Tag Archives: Islam

Reached the limit of anti-Muslim bigotry

I have just committed the rare act of disconnecting someone from my social media network.

Until just a few moments ago, we were “friends” on Facebook. I will concede that we aren’t close personal friends, although I know this person’s spouse quite well, as he served in local government for many years during my time as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News.

What did this person do to incur my social media wrath? She posted a vile anti-Muslim meme, saying in effect that Muslims need to be destroyed by nuclear weapons.

Oh, yes. Feelings run high at times when we talk about those who believe in one of the world’s great religions. This one crosses the line. It goes way beyond what I consider to be anything close to reasonable.

I hereby am going to declare a state of proverbial “war” against those who post such things on my Facebook feed.

You are welcome to criticize this blog. I truly don’t object to that, although some of the personal criticism does sting a bit. Hey, I ask for it with some of my blog posts. I should be willing to take what I dish out, correct?

However, those who believe in a certain religious faith do not deserve to be treated in a hideous manner. My now former Facebook “friend” has revealed a terrible element in her emotional makeup. Therefore, I no longer will use my own social media network to spread such hate.

Her ghastly meme should have been targeted toward those who have perverted Islam. She didn’t do that.

She can consort with her fellow haters all she wants.

Yes, keep the gunman ‘nameless’

Jacinda Ardern is a woman after my own heart.

The prime minister of New Zealand, a nation reeling from the slaughter of 50 worshipers at two Christchurch mosques, has pledged never to mention the name of the suspect arrested in the tragedy.

Why? Because, according to Prime Minister Ardern, he wants notoriety. She doesn’t intend to give it to him.

I am following her lead. Indeed, this blog hasn’t published the names of several mass murderers over several years for precisely the reason that Ardern has laid out. I don’t want to give these individuals any more publicity than they are getting already.

Keep their names out of print

Indeed, merely writing about the events they perpetrate does serve some nefarious purpose for them. They get publicity merely with the mention of the act.

As for publishing their names, I won’t do it.

Yes, I know that we all remember the names of noted assassins: Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray all come to mind. And . . . yes,  I have posted the name of the guy who blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, killing 168 people.

That was then. I have turned the name ID corner as it regards these monsters.

To that extent I totally endorse Prime Minister Ardern’s decision to keep the name of the mass murderer to herself.

World tries to digest the New Zealand massacre

As the worldwide shock starts to sink in regarding the slaughter of 49 worshipers at two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques, many of us are wondering: How does this kind of thing happen in a country known to be one of the more peaceful places on Earth?

Who’s to blame? I guess the early nod goes to the Internet, the purveyor of all kinds of emotional messaging. And that includes hate of the most evil variety, hate that manifests itself in unspeakable violance.

One of the suspects charge with the massacre of Muslims is a known white nationalist from Australia. He had channeled some of the rhetoric — allegedly — that he heard from Americans. He reportedly is fervently anti-immigrant.

So what does he do? He travels to New Zealand and along with two accomplices takes his rage out on people who were praying to God.

Terrorists collect ammo to fuel their hatred from all manner of sources. It appears the Internet has been available to the individuals responsible for this hideous spasm of violence.

I am not going to say we should eliminate the Internet. Nor am I going to suggest that everyone on Earth boycott it.

I merely am expressing one individual’s sense of agony at the plethora of hatred that travels like lightning around the world and ends up infecting what passes for the hearts of individuals like those who perpetrated this monstrous act.

Donald Trump said today he doesn’t believe the world is witnessing an increase in white nationalism/supremacy. The president is mistaken. Or he is deliberately misconstruing what the evidence is producing.

I believe reports that suggest a 17 percent spike in hate crimes over the past couple of years. As we have witnessed in the past 24 hours, the Internet — that worldwide communication platform — is potentially able to poison all communities.

Even those known to be peaceful places.

Intelligence chiefs do it again: they’re contradicting Trump

Those pesky intelligence professionals are at it once more.

Donald Trump says “ISIS is defeated.” The intelligence community says “not so fast.” The Islamic State is still planning terror attacks. They’re still recruiting members. Their ranks still number in the thousands.

Yet the president would have us believe that ISIS in Syria has been dealt a mortal blow. They’re gone. Destroyed. Wiped out.

ISIS isn’t defeated

CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told members of Congress today that they are not willing to buy into the commander in chief’s seat-of-the-pants “assessment” that ISIS is done for as a national security threat.

