Anti-Islam Movement Has New Rallying Cry — Let’s Delete Verses of the Quran

You think life is bad for Muslims in Trump’s America? Spare a thought for the Muslims of France.

Over the past few years, they have been collectively blamed, and punished, for a series of horrific terror attacks carried out in France by so-called “jihadists.” The latest, a knife attack in Paris by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar,” killed one person and injured four others last weekend.

While anti-Muslim bigotry has become a hallmark of the Republican right in America, in France it is a truly bipartisan affair. Islamophobia is peddled by left and right alike, with both socialists and conservatives falling over one another to defend French secularism, or laïcité, by demonizing French Muslims.

Consider: Successive French governments have criminalized the face veil and banned the headscarf in schools. French mayors have targeted Muslim women who want to cover up at the beach and Muslim schoolkids who try to have a pork-free lunch. The French president — and new liberal hearthrob — Emmanuel Macron has introduced draconian counter-terror legislation that United Nations human rights experts have warned could have a discriminatory impact on Muslims in particular.

And the latest big idea? To go after the Quran. On April 21, the Le Parisien newspaper published a manifesto “against the new anti-Semitism” signed by 300 public figures — ranging from former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls to actor Gérard Depardieu and singer Charles Aznavour. According to the Atlantic, the manifesto states that “11 Jews have been assassinated — and some tortured — by radical Islamists” in France, and demands that “the verses of the Quran calling for murder and punishment of Jews, Christians, and nonbelievers be struck to obsolescence by religious authorities,” so that “no believer can refer to a sacred text to commit a crime.”

Such rhetoric is a reflection both of Gallic bigotry and sheer stupidity; a toxic combination of ignorance and privilege.

First, where are these Muslim “religious authorities” who would be willing to do to the Quran what Thomas Jefferson did to the Bible? Establishment-friendly French imams such as Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, and Tareq Oubrou, imam of Bordeaux’s Grand Mosque, have denounced the manifesto as “unbelievable and unfair” and “nearly blasphemous.” And were such mainstream figures to even agree to edit the Quran — believed by Muslims to be the literal word of God! — does anyone really believe that the fanatics of ISIS or Al Qaeda would give a damn?

Second, violent extremism isn’t a product of scripture. Contrary to conventional wisdom, and as I have argued in the past while citing a raft of studies and experts, religious faith “isn’t a crucial factor” in terror attacks – or in the process of so-called “radicalization.” Why, then, obsess over Quranic verses? As the French journalist Didier Francois, who was held hostage by ISIS in Syria, told CNN in 2015: “There was never really discussion about texts or — it was not a religious discussion. It was a political discussion… Because it has nothing to do with the Quran.” Or as his fellow former French hostage, Nicolas Henin, has said, “I noticed that these jihadists have little to do with… Arab or Muslim culture – they are children of our societies… They are products of our culture, our world.”

Who do you take more seriously? Two former ISIS hostages? Or the guy from Green Card?

Third, how can the manifesto signatories be so sure that it is French Muslims who are behind the rise of this so-called “new anti-Semitism”? As a 2016 study of anti-Semitic hate crimes in France by Human Rights First noted, “Perpetrators of most anti-Semitic violence are perceived to be of ‘Muslim culture or origin’… although there is no data to substantiate this conclusion — in part because of the prohibition in France on collecting ‘ethnic’ statistics.” Yet in next-door Germany, where such statistics are collected by the police, nine out of 10 anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2017 were carried out not by radicalized Muslims but by “members of far-right or neo-Nazi groups.”

Fourth, what evidence is there that the Quran itself is anti-Semitic? Or that Islam has a particular problem with Jews? Critics often point to verses of the Muslim holy book that express hostility towards Jews, while ignoring the specific historical and theological context for such verses and also ignoring those many other Quranic verses which heap praise on the Jewish people.

As the Princeton University historian Mark Cohen, an expert on Jewish-Muslim relations, points out: “Islam contains a nucleus of pluralism that gave the Jews in Muslim lands greater security than Jews had in Christian Europe” and therefore “Jews in the Islamic orbit were spared the damaging stigma of ‘otherness’ and anti-Semitism suffered by Jews in Europe.” Modern-day Muslim and Arab anti-Semitism is a consequence of colonialism, conflicting nationalisms and the clash with Zionism, argues Cohen, and is neither “indigenous” to the Middle East, nor “inherent” in Islam.

Fifth, why single out Islamic scripture in this way? Why not Jewish or Christian scripture, too? Are we supposed to pretend that the Old Testament of the Bible doesn’t contain scores of verses that incite violence and hatred against nonbelievers? Or that those verses haven’t been used to justify heinous crimes in recent years? Against Palestinians, Iraqis, Ugandans, Norwegian kids, and American abortion clinics, among others?

To avoid the charge of hypocrisy, therefore, will the signatories to this manifesto, who include France’s chief rabbi Haim Korsia, also call for verses of the Bible to be “struck to obsolescence by religious authorities”?

Sixth, whatever happened to the “liberté” part of “liiberté, égalité, fraternité”? How is the insistence on removing verses from the Quran compatible with religious freedom (a crucial, if less-discussed, part of the French secular tradition)? How is it compatible with freedom of speech or expression? Whatever happened to the land of ‘Je Suis Charlie’? Well, guess what? The manifesto was drafted by, of all people, Phillipe Val, the former managing editor of Charlie Hebdo. Irony, it seems, may have died a quiet death in France.

“The manifesto is a farce written by imposters,” Yasser Louati, a French civil liberties campaigner, tells me. He argues that if the signatories were serious about addressing rising anti-Jewish bigotry in their country they would have also stood “against traditional French anti-Semitism.”

