The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Seasoned Lawman Takes on Anti-Muslim Extremism

By Mark Potok on September 13, 2010 - 10:03 am, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Extremist Crime

Jim Cavanaugh always was a lawman’s lawman — a career official of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who was in on some of the most celebrated cases of criminal extremists in this country’s recent history. Before retiring this spring after 33 ½ years with the ATF, he worked as a top official on the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas; the five-year hunt for white supremacist abortion clinic bomber and cop-killer Eric Rudolph; church burnings around the country; and the hunt for the Unabomber. Last year, before his retirement, Cavanaugh was recognized for these contributions with the International Association of Chiefs of Police Civil Rights Award for his fight against radical-right extremists.

Last week, Cavanaugh published an essay on the ongoing controversy about the planned Islamic Center in New York City and the apparent spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes. Cavanaugh points out that Al Qaeda extremists no more represent Islam than Klan terrorists represent Christianity. “Muslims don’t feel responsible for 9/11 because they are not — not any more than Christians feel responsible for the terrorist acts of the Ku Klux Klan.” Read the whole essay here.

  • Deft

    Most people think of non-white people when they think of Islam.

    Yes, well 75% of Christians are non-white, and yet no one ever portrays legitimate criticism of Christianity and Christian doctrines as “Christophobic” and “racist”, now do they?

    By your soft-racist logic, individuals engaging in legitimate criticism of The Vatican, or indeed any Christian institution or doctrine, should be accused of having an anti-Christian phobia, of being “racist”, seeings most Christians are either brown, yellow or black, and not white.

    “Soft racism” is the most pernicious and systemic form of racism in circulation these days, and most of those acting on “soft-racist” assumption aren’t even aware they’re making them.

  • http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogspot.com/ Tom Shelley

    I meant to submitt this one a few hrs. ago, but forgot.

    Deft,

    I did basically suggest that Islam is a race and not a religion and I was being a bit lazy about that. But I’m hardly alone on that, LOTS of people talk about it that way.

    Tom

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Islam isn’t a race, it’s a set of beliefs, and sets beliefs don’t have a ‘phenotype’.”

    This doesn’t mean racism doesn’t play a role in Islamophobia. Most people think of non-white people when they think of Islam.

    “The fact Islam’s holiest shrines are located in a religious apartheid state that makes the old South Africa look like a human rights paradise does very little enhance Islam’s lousy image.”

    Aside from the fact that the form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia is not recognized by the Sunni schools of jurisprudence.

    “Added to this is the fact that no muslim groups, organisations or indviduals ANYWHERE have ever deemed it worthy to denounce this grotesque state of affairs. ”

    Absolutely laughable. Even Osama Bin Laden himself condemned Saudi Arabia. Have you ever even CHECKED to see what non-extremist Muslims have been saying about Saudi Arabia for decades?

    “What’s more, millions of Muslims, even those we refer to as moderates, willingly set foot in this Far Right human religious apartheid state, and do so without any moral qualms whatsoever.”

    They have no choice, Mecca isn’t moving. Why don’t you do some research some time on the House of Saud and learn how they came to power. HINT: It involves Western Imperialism.

    “Where are the Muslims willing to do likewise until such time as Saudi Arabia changes its approa to human rights?”

    Why should they do that? Are you also going to boycott any products or companies with connections to Saudi Arabia? That’s going to be a problem, trust me.

    Where are they?

    ” the commenters on this thread as well as the author of this misquided article to READ Islam’s core texts in order to get a better idea of just what the ‘faith’ is about.”

    Yes, I have read many of those core texts you speak of. What is your point?

    “I was first intoduced to those texts nearly 30 years ago by a refugee from Iran’s Far Right islamist régime.”

    Wow, I’m sure he was unbiased. And you DO realize that this is a Shiite form of fundamentalism right?

    “It was an eye-opener. The levels of hate contained within those texts are so astounding and so intense that no amount of apologetics could ever dismiss them.”

    I guess assassinating the moderate leftists Mossadegh and supporting the dictatorial Shah was a REAL bad idea wasn’t it?

    “This author is worried about bigotry against a group of people whose core religious texts are works of hate, works of hate on a level similar to that Hitler’s little tome.”

    I’ve read Mein Kampf, I’ve read much of the Quran, so…no.

