Op/ed: "The Governor's Cold Shoulder to Muslims"

August 25, 2006

Source: Los Angeles Times


On August 25, 2006 the Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece by Shakeel Syed, the executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, "Earlier this month, with war raging in the Middle East, I saw that my governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was meeting with rabbis and others who support Israel. As executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, a federation of more than 75 mosques and Muslim organizations serving half a million Muslims, I thought that such a high public official should also meet with members of my community. I wrote to him on Aug. 7. I wanted to talk to the governor about three important points. I wanted him to know that my community felt that the deaths of innocent Israeli civilians from the rockets of Hezbollah were painfully tragic, and just as tragic as the deaths of innocent Lebanese people and the destruction of their country's infrastructure by the Israeli bombing. I wanted to ask him to listen to another, equally important side of the story. And I wanted to urge him to remember that the governor should represent and listen to all the people of California. After waiting for more than a week, and following up with at least 10 phone calls to the governor's office, I had gotten no response. I felt it was my duty and my right as a citizen to avail myself of a public forum to reach the governor. When a reporter from the L.A. Times called, I spoke with him and, on Aug. 16, The Times correctly reported my perspective: The fact that the governor had ignored my request to meet was disrespectful and insulting."