Saturday, September 22, 2007

Airport Not Sure About Sinks For Muslims

Indianapolis Airport officials are singing a different tune after a front-page story in the Indianapolis Star last Sunday and the ensuing protest from Christian religious leaders about a plan to install foot baths in an airport restroom to accommodate Muslim taxi drivers with their daily cleansing ritual. The Star's Robert King reports those plans are no longer set in stone according to an airport spokesman. King writes:

Airport officials, facing complaints from the public and criticism from a local Baptist minister, say plans to accommodate the prayer needs of Muslim taxi drivers in a new terminal's design are a long way from being "set in stone."

Special floor-level sinks that would make it easier for Muslims to wash their feet before prayer are part of the current plans for restrooms that would serve taxi drivers in a new airport terminal due for completion next year.

But airport officials, who last week said the sinks were needed to solve a potential safety hazard from wet floors and to make the restrooms more sanitary, said Friday that plans for the foot sinks were "only preliminary."

"We're really a long way from having this set in stone," said Airport Authority spokesman David Dawson . . .

Complaints about the foot sinks, Dawson said, have been steady for about a week, since reports about them in The Indianapolis Star and other local media. One person objecting is the Rev. Jerry Hillenburg, a Baptist pastor who lost a son in Iraq two years ago.

Hillenburg believes placement of the foot baths in public restrooms is unconstitutional because they are being put their for a specific religion's ritual. Hillenburg accelerates tensions in the debate by questioning whether Muslims are loyal Americans."We also oppose the fraternization with our open enemies during a time of war." "I don't hate Muslims. I don't hate people who follow Islam," he said. "But I am at odds with anyone who threatens America and its citizenry, and I am at odds with anyone, period, who wants to destroy Christianity."

That brought a rebuke from Shariq A. Siddiqui, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana. "The problem I have with him is that he associates Muslims with the enemy," Siddiqui said. "For him to demonize all of us is the problem." Deputy Mayor Steve Campbell told King that Mayor Peterson does not agree with Hillenburg's broad generalization of American Muslims.

While I don't condone Hillenburg's comments about Muslims in general, I think the Muslim faith invites this form of criticism when their leaders fail to criticize extremist members of their own faith who are advocating terrorism against Americans and Christians. As a Christian, I have personally been called "anti-Christian" by those who disagree with my criticism of the religious right for using the political and legal processes in our country to impose their narrow view of Christian law on all Americans. Until Muslim Americans speak out against the terrorism and havoc extremists within their own faith are wreaking on our world today, many Americans are going to question their loyalty.

On the origins of the foot bath controversy at the airport, I suspect former CCC member Patrice Abduallah lobbied airport officials for the foot baths. You may recall he was critical of Marriott Hotels treatment of Muslim employees and questioned a public subsidy for the new convention center hotel unless the hotel's owners assured him it would not discriminate against Muslim employees wearing religious garb to work. Although he was only one vote on the council, he carried heavy sway with Mayor Peterson because Democrats have only a one-seat margin on the council. His vote, for example, was the deciding vote on the Mayor's $90 million, 65% increase in the county option income tax.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow Gary. You fail to mention that the article states clearly that the footbaths would be paid for from private funds, no taxpayer dollars.
Nor do you, apparently, seem to be aware that Shariq Siddiqui has spoken multiple times against Islamic extremism and participates in all types of interfaith forums. Find me one, just one, example of AMERICAN muslim leaders not condemning extremists. Many muslims in the Middle East, Asia and Europe have made numerous statements that would legitimately call their "loyalty" into question- except they aren't Americans- kind of irrelevant no? You use the word "world" as if it is somehow appropriate to associate American muslims with the actions of foreigners who obviously have no loyalty to America (not being American and all might explain that). AMERICAN muslims, Gary, serve in our military- who ever it is you think should be "condemning" muslim extremists- let me tell you- those soldiers do it every day with their actions and their service.
If you bothered to do some research you would find Muslims the nation over speaking out defending this nation and condemning the words and actions of NONAMERICAN muslims. Most recently, American muslim scholars have been detained and charged with spying and teaching "diversity" (oh no!) in Iran, the National Muslim Alliance held a stunningly powerful commemoration of Holocaust victims in DC at the National Holocaust Museum where they endorsed proposals to work with the American Jewish community to improve interfaith dialogue and teach American muslims about the history of the holocaust and anti-semitism and as an entire community condemned remarks made by the Iranian President.
But, most importantly, there are an estimated 15,000 American muslim soldiers currently serving on active duty in the US military.

You say "Until Muslim Americans speak out against the terrorism and havoc extremists within their own faith are wreaking on our world today, many Americans are going to question their loyalty.".

I say those 15,000 soldiers have spoken clearly, unequivocally and you must just not be listening.

Anonymous said...

The only way you could not hear moderate Muslims across the globe condemning religious violence and extremism is if you chose not to listen:

Keep racing to the bottom, Gary. I'm sure this kind of racist drivel drives up more visitors from IndyU.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I suspect you don't count Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, Erin, whose anti-Semitic tirades in the past have been well-documented.

Anonymous said...

This is also an excellent site on this subject:

Try perusing some of it, Gary. Your ignorance is pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Nor would I question the loyalty of American Baptists in general notwithstanding how many actively helped hide and provide shelter and food for Eric Rudolph because they agreed with his terrorist attacks against Americans.
Louis Farrakan has been condemned by any number of American muslim leaders, Gary. If you are going to identify irresponsible muslims, then you are changing your point. You claimed American muslims weren't condemning irresponsible and extremist comments. Again, many muslim leaders have repeatedly condemned Louis Farrakan's anti-semitic comments.
By the by, maybe your "loyalty" could be questioned given your apparent test based on the comments of the CHRISTIAN AMERICAN Jerry Falwell who claimed 9/11 was the fault of "American gays, feminists and those who are pro-choice (to name a few)". But, that would clearly be ridiculous. Just like it is ridiculous to question the loyalty of American muslim soldiers because of Louis Farrakan or the President of Iran.

