L.A. County sheriff defends himself, Muslims after attack by Indiana lawmaker
Lee Baca stands by his association with a Muslim American group described by an Indiana congressman as ‘radical.’
By Carla Hall and Raja AbdulrahimIf
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was feisty last week when he tangled with a Republican congressman in Washington, D.C., he was even more impassioned Tuesday while discussing it.
A week ago, Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) impugned Baca during a House Homeland Security subcommittee meeting, saying the sheriff had allied himself with a Muslim American group that engaged in “radical” speech by going to its fundraisers. Baca not only attacked that description of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, but he also told Souder he would be fine with going to more fundraisers for the group.
“If he thinks I’m afraid of what he said, I will go to 10 fundraisers because he said it,” Baca declared Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before a town hall meeting with the Muslim American community.
Actually, Baca said, he’s been to only two fundraisers for the organization in four years, but that, he added, is not the point. What rankled Baca — aside from what he took as Souder personally challenging the sheriff’s patriotism — was what he saw as the congressman’s inaccurate assessment of the group.
“In other words, he’s an amateur intelligence officer,” Baca said.
Several times a year, the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress — an independent group set up to advise Baca and forge a partnership between the department and Muslim Americans — and the Sheriff’s Department’s Muslim Community Affairs Unit hold forums to discuss issues. The one Tuesday night was scheduled before the dust-up in Washington offered a charged topic for discussion.
When Baca spoke at the Tuesday event, he was given a standing ovation by the 75 or so people at the Omar ibn Al-Khattab Foundation near USC.
Baca called Souder’s comments “scary” and said they were an affront to all Muslim Americans. “When you attack CAIR,” he said, “you attack virtually every Muslim in America.”
Baca’s response to Souder was a statement in defense of democracy, said Maher Hathout, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California. “And they will not vanish,” he said. “They are on the record and they are a landmark on the road of our democracy.”
Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, hailed Baca as a hero. “Sheriff Baca is our champion and is our hero in defending us against McCarthyism in this era,” Al-Marayati said.
Although CAIR, a national Muslim civil liberties group, has its critics, Baca said the local offices represent average Muslim Americans “very committed to the safety of the U.S. It is not an organization that supports or promotes terrorism.” He added that the group supported a proposed half-cent sales tax hike for law enforcement. “I think CAIR’s support for public safety is unequivocal,” he said.
The Muslim American Homeland Security Congress was set up in the wake of “this constant uninformed chatter about religion being a factor in terrorism,” he said. “I’m saying — because I’ve read the Koran and been involved with Muslim Americans for years — this is not correct. God has nothing to do with mentally ill people committing terrorist acts. If a mentally ill person is using Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Scientology to say ‘This is part of why I’m doing this,’ I say, ‘Well, guess what, don’t act like you’re God, you don’t have God’s authority.’ ”
Baca is Catholic. “I’m a weak Catholic; I’m not suggesting I’m doing my best at it,” he said. “I respect Catholicism and I respect all faiths.”
Without them, he said, “our crime would be outrageous. We would not be a civilized world.”
Sheriff, you might want to reread the Koran, and please pay attention this time. I do agree with one thing that you have said though. You are a weak Catholic, as the end game of Islam is to destroy Christianity, and here you are defending it.
Earlier last year Russia announced that they were ending their counter terrorism operation, and were pulling their troops out of Chechnya. They had allowed Chechnya to govern under self rule with the brutal Ramzan Kadyrov running the show. This was supposed to bring in peace, but as see across the world, there will be no peace with the religion of war.
‘Black widows’ kill 38 in Moscow suicide attacks: Manhunt for bombers’ accomplices after rush-hour carnage
By Will Stewart and Sam Greenhill
Two ‘black widow’ suicide bombers were yesterday being blamed by Russian authorities for the deaths of at least 38 commuters in terror blasts on the Moscow underground.
There was carnage after the women detonated their explosive vests 40 minutes apart during morning rush hour.
Last night Russia was on full alert with a massive manhunt under way for the bombers’ accomplices amid fears of further attacks.
Vladimir Putin, the country’s Prime Minister and former President, vowed vengeance on the terrorists who also wounded 65 commuters.
