A few updates and additional thoughts on the Revolution Muslim VS South Park saga which is still continuing to develop and still getting no real reaction from anyone important.
First from foxnews.com there is some background information on the group and the guy who allegedly made the threat against Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
From the article:
By all appearances, Zachary Adam Chesser was the boy next door. He played football and was on the crew team at one of the best high schools in the country. He even studied Japanese. He was hardly the sort of boy you'd expect would suggest on a radical Islamic website that the creators of the edgy cartoon series "South Park" will be targeted for death...Excellent! Another lost soul who converted to Islam because he probably didn't get enough of an education in his own religion/culture from his parents. In fact, if you look at the other public members or former members of the group, they're ALL converts from various religions.
Two years later, Chesser is literally a changed man. He now uses an alias and has a new set of hobbies. He now likes to be called Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, and his primary interest in this world appears to be Islamic radicalism.
Take this story from The Brooklyn Ink on the founder of the site, a man named Yousef Al-Khattab - born Joseph Cohen:
Born Joseph Cohen, Khattab says he converted to Islam after coming across a Muslim from the United Arab Emirates in a Jewish chat-room while in Netivot, Israel in 1998. Their to and fro on religion lasted two years, and for Khattab, the exchange confirmed previous doubts about Judaism and eventually prompted him to embrace Islam after reading an English translation of the Quran. The exchanges, he says, reaffirmed his belief that rabbis use deception to keep Jews subservient to them...Ok, terrific! According to Khattab's bio on an Islamic website he was "born to a Secular Jewish family, and at the age of 18 years old decided to look 'deeper' into belief in God," eventually he "entered a Yeshiva and started [his] journey into the Orthodox Rabbinical racist cult." I would highly encourage you to check out the rest of his post before it's inevitably taken down - it is quite the trip. In fact, I'll copy/paste it into the comments section of this article to ensure it never goes away.
As for the guy in the video seen berating people on the streets of New York from the last post, Younes Abdullah Muhammad, there were several references all over the internet to his being a convert as well. For better or worse though, he's done a better job of keeping his pre-terrorism life private.
So what we have here is yet another example of people who were seemingly normal Americans growing up to become significantly ABNORMAL pro-al Qaeda extremists. This is not the first time this topic has been covered here. Back in 2007, I wrote about Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and his journey from secular Jew to radical Muslim to Christian anti-terrorism consultant. And of course by now you're familiar with Adam "Yahiye Gadahn" Pearlman and John Walker Lindh - both Americans, who came from seemingly normal homes but ended up being sucked into al Qaeda.
These (along with the Revolution Muslim guys) are obviously extreme examples the American melting pot gone terribly wrong, but let's be honest with ourselves, you only need to go as far as your nearest college campus to see thousands of young Americans protesting against the very country that gave them the ability to protest it. Obviously, it's not the same thing - but there is this tremendous undercurrent of self-hatred in this country that if left unchecked can turn into outright extremism and death threats against cartoons.
Without exception every single one of these extremists absolutely shatter the absolute myth that in order to become a terrorist you must grow up in a closed, poverty-stricken society. Sorry Chomsky, sorry ANSWER Coalition, sorry International Solidarity Movement, sorry Daily Kos, but none of these guys had their land "stolen" by Zionists. None of these guys were the subject of "evil" American foreign policy. None of these guys were disenfranchised minorities. They were people who were raised in exactly the type of environment you WANT them to be raised in and look what it got them. Look what it got all of us.
Why does this happen? What causes people to go from being normal, often very liberal Americans and turn into something like this?
Declaring jihad against the "Joos" - executives at Tropicana and Minute Maid express serious concerns
It all comes down to the fact that we simply do not prepare our children to deal with the people that would seek to convert and take advantage of them. While it's very good to accept people of different faiths, religions, ethnicities - if you do not make it very clear to your children what YOU believe and what YOU feel they should believe in as well, they're going to be open to someone ELSE who will make it clear to them what THEY think your child should believe in. It's all about the foundation you lay for your children. If you don't provide a strong example for them, someone or something else will. Education starts at the home because the minute your children walk out that door there are literally thousands of people, groups, companies and movements competing for their attention.
