John Hagee’s Spokesman Writes to Birmingham Mail

The Birmingham Mail (UK) has published a letter from  Ari Morgenstern, spokesman for John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, concerning Hagee’s upcoming visit to the city. Strangely, however, the letter has been deleted from the Mail‘s website without explanation in the past few hours. It reads like Morgenstern’s work when compared with other statements he has made in defence of Hagee, so it probably wasn’t removed over concerns about genuine authorship.

I’ve managed to rescue a few fragments via Google:

An objective individual reading the recent hateful attacks on Pastor John Hagee would come away with a terribly flawed view of a man millions look to for theological and spiritual guidance…

He is a passionate Zionist and serves as the chairman of the largest pro-Israel organisation in the US. In late August, he will be preaching at the Birmingham Symphony Hall. Through certain prevalent myths, old quotes, and the like, readers would be convinced Hagee is a “hate Pastor”. Hagee was accused of calling the Catholic Church “the great whore,” and a “false cult system”. While this is a prevalent internet myth, when the American newspaper Politico recently published this assertion, they quickly acknowledged their error.

As for Hagee’s attitudes towards Jews and Judaism:

… In his effort to answer this question he spoke with his closest friend in the clergy, the Orthodox Jewish Rabbi in San Antonio. The ADL not only welcomed this reconciliation, but noted “We are grateful that you have devoted your life to combating anti-Semitism and supporting the State of Israel.”

The rabbi is Aryeh Scheinberg, a long-time ally of Hagee – I blogged on him here.

Given the confusions about Hagee preaches, let’s hear the man himself. The audio available here was posted to YouTube a while ago; the video and background music were added by someone unconnected with Hagee’s ministry.

April: Muslim World League Building Graffiti Case in Court

Here’s one I missed from April; from the Camden New Journal:

A CARER who wrote “EDL” and drew a religious cross on the wall of a mosque has been found guilty of aggravated criminal damage.

Andrew Baldwin, from Fitzrovia, admitted daubing the three letters – representing the far right English Defence League group – and the cross on the wall of the Muslim World League (MWL) building in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, on December 10 and again on March 5.

…He said his graffiti had been aimed at “wrong’uns” rather than Muslims in general, adding: “Anyone going into that building to do their business and pray to their god, it’s not aimed at them. It’s aimed at the other types.”

…Judge Anthony Martin said Mr Baldwin’s evidence had been “inconsistent”, adding: “In our view that graffiti would offend a class of people rather than ­particular individuals.”

The building also contains a mosque, and Baldwin was also found guilty of damaging a CCTV camera.

The Muslim World League is an organisation which deserves some critical scrutiny: its main donor is Saudi Arabia, and it is generally recognised that the global promotion of Wahabi Islam is a cause for concern. It seems unlikely, though, that this particular distinction motivated Baldwin (not that his behaviour can be justfied either way).

This was not the first time the MWL building has been targeted: in 2010 the building was plastered with stickers advertising “Cheerleaders Against Islamic Extremism” – a group which I have had to write about a number of times, and which boasts of working with groups such as the Quilliam Foundation. An official video was posted to the “Cheerleaders” Facebook page, captioned “Mr Rivers’ sticker raid on the league”; I outlined my dealings with this person (real name Matthew Edwards) here.