All the Hate That's Fit to Print
by Stephen Schwartz
WHEN THE SHOOTER who chose July 4 to start a gun battle at Los Angeles airport's El Al ticket counter turned out to be Hesham Mohamed Hadayet--an Egyptian native with a "Read Koran" sticker on his apartment door--many people not unreasonably wondered if he had picked up his hostility to America and Israel at an extremist mosque. No evidence of Hadayet's mosque attendance has been reported. What's gone unremarked is that he could just as easily have been incited by the steady diet of violent rhetoric served up by the American Muslim community media--periodicals with names like The Minaret, Islamic Horizons, the Weekly Mirror International, and the Muslim Observer, which toe the anti-American, anti-Israel line of Saudi Arabia's Islamofascist Wahhabi sect.
While the "mainstream" Islamic establishment--groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the American Muslim Council (AMC), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)--offers perfunctory support for the anti-terror war and hovers around President Bush for photo ops in mosques, the poison pens of its media produce an unceasing stream of insult and loathing directed against America. One expects appeals to the extremist jihad to be heard in the streets of Karachi, in the canyons of Tora Bora, and from the government media of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Some of the most strident voices, however, are here in the United States, directed not from the Middle East or South Asia, but from modern offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, and the Detroit suburbs.
These publications make no attempt to hide their attachments to international extremist groups. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood--which preaches the classic neo-Wahhabi doctrine of the supremacy of Islam and condemnation of non-extremist Muslims as irreligious--receives support from at-Talib (The Student), published at UCLA by the Islamic Center of Southern California, and from Islamic Horizons, based in Plainfield, Indiana. The Jamaat-al-Islami movement, which perpetuates the same extremist mentality in Pakistan, appears to enjoy the sympathy of the Weekly Mirror International, based in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York, and other papers. The Muslim Observer publishes anyone given to an exaggerated anti-U.S. idiom, and its contributors have included Osama bin Laden. Most of these media once defended the Taliban for refusing to surrender bin Laden, and most of them equivocated on his guilt last September.
The Minaret, also published in Los Angeles by the Islamic Center of Southern California, is infamous for its anti-Jewish cartoons. Its May 2002 issue features a tasteful headline: "Axis of Evil: The United States, Israel, and Arab governments," adorned by a graphic of a rattlesnake. In it, editor Aslam Abdullah accuses Israel of pursuing "a policy adopted by Henry Kissinger in 1979 that called for a final solution of the Palestinian problem." If this is not the language of incitement, what is?
Islamic Horizons is the bimonthly organ of the Islamic Society of North America, which represents Wahhabi Islam in American mosques. Its last printed edition came out in September/October 2001, but it has maintained the title on its website (www.isna.net/horizons). The page includes the pathetic claim, "Access DENIED . . . Muslim Americans Must Demand Inclusion in the Political Process," which complains of insufficient support from George W. Bush after Muslims voted for him. The site also promotes "Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam," a wretched book by professional Israel-basher Paul Findley, a former Republican congressman from Illinois. Findley's book came out in the summer of 2001, which did not prove a propitious moment for a work that gushes over Osama bin Laden. Findley writes, "Outsiders do not seem to recognize that bin Laden is one of the pre-eminent heroes of Afghans, occupying a role similar to the Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who fought at the side of the Colonials during America's Revolutionary War."
In the April 27-May 2 issue of the Michigan-based Muslim Observer (www.muslimobserver.com), we find an article titled "Eyewitness Account of Washington March," in which a Pakistani-American proudly describes how one of his companions, a 16-year-old boy, "put on a Palestinian scarf and truly gave the tingles to the breakfast crowd, looking quite the epitome of the suicide bomber." The current website of the Muslim Observer offers its readers the following poll: "Our question for this week was: Do you think our country [the United States] is being manipulated by Israel?" The responses: Yes 95 percent, No 2 percent, Do not know 3percent.
Meanwhile, in the March 27 issue of the Weekly Mirror International (www.readmirror.com), author Khalil Osman declaims, "The Bush administration has demonstrated unprecedented zeal in instituting draconian measures aimed mainly at Arabs and Muslims. . . . As more details became known, a chilling picture of a full-blooded campaign against Muslims and Arabs began to emerge." The same periodical quotes Larry Holmes--not the boxer, but an American Communist extremist and supporter of the regimes of Iraq and North Korea as well as Slobodan Milosevic. Comrade Holmes thunders against "an ongoing campaign of anti-Arab racism and anti-Muslim bigotry Bush has whipped up in the United States to complement his non-stop war policies in the Middle East." Many pious Muslims have complained about the infiltration of American mosques by Larry Holmes and his Stalinist group, on the pretext of "defending" Iraq, since they know the ideology he defends has destroyed more mosques than the Crusaders could have imagined leveling in their wildest fantasies.
It's hardly a mystery how an Egyptian limo service operator could end up as a gun-toting terrorist at LAX. His native country has long been steeped in an extremist and violent political culture. That same culture has unfortunately taken root in the Islamic "community media" in this country. The only mystery is how long it will be before our home-grown hatemongers come under closer scrutiny.