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January 20, 2015 0

Calling Radical Islam What It Is

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

If we want to win the war against rad­i­cal Islam — and in my view it should be the num­ber one pri­or­ity of the West­ern and Mus­lim worlds — we need to call it what it is. Too often, out of a mis­placed sense of polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, polit­i­cal lead­ers, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and French Pres­i­dent Fran­coise Hol­lande, avoid iden­ti­fy­ing the extrem­ists as pro­po­nents of a rad­i­cal Islamic ideology.

The solu­tion to the threat lies pri­mar­ily within the Mus­lim world itself. Main­stream Mus­lims must on every level, start­ing with edu­ca­tion, dis­cour­age young peo­ple from tak­ing the extrem­ist path. But if we in the West are reluc­tant to explic­itly say what it is, why should Mus­lim mod­er­ates speak and act?

I address this as some­one who rep­re­sents an orga­ni­za­tion that stands up against defam­ing of Mus­lims in gen­eral or Islam as a reli­gion. When indi­vid­u­als try to show their bona fides in sup­port of Israel by claim­ing that Islam as a reli­gion is ter­ror­ist or that most Mus­lims are, we stand up to say no.

In Europe, the hes­i­tancy to say the words “rad­i­cal Islam” may largely be the prod­uct of intim­i­da­tion or the fear of vio­lent retal­i­a­tion. That is why the com­ments by French Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls before the French Par­lia­ment and in an inter­view with Jef­frey Gold­berg of the Atlantic are so important.

He pulled no punches and told it like it is. The enemy is rad­i­cal Islam. French soci­ety must stand up against the out­rage com­mit­ted by jihadists against France and against the Jews of France. The jihadist ide­ol­ogy surely does not rep­re­sent most Mus­lims and it is a hijack­ing of Islam, but the incite­ment to vio­lence and the acts of ter­ror are done in the name of Islam and influ­enced by teach­ers of fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam in schools and other insti­tu­tions through­out the Mus­lim world.

As Michael Walzer has writ­ten, it is not prej­u­dice but ratio­nal to fear Islamism, as opposed to Islam. When ele­ments within a reli­gious com­mu­nity pro­mote anti-democratic atti­tudes and anti-Semitism, and turn to ter­ror, anti-democratic atti­tudes, and anti-Semitism, it is not racist to oppose it forcefully.

There is noth­ing sim­ple about try­ing to fig­ure out how to defeat the rise of this rad­i­cal­ism within the Mus­lim world.  Social, eco­nomic and polit­i­cal forces within Mus­lim coun­tries and in rela­tions between the west and the Mus­lim world all con­tribute to it.

But what we know from past strug­gles against total­i­tar­ian move­ments, whether Nazism or Com­mu­nism, is that they require clear and prin­ci­pled think­ing to directly engage the danger.

That starts with say­ing that Islam and Mus­lims are not the enemy, they are part of the solu­tion.  We need to empha­size and acknowl­edge that there is prej­u­dice against Mus­lims because of recent events and to emphat­i­cally oppose it.

But we also must not hes­i­tate to point out that those who suf­fer the most from rad­i­cal Islam are Mus­lims them­selves. Just think of the recent news in Pak­istan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nige­ria: Mus­lims being mur­dered, mosques being attacked by extrem­ist Muslims.

The basic mes­sage from polit­i­cal, reli­gious and civic lead­ers must be that all good peo­ple are in this strug­gle together. The Islamic extrem­ists are a threat to Mus­lims, a threat to Jews, a threat to civilization.

Just like the strug­gle against Nazism and Com­mu­nism were defeated by a col­lec­tive effort and by a set of clear ideas, this 21st cen­tury strug­gle can be won as well.

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May 23, 2014 8

Anti-Muslim Group Uses Hitler Imagery In Latest Anti-Muslim Ad


AFDI’s “Islamic Jew-Hatred” ad in Wash­ing­ton D.C.

Pamela Geller and her anti-Muslim orga­ni­za­tion, the Amer­i­can Free­dom Defense Ini­tia­tive (AFDI), has taken its hate­ful anti-Muslim mes­sage once again to the pub­lic in the form of paid adver­tise­ments on pub­lic transportation.

The lat­est con­tro­versy is just one of many inflam­ma­tory adver­tis­ing cam­paigns spon­sored by Geller and her orga­ni­za­tion in a bid to influ­ence pub­lic dis­course on the dif­fi­cult issues of reli­gion and the Mid­dle East conflict.

Geller’s newest ad cam­paign, which began appear­ing on buses in the Wash­ing­ton D.C. Metro area, states, “Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran.” The ad also includes a 1941 photo of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with Adolf Hitler.

Geller has a long his­tory of pro­mot­ing her big­oted anti-Muslim views through inflam­ma­tory mes­sages in pub­lic spaces, stretch­ing back at least to 2010. These ad cam­paigns are designed to expose Amer­i­cans to what Geller and her orga­ni­za­tion con­sider the biggest threats posed by Islam.

Some notable exam­ples include:

  • July 2012: Geller sub­mit­ted an ad that ran on 75 Metro North train sta­tions stat­ing, “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01 and count­ing. It’s not Islam­o­pho­bia. It’s Islamorealism.”
  • Sep­tem­ber 2012: After a New York fed­eral dis­trict court ruled that the New York City MTA vio­lated Geller’s First Amend­ment right, AFDI’s “Sav­age” ad appeared in sub­way sta­tions. The inflam­ma­tory ad read: “In any war between the civ­i­lized man and the sav­age, sup­port the civ­i­lized man. Sup­port Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
  • 2010 “Honor Killing Aware­ness Cam­paign”: A series of ads were placed on buses and taxi cab tops pur­port­edly to address young Mus­lim women fac­ing threats from their fam­ily for reject­ing Mus­lim val­ues or becom­ing “too Amer­i­can­ized.” The cam­paigns appeared under sev­eral names, includ­ing “Refuge From Islam” and “Leave Islam Safely.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has crit­i­cized Geller and AFDI for “con­sis­tently vil­i­fy­ing the Islamic faith under the guise of fight­ing rad­i­cal Islam;” how­ever, acknowl­edges that the ads are pro­tected polit­i­cal speech under the First Amend­ment. ADL is also on the record stat­ing that “Pro-Israel doesn’t mean anti-Muslim. And sup­port for Israel is not built on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab stereotypes.”

Geller’s lat­est ad cam­paign is in response to an April 2014 anti-Israel ad by the vir­u­lently anti-Israel group Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP). AMP also has a his­tory of pro­mot­ing extreme anti-Israel views through inflam­ma­tory ads on pub­lic trans­porta­tion aimed at demo­niz­ing and dele­git­imiz­ing Israel. In March 2013, on the eve of the Jew­ish hol­i­day of Passover, AMP unveiled an ad on sev­eral New York City Metro North sta­tions falsely accus­ing Israel of “apartheid.”

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