Joseph Farah: Coining It

Staying with WorldNetDaily, Joseph Farah has a coin to sell:

The 9-11 / 10th Anniversary “NEVER FORGET” Challenge Coin keeps the memory of those who died on 9-11 forever alive in our hearts and minds. This classic coin is a reminder to “NEVER FORGET” what was done to our great nation on that tragic day. The 9-11 / 10th Anniversary “NEVER FORGET” Challenge Coin also pays tribute to our warriors who are serving, have served, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. HOME OF THE FREE, BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!

The basic product is available at the “disount price” of $16.95, down from $19.95, and comes with “FREE 3-month trial subscription to our immensely popular monthly print magazine, Whistleblower“. Shipping is extra, although the cost apparently depends on where you live – the basic rate to send one to New York is $5.34. However, one can pay more and have it bundled in with other products, such as anti-Islam screeds by Pam Geller and Hal Lindsey (both published by WND Books).

Curiously, however, the blurb doesn’t tell us anything about where the “Challenge Coin” has come from. Perhaps that because the manufacturer, Coinforce, has a website of its own – where the coins are for sale at $10.00 for one, plus $5.95 for shipping. That’s $15.95 all in from Coinforce, versus $22.29 from WND – although admittedly you don’t get Farah’s “free” magazines.

And should you want more than one coin, Coinforce becomes progressively cheaper: five coins would cost you $55.95 from Coinforce, including postage in the USA, while Joseph Farah would charge $90.09. WND‘s shipping rate for larger quantities becomes progressively cheaper than is the case for Coinforce, but WND‘s markup on the coin itself (shamelessly described as a “discount price”) more than makes up for that.

Coinforce is making a donation to services charities, and it describes the coin as “a great fundraising opportunity for non-profits and service organizations including military units, associations, CAP, ROTC, etc. to raise funds benefitting their needs.”

WorldNetDaily, of course, has been a for-profit outfit since 1999.

WND Uses 9/11 to Attack Gallup Poll on US Muslims

As expected, WorldNetDaily is using the anniversary of 9/11 to whip up some resentment against American Muslims, with a distastefully slanted take on a new Gallup report entitled Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future.

We begin with the headline, which is currently the lead story for WND‘s 9/11 coverage:

Guess who thinks they are the victims
Poll also reveals demands for U.S. to make group feel more welcome

This is obviously meant to convey the idea that the report shows American Muslims belittling the suffering of 9/11 and making aggressive demands for privilege. But here’s what the executive summary actually says:

While they continue to experience some perceived bias, both in their interactions with other Americans and in their exchanges with law enforcement, Muslim Americans are satisfied with their current lives and are more optimistic than other faith groups that things are getting better.

That’s hardly wallowing in victimhood, let alone at the expense of terror victims. The “demands”, meanwhile, are actually a fairly pedestrian list of recommendations.

WND rambles on:

…It explains that 83 percent of the Muslim American respondents view the U.S. effort to stamp out the source of terrorism in Iraq as wrong, while 47 percent say it was wrong to respond with troops in Afghanistan to try to eradicate the terror threat there.

Two-thirds say America’s unpopularity in majority-Muslim countries can be blamed on American actions and 92 percent say they do not sympathize with al-Qaida.

Further, 93 percent of Muslims see Muslim Americans as loyal to their country, but they also believe they often are the victims of “intolerance” even while they are “among the most tolerant of U.S. faith groups studied.”

In fact, the report found that higher number of American Muslims considered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to have been a “mistake”. WND‘s gloss on this – that this is due to opposition to efforts “to stamp out the source of terrorism” – appears nowhere in the report, and has simply been added to imply that American Muslims support terrorism.

The report’s idea of “tolerance” is based on behaviour and general attitudes:

Albert L. Winseman,2 developed the Religious Tolerance Index in 2002 with Gallup scientists Dr. Jim Harter and Julie Hawkins to measure Americans’ attitudes toward religious faiths that are different from their own. The index is based on respondents’ level of agreement with the following five statements on a scale of “1” (strongly disagree) to “5” (strongly agree):

• I always treat people of other religious faiths with respect.
• Most religious faiths make a positive contribution to society.
• I would not object to a person of a different religious faith moving next door.
• People of other religious faiths always treat me with respect.
• In the past year, I have learned something from someone of another religious faith.

