“I decided to murder an Arab”

This was the title on the email I received from the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Southern California Executive Director, Hussam Ayloush today.

The email went on…

Earlier this week, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that a French Jewish man, a recent immigrant to Israel and who recently became religious, confessed to the murder of a 35-year-old Arab taxi driver in Jerusalem.

“I decided to murder an Arab,” the suspect told police…

…The truth is that Islam and most Muslims are not responsible for such crimes any more than Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or any other religion and its followers are responsible for the crimes committed by the minority of violent extremists who claim to follow each of the respective religions, but yet act in complete contradiction to the teachings.

The solution is for all of us, religious and non-religious, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, to be part of promoting a culture of dialogue, human brotherhood, compassion, and justice…

The message included a link to Mr. Ayloush’s Blog post below:

This tragic hate crime served as sad reminder of what hatred can do. Hatred can push some to only see enemies in people who are different than them. It tends to hold a whole group responsible for the act of one or a few. Hatred dehumanizes the other and legitimizes their oppression. Hatred is the natural result of fanaticism and extremism.                          

When it comes to religious fanaticism or terrorism, right-wing pundits and even media would like us to believe that there is only one kind: the one claiming links to Islam.

It is an acceptable fact that there is a tiny minority of radicals who choose to interpret Islam and its peaceful teachings in the most austere and extreme way. Some of those extremists manipulate the Islamic religious texts to justify their aggression or the targeting of innocent people. For the record, the overwhelming majority of Muslims and almost all Muslim scholars have rejected such twisted interpretations and have exposed their contradiction to mainstream and traditional Islamic teachings.

However, such trends are not unique to Islam. Extremism and radicalism is not an Islamic defect. It is a human one. No matter which ideology, political or religious, there are always those who opt to take an extreme view when it comes to practice. Old and recent history presents us with ample evidence.

The Crusades and the Inquisitions were centuries-long manifestation of a fanatic and violent mis-interpretation of Christianity that took the lives of millions of Muslims, Jews, and other Christians.

The genocide in Bosnia against Muslims and Croats (Catholics) conducted by the Serbs was falsely labeled by the Serb extremists as an Orthodox Christian campaign to cleanse Greater Serbia.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda is fighting to overthrow the Ugandan Government and replace it with a “Christian” government based on the Bible and the Ten Commandments. The brutal guerrilla is responsible for the killing, raping, torturing, and maiming of tens of thousands of Uganda civilians.

In September of 1982, Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia entered the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut and murdered anywhere between 700 to 3,000 unarmed civilians. The massacre was committed by a group that claimed to be the soldiers of Christianity in Lebanon and was authorized and logistically supported by the Israeli army which had invaded Lebanon and surrounded the camps in 1982. That Israeli army also claims to be the defenders of Judaism in Israel. Of course, for most Muslims, neither one of those two religions can be held responsible for such a crime, even if the perpetrators falsely insist that they were doing so in the name of their religion.

Extremist Jewish settlers (as well as the Israeli army) in the West Bank/Palestine routinely engage in terrorizing innocent Palestinians through violence, murder, theft of land, and uprooting and destruction of trees and farmland. One of the first suicide/homicide attacks in that country was committed by a fanatic Jewish settler from New York. In 1994, the settler, Dr. Baruch Goldstein, committed the Hebron Massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 attendants of the Ibrahimi Mosque and wounding another 150 in a shooting attack. Goldstein also belonged to the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a U.S.-based terrorist group which has engaged in numerous terrorist activities across America.

Of course, who can forget the senseless terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 19 terrorists hijacked 4 commercial airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and ground in Pennsylvania killing close to 3,000 innocent people. Those attacks were falsely claimed by those murderers to be perpetrated “to defend oppressed Muslims and retaliate against U.S. policies.” Muslim scholars and leaders immediately rejected such un-Islamic and immoral actions and strongly condemned the perpetrators and their radical ideology.

The truth is that Islam and most Muslims are not responsible for such crimes any more than Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or any other religion and its followers are responsible for the crimes committed by the minority of violent extremists who claim to follow each of the respective religions, but yet act in complete contradiction to the teachings.

The solution is for all of us, religious and non-religious, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, to be part of promoting a culture of dialogue, human brotherhood, compassion, and justice.

If Muslims follow the Qur’anic teaching that says:
O humankind! We have created you from a single male and a female (Adam and Eve), and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with God are the ones who are most mindful of God (in their behavior).

And if Christians abide by Jesus’ saying:
Whatsoever you would that others should do to you, do you even so to them.

And if Jews follow the Torah commandment of:
You shall Love your neighbor as yourself.

Then we would all be in good shape. But until then, we will sadly continue to deal with Man’s aggression against his fellow Man. (and women too!)

 

There was recently coverage on Red County/OCBlog of the annual week of seminars, “Israel: Apartheid Resurrected,” promoted by the Muslim Student’s Union (MSU) at UCI.  The title of the particular post that comes to mind was ‘UCI Intifada: Preaching Terror on Campus.’  Of additional interest was the title of the Daily Pilot’s coverage of the speech from the previous day, ‘Islamic head blasts U.S. ties to Israel.’

I have to say this is quite a contrast in headlines covering the seminars that week. But the differences were not only in the headlines, there were vast differences in the tone of the coverage between the two articles.

In the Daily Pilot reporter Michael Miller wrote of the speech he covered;

A national Islamic leader criticized America’s support of Israel in a fiery speech on campus Monday but stressed that opposition to the Israeli government did not equal anti-Semitism.

Imam Muhammad al-Asi, the leader of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., addressing a crowd of about 100 students and frequently shouting into the microphone, al-Asi condemned both Israel’s treatment of Palestine and the United States’ support for its top ally in the region.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter angered many earlier this month when he spoke about his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” in the Bren Events Center. Al-Asi, however, urged the crowd not to confuse racism with politics.

“I would pray for the day in the near future when a sizable amount of Jews can take a public position, and speak loudly for the record, that Zionism is one thing and Judaism is another thing,” he said.

The coverage by ‘El Liberdator’ took a far different tact.  Focusing on what he called the thuggish tactics of members of the MSU who had asked that the speech not be recorded.

Yesterday, I visited the Crystal Cove Auditorium at UCI to hear Amir Abdul-Malik Ali, a radical Islamic activist sponsored by UCI’s Muslim Student Union. As soon as I arrived I could hear his typical racist vitriol on how the Jewish people are the greatest threat to civilization; the same sentiment I had heard months earlier when I heard him at the front of the flag polls praising Hezbollah’s war of attrition against Israel. This time it was different. As soon as I took my seat, with Sony camcorder in hand, many members of the audience gave me the stare of death. One guy sitting next to me told me to put my camera away. “The speaker doesn’t want to be audio or video recorded, he said. I refused. So a band of thugs from the Muslim Student Union started to flood the aisles, blocked my camera view, and threatened to get the police If I didn’t stop recording.

…We have all heard Mr. Ali preach hate before, what was different about this time?

El Liberdator provided a link to the video he took while in the auditorium at UCI.  What is interesting is that if you listen to the speaker’s remarks, there is nothing at all that even remotely borders on “hate speech.”  Yet the comments to this post are a bit telling of the attitudes of some of the OCBlog readers.

From former California Republican Party Chairman Shawn Steel…

The modern day Fascist Thugs did quite the same at Sac State recently. That Administration also enabled the Fascists to shut down a meeting featuring Ward Connerly sponsored by College Republicans.

Nazi Brown Shirters were quite effective reducing opposition on German campuses. We cannot allow similar occurances to grow in the already besieged California campuses.

From Commentor Barry:

When will American Jews wake up to the absolute wickedness of the Islamic religion. Every single follower of Islam: man, woman, and child, is taught nothing but such anti-semitism from the second they are born. The death cult of Mohammed is the biggest threat to American Jewry.

