Three officials of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Ohio admit to going unannounced to a man's home to confront him over a bumper sticker on his car - a testament, they claim, of their tolerance and moderation. The incident occurred last year, but the CAIR trio involved - Ahmad Al-Akhras, CAIR national vice chairman, Asma Mobin-Uddin, CAIR-Ohio president, and Abukar Arman, CAIR-OH board member - have recently recounted this incident to the local establishment media as an example of how they "invite dialogue".
Others, however, believe the incident is additional proof that CAIR regularly resorts to threats, intimidation and demonization to silence its critics. Earlier this month, attorneys for CAIR sent a letter threatening legal action against the Young Americans Foundation if they allowed NY Times bestselling author and JihadWatch director, Robert Spencer, to speak at their conference on "The Truth of the Council on American-Islamic Relations". This thuggery is reminiscent of CAIR's 2004 lawsuit against independent journalist Andrew Whitehead of Anti-CAIR, a suit which was dropped by CAIR in order to avoid responding to required interrogatories about its historic ties to HAMAS and role in terror financing.
The CAIR-OH incident is without known precedent, harassing a private citizen at his home because CAIR officials did not like one of his bumper stickers. One of the trio, Abukar Arman, has described how they set upon their unwitting victim:
Several months ago, a non-Muslim fellow in the inter-faith community brought to the attention of CAIR-Ohio a picture of his neighbor's truck with a bumper sticker that read "Jesus loves you, and Allah wants you dead".Long story short: in a conversation that took place right outside his door and lasted for over an hour, the former Marine talked about how he was very suspicious of Muslims and how, both in Somalia and in Iraq, he and other Americans who "came to help these two countries had their hands bitten." He talked about how he did not believe there were any moderate Muslims and how organizations such as CAIR were deliberately silent about condemning terrorism. He also talked about being alarmed by the growing Muslim population in Central Ohio and how they may be hiding a terrorist who has in his possession a "briefcase nuke". He said, "I don't want to see a giant mushroom in Columbus" [I will come back to this point].
Some of us thought that the appropriate thing to do was to get media involved and use this truck owner as a poster-child of the prevalent assertive ignorance that is widening the post 9/11 political divide between Muslims and non-Muslims. Others, on the other hand, saw this as an opportunity for human contact, discourse, and to build bridges of understanding. The latter opinion prevailed.
Therefore, I had the privilege of being one of three Muslims (2 male and a female with Islamic veil) who paid a neighborly visit to the truck owner. What ensued was an interesting discourse that I found to be very educational (its final outcome notwithstanding).
The truck owner was a former Marine officer who served in Somalia and Iraq. Initially, as he opened the door, he was visibly apprehensive (and rightfully so).
We greeted him and introduced ourselves. We reassured him that we were only interested to get to know him, address any questions or perhaps grievance that he may have, and to give him a chance to meet and dialogue with ordinary Muslims.
Lastly, he talked about his career in the private sector.how he worked as a "corporate anti-terrorism expert" and a "consultant to a numerous multinational corporations"...
Arman admits that the original intention was to make this two-war veteran a "poster-child" of Islamophobia and publicly to vilify the man by enlisting the help of the local media - all because they didn't agree with the sentiments the man expressed via a bumper sticker. He also admits that the man was visibly leery of his late-night visitors showing up on his doorstep, what they probably would argue is proof of his Islamophobia.
What makes this situation and Abukar Arman's comments even more appalling is that the former Marine had served in the UN-backed peacekeeping mission in Somalia, Arman's native country, to protect the people there from the warlords that had taken over the country and who were starving the people by the tens of thousands. Additionally, the former Marine had been reported to CAIR by one of his neighbors who was a friend to the CAIR officials in the "inter-faith community".
But imagine if the roles in this case were reversed: imagine if Robert Spencer, Andrew Whitehead and myself showed up on the doorstep of any of these CAIR officials - unwelcome and unannounced - to confront them about their repeated statements of support for extremism, bigotry and terrorism: Ahmad Al-Akhras for his public defense of convicted terrorists, including his "long-time friend", convicted and deported Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Fawaz Damra; Asma Mobin-Uddin for promoting several hate sites with rabidly anti-Jewish content on her own personal website; or Abukar Arman, for his vocal public support of HAMAS, Hezbollah and the al-Qaeda-backed Islamic Courts Union. Would they see such action as "inviting dialogue", or would they instead denounce such an "invitation to dialogue" in a flurry of CAIR press releases as a "hate crime" that would merit restraining orders and warrant federal criminal charges?
