Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2011
Republican-Orchestrated Islamophobia in the US:
Whole Foods Under Attack
August 14, 2011
Hadith: God Protects the Charitable
Whole Foods Denies Canceling Ramadan Promo
(Star Trib) Muslim Women Shop for Modest Clothing in Steamy Summer
(Wash Post) Thomas Jefferson's Quran (Aramco World)
HADITH OF THE DAY: GOD PROTECTS THE CHARITABLE - TOP
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "If anyone wears some new clothing and says, 'all praise and thanks be to God Who clothed me to cover my nakedness and made it a means of adornment for me,' and then takes his old garment and gives it in charity, (that person) will be under the protection of God and will be treated as if struggling in the cause of God, in life and after his death."
Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 123
CAIR: CINCINNATI MUSLIM COMMUNITY FEEDS THE HUNGRY IN RAMADAN - TOP
CINCINNATI– The Cincinnati office of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cincinnati), in cooperation with several other Cincinnati area Muslim organizations, held the 9th Annual Feed the Hungry event on Sunday, August 7, 2011.
CAIR-Cincinnati, the Islamic Association of Cincinnati, the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, and the Muslim Clinic of Ohio combined efforts to provide a hot meal, free health checks, non-perishable food items, and clothing to people in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. (More)
CAIR: ANTI-MUSLIM BLOGGERS TARGET WHOLE FOODS' RAMADAN CAMPAIGN - TOP Neal Ungerleider, Fast Company, 8/9/2011 A pioneering Ramadan marketing campaign at Whole Foods has turned into a headache thanks to a handful of vocal anti-Muslim bloggers. The Houston Press leaked an internal company email claiming "it would be best" if Whole Foods did not observe Ramadan in-store, leading to widespread blowback from angry customers who supported the promotion.
Several weeks ago, Whole Foods became the first major American supermarket chain to launch a Ramadan campaign, with a pilot, online-only marketing project conducted in collaboration with frozen food brand Saffron Road. The campaign is still taking place and has not been canceled, according to Liz Burkhart of Whole Foods. Burkhart added that it was "business as usual" for the promotion and that the company is excited about the promotion. Lisa Mabe, a spokesperson for Saffron Road, also confirms the campaign is still on.
However, some people in the chain were not excited about the promotion... at least in the right way. The leaked email, published in the Houston Press by Katharine Shilcutt, has been confirmed as originating in Whole Foods' regional office for Texas. Here is an excerpt:
"It is probably best that we don't specifically call out or 'promote' Ramadan," reads a portion of that email. "We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered 'Celebrating or promoting' Ramadan. [...]"
Shilcutt told Fast Company that despite the email originating from a regional office, it also contained a company-wide section stating that Whole Foods is specifically "not promoting Ramadan." ...
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a prominent Muslim-American advocacy group, tells Fast Company that "it is unfortunate anything to do with Muslims or Islam will come under attack from a cottage industry" of anti-Islamic bloggers and activists. (More)
VIDEO: CAIR COMMENDS WHOLE FOODS FOR STANDING UP TO ANTI-MUSLIM HATE - TOP CBS 5, 8/10/2011
Watch the video here.
CAIR-LA: WHOLE FOODS UNDER ISLAMOPHOBIC PRESSURE - TOP Michelle Woo, Orange County Weekly, 8/9/2011
Last week, the retailer announced a marketing campaign for Ramadan, the Islamic holy month that began on Aug. 1. In a post on its official blog, Whole Story, writer Yvonne Maffei of My Halal Kitchen, encourages Muslims to try Whole Foods' halal-certified offerings, specifically items from the frozen entree brand Saffron Road. Fast Company called the campaign "a new benchmark for the Muslim-American community: the first coordinated Ramadan promotion by a national supermarket chain."
Unsurprisingly, the campaign was blasted by some right-wing bloggers, including Debbie Schlussel, who closed out a blog post on the topic with, "Whole Foods ... For the Organically Conscious Jihadist. Way more humane because, hey, ‘free range chickens' can run away from the IED. allahu natural fruitbar."
Houston Press reported that it was this pressure that led the company send out an internal e-mail that stated, "It is probably best that we don't specifically call out or 'promote' Ramadan ... We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered 'Celebrating or promoting' Ramadan." The newspaper got a hold of the e-mail and published excerpts of it today.
Whole Foods responded to the tweets, claiming that the e-mail did not come from its corporate headquarters.
"We are still carrying and promoting halal products for those that are celebrating Ramadan this month. We never sent a communication from our headquarters requesting stores take down signs or remove parts from this promotion. We have 12 different operating regions and unfortunately, one region reacted by sending out directions to promote halal and not specifically Ramadan after some negative online comments."
In general, the Muslim community has accepted the company's explanation. "Whole Foods should be commended for reaching out to Muslim Americans consumers though it's Ramadan promotion by being inclusive of various ethnic and religious traditions in America," said Munira Syeda, spokeswoman for the Greater Los Angeles chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), based in Anaheim. "The company is actually one of the handful that is setting the industry standard for corporate America. Muslims and Islam are part of the American fabric and Whole Foods recognizes that courting about 7 million Muslim Americans makes good business sense and is the socially responsible thing to do." (More)
WHOLE FOODS DENIES CANCELING RAMADAN PROMO - TOP Alan Duke, CNN, 8/9/2011
(CNN) -- Whole Foods and a company that produces traditional Muslim foods disputed online reports Tuesday that the grocery chain has bowed to right-wing pressure and canceled its Ramadan promotion.
