Wednesday, September 30, 2009

AIR Asks DOJ to Address Civil Liberties Concerns About FBI Manual
Guidelines on possible surveillance of mosques redacted from newly-released document

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/30/09) - A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to address concerns about possiblecivil rights violations resulting from FBI investigation guidelines instituted in the last days of theBush administration.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued that call after the release of a redacted version of the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide that whites-out portions (Part 16) about guidance on “undisclosed participation,” which relates to the use of confidential informants in American houses of worship such as mosques.

SEE: FBI Disclosure Stokes Fears (Politico)
SEE ALSO: FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide

It is the FBI’s use of informants in mosques without probable cause indicating criminal activity that has been of particular concern to the American Muslim community and, in part, caused national Islamic groups earlier this year to consider suspending ties with the FBI.

SEE: U.S. Muslim Coalitions Considers Suspending Ties with FBI
SEE ALSO: How Far Should FBI Go in Tracking Muslims? (CS Monitor)

Other civil liberties concerns center on the FBI’s vague rules for initiating an “assessment,” or initial investigation that does not require “any particular factual predication,” and the possible use of race and ethnicity as factors in opening an investigation.

Fact Sheet - New Attorney General Guidelines

“These newly-revealed guidelines for FBI investigations only serve to heighten concerns that the Bush administration put in place policies that will inevitably lead to violations of the Constitutionand of the right of all Americans to practice their faith without fear of government intrusion or intimidation,” said CAIR National Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili. “The Obama administration should review these guidelines and bring them into conformity with the Constitution and with the cherished American values of religious freedom and respect for civil liberties.”

Al-Khalili noted that just yesterday, a newspaper in Mississippi reported that a U.S. attorney’s office has been targeting Muslim store owners in that state in a post-9/11 crackdown, although they have no connection to terrorism.

SEE: U.S. Attorney Targeted N. Miss. Store Owners

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


CAIR seeks the help of community members in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland to coordinate the preparations for our annual banquet on Saturday, October 24, 2009, in Arlington, Va. The participation of volunteers has contributed greatly to the success of past CAIR events.

If you would like to volunteer to help organize this important event, please e-mail:

To register online for the dinner, go to:


Associated Press, 9/29/09




Many of Middle Eastern descent eyed following 9-11
Jerry Mitchell, Clarion-Ledger, 9/29/09

The U.S. attorney's office in Oxford targeted convenience store operators in north Mississippi, many of Middle Eastern descent, despite a lack of any connection to terrorism, according to documents obtained by The Clarion-Ledger.

The Convenience Store Initiative arose from meetings with local law enforcement officers in the years following 9-11 - when Middle Eastern terrorists flew hijacked planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center Twin Towers.

U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee of Oxford said the government was "looking to see any links to terrorism, but what we found was criminal conduct."

Instead of arrests for alleged terrorist plots, state and federal officials since 2006 have charged more than 60 people in Mississippi with such illegal acts as the sale of excessive amounts of pseudoephedrine - used to make meth.

Those who ran the Convenience Store Initiative say the FBI found nothing wrong with the initiative, which arose from tips from local law enforcement. In fact, they say the Justice Department in the Bush administration praised the concept.

Those involved in the initiative say the money from the illegal activity was being sent back overseas, where it couldn't be traced and possibly could have gone to funding terrorism. But they acknowledged the money could have gone to relatives instead.

Greenlee denied the suggestion those of Middle Eastern descent were targeted. "Did we look at it from an improper purpose? No," he said.

But Matt Steffey, professor at Mississippi College School of Law, said there are "serious constitutional and statutory issues raised by targeting people on the basis of national origin or race. ... If race simply coincided with the investigation, that's something else. But if they were targeted because of national origin, that's unlawful and a very serious racial profiling case that would be disturbing to a lot of people."

Of the more than 100 people listed as being investigated by federal authorities, nearly every name appears to be Islamic. FBI officials would not comment. (More)


Trish Choate, Abilene Reporter News, 9/28/09

WASHINGTON — Big Country congressional hopeful Canyon Clowdus wants no more Muslim immigration to America.

