Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Heather Appel, City Limits Weekly, November 2, 2009

Many Flushing residents object to their treatment in the wake of a terrorism investigation, and they're doing something about it.

Almost two months after a suspected terrorist visited New York, setting off a chain of law enforcement activities including police raids of homes in Queens, activists are methodically collecting and recording complaints from Queens residents who allege a spectrum of harassment by law enforcement from verbal abuse to home entry without a warrant. The complaints will be logged by CUNY School of Law and given to Joseph M. Demarest Jr., the assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York City office…

“An entire community and religion should not be profiled because of an investigation,” said Monami Maulik, executive director of the South Asian advocacy group DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), which led a rally last month outside the Flushing branch of the Queens library. Yet some say this is exactly what has happened. In the weeks since the raids, staff from DRUM say they have spoken with more than 100 families in Flushing and have heard numerous stories of people being questioned on their way to or from work, and being asked for identification in their own homes, said organizer Ayesha Mahmooda...

Incidents like these have led DRUM to partner with the CUNY law school on creating a complaint database, and to submit a series of recommendations to the FBI which it believes could help safeguard civil liberties and promote a better relationship between law enforcement and the South Asian community.

The recommendations include creating policy change and accountability mechanisms beyond "diversity training," and ending the use of agent provocateurs in mosques, Muslim businesses, organizations, and other neighborhood sites. “This practice makes a racial and religious presumption of criminal activity that is biased,” DRUM's letter states and lower attendance at mosques in Flushing reflects the current climate of suspicion, some report…

Advocates say the latest series of raids and interviews has rekindled fears in the community that began in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Tensions escalated again in 2007 when the NYPD released a report titled “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” which made sweeping generalizations about the city’s Muslim communities.

This September, the NYPD added a “statement of clarification” to the two-year-old report (on p. 11-12), which retracts the original report's statements linking the practice of Islam with terrorism, and states that increasing religiosity among Muslims "cannot be used as a signature of someone potentially becoming a terrorist." It also backs off from the conclusion that our area's Muslim communities have been "permeated" by radical ideologies.

Faiza N. Ali, community affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), said the clarification was an important step, but additional measures should be taken in order to safeguard both civil liberties and national safety. They are laid out in a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly from the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition, of which CAIR is part. "We remain concerned that the standing report sends mixed messages: the clarification decouples religion from terrorism but the core language continues to criminalize religious behaviors,” Ali said. “The NYPD report risks alienating mainstream Muslims, and if translated into policy, will only deepen mistrust between law enforcement and community members.” (More)


Detroit Free Press, 11/3/09

Ron Scott, head of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, called Monday for an independent investigation into the killing of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a Muslim leader who headed the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit. (More)


NINA BERNSTEIN, New York Times, 11/3/09

The federal government is paying $1.2 million to settle the cases of five Muslim immigrants who sued over their detention and treatment in a Brooklyn jail after 9/11, when hundreds of noncitizens were rounded up and held for months before being cleared of links to terrorism and deported.

The five were part of a larger lawsuit, Turkmen v. Ashcroft, which will continue to press the argument that the roundups and physical abuse they say they suffered were unconstitutional. (More)


13th annual banquet expected to draw 2,000 including public officials, community and interfaith leaders

(ANAHEIM, CA, 11/3/09) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) will present its 2009 "Courage in Media" Award to Zeitoun author and Pulitzer Prize nominee Dave Eggers. Eggers will accept the award at CAIR-LA’s 13th annual banquet on Saturday, November 7 at the Anaheim Hilton.

Zeitoun is about a Muslim American man who volunteers to help rescue victims of Hurricane Katrina but is mistaken for a terrorist, detained by FEMA and subjected to a series of humiliations and detention at the hands of his own government.

Eggers also wrote A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, for which he was the 2001 Pulitzer Prize finalist, and is a co-screenwriter for the box office hit Where the Wild Things Are, an adaptation of 1963 classic children’s book by Maurice Sendak.

SEE: A Muslim American Hero: A Conversation with Dave Eggers on “Zeitoun”

“Dave Eggers has made accessible a powerful story about the joys and tribulations of being an American Muslim in the wake of the Bush administration’s misguided policies in the War on Terror,” said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA. “His work deserves recognition and thanks from American Muslims.”

Some 2,000 guests are expected to attend Saturday’s banquet and celebrate CAIR-LA and the Southern California Muslim community’s accomplishments.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Dr. Sherman Jackson, professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies and visiting professor of law at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. North Carolina State Senator and CAIR National Board Chairman Larry Shaw and Shaikh Alauddin El-Bakri, Imam of Saratoga mosque and co-founder of Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) and editor of IQRA, will also speak.