Although no group immediately claimed responsibility, speculation centred on them being so-called ‘black widow’ killers avenging the deaths of fathers, brothers and husbands by Russian troops in Chechnya.
The first blast was at 7.56am local time (4.56am UK) at Lubyanka station, immediately underneath the headquarters of the KGB, now the Federal Security Bureau (FSB).
The other was at 8.36am (5.36am UK) at Park Kultury station, near Gorky Park but also close to the Interior Ministry.
In both cases, the bombs were detonated as the trains pulled into the stations and the doors were opening.
State television showed dazed, bloody passengers in the ornate metro stations as dust and smoke swirled through the tunnel.
The suspected suicide bomber killed in the Park Kultury blast was last night said to aged between 18 and 20. The other bomber was said to be ‘older’.
Police said they had been accompanied to the metro by two other women aged 25 to 30 and a male ‘ringleader’ in his 30s and with the surname Mataev.
‘They are simply beasts,’ said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after visiting the platform of the Lubyanka metro station. ‘We will find and destroy them all.’
There were unconfirmed reports that they had set off the bombs using their mobile phones.
Reports said the young girl’s facial features were sufficiently intact to assist police investigating the bombings.
One official said: ‘Only her head and legs are left – and the middle part of her body is completely destroyed. This is a definite sign that she had a shahid suicide belt on. She was a very young woman with beautiful brown hair, long and in a thick plait.’
Rescuers revealed the bombs had been filled with small fragments of metal to maximise damage.
But the carnage could have been far worse if the trains were in tunnels-rather than stations when the blasts occurred.
Analysts are warning of a potential spillover from an insurgency in neighbouring Russia’s mainly Muslim southern republics.
Azerbaijan said last night it had detained eight people including a Chechen man on suspicion of planning ‘terrorist acts’ against a school in the capital of the state.
St. Cloud church buys anti-Islam ad
By Andy Birkey
Granite City Baptist Church raised some eyebrows this weekend when it bought an ad (pdf) in the St. Cloud Times that questioned whether Muslims are a “threat” to America. “How do Moslems seek to take control of a nation?” the ad, which features a photo of Pastor Dennis Campbell, asks. “Moslems seek to influence a nation by immigration, reproduction, education, the government, illegal drugs and by supporting the gay agenda.”
The ad is part of a string of incidents in St. Cloud that troubles human rights advocates. Within the last year, pornographic posters depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammed were put up on St. Cloud telephone polls, and Muslim students in St. Cloud area high schools have reported religious harassment.
Last week, MPR reported on several racist Facebook groups that were created by St. Cloud high school students. “I hate the Somalians at Tech High,” was one such group. Kyle Adams, a former student at St. Cloud Technical High School (he was kicked out for repeatedly using racial slurs) told MPR, “I was raised in believing that this country was founded upon a white Christian nation and the belief of racial separation.”
The Granite City Baptist Church ad seems to mirror some of that anti-Muslim sentiment. “What happens when Moslems take over a nation?” asks Campbell in the ad. “They will destroy the constitution and force the Moslem religion on the society, take freedom of religion away, and they will persecute all other religions.”
It is just a matter of time until Muslims in India resort to terrorism again, and they will have an very unhappy greeting. Will Muslims whine that this weapon is anti-Islamic? Will Obama look to give Pakistan the same weaponry?
Indian military to weaponize world’s hottest chili
By WASBIR HUSSAIN
GAUHATI, India – The Indian military has a new weapon against terrorism: the world’s hottest chili.
After conducting tests, the military has decided to use the thumb-sized “bhut jolokia,” or “ghost chili,” to make tear gas-like hand grenades to immobilize suspects, defense officials said Tuesday.
The bhut jolokia was accepted by Guinness World Records in 2007 as the world’s spiciest chili. It is grown and eaten in India’s northeast for its taste, as a cure for stomach troubles and a way to fight the crippling summer heat.
It has more than 1,000,000 Scoville units, the scientific measurement of a chili’s spiciness. Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units, while jalapeno peppers measure anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000.
“The chili grenade has been found fit for use after trials in Indian defense laboratories, a fact confirmed by scientists at the Defense Research and Development Organization,” Col. R. Kalia, a defense spokesman in the northeastern state of Assam, told The Associated Press.
