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: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com


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 Forbes.com 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 ehopida@cair.com

No comments: