AIR-NY SEEKS PROBE OF BIAS MOTIVE IN SCHOOL BEATING - TOP
(NEW YORK, N.Y., 6/15/2009) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today called on school officials and law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for the beating of a Muslim student by a classmate.
The parents of the 14-year-old Staten Island student say that during the beating, their son’s assailant said he hates Arabs and hates his religion. Police say the attacker used the slurs simply to instigate a fight, not as a motive for the attack, but the victim's parents believe it was a hate crime.
“Given the allegations of racial and religious slurs used during the assault, it is important that a possible bias motive be taken into consideration and that appropriate action be taken by school officials and law enforcement authorities,” said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif. “Students of all faiths and ethnicities should feel that a school is a safe environment for learning.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic 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-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif, 212-870-2002, 732-429-4268, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali, 212-870-2002, 718-724-3041, E-Mail: email@example.com; 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
VIDEO: CAIR DIRECTOR DISCUSSES DOUBLE STANDARD ON TERRORISM - TOP CNN, 6/11/2009
Rick Sanchez explores whether we treat suspected domestic terrorists differently from suspected Muslim extremists.
CAIR-MI HOSTS TOWN HALL FORUM ON CIVIL RIGHTS - TOP
(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 6/15/09) - The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) recently held a successful town hall forum at the Islamic Center of Detroit to discuss pressing civil rights issues impacting American Muslims and Arab-Americans.
Brief presentations given at the “Community Rights Town Hall” focused on concerns regarding agent provocateurs and informants spying in houses of worship, detentions during re-entry to the country and border laptop seizures, and the chilling effect on Muslims paying zakat (mandatory charitable donations) to Islamic charities.
Speakers at the event included Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, Wayne State University Criminal Justice Professor Irshad Altheimer, ACLU-MI Field Director Mary Bejian and ADC-MI Advisory Board Member Ihsan Alkhatib.
Also in attendance were representatives from the faith relations office of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Some 150 community members attended the forum.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic 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-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR-MN: DEMONSTRATORS SUPPORT AREA MUSLIM GROUP - TOP David Chanen, Star Tribune, 6/14/09
Representatives from more than a dozen Somali civil, religious and political organizations gathered Saturday to rebut allegations that a Muslim civil rights group is blocking an FBI inquiry into the disappearances of dozens of Twin Cities Somali men.
Last week, relatives of a Minneapolis teenager who said he was recently killed in Somalia and a Somali community leader claimed that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Minnesota chapter was discouraging area Somalis from cooperating with the FBI. But supporters Saturday said CAIR has only advised Somalis about their civil rights and urged them to tell the truth and work with law enforcement.
"I was at CAIR's three workshops for people who were issued subpoenas by the FBI and others seeking help and this was consistently the group's message," said Omar Hurre, executive director of Abubakar as-Saddique Islamic Center, Minneapolis' largest Somali mosque.
He was one of about 50 people who gathered to support CAIR at a park next to the Brian Coyle Community Center in Minneapolis, many holding signs saying how CAIR improved their lives. The represented groups ranged from the Somali Youth Network Council to the Muslim Student Association at Augsburg College. (More)
MINNESOTA SOMALI COMMUNITY RALLIES TO SUPPORT CAIR-MN - TOP PR Newswire, 6/13/09
On Saturday, June 13, representatives of more than a dozen Twin Cities Somali civil, religious and political organizations held a rally demonstrating their support for Minnesota's only Muslim civil rights organization, the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).
Representatives from local Somali organizations voiced their support of the work CAIR-MN has done in the Somali community and addressed the importance of civil rights education for all Americans. The coalition gathered to represent the collective voice of the Twin Cities Somali population, estimated to be between 70,000 and 80,000.
"CAIR has been the only organization to come into the Muslim community, the Somali community, to help them understand their civil rights," said Somali Community Link Radio Host Zuhur Ahmed. "They've been here educating us about our rights as Americans since long before any men left for Somalia." Ahmed added that, in addition to know your rights trainings, CAIR-MN has been promoting cooperation with law enforcement.
The group also stressed that Somalis are not represented by one or two media-seeking individuals who refer to themselves as activists.
"We're here from dozens of active organizations working with the people on the issues important to Somalis," said United Somali Movement Vice President Aman Obsiye. "We represent the true voice of the tens of thousands of Somalis living in the Twin Cities."
