A few days ago I received a seemingly polite, deferential e mail from someone named Mark Halawa telling me I might be interested in a post he’d just written. When I saw the website I knew there was a lot more there than met the eye. He had published at the Aish HaTorah website. Anyone who knows anything about Aish or me knows that we don’t exactly see eye to eye on anything related to Judaism or Israel. So I realized there must be something hinky about Mark’s e mail:
My name is Mark, and I’m very much impressed with your message.
Below is a link for my article that was published on Aish.com last week. Feel at liberty to use it, and let me know how I can be of help.
When I read his post I knew there was. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this when I initially received his e mail and assumed it was a personal message. On further review, this likely was an e-mail spam blast sent to scores or hundreds of sites. The wording is vague enough that it could be sent as a mass mailing. So it’s possible Halawa didn’t even know who he was dealing with when he e mailed me.
It seems that Mark is following in a long line of dutiful “moderate” (or “good”) Muslims who far-right pro-Israel groups use to impeach Islam. The list is long and fascinating: Wafa Sultan, Nonie Darwish, Tawfiq Hamid, Walid Shoebat, Zuhdi Jasser, etc. What all these have in common is that they’re trotted out by Aish HaTorah via their Islam hate movies. Being a relatively new recruit, Halawa hasn’t yet been featured. But he will be. If not in a movie, you can be sure he’ll be visiting a Hillel or synaoguge near you warning about the evils of Islam and the wonders of Judaism Aish-style.
Since we know that a good number of the Muslim turncoats especially Walid Shoebat are frauds it’s useful to dwell on a few of Mark’s claims. Now, I’m not claiming that Mark is one. But the possibility exists based on previous bad faith shown by Aish and similar groups using these people for their own political ends.
Though this story is less lurid, it does remind me somewhat of the account of the so-called former Hezbollah intelligence agent turned Haredi Jew and follower of one of Israel’s most racist anti-Arab rabbis, Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu. Now that one was a real whopper!
Mark, who was raised as a secular Muslim in Kuwait, claims that his maternal grandmother is Jewish. On meeting an alleged Orthodox former philosophy professor, the latter tells him that means he is Jewish. I’m trying to check out the halacha on this claim. Of course, Orthodox Judaism is based on matrilineal descent, but I’ve never heard of some claiming to be Jewish based on a grandmother being Jewish. At best, this is a very tenuous claim to being Jewish since his mother clearly wasn’t raised Jewish.
But the proof he posits for his grandmother’s Jewishness seems flimsy:
I recalled how my grandmother had a funny name on her documents, Mizrachi, which I never heard before. She also had a small prayer book with Hebrew letters, and she prayed in the dark crying. (I thought the Wailing Wall was so named because crying was a part of prayer.)
Aside from a vague family legend, my grandmother never mentioned anything about being Jewish — but now the pieces were fitting into place…
I went to my room and called my mother. She rebuffed the story, saying, “Don’t listen to people like that. We are Muslims and that’s that.”
I decided to call my grandmother myself and bring up the subject.
I beat around the bush a bit — after all, she’d been denying it for the past 50 years — and then finally blurted out, “Grandma, are you Jewish?”
She didn’t answer the question directly, but she started crying and spoke about the years of Arab-Israeli conflict. She told me how her brother Zaki had been killed in Jerusalem before the rebirth of the State. To me that was sufficient confirmation of her Jewishness and I decided to leave it at that.
Well that seals it, her brother was killed in 1948, therefore she must be Jewish. There may be more family history here that he’s not telling us, but this isn’t in the least convincing. If this guy isn’t lying, he’s really digging deep to prove something he desperately wants to be true.
This passage too seems suspect to me. Keep in mind that he’s describing a supposedly Jewish Palestinian girl in the pre-1948 period falling in love with a Palestinian Arab in Jordanian army uniform:
My mother’s parents met in Jerusalem when my grandfather, an Arab from the West Bank, was serving in the Jordanian army fighting the Zionists. He was 18 years old and my grandmother was 16. Her father ran a school in Jerusalem — the same school where she would jump off the wall to meet my handsome, uniformed grandfather. They fell in love, got married, and lived for a number of years in Shechem (Nablus).
How likely would it be for any Jewish girl to fall in love with a Jordanian soldier “fighting Zionists?” Again, I can’t say for sure that this is a sack of lies, but it sure smells funny.
Halawa claims that his suspicions about his grandmother’s origins made him predisposed to feel sympathetic to Israel:
Whenever we were on vacation in Amman, Jordan, I used to constantly watch the Israeli channel — when my parents weren’t around. My favorite was the Israeli national anthem, and I would stay up late waiting to hear them play it at the end of the TV transmission.
How touching that Mark knew at that early an age he was an Arab Zionist. But explain to me this, Mark: how would this have gone over in a household in which your father was allegedly a Pan-Arab Nasserist?? Once again, there’s something wrong here.
The scene Mark describes of visiting a synagogue for the first time is absolutely priceless. I tell you the guy should be writing for television. He takes one look at the Black man, Indian and Egyptian all praying together and pfffft! he knows this is where he’s meant to be his whole life. And don’t you know the tears fell like rain (even I almost shed one about as crocodile as the ones he was shedding).
There is another tell-tale sign that all might not be well in Mark’s story. Keep in mind this is the first time he’s ever visited a synagogue and he presumably knows no Hebrew:
“I can’t believe I’m here, singing and praying in Hebrew. I could never have imagined it.”
Nor can I. No one who has never been to a Jewish religious service and knows no Hebrew could “sing and pray in Hebrew” the first time he’s done it. For someone to master the prayers and the language requires years of deep immersion. The language is difficult to master and quite archaic in places. It simply beggars belief that he could feel so at home in the language and music of the Shabbat service from the get go.
In the following passage, you finally get a glimpse of what Mark’s selling and it’s little more than the religious far-right anti-Muslim snake oil:
In the Arab world there are tons of misconceptions and misinformation regarding Israel. So I am working to develop a program to educate Arabs about Jews and Judaism, to dissolve the stereotypes propagated by the Muslim media and schools. I hope that my unique background can help bridge some of that divide.
Indeed. Before Mark dissolves stereotypes and starts “truth-telling” to Muslims about Judaism he might want to come clean about himself and dispense with the fantasy he’s spun in this story. Mark’s “program” reminds me of why I called him the “Manchurian Muslim” above. For groups like Aish HaTorah, discoveries (or frauds) like Mark are pure gold. They are secret weapons which Jews turn around and launch against the Muslims to undermine their cause. They also serve to warm the cockles of the hearts of Jews who need to believe in the inherent superiority of Judaism to Islam.
Surprisingly, Mark addresses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict only obliquely and refers to it in terms that are not at all characteristic of the pro-Israel far right. Again, either Mark hasn’t quite drunk the Aish Kool Aid, or he’s dissembling since this is far too Kumbaya for a real Aish follower:
It often seems like the Arab-Israeli conflict is intractable. Yet I believe in today’s world, there is a real opportunity for a breakthrough. Arabs today have a more universal education, which makes them more open and curious. Also they are meeting Israelis and Jews in their travels around the world, which breaks down misconceptions. And as we saw during the recent protests in Iran, many young people in the Muslim world are yearning for reform. On top of all this, they have high-speed Internet access which opens up all kinds of new avenues of communication, and the possibility of forming new friendships unrestricted by borders or political agendas. Perhaps this can be the basis of a grassroots movement to mend relations and hopefully one day achieve peace.
And perhaps Alan Dershowitz is Anne Coulter in drag.
Mark does have one classic Orthodox right-wing obsession–Arab men on the prowl for Jewish women. According to Mark, it’s an epidemic:
The other issue that needs urgent attention is intermarriage in Israel. Unfortunately, a story like my grandmother’s is not so rare. Many young Jewish women are wooed by Arab men and brought back to live in their villages.
“Many” of course is an extreme exaggeration, which seems to characterize Mark’s entire story. But it is true that for the Israeli far-right miscegenation is a deeply disturbing phenomenon much like it was in the Jim Crow South. It’s also instructive that Meir Kahane used to rail about precisely the same issue, while concealing that he had an adulterous affair with an Italian-American woman who killed herself when he abandoned her.
Finally, this e-mail reply from Mark to the first e-mail I sent him, in which I warned him that Aish was a nasty organization, brought forth this reply containing some uncharacteristically naughty language for a supposed Orthodox Jew:
That’s a horrible message, Richard. You have lots of hate blinding your eyes, and you run a site called Tikkun Olam!!!
You’ve exposed the real person you are; calling my people Nasty!
Its unfortunate, people like you use our religion for their own advancement, and financial gain.
Not a single Jew I’ve met in the past 7 years, ever spoke or incited against another religions.. Islam or other.
But here you are (a christian or messianic shit most probably) the first bigot! That knows nothing else but fowl [sic] thoughts and evil, for the lack of better education. You’re the nastiest person I’ve heard from, you’re [sic] own family probably hates you. What a scam!!!
Half of me wanted to report him to his Aish rebbe for fowl language! But I was especially tickled by his accusation that I was “christian messianic shit” and that I was exploiting my religion for “financial gain.”
Curious also that Mark claims that he’s never met anyone at Aish who “incited against another religion.” Keep in mind this is the same Aish (through its subsidiary Clarion Fund) which produced the two most hateful films about Islam in the past few decades: Obsession and Third Jihad. Aish and their fellow partners in religious holy war, Ateret Kohanim want to rebuild the Third Temple where the Dome of the Rock now stands. No incitement there either. I don’t know whether Mark is a brainwashed ex-Muslim or an out-and-out fraud. But whatever it is, he’s yet another sorry example of the Jewish religious right attempting to perpetrate fraud on any gullible parties who’ll listen to the message.
hakacha law states that you are jewish if your mother is, his mother is jewish and he is too, a jew can’t “unjew” himself, no matter how he was raised or how he lives, again, according to halacha.
