A Special Guest Conspiracy Theory: USA to be Islamic By End of Obama’s Second Term

David Corn has some fun with conspiracy theorist Avi Lipkin:

…here’s the mother of all right-wing conspiracy theories: Obama is scheming to bring tens of millions of Muslims—perhaps up to 100 million—from the Middle East into the United States in order to turn this country into an Islamic nation by the end of his second term.

Fortunately, this diabolical plan has been exposed by an American-born Israeli named Avi Lipkin, who says he once was a translator for the Israeli government, and an outfit called Special Guests, which books conservative commentators and advocates on popular television and radio talk shows. Lipkin’s website claims that since 1990 he has lectured on various topics—including the threat of Islam and Israel—in over 1000 churches and synagogues in the United Sates, Canada, England, Greece, Israel, and other countries. His bio notes that he heads the Judeo-Christian Bible Bloc party in Israel.

I blogged on Lipkin and his “Judeo-Christian Bible Bloc” in 2006. Lipkin can be hired alone or as part of a double act with none other than Walid Shoebat; according to the Special Guests website:

This is an interview opportunity you do not want your audience to miss. Call Special Guests today. Walid Shoebat and Avi Lipkin are available as guests individually or together as a panel.

Shoebat and Lipkin were also co-promoted by Special Guests last month, alongside the former mayor of Shiloh in Israel, as pundits on Egypt:

CONTACT: Amy Reis or Lynne Campbell of Special Guests at: 630-848-0750. Avi is available by phone for radio or via satellite from Jerusalem for television.

…Conducting Talk Show interviews on this topic are a panel of guests (pick one, some, all or none) including Middle East policy analyst, Avi Lipkin, an Israeli citizen, former member of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and a former translator inside the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

…Regarding the recent so-called ‘leaderless’ protest in Egypt, Avi Lipkin stated, “There is no doubt that if the Mubarek regime falls, the only group powerful enough and cohesive enough to rule Egypt will be The Muslim Brotherhood.

This would be a repeat of Jimmy Carter’s toppling of the Shaw [sic] of Iran and the ushering in of a fanatic government with The Muslim Brotherhood who has promised a war with Israel.”

…And former terrorist Walid Shoebat, who discusses street protest through the eyes of a terrorist. He knows up front and personally just what the behind-the-scenes leaders are doing to fan the flames of the so-called leaderless protest.

Lipkin and Shoebat have appeared together before: in 2007 they were part of a “prophecy conference” alongside Jack Hibbs, John Higgins, David Hocking, and Jacob Prasch. As I’ve blogged previously, Shoebat, like Lipkin, claims that Obama is a Muslim: this is why Obama supports access to abortion, as part of a plot to weaken the USA. Shoebat has also worked with Glenn Beck’s “end times prophet” Joel Richardson to spread the idea that the Bible predicts the coming of a Muslim anti-Christ.

Corn also gives some background to the Special Guests PR outfit:

According to its website, the organization has collaborated with the National Right To Life Committee, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, the Second Amendment Foundation, and other conservative groups. The site boasts, “We regularly place guests on radio shows including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity Radio, [and] Michael Savage.” The group says it only promotes causes that “are pleasing to The Maker, our Creator.” It asks potential clients, “What is your special message? Is it helpful to humanity? Is it God-honoring?” Apparently, it pleases God to accuse the president of covertly plotting—and implementing!—a Muslim takeover of the United States.

The organisation was also discussed by Karl Grossman of FAIR in 2006:

Speaking of the politics of media, it’s a clear and daily demonstration to me of how the right, far more than the left, realizes the importance of communication… The most active PR operation that pitches us is Special Guests.

…The president of Special Guests is Jerry McGlothlin who, he explained, at 22 got into “the art business printing lithographs of starving artists” and became a millionaire. After he utilized his intense energy to sell a lithograph to Thomas Madden, a former vice president of NBC who went into PR, “Tom told me, ‘You’re a natural for PR.'”

For a time he was partners with Madden, one-time PR director for ABC and author of the memoir Spin Man.

A key event for Special Guests occurred in 1988, two years after its founding, when McGlothlin was able to get Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry booked on the Oprah Winfrey Show. That national television exposure “launched” Terry and his anti-abortion drive as “a national movement,” said McGlothlin. This convinced him that he could not only “make money” through PR, but “you can move social causes! You can change the world!”

Since that TV appearance, he proudly noted, 80,000 people have been arrested in protests against abortion, twice the number, he said, arrested during the civil rights movement. One of those arrested was McGlothlin. He is not only a PR man but someone who believes in the causes and people he promotes.

He finds getting access to media “easy as pie for me now. I know the people; I know the producers.” He rattled off names of producers at the most popular TV and radio programs in the United States, and told of his clients in recent weeks getting on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS’s Morning Show…

In July 2010, Joe Ciarallo of PRNewsner noted a “pay-per-placement” ad in a trade publication:

We’ve heard of “pay-per-placement” PR agencies before… Nothing new there.

However, we can’t recall seeing an advertisement that implies in such a direct manner that one can pay to get on big name TV and radio shows such as those hosted by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, as well as conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

…When asked if he needed permission to use the media personality’s pictures in his advertisement, which basically implies that you can pay to be on their shows, McGlothlin responded, “I really don’t know.”

McGlothlin did say his company has booked a couple hundred thousand placements per year, including affiliates. “We book very frequently on ‘Fox and Friends’ and other programs on Fox News,” he said.

