VETERINARY REPORT: FBI DOG IN WAREHOUSE STING SHOT TWICE IN NECK - TOP Santiago Esparza, The Detroit News, 5/26/10
Detroit -- The Council on American Islamic Relations -- Michigan has obtained a copy of a report detailing the medical treatment provided for an FBI dog that died in an October FBI raid that also claimed the life of an Islamic cleric.
Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah was the target of the sting operation and was fatally shot after the FBI said he refused to put down a gun and shot an FBI dog sent into a warehouse where the sting occurred. Abdullah was shot 20 times in the incident.
The dog was taken to Veterinary Emergency Services Inc., in Madison Heights. The three-page report indicates that the dog was shot in the neck twice. Two bullets and some bullet fragments were removed from the animal, according to the report. The report does not state the caliber of the bullet fragments or the bullets.
Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, said not knowing the caliber of the bullet makes it difficult to know who shot the dog.
"We don't know if the dog was shot by friendly fire or not," he said.
In addition, Abdullah suffered wounds in the sting that could have been caused by the dog, Walid said. The News reviewed autopsy photos that showed cuts to the imam's face and other wounds whose origins were unclear.
The authorities did not test Abdullah's hands for gunshot residue, something that also could have proven whether he shot at the dog, Walid said.
Walid and a coalition of religious leaders have called for an investigation into the death. At a press conference earlier this month, Walid said he sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to start a civil rights probe. (More)
CAIR-MI: 2 SHOTS TO THE NECK KILLED FBI DOG, TESTS SHOW - TOP By Niraj Warikoo, Free Press, 5/26/10
The FBI dog killed during a raid involving Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah was shot twice in the neck, according to a veterinary report released today by a Muslim group.
Freddy the dog was used by the FBI during the Oct. 28 raid in Dearborn to arrest Abdullah and his followers on suspicion of dealing in stolen goods. Abdullah was shot and killed during the raid by FBI agents.
The FBI has said Abdullah first shot Freddy, after which agents returned fire. Family members and some advocates say it's unclear who shot the dog, raising the question of whether the dog could have been shot by friendly fire. ...
The report was released by the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has been critical of the FBI's killing of Abdullah, a Muslim leader who headed a mosque in Detroit.
The FBI, which used informants to monitor Abdullah, has said Abdullah made statements that were anti-government and advocated violence.
“The necropsy report raises more questions than answers,” said Dawud Walid, head of the council. “It doesn't tell us what bullet calibers were found. So we don't know if friendly fire was involved or not.” (More)
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FEDERAL AGENCY WILL INVESTIGATE ALLEGED HARASSMENT AGAINST SOMALI STUDENTS - TOP by Ambar Espinoza, Minnesota Public Radio, 5/25/10
St. Cloud, Minn. — The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has decided to investigate complaints of discrimination in the St. Cloud and Owatonna public schools after a civil rights group based in St. Paul filed complaints against the two districts.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed the complaints in March. The complaints alleged that Somali and Muslim students were harassed about their race and religion and include that a school bus driver in St. Cloud left Muslim students behind at the bus stops several times and that some students and teachers made disparaging remarks about Somali students.
Education department spokesman Justin Hamilton said the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin by recipients of federal money, such as public schools.
"The complaint we received from Minnesota alleges that there has been discrimination in schools based on national origin," Hamilton said.
Hamilton said the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) determined the CAIR complaints meet a basic threshold to proceed with an investigation.
"There has been no determination of wrongdoing, but we will be there on the ground to look into these issues further and determine what the status is," he said.
Hamilton said the OCR will send investigators to Minnesota to talk to CAIR, students who say they were harassed, officials from both school districts, and other relevant sources. (More)
CAIR-MN: FEDS TO PROBE RACIAL CLAIMS IN ST. CLOUD, OWATONNA SCHOOLS -TOP The investigations stem from complaints that Somali students were being harassed. Sarah Lemagie, Star Tribune, 5/25/10
The federal Department of Education has opened an investigation into claims that Somali students have faced racial discrimination and harassment at schools in St. Cloud and Owatonna.
The investigation was made public Tuesday by the Muslim civil liberties group that called for it. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) filed complaints with the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights in March, citing incidents -- some publicized in the news media -- that it characterized as "anti-Muslim."
