Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Clarion Project's Muslim "Deformer" Shireen Qudosi Lies About Islam To StandWithUs Jewish Donors
Clarion Project's Muslim "Deformer" Shireen Qudosi Lies About Islam To StandWithUs Jewish Donors
Falsely Claims There Are "Competing Versions Of Islam" - Is Refuted By Islam Expert Stephen M. Kirby
" I don't think that Islam is a violent religion,there's just some sort of kinks that we need to work out" Shireen Qudosi - July 30, 2019 ("What Does It Mean To Be A Muslim Reformer?"- Twitter audio)
MIM: Excerpt from "Stand With Us Extols Muslim Reformer, Christian Director".
"Qudosi was the featured speaker at a meeting of major contributors to StandWithUs, the organization that counters anti-Israel propaganda and engages in pro-Israel advocacy at schools and campuses from middle school to university. She spoke in behalf of the Clarion Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to counter Islamic extremists by emphasizing Islam's traditions of peace rather than of war.
There have always been competing versions of Islam, she said. While this dichotomy is not clear cut, those who favor the warlike teachings that can be found in the Hadith—a commentary on the Koran written many years later – engage in Jew hatred. Other Muslims, who dismiss the Hadith as the writings of ordinary and fallible men, argue that based on the Koran, the true teaching of Islam is to seek peace among the peoples of the world."
(Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.)
MIM: Islam expert Stephen M. Kirby responds to Shireen Qudosi's false claims of "competing versions of the Koran" with the truth about the violence unequivocally mandated and sanctioned in and by the Koran.
Either Ms. Qudosi or Mr. Harrison is confused in their terminology. Ms. Qudosi is reported as having mentioned "the warlike teachings that can be found in the Hadith – a commentary on the Koran…" The Koran commentaries are actually called "tafsirs"; the hadiths are reports about the teachings and example of Muhammad from those who heard those teachings or saw that example. There are six authoritative hadith collections, consisting altogether of thousands of hadiths. Here are two hadiths from the most authoritative of these six collections:
"Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah's Messenger said, ‘I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people till they say La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and whoever said La ilaha illallah, he saved his life and property from me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah (either to punish him or to forgive him).'"
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 56, No. 2946, p. 126
"Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah's Messenger said, ‘The Hour will not be established until you fight against the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.'"
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 56, No. 2926, p. 113
Ms. Qudosi also mentioned "competing versions of Islam." Islam is based on two pillars: the commands of Allah found in the Koran, and the teachings and example of Muhammad. If there is a "competing" version, that version is simply ignoring one of both of those pillars.
MIM: Qudosi practices taqiyya constantly. In a screed published by the far left (ex Jewish) Forward she declared that the Hamas front group the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) "is of value to the Muslim community".
"While I may not agree with CAIR most of the time, I recognize they have a right to exist and are at times of value to the Muslim community".
MIM: It should be noted that Temple Emanu-El of New York is a reform/deform Jewish institution with a liberal bent which does not adhere to orthodox Jewish law. Their "rabbis" are not considered as such according to Jewish law.
MIM: Qudosi has posted videos by the virulently anti semitic conspiracy theorist David Icke.
MIM Update 1/15/19: Qudosi has since deleted her two David Icke tweets due to bad publicity and realized it was not a good idea to post videos of anti semitic conspiracy theorists considering she "works" for at least one Jewish lead organisation, the Clarion Project.
MIM: Update 1/25/19 - 1/26/18: Pothead Qudosi posted another David Icke video and left the tweet up for 1&1/2 days before deleting it!
It would be interesting to know whether she feigns ingnorance, blames inbreeding, or inhaling for her stupidity which is manifestly on display with her "Toke for Tolerance" pseudo intellectual New Age initiative aptly co sponsored by Lunacy Now!
"Lunacy Now stands for truth, justice and the American way. That's why we're teaming up with top interfaith activist Shireen Qudosi to launch the world's premier cannabis based interfaith festival."
What is Toke for Tolerance?
"Toke for Tolerance brings people together to address the complex political, philosophical and religious issues which divide communities. We will use cannabis as a tool to facilitate peer-to-peer peace building by stripping down our inhibitions."
What are We Going to Do?
"Toke is primarily about bridging the divide between the Muslim and Jewish community, which has been under strain in recent years. This will involve, among other things, discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But it's also about racism, white supremacy, capitalism and other issues that divide communities. It's open to everyone regardless of background. Toke believes the issues which face us are holistic rather than specific. We therefore can't adequately address any given issue unless we facilitate conversations about related issues. This includes getting down to the core human traits that produce conflict – in-group/out-group dynamics, linguistic differences causing misunderstandings, hierarchies of value and the aggression impulse.
We will read and discuss extracts from a wide cross-section of thinkers to uncover the root issues underlying our divisions. Such thinkers include: the chassidic masters the Alter Rebbe and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Enlightenment thinkers John Locke, and Thomas Paine, Muslim golden age philosophers Al-Ghazzali, Averros and Ibn Khaldun, along with more contemporary figures like Abdullahi Ahmed an-Naim, Amina Wadud, Hannah Arendt, Edward Said, James Baldwin, Emma Goldman, Hamza Yusuf and Jordan Peterson.
We are going to host open listening sessions where we hear each others truth without judgement and share our own.
And obviously we're going to hit back a lot of bong rips."
