Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix announced a new service on April 10, whereby he keeps an eye on two local publications, the Arizona Muslim Voice and the Arab Voice. (The latter is in the Arabic language.) He has since documented articles that equate George W. Bush with Genghis Khan, spread disinformation against U.S. military, promote Hamas, and mock Jewish identification with Israel. Jasser's purposes are worth noting and celebrating:
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix, Arizona
we are widely disseminating this information to make sure that our fellow Arabic and Muslim community members are fully aware of the type of ideology being distributed by our businesses and places of worship under the guise of the only cultural newspapers. As the only newspapers in our community, they become whether we like it or not representative of the type of newspaper our community supports, endorses, and distributes. … the extremism and tenor of some of the ideologies presented on the pages of the Arab voice and the Muslim voice make it necessary that our community fully understand what is being distributed as the only media ‘community' organ of American Arabs and American Muslims in the Valley.
We certainly defend Breek Publishing's right to freedom of speech as we do all of its sponsors and distributors. But, perhaps its sponsors or distributors are not aware that an advertisement or shelf space for distribution is a clear tacit endorsement of the acceptability of the ideology. Certainly, advertisers and distributors need not agree with all of the ideas presented in a newspaper, but when the paper travels into the distant margins whether far to the left or far to the right from mainstream America it becomes a real liability for all of its sponsors.
Perhaps, the vast majority of these businesses are not aware of how extremely leftist and Islamist these publications remain. Many businesses and places of worship utilize these publications to contact the cultural and Muslim community since they are the only game in town. Perhaps some awareness of the liability of these publications will awaken some in the community to provide other community newsletter options which are free of politics and free of radical leftists and Islamist ideology.
The two most recent postings are "Local Muslim Voice defends Hamas, Abu Ali, and global boycotts of Denmark" and "Arab Voice Highlights itself as a leader in meetings with a Congressional Candidate of the 3rd District and also opines that America is a Camel."
Comment: An activity like this by the truly moderate Dr. Jasser shows up the falsehood of phony moderates. (May 11, 2006)
July 7, 2006 update: Breek Publishing, Inc. also, it turns out, puts out a Multicultural Yellow Pages which just happens to be anything but multicultural, notes Deborah Sussman Susser in the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.
In the directory's list of consulates and embassies in the United States, there is no entry for Israel. In the directory of airline phone numbers, there is no listing for El Al. In the list of currencies of the world, Israel does not appear. In the section that lists international area codes, there is no entry for Israel. The cities Jerusalem, Ashkelon and Haifa are listed under Palestine.
The current edition of the Multicultural Yellow Pages boasts a letter from Arizona's Governor Janet Napolitano extending her congratulations to Breek Publishing: "Thank you for your active involvement and valuable contributions to the Middle Eastern-American community and to the citizens of Arizona." On learning of the directory's omissions, the governor asked that the letter be pulled from the website.
July 13, 2006 update: Zuhdi Jasser notes approvingly the governor's action in his Arizona Republic column and goes on to say that this should be
the first step toward a steady heightened awareness in the Valley of the penetration of Islamist literature in the local activist Muslim community and especially in its leadership. The pervasiveness and tenor of the local Islamism needs the light of day. Only then can we begin to counter the ideology which threatens Americanism before it takes deeper local roots.
Oct. 19, 2006 update: Marwan Ahmad of Breek Publishing had sat on the Phoenix Human Relations Commission for over five years, but not longer. On Oct. 18, Mayor Phil Gordon removed him, saying that Ahmad's "message of intolerance" related to Israel, the Jewish community and at least one member of the Islamic community (a reference to Zuhdi Jasser) contravenes the commission's mission to promote respect and understanding among all groups. Comment: Congratulations to Dr. Jasser.
Oct. 24, 2006 update: Ahmad responded to his getting booted from the commission with typical modesty and good sense. He said City Council violated his freedom of speech and it is "under the influence of the pro-Israel groups, and they're putting Israeli interests before the city's interests." To which, Abdur-Rahim Shamsiddeen of the Jewel of Al-Islam Masjid replied that Ahmad "cannot attack people and then sit on a commission that deals with human beings, all human beings. At the same time, if Marwan believes he was discriminated against, then the American court system is open to him like anyone else."