Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mob rule at its ugliest.

Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on minarets on Sunday, barring construction of the iconic mosque towers in a surprise vote that put Switzerland at the forefront of a European backlash against a growing Muslim population.

Muslim groups in Switzerland and abroad condemned the vote as biased and anti-Islamic. Business groups said the decision hurt Switzerland's international standing and could damage relations with Muslim nations and wealthy investors who bank, travel and shop there.

"The Swiss have failed to give a clear signal for diversity, freedom of religion and human rights," said Omar Al-Rawi, integration representative of the Islamic Denomination in Austria, which said its reaction was "grief and deep disappointment.";_ylt=AtwrweNvYfy7APARQaWRbNJ0bBAF;_ylu=X3oDMTMwcWQ1bmdiBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkxMTI5L2V1X3N3aXR6ZXJsYW5kX21pbmFyZXRfYmFuBHBvcwMxBHNlYwN5bl9wYWdpbmF0ZV9zdW1tYXJ5X2xpc3QEc2xrA3N3aXNzYmFubW9zcQ--

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia – Muslim pilgrims circled Islam's holiest site Wednesday in their traditional white robes, with a few additions — umbrellas and face masks — as the opening of the annual hajj was complicated by torrential rains and fears of swine flu.

Saudi authorities have been planning ways for months to inhibit the spread of swine flu during the pilgrimage, which is seen as an incubator for the virus. The four-day event is one of the most crowded in the world, with more than 3 million people from every corner of the globe packed shoulder to shoulder in prayers and rites.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Todd Wasserman, Brand Week, 11/23/09

ACTION REQUESTED: Contact Best Buy to thank them for recognizing Eid al-Adha. Go to: Copy to:

Best Buy stands by its decision to wish U.S. Muslims a Happy Eid Al-Adha, a rep for the company said, and though some Best Buy customers took offense, a Muslim advocacy group praised the move.

The retailer got some flak this week for including, along with its circular advertising Thanksgiving Day sales, a note saying "Happy Eid Al-Adha," which refers to a holiday of sacrifice for followers of Islam on Nov. 27 this year. After TechCrunch ran an item about the circular, some claimed offense and said they'd take their business elsewhere. "I spent about $3,000 with . . . your store. I will be shopping somewhere else," one consumer wrote on Best Buy's Web forum. "BB has the Muslims covered with the 'Happy Eid,' but what about the rest of us Americans?" wrote another. "Do we get a 'Happy Thanksgiving'?"

(The American Family Association, a Christian advocacy group, has singled out Best Buy for using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." A Best Buy rep, however, didn't agree with the claim, saying: "You will see more of Christmas in our holiday messaging. Christmas will be included in our insert and online. We have 'Merry Christmas' on our gift cards, too. In addition. we have developed the Christmas Morning simulator as an online interactive game.")

Not everyone was dismissive. "Stop with the hatin' and happy Eid," wrote one TechCrunch commentor. "For every anti-BB post, I'm going to spend $1 there," wrote another.

Best Buy rep Lisa Svac Hawks explained the thought behind the greeting: "Best Buy's customers and employees around the world represent a variety
of faiths and denominations. We respect that diversity and choose to greet our customers and employees in ways that reflect their traditions," she said.

Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he could not recall when any American retailer mentioned the holiday in its ads. "It makes perfect business sense to acknowledge and celebrate a holiday that one out of four people celebrate," Rehab said. (More)



WHAT: On Friday, November 27, American Muslims will mark the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations at locations around the country.

The prayers and the holiday that follows are called Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), or “festival of the sacrifice.” Eid ul-Adha also commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with the prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During this holiday, Muslims exchange the greeting “Eid Mubarak” or “blessed Eid.” Each year, some two million Muslims, including thousands of American Muslims, go on Hajj.

WHEN: Friday, November 27 - The prayers are held in the morning. Many communities also hold day-long Eid festivals for families.

