Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NAMAW Muslim 2010 Voters Guide

"Change it with your!"

As Salaamu Alaikum!

In our effort to ensure Muslim representation in the US political process, we are issuing this 2010 election voter's guide.

The purpose of this guide is simply to offer some advice as to which candidates, in the most important races should be considered by Muslims as worthy of our vote. We must all decide on our own, according to our own consciences which candidates we will vote for. Still, we must also keep in mind the criteria for judgment that God has taught us in the Qur'an and through the prophet Muhammad's sunnah or way of life.

Over the past months leading up to this election, Muslims as a community who exist within the larger community of American citizens, were subjected to a hellish campaign of hatred and demonization of our community, our religion and our beliefs. Gross misrepresentations of Islam, and horrible lies about Muslim attitudes towards the US and non Muslims were allowed to be aired across mainstream media airwaves with little or no concern for the dangerous climate that was being created, leading to acts of violence against Muslims and destruction and desecration of Mosques.

There are those who will look at these events and say that there is nothing that we can do to prevent ignorant and hate filled people from saying and doing such evil things, and desiring harm for Muslim. We disagree and feel that when Muslims speak the truth upon every opportunity, falsehood flees. The Qur'an teaches us that when truth arrives, falsehood flees, because it is the nature of falsehood to be weak and and when confronted with the truth, to run and hide its ugly face. We must always take every opportunity to speak the truth without ambiguity.

The political campaign season, which is now near its end, is a wonderful time and opportunity to speak out about the things that are important to our community, and also for our country. It is a great time for us to speak to our neighbors and colleagues, friends and associates about Islam and about the things we believe are best for our country. We cannot seclude ourselves. We are Americans, and we must live and coexist as part of the American society, even if we don't like everything about the society.

Having said that, it is important for us to also say that the only way to change the things we don't like about our government and society is to vote. In our representative republic, we make our voices heard at the ballot box. This is why it is essential that we vote and that we vote according to a set of priorities, and based upon what we believe.

We have seen and heard enough over the past two years since the Obama election to understand very clearly what is at stake for Muslims in the United States and for our country in this election cycle.

Our first priority is the survival of our community, our safety and our rights. Our 1st amendment right to choose our faith, to practice our faith openly without fear of government or any other type of reprisal are key issues for us. The safety of our children and the rights of Muslim women to wear the Islamic attire if they choose and to feel safe and secure in their person are also important priorities for us.

There are many candidates who are running for election under the guise of being strict Constitutionalists. They make this claim, yet they are a very dangerous threat to our Constitution and the rights of Muslims. Some are calling for the repeal of the 14th amendment, an amendment that guarantees equal protection under the law for every citizen, not just for some.

Many of us might remember that US Senator Joseph Lieberman suggested that US citizens should be stripped of citizenship and deported for criticizing Israel. The 14th amendment stood in his way. It says:

"Persons born or naturalized in the US and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and the states wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the US, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of the law, nor deny to any person its jurisdiction equal protection under the law."

This is only one example of how deceptive , devious and cunning Zionists in the US are, and to what extent they are willing to go to deprive US citizens of rights, hoping to cement their dominance in our society and to silence all dissent. Whereas it is only one example, it is not the only threat to our rights represented by the Tea Party and other so called Constitutionalists who are calling for amending the US Constitution to suit their extreme and fanatical religious and political views. Another so called Tea Party candidate competing for a seat in the US Senate representing the state of Delaware, said in a debate that the US Constitution does not prevent the establishment of a national religion, nor prohibit preferential treatement of any religion over others. Others want to curtail free speech rights hoping to criminalize dissent.

It is our opinion, and our advice to Muslims to avoid , and do not vote for any Tea Party candidates, and only those moderate Republicans that we endorse. It is not enough to merely "not" vote for a candidate. We must vote "for" those who are running against them. In some instances this will be a vote for the lesser of two evils. This is permissible in Islam, especially when the very survival of our community is at stake.

We also advise Muslims to not be distracted by the so called culture war issues such as gay marriage, abortion, prayer in schools, etc. Republicans are exploiting these issues hoping to get what they call the moral vote. We are moral voters. Muslims are moral voters with priorities. In this election cycle, culture war issues are not our priority. The survival of our community and our Constitutional rights are our priority. Issues like gay marriage and abortion, etc., will increasingly be resolved at the state level, so if you are interested in these issues, work in your local communities to educate, but do not throw away your important vote in this election, thinking your vote will help to resolve these issues, because it wont.

We also ask that you help us to circulate this guide to Muslims throughout the US via e-mail, or by printing and distributing at Muslim gatherings, family gatherings, etc.

The following endorsements represent our guidance in respect to a few key states where candidates are running that we feel threaten our community's rights, and who we feel are wrong for our country. If you live in the states and districts where these candidates are running, we suggest that you do not vote for any Tea Party candidate and that you vote for the candidates we have endorsed. May Allah help us, guide us and protect us, and forgive us for our sins and imperfections.

Candidates running for US Senate that we endorse

Alaska Senate race we endorse write in candidate Lisa Murkowski

Arizona Senate race we endorse Rodney Glassman

California Senate race we endorse Carly Fiorina

Colorado Senate race we endorse Michael Bennet

Delaware Senate race we endorse Chris Coons

Florida Senate race we endorse Charlie Crist

Kentucky Senate race we endorse Jack Conway

Nevada Senate race we endorse Harry Reid

Ohio Senate race we endorse Rob Portman

Pennsylvania Senate race we endorse Joe Sestak

Wisconsin Senate race we endorse Russ Feingold

Candidates running for US House of Representatives
Minnesota race for House of Representatives we endorse Michael Cavlan

North Carolina race for House of Representatives we endorse Mike McIntyre

Ohio race for House of Representatives we endorse Mary J. Kilroy

Pennsylvania race for House of Representatives we endorse Patrick Murphy and Paul Kanjorski

Candidates running for Governor

Arizona's gubernatorial race we endorse Terry Goddard

California gubernatorial race we endorse Jerry Brown

Colorado gubernatorial race we endorse John Hickenlooper

Illinois gubernatorial race we endorse Pat Quinn

New York gubernatorial race we endorse Andrew Cuomo

Ohio gubernatorial race we endorse Ted Strickland

Pennsylvania gubernatorial race we endorse Dan Oronato

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Truth About Islamophobia in the United States

The sudden upsurge in hatred towards Muslims and Islam in the US, known as Islamophobia is not something that is happening by accident. It has been nine years since the horrible and criminal attacks of 9/11. Instead of feelings towards Muslims getting better as time goes by, according to US mainstream and alternative media, things are getting worse for Muslims in the US. This puzzling situation should cause us all to ask ourselves why? Is it strange that 9 years of war has not satisfied the desire for revenge, and that time has not healed the psychological wounds created by 9/11?

Is it possible that some special interest within the US does not want healing, and decreasing support for the so the called war on terrorism? We might also ask ourselves if there might be people in the US, who want the war on terrorism to include a war on US Muslims, hoping that such a war might lead to genocide here in the US similar to the genocide that took place in Nazi Germany.

The voices of those instigating hatred against Muslims in the US are harsh and hateful. One would never imagine that such words would ever be spoken publicly by Congressmen and women and other elected officials such as governors, and also political candidates. These are the people we would expect would be working hard to keep the country united and to demand that the US Constitution be upheld, and its rights extended to every citizen, and its principles preserved and protected. It would also seem that a government that sincerely felt that 8 or 9 million of its citizens were a threat to its existence, would not be acting in a way to incite anger and hatred, and especially not in a way that would provoke violence, unless violence is exactly what it hopes to provoke.

Just as things didn’t seem to add up in respect to the surge in anti-Muslim sentiment in Switzerland that led to a Minaret ban, when less than 1/3 of the population is Muslim, and those Muslims are mostly secular, the upsurge in fear and hatred of Muslims in the US is equally confusing. US Muslims represent one of the best educated and affluent religious communities within the United States and there is almost no crime committed by US Muslims. Can we avoid asking if these positive attributes might be the very reason that Muslims are the targets of what seems to be a very well orchestrated effort to demonize and dehumanize American Muslims? American history is ripe with examples of ethnic conflict that originated from feelings of envy, and fear of political and economic competition experienced by in-groups, in respect to newly arrived out groups.

