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I was unfamiliar with Eric Allen Bell until recently when he published an article on Daily Kos whose main thesis claimed that Loonwatch.com was a terrorist supporting site, "Loonwatch.com and Radical Islam".

I have been a follower of Loonwatch since first learning about it over two years ago. To me it provides a necessary correction to the over abundance of hate and bigotry directed at Muslims on the web, and it does so in the most entertaining, engaging and analytical manner that I have witnessed. So imagine my surprise when I read an article claiming Loonwatch was a front for radical Islam!

After reading the article I realized it was nothing but smears, and that loonwatch was being targeted by the same gutter sniping conspiracies that they have been exposing.

Bell begins his article by saying that,

The newly coined term Islamophobia describes an irrational fear of Islam.  But for LoonWatch.com any criticism of the Koran or of violent Jihad - even those criticisms that might have some legitimacy to them - even of radical Islam, are branded as Islamophobia and anyone who dares to raise questions about the nearly constant acts of Jihad going on increasingly around the world today is labeled a €œLoon.

What does Bell provide as way of evidence for the claim that Loonwatch opposes "any criticism of the Koran or of violent Jihad?" Does he provide quotes or statements from Loonwatch articles or writers? You know, facts?

The answer is a glaring and resounding, NO.

Instead, Eric relies on guesswork. According to him Loonwatch doesn't speak out against "Islamic Terrorism," that, to him, is enough to declare that it is "in fact a terrorist spin control network."

A pretty bold and probably libelous claim when measured next to the absence of facts Bell provides.

When one takes a look at the mission statement of Loonwatch, it becomes clear that their focus is on challenging bigotry against Muslims,

Loonwatch.com is a blogzine run by a motley group of hate-allergic bloggers to monitor and expose the web€™s plethora of anti-Muslim loons, wackos, and conspiracy theorists.

What's wrong with that? As many commenters pointed out to Bell there are "thousands" of sites tracking "terrorism" and "jihad." In fact there is a whole "Terrorism Industry" that is in existence feeding off of the fear of "Islamic Terrorism," to make sure that Americans have a new "green" menace to replace the old "red" menace. Prof. Charles Kurzman, who has actually done empirical evidence on this topic gives us some perspective on this exaggerated threat,

As it turns out, there just aren€™t that many Muslims determined to kill us. Backed by a veritable army of fact, figures, and anecdotes, Kurzman makes a compelling case. He calculates, for example, that global Islamist terrorists have succeeded in recruiting fewer than 1 in 15,000 Muslims over the past 25 years, and fewer than 1 in 100,000 since 2001. And according to a top counterterrorism official, Al Qaeda originally planned to hit a West Coast target, too, on 9/11 but lacked the manpower to do so.

Bell seems to have a schizophrenic personality, on the one hand he defends religious liberty (such as in the case of Murfreesboro Mosque) but on the other hand he agrees with many of the irrational attacks leveled at Islam and Muslims:

1.) He conflates Radical Islam and Islamic Fundamentalism with Islam. In the comment section he made clear that he believes "Islam IS Islamic Fundamentalism."

2.) He believes that"Islam is still in the dark ages" and that most Muslim countries are"barbaric" His evidence for this? Youtube videos and Wikipedia.

3.) He believes Muslims who are peaceful are so not because of "Islam" but in spite of Islam, as he says "Lets not confuse Muslims with Islam." That is similar to the statement of Robert Spencer that "The only good Muslim is a bad Muslim."

4.) He cherry picks verses, quotes them out of context, and when it is pointed out that the same could be done with other scriptures he resorts to a popular argument amongst Islamophobes; stating that while it may be true that other scriptures hold violent passages they "are rarely carried out" in contrast to Islam. There is nothing further from the truth as the website, WhatIfTheyWere Muslim.com? details quite vividly. All the crimes that are considered uniquely "Islamic" are still committed by Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc.

5.) He also casts SPLC designated hate group leader Robert Spencer in a positive light writing,

Spencer, whom I don't see eye to eye with either entirely, presents himself in a rather rational, sober and scholarly fashion and I might add that neither he nor the other "Loons" have bombs strapped to them - only words.