“We book time to time on CNN and MSNBC, although most of our guests run right of center so it’s easier for us to place them on Fox News,” he continued.

McGlothlin clarified further in the comments under the post:

At Special Guests we do not guarantee any particular show on any particular day, but if we don’t book it, the client doesn’t pay a cent.

…Major book publishers outsource publicity work to us since they know they have a fixed flat rate for the work we do, either on a ‘per interview’ basis or on a flat weekly or monthly basis. No expenses, no hidden fees, no bad surprises and no long term commitment. Satisfaction 100% guaranteed or give a 7-day notice to quit. But with clients who have been with us longer than 15 years, it shows that sometimes the best binding long term agreement is no long term agreement at all!

Pay for play PR? Think of it like this: People scoffed at ‘penny ante; keyword search marketing in its infancy but Google and Yahoo are now mainstream (our ‘keywords’ are: politics, breaking news, Obama and religion!) players in the advertising industry.

Perhaps the future of PR is what Special Guests has been doing for the past 22 years: Charging a fair price per interview and NOT CHARGING A DIME unless we deliver.

A December 2010 press release announced that

Jerry McGlothlin president of Special Guests Inc… announced the release of a new public relations guide entitled: How to Become a ‘Special Guest’on Television & Radio Talk Shows and Turn it into A Personal Gold Mine.

…Since his public relations firm Special Guests, which specializes in placing clients as guests on popular radio and television talk shows began in 1984, McGlothlin has represented and booked a virtual who’s who of well known newsmakers, politicians and celebrities.

Everyone from George Foreman, Deborah Norville, The Duchess of York – Sarah Ferguson, Johnny Carson side kick the late Ed McMahon, as well as former president George W. Bush. CEO’s from fortune 500 corporations have also made splashes on network shows like Oprah, The Today Show, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Rush Limbaugh among others, thanks to McGlothlin.

…Special Guests is considered by industry insiders as the top Talk Show PR firm in the United States.

Special Guests also has a  “television division” called CleanTV, where McGlothlin presents news items such as “John McTernan documents how disasters of biblical proportions happen in the United States each time our nation’s leadership pressures Israel to give up their God-given Promised Land”. As Gerald B McGlothlin, he is the registered owner of 888WebToday, which describes itself as “Your Daily Conservative and Christian Online Daily News Resource”, and of Faith Issues. Both sites offer boilerplate populist-conservative religious and general commentary, with 888WebToday also publishing various press releases.

Back in 2004, another person named Jerry McGlothlin found fame as the “Napkin Man” after attempting to sell a napkin made moist from Alan Keyes’ sweat. However, this Special Guests page shows that the PR-man McGlothlin curiously became his namesake’s promoter.

Name variation: Gerald McGlothlin

(H/T Ed Brayton)

Governor Shekarau Claims He was “Misquoted” on Polio Vaccine Conspiracy Theory

The BBC’s interview programme HARDtalk has just featured Ibrahim Shekarau, Governor of Kano State in northern Nigeria and current presidential candidate. Among the issues discussed was Shekarau’s suspension of Kano’s polio vaccination programme, which had tragic results both in Nigeria and other countries. Interviewer Zeinab Badawi reminded the governor of a 2004 quote:

It is a lesser of two evils to sacrifice two, three, four, five, even 10 children (to polio) than allow hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of girl-children likely to be rendered infertile.

Badawi sources this to the Vanguard newspaper, although a BBC report from the time cites the AP. Either way, though, Shekarau now claims this was a misquote. He explains that he had never claimed that the polio vaccine could render children infertile – rather, he simply acknowledged that the conspiracy theory was widespread in rural areas and that he had so suspend the vaccination to maintain public confidence in wider health programmes:

I was misquoted…. I said it is a lesser evil compared with the fact that if we do not take any action to convince the general public of the safety of the vaccine, after going through all the processes of explanation, then there will be millions of children that will be affected by polio. We never raised [infertility].

This is shameless spin. As I blogged at the time, the federal government was also aware of the Islamist-fuelled hysteria over the vaccine, and sent  a committee to South Africa to look into the issue. This committee, which included representatives of Jama’atul Nnasril Islam and was chaired by Sheik Umar El-Kanemi, declared that the vaccine was completely safe. However, rather than support this effort “to convince the general public of the safety of the vaccine”, Shekarau instead used his position to undermine the committee’s work. He wilfully misinterpreted its findings, claiming that there was indeed “contamination”, and he made the lame objection that the Christian Association of Nigeria had not been included – even though neither CAN nor local Christians had raised any complaints.

Eventually, and after an excruciating delay, an alternative vaccine was imported from Indonesia. We don’t know who profited from this, although then-President Obasanjo alleged that “one of the Muslim leaders opposing the immunisation programme had unsuccessfully sought a government contract to import new vaccines.”

See here for the full interview, and here for just the segment on the vaccine.

Stephen Strang Suing Benny Hinn

From the Houston Chronicle, 2005:

[Benny] Hinn, 52, is one of the most popular – and controversial – evangelist-healers in the nation. His daily This is Your Day! half-hour TV program is broadcast throughout the United States and 217 countries. His crusades regularly draw standing-room-only crowds.

“I have a great deal of respect for his ministry,” said Stephen Strang, a nationally known Christian publisher.