Wilson46201 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden."

Thomas Friedman, NY Times.

Wilson46201 said...

So when is your erstwhile GOP Mayoral candidate Bob Parker going to publicly denounce terrorism? We all remember his anti-Semitic tirade right here in Indianapolis!

It's also interesting to note that the GOP has only 1 Jewish Congressman (which is one more than Black Republicans in Congress). Why won't Republicans elect Jews?

Wilson46201 said...

George W Bush issued a fatwa against Osama bin Laden six years ago and look how far that's gotten!

Anonymous said...

Less than a week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President Bush appeared at the Islamic Center in Washington, standing with various leaders of Muslim groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Muslim Council (AMC) to make a public show of support for American Muslims, as ugly acts of violence and intimidation were made against Muslims and Arab-Americans

"It's a great country because we share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth," Bush said. "And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They're outraged, they're sad. They love America just as much as I do."

CAIR and the AMC have emerged as possibly the two most outspoken U.S. Muslim organizations in the wake of the tragedy, protesting "hate crimes" against Muslims and Arab-Americans, explaining why increased security need not preclude civil liberties for those from the Middle East and Near East, and trying to put a moderate face on a religion Americans only seem to hear about when it rears up in its most extreme incarnations.

USA Today, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Fox News Channel and Salon -- as well as hundreds of media outlets throughout America in search of expertise, information and a moderate face for Islam -- have sought out CAIR and AMC executives in recent weeks. When CNN's Bill Hemmer tackled the question "What do we really know about Islam?" it was Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan, executive director of CAIR, to whom he turned. And it was Aly Abu Zaakouk, executive director of the AMC, who explained to the San Francisco Chronicle how the term "Infinite Justice," the Pentagon's initial name for a U.S. military strategy overseas, would be "offensive to some in the Muslim community."

But reporters are learning it's not easy to find leaders who can authentically speak for Muslim Americans, who represent a wide variety of ethnicities and languages, sects and political views ranging from completely secular to Islamic fundamentalist. CAIR and AMC in particular would not be chosen as representatives by many Muslims. In fact, there are those in American Muslim communities as well as law enforcement who consider CAIR and the AMC to be part of the problem, because both have been seen as tacitly -- if not explicitly -- supportive of extremist groups guilty of terrorism.

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR, refuses to outright condemn Osama bin Laden. "We condemn terrorism, we condemn the attack on the buildings," Hooper said. But why not condemn bin Laden by name, especially after President Bush has now stated that he was clearly responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks?

"If Osama bin Laden was behind it, we condemn him by name," Hooper said. But why the "if" -- why qualify the response? Hooper said he resented the question. And what about prior acts of terror linked to bin Laden? Or that bin Laden has urged Muslims to kill Americans?

Again, Hooper demurred, saying only that he condemns acts of terror.

Both groups also refuse to outright condemn Islamic terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. In fact, leaders from both groups have, in recent years, been quoted defending or exhorting organizations that the U.S. State Department classifies as "foreign terrorist." Steven Pomerantz, former FBI assistant director and chief of the FBI's counterterrorism section, once charged that CAIR's activities "effectively give aid to international terrorist groups." Other American Muslim leaders have raised questions about their possible alliances with radical groups, and many academics are disturbed by the groups' prominence.

But CAIR and AMC strongly disagree with such criticisms, blaming an anti-Muslim bias -- or a pro-Israel one. When asked Friday about accusations from other Muslims that his group may be extremist, Aly Abu Zaakouk, the executive director of the AMC, said, "You are trying to blemish our reputation. Get the heck out of here," and hung up the phone. "This kind of thing has been going on for years," said CAIR's Hooper. Asked about Muslim clerics who have complained that his organization is extremist, Hooper said, "The pro-Israel lobby hooks up these guys to be their Muslim front men."

An even more basic problem for many Muslim academics and some clerics is the presumption that these organizations represent their views. "There is general concern among Muslim intellectuals about how not only CAIR but some of these other organizations are claiming to speak in the name of the Muslim community, and how they're coming to be recognized by the government as spokespeople for the Muslim community in the U.S.," says Ali Asani, professor of Islamic studies at Harvard University. "That troubles people."

Neither CAIR nor the AMC divulge their membership numbers, though both seem to be, as AMC executive director Aly Abu Zaakouk says, "working to be the voice of American Muslims in Washington, D.C., in state capitals and local governments, from PTAs to Pennsylvania Avenue."

But unlike, say, the Catholic Church, Islam in the U.S. doesn't have an organized hierarchy. That is, Asani says, "something the American Muslim community has been struggling with." There are moderate-seeming groups like the Islamic Institute and others that will likely gain greater visibility as this crisis continues. But with Muslims coming from so many different countries, with so many different sects within those countries, often the loudest group -- or the ones who lobby Congress -- are the ones the U.S. government turns to as representative of the estimated 6 million to 8 million American Muslims.

When leaders of these groups speak to the media, Asani says, "Very often whoever's speaking for them represents a very homogenized global form of Islam that refuses to recognize diversity of opinion.

"One of the things I have noticed as a result of this crisis is that there are so many people -- this imam and that imam -- and everybody is claiming they represent the Muslim community," he says.

