The Preachers of Hate Series: Pt. 1 – Walid Shoebat
It gets depressing wading through the hateful anti-Muslim propaganda on various networking sites, so I’ve started my own little game to lighten things up. When I click on the shortened URL I have a little bet with myself as to which particular hate site will be revealed. The usual suspects crop up with tedious regularity. Pointing out the inaccuracies, and discrediting each individual source has no impact at all. Banging my head against a brick wall would be less painful and frustrating. They keep on coming, the same old sites and the same old names.
I’ve mentioned previously how the Islamophobic gravy train is particularly lucrative and well funded. Certain individuals have found a particular niche for themselves and exploit the Islamophobia to line their pockets and to further their own agendas. Some even fabricate entire back stories to provide an air of authenticity. Their supposed expert insight and inside knowledge of the Muslim threat has been lapped up eagerly by the right-wing media, conservative Christians, Tea Party and GOP candidates, the Zionist lobby and even government departments Stateside and their influence has seeped into the UK anti-Muslim movement. Unfortunately the anti-Islamophobia and anti-racism movement in the UK have been slow to recognise the threat these hatemongers pose.
I want to bring these people to the attention of a wider audience to ensure that they are exposed for the frauds that they are, despite their superficial credibility. The first of these people is Walid Shoebat, one of the Three Stooges of the Christian right. They are a triumvirate of self-confessed former Muslim terrorists who supposedly saw the light, converted to Christianity and want to inform the world how evil Islam is.
The bio on Shoebat’s website claims:
For the record, my name is Walid Shoebat. I used to be a radicalized Muslim willing to die for the cause of Jihad until I converted to Christianity in 1994. As a member of the PLO I was involved in terror activity, and was imprisoned in Jerusalem for three weeks. In prison, I was recruited to plant a bomb in Bethlehem as a result of which, thank God, no one was injured. My mother was an American and my father a Palestinian Arab. My parents sent me in 1978 to the United States to study at Loop College in Chicago Illinois.
Instantly, by revealing that he is Palestinian and claiming to have been a member of the PLO, he gains credibility as a poacher turned gamekeeper. But it doesn’t take long to unravel his story.
Shoebat the Terrorist
He describes openly his past crimes and his jailing by the Israeli authorities. He admits to stoning Jewish worshipers at the Kotel (the western wall), having “worked with Fatah bomb makers in Jerusalem,” and even going on a bombing mission to destroy a branch of Bank Leumi. Shoebat abandoned it after noticing that Palestinian children were nearby. He speaks of the time he and other rioters mauled an Israeli officer. They “clubbed and pounded his head with a nail-studded stick, until the officer became a bloody gore.”
From the Jerusalem Post:
When he was 16, says Walid Shoebat, he was recruited by a PLO operative by the name of Mahmoud al-Mughrabi to carry out an attack on a branch of Bank Leumi in Bethlehem. At six in the evening he was supposed to detonate a bomb in the doorway of the bank. But when he saw a group of Arab children playing nearby, he says, his conscience was pricked and he threw the bomb onto the roof of the bank instead, where it exploded causing no fatalities. However, Shoebat’s claim to have bombed Bank Leumi in Bethlehem is rejected by members of his family who still live in the area, and Bank Leumi says it has no record of such an attack ever taking place. Shoebat’s claim to have been a terrorist rests on his account of the purported bombing of Bank Leumi. But after checking its files, the bank said it had no record of an attack on its Bethlehem branch anywhere in the relevant 1977-79 period.
Shoebat told The Jerusalem Post that this could be because the bank building was robustly protected with steel and that the attack may have caused little damage. Asked whether word of the bombing made the news at the time, he said, “I don’t know. I didn’t read the papers because I was in hiding for the next three days.” (In 2004, he had told Britain’s Sunday Telegraph: “I was terribly relieved when I heard on the news later that evening that no one had been hurt or killed by my bomb.”) Shoebat could not immediately recall the year, or even the time of year, of the purported bombing when talking to the Post by phone from the US.
