George Galloway Claims that Police Officer with Role Investigating “Radical Muslim Groups” Engaged in Dirty Tricks Against Him

George Galloway writes to the Home Secretary:

I am writing to you to ask you to investigate the behaviour of a senior member of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism squad SO15 who, I believe, has been carrying out a campaign of vilification – a dirty tricks operation – against me in my constituency using police facilities and resources. I would also like to know whether this unwarranted intrusion was sanctioned by the Commissioner or other senior SO15 officers. 

The officer’s name is xxxxx. It is my understanding that his role is to investigate and report on radical Muslim groups. But perhaps you can clarify his remit precisely?

Galloway goes on to claim that the police officer had been introduced to him as a “security adviser” by his assistant following a break-in at his house. However:

…within hours of that I learned that he and xxxxx had been sleeping in my house, and without permission, while I was abroad. This came out because he had to tell the officers investigating the burglary that his fingerprints would be found in the house.

…I have now discovered that she has been leaking and distorting information from within my office and handing it on to xxxxx who, apart from using his Met police email address, has set up at least two others to pump out false information to national newspapers.

One’s first thought, inevitably, is that the use of police resources to make George Galloway look bad is somewhat superfluous to requirements.

According to a quote in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus:

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We can confirm we received a complaint from a member of the public on October 15 with regard to the actions of an officer based within specialist operations. The matter has been passed to the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards to investigate and a voluntary referral is being made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The officer has been placed on restricted duties pending the outcome of the investigation.”

Footnote: Much of the Telegraph &Argus article consist of a long digression about a woman who has allegedly been subjected to intimidation by persons unknown for criticising Galloway’s comments on rape. While this is certainly newsworthy, we can only speculate as to why the paper decided to bundle the two stories together in the way it has.

(H/T , A Very Public Sociologist, writing on Twitter)

UPDATE: The Guardian has more: it turns out that Galloway’s former assistant is actually married to the police officer in question, and that she was “upfront about her spouse’s sensitive day job in the Muslim contact unit”. Further, she insists that her husband

never slept in the house, but simply “popped in to use the loo” one night before the break-in, and so warned officers investigating that they might find his prints. She says the emails Galloway has seized on as evidence of a plot against him are nothing of the sort. And that far from showing a police handler and his spy, they show a couple making “silly jokes”.

…She admitted asking [her husband] to set up a fake email address so that she could email the Guardian when she found out the paper was planning to do a report on Galloway and Respect six months on from the byelection victory. He did it for her, she says, “because I’m not that literate with computers”. (A “laughable” claim, according to Galloway.)

This extra context may be significant; but we still have a situation in which an SO15 police officer appears to have been colluding in surreptitious behaviour that was designed to have political consequences. It’s also unfortunate that there’s an ambiguity in the phrase “one night before”: does that mean “the night before”, or is it a non-specific “one night”?

The former assistant also makes accusations about attitudes within the Respect political party:

Some men in Respect hated the fact that she was a non-hijab-wearing Muslim woman, she says. “The atmosphere around Respect was so hostile to women. I was seen as an outspoken, opinionated woman who had ideas, who made things happen, who organised events and the guys didn’t like it at all… In his mind, he believes that if he discredits me, and makes me out to be a complete slag, then his supporters, the majority of whom are men, will not believe anything that comes out of my mouth … Also, I think it was a form of intimidation…”

Meanwhile, a report in the Daily Mail has the detail that

Mr Galloway said he felt ‘violated’ by the events

Given Galloway’s claim that the rape allegations against Julian Assange amount to no more than a case of “bad sexual etiquette”, that has to be the worst possible word he could have chosen.

UPDATE 2 (2016): The story has not ended well for Galloway:

George Galloway has been forced to pay out an undisclosed sum in damages to a former aide over claims that she conspired to run a “dirty tricks” campaign against him.

…Ms Ali-Khan’s solicitor, Mark Lewis, told Mr Justice Warby the statement said that a very senior officer in SO15 (Counter Terrorism Command) had been feeding disinformation aimed at damaging him to a national newspaper and to others.

