, disengenuous incredulity, to be like casting pearls before swine, John.
      Mohammed, an orphan from a wealthy mechant familly in Mecca, was taught by a Christian slave about the Bible, and who would be so devoid of faith as to doubt that Mohammed, so taught, would not accept Christ as a prophet.
      Mohammed, accepting that Christ, and the Biblical prophets before him, were a messengers of "God", nevertheless claimed that he, Mohammed was the last…

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    14. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Russell Walton

      There are many myths that are inter-mingled throughout diverse religions.

      The virgin birth myth is present in many.

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    15. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Yes, fragments of earlier religions that are deemed useful are carried forward, or reinterpreted and the result is usually a complete farrago.

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  13. Peter Dawson

    Gap Decade

    It's amazing that the West can launch a war on 2 Muslim nations in the last dozen years - one of these wars with the permission of the UN, one without - wars which have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and still commentors on this forum can pretent that it never happened or it somehow isn't relevant. It's a sure sign that the Islamophobia industry currently has the upper hand.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      I think the West was just running out of candidates and picked two countries at random who happened to be Muslim.

      And gee the Taliban certainly do everything they can to be qualified for Islamophobia.

      And Sharia law is another example of an Islamic practice that invites condemnation and conrtoversy.

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    2. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      The Taliban is a product of Russian and US interference in Afghanistan. It is more a product of the cold war than it is a product of Islam. And to add insult to injury, we in the West point at Afghanistan and wonder out loud about how they can be so backwards.

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    3. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to John Phillip

      No bullshit, John. Read the brief interview with Jimmy Carter's national security advisor I linked to. He <i>brags</i> about tricking Russia into a quagmire in Afghanistan - giving them their own Vietnam - by the CIA covertly funding the Mujahideen. You don't get to remain guiltless when you cause a people to go to war which results in decades of armed conflict and fractured social structures.

      Islam was simply the thing that was left for them to cling to when the bullets started flying.

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    4. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      Still waiting for your justification of the claim that the taliban is a product of the west and the ussr. I understand the accretion of elements into the Taliban as a response to the soviet invasion but this was done in the name of allah. It has always been a product of islam.

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  14. Dianna Arthur

    Environmentalist

    After reading the comments on what I consider to be an important article; joining the dots between extreme right dogma and support of anti-liberals (small 'l' liberals), all I have noted has been a degeneration into whose religion is the worst.

    Judaism, Christianity and Islam all share the same origins and, as a result share similar ideologies pertaining to women, homosexuals and other people considered 'heathen' or 'infidels'. Not at all helpful.

    Chloe Patton has drawn attention to a war-mongering…

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  15. Bob Down

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    If the Suadi's wanted to inflict pain on the US, all it would have to do would be to call in its debts, all at once, immediately and fatally destroying the United States economy and banking system. That is why careful examination of the evidence rules out any Suadi connections, they would be cutting of their nose to spite their face, twofold, they would kill the economy of their largest trading partner therefore killing their own major source of revenue, and secondly what country would willingly…

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  16. Isabel Jackson

    PhD Researcher at The University of Melbourne

    Chloe,

    Thanks for the article. I have thought similarly on watching or hearing these types of comments and wondered how one could comment without asking "how can they keep a straight face when saying that?"

    As Dianna's comment alludes to, many of the comments serve, ironically, to illustrate the point you are making about the rigidity of attitudes. I find it perplexing that absolutist attitudes are so strong, particularly as they seem to display absolutist attitudes in the service of condemning what is presented as rigid, exclusionary ideologies. An example if ever one was needed to illustrate the concept of 'the undifferentiated other' that is the product of the activities you describe.

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    1. Russell Walton

      Retired

      In reply to Isabel Jackson

      "Thanks for the article. I have thought similarly on watching or hearing these types of comments and wondered how one could comment without asking "how can they keep a straight face when saying that?"

      You probably didn't mean that to be as pompous as it appears--so which comments?

      Some commenters here might actually have some knowledge or insights that could be useful.

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  17. Baz M

    Law graduate & politics/markets analyst

    It's refreshing reading such articles,

    Writers such as yourself Chloe, deserve all the credit that strong willed, fearless academics and intellectuals should receive.

    Two reasons for this. Firstly, the factual based articles that doesn't throw around racist comments without any basis such as the people criticised in this article do. Secondly, your fearless pursuit of the supposed values we uphold in a true democratic state. Your writing in the face of populism, and easy targets, ie Islam…

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    1. Shaun King

      Designer

      In reply to Baz M

      Dunno how the whole racism slant got attached to this article. We're all racists. If you call yourself a white guy, then you're racist. Call yourself a catholic, you're racist. Call yourself an Australian, you're racist. We're all people ... humans ... and to think otherwise is to create division, and isn't that what racism/secularism etc is all about.

      I can see it now ... the "dark cabal" .... saying, yes, let's divide them up into nations, into religions, into political ideologies, and then they'll fight amongst themselves. They'll miss the fact that they're actually all the same. Create nationalism and pit them one against the other. Good lord folks, wake up to the fact you're brainwashed from birth. There's no such thing as an "australian".

      Those in power have no need to assert control over your lives, you put yourselves into the little boxes that have been prepared for you. Willingly and proudly. We're a pathetic bunch of sheep.

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    2. Che Gorilla

      Human Rights Activist

      In reply to Baz M

      If one needs any more proof that antisemitism and mindless racist bigotry has now deeply penetrated the "progressive" class then you seriously do not have to go past this comment.

      Here's a reality check. This is supposed to be a serious exchange of opinion at an Australian site with academic pretensions. The article is problematic enough. There's just been another vile crime committed against innocents in the cause of an ugly ideology that if it does not defile Muslims certainly defiles humankind and what is the subject? A multi-billion dollar Zionist conspiracy against the Muslims.

      Then read this comment and ask the question. What the hell do the Jews have to do with this? Do you seriously believe this .

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  18. Babette Francis

    Coordinator of Endeavour Forum

    One of the curious fascinations of contemporary politics is the protective attitude of contemporary leftists - and The Conversation is overwhelmingly leftist - to Islam. The Conversation item on the Boston bombings is typical: instead of mocking the theories about who was responsible, why doesn't The Conversation provide us with analysis of the teachings of Islam, the Koran and Sharia law - the scriptures which inspired and will continue to inspire violence?
    The Koran, in innumerable pssages, enjoins…

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    1. Shaun King

      Designer

      In reply to Babette Francis

      Babette, i was amazed how this article turned into another western mainstream media load of propaganda rubbish.

      I thought the author was onto something when Glenn Beck was first mentioned, re the "dark skinned guy" that the FBI had taken into custody int he first place.

      Glen Beck has facts. This article has nothing. He has copies of original documents showing that particular guy was let into the US in November 2011 (or 2012, have to look it up), even though he was on a no-fly list and already…

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    1. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Che Gorilla

      Che Gorilla, you should heed the words of the Noble Quran:

      And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are spread out, He expends as He pleases; and what has been revealed to you from your Lord will certainly make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; and We have put enmity and hatred among them till the day of resurrection; whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out, and they strive to make mischief in the land; and Allah does not love the mischief-makers.

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