Anti-Muslim General Withdraws from West Point Speech

Plans for a talk at West Point by a retired general known for his harshly anti-Muslim remarks were abruptly canceled on Monday after a growing list of liberal veterans’ groups, civil liberties advocates and Muslim organizations called on the Military Academy to rescind the invitation.

Lt. Gen William G. Boykin “has decided to withdraw speaking at West Point’s National Prayer Breakfast” on Feb. 8, said a statement issued Monday by the academy’s office of public affairs. “In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the United States Military Academy will feature another speaker for the event.”

General Boykin, a longtime commander of Special Operations forces, first caused controversy after the Sept. 11 attacks when, as a senior Pentagon official, he described the fight against terrorism as a Christian battle against Satan. His remarks, made in numerous speeches to church groups, were publicly repudiated by President George W. Bush, who argued that America’s war was not with Islam but with violent fanatics.


Muslim groups: ‘Third Jihad’ should cost NYC commissioner his job

New York (CNN) — Two prominent Muslim civil liberties groups called for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to resign on Thursday because of his participation in a film that they say paints all Muslims as terrorists.

“Involvement with ‘Third Jihad’ sends a clear message that the NYPD’s dealings with New York’s diverse Muslim communities are based on bigotry and blanket suspicion,” the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) stated in a press release.

Muslim activists say “The Third Jihad,” a documentary about radical Islam, vilifies the American Muslim community and teaches police officers to suspect Muslims as terrorists.

Muslim activists are also calling for Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Brown to resign, saying that he first denied and only later admitted that Kelly was interviewed for the film.

“They were not telling the truth about their involvement in the propaganda film against Muslims,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), adding that New York “deserves people they trust who do not discriminate against people.”


Tahrir Square: The Making of an Egyptian Revolutionist

Twenty-one-year-old Nadeem Abdel-Gawad hopes to attend his graduation ceremony at the American University in Cairo next month. But that depends on what happens in Tahrir Square this week.

On Monday, when we spoke via Skype, he described how it felt this time last year to be part of the uprising that ousted then-president Hosni Mubarak.

“January 25 [2011] was like a dream,” he said. “It’s hard when you spend most of your life with a dream of freeing your country, and everyone said, ‘you are crazy, nothing will change, be grateful for your education and leave Egypt.’ All these people telling me we can’t do anything, 30 or 40 people on the stairs of the syndicate, and a month later thousands and then millions [of people]. It really had a deep effect on me. I learned a lot. No matter what happens, there is magic in this world, somehow. We create our own reality; we are the reality. People always say ‘be realistic,’ but they forget we create this reality.”

Nadeem isn’t sure what led him to his first protest, but he said he has always been interested in politics, though even today, he is not a member of any official movement.



The Muslim Brotherhood is NOT the Taliban

A year on from Egypt’s revolution, a historic change of guard is taking place. The Muslims are coming. As Islamists step confidently into the political arena, anxiety is growing into hysteria. Two weeks ago, Rick Perry, a presidential hopeful at the time, told a cheering Republican crowd that Turkey, a member of Nato, was being ruled by “Islamic terrorists”. Earlier, Newt Gingrich had declared that the winners of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the Muslim Brotherhood, were “a mortal enemy of our civilisation”.

From this perspective, a rising crypto-fascist tide of jihad is washing over the Middle East. At best, this Manichaean world-view turns shades of green (the traditional colour of Islam) into black and white – at worst, it misunderstands the way in which squeezing out elected and non-violent Islamists can spur on those who really are our mortal enemies.

It’s important to put the Islamists’ victories into context. For a start, hardline ultra-orthodox Salafists have lagged far behind the Brotherhood. In Egypt, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party took nearly 47 per cent of seats against the Salafists’ 25 per cent. There’s little chance that the blocs will band together, because the Brotherhood is already terrified of scaring away Egypt’s liberals and provoking a backlash. It doesn’t want to suffer the fate of Algeria’s Islamists in the Nineties, who won an election that ushered in civil war.

This is why the Brotherhood is happy to stay away from foreign policy – why rock the boat on Israel, when there are safer votes to be won on the economy? When Cairo was hit by major protests in 2002 (against Israel) and 2003 (against the Iraq war), the Brotherhood stayed warily on the sidelines; it was also far behind the curve on last year’s revolution.


NYPD Used Anti Muslim Film to Train Cadets

Last January investigative journalist Tom Robbins broke the story of how the NYPD endorsed the scaremongering Islamophobic documentary The Third Jihad. The film was funded by the pro-Israel non-profit group The Clarion Fund, and it contends that few, if any, Muslims can be trusted. “Americans are being told that most of the mainstream Muslim groups are moderate,” says the narrator, “when in fact if you look a little closer you’ll see a very different reality. One of their primary tactics is deception.” Newly released documents show the NYPD knows a thing or two about deception as well!

When Robbins’s story appeared in the Village Voice, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne initially said no cops had watched what he described as a “wacky movie.” Later, he said it had only been shown “a couple of times when officers were filling out paperwork before the actual coursework began. It was not approved for the curriculum. It’s not shown for any purpose now.” But one officer told the Voice his instructor “introduced it with a warning that some people found it offensive.”


Muhammad Liked Christians, Muslims Should Too

by Dr. David Liepert

I have a lot of great friends from a variety of religions, best evidenced by the outpouring of support, affection and prayers when my wife had major cancer surgery last month.

