Sunday, August 24, 2008

News around the world

JEFF KAROUB, Associated Press, 8/22/08

Faced with a choice of White House hopefuls they fear are not entirely sympathetic to their issues, American Muslims are stepping up their activism to unprecedented levels in hopes they can influence the upcoming administration in its infancy.

The efforts stem in part from difficulties many Muslim- and Arab-Americans say they have experienced since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, where they have found themselves on the defensive and struggling to convince at times skeptical fellow citizens that they can be both Muslims and loyal U.S. citizens.

"I've never seen the level of activism I now see," said Shibley Telhami, a Mideast scholar at University of Maryland and fellow at the Brookings Institution.

"The number of people who have become more active and visible on the national political front has increased dramatically because people have suddenly sensed that they have to be more active in order to ... defend themselves as Americans, defend themselves as Arabs and Muslims," he said…

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said neither candidate has officially met with Muslims in Michigan, an important swing state with one of the nation's largest Muslim populations.

Walid said that may lead Muslim voters past the "lesser of two evils," to a third-party candidate or no candidate at all. In broader terms, it also raises concerns about both candidates' foreign policy skills, he said.

"If the candidates cannot engage the American Muslim community in a healthy way, which is the world's most educated Muslim community, then how can they strengthen economic ties or have a meaningful successful diplomacy in the Muslim world?" he said. (MORE)


CNN, 8/21/08

A pilot who converted to Islam may be jobless now that he is on the terrorist watch list. CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports.

JTA, 8/4/08

The government scientist who killed himself as he faced arrest for the 2001 anthrax attacks was an evangelical who believed Jews were God's chosen people.

The Frederick (Md.) News Post republished letters from Bruce Ivins in the wake of his suicide last week. Ivins was an anthrax researcher at the government's biological weapons research lab in Fort Detrick, Md.

In one letter he praises a rabbi for refusing to engage in dialogue with a controversial local Muslim cleric.

"By blood and faith, Jews are God's chosen, and have no need for 'dialogue' with any gentile," Ivins wrote in 2006.

Earlier letters suggest that he saw President Bush's re-election as a victory for evangelicals.

"You can get on board or get left behind, because that Christian Nation Express is pulling out of the station!" he wrote after the election.

Ivins killed himself as the U.S. Justice Department prepared to arrest him. Ivins' beliefs are significant because the 2001 attacker in notes appeared to be a radical Islamist, writing "Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great." (MORE)


Wall Street Journal, 8/9/08

Asra Q. Nomani's "You Still Can't Write About Muhammad" (op-ed, Aug. 6) falsely asserts that I am the "instigator" of the Random House Press decision not to publish a novel about the Prophet's wife titled, "The Jewel of Medina." I never had this power, nor did I single-handedly stop the book's publication. Random House made its final decision based on the advice of other scholars, conveniently not named in the article, and based ultimately on its determination of corporate interests.

As a historian invited to "comment" on the book by its Random House editor at the author's express request, I objected strenuously to the claim that "The Jewel of Medina" was "extensively researched," as stated on the book jacket. As an expert on Aisha's life, I felt it was my professional responsibility to counter this novel's fallacious representation of a very real woman's life. The author and the press brought me into a process, and I used my scholarly expertise to assess the novel. It was in that same professional capacity that I felt it my duty to warn the press of the novel's potential to provoke anger among some Muslims.

There is a long history of anti-Islamic polemic that uses sex and violence to attack the Prophet and his faith. This novel follows in that oft-trodden path, one first pioneered in medieval Christian writings. The novel provides no new reading of Aisha's life, but actually expands upon provocative themes regarding Muhammad's wives first found in an earlier novel by Salman Rushdie, "The Satanic Verses," which I teach. I do not espouse censorship of any kind, but I do value my right to critique those who abuse the past without regard for its richness or resonance in the present.

The combination of sex and violence sells novels. When combined with falsification of the Islamic past, it exploits Americans who know nothing about Aisha or her seventh-century world and counts on stirring up controversy to increase sales. If Ms. Nomani and readers of the Journal wish to allow literature to "move civilization forward," then they should read a novel that gets history right.

