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Hate vs. Hate: A Clash in Garland

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“We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches it’s all ancient history. Then – before you can blink an eye – suddenly it threatens to start all over again.” Jean Luc Picard Star Trek the Next Generation – the Drumhead

Well the direct confrontation and collision between radical Moslems and their most radical opponents has finally happened. American Moslem Jihadists attack a gathering where those who hate Moslems are doing their best to incite Moslems to violence in Garland. Hate met hate and sadly, I fear this is just the beginning.

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Elton Simpson

The attackers, one named Elton Simpson from Phoenix who had previously been convicted about lying about his involvement with terror groups and a second who was likely his room-mate were killed when they opened fire outside the event wounding a security guard in the ankle. Just prior to the attack Simpson sent out a twitter message with the hashtag #texasattack stating “May Allah accept us as mujahideen.”

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AbuHussainAlBritani

Over the past few week various members of the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) have encouraged attacks on this particular gathering. The attacks were cheered by AbuHussainAlBritani (@_AbuHu55ain) on Twitter who may also have helped direct them. Four hours before the attack he tweeted: The knives have been sharpened, soon we will come to your streets with death and slaughter! #QaribanQariba . During and after the attack he continued to tweet:

My friends, if you ask me those are fighting words that need to be taken deadly serious.

The event Simpson and his accomplice attacked was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative headed by well-known racist and Moslem baiter Pamela Geller who has determined that all Moslems are the enemy. Like the Southern Poverty Law Center I believe that it is a hate group, but that being said even hate groups have free speech rights and should not be violently attacked.

The event supposedly promoted standing with “free speech” rights and was dedicated to standing in solidarity with the staff of the Charlie Hebdo magazine which was slaughtered by Islamic terrorists in January. Critics said it was an anti-Moslem gathering and there is some truth in that statement and I am inclined to classify it as such because I know what Geller stands for. It included a speech given by Dutch right-wing, anti-Moslem and some would say Fascist politician Geert Wilders. However, the highlight of the event was the completion to draw a cartoon image of the Prophet Mohammed, which is considered blasphemous by Moslems. The prize was $10,000 for the best rendition of the Prophet. Of course by “best” I would assume this would be the most hateful, inflammatory and derogatory defection, without the often brilliant satire of the murdered staff of Charlie Hebdo. There is a difference between hate and racism versus satire and I’m sure that knowing Geller and those devoted to her cause that this was not satire, and was probably more like Julius Streicher’s depiction of Jews in Der Sturmer. The irony that Geller, a Jewish woman would employ the hatred and racist pornography of the Nazi Streicher in her attacks on Moselms is not lost on me. 

Now as much as I despise Geller and her ignorant and hate filled screeds against all Moslems I stand with her in regard to free speech, even that with which I disagree. I also know that for Geller that free speech is a one way street. Likewise I question the wisdom of conducting the event, knowing that it might provoke a violent response, but I do not think for a moment that such speech should be banned, and no civilized person or group would ever violently attack such a gathering. Sadly Geller’s actions play right into the hands of the Moslem extremists. 

 

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Stéphane Charbonnier of Charlie Hebdo- Murdered in Cold Blood

Over the past couple of years and especially over the past few months we have seen an increase in such attacks by radicalized Moslems on those who they believe have blasphemed the Prophet. Charlie Hebdo in Paris, an attack on a coffee shop in Australia, and an attack on a free speech event in Copenhagen Denmark. After the Charlie Hebdo attack the Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) group claimed credit for the attack. One of its leaders, Sheikh Usama (RA) said in his message to the West: “If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.” 

Of course such words are a declaration of war against free speech.

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Anders Behring Breivik killed 69 and wounded 110 mostly children

Likewise there have been attacks by right-wing and often allegedly “Christian” people against Moslems, or people who just happened to look like Moslems. Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian went into action to kill the enemies of Western Civilization and Christian culture on July 22nd 2008.  In an assault that included a car bomb which killed 8 people and wounded 209 and an attack on a youth camp which killed 69 and wounded another 110, almost all of them children.

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Wade Page

Wade Page, a neo-Nazi and White Supremacist attacked a Sikh Temple, confusing it with a Moslem gathering killed 6 people and wounded many more who had simply come to worship before he was killed by police.

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In February three America students at University of North Carolina were gunned down execution style in their home by Craig Stephen Hicks. According to those who know Hicks hated all religion and was quite angry at the Christians and Jews who participated together with Moslems and others in the ecumenical memorial services after the attacks of September 11th 2001.

The key ingredient in all of these attacks no matter who is conducting them is a hatred of the other, a passionate hatred that Eric Hoffer noted “can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. These people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance.”   

The sad thing is that I believe that this is just the beginning. The whole purpose of those radicalized to hate other with such passion to bring about an ideological-religious war between Islam and the West. The cycle of violence will increase until it boils over as it is incited by extremists of all types, Moslem, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, you name them. Real honest debate and dialogue has been replaced by the most base and vitriolic attacks and violence and that my friends is why this is just the beginning.

