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Hateful Protests Undermine American Values

03 3 11



By Waqas Syed
Irvine, California (March 3, 2011) – Hateful protests recently held against the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief fundraising dinner shed light on growing Islamophobia in our country and the participation of elected officials in this frightening trend.

ICNA was established in 1968, and through ICNA Relief we have launched numerous projects to assist struggling populations in the United States. Our social services include hunger prevention, disaster response and relief, women’s housing and family counseling, as well as emergency financial aid and funeral/burial assistance. We have teamed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, NECHAMA and other relief agencies and consistently work to bring aid to those in need. Our annual dinner last week in Yorba Linda was a means to further our local efforts and raise funds to fight homelessness and abuse.
As American Muslims, we have witnessed a rise in Islamophobia and its devastating repercussions across the nation, with mosques and homes being vandalized, Muslims being physically attacked, and the American Muslim community being subjected to Congressional hearings a la McCarthy—blatant acts of hate rooted in anti-Islamic sentiment. Islamophobia has undermined the values binding us together as Americans—freedom, liberty, justice and equality. From Temecula to Murfreesboro to New York City, the manifestation of this fear has become increasingly apparent.

A child covers his ears as the shofar is blown, a sound that one protester says, “(announces) to the enemy that God’s army is coming.”

Mimicking the national discourse surrounding American Muslims, protesters that Sunday yelled absurdities and vulgarities at families and their children attending the dinner, with Councilwoman Deborah Pauly even volunteering to “help these terrorists [event organizers and attendees] to an early meeting in paradise.” What’s most disturbing is not the protest itself or the ignorance expressed; in fact we at ICNA fully affirm the right of protesters to free speech. What should be of real concern to Orange County residents is the lack of civility displayed on their own front lawns.

Deborah Pauly, local Councilwoman & Vice Chair of the OC GOP referred to organizers and attendees of the event as “enemies of America” and “unwelcome invaders.” “I know quite a few Marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists (i.e. organizers and attendees) to an early meeting in paradise,” she said. She called the dinner “pure, unadulterated evil,” and compared it to a terrorist event urging the crowd to “pick a side, we must stand strong… we must resist evil.”

To protesters, I remind you that prejudice and fear mongering will simply incite hatred. It is only through civil dialogue that we will be able to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding and peace. We must leave bigotry behind and work toward an Orange County that promotes cooperation, collaboration and respect for one another and ultimately upholds the American values of inclusion and fair treatment. The future of our nation depends on these principles, as our children will belong to a more diverse and multicultural society than our own. They will need to learn respect and tolerance to coexist with their fellow Americans, and the responsibility to teach them lies with us; what will remain of these honorable traits if they are already in such short supply?
These qualities should be foremost represented in our elected officials, yet it is with great disappointment that we witnessed Congressmen Ed Royce of Fullerton and Gary Miller of Diamond Bar being complicit in the toxic, inflammatory rhetoric that was spewed against the half million American Muslims they have sworn to protect. Their participation in such rallies is inappropriate and irresponsible, to say the least, and essentially shows a lack of leadership and judgment.
To Congressmen Ed Royce and Gary Miller—it is your civic duty to represent all constituents, yet time and again you have stood beside those who seek to strip American Muslims of their fundamental rights. You distribute flags at a rally against our fundraising dinner, but do not extend that service to the dinner itself. You speak out against American Muslims in Yorba Linda, but do not speak for us. Your biased actions contribute to a climate of hate and intolerance, and suggest that American Muslims are somehow less American simply by virtue of their faith. I urge you to revisit your oath and uphold the constitution and your responsibility to the citizens of your district.
Waqas Syed is a long time resident of Orange County and the current Deputy Secretary General of ICNA. E-mail: ICNA PR Email
[Photo Credit: Orange County Register]