Denise A. Spellberg
Assoc. Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies
University of Texas at Austin

Sharafuddin Sharafyar, Reuters, 8/22/08

HERAT, Afghanistan (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition forces killed 76 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan on Friday, most of them children, the Interior Ministry said.

The coalition denied killing civilians. Civilian deaths in military operations have become an emotive issue among Afghans, many of whom feel international forces take too little care when launching air strikes, undermining support for their presence.

"Seventy-six civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred today in a coalition forces operation in Herat province," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Coalition forces bombarded the Azizabad area of Shindand district in Herat province on Friday afternoon, the ministry said. Nineteen of the victims were women, seven of them men and the rest children under the age of 15, it said. (MORE)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Military Poice to investigate tear gas shooting that severely injured boy

On Friday, 1 August 2008, after we finished the afternoon prayers, I went to the wedding of a relative of mine, Iyad Ahmad a-Ramhi. It was held at the Sondus Hall, which is located behind the gas station on the main road of Jalazun Refugee Camp. I was with my family in the hall and every now and then went outside to play with the other kids.

Around 6:30 P.M., while we were playing, we heard the sound of live ammunition and rubber bullets being fired west from us. It sounded far away, and none of us paid much attention to it. I heard people say, “There are Jews here, the army is in the camp.”

Around 7:30, I saw about ten army patrol vehicles leave the camp and head toward the Beit El road. They passed by the hall. I was standing in front of the gas station when I saw them stop in the middle of the road, about 30-40 meters from the station. About twelve soldiers spread out and began to fire rubber bullets at some children who were throwing stones at them from the alleyways in the camp. I hid in a corner of the gas station. After about two minutes, I looked in the direction of the soldiers and saw a soldier next to the wall of the UNRWA offices, about 30-40 meters from me. He was in a sniper’s position and had his rifle aimed at me. He was wearing a helmet, was dark-skinned, short, and had an average build. There were two children next to me: Amjad a-Ramhi, 13, and Mustafa Nakhliyyeh, 12. The three of us hadn’t thrown any stones, and the kids who were throwing them were far away from us.

Suddenly, a stun grenade hit me in the face. No, it was a tear-gas grenade. I felt something fly into my mouth and out again, it shook my whole body. I lost consciousness and fell down. I woke up a bit later. Some young men had come out of the wedding to care for me and they were standing around me. They picked me up and took me into the hall. My uncle, Zuhier ‘Ali, who was in the hall, works as a medic at a hospital in Ramallah. He bandaged my mouth to stop the bleeding and then they rushed me to the government hospital in Ramallah.

I got to the hospital at 8:00. I received first-aid and about half an hour later, I was taken to a-Sheikh Za’id Hospital for further treatment. At 9:30, I entered the operating room. A plastic surgeon operated on me for about three hours. My father told me that I received stitches to my upper lip, to my upper and lower jaws, and to my nose. He also said that some parts of my jaw bone are missing and that I lost twelve molars. Also, my tongue was injured on all sides.

I stayed in the hospital for three days. My father says I will have to undergo treatment for three years. I’ll get temporary molar implants and after my jaws develop, when I am 15 years old, I’ll get jawbone implants. Then they’ll give me [permanent] implants to replace the teeth that I lost.

Yazan Yusef 'Abd a-Rahman Safi, 13, is an eighth-grade student and a resident of Jalazun Refugee Camp in Ramallah District. His testimony was given to Iyad Haddad on 10 August 2008 near the site of the incident.

The JAG's decision regarding Fadel Shan'a is highly unreasonable

From the beginning of 2007 to mid-2008, B'Tselem called for investigations to be opened into 99 cases in which 189 persons were killed. Up to the present, only 4 Military Police investigations have been opened.

The decision by the Judge Advocate General raises serious concerns, for several reasons:

The decision itself is unreasonable

The facts of the case raise the serious suspicion that the soldiers in the tank, and those who gave them the order to open fire, failed to adhere to the duty to take all possible precautions to avoid the harming of civilians and civilian objectives.

