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Tag Archives: Muslims

White House Concealing Names of Muslims Who Met with Obama

A day after the event, the White House is still refusing to release the names of Muslim leaders who met with President Obama at the White to discuss a variety of topics, including the response to Muslim extremism.

The White House may be hiding the names because meetings with Muslim leaders are often followed by articles describing ties some might have to Muslim extremists. It’s also possible that some of the leaders were concerned about a backlash from extremists were it revealed they were meeting with the White House. This, of course, is another commonly citied problem – the lack of Muslim leaders speaking out against terrorism.

Fox News reporter Ed Henry said White House officials had told reporters the names wouldn’t be released because these were “private citizens,” which is a joke because the White House releases the names of private citizens who meet with the president all the time.

“I’ll see if I can do that for you,” Earnest said to Henry about the list of names. “Well, one thing we do know is that the names will be included in the waves records that are released, (but) let me see if I can get them released sooner.”

The “waves records,” which include the names of all visitors to the White House, aren’t released for months – when everyone will have forgotten about the meeting. They’re difficult to wade through and often don’t indicate precisely whom visitors met with.

Earnest even had the chutzpah to say the White House had been “transparent” in that it was said “the meeting was taking place.”

Obama links Muslim-American Achievement to 9/11

President Obama used the annual Iftar dinner at the White House last night to link Muslim achievement in the United States to the 9/11 attacks as the tenth anniversary of the terrorist strike approaches.

Obama’s choice to make his Iftar speech about Muslim contributions and patriotism in the shadow of 9/11 is to willfully pretend that there are no issues related to Muslim’s role in U.S. society that need to be addressed.

This evening reminds us of both the timeless teachings of a great religion and the enduring strengths of a great nation.  Like so many faiths, Islam has always been part of our American family, and Muslim Americans have long contributed to the strength and character of our country, in all walks of life.  This has been especially true over the past 10 years.

In one month, we will mark the 10th anniversary of those awful attacks that brought so much pain to our hearts.  It will be a time to honor all those that we’ve lost, the families who carry on their legacy, the heroes who rushed to help that day and all who have served to keep us safe during a difficult decade.  And tonight, it’s worth remembering that these Americans were of many faiths and backgrounds, including proud and patriotic Muslim Americans.

Much of the speech continues in the same vein.

Linking Muslim achievement to an attack perpetrated in the name of Islam is to assertively say that Muslims have no responsibility for defining their relationship to America in a positive manner.

If we are to solve problems and avoid the separation between Muslims and the rest of society that we see in Europe, we can’t pretend that Muslim integration into U.S. society is a seamless process. And we must integrate Muslims into our society, for their benefit, for the society to benefit from their contributions, and for purposes of national security – to avoid homegrown Islamist terrorism.

Many American, for example, wondered why there weren’t more expressions of outrage among Muslims and their leaders after the attack, or even in the years since.

Why do I not see more of this patriotic face of Islam of which Obama speaks? I’d like to.

Here’s what what perhaps the famous U.S. Muslim leader, Feisal Abdul Rauf, said of the 9/11 tragedy.

I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.

Rauf is a known as a moderate Muslim leader who says he is trying to build bridges. He was the public face of the effort to construct the Ground Zero mosque.

There have been two fatal attacks by Muslim radicals on U.S. soldiers within the United States in the last two years.

Serious debate even within Islam exists on the extent to which observance of Sharia law conflicts with democracy. Muslims have an obligation to ensure, as other religions do, that their religious laws are subservient in both thought and practice to the laws of the United States.

Textbooks at a major Islamic school in Northern Virginia were found to teach students that it is okay for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam and that “The Jews conspired against Islam and its people.”

A Gallup survey on Muslim attitudes released this month raises some concerns about Muslims’ role in society, though it mitigates others.

Sixty nine percent of Mulsims say they very or extremely strongly identify with the United States, compared to 86 percent of Jews, 88 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Protestants, and 92 percent of Mormons.

But Muslims in the United States are hardly wild eyed extremists looking to extend the Caliphate to St. Louis.

Only 65 percent said they at least very strongly identified with their religious group, compared to 70 percent of Protestants and 90 percent of Mormons, and a mere 37 percent said the very or extremely strongly identify with “those worldwide who share your religious identity” – the lowest of any major religion.

So there is tremendous hope that the United States can avoid Europe’s divided fate and the bellicose Muslim extremism there that leads to terrorism.

But there are problems in the United States. And using the Iftar dinner to extol Muslim achievement related to 9/11 is an agressive way of saying “Move along, please, nothing to see here.”

I Get a Little Nervous When I See People in Muslim Garb on a Plane

I know this a little off topic. This blog is about the White House. But it’s my blog, and I can do whatever the Hell I want.

I’ve devoted my life to two things, free speech and holding the powerful to account. And the former principle was attacked Wednesday in an unconscionable way by National Public Radio.

I assume most of you are aware that NPR terminated correspondent Juan Williams’ contract because he made the following statement.

But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

Williams made clear that he does not believe one should generalize about Muslims, and that he was not intending a bigoted statement. He was just expressing something he can’t help but feel.

