In February, the Islamic Circle of North America held an annual fundraiser event in Loma Linda, California. ICNA's fundraiser was for a series of food pantries, a battered woman's shelter, and for disaster relief overseas. What most people weren't expecting was for the event to be protested by hatemongers that made a regular Tea Party rally look sane in comparison.
In case you didn't watch the video (and I highly recommend you do), a crowd of white protesters were hurling a bunch of racial and religious epithets at families walking into the $25-a-plate fundraiser. "Go home terrorist," "Muhammad is a pervert, Muhammad is a child molester," "Go home and beat your wife, she needs a good beating," were hurled at the event-goers. All sorts of hatred were on display, screaming that they, above all else, are not welcome in not only Yorba Linda, but also in America.
Who are these awful people screaming slurs at young children? Hate groups like ACT! for America and SIOA, which was recently classified by the SPLC as an official hate group. Oh, did I mention the Tea Party was in attendance? The Orange County Register said that the protest was organized by them, including noted islamophobic blogger Pamela Geller, on the prextext that the speaker had previously spoken during "Israeli Apartheid Week" at UCI, but the angry crowd, as the video shows, didn't seem so concerned about the speaker so much as the mere existence of Muslims.
What's striking is that two Congressmen and a Councilwoman all were present to join the protesters and add to the vitriol. Congressman Ed Royce (R-40) told protesters to continue on with their hate-mongering and how "multiculturalism" was paralyzing America, and Congressman Gary Miller (R-42) egged the crowd on. Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly summed their message up best, who said, “I know quite a few Marines who would be happy to help these terrorists to a, uh, early meeting in paradise.” The crowd cheered and laughed at her remarks, obviously aimed at the people inside.
The blogosphere has been lit up over this video, and the video is currently trending on youtube in Europe and elsewhere. Commenters on Reddit have compared it to Ruby Bridges, one of the original Little Rock students who had to cross a color line in 1960.
I think what was most striking about that video is that the presence of small children didn't give these anti-Muslim protesters even momentary pause; they just continued screeching their ugly invective while staring at 4-year-olds walking with their parents. People like that are so overflowing with hatred and resentments that the place where their humanity -- their soul -- is supposed to be has been drowned.
Hussein Rashid wrote, "There is no excuse for this behavior. It is pure, unbridled bigotry. There is no way to explain it away, and muddying the waters by saying there was anti-Semitic speaker there does not make it OK to call charity 'terrorism,' or to terrorize young children."
What is our country coming to?
ICNA has posted a clip from local ABC-7. It's the only sort of MSM coverage I've seen of it. The protestors come off as worse in some ways, blowing the Jewish Shofar "to announce to the enemy that's God's army is coming." Congressman Royce falsely claimed the Imam wants sharia law and stoning, something the imam denies. (why would someone who actually supported "stoning of women" ever help a fundraiser for a battered women's shelter?)
Reddit has provided contact information for the Congressmen in the video:
Contact: Gary Miller - Contact Me
Contact: Ed Royce (R) California
Contact: City of Villa Park regarding Councilwoman Deborah Pauly
I would like to bring attention to recent actions by elected officials of the State of California. On February 13th, a group of Muslims gathered to raise money for woman's shelters and to help relieve homeless and hunger in the US at a Yorba Linda community center. Outside, there was what one could call a protest.
Although many of those attending this so called protest held American flags, their actions were the antithesis of what it means to be an American. It is an absolute right for anyone in this country to protest. But what happened on February 13th showed some of the ugliest display of bigotry and racism in the modern world. The Muslim attendees were called pedophiles, terrorists, and were repeatedly verbally abused. The fact that there were Muslim children attending the event could not stop the shrills of this angry mob.
Beyond the hate speech, local Councilwoman Deborah Pauly stated "as a matter of fact, I know quite a few marines who will be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise."
If this type of speech is not considered hate speech, I'm not sure what is.
Other elected officials that were present included both Gary Miller (R-Caifornia) and Ed Royce (R-California).
I want it on the record that this does not reflect the ideals of America. The notion that an elected official can issue a veiled death threat is deplorable. Whether her comment has any sort of legal consequence, should be left up to the lawyers.
Concerned Citizen of the United States of America
Updated by SulaymanF at Tue Mar 8, 2011, 12:26:11 AM
Someone decided to file a copyright claim on the protest video (likely one of the protestors), so Youtube yanked the original. Fortunately, there are mirrors: