Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, May 2011
Islamophobia in the US, May 16, 2011:
Mosque Vandalism, Anti-Shari'a Suits, Barring Imams from Flights
Hadith: Honor the Elderly
CAIR Employment Opportunity: Civil Rights Manager
Alleged Sheepshead Bay Racists Lose Mosque Legal Battle
NY Mosque Moves Forward Despite 'Terrorism'
Jewish Group Files Brief Challenging Anti-Sharia Suit
CAIR-CA: 2 Men Sought On Hate Crime Charges
Editorial: Wrong to Kick Imams Off Flight Based on Garb
CAIR-Cleveland Banquet Features Civil Rights Leaders
HADITH OF THE DAY: HONOR THE ELDERLY - TOP
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "No youth will honor an old man because of his years, without God appointing one to honor him when he is old."
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1280
CAIR EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: CIVIL RIGHTS MANAGER - TOP
The nation's largest civil rights and advocacy organization for Muslims seeks a high energy, assertive individual to manage and oversee CAIR's Civil Rights Department in the position of civil rights manager. (More)
ALLEGED SHEEPSHEAD BAY RACISTS LOSE MOSQUE LEGAL BATTLE - TOP John Del Signore, Gothamist, 5/11/11
Opponents of an under-construction mosque in Sheepshead Bay lost a preliminary legal battle yesterday when a Kings County Supreme Court judge refused to grant a preliminary injunction stopping construction at the site. You'll recall that some local residents fear the mosque would create traffic congestion in the neighborhood, and they've vowed to stop the project in court. But after yesterday's decision, the opposition group, Bay People, accused the defense attorney of labeling them racist. In a press release, they rant:
[Judge] Portnow denied a preliminary injunction without giving a reason for his decision. He ruled from the bench within minutes, which appears that his ruling was pre-determined. Deek, the defense attorney, had only one argument, the “race card” and called Bay People and Sheepshead Bay residents racists and terrorists and added that there are hundreds and hundreds Muslim families living in Sheepshead Bay and that they will all walk to the mosque and not drive.
Our next steps would be to appeal this decision immediately. Moreover we are commencing an action against the New York City Department of Buildings for failing to adequately consider our zoning challenge via unreasonable delays and erroneously granting a building permit in the face of numerous violations on lies on the application.
As this video of an angry Sheepshead Bay protest from March showed, these people really hate this mosque. (More)
VIDEO: CAIR CALLS LA. MOSQUE VANDALISM AN ACT OF INTIMIDATION - TOP
In a country known for freedom of religion, the Council on American Islamic relations, or CAIR, says it's getting more difficult for Muslims to practice theirs. CAIR is an Islamic civil rights group based out of Washington D.C.
Watch the video.
NY: WOULD-BE MOSQUE'S FENCE DEFACED WITH DEAD BIN LADEN GRAFFITI - TOP Jen Chung, Gothamist, 5/10/11
Osama bin Laden's death roused up strong feelings of patriotism and jingoistic drink recipes--and it also inspired someone to inform a proposed Brooklyn mosque of the Al Qaeda leader's death by way of graffiti. Sheepshead Bites reports that "He is dead" and smiley faces were spray painted onto the fence outside a controversial mosque site. The mosque's organizers called it a "hateful act."
Ibrahim Anse, who is part of the group overseeing construction of the Voorhies Avenue mosque and cultural center, told Sheepshead Bites, "That was graffiti from a person who looks at the world in the wrong way. Osama bin Laden is dead, and we as Muslim Americans suffered from him and his act [as much as anyone else]... It is a relief for us as Muslims [that bin Laden has been] killed, which he deserves." (More)
NY MOSQUE MOVES FORWARD DESPITE 'TERRORISM' - TOP Thomas Tracy, The Brooklyn Paper, 5/11/11
A state judge ruled that the construction of a controversial mosque in Sheepshead Bay can move forward shortly after a lawyer for the developer hinted that opponents of the plan are terrorists -- citing inflammatory graffiti cheering the death of Osama bin Laden at the mosque site.
On Tuesday, Judge Mark Partnow dismissed a lawsuit filed by the anti-mosque organization Bay People and neighbors of the as-of-right project on Voorhies Avenue between E. 28th and E. 29th streets, ruling that the mosque wouldn't adversely effect the neighborhood.
