Even Apollo Creed was there — I guess that Russian guy hit him a little too hard. There was a lot of self-pity, as one might expect, a lot of claiming of protected victim status, a lot of scare-mongering about internment camps. Not a word, of course, about how CAIR the great uniter and great crusader (heh) against racism and bigotry was named an unindicted co-conspirator in that case Ellison criticized. Not a word from Ayloush, who repeatedly refused to condemn Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups when I asked him to do so on a radio show, or anyone else about how Muslims must fight against the spread of the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism they profess to reject. And Ellison says if they just imitate Muhammad, all will be well. Right.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — With star power at hand, the Council on American-Islamic Relation’s annual banquet and fund-raiser was off to a thrilling start. From first-ever Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, to LA County Sheriff Lee Baca and actor Carl Weathers, the packed ballroom inside the Anaheim Hilton hotel was bursting at the seams with members of the Muslim community, elected leaders and various interfaith groups who came to celebrate CAIR”s achievements.
Over 2,000 people attended the banquet, making it possibly the largest Muslim fundraiser in the nation.
The theme of this year’s event by CAIR”s Greater Los Angeles chapter was a call for a conversation to begin, a conversation spearheaded by various community leaders who spoke with a united voice, calling for peace and unity while denouncing racism, intolerance and stereotyping….
Weathers and Japanese American civil rights activist Nuboko Miyamoto, who is also a former prison camp detainee, shared that sentiment by reading passages from The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a Japanese author about the Japanese internment camp experience emphasizing the theme of peace and tolerance.
CAIR”s national executive director, Nihad Awad, spoke eloquently and firmly when he denounced the Los Angles Police Department’s plan to map Muslim communities in the Greater Los Angeles Area. “We call on the LAPD to scrap the project of mapping Muslims,” he said. “We want the police to enlist and not blacklist, support and not report members of our community,” he added.
Awad pointed out that of the seven million American Muslims, Al-Qaeda was not able to recruit a single person, proof that the American Muslim community is patriotic. The LAPD has since dropped the controversial plan.
Hmm. Has Awad never heard of John Walker Lindh? Adam Gadahn?
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR Southern California, stole the show with a moving and powerful speech that resonated well with his audience. Ayloush spoke of how a trip to Manzanar, one of many internment camps for thousands of Japanese Americans during WWII, changed his perspective on life.
“I took my kids to learn about an important part of their country”s history,” Ayloush said. “But little did I know it was going to be a life-changing experience that helped me realize the bigger picture of my commitment to my work.”…
“We want an America that respects and humanizes immigrants, that rejects Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Latinos, anti-Blacks and all forms of racism,” Ayloush said.
Ellison sealed the event with an electrifying speech that delighted the crowd.
Peppering his speech with references to MLK and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Ellison said American Muslims should be patient and perseverant in their struggle for equality and justice. “If we let the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, lead us, our struggle will pay massive dividends,” he said.
In a veiled reference to the recent exoneration of the Holy Land Foundation by a Texas jury, Ellison spoke out against what he termed “selective prosecution” of Muslim charities, and at the same time denounced torture, waterboarding, saying he wanted to call America back from fear. Ellison also called on American Muslims to be patient in their struggle. “Today, the one group that can be insulted freely is American Muslims,” he said. “As Muslims, we have to stop this in a righteous manner.”
The ever-ubiquitous Imam Siraj Wahhaj provided much needed comic relief with his humorous fund-raising antics. By the end of the evening, Wahhaj was able to talk his audience into investing over $454,000 toward the future work of CAIR Southern California.