As the pro-genocidal President of Iran made his rounds in the city that witnessed the worst Islamist terrorist attack in our nation's history, the Wiesenthal Center issued a press release describing a meeting between the Center and Muzammil Siddiqi, controversial imam of the Islamic Center of Orange County and former President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The release calls Siddiqi a "Leading American Muslim Leader" and trumpeted his plans to "Challenge Ahmadenijad's Denial of the Nazi Holocaust."
According to the press release:
"I expressed our gratitude to Dr. Siddiqi for challenging Ahmadinejad's campaign of Holocaust Denial," said (Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean) Rabbi Cooper, adding, "It is important for religious leaders to speak out against extremism especially during these days which coincide with the Ramadan and the Jewish High Holy Days."
It is true that speaking out against religious extremism is important, and standing up to genocidal thugs like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is equally commendable. Having said that, when it comes to religious extremism, few "mainstream" American Muslim leaders are Siddiqi's match. He has expressed more than his fair share of noxious stances over the years and, in many ways, has many more similarities than differences with the likes of Ahmadinejad.
Like Ahmadinejad, Siddiqi has favored rule by Islamic law, quoted in the Oct. 18, 1986 issue of the newspaper, Pakistan Link, article calling for the implementation of "Allah's rules" in the United States:
"I believe that as Muslims we should participate in the [American] system to safeguard our interests and try to bring gradual change…We must not forget that Allah's rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction."
Rather famously, Ahmadinejad has expressed his dislike of homosexuals, going insofar to claim that his country is completely free of them, as reported by Reuters:
"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at Columbia University on Monday in response to a question about the recent execution of two gay men there. "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon," he continued. "I do not know who has told you we have it."
Homosexuality is illegal in Iran, and punishable by death.
Siddiqi's views are pretty similar. A 2001 article in The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Siddiqi told the paper that:
"he did not condone violence against gays, but supported laws in countries where homosexuality is punishable by death. As in the Bible, Siddiqi said, the Koran includes the story of Lot, in which men who have sex with men are punished."
But Siddiqi's vehemence doesn't stop there, referring to homosexuality as "evil." In a 2003 online ISNA question-and-answer session, Siddiqi was asked, "What is the adab [prescribed etiquette] for dealing with homosexuals? Is the sin that grave, that we should disassociate ourselves from them?" In answer Siddiqi writes:
"Homosexual behavior is sinful and shameful. In Islamic terminology it is called "al-fahsha'" (an atrocious and obscene act). Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation… When people hear a wrong and sinful act mentioned repeatedly, they get used to it and then slowly it looses (sic) its disgusting effect on their minds and souls. But now a days this evil is every where… We should warn our youth and children about the evil of this lifestyle. We should make it very clear that it is Haram and absolutely forbidden. It kindles the wrath and anger of Allah… In the Islamic literature, however, it is always referred to with its negative connotations. In modern Arabic literature it is called "Shudhudh" which means "abnormality." In our Fiqh literature it is referred to as the "Behavior of the People of Lut" ('amal qawmi Lut). This immediately reminds a person that this is something bad and it may bring the punishment of Allah."
But where Siddiqi and Ahmadinejad come closest is in their hatred of Israel. While Ahmadinejad repeatedly has called for Israel's destruction, and heads a government which financially supports the terrorist group Hizballah and actively seeks suicide bomber recruits to target Israel, Siddiqi has apologized for Palestinian suicide bombers himself. At an October 2000 Jerusalem Day rally marking the start of the second Intifada, Siddiqi told the pro-Hamas crowd:
"Our media is blaming the victims, not the oppressors. The Palestinian demonstrators are not violent people. The violent people are those who are oppressing them day and night and for many years."
And, now rather infamously:
America has to learn that because if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come.
And Siddiqi has made numerous pro-jihad statements in the past. In a video recording made roughly 15 years ago, Siddiqi exhorted the successes of violent jihad, proclaiming:
"When people really carry on Jihad, they carry on the Islam in its peak in its totality. And that's why in the hadith the Prophet (SAS) said (Arabic), ‘No people have ever neglected Jihad except they became humiliated.' And people leave, renounce Jihad, they became humiliated. That means in order to gain the honor, Jihad is the path, Jihad is the way to receive the honor." Siddiqi continued, "I can see that there is already some impact after Jihad in Afghanistan in the Intifada movement in Palestine. With this, more courage, more strength, more confidence and shall I even say that in a few years we will be celebrating with each other the victory of Islam in Palestine. Insh'allah, we shall be celebrating the coming of the Masjid al-Aqsa under the Islamic rule. We shall be celebrating insh'allah the coming of Jerusalem and the whole land of Palestine insh'allah and the establishment of the Islamic State throughout that area."
Further, Siddiqi even hosted the notorious Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman – now serving a life sentence for his role in a plot to target New York City tunnels and landmarks – at his mosque, invited to give a speech on violent jihad. Siddiqi translated for Rahman and sold videotapes of the speech at his mosque.
So while it is nice that Siddiqi admits the Holocaust is an historical fact, on too many other matters, he and Ahmadinejad are peas in a pod. The Wiesenthal Center, which does wonderful work, has been duped.