A few weeks ago members of the southeast Berkeley community found newspapers and hate-filled flyers on their sidewalks and front porches targeting Jews, blacks, Hispanics and immigrants.

Last week, members of the Peace and Justice Commission received in their e-mail in boxes another sample of what many are calling “hate speech.” The e-mail links to a five-minute video that condemns Islam as a religion of war and its prophet Mohammad as “some rambling ancient desert nomad with a psychological disorder.”

The e-mail was not sent by a right-wing fanatical group as the newspaper drop apparently was, but by fellow Peace and Justice Commissioner Jonathan Wornick.

Wornick told the Planet he didn’t agree with everything on the tape, but sent it to fellow commissioners “in an honest attempt to bring dialogue.”

Among the tape’s assertions are general statements claiming Muslim misogyny. Specifically it says: “Muslim women in Britain who cover their faces are mentally ill. If God had intended for you to cover your face then in His wisdom He would have provided you with a flap of skin for the purpose.” . . .

And Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Planet there are many such tapes available on the web. “Some are even more hate-filled,” he said, adding, “The significance is that someone on the Peace and Justice Commission would distribute it.”

He added, however, that individuals are within their rights to circulate such material. “I value the First Amendment,” he said.

Were there a similar attack on Jews or African Americans, Hooper said he thought there would be a greater outcry. “We’ve grown to accept anti-Muslim bigotry in our society,” he said.

Education and personal contact between Muslims and non-Muslims will help to break down such stereotypes, Hooper added.

The video can be viewed at or on YouTube at

CAIR’s website with educational materials on Islam is at


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