Sept 22, 2011 – Islamic Circle of North America’s Southern California chapter praises a council member’s criticism of Councilman Derek Reeve’s comment that he had named his dog Muhammad, after the Muslim prophet. The group says it won’t rule out a protest in San Juan Capistrano against the remark.
By JOSH FRANCIS / SPECIAL TO THE REGISTER
The Islamic Circle of North America’s Southern California chapter issued a statement praising San Juan Capistrano Councilman Larry Kramer for criticizing fellow Councilman Derek Reeve’s comment about naming his dog Muhammad, the name of the Muslim prophet. The group also said it wants Reeve to apologize.
Kramer said during Tuesday night’s council meeting that Reeve’s statement during a Sept. 6 meeting was offensive to Muslims – many of whom consider dogs to be unclean – and that “as leaders we should be setting a higher standard of behavior.” Kramer suggested in a memo on the council’s meeting agenda that it take action to ensure “decorum” by its members. Councilman Derek Reeve says he named his dog Muhammad to make a statement against oppression in other societies. The council took no action after Reeve and several people in the audience took offense to the criticism.
But ICNA backed Kramer in a statement Wednesday afternoon from its deputy secretary general, Waqas Syed: “ICNA-SC commends Mayor Pro Tem Larry Kramer for his letter distancing himself from such comments and for calling them what they are: ‘offensive.’ As all Americans, ICNA has always firmly supported the fundamental American value of freedom of speech for all, including elected officials. While it reminds that elected officials, due to the nature of their office, also have the responsibility of representing all their constituents and of observing a higher standard of morality than private citizens.”
Kramer and Mayor Sam Allevato received harsh criticism from audience members after the two called on Reeve to apologize for his comment that he had named one of his dogs Muhammad. Reeve said Tuesday that he had done so to make a political statement against oppression in other societies regarding issues like this one. He offered no apology.
“Mr. Kramer is criticizing me on how I raise my children,” Reeve said. “I will teach them and educate them on these principles (free speech) until the day I die.”
Syed called on other members of the City Council to “clearly state their positions” regarding Reeve’s comments. With the exceptions of Kramer and Allevato, the other members took no formal stance on the issue Tuesday night.
Council members John Taylor and Laura Freese said they acknowledge Reeve’s right to free speech and that they didn’t think the matter belonged on the agenda. Neither was targeted for criticism from residents at the meeting.
Syed called on the council to “impress upon Mr. Reeve to offer a public apology.”
Some members of the audience labeled ICNA, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other Muslim organizations as terrorist fronts.
CAIR had responded to Reeve’s comment about his dog with a statement that called on Reeve to apologize for “showing disrespect toward Islam’s revered prophet Muhammad by making a derisive public comment.”
Syed cited “growing cases of bigotry and Islamophobia” in Orange County and said his organization would not rule out a protest in San Juan Capistrano similar to one it organized in March against comments by Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly that the group considered “anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim.”
“But for now we have no plans,” Syed added.
Article Courtesy: Orange County Register