Guest Commentary: Welcome to the Alice in Wonderland Saga of Davis and Imam Shahin

Imam Shahin speaking in late July at the press conference

by Gail Rubin

I rubbed my eyes and blinked several times when I read these words from the recent Bet Haverim Statement on the Imam Sermons: “He has publicly taken a clear anti-violence stance, and has rejected genocide against any people”. And then I was reminded of what Alice in Wonderland went through when she visited that magical underworld once again, but this time as a teenager, with no memory of the events except for what she could recapture in her dreams. She confesses; “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland). 

While Alice confronted fanciful characters, we here in Davis are encountering our own underworld of all too real frightening characters. to which far too many wish to assign benign motives. Take for example the young woman with the sign on Sunday, Oct. 22 2017’s Children of Abraham walk with the Imam.  This UCD student and mosque worshiper (she identified herself as such), stood in front of the mosque defending her imam with a vile sign that reads: “Stop Worshipping Satan & Glorifying Hitler You Jews”. (Photo: https://www.facebook.com/DavisAgHate).

I never saw anyone from the mosque rebuke her for that vile sign, nor ask her to remove it.

Here is another impossible thing to believe. On that Sunday solidarity march, Imam Shahin gave a speech to the Children of Abraham group assembled in his house of worship, in which he said: “I have not ever, not now, not in the future or in the past, ever said anything anti-Semitic or called for the genocide of any group, not the Jews, not the atheists, etc.”

Taqiyya is a judicial term when a Muslim is allowed, under Sharia law, to lie.

This is a bold-faced lie. Dissembling at its most hideous end-game. On July 14 and July 21 his own mosque taped and posted his clear, concise statements calling for the annihilation of the Jews. The words were clear in English; they were clear and concise in Arabic. Remember, when the story first broke, he did not deny the words, but instead tried to soften the blow by claiming he meant “destroy” not annihilate.  His supporters claimed it was all the “Zionists” (read Jews) fault for mistranslating. When that failed, his handlers at CAIR (a Muslim Brotherhood affiliated group and
unindicted co-conspirator in the federal “Holy Land” prosecution against Islamic entities funneling money to the terrorist organization Hamas) groomed him to issue a non-apology “apology” for hurt feelings, but not for the ideology expressed.

In January of 2017, he brought Imam al-Nabulsi to speak at the Davis mosque, wherein al-Nabulsi called “Jews the worst enemies of God” and further stated that homosexuals should be subject to the death penalty.

Earlier this year, Shahin taught a course based on the ideology of Imam Abd Al-Wahab, the founder of Wahhabism, supporter of suicide and martyrdom operations against the “non-believer”. He taught this class on campus at UCD to the Muslim Students Association.     (a tax-supported public university).

The Davis mosque is owned and operated by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). NAIT was used to funnel money to Hamas per the Holy Land federal prosecution. The Omar Masjid mosque in Paterson, N.J. attended by Sayfullo Saipov, the New York Jihadist that recently killed 8 with a truck, is owned and operated by NAIT. The Riverside, Ca mosque that was attended by the husband of the suicide-Jihadi couple that killed 14 in San Bernardino was also owned by NAIT. In fact, some 27% of US mosques are owned and operated by NAIT, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate. ( http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=7423).

The statement issued by Bet Haverim is based on magical thinking. What Imam Shahin has said publicly (taqiyya) does not match the facts. He has called for genocide. He has called for incitement against the Jewish people.

So, what is it exactly you wish to embrace? What is the “common ground”? How is his saying “it ain’t so” make it “so”?

Most spiritual traditions require actions and deeds of repentance to truly transform. Did he take a trip to Auschwitz or to the Simon Wiesenthal Center to learn about genocide? Did he step down from the pulpit and take a sabbatical to transform his mind and heart, and do some good deeds of repentance?

He is who he is. He is steeped in radical ideology. He has studied at and continues his affiliations with very hateful and radical institutions: research the Zidni Islamic Institute and the Islamic University of Minnesota.

