If one were to list the challenges and crises facing the United Nations, bigotry here in America wouldn't crack the top 100. The junta in Burma won't let international aid in to help its citizens in the wake of a devastating typhoon. Civilians continue to face massacres in Darfur. China harshly suppresses protests in Tibet and the diplomatic standoff with Iran over its nuclear program rages. In short, life and death are daily struggles throughout the world.
Yet a volunteer for the UN Commission on Human Rights met last month in southern California with a group of Islamists, well known for their habit of crying wolf about hate crimes, while at the same time offering more than a winking endorsement for acts of terrorism and broad support for terrorist groups.
Doudou Diène, a UN "special rapporteur," attended a meeting May 28 in Anaheim, organized by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, to hear about what the Council calls "Islamophobia," racism and discrimination against Muslims, the Council announced in a statement. The UN says special rapporteurs "are unpaid and serve in a personal capacity, [who] receive their mandates from the UN Commission on Human Rights."
Any hate crime is a pox on our nation. But as we reported last fall, the data fails to support the notion that Muslims are being targeted disproportionately. The most recent FBI report, covering 2006, documented 2,640 hate crimes against African-Americans, 1,195 hate crime incidents based on sexual orientation, 967 incidents targeting Jews and 576 anti-Hispanic hate crime incidents. The report cites 156 anti-Muslim hate crime incidents.
These are the statistics, despite the efforts of groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who stay vigilantly on the lookout for any opportunity to promote an alleged hate crime, even when the facts ultimately fall short.
Among those who helped bring Diène to town were Shura Council chairman Muzammil Siddiqi, two representatives of CAIR, and Abdel Jabbar Hamdan – a former fundraiser for the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).
According to a statement, Siddiqi praised Diène's visit: "The Muslim community has continually supported law enforcement efforts and condemned terrorism," Siddiqi said in the statement. "However, members of the Islamic faith suffer from ongoing prejudice, discrimination and hate crimes."
CAIR's Hussam Ayloush added: "A comprehensive solution to the growing problem of Islamophobia should involve educational initiatives for the public, as well as persistently challenging anti-Muslim rhetoric by officials and pundits, which sometimes leads to hate crimes against Muslims."
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), CAIR and others have condemned the Al Qaeda attacks on America. But elements of CAIR have pushed conspiracy theories that the attacks were done by others and orchestrated to hurt Muslims. And they resist challenges to condemn attacks by Hamas and Hizballah by name.
Furthermore, it is misleading to claim that they offer consistent support to law enforcement. Siddiqi, Ayloush and their respective organizations issue knee-jerk condemnations of all counter-terror investigations that target suspected radicals and American-based financing of terror committed abroad, as part of a "war against Islam." And it is precisely this mantra which Canadian intelligence cites as the most critical factor in radicalization.
Ayloush was harshly critical when the U.S. froze HLF's assets in 2001. The move "sends a very wrong message to the American Muslim community," he told CNN. "Because here we are, saying this is a war on terrorism. Yet we target the most trusted and largest Islamic charitable organization in the U.S."
Two courts have upheld the government sanctions, finding abundant evidence that HLF money was routed to support the terrorist group Hamas. And the charity and five of its officers face a retrial this fall on criminal charges of providing support to terrorists after jurors could not reach unanimous verdicts in a 2007 trial.
Diène's terror-sympathizer tour continued June 2, when he met with former CAIR mouthpiece Ahmed Bedier in Miami. Bedier also has been unflinching in supporting Al-Arian and in refusing to condemn Palestinian Islamic Jihad violence. As we reported, Bedier parted ways with CAIR under vague circumstances. He appears to have moved from the spokesman for a self-anointed civil rights watchdog for Muslims to being a one-man, self-appointed civil rights for Muslims.
Back in California, Siddiqi is a past president of ISNA, an organization created by Muslim Brotherhood members in the U.S., which is an unindicted co-conspirator in HLF's Hamas support trial in Dallas. In lectures, Siddiqi has advocated violence as the requisite path toward honor and salvation:
I can see that there is already some impact after Jihad in Afghanistan in the Intifada movement in Palestine. With this, more courage, more strength, more confidence and shall I even say that in a few years we will be celebrating with each other the victory of Islam in Palestine. Insh'allah, we shall be celebrating the coming of the Masjid al-Aqsa under the Islamic rule. We shall be celebrating insh'allah the coming of Jerusalem and the whole land of Palestine insh'allah and the establishment of the Islamic State throughout that area.
He also advises the U.S. to turn away from what he considers injustice, telling a 2000 rally in Washington, D.C. that if it does not stop supporting Israel's military, "the wrath of God will come. Please! Please all Americans, do you remember that, that Allah is watching everyone. God is watching everyone. If you continue doing injustice, and tolerating injustice, the wrath of God will come."
During his tenure as ISNA president, the organization defended Hamas political director Mousa Abu Marzook, jailed by U.S. officials at the time as part of an extradition effort for him to face murder charges in Israel. Following his release, Marzook included ISNA among those deserving his special thanks for supporting and consoling him during his jailing and extradition process. Incredibly, CAIR included Marzook's arrest as an example of anti-Muslim bias and violence in its 1996 report, The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States.
Marzook helped launch the Holy Land Foundation with more than $200,000, records show, and prosecutors say he chose the group to be the primary Hamas fundraising arm in America.
According to the Washington Post, Hamdan freely admits raising money for HLF.
Hamdan, who was convicted of overstaying a student visa issued 27 years ago, has acknowledged traveling around the country as a Holy Land fundraiser.
But "I was never a terrorist fundraiser," said Hamdan, who was born in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank.
He's either lying or ignorant. We know a lot more about HLF than we did back in 2006, when Hamdan was released from jail despite a deportation order. For starters, HLF was part of a secret Muslim Brotherhood committee in America created to advance the Hamas agenda. Hamdan's bosses at HLF, including Shukri Abu Baker, attended a 1993 meeting of this "Palestine Committee" in Philadelphia, where the group discussed ways to help Hamas derail the newly signed Oslo Peace Accords and how to deceive people about their true objectives.
During this meeting, HLF President Shukri Abu Baker said nothing after a speaker identified as Abdul Rahman suggests that "the most important thing we can provide in this stage is to support Jihad in Palestine. I believe it is the only way if we want to bring the goals of the [peace] accord to fail."
HLF routinely turned to Hamas officials and supporters to speak at rallies and fundraisers in the U.S. Records show that the organization used Mohammed Siyam, a Hamas leader from Gaza, as a roving ambassador, sending him throughout the U.S. to Colombia and Brazil for fundraisers during the early 1990s.
These are the people with whom Diène met to discuss the depth of "Islamophobia" and what should be done about it -- people who think it is "Islamophobic" to designate Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as terrorist groups. According to the Council statement, Diène intends to issue a report on Islamophobia to the U.N. for release in 2009.