The Muslim Public Affairs Council , "Bullying" and Creeping Shari'a
Salam Al-Marayati and Company, Swing for the Bleachers
By WILLIAM MAYER
June 11, 2012 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Over the past year the issue of "bullying" has become somewhat of a crusade among social activists eyeing it as another opportunity for legislative mischief. The MO here is always the same, start with, or create a perceived problem and construct around it a vague and overbroad federally dictated solution.1. Both hard left and Islamist groups are pushing this effort for all that it's worth. Each however has a different agenda in mind.
The left, holding true to its ideological roots, seeks to expand the reach of an already too powerful central government. The Islamists also see great merit in the issue, knowing that since "bullying" is already so ill-defined legally, that they can further muddy the waters in service of a larger narrative, that America is Islamophobic. Ultimately then, they calculate that it can be a powerful tool used to force the culture to become more Shari'a compliant. Since they maintain that speaking ill of Islam, its prophet Mohammed or in many instances even being critical of actions taken by Muslims is highly offensive, hence "bullying" behavior, it can through this project, be incorporated into to the range of already recognized civil rights violations. Upon such circumstance, the DOJ's Civil Rights Division ceases its law enforcement responsibilities, instead becoming an agent of Islamic expansionism.
The nexus between the extreme left and the Islamists on matters of mutual benefit shouldn't be surprising, despite there being little agreement on bedrock policies such as secularism. Such alliances have long been recognized and are commonly referred to under the coinage of "the unholy alliance." Consider the leftist ACLU's prominent advocacy role in pro-Islamist legal actions and the concept gains greater clarity - along the lines of, "the enemy of my enemy is my ally."
Taking a leadership role in this movement has been the Muslim Public Affairs Council [MPAC] which will be fully vetted later in this piece, but in order to place this matter in context, some understanding of the scholarship surrounding the modern "bullying" phenomenon, should prove helpful.
In a January 5, 2012 piece this author explored MPAC's efforts to co-opt the issue. [see, Will The Anti -"Bullying" Movement Become A Vehicle For Shari'a Enforcement?]
"Scholarship on the bullying phenomenon is relatively new to social scientists. As David Farrington observes in a 1993 study, Understanding and Preventing Bullying, "Modern research on bullying in the English-speaking world began with the publication of Aggression in the Schools by Olweus (1978) describing studies of bullies and victims of bullying carried out in schools in Stockholm..." [source, http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/cjrr17&div=11&id=&page=]. As one can see the emphasis was clearly on examining this type of behavior in academic environments.
However over the last decade or so there has emerged a different definition of bullying, one which could potentially place unwarranted limits on personal liberties.
Wikipedia has the following take on the term, incorporating some of the claptrap we have come to associate with leftist attempts at language manipulation and hijacking.
"Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.[ The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power...It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying can be defined in many different ways. The UK currently has no legal definition of bullying, while some U.S. states have laws against it." [source, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying#History]
The Wiki posting includes the questionable linkage of the aforementioned "power imbalance," as having been one of the important factors in precipitating both world wars, 'In fact, on an international scale, perceived or real imbalances of power between nations, in both economic systems and in treaty systems, are often cited as some of the primary causes of both World War I and World War II...'
It appears then, that the function of this organized movement is to establish it as a precursor for future restrictive legislation which might well cover an extraordinarily wide range of actions hitherto not commonly associated with the physically threatening actions of the traditional bully.
"In the context of the relatively recent [generally since 9/11] push by Islamists to brand their critics as Islamophobes - religious bigots - bullying would seem tailor made as another avenue to achieve the revolutionary goal of forcing Shari'a compliance on the West while sidestepping important American Constitutional protection
And this is exactly what has happened with the Muslim Public Affairs Council, already well into a campaign wherein bullying is likened to Islamophobia. The MPAC website [see, http://www.mpac.org/issues/islamophobia/register-for-mpacs-aug.-18-anti-bullying-forum.php] now prominently features anti-bullying content and providing additional opportunities for training in this emerging Islamist tactic.
