(ANAHEIM, CA – 10/2/2018) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today condemned the vitriolic political sermonette given by Corona City Councilman Randy Fox during a service at a local church. CAIR-LA calls for the Corona City Council to censure Fox and for the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the 501(c)(3) status of New Hope Family Center for allowing Fox a platform to campaign for three pastors running for City Council.
In his 20-minute speech, Fox asked church members to support three pastors running for City Council. He attacked other candidates and attempted to link council candidate Fauzia Rizvi with an anti-Christian group.
“You have here open proponents of gay marriage and desiring to remove ‘In God We Trust’ and … getting people to jeer and boo when someone makes any reference to Jesus Christ. Now that’s going on in our City Hall. And some of the people who are running are closely, I mean they’re really tied with this guy,” Fox said. “There are people running who, you know, is a member of the mosque leadership there, who will not say no to Sharia Law there, most certainly. One of the people running is a director of Planned Parenthood. We don’t need an abortion mill in our city … It’s a spiritual battle going on in our city.”
Fox went on to ask members to take out their smartphones and send an email or text message to help the campaigns.
“That’s probably the least commitment (sic) I’ve ever asked for on an invitation,” Fox joked at the end of his appeal. “Should you pray or should you help them? Mix them. Let’s do both.”
SEE: Local Pastor and Corona City Council Member speaks to a church congregation to tell them who to vote for in the upcoming local election in November
CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush was “appalled” by Fox’s actions and words.
“Using the phrase ‘Sharia Law’ is a dog-whistle used by Islamophobes and bigots to suggest Muslims are terrorists,” Ayloush said. “As a resident of Corona, I am disgusted that an elected official would use fear-mongering and hate speech to stir the emotions of voters.”
Less than two hours after the video of Fox speaking at the church surfaced on Facebook, the Corona City Council canceled its Oct. 3 meeting due to “lack of quorum.” Fox is termed out of office after the November election, but Ayloush said the City Council needed to censure Fox at its next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 17.
“There would be no better going-away present for Mr. Fox than the Corona City Council disciplining him for being an Islamophobe and a bigot,” Ayloush said. “I strongly urge the council to take action to let the community know it does not approve of Mr. Fox’s words and actions.”
Ayloush also pointed out the tax-exemption exposure New Hope Family Worship Center has in allowing Fox to use their pulpit for a political stump speech. According to the website of the Internal Revenue Service, 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective office.
“Clearly the church invited Mr. Fox to come speak on behalf of the three pastors running for office and against Ms. Rizvi and others,” Ayloush said. “In a period where CAIR-LA has seen an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president, the one refuge away from the hatred should be places of worship.”
CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Eugene W. Fields, 714-776-1847 or firstname.lastname@example.org