Douchebag Decree: Anti-Muslim A-Holes


Image via Colorlines

If you build it, they will come...out of the woodwork.

Plans for the Cordoba House--a Muslim community center modeled after the YMCA and Jewish Community Center of New York City has been in the works for years now. Imam Feisal, one of the project's organizers, said the idea for an Islamic space near the former site of the World Trade Center was a way "to push back against the extremists." But while most people haven't heard of the Cordoba House, they've heard of the Ground Zero Mosque. Why? A New York Times article predicted last December that the project "could very well become a target for anti-Muslim attacks," a prophecy that's been fulfilled by the right-wing media response. Here's a round-up of some of the major scumbags and douchebags behind the hate.

Pamela Gellar - blogger of the right-wing Atlas Shrugs, is credited with fanning the flame on the media shitstorm that transformed the Cordoba Project into the "Ground Zero Mosque." Gellar's group "Stop the Islamization of America" began the project "Campaign Offensive: Stop the 911 Mosque!" causing Mayor Bloomberg's office to be flooded with emails. Gellar and SIOA planned the first protest of the mosque, and she's since been a go-to for trash-talking the mosque.

Laura Ingraham - Oddly enough, Ingraham originally interviewed Daisy Khan, Imam Feisal's wife, in December, stating "I can't find many people who really have a problem with [the Cordoba Project]...I like what you're trying to do." Ingraham's changed her tune though, and now argues for the "importance of assimilation," drawing a clear line between "American" and "Muslim" ('cause you know, there's no such thing as being both). She claims Muslims have a "deeply negative distrustful view of America and her citizens" (false) and that Khan "says if we object to the mosque, we're Muslim haters" (true). THEN Ingraham GOES there, and brings in the Disney worker who was not allowed to be a hostess because of her headscarf as evidence of the "Clash of Civilizations." I'm guessing the irony of Disney representing "American Civilization" is lost on Ingraham.

Newt Gingrich - It shouldn't surprise you to see Gingrich on this list, but his comparison of a Muslim community center to a Nazi presence is unforgivable.

Ron Ramsey - Who is Ron Ramsey and why should we care? He thinks this: "You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it." Um, no, no you couldn't even argue that: Islam, or whatever you want to call it, is the second largest religion in the world. His comments were in response to some community members' concerns over plans to build a mosque and community center outside of Murfreesboro, a town near Nashville, TN (Note: NOT the past site of a terrorist attack). Later, Ramsey said that his opinion stems from the fact that "far too much of Islam has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than peace-loving religion," which is funny, because that is what Islam has come to resemble...on Fox News.

a roadsign that says Future site of Islamic Center of Murfresboro has been graffitted over to read Not Welcome

Terry Jones - is an extremist Christian who's called for "International Burn a Koran Day." For a second you might wonder why the New York Times has bothered giving any press to a gun-toting eccentric who has even admitted having "no experience with [the Koran] whatsoever. I only know what the Bible says," and then you realize that International Burn a Koran Day has over six thousand fucking fans on Facebook.

And Sarah Palin, because Sarah Palin is a douche.
SP: "There are a hundred mosques already in New York. If the purpose of this mosque, as we're led to believe, is to um, create this tolerant environment to avoid anything like a 9-11 repeat, then you have to ask, why didn't one of those one hundred mosques already accomplish such a thing?"

And, before you chalk up all the bigotry to talking (shit)heads, keep in mind that these messages have truly frightening repercussions-- TPM reports that a recent poll shows that less than a quarter of American view Islam as "favorable," and hate crimes across the country are cropping up. Also via TPM, Edina Lekovic of the Muslim Public Affairs Council said,

The hateful rhetoric that is being spewed by people like Newt Gingrich and then being amplified by mainstream media outlets poses a grave danger to the safety and well-being of everyday Muslim Americans like this cab driver, an innocent person...If there's blood on anyone's hands, I think part of that blood goes on Fox News' hands, and the kind of round-the-clock news cycle that is just amplifying the hysteria rather than having an intelligent conversation about matters where people have differences of opinion."