Who do we believe? I’ll stick with the intelligence pros any day of the week. Trump, as I’ve noted before on this blog, doesn’t know what he’s doing, what he’s talking, nor does he know to whom he is talking. He thinks the nation comprises hundreds of millions of rubes who buy into every single lie that flies out of his mouth.

Haspel and Coats did say today that ISIS has been “weakened” by sustained U.S. and allied attacks. For that I am grateful. The organization isn’t defeated, they said. ISIS is still capable of inflicting serious damage, causing significant misery. ISIS keeps taking responsibility for terror attacks against Muslims, which of course belies the notion that our war against terror is in fact a war against Islam; as Presidents Bush and Obama have declared, it is no such thing, that the terrorists aren’t “religious leaders,” but merely are religious perverts.

I am now wondering how the president is going to react to this contradictory testimony. Might there be more firings in store?

Hoping decency and reason prevail with Tarrant GOP

Shahid Shafi is a dedicated, committed Republican. He serves as vice chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party Committee. He believes in small government, lower taxes and, oh yes, border security.

Oh, but that’s not good enough for some within the Tarrant County GOP membership. They want him removed from his VP post because — get ready for it — he’s a Muslim.

They’re going to vote Thursday night on whether Dr. Shafi — a trauma surgeon and Southlake City Council member — gets the boot. This is a ridiculous, bigoted and shameful action that the Tarrant County GOP is considering.

It has drawn scorn and criticism from Republicans around the state. The critics call it what it is: an act of blind bigotry.

Tarrant County vote set

Those who want Shafi out contend that Islamic beliefs run counter to constitutional principles and that his faith doesn’t represent “most” Tarrant County Republican members. Shafi denies the allegation about Islamic tenets being in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. As for whether his faith represents most local GOP members’ own religious views: so what?

I keep returning to the argument that the United States of America was founded as a secular state. The founders proclaimed that there shall be no law passed that specifies a state religion. The upshot is all U.S. citizens are free to worship — or not worship — as they see fit.

It is my sincere and fervent hope that the Tarrant County bigots/Islamophobes get slapped down in their effort to remove Shalif from his post as party vice chair.

If the one-time Party of Lincoln purports to be a “big tent” operation, here is a local chapter’s chance to prove it.

Yes, there is a church-state ‘separation’

A former colleague of mine used to insist that because the United States Constitution doesn’t contain the phrase “separation of church and state” that the concept somehow is not relevant.

Well, I would remind him that the First Amendment about a prohibition against writing laws that establish a state religion implies the separation graphically.

Enter the new man nominated to become the U.S. attorney general, William Barr. He has declared his skepticism about the “secular” state the founders created in the late 18th century. He wants to invoke “God’s law” when enforcing the laws of the land.

I am going to presume he means the laws of the Christian God. But what about the laws of all the other gods that Americans worship? The Islamic god, the Jewish god, the Hindu god, the Buddhist god, the Shinto god? Do they matter? Of course they do! Or at least they should.

Except the founders created a Constitution that say there should be no law passed “with respect” to a particular religion. It stipulates there should be “no religious test” for anyone seeking public office.

The words “Christian,” “Christianity” or “Jesus Christ” are not mentioned in the Constitution. Nor does it mention “Jewish” or “Muslim” or “Buddhist” or “Hindu.”

So, to the AG-designate, I merely want to urge him to stick to enforcing the laws of the land, as enacted by Congress, signed by the president and affirmed by the courts.

How’s this for religious bigotry?

To think that Texas’s third-largest county is home to a cabal of religious bigots who want to oust a local Republican Party vice chairman because — get ready for it — he’s a Muslim!

Ye gads, this story disgusts me.

At issue is the faith practiced by Shahid Shafi, a Southlake trauma surgeon. He ran twice for the Southlake City Council and was elected on his second try. He was informed by friends that as a Muslim, he would have difficulty being elected to any office in Texas in this post 9/11 era.

That didn’t dissuade him. So he ran and won eventually.

Now he’s vice chair of the Tarrant County GOP. But wait! He barely had taken office when a local Republican raised a phony alarm. A precinct chairwoman, Dorrie O’Brien, urged the county’s GOP chair, Darl Easton, to pull Shafi out of the vice chair’s office.

The bigot said, without any evidence, that Shafi believes in Sharia law and that he’s a closet terrorist.

