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Tycoon Farooq Kathwari -Son died in jihad in 1992 - prevaricates that 9/11 to blame for potential Muslim radicalism in U.S.

June 28, 2007

MIM: It is significant that the article below does not mention that the Ethan Allen furniture tycoon's American born son Irfan left the U.S. and his Harvard education to fight jihad in Afghanistan where he lies "buried under the rubble". Yet Kathwari who has spoken at conferences of radical Islamist organisations such as The Islamic Society of North America[ ISNA], and is a multi millionaire immigrant from Kashmir, with a rags to riches story -outrageously propagates the canard of a report that Muslims "dont have full opportunities" and claims that they are "outside the mainstream". He warns that young Muslims are "hot blooded" and that "radical response is always possible" blaming the United States by disingenuously claiming that "assimiliation was disrupted by 9/11". How does he explain that his son left the comforts of his millionaire father's home to die fighting jihad in 1992?

Kathwari has a brother who is a journalist in the United States and whose affluence and societal sucess also debunks the myth that Muslims have been hindered in assimiliation after 9/11. On the contrary, the surge in converts to Islam and proliferation of Islamist political presence proves that Muslims are being awarded unprecedented opportunities in the United States since 9/11 to the point where dhimmitude has become public policy. The election of Keith Ellison to Congress (who has ties to NOI, CAIR, and the Al Qaeda linked MAS and ICNA) and the opening of a publicly funded madrassa in Brooklyn run by a principal who denies that Muslims and Arabs were behind the attacks on 9/11 shows that Muslims are being given special treatment aka dhimmitude by non Muslims.

The decision of Kathwari's son to leave Harvard to wage jihad shows the absurdity of the task force on assimiliation which he has been chosen to chair and the disingenuity of his claims that anything besides radical Islamist ideology is to blame for Muslim violence.

For more on Kathwari see:

"American born son of Ethan Allen furniture tycoon Farooq Kathwari, was killed fighting Jihad in Afghanistan"

Farooq Kathwari was speaker at radical Islamist ISNA conference in 2004

He boes one step further and says that "radicalism is always possible"

Farooq Kathwari, co-chair of the task force, said in an interview that a radical response is always possible, "especially among the young. They are hot blooded and they don't want to be alienated."

"Fortunately in America there is more chance to be integrated," he said, but "a pro-active engagement makes a lot of sense. We need to be extra careful that we don't create a situation that is a self-fulfilling prophecy..."

Kathwari said the historic pattern of assimilation for immigrants that sees later generations woven into the fabric of society was disrupted for Muslim Americans by Sept. 11.

U.S. Muslims face isolation, radical threat - study

By Julie Steenhuysen

By Michael Conlon, Religion Writer

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Muslim Americans must meld into U.S. society before suspicion and mistrust lingering since the attacks on New York and Washington isolates them and sparks radicalism in their ranks, a study said on Tuesday.

"There is an urgent national need for Muslims and non-Muslims to work together to create full and equal opportunities for civic and political participation of Muslim Americans," the report said.

For the first time since World War Two when the U.S. government rounded up and interred Japanese, many are questioning the loyalty "of a largely unfamiliar and largely immigrant American community," said the report written by a task force of 32 individuals from business, government and academia.

Six years after the Sept. 11 attacks focused attention on them, Muslim Americans remain "largely outside the U.S. mainstream," the report said, even though they are an often well-educated and diverse group with the potential to make important contributions to civic life.

"The Muslim American community lacks strong institutions and recognizable public or political voices to gain regular access to government and media circles," the report's executive summary said.

"Some existing Muslim American institutions have avoided foreign policy issues for fear of drawing unfavorable scrutiny," it added.

While independent studies found little evidence of widespread extremist activity with links to al Qaeda or similar organizations, efforts to counter perceptions to the contrary have not been effective, it said.


"Many Americans perceive Muslim Americans as not having fully and readily acknowledged the potential for radicalism within their community," added the report prepared after a year's study under the sponsorship of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

"The climate of suspicion and mistrust and the lack of engagement threaten to marginalize and alienate some elements among Muslim Americans to the point that the danger of radicalization becomes a real possibility," it concluded.

Farooq Kathwari, co-chair of the task force, said in an interview that a radical response is always possible, "especially among the young. They are hot blooded and they don't want to be alienated."

"Fortunately in America there is more chance to be integrated," he said, but "a pro-active engagement makes a lot of sense. We need to be extra careful that we don't create a situation that is a self-fulfilling prophecy..."

The Kashmir-born, Brooklyn-raised Kathwari is the president and chief executive officer of furniture maker Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. Others on the task force included former labor secretary Lynn Martin.

Kathwari said the historic pattern of assimilation for immigrants that sees later generations woven into the fabric of society was disrupted for Muslim Americans by Sept. 11.

"This process of integration has to be accelerated," he told Reuters, to counteract both the perception that Muslims are one monolithic force and to ease fears among Muslims, some of whom have become targets of violence.

A recent Pew Research Center poll estimated there are 2.35 million Muslims living in the United States, a tiny fraction of the U.S. population of more than 300 million. Other estimates range as high as 7 million.

That same survey, based on a sample of 1,050 Muslims and released in May, drew a contrasting picture of U.S. Muslims, saying they were largely assimilated, happy with their lives and more moderate than Muslims in other countries.

But the Pew survey did find that 26 percent of younger Muslims believed suicide bombings are often, sometimes or rarely justified.


Excerpts fro m an article in the Weekly Standard:

"...The discussants included three general categories--here listed by type rather than their place on the agenda: First were the peddlers of banalities, including the Woodrow Wilson Center's president Lee Hamilton and Lynn M. Martin, the secretary of Labor under George H.W. Bush. Then came the nay-sayers: Edward S. Walker, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, and Daniel Benjamin, a fixture at the Brookings Institution. And then the final contingent: American Muslim "leaders": Farooq Kathwari, the proprietor of Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc., and Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The pretext for the panel was a "new" study produced by a CCGA task force of some 30 prominent Muslims--and not-so-prominent non-Muslims--titled "Strengthening America: The Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans." But there was nothing new about it. According to the task force, "Muslim Americans" are successful in terms of income and personal liberties in America, but resent being objects of suspicion since September 11. Although nobody on the WWIC panel was about to address the theme, the constant use of "Muslim American" as a community heading may have something to do with such issues. Why "Muslim Americans" instead of "American Muslims"? Perhaps inadvertently, the tone of the discussion and documents presented at the WWIC event revealed the logic behind the usage: "American Muslims" are Americans who believe in Islam; but "Muslim Americans" is a label for a minority group, who should presumably be approached with sensitivity and whose complaints, real or imaginary, are matters of great consequence.

BUT THE DEEPER PROBLEM with such panels remains the people who are chosen as Muslim representatives. Farooq Kathwari described himself at the WWIC event as "coming from Brooklyn." But he is better known among Muslims as a Kashmiri whose American-born son, Irfan, was reported killed while fighting Indian soldiers.

As for Salam Al-Marayati, on the afternoon of September 11 he declared on a Los Angeles talk radio show that Israel should have been considered a suspect in the attacks, because they would have wanted to "divert attention from what's happening in the Palestinian territories, so that [Israelis] can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies." In the intervening years, Al-Marayati has said on MSNBC that Israel introduced terrorism to the Middle East and that Israel supporters "want a monopoly on discourse and don't want our voices heard, especially as it relates to the whole Middle East."

At the WWIC event Al-Marayati claimed that it is grossly unfair for American Muslims to be asked "[A]re you an Islamist or not? Are you a jihadist or not?" Such questions, he argued, deny American Muslims the right to "self-definition."

One of the other panelists, Edward Walker, the former ambassador, was even more shrill, going right to the heart of the fears he believes Muslims face in America: the Hollywood entertainment industry. He enthused over a recent Washington Post feature about Arab-American author Jack Shaheen and his book (and documentary film) Reel Bad Arabs. Shaheen's argument, endorsed by Walker, was that Hollywood films only show Arabs as belly dancers, billionaires, and bombers--and that this is what teaches the American public to hate them so.

The conference devolved further when Sayyid M. Syeed, general secretary of the fundamentalist Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), was honored while seated in the audience and the CCGA study distributed.

The booklet "Strengthening America: The Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans," featured a roster of "Muslim American Institutions" ..."

MIM: This puff piece about Kathwari and his luxurious life style provides a detailed description about how he is tending to his 82 year old mother but dismisses his son's death in one sentence noting that he "was killed in a mortar attack in Afghanistan". Ironically Kathwari is described as "a peace activist who has a soft spot for people and cats". No mention in this piece about Kathwari's speaking at ISNA conferences or that the group was named by the US government as unindicted co conspirator in Holyland Foundation Hamas terrorism funding case.

CEO Profile: Ethan Allen's Kathwari was always a leader

By Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. "Pashmina! Pashmina!"

The CEO of one of the largest U.S. furniture chains, determined to introduce a visitor to his beloved cat, is calling in vain out the doors of his stone-and-stucco mansion on the water here. He quizzes his driver and the landscaper on whether they've seen the Egyptian Mau.

Farooq Kathwari, who has run Ethan Allen Interiors (ETH) for the past 20 years, is a hands-on CEO and Muslim peace activist with a soft spot for people and cats.

Interviewed at his fashionably furnished, nearly 150-year-old home and at the company's Danbury, Conn., headquarters, Kathwari moves seamlessly between talk of strife in his native Kashmir, the new look of American furniture, and the challenges of managing change.

Kathwari, 62, has been juggling business and his own brand of diplomacy since he came to the USA in 1965. He chairs both the National Retail Federation and Refugees International, which provides humanitarian assistance to displaced people.

His awards include as many for global relations as for business.

"He's so intellectually curious and has more interests outside his work than any CEO I've even known," says Tracy Mullin, CEO of the retail federation. "He's a true internationalist."