…Mr Lewis said Ms Ali-Khan had not been feeding disinformation or deceit to national newspapers or acting as a police agent and had not slept with the officer – whom she had married in a sharia law ceremony – at Mr Galloway’s home.

Mr Galloway’s counsel, Adam Speker, said he accepted that the article and interviews given by individuals for whom he bore responsibility in relation to Ms Ali-Khan contained defamatory accusations for which he apologised.

BBC Notes Evangelical Church Role in Anti-Gay Legislation in Ukraine

A few days ago, the BBC reported on pending legislation in Ukraine which would criminalise any “positive depiction” of gay people. The report notes the involvement of the Christian Hope evangelical church in Kiev, describing it as  “One of the legislation’s incubators”. The article includes an encounter with the church’s pastor, Valery Reshetinsky:

In his opinion, freedom of speech for sexual minorities is a violation of what he considers his inalienable right not to have to hear something he finds offensive.

“You can’t do everything that you want to do, because there are people who have the exact same rights as you do,” he insists.

The pastor goes on to accuse a worldwide conspiracy of Masons, New-Agers, postmodernists and financiers of various nationalities, of imposing ideas that are not “characteristic for Ukraine” on the nation’s children.

Reshetinsky previously featured on this blog in 2006, when I noted that his church was a “partner” of a child sponsorship charity named Eastern European Outreach. EEO was in turn an outreach of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta, California, and the charity was at the time being promoted through sales of a video game based on the Left Behind novels. Since then, references to Reshetinsky have gone from the EEO website, although at the time the site carried a profile by J. Lee Grady reposted from Charisma magazine . It included the following:

Reshetinski believes that God has given Ukraine a 15-year window of opportunity. If the church doesn’t seize the moment, he fears that Islam will fill the vacuum.

…Christian Hope Church currently operates 30 ministries that touch the needs of Ukrainians—including orphans, drug addicts and the blind. But because Reshetinski is a scientist at heart, he also wants to change the Soviet intellect. Schools in Russia and Ukraine are still atheistic. Christian Hope is working with Americans to establish an institute of scientific creationism in Kiev.

“Our No. 1 job must be to change the worldview of the people here and apply Christianity to economics, law and education…

“Please don’t allow the United States to become like Western Europe. Don’t allow it to become secular. I was so surprised to learn that until 1949 Christians had their hands in education in your country. But [John Dewey] took faith out of education. The church in your country has so many spiritual resources. Please keep America a Christian nation.”

Reshetinsky is integrated into international neo-Pentecostalism, and he has a number of American links. His church is described as a “Missionary Church” in a 2008 article by Bill C. Terry, who runs the men’s ministry of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), while Jim King Ministries of Tulsa tells us that:

We helped establish the Missionary Training Center in Kiev with Pastor Valeriy Reshetinsky. The center focuses on equipping emerging church leaders with tools to plant new churches.

The BBC report also includes a photo captioned “A Kiev protest against homosexuality by the ‘Embassy of God church'”. This church, also known as the “God Embassy”, was founded by a Nigerian immigrant named Sunday Adelaja, whom I discussed here. Adelaja also has international connections, and in 2008 he organised an event in Atlanta featuring Ben Stein, Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-fil-A), and the virulently anti-gay Latvian pastor Alexey Ledyaev. Naturally, Adelaja worried about “the homosexual movement.”

(Ledyaev’s “New Generation” churches in turn have an outreach in the UK, and a link has been made with the lobby group Christian Concern)

(H/T to a reader)

WND Still Promoting Debunked “Obama Wears Muslim Ring” Conspiracy

Claim endorsed by William Murray, Mark Gabriel, and Pamela Geller

Last week, WND‘s Jerome Corsi put forward the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama wears a ring engraved in Arabic with the words “In the Name of Allah”, the fifth part of the Muslim declaration of faith, or Shahada. The theory relied on an image blown up to such an extent that it was seriously blurred, although Snopes has since published a large and very clear photo which should have put the whole non-story to bed. Snopes judges the story to be “probably false” rather than just “false”, but it is obvious that the supposed Arabic inscription is simply a loop pattern. It’s not in the least amenable to any other interpretation.

