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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

 
 
Islamophobia in the US, April 30, 2011:

Bullying Targets Muslim and Arab Students in New Jersey Schools

Hadith: Love the Poor

CAIR-OK Asks GOP to Condemn Rep.'s Racist, Sexist Remarks

CAIR-NJ: Muslims Respect the Constitution, Right to Free Speech

CAIR-OH: Muslim, Catholic Teens to Participate in Service Project

CAIR: Muslims, Jews to Challenge San Fran Ban on Circumcision

CAIR: Muslim, Japanese-American Youth Empowered by History

NJ: Bullying Targets Muslims, Arabs, Say Activists

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HADITH OF THE DAY: LOVE THE POOR - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "O God, grant me life as a poor man, cause me to die as a poor man and resurrect me in the company of the poor." His wife asked him why he said that, and he replied: "Because (the poor) will enter Paradise (before) the rich. Do not turn away a poor man ... even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you ... God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376

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NJ: BULLYING TARGETS MUSLIMS, ARABS, SAY ACTIVISTS -

TOP Hannan Adely, The Record, 4/29/11

"Terrorist," "towel head," "camel jockey" -- those are some of the taunts that bullies have used to put down Arab, Muslim and South Asian students in what some community leaders say is a growing epidemic.

The students have become frequent targets of bullies since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with reports of name-calling, intimidation and physical violence in schools, community and civil rights leaders said Thursday at a forum about bullying. With the rise of anti-Islamic sentiment, the problem has grown worse, they said.

"When public officials and media commentators propagate these ideas, it gets into the main discourse, and schools are a ripe environment for these feelings," said Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum, a Paterson-based think tank specializing in Arab and Muslim affairs. (More)

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Bullying targets Muslims, Arabs, say activists Friday, April 29, 2011 BY HANNAN ADELY The Record STAFF WRITER

WAYNE "Terrorist," "towel head," "camel jockey" those are some of the taunts that bullies have used to put down Arab, Muslim and South Asian students in what some community leaders say is a growing epidemic.

HANNAN ADELY/STAFF Community leaders Aref Assaf, left, Engy Abdelkader, Amardeep Singh and Khyati Joshi at Thursday's forum on bullying.

The students have become frequent targets of bullies since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with reports of name-calling, intimidation and physical violence in schools, community and civil rights leaders said Thursday at a forum about bullying. With the rise of anti-Islamic sentiment, the problem has grown worse, they said.

"When public officials and media commentators propagate these ideas, it gets into the main discourse, and schools are a ripe environment for these feelings," said Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum, a Paterson-based think tank specializing in Arab and Muslim affairs.

For Shehnaz Abdeljaber, the telling moment was when her son came home with his yearbook, and it was plastered with notes from classmates and a teacher about blowing things up and bombs. Abdeljaber said she did not want to identify her son or hometown to protect him.

"He put his head down and said, 'I know, I know.' It was like he was telling me what had been going on all this time," said Abdeljaber, who spoke at the forum at the Passaic County Technical Instatute. The event was sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and focused on bullying against students from Arab, Muslim and South Asian backgrounds.

She was not happy with the response at his middle school where the incident happened, saying the teacher only had a letter put into her file about the incident. But she said her son's high school was proactive when he was ridiculed by another student. School officials invited her to talk to faculty in her capacity as an outreach coordinator for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers.

While community leaders were happy about New Jersey's new anti-bullying law the toughest in the country they expressed concern that it would not be effective unless educators took bullying seriously themselves.

Philip Freeman, assistant director at the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, said that bullying incidents were underreported, and he encouraged more families and educators to report incidents.

Despite the stronger law and more outreach efforts extended to educators, some activists still feel like they have an uphill battle because of the strong tide of anti-Islamic sentiment.

Activists said the vilification of Muslims and Arabs was a key factor in the rise of bullying, citing as examples anti-mosque activism, the burning of the Quran as a form of protest, and the recent congressional hearings on radicalization of American Muslims.

"We need to find ways to engage public officials and educators," Assaf said. "It's not enough to have laws."

E-mail: adely@northjersey.com

http://www.northjersey.com/topstories/wayne/120941804_Arabs__Muslims_discuss_bullying.html

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CAIR-OK ASKS GOP TO CONDEMN REP.'S RACIST, SEXIST REMARKS - TOP

(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 4/29/11) -- The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on the Oklahoma State GOP to condemn Rep. Sally Kern for racist and sexist remarks she made Wednesday on the Oklahoma House floor.

During a debate, Kern said: "We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that's tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don't want to study as hard in school? I've taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them."

After the racist comments, Kern went on to allege that women do not work as hard as men "because women tend to think a little bit more about their families, wanting to be at home more time (and) have a little more leisure time."

SEE: Rep. Kern Apologizes, Won't be Disciplined

"Sally Kern's history of racist, sexist and bigoted remarks about members of this community has embarrassed all Oklahomans," said CAIR-OK Executive Director Muneer Awad. "This is not an ideology to simply disagree with -- as State GOP Officials claim -- but rather it is an ideology that must be publicly condemned and rejected."

