Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Hasan and the proselytization factor
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
By Mikey Weinstein
As we turn our collective eyes to the tragedies of Fort Hood this week, we mourn the men and women who offered themselves up to serve our country overseas, only to make the ultimate sacrifice in a senseless act of violence back home.
But the shootings at Fort Hood should be an important wake up call to the continuing religious intolerance that has been allowed to blatantly and systemically manifest in our nation's armed forces. Too often, honorable men and women who have joined our military are comprehensively denigrated and made to feel worthless because, although they wear the same uniform, they do not pray in the "approved" church or to the "correct" God or to no God at all.
Let me be clear, there is absolutely no excuse for the alleged actions of Nidal Malik Hasan. What he did is reprehensible, and goes against everything the American military stands for.
But we must realize that the alleged mistreatment Hasan received in the American military almost certainly played a key role in his disaffection. Reliable reports indicate that fellow soldiers gave him a diaper to wear on his head, mocking Islamic headdresses. His car was keyed by an Iraq veteran because he had an "Allah is Love" bumper sticker, and others suggested he should ride a camel instead.
MRFF's Mikey Weinstein
MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein's Federal lawsuit against the United States Air Force in October 2005 was an igniting spark to uncover the unconstitutional religious infiltration of fundamentalist evangelism in the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This play features Mikey’s struggle as part of the larger tapestry of events occurring in and around Colorado Springs.
Attend the Saturday, December 5th showing at 7:00pm with Mikey and Bonnie Weinstein for a special discussion session after the play!
Muslims in military seek
Mikey Weinstein believes it is important to investigate reports of harassment faced by the alleged Fort Hood shooter as a Muslim in the military that could have contributed to his mental state. (Steve Most)
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Mikey Weinstein is probably best known for defending Jews from alleged bigotry and harassment in the U.S. military. In the past few days, however, he's been raising questions about whether there's an anti-Muslim bias in the service as well.
Weinstein, the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's alleged killing of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood is inexcusable and reprehensible. But he also believes it is important to investigate reports of harassment that Hasan allegedly faced as a Muslim in the military -- mistreatment that Weinstein says could have contributed to his mental state.
Response to Detractor re: JTA Article
Thank you for your email. I don't usually reply to unsolicited, unsigned email, but I felt the need to do so here. I can't speak for Mikey, but I'll address what you said. Before I go any further, why didn't you email him instead of me? Of the MRFF profiles, why did you pick mine? Also, just because my name is associated with MRFF doesn't mean that I subscribe to all of their values, just like Mikey, though the founder of MRFF, doesn't speak completely for all of the members (there is a board of directors etc).
Since that's out of the way, I'll address your points one at a time.
"How on earth could Mikey Weinstein believe there was harrassament of the Fort Hood shooter?"
Simple, there are allegations of harassment. Mikey himself stated that harassment in no way absolved the shooter. I think an investigation is proper, for two reasons: 1.) If we stop harassment, maybe we can stop people before they do what Hasan did, and 2.) If we stop harassment, it makes everyone more comfortable in the Army.
"I am in the Army."
Thank you for your service.
"Do you honestly think the military did these things to him?"
What things? Harassed or made him so mad that he decided to shoot up Fort Hood? I can't get into Hasan's head, but I'm believe that he committed this act because of a deep hatred of the US. Whether he had an al Qaida handler or some other organization, I can't say. I don't know where the hatred of the US came from, be it harassment from fellow Soldiers, or from a terrorist organization. The Army should and will investigate EVERY SINGLE PART of Hasan's life, alleged harassment included. I think it's relevant.
"Stop trying to get us all killed."
Please don't use such generalizations, they make weak points. Obviously, I'm not trying to get anyone killed, least of all the US Army. I was an Infantry officer in the Army, and I was in for 10 years. I deployed to Guantanamo Bay to open it up as an enlisted man and spent 16 months in Iraq as a Rifle Platoon Leader. Why would I want that?
