Sunday, September 2, 2007

ISGC official Norma Tarazi comments on the “Jewish Lobby” in Columbus

A concerned member of the Central Ohio Muslim community forwarded me the email below from an official of the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus (ISGC), Norma Tarazi, commenting on the “Jewish lobby” in Columbus in demonstraton of the virulent anti-Jewish propaganda being advanced by ISGC leaders. The individual who sent this was clearly disturbed by the anti-Jewish sentiments expressed in the email reprinted below. This goes to show that there are sane voices in the Columbus Muslim community — they just aren’t the voices that are being heard.

What we see here below is that Norma Tarazi, the editor of the ISGC’s newsletter and a teacher at the ISGC’s Sunrise Academy Islamic school in Hilliard, is sure that there is some hidden meaning in that “Jewish community activists” haven’t responded to Ahmad Al-Akhras’ recent Dispatch letter to the editor, i.e., “They are up to something because they aren’t doing anything.”

Note in Tarazi’s email she isn’t criticizing Israel; she doesn’t say “Israel lobby”, but her suspicion is cast on the “Jewish community activists” and the "Jewish lobby” in Columbus. And this from someone who represents herself to be a “bridge builder” in the community. Is this the kind of open racial and religious hatred that is being taught at Sunrise Academy and in ISGC facilities?

Absolutely outrageous.

Asalaam alaikum,

Some things should be noticed for their absence. Until now, no one has responded to Ahmad’s article of last Monday. His article is strong, with solid facts and balanced, not making any sweeping generalizations against a whole group.

A few years ago the local Jewish community activists would respond immediately and forcefully, calling any criticism of any Jew “antisemetic”, as leaders in the national community have criticised former President Jimmy Carter.

The criticism last week from Larry Pollack about another article was noteworthy because he is an older contributer, repeating the same old argument he has written for years. I thought he had been sidelined in recent years as a writer because he was seen as ineffective.

I’m uncertain what this portends for the Jewish lobby in Columbus, but it is worth noting.

Norma Tarazi
You have to wonder what new “Jewish lobby” conspiracy Tarazi will spy in the Columbus after the Dispatch published this morning a letter from Barbara Soloway responding to Al-Akhras, “Israel within rights to protect itself”:

I respond to the Aug. 20 letter “Authorities should not advocate violence,” from Ahmad Al-Akhras. He seems to have a double standard: It’s OK for Hamas to throw rockets into Israel at civilian targets, but not OK for Israel to retaliate against that terrorist group, whose aim is to destroy the Jewish state. . .
In light of the Susan Purtee incident publicized last week, it is important to recognize and address the anti-Jewish sub-currents in our community, which means that the religious and ethnic hatred expressed by Norma Tarazi ought to also be condemned as vigorously as Purtee’s. And as Soloway expresses in her letter, the moral equivalency engaged in by her buddy and Mayor Coleman advisor, Ahmad Al-Akhras, in equating terrorism by HAMAS with the legitimate military response by Israel to terror attacks ought to be equally condemned as well.

My thanks to the members of the Muslim community who reject the extremism of local organizations like the ISGC and who are tired of having such notorious hatemongers and apologists for terror as Ahmad Al-Akhras and Norma Tarazi falsely claiming to represent all Muslims in Central Ohio. We welcome your continued input and cooperation in exposing the fringe elements that have tried to poison the discourse and derail interfaith relations in our community.