Organizations co-sponsoring the event included: United Somali Movement; Somali Youth Network Council (SYNC); Somali Youth Action of Minnesota; Somali Action Alliance; United Somali Diaspora; Somali Leadership Council; Somali American Community; World Peace Organization; Muslim Student Association, Augsburg College Chapter; Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center (AAIC); Islamic Dawah Institute; Karmel Plaza Business Association
CONTACT: United Somali Movement Public Relations Director Sharmarke Jama, Tel: (612) 483-9878, E-mail: email@example.com; Abubakar Islamic Center Executive Director Omar (Farhan) Hurre, Tel: (612) 607-9187, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Upshur County Sheriff's Office is investigating an assault on a Gilmer man who claims he was attacked because he is Muslim, officials said Friday.
Sheriff's investigator Mark Moore said law enforcement officers took a report from James Berry, 34, who claims he was attacked on June 6 at his home. Moore said he could not release details because the investigation is ongoing. He added that the incident has not been ruled a hate crime.
In a news release on Friday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Berry, who converted to Islam, reported that two former co-workers punched, choked and kicked him, and used religious slurs. He also said he felt the barrel of a gun pressed to his head and said the attackers threatened to hurt him again if he contacted police, the release stated. (More)
A Diamond Bar man is being held in a secretive federal prison and his family believes he was targeted for investigation by authorities because of his faith.
Seyed Mousavi, 51, was convicted of filing false tax returns, omitting information on naturalization forms and violating an economic embargo against Iran, officials said. He is being held in a Communication Management Unit (CMU) in Indiana and is largely isolated from his family and friends.
"This prosecution was a travesty," said Ron Kaye, an attorney representing Mousavi. "I think he's innocent of virtually every charge."
Despite a recent speech at Cairo University that was well-received by U.S. Muslims, local Muslim Americans like the Mousavi family said much damage has been done at home by tactics used by the FBI, which included sending spies into mosques.
"I just felt betrayed by my country," said Mousavi's daughter, Zeinab, 26. "My dad's been a good citizen and he's helped society a lot."
Craig Monteilh, 46, of Irvine, said he infiltrated nearly a dozen area mosques as an informant for the FBI, and that his activities led to Seyed Mousavi's arrest…
Mousavi's arrest, and current detention at the CMU in Terre Haute, Ind., have sparked an outcry in the local Muslim community. They believe they were targeted because of their faith. (More)
AGENT PROVOCATEUR? - TOP Amira Hass, Haaretz, 6/15/09
The first time Kathleen Baines saw Maksud was on Wednesday, May 20. Like everyone else, she knew the well-to-do Pakistani by his first name only. He had started appearing here the previous September, wandering around outside Masjid al-Ikhlas (the "mosque of devotion") in town, meeting people in a popular local restaurant, paying for their meals and offering financial help.
Frequenters of the mosque, some of them immigrants from East Asia and others African Americans, could not help but notice that Maksud had five vehicles, including a Mercedes, a BMW and an ATV.
On that Wednesday in May, Maksud arrived in the neighborhood in one of his cars at about 4 P.M. and stopped at Baines' house. He has a narrow face, she recalls now, and peroxided hair. He would wear sunglasses and expensive shoes. Whenever he came to look for her partner, James Cromitie, in recent months, he would remain outside, and this time was no different.
"Where is the brother?" he asked, and she answered from the window: "James is on his motorbike with my son." Maksud asked her what his cellular phone number was. The question sounded strange to Baines since he was the one who had given James the phone…
On that day in May when she tried to reach him by phone, Baines did not know that Maksud, Cromitie and three of their friends were on their way to Riverdale in the Bronx, to carry out what Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder described later as an unimaginable, blood-curdling plot: planting bombs in parked cars next to a Riverdale synagogue and Jewish cultural center, and shooting missiles at a helicopter at Newburgh's Air National Guard base.
The lethal plot was foiled, however. One of the five men put the bombs in place while three others kept watch. But no one was aware that the bombs had been defused earlier by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - and that FBI officers, members of the New York Police Department and a joint anti-terror force were lying in wait for them…
Salahuddin Muhammad, the imam of the local mosque, was not surprised. "We thought he was an informer," he told both journalists and the children who study in the mosque. The children saw all the media buzz and were disturbed that the name of their mosque had come up in connection with the plot. "We wondered what to do," the imam explained to the youngsters. "How should we tell the authorities that we suspected him? But it was the authorities who had sent him."
