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

Monday, March 31, 2008

ABC News Primetime - How Would Americans React to Anti-Muslim Prejudice?

I have not had a chance to comment on this segment yet. I know it is a few weeks old. However, it is still very relevant.

I have to say that I am so proud that despite all of the anti-Muslim hate talk and defamation, most fellow Americans continue to reject prejudice and discrimination against Muslims.

It is really refreshing to reaffirm that many people will do the right thing when they witness injustice.

Why did you mention Egypt?

I recently gave a Friday/Jum’aa sermon/Khutba at one of the Southern California mosques focusing on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. I spoke about the stronger role American Muslims and others need to play to inform the public about the sufferings of all Gazans. I criticized the Israeli government for its policies of strangulating the people of Gaza by imposing a total siege. I also criticized the Egyptian government for its role in the siege. After all, Israel does not control Gaza’s southern border with Egypt; Egypt does.

After the sermon, a young man approached me and asked: “Why did you negatively mention Egypt in your Khutba?”

I asked him if there was anything inaccurate in what I said. He said: “No, it is accurate. However, why single out Egypt when other Arab countries and leaders have continuously betrayed the Palestinians too?”

I explained that I never hesitated and would never hesitate criticizing any government, including my own, when it commits injustice. However, the topic of this Khutba was specific and addressed the current siege on Gaza. To reassure him, I reminded him that, in my Khutba, I genuinely praised the heroic and generous Egyptian people for the way they welcomed their suffering Palestinian brothers and sisters who forced their way across the border to get food and medicine.

In an attempt to keep him happy, I asked my new friend: “what would you have said if you were giving the Khutba?”

With a smile on his face, he replied: “I would have just focused on Israel and left other Muslim countries alone.”

At that moment, I realized that I am facing a more serious issue than just a person feeling nationalistic hearing his country of origin criticized.

I spent the next few minutes reminding him that our Islamic teachings require that we always stand out for justice, especially when injustice is being committed by “our own”. I stressed how hypocritical it is for us to be willing to criticize Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians, but then choose to be deliberately silent when wrongs are perpetrated by a so-called Muslim government.

In conclusion, I reminded him that Almighty Allah says in the Qur'an:

O you who believe, stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well acquainted with all that you do (An-Nisaa' 4:135).

Finally, I believe that he agreed with me that it is really not necessarily about Israel, Egypt, or even Palestine, it is about standing out for justice.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ayloush on the Five Years Anniversary of the Iraq War

War's costs will be felt for years
George Watson, Staff Writer

The cost of five years of the war in Iraq can be seen in almost any community in the United States.

Families whose loved ones were killed or wounded struggle to put their lives back together. The economy teeters, thanks partly to what a renowned economist projects will ultimately be a $3trillion war bill. Gas prices soar. A political landscape that cost many Republicans their seats in Congress continues to fuel anti-American sentiment outside the nation's borders.

Despite substantial political and infrastructure improvements directly attributable to U.S. involvement in Iraq, few observers believe that as of today - the fifth anniversary of U.S. bombs first falling on Baghdad - an end to America's presence there is in sight.

The consequences of a continued stay, they say, will be felt in Americans' bank accounts and in politicians' ability to govern.

"Iraq doesn't leave a huge amount of maneuvering room," said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College. "If you stay in, that involves an enormous amount of direct expense, and that limits your fiscal options elsewhere. Even if the next president decides to get out, that won't be right away. And you would still have to have a presence in the Middle East either way.

"This is not going to have a happy ending."

No matter one's opinion on the merits of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the human costs are clear cut.

More than 3,990 U.S. military personnel have been killed. At least 60,000 have been wounded, and many continue to receive medical treatment through an already underfunded Department of Veterans Affairs.
The number of Iraqi civilian casualties is the subject of some debate. Some put the total as low as 75,000, while others claim the figure is in the hundreds of thousands.

Estimates of the financial cost of the war to the U.S. vary. The Congressional Research Service puts the Iraq tab at $526billion; the National Priorities Project says it's $502billion. The Department of Defense's total is far lower than either: $400billion as of the end of December.

And then there is the figure offered by Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University, a former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics. Stiglitz recently published a book that conservatively projects the war's eventual cost to the United States at $3trillion.

The conflict has further damaged an already weakened economy, argues the author of "The Three Trillion Dollar War - The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict." The billions of dollars being spent every day to fund the war could be used to help solve domestic problems, he says.

"What we are talking about is so huge that it would make major dents in things that we can't do but want to do," Stiglitz said in a phone interview from New Zealand. "No matter what you say, our standards of living are going to be lower as a result of the war."

Stiglitz's findings factor in the nation's long-term interest on the war debt, as well as rising battle costs. His other concerns:

As much as $600billion will be needed to care for wounded or injured military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Injuries from the 1991 Gulf War - which lasted a month - cost the nation $4.3billion a year in disability compensation.

A $5-to-$10 per-barrel increase in the cost of oil, amounting to as much as $800billion in extra expense for Americans, further weakening the economy.

An overused, overburdened military whose depleted supplies must be replenished to ensure the nation remains able to wage wars on multiple fronts, if necessary.