Lack of accountability

The decision continues the army's policy since the beginning of the second intifada, to not investigate cases in which Israeli security forces kill Palestinians not participating in the hostilities, other than in extreme cases. An investigation must be independent, effective, timely and open to review. The military debriefing does not adhere to these criteria.

General data on lack of investigations

From the beginning of the current intifada (29 September 2000) to the end of 2007, more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed who were not taking part in the hostilities at the time they were killed. However, a Military Police investigation was opened in only 270 cases of suspected illegal shooting by soldiers. This number includes investigations into cases in which civilians were wounded. Only 30 of these investigations resulted in the filing of indictments.

Complaints filed by B'Tselem

In 2007, Israeli security forces killed 127 Palestinians not participating in the hostilities, 91 in the Gaza Strip, and 36 in the West Bank. B'Tselem wrote to ask for an investigation in 53 cases, in which 102 people were killed. B'Tselem was informed of the launching of 3 MP investigations, all in the West Bank

In the first half of 2008 (until the end of June), Israeli security forces killed 169 Palestinians not participating in the hostilities, 159 in the Gaza Strip, and 10 in the West Bank. B'Tselem wrote to ask for an investigation in 46 cases, in which 87 people were killed. B'Tselem was informed of the launching of one military police investigation, into the death of a Palestinian from an unexploded shell in the Jordan Valley.

Flechette darts

The attack that killed Shan'a, also killed five other Palestinians not participating in the hostilities. Three died on the spot, and two died later of their wounds. Circumstances in the Gaza Strip render the use of Flechette shells illegal. This is because to the wide area of dispersal of the darts shot out of the Shell makes its use in populated areas a type of indiscriminate firing which endangers innocent civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law.

Rubber-coated steel bullets
Flechette tank shells
Military investigations
Statistics on death
Related updates
Related testimonies
Related publications
Related photographs

More on the topic

Ni'lin shooting

19 Aug. 2008: High Court suspends proceedings in Ni'lin shooting case
Following the petition by Ashraf Abu Rahma, who was shot by IDF soldiers in Ni'lin while handcuffed and blindfolded, together with the Israeli human rights organizations B'Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and Yesh Din, against the Judge Advocate General's decision to prosecute the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Omri Borberg, and the soldier who fired the shot, Staff Sgt. L, for “unbecoming conduct”, the High Court issued a Decree nisi, forcing the Judge Advocate General to justify his decision. The course also issued an interim order suspending military court proceedings until the petition is decided.
In their petition, written by attorneys Limor Yehuda and Dan Yakir of ACRI, the petitioners demand that the indictment be altered to reflect the severity of the offense – threats made by means of a weapon and firing at a handcuffed detainee – which ostensibly constitute abuse of a detainee in aggravated circumstances, punishment for these acts is imprisonment for seven years. The petition was filed with urgency out of concern that the judicial proceeding against the defendants will be completed within a few days.

The petitioners strongly condemn the handling of the matter by the Judge Advocate General (JAG), arguing that the light offense chosen indicates a weak response by the JAG's Office: “It transmits to officers and other soldiers an extremely grave message of contempt for human life, and paves the way for future cases. . . It is hard to avoid the conclusion that a systemic defect is involved, one that has spread not only among IDF officers but also among those responsible for enforcing law and order in the army”.

The petitioners contend that the decision to file a light indictment is unreasonable in the extreme, this also in light of Borberg's senior rank. The petitioners note that the main reason for the JAG's decision to file such a light indictment is that, “the transfer of the battalion commander from his position is a serious command measure.” However, this command measure was transfer to another role in the corps, also at the rank of lieutenant colonel, without any hindrance to future promotion. The lenient treatment is also apparent from the public statement made by the army's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who said he saw nothing preventing the battalion commander from being appointed to senior positions in the future, and that he will return to a command position in the army.

The petition also notes the extreme unreasonableness of the JAG's decision, given the suspicions of other cases of abuse during the period in which Borberg was in command of the Ni'lin area. In one of the cases, he was allegedly personally involved in the physical abuse of a detainee. The many complaints that reached the petitioner organizations, which are attached to the petition, raise the suspicion that, under Borberg's command, a general atmosphere prevailed in which soldiers were allowed to abuse detainees and the civilian population.

