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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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OUR MAN AL-MARAYATI

Anti-Israel, Pro-Hamas Muslim Leader Is US Delegate to Warsaw Human Rights Conference

His most infamous statement was during a radio interview on September 11, 2001, accusing Israel of the attack on the WTC.

Salam al Marayati (L.) with friends.

Salam al Marayati (L.) with friends.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Gabbay / The Blaze

For two weeks every year, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds what it refers to as the world’s largest human rights and democracy conference, called the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting.  Organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, this year’s meeting is taking place in Warsaw, and it began last week.  Special attention is focused this year on freedom of religion and belief, the rights of Roma (formerly called gypsies) women and the rights of national minorities in OSCE countries.

The head of the U.S. delegation to the conference this year is Ambassador Avis Bohlen, a retired foreign service officer whose career included serving as Ambassador to Bulgaria from 1996 – 1999.

There are three public members of the U.S. delegation.  Nida Gelazis, of the Woodrow Wilson Center, is a scholar of  international human rights, international law and citizenship policies and protection of national minorities.

Dr. Ethel Brooks, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, is the second representative of the U.S.  at the conference. Brooks has published many articles on her research areas which include child labor in third world countries, globalization and political economies.

The third public member chosen to attend the human rights conference as a representative of the U.S. is Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

While two out of three of the U.S. representatives are scholars whose fields suggest expertise in human rights and democratization, and are entirely consistent with the themes of the OSCE and, specifically, human rights and democracy, Al-Marayati’s appointment raises serious questions.

Counter-terrorism expert Steve Emerson told The Jewish Press that

Al-Marayati’s appointment is not just scandalous but also does incalculable damage to our values as a nation whose core principles categorically reject the legitimization of a racist supporter of terrorism, and an incendiary proponent of paranoid conspiracies that provides the motivation for radical Muslims to carry out terrorism.

Al-Marayati is not a scholar.  His only graduate degree is in business and his undergraduate degree is in science.  He has been involved with MPAC since its founding in 1986.  Without any scholarly article to his credit, his expertise is in matters concerning the role of Islam and Muslims in America and elsewhere.

In fact, Al-Marayati is better known, at least to members of the American Jewish community, for his defense of those who are on the scrutiny end of the human rights examining lens.  Perhaps his most infamous statement was during a radio interview immediately following the attacks by Muslim terrorists against the United States on September 11, 2001.

On that day, as the buildings were still smoldering, Al-Marayati told radio interviewer Warren Olney on KCEW-FM’s “Which Way, LA?” in response to questions about who might be behind the terrorist attacks,

If we’re going to look at suspects, we should look to groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on this list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies.

While Al-Marayati is generally more in control about publicly expressing his views regarding Israel and comporting himself in an even-keeled manner when with civic and political leaders, there have been many other instances in which his support for Muslims seems to override his concern for the human rights and safety of others.

For example, at a 2005 conference held by the Islamic Society of North America, Al-Marayati told his fellow Muslims not to respond to requests from the FBI to work with them, saying, “we reject any efforts, notion, suggestion that Muslims should start spying on one another.”

Even as he publicly engages in many interfaith efforts, Al-Marayati continues to sow the seeds of division between religious groups.  In 2009 he spoke at a J Street conference, telling the audience of  “Palestine Now At Any Price” liberals that the absence of a Palestinian State was the major cause for Muslim unrest in Pakistan, and that it was “the central issue critical to the hearts and minds of all 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.”

Al-Marayati spoke before the OSCE conference on Tuesday, October 1, about the situation of Muslims as a religious minority in America.  He quoted President Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech, in which he said, “‘it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear,’” and called for “governments to ‘stop targeting Muslims through legislation or policy, and instead enshrine the ground of religion or belief as a prohibited ground of discrimination in all realms.”

When asked to comment about Al-Marayati’s appointment to represent the United States at a global human rights and democracy conference, Steve Emerson, one of the premier counter-terrorism experts, and someone who has conducted extensive research into Al-Marayati’s background, told The Jewish Press,

For this administration to appoint to an august human rights organization Salam Al-Marayati, who has openly supported Hizbollah, claimed that the FBI has illegally incited Muslims on terrorism charges because of FBI sanctioned policies of “racial profiling,” has defended as innocent the most notorious members of Hamas who were found guilty of laundering millions of dollars to a terrorist group, and someone who has complained of ‘having the Holocaust shoved down [his] throat,’ is an outrage.

Emerson suggested  that the appointment of Al-Marayati as a representative of the U.S. at one of the world’s largest human rights conference,

cries out for a congressional investigation of the larger and more heinous scandal of the unprecedented degree to which the Obama administration has embraced and collaborated with radical Muslim groups in the U.S. whose lineage derives directly from the world wide totalitarian Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The conference concludes at the end of this week.

Ambassador Bohlen did not respond to a request for comment by the Jewish Press.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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51 Responses to “Anti-Israel, Pro-Hamas Muslim Leader Is US Delegate to Warsaw Human Rights Conference”

  1. Sandra Shell Lovelace says:

    WHAT? what is happening to our "One nation under GOD……"!