MIM: Qudosi and Lunacy Now's twisted (and blown) mindset is fully on display in these excerpts from the "Toke For Tolerance" blogs. Her participation and co founding of this event makes it impossible to take her seriously on any issues.
" Tickets are now on sale for Toke for Tolerance, the world's premier cannabis-based interfaith festival.
In June 2019 veteran interfaith activist Shireen Qudosi and media startup Lunacy Now are hosting a blunt conversation about intercommunal division in the age of Trump..."
MIM: Qudosi's ad nauseum 'virtue signalling' is evidenced by this tweet in which she claims that her Toke For Tolerance initiative is part of her campaign as a "Muslim Reformer" against "Jew hatred", when TFT so obviously promotes it as is evidenced in the post below her tweet.
MIM: The excerpt below is the beginning of a "Toke For Tolerance" post by someone unnamed who might be Jewish or Muslim since they use the word "We" when referring to Israel. They also refer to the Ummah which points to the latter. Either way the rambling incoherence proves that "a mind is a terrible thing to blow".(Even if the beginning is meant to prove a convoluted point it remains rank unadulterated antisemitism which is emanating from a twisted mind.) (Complete text at bottom of page).
"Lunacy Now is running Toke for Tolerance, the world's premier cannabis based interfaith festival, focusing on Jewish-Muslim relations. Since we want to create a space where we can talk openly and honestly about inter-communal issues, there are some needed comments about Israel and Judaism.
"In a way Israel is the perfect fascist state. Consider: A volk, united in romantic attachment to an ancient mythical heritage. The sigils of Labour Zionism are the plough and the rifle: blood and soil. The crucible of perpetual war pushes the people to greater unity and excellence, and pacifist dissenters are swept away by the narrative of national rebirth and tribal superiority. There is communal support for the in-group (kibbutzim, healthcare, solid benefits), and an iron fist for the outgroup (air strikes, checkpoints, tanks): Socialist-Nationalism. And all of this underpinned by the twin pillars of the modern centralized state, the army, into which all are conscripted, and the state church. It's almost too perfect, arising near-literally from the ashes to rebuild a long lost Bronze Age kingdom. This is palingenetic ultranationalism – a narrative of national rebirth, which fascism scholar Roger Griffin identified as the core myth underpinning all fascist movements. Yaakov Cahan wrote "in fire and blood Judea fell, in fire and blood Judea will rise again" and ain't that the truth. It has many of the qualities that Hitler wanted for his Reich, an outdoorsy culture, family values and a sense of chosenness and destiny. We even have a blood quotient immigration law on the books, mandatory ID cards, and intermarriage is illegal. The fact that the Jew fulfilled Mussolini's vision better than he did is the final face-stamp of the ignominious defeat of White Nationalism."
"For Jews to deny these manifest and obvious facts when negotiating with the Ummah is profoundly dishonest. It is also just as necessary for Jews to face up to the realities of the difficult parts of their history as any other group..."
"...And now Trump is president. And Brexit is falling apart. And France is burning. And with every fresh outrage people get a little bit angrier, and a little bit more distant from one another.
This is why Lunacy Now co-founded Toke for Tolerance. So we can talk about how to move forward from here. We are not interested in dredging up who killed Mohammed al-Durah or bitching about Sykes-Picot. We want to take as a starting point that we can't change the past and figure out how Jewish and Muslim communities in the West can stop yelling at each other.
This invitation is for everyone. I don't care if you're a signed up member of the BDS movement, a Proud Boy, or a Hamas sympathizer."
Come get high with us for peace.
Gud shabbos and Happy Hannukah.
MIM: The "Toke For Tolerance" reading list is a mindboggling hodge podge of anti semitic tracts and publications conspiracy theorists,left wing fascists,traitors and profound Jewish theological texts which scholars spend decades studying in the hopes of gleaning even a small portion of their meaning.
As we gear up for Toke for Tolerance in Colorado next June (tickets are on sale now), we're putting out more content aimed at digging into the issues dividing faith communities in the 21st century.
We assembled this reading list ahead of the conference to give people a chance to gain alternative perspectives. We hope the list is also useful for other interfaith practitioners.
It's organized according to the topics Toke for Tolerance addresses.
If we missed anything let us know, and we will update the list accordingly.
The King James Bible
The Study Quran, Seyyed Hossein Nasr
The Tanya, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, aka The Alter Rebbe
The Way of God, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato
The Surveillance State
The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, Shane Harris
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA & the US Surveillance State, Glenn Greenwald
Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces, Radley Balko
Colonialism, Racism, fascism, and Western foreign policy
Orientalism, Edward Said
An Era of Darkness: What the British Did to India, Sashi Tharoor
Ride the Tiger, A Survival Manual for Aristocrats of the Soul, Julius Evola
Kill All Normies, Angela Nagle
Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Barry Rubin
Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt
The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Religiously Motivated Violence and Extremism
Milestones, Sayyid Qutb
Guardianship of the Jurist, Ayatollah Khomeini
Bronze Age Mindset, Bronze Age Pervert
Radical, Maajid Nawaz
The King's Torah, Yitzchak Shapira & Yosef Elitzur
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and its Impact on Diasporic Communities
Jerusalem, Simon Sebag-Montifiore
Jabotinsky's Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right Wing Zionism, Daniel Kupfert Heller
Altneuland, Theodore Herzl
The Prime Ministers, Yehuda Avner
One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, Ali Abunimah
I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. Izzeldin Abuelaish
As Dreamers, Yossi Klein HaLevi
To the End of the Land, David Grossman
The International Jew, Henry Ford
Protocols of the Elders of Zion
Communal Coercion and Freedom of Conscience.
