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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ten anticipated impacts of the fall of the modern-day Pharaoh

It would be hard to underestimate the importance and impact of the current popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The fall of Egypt's modern-day Pharaoh, Mubarak, and the establishment of a true democracy will likely shape that volatile part of the world more than anything since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

These events not only affect the entire Middle East, but will have a tremendous impact on US foreign policy as well. Decades of brutal dictators oppressing and controlling their people is coming to a forced end, and the United States’ long-standing support for these autocracies must end as well.

This change is historic because it is not driven by any specific ideology. It is not driven by nationalist, Islamic, socialist, or political motivations. It is truly a popular movement that is bringing together poor and rich, young and old, religious and non-religious, Muslim and Christian, and political and non-political. It is a movement of the masses, of people seeking freedom, rights, honor, dignity, self-determination, economic prosperity, and a recognition of their humanity.

The fall of the Egyptian government and its repressive policies would be a catalyst for many changes. Here are the top 10:

1- A stronger push for democracy, freedoms, and human rights among the people in the rest of the Arab world.

2- A self-reassessment and public challenge of the repressive practices of Arab dictators and puppet regimes. The prospect of reform is a wake-up call that it is possible to change the status quo and that the "Arab Street" is not in a coma.

3- A end to the inhumane siege on Gaza and its people.

4- A greater chance for peace when more pressure is exerted on Israel to give the Palestinians more of their rights.

5- A major blow to the US-Israel bloc of client-states and allies, leading to more popular and stable democracies. (Tunisia and Egypt were among its leading members).

6- A shift in the Palestinian Authority's current policy of shamelessly ceding the Palestinian people's moral, legal, and human rights under heavy pressure from Israel's closest Arab ally/protectorate, Egypt (US and Saudi pressure will surely remain).

7- A weakening of religious extremism and terrorism, which is greatly fueled by political repression by dictators such as Mubarak (as well as ongoing occupations in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan)

8- Improved social and economic justice for the people when corrupt and greedy government officials and their cronies lose their ability to embezzle and squander the resources of their countries.

9- An easing of the tension and polarization between the West and large Muslim populations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, which is a result of the US and a few other Western nations imposing, supporting and funding brutal autocracies.

10- On a lighter note, this will also create new job opportunities as our intelligence agencies and State Department will have to go back to the drawing board to remap new US policies and strategies in dealing with a new democratic Arab and Muslim-majority countries and peoples.

Like all people, Egyptians have the right to live in freedom, pursue self-determination, and enjoy democracy and respect. The US needs to let go of our addiction to dictators and puppets who do our bidding in the world under the guise of protecting stability or the immoral excuse of serving our national interest at the expense of other people’s lives and freedom. The political map is changing... in Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Palestine, and many other places.

Shortly after he was elected, President Obama promised that he would support political reforms, freedom, democracy, justice, and human rights in the Middle East. Now he has a golden opportunity to put his words into action. So far, he has made it clear that he intends to do so with regard to the Egyptian uprising.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Terrorism Adviser Takes A 'Broad Tent' Approach

by Dina Temple-Raston

There's a pattern to recent terror attacks in the United States: Americans — either citizens or residents — have been behind them. In the past two years, dozens of American citizens and residents have been arrested on terrorism charges.

In some cases, the suspects were young Muslims traveling overseas to train for violent jihad. In others, they're accused of actually trying to launch attacks. Attorney General Eric Holder said homegrown terrorism is one of those things that keeps U.S. officials awake at night.

Now there is someone new at the National Security Council who won't be getting much sleep: He's a former Rhodes College professor named Quintan Wiktorowicz, and he's an expert on, among other things, how some people decide to become terrorists.

"A number of years ago, before he went into government, he did some of the most path-breaking work not only on who was susceptible to being radicalized, but most importantly, who was the most resistant to being radicalized," says Christine Fair, an expert on terrorism and radicalization at Georgetown University. "And the findings that he came up with based upon his work really shattered some of the stereotypes we have about Muslims and radicalization."

As part of his research, Wiktorowicz interviewed hundreds of Islamists in the United Kingdom. After compiling his interviews he came to the conclusion that — contrary to popular belief — very religious Muslims were in fact the people who ended up being the most resistant to radicalization.

Fair, who has done a great deal of work on radicalization in Pakistan, said Wiktorowicz's work stayed with her forever. "It really was revelatory for me," she says.