From the Huffington Post:
The claims of the three ex-terrorists about their exploits as Muslim terrorists have long been questioned by academics and terrorism experts who have found a plethora of unlikelihoods and outright impossibilities in their stories. The most obvious question, of course, is why, if their stories are true, haven’t these three self-proclaimed terrorists, who have been traveling the country for years admitting to numerous killings and other terrorist acts, not been deported or jailed. Well, apparently, even our government’s terrorist hunters don’t believe these guys. According to a New York Times article about the trio’s appearance at the Air Force Academy, “A spokesman for the F.B.I. said there were no warrants for their arrest.”
“The question is if the three were actually terrorists then why they weren’t jailed or deported? Robert Birach, an immigration law attorney in Detroit, says the men would have had to have disclosed their affiliation with the PLO on their applications to become U.S. citizens if what they claim is true. “Failure to list the affiliation on the citizenship application is enough to go back and open the file and charge them with fraud and perjury,” Birach said. “And now they are admitting to being former terrorists. So under the Real ID Act, that’s enough for their removal from the United States.”
From We Hold These Truths:
In 2004, a gullible BBC correspondent quoting Shoebat:
“My whole dream was to die as a shaheed [martyr]. I would open my shirt hoping to be shot- but the Israelis would never shoot at the body, so I never succeeded, he said.”
But the Intifada (uprising) did not start until 4 or more years after the 16-year old Walid went to America. Also his statement that Israelis “never shoot the body” can only have been written by a Zionist, for hospital records prove Palestinians suffer head wounds most often, followed by body shots.
BBC News: “One day, in the middle of a riot, Walid was part of a group which snatched an Israeli soldier who was trying to quell the violence. They beat him senseless and tried to lynch him, before he was rescued by troops and the group fled. Walid was eventually caught and imprisoned in the Muscovite Prison in Jerusalem, but was released after a few weeks. He returned to violence straight away, bombing an Israeli bank in Bethlehem.”
The idea that he was arrested, then turned loose, is also quite unlike Israel, where many youths have been held without charges in prison for years. It is a land where torture is approved by the Supreme Court, and anyone suspected of beating a soldier would probably never see the light of day.
Walid confirms that his mother was an American, not a Muslim, and he left Beit Sahour for the USA on her arm when he was only 16. Had he had a criminal record, as he claims, he would not have gotten out ofIsrael, nor into the USA.
Shoebat the Muslim
But an uncle and a cousin of Shoebat, who still live in Beit Sahur in the Bethlehem area, where Shoebat grew up, said that Shoebat’s education was rather mild ideologically, and that religion did not play a dominant role.
This civilian journalist spoke with one of Walid’s many Palestinian American relatives, Kamal Younis. Kamal had checked his facts with other relatives and every one of them agreed that, “Walid’s entire biography is a manufactured fabrication. His handlers have taken one point and have twisted it and built up a fictional story.” Kamal clued me in, “His bio claims that his grandfather was the Muslim Mukhtar (chieftain) of Beit Sahour-Bethlehem. It neglects to mention that Beit Sahour is adjacent to Bethlehem, not a part of Bethlehem and also ignores the fact that in Beit Sahour at that time there were eight tribes; two Muslim and six Christian. Walid’s grandfather was only the Mukhtar for one of the Muslim tribes. Walid’s bio claims his grandfather was a friend of Haj-Ameen Al-Husseni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and notorious friend of Adolf Hitler. Walid’s grandfather never even met him and was a peaceful man.
The NY Times:
“They also question how three middle-aged men who claim they were recruited as teenagers or younger could have been steeped in the violent religious ideology that only became prevalent in the late 1980s.”
It seems strange that Shoebat is so insistent on his jihadist past when the PLO wasn’t an Islamist movement, but a secular political and paramilitary organisation.
Shoebat the Christian
He claims to have converted after his then wife challenged him to find a ‘mistake’ in the Bible. He decided it was perfect, and saw the light. But he didn’t become just an everyday, moderate Christian, he went the whole hog, from alleged Muslim extremist to Christian Zionist.
Former friend and colleague Simon Altaf:
This man may be a convert but is not a convert from terrorism or an ex-terrorist background. It is clear he embellished his testimony because he knew he was going to make money out of it. His actions speak louder than words. He was converted by his American Christian mother who told him about the saviour while she lived in Israel with the family.
