A Snapshot of Islam In Action: Davis, California

UPDATE 11 am Israel time Saturday:

Rocket fire from Palestinian terrorist Gaza has continued apace with the Chof Ashkelon region being hit last night and the southern Israeli community of Ofakim being pounded last night and early this morning.


The Islamic Center in Davis, one block down the road from the UCD International House (I-House).

The last few days have brought the information that your humble servant’s connection to Christopher Stephens, the murdered U.S. Ambassador to Libya, was closer than I knew. As it turns out, Stephens spent most of his childhood growing up in my California hometown of Davis. Though he left with his parents about two years after I arrived, he attended the same junior high school as three of my children.

He had the good fortune to leave Davis before Islam arrived in full force.

An event happened in Davis two nights ago (on Thursday) that epitomizes the way that Islam has crept into Davis and other towns and cities throughout the United States. It is the story of how apparently well-meaning but terribly naive people have embraced the local Muslim community and in the process have evolved into vitriolic activists against Israel.

Here was the seemingly innocuous announcement of the Thursday night event in our local paper, the Davis Enterprise:

A panel discussion on Middle East politics and the Abrahamic religions will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, at International House, Davis, 10 College Park. The event is free and open to the public. The three panelists are Zeev Maoz, speaking on the Jewish religion; Nasser Elias Al-Khoury, speaking on the Christian religion; and Hatem Bazian, speaking on the Muslim religion. “These are three outstanding speakers and their discussion will be very interesting to people of the Abrahamic religions, and to those who are interested in peace in the Middle East and world peace in general,” said Hamza El-Nakhal, vice president of I-House . . . 

To understand what has happened in the local Davis community–and to understand what you must be vigilant for in your own community–you must understand Davis’ leading Muslim citizen, Hamza El-Nakhal, a person who likes to describe himself to the Davis community as a “moderate” Muslim. From the time he arrived in Davis back in the 1980s, El-Nakhal set out to intertwine himself in every aspect of its existence.

Specifically, his approach has been two-pronged: on the one hand, he has developed his “Muslim” persona, and pushed the idea that Islam “is the religion of peace”; on the other hand, he has been intimately involved in virtually every anti-Israel event that has come to the university and city.

Just a minute sampling of his activities over the last ten years shows that in 2003 he was serving on the Davis Human Relations Commission (by whom he was coincidentally awarded its “Community Education and Awareness” Award four years later).

In the same year, El-Nakhal became one of the founding members of the local chapter of Celebration of Abraham, a supposedly “religious” organization that ostensibly “promotes peace” among Muslims, Christians, and Jews–yet in actuality ingratiates Islam into community religious life.  At its annual meeting, participants “break” loaves of bread together and wash each other’s hands as “symbols of respect and connection.”

In 2005, as a leading member of CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations that was named by Federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas funding case), El-Nakhal was busy defending the Imam of a nearby Lodi California mosque from FBI charges that he was linked to Al-Qaeda (the Imam’s son had trained in Pakistani Al-Qaeda camps). By 2007 he was serving as the Sacramento Valley president of CAIR.

In 2009, he was instrumental in bringing the virulently anti-Israel Neturei Karta to the UC-Davis campus and being the community leader supporting the so-called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Muslim Students Association (MSA) in their unsuccessful fight to have the Davis City Council condemn Israeli self-defensive actions in Gaza.

Along the way, El-Nakhal became “the voice and conscience” of the local Muslim community, and by 2010 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the International House (I-House)–and, as you can see from the announcement, has now risen to be its Vice President. It was in this position that Hamza organized and brought the Thursday program.

Picture the absurdity of that program. Representing the Jewish point of view, we had a Jewish university professor who is almost avowedly anti-religious (in discussing the problems of the Middle East, he said that during the program that “Maybe the answer is atheism.”) Representing the Christian point of view, we supposedly had an Arab member of the orthodox Lebanese Christian church who nevertheless spends most of his time lecturing on the positive virtues of Islam. And representing the Muslim point of view, we had one of the leading and most virulent members of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement against Israel.

And what did these “representatives of the Abrahamic religions” spend most of their time doing under the watchful eye of Hamza El-Nakhal? Trashing Israel–to the delight of the same “peace coalition” crowd that usually attends the Celebration of Abraham events, organizes anti-Israel programs around town, and attempts to have Israeli goods and services boycotted.  

So what is my message to you dear reader?

1. Be on constant alert against self-proclaimed “peace coalitions” as well as self-proclaimed  “human rights and human relations” organizations such as CAIR.

2. Be especially vigilant of such fraudulent religious groups as the “Celebration of Abraham”.  When they come to your town, confront them and expose them for what they are.

3. Get out there and volunteer for community activities. Make your voice heard. Don’t let the forces of Islam set the agenda for your community.

One final note:  Hamza El-Nakhal was quick, as always, to pounce on the Muslim murder of Christopher Stevens.  Here is part of his letter that appeared in yesterday’s Enterprise:

“The cowardly attack on Stevens and others does not represent the Libyan people or Islam. The ambassador, other victims and our country do not deserve this unjust killing, nor do the Muslims everywhere who get smeared by such killing.”

The fact is that the cowardly attack on Stevens represents the Libyan people and Islam exactly. If and until Muslim leaders throughout the world condemn such murders and Muslims embrace peace, Muslims everywhere will justifiably be blamed.

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