Moore is just another hate-filled Leftist
In a variant of the Golden Rule, Kevin Leffler has recently done to Michael Moore what Michael Moore has done to so many others. In Shooting Michael Moore Mr. Leffler produces a commendable documentary that shows Michael Moore to be something other than that self-anointed, compassionate advocate for the "little guy." Echoing the format of Moore's first documentary, Roger and Me, Mr. Leffler, a former schoolmate and friend of Michael Moore, seeks out the elusive Moore. It is quickly evident that Moore (not unlike Al Gore) does not appreciate confrontation or having the truth or the effects of his body of work challenged. Moore wants applause and royalties, not debate. It is amusing to see the champion of the ambush interview himself waddling away from Mr. Leffler's ambush interviews.
Michael Moore is certainly no Nazi. However, what is interesting about his films is the extent to which they rapidly degenerate into slick propaganda, illustrative of principles enunciated by Joseph Goebbels:
"Arguments must therefore be crude, clear, and forcible, and appeal to the emotions and instincts, not the intellect."
Goebbels was merely elaborating Hitler's insight in Mein Kampf, where Hitler stated:
"All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent of those toward whom it intends to direct itself."
Contempt is the overriding sentiment of anyone producing propaganda in this spirit of Goebbels. It is contempt for the truth, and it is contempt for the audience. The body of Moore's work is larded with contempt. He disdains the people of Flint as he feigns deep sympathy. Like Rosie O'Donnell he disparages American gun ownership while, like her, he has armed security. He hates the rich while living as lavishly as any Kennedy. He has contempt for the American people as he profits handsomely, to paraphrase Lenin, trying to sell us rope with which to hang ourselves. Moore's contempt for those in his films is manifest not only in the films themselves but in Moore's treatment of his subjects when the cameras stop. Mr. Leffler effectively depicts this aspect of Moore's contempt. Here are a few examples of what Mr.Leffler portrays:
Rhonda Britton and Fred Ross were prominently featured in Roger and Me. Moore needed their consent to use their images in the movie. Rhonda Britton is by her own admission barely literate. Moore gave her $100.00 and a ride in a limousine, and he had her sign a waiver. (Surely he knew that she had no understanding of what she signed.) Mr. Ross refused to sign Moore's waiver. He had to sue Moore before he was paid substantially more than the exploited Rhonda Britton. Moore solemnly tells us in the film that we are judged by "how we treat the least among us." Indeed.
According to former cameraman, Bruce Schermer, Moore regularly instructed his cameramen to lie to their subjects. They were told to pretend that they were from the local news station, or PBS, or the Discovery Channel. They lied to Staff Sgt. Raymond Plouhar, Jr. claiming they were from the Discovery Channel. For Fahrenheit 911 they filmed his recruiting efforts in Flint, Michigan. Moore portrays some of the sales pitch to prospective recruits, followed by a quick cut to terrified Iraqi women, as if this is what Sgt. Plouhar were really promoting. The emotional reaction of Sergeant Plouhar's parents to the dishonesty toward and manipulation of their son by Moore is the most moving part of the film. They must speak for Sgt. Plouhar because he was killed in Iraq fighting for everything Michael Moore holds in contempt.
Mr. and Mrs. Plouhar were able briefly to confront Michael Moore about his dishonesty and abuse of their son's service, and Mr. Leffler was able to film some of this confrontation. In a response that can only be described as obscene, according to the Plouhars, Moore told them that there really is some consolation for them. Moore told them that his use of Sgt. Plouhar in his movie gave the dead soldier "notoriety." Here is the essence of Moore's position: if he, the gifted Michael Moore, had not deceived Sgt. Plouhar and used him to disparage all that Sgt. Plouhar stood for, he would have died in Iraq relatively anonymously, known only to family and friends. He would be just another war statistic. But the great Michael Moore bestowed on Sgt. Plouhar "notoriety."
In a cheap imitation of Shakespeare's 55th Sonnet, where he promised immortality to his beloved through his art, Michael Moore sees himself generously conferring fame and celebrity on a dead American soldier whom Moore really despises. Evidently, America needs no Homer or Thucydides when it has Moore. Service to Michael Moore's interests certainly trumps sacrifice for one's country. There must be a special circle in hell for the crude and swinish soul who could believe that supposed "notoriety" would soothe Sergeant Plouhar's grieving parents.
