Source: Los Angeles Times
On May 23, 2004 the Los Angeles Times reported, "As an American flag flapped in a cool wind, Maher Hathout, senior advisor to the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, told the 200 gathered 'to pray to Allah — to pray to God. We turn to him because everyone else has turned us down'...Hathout acknowledged the toll taken on the local Muslim community by the release of the images of Iraqi prisoner abuse by American soldiers, as well as Israeli military raids on Palestinian refugee camps in recent days. 'People are feeling emotions, all of us are,' he said. 'People are feeling anger, all of us are. People are feeling sorrow and sadness, all of us are.' The vigil was organized by the Muslim Public Affairs Council as local Muslim leaders struggled with the question of how to respond to conflicts in the Middle East. This month, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, as well as other Arab American advocacy groups, has lobbied in Washington against a 'culture of hatred toward Arabs and Muslims,' which the groups believe is at the root of prisoner abuse in Iraq."