For example, MPAC president Salam Al-Marayati states, "It is important to equip our youth with the tools in combating Islamophobia and any bullying..." [source, http://www.mpac.org/issues/islamophobia/register-for-mpacs-aug.-18-anti-bullying-forum.php]"
But what is the Muslim Public Affairs Council and who is Salam Al-Marayati?
MPAC is an important Muslim pressure group which is dedicated to advancing political Islam, Islamist ideology. It is headquartered in Los Angeles. Since MPAC often avoids the flamboyance of its similarly motivated brethren such as CAIR2. and ISNA. In doing so, it's maintained an ability to float at a treetop level, just below the din generated by the more in your face American Islamist organizations.
This has been a good political strategy overall, enabling the group to largely shield itself from scrutiny. That aside the group's overall trajectory adopted by its leadership has proven to be anything but moderate.
Mr. Marayati has served as the President of MPAC for 24 years [source, http://www.mpac.org/about/staff-board/salam-al-marayati.php]and there is much in the way of evidence which serves to indict him as a stealthy opponent.
For example, an entry in Middle East historian Dr. Daniel Pipes' blog reads in part, "Mr. Al-Marayati, like so many other American Muslim leaders, purveys an extremist political agenda..." [source, Needed: Muslims against Terror - and Not Salam Al-Marayati].
Similarly his bona fides as a moderate were called into question during testimony presented by Steven Emerson to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and
Trade, by terrorism expert Steven Emerson, "Marayati has repeatedly justified the actions of Hizbollah before the Department of State invited him as a speaker. In November 1999, on News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Marayati responded to accusations that he supports Hizbollah: ?If the Lebanese people are resisting Israeli intransigence on Lebanese soil, then that is the right of resistance and they have the right to target Israeli soldiers in this conflict. That is not terrorism. That is a legitimate resistance. That could be called liberation movement, that could be called anything, but it's not terrorism." [source, House of Representatives doc, Testimony: Steven Emerson]
We, however would like to briefly highlight a side of MPAC's President which is probative not only regarding his dog-and-pony-show moderation, but more to the point, speaks to a cold-hearted lack of humanity when he feels compelled to unreservedly defend Islam.
In an article published by the Huffington Post [see, Rifqa, the Reverend and Apostasy, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/salam-al-marayati/rifqa-and-the-reverand_b_261571.html] Marayati's barely concealed vitriol towards a desperate girl in great fear for her life is telling.
His harsh prose concerns the conditions under which an immigrant teenager, Fathima Rifqa Bary's home life became unbearable after her father found out that she had secretly converted to Christianity. The discovery was made after snooping through her personal belongings. Faced with her father's irrational overreaction and repeated threats of violence, Rifqa felt that her only escape from this explosive situation was to immediately leave. She was 17 at the time.
According to a court affidavit filed by her legal team, Ms. Bary painted the picture of a father who was enraged beyond the point of reason by the thought that his daughter no longer wanted to be a Muslim.
"In a fit of anger that I had never seen before in my life, he picked up my laptop, waived it over my head as if to strike me with it and said, 'If you have this Jesus in your heart you are dead to me! You are no longer my daughter.' I continued to remain silent and then he said to me even more angry than before, "I will kill you! Tell me the truth!" [source, affidavit filed with the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial District in and for Orange County, Florida, case number DP09-580, p. 35, http://www.orlandolawyer.tv/documents/Noor%20Memo%20of%20Law.pdf]
Ms. Bary had earlier become conscious of her father's extreme Islamic fundamentalism stating that after her family had immigrated from Sri Lanka to Ohio he had engaged in a deliberate survey of local mosques, eventually choosing The Noor Islamic Cultural Center because it supposedly taught "real Islam." This despite the fact that several other mosques were located closer to the Bary residence and thus would have been more convenient for the family to attend on a regular basis.
