Thursday, March 5, 2009

California Muslim Candidate targeted

This is goes on with all the candidates, and I sincerly hope that those candidates who run for an office, run for their constituencies and not for special interests, I know Muslims who have run, ran with an inclusive approach and that must be lauded. It is not naive to be univeralistic, it the right thing to do while others stench in dirty politics.

Time for change has come, and Obama has paved the way. Our interests ought to be interests of every American. What is good for us has got to be good for others and vice versa to sustain it.

Mike Ghouse,0,847563.story
Campaigns in Bell and Cudahy get ugly

Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Bell City Council candidate Hussein Chahine was targeted over his Muslim faith in recent contentious elections. Ali Saleh, also a candidate, is below.
Candidates in Southeast L.A. County cities are smeared as terrorists and have had their homes and cars vandalized.

By Hector Becerra
9:38 PM PST, March 4, 2009
Southeast Los Angeles County, which has struggled for years with public corruption investigations and bruising politics, is emerging from Tuesday's municipal elections with a pair of black eyes.

In the mostly Latino cities of Bell and Cudahy, candidates have been smeared as terrorists, had their cars vandalized and had bricks thrown through windows, and a former mayor was accused of raping a young girl in Tijuana.

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"Southeast turned hit pieces into an art form," said David Demerjian, head prosecutor of the district attorney office's public integrity division, which has 103 open investigations into alleged municipal crime. "It's nasty stuff."

Over the weekend, Bell City Council candidate Ali Saleh was alerted about fliers someone found at a local grocery store. Someone superimposed Saleh's face on a picture of a man holding a sign that read, "Islam will dominate the world." The flier also showed pictures of radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada Sadr, the burning towers of the World Trade Center and terrorists wearing black hoods and standing over a kneeling hostage, presumably about to be executed. At the bottom of the flier was a message to voters:

"Vote NO Muslims for the City Bell Council 2009."

The 33-year-old Saleh, who grew up in Bell, said he never expected his candidacy to lead to an attack on the city's Lebanese American and Muslim community, which numbers about 2,000. Saleh was one of two Lebanese Americans running for council, along with Hussein Chahine. They lost.

"Politics can get dirty. But usually they just say something about you," Saleh said. "But when you come and tell people not to vote for any Muslims, you're talking about an entire group. I was born in this country. I want to be part of this American democratic system. This is very upsetting."

Saleh suspected the culprit was Councilman Luis Artiga, who was running for reelection. Artiga, who won, strongly denied the charge.

George Cole, an influential former mayor of Bell, was still angry about a flier attacking him in November.

Apparently circulated at Maywood City Hall, where Cole, 59, was set to be honored after retiring, the flier falsely said he had been arrested in Tijuana for "raping a young girl," but that police there and in Bell "covered up" the incident.

"They wanted to damage me so my ability to support someone would have no impact," said Cole, who retired last year from the City Council after 24 years.

Cole said he was sure the culprit was City Councilman Nestor Valencia, but Valencia, who lost the election, denied any involvement. "I told George that I had nothing to do with that," Valencia said.

He added that he had been attacked himself by several fliers. One had his picture and big red letters that read: "Stop a corrupt politician."

The ad accused Valencia of failing to file campaign reports and to disclose campaign contributions, and used a picture of a bulldozer claiming Valencia was "supported by big money developers who want to take away our homes."

Cole said he paid for that ad, adding, "I have nothing to hide. I'm proud of it." Valencia denied the allegations made in the ads.

For Southeast L.A. County, the attack ads had a "Groundhog Day," quality. In the late 1990s and early part of the decade, campaign fliers in South Gate took to new lows. When former City Treasurer Albert Robles ran South Gate, political candidates were falsely accused of being child molesters, drunk drivers, deadbeat dads and child killers. Robles and his political allies were eventually recalled, and Robles was convicted of fraud and sent to federal prison.

The region's small cities have repeatedly been the focus of political corruption prosecutions. Before being cleaned up in the early 2000s, South Gate was perhaps the most notorious, but politicians have been convicted of misdeeds in Huntington Park, Lynwood and Bell Gardens. Vernon officials await public corruption trials.

Assemblyman Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) said he was surprised by the level of vitriol seen in Bell. The town of about 40,000 has been cited by politicians in neighboring cities for being a politically and fiscally stable city and where council chamber screaming matches and overt invectives are relatively unusual. He said he was disturbed by the anti-Muslim ad.

"It's ironic in this case that Latinos are doing it to somebody else because we have had it done to ourselves so often," said De La Torre, who as a South Gate councilman was falsely accused in an ad of leaving a Mexican teenage girl named Guadalupe for a Norwegian bombshell named Tina.

Maywood Police Sgt. Sean Richardson said detectives, including county fire arson investigators, continue to probe a number of attacks in Cudahy against a city councilwoman and two would-be council members, Luis Garcia and Daniel Cota. In July, Garcia's truck was damaged by a Molotov cocktail, Richardson said. In October, a brick was thrown by a hooded assailant through the front window of his home. A car belonging to Garcia's running mate, Cota, was vandalized with red paint, Richardson said. Earlier this month, Cudahy Councilwoman Rosa Diaz had a window of her home shot with a pellet gun. Richardson said there are no suspects.

Garcia's and Cota's second bid for council failed.

Raja Abdulrahim contributed to this report.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.