Archive for California

FBI’s Entrapment Method Cause Tension and Distrust with Muslims

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2010 by loonwatch

Tension grows between Calif. Muslims, FBI after informant infiltrates mosque

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 5, 2010; 12:47 AM

IRVINE, CALIF. – Before the sun rose, the informant donned a white Islamic robe. A tiny camera was sewn into a button, and a microphone was buried in a device attached to his keys.

“This is Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle,” he said into the keys as he sat in his parked car in this quiet community south of Los Angeles. “It’s November 13th, 4:30 a.m. And we’re hot.”

The undercover FBI informant – a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh – then drove off for 5 a.m. prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine, where he says he spied on dozens of worshipers in a quest for potential terrorists.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI has used informants successfully as one of many tactics to prevent another strike in the United States. Agency officials say they are careful not to violate civil liberties and do not target Muslims.

But the FBI’s approach has come under fire from some Muslims, criticism that surfaced again late last month after agents arrested an Oregon man they said tried to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. FBI technicians had supplied the device.

In the Irvine case, Monteilh’s mission as an informant backfired. Muslims were so alarmed by his talk of violent jihad that they obtained a restraining order against him.

He had helped build a terrorism-related case against a mosque member, but that also collapsed. The Justice Department recently took the extraordinary step of dropping charges against the worshiper, who Monteilh had caught on tape agreeing to blow up buildings, law enforcement officials said. Prosecutors had portrayed the man as a dire threat.

Compounding the damage, Monteilh has gone public, revealing secret FBI methods and charging that his “handlers” trained him to entrap Muslims as he infiltrated their mosques, homes and businesses. He is now suing the FBI.

Officials declined to comment on specific details of Monteilh’s tale but confirm that he was a paid FBI informant. Court records and interviews corroborate not only that Monteilh worked for the FBI – he says he made $177,000, tax-free, in 15 months – but that he provided vital information on a number of cases.

Some Muslims in Southern California and nationally say the cascading revelations have seriously damaged their relationship with the FBI, a partnership that both sides agree is critical to preventing attacks and homegrown terrorism.

Citing Monteilh’s actions and what they call a pattern of FBI surveillance, many leading national Muslim organizations have virtually suspended contact with the bureau.

“The community feels betrayed,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella group of more than 75 mosques.

“They got a guy, a bona fide criminal, and obviously trained him and sent him to infiltrate mosques,” Syed said. “And when things went sour, they ditched him and he got mad. It’s like a soap opera, for God’s sake.”

FBI and Justice Department officials say that the Monteilh case is not representative of their relations with the Muslim community and that they continue to work closely with Muslims in investigating violence and other hate crimes against them. Officials also credit U.S. Muslims with reporting critical information in a variety of counterterrorism cases.

The bureau “relies on the support, cooperation and trust of the communities it serves and protects,” FBI spokesman Michael Kortan said, adding that agents conduct investigations “under well-defined investigative guidelines and the law, and in close coordination with the Department of Justice.”

Officials said they have gone to great lengths to maintain good relationships with Muslims, including meetings hosted by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Last week, FBI officials met to discuss law enforcement and other issues with predominantly Muslim Somali community members in San Diego and Minneapolis.

Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, declined to comment on Monteilh, citing Monteilh’s lawsuit. He said that in certain circumstances, if there is evidence of a crime, FBI agents may “conduct an activity that might somehow involve surveillance in and about a mosque.”

But he said the agency does not target people based on religion or ethnicity.

“I know there’s a lot of suspicion that that’s the focus, that we’re looking at the mosques, monitoring who is coming and going. That’s just not the case,” he said.

The ‘chameleon’
Monteilh’s career as an informant began in 2003. Like many other informants, he was familiar with the inside of a prison cell. He had just finished a sentence for forging bank notes when local police officers he met at a gym asked him to infiltrate drug gangs and white supremacist groups for a federal-state task force.

“It was very exciting,” Monteilh said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I had the ability to be a chameleon.”

Monteilh, who stands over 6 feet tall and weighs 260 pounds, had worked as a prison chaplain before he was incarcerated. Married with three children, the Los Angeles native said that after he became an informant, an FBI agent on the task force sought him out. Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about informants, said Monteilh was promoted from drug and bank robbery cases because his information was reliable and had led to convictions.

In early 2006, Monteilh said, he met with his FBI handler at a Starbucks.

“She asked if I wanted to infiltrate mosques,” he said. At a follow-up session at a doughnut shop, he said, his new handler told him that “Islam is a threat to our national security.”

Law enforcement sources said that the FBI trained Monteilh and that he aided an existing investigation. Monteilh, however, said he was ordered to randomly surveil and spy on Muslims to ferret out potential terrorists. Agents, he said, provided his cover: Farouk al-Aziz, a French Syrian in search of his Islamic roots. His code name was “Oracle.”

Monteilh said he was instructed to infiltrate mosques throughout Orange and two neighboring counties in Southern California, where the Muslim population of nearly 500,000 is the nation’s largest. He was told to target the Islamic Center of Irvine, he said, because it was near his home.

FBI tactics were already a sensitive issue at the Irvine mosque, a stucco, two-story building that draws as many as 2,000 people for Friday prayers. With tensions rising between law enforcement and Muslims over allegations of FBI surveillance, J. Stephen Tidwell, then head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, spoke at the mosque in June 2006.

“If we’re going to mosques to come to services, we will tell you,” he said, according to a video of his speech. “. . . The FBI will tell you we’re coming for the very reason that we don’t want you to think you’re being monitored. We would come only to learn.”

Two months later, in August 2006, Monteilh arrived at the same mosque. He had called earlier and met with the imam. That Friday, he took shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, before hundreds of worshipers.

Worshipers said that in Monteilh’s 10 months at the mosque, he became almost manic in his devotion, attending prayers five times a day and waiting in the parking lot before the 5 a.m. prayer. Monteilh said he was told by the FBI to take notes on who opened the mosque each day.

Worshipers said his Western clothes gave way to an Islamic robe, a white skullcap and sandals, an outfit Monteilh said was chosen by his handlers. As he grew closer to Muslims, he said, the FBI told him to date Muslim women if it gained him intelligence.

Worshipers noticed that Monteilh often left his keys around the mosque, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who speaks often at the mosque.

“It seemed strange to people,” Ayloush said.

Inside the car remote on the bundle of keys was a microphone that recorded Muslims at the mosque, in their homes and at a local gym. Monteilh, who told people he was a fitness trainer, used the gym to seek out Muslim men.

“We started hearing that he was saying weird things,” said Omar Kurdi, a Loyola Law School student who knew Monteilh from the mosque and gym. “He would walk up to one of my friends and say, ‘It’s good that you guys are getting ready for the jihad.”

Worshipers said Monteilh gravitated to Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, an Afghan-born Arabic-language instructor who was a regular at Friday prayers.

In May 2007, Monteilh said he recorded a conversation about jihad during a car ride with Niazi and another man. Monteilh said he suggested an operation to blow up buildings and Niazi agreed. An FBI agent later cited that and other taped conversations between the two in court as evidence that Niazi was a threat.

A few days later, Ayloush got an anguished phone call from Niazi and the other man in the car.

“They said Farouk had told them he had access to weapons and that they should blow up a mall,” Ayloush recalled. “They were convinced this man was a terrorist.”

Ayloush reported the FBI’s own informant to the FBI. He said agents interviewed Niazi, who gave them the same account, but the agency took no action against Monteilh.

Still, Monteilh’s mission was collapsing. Members of the mosque told its leaders that they were afraid of Monteilh and that he was “trying to entrap them into a mission,” according to Asim Khan, the former mosque president. The mosque went to Orange County Superior Court in June 2007 and obtained a restraining order against Monteilh, court records show.

Soon afterward, Monteilh said FBI agents “told me they wanted to cut me loose.” After he vowed to go public, he said, he met with three agents at the Anaheim Hilton, where an FBI supervisor threatened him with arrest.

“She said, ‘If you reveal your informant status to the media, it will destroy the Muslim community’s relationship with the FBI forever.” Monteilh said.

The FBI declined to comment on Monteilh’s allegation.

At a subsequent meeting, Monteilh said, he signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $25,000 in cash. An FBI letter to Monteilh’s attorney, on file in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, says Monteilh signed the non-disclosure agreement in October 2007.

But Monteilh was arrested in December 2007 on a grand-theft charge and ended up back in jail for 16 months. In January, he sued the FBI, alleging that the bureau and Irvine police conspired to have him arrested, then allowed his informant status to become known in prison, where he was stabbed.

The FBI and police have denied the allegations, and the lawsuit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. But the judge allowed Monteilh to file an amended complaint, with similar allegations, in September. The case is pending.

A case unravels
In the meantime, the case against Niazi unfolded. He was indicted in February 2009 by a federal grand jury on charges of lying about his ties to terrorists on immigration documents. In court, prosecutors said that jihadist materials were found on Niazi’s computer and that he had wired money to an alleged al-Qaeda financier. Prosecutors said he is the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s security coordinator. Much of the evidence was FBI testimony about Niazi’s recorded conversations with an FBI informant, who sources say was Monteilh.

“Frankly, there is no amount of bail or equity in a home that can protect the citizens of this community” from Niazi, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deirdre Eliot said in arguing for his detention.

Within days of Niazi’s indictment, Monteilh revealed his informant status in a series of interviews with Los Angeles area media.

“I think the FBI treated me with the utmost treachery,” he said in the interview with The Post.

In subsequent months, Monteilh sought out Niazi’s attorneys and told them he was ordered to entrap their client.

A year and a half later, on Sept. 30, prosecutors summarily moved to dismiss the case against Niazi, and a judge agreed. The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles cited the lack of an overseas witness and “evidentiary issues.” Sources familiar with the decision said Monteilh’s role – and his potential testimony for the defense – was also a factor.

Niazi declined to comment. His attorney Chase Scolnick said he is “very pleased with the outcome. It is a just result.”

In recent weeks, Monteilh said, he has been approaching Muslims at a local gym and apologizing for “disrespecting their community and religion.” Monteilh, who is now unemployed, says he regrets his role in the Niazi case and was glad when the charges were dropped.

On a recent Friday, more than 200 men sat on the carpet for prayers inside the Irvine mosque, most of them in khakis or jeans. During the sermon, the imam offered some advice.

“If an FBI agent comes in and says, ‘You’re under arrest,’â??” he told the crowd, they should pray to Allah – and then call a lawyer.

As worshipers milled around outside, they said they support the FBI’s role in fighting terrorism but feel betrayed by the infiltration of their sacred place.

“The FBI wants to treat the Muslim community as a partner while investigating us behind our backs,” said Kurdi, the Loyola student. “They can’t have it both ways.”

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

 

Temecula: Mosque Has Been Approved

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by loonwatch

After months of heated argument and vitriolic anti-Muslim agitation and Islamophobia the mosque in Temecula has been approved.

After tense and heated comments, Temecula Planning Commission approves mosque

BY ROCKY SALMON,  SWRNN
A lengthy and heated Temecula Planning Commission hearing on a proposed mosque ended with an approval to the cheers of proponents.

Opponents of the 24,943-square-foot mosque have stated plans to appeal the decision to the City Council over concerns on traffic and the politics tied to the association to Islam.

The commissioners unanimously voted on the mosque proposed by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley. The mosque will be built in two phases in a rural area along Nicolas Road near Chaparral High School.

“The project has met all the conditions placed before them and in fact has exceeded them,” said commissioner Ron Guerriero.

The group has spent years praying inside a small industrial building on Rio Nedo near Old Town Temecula. The commission was not voting on the merits of religion rather on whether there would be any violations of city codes, especially traffic, if approved. The mosque requires a conditional-use permit.

The staff report states the traffic analysis shows the mosque would have less than significant impact to the roads in the area. The group would need to add two-way left turn lane at the eastbound direction at Nicolas Road and Calle Colibri.

The study further states that the intersections of Winchester and Nicolas roads and Winchester and Margarita Roads are already operating under a less than satisfactory level of service. The traffic study states congestion in the area will ease with the implementation of a city-wide electronic traffic monitoring system, which officials expect to be running by April 2011.

The mosque will have two entrances – both along Calle Colibri.

The mosque will build 104 parking spaces for phase one. The first phase will include a 4,157 square foot building that houses a prayer hall and storage area. The second phase will add to the prayer hall with a 20,786 square foot two-story expansion. The center will build additional parking spaces for a total of 181.

The buildings will have two minarets that will blend with the Mediterranean architecture of the mosque. The minarets will not be taller than the highest point of the main building.

The public hearing on the proposal started at 6:30 p.m. The city opened up two rooms for over-flow crowds with sound from the meeting piped in.

The commissioners listened to impassioned pleas from both sides until 11 p.m. Through out the night, residents shouted, applauded and even booed during speeches. Chairman Carl Carey had to warn the crowd a dozen times and used his gavel to maintain order.

Opponents of the project focused at first on traffic issues.

Laura Scott said she is not against the center but concerned about the lack of infrastructure.

“Nicolas Road can’t support any facility of this magnitude,” she said. “This is a double lane road, poorly maintained with potholes. Don’t decide on this proposal until Nicolas Road has been expanded.”

Other opponents requested the traffic study be redone at a different time in the day and also do a thorough study of traffic at mosques in other counties.

Comments quickly turned toward fear of Islamic extremism coming to Temecula and the mosque being used for extremist camps.

“Islam is not a religion but a political ideology,” said Amy Pina. “This is about the survival of the United States.”

Proponents called the fears unsubstantiated and pointed to the fact that there have been no problems with the Islamic Center.

“I know there is a lot of fear here in this room,” said Rebecca Al-Ghizawi, a member of the Temecula Women’s Islamic Center. “These people stand up and say its about traffic then sit down and mumble about how Islam will take over this country. It has a name: institutional prejudice. I hope this commission does not hold this against us.”

In the end, the commissioners said they were ashamed by some of the statements and said the project met the conditions.

“As a citizen I can say I was flabbergasted by the rhetoric I heard tonight,” said commissioner John Telesio. “Ignorance of the facts breeds fear. Fear breeds hatred. Unfortunately I saw a lot of that today.”

Read more: http://www.swrnn.com/southwest-riverside/2010-12-01/news/after-tense-and-heated-comments-temecula-planning-commission-approves-mosque#ixzz16yISRK3Z

 

Sacramento: Sikh Cabbie Severely Beaten Screamed “I am not Muslim”

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2010 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer likes to say, “Islamophobia? What Islamophobia?”

Here you go Bob,

Robbery or Hate Crime? Sacramento Cabbie Severely Beaten

(Fox40)

Ben Deci

Sacramento cab driver Harbhajan Singh is recovering from severe injuries he received at the hands of two men he drove into West Sacramento early this morning.

56-year-old Singh believes the men intended to kill him, but he was able to get away.

In a press release, West Sacramento Police say “two of the subjects began assaulting the victim and demanded money.” But Singh says that his money wasn’t what provoked the attack. He says it was his turban.