Update 9:05 p.m. PDT: Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, weighed in on the shooting rampage at Fort Hood.
Weinstein called upon President Obama to immediately issue a statement as Commander-in-Chief making it clear that there would be a zero tolerance policy against any member of the US military "inflicting harassments, retribution or reprisal against an Islamic member of the US military."
Obama issued a statement earlier Thursday condemning the shootings.
Weinstein, whose civil rights organization was recently nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace prize, said Obama must state, unequivocally, that the US does not judge the worth of a "service member based on his or her religious faith."
Weinstein's group has exposed the meteroric rise of fundamentalist Christianity within the US military and has called attention to the fact that military personnel have sought to cast the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as a crusade between Christianity and Islam.
By Staff and wire reports
The posting Monday on the website for Anwar Aulaqi, who was a spiritual leader at two mosques where three Sept. 11 hijackers worshipped, said American Muslims who condemned the attacks on the Texas military base last week are hypocrites who have committed treason against their religion.
Two U.S. intelligence officials told The Associated Press the website was Aulaqi's. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence collection.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
On Nov. 5, 2009, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim American was accused of going on a shooting spree at Fort Hood. According to AP articles, Mr. Hasan had complained of harassment over his religion and had contacted an attorney. It was reported that he had started verbally questioning the war on terror and whether it was a “war on Islam”.
When I read and heard these bits of information, I started thinking about what I had heard when Mikey Weinstein has spoken at RIT in October. Mr. Weinstein who is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and author of the book “God on our Side”, emphasized that the greatest threat to our national security was the Dominionist Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian take over of our military. He reported that his foundation represents 15,000 members of the armed services and numerous ROTC units. 96% are believers in Jesus Christ, but have been told by their military command structure that they are not Christian enough.
Thursday November 12, 2009
By Larry Keller
The American Family Association (AFA) usually frets about homosexuals and pornography, but in the aftermath of the shootings at Fort Hood last week, the ultraconservative religious right group has a new concern: Muslims in the U.S. military. Ban them, urges Bryan Fischer, AFA director of issues analysis.
The day after Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an American-born Muslim, is alleged to have shot and killed 13 people at the Texas army post and wounded more than two dozen others, Fischer posted his anti-Muslim screed on the AFA website.
“It is time, I suggest, to stop the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the U.S. military,” Fischer wrote. “The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security. Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the prophet as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels. Yesterday’s massacre is living proof.”
Thursday November 17, 2009
BY SOPHIA TAREEN
An Illinois congressman says his comment that suspected terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay follow a "savage religion" has been misinterpreted.
U.S. Rep. Donald Manzullo told WREX-TV in Rockford, Ill., that alleged terrorists imprisoned at the Navy base are "really really mean people whose job it is to kill people, driven by some savage religion."
The Republican lawmaker confirmed Tuesday those words were his. He said he never specified Islam and apologized for any misunderstanding.
Manzullo's remarks come as federal officials consider buying an Illinois prison to house Guantanamo detainees.
Most prisoners at the base in Cuba come from Muslim countries.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations says Manzullo's comments were an attack on Islam.
This week's article comes from the November 5, 2009 issue of APG News, the base newspaper of Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
In an article titled "Speak well of others," Chaplain (Captain) Jonathan Morse began with an anecdote about a black South African man experiencing hateful intolerance at the hands of a "well-off white South African woman," a story with a message of tolerance and respect that was perfectly appropriate for people of any religion, or no religion. If only Chaplain Morse had stopped there. But he didn't.
The chaplain proceeded, in his commentary on the anecdote, to first compare the Jews to the racist woman in the story:
"The Jews were blind to foreigners being favored by God but that did not mean the foreigners had not been favored by God. The foreigners were cherished by God even though the Jews were too blind to see that."
Then, after just having painted the Jews as bigots, he continued:
"If we do not have a proper Judeo-Christian attitude to others regarding all as equal in dignity before God, we are asked to heal that distorted attitude."
