The spokesman claims that at least 500 people attended this month’s event, including Dr. Diane O’Heron of Broome Community College and a representative of Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan who said “events like these enrich our community.” Mayor Ryan has also spoken at UMC events where and he is seen on the group’s website holding their sign. A local news report states that members from the 22 MOA “villages” around the country and even as far away as Canada, Pakistan, and Venezuela came to the event.
One of the speakers at the January 8 event was Dr. Ali Mazrui, director of Binghamton University’s Institute of Global Cultural Studies. He said in 2002 that “there is … suspicion that some members of the Bush administration in collusion with Israel are more than ready to plunge the Middle East into turmoil in the hope that the final outcome would be to the territorial advantage of Israel and the strategic advantage of the United States. All this is part of the emerging sadism of the United States, a readiness to hurt others abroad.”
Dr. Mazrui also wrote an article in April 2002 titled “Is Israel a Threat to American Democracy?” in which he says that “Israeli neo-Nazism” and “militarism” is what caused the creation of Hamas, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. He accuses Israel of committing “ethnic cleansing” and being the “most effective war machine since Nazi Germany.”
The UMC is just another trick used by MOA to present itself as a moderate group with the help of incredibly naïve officials. In August 2008, the New York State Police and FBI gave awards to members of the MOA’s Muslim Scouts of America in Islamberg. In 2005, an FBI Special Agent sent them a note of appreciation, and in the previous year, FBI Special Agent in Charge Leslie Wieser spoke at the graduation ceremony for the scouts at the York County site. Also in attendance were Mayor Eddie Lee, the York County sheriff, and three other FBI Special Agents.
The inclusion of Dr. Mazrui, the publicly available information about MOA, and the extremist rhetoric readily available on the UMC’s website should have been enough to stop any public official, especially Mayor Ryan, from supporting the event. Any official involved with this group is guilty of negligence of an unthinkable magnitude. The community of Binghamton and the surrounding areas need to let Mayor Ryan and other officials know that their participation in the UMC’s events is unacceptable.