Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival

Looking at the RNC through Muslim eyes

posted by Shahed Amanullah
If you listened closely during the various speeches at the RNC convention, you’ll notice that the times when the crowd was most animated was when Republican rage was focused on what Sen. John McCain calls the “trancendent challenge of our time: the threat of radical Islamic terorrism”.  Various speakers through the convention returned to this theme, which consistently galvanized the crowd.  ”John McCain hit the nail on the head,” thundered former Gov. Mitt Romney. “Radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it.”   Rejecting calls to avoid using the term “Islamic terrorism” for fear of fomenting hostility towards Muslims, former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani was defiant.  ”Please tell me who they are insulting when they say Islamic terrorism,” he said. “They are insulting terrorists.”
(Note to Mr. Giuliani:  Terrorists who are Muslim love being called “Islamic”.  It gives them legitimacy.  ”Terrorist” they don’t like so much, because they think they are freedom fighters.  You’d think this would be obvious.)
I don’t have a problem with fighting radicals who manipulate Islam for violent ends.  What I do have a problem with is that these Republican leaders, and the crowd they lather up, have such a vague defintion of “radical Islam” that it demonizes millions of law-abiding Muslim Americans in the eyes of their fellow citizens, few of whom could tell the difference between a radical Muslim and a peaceful one.  
I have a Muslim friend who has been a Republican for 30 years (surprisingly enough, there are an embattled few Muslim Republicans) who emailed the McCain campaign to get some clarification on exactly what they define as “radical Islam”.  To sum up the long answer that came back: there are up to 100 million radical Islamists in the world who are determined to kill us, and the US needs to resolutely defeat them.  No word on how to tell the radicals from the moderates, or if there is any solution other than a military one.  Just a recipe for open-ended war against an undefined enemy.
You might think, “Well, this is all for the cameras, and they’re just venting.”  But the crowd at the RNC (unfortunately) holds a significant amount of political power in this country.  Reinforcing the theme of Islam being the enemy will seep in at the convention and emerge later in the form of discriminatory surveillance, lopsided laws that treat Muslims as guilty until proven innocent, and and increased desire to bomb the hell out of any Muslim country that doesn’t toe the US line.
To tell you the truth, I don’t feel personally threatened.  In my experience, this country has far more reasonable people in it than the crowd chanting “USA! USA!” with anger in their eyes during Romney’s speech.  In the wake of 9/11, far more Americans offered comfort to the Muslims I know than offered insults.  (No prize for guessing the political orientation of those two groups of people.)  But I am upset that politicians feel they need to resort to declarations of war to get themselves elected, and saddened that they are oblivious to the very real damage the cause to decent American citizens who work hard, pay their taxes, and don’t deserve to be lumped into the same category as those who perpetrated 9/11.

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posted September 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Nice piece, Shahed.
And I have to say, with the P word being such a lightning rod in the mainstream Muslim space–especially in North America, it’s wonderful to see someone as visible as you being comfortable taking a position as part a/the “Progressive Revival”!

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posted September 5, 2008 at 3:34 pm

oh I’m glad I found this! cause’ I started to think about musilm americans when I was watching that…what ever that was…boy that whole convention was stupid!!! I tryed to be fair and watch even though I’m a dem…but every one there seemed more ignorant than any of the said “terrorits”! I could go on at how pathetic the whole thing was but,instead I’ll go watch the DNC again!!! oh by the way,every one should see what cindy mccain looks like with out make-up.

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posted September 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Have you seen such a large political rally with so many white people?
BTW I am one of them. White not Republican, well at least not for a really, really long time.

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posted September 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm

How about Muslims taking a look at jihad through Western eyes? When they do, I’ll be more favorably disposed to them.

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posted September 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm

How about Muslims taking a look at jihad through Western eyes? When they do, I’ll be more favorably disposed to them
You prove my point above perfectly: “few of whom could tell the difference between a radical Muslim and a peaceful one…”
If you have some information that suggests that millions of Muslims in this country do not abhor terrorism like other Americans, I suggest you take your evidence to the proper authorities. If you don’t, then I suggest you re-examine your perspective.

