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Islamophobia is big money for well known Islamphobes

The Daily Beast

Why do Pamela Geller et al. do it? Sure, they believe it. But they get bankrolled to do it—and on a major scale.

People keep asking me why does Pam Geller spew so much anti-Muslim crap? Is it part of her work as a pro-Israel activist? Did she once get food poisoning at a Middle Eastern restaurant? Is it simply because she really, really hates Muslims?

Probably all the above, but one other thing is certain: Geller gets paid pretty well to demonize Muslims. I’m talking to the tune of $200,000 a year. True, that might be walking around money for Donald Trump (who actually bashed Geller this week for her draw the Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest), but that puts her in the top 5 percent of all Americans in terms of annual income. Now, $200,000 doesn’t make a person rich these days (although the $9 million in combined divorce settlement and life-insurance payments she reportedly got certainly qualifies her). But for what she does, it’s handsome pay.

In fact, many of the people identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the Center for American Progress (CAP) as the leaders of the anti-Muslim industry in America are paid well for their efforts. I’m talking so much money I almost want to start hating on Muslims—and I’m Muslim.

In Geller’s case, her salary is paid from her organization the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a group listed by the SPLC as an active “anti-Muslim organization.” In 2013, the AFDI reported $958,800 in gross receipts and paid Geller a base salary of $192,500, plus $18,750 in other income (PDF).

Not bad for a group created, per AFDI’s tax returns, to act “against the treason being committed by the national, state and local government officials, the mainstream media and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic Supremacism.” This is truly one step removed from tin foil hats and claims that the government has bugged your cheese.

But Geller, who has also been denounced by the ADL for vilifying Muslims, is just one of many profiting from hate (PDF). As Matt Duss, a former policy analyst for the Center for American Progress and now president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, noted, “It’s certainly been a lucrative industry for leading anti-Muslim bigots. Tens of millions of dollars have been poured into this.”

Duss is truly an expert in this field, having co-authored a report released in February titled “Fear, Inc. 2.0” (PDF) that investigated the Islamophobia network in America and traced the funds used to support its key players. For example, the report notes that Frank Gaffney, Fox News regular (of course), is one of the leaders of the anti-Muslim movement and is the primary engineer of the claim that Muslims want to impose Islamic law across America. Gaffney has even argued that giving Muslim Americans a day off from work for Muslim holidays is a form of imposing sharia law.

Well, Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (CSP) in 2012 reported $3.2 million in revenue. And Gaffney, as president, paid himself $300,000 a year for his work in demonizing Muslims.

Then there’s David Horowitz, a man described by the SPLC as “the godfather of the modern anti-Muslim movement.” He has also been denounced by the ADL for his work that “promotes anti-Muslim views and features events with anti-Muslim activists.” (PDF)

For example, Horowitz has tried to bully and marginalize Muslim-American college students by claiming that the Muslim Student Associations are“associated with terrorist organizations” and intend to “kill the Jews, to push them into the sea.”

Being “the godfather” of anti-Muslim hate appears to pay well. Horowitz’s Freedom Center in 2013 saw over $7.2 million in gross receipts and Horowitz was paid $525,000 in salary (PDF). And Horowitz even bankrolls Robert Spencer, another well-known Muslim-basher, with a $167,000-a-year salary.

Now in Horowitz’s defense, he doesn’t focus just on demonizing Muslims. He has also made other hateful comments like “There’s no community that’s more racist in America than the black community.” This guy is making a lot, but he is really earning his money.

And who can forget Brigitte Gabriel, another Fox News staple who demonizes Muslims at every turn.  Gabriel runs Act for America!, which the SPLC has noted is part of the “anti-Muslim inner circle.” Gabriel has given us such anti-Muslim classics as “America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America. They have infiltrated us at the C.I.A., at the F.B.I., at the Pentagon, at the State Department.

How much does Gabriel get paid to offer that type of garbage? Per Act for America’s 2012 tax returns, she was paid a $132,000 base salary and $84,090 as a bonus (PDF). I wonder if she earns that bonus by dishing out such off-the-wall claims as “tens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America…attending our colleges and universities, even infiltrating our government.

So who funds these organizations? Well that’s more challenging to determine. It’s like trying to figure the names of the people who fund the Klan or neo-Nazis—not too many people advertise their support for them. But the Fear, Inc. report found that certain key foundations have donated close to $60 million in recent years to these anti-Muslim advocates.

The most notable are the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Scaife Foundation, which each have donated over $5 million (PDF) to David Horowitz’s Freedom Center. The Scaife Foundation also donated over $3 million to Frank Gaffney’s CSP.

Why do they fund these groups is a big question. Duss explained that in his view it’s “because a group of hawkish conservative funders clearly see a political benefit to stoking Americans’ fears and suspicions of their fellow citizens who are Muslims.” This means we may see even more money flowing to these anti-Muslim advocates in the 2016 presidential race.