But, of course, the key word in the nonsensical term "Judeo-Christian" is Christian, as Chaplain Morse made very clear:
"The problem is forgetting that we are all equal in dignity before God, forgetting that Jesus died to save each one of us, that Jesus died to save the person next to you, behind you and before you. If we look on others from that perspective how different they seem; try thinking about others in this way."
And, thus, a story about tolerance, respect, and equality was turned by Chaplain Morse into a message of Christian supremacy.
Fort Hood Tragedy
Nov 7, 2009
First off, let me congratulate you on MRFF’s nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Your foundation does amazing work and I greatly appreciate what you do for military members in general, as well as your personal help with my own situation. I wanted to let you know what life has been like for myself, being an American-Muslim military spouse, over the last few days here at (military installation withheld), since the Ft. Hood incident. When I first learned of this, I was sitting in the PX food court with my best friend whose immediate reaction was, “ No offense to you, but Muslims shouldn’t even be allowed in the U.S. Army”. Wow, this was from my best friend here! I have heard this and similar sentiments repeatedly from various “friends”, as well as people insisting it’s really a terror plot. Since this happening, my Muslim husband, who is deployed to Afghanistan, has been put on duty to build a chapel on his base, as well as being told not to associate with the Afghan nationals that work there. I went shopping at the commissary and had people mumbling under their breath but loud enough to ensure that I could hear, things like, “get out of our country”, “go back to your country”, “ F-ing Muslims”, “G-Damn Muslims,” and several other expletives you can insert there. Now people don’t just stare at you when they see you go by wearing hijab, they glare. Last time I checked, I was born in this country, this is *my* country, and my husband is serving it and continues to serve it despite the harassment and racism he encounters. He proudly serves despite the fact that our family pays a higher price for it than many others. I have to wonder...would there be such backlash if it had been a Christian soldier that shot his fellow soldiers? Or would we let it slide and say, “What a shame, someone should have helped him so it didn’t have to come to this”? I am continually amazed by how a persons religious beliefs dictate how we treat them.
Thank you MRFF and thank you Mikey for your efforts to make the military a safe place for ALL soldiers. Keep up the good fight!
Nov 5, 2009
I wish that I could do more than say that and post bits from the newsletter on my facebook, but my husband is an E4 in the Army and we have 3 small children, the oldest 2 are also autistic. We're also trying to run two households on one check - he's OCONUS, and doesn't have orders to ship us yet, so things are tight all the time.
I wanted to say congratulations and thank you to Mikey. You are doing a brave and dangerous thing, standing up to the military's crusade. I hope that the time will come soon that the military will stop endorsing one faith so that all beliefs may be protected.
My husband has left his faith off his dog-tags to protect his career. I pray every day that I will live long enough to see one of my children or grandchildren be able to put 'Wicca' on their dog-tags without fear of being passed over for promotion or harassed by christians like my eldest child is at school.
Again, stay strong, do what you know is right, and congratulations on a well-deserved nomination.
- An Enlisted Man's Wife.
November 6, 2009
To: Mikey Weinstein
You lying scum, if your bloodthirsty tribe hadn't stolen Palestinian land at gunpoint, this Semitic wingnut would have had no cause to go off. More blood on jewish hands, and all your phony sanctimony can never change that. You should come clean with your Maker while you can.
To Mikey Weinstein and The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF)
I currently work as a civilian federal employee for the United States Army at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. I've been employed as a civilian government employee for nearly (number of years withheld). My statement below is offered to MRFF because it is the only place I feel safe in expressing such outrage. It is useless and dangerous to officially express such feelings of religious oppression and intolerance via "normal" Army channels such as the Inspector General, the EEO office, the JAG office and , especially, the chain of command as both aggressive, direct and indirect retribution and reprisal will most assuredly be the immediate result for the complainant. MRFF stands quite alone as the only established "safe" refuge to register and report such unconstitutional violations by the armed forces. Actions speak louder than words. Thus, it is only MRFF which ever takes swift action against those violating the Constitution by unlawfully promoting their religious worldviews to fellow military members and personnel in the workplace.
