Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, January 2011
Islamophobia in the US:
January 19, 2011
(Wash. Post) The U.S. Role in Gulet Mohamed's Detention
(Salon) CAIR-NJ Conducts Workshop for State Child Welfare Agency
CAIR-Chicago: Bias Alleged in Decision Against Mosque
[Dawud Walid is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Michigan Chapter.]
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. many Americans remember is a homogenized version of him that virtually ignores his stance against militarism and his struggle against the exploitation of workers.
King has come to symbolize America's evolution toward a more racially just society. Indeed, King's involvement in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, and his advocacy of the 1964 Civil Rights Act were monumental milestones in our country's struggle toward freedom, justice and equality. I am a direct beneficiary of his work, being the son of a parent who grew up in the Jim Crow South and attended segregated schools while fearing the Ku Klux Klan.
However, there seems to be a gap in our collective consciousness about King's holistic outlook toward human rights and justice. Cornel West, a preeminent American scholar and civil rights activist, has described much of the current public discourse about the late civil rights leader as the "Santa Claus-ification" of King.
King was not a popular man during his era. He was loathed not only by bigots, but in many circles of the federal government and corporate America. Even before then-U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized the FBI to wiretap King, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover monitored King and spread misinformation that the Baptist pastor was a godless "communist." In fact, Hoover went so far in government documents as to dub King as "the most dangerous man in America."
King was seen as a threat not because he thought blacks should be able to dine next to whites or attend the same schools, but because he challenged growing American militarism in Vietnam and its negative effects on poor people, both in loss of life and in the diversion of funds that might otherwise have been used to support social programs. (More)
A 19-year-old U.S. citizen from Alexandria who has been detained in Kuwait was turned away Sunday from a flight back to the United States, his lawyer said.
Gulet Mohamed has been on the no-fly list, but his attorney and his family said Kuwaiti authorities had proposed that a ticket be bought for him.
That, they said, led them to think that he would be permitted to board a Washington-bound flight.
However, the lawyer, Gadeir Abbas, said that when Mohamed was taken to the airport Sunday with the ticket, he was refused a boarding pass.
Abbas said that indicated that Mohamed was still on the no-fly list.
Abbas had written earlier in an e-mail that the refusal would show conclusively that the United States is behind Mohamed's detention.
He said he planned to file suit Tuesday against the federal government.
Mohamed, who moved with his family from Somalia to the United States when he was a toddler, was detained last month at an airport in Kuwait when he went there to renew his visa, Abbas said. Abbas is a staff attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (More)
I've written several times about the plight of Gulet Mohamed, the American teenager detained without charges more than three weeks ago in Kuwait by unknown captors, relentlessly interrogated about numerous matters of interest to the Obama administration, and, he claims, severely beaten and tortured. One of the central questions of this episode has been this: who is responsible for what has happened to him -- the Kuwaiti government or his own country's government? (More)
CAIR-NJ CONDUCTS WORKSHOP FOR STATE CHILD WELFARE AGENCY - TOP
(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 1/16/11) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) conducted a sensitivity workshop for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF), the state's child welfare agency, on Thursday. The workshop, entitled "Cultural Diversity and Considerations – Islam and Muslims," was hosted by DCF's Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) at its state headquarters in Trenton.
CAIR-NJ Executive Director James Yee was invited to discuss Islam, Muslims, the accommodation of Islamic religious practices, and other cultural sensitivity issues generally associated with American Muslim families. The 2-hour training session was attended by state employees of both DYFS and DCF, to include the DYFS Director and Deputy Director.
"We welcome the opportunity to familiarize those working in our state's child welfare agency with Islamic beliefs and religious practices," said Yee. "Educating DYFS and DCF staff members on Muslim cultural considerations enhances their ability to provide social support services to the many Muslim children and families throughout our state."
CAIR-NJ commends DYFS and DCF for recognizing the importance of having its employees trained to meet the needs of a growing New Jersey Muslim community.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties group. 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-NJ Executive Director James Yee, 908-938-5990, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TERRE HAUTE — State Rep. Bruce Borders, R-Jasonville, did not introduce legislation that would deny recognition of the Islamic legal system, Sharia, in Indiana.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations says such proposals are "fear-mongering" attacks on Islam and are redundant because current law ensures the supremacy of federal and state laws. (More)
Critics have long expressed worry about potential flooding and traffic problems with a proposed mosque in unincorporated Willowbrook. But one official has dipped into another concern — what he calls an oversaturation of places of worship.
"The present application increases in what is my opinion a saturation of religious institutions into this specific area and leaves minimal open space," said Barry Ketter, a DuPage County Zoning Board of Appeals member opposed to the proposal.
One block north of the proposed site is the Sts. Kiril & Metodij Macedonian Orthodox Church, two blocks away is the Buddha-Dharma Meditation Center, and several blocks south of the site is a Chinmaya Mission religious facility.
Amina Sharif, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said she is concerned that officials are trying to limit religious institutions. In April, the group filed a lawsuit against the county alleging discrimination in rejecting a zoning proposal for an Islamic education center and place of worship near Naperville. (More)
CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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