For Islamophobes there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim
by Sheila Musaji
As Editor of The American Muslim I have written articles defending free speech, academic freedom, encouraging interfaith - intrafaith - and civilizational dialogue, responding to Islamophobia, speaking out against terrorism and extremism, encouraging Ijtihad, exposing extremist Qur’an translations. I have encouraged my fellow American Muslims to sign on in support of the Amman Statement, in support of Sunni Shia unity, in support of the Common Word effort, to support Tariq Ramadan’s call for a moratorium on corporal (hudud) punishment, and to get involved to solve the Darfur crisis. I have signed on to numerous statements including those against terrorism, against punishment for apostasy and affirming freedom of faith, in defense of freedom of speech, against torture, against land mines, against nuclear weapons, an appeal to release Christian peacemakers taken hostage in Iraq, etc. You can read my full Biography here And, the hundreds of articles I have written are easily accessible on The American Muslim site.
I completed the training for the Department of Justice, Community Relations Service ARAB, MUSLIM AND SIKH CULTURAL AWARENESS TRAINING, and participated in two training programs.
For the past several years I have collected and publicized information about Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism - fatwas, individual and organizational statements, quotations, etc. This resource is on the front page of the American Muslim site with a logo we developed that says “Muslims Denounce Terrorism”, and we made the logo available as a bumper sticker for Muslims to put on their cars to make this message visible. This resource has been noted locally, nationally and internationally, and many Muslim and non-Muslim sites have also put this logo and information on their sites, for example , , . This effort received a positive mention in the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) Report on Countering Internet Radicalization (Report by The George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, and The University of Virginia, Critical Incident Analysis Group). According to a press release from HSPI:
“The report suggests the U.S. needs to catch up in this electronic war of words and add non extremist voices from the grassroots. Recommendations emphasize the importance not only of the message but the messenger in delivering the counter narrative. Engagement of the Muslim community in this will be essential according to the findings. “Unless elements of the counter-narrative emanate from within the Muslim community and are conveyed by voices that are trusted and credible within those communities, the opportunity to achieve impact will be limited at best.”
Page 11 of the report states:
“To generate a sense of context, a sampling (albeit unscientific) of noteworthy and creative initiatives—many of which are not very well known—are highlighted below. Admittedly, some of these measures may be limited in their ability to counteract the impact of the extremist narrative, which is being accepted and adopted by an important minority around the world. It is also important to recognize that certain countries and institutions may be sending mixed messages by simultaneously engaging or acquiescing in other activities that would seem to undercut the efforts referenced.”
The report then lists a series of organizations and efforts in a number of countries around the world that represent positive attempts to counteract the extremist narrative. In the United States the report lists 7 such efforts and The American Muslim is one of them.
And yet, according to some of those who have made it their life’s work to “educate” Americans about the “reality” of Islam and Muslims, I am not only not a “moderate” Muslim, I am judged to be an Islamist (Daniel Pipes and Pipeline News); misinforming Infidels as to the true nature of Islam (Hugh Fitzgerald - Dhimmi Watch); an Islamofascist (Northeast Intelligence Network); a contemporary Islamic apologist (Religion of Peace?); a “tool of jihad” (Pamela Geller); a defender of the Muslim Brotherhood (Weasel Zippers); a quiet jihadist, Fifth Columnist and terrorist apologist and a mental spastic for submitting to Islam (Sheikh Yer’Mami); a “Muslim apologist engaged in doublespeak” (Nonie Darwish); engaged in an “attempt to undermine the First Amendment” (Gates of Vienna); an “Islamist” practicing“taqiyya” (Creeping Sharia); a “coward” practicing “taqiyya” (Robert Spencer); accused of “never calling upon those Muslims to stop committing acts of violence and supremacism in Islam’s name” (Robert Spencer); been asked to take a ridiculous “test of moderation” (Robert Spencer); two years after signing a strong Muslim statement on apostasy and freedom of faith, I was asked to sign a ridiculous “red Herring pledge” (Wafa Sultan of Former Muslims United); called a Muslim “dismissing the problem” of domestic violence (by Phyllis Chesler) a “Sharia infiltrator” (Chuck Norris); a “deceived woman” practicing “taqiyya” (Ali Sina); and after Ali Sina’s nonsense was thoroughly debunked I was accused of being a “nasty, libelous shill, a liar and dissembler” (Pamela Geller). And, The American Muslim is accused of being a “fundamentalist American Muslim magazine.” (Jewish Press).
