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January 16, 2015 3:25 pm

Media Whitewash Terror Supporter Maher Hathout

avatar by Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

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Maher Hathout. Photo: MPAC.

A Muslim-American leader whose record includes calling President Bill Clinton a terrorist, praising Hezbollah, and opposing Israel’s existence, is being described by the U.S. news media as an opponent of terrorism and promoter of Muslim-Jewish friendship.

Maher Hathout, who passed away in Los Angeles earlier this month, was a founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, leader of the Islamic Center of Southern California, and a prominent figure in many other U.S. Muslim groups and causes — in short, he had been one of the most important Muslim American leaders for more than thirty years. As such, the statements he made over the years took on special significance. He spoke for a large segment of the U.S. Muslim community, and he was never challenged by his coreligionists over the positions he took.

What were some of those positions?

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According to the obituary of Hathout circulated by the Associated Press, he was “deeply patriotic.” If so, he sure had a funny way of showing it. Consider his view of Hezbollah, the terrorist group that slaughtered 241 U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983: “Hezbollah is fighting only for freedom,” Hathout declared in the Los Angeles Times on November 30, 1998.

Evidently nobody at the L.A. Times checked their own files when composing their obituary of Hathout. Completely ignoring Hathout’s view of Hezbollah, the Times reported that he worked to “undermine Islamic justification for terrorism” and promoted “a theology that wedded traditional Islam with a forward-looking, global outlook.” He fought for “social justice,” and he was “a leading advocate for peace between Islam and other religions.” The only time he stirred controversy, according to the Times, was over “disparaging remarks he had made about Israel.”

“Disparaging remarks”?  Actually, Hathout opposed Israel’s very existence. On September 17, 1993, the Islamic Center of Southern California (which he headed) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (which he founded and was still a major figure in) signed a public statement declaring that “the establishment by force, violence, and terrorism of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1948” was “unjust” and “a crime.” They pledged to “work to overturn the injustice.”

The Los Angeles outlet of ABC-TV, in its report on Hathout’s passing, asserted that he “spoke against corrupt ideology and extremism.”  In fact he repeatedly made extremist statements against Jews, against Israel, and against anti-terror action by the United States.

Speaking at California State University-Fullerton on May 6, 2001, Hathouht declared that “the United States is also under Israeli occupation.” When Pat Buchanan, Mearsheimer & Walt, and others have made similar statements, they have been characterized by major Jewish organizations as anti-Semitic.

When President Bill Clinton took action against terrorists in Sudan and Afghanistan in 1998, here is how the moderate, patriotic, anti-terrorist Hathout responded: “Our country is committing an act of terrorism. What we did is illegal, immoral, unhuman [sic], unacceptable, stupid and un-American. If our country commits hate crimes, we should not expect the uneducated to do the same.” The statement appeared in the Los Angeles Times on August 22, 1998. For some reason, it did not make its way into the Times’ recent obituary of Hathout.

Nor did any of the obituaries mention the comment Hathout made about Palestinian terrorists, during a panel discussion on Capitol Hill on June 18, 1998: “The only thing they can do is throw a bomb in a market or send somebody to suicide, we don’t have enough ability to target real targets in Israel.”

And don’t forget about The Minaret. That’s the official publication of Hathout’s Islamic Center, and he and his brother, Hassan, are two of the six members of the editorial board. Some choice editorials in the Minaret over the years included one praising French Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy, and one declaring that “supporters of Israel have created a quiet reign of terror in the U.S. People cannot speak loudly against the apartheid policies of Israel.” Those are just small samples of the volumes of hatred that have filled The Minaret’s pages over the years.

“Patriotic”?  “Forward-looking”?  An “advocate for peace”?  Maher Hathouht’s own words say otherwise. He should have been ostracized and denounced by American Muslims for his extremist and pro-terrorism statements. The fact that he was enthusiastically supported is deeply troubling.

(The authors are president and chairman, respectively, of the Religious Zionists of America, Philadelphia, and candidates on the Religious Zionist Slate (www.VoteTorah.org) in the World Zionist Congress elections that are now underway.)

