MUSLIMS SAY FBI TACTICS SOW ANGER AND FEAR - TOP Paul Vitello and Kirk Semple, New York Times, 12/18/09
The anxiety and anger have been building all year. In March, a national coalition of Islamic organizations warned that it would cease cooperating with the F.B.I. unless the agency stopped infiltrating mosques and using “agents provocateurs to trap unsuspecting Muslim youth.”
In September, a cleric in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, sued the government, claiming that the F.B.I. had threatened to scuttle his application for a green card unless he agreed to spy on relatives overseas -- echoing similar claims made in recent court cases in California, Florida andMassachusetts.
And last month, after an imam in Queens was charged with aiding what the authorities called a bomb-making plot, a group of South Asian Muslims there began compiling a database of complaints about their brushes with counterterrorism investigators.
Since the terror attacks of 2001, the F.B.I. and Muslim and Arab-American leaders across the country have worked to build a relationship of trust, sharing information both to fight terrorism and to protect the interests of mosques and communities.
But those relations have reached a low point in recent months, many Muslim leaders say. Several high-profile cases in which informers have infiltrated mosques and helped promote plots, they say, have sown a corrosive fear among their people that F.B.I. informers are everywhere, listening.
“There is a sense that law enforcement is viewing our communities not as partners but as objects of suspicion,” said Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, who represented Muslims at the national prayer service a day after President Obama’s inauguration. “A lot of people are really, really alarmed about this.” (More)
ONE QUARTER OF DETROIT-AREA ARAB AMERICANS REPORTED PERSONAL OR FAMILIAL ABUSE SINCE 9/11 - TOP The Medical News, 12/18/09
One quarter of Detroit-area Arab Americans reported personal or familial abuse because of race, ethnicity or religion since 9/11, leading to higher odds of adverse health effects, according to a new University of Michigan study.
The study was published today in the American Journal of Public Health.
Muslim Arabs also reported higher rates of abuse than Christians, said lead author Aasim I. Padela, M.D., a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar in U-M's Department of General Medicine and clinical instructor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. (More)
MUSLIM PRAYERS AND RENEWAL NEAR GROUND ZERO - TOP Ralph Blumenthal and Sharaf Mowjood, New York Times, 12/8/09
On that still-quiet Tuesday morning, the sales staff was in a basement room eating breakfast, waiting to open the doors to the first shoppers at 10 a.m.
There was no immediate sign of the fiery cataclysm that erupted overhead starting at 8:46. But out of a baby-blue sky suddenly stained with smoke, a plane’s landing-gear assembly the size of a World War II torpedo crashed through the roof and down through two empty selling floors of the Burlington Coat Factory.
The Sept. 11, 2001, attack killed 2,752 people downtown and doomed the five-story building at 45 Park Place, two blocks north of the World Trade Center, keeping it abandoned for eight years.
But for months now, out of the public eye, an iron gate rises every Friday afternoon, and with the outside rumblings of construction at ground zero as a backdrop, hundreds of Muslims crowd inside, facing Mecca in prayer and listening to their imam read in Arabic from the Koran.
The building has no sign that hints at its use as a Muslim prayer space, but these modest beginnings point to a far grander vision: an Islamic center near the city’s most hallowed piece of land that would stand as one of ground zero’s more unexpected and striking neighbors. (More)
MUSLIM LEADERS GRAPPLE WITH HOW TO PROTECT THEIR YOUTH - TOP Laurel Bowman, VOA News, 12/18/09
Muslim leaders are trying to create a safe haven for young people to learn Islam's lessons about peace
At one of the largest mosques in the United States, Muslim leaders are trying to create a safe haven for young people to learn Islam's lessons about peace. But can those leaders protect their youth from the doubts that lurk within them? Muslim leaders renewed efforts following the arrest of five American Muslims in Pakistan who allegedly tried to join terrorist groups using the Internet.
It's a battle of bodies and for minds on this basketball court just outside Washington. It's Tuesday night at the Adams Center, one of the largest mosques in the U.S. The young people here are hard at play, and the Muslim elders are hard at work trying to keep them engaged in positive activities…
"Many of young people are vulnerable to being preyed on," said Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. Awad helped broker talks between the FBI and the families of the young men arrested in Pakistan. He says Muslim leaders had already started looking at dangers on the Internet before the men went missing.
"On the Internet, the other side is trying to exploit people's feelings, and they give them instructions on how to do wrong things and we have to give (them) tools and manuals also on how to stay cool and level-headed and stay reasoned and don't get yourself and others in trouble," Awad said. (More)
LITTLE SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM AMONG MUSLIM AMERICANS - TOP Richard Wike, Pew Global Attitudes Project, Greg Smith, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 12/17/09
Recent events such as the Fort Hood shootings and the arrest of five Muslim American students in Pakistan have raised questions about the threat of homegrown terrorism in the United States. However, the Pew Research Center's comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests it is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than Muslim minority communities in other countries. Violent jihad is discordant with the values, outlook and attitudes of the vast majority of Muslim Americans, most of whom reject extremism. (More)