Well-meaning people speak highly of the “Muslim Hands” group that embraced the congregants at Bet Haverim. But who are they? Do they embrace pluralism and democratic values?  Muslim Hands is a Hamas-front charity raising money for Jihad. Hamas seeks to eliminate secular democracies and replace them with a radical Islamic state.  https://moneyjihad.wordpress.com/tag/muslim-hands/ . If the Davis Muslim Hands group is not affiliated with the above, then let us hear them disavow Hamas and support for Islamic Jihad.

The facts are not pretty. But they are what they are.

If you truly believe in religious pluralism, human rights, minority rights, dignity for all human beings, then walk with the Muslim Reform Movement. Learn about Tawfik Hamid, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Raheel Raza, Shireen Qudosi, etc.  https://muslimreformmovement.org/

To learn about Muslim Reformer Shireen Qudosi’s work, click here:

https://www.change.org/p/islamic-center-of-davis-mosque-board-islamic-center-of-davis-fire-your-antisemitic-imam

But for G-d sake, don’t walk with Imam Shahin!

I imagine that if Alice in Wonderland found herself in Davis, her poetic parodies might read like this:

If David Duke said “Kill the Blacks”,

Would you walk with him to church and back?

If Imam Shahin said “Kill the Jews”,

Would you follow him to the pews?



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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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36 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Welcome to the Alice in Wonderland Saga of Davis and Imam Shahin”

  1. Mike Hart

    Well said David.

    But you forget that liberals already have their smarmy rainbow lawn signs with all the little religious logos on them. If they actually pay attention to what he has said about genocide of Jews, homosexuals etc. they would have to tape over his little crescent of genocide on their lawn signs and bumper stickers.  So it is sufficient to embrace his placating lies (taqiyya)… and go back to only hating Republicans and developers….

    Smarmy bumper stickers and lawn signs of tolerance are the leading industry in Davis and it must be protected!

     

    1. Jordan Rapport

      I don’t understand why this person hasn’t been arrested for promoting violence, and why the American Muslim community is not calling him out. It is completely irresponsible and reprehensible for UC Davis to keep letting this go on. The American Muslim community needs to step up and call him out, otherwise everyone assumes they’re cool with genocide of Jews, which is not going to help them.

  2. Tia Will

    I find Ms. Rubin’s comments about Alice and Wonderland very apt, just not in the way she apparently intends. From my view as an individual who does not adhere to any world religion, I find that all the world’s major religions adhere to an Alice and Wonderland set of beliefs. As I recall, every major religion teaches humility by word, but all too often hubris by action. Every major religion teaches that its advocates have the “truth” which by implication means that everyone else must be wrong. Some Christians argue the Christian Bible, if taken literally, implies that everyone who does not accept it literally is doomed to eternal torture in hell. Some Muslims call for death to all infidel. Some Jews, continue to use “defense” as a justification for subjugation of complete innocents who pay the price for hateful words of others.

    It is apparent to me that when people define their set of beliefs as the ultimate “truth” the outcome for “true believers” is sure to be a belief in the inferiority of others. I would argue for movement away from tribalism and towards the belief ( in action as well as words) that each individual life is uniquely valuable and to be equally respected. Sadly, I do not see this attitude reflected in our current religious controversies.

  3. John Hobbs

    Mrs Gump was right: Stupid is as stupid does. Organized religion is not an outward expression of faith, but a tool to suppress individual thinking. When I read about all of the grief it brings to people, I cynically agree with the “Let God sort ’em out” pov. If the speaker in question wasn’t given a title (imam) and wasn’t affiliated with a “religion” he’d be largely and rightly ignored as would his hateful philosophy.

    Imagine.

  4. Marina Khan

    PS  most of those folks who show up and think they know-it-all are an excellent example of the wisdom of Mrs. Gump..

    I agree I also fit in that category, but it is not for the same reason as the choir who kisses up to DG…..

    Most of the folks who do not agree with David and his zionist agendas no longer comment on the DV.. it is a waste of time…..  I only come on when I am multitasking waiting for someone to show up or return a call….I hadn ‘t wanted to mix my FB with u folks, but heck …I am in better countries right now…so who cares….

