Here is a revealing account of a typically slick and disingenuous presentation by a spokesman for Hamas-linked CAIR. Note all the deflection, all the tough questions avoided, all the half-truths and distortions.
REPORT and Findings
The Snohomish County Executive Office and the Diversity Council invited CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) to conduct diversity training to H.R. employees in Snohomish County. The meeting took place on November 14, 2011 at noon until 1:00 pm, in the Robert J. Drewel Bldg., Admin WEST, on 3000 Rockefeller, Ave., Everett, WA 98201
Those in attendance were Mr. Arsalan Bukhari, Executive Director of CAIR-WA
Bushra Rahim, Outreach Coordinator with CAIR-WA
Ms. Jessica (did not get her last name) - Diversity Committee Coordinator for Snohomish County
Two men sitting in the front row and supporting Mr. Bukhari who were not identified. (These grim faced men with a tough demeanor looked like members of the Nation of Islam). Later, one of the women whom I talked with afterwards identified one man as an Imam from a Seattle Mosque who works closely with Mr. Bukhari and the other man was from the ACLU.
I attended this meeting with another ACTforAmerica member who has collaborated my notes as accurate.
Ms. Jessica first passed out papers for people to write down their questions. She said that Mr. Bukhari would read aloud one question just to get the meeting going and then would address the rest of the questions during the presentation. Mr. Bukhari smiled as he glanced down at the first question and then read aloud, “Is it true that Muslims want to take over the world?” and to that everyone laughed wholeheartedly, a clear indicator of exactly who was in attendance.
101:Myths and Facts on Islam
(Q) What have you heard about Islam? What do Muslims believe?
· Muslims believe in God
· Muslims believe in angels
· Muslims believe in the revealed Book
· Muslims observe religious texts like the Torah and the Bible and believe in Judgment Day.
(Q) What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
· Shahadah – Testimony of Faith
· Salaat – Prayer
· Zakaat – Almsgiving
· SAWM Fasting during Ramadan
· Hajj – the Pilgrimage to Mecca
(Q) Some people feel that Jihad was the valid reason for on 9/11 as Muslims were oppressed.
Mr. Bukhari responded by saying that 9/11 wasn’t Jihad, it was an offensive measure. I asked him to clarify his statement and said, “If it wasn’t Jihad then what was it?” and to that he said, “An act of terrorism.”
(Q) If you’re in a Seniority based union, how do you accommodate Friday prayer observance with Muslims?
Mr. Bukhari said “you can pick and choose what is best.” (whatever that means?)
(Q) A man stated that there are many people living in Snohomish County who live in fear of radical Islam and would Mr. Bukhari please address his concern.
Before Mr. Bukhari could respond, a man sitting behind us (whom we believe was a plant), piped in about how his father was a survivor of the Holocaust and that the Muslims were now being discriminated against just like the Jews and are suffering. Thus, Mr. Bukhari never commented and the diversion worked. This was a highly successful dissuasive technique that I’ve seen used in consensus building in groups when you want to detract from what is being said. Mr. Bukhari never answered the question nor did the man who initially posed the question persist in obtaining an answer.
(Q) Someone asked what Boeing was doing or how they were doing in the workplace with Muslims.
Mr. Bukhari said that Boeing is doing well with their workers as they have a place at noon for prayers and on Friday afternoons they can congregate on campus. Boeing is making their employees very happy and this is good HR values, he said.
(Q) Someone asked about discrimination distribution and whether CAIR was seeing the same level of discrimination or more across the city?
To that Mr. Bukhari answered, “definitely more discrimination.”
(Q) Does Islam support tolerance for all Religions?
Mr. Bukhari answered, “Muslims believe all the books are works of God, but that Muslims respect more and feel more connected to the Jewish and Christian faith than say to Buddhists.”
(Q) Someone asked him to explain the difference between Jizya and Zakat. Mr. Bukhari said that Zakat was one of the five pillars of Islam which is a religious tithe and that the Jizya was the poll tax on non-Muslims. He didn’t explain the why of it and no one asked for further clarification until the woman sitting in front of us piped in and said, “the Jizya is a protection tax for dhimmi’s living under Muslim domination….she went on, “isn’t it true that in Islam you have the dhimmi code…the pledge that all non-Muslims must sign as infidels so they can be protected which is mandated by Sharia Law?”
Mr. Bukhari pretended not to know what she was talking about and then the two men in the front row turned around and said that they were not aware of this either. The woman ignored them and went on, “dhimmitude exists all over the world and it is even the mission statement posted on the Islamic State of America’s website.” Then things began to heat up as Ms. Jessica using her body as a shield of intimidation moved closer to the woman trying to speak, “we need to keep the topic to the workplace now” she demanded. At this point the two men got up from their seats and walked out of the room only to return a few minutes later. It was now clear to all that one must not debate, confront or argue anything with CAIR…this was their show and they were in control.
(Q) Does Islam support freedom of speech?
One woman piped in from the back of the room, “not under Sharia Law it doesn’t” to which Mr. Bukhari again ignored and went on about how the government can’t infringe upon a citizen’s right to free speech or a private parties right and Islam is okay with that, (did you get that, Islam is okay with that).
(Q) Is female genital mutilation a common practice in Islam?
Mr. Bukhari said that it was not Islamic, but a tribal or cultural practice among African tribes and even Christian tribes were doing this in many countries.
