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Racaille

Qunfuz

Robin Yassin-Kassab

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Segolene Royal has been much criticised for warning that the French ‘banlieu’ will riot if Sarkozy, the interior minister who called banlieu inhabitants ‘racaille’ (‘scum’), is elected president. The banlieu is prone to riot anyway. Why?

Well, here are a few personal anecdotes. The stories are 15 years old, so are not directly relevant to Sarkozy, but they explain something of the racist background to France’s social problems.

One: One evening in Paris I was walking with an upper-middle class English friend whose mother is Malaysian. I’m an English Arab, but white-skinned and blue-eyed. Out of nowhere arrived two policemen. With no warning they grabbed my friend, threw him against a wall, then pushed a truncheon against his throat until he was choking and weeping. They took me round the corner and asked why I was walking with him.

Two: I had a French girlfriend of Algerian origin, also white and not noticeably Arab, who was being harassed by an insane neighbour. She was scared, so we went to the police station to inform them of the situation. The police were polite and concerned. They wrote everything down. But when they asked my girlfriend’s name, their tone changed radically. They scrumpled up the report sheet, told us no offence had been committed, and advised us to get out immediately.

That girlfriend remembered her old maths teacher ordering her to the back of the classroom with the rest of the Arabs and Africans because, as the teacher explained, “I’m employed by the French state to teach French children.”

Her father had escaped from the extreme poverty of his (French-occupied) Algerian childhood to France, where he spent a lifetime as a migrant labourer, suffering casual and brutal violence from foremen and police – and then inflicting some himself, in his impotence, on his own family. When they finally settled in an industrial town, he found work in a factory where he would train white teenagers to do his dangerous, lowest-of-the-low job, and then watch them promoted after a couple of months to brighter and better things.

In Paris I had an African friend who for a time lived in a slum building with other African families. One day a skinhead threw a teargas canister into the corridor where children were playing. The police weren’t interested. They clearly had more important things to do with their time. The same friend was stopped almost every day by police on his way to work, insulted, and ordered to show his papers.

These scorned and abused French citizens, the blacks and beurs who work in the worst jobs for the lowest pay, who live in the ‘rabbit cages’ of the urban wasteland, who constitute 70% of the prison population, who have the least representation, whose voices are not heard, are supposedly the omnipotent Islamic fiends who threaten to destroy French secularism, the whole French way of life, and whose clothing choices must therefore, for the sake of freedom, be sanctioned by the state. (To his credit, Sarkozy did not support the ban on hijab in schools. Update: he has since identified the niqab or face veil as a pressing danger to France, although only 367 French women wear it – that precise number was provided by French intelligence.)

The fact that the French were still using torture and prison camps for civilians in Algeria in the 60s, and that an ex-Vichy police chief (Maurice Papon) at the same time dealt with demonstrating pro-independence Algerians in Paris by tying their feet and throwing them into the Seine, suggests that France has got savage racial prejudice to blame, primarily, for its social problems. The bodies-in-the-Seine incident happened in October 1961. At least 200 civilians were murdered, a crime in which the French media collaborated by its silence and concealment.

It’s certainly the case that many young French Arabs and Africans are somewhat raggamuffin, but extreme alienation and marginalisation tends to do that to you. Besides, if white men in France have a couple of years off the rails they are not in danger of being shot by the police. When I was there, beurs and blacks were shot in the back every couple of months. This was considered normal. It certainly didn’t result in soul-searching by the white population.

It is the complex of racism and class oppression which has made the French innercities unbearable. The real ‘racaille’ are those who blame the victims.

 

Update August 2016: Now – after a serious of ISIS-linked atrocities and the continuing rise of the far right, things are becoming much, much worse. See the ‘burkini’ controversy. ‘Mainstream’ politicians and state officials describe the burkini as ‘a symbol of the groups attacking France’. This is a bit like saying beards should be banned because terrorists have beards, except this is directly targeted at Muslims (though, so I read, it isn’t only Muslim women who wear the burkini. Women with easily burnable skin use it too). Armed men forcibly undressing women, snarly whites cheering the while. I fear this is a sign of things to come. The West’s liberal age is over – the ‘left’ as likely as the right to indulge in racist sterotyping and conspiracy theories. We are heading into incredibly dangerous territory.

