Adam Serwer

Muslims vs. Terrorism.

Everyone always asks, "Where are the Muslims denouncing terrorism?!?" Well, aside from brushing off unfounded accusations of radicalism, they're here, in a new video produced by the Muslim Public Affairs Council: MPAC has also recently started its own domestic-terrorism database. One of the more eye-opening stats: "Since November 4, 2008 there have been 39 terror plots by non-Muslim domestic extremists. By comparison, there have been 16 plots by Muslim domestic and international extremists."

McCarthy: State Department Was "Pro-Sharia."

Andy McCarthy , responding to the fact that Imam Faisal Rauf was recruited by the Bush administration to help burnish America's image abroad: Islamists were sent on State Department junkets and recruited to indoctrinate our agents and our armed forces in Islamic sensitivity. The State Department became transparently pro-Palestinian and pro-sharia — even helping establish sharia’s centrality to the new constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan . The Clinton and Bush administrations regarded Islamist regimes like Saudi Arabia and Yemen as “strong allies” of the U.S. Clinton and Bush sought the holy grail of a grand deal with Iran, all the time overlooking or rationalizing the mullahs’ killing of Americans. During this time, Liz Cheney was working at the State Department. By McCarthy's logic, Cheney was part of a pro-Sharia organization. Why aren't we investigating her? And why is McCarthy defending and associating himself with someone who held a former leadership position in a pro-Sharia...

Krauthammer On Park 51.

Charles Krauthammer , predictably comes out against the proposed Islamic center at Ground Zero with the "hallowed ground" argument, followed by a little fearmongering for good measure. When we speak of Ground Zero as hallowed ground, what we mean is that it belongs to those who suffered and died there -- and that such ownership obliges us, the living, to preserve the dignity and memory of the place, never allowing it to be forgotten, trivialized or misappropriated. Of course, Muslims died on 9/11 as well, and by this criteria their claim to Ground Zero is no less legitimate than any other American's. It is also Muslims who have comprised the highest proportion of al-Qaeda's victims in the time since. While citing the example of a theme park near Gettysburg and the convent near Auschwitz, Krauthammer conveniently neglects to mention that there has been a Muslim presence in the area for decades, which exists alongside two churches and two strip clubs. Only recently has this ground -- by...

Khadr Trial Suspended For 30 Days.

As if the Omar Khadr trial wasn't dramatic enough already, yesterday Khadr's lawyer, Lt. Col. Jon Jackson collapsed in the courtroom while cross examining a witness. It's not entirely clear what happened, but he had undergone gall bladder surgery a few weeks ago. The Judge, Col. Patrick Parrish , has suspended the trial for 30 days. Carol Rosenberg reports that a 30-day delay under such circumstances is unusual: Former West Point law instructor Gary Solis , a retired Marine judge, said it is not unusual to suspend a military trial for a long weekend with instructions to a jury to not read media coverage. A 30-day delay that might send jurors back to bases around the world "is very unusual,'' he said. Keep in mind that Jackson is Khadr's only lawyer, because he fired his civilian lawyers several weeks ago before issuing a statement indicating he intended to boycott the proceedings.

The Anchor Baby-Terrorism Nexus.

Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas hit a wingnut sweet spot with his "terror babies," the basic concept of which is that terrorists will immigrate here, have children who are American citizens, and then train them to be deadly al-Qaeda assassins, so that years later they can launch an attack from within the United States. It has everything a right-wing conspiracy could possibly want -- xenophobic fear of immigrants, hysteria over terrorism, even a jab at birthright citizenship. If he could have just found a way to throw in the estate tax, his being might have reached some kind of nirvana where he would have ceased to be a physical human being and instead become some form of higher consciousness. Unfortunately, what happened instead was that Anderson Cooper invited Gohmert on his show after inviting a former FBI agent on the show who called the idea "ludicrous." What proceeded was a complete meltdown ( via Nick Baumann ): As any good conspiracy theorist must, Gohmert sees the phrase "no...


Marriage equality returns to California. Let's hope it's here to stay. Conservatives miss ACORN more than anyone. But here's a reason liberals should . Britain prosecutes people for abusing terrorist suspects in their custody. Voting Rights veteran Gerry Hebert on why localities don't bail out of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and why they should.

What To Do About Drugs.

Mark Kleiman is guest posting over at Ta-Nehisi Coates ' place, and he has a list of reforms we should make to American drug policy. I want to highlight the first two: 1. Leave heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine illegal for non-medical use. 2. Allow use of cannabis, and growing for personal use or gratis distribution. Forbid commercial activity. I think most people who casually want marijuana legalized imagine a future where it is sold for commercial distribution. Kleiman has a good argument for why that shouldn't happen, though, and this blog post is mostly just an attempt to get him to blog about it.

Liz Cheney Attacks...Herself.