I was truly touched when I received word of prayer services in churches, mosques and synagogues literally from around the world. Words cannot express the depth of our gratitude for all your earnest kindness. My wife was particularly moved to learn that across her birth country of Pakistan and the Middle East, food was donated and hungry people were fed in her name. God bless you all.

But my agnostic friends also deserve a shout-out. Because even though they weren’t sure whether their prayers could do any good, they were in there with me throughout all the same, doing everything they could think of to help out too, as far as I’m concerned doing just as good of a job honoring God’s commands that we look after each-other as everyone else did, even though they’re not even sure whether God exists or not!

However, it’s the prayers I want to talk about.

Because although my Muslim and Jewish friends didn’t feel it necessary to clarify exactly which God they were praying to—because everyone of us knows we pray to the same one—many of my Christian friends; respectfully, kindly and to my mind tragically, felt they needed to assure me they were praying to the God of Abraham rather than to Jesus, because they thought I’d be offended otherwise.


Christians, Muslims unite at Nigeria protest

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A human wave of more than 20,000 surrounded the Muslim faithful as they prayed toward Mecca Friday, as anti-government demonstrations over spiraling fuel prices and corruption showed unity among protesters despite growing sectarian tensions in Africa’s most populous nation.

While violence sparked by religious and ethnic divisions left about 1,500 people dead last year alone in Nigeria, some hope the ongoing protests gripping the oil-rich nation will bring together a country that already suffered through a bloody civil war.

“It shows that Nigeria is now coming together as one family,” said Abdullahi Idowu, 27, as he prepared to wash himself before Friday prayers.

Labor unions, meanwhile, announced Friday they would halt their five-day strike for the weekend, allowing families stuck largely inside their homes to go to markets and rest. Union leaders also plan to meet President Goodluck Jonathan and government officials on Saturday for new negotiations, just ahead of a promised labor shutdown of Nigeria’s oil industry.


A Devout Christian Has His Anti Muslim Prejudice Challenged

I have always prided myself on being open-minded and fair, so it was with both surprise and shock that I read Mona Shadia’s weekly column, “Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C.”

I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading: A Muslim telling me, a Christian, that she and people of her religion give some credence to Jesus.

Shadia refers to passages within the Koran regarding Jesus that reflect the very same beliefs that I hold.

 Because, like most Americans, I hold deep-seeded preconceptions and prejudices, I first read the column with more than a little skepticism. I couldn’t help but think, “Is she putting me on? What’s her game?” I couldn’t help but remember Muslims scoffing at my Bible, and now one of them says they include Jesus Christ in theirs?

As I read, I remembered an imam I saw on TV who told his flock, not only before him, but to the whole Muslim world, not to tell the truth to the infidels, we Christians, because we are not worthy, that in fact it is the Muslims’ duty to mislead and lie to the infidel.

When I read the column again, I thought, “This couldn’t be what that imam meant. Shadia couldn’t/wouldn’t be putting this in print for all the world to see it she didn’t believe it, if it didn’t have some level of truth to it, knowing she could and perhaps would, by those Islamic radical terrorists, be killed for saying such things that go against Muslims and their/her religion and their sacred bible, the Koran.”

You might want to know that I have been one of those individuals who since 9/11 felt justified in believing that Muslims are a people never to be trusted, especially after hearing that imam. I have seen and heard things that has reinforced and ingrained this belief very deeply.


Islamists secure lead in Egypt’s parliamentary elections

By Leila Fadel, Saturday, January 7, 6:27 PM

CAIRO — Islamist parties, as expected, secured Saturday a majority of seats in the lower house of Egypt’s first post-revolution parliament, setting the stage for intensive political dealmaking before the legislature meets at the end of the month.

According to party projections, Islamists won about 62 percent of the popular vote in the final round of the multi­phased elections, although the final result will not be known until after runoffs for individual seats are held this week.

The Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, is now clearly the most powerful political force in the first elected body since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February, with no one party winning an outright majority.

Freedom and Justice said in a statement on its Web site that it appears to have won 41 percent of the seats in the lower house, followed by 21 percent for the ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party. Whatever alliance the relatively moderate Islamist party cobbles together is likely to control both the legislature’s agenda and the makeup of a body that will write the country’s constitution, analysts say.

The lower house, known as the People’s Assembly, is the most important body in Egypt’s bicameral system. It includes 498 seats chosen by voters and an additional 10 to be chosen by the country’s interim military rulers in their capacity as Egypt’s de facto presidential authority.


Pope of Egyptian Church Proposes Dialogue with Islamists Following Election

Pope Shenouda III, head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, held a meeting on Thursday with a delegation from the Anglican Church concerning a proposal to begin dialogue with Islamist groups that recently won a significant number of seats in parliamentary elections.

Shenouda and a number of senior bishops in the Orthodox Church met with the delegation, which was led by the head of the Anglican Communion, Safwat al-Bayaadi.

A church source told the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) that the participants in the meeting discussed means of holding constructive dialogue with Islamists following their triumph in the elections. The participants agreed to respect the people’s choice in Egypt’s first democratic elections, irrespective of the results.

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi-oriented Nour Party have so far won the majority of seats in ongoing parliamentary elections that began on 28 November.