The Noor Islamic Cultural Center [Dublin, Ohio] has a controversial reputation in that it is considered to be a hotbed of hard-core Muslim activism. The Center was identified by CNN News as being near the center of a federal terror investigation regarding the radicalization of young male Somali immigrants, more than a few of which are believed to have returned to their home country, to engage in Islamic jihad with the Al-Shabaab [Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen - translated as, The Mujahideen Youth Movement] terror organization [source, Bary p.3].
Hence it appears that Noor was intentionally chosen by Mr. Bary because of its fundamentalist ideology, giving Rifqa very legitimate grounds for concern.
Despite the context within which Rifqa was forced to flee, Marayati condescendingly attacked her publicly, without apparent reservation, making her a doubly aggrieved victim.
He stated in the Huffington piece, after one of Rifqa's attorney alleged that Islam had severe proscriptions against apostasy - violation of which can result in the death penalty - noting language to that effect which appears in the Qur'an.
"No it's not, sweet little Rifqa. It's not in the Quran. Whoever told you that is either ignorant or a liar. You should look it up yourself before claiming it's in the Quran."
Perhaps Mr. Marayati should refresh his memory regarding his religion's sacred text as Surah 4 [an-Nisaa v. 88-89] of the Qur'an states: 3.
 "Do you, perchance, seek to guide those whom God has let go astray - when for him whom God lets go astray thou canst never find any way?  They would love to see you deny the truth even as they have denied it, so that you should be like them. Do not, therefore, take them for you allies until they forsake the domain of evil for the sake of God; and if they revert to [open] enmity, seize them and slay them wherever you may find them. And do not take any of them for your ally or giver of succor"
In other words, a person who does not "migrate from evil unto God" can no longer be considered a believer - which accounts for the explanation for the condemnation in note 124 p. 142 of Muhammad Assad's translation [with explanatory footnotes] of the Qur'an, distributed by the Council on American Islamic Relations.
Marayati then quotes Rifqa's father, sourcing for his authority a report by the Associated Press, "We love her, we want her back, she is free to practice her religion, whatever she believes in, that's OK. What these people are trying to do is not right - I don't think any religion will teach to separate the kids from their parents."
Upon such flimsy evidence he concludes, "Mohamed Bary allowed his daughter to become a cheerleader and says she can practice any faith she wants - clearly, he is not a fundamentalist."
We will leave it our readers to decide who is telling the truth in this matter and where the fanaticism lies.
[Editor's Note: Ms. Bary, has been suffering since 2010 from an aggressive and often deadly form of uterine cancer. She has survived multiple surgeries and numerous chemotherapy treatments, buoyed and strengthened by her new-found faith. Displaying a wisdom far beyond her years, she has not turned bitter and is still seeking reconciliation with her estranged family]
Another MPAC high level official seems cast from the same stuff as Mr. Marayati. The organization's website lists Edina Lekovic as its Director of Policy and Planning, " As MPAC's Director of Policy & Programming, Edina is responsible for working with the MPAC team of staff and volunteers to ensure the highest quality execution of our programs, projects, and approach to tackling domestic and international events. Additionally, Edina acts as a spokeswoman for the American Muslim community to media outlets, government officials, interfaith leaders, academic institutions, and community groups. From 2004-2010, Edina served as MPAC's Communications Director..." [source, http://www.mpac.org/about/staff-board/edina-lekovic.php]
Stephen Emerson the Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism [IPT], had at an early date linked Ms. Lekovic with the radical journal Al-Talib. "The Muslim Newsmagazine at UCLA" which credited her as Managing Editor [along with Mostafa Mahboob] of the publication. [see, Investigative Project photocopy of the July 1999 edition of Al-Talib, entitled, Jihad in America.
