CAIR WELCOMES ROXANA SABERI’S RELEASE BY IRAN - TOP U.S. Muslim group planned delegation seeking ‘gesture of reconciliation’
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/11/09) A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy organization today welcomed Iran’s release of American journalist Roxana Saberi, who was freed Monday after an Iranian appeals court suspended her eight-year prison sentence on charges of espionage.
Last month, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced that it was planning to send a delegation to Iran to ask that Saberi be released as a “gesture of reconciliation” that would benefit the cause of international peace and stability.
“We are pleased that Roxana Saberi has been released and hope this move on the part of Iran will create a political atmosphere more conducive to improved relations between our two nations,” said CAIR Board Chairman State Sen. Larry Shaw (NC).
He noted that CAIR informed President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton of its planned mission and received a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the family of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing in Iran since 2007. Shaw said that letter will now be sent to Iranian officials.
On April 9, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad sent a letter to President Ahmadinejad calling on the government of Iran to release Saberi. In his letter, Awad wrote in part:
“We recognize the serious nature of the issues that seem to hinder an improved relationship between our two nations. We ask Iran to take this opportunity to make a gesture of reconciliation that will help create an atmosphere in which those issues may be addressed in a positive manner.”
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, 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, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
CAIR OPPOSES SAVAGE’S BAN FROM BRITAIN ‘ON PRINCIPLE’ - TOP Amanda Carpenter, Washington Times, 5/11/09
An unlikely group is calling for Britain to remove conservative talk-radio host Michael Savage from its banned-persons list.
The Council for American-Islamic Relations is a member of the Hate Hurts America Multifaith Community Coalition, a campaign that has urged advertisers to stop running commercials on the "Savage Nation" radio program because of the host's remarks about Islam.
The group has vehemently opposed what it regards as Mr. Savage's "hate speech" toward Muslims, which includes suggestions to "take your religion and shove it" in an unprintable metaphor, "they need deportation," and that "the Koran is a document of slavery and chattel." The group was so insistent, Sam's Club and Sprint quit running advertisements on "Savage Nation" as a result of pressure from the coalition.
While CAIR remains committed to nixing Mr. Savage's advertisers, it does think Britain's ban is out of line.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said, "Even though we have challenged Michael Savage's hate speech and even ran an advertising campaign against his show, we still do not back this ban from Britain based on principle, not based on the man himself."
"We believe freedom of speech is a two-way street ...," he said. (More)
CAIR: OBAMA'S SPEECH IN EGYPT TO REACH OUT TO MUSLIMS - TOP Will 'extend a hand' to improve relations Christina Bellantoni and Barbara Slavin, Washington Times, 5/9/09
President Obama next month will travel to Egypt to address the world's Muslims in a major speech, seeking to strengthen U.S. relations with the Islamic world and fight extremism, the White House said Friday.
Mr. Obama chose Egypt as the venue for the long-promised speech, to be delivered June 4, because the country "in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
He said a city had not been chosen yet.
Mr. Gibbs said the president in his remarks will "extend a hand to those that in many ways are like us, but just simply have a different religion." …
Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the speech was a good platform for continuing the inclusive message Mr. Obama spoke of in his inaugural address - "improved relations with the Muslim world based on mutual respect and mutual interest."
"We just hope these positive rhetorical statements translate into similarly positive policy initiatives toward the Muslim world," Mr. Hooper said. (More)
To convert to Islam, a man or woman must pronounce the shahada, or testimony of faith, either in private or in public. The convert states that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his prophet; the reason, according to the Quran, is that followers need to understand that they may not worship anything but God. Many converts opt to shower either before or after their declaration, to symbolize the repenting of sins from their previous life. Nothing more is required.
Becoming a rapper is a bit more complicated. The sheer technical skill (learning rhythm and meter, building a vocabulary, adjusting one's voice) often requires years of practice, and then there is the not-so-small matter of developing beats and musical production. The convert to rap must also prepare to adjust his lifestyle. The most successful rappers on the market focus their subject matter and their public appearances around a small list of topics: one's previous experiences of poverty, drugs - especially the dealing thereof - guns and/or criminal records, fast money and loose women.
The twain shall meet, however, as I learned while watching "New Muslim Cool," a new documentary about a Puerto Rican convert, Hamza Perez, who gave up drug-dealing in exchange for Islam, but couldn't quit hip-hop…
"New Muslim Cool" will be showing on PBS on June 23, but I couldn't wait that long to find out more. (More)
TN: A DELICATE BALANCE FOR MOSQUE AND RESTAURANT - TOP With liquor license approval, harmony sought for restaurant, mosque Jessie Pounds, Knoxville News Sentinel, 5/9/09
The Hill restaurant in Fort Sanders, which has been the source of controversy over sales of alcohol, will open Wednesday despite concern by members of an adjacent mosque.
The Hill owner Trevor Hill said he found out this week that his request for a liquor license has been granted by the state.
Members of Anoor mosque, which is 191 feet from the restaurant at 1105 Forest Ave., have been upset about the possibility of a business that sells alcoholic drinks and stays open late being located on property next to their mosque.
Some mosque members tried to block Hill from getting a liquor license but were unsuccessful. Knoxville's local beer ordinance establishes a 300-foot buffer zone around churches and other community institutions for a beer permit but waives the requirement if the establishment is granted a state liquor license.
According to Nadeem Siddiqi of Anoor, mosque members aren't surprised that the liquor license request went through because they received word from Nashville that the process was a purely administrative one by the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Siddiqi said mosque members continue to have concerns about the proximity of Hill's business but intend to let the matter rest for now.
"He's our neighbor and he is a nice guy … we just have to give him the benefit of the doubt for now," Siddiqi said, explaining that members felt a need to register protest, even in what seemed like a futile situation. (More)
TN: ISLAMIC CENTER SHARES IDEALS WITH ALL AT OPEN HOUSE - TOP Bob White, News Enterprise, 5/11/09
With a sole creator, prophets spreading messages, angels and holy books, Islam sounds not unlike the religions with which many Hardin County folks grew up.
A warm, friendly, smiling person greeting people at the front door and food in a kitchen ready for munching on after services the scene Saturday at The Islamic Center of Elizabethtown wasn’t that unfamiliar.
Leaders at the Islamic Center opened its doors to all Saturday for a lesson in Islamic basics.
A 20-minute crash course in the world’s most practiced religion was an ideal opportunity for those wanting a basic understanding. (More)
MN: AT SOMALI TOWN MEETING, A SHOW OF SOLIDARITY - TOP Several hundred people went to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday hoping to dispel myths about the community. Janet Moore, Star Tribune, 5/11/09
Several hundred people, mostly of Somali descent, gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday in a show of solidarity for a community that is often misunderstood by many Minnesotans.
The town meeting came at a sensitive time for the Somali community, currently at the center of a far-reaching federal counterterrorism investigation into whether young men from Minneapolis have been recruited by terrorists to fight in their homeland.
"The Somali community has been under a microscope for the wrong reasons,” said Sharmarke Jama, a spokesman for the nearly two dozen community and religious groups that sponsored the event. "This has been guilt by association. We want to demystify our community." (More)
MN: TWIN CITIES SOMALI INVITE PUBLIC INTO COMMUNITY - TOP Nicole Muehlhausen, KSTP, 5/10/09