About Me

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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Eventually, the truth prevails

An update on my car adventure.

I got a call from the shop to inform me that my car was found a few blocks away from their shop. It seems that the thieves realized that the car is not as good as it appears and decided to leave it.

The body was intact, but the inside of the car was completely damaged. The car is now being repaired, again. Hey, I am getting a new radio and CD player as well as speakers in lieu of the stolen ones (The stolen ones were lousy). May be now I can listen to the new Quran CDs that I received last year.

Anyway, the lesson is that new paint might have fooled someone into believing that the car is some fancy car, but a quick driving test exposed the truth about the car's condition.

The bigger lesson, which I hope you got by now, is that we often judge others based on what we see on the outside, their looks, their social status, their race, their claimed religion, etc.; however, it is only after we get to know them and interact with them at close that we can discover their true character.

If people try hard to look deeper than the surface, they will see the truth. Eventually, the tuth prevails, but it often needs our help to break out.

As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prayed, I pray that God/Allah show us the truth as clear truth and give us the strength and courage to follow it. And to show us falsehood as clear falsehood and give us the strength and courage to avoid it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Judging a car by its paint

I am not big on cars. I am simple. I just need a vehicle that can fit me (I am tall), my 4 kids, and my many boxes filled with work related material (I am not even sure I ever use most of that junk, at least that’s what my wife claims).

My black Isuzu is a loyal transportation tool. It tolerated my abuse and negligence. At least that’s what I think since it rarely complained. It takes me places, many far away places, as my CAIR work duties will send me. This Isuzu has visited more mosques, churches, schools, colleges, television stations, and meeting places than most people have. As long as it has gas (and some oil too) it is ready to move (I actually confirmed, the hard way, that without gas, a car eventually stops running!)

The car is a 1995 (or 1996) model. I bought it 3 or 4 years ago. It has its old-age problems. One of the windows does not shut completely which causes a loud wind noise when cruising on the freeway (something we rarely do on CA freeways). I personally got so used to it that I don’t notice it anymore. It is only when new passengers ride with me that they notice it and remind me of it. The body paint has faded so much that other drivers avoid parking next to it for fear that the terrible paint disease that afflicted my car might be contagious. All of this has worked well for me. I never had to worry about locking the car. No one would steal it.

But things changed. Last month, while attending an interfaith event in Long Beach, I came out to find that someone slammed into my car's front. Luckily, my insurance covered for the damage (minus my deductible, grrr...). I sent my Isuzu (which I now learned is also a Rodeo model) to the shop and it came back like a brand new car, at least from the outside. I never realized how much of a difference paint can make. As I drove it again, I discovered additional mechanical problems in the transmission that did not exist prior to the incident. The insurance company advised me to send it back to the shop which in turn sent it to a transmission specialist to have it checked.

Today, I got a call from the shop telling me that they had some bad news for me. They informed me that car thieves managed to break into the transmission shop last night and moved three other cars in the front of the garage in order to get to my car and steal it. Although I was not happy to learn that my dear car was stolen, I can't hide that I was slightly proud that my car was wanted so bad. I was flattered that those thieves would risk going to jail to take my car. I swear I could have given them a good deal on it. I guess the new paint tricked the thieves into believing that this is a somehow a new car. Little did they know about the transmission problem (suckers!). I just hope they don't sue me for false advertisement.

For now, I was told to wait until we see if the police can locate my car.

Today, I was reminded that most people rush to judge matters by their appearance, a book by its title, and a car by its paint.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Muslims to join Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

38th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage: A Visit to the largest Japanese American Internment Camp

WHAT: 38th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

WHEN: Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating the public about the Japanese American internment camp experience by organizing the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage. This year, the Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) is working with the L.A. Manzanar Committee and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) to bring members of the California Muslim community to join for a one-day visit of Manzanar. (See History of Manzanar below)

This is a great opportunity for community leaders as well as college students to participate and share their experience with their respective communities.

Citing the significance of the trip, Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said, "With the growing anti-Muslim sentiments and incidents across the country, it is important to relearn and remember part of our nation's history when we as a country committed great injustices against innocent Americans solely based on their heritage and background."