    1. Alan Miller

      Most of the folks who do not agree with David and his zionist agendas no longer comment on the DV.

      God, did some disease come through and erase people’s brain today? DAVID DIDN’T WRITE THIS.

      And what the F— are you talking about “zionist agenda”?  You don’t even explain yourself, just some self-center S— about you are doing.  Please leave.  Permanently.

    1. Howard P

      You’re making me hungry, and I may have to go to Baristas to get a tomato flavored one, with a tomato flavored schmear!  They are great! [ad paid for by Baristas]

  5. Howard P

    Irony… one or two posters say religion is bogus/detrimental, while supporting the article of someone who appears to value religion highly… as Alice might say, “curiouser and curiouser…”

    1. Howard P

      Accepted…

      “organized” atheism has the same problems…

      Organizations, particularly those requiring strict adherence to ‘orthodoxy’ from their member/adherents, have problems… serious ones… the two major political parties in the country are a good examples, as well…

      Not all of those who express religious belief are ‘orthodox’… actually, the vast majority are not.

      You can recognize them as not wanting to compel others to share/support their views. Particularly, not by civil laws.

      1. John Hobbs

        “organized” atheism” Don’t you suspect most atheists are unaffiliated?

        There is a vast middle ground between organized religion and atheism, where many people dwell.

        1. Howard P

          Acknowledged…

          Just as most who ‘profess’ a religion, are not zealots, self-righteous, or intentionally confrontational…

          Works both ways…

          Said my piece… done.

    2. Howard P

      Oh, and compare the number of USSR citizens who were murdered/imprisoned to the Holocaust (mainly, Stalin)… or the purges under Mao and successors… or the benevolent (bene-violent?) government of North Korea.

      Yeah, things would be much better if there was no religion.  Religion is definitely the problem.

  6. Alan Miller

    Wow, what a bunch of meaningless tripe in the comments today.  This isn’t about religion and the fact that some misuse it.

    This is about a very real incident that occurred in Davis and vile words spoken/signed against Jews.  If this were most any other ethnic group this would be a national story along with local taking-to-the-streets outrage.

    I mean, what if a local rabbi called for the extermination of all Muslims, every one of them, in Hebrew, and it got translated to English, and local Jews confirmed, indeed, that’s what he said.  That story would be known all over the country, and that rabbi would be toast.

    DID ANY OF YOU EVEN CLICK ON THE LINK AND LOOK AT THE PICTURE?

    Oh cr-p, I just did, and it’s the wrong link.  DG, why didn’t you just post the picture, rather than leave it as a link?  This needs to be seen.  Here’s the correct link:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p1CXJz8GGtub-Qxl1uc1HssGOnnbzHUM8_UUj2XyGXQ/edit?usp=sharing

    I talked to this woman right after this picture was taken.  I had not seen the sign in this picture. She was hiding her sign from protestors trying to take a picture of it.

    She said her sign was in response to a Jewish protestor’s sign that said something like “Stop the Cover Up.  Take off the Hijab”.  She said her and her friend were driving by and saw that sign and were furious and drove back and scrawled out her sign and started holding it up.  The Jewish protestors said no one from their group had such as sign.  She said they did.  The protestors said they weren’t even on that side of the street and maybe someone else did it to inflame people.

    I told this woman the sign she described was indeed offensive.  Then I asked her what her sign said again.  She said it said, “Take off the Dish”.  I looked puzzled, and she explained, “the yamaka, in response to the ‘take off the hijab’ sign”.  I said, “Well that’s offensive, too.  How do you hope to get anywhere if you just respond in kind?”  She kind of shrugged, as if I had a point but she didn’t want to admit it.

    Note:  if you look at the sign in the picture  (“Stop Worshipping Satan and Glorifying Hitler, You Jews”), the back side of the sign is easily seen in reverse and says, “Take off the Dish, Jews”.

    In an age where there are incidents of people creating racial incidents themselves and then reporting them as racial incidents, it wouldn’t surprise me if some troll was holding up an offensive, anti-Muslim sign.  Regardless, whether provoked or not, the sign held up by this woman is unforgivable.  What in F–k does it even mean?  Worshiping Satan and glorifying Hitler?  It seems offensive as F–k, but does it even mean a F–king thing?  What is certainly behind it is a reservoir of anger and maybe even hatred against the Jewish people.

