Judith Reisman Hits Croatia

News from Croatia, via OneWorldSee:

The Centre for LGBT Equality demanded, in an open letter to the Croatian Sabor (the Parliament), to cancel the announced lecture by Judith Reisman, scholar notorious all over the world or her discriminatory and homophobic views, believing that the Sabor is not a proper venue for Reisman to give a lecture.

The site provides the text of the letter, as a Word document; it includes the following:

We learned from media reports that Judith Reisman, Ph.D., will give series of lectures at Zagreb University’s Medical School, the Faculty of Philosophy and the Faculty of Political Sciences. These are disappointing news since we believe that the institutions of Zagreb University are not the place for dissipation of aggressive targeted propaganda that was already denounced by the scientific and academic community Reisman’s home country, the U.S.

However, we were especially worried by the announcement that, on January 31, at 11:00 hours, at the Ivan Mažurani? Hall of the Croatian Sabor, Judith Reisman will give a lecture on the topic “Experiences with Sexual Education in the U.S. and UK”…

Reisman has featured on this blog a number of times: in December 2011 the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) brought her to the UK to speak on the same topic, under the title “Sex education as sexual sabotage”, at an event that involved several MPs.

Reisman has a horror of “deviancy”, and she is quick to conflate sexual freedoms  – such as acceptance of homosexuality – with the promotion of paedophilia. Like many cranks, she believes societal changes of which she disapproves are the result of ideology, and many of her theories crystallise around the figure of Alfred Kinsey. However, she also speaks out on other subjects, such as the “celebratory Arab mosque near Ground Zero.” Inevitably, she is also a columnist for Joseph Farah’s WorldNetDaily, which is known primarily for posting conspiracy theories about Obama. The best general background article is by Miss Poppy Dixon, and can be seen here.

According to media reports (mostly Croatian), Reisman was invited to Parliament by members of the Croatian Democratic Union (Croatian: Hrvatska demokratska zajednica, HDZ); HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko defended the invitation:

He confirmed that the HDZ had invited US Professor of Law Education Judith Reisman, better known for her film “Kinsey’s Syndrome” and her open support to HTV reporter Karolina Vidovic Kristo* when her current affairs programme “The Image of Croatia” was taken off the air after she had broadcast excerpts from the film.

“Where is the problem in this? We are a plural society and have the right to think the way we want to about a particular problem”, he said.

The Speaker of the Parliament, Josip Leko, apparently knew nothing about it. Opposition parties argue that such an event should be held on party premises rather than in Parliament, and they have drawn particular attention to Reisman’s view that homosexuals were responsible for the rise of Nazism and for the Holocaust (here, Reisman follows the lead of the notorious Scott Lively)

Reisman has already spoken at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb; according to a critical account here, her lecture was not well-received, and she was unable to answer questions about her “erototoxin” theory beyond a vague reference to “top scientists”. Reisman subsequently told the press that she has never encountered “so many bullies” anywhere in the world as in Croatia.


* Kristo apparently got into trouble for covering news  about sex education proposals under the headline “Pedophilia as the foundation of sexual education?” She was subsequently received by the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanic.

Pastor Who Prays for Obama’s Death Called onto Stage at Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast

This one’s a few days old; RightWingWatch has an eyewitness report from the unofficial “Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast“, which took place at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel. Big names such as Michele Bachmann and Eric Cantor failed to show up, while Joseph Farah, who had made a big fuss about reports that he had been excluded from the event, sent a message that was read out. Further:

Pastor Wiley Drake – infamous for his devotion to “imprecatory prayers” against his political opponents, and his admission that he regularly prays for President Obama’s death, was recognized, applauded, and called up to the stage.

However, there was apparently a token effort to appear to appeal to a broader base:

The Chaplain of the House of Representatives, Patrick Conroy, did briefly lend an air of officialdom. Perhaps with the pre-event controversy in mind, Conroy led a prayer for President Obama and reminded attendees pointedly that Obama was reelected by a clear majority of Americans. Former Democratic Rep. Diane Watson brought a bit of bipartisanship, and while her belief that President Obama has been anointed for our time got a smattering of affirmation from Obama supporters in attendance, that was a minority view, to put it lightly.

