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CAIR (LA) Advocacy Manager Speaks in Irvine

Saturday, June 17, 2017 18:33
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Today I attended a presentation on Islamophobia by Masih Fouladi, CAIR (Los Angeles) advocacy manager. The speech was held at the Irvine Ranch Water District Community Room and was sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. (Oh, the irony.) The scheduled speaker had been CAIR Southern California director Hussam Ayloush, but he had another engagement. The speech was entitled, “Fighting Islamophobia in 2017″. There were about 30 people in the room almost all older members of the AUSCS. It was a mostly progressive audience. Fouladi stated that he had no objections to my videotaping, so the presentation and q and a is on tape (below).

Fouladi spoke for about 15 minutes on activities that CAIR is involved in since the new administration took office. His tone was that there was much concern over the Trump administration due to issues like the travel ban. He described how CAIR tries to join with other minority groups. He then took questions from the audience. Though Fouladi had a sympathetic audience, he did get a couple of critical questions from some including myself. I asked him for his definition of Islamophobia (hate, fear, irrational fear, etc) and whether he would consider religious minorities in the Muslim world (Christians, Yazidis, Baha’i) who are being persecuted as Islamophobes. I thought his response to the latter part was wandering and evasive.

He was asked by one woman to address the problem of anti-semitism at UC Irvine. Here again, he was evasive and tried to steer the issue to Muslims being harassed. (He is a UCI grad himself.) . His questioner had mentioned the 2010 Michael Oren (Israeli ambassador) disruption at UCI, and Fouladi mischaracterized it by referring to “a couple” of students who had spoken out (“exercising their free speech rights”). He characterized the subsequent trial as an injustice. He said nothing about the free speech rights of Ambassador Oren.) He also stated that the (UCI) administration had given more support to the Jewish students as opposed to the Muslim students (false).

I followed up with that be telling the audience that I was a former UCI teacher, had attended so many of the events in question  and that there had been a lot of rhetoric that crossed the line from criticism of Israel to anti-Jewish rhetoric. As examples I mentioned Mohamed al Asi and Amir Abdel Malik Ali. Fouladi resorted back to his tap dance insisting that CAIR would not tolerate anti-semitic speech. One thing he repeated several times was that Muslims cannot be expected to respond every time a Muslim says or does something objectionable. A lady sitting in front of me turned and thanked me for the question.

As usual, Fouladi threw out that verse from the Koran (5:32) that says killing one person is as if killing the world. The full verse is never used because it reveals that it was directed to the Jews. The following verse (5:33) gives the instances when killing someone (in Islam) is perfectly justified. Gates of Vienna has a good piece on Sura 5 verses 32 and 33 of the Koran.

I also found it interesting that this particular organization would sponsor this particular event. Were they not aware that Islamic doctrine believes there should not be a wall between religion and the state? Were they not aware of Islam as a political ideology? Or are they too concerned with keeping “wacko Christians” under control (to use a term one of the audience members used)? I could have asked questions all afternoon, but I was glad to get two swipes at the apple as it was. All in all, Fouladi gave his audience a lot of mis-information.

At any rate, the full event is available on video below. It lasts about an hour.

I only wish Ayloush had been there.


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