Particularly problematic is the attitude of CAIR and AMC toward Islamic terrorist groups. CAIR was critical of the prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdul-Rahman, whom U.S. authorities deemed the ringleader of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who was convicted with nine followers in October 1995 of conspiring to blow up the Lincoln Tunnel along with other New York City landmarks.

CAIR went so far as to list Abdul-Rahman's lawyers' criticisms of the trial as "far from free and fair" on a 1996 list of "incidents of anti-Muslim bias and violence" in a book called "The Price of Ignorance" which dealt with the "status of Muslim civil rights in the United States." And CAIR's founder, Nihad Awad, wrote in the Muslim World Monitor that the World Trade Center trial, which ended in the conviction in 1994 of four Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, was "a travesty of justice." According to Awad -- and despite the confessions of the terrorists from the 1993 attack -- "there is ample evidence indicating that both the Mossad and the Egyptian Intelligence played a role in the explosion." (Awad -- who met with President Bush last week -- has been more circumspect in his comments after this World Trade Center bombing.)

Leaders of the AMC also have expressed concern for the 1993 World Trade Center terrorists who, it should be remembered, differ only from the Sept. 11 bombers in efficiency. "I believe that the judge went out of his way to punish the defendants harshly and with vengeance, and to a large extent, because they were Muslim," Abdurahman Alamoudi, then the executive director of the AMC, wrote to his members on Aug. 20, 1994.

Last year, questions about Alamoudi and the actual moderation of the AMC came to light when both Gov. George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton returned $1,000 given to their respective campaigns by Alamoudi, no longer the executive director but still a board member of the organization, according to the AMC. Last year, however, Clinton and Bush expressed concern not with Alamoudi's claim that the 1993 World Trade Center bombers were the victims of anti-Muslim bias, but because of his support for other terrorist organizations.

At a November 2000 rally against Israel in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, Alamoudi said to the crowd, "Hear that, Bill Clinton! We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they add that I am also a supporter of Hizballah. Anybody support Hizballah here?" The crowd cheered.

According to the State Department, Hamas engages in "large-scale suicide bombings -- against Israeli civilian and military targets, suspected Palestinian collaborators, and Fatah rivals." A pro-Hamas Web site proudly lists the organization's various acts of violence, against both Israeli military and civilians. Hezbollah, the State Department says, is "known or suspected to have been involved in numerous anti-U.S. terrorist attacks, including the suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983 and the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in September 1984. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping and detention of U.S. and other Western hostages in Lebanon. The group also attacked the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992."

But neither CAIR nor the AMC or other Muslim American organizations -- much like several of the Arab nations Bush is trying to bring into the anti-terrorism coalition -- appear to consider Hamas or Hezbollah terrorist organizations. Nor does it mean that Israeli civilians -- especially those who live on settlements in disputed territories -- are necessarily considered "innocent civilians" to these groups, either.

But Azar Nafisi, a culture and politics professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, says the support of certain terrorist groups poses a fundamental problem for any organization that hopes to speak for American Muslims. Even if they condemn bin Laden, "Different Muslim organizations in the United States support Hamas," she says. "Are some acts of terrorism valid and some not?"

CAIR's Hooper repudiates the charge wholeheartedly, arguing that no one can point to any example of the major American Muslim organizations supporting Islamic extremism. He says that they are faulted for "sins of omission, not sins of commission," and that criticism comes their way from other Muslims for not speaking out against terrorist organizations or human rights abuses in Muslim countries, not for necessarily voicing support.

Hooper's comments about Hamas and Hezbollah are even more qualified than they were about bin Laden. "If someone carries out terrorist acts, they should be labeled as a terrorist," he says. "If they don't, they shouldn't." Pressed to address these two terrorist groups by name, Hooper said, "If Hamas kills innocent civilians we condemn them. But I'm not going to condemn legitimate resistance to Israeli occupation."

CAIR, Hooper continues, has never even mentioned the word "Hamas" as an organization, so why should they start now? But that, of course, doesn't include all the mentions of Hamas that CAIR's leaders have made -- including CAIR founder Awad's 1994 declaration that before the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority he "used to support the PLO," but that now he was "in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO."

Hamas, meanwhile, has claimed credit for the murders of countless Israeli civilians. Middle East scholars believe that Islamic fundamentalists don't consider many victims of terrorist attacks "innocent," which is how they can defend Hamas as not killing innocent people. Hooper, however, refused to answer questions exploring that theory.

"What you're trying to get me to say is the Palestinians don't deserve to live in peace and freedom," Hooper says -- though neither the Palestinians nor Israel had been mentioned. Questions about whether CAIR would condemn organizations by name unequivocally, instead of qualifying the condemnations, were just "word games from the pro-Israel lobby," Hooper said. Instead, Hooper said that the very questions were the problem, and part of a Zionist conspiracy. "This is a game they play," Hooper said, referring to the pro-Israel lobby. "They give me a long list of people to condemn and if you don't give sufficient condemnation you're a terrorist. We would condemn any person or any group that kills innocent civilians. But it's not my duty that when the pro-Israel lobby says 'Jump' I say 'How high?'"

Hooper says that his attitude about whoever is behind the attacks is "go get 'em," but his job is to preserve the rights of Muslims in this country and be vigilant in that task. He criticizes the investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that when law enforcement refers to "associates" of the terrorists, they're stretching the term. Law enforcement is using the term "associates" too loosely, he says, in a way to target Muslims. "It's like the 'Six degrees of Kevin Bacon' game," he says. "No Muslim is more than six degrees away from Osama bin Laden."