Other speakers included Sid Roth and State Senator Stewart Greenleaf, who both reportedly spoke against “dividing up the land of Israel”, but the highlight was keynote speaker Jonathan Cahn, whose unusual form of Christianity (he claims special knowledge of “Hebrew mysteries”) has become popular since he published a paperback explaining how the USA is under God’s judgement and headed for disaster. Inevitably, gay people are among those to blame:

Keynoter Jonathan Cahn decried the withdrawal of Rev. Louie Giglio from the inaugural program over anti-gay-rights comments, portraying it as evidence of anti-Christian persecution: “…it is a new America in which one can be banned from the public square simply for believing the Bible, where profanity is treated as holy, and the holy is profane. A new America where the Bible is treated as contraband and nativity scenes are seen as dangerous.”

Cahn is a Messianic Rabbi, and the event also involved the use of a chuppah – there’s a growing trend in American evangelicalism to express the “Hebrew Roots” of their religion by appropriating Jewish cultural objects and ritual forms.

(H/T Ed Brayton)

Joseph Farah and the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Saga

From the Christian Post:

A news report that Joseph Farah, the CEO and chief editor of the conservative website WorldNetDaily, had been removed from the guest list of the sixth Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast that took place on Jan. 21 has been proven to be false.

…WorldNetDaily contacted The Christian Post this week… and said that the Media Matters report was entirely inaccurate and that Farah had not been removed from the guest list.

I noted plans for the “Prayer Breakfast” (an unofficial event) earlier this month, and, like others, I suggested that it was not appropriate for Farah to be involved in what was supposedly a “non-partisan” event involving mainstream figures: Farah is a birther, and his website publishes the most lurid and excessive anti-Obama conspiracy theories (including, most recently, the claim that Obama orchestrated the Sandy Hook massacre).

A few days later, event organizers were contacted by Media MattersThe website reported:

WorldNetDaily founder and birther conspiracy theorist Joseph Farah will not be among the speakers at a right-wing Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast according to the event’s organizer, who criticized his work and said he had been incorrectly listed as a featured guest.

…”He was not invited to be involved. He had permission to write an article about it and it’s gone much further than that. That was the initial intent, I never met him before and I didn’t know anything about his efforts,” Rev. [Merrie] Turner added.

…”The fact that [Farah] actually ended up on some of the literature so far was not run by me, it was, it came through Mr. Cahn, who is his friend,” Turner explained. “He is not on the speakers bureau… it was an error.”

However, WND then responded:

…today Turner released a statement utterly disavowing Media Matters’ account.

“Recently a story originating with the organization Media Matters stated that Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily had been removed from the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast. This is false. The article also implied that Farah took it upon himself to invite himself as a distinguished [guest]. This, too, is false,” she wrote.

“The misinformation resulted from a number of factors: a confusion over the exact status of guests combined with the fluidity of the program, erroneous assumptions, miscommunication, a train of questioning by Media Matters as to whether we would allow anyone to use the event as a platform to attack the president, my desire to clarify that the event was not about anyone doing so, and what appears to be the aim of Media Matters to attack and humiliate Joseph Farah.”

She explained, “Joseph Farah was asked for his help regarding the event. He graciously gave it. He never invited himself to the event. Nor did he ever ask or expect anything in return. We affirm that the event is to pray for America at a critical time and juncture, for the American presidency and government. We also want to clearly state and affirm that it would be an honor to have Joseph Farah be part.

“I am truly sorry for anything said or spoken, any confusion and miscommunication, and for any distress this may have caused Joseph Farah,” she said.

MediaMatters in turn responded to that, asserting the accuracy of its story and adding:

Hours after Turner spoke with Media Matters and before our report was published, Farah’s name was removed from the list of “Special Guest & Speakers” on the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast website.

Since the Media Matters story ran, Turner has made no effort to contact Media Matters with any complaint about the report or any requests for corrections or clarifications about her comments.

…Farah has… returned to the website’s list of distinguished guests….

Turner has a record of incendiary commentary that made it surprising that she would have renounced the birther leader. Nonetheless, she repeatedly did so in her interview with Media Matters.

