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Anti-Muslim Bigotry

When Bigots Support: Farrakhan for Obama, Hagee for McCain

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obama-farrakhan-mccain-hagee.JPGHelp me out here. I am confused. Two stories, very similar in basic facts, yet with highly different consequences.

So, let’s introduce our first bigot: Louis Farrakhan.

Mr. Farrakhan says that Obama represents: “hope of the entire world”. Note that Farrakhan never endorsed Obama; he merely praised him.

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Let’s introduce our second bigot: John Hagee.

Mr. Hagee enthusiastically endorsed McCain: “Victory is within our grasp because John McCain knows it’s never wrong to do the right thing,”

And how did the candidates respond and what was the consequence?

Let’s start with Bigot#1, Farrakhan, who makes no secret of his dislike for whites and Jews? (as a point of education, please note that his ministry called “nation of Islam” has nothing to do with Islam, considering that it believes that a black man in Africa was God-incarnate and an African-American man was really Mohammed the messenger of God):

Obama rejects this “support” (note: NO endorsement).

“I have to say I don’t see a difference between denouncing and rejecting. There’s no formal offer of help from Minister Farrakhan that would involve me rejecting it. But if the word ‘reject’ Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word ‘denounce,’ then I’m happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce.”

He wants nothing to do with Farrakhan. Yet, somehow, he is GUILTY of being praised by someone he has no control over? I mean, god forbid, if Bin Laden endorses me for president, is that suddenly my fault and reflects on me? But of course FOX Noise cannot hide its glee. The Noise thinks it has found an opening. Somehow it links this to the support of Israel and makes Obama look the weaker candidate for Israel (as if we are electing the President of Israel).

Why would Farrakhan support Obama over McCain? Remember Farrakhan’s movement, the Nation of Islam, was founded and is still mostly about black nationalism. There is very little religion in it. So, a black candidate would be a natural choice for someone with that sort of motivation.

When Bigot#2, John Hagee, supports McCain, what is McCain’s response?

“I’m very honored by Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement today,” McCain said at a news conference. “He has been the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement in many areas, but especially, most especially, his close ties and advocacy for the freedom and independence of the state of Israel.”

Ok, let’s see what Mr. Hagee actually believes:

In his book “Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World,” Hagee predicts Russian and Arab armies will invade Israel and be destroyed by God. Israel will then be the site of a battle between China and the West, which will be led by the anti-Christ in his role as head of the European Union. Jesus Christ will return to Earth in the final battle, he writes.

The book also claims Adolph Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church joined in a conspiracy to destroy the Jews.

Hagee has consistently railed against Muslims and against Islam’s Prophet. A quick google search will lead to many to of his bigoted statements. A dailykos reader, where I cross-posted this, mentioned that Hagee has also stated that Muslims have a “scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews” and that God caused Hurricane Katrina to hit New Orleans because the city was going to have a gay pride parade. Glenn Greenwald has a fantastic column on this media hypocrisy, which makes most of the same points in this post.

So, it is okay to be an anti-Muslim, anti-Catholic bigot, but not an anti-semitic bigot? And why is it that the 300 pound gorilla on the Capital hill, THE Lobby, AIPAC, actively cheers and supports Bigot#2, but cries foul when Bigot#1 says anything?

Why is it that an unquestionable, uncritical, lopsided approach to Israel somehow a criteria of who would make a better President for the United States of America? Now note that neither candidate has displayed any characteristic but unquestionable, uncritical and lopsided support of Israel. All we are talking about here is a little whiff of SEMBLANCE of difference, caused by a person whose support has been rejected by the candidate. Could there be a more powerful reminder of how powerful THE lobby has become? And how its surrogates in the media make stories out of nothing in order to continually impress upon the candidates that they must be loyal to THE cause otherwise they will be punished? (If you don’t believe me, see this video).

This post isn’t about the I/P conflict. It isn’t about supporting Israel or not. It is about two bigots. Both with recorded statements of varying bigotry. One rejected by the candidate who he praised (not endorsed), and the other warmly welcomed by the candidate he endorsed. Yet the candidate who rejects the praise is under fire relative to the candidate who welcomes the endorsement, merely because one bigot has a different position on Israel? Last time I checked, we were voting for America’s President, weren’t we?

