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News Briefs, March 6, 2011

Hadith: Set a Good Example

Meet the White Supremacist Behind GOP's Anti-Sharia Crusade

CAIR: Group to Protest 'Un-American' Tenn. Bill Today

CAIR: New York Muslims Want Cemetery to Meet Growing Need

CAIR-CA Welcomes Human Rights Commission Report on Profiling

CAIR-FL Rep: Allen West 'Brought Great Shame' to U.S. Congress

Hundreds Attend Sold-Out CAIR Banquets in Minn., San Diego

CA Congressman: Hearings on Muslims is Un-American (SF Chron)

MO: Investigators Search for Cause of Mosque Fire



The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Anyone who sets a good example in Islam, there is a reward (for this act of goodness) and (added to it the) reward of those also who acted according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards."

Sahih Muslim, Hadith 501


MEET THE WHITE SUPREMACIST LEADING THE GOP'S ANTI-SHARIA CRUSADE - TOP States across the country are considering far-right bills to ban Islamic law. For that, we have hate-group leader David Yerushalmi to thank. Tim Murphy, Mother Jones, 3/1/11 Last week, legislators in Tennessee introduced a radical bill that would make "material support" for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. The proposal marks a dramatic new step in the conservative campaign against Muslim-Americans. If passed, critics say even seemingly benign activities like re-painting the exterior of a mosque or bringing food to a potluck could be classified as a felony.

The Tennessee bill, SB 1028, didn't come out of nowhere. Though it's the first of its kind, the bill is part of a wave of related measures that would ban state courts from enforcing Sharia law. (A court might refer to Sharia law in child custody or prisoner rights cases.) Since early 2010, such legislation has been considered in at least 15 states. And while fears of an impending caliphate are myriad on the far-right, the surge of legislation across the country is largely due to the work of one man: David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based white supremacist who has previously called for a "war against Islam" and tried to criminalize adherence to the Muslim faith.

Yerushalmi, a lawyer, is the founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which has been called a "hate group" by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). His draft legislation served as the foundation for the Tennessee bill, and at least half a dozen other anti-Islam measures--including two bills that were signed into law last year in Louisiana and Tennessee. (More)



MURFREESBORO -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations will hold a press conference at noon today in Nashville to respond to state Sen. Bill Ketron's Shariah law bill that he contends is about making terrorism activity a felony.

"This clearly unconstitutional and un-American legislation would make it illegal to be a Muslim in the state of Tennessee," CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas said in a news release sent out Monday. "Consideration of this legislation, which completely disregards equality before the law, would send the unfortunate message that Tennessee is an intolerant state."

Abbas will take part in today's press conference at the Tennessee Capitol with faith leaders and other representatives from CAIR, as well as from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Interfaith Alliance and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, according to a CAIR news release from Washington, D.C.

Abbas called the legislation a "gross violation of both the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment."

"What this bill ominously calls 'Shariah' is nothing more than the religious traditions that all Muslims use to guide the practice of their faith," Abbas said. (More)



(Newsday, 3/1/11) - The memorial plaques are in English and Arabic, bearing messages such as "Gateway to Mercy." The dead are buried in the direction of the Islamic holy city of Mecca.

On a sprawling plain in Mount Sinai, Muslims have turned a section of the Washington Memorial Park into the only large-scale Muslim burial ground on Long Island with a few thousand plots.

Now, Islamic leaders on Long Island want to establish a cemetery to exclusively serve the growing numbers of Muslims in the New York metropolitan area.

Currently burials at the Mount Sinai cemetery attract the faithful from as far away as Brooklyn and Queens. Islamic leaders said they are running short on plots and see that as a sign of how the Islamic community on Long Island is growing, establishing roots and even dying in significant numbers here.

They use part of this nonsectarian cemetery because they have few other alternatives to be buried near others who share their faith. If they are successful in their efforts to acquire land, the cemetery would be one of a relatively small number of Muslim cemeteries in the United States. The nearest Islamic cemetery to Long Island is in Millstone, N.J.

"People are coming all the way from New York City to bury their loved ones because they don't have a choice," said Nayyar Imam, who is heading efforts to create a Muslim cemetery in eastern Suffolk. Using the nonsectarian Washington Park for now "is like a compromised situation."

The Islamic faith calls for the dead to be buried as soon as possible, preferably on the same day they died. That often gets complicated at cemeteries such as Washington Park, which normally limits burials after 3 p.m. and on weekends and on holidays.

Imam, who said Washington Park generally cooperates with Islamic traditions, nonetheless noted that because of holidays, for instance, "sometimes you have to wait three days to bury someone, which is a big no-no in Islam."

He is currently examining vacant land in Middle Island, Riverhead and Baiting Hollow that could be used for an Islamic cemetery and accompanying religious regulations.

For instance, they could allow evening services to allow many more people to attend after work.

"Having a stand-alone Muslim cemetery shows the real growth and maturity of any particular community. It is definitely a milestone," said Ibrahim Hooper of the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. Long Island is home to an estimated 70,000 Muslims, with thousands more in New York City, local Islamic leaders said. ...

Source: Newsday


(SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 02/28/11) The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA), a member of the Coalition for a Safe San Francisco, welcomes the San Francisco Human Rights Commission's adoption of a historic report and recommendations to end racial and religious profiling of SF Bay Area Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities.

At last week's hearing, by unanimous vote, the Commission officially adopted its report, "Community Concerns of Surveillance, Racial and Religious Profiling of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities and Potential Reactivation of SFPD Intelligence Gathering." This report followed a groundbreaking hearing at the Commission last September, where numerous experts and community members testified on their experiences with and the impact of being harassed, profiled and surveilled by law enforcement.

SEE: Muslims Reject SFPD Surveillance Program VIDEO: Hearing on Law Enforcement Profiling & Surveillance

The report includes excerpts from key testimony along with 31 findings from the hearings. It further includes 16 recommendations from the Commission to enhance civil liberties protections, and increase transparency in law enforcement practices.

SEE: Community Concerns of Surveillance, Racial and Religious Profiling of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities and Potential Reactivation of SFPD Intelligence Gathering

Adoption of the report is particularly commendable in light of the CAIR-LA and ACLU-SC class action lawsuit filed against the FBI last week, for the illegal surveillance of the Muslim community in Southern California. The lawsuit alleges that the FBI illegally targeted American Muslims for surveillance and investigations based solely on First-Amendment protected activity, rather than any suspicion of wrongdoing or criminality. Community members and advocates have raised similar concerns around law enforcement activities in San Francisco and Oakland.

"CAIR-SFBA commends the San Francisco Human Rights Commission for its adoption of the report and included recommendations," said Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of CAIR-SFBA. "The adoption of this report is a step in the right direction, and what we hope will be part of a longer process of implementing reforms."

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-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo, 626.252.0885, E-Mail:



At a town-hall-style meeting February 21, Nezar Hamze stood to ask Allen West a pointed question. Hamze, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, asked West why he keeps claiming that the Qur'an instructs Muslims to attack America (read more about that exchange here). West cut Hamze off before he could say much more than that. So we asked Hamze to write up what he intended to say to West that night. Below is Hamze's response.

Congressman Allen West was once asked by a Marine why people would warp the religion of Islam to attack America. Mr. West replied to him: It's not a perversion; they are doing exactly what the Qur'an is telling them to do. So I called him out on his statements.

It was a very simple question I asked: Can you show me where in the Qur'an it says to attack America, kill Americans, or kill innocent people? He replied that the Qur'an was written before America existed and mentioned something about the verse of the sword and killing infidels. Unfortunately the crowd was so excited and so vocal against me that my response was cut off. Mr. West lost his composure and told me "not to blow sunshine up his butt." Then he said that I attacked America and told me to go home. For the record, I didn't go home; I returned to my seat and finished listening to his presentation. Mr. West, you have brought great shame to the United States House of Representatives. Your behavior that evening represents the antithesis of our democratic republic. We look to our leaders to answer difficult questions with dignity and composure. Your behavior represented that of a military commander barking orders at a soldier. Mr. West, you are no longer a military commander, and I am not your enemy. You looked at me and said, "You attacked us, you attacked us." I didn't attack anything, and for you to accuse me of such horrific events is just as baseless as your knowledge of Islam. Terrorists attacked us on 9/11, Mr. West. Terrorists attacked us! I grew up in Fort Lauderdale just like any normal American boy. I was heavily into sports -- baseball, football, wrestling, boxing, golf, triathlons, and karate. I also hit the gym pretty hard. I studied automotive technology and took a career path into management. I continued my education in business management and specialized in operations management. I have authored leadership development courses and facilitated training for multiple companies. There's just one thing that sets me apart from most other people: When I was a child, I began practicing Islam. I grew up with many friends of different faiths and always got along. I would even go to church and temple with them every once and a while. I've always been a law-abiding citizen and often volunteered for different groups. I was a Big Brother volunteer as well as always volunteering for my local community functions at the Islamic Centers. I currently have four beautiful children, and I am happily married. My two boys are following in my footsteps, and my two girls are getting ready to start playing softball. I recently started with the Council on American Islamic Relations as executive director. As an American Muslim that practices Islam, I have seen our society change over the last 30 years. In the '80s, the most controversial event the American Muslim community had to deal with was the film Not Without My Daughter. Oh, how the times have changed. Today's society, the American people are still looking for justice for the terrorist attacks on September 11. While America has held many accountable, we still have not seen justice. Some are trying to hold the American Muslim community accountable, and some even go as saying Islam attacked America -- as Allen West said to me.

Allen West was brought to my attention by a member of the community, referring me to clips of his campaign events. As you review the clips, you quickly see Mr. West is presenting himself as a critic of Islam to the American people, while teaching them falsehoods about our faith. He is not the only politician trying to score points with his constituents using Islam as the punching bag. This unfortunately has become a nationwide phenomenon. The critics of Islam self-proclaim scholarly knowledge and feed the American public twisted, perverted explanations of the Qur'an that have no base and support.

Mr. West, you have developed an autocratic style of rambling off dates and names of wars mostly regarding imperial armies and the Ottoman Empire. You never actually go into the details of the war, you just name them, insinuating Islam was the problem. You have also surrounded yourself with the nation's most hateful anti-Islam propagandist. During your campaign, these propagandists gave you a stage and fueled your audiences with anti-Islam insults. There is also documented history that you have had relationships with these groups before you ran for office, while you were stationed abroad. Your progression in the pronunciation of Arabic words is a clear giveaway that you are not learning about Islam from a learned Muslim -- you are learning about Islam from non-Muslims.

You mentioned the verse of the sword and something about killing infidels when I asked you to show me a verse in the Qur'an. Well, Mr. West, there is no verse of the sword in the Qur'an and no mention of infidels. The word infidel is not even an Islamic word. The term infidel was used by the Christian crusaders against Muslims. That's right, Christians used to kill the infidels (the Muslims). I have yet to read a Qur'an that has the word infidel in it. Please feel free to do some research on the origin of that word.

I encourage you to actually read the Qur'an and not take a sentence out of context and change the meaning and historical relevance to suit your own needs. You can also reach out to the Islamic community that lives in your district. I will encourage them to contact you as well.

Mr. West, I have tried numerous times to reach out to you and explain the backlash that your rhetoric is causing. I am on the ground dealing with the product of Anti-Islam propaganda every day. For you to ignore my concerns regarding the Islamic community is irresponsible and does not reflect credibility on the United States House of Representatives. You work for us, the American taxpayers. We don't work for you.

