Hate Fighters Fight Each Other: CAIR vs. Brian Levin
It was quite the heated, unexpected exchange today on KPFK-FM 90.7's Uprising morning programming (produced by Weekly contributor and Anaheim boy Gabriel San Roman) between two seeming allies. In one corner: Brian Levin, recent Best of OC profile subject and head of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. In the other corner: Munira Syeda, communications manager for the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The two were on to ostensibly talk about the partnership between CAIR and Jewish groups to protest some neo-Nazi Inland Empire morons who are targeting Mexicans and Jews.
That's not what happened. Instead, Levin mentioned he found it incredulous that CAIR would, on one hand help fight anti-Semites, yet on the other hand maintain a relationship with anti-Semites and refuse to condemn them. Specifically, he mentioned frequent UC Irvine yapper (at the invite of the campus' Muslim Student Union) Amir Abdel Malik Ali and William Baker. Both are certifiable Jew-haters: Malik Ali claims the recent Shepard hate crimes bill is a Jewish conspiracy to target Muslims, while Baker--who fronts as a Christian man who tries to build bridges of cultural tolerance with others regarding the Muslim faith--was exposed by the Weekly in 2002 as a raving fool.
Syeda brushed off Levin's claims, insisted CAIR condemns anti-Semites, and said she didn't "appreciate" the professor "smearing CAIR's name the way he did." But the fact is, Levin was speaking the truth.
couldn't find a connection between Baker and CAIR any later than 2004, when we exposed the connection between the two. At the time, contributor Stan Brin asked longtime Southern California CAIR chapter executive director Hussam Ayloush why CAIR kept inviting Baker to its events. "His focus is that we all hold stereotypes--and that we shouldn't feel threatened by knowledge or interaction," Ayloush told us at the time. "As a Muslim, I have been accused of so many things that I would be very hesitant and careful before condemning anyone"--this, despite theWeekly
tying Baker to Holocaust deniers and the Rev. Robert Schuller firing him as the Crystal Cathedral's main Muslim man.
Malik Ali, meanwhile, spoke at a CAIR-sponsored event as recently as 2007 despite his long-known notoriety. There is no record of CAIR condemning Malik Ali or Baker since.
At the end of the Uprising interview, with the actual reason both were invited to opine on long-forgotten, Syeda spat out that "the gentleman with the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism is actually involved in hate himself." Problem is, Levin never actually condemned CAIR as a group per se--just pointed out their reticence to part ways with Baker and Malik Ali in the past. And he spouted off enough Islam love letters and barbs against certifiable Muslim bashers like Dennis Prager to show the audience that the only hate in his heart was against bigoted idiots and their partners. Does CAIR still fall in that category? We hope not.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts