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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time Magazine: Does Israel Mistreat Palestinian Child Prisoners?

By Tim McGirk / Jerusalem Tuesday, Jun. 30, 2009
Time Magazine

Walid Abu Obeida, a 13-year-old Palestinian farm boy from the West Bank village of Ya'abad, had never spoken to an Israeli until he rounded a corner at dusk carrying his shopping bags and found two Israeli soldiers waiting with their rifles aimed at him. "They accused me of throwing stones at them," recounts Walid, a skinny kid with dark eyes. "Then one of them smacked me in the face, and my nose started bleeding."

According to Walid, the two soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed him, dragged him to a jeep and drove away. All that his family would know about their missing son was that his shopping bags with meat and rice for that evening's dinner were found in the dusty road near an olive grove. Over the course of several days in April last year, the boy says he was moved from an army camp to a prison, where he was crammed into a cell with five other children, cursed at and humiliated by the guards and beaten by his interrogator until he confessed to stone-throwing...

Walid's story is hardly unusual, judging from a report on the Israeli military-justice system in the West Bank compiled by the Palestine office of the Geneva-based Defense for Children International, which works closely with the U.N. and European states...

The report states that "the ill-treatment and torture" of Palestinian child prisoners "appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized, suggesting complicity at all levels of the political and military chain of command."...

The Geneva organization's report alleges that under Israeli military justice, it is the norm for children to be interrogated by the Israeli police and army without either a lawyer or a family member present and that most of their convictions are due to confessions extracted during interrogation sessions or from "secret evidence," usually tip-offs from unnamed Palestinian informers. If so, the practice may violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which Israel ratified in 1991...

According to the Israeli human-rights group Breaking the Silence, a few Israeli soldiers are alarmed by their own troops' behavior. The group cites the testimony of two officers who complained before a military court that during an operation last March in Hares village, soldiers herded 150 male villagers, some as young as 14, into a schoolyard in the middle of the night, where they were kept bound, blindfolded and beaten over the course of more than 12 hours.

A U.N. Committee Against Torture, which met on May 15 in Geneva, expressed its "concern" over Israel's alleged abuses of Palestinian child prisoners...

Israel's treatment of Palestinian children and teens as combatants perpetuates the cycle of hatred. After a spell in an Israeli jail, it's hard for a young Palestinian to stay uninvolved. Walid says he never cared much for anything aside from his school friends and family before his incarceration. Now he bears a radioactive hatred towards Israelis. "The soldiers' curses and insults, I'll carry them to my grave," he says.

LAPD names its first Islamic chaplain

Jake Stevens / Los Angeles Times
Sheik Qazi Asad prays five times each day. The Pakistani-born immigrant, who is now a U.S. citizen, first got involved with law enforcement after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, working with the Sheriff’s Department.


By Duke Helfand
June 29, 2009
Los Angeles Times

American Muslims have never been much of a presence in the Los Angeles Police Department, accounting for less than 1% of its nearly 10,000 officers.

But now, with department leaders eager to improve relationships with local Muslims, top brass have named the force's first Islamic chaplain: a Pakistani-born spiritual leader who has spent much of the last decade trying to build bridges between law enforcement and Los Angeles County's diverse Muslim communities.

Sheik Qazi Asad, 47, will serve as a reserve chaplain at the LAPD's North Hollywood station. The volunteer post requires about eight hours of service each month. But to Asad and his LAPD patrons, it represents an opportunity to expose officers to a culture and faith that many may find unfamiliar, even foreign.

And that, Asad and LAPD leaders hope, will enhance relations that have been strained at times, particularly in the aftermath of a much-criticized plan by the department in 2007 to map the city's Muslim population. The plan, which some critics equated to religious profiling, was scrapped after a week of protests.

"We need to establish very good communication . . . where both parties are talking to each other," Asad said. "This is just opening up the door."

...Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca asked Asad to join a news conference at which Baca and other elected leaders demonstrated their solidarity with the embattled Muslim community. Baca had met Asad in the 1990s at dinners with elected officials and community leaders in the South Bay, where Asad lives.

The bearded Asad, a U.S. citizen, came to the news conference wearing traditional Muslim attire -- a turban, long collarless shirt and trousers ending above the ankle. Soon after, he was asked to join Baca's Executive Clergy Council. He brought about a dozen other American Muslim leaders with him.

Baca said that Asad helps establish a bridge of trust between Muslims and police. "It doesn't surprise me that the LAPD would reach out to Qazi and give him a chance to continue his work," the sheriff said...

Like other candidates, Asad underwent an extensive background check that included fingerprinting, a review of his finances and employment history, and an interview with the department's senior chaplains.

LAPD leaders view Asad's chaplaincy work as an extension of his previous roles with law enforcement. Although chaplains are expected to serve in a nonsectarian capacity, LAPD authorities said they believe that Asad could be a source of information for officers curious about Muslims and their religion.

"Officers don't know about Islam or Muslim communities in Los Angeles. He's going to be a person who can educate them to that," said Lt. Mark Stainbrook, who oversees community outreach for the department's counter-terrorism and criminal intelligence bureau.

Some Muslim religious and civic leaders who belong to an LAPD Muslim advisory panel grumbled privately about not being consulted about Asad's selection, although they did not take issue with him. LAPD officials said that Asad applied for the post on his own, and that the department generally does not run chaplain appointments by outside advisory groups.

Even those Muslim leaders who voiced some disappointment with the process, however, said they believed that Asad's appointment would help nurture an emerging relationship with the Police Department.

"The position needs someone who has the basic knowledge and skills to bring people together, especially someone who understands the culture and nature of law enforcement," said Hussam Ayloush, Southern California executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "I think Mr. Asad has such abilities."...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Are orphans of Palestine and Iraq less-deserving human beings?

Worry over terrorism laws hinders giving, O.C. Muslims say
Fear that government might target donors leads to shift away from Islamic nonprofits, leaders say.


Muslim leaders already angered by allegations of FBI spying in Orange County mosques are backing the ACLU's assertion that terrorism-financing laws have had a chilling effect on donations to Muslim charities.

The ACLU says the Treasury Department's expanded authority to investigate terrorism-financing links in the wake of the 9/11 attacks has given the agency "virtually unchecked power" to designate groups as terrorist organizations, creating what local leaders describe as a "climate of fear" in the Muslim community.

The ACLU report, which is based on more than 100 interviews with Muslim community leaders, contends that:

•The Treasury Department operates under "overly broad" terrorism financing laws that fail to safeguard targeted charities against "government mistake and abuse."

•The FBI targets major donors to Muslim charities, approaching them at their workplace and homes to ask about donations.

•Law enforcement officials refuse to reassure donors that they will not be retroactively held liable for donations to organizations that are later shut down or placed under investigation.

•Federal and local law enforcement agencies have tried to convince community members to serve as informants in mosques in order to monitor donations.

The ACLU report, issued June 15, follows allegations that the FBI used a paid informant to infiltrate local mosques. Those allegations have frayed the relationship between federal officials and several high-profile Muslim groups.

The widening rift has drawn the ACLU into the fray, with that organization's lawyers celebrating an April ruling requiring the FBI to make available for federal court review surveillance records on Southern California Muslims.

"This has really undermined the ability to fulfill our religious obligations. Many of us believe that the practice of charity has become part of politics really," said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. "I have to give, period. Giving is my faith, it is as important as breathing, so there is no option for me not to give."

Federal scrutiny has forced large donors who traditionally gave $10,000 or more to Muslim charities to distribute their donations in smaller increments, Syed said.

"In the local mosques the cash collections have increased, which implies that people are afraid of giving large checks," Syed said. "Instead they opt for cash."