We think we live in a society where there is genuine free speech. But we don’t. There are some things we just can’t say, no matter how obviously true they are, because some people might get upset.

I’m a willing to wager that 90 percent of Americans feel the same way as Williams, INCLUDING MUSLIMS THEMSELVES.

I am a guy with curly hair who stands over six feet and often wears a maroon sweater. If the majority of major terrorist attacks around the world – and the bombing of the World Trade Center – were committed by guys with curly hair who stand over six feet wearing maroon sweaters, I would have some concern when I saw such people who look like this in the waiting area of my flight.

Jesse Jackson once said,

There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.

He too was trying to be honest. I assume nobody thinks Jesse Jackson is a racist.

Juan Williams deserves a promotion for fearlessly saying something everyone know but can’t say. He got it from Fox News when the network, for which he also works, gave him a big fat raise. But NPR has tarred him as a bigot, and he may never really live it down.

Where are the journalists in this? Why is there no protest from reporters or editors about the silencing of speech by a news organization? Why is it left to conservatives to turn this into an anti-public broadcasting issue? Reporters, once forced by professional ethics to stay out of stories and keep their opinions to themselves, now opine on all kinds of things in order to experience the sublime pleasure of seeing themselves on cable TV.

They should be able to get into this. But they’re afraid, lying low, safely ensconced in their cubicles to write another day.

What I’ve seen so far from those supporting Williams is statements condemning NPR for acting rashly or for punishing someone for expressing their opinions. But the larger issue of free speech, of speaking truth that makes people uncomfortable, is really untouched. Because implicit in the backing for Williams is a  sentiment that ironically supports the anti-speech thugs over at NPR. This is what they convey:

Of course, I would never think or say anything so foolish, but if that’s Juan’s opinion, he has a right to express it.

So let me get behind Williams not by paraphrasing him, but by echoing him. He’s saying something we all know to be true but fear stating.

I have nothing against Muslims. I don’t know much about the religion, but as far as I can tell, most people who practice it are sincere about their faith and are no better or worse at being human than anyone else. But,

I get nervous when I get on a plane and see people in Muslim garb.

And,

I get nervous when I get on a plane and see people in Muslim garb.

I get nervous when I get on a plane and see people in Muslim garb.

I get nervous when I get on a plane and see people in Muslim garb.

I get nervous when I get on a plane and see people in Muslim garb.

I get nervous when I get on a plane and see people in Muslim garb.

I get nervous when I get on a plane and see people in Muslim garb.

I get nervous when I get on a plane and see people in Muslim garb.

Just a little. And I get even more nervous when I see those who are supposed to be protecting free speech, the guarantor of our freedom, acting instead to destroy it.

NASA Stops Reaching Out to Muslims

The White House today did a 180 on the question of whether it is NASA’s job to reach out to the Muslim world, deciding after all that this should be left to, like, the State Department, and not to spacemen.

In an apparent reference to the invention of the flying carpet thousands of years ago in Persia, NASA Chief Charles Bolden late last month told Al Jazeera that President Obama’s “foremost” instruction to him was reaching out to Muslims and try to accrue some of their expert knowledge on space travel.

Perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering.

Here’s the original interview with Al Jazeera. The question pops up right at the beginning.

The White House initially defended the remark. In comments to Fox News July 6, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said Obama “wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and engineers as we work together to push the boundaries of exploration.”

Why, this could even bring Israel and its ancient enemies together, suggested the hallucinating Shapiro. “Meeting that mandate requires NASA to partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries. The space race began as a global competition, but, today, it is a global collaboration,” he said.

This all makes so much sense.

The Iran/Hezbollah International Rocket Research Initiative of course is widely known, particularly in Israel, which is participating in the testing program by being on the receiving end of it.

Perhaps, Shapiro meant, NASA simply wants to learn from the program. If Bolden’s outreach is not allowed to continue, valuable information taken from atop Israelis’ heads – where the rockets are landing – would be lost.

Maybe even one day Hezbollah will point these rockets toward Mars instead of Israel, and put people on them, like Ahmadinejad.

Alas, today White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs walked it all back. It turns out old fashioned stuff like flying space ships is what NASA is supposed to do. From today’s briefing.

QUESTION: There were some comments that the NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, made a couple weeks back that drew some interest, specifically from conservatives who are wondering why he said that one of the charges that the president gave him when he got the job was that he had to focus on outreach to the Muslim world. Why is the NASA administrator doing that?

GIBBS: It’s an excellent question, and I don’t think – that was not his task, and that’s not the task of NASA.

QUESTION: So did he just misspeak? And has the president spoken to him about that to clear it up?

GIBBS: No.

QUESTION: Anybody here at the White House?

GIBBS: I’m sure people – people at the White House here talk to NASA all the time.

Well, I’m sure they do. People like Mr. Gibbs get on the phone with people at NASA and say, “What the Hell is that jackass talking about? How many public relations crises am I supposed to deal with?”

There was no comment from Bolden, but he was privately heard to mutter, “I thought I was appointed to head the NASSER space program.”

The statements by Shapiro are no longer operative, it appears. And Islam’s secrets of space flight will remain with Islam.