Walid Shoebat

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  • Media Matters And Civil Rights Groups Release Media “Field Guide To Anti-Muslim Extremists”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Media Matters partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Center for New Community, and ReThink Media to release a journalist's guide to the network of anti-Muslim activists and surrogates spreading vitriolic rhetoric in the media and the best practices for countering these extremists’ misinformation.

    The report “profiles 15 prominent anti-Muslim extremists, many of whom are associated with organizations identified by the SPLC as hate groups,” who appear frequently in the media, “where they spread falsehoods that too often go untested.” Citing the “baseless” propaganda produced by these extremists who “have shamelessly exploited terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other things, to demonize the entire Islamic faith,” the full report details the way television news networks and leading newspapers have allowed these extremists to “routinely espouse a wide range of utter falsehoods” about Muslims without providing any pushback. The report contends that the media have enabled these extremists to vilify American Muslims by accusing them of conspiring to “impose Shariah religious law,” thereby creating a false impression of the community and resulting in “hundreds of violent hate crime attacks” against them. From the October 26 report:

    Ever since the Al Qaeda massacre of Sept. 11, 2001, American Muslims have been under attack. They have been vilified as murderers, accused of conspiring to take over the United States and impose Shariah religious law, described as enemies of women, and subjected to hundreds of violent hate crime attacks. A major party presidential nominee has even suggested that America ban Muslim immigrants.

    Fueling this hatred has been the propaganda, the vast majority of it completely baseless, produced and popularized by a network of anti-Muslim extremists and their enablers. These men and women have shamelessly exploited terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other things, to demonize the entire Islamic faith.

    Sadly, a shocking number of these extremists are seen regularly on television news programs and quoted in the pages of our leading newspapers. There, they routinely espouse a wide range of utter falsehoods, all designed to make Muslims appear as bloodthirsty terrorists or people intent on undermining American constitutional freedoms. More often than not, these claims go uncontested.

    [...]

    This misinformation and hateful rhetoric have consequences. When huge numbers of Americans believe that a majority of Muslims are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, it can hardly be a surprise that some percentage of them engage in hate crime attacks. After all, they learned of the threat they believe Muslims pose from sources who were presented by the media as authoritative experts.

    This country faces an array of complex and daunting problems, the threat of terrorism indisputably among them. Let’s not make them worse by allowing self-described “experts” to propagandize our fellow Americans with defamatory and frightening falsehoods. Our media, in particular, has the opportunity to present an objective picture that illuminates, rather than distorts, reality.

    The 15 anti-Muslim extremists profiled in the report are Ann Corcoran, Steven Emerson, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney Jr., Pamela Geller, John Guandolo, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, David Horowitz, Ryan Mauro, Robert Muise, Maajid Nawaz, Daniel Pipes, Walid Shoebat, Robert Spencer, and David Yerushalmi. The report lists various false and extreme claims from the extremists and calls on the media to stop presenting the extremists as “authoritative experts” and allowing them to “propagandize our fellow Americans with defamatory and frightening falsehoods”:

    The anti-Muslim extremists profiled here have, between them, claimed that Islamic extremists have infiltrated the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and other agencies; asserted that there are “no-go zones” in Europe where non-Muslims including police are afraid to enter; suggested that there is a Muslim plot to impose Sharia religious law on U.S. courts; and claimed that President Obama is a secret Muslim. These claims, along with many others, have been shown conclusively to be false.

    According to the report, the media coverage of and interviews with these anti-Muslim extremists fail to contextualize their “defamatory and false rhetoric and their hate group associations” and thus don't tell their audiences that these extremists “are far outside the mainstream, and that their factual assertions are very often completely baseless.” The report includes best practices for media, noting that “too often, television networks, newspapers and other media organizations turn to these groups’ spokespeople as credible sources on national security, immigration and religious liberty, and valid counterpoints to real issue experts.”

    The report’s best practices include:

    1. Research the background of extremist spokespeople and consider other sources.

    2. If you do use anti-Muslim spokespeople, point out their extremism.

    3. Prepare to challenge hateful rhetoric and misinformation.

    4. Don’t rely on opposing guests to challenge extremists.

    To read the full report, click here.

