Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Coexist with homicidal maniacs?

California Synagogue Leases Space to Mosque to ‘Ease Tensions’

Guess how the mosque showed its gratitude.

[Order a copy of Robert Spencer’s newest book, Empire of Godby clicking here.]

Hamakom synagogue, a conservative congregation in Los Angeles, has just gotten a bracing introduction to the reality beneath the surface of efforts at “outreach” and “dialogue”: it leased its facility to a local Muslim group, only to have it host a viciously anti-Israel speaker who has refused to condemn Hamas and likened the Jewish state to National Socialist Germany. Yeah, tensions are really eased now.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday that Hamakom “axed its leadership and is struggling to retain members” after leasing its main facility to the Islamic Society of West Valley. The synagogue “entered into an agreement with the Islamic Society that allowed it to take over the synagogue’s main campus, pushing Jewish members onto a smaller satellite branch.

The synagogue leadership did this in the hopes it would build bridges with Muslims in Los Angeles: “In this time of rising anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” synagogue leaders told the congregation, “it is incumbent upon us to reach out to strengthen the bonds between religious communities in our neighborhood, recognizing there is more that unites us than divides us.” Almost immediately, however, their starry-eyed hopes of bridging the gap of centuries of hatred and suspicion, and showing the Muslims of Los Angeles that Jews weren’t really “the most vehement of mankind in hostility to those who believe,” as the Qur’an says (5:82), were dashed.

Yet Hamakon gave its all to this effort. The synagogue leadership allowed the Muslims to use the building every night, while the Jews themselves “would only be allowed to worship in two rooms from 8 p.m. to midnight. Evening programs and Friday night Sabbath services were also relocated to a smaller site also owned by the synagogue.” Even worse, “in anticipation of the lease’s commencement, the synagogue’s leadership covered up pictures of Israeli hostages (pictured above) captured by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.”

Yes, you read that right. It wasn’t the mosque that covered up the pictures of Israeli hostages. It was the synagogue leadership, showing that they were so avid to build bridges with the Muslim group that they were willing to abandon their own principles and basic standards of human decency to do so.

The Islamic Society of West Valley, in contrast, was not so eager to abandon its own beliefs in order to make friends with the Jews. “Soon after the Islamic Society began using Hamakom’s facility, it hosted anti-Israel activist Hussam Ayloush, who said last year that Israel did not have a right to defend itself following the Oct. 7 attack and compared Israel to Nazi Germany.” Even worse, years ago I myself was on a radio show with Ayloush, the top dog of the Los Angeles chapter of the the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). I repeatedly challenged him to condemn Hamas and Hizballah. He steadfastly refused.

The Ayloush appearance led to outrage among members of the synagogue, with the anger growing so great that Hamakom ultimately severed its arrangement with the Islamic Society. The leaders of the synagogue have resigned, and Hamakom is promising a “thorough internal review to understand the missteps taken and to implement corrective measures.”

That’s great, but it’s unlikely that this internal review is going to be deep or honest enough to uncover the real problem. Jews in Los Angeles (and elsewhere, of course) have been reaching out to Muslims for years, without any reciprocal action from the Muslims. As far back as 2012, the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles canceled a speech by human rights activist Pamela Geller; Geller remarked that the Federation had “cravenly submitted to Islamic supremacists who wanted to suppress free speech.”

Indeed. In its story on the cancellation, the Los Angeles Times quoted none other than Hussam Ayloush, who said all the things that he knew the leftist Times and its equally leftist audience would want to hear. Geller, he claimed, was a “fringe speaker.” He added: “We will not be affected by the noise of people who hopefully become more and more irrelevant. Unfortunately, outrageous rhetoric gets attention because it’s outrageous, and Pamela Geller knows that very well.”

The “outrageous rhetoric” to which Ayloush referred had to do with Geller sounding the alarm about the necessity of awakening to the reality of Islamic jihad. Meanwhile, here is some genuinely outrageous rhetoric: “For 75 years, every single day for the Palestinian people had been October 7.” Let’s see. In 1950, the population of Gaza was 63,444. Now it is estimated to be over 800,000. Have the Israelis really been going into Gaza and carrying out orgies of murder and rape every day for 75 years? Hamas jihadis murdered 1,200 people on Oct. 7, 2023. If Israel did the same thing every day in Gaza, 32,850,000 people would have been killed.

Who made this preposterous and incendiary claim? Hussam Ayloush. Ayloush was speaking at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, and clearly was trying to stir up his hearers to hate Israel and be willing to support the jihad against it. Ayloush isn’t interested in building bridges; he is interested in blowing them up (figuratively!).

Or if he is interested in outreach, it is in order to bring people to Islam. “Building bridges” is also a frequently enunciated goal of CAIR. Such bridges, however, are really just proselytizing mechanisms to convert the Christians to Islam, not an attempt to engage in genuine dialogue — as the Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb explained: “The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [the society of unbelievers] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.”

So on the one side, we have a coarse and brutish propagandist spreading blood libels against the Jews. On the other side, we have leftist Jews so anxious to be friendly to Muslims that they give over their premises to a mosque that brings in this same hateful propagandist to speak. What’s wrong with this picture? If leftist Jews in Los Angeles had listened to what Pamela Geller was trying to tell them in 2012, they wouldn’t be in this fix.

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