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Big Shaker

posted September 5, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I’d like you to give one concrete example of how ALL Muslims are being demonized by the Republican party. You can’t, because politicians of all stripes and the media have bent over backwards for years now to reassure everyone that the terrorists are a “tiny minority,” that the vast majority of Muslims are good, law-abiding citizens, etc. How many times have you heard Bush reassure everyone that Islam is “a great religion of peace”? This so-called “demonizing” of Muslims by politicians and the media is a complete fantasy.
No one is demonizing ALL Muslims if we use the phrase “Islamic terrorists” (or extremists, or radicals, or whatever you prefer). Are you suggesting we don’t use the word Islamic? Well, the government’s way ahead of you on that. The Bush administration has tried every possible PC way to describe them, but the fact remains that the terrorists who have declared war on us, and who are waging worldwide jihad, are ISLAMIC. They may be fundamentalists, or extremists, or however you want to refer to them, but they are nonetheless Islamic, and unless we’re just going to call them “bad guys” we must somehow incorporate that description.
On the contrary, you and the previous commenters (one of whom – kris – needs to spend more time in school and less time online) are merely demonizing Republicans by painting them all as heartless, bloodthirsty Muslim-haters – but again, you cannot provide a single concrete example. I suggest you turn your contempt toward the heartless, bloodthirsty Islamic extremists who openly declare their intention to kill us – and whose most numerous victims, by the way, are OTHER MUSLIMS.

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Reader John

posted September 5, 2008 at 9:45 pm

“oh by the way,every one should see what cindy mccain looks like with out make-up.”
yeah!!! she looks like a democrat woman!!! uuugly!!! and that really, really relevant!!! cuz ripulbicans are dumb!!!

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posted September 5, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Things I don’t want in the US:
- Sharia. Not even a little bit, for a few people. Zero tolerance.
- No religious indoctrination in schools. Either ban all religiously sponsored secondary schools outright, or require that each one hire a team of independent observers to monitor everything. Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Jewish, whatever.
- No separatism. No Balkans or Kosovo in America. No splitting a piece of America off for Muslims, like India did with Pakistan. No patience for a separate society that will ultimately lead to violent Islamic separatist movements in India and Kashmir, Russia, Phillipines, China, Thailand.
Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., that agree with this, can stay. Everyone else, get out.

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posted September 6, 2008 at 7:25 am

My comments to “Shaker”
I’d like you to give one concrete example of how ALL Muslims are being demonized by the Republican party.
Your statement falls into the category of “Argumentum ad ignorantiam”, which basically means “argument from ignorance”. This fallacy occurs whenever it is argued that something must be true simply because it has not been proved false. Or, equivalently, when it is argued that something must be false because it has not been proved true. (Note that this is not the same as assuming that something is false until it has been proved true, a basic scientific principle.)
Secondly, your ridiculous assertion would indicate, that if ONE out of the 1.6 BILLION (yes BILLION) Muslims were NOT insulted by the vampires in the Republican party, then those war mongers are not guilty of their fear tactics!
Here’s an interesting comment from a GENERAL serving the Vampire administration. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Arab- and Muslim-Americans are increasingly frustrated by the Pentagon’s failure to discipline a top U.S. general who said Muslims do not worship “a real God,” and say it raises questions about whether the so-called war on terrorism is not a war on Islam.
“You can’t, because politicians of all stripes and the media have bent over backwards for years now to reassure everyone that the terrorists are a “tiny minority,” that the vast majority of Muslims are good, law-abiding citizens, etc.”
And according to you and the Vampire Regime you follow, they are the MAJORITY? Are you that dense? Oh, forgot, you are a republican! Yeah, I can see you idiots are fighting 1.6 BILLION Muslims (or as you may prefer these synonymous terms: MUSLIM Terrorist, MUSLIM Extremist, ISLAMIC Terrorist, ISLAMIC Extremist…)
“How many times have you heard Bush reassure everyone that Islam is “a great religion of peace”? This so-called “demonizing” of Muslims by politicians and the media is a complete fantasy.”
Oh, ONCE? How many times have the moron killed the same Muslims he says are peaceful? What the hell is he doing in Iraq, especially to WOMEN and CHILDREN who had NOTHING to do with the terrorist acts on 9/11? You tell me!
Wasting my time to reach the impenetrable region of your worthless brain…

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posted September 6, 2008 at 8:44 am

I sure wish that the daily violence in the name of Islam bothered Muslims at least half as much as 9/11 survivors using the phrase “radical Islam” to describe the religious fanatics who slaughtered thousands of innocents while screaming praises to Allah at the top of their lungs!
Muslims have yet to learn that respect is not something that can be demanded from others – at least not in the non-Muslim world, anyway. The mere fact that your primary concern is to protect Islam from offense by hiding behind the cloth of religion, speaks to a deep narcissism and lack of genuine empathy for the suffering of others.
If you want respect then earn it. Stop providing lip service and start providing action. Islamic terrorism would have a pretty short lifespan if Muslims actually acted against it, for example. Take a material stand against the abuse of religious minorities in Muslim countries and the double-standards that prevent them from sharing their faith or seeking justice for rape and murder. Organize a boycott against the Saudis, demanding that they stop discriminating against Jews, Christians, homosexuals and women…
In other words, stop whining about petty slights against your religion and prove to the rest of us that it is capable of making the world a better place. Because, right now, we certainly don’t see it.

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Gary Cunningham

posted September 6, 2008 at 9:53 am

What bothers me most about the implied and overt Muslim bashing we have seen was demonstrated by an exchange between Chris Mathews and a protester at the Democratic National Convention. The protester claimed that Barak Obama is a Muslim-Mathews said that is untrue. Although I agree with Mathews, there is no credible evidence that Obama is or was Muslim, whether Obama is Muslim or not is not the issue. The more serious issue is the implication that being a Muslim would make Obama or any other candidate unfit to be president. The mainstream press has been embarassingly silent of this issue.

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posted September 6, 2008 at 10:42 am

If Muslim’s are so en-raged about the “title “given, it ALWAYS brings question to my mind…why hasnt any members of the Muslim community came out against to horrible acts of violance !? I am , however very much FOR the Palastine people,and belive they have the right to live in peace in Isreal, but why ? why hasnt any public comments( came out againts the viloance that these groups of people do? why hasnt ANY Muslim had gone on ANY talk shows to get there message out against violance? The Muslims SHOULD be able to have there own schools ,just the the Cathloic’s.without oversight, but please ,someone come out and speak to the USA about thier view on Iraq, on Radical Muslims,Islamic fanatics, WEATHER Obama is Muslim or not is of no concern to me, or any other american person, in my humble opinon.Its make NO DIFFERENCE ON HIS ABILTIY TO GOVERN.
p.s. I support McCain,and I am a republican,with tradional values.

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Big Shaker

posted September 6, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Gary Cunningham – Obama’s not Muslim, but if you think that at this point in time, when the West and specifically America is threatened by and at war with Islamic fundamentalism, that we should give a fair shake to a Muslim as a Presidential candidate, then you are deeply infected with PC multicultural blinders. Maybe instead of voting for the best and most reasonable and representative candidate, we should just give everybody a shot at being President just to make absolutely sure we’re fair to every religious and cultural minority on the planet. One term we’ll install a Muslim, next time around a Buddhist, next time an atheist, then a Sikh, then a Satanist, and on and on until everybody’s had a shot at President – except of course Christians, because we all know they’re bigoted and hateful. Would that satisfy your multicultural demands? Because we wouldn’t want anyone to think we’re bigoted or racist or Islamophobic or Sikhophobic or anything.
And I challenge you to name a single instance of “implied or overt Muslim bashing” by any media outlet or politician in this country – just like the author of this piece, you can’t, because it doesn’t exist. Playing the Muslim victimization card is getting very, very old.