The probe will include incidents reported this school year involving high school students in Owatonna, and over the past two years at St. Cloud's Apollo Senior High School and Technical Senior High School. CAIR claims that Somali students were harassed by fellow students because of their race or religion and that both districts failed to stop the behavior. (More)
ANTI-MUSLIM HARASSMENT DRAWS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROBE - TOP Hart Van Denburg, City Pages, 5/25/10
The U.S. Department of Education has agreed to launch an investigation into anti-Muslim harassment at schools in St. Cloud and Owatonna, and the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it welcomed the news.
"Decades after the beginning of the civil rights movement, no student should be constantly subjected to racial slurs or harassment at school," said the group's civil rights director, Taneeza Islam. (More)
'YOURS IS A PEACEFUL FAITH' - TOP At Muslim forum, Patrick vows action to combat prejudice Jonathan Saltzman and Travis Andersen, Boston Globe, 5/23/10
Governor Deval Patrick told more than 1,100 Muslims at a Roxbury mosque yesterday that he knew many have encountered discrimination and racial profiling since Sept. 11 and that he would do everything in his power to combat those problems.
Speaking at what Muslim activists described as the first such forum with a Massachusetts governor, the 53-year-old Democrat pledged to take seven steps to help Muslims in the state.
The measures ranged from urging businesses and governments to allow Muslims to take time off to attend Friday afternoon prayers to publicly denouncing discrimination and racial profiling against believers of Islam.
Although he responded “yes'' when asked pointedly whether he was committed to each measure requested, Patrick sometimes broadened his pledges to recognize that other religious and ethnic groups deserved the same protections and accommodations.
“Yours is a peaceful faith, and I know that, and I know you are worried [about whether] others know that,'' Patrick said after several Muslims joined him on the platform at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center to recount stories of epithets hurled at them on Boston streets and FBI agents visiting their houses. (More)
AMERICA'S MUSLIMS: GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT? - TOP Experience Should Have Taught Us How Not to Deal with Muslims in America Stephan Salisbury, CBS News, 5/24/10
Stephan Salisbury is cultural writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His most recent book is Mohamed's Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland.
The New York Police Department Intelligence Division, the FBI, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement all routinely run armies of informers through the city's Middle Eastern and South Asian communities. In the immediate wake of 9/11, sections of New York experienced sweeps by local and federal agents. The same in Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, and communities on the West Coast -- everywhere, in fact, that Muslims cluster together.
I've been reporting on this for years (and have made it the subject of my book Mohamed's Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland). Despite the demurrals of law enforcement officials, these sweeps and on-going, ever-widening investigations have focused exclusively on Muslim enclaves. I have seen the destructive impact on family and community such covert police activity can have: broken homes, deported parents, bereft children, suicides, killings, neighbors filled with mutual suspicions, daily shunning as a fact of life. “Since when is being Muslim a crime?” one woman whose husband had been swept up off a street in Philadelphia asked me.
Muslim residents have been detained, jailed, and deported by the thousands since 9/11. We all know this and law enforcement and federal officials have repeatedly argued that these measures are necessary in the new era ushered in by al-Qaeda. A prosecutor once candidly told me that it made no sense to spend time investigating or watching non-Muslims. Go to the source, he said.
Radicalization Is a Problem of Limited Proportions
There are many problems with this facile view, and two recent studies -- one from a think-tank funded in large part by the federal government, the other from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and the University of North Carolina's departments of religion and sociology (using a U.S. Department of Justice grant) -- highlight some of the most glaring contradictions.
The Rand Corporation studied the incidence of terrorist acts since September 11, 2001, and found that the problem, while serious, was wildly overblown. There have been, Rand researchers determined, all of 46 incidents of Americans or long-time U.S. residents being radicalized and attempting to commit acts of terror (most failing woefully) since 9/11. Those incidents involved a total of 125 people. Think about that number for a moment: it averages out to about six cases of purported radicalization and terrorism a year. Faisal Shahzad's utterly inept effort in Times Square would make incident 47. In the 1970s, the report points out, the country endured, on average, around 70 terrorist incidents a year. From January 1969 to April 1970 alone, the U.S. somehow managed to survive 4,330 bombings, 43 deaths, and $22 million of property damage.