However, although that should have been the end of the matter, WND and Corsi have ploughed on regardless with follow-up articles, and the story remains a banner headline on the WND homepage. They have even managed to prompt a short piece in a Turkish newspaper.

Corsi writes:

Joel Gilbert, who was first to conclude that the ring bears the Shahada, has issued a detailed analysis he prepared with the assistance of Yousef Shehadeh, a native Arabic speaker from Nazareth who studied Arabic for 13 years in the Holy Land and now works as a graphic artist in Los Angeles.

Gilbert, who has studied Arabic himself, told WND he sent close-up photographs of the ring to Shehadeh “cold,” without offering any opinion, and asked Shehadeh to evaluate them.

Shehadeh replied to him that the script on Obama’s ring is Arabic, and it is the first part of the Islamic declaration of faith.

You’ll note that that link is dead; Gilbert appears to have lost confidence in his “detailed analysis”, and he’s also taken down a YouTube video on the subject. Gilbert featured on this blog a couple of weeks ago; he heads a Bob Dylan tribute band, and he recently produced a documentary claiming that Frank Marshall Davis was Obama’s father and that Ann Dunham had appeared in pornographic magazines. Gilbert also describes himself as an “Islamic history scholar”, although he appears to be basing this claim on his undergraduate studies in the 1980s.

A couple of individuals who have set themselves up as experts on the dangers of Islam staked their credibility on agreeing with Gilbert’s claim:

Staffers in Jordan with William J. Murray’s Religious Freedom Coalition also believe the ring, which Obama wore on his wedding-ring finger for at least a decade before he married Michelle Robinson, pays homage to Allah.

The Amman staffers said they have seen other rings like it.

Egyptian-born Islamic scholar Mark A. Gabriel, Ph,D., as well as a native-Arabic speaker employed by WND who has provided translations of critical Arabic statements, believe the ring is Islamic. A Duke professor interviewed by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com news service also confirmed their conclusion.

Given that Obama’s ring comes from Indonesia, it’s not clear why Murray’s “Amman staffers” would see a special resemblance to rings in Jordan.

The “Duke professor” wisely kept his name “off the record”. William Murray has also featured on this blog previously: last year, he took part in the “Constitution or Sharia” conference in Nashville, at which speakers included the likes of Christian Concern’s Paul Diamond. Gabriel, meanwhile, is Founder and President” of the Union of Former Muslims, and the author of Culture Clash: Islam’s War on America.

Also more or less on board was Andrew Bostom, who declared that Corsi’s and Gabriel’s evidence “appear to be” sound, as was Pamela Geller:

She said Obama’s “anti-freedom, pro-jihad foreign policy has given the global jihad a new lease on death, and clearly he is happy about that, as this ring indicates.”

Robert Spencer, meanwhile, was slightly more cautious:

[Spencer] said that should the ring on Obama’s finger prove to include an inscription of an Islamic prayer, it could explain his foreign policy attitudes and actions regarding freedom in the Middle East.

Other sites, meanwhile, have suggested that the ring shows that Obama is “married to Allah”. This is not a concept that is found in normative Islam.

Oddly, one person who was unimpressed was Glenn Beck’s End-Times prophet Joel Richardson:

Joel Richardson… said he was skeptical that there was an Arabic script on the ring, which he has not examined personally.

What a shame that Richardson wasn’t similarly sceptical when his associate Walid Shoebat  claimed that the Arabic contours of “In the Name of Allah” are present in the Biblical Greek for “666”. Arabic letters seem to be particularly amendable to this kind of “reading in”: some Muslims themselves have sometimes claimed to have found the words “In the Name of Allah” present in natural phenomena.

Snopes also raises the point that

One might also consider the incongruity that a politician who has long been dealing with (and denying) rumors that he is a Muslim would openly wear a symbol demonstrating those rumors to be true.