With regard to the soldier L, one of the JAG's main points was that the soldier understood he had been given an order to fire at the detainee, although the order was patently illegal. The JAG's reasoning ignores the soldier's obligation to use judgment, and thus undermines the basic ethical concept of a patently illegal command.
Link to video

Friday, August 15, 2008


Following the attack perpetrated by a tractor driver yesterday in Jerusalem, killing three and injuring dozens, the media have published calls by politicians and public figures to demolish the home belonging to the family of the attack perpetrator, in the village of Sur Baher.

In addition, the media reported that Deputy Attorney General Adv. Shai Nitzan will call a meeting today, to discuss legal possibilities of imposing sanctions on terror attack perpetrators holding Israeli ID cards, and their families. Representatives of the government and the defense establishment are to take part in the meeting, which was originally set to be held several months from now and was brought forward following the attack.

B'Tselem wrote today to Attorney General Mazuz demanding that he prevent the demolition. In its letter, B'Tselem pointed out that the demolition of houses as punishment is a grave breach of international humanitarian law. The declared objective of this policy is to harm innocent persons – relatives of suspected perpetrators, who are not accused of any criminal wrongdoing themselves. The demolition of houses is a clear case of collective punishment, which violates the principle that a person is not to be punished for the acts of another. Collective punishment is therefore illegal regardless of its effectiveness.

Regarding effectiveness, a committee appointed by former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon found that the house-demolition policy did more harm than good to Israel's security. The committee's finding undermines the claim that Israel has used for many years, that the policy deters potential terrorists.


From October 2001 to the end of January 2005, Israel demolished 667 Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories as a means of punishment, leaving more than 4,200 persons homeless. Half of the demolished houses were adjacent to the family homes of suspected perpetrators of terror attacks.
In February 2005, the abovementioned committee recommended that the policy be stopped. The same month, then-Defense Minister Mofaz adopted the recommendation.

Civil Administration threatens to demolish most of al-‘Aqabah village

Civil Administration threatens to demolish most of al-‘Aqabah village

The Civil Administration has issued orders to demolish most of the houses in the village of al-‘Aqabah, which lies in the northern Jordan Valley, and many houses in other villages in the area. Israel’s planning policy in the West Bank, which is based on outline plans from British Mandate times, centers on preventing Palestinian construction and promoting expansion of settlements.

Al-’Aqabah village lies in the northern Jordan Valley, east of Tubas. Israel’s policy regarding the village illustrates its planning policy in Area C, which constitutes some 60 percent of the West Bank and is under sole Israeli civil and military control. The Civil Administration issued demolition orders for 35 of the 48 structures in the village. Simultaneously, it proposed to village leaders a plan for building in a limited amount of space in the center of the village. The plan fails to meet the villagers’ housing and employment needs and completely ignores the village’s farmland.

This isolated village was founded about 100 years ago by families of shepherds from Tubas, Tayasir, and Hebron. In 1967, it had some 600 residents. Now it is home to 305 persons, most of whom live in simple stone or tin structures.

Settler violence continues in Hebron

Settler violence continues in Hebron, 2-3 August 2008

Settler violence in Hebron continued over the weekend. The following footage shows minors throwing stones at Palestinian homes and at a car driven by international TIPH observers, as well as soldiers barring B’Tselem worker, Issa ‘Amro, from filming settlers who were assaulting a group of wedding guests. When a settler attacked ‘Amro and broke his camera, the soldiers stood by and did nothing.

Increase in settler violence

7 August '08: Increase in settler violence

B'Tselem is investigating twelve cases of settler attacks on Palestinian between 29 July and 4 August. These cases reflect a sharp increase in reports of such violence, and represent a peak to an escalation that has been underway over the past few weeks. The cases recent took place across the West Bank, with a majority in South Mount Hebron and the settlements around Nablus.

Five of the cases involved stone throwing; in two livestock were stolen; one included gunfire, five physical assaults, and three involved property damage (some of the cases included more than one kind of abuse). In some of the cases, law-enforcement authorities failed to apprehend suspects. In the two thefts of livestock, police apparently did not return the livestock to their owners. At least four of the cases involve minors.