  • Islamic studies experts debunk inflammatory allegation made on Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    Islamic studies experts are disputing inflammatory claims made on Fox News by a self-proclaimed "former terrorist," who has repeatedly appeared on the network to paint Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Sufi leader spearheading the Islamic community center set to be built near Ground Zero, as a stealth radical Muslim.

    On August 18, Fox News hosted Walid Shoebat, a born-again Christian who dubiously claims to be a former PLO militant, to comment on the controversy over the Islamic center. It is was not the first or last time that Fox put Shoebat on national television to discuss issues related to Islam, even though Shoebat has reportedly called Islam "the devil" and has said, "if Islam is not playing the major role in Antichrist spirit, why do you think the devil wants to appoint somebody connected to Islam in the White House?" Previously, Fox defended Franklin Graham, the evangelist who called Islam "a very evil and wicked religion."

    During his August 18 appearance on Fox & Friends, Shoebat launched a series of serious accusations against Rauf, claiming that Rauf expresses support for terrorism when he speaks to Arabic media:

  • Shoebat falsely claims Rauf wrote of a "Judenrein" Israel

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    Walid Shoebat's September 3 "open letter" to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, published by WorldNetDaily, is a barely coherent mess of right-wing anti-Islam talking points and unexplained allusions. In the middle of it, Shoebat sticks in this slur:

    You have worked tirelessly for peace. All you wanted was: "an icon [Cordoba Mosque]." My mother asked me: On God's green earth, there is no other place you can put a mosque except by the 9/11 rubble? And since we rejected the mosque idea, will the pool at your center allow Jews to swim, or were you kidding when you wrote the N.Y Times that Israel will be Judenrein (free of Jews)?

    "Judenrein" is a term used by the Nazis to describe areas from which Jews had been "cleansed."

    Needless to say, Rauf said no such thing -- there's no evidence Rauf ever used the term "Judenrein," in The New York Times or anywhere else. Shoebat appears to be referring to a 1977 letter to the Times in which, according to The Wall Street Journal, Rauf wrote: "In a true peace it is impossible that a purely Jewish state of Palestine can endure. . . . In a true peace, Israel will, in our lifetimes, become one more Arab country, with a Jewish minority." That is clearly not the same thing as Shoebat's inflammatory accusation that Rauf declared "Israel will be Judenrein."

    Shoebat's eagerness to smear Rauf seems to come from ignorance of anything he's written that didn't come from anti-Islam activists. For instance, Shoebat asks of Rauf, "I would like to know if your American-style Islamic Shariah would include interest banking since our whole capitalistic system depends on it." If Shoebat had read Rauf's book What's Right With Islam, he would have something of an answer. In it, Rauf asserts that America's political system is already "Shariah-compliant," suggesting that he has no particular desire to eliminate the nation's interest banking system. Rauf also wrote that the corporation structure provided the West "great competitive advantages" over Islamic ways of doing business, adding, "Until the Muslim world finds a way to opening embrace these concepts and ideas in a manner consistent with Islamic law, it will continue to lag economically" [page 210].

    But Shoebat hasn't read Rauf's book. In a different version of the "open letter" posted on his own website on August 27, Shoebat writes, "I admit that I failed to read your book 'What's Right With Islam.' "

    Perhaps Shoebat -- whose self-proclaimed past as a "PLO terrorist" has raised questions -- should get a copy of Rauf's book and read it quietly until he is able to offer an informed opinion.

  • "Ex-terrorist" Walid Shoebat is too sketchy for Debbie Schlussel but fine for Fox News

    ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    As part of Fox News' ongoing attack on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan, Fox & Friends hosted Walid Shoebat, a self-professed "former terrorist" and born-again Christian, to smear Rauf as a supporter of terrorism. Shoebat has a history of making inflammatory remarks about Islam and President Obama, and some have questioned the veracity of Shoebat's claims about his "former terrorist" past.