But the conservative Republican doesn’t want to stop at the stance he outlined to radical blog “Dr. Bulldog & Ronin,” which endorses him for 11th Congressional District representative…

Clowdus wants to halt Muslim immigration to stop what the blog termed a “Stealth Jihad” and “creeping sharia” to replace the Constitution with Islamic religious law…

A spokesman for an Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said the level of anti-Muslim rhetoric is rising, especially from the right.

“Our research has shown that this kind of rhetoric is coming from a minority of Americans, but it’s a very vocal minority,” said Ibrahim Hooper of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

CAIR asks mainstream leaders to challenge anti-Muslim talk if they hear it because silence equals consent or unspoken approval, Hooper said.

“That’s why it’s the responsibility of people of goodwill in our society and particularly leaders in our society to challenge this kind of hate-filled bigoted rhetoric when it’s used anywhere in our society,” Hooper said...

If a Muslim woman is allowed to wear a headscarf in the workplace or a Muslim man is allowed to go to Friday prayers — any accommodation of a Muslim in American society — then that vocal minority views it as a “creeping sharia,” he said.

“For some reason, it drives these people crazy when Muslims practice their faith,” Hooper said. (More)


Tallahassee Democrat, 9/27/09

Re: "Battling jihad will bankrupt U.S., too" (letter, Sept. 20).

Islam is the enemy! Or at least that is what Mr. Alfred Leon Wallace wants you to believe. Wallace attempted to wage a misinformation campaign about Islam and Muslims, void of facts.

You see, Wallace failed to mention that the world is made up of many cultures, ethnicities, religions, etc. Each has their share of party-poopers, and none have a monopoly over extremism. People of logic understand this. The Quran (Muslim holy book) and Hadith (sayings and actions of Muhammad), command moderation, not extremism:

"And thus have We (a royal We used by God) willed you to be a community of the middle way, so that you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind, and that the Apostle might bear witness to it before you." (Quran, 2:143)

The Prophet Muhammad said, "Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded and seek help in worship from the morning, evening and some of the night." (Hadith, Sahih Al Bukhari)

Wallace wants you to believe Muhammad was the first to wage war against the Jews, Christians and believers. Actually, Muhammad and early Muslims faced brutal persecution from a largely polytheistic society. For this, Muhammad and his followers fled Makkak, traveling north to Medina. There he found protection and developed a constitution with non-Muslims and several Jewish tribes.

Wallace needs to know the facts. Misinformation has lead to hatred and violence towards Islam. Our state of Florida has seen its fair share of hate crimes against American Muslims.


Executive Director
Florida Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL)


Washington Times, 9/29/09

Only by differentiating such Muslims from the carriers of this lethal virus can we hope to inoculate them against the spread of the disease - and enlist their help in protecting the rest of us by keeping American Shariah-free.

ACTION: Send a POLITE Letter to the Editor
Copy to:


Atlanta Journal, 9/29/09

Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, writing in the Washington Times, today offers an ugly, despicable attack on all Muslim Americans, whom he accuses of “the undermining of this nation from within … through deception, putting on a peaceful face while subtly plotting ways to bring America down.”

ACTION: Send a POLITE Letter to the Editor
Copy to:,


NANDITA VERMA, India West, 9/28/09

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — “What are your religious beliefs? What mosque do you go to? What are your views of the Iraq war?” These were some of the questions rattled off by Veena Dubal, an attorney with the Asian Law Caucus, at a “Know Your Rights” seminar here Sept. 11, evoking knowing looks and sighs from her audience, as it was clear they understood exactly what she was referring to.

Dubal was sharing the experiences of dozens of South Asian Muslims whom she said had been singled out and intrusively questioned at U.S. borders or in their homes by federal agencies in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Many at the seminar, held at the Muslim Community Association, said they had experienced worse in the aftermath of the attacks, but what caught their attention was a realization that often they have a right to say no.

Dubal and attorneys from the Asian Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American Islamic Relations chaired a nearly two-hour session educating the Muslim community that it is possible to fight back against racial profiling...

“If the community reaches out to us, they come in the open, then we can help them. We can go to the government and to the federal agencies with the complaints,” said Zahra Billoo of CAIR. (More)


Los Angeles Times, 9/28/09

A plane was stopped from taking off from Los Angeles International Airport, and two men on board were taken into custody, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

LAPD Lt. John Romero said the men, who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, were acting suspiciously.

A law enforcement source said at least one of the men ran into a restroom on the plane and appeared to hide while the New York-bound jet was taxiing on the runway, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.

The flight crew confronted the two men and made the decision to stop the plane before it took off, the source said. The men were taken into custody by heavily armed law enforcement officials…

[Updated at 2:10 p.m.: The FBI has determined that the passenger removed from the United Airlines flight this morning posed no “identifiable threat” to the plane or passengers and that no criminal charges are anticipated.

The passenger got up from his seat about 8:30 a.m. to use the restroom and would not comply with the flight crew's instructions to return to his seat, Eimiller said. The captain of the plane then decided to return to the gate so that the incident could be investigated, she said.

“The passenger is being interviewed in connection with the incident and is cooperative,” she said. “Out of an abundance of caution, the passengers and their carry-on luggage were rescreened and the LAPD bomb unit conducted a precautionary search of the aircraft.

"No criminal charges are anticipated, and the passengers will proceed to their destination later today.”

Initially, the LAPD said two men were taken into custody in the incident.]


Ras H. Siddiqui, Pakistan Link, 9/11/09

Sacramento, CA: At about the same time when President Barack Obama was closing the Muslim Ramadan Iftar (breaking of the fast) dinner which he hosted in Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 1, 2009, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of California was just starting its Sixth Capitol Ramadan Iftar event in the basement Rotunda of this historic building which seats California’s
State Government. (More)



Click here to watch the video.

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Holding signs early Sunday morning, a group of central Texas Muslims marched advocating peace.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Urge Elected Officials to Back Patriot Act Reform

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/28/2009) - CAIR is asking American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact members of the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary committees who represent them and urge these officials to support legislation that improves some of the Patriot Act’s civil liberties violations.

Three sections of the Patriot Act will sunset, or expire, at the end of the year, allowing an opportunity to revisit the law in its entirety.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, hearings examining the Patriot Act were held in both the House and Senate.

Speaking at the House hearing, ACLU Policy Counsel and former FBI agent Michael German summed up the civil liberties community’s concerns saying, “Put very simply, under the Patriot Act the government now has the right to know what you’re doing, but you have no right to know what it’s doing.”

Last Thursday, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) proposed the JUSTICE Act “to place reasonable safeguards on the use of surveillance and other authorities under the USA PATRIOT Act.” The bill’s official designation is S. 1686.

Go here to read the bill: (Type S 1686 into the search field and select “bill number.”)

You can watch the video of the Senate hearing here and the House hearing here, and read Michael German’s full written testimony here.

“Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have argued for more civil liberties protections in the Patriot Act. They should hear from the community so they know that there is broad public support for this goal,” said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor.


1) Contact your elected officials by clicking here. A ready-to-send letter is provided for you, or you can edit the text to add your own message.

2) Put your cell phone to good use. Act as a facilitator call all of your friends and family members and ensure that they contact their elected officials.

The Goldstone Report and Human Rights Issues during the Gaza War: A Report from Geneva and Jerusalem.
Wednesday September 30 at 3:30 p.m. EDT
B'Tselem's US office is proud to co-sponsor this informative conference call, hosted by Ta'anit Tzedek.
The call will feature Jessica Montell, Executive Director of B'tselem and Fred Abrahams, researcher for Human Rights Watch in Gaza and Israel during and following the war. Jessica will be speaking from Jerusalem and Fred from Geneva where he will be attending the sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. This conference is open to all participants in Ta'anit Tzedek and to anyone who wishes to join the call.
To sign up for the call, click here . Space is limited.
This call is also co-sponsored by The Shalom Center and the Tikkun Community.
The Goldstone Report and Human Rights Issues during the Gaza War: A Report from Geneva and Jerusalem.
Wednesday September 30 at 3:30 p.m. EDT
B'Tselem's US office is proud to co-sponsor this informative conference call, hosted by Ta'anit Tzedek.
The call will feature Jessica Montell, Executive Director of B'tselem and Fred Abrahams, researcher for Human Rights Watch in Gaza and Israel during and following the war. Jessica will be speaking from Jerusalem and Fred from Geneva where he will be attending the sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. This conference is open to all participants in Ta'anit Tzedek and to anyone who wishes to join the call.
To sign up for the call, click here . Space is limited.
This call is also co-sponsored by The Shalom Center and the Tikkun Community.
Israel must investigate Operation Cast LeadWith the publication of the Goldstone Committee report, human rights organizations in Israel stated they are studying the report and its conclusions, and called upon the Israeli Government to take the report seriously and to refrain from automatically rejecting its findings or denying its legitimacy.

