Muslims Attack Museum Themes: Wiesenthal Center Asked to Change

Article excerpt

The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles is promoting hatred and intolerance of Islam, a coalition of American Islamic groups says.

The complaints center on a book about the slave trade, a film about genocide and a "Wall of Demagogues" portrayal, which includes photos of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Adolf Hitler and shows the Iranian cleric saluting with his hand extended in Nazi style.

"The juxtaposition can leave the false impression of Islam being equated with Nazism and fascism," said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington (CAIR), a group that monitors prejudice against Muslims.

"They have a collection of stamps from former Soviet bloc countries along with Hitler and Mussolini stamps and stamps from Muslim countries," Mr. Hooper told The Washington Times. "The whole theme is that these are the three evil ideologies in the world, fascism, communism and Islam."

Since opening in February 1993, the Museum of Tolerance has become a fixture in the cultural life of Los Angeles, hosting 1.3 million visitors including 140,000 high-school students. Law enforcement agencies take part in its "Tools of Tolerance" program.

In September a Muslim group told CAIR of its complaints with museum exhibits and Mr. Hooper toured the facility. On November 11, officials of the Wiesenthal Center met for a discussion that Mr. Hooper described as "frank."

The complaints became public last week when CAIR joined with the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the Islamic Networks Group and the Muslim Public Affairs Council in a letter to Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Wiesenthal Center.

"The museum, which is often portrayed as providing a standard by which intolerance is to be judged, lacks references to anti-Islamic bigotry," said the letter, which requested that a museum film be altered to include references to attempted genocide of Bosnian Muslims. …