The ruling came shortly after the lawyer for mosque builder Ahmed Allowey accused opponents of the plan of acting like racist terrorists.
"This is entirely motivated by racism," said attorney Lamis Deek. "[The Bay People] has forced my client to expend his resources for no good cause and terrorize people with the vitriolic rallies that they hold."
She added that the anti-mosque group would never have complained if a church or synagogue was being constructed.
"[They] claim that the mosque will be a nuisance and will be out of character with the neighborhood," she said. "They've held rallies, protests and filed repeated complaints with the city, but have never done anything like this to a nearby church that doesn't have any on site parking or a nearby synagogue that's twice the size of the mosque." (More)
NJ: TURKISH AMERICAN CENTER CONDEMNS FLAG VANDALISM - TOP Jacklyn Corley, Freehold Patch, 5/10/11
The Turkish-American Community Center released a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the vandalism that occurred on their property on Monday, May 9, where a damaged American flag was raised upside down in front of the center, located at 229 Rt. 33 in Manalapan Township.
"We the Turkish American Community Center condemn the act of vandalism on our building and insulting our US flag by someone replacing our well maintained and displayed US flag with a tattered one in front of our community center," the press release stated. "Any act of vandalism is deplorable. But vandalism against a cultural center and places of learning, are particularly cowardly and hateful." (More)
CAIR: MOSQUES VANDALIZED AFTER OSAMA BIN LADEN'S DEATH - TOP Lucia Graves, Huffington Post, 5/10/11
Muslim-Americans in Louisiana's Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area reported the defacement of a local mosque by a man in a blue pickup truck, the most recent incident in a string of possible hate crimes following the killing of Osama bin Laden.
According to police reports, a white male was seen tampering with the doors of a local mosque on Monday, and raw pork was found hanging from the door handles after his departure. Adherents of Islam do not consume pork, which they consider unclean.
Although members of the mosque will not press charges, police have said the incident could be classified as a hate crime.
"It appears that the individual who did this tried to intimidate the individuals at this location," Bossier City Police Department spokesman Mark Natale told KSLA-TV's Brittany Pieper.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday to launch an investigation into the incident.
"These types of incidents will continue to occur as long as our nation's leaders fail to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Islam sentiment in American society," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. (More)
CAIR-OK: CONSTITUTION CITED IN SUIT INVOLVING SHARIA LAW - TOP Robert Boczkiewicz, Oklahoman, 5/11/11
A change to the Oklahoma constitution to bar state judges from considering Islamic law in making court decisions violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom, opponents claim.
"Oklahoma stigmatizes Islam and its adherents," the opponents of the voter-approved constitutional amendment told the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in written arguments Monday night. ...
The Oklahoma dispute is at the appeals court because U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange on Nov. 29 issued a preliminary injunction stopping the election board from certifying the election results.
Miles-LaGrange, in Oklahoma City, did so until she makes a final decision on a lawsuit by Muneer Awad, an American-born Muslin and Oklahoma City resident. He claims SQ 755 singles out a particular religion for disfavored treatment.
Awad is represented by attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union, including Micheal Salem of Norman, and ACLU staff lawyers in Washington, D.C., plus an attorney for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Awad is executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the council.
The election board told the appeals court on March 28 that Awad's lawsuit is premature because any harm he would suffer is speculative, a position he disputed in his new filing. He said SQ 755 would invalidate his will that is based in part on Islamic law.
The board also argued SQ 755 does not violate the Constitution's protection of religion "because it has a secular legislative purpose, neither advances nor inhibits religion and will not result in an excessive entanglement between the state and religion."
Awad's brief claims SQ 755 tramples the religious rights "of a disfavored minority faith" and constrains Muslims in Oklahoma from executing wills, asserting religious claims under the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act and exercising equal access to state courts. (More)
AJC TELLS APPEALS COURT ISLAMIC LAW NOT RELEVANT TO AIG BAILOUT - TOP May 11, 2011 - New York - Observing that it is the best tradition of the United States to seek to accommodate citizens' own religious practices, AJC told the U.S. Court of Appeals that there is no merit to an Establishment Clause challenge to the government's bailout of insurance giant AIG.