Double-standards? Machiavellian right-wingers? THE Lobby’s influence? you be the judge.

So, you see why I am confused, don’t you?

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Amad

    February 28, 2008 at 10:27 AM

    By the way, the right-wing spin-machine hasn’t quite given up on Obama’s “muslim connections”. I just wish Obama would stand up and fight back…

    Just like Charlie Chaplin, who refused to refute or accept a claim of Jewish heritage, saying that to do so would always “play directly into the hands of anti-semites”.

    Obama should come out and say that “I am not a Muslim, never was. But more importantly, it should not matter. And using this as a smear or an insult, reflects more on your bigotry than it does on my heritage”

  2. 1/2AWiseMan

    February 28, 2008 at 10:35 AM

    Assalaam alaikum br. Amad

    Possible correction to be made: “Bigot#1, Farrakhan, who makes no secret of his dislike for non-whites(do you mean WHITES) and Jews?”

    The double-standards the media plays is real confusing. Still, fortunately Obama has the lead and support from many important political figures.
    I honestly don’t understand how preachers like Hagee, media personnels like Savage are not considered to be spreading lies and hate.

    Inshallah American politics will take a new direction once Obama is in ;)

    Corrected, thanks -amad

  3. Shawna

    February 28, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    I was just blogging on another aspect of this issue over on http://islamonmyside.com/. Specifically, I’m repulsed by this Crusade culture, this fearmongering against Muslims and the fact that Obama has to defend himself from it. I seriously don’t understand why some kinds of bigotry are okay, but others are simply unacceptable. I also look forward to a new direction for American politics under Obama insha’Allah.

  4. Amad

    February 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM

    H/T to Islamophobia
    for linking to this article:

    Islamophobia, Obamaphobia

    And apparently there are still right-winger nuts out there, who have some level of decency as evidenced by this

  5. Organic Muslimah

    February 28, 2008 at 11:57 AM

    Excellent analysis! Thank you.

  6. mmr

    February 28, 2008 at 1:37 PM

    Its the nature of politics. In the sort of spotlight and dissection both candidates are subject to every minute of the day, where the implications of every word and every action is scrutinized, both Candidates have very, very valid reasons to do what they are doing.

    Obama’s campaign centers around breaking down the race barrier. “Unity. Hope”. His greatest challenge to acceptability has been overcoming his background and race- if he were white, his ascent to the level he is at today would not have been doubted the way his has always been.

    Farrakhan’s message is black supremacy. period. over whites, semites, everyone. For someone who’s candidacy is an attempt to be color blind and to get others to be color blind, the support of someone with ideas as problematic as Farrakhan’s, I’m glad he doesn’t gladly accept that message.
    Hillary’s campaign is playing petty politics, and instead of getting into arguments over insignificant issues about the semantics of language, he does the right thing by responding directly and closing the issue as opposed to drawing it out and making himself succeptable to scrutiny.
    Obama’s rejection doesn’t affect Farrakhan’s right to vote for him even if he want to, but in a country where the media gets hyped up over pictures in a traditional costume, you can’t blame him for walking on eggshells.

    As for McCain, there’s enough talk about him not being conservative enough, not having the support of the conservative base, and the right wingers being hesitant to support him because of his more moderate social values. It makes sense for him to pander to the conservatives every chance he gets, particularly a mainstream figure to get the backing of the conservative core of his party. Fox has hated him, Fox’s darling Ann Coulter said she’d rather support Hilary than McCain, but in the light of the fact that McCain is the republican candidate, the republicans are probably just stepping up to accept that any republican is better than any democrat, and therefore, lets try and sway public opinion toward McCain. If they don’t get the conservative base excited abt McCain, they don’t go out to vote in Nov, and it falls apart for them.

    To me, the israel support question doesn’t factor in in this issue, and to follow my mantra, if Fox says it, it must be lies or irrational contortion of fact.

    Of course, no denying that this country is hyper sensitive to anti-israeli ideas, where even hyper rational intellectuals who are anti-israel don’t get the time of day in the mainstream (for eg Chomsky), but in this particular issue, the bigotry is less ideology centric, but more about aligning yourself to the right personalities for political gain.