Actually, I doubt very much that Obama himself spends time “dealing with” such a rumour, but there’s an implied further element in the conspiracy: perhaps Obama is secretly signalling his Muslim allegiance to other Muslims, who are collectively keeping it to themselves (see Update 2 below). Hence we recently saw discredited fake “ex-terrorist” Kamal Saleem explain to Frank Gaffney that when Obama recites the pledge of allegiance  he holds his hand in a special way that shows he is really performing an Islamic prayer. In 2009, WND‘s Joseph Farah claimed that Obama had made a speech “in code” to the Muslim world in which he conveyed a promise to revive and continue Hitler’s Holocaust (no, really).

UPDATE: I wasn’t aware of just how deeply Geller invested in this. On Wednesday 10 October, she wrote:

I’d like to see one member of the press corps ask Obama about this. It certainly jives with Obama’s islamophilia and his pro-sharia foreign policies, and with his extensive Muslim background, as detailed in my book, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America.

The implications of Obama’s ring aside, the level of his dishonesy is breathtaking. Jerome Corsi over at WND has this blockbuster story.

That entry in her Atlas Shrugs blog has now been deleted – and, as expected, she has felt no need to offer her audience either an apology or an explanation. Robert Spencer behaves in the same way (see here and here for two examples). I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: any blogger dealing in current affairs is likely to make a mistake from time to time; but what separates a serious person from a charlatan or demagogue is how one attempts to put a mistake right (H/T The American Muslim).

UPDATE 2: And I now see that Corsi has indeed claimed that Muslims are in on the ring conspiracy, speaking with VCY (“Voice of Christian Youth) America’s Vic Eliason on 12 October. Right Wing Watch has the transcript:

It’s almost like it’s a secret communication, like it’s a wink-wink and ‘I’m with you.’ In Islam, taqiyya which is a practice, it is okay for believers in Islam to mislead infidels. So in other words you can lie, you can say you’re Christian if that serves your purposes and in Islam the high point of taqiyya would be to communicate to believers that that’s what you’re doing and that’s what I think this ring could easily do.

This then bizarrely segues into the claim that Obama is a promiscuous homosexual.

Senators and Representatives Thank Joseph Farah for Apocalyptic Paperback and DVD

From WND:

It was at the Congressional Black Caucus that Sen. John Edwards, D-S.C., then a vice presidential running mate with Sen. John Kerry, made a speech in which he cited the words of Isaiah 9:10 on the third anniversary of 9/11 in explaining how the U.S. could respond. In fact, he didn’t just site the ancient curse of judgment, he built his entire speech around it.

But a member of that caucus, Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, took the time to write a formal letter of thanks to WND Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah for the gifts of “The Harbinger” and “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” distributed to every member of Congress last month.

“I look forward to reading your book on my flights back to Dallas,” she said.

…Johnson joins Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Democrat Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Ind., Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen Dan Coates, R-Ind. along with Reps. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., Nick Rahall II, R-W.V.; Lamar Smith, R-Texas; Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Ben Quayle, R-Ariz.

I’ve discussed the background to Jonathan Cahn’s book The Harbinger previously. In the days after 9/11, Edwards had quoted Isaiah 9:10:

The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.

Alas, however, Edwards (or, perhaps, his speech-writer) didn’t bother to look at the wider context of the passage: the Biblical author presents it as a futile boast by ancient Israel that they would repel neighbouring enemies through their own efforts, when in fact their enemies represent the wrath of God.

For Cahn, this is not just an example of ignorant quote-mining: he seems to regard it as a magical invocation, through which Edwards (and later Tom Daschle, who quoted the same passage at a later date) has unleashed a supernatural curse on the USA; God seems to be little more than an impersonal and mechanistic force. As well as the book and Joseph Farah’s tie-in DVD, a “study guide” is due for release in January, under the tagline “Decode the mysteries and respond to the call that can change America’s future – and YOURS”.

Back in May, WND reported that Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb of Oklahoma had made a call to thank a man who had given copies of the book to members of the legislature. Of course, as with the letters sent to Farah, this may have been no more than a polite acknowledgements.

Al-Muhajiroun “Massacre” Slogan Reappears in Indian Protest

In February 2006, the media noted the presence of sanguinary signs at a protest organised by an al-Muhajiroun front-group outside the Danish embassy in London. The signs bore slogans such as “Massacre those who Insult Islam”, and they were crudely but distinctively created with black marker-pens and white cardboard.