What a horrible man!
What a pity that a young man is so readily able to throw away his heritage, take up a false one, and in the hopes of some kind of financial gain. Walid Shoebat and his ilk have made a lot of money out of betraying their faith and embracing the people who would like to see them destroyed. Mark shows himself to be yet another “useful idiot” for the right wingers who, once they’re done using him to further their agenda, will throw him away.
This guy’s family is allegedly Palestinian in origin and somehow ended up in Kuwait; OK, so how is it that they still live there? Weren’t Palestinians kicked out in the early 90’s for having supported the Iraqi invasion? Just wondering…
Richard Silverstein says
His family now lives in Jordan according to him.
“You’ve exposed the real person you are; calling my people Nasty!
Its unfortunate, people like you use our religion for their own advancement, and financial gain.
Not a single Jew I’ve met in the past 7 years, ever spoke or incited against another religions.. Islam or other.
But here you are (a christian or messianic shit most probably……”
Lol, this guy is a piece of work, if this is who Aish is recruiting, they’re screwed. His statements ooze stupidity and show that he is nothing but a low level juvenile (in the brain) tool.
Loser. I hope he reads this.
You are a moron Mark..what’s your real name you fake? Pretty sure your mother never named you Mark, dumbass.
He is looking for money. They’ll use him as a dog and pony show for the Islamophobes, and he’s hoping to become wealthy and sought after on the lecture circuit. The neocons and the haters will pay him well, but God sees all that he does. As a former Muslim (of sorts), he should remember that.
Richard Silverstein says
I doubt Walid Shoebat has become wealthy. But it’s certainly a comfortable living for him.
Given that Shoebat claims he was born Muslim but was actually born Christian (as proven in a JPost expose about him), we should also demand that Mark confirm his own origins. Shoebat also isn’t his real name.
Shoebat had a lot of “speaking engagements” in his heyday, also these people are always hoping to become the next Hirsi Ali (two ghostwritten books and the mantle of being an “expert” on something such as radical Islam), so I wouldn’t doubt that this group has promised this fool some kind of payoff.
alex schindler says
funny, when i attempted to cite a JPost story on this blog (since only they, and not haaretz, had any detail on an event in which Israeli religious right embarassed itself, but not quite so egregiously as you tried to make it out) you called them an inadmissible source. interesting.
i mean, i happen to buy the JPost expose on Shoebat, i’ve heard him speak and he seems a phony, and I agree with your characterization of Aish vis-a-vis spreading Islamophobic propaganda, but way to be consistent.
Richard Silverstein says
JPost is a borderline source. On some issues I think they’re credible. But there are so many creepy substandard journalists there like Caroline Glick & Shmu Rosner that I don’t use them as sources unless it’s produced something credible that isn’t found elsewhere.
Richard Silverstein says
His mother certainly never named him Mark. But I would like to know what his Arabic name was. Undoubtedly, he simplified things when in Canada & assumed an English name. That is, if he is who he is at all.
HIs name is Muntasir Halawa, I know him personally. He is the scum of the scums. A man with no morals or eithics, willing to sell his soul to the devil.
Walid, i know this loser as well…. i couldnt have described him better myself.
“Its unfortunate, people like you use our religion for their own advancement, and financial gain.”
Richard, please, look in your heart, I needs me a Riva boat for next summer.
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, yes, I’m rolling in all those Saudi dinars they send me in hollowed out Korans ea. month. I’m sorta like a lefty Jack Abramoff dispensing goodies to my friends.
This guy is either a complete fraud, or a none-too-clever weaver of reality and convenient fabrication a la Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Right now he looks to me like a complete fraud. I’m not convinced he is even an Arab raised in Kuwait in a Palestinian secular Muslim pan-Arab nationalist family. For starters what he has to say about that environment, which I know well, does not ring true to me. Of course, it could be that this IS his background filtered through several thick layers of Aish anti-Arab/anti-Muslim mythology, but something is not right.
And his story about his grandmother is chock full o’ holes. Just for starters, this miraculous meeting between his Arab Muslim “handsome Jordanian soldier” grandfather fighting Zionists in the West Bank and his teenage Jewish grandmother living in (West) Jerusalem, and clearly based on the photo, from a very respectable if not elite family, had to have taken place between 1948 and 1967 when there were no Jews living in East Jerusalem or the West Bank. So, how did these two meet in Jerusalem in the first place? Does he expect us to believe that Jordanian soldiers regularly hung out in West Jerusalem, chatting up nice Jewish girls from good families? Or should we believe that in the ’50’s or ’60’s sixteen-year-old Jewish girls from good families regularly made trips to East Jerusalem to flirt with Arab soldiers who were fighting Zionism in the West Bank? Or does he merely count on the credulity of his audience?
And then there is the “praying in the dark and crying” and other nonsense, but I will have to comment on that later when I have more time.
alex schindler says
there were Jews in the old city during the 48 war… many of their homes were destroyed, and many of them in fact moved (in a profitable move) to the upper-class Arab village of Qatamon, from whence Palestinians were driven out during the war. I do not think he claimed that his grandmother met anyone in the 50’s or 60’s… my word, if she were sixteen in 1965 she’d be rather young to have a grandson his age!
do you guys really not believe there were any Arab/Jewish couples in existence who met under the conditions he described? It’s not particularly unlikely. Jerusalem was a binational city, and Jordanian troops (part of the Arab Liberation Army) were certainly in Jerusalem for a part of the war (as of 1949).
If her name was Mizrachi, then her origin (I know several people with this surname, including one who is, lucky me, a scholar of sephardic jewry) is most likely Levantine. It’s a fairly common name among Syrian and Egyptian and Lebanese Jews.
I’m not sure he literally meant that he was “praying in Hebrew”, ie, praying correctly. he may have just been referring to the experience of being in a shul in which prayers were conducted in hebrew. all in all, the story has some almost-too-good-to-be-true aspects, and coming from Aish, it’s naturally suspect, but nothing about it strikes me as outside the realm of credibility.
His entire narrative was so hokey and inconsistent, and his demeanor so contemptuous of Muslims and his fellow Arabs that it could not slip beneath everyone’s notice.
No one disputed his grandmother being Jewish, and it has already been established on this thread that her name is Jewish. The “secret Jew” thing is what was so incredible, literally. Muslim men are permitted to marry Jewish and/or Christian women, so why did his grandmother supposedly keep her religion a secret, and “pray in the dark while crying”? It is nothing but hasbara rubbish.
If we did not interpret Mark’s remarks correctly, why did he not come back and correct us? Why are you doing it instead? For example, you surmise that Mark did not know how to pray in Hebrew, but Mark never said that. I am a convert to Islam, and I myself am the first to admit that the first time I attended prayer in the mosque, I didn’t understand any of what was going on. Yet Mark does not say, “the experience of the shul brought me to tears, although I could not understand Hebrew at the time.” He misleads his readers to presume he had such a profound spiritual experience that his “inner Jew” took over, and he felt right at home.
So much he said was outside the realm of credibility that it surprised me that you didn’t notice.
PS I realize now that you did not claim to be a “scholar of sephardic jewry”, but that someone you know with the name Mizrachi is. My comments stand. He cannot be much of a scholar if he led you to believe the nonsense you have put here, or if he is truly a scholar of Sephardic Jewry, then you have not learned anything from him except, perhaps, that Mizrachi is a name used by Jews of Middle Eastern origin, as I already pointed out here weeks ago.
“Alex” – or should I say “Mark”?:
The Jordanian military entered Jerusalem for the first time on May 18, 1948. Nine days later on May 27 the Zionists surrendered the Old City, and as of May 28 all the Jews had been evacuated from the Old City, so that there were no longer any Jews there. For three weeks prior to the surrender and evacuation the Jewish Quarter was under a heavy (and quite cruel) siege and surrounded by heavy fighting. Are you suggesting that during that nine-day period during which the Jordanian military was fighting in Old Jerusalem, and the Jews were under siege, “Mark’s” (your?) 16-year-old grandmother-to-be regularly jumped from the wall of her father’s school to hang out with Jordanian soldiers, resulting in her marrying one of them?
“do you guys really not believe there were any Arab/Jewish couples in existence who met under the conditions he described?”
I can state with absolute certainty that there were no Arab/Jewish couples who met under the conditions he described because the conditions he described never existed. Unlike you I have studied the events and conditions of that period quite extensively, and to say it was completely out of the question in those circumstances is not at all an exaggeration.
“It’s not particularly unlikely.”
Extremely mplausible is by far the kindest term one can apply to it. Completely out of the question is closer to reality.
“Jerusalem was a binational city…”
Not after the surrender and evacuation of May 27-28 it wasn’t.
“and Jordanian troops (part of the Arab Liberation Army) were certainly in Jerusalem for a part of the war (as of 1949).”
Jordanian troops did not enter Jerusalem until May 18, 1948. Nine days later the Jewish Quarter was evacuated and all Jews had left the Old City by May 28 (the evacuation of the overwhelming majority of the 2,500 Jews, including around 300 POW’s, happened May 27, the evacuation of the emergency hospital was planned for May 28, but it took place overnight because fire threatened the hospital making evacuation more urgent). Between the entry of the Jordanian military into Jerusalem and the evacuation of the Jews the Jewish quarter was under a tight siege and there would have been exactly zero opportunity for a pretty Jewish teenage girl to jump from her father’s wall to flirt with Jordanian soldiers even once, let alone enough times to meet, fall in love with, and marry the supposedly handsome (handsome is in the eye of the beholder, I guess) grandfather of “Mark”. From May 27 forward there were no more pretty Jewish teenage girls for any Jordanian soldier to meet, let alone fall in love with, and marry.
“I’m not sure he literally meant that he was “praying in Hebrew”
I am sure that is exactly what he meant when he said to Dr. Block during their lunch together directly following his first Shul attendance, ““I can’t believe I’m here, singing and praying in Hebrew”.
“If her name was Mizrachi, then her origin (I know several people with this surname, including one who is, lucky me, a scholar of sephardic jewry) is most likely Levantine.”
2) Her given name, Ruwaida, was Arabic – really BIG DUHHHHHH.
3) I don’t believe for one nanosecond that you are a scholar of sephardic jewry. a) you don’t need to be a scholar of sephardic jewry to know that if her name was Mizrachi her origin was “Levantine”, particularly since she had a common Arabic given name; b)if you were a scholar of “sephardic jewry” you would not have lumped all Jews of Middle Eastern/Arabic origin, including Egyptian Jews under the category “levantine”, since the Levant is only one part of the Middle East/Arab world, and Egypt is not part of it (all that aside from the fact that most Egyptian Jews were of European, not Middle Eastern origin, as you would know if you were what you claim to be).
4) If you were, as you claim, a scholar of sephardic jewry, you would also know how impossible it would have been for her to hide the fact that she was a Jew since in that part of the world it is not customary for women to change their surnames when they marry, so she would have been known even after marriage as Ruwaida Mizrachi, and she and her fiance, later husband, would have been quizzed half to death by everyone from his parents to the gardner about her family background whether she was Muslim, Christian, Jew, or anything else.
“nothing about it strikes me as outside the realm of credibility.”
Of course not, since you have no knowledge of the context in which it supposedly took place. For those of us who know something about that it is well beyond the realm of credibility. And it is not only that it conflicts with historical reality. As Mary and I have both pointed out, the whole “crying and praying in the dark” while openly displaying a Hebrew prayer book is more than enough to call the whole story into question. And the suggestion that she could have – or needed to – conceal the fact that she was Jewish is too outlandish. As I have already pointed out twice, there was no way on earth she could have married in the Arab world without her entire family history being trotted out to all and sundry. And, as Mary has pointed out, Muslim men are Qur’anically permitted to marry Jewish and Christian women (or any believing woman, or in fact any woman of good and moral character whether she is a believer or not) and their wives are not required to convert to Islam. So there would have been 1) no way, and 2) no need for her to conceal her Jewish background.
In other words, whoever you are (and why do I have the sense that you are yet another sock puppet for “Mark Halawa”), you are just another phony who has made the amateurish mistake of pretending you are smarter than you are in the presence of a group of people who actually are.
Hasbara at its finest. It’s almost a work of art. I can’t imagine this guy growing up without any inkling whatsoever of what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for 61 years. How, as an Arab, can he expect anyone to believe that he has never seen or met anyone whose life has been affected by the Nakba and the ongoing occupation?
You’re also right, Shirin. I doubt that it was permissible for any decent Jewish girls to hang out with Jordanian soldiers, much less jump off walls to be with them. And I doubt the Jordanian soldiers would care to fall in love with Zionists.
It’s a narrative written by a young man hoping to join the ranks of Hirsi Ali, Shoebat, Darwish et al, in the lucrative world of the convert to Zionism. His nice-boy veneer slipped long enough for him to insult Richard, but even if it didn’t, he would still be the newest whore to join the brothel of Zionist shills.
Not only not allowable, but how on earth would they meet at all at a time when East and West Jerusalem were divided between Israel and Jordan? There is no earthly way she lived in East Jerusalem, as all the Jews were evacuated from that part of the city in 1948, and there is certainly no chance on earth a Jordanian soldier was going to find himself in West Jerusalem at all, let alone on a regular basis.
There are plenty of other holes in the Jewish grandmother from Jerusalem story, including the unlikely story that the couple lived in Nablus, but all that will have to wait for now.
As a whole the story seems pretty preposterous.
Really, why would they live in Nablus, of all places? Why not in Jordan? He was an officer, yet he dumped his career to marry a Jewish girl and live in Nablus? And you’re also correct about East Jerusalem – only Arabs lived there during that time. This guy is no different from the other liars who shill for the Zionists. I could write a book about them; maybe someone should.
Richard Silverstein says
Could the grandmother & grandfather have somehow met in the Old City pre-48?? Not that I believe the story, but just trying to check the angles.
Not unless the British allowed the Jordanian military to fight the Zionists in Jerusalem prior to 1948, which I am quite certain they did not. In fact, as you probably know, the Jordanian army’s role in the 1948 war was quite limited as a result of negotiations beforehand with the Zionists.
It is not completely out of the question that prior to 1948 a Jordanian soldier could have met and fallen in love with a Jewish girl during a personal visit to Jerusalem, but remember that Mark says they met while he was in Jerusalem fighting the Zionists, and that does not seem very likely.
I know Mark Halawa. He’s definitely Jewish and observant. I don’t think using a swear word disqualifies you.
The problem with your post is in the fact that you make many accusations and assumptions that have no proof whatsoever. You obviously don’t know Mark Halawa or anything about Aish HaTorah.
What proof do you have that Aish’s videos are driven by hatred of Islam and Muslims?
How do quotations of Muslim leaders constitute hatred?
If Bill Clinton had warned Americans about a possible terror attack on Manhattan in 1999 by quoting Osama Bin Laden…would you have said he hated Muslims??? Or was fomenting Muslim-basing and violence toward Muslims???
Is there any forum for discussion about extremists who call themselves Muslim?
To put it another way: if you believe that there are many people in the world who are evil and want to kill innocents, don’t you have an obligation to warn the world?
ISN’T THAT EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE DOING WITH THIS BLOG/POST????
Gosh, Frank – ummmmm – Mark – ummmm whatever your real name is – looks like you are busted. Now, DO tell us again all about your gramma Roweida Mizrachi, and how she managed to jump off the wall to meet with a handsome Jordanian soldier who was in Jerusalem fighting the Zionists. You know, when your career as a fake Muslim-apostate-turned-Orthodox-Jew fails you could make a pretty good living writing romance novels. Why, that story might even make it as a Lifetime Movie of the Week.
ps. If your maternal grandmother’s Jewish then you’re Jewish
pps. There is no clear prohibition in the Torah prohibiting using foul language.
ppps. Mark Halawa:2, Richard Silverstein: 0
What is Judaism? Is it genetic? Ethnic? And in any event, what difference does it make? Having a Muslim father does not make a person a Muslim; this is where this young man reveals some of his ignorance.
I’ve seen enough to understand just what kind of organization Aish really is. They were responsible for the pre-election distribution of DVD’s of the Islamophobic epic “Obsession.” They’re right up there with the ADL.
Perhaps you could ask your “Friend” Mark (or whatever his name really is) why he decided to write such a letter to Richard. It really wasn’t very nice.
Richard Silverstein says
That may be true as far as it goes but it doesn’t go very far since halacha has many precedents & sources. You’ve clearly overlooked the concept of nivul peh. As long as we’re quoting Aish HaTorah let’s quote it again on the subject to show how poorly Mark has absorbed the lessons of his own rebbe about the prohibition against the use of curse words:
Undoubtedly, though Mark would get a heter fr. the rebbe when cursing an alleged apikoros like myself. You can prob. get away w. cursing against a terrible Jew like myself.
Wow Richard….I would never call you an apikores or a terrible Jew. I actually think that Left-wing Jews are some of the most loyal and sensitive Jews out there.
However, all you did was confirm my point: “non-kosher” is not the same as prohibited.
But that’s all irrelevant. You didn’t respond to my post.
Again, I have nothing but respect for your blog and the kind of beautiful world you are working so hard to create.
I would really like to hear your response to my questions.
Thanks and best wishes.
Richard Silverstein says
You’re engaging in sophistry. Nivul translates as “disgusting” & I assure you that it is prohibited. Non-kosher=treif. Is it permitted or prohibited to eat treif?? Of course it’s prohibited just as it’s prohibited to engage in nivul peh.
Considering your defense of Aish and its abominable films smearing Islam I must doubt the sincerity of yr praise for my blog. If you are sincere then you’ve got a serious case of political schizophrenia.
At any rate, I’ve written many, many posts both about Aish & about these films. I suggest you search here using them as keywords & you’ll find what I’ve already written on this. I hate having to regurgitate what I’ve already spent hrs doing earlier. The films compare Islam to Nazism. They quote individuals who are not normative leaders of Islam. THey lionize people like Zuhdi Jasser who leads no one but himself. Ditto for Shoebat, Darwish & the others. The films are fraud of the worst kind. Not to mention Aish is not transparent about the films, who provided the funding & who spent tens of millions of dollars sending them out before the last presidential election attempting to win it for McCain (thankfully the ploy backfired & may’ve hurt McCain).
Here I am, telling you that I am centrist Jew who respects people on both sides of the political fence. And you tell me that I must have schizophrenia? Is there anything I can say that you are WILLING to believe? (ie. besides “you are right”)
I happen to know a few Aish rabbis who publicly defend Democrats and Obama.
It just so happens that some of them take ISLAMISTS (not Muslims!!) at their word. Never once in all the Aish movies do they compare Islam and Nazis. They compare Muslim Terrorists to Nazis. They make this point at least half a dozen times in each movie!!!
Who cares that they quote non-normative leaders of Islam? They ARE on TV! Official Palestinian and Iranian TV!! Doesn’t that count for anything?
AGAIN I’M ASKING FOR AN ANSWER:
If you believe that there are many people in the world who are evil and want to kill innocents, don’t you have an obligation to warn the world?
You have a problem that Zuhdi Jasser is standing up to terrorism and its defenders???? Because….listen to your words…because he doesn’t lead anyone????
What kind of logic is this??!?!? Should I show you no respect or listen to your opinion because you don’t lead anyone either??
You have an important message and mission.
But your arguments are too close-minded and reek of paranoia and conspiracy theories.
I really wish you’d reconsider the tone that you use against your political opponents.
Megat S. Merican says
What is the difference between an Islamist and a Muslim?