Hooper then ended the interview, and refused to discuss questions about a series of 1994 meetings that CAIR coordinated for Bassam Alamoush, a Jordanian Islamic militant who told a Chicago audience in December of that year that killing Jews was "a good deed." Nor could he be asked about CAIR board member Siraj Wahaj. Wahaj, the imam of the Taqwa Mosque in Brooklyn, decried on TV the Sept. 11 attacks as "criminal" and "wrong." But Wahaj also had invited convicted terrorist Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman to speak at his mosque, and even testified on his behalf. Before then, in 1991, speaking to the Islamic Association of North Texas, Wahaj called Operation Desert Storm "one of the most diabolical plots ever in the annals of history," and that the war was "part of a larger plan, to destroy the greatest challenge to the Western world, and that's Islam." Just as the USSR fell, so too will the U.S., Wahaj said, "unless America changes its course from the new world order and accepts the Islamic agenda."

Long before the Sept. 11 horror, one of the most bold critiques of Muslim American organizations came on Jan. 7, 1999, in a speech to the U.S. State Department by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, another nonprofit organization for American Muslims. Kabbani spoke critically about the ideology of the major Muslim American organizations. Warning that too many Muslims in America were supporting terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in a variety of ways, and that too many mosques in the United States were becoming havens for Islamic extremists, Kabbani said that some Muslim American organizations were a big part of the problem.

"There are many Muslim organizations that claim to speak on behalf of the Muslim community but that in reality are not moderate, but extremist," Kabbani said. While Kabbani made no direct references to any group in his speech, it is with AMC and CAIR that he has publicly feuded.

Muslim extremism is dangerous, Kabbani cautioned, and the media needs to learn the difference between Islam and extremism. "What I am seeing, unfortunately, are those that are advising the media, or advising the government are not the moderate Muslims," Kabbani said. "Those whose opinion the government asks are the extremists themselves."

And in a January 1997 letter to a Muslim Web site, Seif Ashmawy, an Egyptian Muslim and peace activist who published the "Voice of Peace" newsletter about Muslim affairs, slammed both CAIR and the AMC for defending Islamic extremism. "It is a known fact that both the AMC and CAIR have defended, apologized for, and rationalized the actions of extremists groups," Ashmawy, who died in a 1998 car accident, wrote. "The real challenge for moderates like myself is to prevent my Muslim brethren from [being] deceived by extremist groups that pretend to represent their interests." The groups' defenders argue that groups like CAIR and the AMC are naturally and rightly critical of the Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza. And they make no apologies for vigorously defending the civil rights and civil liberties of Arab-Americans and Muslims, which sometimes leads them to butt heads with U.S. law enforcement. CAIR's Hooper says Kabbani represents just a small group of Muslims. Law enforcement officials who make charges such as Pomerantz's are "anti-Muslim bigots."

But the views of the more radical American Muslims will continue to face increased scrutiny, and in some cases, condemnation from the American public. Until early last week, for instance, the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, Fla., posted on its Web site an openly anti-Semitic essay that referred to Jews as being "known for their treachery and corruption" and quoted from a Muslim text that read, "O Muslim! There is Jew behind me, kill him!"

Dan McBride, spokesman for the Boca Raton mosque, said the essay, titled, "Why can't the Jews and Muslims live together in peace?" generated three e-mail complaints, so they took it down.

"As fellow Americans, we're all a little sensitive right now and we don't want to increase any tensions," McBride said. "So we're trying to be a little politically correct right now."

Which is not to say McBride disagrees with anything in the essay. In fact, he defends it word for word, including passages that Art Teitelbaum, the southern area director of the Anti Defamation League, calls "filled with poisonous anti-Semitic bigotry." McBride defends the assertion, for instance, that Jews are "usurpers and aggressors, who have oppressed and persecuted others, and who are known for their treachery and corruption throughout the world, historically and in the present age." And that Jews have "carried out chemical and radiational [sic] experiments on their prisoners, and taken organs from them for transplant into Jewish patients." McBride says "that's all documented," though he could not provide any documentation.

"This is the kind of ranting and ravings that you get out of -- I would like to say fanatics, but it's not just fanatics, it's people who are ignorant," says Johns Hopkins' Nafisi, who was raised Muslim in Iran. "It's one interpretation of Islam, an interpretation that has been encouraged by many Muslim leaders around the world. But it's not the Islam I was raised on."

Ultimately, as the American public requires more knowledge of Islam, the challenge will be in finding leaders who can explain the faith, while being free of their own ties to the religion's fundamentalist sects. But for any American Muslim leader, in trying to appeal to a wide variety of people, there may easily be examples of, or acceptance of, Islamic extremism in their past.

During the national day of prayer and remembrance Sept. 14 at the National Cathedral, attended by Bush and other U.S. dignitaries, Muzammil Siddiqi, imam for the Islamic Society of North America, read from the Quran, saying that "Those that lay the plots of evil, for them is a terrible penalty; and the plotting of such will be not abide."

But, as columnist Charles Krauthammer wondered in the Washington Post, one has to ask "who are the layers of plots of evil" to whom Siddiqi refers? "Those who perpetrated the World Trade Center attack? Or America, as thousands of Muslims in the street claim? The imam might have made that clear. He did not." It was not the first time Siddiqi was disturbingly noncommittal. In 1989, after the fatwa death sentence issued against author Salman Rushdie for his book "The Satanic Verses," Siddiqi's view on whether Rushdie should be killed was difficult to assess. "Asked whether he personally thinks capital punishment would be appropriate in Rushdie's case," wrote the Los Angeles Times, "Siddiqi was non-committal, saying that would have to be determined in the due process of Islamic law."