You see, there is a limit to tolerance, that when reached it begins to foster intolerance. By tolerating the ability of groups like Revolution Muslim to target your children and convert them to their cause you are allowing the most INTOLERANT people in the world to succeed. And believe me, once that line is crossed, once your child has turned into an Al-Amrikee or a Gadhan not only will you weep for your child that you've lost...you will bear the responsibility for anyone your child's intolerance has brainwashed or assaulted.
The problem with accepting these kinds of groups is that THEY will NOT accept YOU. They will NOT accept the television shows you watch. They will NOT accept your inter-faith dialogues and marriages. The only thing they will tolerate is their own extremist viewpoints and the only time they will accept you is when you've been converted to their cause as well.
We as private citizens cannot do anything about al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, that's a job for the military. We need to do our part here at home by taking responsibility for ourselves and our families. We must provide a strong alternative to extremism by showing our youth that we too have a culture that's deeper than just "Dancing with the Stars" and Walmart.
Finally on the subject of responsibility, at the same time we are taking ownership of our own communities, it is imperative that we call out those people who continually to refuse to do the same for their own communities.
From the original Fox News article on Al-Amrikee:
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, characterized Revolution Muslim as a loosely-organized group with such outrageous beliefs he believes it may be a "setup" to smear Islam.THIS. Right HERE is where as a society we LOSE. Really Ibrahim? They're "setup" are they? Setup by whom? Why can't Hooper, along with the rest of the terrorist apologists just accept the fact that there are a LOT of Muslim extremists? If Islam is as peaceful a religion as you say it is - then why not CONDEMN these extremists in ISLAMIC terms.
"They say wild and irresponsible things periodically," Hooper told FoxNews.com. "There's a strong suspicion that they're merely a setup to make Muslims and Islam look bad. They say such wild and crazy things that you have to wonder."
Recently in my non-blogging life, I've come across quite a few Muslims who have presented compelling ISLAMIC cases for why the terrorists are wrong. In fact, just recently the highly respected, internationally-known Shaikh Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri issued a FATWA AGAINST TERRORISM.
Why do people like Hooper and the Council on American-Islamic Relations insist on making excuses instead of following ul-Qadri's example and CONDEMNING people like Revolution Muslim for what they are? I myself have no problem calling out members of the Jewish community that I disagree with and have done so on numerous occasions in the past. What's this guy's problem? Does it have something to do with the fact that like Revolution Muslim, Hooper is himself a convert?
You know how you shut up a religious extremist? You find an even MORE religious guy who disagrees with their views and uses their own religious logic AGAINST them. You certainly don't apologize and make excuses for them or worse ignore responsibility completely by acting as if this is some kind of bizarre conspiracy to defame you! It is very telling and disappointing that a Pakistani cleric is more solid on anti-terrorism than Americans like Hooper.
In fact it is exactly this kind of tolerance of terrorism by people like Hooper that fosters the malaise that drives people like Zachary Chesser and Joseph Cohen to morph into Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee and Yousef Al-Khattab respectively. Actually it's probably what turned "Doug" Hooper into "Ibrahim" Hooper as well. So of course he doesn't know how to handle the extremists - he is a product of the same society that created them and is basically one himself!
In the end what needs to happen if we are going to put a stop to this extremely disturbing trend in our society is the following:
1. We must take responsibility for ourselves and our communities by presenting a very clear vision of what we believe and why we believe it. And if you aren't sure what you believe in yet...don't have children and bring them into your world of confusion.
2. We cannot have any tolerance for nations, communities or people who do not respect our right to live in the way we choose to. Simply saying "it's their culture" provides a justification for their actions and gives extremists like Revolution Muslim the ability to be intolerant towards us.
3. We must DEMAND that other communities take the same responsibility for their actions and police their own the way we are expected to police our own. The same way that it's wrong for a non-Muslim to say "all Muslims are terrorists" is the same way that it is wrong for a Muslim to say "all non-Muslims are must be terrorized". Furthermore, any member or self-declared leader of their community who attempts to justify this position or shirks responsibility for it is no better than the person making that statement.
This is a very basic, very simple concept...you can say and think whatever you want, but the minute you begin forcing your beliefs on others - that is where you cross the line and lose your right to do so. If we do this, if we train our youth to do this we will be arming them against these fanatics and giving them the tools to build the kind of life we wish for them.
But if we don't do this...
Well, the results pretty much speak for themselves.
That's what I think...what's YOUR reaction?
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