The Rand report, “Would-Be Warriors: Incidents of Jihadist Terrorist Radicalization in the United States since September 11, 2001,” argues that ham-handed surveillance and aggressive police investigations can be, and often are, counter-productive, sowing a deep-seated fear of law enforcement and immigration authorities throughout Muslim communities -- whose assistance is vital in coping with the threat of Islamic terrorism, tiny as it is here.
Family members, friends, and neighbors are far more likely to know when someone is headed down a dangerously radical path than the police, no matter how many informers may be in a neighborhood. “On occasion, relatives and friends have intervened,” the Rand researchers write. “But will they trust the authorities enough to notify them when persuasion does not work?” And will the authorities actually use the information provided by family members when they receive it? Don't forget the perfunctory manner in which CIA officials treated the father of the underwear bomber when he tried to report his son as an imminent threat.
The second study, conducted by a research team from Duke University and the University of North Carolina, found similarly small numbers of domestic terror plots and incidents since 9/11. The report identifies 139 Muslim Americans who have been prosecuted for planning or executing acts of terrorist violence since September 11, 2001, an average of 17 a year. (Again, most of these attempted acts of terror, as in the Shahzad case, were ineptly planned, if planned at all.) Like the Rand report, the Duke-UNC study highlights the meager numbers: “This level of 17 individuals a year is small compared to other violent crime in America but not insignificant. Homegrown terrorism is a serious but limited problem.”
The Duke-UNC researchers conducted 120 in-depth interviews with Muslims in four American cities to gain insight into the problem of homegrown Islamic terrorism and the response of Muslim Americans to it. Why so few cases? Why so little radicalization? Not surprisingly, what the researchers found was widespread hostility to extremist ideologies and strong Muslim community efforts to quash them -- efforts partially driven by a desire for self-protection, but more significantly by moral, ethical, and theological hostility to violent fundamentalist ideologies.
Self-Policing Viewed as Key Tool
Both of these reports underscore the importance of what the researchers call “self-policing” within Muslim communities. They consider it a critical and underutilized factor in combating terrorism in the U.S. Far from being secretive breeding grounds for radicalism, the Duke-UNC report argues, mosques and other Muslim community institutions build ties to the nation and larger world while working to root out extremist political fundamentalism. It was not for nothing that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed instructed his 9/11 hijackers to steer clear of Muslim Americans, their mosques, and their institutions.
The UNC-Duke report urges federal and local officials to work aggressively to integrate Muslim communities even more fully into the American political process. Authorities, it suggests, should be considering ways of supporting and strengthening those communities by actively promoting repeated Muslim denunciations of violence. (Such condemnations have been continuous since 9/11 but are rarely reported in the press.) Public officials should also work to insure that social service agencies are active in Muslim neighborhoods, should aggressively pursue claimed infractions of civil rights laws, and should focus on establishing working relationships with Muslim groups when it comes to terrorism and law enforcement issues.
The Times Square incident -- and, yes, the small but vital role played by Alioune Niass -- illustrate the importance of these commonsensical recommendations. Yet the media has ignored Niass, and law-enforcement agencies have once again mounted a highly public, fear-inducing investigation justified in the media largely by anonymous leaks. This recreates the creepy feeling of what happened in the immediate aftermath of 9/11: the appearance of a massive, chaotic, paranoid probe backed by media speculation disguised as reporting. A warehouse raided in South Jersey. Why? No answers. A man led away in handcuffs from a Boston-area home. Who is he? What is his role? Was he a money man? Maybe. But maybe not. Suspicious packages. Oddly parked trucks. Tips. Streets closed. Bomb squads cautiously approaching ordinary boxes or vehicles. No answers -- even after the all-clear rings out and the yellow caution tape comes down.
More importantly, the controlled flow of anonymous leaks to the mainstream press has laid the groundwork for the Obama administration to threaten Pakistan harshly -- even as Iraq and Afghanistan sink further into deadly and destructive fighting -- and to ponder extreme revisions of criminal procedures involving the rights of suspects. The administration's radical suggestion to suspend Miranda rights and delay court hearings for terrorism suspects amounts to a threat to every American citizen's right to an attorney and a defense against state power. Is this the message the country wants to send “the evil doers,” as President Bush used to call them?