The only way to truly understand what is creating Islamophobia in the US, is to look at what has been going on in the US from various perspectives since 9/11. Has the government acted to help its citizens recover from the trauma? Has the government and others worked to heal the society and bring the people together, or have they done the opposite? Is it possible that leaders of the US society are oblivious to what is needed to end or at least to curtail Islamophobia and are they doing enough? If not, why would a country allow hate speech to foment hatred and demonization of certain groups, knowing the documented relationship between hate speech and violence? These are some of the questions this article will seek to answer.

Professor Stevan E. Hobfoll, Ph.D., conducted a study hoping to determine how societies recover from traumatic events. He pulled together experts and clinicians from around the world, in the various fields of psychiatry that deal with stress, fear and anxiety. According to a review of the book written by Professor Hobfall and his colleagues on the topic, “the panel reviewed existing research, and then determined five key principles of effective mass trauma mental health care, which involves promoting a sense of safety, calm, a sense of being able to solve problems for oneself or as part of a group, and connectedness to social support and help.”

Looking at this list of five principles for recovery, it becomes extremely apparent that none of these government officials or candidates was employing the principles. In fact, based upon what they said, and the media sensationalism that resulted from their remarks, it might appear that the five principles were in fact being deliberately ignored, assuming that these officials and the media are familiar with these, or similar principles. Even if not familiar with these exact principles, it seems that any intelligent person would realize that hate speech incites hatred and violence.

In another important study on the relationship between hate speech and violence, findings were written by the authors, suggesting that hate speech is a very effective tool when used by governments and groups to incite ethnic tensions hoping to polarize societies and to cause genocides and violence. They wrote:

"The most drastic and well-known example of hate speech communicated through the media that has brought world-wide attention to the phenomenon in this region was disseminated by the radio station Radio T´el´evision Mille Collines (RTLM) during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.The broadcasts of this government-owned station, which incited the Hutu majority to murder Tutsis and opponents of the regime, are commonly recognized as having played a major role in this genocide (des Forges 1999;Gourevitch 1998).

Furthermore, hate radio has continued to exist even after the genocide, and has resulted in further conflict across borders. After Rwandan Patriotic Front troops succeeded in driving the genocidal government forces out of the capital of Rwanda in July 1994, RTLM used mobile radio transmitters to broadcast disinformation from inside the French-controlled zone on the border between Rwanda and Zaire (now DRC). This caused millions of Hutus to flee toward refugee camps, where they could be recruited as freedom fighters. Hutu extremists then began to stage raids into Rwanda from Congolese territory. Thereby, the ground for future conflict and war between Rwanda and the DRC was created, which discord continues to have a negative impact on the relations between the two countries and the lives of people (Gourevitch 1999; Nzongola-Ntalaja 2003).

In sum, hate speech and hate media have a historical and symbolic meaning in the region, and have played a crucial role in violent conflicts both between and within states. Within the DRC, the effects of hate speech have not been as drastic as in its neighboring country Rwanda. Nevertheless, hate media has been and is very present here as well, and continues to play a destructive role in the political events of the country. During the civil war in the Congo, which took place in 1998-2003 and caused four million deaths due to fighting and disease, hate propaganda was used, for example, in the eastern part of the country. Here it fueled ethnic conflict, for example between Hema and Lendu, two ethnic groups in the Ituri region. Based on the classification of dehumanizing speech as one of eight stages leading to genocide (Genocide Watch a), the occurrence of hate speech was among the factors that led international NGOs to warn against a potential genocide in the region (Genocide Watch b). "

When we compare the hate speech being made public through US mainstream media and printed in US news papers across the country, it seems apparent that not only were the five principles for healing US society after 9/11 ignored, but a campaign of hate speech was carried out by US politicians and their supporters that could lead to polarization of US society, violence and even genocide.