I am a realist and I fear for what happens when eventually people connected to the Islamic State conduct a strike on an America city or event with a nuke, dirty-bomb, chemical agent or biological agent which causes mass causalities and destruction. Mark my words it will happen no matter how hard we try to prevent it. When it happens the Geller’s of the world will use it to justify all means of attacks and persecution of Moslems in this country, the vast majority of whom are innocent, law abiding and loyal Americans. It will be worse that what we did to American citizens of Japanese descent after Pearl Harbor, and I would not be surprised Moslems rounded up and their property vandalized or seized.

I for one am glad that the terrorists did not succeed and were killed but there will be more and they will undoubtedly will be more competent and deadly than Simpson and his accomplice ever dreamed of being.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Four Little Girls: The Birmingham Church Bombing 50 Years Later

MCNAIR ROBERTSON COLLINS WESLEY

Most Americans will not recognize the names and I would dare say that many do not even know about what happened in Birmingham Alabama 50 years ago today. At 1022 in the morning on September 15th 1963 a bomb exploded during the worship service at the 16th Street Baptist Church. Most people also do not know that before that beginning in 1955 there had been 19 other bombings of black churches and the homes of black leaders in Birmingham. Even before that Birmingham had become known as “Bombingham” because over 50 bombing attacks against blacks, black churches and black institutions in the years after the First World War.

Four young girls, three 14 year olds and one 13 year old were killed. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley lost their lives that day and 22 other church members were wounded in an attack carried out by members of the KKK and tacitly approved of by many political leaders including Alabama Governor George Wallace.

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The church had served as a focal point of the Freedom Summer where Civil Rights activists and students from around the country had met, trained and organized to register blacks to vote. This made it a prominent target for violence.

Early in the morning of September 15th four members of the United Klans of America Frank Bobby Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Herman Cash and Robert Chambliss placed a box of 10 sticks of dynamite under the church steps near the basement. A time delay detonator was set o ensure that the church was filled when the bomb went off. The blast occurred as children were entering the to listen to a sermon, ironically entitled “The Love that Forgives.”

It was a heinous crime and an act of cold blooded premeditated murder which maybe a number of years before might not have made the news in much of the country. But this was 1963 and over the preceding months of the Freedom Summer many people across the nation had an eye on the South. The brutal attacks on many blacks, civil rights workers and student volunteers had raised the profile of the Civil Rights Movement and shown the ugly hatred towards blacks held by many Southerners hidden underneath the veneer of polite Southern hospitality.

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Not only was the attack heinous, but the response of many in law enforcement at the local level and even at the office of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was criminal. Chambliss was identified by a witness and was not charged with the bombing, simply having a case of dynamite without a permit. He was fined $100 and given a six month jail sentence.

The FBI had investigated and discovered evidence against all four men but Hoover ordered the evidence not be provided to local or Federal prosecutors. However in 1971 Bill Baxley was elected Attorney General of Alabama, he re-opened the case and requested the FBI files. In 1977 Chambliss was indicted and convicted of first degree murder, he died in prison. Blanton was tried in 2001, convicted of four counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Cash died in 1994 with ever having been charged with a crime and Cherry was convicted in 2002, sentenced to life in prison and died in 2004.

The attack and the deaths of the four girls served as a catalyst in the Civil Rights Movement. in 1964 Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. However it did not end the fight. Dr Martin Luther King Jr would die at the hands of an assassin’s bullet less than 4 years later. Many advances occurred. Many blacks have been elected to office, serve in the highest ranks of the military, two Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice have served as Secretary of State, one, Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States and one, Barak Obama elected as President. Black sports stars, actors and singers are celebrated as heroes among much of society.

One of my former co-workers from Georgia, a white Baptist minister and retired military chaplain noted that many whites may not be explicitly racists in interpersonal relationships with blacks, but have an attitude that blacks still need “to stay in their place.” He noted that he thinks that quite a few believe that many whites believe that this is a large part of the reason that President Obama is opposed and even hated by so many whites. It is not just politics or ideology and while those may play a role the root of it is racism.

But the sad truth is there still is an undercurrent of unrepentant racism in the country and not just the South. In fact many places in the South have seen greater advances in racial relations than other parts of the country. That is not to say that there are those who would attempt to disenfranchise blacks, some of the voting laws recently passed are designed to ensure that significant parts of the black population, specifically the elderly and students living away from home have greater difficulty voting. It is actually a more insidious method than past Jim Crow laws because the drafters of these laws hope to peel off just enough black and other poor or minority voters to ensure that they maintain power.

Not only is racial prejudice experienced by blacks, it is experienced by many Americans of Hispanic origins, some of Asian descent but also by those of Middle Eastern, Iranian, Pakistani or Indian descent. And yes, even people of racial minorities can be racist. Racism is an ugly part of our human condition and no matter who it is targeted against and who does the targeting it is wrong and needs to be fought.

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The Southern Poverty Law Center http://www.splcenter.org lists 1,007 known hate groups operating across the country, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, border vigilantes and others.

Too many people have died in this struggle to stop now. If today you read this before or after going to church, remember those four little girls who died at the hands of four murdering, racist Klansmen. Likewise remember that there are others out there full of hate who would not hesitate to do the same again and others who would actively support those efforts. Sometimes even in the name of God.

As for me I will fight it no matter who it is against.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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