DINNERS SUCCESSFUL IN FL, OK, IL - TOPHundreds turn out to support civil rights work
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/10/2009) - Hundreds of supporters of civil rights turned out this past weekend at CAIR fundraising dinners in Florida, Oklahoma and Illinois.
At CAIR-South Florida’s 9th annual banquet in Ft. Lauderdale, more than 540 community and mosque leaders, public officials, friends from other faith communities, and other supporters of CAIR’s work heard a keynote address from respected scholar Dr. Sherman Abdul-Hakim Jackson.
CAIR’s Oklahoma chapter celebrated its third year with 300 local activists, elected officials, interfaith leaders, media representatives and supporters who turned out to hear former Congressman Paul Findley (R-IL) at its sold out dinner in Oklahoma City.
CAIR-Chicago’s 5th annual banquet drew more than 1400 people representing the diversity of the Muslim community who heard from author and scholar Hamza Yusuf.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR-OK: OKLAHOMA MUSLIMS SEEK GREATER UNDERSTANDING - TOPWilliam F. O'Brien, The Edmond Sun, 3/9/09
Oklahoma Council of American Islamic Relations Director Razi Hashmi told the members of that organization at their third annual dinner last week that many Muslims came to this state seeking a better life. And on the whole, he said, they have succeeded in that endeavor.
Hashmi reminded them that the more than 30,000 Muslims now found throughout Oklahoma are physicians, attorneys, engineers, professors and successful business people. There is now a second generation of Muslims who have been raised in Oklahoma and are pursuing careers here. Hashmi, who is the son of a thoracic surgeon who came to Oklahoma decades ago from Pakistan, is among that group.
Young men who are members of Islamic student associations from the campuses of Oklahoma City University and the University of Central Oklahoma served as ushers at the event.
The CAIR director spoke of recent surveys done by several polling firms that indicate followers of Islam are among the most affluent and educated members of American society.
He also spoke of a verse from the Koran that mandates, “As such as do not fight against you on account of faith, and neither drive you from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity, for verily, God loves those who act equitably.” In accordance with that instruction, Hashmi explained how his organization has built alliances with others in the state and nation to create better understanding of Islam and to protect the civil liberties of all citizens. (MORE)
CAIR: MUSLIM WOMAN ASKED TO LEAVE LINE AT BANK OVER HEAD SCARF - TOPMatt Zapotosky, Washington Post, 3/10/09
A Muslim woman was asked to leave her place in line at a credit union in Southern Maryland and be served in a back room because the head scarf she wore for religious reasons violated the institution's "no hats, hoods or sunglasses" policy, the woman said yesterday.
The incident at the Navy Federal Credit Union on Saturday was the second in a month for Kenza Shelley, and Muslim advocates fear it could become a problem nationwide as many financial institutions, intent on curbing robberies and identity theft, ban hats and similar items without appropriate accommodations for religious attire.
"This may be the tip of the iceberg," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "There's got to be a way to work it out so that this security concern does not lead to violations of constitutional rights."
Shelley, 54, who runs a day care out of her home in Lexington Park, said she has used the credit union in the St. Mary's County community of California for more than 10 years. Until February, no employees had complained about her head scarf, which covers her hair but not her face. But a few weeks ago, she said, she was standing in line to deposit a check when an employee asked her to come to the back room, referring to a new policy that prohibited hats, hoods and sunglasses. She complied but asked whether she would have to go through the same process each time she made a transaction.
On Saturday, Shelley said, employees again asked her to come to the back room if she would not remove her head scarf. "No," she recalled telling them, "I want to be served like everybody else."
She left the credit union and called the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which lobbies and advocates for the Muslim community. "There was so many people there, and I was embarrassed," she said. (MORE)
ALLOWING HEAD COVERINGS TO BE WORN FOR RELIGIOUS PURPOSES IS A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION - TOPPress Herald, 3/10/09
Allowing head coverings to be worn for religious purposes is a reasonable accommodation. When it comes to accommodating religious concerns, most people might think that courtrooms and prisons would not be centers of controversy on the topic.
After all, don't people in such locations and institutions have to live by the rules? And taking off a hat is a sign of respect in Western culture but not necessarily elsewhere.
It's true that inmates, for example, can't choose what they eat or when they have to go to bed or get up, and they most certainly can't leave.
And they normally can't choose the clothes they wear. Most prisoners in most institutions wear what the institution requires them to wear, from the blue jeans, blue shirts and gray sweatshirts of the Maine State Prison to the orange, yellow or blue outfits inmates wear at the Cumberland County Jail.
But now the court system and the jail, along with other institutions in Maine and across the nation, have decided to accommodate one aspect of religious garb: headgear. (MORE)
ACTION ALERT: CAIR-NJ CALLS FOR SOUP KITCHEN VOLUNTEERS - TOPThe New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) is calling on all Muslims in the New Jersey area to assist Muslims Against Hunger by volunteering at Elijah's Promise Soup Kitchen in New Brunswick. "Muslims Against Hunger Project" has launched its "Fight Against Hunger in Our Backyard" campaign by organizing special "Muslims Serve Days" in various parts of the NY/NJ metropolitan area. Volunteers will gather to prepare hot lunches/dinners and serve the working poor, hungry and homeless at the Soup Kitchens. It is an Islamic tradition to feed the poor and needy. This time of the year the crowd in soup kitchens is larger than usual because bad economy has put many laborers out of work. Also, seniors on fixed incomes are running low on cash as the month wears down. Serving at the Soup kitchen gives Muslim community an opportunity to participate in the "Act of Righteousness" and shows the greater communities true and compassionate face of the Muslims and Islam.WHAT: Volunteer OpportunityWHEN: Friday, March 13th WHERE: Elijah's Promise Soup Kitchen, 18 Neilson Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08891CONTACT: Please submit your contact information for registration by email: email@example.com or by Phone: 908-364-4441
In an ongoing effort to promote volunteerism among our communities under the "Muslims Care" Campaign, CAIR-NJ Public Relations Director Afsheen Shamsi has committed to volunteering with the Interfaith Soup Kitchen on an ongoing basis and encourages others in the NJ Muslim community to do the same.