Either Bell is very ignorant or he is disingenuous. Robert Spencer is not a rational person. Someone who joins a group wanting to annihilate Anatolia, who denies the genocide of Bosnians, who thinks "Obama may be a Muslim," is neither a scholar or a rational individual.

Also where is Eric Allen Bell's outrage when polling shows that Americans and Israelis are more likely to support the killing of innocent civilians than Muslims in every Islamic nation:

Percentage of people who said it is sometimes justifiable to target and kill civilians:
Mormon-Americans 64%
Christian-Americans 58%
Jewish-Americans 52%
Israeli Jews 52%
Palestinians* 51%
No religion/Atheists/Agnostics (U.S.A.) 43%
Nigerians* 43%
Lebanese* 38%
Spanish Muslims 31%
Muslim-Americans 21%
German Muslims 17%
French Muslims 16%
British Muslims 16%
Egyptians* 15%
Indonesians* 13%
Jordanians* 12%
Pakistanis* 5%
Turks* 4%

Now, should we likewise, per the logic of Mr. Bell, be afraid of the scary Christian Americans, and make broad sweeping generalities about Christianity? Or Jewish Americans? Or Israeli Jews?

This is just a slither of what I found wrong with Eric Allen Bell's article. It was reliant on not only a highly dubious methodology of critique, sourced poorly, but also filled with Orientalist and prejudiced tropes that ironically were the same ones used by the anti-Mosque opponents Bell documented in Murfreesboro, TN.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Agree or disagree, you need to take his (9+ / 0-)

    name out of the title.

    Callout titles are against the rules.

    "TEABAGGER=Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights."

    by second gen on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 05:55:42 PM PST

  •  Well, ya know, let's not confuse Christians with (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devon Moore, MKSinSA, mapamp, poco

    Christianity.

    Many long-lasting religions have rather dark pasts and even dubious presents, quite simply because religion is always a handy tool to those who have no compunctions about wanting to acquire power, wealth, or spread hate.  Anything that provides a way of controlling the actions, thoughts, or economics of large numbers of people like religion does is always going to be a target for abuse by charlatans, and that's not even addressing the actual 'true believers' who want to actually hold to sections of various holy books that are hateful and divisive. (Leviticus, anyone?)

    Religion is indeed dangerous in the wrong hands, and really, that seems to be most hands.

    But chances are that 'Eric Allen Bell' is just a loon in need of watching ;)

    •  You are right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrugalGranny

      Bell seems to be a loon in need of watching. :)

    •  No, religion is just dangerous, period. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bette Kibble

      And if a "Loon" is just anyone who criticizes Islam at all in any capacity - a Loon I am.

      JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

      by EricAllenBell on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 07:03:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Christianity is not leaving its dark ages... (0+ / 0-)

      ... Whereas Islam seems to be returning to its dark ages.

      A Muslim who does not take the commands of the Koran literally and actually practice them in there everyday life makes up the majority of Muslims - and that Allah that is the case.

      But the theology of Islam is incredibly barbaric.

      Christianity is mostly just psychically barbaric - teaching children to believe in hell and taking away a person's ability to exercise critical thinking.

      Islam, when practiced according to the commandments of the Koran and Hadiths - you know, the kind we see in the headlines every week these days - is very barbaric.

      I would encourage anyone and everyone to read the Islamic scriptures first hand.  Don't take my word for it.

      JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

      by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:31:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  BAD TYPO "Christianity is NOW leaving it's dark... (0+ / 0-)

        ... ages, etc.

        JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

        by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:32:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  When was the first Islamic Dark ages Eric... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg

        ...that you seem to believe "Islam" is returning to?

        Your arguments are a lazy rehashing of the "new atheists," whose popularity you seem to be piggy backing off of.

        There is "barbarism" practiced in the name of all religious faiths today. There is also "barbarism" practiced in the name of non-religious ideologies such as  Marxism. However to imply that then most Islamic countries are barbaric is not only a leap, but a bigoted statement.

        The problem is not in the texts, it is in the minds reading the texts. For you to act like "your shit don't stink" just because you don't believe in religion is fallacious.

        "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" is America, just as it was over 40 years ago when MLK JR made that statement. So why the over emphasis on your part on the exaggerated threat of so-called "Islamic Terrorism."