Media Matters reached out to Turner several times, leaving two voice mail messages and two e-mail messages. On a third phone call, Turner answered, but hung up when asked to comment on the situation.

Does the Christian Post really think that Turner’s statement given to Farah amounts to “proof”? Perhaps not – the final paragraphs of the article appear to undermine the confidence of its opening florish, and perhaps register authorial discontent with the official line:

The Christian Post attempted to contact Turner to clarify her remarks to Media Matters and confirm whether or not Farah was indeed on the guest list, but as of press time she has not responded. The Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast website has not disclosed news about how the event proceeded, or who exactly attended.

cached version of the speaker list on the event website includes Farah, along with other notable names such as Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Dr. Pat Robertson. The updated website, however, does not list either Farah, Bachmann or Robertson.

The Post‘s article follows a complaint from Farah:

It’s a helpless feeling to fight such a false allegation when you have limited access to Internet and you are committed to travel and other obligations for over a week.

What’s worse is when the lie is shamefully repeated, without any efforts to seek comment or clarification, by other news organizations, including the Christian Post. I would have thought this Christian news organization had heard of the sins of bearing false witness and spreading malicious gossip.

…I can understand why a socialist, godless group like Media Matters would be repulsed by such an event. But why would so-called “Christians” jump at the opportunity to affirm those lies without any evidence or efforts at verification?

UPDATE: From an eyewitness report on RightWingWatch:

After some embarrassing back-and-forth about Farah’s participation, he didn’t show up. Neither did Bachmann, [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor, [Sen. Roy] Blunt or Pat Robertson, though Robertson, Farah, and Pat Boone sent messages that were read out loud.

MK Candidate Joked with Church Group about Dome of the Rock being “Blown Up”

This one is being reported widely; from Haaretz:

Atlanta-born Jeremy Gimpel, who moved to Israel at the age of 11, is angling for a seat with Habayit Hayehudi and serving as a voice for English speakers in the West Bank.

…Now Gimpel, who sits precariously at number 14 on the party’s list, faces a more uncertain future following Channel 2’s broadcast Friday of a video in which he makes controversial remarks about the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim shrine located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Speaking at the Fellowship Church in Florida in 2011, Gimpel… reads from the book of Ezra then adds: “Imagine if the Golden Dome – I’m being recorded so I can’t say ‘blown up’ – but let’s say the Dome was blown up, right? And we laid the cornerstone of the Temple in Jerusalem. Can you imagine? None of you would be here. All of you would be like, ‘I’m going to Israel, right?’ No one would be here, it would be incredible!”

Gimpel now explains that this was a “joke”. I noted Gimpel back in 2006, when Agape Press (now OneNewsNow) unaccountably described him as being an “IDF spokesman”, based on the fact that he’s an IDF reservist with an unrelated radio show. At that time, Gimpel was visiting New Orleans to talk to a group called “Manna from Heaven Ministries“. He also met up with Maggid ben Yoseif, who is a “Joe”; this is someone who has an inner conviction that he is a member of the lost tribes of Israel, and destined to replace the Palestinians in the West Bank.

The Fellowship Church, based in Winter Springs, is typical of a growing strand in American Evangelicalism in which Jewish cultural forms are appropriated as “Hebrew roots”; according to the church’s blurb:

…We identify with all who know God and serve Him through Jesus the Messiah. We identify with Israel and the international Jewish community as the elect people of God. We identify with upright men everywhere who both fear the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and seek to walk uprightly before Him. We identify with the person in bondage to Sin because we all have a sinful past from which God, by His grace, has rescued us. Our two-fold mission is to confirm God’s promises to His people, Israel, and to demonstrate His grace toward all men as expressed through Messiah Jesus (Romans 15:8-9).


An exciting area of ministry has developed in Israel. We as a congregation have become active in the settlement movement in the Land of Israel and in the struggle for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Both of these areas are crucial for the continuation of God’s redemptive purpose in the midst of His people Israel.

The site also mentions “our sister Israeli community, Kedumim, ‘The Vanguard of Jewish Resettlement in Biblical Samaria'”.

Returning to Haaretz:

Gimpel has also hosted church groups in his home in the settlement of Neveh Daniel, where he lives with his wife Tehila, a Cleveland-born lawyer, and their three children.

