ISLAMIC PRAYER CENTER IN MILLARD VANDALIZED - TOPChristopher Burbach, World Herald, 10/22/08
Abdul Hikmat was preparing to pray at a southwest Omaha mosque on Tuesday afternoon when he discovered shards of glass and chunks of rock scattered across the floor.
Someone had thrown a rock through a glass door of the Midwest Islamic Foundation near 138th and Q Streets.
The stone shattered more than the door.
"I was shocked, devastated, horrified," Hikmat said. "And very disappointed. This is a center for love, love for people, love for God."
Hikmat and Bilal Khaleeq, board members of the foundation, said they view the vandalism as a hate crime. Although the vandal left no graffiti or other written message, Hikmat and Khaleeq said there was no other explanation…
Omaha police and the FBI were investigating. Police recorded the crime as a destruction of property. A uniformed patrol officer on Tuesday found no blatant evidence of a hate crime, said Officer Michael Pecha, a police spokesman.
But, he said, detectives will consider that possibility as part of their follow-up investigation. (MORE)
IL: 2 HORRIBLE HOAXES, BUT IT'S MUSLIM STUDENT WHO'S CHARGED - TOPSUE ONTIVEROS, Sun-Times, 10/22/08
Talk about timing. The same day the Sun-Times ran my last column, in which I denounced a fake rape story by a south suburban high school senior who described her alleged attacker as Arab-looking, police said a Muslim student at west suburban Elmhurst College admitted she was not the victim of a hate crime on the school's campus.
Boy, did that get my "fans" busy, sending e-mails and calling, certain they had an "a-ha" moment. "Hey Sue," one sneering voice asked, "you gonna do a story on the Muslim student at Elmhurst College now?"
Why, yes I am.
If Safia Z. Jilani, the Elmhurst College sophomore, thought she was going to bring attention to the discrimination and hate crimes that befall Arabs and Muslims, she failed miserably. If anything, she just gave the haters of the world a little more ammunition.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, many Arab Americans have wrongly found their patriotism questioned. The trash talk in the current campaign -- that if Barack Obama is Arab (he is not) that's reason to disqualify him as presidential material -- has made Arabs feel marginalized.
Faking a hate crime or rape is an outrage. Real people are victims of both, and they are physically and emotionally damaged. And in both situations, victims sometimes are damaged a second time when law enforcement doesn't take them seriously…
When I wrote my initial column, I interviewed Shafic Budron, a member of the national board of directors of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and past president of the Chicago chapter. During our conversation, he offered the supposition that if the tables were turned and an Arab student had been involved in the Palos Heights hoax, serious criminal charges would have been leveled against her, and her photo would have been shown.
I thought about that when I read that Jilani, the Muslim student at Elmhurst College, was charged with filing a false police report, which is a Class Four felony. If found guilty, she could face one to four years in prison. Her name and photo appeared in newspapers and on the TV news.
The Stagg senior remains anonymous, probably because she faces no criminal charges. We've heard vague promises of some community service in the future.
Two misguided teens have admitted to police they did very wrong things, but the handling sure is different. Makes you wonder why.
CAIR: REPUBLICAN'S ANTI-MUSLIM LETTER SPARKS OUTRAGE - TOPTim Korte, Associated Press, 10/22/08
The chairwoman of an Otero County Republican women's group on Tuesday defended a letter to the editor in which she wrote, “I believe Muslims are our enemies.”
Marcia Stirman, a 56-year-old interior decorator, also called Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama “a Muslim socialist.”
A national Islamic group expressed outrage over Stirman's letter and called on state and national Republican Party officials to repudiate the publication of “anti-Muslim comments.”
“Because these hate-filled remarks were made by a prominent Republican, it is incumbent on state and national GOP officials to repudiate her divisive and intolerant views,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Officials with the Republican Party of New Mexico had no immediate comment.
The letter ran Tuesday in the Alamogordo Daily News. It was titled “Why I'm a Republican” and listed 16 reasons for her party affiliation.
The list ends with Stirman saying Obama is “a Muslim socialist.” She also wrote, “I believe war is a fact of life and we should always win.”
Stirman told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that she was surprised by reaction to her letter, which she said included support from all over the country. She wrote it after the newspaper recently published another reader's letter titled “Why I'm a Democrat.”