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Why the mainstream media doesn’t think #MuslimLivesMatter

 

Bill Maher defends anti-Muslim hate speech in Vanity Fair interview

On eve of University of California honor, Bill Maher defends anti-Muslim hate speech in Vanity Fair interview

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Bill Maher with Ben Affleck and Sam Harris.

This weekend, UC-Berkeley honors its graduates and Bill Maher’s Anti-Muslimism, together.

Unlike Harris-Maher-Affleck-Gate, a very peculiar comment from Bill Maher recently flew completely under the journo radar.  Sally Kohn of Vanity Fair said to him:

“The religious scholar Karen Armstrong did an interview with Salon and talked about what you and Sam Harris said. And she said that your comments fill her with despair because this is ‘the sort of talk that led to the concentrations camps in Europe. The sorts of things that people were saying about Jews in the 30s and 40s.’ That’s gotta sting, especially coming from her.”

To which he replied:

“It doesn’t sting because it’s beyond stupid. Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that the Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay. It’s idiotic.”

Here, we see that Maher disagreed with the comparison between American Muslims in concentration camps and European Jews in concentration camps by listing off “reasons” for why the latter did not deserve it (and the former would?).  The big fat realization staring us all right in the face is…did Bill Maher just justify the mass murder of American Muslims?  What the hell did he just say?

Let’s go through this again, for the sake of clarity.  The scholar Karen Armstrong says she is fearful that if anti-Muslim bigotry (like Maher’s) persists in this country, one day American citizens will get targeted based on whatever classifies as “Muslim”, will get illegally picked up one by one, and will get forcefully placed in 21st century concentration camps where a Muslim Holocaust may or may not be happening.  Instead of laughing her off as hyperbolic or the idea off as preposterous (which I thought was going to follow after his “it’s beyond stupid”), or instead of giving liberal assurances to assuage such fears, Bill Maher instinctually accepts the notion of a Muslim genocide in America and proceeds to contextualize it by blaming Muslims themselves.  Armstrong validated.

According to Maher’s response, the entire spectrum of American Muslims then are at fault for matters outside of their control, involving people that they’ve never met.  For actions that they don’t condone, by subcultures that are different from their own.  For mentalities that they don’t share, by groups whose names they can’t even pronounce.  All because they happen to fall under the same category of religious identity.  This is extreme bigotry against a people that Maher has been able to professionally masquerade as rational critique against a religion…a maneuver only popular, self-identified “liberals” can get away with if they keep saying the words “free speech” louder than others are saying “hate speech”.

In the same interview, Maher proudly claimed “way more people came over to my side” after the exchange with Ben Affleck.  He’s right.  And he loved that racists, homophobes, illegal Mexican blamers, Anti-Semites, climate-change-denying crackpots, White-supremacist nut jobs, and all the other groups of people that he’s been ridiculing for decades jumped the fence and hi-fived him on this one.  This is where they join forces, where their bigotry circles intersect to form that Anti-Muslim vesica piscis in the middle, where they’re brothers in discrimination.  After all, Sean Hannity praised him.  Yeah…take a moment if you need to.

Maher claims he has “two” “Muslim” “friends” but after all he’s spewed about Muslims over the years, we don’t really know what that means.  Maybe they enjoy his impossible ignorance, gross generalizations, warmongering, misinformation, and chronic out-of-context taking.  In the interview, he made it a point to say that Reza Aslan considers him a friend instead of the other way around, despite Aslan trying to publicly make a case for Maher not being a bigot.  My guess is he didn’t make the cut as the third official Muslim friend because he doesn’t do the whole former-Muslim-pet-for-Islamophobes song and dance that Maher loves to spotlight.  Makes you think about his “two” “Muslim” “friends” and if Maher would intervene on their behalf in the American Muslim Holocaust.

Congratulations UC-Berkeley, this Saturday, December 20, you’ll be on the wrong side of history.

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My Racist Encounter at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Seema Jilani

Physician reporting from Afghanistan

Posted: 05/07/2013 3:00 pm

The faux red carpet had been laid out for the famous and the wannabe-famous. Politicians and journalists arrived at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, bedazzled in the hopes of basking in a few fleeting moments of fame, even if only by osmosis from proximity to celebrities. New to the Washington scene, I was to experience the spectacle with my husband, a journalist, and enjoy an evening out. Or at least an hour out. You see, as a spouse I was not allowed into the actual dinner. Those of us who are not participating in the hideous schmooze-fest that is this evening are relegated to attending the cocktail hour only, if that. Our guest was the extraordinarily brilliant Oscar-nominated director of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin. Mr. Zeitlin’s unassuming demeanor was a refreshing taste of humility in a sea of pretentious politicians reeking of narcissism.

As I left the hotel and my husband went to the ballroom for the dinner, I realized he still had my keys. I approached the escalators that led down to the ballroom and asked the externally contracted security representatives if I could go down. They abruptly responded, “You can’t go down without a ticket.” I explained my situation and that I just wanted my keys from my husband in the foyer and that I wouldn’t need to enter in the ballroom. They refused to let me through. For the next half hour, they watched as I frantically called my husband but was unable to reach him.

Then something remarkable happened. I watched as they let countless other women through — all Caucasian — without even asking to see their tickets. I asked why they were allowing them to go freely when they had just told me that I needed a ticket. Their response? “Well, now we are checking tickets.” He rolled his eyes and let another woman through, this time actually checking her ticket. His smug tone, enveloped in condescension, taunted, “See? That’s what a ticket looks like.”

When I asked “Why did you lie to me, sir?” they threatened to have the Secret Service throw me out of the building — me, a 4’11” young woman who weighs 100 pounds soaking wet, who was all prettied up in elegant formal dress, who was simply trying to reach her husband. The only thing on me that could possibly inflict harm were my dainty silver stilettos, and they were too busy inflicting pain on my feet at the moment. My suspicion was confirmed when I saw the men ask a blonde woman for her ticket and she replied, “I lost it.” The snickering tough-guy responded, “I’d be happy to personally escort you down the escalators ma’am.”

Like a malignancy, it had crept in when I least expected it — this repugnant, infectious bigotry we have become so accustomed to. “White privilege” was on display, palpable to passersby who consoled me. I’ve come to expect this repulsive racism in many aspects of my life, but when I find it entrenched in these smaller encounters is when salt is sprinkled deep into the wounds. In these crystallizing moments it is clear that while I might see myself as just another all-American gal who has great affection for this country, others see me as something less than human, more now than ever before.

When I asked why the security representatives offered to personally escort white women without tickets downstairs while they watched me flounder, why they threatened to call the Secret Service on me, I was told, “We have to be extra careful with you all after the Boston bombings.”

I explained that I am a physician, that my husband is a noted journalist for a major American newspaper, and that our guest was an esteemed, Oscar-nominated director. They did not believe me. Never mind that the American flag flew proudly outside of our home for years, with my father taking it inside whenever it rained to protect it from damage. Never mind that I won “Most Patriotic” almost every July 4th growing up. Never mind that I have provided health care to some of America’s most underprivileged, even when they have refused to shake my hand because of my ethnicity.

I looked at him, struggling to bury my tears beneath whatever shred of dignity that remained. They finally saturated my lashes and flood onto my face. Shaking with rage, I said, “We are all human beings and I only ask that you give me the same respect you give others. All I am asking is to be treating with a dignity and humanity. What you did is wrong.” They stared straight ahead, arms crossed, and refused to even look at me. Up came the cruel, xenophobic, soundproof wall that I had seen in the eyes of so many after 9/11. Their eyes, flecked with disdain and hatred, looked through me.

The next affront came quickly thereafter. “You were here last year, weren’t you? You caused trouble here last year too. I know you,” they claimed, accusing me of being a party-crasher. Completely confused, I explained that this was my first time here and that I had no idea what he was referencing. Clearly, he had assumed all brown people look the same and had confused me for someone else.

I wonder what their reaction would have been to a well-dressed white woman trying to reach her husband. Would she have struggled for over an hour while they watched and offered to escort others in? Would they not have extended an offer to help, bended over backwards to offer assistance, just as they did with the woman who “lost her ticket”? Would the Boston bombings even be mentioned to a white woman?

Let’s stop this facade that we are a beacon of tolerance. I don’t need you to “tolerate” me. I don’t want you to merely put up with my presence. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is to be treated as a human being, that bigoted jingoism is not injected into every minute facet my life, that there remains at least the illusion of decency.

