Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

San Francisco's Anti-Military Values

San Francisco is a town where, as the saying goes, the personal is political. So avoiding politics in any discussion of the city by the bay is no easy task.

City officials certainly have a habit of politicizing every aspect of residents’ lives, from banning the smoking of cigarettes at bus stops to mandating what type of water bowls "pet guardians" use for their dogs.

Now it seems the San Francisco Board of Education has decided that the 90-year old Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program is to be banished from the city’s schools. Earlier this week the board voted 4-2 to phase the program out over two years and the city’s been buzzing about it ever since.

Needless to say, the over 1,600 students (the majority of them Asian-American) currently enrolled in the JROTC and their families are none too happy about the school board’s decision. Many attended the board meeting where the ban was decided and made their feelings known, but in typical totalitarian fashion, the board simply ignored their input.

Using the fig leaf of the U.S. military’s enforcement of the federal "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy concerning gay service members, not to mention a desire to "teach a curriculum of peace," the school board demonstrated its complete and utter disregard for the place of the military in American society.

Never mind that the JROTC does not enforce the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy and in fact, has openly gay students enrolled. Or that its membership is entirely voluntary. Or that it provides students with valuable skills in leadership and discipline. Or that in the last two years, only 5% of JROTC cadets actually ended up joining the military upon graduation. It’s enough that the JROTC is related to the military to get it banned in the self-proclaimed bastion of "tolerance" and "diversity."

San Francisco values indeed.

In fact, the school board's decision was just the latest in a long line of anti-military actions taken by city officials and in some cases, supported by their left-leaning constituency.

The toothless "College Not Combat" initiative, passed by San Francisco voters in 2005, sought to ban military recruiters from schools and colleges. The same year, the Board of Supervisors voted against docking the WWII era USS Iowa as a floating museum at the Port of San Francisco for no apparent reason except that it was deemed a "celebration of war."

Then of course, there were the embarrassing comments of Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval on the Fox News program Hannity and Colmes earlier this year when he said that, "the United States should not have a military." Sandoval appeared again on Fox News earlier this week, this time on The O’Reilly Factor, to discuss the JROTC ban and predictably, he defended the school board’s decision.

And such examples are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Clearly, San Francisco’s political establishment has been co-opted by ideologues that are intent on imposing their views instead of doing their jobs. The school board’s decision was the culmination of a dictatorial trend that for too long has simply been shrugged off as part of the "eclecticism" of San Francisco.

If city residents don’t start fighting back, they will be ceding power to the zealots.

It’s that simple.

Cross-posted at The Washington Post's PostGlobal and at Kesher Talk.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Democratic Party Leadership Embraces Its Anti-War Past

My latest column at SFGate:

Democratic Party Leadership Embraces Its Anti-War Past

Looks like the Dem Party leadership just can't resist lurching leftward - to their own detriment and that of the country...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Alia Ansari Murder Leads to "Wear a Hijab/Turban Day"

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the city of Fremont (dubbed by some "Little Kabul") is known for its thriving Afghan-American community. Unfortunately, the community has been marred by violence in recent months.

In August, Fremont resident Omeed Aziz Popal went on a murderous rampage, using his SUV to kill one local man and injure 14 people in San Francisco. While some suspected it might have been a case of Sudden Jihad Syndrome, it was never proven conclusively.

More recently, the community itself seems to have been the target.

In October, wife and mother of six Alia Ansari was walking with her three-year-old daughter when she was shot in the head and killed. The fact that the crime occurred during broad daylight and on residential street shocked the community.

Ansari was not carrying a purse, thereby ruling out robbery, and family members insisted that there was no known motive for the killing. But Ansari was wearing a hijab or headscarf and Muslim leaders quickly labeled it a hate crime. This despite the fact that the crime remains unsolved.

Lo and behold, Ansari's death has now become an opportunity for Muslim outreach. November 13 has been named "Wear a Hijab/Turban Day" in Fremont and along with an "international moment of silence," a rally featuring various local politicians and community speakers is being held. Sponsored by the Foundation for Self-Reliance, the American Muslim Voice and other Muslim and community groups, the event will examine such topics as "post-9/11 civil liberties," "reactive racism" and "white privilege."

In addition, attendees are encouraged to "wear a headscarf, turban, hat, yarmulke" and if unprepared, members of the American Muslim Voice will conveniently be on hand "distributing head scarves." According to Melanie Gadener, founder of the Foundation for Self-Reliance, a non-profit organization that promotes "economic independence in the Afghan community," the event is an opportunity for "an intriguing social experiment." As she puts it,
"What if women of all religions pledged to wear a Muslim head covering, a hijab,for one day? How might people treat you differently if, for one day, the only thing different about you was what you were wearing on your head?"
So in honor of Ansari, non-Muslim women are happily donning the hijab? Talk about an Islamist's fantasy.

But what if Ansari's murder had nothing to do with anti-Muslim bigotry? What if the murderer actually came from within her own family or community? Such internal violence is certainly not unheard of in Muslim communities where all too often women are targeted by their own male family members.

But in this case, the more likely culprit is rival tribal or gang affiliations. According to investigators, graffiti found near the crime scene includes "acronyms for Afghan gangs." And this was not the first time that the Ansari family had been targeted. In 2002, one member of Ansari's family was shot and killed and another wounded by a fellow member of the community. SFGate.com has the details:
The slaying marks the second time someone in the victim's family has been shot and killed in Fremont. In January 2002, Afghan community leader Rahim Ansari, 34, of Union City was shot and killed inside his business, Pamir Travel,in Little Kabul.

The suspected gunman in that incident, upset over a spurned romance, also wounded Rahim Ansari's brother-in-law, Zabiullah Ansari, a second-cousin of Alia Ansari. In an interview Friday, Zabiullah Ansari, 48, expressed hope that the right person had been arrested. But he said, "They don't know what happened."
This seems awfully coincidental and at the very least, worth investigating.

If it's found that Alia Ansari's killer was not a white racist after all, but rather a fellow Muslim, I wonder if we'll hear as much outcry from Fremont's Afghan-American community? Will there be a "Stop Muslim on Muslim Violence Day"?

Somehow I doubt it.

Cross-posted at Kesher Talk.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The ACLU Works to Restore Terrorists' "Lost Rights"

The ACLU has wasted no time since the midterm election making its agenda clear. Restoring the "lost rights" of terrorists, that is.

From the ACLU's latest mailing:
After five long years of profound abuses of power by the White House and Congress' failure to hold the president accountable, the ACLU knows what needs to be done. The new Congress should immediately:

• Demand a thorough investigation into the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping and stop funding this illegal program and start investigating it instead. We will immediately build on our ACLU v. NSA courtroom victory by continuing to challenge this program in court and in Congress.

• Restore respect for human rights and undo the damage done by both the Bush administration's despicable practices and the recently passed Military Commissions Act. We must close Guantánamo and begin immediately to push for the restoration of due process and the writ of habeas corpus, a cornerstone of our Constitution and our legal heritage.
And judging by some of the recent commentary from the Democratic Party leadership, the ACLU could get its wish list.

The terrorists are laughing all the way to paradise.

Cross-posted at Kesher Talk.