Good grief!

I feel the need to remind everyone yet again that the U.S. Constitution is unambiguous about this point: There shall be “no religious test” applied for anyone seeking elected office in the United States of America. It’s written in Article VI, Clause 3 of the nation’s founding government document. Yep, that includes city council member and political party leadership.

The bigoted move has drawn immediate condemnation from some high-profile Republicans, such as Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and lame-duck Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. The Texas GOP Executive Committee has approved a resolution endorsing religious freedom in a move to stop the xenophobia that might erupt if the Tarrant County removal motion is allowed to proceed.

Here is how the Texas Tribune reports it

Yes, this story sickens me. It should sicken anyone who has an understanding of what the Constitution says about religion in politics.

Then there’s the issue of innuendo and unfounded accusation, which has become one of the dubious trademarks of the nation’s top Republican, Donald Trump.

Disgusting.

Pictures tell a graphic story of crassness

Spoiler alert. The pictures attached to this blog are offensive. I’ll concede that instantly. I apologize for them. But they do serve to speak to a hypocrisy that swirls around the criticism of a comic who delivered some offensive remarks to the White House Correspondents Dinner.

I am one of Michelle Wolf’s critics. I disliked the tone of her remarks to the correspondents dinner. I’ve made my case already, albeit to mixed reviews among those who have read them.

But I will concede as well that they were downright quaint and pale compared to what those on the other side of the political divide have said about those with whom they disagree.

Does this excuse Wolf’s monologue? No. It doesn’t. My hope would have been that she could have remained on a higher road while skewering the president and his White House staff.

Still, the hypocrisy of the indignation emanating from the right and the far right is, um, quite ironic.

Don’t you think?

Look out, ‘radical Islam’

President George W. Bush told us in clear and unequivocal terms while the nation grieved over the 9/11 attack: We are not at war with Islam.

President Barack H. Obama followed that message to the letter. On the night he announced the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the president told us that bin Laden was not a “Muslim leader,” but that he was a “mass murderer of Muslims.”

A new president has taken over. Donald J. Trump has just nominated Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state and has appointed John Bolton to be the new national security adviser.

These two men — not to mention the president — seem intent on changing the narrative. They want to take direct aim at “radical Islam,” as if the terrorists with whom we are at war represent a great world religion. They do not. They have perverted Islam to fit some ruthless ideology.

As Politico has reported: Both Bolton and Pompeo will now be working for a president who has alleged, with no evidence, that American Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks, and who has proposed banning all foreign Muslims from U.S. shores. Critics say the personnel moves suggest Trump’s worst instincts on how to approach the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims will find receptive ears among his foreign policy aides.

Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster, who will be leaving the State Department and the National Security Council, respectively, were thought to have some sort of moderating influence on Trump. But the president has shoved them aside, elevating two more fiery confidants to help formulate U.S. foreign policy. They are likely to seek to steer the president toward a position that mainstream Muslims might interpret to be more hostile to their religious faith.

That, I suggest, is a dangerous trend.

The killers with whom we have been at war since 9/11 need damn little pretext to recruit new militants to follow their perverted cause.

No, Mr. POTUS, Islam doesn’t ‘hate’ us

I watched a two-year-old video of Donald John Trump in which he told an interviewer that Islam “hates Americans.”

That comment has bothered me from the moment I heard it the first time.

I’ve long wondered, given what the president said at the time, why this country is full of so many Muslims. Why do people who follow the Islamic faith choose to live in a country full of those they supposedly “hate”? And, oh yes, what about Islamic Americans? How do we categorize those fellow citizens?

To me the answer is obvious. Muslims don’t “hate” Americans just because we are, um, Americans.

Muslim perverts — those who commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam — certainly do hate Americans. They also hate other Muslims.

I remember the night President Barack Obama told the world that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden. The president made it clear — just as President George W. Bush had made clear — that bin Laden wasn’t a Muslim leader. “He was a mass murderer of Muslims,” President Obama said.

I keep circling back to that notion every time I hear Donald Trump harp on this falsehood, that the Islamic faith teaches its followers to hate others who adhere to other faiths.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria posed the question the other day to Jordanian King Abdullah about whether the president was right to say that Muslims “hate Americans.” The king said, quite simply and with eloquence, that the president needs to learn more about Islam before making any statements about what the faith teaches.

Indeed, the president needs to learn more about, oh, just about everything before he opens his mouth.