Revelatory because, as it turns out, Wiktorowicz found that it was people who did not have a good grounding in the religion who were the most likely to be attracted by radical Islam.

Peter Neumann is the director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College, London. He got to know Wiktorowicz in London three years ago. Wiktorowicz was at the U.S. Embassy there, studying how the British dealt with radical Islamists and then finding ways to apply those lessons to the United States.

While in the U.K., Wiktorowicz reached out to a wide range of Muslim leaders — from moderates to extremists — and that set him apart from scholars who had preceded him, Neumann says. "He very successfully mobilized a broad coalition of very different people in London that all came together in order to oppose extremism and terrorism. No one else before has accomplished that."

It is also on this point that Wiktorowicz apparently ran into trouble. His coalition of Muslims was controversial because it included people some conservatives in Britain found too extreme. As Neumann sees it, that was part of the strategy: "Wiktorowicz's approach has quite deliberately been: 'I want the tent to be as broad as possible. ... As long as they are opposed to extremism and terrorism, I want everyone to be part of the coalition.' "

At the White House, Wiktorowicz's title will be senior director for global engagement at the National Security Council. He's seen by terrorism experts as bringing so much to his new job that he could fundamentally change the way the Obama administration deals with Muslims in America.

Right now, counterradicalization in the U.S. largely depends on law enforcement — on things like FBI outreach to Muslim communities. The sheer volume of homegrown terrorism cases in the U.S. over the past two years makes clear that isn't enough, Neumann says.

"One of the important things about counterradicalization is that about perhaps 10 percent of it is law enforcement and intelligence, 90 percent of it are things that have relatively little to do with that," he says. "Counterradicalization also has to include things like politicians visiting Muslim communities, messaging" and beefing up education about Islam among Muslims themselves, so they can better resist radical recruiters.

How Wiktorowitz will apply what he learned in Britain here is unclear. His first official day of work at the White House is Monday.

'Jewish-Muslim ties in Maghreb were good despite Nazis'

Jerusalem Post

When Nazi Germany’s Afrika Korps invaded Tunisia in 1942, panic quickly spread among members of the local Jewish community, many of whom packed their belongings and fled to the countryside, fearing persecution.

Dr. Haim Saadon of the Hebrew University recalled, in an interview with the The Jerusalem Post last week, how his parents had to live in hiding until the French colony was liberated by the allies.

“They remember exactly how they left their houses and lived in a little village with Muslims in the country,” Saadon said.

“They had to pay for their accommodation but they were well treated there.”

Relatively good ties between Jews and Muslims in North Africa during World War II stand in stark contrast to the treatment of their coreligionists by gentiles in Europe at the same time and is the central theme of the English-language lecture Saadon is scheduled to deliver at the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem on Tuesday, on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Whereas in Europe Jews were hunted down by locals – in Lithuania the Jewish community was almost annihilated by nationalist militias without the Nazis lifting a finger – the Jews of North Africa were for the most part left unharmed by Muslims.

“There was no violence towards Jews during the war from Muslims,” he said.

“Even between 1911 when Libya was occupied by the Italians, until 1943, there was a lot of tension between the Italians and the Jews, but the Jews were relatively on good terms with the Muslims...

Ayloush Discusses Radicalization & Rep. King's Hearings on NPR

Are American Muslims being Radicalized?
 CAIR-LA Executive Director Discusses Rep. King's Hearings with NPR's Patt Morrison


The hearing has caused a major stir, without even being formally scheduled. Congressman Peter King, a New York Republican who is known for speaking bluntly on matters of national security, is planning on holding a hearing, in his new role as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, on the threat posed by radical Islam in America. Rep. King plans to focus on the shootings at Ft. Hood and the bombing attempt in Times Square, both of which were perpetrated by American Muslims.

Just the announcement alone has caused controversy on both sides of the issue - security hawks are disappointed that more aggressive advocates against radical Islam are not being called as witnesses, while Muslim American groups are very weary that they will all be characterized as terrorists in waiting. There does seem to be anecdotal evidence of more terrorism attempts carried out by American citizens of Muslims descent, but there's also a sizable Muslim population in the U.S. that is well-educated and very successful. Is radicalization really a threat?

Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles
Brian Michael Jenkins, Senior Advisor to the President at the RAND Corporation


Washington Post: Hearings on Muslims Trigger Panic

The Myth of Homegrown Islamic Terrorism

Monday, Jan. 24, 2011

By Romesh Ratnesar
Time and CNN

There is a specter haunting the U.S. It is "one of the things that keeps me up at night," Attorney General Eric Holder said last month. North Carolina Representative Sue Myrick, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has warned President Obama that "there is no doubt" the problem has become "a global threat." The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King, plans to convene hearings next month on the danger "that threatens the security of us all."

In the wake of the Tucson, Ariz., tragedy, you might think that such high-profile alarm would center on the shortcomings of America's mental-health system or the inadequacy of the country's gun laws. You would be mistaken. Instead, some members of the political class remain fixated on what they regard as a greater national emergency: the purported rise of "homegrown" Islamic terrorists. They point to a string of examples of jihadist activity by U.S. citizens of Muslim faith: the Somali-born Portland, Ore., man who tried to detonate a dud car bomb planted by the FBI at a December tree-lighting ceremony; last summer's failed Times Square bombing by a naturalized Pakistani; the 14 men charged last August with providing support to Islamist militants in Somalia. (See more about Portland's Christmas-tree-bombing plot.)

And then there's Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemen-based Internet imam late of Falls Church, Va., who intelligence officials say now acts as a regional commander for al-Qaeda, with the charge of recruiting impressionable American Muslims to take up arms against their country. In the eyes of some, al-Awlaki and his ilk represent the vanguard of an even more sinister trend: the growing "radicalization" of the estimated 5 million Muslims living in the U.S. "Radicalization is taking place inside America," Myrick wrote in her letter to Obama. "The strikingly accelerated rate of American Muslims arrested for involvement in terrorist activities since May 2009 makes this fact self-evident."

Actually, it doesn't. Though acts of violent extremism by U.S. Muslims appear to have grown, their potency has not. American Muslims remain more moderate, diverse and integrated than the Muslim populations in any other Western society. Despite the efforts of al-Qaeda propagandists like al-Awlaki, the evidence of even modest sympathy for the enemy existing inside the U.S. is minuscule. The paranoia about homegrown terrorism thus vastly overstates al-Qaeda's strength and reflects our leaders' inability to make honest assessments about the true threats to America's security.

Those who beat the drums about the homegrown terrorism threat often gloss over one salient fact: for all the publicity that surrounds cases of domestic jihad, not a single civilian has been killed by an Islamic terrorist on U.S. soil since Sept. 11. (The killing spree by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 doesn't fit the standard definition of terrorism: his motives were not wholly ideological, nor did he deliberately target civilians.) That's due to a number of factors, including the military's assault on al-Qaeda's leadership, tougher homeland-security measures, smart policing and some degree of luck. But the fact that every homegrown terrorism plot has been foiled before it could be carried out also demonstrates the fecklessness of the terrorists themselves. In nearly every case — including that of Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, who came closest to succeeding — homegrown terrorists have been found to have acted almost entirely alone. There has been no vast conspiracy. Terrorist attacks may not require much money or ingenuity, but a lone wolf has little chance of pulling off the kind of mass-casualty strike that counterterrorism experts worry about most. (See more about the Broadway Bomber, Faisal Shahzad.)

Of course, violent individuals — from Hasan to Jared Loughner — are still capable of causing mayhem. But there's no evidence that large numbers of American Muslims are inclined to do so. Though alarmists point to the alienation of young Muslims in Western Europe as a sign of things to come for the U.S., the likelihood of that happening there is remote. A Gallup survey conducted in 2009 found that American Muslims report vastly higher rates of life satisfaction than do their counterparts in other Western countries — and higher rates than the populations in every Muslim-majority country except one, Saudi Arabia. In the past 10 years, fewer than 200 people in the U.S. have been indicted on suspicion of jihadist activities. A comprehensive report by the Rand Corporation last year concluded that just one out of every 30,000 American Muslims could be said to have joined jihad, "suggesting an American Muslim population that remains hostile to jihadist ideology and its exhortations to violence." (Comment on this story.)

So why does the myth of homegrown terrorism persist? In part because, like every hardy political meme, it serves the interests of loudmouths on both ends of the ideological spectrum. To the right, the threat of homegrown terrorism helps to perpetuate the notion of a ceaseless, civilization-wide struggle against Islamic extremism. To the left, the prospect of American Muslims taking up jihad fits with the idea that the U.S.'s foreign policy is creating a new generation of terrorists. (See photos of a jihadist's journey.)