Strang has known Hinn since 1977, when the evangelist began his rise to national recognition.

“He helps lots of people and he has always been arrow straight,” Strang said. “Hinn has the ability, in my opinion, unlike anybody else in America to take people into God’s presence in worship. That is really why people come to the meetings more than the healings.”

Hinn first featured on the cover of Strang’s Charisma magazine in 1979, the two men have shared the stage at particular events, and in 1993 Hinn revealed in an interview with Strang that he was moving away from Prosperity Gospel teachings.

Alas, however, the Vancouver Sun now reports:

A Lake Mary book publisher is suing televangelist and faith healer Benny Hinn, saying he violated a morality clause in their contract when he began an “inappropriate relationship” with another evangelist, and thus, must pay $250,000.

…In a letter attached to the suit, Strang also accused Hinn of violated the contract by failing to work hard enough to market Blood in the Sand.

He failed to make television appearances to promote it, including several on 700 Club, wrote Strang attorney Chris Vlahos.

Blood in the Sand, according to its blurb, is a guide to “Understanding the Middle East Conflict – the Stakes, the Dangers, and What the Bible Says about the Future”; apparently there aren’t quite enough paperbacks that purport to do this already. The book comes with endorsements from Pat Robertson and Tim LaHaye; there is also a Foreword by Ehud Olmert, who tells us with a straight face that Hinn’s

writings and teaching through the years relfect the knowledge, wisdom and concern that are founded on a lifetime of historical, philosophical, and theological study.

The book was published in 2009 by FrontLine, which is Strang’s political imprint.

Hinn’s alleged “inappropriate relationship” was with Paula White, and their private association was widely reported last year. According to Strang’s Charisma News last summer:

Evangelist Benny Hinn recently admitted at a crusade in Oakland, Calif., to having a “friendship” with fellow minister Paula White while he’s still married after a tabloid pictured them holding hands in Rome on July 13. But the well-known healing minister says the relationship is over.

“A friendship did develop,” Hinn said of White in Oakland on July 30. “Hear this: No immorality whatsoever. These people out there are making it sound like we had an affair. That’s a lie.”

…Hinn told the crowd in Oakland that the Vatican made him a Patron of the Arts and invited him to visit Rome. He said patrons are asked to find donors to help maintain the Vatican’s art collections, and he wanted White to become a donor.

“I let her come with me to Rome so she can donate money,” Hinn said. “That was stupid on my part. And for that I do ask forgiveness.”

The tabloid was the National Enquirer, which claimed there was a “torrid affair” going on and that Hinn had used the pseudonym “David Salomon” to book into their hotel. Curiously, the Vatican apparently did not know about Hinn’s visit; according to Father Mark Haydu, International Coordinator of The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums:

To my knowledge, Paula White or Benny Hinn were not invited to the Vatican Museums in any official context, nor did we find anyone on our donors database of Patrons under those names.

Back in September, I noted that Strang’s Creation House imprint had quietly withdrawn – with no explanation – Pastor Terry Jones’ opus Islam is of the Devil.

UPDATE: Hinn has responded to Strang’s filing – with a threat of scandal. According to the Christian Post:

Hinn, through his lawyer, told CP that he “hopes that revealing the true facts of the actions of Mr. Strang and Strang Communications will not become necessary as a result of the regrettable course of action he has undertaken.”…

“Pastor Hinn remains optimistic that a resolution can be reached without causing unwanted harm to his publisher and long-time acquaintance,” [Miles Archer] Woodlief relayed to CP.

US Bestseller: Heaven Exists, War against Satan will “Destroy this World”

As is being widely reported, one of the USA’s top-selling titles at the moment a book called Heaven is for Real, which purports to describe how a 4-year-old boy named Colton Burpo had a near-death experience in hospital in 2003, thus proving Christianity:

While in heaven Colton says he saw many things and met many people including pop, his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born. But Colton says he didn’t look like the photo in his house. A picture sent months later by his grandma was more like the man he met, a young man without glasses. And perhaps the most shocking part of Colton’s story. “He came to his mom and said mom I have 2 sisters,” said [has father] Todd Burpo.

But he only has one sister. “You had a baby die in your tummy didn’t you?” said Todd Burpo.

His parents never told him about the miscarriage.

Over time this young man’s visions became more real. From his description of Jesus to his talks with God, even a description of Armageddon.

“Over time” may be the operative phrase here: Colton’s father is a pastor, and the details of his son’s vision emerged through their conversations. The tale has now been further packaged by Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter. A December 2010 piece in the Imperial Republican, the Coltons’ local newspaper, has some background (link added):

In an interview this week, Todd Burpo said he has no doubt his son made the heavenly visit.

While Todd, pastor of Imperial’s Crossroads Wesleyan Church, says he and wife Sonja originally weren’t sure about it, he is now.

“I am 100% convinced he was in heaven,” he said.

…He believes God had a part in the encouragement they had from a pastor friend to write the book. That friend, Phil McCallum, made some introductions and introduced them to the right people, Todd said.

It eventually led to the book deal with Thomas Nelson of Nashville, a 200-year-old company that publishes a lot of Christian books.

He worked with author Lynn Vincent, who most recently collaborated with Sarah Palin on her book, “Going Rogue: An American Life.”