Despite being a native English speaker who was born in New Orleans and a physician who trained at a prestigious institution, all people see is the color of my skin. After this incident, I will no longer apologize, either for my faith or my complexion. It is not my job to convince you to distinguish me from the violent sociopaths that claim to be Muslims, whose terrorism I neither support, nor condone. It is your job. Just like when a disturbed young white man shoots up a movie theatre or a school, it is my job, as someone with a conscience, to distinguish them from others. It’s not my job to plead with you to shake my hand without cringing, nor am I going to applaud you when you treat me with common decency; it’s not an accomplishment. It’s simply the right thing to do. Honestly, it’s not that hard.

This year, Quvenzhané Wallis took the world by storm with her staggering performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild. At several award ceremonies, reporters refused to the learn the accurate pronunciation of her name, and one reporter allegedly told Wallis, “I’m gonna call you Annie,” because her name was too difficult to pronounce. If reporters can learn to pronounce Gerard Depardieu and Monique Lhuillier then surely they can take the time to learn how to pronounce Quvenzhané. It’s not hard; it’s just not deemed worthy of your energy because she is someone of color.

A school child recently threatened my 12-year-old niece claiming, “I’m going to kill you Miss Bin Laden.” Again, it is not my job to teach your children manners and social justice, to remove the disgusting threads of racism that you have woven into their hearts with your insecurities. Last week, a 39-year-old Muslim American cab driver who served in the Iraq war was attacked and had his jaw broken in a hate crime. The assailant, an executive from an aviation company, told the veteran “I will slice your fucking throat right now.” I suppose the “support the troops” rhetoric by the right only applies to white veterans.

It wasn’t enough that I have had to prove my “American-ness” at every step of my career, but now the next generation is suffering as well. It wasn’t enough that I was asked whether my father taught me how to make bombs, or that I was told that I was doomed to the seventh circle of hell during my medical school interviews. I was also asked whether I would wear a burqa or if my parents would arrange my marriage during interviews. It is outrageous that I have to actually prove to the world how horrified I am that an 8-year-old boy was brutally murdered by a terrorist bombing. Any normal human being feels this agonizing grief with the rest of the country. I do not have to prove to you that, I, too, find it morally reprehensible. Of course I do. I have a heart. I am human.

So, I no longer want a seat at your restaurant, where you serve me begrudgingly, where I am belittled for asking for food without pork, where I endure your dirty looks at my hijabi friend. I want my pride intact, I want this struggle of mine to be recognized, for you to look me in the eye and acknowledge that yes, this tumor called bigotry is indeed rivering through your veins, polluting your mind, and is so malignant that it compels you to squash my dignity.

It’s the little indignities that slowly devastate your soul. The ones where your guard is down, and you just expect to dress up, look pretty, and enjoy an evening as a newlywed, or at the Oscars, but instead end up humiliated and snubbed. The ubiquitous racist slap in the face is thinly veiled just beneath the carefully crafted façade. This filthy, highly infectious plague is transforming our nation into one of unwarranted suspicion and anguish inflicted on disenfranchised, voiceless people of color. And now, it is no longer my job to enlighten you. To quote what you so often tell ethnic communities, “It’s time for you to step up to the plate, take responsibility, and stop taking what I have earned,” my integrity, my dignity.

source

TV’s most Islamophobic show

                                 

With its portraits of Brody and Roya Hammad, “Homeland” warns that Muslims are a hidden danger to fellow Americans

By

  • TV's most Islamophobic showClaire Danes in “Homeland” (Credit: Showtime/Ronen Akerman)

I started watching “Homeland” because I was bored. All of my favorite shows were coming to a (season’s) end, and I needed something new to watch. I’m drawn to smart scripted dramas, but I was immediately suspicious of the show when I learned that its creators were also the ones behind “24,” the Fox drama that somehow became the chief piece of evidence for the effectiveness of torture and was a favorite of Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh.

But I kept an open mind and was riveted by the first episode, which laid out the intriguing mystery: Is Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody the POW who’s been turned against his country by al-Qaida and its leader, the nefarious Abu Nazir? Soon CIA agent Carrie Mathison is seen spying on Brody and family in scenes reminiscent of the Stasi’s voyeurism in the Academy Award-winning film “The Lives of Others.”

