Sunday, June 27, 2010

sEE ALSO: Anti-Muslim Sentiment Growing in Minn. Suburbs
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations has condemned as Elyea's actions as hate speech. And his anti-Muslim actions are part of a growing resentment of Muslims in the suburbs.


CAIR Seeks Hate Crime Probe of New Vandalism at Tenn. Mosque Site
Sign marking site of proposed mosque broken in half, was replacement for previously-vandalized sign

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/24/10) -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on local, state and national law enforcement agencies to investigate a new act of vandalism at the site of a proposed Tennessee mosque expansion as a hate crime.

SEE: Sign Vandalized at Future Mosque Site

Yesterday, a passing motorist reported that the sign marking the future site of theIslamic Center of Murfreesboro was broken in half. The sign was a replacement for one spray-painted with the words "not welcome" in January of this year.

SEE: Tenn. Muslims React to Vandalism (Video)

A mosque official told CAIR that the latest incident of vandalism has been reported to local police and the FBI. That same official said local law enforcement authorities have been very supportive of the Muslim community and have stepped up police patrols in the area of the proposed mosque.

The planned expansion of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is being opposed by individuals who have made Islamophobic statements at recent public hearings.

SEE: Tenn. Mosque Targeted by Islamophobia (Video)

A candlelight vigil for peace, tolerance and freedom of religion is scheduled this evening in Murfreesboro.

SEE: Peace Vigil Scheduled

"Because of the hate-filled and un-American rhetoric used by opponents of the planned mosque expansion, it is essential that a possible bias motive for this latest act of vandalism be investigated," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "The hostile sentiments expressed in a recent public hearing on the proposed mosque reflect ignorance of the basic tenets of Islam."

He urged people of all faiths to learn about Islam from its original source by requesting aQuran, Islam's revealed text, at the "Explore the Quran" web site.

SEE: Explore the Quran

Awad noted that other efforts nationwide to build mosques or Islamic centers have been similarly targeted by anti-Islam extremists. He attributed the opposition to the mosques to an overall rise in Islamophobic sentiment in American society.

SEE: Hate Groups Promoting Islamophobia in America (Video)
CAIR-MN: Attorney to Hear Anti-Islamic Posters Case

Last November, a Tennessee man was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for burning down the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn. Nazi swastikas and the phrase "White Power" were painted on the mosque’s walls.

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.

- END –

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, 202-488-8787, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail:

Ask GOP to Repudiate Anti-Mosque Tenn. Candidate
Republican congressional candidate says planned mosque a threat to state's 'moral and political foundation'

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/25/10) -- CAIR is calling on American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact Republican Party leaders to urge them to repudiate Islamophobic remarks by a GOP congressional candidate in Tennessee who claims the construction of a new mosque poses a threat to that state's "moral and political foundation."

Republican candidate Lou Ann Zelenik issued a statement yesterday denouncing plans to build a new mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn. [Zelenik also says she is a leader in the Middle Tennessee tea party movement.]

In her statement, Zelenik backed opponents of the proposed mosque, which she referred to as "an Islamic training center." She even denied the religious nature of the mosque, claiming it "is not part of a religious movement; it is a political movement designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee."

SEE: Zelenik Denounces Plan to Build Mosque
Zelenik Issues Statement on Proposed Islamic Center

The planned mosque has been targeted by extremists who have made a number of bigoted comments about Islam and Muslims. Yesterday, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a second incident of vandalism at the mosque site as a possiblehate crime.

SEE: CAIR Reacts to Mosque Sign Vandalism
Tenn. Mosque Targeted by Islamophobia (Video)

Last night, anti-mosque protesters tried to disrupt a peace vigil held in support of the local Muslim community and of religious tolerance.

SEE: Protesters Try to Disrupt Peace Vigil for Tenn. Mosque (Video)

"State and national Republican leaders must repudiate Ms. Zelenik's extremist and un-American remarks and address the growing perception that their party promotes Islamophobia and intolerance against minorities," said CAIR National Executive DirectorNihad Awad. "We thank all those who turned out last night in Murfreesboro to express support for religious freedom."

He noted that CAIR's Connecticut chapter recently urged state Republican leaders to distance themselves from a candidate seeking the GOP nomination for that state's Fourth Congressional District, who said: "It turns out, folks, they [Muslims] are here, they're among us. We are at war with Islam."

Awad said CAIR called on national Republican leaders to repudiate similarly Islamophobiccampaign advertisements for a Florida GOP congressional candidate.

SEE: Fla. Candidate Produces Racist, Anti-Muslim Ads (Video)

CAIR's Oklahoma chapter is also challenging the bizarre claim by a Republican state legislator that Muslims seek to impose Islamic law in that state.

SEE: Sharia (Islamic Law) Not OK in Oklahoma

CAIR said American Muslims are concerned that Islamophobic statements by elected officials or candidates for public office are contributing to an overall rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and incidents nationwide.

Just last night, CAIR's Washington State chapter reported that a van with advertisements about Islam on its exterior and parked near a mosque was apparently smeared with feces.