Maksud, it later transpired, is a Pakistani immigrant who was arrested in 2002 for selling fake driving licenses to immigrants. In order to avoid serving a jail sentence and being exiled, he agreed to work for the FBI. An on-the-ball journalist from The New York Post realized this was the same federal informer who had worked five years earlier in Albany, New York, in a similar fashion. (More)
FORMAL OPENING OF ROXBURY MOSQUE, TWO DAYS OF EVENTS SET FOR THIS MONTH - TOP Michael Paulson, Boston Globe, 6/14/09
The Muslim American Society, which is operating the new Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, or ISBCC, has scheduled two days of events to celebrate the completion of the building. The building had a soft opening last fall, during Ramadan, and has been in use since then, but the events on June 26 and 27 mark its formal inauguration as the Muslim community prepares to expand programming in the building.
Major inaugural events will include an interfaith breakfast at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, across the street from the mosque; a ribbon-cutting, call-to-worship, and prayer service at the mosque; and a celebratory dinner at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.
The dinner will feature a speech by US Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who is the first Muslim to serve in Congress; the breakfast will feature William A. Graham, Harvard Divinity School dean and a noted scholar of Islam, as well as a variety of local religious leaders.
Mosque officials say they expect Governor Deval Patrick to attend the breakfast and Mayor Thomas M. Menino to attend the ribbon-cutting. (More)
MUSLIM CLINIC STEADIED MOTHER THROUGH TRAGEDY - TOP Greg Janda and Brett Johnson, NBCDFW.com, 6/13/09
It has been a torturous 18-months for Patricia Said.
Patricia Said says her world was falling apart until she sought free medical and psychiatric help at the Muslim Community Center for Human Services.
"At first I blamed God because he let them die," she confesses. "And I see other people with their kids and I get angry because its not fair I don't have my kids."
Almost a year and a half has passed since Patricia Said's two teen-aged daughters were found murdered in a taxicab at an Irving hotel -- a taxi that their father, 52-year old Yaser Said, had been driving.
"I hate him. He had no right to take them," Said says about her ex-husband, who is the chief suspect in the murders. He hasn't been seen since. "And the next thing I knew the police was at my door," she recalls.
Emotionally devastated, Patricia Said's world was falling apart -- until she sought free medical and psychiatric help at the Muslim Community Center for Human Services.
Dr. Basheer Ahmed, a Psychiatrist at the center says, "now she is in a state where I think I can help her more."
"Without the clinic I probably would not be here right now," Said says. (More)
ISLAM TEACHES US TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS - TOP Aziz Junejo, Seattle Times, 6/15/09
Excessive spending and growing debt prompted President Obama to ask Americans to live within their means, and last month as he signed a bill that makes it tougher for credit-card issuers to raise fees and interest rates.
Many have seen this as a call to cut back on wants and focus on needs in an effort to resolve financial problems. Today bankruptcies, house foreclosures and job losses have hit historic highs nationwide.
Tent cities are springing up in every state, occupied by folks just like the family next door. Through no fault of their own, they have lost their jobs and then their homes. In some cases, crushing debt leads to tragedy. I am reminded of the news story about a dad in Middletown, Md., who had about $460,000 in mortgage and credit-card debt. In April, he killed his family, then committed suicide. In one of several suicide notes, he made reference to his financial difficulties and depression.
Overspending and borrowing huge sums has made consumers slaves of interest payments. Eliminating debt is a bitter pill but good medicine. The charging of high interest rates, known as "usury" in the Abrahamic faiths, is prohibited in Islam.
Muslims have never been allowed to benefit from or to pay interest. God says in the Quran:
“The usury that is practiced to increase some people's wealth does not gain anything at God. But if people give to charity, seeking God's pleasure, these are the ones who receive their reward many fold.” Ar-Rum 30:39
Money comes without instructions, so prioritizing our spending is worth some daily reflection. In the current recession, living within our means has become more important than ever. But it doesn't have to mean giving up things that make life pleasant and fulfilling.
My parents' generation worked hard and prospered while enjoying a lifestyle focused on saving and living simply. They used to tell me, "a simple life is a good life; but only if you can enjoy it." I understand the relevance of those words more today.
Being more frugal allows people to opt out of a high-stress lifestyle and leads ultimately to contentment, depth of experience and even joy. Frugality doesn't mean poverty; it means enjoying what's really important in life while getting a good value for the things you need. (More)