“After he gets the money,” Singh said of one of his attackers, “he’s still fighting. He says ‘I’ll kill you.’ I say, ‘I’m not Muslim. Please.’”

Singh has several stitches on his head and other parts of his body, bone chips in his nose, and bruising along his rib cage.

He says he picked-up the near fatal fare at Harlow’s in Midtown Sacramento Sunday morning. He says there were two men and two women. They first told him they were headed toward Broadway in Sacramento, but later had him drive into a dark West Sacramento neighborhood.

That’s when, according to  Singh, the two men exploded into violence. One shouted expletives and called him Osama Bin Laden.

Singh wears a turban because he is Sikh.

“It’s part of the religion,” said Resham Singh, a coworker of Harbhajan’s. “So we don’t know how to show the community we are different people. We are nice people. We are not joined with bad people.”

During the violent beating, one of the female passengers put her body between Singh and his attackers.

“She was very nice. She said ‘why you fight him? You’ll go to jail.’ But he did not listen,” Harbhajan Singh said.

Still, Singh was able to use the distraction to get away.

“God help me, I put the car into drive from park… and raced away,” Singh said.

He wound-up in a West Sacramento apartment complex where, still bleeding and with one eye swollen shut, he banged on doors until he found someone to call 9-1-1.

Singh was taken to the hospital. His attackers, and the woman who defended him, disappeared.

http://ktxl.vid.trb.com/player/PaperVideoTest.swf

 

Largest cache of PETN explosives found on Thanksgiving Day; what if he were Muslim?

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on November 30, 2010 by loonwatch

The largest cache of the homemade explosives PETN and HMTD ever found in the United States was discovered on Thanksgiving Day by San Diego police. PETN happens to be the type of explosive favored by Al-Qaeda militants. Now, I know what many people out there are thinking. All terrorists are Muslim and, therefore, this bomb-maker must be a Muslim too. Only Muslim terrorists use PETN. Correct?

Not correct. This very big batch of PETN belongs to one George Djura Jakubec, a Serbian national and 54 year-old computer software consultant who happens to hoard all sorts of dangerous chemicals including sulfuric acid. George is considered a bank robber but he is now under investigation for links to terrorist organizations. The stockpile of explosives was so dangerous that authorities had the entire block near Escondido, California evacuated. These types of explosives are very sensitive and could be detonated with a slight shock, making law enforcement’s task all the more difficult and dangerous.

But what if he were Muslim?

If he were Muslim, then expect to hear more pretentious “I told ya so” rhetoric from talking-heads about how Americans shouldn’t be so politically correct because all terrorists are Muslim and foreignso therefore we shouldn’t feel bad about racial or religious profiling. Never mind the concrete data showing that most terrorists in America and Europe are not Muslim.

What these hot-air blowing pundits don’t understand (or don’t care to understand) is that racial profiling doesn’t work, it’s counterproductive, and it is an affront to American pluralism. Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has called it “misleading and, arguably, dangerous.” It is dangerous because terrorists have no race or religion. Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes. So if we profile only Muslims or immigrants, then terrorists who are not Muslims or immigrants will have a better chance at getting through security. The better option is to profile for suspicious behavior. But facts, logic, and the recommendations of high-ranking security officials and scholars won’t stop these loons from continuing their holy waragainst Islam. Why let a little rationality bring down the party when the business of Islamophobic alarmism is booming and anti-Muslim politicians are winning?

For this Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful for many things, but in particular, I am thankful the people who live in the anti-Muslim blogosphere’s perpetual Muslim-bashing imagination fantasy land aren’t actually in charge of our collective security.

Note: This article is part of our “What if they were Muslim?” series. In this series, we examine the double standards used by anti-Muslim activists when discussing religious extremism in Islam as compared to other religions. We reject using extremists of any religion to justify prejudice, stereotypes, and hostility towards all members of that religion. Period.

 

Mano Bakh: A Member of the Shah’s Military Crusades against Temecula Mosque

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2010 by loonwatch

Somebody has skulls in his closet?

Murrieta man leads mosque opposition

By JEFF HORSEMAN
The Press-Enterprise

Mano Bakh has personal reasons for opposing a mosque planned in Temecula.

The 73-year-old from Murrieta said he barely escaped with his life when revolutionaries toppled Iran’s monarchy in 1979 and established an Islamic republic.

His self-published book, “Escaping Islam,” describes being arrested and interrogated. Now he fears his new home is treading down Iran’s path.

Bakh is one of the most vocal critics of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley’s plan to build a roughly 25,000-square-foot mosque in northeast Temecula. The Temecula Planning Commission will discuss the mosque Dec. 1.

Bakh, who said he went into hiding for his safety, insists he does not hate Muslims. The former Muslim said an expansionist Islamic ideology supports terrorism and seeks to repress liberty through religious-based Shariah law.

Center supporters, including a coalition of religious leaders, say Bakh and those like him are misguided at best and bigoted at worst. They say the majority of American Muslims are law-abiding.

“I can understand (Bakh’s) personal pain. My family suffered the same persecution,” said Salam Al-Marayati, an Iraqi and president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “But that’s not a reason to prevent people from worshiping freely in the United States …”

‘revolutionary network’

A married father of two and grandfather of four, Bakh said he grew up in Iran and studied overseas while rising through his country’s navy. He described the Iran of his youth as a moderate country.

“Prior to 1979, there were miniskirts on our women, the latest styles from Paris in our shops, frivolity among our people, and Western music in the air,” reads an online book excerpt.

Iran was ruled by Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, who had close ties to the West. While credited with modernizing Iran, the shah also cracked down on political dissent.

Protesters eventually demanded the shah’s ouster, and he fled Iran in 1979. Islamic revolutionaries took over and established a theocracy.

In the years before the revolution, Bakh said he noticed more mosques being built. He wasn’t concerned at first because the mosques kept kids off the street.

“Later, we learned the mosques were nodes in the revolutionary network,” he said.

During the revolution, Bakh said he was arrested, searched, blindfolded, interrogated and accused of helping the U.S. Navy build a spyhouse in Iran.

He said he was allowed to return home, where he had less than an hour to pack before he and his family fled for Great Britain and ultimately settled in the U.S.

‘Deep Penetration’

Bakh sees Islam not as a religion, but a political movement seeking to take over the world.

He said there are signs of “deep penetration in all segments of society to implement the Islamic radicalization.”

As examples, he points to the incident last year at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 Army soldiers were killed — the suspect is a Muslim — and Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim cleric once based in San Diego described as a spiritual adviser and attack planner for terrorists.

Bakh speaks about Islam to churches and Republican assemblies across Southern California and is a member of Concerned American Citizens, which opposes the mosque.

The City Council will decide the mosque’s fate if the commission’s decision is appealed.

‘who is he …?’

Bakh wants Islamic center Imam Mahmoud Harmoush to disclose the mosque’s funding sources, denounce the militant Palestinian group Hamas and sign a “pledge of friendship” in which the imam would vow to denounce Shariah law and uphold the Constitution.

Harmoush said he shouldn’t have to answer to him.

“Who is he to ask me any of those questions?” Harmoush said, adding the center has been raising funds for the mosque for a decade and shouldn’t have to open its books. Harmoush has said there is only enough money to build a 4,000-square-foot first phase.

As for Hamas, Harmoush, who has publicly condemned violence and terror, said Middle East politics have nothing to do with his center.

Bakh was at the July 30 protest outside the Islamic center’s current building. He said he did not approve of protesters who brought dogs, a move decried as harassment by the center supporters.