The bottom line is that the anti-Muslim industry is lucrative and not going anywhere soon. But at least now we can understand why some of these people engage in such hateful activities: It’s a living. And a nice one.

Muslim manager of 7-11 store attacked for being Muslim

But Islamophobia doesn’t exist right?

ClickOnDetroit

A 53-year-old Farmington Hills man is accused of threatening to kill a Troy 7-Eleven clerk and attacking the store manager because they are Muslims.

Police say James Tree entered the store on Crooks Road Friday evening and approached the counter to buy beer. Tree directed a number of ethnic slurs at the clerk and threatened to kill him because he is a Muslim, police said.

The manager told Tree to leave the store, but that didn’t go over well. Police say Tree went around the counter and started attacking the manager. Tree allegedly punched the manager several times in the face with a closed fist while making more offensive remarks about Muslims.

The clerk and manager eventually overpowered Tree, removed him from the store and locked him out. Police received a 911 call from the store and the hold-up alarm also was received. Tree fled to a nearby gas station where officers found him and arrested him.

Police say he continued to make derogatory remarks about Muslims during his arrest.

Police say the store manager suffered head and facial injuries. He was treated by paramedics but was not transported to a hospital.

Tree is charged with two counts of ethnic intimidation and one count of assault and battery. He was arraigned this week and was given a $25,000 cash/surety bond, or 10 percent. Police say he was under the influence of alcohol during the attack. A preliminary breath test showed he had a .16 blood alcohol level.

China forcing Muslims to sell alcohol

Christian Science Monitor

In an effort to curb what they see as religious extremism in China’s northwest Xinjiang region, Chinese authorities have ordered Muslim business owners in the area to sell cigarettes and alcohol in “eye-catching displays,” according toa report by Radio Free Asia (RFA).

 

Noncompliance may result in store closure and prosecution, RFA reports.

Alcohol, among other intoxicants, is widely considered “haram,” or sinful, in Muslim culture, a prohibition that many Muslims also extend to tobacco. Ethnic Uighurs, China’s Muslim minority affected by this order, have long faced discrimination and oppression.

Recommended: How much do you know about China? Take our quiz.

RFA, a US-government-backed broadcaster, reported on the order early this week, which was announced by authorities April 29. Shop and restaurant owners had until May 1 to stock their stores with at least five different brands of alcohol and cigarettes. The items must be visually promoted, and “anybody who neglects this notice and fails to act will see their shops sealed off, their business suspended, and legal action pursued against them,” RFA reports.

Islam frowns on consuming intoxicants, but businesses themselves are not prohibited from selling them. But as abstention from smoking and drinking among Uighurs has become more common, many Uighur-owned businesses have stopped selling the taboo items. Aktash village party committee secretary Adil Sulayman told RFA that the order was established to curb this abstinence.

“We have a campaign to weaken religion here and this is part of that campaign,” Mr. Sulayman told RFA. “Since 2012, people have stopped selling alcohol and cigarettes through their businesses. Even those who benefitted financially from the practice have given it up because they fear public scorn. That is why [the order was issued].”

Sulayman went on to say that China has launched a series of “strike hard” campaigns in an effort to weaken religious strongholds, especially in the heavily Uighur-populated Xinjiang region. Many authorities view abstinence from smoking as a form of “religious extremism” and want to curb terrorism and separatism.

Many Uighurs say these efforts are emblematic of their persecution at the hands of the government. They view the orders as religious repression and cultural suppression. The 2013 Human Rights Watch highlighted what they describe as systemic discrimination:

Under the guise of counterterrorism and ‘anti-separatism’ efforts, the government maintains a pervasive system of ethnic discrimination against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and sharply curbs religious and cultural expression … A pervasive atmosphere of fear among the Uighur population contributes to growing ethnic polarization. Factors contributing to this bleak atmosphere include the omnipresence of the secret police, the recent history of disappearances, and an overtly politicized judiciary.

Tensions between the Chinese government and the Uighur community escalated following a series of high-profile attacks in the spring of 2014 that resulted in at least 60 deaths. Human Rights Watch’s 2015 report says that that the government has a right to be concerned with acts of violence, but that their “discriminatory and repressive minority policies only exacerbate the problem.”

The Washington Post reported:

Government employees and children have been barred from attending mosques or observing the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In many places, women have been barred from wearing face-covering veils, and men discouraged from growing long beards.

Geraldo Rivera speaks sense on Pamela Geller

Some sense being talked about Pamela Gellar by Geraldo River, a well known conservative in the U.S.

Raw Story

Geraldo Rivera went off Friday morning on anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller – whose profile has been raised considerably after two gunmen opened fire on a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest she organized.