Jake Tapper,

Gary R. Welsh said...

Erin said, "By the by, maybe your "loyalty" could be questioned given your apparent test based on the comments of the CHRISTIAN AMERICAN Jerry Falwell who claimed 9/11 was the fault of "American gays, feminists and those who are pro-choice (to name a few)".

This makes absolutely no sense, Erin. Have I not been consistent in my criticism of the religious right for such statements? Have I not been labeled anti-Christian for making those criticms?

Anonymous said...

From the Muslim Weekly:
Bin Laden has been ostracised from his home-land and continuously condemned through explicit fatwas from leading Saudi scholars, including the former-Mufti Sheikh Bin Baaz who famously described him and al-Qa’ida as "the brothers of the devils".

Dissident cleric Salman al-Awdah read an "open letter to Osama bin Laden" on a show he presents on Saudi-owned pan-Arab channel MBC this week on his Web site

He called on bin Laden to understand that "the word ‘mercy’ is not to be found in the lexicon of war. Where is the mercy in murdering people? Where is the mercy in bombing places? Where is the mercy in making people and places into targets? Where is the mercy in turning many Muslim countries into battlefields?"

He said: "War is something hateful that must only be resorted to under the most dire and compelling of circumstances when no other way is found."

He added: "This religion of ours comes in defense of the life of a sparrow. It can never accept the murder of innocent people, regardless of what supposed justification is given for it."

He concluded by asking bin Laden: "Here is the vital question that you need to ask yourself and that others have the right to demand and answer for: What have all these long years of suffering, tragedy, tears, and sacrifice actually achieved?"

The letter came just days after a new threatening message from bin Laden - thought to be hiding in the frontier area between Pakistan and Afghanistan - to mark the sixth anniversary of the September 11.

As reported on March 11, 2005

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Muslim clerics in Spain have issued what they called the world's first fatwa, or Islamic edict, against Osama bin Laden as the country marked the first anniversary of the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people.
They accused him of abandoning his religion and urged others of their faith to denounce the al Qaeda leader, who is believed to be hiding out near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The ruling was issued by the Islamic Commission of Spain, the main body representing the country's 1 million-member Muslim community. The commission invited imams to condemn terrorism at Friday prayers.
The fatwa said that according to the Koran "the terrorist acts of Osama bin Laden and his organization al Qaeda ... are totally banned and must be roundly condemned as part of Islam."

Anonymous said...

The point Gary is that you would question the loyalty of Muslim soldiers not based on their own actions but that of other muslims. So, regardless of your personal condemnation of Christians such as Jerry Falwell, you should be judged just like you are judging American muslim soldiers- they are muslim- it's fair to question their loyalty. You are Christian- same applies to you. If you refuse to acknowledge the service of military men and women why should I acknowledge your outspoken criticism?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Erin said, "If you refuse to acknowledge the service of military men and women why should I acknowledge your outspoken criticism?"

Uh, when exactly did I supposedly refuse to acknowledge the service of military men and women? Get a grip, Erin.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:16:

I'm not sure what your goal in providing that article is, but it certainly doesn't support Gary's contention. Yes, it suggests that CAIR and the AMC haven't been adequately specific, by some critics' standards, in denouncing violent extremism. But, in doing so, the article stresses repeatedly that neither CAIR nor AMC are particularly representative of American Muslims and then goes on to quote multiple muslims criticizing CAIR and AMC for precisely those reasons. In other words, the article identifies muslim leaders not only condemning violent extremism, but actively criticizing certain organizations for not joining that criticism.

Anonymous said...

Ummmm, Gary, you just wrote the muslim faith "invites" doubts about loyalty when muslim leaders don't condemn terrorism. Muslim soldiers are members of the muslim faith, ergo doubts about their loyalty are invited when muslim leaders don't condemn terrorism.

Maybe you wouldn't have to defend such abominable suggestions if you bothered to think about what you write before you wrote it.

Anonymous said...

Read my first post Gary- you want muslim americans to condemn extremism and until then you think it is fine to question the loyalty of muslim americans. Only by not recognizing the service of 15000 muslim soldiers can you claim that muslim americans are not condemning extremism. Those soldiers are doing more than speaking out- they are risking life and limb to fight extremism as muslim americans. Therefore, if you recognise them, you have your evidence of muslim americans condemning extremism.

Anonymous said...

Looks like all the bases were covered here.
I'll just leave my two cents for the gumball machine!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Why are footbaths going to be placed in airport restrooms? Next thing that will happen is they will be mandated for schools, local and state government offices, etc.

Whether public or private funding is used is still unconstitutional.

There will be the problem of vandalism by those who hate or despised Muslims. Who will pay for the repairs? Private funding or the public? Who pays for the water? Who pays for cleaning the footbaths?

Keep religion out of public facilities!!

Why all of a sudden do Muslim cab drivers find the need to have footbaths installed in the airport. They sure as hell must have adjusted fine without them. And I am sure there are allowances made in their faith in places that don't provide the service. They could just as easily have in their cab a water bowl for that purpose.

Anonymous said...

Wow Gary! You do one article about Mayor Bart planning to install footbaths for Muslims in a public facility and the Move On.Org zealots go nuts! I guess in this country you now have lost your right to free speech especially if theses nutterballs don't agree with you. Just like when they get tv time they try to talk over you and accuse and complain about things that are way off course. Here they take up all kinds of space writing factless drivel trying to make you look bad. I personally know Dr. Hillenburg and while I may not agree with him on everything I do agree that we should not have taxpayers providing facilities for any religion in a public place. This is another of Mayor Bart's idiotic and controversial ideas. Lets put the blame where it belongs. Dr. Hillenburg's son Eric paid the ultimate price defending his country and its too bad that this is not appreciated by the far left wing zealots. I wish they would do as their logo says and " move on!"