This comment from coach:

It would be a great service if Amir Abdul-Malik Ali would tell us how to recognize a Zionist Jew when wrapped from head to foot like a Muslim terrorist. If someone looking like that emerged out of the restroom on an airplane, it would be comforting to know that it is only some Jewish guy trying to make Muslims look bad. Then I can go back to reading my magazine.

Or this from someone named Debbie:

Can you believe the same Bill Dalati that ran for Anahiem City Council, the same one who is a memeber of CAIR now sits on the board of Lorri Galloways Eli Home?

Debbie’s comment reminds me of the election last year where Shawn Steel accused Anaheim City Council candidate Bill Dalati of supporting terrorists. ‘He can’t be a Republican, he’s Brown’ and ‘Dissecting Racism and Bigotry.’

Hate May 2006So let me bring things back to the original point of my post on this topic; Hate.

The recent report on Hate Crimes from the Orange County Human Relations Commission reported that “hate crimes and incidents targeting Musilm/Arab/Middle-Eastern population has doubled in the past year (10-20), which may in part be due to the conflict in Iraq.” 

The report also states that “anti-Jewish hate crimes and incidents were reported at 23, the lowest number since 1992.” 

2006 OC Hate Crimes Report

In the lead up to the vote in the House of Representatives this week on the continued funding of the occupation of Iraq, Congressman Boehner cried, yes he literally cried;

“After 3,000 of our fellow citizens died at the hands of these terrorists, when are we going to stand up and take them on? When are we going to defeat ‘em?” demanded Boehner. “Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, if we don’t do it now, and if we don’t have the courage to defeat this enemy, we will long, long regret it. So thank you for the commitment to get the job done today.”

John Nichols writes of Boehner’s tears in The Nation Blog ‘John Boehner’s Crying Game’ 

It appears that Boehner is suffering from some confusion about the reason why President Bush dispatched U.S. troops to Iraq.

In a moment of such confusion, perhaps it is best to turn to the commander in chief for clarification.

In August, 2006, when President Bush was explaining how the 9/11 attacks inspired his “freedom agenda,” Cox News reporter Ken Herman of Cox News, interrupted to ask what Iraq had to do with 9/11. And the president set things straight once and for all.

“The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East,” said Bush.

“What did Iraq have to do with it?” asked Herman.

“What did Iraq have to do with what?” responded a confused Bush.

“The attack on the World Trade Center,” explained Herman.

“Nothing,” admitted Bush, who went on to say that “nobody has suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack.”

For emphasis, Bush repeated, “Nobody’s ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq.”

Hopefully, this will come as some comfort to Congressman Boehner. Debates about Iraq funding have nothing to do with September 11 or fighting terrorism. They are about whether young American men and women will continue to die in another country’s civil war, and that does not seem to bother Boehner or the Congress.

So there’s no need for tears here, except perhaps for the republic.

There are radicals on all sides of all issues in this world.  It is wrong, simply wrong, to paint people of a particular faith, or people of a particular race as terrorists and promoters of hate. The actions of a few, do not speak as the actions of all.

Mr. Boehner, Shawn Steel, Barry, coach, Debbie, and El Liberdator, just because a person is Muslim; just because a person is Arab; just because a person does not look or believe as you do; does not mean that he, or she, or their countrymen and women, are terrorists who must be desrtoyed. 

Mr. Boehner, you are preaching hate on the floor of the United States Congress. I am ashamed that you have a position of power in our country.  The rest of you are just simply a disgrace. - Chris Prevatt

As Mr. Alyoush so eloquently stated in his email…

The solution is for all of us, religious and non-religious, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, to be part of promoting a culture of dialogue, human brotherhood, compassion, and justice…

Readers may also find this web-exclusive commentary ‘Media Coverage of Muslims Bombs’ from Newsweek contributor Lorraine Ali on the media coverage of American Muslims interesting.