In one case of assault, a woman in her sixth month of pregnancy and her two daughters were hurt when a large rock struck the windshield of their car as they drove on the road near the Yizhar settlement. According to testimonies given to B'Tselem, the assailant was one of three people standing next to a parked car with Israeli license plates. The mother, Falastin Ma’ali suffered intra-cranial bleeding, and the daughter, Hadil, who is six and a half years old, was struck in the eye and suffered a fractured skill. There is fear she may lose her sight. The mother and daughter, who are hospitalized at Ichilov Hospital, in Tel Aviv, are in moderate condition. The other daughter, who is two years old, was lightly injured from glass shards, treated at a Nablus hospital and released.

Following the assault, which was reported in the Israeli media, the police arrested a sixteen-year-old youth, a resident of Yizhar, on suspicion of involvement in the incident. The youth was released two days later. A security official, who was quoted anonymously in the press, admitted that "throwing a brick at the Palestinian family’s car is ostensibly only one of a chain of events in which rightwing activists direct attacks against the Palestinian population.” On August 3, B'Tselem wrote to the authorities demanding they increase the police presence in this area, given the violent assaults. The following day the media reported that the army and the police decided to increase security forces’ presence on roads near the Yizhar settlement and elsewhere in the West Bank, primarily on weekends.

Since the beginning of 2008, B'Tselem has received many reports of settler violence near the Yizhar settlement. These included five cases in which Palestinians suffered head and face injuries requiring medical treatment as a result of stone-throwing at their cars while driving along the main road near the settlement. The arrest in the recent case was the first announced by the police with respect to these cases.
As noted, the problem is not a sudden outbreak of settler violence but rather a peak in the steady escalation of recent weeks. Statistics of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs demonstrate a forty-six percent increase in reports of settler violence in July compared with the previous month. In the last week of July, B'Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Yesh Din sent a letter to military authorities warning about this trend, and calling on the army to take the actions necessary to protect Palestinians. The policy of law enforcement bodies to date has been characterized by non-intervention in violence by settlers against Palestinians and their property.

Following media coverage of the attack on the Ma'ali family, various Israeli officials voiced their intention to prosecute the attackers and to prevent such attacks in the future. If these intentions are indeed genuine, they are certainly welcome. Unfortunately, past experience indicates that such statements are not always backed up with concrete action. At the beginning of 2007, following media attention to an incident where a settler woman attacked Palestinian women in Hebron, the Israeli government with much fanfare established a ministerial team on law enforcement in the West Bank. However, as far as is known, this team's activity was halted after a single meeting. There is therefore a fear that in this case as well, media statements about determined law-enforcement and protection measures will not lead to eradication of the problem of lax law enforcement towards violent settlers.

Ni’lin shooting

7 Aug. ‘08: Palestinian victim of shooting and Israeli human rights organizations demand suspension of legal proceedings in Ni’lin affair

Following the indictments filed this morning (7 August) in the Ni’lin shooting affair, the Palestinian victim and four Israeli human rights organizations demanded that the military Judge Advocate General suspend legal proceedings against both the lieutenant colonel involved and the soldier who fired the shot. The delay will enable the organizations to examine and consider challenging the decision to charge the two with the relatively light offense of “inappropriate conduct”.

