Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, April 2011
Islamophobia in the US:
Shari'a Panic Factory of the "ACT" Israel-Firsters
April 11, 2011
Verse: Repel Evil with Good
Exposed: The Hate Groups Behind Anti-Islam Bills (Salon)
Anti-Sharia Bills Advance in South Carolina (Politico)
Critics Call N.Y.C. Terror Hearing Anti-Muslim (NY Times)
NY Muslims Object to Islam 'Expert' at Senate Hearing
Commentary: Hearings Provide Excuse for Muslim Bashing
VERSE OF THE DAY: REPEL EVIL WITH GOOD - TOP
"Those who patiently persevere in seeking the countenance of their Lord, establish regular prayers, spend out of (the gifts) We have bestowed for their sustenance secretly and openly, and repel evil with good -- they are the ones who shall find their fulfillment in the hereafter."
The Holy Quran, 13:22
THE SHARIA PANIC FACTORY - TOP By Justin Elliott, Salon.com, 4/7/11
One of the more striking things about the current anti-sharia craze is how often state legislators who introduce anti-sharia bills can't answer basic questions about Islamic law or why they see it as a threat.
In Alabama, for example, when the state senator who sponsored an anti-sharia bill was asked by a reporter to simply define sharia, he responded: "I don't have my file in front of me." In Florida, anti-sharia bill sponsors couldn't name a single case where Islamic or international law had been used in a troubling way in U.S. courts. When, on Wednesday, I interviewed a Nebraska state senator behind a similar bill, I asked him about what cases were causes of concern to him. He responded: "I'm not in my office to look them up."
How could all these legislators be so uninformed about their own bills? A big part of the reason is that most of them did not actually write the legislation in question. Rather, many of the anti-sharia bills being considered around the country are either based on or directly copied from model legislation created by an obscure far-right Arizona attorney and activist named David Yerushalmi. ...
The Nebraska case is instructive. State Sen. Mark Christensen introduced a bill (.pdf) in January to bar the use of any foreign law in Nebraska courts. When I spoke to Christensen on Wednesday, he acknowledged he did not have a deep understanding of the issue, referring me back to his office when I asked him what cases involving sharia or foreign law were troubling to him.
He summed up his reason for sponsoring the bill: "This is America. We use America's law." (For more on what sharia actually is, see here and here.)
It turns out Christensen introduced the bill after his office was approached by the head of the local chapter of the anti-Muslim group ACT! for America, Christensen aide Dan Wiles told me. ACT! for America is a Florida-based group led by Brigitte Gabriel. In a profile last month, the New York Times detailed Gabriel's strategy of selectively quoting the Quran to paint most or all Muslims as violent extremists. (More)
ANTI-SHARIA BILLS ADVANCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA - TOP Ben Smith, Politico, 4/7/11
Fears about sharia law are prompting the South Carolina state Senate to action, with two measures striking out against foreign law advancing through the legislative process.
The state Senate adopted a resolution on Tuesday calling on South Carolina courts not to recognize foreign law and legal doctrines in their decisions. And a second bill with the more legal force to ban foreign law out of courts passed out of subcommittee this morning. Neither law explicitly mentions sharia or Islam, but some supporters say that that is the real target of both laws. (More)
NY: FIVE TEENS PLEAD GUILTY IN HARASSMENT AT MOSQUE - TOP Buffalo News, 4/7/11
Five Holley teenagers who harassed members of a mosque have pleaded guilty and were granted youthful offender status, Orleans County District Attorney Joseph V. Cardone said Wednesday ... .
The five were accused of disrupting prayers in the Fuller Road mosque, which has existed since 1974, by yelling obscenities and honking car horns on two occasions in late August.
One of the five also was accused of firing a shotgun near the mosque during Friday prayers Aug. 27. (More)
14 JOIN LAWSUIT AGAINST TENNESSEE MOSQUE - TOP Scott Broden, DNJ.com, 4/7/11
MURFREESBORO -- The number of plaintiffs seeking to stop the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro from building a bigger mosque grew from three to 17 Wednesday.
Attorney Joe Brandon Jr. submitted an amended complaint to Chancellor Robert Corlew III's court against Rutherford County for approving what he said was a "megamosque" site plan.
Plaintiffs Kevin Fisher, Lisa Moore and Henry Golczynski filed the original lawsuit last September. The 14 new plaintiffs are: John Lilley, Marlena Gregory, Caleb Gregory, Mike Hopkins, David Weaver, Justin Weaver, Missy Weaver, Brian Gregory, June Lilley Holt, Jim McCormack III, Annmarie Shannon, Shane Davis, Ronald Todd and Tim Holt.