The cab driver was Ahmed H. Sharif, who was stabbed in the face, neck, arms, and hand by 21-year-old college student Michael Enright, who got into Sharif's NYC cab, gave him an Arabic greeting, asked him if he was Muslim, and with Sharif's affirmative, attacked him saying "Consider this a checkpoint." There's the Islamophobes mosque-protesters in New York with signs reading "Mosque Supports Hamas" and "Islam= Slavery." And before you believe that bigotry is limited to New York or "red states," hate crimes in Madera, California have also happened recently, where an Islamic center has had a window smashed and hateful signs reading "No temple for the God of terrorism at Ground Zero" were left by the "American Nationalist Brotherhood."

a sad-looking man crouches next to a crudely made cardboard sign that reads No temple for the God of terrorism at Ground Zero

And now, a real moment of zen--Russell Simmons' loft overlooking Ground Zero:
a brick New York apartment building. In each of the top floor windows, a different religious symbol is placed to spell out COEXIST overlooking the Ground Zero site.

Thank you Kristin and Maya!

Comments

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Well-deserved

The movement against the Cordoba House is upsetting and very much based on hate. I'm baffled at the ways in which Islam is being painted as the only religion that has ever happened to have any violent followers. While the Bible promotes peace, do we even need to mention its history as a justification for war and torture? Most major religions have had extremists, though a shared core point of them tends to be, to quote a secular icon, "Be excellent to each other."

I don't always agree with Olbermann, but I appreciated his address of the issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZpT2Muxoo0

Exactly. People

Exactly. People conveniently forget all the Christians that have killed in the name of God.
(I don't know if I could say the Bible promotes peace. In some parts, yes. In other parts, it's extremely violent, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and prejudiced towards several other groups.)

Thank you so much for

Thank you so much for posting this. As a Muslim, I find all this very frightening. I'm in Canada and from everything I'm seeing and reading it seems as if some Americans (a lot of Americans) are about ready to open up internment or concentration camps for Muslims. Very scary indeed.

language

is there any possibility we could lose the word "douchebag"? seems disempowering somehow.

Sarah Palin and douching are

Sarah Palin and douching are two things that are generally unhealthy for women, that have been used to shame women at some point in time, and that I avoid contact with. Seems like a logical and empowering insult to me. *shrug*

whatever

probably i just don't "get it." seems to me using the word as an insult suggests that the object exists in a familiar context, in other words that ordinary people actually use it, and that what it contains is disgusting. if this is the message you want to convey, go for it.

Nope

Hi r,

Actually, the message that we want to convey is that douchebags (the product) are harmful to women and are a tool of the Patriarchy meant to make women feel bad about themselves. The actions of Douchebags (the people) are equally pointless and harmful. Here's a link if you'd like to read more about our use of the term: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/hear-ye-hear-ye-the-douchebag-decree-decree
____________
Kelsey Wallace, web editor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

okay then

didn't realize it was house policy, sorry. i withdraw my objection (though i disagree).

Coincidentally...

Today I was watching The Daily Show (rerun) while packing to go back to Murfreesboro where I will begin my third year at Middle Tennessee State University. The opening segment was about the Islamic Center and the controversy surrounding it and TDS represented the situation pretty accurately. I, of course, immediately found video of the segment and posted it to my Facebook profile along with an expression of my sadness and embarrassment as a Tennessean over the situation.

Then, a friend of mine, who is from the same small town in East TN as me and who, to my knowledge, has never been to Murfreesboro and really had no idea what was going on commented this:

"Yeah Jon Stewart is also a reliable source just like Google or Wikipedia. I think both sides can express their freedoms as much as they want. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Hindering either is counter-productive."

To which I replied:

"[Name of friend], that actually is happening in Murfreesboro right now. From what I can tell they (TDS) got it right. And btw, Islamophobes have every right to spew their hatred of people they don't understand; what they don't have is the right to prevent people from practicing whatever religion they choose. That is the goal of these people (not all people who take issue with Islam, but definitely those in question here). The Muslims represented in this clip are not trying to prevent people from speaking against them, but the people speaking against them are trying to prevent them from worshiping where they choose.

What is counter-productive is implying that these two sides have equal footing/ equal supporting evidence. While both sides have equal constitutional right to expression, one side is actively endeavoring to oppress the other using fear-mongering and othering tactics, while the other side just wishes to be treated with fairness under the law."

Anti-Muslims

Did you know that Richard the Lionhearted had 3,000 Muslims eviscerated to see if they had swallowed jewels to prevent the Christians from getting hold of them? Is Christianity a religion of peace?

Religion is not what makes

Religion is not what makes people do terrible things to one another. Greed, lust for power (political and otherwise), and egotism (to name a few that I believe were specific to the Crusades) in human hearts and minds are the roots of these kinds of acts. People love to come up with excused for these actions and often will say that God made them do it (or the devil, as the popular phrase goes).

