ACTION: ASK FLA. HOUSE SPEAKER TO DEFEND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS - TOPHouse GOP leader Hasner leaves House floor before Muslim prayer
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/27/09) - CAIR today said that Rep. Adam Hasner, the head of Florida’s House Republicans, left the floor of the legislature just prior to an Islamic prayer opening the session and returned to his seat just after the prayer ended.
SEE: Imam Leads House Prayer (Palm Beach Post)
The apparent walkout is being cited as an additional reason for Hasner to step down from his leadership post.
Yesterday, CAIR called on Republican Party leaders to remove Hasner from his post because he co-hosted a recent event at which the speaker said Islam should not be recognized as a legitimate faith and Muslims should not have religious freedom.
CAIR: Fla. House GOP Leader Hosts Event Denying Religious Freedom
In an address to the so-called “Free Speech Summit” in Delray Beach, Fla., Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders said: “Islam is not a religion. Islam is a totalitarian political ideologue. Islam [sic] heart lies at the Quran, and the Quran is a book that calls for hatred, that calls for violence, for murder, for terrorism, for war, and submission…We should also stop pretending that Islam is a religion...the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.”
Hasner is on the “host committee” for the conference and attended Wilders’ speech.
VIDEO: Tell GOP Lawmakers to Reject Rep. Hasner's Hate Event (United Voices)
“We urge American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact the speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives to ask that he defend religious freedom and interfaith tolerance by removing Representative Hasner from his leadership post,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Representative Hasner’s behavior is un-American and unbefitting an elected official in his position.”
Awad also called on political and interfaith leaders to condemn Hasner’s behavior.
Earlier this year, Hasner attempted to block a “Florida Muslim Capitol Day.” In an e-mail to more than a dozen lobbyists, he wrote: “By now, I can't imagine you haven't heard about this upcoming lobbying day for Muslims in Tallahassee…Do you all intend to be part of an information campaign in opposition to it?”
SEE: House Leader E-Mails Alert About Muslim Event to Jewish Lobbyists (St. Petersburg Times)
In 2007, Hasner sponsored a screening of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West” for state legislators.
SEE: Obsession with Hate
ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE.)
CONTACT Rep. Larry Cretul, speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, to ask that he defend the religious rights of all Floridians and support interfaith understanding and tolerance.
Rep. Larry CretulSpeakerFlorida House of Representatives420 The Capitol 402 South Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-1450 E-Mail: email@example.comCopy to: firstname.lastname@example.org; Chairman@gop.com
PLEASE FORWARD TO FRIENDS, RELATIVES AND COLLEAGUES
-----CAIR-LA: ‘ISLAMIC TEACHINGS CALL FOR THE RIGHT TO FREE WORSHIP’ - TOPA celebration of freedomMelissa Evans, Daily Breeze, 4/25/09
Nadia Aghdasi sifts through stacks of photographs of old friends and family members. In many cases, the pictures are the only remnants she has of relatives either still living in her native Iran or those who have been killed because of religious persecution.
"He was never the same," she says, looking at a small picture of her father, who was jailed for two years. "He became very sick after that."
Aghdasi and her husband, Taraz, immigrated to the United States nine years ago with their two daughters. Their lives in Manhattan Beach are much different - here, they are free to live openly as Baha'is, a religion founded some 150 years ago that promotes world peace as one of its major tenets.
But as South Bay Baha'is prepare for Ridvan, their most reverent time of year - including a celebration in Manhattan Beach today - they acknowledge that the world is far from peaceful, particularly in the birthplace of their faith.
"It's sort of a bittersweet time for us," said Mandy Chandler, a Baha'i in El Segundo. "It's a hopeful time, but also very sad when you see what's happening around the world."
Only about 300,000 of the world's estimated 6 million Baha'is still live in Iran, an Islamic republic where it is against the law to openly practice other religions.
Some 200 Baha'i scholars, writers, educators and activists have been killed since 1979, when the Islamic regime overthrew the shah of Iran. Thousands of others have been jailed, including Aghdasi's husband, who was arrested twice for his religious beliefs…
Congress is now considering passage of a resolution condemning the violence in Iran against Baha'is. Local Islamic organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also said it must stop.
"The Islamic teachings call for the right to free worship," said Munira Syeda, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles chapter of CAIR. "A verse in the Quran states, ‘There's no compulsion in religion,’ and highlights the spirit of tolerance in Islam." (More)
-----CAIR OFFERS CONDOLENCES ON DEATH OF DR. HASSAN HATHOUT - TOP
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/27/09) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is offering its condolences to the family of Dr. Hassan Hathout, an Islamic scholar, activist and leader of the American Muslim community who died Saturday at his home in California.
The Los Angeles Times noted today: “In 1998 Hathout delivered a sermon at the first White House celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the day marking the end of the Muslim holy month Ramadan…Hathout also helped organize the Interfaith Center to Reverse the Arms Race, one of the first major inter-religious efforts in Los Angeles.”
We are from God and to him we return,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Dr. Hathout’s positive activism and depth of knowledge will be sorely missed by the American Muslim community and by all those who seek improved interfaith dialogue and understanding. Muslims in American and worldwide have lost a great thinker and humanitarian.”
Awad told Islamonline.net: "He was a visionary person and a scholar at the same time. He inspired so many of us with his understanding of Islam and his dedication to Islamic work in general."
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties 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 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR: AMERICAN MUSLIMS MOURN ‘VISIONARY’ HATHOUT - TOPTamer Abo Asood, Islam Online, 4/27/09
American Muslims are mourning Dr. Hassan Hathout, a renowned leader who passed away this weekend after a long life in serving the Islamic faith.
"We have lost today a luminary of Islam in North America," Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, told IslamOnline.net.