He noted that Kern recently introduced a bill that Muslims say targets their faith and religious practices.

SEE: Sally Kern Bill Unconstitutional, Bad for Business, Critics Say

Sally Kern Uses White Supremacist Attorney to Draft Anti-Muslim Bill

Awad added: "Oklahomans should not be satisfied with 'disagreement' among the OKGOP when it comes to the issues of racism and sexism. An official condemnation and rejection of racist politics must be demanded to make clear where the OKGOP stands on bigotry, and to make clear that our legislatures do not use bigotry to guide their decisions in lawmaking. By simply disagreeing with Kern and accepting her explanation, the OKGOP has chosen to tolerate her racism and sexism. Oklahomans should demand more than an agreement to disagree when it comes to bigotry."

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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CAIR-OH: MUSLIM, CATHOLIC TEENS TO PARTICIPATE IN SERVICE PROJECT - TOP

(CINCINNATI, 4/29/11) --- On April 30, the Cincinnati chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cincinnati), the Institute for Youth Development and Excellence and Mother of Mercy High School will work together on a community service project at Imago Earth Center in Price Hill. The project will bring together Muslim and Catholic youth in a volunteer project to help prepare the Earth Center's gardens for spring planting. The service project will be followed by an interfaith discussion between the two groups of teens.

"This is an important opportunity for Cincinnati area youth to connect on the level of community service," said CAIR-Cincinnati Executive Director Karen Dabdoub. "There will also be time for fun, pizza and conversation which is where the most direct exchange is likely to take place."

Dabdoub was a guest speaker at Mercy as an interfaith project that allowed students a chance to meet and get to know the Muslim community. In addition, each year Mother of Mercy seniors in the comparative religion class visit and tour the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester.

"We both share strong religious faiths in our highly secular culture," said Bob Bonnici, chairperson of Mercy's religion department. "Our student's are looking forward to participating in Mercy's first collaborative effort with a different faith."

CAIR-Cincinnati has organized and taken part in many interfaith programs and community service projects since its founding in 2004. Examples include the annual Sharing Ramadan in Over-the-Rhine feeding project, the School Supplies for Needy Students, and the Feeding Our Neighbors food basket project.

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: Karen Dabdoub, 513-281-8200, E-mail: kdabdoub@cair.com; Roula Allouch, rallouch@cair.com; Jenny Kroner Jackson, jackson_j@motherofmercy.org

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CAIR-NJ: MUSLIMS RESPECT THE CONSTITUTION AND RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH - TOP By James Yee, Star-Ledger, 4/29/11 James Yee is executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Last year, NJ Transit fired employee Derek Fenton for his public burning of the Quran near Ground Zero on the anniversary of Sept. 11, characterizing the behavior as a violation of the agency's "code of ethics."

Fenton responded with a lawsuit. In a settlement reached April 21, NJ Transit agreed to reinstate Fenton to his $86,110-a-year position, with back pay.

The state's decision to rehire Fenton is a reversal of action, but what does not change is that Fenton's desecration of a sacred text, revered by more than a billion worldwide, was blatantly offensive and highly insensitive.

As a Muslim from New Jersey, I was extremely hurt by Fenton's actions, but saddened more so by the brazen religious intolerance displayed by a fellow American. I find the torching of any religious scripture deplorable -- be it the Quran, Bible, Torah or other. I am especially disgusted when it is done in order to provoke tempers.

However, as a citizen of this country, I respect the Constitution of the United States and Fenton's right to free speech. Everyone has the right to express his views, as vile or as hateful as those views might be. (More)

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CAIR: MUSLIMS, JEWS TO CHALLENGE BAN ON CIRCUMCISION IN SAN FRANCISCO - TOP Hannah Dreier, Associated Press, 4/29/11

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) -- Activists who want to ban male circumcision in San Francisco have taken a step toward putting the issue to a popular vote, sparking outcry from Jewish and Muslim groups ... .

Circumcision is also a common rite among Muslims. Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said his group would join with Jews to protect their religious freedoms. (More)

----- CAIR: MUSLIM, JAPANESE-AMERICAN YOUTH EMPOWERED BY HISTORY - TOP Jody Godoy, Kyodo News, 4/28/11

''Have you ever been called a racist name?'' Mustafah Hawari, 17, asks Yuka Ogino, 23, a Japanese-American coordinator at the Bridging Communities Program.

''Yes, I have,'' she tells Hawari and the small group of students sitting on the floor at a mosque in Anaheim, California.

The students, most of them Muslim or Japanese American, spent five Saturdays throughout the spring of 2011 talking about tolerance and identity in the program organized by the Japanese American Citizens League, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress. (More)

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CONTACT:

CAIR-OK Executive Director Muneer Awad, 405-415-6851 Email: info@ok.cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com



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