Various sites have discussed the book’s content; one Reformed pastor, while not dismissing the entire book, writes that:

In Burpo’s book, I’m especially skeptical as I read the chapter on “The Throne Room of God.” Jesus’ Dad sits in a big chair, with Jesus on his right and the angel Gabriel on his left.  The Holy Spirit is a blue light in the throne room, and they brought in a little chair for Colton to sit in.  I’m kind of wondering where were the other millions of believers in heaven besides Colton, Pop, and his unborn sister.

However, it’s the apocalyptic message which particularly interests me. In a chapter called “The Coming War”, Todd tells us that he’s “not one of those pastors who camps out on end-times prophecy”, but according to his son:

“there’s going to be a war, and it’s going to destroy this world. Jesus and the angels and the good people are going to fight against  Satan and the monsters and the bad people. I saw it.”

…”in heaven, the women and the children got to stand back and watch… But the men, they had to fight. And Dad. I watched you. You have to fight too.

Todd will apparently fight with “a sword or a bow and arrow”. Pondering the Book of Revelation, Todd opines that “maybe we sophisticated grown-ups have tried to make things more complicated than they are” in looking for a symbolic interpretation. Clunkily literalistic readings of the text are in fashion right now: recently there was speculation that the book’s “pale rider” had been caught on camera in Egypt.

This isn’t the first popular book to claim that special revelations given to children offer evidence for Christianity: in the 1920s a Pentecostal missionary working in China named HA Baker claimed that children in a orphanage in Yunnan had experienced a series of visions following an “outpouring of the Holy Spirit”.

English Defence League Divisions Fall Out over Jewish Task Force

A statement from the English Defence League:

Another week another story wound up into a frenzy by the far left[;] as a recent blog qui[te] rightly pointed out the EDL is a wet dream for the purposeless lefties…

The ejaculatory and “purposeless lefties” in this instance would be, erm, the Jewish Chronicle, which recently reported that

The head of the EDL’s Jewish division Roberta Moore has announced a partnership with far-right American group the Jewish Task Force on the EDL Facebook page.

The rest of the EDL, though, are not so keen; the EDL statement continues:

…A member of the Jewish Division this week decided to link herself with terrorist organisation JTF. This was the decision and wishes of one single individual within the EDL, and does not in any way shape or form mean that the EDL is linked with this movement. We would like to make it clear that the decision to release a statement of this fact was done so without any consultation or agreement with anyone in the EDL leadership team.

The EDL will never be associated with something that it was formed and exists to eradicate ‘TERRORISM’, and hopes its members understand and realise this.

…There are also a number of pictures that have been ‘exposed’ by the left of people wearing JTF jackets at the Luton demonstration. With over 5000 people in attendance again this is something impossible to police, and again doe not mean the EDL support this group.

Alas, however, much of the “exposing” is being done by Moore rather than “the left”. She has posted two photos to the Jewish Division blog, one showing “a member of the UKIP, a member of the EDL admin, and a member of the JTF – in Amsterdam – 2010”, and the other showing “Jewish task force at EDL demo.” She adds:

So, let’s hear it from the “admin” or “leadership” of the EDL. What was all this hysteria about? Was it because  it was ME who contacted Chaim ben Pesach and not “the admin”?

Own up! I know that idiotic statement did not come from Tommy, Kevin, or Amit, or any of the decent guys there. Someone is trying to make the EDL look stupid. Remove this imbecile at once, or risk the ridicule.

The EDL is already working with the JTF, and the JDL. They have been since last year!

But there are a few individuals in the “admin” who have an issue with me, perhaps because I am a woman, and a Jew…

One can see Moore’s point: the EDL doesn’t appear to have a problem with the Kahanist far right in itself. Last month, a live message from EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (“Tommy Robinson”) was broadcast via the internet to a Jewish Defense League meeting in Toronto, and Nachum Shifren, the California-based “Surfing Rabbi” who addressed the EDL in London in October, used to be JDL founder Meir Kahane’s driver (although he was “excommunicated” from the JDL in 2005 for supporting Pat Buchanan).

However, the Jewish Task Force is particularly hard core: its leader, Victor Vancier (also known as Chaim Ben Pesach) is a terrorist who went to prison in the 1980s following a bombing campaign. Moore, though, explains it all away:

We contacted the JTF because the JTF is an organisation that has done outstanding work for persecuted Jews.  Unlike some comments and media reports we have seen around, the JTF is NOT a terrorist organization. In fact, they have never attempted to kill or maim anyone. And the only “terrorism” they have committed was to coerce the corrupted Kremlin tryrants (By blowing up EMPTY CARS OF KREMLIN DIPLOMATS) to allow the Jews to emigrate to the Land of Israel, which until then was PROHIBITED to them. The Soviets committed pogroms against Jews for years and years, and only those who know Jewish History will understand the atrocities the Jews were subjected to… So as far as we are concerned, this is not terrorism. There was a genuine threat against Jews in the Soviet Union and what the JDL did was nothing short of miraculous, for when this happened, the Soviet Jews were finally allowed to escape persecution.

Today, Vancier brags about his actions, although at the time of his trial in 1987 he repudiated them in a bid to escape punishment; the New York Times reported:

”I have no justification for what I did,” Mr. Vancier said before his sentence was imposed. He said he realized that his actions had not helped his cause. And he asked for a new chance to build a constructive life.

His court-appointed lawyer, Thomas Concannon, described his client as ”a tragic figure” and ”an empty vessel but for his J.D.L. life.”