The Atheist Muslim, Ali Rizvi
Essay Concerning Toleration, John Locke
Islam and the Secular State, Ahmed Abdullahi Ad-Naim
Women and Sharia Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK, Elham Manea
Group Dynamics and the Psychology of Alienation, Fear, and Rage.
Combating Cult Mind Control, Steve Hassan
Violence and the Sacred, Rene Girard
Bullshit Jobs, David Graeber
Non-Violent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg
MIM: Qudosi's advert for Toke For Tolerance on her own 'Muslim Reformers' website describes her as an "interfaith activist".
In June 2019 veteran interfaith activist Shireen Qudosi and media startup Lunacy Now are hosting a radically honest conversation about inter-communal division in the age of Trump.
Topics range from:
These topics are frequently discussed separately. But they are rarely discussed holistically, as different facets of a central issue. Toke seeks a way to move away from hatred and partisanship and towards an open conversation of the root causes of division. Toke brings together activists, faith leaders and citizens together to share their stories and break down barriers.
We focus on divides between the Jewish and Muslim communities, but are open to all faiths, with an emphasis on how we as individuals are impacted by events outside of our control around the world, and what we can do as individuals to promote healing and inter-connection.
The conference has no ideological redlines for participation, we only ask that you come in peace
This is an awesome idea! Keep me posted!
A RADICALLY HONEST INTERFAITH FESTIVAL BROUGHT TO YOU BY A MUSLIM AND A JEW.
TOKE BRINGS TOGETHER THE BRIGHTEST MINDS THROUGH CANNABIS.
Sign up below to join the Toke for Tolerance wait list
What if the hippies were right? What if we really could strip down all the barriers, hang-ups, inhibitions and social conditioning that inhibits honest dialogue and just have an open and honest conversation with each other about the most controversial topics in the world? Enter Toke for Tolerance: the groundbreaking interfaith festival coming soon to the great state of California.
What is Toke for Tolerance?
Toke for Tolerance is the world's first marijuana-based interfaith festival that seeks create a space of radical honesty for constructive dialogue about divisions between faith communities in the West. It's run by experienced interfaith activist Shireen Qudosi, in partnership with Lunacy Now, an online lifestyle community for restless dreamers.
We will be partnering with artists, marijuana businesses and the wider community to pull together a groundbreaking long weekend to take people forward to next level of consciousness. Our intention is transformative exchanges on topics that we talk a lot about, but rarely make progress on. This event is for people of all backgrounds.
What is the Goal?
We see the division and partisan rancor afflicting faith communities and want to bring people together in radical compassion, to address the divisions head on. In particular, we want to tackle the poor relationship between the Muslim and Jewish community. We're going to talk about how conflicts in the Middle East impact relationships in the diaspora. We're going to talk about the ongoing impact of white supremacy and colonialism. We're going to talk about the surveillance state. Dynamic and evolutionary, Toke for Tolerance collaborates with a hive mind of influencers to develop thematic dialogue based on today's challenges.
And we're going to use marijuana to get there.
What Makes Toke for Tolerance Different?
Many interfaith conferences that just pat each other on the book or dance around the serious issues. We wanted to provide a space where people can relax enough to let their guard down and really be honest with each other and with themselves.
We thought the best way to do this would be with marijuana. Marijuana can lower inhibitions and opens people up. It can build trust and bring people together. Let's see if those qualities really can break down barriers.
Why Should I Come?
Recent legal changes have created a window for experimentation about the positive effects of marijuana as a tool for communal healing, including groundbreaking advances in CBD to be used on children.
This is a chance to be part of what could be a tangible breakthrough in conversations around social justice - by meeting people you radically disagree with in a space of mutual respect and healing. You'll be taking part in a one of a kind event which will be utterly unlike anything you have ever experienced.
By signing up to this wait list you will get updates on Toke for Tolerance by email. Your name will be first when tickets go on sale. The event will only be a limited size, so tickets will be first come first served. By signing up you are guaranteeing that you will have priority access to tickets before they go on sale to the general public.
Follow Toke for Tolerance on Instagram. To connect with an organizer, email infoatqudosi.com
Lunacy Now is running Toke for Tolerance, the world's premier cannabis based interfaith festival, focusing on Jewish-Muslim relations. Since we want to create a space where we can talk openly and honestly about inter-communal issues, there are some needed comments about Israel and Judaism.
