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Royce Responds to Council on American-Islamic Relations
"The Council on American-Islamic Relations this week attacked my calling attention to the two individuals keynoting a fundraiser for a New York-based Muslim group held at the Yorba Linda Community Center.
"I have had many conversations with my Muslim constituents over the years, and I know they reject these two individuals:
"One speaker, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, advocates replacing our democracy with sharia law and refuses to criticize Osama Bin Laden. There is nothing peaceful about him.
"Imam Siraj Wahhaj was linked by investigators to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. A few years later, he stood as a character witness for Sheik Omar Abel-Rahman, and for three other terrorists convicted in the attack. The "Blind Sheik" is now serving a life sentence for conspiring to bomb a series of New York City landmarks in 1995.
"Wahhaj warns "If Allah says cut off their hand you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death…then you stone them to death, because it’s the obedience of Allah and his messenger – nothing personal." This worldview is incompatible with American democracy, to say the least.
"The second speaker, Amir Abdel Malik-Ali, is a vocal supporter of Hezbollah, a terrorist group once called the "A-team" of terrorists by a top U.S. government official.
"Faced with Wahhaj's ideology, we can go one of two ways. One, ignore expressions of extremism, essentially deem them acceptable, and undermine our values and government.
"Or two, we can speak out about Wahhaj and Malik-Ali's extremism. For me, looking at the growth of terrorism overseas, and in our country, silence isn't an option. Silence leads to the tragic mistake of denying that the Fort Hood shooter was a radical, advocating terrorist acts, despite his years of known adherence to such views.
"What's wrong with the Holocaust survivor we heard speak about not wanting to live under sharia law? I think he had a point when he argued for the lessons of the Enlightenment and his preference for the U.S. Constitution. He knows that bad ideas can have bad consequences.
"We spoke at the park adjacent to the community center, and I spoke to the issue of Wahhaj and Malik-Ali, the speakers at the community center. It is regrettable that some protesters at the community center yelled insults at Imam Wahhaj's supporters. I disavow those remarks and conduct. It was wrong. Nothing though should deflect from the radicalism of Wahhaj and Malik-Ali.
"As to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, my experience is that it isn't interested in bringing together Americans. If they were, they would be calling attention to Imam Wahhaj and Amir Abdel Malik Ali's radicalism, not advancing their cause."