WHERE: The Eid prayers and festivals are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings. Call local CAIR chapters or other Muslim organizations for details about Eid celebrations. CAIR chapters may be located at: Local Islamic institutions may also be found at:

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Each year, Muslims from America and many different countries come to the prayers in colorful dress. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.

NOTE: Because this is a religious service, reporters and photographers of both sexes should dress modestly. Photographers should arrive early to get into position for the best shots. Photographers are also advised not to step directly in front of worshipers and to seek permission for close-up shots.

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.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, 11/20/09

KIM LAWTON, correspondent: The festival of Eid al-Adha begins with sacrifice. Those participating in the hajj, and all other Muslim families with the financial means, slaughter a sheep, lamb, goat, camel, or cow.

DAWUD WALID (Council on American Islamic Relations Michigan): This sacrifice is in remembrance of what the Qu’ran says, as well as the Bible, of when Abraham was inspired or he had a dream that he was to sacrifice one of his sons, and then God told Abraham that he did not have to sacrifice his son, and a ram came, and Abraham then sacrificed the ram.

LAWTON: American Muslims typically buy meat slaughtered according to Islamic requirements from a market or grocery store. The immediate family eats one-third of the meat. Another third is shared with the larger community of friends and relatives, and the rest is donated to the poor.

WALID: It’s a religious obligation for us to give to other people. We would not be good Muslims or following our religion, because the third pillar of Islam is charity, so we’re obligated to give charity.

LAWTON: In the United States, recipients include places such as Gleaner’s Community Food Bank of southeastern Michigan. They partner with over 400 outlets in their network of feeding programs to distribute thousands of pounds of frozen lamb meat donated by the Muslim community annually.

JOHN KASTLER (Gleaner’s Community Food Bank): It’s a high-protein item, and it’s certainly the type of food product that we really like to provide during the winter months where you get a nice, hearty meal out of the donation. Groups like the Salvation Army, the Cabbage & Soup Kitchen, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, and different feeding programs around town will be able to enjoy this blessing.

LAWTON: Through the soup kitchens they operate, mosques and Islamic centers also serve as distribution sites. Those who come in to pray are offered bags of lamb to take home, as are all non-Muslims seeking food assistance.


‘When the opportunity comes, you just go,’ Oklahoman says of Islamic rite
CARLA HINTON, Oklahoman, 11/21/09

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has advised Hajj travelers to take hand sanitizers, face masks, ibuprofen pain and fever reliever, and anti-viral medicine such as Tamiflu for the journey. And leaders of the organization based in Washington, D.C., also urged Hajj participants to avoid as much physical contact as possible, although this may be difficult as about 2 million Muslims are expected to converge on Mecca, Saudi Arabia, considered the holiest site in Islam. Hajj travelers also have been advised to wash their hands frequently and receive the H1N1 vaccine before traveling.

Razi Hashmi, executive director of the council’s Oklahoma chapter, gave a workshop for Hajj travelers last month in which he talked about the H1N1 precautions, among other issues. The Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City gave travelers bottles of hand sanitizer as parting gifts.

"We wanted to educate people to the best of our ability about taking precautions,” Hashmi said. "It’s always best to be prepared, and with 2 million people there, it’s best that people take care of themselves before they go and while they are there.” (More)


Farah Akbar, Gotham Gazette, 11/2009

Evening prayers at a midtown mosque. Many Muslim parent wants the religion's holiest days to be included in the list of school holidays.
Isabel Bucaram of Astoria, Queens, didn’t want her 6-year-old daughter, Huyam, to miss her class trip to the Nutcracker ballet, but she could find no other alternative. The trip coincided with the Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the holiest days in Islam, and Bucaram wanted her daughter to participate in the day's religious festivities. "It was upsetting for her not to share in that field trip with her teachers and friends," Bucaram recalled.

