Archive for the ‘Islamophobia Resolution Challenged’ Category

Joe R. Hicks and David A. Lehrer: Hyperbole rules in Muslim debate

By Joe R. Hicks and David A. Lehrer

Posted: 12/26/2010 08:54:16 AM PST
Updated: 12/26/2010 08:55:00 AM PST


WITHOUT serious debate or examination, the Los Angeles City Council recently passed a resolution that opposes “Islamophobia” and “repudiates” random acts of violence against Muslims.

This admittedly ceremonial resolution apparently accepts the premise that residents of the city commit acts of hate against Muslims so often that it warrants an official resolution from city leaders condemning and repudiating these acts. Is this really the case?

According to the latest hate crime report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, 88 percent of all religiously based hate crimes in 2009 were against Jews. Hate crimes that targeted Muslims (3 percent) ranked slightly above those directed at Scientologists (1 percent). In fact, the commission found that attacks against Christians (8 percent) outnumbered attacks against Muslims.

In any case, the actual number of reported hate crimes based on religion is quite small. In a county that has more than 10 million highly diverse residents, only a total of 131 crimes based on religion took place in all of 2009. Of course, this in no way takes away from the emotional or physical harm that each and every one of these attacks causes.

Since only 3 percent of 131 hate crimes during 2009 was directed against Muslims, it’s difficult to understand why city leaders would pass a resolution that zeroes in on the category that has the next-to-lowest numbers recorded by the County’s Human Relations


It appears that the City Council simply took information provided by an advocacy group, one that’s hardly unbiased, and uncritically spat out a resolution opposing “Islamophobia” and “random acts of violence against Muslim-Americans.”

This begs the question: Except for some Islam-hating cretins with sub-zero levels of intelligence, exactly who is in favor of random acts of violence against Muslims?

The term “Islamophobia” has crept into popular use, drummed into our consciousness by a sensationalized Time magazine cover story, and activists who exaggerate anti-Islamic bias for the causes they espouse. The term dominated the often angry debates that swirled around the plan to build a mosque 600 feet from Ground Zero in New York. While there are extremists at both the left and right ends of the political spectrum, the issues surrounding this controversial building project are far more complex than anti-Islamic bigotry.

Factually, there is no alarming number of attacks against Muslim-Americans. According to the FBI, the largest number of recorded hate crimes against Muslim-Americans took place in 2001. That year the number dramatically escalated from only 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001 – the year that young Muslim men drove planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field outside of Shanksville, Pa., murdering 3,000 innocent Americans in the name of Islam.

Prior to the City Council resolution, the Muslim Public Affairs Council released a statement expressing skepticism about tactics used by law enforcement among Muslim-Americans. The statement referenced the recent and troubling incident where the FBI says a young Somali man in Portland, Ore., plotted to blow up a public Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The MPAC statement also mentioned a similar case in Baltimore, where the FBI says a Muslim convert planned to bomb a military recruitment center in that city.

This statement from MPAC is in effect a thinly veiled claim that government agents entrapped these wannabe-terrorists. But as we have discovered, this young man’s dilemma in Portland was hardly entrapment – in fact, as we know, his father called the FBI to let them know about his son’s growing jihadist views. Nonetheless, the claims from MPAC and other Islamic activists groups were taken seriously enough to cause a response from the nation’s attorney general. Eric Holder gave a 20-minute speech in San Francisco at the annual dinner event of Muslim Advocates, an Islamic civil rights group.

Speaking forcefully, Holder told the group, “These types of operations have proven to be an essential law enforcement tool in uncovering and preventing potential terror attacks …. Those who characterize the FBI’s activities as `entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight – or do not have a full understanding of the law.”

But of course, the advocacy of causes may or may not take facts into account, nor always have a good understanding of the law.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council held a recent conference at the Bonaventure Hotel under the banner of “The Struggle for America’s Conscience.” Throughout the day, the rising incidence of home-grown terrorist plots, from Baltimore to Portland, were blamed on improper law enforcement strategies or the presence of “Islamophobia.”

Sadly, under the leadership of its director, Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC has a long record of defending extremist groups and criticizing America’s counterterrorism efforts. In 2003 MPAC issued a paper that advocated removing Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas from the government’s official list of terrorist groups.

This city’s leaders should not be so transparently susceptible to the lobbying efforts of activists and advocates. In this case, they have passed a resolution that would lead many to think America’s Muslims are under attack nationally and that here in Los Angeles acts of hate are out of control. This might serve the advocates’ agenda, but it ill-serves the interests of the people of Los Angeles.

Joe Hicks is vice president of Community Advocates and host of PJTV’s “Hicks File.” David Lehrer is president of Community Advocates.