Or have we already taken the message of those evil doers to heart? Faisal Shahzad, an American citizen taken into custody on American soil, disappeared into the black hole of interrogation for more than two weeks -- despite President Obama's assertion to a CIA audience over a year ago that “what makes the United States special... is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals even when it's hard, not just when it's easy, even when we are afraid and under threat, not just when it's expedient to do so.”
When the going gets tough, as Attorney General Holder made clear on “Meet the Press” on May 9th, the tough change the rules. “We're now dealing with international terrorists,” he said, “and I think that we have to think about perhaps modifying the rules that interrogators have and somehow coming up with something that is flexible and is more consistent with the threat that we now face.” None of this is good news for Muslims in America -- or for the rest of us. (More)
BRENTWOOD MOSQUE NOT ALONE IN DEFEAT - TOP Plans for places of worship face growing resistance By Bob Smietana, The Tennessean, 5/23/10
The plan to derail a proposed mosque in Brentwood was simple but effective.
Through e-mails, blogs and word of mouth, opponents told friends and neighbors they were suspicious of the mosque and feared its leaders had ties to terrorist organizations. They encouraged citizens to write letters to the city commission expressing their concerns, including worries about traffic and flooding.
On Wednesday night, the mosque's organizers admitted defeat. They withdrew their application to rezone 14 acres on Wilson Pike for a house of worship. Community opposition and the $450,000 cost of building a turn lane made the project untenable.
"There comes a time when you have to say, 'We can't do this anymore,' " said Jaweed Ansari, a Brentwood physician and spokesman for the Islamic Center of Williamson County.
Every year, hundreds of new houses of worship are proposed around the United States. A growing number face resistance from neighbors and government officials who see places of worship as a nuisance because they don't pay taxes, often ask for special exceptions to zoning rules and cause traffic congestion. But religious liberty advocates say these objections can trample the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. (More)
'A HAPPY DAY': LOCAL MUSLIMS CELEBRATE FIRST SERVICE AT MOSQUE - TOP Dan Benson, Sheboygan Press, 5/24/10
"Allahu Akbar (God is great)," Mohammed Yessin, of Sheboygan sang out Friday afternoon to mark the beginning of the first official worship service at Sheboygan County's first mosque.
Sixteen men and three women, in separate rooms, fell on their knees and bowed their heads to the floor.
"Ash-had an la ilaha illa llah (I testify there is no god but Allah)," Yessin, a Syrian native who has lived in Sheboygan for 25 years, continued, singing the "Adhan," the Islamic call to prayer.
While some Sheboygan County Muslims have been meeting to pray or study the Quran, their holy scriptures, over the last few months, Friday's service was the first since the Wilson Town Board voted unanimously on Monday to grant a conditional use permit to the mosque's organizers. The mosque, in the former Tom's of Wisconsin building, is at 9110 Sauk Trail Road.
"I used to drive one hour to Milwaukee to pray," said Hashem Allan, 48, a naturalized U.S. citizen who came to Sheboygan from Palestine in 1977. "I want to thank God to have this mosque so close to us." (More)
As jazzy music played overhead, radio hosts Amir Mertaban and Mohamad Ahmad chatted casually with their guest, Isaac Yerushalmi, setting a relaxed mood.
The show could have dissolved into a heated argument between two Muslims and a Jew, but in the inaugural run of "Boiling Point" on what's billed as the nation's first Muslim talk radio station, Mertaban was absorbed with more mundane matters.
Still wearing his burgundy Fairplex shirt from his day job as a manager for the Los Angeles County Fair, Mertaban looked over the show's introduction. He glanced at Yerushalmi's biography and a few reminders he had jotted down.
"OK, I can't use the word 'freakin,'" he said to no one in particular.
In the control room, Nour Mattar, one of the founders of One Legacy Radio, clicked off some of the banned words. "I mean we're cool, but we still have Islamic character and morals, especially we have a lot of kids, 16, 17, listening in. We don't want them to think this is OK."
The hosts of "Boiling Point" - a show that purports to take "taboo topics to the boiling point" - are allowed one "What the heck" a show, said Ahmad, a UCLA law school graduate.
One Legacy Radio is an online broadcast that officially launched onwww.onelegacyradio.com in November from a nondescript studio in an office park off the 5 Freeway in Irvine, Calif., with four weekly shows. Its three founders - Muslims in their late 20s and early 30s who grew up in Britain and the United States - have slowly increased the station's programming while trying to strike a balance between religious sensibilities and a more edgy, youth-driven conversation. (More)
TEXAS RADIO HOST URGES BOMBING OF NY MOSQUE - TOP Muslim civil rights group files FCC complaint over incitement to violence
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/27/10) -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today filed a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) complaint against a radio talk show host in Texas who yesterday advocated bombing a proposed New York City mosque.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said Houston radio host Michael Berry (KTRH-AM 740) made that call to violence on his May 26 program.
In his response to a caller named "Tony" who supported the right to build the planned mosque in New York -- an effort that has come under rhetorical attack by anti-Islam extremists -- Berry said: "No, no, Tony, you can't build a mosque at the site of 9/11. No, you can't. No, you can't. And I'll tell you this -- if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up...I hope the mosque isn't built, and if it is, I hope it's blown up, and I mean that."
[Berry has in the past been a guest host for nationally-syndicated broadcasters like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.]
"Calls for acts of violence against houses of worship must never be tolerated or excused," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We ask the FCC to demonstrate that incitement to violence is never acceptable on our nation's airwaves."
He said Berry's call to violence against an American mosque is of particular concern, coming as it does after a bombing at a mosque in Jacksonville, Fla., earlier this month.
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.
NEW YORK (CBS, 5/27/10) -- They're controversial bus ads some say are flagrantly anti-Muslim.
An activist Manhattan woman is paying for the campaign detractors believe is bent on encouraging Muslims to abandon their religion.
CBS 2 HD took a look at the woman behind the controversy and the backlash it's generating.
"It's about the violent ideology of Islam. Yes, yes!" Pamela Geller said...
"This is a combination of bigotry, hatred and an individual using the current climate we're in to advance their own cause," said Faiza Ali of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
And it isn't just Islamic groups who are worried about the ad campaign and the online anti-Muslim vitriol. The folks over at the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith also think they see a disturbing pattern.
"This kind of language, this kind of characterization has no place in our society. It muddies the waters rather than really allow us to move forward," said ADL regional director Ron Meier...
CAIR-NY: NYC BUS ADS ASKING 'LEAVING ISLAM?' CAUSE A STIR - TOP Deepti Hajela, Associated Press, 5/26/10
NEW YORK — The questions on the ads aren't subtle: Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you? ...
Faiza Ali, of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the ads were based on a false premise that people face coercion to remain with Islam. She said Muslims believe faith that is forced is not true belief.
"Geller is free to say what she likes just as concerned community members are free to criticize her motives," Ali said. (More)
BACKGROUNDER: WHO IS BEHIND NY'S ANTI-ISLAM BUS, MOSQUE CAMPAIGNS? -TOP
The anti-Islam New York bus ad campaign and the campaign to block construction of a mosque and Islamic community center in New York are both headed by an extremist Muslim-basher who claims that "Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by Islam."
Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), the anti-Islam hate group behind both efforts, is led by Pamela Geller.
[NOTE: The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently refused to grant SOIA a trademark because: "The applied-for mark refers to Muslims in a disparaging manner because by definition it implies that conversion or conformity to Islam is something that needs to be stopped or caused to cease."]
Geller recently posted images on her blog purporting to depict Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Several of those images show the prophet as a pig. Another image, headlined "Piss Be Upon Him," shows one of the controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet covered in urine. ("Piss Be Upon Him" is designed to mock the traditional phrase "Peace Be Upon Him" that Muslims use when mentioning any prophet of God.)
She has in the past referred to President Obama as a "ball s**ker" and posted a photoshopped image of him urinating on an American flag.
On her personal blog, Geller has written of President Obama: "[O]ne thing is for sure: Hussein is a muhammadan [sic]." Geller also wrote: "[I]t is well known that Obama allegedly was involved with a crack whore in his youth."