An Islamist is someone who claims to be a Muslim (but is obviously not, due to Islam’s inherent peaceful nature), but really uses his “religion” as a pretext for a political ideology – namely fascism – including violence and terrorism. (it usually involves the enforcement of Sharia Law – including the persecution of minorities, women, gays and non-muslims)
Note: I am not being snarky here, so sorry if it sounds that way.
Sorry, Frank, but that is a very poor and inaccurate definition of Islamism, though admittedly it expresses the popular concept of Islamism among western non-Muslims who think they know more than they do.
And I also wonder – and again I am not being snarky – what you actually understand about Shari`a law. From what I have heard so far, it is nothing at all.
You seem sincere, so I suggest that you 1) find better sources for information on Islam (which at least you do understand as an inherently peaceful religion), Islamism (which you do not understand well at all), and Shari`a law (which you clearly understand a good deal less well than you understand Islamism); 2) learn something real about all three.
I really do get tired of people getting their Islamic definitions from jihadwatch.
If you don’t know what a word means (such as Islamist), don’t use it.
I’ve not seen these movies, but do they compare all Muslim terrorists to Nazis? I ask because even though all terrorism is immoral, some terrorist groups are motivated by legitimate grievances and one can say this while still condemning the killing of civilians. Nazi comparisons are overused and are a form of demonization–if you compare a group to Nazis you have automatically said they are not motivated by any legitimate cause. Do the films talk about legitimate grievances of Muslims against the US or Israel that are used as an excuse for terrorism, or do they deny that Muslims have legitimate grievances against the US and/or Israel?
In my experience the Islamophobes sometimes claim they aren’t opposed to all Muslims, but then it often turns out the only “good” Muslims are the ones who denounce Islam and deny or whitewash Western crimes.
Good questions, Donald, and good points, too.
The “good” Muslims are, of course, the likes of the complete fraud Walid Shoebat (who has, in any case, never been a Muslim, but rather a Christian), liars Nonie Darwish, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, and others, now including, I guess, “Mark Halawa”. In other words, the “good” Muslims are the ones who will collaborate in furthering the Islamophobic agenda.
In my conversations with Zionists I ran into the same thing – they hold up people like Nonie Darwish et al as “moderate Muslims,” and that is because they aren’t Muslims at all. In their eyes, a good Muslim is one who turns away from the tenets of Islamic faith and embraces Zionism, and who also begins to parrot the rhetoric about the dangers of Islam to the West.
No Islamic group can be compared to the Nazis, not one. The Islamophobes such as George W. Bush made up nonsensical terms such as “Islamo-Fascist” for the purpose of instilling fear and dread in America, which he did so successfully.
Films such as “Obsession” splice together pieces of film showing relatively small groups of people committing acts of violence, while inferring that all Muslims engage in such behavior. They also don’t tell both sides of the story – extremism does not begin in a vacuum. “Mark Halawa” would do well to look into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, maybe read some books by Ilan Pappe, Jonathan Cook and Alan Hart for starters, and understand the truth of what he has so happily and enthusiastically repudiated.
Richard Silverstein says
I’d like to hear who they are. As you no doubt know Rabbis Ephraim & Raphael Shore are up to their eyeballs in Honest Reporting & Clarion Fund, the latter of which spent upwards of $50 million distributing Obsession to millions of households in key election states on behalf of John McCain’s campaign. Aish a full on supporter of the radical settler movement. I think you’d have to have yr head examined if you really expect me to believe yr claim.
Yes, that’s precisely the argument that Aish supporters & the anti-Muslim crowd makes. But the claim simply fails by the sheer weight of the smears levelled in each of these movies against Islam. No viewer no matter how many disclaimers are included would make the mistake, based on the overwhelming hysteria of these films, of thinking the filmmakers distinguish bet. Islamic fundamentalists & all Islam. The film never poses any virtues or positive attributes about Islam. I dare you to find just one (aside fr. the Muslim apostates & ideologues like Jasser). The film shows Islam to be a religion based on hate, immorality and violence.
Aish and the producers of these films are LIARS. Their portrayal of Islam is BOGUS. Their goal is to stir fear, hysteria & hatred of Islam. Their goal is to enable the Israeli far right to expand settlements and expel Arabs fr. the Territories & rebuild the 3rd Temple. These films are part of that strategy. Their goal is also to elect an American president who will be permissive toward the Israeli far right, which is why they backed McCain during the campaign.
Zuhdi Jasser represents no one but himself. He is a hardline right wing Republican. He is a neocon. He hates all Islam except for his own version of it. He has turned on all the Muslims in his own community w. whom he was once on good terms. The reason why you & Aish like Jasser is because he is a poster child for the good Muslim who has turned on normative American Islam & groups like CAIR.
call them whatever you will, islamo-fascist, terrorists, wahabis, whatever. It’s not up to me (a non-muslim) to figure it out. All I know is that (just like every nation or religion in the world!!!) Muslims have fanatics in their midst. As a lover of muslims (and all other peace-loving people in the world), I think we owe it to humanity to help actual muslims to route out such evil. Just as I applaud the State of Israel when it decides to destroy a hilltop settlement or imprison racist murderers!
I don’t think I know more than they do (you have a snarky way of sounding not snarky:P), but I do believe my religious muslim friends who tell me they hate fanatic muslims. I really don’t see anything wrong with making a movie that gives that muslim voice an expression.
It most certainly is for you to figure out if you are going to pretend to know what you are talking about, and toss around terms and refer to concepts without having any idea what you are talking about.
Islamo-fascism is a meaningless term made up by islamophobes to make Islam and Muslims sound bad and scary. Islamo-fascism is, in fact, an oxymoron.
Do you have any clue what Wahabism is? No, I didn’t think so.
As a self-proclaimed “lover of Muslims” you owe it to them and to yourself to refrain from abusing terms like Islamism, Wahabism, and Shari`a when you haven’t got a clue of their meaning, their significance, or the concepts behind them. That applies most of all to the term Shari`a law. You also owe it to them to call out other people when they abuse those terms. Perhaps even more, as a “lover of Muslims” you owe it to them and to yourself to remove the term Islamo-fascism permanently from your vocabulary and never to accept its use in your presence again.
Sorry, Frank, my point is not that “think you know more than they do”, but that that you are pretending to understand terms, concepts, and ideas that you do not understand at all, and are using them in a very irresponsible manner. If you are sincere you owe it to yourself and to the Muslims you profess to love to educate yourself.
Muslims are more than capable of giving their own voices expression. They do not need extreme right wing Jewish groups to bring in the likes of non-Muslims-pretending-to-be-ex-Muslims like Walid Shoebat, and liars like Nonie Darwish to talk about how evil Islam is.
Or maybe it would be fine with you if Muslims made films about Judaism featuring the likes of Israel Shamir? If so, then at least you are being even-handed.
PS Nonie Darwish, among others, does not merely speak out against “extremist” Muslims. Among her many lies she claims that “all Muslims” are taught that it is their duty to wage “jihad” against Jews and Christians. Oddly enough, I was never taught that, nor, I am sure, was Mary, nor, in fact, was any other Muslim I have ever known, and I have known a hell of a lot of Muslims. On the contrary, we are taught that as believers in God Jews and Christians are to be respected and treated and our brothers and sisters. The Qur’an refers in a number of places to the value of the Torah and the Gospels as the word of God. The Qur’an also states that God gave humans more than one religion for a reason, and that we should accept each other, and try to exceed one another in following the right path. So, Nonie Darwish is telling evil lies about Islam.
So what’s a Dhimmi?
If you knew anything at all about the word dhimmi and the historical concept it represents you would know better than to ask “what’s a dhimmi”, you would ask instead what WAS a dhimmi. The concept of dhimmi is an antiquated one that went out of use centuries ago and has no application in today’s world.
The word Dhimmi, refers to a classification of free non-Muslims living under Muslim rule who enjoyed special protection not afforded to other non-Muslims. Christians, Jews, Sabaeans, and Zoroastrians were among the groups that were entitled to dhimmi status. The word ذمي (dhimmi) is derived from the word ذمة (dhimma) which translates as “Protection”, “care”, “security”, “safeguard”, “guarantee”. Laws governing dhimmi status were in force in the Medieval period, and were quite progressive for the time.
Shirin, he knows that. He’s just being facetious. It’s hasbara silliness. They love to talk about dhimmis and how they were supposedly treated terribly by the Muslims, and how even now in so-called Muslim countries they will say non-Muslims don’t have any rights, are persecuted, etc…..and that this maltreatment is because of Islam, not because of a tyrannical government or the ignorance and intolerance of a country’s citizens.
He’s trying to revive a tired old argument. He could even be Mark, sock puppeting himself again.
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, the dhimmi question was fr. what I call a concern troll. They ask a seemingly innocent question hoping it will be answered & that it will somehow introduce their own arguments to the mix here. Unfortunately for this joker, Shirin actually has a scholarly knowledge of the term & can place it in its specifically historical context. No doubt Mr. Concern Troll expected you to note the current Islamophobic context of the term, which you didn’t fall for.
Dhimmi has no meaning at all for Muslims outside of the historical context I noted. In fact, I daresay that most Muslims in the world are not familiar with the term or the concept it represents, and would need to use a dictionary to know the meaning.
i’ve run into trolls about a million times, all wanting to get into “dhimmis” and their pet word, “dhimmitude”, and it’s actually a subject only for the crowd who hangs out on jihadwatch. It’s like the horrendously misused word, “jihad,” which has been mutilated into “jihadi,” and “jihadist.” A Muslim extremist is a Muslim extremist; he is not a “jihadist.” One of the most important and spiritually significant terms in Islam, jihad, and its meaning has been permanently destroyed by non-Muslims.
Mary, the real meaning cannot be destroyed just because some ignoramuses who need someone to hate misuse it. The real meaning can only be destroyed if we allow it. We’re not allowing it.
