Joseph Farah and Cliff Kincaid: Keeping Fear Alive

Apparently:

Cliff Kincaid at AIM is reporting that Bill Ayers, the Weather Underground terrorist who for years was a fugitive, is recommending that the Jon Stewart–Stephen Colbert events, called “Restore Sanity” and “Keep Fear Alive,” are “worth attending.”

Robert Spencer Rails Against “Alinskyite” Conspiracy Against Pam Geller

At FrontPageMag, Robert Spencer comes to the defence of his close associate Pamela Geller, who he asserts has been “demonized” by the media. He was moved to write following set-backs Geller has had on the right, such as Christine O’Donnell recently dropping Geller’s endorsement from her campaign website. Spencer, with thudding inevitablity, sees an malign organising intelligence at work:

…the Leftist media establishment has mounted an all-out assault against her, with hit pieces coming virtually every day, following classic Alinskyite tactics. Her treatment in the media has been a textbook case of how the Left follows Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky’s playbook to destroy its most formidable opponents… “Pick the target,” Alinsky directs, “freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” …First, the hard-Left self-styled media watchdog Media Matters drew up a dossier full of distortions, half-truths, and outright lies about Geller. 

…The general haste to advance the false claim that Geller believed Malcolm X to be Obama’s father, and the utter indifference to her explanation to the contrary, recalled another Alinsky rule: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.” Hit pieces in The Guardian, Salon, The Atlantic, Talking Points Memo, and elsewhere among the Leftist mainstream media tried their best to portray Geller as ridiculous, even affecting a faux puritanical streak (“she filmed a video blog wearing a bikini!”) to try to make the characterization stick.

… if conservatives are not going to defend their own, and stick up for their own, then Alinskyites will pick us off one by one, and never themselves be exposed.

Why do people make fun of Geller? Simple: it’s a Left-wing conspiracy, as can be proven by reference to a particular text which reveals a both hidden overarching strategy and the “true” motive of any critics. It’s doubtful that Spencer really believes any of this, but as a rabble-rouser he’s hardly pitching himself at thoughtful readers.

Geller has long lamented the “Malcolm X” fiasco, which appeared in material on her site written by someone else but only partially endorsed by her. Charles Johnson notes:

Here’s the post at her hate site: HOW COULD STANLEY ANN DUNHAM HAVE DELIVERED BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA JR. IN AUGUST OF 1961 IN HONOLULU, WHEN OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON RECORDS SHOW HER 2680 MILES AWAY IN SEATTLE ATTENDING CLASSES THAT SAME MONTH? – Atlas Shrugs.

As you might be able to tell from the all-caps title, it’s a rambling, deranged Birther conspiracy theory, it’s thoroughly nuts, and it’s very long. Geller marked it up with bold, red, and different sized text, and included dozens of pictures. The page is about 3.5 megabytes in size. It’s huge. It took quite a bit of work to post.

But even if you take Geller’s laughable excuse at face value and forget about the claim that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child, the rest of this “anonymous author’s” psychotic rant is every bit as bad. What part of this ugly mess is supposed to be a “spectacular job?”

Another point addressed by Spencer is Geller’s smear of Elena Kagan as a neo-Nazi; he quotes Geller’s own explanation:

Here is credentialed journalism: they say without explanation that I “posted doctored pictures of Elena Kagan, the Supreme Court justice, in a Nazi helmet.” They don’t bother to mention that the Kagan photoshop came after it was revealed that Kagan had cited in her thesis a German Marxist who became a Nazi when Hitler took power.

I wrote a blog entry on this here – Geller’s attack was crude and presposterous piece of abuse which suggested that because Kagan had quoted a sociologist who had later become a Nazi, she must herself be a Nazi. It showed up Geller for what she is: a vulgar smear merchant whose ultimate target is not so much Islamic extremism but the very idea of rational discussion. Geller and Spencer are demagogues using fear to advance both themselves and a particularly unpleasant agenda. You don’t need to go hunting for some “textbook” which would “expose” their strategy: what they are up to is all too blatantly obvious.

EDL Rabbi on God’s Command to Kill Homosexuals

“You have to have two witnesses… to come up to him and say, ‘do you realise that you’re a fag?'”

Earlier this week I blogged on Sunday’s English Defence League rally outside the Israeli Embassy in London, where California’s “Surfing Rabbi” (and Tea Party activist) Nachum Shifren railed against Islam and expressed his satisfaction that “Arabs and Muslims” were killing each other “like the dogs they are”. Given the presence of LGBT rainbow flags and posters decrying Islamic homophobia, I also noted Shifren’s views on the subject of homosexuality; he has written that it should remain a private matter, and he has attacked “Gay radicals” who want a “quasi Gay/Lesbian hegemony, where a huge ‘bookburning,’ reminiscent of the Nazis, will purge any remnants of the ‘Christian, White, mainstream America'”.

Following the rally, the EDL headed towards Hyde Park and Speakers’ Corner; here, Shifren got into a conversation with a Muslim, who asked him about punishments for apostasy and homosexuality in the Torah. After some bluster and yelling, Shifren explains how his  approach differs from Islam (H/T to Exploring Life, The Universe and Everything for the video):

You have to have two witnesses, 13 years or older that believe in the Torah, to come up to him and say, “do you realise that you’re a fag?”… And the guy says “yes, yes”… then you bring him to the court in Jerusalem. Problem is, that Jerusalem was destroyed, there is no law court, so therefore all the laws you’re stating cannot be adjudicated. It’s a moot issue.

…What do you say about the very law that says kill the homosexuals?… Do you think God was right in giving this command?

…Whatever it says in the Torah is straight from God’s will.

So, God was right to command to kill the homosexuals?

That’s right.

At this point, Shifren’s EDL handlers become agitated about the need for the Rabbi to be somewhere else.

It’s not clear with which strand of Jewish fundamentalism Shifren identifies – he may think that nothing can be done to restore the law court until God intervenes to do so, or he may take the view that humans should work actively to create the kind of society he outlines above.

Shifren, incidentally, has the strong political endorsement of Pamela Geller… whose tendency to overlook the anti-gay views of her allies has caused her some trouble previously.

Dorries’ Smears Continue: Who Are the “Other MPs” She Claims Have Reported Tim Ireland to Police?

Not completely unexpectedly, Nadine Dorries MP has published a new blog entry continuing her smear campaign against the blogger Tim Ireland, and trying to justify misleading information on her blog. Their dispute had been discussed on the Sky News blog on Monday. Dorries complains:

I have reported Tim Ireland to the House of Commons police on three occasions and the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police explored the option of triggering section 5 of the Public Disorder Act. The House of Commons Police informed me that Mr Ireland had actually rang their office demanding to know if he had been reported. He had and they were seeking advice from the Met harassment unit.

…The Sky Boulton blog was outrageous and distressing. John Craig, their political reporter felt there was nothing wrong in legitimising a man I and other MPs have felt the need to report to the Police.

Curiously, however, the police haven’t even had so much as an informal word with Tim about any of this, and Dorries refuses to provide dates or reference numbers. One is put in mind of Hotspur’s assessment of Owen Glendower’s boasts about calling up spirits: “Why, so can I, or so can any man. But will they come?” We know that the police sometimes ignore legitimate complaints, but surely a complaint of harassment from a Member of Parliament would have been taken seriously, and if there had been a case to answer Tim would have been called to account? The details are also vague and inaccurate, as legal blogger Gaijin-San notes: there is no “Public Disorder Act”, and the provisions of similarly-named real Acts she may have had in mind are inadequate.

But what of these “other MPs” who supposedly reported Tim? We know from other statements which she has made that she is referring to Patrick Mercer MP and to Anne Milton MP. The latter is Tim’s constituency MP, and Tim got into a dispute with her over the alleged actions of a couple of her activists. No complaint was made to the police about Tim.

However, I’m more interested in Patrick Mercer MP, who has a nice sideline in providing scary quotes about terrorist threats to tabloid newspapers: these often crumble under closer scrutiny, such as his claim that the Taliban are using HIV-bombs. Some material was previously passed to Mercer from Glen Jenvey, who was discovered by Tim in early 2009 to have concocted evidence of a terrorist conspiracy by leaving bogus messages on a Muslim discussion forum; it seems that Jenvey’s aim had been to make provocative postings in order to draw out extremists, but that when this proved insufficient he used his own postings as evidence. Mercer, amid some embarrassment, eventually distanced himself from Jenvey.

However, Jenvey and Mercer both had another associate, named Dominic Wightman (also known as “Dominic Whiteman”). Wightman was another self-styled “terror tracker”, monitoring Islamic extremism on-line as director of the “VIGIL Network”. In 2006, Mercer introduced Wightman to officers at New Scotland Yard, posing with him for a photo-op outside the building, and he probably facilitated Wightman’s appearance on Newsnight around the same time.

Alas, though, the association proved to be another embarrassment for Mercer: some months later, Wightman was sued by a former employee at VIGIL over lack of payment and he became a bankrupt (he also had other business debts). It also eventually transpired that Wightman was dishonest: he concocted a pseudonymous document attacking Tim and including private information about him, which he then drew to our attention. He claimed that it had been written by a university lecturer working with Jenvey; police, however, traced it back to Wightman. The university lecturer concerned had initially supported VIGIL, but had come to have serious concerns about Wightman; Wightman’s purpose, which was at first successful but ultimately a failure, was to manipulate Tim and me into attacking him. I wrote about all this here.

Naturally, the easiest thing for Mercer to do was to shrug this all off by accusing Tim of being an “electronic stalker”; there is specific reason to think that he has discussed Tim with Dorries. Mercer likes to throw the “stalker” label around: he recently used it to discredit a subordinate administrator at the House of Commons with whom he had had an affair (although he did confirm that the affair had taken place). But did Mercer make a complaint about Tim to the police, as Dorries strongly infers? Again, if so, Tim has heard nothing about it.

Tim deals with Dorries’ accusations here. It needs to be stressed that her poisonous lies have already borne fruit, as they have been used by a third party to harass Tim for real: this person is a cyberthug named Charlie Flowers, who, like many other bullies, justifies his viciousness by pretending to be a vigilante. Last year Flowers, along with his “Cheerleader” accomplices and a man named Matthew Edwards, published Tim’s home address on-line and sent threats of violence; Flowers has cited Dorries as the reason for his actions, and his associates have alluded to  Dorries to incite others to join his campaign, on the grounds that Tim “stalks women”. Flowers claims to have been in contact with Dorries, although Dorries so far has not responded to queries on the subject.

Flowers knows that Dorries’ story is untrue; he is another former associate of Wightman and Jenvey, and like Jenvey he has himself been involved with attempting to manipulate Muslim websites by posting provocative messages (in one case, outing Jenvey as gay after Jenvey converted to Islam). Flowers and his associates were also involved with hounding the university lecturer. However, the Dorries cover story allows him to slander Tim further and to obscure the truth; Flowers is keen to obfuscate, as he has recently been attempting to insinuate himself into various activist groups.

OneNewsNow Misleads on Liu Xiaobo Quote

Writing at OneNewsNow, David Aikman discusses discontent in China:

When Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month, the response of the Chinese government was predictable… Liu, at the time of the Nobel announcement, was already serving an 11-year jail sentence slapped on him by the Chinese government for his temerity in authoring a brilliant human rights document, “Charter 08,” which called for a dazzling array of political and social reforms for China, including public control of the military, the separation of powers, freedom of religion, and an end to censorship.