    Also, just to point out, Fox News is not a news channel, its out and out right-wing propaganda-to the extent that it uses the word ‘liberal’ as an insult.. so any attempt to analyze the state of this country’s values solely from Fox’s perspective is pretty tragic, and to get worked up or confused about what they say is futile. In an age where information is widely available through the online world, those who base their world view on Fox are too brainwashed, apathetic or indifferent to challenge irrationality and while that may be a sizeable part of the country, its not a group that is likely to change their ideas even if Fox cleaned up its act, which they won’t do given that they get their rating and are staying in business. They’re the tabloid press of politics, very little substance, alot of speculation, and out and out lies.
    I say sit back and enjoy the comedy of irrationality.

  7. BrotherD

    February 28, 2008 at 3:32 PM

    I know that Minister Farrakhan has made controversial statements in the past, but people change. Read this statement on the killing of Daniel Pearl:
    http://www.finalcall.com/national/pearl_pakistan02-21-2002.htm

    I don’t know if many of you have heard him speak much or read his statements, but much of what he says is right on. He often speaks in support of the oppressed.

  8. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    February 28, 2008 at 4:14 PM

    I agree 100 percent with BrotherD — Brother Amad’s comments as well as some of the other comments here don’t seem to reflect much understanding of Minister Farrakhan’s current views or the actual content of his political message.

    I do not say this to comment on Minister Farrakhan’s Islam, obviously as long as his newspaper says what it says in “What the Muslims Believe,” there is a problem on that score.

    But as an Irish-American Muslim who has prayed, learned and worked beside members of the NOI and never felt any hostility on the basis of my skin color but on the contrary always felt love and welcoming based on my Islam, I must say that statements like Farrakhan makes “no secret of his dislike for whites and jews” or Farrakhan’s program is black supremacy, period are simply controverted by the facts.

    My purpose here is not to defend Minister Farrakhan’s religious beliefs. Allaah knows best what is in his heart and I have no problem expressing where his views are wrong and where his views do not reflect Islamic beliefs and teachings, but inshAllaah I will defend him and any other person against slanders and falsehoods, and be proud to do so as a Muslim.

    Allaah knows best.

  9. Amad

    February 28, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    I appreciate your sentiments. But being nice and welcoming doesn’t change the facts on the ground.

    Until Farrakhan clearly repudiates the cultish teachings of NOI, or presents a new mandate, or simply moves over into mainstream Islam, we have to believe what NOI’s charter says.

    I hope he has changed. I haven’t heard many wild statements recently, but a comprehensive change of image requires a clear and comprehensive change in what NOI NOW stands for.

    There is a lot more here (this one is well sourced, of course with reservations since its wiki):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_of_Islam

  10. JB

    February 28, 2008 at 10:13 PM

    How about this for a double standard.. Rev. Billy Graham’s comments about Jews and the deaf silence on them:

    “they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country.”

    Listen to the comments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCuCLA0DhBs

    Now why aren’t the Clinton’s asked to denounce and repudiate Minister Graham?

    See the warm photos:

    http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/050625/050625_GRAHAM_vmed.widec.jpg

    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1239/1108310680_e443a572f7.jpg

  11. Irfan Abu Yusuf

    February 29, 2008 at 12:04 AM

    I am not sure how to react to Obama’s statements about Islam. The most recent one today (on Aol.com) cries ‘Obama fights false links to Islam’. It has pained me that he has gone the extra mile to prove that he has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims.

    I hope he does not turn into a CHANGED agent (in the hands of the lobbyists if he gets elected). Remember the elections of 2000 when a number of muslim organizations endorsed and supported Bush/Cheney candidacy and the rest is history. I am watching this closely and my vote is up for grabs :-)

  12. Owen Scott

    February 29, 2008 at 12:21 AM

    Enlightened Americans know that the Nation of Islam is not true Islam and that the Quran does not mandate Muslims to kill Christians and Jews. Sen. Obama knows this and will reach out to mainstream Islam worldwide. His campaign will not fail to point out the hypocrisy of Sen. McCain embracing the bigoted Pastor Hagee while the GOP criticizes support for him from a bigot whom Sen. Obama denounces. For the record, I am a white, male American Christian and lifelong Democratic voter.

  13. Amad

    February 29, 2008 at 9:20 AM

    Owen, welcome to MM and thank you for your comment.