        Also where are your facts that Loonwatch is a "terrorist spin network?" Unless you provide real evidence, i.e. quotes, statements, verifiable links from Loonwatch or Loonwatch writers than you've failed to demonstrate your point. Guess work is not a good substitute.

        •  I made this points clearly in my article (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bette Kibble

          Perhaps you might do your own research and find out what the penalty for apostasy is in Islam.

          JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

          by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:19:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hmm, is it eternal torment in Hell? (0+ / 0-)

            That's what apostates to Christianity get.  Infinite suffering.

            Or is it somehow worse than infinite suffering?

            •  Worse... because hell is fiction... (0+ / 0-)

              ... the penalty for apostasy in Islam (when taken literally as it is commanded) is death.

              JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

              by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:44:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Apostates to Christianity (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, JDsg

              used to be burned at the stake. Thomas Aquinas believed they should be killed, he wrote as much in his Summa. You need to do more research Bell instead of me educating you on this. There are still vigilante acts of apostates from Christianity being killed, just this past year in Egypt a convert from Coptic Christianity was killed for becoming Muslim.

              •  "Used to be" indeed... not so much for Islam... (0+ / 0-)

                ... What you are pointing out about Christian violence is accurate but it is also an aberration.

                You fail to see the larger picture about how violent Islam is in the present day by comparison.

                Islam is a bloodthirsty movement that is highly superstitious and anti-intelligence - deep intelligence that is - the kind which allows one to stray from the form and find out for oneself.

                JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

                by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 02:52:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You still haven't addressed today's xtian violence (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JDsg

                  the fact that there are vigilante Christians killing and targeting apostates today. Or the other facts that every act of violence committed in the name of faith has been carried out by all religions, not only Muslims.

                  www.whatiftheyweremuslim.com

                  You say it is "accurate" but also an "aberration." Do you see that you are not making any sense?

                  Your whole deck of cards that Islam is some unique violent movement today has been exposed as faulty. Any and all ideologies can be bloodthirsty, religious or non-religious.

                  I know this puts a hole in your crusade against all religion but that's what happens when your facts and args are weak.

                  •  I have addressed it... (0+ / 0-)

                    Here's an analogy you might be able (or willing) to understand.

                    Pot is a drug.  Alcohol is a drug.  Both can be dangerous.  One of those two drugs causes more automobile accidents, more health problems, more domestic violence, etc. than the other.

                    Can you wrap your head around this?

                    JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

                    by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:36:38 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There is empirical evidence (0+ / 0-)

                      supporting the fact that pot is less harmful than alcohol. Your analogy fails, as pot has not killed even "one" person. Where as Xtianity, etc. have killed many TODAY.

                      Where is your empirical evidence? You rely on Wiki and youtube clips, that's not evidence.

                      I cite evidence. Prof. Kurzman and OTHERS have proven that Islamic terrorism as a WHOLE is not a serious threat to the world, especially the West. You have a better chance of being killed by lightning than a terrorist.

                      I cite evidence showing that more non-Muslim Americans, all the way from Mormons to Atheists by far support the killing of innocent civilians in some situations than Muslims in every single country. The only exception being that atheist rank lower than Palestinians.

                      When we went to war and Don Rumsfeld was receiving memos with Biblical verses on them, was that a benign thing? An aberration as you say? Is over 1 Million fuckin' dead Iraqis an aberration? Who was cheerleading that? Evangelicals and some new atheists like Hitchens? Is that an aberration?

                      That's not human rights my friend, that's a complete fail of logic.

                      •  Like an inkblot - you are seeing what you want to (0+ / 0-)
                        There is empirical evidence supporting the fact that pot is less harmful than alcohol. Your analogy fails, as pot has not killed even "one" person. Where as Xtianity, etc. have killed many TODAY.

                        Um, you sort of missed the point there.  You see "pot" was supposed to represent Christianity while alcohol was supposed to have represented Islam.

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                        by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 04:01:46 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  The number one victims of Islamic terrorism... (0+ / 0-)

                        ... which is rampant in this world, are other Muslims.

                        JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

                        by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 04:03:02 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  I have (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angry marmot

            actually. I have read enough to know the complex and variant traditions and interpretations regarding this matter. Have you heard of Imam Sarakhsi, or Sufyan Thawri? Early Muslim jurists on this?