Anonymous said...

While I don't condone Hillenburg's comments about Muslims in general, I think the Muslim faith invites this form of criticism when their leaders fail to criticize extremist members of their own faith who are advocating terrorism against Americans and Christians.

That's ridiculous. No one suggested that the mainstream Christian churches across America or the nationally-known pastors invited criticism for refusing to denounce horrors such as Eric Rudolph's wave of terror.

That's akin to saying that you invite criticism for being a gay male when you refuse to denounce every single fringe gay activity.

Anonymous said...

Gary, please, I implore you, it's time for some soul-searching. Read the transparent idiocy of Anon3:07 again and realize: this is what your supportive reader-base has been reduced to. These are the people who agree with you.

You may want to reevaluate your recent rightward lurch.

Wilson46201 said...

Some wise earlier commenter pointed out that this was a much better blog when it was fighting hatred instead of fomenting it...

Anonymous said...

Reverend Hillenburgs comments were so clear and true. He should be thanked. Don't hand us the politically correct buzzwords that are applied to to anyone who mentions the Muslim religious ideology and those who accomodate it. They do not care to assimilate into America they want to make it their own. They say it out loud to your face and you deny it and accomodate them with this foot bath nonsense.Visit Dearborn Mich. and see how comfortable and welcome you are there, you American citizens. Some areas of this country are like foreign cities. Then you turn on your own countrymen who dare to speak up against this.
Nov5, 1990- Trolley Sq. mall Salt lake city, Utah-Muslim Sulejmen Talovic murdered 5 people.
March 1 1994, Rashid Nosair Murdered Jewish Rabbi and Meir Kahne in NewYork.Nosair was associtated with the terrorists involved in 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
March 1 1994, Rashid Baz shot into a van carrying Hasidic Jews on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Feb 24 1997, Muslim Ali Abu Kamal shot one person and wounded 6 others on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building.
October 31 1999 EgyptAir Flight 990 dove into the Atl Ocean about 60 miles south of Nantucket Island Mass killing 203 passengers. Investigation by the NTSB determined the relief pilot Gamil alBatouti a Muslim from Eqypt was at the controls and deliberately crashed the plane into the ocean.
Jan 5 2002 15 year old Charles Bishop sympathic to Osama Bin Laden stole a single engine plane and crashed it into the side of Bank of America bldg in Tampa Fla.
July 4 2002, Hesham Mohamed Ali Hadayet an Eqyptian limousine drive opened fire at an El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles Airport killing two people before being shot by a security guard.
Oct. 1 2005 Joel Hinrichs III a college student detonated a bomb outside a football stadium in Norman Okla. Evidence suggest that this was a failed 'homicide bombing'
Dec 18 2005 Ali R Warrayat in a carefully planned attack crashed his car into Home Depot Chandler Ariz.
March 3 2006, Muslim Mohammed Reza Taheriazar native of Iran rented a large Suv with the stated intent to kill as many pedestrians as could as revenge.
July 28, 2006 Muslim Naveen Afzal HGaq shot and killed on woman and wounded several others Seattle wash.
August 29 2006 Muslim Omeed Aziz Popal killed one and injured others using his vehicle to strike pedestrians in San Fransisco. Religious motivation.
Dec.8 2006 Derrick Shareef planned to set off grenades in Rockford Ill. shopping mall. Terrorism task force arrested him before he could carry out his attacks.
Jan 25 2007, Juan Diaz, was arrested for threats to blow up a Christian Church -he had left notes referencing bombing by al Qaeda, God willing"
I can't go on and on listing events on American soil and abroad but maybe this will remind you of your short memories.
And lest you forget 9-11.
Islamic fundamentalists have been on our soil for some time and it is past time for government, law enforcement politicians and the media to recognize and admit this. Thank you Rev. for standing up to this.

Anonymous said...

Gabe R,
My idiocy??? Please be factual if you can and point to what I typed as idiotic? You typed a bunch of factless drivel earlier and I bet you probably are a member of Move On. This mess was created by Mayor Bart, the airport expanaion was his idea and is being funded by federal taxpayer dollars. Any public taxpayer funded facility should not provide for or cater to any religion. What part of that don't you get? So please in all your wisdom, point to where I am wrong. BTW try to stay away from the anti Muslim Christian hating drool because I've said nothing of the sort.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Wilson, nobody does more to foment hate than you. You are completely devoid of any moral compass, and I will be damned if you stand in judgment of me. Please, Wilson, just go away. Go find your own blog and ply your hate and hypocrisy there. People are absolutely sick and tired of you.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Any by the way, Wilson. I'm getting a little tired of having to delete your anonymous comments. Whenever you read one of those particularly anti-black, anti-gay or anti-Jew comments, there's a good chance it was posted by Wilson. Yes, Wilson will anonymously post hate-filled bigoted comments and then point and say, see, look what that Advance Indiana blog has become. You're aren't going to get by with it here, Wilson. You will be called out for the hypocrite you are.

Anonymous said...

People need to read carefully. The airport was [1] not planning on spending taxpayer money for this 1 foot bath as the private funds have been made available, [2] it will be in the service restroom for the taxi drivers. The traveling public will not even see the footbath....why are of the hate spewing and venom and embarrasses me.

Anonymous said...