”It’s fair to say he’s a little bit nuts,” the lawyer said.

And his terrorism did not just include empty cars or Soviets: the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center was firebombed to protest against a concert by the Moscow State Symphony, and a rival JDL leader was also targeted. The Anti-Defamation League has a chronology of events.

Moore goes on to hint that it might be appropriate for Pakistani Christians to blow up the cars of Pakistani diplomats in the UK – a scattering of question marks probably just about keeps her on the right side of the law here:

Pakistani Christians are currently undergoing the same atrocities Jews have undergone in Soviet times. Religious Blasphemy Laws have been plaguing the country and claiming numerous lives. Again, this is a matter of life and death. Not a joke. How will Pakistanis fight against these laws? How will Pakistanis defend their people against these sporadic and unlawful killings? What would YOU, PEOPLE OF BRITAIN DO??

Would you be called a terrorist for blowing up the empty cars of your diplomats in order to raise awareness? Perhaps so. But would you believe yourself guilty of terrorism? Would your “terrorist” act be worse than the acts of those who are killing your people for something as banal as Blasphemy?

According to the Jewish Chronicle, Vancier has issued a podcast in which he discusses the EDL:

“We were contacted by the English Defence League last few weeks and we have agreed we want to work together on joint projects. They are a major organisation, with mass media coverage.

“I wanted to be sure they were not the BNP, we would never work Holocaust deniers or Nazis. They wave Israeli flags, they support the Jewish people. They want Jewish members. We are happy to work with them to save England from the millions of Muslim invaders. We want to work as a united front.”

He added: “The Jewish establishment in the UK, the ‘self hating Jews’ have condemned the EDL because they support the Muslim invasion. It’s pathetic, including the so-called Orthodox. They have to be politically correct, as we go to the gas chambers. We are not interested in this, and neither is the EDL. This will turn into something big.

I haven’t been able to find the podcast, although I’ve trawled through several videos and messages that represent the “constructive” way he has spent his post-prison life. They are unsurprisingly belligerent and vicious, and include mocking references to black people as “swinging through trees”.

(H/T: Darcy Jones)

Together at Last: Joel Richardson and Glenn Beck

Joel Richardson has finally made it onto Glenn Beck’s show – WorldNetDaily reports:

Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck today said Americans should be alarmed over the revelations of a WND Books product, The Islamic Antichrist, in which author Joel Richardson documents the similarities between the “bad guy” of the Bible, the Antichrist, and the “good guy” of the Quran, the Mahdi.

Richardson’s book discusses his analysis of the Bible’s account of the end times and that of the Quran, including his conclusions about the “Antichrist,” who is described by the Bible as the ultimate enemy of God and His people, the Jews and Christians. The Mahdi, meanwhile, in Islam is forecast to be someone who comes to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

The book has a cover blurb from Robert Spencer, and WND has puffed it on numerous occasions. Further:

Media Matters for America launched an immediate response, called, “Who is Joel Richardson, Beck’s End Times Prophet?”

The Media Matters article can be seen here; it includes as a subheading “Beck’s Media Empire Increasingly Promoting Richardson”, and there is a partial transcript of an interview with Sid Roth, in which Richardson explains the supernatural inspiration that guides his Biblical exegesis:

…Just before my wife and I met, there was a prophetess that prayed over my wife and one of the things she said, was she said, “Your husband, you will marry someone that will have significant insight into the end times, and he’ll release new prophetic understanding concerning the end times to the church and to the world.” And so my wife and I are sitting in this meeting, 7,000 people, large civic center type of situation, in the very back. And before he spoke, he said, “I want to share a prophetic word in order to show that what I want to speak on is from the Lord.” He called us out by name, and then he spoke things to us that no man could know. Things that we had been praying about. Things that only we know, that only the Lord, only God could reveal to a man. And that gets your attention.

Media Matters also notes that Richardson agrees that “Islam is of the Devil“, although it should be made clear that he wrote against Pastor Terry Jones’ plan to burn the Koran. But what of Beck’s Mormonism? Is that “of the Devil”, too? Richardson is personable, and he has occasionally left comments on this blog. He explained his position to me back in July:

As an orthdox Christian, obviously I do not agree with various tenets of Mormon theology. However (in exchange for your reliability with regard to drawing more attention to my writings, I will supply you with an excellent quote for future use) Glenn Beck is one of the most genuinely prophetic voices to have emerged in this nation in many years. If your opinion of him however is formed largely through such biased and extremist outlets such as Media Matters or the Huffington Post (Gog and Demagogue) and if you don’t watch his show regularly, you will certainly fail to see this. End quote.

Of course, Richardson is far from unique in his enthusiasm: most Christian Right leaders in the USA have a symbiotic relationship with Beck, in which they promote him, and, in return, receive huge publicity boosts for themselves. This was seen most clearly at the end of last August, at Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally.

However, while Richardson takes a relaxed view of Mormonism, even though it rejects fundamental aspects of historic Christian theology, he takes a sterner line with Christians who have socio-economic views that he finds uncongenial: Christians with a concern for “social justice” are actually Marxist infiltrators working for the anti-Christ.

WorldNetDaily adds:

Richardson’s book also takes on the popular assumption among Christians that the Antichrist will come from a revived Roman Empire, which many have assumed is associated with the Roman Catholic Church and the European Union.

