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To the uninformed individual attending this conference, he/she would have walked away thinking wow what a wonderful religion. The people are such nice, loving and caring individuals. How can there be such negative publicity out there against this religion?
Rector Ed Bacon of The All Saints Episcopalian Church of Pasadena hosted the MPAC convention. This was the first time ever a Muslim organization had there convention at a church. And wow, did the Muslims run with that! Rector Bacon made it a point to let everyone know how thrilled he was to be hosting this event at his church. He briefly spoke of the many years of interfaith meetings with the Muslim community he has hosted and all of the work they have done.
The conference started off not with the pledge of allegiance, nor was it recited at any of the sessions. The American flag was not to be seen in any of the meeting rooms at the church. Is this tradition with the Episcopalian faith, or highly encouraged by MPAC? You make that call.
Rector Bacon started the meeting off by stating that many of the emails the church had received were the most vile he had ever read. Since none of these emails have been published it is impossible to say whether they were vile or factual. Judging from what he had to say during an interview, at one of the days breaks, I would have to believe the latter. Perhaps a few were vile. I found him to be at the least, a very good apologist for the Islamic faith. Paraphrasing one of his statements, all religions have some bad to them, but we need to focus on the good parts.
The next kumbaya session was hosted by KNBC channel 4 reporter Bev White. Dr. Nayyer Ali and Dr. Maher Hathout were at their best. I was not aware, until Dr. Hathout told us, but the reason he came to America was to bring us Islam. He saw the benefits of America having Islam. Paraphrasing him, there are many Muslims and non-Muslims who don’t know Shariah and, no, we do not want to force Shariah on America. According to Dr. Ali, the Egyptian constitution does have some flaws.
The next session hosted by Haris Tarin, titled “The Ideas Shaping the Future,”saw the only truthful speaker. Darakshan Raja focused on domestic and female abuse. She stressed the need for Imams and communities to become more active in the prevention of these crimes. Congratulations to Ms. Raja for having the courage to speak out on this topic. I wonder how this sat with Al-Marayati and Dr. Hathout. Wardah Khalid labeled Pamela Geller’s bus ad as scare tactics and said Muslims must get active and get the real word out through the media. She feels the media is doing a good job for the anti-Islam side and there has always been a slant in the media. Surprise to me! I wish the media would print my words as I tell them the facts. It is necessary for Muslims to define their own narrative, don’t let Pamela Geller and Islamophobes do it. According to Khalid, we need to protect our rights, whatever that meant. -Interesting that they feel there is a bias in the media towards anti-Muslim or anti-Islam. And needless to say, this convention would not be complete without some praise for Malcolm X. On this day it was Dustin Craun’s duty to let everyone know it was Malcolm X who showed him his way for life. A couple of high school kids were then trotted out onto the stage to talk about their Islamophobia study they did at their school.
Free speech and extremism were dealt with at the last session consisting of a panel of Dr. Bacon, Rabbi Sarah Bassin, Dr. Hathout and Nirinjan Khalsa. This session was hosted by the outspoken Edina Lekovic. The subjects for this session were free speech and extremism. Some of the responses were:
-all agreed we must have free speech, but you must speak out on that which you do not agree
-if people are connected to God, there is no need to be extreme
-many Muslims and non-Muslims do not know what Shariah is
-Rector Bacon reminded everyone that all religions have some extremists. Just look outside of the signs these Christians are holding (this was in reference to Rubin Israel and a couple of his fellows).
Was Rector Bacon equating a couple of people holding signs to all the atrocities committed each day in the name of Islam? You decide.
The banquet session also hosted by Edina Lekovic had keynote speeches by dhimmi Congressman Mike Honda and his female colleague dhimmi Congresswoman Judy Chu. Honda spoke about WW II Japanese internment camps and how that must never happen again to anyone. He took time to bash the Peter King hearings and praise Muslim Congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson. Chu also bashed the Peter King hearings and patted herself on the back for the different minority rights committees she serves.
And we cannot forget Mr. Salam Al-Marayati who gave a synopsis on all of the wonderful work MPAC has accomplished during 2012. He let everyone know that it has been very difficult combating all the hate emanating from Pamela Geller and Steven Emerson. According to Salam the snake, MPAC takes no foreign money. And on their small annual budget of $1.5 million, it is hard to counter the $40 million budget of the Islamophobes.
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