  • skinnyminny

    Deft,
    let’s talk about human rights for a minute. What about the human rights in this country? After Hurricane Katrina hit, it was the GOP that said people needed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. The GOP took their time to sign the BILL extended unemployment benefits. The GOP wants to cut social security/medicare/medicaid….The GOP refused to sign benefits for World Trade workers, refused to sign bills for better healthcare for the veterans….there are homeless people, hungry people and the GOP says they should get a job – what job? The GOP keep saying we need to extend the taxcuts to the rich-they’ve have these tax cuts for how many years? How many jobs did they create? Big businesses are sitting on tons of cash!
    Look around you, if you happen to live in an area that have tons of foreclosures, vacant storefronts, homes damaged by natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

    Do you see the rich helping the poor? Meg Whitman just spent over $100 million for her campaign for governor of Califas, is that money going to the residents of Califas? No. It is being given to media, non-profits and consulting firms tied to the GOP where she can get a write-off and hand a little to her people at the same time.

  • Deft

    In most of the muslim world, there are churches. If you can’t build a church in Saudi Arabia, it’s racist to hold that against Muslim-Americans.

    Islam isn’t a race, it’s a set of beliefs, and sets beliefs don’t have a ‘phenotype’.

    The fact Islam’s holiest shrines are located in a religious apartheid state that makes the old South Africa look like a human rights paradise does very little enhance Islam’s lousy image.

    Added to this is the fact that no muslim groups, organisations or indviduals ANYWHERE have ever deemed it worthy to denounce this grotesque state of affairs. What’s more, millions of Muslims, even those we refer to as moderates, willingly set foot in this Far Right human religious apartheid state, and do so without any moral qualms whatsoever.

    When south Africa was under apartheid, I vowed never to set foot in the country until the human rights situation was redressed.

    Where are the Muslims willing to do likewise until such time as Saudi Arabia changes its approa to human rights?

    Where are they?

    I strongly encourage the commenters on this thread as well as the author of this misquided article to READ Islam’s core texts in order to get a better idea of just what the ‘faith’ is about.

    I was first intoduced to those texts nearly 30 years ago by a refugee from Iran’s Far Right islamist régime.

    It was an eye-opener. The levels of hate contained within those texts are so astounding and so intense that no amount of apologetics could ever dismiss them.

    This author is worried about bigotry against a group of people whose core religious texts are works of hate, works of hate on a level similar to that Hitler’s little tome.

    Particularly when it comes to anti-semitism.

  • Kevin

    So, rudyak’s idea is to make the USA more like Saudi Arabia.

  • KMC

    As someone pointed out, there ia also a MacDonald’s fast food joint within this socalled “sacred space”!!!
    It does far more harm to American lives amd health than a community center open to all, so why did no one protest it???

  • http://www.amazon.com/Marylanders-Without-Shelter-Crumb/dp/0788443925/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256773070&sr=1-1 Stephen D. Calhoun

    I think some of the commenters make a mistake about the problem. The problem is hate and bigotry. The problem is people who use God as an excuse to be extremist, no matter if they are on the political left or right. The best quote by Mr. Cavanaugh in his essay is: “No God of the great monotheistic religions of the world is filled with hate or preaches acts of humiliation and discrimination.” It is my understanding that our Christian Bible and the Koran share some of the same writings. If anyone knows differently, please correct my statement.

  • http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogspot.com/ Tom Shelley

    rudyak,

    In most of the muslim world, there are churches. If you can’t build a church in Saudi Arabia, it’s racist to hold that against Muslim-Americans. They’re not responsible for it, and even if they were, it still doesn’t make sense. And since, as you point out, there already are several mosques in NYC, why does this one matter? Because it’s near Ground Zero? On 9/11 we were attacked by the extremist element of Islam, not Islam in general.

    You refer to Catholics. As I’m sure you know, Catholic-Americans have a history of being treated the way that people like you are now treating Muslim-Americans.

    Tom

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Deft you need to do your homework. If nobody is keeping tabs on these Muslim militias in rural America, how is it in the past few years small cells of Islamic terrorists have been busted at all? You need to present some objective, solid evidence that this is going on.

    Moreover, the Imam is not an extremist. In fact he was praised by President Bush so the real extremists would gladly behead him.

  • rudyak

    “The laws protect us. Our political systems protect us. And we enjoy those freedoms in this country. And the Muslim world needs to — needs to — to recognize that.”

    When Catholics can build a church in Mecca, they can build a mosgue in New York. Oh, they already have several mosques in NYC.

