Even though Navy Seals have exterminated Osama Bin Laden (whose brother Saleem was once a business partner with George W Bush), and 10 years have passed since the great media exploitation of events surround the 11th day of September, 2001 - the war is still raging, maybe more now than ever before.
Remember the articles claiming Muslims in Jerusalem (Palestine) were all rejoicing, celebrating in the streets and enjoying sweets given out free by street vendors? Remember? Oooops - the pictures showed it was in broad daylight. But, the time there was after dark. Oh yeah, and since when do street vendors set up to give away free stuff?
Turns out the photos were stock photos of the eid celebration from the year before - and it was discovered by someone in Brazil, of all places. What kind of journalism class taught people to do this type of reporting?
Ten years - and still playing the same videos over and over, still showing the murder and mayhem and dragging out anything and everyone even remotely related to "Islamics". May are asking, "What is really going on here?" and "Why are we all being subjected to this rhetoric, over and over - all about 'Islamic Extremists'" - "OK, if they were not real Muslims, and everyone knows that - then why are we still dragging Muslims and 'Islam' into the headlines?"
How many Muslims knew the state of California was forbidding translations of Quran in public libraries, based on "promoting terrorism?"
Though the 9/11 attacks by Islamic extremists are almost 10 years past and al-Qaida boss Osama bin Laden is dead, the American debate over Islam is still raging, as evidenced by numerous conflicts over public events around the country.
The battles — a kind of holy war for American hearts and minds — feature a changing cast of players, but they typically array some of the dozens of groups dedicated to exposing the threat of radical Islam in the U.S. against dozens of others established to protect the rights of Muslim Americans and defend their religion as peaceful.
Charles Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says the clashes over Islam point to two powerful prevailing currents.
“One trend is heightened alarm and suspicion on the part of people concerned about domestic security,” he said. “The other trend is increased assertiveness and political activism on the part of Muslim Americans.”
At a national level, the conflict played out in controversial congressional hearings in April, which featured testimony from witnesses warning of a threat posed by Islamic radicals within the United States. Meanwhile Muslim leaders and civil rights groups — who were largely excluded from the proceedings — held press briefings comparing the hearings to red-baiting of the McCarthy era.
War of words, waged on small battlefields
But more often they unfold on smaller battlefields. Recent examples include:
In Detroit, the city transit system is locked in a legal struggle with groups who sought to use advertising space on the sides of buses for controversial messages on “honor killings” of Muslim women. After the city rejected the ads as too political, the groups behind the ads — Stop Islamization of America and the American Freedom Defense Initiative — sued the city, and won. Detroit is appealing.· In Temecula, Calif., a group called Citizens Concerned about the First Amendment this month held a protest outside the local high school, where they handed out fliers that labeled the teaching of Islam in the school’s social studies program as “brainwashing.” The fliers offered links to national anti-Islam groups.· In Texas, the board of education passed a resolution last September to reject the purchase of textbooks that include “pro-Islamic, anti-Christian half-truths and selective disinformation.” The debate is expected to resurface with the review of new textbooks this year.
· At least 20 states are considering “anti-Shariah” measures, which in various ways prohibit the courts from considering Islamic law in their decisions. Muslim advocates say the measures are legal gibberish that promote fear and hatred, while drafters portray them as a bulwark against creeping Islamization.
- Ibrahim said he had come by his knowledge through a precise reading of the Quran and other Arabic source.
No one is immune from the theological tug-of-war, as administrators learned last week at a small Washington community college sandwiched between the Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains that decided to run a special lecture series called “Islam in America.”Since it launched the series in January, Everett Community College has been battered by forces far beyond its normally quiet campus.“I knew it would be controversial, but I thought it was going to be more internal,” said Craig Lewis, dean of communications and humanities at the school. “I had no idea we were going to get national attention.”‘The truth… is ugly’
The talk that inspired the most recent protest at Everett Community College was a May 5 appearance by Raymond Ibrahim, who works for the Middle East Forum, a conservative think tank in Philadelphia. Ibrahim, an Egyptian American of Coptic Christian upbringing, holds that there can be no such thing as a “moderate” Islam. If Muslims adhere to the Quran, he said, they are compelled to engage in jihad or “struggle” — by persuasion, deceit or violence, if necessary — so Islam can triumph.“To a Muslim, jihad means a certain kind of struggle — spreading and empowering Islam against non-Muslims,” Ibrahim told students and local residents who crowded the lecture hall. “Peace with non-Muslims is a provisional state only.”Ibrahim invoked a notion from Islamic theology called “taqiyya,” which allows Muslims to lie in certain circumstances. Ibrahim argued that taqiyya is broadly used by apparently moderate Muslims whose real aim is to convert and control others.When a member of the audience asked Ibrahim why most Islamic scholars in the United States condemned al-Qaida, he pointed to taqiyya. “It’s strategic. … It is a deception that is allowed by Islam.”
“I know the truth sometimes is ugly,” Ibrahim told reporters. “But I believe that getting the truth out is for everyone’s benefit. … I think we’ve had too much of people not talking about it because they don’t want to offend.”
Bigotry not scholarship
Ibrahim’s detractors say he is merely peddling bigotry based on dubious scholarship.
“Raymond Ibrahim is associated with a group that has a long history of one issue — bashing Muslims and Islam,” according to Arsalan Bukhari, head of the Seattle chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), referring to the Middle East Forum.
The Middle East Forum, where Ibrahim is associate director, was founded by historian Daniel Pipes, a controversial figure known for his hawkish, pro-Israel stance. On the group's website, he says the organization is committed to combating Islamist actions and influence, “whether violent or lawful.”
The Council on American Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil rights group in the United States, led the effort to halt Ibrahim’s speech. Leaders of 60 Muslim and other religious organizations and civil rights groups signed a letter to the college urging that Ibrahim’s talk be canceled.“Would a KKK member be given a platform by the college to talk about his/her view on African Americans in America?” said a letter from the coalition to college President David Beyer. “Would a member of the neo-Nazi movement be given a platform to share theories on Jews in America?"