            What do you rely on to get your info. on this topic? And why are you avoiding my direct questions?

    •  This is the crux... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JDsg, poco, Devon Moore
      Many long-lasting religions have rather dark pasts and even dubious presents

      You've indicated with this the awareness that religions generally (and I'm hoping I'm not putting words in your mouth by inferring Islam specifically, in this context) has a past, a historical trajectory, a present, and a future. EAB and others assert through statements like "Islam is barbaric" and "Islam is in the Dark Ages" that the only Islam is that of the seventh century CE and that Islam and modernity are fundamentally incompatible. Such an over-determined ahistorical understanding of Islamic religion, law and societies (yes, plural) is simply wrong, and is where EAB and those involved in the industry of Islamophobia betray their biases.

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 06:00:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Listen to second gen (7+ / 0-)

    Taking issue with the diarist is fine.  Putting his name in the diary title is not and it's a bannable offense. You will also find that most people will not comment on the diary contents until that issue is resolved.  

    I'll give you time to change it.  After that, I'll drop a donut if it's still there.

     

  •  Your argument works for me. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, poco, Devon Moore

    Gotta say, the guy creeps me out a bit.


    Most people, when knocked over by the truth, have a tendency to pick themselves up, brush themselves off...and then hurry away like nothing had ever happened.

    by Pluto on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 06:56:21 PM PST

  •  Writing a Diary specifically to criticise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrugalGranny, Bette Kibble

    another User crosses the line, imo.

    EAB is a minor and infrequent Diarist. He is not a public figure and the place to criticise his Diaries is in the comment thread of his Diaries.

    It is a very dangerous path to go down, Diarying against other Users. I can see no point in doing it, and it will end in tears.

    ymmv

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 06:59:15 PM PST

  •  "Not Welcome Documentary" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bette Kibble

    http://www.NotWelcomeDocumentary.com

    This is a complex subject and the diarist here is over-simplified my views as well as the subject matter all together.

    Watch the movie at the link above if you so desire, then be sure to click on the menu item "Other Points of View" on that same site.

    Could be interesting ;)

    JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

    by EricAllenBell on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 07:21:07 PM PST

  •  Religion kills critical thinking promotes violence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def, Bette Kibble
    Now, should we likewise, per the logic of Mr. Bell, be afraid of the scary Christian Americans, and make broad sweeping generalities about Christianity? Or Jewish Americans? Or Israeli Jews?

    Afraid, perhaps not.  Very, very concerned.  Yes!

    JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

    by EricAllenBell on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 07:35:14 PM PST

  •  what???? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, angry marmot
    The newly coined term 'Islamophobia' describes an irrational fear of Islam.

    What makes it 'newly coined'? It's been around for years.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 09:12:33 PM PST

    •  Islam has been around 1,400 years... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bette Kibble, G2geek

      ... Since 9/11 there has been a spike in both rational and irrational fears of Islam.

      When those fears are rooted in ignorance, arguably this is Islamophobia.

      But what about the rational and legitimate concerns people, such as myself, voice about the theology of Islam and some of the ways it is practiced, in certain parts of the world, which violate human rights?  Is that also "Islamophobia"?  

      According to Loonwatch there is no distinction.  They unconditionally attack any criticism of Islam but they refuse to criticize the many, many Islamic clerics and terrorists who are hurting people in the name of Islam.

      JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

      by EricAllenBell on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 09:28:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where is your evidence.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg

        ...that they make no distinction between terror, violence in the name of Islam and Islamophobia? Your guesswork is not enough, that is not a valid standard by which to judge a site.

        I have been following the site for years and can easily find links that condemn terror and violence perpetrated in the name of Islam. The question is why can't you? It's easy, google it Bell.

        •  Your entire perspective is organized around not... (0+ / 0-)

          ... seeing any of this.

          You will fight seeing what is so obvious with everything you've got.

          JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

          by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 02:54:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So your answer is not to answer (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angry marmot, JDsg

            That's unbelievably faulty. Surely, if they are a "terrorist spin network" you can prove this with facts. Sadly you cannot. I can easily prove that Fox News is a right-wing partisan site. I can do this using their own words, why can't you do the same with Loonwatch. Again, guesswork and innuendo are not sufficient.

