I’ve been stewing on this post for a while… reading and rereading the FrontPage Magazine article, written by one Mark Tooley, titled “Denouncing Jihad is ‘Hate Speech’?” that the Institute on Religion and Democracy posted in full on its website.
Tooley’s article was a response to the United Methodist Women’s response to the American Freedom Defense Initiative‘s (AFDI) latest ad campaign.
They’ve posted signs in and around New York City that state “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” Seems innocent enough to the uninitiated, right? Well, dear friends, as with many things, the ugly truth lies just beneath the surface.
Let’s start with the false assumption that the IRD uses to defend these ads.. known as the “Who could possibly be against jihad?” defense.
Pardon my turn of phrase here, but this is a flashing-neon display of Western ignorance.
The IRD, along with most westerners, equate ‘jihad’ with ‘holy war’ or terrorism or suicide bombings.
This is, unequivocally, 100% wrong. There’s far more detail here that I’ll get into in a future post. Just rest assured, Jihad does not equal holy war and those who claim it does are, well, ignorant.
The second point is the IRD’s continual attacks against what they call the “Religious Left”. If you read the IRD’s posts, you’d come away with the perception that the “Religious Left” is some sort of weak-willed, anti-Christian, pro-terrorist, anti-American group. To the IRD, it is. I guess it’s easy to think that simplistically when your organization, which purports to have Christian roots, decides that instead of following Jesus, you’ll just put Jesus words on top of an imperialistic, pro-empire, pro-war, free-market ideology and call it “Christian”.
In Tooley’s piece, he shows contempt for anyone who dares criticize these bigoted ads, again singling out the United Methodist Women, insinuating that the UMW don’t really think terrorism is awful and only object to violence and war when it’s perpetrated by the United States.
It’s a sugar coated way of calling the UMW, particularly the New York Chapter, “terrorist lovers”… a favorite ad hominem attack from the simple minded right. For example:
“…Surely they oppose Islamist war and terror. But in response to the ads, and historically in recent decades, the Religious Left typically will not specifically critique radical Islam or its carnage.”
“…Presumably the Religious Left would have no objection to New York subway ads that urged: “Renounce Crusade.” A widely publicized and endorsed Christian statement that emerged out of Yale Divinity School in 2007 called “Loving God and Neighbor Together” apologized for both the Crusades and War on Terror, combining the two across a millennium, and imploring: “We ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.”
So Crusade is bad but evidently jihad is not so bad, or at least not suitable for public concern.”
This is just typical Tooley.. insinuating the “Religious Left” hates America and loves/coddles terrorists.
Now here’s where things get interesting.
The AFDI is organized by one Pamela Geller.
“Who is Pamela Geller?” you ask.
Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims, such as that President Obama is the “love child” of Malcolm X. She makes no pretense of being learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to her Stop Islamization of America partner Robert Spencer. Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists, defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and denied the existence of Serbian concentration camps. She has taken a strong pro-Israel stance to the point of being sharply critical of Jewish liberals. – SPLC
Yes, she’s a rabid, right wing fascist with a penchant for racists, birthers, creationists, and tin-foil conspiracy nuts. She’s also the one who led the charge against the “Islamization of Thanksgiving” by organizing a boycott of ButterBall Turkey! Some of her greatest hits are:
“Obama is a third worlder and a coward. He will do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords.”
“Hussein [meaning President Obama] is a muhammadan. He’s not insane … he wants jihad to win.”
As a Jew, I am offended to my core. Muslims have no right to invoke Moses and Abraham. This is a delegitimization of Judaism. It is offensive and vile. And while Jesus is not my guy, the same thing goes for him. It is a delegitimization of Christianity. These are not Muslim prophets.
I think there’s some piece of scripture somewhere that talks about bad company corrupting good character.
If this is who Tooley and The IRD are defending, then it’s well past time to start asking them questions.
Considering the source of these ads, they’re not about confronting extremism.
They’re about conflating terrorism and Islam in a relentless pursuit of anti-Muslim bigotry.
Yes, this is whose ads Mark Tooley and The IRD are defending.