After a joint television appearance with Emerson, Lekovic engaged him in a drawn out, public feud at first denying any association with Al-Talib, then, after the truth became apparent, abruptly changed her story, stating that the use of her name had been as a result of [multiple] printing errors. The matter was set forth in a 2007 IPT piece, http://www.investigativeproject.org/293/ms-lekovica-dozen-printing-mistakes Ms. Lekovic...A Dozen Printing Mistakes?.
In the edition of Al-Talib under question, there appears the following text on p. 2:
"...When we hear someone refer to the great Mujahid (someone who struggles) Osama bin Laden as a "terrorist," we should defend our brother and refer to him as a freedom fighter...We take these stances only to please Allah..."
By that point in history, it was well recognized by national security professionals that bin-Laden was indeed a terrorist, having been linked to numerous mass casualty bombings.
Regarding "the great Mujahid...Osama bin Laden" according to the notoriously Islamist friendly Wikipedia, "The 1998 United States embassy bombings were a series of attacks that occurred on August 7, 1998, in which hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous truck bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the East African capitals of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The date of the bombings marked the eighth anniversary of the arrival of American forces in Saudi Arabia. The attacks were linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to the attention of the American public for the first time, and resulted in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation placing bin Laden on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list..."
The association with Al-Talib is obviously of import; are we to believe that this learned woman, so steeped in Islam could remain unaware of the connection between bin Laden and the 1998 African U.S. Embassy bombings? Or the fact that he appeared on the FBI's Most Wanted List which stated, "Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world." [source, FBI website, Most Wanted, dated June 1999, revised 2001, http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/usama-bin-laden]. One might also think that such a devout Muslim would be familiar with bin-Laden's 1996 "Declaration of War Against the Americans Who Occupy the Land of the Two Holy Mosques."
Below from bin-Laden's declaration:
"Muslims burn with anger at America. For its own good, America should leave [Saudi Arabia.] ... There is no more important duty than pushing the American enemy out of the holy land. ... The presence of the USA Crusader military forces on land, sea and air of the states of the Islamic Gulf is the greatest danger threatening the largest oil reserve in the world. The existence of these forces in the area will provoke the people of the country and induces aggression on their religion, feelings and prides and pushes them to take up armed struggle against the invaders occupying the land. ... Due to the imbalance of power between our armed forces and the enemy forces, a suitable means of fighting must be adopted, i.e. using fast-moving, light forces that work under complete secrecy. In other words, to initiate a guerrilla war, where the sons of the nation, and not the military forces, take part in it." [source, PBS' Frontline, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/edicts.html]
Editor's Note: Al-Talib's website now carries another intriguing item, "Published with support from Campus Progress/Center for American Progress." The Center for American Progress, unabashedly a hard left group of politically plugged in activists [it has been referred to as the Obama Administration's recruiting agency] was reported by the leftist warhorse, the Washington Post, to be heavily funded by George Soros. [source, Laura Blumenfeld, Soros's Deep Pockets vs. Bush Financier Contributes $5 Million More in Effort to Oust President, November 11, 2003, Washington Post, no longer available at the Post's website, but reprinted and archived by Al Jazeera, "Soros also promised up to $3 million to Podesta's new think tank, the Center for American Progress."]
More confirmation of the "unholy alliance."
So this is the character of the Islamists who have hijacked the already questionable proposition suggesting the import of bullying and are now deeply engaged in fashioning it towards their own ends.
In furtherance of MPAC's growing interest in exploiting this non-issue, a May 25, 2012 web posting claims, "MPAC Leads Growing National Consensus on Anti-Bullying Campaign [source, http://www.mpac.org/programs/government-relations/dc-news-and-views/mpac-leads-growing-national-consensus-on-anti-bullying-campaign.php].
Possibly sensing the potential train wreck which might ensue should this issue be pushed through normal legislative channels and therefore necessitate extensive hearings, public input and most dangerous of all, scrutiny in general, MPAC has opted for a more direct approach.