            •  I'm glad you brought up Fox "News" (0+ / 0-)

              Because without that evil organization, I don't know that the war mongers in America would have been able to manufacture enough consent to bomb Iraq.  It is shameful.  Fox "News" has blood on their hands.  Their lies of omission are fundamentally not much different from those of Loonwatch.com

              JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

              by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:39:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Any missionary religion empowers stupidity. (4+ / 0-)

    Just let it all go, and leave it where it belongs - in history books and museums.

    A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. --The First Law of Mentat

    by Troubadour on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 11:25:57 PM PST

  •  QUESTION FOR THE DIARIST: (0+ / 0-)

    Specifically, what have I said that is "right wing"?

    In fact everything I wrote was consistent with the promotion of human rights.  Is that a left or right wing thing?

    Please, I am very interested to know how exactly my concerns about branding all criticisms of Islam as being "Islamophobic" is "Classic Right Wing".

    This should be interesting.

    - Eric

    JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

    by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 02:02:20 AM PST

    •  Refer to article (0+ / 0-)

      It's pretty easy to glean from there. And haven't you said you oppose abortion? That is pretty right-wing. In regards to Islam, your classic right-wing propaganda is enumerated above and pretty self-evident.

      •  I am neither right wing nor left wing.. (0+ / 0-)

        ... I can think for myself.

        As it turns out I tend to be very liberal on social issues with the exception of the right to kill the unborn.

        I find the Republican party to be repugnant.  

        I'd like to see a world where we can evolve far enough in our consciousness such that the need for governments becomes less and less until one day we can govern ourselves.  Is that a right wing position?

        I follow my heart and exercise critical thinking.  I don't do the right vs. left thing as they are both clearly two sides of the same coin.

        JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

        by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 02:57:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you listening to your self-righteous (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JDsg, angry marmot

          narcissistic babble? It is entirely incoherent. By the way in the article I never said you were "right-wing." I said you use classic "right-wing propaganda" points, especially regarding Islam. The idea that "Islam is barbaric," inherently "misogynistic," uniquely "violent" in comparison to other religions and ideologies is classic right-wing.

          Every human can think for himself. But  you seem to have the totalitarian view that a human being cannot decide through experience, or logic, or rationality to arrive to the conclusion that there is a god, or that there is a way of life for them that involves faith.

          You are bigoted, that much is clear from your attitude towards Muslim countries and peoples, a direct contradiction to your supposed stand for the Murfreesboro mosque. Those people are traditional Muslims, have you spoken to them about your views about Islam, Muslim countries, theology, etc.?

          You didn't do them any fucking favors by documenting their story, remember that. That was a clear issue, a religious freedom issue, something that is enshrined in our constitution.

          If anything you were extremely lucky that you were able to document the story of a community that was struggling for a right that every American takes for granted.

          •  Documentary was not about standing up for Muslims (0+ / 0-)

            It was about religious freedom and the dangers of the radical American Evangelical movement.

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            by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:41:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  If I wrote babble, why are you so responsive to it (0+ / 0-)
            The idea that "Islam is barbaric," inherently "misogynistic," uniquely "violent" in comparison to other religions and ideologies is classic right-wing.

            Agreed many people in the right wing feel that way.  Not every one in the right wing feels that way - and not everyone who feels that way is right wing.

            How hard is this to understand?

            JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

            by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:43:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I've been saying quite the same things... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, JDsg, poco

    in a number of EAB's diaries when they touch upon Islam. His perspective--what he presumes to "know'--is deeply Orientalist and ridden with hypocrisies. There is little distance between his cartoonish condemnations of Islam and those from Geller, Spencer, Yerushalmi et alii. All of that said, you've probably given EAB more attention with this response than his original diary merited. Outside of his fan-club, I don't see much influence there...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 05:13:13 AM PST

  •  Although I made a few comments... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco

    ...on the original diary, I personally wouldn't have gone to the bother of writing a diary against the original.  That diary is small potatoes, written by a typical Islamophobe, of which EAB is one of several at Daily Kos.  He has some legitimate criticisms of Muslim society, which many Muslims would agree with. In other areas, such as his understanding of Islam and its theology, he's terribly shallow.  Most Muslims would not waste their time trying to rebut his positions because of the waste of time in dealing with such ignorance.  That's probably the best approach to take from here on out, insha'allah.

