That's the title of press release, datelined Plainfield, Indiana, issued by Louay Safi, executive director of the ISNA Leadership Development Center. On behalf of the Islamic Society of North America, he "rejects all expressions intended to demean any community of faith," specifically "a pejorative statement in reference to the Jewish community during his presentation" at the ISNA national convention a few days earlier. He goes on:
We would like to set the record straight and state our complete rejection of all prejudicial views and bigoted stances toward the Jewish community and any other community of faith. … ISNA is committed to working with its partners in the Christian and Jewish communities to promote peace and understanding, and will take the necessary precautions to ensure that its convention and conferences are not used as a platform to attack its faith partners and undermine social peace.
Safi is coy about specifics, but here they are: the Investigative Project on Terrorism published a report yesterday, "'Mainstream' Islamist Convention Features Hate Speech and Hezbollah Defense" in which it broke the news that the conference "featured speakers spewing raw anti-Semitism, homophobic rhetoric and defense of the terrorist group Hezbollah." It then provides details on several speakers but zeroes in on Warith Deen Umar, the former head of the New York state prison chaplain program who lost his job after the Wall Street Journal exposed his pro-bin Ladin views in front-page story in February 2003. Umar appeared at ISNA on July 5 to promote a new book, Jews for Salaam: The Straight Path to Global Peace, in the context of a "Meet The Author" program. In the course of it, he
attacked "unholy Jews" such as Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, two of President Obama's top aides, by name as [Israelis and] part of a conspiracy "to control the world." He then claimed that in the Holocaust—the systematic Nazi murder of 6 million Jews—Jews were "punished for a reason because they were serially disobedient to Allah." He praised the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and claimed "the Protocols actually explain and reveal what others observe about the real activities and results of Jewish diplomatic, industrial, business, and political involvement among the peoples of the world..."
Umar made statements like:
"So we [Muslims] don't like Jews. In America we [Muslims] don't like Jews. Like in many places, we [Muslims] don't like Jews."
"the first man that Obama picked when we were so happy that he was the president, he picked an Israeli – Rahm Emanual, his number one man. His number two man – [David] Axelrod, another Israeli person. Why do this small number of people have control of the world?"
"You have to know in America, this is a so-called Christian-Judeo [country, or] sometimes they call it Judeo-Christian … you have to understand the psychology that's being used even for that terminology. How could such a small group of people[, i.e., the Jews,] be over a larger group of people?"
IPT puts these remarks into perspective by noting ISNA'S own rules:
Before the convention started, ISNA posted a statement for vendors which said "Any literature (fundraising or otherwise) is restricted to the assigned booth and must be pre-approved in writing by ISNA, in ISNA's sole and absolute discretion. Book selling vendors must complete enclosed form providing inventory of the literature to be sold at ISNA."
(1) Between Umar's prior front-page notoriety and ISNA's rules, the organization clearly must take full responsibility for Umar's talk. ISNA was caught red-handed, exposed for what it really is, an Islamist organization.
(2) Presumably, ISNA's statement of repudiation has something to do with not embarrassing the White House, which sent an emissary to its convention.
(3) Louay Safi himself has an ugly record as an Islamist attack dog. For example, in May 2005 he denounced me for "mean-spirited and bigoted" criticisms of ISNA and the Council on American-Islamic Relations while disapproving my assistance to the (truly moderate) Center for Islamic Pluralism.
(4) ISNA's problem with Jews is common to other components of the U.S. Wahhabi lobby. For example, CAIR co-hosted an anti-Semitic rally in Chicago earlier this year.
(5) That said, the ISNA statement is welcome. (CAIR did not issue one after the Chicago rally.)
(6) Less welcome is that making cosmetic adjustments of this sort helps legitimize ISNA and the other lobby organizations. It's all very well to reject Umar's blatant anti-Semitism, but that does not alter the organization's being an unindicted co-conspirator for helping to fund the Hamas terrorist organization that murders Israelis, much less does it balance ISNA's trying to impose the Shari'a in the United States, throughout the West, and in "Palestine," the Shari'a which greatly harm Jews and all non-Muslims. . (July 10, 2009)
July 13, 2009 update: The Investigative Project on Terrorism has responded to the ISNA statement. Excerpts:
The statement … is notable for what it doesn't say as much as for what it does. It never identifies Umar as the speaker. While ISNA "rejects" his message, it never apologizes for facilitating them during a convention that featured a high-profile evangelical Christian leader and leaders of national Jewish movements. And it seems to pass the buck when it comes to ISNA's vetting process. … The statement also ignores Umar's rambling theory at the ISNA conference that Hurricane Katrina was a wrath of God punishment for homosexuality and his conclusion that there should be more jihad even if people are too afraid to agree. …
Likewise, ISNA had nothing to say about a second speaker on the authors' panel, who argued that Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist group second only to Al Qaeda in the number of Americans it has killed, serves as a protective force for Lebanon. Cathy Sultan's remarks ignored Hezbollah's role as an Iranian proxy and its campaign of violence that may have helped turn Lebanese voters against it last month: "Hezbollah still serves a role. I think that Lebanon is still under constant threat from its southern neighbor. And I see nothing wrong, as long as Hezbollah abides by certain rules and regulations; I see no reason why Hezbollah should not remained armed."
Related Topics: Antisemitism, Muslims in the United States, Radical Islam
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