"He has been a voice of wisdom, clarity and compassion for Islam for over thirty years in Southern California."
Dr. Hathout, 84, died Saturday in Pasadena, California after a long period of sickness.
"It is with deep sadness we have learned of the sad demise of Dr. Hassan Hathout this afternoon," the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California said in a statement.
"May he be blessed with Jannah al Firdaws and may his family be granted with patience for their irrevocable loss."
A physician by profession, Dr. Hathout, of Egyptian origin, came to the United States in 1989 with the goal of making da’wa to the American people.
He was a co-founder of the International Organization of Medical Sciences, designed with the goal of dissemination of God-guided medical ethics.
Additionally, he was the co-founder of the Interfaith Council of Southern California
Dr. Hathout was the keynote speaker at the first Christian-Muslim celebration at the White House in 1999…
The umbrella Muslim organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said Dr. Hathout has been an inspiration for many American Muslims.
"He was a visionary person and a scholar at the same time," CAIR executive director Nihad Awad told IOL.
"He inspired so many of us with his understanding of Islam and his dedication to Islamic work in general." (More)
---DR. HASSAN HATHOUT DIES AT 84; ISLAMIC LEADER FOSTERED INTERFAITH RELATIONS - TOPAs a physician and a devout Muslim, Dr. Hassan Hathout stood against anything that would “obliterate life.”Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, 4/27/09
Dr. Hassan Hathout, a physician, medical ethicist and leader of the Southern California Islamic community who was at the forefront of efforts to demystify American Muslims and build interfaith bonds, has died. He was 84.
Hathout died of natural causes Saturday at his Pasadena home, said a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, of which he was a prominent member.
He was also a leader of the Islamic Center of Southern California, where he coordinated outreach efforts for two decades. A well-regarded scholar, he wrote several books, including "Reading the Muslim Mind."
"He was one of our giants in the history of Islam in America," who urged Muslims to be "organically integrated in American society and not act as visitors" in it, Salam al Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said Sunday. (More)
AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE - TOPDid Obama's trip to Turkey help Muslims here at home? It depends on how you view my headscarf.Hadia Mubarak, Newsweek, 4/25/09
Last month, as I was watching the news coverage of President Obama's visit to Turkey, I thought back to an awkward experience I had as an undergraduate student applying for a job at my university. When I handed the receptionist at the student union my Social Security card, a required form of identification, she told me she needed my passport as well.
Surprised, I questioned the need for it. She brought over her supervisor, who glanced at my hijab—a headscarf worn by many Muslim women—and asked, "Aren't you an international student?" "No," I said. "I'm an American citizen. I was born in New Jersey." Her mouth dropped open and she stammered, "Oh, you're not a foreigner?"
It was not a new experience for me, as a Muslim growing up in this country. Before people learned my name, saw me run at a track meet or heard me debate an argument, they assumed they knew who I am.
That's why Obama's decision to visit a Muslim country within the first 100 days of his presidency was such a significant moment for me. Hearing his unwavering, unapologetic message to the Turkish Parliament filled me with pride: yes, he told the world, Muslim Americans exist, and our existence has enriched—not impoverished—American culture. His words mirrored what I have long sought to convey to other Americans: that you can be both a devout Muslim and a patriotic American.
I can only hope my fellow citizens get the message. When many Americans see Muslims like me, they tend to define us as something non-American, which forces us to choose between our religion and nationality. As long as Islam is equated with a foreign culture, as opposed to a faith like any other practiced here, then our mosques and our schools and our headscarves will continue to be perceived as a rejection of "American culture."
This idea of Muslims as "other" surfaces every time someone like my friend Kathy, a veil-wearing Muslim American, is told to "go back home" when she and her daughter eat at Subway, or when a man plows his truck into a Tallahassee, Fla., mosque to remind Muslims they're not safe in this country. (More)
JUSTICE FOR ALL? OR ONLY NON-MUSLIMS? - TOPMuslim Public Affairs Council, Opposing Views, 4/27/09
Lawyers are generally taught that deliberately using race, religion or ethnicity in prosecuting a defendant violates Equal Protection rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. In light of his repeated anti-Arab and anti-Muslim statements, it seems that Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg needs to be reminded of this fundamental principle.
Gordon Kromberg, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has made repugnant statements about Muslim women, has suggested to a jury that Muslims believe it's religiously acceptable to lie, and has promoted the notion that Muslims are killers due to their nature. MPAC today filed a complaint with the Office of Professional Responsibility calling on the Department of Justice to review Mr. Kromberg's statements and to investigate the discriminatory remarks made by him about Arabs and Muslims.
Representing the U.S. government, Kromberg argued before a district judge last fall that Dr. Sami Al-Arian should not be released in to his daughter's custody because, "in this particular culture," a woman could not prevent her father from fleeing.
When Al-Arian's Tampa attorney, Jack Fernandez, asked Kromberg to delay the defendant's transfer 30 days until after the Islamic religious holidays of Ramadan, Kromberg responded: "If they can kill each other during Ramadan, they can appear before the grand jury. All they can't do is eat before sunset. I believe Mr. Al-Arian's request is part of the attempted Islamization of the American Justice System. I am not going to put off Dr. Al-Arian's grand jury appearance just to assist in what is becoming the Islamization of America."
The motion released by Dr. Al-Arian's attorneys calling in to question the bias of Prosecutor Kromberg states that Kromberg joked about the torture of a Virginia man name of Ahmed Abu Ali, who was then being held in Saudi Arabia. The suspect's lawyer, Salim Ali, said that when Mr. Kromberg was asked about Abu Ali's prospects for returning to America, Kromberg smirked and stated "He's no good for us here. He has no fingernails left." Kromberg later stated in a declaration that he had no recollection of making the statement. (More)