    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

    by JDsg on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 06:44:57 AM PST

    •  The irrational fear of Islam = Islamophobia (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bette Kibble

      Let us not confuse that with a ration concern, lest be fall victim to overreacting, name-calling and (as is the case in today's article about me in Loonwatch.com) demanding censorship.

      JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

      by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:48:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your fears are NOT RATIONAL (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg

        Do you see that? Calling most Muslim countries barbaric is not rational? Even Hitchens wouldn't say something like that Bell. Saying Spencer is a "rational scholar" is not rational. Believing that "Islamic terror" is more of a threat than it is, is not rational.

        •  I don't know if Spencer IS ration... (0+ / 0-)

          I stated that he presents himself that way and more importantly if you make him mad he's not going to blow himself up or put a fatwa on you - which is a very real risk for someone in my position who dares to suggest in a public forum that within Islam there might be room for improvement.

          I don't know that most Islamic countries are barbaric.  Islamic theocracy certainly is.

          Finally, if I feared Islam I would not have written what I wrote.   So to slap the label of "Islamophobe" onto me - meaning a person with an irrational fear of Islam - does not fit and you know it does not fit.

          Your entire response to my article is rooted in a kind of hysteria.

          JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

          by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:00:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You still don't get it... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JDsg, angry marmot

            Exactly, you said he presents himself in that way. A person who has said what I enumerated above is not even "presenting" himself rationally. Yes, or no? What is your definition of rationality?

            What is Islamic theocracy? Is there a set model for this? Are Iran and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia the same? Is Turkey to you an Islamic theocracy? How many Islamic theocracies in the world are there? Remember you are the one that said most Muslim countries are barbaric. Up to you to defend that assertion.

            Someone in your position? Who the hell are you anyway? Who has put a fatwa on you? Have you reported any death threats to the FBI? Sounds like you are full of BS.

            I know many braver individuals than you, who will condemn true terrorism, i.e. state terrorism, and are not overly focused on little shithead AlQaeda twerps whose threat is miniscule. Atheists who have left Islam like As'ad Abu Khalil are heroes to many PRACTICING MUSLIMS because they know Islam, they know Muslim societies WAY BETTER THAN YOU EVER COULD, and because they don't follow Orientalist and essentialist arguments, as you do, whether intentionally or not. They have never been threatened with a fatwa, in fact they live and speak freely in the Muslim world!

            •  Get a hold of yourself (0+ / 0-)
              What is Islamic theocracy? Is there a set model for this? Are Iran and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia the same? Is Turkey to you an Islamic theocracy? How many Islamic theocracies in the world are there?

              TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS:

              An Islamic theocracy is a state run by Islamic Law.  

              I don't believe there is an agreed upon set model for this.

              Iran is Shia and Saudi Arabia is Wahabi Sunni.  They do not see eye to eye on many things, and yet both countries punish women for being raped, execute homosexuals, teach Jew hating institutionally in their schools, and many other acts of violence and barbarism.

              My sense with regard to Afghanistan is that they will likely return to one of the most brutal Islamic theocracies and that is the Taliban.  Are you going to defend the Taliban now?

              Turkey is clearly an Islamic country, but arguably not an Islamic theocracy.  I say "arguably" because they do pay for mosques and thus if a non-Muslim were a citizen of Turkey, through taxation they would be forced to fund the teaching of Islam against their will.

              I don't know how many Islamic theocracies there are, but  the number is sure to rise given that Tunisia and Libya have now instituted Islamic Law and Egypt appears to be heading in that same direction.

              JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

              by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:50:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Eric Allen Bell: For Clarity... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bette Kibble

    For clarity, I do not support any hate groups.

    I am not "right wing".

    I do not follow Robert Spencer.

    I do not confuse a Muslim with Islam.  One is a person and the other is a belief system.

    I do not believe in the theory of "creeping sharia" and strongly feel that those who fear Islamic Law taking over in America are paranoid and misinformed.

    I do believe that Islam is a violent and intolerant religion that takes a point of view towards women which is not consistent with modern views regarding human rights.

    I feel it is self evident that fundamentalist Islam is on the rise in the world and this is cause for concern for everyone.  The number one target for Islamic fundamentalists after all are other Muslims.