I suspect that Moore is too thick to understand the real implications of his use of the word "notoriety." It means to be famous or known in an unfavorable light. Moore did all that he could to cast Sgt. Plouhar in an unfavorable light. So here is one of those rare moments when Moore was actually honest about what he did, although this honesty was probably unintentional.
Mr. Leffler touches on many of the other seemingly countless sordid aspects of Michael Moore. Among others, we hear of all the inflated and empty promises to the people of Flint, Michigan. We learn of Moore's chiseling on his taxes and his violation of environmental laws. We learn from Mr. Leffler that the worst terror-supporting state in the world, Iran, partially lifted its embargo against American films. This was done by Iran so that Moore's Fahrenheit 911 could be shown to Iranian audiences. Move over Tokyo Rose... way over.
What becomes clear as one watches Mr. Leffler's film is that Michael Moore really believes that his behavior, his sense of ethics, the means by which he amasses and retains his huge personal fortune are subject to no standards, scrutiny, or judgment beyond those of Michael Moore himself. Propagandists masquerading as "artists" evidently get a free pass in the universe of Michael Moore.
For Moore, as for others who have excelled at propaganda, truth is, by definition, that which furthers a favored political objective. If someone's eviction had nothing to do with General Motors' plant closings as Moore misrepresents in Roger and Me, or if a soldier's heinous injuries were not a result of enemy action as Moore implies in Fahrenheit 911, or if Moore publicly promises to hire blacks to make a political point in Stupid White Men, then hires none, he simply defines truth accordingly. Amassing a personal fortune and promoting his inane political views justify any means. It is the cynical elasticity of Moore's "truth" that provides these means.
Mr. Leffler does not have pretensions of being a professional filmmaker. The film has its flaws. Like all of Moore's films, it too runs too long and at times belabors points. He could have strengthened his case of Moore's lying to Sergeant Plouhar had he tracked down the second Marine who was exploited by Michael Moore. Some of his points have been made by others in the print media. However, as we sometimes fight fire with fire, there are times to fight film with film. Shooting Michael Moore is a worthy rebuttal to Michael's Moore's pomposity, avarice, and dishonesty. The film helps us understand why Michael Moore, so filled with contempt for much of what is good, is himself so utterly contemptible
BIGOTED BRITISH POLICE
They are pro-Muslim to the point of absurdity
How did the Crown Prosecution Service and West Midlands Police come to refer Channel 4's Dispatches programme, Undercover Mosque, to Ofcom? It is one of the most bizarre decisions taken by public authorities in recent times. Having decided that they could not or would not prosecute the purveyors of Wahhabite hate speech portrayed in the film - mostly from the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham - they instead turned round on the documentary-makers and investigated them for allegedly stirring up racial hatred.
This controversy will run and run. Tomorrow the Edinburgh International Television Festival hosts a seminar, Don't Mention Islam, at which one of the star turns will be the man at the heart of the fuss, Kevin Sutcliffe, deputy head of news and current affairs at Channel 4.
Paul Goodman, MP, the Shadow Communities Minister, yesterday piled on the pressure, writing to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith. Effectively, he inquired whether the Saudi Government and its proxies - which are desperately sensitive about the role of Saudi religious institutions portrayed in the documentary - have made representations about Undercover Mosque (shown on Channel 4 in January) to the Government or to other national and local agencies. And how, he asked, have civil servants, acting officially or unofficially, responded to these complaints?
In a packed seminar at Policy Exchange last week, speaker after speaker denounced West Midlands Police for shooting the messenger and for appeasing some of the most sectarian elements in their force area. Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West, who courageously led the fight against the proposed religious hatred Bill, charged that this constabulary has "form" over defending certain liberties: it apparently equated the Sikh protesters who sought the cancellation of the allegedly blasphemous play Behzti at Birmingham's Repertory Theatre in 2004 with those seeking to maintain theatrical freedom.
So once again, it was the poor "Old Bill" that got it in the neck, rather than the CPS - which was at least an equal partner in the process. This is no doubt unfair. But it does illustrate how damaging it is for police forces, perhaps more than any other public bodies, to blunder into such controversies.
