Ahmed Rehab of Hamas-linked CAIR recently participated in a rally protesting the Islamic jihad violence against Christians in Iraq. I commend him for doing so, and hope that he will now adopt a stance consistent with his attempt at a ringing declaration: “When Christians are attacked, they should NOT have to rally alone. We must rally along with them. When Jews are attacked, they should NOT have to rally alone. When Muslims are attacked, we should NOT have to rally alone.”
How can he attain consistency? Rehab has, according to Joe Kaufman of Americans Against Hate, “refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. Rehab has also exhibited anti-Semitic tendencies, claiming that there is a ‘Jewish control over the media’ and that ‘Jewish film producers… predate on weak minorities by default.'” So now that he is on the record as opposing jihad violence against Christians in Iraq, and denouncing attacks on Jews as well, he could be consistent by condemning Hamas and Hizballah, and retracting and apologizing for his statements manifesting antisemitic paranoia.
He could also resign from his position with CAIR, since it has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas funding case, and since many of its officials have, like Rehab, refused to condemn Hamas and Hizballah.
He could recognize that to equate the acts of jihadist mass-murderers (whom he calls “saboteurs claiming to act in the name of Islam”) with the teaching of Fr. Zakaria Boutros, who speaks out against Islamic supremacism and jihad, is a monstrous act of moral equivalence that is inexcusable in any human being possessing anything resembling a conscience.
So I invite Mr. Rehab to follow through on his noble and courageous act in standing against the jihad violence committed against Iraqi Christians, and adopt a fully consistent position. Or was his appearance at that rally just lipstick on a pig?
“Beyond the Comfort Zone: Passion and Peril at a Pro-Christian Rally,” by Ahmed Rehab, November 9:
Yesterday, CAIR-Chicago staff and interns participated in a rally alongside the Assyrian community of Chicago to condemn violence against Iraqi Christians. The rally was organized in response to the massacre of dozens of Assyrian Christians in Baghdad on October 31st.
It was a tricky decision for us. We knew that there could be anti-Muslim sentiment at the rally that would put is in a precarious position, but we decided that our disdain for the heinous acts of Al Qaeda far exceeded our concern for personal inconvenience.
We decided that the right thing for us to do was to act on our values and our sincere feelings of camaraderie with our fellow human beings in times of anguish. We wanted to raise our voices as Muslims in support of the Assyrian community and against terrorists who purport to act in the name of our faith.
Al Qaeda does not have reverence for any innocent life, including those of Muslims. It is a fact that they have bombed many more Mosques in Iraq than churches.
While we were weary of the possibility that some people at the rally could lash out at us, Muslims-at-large who condemn terrorism, we were not interested in seeing ourselves as victims. The only victims we were prepared to recognize were the 52 innocent souls that were claimed by the recent church bombing, and the many others – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and otherwise – claimed by terrorism.
And so we set out with signs including “An Attack on Your Church is an Attack on my Mosque,” “American Muslims, Iraqi Christians, One Blood,” “My Brother is an Assyrian,” “We Stand with Iraqi Christians,” and “Muslims for Peace.”
We held our signs up high and marched in solidarity with the predominantly Assyrian Christian crowd….
It is of no surprise to any of us that there are some negative feelings among some Arab and Assyrian Christian communities regarding Islam and Muslims. Part of it is understandable to us, given the ugly acts by saboteurs claiming to act in the name of Islam. Part of it is due to the opportunistic work of preachers like father Zakaria Boutros who make a living out of telling Arabic-speaking Christians that Islam is an evil religion. Part of it still is due to the lack of dialogue and engagement between our faith communities, and that was the part we resolved to try to change.
Assyrians have a long and proud history that goes back to one of the earliest civilizations in the world. They live as a religious minority in their indigenous homeland. For centuries, they have coexisted peacefully with their Muslim neighbors. But at other times, especially now, the instability and violence is leaving them feeling frightened for their loved ones and overall vulnerable. Some of them blame Al Qaeda, others demonize all Muslims, and others still blame the United States and its wars.
One thing we must never allow is for the bad amongst us – terrorists, extremists, ideologues of exclusion and hate – to succeed in turning the rest of us against each other. We must condemn them, ostracize them, and disempower them. The way to do that is to strengthen our relations, and stand with one another. That is the only way to spell defeat for the agents of hate.
We must emerge from our comfort zones and stand together as one against all forms of violence, ignorance, and intolerance.
When Christians are attacked, they should NOT have to rally alone. We must rally along with them. When Jews are attacked, they should NOT have to rally alone. When Muslims are attacked, we should NOT have to rally alone.