The phrase “Massacre those who Insult Islam” has now made a comeback, this time on properly-printed banners. These new banners can be seen in an EPA photograph taken at a 5 October protest in Kolkata/Calcutta. According to the blurb, “Hundreds of protesters, from the Muslim Group of Bengal [for Peace], rallied to denounce the anti-Islam film ‘Innocence of Muslims'”; these specific banners, though, also include the detail “Organised by the Aashiqan e-Rasool Committee”, along with what appears to be an address. They are shown intermingled with banners from other groups (including one, oddly, which shows Obama in the form of a Na’vi from the film Avatar), and judging from other crowd photos in the set they do not appear to have been widely distributed among the protestors.

UK Thug Uses US DMCA Takedown Notice to Suppress Information about Him

Who would have thought that having a webhost in the USA rather than the UK would actually come with a free speech disadvantage?

For an explanation as to why this blog disappeared for a few hours, and why the entry for 27 September 2012 is now missing, please see reports at BoingBoing and TorrentFreak.

Apocalyptic Christians Gather for Conference in Eden Prairie

Speaker Warns of “Nuclear 9/11, or a Financial Apocalypse or even an Oil Crisis” for USA

“Similarities Between Nazi Germany and America Today”

Repeal of DADT Caused Heatwave

WND reports from an apocalyptically-minded conference that recently took place in Eden Prairie, Minnesota:

Attendees traveled from as far away as India and Jerusalem for the 15th annual conference at a large church auditorium.

The event was organised by Jan Markell’s Olive Tree Ministries.

First up, Mark Hitchcock:

…Hitchcock pointed to one prophecy he feels is nearing fulfillment. Known by those watching prophecy as the Gog-Magog war, the text of the prophecy can be found in Ezekiel 38. It describes an alliance of nations that go to war with Israel.

…He also points out that the prophecy indicates that the warring nations attack Israel with “spoil” on their minds and that until just two years ago, Israel didn’t have much value to offer.

“As of 2010, it was discovered that Israel sits on natural gas and oil fields that suddenly makes their land very appealing,” said Hitchcock.

…Hitchcock also spoke about America’s role in Bible prophecy and said that although some try to twist possible hints in the Bible about America, there are far too many problems with those views. Instead, he says, America doesn’t seem to be part of an end-times scenario.

He admitted that any conjecture on why America may not be involved in the end times would only be a guess, but he offered a few plausible scenarios.

“We could see a nuclear 9/11, or a financial apocalypse or even an oil crisis,” he said.

Ezekiel 38-39 imagines ancient Israel being attacked by the surrounding nations, including indistinct barbarians given the name of Gog; the invasion is defeated due to God’s direct intervention, after which Israel spends “seven years” burning the invaders’ weapons and “seven months” burying the bodies. It was composed to comfort the inhabitants of Jerusalem during and after the Babylonian siege, but it keeps details vague enough that any sort of middle east unrest can be fitted into the template. The reason why America is “not involved” is so obvious to be hardly worth stating: the author had no knowledge of, or interest in, another land mass on the other side of the world.

Next, Bill Koenig:

Koenig wrote a book that researched and documented disasters that corresponded with efforts to pressure Israel into dividing its land. He told the crowd that he has gotten the book, “Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel,” into the hands of many prominent national leaders, yet actions against Israel seem to persist.

While he sees costly disasters tied to key dates involving Israel, he also pointed to other issues that may also cost America.

He refers to July 19-22, 2011, as, “Four days of presidential decisions America may never recover from.”

Those are the days that Barack Obama went through the process of repealing the longstanding military policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

“In those days America, and Washington, D.C., saw 322 heat records tied or broken,” he said. “The heat index reached 129 degrees in Washington, D.C.”

This kind of supernatural causality is of course impossible to falsify; had heat records not been broken in July 2011, Koenig would have simply found some other unusual event to link to the repeal of DADT (or, had DADT not been repealed in July 2011, he may have found something else to link to the heatwave). Incidentally, it’s worth remembering that WND regularly vilifies scientists involved with investigating climate change.

