Live Broadcast from
CA Mosque Draws Packed Audience
Mission Viejo, CA: On Thursday, July
21, the Orange County Islamic Foundation (OCIF) hosted the
first-ever live talk show radio broadcast from an American
mosque. The event was coordinated by the Southern California
chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA).
A standing room packed audience of over 200 people, including
members of the community, mosque, and media, converged at
the mosque to listen live to the “John and Ken Show”
on KFI 640 AM, which was aired from 3PM to 7PM. Among the
attendees were dozens of John and Ken listeners who drove
to the event from all over Southern California to meet with
them and visit a mosque for the first time.
The four-hour-long milestone event, with talk show hosts
John Kobylt and Ken Champiou, featured Hussam Ayloush, Executive
Director of CAIR-LA, Mohannad Malas, Board member of OCIF,
and Yassir Fazaga, Religious leader (Imam) of OCIF.
“The purpose of this [broadcast] is to find out what
American Muslims are about,” said Kobylt. “Islam
in America was defined by 9/11,” he stated, calling
on American Muslims to publicly combat long-held stereotypes
A wide range of issues were discussed during the broadcast.
Muslims strongly condemned acts of terrorism, referring
to the attacks on 9/11 and the recent London bombings. Speakers
stressed that the majority of Muslims are peace-loving and
law-abiding. However, typically in the aftermath of an attack,
Muslims are collectively blamed and are targets of hate
Audience members had a chance to participate by asking questions
and commenting live during the show.
America’s foreign policy, the Muslim women dress code,
and profiling were hot topics of discussion.
The idea for the broadcast from a Mosque came during an
hour-long interview on the John and Ken Show last Thursday,
July 14th with CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush.
(To listen to the interview, go to www.cair-california.org/interview.mp3.)
The audio of the 4-hour live broadcast will be made available
soon. An Orange County Register report by Ann Pepper on
the event says:
Fan- proclaimed "talk-radio heroes" John &
Ken gave the microphone to Muslims on Thursday as they took
their afternoon show to the Orange County Islamic Foundation...
By the end of the show on KFI/640 AM, the two had made it
clear they felt they had heard a sincere expression of opposition
to terrorism from Orange County's Islamic community.
Chiampou said young Muslim "jihadists in the Middle
East" behave "almost like they had joined a gang."
And Kobylt acknowledged that terrorists have left the local
Muslim community in a tough spot.
"Islam in America was defined by 9/11, and ... now
you guys are fighting an uphill battle trying to explain
that you are not all terrorists, that you don't all want
to kill us."
The show's timing couldn't have been more appropriate, after
the report of a second, though unsuccessful, bomb attack
on London's public transportation system.
The packed audience of more than 100 was split between members
of the Muslim community and non-Islamic fans of John &
Many, such as Don Black, 59, of Lake Forest thought Muslims
should make a greater effort to show their stance against
"Why don't they hold some kind of major event and have
Muslim imams publicly denounce terrorism in a way that would
catch the attention of the press?" he asked.
Imam Yassir Fazaga, foundation board member Mohanad Malas
and Hassam Ayloush, executive director of the Southern California
chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, took
turns condemning terrorism and urging others not to identify
terrorism with their faith.
"After 9/11 every Muslim leader and scholar in every
Muslim country denounced what had happened," Ayloush
He blamed the media for ignoring their voices in favor of
covering more colorful but isolated incidents of celebration
in the Middle East.
"I will admit we didn't realize we (in the United States)
needed to speak out," he said of his community's belief
that their countrymen wouldn't connect them to the attacks.
Several Muslim women said covering their hair was an act
of faith and their own decision.
"I am so happy
that we have this opportunity to condemn acts by people
who are vicious," said Rania Abdellatif, 34, of Laguna
Niguel. "I'm Islamic, and these acts are far from what
our faith teaches. I'm surprised to have John and Ken here
today. Because of the bombing in London it couldn't be a
better time for them to come and let us condemn these horrific