  2. Does this appointment really surprise anybody?

  3. I think that this administration do this to piss off the Israelis, if not, they are just stupid and totally insensitive.

  4. Fortunately, now we really know who to vote for……Don't forget about this anti-Israel President who is mor muslim than christian…….

  5. Linda Sobel says:

    This is simply another demonstration of Obama's pro-muslim, anti-Israel position. Truly, its a slap in the face to appoint such a man to this delegation. Obama must believe we are all stupid and blind. I hope American Jews will wake up and see Obama for who and what he is…and Vote him OUT! He is simply. The Great Destroyer of all we hold sacred! Linda Sobel

  6. Peter Kadish says:

    Obama sure is a friend to the Jews and Israel!

  7. Susan Kessel Singer says:

    oy vey.

  8. Peter Nason says:

    He's. An anti-semit.

  9. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    This is yet another dangerous blunder. How many more times will the US, the UN, and the EU put blood-thirsty, antisemites, terrorists supporters in charge of supervising human rights? How many time will they put the fox in charge of the hen-house and call the chicken racists when they protest?

  10. Mihai-Robert Soran says:

    United States Mission to the OSCE.
    FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE, RELIGION OR BELIEF.
    by Salam Al-Marayati,
    President, Muslim Public Affairs Council.
    OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting.
    Warsaw, October 1, 2012.

    "I am honored to address this body as a public member representing the United States on religious freedom. I am an American Muslim living in Los Angeles, and President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
    (…)
    When we think of religious liberties, we often also think of minorities – there are many pockets of the OSCE region where an ethnic minority is also a religious minority. And we should all feel a sense of responsibility to work for equal opportunity and nondiscrimination of religious communities.
    In the United States, we mourn the early August killings of Sikhs at a temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
    We continue to combat manifestations of hate that include anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiments.

    Let me state how I see the situation of Muslims as a religious minority in America. Yes, hate and bigotry exist in the United States just as they exist throughout the world and we are challenged daily. And yet, the United States strives to ensure that people of all beliefs—Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and others—are able to worship freely and express their beliefs without fear of persecution. The U.S. government intervenes to ensure freedom of religion when discrimination against a religious community is committed and seeks to punish those who use violence as a recourse to defend their beliefs.
    Much like the Prophet, who established religious pluralism in his society when he stated, “the Jews are a community alongside the Muslims,” we feel that America strives for the ideal of religious pluralism, where Muslims represent a thriving community alongside other religious communities.

    Hate speech that intends to degrade, intimidate or incite violence against someone based on religion is harmful. The best way to counter hatred is to defy it through convincing arguments, good actions and open debate. Human rights protect individuals, not abstract ideas or social norms. Religious symbols do not need governments or international bodies to defend them. The reaction to hatred can lead to other oppressive measures, such as blasphemy laws, inevitably violating human rights of religious minorities and vulnerable segments of societies. The loose and unclear language of these laws provide a context in which governments can restrict freedom of expression, thought, and religion, resulting in devastating consequences for those holding religious views that differ from the majority religion, as well as for adherents to minority faiths. Much can be done to fight hatred without restricting speech, or prohibiting the “defamation of religion”; governments should condemn hatred and set the example. In the U.S. we do not ban the speech rather we speak out against it and deploy an array of measures to counter intolerance without banning the speech itself. The international community has also recently rallied around a consensus approach to combating religious intolerance that is embodied in Human Rights Council resolution 16/18, which sets effective means for dealing with such intolerance.
    Governments violate the principles of religious freedom when they adopt one.
    ideological expression of religion over others and impose it on the governed. It is not the job of governments to make people more religious, but rather to protect the right of their citizens to practice a faith of their choosing, or not to practice at all. It is their job to establish security for all people, protect the universal rights of all, counter discrimination when it is manifested, and to promote prosperity for their people.
    Religious extremists impose their ideologies, sometimes through instruments of.
    government. We should speak out more vocally against this manipulation of religion.
    We should also speak out against secular governments that ban any expression of religion. In short, religion is the property of the people, not government. (…)"

  11. Mihai-Robert Soran says:

    Salam Al-Marayati is, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council:

    "Today, the American Muslim community is flourishing. They are above average in education and economic success, with their children graduating from the best universities and their collective financial net worth reaching over $150 billion – more than any oil-producing country’s annual gross domestic income. They are doctors, teachers, and first-responders. They work in public policy, homeland security, and in the defense of the United States. They are part of the pluralism that defines America. In fact, many Muslims came to US seeking religious freedom and the American dream."

  12. Mihai-Robert Soran says:

    Salam Al-Marayati is, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council:

    "First, Muslims in America need to break out of their cocoons in mosques and practice what the Koran preaches and the values that prophet Muhammad exemplified even in the face of discrimination and animosity—patience and good civic engagement. The prophet never reacted to any insults with military action. Islam calls us to work for mercy, compassion, and justice. The role of religion is to elevate the character of the individual and of the society beyond base emotional and tribal reactions.