SEE: Feces Smeared on Van Parked Near Bellevue Mosque (Seattle Times)



Mr. Michael Steele
Republican National Committee

310 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Tel: 202.863.8500
Fax: 202.863.8820

Mr. Chris Devaney
State Chairman
TN Republican State Committee
Tennessee Republican Party
2424 21st Avenue, Suite 200
Nashville, Tennessee 37212

Tel: (615) 269-4260
Fax: (615) 269-4260

COPY all correspondence to:

(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 6/27/10) -- The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on the sponsor of an anti-Islam ballot measure to repudiate the targeting of a Muslim family in that state by Islamophobic lawn signs.

The signs were placed facing the new home of a Muslim family of Indian heritage moving into an Edmond, Okla., neighborhood.

CAIR Video: Okla. Neighbor Posts Yard Signs Opposing New Residents

CAIR-OK said State Representative Rex Duncan (R-Sand Springs), the sponsor a November ballot measure that would ban local courts from considering Islamic law, should acknowledge that his actions have contributed to a growing level of Islamophobia inOklahoma and nationwide.

SEE: Sharia (Islamic Law) Not O.K. in Oklahoma (Fox)

Duncan has in the past proposed legislation prohibiting Muslim women from wearingreligious head scarves (hijab) in driver's license photos and refused to accept a Quran, Islam's revealed text, from a Muslim advisory council.

SEE: Ignorance is the Enemy (Tulsa World)

Duncan said he refused to accept the Quran because, "Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology."

"Representative Duncan's bizarre vendetta against Islam will inevitably have a negative impact on the lives of ordinary Muslims and sends the false message that our great state is intolerant of minorities," said CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi. "I urge Representative Duncan to acknowledge the harm he is doing to interfaith relations in our state and to meet with Oklahoma Muslim leaders."

Hashmi noted that CAIR offices nationwide are reporting a rise in anti-Muslim incidents.

CAIR Video: Hate Groups Promoting Islamophobia in America

He said CAIR's Washington State chapter on Thursday called for an FBI hate crime investigation into vandalism of a van with advertisements about Islam on its exterior and parked near a mosque that was smeared with feces.

Yesterday, CAIR called on Republican Party leaders to repudiate Islamophobic remarks by a GOP congressional candidate in Tennessee who claims the construction of a new mosque poses a threat to that state's "moral and political foundation."

The planned mosque has been targeted by extremists who have made a number of bigoted comments about Islam and Muslims. Earlier this week, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a second incident of vandalism at the mosque site as a possible hate crime.

SEE: CAIR Reacts to Mosque Sign Vandalism
Tenn. Mosque Targeted by Islamophobia (Video)

In May, CAIR offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of a bomb attack on a Florida mosque.

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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi, 405-248-5853,; CAIR-OK Chair Michael Aziz Gipson, E-Mail:; CAIRNational Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, 202-488-8787,; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

By Shavana Abruzzo, New York Post, 6/22/10

There’s no denying the elephant in the room. Neither is there any rejoicing over the mosques proposed for Sheepshead Bay, Staten Island and Ground Zero because where there are mosques, there are Muslims, and where there are Muslims, there are problems. (More)


Send a polite letter to: or
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WIS, 6/21/10

View the video.

A billboard along Interstate 26 is catching a lot of eyes, and viewers are calling our newsroom about it. Some think it's offensive, and others just want to know what it means.

On a stretch of highway from Orangeburg to Columbia, one sees advertisement on billboards scattered along the side of the road. But this billboard stands out, reading "Islam Rising Be Warned."

"I think it is [inciting] hate and fear," said Jennifer Bynum. "You know there are terrorists out there, but they are not all out there amongst us." (More)


Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 6/22/10

An Ann Arbor group announced Monday it has filed a request with a federal court seeking to require a metro Detroit bus agency to run ads aimed at Muslims who want to leave Islam.

The Thomas More Law Center, a conservative legal group, filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on Thursday that asks a federal judge to side with a New Hampshire-based group that often criticizes Islam.

The Thomas More center had filed a lawsuit against SMART last month on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, Pamela Geller of New York and Robert Spencer of New Hampshire. The plaintiffs are critics of Islamic extremism.

Local Muslim leaders support SMART's decision.

"They surely have the prerogative to deny carrying anti-Muslim ads in a locality which has one of the largest Muslim populations in North America," said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.


Karina Ioffee, Reuters, 6/21/10

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Plans to build a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks have touched off a firestorm among New Yorkers nearly a decade after Muslim extremists linked to al Qaeda slammed planes into the World Trade Center.

The Cordoba House mosque, part of a Muslim center to be built two blocks from what is now known as Ground Zero proposed as a conciliatory move, was overwhelmingly approved by a local community board in May.

But the plans are being resisted by some New Yorkers who say a mosque would be inappropriate so close to the place where nearly 3,000 people were killed. . .