  9 comments for ““I decided to murder an Arab”

  1. May 27, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    It all comes down to this Chris, people like Shawn Steele, Chuck DeVore and conservatives like them HATE Muslims in general. They believe Islam should be subservient to Christianity. In essence, they are Christian supremacists seeking a Muslim/Christian world war.

    DeVore wants war with Islam. Steele wants war with Islam. Most conservative Republicans want war with Islam, they want to either kill or convert them all. They are as bad in their own way as Al Queda is in their’s. Fanatics in Islam and Christianity are fueling this war and they will discredit anyone trying to shine light on the truth.

    Claudio W. Gallegos
    Faithful Believer in Jesus Christ
    Not a fanatic

  2. June 2, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Claudio, respectfully, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Have you lived in an Arab country? I have. Have you studied Arabic? I have. Have you studied Islamic political thought? I have. Have you traveled to Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, and Israel?

    Today on the plane ride back from Sacramento, I read a monologue on fatwas and their use by Islamic extremists to justify killing. One interesting point, Islamists often call Jews and Christians monkeys or dogs – this is a precursor to killing them as the Koran teaches that the rules for killing non-humans are more lenient than the rules for killing humans. Some of the MSU UCI speakers have called Jews monkeys and dogs. Interesting bit of hate speech, isn’t it.

    I have a suggestion Claudio, read up on Islamists then engage me on the topic. I would enjoy it and the readers of these pages might learn something in the process.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore
    State Assemblyman, 70th District
    http://www.ChuckDeVore.com

  3. June 2, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Chuck,

    Are you wanting us to read up on Islamists or Islamic extremists?

    Or are you suggesting that they are the same?

    And I’m ready for the dialogue when you are. :wink:

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    June 3, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Chris is right of course Chuck; all one needs to do is look at the Westboro Baptist Church to see that Christian Extremists like them do not reflect the majority of Christians. You are confusing Islamic extremists with a majority of muslims.

    Two documentaries worth seeing: Control Room and Jesus Camp.

  5. Flowerszzz
    June 3, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Chris & Dan – not all republicans are fanitical christians and not all christians are fanantical either. YOu stereo type all too much and then become offended when someone stereo types you Chris form being gay and you dan for being a liberal. If you want the sterotypes to stop – then you stop as well.

  6. Dan Chmielewski
    June 3, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks for the note Flowerz. But you agree with me, I think.. Re-read what I wrote.

    On stereotyping. yeah, this is the game played against the left by the right wing for the past several years (and still played by the right in the pages of the Flash Report..check out those adjectives Jon uses to define the left sometime. We’ve decided to play the same game by your rules. Blows doesn’t it?

  7. June 3, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Flowerzzz,

    Quite frankly, I have gone out of my way to point out that not all Republicans are fanatical Christians and that not all Christians are fanatical.

    I will say, without hesitation, that the Republican Party of California, the Republican National Committee, and the Bush administration are controlled and directed by fanatical Christians and a fanatical Christian agenda.

  8. Flowerszzz
    June 3, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    LOL Dan – If you consider it wrong then do 2 wrongs make a right? I try not to stereo type – sometimes it is hard.

    Chris – I know, we all know you are no fan of organized relgion. Whatever your reasons are, are your own. I have no problem with the fact, but often time you just sound bitter…which is a turn off.

  9. June 4, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Extremism exists in every belief system. The problem is that, for the most part, when acts of extremism comes from Muslims and Arabs, it receives coverage by almost every media outlet in America. The likes of Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell constantly attacked Muslims and Arabs, calling them violent, Satanic, evil, etc. Jewish rabbi’s calling Palestinians snakes and cockroaches. Unfortunately, we’re exposed to an Islam-bashing media, which is contributing to the rise of Islamophobia in America.

    Mr. State Assemblyman, I’m glad you do not represent me. So you traveled around? good for you. I have been to most the countries you mentioned. One of the countries I have not visited is “Israel”; a country that has expelled my grandparents from their homes by European immigrants, for the mere fact that they were not Jewish.

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