American leaders are always trying to assess Osama bin Laden’s level of influence over Muslims.
They should look at his influence over their own countrymen.
The aversion to a proposed Muslim center near Ground Zero shows that it is Americans, not Muslims, whose thinking the terrorist leader has most successfully recast to his advantage.
The detractors strengthen and draw strength from bin Laden; their hot prejudice bolsters his assertion that America despises Islam and betrays an acceptance of his claim that he embodies the faith.
At first, the proposal to build the 12-story facility two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center aroused scant disapproval. It was even welcomed as an opportunity to reaffirm America as a land of tolerance and reclaim Islam as a religion of moderation.
The group behind the project, Cordoba House, pitched the facility (which would include restaurants, bookstores, art exhibits, a pool, an auditorium, and a prayer space) as a means of bridging divides between faiths. Its board of directors draws from various faiths, and its mission statement promotes intercivilizational understanding.
In November, 76 Tamil refugees escaped Sri Lanka on a rusty freighter. They arrived in Victoria, where they were met by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, who promptly jailed them for three months on allegations of terrorism. It would be fully half a year before the CBSA would admit that it had never had any evidence… In 2008, the federal and provincial governments were forced to issue apologies for the Komagata Maru. Now, two years later, if those words are to mean anything, we cannot afford to repeat history: let them stay.
by Fathima Cader
They’re at it again.
In November, 76 Tamil refugees escaped Sri Lanka on a rusty freighter. They arrived in Victoria, where they were met by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, who promptly jailed them for three months on allegations of terrorism. It would be fully half a year before the CBSA would admit that it had never had any evidence.
By then, however, it was too late: anti-Tamil and anti-refugee hysteria had spread like wildfire. Now, mere weeks after that most tepid of mea culpas from the CBSA, the hysteria greeting the Tamil MV Sun Sea passengers is worse. As with the Ocean Lady, these migrants will be detained in Maple Ridge jails before their refugee claims are considered. The Conservatives have begun to create new rules to treat refugees who arrive by boat differently from others. Meanwhile, Paul Fromm, the infamous neo-Nazi, has been receiving uncritical coverage in mainstream media with his demands that the migrants be sent back.
As the paranoia grows ever more heightened, it becomes increasingly important that we resist it. The universal rights of safety and mobility must be upheld, not only for the Sun Sea migrants, but for all people fleeing violence.
The July 7 attacks in London were a terrible tragedy and an unpardonable crime. They were also preventable. The Joint Intelligence Committee had warned in 2002 that the immoral and unprovoked war against Iraq would heighten the risk of a terrorist blowback. It was for this reason that John Pilger described the attacks as ‘Blair’s bombs‘. It is a serious subject, and deserves serious treatment. But instead Al Jazeera gave the platform to an execrable smear merchant from the neoconservative think tank Centre for Social Cohesion. CSC is known for its ‘relentless islamophobia’ which has ‘spread poison and whipped up anti-Muslim paranoia at every turn’. But Houriya Ahmed, who represented CSC on Al Jazeera, has taken it further. She runs a McCarthyite project called the The Spittoon along with some colleagues from CSC, some members of the notoriously Islamophobic Harry’s Place, and members of the ‘ex-extremist’ Quilliam Foundation. They use the cover of anonymity to defame Muslims and supporters of Palestinian rights from a revisionist Zionist perspective. The Spittoon is essentially a front for Harry’s Place (much of its content is crossposted from HP), whose list of targets include such notorious ‘Islamists’ and ‘anti-Semites’ as Amnesty International, Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky, Ken Loach, Tariq Ramadan, Caryl Churchill, the London Review of Books, Howard Zinn, Mehdi Hasan to name just a few. Meanwhile Ahmed’s colleague Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens (son of Christopher) — who has made a swift ascent in the neoconservative firmament trying to establish himself as a ‘terror expert’ — is at present spearheading an assault on journalism in Britain.