In a way Israel is the perfect fascist state. Consider: A volk, united in romantic attachment to an ancient mythical heritage. The sigils of Labour Zionism are the plough and the rifle: blood and soil. The crucible of perpetual war pushes the people to greater unity and excellence, and pacifist dissenters are swept away by the narrative of national rebirth and tribal superiority. There is communal support for the in-group (kibbutzim, healthcare, solid benefits), and an iron fist for the outgroup (air strikes, checkpoints, tanks): Socialist-Nationalism. And all of this underpinned by the twin pillars of the modern centralized state, the army, into which all are conscripted, and the state church. It's almost too perfect, arising near-literally from the ashes to rebuild a long lost Bronze Age kingdom. This is palingenetic ultranationalism – a narrative of national rebirth, which fascism scholar Roger Griffin identified as the core myth underpinning all fascist movements. Yaakov Cahan wrote "in fire and blood Judea fell, in fire and blood Judea will rise again" and ain't that the truth. It has many of the qualities that Hitler wanted for his Reich, an outdoorsy culture, family values and a sense of chosenness and destiny. We even have a blood quotient immigration law on the books, mandatory ID cards, and intermarriage is illegal. The fact that the Jew fulfilled Mussolini's vision better than he did is the final face-stamp of the ignominious defeat of White Nationalism.
For Jews to deny these manifest and obvious facts when negotiating with the Ummah is profoundly dishonest. It is also just as necessary for Jews to face up to the realities of the difficult parts of their history as any other group.
Now don't get twisted.
Israel has what no truly fascist regime has, democracy, freedom of the press, and civilian government. Critical journalists are not disappeared in the middle of the night, the rule of law functions reasonably well, and people are at liberty on the whole to live as they please. There is no supreme leader to whom all must swear loyalty, and no central party with whom all must agree. There is no reason why Israel cannot be a flourishing liberal democracy and the national homeland of the Jewish people. Israelis abhor fascism and many are deeply concerned with human rights, welfare and a pluralistic and robust multi-party system. Religious freedom is enshrined in law and all faiths have liberty to worship freely. This is all to the good, although of course there can always be improvements.
Unfortunately the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians does not change the calculus one iota. The Palestinian side until now has not acknowledged the 2,000 year history of persecution Jews have faced, nor the reality that Jews were expelled from every Arab country in 1948, including the Iraqi community which had lived there since the Babylonian exile. Safety first.
The threats facing the nation are very real, and there is every reason to suspect that concessions for peace would be met with further violence, as it was after the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. Until and unless Jews are given proper guarantees for our physical safety, Israel cannot countenance any loosening of the jackboot from the necks of the Palestinians. Of course it sucks to be a five year old growing up in Gaza. None of this means that the Palestinians haven't suffered, or that the occupation is just a big ol' theme park or that the wars Israel has waged have had no civilian casualties. It just means Israel has to worry about it's own security first and foremost.
The world has made it very clear that Jews are on their own, and have to look to their own defences. Jews are not going to do anything that might risk us being murdered in our beds, no matter how much anyone cries about Israel's policies. Hence the "alleged" nuclear deterrent. Jews are used to being hated. It's even an article of theology – that "in every generation they try to destroy us, and Hashem saves us from their hands." So all the insults and slurs (racist, colonialist etc) just slide right off like water off a duck's back.
And why shouldn't Israel be there? It has a claim by every metric: indigenous, rights of long standing presence, UN mandate, theological claim, historical connection and (perhaps most importantly), by right of conquest. Everything of importance in Jewish history happened in Israel and Jewish communities have lived there this entire time. It even says in the Quran that God gave Israel to the Jews.
Zionism about securing one country run on Jewish terms, a place to read books and be left alone. Non-Jews have the entire rest of the world to do whatever y'all want. What's so terrible about a tiny strip of land for Israel?
So that's the politics. It's obvious that Israel has done some shady things, but it's the only country have dammit, and we're not going to give it up now, not after everything we've been through. The only thing is to find a path to move forward in a way that hurts the least number of people. Federated bi-national would even work, but only if Jews get prayer rights on the Temple Mount. Such a symbolic move would be a recognition of our claim and of our national dignity. Failure to give that is a denial of Jewish religious rights.
Which brings us to faith.
An Orthodox Jew is honor bound to say that the Torah is black fire written on white fire by the hand of heaven, immutable and eternal. Yes, that means all of it. Including the part that says death to the gays and to the blasphemers. Including Leviticus' "you break it you bought it" policy on rape. And it demands that on the eighth day you take your infant son and carve his most intimate flesh, in a covenant to mark devotion to the King of Kings. It is reminiscent of the slogan of the fictional Chaos War God Khorne from the warhammer universe – "blood for the blood God."
The later writings go further. To take one example it says in the Tanya, one of the foremost works of Chassidic mystical thought:
It is simply not possible to reconcile the demands of scripture like that with the values of human rights, not now, not ever. The only thing you can do is either fudge it, and say that isn't really what God meant using tricksy workarounds, say that it doesn't apply in our generation because we're waiting for the messiah, or reform it, saying we like the tradition and the culture but we don't think it's really the word of God.
A literalist reading of the Torah would lead you to establish a theocratic monarchy in Israel which implements Halacha fully as the law of the land.
But, and here's the but, Judaism is incredible. It's got so much wisdom, a framework for life, amazing culture, a rich tradition of learning and so much more. In a world with so much pain, so much uncertainty, the tradition provides lamplights in the dark and a structure. Atheism and secularism are simply not viable alternatives. They do not provide the same depth of meaning, the same community structure and the same rhythm to the year and the life cycle. That's probably why so many Jews who are deeply uncomfortable with all the things I've mentioned above still cling onto it, this religion of ours that we've kept alive, pigheadedly, through the most insane circumstances, for hundreds of years. As it is written: "It's a tree of life to those who hold fast to it and all of its supporters are happy. It's ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace." (Proverbs 3:18). Religion represents the preserved tactics our ancestors used for survival and life-optimization in a time before psychology. We should think very very carefully before throwing it away. Metaphysics aside, a lot of it is useful because it works.
