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Sunday, January 23, 2005

CAIR’s Blatant Attempt to Paint Christian Aid Workers in Banda Aceh as “Evil-Doers”

CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper appeared on a segment of the John Kasich Show, Saturday night, January 22, 2205 not to try to smooth over feelings of ill will against Muslims by condemning terror activities of the Islamists that he previously claimed have “hijacked Islam”. Nor did he come to protest feelings of distrust between Coptic Christians and Muslims in the slaughter killing of a New Jersey family, not even to
thank non-Muslim Americans
for expeditiously coming to the aid of the tsunami victims in the predominately Muslim Indonesian province of Banda Aceh. Hooper’s mission was to rail against
some Christian missionaries
on the grounds that, in his view, were using aid work in an “inappropriate manner” by distributing Bibles and Christian literature as they also gave out food, water, and other relief. Hooper was equally distressed by the fact that some tsunami orphans were “removed” from their villages to be raised as Christians in an undetermined place.

Questioned by Kasich we also learned that Hooper would consider such behavior to be “inappropriate if done by Muslim relief workers and missionaries.” Hooper was reacting to information about Christian missionaries given in the mainstream press that told of “abusive behavior” by aid workers leaving us with the impression that all were guilty of taking advantage of victims in difficult situations and of kidnapping Muslim orphans. Reality appears to be quite different from the impression left by Hooper and these articles. It appears that the Hooper and the government of Indonesia would rather that the children remain homeless and without resources than to fall in the hands of non-Muslims.

Anyone would be outraged to think that Missionaries would so abuse traumatized victims in that manner. Could it be true that they were withholding aid and shamelessly proselytizing helpless tsunami victims? A review of the evidence was in order. Indeed some Christian missionary groups were guilty, but most were not. But wait, Muslim aid workers and missionaries, some with an
extremist bend,
were also there, handing out Korans and veils along with comforting aid. Once again Hooper was dealing in half-truths.

What about his other charge: tsunami orphans were removed from their village settings, spirited away to an undisclosed location to be raised as Christians? The evidence of this “is confusing.” A Christian group was planning to take 300 to Jakarta where they would be housed in a modern orphanage. Expressed outrage in the local press put a stop to the plans that were then scrapped.

The Indonesian government is so concerned about the safety children of Banda Aceh that they are being placed in government camps and guarded night and day by armed soldiers. Adoptions of orphans will be under the supervision and approval of an appointed Muslim cleric. It is estimated that sixty percent of Banda Aceh’s children disappeared by the wave, many are left orphaned and homeless, unable to be placed in homes or establish a normal routine or get psychological counseling of their obvious post-traumatic syndrome because of religious bigotry. The children are still alive because of quick reaction of Western aid workers, some of them Christian missionaries.

Muslim aid is slow in coming but it appears to be coming. The Gulf States governments have donated millions and privately many millions of dollars have been raised to go to the aid of Muslim victims. Aid workers from other parts of Indonesia and the Muslim world are now on the ground. Some are dismissing non-Muslims as “spies” or “no longer necessary” and non-Muslim aid workers and American military personnel are finding themselves at risk of attack from both Islamist extremists and the Indonesian military that consider their presence to be a distasteful provocation and an anathema. Others want the aid workers to stay “as the government is unable to deal with the scope of the tragedy.” Although he gave no dollar amount, during the Kasich interview Hooper stated: “every American mosque has contributed.”

Kasich didn’t let Hooper off the hook in spite of his railing. Why is the distribution of Christian tracts and Bibles so offensive? What’s wrong with telling the survivors about “God’s love”? What’s wrong with that? Hooper’s only reply was that it was an abuse of those are in bad situation that “feel they have to take the Bibles” in order to get the relief. We were left with the idea that Christian aid workers were withholding relief unless the victims took Bibles and participated in Christian activities. An uniformed observer would have taken away that feeling and that Kasich was bullying Hooper. In fact, Kasich was attempting to give Hooper and opportunity to give the complete facts.

Kasich pressed Hooper to explain why Christian proselytizing was so offensive. Americans and most other Westerners don’t understand that within Islam a change of religion is considered to be apostasy and discussion of the merits of other religions is blasphemy, both crimes against Islam that are punishable by death. Thus Muslim children of a certain that are to be raised as Christians could be considered apostates. All would be considered as kidnapped Muslims. Ironically verified reports are made all the time of Christian children and adults that are kidnapped and forcibly “reverted” to Islam. Reversion means that all humans were originally Muslim until other religions “seduced them from the true religion.”

Although Hooper did not waiver from his attempt to rail against “abusive Christian missionary kidnappers”, he seemed surprised by the steadfastness of questioning of Fox’s Kasich. Fox has recently been under fire by CAIR in two cases: the drama “24” included a character, in their view, that was seen as unfavorable to Islam and a situation that “made American Muslim families all seem to be terrorists.” CAIR has also produced a set of public service announcements titled “I Am An American Muslim” that Fox has chosen not to air. Using action alerts on their website, CAIR is putting pressure on Fox to maintain a favorable stance on Muslims and to pressure them into airing the public service spots.

CAIR’s website has other sections that are troubling. “Provocation Watch” lists and summarizes those groups and individuals that seem to harass, persecute, or provoke hatred of Muslims and Islam. On the surface this seems innocuous until one considers the effect of similar campaigns in Europe: Sweden, Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia, and Canada, all of which have legislated “anti-hate rhetoric” and/or “blasphemy laws” that Muslims have used to silence their critics. Individuals are fined and jailed for their anti-Muslim opinions or for quoting and discussing the Koran and for “insulting Mohammad” by describing events in his life that are troubling to non-Muslims. In fairness, France and other countries are using this same law as an attempt to curtail the hate-rhetoric of some Muslim clerics. Britain hasn’t decided exactly how the new law will be applied, but freedom of speech is definitely on the way out wherever Muslims mix with Christians.

The United States no longer has laws against blasphemy nor is “hate-speech” yet a crime. If it were, perhaps a case could be made against this article and others critical of Islam. The United States has “hate-crimes” laws that view violence and other acts to be examples of hate crimes. The danger for the United States is in the interpretation of laws. Recently judicial activists have taken it upon themselves to interpret statutes more broadly than the original legislative intent. Perhaps, someday in this manner, hate speech will become a hate crime. Or, as in other countries, Muslims will convince legislators to make laws curtailing free speech in America as they have in so many other countries. Using the laws listed above and in most cases, Muslim speech attacking non-Muslims is not curtailed nor considered to blasphemy nor hate-speech, a double standard.

CAIR puts itself forward as a Muslim civil right’s group. CAIR has a long history of, if not supporting, at least not criticizing Muslim extremism. Daniel has an extensive archive of articles about CAIR, some of which focus Hooper and on CAIR’s criminal activities. Some members of CAIR have been prosecuted successfully for criminal activities.

CAIR would have us curtail speech and remain silent on all things Muslim. Hooper, CAIR’s official spokesperson, is often in the news. But we should take everything he says with a grain salt and do our fact checking.


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