This article was published in the May 23, 2019 edition of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper covering Armenian news since 1958.
One of the most moving aspects of last month’s March for Justice at the Turkish consulate in downtown Los Angeles on April 24 was seeing all the families in attendance, and especially Armenian children of all ages, delivering the message that history will not be forgotten and that Turkey’s continued genocide denial – amplified by its Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan – cannot be tolerated by decent people.
Just two days after the march, on April 26, a video uncovered by the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch (IW) showed children at the Orange Crescent School in Garden Grove California waving Turkish flags and singing Erdogan’s 2018 campaign song, “Hasat Vakti,” which translates as “Harvest Time” a song “widely used in Turkish government propaganda.”
Orange Crescent School was launched in 1983 by the Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOC) and its religious director, Muzammil Siddiqi is one of the most influential figures in American Islamism. Siddiqi recently gave a talk during a panel on race and Islam in America at the Muslim American Society’s (MAS) West Coast convention; an event which prominently featured Pro-Turkish and anti-Armenian propaganda being distributed, as I previously reported in the California Courier. MAS’s affinity for Erdogan and Turkey likely stem from its ties to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which Erdogan publicly supports. Federal prosecutors have described MAS as the “overt arm”of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).
Siddiqi’s connections go deeper. He served as a leader of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), an organization the Chicago Tribune noted in a September 2004 expose article was founded by the MB in 1963 with a goal “so controversial that it is a key reason they have operated in secrecy: to create Muslim states overseas and, they hope, someday in America as well.” Siddiqi seems to have held those views as well. In May of 2001 in response to an online question about implementing Islamic laws (such as executions for apostates and the GLBTQ community), Siddiqi wrote, “Once more people accept Islam, insha’allah, this will lead to the implementation of Sharia in all areas.” The New York police department described MSA chapters as “extremist incubators.”
From 1997 to 2000 Siddiqi was president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror finance trial, and ISNA was named in Muslim Brotherhood documents submitted as evidence.
Siddiqi currently serves on the board of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an organization created by the MSA about which a federal judged said there was “ample evidence” to associate with the terrorist group Hamas.
This tale of two children, one group supporting a call for the truth, the other being indoctrinated with propaganda by domestic Islamists highlights the continued spread of Turkish Islamist influence among the American Muslim community and the challenge we all face in attempting to preserve and disseminate the truth.