    As for Gail Rubin’s assertion, I’m not sure she was actually protecting “her Imam”.  She said she personally didn’t agree with the Imam, but that the building wasn’t about the Imam, it was a place of worship.

    She pulled out a cell phone and was showing us videos from a website and said that the Jews were destroying all the mosques in some area and were building Jewish temples in their places.  I didn’t really know what context this was in.  At that point she said only Jews were violent, not the Muslims.  I don’t have much place for such on-sided talk on either side.  But I wondered what these videos were, and if they were about something actually happening, or out there to incite anger.  I’m open to any references if anyone knows.

    I wonder about the comments of Gail Rubin about Davis Muslim Hands.  I talked to a couple of people from that group, and they were very much against what the Imam said and said unequivocally that the Imam called for the genocide of the Jews, and they speak the language.

    Again I say:  this isn’t going to be solved.  I am pretty disgusted, more than ever, about the politicians that stood by the Imam.   I agree with Gail Rubin that the entire premise of marching with the Imam is 1000 degrees of wrong.  I didn’t march with the group, I walked with the procession, not as part of it, as an opportunity to see the man speak, up close.  I was less than impressed with the what-I-wouldn’t-consider-an apology.

    I have a very strict definition of an apology for myself, and I hold to others the same:  “If I knew then what I understand to my core now, I would have done it differently, I would have done it better”.  That doesn’t mean avoiding the consequences, it means truly knowing to your core that you were wrong.  I saw none of that in the Imam’s “apology”.   This was more along the lines of “I wouldn’t have said it if I knew I’d be caught and bring so much S— down on myself”.

    1. Roberta Millstein

      This is about a very real incident that occurred in Davis and vile words spoken/signed against Jews.  If this were most any other ethnic group this would be a national story along with local taking-to-the-streets outrage.

      When this story broke I felt fear — fear that there would be an intemperate national reaction against Muslims.  Little did I know that there would be hardly any reaction at all, apparently because the comment was directed against Jews.  I didn’t want an over-the-top reaction but I do think it deserved a bit more than a national yawn and a city-wide shrug.

      1. David Greenwald

        Wouldn’t you say this article is over-the-top by Ms. Rubin? She took a lot of statements out of context from Bet Haverim, she besmirched a good man in Hamza, the good work of Muslim Hands, etc.

        1. Roberta Millstein

          Wouldn’t you say this article is over-the-top by Ms. Rubin? She took a lot of statements out of context from Bet Haverim, she besmirched a good man in Hamza, the good work of Muslim Hands, etc.

          I don’t know why you’re asking me specifically.  I’m just responding to Alan.  I did think that the response from Bet Haverim was weak.  I don’t know enough to comment on the other things one way or another.

        2. David Greenwald

          Like Anoosh says below, most of her assertions are completely unsupported, and the two sites she links are full of unsubstantiated right-wing… crap.

           I wanted to post this without comment, but people who read this (not specifically calling anyone out), weren’t very discerning here.  I’ll have a fuller response tomorrow.

        3. Roberta Millstein

          Like Anoosh says below, most of her assertions are completely unsupported, and the two sites she links are full of unsubstantiated right-wing… crap.

          Maybe so.  As I said before, I was only responding to Alan’s comment, not to the original article, which I am neither defending nor critiquing, mainly because I lack the time to do the research to have an informed opinion about it.  I’ll be interested to see your response.

      1. Susan George

        Hello David Greenwald/Vanguard Editor:

        I am logged in via Facebook and about 15 minutes ago posted a new comment to this article. However, I don’t see it. I also received no notice that it was received and “pending approval”.
        Could you please let me know if you received my comment? What is your standard criteria for publication? Thank you.

        [moderator: It went into the spam filter because of multiple links. I’ve released it.

