Tuesday, 28 February 2017

CNN falsely labeled Richard Spencer as a white supremacist

Richard Spencer, a prominent leader of the 'Alt-Right' has repeatedly been flagged as a white supremacist. In December, 2016 CNN published an article calling him a 'white supremacist'. But in Janurary 2017, CNN changed their views and published another article in which they called him a 'white nationalist'.

The Jewish Forward and Israeli newspaper Haaretz has also published articles calling him a 'white supremacist'. Haaretz's website has an article with the title "White Supremacist Richard Spencer Hails Trump's 'de-Judaification' of Holocaust". But the body of that same article calls him a 'white nationalist'.

So, is he a white supremacist (Nazi) or a white nationalist? The correct answer is that he is a 'white nationalist'. His works show no sign of Nazism. His think tank, national policy institute promotes the creation of a white etho-state in America. According to Flathead Beacon:

The not-for-profit NPI bills itself as “an independent think-tank and publishing firm dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European people in the United States and around the world,” and Spencer advocates “a White Ethno-State on the American continent.” 

Spencer likes to call himself an Identitarian (in simple words, ethnic nationalism). He is ethnically white and that makes him a white nationalist. Now, how is white nationalism different from Nazism/White supremacy?  This usatoday post has the perfect answer to this question:

What’s the difference between white nationalism and white supremacy? 
“They run into each other, for sure,” Rosenthal said. “White supremacy is based on notions of racial superiority that date back to the middle of the 19th century, the notion that the white race is superior and deserves to dominate other groups.” 
White nationalism is different, but still related to this idea. 
“White nationalism, as opposed to generic racism, is an ideology that calls for the creation of a homogenous white nation,” Hawley, who recently wrote a book on the subject, said. “Within that movement, people disagree on how this can be brought about, but they agree on that long-term goal. In this sense, white nationalists are far more extreme than ordinary conservatives when it comes to issues of race.”

Also, not all Media outlets used this term against him. Reuters has many articles about him and none of the reports used the label white supremacist against Spencer. Even in December 2016, when CNN, Jewish Forward and Haaretz used the label, Reuters accurately stated that he is a white nationalist. I must say, I am impressed by Reuters coverage of him. Reuters reported:

White nationalist leader's speech sparks protests at Texas university
Texas A&M University students and activists protested against a speech on Tuesday by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who was filmed at a conference last month saying "Hail Trump", drawing Nazi-like salutes from some spectators. 
About 1,000 demonstrators waved flags, marched, sang songs and shouted through loudspeakers outside the Memorial Student Center on the campus, where Spencer was speaking, as state police in riot gear stood by, blocking them from entering.

Lets compare that with CNN's coverage of the same event:

Richard Spencer's appearance at Texas A&M draws protests 
The room felt like a tinder box, ready to devolve any given moment into conflict, only to be calmed diffused by security. 
Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who helped found the so-called alt-right movement, embraced the conflict as he spoke at Texas A&M Tuesday night.. 
For roughly two hours, Spencer delivered his message of white supremacy to a room of 400 people, the vast majority of whom were there in protest.

CNN's reporting was biased, partly untrue and speculative. Though CNN isn't total Fake News, its reports do contain fake stuff.

Friday, 24 February 2017

What type of propaganda is successful?

Propaganda is successful if the general public believe in them. The propagandists job is to create propaganda's that appeal to the masses and design it in a way that makes it trustworthy. Most propaganda's try to influence the universal moral foundations present in humans. According to Moral foundations theory, these foundations are:

Care: cherishing and protecting others; opposite of harm. 
Fairness or proportionality: rendering justice according to shared rules; opposite of cheating. 
Liberty: the loathing of tyranny; opposite of oppression. 
Loyalty or ingroup: standing with your group, family, nation; opposite of betrayal. 
Authority or respect: submitting to tradition and legitimate authority; opposite of subversion. 
Sanctity or purity: abhorrence for disgusting things, foods, actions; opposite of degradation.

Propagandists try to influence these ethical foundations to manipulate the minds of masses. The primary goal of propaganda is to change the behavior or perception of masses in support of the interests of propagandists.

Examples of successful propaganda.

Namecalling: Trash-talking another product or defaming a person. In this case, the propagandist tries to influence the sanctity of another product or person. Let me give you a more brief example:

If there are two supermarkets in a town, people will generally buy from the store that sells things cheaper. Now the market that sells in higher prices decides to hire a propagandist to increase his sales. The propagandist then spreads rumors in the town that products of the market that sales cheap are low quality and some people got sick after eating those products. In such situation, some customers will switch to the other shop even though the prices are higher.