“The Bible abounds with proofs that the Antichrist’s empire will consist only of nations that are, today,Islamic,” Richardson explains. “Despite the numerous prevailing arguments for the emergence of a revived European Roman empire as the Antichrist’s power base, the specific nations the Bible identifies as comprising his empire are today all Muslim.”

Richardson believes the key error of many previous prophecy scholars involves the misinterpretation of a prediction by Daniel to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel describes the rise and fall of empires of the future, leading to the end times. Western Christians have viewed one of those empires as Rome, when, claims Richardson, Rome never actually conquered Babylon and was thus disqualified as a possibility.

This is all absolute rubbish. As I’ve written previously, the Book of Daniel, like the other books of the Bible, was written with a contemporary audience in mind; it does not contain secrets that make sense only thousands of years later. The various empires that concern the author end with that of his own time and location: the Hellenistic kingdoms of the post-Alexander period. The author is not interested in Rome, and shows no knowledge of any kind of “Islamic Empire” hundreds of years in the future.  Babylon as a city had already lost much of its historical significance by the time the book was composed, and by the Islamic period the town itself was largely a ruin.

But then again, God hasn’t “released” to me a “new prophetic understanding concerning the end times” that would obviate the need to consider the Bible in historical or literary context – or to use a bit of reason.

Islamist Anti-Gay Stickers in London

Plastering stickers around an area is a cheap and easy way to generate publicity, and in London the strategy is particularly associated with various Islamist groups. The appearance of Islamist anti-gay stickers in Whitechapel has garnered some media attention: the stickers show a rainbow with a cross through it, on which is written “gay free zone”. Above the symbol is written  “ARISE AND WARN [EMQ 74:2]”, and below is written “AND FEAR ALLAH: VERILY ALLAH IS SEVERE IN PUNISHMENT [EMQ: 59:7]”. No further information is given. “EMQ” refers to a particular translation, called the “English Maariful Quran”.

The stickers were previously spotted in Whitechapel in October [UPDATE: and also in Stoke Newington – H/T to a reader], and before that in Nottingham last summer; the photographer “Tash” noted them on Indymedia here, and the Pink Paper reported that

A complaint of homophobia has been made to Nottingham Police after a group of men were seen putting up anti-Pride posters which read Gay Free Zone in the city centre.

The stickers and posters were put up just before Nottingham’s Pride festival, circa 31 July, and a member of the public has now made an official complaint to police.

One report concerning the new incident has quote from Rainbow Hamlets, an LGBT forum in Tower Hamlets, purporting to have “evidence” that the stickers were “likely” to have created by a group such as the English Defence League; what this evidence might be is mysterious, and the above would appear to rule out the possibility altogether.

The Nottingham police got as far as forwarding “one sticker and one poster to the Crown Prosecution Service to establish whether this material amounts to a criminal offence”; there are no details of any follow-up, although the police in London appear to be taking the matter more seriously: according to the Evening Standard, “Police were examining CCTV and forensic evidence today as they hunted the culprits”.

UPDATE: Apparently cyber-vigilante Charlie Flowers of “NiceOnesUK” and the “Cheerleaders” is claiming to know the name and address of the person responsible the stickers, although no evidence is forthcoming. Doubtless he’s in full self-righteous thrill mode as he harasses some hapless Islamist, whether the right one or the wrong one, and tries to spin his supposed inside information into proof that he’s not someone who also harasses innocent people.

It should be recalled that Flowers and his associates took revenge on a vulnerable adult with mental health problems who had recently joined an extremist group by outing him as gay on an Islamic website, even though this could have led to the man and his partner coming to physical harm.

Flowers is himself not adverse to using stickers to send a message to those he dislikes: the “Cheerleaders” Facebook page used to carry a video of an “anti-extremist” “sticker raid” on the Muslim World League offices in Goodge Street, London.

UPDATE 2: The Islamist named by Flowers is based in east London, and he has a website which includes a post from April 2010 (on the evils of voting) that, like the stickers, begins with the phrase “Arise and Warn [EMQ 74:2]”. While “Arise and Warn” is used as a rhetorical opening on a number of Islamic websites, his is the only one that follows with the distinctive referencing style. This is suggestive – but no more than that.

BBC Documentary Explores Anti-Gay Attitudes in Uganda

Yesterday evening BBC 3 broadcast The World’s Worst Place to Be Gay?, a documentary about Uganda presented by gay DJ Scott Mills. There are few surprises: gay people are forced to live in slums, rejected by their families and at risk of violence, while a sampling of random interviewees from the street shows a visceral hatred for homosexuals and a wish for their execution (“everything bad should be done to those people”, says one young woman).

Mills also spoke to some of the individuals who are actively promoting anti-gay feeling: Giles Muhame, managing editor of Rolling Stone newspaper; Pastor Solomon Male; and David Bahati MP, author of the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill (a bill not unfairly dubbed by critics as the “Kill the Gays Bill”). Muhume is notorious for “outing” homosexuals in his newspaper (although a court injunction recently put a stop to this), and he explained that his paper had got information through having “infiltrated their circles” and by talking to “ex-homosexuals”. Muhame also claimed that stories of attacks on gay people were lies, and (rather unconvincingly) that if his own picture had appeared in the paper he wouldn’t be scared. He added:

We are not policing but we are assisting the police to do their work.

Muhume also told Mills that homosexuality reduces one’s lifespan by 24 years – that particular talking-point comes from Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute (Cameron has featured on this blog previously).

