Saturday, August 16, 2008

Besieged Franktfort Township official Paul Ruff to address anti-Muslim charges Wednesday

Frankfort Township Assessor Paul Ruff, who I reported has been under siege for allegedly making anti-Muslim comments in an email sent out to residents in Frankfort will hold a press conference Wednesday at 1 PM at the Township building. Here is the email notice of the event that Assessor Ruff sent out Saturday afternoon:

I just wanted to take a moment to extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to
everyone who has contacted me over the last several weeks to express their
support. The phone calls, e-mails and letters have been overwhelmingly
positive.

As most of you know, the media coverage has been much less positive, and in consideration of this I will be holding a press conference at 1:00 PM, Wednesday, August 20th. The press conference will be held at the Township Building, 11008 W. Lincoln Highway, Frankfort, in the meeting room available to all residents.

I will have a Will County sheriff’s department deputy available to make sure there will no demonstrations. Please, feel free to join me as I need your support, if you can’t come I understand about this short notice.

Thanks again for your continued support and, as always, you can contact me at any time by e-mail,
paulruff@msn.com or through my web site www.paulruff.org

Warmest
regards,
Paul

PS, You Must read this Sundays Southtown-Star on Page A-10; you will not be disappointed.



The controversy received much press, as Ruff notes, including this column by a writer at the HuffingtonPost.com, where I also write.

I tried to reach Mr. Ruff but could not get through and he did not respond to my emails.

I believe the email he sent out was one he received and then forwarded to others, something people do all the time, incuding with material that is somewhat edgy in nature. There haven't been an prior instances of Ruff expressing anti-Muslim sentiments.

My only concern is that the township will be using its staff or a Will County sheriff to prevent free speech in the form of counter demonstrations. There's a middle ground here on this issue that is important and while I am not sure if Ruff did or did not cross the line -- things involving Muslims always gets exaggerated on both sides of the contrvoersies -- I don't think anyone should be prevented from expressing their views or even protesting.

That said here is what I believe:

Mainstream Americans like Ruff have real concerns about Islam that are not being addressed.

There is a tendency for some Muslims to gather around the wagons on every issue involving a Muslims -- oftentimes I am denounced (ridiculously) as "anti-Muslim" simply because I criticize the ridiculous and stupid actions and dictates of Islamic extremists like the Bridgeview Mosques Imam Jamal Said who has reportedly told his Muslim parishioners that it is a sin" to participate in Halloween. They also denounce Valentine's Day and even Thanksgiving as "sins." It's pathetic, but the real problem is the even more naive and ignorant mainstream American media which over reacts on every issue.

I don't believe Ruff is a racist. I think he may (or may not) have dispatched an email that said bad things about Muslims and he should know better, but that doesn't deserve the attacks he is getting.

On the otherhand, some of the loudest supporters rallying around Ruff are extremist Christian racists and fanatics, too, like some of those who have been writing letters to the editor, cited by Ruff above, in the Sunday Southtown/Star.

There is a moderate middle ground and it behoves everyone to try their best for the sake of preserving our great society to find it.

-- Ray Hanania
www.TheMediaOasis.com

3 comments:

American Muslim, not Muslim-American said...

Muslims Against Sharia vigorously object to characterization of 'Muslims who want to live under Islamic law [need] to "get out of the country"' sentiment as anti-Muslim. There are many Muslims in America who left Islamic countries for a single reason: to escape the yoke of Sharia. We fully support the sentiment that if someone wants to live under Sharia, they should immediately leave the United States. On the one hand, there are plenty of countries in the world that are ruled by Sharia law; so Sharia proponents can be free to practice according to their beliefs. On the other hand, Sharia is incompatible with Democracy and installation of Sharia in the United States will result in denying freedoms for the vast majority of the population, including Muslims.

http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/08/e-mail-called-on-muslims-who-want-to.html

americanmuslimjournal said...

Paul Ruff has really backed himself into a corner.

His biggest supporters are people like Lavern Stemmons, a Tinley Park resident, who came out to the press conference and told reporters how she felt - she doesn't like Muslims.

Great! Nothing like having supporters who judge an entire group of people (I think that's called stereotyping, right?).

Paul Ruff had a golden opportunity to take the high road and address this issue privately with the Muslim community. The Muslims of Frankfort reached out to Paul Ruff to speak with him in private, without involving the media. The outreach came in the form of a letter. It was a civil letter asking for a meeting with him to discuss this email message.

Paul Ruff refused! Paul Ruff refused to meet with his Muslim constituents to speak with them about alleged anti-Muslim sentiments he harbors. What hubris!

Then he was given a chance to meet with the Muslims of Frankfort in an interfaith meeting at the mosque. He didn't attend.

But get this: he sent someone from his office incognito. That individual attended the meeting and never introduced himself - even when the MC called out the audience to ask if Mr. Ruff was in attendance. What hubris!

Now, at this press conference he further insults Muslims by saying about Islam that it "institutionalizes discrimination against women and non-Muslims." What hubris!

This man is unfit for office. People of conscience in Frankfort Township should not allow a bigot like Paul Ruff to remain in office. He represents the worst of America.

Thank God that he only represents a minority (albeit virulent) point of view.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

"Paul Ruff refused to meet with his Muslim constituents to speak with them about alleged anti-Muslim sentiments he harbors."

What a load of crap! Ruff refused to meet with Islamonazis who claim to represent Muslims.