Why I keep harping—write a blog—be a citizen journalist!

This is going to be long, but I need to say it.   I won’t be offended if you don’t want to hear it!

Just now I was looking for some information on Nepal and ended up reading at the Hudson Institute where I came across this report by Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News.   It struck a cord because long before Judy and I started this blog, we and others of our friends had been reading and learning about the Islamist threat and specifically the Muslim Brotherhood’s quite clearly stated goal to turn the United States into a Sharia governed country.  

You can protest that this goal is far-fetched, but it is indeed what they aspire to.    Then I noticed on January 1, 2007 that the head of the Muslim America Society (the Muslim Brotherhood spin-off) spoke at our local mosque in Hagerstown, MD.  His photo was on the frontpage but there was no mention of who he was.  I wrote some letters to the editor that were never published attempting to educate the public, afterall everything I said had already been published in the Chicago Tribune in 2004.

The editorial page editor at the Herald Mail clearly dismissed what I had to say and acted as if I was a rabid racist, bigoted, hatemonger.  That same attitude continued when the refugee issue began in earnest a few months later.    I was puzzled why professional journalists would not have any curiosity about Islam in America  in the wake of 911, or for that matter the refugee resettlement program.   It was plain to see that we were never going to get our views to the public unless we took matters into our own hands and started writing ourselves. 

Now comes Rod Dreher’s report last Friday at the Hudson Institute which answers my question so articulately about why journalists are not writing about the central issue of our time.    After you read this you will understand that it is imperative that you become a citizen journalist.

[Mr. Dreher has up to this point in his narrative described his experience with certain Islamic leaders and the newspaper for which he works, The Dallas Morning News, emphasis is mine]

Now, I cannot say how typical the Dallas experience is of the broader American experience, but my contacts around the country suggest that this is standard operating procedure. Islam remains a sacred cow in many American newsrooms. My experience with the Muslim leadership in Dallas provides insight, in my view, into why American journalists have ignored the radicalism present in mainstream US Muslim organizations, and in particular why—with the singular exception of an extraordinary 2004 series in the Chicago Tribune—the mainstream media has shown almost no curiosity about the Brotherhood. Why? Reflecting on my experience as a journalist, and as a journalist dealing with Muslim leaders, I have several ideas as to why.

First, Muslims provide non-Muslim journalists with an opportunity to demonstrate their broadmindedness. Most journalists are secularists and cultural liberals, as survey after survey has shown. Cultural liberals have a natural sympathy for the
underdog, especially besieged minorities. As a general matter, they are predisposed to believe the best about all American Muslims, and to discount evidence to the contrary as right-wing paranoia.


Muslim leaders like Sayyid Syeed of ISNA and Mohamed Elmougy understand this, which is why they pitch their presentations to journalists as they do. The legacy of McCarthyism has such a powerful hold on the minds of many journalists that it disarms the instincts that every journalist has to nurture in order to do a proper job.


Now that the Cold War is over, we look back at the water-carrying and fellow-traveling so many mainstream liberals, especially journalists, did for the communists, and wonder how on earth they could have been so deluded.

Well, they saw what they wanted to see. One day, I am confident that historians and others will wonder the same thing about the silence and incuriosity of today’s journalists with regard to the threat from radical Islam in America.

Along those lines, I think at least some journalists sympathize with Muslim leaders because they—the Muslim leaders—have made enemies of conservative Christian counterparts. I have heard on many occasions journalists fuming that American society gets uptight about radical Islam, but ignores the threat from the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the country—as if they were remotely the same thing! As if the sins and failings of the Christian right justified ignoring Islamic militancy. It is nothing short of bizarre that the secular fundamentalists in the US media are so consumed by fear and loathing of conservative Evangelicals that they give a free pass to Islamic religious fundamentalists who stand for a far more intolerant form of faith.

Similarly, I’ve observed that some canny Muslim activists have adopted the tactic of invoking the threat of danger to Muslims should critical stories appear in the media. The idea is that journalists should not write stories, even if true, that reflect poorly on the Muslim community, because somewhere, there might be a redneck thug who would use the information to attack innocent Muslims. Again, this plays well into the stereotype that many journalists have of the great right-wing un-
washed, lying in wait to carry out pogroms against defenseless minorities.

This is just one more reason why I believe that leaders from these Muslim Brotherhood-influenced organizations—CAIR, ISNA, MAS—are typically good at understanding the psychology of liberal American journalists, and know how to intimidate them. But it‘s also true that they know how to present a positive spin on themselves and their organizations. They adopt the language of civic engagement and civil society, and deploy it at every opportunity.


