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NY Times report on Muslim convention mentions recently thwarted LA terrorist attacks in passing

September 3, 2005

MIM: In keeping with their reputation for bias and inaccuracy the NY Times trumps even itself with their glowing 19 paragraph report on the Islamic Circle of North America's convention, with the last paragraph mentioning the fact in passing that Muslims in Los Angeles had planned major terrorist attacks on synagouges and military installations and israeli officials.

From State Dept., Advice for Muslim Convention


ROSEMONT, Ill., Sept. 2 - American Muslims met with Under Secretary of State Karen P. Hughes on Friday at an Islamic convention here to offer advice and assistance as she began an initiative to improve the flagging image of the United States among Muslims overseas.

Ms. Hughes began overseeing "public diplomacy" for the Bush administration last month. She said she and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would hold a public forum and announce a new "public diplomacy" strategy next week. She gave few details, but said the initiative would involve exchange programs, debates and interfaith dialogues.

"We have a common interest in confronting terror and violence and hate and crime that is committed in the name of any religion, and we want to isolate and marginalize those who would seek to kill innocents," Ms. Hughes said at a news conference. "And frankly, who better to do that than many of our American Muslims themselves who have friends and family and groups in countries across our world?"

Polls have shown that the image of the United States among Muslims abroad has plummeted since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the start of the Iraq conflict.

Ms. Hughes met separately with leaders of Muslim organizations, young people and a delegation from England that was among an estimated 40,000 here for the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America. The society is an umbrella group of mosques and Islamic centers in the United States and Canada.

"It's all talk right now and unclear what the concrete steps are," Rubina Khan, treasurer of the Muslim Students Association, said. "But if we can form a relationship with anybody in the administration who has that power, then obviously we should try."

Some Muslim leaders who met Ms. Hughes said they were gratified to be consulted and impressed with her willingness to listen. A few said she seemed unaware of how fearful many American Muslims had become of government surveillance and intrusions on their civil liberties.

Ms. Hughes said at the news conference that when some Muslim students told her that they were afraid to speak on cellphones to family members overseas, "that broke my heart."

Several Muslims said Ms. Hughes should denounce hate speech against Islam from non-Muslim Americans in the American news media because those comments are amplified overseas as representative of America.

"I think that would probably be the most effective thing she could be doing, is confronting the bias, prejudice and racist views of Islam that are perpetrated in the U.S.," said Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, an organizational consultant from Oakland, Calif.

American Muslim leaders are also trying to repair the flagging image of Islam. There is a growing sense of urgency among Muslim leaders since the bombings in London in July that they have to do more to counter Muslim extremists who are citing Islam to justify violence and terrorism.

A committee of Islamic Society scholars released a pamphlet on Friday arguing that Islam does not condone terrorism, violence against people of other faiths and religious extremism. It cites passages from the Koran and is intended for Muslims and non-Muslims. The pamphlet says that suicide attacks are always forbidden, and that "jihad is not to be equated with terrorism."

"This initiative is not being undertaken because of political correctness," said Kareem Irfan, a board member of the Islamic Society who helped write the statement. "This was done because of a passionate belief that the true message of Islam needs to be conveyed. It needs to be wrenched away from those whose acts have tainted Islam unfairly, unnecessarily."

Imam Warith-Deen Umar, an African-American from New York, said at the news conference he would not endorse the pamphlet.

"A lot of this is phony," Imam Warith-Deen said in an interview afterward. "Their intentions are good, but most of these are immigrant Muslims who want to be accepted in America."

The imam was banned a few years ago from working as a New York State prison chaplain after he reportedly expressed admiration for the Sept. 11 hijackers and espoused a radical brand of Islam, but he said he was misquoted.

Declarations against extremism and terrorism have been issued by Muslim scholars in Australia, Canada and England. King Abdullah II of Jordan held a meeting of Muslim scholars in July that produced an anti-extremism statement.

The king sent a message to the convention here that said, "No matter what insults or offenses Muslims may have suffered, nothing justifies taking innocent lives, no matter what religion or nationality they may be."

In Santa Ana, Calif., on Wednesday, four men in their 20's were indicted in what federal authorities described as a terrorist plot hatched in prison to attack American military installations, synagogues and Israeli officials. Three suspects are American-born converts to Islam. The fourth is a permanent resident from Pakistan. Prosecutors said they seemed to be operating independently of Al Qaeda or any organized terrorist group.

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