Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Honest of a Cross-Section Is "All-American Muslim?"

Lowe's has now decided that they would pull their advertising from the show "All-American Muslim" on The Learning Channel. The Florida Family Association asked that sponsors pull their ads for the show. Why did Lowe's comply with the request, you ask? A Lowe's representative gave this reason:

The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.

By making this statement, Michelle Goldberg says in The Daily Beast, it proves that Lowe's "agrees with the idea that Muslims shouldn't be depicted as anything other than terrorists." Now, most of her readers at this point are crying "Harumph!" and have set firmly in place the idea that Lowe's is a racist and hatemongering company. Such is the power of fanatacism.

Other readers, however, might be left to wonder how she is able to write so well when she clearly cannot read. Lowe's does not take issue with the fact that Muslims are portrayed as "ordinary folks." They state quite clearly that they disagree with the fact that the show profiles only those Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding more devout Muslims. A minor point, I guess, but Lowe's neither denied the existence of ordinary Muslims, nor did they say that the show should not include them. But hey, when your agenda is to stir the pot, why get hung up on truth?

Americans have reason to take issue with "All-American Muslim," and it's not because it portrays everyday, peaceful Muslims. As Robert Spencer clarifies:

In reality, All-American-Muslim purports to be fighting "Islamophobia." That is a claim that the show makes about itself in the beginning of the very first episode. Yet it then goes on to depict Muslims who by their own account aren't observant, and so not reading the texts and teachings that Islamic jihadists use to justify violence -- and so they're not the kind of people who would have given rise to any suspicion of Muslims in the first place. If All-American Muslim had said it was fighting "Islamophobia" and then shown pious, devout Muslims teaching other Muslims that the interpretation of Islam of al-Qaeda and other jihadists was all wrong, we might have had something useful. If they'd shown Muslims fighting against terror, it might have been inspiring.

And if they'd simply have left "Islamophobia" out of it and shown people from a Muslim background living their lives, it might have been an enjoyable show without pretending to deal with larger political and societal issues.

Of course, I disagree with Mr. Spencer that "it might have been an enjoyable show" without the underlying agenda to "fight Islamophobia." "Normal" people are not on reality television, because "normal" people are not fun to watch. Reality stars are crab-fisherman, alligator wranglers, epically dysfunctional housewives, and Snookis.

We all know that some Muslims are "ordinary folks." But they're not any more fun to watch that "ordinary" Christians or Jews. The producers of the show believe it will be watched by people ignorant, yet curious about Islam. The show seeks to give these viewers an incredibly biased and whitewashed impression by showing practioners of Islam that do not necessarily reflect the lifestyle and beliefs of a large number of American Muslims. And that's precisely why people take issue with the show- it dishonestly presents these "ordinary" Muslims as an honest cross-section of American Muslims.

And not only is the show not a an honest cross-section of American Muslims, it's not even an honest cross-section of Muslims in Michigan.

Let's try looking at this study, conducted by The Institute for Policy and Social Understanding, an Islamic advocacy group. In it, you will find an interesting trend. 81% of Muslims in Detroit, Michigan, are in favor of the application of Sharia law in Muslim lands. Yes- 81%.

Now, what does this tell you? Well, it shows that a lot of Muslims think Sharia law is a good thing. Now I will not discount the fact that there are a lot of Muslims, like those in this show, that are are less fundamentally observant of Islamic doctrine and probably don't know what the hell Sharia law is all about. But I guarantee you, that a lot of them are not only observant but devout, go to mosque regularly, and know what Sharia is all about and believe in Islamic hegemony. And Sharia is anything but "All-American."

All we're asking is that if you are going to claim to be showing a holistic picture of Muslims in America, be honest. If you really want people to "learn," do not dishonestly whitewash truth with fiction just to advance a PC agenda.

William Sullivan

UPDATE: Not all the characters depicted in "All-American Muslim" are everday, peaceful Muslims.  Even in The Learning Channel's attempt to whitewash the truth, some of it seeps out. Husham Alhusayni is depicted prevalently as the religious backbone of the families.  The problem?  He openly supports terrorism and the terrorist organization of Hezbollah.  No threat there, though, right?  Read more, written by former Palestinian terrorist Walid Shoebat and Ben Barrack, here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

For the Heroes of Oahu, the Trumpets Will Not Fade

"Their tenacity helped define the Greatest Generation and their valor fortified all who served during World War II. As a nation, we look to December 7, 1941, to draw strength from the example set by these patriots and to honor all who have sacrificed for our freedoms."

