Category Archives: mosquetroversy

The Origins Of The Anti-Shariah Movement

Today’s New York Times has a fascinating story on the origins of our national “anti-Shariah Law” movement, including the numerous bills making their way around various state houses (including Tennessee).

I mean, all of us in the reality-based community have been sitting here going, Shariah Law? Really? How is this a problem for America right now? And it’s taken waaaay too long for our news media to look into the roots of this hate campaign, especially considering how it has dominated the national news cycle in recent years.

Better late than never, I guess:

A confluence of factors has fueled the anti-Shariah movement, most notably the controversy over the proposed Islamic center near ground zero in New York, concerns about homegrown terrorism and the rise of the Tea Party. But the campaign’s air of grass-roots spontaneity, which has been carefully promoted by advocates, shrouds its more deliberate origins.

In fact, it is the product of an orchestrated drive that began five years ago in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in the office of a little-known lawyer, David Yerushalmi, a 56-year-old Hasidic Jew with a history of controversial statements about race, immigration and Islam. Despite his lack of formal training in Islamic law, Mr. Yerushalmi has come to exercise a striking influence over American public discourse about Shariah.

Working with a cadre of conservative public-policy institutes and former military and intelligence officials, Mr. Yerushalmi has written privately financed reports, filed lawsuits against the government and drafted the model legislation that recently swept through the country — all with the effect of casting Shariah as one of the greatest threats to American freedom since the cold war.

That sounded so familiar to me. Let me think …. Oh yeah, the English Only movement:

For decades, John Tanton has operated a nativist empire out of his U.S. Inc. foundation’s headquarters in Petoskey, Mich. Even as he simultaneously runs his own hate group — The Social Contract Press, listed for many years by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its anti-Latino and white supremacist writings — Tanton has remained the house intellectual for FAIR. In fact, U.S. Inc. bankrolls much of FAIR’s lobbying activity and, at least until 2005, Tanton ran its Research and Publications Committee, the group that fashions and then disseminates FAIR’s position papers. In its 2004 annual report, FAIR highlighted its own main ideologue, singing Tanton’s praises for “visionary qualities that have not waned one bit.”

There is something about the authoritarian leanings of right wing bigots — coupled with the established network of organizations funded by conservative moneybags like Richard Mellon Scaife — which allows one fringe nutwagon to exert such power over American life.

Here’s a rule of thumb: every nationwide movement of hate-mongers selling fear of any group of people has its roots in one loon that the entire wackadoodle community has rallied around, financed and promoted. Call it Beale’s Rule of One Crazy Asshole.

Yerushalmi got his start on the crazy train in the usual way: free market ideology, coupled with 9/11:

[…] His interest in Islamic law began with the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, when he was living in Ma’ale Adumim, a large Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

At the time, Mr. Yerushalmi, a native of South Florida, divided his energies between a commercial litigation practice in the United States and a conservative research institute based in Jerusalem, where he worked to promote free-market reform in Israel.


On its Web site, the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil rights organization, describes Mr. Yerushalmi as having a record of “anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black bigotry.” His legal clients have also drawn notoriety, among them Pamela Geller, an incendiary blogger who helped drive the fight against the Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero.

From here, Yerushalmi met prominent neocon Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, a think tank funded by defense contractors. Gaffney was one of the 25 who signed PNAC’s 1998 letter advocating war in Iraq.

Ah yes, the neoconservative political establishment. The people who led us to war in Iraq. Can’t imagine why they’d want to stoke the fires of Islamophobia, can you? /sarcasm.

The conservative hate machine has long been a cancer poisoning American discourse. It amazes me to see how well-funded and entrenched this network truly is. What we’re seeing now are efforts to codify this hate into American life legislatively. One can hope that revealing the intolerant bigots behind these campaigns — the sunlight factor, if you will — can put a stop to this craziness.

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently investigated what it called the “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.” Of Yerushalmi they write:

CREDENTIALS General counsel for the Center for Security Policy (see Frank J. Gaffney Jr., above); also, an attorney representing SIOA. Yerushalmi drafted a proposed law filed this year in the Tennessee legislature that would subject anyone who advocates or adheres to Shariah customs to up to 15 years in prison; he drafted a similar bill in Georgia in 2008.