Not wanting her daughter or any other Muslim child to miss out on a day of school because of a religious holiday ever again, Bucaram last winter become involved in the movement to have Muslim holidays recognized by the New York City Department of Education. Until then, Bucaram’s political knowledge had revolved mostly around national politics. But once she started working with the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays, a group of over 80 labor, community, faith, and civil rights organizations, she was meeting with City Council members James Gennaro and Peter Vallone Jr., and learning about what it take to change policy.

Bucaram is not alone. More Muslims are getting involved in the political process than ever before, many spurred by the Muslim school holiday issue, according to Faiza Ali, community director for the Council on American Islamic Relations and a member of the coalition’s steering committee. "The issue of Muslim school holidays has mobilized the community in a great way," she said. "Across the five boroughs, community members have participated in the civic process testifying at hearings in City Hall and lobbying their elected officials, some for the first time, to support this cause." (More)



(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/23/09) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced that a Muslim student in Maine will be allowed to exercise her constitutionally-protected right to pray between classes.

The 7th-grade student at Lewiston Middle School in Lewiston, Maine, was allegedly told not to pray on school property. Today, the student told CAIR that she was informed by school officials that she would be allowed to pray in a private area. In fact, two other Muslim students joined the girl in prayer today at the school.

SEE: Muslim Advocacy Group Files Complaint with Lewiston School Department

“We are pleased that students of all faiths at this school will have their religious rights protected,” said CAIR Civil Rights Manager Khadija Athman.

Athman recommended that school administrators nationwide review CAIR’s booklet, “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” that is designed to help provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

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.

CONTACT: CAIR Civil Rights Manager Khadija Athman, 202-646-6033; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


ELIZABETH LLORENTE, The Record, 11/23/09

Muslim organizations around the country are making concerted efforts to distance themselves from violence that some associate with Islam following the Fort Hood shooting spree, allegedly by a major of Middle Eastern descent.

Shortly after the shooter, accused of killing 13 people, was identified as Nidal Malik Hasan, the Darul Islah mosque in Teaneck posted a message on its Web site condemning the massacre.

Days later, the mosque posted yet another message, this time assailing a former Virginia imam's remarks praising Hasan. "Islam is a religion of peace," the mosque stressed. The imam's views, the site read, were "not those of American Muslims, and do not reflect mainstream Islamic beliefs or sentiments."…

"You think, 'Please God, don't let it be a Muslim,'" said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington. "Whenever there's a tragic incident like this, we seem to go through the same script by all parties — the ones who see Islam as a reason for it — and our condemnations. I wish we could break out of it somehow."

By now, it is, indeed, almost a process: An act of violence occurs, and attention turns to the Islamic faith, whether or not the perpetrator claimed to commit it in the name of Islam, or even when — as in the case of the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building that killed more than 150 people — the violence is carried out by non-Muslims.

Reports that Hasan shouted "Allahu akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic) before opening fire at the base earlier this month further fueled talk that religious zealotry triggered his actions.

"Within minutes of us hearing the name [of the Fort Hood shooter], and without even knowing if he really was Muslim or, say, a Christian Arab, we knew we had to send out a quick condemnation," Hooper said. "We wanted local Muslim organizations to do it as well, even use ours if they didn't have the wherewithal to put out their own statement." (More)


At least one prominent former senior officer says current guidance to commanders is not sufficient
VOA News, 11/20/09

The U.S. military says it has regulations in place that enabled commanders to take action if they believed the accused gunman in this month's Ft. Hood shootings was developing militant views. But at least one prominent former senior officer says current guidance to commanders is not sufficient.

The communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, agrees. "It should be pretty clear to anyone when somebody espouses extremist views, whether it's in terms of politics or religion. And those kinds of reports should be able to go up the chain of command to be dealt with appropriately," he said.

But Hooper said in any revised regulations the Army must avoid creating any type of "witch hunt" mentality aimed at Muslims. "I'd hate to see an instance where somebody requests the right to wear a beard or requests the right to pray on base or wears Islamic attire off base, and suddenly they get labeled as an extremist," he said.

