SACRAMENTO – Rashid Ahmad, northern California leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has been asked by his non-Muslim friends what he thinks of recent events in Libya.
“When I saw the demonstrations and learned of the ambassador’s death, I said, ‘Did these crazy people lose their minds? This guy [Ambassador Stevens] was trying to help the Libyans and they killed him,’” Ahmad told Steve Magagnini of the Sacramento Bee.
“But now the U.S. government says it might have been a planned attack by an al-Qaida affiliate, and the Libyan people were also victims. We are ashamed this happened and believe the reaction in the Muslim world is way out of line.”
Note the reference to the “ambassador’s death,” which he says “happened,” as though Chris Stevens, whom Ahmad calls “this guy,” had died of natural causes. The CAIR boss gives no hint that violence, killing, murder, terrorism or assassination had anything to do with the ambassador’s “death.”
Rashid Ahmad neither identifies nor condemns the “crazy people” responsible for the murder of Chris Stevens and three other Americans. And the killers were only “way out of line,” something one might say of a misbehaving child. The U.S. government says it “might” have been a planned attack by an al-Qaida affiliate, but Rashid Ahmad fails to say if he agrees. But he does hold forth on the “Innocence of Muslims” video.
“People feel extremely hurt and offended by the film,” Ahmad told the Bee. “But there’s a huge debate in Northern California over what should happen to the filmmaker.” Actually there isn’t.
Few here have seen the video and the default position is that it may be offensive but the U.S. government should take no action against the filmmaker. The huge debate here is over the push for even higher taxes in a state on the verge of bankruptcy.
“Some say there should absolutely not be any prohibition against free speech,” explained Ahmad, billed as someone who came to the United States from Pakistan in 1970 to study engineering at UC Davis.
“In France, Germany and other European nations, there are laws against hate speech,” Ahmad told the Bee. “Holocaust deniers and others who belittle Nazi crimes during World War II are subject to criminal penalties. Just like there are laws against hate crimes in the U.S., there should be laws against hate speech that leads to violence or criminal activities. Because of the film we’ve lost so many lives – the filmmaker has blood on his hands.”
So in the view of CAIR’s Rashid Ahmad, it is the filmmaker who has “blood on his hands,” not those crazy people who killed Chris Stevens and three other Americans, nor those perpetrating violence in wake of the video. Ahmad comes clean on those too.
“The poor and desperate will listen to any firebrand, especially if they feel their leaders are American puppets,” Ahmad explains. “If (Hosni) Mubarak – the Egyptian dictator propped up by the U.S. – was still in charge, you’d see more extreme protests. Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room – America’s unbalanced support of Israel over the question of an independent Palestine. . . America has to be seen as a fair superpower in dealing with Israeli-Palestinian relations.”
The implication is unmistakable. Unless America does what CAIR wants, abandoning a key ally, punishing a filmmaker, and taking away the free-speech rights of Americans, more violence and presumably “death” is surely on the way.
Steve Magagnini describes CAIR as an organization that “defends the civil rights of 60,000 Muslims in the Sacramento region, and has often spoken out against terrorist acts linked to Muslim extremists.” The journalist provides no examples of the terrorist acts CAIR has “often” spoken out against, and note that these acts are only “linked” to Muslim extremists. But he does get around to that subject in his final question to Rashid Ahmad:
“CAIR’s been invited to White House dinners, but two of its former leaders have been the subject of congressional hearings linking them to groups funding Palestinian terrorists. What’s the truth?” It’s a soft underhand lob down the middle of the plate and Ahmad is ready:
“Those accused of sending money to Palestinian terrorist groups were no longer with CAIR. And CAIR would never endorse that or any violent organizations.”
That’s where the journalist leaves it. No hard questions about CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood or anything like that. But the interview did establish that endorsing violence such as the “death” of an ambassador would be “way out of line.”
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