PRIEST IN YOUTUBE VIDEO SAYS HE REGRETS COMMENTS ON MUSLIMS -TOP By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 3/14/10
An Albanian Catholic priest from Rochester Hills said Saturday that he regrets some of the language he used in a 2007 speech that recently went public on YouTube.
The Rev. Anton Kcira of St. Paul Albanian Parish was speaking in his church shortly after the arrests of three Albanian Muslim men who were involved in a plot to kill U.S. soldiers at Ft. Dix in New Jersey when he made the disparaging comments...
Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his group arranged a recent meeting with Muslim leaders and the Archdiocese of Detroit to discuss concerns.
Joe Kohn, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said Saturday that "there are many strong ties, and indeed a strong level of mutual respect, between leaders in the Muslim community locally and Archbishop Allen Vigneron and the archdiocese." (More)
SOUTHFIELD — The Council on Islamic Relations-Michigan (CAIR-MI) will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Sunday, March 28 by inviting perhaps its highest-profile speaker to date to its annual banquet, internationally recognized civil rights leader and activistReverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., founder of the RainbowPUSH Coalition. (More)
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has concluded that New York City's Department of Education wrongly fired Debbie Almontaser, a Muslim American fromYemen, discriminating on the basis of her race, religion and national origin.
Almontaser was the founding principal of the Arabic-themed Khalil Gibran International Academy, a dual-language public school that opened in 2007, but was pressured to resign due to public outrage over her attempts to explain the word "intifada" -- most commonly associated with the Palestinian uprising against Israel -- does not mean "terrorism." (Readthis story for more details - it's written by Andrea Elliott, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her series about an immigrant imam's struggles in America.)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups representing Arab and Muslim Americans, including MuslimMatters.org, have applauded this "good news," but the DOE maintains that it did not discriminate against Almontaser and will not reinstate her; Almontaser is appealing her lawsuit against the city. We'll see where this goes. (More)
RACIAL PROFILING UNDER SCRUTINY AFTER SECOND WHITE ISLAMIST ARRESTED -TOP US citizen Jamie Paulin-Ramirez detained in connection with alleged conspiracy to kill Swedish cartoonist Daniel Nasaw, The Guardian, 3/14/10
The use of racial profiling as a counterterrorism tool has been fatally undermined after a second white American woman was arrested over an alleged Islamist murder plot, critics of the policy said today...
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said: "It shows that racial profiling is ineffective, as we've always said." (More)
CAIR: MUSLIMS UNSURE OF OBAMA AGENDA ON EVE OF HIS TRIP BACK TO A MUSLIM NATION - TOP By Bridget Johnson, The Hill, 3/14/10
President Barack Obama has left American Muslims puzzled in the nine months since he delivered a landmark speech in Cairo and pledged "to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world."
As Obama prepares to travel to Indonesia, which boasts the largest Muslim population in the world, American Islamic groups are divided over what he has accomplished since that day at Al-Azhar University, when he quoted the Quran and spoke of his father's Muslim roots.
"He raised a lot of expectations with his very positive rhetorical outreach in the early months of his presidency," Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Hill. "Unfortunately, we haven't seen that followed up with concrete policies." (More)
PRESBYTERIAN REPORT ON MIDEAST STIRS CONTROVERSY - TOP By Peter Smith, Courier-Journal, 3/14/10
A report on the Middle East by the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is drawing criticism from major Jewish organizations and support from pro-Palestinian groups around the nation.
Major points of conflict include the report's calling the Israeli occupation of lands claimed by the Palestinians the root of the Mideast conflict and urging an end to U.S. aid to Israel until it halts expansions of settlements in occupied territories.
The 172-page report by the church Middle East Study Committee, based on nearly two years of deliberations and travel to the region, was released piecemeal between March 5 and 10...
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, applauded the Presbyterian report.
He noted that Vice President Joe Biden objected on Thursday to Israel's announcement of new Jewish housing in East Jerusalem — part of the lands controlled by Israel since its 1967 war with Arab neighbors — while Biden was traveling in Israel.
Hooper said the "settlement issue is the key roadblock toward the forward movement of a just peace in the region. Anything that can show our nation's displeasure with the booming settlement issue is useful." (More)