Boston Bombing News: Smoke and Mirrors and Islamophobia
I have a lot on my mind this week. Tsarnaev Defense Motion 602. Robel Phillipos. Islamophobia and Seventh Day Adventists. And (more happily) Malala Yousafza. I’ll try to tie it all together.
Smoke and Mirrors. Here is Jane’s concise summary of Defense Motion 602 (to Compel Discovery), with my comments:
“The government is reluctant to produce communication, allegedly from the Russian government regarding Tamerlan Tsarnaev.” If Russia’s evidence for terrorist-Tamerlan is really so strong, why is the government reluctant to provide the details?
“The defense continue to request info related to Ibragim Todashev.” Concurrent with working on the evil-older-brother mitigation case, I would guess the defense is looking to discredit the FBI’s “investigation” methods by blowing the lid off their killing of Todashev. There is NO evidence that Tamerlan or Ibragim killed the Waltham Three. And the Tsarnaev defense obviously knows this.
“The government claim to have a witness who is prepared to testify that Dzhokhar was aware of his brother’s alleged role in the Waltham murders.” It seems to be a common tactic in the BMB case(s) to coerce or bribe people to testify against their friends … as Aza’s appearance at Robel’s trial demonstrates.
Apparently, the government is happy to spread the myth of Tamerlan as crazed Muslim serial killer, but is unwilling or unable to provide concrete evidence of this for the defense to rebut.
Karin Friedmann has commented that: “… jailing, deportations and one murder of [Tsarnaev] friends and acquaintances seem designed to pile more fuel on the smoke and mirrors case against Dzhokhar.” She suggests that this whole show is an Islamophobic psychodrama about “unsavory Muslim foreigners, convicted liars, and obstructionists willfully concealing the evidence we don’t have.”
Islamophobia. Tweets from the Phillipos trial, reported by oldgold: “Tazhayakov says he is a Muslim, does not know what religion Phillipos is.” “Judge admonishes defense(!?) for asking Azamat about religion.” “Judge Woodlock lectured jurors: ‘It would be unfair and inappropriate to make any decision based on someone’s religion.’ ” (Thank you, Judge Woodlock!)
Dzhokhar once tweeted: “I don’t listen to idiots who say that Islam is terror.” (Isn’t it odd that later on, he allegedly decided to prove to Boston that Islam IS terror?)
In early 2013, the Council for American Islamic Relations issued “Legislating Fear,” a report which rated the state of Islamophobia in America as 5.9 on a scale of one to 10, “with one representing an America free of Islamophobia and 10 being the worst possible situation for Muslims.” This estimate was followed by a chilling statement: “We are just a terror act away from this being 10.”
One thing the Marathon Bombing surely accomplished, was to raise us to 10. A few examples …
A blog posted around Thanksgiving of 2013 imagined a smirking Dzhokhar in his cell, enjoying a Thanksgiving feast and “reading the Quran to brush up on terrorist Instructions.”
A recent interviewee on Fox claimed to be a Muslim by birth who converted to Christianity because Islam is such a violent religion. He declared that “a wish to subjugate the world” and “incitements to violence” are part and parcel of Islam, contained in the Quran. He did not cite specific verses.
Last week a slick brochure appeared in my mailbox, announcing a 10-day seminar by a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, entitled “Islam & Christianity: The Coming Conflict (Understand Bible Prophecy).” The brochure features photos of 9/11, Putin, and a ridiculously demonic-looking person in a Muslim-style headdress. The pastor promises to “show the identity and role of the Antichrist beast in the coming conflict”, which will supposedly begin when Israel drops a nuke, and end with the second coming of Christ. This extravaganza is now going on in my Pennsylvania town, two blocks away from a mosque. Between 50 and 75 people attended the first night’s presentation. Our protest demonstration attracted about 25.
In Arizona, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery sponsored an “Anti-Muslim Training Seminar’ for law enforcement, with the speaker being former FBI Agent John Guandolo. This Guandolo dude, in true Joseph McCarthy fashion, sees a Muslim terrorist under every rock, including in the leadership of the CIA. CAIR and local religious leaders received death threats after protesting this seminar. The whole thing backfired, and the Phoenix Police Dept, for one, refused to attend. (Thank you, PPD!)
If one listens to the MSM long enough, one may begin to wonder … Are Muslims inherently more violent than the rest of us, more given to starting civil wars and blowing people up? Is there really something in the religion of Islam itself which encourages violent fanaticism?
