Below is the text of a letter I have written to Mr. Andre Birotte Jr., US Attorney for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. The letter concerns a townhall last Sunday at the Islamic Center of Orange County, in which Mr. Birotte spoke.
Dear Mr Birotte,
I appreciate your taking the time to chat with me and listen to my concerns last Sunday at the Islamic Center of Orange County in Garden Grove. As promised, I am sending you the information I talked about regarding Imam Muzammil Siddiqi, his past words, as well as his past and present associations. In preparing this, I found it easier to retrieve the information from my own blog postings, which refer to the appropriate sources. The below links are in chronological order, past to most recent. The final link is my own posting and summary on the Garden Grove event.
The point of these links is to show that Imam Siddiqi is not what he represents himself to be and what our leaders have thought him to be. I have met Mr Siddiqi, and I know he comes across as a soft-spoken gentleman. He speaks of equality, tolerance and peace. The above links, however, show that there is much more to his persona.
One of the themes of the event Sunday was that there is a climate of hate against American Muslims. While there is some truth to that, it does not speak for the people who are sincerely concerned about what is happening all over the world and here in America. It does not speak for those that I work with. I do not hate Muslims. The Muslims I know love this country and appreciate the freedoms they enjoy here-freedoms they didn't enjoy in their countries of origin. I do not wish to see innocent Muslims labeled as terrorists or extremists and targeted for discrimination or attack. With certain exceptions, I think Americans have done well in that regard in not holding all American Muslims responsible for what terrorists and jihadists are doing. In fact, speaking as a Christian, I have come to the belief that the group most vulnerable to hate in this country and the world now is Jews. I have seen it first hand while working the past 14 years as an adjunct teacher at UC Irvine. It is what led me to become an activist. To me, it is not a question of practicing hate and intolerance. It is a question of fighting hate and intolerance. That is the direction from which I come.
Yet, there is a problem that we cannot ignore. Aside from terrorist attacks, non-Muslim minorities are subject to hate and violence in Muslim nations like Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and many others. At the same time, there is a subversive movement afoot among some Muslims in America, including organizations like CAIR who pose as "moderates". They use the label, "Islamophobia" as a weapon to try and silence their critics. Honest and open discussion of what is happening here and around the world is not "Islamophobia", however one wants to define that tricky term. The issue of Islam can be discussed without resorting to hate against Muslims themselves. At the same time, our freedom of speech to discuss these issues cannot be trampled upon.
As for the much-discussed Sharia law, there is no way that it can be called compatible with the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We must recognize that Islam is more than just a religion; it is also a political ideology-a totalitarian one at that. Its legal tool is Sharia. For Siddiqi to state that Sharia is compatible with the US Constitution is to say the Earth is flat. No code that calls for death to homosexuals or apostates can be compatible with our laws and rights. As you well know, these horrors are actually being committed in many Muslim lands as we speak. Last Sunday, Imam Siddiqi read the statement from the Fiqh Council of North America, of which he is the director. I would encourage you to read the complete statement-carefully- and note how craftily
it is worded.
I would never begrudge Muslims their right to worship. I believe in freedom of religion for all. Nor am I against immigrants. I am married to one and have myself lived in three other countries. What I do believe in is assimilation, as I am sure you do as well having come from Haiti. This does not mean that one has to leave his or her religion when they come to America. Yet, if there are certain traditions or aspects that are in conflict with our concept of equality and rights for all, then immigrants have to know that there must be an accommodation on their part-not on the part of their adopted country. It also means that American Muslims must have all the protections our Constitution guarantees for all including gays and those wishing to change religions.
Nor do I begrudge the effort of law enforcement to work within the Muslim community. Surely, there are many who want to cooperate, possibly because they themselves came to America to escape Sharia. It is a valid investigative tool, one I used myself while in DEA. Having said that, I detected a certain skepticism when I attempted to explain my views to the LAPD officers present. In that vein, I would suggest that you and your colleagues explore true Muslim moderates, people like Dr Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Stephen Schwartz of the Center for Islamic Pluralism and another newly created organization, the American Islamic Leadership Coalition. Here you will find the type of Muslims that our government should be working with-but has largely ignored. They will tell you the truth about organizations like CAIR and others. They recognize that there is a radical threat right here at home.
That leads me to my final observation. The three politicians who were present used the event to push their own political agenda against a rival party. Were I a law enforcement officer, I would have been most uncomfortable participating at such an event that featured partisan politics-especially when other law enforcement agencies were being singled out for attack (FBI-NYPD).
At any rate, I appreciate your allowing me to send you this rather voluminous information. My purpose is two-fold: First, our law enforcement agencies and officials need to be aware of the facts (in this case, Siddiqi and his associations). Secondly, those of us who are speaking out are not all a bunch of extremist bigots. On the contrary, I feel that I am fighting against hate and
I thank you for your time.
PS: I will be posting this letter on my blog. Accordingly, I will be happy to post any response you care to give.