"The residents neighboring the property of the 52,000-square-foot Muslim Brotherhood Training Center fear for their property values, their safety, their privacy and constitutional rights," Brandon states in a news release. (More)
----- CRITICS CALL N.Y.C. TERROR HEARING ANTI-MUSLIM (NY TIMES) - TOP Paul Vitello, New York Times, 4/7/11
A state senator has scheduled a daylong hearing for Friday on terrorism preparedness in New York City, featuring an array of experts in law enforcement, emergency response and counterterrorism.
But his plan to take testimony in Manhattan about the threat from radical Islam is drawing sharp criticism from Muslim and interfaith groups that call the hearing anti-Muslim and incendiary -- a local version of the contentious session held last month in Washington by Representative Peter T. King of Long Island.
In fact, the witness list includes Mr. King, a Republican who has promised more Congressional hearings on what he calls the radicalization of American Muslims.
The state senator, Gregory R. Ball, a Putnam County Republican who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, said he did not intend his inquiry to focus unfairly on threats from any one group.
"But there are people who seek to hurt and destroy us," Mr. Ball said. "We have to move beyond political correctness." (More)
EDITORIAL SLAMS ANTI-ISLAM NY STATE SENATE WITNESSES - TOP A Journal News editorial, 4/7/11
One reality of religious bigotry and intolerance is that those who spread it, or aid and abet in its dissemination, very often aren't the ones who have to answer for it.
For instance, a deranged Florida preacher burned a Quran last month in Gainesville, and more than a score of innocent people in Afghanistan have lost their lives, victims of Taliban-exploited anger and extremism. The dead have included U.N. workers in tinderbox regions who sought to preserve human life and dignity. They needed Pastor Terry Jones' help like a kick in the teeth.
We hope the same isn't said later of state Sen. Greg Ball, R-Carmel, who heads the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security & Military Affairs Committee, a key assignment in a state that knows all too well the derivative costs of intolerance and religious extremism -- and should also know of the need for more understanding, smarter heads and less vitriol.
Under the guise of exploring the serious issues of emergency preparedness and public protection, Ball has invited a pair of virulent, high-profile and unabashedly anti-Islam critics to testify in hearings Friday in Albany. The odds of either Nonie Darwish or Frank Gaffney, Ball's firebrand invitees, informing or improving our safety and security are absolutely nil. (More)
NY MUSLIMS OBJECT TO ISLAM 'EXPERT' APPEARING BEFORE STATE SENATE - TOP Judy L. Randall, Staten Island Advance, 4/7/11
The head of the state Senate committee on homeland security is under pressure from colleagues, including state Sen. Diane Savino, and members of the Muslim-American community to disinvite a controversial self-proclaimed expert on Islam to a Friday that has sparked controversy.
Ms. Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) and Hesham El-Meligy, an inter-faith community leader from New Springville, are among those asking state Sen. Greg Ball (R-Putnam County), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, to rescind the invitation to Nonie Darwish, director of Former Muslims United.
Ms. Savino and El-Meligy said while the thrust of the committee hearing, "Reviewing Our Preparedness: An Examination of New York's Public Protection Ten Years After Sept. 11," scheduled to take place in Manhattan tomorrow, is valid, asking Ms. Darwish to appear is not.
In a letter to Ball, Ms. Savino, who is a member of the committee, and other Senate Democrats said Ms. Darwish does not have the "scholarly credentials" to testify and said her assertions, including that Islam "is not a true religion," make her an inappropriate choice. (More)
COMMENTARY: HEARINGS PROVIDE AN EXCUSE FOR MORE MUSLIM BASHING - TOP By Barry W. Lynn, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 4/7/11
The United States pioneered religious liberty. If we don't understand the concept, no one does. Yet, lately, it seems that some of us are acting like we just don't get it.
A disturbing wave of Islam bashing is washing over the country.
Some people are actually in court, trying to block Muslims from exercising their right to build worship facilities. Legislators in a few states have introduced bills to ban Shariah - Islamic law - even though no one is trying to impose it.
One group calls itself "Stop Islamization of America." Stop Islamization? Can anyone explain to me how a religion that makes up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is going to pull that off? In a tense atmosphere like this, a congressional hearing on "radicalization" of the American-Muslim community is the last thing we need.
Yet, thanks to U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., it's what we just got.
King insists he's only concerned about terrorism. It's a common tactic these days. It seems any violation of civil liberties becomes acceptable if it's wrapped in the guise of fighting terrorism. (More)
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