WND, by contrast, would prefer an approach based on quote-mining violent passages from the Koran:

But where’s their opinion about Shariah law in the United States, and just exactly what do they think the Quran says about “infidels?”

WND also brings in quotes from Robert Spencer, who complains that the report discussed American Muslims’ increasing sense of affluence:

But that is “totally irrelevant,” said Spencer. “The question itself proceeds from the assumption that poverty causes terrorism. Thus, if the Muslims in the United States are not poor, then they’re going to be moderate.

“We’ve seen again and again that there is no connection between poverty and terrorism. Actually jihadi terrorists are actually wealthier than their counterparts and better educated,” he said.

However, the “the question” doesn’t appear in the report at all: it’s concerned with overall Muslim attitudes, not why and how some Muslims become radicalised. It should be recalled that this is the same Robert Spencer who enthuses over clownish pseudo-studies by David Yerushalmi.

Much of the WND report goes on build a conspiracy theory about the report’s authors and the fact that the report come from the “Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the newly established Abu Dhabi Gallup Center”.

Of course, any report has its limitations: this one generalises Muslims in a way that may obscure trends or specific locations where there may be cause for concern. However, if it’s truly seriously flawed, why the need to lie about it and distort its contents?


Note: I did give some thought as to whether my blog post for today ought to be a reflective piece on the massacre of ten years ago. However, I can’t claim to have any special insights that are not shared by anyone else of any decency, and it’s clear that charlatans like Joseph Farah see the day as an opportunity to rabble-rouse rather than to pause for thought. Consequently, I decided to stick to doing what I do best.

Life on Mars Hill

Robert Cargill, following up on a post from Scotteriology, has the latest on Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seatttle:

It’s not enough to be a bully and an open advocate for the subjugation of women and homosexuals. But now, Mark Driscoll is admitting HE SEES THINGS!, as in, bilocative visions and psychic extrasensory perception in his head as well as back through time! In fact, Mark Driscoll claims he can see your past abuses from 10 years ago!

Bob has transcribed a particularly worrying example:

On occasion, I see things. I see things. Uh, like, I was meeting with one person, and they, they didn’t know this, but they were abused when they were a child, and I said, “When you were a child, you were abused. This person did this to you – physically touched you this way.” And he said, “How do you know?” And I said, “I don’t know. It’s like I got a TV right here and I’m seeing it.” He said, “No, that never happened.” And I said, “Go ask ’em. Go ask ’em if they actually did what I think they did, and I see that they did.” And they went and asked this person, “When I was a little kid, did you do this?” And the person said, “Yeah, but you were only like a year or two old. How do you remember that?” And they said, “Well, Pastor Mark told me.”(Watch from the 0:06 mark).

This should be setting off alarm bells: Driscoll is throwing around accusations of sex abuse based on his supposed supernatural discernment, and manipulating members of his congregation into believing they were victims (and, perhaps in some cases, even perpetrators). This is the kind of thing that contributed to the “Satanic panics” of the 1980s, and the consequences may well lead to tragedy.

In a second almost-equally distasteful example, Driscoll boasts about how he uncovered a woman’s adultery, and called her out on it in front of her husband:

 …I said, “You remember that place: it was that cheap hotel with that certain colored bedspread. You did it, you had sex with the light on because you weren’t ashamed and you wanted him to see you, and you wanted to see him.” She was just looking at me like [throws hands in air]. I said, “You know, it was about ten years ago?”

I see everything [makes TV square with hands]…

Driscoll has a prurient streak that featured on this blog back in 2009: he notoriously teaches that Song of Solomon 2:3 – “The fruit of her husband is sweet to her taste and she delights to be beneath him” – is a commandment (not just permission) for women to perform oral sex on their husbands. Gen. J.C. Christian sent Driscoll his thoughts on that here.

According to a recent report in the Seattle Times, Driscoll

has eight churches in Western Washington with a ninth to open in September in Everett plus churches in Oregon, California and New Mexico.

The Seattle Times reports ( Mars Hill churches had weekly attendance last year of 8,700, ranking it among the largest Protestant churches in the nation.

UPDATE (14 Jan 2012): Not even Driscoll’s wife is safe from being “exposed” by Driscoll’s supernatural ability to see other people having sex. David Sessions notes a passage in Driscroll’s new book Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together:

He recalls having a dream, shortly before Grace gave birth to the couple’s first child, in which he “saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating.” He awoke, threw up, and asked her if it was true. She confessed, and he was “shell-shocked. Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her.”

…”Grace is often cast as the damaged and sinful wife who withholds sex from her deserving husband, Mark the hero who is justified in leaving his wife but instead comes along to rescue her,” wrote Rachel Held Evans, a popular evangelical blogger and author, discussing the dream episode. “The amount of guilt and shame that pervades this part of the book makes me so sad.”

Channel 4 Documentary on “Ground Zero Mosque” Controversy

On Monday night Channel 4 broadcast The Ground Zero Mosque, a new documentary about last year’s plans to convert a building into a mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero and the controversy that followed. The programme’s blurb outlines the familiar story:

The film follows charismatic property developer Sharif El-Gamal (38) as he gives his account for the first time. Brought up as a church-going Christian named Alexander, El Gamal is the son of a Polish Catholic and an Egyptian Muslim who describes himself as a New Yorker from Brooklyn: “I’m not a community activist, I’m not a community leader…I’m not an Islamic academic. I’m a New Yorker who is a real-estate junkie. That’s who I am.”

After rediscovering Islam in his 30s, he purchased the Burlington Coat Factory in 2009, a disused building that was struck by the undercarriage of the second plane that hit Tower Two. His plan was twofold – to make money from building condominiums on the site but also to provide a place of worship for the local Muslim population.

But later that year, he invited Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (63) an established moderate pro-American cleric to lead the mosque. Imam Feisal proposed the entire site be transformed into a community centre that would act to counter extremism and give a platform to moderate Islam. When El-Gamal agreed, little did he know of the outrage he would ignite…

From the interviews with El-Gamal, it is obvious that he is a thoroughly assimilated and archetypal New Yorker. The site was chosen because it was convenient for his local Muslim community and because suitable properties in the area are hard to come by; any sort of connection to 9/11 never even entered his head, let alone the notion that the building would be a “victory mosque” celebrating the massacre of thousands of Americans.

The programme also explores the rift that emerged between El-Gamal and Rauf; while El-Gamal was coming under hostile media scrutiny, Rauf went abroad for a speaking tour. El-Gamal complains that “it was bizarre… it didn’t make any sense to me”. Also:

Imam Faisal kept referring to this as an interfaith project. And I didn’t understand what an inter-faith project is. That wouldn’t have turned me on. I’m not a humanitarian, I’m a capitalist, and I do good things for my community.

Rauf, for his part, complains that El-Gamal has separated him from his “vision”:

I felt a sense of betrayal. He’s a control freak. He has sought to control that which is not his domain of expertise. We have spoken, but there is a certain nature that is unchangeable.

Either way, it seems that the project now remains a long way off from being realised: El-Gamal has only two student staff members working on it, and by their own account they are struggling with tasks they are neither “qualified nor prepared for”. El-Gamal admits that the project is “out of funds”; we see him at his mosque urging members to donate, but he doesn’t appear to be drumming up much interest.

There’s also a look at the Gainesville sideshow, where Pastor Terry Jones decided to jump on the bandwagon by threatening a public Koran-burning unless the mosque were moved. Jones was dissuaded by Imam Muhammad Musri, who, according to the narrator

led Pastor Jones to understand that Faisal had agreed to move the Ground Zero mosque. This wasn’t true, but the ploy worked.

Musri in fact never had any line to Rauf, and he appears to dislike him; he tells the camera that

Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf was presented to the American mainstream as the genuine mainstream Imam who commands large following. But for the millions of American Muslims, he is not our voice.

Musri does not explain why he thought the ploy was a good idea, and the programme does not discuss the dispute that followed between Jones and Musri.

English Defence League Leader Disguises Himself as Rabbi

At today’s EDL rally at Aldgate in London, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson) eluded police attempts to stop him attending by… disguising himself as a rabbi. Here he is just after being introduced to the crowd as “Rabbi Benjamin Kidderman”, and just before he whipped off the hat and beard. His message to the crowd:

“You how long I’ve been waiting to take this shit off?”

