CAIR-NY TO JOIN COALITION IN CALLING FOR MUSLIM SCHOOL HOLIDAYS - TOP
As Resolution Goes to a Vote, Labor-Community Coalition and Elected Officials to Call on NYC Council to Recognize Muslim School Holidays
Coalition Urges Council to Ensure Fairness for All NYC Students by Voting “Yes” on Resolution 1281
New York, NY On Tuesday, June 30, the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays (CMSH), a diverse group of more than 80 community, labor, civil rights, and religious organizations from throughout New York, will hold a news conference to call on the New York City Council to provide equal treatment and include two Muslim holidays in the New York City public school calendar. Elected officials, parents, students, union representatives, and coalition members will highlight the need for equality and religious freedom for New York’s diverse student body.
The press conference will precede a city council vote on the resolution, scheduled to take place later the same day. Recognition of the holidays in the school calendar will remove the unfair choice 1 in 8 NYC Public School students have to make between celebrating important religious holidays and their education.
WHEN: Tuesday, June 30, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Steps of City Hall, NYC
WHO: Robert Jackson, NYC Council Education Committee Chair, Affected students and parents, CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali and other coalition members, Amina Rachman, Special Assistant to the President (UFT), Hector Figueroa, Secretary-Treasurer (32BJ SEIU), Imam Talib (Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood), Rabbi Weisser (Free Synagogue of Flushing), Reverend L’Heureux, Jr. (Queens Federation of Churches)
The Coalition for Muslim School Holidays is a broad inter-faith, inter-ethnic coalition of labor, community, civil rights and religious organizations as well as students, parents and educators.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Faiza N. Ali (CAIR-NY): 718-724-3041, 212-870-2002, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marjon Kashani: 415-317-7646, email@example.com
Isabel Bucaram: 718-683-2532, firstname.lastname@example.org
FAMILY WITH AMERICAN CHILDREN STRANDED IN GAZA - TOP
Ben Hubbard, Associated Press, 6/29/09
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- In blockaded Gaza, even an American passport isn't a sure ticket to freedom. (Full article)
FOR BACKGROUND, SEE: CAIR Seeks Sponsors for Gaza Evacuees
CAIR: 'SHARE THE QURAN' CAMPAIGN TO BE LAUNCHED TUESDAY, JUNE 30 - TOP
J. Samia Mair, Baltimore Muslim Examiner, 6/28/09
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will hold a news conference on Tuesday, June 30 in Washington, D.C., announcing the launch of a major campaign to distribute free copies of the Quran to 100,000 local, state, and national leaders.
Over several years the "Share the Quran" campaign plans to distribute Qurans to governors, state attorney generals, educators, law enforcement officials, state and national legislators, local elected and public officials, media professionals, and other local or national leaders who determine policy or shape public opinion.
According to CAIR, the educational campaign was prompted by President Obama's speech in Cairo earlier this month in which he quoted the Quran several times. As posted here previously, the Cairo audience applauded loudly each time the Quran was quoted. (More)
CAIR-LA: LAPD NAMES ITS FIRST MUSLIM CHAPLAIN - TOP
Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 6/29/09
American Muslims have never been much of a presence in the Los Angeles Police Department, accounting for less than 1% of its nearly 10,000 officers.
But now, with department leaders eager to improve relationships with local Muslims, top brass have named the force's first Islamic chaplain: a Pakistani-born spiritual leader who has spent much of the last decade trying to build bridges between law enforcement and Los Angeles County's diverse Muslim communities.
Sheik Qazi Asad, 47, will serve as a reserve chaplain at the LAPD's North Hollywood station. The volunteer post requires about eight hours of service each month. But to Asad and his LAPD patrons, it represents an opportunity to expose officers to a culture and faith that many may find unfamiliar, even foreign.
And that, Asad and LAPD leaders hope, will enhance relations that have been strained at times, particularly in the aftermath of a much-criticized plan by the department in 2007 to map the city's Muslim population. The plan, which some critics equated to religious profiling, was scrapped after a week of protests…
"The position needs someone who has the basic knowledge and skills to bring people together, especially someone who understands the culture and nature of law enforcement," said Hussam Ayloush, Southern California executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "I think Mr. Asad has such abilities." (More)
CAIR-LA: WORRY OVER TERRORISM LAWS HINDERS GIVING, O.C. MUSLIMS SAY - TOP
Fear that government might target donors leads to shift away from Islamic nonprofits, leaders say.
Sean Emery, Orange County Register, 6/28/09
Muslim leaders already angered by allegations of FBI spying in Orange County mosques are backing the ACLU's assertion that terrorism-financing laws have had a chilling effect on donations to Muslim charities.