October 31, 2009
I am receiving everything. Thank you. I am so proud of this group. However, it is uphill all the way. Hate is a terrible disease. Would love to volunteer but am profoundly deaf and a bit disabled. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. I am ancient - 81 yrs old but to have lived to see this organization formed is truly a joy.
November 10, 2009
I had never been aware of the foundation before listening to your participation on the NPR broadcast a little while ago today.
Just wanted to say that you did a terrific job in the very short time you had to do it and in the face of the ignorant or perhaps self-serving – at the very least, disturbingly insensitive -- counter-argument you ran into.
You were so right to come back forcefully when you had the chance. I, for one, heard the truth of your and your organization’s actual experience, versus the seemingly self-righteous attempt to hypothesize some vague denial of that reality. Well done!
And, thank you.
November 10, 2009
Keep up the great work. I will soon get another Social Security check and send you some money. Your nomination for the Nobel Prize is more than appropriate.
Your work makes it easy to see behind the surface of articles such as the one that a friend just sent about the discovery of large quantities of oil within the borders of the USA: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911
I will tell friends to read that and then to see your site's expose's about fundamentalist religionists attempting to takeover the military: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/press-releases/nobel_pr_intl.html
November 11, 2009
Excellent work! I'm so proud of you, of everyone involved in and represented by MRFF, and even of myself, for being a veteran, just from reading your article. Your closing line fairly says it all. It's perfect. Thank you. YOU have made my Veterans' Day worth observing, this year..................
November 11, 2009
You continue to do a great service for our military and nation, by analyzing and explaining this very sensitive and otherwise difficult subject in terms that are clear, respectful, and to the point. Your efforts and those of your organization will undoubtedly make a substantial improvement in the morale, character, and integrity of our armed forces, in so many places the face of America to the world -- and ultimately our collective face in the mirror -- a face scarred now by religious bigotry. As you so rightly conclude, America is better than that.
I was the producer of Barry Gordon's radio show; we met in Phoenix, with Barry driving you and (name withheld) and me around. While walking through a parking structure, I mentioned to you how back in the '50s, our then-new Catholic church had been burnt down by local "holier than thou" types (possibly Klansmen). So I understand where you're coming from.
My late father, who volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Force at the height of World War II, even though he had a permanent deferment working at a defense plant, hated war -- but obviously loved our country -- and said that most wars are started by religious zealots, so he was pretty much down on all organized religion. I don't think we should "throw the baby out with the bathwater" -- Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other religious people have done so many charitable and other good works down through history -- but Dad was right in that we mustn't ignore the harm done by intolerant extremists, in any and all religions. From that very personal perspective, I find your work both courageous and important.
Continued best wishes,?
November 12, 2009
Just a note to say that Mikey was great on Warren Olney's "To the Point" talk radio show a couple of nights ago. I'm so glad to know there are military people out there who have their heads on their shoulders instead of in the sand. Good for Mikey, to defend the truth and religious freedom and fight against prejudice and stereotyping of people. Hats off to him!
Friend of MRFF
"Republican Gomorrah" by Max Blumenthal
In his new book "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party", investigative reporter Max Blumenthal theorizes that a culture of "personal crisis" has transformed the Grand Old Party — and threatened its future.
A documentary filmmaker and blogger, Blumenthal has written for The Nation, The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast.
“Republican Gomorrah is a powerful study of right-wing extremism, replete with perversions perpetrated on all Americans in the name of the Culture Wars. Blumenthal shines a klieg light on the charlatans whose tactics would make Goebbels proud but must cause mainstream Republicans to hang their heads in shame.”
-Ambassador Joe Wilson
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