Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2011
Islamophobia in the US:
DOJ Invokes State Secrets Privilege in Mosque Spy Suit
August 14, 2011
CAIR-Cleveland Holds Interfaith Iftar to Promote Understanding
NY Times Readers Respond to Article on Anti-Sharia Campaigner
Editorial: Gov. Christie says, Enough! to Islamophobes
HADITH OF THE DAY: KINDNESS AND GENTLENESS LEAD TO PARADISE - TOP
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Shall I tell you who is kept away from Hell?...Everyone who is gentle and kindly, approachable and of an easy disposition."
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1315
CAIR: WANT TO SUE THE FBI FOR SPYING ON YOUR MOSQUE? SORRY, THAT'S SECRET. - TOP Hamid Aleaziz, Mother Jones, 8/8/2011
The state secrets privilege--perhaps the most powerful weapon in the government's legal arsenal--has a complicated history. For years, Democrats, including then-Sen. Barack Obama, accused the Bush administration of overusing of the privilege, which allows the government to quash cases that involve national security before a court even hears evidence. Then, after Obama took office, his Justice Department used this get-out-of-court-free card repeatedly.
Last week, the DOJ invoked the state secrets privilege yet again. But this case, civil liberties groups say, is different.
Most of the post-9/11 cases that the government has killed with the state secrets privilege have either involved foreign-born terrorist suspects or the government's actions abroad. The case the Obama administration tried to quash last week doesn't explicitly involve either. The case in question, which was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), focuses squarely on domestic intelligence-gathering targeting Americans--namely the FBI's allegedly widespread use of informants and surveillance against Muslim Americans....
The FBI's involvement in the case--and the fact that it involves Americans--makes it stand out among the other state secrets cases, says Ameena Qazi, CAIR's deputy executive director. "We're surprised at the government's shocking move in invoking the state secrets doctrine in this case of all cases," Qazi says. Since this case "involves domestic intelligence-gathering on US soil against Americans," she explains, "it's an unprecedented move to our knowledge." (More)
GA: OPPONENTS TO PROTEST PLANS FOR NEW MOSQUE (AP) - TOP The Associated Press, 8/8/2011
LILBURN, Ga. -- Opponents of a mosque being planned by a Muslim congregation in the metro Atlanta suburb of Lilburn are planning a protest.
WSB Radio reports that opponents are planning to protest Monday night outside the Lilburn City Council meeting.
The congregation plans to submit a third request to the city for rezoning of four acres at the corner of U.S. Highway 29 and Hood Road so they can build a 20,000 square foot mosque and a 200 space parking lot. (More)
FBI INVESTIGATES REPORT OF POSSIBLE HATE CRIME AGAINST WOMAN IN ANN ARBOR - TOP AnnArbor.com, 8/8/11
The FBI is investigating a report of a possible hate crime Sunday in Ann Arbor, said FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold, a bureau spokeswoman in Detroit.
About 9:15 a.m. Sunday, a Muslim woman called 911, reporting she was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Eisenhower Parkway and South State Street when a man pulled next to her in a pickup truck, showed her a black-colored handgun and called her racial slurs, Ann Arbor police said.
Police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush said the police report did not detail what the man said to the 21-year-old Ann Arbor woman before he drove off. Detectives are investigating, she said.
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter on the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the woman called him Sunday afternoon and told him that the man said to her, "You're a terrorist. Your people should be killed." (More)
A RAMADAN FEAST FOR EVERYONE - TOP Cleveland CAIR holds interfaith Iftar to promote understanding By WKSU's Kabir Bhatia, 8/8/11
Muneer Awad, an American citizen, is executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR. Awad sued over the "Save Our State Amendment," which prohibits state courts from considering "sharia" law. The amendment had previously been passed by 70 percent of voters.
Ramadan enters its second week today and the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is hosting Christians, Hindus, Jews and Lord knows who else to encourage awareness of Islam's holiest month. But, as WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports, much of Northeast Ohio’s religious community says the onus to promote understanding has fallen on the misunderstood.... (More) SEE ALSO:
CAIR-OH/CAIR-OK: RAMADAN DINNER SHARED WITH INTERFAITH CROWD - TOP Rachel Dissell, The Plain Dealer-Cleveland, OH, 8/7/2011
PARMA, Ohio -- Members of Greater Cleveland's Muslim community shared a Ramadan dinner with hundreds of guests at sundown Sunday, asking largely interfaith gathering to help them in combating growing Islamophobia in America....