He denies speaking to or accepting donations from Messianic Jewish groups.

This highlights a particular problem for Gimpel from the right: forging links with right-wing Christian groups is one thing, but associations with “Messianic” Jews would be controversial: just the other day, the MK Ben Ari was reprimanded for ripping up a Christian Bible he had received in July (“those who sent the book to MKs wanted to trample the bodies of the millions of martyrs who were murdered for being Jewish”). Gimpel himself has spoken out against missionaries in Israel. “Manna from Heaven Ministries”, where Gimpel spoke in 2006, describes itself as a “Messianic congregation”, but this again appears to be a congregation of Judaizing Christians rather than a community of Jews who accept Jesus as the Messiah.

Apocalyptically-minded Christian Zionists are indeed known for their Taliban-like hostility to the existence of the Dome of the Rock; Billye Brim, a Regional Director for Christians United for Israel, was recorded in 2007 promising that “that Dome is coming down!”, and a mentally-disturbed follower of Herbert Armstrong made an attempt to burn down the adjacent Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969. Gimpel’s “joke” has led to calls for his disqualification.

Habayit Hayehudi is headed by Naftali Bennett; he and his party were recently profiled by the Daily Telegraph.

Peter Waldron vs Michele Bachmann

This one has been noted elsewhere; from a press release issued by Peter Waldron (H/T Ed Brayton):

Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former presidential candidate and a leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives in Washington, has yet to pay some of her Iowa presidential campaign staff after one year and in spite of the fact that over $2,000,000 sits in bank accounts at her disposal.

It is only recently that a few Iowa small business owners, most of whom are heads-of-household, received payment in full for services rendered through the 2012 caucus month. 

The remaining staff members were promised payment several times by Michele’s Finance Chairman, James Pollack, but the payment never came. 

Dr. Peter Waldron, Bachmann for President National Field Coordinator, explained it this way, “Recently Mr. Pollack demanded that each unpaid staff member sign a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits any discussion of any criminal, moral, and/or unethical behavior witnessed during Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa. In fact, Mr. Pollack insists that each staffer not speak to law enforcement and/or lawyers without first speaking with Mrs. Bachmann’s attorneys.”

In a follow-up interview for The Hill, Waldron added that:

Waldron suspects the payments might have been suspended because they cooperated with a criminal investigation over a stolen voter list.

“Michele Bachmann and her senior staff are involved in a lawsuit in Polk County, Iowa, and there’s a criminal investigation under way,” he said. “Many of our staff are involved in either depositions or interviews with the police…”

That article also has a response from Pollack:

“Mr. Waldron’s presentation of the facts and related allegations are false and inaccurate,” he said. “Why Mr. Waldron would be motivated to attempt to disparage the congresswoman, the campaign or fellow campaign members I can’t explain.”

Pollack said only one Iowa consulting firm is still owed $3,000.

Waldron’s association with Bachmann received widespread coverage in 2011; prior to that, he came to attention in 2006 when he was arrested in Uganda. He has a long history as an evangelist and as a US Christian Right activist, and his views accord with Christian Reconstructionism. I discussed the full background here.

Waldron has now followed up with a second accusation, published by Buzzfeed (H/T Ed Brayton again; link added):

Michele Bachmann’s high-profile debate coach, Brett O’Donnell, developed an “unnatural” and “Rasputin-like” relationship with his candidate during her failed 2012 presidential campaign, another former aide told BuzzFeed, a charge O’Donnell denies.

Peter Waldron, an evangelical organizer who served as Iowa field coordinator for Bachmann and helped her win the Ames straw poll said O’Donnell exercised an “unusual power over Mrs. Bachmann.”…

“He prohibited her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, from sleeping in the same room with wife while on the campaign trail,” Waldron said in an email to BuzzFeed. “He prohibited legendary consultants Ed Rollins and Ed Goeas from attending debate prep sessions. He told her when she could get off the bus (Waterloo event with Gov. Perry), he wrote most of the words that came out of her mouth, he wrote all of her speeches.”