But as we learn more about Brody’s back story, the plot becomes increasingly absurd and insidiously Islamophobic.

All the standard stereotypes about Islam and Muslims are reinforced, and it is demonstrated ad nauseam that anyone marked as “Muslim” by race or creed can never be trusted, all via the deceptively unsophisticated bureau-jargon of the government’s top spies. Here are four major, problematic areas (among many others. I couldn’t even get to the oversexed Saudi prince and his international harem):

read on @source

In king’s English

[youtube http://youtu.be/klvhLBYSo4c?]

Muslims Joke About #MuslimRage Newsweek Cover

Minutes after Newsweek posted a picture of its upcoming cover story about “Muslim Rage,” Muslims and others began mocking it with the hashtag #MuslimRage. Curated by Alex Fitzpatrick.Newsweek’s cover story, titled “Muslim Rage: How I Survived It, How We Can End It,” in part examines the passionate and occasionally violent protests over a controversial anti-Islam YouTube video that have been spreading throughout Muslim communities.

Full article here

Inside the strange Hollywood scam that spread chaos across the Middle East | Max Blumenthal

Palestinians protest against The Innocence of Muslims. Officials confirmed ‘Sam Bacile’ was an alias used by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Photograph: EPA

Did an inflammatory anti-Muslim film trailer that appeared spontaneously on YouTube prompt the attack that left four US diplomats dead, including US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens? American officials have suggested that the assault was pre-planned, allegedly by of one of the Jihadist groups that emerged since the Nato-led overthrow of Libya’s Gaddafi regime. So even though the deadly scene in Benghazi may not have resulted directly from the angry reaction to the Islamophobic video, the violence has helped realize the apocalyptic visions of the film’s backers.

Produced and promoted by a strange collection of rightwing Christian evangelicals and exiled Egyptian Copts, the trailer was created with the intention of both destabilizing post-Mubarak Egypt and roiling the US presidential election. As a consultant for the film named Steve Klein said: “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.”

The Associated Press’s initial report on the trailer – an amateurish, practically unwatchable production called The Innocence of Muslims – identified a mysterious character, “Sam Bacile”, as its producer. Bacile told the Associated Press that he was a Jewish Israeli real estate developer living in California. He said that he raised $5m for the production of the film from “100 Jewish donors”, an unusual claim echoing Protocols of the Elders of Zion-style fantasies. Unfortunately, the extensive history of Israeli and ultra-Zionist funding and promotion of Islamophobic propaganda in the United States provided Bacile’s remarkable statement with the ring of truth.

Who was Bacile? The Israeli government could not confirm his citizenship, and for a full day, no journalist was able to determine whether he existed or not. After being duped by Bacile, AP traced his address to the home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a militant Coptic separatist and felon convicted of check fraud. On September 13, US law enforcement officials confirmed that “Sam Bacile” was an alias Nakoula used to advance his various scams, which apparently included the production of The Innocence of Muslims.

According to an actor in the film, the all-volunteer cast was deceived into believing they were acting in a benign biblical epic about “how things were 2,000 years ago”. The script was titled Desert Warrior, and its contents made no mention of Muhammad – his name was dubbed into the film during post-production. On the set, a gray-haired Egyptian man who identified himself only as “Sam” (Nakoula) chatted aimlessly in Arabic with a group of friends while posing as the director. A casting notice for Desert Warrior listed the film’s real director as “Alan Roberts”. This could likewise be a pseudonym, although there is a veteran Hollywood hand responsible for such masterpieces as The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood and The Sexpert who goes by the same name.

Before Nakoula was unmasked, the only person to publicly claim any role in the film was Klein, an insurance salesman and Vietnam veteran from Hemet, California, who emerged from the same Islamophobic movement that produced the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Styling themselves as “counter-Jihadists”, anti-Muslim crusaders like Klein took their cues from top propagandists like Pamela Geller, the blogger who once suggested that Barack Obama was the lovechild of Malcolm X, and Robert Spencer, a pseudo-academic expert on Muslim radicalization who claimed that Islam was no more than “a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers”. Both Geller and Spencer were labeled hate group leaders by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Klein is an enthusiastic commenter on Geller’s website, Atlas Shrugged, where he recently complained about Mitt Romney’s “support for a Muslim state in Israel’s heartland”. In July 2011, Spencer’s website, Jihad Watch, promoted a rally Klein organized to demand the firing of Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca, whom he painted as a dupe for the Muslim Brotherhood.

