Saturday, January 9, 2010

Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 1/8/10

Dawud Walid, assistant imam at the Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, noted that Muslims are rooted in the history and culture of metro Detroit, saying they have lived here for at least a century.

“We have a long track record of speaking out against terrorism,” Walid said.

Regarding profiling, Walid said that President Barack Obama -- whose middle name is Hussein -- might be profiled because of his Arabic name, and so he said it doesn’t make sense to target people based on their ethnicity or religion.

“Based upon his name, he would be a victim of profiling,” Walid said.

The leaders at the press conference came from mosques across metro Detroit and represented different schools of thought, including Sunni and Shia. (Full article)


Meg Laughlin, St. Petersburg Times, 1/8/2010

Bowing to complaints from angry customers, the Publix grocery chain has agreed to remove a free 2010 calendar from its stores that mentions the beginning of the Islamic new year on Dec. 7 but not the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

The flap started when South Florida radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman complained on her WFTL program earlier in the week that the calendar identifies Dec. 7 as the start of the Islamic new year. She told her listeners in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami to let Publix know if they were offended.

"Not Pearl Harbor Day. Instead, happy new year, Islam, or some such?" she said on air Thursday…

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., said: "Getting the calendar pulled is more about a cottage industry of Muslim bashers who seek every opportunity to demonize Islam than it is about Pearl Harbor Day."

"Certainly, no one has an issue with including Pearl Harbor Day," said Hooper. "But that's not what this is about."

Kaufman said she objected because she didn't want World War II veterans "to be disappointed" and because she views Muslims as "an enemy who declared war on us," Kaufman told the St. Petersburg Times.

Furthermore, she said, she thought it was inappropriate to have holidays for people from the Caribbean and Central and South America on the calendar. The calendar identifies independence days in a number of countries from this hemisphere.

"Why pander to Islamics and people from Peru, Belize, Cuba and Haiti?" she said on the phone. "It's irrelevant in America." (More)


Associated Press, 1/7/2010

…The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations intends to hold a community meeting in St. Cloud this month to discuss the most recent incident. Kleis said he agreed to co-sponsor the event. "We need to be a respectful, welcoming city for all," he said. (More)


By Hart Van Denburg, City Pages, 1/8/2010

…After news spread about the cartoons in December, Minnesota CAIR spokeswoman Jessica Zikri called on community leaders to speak out.

"We believe there is a direct correlation between anti-Muslim rhetoric and bias incidents targeting American Muslims," she said. "Our state's political and religious leaders need to speak out strongly against anti-Muslim hate, just as they would speak out against any other form of intolerance." (More)


SoCal Muslims targeted last week in incidents in Mission Viejo, Costa Mesa Mosque

(ANAHEIM, CA, 1/8/10) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) announced today that a town hall meeting will be held at the Orange County Islamic Foundation tonight in response to the recent anti-Muslim hate incidents in Mission Viejo and Costa Mesa.

WHAT: Orange County Islamic Foundation Town Hall in Response to Anti-Muslim Hate Incidents
WHEN: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 7:20 p.m.
WHERE: Orange County Islamic Foundation, 23581 Madero Dr., Suite 101, Mission Viejo CA 92691
CONTACT: CAIR-Greater Los Angeles Area Communications Manager Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847 or 714 -851-4851, E-mail:

SPONSORS: The town hall meeting is co-sponsored by the Orange County Islamic Foundation, CAIR-LA and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.

In Mission Viejo, Calif., vandals defaced the Muslim component of an interfaith holiday display over the weekend. A piece of paper stuck to the display stated: "No Islamic Lighthouses in the U.S.A."

SEE PHOTOS: Interfaith Holiday Display Vandalized in Mission Viejo

The Muslim display included a verse from the Quran encouraging the unity of humankind and promoting righteousness. "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you." (The Holy Quran, 49:13)

Moreover, an official of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County in Costa Mesa reported that a burned copy of the Quran, Islam's revealed text, was found at the back entrance of the mosque during last Friday prayers. Mosque officials told CAIR that another burned Quran had been left in the same spot one month ago and that the center had been vandalized within the last three weeks.

CAIR is urging American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit.”

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-Greater Los Angeles Area Communications Manager Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847 or 714 -851-4851, E-mail:


Mike Mclaughlin, New York Daily News, 1/8/10

Racial and religious tensions are flaring in Sheepshead Bay over plans to build a mosque on a residential street.

Opponents say the mosque will lead to traffic and noise problems - but their complaints are littered with anti-Islamic attacks, like one letter to elected officials that said "mosques and Muslim schools preach hatred."

"There's a safety issue here. I don't want my kids walking past it," said Kathy Cash, 38, a mother of three children who attend Public School 52 around the corner on E. 29th St. "It's disgusting," said Cash, "they [Muslims] have no respect."

"My children are scared and I am too," said Victor Benari, 56, trying to rally neighbors against the mosque during a civic group meeting on Monday. "This is a security issue."

The hysterical language startled officials from the mosque, who say their neighbors have no reason to worry.

"It saddens us very much to see our neighbors already agitated about these things," said Allowey Ahmed, 60, who owns the property and is spearheading the project.

"Our neighbors are very important. We cannot be good Muslims unless we have good relations with our neighbors," said the native of Yemen who moved to Sheepshead Bay in 1997. (More)



Nadia Hassan says she was the victim of profiling during a full body search at an airport. CNN's Alina Cho reports. (CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad quoted on profiling incidents.)

Click here to watch the video.


Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, 1/7/2010

…In a separate incident on January 4, a Muslim woman with a Canadian passport was trying to fly from the airport in Halifax to Ohio to visit her husband. She believes she was held for questioning because she was the only woman wearing a head scarf, the Council on American Islamic Relations reports.

Nihad Awad, head of the group, objects to the policy of profiling women who wear headscarves. “Screening of passengers,” Awad said, should be based on an analysis of “people’s suspicious behaviors, not on their skin color or religious attire.” (More)



(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 1/8/2010) The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today expressed concerns about a recent incident in which two American Muslim women travelers wearing Islamic scarves, or hijab, were subjected to a full-body pat-down search, including over the head area, despite having already passed through airport security.

The two Muslim travelers say they were stopped at the gate by American security officials and prevented from boarding a flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Dallas, Texas. They were allegedly told to remove their hijab and were subjected to an additional full-body pat-down search.

Lena Masri, one of the Muslim women and current CAIR-MI staff attorney, says she and her sister initially refused to remove their head covering. They were then reportedly told by the supervising security officer that it was “mandatory,” otherwise they would not be allowed to board the flight.

After requesting the search be conducted in a private room, she says they were both escorted from the gate to a rest room, where they removed their head scarves and were subjected to another “humiliating” full-body pat-down search.

Earlier this week, CAIR called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to clarify whether Islamic head scarves will now automatically trigger additional security measures for Muslim travelers.

“Such a policy of religious profiling is ineffective, un-American and will not make us safer,” 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 Staff Attorney Lena Masri, 248-390-1203, E-Mail:; CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418,
E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:



CAIR Legislative Director Corey Saylor on Fox & Friends to discuss a New England college's decision to lift a ban on religious veils.

Click here to watch the video.


Cassie Spodak, Jamie Guzzardo and Yvonne Kalawur, CNN, 1/8/2010

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, thinks the policy targeted Muslim students and filed a third-party complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Writing to the commission, the Council invoked Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on religion.

Hooper acknowledged that the college's policy focuses on students but said it will inevitably target Muslim employees in the future.

After the complaint, George Humphrey, the vice president for College Relations, e-mailed Hooper, announcing the new policy.

"We have reviewed our ID policy and made an accommodation for religious reasons," the e-mail said. "Thank you for your input on this matter."

Hooper then stated, "We are pleased that the religious rights of all students and staff will now be protected. This is a victory for religious freedom and tolerance." (More)


Inside Higher Ed, 1/8/10

After days of news media scrutiny and a federal civil liberties complaint, a Massachusetts college backed down Thursday from its security policy that seemed to be the nation’s first ban on the veils worn by some Muslim women.

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences announced that its identification rule requiring students to wear their ID cards and barring “any head covering that obscures a student’s face … either on campus or at clinical sites” -- which went into effect on January 1 -- has been amended to permit students to wear face-obscuring coverings for religious reasons.

“We will achieve our objective of campus security while allowing for a medical and/or religious accommodation," the college said in a statement. "As always, our primary concern is the security and safety of all our students, faculty and staff.”

The initial version of the policy included a medical exemption but not a religious one, which the Council for American-Islamic Relations had first called for in December after the college notified students of the rule. The college, said a CAIR spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, did not take action on the request.

But, “based on a constructive dialogue with our extended community, and an intensive review of safety and security measures with advisors,” the college's statement said, administrators decided to adopt the exemption. The ban on face-obscuring head coverings remains intact for students without a medical or religious justification for a covering.

The college would not provide more information on how the decision was made, but it comes just a day after CAIR filed a third-party complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming the ban would violate the rights of faculty and staff. The complaint garnered even more news media attention for the case. (More)


New IMAX Movie Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta opens at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on January 14th, 2010 - TOP

The sensational and award-winning new IMAX movie Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta will be playing at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC from January 14th March 4th, 2010.

Produced by SK Films, Cosmic Picture and National Geographic, Journey to Mecca tells the incredible story of the legendary Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta, who left home in 1325CE to perform the Hajj, and went on to become one of the greatest travelers of all time.

Audiences witness the Hajj as it was experienced in the 14th Century, as well as by millions of people today. Filmed entirely in IMAX, narrated by Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, and containing more than 10 minutes of never-before-seen footage from inside and above the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Journey to Mecca offers a truly unique and groundbreaking experience. The film presents an unforgettable picture of Muslim life during the Golden age of Islam, while paying special tribute to the most remarkable gathering of people on Earth the Hajj.

Journey to Mecca is currently playing in nearly two dozen cities around the world including Jersey City, Dearborn, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Bradford, Paris, Sydney, Jakarta, Dubai and Al-Khobar. Recently the film won the Most Popular Film Award at the La Géode Film Festival in Paris.

For more information and to view a trailer, please visit the film’s website:

The Johnson IMAX® Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is located at 10th Street and Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC 20560. For show times, group reservations, and to purchase movie tickets call: 1-866-868-7774 (toll free), or visit:

*Note: In conjunction with Journey to Mecca, the Smithsonian Institution is offering several special programs focused on Islamic and Middle Eastern traditions. These programs include:

  • Interfaith panel discussion (Tues, February 9th)
  • Lecture on Ibn Battuta at the home of Moroccan Ambassador (Wed, February 10th)
  • Private screening/reception hosted by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia (Wed, February 24th)
  • Tour of Islamic artwork at the Freer Gallery of Art (Thu, February 25th/ Sat, February 27th)
  • Evening seminar on the Hajj (Thu, March 4th)

For information on any of these programs or to RSVP, call 1-866-868-7774

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