‘i lost one country’

Besides Harmoush, Bakh said he’s concerned with the center’s backers, including Al-Marayati, whom Bakh said won’t denounce Islamic terrorists.

Al-Marayati said his group works with law enforcement to fight terrorism. Bakh “just parrots what he hears” on the Internet, Al-Marayati said, adding, “When you’re a critic of U.S. policy in the Middle East, then immediately opponents want to portray you as supporting terrorism.”

Al-Marayati tried to dispel what he calls false notions about Islam at a forum hosted by the Interfaith Council of Murrieta and Temecula Valley. He said the true ideals of Islamic law closely mirror the Constitution and that for Muslims, the Pledge of Allegiance is as sacred as a pledge to God.

Bakh said he’s resigned to never returning to his homeland.

“I lost one country,” he said. “I don’t want to lose a second one.”

Reach Jeff Horseman at 951-375-3727 or jhorseman@PE.com

 

Temecula: Anti-Mosque group trying to Separate Islam from Sharia Law

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2010 by loonwatch
Mano Bakh

Temecula, California has been the scene of another mosque controversy. This is the place where mosque opponents called for protesters to bring dogs to their demonstration during Friday prayers. This time some vocal residents don’t want the mosque in Temecula for all the same reasons that we have heard repeated over and over throughout the country: Islam wants to take over, Muslims cannot be trusted, they want to impose Sharia’ law on us.

Now a group of Temecula residents opposed to the mosque want to separate Islam and Sharia’. Can you say Ignorance? Imagine if a group opposed a Synagogue being built and gave the reason as being their opposition to the Halacha? Imagine if they made it a condition for building a Synagogue that Judaism be stripped of its laws? That wouldn’t fly.

What these residents don’t realize and are being misinformed about is that Islam and Sharia’ are closely linked. When a Muslim prays, fasts, gives charity, goes on pilgrimage he or she is following Sharia. But try and explain that to Mano Bakh who thinks the five pillars have nothing to do with Sharia’. My favorite quote from Bakh,

“I lost Iran to Islam. I don’t want to lose my second country, ever,” he said.

How ridiculous! Islam has been present in Iran for over 1300 years. It has been a majority Muslim nation for an equally long time. His quote that he “lost Iran to Islam” is highly pretentious, he doesn’t own Iran, and unless he is over a thousand years old he hasn’t “lost” it either.

TEMECULA: Group trying to separate Islam religion from Sharia law

ANTI-MOSQUE LECTURE ATTENDED BY HUNDREDS OF AREA RESIDENTS

Members of a Southwest County group opposed to plans for a mosque in Temecula explained why they have concerns about the project during a lecture Monday night in Temecula’s community recreation center.

According to those who spoke, the religion of Islam is not the problem and they rejected the contention that they are religious bigots.

They said their primary concern is Sharia law, which they defined as a set of rules that govern the lives of Muslims and that require them to impose that law on non-Muslims.

The speakers view Sharia law as incompatible with the U.S. Constitution and the American way of life.

“Praying to Allah should be the only focus,” said Jacqueline Le Beau, a Murrieta author who said the group wants to separate Islam from Sharia, which, she said, was being “legitimized” under the cover of religion.

The other speakers at the lecture, attended by hundreds of residents, included local authors who have written books critical of Islam, a pastor from Simi Valley and a Temecula man, George Rombach, who is working to get a city ordinance passed that would prohibit an organization from calling itself a religion if it advocates terrorism, slavery, gender inequality and other beliefs that clash with the U.S. Constitution.

Rombach, during his time at the microphone, said the ordinance is not focused on any one religion or organization, noting that the Ku Klux Klan and the Branch Davidians attempted to hide behind religion.

The mosque project is being proposed by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, a group of Southwest County Muslims that says its been saving for years to build a house of worship.

For the last 10 years, the group has been meeting in a business park in western Temecula.

The plans for the mosque, slated for land in a rural community in the northeast part of the city, are scheduled to go before the Planning Commission in mid-November if a traffic study is completed on time.

The imam of the center, Mahmoud Harmoush, issued a statement about Monday’s lecture, saying that the group —- Concerned American Citizens —- does not represent the people of Murrieta and Temecula Valley.

“The out-of-town, anti-Islam group has demonstrated their heat and bigotry during the July 30, 2010, demonstration, and now they are demonstrating their ignorance of Islam,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Californian.

The demonstration, a rally in front of the center’s offices, was one of the first salvos against the mosque.

“It is clear that they do not represent the people of Murrieta and Temecula Valley, nor do they represent the religious community with such intolerant behavior,” he wrote.

The Simi Valley pastor, Kevin Dieckilman, said that before he became a member of the clergy, he was a home builder, in charge of checking foundations.

Weaving an analogy from his life experience, Dieckilman said the U.S. has a foundation influenced by Christian ideals.

In contrast, he said, Islam is built on a foundation of laws and ideals that spur people to “strap bombs on children” and go on “shooting rampages.”

“I have no problem with building a mosque in any city in America, but first, let’s check that foundation,” he said.

According to Dieckilman, there have been people in Southwest County who have said that if the center builds the mosque, they will try and convert the Muslims to Christianity.

“Do any of you raise chickens?” he asked. “Would you rather convert the fox outside or inside the hen house?”

Mano Bakh, a Wildomar man who has been one of the most active in the fight against the mosque, closed the lecture by noting that the five pillars of Islam, the core tenets of the religion, have nothing to do with Sharia law.

He used as examples the rules of women covering their faces with veils and cab drivers refusing to allow passengers carrying alcohol in their luggage.

He said those are examples of Sharia law, the rules that cover everything in the life of a Muslim and the rules, that he said, provide a sharp contrast with equal rights for women, human rights in general and freedom of religion, the core beliefs of the U.S.

Recalling his fight against Islam while he lived in Iran, Bakh appeared to get choked up.

“I lost Iran to Islam. I don’t want to lose my second country, ever,” he said.

Following the lecture, Don Parsley, a Murrieta resident, reflected on the message shared by the group, the idea that the religion of Islam could be separated from Sharia law.

“It’s a tough subject,” he said, adding that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 makes it legally difficult to stop a religious group from building a house of worship.

Last week, the city of Walnut was sued for allegedly violating that act by denying a Buddhist temple a land-use permit.

Call staff writer Aaron Claverie at 951-676-4315, ext. 2624.

 

Davi Barker: 70% of 760 AM Listeners Support Forcing Muslims to Register on Database

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by loonwatch

Some may say who listens to AM radio anymore? Nonetheless still a scary poll.

70 percent of 760 AM listeners support forcing Muslims to register on a national database

760 KFMB AM is a talk radio station hosting such conservative luminaries as Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Today, below the Wiener Dog racing and ads for the Sean Hannity Freedom Concert is a fun little poll that asks listeners:

During a time of war, should we register as many practicing Muslims as we can find in a national database?

  1. No – it’s an invasion of privacy.
  2. Yes- gun owners have to, why not Muslims?

Currently, 70% of those polled are in favor of forced registration for American Muslims. Granted, this is not a representative sampling of the general population, but it none the less contributes to adisturbing trend of national opinion about Islam.