Richard Silverstein says
In a diff. context, it’s the same for the so-called Hamas charter every anti-jihadi likes to tout as proof of Hamas’ Nazi anti-Semitic origins. Hamas leaders simply know nothing about anything written in this document. Rashid Khalidi said it was written by someone in 1988 & they can’t even document who it was. The only people who still read or refer to it are the far right pro Israel crowd.
Mary, I don’t think the people who throw this term around have a clue about it. They haven’t bothered to find out anything. They just see the term, and read the rubbish on Jihadwatch or some other anti-Islam website, and they have no idea beyond that. They don’t even know how to pronounce it. And they throw it around ignorantly, just as they throw around words like jihad, infidel, and Shari`a.
“Dhimmi” is a favorite word amongst the crowd who frequent “jihadwatch,” “religionofpeace.com,” and other anti-Islam websites. They have hijacked the word “dhimmi” just as they have taken words such as “jihad”, “hajji”, “infidel,” etc., and made them a mockery and used them to jeer at our religion. We both know there have been no dhimmis for centuries. If anything, the Muslims have been subjugated to the non-Muslims for a long time now. So they should stop thinking we are such a big threat.
Richard Silverstein says
I don’t think we owe it to anyone to interfere in matters that Muslims can take care of themselves. And I don’t think Muslims even the good ones you approve of have asked our help. No more would I ask Muslims to help me root out Jewish terrorists or racists. What credibility would a Muslim have within the Jewish community attempting to do this on behalf of Jews?
If you applaud Israel when it destroys hilltop settlements you haven’t had much applauding to do lately since it has done very little in that way.
BTW, Frank, you’re engaging with a group of Muslim readers of this blog, so you ought to credit their opinions & views of Islam at least as much as whichever nameless “religious Muslim friends” you’re quoting. Again btw, I dare you to show these alleged friends of yours either of these pieces of crap movies. If you did & they actually were able to sit through them they’d likely never speak w. you again. And if by chance they wouldn’t run away fr. you & the film as fast as their feet would carry them, they’d tell you that these films were made by propagandists & not by anyone who knows anything about Islam.
It is so strange to me, that people like Frank refuse to believe what Muslims actually tell them and choose instead to believe the people who know the least about Islam.
Richard, you are absolutely correct in saying that no Muslim would ever sit through such a film as “Obsession” and agree with Frank’s assessment. I doubt that Frank really has Muslim friends, just from his making that one assertion, and also by his using the word “Islamo-fascist,” which is so incredibly offensive to Muslims that I can’t even begin to describe it. Two years ago I attended an MPAC meeting on Islamophobia and we watched “Obsession.” Trust me, there was not a single Muslim in the meeting who did not feel outraged and deeply offended by that film. If Frank screened it for his Muslim friends, they would never speak to him again.
73% of Moroccans tell you and the world that they think there is a problem of Islamic fundamentalism and you choose to believe whatever your partisans tell you to.
I have screened it for my friends and they were upset at parts and agreed with others. They are not one-dimensional zombies that all march to your warped tune. They can call a spade a spade.
It’s easy to claim you know everything about Islam and Muslims when you just disregard all the things that you don’t like.
“It’s easy to claim you know everything about Islam and Muslims when you just disregard all the things that you don’t like.” Frank, no one has made any such claim.
You have screened Occupation 101 for your friends? I doubt it. Come back with something plausible, and the discussion can continue.
Richard Silverstein says
Can you prove that you actually screened it for any Muslim friends, Mark? I’m beginning not only to doubt everything you’ve ever written here as Frank, but almost everything you’ve written as Mark.
The Hasbara Buster says
Half of me wanted to report him to his Aish rebbe for fowl language!
But there’s no specific prohibition against fowl language, provided that the fowl is kosher.
For all your condescension, you would think there would be some argument or evidence.
I see you don’t do well with semantics, so why don’t we just keep it simple. Are there NO problems with violence in the Muslim world? Are there NO dictators, terrorists, corrupt officials, etc? Are there NO Muslims & Arabs that want to kill Jews “no matter what”?!?!
Those are the people that I and my religious muslim friends have a problem with. I really don’t see anything wrong with making a movie warning the world about a problem that many people want to keep on pretending doesn’t exist.
ps. I don’t think there would be anything wrong with someone making a movie pointing out the evils/problems in the Jewish world (isn’t that what this blog is doing?!?!?)
Argument or evidence for what? The meanings and concepts of terms? Come on, Frank. That information is freely and abundantly available from non-Islamophobic sources. The contents of the Qur’an? The Qur’an is readily available both in print and online, and I am sure any of your religious Muslim friends would be more than happy to point you to the verses I referred to.
You do not appear to understand the difference between speaking plainly and condescension.
You also do not appear to understand what is semantics and what is not. This is not a question of semantics, it is a question of abuse of terms amounting to misrepresentation to the point of demonization and vilification. When you state with authority that that Islamism is fascism, including violence and terrorism this is not semantics, it is a falsehood, and it is vilification. When you state with authority that Shari`a mandates the persecution of minorities, women, gays and non-muslims this is not semantics, it is a falsehood, and it is vilification. When you suggest that Wahhabism and terrorism are one and the same, it is also not mere semantics.
Either you are lying when you say these things (I do not believe you are), or you are saying them out of ignorance while believing the information you are conveying is correct (I believe this is the case). If you are sincere you will not want to continue to convey false and damaging information, and will take steps to obtain accurate information. The good news is that if you have the will, ignorance can be corrected. Unfortunately, it appears you do not have the will. Either way, it is not semantics to correct these very, very serious misstatements.
And it is also not semantics to object to the use of the ugly Islamophobic term Islamo-fascism.
What you do not seem to understand is that what you are endorsing so eagerly is the equivalent of the Blood Libel. What you do not seem to understand that what you are suggesting as reasonable would, if it were applied to Judaism and Jews would rightly be called anti-Semitism. What you do not seem to understand is that IF equivalent movies were made about Judaism and Jews they would be rightfully understood to be anti-Semitic filth, and I, among many others, would condemn them as such.
Richard Silverstein says
The producers of these movies would have you believe that Islamism is a movement that seeks to overthrow western governments & impose Sharia on the entire west. Basically they’re trumpeting the notion of Muslim conquest being at the heart of Islam.
This is a “problem” in their mind & yours alone. Almost no one in the remainder of the world believes that Islamists either have this intention or if a few do that there is any danger whatsoever of them even beginning to accomplish this goal.
Frank–Obama & the U.S. gov’t has abandoned the war on terror & turned it back into the problem it always was & should have been: an issue of law enforcement. They’re still fighting against an danger fr. Islamists in the U.S. & rest of the world. But it’s no longer an existential threat to the existence of the Republic. When will you & Aish do the same? I know–the answer unfortunately is never–at least for Aish. Perhaps you’re smarter than they are & will abandon the Crusade earlier.
I don’t so much point out evils in the Jewish world as evils in Israeli policy (NOT Israel). And when I point out such evils I always quote facts & sources. I do not rely on sweeping prejudicial statements that indict all Jews or all Israelis. In fact, I credit Israelis who part ways w. their gov’t policies. I praise Israeli art & culture that takes an alternative perspective on these political issues. And I don’t do this once or twice. I do it regularly. Obsession & 3rd Jihad are not in the business of praising Islam or saying what is good about Islam. These producers HATE Islam no matter how many disclaimers they insert. I on the other hand do not hate Israelis or Israel itself (though I do hate the Occupation & Israeli policies).
“The producers of these movies would have you believe that Islamism is a movement that seeks to overthrow western governments & impose Sharia on the entire west. This is a “problem” in their mind & yours alone. Almost no one in the remainder of the world believes that Islamists either have this intention or if a few do that there is any danger whatsoever of them even beginning to accomplish this goal.”
So here is the crux of the issue. You happen to believe that the problem is small. Many polls indicate that many people (including Muslims themselves!!!!) believe Islamic Extremism to be a serious threat (look here for actual proof: http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=248)
So here we are. I and many others take the threat seriously, you don’t. So you call me a bigot? I don’t call you an idiot for not seeing what is plainly in front of your eyes! I appreciate and applaud your ability to be more trusting than I.
Where is the tolerance for different ideas? Why must my belief that the guy saying the quote and the 73% of Muslims in Morocco that believe the quoter and his followers mean what they say and a movie that brings this to light be wrong? WHY DO YOU THINK MY BELIEF MUST COME FROM RACISM??? Because it dares to disagree with yours? Are 73% of Morrocans also self-hating Muslims???
I am quickly losing my patience for your intolerance.
Frank, the poll you cited can be misleading, if you are claiming the respondents are Muslims in other countries. Of course Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries who have recently experienced terrorist attacks are worried about extremists, and that this is a high priority for them. However, what about European Muslims and American Muslims, what about Chinese Muslims, Australian Muslims, South American Muslims?
No one is calling you a racist per se, but you are getting your information from racist sources. Polls, surveys, and studies are all subjective; none are definitive of the situation. You have to go to more objective sources for your information than “Honest Reporting” and “jihadwatch.”
No reasonable person believes that there is any such thing as a global threat from extremist Islam. It is propaganda from the people who are making a lot of money from senseless wars (and by doing so are creating more extremists, my goodness what an industry they’ve created for themselves). Islamists are not terrorists, not extremists. One of the largest Islamist organizations in the world is the Muslim Brotherhood, and they do not practice violence, nor do they sponsor it (despite what you probably have been told). Islamism is a political ideology whose objective is to live and govern according to the sharia’a. That is not terrorism.
Go to your Muslim friends, talk to them, and ask them to take you to their mosque to speak with their imam. You just might learn something valuable. Leave the Robert Spencer/Daniel Pipes rubbish alone.
I love how you turn a Pew Research Center Poll into “honest reporting” propaganda.
I have talked to Muslims, Imams included. They echo these polls. I guess you think I made them up too?
“No reasonable person believes that there is any such thing as a global threat from extremist Islam.”