He has a point. France has a long and shameful history of anti-Semitism, from the Dreyfus Affair in the late 19th century to the collaborationist Vichy government’s complicity in the Nazi Holocaust. According to a recent survey of French public opinion, reported Karina Piser in the Atlantic, “35 percent of French people believe Jews ‘have a particular rapport with money;’ 40 percent think that ‘for French Jews, Israel counts more than France;’ and 22 percent think that ‘Jews have too much power.’”

Nevertheless, 300 French public figures want to only highlight the issue of “Muslim anti-Semitism” in order to only denounce the message of the Quran. Muslims, after all, make for useful scapegoats.

Top photo: A man reads the Quran at the migrant camp known as the “Jungle” in Calais, France, on December 7, 2015.

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Blues went on farmsteads could cool the climate, therefore let’s test it

Farm buildings surrounded by dark-coloured material

Quietly capturing carbon

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On the menu of geoengineering options, one has always stood out as a saner choice: enhanced weathering. No need to deploy giant mirrors in space to deflect sunlight or to risk food riots by converting crops to fuel. Just scatter crushed rock far and wide.

It sounds simple: rock mops up carbon dioxide – it’s a slow but significant part of the carbon cycle – so if we speed up natural weathering we could get enough of this greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere to dampen climate change.

Ordinarily, common silicate minerals react slowly …

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Cleanse is creating infection, but let’s not reduce our brain

A woman using hairspray

Hair today, damaging the climate tomorrow

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Say air pollution and we tend to think of car exhausts, large factories and open fires. But in Western cities, the biggest source of air pollution is something else entirely: household items like your deodorant and shampoo.

A team including Brian McDonald and Jessica Gilman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Colorado examined data on air pollution from the US and Europe. Increasingly stringent regulations mean that pollution from cars and other vehicles has fallen. As a result, a larger proportion of pollution now comes from everyday …

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Let’s Adopt The U.S. Naval Policy of 1890

By Chris Rossini

​Back in 1890, the U.S. Naval Policy Board said in a report:

“We fear no encroachments on our territory, nor are we tempted at present to encroach on that of others. We have no colonies, nor any desire to acquire them.”

First, let’s discuss the aspect of the statement that has not changed one iota since 1890:

We fear no encroachments on our territory

In 2017, we can say the exact same statement with total confidence. No state on the planet has any interest in conquering America. No one is interested in ruling over our WalMart/McDonald’s society.

No one is interested in taking over Washington D.C. and inheriting 20,000,000,000,000 in debt.

No one is interested in ruling a nation of people who are in debt up to their eyeballs with student loans, auto loans, mortgage loans, credit card loans….loans…loans…loans…loans…loans…

No one is interested!

Which leads to the part of the statement that has changed since 1890:

nor are we tempted at present to encroach on that of others.

In 1898, that aspect changed, and the U.S. federal government has never looked back.

In 1898, the U.S. got its first taste of the conquering game. It swiftly took control of the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Hawaii.

All of a sudden 11 million people were under a new American Empire.

A few decades later, after the first high wore off, one of the worst decisions in the history of the world was made: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson tricked the American public into entering an exhausted and stalemated European war between princes.

The “war to end all wars” was the war that would lead to the death of hundreds of millions over the next century.

The rest, of course, is history, and here we are:

Broke….A country with middle-class that is disappearing, and 50% of the American public receiving some kind of welfare from a bankrupt government.

U.S. Naval Policy in 1890 is where it’s at.

The sooner we adopt it, the better.

Ron Paul Liberty Report – Archives

Let’s Compare John Kelly’s Lie About Rep. Frederica Wilson With Reality

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly lied on Thursday when he falsely claimed that Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., had loudly boasted about obtaining money for an FBI building in Miami during a dedication ceremony he attended in 2015.

We know this for a fact because, on Friday, the South Florida Sun Sentinel published video of Wilson’s complete remarks at the event. What the video shows is that the Wilson instead described how she and other members of Congress had rushed through legislation to name the facility for two agents who died in the line of duty in 1986, Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove.

Wilson did not, as Kelly had claimed the day before, boast about getting $ 20 million for her district from President Barack Obama. Instead, she gave credit to politicians of both parties and went on to acknowledge the heroism of the agents who were killed in a shootout with two bank robbers. “Today, it is our patriotic duty to lift up Special Agent Benjamin Grogan and Special Agent Jerry Dove from the street in South Florida, and place their names and pictures high, where the world will know that we are proud of their sacrifice, their sacrifice for our nation,” Wilson said.

She also asked all of those in law enforcement and first responders present at the ceremony to stand for a round of applause. “Stand up now, so that we can applaud you and what you do,” Wilson said. “Stand up, we are proud of you, we’re proud of your courage. Thank you.”

James Comey, the FBI director at the time, was also present at the ceremony, and a Sun Sentinel news report from that day shows that he praised the member of Congress for leading the legislative effort to dedicate the building to the two men. “Rep. Wilson truly did the impossible, and we are eternally grateful,” Comey said.

Speaking in the White House briefing room a day earlier, Kelly made his false claim as part of an attack on Wilson’s character, after a broader lament about what he described as a collapse in moral values and insufficient respect for the military from American civilians.

Kelly said that he had been just as “stunned” by Wilson’s disrespectful boasting that day as he was by her decision this week to share details of a condolence call she overheard from his boss, President Donald Trump, to the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, a soldier she helped mentor who was killed in mysterious circumstances in Niger.

It is jarring to listen to Kelly’s description of Wilson’s behavior and then hear the entirely respectful and generous remarks she actually delivered. The contrast gives us a chance to see just how much the White House chief of staff’s perception of reality, like that of his boss, seems to be distorted by a free-floating and wide-ranging resentment at how modern American society has changed from the imagined paradise they grew up in in the 1950s.

Top photo: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on October 19, 2017.

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