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Yoshiyyahu Hoffman

posted September 6, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Dah!!!!! Muslims call it the “Islamic Jihad” or are you so out of touch with your brothers you never heard that term? The only term the west or others attach is “terrorist” and that being simply because by all definition of terms is exactly what they all are! And being one who speaks and understands Arabic, I personally have heard with my own ears, in France, in Germany, in England, in Lebanon, even in Peru, In Jordan, in Syria, and Sri Lanka……The same cry and the same teaching “The west (typically the United States) has to be destroyed, because our very existence is a threat to Islam and as the sayings always continue….We must destroy the infidel nation…this is a holy war!” Now if this is the message being taught to all of the practicing Muslims all over the world and it is, then we should just ignore it and invite Shahed to coffee and cake because he is going to teach us that this is not really what they mean! Yea! Okay! Got it! Good joke! The voice of thousands of dead victims should ring in your ear every minute of the day giving you no rest for being probagator of lies!
Obama has had ties with radical and terrorist organizations for years. And let me make something clear, an organization is “terrorist not by having completed the act of terrorism but by the teaching of ideals and the scope of their thought! Therefore Obama is an terrorist associate!!!!!!! You want this for president?????? Maybe Obama can make Shahed Vice president and that way it can be made more clear to everyone. As far as Obama being a pagan or whatever it makes no difference to me, because politicians use religion like most people change socks anyway.
Another note of interest would be concerning the “poor muslim crying game” look into the educational system in New York City folks our precious tax dollars both federal and state and local are going to pay for several totally funded schools that are “Islamic” 100% and if you are not a convert to Islam or Islamic you will not be accepted into these schools! What group or what religion, or what race has received this kind of favoritism? I don’t even want to get into how much favoritism is being given them in the matter of immigrations as well.
Wake up! We are at war! Just because the shot has not been fired on your door step doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! Be careful don’t wake up one morning like the Czar and find a revolution in place because you refused to listen or look at the facts of the matter.

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posted September 6, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Here’s the REALLY scary stuff:
Sharia based anti-blasphemy laws being promoted and implemented at the UN:

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posted September 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm

big shaker look at the background how many non-christian were elected presidents before none only once a catholic was elected by the name of john f. kennedy dont worry for another 50 years he mite be the only catholic to go to white house if by any dumb luck joe biden becomes v.p. which i dont think he will be protestants vote for protestants but catholics vote against catholics.

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posted September 6, 2008 at 10:41 pm

hey big shaker,I was not demonising republicans,I was talking about the ones AT the RNC! my mom is a republican…and I’m a independant who is democratic this year! I know all republicans are not bad,sheesh…and how did you know I was at school…? I’m in 12 grade!

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posted September 6, 2008 at 10:59 pm

um…this is off topic but what about ralph nader? why is no one speaking of him?

