The name of Michael Conniff’s radio show: Congames, was never more appropriate than it was today and last week as he promoted Dr. Tawfik Hamid’s version of the roots of jihad. The Conman has been conned.
A new trend has arisen in recent years for Jewish pro-Israel activism groups to recruit so-called Muslim “reformers” such as Tawfik Hamid, who professes to speak as an expert on terrorism and Muslim culture and religion. In fact, Hamid’s only credentials are that he was allegedly recruited by a terrorist organization over twenty years ago. He grew up in a secular family with no formal Islamic training, yet claims to know the heart and soul of Islam. The true extent of his ignorance is revealed when he blatantly states that the majority of moderate Muslims condone jihad and that most American mosques preach the violent overthrow of secular society. He also asserts that democracy and Islam are incompatible. These are despicable characterizations of Islam that Dr. Hamid has no right to make because they are based solely on his own limited experience and are nothing but opinion.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is incorrectly billed as “Professor of Law and Director of Institute for Global Security Law and Policy” (he’s actually a medical doctor) on IsraelActivism.com, the official website of Hasbara Fellowships. In 2001, when the Israeli Foreign Ministry sought to combat “anti-Israel propaganda” on college campuses it enlisted the help of Aish HaTorah which is known as a staunch defender of Israel. This organization founded Hasbara Fellowships, to educate and train university students to be effective pro-Israel activists on their campuses. Aish HaTorah also launched a grassroots movement which scrutinizes the worldwide media for “anti-Israel bias,” then alerts its 140,000 subscribers to respond directly to the news agency concerned.
Hamid speaks to and for Jewish organizations around the country and was recently invited to speak by the Zionist Organization of America at the Detroit Jewish Community Center. His appearance in Aspen on June 25th was the work of ALERT (American League for Effective Responses to Terrorism) an organization co-founded by Doug Weiser and Judith King, formerly of Valley Voices for Middle East Peace, which had as its goal the destruction of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition.
In a transparent effort to combat the revelations of Israel’s apartheid policies and human rights abuses in recent letters to the editor, King and Weiser sponsored the lecture by Dr. Hamid in which he vehemently denied the role that the Israel/Palestine conflict played in the 9/11 attack, blaming it instead on Clinton’s weak response to the 1998 US embassy bombings. He claims to promote peace and love between all religions but advocates the curtailing of civil rights for American Muslims and more violence by the US against Muslims in the Middle East.
The American people need and want to understand the real roots of terrorism and what can be done to prevent further attacks. Groups like ALERT are doing the public a disservice by promoting thinly veiled pro-Israel messages by so-called experts that mask the real cause of anti-US sentiment in the Muslim world.
And radio hosts like Michael Conniff are playing right into their hands.