Muslim leaders admit the increased scrutiny has prodded some Muslim organizations to tighten up their oversight efforts.

"Some (donors) became pickier in who they give to. They started requiring from recipients a heavy burden of accountability and transparency, making sure they check their nonprofit status and board of directors," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relation's (CAIR) Southern California chapter. "That forced organizations to clean up their act and get a little more organized in anticipation of increased scrutiny by the government and donors."

But government pressure has also convinced many Muslim donors to avoid Muslim charities, Ayloush said, instead choosing to donate to less controversial nonprofits such as hospitals, universities, government programs such as USAID, and partnerships with Catholic and Mormon charities.

"That is a problem, because if all of us avoid giving to the orphans of Palestine and Iraq, who is going to take care of those children?" Ayloush said. "Are they less-deserving human beings?"

Treasury Department spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth said in a written statement that the agency is "increasing our engagement with the charitable community to help them protect against terrorist abuse … and to refine the guidance surrounding charitable giving."

"We're hopeful this ongoing communication will ensure all charitable groups, regardless of religious affiliation, have the ability to provide assistance where it's needed most, without empowering terrorist organizations," Wyeth wrote.

Justice Department officials declined to directly comment on the ACLU report, but indicated they "simply follow the money and evidence wherever they lead, without regards to race, religion or ethnicity," spokesman Dean Boyd said in a written statement.

Despite the disagreements between federal officials and the high-profile Muslim groups, FBI Director Robert Mueller reportedly described their relationship as "very good" in a Michigan speech earlier this month.

Muslim leaders also say they were encouraged by President Barack Obama's recent Cairo speech, which called for a new beginning between the United States and the Islamic world.

"We hope to see a shift in their attitude that will focus on real prevention of crime rather than the hyping of fear and paranoia," Ayloush said of federal agencies. "We do feel already an ease of that paranoia and unfair targeting, and we hope that will continue."

Contact the writer: 949-553-2911 or semery@ocregister.com

Thursday, June 25, 2009

American Jewish Professor Cleared of Anti-Semitism Charges!

What? I know, that sounds absurd.

How can a Jewish professor be accused of anti-Semitism for criticizing Israel's brutal actions in Gaza? Can I or other Arab Muslims be accused of anti-Muslim or anti-Arab bigotry for continuously criticizing Egypt's shameful role in the inhumane siege on Gaza. Can Archbishop Desmond Tutu be accused of being anti-Christian for speaking out against the Apartheid that was then practiced by the South African rulers?

Such charges are nothing short of an attempt to defame and silence those who challenge injustice. This is not just a matter of free speech; it is about speaking and acting for peace, liberty and justice for all people.

May Allah/God bless those brave people, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or whatever they claim to be.


U.S. professor cleared over comparison of Gaza war to Holocaust
By Cnaan Liphshiz,
Haarez and The Associated Press

A committee at a California university has cleared a professor who sent an e-mail comparing Israel's policies in Gaza to the Holocaust.

Officials at the University of California, Santa Barbara, sent a letter Wednesday to sociology professor William I. Robinson saying the committee had closed the matter.

In January, Robinson offended some students and others with an e-mail to his "Sociology of Globalization" class that juxtaposed grisly photos from the Nazi era with a recent Gaza offensive. (The link I am providing as FYI possibly shows those images in the e-mail. Those images were sent over many e-mails during Israel's onslaught on Gaza.)

Jewish groups called the e-mail "hate spam" and claimed Robinson violated university policies barring professors from intimidating students and using campus resources for political reasons.

A leading pro-Israel student group blasted the move on Wednesday. "[The university] has blurred the lines between education and peddling of propaganda," the L.A.-based Israel advocacy group StandWithUs told Haaretz.

The affair was exposed by Santa Barbara student Leah Yadegar ? a graduate of the StandWithUs Emerson Fellowship program, which trains students in campuses in "response techniques" to anti-Israel efforts on campus.

"We are surprised and disappointed that the university chose not to uphold their standards for professional conduct," said Roz Rothstein, director and founder of StandWithUs, which filed the original complaint against Robinson.

"It is unfortunate that students will continue to be victims of partisan indoctrination and misinformation."

Robinson, who is Jewish, has said his justified criticism of Israel's policies should not be confused as anti-Semitism. Before the ruling, he had circulated a petition rallying colleagues and supporters against the internal probe into his actions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alaska priest to engage Islam at national level

By Joel Davidson
Catholic Anchor

Photo: a mosque and a church, side-by-side, in Beirut, Lebanon

...Born, raised and ordained to the priesthood in Alaska, Father Walsh will leave his home state to work for at least three years with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where his primary task will be to facilitate greater understanding between Catholics and Muslims across the country...

Those dialogues will generally include bishops, academic experts and prominent Muslim leaders. The aim of the gatherings is to foster mutual understanding and find areas where greater unity and cooperation are possible.

“It is important for us to be in dialogue,” Father Walsh explained in an interview with the Anchor. “We’ve seen what happens when those prejudices and antagonisms are allowed to run unchecked.”

For example, Father Walsh pointed to the mischaracterization of Islam that occurs when memories of the September 11, 2001 attacks are the primary perception that people have of the religion.

“Dialogue is especially important because of how skittish people are today,” Father Walsh said. “Most people, you talk to them about Islam and they are going to mention 9/11 somewhere within the first three minutes of the conversation because that is the image in their mind. And believe me, it is the image in the Muslim’s mind too. They live with that every day.”

...Interreligious work is very much dependent on building human relationships, Father Walsh explained.

“It is not just comparative religion,” he said. “Religion is never lived in a vacuum. We engage and live in the community in which we are a part.”

...On the international front, Father Walsh noted that Pope Benedict XVI has provided strong leadership in reaching out to the Islamic world and inviting them to dialogue.

Father Walsh pointed to the Common Word Project in which 138 Muslim scholars agreed to an interfaith dialogue with Christians on the topic of love of God and love of neighbor...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

MUST READ: Why aren't Jews outraged by Israeli occupation?

My note:
For the record, I personally and proudly know many Jews who are very outraged by the brutal and racist actions of Israel. More importantly, those brave Jews are not just being outraged, but are rather doing something to challenge such actions and promote justice and peace.

However, Mr. Loewenstein raises many valid questions. It is worth reading.


Why aren't Jews outraged by Israeli occupation?
By Antony Loewenstein
Antony Loewenstein is a New York-based journalist and author of My Israel Question.
Haaretz; 6/17/2009

During this year's AIPAC conference in Washington, Executive Director Howard Kohr warned the 7,000-plus crowd that the global movement to "delegitimize Israel" was gathering steam.

"These voices are laying the predicate for an abandonment," he said. His sentiments were almost apocalyptic: "The stakes in that battle are nothing less than the survival of Israel, linked inexorably to the relationship between Israel and the United States. In this battle we are the firewall, the last rampart."

The age of Barack Obama has unleashed a global wave of Jewish unease over Israel's future and the Diaspora's relationship to the self-described Jewish state. It's a debate that is long overdue.

Zionist organizations in Australia campaigned loudly in May against the allegedly "anti-Semitic" play Seven Jewish Children, a ten-minute think-piece written by an English playwright accusing Jews of complicity in violence against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

A Jewish columnist for The New York Times, Roger Cohen, argued in June that the key word among Palestinians now is "humiliation."

"It's not good for the Palestinians, the Israelis or the Jewish soul," he wrote. The Jewish Week editor chastised him for such views - for "the anger, blame and one-sidedness of his argument" - and wondered "whose heart?has grown brutal?"