And yet al-Qaeda is weaker and less capable today than it was before Sept. 11; its appeal to mainstream Muslims around the world is shrinking, rather than increasing. The fact that Osama bin Laden wannabes like al-Awlaki have risen to such prominence is testament to the evisceration of al-Qaeda's leadership. The U.S. faces far bigger and immediate challenges to the welfare and security of its citizens, not least from the ease with which unstable individuals can legally obtain and use deadly firearms. Addressing that danger will do more to protect Americans than obsessing about the phantom threat of homegrown terrorism ever will.

Ratnesar, a TIME contributing editor-at-large, is a Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of Tear Down This Wall: A City, a President, and the Speech That Ended the Cold War. His column on global affairs appears every Monday on TIME.com.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Va. teen detained in Kuwait returns to U.S., reunites with family

By Kafia A. Hosh and Peter Finn
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, January 21, 2011; 10:02 AM

A Virginia teenager who was placed on the no-fly list and barred from returning home to the United States from Kuwait arrived at Dulles International Airport on Friday morning for an emotional reunion with his family...

Mohamed was detained in Kuwait last month at the behest of the United States, according to his attorneys. They allege that Mohamed was beaten by Kuwaiti officials who questioned him about his travels in Yemen and Somalia after he left the United States in March 2009...

Gadeir Abbas, a staff attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations who is representing Mohamed along with Nadhira al-Khalili, said FBI agents in Kuwait also tried to question the teenager despite the fact that he told them he wanted his American attorneys present for any interrogation.

Civil liberties groups allege that Mohamed's case is part of a pattern in which American citizens are barred from flying to the United States so they can be questioned by U.S. agents while overseas and without counsel.

Mohamed's attorneys sued Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Terrorist Screening Center Director Timothy Healy and their respective agencies in federal court in Alexandria. They alleged that Mohamed's 14th Amendment right to reside in the United States and to reenter the country from abroad was being violated. And they asked U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga to order the government to allow Mohamed to return home...

Read full story

Mother Jones: Gulet Mohamed Returns to America

Peter King's Terrorism Problem (Mother Jones)

Tim Murphy - Editorial fellow at Mother Jones
Wed Jan. 19, 2011
Mother Jones

When it comes to matters of national security, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has never been accused of holding back. So when the political world suffered a collective freak-out over leaked diplomatic cables late last year, King, the top Republican on the House homeland security committee, naturally led the charge. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, King warned that WikiLeaks' release of the classified documents amounted to supporting terrorism.

But according to experts in counterterrorism law, if the tough-on-terror policies King trumpets today had taken effect a few decades earlier, King himself might have been subject to prosecution. Over parts of three decades, from his days as an aspiring politician in Long Island through his early years in Congress, King was one of the nation's most outspoken supporters of the Irish Republican Army and a prolific fundraiser for the Irish Northern Aid Committee (NorAid), allegedly the IRA's American fundraising arm. The IRA waged a paramilitary campaign against the British presence in Northern Ireland for decades before peace accords were signed in 1998. Part of that effort included bombings and shootings that resulted in civilian deaths in England and Northern Ireland. During the period of King's involvement, the US government accused both NorAid and the IRA of links to terrorism...

King isn't the only conservative who says one thing and does another when it comes to material support. Last month, a panel of Bush-era luminaries—Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey—traveled to Paris to speak at a conference in support of Mujahideen-e-Khalq, an Iranian Marxist group that's opposed to the Ahmadinejad regime but has landed on the State Department terror list (the designation cannot be challenged in court). Because the event's organizer, the French Committee for a Democratic Iran, was formed to build support for the MEK, Cole says the trio's advocacy constituted a clear breach of federal law...

Ayloush Khutba/sermon at ISOC: Change and action require ability and will

A khutba that i gave on 10/30/2009 at the Islamic Society of Orange County.  It just got posted by ISOC.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ayloush elected as delegate for AD71 and Executive Board member to the CA Democratic Party (CDP)

Thank you everyone for your support for my delegate and Executive Board election.

I am humbled and proud that on January 8, 2011, I was elected as a delegate for AD71 to the CA Democratic Party (CDP) and a member of the Executive Board of the CDP.

Firstly, all praises are due to Allah (God Almighty) for giving me the opportunity to serve people and work for justice and equality.

