One thing that nearly all of us in the Liberal community share in common is an ability to care about the welfare of people whom we don't even know. We find a commonality between us that is rooted in compassion for others and a desire to see the world become a more peaceful place for everyone - even those whom we might often disagree with. We find cruelty repugnant and we place a high value on the respect for human rights.
In order to get a reality check on where you stand in relation to our liberal values, consider taking this short and challenging quiz. You might be very surprised to find out where you really stand when it comes to the protection of human rights.
Since the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center we have seen a spike in both rational and irrational fears of Islam. When those fears are rooted in ignorance, arguably this is “Islamophobia”. And a person who is consumed with such irrational fears is appropriately branded as “Islamophobic”.
But what about the rational and legitimate concerns that 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 the expression of such concerns something that should be dismissed and branded as yet more "Islamophobia"?
Let me just come right out by saying that the vast majority of the estimated 1.67 billion Muslims around the world are clearly not terrorists. 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 “Loon” - thus the title of their blog, LoonWatch.com.
It seems that Loonwatch is pretty much exclusively concerned with exposing the perceived enemies of Islam, including a compulsive and obsessive tit for tat over anything that Robert Spencer, of JihadWatch.com had to say. Unlike Pamela Geller or that nut in Florida who was preoccupied with burning the Koran, Spencer, whom I don't see eye to eye with either (I feel he might also be religiously motivated), 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. Something we cannot say for so many, many defenders of Islam.
Anyone can take a short stroll through YouTube and find numerous videos translated into English of Islamic clerics from many parts of the world calling for the death of all Jews, the Islamic takeover of the world, applauding the actions of Islamic terrorists and defending the practice of beating women, forcing young girls to marry grown men and promoting the most radical forms of Sharia (Islamic) Law. Surely Loonwatch.com has noticed this, but they have nothing to say on the subject - only criticism and attacks on anyone who dare suggest that within the Islamic world there might be room for improvement.
CAT STEVENS FALLS OFF THE PEACE TRAIN
Quran (48:29) - "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves"
In time I became very disappointed by the deafening silence on the part of Loonwatch.com when it came to speaking out against the seemingly constant acts of Islamic terrorism, women in Islamic countries being stoned to death as a punishment for being raped, female genital mutilation, the rise of forced Islamic law in Libya, Tunisia and the rise of Islamism in Egypt, the many abuses that are so rampant in so much of the Islamic world today. Loonwatch.com, in my opinion, has an obligation to do more than stand by silently as if to give their consent while only focusing on defending "the religion of peace".
After over a year of communication with Loonwatch.com in the making of "Not Welcome" I have come to the realization that this organization is fundamentally a radical Islamic front, covering up for terrorism, spreading distorted information about the reality of rapidly spreading Islamic fundamentalism - through lies of omission. To tell a half truth is to tell a lie and the lie that Loonwatch.com tells everyday is to cover up the atrocities within Islam and only focus on attacking its critics.
Quran (2:191-193) - "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]...
I trust that everyone who reads this can think for yourself, but my sense is that if you are affiliated with this site: Loonwatch.com you are perhaps unknowingly supporting a group with terrorist / Islamist sympathies. Think of those Germans who did not stand up against or speak out against Hitler. And note the distinction between being a German, which is of course perfectly fine, and through silence giving ones consent for the atrocities of the Nazi regime, which is quite another thing entirely. We see here a similar scenario more and more with highly vocal Muslim representatives who have much to say about being percecuted wrongly but nothing much to say about Jihad and the violence associated with fundamentalist Islam.
Please note that there is a difference between the belief system called Islam and a person calling themselves a Muslim. I have tolerance for Muslims as I would for any other human being. But Islam as a belief system is another matter.
Obviously I feel strongly that Muslims have the same rights as everyone else to practice their religion in peace. But when an organization goes beyond that, I will speak up. My sense is that my movie "Not Welcome" makes it abundantly clear that I do support religious freedom for all and loath Islamophobia (the irrational fear of Islam). But I will call out anyone I am in contact with if they also have "Islamist" or terrorist sympathies.
In summary, it is clear that Loonwatch.com is in fact something of a terrorist spin control network, lacking basic empathy for human beings who are being victimized daily by the human rights abuses of fundamentalist Islam.
