CAIR is out doing what it does best in Orange County, California – demonizing the people who expose radicalism in the Islamic community and obfuscating the facts so that this radicalism goes unchecked. A viral Internet video produced by CAIR California twists what was a peaceful protest against two radical Islamic speakers into a veritable hate rally, indicting many of the demonstration’s respected speakers and activists, including some politicians. While CAIR has spent an inordinate amount of time gathering and splicing video footage of the event and denouncing community activists in the press, the most telling aspect of this entire episode is that CAIR has failed to render one word of objection to the radical hate merchants who were invited to speak to the Yorba Linda, California Islamic community. If CAIR is really the bridge-building group it masquerades as, then it is incumbent on them to speak out against these individuals. Yet, they have chosen to protect the radicals and discredit opposition to them instead.
On Feb. 13, community members gathered in Yorba Linda, California to demonstrate against the radical activists Amir Abdel Malik Ali and Siraj Wahaj, who were invited to speak at an Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA charity fundraiser. ICNA Relief is the social services arm of the Islamic Circle of North America and the charity event’s purpose was “to raise $350,000 to start social programs such as women’s shelters, fighting hunger and homelessness in the area,” spokesman Waqas Syed told the OC Register. Although the protest, which drew an estimated 500 people, was peaceful and promoted the importance of free speech, patriotism, and the rejection of radical hate-speech, a much smaller group of protesters gathered at the entrance of the nearby Yorba Linda Community Center, where the fundraiser was taking place, and harassed Muslim attendees in a vicious manner. Some of the attendees were children, and were also subjected to the reprehensible invective. In response, the Council on America-Islamic Relations of California released a heavily edited video portraying the entire Yorba Linda protest as an anti-Muslim hate rally, and the video was widely circulated on the Internet and in the media.
However, community activists who organized the event did not authorize and did not see the ugly scene transpiring, as the protest was held too far away from the community center’s entrance for it to be visible. Event organizers like Steve Amundson informed all protest attendees that they were not to have hateful signs. Some individuals, in fact, were asked to put unacceptable signs away. “I remember it was about 1 o’clock and my friend Gary Fouse called me and said there were a few people with signs saying, ‘Go Back Home,’ and he said, ‘I can’t speak at an event where there are signs like that,’” recounted Dee Sterling, an Irvine community activist who helped with the event. Sterling also spoke to the crowd about her youth in apartheid South Africa and the danger of people like Malik Ali, who inspire hatred and violence toward Israel by falsely claiming that it is an apartheid society.
“I told him that that’s not what the event was about and that I wouldn’t speak at an event with hateful signs either,” Sterling continued. Sterling suggested that Fouse ask that the offensive signs be removed, which they were, and the couple who brought them left the rally, she said. Sterling also said she personally reminded as many attendees as she could to respect the spirit of the demonstration. “Our purpose was to protest these two speakers who preach hate and radicalism and to celebrate our freedoms in America.”
Numerous other event organizers and speakers have also testified that they did not witness any of the protesters depicted on the CAIR video, nor did they know who they were. Rabbi Dov Fischer of Young Israel of Orange County, was the second speaker at the event. Rabbi Fischer, who is also a board certified attorney and professor of law, heard all of the speeches and affirmed that they comported with the protest’s theme. During his speech, the rabbi himself made many kind observations about the Muslim faith, but he agreed that the presence of Malik Ali at an “otherwise fine-sounding Muslim social-welfare charity” demanded response.
Chapman Law professor Karen Lugo, a constitutional law attorney and co-director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, also spoke at the event and was outraged over CAIR’s “hit video.” In a piece for Family Security Matters, Lugo said that these were “rogue hecklers gathered at a remote location.” One of the important facts Lugo points out is that, not only were these hecklers physically disassociated with the main event she was a part of, but that much of the harassment was done well after the rally had ended. As the CAIR video clearly shows, the anti-Muslim heckling took place while attendees were entering the evening fundraiser event and continued into the post-dusk hours. The protest attended by Lugo, Rabbi Fischer, Sterling, and others had ended well before the sun went down.
This is to say nothing of the politicians present, like U.S. Reps. Ed Royce and Gary Miller, who spoke at the event, but who also have many Muslim constituents and certainly would never have participated in an anti-Muslim rally.
On the other hand, to say that the two Muslim speakers who caused the kerfuffle in the first place are “controversial” is to put it mildly.