You may recognize this as essentially Dr. Jordan Peterson's explanation for why religion is useful and has survived. It isn't just dumb stories.
If Jews didn't give it up for Antiochus Epiphanes, and we didn't give it up for Stalin, we're certainly not going to give it up for some piddling little human rights activist called Trevor who thinks that furiously writing angry emails for 16 hours straight constitutes a hard day.
This is all very similar to the conundrum the contemporary Western Muslim faces – trying to reconcile the demands of a faith which is decidedly out of step with modern humanist values, while being immersed in a culture that's pointedly white and Christian.
Politically: It's true that the White Man has spent the past 500 years on history's most insane bender, pillaging and colonizing with all the subtlety and kindness of a herd of drunken elephants. But it's also been 50 years of heroically atrocious government in pretty much any Muslim country you care to name (with a few exceptions here and there) and there is a dire need for drastic improvement.
And then there are the jihadists.
The situation for Muslims looks complex and difficult. It's highly likely everyone is just trying their best to get through the day and make it work.
How to reconcile the demands of faith, the desire for a comfortable life and to fit in, and the desire for human rights and justice is a tricky play, especially in this ruined hellscape of an economy where one mistake can mean a bounced rent cheque.
We can only control ourselves. Activists in the West are not going to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nor are we going to bring a broader peace to the Middle East. We can stop making things worse though. Training children to scream at each other from other sides of a police barricade, and importing foreign conflicts into the West so they can wage these wars by proxy is a destructive, useless habit which has got to stop. Both communities are guilty as hell of this. Don't write to me with ridiculous denials and protestations that they started it. Jewish and Muslim religious institutions are harming and traumatizing their children and raising them to hate one another.
How much longer do you want to keep doing this?
And now Trump is president. And Brexit is falling apart. And France is burning. And with every fresh outrage people get a little bit angrier, and a little bit more distant from one another.
This is why Lunacy Now co-founded Toke for Tolerance. So we can talk about how to move forward from here. We are not interested in dredging up who killed Mohammed al-Durah or bitching about Sykes-Picot. We want to take as a starting point that we can't change the past and figure out how Jewish and Muslim communities in the West can stop yelling at each other.
This invitation is for everyone. I don't care if you're a signed up member of the BDS movement, a Proud Boy, or a Hamas sympathizer.
Come get high with us for peace.
Gud shabbos and Happy Hannukah.
Why Lunacy Now Is Hosting An Interfaith Festival
Lunacy Now's primary concern is to help people navigate the fast changing social and economic landscape in response to emerging technology. We see the wave of alienation and confusion impacting so many people throughout the West, and we want to do something about it. We're not into imposing prescriptive solutions, we're into helping people explore possible options for how to build the futures they want.
Enter Toke for Tolerance, the world's premier cannabis based interfaith festival. Here's why we are so excited about this, and how it fits in with our broader mission.
New tech gives us the opportunity to engage in direct peer to peer peacebuilding efforts. For the first time in human history, antagonistic populations can directly engage with each other as individuals in spite of geographic distances. This means we can bypass elite decision makers who have traditionally been impediments to forming lasting peaceful solution to tough conflicts.
These changes include:
We can use these tools to address long standing issues.
One of the most intractable conflicts in the West today are the interlocking tensions between the Muslim and Jewish communities. Before you get all twisted about how you know many Jews and Muslims who get on great, and it's not really an issue, just shelve that for a minute. There are serious disagreements between both the institutions heading up Jewish and Muslim communities in the West and between populations themselves. Denying that is a denial of reality. Those disagreements relate to Israel/Palestine. They relate to the war on terror and the surveillance state. To racism and its history in the West, in particular white supremacy. But they also relate to deeply held beliefs and religious doctrines, and to deeply embedded cultural practices and suspicions.
These are not simple divisions. And despite public statements lauding the virtues of peace, harmony and the brotherhood of man, for decades community leaders from both faith communities have not only failed to bring people closer, they have succeeded in driving them further apart.
But like all issues they can be address if we're willing to sit down and have a conversation. Lunacy Now is not under any illusions that our discussions will lead to a cessation of all hostilities and the onset of the age of Aquarius. Bu we do think we can work out a kind of intercommunal truce which will prevent us from raising our children to fear one another. This is not an attempt to get the government to change laws, or an attempt to rewrite sacred texts. It is a peer-to-peer effort by people who have had enough of being dragged into vicious inter-communal strife.
With the power of technology, we can now access and bring together diverse faith leaders, student activists, clergy, lay leaders, political pundits, podcasters, thought leaders. And, most importantly of all, we will be able to do this without relying on any of the established organizations for access, for input, or for accreditation. That means the conversations we can have are not bound by the need to appease donors, to avoid hitting on sensitive blasphemous worries.
It also means we can be even handed and honest about what's really going on. Toke for Tolerance is founded by a Jew and a Muslim working together. So we are not going to hold back for either community when in attack. And we are not going to withhold compassion from either community in defense.
We are going to talk about how Zionism is a form of European 19th century nationalism – the plough and the rifle are about as blood and soil as you can get. We will talk about the impact the ongoing I/P conflict has on diasporic Jewish/Muslim relations. We will talk about ISIS, about Al Qaeda, about Saudi Arabia. And we will talk about the Quran and the Bible, what they really say, and how to reconcile ourselves with some of the more difficult passages.