Inevitably, resentment against Muslims was also a major theme of the gathering:

Koenig also warned about the impact of radical Islam and said while Obama certainly has defended Islam, Christians should ask, “What is Obama doing about the persecution and death of Christians?”

Another prominent speaker at the event was the senior pastor at Moody Bible Church in Chicago, Erwin Lutzer.

Lutzer started his talk by mentioning his forthcoming book, “The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent: An Informed Response to Islam’s War on Christianity,” which will be available in January.

But Lutzer wasn’t there just to plug his book:

Lutzer spoke about the similarities between Nazi Germany and America today… He then talked about the economy, indoctrination and propaganda, with a reminder that in Nazi Germany, and somewhat easily recognizable today, “Facts become irrelevant.”

“Language and euphemisms are created, and there is a tendency to demonize any opposition, or to call an opposing view hate speech,” he said.

To make a “Nazi” accusation and a complaint about “demonization” in the same breath shows a strange lack of self-awareness.

Finally:

The final speaker at the conference, which saw around 6,000 attendees, was The author of “The Harbinger” book, and the inspiration behind “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” the bestselling Christian book of 2012 and the bestselling faith movie of the year, Jonathan Cahn.

I discussed Cahn and his book here.

Although WND does not mention the conference’s venue, it was held at Troy Dobbs’ Grace Church. The church featured in Guardian article by Ana Marie Cox in February, describing a visit by Rick Santorum.

The church will host another conference at the end of the month, entitled “Unveiled” and aimed at those working “to make an impact for Christ with Muslims in their communities and around the world”. Among those attending with be “Glenn Beck’s End Times Prophet” Joel Richardson, with a presentation on Islamic apocalypticism:

Islam and the End Times; what are the Muslim people here and abroad talking about in the coffee shops?

From the author of the Mideast Beast, you will hear a compelling and powerful presentation that will help you “connects the dots” between Islamic eschatology, Middle East politics, current events and the effect of Islamic end times views on missions and evangelism.

Listeners will doubtless be able to contrast the sinister dangers of Islamic End Times beliefs with their own perfectly benign Christian armageddonist views.

 

Speaker at SION Conference: Muslims “Breed Like Rats”, Islam “Can be Wiped Out”

Militant Hindu has elsewhere attacked Christian missionaries, “Hindu traitors” etc.

A couple of sites have drawn attention to a 25 September article about Pamela Geller’s 11 September “SION” conference (I discussed English Defence League involvement with this event here). The piece, by Aaron Labaree and published by Guernica, ascribes immoderate words to one of the speakers, Babu Suseelan:

“If we do not kill the bacteria,” the jowly Suseelan scolded the audience, “the bacteria will kill us.” Otherwise, he warned, “Muslims will breed like rats and they will be a majority.” Still, he concluded hopefully, “Islam can be stopped! And it can be wiped out.”

[Robert] Spencer laughed, but Geller covered her face, as if witnessing the antics of a naughty child.

True, Suseelan calls for “Islam,” rather than Muslims, to be “wiped out”, but coming after “breed like rats” it is difficult to take seriously the suggestion that the rhetoric here is not eliminationist.

I discussed Suseelen back in January, when he appeared at an earlier Geller meeting. To repeat what I posted then, Muslims are the the top of a very long list in Suseelan’s mind; in a typically overheated rant elsewhere, he rails against

Radical Muslims, conversion mafia, missionary misfits, Marxist criminals, bogus secular leaders and the corrupt congress party…  Anarchists, Maoists, Naxals, vagabonds, miscreants, counterfeiters, and subversive groups… 

Suseelan explains that Christian missionaries “are devising various modern deceptive plans to convert unsuspecting and ignorant Hindus”, and he is critical of Christianity in principle:

Islam and Christianity are religions of the book with a specific God, messenger, strict rules, prescription to follow, organizational hierarchy and dogmatic belief system. These are closed, dogmatic and fundamentalist and closed belief systems, which divide people between believers and non-believers.