73% of Moroccans do. I guess you think they are all unreasonable. I guess that makes you the racist.
(oh, and talk about telling Muslims that you know better than them?? ha ha….ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black)
You guys are not interested in facts and figures. I guess that’s why you don’t like movies that use actual quotes.
Have fun by yourselves. Because that’s what you’ll always be. Your inability to articulate a message that can gain adherents who are not identical to yourselves will be your downfall. And that’s why you have to support and apologize for violence and terrorism. Because deep down you know that violence is your only chance to be heard.
It’s so sad; you’ve never even made it to the marketplace of ideas. Enjoy the wandering.
Richard Silverstein says
Which imams? I’d like to contact them to confirm what you claim.
No, Mark. You’ll learn if you continue hanging around here that we’re a pretty sharp bunch. You’ve mischaracterized the Pew poll. It asked whether respondents believed radical Islam was a threat to THEIR OWN individual country, not whether it was a “global threat.” That’s a big difference.
Actually, this blog & the general movement to promote tolerance bet. Muslims & Jews & bet. Israelis and Arabs is strong & grows stronger. When I first began blogging a few people read my writing every day. Now, I avg. about 350,000 unique visits/yr. Let’s see you start a blog, Mark, & see how well you do.
And as far as the marketplace of ideas, you’ve made it as far as Aish HaTorah’s website, which ain’t exactly the marketplace of ideas. I’m published in a few places you haven’t yet made it into. But if you keep trying you might actually get published in a semi-credible media site outside the right-wing pro settler Ortho community. Good luck.
That’s a despicable lie, Mark. You haven’t even read enough of this blog or anyone writing here to be able to make this as a credible claim. But pls. do attempt to support yr claim. I’m waiting. BTW, there is a comment rule here that claims made by commenters that are lies are not allowed. If you wish to continue do not make this claim again and support any claim you do make w. evidence.
Richard Silverstein says
Shall we stop the charade Mark? I don’t know why I didn’t notice this earlier, but thanks to another reader we’ve discovered that you are Mark Halawa (if that is indeed your real name). Next time you try using a sockpuppet, I suggest you not sign a comment with your real name, Mark (again, if that IS yr real name). There really is no reason for you to have assumed a new name here. No one’s going to do anything bad to you. Unfortunately, you’ve done something bad to yr own credibility by engaging in fraud here. So if you wish to continue to participate in this thread pls. use yr real identity & not a sockpuppet.
Re: the Pew rpt. It is fr. 2005 which is an eon in terms of attitudes on such matters in the ME. In addition, I wasn’t talking about Islamic extremism being a threat to Muslim countries, but to the U.S. or the west. It is not. And very few westerners believe it to be.
BTW, can you provide any proof that you were ever Muslim, Mark? Fr. the comments you make about Islam here either you were the most ignorant Muslim who ever lived or else you never were.
He never was a Muslim. Obviously, he has no character either, not that we didn’t get an idea from his happy association with Aisha. Hiding behind aliases, underhanded tactics, lying and subterfuge are characteristic of the people he associates with. And he is proud of it, which is just plain pitiful.
Here are some thoughts on the grandmother “praying in the dark and crying” claim.
I guess we are supposed to infer from the praying in the dark thing that grandmother Roweida found it necessary to pray in secret, and from there we are expected to believe that it grieved her deeply that she had to keep her identity hidden. This is pure tommyrot. There is no way on earth that the members of her household, with the possible exception of servants, would not have known she was Jewish. Certainly her husband knew, and there is no earthly way he could have hidden it from his family.
According to the story her family name was Mizrachi, which is by definition a Jewish name. That would not be more clear even if the name were “Yehudi”. And according to Mark’s story she carried that name on her documents, which of course she would since in the Arab world women are always known by their family name, even after marriage.
Arab society is very tribe oriented, and among urban Arabs who often do not have a tribal affiliation, it is very clan-oriented. In the Arab world someone’s family background is a very big deal, and in fact to a significant extent your family’s reputation precedes you, and if it is good you are expected to live up to it. When someone is getting married everyone wants to know the family lineage of the spouse-to-be in detail. So, rest assured that the grandfather of Mark’s story was subjected to the third degree about the background of his bride-to-be by the family, by his fellow soldiers, by the entire neighborhood, and even probably by the corner grocer. Every one of them asked him which city she was from, which “house” – i.e. family, who was her father, who was her grandfather and so on. It is unlikely to the point of virtually impossible that he would have been able to conceal the fact that she came from a Jewish family.
I suppose they might have tried to hide from the children that their mother was Jewish, but that is unlikely, and if they had it is even more unlikely that they would have succeeded. Secrets like that do not keep well in such a close-knit, family oriented, and, quite frankly, gossipy society as the Arabs’.
And finally, there is the little matter of the Hebrew prayer book. If she openly possessed a prayer book – or any book – in Hebrew, that would without any doubt at all arouse curiosity and questions among everyone who saw it. If Mark saw it then she clearly made no effort to conceal it, strongly suggesting that her identity as a Jew was not a secret, at least among family and friends, so why would she find it necessary to pray (and cry) in the dark?
So, given all this, why would she pray in the dark, and why would she cry while praying? And even if she had been a secret Jew, why would she pray in the dark instead of simply going into her bedroom, closing the door, praying, and then coming out, which would certainly be less noticeable than praying (while crying) in the dark?
It just doesn’t make sense, and I don’t believe the praying and crying in the dark bit for a nano second.
Jews and Muslims lived in close proximity to each other in Palestine prior to 1948, and with a large degree of tolerance. Very occasionally there was probably intermarriage, so I doubt that Mark’s grandmother would have been motivated to keep her religion a secret.
Besides, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) took a Jewish woman for his wife. She didn’t pray and cry in the dark, either.
Precisely. Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived in close proximity all over the Arab (and Muslim) world, lived in the same neighborhoods, played together as children, socialized together as adults, worked together, did business together, looked after each other’s children, worked in each other’s households, and yes, intermarried. In fact, intermarriage has been far more common than most people probably think.
The Qur’an states that a Muslim man may marry any believing woman, and explicitly lists Jewish and Christian women as allowable. Non-Muslim wives are not required, or expected to convert. For Muslim women it is different. They may marry outside the faith only if the husband converts. The reason behind this is purely practical, since the children take on the religion of their father.
Precisely, I am very amicably divorced from a Saudi and I was never ever asked to convert. On the contrary, my former sister-in-law brought me a Bible. There is so much misunderstanding about Saudi Arabia it boggles my mind. Their current state of existance is a sharp turn–fundamentalist AFTER the Iranian revolution. The KSA of the 70’s when I was there had hope of liberalizing. Instead,
post Iranian revolution the fundamentalists gained foothold over those who were taking steps. It’s a very complicated
situation, but it is imperative if one is going to talk about this subject to be educated when they speak or write. The dance with the devil partnership between the royal family and the fundamentalists is a dangerous one-but you have to know which fundamentalists you are referring to–RELIGIOUS Wahabi fundamentalists (easiest term to use) are NOT the same animal as Qtubists. Those seeking the liberalization of Saudi Arabia are the #1 personna non gratas of OBL and his ilk.
Might I suggest some reading for everyone concerning Wahabism, “The Wahabi Myth”-google it, there is a website
Might I also suggest further reading that is mentioned there, Karen Armstrong’s “The label of Catholic terror was never used about the IRA” Google it, it comes up readily.
Also when you come up with that article, click on her name to see some of the work she does, and just wiki her for simple information.
Karen Armstrong should be required reading for all Americans. She is deeply knowledgeable, and as a non-Muslim, non-Islamophobe has no axe to grind either way.
Armstrong has written many good books on Islam as well. I would also suggest googling “The Charter for Compassion.” She gave a lecture recently at the Chautauqua Institute which can be found in the archives of foraTV, for those who are interested.
I cannot recommend strongly enough that any Jew who wishes to know about Islam should read “The Children of Abraham: Islam for Jews” by Rabbi Reuven Firestone. He, also, has a wonderful lecture which can be found on foraTV.
Richard, thank you for allowing this thread to take on so much life, and for supporting an openminded view on Islam. Your blog is my favorite internet discovery this year. Carry on, sir, you are doing a wonderful job.
I have also recommended her book Islam: A Short History for people who were open to learning something real about the history of Islam (as opposed to the “Islam is an inherently intolerant religion that was spread by the sword” genre of nonsense). People are surprised to learn, for example, that in the early period of the “Islamic conquest” conversions among the people in the conquered lands were not only not forced, they were actually discouraged.
Islam is, if anything, by nature less intolerant than most forms of Judaism and Chrstianity. The fact that there are members of the religion who are intolerant despite this simply makes it like every other major religion on earth.
QUESTION: (only because I just want to make SURE)-is “Frank” Mark Halawa himself? I see up there where “Frank” signed one comment “mark” but why would he log on as “Frank”? Am I missing something?
Richard Silverstein says
Using a fake identity in a blog is called sock puppetry & is a common phenomenon for people attempting to mask their identity. Often they have an original identity in a blog as author or commenter & then take on a 2nd identity for various reasons. I wonder whether Mark or Frank will come back now that he’s been outed.
I don’t know if I should be posting this here Richard or sending it privately, so delete if you want to
I cannot find anything whatsoever on the MERSAD group in Toronto.
International Trade and Development
Mark Halawa’s Contact Settings
* consulting offers
* new ventures
* expertise requests
* business deals
* reference requests
* getting back in touch
Is this possibly a way to get noticed? I mean, what IS the MERSAD group?
His twitter feed is bad enough. Most unfortunate that some people believe they can aggrandize themselves at the expense of others.
I found MERSAD but the website is in Arabic.
If you have a link I will try to take a look at it when I have some time.
I googled and found something under mersad.org
Arabic? Here’s more on his linked in
-Recruitment of neurophysiologists, and other medical professionals to the USA and Canada.