…Boston-based human-rights activist Chai Ling, who founded All Girls Allowed in the U.S. to combat China’s brutal compulsory abortion policy, first met Liu Xiaobo as a student leader in the Democracy demonstrations in Beijing in 1989.  She believes strongly that China must have a spiritual transformation of its society before any major political reforms can be effective as part of a total package of reforms.  This conforms with a quotation attributed to Liu Xiaobo, who is not even known to be a Christian.  “Without God,” Liu is claimed to have said, “China has no hope.”

Aikman is the author of Jesus in Beijing, a journalistic guide to Christianity in the country which contains a lot of useful data, but which is marred by a simplistic triumphalism.

The quote which he attributes to Liu, that “Without God, China has no hope”, is also a simplification: it’s not sourced to anywhere, although I suspect that it has been derived from his essay “Does Chinese Culture Have a Future?” There, Liu writes that:

My tragedy may be likened to that of Lu Xun’s in that we have no transcendent values. Ours is the tragedy of having no God… Having no God to save him, Lu Xun could only degenerate.

However, Liu is not here calling for China to embrace theism. If Aikman had wanted to give his readers the full story, he would have probably bemused and disturbed them by referencing Liu’s debt to Nietzsche and existentialism; the tragedy is not that we’re ignoring the reality of God, but rather that we find ourselves in a world without God. According to an assessment by Woei Lien Chong, in China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution: Master Narratives and Post-Mao Counternarratives (pp. 248-249):

Liu Xiaobo is convinced that embracing absolutist master narratives is always a form of escapism from the meaningless of existence, and trhat it is a fatal mistake because the meaninglessness of life has to be valiantly endured and not concealed behind reassuring myths… Liu Xiaobo continues the hyperindividualistic, aestheticizing current associated with the name of Nietzsche.

Aikman’s gloss, by contrast, misleadingly makes Liu sound like one of the “cultural Christians” such as Liu Xiaofeng.

Liu has also described the internet as “God’s present to the Chinese people”; however, that’s clearly just a figure of speech rather than a theology.

It’s also worth noting the irony of the Christian Right OneNewsNow carrying praise for Charter 08: the document includes a specific call for “a separation of religion and state”.

English Defence League Rally at Israeli Embassy

As planned, yesterday saw an English Defence League rally in support of Israel outside the Israeli embassy in London, with a special guest appearance by California’s “surfing Rabbi” Nachum Shifren. A photo gallery of the event, by  can be seen here and here; EDL posters on display included images of the Israeli flag, and messages such as “There is no Place for Fascist Islamic Jew Haters in England”; “Islam Must Learn to Leave Israel Alone”; and “The True English will Never Abandon Israel”. There was also a large poster attacking Islamic homophobia and citing a warning by Peter Tatchell about Hizb ut Tahrir, and a few LGBT rainbow flags. The EDL’s Kevin Carroll is shown wearing a chain necklace bearing the EDL’s cross logo, and a shirt commemorating his recent participation at Pam Geller’s anti-mosque protest in New York.

Shifren sent an account of the event to Geller, who has published extracts:

Today was one of the biggest most organized demos in London . It was an honor for me, and I was quite humbled with the esteem shown to me by Londoners whom I’ve never met. Something very special happended here today, something the whole world noticed.

[..]

When I was introduced at the demo, I got a minute long standing ovation, with shouts of : “Rabbi, Rabbi, Rabbi” Never in my life have I been appreciate so much. The love was overflowing, they were so grateful for me thinking of them and supporting them. Of course, it was I that was grateful. Today was a shot heard round the world!

Apparently, there were around 300 EDL members present – not quite “the biggest” demo in London.

Geller also points us towards Carroll’s speech on the EDL website; Carroll used the occasion to rail against the “lies” about the existence of a “Palestinian people”.