AJC filed a brief in Murray v. U.S. Department of Treasury, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Detroit), expressing concern that the lawsuit is aimed at combating Islamic religious practices in the U.S. (More)
----- CAIR-CA: 2 MEN SOUGHT ON HATE CRIME CHARGES - TOP Associated Press, 5/10/11
EUREKA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities are seeking two men suspected of assaulting a gas station clerk of East Indian descent, calling him a "jihadist" and saying he was angry Osama bin Laden was dead. (More)
CAIR-NY: ANOTHER PAIR OF IMAMS SAY THEY WERE BARRED FROM A FLIGHT - TOP David Ariosto, CNN, 5/10/11
New York (CNN) -- A U.S.-born Muslim cleric and his son are exploring the possibility of legal action after they said they were prevented from traveling aboard an American Airlines flight from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, their attorney says.
Al Amin Abdul Latif and his son, Abu Bakar, were heading on Friday to an annual conference on Islamophobia. They are the second pair of imams barred, at least initially, from traveling to the conference that day.
Also Friday, Imams Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul -- both clad in Islamic attire -- were told to leave the aircraft as it was taxiing toward the runway.
All four are represented by attorney Mo Idlibi, who said that none of them had done anything out of the ordinary, nor were they praying or chanting. (More)
EDITORIAL: WRONG TO KICK IMAMS OFF FLIGHT BASED ON GARB - TOP Charlotte Observer editorial, 5/11/11
Here's how irrational and absurd it was for an Atlantic Southeast Airlines pilot to, if true, eject from his plane two imams - dressed in traditional Muslim garb - based on their appearance.
None of the terrorists who hijacked planes and killed thousands on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001, were dressed in traditional Muslim garb. Neither was Richard Reid, a self-professed al-Qaida member who tried to detonate explosives in his shoes while on a flight from Paris to Miami in December of 2001. Neither was the alleged Christmas Day bomber on a 2009 Detroit flight who reportedly tried to light explosives sewn in his underwear.
You really can't detect a terrorist by appearance. Neither can you detect one by religion. Remember the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, carried out by U.S. militia movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh? Or the Centennial Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996, the work of white supremacist Eric Rudolph? Or the anti-Semitic man who opened fire in the U.S. Holocaust Museum in 2009? (More)
VIDEO: CAIR-PA REP DISCUSSES WALK TO END NEIGHBORHOOD VIOLENCE - TOP
Vic Compher, Rugiatu Conteh and Peter Handler from the Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation explain what the walk aims to accomplish and how anyone can get involved.
Watch the video.
CAIR-CLEVELAND BANQUET FEATURES CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS - TOP
(CLEVELAND, OH, 5/11/11) -- More than 300 guests turned out recently for the Ninth Annual Banquet of the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) in Independence, Ohio. (More)
CAIR: Louisiana Mosque Vandalized with Pork FBI will be asked to treat incident as hate crime
(WASHINGTON, D.C. 5/10/11) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will today ask the FBI to investigate as a possible hate crime an incident in Louisiana in which a mosque was vandalized with pork.
[Muslims are prohibited from consuming pork products and bigots often use pigs or pork to offend Muslim sensibilities.]
Muslims in Bossier City, La., reported to police that a white male in a pick-up truck tampered with the doors of the Mosque and left pork on the door handles so worshippers would have to touch it to go inside.
"These types of incidents will continue to occur as long as our nation's leaders fail to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Islam sentiment in American society," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
He said the targeting of Islam and Muslims by some right-wing commentators, politicians and self-proclaimed "experts" is creating an atmosphere in which such incidents will inevitably occur.
Hooper noted that a mosque in New York is currently being targeted with a nearby hate sign and that a mosque in Maine was targeted with hate graffiti related to the death of Osama bin Laden.
He said three Muslim religious leaders, or imams, were barred from flying to a conference on Islamophobia this past weekend.
Video: Muslim Clerics Taken Off Flight in U.S. (CAIR)
CAIR's Minnesota chapter recently called for a hate crime investigation of graffiti spray-painted on the Rochester home of a Somali Muslim family.
CAIR-MN said a Nazi swastika and the letters "KKK" were written on the side of a house in which the family lives. This is the third time they have been targeted. Video: CAIR-MN Asks FBI to Probe Hate Graffiti Targeting Muslim Family The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is urging members of the Muslim community to review security procedures using advice contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit." 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.
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