These are the words of President Barack Obama, commemorating and honoring the heroes of that fateful day that saw the beginning of a conflict against the most ardent and determined enemy America has ever faced: the empire of Japan.

Today, we look back in reverence at the sacrifice that, once made in moments of unnatural bravery, has endured for the generations that followed, granting Americans life's most precious gift- freedom.  We bear witness to these final years where the remaining survivors of the greatest conflict the world has ever known can be personally thanked for their sacrifice.  My grandfather, William Jackson Sullivan, a hero of the European theatre in WWII and a man after whom I am named, left this world peacefully this year, serving as a reminder of the great honor we have had in knowing such valiant men who risked all to ensure that others could be free.  Such men deserve our undying reverence.

And on this day, in speaking to a group of surviving veterans of the attack on Dec. 7th, 1941, Barack Obama's words (though I don't often agree with him) are entirely appropriate.

William Jackson Sullivan II

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Mystery of Rick Perry and Jihad

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller (who could be called Islamophobes or anti-jihadists, depending on your persepective) have been very critical of Rick Perry's association with the Aga Khan Foundation, which "represents Ismaili Muslims, who follow a moderate, peaceful interpretation of Islam." Rick Perry had made a deal with the Aga Khan to "help Texas teachers create classroom lesson plans about Islam." Online conservative magazine American Thinker, where I often contribute, has been host to a series of arguments surrounding this issue. First, Pamela Geller wrote an indictment of Perry for his associations. Then, Aymenn Jawadd al-Tamimi responded with an article titled "Smearing Perry on Jihad."  Geller responded in kind with an article titled, "Smearing Geller on Perry."  The exchange was rather interesting, but perhaps even more notable is the chord struck with readers, as the subject opened a rift between the magazine's conservative commenters: some found it a divisive distraction by a jihad-junkie, while others found it to be a relevant topic of conversation.

I was among the latter.

Then, Robert Spencer authored his own piece indicting not only Perry's associations with men like Grover Norquist, but particularly challenged blogger David Stein in his piece titled "Rick Perry's Jihad Problem."   Spencer asserted that David Stein's blog is obscure and that he is spreading falsehoods.  Stein retorts this morning with a scathing attack against Spencer titled "Rick Perry and Sharia, and Robert Spencer," touting his credentials and again defending Perry's actions as innocent and not tantamount to a subversive effort to introduce Sharia to Texas schools.

It would appear that Stein was misrepresented, as he appears to have more credibility than Spencer gives him. And I could not follow into a rabbit hole where Rick Perry is willfully enabling any "stealth jihad" efforts.  But there is a question that I would ask the readers of Political Palaver to consider, however.

From the article:

“In 2008, Perry inked a deal with the Aga Khan Foundation to create the Muslim Histories and Culture Project (MHCP), the goal of which was to help Texas teachers create classroom lesson plans about Islam.”

Is this so incredibly innocent, as Stein suggests? Is this not a cause for alarm? Imagine the outcry if there was to be a detailed lesson plan built on the premise of educating children of the tenets of Christianity. “Separation of church and state!” they’d cry. Yet when educating our youth about misunderstood Islam, why is this all okay? Stein argues that it is voluntary… and from the educators’ perspective, sure, maybe it is. But for parents and children, it is not at all voluntary. I remember quite a ruckus being raised because a Sugarland, TX school had thought it prudent to hold an “Islam 101” mandatory seminar to educate all its students about Islam. Of course, it would be the PC approved version of Islam- no misogynistic overtones, no torturous penalties for infidelity, no divine call to jihad, etc.

I still take issue with this, and the fact that Perry has helped to enable it, as all Americans should. Providing our children with whitewashed PC history is not education- it’s indoctrination. Islam should be discussed as Christianity is discussed in classrooms: A guy named Jesus of Nazareth lived, was crucified by the Romans, and after His followers suffered hundreds of years of political persecution, the religion came to be a mainstay in the historical landscape. Islam should be taught appropriately- Muhammad lived, raised armies to conquer Arabia, and within 100 years his followers spread the faith by the sword- conquering, subjugating, and/or converting other cultures, making it a mainstay in the historical landscape.

So sure, let's talk about how Christianity helped shape the Inquisition, or Manifest Destiny that negatively impacted Native Americans.  But if we are to be honest in educating our children, shouldn’t we be discussing, at the very least, how Islam helps to shape modern jihad, rather than lying to them by denying the association?