Recommendation or endorsement: This is one of the most common form of propaganda. Often we see politicians endorsing candidates, celebrities recommending specific products. This type of propaganda uses the loyalty of a person to change his perceptions.

What is the extent to which Malcolm X's activism was influenced by his Muslim beliefs?

Question: I have been researching the role of religion on the Civil Rights movement and while I am aware that Malcolm X identified as a Muslim it is unclear as to how this belief influenced his (and his supporters') work as an activist. I was simply wondering whether there are any interpretations or recommended texts on the subject.

Answer: Malcolm X's understanding of race was dramatically changed by his completion of the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Here's a copy of the letter he wrote. He wrote that,

"I have never before witnessed such sincere hospitality and the practice of true brotherhood as I have seen it here in Arabia. In fact all I have seen and experienced on this pilgrimage as forced me to 're-arrange' much of thoughts pattern and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions....I have eaten. From the same plate...with fellow Muslims whose skin was the whitest of white, whose eyes was the bluest of blue, and whose hair was the blondest of blond – I could look into their blue eyes and see that they regarded me as the same (Brothers), because their faith in One God (Allah) had actually removed “white” from their mind,....If white Americans could accept the religion of Islam, if they could accept the Oneness of God (Allah) they too could then sincerely accept the Oneness of Men, and cease to measure others always in terms of their 'difference in color'."

At this point, his attitude changed from a perspective of an innate conflict between black people and white people to a viewpoint in which black people and white people could get along.

Reference: History.SE

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fake News on Daily Telegraph about Muslim support for Sharia

Today when I was researching about "Muslim support for Sharia law in the United Kindom", I bumped into a article by Daily Telegraph with the title: "Poll reveals 40pc of Muslims want sharia law in UK". It says:

Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today. 
The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 percent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity.

 The first sentence of the report is a gross misrepresentation of the original survey. The report refers to this survey by ICM that asked the specific question, "Would you support or oppose there being areas of Britain which are pre-dominantly Muslim and in which Sharia Law is introduced?"

40% Muslims said they would support this. The question specifically asked if they "would support" the introduction of Sharia not whether they want it. Only the government of the UK can introduce Sharia to pre-dominantly Muslim areas of Britain. So, if the British government does that and implements Sharia in those areas then 40% of Muslims would support it, this is what it means.

But the Islamophobic reporter (spreading bigotry against Muslims is by definition Islamophobic) deliberately misinterpreted the report to create a negative image of Muslims. This report is reposted in many racist websites such as stromfront.org and amren.com.

According to Southern Poverty Law Center, stromfront is a white nationalist site.

Created by former Alabama Klan boss and long-time white supremacist Don Black in 1995, Stormfront was the first major hate site on the Internet. Claiming more than 300,000 registered members as of May 2015 (though far fewer remain active), the site has been a very popular online forum for white nationalists and other racial extremists.

Amren.com is also a site promoting hate according to SPLC.

Founded by Jared Taylor in 1990, the New Century Foundation is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites. It is best known for its American Renaissance magazine and website.

The claim in the second sentence that 20% of Muslims have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers is also deceptive. The survey shows 8% of Muslims have a lot and 12% have a little sympathy for the motives of the attackers. The report didn't specify that.

And the claim that "although 99 percent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity" is totally false. 96% of Muslims not 99% said the attack was wrong. 3% said they don't know. Here's an excerpt from the survey:

For Muslims to have bombed London on 7/7 and 21/7
Refuse/Don't know3%

Friday, 17 February 2017

Australian lawmaker says she wants to deport all religious Muslims

Jacqui Lambie, a member of Australia's senate said that all Muslims who support Islamic law should be deported from Australia. Since all religious Muslims support Islamic law, such action if taken, would affect all Muslims who practice the religion of Islam.

ABC News reported that she said, "anybody that support Sharia law in this country should be deported." What she is proposing is that all Muslims who support Sharia including the ones who abide by the laws of the country should be deported. They should be deported because they are Muslim and religious not because they are criminals or broke any law. This is by definition, Fascism.

This is not the first time she made such comments. In September 2014, she claimed that sharia supporters are maniacs who will rape and murder 'until every woman in Australia wears a burka'.