The ACLU says the Treasury Department's expanded authority to investigate terrorism-financing links in the wake of the 9/11 attacks has given the agency "virtually unchecked power" to designate groups as terrorist organizations, creating what local leaders describe as a "climate of fear" in the Muslim community. (More)
HBO TO PREMIERE FILM ON POST-9/11 FREE SPEECH RESTRICTIONS - TOP
Documentary highlights case of NY Muslim principal pressured to resign
(LOS ANGELES, CA, 6/29/09) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) is encouraging Americans to watch the documentary “Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech” when it premieres tonight at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on HBO.
The film, directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus, “examines the balancing act between protecting civil liberties and national security in a post-9/11 world, asking whether all speech is equally free,” according to HBO’s website.
SEE: Some Speech Is More Free Than Others (NY Times review)
Among the cases highlighted in the documentary is that of Debbie Almontaser, founder and principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in New York, who was reportedly forced to resign from her position after her efforts to provide the standard definition of the word “intifada” to a New York Post reporter.
CAIR-LA sent a letter to Garbus commending her on efforts to depict how free speech has been silenced repeatedly in the name of national security after the heinous 9/11 attacks.
SEE: CAIR-LA Letter to Filmmaker Liz Garbus
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties 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-LA Communications Manager Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com
CAIR: RAMADAN REDUX IN GREELEY: JBS, EAST AFRICANS SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND - TOP
Chris Casey, Greeley Tribune, 6/28/09
The solemn prayer goes up as the sun sinks into the late-summer horizon. The Muslim on bended knee gives deep reverence to Allah and will, to end more than 13 hours of fasting, take a bite of date and a sip of water.
The meatpacking plant, meanwhile, is a whir of around-the-clock machinery as workers chop and guide steer carcasses along hooks and conveyors. Production lines are no-nonsense places in a volume-oriented industry where profits ride on how fast each animal is slaughtered and packaged.
For a Muslim worker, despite how inhospitable a meatpacking plant is to prayer, the sundown homage must occur each day during Ramadan. Muslims don't eat or drink during daylight hours in the holy month, breaking the fast after sunset prayers.
“Prayer is a lot more crucial in the month of Ramadan,” said Nimaan Ali, a Somali and former employee of JBS USA in Greeley. “If you don't pray, you're basically fasting for no reason.”
The welter of Islamic faith versus industrial commerce flared at JBS USA last September when about 230 Muslim workers walked off the job for evening prayers. They said they hadn't got word that the company had pushed a previously agreed-to prayer time back 30 minutes. Some workers said supervisors locked them out of bathrooms and stopped them from using drinking fountains. (More)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Chicago, two years ago began negotiations with JBS USA about providing prayer breaks for Muslims in its plants. CAIR's suggestions for breaks, both during Ramadan and the remainder of the year, include:
A change of the 30-minute “lunch” break during the second shift to an earlier time, allowing Muslim workers to pray during these times.
Move Muslim workers to a morning shift, where the issue of prayer breaks is less problematic.
Allow workers a short break to pray, such as when they go on permitted restroom breaks.
CAIR-CAN: ABDELRAZIK ARRIVES IN CANADA AFTER SIX YEARS IN EXILE - TOP
Giuseppe Valiante, National Post, 6/27/09
Mississauga -- Abousfian Abdelrazik raised his right arm and clenched his fist as he walked down the ramp outside the international arrival gates at Pearson International Airport Saturday afternoon.
His arrival ended six years in exile in Sudan, where he faced torture at the hands of Sudanese authorities, had several thwarted attempts to return and spent over a year stranded at the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.
About 40 supporters carrying signs that read, “we did it!” and “Oh Canada! Our home and Abdelrazik’s” chanted, “welcome home,” as he made his way toward them.
"I'm a very glad to be here; I'm very tired," said Mr. Abdelrazik, 47, who has been labeled a terrorist by the United States…
Ishann Gardee, executive director for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that while this is a victory for Mr. Abdelrazik, his trouble might not be over.
As he is still on the UN’s no fly-list, his assets and funds are frozen and anyone who assists Mr. Abdelrazik is liable to be charged.
“This is yet another case of alleged government complicity in the torture and detainment of a Canadian citizen abroad” said Mr. Gardee.
“The Canadian Muslim community is completely devastated at yet another case to become public like this.” (More)
INCITEMENT WATCH: COLO. REPUBLICANS HEAR FROM ISLAM-BASHER - TOP
NJ: ISLAMIC SOCIETY GROWS IN CENTRAL JERSEY - TOP
Chris Sturgis, Times of Trenton, 6/29/09
SOUTH BRUNSWICK -- Dalya Youssef wants her son, Yousuf Abdelfatah, to feel more confident about practicing the Islamic faith than she did when she attended public schools.
The Franklin Township mother, who is also a lawyer, remembered feeling timid about doing her midday prayer ritual in school when she was growing up in Monroe Township. (More)