The EDL has supported Israel since its inception, vicariously identifying with the country for its militant approach to Palestinians and foreign enemies, although it’s doubtful whether most EDL supporters know much about the conflicts. Last year, the EDL website had a hyperlink to the Kahanist “Jewish Defense League” in the USA, although this was taken down shortly after I wrote a blog entry about it (Shifren, incidentally, was “excommunicated” from the JDL in 2005 after offering support to Pat Buchanan). Several months ago, the EDL’s “Jewish Division” showed up to support a Zionist Federation rally at the same location, although the ZF and other mainstream Jewish organisations repudiated its presence.

UPDATE: Shifren’s speech has been posted to YouTube; it’s a boilerplate rant which effectively whips up the crowd’s hatred and resentment. Despite some reports, he doesn’t directly say “Arabs are dogs”; here’s the actual quote:

I’m still waiting for Arabs and Muslims to have peace with each other. Sunni versus Shi’i. The Al-Qaeda versus the Hamas. Hamas versus Al-Fatah. Like the dogs that they are, they eat each other alive.

(1) Shifren’s own view on the subject of homosexuality is that it should remain a private matter, and he has railed against “Gay radicals” who want a “quasi Gay/Lesbian hegemony, where a huge ‘bookburning,’ reminiscent of the Nazis, will purge any remnants of the ‘Christian, White, mainstream America’ that has given ALL AMERICANS the most profound scope of freedom, liberty, and justice that Mankind has yet to experience).

The 70 Per Cent Solution: Who Are Nadine Dorries’ “Four Stalkers”?

As is being widely reported, a Parliamentary investigation has cleared Nadine Dorries MP of having lied about the location of her main residence in order to claim a second home rent allowance. Some of the evidence against her came from statements on her blog, in which she gave the impression of living in Woburn, in her constituency of Mid Bedfordshire. Dorries explained the discrepancy away by admitting that information on her blog is mostly untrue; even the right-wing Daily Mail is incredulous:

Amazingly, she told Standards Commissioner John Lyon: ‘My blog is 70 per cent fiction and 30 per cent fact’.

‘It is written as a tool to enable my constituents to know me better and to reassure them of my commitment to Mid Bedfordshire. I rely heavily on poetic licence.’

This explanation has elicited howls of derision, and Dorries has now changed tack:

Last night Miss Dorries said the police had advised her to ‘disguise’ her movements on her blog.

According to a news report by Matthew Hudson on Anglia Tonight, Dorries claims that she has reported “four stalkers” to the police. But who are these “four stalkers”? We know that she has claimed to have reported the blogger Tim Ireland to the police, but no-one from the police has had any communication with Tim on the subject. It’s a blatant lie by Dorries: as I wrote here, Tim’s blog has satirised her mercilessly, and he has persistently called her to account on various matters. He has never, though, either threatened her or crossed the line into anything that could be regarded as invasive of her as a private person. She has also attacked a Labour blogger named Chris Paul along similar lines – but again, there is no evidence that the police have so much as had a word.

As for the other two – who knows? She was recently affecting anguish over a satirical Twitter feed by someone pretending to be her dog (“It’s like someone setting up an account as one of my kids. Go away sick person you need help.!”). And we know she is generally vicious with her accusations – when a constituent who uses the on-line name Ms Humphrey Cushion complained about her comments concerning Tim to Conservative HQ, Dorries’ response was to smear Ms Cushion as a benefits cheat.

Dorries’ story simply does not hold up. As Tim notes, her blog is usually a record of where she has been, not where she’s going to be. And even if she felt unable to publish certain details for privacy reasons, there was no need to disseminate false information that just so happens to be advantageous to her political reputation – no-one who is accountable to the public should consider that to be acceptable. Tim has dissected her narrative with customary attention to detail:

Dorries maintains that she told lies on her blog about where she was staying and when to throw stalkers of the scent, and began doing so when she attracted “unwanted attention” from “unsavoury people”… (important bit coming up) following the expenses scandal.

The expenses scandal began for Nadine Dorries with this report in the Telegraph on 15 May 2009.