  7. Alan Miller

    Here are the biggest problems in Davis and the world regarding this issue, preceded by the biggest problem in today’s comment section:

    • Anti-theists who believe all religion is evil.
    • Muslims who think all Jews are evil.
    • Jews who think all Muslims are evil.

    If we were free of all of the above Davis — and the world — would be a much better place.

    1. Dan

      “Here are the biggest problems in Davis and the world regarding this issue, preceded by the biggest problem in today’s comment section:
      • Anti-theists who believe all religion is evil.
      • Muslims who think all Jews are evil.
      • Jews who think all Muslims are evil.”
      This is not right. The ‘biggest problem’ is that Davis has an advocate for hate acting as a religious leader. The local Jewish community supported the Muslim community across the board when the Mosque was defaced. The incontrovertible fact is that the Imam advocated violence and death to the Jews and then he lied about his comments.
      These are the facts. This community should not tolerate, and would not tolerate these words if they were spoken about any other ethnic or minority group.

  8. Anoosh Jarbig

    Many of Rubin’s assertions are totally unsupported, and the two sites she refers to (moneyjihad and discoverthenetworks dot org) are full of unsubstantiated right-wing…junk. What she claims about the MSA is utterly ridiculous if you’ve ever talked to anyone in the MSA. This just comes off as a bizarre, paranoid rant.

    I know that many community members are still deeply upset about the imam’s words. I beg you to trust the faith and community leaders who are working consistently with the imam in the wake of his apology. What you see—the apology, the walk—is only the tip of the iceberg of the work they are doing.

    There’s a productive conversation to be had about what is happening, if the community needs more information, and people’s feelings of safety and community support. This op-ed, however, only serves to inflame with misinformation.

  9. Susan George

    Gail Rubin is a brave woman and I wish more and more people would stand up to the hatred espoused by Imam Shahin and others like him.

    I’m very puzzled. What exactly do the leaders of the Davis “interfaith” community and their supporters take issue with when it comes to these charges from Rubin’s article? These are facts. These are uncomfortable facts. However, instead of facing these uncomfortable facts, the tepid, fearful, and confusing interfaith community would rather stand with those inciting violence and hate instead of advocating for real reform.

    In January of 2017, [Imam Shahin] brought Imam al-Nabulsi to speak at the Davis mosque, wherein al-Nabulsi called “Jews the worst enemies of God” and further stated that homosexuals should be subject to the death penalty.
    Earlier this year, Shahin taught a course based on the ideology of Imam Abd Al-Wahab, the founder of Wahhabism, supporter of suicide and martyrdom operations against the “non-believer”. He taught this class on campus at UCD to the Muslim Students Association.     (a tax-supported public university).
    The Davis mosque is owned and operated by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). NAIT was used to funnel money to Hamas per the Holy Land federal prosecution. The Omar Masjid mosque in Paterson, N.J. attended by Sayfullo Saipov, the New York Jihadist that recently killed 8 with a truck, is owned and operated by NAIT. The Riverside, Ca mosque that was attended by the husband of the suicide-Jihadi couple that killed 14 in San Bernardino was also owned by NAIT. In fact, some 27% of US mosques are owned and operated by NAIT, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate. ( http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=7423).

    Then Rubin goes on to provide solutions that the Davis interfaith community could readily adopt to help support real reform while breaking off from those that promote violence and homophobia:

    If you truly believe in religious pluralism, human rights, minority rights, dignity for all human beings, then walk with the Muslim Reform Movement. Learn about Tawfik Hamid, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Raheel Raza, Shireen Qudosi, etc.  https://muslimreformmovement.org/
    To learn about Muslim Reformer Shireen Qudosi’s work, click here: https://www.change.org/p/islamic-center-of-davis-mosque-board-islamic-center-of-davis-fire-your-antisemitic-imam

    The error of the interfaith community is that they rushed to promote a “we’ve got this” and “everything is going great” narrative and in doing so are giving cover to some very horrible ideologies.

    And yet, so few people are speaking out against the hate that Gail Rubin has made so abundantly clear. This is shameful. However, it’s still not too late to change course.

    Thank you, Gail Rubin, for your courage. I only wish more people would listen.

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