Monday, August 11, 2008

News around the world



Kerala announces 5,000 scholarships for Muslims

Two Circles

July 30, 2008

Indian Muslims on Haj promote global goodwill: Government

Two Circles

July 28, 2008

AMU to start course in Islamic banking and finance

Two Circles

July 28, 2008

India: British Indian Muslims demand inquiry into blasts

The Muslim News, UK

July 27, 2008

Andhra Pradesh CM urged to stop police raids on Islamic madrasas

Two Circles

July 27, 2008

Bihar govt. criticized for excluding Urdu from higher secondary syllabus

Two Circles

July 27, 2008

Israel woos Muslims with Urdu website

Israel News

July 26, 2008

Jamaat-e-Islami to withdraw from textbook agitation in Kerala

Two Circles

July 26, 2008

SIMI coffers empty since 2004: Nagouri


July 25, 2008

Violence over construction of a mosque leaves 3 dead, 30 injured in UP

Two Circles

July 25, 2008


Group threatens Olympics terror, claims bus bombings


July 26, 2008

Uighur group claims China bus blasts, threatens Olympics

Channel News Asia

July 26, 2008

Mosque collapse in China kills 7

July 25, 2008

8 die in northwest China mosque collapse

Las Vegas Sun

July 24, 2008

Myanmar/ Arakan

Unsafe zone in Northern Arakan

Kaladan Press

July 30, 2008

Farmers landless after authorities seize farms in Maungdaw

Kaladan Press

July 30, 2008

TPDC, police extort money from villagers for buying furniture from Natala villagers

Kaladan Press

July 29, 2008

Prisoner labourers working on Maungdaw-Buthidaung Road afflicted by malaria

Kaladan Press

July 24, 2008

Thailand/ Pattani

Train attack and murder suspect held

Bangkok Post, Bangkok

July 29, 2008

Poor insight hampers progress

Bangkok Post, Bangkok

July 28, 2008

Rebels attack district office

Bangkok Post, Bangkok

July 27, 2008

Gunpowder found on ponoh students

Bangkok Post, Bangkok

July 26, 2008

Islamic study hours to rise in schools

Bangkok Post, Bangkok

July 25, 2008

Two soldiers on foot patrol hurt in blast

Bangkok Post, Bangkok

July 24, 2008

Philippines/ Mindanao

Local officials fight pact with MILF in Court

The Manila Times

July 30, 2008

Manila urged to clarify MILF pact
Gulf News

July 29, 2008

Philippine government, Muslim rebels agree to sign key territorial accord

International Herald Tribune

July 27, 2008

Govt, MILF agree to ink key territorial accord in August

GMA News

July 27, 2008

Defense chief calls on MILF to 'rein in' its men


July 27, 2008

Bishop wants religious leaders to mediate in GRP-MILF talks

GMA News

July 27, 2008

Collapse of gov't-MILF talks on Moro homeland 'most serious threat to peace'


July 27, 2008

GRP-MILF talks end in impasse: August 5 MOA signing cancelled


July 26, 2008

Peace talks with Philippine government collapse: Muslim rebels

Khaleej Times

July 26, 2008§ion=theworld&col=

Dureza: More work needed on MILF peace deal


July 25, 2008

Holding ARMM polls won't jeopardize ancestral domain pact


July 25, 2008

Clash between govt, MILF forces erupts anew in Cotabato


July 24, 2008

MILF ups attacks during Arroyo visit

Sun Star

July 24, 2008

ARMM on postponement of polls: It's all up to Congress


July 24, 2008

Biazon hits 'surrender' by RP govt

The Manila Times

July 24, 2008


Australian police accused of secrecy over Haneef

Muslim News, UK

July 26, 2008


Christian And Muslim Youth Share At Catholic Art Festival

Catholic Information Service for Africa

July 25, 2008

South Africa

Ousted Leader Rasool Says He is Victim of 'Dirty Tricks' Campaign

Business Day, Johannesburg

July 25, 2008


Kololo Muslims Face Eviction

The Monitor, Kampala

July 30, 2008

Muslims Appeal Over Domestic Relations Bill

New Vision, Kampala

July 29, 2008

Fire Guts Mayuge School Dormitory

New Vision, Kampala

July 24, 2008

United Kingdom

Projects to tackle Muslim extremism unveiled

Bucks Free Press

July 30, 2008

Britain's first Sharia-compliant insurance firm launched

Times of India

July 28, 2008

British Muslims condemn India terror blasts

Two Circles

July 27, 2008

You must be nicer to Muslims, Britain is told by UN human rights chiefs

Mail Online

July 25, 2008

Dread of Muslim's

Pakistan Daily

July 25, 2008


The Russian Church urges European Christians to answer Islamic challenges by baby-boom


July 25, 2008


Former MP Hirsi Ali seeks police protection in US


July 29, 2008

Netherlands Antilles may develop Islamic financing

Caribbean Net News

July 25, 2008


Tunisians suspected of cartoonist murder plot to remain in custody
The Earth Times