Most fatalities in Operation Cast Lead did not take part in the hostilitiesB'Tselem releases comprehensive casualty figures from the three-week operation. The enormous toll on civilians - including the death of 320 minors - requires serious introspection on the part of the military, the government, and Israeli society as a whole.

Testimony: Soldiers severely beat Muhammad Id'isOn 6 Sept. '09, soldiers attacked Id'is as he prepared to drive Palestinian workers toward the entrance to Israel. They cuffed him, beat him senseless and refused to order an ambulance. After police intervened, he was hospitalized for damage to the stomach and intestine. B'Tselem requested the JAG to open an investigation into the event.

Border policeman to be jailed for assaulting PalestiniansIn March 2005, B'Tselem reported to the DIP that three garage owners in Baka a-Sharqiya claimed to have been assaulted by border policemen. In 2009, one of the policemen was convicted in two of the cases and was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment, a fine, and a compensatory payment to the victims.

Construction of Barrier frozen in Ma'ale AdumimIn June '09, the state informed the Israeli High Court of Justice that it had frozen construction of the Separation Barrier in this area. The planned route would cut off the northern West Bank from the south and severely infringe the Palestinians' right to self-determination.

Friday, September 25, 2009

First festival of its kind in Hawaii draws at least 1,000 to McCoy Pavilion
Curtis Lum, Honolulu Advertiser, 9/25/09

When the Hawai'i Legislature approved a resolution declaring Sept. 24 "Islam Day," the measure set of a firestorm of debate because the day fell so close to the date of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

But yesterday, politics was set aside as hundreds of people packed the McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park to celebrate Hawai'i's first Islam Day.

By 5 p.m., about 1,000 people had walked through the pavilion's gates and event organizers expected more as people got off work and headed to the park.

"We expected 200 to 300, so we're very pleased with the turnout," said Hakim Ouansafi, president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, which sponsored the event.

More than a dozen Honolulu police officers and private security personnel patrolled the pavilion grounds, but there were no protests or reports of trouble.

"It's a historic day. It's long overdue," Ouansafi said. "It's a day of celebrating our commonality, a day of people of faith and no faith to get together and talk story."

The Legislature approved the resolution last session to acknowledge the "rich religious, scientific, cultural and artistic contributions" of the Islamic world. Yesterday was selected because it marked the end of Ramadan, the month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and make contributions to charities. (More)


David Gibson, Politics Daily, 9/24/09

Ibrahim Hooper, chief spokesman for the Council on Islamic-American Relations, or CAIR, a leading Muslim advocacy group, said he sees the Friday event as an extension of other Islamic celebrations that have been going on in Washington and elsewhere for years.

"What is significant about this event is that it is being seized upon by a cottage industry of Internet hatemongers who want to disenfranchise the American Muslim community," said Hooper, who cannot attend the event because he will be traveling. "People shouldn't stop doing things based on the hatred and bigotry of others. The civil rights movement did not stop moving forward just because racists didn't like it." (More)



Click here to watch the video.

The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) recently joined with the NAACP, the Latino Community Development Agency and the Red Cross to mark National Service Week with Disaster Relief Response Training.

The training was a project of President Barack Obamas United We Serve campaign (, CAIRs Muslim Care initiative and Muslim Americans Answer the Call ( Information about the training was entered in the Muslims Care database for submission to President Obamas United We Serve initiative.


AP, 9/24/09

UNITED NATIONS — Leaders of U.S. Muslim groups who met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say they are "guardedly optimistic" that three American hikers held there would be released soon. (More)


Michael Matza, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/24/09

A delegation from a prominent U.S. Muslim group expects to meet today in New York with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to lobby for the release of three detained American hikers, including Joshua Fattal, 27, whose family lives in Elkins Park.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations bills itself as America's largest Muslim civil-liberties and advocacy organization.

"We hope that President Ahmadinejad," who addressed the United Nations yesterday, will "create a more positive atmosphere for constructive dialogue between our two nations" by releasing the detainees, CAIR board chairman Larry Shaw, also a North Carolina state senator, said in a statement…

CAIR leaders intend to ask Ahmadinejad to at least authorize contact between diplomatic envoys and the prisoners, and phone contact with their families, who haven't heard from them in more than 55 days and know nothing about their whereabouts or condition. (More)



(NEW YORK, NY, 09/24/09) - On Tuesday, September 29th, New York City (NYC) voters will head to the polls to participate in a runoff election between the top two democratic candidates for NYC Comptroller and Public Advocate. Councilmen John C. Liu and David Yassky will compete to be the next Chief Financial Officer while Bill De Blasio and Mark Green vie for the city’s ombudsman seat.

What is a runoff?

The September 15 primary resulted in a special election called a “runoff.” Under New York election law, a runoff is required “when no candidate for the office of mayor, public advocate or comptroller receives 40 percent or more of the votes cast by the members of a political party for such office in a city-wide primary election”. N.Y. ELN. LAW § 6-162.


1. Inform yourself BEFORE going to the poll. CAIR-NY’s Voter Guide 2009 contains voter information and highlights key issue positions of the candidates taking part in the runoff for both Public Advocate and Comptroller.

2. Vote! All registered democrats should case their vote on September 29th. To find your polling station, click here or call 1.866.VOTE.NYC. Polls are open from 6:00am to 9:00pm.

3. Share. Encourage others to go out and vote. Forward this alert to your friends and family.

VOTE NYC: Building Community, Building Country is a grassroots effort launched by CAIR-NY aimed to keep Muslim New Yorkers informed and engaged in the political process. For more information, contact CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali at 212.870.2002,



(SAN DIEGO, CA 9/24/09) - On September 23, a representative of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Diego) participated in a panel discussion on hate crimes at University of San Diego (USD).

CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida gave a basic overview of hate crimes experienced by the American Muslim community and how Islamophobia encourages them. The panel discussion was part of USD’s “Hate Crimes Awareness Week.”

“We applaud University of San Diego’s proactive efforts in addressing the hate crimes problem affecting their university and community at large,” said Hopida.

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.

- END -

CONTACT CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida, 619-913-0719 or 858-278-4547, email:


Joan Hellyer, Bucks County Courier Times, 9/25/09

The course that used the video about Islamic extremists was replaced this school year with a gender study course.

A Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group raised concerns recently that an anti-Islamic video was part of a Council Rock High School South elective.

The video, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," was produced by the Clarion Fund Inc. The New York City-based nonprofit organization, founded by Israeli-Canadian film producer Raphael Shore, says its efforts are geared toward informing the public about national security threats.

"Obsession," according to the Clarion Fund's Web site, gives an "insider's view" of the hatred Islamic extremists are teaching, "their incitement of global jihad, and their goal of world domination."

That's not the way the Council on American-Islamic Relations sees it, according to Marwa El-Turky, the group's civil rights director in Pennsylvania. (More)


CNN, 9/24/09

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Toward the end of her marriage, Rabia Iqbal said she feared for her life.

Iqbal was born in New York to parents who had immigrated to the United States from the tribal areas of Pakistan. She had a strict Muslim upbringing and when she was 16, her parents arranged her marriage to a 38-year-old man. She claims her husband turned violent during their 10 years of marriage.

When she finally left him, she did not know where to turn. Going home wasn't an option, she said.

"My parents ... made clear that they would disown me," Iqbal said. "My father even said ... 'You're lucky you live in America because if you lived back home, you would have been dead by now.' "

She was hiding out in her office at work when a friend put her in touch with Robina Niaz, whose organization, Turning Point for Women and Families, helps female Muslim abuse victims.

"It was such a relief ... to speak about things that ... I thought no one would understand," said Iqbal, who has received counseling from Niaz for more than two years and calls Niaz her "savior."

"Robina understood the cultural nuances ... the religious issues," Iqbal said.

A devout Muslim, Niaz stresses that there is no evidence that domestic violence is more common among Muslim families.

"Abuse happens everywhere," said Niaz. "It cuts across barriers of race, religion, culture." (More)