WHAT: CAIR-LA 13th Annual Banquet
WHEN: Saturday, November 7, at 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Anaheim Hilton, 777 Convention Way, Anaheim, CA. [Please park in the Hilton parking for your ticket to be validated. Media professionals must carry company-issued credentials]
CONTACT: Munira Syeda, CAIR-LA communications manager, phone: (714) 776-1847 or (714) 851-4851; E-mail: info@losangeles.cair.com

CAIR-LA also will present Rancho Palos Verde resident Atif Moon with the 2009 "Excellence in Leadership" award. The 24-year-old was born with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the spinal cord. Despite being paralyzed from waist down, Moon lives a full life. He co-founded the Center for Global Understanding (CFGU), an organization that encourages Muslim American youth to participate in the civic process. He is also a sports enthusiast and will be pursuing a master’s degree in sports management in spring 2010.

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-LA Communications Manager Munira Syeda, (714) 776-1847, (714) 851-4851 or E-Mail at info@losangeles.cair.com



Saturday, November 7, 2009
Embassy Suites-Airport Hotel: 34th Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55425

The banquet program will include Dinner, a Silent Auction, CAIR-MN's Annual Report, Justice Works Awards, and a networking social with Ms. McKinney.

Tickets are $40 per person or $350 for a table of 10.
For tickets, please call 651-645-7102 or email info@mn.cair.com



Sunday, November 15, at 5 p.m.
Marriott Fremont, 46100 Landing Parkway, Fremont
“A New Era of Hope”

CAIR-SFBA 15th Annual Banquet
Speakers Include: Prof. David Cole and Dr. Jack Shaheen
To reserve your tickets, Call: 408.986.9875 or visit ca.cair.com



Saturday, November 21, 5 p.m.
Speaker: ACLU-Northern California Executive Director Abdi Soltani



WHERE: Crowne Plaza, Cromwell, CT
WHEN: Saturday November 21, 2009, Registration at 5 p.m.
SPEAKERS: Imam Mahdi Bray, Dr. Jimmy Jones and comedian Azhar Usman
CONTACT : (860)442-2247, E-Mail: info@cair-ct.com


Detroit Free Press, 11/1/09

Afghan civilians have suffered high numbers of causalities in the past eight years. Also, Afghans have heard reports of detainees being tortured at the Bagram Detention Center right in their own backyard, a facility that has held far more detainees than Guantanamo with reportedly much worse conditions. And while some view us as liberating them from the Taliban regime, many view us as foreign occupiers not much differently from the Soviets, the British or as far back as Alexander the Great.

Perhaps more acknowledgement of the suffering and deaths of Afghans and greater transparency regarding prisoner abuse at Bagram may be more of a constructive step in gaining trust of Afghans than military escalation.

Dawud Walid
Executive Director
Council on American-Islamic Relations -- MI (CAIR-MI)



(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 11/3/09) - The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) yesterday gave a “Know Your Rights” presentation to travelers who are about to make Hajj (pilgrimage) from the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City (ISGOC).

The presentation included information on how to request same-gender screening in private rooms instead of going through full-body screening machines and how to file complaints if a traveler believes he or she has been subjected to ethnic or religious profiling.

In 2007, a Hajj group from the Islamic Center of America was barred from boarding a Northwest Airline plane. Northwest Airlines later apologized and gave compensation to those who were barred.

SEE: Northwest Apologizes to ‘Bumped’ Hajis (Arab News)

CAIR-OK encourages all who plan on leaving for Hajj in November to review CAIR’s American Muslim Civic Pocket Guide.

CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi also educated workshop participants about H1N1 (swine flu). CAIR encourages travelers to be aware of the H1N1 virus and to take the necessary health precautions.

SEE: Swine Flu Threatens Hajj Season (CNN)

CAIR advises Hajj travelers to bring hand sanitizers, facemasks, ibuprofen pain and fever reliever, and anti-viral medicine such as Tamiflu. Although difficult, CAIR urges Hajj participants to avoid as much physical contact as possible, and to wash hands frequently and receive the H1N1 vaccine before traveling.

SEE: Saudi FDA Approves H1N1 Vaccine Ahead of Hajj (Reuters)

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-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi, 405-248-5853, E-Mail: rhashmi@cair.com; CAIR-OK Chair Michael Aziz Gipson, E-Mail: mgipson@cair.com; CAIR-OK Operations Coordinator Huda Abdul-Razzak, E-Mail: habdulrazzak@cair.com



(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 11/3/09) The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today provided diversity training to mental health professionals at the Michigan State University (MSU) Counseling Center in East Lansing.

The training provided information about basic Islamic beliefs and answered questions relating to an array of issues that face Muslim college students.

“We are pleased that university officials are working to ensure a positive learning environment for all students,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.

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-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, 248-559-2247, E-Mail: dwalid@cair.com


Zingel, Loonwatch.com, 11/3/09

Robert Spencer, a long discredited anti-Muslim hatemonger posing as an “Islam scholar” has shown his scholarly objective ways with the heinously named URL’s “f***allah.com” and “f***islam.com” redirecting to his cesspool of subjectivity, the David Horowitz funded hate blog, Jihadwatch.org.

In doing so, Robert Spencer may have been trying to actively market his hate material to like-minded audiences. It is a well known fact that keywords are a crucial factor in the popularity of a blog. This is damning evidence of the true gutter intent behind his little blog project which is to attract and further incite those with Islamophobic tendencies, his primary audience. (More)

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