In closing, I extend my hand in friendship as a father, as an American, and as a civil servant. I am not your enemy. When I stood in front of you that evening, I was representing the American Islamic community and the rights of all Americans. To live in peace, practice their faith without being harassed, and not be insulted by a United States congressman. We have all made mistakes, and we should learn from them. You have a unique opportunity to build bridges with the Islamic community and apologize to us for blaming Islam for the terrorist attacks on our great nation.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

-- Nezar Hamze


(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 3/1/11) – Almost 300 people turned out on Saturday for the 4th annual Banquet of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).

Speakers for the event included Ambassador Attallah Shabazz, producer, writer, diplomat, and eldest daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz; and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). The master of ceremonies was Muslim community leader Dr. Tamim Saidi. Attendees included community members, leaders of mosques and Muslim organizations, business executives, and interfaith partners.

The program included a pre-event reception with Ambassador Shabazz, a silent auction and opportunities to learn about CAIR-MN's accomplishments in defense of civil rights over the past year.

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-MN President Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, E-Mail:; CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam, Esq., 651-587-4712, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:



(SAN DIEGO, CA, 3/1/11) – More than 400 people turned out on Saturday for the fifth annual banquet of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Diego).

[Those who weren't able to attend the dinner still have a great opportunity to help continue CAIR-San Diego's important work and successes by visiting here: CAIR-San Diego Donation Page ]

This year's banquet was moderated by CAIR-San Diego Executive Committee Member Owais Siddiqui. Opening remarks at the banquet were delivered by Congressman Bob Filner, who encouraged the support of the struggle for democracy in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, he condemned the anti-Muslim rhetoric of politicians, especially Congressman Peter King (R-NY) who plans on doing a hearing on the alleged “radicalization" of the American Muslim community and encouraged full inclusion and participation of American Muslims in our society.

ACLU San Diego and Imperial Counties Staff Attorney Sean Riordan reaffirmed his organization's strong partnership with CAIR-San Diego in his welcome remarks and updated the community on a lawsuit filed by CAIR San Diego and ACLU-San Diego on the alleged spying of local Islamic centers conducted by federal law enforcement and military and the harassment of the Somali community by Federal law enforcement.

Also present at the event were representatives from the NAACP San Diego chapter, interfaith community, local and state elected officials, and other advocacy organizations.

This year sparked the introduction of the new Executive Director of CAIR-San Diego Hanif Mohebi, who laid out his vision and plans for the coming year.

CAIR-San Diego also gave out an award this year to Egyptians Hope for Freedom (EHF) in recognition for their grassroots activism for the promotion of hope and freedom. EHF is an Egyptian American Muslim community organization.

Michael Morgan, author of the best-selling book Lost History: Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists gave a powerful keynote presentation on intellectual legacy of Muslim civilization and how this can play a key role in correcting Western misperceptions about Islam and Muslims.

Renowned Muslim scholar Shaykh Alaeddin Albakri spoke on the need for the American Muslim community to financially support CAIR-San Diego's work.

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-San Diego Director of Public Relations Edgar Hopida, 619-913-0719 or 858-278-4547, E-Mail:

----- HEARINGS ON MUSLIM AMERICANS IS UN-AMERICAN - TOP By Congressman Michael Honda, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/28/11

My father loved this country and proudly served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service. Yet when I was a young child during World War II, we were confined for several years at Camp Amache, an internment camp in southeast Colorado, simply because we were of Japanese ancestry. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans were unjustly placed under scrutiny and suspicion because few in Washington were brave enough to say "no." The decision to incarcerate, according to a report by the congressionally mandated Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

Now, decades later, something similarly sinister is returning to our country. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is organizing congressional hearings on Muslim Americans. These hearings are scheduled to take place within the House Homeland Security Committee.

Rep. King's intent seems clear: To cast suspicion upon all Muslim Americans and to stoke the fires of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia. By framing his hearings as an investigation of the American Muslim community, the implication is that we should be suspicious of our Muslim neighbors, co-workers or classmates solely on the basis of their religion. (More)

Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, serves as House Democratic senior whip, and is a member of both House Budget and Appropriations committees.



KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Fire investigators will get their first look on Tuesday inside a building at St. John and Elmwood avenues destroyed by a three-alarm fire the day before. (More)


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