Two things you can do to stop Islamophobia and racism:
- Sign the petition to stop Islamophobia and racist hate in Orange County.
- Share this petition on Facebook and social networking sites.
Hate in Orange County, Capitol Hill
On Feb. 13, hundreds of Orange County residents, including elected officials, held a fascist-like, anti-Muslim rally outside of an Islamic charity fundraising event in Yorba Linda. The rally was recorded and has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.
A racist mob massed near the entrance of the event, organized by Tea Party members calling themselves, “We Surround Them,” inspired by the Glenn Beck’s “9-12 Project.” The crowd yelled outrageous and bigoted things at Muslim families, including many children. They said racist things like, “Go back home,” “Muhammad was a child molester,” and “You beat your women and rape your children.”
The charity event, organized by Islamic Circle of North America, was raising money to fund women’s shelters and homeless services. The event attendees did nothing wrong. They were verbally assaulted just because of their race and religion.
The most shocking statement came from a local elected official who spoke at the rally. Deborah Pauly, a Villa Park city council member, pointed at the entrance to the fundraiser and said, “What’s going on over there is pure, unadulterated evil. … I know a lot of Marines who will be very happy to help those terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.”
This is a blatant threat of physical violence and terrorism against Arabs and Muslims. Councilwoman Pauly should be forced to resign immediately and investigated for making criminal threats—threats that could very well incite violent attacks against Arab Americans and Muslims in Orange County and elsewhere.
Hate crimes targeting Arab Americans and Muslims have increased in recent years. This week, an elderly man was shot to death and another critically wounded in Elk Grove, Calif., when the attacker mistook them for being Muslim (they were Sikh). In Iowa, an Iraqi man was brutally beaten by a group of people when they heard that his name is “Usama.”
Two other elected officials spoke at the racist rally—Congressmen Ed Royce (R.-Calif.) and Gary Miller (R.-Calif.)—to tell the crowd how “proud” they were of what the right-wing mob was doing. They too should be removed from office immediately.
The rally was a precursor to what is happening on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. this week. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is holding “Homeland Security Committee” hearings in the House of Representatives to discuss the alleged radicalization of Muslim Americans by “terror groups.” The real reason behind King’s Sen. Joseph McCarthy-style witch hunt is to cast suspicion on Muslims and fuel the fires of Islamophobia.
These right-wing politicians and their supporters are the same people who spew anti-immigrant, anti-union and pro-war rhetoric whenever they can. They should be held accountable for their messages of hate.
Hypocrisy and the Irvine 11
It is the height of hypocrisy that elected officials can freely incite hatred and praise the killing of Arabs and Muslims in public, while 11 Muslim students at University of California, Irvine, have been charged with crimes for speaking out against U.S.-backed Israeli war crimes.
All charges against the Irvine 11 should be dropped immediately. Orange County law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office clearly believe that hate speech targeting Arabs and Muslims is fine and should be allowed, but that protected political speech by Arabs and Muslims is a crime. This reveals the extreme reactionary character of Orange County’s political establishment.
Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism cannot be tolerated. Racism and bigotry in any form cannot be tolerated. Hatred of Arabs and Muslims has been stoked and even promoted by the criminal U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan—launched by George Bush and now directed by President Obama. There is a direct connection between the demonization of Arabs and Muslims to justify the wars and the racist attacks on these communities in the United States.
It is hate speech to make violent threats and cheer the killing of innocent people—whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or Orange County. The Arab American and Muslim communities under attack are our neighbors, co-workers, co-students, friends and allies.
Take Action: Sign the petition, Protest on March 19
The only way to stop racism is to speak out and mobilize against it whenever and wherever it appears. Click or scroll down to sign the petition to stop racist hate and forward it to all of your friends.
Take a stand with the Arab American and Muslim communities under attack.