Then, special thanks to the many helpers, voters, and volunteers who offered their support to make this win possible.

Of course, many thanks to all those who offered their moral support and prayers.

I pledge to do my best to represent you and advance your values, issues, and concerns to the CA Democratic Party. Everyone, expect to hear from me soon as I tap into your experience or try to get you more engaged and involved in the affairs of our State in order to protect what our country truly stands for: liberty and justice for all.

AD71 includes the cities of Corona, Norco, Eastvale, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Tustin Foothills, and parts of Tustin and Orange).


Embarrassed France rethinks position on Tunisia

My note: 
To avoid future embarrassment, France and other countries should stop supporting countries engaged in occupation, apartheid, repression, and autocracy.Right?

Middle East Online

PARIS - Embarrassed by its close ties with Tunisia's ousted authoritarian regime, France was scrambling Wednesday to reposition itself in the wake of its dramatic collapse.

During El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule, the former colonial power maintained warm ties with a government it saw as a motor of growth, promoter of women and bulwark against Islamism.

But when Tunisia's own people revolted against Ben Ali's brutal police state, Paris was caught flat-footed, and slipped into silence as Tunisia's security forces fired on crowds in a vain bid to save him.

"Non-interference and support for freedom and democracy are at the heart of our foreign policy," President Nicolas Sarkozy told the French cabinet, his spokesman said afterwards.

"Sometimes circumstances put these two principles in opposition to each other. That is what happened with the events that just took place in Tunisia," he explained.

In fact, France's ties with Ben Ali's Tunisia went far beyond "non-interference". In 2008, rights groups criticised Sarkozy for praising the regime "for opening up the democratic space."

And last week, when rights groups were already reporting police had shot dead dozens of protesters, Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie suggested France could train the force to better maintain order...

Since the downfall, Paris has been playing catch-up. Alliot-Marie has faced opposition calls for her resignation and Sarkozy has been forced to defend his position...

On Monday, Defence Minister Alain Juppe launched an attempt to reposition France by admitting that Paris had "underestimated the public exasperation at the dictatorial police state."

But the change in tune came too late to spare Sarkozy's government from the attacks of the left, with the daily Liberation denouncing a "diplomatic fiasco" overseen by Sarkozy's closest advisers.

Saudi gifts showered Obama, his family, administration

Middle East Online

WASHINGTON, - In his first year as US president, Barack Obama, his family and administration members were showered with more than 300,000 dollars in gifts from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

The Federal Register reported Tuesday that King Abdullah gave some 34,500 dollars worth of presents to Obama, some 146,200 dollars worth to First Lady Michelle Obama and 7,275 dollars worth to their children Malia and Sasha.

The monarch offered a total of 108,245 dollars worth of gifts to White House staff, presents valued at 23,400 dollars to a senior US diplomatic interpreter and gifts estimated at 12,000 dollars to the US charge d'affaires in Riyadh...

The Saudi king gave the First Lady a ruby and diamond jewelry set worth 132,000 dollars as well as a pearl necklace with a value of 14,200 dollars, according to the register...

All the presents go to the National Archives as US law bars any US government official from receiving a present from a foreign government.

Obama and others accepted the gifts because "non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and US government," according to the register.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Isn't Jared Lee Loughner a Homegrown Terrorist?

by: Sahar Aziz, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Why Isn't Jared Lee Loughner a Homegrown Terrorist?
Jared Lee Loughner's mug shot, released by Pima County. Arizona, 1/10/2011

How many more members of Congress have to be victims of politically motivated violence before we acknowledge terrorism is defined by the act and not the identity of the actor? Any person who "use[s] violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature ... through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear" is a terrorist.

While clearly suffering from some sort of mental disorder, Jared Lee Loughner was motivated to some extent by anti-government politics. Had his name been Mohammed, we would be talking about homegrown terrorism, not gun control or mental illness.

The tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a wakeup call that religious profiling does not work. While our nation was obsessed with Muslim "homegrown terrorism," Loughner stealthily planned his terrorist scheme.

It is no secret that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI has focused its anti-terrorism efforts on Muslims. Traveler watch lists have grown exponentially, primarily with Muslim and Arabic names. Internet web sites and chat rooms with expressions of political dissent coupled with Islamic rhetoric are presumably under vigilant surveillance. More recently, Muslim youth have become ensnared in sting operations as part of a zealous preventative campaign. So much so that civil rights groups claim the tactics may cross into unlawful entrapment.