"What this all means is we are less secure than we were five years ago," Stiglitz said.

Stiglitz's assertions carry a lot of weight among economists and political scientists.

"His figures are really worth considering and probably should be taken as definitive," said Bob Jackson, the Fletcher Jones professor of government and director of international relations at the University of Redlands.

Jackson - a Canadian who recently testified before his native country's Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs - is particularly concerned about the cost of the Iraq war as it pertains to Afghanistan.

Canada, Jackson explained, is seriously considering pulling out of Afghanistan.

"After 9/11, you had the world admiring the United States like they haven't since the end of World War II," Jackson said. "But the quick moving of troops and personnel to Iraq has led to the fact that we're almost losing Afghanistan."

He said such an outcome would squander the success that came after the 2001-02 war there, which removed the Taliban from power and established Hamid Karzai as the country's elected ruler.

"We can't have Afghanistan go under," Jackson said. "It's squeezed between nuclear powers. If it goes under again, it will become a training ground for terrorists, and we will have failed in the whole task there. The purpose was to get the Taliban out and remove the chance of it being a terrorist haven, which we will now be creating."

From the perspective of Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Los Angeles chapter, the war's cost has been multifaceted.

Ayloush is an American with school-age children, and he worries about the state of their education, given California's budget crisis, cuts to education funding and teacher layoffs.

He, too, worries about the economy, the cost of gasoline, and the future of health care.

The war has other, less tangible costs, he noted.

"The biggest nonfinancial, nonmaterial casualty is the damage to our credibility and moral standing in the world today," Ayloush said. "When we issue reports on human rights, which the State Department does, people laugh at it now. They say, `Be quiet."'

Ayloush, who visited Syria and Jordan recently, said he was struck by how angry people are at the United States. The war in Iraq has displaced 2.4million people and induced another 2million to live abroad, primarily in the two countries he visited. Before the war, 500,000 Iraqis lived outside the nation's borders.

"We have caused misery to thousands of their lives and we haven't accepted responsibility," Ayloush said. "We expect neighboring countries to carry that burden without any financial help."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Don't allow yourself to be cheated

Who would allow themselves to be cheated or taken advantage of?

All of us, or at least many of us actually cheat ourselves.


The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
"There are two bounties (blessings) that many people are cheated with: good health and free time." (Narrated by Imam Bukhari)

What a true and sad statement. Most of us take our good health and free time for granted . We forget that these two blessings are not going to last forever nor even for a long time. Thus we cheat ourselves by undervaluing their importance until we reach the day when even if we wanted to act, we would then lack the time and the strength to so. Throughout our life, we allow ourselves not to use our time and abilities to make a difference and accept to become irrelevant or marginal.

History and major positive change was always made by those who fully made use of their time and good health.

Shouldn’t we show gratefulness to Allah for those two bounties? And what’s better than using these blessings in the service of people and for ending injustice as a way to show this gratefulness?

Thank God for everything

I placed “Thank God for everything” as my tagline on my Instant Message profile. Within an hour or two, a friend sent me an IM message asking me: “what’s up with the tagline?”

I explained to him that I am currently recovering from a severe cold or flu that forced me to stay in bed for several days and to take a dreaded visit to the doctor in urgent care. I guess my explanation was not satisfactory because my not so religious friend replied with a double question mark: “huh??”

I went on to explain what I meant.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

عجباً لأمر المؤمن إن أمره كله له خير، وليس ذلك لأحد إلا للمؤمن
إن أصابته سراء شكر فكان خيراً له، وإن أصابته ضراء صبر فكان خيراً له
-- رواه مسلم --
"Amazing are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his/hers and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he/she has an occasion to feel delight he/she thanks [Allah], thus there is a good for him/her in it, and if he/she faces hardship and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is good for him in it." (Reported by Imam Muslim)

So how can one not be thankful and grateful when he or she knows that there is reward when one patiently perseveres? And why would one not patiently persevere if he or she knows, without a doubt, that Allah/God is in charge of all things and all affairs. He is The Provider of cure (As-Shafi), He is The All Compassionate (Ar-Rahman), and The All Merciful (Ar-Rahim).

I am reminded by what Prophet Abraham (pbuh) said (as quoted in the Quran): "and when I am ill, it is He who cures me" (Quran 26:80).

May Allah grant mercy, patience, and cure to every suffering person.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Images from the Palestinian holocaust

As promised, three days ago, by the Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, Israel has unleashed its holocaust on the Palestinians.

Since Wednesday, over 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, including 20 children and 30 women. Additionaly, over 250 were wounded, mostly civilians.

As Israel continues to use our weapons, fighter jets, and over 3.5 billion dollar in annual hand-outs of our tax money to support its brutal occupation and bloody holocaust, can we still wonder why do so many in the world hate us.

No more comments. Images from the last few days speak for themselves. (Thanks to AP and Reuters)

Gaza is Burning


Bombing whole buildings with their inhabitants


The guilty Israeli terrorist (possibly US-made)


Israeli soldiers showing some love

More love


Grieving parents and relatives

Gaza morgues are full


Can we afford to remain silent? Haven't we learned anything from the first Holocaust?