Hooper said the military must be clear about what constitutes radical or threatening behavior. (More)



View the Video.

CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, a Navy veteran, discusses the Muslim community's outrage about the Fort Hood shooting spree with a Fox News reporter.


Electa Draper, The Denver Post, 11/21/09

A billboard at a Wheat Ridge car dealership -- with a caricature of President Barack Obama as a turban- wearing jihadist -- has sparked a boycott and death threats, but even more support, its sponsor said.

Phil Wolf, owner of Wolf Automotive, said the billboard asks a legitimate question about Obama's alleged lack of documentation of his American birth.

"President or Jihad?" the billboard reads. "Wake up, America! Remember Fort Hood!"…

This billboard isn't likely to help sell cars, said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"It's an offensive billboard on several levels," Hooper said. "It's disrespectful of the presidency and Islam. It's a racist depiction as well.

"On the other hand," he said, "this is a free country and he has the right to be offensive." (More)



WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senior Judge Robert L. Echols of the Middle District of Tennessee today sentenced Michael Corey Golden to 14 years and three months in prison and three years of supervised released for vandalizing and burning down the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn., the Justice Department announced. Golden pleaded guilty on Nov. 3, 2008, to destruction of religious property and to using fire to commit a felony. (More)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 11/20/09

Reaching out to Arab Americans and Muslims, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a Detroit speech Thursday night that their full rights must be protected as the country battles security threats.

"This is not blind adherence to political correctness," Holder told hundreds at the Detroit Marriott in the Renaissance Center. "It is devotion to our founding documents."

He said that it's vital that all ethnic and religious groups in America be treated equally. He also said racial profiling was bad policy that breeds mistrust and division.

"For the last nine months, I've heard from Muslim and Arab Americans who feel uneasy about their relationship with their government, who feel isolated and discriminated against by law enforcement," Holder said. "It is inconsistent with what America is all about." (More)


Speech offers chance to discuss such issues as racial profiling
Oralandar Brand-Williams, Detroit News

Detroit -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a crowd of law enforcement, and community and Muslim leaders Thursday the U.S. Justice Department "is again open for business."

"I can assure you under my leadership the Department of Justice will enforce all of our nation's laws with equal conviction," Holder declared, saying that under the Obama administration, the department will return to its "traditional" role of ensuring civil rights.

Holder, the nation's first African-American attorney general, also said he ordered an internal review of law enforcement data within the U.S. Justice Department to study the issue of racial profiling.

"Racial profiling is simply not good law enforcement," said Holder, who told the crowd that he was racially profiled in the 1970s as a college student.

Holder also touched on other hot-button issues, saying the Justice Department is committed to fighting terrorism. But, said Holder, he also is committed to "ensure the fair application of our nation's laws and constitutional protections, and there is no contradiction between the two."

The speech came amid heightened sensitivities in the Muslim community, following the fatal shooting last month of Detroit Imam Luqman Abdullah by FBI agents and the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings that killed 13 people and wounded 29. The Fort Hood shootings rocked the nation and had Muslims bracing for a backlash.

An Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Hasan, was charged in the attack, and agents are probing his alleged contacts with a radical imam before the shootings.

Indeed, Holder said he has heard from Muslim- and Arab-Americans who said they feel uneasy about their relationship with the U.S. government.

"They feel isolated and discriminated against by law enforcement," Holder said. "Some of them have told me that they feel denied the full rights of citizenship." (More)


Student told not to offer prayers on school property

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/20/09) The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today asked a school district in Maine to allow a Muslim student to exercise her constitutionally-protected right to pray between classes.

According to the mother of the 7th-grade student at Lewiston Middle School, her daughter has been praying discreetly during her free time or lunch break in a corner of a school hallway. Earlier this week, when school officials discovered that she was praying during breaks, she was allegedly told never to pray on school property.