July 25, 2008,tunisians-suspected-of-cartoonist-murder-plot-to-remain-in-custody.html


Greeks and Turkish Cypriots agree to talks

International Herald Tribune

July 25, 2008


Muslim Women Resist Stereotyping

Washington Post

July 26, 2008


A vote on banning new minarets

July 30, 2008

United States of America

AMU Washington D.C. alumni association condemns blasts, demands fair inquiry

Two Circles

July 30, 2008

Obama says Muslim issue is 'no-win situation'

Dallas News

July 28, 2008

Muslims buy land for hub in Cordova

Commercial Appeal

July 27, 2008

Imam hopeful for renovations at flooded Mother Mosque

The Gazette

July 25, 2008

SF Radio Host Draws Ire Of Autism, Muslim Communities


July 25, 2008

Muslim Day at Six Flags a time to relax and connect with others

Chicago Tribune

July 25, 2008,0,2161842.story

Dearborn McDonald's sued by 2 Muslim women

The Detroit News

July 25, 2008

America's Muslim problem


July 24, 2008

Chandler Mosque Set For Fall Completion

Phoenix News

July 24, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Muslim Denied Job Because of Islamic Scarf

The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) announced today that it has filed an EEOC complaint on behalf of a Muslim woman who was allegedly denied employment at an Abercrombie Kids store in that state because of the applicant's religiously-mandated headscarf, or hijab.

The woman told CAIR-OK that a district manager claimed he could not hire her because her Islamic headscarf "does not fit the Abercrombie image."

"Employers have a clear legal duty to accommodate the religious practices of their workers," said CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi. "To deny someone employment because of apparent religious bias goes against long-standing American traditions of tolerance and inclusion."

Hashmi noted that Abercrombie & Fitch's corporate "Code of Business Conduct and Ethics" states: "The Company will adhere to its employment policies of non-discrimination as it relates to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or handicap and will ensure compliance with all legal and other regulations governing employment."

In a letter to Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jefferies, CAIR-OK asked the company to 1) offer the Muslim applicant a formal apology, 2) clarify the company's policy on religious accommodation, and 3) institute workplace sensitivity and diversity training.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. The act also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee, unless doing so would create an "undue hardship" for the employer.

The EEOC, or U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recently issued new guidelines on accommodating religious beliefs and practices in the workplace. EEOC officials say the number of religious discrimination complaints has more than doubled in the last 15 years. The new guidelines offer protection for workers who wear religious attire such as the hijab.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


[Washington, DC- July 31, 2008] Last week,
United for Israel (CUFI) convened its
annual "Washington-Israel summit" that included a
day of lobby visits on Capitol Hill and a "Night to Honor
Israel." Yet despite CUFI's stated objective to support
Israel, absent from the group's public message or
Congressional talking points ( was any support
for Israel's current efforts, with U.S. encouragement, to
negotiate a two-state peace agreement, an integral
element to Israel's long-term security.

The three "asks" for CUFI's Congressional visits were
support for the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, the Iran
Sanctions Enabling Act and providing military aid to
Israel. The words "Palestinian" or "Israeli-Palestinian
conflict" were nowhere to be found in the entire talking
points document, nor was there any mention of
Israel's participation in the Annapolis peace process
launched by the United States last November.

Also missing from CUFI's message was support for
or even acknowledgement of the current Israel-Syria
talks being mediated by Turkey. Instead the only
mention of Syria in the talking points was a warning to
members of Congress that Israel's enemies,
especially Syria, are "rapidly upgrading their military

Commenting on CUFI's conference message,
Ambassador (ret.) Warren Clark, Executive Director of
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) said, "It is
unfortunate that a group coming to Washington to
advocate in support of Israel would fail to support
Israel's efforts to achieve the blessings of peace
through a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians
and other Arab neighbors."