Some observers have suggested that the anti-Muslim hate speech campaign was initiated with the cooperation of the US government and media, for the purpose of perpetuating more hatred of Muslims based upon accusations that Muslims attacked the US on 9/11. They argue that such hatred must be continuously incited to continue support for the so called war on terrorism, and for Congressional approval of billions of tax payer dollars needed to pay for the wars. One such observer, Diana Ralph, Ph.D., wrote in an article entitled; “Islamophobia and the War on Terror, the Continuing Pretext for US Imperial Conquest” the following:

"The 9-11 attacks were the pretext which sold the myth of evil Muslim terrorists imminently threatening Americans. That tale allowed the Cheney-led members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) to implement their 1990 DPG plan for world control. The “war on terror” has nothing to do with protecting the U.S. and world’s people from “terrorists”, and everything to do with securing the American empire abroad and muzzling democracy and human rights at home. Designed to inspire popular support for U.S. wars of world conquest, it is modeled on Islamophobic stereotypes, policies, and political structures developed by the Israeli Likkud and Bush Sr. since 1979."

There are others who argue that in fact the purpose of the hate speech that has created the phenomenon known as Islamophobia is aimed at provoking US Muslims to carry out acts of violence that would ignite a Muslim genocide here in the US, similar the genocide carried out Hitler against what were deemed undesirables and internal threats to the Third Reich. In an article written by Paul Kivel a US blogger writing on the issue of Christian hegemony, Kivel opines that Islamophobia is in fact created by white Christians to demonize Muslims, because they want to incite hatred and possible violence against Muslims. Interestingly, he also wrote that Islamophobia also hurts the US. He wrote:

"Islamophobia justifies systemic and institutionalized discrimination and violence against Muslims in the United States and by the U.S. throughout the world. Just as with racial profiling and discrimination directed against other groups, Islamophobia threatens our collective safety when resources are selectively and inappropriately directed at specific communities. It threatens our civil and religious liberties when one group is singled out as not entitled to constitutionally guaranteed rights. It also curtails our freedom when surveillance and harassment are legally sanctioned under the justification that the danger of some group is so great that we must limit our civil rights in order to prevent attack. When we speak out and stand strong as allies to the Muslim community we challenge violence and injustice, increase our safety and freedom, and challenge age-old Christian stereotypes and myths. We also uphold our legal rights to freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom from discrimination and attack."

Whatever the cause or current purpose of the growing Islamophobia in the US might be, we can trace its beginning back before 9/11. We can trace the anti-Muslim hate speech to its beginnings with Steven Emerson, the anti Muslim polemicist who wrote his Master’s thesis at Brown University on the Nazi’s use of propaganda to foment hatred against Jews, which he argued led to the Holocaust.

We can trace it back to his colleague Daniel Pipes, who coined the term Islamism, and used that create to create something he called political Islam, and put in opposition, and in contrast to Islam the religion. We can also trace it back to people like Michael Horowitz who said that the Muslims must be pushed back to the Middle Ages and prevented from finding comfort and protection under the laws of the United States.

The truth about Islamophobia, is that it is aimed at dehumanizing and demonizing Muslims for many purposes, the most sinister of which is possibly to create a political climate in which the mass murder of Muslims, including Muslims in the US, is not only deemed a necessary evil, but is also justified as the only means by which to save what they claim is US Christian culture here in the US, and also the only way to insure that Jews can establish and life peacefully in a racist Jewish Only state in Palestine. While we know these claims are not true, we must also acknowledge that truth, treachery and evil never travel together. Chattel slavery was justified by believers in these same ideas in this same way, as were the Crusades, the Inquisition and also the Holocaust.

We must demand that our government and media end their collaboration in the creation of Islamophobia and we must not be silent and we must respond to the many lies, and anti-Muslim and also anti-Islam hate speech that is so prevalent in our media. If we fail to stop this now, we already know that it will not stop until homosexuals, the poor, the elderly, and the chronically ill and disabled will also become targets of public hatred and hysteria created by the likes of the present day Islamophobes and their enablers and supporters.