By Tom De Seno | The Save Jersey Blog
“It was a mistake,” you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.”
Garden State Equality (GSE) is a civic group that supports equality for the LGBT community in New Jersey. Started in 2004 by Steven Goldstein, a college professor and activist, it is run today by 25 year old Christian Fuscarino. It’s powerful, with politicians and news media always at their events.
GSE has involved itself in protests of people, both business professionals and politicians, who they think are on the wrong side of LGBT equality.
For instance, GSE’s last protest was against Jack Kelly, an Ocean County Freeholder trying to get a cushy state job, seemingly to pad his pension. A dozen years ago he wanted to deny pension benefits to the lesbian partner of the dying Laurel Hester, a sheriff’s officer, stating it would “hurt the sanctity of marriage.” Before that, GSE protested Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican Congressman over a comment he denies making.
We’ve seen the broader LGBT community go after others nationally. Case in point is Brenden Eich who co-founded Mozilla, creator of the Firefox web browser. When he became CEO, it was discovered that six years earlier he gave a $1,000.00 donation to a group who opposed gay marriage in California. The backlash was so fast and furious that Eich resigned after one week as CEO of the company he founded.
I have no qualm with the LGBT community going after such people, but I note, only for perspective, that as recently as his first Presidential election, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agreed with GSE’s detractors: Both of them said marriage was between a man and a woman, at the same time Jack Kelly and Brenden Eich said it.
My point is that on a scale from Harvey Milk (total gay acceptance) to Fred Phelps (total gay hatred), the LGBT community, including GSE, goes after people who aren’t exactly horrid, but disagree with them on a political level, which is GSE’s right to do. Who can argue with a zero tolerance policy on inequality?
That being true, one would think that if someone came to light who was truly vile toward LGBT people, who was physically brutal toward them, and he was doing business in the Garden State, that a group like GSE would call themselves to action.
I asked Garden State Equality to involve themselves against just such a person. I’ve been rebuffed. Let me be clear about something and this may seem smug. Actually, I don’t care if it’s smug because it’s true: They owed me. I had the right to expect both their attention and their help. Like a debt, they owed it to me. I’ll explain.
Since before Steven Goldstein founded GSE in 2004, when Christian Fuscarino was still in middle school, I was writing columns supporting LGBT equality. Note this well: I’m straight, I’m Catholic and I’m a lifelong member of the Republican Party. On behalf of people like Goldstein and Fuscarino, I bucked my religion, my party and most everyone I knew, to publicly support gay marriage. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton didn’t have the stones to do that, and neither of them would have taken the social, professional and political risks I did if they had. I’ve been a true friend; an invested friend.
So yes, call me entitled, because when it comes to the LGBT community, I am. That’s why it was a blow to me when they rebuffed the only request for help from them I’ve ever made, and the request I made was for their own good.
Since January I’ve written about a man who is truly a human rights monster, Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani. He is Pakistani of Indian birth. He’s not an obscure figure. In much of the world he’s a Sharia Law rock star. A Jordanian company ranked him the 22nd most influential Muslim in the world, ahead of Jordan’s own queen. He is the most important person in the growing industry of “Sharia Finance,” advising dozens of powerful companies doing business in the Middle East. He is a mufti (able to give Fatwa), was the author of Pakistan’s Sharia laws, enforced those laws for 30 years as a Sharia judge, and now runs the family madrassa, teaching those laws to 10,000 students a year; a nice supplement to his Sharia Finance income.
He is a monster exactly because of the Sharia laws he wrote and enforced for 30 years. He still espouses them as just at his school. He actively supported and defended such brutal things as JAILING GAYS FOR LIFE FOR BEING GAY, whipping women who were raped for illegal fornication and cutting off the hands and feet of petty thieves.
After retiring as a judge, his post graduate work included support for the Taliban, issuing Fatwa against American troops and lamenting that there are not more suicide bombers, as well as supporting the taking of black slaves in North Africa.
You should hate him already. If not, try this on for size: In his book Islam and Modernization, he argued that Muslims should lay in wait in Western countries like America until they have more people, then launch “Jihad with Power.” He said the killing should continue until our culture is broken and we submit to his religion.
That matches exactly the beliefs of the Orlando terrorist who just killed 49 gays and matches the San Bernardino killers, too.
So what is the New Jersey connection?
Sheikh Usmani is the Chairman of a Sharia Advisory Board that is employed by a company called Capital Guidance, who through a subsidiary sells “Sharia Mortgages” in 23 U.S. states, with a New Jersey office in Elmwood Park. Their own materials say that Sheikh Usmani approves every contract of their operation and is in frequent contact with the American operators.
What is the Asbury Park connection?
Capital Guidance has another subsidiary called Madison Marquette. It is a real estate holding company and some of the real estate it owns is every building on Asbury Park’s boardwalk including Convention Hall, plus they own the Stone Pony and the Wonder Bar. They keep an office right on the boardwalk.
Sheikh Usmani is no Brendan Eich, Scott Garrett or Jack Kelly. He wrote the laws that put gays in jail for life and he enforced the laws for 30 years.
For months I have asked Garden State Equality to makes some sort of play against Sheikh Usmani’s business interest here, even if it’s just a statement. After several prods, the only response I got from Fuscarino was that it would take too much time to look into it (and then he took the time to suspend my ability to leave comments about Usmani on their Facebook page). I offered him all my research, which by the way was originally challenged by the Sheikh’s company’s lawyers, until they read it and backed off.
It’s odd that Garden State Equality has no time to protest a man who put gays in jail for 30 years, yet had time last year to protest Spencer’s Gifts down at the mall, because they committed the shocking human rights infraction of selling a Caitlyn Jenner Halloween mask. Good grief. Excuse my sarcasm… no wait…accept my sarcasm, because that’s frivolousness posing as righteousness. You’ve got a much bigger fish to fry here, Fuscarino.
I tried to contact Steven Goldstein on Facebook to get him to look at this issue. The man who describes himself as “more Jewish than Gay” and therefore has twice the reason to oppose Usmani, responded to me by blocking me on Facebook.
This Saturday June 18 Garden State Equality will have its annual Pride Walk in Asbury Park, and they will walk right past the offices of the company that employs Sheikh Usmani. I’ve asked that they make some protest as they go by and they won’t.
Their day starts with speeches at Kennedy Park, usually with such luminaries as Congressman Frank Pallone. I’ve asked if I can be added to the speaker’s list, and offered to even let Garden State Equality review my remarks first to suggest edits. Their response has been to ignore me. That’s their right, and there is nothing I can do about it.
As Garden State Equality walks past the office of Sheikh Usmani’s employer on Saturday, there will be a homosexual languishing in a Pakistani prison and there is nothing he can do about it, either.
It’s phony tough to beat your chest like King Kong in the face of people such as Brendan Eich and Scott Garrett. To oppose Usmani, whose philosophy mirrors the man who just killed 49 gays, is hard, but the days of hiding in closets from bigots is supposed to be over.
Dante’s 9th circle of hell, the worst of them, is reserved for traitors to their own kind.