And here are the dates of the blog entries mentioned in the Standards and Privileges Committee report (PDF) that she explains away as ‘fiction’:

– 15 May 2009
– 16 May 2009

Dorries apologised for misleading her constituents about where she lived in this entry on her not-really-a-blog on 16 May 2009.

Apparently, we’re supposed to believe that in one day – on 15 May 2009, to be precise – Nadine Dorries not only attracted four stalkers, but then made credible reports to police about all four of them (in London and Bedfordshire), then went on to receive advice from police that convinced her that she should publish largely fictional accounts on her blog about where she was living/staying, then did so, and then went on to apologise for doing so the very next day.

Sorry, but no.

…The truth is that Dorries published the misleading content before any concerns she claims to have had about stalking.

When it comes to stalkers, she cries wolf to gain false sympathy, to make life difficult for (male) critics, and to explain her actions after the fact (such as why she at one point deleted her blog).

This is not a matter of political partisanship. My blog obviously has a progressive perspective, but I have no complaints about my own local Conservative MP. It’s also clear that Mid Bedfordshire is a safe Conservative seat, and I have no particular interest in whether that changes in the future. My main reason for blogging about Dorries is that her false accusation of stalking against Tim Ireland has led to Tim being targeted by a cyberthug named Charlie Flowers. Flowers, angry that Tim had exposed some on-line activism against Islamic extremism as tainted by fakery, used Dorries’ claim as his justification for a campaign of harassment against Tim which included Tim’s home address being posted on-line and brought to the attention of hostile parties (which, if Flowers was true to his word, would have included the BNP). As I blogged here, Flowers’ accomplices also used Dorries’ claim to try to draw other people into the attacks.

Dorries’ false accusation was also taken up by Patrick Mercer MP, who was desperate deflect Tim’s enquiries into Mercer’s associations with Dominic Wightman and Glen Jenvey.

Daily Mail Hypes Extractor Fan Objection

From the website of the Central Stockport Area Committee, announcing a meeting on 14 October:

At the next meeting on 14 October 2010, the following issues will be considered…

14 items are then listed; at number 4 we find:

A retrospective Planning application (DC044716) for the retention of extraction vent to front of shop at 159 Adswood Road, Cale Green – recommendation grant.

So far so boring – but a local resident named Graham Webb-Lee showed up to make an objection. The Daily Mail reports:

‘The vent is 12 inches from my front door. Every morning the smell of bacon comes through and makes me physically sick.

‘I have a lot of Muslim friends. They refuse to visit me anymore because they can’t stand the smell of bacon.’

He also mentioned “a daughter with an eating disorder” and a supposed odour on his clothes (His description of the position of the vent can be confirmed by looking on Google Street View). Consequently:

A spokesman for Stockport Council said: ‘The retrospective application was rejected on the grounds of residential amenity, as the committee felt the odours given off from the vent were unacceptable for neighbouring residents.

The inevitable headline, of course:

Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan ‘because smell of frying bacon offends Muslims’

This was later amended to:

Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan because neighbour claimed ‘smell of frying bacon offends Muslims’

And it’s off around the world:

Beverley Akciecek, de 49 años, abnegada cocinera y propietaria del “Snack Shack”, un local donde sirven comida para llevar en Manchester, no se puede creer todavía la carta del Ayuntamiento donde la ordenan derribar su extractor de humos porque el olor del bacon y panceta a la plancha “ofende” a sus vecinos musulmanes. Los inspectores municipales…

Plus:

Sur ordre de la municipalité, le gérant d’une sandwicherie doit désinstaller une hotte aspirante car “l’odeur du bacon offense les musulmans”…

And:

Einer Imbissbuden-Eigentümerin aus England ist befohlen worden, einen Dunstabzug zu entfernen, weil der Geruch von gebratenem Speck Moslems missfällt.

Planungschefs der Stadt handelten gegen Beverley Akciecek (49), weil sich muslimische Nachbarn wegen des “stinkenden Geruchs” physisch krank fühlten…

With doubtless more to come – US anti-mosque demagogue Pamela Geller is on the case, predictably opining that

The world is descending into madness accommodating the most radical, intolerant ideology in the world.