Pollack describes this as “outrageous embellishments of the reality of what transpired”, and he warns that “Further defamations by Mr. Waldron will be dealt with accordingly”.

The Hill article also has the detail that

Waldron’s company, Vertical Horizons One, received several payments ranging from $5,000 to $5,500 for campaign management as well as reimbursement for travel and meals during the summer and fall of 2011.

That company is based in Florida, and is concerned with “digital media advertising and SEO”. A company in Ohio of the same name, offering “strategic planning to military and business leaders”, appears to be unrelated.

“Muslim Patrol” Videos Stoke London Vigilante Fear

From the Daily Mail:

Police are investigating reports a gang claiming to be Islamic vigilantes have been confronting members of the public and demanding they give up alcohol and women cover their flesh in their ‘Muslim area’.

Videos made by the “gang” were posted to YouTube under the name “Muslim Patrol”, and came to the attention of The Commentator yesterday. At that time, there were two videos available, although the Commentator says there were others which YouTube had removed. The “Muslim Patrol” channel is now gone completely, although one video is still available at the Mail.

As far as it’s possible to tell, the supposed group consists of a young black man wearing a hoodie to hide his face and a second person holding a camera; this second person’s hand comes into view at one point, and he appears to be white. The cameraman also seems to have facility in Arabic.

Of course, it’s possible there are other members of the “gang” off-camera, but shadows in the Mail video suggest not (the same for the second video, in which the two men document vandalised lingerie adverts at bus-stops, although they suggest some other Muslims have done it). The duo are shown intimidating and harassing couples and individuals out walking at night; one suspects that the “patrol” is careful not to target anyone who might give them trouble back. According to the Mail, the videos were

…shot on a mobile phone at night in what the Met say is Waltham Forest, London.

The second video briefly shows the Drum pub at Bakers Arms, but it’s encouraging that the Met has managed to work it out.

According to the Commentator:

The footage is likely to have come from East London, where ‘Shariah zones’ were set up last year.

…Those involved are thought to be a part of an extremist network in East London and not linked to the wider Muslim community in the local area.

The “Shariah zones” story relates to an incident in 2011, when associates of the sociopathic attention-seeker Anjem Choudary plastered stickers proclaiming the existence of such zones around parts of east London. Presumably his group is the “extremist network” to which the Commentator alludes. So are the “Muslim Patrol” associates, or just fans?

US Tablet Defends Convicted Dead Sea Scrolls Cyberbully

The US Tablet has published a gushing puff piece on Raphael Golb, by a certain Batya Ungar-Sargon. The background to the story has been widely reported: Golb conducted a long-term campaign of identity theft and harassment in order to defend the academic theories of his father Norman Golb concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls, using a plethora of fake identities; his attention was focused primarily on Lawrence Schiffman, but it was one of his other victims, Robert Cargill, who pieced together much of the evidence.  Raphael Golb was convicted in New York in October 2010, as I noted here; the case is currently under appeal.

Ungar-Sargon describes R. Golb as “a brilliant young Harvard Ph.D.”, although press reports from 2010 gave his age as 49. The piece promotes Golb’s defence that his acts were merely “parody”, and as such were protected speech:

In the emails, the fictional Schiffman admitted to having plagiarized the work of Norman Golb… “It is true that I should have cited Dr. Golb’s articles when using his arguments,” the email reads, “and it is true that I misrepresented his ideas. But this is simply the politics of Dead Sea Scrolls studies. If I had given credit to this man I would have been banned from conferences around the world.” It was signed—by some accounts, implausibly—”Lawrence Schiffman, professor,” with a lower-case “p.”

Raphael Golb admits to having sent the email, but he maintains that it was an act of parody, rather than criminal impersonation.

The argument that a small “p” is evidence of parody rather than impersonation is rather weak – and note the way that “emails” becomes “it” and then a singular “email”. In fact, the “professor” sign-off appeared on only one of many emails that were sent out falsely under Schiffman’s name.

