Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, January 2011
Islamophobia in the US:
MLK Example for American Muslims, January 17, 2011
Hadith: No Racism Allowed in Islam
Islam Op-Ed: MLK is an Example to American Muslims
CAIR-TX: MLK's Message Resonates with Muslims
CAIR-MI Rep Joins Panel on Religious Freedom
CAIR Clarification on FBI Poster
HADITH OF THE DAY: NO RACISM ALLOWED IN ISLAM - TOP
The following is an excerpt from the last sermon of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He delivered this sermon during his last pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj), only months before he passed away in 632 AD (10 AH).
"All humankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Also, a white person has no superiority over a black person, nor does someone who is black have any superiority over someone who is white -- except by piety and good action."
Abu Dharr said the Prophet told him: "You are not better than people (of other races) unless you excel them in piety."
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1361
ISLAM-OPED: MLK IS AN EXAMPLE TO AMERICAN MUSLIMS - TOP
ISLAM-OPED is a syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.
Please consider the following commentary for publication. CONTACT: Ihooper@cair.com TEL: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726 (c)
MLK is an Example to American Muslims By Nihad Awad Word Count: 567
[Nihad Awad is national executive director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties group. He may be contacted at: email@example.com ]
As American Muslims face the challenge of rising anti-Islam sentiment in American society, we can benefit from the example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who used the power of truth and justice to peacefully overcome those who promoted fear and its resulting prejudice and intolerance.
Like African-Americans who faced far more severe challenges in the 50s and 60s, American Muslims are now the easy targets of unreasoned hate and suspicion. Like Dr. King, American Muslims must respond to hate with love and understanding.
Dr. King accurately noted that, "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." He also said, "Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."
This refusal to let the hatred of others impact one's principles or actions is reflected in the Quran, Islam's revealed text, which states: "Be steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity, and never let the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: (for) that is closest to piety." (The Holy Quran, 5:8)
In his letter from a Birmingham jail cell, Dr. King wrote that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." This statement clearly indicated that the quest for justice is universal and not limited to a particular time or movement, and that everyone must rise to confront the injustices of his or her own time and place.
As Dr. King wrote: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
These words strengthen American Muslims as we face the twin tests brought on by those few who would falsely claim to commit violence in the name of my faith and by those who seek to exploit fear and mistrust to marginalize an entire minority community.
In his most famous speech, Dr. King said:
"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'...
"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
This hope for equality was also expressed by Islam's Prophet Muhammad, who said in his final sermon: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve...a white (person) has no superiority over a black (person), nor does a black have any superiority over a white - except by piety and good action."
American Muslims dream the same dream as Dr. King and all those who struggled during the civil rights movement -- that the promise of justice and equality may be fulfilled for all our nation's children.
Dr. King said it best when he noted, "The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers."
His legacy of civility, hope, perseverance, and optimism is best honored through actions that continue to make his dream our reality.
MLK'S MESSAGE RESONATES WITH RELIGIOUS GROUPS - TOP Kate Shellnutt, Houston Chronicle, 1/13/10
Members of the Houston Chapter of the Council on American Islamic-Relations will join in Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. "Martin Luther King has a special meaning, especially for those of us who were born here (in the U.S.)," said Mustafaa Carroll, of the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Decades after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, his message of equality, freedom and liberation for the oppressed continues to inspire Americans across religious traditions, including Muslims, who will join in this year's parade Monday in Houston.
"Martin Luther King has a special meaning, especially for those of us who were born here (in the U.S.)," said Mustafaa Carroll, of the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It's a really easy connection to make because our holy prophet, Muhammad, was one who stood with the oppressed and stood for justice. We see Martin Luther King as falling right in line with that." (More)
CAIR: CALIF. MUSLIMS CONDEMN HATE GRAFFITI TARGETING CHURCH - TOP
(ANAHEIM, CA, 1/14/2011) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today condemned a recent incident of hate graffiti targeting a Catholic Church in Anaheim. A hate message stating "Kill THE CATHLICS!" was spray-painted on a wall of St. Boniface Catholic Church earlier this week. Police are investigating the incident.
In a message sent to the leadership of St. Boniface church, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said: "It is important to us that you know we are very concerned about these events and that we all stand ready to assist in whatever form possible."
Ayloush further stated: "It is imperative that we, as Americans, speak out strongly against hate and bigotry promoted by anyone seeking to demonize and divide based on religion, race or national background."