On his personal Facebook page, Altar or Abolish, Klein obsesses over the Muslim Brotherhood, describing the organization as “a global network of Muslims attacking to convert the world’s 6 billion people to Islam or kill them”. Klein urges a violent response to the perceived threat of Islam in the United States, posting an image to his website depicting a middle-American family with a mock tank turret strapped to the roof of their car. “Can you direct us to the nearest mosque?” read a caption Klein added to the photo.

In 2011, during his campaign to oust Sheriff Baca, Klein forged an alliance with Joseph Nasrallah, an extremist Coptic broadcaster who shared his fear and resentment of the Muslim Brotherhood. Nasrallah appeared from out of nowhere at a boisterous rally against the construction of an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2010, warning a few hundred riled-up Tea Party types that Muslims “came and conquered our country the same way they want to conquer America”.

Organized by Geller and Spencer, the rally was carefully timed to coincide with the peak of the midterm congressional election campaign, in which many rightwing Republicans hoped to leverage rising anti-Muslim sentiment into resentment against the presidency of Obama.

Through his friendship with Nasrallah, Klein encountered another radical Coptic separatist named Morris Sadek. Sadek has been banned from returning to his Egypt, where he is widely hated for his outrageous anti-Muslim displays. On the day of the Ground Zero rally, for instance, Sadek was seen parading around the streets of Washington, DC, on September 11, 2010, with a crucifix in one hand and a Bible implanted with the American flag in the other. “Islam is evil!” he shouted. “Islam is a cult religion!”

With another US election approaching, and the Egyptian government suddenly under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, Klein and Sadek joined Nakoula in preparing what would be their greatest propaganda stunt to date: the Innocence of Muslims. As soon as the film appeared on YouTube, Sadek promoted it on his website, transforming the obscure clip into a viral source of outrage in the Middle East. And like clockwork, on September 11, crowds of Muslim protesters stormed the walls of the US embassy in Cairo, demanding retribution for the insult to the prophet Muhammad. The demonstrations ricocheted into Libya, where the deadly attack that may have been only peripherally related to the film occurred.

For Sadek, the chaos was an encouraging development. He and his allies had been steadfastly opposed to the Egyptian revolution, fearing that it would usher in the Muslim Brotherhood as the country’s new leaders. Now that their worst fears were realized, Coptic extremists and other pro-Mubarak dead-enders were resorting to subterfuge to undermine the ruling party, while pointing to the destabilizing impact of their efforts as proof of the government’s bankruptcy. As Sadek said, “the violence that [the film] caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people”.

For far-right Christian right activists like Klein, the attacks on American interests abroad seemed likely to advance their ambitions back in the US. With Americans confronted with shocking images of violent Muslims in Egypt and Libya on the evening news, their already negative attitudes toward their Muslim neighbors were likely to harden. In turn, the presidential candidates, Obama and Romney, would be forced to compete for who could take the hardest line against Islamic “terror”.

A patrician moderate constantly on the defensive against his own right flank, Romney fell for the bait, baselessly accusing Obama of “sympathiz[ing] with those who waged the attacks” and of issuing “an apology for America’s values”. The clumsy broadside backfired in dramatic fashion, opening Romney to strident criticism from across the spectrum, including from embarrassed Republican members of Congress. Obama wasted no time in authorizing a round of drone strikes on targets across Libya, which are likely to deepen regional hostility to the US.

A group of fringe extremists had proven that with a little bit of money and an unbelievably cynical scam, they could shape history to fit their apocalyptic vision. But in the end, they were not immune to the violence they incited.

According to Copts Today, an Arabic news outlet focusing on Coptic affairs, Sadek was seen taking a leisurely stroll down Washington’s M Street on September 11, soaking in the sun on a perfect autumn day. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by four angry Coptic women. Berating Sadek for fueling the flames of sectarian violence, the women took off their heels and began beating him over the head.

“If anything happens to a Christian in Egypt,” one of them shouted at him, “you’ll be the reason!”

source

Anti-Islam film: What we know

An obscure slapstick film said to be entitled Innocence of Muslims or Life of Muhammed has been cited as the cause for riots at US diplomatic posts in Egypt and Libya.

