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Islamophobia Trumps “Pro-Life” Ideology

2:43 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Eleanor J. Bader for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Just three days into 2013, Annika Rydh, a Swedish government official from the town of Almhult, issued a shrill call to both her colleagues and neighbors. Worried about the perceived growth of the Muslim population in her homeland and beyond, she urged the European Union “to act by having some kind of restriction, like the one-child policy in China.” If Muslims don’t like the proposed rule, she continued, they can go back where they came from.

Rydh’s appeal comes on the heels of a decade-long campaign to curtail Muslim immigration into western countries and reduce the number of babies born to Muslim families. International in scope, the anti-Islam movement relies on scare tactics that, more often than not, imply that the Judeo-Christian traditions are in danger of being trampled by Sharia law.   

Joseph D’Agostino of the virulently anti-abortion Population Research Institute makes the case: “Because Christians and Jews are refusing to have children, refusing to get married, and having such low birth rates, the Muslims are going to inherit the earth.”

His boss, PRI founder Steven W. Mosher, goes even farther: “Many security experts have long believed that excessive population growth in Muslim countries is a national security threat to the west.”

And not to be outdone, Daniel Pipes’ Mideast Forum rails that “indigenous Europeans are dying out. Sustaining a population requires each woman on average to bear 2.1 children; in the European Union the overall rate is one-third short, at 1.5 a woman and falling… To keep its working population even, the EU needs 1.6 million immigrants a year. Into the void are coming Islam and Muslims. As Christianity falters, Islam is robust, assertive, and ambitious.” Pipes then goes on to posit reasons for the diminishing birthrate amongst people of traditional European backgrounds, blaming “the education of women, abortion on demand, and adults too self-absorbed to have children” for the alleged Muslim takeover.

“Islamization will happen,” Pipes writes, “for Europeans find it too strenuous to have children, stop illegal immigration, or even diversify their sources of immigrants. Instead, they prefer to settle unhappily into civilized senility.”

Lest you think Pipes can be summarily dismissed as little more than a ranting crackpot — or as someone who has himself succumbed to “civilized senility” — beware. Pipes is now a Taube Distinguished Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, has taught at the University of Chicago and Harvard, and has served as an advisor to former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former President George W. Bush. What’s more, Pipes surrounds himself with fellow travelers including noted racist Pamela Geller and bloggers at sites including muslimpopulation.com, exposingliberallies.blogspot.com, FrontPageMagazine.com, and shariaunveiled.com.

And don’t forget the burgeoning population of anti-choice bedfellows. Surprising as it seems, a host of  anti-choicers have demonstrated a clear tilt toward population control when it comes to Muslims. Indeed, it seems apparent that, for them, racism and Islamophobia trump unbridled procreation for Mohammed’s adherents.

“The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within,” Flip Benham of Operation Save America reports. “Today’s 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22 percent of the world’s population. ..Muslims will exceed 50 percent of the world’s population by the end of the century.”

Similarly, Donald Spitz’ Army of God advocates violence against abortion providers as well as against “satanic Muslims” and anti-choice candidates Randall Terry of Operation Rescue and Gary Boisclair of the Society for Truth and Justice coupled ending legal abortion with limiting Muslim immigration in their unsuccessful 2012 bids for elected office.

Ibrahim Hooper, Press Secretary of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, attributes the increasing hysteria over the purported rise of Islam to an age-old trend to demonize anything or anyone perceived as different. “Whenever a minority is targeted by bigots, they start by saying that ‘they’ are going to take over the world. It’s always the same language, and the bigots simply insert the offending group — at different times it has been Muslims, Jews, and Hispanics. In each case the opposition assigns the disliked group far more power than they actually have. The scary thing is that the folks that promulgate this irrational fear and hatred operate in a bubble of unreality that can’t be penetrated with truth, logic, or facts.”

Ah, yes, facts. According to Doug Saunders, author of The Myth of the Muslim Tide, [Vintage, 2012] “the family size of Muslim immigrant groups are converging fast with those of average westerners — faster, it seems, than either Catholic or Jewish immigrants did in their time. Muslims in France and Germany are now having only 2.2 children per family, barely above the national average. And while Pakistanis in Britain have 3.5 children each, their British-born daughters have only 2.5.”

