by Daniel E. Rogell
June 4, 2012
Note: This story has been updated to clarify a misleading quote made by Walid.
The Council of American Islamic Relations [CAIR] may tout itself as an “organization that challenges stereotypes of Islam and Muslims,” and as group that was formed “to challenge anti-Muslim discrimination nationwide.” But in fighting the good fight against hate, at least one of its regional leaders demonizes Jews as the source of Muslims’ problems.
“Who are those who incurred the wrath of Allah?” CAIR-Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid asked in a May 25 sermon at the Islamic Organization of North America mosque in Warren, Mich. “They are the Jews, they are the Jews,” he answered himself in Arabic.
Aside from being one of CAIR’s most visible spokesmen, Walid appears frequently in the media and has traveled abroad at least twice on trips paid by the State Department. During a 2010 trip to Mali, for example, he criticized treatment of Muslim Americans after 9/11, saying they “have been subjected to increased discrimination from racial and religious profiling by law enforcement.” And he cast the 2009 shooting death of a Detroit imam as unjust, even though the imam refused orders to lay down his weapon and surrender, and then opened fire first after a police dog was sent in to subdue him.
If it isn’t the Jews incurring Allah’s wrath by disobeying him, the hands of the pro-Israel lobby are undermining American Muslims and Palestinians alike, Walid claimed in his sermon.
“One of the greatest social ills facing American today is Islamophobia, and anti-Muslim bigotry. And if you trace the organizations and the main advocates and activists in Islamophobia in America, you will see that all those organizations are pro-Israeli occupation organizations and activists,” Walid said. “You will see every single last one. Do you know why? Because one of the leading Islamophobes by the name of Daniel Pipes, said the political empowerment of American Muslims is a direct threat to Israel.”
In fact, what Pipes said is that American Jews – not Israel – may be threatened by the “increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims,because they are so much led by an Islamist leadership.” [Emphasis added]
The “pro-Israeli occupation lobby that is connected to the Islamophobia network” is the reason why America experiences “more problems, more Islamophobia, more hate crimes, more desecration of mosques, more anti-Muslim activity” than other countries in North and South America, Walid said.
This Zionist lobby is also the biggest obstacle to Muslims “liberating” Palestine, Jerusalem, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the heat of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he said.
Walid isn’t alone blaming Jews for Palestinian problems or Islamophobia. Conspiracies about a Jewish or Zionist lobby controlling American foreign policy, especially towards a future Palestinian state, are frequently repeated throughout Arabic and Islamist media. Their champions include Hamas, Iranian news outlets, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
For example, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh blasted the United States as an “enemy of Islam” in 2006 in part because it is “influenced by the Zionist lobby.”
“So this is why you see the Islamophobia network trying to gin up negative information about Muslims and Islam. This is a direct connection to the occupation of Palestine. It is a direct connection. And [it is] because the strongest Israeli lobby in the world is in America, because America is the sole patron of Israel,” Walid said.