Unless we're willing to face up to the shortcomings of our own people, we are never going to convince the other side to let their guard down long enough to admit what they've been up to. Unless we're willing to admit that religion can be beautiful, ecstatic, charming, life affirming and saving, we will never be able to work with believers who would literally rather be burned to death at the stake than make a single concession over even one line of God's sacred law.
And unless we're willing to acknowledge that the same gorgeous amazing incredible religion we would die for can be hurting someone else, we're not going to be able to open up our hearts, heal our trauma, and be present to recognize and compassionately embrace "the other" in their pain.
And once we've done that we can hash out the specifics. What exactly do we want to change about the way we relate to one another. What real progress can we make. How can we create an environment where our institutions aren't training our young people to spend their weekends screaming at each other from opposite sides of a police barricade.
So why the marijuana?
Everything else has been tried. Let's see if this works. Let's sit down with a plant that can help strip away our preconceived notions and admit, to each other and to ourselves, all of it. That wealthy philanthropists dictate the conversation. That we're tribalistic and loyal. That we suppress our doubts and our concerns about the faith we love, at least in public. That we cherry pick scripture to highlight the parts we like and not the bad stuff. That we deliberately interpret the texts in line with what we want them to say, and not the plain meaning of the texts. And that the horrible unspeakable truth is that when you really cut right to the bone, the fundamentalists are not some hideous aberration, but a very valid and very logical system based on what the books actually say, based on the way they were practiced for hundreds and thousands of years. And that we have to stop lying to each other and start being honest and what our goals are, what our redlines are, and how we want to interact with each other as people of faith living in these United States of America.
Lunacy Now believes most people just want a simple easy life, to raise a family, to live in comfort and without fear. Toke for Tolerance is a way to break past the community gatekeepers and have an honest conversation about how to achieve those goals.
That's why we are proud to co-host the world's premier cannabis based interfaith festival.
MIM: A mind is a terrible thing to blow!
"Navigate the process of what to inherit and what to throw away from Western heritage..."
Colossal societal upheavals from the 1960s onwards have deconstructed much of traditional marriage based society. In its absence people struggle to relate to the West's historical baggage. As a civilization we have yet to move forwards into a new cohesive identity.
In this vacuum, culture wars run rampant on college campuses and online.
Instead of engaging in one side or the other, wee seek to find a way for the individual to rise about the noise. In this section we address considerations of how to build a coherent cultural identity for yourself. Right now people have a unique opportunity to actively create and curate the culture they want consciously, in a way which has not previously been possible.
Navigate the process of what to inherit and what to throw away from the Western heritage and construct what that means in practical terms.
Toke for Tolerance: Tickets Now on Sale
Stress Testing Potential Marriage Partners
Instead of CVE, Why Not Try Talking?
Thanksgiving and American Civic Religion
Why We Are Co-hosting an Interfaith Cannabis Summit
When Scripture and Human Rights Clash
We Do What it Says in the Book
Introducing Toke for Tolerance
Why Lunacy Now is Hosting an Interfaith Festival
MIM 2/1/19: This screed was just deleted from the Lunacy Now! website which documents the failures of counter-extremism programs. It may be due to the fact that Qudosi and fellow Taqiyya practitioner Raheel Raza announced a new initiative funded by the Jewish lead Clarion Project entitled "Preventing Violent Extremism" (PVE).On a podcast to announce the launch of the PVE both Muslimahs outrageously claimed that "all children in North America are at risk of radicalisation" and never once mentioned Islam or Muslims!
"Clarion's Raheel Raza and Shireen Qudosi join David Harris to explain why we just launched our Preventing Violent Extremism training program. As a grandmother and mother, the pair believe all children in North America are at risk of radicalization."
Instead of CVE Why Not Try Talking?
Do counter-extremism programs work? A large amount of effort has gone into creating Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs at the national, local and international level. Some are funded by the state, some try and actively engage with individuals deemed at risk of radicalization, while others focus on placing counter-messaging content in front of people searching for extremist content, such as jihadist videos.
There's a broader free speech question at play here, namely what counts as extremism and who should be in charge of making that determination. Tech CEOs, whose expertise lies in coding and innovation rather than in public policy, have so far seen the burden fall largely to them, assisted by a bevy of mostly left-wing NGOs.
Lunacy Now covered this yesterday in documenting the Sargon of Akkad controversy to contextualize our interview with the crypto-based crowdfunding platform BitBacker.
But putting aside the (important) questions of censorship, the first amendment and control of the public sphere, does CVE even work?
A new report "Assessing Outcomes of Online Campaigns Countering Violent Extremism" by the RAND Corporation addresses exactly that. The report, authored by Todd Helmus and Kurt Klein, looks at a method that redirects internet users searching for jihadist content towards pre-approved counter-extremist messages. The program was run by Jigsaw, a subsidiary of Google, in collaboration with the counter-extremism organizations Gen Next Foundation and Moonshot CVE.
The whole report is available here.
The report goes into considerable detail and shows how effective the various campaigns were at reaching a large number of people. However, one salient point emerges. It is very difficult to tell how effective, if at all, such methods are at actually changing anyone's mind.
