WASHINGTON, DC, 4/9/2010) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on American Muslims and other people of conscience to sign a petition aimed at closing U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) loopholes that allow for profiling based on religion and national origin.
The petition is being circulated by the Rights Working Group, a coalition of civil liberties, human rights and civil rights, national security, and immigrant rights organizations working to protect civil liberties and human rights for all people in the United States.
The petition, which will be delivered to Department of Justice officials on April 20, reads in part:
"It is time to face the truth about the Department of Justice guidance on racial profiling. As written, the 2003 guidance has loopholes and omissions that allow for some of the very behavior the guidance is intended to regulate.
"The 2003 DOJ Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Law Enforcement Agencies:
Allows for profiling based on religion and national origin;
Includes loopholes that allow profiling at borders in the name of 'national security;'
Doesn't apply to all federal law enforcement activity;
Isn't enforceable; and
Doesn't consistently apply to state or local law enforcement agencies working in cooperation with federal agencies or receiving federal money."
Representatives from a number of chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) met recently with elected officials and staffers at dozens of Capitol Hill offices in Washington, D.C., to discuss issues such as racial profiling, immigration reform and housing foreclosures.
"First, the most compassionate thing we can do for Americans is to bring a halt to the immigration of Muslims into the U.S. This will protect our national security and preserve our national identity, culture, ideals and values. Muslims, by custom and religion, are simply unwilling to integrate into cultures with Western values and it is folly to pretend otherwise...The most compassionate thing we can do for Muslims who have already immigrated here is to help repatriate them back to Muslim countries...."
Please donate today to help us defend those who face discrimination caused by this kind of rhetoric.
CAIR-TAMPA: NO EASY FIX TO HILLSBOROUGH SCHOOLS' GOOD FRIDAY DILEMMA - TOP Sherri Ackerman, Tampa Tribune, 4/9/10
TAMPA - It started with a simple request in 2004.
Muslims asked Hillsborough County school board members to consider giving students off for two of their most important holy days, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
The request didn't seem unreasonable, given that the school district's calendar already included days off for Christian and Jewish holidays.
To be fair and avoid potential lawsuits, board members directed a committee of school leaders, teachers, parents and others to study the idea. Its recommendation: Eliminate all school holidays built around religious celebrations...
The local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations supports recognizing religious holidays in the school calendar.
"If Good Friday can be recognized as a holiday -- that can be great for the Christians,'' said Ramzy Kilic, the civil rights director for CAIR and a member of the school district's calendar committee.
"We would rather keep a calendar that recognizes significant religious holidays. We don't want to see anyone have to sacrifice their beliefs.''
But with more than 35,000 Muslims in the Tampa Bay area, Kilic holds out hope that someday the school district will consider similar days off for other religious holidays – a hope shared by Jonathan Ellis, president of the Tampa Jewish Federation. (More)
CAIR-CHICAGO: GROUP SUES OVER ZONING DENIED TO ISLAMIC CENTER - TOP Bob Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune, 4/8/10
A federal lawsuit was filed Thursday against the DuPage County, Ill., board and county zoning officials alleging discrimination in the rejection of a proposal for an Islamic educational center near Naperville, Ill.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations' Chicago office filed the suit on behalf of the Irshad Learning Center, which had been proposed for a 2.91-acre site in unincorporated Naperville.
The complaint seeks no specific amount of damages, but demands compensation for losses from not being able to use the property, said CAIR staff attorney Kevin Vodak.
The center would have provided a place to worship for about 30 Shia Muslim families in the western suburbs who have been without a permanent facility for the past eight years. In January, DuPage County Board members voted 10-7 to deny a conditional-use permit requested for the center. (More)
FMR. MIAMI BEACH COP SUES DEPT. OVER RACIAL SLURS - TOP Tiffani Helberg, CBS4, 4/8/10
MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) -- Former Miami Beach Police Officer Feras Ahmad is suing the department after he said he endured nearly two weeks of racial slurs as a new cop on the job. Amad said he dreamed of working for the Miami Beach Police force and rising up the ranks.
He thought his dream had come true in August of 2007 when he was hired as a part-time officer. But he said his tenure on the job was a rude awakening.
"I tried to be a team player and brush it off," said Ahmad. "I took it as an offense. But I didn't want to cause any waves. I just thought this is my dream. This is what I wanted. This is where I wanted to be. I didn't want to cause any waves. I didn't want to be the outcast."
According to Ahmad's EEOC complaint, his supervisor called him derogatory terms referring to his Arab-American heritage, such as rag head, camel jockey and some words that can't be printed here. (More)
MEGAHED SUES OVER 'WILLFULLY DELAYED' CITIZENSHIP PETITION - TOP Elaine Silvestrini, Tampa Tribune, 4/8/10
TAMPA - Youssef Megahed, who was acquitted of federal explosives charges, wants to become an American citizen, like the rest of his family.
Megahed, 24, filed suit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday asking a judge to order immigration officials to act on his citizenship petition, first filed less than two weeks before his 2007 arrest in South Carolina.
If he wins this legal battle, Megahed, who was once considered a budding terrorist by the government, will take an oath pledging to take up arms for the United States if called.
The government has "willfully and unreasonably delayed" Megahed's citizenship application, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the same courthouse where he was acquitted of criminal charges. (More)
Cleveland Peace Action presents a panel discussion on Seeking Middle East peace: What Is the U.S. Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Situation from 7-9 at Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn Branch, 4480 Ridge Road.
WHAT: Panel Discussion on Seeking Middle East Peace WHEN: Monday, April 12, 7-9 p.m. WHERE: Cuyahoga County Public Library Brooklyn Branch, 4480 Ridge Road, Brooklyn, Ohio
Dana Hercbergs of J Street Cleveland;
Frances Hasso of Oberlin College;
Bassam Khawam of AACCESS Ohio;
David Berenson of Cleveland Peace Action Middle East Peace Committee;
and moderator Julia Shearson of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Cleveland.