…Hindus need to counter the growing trend among pseudo secularists and phony liberals to promote the false ideology “all religions are the same”. What we need is an informed mind to rationally conclude that religions of the books and Hindu Dharma are not complementary.

There are also “Hindu traitors” to worry about:

The nature of present destructive behavior of Hindu traitors, anti Hindu stance of pseudo secular and corrupt Hindu political leaders may resemble the past. Looking at more and more evidence of policies and programs against our eternal, sacred Vedic Dharma helps us to adequately explain the uniformity of destructive political behavior of Hindu traitors.

…In contemporary politics, most of our pseudo secular Congress party and regional political party leaders are subservient to Christians, Muslims and their political actions retard Hindu advancement. Hindus in general are servile or otherwise lacking a sense of pride in Vedic Dharma or spiritual tradition.

Unsurprisingly, his advice for the 2009 election was “Vote for BJP for a positive future”.

(H/T Loonwatch)

 

Bill to Promote Native American Economic Development through Investment by Turkish Businesses Prompts “Islamization” Conspiracy Theory

PJ Media has a piece by Marc J. Fink, “Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum”:

Recently, Native American Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK, member of the Chickasaw Nation) introduced H.R. 2362, the Indian Trade and Investment Demonstration Project. The bill singles out Turkish-owned companies for exclusive investment preferences and special rights in Native American tribal area projects.

…The bill was the culmination of a multi-year effort by Turkey to ingratiate itself with Native American tribes: tribal students now study in Turkey with full scholarships; Turkish officials regularly appear at Native American economic summits; and dozens of tribal leaders have gone to Turkey on lavish all-expense-paid trips.

…Why the intense interest in business and cultural ties with Native American tribes now, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development party (AKP) have taken Turkey down a path of aggressive and dangerous Islamism?

Evidence from Uzbekistan points to a possible motive: infiltration and Islamization.

The text of the Bill can be seen here.

I’ve no quarrel with drawing critical attention to what appears to be Turkish “soft power” in action, but Fink’s supposed evidence of “Islamization” here is a red herring. He continues:

According to Agence France-Presse:

[The Uzbek government has accused] Turkish companies of creating a shadow economy, using double accounting and propagating nationalistic and extremist ideology. … Long wary of the influence of Islamic fundamentalism … secular authorities appear to be linking Turkish private business to the activities of the Nurcus, an Islamic group that is banned in the country.

Nurcus is also banned in Russia.

Fink has nothing more to say about the Nurcus, presumably because – despite working for an organisation called the “Midde East Forum” – he doesn’t know anything about them. In fact, the Nurcus are a movement consisting of several groups, and in this instance the group under discussion in the AFP report cited above (which dates from last year), although not named, is clearly the well-known “neo-Nurcu” Gülen movement, or FGC (Fethullah Gülen Community).

Eurasianet has some background:

Underlying Tashkent’s actions is mounting distrust of the Islamist orientation of Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). It would seem that Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s government worries that the AKP is working to promote Islamic piety not only in Turkey, but in the Turkic states of Central Asia. In particular, Tashkent is suspicious that the AKP is somehow abetting the activity of an Islamic evangelical movement led by the Turkish theologian Fetullah Gulen, whose ideas are rooted in concepts earlier espoused by Bediuzzaman Said Nursî in the mid-20th century.

…Amid the prosecutions, state-controlled television channels aired programs clearly designed to stir up anti-Turk sentiments. For example, a late February documentary, titled “Crime and Punishment”  and broadcast on two state-run channels, claimed that the arrested entrepreneurs took advantage of “our country’s favorable investment climate and committed economic crimes, including trade in counterfeit goods and the use of dishonest accounting practices to hide profits.” The documentary – which included apparent confessions from some of the accused – asserted that several of the arrested entrepreneurs were affiliated with the Gulen movement.

In addition to the religious element, governmental corruption appears to be a factor in the crackdown, some observers contend. A Tashkent-based financial analyst suspects the attacks on Turkish ventures might be part of an ongoing redistribution of property that began in 2010.