Pastor Male, meanwhile, was introduced as claiming “he was first to openly come out against gays” – he has appeared on this blog here (it’s perhaps worth noting that Male has deployed accusations of homosexuality against rival pastors). Male’s views, expressed with a smile, are what you would expect: homosexuality is “morally incomprehensible, abominable”; “of course” gay people are as bad as paedophiles; “it is beyond human imagination that people of the same kind can love each other”. When Mills tells Male that he was gay from birth, Male insists that he is saying this “to deceive other people, because you want so many people to come to your ranks”.

Mills then went on to interview David Bahati on the grass outside the Parliament building: he described his proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill as “a wonderful piece of legislation that will help those who are involved in this behaviour, but also protect those who are not involved in this”. He also claimed that a quote attributed to him about killing homosexuals was a misquote, and that he wants gay people “to come back to normality”. Like Muhame, Bahati further claimed that accounts of abuse and violence against gay people was “planned deliberate propaganda by the gay movement… I’ve not seen any person being harassed”. As for parents chasing away their gay children, “I’ve not heard of that in this society”. Bahati explained that once the Bill was passed, parents would be expected to report their children to the police, and then “the law enforcement agencies should take care of that”.

Mills then told Bahati that he is himself gay; Bahati’s first response was awkward, and then became slightly hysterically jocular:

Well, I think  if I had known, it would be a different matter for this interview…. I think it’s not professional, right, to engage in this… If you are we could probably ask our police to check if that’s right [laughs]…. Make sure you are not caught in the act because if you are you will be put in.

Bahati then terminated the interview; Mills tells us Bahati followed up by calling his fixer asking for information, and that police had been sent to a hotel where Bahati incorrectly thought they were staying. Bahati previously featured on this blog here.

Channel 4 Documentary on Extremism in Muslim School and Violence in Madrassa

Channel 4’s Dispatches has just broadcast a documentary on hard-line teaching in a Muslim school in the UK and violence in a madrassa attached to a mosque, using covert recording over a two-year period. The programme, entitled Lessons in Hate and Violence, can be seen in the UK here; it forms a follow-up to Dispatches‘ 2007 programme Undercover Mosque (blogged here), and complements a BBC Panorama programme on extremism in some British Muslim schools which went out in November (blogged here).

Much of the programme focused on Darul Uloon al-Islam, a full-time secondary school in Birmingham which has in the past been visited by MPs and various officials. Footage shows an older student leading an assembly as preaching practice, in which he explains that Hindus have no intellect because they “worship cows”, and that they “drink the piss of a cow”. Following the summer holidays, a teacher warns that pupils with “un-Islamic” hairstyles will be trimmed, and the students are told not to integrate: society is “Shaytan”, they should “hate” walking down English streets, and they should “put away” and “forget” non-Muslim friends. Guest speakers are brought in to explain that less rigorous Muslims, defined as having a “less than a fistful” of beard, are of more potential harm than associating with a Jew, and that punishment awaits:

You know when the Angel of Death comes and he rips their soul out. He will give them such a beating that this forked iron rod will enter his body and it will enter every single joint. And then the Angel of Death will twist it and he will twist it and he will twist it. You will feel the pain on that day.

Pupils are also told not to wear trousers that go below the ankles, as this “imitates women”: “that part of your feet will be in the fire of hell”. The programme’s presenter, Tazeen Ahmed, explained that in 2007 the school’s Deputy Headmaster had been recorded in Undercover Mosque giving an anti-integration talk,  after which he had resigned since this was supposedly not in accordance with the school’s principles. The school’s response to the new footage has been to claim that the senior student who had denounced Hindus had been expelled, that certain teachers have been dismissed, and that outside speakers had said things that were not in accordance with the school’s ethos.

The programme also noted that despite the above, the school has been praised by inspectors, who had recorded that “pupils learn about the beliefs and practices of other faiths and are taught to show respect to other world religions”, and that the school was “promoting tolerance and harmony”. The inspectorate’s name appeared on-screen but was not discussed – this was the Bridge Schools Inspectorate, which also featured in the Panorama documentary. BSI deals with a small number of Muslim and Christian schools, and Barry Sheerman MP described it on Panorama as a “sub-system” which had “slipped through the system before anyone noticed what had happened”.

There’s also a brief related discussion of a school called Darululoom London; Ahmed noted a website which appeared to be associated with the school and which promotes segregationist teaching. However, the school insisted there was in fact no connection, and that a teacher named as overseeing the site is in the process of having his name removed.

Another portion of the programme dealt with the Markazi Jamia Mosque in Keighley, where there is a madrassa that appears to be overseen by a Islamic version of Wackford Squeers: the teacher is shown roaming about the room where children are learning the Koran, hitting and kicking cowering pupils more or less at random. At other times, older pupils are shown bullying the younger. The footage was shown to Sir Roger Singleton, author of a report entitled Physical Punishment: Improving Consistency and Protection; he had visited the madrassa as part of his research and he told Ahmed that the footage indicated that he had been misled. As is customary in these programmes, there was the obligatory door-stopping: Ahmed and her camera crew made their way to the mosque to get a response from mosque officials, who quickly shut the door on her. A local councillor, Khadim Hussain, then appeared and unfortunately appeared to suggest that the programme-makers were endangering the children. Since then, Ahmed explained, a man has been arrested and the police are investigating.