The girl’s mother reports that despite her best efforts to explain the significance of the prayers, the school has refused to provide religious accommodation. She said she has been forced to pick up her daughter every day and take her to a nearby park to pray.

“While school officials may not promote religious practices, they must allow students to pray in a manner that does not disrupt classroom activities,” said CAIR Civil Rights Manager Khadija Athman. “Clearly, this student was not a disruption to a positive learning environment and has the right to pray on school property.”

In a letter to the superintendent of Lewiston Public Schools, CAIR National Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili wrote in part:

“The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects citizens from government infringement on the free exercise of religion. The Fourteenth Amendment makes the United States Constitution applicable to the states. Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court has held that the government may not impinge on an individual’s free exercise of religion unless the state is advancing a compelling interest that is essential to the accomplishment of an overriding governmental purpose. We do not believe that prohibiting a student from praying in a quiet corner of a school hall on her free time, without disrupting any classroom activity, meets the test of a compelling interest.”

Al-Khalili asked the school district to 1) allow the Muslim student to pray on school property during her free time, 2) modify school policy to provide constitutionally-protected religious accommodation, 3) ensure that the student will not face retaliation because of her request for religious accommodation, and 4) institute diversity training for school staff.

CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” that is designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for students of all faiths.

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.

CONTACT: CAIR Civil Rights Manager Khadija Athman, 202-646-6033; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:



Postcard from Dearborn
Bobby Ghosh Monday, Nov. 30, 2009

As soon as media reports named Hasan the shooter, Mardini began to contact imams across the Detroit area to coordinate a response, consulting national groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The consensus: condemn the massacre with no reservations, and offer support for the victims and their families. ISNA launched the Fort Hood Family Fund and by Nov. 17 had collected $45,000. Mardini went further, offering prayers for those killed and injured. "It was important for everyone to know that we're grieving as Americans," he says.

Did it work? Mardini notes that there have been no reports of heinous attacks on Muslims anywhere in the U.S. "Our worst nightmare has not come true," he says.

But as the worshippers stream out of Mardini's mosque, one man finds a package at the door. It is a hardbound Koran, in English, and it has been defaced with silver spray paint. Folded inside is a sheet of paper, bearing a message written in childish capitals: "Islam is a disease. Muslim immigrants are the virus ... Every Muslim should be kicked out of the USA." (More)


Lisa Trigg, The Tribune-Star, 11/18/09

TERRE HAUTE -- A sign at a Terre Haute church bearing a message that many people would deem “intolerant” has raised an objection from a concerned teenager who could not let the message go unchallenged.

Saagarika Coleman submitted a letter to the editor of the Tribune-Star (see page A8) stating that she was “hit with a wave of shock. I was horrified” when she saw the sign at Bible Baptist Church as her father drove her to school Monday morning.

The sign stated, “Jesus died and rose and lives for you. What did Allah do.”

To Coleman and others, the message seems to challenge or belittle the Muslim faith. At best, such sentiments strike some people as an un-Christian approach to tolerance of other beliefs. (More)



POLL: The world’s top 500 Muslims
Tom Heneghan, Reuters, 11/17/09

[CAIR National Executive director Nihad Awad is listed on page 143.]


If you’ve ever been confused by Muslim names you read in the news or unsure who’s important in the Islamic world, help is near. A new book entitled “The 500 Most Influential Muslims -- 2009” lists prominent Muslims from different fields -- politics, religion, women, media, even radicals -- with informative short biographies explaining who they are. It starts with an overall “top 50” list and then surveys the most prominent Muslims in their fields. (More)


Meetings occurred across the country
Bruce Nolan, Times-Picayune, 11/20/09

For awhile Thursday in New Orleans, disparate Jewish and Muslim worlds with little prior contact met and introduced themselves to each other, chatted amiably, even shared a little humor.