Kathwari grew up in Kashmir, located between India and Pakistan, the son of a politician/lawyer and grandson of an antiques dealer.

When he was 4, his father traveled from their home in the Indian-controlled part of the Kashmir Valley to the portion controlled by Pakistan and was not allowed to return for 18 years. After a year, his wife and younger children joined him, while two older children stayed behind.

After his father died eight years ago, Kathwari brought his mother, now 85, to the USA to live with him. He takes a visitor to meet her in a wing of the house where she has live-in care. She mumbles a greeting, then, in her native Kashmiri, asks Kathwari when she's going back to Kashmir, a question he says she poses every morning.

"At the end of the day, these are the things that matter," Kathwari says after releasing his mother's hand.

In a bright sunroom overlooking a pool at the edge of Long Island Sound, Kathwari traces his trip from Kashmir to New York, where he and his wife, Farida, have recreated much of the beauty for which their homeland is famous. Farida co-founded Funkar International, which promotes Kashmiri classical music.

The home has photographs of family and pets, framed botanicals, overstuffed chairs of leather, plaid and floral prints, and mementoes of travels. About 90% of the $5 million home's furniture came from Ethan Allen; the rest are antiques bought at flea markets and shops in Asia and Europe.

While working at the1965 World's Fair in New York, Kathwari's father began a campaign to bring his son overseas for graduate school. They picked New York University's MBA program because classes were offered at night so he could work during the day.

Business was a likely choice for a man who had long been in charge. When he played cricket and soccer as a youth, he was invariably captain of the team. When he joined a securities firm after graduate school, he quickly rose to vice president.

"It didn't matter what I was doing, I looked to it as a team that had to be led," says Kathwari.

From supplier to CEO

He joined Ethan Allen in 1980 after supplying the company with lighting and other home accessories from his import business for years. He became president in 1985 and chairman and CEO in 1987. In 1989, Kathwari formed a group to buy Ethan Allen and took the company public in 1993.

One of Kathwari's first challenges was getting all dealers to pay the same price for Ethan Allen furniture, no matter how near or far a store was to the manufacturing plants in Vermont and North Carolina. At the time, West Coast dealers were paying up to 10% more. When some East Coast independent dealers, concerned about the loss of a price advantage, called a meeting to confront him, he says, he listened to them, then said: "I'm going to run this company, not you."

Other big changes followed, including persuading longtime dealers to sell only Ethan Allen furniture, that it was time to expand beyond colonial/Early American styles, and that the twice-yearly sales at which 70% of business was done had to go.

Between 1986 and 1989, 90% of senior management left the company. "I needed to change the culture," says Kathwari.

At company offices, Kathwari greets most employees by name. He has a spirited chat with 92-year-old customer service representative Ruth Ashby, for whom he recently threw a birthday party.

Kathwari's hard-nosed but collaborative style was apparent when former Vermont governor Howard Dean met him in the mid-1990s to discuss Ethan Allen's plans to close its oldest and biggest plant, located in Beecher Falls, Vt. The plant provided the only manufacturing work in an economically needy area, so the state offered Ethan Allen tax and electrical rate relief to stay. He was "surprised and pleased" that Kathwari wasn't like a lot of executives, who would have just "closed it and moved on."

"He was tough, fair and very decent in the negotiations," says Dean, now head of the Democratic National Committee. "He clearly has a bottom line but is easy to talk with, a person who just puts it all on the table."

Working for Kashmir

When he's not at his house here, Kathwari is often at his 200-acre apple farm in Livingston, N.Y. It was there that the Kashmir Study Group he formed in 1996 hammered out what's known as the "Livingston Proposal."

Signed in 1998 by a group of former diplomats, academics and U.S. politicians, it is a framework for discussions between Indian and Pakistani negotiators sparring about control of the region.

Kathwari says the work helped him recover after his oldest son, a college student raised in the USA, was killed in 1992 in a mortar attack in Afghanistan.

Evidence of Kathwari's leadership emerged early, says Howard Schaffer, a former ambassador to Bangladesh who was working in the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi when he met Kathwari. Huge protests broke out in the Indian-held portion of Kashmir after a sacred relic was stolen in the winter of 1963, Schaffer says, and law and order broke down. When a reporter for the Washington Star and Schaffer showed up separately, Kathwari then "known for his prowess on the cricket field more than for anything else," Schaffer says introduced them to leaders involved in the uprising against the Indian authority so they could get their side. Schaffer says Kathwari emerged as a leader in the call for reforms in Kashmir, a mantle he still wears today.

"It was hard for me to believe that such a young man could act as effectively as he did," says Schaffer. "It was obvious to me that he enjoyed widespread respect from his fellow Kashmiris, including many much older and more experienced than he."

By showing Americans what was really going on in Kashmir, Kathwari angered Indians in control of the region. At about the time the government made it clear he was no longer welcome, Kathwari's father was urging him to move to New York, which Schaffer helped him do.

Adds Schaffer: "The rest, as they say, is history."

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