Who might be judged by these pundits to be a moderate Muslim? Daniel Pipes has a test and I’m proud to say, that I like Hamza Yusuf would fail. David Horowitz has a petition for Muslim students to sign to prove their “moderation” as part of his recent “Islamo Fascism Awareness Week” whose four key principals any Muslim could agree with, but which would require any Muslim signing the petition to agree with the mischaracterization of terrorists and extremists as “Islamo Fascists” thus blaming the religion of Islam for their criminal acts. But Hugh Fitzgerald’s suggestion that “Sheila Musaji needs to read Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan. They were all born into Islam. They were all raised in Muslim milieus. They have all testified as to what Muslims say in front of Infidels, and what they say when they think they are among only fellow Muslims.” really shows up what they are after - the bottom line for these folks is that in order to be a “good Muslim” or a “moderate Muslim” you must be an ex-Muslim. If that is what it takes to be a “moderate” then count me out.
All of these folks claim that they have no problem with “moderate Muslims” only with extremists, but their definition of moderation requires nothing less than becoming a non-Muslim. And, their tactics and rhetoric stirs up those who are much more extreme including the “Muslims are not real Americans”, the “intern Muslims” and “the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim” crowd.
And, if these Islamophobes succeed in alienating and degrading all American Muslims, including those who are working to change the hearts and minds of the extremists, then they are only helping bin Laden.
The debunked Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques by Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi actually made the false claim that I “singled out for praise” books that are controversial.
UPDATE January 2012
Since each and every ridiculous claim by the Islamophobes has been thoroughly debunked, and they have suffered more than a little embarrassment, things have been pretty quiet. This month, Ali Sina of Faith Freedom International published a series of articles attacking me. I provided a response in the article Ali Sina Launches Sharpened Olive Branch of Hate.
UPDATE October 2012
One of the newest Islamophobes wanting to make a reputation in the Islamophobia Network launched one of the more ridiculous attacks on me. Eric Allen Bell’s Accusations Typical of Islamophobic Spin Machine responds to this nonsense in detail.
RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY
The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”
Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated, demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations: There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover. Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”. SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy. A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day. AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country. AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads. There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat. They are even bringing their hate messages into public schools.
Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”. Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech. None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”
The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences. The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.
The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or that nothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence, are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyya, jihad, sharia, etc.).
The most commonly repeated false claims about Muslims and Islam are that:
Everyone “knows” that most or all terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe), and that Muslims are all militant, inherently violent, more likely to engage in violence against civilians, and more likely than other Americans to be radicalized.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not interested in dialogue. That Muslims don’t help Christians in need. That Muslims can’t have Christians as friends, and are anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and intolerant of other faiths.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t unequivocally denounce terrorism, that American Muslim leaders have not responded to radicalization in their community, that mosques are the source of radicalization, that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, and a fifth column, that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that Muslims are not loyal to America, that they are not a part of our American heritage,
Everyone “knows” that Islam itself is the problem and makes Muslims “backward”, that Muslims have made no contribution to the West, that Islam is “of the devil”, a Crescent menace, a “green peril”, that was spread by the sword, an “evil encroaching on the United States”, and not a religion.
Everyone “knows” that this is a Christian nation, which the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law which is a threat to America, and a threat to our judicial system, by purposefully having more children than others to increase their numbers, and they will be the majority in this country in 20 years. Muslims are a threat to America
Everyone “knows” that the Muslims’ goal is world domination under a Caliphate, and the proposed Cordoba House in NYC is a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism, and that Muslims planned to open it on the anniversary of 9/11.
Everyone “knows” that Islam is a monolith and all Muslims are the same, like the “Borg”. This means that every act committed by an individual who is a Muslim is directly attributable to Islam, and never because the individual is crazy, criminal, or perverted.
The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong. These self-righteous and incorrect statements are usually followed by a demand that the Muslim community do something about whatever is the false flag of the day or face the inevitable consequences.
Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist. They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad. The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.
Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as: - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized, - There have been 270 million victims of “jihad” - There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11 - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded. Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.
Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989. Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism, and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia. Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan. Biography You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )
First posted 10/27/2007