By THE PROWLER
December 26, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - On Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 the Muslim Public Affairs Council [MPAC, an Islamist pressure group] convened its 11th annual convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
During the event's second session a presentation was made entitled, "The Industry of Hate in the Public Square," with Edina Lekovic [MPAC director of policy and programming] serving as moderator. Panelists included Wajahat Ali [playwright, author of "Domestic Crusaders"] Aziza Hasan [MPAC So. Cal government relations director] and Steve Rohde [past president ACLU]. Rohde was a last minute replacement for Mark Potok whose name appeared in the program book.
MPAC's president Salam Al-Marayati lead things off, taking to the podium and asserting that: "Islamophobia is a social disease." He then turned things over to the moderator, Edina Lekovic.
Ms. Lekovic said that this is a time when there is a whirlwind of activity, both foreign and domestic, and that MPAC was focusing on the TLC show All American Muslim and Lowe's withdrawal of its sponsorship. The nature of Islamophobia, she said, is changing. Lekovic stressed that the organization needed people on the ground to work the neighborhoods. To that end index cards were passed around upon which respondents were asked to share their experiences and challenges along these lines.
Wajahat addressed the assembly stating [facetiously] that Muslims should be congratulated because the Muslim agenda has won, in that there are now stealth halal turkeys and a Muslim beauty queen. He said that many Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim, but a funny one as he eats bacon and refers to Jesus as his Savior.
He said it has been a funny year.
Wajahat continued on, stating that the TLC channel created a national and international furor with its series All American Muslim, which is about five Muslim families living in the US. Lowe's withdrew sponsorship under pressure from the Florida Family Association. He asked those in attendance if they knew what the Florida Family Association is. Then he offered his opinion. He said that essentially it's one man, David Canton, with a web site, a rather poor web site, in his opinion. He said David Canton has a history of bothering corporations and that Canton stated that All American Muslim presented only normal Muslims, not terrorists. Of course, he opined that Pamela Geller and David Horowitz are key players in the apparent conspiracy to spread "Islamophobia."
He continued with the ad-hominem attacks saying that Canton is a fringe character, a harmless kook. Wajahat said that shows what one person with a web site can do. He then said that every attendee would be getting a book on Islamophobia - a report six months in the making and sponsored by the [hard left, Soros funded] Center for American Progress. Ali said he was proud to be one of the contributors to the report.
He said Brevik was inspired by many of the Islamophobes cited in the aforementioned study. Such Islamophobes claim that mosques are Trojan Horses and that the title, All American Muslim is an oxymoron.
Wajahat described some of CAP's report, including the claim that the Islamophobia "industry," is a 43 million dollar affair and that there are anti-Shari'a laws pending in 24 states.
He also singled out Frank Gaffney, Daniel Pipes, David Yerushalmi, Steve Emerson, ACT, FOX News, "hate" radio and bloggers as contributing to the atmosphere of "Islamophobia." In his opinion this clandestine movement parallels the bigotry which confronts ethnic and sexual preference minorities.
But fear not the speaker stated, America will always find its moral compass and that the "fear mongers" always become the villains in children's books. Concluding he said, we will win, we have partners in this.
Steve Rohde spoke next, a last minute replacement. He recited a parody he had written of the well know work of Reverend Martin Niemoller in which the Reverend attacked the German intelligentsia for not standing up to Hitler because they felt they were safe.
He said "When MPAC calls I respond."
In this version of Niemoller's allegory, Rohde subbed Muslims as the despised minority [instead of the Jews] destined for the ovens. He said we know of the threat to the Ground Zero mosque, the Qur'an burning and Lowe's withdrawal of sponsorship. We will get through this challenge together, he continued. He said he was with the Jewish Funds for Justice and the Progressive Jewish Alliance. He said he was so proud of the report that was passed out. As long as Islamophobia rears its ugly head, you will have me and others as your friend.
Aziza Hasan took to the podium next. She said we are commanded by the Koran to stand up for truth. We are compelled to speak up. Really there are not that many people named as leaders Islamophobes. How do we break it down?
A. You anticipate
B. You build.
C. You campaign, with MPAC emphasizing Islamophobia and bullying1.
Hasan assured that Islamophobia will get worse in 2012 and that MPAC can have a campaign to counter it by building alliances. She referenced the time a few years ago that Dr. Maher Hathout was to receive an award. "Islamophobes" opposed it, but thanks to our alliances, we prevailed.
Continuing, Hasan said Dr. Maher Hathout has given us the four steps we need to succeed. First we need to have a presence; second we need to earn respect; third we need to be accepted, and fourth we need to have influence. You build on what others have done. Mayor Saleh of Bell will join us at our banquet. He was elected on his second run and ran on an anti-corruption platform. The treasurer of Montebello faced Islamophobia, and he won.
She also mentioned that MPAC had a pluralism resolution passed by the Los Angeles City Council and that the organization has worked with the Progressive Jewish Alliance and others. All interfaith work.
Aziza referred to forms given out to the audience. People volunteered to do their part in the campaign. She said there will be training.
She asked her audience to insist:
1. That their elected officials have on their web sites commentary that speaks out against bullying. MPAC will collect videos and send
2. That elected officials should pass legislation to protect kids that are bullied. We want a law passed so that even if a victim will not identify who bullied him, a policeman will be able to act.
3. Regarding Lowe's, 32 members of Congress have spoken out against Lowe's. Join the Lowe's boycott at [MoveOn.org] Also sign their petition there and contact other companies.
A question and answer session followed. What are some things we can do asked one person. Rohde answered; join the city council; go to your neighbors; join reading groups; join interfaith groups and go to elected officials as part of a delegation.
Hasan advised to take the lead, join social networks.
Ali said "We have to tell our stories". Two major causes of Islamophobia are: 62% of Americans do not know a Muslim. Ignorance is a problem. What they do know is from the media. Most Americans don't trust the media. Americans want to know about Muslims. Be proactive in the media. You can be savvy with legal cases that arise. Don't underestimate lawyers.
A member of the audience said that at Chapman University Muslims and Jews worked together after the hate-fest in Yorba Linda.
Lekovic said that we work with Mormons and the LGBT.
Ali said that his report has gone vertical. Many in the GOP are repulsed by Islamophobia.
1. Please note the reference to "bullying." This is an end run around the First Amendment. On October 1, MPAC held a workshop on bullying. Bullying is not defined objectively. Instead, the organization defines the term according to its supposed effect, whether "your heart hurts." Since bullying is not conclusively defined, it is whatever the complainant says it is, thus opening a Constitutional mine field - even if the "victim" will not identify his bully, the police may still step in. The accused not only is deprived of a chance to confront his accuser, he technically does not have an accuser.
© 2011 The Prowler. All rights reserved.