Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News & Views, March 2011
Islamophobia in the US, March 26, 2011:
Coalition to Challenge NYPD Use of Anti-Muslim Film
Islam Is All-American for One U.S. Muslim Leader
(Reuters) Franklin Graham's New Obama-Muslim Conspiracy Theory
CAIR-MI Rep to Join Panel at 'Death of an Imam' Screening
CAIR-MN: Muslims Move into Metro Mainstream
VERSE OF THE DAY: CONSULT ON MATTERS OF PUBLIC CONCERN - TOP
"And it was by God's grace that you (Prophet Muhammad) dealt gently with thy followers ... Pardon them and pray that they be forgiven, and consult with them in all matters of public concern."
The Holy Quran, 3:159
CAIR-NY: COALITION TO CHALLENGE NYPD USE OF ANTI-MUSLIM TRAINING FILM - TOP
(NEW YORK, NY, 3/22/11) -- On Tuesday, March 22, New York City Council members and local and state representatives will join interfaith groups, civil rights leaders, Muslim and immigrant organizations, and a diverse group of concerned community members for a press conference in response to the New York Police Department's (NYPD) use of the disturbing and prejudicial film "The Third Jihad" to train officers working in Muslim communities in New York City.
When: Tuesday, March 22, 2 p.m. Where: City Hall Steps, New York, NY Who: City Council Members Daniel Dromm, Robert Jackson, Jumanee Williams, and Others, Local and State Representatives, Civil Rights Advocates, Interfaith and Immigrant Groups Contact: Cyrus McGoldrick (CAIR-NY), 212.870.2002, 203-206-6883; Monami Maulik (DRUM), 347.385.9113
Earlier this year, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) called on the NYPD to investigate how the notorious anti-Muslim propaganda film came to be used in mandatory counterterrorism training. CAIR-NY also called for new NYPD guidelines to ensure that officer training materials offer only unbiased information about any religious or minority community.
An article in the Village Voice newspaper said the film is "a spectacularly offensive smear of American Muslims." The article also states: "It is 72 minutes of gruesome footage of bombing carnage, frenzied crowds, burning American flags, flaming churches, and seething mullahs. All of this is sandwiched between a collection of somber talking heads informing us that, while we were sleeping, the international Islamist Jihad that wrought these horrors has set up shop here and is quietly going about its deadly business."
The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC), a coalition of community and civil rights organizations, has reached out to the NYPD, requesting full disclosure about curriculum and the process of selecting materials to train officers about Islam and Muslims, and the assurance that trainers and materials would be properly vetted in order to protect New Yorkers' collective safety and to avoid the profiling of Muslims. Commissioner Kelly's brief response stating that the video is no longer being used does not address any of our substantive concerns. This coalition and concerned allies seek further accountability to promote genuine safety, civil rights and dignity of all New Yorkers.
The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) includes: Arab American Association of New York (AAANY), Association of Muslim American Lawyers (AMAL), Council on American Islamic Relations - New York (CAIR-NY), Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) - CUNY School of Law, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Muslim American Society of New York (MAS-NY), Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY), Muslim Consultative Network (MCN), Muslim Progressive-Traditionalist Alliance (M-PTA), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC-NY), NYU Brennan Center for Justice, Women In Islam, Inc., and more.
Endorsed by (list in formation as of 03/20/2011): Adhikaar, Arab Muslim American Federation, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for Immigrant Families, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center, DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association, Defending Dissent Foundation, Dr. Dhafir Support Committee, Families United for Justice in America (FUJA), Friends of Human Rights, Interfaith Center of New York, Jews Against Islamophobia, Justice for Newburgh 4, Make the Road, The Malcolm X Museum, Muslim Peace Coalition USA, Muslim Solidarity Committee of Albany, NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia, NYC Majlis Shura Council, Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance - MIRA (Jackson, MS), National Liberty Fund (NLF), National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), NY Senator Kevin Parker, Pakistan Solidarity Network, Peace thru Justice Foundation, Professor Alfonso Gonzalez (Lehman College, NY), Project SALAM, South Asian Americans Leading Together - SAALT (Washington DC), The Shalom Center, Sikh Coalition, Turning Point for Women and Families, Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan / Linking the Children of the Motherland, UNITED SIKHS, Urban Justice Center, VAMOS Unidos, Voice of the Ex-Offender - VOTE (New Orleans, LA), Women Against Islamophobia and Racism (WAIR)
ISLAM IS ALL-AMERICAN FOR ONE U.S. MUSLIM LEADER - TOP Wendell Marsh, Reuters, 3/22/11
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Al Azhar, the centuries-old center of Islamic learning in Cairo, is a world away from Oklahoma City where William Suhaib Webb grew up.
But it was not until the American Muslim leader immersed himself in Islamic studies at Al Azhar that he realized just how American he was, regardless of his religion.