The Iftar, or the dinner served after sundown during Ramadan, was held in collaboration with Cleveland chapter the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The Muslim civil liberties group based in Washington D.C., has 35 offices and chapters nationwide....
Amad Banna, chairman of the council's Cleveland chapter board said the event and sharing the Iftar meal with the community was in keeping with the goals of his organization.
"It's important. It's a part of our belief that we should share with our neighbors, Banna said. "And our neighbors are interfaith." ...
Muneer O. Awad, who spoke before dinner, has recently become the face of the battle against Islamophobia. He has appeared on cable television and radio shows as a voice pushing back against what he and others believe is anti-Muslim sentiment building in the United States.
Awad encouraged American Muslims to combat what he called growing campaign of anti-Muslim bigotry in two ways: To encourage the American Muslim community to define itself and to be prepared to defeat the misperceptions before they present themselves.
After only two weeks into his job as executive director of Oklahoma council's chapter, Awad filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the state from amending its constitution to ban consideration of Islamic and international law when making decisions.
Oklahoma voters had overwhelmingly passed the ballot measure in 2010, making it the first state to do so. A federal judge blocked the measure from taking effect shortly after the lawsuit was filed.
"It labeled Islam as a threat to Oklahoma," he said of the amendment. (More)
NY TIMES READERS RESPOND TO ARTICLE ON ANTI-SHARIA CAMPAIGNER - TOP Letters to the Editor, The New York Times, 8/7/2011
Re: "Behind an Anti-Shariah Push" (front page, July 31):
How ironic that David Yerushalmi, a Hasidic Jew and a political force behind a nationwide campaign against Shariah, or Islamic law, seems oblivious to the profound Islamic influence upon his own Jewish religious traditions.
This is no more evident than in the life and works of Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), the great Jewish thinker, who lived in Muslim lands and wrote most of his books in Arabic. In his Mishneh Torah, his influential code of halacha, the Jewish version of Shariah, as well as in his philosophical masterpiece "Guide for the Perplexed," Maimonides cites numerous Muslim thinkers, and all his works clearly mirror the then-prevailing religious and intellectual trends in the Islamic world.
Mr. Yerushalmi’s obvious prejudice against Muslims and Islam is a betrayal of Jewish history. JACOB BENDER, New York, July 31, 2011
PA PAPER SLAMS BIGOTS BEHIND ANTI-SHARIA CAMPAIGN - TOP Editorial, Philadelphia Daily News, 8/8/2011
We don’t often agree with what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says or the way he often says it. But we cheer his recent response to a reporter's question about the fear that Muslim Sharia Law is undermining American jurisprudence.
"This Sharia Law business is just crap," he barked. "It's crazy."
The governor's outburst -- following his nomination of a Muslim-American lawyer named Sohail Mohammed to the state Superior Court -- illustrates the sheer bigotry of the anti-Sharia movement. The nomination drew immediate attacks from New Jersey conservative groups. They warned that Mohammed would base his judicial rulings not on the U.S. or New Jersey constitutions that he has sworn to uphold, but on Sharia Law. Apparently every Muslim, even one named a "Super Lawyer" by New Jersey magazine, is bound to impose the Koran from the bench.
In the first place, most Muslims don't agree on just what Sharia Law entails. If they invoke it at all, it is usually is on private matters of prayer, diet or family. Occasionally, disputes that can't be solved within religious communities will end up in civil court, but it's not common.
So why are we now seeing this spike in fear that Muslims want to infiltrate our legal system? What has caused legislators in two dozen states to introduce bills that prohibit state judges from considering Sharia laws when making their rulings, as if this were an actual problem? (More)
EDITORIAL: GOV. CHRISTIE SAYS, ENOUGH! TO ISLAMOPHOBES - TOP Newsday, 8/5/2011
Politically, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had nothing to gain -- and much to lose -- by appointing Sohail Mohammed to the state's Superior Court. Christie, laudably, did it anyway.
Mohammed is an India-born Muslim. Christie, often mentioned as a GOP presidential candidate, now finds himself assailed by conservative Islamophobes for elevating the 47-year-old to the bench. They argue he will impose Muslim religious law, or Sharia law, from the bench. They also claim his defense of Muslims arrested in the wake of 9/11 make his loyalties suspect.
Mohammed's clients were among the more than 1,000 Muslim innocents rounded up as the FBI hunted terrorists after the attack. Even had they been guilty, representing people accused of crimes is what lawyers do. Sohail Mohammed, far from being the type of America-hating extremist conservatives fear, is known for building bridges between law enforcement and the Muslim community. (More)
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