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August 25, 2016 Off

Event in L.A. Features Who’s Who of Anti-Muslim Movement in U.S.

The Amer­i­can Free­dom Alliance (AFA) held a con­fer­ence on  “Islam and West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion: Can they Co-exist?”  in Los Ange­les on August 21.   The AFA claims to be “a non-political, non-partisan move­ment which pro­motes, defends and upholds West­ern val­ues and ideals,” and spe­cial­izes in  pro­mul­gat­ing an Islam­o­pho­bic world view.  The con­fer­ence included the who’s who of the anti-Muslim move­ment in the United States, with recy­cled con­spir­acy the­o­ries and offen­sive claims about immi­grants, Mus­lims, law enforce­ment offi­cers, var­i­ous US gov­ern­ment agen­cies and the Pope.

Fea­tured speak­ers included anti-Muslim extrem­ists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer (the heads of the conspiracy-minded Stop Islamiza­tion of Amer­ica (SIOA), in addi­tion to other “experts” who  ped­dled base­less the­o­ries about a Mus­lim infil­tra­tion of the United States gov­ern­ment,  and advanced offen­sive anti-Muslim rhetoric such as brand­ing Mus­lims, and their reli­gious law [Sharia], as affronts to Amer­i­can freedom.

 

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Amer­i­can Free­dom Alliance Anti-Muslim Event

Geller widened her usual net of con­spir­acy the­o­ries about Mus­lims, Islam and Sharia law, to include  alle­ga­tions against a long list of U.S. cities, social media com­pa­nies and other oppo­nents, who she claims have cen­sored her by refus­ing to allow her  anti-Muslim adver­tis­ing cam­paigns;  attacks on the FBI for the agency’s han­dling of the ter­ror­ist attack in Gar­land, Texas, when two armed men tar­geted the com­mu­nity cen­ter host­ing a SIOA event– and even  insin­u­ated that the FBI wants her dead; and she also  alleged that pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Clin­ton is involved in an inti­mate rela­tion­ship with her Mus­lim female assis­tant, stat­ing they are “lit­er­ally and not fig­u­ra­tively in bed” with each other.

In addi­tion to Geller and Spencer, other speak­ers included: Frank Gaffney, founder and pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Secu­rity Pol­icy; Stephen Cough­lin, a senior fel­low at the Cen­ter for Secu­rity Pol­icy; Mor­ton Klein, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Zion­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­ica (ZOA); James Lyons, who pro­motes con­spir­a­cies about the infil­tra­tion of the US gov­ern­ment by Islamists; Elis­a­beth Sabaditsch-Wolff, an Aus­trian anti-Muslim activist;  and  Wafa Sul­tan, a Syrian-born anti-Muslim activist who exhorted,  “There is no such thing as Islam and rad­i­cal Islam; all Islam is radical.”

The event also high­lighted attacks on Khizr Khan, the father of Cap­tain Humayan Khan, who died in Iraq while serv­ing in the US Army. The attacks on Khan were based on alle­ga­tions made by anti-Muslim extrem­ist Walid Shoe­bat, who is known for pro­mot­ing mil­i­tant Christianity.

 

 

 

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August 11, 2016 3

Tunisian BDS Conference Raises Questions About Qatari Involvement

On August 4th, the Qatar-based Arab Cen­ter for Research and Pol­icy Stud­ies (ACRPS) launched a three-day aca­d­e­mic con­fer­ence in Tunisia titled “Boy­cott as a Strat­egy to Counter Israel’s Occu­pa­tion and Apartheid: Present-day Real­i­ties and Aspi­ra­tions.” The con­fer­ence served as a reminder of BDS activists’ efforts to expand their agenda and fur­ther their goal of dele­git­imiz­ing the state of Israel, but also illu­mi­nated poten­tial rifts within the movement.

Panelists at the BDS conference in Tunisia

Pan­elists at the BDS con­fer­ence in Tunisia

While ACRPS claims to be an inde­pen­dent research insti­tute, it appears to have strong ties to the Qatari gov­ern­ment. This could sug­gest that indi­vid­u­als closely affil­i­ated to the Qatari gov­ern­ment may be inter­ested in play­ing a big­ger role in advanc­ing the BDS movement.