An upcoming academic conference at York University in Toronto exploring the "one-state, bi-national solution" to the conflict was slammed last week by Gerald M. Steinberg, chair of the Department of Political Science at Bar Ilan University, for fueling "the vicious warfare and mass terror" against Israelis and Palestinians.

The decades-old ability of Zionist groups to manage the public narrative of Israeli victimhood is breaking down. Damning critics has therefore become a key method of control.

But, writes Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald, a leading Jewish-American blogger, "whereas these smear tactics once inspired fear in many people, now they just inspire pity. They no longer work."

He may be overly optimistic, but alternative Jewish voices are rising who are less concerned with being accused of "self-hatred" or treachery. They see it as their duty to damn what is wrong and not simply support Israeli government policies.

A thinking, more enlightened Judaism is emerging, a necessity in the face of apartheid realities. The cause is human rights, not Zionist exclusion.

Obama's recent speech in Cairo reflected the new Jewish consciousness. American Jews were certainly an intended audience because if it this group that must challenge their conservative spokespeople to undo years of following Likudnik thinking. As a candidate in 2008, the then Illinois senator said that, "there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel."

Many Jews in the Diaspora have never imagined anything else; it's been an imagined Israel in their minds for decades. Lawless behavior in the occupied territories is ignored through willful ignorance. Tellingly, the most reliable information about these truths in the West is found online, through blogs and activist Web sites, and not generally in the mainstream media. The gate-keepers are clinging on to the Exodus myths for dear life.

Defining a humane Judaism in the 21st century means condemning the brutal military occupation in the West Bank and resisting the ongoing siege of Gaza.

Jewish-American blogger Phil Weiss, who recently returned from the Strip, quoted a young Gazan saying in dismay: "We are being experimented on."

The Palestinian narrative is routinely ignored or dismissed in the U.S. and beyond. This must change quickly for any chance of peace to break out in the Middle East. However, peace without justice is guaranteed to fail.

After Obama's speech in Cairo, where which he almost acknowledged the Palestinian "Nakba" without mentioning it by name, most major Jewish-American groups reacted with caution.

The Anti-Defamation League said it was "disappointed that the President found the need to balance the suffering of the Jewish people in a genocide to the suffering of the Palestinian people resulting from Arab wars."

This was code for "Nakba"-denial, as pernicious as Holocaust revisionism.

But the liberal J Street lobby, still clinging to the delusion of a viable two-state solution and a "democratic, Jewish homeland," praised Obama's "active diplomacy" and claimed that the "overwhelming majority of American Jews" supported an end to the West Bank colonies.

Consistent polls suggest they are right, but the devil is in the detail. Is there real will to back the necessary steps, namely the removal of hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers in the West Bank?

Co-Author of The Israel Lobby, Stephen Walt, said recently that he couldn't understand why more American Jews didn't realize the cliff Israel was running toward. Did they not see that repression in the occupied territories had defined Israel in the eyes of the world? Perhaps apartheid didn't bother them. Out of sight and out of mind. Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech at Bar-Ilan University suggested he wasn't too fussed, either.

I recently attended the Salute to Israel parade in New York; picture 100,000 American Jews marching to celebrate the state, waving flags in praise of the IDF. It was a thoroughly depressing affair. Palestinians didn't exist; they were invisible. The world's biggest public display of pro-Israel feeling had no room for 20 percent of the Israeli population (let alone the millions in the West Bank and Gaza.)

These events are actually a sign of desperate projection, not strength. Mainstream Zionism wants to completely shield Jews from the uncomfortable facts of the Israeli occupation and Palestinian self-determination. Jews were a proud people, a clever people and a victimized people. There was no time to indulge in frivolous Arab trivialities.

But facts have an uncomfortable way of seeping back into view. Colonel Itai Virob, an IDF brigade commander in the West Bank, recently told an Israeli court that, "a slap, sometimes a punch to the scruff of the neck or the chest, sometimes a knee jab or strangulation to calm somebody [a Palestinian] down is reasonable."

Where is the Jewish outrage over this?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Forgotten Faithful: How the West betrayed the Original Christians

The Forgotten Faithful

Followers of Jesus for nearly 2,000 years, native Christians today are disappearing from the land where their faith was born.

By Don Belt
National Geographic

...They come because this is where Christianity began. Here in Jerusalem and on lands nearby are the stony hills where Jesus walked and taught and died—and later, where his followers prayed and bled and battled over what his teaching would become. Huddled alongside Jewish converts in the caves of Palestine and Syria, Arabs were among the first to be persecuted for the new faith, and the first to be called Christians. It was here in the Levant—a geographical area including present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Pales­tinian territories—that hundreds of churches and monasteries were built after Constantine, emperor of Rome, legalized Christianity in 313 and declared his Levantine provinces holy land. Even after Arab Muslims conquered the region in 638, it remained predominantly Christian.

Ironically, it was during the Crusades (1095-1291) that Arab Christians, slaughtered along with Muslims by the crusaders and caught in the cross fire between Islam and the Christian West, began a long, steady retreat into the minority. Today native Christians in the Levant are the envoys of a forgotten world, bearing the fierce and hunted spirit of the early church. Their communities, composed of various Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant sects, have dwindled in the past century from a quarter to about 8 percent of the population as the current generation leaves for economic reasons, to escape the region's violence, or because they have relatives in the West who help them emigrate. Their departure, sadly, deprives the Levant of some of its best educated and most politically moderate citizens—the people these societies can least afford to lose. And so, for Jerusalem's Arab Christians, there is a giddiness during Easter, as if, after a long and lonely ordeal, much needed reinforcements have arrived...

"You can't live alongside people for a thousand years and see them as the children of Satan," observes Paolo Dall'Oglio, an earthy, bear-size monk who hosts Muslims in interfaith dialogue at Deir Mar Musa, the sixth-century desert monastery he and his Arab followers restored between Damascus and Homs. "On the contrary, Muslims are us. This is the lesson the West has yet to learn and that Arab Christians are uniquely qualified to teach. They are the last, vital link between the Christian West and the Arab Muslim world. If Arab Christians were to disappear, the two sides would drift even further apart than they already are. They are the go-betweens."...

On Easter morning, Mark and Lisa make a handsome couple in their Sunday clothes, leading Nate and Nadia by the hand up the sidewalk to the family car, a middle-aged, maroon Honda. It's a proud moment, their first Easter together in the Holy Land, and Lisa, noticing the thick coat of dust on the car, asks Mark to give it a rinse. He fetches a hose and connects it to a faucet they share with their neighbors, who come out on the porch and stand, watching, in their kaffiyehs and head scarves. In an animated voice, Lisa explains to the kids that Daddy's giving the car a bath for Easter. Right on cue, with a playful flourish, Mark squeezes the nozzle on the hose. Nothing comes out. He checks the faucet, squeezes again. Still nothing. So there he stands, empty hose in hand, in front of his kids, his neighbors, and a visitor from overseas. "I guess they've opened the pipes to the settlements," he says quietly, gesturing to the hundreds of new Israeli housing units climbing up the hills nearby. "No more [water] for us." Lisa is still trying to explain this to the kids as the car pulls away from the curb.

"I hate the Israelis," Lisa says one day, out of the blue. "I really hate them. We all hate them. I think even Nate's starting to hate them."

Is that a sin? I ask.

"Yes, it is," she says. "And that makes me a sinner. But I confess my sins when I go to church, and that helps. I'm learning not to hate. In the meantime, I go to confession."...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Carter: Gazans Treated "Like Animals"

IslamOnline.net & News Agencies

"I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been wracked against your people," Carter said. (Reuters)

GAZA CITY — Former US president Jimmy Carter said he had to "hold back tears" while touring scenes of devastation in the war-torn Gaza strip on Tuesday, June 16, and seeing Palestinians treated more “like animals" under the Israeli stifling siege.