Geller has been vocal in her criticism of the black population in South Africa and seemingly supportive of the slain South African apartheid leader Eugene Terre'blanche. Following Terre'blanche's recent murder, Geller wrote: "All I see in South Africa is Black supremacism. Terreblanche [sic] may have been a white supremacist, but he's the dead one."
Her blog has in the past featured categories such as "Advancing Islamic Lies" and "Islam 2008: Religion of Barbarism." She was recently involved in a Florida conference that invited extremist anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders to speak.
In one 2009 blog post, Geller wrote in reference to Islam's Prophet Muhammad: "And frankly I find the whole new 'Abrahamic' narrative really galling. 1,400 years ago some maniaic [sic] decided to spin the origin of a 5,767 year old religion to advance their own evil end and said it was Ishmael that Abraham was to kill and now it's taken as.....gospel? Puhleeeze."
She also claims Muslim groups "control information and how it is processed at senior levels of the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, and the various branches of the military."
Geller once called for the destruction of Islam's Dome of Rock in Jerusalem. She wrote: "The dome has got to go. It is sitting atop the great Jewish temple. The dome has got to go."
Recently, Geller and the deputy head of SOIA, anti-Islam blogger Robert Spencer, offered support for a call to wipe the nation of Pakistan off the map using India's nuclear weapons. They both used their blogs to promote a video urging the mass killing of all Pakistanis.
Geller wrote of the girl featured in that video making the call to genocide: "Perhaps with an online Colb. (collaboration) we can run her for president in '16. She gets it."
Spencer wrote: "The girl is right: do not fear. Fight back against the jihad. Fear hands the jihadis a weapon."
Geller has even been criticized by other Islamophobes for her extremism and for supporting far-right fascist groups in Europe. In fact, SIOA is an outgrowth of a similar group in Europe that seeks to block the construction of mosques on that continent. That group, Stop the Islamization of Europe, also "considers Islamophobia to be the height of common sense" and, like Geller, claims that Islam "considers lying to be not only acceptable, but obligatory."
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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
CAIR: NATIONWIDE MUSLIM ADVOCACY GROUP URGES FBI TO INVESTIGATE ATTEMPTED ARSON IN TIGARD - TOP By Rebecca Woolington, The Oregonian, 5/27/10
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is asking the FBI to aid local law enforcement efforts in their investigation into an attempted arson incident, where a man discovered a mysterious timed device near liquid accelerant in his parent's Tigard-area home Sunday. The Washington County Sheriff's Office said the residents of the home are natives of Afghanistan and Muslim.
CAIR, a nationwide Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization that strives to elevate understanding and knowledge of Islam and empower American Muslims, cited other possible biased crimes across the country in its encouraging federal investigators to get involved.
"Given recent events and the rise in anti-Islam rhetoric nationwide, we urge the FBI to add its resources to those of local and state authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this troubling incident," CAIR Legislative Director Corey Saylor said in a statement released Tuesday.
Beth Anne Steele, spokeswoman for the FBI in Portland, said the bureau is currently assessing whether federal civil rights were violated during the incident. If the assessment determines there was a civil rights violation, the FBI will investigate the incident, Steele said.
"It's certainly something we take very seriously," she said.
Steele said she could not provide any additional details about the assessment, but did say that FBI officials have been working very closely with the sheriff's office since the incident occurred. She also said that the FBI is communicating with members of the Muslim community and is doing everything it can to address their concerns. (More)
CAIR-SFL, AMNESTY INTL HOST INTERFAITH FORUM ON TORTURE - TOP
WHEN: Friday, May. 28, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM WHERE: The Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Downtown Miami COST: Free admission and FREE parking at garage behind Freedom Tower (NE 5th St. & 2nd Ave)
Miami Dade College, Council on American-Islamic Relations and Amnesty International are hosting a powerful forum with leaders from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian community to discuss the history of torture from moral and human rights perspectives, citing actual cases of torture by governments in Latin America, Middle East, U.S., Asia, and elsewhere. Following the panel, attendees will ask questions and the panel members will invite the audience to get involved in the global fight against torture.