Umm … Tennessee, aren’t we always hearing how we don’t like no dirty, rotten outsiders telling us what to do? Hello? I digress …

SUMMARY Yerushalmi equates Shariah with Islamic radicalism so totally that he advocates criminalizing virtually any personal practice compliant with Shariah. In his view, only a Muslim who fully breaks with the customs of Shariah can be considered socially tolerable. He waxes bloodthirsty when describing his preferred response to the supposed global threat of Shariah law, speaking casually of killing and destroying. Ideally, he would outlaw Islam and deport Muslims and other “non-Western, non-Christian” people to protect the United States’ “national character.” An ultra-orthodox Jew, he is deeply hostile toward liberal Jews. He derides U.S.-style democracy because it allows more than just an elite, privileged few to vote.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “On the so-called Global War on Terrorism, GWOT, we have been quite clear along with a few other resolute souls. This should be a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful. … At a practical level, this means that Shari’a and Islamic law are immediately outlawed. Any Muslim in America who adopts historical and traditional Shari’a will be subject to deportation. Mosques which adhere to Islamic law will be shut down permanently. No self-described or practicing Muslim, irrespective of his or her declarations to the contrary, will be allowed to immigrate to this country.”
— A 2007 commentary entitled “War Manifesto — The War Against Islam,” as reported by The American Muslim

A fringe character advocating a war against Islam joining forces with a Neocon funded by defense contractors advocating for war in the Middle East so we can control the oil. Can’t imagine what can go wrong here, can you?

I’m just curious as to when Americans will get tired of the mainstreaming of these fringe characters? When will we say, enough already?


Filed under conservatives, David Yarushalmi, Islam, mosquetroversy, right-wing hate

>Crying Wolf Alert

>“Hi Kevin.”


Geez. If you’re going to hate on your Muslim neighbors by trying to keep them from building a house of worship at least have the balls to defend your position when someone asks you about it. And if you’re not prepared to do that a simple “no comment” is usually the way these things are done.

Crying “racial harassment” because you’re too lazy to come up with a better argument is a slap in the face to the thousands of people who have faced real racial harassment in this country’s history. Shame on you.

(h/t, Post Politics)


Filed under mosquetroversy, Tennessee

>Hallowed Ground Alert

>Can’t imagine how we missed this:

Pros and anti’s square off over Gettysburg casino proposal

By Angela Couloumbis

Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

GETTYSBURG – The developer of a proposed casino Tuesday called this historic community the “last untapped gaming marketplace” in Pennsylvania and contended that his casino would rejuvenate the area’s recession-ravaged economy while respecting its rich history and tradition.

David LeVan, a onetime Conrail chairman who wants to develop the casino a half-mile from Gettysburg National Military Park, told state gaming officials at a packed hearing that his $75 million Mason-Dixon Resort & Casino would lure new jobs, more tourists, and much-needed tax revenue.

He also said it would not affect the 6,000-acre park, one of the nation’s first hallowed grounds, where 160,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought a bloody battle over three days in the summer of 1863 that helped seal the outcome of the Civil War.



Filed under mosquetroversy

>What If They Burned A Koran And Nobody Was There To See It?

>I guess we’ll find out as Springfield, TN’s Bob Old decided to go through with his copycat Koran burning after all:

But for all the controversy and hype, his Quran burning took place in front of just a handful of people, most of them from the media.

Old and the Rev. Danny Allen stood together in Old’s backyard, answering what they say was a message from God.

Well isn’t that special. In fact, eight journalists showed up for Old and Danny Allen’s pathetic “demonstration,” which clearly was a sad attempt to get some attention since obviously his church wanted nothing to do with it.


Three protesters stood across the street from Old’s home, holding signs that read “My husband fights terrorism and your actions perpetuate it” and “Proud of my country but ashamed of my neighbors.”

Okay, Tennesseans. Hope everyone is proud of themselves. Now can we all move along?

[UPDATE]: Read John Shuck on our new imperial religion.


Filed under Islam, mosquetroversy, religion, Tennessee

>Tennessee Wackadoos REPRESENT!

>[UPDATE]: Florida’s Koran burning has been cancelled. Wonder if this idiot in Tennessee still plans to go forward.


