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Monitoring Mosques on the Pretext of Keeping America Safe

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 10, 2015

The seven-million strong American Muslim community was alarmed at the suggestion of Republican presidential candidates to putting mosques under surveillance on the pretext of keeping American safe.
This came during the first debate of the eight Republican hopefuls in Detroit last Thursday when
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said: "If I have to monitor a mosque I'll monitor a mosque. If I have to take down a cyber wall I'll take it. If I have to send more American troops to protect us here I will do it."
Metro Detroit is home to many mosques, especially in the Dearborn area.
The subject was first raised with former New York Gov. George Pataki, who was asked whether he would potentially put mosques under surveillance to root out "Islamic" extremists — keeping in mind that “conservatives in this country are particularly concerned with religious liberty. ...
“Religious liberty doesn’t include encouraging a fellow American to engage in jihad and killing Americans here. That is not protected free speech. That is like shouting fire in a crowded theater, and that is illegal,” Pataki said adding:
“I would do everything in our power to just go after those who are here before they can radicalize other Americans to carry out attacks.”
“Sen. Graham is promoting Neo-McCarthyism with such rhetoric,” said Dawud Walid, the Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America’s largest advocacy and civil liberties organization for Muslims.
Walid added: “Not only is the mass monitoring houses of 7 million American Muslims unconstitutional, it would also waste tax dollars due to the ineffective nature of mass racial and religious profiling.”
Interestingly, in May last Sen. Graham said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee New England Leadership Dinner that "Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula... Everything that starts with 'Al' in the Middle East is bad news." In Arabic, the word Al means the word "the."
Earlier this year CAIR sent an open letter to the Republican presidential candidates urging them to invest similar resources in courting Muslim voters as they do other minority communities and reject Islamophobia. The American Muslim community is well positioned to impact election results in key swing states such as Ohio, Virginia and Florida, the CAIR letter said.
It is well-known that the majority of the American Muslim vote went to President George W. Bush in the close 2000 election. However, by the 2012 general election, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney only received a single digit percentage of the Muslim vote.
This significant drop in Muslim support for the Republican Party can be attributed to unwillingness from Republican candidates to engage with Muslim communities, increased adoption of Islamophobic rhetoric and support for discriminatory legislation that targets foreign law, a dog whistle to the conservative base for “sharia law.”
Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America ( email: asghazali2011 (@)


Lindsey Graham's Debate Statement on 'Monitoring' Mosques is 'Neo-McCarthyism'



CAIR's New 'Toxic Hate' Brief Outlines Violent Tone in Recent U.S. Islamophobia

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/7/2015) The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today released a new brief, called "Toxic Hate," indicating that the backlash against this nation's Muslim community since Daesh (also known as ISIS) murdered two Americans in Syria last August has a "more violent tone" than past spikes in Islamophobic sentiment.

The CAIR brief outlines incidents of violence and threats targeting individual Muslims, threats against groups of Muslims and threats and violence targeting Islamic houses of worship and institutions. It also includes a section on the recent phenomenon of armed anti-Islam demonstrations.

The brief reports in part:

"After Daesh murdered two Americans in late August 2014, Americans of all backgrounds, Muslims included, responded with rejection and revulsion. Despite abundant evidence that Daesh was slaughtering Muslims who disagree with them in great numbers, some in our country blamed all followers of Islam for the group's actions.

"When the Kouachi brothers attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris on January 7, 2015, this effect was magnified.

"CAIR has in the past observed that Islamophobia in America goes through cycles of intensity. The 2010 controversy over a planned Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan was the last observed peak in anti-Islam activity. It was characterized by efforts to oppose the construction or expansion of Islamic places of worship across the nation. This latest cycle has had a more violent tone. "

Violent incidents outlined in CAIR's brief include the case of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, who were murdered in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Feb. 10, 2015 and the murder of 15-year-old Abdisamad "Adam" Sheikh-Hussein outside a Kansas City mosque. The teenager's legs were severed when he was intentionally hit by an SUV which once had writing on the back window that read: "Quran is a virus disease woreste [sic] than Ebola."

Another case outlined in the brief was that of Robert Doggart, a former candidate for congressional office in Tennessee, who signed a plea agreement admitting his plot to assault the Muslim community of Islamberg in New York.

Doggart said, "we're gonna be carrying an M4 with 500 rounds of ammunition, light armor piercing. A pistol with 3 extra magazines and a machete. And if it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds." While Doggart's preparation for the attack fits the definition for a terrorist act, he was released to home detention on a $30,000 bond.

CAIR's brief also offers some hopeful notes, including:

"After the armed anti-Islam demonstration in Phoenix, Ariz., more than 200 people gathered at the mosque for a 'love not hate' event. In contrast to the demonstrator's firearms, the love not hate event organizers asked attendees to 'bring a FLOWER as a symbol of love and care. We are better together, and together we are strong.'

SEE: Toxic Hate

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.

Corey Saylor, director, CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, (202) 384-8857,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171,




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