Ungar-Sargon goes on:

Yet for impersonation to be criminal, benefit must be shown to the impersonator, or harm to the impersonated… Jordan Kovnot, a privacy researcher at Fordham Law School, told me in an email interview that in “most computer hacking crimes involving unauthorized access, such as creating an email account under false pretenses, the law generally does require some showing of harm, unless the target was the U.S. government. That was not the case here.” In a recent telephone interview, Schiffman himself insisted that he suffered no harm; “the opposite, I got a big raise out of it,” he said—noting his recent move from NYU to YU, where he makes more money than he did at NYU—”though emotionally it was very difficult.” Without harm or benefit, it is difficult to understand how the prosecution managed to make the felonies stick.

This is obtuse: Golb’s crimes were harassment and impersonation; “hacking” is neither here nor there. And it’s clear that Golb intended to benefit his father and to harm Schiffman – the fact that it backfired because campaigns of harassment and impersonation are self-defeating is hardly mitigation.

Ungar-Sargon also lays into the judge:

But Judge Berkman—herself an object of controversy, a judge whose verdicts have been rejected by appellate courts with terms such as “a gross miscarriage of justice”—insisted over and over throughout the trial that “neither good faith nor the truth is a defense” and based her decision, she wrote, on her sense that Golb’s email was “a parody over the line.” Golb argues that “she forbade me from defending the claim made in the email that Schiffman had plagiarized my father, and yet she allowed the prosecution to insist 170 times before the jury that I had made ‘false allegations.'”

That link leads to an account of one instance in which a sentence handed down by Judge Carol Berkman was deemed to have been unduly harsh. The way that this becomes “verdicts”, just as Golb’s emails become “email”, suggests that the author has some kind of problem counting things. Berkman appears to be something of a controversial and difficult character, but the fact that the author tries to bolster her case in this way serves to show how weak it is. Golb, meanwhile, appears to think that the court should have given him a platform to continue his vendetta.

When Golb was sentenced, his father maintained a silence on the subject. Ungar-Sargon, though, has spoken with Norman Golb:

… He says his son was “rather rash, but brave to do it. And after seeing all that I had gone through, how they had tried to suppress my ideas, he had every right to do it.”

That’s a strange sentiment from any mature adult, let alone from someone who wishes to maintain a serious professional reputation.

(H/T Robert Cargill)

Anti-Islam Activist Faces Deportation From Spain

Here’s an ongoing story I’ve missed; from Adam Turner of “The Legal Project”, at the Blaze:

Just this December, we saw another person targeted by European nations for his critical speech about Islam.

The target this time is a man named Imran Firasat, who is a former Muslim from Pakistan who is now a convert to Christianity and resides in Spain. Mr. Firasat is a well-known critic of his former religion, and runs a website World without Islam (Mundo sin Islam). He, in coordination with American Pastor Terry Jones… has produced a new movie about the Muslim prophet Muhammad, an hour long cartoon film called “The Innocent Prophet: The Life of Mohammed from a Different Point of View.”

…[Spain] initiated two forms of lawfare against him: 1) attacking him on his Spanish residency grounds; and 2) threatening him with prosecution for violating Spanish hate speech codes… The Spanish government is justifying their action to revoke his asylum status on the grounds that he is “threatening national security with the production of this video.”

The case has been covered in English mainly by polemical US anti-Islam sites, which assert that Firasat’s legal troubles demonstrate the malign influence of Islam over Europe. Of course, this ignores one important piece of context, which is that European countries tend to balance free speech against other considerations, rather than regard it as the highest good in itself. The specific legislation which is being used against Firasat – Section 510 of the Spanish Legal Code – has been applied in other contexts, and its existence is supported by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (and no, noting this doesn’t therefore mean I agree with it). However, the reference to “threatening national security” does indicate that Spain may be applying the law for reasons of convenience, rather than principle; the video’s title is obviously meant to evoke The Innocence of Muslims.

As one might expect given the association with Terry Jones, Firasat’s site is crudely abusive; and his new Christian religiosity appears to consist solely of attacks on Islam (shades of Reza Kahlili). He’s also not particularly keen on free speech himself: in August he petitioned the Spanish government to ban the Koran, and when this was criticised by MPACUK he wrote to “the British authorities to declare this group a terrorist organization and ban it immediately as its acts should be considered serious crimes under the European and UK’s anti terrorism law.”