3:07/6:14 anon,

First off, I, Erin, am not a member of or supportive of them. Second, AI made several observations based on the Airport story. Those comments were not confined to merely a seperation of church v. state question. Gary put out his thoughts and people have responded (to all of them- that is how conversations develop). My statement regarding the number of american muslim truths is neither factless (fact= a statement that contains information that can be objectively proven, anon. For ex, "there are 15000 muslim soldiers in the US army"!!) nor off topic, but in direct response to an issue Gary himself put into the conversation. And Gary's comment was in direct response to what Rev. Hillenburg had stated in the Star article. Gary is an adult and can handle contentious, even heated responses to topics that HE brings up. Attempting to slander people with baseless allegations (which are NOT facts, anon!) by accusing them of being in certain organizations or having specific motivations is what is factless drivel. You don't know me in the least and you are wrong about me being in so there you are. Pretty idiotic statement you made about some one you are completely admittedly ignorant about.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 7:13, the facts as you state them make matters all the worse. When the airport first commented on it, they claimed the footbaths were for everyone's use, which clearly they were not intended. They are being put in bathrooms which will be convenient for Muslim taxi cab drivers and for the express purpose of their use. I don't care whether the foot baths are being paid for with private funds or not. The Ten Commandments which have been the center of controversy and ACLU suits all over the country were paid for with private funds and placed on public property as well. My entire point is that if we have to make these special arrangements for this small group of Muslims engaged in this particular occupation in this particular public place, where does it end? Why not accommodate Muslims everywhere in every public restroom? And what about the customs and traditions of other religions? There's no place to draw the line once you head down that road.

Anonymous said...

Wilson wrote:
"It's also interesting to note that the GOP has only 1 Jewish Congressman (which is one more than Black Republicans in Congress). Why won't Republicans elect Jews?"

As a Jew and a Republican, I cannot possibly express to you how offensive I find this post. Who are you to ask such a question? You certainly do NOT speak for the Jewish population, Wilson. Neither do I, for that matter.

I guess Stephen Goldsmith wasn't Jewish. Or former U.S. Senators Jacob Javitz, Barry Goldwater, or former Senator and Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Or U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. Or U.S. Senator Norm Coleman. Need I go on?

Frankly, Wilson, please stick to what you know. I try not to be personal on this thing, and most of my disgareements with you have been on policy related things, but this is just too much. You do not speak for Jews, so please don't try. As if you're some great defender of Jews and Judaism.


Anonymous said...

AR- very true. Rs certainly voted and helped elect Lieberman after he lost the D primary. And they elected him when he wasn't even running as an R. The current Marion County Circuit Court judge is jewish and a Republican (and elected). David O's presence in the IN House notwithstanding, 1 out of 50+ members is not exactly a ringing endorsment of diversity for the Ds either.

Anonymous said...


Good point. I might also add that when J.C. Watts was a member of the U.S. House (a Republican African-American, I might add), the Congressional Black Caucus would not let him join the caucus. Funny, that - it's the Congressional Black Caucus, not the Congressional Black Democrat Caucus. Either way, they wouldn't let him.

Democrats do not have a monopoly on diversity, and to suggest they do, which is Wilson's less than subtle subtext, is misleading at best.

I wouldn't argue that the Repbulicans can't do better - of course they can, and I wish they would. However, Democrats can do much better, as well. After all, Joe Lieberman was their darling in 2000, but was cast aside in 2006 when they didn't need their token Jew any more (and that's a discredit to Senator Lieberman, for whom I have the utmost respect.) But there are *many* Jewish republicans, some of whom weren't elected but appointed (perhaps Wilson might have heard of Henry Kissinger, a not-insignificant person in the foreign policy realm of the United States.)

Why do I try? The facts won't convince Wilson or shut him up. I give him props for trying to advance his party's cause, there's no question about that. But he's just wrong on this, and is offensive to this poster (I won't claim he's offensive to all Jews - to do so would be as offensive as his initial post.)


Wilson46201 said...

In the U. S. House of Representatives, there is just one Jewish Republican Congressman, Eric Cantor of Virginia. J.C. Watts was the sole Black Republican Congressman. Not exactly a diverse selection there from the GOP...

Anonymous said...

To Anon3:07/6:14,

To ask the question is to answer it.

Also: I'll bet you a million-billion dollars (or, better yet, Shrute Bucks!) that I am not now and never have been a member of

Anonymous said...

You are correct, I don't know you and you don't know me. I dont believe I slandered you or specifically stated that you are a part of I did please point to the post that proves it. I have seen a lot of factless drivel on here and people going way off point to what this post is really about. That is exactly what the nutterballs from like to do. I like Gary, don't believe public owned places should cater to any religion by providing facilities be they paid by private or public funds. If you were offended by what I posted then so be it. Political Correctness has done nothing but cause controversy and this case is no exception.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter who's paying for it. If I were to pay for a copy of the Ten Commandments for the statehouse lawn the ACLU would still jump all over it. And yet the ACLU hasn't jumped all over this. Who's running that zoo these days? Daggum.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Wilson. Would you kindly point out for me the diversity in the Indiana Congressional Delegaton? How many of them are Jewish?

The Indiana delegation in the U.S. House is composed of a majority of Democrats. How many of those are Jewish?

I'll wait, Mr. Glass Houses.

For the record, I could actually care less how many members of Congress are Jewish. For my money, I'd rather have people in Congress who (a) are going to do their jbos; (b) who are going to SHOW UP to work to do their jobs; and (c) do the best they can, without regard to race, gender, religion, etc.

So, while you might make a big deal out of it, I could care less if my member of Congress is purple, green, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc. What was it Dr. King said? Something about judging people "by the content of their character, not the color of their skin?" Perhaps you should learn to practice more of that, friend.



