… the waving of Hizballah flags. The rally resembled other international versions of this year's Al-Quds Day celebration, an annual Islamist holiday initiated by Iranian revolutionary and terrorism exporter, Imam Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini. However, this event wasn't held in downtown Karachi or Damascus, but in downtown Washington, D.C's Sheridan Circle.
The rally was organized by an employee of the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, Faheem Darab. It even featured speakers as diverse as leaders from leftist organizations, a radical Reverend and homegrown American Islamists. The event was an expression of homegrown radicalism that sprouted from the seeds of a faraway revolution in Iran and was watered by local Jihadist sentiment.
Participants were greeted at the event by the prominent yellow flags of Hizballah – a group designated by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. In addition to this obvious display of support for a terrorist organization, the moderator of the event praised Imam Ayatollah Al-Khomeini, the initiator of Al-Quds Day and leader of the 1979 Iranian revolution. He even exhorted participants to carry posters with radical statements, including one with a quote from Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah:
"Israel is our enemy. This is an aggressive, illegal, illegitimate entity that has no future in our land. Its destiny is manifested in our motto – Death to Israel ~ Nasrallah."
Aside from the visual militancy on display at the rally, the speakers enflamed their followers with vocal calls for the destruction of Israel as well as support and justification for terrorism.
Afeef Khan, a leading associate of terrorism supporter Imam Mohammad al-Asi, was outspoken about his support for eliminating Israel and the worldwide problems it causes:
"And this is what I mean. That if we want a positive, a secure and a just future for the Palestinians and in fact for all the people of the Middle East and for all the people of North Africa, we cannot get away from the fact that the solution begins with the complete destruction, the annihilation, and the utter dismemberment of the State of Israel."
He also concluded that this would solve multiple global issues in a single move:
"Were it not for the state, there would be no lobbies all around the world sending money and arms to the State of Israel. Were it not for the state, all of these resources which are marshaled around the world to contribute to the injustice which comes out of that little country, that would not be possible. And so if you dismember the state, you dismember the world wide drug trade, the world wide trafficking of women, the world wide insecurity, the world wide financial crisis."
Finally, in a racist rant, Khan attacked President Obama for not having the courage to destroy Israel:
"And that the head politician on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – who of us has the courage to say to this politician that are you a regular house negro or are you the quintessential house negro? Who of us has the courage when we couch our presentation in suggesting that the problem can be solved by the dismemberment of the State of Israel and the support that state receives from the United States?" [emphasis added]
However, well-known terror supporters like Khan were not the only supporters of extremism to speak. A representative of the Viva Palestina movement, rapper 'Ibrahim,' graced the audience with a spoken word performance: "My mind is in the zone of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, it's so powerful, we [are] so awesome."
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam is the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization, which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis and Americans, and is banned under American law. He also called for another violent uprising in Israel and even the 'martyrdom' of Palestinian children.
"And I promise there will be another intifada. You think our children are scared to be martyrs?"
'Ibrahim' was followed by Reverend Graylan Hagler, the Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C., and National President of Ministers for Racial, Social, and Economic Justice (MRSEJ). Reverend Hagler is no stranger to preaching for the destruction of Israel at anti-Israel rallies, as this March 30, 2002 quote illustrates:
"I am so glad that the silence is over, and just like the days in the anti-apartheid movement, we're going to stand up together until we dismantle the State of Israel!"
At this year's Al-Quds Day rally, Reverend Hagler discussed other forms of resistance:
"You don't need to be in Palestine to resist the structures of evil because the structures of evil have tentacles all over the world… And we've got to continue to resist settlements being placed on Palestinian territory. It's all against international law. It's against moral law and it's against the law of God.
We need to continue to stand up and be the resistors."
Also appearing was conspiracy theorist Mauri Saalakhan, who discussed 'the Jewish lobby' and the need to continue Al-Quds Day in the memory of Iranian revolutionary Imam al-Khomenei. Saalakhan is the author of The Palestinians' Holocaust: American Perspectives, which discusses the 'Zionist' hand in Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and around the world. However, in his speech this Al-Quds Day, Saalakhan was more open about his anti-Semitic sentiments:
"South African Emeritus, Arch Bishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu gave a stirring address, in which he declared, 'People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful.'
Well, so what. For goodness sake, this is Gods world. We live in a moral universe. Those that are powerful have to remember the litmus test that God gives to the powerful." [emphasis added]
Saalakhan also praised Imam Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution, which has become the leading exporter of terrorism around the world today:
"I wanna thank the organizers for organizing this day, for remembering our Imam Khomeini, for blessing his memory, for honoring his spirit, by continuing this very important tradition."
Furthermore, Saalakhan praised attorney Bill Moffitt for his "brilliant" defense of convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative Sami Al-Arian and Hamas agents Muhammad Salah and Abdel Haleem al-Ashqar.
With such an abundance of hate-filled speeches and chants, including, "Zionists, Hizballah is coming for you," "Israelis committing genocide, U.S. helping on the side" and "Cancer of the Middle East, Israel must not exist," one would expect the event to have been organized by someone other than a member of the Fairfax County Department of Zoning and Planning, Faheem Darab.
Like so many Al-Quds Day rallies around the world, this event disintegrated into support for violence and terrorism. Yet unlike others, the terrorism and hate in this instance were sponsored not by a radical mullah or mosque leader, but a local public official.
The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Your support of The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization. IPT News – September 23, 2009
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