Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, May 2011
Islamophobia in the US, May 17, 2011:
Anti-Muslim Agitators Speak in Events
Verse: Good and Evil are a Test
Backgrounder: CAIR Asks Agency Not to Back Islamophobe
VERSE OF THE DAY: GOOD AND EVIL ARE A TEST - TOP
"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial: and unto Us you all must return."
The Holy Quran, 21:35
"On the Day of Judgment We shall set up scales of justice so that no one will be dealt with unjustly in any way; even if someone has an act (of good or evil) as small as a grain of a mustard seed, We will bring it to account, and sufficient are We to settle the accounts."
The Holy Quran, 21:47
CAIR ASKS GOP TO REPUDIATE TENN. EVENT HONORING ISLAM-HATER - TOP Notorious Islamophobe Geert Wilders to be honored at Republican luncheon
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/12/11) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on state and national GOP leaders to repudiate a Tennessee event at which party officials will honor one of the world's leading Islam-haters, extremist Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
A luncheon in Wilders' honor will reportedly be held today at Williamson County Republican Party headquarters in Franklin, Tenn. Wilders is in Tennessee at the invitation of a group headed by former congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik, who once claimed that the construction of a new mosque would pose a threat to that state's "moral and political foundation."
Wilders claims that "Islam is not a religion" and "the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam." When Wilders spoke in Florida, that state's office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned his "message of hate against Islam as inflammatory, divisive and antithetical to American democratic ideals." Wilders is also notorious for campaigning to ban the Quran, Muslim headscarves and Islamic schools in the Netherlands.
"It is time for mainstream leaders in Tennessee to stem the anti-Muslim tide that is emerging in their state," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Hatred directed toward a minority should never be given a chance to go mainstream."
He pointed to several indicators currently raising reasonable concerns about tolerance in Tennessee. In 2010, anti-Muslim incidents -- including apparently bias-motivated arson -- occurred at mosques in Nashville, Brentwood, Antioch, Mufreesboro, and Knoxville.
CNN Video: Unwelcome -- Muslims Next Door
Also in 2010, the Department of Justice was compelled to argue the basic premise that Islam is a religion in a lawsuit targeting construction of a mosque in that state.
Hooper added that legislation recently proposed in the Tennessee legislature would have essentially made it illegal to be a practicing Muslim.
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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com ----- CAIR: DHS-FUNDED SPEAKER SAYS ISLAM 'INHERENTLY VIOLENT' - TOP David Montgomery, Rapid City Journal, 5/12/11
South Dakota emergency personnel who gathered Wednesday in Rapid City for a Homeland Security Conference got a controversial presentation about Muslim theology, culture and terrorism.
Walid Shoebat, who says he was a former terrorist in the Palestine Liberation Organization before converting to Christianity, said that Americans should focus on what he called the "culture of terrorism" among Muslims rather than "only the ones who carry out the explosive act."
Shoebat said closet supporters of terrorism exist throughout the Muslim community in mosques, community groups and in the U.S. armed forces.
"You've been infiltrated at all levels," Shoebat said. "Are all Muslims who interpret for the U.S. military terrorists? Of course not. But that doesn't mean you play Russian roulette."
Shoebat's appearance was paid for by a federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security as part of the second annual South Dakota Homeland Security Conference. He also spoke at the first conference last year in Sioux Falls. ...
Several national groups criticized the decision to use taxpayer money to pay for Shoebat's speech. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a controversial advocacy group for Muslim Americans, each said the Department of Public Safety shouldn't have invited Shoebat.
His appearance "would send the message that the department endorses Shoebat's anti-Muslim views," CAIR said in a press release. ...
Some of Shoebat's critics have challenged this background. Media reports have questioned the veracity of some elements of Shoebat's story, saying he has exaggerated or invented his role as a "terrorist."