As for the United States, Saunders writes that there are presently 2.6 million Muslims living in the 50 states, and while this number is expected to increase to 6.2 million by 2030, the overall Muslim population will still comprise just 1.7 percent of the total. In other words, 17 years from today, Muslims will account for the same proportion of the American body politic as Jews and Episcopalians.   

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STOKING FIRE: Randall Terry’s Campaign Platform

9:07 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Eleanor Bader for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry doesn’t believe prayer is enough to end abortion in the U.S. He believes in action.  A 1981 graduate of the unaccredited Elim Bible College, in 1985 he and then-wife Cindy Dean Terry began demonstrating outside Southern Tier Women’s Services in Vestal, New York.  In short order the pair escalated their protests to include a range of disruptive tactics, from blockading the building’s entrance to shouting so loudly that their taunts could be heard in the health center’s operating room.

For a short time—from the late 1980s and early 1990s—the “rescue” movement grew quickly and caused havoc at clinics throughout the country. Then, in 1994, after passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, it sputtered. Nonetheless, before it ended thousands of rescuers had been arrested, giving Terry the notoriety he continues to crave.

Indeed, in his quest for attention, Terry has proven himself to be a master of re-invention and both his personal and career lives have taken many turns. As a professional, he’s been a car salesman, a gospel and country singer, and a community organizer. He’s also morphed from fundamentalist Protestant to Roman Catholic. And now, the Tea Party activist and lifelong Republican has switched again, declaring himself a Democratic contender in 2012’s presidential race. “I don’t want to quibble with Palin, Huckabee, or Romney,” the 51-year-old told me by phone. “I want to throw body punches at Barack Obama.”

“Obama is the Massa and we’re his slave labor force,” Terry continues. “My platform respects life and liberty.”

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Can John Boehner Placate Randall Terry?

6:57 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Amanda Marcotte for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Randall Terry isn’t just your everyday anti-choice nut.  It takes someone with a special level of nuttiness to get shunned by most of the anti-choice community, a community generally known for having a high tolerance for hysterics, attention-seeking, blatant lying, and quiet encouragement of violence against abortion providers.  If you’re such a nasty piece of work that even Jill Stanek and Troy Newman can’t stand you, you must be something else.

So why on earth did soon-to-be Speaker of the House John Boehner actually conduct a meeting with Randall Terry and his cadre of extremists?  It’s understandable, if disappointing, that such a prominent politician would meet with anti-choice activists.  We still don’t live in an era where women’s human rights are above debate, and so it’s to be expected that some politicians will hold meetings based around the concept that women should be forced to bear children against their will.  But there are many dozens of anti-choice leaders Boehner could have held meetings with to establish his misogynist bona fides, and cozy up to the Christian right.  Why choose the worst of the worst, a man whose primary reputation on the right now is that of a self-aggrandizing blowhard who just screws everything up?

A few possibilities come to mind.  First, Boehner might just be ignorant of the battles within the anti-choice movement, and selected Terry for this anti-choice photo op because Terry is just so visible in D.C.  After all, Terry is forever making a spectacle of himself.  He’s hard to ignore.  To someone who only paid minimal attention to the anti-choice movement, it might seem like Terry is more of a leader than he really is.  But while incompetence can never completely be taken off the table as a reason that a politician makes a baffling mistake, it’s hard for me to imagine that Boehner and his people could be so ignorant of Terry’s place in the anti-choice world.  And if they were ignorant before, the fact that Terry did wacky stuff like put fetus dolls on the table during the discussion should have clued Boehner into the facts.

It’s also possible that Boehner is trying to signal that he’s hardcore when it comes to disrespecting women’s rights.  If you want to send that signal, you’re in good shape picking the worst of the worst of the anti-choice community.  But again, there are many people that are just as mean-spirited as Terry without being so hated within the larger anti-choice community.  Troy Newman, for instance, has just as much distaste for women’s rights and health as Terry, but he has a better reputation in the anti-choice world.  So that doesn’t really make sense. 

There is another possibility, and that is … Read more