Asked for a response to Awad's concerns, she said of Muslims: “I don't trust them at all. They've sworn across the world that they are our enemies. Why we're trying to elect one is beside me.” (MORE)
CAIR: GOP LETTER ON OBAMA LAMBASTED - TOPJeff Jones, Albuquerque Journal, 10/22/08
Comments from a southern New Mexico Republican leader that "Muslims are our enemies" and that Democrat Barack Obama is a "Muslim socialist" drew criticism Tuesday from religious leaders and a national Islamic group called on the party to repudiate the statements. Otero County Republican Women Chair Marcia Stirman made the comments in a letter published Tuesday in the Alamogordo Daily News, prompting a flood of e-mails from across the country to the southern New Mexico newspaper. "I'm a Republican because: I believe in a sovereign God who sometimes gives us what we deserve. I believe Muslims are our enemies," Stirman, who lives in Alamogordo, wrote in the letter to the editor. "I agree with a two-party system, but Obama isn't a messiah or a Democrat. He's a Muslim socialist," Stirman wrote. Justin Crispin, an associate pastor for the First Assembly Worship Center in Alamogordo, called Stirman's comments "uninformed" and pointed out that Obama is a professed Christian. Rabbi Joseph Black with Congregation Albert in Albuquerque said Stirman's comments went beyond ignorance. "I'm sickened," Black said. "History has taught us the dangers of mindless hatred based on religious affiliation. Absolutely they're dangerous."…
Stirman told the Journal she stood by her comments. She said in an interview that she'd received compliments but that she also expected "hate mail."…The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations heard about Stirman's letter and demanded that other Republican leaders repudiate her comments. "Is this person saying that millions of American Muslims, our neighbors, our colleagues, these are her enemies? If she's saying that, what do you do with enemies?" asked council spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. "We're seeing this kind of thing too often in this election campaign. We need some elected officials or candidates to stand up and say: 'This is un-American. This isn't right.'” (MORE)
HAVE REPUBLICANS REALLY SPREAD THE OBAMA-IS-A-MUSLIM CHARGE, AS COLIN POWELL CLAIMS? - TOPSteven Waldman, Beliefnet, 10/22/08
One of the most striking parts of Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama was his accusation that Republicans have helped spread the rumor that Obama is Muslim, and turned the word into a smear. "I have heard senior members of my own Party drop the suggestion he's Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists," he said.
Some Republicans took umbrage at the comment, saying McCain and Republicans haven't directly made such an accusation. Jonah Goldberg of The National Review wrote that it was a "low and dishonest blow," and asked, "is there really much evidence that the GOP or the McCain campaign have had anything to do with the stories that Obama is a Muslim?"
It's an important question, worth a detailed look.
First, Powell himself noted that McCain himself has never intimated that Obama is Muslim. And he's right about that. Neither McCain nor Palin have suggested such a thing, or even referred to their opponent as Barack Hussein Obama. At one point, the campaign fired a volunteer who had told voters that Obama is Muslim. A recent video showed rank-and-file McCain supporters chastising an anti-Muslim McCainiac.
Hillary Clinton arguably stoked the rumor more directly than McCain when she said during the primary that he wasn't Muslim "as far as I know."
What about the Republican Party? There's no evidence that the national Republican Party has driven, coordinate or even overtly encouraged the Obama-is-a-Muslim line.
Yet the idea has been widely embraced, and not just by a few conservative extremists. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 16% of McCain supporters believe Obama is Muslim - and only 47% of Republicans say he's Christian (the balance is unsure).
There are some instances of Republican Party officials stoking the idea:
* The Tennessee Republican Party issued a press release about "Barack Hussein Obama" that included a picture of Obama in "Muslim garb."
* The website of the Clark County, Republican Party in Washington state declared, "Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. It is reported that Obama swore his oath of office using the Koran....This is chilling information about a candidate for the highest office in the Country especially given the radical Muslim claims that they will destroy American from "the inside."
* The website of the National Black Republican Association featured an article analyzing "Obama's Muslim Connections," which declared, "It's important to scrutinize Obama's Muslim background to determine if his Islamic past influences his decisions and actions toward America, including his decision to select an anti-American pastor as his spiritual advisor."
* Marcia Stirman, chairman of Otero County Republican Women in New Mexico declared in a letter to the local newspaper that Obama is "He's a Muslim socialist."
Most important, the idea has been spread by mainstream conservative media - not just a few lonely conservative bloggers in their basement but major conservative publications or figures with large followings:
* A popular conservative website, Newsmax.com, ran a story this week called, "Was Obama a Muslim?" and another one, "Obama 'Lying' About Muslim Past, Expert Says." (MORE)
MI: OBAMA'S ABSENCE UPSETS SOME MUSLIMS, ARABS - TOPSarah Hulett, NPR, 10/21/08
All Things Considered, October 21, 2008 · Barack Obama's message of unity and diplomacy is an appealing one for many Muslim-Americans. But his conspicuous absence from Muslim and Arab-American neighborhoods and mosques this campaign season has some voters feeling slighted.
In Michigan — home to a big Muslim population as well as the nation's largest concentration of Arab-Americans — reaction to Obama has been mixed. For some, Obama's message transcends race, ethnicity and religion. Others say the Democratic nominee has done little to reach out to Arabs and Muslim voters, and are withholding support. (MORE)
CAIR: PRAYER ISSUE DRAWS MUSLIM GROUP TO NEBRASKA - TOPAssociated Press, 10/22/08
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Unrest over a Muslim prayer issue and allegations of discrimination have drawn a visit to the state by regional members of a Muslim advocacy group.
Chicago-based representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations arrived in Grand Island on Tuesday. Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham says many Somali people are leaving or considering leaving the central Nebraska community following a dispute at the JBS Swift & Co. meatpacking plant. (MORE)