[UPDATE: OC Democrats Blast Pauly] Video Captures Protesters, Politicians Berating Muslims at Yorba Linda Charity Function
UPDATE, MARCH 21, 9:18 P.M.: Two Villa Park residents will lead a "silent march" at 4 p.m. Tuesday to the town's City Council meeting "to demand action against the hate sanctioned by our Orange County elected officials."
Deborah Pauly, a Villa Park councilwoman and Orange County Republican Central Committee vice chairwoman, sparked outrage by wishing death on Orange Countians entering a February Muslim charity event in Yorba Linda. She labeled the men, women and children "terrorists" and "enemies of America."
"We were disturbed to learn of your anti-American comments, captured by video on Feb. 13, 2011, in Yorba Linda, California, which now has all of us feeling unsafe, as we are concerned for the safety of our family members and our children who frequent the local schools," Villa Park residents Nadia Hassan and Shais Khan write in a letter to Pauly and copied to the councilwoman's colleagues. "Your hateful remarks have drawn nationwide criticism and have brought condemnation from both Republicans and Democrats alike."
The pair's flier for the march is titled, "SAY 'NO' TO HATE" and features an illustration with a map of central Orange County, the word "Islamaphobia" with a red slash through it, and photos of Pauly and Representatives Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) speaking. The congressmen also participated in the protest against the charity event.
The letter to Pauly follows:
March 14, 2011The Villa Park City Council meets at 17855 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park.
City of Villa Park
17855 Santiago Blvd.
Villa Park, CA 92861
RE: Yorba Linda Protest of February 13, 2011
Dear Ms. Pauly:
Although we have never personally met, we hoped to be writing under more favorable terms. We, the undersigned constituents, have been long time residents of Villa Park, most of us for more than 30 years. Amongst this group are patriotic children of a United States Marine, who faithfully served this country in the Korean War with great honor. Villa Park is a place that we have always been proud to call home.
We were disturbed to learn of your anti-American comments, captured by video on Feb 13, 2011 in Yorba Linda, CA, which now has all of us feeling unsafe as we are concerned for the safety of our family members and our children who frequent the local schools. Your hateful remarks have drawn nationwide criticism and have brought condemnation from both Republicans and Democrats alike. Villa Park has always been regarded as "the hidden jewel" of Orange County but now the media is quick to label the city of Villa Park as "the hidden hatred" as a result of your statements. In our town, we do not want to hear our elected officials making blatant calls for violence against fellow Americans irrespective of party affiliation, political views or religious beliefs.
Your speech incited hate and undermined the very essence of American values in which we pride ourselves. In Villa Park, we have always supported religious pluralism as we have always enjoyed a peaceful co-existence amongst our constituents. On Feb 13, you stated that, "I know quite a few Marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise." Ms. Pauly is your statement a threat or is it a fact, and as Americans, should we be concerned for the lives of our fellow Americans? And were the US Marines aware of this? You have done a disservice to your colleagues and you have disgraced not only the respectable office of a Villa Park Councilmember, but you have also disgraced our city, our country, and our United States Marines. In this great land, there is no longer any room for hate and bigotry.
We want to know whether your actions of Feb 13 reflect the position of the Villa Park City Council, and if not, we would like to call on you to publicly retract your hateful, un-American statements and restore integrity to the office of Villa Park's City Council. As an elected official, it is your job to promote healthy dialogue amongst the masses in the face of disparity. We understand that protestors have every right to voice their concerns by way of "freedom of speech", however; freedom of speech does not embody the humiliation of innocent civilians, yelling at and heckling children, or the degradation of a world religion and the faith of millions of law abiding citizens. As an elected official, you should know better than to condemn a vast world religion such as Islam, or any other religion for that matter, based on the actions of a few misguided people.
We are calling on you to reconsider and rethink your statements of February 13. If you are willing to take responsibility for your actions and create dialogue with your fellow Villa Parkian constituents, then we are ready to take a leap of good faith and listen to what you have to say. We understand that, sometimes, people make mistakes and we are fully ready to forgive you and support you to remain in office as our Villa Park City Councilmember if you agree to rectify the situation as follows:
Publicly retract your statements,
Make a public apology, and
Get to know the American Muslim constituents of Villa Park.