    Second, the U.S. political establishment, civil society, and other faith communities must respond to bigotry, like they respond to any reprehensible behavior that is legally protected. We need to expose those who promote hate speech and hide behind free speech. Yes bigots have the right to speak with recklessness. When it is met with indifference or political paralysis, then America’s image is one that sanctions anti-Muslim bigotry but counters other forms of bigotry, a double-standard."

  13. Mihai-Robert Soran says:

    Al-Marayati’s OSCE speech reads in part:

    “Hate speech that intends to degrade, intimidate or incite violence against someone based on religion is harmful,” Al-Marayati said. “The best way to counter hatred is to defy it through convincing arguments, good actions and open debate. Human rights protect individuals, not abstract ideas or social norms. Religious symbols do not need governments or international bodies to defend them … It is not the job of governments to make people more religious, but rather to protect the right of their citizens to practice a faith of their choosing, or not to practice at all. It is their job to establish security for all people, protect the universal rights of all, counter discrimination when it is manifested, and to promote prosperity for their people.”.

  14. Mihai-Robert Soran says:

    After President Obama added his voice to the international condemnation of the Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla in early 2010 that resulted in the deaths of several pro-Palestinian activists, Emerson wrote in Forbes:
    “Appearing on CNN's Larry King show on June 3, [Obama] repeated his demand for an Israeli investigation. But this time, Obama revealed his own biased predisposition when he told King, ‘You've got loss of life that was unnecessary.’” Recklessly arguing that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Emerson added that “the president blurted out his real agenda when he criticized the Israelis for their blockade of Gaza: ‘you've got a blockade up that is preventing people in Palestinian Gaza from having job opportunities and being able to create businesses and engage in trade and have opportunity for the future.’ Here, [the president] joined the world Hamas lobby—Islamic and European countries—in piling on Israel for creating such a humanitarian mess in Gaza,…"

    Should I be surprised that hatredmonger Emerson pushes Obama into the terrorist and anti-Jewish "Hamas lobby"? Not at all. I don't expect him to to leave his protofascist, ethno-racist pathway.

  15. Mihai-Robert Soran says:

    Discussing the trajectory of Emerson's career, Zachary Lockman, a scholar at New York University, wrote in 2005: "[Emerson's] main focus during the 1990s was to sound the alarm about the threat Muslim terrorists posed to the United States. By the end of that decade Emerson was describing himself as a 'terrorist expert and investigator' and 'Executive Director, Terrorism Newswire, Inc.' Along the way, critics charged, Emerson had sounded many false alarms, made numerous errors of fact, bandied accusations about rather freely, and ceased to be regarded as credible by much of the mainstream media. The September 11 attacks seemed to bear out Emerson's warnings, but his critics might respond that even a stopped clock shows the right time twice a day.

  16. You are talking like President Obama and you will loose in a debate like president Obama.President Obama do not insult the soul of the murderd jews in the holocust With somebody who would like to see all the jews are murderd. President Obama what is your intention?

  17. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    @Mihal-Robert Soran, The issue is not what he says in prepared speeches, publicly delivered to general audiences, the issue is what he says when he thinks none but his inner circle are listening. Unfortunately, there too much that condemns him in that category to accept him as a US representative in any setting.

  18. I want to say this surprises me but as all of us know these things aren't a surprise anymore they are more and more common it embarrasses me scares me it disgraces me and me in the United States of America I am ashamed of this situation

  19. Jeff Kletman says:

    Explain this one to me my liberal friends and relatives.

  20. Jeff Kletman says:

    Enough is enough. He is pulling this when he needs Jewish votes. What is he going to be like when he doesn't?

  21. I plea with all Jews to pay attention and mail this article to your friends who happen to be Jewish, as I did. He has that awful Debbie person from Florida going to shuls….she should be ashamed of herself and I'm sure her parents are mortified that anyone Jewish would vote for him.

  22. How can any Jews vote for President Obama with his anti Israel attitude.

  23. Joy Ryman Snow says:

    Larry…you cannot imagine how many of my CHRISTIAN FRIENDS HAVE ASKED ME THIS. It's like some bizarre phenomena you can't explain. It's like I'm living in an alternate universe within my own family. Like they drank democratic koolaid. In the PAST I could disagree and let it go. In this election and the glaring obvious disdain this President has shown towards Israel you would think this would be but ONE ISSUE perhaps…just one they would analyze and see but unbelievably I find myself talking to the wall. I cannot fathom how they could vote for someone so inept that if he just worked in a company somewhere he would have been fired long ago. This is no Bill Clinton. It just astounds me. Imagine Catholic and Christian friends have asked me…why does your family support this man???? Can't answer. I LOVE THEM DEARLY BUT I CAN'T FIGURE OUT THEIR LOYALTY AND UNDYING SUPPORT ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF ISRAEL. SOME SAID THEY BELIEVED HE REALLY HAD SCHEDULE CONFLICTS WHEN HE WENT ON THE VIEW INSTEAD OF MEETING BENJAMIN NETANYAHU AS WAS REQUESTED! I love them, really.

  24. Excellent post Larry and response Joy….I too could not figure that out, even googled the same. This election should be an easy choice.

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