PROTESTERS who had filled the auditorium seats at an anti-Muslim event on Temple University’s campus Monday night left the room quite empty when they marched out in opposition after the discussion began.
The organization hosting the “Islamic Apartheid Conference,” Temple University Students for Intellectual Freedom, says its mission is to introduce controversial issues often left out of mainstream debates and defends its right to political incorrectness. Panelists at the conference included Robert Spencer, contributor to the blog Jihad Watch, and Pamela Geller, famous for her hostility to the proposed construction of an Islamic community center near the site of the World Trade Center.
After walking out, more than 50 demonstrators, consisting of North Philadelphia residents, campus groups and Occupy Philly protesters, remained outside in the rain, holding signs and confronting attendees as they left the event in Ritter Hall, on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 13th Street.
According to the new report from the newspaper Klassekampen (The Class Struggle, a left-wing Norwegian daily newspaper) single, childless and low-educated men over the age of 65 are overrepresented on the anti-Islam websites.
Klassekampen had used the analysis software “Alexa” to investigate eight anti-Islam websites including Gates of Vienna, Jihad Watch, Bryssel Journal, Islam Watch and Atlas Shrugged. According to the newspaper’s statistics people over the age of 65 are overrepresented on all of the sites. Here, men clearly dominate and most of them were not educated beyond the primary level.
Few of the site visitors have children, and most of those who visit these sites do so from their homes and from work. The statistics presented by the newspaper are well in line with the political landscape that dominates the European extreme-right parties, notes the journalist and author of “The Hate against Muslims”, Andreas Malm. “There is an obviousl dominance of older men, often unemployed, who can feel abandoned by the society seeking explanations and someone to blame”. Malm adds, “A typical conspiracy theoretician is older, lone man obsessed with a particular question (e.g. Muslim presence in the country etc.) and thus attracted to various anti-Islam conspiracy theories floating online.” His analysis is supported by Tor Bach, the chief editor of the website Vespen (the Wasp, a monitoring extremism site in Norway). “These group of older people have certain common traits.” He continues “firstly, their primary characteristic is that they feel suspicion against the entire society and the democratic system. Secondly, they hold a firm belief that someone will hurt them “. He is reluctant to generalize too much; nevertheless he maintains the notion that these men are angry and frustrated people who feel neglected when their opinion is not heard.
When a tragedy like the one in Norway occurs, it’s human nature to try and explain the unexplainable. This almost always turns into a search for someone to blame. This frequently leads to attempts to guess what media figures the killers in question may have followed, putting those figures on the defensive. That defense is much harder when the terrorist himself cites your work explicitly. Such is the position that Robert Spencer, director of the blog Jihad Watch, now finds himself. Today, he appeared on Alan Colmes’ radio show to defend his site and his work.
Unsurprisingly, they found very little common ground.
According to an investigative report by The Tennessean’s Bob Smietana, anti-Muslim groups are making millions selling fear of Islam to ultra-conservative Christian audiences across the country. Smietana reports on the emergence of “a multimillion-dollar industry of self-proclaimed experts who spread hate toward Muslims in books and movies, on websites and through speaking appearances.”
The report focuses much of its attention on Washington D.C.-based SAE Productions, which according to tax documents collected nearly $4 million in revenue in 2008 for “researching alleged ties between American Muslims and overseas terrorism.”
The report includes tax documents on five other “anti-Jihad” organizations, including the Californi-based David Horowitz Freedom Center, which raised more than $1 million in 2008 from its “Terrorism Awareness Project” and its Web-based “Jihad Watch.”
22 Oct 2010
It has taken some time for aggressive European style Islam hatred to make its mark in the US. For years, the old world’s constant state of conflict with its Muslim citizens and the hysterical warnings over the imminent takeover of the West by Sharia law has produced little more than a shrug of the shoulders in America, the classic immigration land. There was relatively little in the way of a reaction against Muslim Americans in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. There were no mass protests against Muslims, no mosques burned.
There were a few bloggers prepared to declare war on jihad; people like Charles Johnson whose tirades on his “Little Green Footballs” blog attracted millions. One of these, Pamela Geller, was particularly active and particularly virulent in her comments, and later began her own blog, “Atlas Shrugs”. She, along with bearded intellectual Robert Spencer (he blogs on “Jihad Watch”), head the organisation “Stop Islamization of America” (SIOA) and are now regarded as the leaders of the anti-Islam movement in the US.
And they are becoming increasingly radical and it was they who were behind the protests in New York this month. They are good friends with Wilders, and admirers of his radicalism. His belief that Islam is a conspiracy to conquer the world, rather than a religion, is one they share.