William Sullivan

**Authors' note:  I expressed this opinion more succinctly on the website.  If offered a rebuttal, I will provide updates.

Friday, December 2, 2011

If At First You Dont Agree, Eliminate The Opposition

David Hillis, a professor of biology at the University of Texas, was recently going through the list of charities that are approved for state employee donations when one group evidently separated itself from all the rest. This Dallas-based nonprofit group, according to the Austin American-Statesman, is the Institute for Creation Research.  According to it's site, the Institute for Creation Research believes "Science strongly supports the Bible’s authority and accuracy” and charitable donations fund research into the subject.  Upon learning of this outrage, Hillis garnered the support of many of his fellow University of Texas intellectual elite and demanded that the charity be removed from the list when the oversight committee, known as the State Policy Committee, meets this Friday.

In a quote given to The Statesman, Hillis states, "The Institute for Creation Research is an anti-science organization.  They work to undermine the mission of the university and of science in general, and especially the science that is the very basis for health and human services. How could such an organization possibly be listed as a charitable organization to be supported by state employees?"

Now if the donations made to the institute were mandatory withdrawls from the University of Texas' employee's paychecks, Hillis might just have a point.  However this is far from the case.  The State Employee Charitable Campaign is a system in which all state employees have the option of donating to 1524 different charities of their choosing, if they choose to donate at all.  The campaign simplifies donating by allowing the option of drafting the donations directly from the employees pay.  Participation is not mandatory, and participants can pick and choose which charities on the list they wish to donate to.

So when Hillis claims that the Institute for Creation might try to undermine the university (specifically his department), he disregards the possible wishes of the other full-time state employees in every line of work, which number more than 284,000.  Donating to the institute is merely an option, but it is an option that opposes Hillis' life work and this is unacceptable.  

His technical argument is that the charity in no way promotes health and human services, but as the website reports the list is filled with charities in which the health and human services angle is shaky at best.  Charities include PETA, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Herbal Medicine Institute, Vegan Outreach and according to the website even "something called Population Connection, working to stabilize population growth to “achieve a sustainable balance of people”.  Evidently Hillis has no opposition to any of these groups or how they promote health and human services. 

It all boils down to Hillis wanting to restrict the choice of over 284,000 people over an opposing theory which he deems to be garbage. Because, after all, any person of higher learning knows that professors, such as himself, have explained every aspect of the creation of life and man without missing a beat.  Henceforth, any research into opposing views is completely unnecessary and Hillis is just saving poor uneducated souls from donating their money as they see fit.  Evidently in all of his research, he has discovered that the human brain has not evolved enough to make it's own decisions.  

This is not, and should not be an argument for or against evolution or creationism, as it should not be about how anyone views a specific charities' world views.  It is about personal choice and people like Hillis who would restrict a person's abilities to give their money to any charitable organization that they deem worthy.

Calvin Parker

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adam Carolla on the Politics of Envy and the Shame-Driven Angst of the Occupiers

The problem reasonable Americans have had in addressing the Occupy Wall Street crowd has stemmed from our propensity to be just that: reasonable. How do you have a rational conversation with someone who is decrying the evils of capitalism while copiously taking in its fruits in the form of iPhones and double-tall Starbucks lattes? What do you say to a a girl that wonders why her $96K degree in Hispanic transgender gay and lesbian studies didn't land her a meaningful job? Would it be possible to explain how a free market works when a person understands so little about money that he feels entitled to as much as he demands for having done nothing? And is there any possible hope of reasoning with a person whose idea of meaningful expression is publically defecating on a police car or a flag?

You can't reason with them. You just sit back and thank God that only a small demographic shares their disease. And you hope they go away. And when they don't, you're left to scratch your head at why the media chooses to put 100 agitators claiming "99%" status in the spotlight. You sit in awe as certain politicians lend such a farcical movement support.

But now it's clear that we can't reason with them, and we can't just ignore them.  Civility goes nowhere when you're dealing with the uncivil. These Occupiers have the worldly understanding of children, and their methods are often sub-human.  And they should be spoken to as such.

Adam Carolla does just that in the clip below.  Be forewarned- it is chock-full of foul language, politically incorrect assessments, and all the other things you've been thinking for years about our coddling, "everyone gets a trophy for trying" society that has placed a premium on mediocrity- while discouraging and demonizing exceptionalism.

William Sullivan