Jenn Chou is the National Anti-establishment Examiner and a member of CopBlock, a decentralized project of writers and activists dedicated to holding rogue cops accountable by filming their behavior and publishing it online. Jenn writes”

  • Forced registration is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jewish population of Germany. The Nazis did not kill 6 million Jewish people overnight and go from being perfectly amicable one day to burning them in ovens the next. It started with small steps. Read More

But one need not look so far as Germany. Right here in American Census data was used to round up the Japanese during WWIII. In fact, this year the US Census Bureau sent representatives to the events of numerous Islamic organizations to sooth concerns Muslims had about submitting their personal data to a government so openly hostile to them. At one event Steven Tupolo from the US Census Bureau assured me that by law the US Census Bureau does not share personal data with any other agency. That it is compiled for statistical purposes only. But when I asked if they couldn’t just change the law he said, “Sure, Congress has the right to change the law whenever.” Not a lot of assurance there. I personally think Muslims would be better served to side with Republicans and Libertarians against the US Census and it’s lack of Constitutional basis.

The fact is the government already has as much information on Muslims as they want without a national database. The Bay Area CAIR chapter reports that the FBI visits at least one Bay Area Muslim per week, and that’s just the cases reported to them. Jenn is absolutely correct that whatever rights violations the state cooks up will occur in small steps. Like the myth that you can cook a frog alive if you place it cold water and increase the temperature gradually. Free societies always descend into authoritarianism by a slow fair-seeming incrementalism.  As Sinclair Lewis put it, “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.”

 

Second anti-Muslim Hate Crime in 24 Hours

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on August 25, 2010 by loonwatch

Mosque vandalized by the American Nationalist Brotherhood (ANB), this time it is explicitly connected to the so-called “mosque at Ground Zero.” Job well done Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

Vandalism at Madera Islamic center called hate crime

by Eddie Jimenez

Vandalism to a Madera Islamic center and signs found on the property are being investigated as a hate crime, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department said today.

A brick was thrown at the building Friday and three signs were found at Masjid Madera, 16634 Road 26, during two other incidences since Aug. 18, said Erica Stuart, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman. Two of the signs were found on the center’s property Tuesday afternoon.

The signs read “No Temple for the God of terrorism at Ground Zero. ANB,” “Wake up America, the Enemy is here. ANB” and “American Nationalist Brotherhood.”

Earlier reports said the brick went through a window. The sheriff’s department said later today that it struck a wall.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at (559) 675-7770 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP.

 

Anti-Mosque Protester To TPM: Muslims Hate Dogs And America Too

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by loonwatch

Anti-Mosque Protester To TPM: Muslims Hate Dogs And America Too

Let’s get one thing straight, Diane Serafin told me this afternoon — the people (and their dogs)protesting a planned mosque in Temecula, California tomorrow are not bigots. It’s not Muslims per se that they have a problem with — it’s the fact that Imams are slowly infiltrating American society, hoping to force Sharia law on us all.

Muslim construction projects have been the subject of public protests nationwide these days (as we’ve reported), but Serafin’s demonstration is different from all the rest. She’s calling on people to bring their dogs and join in song tomorrow afternoon because, she told me, Muslims just hate dogs and songs. Of course, Muslim antipathy toward canines isn’t their worst offense, she told me.

“They hate Jews, they hate Chrisitans, they hate women, they hate dogs,” Serafin said. “[The idea of the new mosque] scares the daylights out of me.”

Still, Serafin insisted she’s no bigot.

“I want you to stress this — I’m not prejudiced,” Serafin told me. “I worked retail for nine years and I didn’t even know my manager was gay until someone told me. And when I found out, I didn’t care.”

Serafin is a tea party organizer in Murrieta, California — and the woman who’s helping to spread the word about tomorrow’s protest, which she says will see Christians gather outside a mosque in the Riverside County area. (The Muslims who worship at that site have been planning to build a new mosque and community center in Temecula since 2000.) Serafin runs an area tea party website, which she told me she’s used to help spread the word about tomorrow’s demonstration.

Here’s what’s really behind the Temecula mosque according to Serafin: America-hating imams are planning to build mosques “in every Christian city” so they can influence local politics, undermine our legal system and impose Sharia law on us all.

Serafin said when I asked why local officials in Temecula haven’t put the brakes on this nefarious plot by shutting down construction plans at the mosque.

“They feel there’s religious freedom,” she said. “And I know it’s there in the Constitution and everything, but everything I read says Islam is a political movement.”

“I think there’s a movement going on in the United States to take over our country,” she added.

With the government not lending a hand, Serafin says that it’s up to protesters like her to step up. Step up and sing. Step up and sing with their dogs nearby.

“It’s a dream,” she said when I asked about her confidence that the increasing numbers of protests against the mosque will work and shut down the project. “I don’t know that we can do it, but if we can make people aware maybe we can slow down this movement of Islam into the country.”

Serafin said she can’t predict how many people are going to make it to the protest, but knows what will happen when it starts.

“They hate song,” she said of Muslims. “So we’re going to sing patriotic songs, Christian songs.

God Bless America will be one,” Serafin added.

 

Temecula Mosque Proposal Targeted in Pending Protest

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on July 29, 2010 by loonwatch

My guess is that the dogs that these “protestors” will be bringing aren’t going to be fluffy poodles but probably Pit Bulls or Bull Dogs.

Temecula mosque proposal targeted in pending protest

Tim O’Leary
Valley News Staff

Friday, July 23rd, 2010.
Issue 29, Volume 14.

Plans to build a permanent mosque near two existing Temecula churches are expected to be the target of an organized protest next week.

The development plan that the Islamic Center of Temecula submitted to city planners about 1½ years ago has drawn muted concerns so far and triggered widespread media coverage that has included stories by the Associated Press and newspapers based in Los Angeles and Riverside.

If an announced July 30 protest materializes, it could mark an escalation of questions and criticism surrounding plans to develop a mosque at the city’s northeast corner. The facility that has served the region’s Muslims for about 12 years would move from an industrial park to Nicolas Road if the development plan comes to fruition.

City officials could be snared in a religion-tinged controversy as the project proceeds through the review process. It has been about seven years since a similar controversy began to unfold in the city that is now home to more than 100,000 residents.

“We are limited to looking at land use issues, not religious or political issues,” Patrick Richardson, the city’s director of planning and redevelopment, said in a Monday afternoon telephone interview. “Everybody has the right to practice their religion as they see fit.”

Richardson did not work for Temecula when a similar controversy surfaced over another proposed house of worship. He said he has since learned about the twists and turns that occurred when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints submitted a proposal nearly a decade ago to build a facility along Pauba Road.

The Mormon controversy contains parallels to the mosque proposal.

The Islamic Center has owned its Temecula site – which totals four acres at Nicolas Road and Calle Medusa – for about 10 years, Richardson said. The Islamic Center has operated in Temecula since 1998, and is based in an industrial park on the city’s west side.

The Islamic Center is proposing to build a 24,950-square-foot mosque. Its building size and acreage would roughly mirror that of two nearby churches – Calvary Baptist Church and Grace Presbyterian Church. The number of parking spaces proposed for the mosque exceeds the city’s requirements, Richardson said.

Because of traffic, noise and related concerns raised by a nearby pastor and others, the city has examined a range of issues as it has reviewed the development plan, he said.

Richardson said the review process has unfolded slowly in part because the Islamic Center, like many churches do when they build new facilities, has relied on some of its members to perform various planning- and development-related tasks.

“We’ve pretty much completed our review,” Richardson said. The site’s zoning designation allows the construction of a church at that location, he said.

A May 27 letter from the city to Hadi Nael, an Islamic Center representative, indicated that the mosque proposal might come before Temecula planning commissioners on July 7. On June 22, Richardson wrote a letter to Nael indicating that the hearing would likely be postponed until Aug. 18.