The peculiarity here is that the senior officers of West Midlands Police are not exactly dedicated followers of political fashion. Thus, Sir Paul Scott-Lee, the Chief Constable, has been known to tell a home secretary where to go when that department sought to push him beyond his remit as a police officer. Indeed, Sir Paul is so much his own man that the Director-General of the Security Service, Jonathan Evans, went to see him not long ago to urge him to reorder his force priorities - and devote more resources to the "sexier" topic of counter-terrorism. The Assistant Chief Constable who led this investigation, Anil Patani, is a cautious fellow with no apparent ideological agenda. Indeed, when West Midlands Police suspect a real threat, they can act quickly and efficiently - as I have seen myself in the case of one Muslim associate in Birmingham who was endangered recently.
But it is in the area of "soft power" that West Midlands Police, like so many other forces, is at its weakest. According to Whitehall reports, the broader Midlands region has seen some of the most dramatic recent "spikes" in radicalisation of Muslims anywhere in the country. West Midlands Police is desperate to get to grips with that trend through intensified "community engagement". As part of that, it has selected what it deems to be "credible" Muslim "partners" who can help to "deliver" young Muslims - youths who might otherwise take a walk on the wild side. The trouble is that policemen are too often insufficiently discerning in their choice of "partners". They are not best equipped to "pick winners" - often plumping for the loudest voices. Thus, the West Midlands Police website lists the Birmingham Central Mosque as its official partner - whose chairman, Mohammed Naseem, believes in all sorts of dottinesses, such as the claim that Muslims were not responsible for 9/11 and 7/7 (though he condemned terrorism against innocents).
Much the same official mindset was on offer at a Wilton Park conference sponsored by the Foreign Office and the Department of Communities and Local Government late last February, Countering Terrorism in Europe and North America: How Can a Community-Based Approach be Developed? According to one official, officers from West Midlands commended to the gathering the efforts of two Muslims whom they stated were from the Green Lane mosque.
Neither man appears in the Dispatches programme; perhaps they were horrified by what some of their co-religionists said there. If so, they appear not to have stated it publicly. When these officers from West Midlands gave them such favourable references at the Wilton Park conference, was the force already investigating some of those elements at the mosque for alleged hate speech? What balance of forces was West Midlands Police - in conjunction with other elements of government - seeking to foster in the mosque? Has Channel 4 been an inadvertent casualty of that? Whose poor advice did the force take before stepping on this landmine?
West Midlands Police, like another force or security agency, will obviously do everything it can to stop bombs going off. Sometimes that means supping with some people who don't necessarily come up to the antiracist, antihomophobic standards of postMacpherson policing. But rubbing shoulders with such elements in back alleys is not the same as according them public recognition. By referring this matter to Ofcom, West Midlands Police showed that its preferred associates in the Muslim community are Wahhabites and assorted radical Islamists rather than the nonsectarian Muslim mainstream. It is a choice that is profoundly demoralising for genuine moderates and will ultimately undermine, rather than strengthen the very community cohesion that the force seeks.
Above all, the referral caters to the sense of "victim culture" peddled by the Muslim Council of Britain and others: that our current discontents are caused as much by media sensationalism and "Islamophobia" as by Islamist ideology itself. It will reinforce that strain of opinion within the MCB that holds that mosques and other institutions don't need to clean up their act. It is often said that war is too important to be left to the generals. The case of Channel 4's Undercover Mosque surely proves that community cohesion is far too important to be left to the CPS and the police.
Australia: Stupid accusations of racism from the arty-farties
They are so pathetic that they need to denigrate ordinary people in order to feel good about themselves
NATASHA Puatjimi doesn't fit the script. Well, not the script that's waved at us by film director George Miller. Miller, you might recall, claims there's a very good reason Australian films bomb at the box office. "Australia at its heart is so racist that I don't think we can stomach it." It's odd that being bored through the floor by angsty films such as Rolf de Heer's Bad Boy Bubby - blurbed as the story of "a 35-year-old man-child, confined his whole life by his domineering mother, who uses him for sex, to a two-room tenement apartment" - should be hailed by Miller as proof of racism.
That seems about as strange as .... well, as a Tiwi Islander girl like Natasha this week beating 170 boys to be voted best and fairest of the Yarra Junior Football League under-13 competition.