    I do not hate or dislike Muslims.  

    I feel it is incumbent upon all reasonable and moderate nonviolent Muslims to have the courage and conviction to speak out publicly against the many, many human rights abuses taking place in the world every day in the name of Islam.  As an American I have stood up and stuck my neck out big time in protest against the United States invasions of foreign lands and against the killing of civilians, including yes Muslim civilians.

    In summary, my views all stem from a concern about human rights - whether in my documentary "Not Welcome" (http://www.NotWelcomeDocumentary.com) or in my criticisms of Islam and the other religions of this world.

    Peace,

    Eric Allen Bell

    JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

    by EricAllenBell on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 06:04:51 PM PST

    •  angry marmot: For Clarity... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JDsg

      there is a wide distance between 1) your long list of positive claims here regarding your rationality, knowledge and lack of bias and 2) the long list of evidence from your initial diary, comments there and comments here in which you consistently advance false and malicious long-standing memes regarding Islam reminiscent of the worst sorts of Islamophobic rhetoric. Your behavior here is a particularly unappealing combination of ignorance, self-delusion and narcissism.

      You might be better off skipping "Islam" as a topic and sticking with the new-agey business...

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 05:01:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree with some of Devon's points, but (0+ / 0-)

    Devon,

    I agree with you that Eric's allegations about Loonwatch being a terrorist spin control network are not substantiated by what he's presented thus far. However, you call the allegations libelous. If that were the case, Loonwatch could sue him. I doubt that they would get very far due to the vagueness and openness to interpretation of the claims.

    I agree with you that a site can focus on anti-Muslim bigotry without necessarily addressing other topics that are also worthy. That said, I think Loonwatch needs to clarify this, or put up responses within a FAQ or something to deal with the sorts of claims people might make about Islamist sympathies.

    In the interest of full disclosure, are you involved with the Loonwatch site?

    Re Eric's claim that "any criticism of the Koran or of violent Jihad" is considered Islamophobia or is opposed by Loonwatch: I agree with Eric's assessment on that point. There may be a few exceptions I've missed, but since about fall 2009, since I've followed the site, that seems to be a consistent policy, i.e., criticizing Islam per se is something they oppose.

    You wrote:

    "Bell seems to have a schizophrenic personality,"

    It's unfortunate that you would use such an analogy in an article purportedly opposing bigotry.

    You wrote:

    "4.) He cherry picks verses, quotes them out of context, and when it is pointed out that the same could be done with other scriptures he resorts to a popular argument amongst Islamophobes;"

    1. Sometimes context can't save a verse, such as 4:34. When is it ever okay for a man to beat a wife from whom he "fears disobedience"? Or when is it okay to whip someone with 100 stripes "without mercy" for fornication (24:2)? And the fact that we can also cite the punishment of stoning to death for adultery (from the Bible) doesn't help. These are bad verses in whatever text prescribes them. Islam picked up from Judaism and Christianity. There's no legitimate way out of admitting that these policies need to be rejected, no excuses.

    2. I've read the context of the verses of fighting that he cited. On average, I find context (from the Sira and the Hadiths) doesn't make such verses look morally better.

    You write:

    "Either Bell is very ignorant or he is disingenuous. Robert Spencer is not a rational person. Someone who joins a group wanting to annihilate Anatolia, who denies the genocide of Bosnians, who thinks "Obama may be a Muslim," is neither a scholar or a rational individual."

    The first two allegations against Spencer which you relay here don't hold up according to Spencer's responses. As for the third, I agree with you that the Obama-is-secretly-a-Muslim stuff is unsubstantiated nonsense. However, it seemed Spencer was only playfully entertaining the possibility that Obama is a Muslim, in the context of mentioning Obama's purportedly pro-Islam policies (in fact, in a more serious context, Spencer had previously denied explicitly that Obama was a Muslim). You can probably take Spencer to task for entertaining this unlikely possibility, when there may be so many among his followers prone to take that statement as supporting their suspicions about Obama, but you can't claim he believes it.

    While I disagree with Spencer on a number of issues, I would certainly not say he, as a person generally, is not rational. I don't know him, but his writing doesn't suggest irrationality--except maybe when he is responding in kind to insults.

