ACLU CALLS VEIL BAN 'POSSIBLY ILLEGAL' - TOP Martin Finucane, Boston Globe, 1/5/2010
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has established a policy banning people from covering their faces on its three campuses, in an effort to ensure public safety, a college spokesman said today.
But the new policy has drawn flak from a Muslim civil rights advocacy group, which wants the school to exempt Muslim women who wear veils over their faces.
"It's a very strange policy. I don't know where it came from. The only thing we can conclude is that it's designed to specifically target Muslims," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations...
But Hooper said he had not heard of such a policy adopted at any other American school. And he argued that since the policy includes a medical exemption, it should include a religious exemption.
"People should have the right to practice their faith as they see fit, not as others see fit," he said.
Sarah Wunsch, staff attorney at the ACLU of Massachusetts, said the policy was "puzzling and possibly illegal." (More)
The policy would effectively ban face veils, as well as burqas and niqabs, which either cloak the entire body or cover everything but the eyes. Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said he has contacted school officials about providing a religious exemption, and said it's required because the policy makes a medical exemption.
He said the revision was aimed at two female Muslim students who wear face veils due to their religious beliefs. Hooper said a minority of Muslims believe that wearing clothes that cover the face is required, but that stopping them from practicing their faith as "un-American." (More)
Shock and anger is spreading among Hamilton's 20,000 Muslims after the city's largest mosque was firebombed.
"They tried to burn the mosque down," said Zakir Patel, 42, principal of the Islamic School of Hamilton, which is part of the mosque.
Patel discovered the firebombing around 8 a.m. yesterday when he opened his office door. Attackers had used a large rock to smash a hole in a front window at the mosque and then lobbed in what police are calling an "incendiary device." (More)
CAIR-CAN CONDEMNS VANDALISM OF HAMILTON MOSQUE - TOP
(Ottawa, Canada January 4th, 2010) - The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) condemns today’s act of vandalism, the fire-bombing of The Hamilton Mosque, in which one of the mosque’s windows was smashed and a bottle with flammable material was either thrown or placed inside the window. CAIR-CAN calls on the Hamilton Police to ensure that this incident is investigated swiftly and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
"An attack on any place of worship is deeply offensive and hurtful. Islam promotes social justice, peaceful relations and understanding with our neighbours - both Muslims and non-Muslims. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the small fire caused only minor damage, but the scale of damage that might have resulted from such an attack is alarming,” said Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director.
"CAIR-CAN is encouraged by reports that Hamilton police hate crime investigators have been called. Our organization calls on politicians and security officials in Hamilton to demonstrate leadership by standing firm against all forms of hate, racism and xenophobia. Such cowardly acts of vandalism, regardless of their scope, represent not only an attempt to cause physical damage but an attempt to divide communities by targeting visible and vulnerable minorities.”
“While deeply disturbing, CAIR-CAN does not believe that such incidents represent the sentiments of the vast majority of Canadians, which is why we ask our fellow citizens of conscience to join us in condemning this regrettable act.”
“We also urge mosque leaders and officials to remain vigilant and to immediately report suspicious behaviour to CAIR-CAN and the proper authorities, in order to establish a clear record of such incidents.”
CAIR: POLICE INVESTIGATING BURNT KORAN - TOP Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot, 1/4/2010
Costa Mesa police are hesitating to call a charred copy of the Koran found outside the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County on New Year’s Day a hate crime until they determine where it came from, officials said.
About noon New Year’s Day, a member of the education center was headed inside for Friday prayers when he saw something bulky that appeared out of place in the parking lot, said education center board member Fatma Saleh.
“The holy book is a cherished thing for Muslims. To be defiled in such a manner was upsetting,” Saleh said. “It was the first day of the new year. Not even halfway through the day and you’re already starting off the new year on a bad foot.” (More)
CAIR: NEW AIR SECURITY CHECKS FROM 14 NATIONS TO U.S. DRAW CRITICISM - TOP Eric Lipton, New York Times, 1/4/2010
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration’s decision to mandate extra scrutiny — including full-body pat downs — for people flying into the United States from 14 mostly Muslim countries provoked criticism from foreign officials and skepticism from some security experts that the measures would be effective.
American counterterrorism officials said the increased checks reflected mounting concern about the threat posed by foreign-based extremists and dissatisfaction with security in certain airports overseas…
Under the new rules, all citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen must receive a pat down and an extra check of their carry-on bags before boarding a plane bound for the United States, officials said. Citizens of Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria -- nations considered “state sponsors of terrorism” -- face the same requirement.
Leaders of the affected countries argued that the United States had essentially declared their entire population suspects and created a two-tier system for air travel…
But diplomats and civil rights advocates said the agency had gone too far. “First look at behavior, not at faith or skin color,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Then spend what it takes to obtain more bomb-sniffing dogs, to install more sophisticated bomb-detection equipment and to train security personnel in identifying the behavior of real terror suspects.” (More)
VIDEO: CAIR REP ON FOX NEWS WARNS AGAINST PROFILING - TOP
CAIR Government Affairs Director Corey Saylor advocates for behavioral profiling instead of racial and religious profiling on FOX News’s “American Newsroom.”