Muhammed Malik really knows how to spoil the fun of an anti-terrorism rally. The executive director of South Florida's Council on American-Islamic Relations is actually glad that Joe Kaufman's Americans Against Hate will be demonstrating outside the Broward County Convention Center tomorrow during CAIR's fundraiser.
"I don't know whether to thank them or dislike them," says Malik, chuckling. "I find it slightly amusing, because (Kaufman's) presence will probably move the crowd, motivate people to care more for CAIR and rally around it."
What will Kaufman have to say to that?
"Well, that's certainly not our goal," said Kaufman, after I told him of CAIR's enthusiastic welcome. "But if we remain silent, this will keep on happening."
This meaning allowing an Islamic group to have a fundraiser in a county facility. He's also furious that CAIR is allowed to use county libraries. Broward officials, says Kaufman, are the target audience for his protest. CAIR, says Kaufman, was created by a higher up from Hamas and remains sympathetic to that terrorist organization's cause, no matter CAIR's public comments to the contrary.
Malik, for instance, condemned attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians in 2009. "When you don't make the distinction between civilian targets and military targets," he says, "you're engaging in terrorism."
A law school student who's also an activist with Amnesty International, Malik says that CAIR is purely a civil rights organization. Later this year, he'll be helping to organize a forum in which members of both the Muslim and Jewish communities identify a common cause against Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism.
Here's video of Malik (bearded, wearing black) interceding in what looked like a potentially ugly clash between two Muslim protesters and a Jewish counter-protester in downtown Miami in 2008:
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Among the speakers at Kaufman's demonstration will be controversial radio host Joyce Kaufman (no relation) and Bernard Sansaricq, a former president of Haiti's Senate. Kaufman will be reading a letter prepared for the event by congressional candidate Col. Allen West, who has spoken at the group's events in the past.
West's inclusion puts the group in a rather awkward position. On one hand, it's called the Americans Against Hate. On the other hand, it gives a warm reception to a speaker like West, who recently compared Islam to Nazism.
"Those are his words," said Kaufman. "We don't do that; and I don't agree with that."