-Negotiator and consultant on behalf of a consortium of advanced security firms in the GCC region.
-Sales conduit for renewable energy products in the UAE.
Establish business relations between interested parties in N.America and the Middle East.
Past* Foreign Exchange Trader at Guardian International Currency Corp.
Mersad.org is an Iranian site. I can read it, but I can only understand it partially. I am sure it has nothing to do with him.
Richard Silverstein says
This is what he lists at Linked In:
Richard, the top one, communication scientist at University of Duisburg-Essen, is a different Mark Halawa. I don’t speak or read German but there is a legitimate Mark Halawa connected to that university. I found him in more than one University of Duisburg-Essen source. That one is Mark Ashraf Halawa
Robin, I had a feeling there was another, real Mark Halawi, but did not take the time to check it out. Thanks for doing the research.
UP there, glitch, response and new finding.
Richard Silverstein says
What’s weird about this is that the Mark Halawa you found also says he’s in Toronto, & Aish’s Mark Halawa says he grew up in Canada (& I presume lives there now). The library where he mentions meeting the rabbi is in Ontario, which is where Toronto is located. I don’t see how he can be in Germany & Canada unless they’re two separate Mark Halawas.
Richard, the one in Germany wrote all of these (click his name)
Sorry it’s such a long url but it’s the translate page.
Also, google “Mark Halawa”-make sure you put the parenthesis, and then images. That isn’t the same guy as far as I can tell
Here ya go
IBFR is The Institute for Business and Finance Research. That is NOT this Mark Halawa.
Don’t you think if Toronto Mark wrote all those books/research papers he would have written “author” on his linked in as well?
This guy is rather questionable to say the least but I pity someone getting pegged with his actions just because they share the same name. OH, go back to google images.
You’ll find one playing the guitar as well, apparently in some sort of ensemble-German-he sort of looks like the one in the flicker picture but I’m not one to say for sure.
It’s obviously not the same person.
RE: “The scene Mark describes of visiting a synagogue for the first time is absolutely priceless. I tell you the guy should be writing for television…”
MY COMMENT: Yes, very reminiscent of Stephen J. Cannell!
RE: “And perhaps Alan Dershowitz is Anne Coulter in drag.”
MY COMMENT: Eureka!
Mirsad مِرْصاد (not mersad) is the Arabic word for observation post. As I said the site mersad.org is an Iranian site in Farsi, which I can understand only very partially. No doubt مرصاد is one of many words in Farsi that was borrowed from Arabic.
I doubt very seriously that friend Mark has any connection at all to mersad.org, and have no idea what this “Mersad Group” is.
Richard Silverstein says
I’m feeling sorry for Mark & kinda miss the guy (not really). I guess our uncovering his sockpuppetry scared him off. He prob. figured if he kept at it we might discover some other unpleasant truths about him.
I think he went back to preaching to the Islamophobe choir. Hopefully, he’ll find a real job and then find himself. The guy is like a Moonie, someone who has been indoctrinated into a crazy cult (Aisha). Funny, but I would have thought anyone with a Muslim family (even if they are “secular”, as he says) would have troubled themselves to learn just as much about the Muslim side of his history, including the religion of Islam itself, of which Mark knows embarrassingly little. If he wants to be Jewish, I have no problem with that, but he’s going around trashing Islam and Muslims. He and his ilk (Nonie Darwish, Walid Shoebat et al) are a disgrace.
I have to admit that I do kind of miss him. It’s kind of fun playing with people like that in a cat-with-a-mouse kind of way. They are so arrogant, so transparent, and so dumb, and they tell such elaborate lies that all you really have to do is keep doling out the rope, and sooner or later they will hang themselves with their own BS. It’s pleasurable to be part of that process.
But he gave up so quickly, which only shows me his lack of conviction. He obviously does not believe in his hasbara very strongly. We exposed him so quickly that he had to retreat. I’ve unmasked quite a few people like Mark; indeed, it is always a pleasure. His intent was obviously to sabotage Richard’s blog by trying to make Richard look like a “self-hating Jew.” He failed miserably, was revealed for what he is, and has scuttled back under his rock. I actually feel sorry for him, though; I hate it when young people are wilfully ignorant and deliberately racist and intolerant, especially towards their own history and heritage. He dishonored his family by claiming a false ancestry.
OH shoot! Sorry, left this comment up top and I meant it to be here.
Afwan Shirin. Here’s something interesting, which goes contrary to Mark’s manifesto, that he HAD been in Israel. Stand With Us (the ever truthful source of information) wrote on Dec. 4 that Mark is currently in Jerusalem “studying at a yeshiva”
So where is he commenting here from? Toronto or Jerusalem?
Is he gainfully employed and in Toronto now or has he been adopted and is being taken care of as a mouthpiece of Aish in Jerusalem?
Richard Silverstein says
How very unsurprising that Stand With Us would pick up on Mark’s story. He’s also the toast of the right wing pro Israel blogosphere if you do a Google search on his Aish story.
Out of desperation, they’re not too picky these days.
What is so laughable is that it says he is calling for “peaceful reconciliation”, yet he comes on this blog and trashes a fellow Jew (Richard), spouts anti-Islamic rhetoric, becomes antagonistic towards Muslims such as myself and Shirin, then disappears. Yeshiva, my a$$, he’s selling himself on the public speaking circuit as Aish’s new darling. His LinkedIn page reads like a hustler selling, well, whatever you want to buy. Opportunism is the name of the game.
They service individuals who walk in and also corporate accounts.
Tabres Esfahani says
This Mark guy needs to search his rear so he cant find where is head is…
My father is Iranian, and his mother actually IS Jewish, while his father was raised in a Shia household. However their marriage wasn’t really a big deal back in the 1960’s. Today I dont think that intermarriage is even allowed in Iran, but I’ll have to check to confirm that.
Because of the secular opinions of my father’s side, this would make him and his brothers and sister Jews even though they don’t practice and it would also make them Muslims cuz in Islam the father’s religion is supposed to pass on to the kids.
It’s an amusing contradiction. But seriously? “Crying in the dark?” Spare me, as someone who actually IS of the descent you claim, the bulls***.
I understand that Persians and Arabs are different, but my grandma NEVER had to hide her Jewish roots and even she was a rabbi’s daughter she never really cared much for the religion.
As for me, I do feel some brotherhood with Israelis because of the fact I qualify for RoR and my grandmother’s background, but Israeli policies are so ridiculous these days it’s hard to look at the country favorably.
You guys really do spend a pathetic amount of time looking into Mark Halawa. Don’t you have jobs??
For those of you who there are no problems with extremism in the Muslim world, look here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/15/somali-man-stoned-to-deat_n_392503.html
Enjoy your day.
Richard Silverstein says
I’d say you spend a pathetic amt. of time devising yr fake Muslim-Jewish ancestry & devising fake IDs for discourse at this blog, Mark. And for you to have the temerity to post here again using the same fake ID is ridiculous. GIven the fact that you’re a so called Manchurian Muslim why am I not surprised that you’d get a hard on fr. every act of violence perpetrated by a Muslim whether or not it had anything supposedly to do w. Islam. Why do you hate yr current/former religion so?
It is a violation of my comment rules to use more than one comment ID. Since you’ve already used Mark Halawa you’ll be held to that ID alone. If you attempt to use “Frank Walker” or any other fake ID you’ll be banned.
In a rural backwater in Somalia, a tribal court stones a man to death for committing adultery.
Recently I saw a video where a Hindu man hired a gang to beat his wife to death on a city street in India, because she didn’t put enough spices in his curry.
Last year in July, a 10-year old Palestinian boy was shot in the head at close range by an IDF soldier during an unarmed protest at the separation wall in Ni’lin in the West Bank.
I would say there is plenty of extremism in the world; it is only people like you who look for events in the “Muslim world” to justify your smug self-righteousness.
Enjoy your day, hypocrite.
Well, Mark, you spend a great deal more time pretending to be something/someone you are not. What IS your real name, anyway? It sure as hell isn’t Mark Halawa.
I DO wish I could meet your grandmother though, and find out her real life story as opposed to your obviously made up one.
Oh, and I chanced on something today that suggests that Aish are more than an little bit fond of hokey, heart-touching fables about Muslims who discover their true Jewish identities, and immediately realize what has been missing in their lives. How nice of you to be willing to play the role for them!
I note you have not followed out the lead with Prof. Block. He is a retired professor of philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, a published scholar, who lives and taught in London, Ontario. So that makes Toronto not a place to assume automatically for a meeting. Prof. Block is alive and well and could be consulted by you. In objectively evaluating the truth of a story, it is standard to verify things with people mentioned in the story.
Mahla Schwartz says
How dare you criticize a man for his story?! Especially when the title of you website is “tikkun olam”, repairing the world! Marks story may seem suspicious to you, but who wouldn’t embellish their story for print?! Everyone embellishes, that’s how stories sell and comments are made! Do you know how hard it must have been for Mark to come forward with this kind of story, especially if his family is still living in Jordan? The kind of backlash that his family could receive if the community found out that they have a “rebel son” living in North America, no matter how secular they are! You guys are ridiculous, give the guy a break.
P.S. I commend the guy, personally, for changing his name when he came to Canada. There is enough racial profiling as it is in the airports with passports, do you want to walk around all day with your name being Mohammed Halawa? I dont think so.
Richard Silverstein says
That’s the pt at which I realized you aren’t to be taken seriously.
About as hard as that other born again fraudster, Walid Shoebat, to come forward with his.
Thanks for this bit of racism which shows your true colors.
It’s not hard to “come forward with a story” at all; liars do it all the time, as Richard has pointed out. It’s easy when you’re trying to sell something, which is the purpose of “embellishing” a story that is pure nonsense to begin with.
I know a lot of people whose names are Mohammed, and they are proud to walk around with it all day.