    Muslims have a lot of hope for the democrat “rule”, and in Obama. You can read my opinion on “Why Obama?” linked in the announcement sections on the right-top.

    I gave a speech recently on Islamophobia and mentioned the fact that Obama’s desire to distance himself from Islam is not because he is Islamophobic, but rather there is a large chunk of the population that is affected by the bigotry. So, in order to win, he has to be pragmatic and in some ways (unfortunately as it may be), being seen as someone remotely tied to Muslims is not pragmatic. We are hoping that his true colors, being fair-minded (not biased against or for) towards Muslims will come out after he becomes President.

    But as Irfan mentioned, we cannot be too hopeful, because we have seen our hopes dashed and trampled before. Nevertheless, go Obama!

  14. Imran

    February 29, 2008 at 1:22 PM

    Another article on the subject.

    Anti-Muslim sentiment surfaces in attacks on Obama:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080229/pl_nm/usa_politics_muslims_dc;_ylt=AsOeoIhjsX52Ls_DeIK_vfRh24cA

    While Obama hasn’t done anything to address this issue, the Republican party is showing its true colors in this campaign by provoking and adding to this sentiment. The tactics are shameful to say the least and shows the bigoted nature of American politics. Anyone still casting a vote for McCain?

  15. Peaches

    February 29, 2008 at 4:20 PM

    Amad,
    As an African American woman, I must say that I cannot believe that any African-American or anybody in their right mind would support a man like Farrakhan. He is not for African-Americans, mankind or for God.

    Just seeing what he stands for him bugs me. I see some of those boys out in the streets distributing his papers. Do them guys ever see him out there helping them out? I think not, or at least I’ve never seen him out there with them. I have never seen him in a soup line, feeding the homeless( of course if you do it is only because he wants to look good for the cameras) and there he is living is his luxurious mansion in the suburbs of Chicago. How come he cannot share his wealth with the guys who are out there trying to make a living selling his products?

    A couple of years ago , I read a biography about a former member of the NOI,INSIDE THE NATION OF ISLAM:A Historical And Personal Testimony by A Black Muslim by Vibert L .White. Some people may say that you shouldn’t believe everything that is written in an autobiography/biography, but after reading White’s biography of Farakkhan, it had me to make sense of some of the practices of Louis Farakkhan and why I’m even more convinced that he’s only about himself.

    Far as John Hagee? I’ve only watched his Church broadcast twice and I haven’t been impressed with his coma-inducing sermons. Just like you said said, the guy is a racist and Islamophobe. Farakkhan isn’t a true Muslim and Hagee isn’t a true Christian. It’s sad that they are both misleading the people with their messages. It is people like Hagee and Farakkhan is why our world so screwed.

  16. Szla

    February 29, 2008 at 6:30 PM

    As a Black man, I am most of black men and women I know have a high degree of respect for Farrakhan. Most people in the black communities in America reject the notion that Farrakhan is racist toward anyone.

    Also, Peaches’ silly observation that a 74 year old Farrakhan go out in the street and sale papers is beyond rediculous! Furthermore, you have no right to decide who a “true muslim” is!

  17. DeaconKen

    March 1, 2008 at 11:11 PM

    Hagee is a bigot and fundamentalist. He does not represent Christianity anymore than many muslims say Osama bin Laden represents Muslims.

    A huge difference though is the outcry against the biggotry and violence. Many Christian organizations have publicly denounced Hagee’s beliefs.

    Could the Muslim’s in the United States do the same for Muslims that they say misrepresent Islam?

  18. Amad

    March 2, 2008 at 5:14 PM

    DeconKen, are you kidding me?

    There are a bizzillion more Muslim organizations that have publicly spoken against Osama… OBL carries hardly any respect beyond the radicals. While Hagee speaks openly and is supported by millions of Christians in this country.

    The fact that a presidential candidate would accept the endorsement of Hagee, while no Muslim in a public position in any part of the world would accept the endorsement of OBL is sufficient proof in the pudding.

  19. Peaches

    March 3, 2008 at 2:36 PM

    Szla,
    Uh, all Black communities support the words of Farakkhan? I can also think about some Black communities who REJECT his theologies. There were some civil rights leaders and even Black muslims I have seen who rejects him citing his divisive messages.