"Tragically, the international community too often ignores the cries for help and the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings," Carter said as he toured the blockaded enclave, reported Agence France Presse (AFP).

Carter, who arrived in Gaza early in the morning coming from Israel and the West Bank, denounced the two-year Israeli siege of the Hamas-ruled strip for starving and deliberately depriving Palestinians from the necessities of life."Never before in history has a large community like this been savaged by bombs and missiles and then denied the means to repair itself."

Israel has been closing Gaza's six crossings since Hamas took over control in 2007, leaving its 1.6 million population without food, water, power and sewage services.

Carter was also “distressed” to observe the destruction inflicted upon Gaza during the 22-day assault Israel unleashed last December.

"I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been wracked against your people," Carter said as he stood at the ruins of the American School in Gaza, damaged in the offensive.

Carter decried the fact that the school was "deliberately destroyed” by bombs from F16s made back in the United States.

"I feel partially responsible for this as must all Americans and Israelis,” the veteran politician said.

“It's very distressing to me."

More than 1,350 Gazans, including 437 children, were killed and 5,450 wounded in three weeks of air, sea and land attacks.

The deadly onslaught left a trail of destruction with figures showing that 21,100 homes, 1,500 factories, 25 mosques, 31 government buildings and scores of schools were damaged by the Israeli war machine.

Meeting Hamas

Following his tour in the ravaged enclave, Carter held groundbreaking talks with Hamas leadership.

"This is holy land for us all and my hope is that we can have peace,” he said at a joint news conference with Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government in the Palestinian enclave.

Carter is the one of the most senior western figures to meet the Hamas leadership in Gaza in recent years.

The winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace prize and the architect of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty has long advocated engagement with the Hamas movement as crucial for progress on peace.

He has braved US and Israeli critics last year to hold a meeting with two Hamas officials in Cairo.

Last month in Damascus he met Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas political bureau.

Carter was expected to pass on to Hamas officials a letter to Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was taken prisoner by Palestinian resistance groups in 2006.

He accepted the letter from the soldier's parents Friday during his meeting with Israeli government officials, and promised to deliver it to Hamas, Israel’s daily Maariv reported.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar told Israel Radio Tuesday that the movement would pass on the letter to Shalit.

Zahar, however, refused to say whether they would give Carter a letter from Shalit, adding that if Israel is interested in ending the file of Shalit, then it should go ahead with the prisoner-swap deal to free him.

Corporal Shalit was taken prisoner by three Palestinian resistance groups in a daring operation that killed two other soldiers.

The groups want to trade him for some of the nearly 11,000 Palestinian detainees, including women and minors, in Israeli jails.

Hamas has always maintained that the release of Shalit be negotiated as part of a separate prisoner exchange involving hundreds of people held in Israeli jails.

However, the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected Hamas demands to free 450 long-term prisoners in exchange for the Israeli corporal.

Ayloush on NPR Discussing FBI's Abuses Against U.S. Muslims

Muslim Groups Claim FBI Took Advantage
by Alex Cohen

Weekend Edition Sunday, June 7, 2009 · Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, Muslim organizations throughout California banded together to try to prove to the U.S. that not all Muslims were terrorists. A major part of that effort was working with the FBI. But in recent years that partnership has broken down; Muslim groups claim the FBI deceived them and now refuses to cooperate.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How did a nice Jewish boy end up joining Al-Qaida? (Haaretz)

American Al-Qaida member acknowledges his Jewish roots
By Haaretz (Israeli Newspaper), 6/14/2009

An American Al-Qaida member has for the first time acknowledged his Jewish ancestry, in an official video message released over the weekend by the international terrorist network.

Adam Yahiye Gadahn - who also goes by the name Azzam the American - declared his roots in a video which surfaced on Saturday, using the opportunity to urge Muslims to use "our weapons, funds and Jihad against the Jews and their allies everywhere."

"Let me here tell you something about myself and my biography, in which there is a benefit and a lesson," Gadahn says in the video, speaking in Arabic with English subtitles. "Your speaker has Jews in his ancestry, the last of whom was his grandfather."

Gadahn, 30, was raised in rural California and converted to Islam in the mid-1990s, when he moved to Pakistan and joined Al-Qaida. In 2006, the United States has charged him with treason and with providing material support to Al-Qaida. The FBI has placed him on its most wanted list and is offering a $1 million reward for his capture.

In the video, Gadahn describes his grandfather as a "Zionist" and "zealous supporter of the usurper entity, and a prominent member of a number of Zionist hate organizations? He used to repeat to me what he claimed are the virtues of this entity and encouraged me to visit [Israel], specifically the city of Tel Aviv, where relatives of ours live."

Gadahn's grandfather was well-known urologist Carl Pearlman, an active member of the Jewish community in Orange County California.

Gadahn says that despite his grandfather's attempt to impart the ideology, he could never embrace "the Jews' rape of Muslim Palestine. "

How can a person with an ounce of self-respect possibly stand in the ranks of criminals and killers who have no morals, no mercy, no humanity and indeed, no honor?" Gadahn says of Zionism. "Isn't it shameful enough for a person to carry the citizenship of America, the symbol of oppression and tyranny and advocate of terror in the world?"

Although Gadahn's Jewish roots have been reported before in the media, terrorism analyst Laura Mansfield told CNN that this was the first official acknowledgement. According to Mansfield, the video was probably taped in spring, prior to U.S. President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim world in Cairo

Muslim Group Condemns Shooting at D.C. Holocaust Museum

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/10/09) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today condemned a shooting incident at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., during which a security guard and the alleged gunman were reportedly wounded.

SEE: Gunman, Guard Shot at Holocaust Museum (MSNBC)

In a statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

“We condemn this apparent bias-motivated attack and stand with the Jewish community and with Americans of all faiths in repudiating the kind of hatred and intolerance that can lead to such disturbing incidents.”

Salavat klibi (nice Turkish song prasing the Prophet Muhammad)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

CAIR Director Discusses Double Standard on Terrorism (CNN)

Is there a double standard in the way we deal with terrorism?
Is an act described as terrorism based on the religion of the perpetrator rather than the act itself?

A must watch!

Rick Sanchez is smart.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Max Blumenthal : Why I Made “Feeling The Hate in Jerusalem”

Max Blumenthal explains why he filmed the hate video of young Israelis and American Jews insulting Obama in Jerusalem


Censored by the Huffington Post, Imprisoned by the Past: Why I Made “Feeling The Hate in Jerusalem”

On Wednesday, I walked around central Jerusalem with my friend, Joseph Dana, an Israel peace activist who has lived in the country for three years. We interviewed young people on camera about the speech President Barack Obama planned to deliver to the Muslim world the following day in Cairo. Though our questions were not provocative at all – we simply asked, “What do you think of Obama’s speech” – the responses our interview subjects offered comprised some of the most shocking comments I have ever recorded on camera. They were racist, hateful, and incredibly ignorant, and were mostly couched within a Zionist context – “this is our land, Obama!” The following day, we edited an hour of interviews into a 3:30 minute video package and released it on Mondoweiss and on the Huffington Post.

Within a few hours, I received an email from a Huffington Post administrator informing me he had scrubbed my video from the site. “I don’t see that it has any real news value,” the administrator told me. “For me it only proves that one can find drunk people willing to say just about anything. Especially drunk, moronic people.” For the first time, the premier clearinghouse for online news and opinions had suppressed one of my posts.