Thanks Richard, Mary and Shirin for this interesting discussion (or should I say demolition) of Frank/Mark. I am a 40 yr old Muslim from India. I never heard of the word dhimmi or taqiyya – till I read about it on some anti-Islam websites.
Keep up the good work…
Asalam alaykum Syed, thank you. Richard’s blog is great, the discussions are always interesting, and he lets us rip as long as we’re not obnoxious.
I know Mark or “Muntasir” Halawa personally. He attended UWO university in Ontario. The guy is confused, drug addict, willing to sell his soul to the devil. I met his father who is a Muslim. He claims that his grandma is Jewish. The guy is a fraud and it’s not hard to figure this out after sitting with him for a few minutes.
He was kicked out from UWO for plagirism. I remember him wanting to make money or get famous at any expense. He finally met a jewish lady that he mamaged to sell his story to.
If I was you, I would be very careful as he will only sink your cause.
I suspected that he was merely a self-serving opportunist. What a pity that he apparently has no real appreciation for his heritage, and no self-respect.
Mark should remember one very important rule in life: You can only fool some of the people some of the time, and the truth will always prevail.
I stumbled upon your site and found it very interesting and inspiring. Please keep up the good work. Many of us talk a good game but don’t play it.
I saw your running-ins with so called “Mark Halawa”. I don’t know him that a well but I saw him couple of time in Jordan he seemed like an “OK” guy. I’m good friend of his brother Munthir Halawa. I’ve known for many years and he’s a great guy.
I was impressed with your ability to detect his lies.
So I’ll back up your claim with some facts. His name is Muntasir Halawa. His parents are muslims, so are his grand parents from both sides. They’re not Jews by ancestry or by religion.
His family lives a very good life in Jordan without any problems.
The fact that this person presented such lies on Jewish website leads me to believe he’s trying to impress Jewish people with his story. He can either be a spy or he’s trying to pick up Jewish women and prey on them with his lies. Either way he’s trouble
If he converted to Judaism is one thing and it’s acceptable. But for him to claim he has Jewish ancestry with pictures of his grandmother along side of him is really troublesome.
I would suggest you expose this person to everyone you know.
I wish you the best of luck.
This guy is a manipulative and a lier. I met him twice, the first time he said that he is a Christian from Gaza and Hamas killed his cousin infront of him. The second time I saw him was after I read his article, he started the same lies about being a Christian from Gaza and I called him out on it. Later on in the conversation, he made a shocking comment that because I am a Palestinian activist that I would blow up myself or become a terrorist. It is too disgraceful to call him a Palestinian.
Wow, five months later and this guy is still doing damage. God bless you for bringing the information. He is a sick, sick man.
I read Mark’s story a few months back and was shocked by it. I believed it, like an idiot. After reading the entire article, the only thought that came to mind was, ‘this guys is brave,’ however, I just reconed he was Jewish. I thought he was being honest. A good friend of mine, who’s a Rabbi, posted that first Aisha article on Facebook. I befriended Mark Halawa on face book a day later, so I could learn more about him and his perceptions. Again that was months ago. Pretty much, every single post, nearly everything he wrote or referred to, was either entirely offensive or racist against Arab. He build a huge following on Facebook. So many times, I wanted to ask him how he could turn on ‘his people’ so easily and so severely!?’ I personally think that Muntizir has ruined his life. He’s suspect amongst us, and suspect among Jews at this point. I feel really sad for him. I think he may have personality disorders or something. Gosh, I don’t know. Nonetheless, Richard, Mary, and Shirin, thanks for your article and posts.
alex schindler says
lol alright, remember when i said the story seemed plausible if unlikely? i take it back based on later commenters.
There are a few details of his story that seem plausible but unlikely. There is much more in the story that is completely implausible, starting with the young Jewish girl climbing over the wall of the school in Jerusalem to go flirt and fall in love with a Jordanian soldier who was (where, exactly?) fighting against the Zionists. That just didn’t happen. And then there was the notion that somehow or other the fact that she was Jewish escaped the notice of her in-laws-to-be, not to mention the neighbors, the grocer, the family tailor, and everyone else in what is a very tight-knit, society where everyone knows everyone else’s business. And of course, Mr. Halawa would have us believe that in a society in which women carry their family names throughout their lives and do not change it when they marry that no one knew his allegedly Jewish alleged grandmother’s last name, Mizrachi, which is an obviously Jewish name. Oh, and we are supposed to believe also that somehow his allegedly Jewish alleged grandmother’s Jewish identity was successfully hidden despite her last name, and that apparently no one was at all curious as to why she would carry and read from a Hebrew-language prayer book (not to mention her alleged habit of simultaneously praying and crying.
The guy’s story is like a swiss chees that is all holes and no cheese.
There are many internet phonies, and for the sake of keeping innocent people from being duped and sometimes harmed, we need to expose these poseurs whenever we find them. This guy obviously has an agenda to make money on a fake “conversion” much the same as the other criminal fakers before him (Walid Shoebat, Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darweesh, et al).
I don`t know this guy and just came across him on youtube, so I can`t say whether his story is plausible or not. As someone who came from abroad and , as a gay, have lived on the fuzzy edges of Israeli\Palestinian society, I can tell you that I`ve met people here with highly unlikely or unplausible life stories, including a high ranking P.A legal big wig who discovered almost by accident during a visit by his mother from the states while he was on a study program, that she was, in fact, Jewish, had met his christian father in Jaffa and -as a result, he could stay as a returning Jew! Or the daughter of a beitar leader ( jewish nationist) who met a muslim in british ruled Jerusalem, fell in love with him, was abandoned by her family, went to live with her then husband in Hebron ( I think) gave birth to his children, one of whome became a high ranking official in fatah and spent 15 year in Israeli prison, while he was halakhically Jewish!
Don`t be so sure unlikely stories are untrue…..this region is full of these stories , like the son of the mufti of Hebron who became an ultra othodox Jew, to the best of my knowledge he`s not politically active.
As I say , I don`t know this guys story or whether it`s true or not. From what I`ve seen he does`nt preach hatred of Islam or anything, just food for thought…..lot`s of Jews see the conflict from a non Israeli viewpoint, is it so terrible if some Muslims question the traditional Arab take on the dispute?
Richard Silverstein says
As everything you say here is anecdotal & not supported by any evidence or links I’m loathe to take yr word for it.
There are plenty of Arabs & Muslims who profess a diversity of views of the IP conflict. There are very few who are abject apologists for far right settler groups like Aish HaTorah. I don’t object to Halawa thinking differently than most Muslims. I object to him lying about his past in the hopes of fame and fortune.
Met him last year in Dubai at a Brit milah (which was held at a friend’s house), he didn’t fool me for a second, I knew what he was the moment I caught sight of him, and I remember the first thought that came to my mind (before we were introduced by the host) was “what is an arab guy in a yamaka and tzitzis doing here?!” after that we had a brief chat where he told me that he was a lulav expert!!! and that he was in UAE for the business of exporting “lulavim” to Eretz after an import from Egypt was denied, I hardly found any space for that in my head, however, I kept my peace… but to think about it, what chutzpah!
والدة مارك says
كل ما قاله ويقوله هو كذب وافتراء وهو مريض نفسيا يحتاج الى علاج نفسي جدته مسلمه من ابوين مسلمين ولم تكن من القدس وابوها كان شيخ لديه مدرسه لتعليم القران الكريم ويتخرج على يديه حفظة القران ومعروف في نابلس وكبار رجالات نابلس تخرجوا على يديه لاكن مشكلة منتصر ان اباه كان قاسيا عليه كثيرا في حياته ولا يريده في البيت ولم يهتم بتعليمه ولا في احتواءة كطفل او كشاب له ظروفه النفسيه و طلباته في الحياة كان ابوه قاسيا جدا معه وعليه وكانت هذة النتيجه بخروجه عن الاطار الصحيح عن طريق الكذب و التحايل باي شكل لاثبات وجوده في الحياة لاسيما لم يكمل له والده تعليمه وكان دائم الطرد له من المنزل ليس العيب في الولد ولكن كان في الاب وهذه هي النتائج مع الاسف لكن هو يعلم اني لست راضيه عليه ما دام هو على هذا الطريق الخاطىء اللذي لم يوصله ولن يوصله الى الطريق الصحيح اطلب من الله له الهدايه والعودة الى طريق الرشد
يعني لنفترض انك والدتو، ليش ما تضغطي عليه مع أولادك وأبو المتخلف. شوه صورة العرب والمسلمين. أنا بعرفو، انسان كذاب، منافق، إنتهازي، ووصولي. ومريض.
Maher The Uncle of Mark Halawa says
Salam All ;
Every thing he said or wrote is a Lie . Like Sami his fried Said back in March 15, 2010, 2:40 PM
I’m his Uncle from his Mother Side , So He’s calling my Mother is a Jew , He’s so confused in his lies and if you track what he said in the past , he made many mistakes the liar always forget what he said .
Below is the Translation of his Mother ,
His Mother mark November 30, 2013, 4:30 PM
Everything and say is lie and mentally ill is needed to cure , I’m a Muslim grandmother is coming from a Muslim parents and not from Jerusalem, and her father has a school to teach the Quran known in Nablus , he’s very well known there. But the problem with Muntasser that his father was cruel with him too much in his life and does not want him at home and not interested in education and not as a child or as a young man of his mental conditions and Requests in life was very harsh with him, and this result was leaving the correct way, through lying and fraud in any way to prove him self the quality of life, particularly his father did not complete his education and was always throwing him out of the House the wrong Not From the boy it was the father fault and this is unfortunately the results .
Richard Silverstein says
Maher’s Uncle: I am very sorry to hear of this family tragedy and how it played out in the life of Muntaser (aka “Mark”). Clearly the damage that happened earlier in his life led him to these unfortunate choices later in life. THank you for writing and adding your important information and perspective on this.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Maher: If you see this comment, could you send me an account of your family’s views of Muntasir in Arabic. I can get whatever you write translated properly.