(H/T Paraic O’Brien)

“Anti-Shariah” Activists Row over Rick Perry

At OneNewsNow, Robert Spencer complains about the reaction to his attack on Rick Perry’s links with the Aga Khan:

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch says with the enthusiastic support of Perry in 2004, the Aga Khan Foundation along with the University of Texas created what became known as Muslim Histories and Cultures (MHC) curriculum, which is reportedly still being taught in some Texas public schools. (See details from Jihad Watch)

…”The curriculum is a complete whitewash and it’s got the endorsement of Perry,” says Spencer. “It’s not going to give you any idea why people are waging jihad against the West — it’s only going to make you think that the real problem is ‘Islamophobia.'”

According to Spencer, the Perry camp is not happy with his reports. “Never have I seen the furious reaction to anything that I’ve written,” he shares with OneNewsNow. “I’ve criticized all sorts of candidates — I criticized Bush, I criticized Obama, Romney — and never have I seen this kind of reaction except from the Perry camp in the most furious terms.”

By “furious reaction”, Spencer is refering individuals who have actually looked into the details of the subject, primarily David Stein. Stein found the sole lesson plan associated with the programme:

After a little research, I located the MHCP lesson plan that is intended for use in Texas public schools, and I interviewed its author, a retired history teacher named Ronald Wiltse. Wiltse, a self-described Christian Zionist and staunch supporter of Israel, volunteered for the MHCP program, completed the training sessions, and submitted a lesson plan, which was accepted. Wiltse’s lesson plan was the only one on the MHCP website.

Wiltse’s lesson plan is pro-West, pro-Israel, anti-Sharia, and it strongly highlights Muslim terror (even stressing the connection between Muslim terror and the Muslim religion). Wiltse told me that the training session for the program included no proselytizing or coercion to create a “pro-Islam” lesson plan.

….[Pamela] Geller couldn’t deny the anti-Sharia nature of the lesson plan, so she misrepresented excerpts from the abstracts (summaries) of the teacher training seminars, and claimed that they are being “forced upon unsuspecting students attending Texas public schools.” It’s an absolute lie. The teacher training seminars (the ones that Ron Wiltse completed) were not intended for, nor attended by, ANY children in Texas public schools…

In contrast to Stein’s “furious” use of research, Geller reportedly opined that Stein is an “Asshat”.

Stein believes that Geller and Spencer have been manipulated by Justin Elliott at Salon:

August 19: Elliott emails me…

“My piece was merely pointing out that Perry had an unusually warm relationship with Muslims as compared to the Cains and Santorums of the field. The particulars of the curriculum are irrelevant.”

Chew on that for a moment. “The particulars of the curriculum are irrelevant.” In other words, Elliott asked the question, “Rick Perry: the pro-Sharia candidate?” but the answer didn’t concern him! The answer is “irrelevant” to him. He didn’t CARE if there’s a “pro-Sharia” curriculum. He didn’t CARE to know anything at all about the curriculum.

His intent was not to investigate or explore the claim that Perry might have helped launch a pro-Sharia curriculum. His intent was merely to whip certain members of the “anti-Sharia crowd” into a frenzy.

Of course, only Elliott knows his own intent, but given the way the likes of Geller and Spencer “see pro-Shariah” conspiracies under every bed it was reasonable to consider how their approach might apply to Perry.

Perry’s links with the Aga Khan have also been raised by Glenn Beck’s “End-Times Prophet” Joel Richardson, writing at WorldNetDaily:

…cause for deep concern is an apparently close relationship Perry has fostered over the years with a Muslim leader know as “His Highness” Prince Shah Karim Al-Husayni, the Aga Khan IV.

….It should also be mentioned that one of the doctrines espoused by Ismaili Muslims is the doctrine of Taqiyya. In simple terms, the doctrine of Taqiyya allows Muslims to purposefully hide or lie about their true religious beliefs to “unbelievers” or even Muslims of different sects… Of course, while lying in the name of religion may seem like a foreign concept to most, it is the principle of “the ends justify the means” that underscores many aspects of the Islamic approach to win the West.

Richardson – whose book on how the Bible predicts an imminent Muslim anti-Christ comes with an endorsement from Spencer –  later complained that the above was being misrepresented:

For clarity, I never painted Perry as being a “pro-Shariah” candidate. Nor did I attempt to portray “the Aga Khan”, whom Governor Perry is a friend, as some sort of secret radical Muslim.