Monday, August 13, 2007

Muslim Blog Supports Intifada T-Shirt

The meaning of the word has been "distorted." That is the opinion of Minaret of Freedom "Institute":

Principle of Arabic-school forced to resign after groups pressure and distort the meaning of the word “Intifada” written on a t-shirt:

Under Fire, Arabic-Themed School Principal Resigns (New York Times)

The post also contains a typo, using "Principle," instead of Principal.

The New York City Principal in question, offered this pitiful defense:
"I understand it is developing a negative connotation due to the uprising in the Palestinian-Israeli areas. I don't believe the intention is to have any of that kind of [violence] in New York City.

"I think it's pretty much an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society . . . and shaking off oppression."

The quick search results for 'Intifada' in Wikipedia offer these choices:
First Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule in 1987 to 1993
Second, or al-Aqsa Intifada, the violent Palestinian-Israeli conflict that began in September of 2000
1990s Intifada, an uprising in Bahrain demanding a return to democratic rule
1991 uprisings in Iraq against Saddam Hussein
Cedar Revolution or Intifada of Independence, the events in Lebanon after Rafiq Hariri's assassination
French Intifada, an ongoing conflict between French civil servants and Muslim youths
Independence Intifada, sporadic demonstrations and riots in Morocco/Western Sahara beginning in May 2005
Zemla Intifada against Spanish rule in Spanish Sahara

For someone who says "I don't believe the intention is to have any of that kind of [violence] in New York City," it is difficult to view 'intifada' in any context that does not involve violence or armed uprising.

This Blog also heavily moderates its comments section, refusing to publish a comment I posted critical of Juan Cole:

You recently posted a comment to the Minaret of Freedom Institute blog challenging Juan Cole's op-ed of the bin Ladin tape. If you would like us to publish your comment, please resubmit it avoiding the word "lies" which weconsider a flame.

It seems the former New York City Principal is not the only person allergic to truth the "Minaret of Freedom Institute" is trying to protect.

Update: Another Muslim Blog sympathizes with the troubled Principal. Progressive Muslima News

Having read the account in the New Times (below) and the inflammatory NY Post articles Intifada Principal Resigns and Intif-adios, it really seems to me that this woman was unfairly hounded from her job.

Update - Here is another one:

Syrian blogger Yaman asks: Who is afraid of the Arabic language, following an outrage in the US over a T-shirt which has the Arabic inscription Intifada written on it.

Yes, clearly it's the Arabic nature of the writing on the shirt. Nothing to do with the violent radical Islamic nationalism behind the meaning of the word.

Update: Gates of Vienna has some great commentary and coverage of others who are excusing the pathetic terrorist marketing scheme and calling for a boycott of the New York Post (CAIR).


Alejandro said...

Dear Nick,

Thanks for letting us know about the typo. I'll be sure to catch it next time.

As a minor point to your source on the word "intifada", while your citation to wikipedia is correct, you missed the wiktionary entry <>, which would validate the Principal's definition of the word as “a shaking off”.

As for the characterization of intifada as "violent radical Islamic nationalism" it is grossly misleading. It is not necessarily violent nor is it Islamic per se. In fact it is quite secular and there are Palestinian Christians, for instance who support the intifada <> as well as Lebanese Christians <> who were involved in their own (peaceful) intifada. In fact, along with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, one of the most prominent hardline and violent opponents to Arafat’s agreement to the 1993 Oslo accords was George Habash <>, the founder and leader of the militant PFLP.

Nor is the intifada automatically violent either. In fact, the first intifada was mostly non-violent <>. There have been calls for a peaceful Palestinian intifada coming from both Muslims and Christians <,,1291810,00.html>, however they have been undermined by Israel's occupation, including the use of agent provocateurs <> at peaceful demonstrations.

Finally, as for the Minaret of Freedom Institute moderating its blog, we see nothing wrong with that. There are other blogs, including one blog that you link to, “Jihad Watch”, which also says that it moderates its comments. The only thing we asked for in the e-mail response was a more academic and less inflammatory tone in your response, to take out the word “lies” and we suggested you replace it with “falsehoods”. You agreed to the change and then we let you post it right here <>. What’s the problem?



Nick Brunetti-Lihach said...


Please see my response in "Casuistry By Definition."