ABC News reported in September 2014:

Jacqui Lambie has redoubled her attack on supporters of Islamic sharia law, telling Parliament they are "maniacs and depraved humans" who will not stop committing "cold-blooded butchery and rapes until every woman in Australia wears a burka". 
The Palmer United Party senator has expressed strong views on the "evil" of sharia law, but on Sunday struggled to explain what it was during an interview on the ABC's Insiders program. 
In a lengthy speech in Parliament on Monday, Senator Lambie acknowledged her difficulties in articulating theology.
"It's not going to come as a shock when I tell you that I am not an Islamic scholar," she said, before blaming sharia law supporters for "every major terrorist attack on the Western world".

So, she says every major terrorist attack on the Western world was perpetrated by Muslims. How true is that?

Click on the image to enlarge it. The graphs are from datagraver.com

If we don't attribute the deaths due to 9/11 to Muslims, then the number of people killed by Muslim terrorists would be much lower than people killed by non-Muslim terrorists. But the Muslims were behind 9/11 right?

No, not exactly, it's still debated. It's still not confirmed if Muslims were behind it or not. The official report is challenged by many professors and architects. In fact, 50% of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory related to the events of the September 11 attack, a study by Chicago University found. The study also found that 19 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks.

And she doesn't consider Oklahoma City bombing as a major terrorist attack. According to Wikipedia, the attack killed 168 people.

TargetU.S. federal government
Attack type
Truck bombingdomestic terrorismmass murder
WeaponsANNM truck bombGlock 21(not used)
Deaths168 confirmed + 1 possible additional fatality
Non-fatal injuries

A terrorist attack with 168 confirmed kills and 680 injuries is minor to her. Or, maybe it's a minor terrorist attack because it was carried out by a Christians?

Thursday, 16 February 2017

What are the propaganda techniques used by propagandists?

"How does the propagandist go about his task? There are certain simple rules and principles Of propaganda that the psychologist sees, although the majority of propagandists are probably unaware of the principles they use, but they find their methods work, and they are extremely clever in utilizing certain basic psychological principles.

The first of these propaganda principles is to connect the idea or object you are propagandizing with some attitude, symbol, or emotion that people already know and feel strongly about. The propagandist must, then, know people. Herr Goebbels has one rule of propaganda, which is to see with the eyes of the masses. 

Propagandists must use symbols that are rich in their emotional meaning, symbols that appeal to broad, general attitudes or sentiments which are so vague that people may be for or against them emotionally and yet not know precisely what such symbols mean. Take, for example, the often repeated symbols of justice, beauty, liberty, economy, patriotism. 

To these and other such attitudes, we find the propagandist connecting soaps, cigarettes, political campaigns, and appeals to join the army. Vague emotionally toned words such as "communist," "Red, Moscow, atheist, slacker," etc., are used to arouse us against individuals whom the propagandist labels uncritically.

These vague words that most people dislike, they also do not clearly understand. This simple rule of propaganda is so frequently used that the layman is by now more or less aware of the propagandist's trick. Hence the propagandist must resort to his second principle in order to conceal his purpose or to make it socially acceptable. 

The second principle is to build up a new attitude around your product or idea by using Subtle, Concealed suggestion. In using this technique, the propagandist frequently tries to get his propaganda into newspapers as news or as editorial opinion. 

In this he is highly successful, and a large proportion of the news in even the best news- papers of the country may be seen as propaganda by the student acquainted with the techniques and aims of the various interest groups now trying to influence public opinion. Another method for building up the public attitudes regarding someone's pet idea is to disguise propaganda as explanation. 

This is a device frequently employed by those already in power. Here we find, as perhaps the most glaring example, the efforts of the public utilities to enlist the co-operation of educators so that the educators will teach, without knowing it, the things that would preserve the interests of those who now control utilities. 

Textbook writers are influenced, college professors are hired to write and speak for the interests, technical journals are used to "explain" or rationalize the selfish interests of those behind the scenes. Another example Of Such ' 'explanation" is the propaganda of the New Deal in its early days. 

Since the use of this particular method is so dependent upon the situation in question and the tenor of the times, great companies and powerful individuals now hire experts in propaganda who call themselves public relations counsels, and whose business it is to feel the public's pulse in all classes and vocations and find out where the people are most gullible. 

The public relations counsel, then, once hired, Will work for his client through the newspapers, through the radio, through medical journals, through high-school textbooks, and through cutouts for the kiddies."

Reference: The English Journal page: 218

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

What is propaganda?

Propaganda is something that is intentionally propagated to change or control the opinions of general public. Dr. Cantril, associate professor of psychology at Princeton University, defines it as the "expression of opinion or action by individuals or groups deliberately designed to influence opinions or actions of other individuals or groups with reference to predetermined ends."