It seemed a good beginning for members of Congregation Beth Israel, a small Orthodox congregation in Metairie, and Masjid Abu Bakr al Siddiq, a much larger Metairie Muslim community.

Led by two young men, Rabbi Uri Topolosky and Imam Omar Suleiman, a few representatives of both congregations met for the first time Thursday. They asked and answered questions about each others' traditions, briefly worked together on a Katrina rebuilding project and visited each others' places of worship -- or in Beth Israel's case, the ruined and empty building in Lakeview once occupied by the congregation. (More)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One of McDonnell’s top contributors says Muslims should be treated like communists, fascists

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/17/09) A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on Virginia’s Governor-elect Robert F. McDonnell to publicly repudiate anti-Islam remarks by Pat Robertson, the televangelist and gubernatorial campaign contributor who recently said Islam is "not a religion" and that American Muslims should be treated like members of a communist or fascist party.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said Robertson has in the past called Muslims “satanic,” claimed the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, is “fraudulent” and said Islam is “a monumental scam.”

Robertson’s most recent inflammatory anti-Islam comments came in response to the Fort Hood shooting spree and after he made a $25,000 contribution to McDonnell's campaign. He also attended McDonnell's election night victory party. McDonnell has rejected calls to repudiate Robertson’s remarks.

SEE: Robertson's Remarks Put McDonnell in a Bind (Wash. Post)
SEE ALSO: Virginia Muslims Call on Bob McDonnell to Denounce Statements

“If Governor-elect McDonnell wishes to show that he will be the governor of Virginians of all faiths, he should publicly repudiate Pat Robertson’s hate-filled and divisive remarks,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Anything less is an indication of tacit approval for Robertson’s bigoted and un-American views. Such comments evoke McCarthyism and would not be tolerated if they targeted any other religious or ethnic group.”

He noted that CAIR recently called on American political and religious leaders to challenge Islamophobes engaged in a rhetorical backlash to the recent shooting spree at Fort Hood in Texas. Awad said Robertson was one of the Islamophobes cited by CAIR.

SEE: U.S. Leaders Should Reject Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Prompted by Fort Hood Shootings

Awad said his organization has received a number of reports of anti-Muslim incidents related to the Fort Hood attack. Those reports include hate messages and death threats targeting American Muslim institutions and houses of worship, an attack on a Muslim woman in Illinois, an assault on a Greek Orthodox priest in Florida, threats written on a Muslim woman’s car in Texas, and the defacing of a Muslim student’s work with the word “terrorist,” also in Texas.

CAIR thanked those national leaders who have challenged extremists seeking to exploit the Fort Hood attack in an effort to marginalize U.S. Muslims and demonize Islam.

A number of American leaders, including President Obama, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey Jr., and others have expressed solidarity with Muslims or offered support for religious diversity and tolerance.

SEE: Army Chief Concerned for Muslim Troops

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that, as a Mormon, he empathizes with Muslims who are upset by the focus on the Islamic background of the alleged gunman in the Fort Hood attack.

SEE: Hatch Says Muslims Have His Empathy

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said: "Obviously, we object to -- and do not believe -- that anti-Muslim sentiment should emanate from this [attack].”

SEE: Napolitano Warns Against Anti-Muslim Backlash

Immediately following the attack at Fort Hood, CAIR and other Muslim organizations issued strong condemnations of the deadly shootings and urged the nation to remain calm and unified.

SEE: U.S. Muslim Group Urges Calm, Unity After Fort Hood Shootings

CAIR also repudiated online remarks by a former Virginia imam praising the alleged perpetrator of the Fort Hood attack.

SEE: CAIR Repudiates Praise for Fort Hood Shooter

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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


Some say Stern prof's comments in Forbes were "anti-Muslim"
Michaela Kron, 11/16/09

Some members of the university have reacted strongly to what they perceive as "anti-Muslim" rhetoric in a column published last Monday on by Tunku Varadarajan, a clinical professor of business at NYU's Stern School of Business.