"He's a scam artist and he's a liar," Abourezk said. "He doesn't have any credibility when he claims he was a PLO terrorist." (More)
BACKGROUNDER: CAIR ASKS S.D. AGENCY TO DROP CONFERENCE FEATURING ISLAMOPHOBE - TOP
WASHINGTON, May 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling on the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) to drop its endorsement of a national security conference featuring Walid Shoebat, a notorious Islamophobe who claims "Islam is the devil" and that President Obama is a Muslim.
CAIR said the DPS' continued sponsorship of the 2nd Annual South Dakota Homeland Security Conference to be held next week in Rapid City, S.D., would send the message that the department endorses Shoebat's anti-Muslim views.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization also expressed concern that law enforcement personnel -- including FBI agents -- who attend the conference will apply Shoebat's extremist views in their security investigations and in interactions with American Muslims. (More)
----- CAIR: FLYING WHILE MUSLIM -- A CASE OF INTOLERABLE DISCRIMINATION - TOP Seattle Times editorial, 5/12/11
THE ironic story of two imams forced off a plane taking them to a conference on Islamaphobia might be humorous if it did not expose unfounded and ethnically motivated passenger profiling. This cannot be tolerated in a democratic society.
The case of two Muslim scholars in Memphis confirms the reality of Islamaphobia. This week, we have seen what this fear — if allowed to trump reason — means for America's Muslim community.
This was not an isolated occurrence. The event involving Atlantic Southeast Airlines came amid a flurry of similar incidents since the death of Osama bin Laden, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In the case of Imam Masudur Rahman, a professor of Arabic at the University of Memphis, the pilot said other passengers aboard the flight might feel uncomfortable. According to Rahman, the representative on the plane found no passengers to be uncomfortable. (More)
SEE ALSO: CAIR: MUSLIMS FIND ACCEPTANCE ELUSIVE IN WAKE OF BIN LADEN'S DEATH - TOP By Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News, 5/12/11
On Friday morning, Masudur Rahman boarded a plane to attend a conference in North Carolina on Americans' distrust of Islam. Agents with the Transportation Security Administration had twice screed both Massud and his traveling companion Mohamed Zaghloul and determined that the two men were not a threat, and they were cleared to join all the other similarly screened passengers on the Delta regional flight operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines.
That's why it came as a shock to the pair when the staff ordered them to deplane, reportedly because the pilot didn't want them on board. An Atlantic Southeast Â spokesman says the airline is investigating the incident, and that the company takes "all allegations of discrimination very seriously."
Rahman and Zaghloul didn't arrive at the conference until the evening, and Rahman said he was too stressed by the experience to concentrate on the weekend's topic of "Islamophobia," or the fear of Islam.
"I was humiliated. I was not feeling good," he told The Lookout. "I thought maybe my children will think in the future, 'My dad was singled out and forced to get off on the plane.' It was an emotional shock." (Rahman has two children under six years old.)
Delta agents apologized profusely for the incident and emphasized that the airline's staff works separately from the personnel at the regional airline, according to Rahman. Rahman says several Delta pilots personally apologized to them for the other pilot's action. Also heartening to the imam, who came to the United States eight years ago from India and owns a jewelry business in Memphis, are the dozens of emails he's received from correspondents across the globe offering him support.
"America is a land of justice and a land of law and that's why people like to live over here," he says. "If somebody is facing some injustice, American law and American people stand behind him or her." ...
It's possible that this tension is partially responsible for some of the anti-Muslim incidents of the past few weeks, says Ibrahim Hooper, the head of Muslim civil rights organization CAIR.
"I do not think these cases would have occurred had it not been for the killing of Osama bin Laden," Hooper says. He mentioned that a mosque in Maine had been vandalized with bin Laden's name after his death, and that someone had smeared the doors of a Louisiana mosque with pork. Many Muslims don't eat pork for religious reasons. (More)
----- CAIR-MI: AMERICAN MUSLIMS STILL LIVE IN A CLIMATE OF HATE - TOP Asraa Mustufa, Illume, 5/11/11 News of Osama bin Laden's death has not come without more incidents of backlash towards American Muslims. These individual episodes reflect not only the Islamophobia rampant in this country, but also the government policies that have fostered a culture of hate and suspicion towards law-abiding Muslims.
