Alabama Democrats aren’t shedding any tears over state Rep. Richard Laird’s decision to leave the party this week.
Laird, of Roanoke in east Alabama, announced Monday that he was becoming an independent. On Friday, Democratic leaders rebuked Laird for sending an offensive email to legislators and constituents prior to his party switch.
On Jan. 23, Laird sent an email to a group of recipients that included House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, state Rep. Duwayne Bridges, R-Valley, and state Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison. Also copied on the email was Mellie Parrish of Lineville, a member of the Randolph County Democratic Party Executive Committee.
The message contained a picture of President Obama kissing Democratic U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi on the cheek, with a caption that read “The only time you’ll see a Muslim kiss a pig.” Obama is a Christian.
House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, said the message was “very distasteful.”
Hubbard said he encouraged Laird to leave the Democratic Party and that he would caucus with the GOP in the state House. Laird joins state Sen. Harri Anne Smith of Slocumb as the only independents in the Legislature.
Alabama Democrats said Laird did the party a favor by leaving on his own accord.
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a Michigan transit authority could bar from the side of its buses an advertisement that read: “Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got Questions? Get Answers! RefugefromIslam.com”
The group behind the ads is the the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which describes its mission as acting “against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials, the mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism.”
The group had sought in 2010 to place the ads on the buses in Michigan’s four southeastern-most counties, but the authority refused, on the grounds that the ads violated a policy against political advertisements and offensive speech.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said Thursday said that the side of the bus, in this case, wasn’t a public forum because the transit authority – Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, or SMART – rejected all political advertisements. The state never opened the space for discourse.
A group of American anti-war activists are in Pakistan to join a march into the country’s tribal belt to protest U.S. drone strikes in the rugged northwest territory. Their presence has energized organizers behind the protest but also added to concerns that Islamist militants will target the weekend event.
The two-day march — in reality a long convoy — is to be led by Imran Khan, the former cricket star-turned-politician who has become a top critic of the American drone strikes in Pakistan.
It is to start Saturday in Islamabad and end in a town in South Waziristan, a tribal region that has been a major focus of drone strikes as well as the scene of a Pakistani army offensive against militants.
The American activists — around three dozen representatives of the U.S.-based activist group CODEPINK — along with Clive Stafford Smith, founder of the London-based legal advocacy organization Reprieve, want to march with Khan and publicize the plight of communities affected by the U.S. drones.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Republicans tried to distance themselves Saturday from a Republican state representative’s assertion that slavery was a “blessing in disguise” and a Republican state House candidate who advocates deporting all Muslims.
The claims were made in books written, respectively, by Rep. Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro and House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville. Those books received attention on Internet news sites Friday.
On Saturday, state GOP Chairman Doyle Webb called the books “highly offensive.” And U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican who represents northeast Arkansas, called the writings “divisive and racially inflammatory.”
Hubbard wrote in his 2009 self-published book, “Letters To The Editor: Confessions Of A Frustrated Conservative,” that “the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.” He also wrote that African-Americans were better off than they would have been had they not been captured and shipped to the United States.
Fuqua, who served in the Arkansas House from 1996 to 1998, wrote there is “no solution to the Muslim problem short of expelling all followers of the religion from the United States,” in his 2012 book, titled “God’s Law.”
CTV News – September 16, 2012
As turmoil spreads across the Middle East, Ottawa closed embassies in Libya, Egypt and Sudan for the day, citing growing protests over an anti-Islam film. The move came after four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed in an attack last week. In Montreal, leaders in the Muslim community are condemning the violent reaction to the film. They say the content may be offensive, but it doesn’t justify bloodshed.
During a special inter-faith meal on Sunday, those leaders said it was important to speak out to try and balance negative images of Islam with positive ones. The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations also issued a statement this week, calling on Canadian Muslims to ignore the film.
“We regard a lot of things as sacred and we do not like it to be dragged down in the mud if you will,” said Farida Mohamed, from the Muslim Community of Quebec. “The trouble is these few inflammatory elements cause havoc for the Muslim world because, let’s face it, in the media Muslims are portrayed very negatively. Muslims are portrayed as terrorists.” The mosque’s president, Mehmet Deger, called for peaceful demonstrations and dialogue. The imam at the Dorval mosque said that he’s grateful that Canadian Muslims seem to be better off than Muslims in America, although tensions do flare from time to time.
Pamela Geller has been running a controversial ad in New York subway stations that compares Muslim extremists to “savages.” She won a court order to keep the ads up after complaints that it was too offensive. Geller sat down with Erin Burnett on CNN today to defend the ads. Burnett argued that just because someone has a right to something does not mean they should say it, and Geller told Burnett that her opinion is “emboldening Islamic terrorism and emboldening extremism.”