The group is running an "end-around" taking its conspiracy theories directly to the government's failed school system. In doing so their calculus seems to be based upon the assumption that these union controlled institutions can easily be rolled given their slave-like devotion to the pathology of multiculturalism. The educrats who call the shots in the public schools have historically shown little apprehension in throwing up the white flag and going dhimmi to curry favor with America's noisiest minority.
As evidence, MPAC has produced a preamble to what must surely be in the works, a full-fledged teaching guide. This introductory document is entitled, "Harassment, Bullying and Free Expression, Guidelines for Free and Safe Public Schools."
In this effort, MPAC has partnered with the usual gaggle of leftist religious groups and unions as well as the deservedly maligned Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] which was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the United States' largest and most successful prosecution of domestic Hamas funding [U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation]. In 2009 post prosecution court proceedings arising out of this major anti-terror case, Federal District Court Judge Jorge Solis was very clear in associating ISNA [among other Islamist groups] with Hamas, "The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT, with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas," U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis said in the July 1, 2009, ruling.." [source, The Investigative Project, Federal Dist. Court filing, http://www.investigativeproject.org/2340/federal-judge-agrees-cair-tied-to-hamas].
The language of MPAC's training document is careful not to mention Islamophobia but it bends the meaning of the First Amendment into a pretzel, absurdly suggesting in concluding paragraphs that schools have a requirement to force children to evaluate beliefs which clash with their own moral upbringing while not permitting these same students to freely express their objections, "...It is equally a necessary habit of democratic citizenship to learn to express oneself without giving unnecessary offense even if toleration of offensive speech is also required. Schools should endeavor to teach these skills as well...".
The document's footnoted citations are amateurish and laughably inapplicable in establishing any legal basis for the kind of restrictive atmosphere MPAC's dictates would necessitate.
MPAC's end game here is clear...to get Islamists in front of students within a formal classroom setting at an early impressionable age and to inculcate them into accepting, or at least tolerating what will undoubtedly be full blown da'wa sessions underwritten by American taxpayers.
Upon commencing this piece we cautioned that, at least compared to its co-religionist brethren, MPAC's public relations strategy was crafted in a clever manner to suggest moderation where none exists. Perhaps that was giving them too much credit. As judged by this introductory document, a prelude to the development of an approved lesson plan incorporating MPAC's subversive subtext - then they may well be too clever by half. In all likelihood the effort to build federal legislation around the deceptive anti-bullying" movement. will quietly be dropped when it becomes apparent that it's merely the latest attempt to inject Shari'a principles into a Judeo-Christian based culture which manifestly rejects being dictated to by Islamic fanatics pushing an ideology of hate under the guise of religious freedom.
1. In practice the purview of such legislation almost always becomes expansive as it is constantly reinterpreted via case law within America's largely liberal judiciary. One needs no better example of this process than demonstrated by the historical impact of environmental legislation which now is commonly used as a sledgehammer by the left in restricting basic American freedoms such as property rights.
2. Despite differing public manners, MPAC coordinates its activism, via the American Muslim Political Coordination Council [AMPCC] with groups such as CAIR. [see for example, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/149042]
3. It's generally inadvisable for non-Muslims to judge whether or not particular actions are "authentically," Muslim. However in egregious cases such as this - where an extremely knowledgeable Muslim leader pretends that Islam has no serious proscriptions against apostasy, it seems entirely proper to offer counter-point by quoting applicable text. In order to do this with some level of confidence and given the large and varying nature of extant English versions of Islam's most sacred book, we rely on the one prepared under the direction of Muhammad Asad because this version of the Qur'an is endorsed for English readers by what is perhaps America's most visible Islamist organization, CAIR. Over a period of years, Asad's translation, contained in an exquisite hard cover, coffee table sized volume with gilt edged pages was being mailed anywhere in the United States for free, including shipping. A program sponsored by CAIR covered the cost.
©2012 PipeLineNews.org, William Mayer. All rights reserved.