  • Zak

    Hello everybody i am a born and raised American Muslim and i have a solution to combating Muslims from becoming violent extremists and targeting Americas like me, here it goes first instead of singling out one religion like Muslims and putting them on trial for radicalization we have to put first christian extremist on trial like the ones that say god told them to invade Afghanistan and say that this is a crusade and used American secular tax dollar like mine to put bible verses on weapons and use those weapons to go and invade Muslim country’s and kill millions far more than 9/11 pre or post, and occupy their land prop up, fund brutal oppressive dictators for generations that torture,kill & steal the Muslims wealth, while the Neo Cons, and the imperialist crusader christian fascists steal there natural resources (Now i want everyone to imagine that if the Chinese were doing that to the U.S. and how you would feel)…….If we Americans remove all of the Zionist christian neo con extremist fascists who have hi-jacked are foreign policy we will not have Muslims wanting to kill Americans and we wouldn’t be wasting trillions of dollars on this so called war on terror (which is an oxymoron for the fact that war is terror) and that have put this country in debt and its all because of the Jerry farewells,bushes,John Hagee,Joe Lieberman, Rod Parsley religious ideology even though America is not a christian or Jewish or Muslim country it is a secular democratic country so i don’t know how they can invade Muslims country’s which are not and stand on the pulpit and lecture to them about secularism,democracy,tolerance, & freedom while here in America a secular democratic country taking the rights of gays,females,abortionist,minority’s such as myself and other Muslims, well i hope some one out there with a reasonable judgment can fallow what i said but for the record i condemn violence on innocent civilians im just waiting for the peace loving Christians who say they believe that when slapped show the other cheek and love there enemy to just come out for once and condemn the violence that’s done on Muslims from Christians yes Christians the same Christians like bush who called this a crusade and said that god told him to invade…… and a side note to all of the Islamophobes out there you can look in the quran left and right you will not see verses showing how to hi jack planes and fly them into buildings or how to make IEDs it was the CIA in Afghanistan that taught the jihadist and Taliban how to do that by the way in Islam are view on violence is this if you attack me we have the right to self defense so that’s why there are Muslims out there that are wanting to take out the crusader invaders who are plundering are lands and propping up dictators who are taking are freedom from practicing are religion in peace. Thank you for having the patience in reading this even though my spelling and grammar is far from perfect and again hopefully anyone out there can take some advice from what we are saying and i am not anti christian i just don’t like Christian extremist & the double standards when it comes to Muslims or Christians practicing violence that’s all

  • Syed

    In every bigot you will find hypocrisy.

  • Pingback: ‘Hate Comes to Orange County’ « Dialogic Magazine()

  • Stiz

    Dear Muslim Americans, the people protesting at your fundraiser are not actual Americans; they are idiots. Please don’t confuse their use of flags for patriotism, and please don’t assume their behavior is normal. The rest of us are terribly sorry you had to put up with that. It’s a shame that free speech is obliged to allow such nonsense to continue.

    For the record, I’m a generic, boring, white Southerner :)

  • Stiz

    @Anthony, Islam is roughly 500 years younger than Christianity. When Christianity was 500 years younger, Christians were burning people at the stake for being non-Christian and holding Galileo under house arrest for doing proper science.
    I DARE you to actually do some math and tally up the deaths attributable to Christian acts VS Muslim acts. You’ll find that you are a fool, and that the Christians still win that competition by a landslide.
    The Islamic culture is still young and turbulent by anthropological standards. It is coming of age in just the same way every other large scale western culture did so far, and the amount of violence involved is certainly no worse, if not less. They’ve had no Inquisitions, no Crusades, no black plague.
    You fail to acknowledge the role of time in cultural growth, and probably in everything you do. Learn to be a creature with actual functional time-dependent consciousness before spouting your mouth off in “enemy” territory.

  • Fawad Sayed


    You know what – and a lot of you are not going to like it – but how is this Christian bigotry any different than Sunni bigotry against the Shia? Of course not every Christian is like those above and not every Sunni is a bigot and not every Shia is a bigot but we all know they exist and are the the vocal minority as compared to silent majority.