As a Christian who strongly believes in religious freedom for all (including those who choose to believe in no religion), I ask you to please not make broad statements about my religion (and in turn about me) based upon the actions of people I've never met/ disagree with (both living and dead). Christianity is actually very diverse. There is no one person who can claim to speak for us all.

You have every right to disagree with my religious beliefs, but I am asking you not to insult me (and to consider that such broad statements are made by Islamophobes as well and that stooping to their level is ill advised).

Oh, and with the title of your comment you imply that all Anti-Muslims are Christian. This is not so.

Whoa, pardner

@LeeAnne

I am a woman of the Christian faith, too, but in Anonymous's defense, I don't think she (I'm just going to say "she" for ease of flow) meant to paint all Christians with the same brush. I think she was trying to make a point. Often people point to somewhat isolated incidents of Islam being twisted into violence in an attempt to say that Islam is not a religion of peace. To me, it sounded like Anonymous was simply giving an example which showed (quite skillfully) that can you basically take any violent event stemming from religion and make the same fallacious argument.

Osama bin Laden was a Muslim, Hitler was a Christian, and Pol Pot was an atheist. Any religion (or non-religion) can be used as a moral compass but can also be twisted into evil. In this sense, I don't think Christianity is all that different from Islam.

re Anti-Muslims

Thanks for getting it, Lisa.

Ugh (at my fired up self)

Sorry. I've been having that conversation (about religion not being some great evil) all day...all week actually. It was that "Is Christianity a religion of peace?" thing that got to me. I assumed you (Anonymous) were making a broad statement, not commenting on such broad statements. For me it did not read the way you intended it. Sorry for projecting.

Couldn't agree more! What

Couldn't agree more! What truly racks my brain, as in tortures, is that so many Christians do not understand that Islam is a related religion coming from the Abrahamic Judaic just like Christianity.

Religion does help fuel

Religion does help fuel peoples hatred. I'm speaking about all religion. At any point in time, you can see people doing evil acts in the name of religion. Would they still do these acts without religious influence? We will never know. Religion has caused great harm to people and there is no way anyone can deny that. At the same time, religion has helped people live better lives and make their lives better. Religion has helped people and helped bring social change/tolerance. There are two sides to religion, and to ignore one side is wrong. Religion can and does help spread violence/intolerance. In the US, all the movements against progress have been fueled by bigoted religious leaders. However, progressive movements have also been lead by religious leaders, the civil rights movement is a perfect example. Is religion inherently evil? No, its not but its not inherently good either.

Religion & Dehumanization

I believe the media and anyone else who attempts to vilify religious or non-religious groups dehumanize the people they speak on so that they don't have to think about them intently. It's as if they lack the energy to see a person as a person first (whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, atheist, whatever). This laziness makes broad brush strokes of complex groups and can be applied to nearly any prejudice.
I root for those groups that are attempting to educate their fellows and present themselves via peaceful means, as I believe the Cordoba House wants to, because that allows some breakage in the cycle of "prejudice, assumption, vocal distrust." It really breaks my heart that people are protecting their prejudices over learning about other peoples when it is presented in a non-threatening way.

I agree with ...

... you "root[ing] for those groups that are attempting to educate their fellows and present themselves via peaceful means," but it really must apply across the board. We should not choose to ignore and not investigate all sides of an issue, just because what we uncover might inconveniently contradict what we want to believe. And in this case, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf should be very carefully studied. Heather Robinson writes, on HuffPo, that the Imam "is unwilling to unequivocally condemn the deliberate murder of innocents via suicide terror." Her article details comments Imam Rauf made in a lecture he delivered in Australia. This is just one of many, many indicators that he is not being forthcoming. If we are going to truly discuss this, then we must all be willing to carefully investigate all aspects of it, and not just the ones that support one side, or that make us feel all warm, fuzzy, and tolerant. [See Heather Robinson's entire article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-robinson/ground-zero-mosque-leader... ]

not "forthcoming" about what, exactly?

refusal to unequivocally denounce Hamas is not the same thing as supporting al Qaeda or Islamic jihad or what have you. it's disingenuous of Park51 opponents to continue to conflate the two issues.

Oh, gosh.

This week, Time magazine asks: "Is America Islamophobic?" I'd like to think they're referring to one of the other Americas, because I don't know that there's any doubt about this one.