“This is definitely going to be an effective nontoxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them out of their hide-outs,” R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New Delhi headquarters of the DRDO said.
Srivastava, who led a defense research laboratory in Assam, said trials are also on to produce bhut jolokia-based aerosol sprays to be used by women against attackers and for the police to control and disperse mobs
Unfortunately the game plan of most non-Muslim Westerners seems to be, lets wait for “moderate” Islam to come riding in on a white horse and save us. As they wait, the Islamic world is getting stricter, and stricter. Recent examples of this can be seen in Egypt,Iran,Nigeria, and Turkey. One day soon non-Muslims are going to have to come out of denial, and face the harsh reality of the situation.
Dubai Chefs Show Concern Over Ban on Wines and Liquors in Cooking
The Dubai authorities plan to step up enforcement of a law enacted in 2003 prohibiting restaurants from using alcohol in food preparation, according to media reports.
Several Dubai chefs have argued that strict enforcement of the ban would compromise their dishes. They are in talks with the municipality for less severe regulations.
Alcoholic drinks are widely available in Dubai, and the law on the use of alcohol in food has been mostly disregarded. But the latest move appears aimed at easing worries from devout Muslims that no wine or liquor was used in preparing their meals. Fines for violators can run nearly $5,500.
Islam and Muslims should not scare you
By Amjad Mahmood Khan / March 23, 2010
The image of American Muslims is in serious disrepair. A January 2010 Gallup poll found that almost half of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Islam. About the same number of Americans harbor personal prejudice toward Muslims, according to the poll.
These numbers become especially troubling when we consider that two-thirds of the Americans polled admit to knowing little to nothing about Islam.
Why are many Americans distrustful of a religion and people they know very little about?
People tend to fear what they do not understand. Americans, for the most part, have been brought up in a Christian society. They might not agree with it, but they are familiar with it and thus tend not to feel threatened by it.
I understand Islam very well, it is a religion of war, that encourages lying, and allows rape. It is a major threat to Western Civilization.
Because Islam is still a minority religion in America and has had little positive public exposure, Americans have built up a strong distrust of it.
Islam deserves a media makeover. At a time when the United States is mired in two wars in locations where the majority of the people practice Islam, the future of American-Islamic relations is at stake.
Islam being a minority religion, has nothing to do with the distrust for it. That is one of the most ridiculous excuses yet. You are right though, Islam does deserve a media makeover. The MSM needs to stop protecting Islam. It deserves to be exposed for the hate filled religion/ideology that it is. It deserves no more respect than Nazism does.
The behavior of some radical self-proclaimed “Muslims” does not help public perception. Each time a terrorist commits a suicide bombing in a hospital, or a religious cleric issues a fatwa against Mickey Mouse, or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and 9/11, another American grows weary of Islam and Muslims.
Those familiar with Islam understand that these acts are not representative of the religion and shouldn’t be associated with mainstream Islam. The rest of the US does not.
Amjad, you are either lying like your religion encourages you to, or you ignorant to your own religion. Islam breeds terrorism.
Reporting the acts of a handful of radical Muslims as if they are accurate portrayals of Islam would be akin to intimating that every priest involved in a scandal accurately represented Roman Catholicism.
Now you use the old and tired excuse of it is just a “handful”. If it were just a “handful”, then why is the problem happening across the world? Those sicko Priests were not commanded by their religion to abuse kids. But Islam calls for perpetual war. So your comparison is invalid.
The behavior of ideologues who capitalize on ratings or attention from fueling the fire against Islam does not help US public perception, either.
Each time Pat Robertson refers to Muslims as “fascists,” or Ann Coulter calls Islam “a car-burning cult,” it may get ratings but, more than anything, it damages America’s perspective on Islam and Muslims.
In other words, you do not want people like Pat Robertson, speaking the truth about Islam.
Then there is the behavior of media pundits beholden to the 24-hour news cycle. Each time CNN runs a story on the self-proclaimed “Jihad Jane” or Fox News sounds off about Saudi women who can’t drive, without including an expert interview from someone who can clearly explain cultural context, another American grows weary of Islam and Muslims.
Again and again it plays out: An extremist commits an atrocity in Islam’s name; a non-Muslim ideologue typecasts the act as representative of Islam; and a media pundit cements the stereotype.