But the existence of the purported filmmaker, Sam Bacile, allegedly a 52-year-old Israeli-American real estate developer, has not been proven.

In interviews with the AP news agency and the Wall Street Journal, a man calling himself “Sam Bacile” said he had raised about $5m to produce the film. He also was quoted describing Islam as “a cancer”, and claimed he had raised money from “about 100 Jewish donors” to make the video.

But the interview subject did not even give the same age during his two known press interviews, as he told the AP he was 56.

The man said the amateur, two-hour-long film had involved dozens of actors and was produced in California in 2011. But new reports suggest neither any prior social media presence by the director nor any IMDB page for the film.

The director of the California Film Commission – which issues permits for films that are shot in the state, told the Huffington Post that no permit was ever granted to someone by the name “Sam Bacile”.

‘Desert Warrior’

The trailer for the film – which itself is so far unavailable to the public – portrays Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a fraud and a womaniser, and depicts him having sex. The entire film has only been shown once in public, at a theatre in Hollywood, said the source who identified himself as “Bacile”.

He also explained he made the film because “after 9/11 everybody should be in front of the judge”, AP reported. “Even Jesus, even Muhammad.”

But actors who participated in the filming now say they had no idea the film was even about Muhamad or Islam. The original casting call was reportedly for a film called “Desert Warrior” by director Alan Roberts.

And all the film’s religious references were actually dubbed after the original shooting.

“Bacile” is now reportedly in hiding, even though reports suggest that the name is merely cover for a larger group, or a pseudonym for someone who may be neither Israeli nor Jewish – but who cited such an identify to inflame tensions.

One of the actresses who says she was tricked into being in the film says “Bacile” told her on set that he was Egyptian, and that he spoke Arabic to other men present.

Reuters has reported that Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox church issued a statement condemning some Egyptian Christians living aboard who it said had financed “the production of a film insulting Prophet Muhammad”.

In Egypt and Libya, public anger at the video spilled over on Tuesday, leading to the death of the US ambassador in Benghazi, Libya and the evacuation of embassy workers in Cairo.

Spread on social media

How did an obscure film trailer come to have international ramifications? It was first posted on YouTube by a user called “sam bacile” in July 2012, and has received about 450,000 views to date.

The trailer began to get more attention in September. On September 4, the same user posted a version dubbed in Arabic, which has garnered tens of thousands of views.

Morris Sadek, a Coptic Christian born in Egypt but who lives in the US, told AP he had been promoting the film on his website. He also tweeted a link to the trailer on September 9.

Sadek, the head of the National American Coptic Assembly, is known for his vehemently anti-Islam views, and told the Wall Street Journal that “the violence that it [the film] caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people are”.

Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose burning of Qurans in 2011 spurred riots across the Muslim world leading to several deaths, also reportedly promoted the film.

The Arabic version of the trailer received heavy media coverage in Egypt last week, including by controversial hardline TV host Khaled Abdallah, who reported on the film on September 8.

A clip of the show was posted to YouTube on September 9, where it has received almost 400,000 views so far.

“The operation behind this film appears to be extreme Egyptian Copts who want to discredit the Morsi government and create a provocation,” journalist Max Blumenthal told Al Jazeera.

“They oppose the revolution and are aligned with Christian right groups who have an apocalyptic, theocratic agenda and who are inciting against Muslim-Americans,” Blumenthal said, adding, “They put Muslims in the US in danger, they put Copts in Egypt in danger, and they’re putting US diplomats in danger.”

YouTube clip blocked

The Afghan government on Wednesday temporarily blocked YouTube in an effort to discourage people from watching the clip. YouTube also blocked the video in Egypt, agency reports said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the company said: “We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions.

“This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere.

“This video – which is widely available on the web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.

“Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in [Tuesday’s] attack in Libya.”

Observers say Google has grown more averse to removing videos. After its 2006 acquisition of YouTube, it was accused of censorship in several high-profile controversies.

“They’re squeezed on all sides,” said Rebecca MacKinnon, a fellow at the New America Foundation. “But because of pressure from a lot of people who feel they made the wrong decisions, they now generally err on the side of keeping things up.”

In recent years, Google has used technology to filter out videos in certain countries to comply with local regulations.

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