Nasralla's Denials About Video Continue Despite Other Anti-Muslim (and Anti-Sikh?) Media
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:45:46 PM EST
PhotobucketToday's New York Times article on Nakoula B. Nakoula, the unrepentant producer of the incendiary Muhammad video, includes further claims by Joseph Nasralla that he was tricked into allowing his Media for Christ facility to be used for  filming. But Nasralla's own Media for Christ projects are no less inflammatory than the video.  At right and below are graphics from 911 Defend our Students, a joint venture of Nasralla's Media for Christ and the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.  Not only does the flier, like the now-infamous movie, portray Muhammad as a sex-crazed pedophile, but an accompanying graphic in the anti-Muslim flier shows a man in a Sikh - not Muslim - turban.  This is a remarkable mistake for organizations advertised as providing expertise on Islam.
The New York Times article revisits the role of Media for Christ's Nasralla (Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih) in the making of the video known as "Innocence of the Muslims," stating,
He also insisted that Media for Christ's "work is not against Muslims," and he said he was "shocked" by the final product. But his studio has been used to produce "Wake Up America," a program hosted by Steve Klein, an insurance salesman in Hemet, Calif., and a staunch anti-Islam activist. Mr. Klein served as a consultant for Mr. Nakoula after they first met at Media for Christ.
In addition to the Media for Christ activities and broadcast, both Nasralla and Steve Klein are partners in the 911 Defend our Students project of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC).  The CADC is a 501(c)(3) founded by Gen. William S. Hollis in 1999, but was inactive until 2007, when Gary Cass, a former executive of D. James Kennedy's Reclaiming America for Christ, was made CEO.  Since taking the helm, Cass has popularized the organization's anti-homosexual and anti-Muslim agenda, as well as a series of anti-Obama films titled "Seven Reasons Barack Obama is Not a Christian."(RightWingWatch has an archive of posts on Gary Cass and the series of videos.)
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The stated agenda of the 911 Defend our Students project is to "defend the students of America from the propaganda of Islam," and has included distribution of fliers to public school students in Florida and California. One flier claims that Muslim leaders have sex with girls as young as four years old and includes the graphic of a man in a Sikh-style turban. Link to: pages of the flier on this page of the 911 Defend our Students website; an example of local coverage  here; and Leah Nelson's Salon article Steve Klein's Anti-Muslim Crusade.

The "Islamophobia Industry," as it is sometimes dubbed, is dangerous not only because of its hate mongering but also its cultural ignorance. The figures behind this industry are not nearly as "fringe" as we might like to think. The 911 Defend our Students webpages describe the venture as a "Ministry of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission and are housed at CADC's website The parent organization's advisors include a who's who of major Religious Right organizations, including:

Matthew Staver - Chairman, Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law
Lou Sheldon - Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition
Rick Scarborough - President, Vision America
Don Wildmon - Founder, American Family Association
Leslie Unruh - Founder, Abstinence Clearinghouse
Ted Baehr - Chairman, Christian Film and Television Commission
Dick Bott - President, Bott Radio
These Religious Right leaders have, at the very least, allowed their names to be used in support of an organization that disseminates fliers implying that men who look like the Sikh in the picture, have sex with young girls.

Targeting Sikhs

Sikhs are not Muslims.  They follow Sikhism, a 500 year old religion that does not actively proselytize and is not rooted in the Middle East.  On September 15, 2011, a Sikh immigrant from India was shot to death as he planted flowers around the gas station he owned in Phoenix.  The shooter was quoted as saying on 911 that he was "going out to shoot some towel heads."  This was the first in a long string of attacks on Sikhs mistaken as Muslims.

Wade Michael Page entered a Wisconsin Sikh temple on August 5, 2012, and shot nine people, including six who died.  The Southern Poverty Law Center had been tracking Page, a white supremacist and head of a white power band, since 2000. Page apparently believed his Sikh victims were Muslims.

Following the murders at the Sikh temple, author Rhekha Basu described the targeting of Sikhs since 911 in an article in the Des Moines Register.

It has happened before, too many times since Sept. 11, 2001. Sikhs are easy targets because of the turbans and beards men wear. They get mistaken for Muslims, and Muslims get mistaken for terrorists. Because of that mistake, Sikhs around the U.S. have been shot at, vandalized, insulted, pulled off trains and airplanes. At some airports, including Chicago's O'Hare, according to an organization called the Sikh Coalition, Sikh men are pulled aside for extra screening 100 percent of the time. This spring, the organization responded with a downloadable app to record and report such incidents.

One Harvard University study found 83 percent of Sikhs surveyed had experienced a hate incident or knew someone who had, in the wake of Sept. 11. Within days of those attacks, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona was shot to death, in one of over 750 reported hate crimes of retaliation.

As Basu stated, Sikhs are mistaken for Muslims, and Muslims get mistaken for terrorists.

This combination of hatred and ignorance is not limited to white supremacists, but has become a ubiquitous feature of some Religious Right organizations. This type of targeting of other Americans, whether they are homosexual, Muslim, or other frequent scapegoats,  explains why the Southern Poverty Law Center has chosen to take the controversial position of designating some of the most powerful Religious Right organizations in the nation as "hate groups."

The Islamophobia Industry

Over the last two years, several organizations published reports warning of the dangers of the Islamophobia industry and the role it is playing in conservative politics.

Manufacturing the Muslim Menace, a report by Political Research Associates (PRA), details a systemic failure to regulate content in nationwide counter-terrorism training.

Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America, by the Center for American Progress, details $42 million dollars from seven foundations helping to fund anti-Muslim hatred in America.

The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism, by People for the American Way (PFAW), is a short report on how anti-Muslim paranoia has been mainstreamed in the conservative movement.

One of the most striking factors in these reports is the extent to which self-proclaimed “counter-terrorism experts” with demonstrably false information had been given access to train military, intelligence, and homeland security personnel. What was not covered in detail in these reports is the extent of the overlap of these “experts” with the Religious Right’s anti-Muslim activism and the End Times prophecy speaking circuit - a significant phenomenon which deserves further inquiry.

Also see a previous Talk2action.org article on Joseph Nasralla and Media for Christ. Note that www.mediaforchrist.org has no relationship with Joseph Nasralla's organization. Nasralla's websites are www.atvsat.com and www.mediaforchrist.net.




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For a closely related Talk To Action story on Media For Christ, see:

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2012/9/16/12752/9534

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:37:08 PM EST



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