    We – Shia – recieve a lot of hate mongering, vicious lies and fabrications, curses, insults etc. THERE ARE FATWAS TO KILL US. Atlest the muslims above were not murdered and their muderors were not made into heroes such as Zarqawis but in our case we and our families are killed brutally.

    I guess the point i am trying to make is that If you hated and are bothered by what you saw above and were as much as disgusted as i am, then you should be honorable and dignified enough to be willing to give eqaul rights to other minorites those very rights that you want from yourselves as well.
    The very fact that if you want a set of rights for yourselves are not willing to give the same set of right to others makes you Hypocrites and you might as well be one of the hypocrites above since hypocrasy has no religion, faith, nationality or creed.

    Fawad Sayed.

  • Sophie

    I feel so bad for the kids. They are looking around, so scared and frightened with these jerks screaming insults. I felt really disgusted after watching this video, how can she do this?
    Thank you to all of the Christians and Jews who condemn her and said words of encouragement to us.

  • lovingattorney

    @ needs to be said: It is interesting how one website can promote free speech, the “just” stance on issues, and act as the victim, when the mass of Christians are not being represented by the ignorance of the OC protestors. This website and this article is no different from any other article on any other website supporting a certain cause. It takes a stance, and a stance that portrays the entire Muslim community in America to be persecuted. I wish for the ICNA to be a little more open to a variance of ideas, not just posts condemning Christians as ignorant fools. America, since 9/11 is fearful and confused. Many ignorant Christians do not understand that Islam is one of the most peaceful religions, and ironically can be paralleled to Christianity in many ways. The Christians who protest Islam are ignorant, just as ANYONE in this country who practices hate. It’s hard to call Muslim Americans totally peaceful when there exist organizations like CAIR who practically everything-but support Hamas and Hezbollah (while simultaneously condemning Al-Qaeda). In Islam, there is no room for hate, but many Muslims and Christians do not understand that. Fundamentalists, radical Islam does not represent the bulk of Muslims, just as the OC Christians do not represent me or anyone I know as loving and law abiding Roman Catholic-Christian Americans. Surely there is a verse in the Q’ran that discusses removing the plank in one’s own eye before removing the speck in your brothers. Either way you want to look at this unfortunate situation of hateful, despicable protesting, a few can ruin the image of the many. Say no to hate on both ends of the spectrum brothers and sisters.

  • Mike

    I just saw this video on facebook, and I really just wanted to say that I am honestly appalled. I’m a non-religious person, but I believe in people’s freedom and right to practice. I never thought such uneducated bigots could exist in this country, but I guess I was wrong. I am so sorry for what everyone at that meeting had to endure. I am proud to have seen so many ignoring the crazy people yelling at them outside. I hate that such terrible things were said, that government officials spoke at this rally and gave it some sort of legitimacy, and that they were so persistent in their hatred. They have no love for freedom, unlike those who were at the meeting. Anyone who has that much hate and acts on it so grievously has no place in America. There is no patriotism in their words, just anger and hate.
    No one deserves to be treated like these so-called ‘protesters’ treated everyone attending the ICNA meeting.

  • Rich Johnson

    Why the you tube video marked as private and no longer exist.

  • mareli

    As I have said elsewhere, I don’t agree with the protestors but Muslims have been guilty of violent protests because they didn’t like cartoons or even comments about Mohammed, or beauty pageants. They have stoned people on mere suspicion of violating their behavior codes, and thrown acid in the faces of girls who only wanted to attend school. Were this not the case, I would be more sympathetic. The protestors are rude and intolerant, but their actions are far less harmful than I have seen from Muslims on YouTube.

  • Sulayman F

    You can’t blame all Muslims, particularly American Muslims, for what a
    Minority do somewhere else. It’s like saying these extreme protestors represent all Americans.