“She most reminds me of the Aryan Nation, KKK, racists,” Rivera said during an appearance on Fox & Friends. “I see them on television now and I feel like taking a shower.”

The Fox host, who famously had his nose broken in 1988 when a skinhead smashed him in the face with a chair on his syndicated talk show, said Geller benefited from a double standard on hate speech against Muslims, reported Mediaite.

“If Pamela Geller – if you put ‘Jew’ in there or ‘Irish’ in there or ‘black’ in there, any other groups, she would not be given the tolerance to spew her hateful rhetoric,” Rivera said.

The Fox & Friends panel disagreed, saying that speech never justified violence, and host Steve Doocy said Christians are often targeted for criticism but simply turn the other cheek.

“That’s nothing like this organized campaign to incite, to insult (Muslims), and it is bad for the Jews,” Rivera countered. “It makes us look like we are all as hateful as Pamela Geller. She plays right into their propaganda. It is absolutely appalling, and every time I see her on television, I want to take a shower.”

Rivera said Fox News was a diverse workplace represented by nearly every minority group, but he chided the network for giving a platform to Geller’s hateful rhetoric against Muslims.

“Would any other group tolerate this taunting and inciting?” he said. “We wouldn’t speak to that person. We would shun her if she picked on any other group but Muslim.”

Rivera continued his sustained criticism of Geller, who has tried to position herself as the “Rosa Parks” of free speech.

“It does not in any way make me feel any better about Pamela Geller spewing her hatred and making us all look like the intolerant jerks they are saying we are in the Middle East and elsewhere,” he continued. “She does not do this country any good, she doesn’t do Jewish people any good. She doesn’t do anybody any good except self-aggrandizing, attention-seeking spewing of hatred that I cannot tolerate.”

Former leader of anti-Islam Pegida movement apologises to Muslims

Washington Post

Only few months ago, nobody would have imagined that one of the most emotional pro-tolerance speeches would one day come from one of Germany’s fiercest critics of Islam and immigrants.

Yet it was Kathrin Oertel – once the leader of Germany’s anti-immigrant Pegida movement, which drew tens of thousands of supporters at its peak – who apologized to Muslims in a video message published  Thursday on Facebook.

“Those still belonging to the Pegida movement need to understand that they are advocating for the wrong cause,” she said. “Asylum seekers are blamed for our problems in Europe and Germany. However, they’re not the root cause of our struggle,” she continued before directing her words to the immigrants she had previously condemned.

“I want to apologize to all migrants and to all Muslims among them who live peacefully and are assimilated with German society, who respect our culture and laws. They are in the vast majority and most Germans overlook this fact,” Oertel said.

Oertel had first been the spokeswoman and later the head of the popular movement which shocked the world. Since last November, right-wing extremists and ordinary citizens had marched in joint weekly rallies in opposition to Muslim immigration to Germany. The weekly protests continue, though the number of supporters has dwindled.

“I feel partially responsible for a campaign of hatred we caused. I want to apologize and the only thing I can do is to help resolve those tensions,” Oertel said in the statement which appeared to have been spontaneously recorded in a car.

“To achieve peace, one needs to be ready for dialogue,” Oertel said. “That’s the only way to get rid of prejudices.” The ex-Pegida leader made clear that she was no longer fighting against Islam, but instead for “world peace,” according to her own words. “Someone needs to start to connect people,” she said — implying that she was ready to be that person. She also acknowledged that she had failed to draw huge support for the goal of world peace, so far. “We were even verbally attacked by opponents,” Oertel said, sounding honestly outraged.

Those words stand in stark contrast to the interviews she had given earlier this year, when she harshly attacked Muslims and other immigrants. Speaking to CNN in January, Oertel said: “Muslims are only a tiny fraction of the population, but they’re so dominant in pushing for their demands that German culture is being pushed back.” Other supporters of PEGIDA expressed their discontent even more harshly: The Guardian quoteda middle-aged female protester last December who said that she was shocked to see that “asylum seekers in Germany have expensive mobile phones, while I cannot afford such luxury.”

Oertel’s new fight for world peace has surprised many of her former supporters.

“Before criticizing others, one should always take a step back and reflect on the actions of oneself,” Oertel advised others in her video message. “One has to allow an individual to evolve. Many other people will have to go through this. The creation of enemy images needs to stop,” she said.

Her criticism was not only limited to her former fellow PEGIDA supporters, but also included the media. In her statement, she continued to condemn the mainstream media who continue to “severely criticize Muslims and their religion” and to use them as scapegoats. Oertel did not respond to a request by The Washington Post to explain her allegations.

Ironically, during her time with PEGIDA, Oertel had condemned the media for not being critical enough of Islam, immigration and the rising numbers of asylum seekers in Germany.

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