This vicious cycle must end if attitudes toward Islam and Muslims are to improve. Of course, it begins within Muslim communities and countering extremists with education, but education in the US is also required.
So obviously you want to dictate what the media can, and cannot say. If you want to have that power, you should really hookup with the Mullahs of Iran. They are very good at that, but here in America you have no say. Please stop with the “moderate” Muslim fantasy, that is just another Islamic con.
Americans deserve to hear a more accurate portrayal of a religion and people that account for a fifth of the world’s population.
Yes they do, and you will not give them the truth, that is obvious. The more Muslims that there are, the greater the threat is to non-Muslims.
Thousands of American Muslims are fighting gallantly to defend America in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The West (even the Vatican) praise the ethical principles behind Islamic banking services. There is a thriving literary and artistic tradition within Islam. For example, American Muslims have made remarkable contributions to such diverse fields as jazz (Yusuf Lateef), photojournalism (Adrees Latif) and miniature art (Saira Wasim).
Islamic banking was allowed here because of greed, and that was a mistake. The rest of your comment does not lower the threat of Islam at all.
Islam is host to moderate and vibrant minority communities. For example, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – a dynamic, fast-growing international revivalist movement within Islam – is America’s first Muslim organization (founded in 1920) and has vociferously denounced violent “jihad” as a grave sin.
The Ahmadiyyas get little respect, and they are pro-Sharia. No matter what they say, violent jihad is a part of Islam. Of course you do not tell us about the Shiites and Sunnis, which make up approximately 99% of the Islamic world. Both groups want to dominate non-Muslims. You are being very deceptive Amjad.
American Muslims collaborate with individuals of all faiths and traditions to improve their local communities on a regular basis. Here in Los Angeles, the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement at the University of Southern California has been at the forefront of promoting mutual understanding.
Yet all of this gets lost in a wave of negative headlines.
Interfaith dialogue with Muslims has been going on for centuries, it changes nothing. As the problem has now spread across country. It is nothing more than a stall tactic by Muslims. Do your interfaith buddies tells the Jews about this?
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
Extreme personalities have painted Islam with broad strokes, and much – though not all – of the media have allowed them to. This must change.
Whose burden is that? The news media bear the primary responsibility. Isn’t one of the main purposes of the media to empower citizens to make informed decisions concerning their democracy? Sensationalizing or even mischaracterizing incidents can greatly influence how citizens treat one another; it can also influence US policy.
By leaving out the full picture, the news media can ultimately inflame public outrage to such an extent as to facilitate ill-conceived legislation or engender popular vigilantism against American Muslims.
The full picture is that Islam is a much greater threat than the MSM makes it out to be. The media is not doing its job. The threat of Islam needs much more coverage. Some legislation that is needed is a bill to end all Muslim immigration, and another to officially ban Sharia Law. Then any Muslim that calls for Sharia shall be arrested and deported if possible. Sharia loving Muslims are to be looked upon as enemies of the state. Just as Nazis were.
To be sure, it is a difficult time in the US for journalism. In the 24/7 news and Internet age, newspapers and TV news stations fight for their survival by becoming as attractive to viewers as possible. But that doesn’t have to mean accuracy should suffer.
The solution is rather simple: The news media should make a concerted effort to get comments from American Muslims to help give context when reporting on Islam and the multitude of voices and movements within the religion. That way Americans will understand that most American Muslims are as aghast as they are every time there is a “jihad” against America.
What you are really saying is that you want the media to bring some more lying Muslims on, in an effort to whitewash Islam. Are you the official spokesman for the American Muslim community? Because I have never even heard of you before.
There are plenty of American Muslim journalists and commentators willing to help put the news in perspective. In order to repair the image of American Muslims and fix the misperception problem, the media must work harder to help make the unfamiliar feel familiar.
I bet that there are plenty of America Muslims that are willing to lie, and cover for Islam. What you fail to understand is that more and more of the country is catching on to game playing Muslims like yourself. We will counter your falsehoods, over and over. I will even be emailing you this post, and would like for you to explain to me in detail the “misperception problem”.
Amjad Mahmood Khan, a former editor in chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal, is an American Muslim attorney in Los Angeles.