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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Emerson's Speech Sparks Controversy

Protests are being organized for Steve Emerson's presentation at Tucson's Jewish Community Center next Monday. Among the reasons given for the protest, the one tht stood out the most was that Mr. Emerson is a racist. Here's what Muhammad As'ad is quoted as saying:
"The organizations that sponsored this man are not helping peace between the Muslim and Jewish faiths," said Muhammad As'ad, a Muslim who plans to protest the talk Monday. "This is going to be a very upsetting scene."
Mr. As'ad's name sounded familiar so I did some checking. What I found is that he's a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Tucson. If you're thinking that you've heard of the Islamic Center of Tuscon before, there's a good reason for that. It's the spiritual home for Omar Shahin, the chief spokesman for the imams kicked off US Airways Flight 300 in Minneapolis just before Thanksgiving.
"I think he's a racist...He runs around and scapegoats Muslims," said Racheli Gai, a member of the local Women in Black group, which is an international peace network. She's also a co-founder of the Tucson Peace Walk, an annual walk and gathering of Muslims and Jews.
As a Jew, Gai said she's very angry that the Jewish community is supporting Emerson. Co-sponsors of the lectureship series include the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Gai said she expects a group of Christians, Jews and Muslims will be protesting outside the center.
Gai's calling Steve Emerson a racist is bothersome at minimum. Then again, coming from someone in the anti-war movement, it's understandable. Here's a portion of Women In Black's mission statement:
Women in Black is an international peace network. Women in Black is not an organization, but a means of mobilization and a formula for action. Women in Black vigils were started in Israel in 1988 by women protesting against Israel’s Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Women in Black has developed in countries such as Italy, Spain, Germany, England, Azerbaijan, Colombia, and in FR Yugoslavia, where women in Belgrade have stood in weekly vigils since 1991 to protest war and the Serbian regime’s policies of nationalist aggression.
In other words, one protester quoted in the article is a spokesman for a Tuscon mosque with ties to radical Islam; the other is an anti-war activist who resorts to namecalling instead of explaining why she believes that Mr. Emerson is a racist. It isn't a surprise that they'd be protesting.

It's worth noting that the Islamic Center for Tuscon is the mosque that 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour attended. Hanjour "crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon on 9/11."

Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog


Blogger In Russet Shadows said...

Someone should point out that the Muslim response is always to prevent someone from speaking -- they are censors to the core. You don't have to like what Emerson is saying, but you have to respect his right to say it. I'd love to see someone ask Muslims if they support the first amendment.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Among the reasons given for the protest, the one tht stood out the most was that Mr. Emerson is a racist.

Muslim is not a race.

12:36 PM  

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