Other bloggers and commenters criticized the video on similar grounds. Their complaints generally went like this: In order to advance an agenda, Max Blumenthal exploited the wild remarks of a bunch of drunk Jewish frat-boys innocently showing off in front of their friends. The footage contained in his video in no way reflects what the Israeli public thinks. If Max went to a bar in any college town in the United States he would find the same level of ignorance and racism. Ron Kampeas at the JTA has written that I need “to grow up and put [my talents] to good use.” (While Kampeas praised some of my other video reports exposing right-wing Christians, this latest video revealing the extremism of some Israeli and American Jews seemed to hit too close to home.)

The criticism of my video raised an interesting journalistic issue: Is reporting any less credible when interview subjects are drinking alcohol? Of course not. Journalists interview people at bars all the time, especially in broadcast packages. Beer does not, to my knowledge, contain a special drug that immediately infects drinkers with white supremacist sentiments, violent rhetoric, and anti-democratic tendencies. I get drunk as much as any social drinker and I have never called for “white power” or declared, “fuck the niggers!” as one of my interviewees did. No amount of alcohol could make me express opinions that were not authentically mine. If anything, alcohol is a crude form of truth serum that lubricates the release of closely held opinions and encourages confessional talk.

The notion that the racist diatribes in my video emerged spontaneously from a beery void is a delusion, but for some, it is a necessary one. It allows them to erect a psychological barrier against acknowledging the painful consequences of prolonged Zionist indoctrination. And it enables them to dismiss the disturbing spectacle of young Jews behaving like fascist soccer hooligans in the heart of the capitol of Israel and the spiritual home of the Jewish people.

The people in my video were not white trash, nor were they the “extreme right-wing fringe” as some bloggers have called them. They were the college-educated sons and daughters of middle and upper class American Jews from cosmopolitan metropolises and genteel suburbs. Some had come to Israel on vacation, some had made aliyah, and some told me they were planning to move to Israel in the near future. Many were dual citizens of America and Israel. They may have behaved in a moronic way, but they will not grow up to toil in the custodial arts. Many of these kids will move into white-collar jobs and use their influence to advance Israeli initiatives. Programs like Birthright Israel — a few of those in my video were on Birthright tours — exist for the exclusive purpose of indoctrinating American Jews into unyielding, unthinking supporters of Israel. Thus the kids in my video represent at least one aspect of the Zionist project’s future base of political sustenance.

I do not and have never claimed that the characters that appeared in my video were representative of general public opinion in Israel. They reflect only a slice of reality, which is reality nonetheless. On the other hand, a new Yedioth Aronoth poll finds a vast majority of the Israeli public holds a negative opinion of Obama and believes he is biased toward the Palestinians. A top minister in Israel’s government has compared Obama to Pharaoh, claiming his call for a settlement freeze is like casting Jewish children into the river. A group of rightists have launched a campaign against “the anti-Semitic Obama,” apparently convinced they can make inroads with the general public.

Behind the Israeli view of Obama lies a climate of extremism that exploded into the open when the country attacked Gaza. Today, extremist sentiment hovers well above the surface. A groundbreaking study of Israeli attitudes published in the wake of the Gaza war by the Tel Aviv University political psychologist Daniel Bar-Tal, who I recently interviewed, found that “Israeli Jews’ consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering.” Bar-Tal commented to me that the army is the primary vehicle for stoking the nationalism of young Israelis. “Some countries are states without armies,” he said. “But Israel today is an army without a state. There is no civilian institution capable of restraining the army’s influence.”

In an interview with me two days ago, the famed Israeli author David Grossman echoed Bar-Tal’s findings, remarking, “The country is trapped in one legitimate narrative: that of the government, which is of paranoia, and every event serves this narrative. Those events that don’t are simply overlooked.”

I have been in Israel for over a month; almost every day I hear expressions of paranoia about Arabs, historical delusions, and the constant refrain that “the world is against us.” I hear this even from some close friends — young, cosmopolitan Israelis living the good life in the so-called “bubble city” of Tel Aviv. Last week, a friend I play basketball with in a working class suburb of Tel Aviv (he is a high-tech worker from a fifth generation Israeli family) calmly informed me while we sat in the shade by the court: “I’m a Zionist, so of course I prefer the bloodshed on the other side.” While sitting at a bar with an elegant and otherwise charming young woman, she described to me while sipping a mixed drink how she arbitrarily shot at Arabs while serving in the army because “they want to come and steal my house.” On a leafy Tel Aviv street, a friend of a friend who splits time between spinning at local hip-hop clubs and patrolling the streets of Gaza City told me if Israel has to kill 800 Palestinians to save one Israeli Jew, then so be it. “If we wanted to, we could completely wipe Gaza out,” he said. “But we don’t because the IDF is pure.”

Since Gaza, vocal opponents of the Occupation have found themselves increasingly marginalized and are hounded by the authorities (see the New Profile raid, Ezra Nawi, Sami Jubreir, and on and on). Meanwhile, Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteynu party’s unapologetically racist campaign has taken the form of a stream of bills working through the Knesset that would criminalize observance of the Palestinian Nakbah, ban public discussion of a bi-national state, and allow towns to ban people from entering their limits who do not subscribe to Zionist ideals. The bills keep coming like a flood; already, the Nakbah ban has passed a committee vote.

A straight line can be drawn from the rhetoric depicted in my video to the rise of Lieberman, a proto-fascist who draws a startling degree of political strength from Israel’s youth by channeling their innermost fears and resentments. In fact, the author of the Nakbah ban is a 28-year-old named Alex Miller – the youngest ever member of the Knesset and the chairman of Beiteynu’s youth wing. In an interview, Miller told me he introduced the bill simply because, “the Israeli public believes in loyalty.” He added, “Since the founding of our party we have grown in strength. We have never changed our platform and we are seeing increasing support from the public.”

Despite the Huffington Post’s rejection of my video report, it has exploded across the blogosphere. Even the rapper 50 Cent posted it prominently on his official website. It two days it has garnered 100,000 views. I hope those who have watched it, especially those predisposed to dismiss it as anti-Israel propaganda or shock video with “no news value,” will at least ask how vitriolic levels of racism are able to flow through the streets of Jerusalem like sewage, why the grandsons of Holocaust survivors feel compelled to offer the Shoah as justification to behave like fascist street thugs, and how the sons and daughters of successful Jewish American families casually merged Zionist cant with crude white supremacism. The willful avoidance of these painful questions by self-proclaimed supporters of Israel is setting the stage for the complete delegitimization of the country they claim to love. As Obama said, “any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it.”

Jews gone wild: Why camcorders and booze don't mix (Haaretz)

More on the hate video of young Israelis and American Jews in Jerusalem

Jews gone wild: Why camcorders and booze don't mix

By Benjamin L. Hartman, Haaretz Correspondent

...As someone who lives on and off in the American bubble in Tel Aviv and came to Israel on a Birthright tour like some of the kids in the video may have, this is embarrassing, shocking, bizarre, but familiar. And as someone who spent many nights grimacing at similar overheard conversations from American Jews in town for the week from Long Island, the booze-fueled hubris and uber-Zionism is not so strange at all. In the Jewish homeland for the first time, on a free trip, fleetingly experiencing a place gripped by a visceral realism and powerful sense of purpose, it's easy to let the beer overtake you...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Surprise, surprise! Al-Qaeda is unhappy with Obama's speech (but no foul language here)

I guess it is not only Israelis (of course not all of them) who are unhappy with the President's speech. Al-Qaeda is not happy either. That must have been a surprise; probably not.

