Threat follows Islamophobic 'smear' by political opponent, Steven Choi
(ANAHEIM, CA, 10/10/08) The Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) said today that a Muslim candidate for Irvine City Council reported receiving a phoned death threat after being “smeared” by a council member’s Islamophobic remarks.
This week, Irvine City Council candidate Todd Gallinger received an anonymous threat in which the caller reportedly said that he "read the article...about Todd being a born-again Muslim.” The Los Angeles Times reported that the caller said, "I want to cut off your head just like all the other Muslims deserve."
Gallinger is a Muslim attorney based in Irvine. The Irvine Police Department is investigating the alleged threat.
SEE: Muslim Candidate for Irvine City Council Gets Death Threat (Los Angeles Times)
The death threat came on the heels of an Islamophobic comment made by Irvine Council Member Stephen Choi, who allegedly attacked Gallinger's Muslim faith after an Irvine Chamber of Commerce candidate forum on September 19.
Those attending the forum reported that Choi called Gallinger "a born-again Muslim” and questioned if such a person is fit to represent the residents of Irvine. Choi also allegedly attacked Gallinger for his previous work with CAIR-LA. Gallinger represented CAIR-LA in two class action lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI relating to delayed background checks for naturalization applicants.
Following those remarks, CAIR-LA sent Choi a letter that read in part:
"...the safety of our staff, supporters, and any American Muslim may be endangered by those who take your words at face value. Had you contacted us, or any one of our 35 offices, we would have been more than happy to clarify our work and our mission."
Also today, CAIR’s Chicago chapter called on the FBI to investigate a recent incident of vandalism targeting a local mosque as a possible hate crime. CAIR is concerned that the level of anti-Muslim bias has been increased by the distribution of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession” to 28 million households in presidential election swing states nationwide.
SEE: Fox '24' Producer Pulls Endorsement of Anti-Muslim Film
The Muslim civil rights and advocacy group is urging Muslims nationwide to review security procedures using advice in CAIR’s "Muslim Community Safety Kit."
In September, CAIR released its annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights. That report, called “Without Fear of Discrimination,” outlined 2,652 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2007.
To view the entire report, click here.
- Hussam Ayloush
- 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