The forum will be moderated by Muhammed Malik, Director of South Florida's Council on American-Islamic Relations, and features speakers such as Rabbi Solomon Schiff, Director of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's Community Chaplaincy Service; Father Paul Kane of the Archdiocese of Miami; Jennifer Cohen, interfaith and social justice advocate; and Foad Farahi, Muslim community interfaith leader and social justice advocate.
The interfaith forum is part of a series of informative discussions planned throughout the summer to coincide with the powerful Instruments of Torture through the Ages exhibition currently on display at MDC's Freedom Tower until August 29, 2010. The exhibition features nearly a hundred instruments designed for torturing and executing and is on loan from the Museo Toscana in Italy. Organizers hope the exhibition draws attention to contemporary human rights issues around the world.
CONTACT: CAIR-South Florida Executive Director Muhammed Malik, 305-761-6843, 954-272-0490, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
VIDEO: CAIR-MI CALLS FOR 'TOTAL TRANSPARENCY' IN SHOOTING OF FBI DOG -TOP
"Right now, we can not say definitively if the imam even shot this dog or if this dog was shot by friendly fire. Obviously, this would change the dynamics of this case tremendously if this dog was shot by friendly fire," said Dawud Walid, executive director of C.A.I.R.
CAIR-MN: CAIR CASE COULD TAKE 6 MONTHS - TOP By Dave Aeikens, St. Cloud Times, 5/27/10
The federal investigation into discrimination claims at St. Cloud's two public high schools could take six months or longer unless they reach an agreement called early complaint resolution.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights said this week it plans to investigate allegations of racial and ethnic discrimination against Somali students in St. Cloud and Owatonna. The complaint comes from the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, which wrote the Office of Civil Rights in March saying the district had failed to adequately respond to harassment, taunting and name-calling at Apollo and Technical high schools.
CAIR Minnesota's President Lori Saroya said her group would be open to the mediated settlement discussions that the Office of Civil Rights offers.
"Our concern has always been the students. We just want to see the change in environment. In the end, it affects not only their academics, it affects them emotionally," she said. "We are seeing it in students not doing well in school. We need to create an environment where they do well." (More)
EXTENSIONS OF REMARKS - IN RECOGNITION OF THE COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS EIGHTH ANNUAL CIVIL RIGHTS BANQUET - TOP 25 May 2010 Congressional Record 111th Congress - Second Session
HON. DENNIS J. KUCINICH of Ohio in the house of representatives
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Mr. KUCINICH. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Ohio Chapter on the occasion of their Eighth Annual Civil Rights Banquet entitled "A New Era of Hope."
CAIR is a nationwide, nonprofit organization whose 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." For the past eight years, CAIR Ohio has played an instrumental role in helping to bridge the divides between Greater Cleveland's diverse communities. CAIR Ohio's Eighth Annual Banquet will provide a platform for vibrant discourse led by this year's distinguished speakers: Shahid Buttar, Esq. of the Bill of Rights Committee; Imam Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation; and Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of CAIR. I commend these speakers for their efforts to promote civil liberties and social justice.
Madam Speaker and colleagues, please join me in recognizing the Council on American-Islamic Relations Ohio Chapter for their eight years of outstanding achievement. May their efforts to promote dialogue and create a more inclusive world continue to endure.
CAIR: US TREASURY DEFENDS CHARITY LAW IN WAKE OF CRITICISM -TOP Steven Stanek, 5/26/10
WASHINGTON // A US treasury department official yesterday defended counterterrorism laws instituted after September 11 that give the government broad powers to shut down charitable organisations suspected of having ties to terrorist groups.
Daniel Glaser, the treasury department's deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, told a House panel that the Bush-era laws are essential to combating terrorism and have allowed authorities to disrupt the flow of money to al Qa'eda and other groups through international charities, many of which have offices in the United States...
Treasury department officials, he added, have met frequently with US Muslim groups to improve relations and clarify guidelines.
Still, Muslim leaders here said that many people in their communities complain about the laws being unclear. "Every Ramadan, Muslims want to be able to give to charity and many people become afraid to do so," said Corey Saylor, the legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"People don't know how to donate and charities don't really know how to operate because everything is so murky." (More)