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Americans for “Truth” Attacks Partners of Gay and Lesbian 9/11 Victims September 12, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, lgbt Issues, terrorism.
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Unlike Americans for “Truth”, yesterday I decided not to post a political story that would exploit, or even distract, from the victims, heroes and events of September 11th. But it is September 12th now, so here it goes…

On September 11th, Americans for “Truth” posted an article condemning the Red Cross for “advancing a larger agenda to radically redefine the family.” The article claims the Red Cross has crossed the line by providing assistance to the same-sex partners of men and women who were killed in the collapsing World Trade Center. Apparently, Americans for “Truth” believes the Red Cross should not assist the life partners of gay and lesbian people killed in the attacks. They say that when the Red Cross decided to assist these family members, they should have informed their donors of the group’s decision to “[undermine] the primacy of marriage.”

My first reaction: Do these people know what Christianity is? That aside, Americans for “Truth” has once again revealed its true vision for an anti-gay utopia. The anti-gay movement is not attempting to “help struggling homosexuals” or “stop homosexuals from destroying marriage” or “stop homosexuals from getting special rights”… they intend to either rid the world of gay and lesbian people or make gay and lesbian lives as difficult and isolated as possible. As the top of the World Trade Center hit the streets of Manhattan, was Peter LaBarbera thinking about all the heterosexuals who had died, or all the human beings who died? To deny grieving partners with the financial and medical security needed to carry on, just because they were gay and lesbian, would have been a national shame that would have haunted and angered Americans years from now. Aside from the common sense argument, Peter needs to realize the Red Cross doesn’t run on heterosexual money alone… gays and lesbians donate to the Red Cross as well.

Also in the September 11th post, which advocated denying grieving gay and lesbian partners assistance, was an oversimplified and distorted analysis of the number of gay and lesbian Americans. Here is what Americans for “Truth” had to say:

An interesting statistic is inadvertently noted in this article: 22 of the 2880 tragically killed on Sept 11, 2001, are identified as having a homosexual partner. That is 0.75% — even if that figure were doubled or tripled, it is nowhere near the 10% figure that some homosexual activists still fraudulently cite to exaggerate their numbers and clout.

Once again: it bothers the hell out of me that they use 9/11 in this way. Nonetheless, they cite that 22 of the 2,880 people killed on 9/11 “identified as having a homosexual partner.” Forgetting reality, Americans for “Truth” then concludes that only 22 gay and lesbian people were killed on 9/11, which is absurd in itself. If 22 people had same-sex partners, there were many more gay and lesbian people killed who did not have partners, and therefore are not even counted in his “analysis”. Beyond that, they make the assumption that the partner of every gay and lesbian person who died that day made it public that they had lost a same-sex partner. Americans for “Truth” should know that because of prejudice against gay and lesbian people (which they help inflame), it is likely that many people with same-sex partners did not “come out” and say so.

Even if every gay and lesbian person who died on 9/11 were counted, a fourth-grade math student would tell you not to assume that number reflects society in general. If a building collapsed in Chelsea, I bet around 75 percent of those killed would be gay or lesbian. Can I now make the conclusion that 75 percent of America is attracted to the same-sex? Similarly, if the Americans for “Truth” headquarters collapsed, can we assume that 100 percent of America has an intense and vile hatred for gays and lesbians?

As I sat a few feet away from Ground Zero last night, it was incredibly powerful to once again feel as if all Americans were unified by that tragic day. Victims were not seen as Republican or black or gay or Muslim… it didn’t matter. A life lost was a loss for all. I came home in a solemn but peaceful state, but it was quickly destroyed as I read the Americans for “Truth” article, which unapologetically states that the families of gay and lesbian 9/11 victims were not as deserving as heterosexual families. It was difficult to imagine that perhaps at the very moment I leaned against the church fence across from Ground Zero, an Americans for “Truth” staff member was claiming September 11, 2001 hurt heterosexual people more than gay people.