Varadarajan wrote the column, titled "Going Muslim," in response to the Nov. 5 massacre at the Fort Hood military base in Texas…

In his column, Varadarajan characterizes Hasan's actions as "going Muslim," a phrase he likens to "going postal" (a slang term that has its origins in several cases from 1983 onward in which U.S. Postal Service workers shot and killed their colleagues). He wrote that by opening fire, Hasan defended his religion in "an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans."

Varadarajan's column elicited a great deal of criticism. A group of NYU students sent a letter expressing their concerns to Stern dean Thomas Cooley, President John Sexton and Khalid Latif, the chaplain and director of NYU's Islamic Center. In their letter, they asked that Varadarajan's comments be repudiated.

Second-year Steinhardt graduate student Sulayman Ferguson was among the students who wrote the letter.

"It's singling out Muslims in a way that's pretty offensive," Ferguson said about the column. "You'd never say that about another group. You could never say someone's 'going Christian.'" (More)


Matt O'Brien, Contra Costa Times, 11/16/09

FREMONT — Despite concerns that the Fort Hood shooting rampage would lead to a new backlash against American Muslims, optimism pervaded a Sunday gathering of hundreds of Bay Area members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"There is hope for Americans who happen to be Muslim," said host and Fremont dentist Mohammad Rajabally, who said attitudes toward Muslims have improved but could fall back into misjudgment and hatred without persistent advocacy.

The fundraising banquet for the Bay Area chapter of the nation's largest Muslim civil rights group carried a cheerful name — "A New Era of Hope" — but came on the heels of a litany of bad news locally and nationwide.

"I know that Muslims have said after Fort Hood, some of them have said they felt the same way they felt after 9/11," said Zahra Billo, a Bay Area outreach director for the council.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in connection with the Nov. 5 tragedy on the Texas military base. He had been trying to leave the military and had complained of anti-Muslim discrimination, according to media reports. Some feared the attack and questions about Hasan's religious motivations would fuel misguided anger at the minority group.

For the most part, however, Billo said initial fears have not been met with examples of backlash. That is an improvement, she said, over the time following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Billo was a college student and remembers feeling a deep-seated concern about how she and other Muslims would be perceived.

"I didn't feel that same way," she said of her reaction to the shooting. "Yes, we got hate calls, but we also got supportive calls." (More)


Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 11/16/09

Some civil rights and advocacy groups in Michigan sent a letter today to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation into the shooting death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a Muslim leader accused of buying and selling stolen goods. He died Oct. 28 after a shootout with FBI agents.

A spokesman for the Justice Department, Alejandro Miyar, said today in response: “We are aware of the incident. But we do not discuss whether or not we will be launching an investigation as a matter of department policy.”

Detroit FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold said today that investigations into the incident are ongoing.

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the letter was signed by him and members of six other groups, including the Michigan chapter of the ACLU, the Dearborn-based Congress of Arab-American Organizations and the National Lawyers Guild. The letter comes days before a scheduled visit to Detroit on Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder, who plans to speak to law enforcement officials and minority groups. (More)



(SAN DIEGO, CA, 11/17/09) A representative from the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Diego) recently participated in an anti-torture panel at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

The panel discussion included topics such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, illegal detention, torture, and extraordinary rendition. Other panelists included a representative from Survivors of Torture International.

“The use of torture betrays the spirit and values on which our nation was founded,” said CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida, who was among the panelists at the event.

The event was part of the Amnesty International Film Series, which consisted of a screening of the Link TV documentary “Torture on Trial,” followed by a panel discussion.

This program was sponsored by UCSD Muslim Student Association, ACLU, National Lawyers Guild of San Diego and Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Survivors of Torture International, College Democrats, Iraq Vets Against the War, and Students for Justice in Palestine.

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.

CONTACT: CAIR San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida , 619.913.0719 or 858.278.4547, E-mail