Taking the word of the Bible as literal, he subscribed to the view that “the Jews have the Biblical right to the Holy Land, Israel.” In his public campaign he not only defends Israel across the board, on every account, but espouses positions widely held as extreme. His ultimate expectation is that Jewish control of Israel-Palestine is essential for Armageddon. Then, rapture will come. The Messiah will destroy the enemies of Israel, but the “many countries who confess Jesus as their saviour will be amongst God’s people, called as his people, and will all personally know the Lord Jesus Christ.” In short, the Jews will be forced to accept Christ or perish in hell a deeply and traditionally Anti-Semitic view. His goals are deadly. Clearly, he seeks to further polarize Palestinians and Jews with his extremist positions. As with the overall influence of Christian fundamentalism, his theological tenets make reconciliation in this conflict less likely. Peace forestalls the End of Times the end of the World, which some Christian fundamentalists such as Shoebat look forward to enthusiastically. His personal and religious stake is in helping speed along Armageddon.
From Eileen Flemming:
Walid’s relatives aren’t the only one’s doubting his integrity, Rev. Alex Awad, president of the Council of Evangelical Churches in Palestine, has denied large portions of Walid’s spin also. In a letter answering allegations made by Shoebat, Awad shows problems with his timeline and his poor knowledge of the Christian leaders in Palestine. “We urge God’s people everywhere not to jump on this sensational bandwagon,” said Awad. “Christians are called by God to prayerfully use the gift of discernment.”
Walid’s brand of Christianity has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus who promised it is the peacemakers who are the children of God and not those that bomb, torture, starve or occupy others.
Walid’s brand of Christianity thrives on fear and Jesus said: “FEAR NOT! You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Walid’s brand of Christianity leaves behind all the non-negotiables for those who claim to be a Christian; which is you must forgive, bless and love your enemies.
Shoebat is closely connected to prominent evangelists Pat Robertson and Pastor John Hagee. His lectures at the Air Force Academies have been accused of being nothing more than evangelical proselytizing.
From the NY Times:
Members of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group suing the federal government to combat what it calls creeping evangelism in the armed forces, said it was typical of the Air Force Academy to invite born-again Christians to address cadets on terrorism rather than experts who could teach students about the Middle East.
“This stuff going on at the academy today is part of the endemic evangelical infiltration that continues,” said David Antoon, a 1970 academy graduate and a foundation member.
The three men were invited to talk about being recruited and trained as terrorists, not religion, although one of them, Zak Anani, did tell students that converting to Christianity from Islam saved his life, said John Van Winkle, another spokesman for the academy.
Prof. Douglas Howard, who teaches the history of the modern Middle East at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.:
“It was just an old time gospel hour — ‘Jesus can change your life, he changed mine’. That is mixed in with ‘Watch out America, wake up America, the danger of Islam is here.’ ”
Shoebat the Hatemonger and Conspiracy Theorist
He uses his Arabic background to promote a bizarre re-interpretation of the Book of Revelation which purports to prove that the Bible predicts a Muslim Anti-Christ.
(1) Shoebat explains why Obama is pro-choice: Of course, because there’s nothing better Islamists want to do than have Americans kill their own children, so it’s not a problem for him.
(2) Shoebat explains Islam’s plan for Obama: Islam could not defeat us by destroying the twin towers. But they are able to defeat us by sneaking in their man.
From Media Matters:
Shoebat: “[I]f Islam is not the Antichrist system, why do you think the devil wants to put a ‘cultural Muslim’ in the White House?”
From the Huffington Post:
Our source had turned around after Shoebat’s speech and asked the woman in the chair behind them at the conference what she thought was the solution offered by Shoebat.
“Kill them…including the children…you heard him,” was the full response.
Shoebat’s Las Vegas speech was described by our source as “frightening.”
Shoebat has said that “Islam is not the religion of God — Islam is the devil.”