Lessons learned:
1) Not even Obama can please everyone.
2) Al-Qaeda, many Israelis and Zionists, American neo-cons, and the KKK are all in agreement on hating Obama. Interesting times.


Double blast against Obama shows strain on al Qaeda
LONDON, June 3 — A double blast from al Qaeda against Barack Obama shows the group is as worried as ever by the persuasive skills of the US president, who makes a speech to Muslims tomorrow.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in an audio recording aired today by Al Jazeera television, said Obama had planted the seeds of “revenge and hatred” towards the United States in the Muslim world and he warned Americans to prepare for the consequences.

A day earlier, the militant network’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri urged Egyptians not to be seduced by Obama’s ‘polished words’ when he makes a major address in Cairo seeking to repair ties with the Muslim world.

For some, al Qaeda’s concerted attempt to upstage Obama is a propaganda own goal that shows its normally media-savvy operatives in disarray following the departure of Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush. They found Bush easy to stereotype as a belligerent, Muslim-hating cowboy.

“Zawahri is right to be worried,” said Edwin Bakker, a senior research fellow at the Dutch Clingendael Institute in the Hague.

“Al Qaeda partly lives on anti-Americanism and the ‘war on terror’. Now Bush has gone and been replaced by a guy who’s second name is Hussein. And they fear his speech really is going to have a positive effect.”...

Read Full Article

It seems Obama is not very popular in Israel! (Apologies for the bigoted and foul language)

(My apologies for the foul language)

While so many Muslims, Christians, and Jews around the world celebrated President Obama's message of peace, tolerance, and mutual respect, many young Israelis (and some Americans too) in Jerusalem expressed real anger and racism against him.

Considering that many of the interviewees seem to be from the U.S. (based on the accent), are we to expect a condemnation from the Wiesenthal Center or ADL for the racial slurs made against our President and Black people?

It is puzzling to me why would so many young Israelis hate President Obama so much. All that he is advocating is an independent Palestine and peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Is peace so scary?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Minn. Rabbi Says Kill Arab Men, Women and Children

Message to President Obama: U.S. Must Support Palestinian Rights

Ayloush: Obama Speech is monumental and historic.

Obama calls for a "new beginning" with the Muslim world in speech that hits home in Orange County.

ANAHEIM – In the tobacco shops and bakeries of the Anaheim neighborhood known as Little Arabia, people welcomed President Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world Thursday with new hope for what he called a new beginning.

One community leader described the speech as historic; the publisher of an Arab-American newspaper planned to write that Obama may be a “political messiah.” But there was skepticism, too, and the question of the moment was not so much what the speech meant but what happens next.

(To watch a video of the speech, with an accompanying transcript and reactions from students and experts in the Middle East, click here. The video, from The New York Times takes awhile to load.)

“You cannot solve all the world’s problems in one speech,” said Sami Mashney, who publishes a newspaper for the Arab-American community called The Independent Monitor. “It’s not like he’s solving one plus one. We’re talking about immense problems that have existed through the decades.”

Shalom Elcott, the president of the Jewish Federation Orange County, used a Hebrew word to describe what Obama still needs to make clear: “tachlis.” It means the bottom line, the heart of the matter.

In this case, he said, it means translating words into action – supporting Middle Eastern economies, pushing for religious freedom and addressing the extremists who lurk on all sides of the debate.

“As we’ve learned,” he said, “going from vision to implementation in the Middle East has been a challenge for decades, if not for centuries.”

In his speech, Obama acknowledged years of mutual distrust between the Muslim world and the United States and called for a “new beginning.” He spoke in Cairo, but some people in Anaheim’s Little Arabia stayed up to see the live broadcast at 3 a.m.

Alaa Allabadei was one of them. He heard a tone of peace from the president, a willingness to talk rather than fight.

“I was glad to hear the president talking about Palestine and Israel as two countries that can work together for the future – for peace,” said Allabadei, a tobacco-shop owner originally from Lebanon.

The president’s message “is on the right track,” said Rolan Halwani, a glass contractor in Anaheim. “A lot of U.S. presidents have talked about similar messages of peace in the Middle East. But Obama seems very sincere, like he really means what he’s saying.”

Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the greater Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the speech monumental and historic.

He said Obama had presented America as a “sincere partner” to the people in the Middle East, showing respect for their history and religion. He heard in the speech a read-between-the-lines admission that the invasion of Iraq had been a mistake.

But, like the others, Ayloush said the speech was just a first step on a long and difficult road. Obama, he said, “provided an outline – an honest outline – of what the problems are, and a courageous roadmap for addressing them.”

But Rabbi Stuart Altshuler, who teaches Jewish studies and history at Chapman University, cautioned that some of the president’s remarks could lead down a “very dangerous road.”

He took issue with Obama’s criticism of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying the president never defined what he meant by settlements. “In large parts of the Muslim world,” he said, “all of Israel is a settlement.”

Altshuler also said he thought Obama equated, unfairly, the suffering of Palestinians with the historic sufferings of the Jews. And he thought Obama “soft-pedaled” the threat posed by Iran and Muslim extremist groups.

“We should encourage all dialogue and learning and conversation about each other,” Altshuler said. But, he added, the president “needs to be a little more careful about making sweeping generalizations.”

Contact the writer: 714-704-3777 or dirving@ocregister.com

Ayloush on Obama Speech

Inland Muslims hail message of tolerance
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The Press Enterprise

Inland Muslims praised President Barack Obama's Cairo speech, saying he went further than any previous president in reaching out to the Islamic world.

"It gives a message to Muslims that the United States is not going to impose its values, that the United States is equal to all countries in the world, and the Muslim world," said Muhamad Ali, an assistant professor of religious studies at UC Riverside who woke up early to watch the speech live on CNN just after 3 a.m. Pacific time.

The speech was a change in tone from what many Muslims had viewed as U.S. arrogance toward the Islamic world toward a more humble approach, he said.

Ali was born in Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population. Obama talked in his speech about how when he lived in Indonesia as a child, he noticed how Christians were able to worship freely, and the president discussed the centuries-long respect and tolerance in most of the Muslim world toward other religions.

Obama also talked of Muslims' contributions to science, mathematics and literature, and to the United States.

Mustafa Kuko, director of the Islamic Center of Riverside, said those comments would help dispel misunderstandings about Islam among non-Muslim Americans.

He said that Obama's quoting of the Quran in his speech was a meaningful gesture to Muslims around the world.

"For a Muslim, there's nothing more important in his life than the Quran," he said.

"When you're coming from that angle, you're getting closer to him."

Some Muslim commentators abroad criticized Obama for not offering specific changes in U.S. policy, and for not going further in criticisms of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.

But Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and a Corona resident, said he was not expecting a detailed policy speech.

"President Obama provided a clear outline, an honest outline, of what the challenges might be and a brave and honest road map to meeting those challenges," he said.

"The specifics are much easier once there's a will."

Ayloush said it was not realistic for Obama to assuage all of the Muslim world's concerns in a 55-minute speech.

"One has to keep in mind that the grievances and issues that been built up over the years, and even decades, are many, too many to be addressed in one speech," he said.

Reach David Olson at 951-368-9462 or dolson@PE.com

Cops: Mosque Graffiti May Be Hate Crime

Thursday, 04 Jun 2009, 8:18 PM

Cypress (myFOXla.com) - Graffiti laced with threats and expletives found spray-painted Thursday on a wall on the Islamic Center of Cypress is being investigated as a hate crime, police said.

The vandalism was discovered about 4 a.m. on the mosque at 5900 Ball Road by an officer on routine patrol, said Sgt. Tom Bruce of the Cypress Police Department.