For those interested in taking the bus from Los Angeles, two buses sponsored by The Manzanar Committee will be leaving Little Tokyo and Torrance by 7 am. Cost for the bus is $20 and must be prepaid. Overnight accommodations are the responsibility of each visitor and will need to be handled individually at the following sites. There is LIMITED space on the buses so please contact CAIR-LA to reserve a spot on the bus. If a large number of people express interest in participating, we can rent a separate bus. Call ASAP to let us know.

Each year, people enjoy the first class Manzanar Museum located in the renovated internment camp gymnasium, tour the camp site, and then attend an educational program at about 12 noon. The program is followed by an interfaith ceremony at the cemetery monument in the camp. The ceremony is followed by a Japanese folk dancing circle in which all participate, accompanied by taiko drumming. An estimated 300-500 people attend the day program.

During the evening, the committee organizes a Manzanar After Dark program focusing on college students who come primarily from the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. Each year, there are cultural performances, small group discussions with former internees, and open mic session where students often do spoken work, stories, sing, and make brief statements.


Manzanar History
Prepared by the Manzanar Committee

The camp, which consisted of 36 blocks of barracks within a confined area of one-square mile, was the scene of many hardships as men, women, and children sought to establish some semblance of normal life while attempting to overcome the trauma of forced evacuation and facing an uncertain future. It was the resourcefulness and labor of the camp population, which turned Manzanar into a habitable place for the remainder of their enforced stay.

Manzanar had some unique features for a war-time city. It was the only relocation center with an orphanage, called "Children’s Village." It was also the only site in California which had an advanced sewage and water filtering system, dismantled when the camp closed. The surgical and nursing team developed at the Manzanar Hospital became the training center for nurses whose study was interrupted by the evacuation. It was there that they completed their training, graduating with a recognized degree to practice nursing on the "outside."

The apple trees for which Manzanar was named, had been abandoned prior to the war. They were pruned, fertilized and watered by Issei farmers during their internment, providing delicious apples for the internees. Many varieties that grew there are no longer available on the market.

Under the terms of the lease with the City of Los Angeles, which owned the land at Manzanar, the campsite was returned to its original condition. Barracks were auctioned off to returning veterans, and to businesses in nearby towns, such as the still existing Willow Hotel. All that remains today are the auditorium, the stone guardhouses, the cemetery and hundreds of trees planted by the internees.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Bash and Cash - Islamophobia: The quick path to wealth

Are you a professional failure? Are your bills catching up with you? Are you low on cash? Do you have a hard time finding a real job? Are you having hard time keeping up with the Joneses?

No more worries. Your hardships are gone. I have the right solution for you.
Just become a Muslim basher and all your financial and low self-esteem troubles will be gone.

No college degrees required. No intelligence required (Low IQ preferred). No integrity required (Lack of integrity preferred). No past experience required, "they" will train you.

Your new career will open up great opportunities such as paid speaking tours, meeting with fellow bigots and Islamophobes, paid trips to Israel and staying at nice hotels, bogus PhD, book sales, consulting fees to be on media show, and much more.

Send your resume and your sample Muslim bashing material to Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Steven Emerson, Virgil Goode, Dennis Prager, among many others. They are the authority on Islamophobia. They fuel it.

This job offer can not guarantee results. But the following testimony might provide encouragement.

WAFA SULTAN: Reformist or opportunist?

As for the Sultans’ financial troubles, Halabi told InFocus that ever since Dr. Sultan gained notoriety those troubles are a thing of the past. "She bought a house for herself and bought another for her son," Halabi said. "She also bought two smog-check stations, one for her husband and another for her son," he added. When asked about the source of her material well-being, Halabi was unsure.

As to the reasons that may have pushed Sultan to be so outspoken and vocal against Islam in a post-9/11 world, Halabi sympathetically remarked, "Poverty. It drives people to sell their soul."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Back from snowy Washington, D.C.

I came back last night from a short trip to D.C. I left the 30 degrees and snowy weather of D.C. back to the 80 degrees of Southern California. I don't know about you, I think snow is nice for pictures, but not as a living condition. We are humans and not polar bears.

Below are a few photos from my recent visit.

CAIR's office

New Jersey Avenue. The blurry thing in the center of the picture is the Capitol. Blame the weather for not being able to see it.
Trees crying for help: "Get me some sun light, take me to California"

My ride back to the warmth of California