WorldNetDaily Distorts Report into Islamism at UK University

WorldNetDaily “reports”:

Taliban taking over university life?

Undercover agents of the United Kingdom’s MI5 Security Service have discovered that Islamic extremists have created a “Taliban-type culture” in Britain’s universities that is dedicated to installing Islamic law and intimidating faculty, staff and students, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

This week a top-secret report detailing the attempt to radicalize the campuses has been sent to vice-chancellors across the nation by Jonathan Evans, the head of the security service.

The document contains a stark warning from the MI5 chief that in the past year there has “been sewn on campuses in England and Wales the seeds of Shariah law which has intimidated students and staff.”…

Apparently, the document is so top secret that only a fringe Birther website on the west coast of the USA has got wind of it – there are no other media reports anywhere.

However, it just so happens that two days before the WND article, the UK Sunday Times carried a similar story about a report into university Talibanisation:

Islamist extremists imposed ‘Taliban rule’ at British university

Islamist extremists at a British university tried to impose a Taliban-style culture of intimidation, creating a “chilling effect” on the lives of staff and students.

…A confidential report on the radicalisation of British universities found that Islamists at City University London engaged in “sub-criminal extremism”, abusing staff and students and leaving them feeling threatened.

The report, circulated last week to more than 90 vice-chancellors in England and Wales, documents how members of the university’s 180-strong Islamic society said adulterers should be stoned and forced women students to wear the hijab. One, after hearing a homophobic visiting preacher, said Islam condemned homosexuals to a violent death.

…The 38-page report by Quilliam, a think tank partly funded by the Home Office, will reinforce fears in government about the way that some British universities are failing to prevent extremists from using them as incubators of terrorism.

So, did vice-chancellors receive two confidential reports on the subject of Islamist extremism over the past week… or has WND decided to sensationalise the Sunday Times article? Given WND’s history of lies and pseudo-journalism (see many posts at ConWebWatch), I’m willing to bet it’s the latter: there is no report from MI5, just the one from Quilliam, which WND has learnt about second-hand via the Sunday Times and fed through the mangle of WND editor Joseph Farah’s obsessions.

However, it should also be noted that the Sunday Times article is itself guilty of sensationalism; the report is not “confidential” (let alone “top secret”) – it’s freely available from the Quilliam website. And the phrase “Taliban-style” (or WND’s “Taliban-type”) does not appear. There is only one passing comparison to the Taliban:

…In essence, the ISoc’s [Islamic Society]  ideology is one that aspires to a system of law mirroring countries like Saudi Arabia or Taliban-era Afghanistan, where moral misconduct is punishable by the state.

As for the actual problem:

…It is clear that the ISoc’s members, without necessarily breaking any laws, have had a chilling effect on the academic and social life at City University. Through exerting its own freedom of speech, expression and action, the ISoc successfully and deliberately reduced the freedoms of others, as well as undermined efforts to improve understanding between people from different racial, religious and social backgrounds. Thus, the ISoc leadership directly undermined two of the five key objectives put forward by the government for university campuses in 2007: ‘to break down segregation amongst different student communities’ and ‘to ensure student safety and campuses that are free from bullying, harassment and intimidation’.

To its credit, City University has recognised many of the serious problems arising from the ISoc’s behaviour. After being alerted to the numerous problems on the ISoc’s website, the university forced the ISoc to shut it down at the end of May 2010. It remains inactive. In addition, due to a number of transgressions of SU [Student Union] rules, the ISoc had their privileges as an officially recognised society removed by the SU in June 2010. These privileges include having access to their members’ registration fees, being allowed to host a stall during Freshers’ Week, and being allowed to host a website. As a result, under these restrictions, a society is unable to easily recruit members and is therefore in effect largely inactive. In response to this pressure, the ISoc signed an agreement promising not to again transgress SU regulations in return for having their privileges reinstated before the start of the new academic year.

