The LA Times has run several articles critical of Congressman Steve Rogan for initially refusing to meet with Muslim Public Affairs Council leader Salam Al-Marayati, a popular apologist for terrorist organizations and regimes. Rogan's opponent, Adam Schiff, held a press conference attacking Rogan for “racism.” Rogan unfortunately ultimately bowed to the political pressure Friday night (6/24/00) and made some uninformed remarks about Al-Marayati's record (see below).
CAMERA does not support or oppose any candidate, but we do oppose incomplete coverage of Al-Marayati's past statements and actions. By not informing the public of Al-Marayati's apologist statements regarding terrorists and extremist regimes, and by failing to include information about Al-Marayati's opposition to our nation's efforts to combat terrorism, the LA Times makes it impossible for its readers to make an informed decision about the current controversy.
Also, the LA Times included the following sentence, but failed to let readers know that Gephardt ultimately withdrew Al-Marayati's nomination. “Roe cited major Jewish organizations that had objected to Al-Marayati's nomination last year by House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo) to a commission on terrorism.”
Former Chief of the Counterterrorism Section of the FBI Steven Pomerantz expressed his support of the original position taken by Congressman James Rogan in refusing to meet with Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in Los Angeles. Mr. Pomerantz said:
While I am endorsing neither candidate, I want to express my support for the position taken by Congressman Rogan in refusing to meet with Salam Al-Marayati. Mr. Marayati has justified and defended the activities of terrorist organizations such as Hamas which, among other violent activities, has been involved in the murder of American citizens. He has also categorized the Hizballah terrorist attack which killed 241 US Marines as 'a military operation.' This type of comparison gives legitimacy to terrorism. While Mr. Marayati is free to say whatever he chooses, he should accept the logical consequence of his actions. These include the right of others to refuse to legitimize his extreme views by association with him. I applaud Congressman Rogan's wisdom and courage in this matter. [Source: Journal of Counterterrorism]
The following is a compilation of statements [source: Journal of Counterterrorism] made by Al-Marayati supporting extremist movements and terrorist groups, vilifying Israel, and condemning any US anti-terrorism measures.
* Declaring Opposition to Any Decisions of the National Commission before the Commission even convened:
[With] me sitting on this National Committee on Terrorism with CIA director Woolsey and a bunch of bureaucrats, and you have one out of ten continuously debating these issues. It would be more or less a nine to one vote on every issue. So we have exposed that the Commission is already agenda-driven.(Salam al-Marayati at an MPAC-sponsored banquet and fundraiser in Los Angeles, California, August 16, 1999)
[NOTE: The National Commission on Terrorism was established in the wake of the twin embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania to address concerns regarding the effectiveness and ways to improve U.S. counterterrorism policy. The statement by Al-Marayati in August 1999—before the Commission convened—shows that he intrinsically opposed any anti-terrorism policy.]
* Condemning anti-terrorism measures:
[Islamic leaders] gathered in Los Angeles to launch a counterattack. Al-Marayati and other Muslim leaders said they are especially concerned about recent resolutions passed by mainstream Jewish-American organizations. One measure [passed by Jewish organizations] calls on federal officials to step up investigations of U.S. ‘fund-raisers and propagandists’ for ‘militant Islamic extremist groups’ like Hamas and Hezbollah.(Will Swaim, “US Muslims See Attack on their Civil Rights,” The Plain Dealer, January 26, 1995)
* Depicting a Terrorist as a Victim of Terror and vice versa:
MPAC is also demanding extradition of any suspect to the murder of Hamida to be tried in a U.S. court charging the Israeli civilians at the scene of the murder with terrorism or co-conspiracy to terrorism...His murder is viewed by the American Muslim community as a provocative act. (Salam al-Marayati, The Minaret, 3/96)
[NOTE: Muhammad Hamida drove his car into a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem in February 1996, killing one woman and injuring twenty-three others. He shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great!) as his car struck the crowd. Witnesses/victims reported that he had obviously aimed his car at them and had never braked before hitting them. As he left his car, he was shot by Israeli civilians in the crowd. Subsequent Israeli investigation disclosed that he previously made a statement affirming his intent to kill Jews and that he was carrying Islamic Jihad literature in his vehicle. (Source: Jerusalem Post)
* Condemning Israel's Existence:
The establishment by force, violence, and terrorism of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1948 as well as the expansion of that state in succeeding years involved the unjust and illegal usurpation [sic] of Muslim and Christian lands and rights. To recognize the legitimacy of that crime is a crime in itself and any agreement which involves such recognition is unjust and untenable. The League of Ulama in Palestine declared on September 14, 1993 that no one has the authority to concede the rights of the Islamic Ummah in Palestine. With this in mind we assert that the recognition of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands by a faction within a Palestinian group is meaningless.(Statement of North American Muslim Organizations Concerning “Gaza-Jericho Agreement,” signed by MPAC—led by Al-Marayati, ICSC, and eight other organizations; December 17, 1993)
* Morally Equating Radical Islamic Terrorism to the American Revolution:
Most Islamic movements have been branded as terrorists as a result of the rising extremism from a handful of militants. American freedom fighters hundreds of years ago were also regarded as terrorists by the British.(Salam al-Marayati, The Minaret, June 1996)
* Justifying Terrorism; Criticizing U.S. policy of opposition to Hamas:
A further impediment to the U.S. ability to deal with terrorism is the manipulation of U.S. policy on this issue. Some examples of this would be the efforts of the Israelis to win support against HAMAS or those of the Egyptian, Algerian, and Saudi Arabian governments to win their support against their respective domestic opposition. The Israeli confrontation with HAMAS is the direct result of its, often brutal, occupation of the West Bank and Gaza for over 31 years. The other three cases are essentially domestic political disputes between the regimes in power and their opposition. The use of terror by the groups in question is the direct result of their (often illegal) exclusion from the political process and also resultant from the use of repressive or primary terrorism by the governments in question.(MPAC, “A Position Paper on U.S. Counterterrorism Policy,” June 1999)
* Excusing Hizballah's terrorism:
QUESTION: You mentioned Hizballah, do you consider it to be more of a, I guess a national liberation movement or a terrorist group?
AL-MARYATI: I don't think any group should be judged 100% this or that, I think every group is going to have, um, its claim of liberation and resistance there's the part that deals with the military confrontation with Israel and if you look at the numbers though, Hizballah attacks against Israeli civilians are like a fraction of Israeli attacks against the Muslims.(Salam al-Marayati at the University of Pennsylvania, November 1997)
* Justifying Hizballah's 1983 bombing of the American Marine barracks in Beirut as a “military operation” rather than a terrorist attack:
Hezbollah organized the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983 killing 241 marines, the largest number of American troops killed in a single operation since the end of the Vietnam war. Yet this attack, for all the pain it caused, was not in a strict sense, a terrorist operation. It was a military operation, producing no civilian casualties — exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies. (MPAC, “A Position Paper on U.S. Counterterrorism Policy,” June 1999)
[ NOTE: American patriots did not attack civilian targets.]
* Whitewashing Organizations and Leaders Who Support Terrorism:
They all condemn terrorism, whether it's all the American Muslim organizations, or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or even Sheikh Fadlahlah who is a Shiite leader in Lebanon or Abasi Madani who is the Algerian Islamist leader of FIS, or even Rashid Ghannouchi the Islamic leader in Tunisia, as well as Hassan al-Turabi, the Islamic of leader in the Sudan. Now, their condemnations [of terrorism are] there, and much of the criticism has been people who [unclear word] condemnations of terrorism by Muslims. However, and I think it's well-documented, I've read them and they're very available to people. (Salam al-Marayati at the University of Pennsylvania, November 1997)
[ FACT: Sheikh Fadlahlah is the unofficial spiritual head of Hizballah, a group which has carried out terrorist attacks against the United States and deemed an official terrorist group. Rashid Ghannouchi, titular head of the Islamic Liberation Party of Tunisia, was sentenced to death in absentia in 1992 for plotting to overthrow the government and assassinate President Ben Ali. Ghannouchi has called for the elimination of the “Zionist Project in Palestine.”]
*In the July/August 1997 issue of MPAC's Minaret Magazine, Sudanese leader Hasan al-Turabi is described as an advocate of pluralism, peace and justice: “…the reformists, represented by leaders like...Turabi, have advocated a pluralistic society that would work for peace and justice for all.”
[NOTE: It should be remembered that Hasan al-Turabi at that time was the powerful spiritual leader of the government of Sudan, listed by the U.S. State Department as one of the leading sponsors of international terrorism. Far from being a pluralistic and tolerant society, the Arab Muslims of northern Sudan have conducted a decades-long war against the Christian/Animist population of the south, resulting in more than a million southern Sudanese residents being killed or enslaved. Hasan al-Turabi is the spiritual leader of the government of Sudan, one of the leading sponsors of international terrorism, and a known supporter of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as Osama Bin Laden.]
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