They can measure how many people clicked on a Facebook ad. But without direct engagement, it is very hard to tell how people responded to a given post.
Some programs had more detailed feedback than others, especially ones which allowed comments. One program saw eight individuals reach out to the post-extremism group Life After Hate after exposure to messaging from Exit USA.
Lunacy Now takes a different approach. In partnership with interfaith activist Shireen Qudosi, we are running an interfaith festival which prioritizes open dialogue. We have no ideological redlines for participation, and are not running this in the service of any state.
Toke for Tolerance aims to bring people together to talk about their fears and hopes surrounding issues of extremism and inter-group tension.
If we can't know how effective CVE programs are, maybe sitting down and talking to one other could work.
Sign up to the Toke for Tolerance waitlist now to avoid missing out on tickets.
Time To Ditch The Narrative Of Decline
Many worry about the impending collapse of Western civilization. Concerns like this are by no means new, dating back at least to the publication of Oswald Spengler's magnum opus The Decline of the West in 1918, if not earlier to Nietzsche or even (depending on who you ask) to the French Revolution.
There are many conservative sites out there pushing for a revitalization of Western civilization to something akin to what it used to be before the upheavals of the 20th century. These movements range from the purely aesthetic, to neo-traditional, romantic and religious revival movements, as well as harder, scarier movements like neo-nazis and other fascists.
We reject this "revival" as impractical at best.
As set out in our piece "What is the Byzantine Transition" we date the final death knell of "Christendom" in the adoption of gay marriage by the US Supreme Court, which removed Judeo-Christian morality from its former position as the metaphysical basis underpinning the laws of the state.
Decline is not something that is necessarily bad. All societies, all ways of being, end, eventually. And when they end, something new comes into being in its place. When we talk about the West we're talking about a set of values centered around Christianity and the Greco-Roman tradition and developed over the past 2,000 years primarily in Europe, before being exported (at gunpoint) to the rest of the world. It's those values that are being rendered obsolete. That doesn't mean that the roads are going to collapse, that cities necessarily will be set ablaze, or any of these other apocalyptic visions will come to pass.
Dwelling on a narrative of decline, however, is bad, since it keeps you looking back at the past and obsessing over things that will never return.
Instead we want to focus on what happens now. Because when one thing dies, something else rises in its place. Which means that the phase of the collapse of Western civilization is also the genesis phase of it's replacement.
Where we go from here is by no means inevitable or set in stone. It's going to be the result of millions of people making conscious choices that will shape this new world. Are we going to create new institutions to supersede the old ones? Will new social codes, new lifestyles and new career trajectories come into being to replace those which are being torn down as we speak? What will those new ways of being look like? What do we want them to look like?
What from the Western heritage do we want to keep to bring with us on this new journey? What do we want to throw away? And most importantly, what do we want to do next?
This framing totally changes the mindset and the possibility for leading a productive and happy life. Seen from the perspective of decline, the current uncertain geo-political/socio-economic situation looks scary, bleak and inhospitable. It induces risk averse behaviour and can encourage people to shut down, retreat and make choices which limit and secure what they have. Seen from the perspective of creating, the current situation looks exciting, inviting and abounding in possibility.
Making that mental shift can have serious positive impact on your life.
Grassroots Civilization Building
"In order for things to stay the same they have to change." — The Leopard.
Both the left and the right seem to feel intuitively that the West is dying. On the right conservative Pat Buchanan's book The Death of the West (2001) laid out a vision for a civilization on the brink in stark terms, laying out a bleak picture of border overrun and a collapsing birth rate sapping the vitality of Europe and America. On the Left from those who want to #SmashThePatriarchy make no bones about what they're smashing: from calls to topple statues of men like British imperialist extraordinaire Cecil Rhodes to rewriting the curricula of schools to make them more diverse.
So what is "The West?" What does it mean to say that it's dying? And how does that death impact you?
What Is a Civilization?
Civilization is a social construct. Any idea like "the West," is a story which we tell ourselves and each other, and keep alive by handing down traditions, narratives and behavioral norms from generation to generation. By all agreeing to invest in the truth of our collective story, we are able to organise social hierarchies and systems in such a way that people can get things done without hurting each other. So a figure like "the president" holds his power because society created a fiction of "a president" and imbued it with certain powers we agree to give the office holder. Trump has the same two arms and two legs as anyone else, and if at any time everyone just stopped believing in the collective story called "America," he would soon find that his power is ephemeral and granted to him only by popular investment in that story.
Over time cultures evolve, integrating elements from other cultures and abandoning practices which are no longer useful or interesting. Although we like to think that the way we do things now is optimal, there really isn't a reason to presume that. Our culture is a combination of what's worked previously, what the path of least resistance is, deliberate influences from powerful interested factions and responses to currently available technology. What it isn't is a perfectly mapped out "optimal way to be" or the latest point on an endless upward trajectory of progress. What it is is the collective "best guess" on how to live at that moment in history.
Some mistake culture for race. Since cultures are inherited and passed on from generation to generation, culture becomes heavily associated with lineage, especially where families have lived in one place for a long time. In the states organisations like Daughters of the American Revolution continue to honor the descendants of those who fought to overthrow British rule and establish independence. To a certain extent genealogical loyalties, at the very least as far as kinship goes, are unavoidable.