The IB Times published an interview with Firasat in December; Firasat asserts that his status as a former insider means he has special understanding which is not available to Islamic scholars. Firasat has not posted the legal documents threatening deportation online, although the IB Times says that the “ministry’s letter has been seen by IBTimes UK.”

(var: Imran Farasat)

Anne Arundel County House Delegation Chair Backs Pamela Geller

From the Maryland Gazette:

The new chairman of the Anne Arundel County House delegation said today he will attend a conservative political conference Saturday in Annapolis despite calls from a Muslim advocacy group that described a keynote speaker as a notorious “Islamaphobe.” [sic]

Del. Nic Kipke, who was elected chairman on Tuesday, called blogger and author Pamela Geller an outspoken critic of the treatment of women in some Islamic countries.

“I don’t know Ms. Geller personally,” the Pasadena Republican said. “What I do know about her is that she has pointed out gross atrocities that occur in some Muslim countries against women.”

…”I’m sure these folks have a beef with her because she doesn’t speak in politically correct terms,” Kipke said. “But when it comes to an issue as important as human rights you need someone who bangs the drum.”

This is a superficially clever way for Kipke to identify with Geller while maintaining distance from her many excesses, but it’s of course in bad faith – as the report also notes, Geller is famously anti-Islam in general and she promotes the most lurid and absurd conspiracies about Obama.

The conference is entitled “Turning the Tides”, and it is being organised by the  Maryland Conservative Action Network (MD CAN). The group was profiled in the Baltimore Sun at the end of 2011 (links added):

…At its most recent conference last October in Annapolis, noted national and international speakers ran discussions on a wide variety of topics, including the possibility of Sharia law’s influence in Maryland (Frank Gaffney, Fred and Catherine Grandy, and John Guandolo); man-made global warming as the pretense for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s PlanMaryland initiative (Lord Monckton and Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild); combating voter fraud (J. Christian Adams); and organizing petition drives, just to name a few. There was even a session on how to become a conservative blogger.

Capital Gazette reported from the event itself:

The 200 activists who attended were almost exclusively white, and they agreed that Muslims, liberals, illegal immigrants, environmentalists and Democrats are the source of just about every problem plaguing America today.

One speaker went so far as to call Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and Baltimore city, “The Axis of Evil.”

…Event organizer Tonya Tiffany of Howard County said the gathering was not meant to stir anti-Muslim sentiment, and Muslims were welcome to attend.

She said the real purpose of the conference was to prod the Republican Party into becoming more conservative.

(H/T Islamophobia Watch)

Geller and Spencer OK With Passport Fraud

As has been widely reported, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka “Tommy Robinson”, has been sentenced to a 10-month prison sentence for using a friend’s passport to enter the USA illegally. Robinson, who heads the English Defence League, had travelled to New York with his deputy and cousin Kevin Carroll to take part in an anti-Islam conference organised by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and their reaction to the news is typically bullish.


…Tommy Robinson, my colleague and board member of SION [Stop Islamization of Nations; see here – RB], is a political prisoner in the UK, imprisoned for standing up for freedom and equality of rights under the law. I stand with Robinson.


…Don’t think he is a political prisoner? Consider this: In December 2011 in the U.K., a gang of Muslim women who savagely beat a non-Muslim woman were let off scot-free because “they weren’t used to drinking because they’re Muslims.” Consider also that earlier in 2011, Muslims pelted EDL members with stones, touching off an altercation; a Muslim was fined £50, while Robinson’s fine was £315.

Back in October, Spencer and Geller expressed the view that Robinson’s legal troubles amounted to “sharia inspired victimisation”, and they had asked Americans to donate to Robinson’s “legal fund” via the EDL website. However, they didn’t mention that Robinson intended to plead guilty, although the defence spin transformed this obvious necessity into a virtue:

Stephen Lennon, 30, pleaded guilty to possession of a false identity document with improper intention, contrary to the Identity Documents Act 2010.

…Defence barrister Giles Cockings said his client had displayed a ‘certain amount of courage’ by pleading guilty.

It’s difficult to see what the selective rag-bag of public order offences cited by Spencer has to do with an act of fraud. British law is quite clear: if you use someone else’s passport to misrepresent who you are, you should expect to go to prison.