To be sure, Muslims engaged in illegal terrorist activity should be investigated and prosecuted accordingly. But with its investigative authorities broadened after 9/11, why didn't the FBI stop Loughner before he shot a Congresswoman in the head, killed six civilians, including a federal judge and nine-year-old girl, and injured 17 people?

In light of the FBI's recent stings of Muslim terrorist suspects that involved months of surveillance, undercover operations and careful execution, where was the FBI when Loughner was plotting his murderous scheme? Did they fail to discover his plot because he did not fit the "profile" of a Muslim terrorist?

But Loughner is not the first time the FBI dropped the ball on countering homegrown terrorism. In February 2010, Joseph Stack flew an airplane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, to protest tax laws and the IRS's order for him to pay his taxes. Prior to his crime, he publicly expressed his intent to protest the tax laws through violence. In the end, his terrorist act killed a federal employee and veteran. Had the plane crashed into the building a different time of the day, hundreds of IRS employees could have been killed.

In another troubling case in 2008, the FBI was apparently unaware of James Cummings' preparation of a dirty bomb. Only after the police investigated his shooting by his abused wife did the FBI discover that Cummings' house had a cache of radioactive materials suitable for building a "dirty bomb." In addition to literature on how to build dirty bombs and various radioactive materials, the FBI found evidence linking Cummings to white supremacist groups and his ardent admiration of Adolf Hitler. Fortunately for the prospective victims of his dirty bomb, he was unable to murder and terrorize an unknown number of people.
As our law enforcement fixates on young Muslim males in the legitimate goal to stop domestic terrorism, those outside the profile execute their terrorist acts undetected. Thus, it should come as no surprise that when law enforcement misguidedly focus their resources investigating individuals and communities based on ineffective racial or religious profiles, they miss the Loughners of the world.

The rise in terrorist plots by right-wing extremists is not accidental. Ever since Barack Obama's historic election, there has been a troubling proliferation of armed right-wing groups. Many of the groups question the legitimacy of Obama's presidency and by extension anyone supporting Obama's policies. Indeed, Giffords was among numerous elected officials subjected to threats because she voted for health care reform, pejoratively coined "Obamacare."

The violence in Arizona appears to be the latest episode in this troubling growth of right-wing violent extremism. It is a tragic reminder of the perils of focusing on only one particular religious, racial or ethnic group when countering homegrown terrorism. For the sake of our collective safety, not to mention our civil liberties, let's hope our government never forgets this basic fact.

Friday, January 07, 2011

When the Messiah comes, Israel will deport him - Bradley Burston (Haaretz)


When the Messiah comes, he will be without papers.

When the Messiah comes, he will be taken into a small room, off-white and chilled, with one gray metal chair at each side of a gray metal desk.

When the Messiah comes, he will be questioned by a junior officer of the Shin Bet, and by an official of the Interior Ministry, who got his job through his cousin, who is an inspector of ritual dietary observance at a cookie bakery and who got his job through his sister's father-in-law, third assistant to the deputy chair of the Shas party branch in Ramla.

When the Messiah comes, no one will know.

His donkey, which is white and is named Snowpea, will be impounded in a leaky underground police lot near the Lod railroad station. There will be no paperwork. By nightfall it will have disappeared, spirited into a closed truck by the lot's watchman, who after his shift will drive the donkey to a moshav. Money will change hands, and the donkey as well, four times, until it is sold by settlers to Palestinians some of whose ancestral land now lies inside the settlement fence.

When the Messiah comes, the first sign will be a gag order.

A coded report on a high-profile news website will be made to disappear. It will reappear on a blog in Seattle, and then in the Guardian. The government will delay response, finally issuing a statement ascribed to sources in Jerusalem, reading "We have no knowledge of this." The IDF, quoting an unnamed senior military official, will state that there is no evidence that a Messiah of any kind has come. It will later soften the denial, saying it is checking the report and directing reporters to the Defense Ministry, which turfs them to the Prime Minister's Office, which cannot be reached for comment.

When the Messiah comes, rabbis will treat him like Jesus.

They will brand him disloyal, diseased, Reform.

In wall posters, Sabbath sermons, ritual decrees and signed petitions, careful not to use his title, chief rabbis of cities and towns will warn of an existential threat to the essential Jewish character of the state. Under no circumstances are Jews to sell or rent homes or lots to someone like this. The rabbis' wives will vilify him as a carnal threat to Jewish girls.

