Controversy Over Maher Hathout: Is He A Moderate Muslim?
But is it right that someone is given such an award by an organization devoted to racial and religious harmony, when he has made the extreme observations that Hathout has in recent years, describing Israel as "an apartheid state," saying "the United States is under Israeli occupation," that Arab governments which have had contacts with Israel would be "flushed down in the cesspools of history of treason," and that American bombing of Afghanistan and the Sudan after the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were "acts of terrorism...illegal, immoral, inhuman, unacceptable, stupid and un-American?"
I don't think so, and I have long been suspicious of Hathout, who can sound like a moderate on many occasions but who also often makes extremist remarks with seeming impunity. He has been treated entirely too respectfully by the L.A. County Commission On Human Relations, not to mention the "enlightened" Los Angeles Times, but Hathout can sound far different, especially when he's talking to Muslims than when he's talking to non-Muslims. It's almost like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Now, Steven A. Emerson, executive director of the respected "Investigative Project on Terrorism" in Washington, D.C., has gone public with tape recordings of some of Hathout's statements over the years. Even, if we assume that Hathout, like many people, can become overly emotional and make rash remarks to those he feels closest to, some of these are shocking.
On tape in a public speech in Washington D.C.'s Lafayette Park in the year 2000, Hathout said of Israel: "We did not come here to condemn the condemned atrocities committed by the apartheid brutal state of Israel, because butchers do what butchers do, and because what is expected from a racist apartheid is what is happening now. We have no talk to the state of Israel."
Or his remark, at a May, 2001 conference at Cal State, Fullerton: "It is obvious that, at least from our perspective, the United States is also under Israeli occupation. And so we have a Congress that beats the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) in being pro-Zionist. And we have an administration that believes in this superiority/inferiority of the Jews."
Also, Hathout has on repeated occasions, according to Emerson's report, defended Hamas and Hezbollah as legitimate organizations, while condemning the U.S. government for terrorism, he has belittled prosecutions in the U.S. of Muslim charities that funnel money to terrorists, and he has assailed the prosecution of a Florida defendant who pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad."
All this against two countries, the United States and Israel, who have been defending themselves against terrorist attacks ranging from suicide bombings and kidnappings to the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York and damage to the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Thousands have been killed, but Hathout seems to feel nothing should have been done in the way of military action against the perpetrators.
Emerson remarks, appropriately I think, on a broader scale than just Hathout, "There's been a grand deception of radical Islamic leaders and groups masquerading as moderate, insinuating themselves into the political process, and deceiving the American public and the American officials into believing that they are moderate and they are not. They are radical,, they are anti-American and they are pro-terrorist."
His report accurately delineates the political correctness of institutions like the L.A. County Commission On Human Relations which prefer to stick their heads in the sand and not see what is going on around them.