We kindly would like to request a response to this letter no later than March 18, 2011 by 5pm. We look forward to a speedy response from you.
Villa Park Constituents
Nadia Hassan, Villa Park, CA
Shais Khan, Villa Park, CA
cc: Mayor W. Bill Mac Aloney
Mayor Pro Tem W. Richard Ulmer
Councilmember Brad Reese
Council Member James Rheins
UPDATE, MARCH 15, 3:49 P.M.: During the public comments that are taken near the beginning of tonight's 6:30 p.m. Yorba Linda City Council meeting, concerned locals will address the anti-Muslim rallies outside the city Community Center on Feb. 13.
Video from the protests posted on YouTube have led to international condemnation of the spectacle and politicians who cheered on ralliers. In particular, calls are being made to reign in a top Orange County Republican Party official, Deborah Pauly.
"The longtime leaders of Orange County's Republican Party were given a rude awakening in January when Villa Park Councilwoman and self-described "blended" Tea Partier Deborah Pauly bested establishment candidate Jon Fleischman in the election for first vice chairperson of the GOP Central Committee," reports Voice of OC.*
(*Attribution corrected; hat tip to Islamophobia Watch.)
"Just how rude this awakening could end up being for the party's establishment became apparent in mid-February when Pauly stood outside of a Muslim charity event in Yorba Linda and said to cheering protestors: 'Make no mistake, my friends, these who are assembling are enemies of America.' She added: 'I know quite a few Marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.'"
Pauly's vitriol was credited with helping spur death threats reported to the Orange County Human Relations Commission and possible censure from her council colleagues. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) chose to appeal to Pauly's party.
"Time and again, Republican leaders have shown a lack of leadership and irresponsible behavior in upholding the oath that they took," Munira Syeda, the CAIR-LA spokeswoman, told the Voice of OC. "It's time for the Republican party to come out and say this is un-American."
Now we have Congressman Peter King (R-New York) to thank for helping to put unindicted co-conspirator in context. It was bandied about in reference to CAIR so often during the recent House Homeland Security Hearings on Islamic Radicalization led by King that Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler decided to define it.
These claims lack context. CAIR is an aggressive Muslim civil-liberties organization, modeled on the Anti Defamation League, that has made it a target for criticism. It was indeed named as an "unindicted co-conspirator or joint venturer" in the Holy Land Foundation case--an Islamic charity that in 2008 was convicted of funding Islamic militant groups. But CAIR was not alone in that designation; nearly 250 other organizations and individuals were also named.
The federal government said the organizations were included on the list in order to produce evidence at the trial, but the district court and a federal appeals court later ruled that it had been a mistake to make the list public.
As the appeals court summed up last year, "The court held that the government did not argue or establish any legitimate government interest that warranted publicly identifying [one of the organizations] and 245 other individuals and entities as unindicted co-conspirators or joint venturers and that the government had less injurious means than those employed, such as anonymously designating the unindicted co-conspirators as 'other persons,' asking the court to file the document under seal, or disclosing the information to the defendants pursuant to a protective order."
However, federal Judge Jorge A. Solis denied CAIR's request that its name be publicly striken from the list. He said the government "has produced ample evidence" to establish the association of CAIR and other organizations with entities such as the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association for Palestine and with the Hamas militant group. Solis acknowledged CAIR's claim that evidence produced by the government "largely predates" the official designation of these groups as terror organizations, but he said the "evidence is nonetheless sufficient to show the association of these entities with HLF, IAP and Hamas."
The appeals court, in a ruling involving another Muslim organization on the list, criticized Solis for this statement, saying it "went beyond what was relevant to any hypothetical evidentiary issue and may have obfuscated the underlying Fifth Amendment issue."
. . .
The repeated references to CAIR being an "unindicted co-conspirator" is one of those true facts that ultimately gives a false impression.
Video of an anti-Muslim rally in Yorba Linda last month that was pulled down from YouTube Tuesday has been reposted online.
