The Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam, founded in May 2009, has held numerous political demonstrations, rallies and seminars aimed at bringing about a collective awareness of the perils of Islamic extremism. The Jewish Press sat down with Dr. Marvin Belsky, chairman of the board of HRCARI, to hear more about the goals and objectives of the group.
The Jewish Press: How did HRCARI get started?
Belsky: Basically, HRCARI is a movement whose time had come. As radical Islam flourishes unabated, there are very few political organizations willing to take a proactive stance in order to oppose it. Terrorism is on the rise and human rights abuses in Muslim countries are seldom featured in the news.
The liberal establishment, the Western academy, and the media seem to be controlled by multicultural relativists who have become apologists for Islamic radicalism. We found that many people from many different backgrounds are seething with indignation about the deafening silence on this subject and have personally been adversely affected by such extremism. They wanted to do something about it, and as such HRCARI was born.
You mention the anger of people from many different backgrounds. How reflective of that widespread anger is the membership of HRCARI?
Our organization is a rainbow coalition comprising a number of different groups including Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, and even ex-Muslim dissidents. Our first official rally against radical Islam was held in May 2009 in Times Square and featured members of families of 9/11 victims as well as activists who have been speaking and writing about this threat for years.
What inspired you to become an activist?
I am a retired medical doctor, an internist, and a Jew. I grew up in a family that was very concerned about the rise of fascism in Europe prior to World War II and the growth of the Nazi movement, so I learned from a young age that it is imperative to speak out against movements that can and will have catastrophic consequences.
HRCARI seeks to publicize human-rights abuses that occur in Muslim countries. Can you give us a capsule summary of what’s been going on?
On January 19, HRCARI participated in a large demonstration outside the United Nations protesting the murder of Coptic Christians in Egypt several weeks before. Egypt’s small Christian population has for many years now been relentlessly harassed and murdered by certain elements of the Muslim population. Over the years at least 22 Coptic priests have been murdered and it doesn’t stop there. Murders of Christians and other “infidels” are commonplace in Muslim countries – and the world stands in abject silence.
Moreover, abuse of women is rampant in Islamic culture as is evidenced in the alarming escalation of “honor murders” of women who are accused of transgressing Sharia law. Any woman who wishes to become more “Westernized,” or to divorce her husband, or who has been raped, or who wishes to marry someone of her choice rather than someone her family selects is subjected to barbaric treatment, including murder.
Not only does this take place in every Muslim country, it has taken place throughout Europe and in North America. Western feminists who choose a politically correct posture and don’t want to be viewed as racists remain silent while women’s lives are hanging in the balance.
Hindus and Sikhs have also come in for abuse. For hundreds of years, Muslims have engaged in heinous murders of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India and those who are not murdered are subjected to forced conversion to Islam. Such atrocities against Hindus include targeted attacks against their temples, open theft of Hindu property, and rape of young Hindu women.
And you haven’t even mentioned Israel’s long, bloody experience with Islamic terror.
We are of course strongly supportive of Israel and stand with it in its battle against Muslim violence. Clearly, Jews have been subjected to the savagery of Islamic persecution for centuries. We have called upon the world to rise up in righteous indignation over the Iranian nuclear threat that will target Israel for destruction and have vociferously condemned heinous terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, the PFLP, and other movements of that ilk.
At our rally in Times Square, a young Israeli man who survived an Islamic suicide bombing in Jerusalem told of other such attacks and how they have wreaked havoc on Israeli society. When Jews are wantonly murdered in their own country by their avowed enemies, it does not bode well for Jews around the world. While the international community consistently condemns Israel as an apartheid state, no one ever seems to raise a voice about how Jews are persona non grata in Muslim countries.
The facts cannot be disputed. Israel is a vibrant democracy that protects the rights of its Muslim citizens while Jews are afraid to walk in their own streets or ride their own buses. Media outlets like The New York Times, the bible of liberal activists, does not report the truth about Israel and, along with such groups as Human Rights Watch, in effect enables Islamists to be more effective. We work with an organization called Get Out The Facts which raises awareness among those who are apathetic or misinformed about Israel.
Who are some of the other individuals and groups associated with HRCARI?
Our board members include people like Dr. Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance; Andrew Upham, a noted attorney; and Satya Dosapati of the Hindu Human Rghts Watch. We also work with celebrated author Dr. Andrew Bostom; Simon Deng, a freed former slave; Mohamed Yahya, leader of the Muslim Darfur group Damanga; noted author and women’s rights advocate Dr. Phyllis Chesler; Rajinder Singh Khalsa and Bhupinder Singh Bhurji, representing the Sikh community; and Hindu human rights leader Arish Sahani.
We work with many Christian Zionist organizations and groups like Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI); AMCHA-Coalition for Jewish Concerns; the American Center for Democracy; Arabs for Israel; The David Project; Jewish Action Alliance; Jihad Watch; Mothers Against Terrorism; StandWithUS; Zionist Organization of America; among many others.Fern Sidman