But the even greater mystery is why Miller and so many other artists and ideologues insist on believing we really are sick-makingly racist. How glibly - and often - that preposterous claim is made. "Racism is as Australian as lamingtons," sneered art critic Robert Hughes, author of the bad-us history The Fatal Shore. We're so racist we "invite the region's contempt", sniffed former diplomat and arts bureaucrat Alison Broinowski.
Racist! What a cop-out that gleeful slur has been for those who'd rather abuse than understand. Who'd rather preen than confront an awkward truth. Here's how it's worked.
Pauline Hanson's one million votes? All racists, you were told. And don't dare ask who those voters were truly rejecting. (Hint: think not poor blacks but powerful whites.)
The "stolen generations"? Oh, just priests, nuns, welfare officials, police and politicians being as racist as always, school textbooks preached. Don't even start to look at what hell those children were "stolen" from.
The Cronulla riot? Yet more racism, you silly person. And if you ask what so provoked the crowd, you must be a racist, too.
And now again, yet more lines from this same tatty Miller script. Listen to them. The National Sorry Day Committee dismisses the Howard Government's $500 million intervention in the Northern Territory's sickest Aboriginal communities as just proof of "the intent for the dog of 'white supremacy' to return to its vomit". Muriel Bamblett, of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, waves it off as politicians "blowing the dog whistle of racism" because - note - "the Australian public are too racist and too uncaring of indigenous children" to give real help.
As I said: straight out of Miller's script. But now the big question: Is there actually a part in that script for Natasha Puatjimi? Can Miller fit in a part for a girl who is in fact one of those very same "indigenous children" from the Territory, who we are supposedly "too racist and too uncaring" to help? I'm sure you know of Natasha already. After all, we at the Herald Sun thought you'd be so glad to hear of her success that we ran her picture and story on our front page yesterday. As did The Age. The television stations, led by men with an anxious eye on what makes viewers reach for the remote, similarly decided - unanimously - Natasha's was a story the public would love.
Believe me, if these ratings-driven robots shared Miller's venomous view of Australians, they'd never show so much eager footage of a black girl making good. Not to a land fierce with rednecks. But while you've heard Natasha's story, you may have missed some details that help to make my point - that in her trophy we see reflected an Australia brighter than is modish to admit. Take, for instance, how she came to be in Melbourne. A Melbourne woman, Fiona Hogan, met Natasha's parents while working at a Tiwi Islands medical clinic and was asked if Natasha could stay with her in Melbourne to get a better education.
Think, also, of the other goodwill Natasha has been given. Her Ivanhoe club last year offered her an exchange, and now that she's in Melbourne gave her a chance to shine as ruck-rover. How much goodwill? On trophy night, said Natasha, "everyone was looking at me and when they read out that I got 27 votes I heard the most cheering ever". By the next morning she was on radio, confessing that her favourite player was Essendon's Adam McPhee, and within hours she was at Windy Hill, having a kick with him and a chat to coach Kevin Sheedy, who has done so much for Aboriginal players.
Tell me again, Mr Miller, that ours is a country sick with racists and show me in your script where Natasha fits in. How many other signs have there been of our essential good nature? Only the wilfully blind could miss them.
Many of you will have your small proofs, as I have mine - like the day Danny, my best friend at Tarcoola Primary, was made captain of our sports team and carried in triumph on the shoulders of my father and another teacher when he sealed our win in the carnival against Cook and Kingoonya. Oh, I forgot a small fact that was then inconsequential: Danny was Aboriginal.
But almost every day come more stories - usually underreported - to show that for every racist you could drag out to damn, there are dozens of the decent you could instead praise. Here's one of the latest: when the Government said it was going in to help the Aboriginal children of the NT's worst camps, more than 500 doctors, nurses, dentists, psychologists, surgeons and the like rang a hotline to see if they could help. Free. More than 100 volunteers have already now gone to the Outback to serve - in this intervention vilified as a "genocide" and a proof of our "racism".
So a plea: can our artists stop pinning on us this badge of undeserved shame? Can our preachers stop celebrating a wickedness that isn't really ours? Can our writers define us by the many, not the few, and write instead a story that sees us more as we truly are: not perfect, but not that bad, either? In that revised script for Mr Miller, let's have that scene in which Natasha holds up her trophy to a cheering crowd. And let's have Miller, with all his art, shoot it in a way that makes clear the truth of that happy moment. Which truth? That it wasn't Natasha alone who won that trophy for the best and the fairest. A small bit of it - the base, maybe - was shared by us all.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.