OSCE Warsaw: The MPAC Connection
Right Side News 10 October 2012
As I pointed out last week, the United States of America sent the founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council as its official representative to OSCE. Salam al-Marayati has been a cheerleader for Hamas and Hezbollah and an apologist for Islamic extremists, yet our government chose him to represent us at the foremost transatlantic human rights forum.
Adam Kredo has written a follow-up article in The Washington Free Beacon about Our Man in Warsaw:
State Stands by its Man
Update: Israel critic and terrorist sympathizer ‘valued and highly credible,’ official says
The State Department defended its selection of a controversial anti-Israel activist to participate in a human rights forum in Poland, praising the longtime Israel critic as “valued and highly credible.”
Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was selected by the Obama administration to participate in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) annual 10-day human rights conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM).
Al-Marayati has been a vociferous critic of Israel, once suggesting that Israel should be put “on the suspect list” for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. His organization, MPAC, has requested that militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah be removed from the list of United States-designated terrorist groups.
The State Department stood by al-Marayati Thursday, telling the Free Beacon that the Israel critic is “valued and highly credible.”
“Mr. al-Marayati has been involved in U.S. government initiatives for almost 10 years and has been a valued and highly credible interlocutor on issues affecting Muslim communities,” a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the OSCE told the Free Beacon in a statement. “He was invited to participate in this year’s HDIM as a reflection of the wide diversity of backgrounds of the American people.”
Officials in the State Department and U.S Helsinki Commission selected al-Marayati after “consultations,” the OSCE official said. The Helsinki Commission is a federal body that was established to liaise with the OSCE.
“The United States invites public members to join the U.S. delegation and make presentations to the OSCE’s annual Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM) in Warsaw after consultations within the Department and with the U.S. Helsinki Commission,” according to the spokesman.
The inclusion of citizens like al-Marayati is normal, the spokesman said.
“Including public members as part of our delegation to the HDIM has been a consistent practice since early on in the Helsinki Process,” said the OSCE official.
The U.S. embassies in Poland and Brussels both praised al-Marayati’s participation.
“The United States is proud to have Mr. Salam al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Professor Ethel Brooks of Rutgers University, and Ms. Nida Gelazis of the Woodrow Wilson Institute serving as public members in the USG delegation to HDIM,” the embassy said in a statement. “Their expertise will be invaluable in addressing these topics at the meeting.”
Al-Marayati was invited to participate in the conference as a “public member of the U.S. delegation,” according to MPAC.
He has called attacks by the terrorist group Hezbollah "legitimate resistance," according to a report by the Investigate Project on Terrorism.
Former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D., Mo.) selected al-Marayati to sit on a 10-person commission “charged with reviewing U.S. policies on terrorism” in 1999, according to CNN.
Gephardt, however, withdrew al-Marayati’s name after it came to light that he was a unabashed critic of Israel who had expressed sympathy for certain terrorist acts, CNN reported at the time.
In recent years, MPAC-where al-Marayati still serves a president-has promoted fictitious articles claiming that Israel harvests Palestinian organs, the latest iteration of a centuries-old anti-Semitic blood libel.
MPAC continued to promote the stories months after they had been discredited and retracted.
Let’s take a closer look at what Mr. al-Marayati had to say in his address as an official representative of the United States government to the 2012 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the OSCE on October 1.
Below are excerpts from his prepared text for the occasion, as reported by the U.S. embassy in Belgium. I’m told by people who attended the event that he departed from his text at several points; for example, he said: “I am a practicing Muslim…”
I’ve bolded relevant phrases for closer attention:
United States Mission to the OSCE
As prepared for delivery
By Salam Al Marayati,
President, Muslim Public Affairs Council
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Warsaw, October 1, 2012
Session 11: Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
I am honored to address this body as a public member representing the United States on religious freedom. I am an American Muslim living in Los Angeles, and President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
Let’s stop right there for a moment.
Has any American representative to the OSCE ever said, “I am an American Christian,” or “I am an American Jew,” or “I am an American atheist”?
Then what the heck is going on here?
When we think of religious liberties, we often also think of minorities — there are many pockets of the OSCE region where an ethnic minority is also a religious minority. And we should all feel a sense of responsibility to work for equal opportunity and non-discrimination of religious communities. In the United States, we mourn the early August killings of Sikhs at a temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. We continue to combat manifestations of hate that include anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiments.