    IXNAY on the mosque-ay.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Deft, you’re really quite out of your league in this SPLC blog. We are not soft or hard racists here. We just try to make the world a better place in which to live. It is quite obvious that you need some lessons in how to get along with people before you try enticing us with your bal-ogna.
    Your Huggie is draggin’!

  • The Linotypist

    The only problem the GOP and Tea Partiers have with the Taliban is that they worship the wrong god. They’re in total agrement with everything else–role of women, sex, personal freedom.

  • JosephS

    Here’s what the Park51 Imam had to say last Sunday (9/12) on ABC about anti-Muslim sentiment and bigotry in America:

    “In spite of the polls, the fact is that American Muslims are very happy and they thrive in this country. One of the misperceptions that exists in the Muslim world, which needs to be fixed, is the perception that Muslims in America are — are — are living in — in very, very, very bad circumstances. They cannot practice religion freely.

    It is not the truth at all. The fact is, we are practicing. We fast, we pray, we do our prayers. We are able to do that. The laws protect us. Our political systems protect us. And we enjoy those freedoms in this country. And the Muslim world needs to — needs to — to recognize that.”

  • http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogspot.com/ Tom Shelley

    Deft,

    I am not sure what you are talking about in relation to what I wrote. Were you calling ME a “soft racist?”

    I’d like you clarify what you meant with your comments to me, but I’d like to challenge the idea that the people behind the “ground Zero Mosque” are “far right islamists.” The board of directors of the community center will involve Christians and Jews. The Imam involved has done work for the Bush and Obama administrations- something about discouraging extreme Islam and/or improving how America is seen by muslims throughout the world. I’m pretty sure that they are not “far right islamists.”

    I’m still unsure what you meant in the last two paragraphs. I am not a “soft racist.”

    Tom

  • Deft

    Ruslan, Far Right Islamist groups operating on US soil are not at all foreign.

    They are, in fact, quite domestic.

    Murderous, anti-semitic, Far Right haters like Nidal Hasan were born in the U.S.A.

    Islamists are operating training camps in rural America, and no one is keeping tabs on them.

    Do you think that just because most of the new Far Right isn’t white, that that Far right can’t hate as intensely as the KKK?

    I came up with one idea recently that would probably help with changing the minds of some of the opponents of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” and that in turn would help rolling back anti-muslim bigotry in general. I’m not

    You’re obviously not a tenent in one of Imam Rauf’s roach-infested buildings are you?

    The promoters of your mosque are a bunch of Far Right islamists. the mere fact they’re less than white throws soft-racists like you right off the trail.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Deft, most far-right Islamic groups are foreign. The SPLC monitors mainly domestic groups or foreign groups with domestic ties. While 9/11 was quite destructive, domestic terrorists and their fellow travelers are far more dangerous.

  • skinnyminny

    Deft,
    The question I pose to you, why do people like you always blame everyone for everything?
    What does the SPLC have to do with if there’s another attack? Don’t you think it is more appropriate to blame yourselves? It is the Right-wing who will, in my words, sell their mama for a buck! It is the right-wing who is whipping guys like you into a frenzy. Aha ha, you sit up and watch Fox all day, getting your re-education! Just look at yourself in the mirror, don’t you see you are on your way to protests we see on teevee from the ME? When I see all the tea party protests on teevee, and hear the language coming from your leaders, I say to myself, “well, move over Taliban and Al-Quaeda, here comes the American Right!” Hehehe!!!
    BTW, there’s a famous saying, ‘when you point the finger, look at how many fingers are pointing towards you.’

  • http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogspot.com/ Tom Shelley

    I came up with one idea recently that would probably help with changing the minds of some of the opponents of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” and that in turn would help rolling back anti-muslim bigotry in general. I’m not sure how many people have already either figured it out or heard about it, but it can’t hurt to mention it one more time.

    I describe the idea at http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogsp.....-zero.html

    (The second paragraph about N/ Ireland describes something that you might be able to use against some of the Irish-American opponents of the mosque/community center)

    Tom

  • Deft

    What a ridiculous article.

    Why sin’t the SPLC monitoring Far Right islamist groups?

    The kind of Far Right islamist groups that make the KKK look like KKKindergarten?

    Of course white supremacist groups should be targeted, but its the Far Right islamists who pose the greatest danger and who disseminate the most intense forms of hate these days.

    If those Far Right islamist loons commit other atrocities on US soil that are on a scale of 911, I can guarentee that everyone working at the SPLC will be out of a job.

    Because your “hate-monitoring” will simply become irrelevant.

  • Paen

    At least some people have the guts to stand up to the bigots,