Aide to Nadine Dorries MP Uses “Stalker” Smear to Deflect Scrutiny

From Bedfordshire on Sunday:

MP’s aide quits her role after internet intrusion

MP Nadine Dorries’ right hand woman has quit her job claiming to be a victim of ‘spiteful and fabricated tittle-tattle’ on the internet.

Lynn Elson, a long time friend of the Mid Bedfordshire MP, has worked as Mrs Dorries’ researcher and media inquiry representative for two years.

Ms Elson made her decision after claims about her appeared on a website blog.

She told Bedfordshire on Sunday that she had lodged complaints relating to a man to both Bedfordshire and Gloucestershire police forces…

“I have decided that spiteful and fabricated tittle-tattle published on the internet by a person who has never met me, spoken to me, had any contact with me and knows nothing about me, is something I don’t wish to tolerate or put my family through.”

It should be noted that the headline does not have any quotation marks, giving the impression that the “internet intrusion” is an established fact rather than simply Elson’s assertion; further, the author of the article appears to have absolutely no interest in what the “claims about her” might be. Elson deliberately implies that something of a private family nature is being banded around the internet, when what she is in fact objecting to is Tim Ireland’s discussion of publically-available data about her company – Marketing Management Midlands Ltd – and the payments made to it via Dorries’ expenses allowance.

The accusation of “intrusion” is also somewhat ironic, given that one of Elson’s recent tasks on behalf of Dorries was to brief the media on how Dorries’ new lover’s wife is an alcoholic who is estranged from her daughters; Dorries  spiteful blog entry on the subject ended with the following:

I wont be making any further comments. Any further press queries please contact lynn@elson.myzen.co.uk

Dorries’ payments to Elson have been under scrutiny for some time; in June 2010 John Swaine noted in the Telegraph that:

New figures released by the Parliamentary authorities yesterday showed Mrs Dorries claimed £17,825 to pay Mrs Elson’s marketing company between July and December last year.

The MP for Mid-Bedfordshire also paid £34,000 to her friend between September 2008 and June last year – making a total of more than £51,000 in 15 months.

Before being amended in March 2009, the Commons “Green Book” of expenses rules said MPs could not use their allowances to pay for “self promotion or PR for individuals or political parties”.

The February prior to this, an earlier Telegraph piece was cited by Unity on Liberal Conspiracy, who did some follow-up work:

Our own detailed examination of Dorries’s expenses claims has now uncovered a further £12,000 worth of expenses claims submitted in relation to services provided by Marketing Management Midlands Ltd between July 2007 and June 2009, bringing Dorries’ total amount of claims submitted for services provided by her ‘close friend’ to £47,497.25 in just two years.

This is a subject of some interest to Tim, for reasons that he explains:

Dorries… has repeatedly attempted to portray me as a stalker and danger to others in an ongoing trial-by-media. This process has involved several carefully coordinated media leaks, releases and appearances. How much of Nadine’s marketing/PR expenditure relates to this ongoing smear campaign, and if there is any expenditure of this type, is it right that the taxpayer should foot the bill for this all-too-personal vendetta of hers?

It’s a legitimate question, although it should be noted that it is not being suggested here that any rules have been broken. Tim has looked into Dorries’ expenses and public documents concerning Marketing Management Midlands Ltd, and notes the following in reference to a tabulation:

The pre-2010 payments to Marketing Management were labelled for ‘PR, media and research’, ‘public relations, media and research’, ‘media and research retainers fee’, ‘research and secretarial service’ and/or ‘media and research’. Two out of the five payments from 2010 onwards (in bold) were labelled ‘media and research’… The remaining three of these five recent (identical) amounts… were simply labelled ‘MM’ under their Short Description, presumably by the submitter of the claim (Dorries or her staff) if not the IPSA team. Dorries is the only MP with entries using this label as a part of any description. I suspect MM is short for ‘Marketing Management’.

…There is good reason to suspect that all of these recently-revealed payments were made to Marketing Management (Midlands) Ltd., which is owned and operated by Lynn Elson. Has Dorries simply continued paying her close friend out of the taxpayer’s pocket while quietly redefining/relabeling her role?

This is also a legitimate question, although it is not one that Tim could ask Dorries or Elson directly; despite Elson’s complaint that Tim “has never met me, spoken to me, had any contact with me”, it is quite obvious that any attempt to have done so would have been spun as evidence of harassment; when in November Tim asked an anti-abortion group which Dorries had endorsed to clarify its charitable status, Dorries immediately threatened him with a police complaint.

However, Tim’s question about Elson is one that the hacks at Bedfordshire on Sunday might have exercised their minds with; did they really train as journalists just to bash out churnalism on behalf of Dorries and her sidekick? There’s a story here of some significant public interest: an MP, already controversial over her expenses and for misleading constituents on her blog, is using a “stalker” smear – and police involvement – to discourage the kind of legitimate scrutiny from a blogger that paid-up journalists ought to be doing. A hack who can’t see beyond the self-serving and bogus allegation of “internet intrusion” must either be a shill or asleep at the keyboard.

According to the Sunday Times a few weeks ago, a file on Dorries’ expenses was recently passed by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service; Dorries has made no mention of the report on her blog. It is perhaps significant that a comment alluding to this posted under the Bedfordshire on Sunday article was quickly deleted by the site moderator.