This past Monday, November 26, a UC-Irvine student group called Ex-Muslims & Critics of Islam (ECI) held a panel titled, “Freedom of Speech vs. Blasphemy in Islam: Should American Values Submit to Islamic Censorship?” With this ECI hosted some of the most important figures orchestrating the established Islamophobia movement here in the United States.
ECI’s Kesra Shah Hosseini organized the panel, which was held in Pacific Ballroom D of UCI’s Student Center. In an interview posted on Youtube, Shah, a 2012 graduate of the school, stated that he wants people to understand what it is like to live in an Islamic Republic, and “to give hope to the people who are being oppressed.” He hopes that through ECI’s work “maybe some lives can be saved.”
These are admirable hopes, as all those living under oppression, whether in Burma or elsewhere, should never be abandoned to the ruthless regimes that destroy their lives; however, “honoring” such victims with the panelists ECI invited solely accomplishes the opposite.
Such individuals purport that every Muslim in the world is waging hateful jihad to destroy the West and to replace its freedoms with Sharia law. ECI’s guests are everyday working to erase any and all distinctions between an average individual Muslim and a full-fledged terrorist who is fundamentally committed to the study of political Islam.
For the following four individuals, Islam equals terrorism, period:
- The panel was moderated Jamie Glazov, managing editor of FrontPage Magazine (FPM). FPM is an online magazine run by the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), which is described by the anti-bigotry organization Hope Not Hate as “a leading think-tank which helps fund and coordinate Counter-Jihad activities.” The DHFC, of course, is run by one David Horowitz, who Hope Not Hate describes as “probably the most important public funder of the international Counter-Jihad movement.”
- The panel’s most prominent speaker was Robert Spencer of the online magazine Jihad Watch, which is also funded by the DFHC. Spencer is perhaps one of the three most important scribes writing from within the international Islamophobia movement. Having no background in Islamic studies whatsoever hasn’t stopped him from authoring literally thousands of blogs and articles and 10 books on the subject. His lack of expertise hasn’t stopped people from buying his ideas and work, as well. Which might explain why the US Army, the FBI, various bodies within the US Intelligence community, and the General Staff College have hired him to conduct trainings and seminars. One of his books is listed as a New York Times Bestseller, and Hope Not Hate underscores that Spencer “is one of the most influential and high profile Counter Jihadists in the world,” and “a principal leader” of that movement. According to the website SpencerWatch.com, “he [joined] a genocidal Facebook group that called for Turkey to be ‘ethnically cleansed’ of Turkish Muslims.” Jihad Watch was sourced 162 times in Norwegian murder Anders Behring Breivik’s personal manifesto, in which he argues Europe must cleanse itself of all Muslims and Islamic influences. He also works first-hand with the violent group of convicted football hooligans and criminals, the English Defence League. Spencer is at the trans-Atlantic spear-point of individuals working to unite the US-based and European-based leaders and activists of this movement.
- Nonie Darwish was also on the docket. Darwish is the founder and president of Arabs for Israel and the co-founder and director of Former Muslims United. Similar to Kamal Saleem and Walid Shoebat (also a co-founder of Former Muslims United), Darwish works the speaking and lecture circuit as a Muslim-turned-Christain-convert who sees it as her duty to inform and warn the world of the true “conflicted” and inherently violent nature of all Muslims. Darwish has made such claims as, “Islam obliges Muslims to lie,” and, “the most dangerous threat in our age is Islam.” In one speech, Darwish went as far as to claim that “everyone in the Middle East mourned when Bin Laden was killed.”
- The third panelist listed was Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the DHFC who is also an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum where until last year he worked as associate director. He is a prolific writer, penning dozens upon dozens of articles for the likes of FrontPage Magazine and the virulently Islamophobic Gatestone Institute, which published Ibrahim’s piece, “Militant Muslims Cutting Out Tongues,” back on November 12. Ibrahim exposes his own bigotries and overall lack of cultural awareness when he pens sentiments like the following: “The New York Times also exposed its bias by defending the anti-Christian ‘Piss Christ’ as ‘art,’ while condemning the anti-Muslim Muhammad movie as hate-speech.”
This was Shah and ECI’s first larger scale event, but their previous public showings prove that he and his group share the goals and objectives of Spencer and his comrades. In addition to selling Qur’ans that present already-highlighted passages–one can assume these passages quote-unquote prove that all Muslims are oriented for violence–ECI ran a tabling-event called, “Let’s Cut Some Hands!” (pictured above).
Of it’s hand-cutting event, ECI wrote on the Facebook page created for this “fun and informing event” that “You will be praised by chants of Allahu Akbar if you cut a hand of a thief at ECI’s table [sic] lol.” At the table, one could “Take a Halloween photo with an Islamist cleric cutting hands of [sic] a thief,” or, “take pictures of yourself wearing a turban and Bin Laden’s cloak.”
What about any of these activities will give hope to the oppressed or “maybe” save anyone’s life? Across history such bigotry has generally led to the opposite.