A mosque in Maine was vandalized with the messages "Osama today, Islam tomorrow" and "Go Home." In Houston, a schoolteacher was disciplined for racially profiling a Muslim ninth-grader by asking if she was grieving her uncle's death on Monday. Also this week, Mohamed Kotbi, an Arab waiter who is suing his employer, the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, for religious and racial discrimination following the 9/11 attacks, has reported more taunts from co-workers following bin Laden's death. (More)
NY: HATE-TINGED GRAFFITI SCRAWLED ON MOSQUE SITE - TOP Samuel Goldsmith and Joe Kemp, New York Daily News, 5/12/11
Hate-laced graffiti scrawled at the construction site of a controversial Brooklyn mosque was painted over Wednesday - as its opponents were still reeling over a judge's decision not to stop the project.
The words "He is dead" and happy faces had been spray-painted on the Sheepshead Bay site's plywood walls after news of Osama Bin Laden's death emerged, officials said. (More)
CA: 'JIHADIST' HATE CRIME SUSPECTS SURRENDER TO AUTHORITIES - TOP KRCTV, 5/12/11
EUREKA, Calif. -- The two suspects in an alleged hate crime in Eureka, surrendered to police overnight.
Police have been looking for Jamie Hunt, 32, and Jeremy Schweizer, 30, since Sunday night when investigators say they assaulted a gas station clerk of East Indian descent, calling him a "Jihadist" and saying he was angry "Osama bin Laden" was dead. (More)
----- CAIR-LA: MUSLIM OFFERS INVOCATION AT CITY COUNCIL MEETING - TOP Mona Shadia, Los Angeles Times, 5/12/11
Before the Huntington Beach City Council meets every other week, someone walks up to the podium to lead a prayer after the flag salute.
Prayers in public meetings often end with a phrase like "in Jesus' name," which reflects the country's dominant faith.
But on the day following the announcement of the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, a woman in a long, flowing, sky-blue dress and a blue scarf covering her hair walked to the podium. With her head down, she led the prayer.
Maria Khani, a representative of the Islamic faith on the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, didn't lead the prayer on that Monday evening as a result of the news about the killing of an extremist who used her faith to commit terrorist acts that changed the world almost 10 years ago.
In fact, it wasn't Khani's first time leading the prayer at the council meeting. ...
While some continue to look at Muslims with suspicion, Khani's prayer at the council meeting is an example of the real story that is being written about Muslims in America today, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"It's a story of Muslims being accepted and recognized as part and parcel of our diverse American religious and social fabric," Ayloush said. "In America, for the most part, the face of Islam is the Muslim teacher, the Muslim doctor, the Muslim member of Congress, the Muslim student, the Muslim neighbor and the Muslim friend. And Bin Laden and his group are becoming and were becoming what they are: mostly an irrelevant, extremist and rejected phenomenon." (More)
NJ: AREA TURKS REVEAL THEIR JOURNEYS TO THE HIJAB - TOP Jaimie Julia Winters, NorthJersey.com, 5/12/11 For Rukiye Koc and Elif Akay, wearing their head scarves, or hijabs, are a blessing they didn't always have. The first day Koc covered her head at the age of 22, she was thrown out of the Turkish university she had worked so hard to get into. Akay would wear her scarf around her neck during classes at her Turkish university and pull it up, covering her hair, in between classes. In Turkey, it was either get an education or cover your head, says Akay.
"In Turkey it's not freedom of religion; it's freedom from religion," says Koc. Today more Turks live in New Jersey than any other state and the population is estimated to be at about 40,000.
Many of the women who did not wear the head scarves in Turkey are choosing to do so here, not only because there are no bans but also because there seems to be less of a stigma in the United States. (More)
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