Penjihad's Blog

"To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable"

Christchurch Vigils, Opportunities For Some

In the aftermath of the brutal shootings in which 50 Muslims were murdered in Christchurch, New Zealand, vigils were held all over the world. People gathered, generally at Mosques to show support and fellowship, people left flowers at entrances to Mosques. The upsurge of sympathy and support was almost overwhelming for most Muslims including myself. It was disappointing that our local imams could not gather their wits enough to tailor their sermons around the murders and help their congregations try to figure out what to do about all this Islamophobia. Even today, over a week after the murders, Imams do not have the nerve or the wits to talk about the murders.

Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) did organize a gathering  for people of all faiths and persuasions, to mark their support with their presence. I got there a little early and even so, was confronted by crowds of people coming into the auditorium. To my surprise, there were some snacks also available. On such gatherings, I am always delighted to meet some friends I have not met in ages; people I love but Life does not permit an intersection of our paths. This was such an event as well but it was so well-attended that I could not meet as many people as I had hoped, some I saw from a distance only.

The evening began with recitation of passages from the Quran followed by words of support and sympathy from some faith-leaders and politicians. I saw many I knew including some with whom I had cordial relations, almost every faith was represented. It was a fine demonstration of support.

I noted a few politicians who were very clear about condemning what had happened in New Zealand but were absent and silent when Muslims were being persecuted right here in Washington State.

Our governor and presidential candidate Jay Inslee, could not make it but he sent his wife to represent him. I recalled the times when Muslims needed words of support from him but we could not squeeze a word from him. There was one particular time when a Federal Way Muslim school boy accused of sending a bomb threat was roughly interrogated without his parents being informed. The word was leaked out that he had made a bomb threat to the school. Hours later, the Police discovered that he was framed and they let him go without an apology, without correcting the impression they had left about the kid, back in his school. The school did not provide counseling for the boy so the father had to take a second job to pay for counseling for his son. Meanwhile, the Federal Way school district, circled the wagons and refused to do anything to help the boy. We begged the governor to say something to help the child, to direct the school district publicly, to help the boy but either Inslee did not have the guts to be seen standing up for a “Muzlem!” boy or, his screeners did not want him in that light.

There was Representative Pramila Jayapal who seems to be more aware of the need to stand for Muslims and sometimes, saying minor things to help Muslims when it is not too “controversial” (a word often used to evade moral responsibility). Back when she was heading a local organization for labor rights, she was never there for support when Muslim civil rights were being trampled by the different agencies (Police, FBI even the ASDA). After she became a Congresswoman she had her smiling picture taken beside the genocidal Modi, the Prime Minister of India. I suppose she did not wish to piss off her Indian support by appearing to ignore a prominent Indian even if he is a monster. I wonder if she would be as accommodating for another leaders who is not a current favorite in America?

For the moment, I am willing to reserve judgment on her and see if her conscience has awakened enough to take human, moral stands instead of politically expedient ones.

Then spotted the wolf in sheep’s clothing; Rabbi Jim Mirel standing almost front–and-center. Until his retirement, he was the Rabbi for Temple B’nai Torah ) in Bellevue. He was also on the board of the Seattle Holocaust Education and Resource Center…WHERC (now Holocaust Center for Humanity (HCH). I recall the year when WHERC invited a director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC ) as the keynote speaker for a fundraising luncheon. Muslims protested that the Wiesenthal Center’s activities include spreading Islamophobia on a grand scale. Their Campus branches bring in speakers whose sole purpose seems to be, to stoke fears and hate against Islam and Muslims. Their so-called, “Museum of Tolerance” in Jerusalem was built on an ancient Muslim cemetery where they dug up the graves so they could build their center there in spite of being offered alternate sites. Their Moriah Films has “Ever Again”, a video they produced, that shows Islam and Muslims to be like Nazism and Nazis. This Jewish version of “THE PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION” is still offered by their library at $18.95. For a mere $2 extra, they will gift-wrap it for you.

WHERC board member, Rabbi Jim Mirel met with us at the WHERC where he literally screamed at me (he can have a very loud voice) saying there will NOT be a withdrawal of the invitation to the director of SWC, our best attempts to help negotiate some arrangement where at the very least, WHERC would reject Islamophobia and ask SWC to remove “Ever Again” from their library, were met with complete rejection. When we decided to demonstrate outside the luncheon (only five Muslims could gather enough courage to show up) he passed the word that we were a bunch of Anti-Semites demonstrating against Jews. Our presence probably helped them raise more money.

The next time I saw the Rabbi Jim Mirel was at a fund-raising event put together by the AJC at the Stroum Center in Mercer Island. While disguised as a film showing the Anti-Semitism growing in Europe, the head of the European AJC showed a film creating a false reality that Islam and Muslims were similar to Nazism and Nazis. Jim Mirel was clearly one of the honored guests, he sat through it all, had great conversations with the organizers and other influential attendees but never once did he make a sound to disagree with the Islam=Nazism premise of the event.

All-in-all the vigil and teach-in was a re-charging event with hundreds of people of good will present to show their love for their neighbor. Among so many, one should not be surprised to find a few who are there to burnish their own resumes and reputations. On the other hand, such people should be identified and somehow informed that their true nature is known to people. While it may be undiplomatic for Muslims to eject such people from their functions, Muslims need to be firm enough to work together against bigotry and to identify bigots publicly. Otherwise, our fawning will only help continue the barrage of knocks and kick we receive from authorities.

March 23, 2019 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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