The paint was still wet when the officer discovered the vandalism, which stood out starkly against the white walls of the center and on a wooden door.

Police would not say what the message was, other than to say it included expletives "and specifics that lead us to believe it is a hate crime," Bruce said.

But in a statement released this afternoon, officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the writing included, "(expletive) you," "we're going to kill you," and "US Military is going to kill you all."

According to the statement, the writing was several feet high across a wall of 20 to 30 feet.

CAIR Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said the vandalism, which has been reported to the FBI, underscored the message delivered in Cairo by President Obama about an hour before the building was spray-painted.

"This apparent hate crime points to the need to challenge the destructive phenomenon of anti-Muslim stereotypes in our society that President Obama warned us about in his speech today in Cairo," Ayloush said.

Graffiti removal crews had gotten rid of all the markings by about 8 a.m.

Bruce said no evidence was left behind. Representatives of the mosque told police that there had not been any similar incidents. Bruce said the mosque has been at the location for many years.

Shakeel Syed, of the Islamic Shura Council, told reporters that "this person obviously harbors a great deal of hate, against Muslims, against Americans, against soldiers..."

In light of the timing of the vandalism, Bruce, referring to the president's speech, said, "One could assume the timing is more than a coincidence."

Cypress Mosque Targeted in anti-Muslim Hate Crime

Thursday, Jun. 4 2009
By Nick Schou, OC Weekly

Just when you thought President Obama was going to heal the rift between America and the Muslim world that's been deepening ever since 9/11 and the US invasion of Iraq, some local nitwits have to remind the world that many Americans still, and may always be, proudly hateful nitwits. The OC Register broke this story today which has now been updated in a press release issued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations: there's been a hate crime at a Cypress mosque.

Fortunately, this wasn't the kind of hate crime that involved a physical assault on a person, but rather the equally cowardly variety that often involves burning crosses or swastikas. This time, some knuckleheads defaced a mosque by spraypainting the following messages in gigantic letters: "Fuck you," "We're going to kill you" and "US Military is going to kill you all."

CAIR has reported the incident to the FBI. "This apparent hate crime points to the need to challenge the destructive phenomenon of anti-Muslim stereotypes in our society that President Obama warned us about in his speech today in Cairo," added CAIR's Greater LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush.

While both the Register story and the CAIR press release pointed out that the incident took place on the same day as Obama's speech in Cairo, the Weekly gets the honor of being the first to speculate about whether the hate crime might have anything to do with convicted con artist and self-declared FBI informant Craig Monteilh publicly claiming to have stymied terrorist plots at OC mosques.

Maybe its about time the FBI steps forward to either confirm or deny all the crazy stuff Monteilh's been peddling--before something worse happens.

See more:
FOX 11 - Cops: Mosque Graffiti May Be Hate Crime

D.C. Area Muslims, Jews Pay Close Attention to Obama in Cairo

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Promote a two-state solution and you will be called anti-semitic; even if you are Obama

Poor President Obama! What was his crime to deserve this wrath?
He dared to ask the newly-elected right-wing Israeli government to support a two-state solution and to end its illegal building of settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Both demands are long-time unfulfilled demands stated by numerous U.N. resolutions.


'We're launching a campaign against anti-Semitic Obama'
By Raphael Ahren, Haaretz

Photo caption: A collage portraying U.S. President Obama wearing a kaffiyeh which is set to be posted across Israel by rightist group Hazit. (Hazit)

Some 130 protesters gathered in front of the American Consulate in Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon to rally against U.S. President Barack Obama, who had just launched his Middle East tour, during which he is expected to reach out in friendship to the Muslim world...

Far right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who attended the protest, told Channel 10 that "it appears that we've arrived at a red line, which has already been crossed by the most anti-Semitic American president."

"We are launching a campaign against Barack Hussein Obama. He is bad for the people of Israel and for the state of Israel and his policies could bring about disaster. We expect our prime minister to say 'no' to anyone who tries to harm us," Ben-Gvir added.

National Union MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari addressed the crowd, largely made up of native-English speaking Israelis.

"I'm here to tell Obama that Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jewish people," said Scottish-born Edith Ognall, who drove to the capital from her hometown of Netanya to attend the event. "What right does anybody have to tell us to stop building in the land that was given to us by God? I'm not going to stand by and let Obama, or anybody else, tell me where I can live and where I can't live."

Introducing the Genocide Rabbi

You will probably not read it on MEMRI. You will probably not read a statement of condemnation from the Wiesenthal Center's "Museum of Tolerance" (after all, they just promoted a film promoting anti-Muslim bigotry). You will probably not watch it on FOX News' Hannity.

However, it still happened.

When Moment Magazine asked rabbis representing various Jewish denominations "How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?", a shocking answer was given by Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman of the Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies in St. Paul, Minnesota. (to their credit, most other rabbis representing other Jewish denominations gave more reasonable answers)

Here is what he wrote:

I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral.

The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).

The first Israeli prime minister who declares that he will follow the Old Testament will finally bring peace to the Middle East. First, the Arabs will stop using children as shields. Second, they will stop taking hostages knowing that we will not be intimidated. Third, with their holy sites destroyed, they will stop believing that G-d is on their side. Result: no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war.

Zero tolerance for stone throwing, for rockets, for kidnapping will mean that the state has achieved sovereignty. Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention.

We can not ignore such a call for genocide. This Rabbi is not a fringe person with no influence. According to his bio:

He has appeared on CNN, A&E Reviews, PBS, and BBC Worldwide, and has been the subject of articles in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, Guideposts, Insight, Publisher’s Weekly and others.

Rabbi Friedman is a noted Biblical scholar, recognized for his sagacious grasp of Jewish mysticism...

Rabbi Friedman is a professionally ranked member of the National Speakers Association. His speaking tours take him to every part of this country as well as Israel, England, The Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Canada, and Hong Kong.

Such rhetoric, whether by a Jew, Muslim, Christian, or any person is not acceptable. It is the prelude to genocide. It is the type of language that is used by genocidal maniacs to justify their crimes against those deemed as subhumans.

Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of people of faith reject such hateful views, especially when espoused by those who claim a religious justification for it.

Richard Silverstein, a leading Jewish human rights activist and blogger, wrote on his blog Tikun Olam:
Is it possible that there can be pure evil in Judaism? It grieves me to say that yes, there can be. At least in one sect of Judaism, which harbors and encourages such genocidal impulses and lunatic leaders.

What Rabbi Friedman is talking about is the Biblical injunction to wipe out Amalek, the tribe that betrayed the Children of Israel and attacked them as they left Egypt. The only problem with Friedman’s claim that this is the “Jewish way” is that he has twisted the Biblical record. Wiping out Amalek was not the “Jewish way.” It was actually a command hardly, if ever, issued concerning any other Israelite neighbor. In the Bible, Jews did not routinely wipe out entire tribes merely because they were hostile to Israel.

Rabbi Haim Beliak, executive director of the national educational foundation HaMifgash, said:

The original quote and the apology by Manis Friedman suggest a debased morality and an atrophied ethical sensibility. Friedman does not speak for Judaism. There is no Judaism where neighbors - Jewish and non-Jewish - are treated without regard to their status as fellow human beings. Jewish ethics reminds us that we owe ‘the other’ infinite obligations of care and concern, not only in theory but in practice. In war and peace, the status of civilians and innocent bystanders must be respected.

Cecilie Surasky of Jewish Voice for Peace said:

Rabbi Manis Friedman's outrageous suggestion that killing Arab men, women and children, and destroying their religious sites is ‘the Jewish way’ is an affront to all people, but especially Jews who value all life equally. While his statement in no way represents the views of the vast majority of Jews, we are alarmed by the increasing numbers of extremist settlers in Israel, and their American supporters, who share his refusal to acknowledge the value of Palestinian and Arab life. Far from bringing peace and security to Jews, this abhorrent disregard for the lives of non-Jews only leads to more bloodshed and war.