Not to be left out of all the fun, a Springfield, TN pastor wants to join in the Holy book barbecue planned for Saturday:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Springfield minister says he also plans to burn a Quran on Saturday to mark the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Rev. Bob Old told The Tennessean the Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Center Outreach in Gainesville, Fla., is doing the right thing by burning the Quran, and so he’s going to do likewise.

Jones’ plan to burn Qurans on Saturday has caused a furor of opposition, including an urging from President Barack Obama to call off his plan.

However, Old says not only does he plan to burn the Quran, but he intends to post a video of the burning book online.

Says Old of Muslims in America: “If they want to have their religion, they can have it somewhere else.”

Wow that’s just SO FUCKING AMERICAN, ain’t it? Isn’t that what the Puritans were told? “If you want your religion go somewhere else?”

I mean, we just knew that some asshole in Tennessee was going to join in the fun, didn’t we?


Look, I really didn’t want to pay attention to this wacko down in Florida because clearly he’s an attention-seeking media whore of the Fred Phelps variety. The media circus has already been whipped up, it was inevitable, but I just really hoped I could check out of Crazy Town and just not take part in the spectacle. But noooo, of course not, someone right up the highway from Nashville thinks this is a stellar idea! The nation has clearly gone off the rails and frankly I’m tired of having to say “you don’t represent me!” over and over again.

People have a right to burn books in this country, it’s part of the whole “free speech” thing, so enjoy yourselves. But I just have to wonder at what these folks are going to be thinking come Sunday morning when they show up at church for worship. As you arrive on church property and smell the acrid burned-ash-and-ink smell of your little holy flame fest, are you going to be proud of yourselves? Will you think that God is proud of you? Do you think Jesus looks down from heaven on you and smiles at setting flame to some ink and paper? Really?

Or will there be a tiny bit of shame in your hearts? Maybe the smallest shard of embarrassment that the entire world has looked upon you and your congregation, not with awe at how much you love, but with horror at how much you hate?

Is this how you represent God to the world?

“Vide”, inquiunt, “ut invicem se diligant” – ipsi enim invicem oderunt – “et ut pro alteruto mori sint parati”; ipsi enim ad occidendum alterutrum paratiores erunt.


Filed under Islam, mosquetroversy, religion, Tennessee

Nobody Could Have …. Awww, Screw It

Tennessee anti-mosque activist Laurie Cardoza-Moore, who got pwned by The Daily Show last week, now claims she’s getting death threats:

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, an outspoken opponent of the mosque, said she has also received a death threat by phone. The threat said, “We are coming after you. You cannot stop us.”

“It was a shock, of course, but not a surprise,” said Cardoza-Moore. “It was an Arab-speaking individual. He addressed my name. He said Allahu Akbar, and it was very clear to me who he was.”

Yes, I’m sure it was very clear who he was. Probably someone pissed off that you portray all Muslims as terrorists. Moore told the local Fox affiliate:

“I was upset justifiably so. If this is the religion of peace why am I getting death threats,” said Moore.

Excellent question! And if we have freedom of religion in this country why are you opposing the expansion of the Murfreesboro mosque, which has existed peacefully in Rutherford County for 30 years?

Listen, lady. You poke a stick at a hornets’ nest, you get people all riled up at each other, you accuse your neighbors of being terrorists and having links to Hamas, you make a fool of yourself on national television spouting your ignorant claptrap, and then you want sympathy because someone left you a mean telephone message? Take it somewhere else.


[UPDATE]: Via Pith, Laurie Cardoza-Moore rails against the Islamic faith at a speech in New York City. And she wonders why she gets mean voicemail messages? This lady is batshit in insane.


Filed under Islam, mosquetroversy, Tennessee

>Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Or STFU

>Arson is suspected at the Murfreesboro mosque construction site because, you know, construction machinery doesn’t just torch itself.

So Newt Gingrich, Charles Krauthammer and the rest of you yahoos who contend you aren’t Islamophobes, you just don’t want those people worshipping on our hallowed ground! … I just have two words: pony up.

Come to Tennessee and embrace the mosque in Murfreesboro. We’re hundreds of miles from Ground Zero. This ain’t hallowed ground, it’s Rutherford County.

Come tonight for the candlelight vigil sponsored by Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom. There will be TV cameras there. I know that’s important to you.

Tell your rage-filled minions that Muslims have a right to worship in America, not just legally and Constitutionally but morally, as well. Control your hateful rabble before some innocent person gets hurt. You will have blood on your hands if this escalates. I will blame you for stoking a torch and pitchfork mob.