The information was gathered from interviews undertaken by a graduate researcher, not via WND‘s fantasy “undercover agents” from MI5. The report is essentially a case study of how Islamists have caused trouble at a university, and how the university has sought to manage and defuse the situation. Quilliam highlights a real problem in a sober way, and offers some recommendations to City University and to other institutions; but it does not claim that “Britain’s universities” now exist in a “Taliban-type culture”. Of course, such fear-mongering hyperbolic distortions of the report serve only to obscure Quilliam’s research.

And what of the quote attributed by WND to Jonathan Evans, head of MI5? It’s not available on-line anywhere else, and I’m sceptical that he would have used the “seeds of Shariah law” phrase. The idea that the problem of Islamic extremism can be crystallised as “Shariah” is a crudely polemical formulation that belongs for the most part to the American right: its purpose, of course, is to re-cast Islam as an insidious political ideology like Communism. Muslims therefore should not enjoy religious freedom, and “Shariah” can be detected as a secret motivating factor of political opponents (see here). I would hope that Evans is rather more sophisticated than that. This is not the first time that WND has mysteriously got hold of a unique quote from the head of MI5; as I blogged here, earlier this year WND reported on Evans supposedly opining on the dangers of “breast-implant bombers”.

Nation of Islam Promoting Dianetics

From the Florida St Petersburg Times:

Leaders of the Nation of Islam are in Tampa to mark the 15th anniversary of the Million Man March.

…Nation of Islam leaders have had ties with Scientology recently, but Muhammad would not say if they were meeting with Scientologists in this area.

“We are studying the Dianetics as a technology that can help members of our community,” [Minister Ishmael Muhammad] said.

Louis Farrakhan has had an interest in L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics for a while; in 2006 the same paper reported on an awards ceremony organised by Ebony Awakenings, which is a grouping for African-American Scientologists:

This evening’s black-tie celebration of Black History month at the Fort Harrison Hotel is a clear signal Scientologists are forging fruitful relationships with persuasive voices in some of the nation’s black communities.

Among the four black clergy to be honored at Scientology’s annual Ebony Awakening awards ceremony is Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.

…In interviews this week, Muhammad and [Baptist pastor Alfreddie] Johnson said they are comfortable partnering with Scientology. They both disclosed a plan to train members of the Nation of Islam to administer Hubbard’s “study tech” and drug treatment methods. The programs will be offered at mosques in the Los Angeles area to start. A similar collaboration is playing out in East Tampa at the Glorious Church of God in Christ. Rev. Charles L. Kennedy has arranged for his congregants to be trained by Scientologists to teach Hubbard’s scholastic and drug treatment techniques to residents in the predominantly black neighborhood.

This wiki page has further information and links to original sources, including a recent report by Mother Tynnetta Muhammad taken from Final Call:

On the eve of Ramadan on August 10th and the 11th [2010], a few sisters headed out from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on a spectacular journey to the Clear Water Scientology Center… Following dinner, we were taken on a brief tour of the two hotel’s ballrooms, one of which was host to the Ebony Awakening Awards Program held on June 19th, where my son, Rasul Muhammad, was invited to perform. From there, we ascended the elevator to the 10th floor to view the Crystal ballroom; and from there we were escorted to the balcony… As we looked up to the sky, there was a soft gathering of grayish black clouds. Sister Callie Muhammad noticed a small light coming from behind one of the faint cloud formations… A variety of color hues began to appear around the object, which were clearly visible to all of us. The shape of a dome emerged on the top with an angular slant on both sides. At a certain point, we recognized a rotating center ring or hub of bright oscillating lights. The color sequencing that we observed went from amber to reddish tints, to soft greens and blues.

I blogged on links between Scientology and certain Pentecostal churches here, and on links between the Nation of Islam and Rev Moon’s Unification Church here and here.