In a joint statement released today, several Jewish and Muslim groups asked political and religious leaders to repudiate rabbi Friedman’s call to ‘genocide’. The statement quoted
CAIR-MN Communications Director Jessica Zikri saying:

This disturbing call to genocide and religious desecration must be repudiated by all Minnesotans who value peaceful coexistence and interfaith harmony.

Silence in the face of such extremist views will only serve to give the author a false sense of legitimacy and approval.

Obama Says U.S. Could Be Seen as a Muslim Country, Too

The New York Times
By Jeff Zeleny

HAHN, Germany — As President Obama prepared to leave Washington to fly to the Middle East, he conducted several television and radio interviews at the White House to frame the goals for a five-day trip, including the highly-anticipated speech Thursday at Cairo University in Egypt.

In an interview with Laura Haim on Canal Plus, a French television station, Mr. Obama noted that the United States also could be considered as “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” He sought to downplay the expectations of the speech, but he said he hoped the address would raise awareness about Muslims.

“Now, I think it’s very important to understand that one speech is not going to solve all the problems in the Middle East,” Mr. Obama said. “And so I think expectations should be somewhat modest.”...

“What I want to do is to create a better dialogue so that the Muslim world understands more effectively how the United States, but also how the West thinks about many of these difficult issues like terrorism, like democracy, to discuss the framework for what’s happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and our outreach to Iran, and also how we view the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Mr. Obama said.

The president said the United States and other parts of the Western world “have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam.”

“And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,” Mr. Obama said. “And so there’s got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.”

The speech on Thursday has many intended audiences, but among them are the young people in Cairo and beyond.

“I think the most important thing I want to tell young people is that, regardless of your faith, those who build as opposed to those who destroy I think leave a lasting legacy, not only for themselves but also for their nations,” Mr. Obama said. “And the impulse towards destruction as opposed to how can we study science and mathematics and restore the incredible scientific and knowledge — the output that came about during centuries of Islamic culture.”

The president is flying Air Force One directly from Washington to Riyadh. The White House press corps — traveling on a chartered United 767 — is refueling in Hahn, Germany.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Greenhut: First, Muslims; next, maybe you

Column written by Steven Greenhut
Sr. editorial writer and columnist
The Orange County Register
Sunday, May 31, 2009

Government officials seek to control whatever it is they don't understand. In my experience, they don't understand much, so they try to regulate, tax, monitor and control everything. And now we learn that the Obama administration, clueless about the nature of conservative activism in this country, wants to monitor it very carefully. According to a Department of Homeland Security report released in April, Americans who are active in fighting abortion, same-sex marriage, illegal immigration and gun control, and who prefer state or local authority to federal authority, are potential right-wing extremists who demand closer attention from law enforcement.

"The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks," the federal report stated. Although it admits that there are no particular incidents of such extremism, the agency warns that the bad economy and the election of the first African-American president have created a "fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists."

The administration backed away from such hysteria in reaction to the backlash over the report, but the report gives insight into the thinking at the highest levels of government. Such government overreach has consequences. I got to know one family that collected military surplus items on its property in the high desert. After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, heightened concern about militias gave the authorities the pretext to use eminent domain to take their land. It's a long and convoluted story, but these folks had to spend years fighting to save their home and family after the authorities got an unsubstantiated and wrong notion about them.

My point: When powerful agencies get paranoid, individual Americans suffer losses of life and liberty.

At this point, right-wingers are no doubt applauding my words. But I wonder where they were during the Bush administration, as it used the terrorism threat to expand federal powers and undermine civil liberties. Actually, I don't wonder where they were. They were right there, cheering and defending the administration, just as the left-wingers are reliably defending the Obama administration as it seeks to depict decent people as threats to society.

Regarding Obama's outrageous report, conservative columnist Michele Malkin wrote: "[T]he piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives. And the intent is clear. … In Obama land, there are no coincidences. It is no coincidence that this report echoes Tea Party-bashing left-wing blogs … and demonizes the very Americans" who protested last month during the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party. She's right, but Malkin is known in part for her book defending the U.S. government's internment of innocent Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans during World War II, and she has been quite vocal in her defense of federal policies targeting Muslim Americans.

In Orange County, the FBI used a convicted con artist as an informant who inserted himself into local mosques and recorded conversations with mosque-goers about potentially blowing up buildings. Although the agency wouldn't confirm the man's identity, it did acknowledge that he was recording people within mosques. A man named Craig Monteilh says he was the informant and he says he went by the name Farouk al-Aziz. As the Register reported, Monteilh is accused of going from one young Muslim to another, trying to engage them in radical talk. Some mosque-goers contacted the FBI to report on this seeming radical in their midst, but according to the local Council of American-Islamic Relations, these men who made complaints then became the subject of FBI scrutiny.

It's one thing for the FBI to infiltrate a mosque after getting a solid tip that someone there is involved in terrorist activities, and quite another for the agency to go on a fishing expedition. A Register editorial made this point: "Everyone understands the need for legitimate undercover activities in response to credible evidence. But we cannot fathom the justification for fishing expeditions and entrapment. Nationwide, some of the supposed terrorist 'plots' the FBI has claimed to have foiled have simply been cases of entrapment involving Muslims without the intent or wherewithal to pull off any attacks."

Even if the FBI's claims are right that it doesn't bait people into violent discussions, this infiltration business poses enormous privacy problems.

A person goes to worship at his mosque and has to worry that the people he talks to are actually recording conversations on behalf of powerful federal law enforcement agencies. No wonder many local Muslims avoided attendance there. Others have correctly argued that it would be a mistake for Muslims to cooperate with an FBI that assumes they are terrorists and secretly records their conversations. This strikes me as an authoritarian and counterproductive policy. Yet after the Register editorial, I received e-mails from conservatives blasting us for undermining the government's "war on terror" and siding with an organization (CAIR) these conservatives don't like.

So now let's turn things around. Let's say conservatives find that the Obama FBI is taping them at their churches and infiltrating pro-life, gun-rights and anti-illegal-immigration groups. We know the feds now believe that members of these groups are likely to be right-wing extremists, so the next step to "protect" the homeland from Oklahoma City-style violence is to do to these conservatives what the FBI has been doing to Muslims. Obviously, such a thing would be an outrage.

How would a conservative feel if his Bible-study friend, who once tried to goad him into violent talk about the end times, was actually a plant from the FBI? How would any of us feel if the FBI were scrutinizing sermons, recording speakers at political events and casting a wide net to "take down" the local gun club or pro-life group? Not too good, right?

Not surprisingly, the Muslim groups haven't uttered a peep about the "right-wing extremism" report, and liberal groups were busy defending the Obama administration and cheering its assault on legitimate conservative activism. No one complains when it's the other guy's ox being gored.

Isn't it time Americans defend everyone's civil liberties, not just the liberties of those on our side of the political spectrum? Can't we all realize that an excessively large and powerful federal government is a threat to everyone's liberties? Can't we unite at least in keeping a check on all federal law enforcement abuses, whether by Republican or Democratic administrations? Isn't it time for a broader alliance to protect civil liberties rather than the same tired partisanship?

Of course, my cynicism toward the feds and distrust of government authority no doubt makes me an extremist in the Obama administration's worldview. Maybe I better watch whom I talk to.

Contact the writer: sgreenhut@ocregister.com or 714-796-7823