But race and culture are distinct. Sometimes a civilization embeds a notion of race as a prerequisite for membership (as the West has done in the past, despite the shoddy science of race). Normally citizenship and cultural acceptance are obtainable by those of different backgrounds, as long as they accept the overarching story.
What Is The West?
The West, insofar as it is a unified culture, means that when you look back you're looking to Rome.
The cultural values of the West are essentially greco-Roman values infused with Christianity, and developed gradually through two thousand years of European history. This means, broadly speaking, a roman-inspired rationalist culture of rule of law, combined with a centring of the individual rather than the family or clan unit as being responsible in the eyes of society and the law for themselves, based on the Christian understanding that all men are equal in the eyes of God.
But due to the vast swathe of time the West has existed, and the technological changes which have taken place in the interim, large parts of the culture are perpetuated without anyone necessarily understanding why they are there. Especially when the original reason for why those elements were instituted becomes lost in time.
Here's an example.
The electoral college in America has caused controversy recently because Donald Trump won the presidency, but not the popular vote. Partisans of the losing candidate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, complained that the system was unjust since it did not award the presidency to the candidate with the largest support.
What those objections failed to take into account was why the electoral college was implemented in the first place. America was designed as a federal country, with a large amount of power devolved to the states and a limited federal government. The electoral college was established as a backdoor safeguard against a populist tyrant.
What Does It Mean to Say the West is Dying?
The West dying means its story is eroding. Fewer and fewer people in the educated class have a working knowledge of the classic works of Western Civilization, and fewer and fewer citizens buy into the shared narrative of the West.
The late Andrew Breitbart argued politics is downstream from culture. The "Death of the West" is not an economic or military problem but more like a collapse in confidence in the narrative.
If it continues, as it looks set to do, the once seemingly unshakeable institutions which govern our societies will collapse. As that happens people will start looking for new stories to hold onto. As more new stories are created, a new public narrative will be weaved to underpin a new set of institutions.
How Does This Impact You?
Change is the nature of all things. Trying to cling onto the remnants of a dying culture may prolong the end for a little while, but ultimately it will not help.
It is also unneeded.
The collapse does not necessarily mean there will be widespread chaos or that the roads will stop being maintained. It does mean that another paradigm will rush in to fill the vacuum. Exactly what that paradigm will be, the values it perpetuates and the metaphysical framework on which it will be based are currently up for grabs. Rather than maintaining a narrative of decline, it is far more empowering to acknowledge the end and get to work building what is coming next.
If this change is taking place anyway, individuals have a choice to either watch it happen or get involved in deciding how they want that new world to look.
This means taking what works from the old order, inventing new modes of being in response to technological advances, and blending other elements from the many cultures the West is now entangled with. This journey will be exciting, innovative and liberating.
There is every reason to be optimistic about the new thing, rather than despondent about the loss of the old.
It also goes beyond mere conversation. We want to empower people to look critically at their own lives, and what stories they are telling themselves about the broader narrative they're a part of. If they don't like the story, it's time to make a new one.
Grassroots civilization building means being aware of your own role in the broader grand narrative while implementing your preferred civilizational model at the micro-level in your own life.
MIM: Qudosi has had too many "Tokes for Tolerance" as can be seen in excerpts from this rambling and incoherent interview "Ask Shireen 1- Reformers". She also admitted to being a "tree hugger" and into "shamanism".
Elliot Friedland from the Clarion Project is cofounder of Toke for Tolerance.
Shireen Qudosi was named one of the top 10 Muslim reformers in North America in 2011. She works to further the progressive movement within Islam. Qudosi earned a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Irvine...
"The new wave of the thought leaders within some of the Islamic communities are the reformers. Women, as a result, have begun to gain more of a voice. Qudosi sees this rise of women as an inevitable aspect of modernity, especially with the prior grooming of some women into silence and even "groomed by voodoo."...
Qudosi sees reverence outside of the realm of the gladiators. We, as human beings, should not fight, but should work for communion through reverence. She wants to write a variety of subject matter, but feels distracted by the disease of the early 21st century of needing an opinion on everything the internet provides to us, incompletely....
Qudosi sees the media, in the current period, feeding some of the culture of vanity. With 9/11 happening 18 years ago, there is a push to sensationalize grievance of 9/11, a tragedy, rather than emphasize the progressive work of reformers within the Muslim world...
."And there is rage, a powerful component of the female psyche — but rage is a process. It is not the solution," Qudosi stated, "The other thing the media can do is lose the trope of sad Muslim woman. This has been going on before reformer was even a buzz word. Around mid-2000's, I pieced together a totally rubbish book (if we can even call it a book), with uninformed, uncultivated hodgepodge of ideas about faith, identity and belonging."..
On things to look out for now, Qudosi stated, "We're looking forward to bringing some new names on. Elliot Friedland and I co-founded Toke for Tolerance, a radically honest interfaith festival we hope to launch in 2019. Our vision includes using this space to nurture newer voices, both men and women, in a sacred space that honors the art of approach."https://goodmenproject.com/eth
6/24/19 Update: MIM: The Toke For Tolerance event which was supposed to take place on June 7th appears to have been a bust with no mention of it in the media or made by its Muslim and Jewish organizers Qudosi,Friedland or Lunacy Now.
9/8/19 Update MIM: In a since deleted tweet Qudosi admits to 'recreation drug use' i.e. toking and snorting her gullible donors funding.