"I didn't really have enough comfort as a young convert to really be who I was ... I adopted different cultural constructs that I had not grown up with," he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Santa Clara, California, where he is an imam at a mosque and runs a website aimed at Muslim youth.
Named in 2010 by an Islamic think-tank as one of the 500 "Most Influential Muslims in the World" for his work with youth over the last decade, Webb is now arguably the kind of moderate Islamic leader Congressman Peter King said the country needs when he chaired hearings on Muslim militancy this month.
Webb's positions on issues such as women's rights and religious community involvement are near the American mainstream. He denounces violence in the name of Islam, and encourages U.S. Muslim youth to be comfortable with their American roots. ...
He has tackled head-on problems within the Muslim-American community through educational materials and conferences. One such conference held last year was a town hall meeting entitled "Muslim Youth Radicalization."
American Muslims do not disagree that there is a real threat from extremism, according to Webb. He said the greatest danger comes when both non-Muslims and Muslims alike believe Islam is un-American. (More)
FRANKLIN GRAHAM'S NEW OBAMA-MUSLIM CONSPIRACY THEORY - TOP Billy Graham's son says the president has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate the US government. David Corn, Mother Jones, 3/22/11
Yes, there's a new Obama-Muslim conspiracy theory on the right: The evangelical son of one of America's most famous evangelists says that President Barack Obama has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to become part of the US government and influence administration decisions.
In an interview last week with Newsmax.com, a conservative website (that pushes the Obama-was-born-in-Kenya conspiracy theory), Franklin Graham, an evangelist like his father, Billy Graham, claimed that the fundamentalist Islamic political group has burrowed into the Obama administration and is shaping US foreign policy. Sounding a bit like Glenn Beck, Graham explained:
The Muslim Brotherhood is very strong and active in our country. It's infiltrated every level of our government. Right now we have many of these people that are advising the US military and State Department on how to respond in the Middle East, and it's like asking a fox, like a farmer asking a fox, "How do I protect my henhouse from foxes?" We've brought in Muslims to tell us how to make policy toward Muslim countries. And many of these people we've brought in, I'm afraid, are under the Muslim Brotherhood.
Infiltrated every level of our government -- that's quite a claim. Yet Graham did not name a single Muslim Brotherhood infiltrator or cite a specific Obama administration decision that has been manipulated by these crafty behind-the-scenes Islamists. (The quotes in the Newsmax article reporting Graham's remarks differ slightly from what he actually said during his interview with Newsmax, according to the video of the interview, which is posted below.) (More)
----- CAIR: FLORIDA PASTOR OVERSEES QURAN BURNING - TOP Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service, 3/22/11
The controversial Florida pastor who halted plans to burn a Quran on the 9/11 anniversary last year oversaw the burning of the Islamic holy book on Sunday after it was found "guilty" during a "trial" at his church. ...
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, declined to comment at length about Jones' trial.
"Terry Jones had his 15 minutes of fame and we're not going to help him get another few minutes," he said. (More)
SEE ALSO: CAIR-OK: OKLAHOMA GOV. LIKES REVAMPED ANTI-SHARIA BILL - TOP Michael McNutt, Oklahoman, 3/22/11 Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday she supports the intent of a bill that would ban the use of foreign law in Oklahoma courts. Advertisement
Meanwhile, the local Council on American-Islamic Relations has embarked on a call-in campaign urging senators to vote against House Bill 1552. The measure by Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, passed the House of Representatives last week.
Kern said HB 1552 is patterned after a ballot measure approved in November by about 70 percent of state voters. The measure has been tied up by legal challenges.
State Question 755 would have forbidden state courts from considering or using international law or Sharia law. An amendment described Sharia law as Islamic law based on the Quran and the teaching of Mohammed.
"I personally believe that a law should be made on American law, on our Constitution," Fallin said. "The people of Oklahoma spoke pretty clearly when there was a vote ... on Sharia law. ...
Muneer Awad, the Council on American-Islamic Relations' executive director, said HB 1552 attempts to target Islam without using the wording of SQ 755 and will target all religions.
"At a time when our economy and job creation should be our Legislature's top priority, Representative Kern has made it her priority to promote an anti-Muslim amendment to ban religious laws in Oklahoma and threaten international contracts for Oklahoma businesses," Awad said. (More)
CAIR-MI REP TO JOIN PANEL AT 'DEATH OF AN IMAM' FILM SCREENING - TOP http://www.gvsu.edu/events/the-death-of-an-imam-film-screening/
Date and Time: Friday, March 25, 2011, 1 p.m.- 2:15 p.m. Location: Lake Superior Hall
The 17-minute documentary film, "The Death of an Imam," examines the news reporting associated with the 2009 shooting of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah in a Dearborn warehouse during an FBI raid. It explores allegations of a terrorism conspiracy, the use of FBI informants, and the portrayal of Muslims in the mainstream media.