One young Muslim activist in Dallas who embraces Said Qutb’s message as spiritually enlightening is downright Tocquevillian in the language he uses in public. This is not entirely deceptive. The Muslim Brotherhood’s general strategy is to work through the institutions of civil society to achieve the ultimate goal, which is an Islamic state. It is obviously un-American to decide that Muslim citizens are to be distrusted when they want to participate fully in the political and civic life of this country. The Brotherhood activists understand this, and make this public goodwill work to their advantage. Without informed journalists making meaningful inquiries about the ultimate goal of this or that Muslim group, critics can come across looking like bigots who want to disfranchise and disempower honest Muslim citizens.

It is vital that the public be able to tell the difference between Muslims who honestly and legitimately want to be part of American public life, and those who are using the laws and customs of this country surreptitiously to undermine, and ulti-
mately destroy, them.
But the news media, which is the institution best able to make that distinction, is failing to do its job.

Walkersville, MD: Muslim compound update

 Update 2/6/08:   I went out to Walkersville last evening, will have more later but in the meantime here is the Frederick News Post on the meeting last night.    A decision tonight maybe? 

Apparently a decision may come as early as Tuesday night on the special exception zoning request by the Ahmadyyia Muslim Community in Walkersville, MD.   If you are new to Refugee Resettlement Watch you can catch up on this issue by going to our earlier posts here.    This is the official announcement for Tuesday evening:


2/5/2008 7:00 P.M.

The Walkersville Board of Appeals will continue the public hearing to consider W-B-07-1 Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC) special exception request on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 7 p.m. at the Walkersville Town Hall, 21 W. Frederick Street, Walkersville, MD. The Board will begin their deliberations and may reach a decision on the special exception request. At the meeting the Board may ask questions of or request information from the applicant, staff or others who participated in the hearing. Part of the meeting may be conducted in closed session in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.

Bring in more foreign labor, are we nuts?

Yesterday the Washington Times top headline read “U.S. economy losing jobs” and these lines jumped out at me in light of all the other things we are reading and reporting on here lately.

Revisions by the department also showed that the economy created 376,000 fewer jobs during 2007 than originally reported. The total of 1.14 million new jobs was less than 100,000 a month — not enough to keep pace with the growth in population and job seekers. As a result, the unemployment rate rose from a low of 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent last month.

“–not enough to keep pace with the growth in population and job seekers.”    The Center for Immigration Studies has reported the increase in US population is completely a function of immigration.   Then why on earth are we bringing more foreign labor?

A few days ago we reported that 100 Nepalese workers are missing from Huntsville, Alabama where they had been brought to the US by a large company and had just literally disappeared into the woodwork of America.  But note in this article they were working 12 hours shifts and taking home $88 and recently the number of shifts had declined for them.   Cinram Corp. thinks they just packed up and went back to Nepal.  You would have to have worked an awful many weeks to afford a return ticket to Nepal.

Then there is Emporia, KS the city that is now in a state of mourning because 1500 Tyson’s Food workers have been sent packing too.   

It was a grim picture at Emporia Presbyterian Church on Friday morning as more than 200 people — Tyson workers and their families — packed the church for a meeting to address some of their concerns and learn about what help is available for them.

Most of those attending were foreign workers who will need translation help to apply for unemployment, if they are here legally.    No documents and you are out in the cold.

Some audience members were concerned about what to do if they don’t have legal documentation. Workers without documentation are not eligible for unemployment.


“You need to ask Tyson to help out,” Rios said

The list goes on!   Recently I wrote about the poor job prospects in Michigan for refugees.   But, look at this article on REAL ID from the Detroit News.     Apparently Michigan has so many foreign workers its economy will suffer further if those workers cannot get driver licenses easily.

Archer, an attorney whose law firm represents the Japanese Consulate, said those harmed include 10,000 Japanese citizens, working up to seven years apiece at more than 400 in-state Japanese firms.


“It will disrupt business and cause problems at a time when we want to bring more business to Michigan,” Archer said.

[ ]

Officials of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. said foreign investment in Michigan is at risk if the fix-it bills aren’t enacted.


The agency is working with firms in nine countries representing $300 million in investment and 3,100 jobs, they said.

Testifying at the hearings the director of a refugee agency in Lansing says that finding jobs for refuguees would be difficult if REAL ID is implemented.  But, as we pointed out it’s already a problem for refugees in Michigan to find work.

Shirin Timms, director of the nonprofit Refugee Center in Lansing, said Michigan is a top “resettlement state” for those escaping strife in other lands, who are here legally but now can’t get licenses and IDs that will help them land jobs.

So, back to my original question, are we nuts?   We will bring 70,000 additional low skilled workers to the US in the Refugee Resettlement Program this fiscal year!  And, that is just one of many immigration programs; it’s no wonder we can never defeat poverty.