Malik Ali is a well-known hate activist, who regularly visits college campuses to preach, in the clearest possible terms, violence against “Zionist” Jews, support for Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic jihad, violence against Israelis, and the destruction of Israel. For those readers who might not be aware of the racist, genocidal nature of the aforementioned groups, the following will be instructive. Hamas’s charter explicitly states that its goal is to fulfill Allah’s promise to kill every Jew. This time will come, the charter says, when “the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree[.]” The document uses the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, as one of its justifications. The founder of Hamas, Mahmoud al-Zahar, is quoted as saying, “There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no place among the nations of this world. You are headed to annihilation.” Just as condemnable, the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, opined publicly that if the Jews all gather in Israel, it would save him the trouble of having to hunt them down globally. There simply are no better examples of genocidal, anti-Semitic organizations in the world than Hamas and Hezbollah.
One could literally write a doctoral thesis on the rabid ravings Hamas-acolyte of Malik Ali. A simple Internet search will turn up a wealth of video evidence of the radical speaker inciting hatred and violence on college campuses. Malik Ali believes that suicide bombers are “martyrs” and is quoted as saying: “Palestinian mothers are supporting their children who are suicide bombers, saying, ‘Go honey, go!’ That ain’t suicide; that’s martyrdom.” He promotes Protocols-esque conspiracy theories, for instance, that Zionist Jews control the media, the Congress, the FBI, that they were behind the Danish Muslim cartoon controversy, 9⁄11, and even “manufactured” the Iraq War. He calls for the Islamic movement to rise up as an Islamic revolution and “implement Islam as a totality [in which] Allah controls every place – the home, the classroom, the science lab, the halls of Congress.”
Believing that “[Israelis] are living in fear [and] it’s about time,” Malik Ali regularly exhorts students to die for jihad. At one campus event, he told listeners, “We will fight you [Zionists] until we are either martyred or until we are victorious.” These events are often hosted by the Muslim Students Association or the Muslim Student Union, which consider Malik Ali an inspirational speaker. He spoke just this past February at the previously suspended MSU of UC Irvine. It was Malik Ali who led the MSA pledge at the 2011 MSA West conference. What does the pledge say exactly? Only some of Malik Ali’s favorite themes:
Allah is my lord/Islam is my life/The Koran is my guide/The Sunna is my practice/Jihad is my spirit/Righteousness is my character/Paradise is my goal/I enjoin what is right/I forbid what is wrong/I will fight against oppression/And I will die to establish Islam.
This pledge, we should point out, is essentially an adaptation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s pledge, which exalts dying “in the way of Allah.”
The other speaker at the ICNA Relief charity fundraiser is no less controversial than Malik Ali. In 1991, Siraj Wahhaj became the first Muslim to recite a prayer before a meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives. That following year, however, after becoming increasingly anti-American, Wahhaj began to publicly express radical sentiments, such as the desire to see the U.S. government replaced with an Islamic caliphate. He told one audience of New Jersey Muslims in 1992, “If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own emir [leader] and give allegiance to him…. [T]ake my word, if 6-8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.” Most disturbingly, in 1995, Wahhaj was named by U.S. Attorney and Clinton-appointee Mary Jo White as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. In the summer of 1999, Wahhaj testified as a character witness for convicted terrorist Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.
Given the extreme nature of these speakers and their well-publicized history, it would have been outrageous if there had not been a protest over the sudden influx of radicalism in Yorba Linda. Furthermore, even if Malik Ali and Wahhaj did deliver peaceful talks to the Yorba Linda Muslim community, no press was present at the event, and there is no confirmation of what was said. ICNA Relief did not return FrontPage’s request for comment on this matter.
In the wake of the CAIR video, complaints reportedly poured in to the Orange County Human Relations Commission, a group whose self-stated mission is to promote tolerance, understanding and peaceful relations among the various communities of the county. A hearing was convened to adjudicate the matter. Outrageously, as Karen Lugo, who was present at the hearing revealed, nine out of the eleven individuals on the hearing board admitted that they had only seen the CAIR video, yet were prepared to decide on the matter nonetheless. The OCHRC has also not returned FrontPage’s request for comment, and at the time of this printing, a decision had not yet been reached.
Community activists and organizers of the rally have so far stood firm in face of CAIR’s subterfuge. What one would hope the OCHRC would realize is that, while Yorba Linda protesters went to great lengths to keep their rally amicable and they did not attempt to demonize the Muslim community as a whole, the fact remains that the neither CAIR nor ICNA Relief have expressed any remorse or have even been questioned for the decision to bring radical hate activists into their midst – and they have tried to demonize all of the Yorba Linda protesters from an unrepresentative selection. But this doesn’t make any sense – shouldn’t CAIR be in agreement with these protesters? Aren’t the positions of Malik Ali so radical that they should be rejected by the peaceful Islamic community? We will be waiting a long time for any self-imposed accountability from ICNA or CAIR in this regard.
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