You’ll notice that the speaker is careful to include “manifestations of hate” against a non-Muslim minority. One can only guess at his sincerity here, given his past denunciations of Jews and the State of Israel. But we’ll let that pass.
…The U.S. government intervenes to ensure freedom of religion when discrimination against a religious community is committed and seeks to punish those who use violence as a recourse to defend their beliefs. Much like the Prophet, who established religious pluralism in his society when he stated, “the Jews are a community alongside the Muslims,” we feel that America strives for the ideal of religious pluralism, where Muslims represent a thriving community alongside other religious communities.
This is typical kitman — sacred misdirection — on the part of Mr. al-Marayati. As a practicing Muslim, he is well aware of the doctrine of abrogation and its centrality in the Koran, so we may be certain that he knows the verse he quoted is superseded by, inter alia, this one:
Qur’an (5:51) — O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you — then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.
He goes on to say:
Hate speech that intends to degrade, intimidate or incite violence against someone based on religion is harmful.
Indeed? Then are the sahih (authentic) hadith of Bukhari harmful?
Bukhari (52:260) — “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ “ Note that there is no distinction as to how that Muslim came to be a Muslim.
Bukhari (84:57) — [In the words of] “Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’”
Bukhari (89:271) — A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to “the verdict of Allah and his apostle.”
These verses clearly and specifically incite violence, so they must be considered harmful. How can a “practicing” Muslim square his words with those of the Sunna of Mohammed?
The most authoritative schools of Islamic theology and law are based on these same words. It’s a pity that no one in the audience in Warsaw thought to prepare a response to the American delegation and point out such doctrinal issues.
Mr. al-Marayati continues:
The best way to counter hatred is to defy it through convincing arguments, good actions and open debate. Human rights protect individuals, not abstract ideas or social norms.
I couldn’t agree more. This is what I’ve just done. Now what?
The speaker goes on to talk about freedom of speech and blasphemy laws, and warns that such laws are not the best way of fighting intolerance. Instead he applauds the UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18, “which sets effective means for dealing with such intolerance.”
He then highlights countries where the rights of religious minorities are violated:
In Uzbekistan, local human rights organizations estimate that thousands of people are currently imprisoned due to their practice of a form of Islam independent of the government’s approved form or for alleged membership in groups that the Government of Uzbekistan deems extremist…
Armenia continues to imprison 34 Jehovah’s Witnesses for actions stemming from their religious conviction in which they refuse to serve in the military or in the alternative service. In Turkmenistan there are four such prisoners.
A number of countries have used laws on “extremism” to restrict or punish non-violent religious activity. Russia continues to use laws on extremism to target believers, including Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Pentecostals, and members of the Hare Krishna movement. Anti-extremism laws have also been used to seize or prohibit religious literature in Russia.
Examples of onerous registration burdens include setting minimum numbers of people required to petition for registration, or compelling those seeking registration to submit their religious doctrines for scrutiny by the authorities. In Hungary, the new religion law politicizes a basic human right by requiring a two-thirds vote of Parliament for official recognition of religious groups.
…In the worst instances, individuals have faced criminal sanctions for engaging in unregistered religious activity, as is the case in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
There’s a glaring omission in Mr. al-Marayati’s litany: not a single majority-Muslim country is mentioned among those that persecute religious minorities.
This, despite the fact that the most brutal and deadly persecution of any religious minorities anywhere is carried out against non-Muslims in countries where sharia law holds sway. Whether it is Christians in Iraq or Egypt, Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh, or Jews anywhere, Muslims are the most vicious persecutors of religious minorities. Assault, robbery, rape, murder, arson, and wanton destruction of all kinds — these are the lot of non-Muslims in Islamic countries unless they live under the protection of a despot like Saddam or Qaddafi.
I’m amazed that members of the audience at HDIM — despite their cultured and decorous temperament — did not rise up at this point as one and cry out against this travesty of a speech.
A final point:
…As President Obama stated in his 2009 Cairo speech, “it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit — for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear.” We welcome the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights’ call for governments to “stop targeting Muslims through legislation or policy, and instead enshrine the ground of religion or belief as a prohibited ground of discrimination in all realms.”
“[D]ictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear”??
Well, if that isn’t Islamic chutzpah, I don’t know what is. The French, the Belgians, and the Dutch don’t need to tell Muslimas what they can and cannot wear; Islam is quite ready to do that for itself.
Consider the following passage from ’Umdat al-salik wa ’uddat al-nasik, or The reliance of the traveller and tools of the worshipper. It is commonly referred to as Reliance of the Traveller when cited in English. [It’s the Revised Edition (published 1991, revised 1994) and is “The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law ’Umdat al-Salik by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1368) in Arabic with Facing English Text, Commentary, and Appendices”, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. The publisher is listed as amana publications in Beltsville, Maryland.]
This an authoritative source on Sunni Islamic law, because it is certified as such by Al-Azhar University in Cairo. There is no higher authority on Sunni Islamic doctrine than Al-Azhar; it is the closest equivalent to the Vatican that can be found in Islam.
Here’s what it says (in Book M, “Marriage”):
m2.3: Looking at Members of the Opposite Sex
It is unlawful for a man to look at a woman who is not his wife or one of his unmarriageable kin (def: m6.1) (O: there being no difference in this between the face and hands or some other part of a woman (N: if it is uncovered), though part excludes her voice, which is not unlawful to listen to as long as temptation is unlikely. Allah Most High says,
“Tell believers to lower their gaze” (Koran 24:30).
A majority of scholars (n: with the exception of some Hanafis, as at m2.8 below) have been recorded as holding that it is unlawful for women to leave the house with faces unveiled, whether or not there is likelihood of temptation. When there is likelihood of temptation, scholars unanimously concur that it is unlawful, temptation meaning anything that leads to sexual intercourse or its usual preliminaries. As for when there is real need (dis: m2.11), looking is not unlawful, provided temptation is unlikely).
(A: Being alone with a woman who is not one’s wife or unmarriageable kin is absolutely unlawful, though if there are two women and a man, the man and the woman are no longer considered alone.)
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Islamic law requires a Muslim woman to be veiled.
Nicolas Sarkozy and the French parliament passed a law that contradicted sharia. That’s why Muslims were so angry, not because the “freedom” of their women was being suppressed.
There are holes in this sacred Islamic lying that are big enough to drive a truck through. All you have to do to get behind the wheel is study the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sunna for a while, buy a copy of Reliance of the Traveller, and steep yourself in Islamic thinking.
As Major Stephen Coughlin said in one of his invaluable briefings:
I often tell people to go ahead and read Sayyid Qutb’s book, Milestones. Just read it; it’ll take four or five hours. And then on day four or five you’re cursing me — you say, “Four- or five-hour read! That’s crazy.”
I say, “Well, no — it’s a four- or five-hour read when you understand it. Just read it. Don’t stop. Don’t worry about the fact that you don’t understand it. Make yourself read the entire book. You won’t get it. Do you know why? Because you’re a Westerner and you can’t get it.”
When you read this the first time, it makes your brain have to rewire itself. You have to understand that this book has no meaning in the Western sense of the word. It only takes on meaning when you realize that it is templated against Islamic law, and Islamic law is fundamentally different from Western understandings of virtually everything. And that means you can never default to a Western understanding of anything.
So, about three months later, after you’re done — and after reading other things, too — go back and read it again. This time you’ll find that it might take you two days, and you can’t comprehend it all, but you realize you got more of it. Put it aside, and then, maybe six to nine months later, read it again.
Suddenly you find out that it’s a five-hour read. Wow, what was it that made it so different? “This is easy. Why did I have such a hard time before? It’s easy.”
You didn’t get it because your brain is a Western brain. And you actually have to train your brain take it in.
It’s similar to learning a foreign language. I was a Russian linguist, and I remember what it was like. The first time I went in-country — no matter that I was well-trained — when I heard someone talk, I had to translate it into English, and then formulate my answer in English before sending it out in Russian. And about three or four months into it I was stressing out; my brain was overloading. I started to get frustrated and mad.
And then suddenly, one day when someone said something to me, I answered back. I didn’t translate it into English. I didn’t formulate the answer in English and translate it into Russian.
It’s the same with reading Qutb: there will come a point when it will snap into place.
It’s time that all of us learned to do this. The taqiyya artists like al-Marayati are twenty or thirty years ahead of us.
We’ll have to hustle to catch up.