Rantz: Progressives target Muslim biz owner over LGBT comments

Jun 7, 2023, 9:00 AM | Updated: 9:34 am

Muslim LGBT...

A member of the Sammamish City Planning Commission has resigned following anti-LGBTQ+ remarks he made at a meeting last week. (Sammamish City Council Meeting Screenshot)

(Sammamish City Council Meeting Screenshot)

Activists are calling for a boycott against a Muslim-owned business over comments the owner made about LGBT people based on his religious beliefs. The left-wing reaction highlights the hypocrisy with progressive activism and its treatment of different religions.

Wassim Fayed is the owner of Tanoor, an authentic Lebanese restaurant in Sammamish and Seattle. He was also a Sammamish Planning Commissioner. During a meeting on June 1, Fayed weighed in on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging training he was forced to participate in. He admitted that what he was about to say “might not gel well with some people.”

“As a Muslim person, it is my duty and my belief to speak or to promote goodness and when I see certain things that are not appropriate and not right, at least speak about it,” Fayed said.

Fayed’s comments ignited a firestorm of criticism and led to a boycott. It also led to his resignation.

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‘Promoting diseases and infestation’

Fayed condemned the DEI training because it conflated LGBT people with racial minorities.

“To club certain people who choose a certain lifestyle, and say they are  among the minority, I don’t believe that is the right thing. And I’m going to be very specific. The LGBT community and specifically creating a Pride month for them. These are some of the most wealthy, the most connected people,” Fayed said.

He continued, arguing LGBT people are “not a minority people who are…  disenfranchised and we need to club them as part of the minority people.”

“So, in my opinion, these are people that are promoting diseases and infestation into the mind of our kids in schools. So, we as a community, we should stand up for this. And that’s my belief, and that’s where I come from,” Fayed said. “I don’t think this is the right way of life. God created us, male and female. And to go against the creation of God and to spread diseases in the community is something that we should speak up against.”

Calls for boycott over Muslim man’s comments on LGBT issues

Fayed’s comments quickly spread online, though it’s unclear how comments made during a Planning Commission could lead to such swift condemnation. He announced his resignation in response.

Elizabeth Faaland, a community activist, called for a boycott. She posted a demand on Facebook to “please ban Tanoor (and Tanoor products in stores) immediately!” She said her friend, an attorney, is writing an official complaint with the city. Plateaupians For Peace, a community group, organized an effort for community members to attend a Tuesday night commission meeting. Others posted scathing reviews on Tanoor’s Facebook page.

One user said, “We’ve eaten here several times, and the food is seasoned extra heavy with homophobia.” She said she’d never eat there again. “I’m sad I won’t be able to eat here anymore now that I know of the owner’s hateful views and rhetoric towards the LGBTQ community. Last month was my last visit,” another claimed.

Intentionalist, a website featuring diverse local businesses, posted a Facebook note that it was removing Tanoor from its listings “after being alerted to the owner’s anti-LGBTQ statements.”

“Intentionalist is an intentionally non-partisan platform, however, we will not encourage our community to support businesses whose owners make public statements that perpetuate hate, harm, and discrimination,” according to the post.

Progressive hypocrisy against Muslim man

To me, this is a story about inconsistency, not one man’s objectively offensive comments. And it brings up many complex and nuanced issues. Progressives have long criticized Christians as being intolerant of LGBT people, yet always gave a pass to Muslims with the same views.

Activists and lawmakers decry the “Christian right” as antagonistic towards LGBT rights, but they rarely — if ever — condemn Muslims who hold the same positions. Neither all Muslims nor all Christians hold antagonistic views on LGBT issues. But if one Christian makes an outlandish comment, it’s framed as indicative of the prevailing viewpoint of the entire religion and everyone who shares that faith. Is that fair?

Some Progressives argue the reason they condemn the so-called Christian Right is that they seek to govern through their religious lens, so it demands more attention. Fair enough. But Fayed wasn’t legislating anything; he was merely expressing his position. So why is he being called out? I find his statements abhorrent, but it’s his right to hold religious positions I disagree with.

When Progressives view the world through an intersectional lens, they will eventually be forced to pick a side. Depending on the issue (and location of the controversy), they won’t always side with LGBT rights.

When it comes to Israel and Jews, the Radical Left progressives side with Gazans, who are predominantly Muslim. Progressives go so far as to side with terrorist organization Hamas, while accusing Israel of “pinkwashing.” The claim is that Israel, which is one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world, is only friendly as a means to deflect attention from its “terrible human rights violations” in Gaza. It’s one of the many anti-Semitic positions Progressives take. Even if they truly believed in the concept of pinkwashing, they never acknowledge that they’d be imprisoned for being LGBT — or worse.

Selective outrage from Progressives

Suddenly, there’s an uproar when a Muslim holds a view against the LGBT community in Sammamish. A few years ago, Fayed’s comments would have been ignored. Why is that? Intersectional activism.

The Radical Left pretends there’s an assault on LGBT rights. This view is informed by states outlawing gender-affirming surgical intervention in children. But children don’t have the right to get a mastectomy or receive life-altering puberty blockers. In Washington, that same minor doesn’t even have the right to go to a tanning salon. The only assault against rights is that of parents in states like Washington, where a minor can receive “gender-affirming care” without parental consent.

But in the content of the current left-wing movement, Progressives view the LGBT community as more marginalized than Muslims. Now, if there’s a conflict between the two, they’d side with the LGBT community (at least in the United States). If that’s the prevailing activist view, so be it. But these issues are considerably more nuanced than they appear. And Progressives still seem unwilling to accept the nuance when it comes to Christians.

Pick a lane

I support some level of consistency. I wish Progressives would, too.

Regardless of one’s religion, I find comments like that made by Fayed to be rather ignorant and disturbing. But, regardless of one’s religion, they have every right to hold and utter them, even when I disagree. It would be one thing if Fayed was legislating through that bigoted lens, but his views are only relevant in that the city of Sammamish was trying to push him out of having them through DEI training. Should comments like these be disqualifying from holding and keeping office? I’d rather the voters decide.

But Progressive activists are not consistent. Should devout Muslims not hold positions on a Planning Commission because their views might be inconsistent with what Progressives believe? Or should they only be allowed to hold those positions if they keep their views to themselves? Wouldn’t either of these positions be considered bigoted? Yet, these positions are generally accepted by the Radical Left when it comes to Christians.

Perhaps Progressives can use this as an opportunity to better define their true level of tolerance or at least show some consistency. Or maybe simply treat both religions fairly? It’s no more acceptable to demonize Christianity than it is to criticize all of Islam. So why is one still acceptable?

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). He is the author of the book What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our Cities. Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Progressives target Muslim biz owner over LGBT comments