Thursday, March 4, 2010

By Sam Wardle, The Independent, 3/3/10

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) is one of North Carolina's staunchest defenders from Islamic extremism. When it comes to Christian extremism, though, the record is more mixed.

Myrick held a forum on Thursday, Feb. 25, with about 200 of her Charlotte-area constituents from the Muslim community to address what many see as a record of offensive statements: She has suggested that U.S. House and Senate members shouldn't hire Muslims as internsthey might be trying to infiltrate the government. And she has openly voiced concerns about the number of Muslims operating convenience stores across the country. In 2008, she lobbied then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to revoke former President Jimmy Carter's passport for meeting with leaders of Hamas.

At last week's two-hour forum, Myrick presided over a largely civil discussion of her record as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which has oversight of anti-terrorism strategies, and a somewhat less civil exchange over her defense against Islamic extremism, which itself has bordered on the extreme.

However, Myrick's concern over religious extremism seems relegated to practitioners of one religion. At the forum, she pointedly avoided applying the label of "terrorist" to Joseph Stack, the 53-year-old Texan who flew his airplane into an IRS building in Austin in February.

Perhaps of greater concern, though, is Myrick's work with a right-wing evangelical group whose cause celebre violates the First Amendment's establishment clause.

The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools states on its Web site that it aims to "bring a state certified (sic) Bible course (elective) into the public high schools nationwide." The council claims that its curriculum is in place in 532 school districts in 38 states. (The NCBCPS doesn't release specifics, so this claim is difficult to verify.)

In its literature, the council echoes other Eurocentric groups' concerns over the U.S.'s increasing diversity. "There has been a great social regression since the Bible was removed from our schools," the group claims in its justification of the legality of its cause. "We need to refer to the original documents that inspired Americanism and our religious heritage."

On its Web site, the NCBCPS lists members of its advisory board, many of them North Carolina elected officials. Myrick's name is third from the top, and is followed by that of fellow N.C. Rep. Robin Hayes. (More)


Zachary Roth, Talking Points Memo, 3/4/10

The office of the Louisiana sheriff who's forming a citizen militia to defend the parish in the event of a terrorist attack says it has information about possible Islamic terrorist activity in its midst.

"We understand, based on some intelligence that we've collected over the last year, year and a half, that there have been cells and people operating even within our parish that have been trained as terrorists or went overseas to be trained as terrorists," Ed Baswell, a spokesman for the Bossier Parrish Sheriff's Office, told TPMmuckraker this morning.

"So this is not something that's far, far away," Baswell added. "This is something that is a possibility here in Bossier Parish."

Baswell made clear that the terrorist threat was part of the motivation for the parish's controversial "Operation Exodus." As we reported yesterday, Sheriff Larry Deen has announced a plan to arm volunteers with shotguns, riot shields, batons, and a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on a "war wagon," and has begun training them in "hand-to-hand combat" and other techniques, as part of a program to provide security in the event of a terrorist attack or civic unrest. (More)



(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 3/1/10) - On Saturday, March 20, the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR Oklahoma) will hold its fourth annual banquet at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

The program will feature international human rights activist Anna Baltzer as the keynote speaker, Preacher Moss from "Allah Made Me Funny The Official Muslim Comedy Tour" as master of ceremonies, and motivational speaker Rodwan Saleh.

The event will feature a documentary of CAIR-Oklahoma's work in 2009 and award presentations for distinguished achievements in community service, media and journalism, and social justice. Community leaders and activists from across Oklahoma will join public officials, elected representatives and other distinguished guests at the banquet.

WHAT: CAIR-OK Annual Banquet: "A New Era of Hope: Our Role, Our Future"
WHEN: Saturday, March 20, 2010, registration at 6 p.m., program & dinner at 7 p.m.
WHERE: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St. Oklahoma City, OK
CONTACT: CAIR-OK. Tel: 405-415-6851. Email:

Please call to reserve your seat, or register online here. Seating is limited. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple, $20 for students (with valid ID) and $15 for babysitting (6 months 12 years). The ticket price will increase after March 12 to $50 per person.