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Heretic for Christ

posted September 7, 2008 at 4:21 pm

I honestly don’t know what to say about this column. I am not an atheist but I reject all religions as impediments to spiritual consciousness. So I hold no special brief for any religion.
The other disclosure is that I am a political independent who has voted for Democrats or Republicans according to which candidate provoked the lesser amount of disgust and disappointment in each election.
So this column is about Islam in America and the Republican National Convention. Islam first:
I accept without question that terrorists represent a tiny portion of Islam world-wide, and that rational Muslims renounce terrorism. Fine, but facile — that is too easy. What about those who do not commit violence but preach hatred in the mosques and schools? Where is the voice of rational Islam in condemning the hate-mongers? Have they stood up in the mosques and in the public square and condemned the hate-mongers for disgracing their faith? If the answer is that there is physical risk in taking such a public stand not only against terrorist acts but against the fanaticism that breeds terrorism, then that is an acknowledgment that Islam has, as frequently charged, been taken over by the fanatics. And I would also ask this to the rational Muslim who is intimidated by the fanatics among you: If faith is a precious thing to you, are you unwilling to risk your life to defend it? Soldiers risk their lives to defend their nation when it is under attack. If you are less willing to risk your lives to defend your faith from those who corrupting it from within, then I really don’t want to hear about how precious it is to you.
I am sorry if this is not politically correct. I just see this not as a fight of east vs west, or Islam vs Christianity/Judaism/Hinduism, but as a fight between rational people and fanatics within the same faith. I still do believe that the vast majority of Muslims do not support terrorism; but silence gives assent, and silence in the face of fanatical preaching gives assent to the terrorism that inevitably follows. More than anything, I want rational Muslims to stand up en masse and shout down the fanatics within their faith; fanaticism cannot be bombed out of existence, but it can be marginalized by the rational people within that faith.
Now onto the RNC:
The most frightening display of American fascism in my memory — undisguised hate-mongering, jeering demagogy, and triumphant no-nothingism, made all the more loathsome by of the attempt to turn it into a Christian event (those people talk incessantly about “when Jesus returns,” but they would be lined up with hammers and nails in hand to crucify him all over again if he ever did return–they think the central message of Jesus was a stadium chant, “We’re Number One, We’re Number One!”).
Now, all that stuff I said, above, about rational Muslims — same goes for rational Christians and rational Republicans and rational conservatives. Your faith, your party, and your philosophy are all being disgraced by the fanatics who have been in power for these past disastrous 8 years, and who have decided that we need 4 more years of the same under McCain and Palin. Why aren’t you standing up in the meeting halls and in the public squares shouting down these fanatics who have already turned America into a worldwide laughing-stock?
Rational Muslims, rational Christians, rational Republicans, and rational conservatives have all been guilty of giving assent-through-silence to fanaticism. Fanaticism is a cancer, but it cannot be destroyed by bullets and bombs; it can only be marginalized, and the only people who can do that are the rational people within each group.

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posted September 9, 2008 at 5:22 am

Here’s another useful exercise in empathy: have a clandestine look inside a few major, supposedly mainstream mosques in Britain, which are (of course) “committed to interfaith dialogue.”
Search: Youtube, “Dispatches, Undercover Mosque” in 6 parts;
and, the follow up report which aired just last week: “Undercover Mosque: the Return”
(Since my prior comment on this subject was apparently consumed by the BNET filters, I’ve decided not to risk an actual link.)

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native american muslimah

posted September 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Heretic for Christ: In response to your questions about moderate muslims vocalizing their denunciation of terrorism — first, have you ever listened to a sermon in a mosque? I invite you to go one day. Especially this month. Especially on the eleventh. See what they say. The sad truth is that many, many, many, of us “moderate”, totally American Muslims, denounce terror as being the disgusting, criminal, cowardly un-Islamic, even anti-Islamic behavior that it is — but it is not media worthy. No one cares. The Media, and therefore the public, do not find it in their interest to listen to the complex and complicated, varied, and inteligent opinions of American Muslims, or moderate Muslims around the world. That would make it too hard to fit us in their box. There have been statements, religious edicts, conventions both international and intra-national that came out against terror by prominent Muslim leadership. You will rarely find these events rating any American media coverage. If you want to hear what we have to say, unfortunately, you’ll just have to come ask us. Check out the Council for American Islamic Relations (civil rights group) “Not in the Name of Islam” campaign.
Everything else you’ve said in your post I heartily agree with. Thanks

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posted September 9, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Here’s a good basic primer on CAIR, documenting their extremist ties, acts of deception and islamist objectives, with references to supporting text:
“CAIR: Islamists fooling the Establishment” by Daniel Pipes
As the foregoing article explains, CAIR is essentially a political/propaganda arm of the Muslim Brotherhood [Ikhwan]. According to a high-level internal strategy document, their primary purpose – and by extension the primary purpose of their local front groups including CAIR – is as follows:
“The process of settlement [of Islam in the United States] is a “Civilization-Jihadist” process with all the word means. The Ikhwan [muslim Brotherhood] must understand that all their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” their miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who choose to slack.”
The only potential point of tension among such groups, whether they are prepared to admit it to their more gullible members or not, is to what extent they should use infiltration, subversion and deception to achieve their objectives, as opposed to outright jihad warfare. The goal, however, remains the same.

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