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Islamophobia in the US:
January 3, 2011

CAIR Seeks Prayers for Recovery of Imam Mahdi Bray

CAIR: Okla. Man Faces Hate Crime Charge for Threat to Islamic School

ID: Hearing Continued for Man Charged with Harassing Muslim

CAIR-Chicago: Woman Denied Swim Access Due to Muslim Dress



(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/31/10) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on members of the American Muslim and interfaith communities to pray for the speedy recovery of Imam Mahdi Bray, a well-known and respected national Muslim leader who suffered a stroke yesterday and remains in critical condition in a Virginia hospital.

"We pray that God grants brother Mahdi a speedy recovery and we ask members of the Muslim community and those he has worked with in the interfaith community to offer similar supplications," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We hope that he returns quickly to his tireless efforts promoting justice and interfaith understanding."

Imam Bray serves as executive director of the Muslim American Society's MAS Freedom (MASF) based in Washington, D.C. He also serves on the boards of the Interfaith Alliance, America's largest interfaith organization, and the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice. Imam Bray is also a national co-convener of Religions for Peace USA.


TULSAN ACCUSED OF HATE CRIME - TOP He sent an intimidating letter to the Islamic Peace Academy, a charge states. Jerry Wofford, Tulsa World, 12/31/10

A Tulsa man is charged with a hate crime for allegedly sending an intimidating letter to the Islamic Peace Academy and posting a video online showing him desecrating a Quran, court records show.

Jesse Quinn Harrison, 33, was charged Tuesday with one count each of transmitting a threatening letter and malicious intimidation or harassment - what Oklahoma statutes call a hate crime.

According to the charges, Harrison is accused of sending a nine-page letter to the Islamic Peace Academy in Tulsa "with the intent to intimidate."

He also made a video that shows him "smearing pork on the Quran and an Islamic religious figure and grilling those items," according to the charge. . .

Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he didn't know any details of the case, but he said more hostile rhetoric toward Islam has recently worked its way into the mainstream.

"The rhetoric has not helped," Awad said. "It has forced people to take an extreme stance."

However, he said that although any threat should be taken seriously, cases such as Harrison's are on the fringe.

Many non-Muslims in Oklahoma have good relationships with the Muslim community, he said.

"Whenever instances like this come up, we always have friends from the non-Muslim community to help," Awad said.



A preliminary hearing for a Twin Falls man charged with malicious harassment was postponed Thursday in order to allow the defendant time to find an attorney.

John Christopher Larsen, 42, appeared as his own defense in Twin Falls County 5th District Court to request time to find a lawyer, claiming he was denied a public defender.

Larsen was charged with felony harassment on Dec. 23 after he allegedly threatened a Muslim woman at the Twin Falls Walmart on Dec. 22. Witnesses told police that they heard Larsen yelling at the woman, saying Muslims didn't belong in the U.S., and threatening her with a gun he said he was carrying under his shirt. (More)



A Brookfield man filed two lawsuits today against the Forest Preserve District of Cook County alleging that his wife was denied access to the Cermak Family Aquatic Center in 2009 because she was wearing traditional Muslim dress.

Mahmoud Yaqub went to the aquatic center, which has a wading area, fountains and sprinklers, with his wife and two children on Aug. 16, 2009, according to the lawsuits filed against the Forest Preserve District of Cook County in Cook County Circuit Court.

In the lawsuit, Yaqub alleges that his wife was dressed in a hijab, which is a traditional Muslim headscarf, and a jibab, which is a loose-fitting garment. The family had arrived at the ticket booth to buy their entrance tickets when the cashier told them they couldn't go inside "because of your wife's outfit," the lawsuit states.

Yaqub, who is represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that he tried to explain that neither he nor his wife would be swimming, but the cashier continued to insist that swimwear must be worn into the center. (More)

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