That’s still possible, Richardson said, although he noted in the interview that the hearing date is “somewhat of a moving target.” At the time of the interview, Richardson said he was unaware Advertisement

North County Cosmeticthat a loose-knit coalition of area residents is planning a demonstration at the Islamic Center’s existing facility along Rio Nedo west of Murrieta Creek.

An e-mail alert sent to area newspapers last week announced that a one-hour “singing – praying – patriotic rally” will begin at 12:30 p.m. July 30 at the Islamic Center’s existing facility. The advisory – sent by a leader of a conservative coalition that has been active with Republican and Tea Party functions – recommended participants “bring your Bibles, flags, signs, dogs and singing voices.”

“We will not be submissive,” the notice proclaimed. “Our voices are going to be heard!” The alert went on to question what its authors described as Islamic beliefs. It suggested that participants sing during the rally because Muslim “women are forbidden to sing.” It suggested that rally participants bring dogs because Muslims “hate dogs.”

The advisory asked rally participants to “please bring a pooper scooper” if they are accompanied by a canine companion. The advisory said residents of an unspecified Tennessee community were able to halt the construction of a mosque in that state.

Telephone messages left Monday and Tuesday at the Islamic Center seeking comment on the planned demonstration were not returned.

The center’s Internet site provides information the mosque plan. The center’s April newsletter said: “In the next two years, our new board will focus on the building project. We need a home! It is the dream of our community.”

It went on to say: “We as a Muslim believe that the Murrieta and Temecula Valley will be a better community by having the Islamic Center, place of worship, place of education and a place for interfaith. More than ten years ago, we were welcomed by many good friends in different churches; and for the last five years we were one of the founders of the Murrieta and Temecula Valley Interfaith Council. Thus we are working together with all our community religious groups to bring more understanding, tolerance and respect among people of faith in our valley. We hope that you can help in building our Center.”

An update in the center’s May newsletter asked members to “…pray that Allah Taala open the hearts and the mind of our city officials to help us to bring this project to life.”

The last major controversy to unfold in Temecula over a proposed house of worship centered on plans to open a Mormon church on a 4.7-acre parcel along Pauba Road near Linfield Christian School.

That controversy surfaced in March 2003 when neighbors of the proposed 24,287-square-foot facility began to cite a range of concerns. The residents complained that they were already besieged by traffic going to and from numerous existing churches and public and private schools in the area.

They also raised concerns that night and weekend activities at a Mormon church would harm their neighborhood’s quality of life.

About 130 people jammed a four-hour city Planning Commission hearing a year later, and about 35 of them alternately spoke for or against the development plan. A series of hotly debated hearings on the proposal ended when the City Council approved the 287-seat church in October 2004.

A Mormon church was subsequently built at that location.

 

Temecula Valley: A Mosque Controversy?

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2010 by loonwatch

Planned Temecula Valley mosque draws opposition

July 18, 2010|By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times

Muslims throughout Temecula and Murrieta have saved up for years to build a mosque to replace the plain white industrial building, tucked between a pipeline company and packaging warehouse, where they now gather to pray.

But as the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley moves ahead with plans to build on a four-acre plot of vacant land near Temecula’s gentle hills and invading housing developments, plans for the new mosque have stirred hostility in this mostly conservative community in southwest Riverside County.

Along with increased traffic and noise, opponents fear the mosque would clash with Temecula’s rural atmosphere and, they say, possibly turn the community of 105,000 into a haven for Islamic extremists.

The pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, just across a cul-de-sac from the site of the mosque, said the two religions “mix like oil and water” and predicted a “confrontational atmosphere” if the project moves forward.

“The Islamic foothold is not strong here, and we really don’t want to see their influence spread,” said Pastor Bill Rench.

“There is a concern with all the rumors you hear about sleeper cells and all that. Are we supposed to be complacent just because these people say it’s a religion of peace? Many others have said the same thing,” he said.

Leaders of the Islamic center were surprised by the level of criticism, especially from a few religious groups, saying their current makeshift mosque and Islamic community center have been in town for more than a decade and members always have felt welcome.

“Our children go to the same schools their children go to. We shop at the same stores where they shop,” said Mahmoud Harmoush, the imam of the Islamic center and an instructor at Cal State San Bernardino’s World Languages and Literatures Department.

“All of a sudden our neighbors wake up and they’re opposed to us building the Islamic center there, the mosque. I hope it’s a small group,” he said.

The mayor and members of the City Council did not respond to calls about the issue. Temecula’s city attorney advised them not to comment about the proposed mosque because the Planning Commission’s vote on the application for the facility could be appealed to the council.

The Rev. Joe Zarro, co-chairman of the Interfaith Council of Temecula and Murrieta Valley, said criticism of the mosque in the community is from a very small but vocal minority. The council, made up of leaders of a variety of faiths in the area, including Harmoush, unanimously endorsed plans for the mosque, Zarro said.

“A lot of this has been blown out of proportion,” said Zarro, the minister at the United Church of the Valley. “It’s important for people to see our neighbors, and for them to be part of our community.”

The land for the proposed mosque lies west of the Temecula wine country in a pocket of the city that’s become a mish-mash of ranch homes with large grassy spreads and clusters of encroaching red-tile roofs. Along with Calvary Baptist, the mosque will be a short walk from Grace Presbyterian Church.

The design of the 24,943-square-foot mosque and center reflect a Mediterranean design seen in many Temecula neighborhoods, though the building will have traditional domes topped with crescent moons. The facility will be built in two stages, with the first limited to a 4,100-square-foot mosque to serve about 150 Muslim families living in Temecula, Murrieta and surrounding communities, Harmoush said.

The Islamic center has owned the land since 2000, but the small Muslim community has needed time to raise enough money to build. Harmoush said it could be years before the entire mosque and community center are completed.

The proposal is expected to go before the Temecula Planning Commission in August, and city officials are reviewing the expected effect of the mosque on neighborhood traffic and noise levels and any other environmental concerns.

“We look at land issues, that’s it,” said Patrick Robinson, director of the city’s planning and redevelopment agency. “We don’t take into account the denomination of the religion or any of the political issues that surround it.”

A petition opposing the new mosque is being circulated by a group called Concerned Community Citizens, and other politically active volunteers have started organizing a campaign against the facility.

Karen Fesini, who belongs to a Republican women’s group in the Temecula and Murrieta area, said she’s been making calls to warn her friends about the project.

“They say they’re not radicals, but how do we know?”‘ said Fesini, 68.

“Right now we’re at war with the Taliban and the Muslims and our boys are over there fighting and dying for our freedom. What would it be like if they come home and found out we just let them in the front door?”

phil.willon@latimes.com

 

San Diego: Muslim Assaulted and told “Go back home”

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by loonwatch

A Muslim man was assaulted after praying by a man who punched him repeatedly in the face and told him to “go back home.”

San Diego Assault Brings Calls for Hate Crime Charges

By Carol Forsloff

SAN DIEGO – The Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR) is seeking hate charges against a man who assaulted a Muslim.

The San Diego chapter of CAIR on Saturday asked for state and federal hate crimes laws to be used against a white man in his 50’s.

The Muslim man was praying near Mission Bay park last Wednesday when the incident began. A man watched the Muslim pray and then followed him to a taxi stand where he had parked his cab.

When the victim attempted to enter the taxi, his alleged assailant first shouted, “You idiot, you mother f**ker, go back to where you came from.”

The Muslim cab driver was then grabbed by the shirt and punched repeatedly. The victim had to undergo hospital tests including a CAT scan.

“Because of the racial slurs reportedly used during this attack, we urge state and national law enforcement authorities to consider bringing hate crime charges against the alleged perpetrator,” said CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida.

