About Me

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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dead Poets Society Lied: What the Movies Don't Teach You About Student Resistance (on Irvine11)

John Hrabe
Huffington Post

...In February 2010, members of UC Irvine's Muslim Student Association systematically interrupted a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. On September 23, an Orange County jury found ten of the students guilty of misdemeanor charges and sentenced them to three years of informal probation...

To be clear, I'm not defending the content of the protests, nor do I support the students' outbursts. Freedom of speech doesn't include a heckler's veto, and the students could have protested the ambassador in more constructive ways...

But, Dr. Smith also wisely points out that the heckler's veto wasn't the only First Amendment question in this case. There was also the issue of whether Muslim students were singled out and selectively prosecuted because of their views.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the District Attorney selectively prosecuted," said Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations - Greater Los Angeles Area, "because the students were Muslim, the speaker was an Israeli diplomat, and the verbal protests centered on Israel's long history of war crimes."

It strains credulity to think that the politics of the speakers didn't affect the decision to prosecute. Had this been a raucous student council meeting about the cost of tuition, the case would have ended in a campus administrative hearing. You'd be laughed out of any prosecutor's office if you tried to turn it into a criminal case. Most hecklers not only avoid prosecution, but get a bigger platform because of their disruptions. Anyone remember Rep. Joe Wilson and Joe the Plumber?

In Orange County, Muslim Americans have other reasons to believe that there's a double standard for free speech. Earlier this year, Villa Park City Councilwoman Deborah Pauly protested an Islamic charity event and exclaimed, "I know quite a few Marines who will be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise." Just this month, San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve said at a council meeting that he named his dog Muhammad to intentional provoke Muslim Americans and make a statement about free speech. These incidents explain why Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, described the verdict as keeping an "open wound" in the community.

If you protect the offensive, anti-Islamic rhetoric of Orange Curtain councilmembers, you have to protect the rights of the UC Irvine Muslim Student Association. As Ayloush put it, "No topic should be off limits and no public official or country should be above criticism."

When controversial speakers are prosecuted under ridiculous "disturbing the peace" statutes, it sets up a forced choice for freedom. Every speaker must live in fear of prosecution, or worse, only the dissenting speakers get quashed. Either scenario is unacceptable because both outcomes lead to less speech.

Our natural reaction to contrasting views should always be to speak out ourselves, not shut our opponents up. Muslim students get the same First Amendment protections as Israeli ambassadors. I'm entitled to my review of Dead Poets Society; and Roger Ebert has a right to his -- even if he's wrong.

Read Full article

New Evidence of Anti-Islam Bias Underscores Deep Challenges for FBI’s Reform Pledge

Danger Room
By Spencer Ackerman
September 23, 2011

Following months of denials, the FBI is now promising a “comprehensive review of all training and reference materials” after Danger Room revealed a series of Bureau presentations that tarred average Muslims as “radical” and “violent.”

But untangling the Islamophobic thread woven into the FBI’s counterterrorism training culture won’t be easy. In addition to inflammatory seminars which likened Islam to the Death Star and Mohammed to a “cult leader,” Danger Room has obtained more material showing just how wide the anti-Islam meme has spread throughout the Bureau.

The FBI library at Quantico currently stacks books from authors who claim that “Islam and democracy are totally incompatible.” The Bureau’s private intranet recently featured presentations that claimed to demonstrate the “inherently violent nature of Islam,” according to multiple sources. Earlier this year, the Bureau’s Washington Field Office welcomed a speaker who claimed Islamic law prevents Muslims from being truly loyal Americans. And as recently as last week, the online orientation material for the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces included claims that Sunni Islam seeks “domination of the world,” according to a law enforcement source...

some voiced worries that the presentation sent an implicit message to agents that they should be targeting Muslims in the name of stopping terrorism. And in the past few years, the FBI has accelerated its monitoring of mosques, community centers, businesses and other organizations run by Muslims. Several observers suspect that the persistence of training materials that casts Islam in a threatening light helps explain the increased surveillance. Others — including many counterterrorism professionals within the FBI who say they are disgusted by the bigoted material they’ve received — fear that the presentations will drive a wedge between the Bureau and the U.S. Muslim communities whose assistance it needs to prevent terrorism...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Khutbah: "The Best Jihad: Challenging Injustice"

My Khutba/sermon commenting on the Irvine11 verdict, recent FBI abuses, Palestinian state bid at the UN, execution of Troy Davis, Islamophobic comments by OC councilmembers, and our need to respond to injustice.

Khutba was delivered on September 23, 2011 at the Islamic Institute of Orange County in Anaheim.

Khutbah: "The Best Jihad: Challenging Injustice" by Br. Hussam Ayloush. from Islamic Institute of Orange Cty on Vimeo.