Geller said she wanted to put up the ad to rebut the anti-Israel ads she sees in the subway all the time. She argued that the First Amendment gives her the right to put up something that people find offensive. She said, “I’m running them because I can.” Burnett told Geller her ad sounds like a “narrative of hate.” Geller rebutted her by pointing to terrorist attacks and referring to them as “savagery.”
Burnett asked Geller why she would want to denigrate an entire faith with her ad. Geller countered that she did not, but did dispute the idea that there is anything in the Qu’ran about peace. Geller also pointed out that people are not being killed all over the world for Christianity and Judaism. When Burnett tried to call Geller out for using the word “savages,” Geller said that Burnett was misinterpreting what she said.
Burnett closed the interview by highlighting statements from the Anti-Defamation League that condemn Geller’s ad. Geller brushed aside the criticism, saying that no one who loves the Jewish community actually “takes them seriously.”
(RNS) Coptic Christian leaders in the United States distanced themselves from an anti-Muslim film that has sparked protests in more than 20 countries, and denounced the Copts who reportedly produced and promoted the film.
“We reject any allegation that the Coptic Orthodox community has contributed to the production of this film,” the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of America said in statement on Friday (Sept. 14). “Indeed, the producers of this film have taken these unwise and offensive actions independently and should be held responsible for their own actions.”
Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Morris Sadek – all Coptic Christians who live in the U.S. – have emerged as the producers and promoters of the anti-Muslim film. Called “Innocence of Muslims,” the crude film depicts Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a bumbling sexual pervert.
There are about 300,000 Copts in the United States, most of whom live in California and the Northeast. Copts in Egypt, where the faith was born, regularly face discrimination and violence at the hands of the Muslim majority, according to the State Department.
Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii said he “strongly rejects dragging the respectable Copts of the Diaspora” into the controversy.
American Muslim leaders and organizations rushed on Wednesday to condemn the attacks on American diplomatic outposts in Libya and Egypt, issuing news releases and giving interviews that seemed aimed as much at an American audience as at Muslims overseas.
Referring to the anti-Muslim video at the center of the attacks that is believed to be American-made, they said that no matter how offensive the film, violence was unjustified and even un-Islamic. They stressed repeatedly that the film did not represent Americans’ attitudes toward Islam and Muslims. And they said they were appalled that a film that they said was so clearly intended to incite hatred and anger toward the United States had succeeded in doing so.
Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America, an umbrella group of American mosques, denounced the violence at a news conference in Washington, appearing alongside a rabbi, a Baptist minister and the Libyan ambassador to the United States, Ali Aujali.
Representative Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota and the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, said in a statement that the video at the center of the attacks was “amateurish and stupid” and “deeply offensive” — not just to Muslims, but to “anyone who respects the faith of others.”
Salam al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, an advocacy group based in Los Angeles, said in a statement: “America is our home and is home to Islam, like so many other religions. Anyone who attempts to promote the misconception that Muslims are not integrated into America is fomenting more fear and destructive behavior.”
CAIRO — Stepping from the cloud of tear gas in front of the American Embassy here, Khaled Ali repeated the urgent question that he said justified last week’s violent protests at United States outposts around the Muslim world.
“We never insult any prophet — not Moses, not Jesus — so why can’t we demand that Muhammad be respected?” Mr. Ali, a 39-year-old textile worker said, holding up a handwritten sign in English that read “Shut Up America.” “Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!”
When the protests against an American-made online video mocking the Prophet Muhammad exploded in about 20 countries, the source of the rage was more than just religious sensitivity, political demagogy or resentment of Washington, protesters and their sympathizers here said. It was also a demand that many of them described with the word “freedom,” although in a context very different from the term’s use in the individualistic West: the right of a community, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish, to be free from grave insult to its identity and values.
In a context where insults to religion are crimes and the state has tightly controlled almost all media, many in Egypt, like other Arab countries, sometimes find it hard to understand that the American government feels limited by its free speech rules from silencing even the most noxious religious bigot.
Some commentators said they regretted that the violence here and around the region had overshadowed the underlying argument against the offensive video. “Our performance came out like that of a failed lawyer in a no-lose case,” Wael Kandil, an editor of the newspaper Sharouq, wrote in a column on Sunday. “We served our opponents something that made them drop the main issue and take us to the margins — this is what we accomplished with our bad performance.”
14 September 2012
In a statement, the UCIDE (Union of the Islamic Comunnities of Spain) condemned “the insults and provocations, made to Muslims, but also to the other religions” verified in the last days after the release of the film deemed as offensive to Islam. However at the same time, the organization condemn those who so “absolutely and unjustifiably” exceeded themselves in their answering back by “making even more serious attacks with loss of human lives.”