Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Closer Than You Think

Under the headline Strange Bedfellows: Like Christian Right Groups, Anti-Semitic Imam Lies About Hate Crime Bill, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog notes that Imam Amir Abdel Malik Ali, a Muslim clergyman who has been lecturing before Muslim student groups throughout the UC system, makes similar claims lies about the proposed "hate crimes" bill as do prominent right-wing Christian groups.
“Y’all know Rahm Emanuel, the Zionist Jew?” Ali asked a crowd of roughly 70 during his May 14 speech at the University of California, Irvine. “He’s the chief of staff for President Obama. For our non-Muslim friends, when President Obama chose Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, the Muslims knew just what was happening. As soon as he chose Rahm Emanuel, we said ‘Uh-oh, oh, Barack is owned. He’s owned by the Zionists.’”

Ali contends it’s Emanuel who’s pushing the hate crimes bill, which is chock full of perks for Jews. “Since it’s Rahm Emanuel, if this bill is passed — listen to me! — if this bill is passed, it will be a crime to criticize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, it will be a crime to report the extraordinary influence of AIPAC [the pro-Israel lobby], it will be a crime to doubt any aspects of the Holocaust.”

In fact, Ali asserted that those who question that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust could go to prison under the proposed law. What’s more, “If you talk about the disproportionate numbers of Jews, Zionist Jews, in the media, in finance and foreign policy, that’s a crime. That’s a crime! So what you’re talking about, if this bill is passed, is that you can criticize any country in the world except the apartheid state of Israel. That’s under the Hate Prevention Act of 2009 [sic].”

The SPLC links this to (equally false) claims that by Christian groups the hate crimes law will criminalize "hate speech" against gay and lesbian persons. But the link is much closer than that -- far right Christian groups have been just as clear as Imam Ali that they, too, view the bill as a Jewish plot.

In any event, the law would not prohibit the speeches of either anti-Semitic or anti-gay zealots, as it targets not speech but actual crimes motivated by bias. The good Imam can still spout whatever he wants about the evils of global Jewry -- he just can't take the next step and physically assault us.

1 comment:

PG said...

I always find disturbing, in the conflation of hate speech bans with heightened penalties for hate crimes, the apparent belief of the hateful speakers that some of them are going to end up committing crimes against the hated group and thus their speech will come back to be used against them at trial.