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: Munira Syeda, CAIR-LA, 714-776-1847, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
----- CAIR: D.C. PANEL TO DISCUSS ISLAMOPHOBIA - TOP WHAT: Islamophobia and Beyond: Challenging the Politics of Exclusion in America WHEN: Saturday, January 15th, 4-6 p.m. WHERE: Busboys and Poets, 1390 V St. N.W. (intersection of 14th and V), Washington, D.C. CONTACT: CAIR Legislative Director Corey Saylor, Tel: 202-384-8857, E-Mail: email@example.com Islamophobia reached a new low this past year in America, with the controversy over the so-called Ground Zero mosque, Burn a Quran day, the fallout over Juan Williams' controversial comments about Muslims, and the rampant bigotry in the 2010 mid-terms elections. Join us for a lively panel discussion on the legal implications of this phenomenon, the role of the media, and the efforts of political leaders to use marginalization as a campaign strategy. We will cover how Islamophobia spread over the past decade, how this trend threatens other communities, and ways to counter it. Moderated by Faiz Shakir, a Vice President at the Center for American Progress, the panel will consist of civil liberties lawyer and executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee Shahid Buttar, playwright and essayist Wajahat Ali, Foreign Policy in Focus contributor Fouad Pervez, and Director of Government Affairs at the Council on American-Islamic Relations Corey Saylor. This event is sponsored by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Center for American Progress, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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. SEE ALSO: CAIR-MI REP JOINS PANEL ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM - TOP (SOUTHFIELD, MI, 1/14/11) -- A representative of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) yesterday participated in a panel discussion at the Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, Mich., about challenges related to religious expression in America. CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid discussed Islam's position on freedom of religious expression for all people and contemporary challenges faced by American Muslims regarding hate crimes, attempts to block the construction and expansion of mosques and concerns of broad monitoring by law enforcement entities of mosques and Islamic charities. The panel discussion, which was sponsored by the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ), also included Rev. Sue Sprowls of Lord of Light Lutheran Church, Rabbi Rob Dobrusin of Beth Israel Congregation, Rev. Robert Keefer of Crossroads Tabernacle Church (Wiccan), and Mary Beijan of the ACLU. "We welcome such opportunities to discuss the importance of the First Amendment and how religious freedoms should not be diminished or chilled by private citizens or government officials," said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. 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-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
OK: ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIME SUSPECT SENT TO JAIL - TOP Jerry Wofford, Tulsa World, 1/14/11 A jury found Thursday that a Tulsa man who is accused of violating Oklahoma's hate-crimes statute should not be involuntarily committed to a mental-health facility for treatment.
At the close of a mental-health hearing for Jesse Quinn Harrison, a five-person jury deliberated for six hours and decided in a 4-1 vote that Harrison "is not a person in need of treatment." ...
Harrison testified Thursday morning that a video he produced - which depicted him rubbing pork chops over a Quran and over a picture of an Islamic religious figure, grilling them and feeding them to his dog - was his attempt to show that Islam is a peaceful religion.
"I created this horribly offensive video, yet what so many people expected was for Muslims to act violent to me," he said. "Despite this horrible offense, they continue to be a law-abiding, peaceful people." (More)
TEXAS REP. BERMAN FILES RESOLUTION TO BAN 'RELIGIOUS OR CULTURAL LAW' - TOP Berman: 'If that includes Sharia law, then so be it' Mary Tuma, American Independent, 1/12/11
Mimicking proposed legislation in several other states, Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) suggested a constitutional amendment prohibiting Texas courts from enforcing, considering or applying religious or cultural law. Though the joint resolution itself does not specify 'Sharia Law' – the practices governing Muslim life, including family, work and religion – it falls under the umbrella of banned rules.
"A lot of federal courts are referring to international courts and laws of other countries. We want to make sure our courts are not doing this, especially in regards to cultural laws," Berman said. "If that includes Sharia law, then so be it."
Ibrahim Hooper, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a D.C.-based civil rights advocacy group, says the resolution and similar legislation being proposed in Indiana are violations of First Amendment rights and are essentially hypocritical.
"Based on the proposal, he obviously must be against the Ten Commandments," Hooper half-joked.
Births, deaths, wills and marriages that include a person's faith would be null and void, including references to Jewish law in a marriage contract or specifying to be buried in a Catholic cemetery in a will, under the resolution's logic, Hooper said. (More)
CAIR: NJ GOV. TO NAME MUSLIM TO COURT - TOP By Wayne Parry, Associated Press ... Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, praised Christie's move.
"It's just more evidence of the growth and maturity of the American Muslim community and our contributions to American society," he said. "We have a large number of young Muslim attorneys coming up through the legal system, which is a fairly recent trend. It used to be that Muslim parents wanted their children to become doctors or engineers." (More)
----- WA: DISABLED U.S. MUSLIM VETERAN FIGHTING DEPORTATION - TOP By Adam Ashton, Tacoma News Tribune, 1/12/11
A disabled former Washington National Guard soldier got to go home to Lacey after his immigration hearing ended Wednesday, but he still could be deported to his native Pakistan later this year.
Muhammad Zahid Chaudhry, 37, brought about 30 supporters from the Olympia area with him for his hearing before an immigration judge on charges that he lied on visa documents. He sat in his wheelchair, wore his National Guard dress uniform and appealed to stay in the U.S. based on his service in the military. (More)
A deputy trainee who was shot in the face by a reputed gang member during a shootout in East Los Angeles was recovering from surgery Thursday, with doctors remaining hopeful.
"Looking at the big picture right now, he is exceeding all of our expectations," Dr. Kenji Inaba said at a news conference Thursday. "We're very pleased with his progress. He's doing very well." The wounded deputy, Mohamed Ahmed, 27, was hospitalized in critical but stable condition after the Tuesday night shooting, according to sheriff's officials. "He's communicating with us fully. He's giving us the thumbs up," Inaba said.... Sheriff Lee Baca said that Ahmed is "very strong, and very stable, and he was talking before he was sedated ... and so, we're just grateful that there was no injury to his brain, which is generally the most critical thing when a head shot occurs." (More)
CLARIFICATION ON FBI POSTER - TOP
CLARIFICATION: A 30-year old image that is inconsistent with CAIR's policy of constitutionally-informed cooperation with law enforcement agencies was placed on the local events page of a CAIR chapter web site. Once it was brought to our attention it was removed. The image was not designed by CAIR and the event it promotes was not organized by CAIR.
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org