Register online at

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.

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CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi, 405-248-5853,; CAIR-OK Chair Michael Aziz Gipson, E-Mail:; CAIR-OK Operations Coordinator Huda Abdul-Razzak, E-Mail:

NOTE: media must provide press credentials on banquet day. Contact us in advance to arrange interviews, photography and/or video of CAIR-OK, event, and/or speakers.



(SAN DIEGO, CA, 3/4/10) - Over 350 people turned out on Saturday for the 4th annual banquet of the San Diego Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Diego).

CONTACT: CAIR San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida 619-913-0719 or 858-278-4547, E-mail


Sandy Illian Bosch, Pioneer Local, 3/4/10

Sadaf Syed of Willowbrook grew up in Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a teacher. She found a way to fulfill that dream, not with a teaching degree, but with a camera.

"I believe we're all here to educate one another," said Syed. Through her photo documentary, "iCover, A Day in the Life of an American Muslim COVERed Girl," she wants to show the world that a woman who chooses to wrap her head in a scarf is just like every other woman in America.

Like Syed, all of the women in her book have chosen to wear the traditional head covering of the Muslim faith. Syed's book of photos, which has seen its first run, but is still being tweaked, shows Muslim women in all ways of life -- from mother to dentist to motorcycle enthusiast. (More)


By Aja Harris, CNN, 3/4/10

Watch the video here.

Minneapolis, Minnesota (CNN) -- On certain nights in Minnesota's Twin Cities, a turn of the radio dial can reveal Somali voices crackling over the radio waves.

But these aren't the voices of a distant land. They belong to Zuhur Ahmed, a local Somali radio host, and her show guests. Together, they are part of a population of about 30,000 Somali refugees in Minnesota.

Ahmed's show "Somali Community Link" offers a snapshot into local Somali life. Ahmed , 24, broadcasts most of the program, which airs on a local station called KFAI, in Somali. She uses the show to give a voice to the plight and triumphs of Somalis here.

"It's important that they have a local media here in Minnesota that speaks their language, that tells what's going on around them or what's happening," she told CNN.

Ahmed, who's studying to become a doctor, feels it's especially important to discuss issues like youth violence and teen pregnancy -- subjects that can be taboo in the growing immigrant community. (More)



CHICAGO, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Zakat Foundation of America, a Muslim charity, is hosting a meeting at 2 p.m. today in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, between Haitian community organizers and U.S. experts in earthquake resistant construction. The goal is to help Haitians rebuild their devastated communities with safer housing.

Slated to attend are Port-au-Prince Mayor Jean Yves Jason, Haiti Senator Evalliere Beauplan and Khalil Demir, executive director of the Zakat Foundation of America, headquartered in Worth, Ill. Other participants include:

  • Dr. Roger Bilham, professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder;
  • Dr. Rebekah Green, associate director of the Resilience Institute at Western Washington University in Bellingham;
  • H.H. Haddock, principle, International Haddock Systems Network;
  • Dr. Martin Hammer, architect, Berkeley, Calif.;
  • Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, Director Build Change, San Francisco, Calif.;
  • Andre Soares, Co-founder Ecocentre IPEC, Brazil.

The group will meet from 2 to 4 p.m., then participate in a question and answer session with community organizers.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti on Jan 12, killing an estimated 200,000 people, according to the government there. Many of the deaths were due to buildings that collapsed because of substandard construction and building materials. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

The Zakat Foundation of America is an international charity organization dedicated to helping people in need. The foundation's goal is to ensure the self-reliance of the poorest people around the world.

Location: La Reserve Hotel and Restaurant, Rue Marcel Toureau Berthe, Petion-Ville, (509) 2510-2056

Follow live tweets of the conference:

SOURCE The Zakat Foundation of America

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