From Crooks & Liars:
According to religion writer Richard Bartholomew, “Shoebat is a pseudo-expert on terrorism, Islamic extremism, and Biblical prophecy, and he teaches that Obama is a secret Muslim and that the Bible has prophesised a Muslim anti-Christ.” This means for some apocalyptic Christians that Muslims then would be allies of Satan in the End Times battle between good and evil. This battle ends when Jesus returns and with a vengeful God kills all these deemed to be non-believers in Christianity. This bloody and bigoted version of apocalyptic prophesies is rejected and condemned by the Catholic and Orthodox churches and every major Protestant denomination.
The Walid Shoebat Foundation
The Jerusalem Post:
[T]he Walid Shoebat Foundation’s working process is less than transparent, with Shoebat’s claim that it is registered as a charity in the state of Pennsylvania being denied by the Pennsylvania State Attorney’s Office.
Visitors to Shoebat’s Internet site are encouraged to make a donation to his foundation to enable him to disseminate his message. However, a notice on the page states that for “security reasons,” the money will not be debited to his foundation, but rather to a company called Top Executive Media. The name Top Executive Media is used by a greetings card firm from Pennsylvania called Top Executive Greetings, a company with an annual turnover of $500,000. When one makes a donation through the Shoebat Internet site, the Web address changes to topexecutivegreetings.com/shoebat.
This seems to be the only active page for the company; its homepage is blank.
Asked by the Post whether the Walid Shoebat Foundation is a registered charity, Shoebat replied that it is registered in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania State Attorney’s office said it had no record of a charity registered under this name.
Questioned further, Shoebat said it was registered under a different name, but that he was not aware of the details, which are handled by his manager.
“I remain separate to the running of the charity so that I am not constrained by church rules,” he explained, adding that the organization’s connection to certain churches meant it would be difficult for him to speak to secular audiences if he became too involved in running it.
Dr. Joel Fishman, of the Allegany County Law Library in Pennsylvania, expressed doubts about this donation process. If the money were being given to a registered charity, the charity would have to make annual reports to the state and federal government on how it was being spent, he noted.
Shoebat on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of Park 51
SHOEBAT: His support of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic jihad movement has been expressed by him in the Arabic language. His manifesto ha s been expressed by – in Al-Ghad newspaper, and hadielislam.com, in several news media. In fact, Americans should listen to this. He says that the trend toward Islamic law and justice begins by religious movements like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic resistance. This is a straight support for terrorism.
Fox News didn’t fact check Shoebat’s inflammatory accusation that Rauf preaches peace in the United States while announcing his “support for terrorism” in the Arabic press.
We asked Ahmad Moussalli, a widely quoted expert on Islamic movements and professor of Political Science and Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut, to read the Arabic sources Shoebat cited on August 18 and to evaluate his claim that they show “a straight support for terrorism” and for “Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic jihad movement.” Moussalli responded that Shoebat’s remarks are a “blatant misrepresentation of the denotation and connotation of Mr. Rauf’s statements in Hadielislam and Al-Ghad newspaper. Rauf never expressed his support for the three organizations.”
Omid Safi, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina and expert on Sufism, also reviewed the Arabic articles and concluded that “they do not show any support for terrorism.” Safi added that “the accusation of ‘Muslim double-speak’ is one of the common accusations used by Islamaphobes like Shoebat” and said: “I would simply suggest dismissing what comes out of his mouth as much as I would dismiss anything David Duke would have to say about the essential nature of Judaism.”
To summarise, Shoebat’s claims of being a radicalised Muslim jihadist have been scrutinised by several analysts with testimony from friends and family, and appear to be a work of fiction. Even a claim of being any sort of Muslim would seem to be highly debatable. Shoebat’s brand of Christianity is an extreme, apocalyptic interpretation, which relies on Zionism and a bloody Middle Eastern end-of-times scenario to realise it’s prophecy. He believes that the bible predicts a Muslim anti-Christ, and that killing Muslim children is permissible as it prevents future generations of potential enemies. The fact that he and his cohorts are permitted to evangelise to American troops should be cause for great concern. Even if his life story was accurate, the sheer lunacy that fuels his rhetoric, and the bilious views he espouses about Muslims should be enough to convince anyone that he’s a dangerous extremist who hasn’t changed his spots.
Full articles containing the extracts used and more Shoebat madness can be found in the links below.