FACT – Muslims fast during Ramadan. Mr. Bukhari explained about the 9th month in the lunar calendar and fasted during the day.
FACT – Muslims pray Five times a day, before dawn, midday, late afternoon, Sun-down and at night at Ablution.
FACT – Mosques are for congregational Prayer. Friday prayer – Muslims are obligated to go to Friday Prayer in the evening. Muslims have major holidays (Eid) which are festivals similar to Christmas or Hanukah.
Mr. Bukhari continued on about the role of the employer in accommodating Muslims based on their religious practices. At this point I said: “According to the doctrine of tayseer, Muslims living as minorities in a non-Islamic country are not obligated to follow strict Islamic Law as their burden can be made lighter – and so if it is not a necessity why then do Muslims insist on all these accommodations?
Mr. Bukhari did not know what to say and paused, I continued, “for example, at an unnecessary expense, the University of Michigan had to install footbaths and I ask again why must employers accommodate Muslims when it is not deemed a necessity? “
At this point Ms. Jessica came to Mr. Bukhari’s defense and moved her large imposing body closer to me as a form of intimidation and snapped, “employers like to create a happy work environment and do so willingly” and to that I retorted, “or perhaps coerced, for there is a fine line here, a very fine line.”
MYTH - All Muslims are Middle Eastern.
He said 20% are African Americans and the rest are from various countries around the world. 100,000 are in Washington State alone with between 5,000 and 10,000 in Snohomish County. He said Muslim Americans are a very diverse people and were mentioned in some study…don’t remember the name he mentioned.
MYTH – Every Muslim obeys Islamic Law the same?
He said cultural identification is stronger, not all Muslims practice according to Islam Law the same.
FACT - Pork is prohibited as well as alcohol, everything must be Halal or approved. He said that Halal slaughter is the same as Jewish Kosher slaughter only they pray towards Mecca. He went on, Muslims avoid foods that may be harmful, disease ridden or detrimental to their health and that is the rationale for everything being halal and must be approved. (The Jewish man sitting behind us did not correct or comment him as there is a difference between Kosher Slaughter and Halal Slaughter and he never said one word….that is why we think he might have been a plant).
MYTH – Muslim women are oppressed. Mr. Bukhari said that Islam has given women rights over the 14 centuries.
· Women can own property
· Women can inherit property
· Women can own businesses
· Women can enter into contracts
· Women can keep their own assets free from marital assets
· Women can refuse marriage proposals
· Women can initiate divorce
· Women are respected and treated fairly even in the event of divorce.
MYTH - Women are required to be more modest than men. In fact, Mr. Bukhari said that both sexes are required to be modest. He talked about hand shaking between the opposite sex and avoiding eye contact between the sexes.
FACT – Muslims prefer to interact with respect and modesty. Mr. Bukhari said that Muslims have different comfort levels and some prefer to extend their hand and the more observant Muslims respect personal space the most.
MYTH – Jihad means war! Mr. Bukhari said that there are three types of Jihad, the personal struggle, the verbal and then the physical.
· Personal – inner struggle with the self and living up to the standards of Allah.
· Verbal – Standing up to violent oppression
· Physical – the point where you can take violent action. When you feel threatened or are in danger then you are allowed to defend yourself. He went on to say that now CAIR is working with local media to get them to remove the word JIHAD from the lexicon as only radical’s use Jihad, not mainstream Muslims.
FACT – American Muslims still face discrimination and the following are examples. (This was written out in a power point presentation).
· Accommodations – employees, school, at check points and in airports, at the DMV and in prisons.
· Harassment and Discrimination
· Malicious harassment, vandalism, bullying, misuse of government authority employers and co-workers, child custody and profiling
· CBP, FBI, TSA, US Customs and Border Protection Agencies and the police.
FACT – Anti-Muslim hate is a growing problem in America.
Mr. Bukhari said the following are reasons that they feel hatred is growing in America towards Muslims.
· Anti-terror training for law enforcement (the fact that there exists this training to protect citizens is considered an affront against Islam).
· Representative King’s “hearings” in Congress
· Hate groups presented at colleges, in churches, in synagogues and in town hall meetings. It is all hateful towards Muslims.
Mr. Bukhari went on and said that because of so much anti-Muslim hate CAIR is recommending the following two websites to counter the hatred. (I’m not sure if he said that CAIR had actually created the website or that they were simply recommending the websites). Here are the websites that CAIR is telling Snohomish County H.R. employees are hateful and against American Muslims.
Smearcasting.com - This website deals with how Islamophobia spreads fear, bigotry, and misinformation and is referred to as “Your Virtual Mosque.”
How to Identify a Loon-The Nuclear Card
And who are the loons? Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Bat Ye’or, Brigitte Gabriel, Daniel Pipes, Debbie Schlussel, Walid Shoebat, Wafa Sultan, Geert Wilders and The Nuclear Card. All people who are actively challenging them—you all made the grade, what a badge of honor to be among the loons.
Mr. Bukhari said that we are seeing a spike in hate crimes due to irrational fears on the part of the public due to hateful people and then he went on to compare this with the hysterics of the 1940’s when the US government interned Japanese-Americans.
He said that PBS has a series that will be aired in January 2012 called “The Illusion of Race” and if people want to attend they have to attend the first in the series in order to attend the 2nd and 3rd.
Mr. Bukhari hoped that people could walk away from this presentation feeling more positive towards Muslims.