The rabbis' declarations will divide the Jewish people and bring wrath and dishonor upon Israel. The rabbis will continue to draw large civil service salaries, as well as generous tips, in cash, goods and services under the table and off the books.

When the Messiah comes, the Right will crucify him. Im Tirzu will roll out ads and billboards showing him with a tail to go along with his horns. A blogger from Commentary will call him a whiny, petulant boob. In Maariv and the Jerusalem Post, seven columnists will all have at him in the same three day period. NGO Monitor will ask for donations to expose his sources of funding.

When the Messiah comes, the Occupation will end.

But before it does, a global social network led by the Republican Jewish Coalition, Fox News, The Zionist Organization of America and Daniel Pipes, will launch a campaign aimed at exposing the Messiah as a Muslim.

When the Messiah is crucified, the army will deny that he was even present at the time.

When the Messiah comes, an Israel political party whose voters are routinely denigrated by native-born Israelis as whores and non-Jews will propose legislation declaring him a delegitimizer of Israel and the army (over the crucifixion), a blasphemer of Zionism (for suggesting that the Palestinians were not the sole obstacles to peace), and rendering him ineligible for citizenship unless he signs a loyalty oath stating that even if Israel did practice crucifiction, it did so in a democratic and Jewish manner.

Aides to Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari, along with Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans, will take out a Facebook page headed "Mavet L' Mashiach" – Death to the Messiah.

When the Messiah comes, he will be granted refugee status by the United Nations as a legitimate seeker of asylum, but will be held at a detention camp in Israel's Area 51, near the perimeter of the Dimona nuclear reactor facility, where a judge will trick him into signing an illegible document, which will force his deportation to Chad.

By the time the messiah leaves the Jewish state, he'll be thrilled to go.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

CAIR-LA, Islamic Shura Council of So. Calif. Condemn Senseless Targeting of Coptic Worshipers in Egypt

(ANAHEIM, January 1, 2011) - CAIR-LA joins the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and all American Muslims in condemning the heinous killing of innocent Coptic Christian worshipers in Egypt. Such senseless action is alien to the longstanding tradition of peaceful and harmonious relationship between Egypt's Christians and Muslims.

"We offer our condolences to the Coptic Christian community and pray that the perpetrators are swiftly caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law," said Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of CAIR-LA. "The best response to such vicious and sectarian murders is for Muslims and Christians, in Egypt and around the world, to remain united in opposing and challenging this and all forms of extremism and terrorism," Ayloush added.

Below is the statement issued by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California of which CAIR-LA is a member.

(ANAHEIM- January 1, 2011) - The Islamic Shura Council of Southern California mourns the senseless killing of the Saints Coptic Church members in Alexandria, Egypt.

"We extend our most heartfelt condolences to the Coptic Christian community and abhor the heinous crime," said the Chairman of the Shura Council, Dr. Maher Hathout. He also asked the member Mosques to reach out to the Coptic churches in their area and offer moral support.

"We sincerely share your grief and stand in solidarity," wrote Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Shura Council, in a memo to the Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Los Angeles, His Grace Bishop Serapion.

The Islamic Shura Council is an umbrella organization of Mosques and Muslim organizations serving more than half a million Muslims in Southern California.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Timeline for Islamophobia in 2010

The Year in Islamophobia: Timeline
Mother Jones
Tim Murphy, Thu Dec. 30, 2010

It's never a good sign when you find yourself longing for the halcyon days of George W. Bush. But after a year in which right-wing activists and politicians identified America's greatest threats as mosques and infants, you could be forgiven for feeling a bit nostalgic for the man who responded to the 9/11 attacks by emphasizing that "Islam is a religion of peace."

So, is America Islamophobic? It depends. For the overwhelming majority of Muslims, America's still a pretty sweet place to work and pray (just watch out for these fellas). And as conservatives like Jeff Jacoby are quick to point out, when it comes to reported hate crimes, Jewish Americans still have it worse. Much, much worse. But with precious few exceptions, anti-Semitism is confined to the paranoid fringe; you'd never see a slew of presidential candidates line up to, say, protest the construction of a synogogue.

2010 was the year Islamic fearmongering officially went mainstream. Here's a quick look back at how the heck it happened. Enjoy.

Click here to see the timeline.