Americans Against Hate
Americans Against Hate (AAH) is the name used by two organizations:
- The ongoing group founded in 1998 by Joe Kaufman is described below.
- The defunct group founded in 2000 by Republican consultant Stephen Marks is described at Americans Against Hate (Stephen Marks).
These two organizations have no relationship with each other.
Kaufman's Americans Against Hate (AAH) describes itself as "a civil rights organization and terrorism watchdog group, whose goal is to be an active voice against those that spread bigotry and violence." The group's website states that "our focus has changed, since the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. Now, more than ever, there is a need for an organization such as ours... to speak out against hatred, even when it is politically incorrect to do so, even when it entails criticisms aimed at certain religious sects." 
Protests against Muslim events and people
"Muslim Family Day" in Texas
In October 2007, AAH / Kaufman organized a protest of "Muslim Family Day" at Six Flags Over Texas. Kaufman claimed that the event's sponsor, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), "is a threat to the city and a threat to the United States because of its ties to overseas terrorism, because of their financing of overseas terrorism." 
Kaufman said ICNA was trying to fool people with the event's harmless-sounding name: "It would be silly for them to hold an event called 'Muslim Terrorism Day' or 'Support Al-Qaeda Day'. ... Of course, they're going to have an event with the most innocuous name possible." 
ICNA, the Muslim Legal Fund of America and the Jewish group Anti-Defamation League rejected and criticized Kaufman's claims.  Only ten people took part in the protest. The Dallas Morning News reported that the journalists present outnumbered the protesters. 
In late October, following the protest, a Texas district judge granted a temporary injunction against Kaufman, forbidding him from "from threatening the plaintiffs or causing them bodily injury. The plaintiffs, which include several local Muslim groups, previously had a temporary restraining order against Mr. Kaufman." In addition, "several Muslim groups are suing Mr. Kaufman and have accused him of libel and inflicting emotional distress." 
"Muslim Day Parade" in New York
In September 2007, Kaufman / AAH and other right-wing groups called on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to cancel the city's 22nd annual United American Muslim Day Parade. The Mayor rejected the calls, saying, "It would be a terrible mistake for anyone to implicate a whole group of innocent individuals -- no matter what their faith -- with the terrible acts committed on September 11, 2001." 
Kaufman said, "We believe this parade is a threat to New York and a threat to national security." He also objected to the timing of the event, in early September, saying it was too close to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Kaufman called the parade "a pre-9/11 celebration of sorts." 
ICNA convention in Connecticut
In July 2007, Kaufman / AAH protested outside an ICNA convention. "For the first time since the Islamic Circle of North America began holding its annual convention at the Connecticut Convention Center two years ago, a group of about 12 protesters rallied to demand that the U.S. government shut down the organization and freeze its accounts," reported the Hartford Courant. 
Kaufman claimed that ICNA had donated $99,000 to charitable groups that "ended up in the hands of Hamas militants." He said, "Giving money to a terrorist organization is illegal in the United States, and many groups have been shut down for this." ICNA denied the charge. 
In January 2007, Kaufman / AAH succeeded in having U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat of California) withdraw a certificate given to the director of the Sacramento chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), "in recognition of (his) outstanding service." Boxer honored CAIR's Basim Elkarra in November 2006, for his organization's "bridge-building efforts with Christians, Jews, people of color and the FBI." 
In his complaints against Elkarra's award, Kaufman / AAH cited the convictions of two individuals associated with CAIR -- Ghassan Elashi, who was part of CAIR's Texas chapter, and Ismail Royer, CAIR's former civil rights coordinator. No charges were levied against Elkarra himself or the Sacramento chapter of CAIR. The head of the Interfaith Service Bureau in Sacramento, Rev. Dexter McNamara, objected to the withdrawal of the award, saying of Elkarra, "I've had nothing but really positive experiences with him." 
Kaufman / AAH have targeted Ibrahim Dremali of the Des Moines Islamic Center in Iowa. "Since coming to Des Moines, Dremali has held a high-profile position in the community, inviting Christians to visit the mosque to learn about Islam and speaking alongside Jewish and Christian leaders at schools and churches," reported the Des Moines Register. "However, the groups that dogged him when he was imam for a Boca Raton, Fla., mosque continue to bombard Des Moines media outlets with anti-Dremali e-mails." 
Kaufman has called Dremali a security risk, basing his charge on "an article he found on the Internet about a pro-Palestinian rally at which Israeli flags were burned and anti-Israel slogans were chanted. Dremali was quoted in the article as telling the crowd not to feel sorry for the martyrs. Kaufman interpreted the remark as an endorsement of suicide bombers. Dremali has denied he made the statement." 
A Des Moines rabbi rejected the charges against Dremali, saying of Kaufman / AAH: "These sources lean heavily on hearsay, innuendo and guilt by association. ... They seem to be out to attack the Muslim community and Dremali in particular." Dremali said, "I cannot imagine how it is considered a crime to be born in Gaza or to be a Muslim, but [to these people], as long as you are a Muslim, you are a criminal. ... They follow a specific agenda claiming that they are Americans against hate. Instead, they spread hate." 
When Dremali was in Iman if the Islamic Center of Boca Raton in South Florida he openly supported suicide bombings. In October 2000, Dremali spoke at a rally where Israeli flags were burned and slogans such as "With jihad we'll claim our land, Zionist blood will wet the sand," were shouted. Dremali told the crowd "not to be sad for those who were martyred, and to not be afraid to die for what [they] believe in" - obvious allusions to suicide bombers 
When Dremali was the Iman of the mosque it's website featured anti semitic articles and links to anti semitic websites such as islam-qa.com. When questioned about it Dremali claimed someone had hacked into his site and put the content on it. However he did not then remove the anti semitic postings until months later under media pressure.
1440 Coral Ridge Drive, #404
Coral Springs, FL 33071
Email: info AT americansagainsthate.org
- "Americans Against Hate: About," AAH website, accessed January 2008.
- Scott Farwell, "Florida group to protest Muslim day at Six Flags: Sponsor decries group's claim it supports terror; park says it won't cancel," Dallas Morning News (Texas), October 4, 2007.
- Scott Farwell, "Rally small but well recorded Arlington: Reporters outnumber protesters at Muslim day at Six Flags," Dallas Morning News (Texas), October 15, 2007.
- Jeff Mosier, "Injunction granted against Six Flags Muslim Day protest organizer," Dallas Morning News (Texas), November 1, 2007.
- Daniel Massey, "Web-inspired parade protest; Florida-based group says city's Muslim Day event is a "threat," prompting barrage of phone calls, letters and e-mails to City Hall," Newsday (New York), September 8, 2007.
- Lynn Doan, "Protesters Target Islamic Convention in Hartford," Hartford Courant (Connecticut), July 9, 2007.
- Stephen Magagnini and David Whitney, "Boxer pulls Muslim award; CAIR director's honor rescinded over concerns about group's activities," Sacramento Bee (California), January 4, 2007.
- Ragsdale Shirley, "Accusations still follow imam in Iowa," Des Moines Register (Iowa), April 19, 2006.
- "Americans Against Hate 2007 report," Florida Department of State Division of Corporations, accessed January 2008.
- Neil MacFarquhar, "Scrutiny Increases for a Group Advocating for Muslims in U.S.," New York Times, March 14, 2007.