    I don’t know how can anybody say that he is not a racist when he used some pretty racist language in his speeches. Ok, He’s an old man now, and he vowed that he’s a changed man. No, he’s not as vocal as he used to be, but I’m not convinced of it, not because I’m looking at his past, but of his attitude of his present.

    There was an interview that they did with him several years( maybe about 6 or 7 years ago)On 20/20. When Barbara Walters asked him (with proof)about the slavery crisis in Darfur, he said that Southern Sudanese were lying about the whole thing. These were BLACK AFRICANS that he spoke against. So much for him being for the black man!

    Another example, was a recently as nearly a year ago( I think, it was either DATELINE or 20/20 that did it. I promise you that it was either one of those shows that did the interview) he was interviewed about his health. A few minutes later the subject changed as the reporter was talking his stance on non-Blacks and interracial couples. Though he was cordial with his answer , it didn’t take a genius to know that he didn’t have warm feelings about them.

    Another thing that I don’t get is why does seeing how your boys are doing is “silly”? There should be nothing silly about him being there for the people. Whether it’s Louis Farakkhan or another person, if there is anything people like, if for the people to know that there are there for them.

    F

    After all if it wasn’t for guys like them and others that is helping his business ventures, he wouldn’t be as big as he is.

  20. Peaches

    March 3, 2008 at 2:44 PM

    (Oops! my submision button didn’t act right),
    Anyways
    In addition to my chopped post, I may not know everything about the Muslim faith, Christian faith or whatever, but if there is one thing that the imams from the WD Muhammad and the immigrant run mosque have shown me and taught me is that racism is a sin! Farakkhan many not be the the vocal man that he was in 40 years ago, but from what I viewed in his recent interview, the guys is STILL a racist. My mind will not be changed of that fact and after these we will not no more debates about as I will not respond to it.

  21. Szla

    March 4, 2008 at 1:13 PM

    Peaches, your contempt for Farrakhan has caused you to slander him with lies which is quite typical of those who harbor hatred for him.

    Now your comments on Sudan have absolutely nothing to do with this topic but your recolection regarding that interview interview is rediculously wrong. Farrakhan said that when he personally spoke with former SPLA leader John Garang and his wife, that no mention of slavery was ever mentioned. The South/North Sudan civil war was based on social and economic justice and equality which they rightfully demanded.

    See this google video for the facts as opposed to your bad memory: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7388395984333813644

    Now, that did Imam WD Muhammad say about Farrakhan?

    “Dear Muslim brothers and sisters, it is not difficult for Minister Farrakhan and Wallace D. Mohammed to embrace each other. That’s easy for us. When I first met him in the early ’50s, I liked him on first sight, and I became his friend and his brother. And I have not stopped being his friend and his brother.”

    Wow, very harsh words, PEACHES! Are you trying to cause enmity among bretheren?

    For a much clearer view of Black America’s view of Farrakhan, read Mary Mitchel’s Chicago Sun Time article, “Why Obama ‘denounced’ Farrakhan”

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/mitchell/821131,CST-NWS-mitch02.article

  22. Szla

    March 4, 2008 at 10:36 PM

    Another good perspective from The American Muslim (http://www.theamericanmuslim.org)

    Should John McCain reject and denounce Minister John Hagee

    by Anisa Abd El Fattah

    Excerpt:

    “Hillary Clinton, in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to create a wedge between Obama, AIPAC, the Jewish Lobby, the Jewish community at large, and Evangelicals, while attempting to rattle Obama, opened Pandora’s box when she suggested that Barak Obama should denounce and reject the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.”

    “Clinton premised her demand for renunciation and denouncement of Farrakhan upon previous Jewish accusations that Farrakhan is an anti-Semite. Farrakhan, many Muslims and non-Muslims, who know him, vehemently deny the charge, a charge, which seems to surface at least once in every Presidential political cycle. It is a charge that is perhaps part of a larger effort to politically marginalize the US Muslim and Arab American communities, and their various branches of Islam, hoping to prevent our view of the Palestine/Israel conflict, and our critique of US foreign policy in the Middle East from reaching the US mainstream media, or being included in the political dispute over US foreign policy, including the preemptive strike policy and the so-called war on terrorism.”

    http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/should_john_mccain_reject_and_denounce_minister_john_hagee/0015869

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