He said the victim believes he was attacked because of the recent failed Times Square car bomb attack.

Authorities have not revealed the name of the attacker or the victim but charges are anticipated.

The failed Times Square bomb plot allegedly hatched by Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad has been blamed for a rash of racist incidents.

CAIR is the largest Muslim advocacy and civil liberties organization in the United States.

 

Sheriff Lee Baca: A Man of Principle

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2010 by loonwatch

lee_-baca

The loons love to cast themselves as the defenders of freedom and the vanguards of enlightenment against the dark forces of Islam. A self-image we have shattered over and over by hurling facts and exposing their ignorance and hateful hypocrisy.

A lot of these right wingers’ invective revolves around castigating the largest Muslim civil rights organization in America, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) because it is a strong and influential voice against bigotry and discrimination against Muslims and that just irks the Islamophobes. They have come up with all sorts of conspiracies revolving around CAIR including one that made Newsweek’s ‘Top Conspiracies of 2009.”

However it seems like they didn’t bargain for an encounter with Sheriff Lee Baca.

L.A. County Sheriff Defends Himself, Muslims after Attack by Indiana Governor

If L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was feisty last week when he tangled with a Republican congressman in Washington, D.C., he was even more impassioned Tuesday while discussing it.

A week ago, Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) impugned Baca during a House Homeland Security subcommittee meeting, saying the sheriff had allied himself with a Muslim American group that engaged in “radical” speech by going to its fundraisers. Baca not only attacked that description of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, but he also told Souder he would be fine with going to more fundraisers for the group.

“If he thinks I’m afraid of what he said, I will go to 10 fundraisers because he said it,” Baca declared Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before a town hall meeting with the Muslim American community.

Actually, Baca said, he’s been to only two fundraisers for the organization in four years, but that, he added, is not the point. What rankled Baca — aside from what he took as Souder personally challenging the sheriff’s patriotism — was what he saw as the congressman’s inaccurate assessment of the group.

“In other words, he’s an amateur intelligence officer,” Baca said.

Several times a year, the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress — an independent group set up to advise Baca and forge a partnership between the department and Muslim Americans — and the Sheriff’s Department’s Muslim Community Affairs Unit hold forums to discuss issues. The one Tuesday night was scheduled before the dust-up in Washington offered a charged topic for discussion.

When Baca spoke at the Tuesday event, he was given a standing ovation by the 75 or so people at the Omar ibn Al-Khattab Foundation near USC.

Baca called Souder’s comments “scary” and said they were an affront to all Muslim Americans. “When you attack CAIR,” he said, “you attack virtually every Muslim in America.”

Baca’s response to Souder was a statement in defense of democracy, said Maher Hathout, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California. “And they will not vanish,” he said. “They are on the record and they are a landmark on the road of our democracy.”

Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, hailed Baca as a hero. “Sheriff Baca is our champion and is our hero in defending us against McCarthyism in this era,” Al-Marayati said.

Although CAIR, a national Muslim civil liberties group, has its critics, Baca said the local offices represent average Muslim Americans “very committed to the safety of the U.S. It is not an organization that supports or promotes terrorism.” He added that the group supported a proposed half-cent sales tax hike for law enforcement. “I think CAIR’s support for public safety is unequivocal,” he said.

Baca said he believes strongly in a connection between public safety and religious understanding. The Sheriff’s Department’s interfaith council, he said, has been working for a decade on projects such as passing out food baskets to the homeless and counseling drug addicts. “We have all faiths represented — Jewish, Muslim, Scientology is even involved.”

The Muslim American Homeland Security Congress was set up in the wake of “this constant uninformed chatter about religion being a factor in terrorism,” he said. “I’m saying — because I’ve read the Koran and been involved with Muslim Americans for years — this is not correct. God has nothing to do with mentally ill people committing terrorist acts. If a mentally ill person is using Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Scientology to say ‘This is part of why I’m doing this,’ I say, ‘Well, guess what, don’t act like you’re God, you don’t have God’s authority.’ ”

Baca is Catholic. “I’m a weak Catholic; I’m not suggesting I’m doing my best at it,” he said. “I respect Catholicism and I respect all faiths.”

Without them, he said, “our crime would be outrageous. We would not be a civilized world.”

carla.hall@latimes.com

raja.abdulrahim@latimes.com

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

 

California: Oldest Mosque West of the Rocky Mountains Vandalized

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , on February 11, 2010 by loonwatch
Muslim Mosque AssociationMuslim Mosque Association

Of course Robert Spencer will say Islamophobia doesn’t exist.

Sacramento Mosque Vandalized; Woman arrested

By Bill Lindelof

blindelof@sacbee.com

Police have arrested a woman suspected of vandalizing a Sacramento mosque on Tuesday.

Cynthia Ann Sunshine, 53, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and vandalism. She was booked into Sacramento County Jail and her bail was set at $25,000.

Police said that she went to the Muslim Mosque Association in the 400 block of V Street about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday. Once inside the Southside Park neighborhood house of worship, the woman is suspected of tearing several items off the wall and breaking them, a police activity log reported. She also threw some books, police said.

When confronted by congregation members, she took prayer items and fled, according to the log. Mosque members followed her and police officers arrested her shortly after 1 p.m. in Southside Park.

The mosque, which opened in 1947, is said to be the oldest mosque west of theRocky Mountains.

Posted by Linda Gonzales

Categories: ArrestsCalifornia crimeVandalism

 

California: Pakistani Americans Victims of Hate Crimes

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2010 by loonwatch

nohate

Were these two victims targeted because of their color, for being Muslim or both?

DA Charges Second Hate Crime in Ukiah Truck Stop Altercations

Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott has charged a second man with committing a hate crime after reviewing his interaction in mid-January with clerks at Jensen’s Truck Stop in Ukiah.

Meanwhile, the owner of Jensen’s Truck Stop says he’s rethinking improvements there after his employees were the victims of two hate crimes in a month.

Two clerks of Pakistani descent were the victims of the second hate crime in a month at Jensen’s on Lovers Lane in Ukiah, when Redwood Valley resident Cody M. Cranford, 21, allegedly assaulted them Friday night.

It was obvious Cranford was intoxicated when he entered the truck stop, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. He became angry when he asked to use the phone inside and was told to use the pay phone outside instead, Smallcomb said.

Cranford physically attacked clerks Lateef Kamal and Waqar Malik, punching their heads and faces and making racial slurs. Smallcomb said he grabbed one of the men by his sweater and dragged him outside while continuing to hit him. Then Cranford fled and the clerks called 9-1-1.

They identified their alleged attacker after police found Cranford at a nearby bowling alley.

Cranford’s bail was set at $150,000, and he is due to appear in court Wednesday.

The incident comes just more than two weeks after the Jan. 12 incident when Joseph Anthony Frank, 63, of Redwood Valley, made an apparently unprovoked attack on clerk Ahmed Kahn inside the truck.

Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott said Frank walked in and “went into a diatribe of derogatory names towards the store clerk.”

Frank’s anger built until he threatened to kill Kahn, then began to remove his jacket. He lunged across the counter and hit Kahn on the lower left side of his head with a closed fist, according to Lintott.

Frank drove away, and the California Highway Patrol arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and making terrorist threats.

The MCSO investigated the third charge, and the District Attorney’s Office ultimately charged Frank with a felony count of committing a hate crime.

Lintott said what her attorneys look for to decide whether to charge someone with a hate crime is “a biased motive that caused the offender to act.”

State law defines a hate crime as a criminal act committed wholly or partially because of the victim’s disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or association with a person or group marked by one or more of those characteristics.