This definition includes several things. Propaganda's are generally spread in the form of news articles, images, videos, songs, posters, graphs, statistics, etc. According to American historical association:

Propaganda isn’t an easy thing to define, but most students agree that it has to do with any ideas or beliefs that are intentionally propagated.

It uses words and word substitutes in trying to reach a goal—pictures, drawings, graphs, exhibits, parades, songs, and other devices.

Of course propaganda is used in controversial matters, but it is also used to promote things that are generally acceptable and non-controversial.

So there are different kinds of propaganda. They run all the way from selfish, deceitful, and subversive effort to honest and aboveboard promotion of things that are good.

All propaganda's aren't false or deceitful. In fact, the very best propaganda's are generally based on facts. Propaganda's are generally classified to three types:

1. White Propaganda

This is the kind of propaganda that truthfully states its origin. According to the Wikipedia entry, white propaganda, "It is the most common type of propaganda. It generally comes from an openly identified source, and is characterized by gentler methods of persuasion than black propaganda." An example of such propaganda is biased one sided articles written in reputable news websites.

2. Black propaganda

Black propaganda is false information and material that purports to be from a source on one side of a conflict, but is actually from the opposing side. It is typically used to vilify, embarrass, or misrepresent the enemy.[1]

Example: Lets assume, a group of Russian soldiers dresses up in Ukrainian army uniforms and executes someone brutally and films it. Then they circulate it to blame Ukraine for the execution. This is how this type of propaganda works.

3. Grey propaganda

Grey propaganda is propaganda that has no identifiable source or author. Claims made with no evidence by politicians, governments, TV News broadcasters are this type of propaganda.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Is Google Islamophobic?

No. Google isn’t Islamophobic but a lot of its contents are. But Google doesn't do anything about it. They just simply sit there and let people visit hate sites. Let me give you an example:

In the above search, I wanted to know what Islam the religion says about “hate speech”. Instead of providing results from educational websites, Google showed results from hate sites and some other completely irrelevant results.

One of the top 5 results referred to Jihadwatch. org which is owned by a anti-Muslim Islamophobe. According to Southern Poverty Law Center, the owner of Jihadwatch, Robert Spencer was quoted by terrorist Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in a terrorist attack.

About Robert Spencer 
He insists, despite his lack of academic training in Islam, that the religion is inherently violent and that radical jihadists who commit acts of terror are simply following its dictates. His writing was cited dozens of times in a manifesto written by the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik. Spencer was banned from the United Kingdom as an extremist in July 2013. 
Robert Spencer | Southern Poverty Law Center

But Google doesn't treat all religious groups equally. It gives special treatment to Jews (It is also important to note that both of Google's founders are Jewish). Recently, Google removed a search result about holocaust denial after a Jewish person complained about it.

Google recently made a big move regarding their stand on search results when they reportedly altered their search algorithm to get rid of results that deny the holocaust. 
Gizmodo reports that this was prompted by a search result when the keywords “Did the Holocaust happen?” were keyed in. Previously, the first result came from a white supremacist website entitled “Top 10 reasons why the holocaust didn’t happen.” 
While Google initially refused to remove the article, the company later had a change of heart and promptly altered their search algorithm to remove Holocaust denial sites. 
Google alters algorithm, removing Holocaust-denying results

Though Google isn't Islamophobic, it surely helps Islamophobes spread their hateful massage.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

FactCheck: Do 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity every year in Africa?

The internet is full of claims like,
Six Million African Muslims Convert to Christianity Each Year.
Africa: 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity every single year.

Are these claims true? On what basis are these claims made? Are these claims backed by facts? In this post, I will try to answer all these questions and examine the factual accuracy of these claims.

The origin of this claim is the opinions expressed by Ahmad al-Katani in an interview with Al-Jazeera television in 2000. He claimed that every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity and every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. The transcript of the full interview in Arabic can be found here.

The claim is based entirely on his opinions. It has no factual basis. According to existing data from Pew Research Center, Islam will gain more followers in Africa in the coming decades. Pew reports:

Religious switching is expected to change the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa in future decades only modestly. (For information on the impact of religious switching on the demographic projections in this report, see Chapter 1.) The Muslim share of sub-Saharan Africa’s 2050 population is expected to be 0.3 percentage points higher than it would be if projected religious switching were not taken into account. By contrast, the projection for the Christian share of the region in 2050 is 0.3 percentage points lower than if religious switching were not included in the projections.

Islam's net gain due to conversion will be 0.3%. Christianity's net gain is in negative (-0.3%) which means Christianity will loss followers due to religious switching. The data clearly proves that 6 million Muslims don't convert to Christianity every year and thereby the claim is false.