    Regarding the poll figures you cite, there are important problems with the presentation in Danios' article which you repeat here by pasting them without due analysis and consideration. Danios has mixed up different questions and different measurements, and summarized them all in the one list as if they are measuring the same thing. They aren't. It is a misuse of the table format. There are figures for support for "suicide bombing in defense of Islam" mixed in with other measures, such as support for military targeting of civilians in some circumstances (War? Or where human shields are used deliberately? In WWII? What context?). Indeed, just taking the figures for Muslims he presents gives me an (unweighted) average of about 21 or 22% support. The much higher figures for Christians and Jews and non-religious are based on a different measure (military targeting of civilians in some circumstances). But when you take the measure for the question about support for the small groups/individual who target civilians, which is more analogous to the suicide bomber scenario, the average is about 23%, that is, not much of a difference overall when comparing the averages. American Muslims as I recall were still much lower on that measure. It does appear that Muslims worldwide are at least somewhat less likely to support this kind of small group/individual attacking of civilians, but it is not nearly as big a difference as Danios misleadingly suggested by selectively mixing and mismatching the numbers. Even so, the "small groups/individual" item differs critically from the suicide bombers item, since many Muslim reject suicide as contrary to Islam. It's all a very problematic mix. Anyways, this is just a quick rough look at a complex mix of reported data, and it appears that Danios' presentation can't be taken at face value. These issues would have to be properly sorted out.

    There are also other issues to take into account in terms of trying to square these results with other data that show that there is high support among Muslims for groups like Hezbollah (among Shia) and plenty of support for Hamas, both of which target civilians using suicide bombing and both of which were elected. Even in 2006, bin Laden was still pretty popular among Sunnis, and as we know he was big on targeting civilians. All these groups use or have used human shields too.

    Are apostates, blasphemers, adulterers, homosexuals considered "civilians"? You might get different results for Muslims versus these other groups on questions about killing people in any of those "sin" categories.

  •  Your stats on killing civilians are rubbish (0+ / 0-)

    I see you've fallen for the LoonWatch special or simply don't care for accuracy in your article - why let objectivity get in the way of a good point you're trying to make?

    Danios, the author of the rag you hyperlinked, took two separate polls asking DIFFERENT questions of Americans and Muslims in the Muslim world and used the results from the respondents of different poll questions to claim Americans are more likely to support violence against civilians than Muslims in the Muslim world are.

    Muslims polled in the Muslim world were asked if suicide bombing civilians in the name of Islam was justified whereas, unsurprisingly, American Christians were not asked if they support suicide bombings in the Christianity - or any violence at all in the name of Christianity or any mention of suicide bombing in their question.

    There is nothing further from the truth as the website, WhatIfTheyWere Muslim.com? details quite vividly.

    Really?  How many acts of violence - bombings, unruly mobs in the hundreds or thousands - do we see carried out by Christians on a daily basis?

    2.) He believes that"Islam is still in the dark ages" and that most Muslim countries are"barbaric" His evidence for this? Youtube videos and Wikipedia.

    Youtube videos of popular Muslim clerics discussing wife beating or Jew hatred are good illustrations of how prone the Muslim world is to extremism and backward mentality.

    But Eric Allen Bell could have always cited polls from the Muslim world showing vast majorities and strong pluralities supporting stonings and executing apostates and blasphemers.

    Or, hey, perhaps just look at the theocratic systems of law in the Muslim world today.

    Just go to Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, Maldives, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Northern Nigeria, Zanzibar, Afghanistan, Aceh to prove to everyone else how far the Muslim world has advanced from the middle ages.

  •  Loonwatch.com is a Terrorist Spin Control Network (0+ / 0-)

    JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK at - www.Facebook.com/EricAllenBell

    by EricAllenBell on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:15:11 PM PST

  •  I think what we have learned is Spencer is Eric's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Winters

    ...new fan! Good company you are keeping Eric. LOL.

  •  Bell is regurgitating Dominionist, Zionist... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devon Moore, JDsg

    ...hate speech. Sounds exactly like the warped rationale of the Horowitz/Spencer/Geller/ neocon collective. Like the aforementioned, EAB is trying to gain notoriety by sewing the seeds of hatred and fear. He should be banned from DailyKos

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