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Five Years Later… September 11, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in terrorism.
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We remember the victims and heroes of September 11, 2001.

Muslim Americans in a Post-9/11 World September 10, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in immigration, international, religion, terrorism.
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Aside from those who have loved ones who died on September 11th, perhaps no group of people were affected more by the tragedy than Muslim Americans. Some Muslim Americans have relatives that were killed by the collapsing World Trade Center, others have been subjected to discrimination and violence because of their religious beliefs, and all have had to cope with the same harsh reality all Americans face: A country less secure because of terrorism.

Despite the constant reminders of the threat of “Islamo-facism”, “Islamic extremists” and “Muslim terrorists”, Muslims from countries around the world are continuing to immigrate to the United States. According to The New York Times, the number of Muslims entering the country dipped sharply after the 9/11 attacks. But in 2005, nearly 96,000 Muslims became legal permanent residents – more than in any year in the past 20 years.

The numbers are quite promising for a country that is seen by many Muslims as the enemy of Islam. For those Muslims who come to the United States despite concerns over our foreign policy, political and religious freedom seems to outweigh our role in the Middle East. As the New York Times article points out, the Pakistan Independence Day parade in the Little Pakistan neighborhood of Brooklyn is now dominated by American flags, which was not always the case.

It seems as if some Muslim Americans who lived in the country prior to 9/11 have now developed an identity that emphasizes being an American as much as it does being a Muslim. Of course, many had this identity way before the attacks, but the agony that came with the fall of the World Trade Center seemed to encourage a patriotic identification with America, regardless of politicial affiliation, religion or ethnicity. There is extreme division and polarization in America five years after the attacks, but traces of this unified identity continues to linger for many.

America is extremely fortunate that Muslims are still immigrating to our nation in hopes of fulfilling that mythic “American dream”. As we continue to make Muslims a visible and valued part of the fabric of American life, it will become increasingly difficult for extremists to claim our country is the enemy of Islam. Obviously, this alone will not end the threat of terrorism. But it will take a multi-faceted approach that emphasizes inclusion as much as it emphasizes rooting out terrorists.

Muslim Americans continue to face discrimination because of fear and intolerance, but I am hopeful that we are moving in the right direction. As a Pakistani woman who immigrated to Brooklyn in March said: “This is a land of opportunity. There is equality for everyone.” The more Muslim Americans who believe this to be true, the safer and better-off our country will be.

What Others Are Saying:

Please Note: The views of the following bloggers do not necessarily represent my views.

Infidel Bloggers Alliance: Winds of War: It’s Time for American Muslims to Act

Jihad Watch: America is Not Islamaphobic, It Really Just Doesn’t Understand the Religion at All

Peace and Mutual Understanding for a Better World: We Shouldn’t Profile Muslim Americans

Curious: Increasing Muslim immigration to US

Understanding Hezbollah and Avoiding World War III July 16, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in international, iraq, middle east, politics, terrorism, violence.
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Courtesy New York Times

The Lebanese extremist group that may be credited with starting a Middle Eastern war is a powerful organization, but one without overwhelming support from most Lebanese. The mainstream media has made it clear that Hezbollah, not the Lebanese government, kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in what Israel now calls “an act of war”. But many Americans, perhaps with the help of bloggers, have confused the Lebanese people with supporters of Hezbollah. There are some Lebanese that support Hezbollah, but those numbers are marginal… at least before these recent events in the Middle East.

In the 2005 Lebanese election, Hezbollah won 23 seats out of 128 in parliament.** A little less than 18 percent of elected Lebanese officials are from Hezbollah’s political wing. This is not a majority party and does not have majority support. You could likely find 18 U.S. Senators that believe we should bomb North Korea, but that does not mean the U.S. government believes North Korea should be bombed. There are radicals in every government, but it is a disservice to the government and to democracy to characterize an entire country by its radicals. Does America really want to be known by its radicals, like Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), who talks more about bestiality than health care?