Greg Sargent reports on how Liz Cheney and friends are responding to the news that Imam Faisal Rauf , who is behind the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero, was part of the Bush efforts to burnish the U.S. image in the Muslim world. Apparently, they've got a new attack ad going after Rauf and the Obama administration for sending him out on a similar trip. Greg comments: Amusingly enough, members of the administration presided over by Liz's father, such as Karen Hughes , included this Imam in administration programs designed to improve relations with Muslim countries. The Cheney wing of the Bush administration, of course, was always further to the right than other administration insiders on national security matters involving relations with Muslim countries. So in a sense it's not surprising that Liz would break with Bushies over this. Greg doesn't go far enough here. From Megan Carpentier 's post earlier: Contemporary press accounts indicate that Rauf and Hughes were...

On The "Ground Zero Gay Bar."

Conservative humorist Greg Gutfield recently announced his intention to build an "Islamic gay bar" next to the planned Islamic community center near Ground Zero as an attempt to "reduce deadly homophobia in the Islamic world." Conservatives previously arguing that the Park 51 project was somehow a desecration of hallowed ground are suddenly ecstatic about the idea of adult entertainment on the premises. Of course, it's not as though the "hallowed ground" near Ground Zero lacks for adult entertainment already. There are already two strip clubs in the area. Faisal Rauf and Daisy Khan are probably aware of the one about a block away from where the proposed Park 51 project will be. It seems immediately obvious Gutfield's stunt isn't very sincere. An effort to persuade the religious homophobes that gays and lesbians are real human beings with rights that must be recognized demands a more potent tool for advocacy than the ickiness of buttsex. But that's the inherent moral myopia that comes...

Marriage-Equality Tipping Point?

I noted yesterday that in an otherwise disappointing CNN poll a majority of Americans thought that gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to marriage. I didn't realize it was the first poll to show this. Nate Silver puts it in context with this chart : It's really just a matter of time at this point.

Faisal Rauf's Radical Associations.

Megan Carpentier has more on Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf palling around with the Bush administration: If one were to hearken back to the halcyon days of the Bush Administration, one would remember that, when Bush adviser Karen Hughes was appointed Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, the Bush Administration saw improving America's standing among Muslims abroad as a part of its national security strategy. And, as such, Hughes set up listening tours, attended meetings and worked with interfaith groups that -- shocking, by today's Republican standards -- included actual Muslims. One of those people was Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Contemporary press accounts indicate that Rauf and Hughes were part of the February 2006 U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar. He was part of a delegation that met with her in March 2006 and held a joint press conference. A letter to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in November 2007 indicates that contacts with Hughes and Under Secretary for Political...

Al-Qosi's "Secret Sentence."

Osama bin Laden 's former cook, Ibrahim al Qosi , is following in the footsteps of Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur, Salim Hamdan . Yesterday a judge sentenced al-Qosi to 14 years for material support for terrorism. Al-Qosi won't be serving that sentence, though, because he's already secured a secret plea deal that will send him home by 2012. Carol Rosenberg reports : This week's three-day sentencing hearing capped the first plea deal of the Obama administration and sought to close the book on one of the first captives brought here when the prison camps opened in January 2002. Qosi was also among the first captives charged in August 2004 when the Bush administration unveiled its first attempt at a war court, which the Roberts Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional. The al Arabiya satellite channel reported last month that Qosi was secretly promised he'd return to his native Sudan after two more years here. War court spokesmen refuse to confirm it. So the first conviction secured...


"An estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the offspring of unauthorized immigrants." Despite White House insistence that it was a "local issue," the State Department posted the text of Michael Bloomberg's speech defending the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" in Arabic. The project's developers start a twitter feed. Fooducate really is a great blog. "Nearly 2,000 civil liberties complaints were filed against Justice Department officials and employees in the first six months of 2010, but only one was deemed worthy of further investigation by the department’s inspector general."

More On Rauf's "Radicalism."

The State Department is apparently sending Imam Faisal Rauf to Muslim nations abroad to lecture on how "Islam is perceived in America." Cue Republican outrage: “It is unacceptable that US taxpayers are being forced to fund Feisal Abdul Rauf’s trip to the Middle East,” say I leana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Florida and Peter King (R) of New York in a statement issued Tuesday. “This radical is a terrible choice to be one of the faces or our country overseas. The USA should be using public diplomacy programs to combat extremism,” they add, “not to endorse it.” Rauf's "extremism" is an invention . Of course, before he planned to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero, Republicans didn't have any problem with him going on such missions: “His work on tolerance and religious diversity is well-known and he brings a moderate perspective to foreign audiences on what it’s like to be a practicing Muslim in the United States,” State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley said Tuesday. He added...

CNN's Mixed Poll Results.

Greg Sargent is shocked by a new CNN poll showing a bare majority of Americans oppose ending birthright citizenship, 51 percent to 49 percent. I haven't seen a party breakdown, but I suspect this is reflective of the debates over torture and global warming -- once a position becomes part of how Republicans self-identify and distinguish themselves from Democrats it doesn't actually matter how radical it is. The poll also finds 68 percent oppose "a mosque near ground zero," which might be relevant if the poll question had asked whether or not they support government intervention to prevent it from being built and if the building were actually a mosque. But there are some other results in the poll that may speak to the relatively muted Republican reaction to Judge Vaughn Walker 's ruling overturning Prop. 8 in California. Namely, 49 percent of Americans "think gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid," while 51...