Dangerous Lessons in Islamophobia at the FBI (MUST READ)

Posted by Julian Sanchez on Cato at Liberty
Sep. 16, 2011

One presentation makes it quite explicit that, in the analyst’s view, the problem is not Islamic “extremism,” but the inherent propensity for violence of Muslims as such:
  • There may not be a “radical” threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology.
  • The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are mainstream.
  • The individual applying these values and practices may likely be simply a pious and devout adherent: i.e., a true believer as opposed to a “radical.”
In other words, FBI agents are effectively told that Osama bin Laden was correct, and that a sincere Muslim who understands and practices his faith correctly will naturally be a terrorist. It would be offensive in any context for the government to sponsor this kind of smear session against the enormous peaceful majority of its Muslim citizens, but it’s downright dangerous in light of the vast expansion of FBI surveillance authorities over the past decade...

Read Full Article

FBI Trainer Says Forget ‘Irrelevant’ al-Qaida, Target Islam (video)

by Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman 
The FBI has publicly declared that its counterterrorism training seminars linking “mainstream” Muslims to terrorists was a “one time only” affair that began and ended in April 2011. But two months later, the Bureau employee who delivered those controversial briefings gave a similar lecture to a gathering of dozens of law enforcement officials at an FBI-sponsored public-private partnership in New York City.
And during that June presentation, the FBI’s William Gawthrop told his audience that the fight against al-Qaida is a “waste,” compared to the threat presented by the ideology of Islam itself.

Since Danger Room published the contents of Gawthrop’s April lecture, top Senators and representatives from Arab- and Muslim-American groups have blasted the FBI for the training documents, which compare Mohammed to a “cult leader.”...

The best strategy for undermining militants, Gawthrop suggested, is to go after Islam itself. To undermine the validity of key Islamic scriptures and key Muslim leaders.

Watch video

New Documents Reveal FBI’s Islamophobic Counterterrorism Training

Counterterrorism agents at the FBI’s training center in Quantico, Virginia are being taught that “devout” Muslims are more likely to be “violent” and that American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers, according to training materials acquired by Wired’s Spencer Ackerman. (In fact, mosques have been found to be a deterrent to the spread of terrorism.)

An FBI spokesperson told Ackerman that the slides were no longer in use but dates on the slides would suggest that they were used at least until March 21.

The documents offer a violent interpretation of Islam in which “Any war against non-believers is justified” and a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.” A particularly blunt slide shows a comparison of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, depicting how they have moderated their “militancy considerations” over time:

The information in the slides is clearly Islamophobic and completely ignores the fact that Islamic extremism, while a national security concern worthy of sober discussion, is a limited problem within the United States and hardly a frequent phenomenon in Muslim communities. A recent Duke terrorism study showed that since 9/11, the U.S. has experienced only 33 deaths from Muslim terrorism while 150,000 murders have occurred during the same time.

Several of the slide presentations are the work of an FBI intelligence analyst named William Gawthrop who, in 2006, before he joined the Bureau, gave an interview to WorldNetDaily, in which he said “Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the FBI has given a stage to noted Islamophobes. In July, Ackerman identified that an FBI terrorism presentation recommended anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer’s book, “The Truth About Mohammed: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.”


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ayloush commenting on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 (NBC Los Angeles)

Fighting the Muslim Backlash

After 9/11, Muslim leaders found themselves trying to explain their faith and the campaign continues today.

By Vikki Vargas; Tuesday, Sep 6, 2011 - NBC Los Angeles

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Best way to thank America's workers...

The best way to thank America's workers who honorably serve us every day is to ensure they receive fair pay and benefits.

Support groups that are advocating for worker justice.
Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Ayloush Condemns Noose Hanging at OC Labor Federation Office

(ANAHEIM, CA, 9/2/11) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today re-iterated its solidarity with America's workers and those who advocate for their rights amid reports of a noose being found at the OC Labor Federation office in Orange.

The noose was found hanging at the entrance to the office earlier today.

The federation represents 90-plus unions and is currently in labor negotiations on behalf of workers for better living wages and working conditions.

CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush condemned the incident and stressed American Muslim community's solidarity with America's workers.

"We are appalled that there are those in society who seek to intimidate, drive fear, and act with malice toward the backbone of our country through reprehensible actions.

"American Muslims stand on the side of workers across the U.S. in their pursuit of fair and balanced working agreements. We further urge anyone with information to come forward and assist law enforcement in apprehending the perpetrator(s)."

Ayloush yesterday joined a CLUE-OC organized delegation in which OC Labor Federation and advocates met with grocery chain Ralphs in support of the grocery workers' rights.

Noose dangling from roof at union office