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News, August 2011

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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

Islamophobia in the US:

Report Exposes Playbook for Anti-Muslim Extremists

August 1, 2011

Hadith: Be Gentle and Calm

CAIR: Report Exposes Playbook for Anti-Muslim Extremists

Bachmann Listens to Extremist Who Would Criminalize Islam?

FBI Urged Agents to Read Robert Spencer's Hate Literature

FBI Teaches New Recruits to Read 'Anti-Islam' Books

FBI Recommended Anti-Muslim Books to New Agents

CAIR-Columbus Educates Local Media About Islam

Video: Muslims Critical of King's Anti-Muslim 'Vendetta' (CAIR)

CAIR-MI Letter: The Danger in Profiling

Instructor's Anti-Muslim Op-Ed Stokes Furor at Harvard

Islamic Heritage Museum Opens in D.C.



The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Be gentle and calm ... because God likes gentleness in all affairs."

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadith 404



Right-Wing extremists are leading a sustained attack against American Muslims, attempting to prevent them from freely practicing their religion, curtail their political rights, and in some cases, compel their deportation, according to a new report by People For the American Way. The report lays out how the Right Wing is using a set of specific strategies to stir up destructive fears, and as a result are putting our fundamental tradition of equality and justice at risk. The report, The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism, identifies the scare tactics used by the Right Wing to conjure up anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States and outlines some ways that concerned Americans can push back against anti-Muslim extremism.

"Right-wing activists, elected officials and even some presidential candidates have launched an overt assault on American Muslims, using a religious minority as a scapegoat for any number of national fears and frustrations," said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. "In doing so, they compromise some of our dearest national values. Anti-Muslim extremists and the political leaders who repeat their talking points are spreading baseless and destructive fears and explicitly disregarding the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of religion and equal treatment under the law."

The report discusses eight strategies employed by anti-Muslim activists to cast doubt on the validity of Islam as a religion and the integrity of American Muslims in order to justify prejudice and illegal discrimination:

Framing American Muslims as dangerous to America Twisting statistics and using fake research to "prove" the Muslim threat Inventing the danger of "creeping Sharia" Justifying taking away freedoms and liberties from Muslims in order to "defend liberty" Denying the validity of Islam as a religion Arguing that Muslims have no First Amendment rights under the Constitution Linking anti-Muslim prejudice to anti-Obama rhetoric Slandering progressives and non-Christians as unholy and anti-American

[The report's defense of CAIR:

In one of the most shameful recent examples of anti-Muslim hysteria, members of Congress have been using fake research to attack the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) led a media push to promote the book Muslim Mafia, an "exposé" on CAIR for which she wrote a foreword. Then, along with Reps. John Shadegg (R-AZ), Paul Broun (R-GA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ), Myrick called for an official probe into CAIR, with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) also demanding that Congress investigate the group.

What was CAIR's alleged crime? Encouraging young Muslim-Americans to become congressional interns so they could learn more about politics.

Attacks on CAIR and other groups continue. During the first set of King hearings, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) said that CAIR is "basically... a terrorist organization." Rep. King and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) have consistently railed against CAIR and demanded prosecution of the organization's leaders. Brigitte Gabriel's ACT! for America (formerly American Congress for Truth) urged Congress to investigate CAIR, calling it "an enemy organization operating within our midst," and accusing CAIR of supporting Osama bin Laden and acting "as a front for terrorist organizations inside America."]

(Read the entire report here.)



Congressional Republicans -- including presidential candidate Michele Bachmann -- are listening to a right-wing extremist who believes all Muslims must be deported because the United States is engaged in a "just war" against Muslims, according to a new report from watchdog group Right Wing Watch People For the American Way.

David Yerushalmi, founder of the Islamophobic organization SANE and general counsel for the neoconservative Center for Security Policy, believes that "Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization" and the United States must treat Muslims as enemy soldiers. Among other things, Yerushalmi wants to make it a crime to practice Islam. Specifically, he wants the U.S. to pass the following laws:

It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam The Congress of the United States of America shall declare the US at war with the Muslim Nation or Umma. The President of the United States of America shall immediately declare that all non-US citizen Muslims are Alien Enemies under Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the US Code and shall be subject to immediate deportation. No Muslim shall be granted an entry visa into the United States of America. (More)



As recently as January 2009, the FBI thought its agents ought to know the following crucial information about Muslims:

They engage in a "circumcision ritual" More than 9,000 of them are in the U.S. military Their religion "transforms [a] country's culture into 7th-century Arabian ways."

And this was what the FBI considered "recommended reading" about Islam:

A much-criticized tome, The Arab Mind, that one reviewer called "a collection of outrageously broad -- and often suspect -- generalizations" A book by one of Norwegian terrorist suspect Anders Behring Breivik's favorite anti-Muslim authors.

All this is revealed in a PowerPoint presentation by the FBI's Law Enforcement Communications Unit, which trains new Bureau recruits. Among the 62 slides in the presentation, designed to teach techniques for "successful interviews/interrogations with individuals from the M.E. [Middle East]," is an instruction that the "Arabic mind" is "swayed more by words than ideas and more by ideas than facts." (More)



A slide show used by the bureau for training new agents told them that Islam "transforms [a] country's culture into seventh century Arabian ways" and is "hard for westerners to understand". It said that Muslims were swayed "more by ideas than facts".

The 62-page document, which was released under freedom of information laws, was designed to help agents perform "successful interviews/interrogations with individuals from the Middle East".

It told new agents as recently as 2009 that Muslims engage in a "circumcision ritual". One slide asked "Is Iran an Arab country?" before telling students that it was not.

It also said that agents should understand that the "Arabic mind" was "swayed more by words than ideas and more by ideas than facts." (More)


FBI RECOMMENDED ANTI-MUSLIM BOOKS TO NEW AGENTS - TOP Ryan J. Reilly, Talking Points Memo, 7/28/2011

The FBI was telling new bureau recruits as recently as Jan. 2009 that Islam "transforms [a] country's culture into 7th Century Arabian ways" and recommending a book written by one of Norwegian terrorism suspect Anders Behring Breivik's favorite authors as well as the Complete Idiot's Guide To Understanding Islam.

That's the type of information included in a 62-page slideshow (PDF) produced by the FBI's Law Enforcement Communications Unit, which was obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Asian Law Caucus thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request filed last year. Spencer Ackerman first reported on the slides at Wired's Danger Room. (More)



(COLUMBUS, 7/28/11) -- On July 26, the Columbus office of Council on American-Islamic Relations-Ohio (CAIR-OH) held its first media breakfast, called "A Journalist's Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims-Stereotypes and Issues."

This event was designed to give local media professionals the tools they need to gain a better understanding of Islam and to write more informed stories about Muslims.

"The Media Breakfast was a great success and offered us an opportunity to work with media representatives," said CAIR-Ohio's Communications Coordinator Nijma Darwish. "Education is the key in tackling misunderstandings and this event helped open communication between media professionals and the Muslim community."

The presentation contained detailed information on the most common stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and focused on the valuable role the media plays in helping to curb Islamophobia.

The Columbus chapter is one of three in Ohio. CAIR is America'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. CONTACT: CAIR-Columbus Legal Director Jennifer Nimer, 614.451.3232, E-mail:; CAIR-Ohio Communications Coordinator Nijma Darwish, 614.451.3232, E-mail

----- VIDEO: MUSLIMS CRITICAL OF REP. KING'S ANTI-MUSLIM 'VENDETTA' (CAIR) - TOP Marjan Asi, Press TV, 7/28/2011 A third meeting in a series of hearings on the so-called radicalization of the American Muslim community took place recently, this time focusing on the Somali militant organization al-Shabaab and what the West says is its recruitment of American Muslims to carry out attacks in that part of the world.

American Muslim leaders discussed this and previous hearings as skewed against Muslims in the United States.

When the subject of the Norway terror attacks were mentioned, Chairman King brushed them aside as irrelevant, though other ranking members of the Committee saw a correlation between them and the Muslim radicalization hearings.

Representative Bennie Thompson emphasized the need to broaden the scope of the hearings to include all kinds of national security threats, and not merely target one group.

Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper agreed with Representative Bennie Thompson's stance and discussed the inspiration behind those attacks as deriving from anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Despite continued opposition against these hearings, King reiterated his firm commitment in continuing to hold them. (Watch the video.) SEE ALSO:

LETTERS: THE DANGER IN PROFILING - TOP Detriot Free Press, 7/28/2011

"Dangerous assumptions"

As religious leaders, we condemn the recent terrorist attack, which targeted youths in Oslo. No religion justifies wanton violence against civilians, and no social grievance can be legitimized through bloodshed.

As we condemn the Oslo attack, whose alleged perpetrator is an anti-Muslim hate-monger, we also raise serious concerns about presumptions that were made by some in various media outlets without facts that the perpetrator was a Muslim. To assume that terrorism cannot be committed by people of different religious traditions is not only empirically false, but also plays into the hands of the alleged perpetrator, who sought to have suspicion and even violence visited upon law-abiding Muslims.

According to FBI statistics from 1980 through 2005, 94% of planned or executed domestic terrorism attacks involved people not of the Islamic faith. Furthermore, American Muslims have reported suspicious people, which have led to attacks being thwarted.

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we pray that all of us as Americans withhold judging an entire demographic of people as threats. If it is wrong for some to paint conservative white Christians as anti-immigrant, hate-mongering extremists, then it is equally wrong to cast Muslims in the same light.

By: Dawud Walid, Executive director CAIR-Mighican, Baqir Berry and Steve Elturk, Cochairs, CAIR-MI Southfield

(Read more letters here.)


INSTRUCTOR'S ANTI-MUSLIM OP-ED STOKES FUROR AT HARVARD - TOP Paul Beckett, The Wall Street Journal, 7/27/2011

The idea of a clash of civilizations – a phrase typically used to denote what some see as a winner-takes-all battle between "western values" and fundamentalist Islam – is now a topic of debate here and in the U.S. thanks to an extraordinary op-ed by political gadfly and Harvard Summer School teacher Subramanian Swamy.

His controversial piece, published in DNA, a Mumbai newspaper, July 16, followed the most recent deadly bombings in Mumbai. Police have no suspects but are focusing their attention on an Indian Islamist group called Indian Mujahideen.

Mr. Swamy, however, doesn't note that, so far, there is no one to blame or any apprehended suspects. His column includes such inflammatory statements as "Muslims of India are being programmed by a slow reactive process to become radical and thus slide into suicide against Hindus." He suggests that only Muslims in India who "acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus" should be allowed to vote. We might pause here to note that India, under its Constitution, is established as a pluralistic society. (More)


ISLAMIC HERITAGE MUSEUM OPENS IN D.C. - TOP Arlene Boorstein, NBC Washington, 7/28/2011

Southeast Washington is now home to a new museum commemorating Islamic heritage in the United States. The "America's Islamic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center" held a reception and media preview today.

The museum, located on 2315 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, traces the history of Muslims in America. According to the press release:

More than the stories already known in mainstream America, such as those of Kunta Kinte (Alex Haley's "Roots") and Abdul Rahman (A Prince Among Slaves). But there's also many stories waiting to be heard like those of the first communities of Muslims in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Illinois. The museum is truly wholesome, offering the stories of the enslaved Muslims and their adeptness to keep their faith, the Nation of Islam, the Masons, as well as to demonstrate the diversity with which Islamic principles became a part of the American fabric. (More)

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