"Whole Foods Market is not cancelling our current halal promotion, which is centered around the time frame of Ramadan," company spokeswoman Libba Letton told CNN Tuesday.
The controversy centered around "halal-certified products" produced by Saffron Roads.
"It's more of a tempest in a teapot," Saffron Roads CEO Adnan Durrani said Tuesday.
The tempest was fueled by a blog published by Houston Press, which quoted an e-mail sent by a Whole Foods manager to some store workers.
The e-mail said "It is probably best that we don't specifically call out or 'promote' Ramadan," according to the blog. "We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered 'Celebrating or promoting' Ramadan."
The e-mail suggested the Ramadan promotion "has generated some negative feedback from a small segment of vocal and angry consumers and bloggers." (More)
CAIR-TAMPA: SUIT ACCUSES PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS OF BIAS AGAINST MUSLIM - TOP William R. Levesque, St. Petersburg Times, 8/10/2011
TAMPA -- A Muslim who was a PricewaterhouseCoopers senior manager was interviewed for an article about diversity in a company newsletter and then fired when he criticized his employer, his federal lawsuit says.
Issam Azziz, 37, who worked in the company's Tampa office, filed suit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court, alleging the company, now called PwC, discriminated against him because of his faith and race.
"What happened to me should not happen to any other person," Azziz said in a news conference outside federal court. "They've gone out of their way to destroy my life."
The company said in a statement, "These claims have no merit, and PwC intends to defend this case vigorously." The company otherwise declined to comment.
Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations' Tampa chapter, accompanied Azziz at the news conference and told reporters his group would closely monitor the litigation. (More) SEE ALSO:
CAIR-TAMPA: PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS DISCRIMINATES AGAINST MUSLIM - TOP Tom Brennan, The Tampa Tribune, 8/10/2011
TAMPA -- A former employee of auditing giant PricewaterhouseCoopers is suing the company, saying he was fired three years ago because he was Arab, a Muslim and critical of the company's diversity hiring practices.
Issam Azziz, 38, filed his employment discrimination and retaliation lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
"What happened to me shouldn't have happened to any other person," Azziz said. "I am suing so no one else will have to feel this pain."
Azziz, who worked his way up from intern to senior audit manager, said he was fired in July 2009 after he criticized the company during an interview for an in-house publication.
Azziz said he had recommended a temporary worker be given a permanent position but that he was ignored. The worker was a Muslim woman who wore a head scarf.
He said that three days after the interview, company management began disciplinary steps that led to his firing.
"This country was founded on the principle that no one would be treated differently because of their religion or race," said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations. "There is no room for discrimination in our country or Tampa." (More)
CAIR-MN: HEINZ, MUSLIM WORKERS HEADED TO MEDIATION (STAR TRIB) - TOP Steve Alexander, Twin Cities Star Tribune, 8/9/2011
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will mediate a labor dispute between 22 Islamic workers and Dianne's Gourmet Desserts, a Le Center, Minn., subsidiary of H.J. Heinz Co.'s foodservice operations.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Minneapolis, maintains that the Islamic workers were fired by the Le Center firm in December in a dispute over freedom to practice their religious beliefs, and were forcibly removed from the premises.
In a statement, Heinz called the council's statement "misleading." It said that allowances were made for Islamic workers to practice their faith and that "no Islamic employees were terminated from their jobs for requesting prayer accommodation and none were removed forcibly."
The dispute allegedly revolves around whether Islamic employees were allowed to say prayers in the workplace at the time of day specified by their religion....
Taneeza Islam, the council's civil rights director, said that 18 of the Islamic workers that were full-time employees were rehired by Dianne's Gourmet Desserts in January after the council interceded on their behalf, but said four part-time employees have not returned to work. She declined to say what settlement terms the workers were seeking. (More)
MUSLIM WOMEN SHOP FOR MODEST CLOTHING IN STEAMY SUMMER (WASH POST) - TOP Alison Lake, The Washington Post, 8/9/2011
On the sweltering August streets of metropolitan Washington, sandals, short skirts and halter tops are seemingly de rigueur. Bare-legged women in the summer's latest chiffon miniskirts crowd the Metro platform during rush hour. Yet not all women in the area are baring their arms and legs in the heat.
The Washington area's diverse population includes Muslim women who follow the rules of Islam in their clothing choices, no matter how high temperatures soar. Many cover their arms, legs and neck in all seasons, and many cover their hair with a headscarf, or hijab.
U.S. Muslims number about 2.4 million (estimates vary), with about 250,000 in the Washington area, but no major fashion retail chain markets directly to Muslim women. As a result, many struggle to shop locally. (More)
THOMAS JEFFERSON'S QURAN (ARAMCO WORLD) - TOP Sebastian R. Prange, Saudi Aramco World Magazine, July/August 2011 Issue
Among the nearly 6500 books Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress was a two-volume English translation of the Qur'an, the book Muslims recite, study and revere as the revealed word of God. The presence of this Qur'an, first in Jefferson's private library and later in the Library of Congress, prompts the questions why Jefferson purchased this book, what use he made of it, and why he included it in his young nation's repository of knowledge. (More)
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