To give some perspective, what if any one of us created a news source whose only purpose was to attack and expose those people who had criticized American foreign policy, for instance, but we were totally unwilling to talk about what violence the American government had done and was doing that is wrong and in our name? Kind of sounds like Fox "News" actually. That is essentially what you have with Loonwatch.com and its relationship to radical Islam. So why would they only defend Allah while never holding the many radical Muslims accountable? Because the Koran commands them to do so - and when you follow the Koran literally like that - even when to do so defies basic empathy for other human beings... well, isn't that what fundamentalism is?
Below is a short documentary I produced entitled "Not Welcome" wherein I defend the rights of peaceful Muslims to build a 53,000 square foot Mega Mosque in the middle of the Bible Belt, while holding accountable the hateful words and actions of the radical American Evangelical Movement:
I'm thinking about starting a church, "for profit" and issuing stocks, options, playing with derivatives, all the usual Wall Street stuff. As the stock prices surge, I will initiate a hostile takeover of the Vatican, which will be in financial distress and not eligible for a government bailout. Then sell off all it's assets, feed the poor and turn Vatican City into an amusement park, with rides and everything.
The spider massacre began in the kitchen and quickly spread throughout the house. I used Windex because it killed them on contact and made me feel that my cause was worthy, clean, righteous and germ-free. The campaign to rid my home of spiders was just from the very start. But did this make it any less evil? I thought about this for a moment but then considered the consequences of holding back. If we allow these spiders to live in the corners of our homes, soon they will be marrying our daughters and going to our schools!
If you consider yourself to be on any kind of spiritual path, you very likely have had a tendency to be too hard on yourself. You try not to think negative thoughts, to avoid judging others, to avoid "sin". One definition of the word "sin" is "separation from God". We want to avoid our dark side and become of "how we are supposed to be". This way of thinking occurs probably not as the result of religion, but religion has sprouted as the result of this way of thinking.
The way to bring about peace is by being peaceful. That said, one should not confuse nonviolence with nonresistance. The ruling power elite have been brainwashing us since before the beginning of recorded history. They "let us" have a moment of freedom to create more material prosperity for themselves, but now they are making moves to take that freedom back. Now they prefer to make money by playing with money at the Wall Street casino.
In the book, The Bhagavad Gita, two characters gaze down at a battlefield from the perspective of a mountaintop, just before the battle begins. One of the two characters, Arjuna, is a master archer. He finds himself struggling as he knows he has a duty to fulfill on the battlefield, but at the same time he recognizes that this battlefield, everything about it is sort of insane. As it turns out, the other character on this hill with him, his charioteer - Krishna - turns out to be God ( aka Arjuna's higher self) and a long dialogue ensues between them.
Up until fairly recently, I went through most of my life thinking about what I thought the world owed me and what I could get from it. Then a transformation began, one which is very much still playing out - evolving, and I experienced something of a shift in perspective. Without giving it much thought, my natural inclination has been to consider what I owe the world and what I can give it - as it has given me everything and always does. I have noticed that I don't have much time to entertain anxiety or depression while in that state.
I wonder if anyone on the Titanic thought of mentioning to the Captain that the boat looked like it was awfully close to hitting a massive glacier but decided that it would be socially awkward because everyone seemed to be having such a good time. I mean, who wants to be a buzz kill, right? That kind of news can really put a damper on an otherwise wonderful evening and maybe if one doesn't think about it the glacier will go away. Or one can think happy thoughts, think of all the things that are good, how the band is playing and people are having so much fun and the champagne is just so intoxicating.
And why embarrass the Captain with such news. After all, he's our Captain right or wrong, right?
TO THE TROOPS RETURNING FROM IRAQ: Welcome home. I'm sorry I cannot thank you for your service, but you were not over there fighting for my freedom. A million Iraqi civilians were killed. You were used as the tools of warfare to profit the privileged few at the expense of the restless many. I respect you as human beings and I certainly do not hate you by any means, but I do not, and simply cannot, respect your actions while brainwashed, pursuing a cause based entirely on fantasy, hype, lies - pawns in a rich man's game. Please get some help so that you can deal with what you have seen, what you have been made to endure and most importantly for what you have done.
I was adopted and raised by very abusive parents and spent some time as a child institutionalized. I am grateful that my biological mother did not have an abortion. I am grateful for every day, even the worst days of my life. It's a gift. The whole thing, all of it is a gift. My adoptive parents were the products of history and I forgave them long ago.