Zappatista said...

Didn't OUR ancestors come to this country for religious FREED0M, I didn't think so either....

Anonymous said...

to AR at are wrong on several accounts. [1] In naming Jacob Javits and Barry Goldwater, you are going back decades when the GOP was a moderate diverse party ..unlike the mess it is today. They have both been dead for years. [2] Stephen Goldsmith was not Jewish, he was Methodist. [3]Arlen Specter in NOT Jewish, he belongs to some unusual protestant sect in Pennsylvania..[4] Norm Coleman is not Jewish. [5] William Cohen and his African American wife are Episcopalians............time for more research....

Anonymous said...

Umm, 7:54 AM, I don't know where you are getting your facts, but they aren't correct. Arlen Specter most certainly is jewish. So is Norm Coleman. From an interview with United Jewish Communities:

Labgold: On a personal note, could you share with our readers why you chose public service as your career path?

Coleman: It is a reflection of my faith and my family. I grew up in a family where we talked about politics and public service. We are a community that understands the importance of freedom. It is a part of our tradition. We have celebrated the Passover tradition for over five thousand years. That translates into working for freedom and opportunity. We have different paths in life, and for me public service has been the path I have always wanted to pursue. It is a reflection of mom and dad, grandmas and grandpas, and my faith. I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve. We have a tradition of mitzvot, a tradition of tzedakah. I remember the little blue box in the house as a kid from planting trees in Israel. Giving back is part of who we are, and that is who I have become and who I am.

Anonymous said...

I support clean. Reject bigots and hate.

Wilson46201 said...

I repeat my question: what do Republicans have against Jews? Only three Jewish Republicans in a Congress of 535 people ... tsk, tsk, tsk

Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut-D) Orthodox Judaism
Barbara Boxer (Calif-D) Jewish
Dianne Feinstein (Calif-D) Jewish
Carl Levin (Michigan-D) Jewish
Norm Coleman (Minnesota-R) Jewish
Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey-D) Jewish
Charles Schumer (New York-D) Jewish
Ron Wyden (Oregon-D) Jewish
Arlen Specter (Penn-R) Jewish
Russell Feingold (Wisconsin-D) Jewish
Herb Kohl (Wisconsin-D) Jewish

Tom Lantos, D Jewish
Brad Sherman, D Jewish
Howard Berman, D Jewish
Adam Schiff, D Jewish
Henry Waxman, D Jewish
Jane Harman, D Jewish
Bob Filner, D Jewish
Susan Davis, D Jewish
Robert Wexler, D Jewish
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D Jewish
Rahm Emanuel, D Jewish
Janice Schakowsky, D Jewish
Benjamin Cardin, D Jewish
Barney Frank, D Jewish
Sander Levin, D Jewish
Shelley Berkley, D Jewish
Steven Rothman, D Jewish
Steven Israel, D Jewish
Gary Ackerman, D Jewish
Jerrold Nadler, D Jewish
Anthony Weiner, D Jewish
Eliot Engel, D Jewish
Nita Lowey, D Jewish
Allyson Schwartz, D Jewish
Bernard Sanders, Ind. Jewish
Eric Cantor, R Jewish

Anonymous said...

Wilson, why don't you just enjoy tour retired life, sit back read your AARP magazine and sip some more Kool-ade?????

Anonymous said...

Come on Wilson, that really isn't very fair. The jewish population in America is about the same percentage as Mormons. Yet, there are only 16 Mormons in Congress and only 4 of them are Democrats (Harry Reid being the most prominent). That means 12 are Rs. That doesn't mean Democrats have something against Mormons (in fact most polling shows that most opposition comes from Christian Fundamentalists- not exactly D voters in general). Rs support jewish candidates all the time, that doesn't mean they always win and sometimes they do, but as Ds with significant R votes as well.

Anonymous said...

To 7:54:

Stephen Goldsmith isn't Jewish? Funny.

And of course, as I posted, both Senators Specter and Coleman are Jewish. Former Senator Coleman is actually 1/2 Jewish.

As for Javits and Goldwater, yes, that was at a time before the party was hijacked by conservative, southern Democrats fleeing their own party to hang onto states rights.


Anonymous said...

Oopps - a correction to my last post. It should have said that former Senator COHEN, not former Senator Coleman.


Anonymous said...

As for Wilson - sorry, friend, but your attempt to shame Republicans into feeling guilty about Jews won't work.

Why don't you peddle your anti-semitism elsewhere?


Wilson46201 said...

Anti-semitism? Angry Republican, you are in the political party very noticeably deficient in Jewish Congresspeople (not to mention the total absence of any Black Republicans whatsoever in Congress)

Anonymous said...

And, Wilson, as I pointed out, you don't care one bit about Jews and their representation in Congress. For you, the issue of Jews and the Republican party is a political one, not a matter of representation.

And, for the record, I have listed several individuals of the Jewish faith who have been elected by Republicans. Apparently, that doesn't matter to you either.

If you truly cared about Jews, that would be one thing. However, your hollow questions bely the fact that you do NOT care about them - rather, you use Jews to advance your political position, and to me, that's anti-Semitism. Jews are fine when you can use them for your own purposes, but when you're done, cast them aside (just as the Democrat party did to Joe Lieberman in 2006.)

And, of course, I note that you didn't deny your anti-Semitism. So, thank you for that.

Oh, by the way, please tell me what the Democrat party has done for Jews in the past, say, 50 years. I mean, if the Democrat party cares so much about them, what have they done for them? Please, tell me. This ought to be interesting. Of course, to you, it's probably not a matter of what they have done - rather, a matter of electing Jews to office.