And when you’ve finished embracing the Muslims in Tennessee you can go to Jacksonville, Florida, where a pipe bomb was found at a mosque. And then take it to Arlington, Texas, where a mosque playground was set on fire. And then take it to Madera, California.

If your beef is really about how special Ground Zero is, fine. You should be the biggest supporters of Islamic community centers and houses of worship in the rest of the nation.

That you stay silent is very, very telling. It’s all the proof we need supporting our contention that you’re just hateful bigots stoking fear among your ignorant followers.


Filed under fear, Islam, mosquetroversy, Newt Gingrich

>Tennessee Laughingstocks

>The Daily Show covers Tennessee’s own mosque-troversy. I don’t know who this crazy lady is who says you can find out all sorts of things on the internet but someone needs to tell her that just because it’s on the internet, it doesn’t mean it’s true. If that were the case then I’d be freaking out about the Great George W. Bush Alien Coverups of 2007.

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Tennessee No Evil
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party


Filed under Islam, mosquetroversy, religion, Tennessee

>The View From Ground Zero Today

>Russell Simmons lives across the street from Ground Zero. Here’s what he did to his apartment windows:

Meanwhile the media seems bent on taking its cue from a crazy lady whose last big claim to fame was announcing President Obama is Malcom X’s love child. Well, that and her famous crush on John Bolton.

I remember a time when people like that were gently ushered away from the microphone and sent on a long cruise somewhere for their “nerves.” Today’s modern Republican Party hands them a Fox News microphone and the national news media decides there must be something to it because, well, they’re on Fox News!

Crazy world we live in.

By the way, Leviticus 19:18 referenced in Simmons’ window? It reads:

18 ” ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Gotta love how religious conservatives always overlook just those parts of Leviticus that are inconvenient to their politics.


Filed under conservative bloggers, Islam, media, mosquetroversy, religion

>Calling Bullshit

>Today I caught several morning news stenographers anchors breathlessly reporting the latest political “controversy,” which is President Obama’s statement about that mosque thingie in downtown Manhattan. I’ve already written about the mosque here, written about how there’s already a mosque near Ground Zero, it’s been there since before 9/11, blah blah. I’ve since learned there are also a bunch of synagogues and a bunch of churches in that area, plus porn shops and lord knows what else on this so-called “hallowed ground.” The entire thing is so blatantly manufactured in the Frank Luntz Little Shoppe Of Bullshit that you’d have to be truly braindead or a member of the American media to take any of it seriously.

Anyway, the GOP wants to make this an election issue, which is how you know it’s utter bullshit because everyone knows the only election issue worth paying attention to right now is the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs. But of course the GOP says “jump” and the media asks “how high?”

Seriously, I can’t take another election season dominated by silly, emotional, unimportant issues. The media needs to wake the fuck up and stop hurting America. No one gives a crap about a mosque in New York City. How do I know this? I know this because the GOP is trying to make it an election issue. If people really cared, they wouldn’t be flogging this dead horse all the way to the November finish line.

And why do they do this? Because they have absolutely no fucking clue what to do about jobs, the tanking economy, and the rest of the huge mess they left the nation in. If they had a fucking clue they wouldn’t be trying to distract your attention with the shiny-sparkly mosque thingie over there. They’d be presenting their bold plan to kickstart our economy and create jobs. Unfortunately, their sad little plan is more tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation, plus another war in the Middle East for good measure — the same crap that got us into this mess.

So: different year, same old crap. But dear American media, just because the GOP is having one of its periodic hissy fits, that doesn’t mean you guys need to play along. Seriously, there’s something about having a Democrat in the White House that sets our media off. They’ve got “Democratic President Derangement Syndrome.” Suddenly perfectly ordinary things that presidents do and say — like, oh, I dunno, maybe defending the First Amendment and defending the rights of private property owners — are deemed very odd and “controversial.”

It’s very puzzling.

Pullitzer to the reporter with the cojones to point out that the GOP wouldn’t be making an election issue out of a stupid issue like this if they weren’t so desperately bereft of any real ideas on how to solve America’s problems.


Filed under Davidson County Republican Party, Islam, media, mosquetroversy, President Barack Obama