Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Anti-Islamic vigilantes a problem in Wichita KS

By SJ Otto
A number of important issues have surfaced since the Islamic Society of Wichita first planned to have Monzer Taleb, a spokesperson for Hamas, speak at their Mosque during the Easter weekend. Hamas is a democratically elected party in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Hamas was elected back in 2007.
Hamas has been designated a terrorist group by the US government. But in reality it is nothing like ISIS (Islamic State) or al-Qaida. Hama does not carry our or even suggest terrorist actions against the US. It is a military group of resistance to Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and it does use violence. But that is nothing like ISIS or al-Qaida. The US constantly uses the terrorist label to dismiss organizations or political groupings whose ideology is at odds with that of the US. This cheapens the label of terrorism for groups that actually do commit acts of terrorism, especially if those groups attack the US. ISIS and al-Qaida have not only attacked the US, but they have attacked civilians and non-military targets. They are much different from Hamas and many of the groups that are labelled terrorist by the US government for purely political reasons. This cheapens the whole terrorism label to nothing more than a political insult.
Here in Kansas our very own US Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, accused Taleb of supporting terrorism and called for the speech to be cancelled. According to KWCH12;  

"It was poor judgement, in my view, on the part of the Islamic Society of Wichita," said Rep. Mike Pompeo. "I'm glad that they have now changed their minds."

Congressman Pompeo, a member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee says Sheikh Taleb pledged his allegiance to a terrorist organization. "Sheikh Taleb has been very clear personally in the things that he has said that he was a part of Hamas," said Pompeo. "That the destruction of Israel is something that he would like to see happen and he has made no bones about it."

Those of us who have followed the career of Pompeo already know he is one of the most pro-imperialist and pro-military members of congress. He is also pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian and he does not believe in honouring his own countries constitution and fist amendment.
The next issues is that armed groups protested the event and that got the Islamic Society to drop the proposed speaker. There is no reason for anyone in Wichita to protest at a place of worship carrying guns. That makes the more than just a protest. They were there to intimidate those who had planned on listening to Taleb. How is this any different from the Ku Klux Klan burning crosses in front of black churches? Should this society tolerate such actions? It seems really wrong that any group of protesters can come to a church and intimidate its members out of having speakers come.
Another issues are the people who have taken on an anti-Muslim cause. These people promote an agenda of hate against all Muslims. They don't differentiate between the Muslims who are just practicing religion and those involved in terrorist crimes. These anti-Islamic groups are not much difference from the Ku Klux Klan. They are practicing a form of discrimination and intolerance of those who are not Christian Americans.
According to our local The Wichita Eagle;

"It involves the world of home-grown militias or “security forces” and a Facebook message that sounds to him like a domestic terrorist threat against Muslims in Kansas.
“WE need to keep an eye on muslim buildings. and ready to strike,” part of the message, posted on the Kansas Patriots Network, says.
The reaction against the Wichita mosque speaker appears to be part of a new trend by anti-government militia groups of targeting Muslims, (Daryl) Johnson said. He is a former senior domestic terrorism analyst with the Department of Homeland Security who has testified to Congress."

These groups are extremely right-wing and propose violence against all kinds of people such as those who desecrate a flag, and those they see as anti-American. That includes anti-Islam rants and proposals of violence. A person calling himself The Pissed off American has a whole page dedicated to his hatred of Islam.  

Then there is the issue of anti-Palestinian sentiments here in Wichita. There are people who refuse to listen to anything other than the Israeli point of view. Besides such bigots as Pompeo we have other-wise progressive people who are so pro-Israel that they also supported protesting the Mosque.
The Wichita Eagle article mentioned Stuart Elliott, a Wichita resident and retired postal worker, as one of those who believed that Taleb has raised funds for terrorists and is an enemy of Israel.
The important thing about all of this is the rising hate against all Muslims. The Wichita Eagle article also reported that the FBI is reporting an increase in hate crimes against Muslims. It is not surprising that there are those irrational people who want to lump everyone of a certain religion as enemies out of fear. Such irrational fears raise their ugly heads from  time and time. Whether it be race, religion or politics, as in the various "red scares" in our history, this is about intolerance and we need to oppose it at every turn.

Such intolerance must be opposed at every opportunity.

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