In a newsletter to its supporters this week, CUFI
described its third annual advocacy conference as an
event when "Christians from all fifty states and around
the world gathered in Washington, D.C. for the sole
purpose of supporting the State of Israel." Yet Israel's
leaders did not receive support for their diplomacy and
peacemaking efforts. The head of Israel's Annapolis
negotiating team, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, last
December described the establishment of a
Palestinian state as "not just a Palestinian dream - it
is also an Israeli interest." In May, Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert called Israel's peace talks with
Syria a "national duty." Former Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon said a "democratic Palestinian state fully
at peace with Israel will promote the long-term
security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state."

Christians United for Israel claims that it "unites all
pro-Israel Christians in America under one
umbrella." However, there are a great many
American Christians who support Israel's security and
the creation of a viable Palestinian state as essential
to that goal. "As people of faith," Clark said, "we must
not ignore the important opportunity presented by the
negotiations now underway to help end this tragic

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Obama's Muslim Outreach Director Resigns

WASHINGTON: An attorney who volunteered to help Barack Obama improve his relationship with Muslim and Arab-Americans has resigned from the campaign amid questions about his connection to a fundamentalist imam.

Mazen Asbahi started as the campaign's outreach coordinator on July 26, and he resigned in a letter to the campaign Monday. He said he was stepping down "to avoid distracting from Barack Obama's message of change."

Asbahi, an associate at the Chicago law firm Schiff Hardin, said in his letter that he served on the board of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Fund for a few weeks, but resigned "as I became aware of public allegations against another member of the board."

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the other board member during Asbahi's tenure in 2000 was Jamal Said, imam at a fundamentalist-controlled mosque in Illinois. The Justice Department named Said as an unindicted co-conspirator in the racketeering trial last year of several alleged Hamas fundraisers. The case ended in a mistrial. The newspaper said the connections were first exposed by an Internet newsletter.

Obama, who is a Christian, has been fighting false Internet rumors that he is a Muslim. Asbahi, in a post on the Obama campaign blog last week, said that had created "added sensitivities" between the campaign and the Muslim community, and he encouraged Muslims and Arab-Americans to get involved.

The campaign previously conducted outreach to the community through its interfaith outreach program and the Muslim American outreach desk at the Democratic Party. Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the campaign is searching for a new volunteer coordinator to replace Asbahi.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Michigan chapter, said Asbahi was a victim of Internet rumors.

"This incident just shows how Islamophobic the political climate is right now," Walid said. "Baseless smears about a Muslim with a very good reputation was used to marginalize not only him but the community from the political process.

"If someone like Mr. Asbahi can't be vetted to work for the Obama campaign, then who can?"

A message was left Wednesday afternoon for Asbahi by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Martian soil may contain detrimental substance

NASA's Phoenix spacecraft has detected the presence of a chemically reactive salt in the Martian soil, a finding that if confirmed could make it less friendly to potential life than once believed.

Scientists previously reported that the soil near Mars' north pole was similar to backyard gardens on Earth where plants such as asparagus, green beans and turnips could grow. But preliminary results from a second lab test found perchlorate, a highly oxidizing salt, that would create a harsh environment.

The first test "suggested Earth-like soil. Further analysis has revealed un-Earthlike aspects of the soil chemistry," chief scientist Peter Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson said in a statement Monday.;_ylt=AntAGs05bJsNmUuloysPVFkPLBIF

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Zubrin; Moses for Mars

University of Washington-trained nuclear engineer Robert Zubrin. He is the spiritual father of the dream of sending humans to Mars the way the late astronomer Carl Sagan was the Mr. Rogers of the cosmic neighborhood.

Zubrin, 51, a former junior high and high school science teacher in Brooklyn, got a master's degree in aeronautics and a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the UW in 1992. Known as a smart, visionary -- if sometimes aggravating -- scientist, he is also the chief and self-appointed spokesman for the possibility of colonizing Mars.

The moon had John F. Kennedy. Mars has Zubrin.

Why the Red Planet?

"Mars is the planet that has the resources to support life," he said.

It's a place of harsh magnificence, with salmon-tinged skies, and a "Mariner Canyon" that makes our Grand Canyon look like a trickle. It's home to the highest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, a structure five times higher than Mount Everest, and its subsurface glaciers hold the tantalizing promise of the possibility of life.