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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

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Boston Jewish community split on how to deal with anti-Muslim bigot

I am still waiting to read a statement from the ADL and the Museum of "Selective" Tolerance (MOT) denouncing the Nazi-style hate speech of Geert Wilders which was sponsored by Daniel Pipes' MEF and the Republican Jewish Coalition. Of course, I will not be holding my breath.

It is just very puzzling for me to witness how, of all people, a Jewish person can support or even accept this new form of Nazism, but this time against a new group: the Muslims. Aren't the horrific memories of the Holocaust and Auschwitz on their mind? May be the ADL and
the MOT should sponsor free visits to the MOT for such people. You know what, I would love to contribute to such a project, especially if Pipes would go. May be he can learn something.

Fortunately, I hear from enough Jewish friends and activists denouncing such bigotry that I would never judge the whole Jewish community by the actions of the few hatemongers such as Pipes, Emerson, and others.

Such expressions of support for hate and racism makes me even more committed to continue challenging anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of racism.

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Synagogue Hails Dutch Lawmaker as a Hero
Stoughton, Mass.
Penny Schwartz
JTA Wire Service
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

In his home continent, Dutch politician Geert Wilders is something of a pariah, banned from the United Kingdom and facing prosecution in the Netherlands for his harsh views of Islam.

His calls to end immigration from Muslim countries and ban the Koran—he compared it to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and said it incites to violence—have earned him broad condemnation in Europe and forced him under the protection of a security detail, a rarity for Dutch leaders.

But in some quarters of the American Jewish community, Wilders is more akin to a hero. At the very least, he was greeted as such by about 250 people last week at a Conservative synagogue in this Boston-area town.

The boisterous crowd at the Ahavath Torah Congregation gave Wilders, who heads the Dutch Party for Freedom and serves in the parliament, a standing ovation and shouted “Bravo” at the conclusion of his speech.

In an event co-sponsored by the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project and the Republican Jewish Coalition, Wilders made his only synagogue appearance on his recent tour of the United States, where he appeared on cable news networks and radio talk shows, spoke at the National Press Club and held a private showing of his anti-radical Islam film “Fitna” for senators and their staff on Capitol Hill...

“If our collective voice is impeded from speaking” or “shut down,” said [Daniel] Pipes, then “the way is paved for radical Islam to move ahead.”...

Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks takes a similar position, saying that while he also opposes banning the Koran, he believes Wilders’ views should still be given a hearing...

Bjorn Larsen, whose International Free Press Society arranged Wilders’ U.S. tour, said the Dutch politician was invited personally by the rabbi at Ahavath Torah, Jonathan Hausman...

There were no protests at Wilders’ speech—there was little advance publicity—and many in the crowd were sympathetic to his arguments. Andrew Warren of Sharon said he wanted to judge for himself whether Wilders is xenophobic, and said afterwards that Wilders had not crossed the line.

“The unfortunate reality is that a lot of troubling passages in the Koran are being embraced by militant ideology,” Warren said.

Louise Cohen of Brookline described Wilders as a hero and a man of courage...

While unaware of Wilders’ call to ban the Koran, Cohen said his film makes a case that the Koran is a hate document.

That view troubles Ron Newman, who said Wilders took certain verses from the Koran that appeared to promote violence and used them to generalize about all of Islam.

Saying that a similar approach could be used with portions of the Torah, Newman cautioned that the line of reasoning could be used to produce an anti-Semitic film.

“I don’t like that being done to us,” he said. “I don’t support people who do that to others.”

5 comments:

Anne Vis said...

I think if you would be living in the Netherlands you would be able to get a sense of where Geert Wilders is coming from. The daily reality for Dutch citizens has changed quite remarkably by the huge influx of low-educated muslims from abroad. I think it is this that needs to be adressed - putting your head in the sand for reality does not change it for the better. I have not heard Geert Wilders say anything hateful, have I missed something?

Hussam Ayloush said...

Hi Anne,

I think any reasonable person should separate between several things here. The fact that a group of immigrants are low-educated and willing to take menial and/or low-paying jobs should not result in receiving less respect or protection, no matter what religious or racial background they might have. However, if an immigrant, or a native if that matters, engages in criminal behavior, then they should be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

We need to make sure that we do not resort to bigoted attitudes and generalizations against any group of people because of the wrongful acts of a few.