ACRPS reg­is­tra­tion doc­u­ments list Sul­tan Ghanim Al Kuwari, a promi­nent Qatari busi­ness­man, as the founder of the Cen­ter. Report­edly, Al Kuwari, who is closely affil­i­ated with Qatar’s royal fam­ily, is also listed as the direc­tor of sev­eral Qatari inter­na­tional media out­lets. He is also described as the per­son in charge of extend­ing the reach of the Qatari soft diplo­matic power under the lead­er­ship of the Emir of Qatar. Fur­ther­more, reports from pre­vi­ous ACRPS events present the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani as a reg­u­lar guest of honor at many of the group’s events.

The Qatari con­nec­tion could raise the hack­les of BDS activists who are skep­ti­cal of Qatar’s for­eign pol­icy posi­tions, and are con­cerned that the country’s involve­ment would trans­form the grass­roots move­ment into a ‘state brand­ing’ project. On the first day of the con­fer­ence, mem­bers of the Tunisian BDS chap­ter dis­rupted the ses­sion and protested against what they con­sider as the Qatari government’s con­nec­tion. They also protested against the direc­tor of the ACRPS, Azmi Beshara, because he served as a mem­ber of the Israeli Knes­set in the past, which the activists con­sider as an act of trea­son. An ear­lier state­ment on the offi­cial Face­book page of the Tunisian chap­ter of the BDS move­ment called fora boy­cott of the con­fer­ence because the ACRPS and the con­fer­ence itself “are spon­sored by the Qatari gov­ern­ment” which, accord­ing to the Tunisian chap­ter, is “one of the Arab gov­ern­ments most active in nor­mal­iza­tion with Israel.”

This BDS con­fer­ence was built on a series of pre­vi­ous events hosted by the ACRPS and focused on ques­tions about the objec­tives of the BDS move­ment and the role of the Arab states, émi­gré com­mu­ni­ties, and Pales­tini­ans. One speaker, Osama Abu Irshaid, the National Pol­icy Direc­tor of Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, said “it is a must to trans­form the BDS move­ment into a sys­tem and a frame­work that will go beyond only boy­cotting cor­po­ra­tions that sup­port Israel to the de-legitimization of Israel as well.” ACRPS issued a paper sup­port­ing Irshaid’s goals.

Other speak­ers at the con­fer­ence included Max Blu­men­thal, a promi­nent anti-Israel blog­ger, Peter Slezak, the co– founder of the Australian-based Inde­pen­dent Aus­tralian Jew­ish Voices, and Richard Falk, the for­mer United Nations Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on Pales­tin­ian human rights.

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August 9, 2016 Off

Oregon Police Save Woman Held Hostage by Armed White Supremacist

A SWAT team with the Glad­stone Police Depart­ment in North­west­ern Ore­gon res­cued a woman being held hostage by a bar­ri­caded white suprema­cist fol­low­ing a shootout with police.jeffreygiddingstattoos

The inci­dent began on August 8, 2016, when Jef­frey Carl Gid­dings, a con­victed felon and career crim­i­nal, fled on a bicy­cle from an offi­cer who was attempt­ing to stop him for a traf­fic violation.

A short time later, Gid­dings allegedly opened fire on a police sergeant who had located him in the park­ing lot of a Sub­way restau­rant.  The sergeant was struck in his bal­lis­tic vest and is report­edly in excel­lent condition.

Gid­dings then took a woman hostage and bar­ri­caded him­self in the Sub­way.  A respond­ing SWAT team tried to nego­ti­ate with Gid­dings, but he made demands and refused to give up.  Fear­ing for the hostage’s safety, the SWAT team shot Gid­dings and saved the woman. Gid­dings suf­fered a non-life threat­en­ing injury and was taken to the hospital.

Gid­dings’ face and body are cov­ered in tat­toos.  Many of them are sym­bols used by white suprema­cists includ­ing the words “Aryan Pride”, a Celtic Cross and “16/23,” a numer­i­cal code for PW or “peck­er­wood.”  Addi­tion­ally, Gid­dings has IPS tat­toos on both his neck and col­lar­bone area which is the acronym for the Insane Peck­er­wood Syn­di­cate, a white suprema­cist prison gang with mem­bers in Ore­gon and Washington.

This is the sec­ond shootout in the United States between police and domes­tic extrem­ists this month, and the ninth so far this year.

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