Monday, September 11, 2006

"Lynch Mob" Attacks Mosque



From Los Angeles Independent Media Center:

" Culver City, Ca, 10 September 2006-- Late this afternoon, as much of the world reflected on 9-11, the United American Committee, the Minutemen, and the Coptic Christians of America stood at the King Fahd Mosque calling out, " You kill Jews!" before hanging an effigy of Osama bin Laden on a makeshift gallows in the back of a rented pick up truck.
It was a grotesque, hideous image--a black man in the U.S. performing a lynching-in-effigy. On one level it was a bizarre caricature--the lynching wasn't real, so maybe the black man, posing for the press and agitating his prodominantly white audiance, wasn't real either. At another level, the historical cascade of violence from whites lynching African-American lynching Osama bin Laden--today transformed into a surrogate for all Muslims--was a breathstopping recollection of scenes from a century ago.
The anti-Muslim groups stood the mosque, on the southwest corner of Huron and Washington Streets. Counter protestors had secured the area in front of the mosque before the persecutors-arrogantly flaunting U.S. flags in an equation of religious intolerance and patriotism-arrived. Both groups slowly added to their numbers in what would become a tense stand-off as the adversaries spilled into Huron Street. Heated, near-violent, face-to-face confrontations erupted, at times quelled only by intrepid Christian and Muslim clergy people walking between the groups. A single police crusier and two vacant cop motorcycles sat placidly fifty yards away, at the 7-11 across the street, leaving the Muslims and their supporters to protect themselves from the aggressors.
The United American Committee is headed by Jesse Petrilla, a former UC-Irvine student who made his mark in college by showing offensive drawings of the Prophet Muhammad at the university, the same drawings that sparked riots in Europe. The black man who hung the effigy, Ted Hayes, himself a member of UAC, brought a handful of white Minutemen to back him up. The presence of the Copts, who arranged for the demonstration permit, brought the bloody Egyptian streetfighting between the minority Coptic Church and Islamic revivalists to Los Angeles. The anti-immigrant group Save Our State was slated to appear, but evidently reconsidered.
Against the eighty or so anti-Muslim protestors, stood a hundred and fifty-member alliance of neighborhood religious groups and those who have been fighting in the streets against the rising tide of racism and fascism in Southern California. Hamilton United Methodist Church, the Interfaith Community United for Justice and Peace, the United University Church at USC, Culver City Presbyterian Church, the Culver City Interfaith Alliance, the Culver Palms United Methodist Church, Unity and Diversity World Fellowship, and the Community Call to Action and Accountability of Bethel AME Chruch stood in solidarity and prayer with members of the King Mosque during the demonstration.
As they prayed, the zealots on the opposite corner caterwauled "America the Beautiful".
One church representative said, " Jesus says 'Love thy enemies'". The president of the Culver City Interfaith Alliance added a quote from George Washington: " We give to bigotry no sanction and to persecution no assistance." A spokesperson for the group United University lamented, "What's really sad is that people are learning that living in fear is the way to live." The representatives of the Unity and Diversity World Fellowship went to heart of the issue: " Fascism and ignorance polarizes people," one said.
Meanwhile, other counter protestors chanted, "Brothers, sisters, have no fear--Muslims are all welcome here." They continued, "Black, Latino, Arab, Asian, and White; stop the hate, stop the hate, defend our civil rights!"
Shortly after 5pm, Hayes' pickup truck arrived. A designated "executioner" climbed into the truck bed, and Hayes covered the executioner's face in a black executioner's hood. The unidentified man donned a black bathrobe, and he and Hayes looped the noose dangling from a makeshift yardarm around the 3/4 sixe doll, which was dressed in military fatigues with "Bin Laden" on the pocket and topped with a Bin Laden mask.They hoisted the figure into the air as their supporters cheered and gleefully lobbed shoes at the effigy. Hayes finished the ritual by blowing on what appeared to be a small shofar.

Then Hayes called on the Muslims to denounce Bin Laden and terrorism, claiming, " We love Muslims", and "Today, the American people have justice!" A moment later he pointed to two men wearing kufis and bellowed, " You are terrorists!" Then he pronounced to the Muslims gathered a few yards away, "We are here to make you better Muslims. We believe in freedom."
The counter protestors replied with " No more lynch mobs!" and " UAC, racist slime--being Muslim is not a crime!"
The King Fahd mosque was first targeted by the Jewish Defense League. JDL leaders Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel were arrested on terrorism charges. They had guns, five pounds of explosives, and plans to blow up not only the mosque but the office of an Arab American Congressman, Darrel Issa of San Clemente. Krugel allegedly said on tape that Arabs "need a wakeup call" and the JDL needed to do something to one of their "filthy" mosques.
Worshippers at the King Fahd mosque were shocked. "He's as evil as the other evil people who did damage to innocent lives," one said of Rubin. "The mosque would have been filled with hundreds of people."
Rubin reportedly killed himself in prison; Krugel was murdered while in prison, perhaps by neo-Nazis.
The UAC has links through its communications director to the JDL.
The homegrown terrorists of the UAC chose the mosque because, according to the 9-11 Commission Report, two of the allged Twin Tower bombers had "spent time at the King Fahd mosque and made some acquaintances there" during a two-week visit in January, 2000--eighteen months before the attack.
The report speculates that the alleged bombers made contact with an imam at the mosque, Fahad al Thumairy, but concluded that "we have not found evidence that Thumairy provided assistance to re-enter the U.S. after a trip to Saudi Arabia.
The director of the mosque, Usman Madha, argreed to an interview before the demonstration. When asked about the meaning of this protest in Los Angeles, Madha commented on the UAC, "The protestors should, if they really care about the United States, become part of America and want peace. They should remember the people who lost their lives innocently. They should turn their anger into energy and do something constructive." On the "fatwa" against demanded by the anti-Muslim protestors, Madha explained, " A fatwa is not the domain of a religious insititution," and wondered with some anger, "Why are we obliged to give any sort of statement? Who are they to demand that we do something? A fatwa cannot be given by anybody out there," and he waved his hand derisivley. When asked about being targeted, the director claimed the mosque was the "wrong target". He said it is a "religious institution, not involved in politics. It should not be a target. No religious institution should be. It's hate-mongering."
Madha turned to the question of the allged bombers' presence at the mosque. " Any religious institution--a mosque, church, synagogue, Hindu temple--a person or people can walk in, come and pray and leave, but do they actually tell the people(at the institution) they are going to do something? People who deliver parcels...if they do something wrong, does that mean the Post Office, a goverment agency, is responsible? Somebody could walk in, walk out, and do something crazy. Does that mean the mosque is responsible?"
"Muslims are part of America. All immigrants, and native Muslims, our African-American brothers and sisters, are here to build our lives and this country, not to destroy it. Being here is an immigrants dream. We are as patriotic as anybody, we love this country."
Hayes grabbed his bullhorn and intoned, "The judgement of God is upon you", pointing a long, chilling finger at a Muslim who had debated him.
As the near-battle on the street concluded, one counterprotestor confronted Hayes, looking directly at him. "I've never seen a black man leading a lynch mob before. Let me repeat: I've never seen a black man leading a lynch mob before. I've seen overseers. I've seen Clarence Thomas, I've seen Condi Rice, and I've seen you. You're an overseer, you're a servant of the white man--Uncle Ted, Uncle Tom." Hayes quietly thanked the speaker and turned away.
It was nearly 6pm when the departing UAC, Minutemen, Copts, and their supporters were pursued across the street to the vacant lot next to the 7-11. There, they made plans to burn the effigy at dawn Monday morning at the homeless refuge known as Dome Village in downtown Los Angeles."