Monday April 24 was Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day and in Los Angeles thousands marched in the street outside the Turkish consulate. Up in Sacramento, ruling Democrats ignored the Armenians and instead held “Muslim Day at the Capitol,” hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“Trump reignites ‘spirit of justice’ for Muslim Day at Capitol,” headlined the news article in the Sacramento Bee, whose April 24 edition included not a word about the Armenians’ day. As CAIR’s Yannina Casillas explained, “The election of Trump and the campaign in general kind of reignited a spirit of justice within the community that was very much dormant. A lot of people are really interested in getting more involved.”
CAIR supports several bills now pending in the state legislature, including Senate Bill 54, which bars state or local law enforcement from using their resources to help federal immigration enforcement. The measure would “prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.” The bill also requires public schools, libraries, health facilities and courthouses to adopt similar policies.
CAIR is also the co-sponsor of Senate Bill 31, which “would prohibit a state or local agency or a public employee acting under color of law from providing or disclosing to the federal government personal information regarding a person’s religious beliefs, practices, or affiliation, as specified, when the information is sought for compiling a database of individuals based on religious belief practice or affiliation, national origin, or ethnicity for law enforcement or immigration purposes.”
A press conference highlighted those measures and Assembly Bill 158, which requires law enforcement agencies to indicate whether an incident was “bias related,” supposedly an aide to more accurate reporting of “hate crimes.” As Yannina Casillas explained in the April 24 CAIR press release, “Our nation needs us to build a better, bolder future. We have our work cut out for us, but we are ready to act against fear. This is the time to roll up our sleeves and be courageous.”
California governor Jerry Brown, who has been pardoning criminal deportees, issued no official statement on the April 24 “Muslim Day” event. Neither did state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a favorite of CAIR and a supporter of sanctuary policies.
Government disrespect for Armenians is highly unusual in a state that is home to the largest Armenian community outside of the Armenian nation. More than 200,000 people of Armenian descent live in Los Angeles County alone and Armenians thrive in Fresno, home of the late novelist and playwright William Saroyan.
George Deukmejian served as California’s attorney general from 1979 to 1983 and as governor from 1983 to 1991. Deukmejian’s parents came to the United States in the early 1900s to escape the Armenian genocide, which claimed the life of his aunt. Many Californians have similar stories.
“When you’re Armenian, history is a loaded subject,” wrote Liz Ohanesian in the April 24 LA Weekly, “Ours is one that was almost erased.” As she wrote, “we commemorate the Armenian Genocide, in which 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were killed by their own government. Those who survived spread out across the globe,” including her own grandparents. Books on the genocide were “so brutally violent, so filled with hate, that I couldn’t forget them,” and “eerily similar” to her family’s ordeals.
For Armenians, Ohanesian wrote, “a group of people conspired to try and ensure that people like you don’t exist. Despite that, you are here.” The survivors and their offspring have been “tasked with keeping the Armenian story from ending.” As the day of remembrance approached, nothing like that appeared in the Sacramento Bee and the Armenians got no help at all from the government of their state.
Muslims represent a religion, Islam, not a race, nationality or ethnic group. Even so, the “Muslim Day” event brought no objection from militant advocates of church-state separation such as the ACLU. A “Baptist Day at the Capitol,” sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, would doubtless provoke a lawsuit accompanied by demonstrations.
California’s government, meanwhile, has never celebrated an official “Armenian Day at the Capitol.” State Democrats are now willing to disrespect the Armenians while showing special favors to Muslims, the very religious group that attempted to exterminate the Armenians and is now the world’s leading persecutor of Christians and other religious groups. That is about as bad as it gets but in the Golden State things can always get worse.
A current candidate for Lieutenant Governor is Dr. Asif Mahmood, a “proud Muslim,” who proclaims, “I’ll be a triple threat to Donald Trump. I’m running for office to fight against him, and to fight for our families.”
California’s Lieutenant Governor performs ceremonial duties but when the need arises he becomes “acting governor.”