That said, Israel cannot stand idly by while a militant group attacks its people. Hezbollah is dedicated to destroying Israel and establishing a non-democratic Islamic rule in Lebanon… it should not exist. The problem is, Israel has treated Hezbollah’s aggression as if it was the will of the Lebanese government and people. All 23 Hezbollah government members were elected from Southern Lebanon… not one from the North. To keep public opinion against Hezbollah while trying to root it out, Israel should be attacking Southern Lebanon, not northern urban areas like Beirut.

If people in Beirut, who have not supported Hezbollah, watch a relative die in an Israeli air-strike… will these people continue to oppose Hezbollah or will the radical group gain sympathy with the Lebanese people? I believe the latter, which is a scary scenario for Israel, the Middle East and the world.

Newt Gingrich, ever the optimist, told Tim Russert on Meet the Press this morning that we are heading towards World War III. Although Tim Russert’s other guest, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), disagreed with Gingrich’s analogy, the events of the past week could easily lead to a war of gigantic proportions in the Middle East.

I won’t pretend to have the solution that avoids all out war. However, it seems relatively obvious that the United States and other potential negotiators should be throwing its support behind Israel and the Lebanese government, while working cooperatively to destroy the militant wing of Hezbollah. But this is not happening. Lebanon is a democracy that depends on public opinion. Just as would happen in other democracies, if innocent Lebanese continue to die, the general public will become more radicalized and the government will be quick to follow.

A crisis that could potentially involve Israel, Palestinians, Lebanon, Iran and Syria will also have a tremendous impact on the Iraq war. Some Iraqis have protested Israel’s offensive into Lebanon, which they believe is supported by the U.S. government (picture above). America is already losing the public relations war in Iraq, and its refusal to take a strong stand against excessive Israeli force will only make the situation worse.

I have tremendous sympathy for Israel and believe it needs to fight Hezbollah and its militants. Israel just has to remember that it is fighting Hezbollah, not the Lebanese government, and that the vast majority of Hezbollah supporters are in Southern Lebanon. Leave Beirut and other northern areas alone so the military can concentrate forces and air-power on the terrorist group that started this whole mess in the first place.

**CNN reports that there are only 14 Hezbollah members in the Lebanese parliament (11 percent). I have yet to determine for sure which of the two reported numbers are correct.

Attacking The New York Times… With Fake Anthrax July 14, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in media, terrorism.
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New York police rushed to The New York Times building today after an employee opened a letter that contained a white powdery substance that had the potential to be anthrax. The letter contained a New York Times editorial defending its articles that exposed the Bush administration’s secret spying operations. The editorial had an “X” slashed through it. Thankfully, the Department of Environmental Protections has since determined it was not anthrax, just powder.

The incident likely strikes fear in the Newspaper of Record, which has faced harsh criticism over the last couple of weeks and months. The ridiculousness of the episode is quite clear: An America-can-never-do-wrong “patriot”, pissed about the newspaper allegedly ‘helping terrorists’, decides the best way to handle the situation is to become a terrorist. Insane.

Those who are so quick to jump on The New York Times and other media outlets for publishing stories on domestic spying need to wake up. A well-informed public is an absolutely essential part of democracy. An educated public cannot exist if people in power are able to side-step laws and perform illegal actions in a veil of secrecy.

Those that argue “these are different times” need to realize this argument is used every time there is a conflict in the United States. While Japanese-Americans were being shoved into internment camps, it was justified by saying “these are different times”. When our troops were being sent to fight a distant war in Vietnam, it was because “these are different times”. And when we launched a preemptive war in Iraq… you guessed it… it was because “these are different times.” Enough with this argument… it cannot be used to infringe on our civil liberties or the freedom of the press.

Thank you New York Times and other media outlets for participating in the checks and balances system that makes our country so great.