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2018-OCT to 2019-MAY

Part 4 of four parts:

Mass murder in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Children sing violent song at PA mosque.

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This topic is continued here from Part 3

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Update on the GAB.com website that Bower had been using:

Many of the technology services that Gab has used for their website withdrew their support, including Pay Pal, Go Daddy, Joynet, Stripe, and Medium. As of OCT-29, Gab personnel were working "around the clock to get Gab.com back online." 1

As of 2018-OCT-30 at 0700 hours Eastern Time, the Gab.com web site that Bowers had used to post anti-semitic messages was responding only with a Timeout Error 524 message.

error message

Retrying a minute later, their web site responded with a single message from Andrew Torba, Gab's CEO which said, in part:

"Gab has spent the past 48 hours proudly working with the DOJ and FBI to bring justice to an alleged terrorist. Because of the data we provided, they now have plenty of evidence for their case. In the midst of this, Gab has been no-platformed by essential internet infrastructure providers at every level. We are the most censored, smeared, and no-platformed startup in history, which means we are a threat to the media and to the Silicon Valley Oligarchy.

Gab isn’t going anywhere. ..."

"As we transition to a new hosting provider Gab will be inaccessible for a period of time. We are working around the clock to get Gab.com back online. Thank you and remember to speak freely."

From OCT-31 -- Halloween -- to NOV-02, the Gab.com web site remained off line.

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Information for teachers:

The educational website "Facing History and Ourselves" supports:

"... educators and students as they model and craft better communities, in classrooms and across society. If we help them address and eliminate baseless hatred, we are helping to create a world that is less violent, more just, and more equitable."

The group has written a "Teaching Idea," a report titled: "Responding to Pittsburgh." It discusses the three events covered in this essay: mailing of IED bombs, the murder of two African Americans in Jeffersontown, KY, and the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. They:

"... offer some suggestions for opening a conversation about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and other recent events with your students, as well as selected resources to examine anti semitism and religious bigotry and to explore the role we all can play in standing up to hate."

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2018-OCT-29: Further reactions to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting:

Ishaan Tharoor, writing for the Washington Post's daily newsletter, "Today's Worldview," said:

"At what point can an ideology be blamed for violence? After a horrific mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, President Trump’s supporters seemed to say never.

They denied any link between the White House’s persistent, polarizing rhetoric and the slaughter that took place. They scoffed at claims that Trump’s demagoguery -- replete with white-nationalist themes that critics have long cited as anti-Semitic in effect, if not intent -- played a role in what was the most deadly act of anti-Semitic violence in American history.

'People on both sides of the aisle use strong language about our political differences,' said Vice President Pence in an interview Saturday. 'But I just don’t think you can connect it to threats or acts of violence.'

But the White House cannot easily wave away its own responsibility for the anger roiling the nation. 'Culpability is a tricky thing, and politicians, especially of the demagogic variety, know this very well. Unless they go as far as organized, documented, state-implemented slaughter, they don’t give specific directions,' wrote Julia Ioffe in a column for The Washington Post. 'They don’t have to. They simply set the tone. In the end, someone else does the dirty work, and they never have to lift a finger -- let alone stain it with blood'." 2

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2018-NOV-01: Shooting suspect pleads not guilty:

At a brief arraignment in federal court, alleged shooter Robert Bowers responded to his 44-count indictment by pleading not guilty, and requesting a jury trial. The main charges against him are 11 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death. His trial is expected to begin in mid-December and to last for three or four weeks -- or longer if the death penalty is sought. U.S. Attorney Scott Brady has requested permission from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek the death penalty. 3 Bowers is being represented by Michael J. Novara, a public defender.

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Final thought:

From 1993-DEC-07: Toni Morrison (1931-) is an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University. She won the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Twenty-five years ago, her Nobel acceptance speech included the following statement, which seems to fit today's tragedy:

"Oppressive language does more than represent violence. It is violence. It does more than represent the limits of knowledge, it limits knowledge. ... It must be rejected, altered and exposed. It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind. Sexist language, racist language, theistic language -- all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas." 4

If she were delivering the same speech today, she might well have added oppressive "homophobic language" and "transphobic language" to her list.

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2019-MAY-04: School children sing "Army of Allah" song at Philadelphia, PA Islamic Center. Reactions.

During APR-17, children of a Muslim school that rents space at the Muslim American Society Islamic Center in North Philadelphia, PA sang songs that had not been "properly vetted," The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) said that the children read a poem about martyrs who "chop off their heads" -- presumably of Jews in Jerusalem -- to "liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque. That Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and is the location where many Muslims believe Mohammed rode up into the sky on a horse. The school children said:

"We will defend the land of divine guidance with our bodies, and we will sacrifice our souls without hesitation. We will lead the army of Allah fulfilling His promise, and we will subject them to eternal torture."

The children attended a school that was a "separate entity" that rented space in the Islamic Center.

Videos of the event were posted on the Center's Facebook page, but were quickly taken down.

The national office of the Muslim American Society, in Washington DC issued a statement on MAY-03 saying:

“This was an unintended mistake and an oversight in which the center and the students are remorseful. MAS will conduct an internal investigation to ensure this does not occur again.”

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia issued a statement that referred to the event as:

"... extremely disturbing, ... children should not be indoctrinated to hate. These young people should never have been asked to make speeches and dance and lip-sync to songs that glorify violence against Jews and the State of Israel. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is deeply complex and painful on all sides, and the only chance for a peaceful future is to teach our children to pursue peace." 9

48 readers of the article that described the event in Liberty Headlines posted comments. Most of them exhibited anti-Islamic hate.

On MAY-06, a Philadelphia City Commission started to investigate the event.

Also on MAY-06, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) said in a statement:

"The city of Philadelphia condemns bigotry in all its forms. Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. For this moniker to ring true, all our brothers and sisters — regardless of their background — must feel safe and welcome. We are committed to working together with partners representing all our communities to make this happen." 9

On MAY-08, Snopes face checked the video of the children at the Muslim school and found that it did include violent imagery. 10

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Pittsburgh shooting: Gab drops offline after attack," 2018-OCT-29, at: https://www.bbc.com/
  2. Ishaan Tharoor, "Right-wing terror and Trump’s nativism ," Washington Post, 2018-OCT-19, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  3. Doug Stanglin and John Bacon, "Suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting pleads not guilty, "USA TODAY, 2018-NOV-01, at: https://www.usatoday.com/
  4. Toni Morrison, "Nobel Lecture," Nobel Prize, 1993-DEC-07, at: https://www.nobelprize.org/
  5. "Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Amid protests, Trump pays tribute to victims," AL.com, 2018-OCT-30, at: https://www.al.com/
  6. Kate Sullivan & Daniel Burke, "Jewish groups from both parties slam 'offensive' decision to have Messianic Jewish minister at Pence event," CNN Politics, 2018-OCT-31, at: https://www.cnn.com/
  7. "We polled voters in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District," New York Times, 2018-OCT, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  8. Joe Taopino, "Pence’s ‘Messianic rabbi’ was defrocked 15 years ago for libel, New York Post, 2018-OCT-31, at: https://nypost.com/
  9. " ‘We will lead the army of Allah fulfilling His promise, and we will subject them to eternal torture…’," Liberty Headlines, 2019-MAY-04, at: https://www.libertyheadlines.com/
  10. Dan MacGuill, "Did Children at a Philadelphia Muslim School Sing a Song With Violent Lyrics?," Snopes, 2019-MAY-8, at: https://www.snopes.com/

     

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Copyright © Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2018-OCT-28
Most recently updated on 2018-NOV-10

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