As for Geert saying anything hateful, how about his call to ban the Quran? The Quran is the holy book for over 1.3 billion Muslim who overwhelmingly are peaceful, compassionate, and tolerant. How would you feel if someone calls for the ban of the Bible because some White supremacist Christians use it to justify their violence?

That would be absurd. Geert's call is no less absurd.

On another note, you guys have a beautiful country that I had the chance to visit many years ago. I was very impressed by the people. Please do not let emotional reactionary politics change your country's image and its people.

Best regards.

Mike Ghouse said...

Muslim response to Dutch Legislator's lies about Qur'aan.

The link following this note is a Muslim response to Geert Wilders’ documentary called "Fitna", presenting Islam as a danger to his society. The article in the link is authored by Mike Ghouse* and Imam Zia Shaikh, Imam and an Islamic Scholar of the largest Mosque in Texas.

Mr. Wilders, a Dutch parliamentarian is in Washington DC to dupe a few of our Congressman and Senators. I hope they will have their staff members verify the statements he has quoted in the documentary (the link is in the link) and then check it in the Qur'aan and tell the man to come up with truth and not dupe the Americans any more.

Evil persists, because we the good people do not stop the hate mongering and some of us even fund such documentaries. I have seen a series of such documentaries this year where Islam is deliberately misrepresented with the sole purpose of frightening their insecure and cashing it. It is all about money, they are fooling you and several of us.

There was the “obsession” documentary fraught with misquotes and lies, some 2 million copies were shipped to frighten the Americans to vote the other way prior to November 4th elections. A few more documentaries were shown loaded with blatant lies, one of them was downright stupid but to the producer it had its effect, drill fear and gain favors, in that documentary, the propped up Non-Muslim French Expert on Islam was saying the dumbest things I have ever heard. I challenged the producer to pick up the phone and call any Muslim any where in the world to find it if Muslims don’t believe in the coming of Messiah.

We have a choice to know the truth, and I urge those who truly want peace and co-existence to set up a panel of conservatives, liberals and a whole bunch of moderates to review and answer the audience. Private showings to exclusive groups has an intent of evilness, if it is the truth, let it be in the open, let it be subject to questions and another point of view.

Ultimately it is not the Imam, Rabbi, Pastor, Pundit, Politician, Savior, Policy maker or the Clergy who is responsible for our pain, anguish, pangs of conscience, our actions and our bad intent; it is us who have to deal with it in our lonely moments. Men of God do not sell hate, they are about inclusion and love. We need to have true freedom to find the truth on our own.

Should we fund fear mongering or peace making? The choice is ours. I hope to wake you up and have you fund those who are working on mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill.

Mr. Wilders has read my piece linked below and is un-willing to retract the false statements he has made; he quoted them as if they are in Qur'aan, and they are not. His intent is not education but chaos. Wikipedia has made similar mistakes and even the prestigious University of Southern California's website has a quote ascribed to Qur'aan, even with a verse number to give the idea that it is legitimate, but that verse is not in Qur'aan either. Of course, only 1/10th of 1% of the extremists blindly believes in such statements without verifying.

Full article at: http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/03/wilders-fitna-and-muslims_30.html

Mike Ghouse is a Dallas based writer, blogger, speaker and a thinker. A frequent guest on talk radio and local television networks offering pluralistic perspectives on issues of the day. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net

Anne Vis said...

Asking to ban the Quran is not hateful or a call for violence in my view. It is interesting that Mein Kampf is forbidden in the Netherlands (Wilders compares this to the Quran). I think people should decide for themselves what they read. So a call to forbid the Quran would be more stupid or inappropriate than hateful. (Actually I find the bible, and then especially the old testament, also a pretty violent book)

Low-educated people deserve just as much respect as anyone as you say, I merely indicate the lack of balance this creates in society.

Ehab said...

Here is a good and brief rebuttal to Geert's lies

http://www.bridges-foundation.org/index.php?pg=article&id=290&lang=2