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  • There will never be a second Arab-Palestinian State West of the Jordan River

    If the U.S. was conquered by various nations over a thousand years plus and than some outside forces helped Americans defeat the occupiers and regain its sovereignty and set up the American U.S. government again, would you consider the Americans as occupiers.
    I will take it a step further. Many Americans who were displaced by the occupying forces in America were forced out of their homes and returned to the U.S., would you consider them occupiers or people returning to their homes.
    If Mexico which had numerous wars and battles with the U.S. decided to fire thousands of rockets against the U.S., would you tolerate it or you would demand your country respond with extreme force at all costs, no holds barred and stop this rockets and terror attacks against Americans and women and children.
    YJ Draiman

    The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.”

    In all the Arab/Muslim countries there are maybe 500 Jews left with the exception of Morocco. But Israel has over one and one quarter of a million Arabs who live there in peace with all the benefits all Israelis receive. The Arabs have a Supreme court Justice in Israel and many Arab members of the Israeli Parliament, there are also Arab mayors and Arab Political parties. Can you show me any of this type of treatment of Jews in the Arab/Muslim countries? The Arabs/Muslims controlled and occupied Spain for over 700 years, how come they do not demand Spain as Arab/Muslim territories.
    The U.S. is fairly a new country in the past 250 years. All that occurred after Americans killed the American Indians who are the indigenous people of the Americas. The Americans fought numerous wars against Mexico and its occupiers and now claim Texas, California, etc. as their country. The same applies to numerous European countries and other countries throughout the world that have taken territories from other nations and now claim it as theirs. The Jews have a history with The Land of Israel going back over 3,000 years, two Jewish Temples with continuous habitation.

    YJ Draiman

  • americafarm

    He spoke the truth. One man’s terrorist IS another man’s freedom fighter. Don’t be so culturally blinded.

  • Good riddance to him! (Wy are you deleting my comments?)

  • Good riddance to him!

  • charlie johnson

    May his next world be neck deep in camel dung.

  • Natalie

    The Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the various Islamic Centers are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, so we have to infer that Hathout was a Muslim Brother. All of his statements follow from that.

  • steven L

    Many if not all news media from the left are antisemitic and delusional.

  • Media accuracy and unbiased reporting must be enforced

    It seems the Media cannot regulate itself to present a true and honest reporting.
    Responsible and honest reporting has been replaced with ambiguous confusing and illusory news reports, with no regard to the consequences. Facts and sources are not properly verified and an inaccurate unsubstantiated news story gets released to the public, that may cause substantial harm.
    What has happened to ethics in Journalism? Has Social Media added a new dimension to honest reporting? Can we overcome distorted Social Media for accuracy? How can we verify instant Social Media images from being photo-shopped? Can we impose responsible Social Media without affecting the freedom of speech?
    Whether we like it or not, the masses are influenced by the Media, could you imagine how children and young adults absorb the Media hype, regardless weather it is truth or illusion. The damage is long term and may not be reversible. Children are very impressionable, they think what they see on TV emulate real life, which we know is distorted and make believe, they carry these illusions as reality which affects their future adversely.
    The Media reporting must be neutral, unbiased, balanced, objective and impartial. Violators should be subject to fines and criminal charges if people suffer due to intentional distortion of reports or intentionally slanted to deceive or promote favoritism that escalates into violence and or cause harm and or financial loss.
    When a Media outlet intentionally distorts and misinforms the news and events, it should forfeit the right to free speech and free press and face the music.
    In the past decades Media outlets have expanded the creation of sensationalism to promote readership and revenues. These types of reports many times intentionally distorts the facts and true dimension of the report. Thus creating more dissention and crisis that leads to violence and death.
    It seems that the Media today has no emotion, no compassion. Much of the news is choreographed for the sake of sensationalism and rating. Which comes down to dollars and financial gain. Society today is so hungry for money, power, instant gratification and glamour.
    Is there a chance of going back to honor, honesty, integrity and fighting for truth and justice the old American way. Overcoming false showmanship and artificial presentation. Broadcasting truth and reality, thereby regaining public trust in the Media?
    This very same rebuke and standards must be applied to our elected government officials.
    A change for the better must be initiated and it must start at the top.

    YJ Draiman

    P.S. “The biases the media has are much bigger than conservative or liberal. They’re about getting ratings, about making money, about doing stories that are easy to cover and keeping us in a uproar.”

    • shloime

      if you want to communicate better, invest in a smaller soapbox.

  • Mickey Oberman

    The American media are at least as guilty as Obama in bringing the USA to its present worldwide position of scorn, ridicule and loathing.

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