“Obviously that’s not something we tolerate in Mendocino County,” Lintott said.

Haji Alam, who owns Jensen’s Truck stop and two other gas stations in Ukiah, said, “We get customers like that in and out sometimes, but we usually try to ignore them.”

Alam, a U.S. citizen and Ukiah resident of Pakistani descent, took over the operation of the truck stop last April when he bought the lease from previous tenants. Now he’s thinking of improving the building, but the apparently racially-motivated incidents have made him think twice.

“Now I wonder, should I do it, should I not do it,” Alam said.

He added, “The majority of the customers are nice people, and I like living here.”

Tiffany Revelle can be reached at udjtr@pacific.net, or at 468-3523. Editor’s note: This article was edited to correct one incorrect reference to the location of the incidents.

 

San Francisco man Convicted of Harrasing Muslims

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2010 by loonwatch
English Defence League. Protest march Manchester.Harrasment

San Francisco man Convicted of Harrasing Muslims

A 47-year-old San Francisco man was convicted Tuesday of four misdemeanor counts related to a September incident in which he harassed members of a local mosque celebrating Ramadan, according to the district attorney’s office.

Gregory Tolbert, also known as Troy Adams, was found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of battery and two misdemeanor counts of interference with the exercise of civil rights for a Sept. 20 encounter with congregants of the Al-Sabeel mosque, the district attorney’s office said.

Tolbert reportedly showed up at a breakfast reception in Victoria Manalo Draves Park in the South of Market District, where members of the mosque were celebrating the end of the Ramadan holiday.

Prosecutors said Tolbert began shouting racial and ethnic slurs at the celebrants and was escorted out of the park, but returned later in the afternoon and “caused a disturbance” in an area designated for women and children.

As members again asked him to leave, Tolbert began cursing and swung his backpack at one man, injuring the man’s hand, and scratched another man on his cheek and neck, prosecutors said.

He continued to shout racial and religious slurs until police arrived and arrested him, prosecutors said.

“The law will come down hard on those who violate the civil rights of others,” District Attorney Kamala Harris said in a statement Tuesday.

“There is no place in a civilized society for behavior that steals the free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege guaranteed by the Constitution,” Harris said.Tolbert faces a year in county jail, a $5,000 fine and 400 hours of community service at his sentencing today, according to the district attorney’s office.
Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. “… republication, re-transmission or reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

 

What if they were Muslim?

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by loonwatch

What if they were Muslim?

Edward Wycoff
Edward Wycoff

What would happen if a Muslim man stabbed and bludgeoned his sister and her husband to death because he thought they were too liberal and were raising their children wrong? There would be a sure fire media storm, the anti-Muslim blogosphere would be in a crazed frenzy like a pair of zombies gorging on a fresh human victim. Accusations of “honor killing” would be flying around, and how “Islam” influenced the criminal actions.

Murder Suspect Disapproved of his Victims

EL CERRITO — A man stabbed and bludgeoned his sister and her husband to death in El Cerrito in 2006 because he thought the couple were too liberal, were raising their children wrong and because they hadn’t invited him over for Christmas, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday.

Edward Wycoff, 40, of the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights coldly planned the slayings, including getting Lasik surgery and using night-vision goggles so he could find his way around the house where Julie Wycoff Rogers, 47, lived with her husband, Paul Rogers, 48, prosecutor Mark Peterson said.

He also purposefully picked the date for the killings – Jan. 31, 2006 – Peterson said in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez. That was 20 years to the day after Wycoff’s grandmother, whom he hated, left his home after breaking her hip, the prosecutor said.

Wycoff regarded his grandmother as “evil” and thought his life improved considerably after she left, Peterson said. Because he believed the couple had also been making his life miserable, he chose that date to break into their home on Rifle Range Road overlooking Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, stab them repeatedly with a knife and bludgeon them with a wheelbarrow handle, Peterson said in his opening statement in Wycoff’s murder trial.

Although Wycoff was also armed with a gun, he didn’t use it because he didn’t want to boost the cause of gun-control supporters, the prosecutor said.

Wycoff, who is serving as his own attorney, told jurors that he still hates the couple “a little.”

“They owe me a life,” he said. “This has ruined my life, and Julie and Paul owe me for that.”

Wycoff agreed with the prosecutor that he resented members of Paul Rogers’ family for their liberal politics, and that he thought the couple were at times “too easy” when they disciplined their children.

He also said that “it wasn’t just Christmas” when he wasn’t invited over. It was also Thanksgiving in 2005, the year his and Julie Rogers’ father died.

“When someone does that, they hate you – they’re out to destroy you,” Wycoff said.

Peterson said Wycoff had planned to adopt the couple’s three children after he committed the killings.

The prosecutor played for the jury the 911 call made by Eric Rogers, then 17, after the killer broke into the home about 4:30 a.m. The boy’s sister, Laurel, then 12, could be heard screaming in the background.

The children tried to help their father, who told them, “I love you all” before dying, the prosecutor said. Eric Rogers brushed his father’s hair, telling him, “I love you, papa.”

Peterson said Julie Rogers’ last words to police were, “Kids OK?”

The children were not harmed. A third child, then 15, was not living at the home at the time.

In an interview from jail after the slayings, Wycoff, who is 6 foot 5 and weighs 300 pounds, said he had tried to disguise himself during the killings by wearing a motorcycle helmet and attaching a ponytail with his late mother’s hair.

In a poem, Wycoff wrote, “My sister, I gutted her like a fish,” Peterson said.

“And in fact, he did,” the prosecutor added, “and he’s proud of it.”

Wycoff was arrested after he turned up at a hospital in Placer County, seeking treatment for a gash on his leg that he probably sustained while breaking into the home, Peterson said.

Wycoff is charged with two counts of murder along with the special circumstance alleging that he committed more than one murder. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if he is convicted.

Wycoff’s opening statement indicated he would try to justify the killings to the jury, rather than deny he committed them.

At the close of his remarks, Wycoff told the “few fans” in the gallery to contact his advisory attorney, David Briggs, if they wanted autographs.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/10/14/BAL81A4SU0.DTL

This article appeared on page D – 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

In a related incident of what if they were Muslim, a human rights group has revealed that a Texas man has been sentenced to be executed after jurors at his trial consulted the Bible to decide his fate. Imagine what would happen if it were the other way around and Muslims had consulted the Quran! This is a theocratic action that contradicts the rules and procedures jurors are supposed to work from considering that an external factor was employed while delivering this man’s punishment.

Amnesty Reveals Bible was Used to Decide Execution

Amnesty International has highlighted a case of a man facing execution in Texas.

The human rights group has revealed a Texas man faces execution after jurors at his trial consulted the Bible when deliberating his fate.

Khristian Oliver, 32, is set to be executed on 5th November.

Jurors used Biblical passages supporting the death penalty to help them decide whether he should live or die. Amnesty considers that the jurors’ use of the Bible during their sentencing deliberations raises serious questions about their impartiality.

According to people in the jury room at the time, several Bibles with passages highlighted were passed around during deliberation.

One juror read aloud from the Bible to a group of fellow jurors, including the passage “And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death”.

A US federal appeals court acknowledged last year that the jurors’ use of the Bible amounted to an external influence prohibited under the US Constitution, but nonetheless upheld the death sentence.

Amnesty International is asking for the death sentence to be commuted.

Khristian Oliver was sentenced to death in 1999 for a murder committed during a burglary.

According to accomplice testimony at the trial, 20-year-old Oliver shot the victim before striking him on the head with a rifle butt.