Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Orange County Board of Supervisors and Muzammil Siddiqi

Below is a letter that I sent April 16 to Supervisor John Moorlach of the Orange County Board of Supervisors regarding the pending humanitarian award to Imam Muzammil Siddiqi by the Orange County Human Relations Commission, scheduled for May 5. I also sent copies to the other members, Janet Nguyen, Bill Campbell, Shawn Nelson and Pat Bates.

April 16, 2011

To: Supervisor John Moorlach
OC Board of Supervisors

From: Gary C Fouse

Re: OC Human Relations Commission and award to Dr Muzammil Siddiqi

Dear Supervisor Moorlach,

My name is Gary Fouse, and I am a resident of (deleted). I am a retired Drug
Enforcement Administration agent and have been teaching English as a second
language at UC-Irvine Ext. since 1998. In recent years, I have become involved
with the on-going controversy at UCI regarding the Muslim Student Union and
their sponsored speakers, who, in my view, have engaged in vitriolic speech not
only against Israel, but often against the US and against Jews as well. Though I
am not Jewish, I view with concern what I consider as a resurgence in
anti-Semitism world-wide as a result partially of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. My purpose in writing this letter in advance of the April 19 Board of
Supervisors meeting is to express my alarm at the selection of Dr. Muzammil
Siddiqi to receive a humanitarian award from the OC Human Relations Commission.
I feel this selection is unwarranted for many reasons.

I fully understand that Dr Siddiqi is highly respected in many quarters as a
scholar, cleric and moderate, a man who has been accepted as such in the highest
corridors of power including a meeting with President George W. Bush immediately
after 9-11. I am aware of his participation in Orange County interfaith
dialogues. Two years ago, I attended one at Chapman University in which he
spoke. I had a chance to chat with him briefly after the event. There is no
question that he comes across as a gentleman. He is soft-spoken and polite. Yet,
I believe that there is another side to Dr Siddiqi that is very troubling.

Terrorism expert Steve Emerson and his Investigative Project on Terrorism have
the following entry for Siddiqi.

This information, of course, comes from many sources. While I am concerned about
Siddiqi’s reported statements about spreading sharia world-wide, I am most
troubled by the reported hosting of the so-called “Blind Shiekh” Omar Abdul
Rahman, at his mosque in December 1992, in which Siddiqi allegedly provided
real-time interpretation of a guest sermon by Rahman on violent Jihad. It should
be kept in mind that Rahman was no obscure figure in 1992. He had already been
expelled from Egypt for his support and involvement in violent activities. He is
now serving life in a US prison on a terrorism conviction.

It has also been reported that on September 9, 2011-two days before 9-11,
Siddiqi attended a benefit dinner at UC-Irvine for Jamil al Amin (formerly known
as H. Rap Brown), a convicted killer of a police officer in Georgia, for which
he is serving a life term. Also appearing at that event were Anwar Awlaki, now a
wanted terrorist figure in Yemen and Alim Musa, a despicable, anti-American imam
in Washington DC. There is a video of Musa speaking at that event calling the
American government “the most criminal government in the world“. This is a man
who talks openly of burning down America and Islam taking over America. I have
personally heard him speak at UCI.

Here I am attaching a link reporting the above information.

I would also like to express my concern about the OCHRC itself and its director
Rusty Kennedy. In May of 2008, on the suggestion of another concerned person, I
wrote to Mr. Kennedy expressing my concerns about anti-Semitism on the UCI
campus and where I felt the problems lay. I also made it clear that, in my view,
the university administration was not facing up to and dealing with the problem.
What I got back was a blistering letter outlining what “ a great job” the OCHRC
was doing and lambasting me for having the effrontery to criticize the university administration.
Needless to say, I have not been a fan of Mr. Kennedy since that time.

Along those lines, I would also like to point out that I was offended by the
action that the OCHRC took in the wake of the controversial Yorba Linda protest
that took place on February 13, 2011 at a dinner hosted by the Islamic Circle of
North America (ICNA), in which two radical, and hateful speakers were invited to
talk, Siraj Wahhaj and Amir Abdel Malik Ali. I spoke at that rally. The purpose
of the protest was to highlight the radical nature of these speakers, both of
whom have a history of supporting violent Jihad and, in the case of Ali, making
anti-Semitic statements. I have confronted Ali regularly during Q and As when he
speaks at UCI.

In contrast to what is claimed by the Council on American and Islamic Relations
(CAIR), the speakers and organizers made every effort to keep out extreme
expressions against Muslims as a people. Hours before our event began, I
encountered an elderly couple placing posters on the highway outside the Yorba
Linda Community Center, which were inflammatory. One said, “Muslims are not
welcome in Yorba Linda”. I beseeched the couple to remove the posters because
that was not the message we were trying to convey. They refused until a young
local pastor who knew them came along and convinced them to take them down.

Later, I encountered another couple who had come to protest. It was obvious to
me that the woman was a hothead. I was concerned that she might say or do
something later that we would all regret. I was right.

In my own brief talk, I described the numerous hateful statements that Ali had
previously made at UCI. I also made it a point to state, “I don’t hate Muslims.
The Muslims I know love this country and are grateful for the freedoms they
enjoy here, freedoms that they did not enjoy in their home countries.” That is a
true statement. About half of the students I teach at UCI are Arabs. They have
nothing to do with the Muslim Student Union.

Unfortunately, several dozen people chose to leave our event and go over to the
parking area when the Muslim attendees began to arrive and begin chanting. It
was clearly inappropriate especially when they could see that there were
children arriving. I stayed away from that crowd, but I could hear one woman
with a foreign accent leading chants of “Go back home” with a bullhorn. I later
observed the “hothead” woman I described earlier emerging from the crowd with a
bullhorn. (I think they were two separate individuals.)

As expected, CAIR used the incident to launch a PR campaign designed to
discredit the entire protest, organizers and speakers. As a result, the OCHRC
held a hearing on that matter and issued a statement. Only by chance did a
handful of the protest organizers get wind of the hearing at the last minute and
were able to scramble to attend and explain what happened. I was not present,
but it seems to me that they-and all of us-were not treated fairly by the OCHRC.

Now comes this questionable award to Muzammil Siddiqi.

In fairness, I should stress that I have no personal knowledge of the statements
attributed to Siddiqi, nor can I attest to the accuracy of the “Blind Sheikh”
incident of 1992. Yet, I think it would be reasonable for Siddiqi to come
forward before May 5 and publicly address these charges. If there is a credible
explanation for these allegations, or if they are not true, let him make it
clear. Then I would not oppose the award. If he cannot explain or refute these
concerns, then I see no justification for this honor.

I don’t really know what it is that the OCHRC does to justify their budget. That
is for you to decide. I have seen their annual “hate crimes” report, which
frankly leaves me under whelmed. As for the situation at UCI, I can personally
state as one who has been active in that controversy for the last 5 years, that,
in my opinion, they have been missing in action when it comes to anti-Semitism.

All I am asking is that the Board of Supervisors take a close look at this award
to Imam Siddiqi. Given his history, it seems highly questionable. I plan to
attend Tuesday’s meeting and hope to speak. However, I may have to leave early
as I have to be in class at 3 o’clock.

Thank You for your kind attention,

Gary Fouse

1 comment:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

As H.L. Mencken wrote to his many critics, "Dear Sir, You may be right. Sincerely, "