There is no excuse for the targeting of civilians, by anyone. But in spite of what the government and MSM would have us believe, Muslim terrorists are not demons who “hate our freedoms.” Simply put, we are the targets of Muslim terrorism because it is Muslim countries which are being targeted by the U.S. Empire and its European allies.
MSM hysteria about ISIL is over the top. “Panic! Panic! The Muslims are coming to get us!” Evidence suggests that the ISIL group may actually be mercenaries hired by the U.S. and/or the Saudis to overthrow Syrian President Assad. They got out of hand (as mercenaries will), and emerged as central-casting villains who confirm all Islamophobic stereotypes … an ideal scenario to keep us all frightened and justify yet another Middle East war.
Correct me if I’m wrong about this, but until the U.S. started dropping bombs on them, the ISIL pirates showed no interest in threatening the U.S., but were focused simply on killing their fellow Muslims. That’s the sort of thing that happens when a superpower creates chaos in regions which it wishes to control.
What’s Islam really all about? Recently I read a little book called Islam: Religion, History and Civilization, written in 2003 by Seyyed Hossein Nasr. I learned that Islam’s goal is not to redeem us from “original sin,” but rather to help us “regain the knowledge of [God’s] Oneness and the manner in which all multiplicity is related to the One.” (Echoes of Buddhism there, I think.) Islam emphasizes surrender to the will of God as an act that will bring inner peace. (Twelve Step programs have exactly the same philosophy.) A scary religion? Doesn’t sound like it to me.
Nasr freely admits there are “fundamentalist” and “puritanical” variations in the Islamic tradition, leading to groups such as the Taliban and the Wahhabis. But wacko fundamentalism isn’t specific to Islam. (Do the words “Spanish Inquisition” ring a bell?) Even in the comfortable, stable modern U.S., we get the Warren Jeffs and the Jim Joneses. In less stable countries, the abusers have more room to roam, so to speak.
Westerners hear an Al Qaeda spokesman speaking “Islamic talk” and assume that their violent actions are straight out of the Quran. But, Nasr says something which I think is key to understanding this misperception. “Islam is not only a religion … as redefined in a secularized world in which the religious life occupies a small part of the daily activities of most people. Rather, Islam is religion as a total way of life.”
So by definition, Islamic societies are not secular. Whatever is done, is done within the context of Islam – whether it is creating art, doing humanitarian service, or fighting a war. Because all actions taken in Islamic society typically have a religious context, the Hamas charter, for instance, opens with the traditional phrase: “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate …”
Religion also ruled in medieval Europe, where the Pope urged Christians to rescue Jerusalem from the Muslims. The resulting carnage was horrific. Was this a result of the Christian message as preached by Jesus? Obviously not. It was a result of human nature.
Today, we live in a secular society, and our carnage is committed in the name of freedom, democracy, and “American interests.” Or as one of the agents who interrogated Robel Phillipos put it: “Team America.” No religion needed here!
Last week Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai began her speech with the same traditional formula which begins the Hamas charter: “In the name of God, the most beneficial and the most merciful, who is the God of all mankind.” That last clause seemed to be her own addition, and wouldn’t life be better if everyone thought that way?
In spite of what the Taliban did to Malala in the name of a twisted version of Islam, this magnificent young woman stated in her speech that she “strongly believes in Islam.”
Is the Taliban a threat? To girls and women like Malala, hell yes. Is ISIL a threat? To civilians in Iraq and Syria, you bet.
Is Islam a threat to the Western way of life, an inherently evil, demonic force? Nope, I just can’t go there.
And I have a question for the cable news people: In this era of extreme political correctness for every other group, why is it OK to trash Muslim citizens and their religion?
A last word, from the CAIR report: “American Muslims are being used as a political tool. We are no longer considered a community as much as a platform. When you listen to legislation, when you read the news, when you watch debates there is always the discussion about American Muslims, as if we are supposed to let the media make us the villain. As if it’s okay that Muslim and terrorist are synonymous. Terrorists do not represent Islam, and until politicians and the media recognize that we cannot eradicate Islamophobia.”
(One odd thing about the CAIR report. I read and saved it last year. Today, when I tried to google it in, the entire PDF of the report came up blank, on both my computers. This report contains the goods on a sophisticated network of Islamophic organizations which exists in this country. It should be valuable info to read. Possibly these organizations do not wish it to be seen(?)