Interpretation needs be cautious: on the one hand, it is reasonable for Turkic countries to be wary of Turkish influence. On the other hand, though, Uzbekistan is a brutal dictatorship, and its attempts to curb such influence appear to be crude, excessive, and tinged with corruption.

It is simply too much of stretch to suggest that either the situation in Uzbekistan or the general activities of the Gülen movement provide the secret template for understanding international Turkish business interests or why Turkey is seeking to woo Native Americans.

Certainly, though, the Gülen movement is worth keeping an eye on; useful background is provided by a 2009 email written by Reva Bhalla of STRATFOR and published by Wikileaks. It concludes that:

The FGC is perhaps the best organised grass roots movement in Turkey. Moreover, the group has a vast social and economic organisation, intelligence assets, a global network and a message that appeals to the West, even if that message appears to be mostly for international consumption. The FGC is effectively a third force in Turkish politics, and the world will hear a lot about it in the years to come.

There was also a highly-critical profile of the organisation in Spiegel Online in August.

U.S. Senator Patrick Toomey and Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley Attend Prayer Breakfast with Gen. “Jerry” Boykin

The Pocono Record reports from the Pocono Leadership Prayer Breakfast:

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin told how faith and prayer sustained him through combat in the Iranian desert, Grenada and Mogadishu.

“I worry about our country but I believe revival is coming to America,” Boykin told 870 people gathered at Camelback resort.

Boykin said he wasn’t a religious man, but told stories of how his prayers were answered in times of grave danger.

…”Prayers, we say, are acts of striving,” Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cowley [sic – should be “Jim Cawley] said. “They’re almost political acts…”

Prayer speaks to an impulse almost as old as humankind, he said.

The founding of the U.S. transcends government, said U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., calling it “the idea that our fundamental rights came from God himself.”

Judging from the article, Boykin’s speech consisted for the most part of military reminiscences; the audience was thus spared his thoughts on how Obama intends to create an army of Brownshirts as part of a Marxist conspiracy, or about how there should be “no mosques in America“. It’s not clear why Boykin is reported as saying he “wasn’t a religious man”: he describes himself as an “ordained minister”, and he is a close associate of the neo-Pentecostal evangelist Rick Joyner. Perhaps what is meant is that Boykin “hadn’t been a religious man” earlier in life.

An earlier article in the Pocono Record has some background to the Prayer Breakfast:

While the Pocono Leadership Prayer Breakfast has a Citizens Support Committee made up of prominent business people, elected officials and community leaders, Jack Muehlhan is the chief organizer… Muehlhan, a Stroudsburg Realtor for 40 years, said he and [his wife] Paula spend hundreds of hours on breakfast details.

…This year’s speaker [2008] is Barry Asmus, a senior economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Previous speakers include Major League baseball player Bobby Richardson, motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, syndicated newspaper columnist Cal Thomas and Prison Fellowship director Mark Early.

…”We let political figures participate, but not the year they are running, and no campaign literature is allowed,” Muehlhan said.

“I don’t care what motivates people to come,” Muehlhan said. “Most people leave with a good feeling. People are hungry. They’re looking for a relationship with God. My dream would be to see a prayer breakfast in every town across the country.”

This year’s Prayer Breakfast also included music from a singer named Robin Smith; she has posted a video to YouTube, along with a blurb:

The Pocono Leadership Prayer Breakfast is the largest gathering of its kind in the USA. I am honored to sing once again. This is my 5th time participating. It is attended by US Senators, State Governors, Representatives, Judges, Police Departments, and Local and state leaders of every kind. It is an honor and I am on my way to the White House and beyond!

Muehlhan is a Republican Party activist in Monroe County: he was Toomey’s Monroe County election coordinator in 2004, and apparently again in 2010. Toomey was profiled by Philadelphia magazine in August; the piece judged him to be “surprisingly moderate”, and noted that although he benefited from the rise of the Tea Party, he “declined to join the organization’s Senate caucus”:

Toomey might have been a radical by the mainstream GOP standards of 2004, but in 2012, stacked up against the likes of Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann, Toomey comes across as the most sober adult in the Republican room.