Meanwhile, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the nonprofit Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) Greater Los Angeles office in Anaheim that produced the video, responds exclusively to the Weekly this morning to Rabbi David Eliezrie's allegations that CAIR-LA "lied" and "doctored" the footage. Ayloush accuses the leader of the North County Chabad Center of being the one who is lying, draws a "sad parallel" between the protesters' "demonizing and dehumanizing rhetoric and that of 1930s Nazi Germany that later led to the horrors of the Holocaust" and ends by offering "reconciliation."
YouTube removed the video yesterday amid "copyright infringement" allegations by Santa Ana gadfly and mayoral candidate George Collins, who shot some of the footage for his Santa Ana TV website.
Today, one can view the CAIR-LA video via Vimeo:
Hate Comes to Orange County from cairsocal on Vimeo.
The following note appears below the video:
Note: Please do no leave hateful comments. The bigotry shown in this video only represents the persons engaging in it. This is not a reflection on Christians, Jews, or fellow Americans. We can't fight bigotry and ignorance with the same. We can't stoop to the same level of hatemongers. We have to increase our efforts to promote dialogue and mutual respect.
Speaking of messages, Ayloush shared the following with the Weekly in response to Eliezrie's claim that the Muslim advocacy nonprofit "lied" by having "spliced together video from two separate events." The North County Chabad Center rabbi, who attended and helped organize the rally, draws a distinction between demonstrators he was with 100 yards away from the Yorba Linda Community Center and those near the facility's entrance.
Ayloush's full statement:
Instead of rewriting the history of the anti-Muslim protest on Feb. 13 in Yorba Linda, Rabbi David Eliezrie should have the integrity to take responsibility for participating in and enabling this shameful and hateful incident against peaceful families, including many children. He needs to clearly condemn the hate-filled rhetoric at every stage in the rally and apologize to the Muslim American community and all Orange County residents for the pain and embarrassment that he caused by his irresponsible behavior, which is un-befitting a faith leader.
At the rally, which Rabbi Eliezrie says he attended and labeled as a "peaceful protest," speakers made a barrage of anti-Muslim comments. Karen Lugo, a Chapman Law School professor, advocated discriminating against Muslims, saying, "When we have a group that is asking for special preferences and special treatment, it is not a matter of discrimination to say no when a group is less than 1 percent of our population." Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly spoke at the same "peaceful protest" and said, "I know quite a few Marines who will be happy to help these terrorists [Pauly pointed toward the community center where the fund-raising event was held] to an early meeting in paradise." She added, "These who are assembling are enemies of America. They are your enemy. They are my enemy because they seek to destroy it." The full video of the speeches is available to watch on the Internet. A Jewish Journal article on the anti-Muslim protest states that Rabbi Eliezrie was one of the speakers at that rally. (The article, which is sympathetic to the protesters, contradicts the lie that there were two separate protests.)
Once the hate speeches and provocation by the rally speakers ended and Muslim attendees started arriving to the fund-raising dinner, a group of protesters formed a mob, yelling insults and threats against Muslims, as seen in videos and news reports. Comments included slurs such as: "Muhammad was a pervert," "Muhammad was a fraud," "Go home and beat your wife," and "Go home, terrorist." Witnesses and videos from the rally show some protesters even blowing shofars, declaring a battle against Muslims.
Does Rabbi Eliezrie, especially as a Jewish leader, not see the sad parallel between this demonizing and dehumanizing rhetoric and that of 1930s Nazi Germany, which later led to the horrors of the Holocaust?
Instead of insulting the intelligence of Americans and blaming CAIR's video for exposing the hate fest, Rabbi Eliezrie and other protest organizers and public officials who participated in and spoke at the rally and incited protesters should condemn the hate that resulted. It would be better to begin a process of reconciliation by becoming agents of unity, peace and tolerance, rather than engaging in McCarthyesque tactics to demonize and marginalize American Muslims under the pretext of protesting controversial speakers (which would have been and is acceptable). American Muslims are willing to forgive and have their arms genuinely open to all fellow Americans, including Rabbi Eliezrie, for such a partnership against all forms of violence, bigotry and bias.