The film was co-produced by Brian J. Bowe, a visiting assistant professor in the School of Communications. Bowe is also a doctoral student at Michigan State University, where he worked on the project with co-producers Geri Alumit Zeldes, an assistant professor in MSU's School of Journalism, and Salah D. Hassan, an associate professor in the Department of English and core faculty in Muslim Studies. Bowe also composed the film's soundtrack.
The screening at GVSU will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Lena Masri from the Council on American-Islamic Relations; Barbara Roos from GVSU's School of Communications and Roy Cole from GVSU's Geography and Planning Department. The documentary is part of MSU's Social Science Research Council-funded project titled "Islam, Muslims and Journalism Education."
Contact: Brian J. Bowe, email@example.com
CAIR-MN: MUSLIMS MOVE INTO METRO MAINSTREAM - TOP Rose French, Star Tribune, 3/22/11
You won't find minarets or domes at the new mosque in Woodbury.
The Islamic Society of Woodbury recently held Friday prayers at the site in an office park behind a Sam's Club store, with about 75 people in attendance. Men arrived in button-down shirts and dress pants from nearby businesses, using their lunch breaks to worship in the small, carpeted space. Women in head scarves and long, flowing clothes sat behind them.
Founded just over a year ago, the mosque makes attending prayers more convenient for the growing Muslim community in Woodbury.
"It's all about location," said co-founder Imani Jaafar-Mohammed. "And we've felt welcome here. There's this feeling that this [the Twin Cities] is home ... where Muslims can practice their faith, have bonds within their faith."
Woodbury is just one example of the diverse Muslim population emerging in the metro area as the number of Muslims approaches 150,000. ...
Although Minnesota Muslims have faced instances of harassment, many say the Twin Cities has been an overwhelmingly welcoming place.
"We haven't seen, really, any outright hate and bigotry," said Lori Saroya, president of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN). "There's such a concentration of Muslims here. The Twin Cities population is pretty diverse, educated. People know a Muslim in their workplace or a neighbor who's a Muslim. So when there's that personal interaction, I think people are less likely to hold any kind of misconceptions or fears of people." (More)
----- OFFICIALS: TEXAS MOSQUE FIRES INTENTIONAL, BUT MAY NOT BE ARSON - TOP Robert Stanton and Kate Shellnutt, Houston Chronicle, 3/22/11
The fires that charred the back of a mosque in Clear Lake last week were set deliberately, investigators said Monday.
"The Houston Arson Division has classified this fire as incendiary," meaning it was intentionally set, said Houston Fire Department spokesman Patrick Trahan.
Investigators haven't determined if the fires were ignited with the intent to destroy or damage the Clear Lake Education Center, which would classify them as arson. A campfire set by a homeless person for warmth that spread to damage a nearby building, for example, might not qualify as arson.
"They have indicated to federal authorities that they do not believe it was a hate crime," Trahan said. ...
The fires damaged the library, kitchen, women's prayer room and back exit of the small mosque.
"The (mosque's) Educational Center is not going to jump to any conclusions," mosque spokeswoman Rabeea Sultan said. "The investigation is staying open, and based on the community support that we have always received, they (worshippers) feel extremely welcome in the community."
Sultan said the community has rallied behind the mosque since the fires.
"They've had an outpouring of community support," she said. "That's the beauty of Houston. We've had a few challenges, but overall I think that Houston is on the forefront across the nation, given the fact that there hasn't been as many hate crimes reported in the area compared to other areas across the nation." (More)
----- CAIR: ANTI-ISLAM FLORIDA REP. ALLEN WEST GETS GOP CHALLENGER - TOP Jillian Harding, CNN, 3/22/11
Freshman Republican Rep. Allen West, who was backed by the Tea Party in last November's election, has drawn another challenger in the 2012 race for Florida's 22nd Congressional District.
Democrat Lois Frankel, the mayor of West Palm Beach, announced Monday that she will challenge West for the seat. Frankel, who has been mayor for 8 years and is term-limited, is also a former Florida state representative. Fort Lauderdale businessman and Democrat Patrick Murphy announced his candidacy for the seat last week.
In a statement announcing her candidacy, Frankel touted her economic record as mayor and pushed for more bipartisan cooperation in Washington.
"As a mayor and the mother of a veteran and small business owner, I know what families need to do to get by in these tough times" Frankel said in the statement. "Family budgets must be balanced with thought and care. That is why as Mayor of West Palm Beach we balanced our budget while also promoting economic revitalization." ...
West has not been within controversy since arriving in Washington. Last month he faced heat over comments directed at Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, who he said represents "the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established."
The congressman later defended those comments in a town hall when pressed on the issue by Nezar Hamze, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Miami. (More)
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com