"When someone claims to do something in the name of Islam and you don't know much about Islam, it's much easier to go, 'Well, maybe it is because of Islam,'" said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"One benefit of having a mosque in an area is that when people have contact with ordinary Muslims, prejudice goes down," he said. (More)


Gothamist, 6/21/10

A national Muslim group is refusing to back down from plans to turn a former Catholic convent on Staten Island into a mosque, and yesterday about 175 locals turned out in the blazing heat to voice their opposition. Here's a sample of some of the reasoned discourse from the protesters outside the convent.:

* "We just want to leave our neighborhood the way it is - Christian, Catholic."
* "Mosques breed terrorism, I'm sorry."
* "The city has had enough terrorism and everything else. We just don't want to take the chance, and they can't prove to us otherwise."
* "Why is a mosque coming here? [Are there] that many Muslims? It's just everything, and to unravel it, gee wiz, it's gonna take a miracle."
* "To me, they’re too closed. We don’t know them. It’s up to them to show us what and who they are. It’s very frightening." (More)


Media Matters, 6/22/10

From the June 21 broadcast of Radio America's The G. Gordon Liddy Show.


Janell Ross, The Tennessean, 6/19/10

Islam condemned

In April, Mijares walked into a Smyrna Kroger and saw something in The Rutherford Reader that really troubled him. The paper ran a column that said, "Islam is evil" and a "defiling" and "dehumanizing" religion. It also said "Muslim immigration should be halted." (More)


Scott Broden and Doug Davis, Gannett Tennessee, 6/21/10

MURFREESBORO -- Plans for a new Islamic center south of Murfreesboro have some residents denouncing the Muslim religion and others calling the dispute one of the ugliest displays of religious intolerance in the county's history.

Questions of whether the public was given adequate notice about the proposed mosque and community center off Bradyville Pike quickly turned into attacks on the Muslim faith during the public comment portion of Thursday's Rutherford County Commission meeting.

"Everybody knows they are trying to kill us," Karen Harrell said. "People are really concerned about this. Somebody has to stand up and take this country back." (More)


Los Angeles Times, 6/21/10

A national Muslim advocacy organization Monday criticized the actions of the FBI, saying agents unjustifiably questioned five Southern California Muslims last week.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the men were among a group detained last December by police in Henderson, Nev., after they stopped at a parking lot to pray during a road trip. The organization had filed a complaint with the Henderson Police Department at the time. (More)


Ken Ritter, Associated Press, 6/21/10

LAS VEGAS -- A Muslim advocacy group representative accused the FBI on Monday of wrongly questioning five Muslim men in the Los Angeles area about praying in a shopping center parking lot in southern Nevada six months ago. (More)


Free Speech Radio News, 6/18/10

The Obama Administration's expansion of the no-fly list is barring American citizens from returning to the country -- at times, leaving them in limbo in third party countries.

The FBI says it's necessary to keep air travel safe, especially after federal lapses in security over the failed bomb attempt at a Detroit-bound plane last Christmas and other recent incidents. Civil rights groups warn that the policy could violate constitutional protection and, in some cases, amount to rendition, when US citizens are sent to other countries to be interrogated.

Yusuf Wehelie is a 19-year old US citizen detained with his brother by the FBI in Egypt. Although he was eventually allowed to return home, US officials took away his brother Yahya's passport and have not allowed him entry into the US. Yusuf spoke to reporters about the situation earlier this week:

"A man wearing a suit soon entered and asked me some questions. When I asked him who he was, he claimed to be the CIA and said that I would not go home until I answered his questions and he put me in prison. He interrogated me for a short time, I then asked to use the restroom and I was taken to a small prison in the airport. I was kept there overnight. The next day, after only eating a small piece of bread, I was taken before an egyptian judge who allowed me to be released. But I wasn't released. Instead I was put into the back of an Egyptian police car, handcuffed, blindfolded and driven to what I believe to be the police ministry. I was there and I was placed in a corridor with other prisoners shackled to the wall."

For more on this issue, FSRN’s Dorian Merina spoke with Khadija Athman, she's the civil rights manager with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Omar Sacirbey, Religion News Service, 6/22/10

...Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Caner, Shoebat, Saleem and others like them belong to an "industry" that is often perpetuated by fundamentalist Christians. "The people that are doing this do it to make money, or get converts, or to get some personal benefit," Hooper said...

Despite the evidence against them, Hooper believes these people will continue to be welcomed by some institutions because they preach what some audiences want to hear.

"As long as you attack Islam and demonize Muslims, you're going to get a platform," he said. "It doesn't matter if your facts and background are wrong." (More)


ABC 7 News, 6/23/10

View the video.

The Illinois State Police have rescinded its offer to a prominent Muslim imam who was to be the department's first-ever Muslim chaplain.

In statement, the state police officials say the appointment of Sheikh Kifah Mustapha as a volunteer chaplain is "being denied" following a background investigation...

On Wednesday morning, the director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations will hold a news conference calling it shameful that the state police revoked Mustapha's chaplaincy. Other Muslim groups will announce they are suing the website operator. (More)


By John F. Sugg, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, Jan/Feb 1999

Emerson's willingness to push an extremely thin story--with potentially explosive consequences--is also consistent with the lengthy list of mistakes and distortions that mar his credentials as an expert on terrorism. (More)


Mara Gay, AOL News, 6/23/10

While a controversial ad campaign targeting Muslims is getting a cold shoulder in Detroit, its ads may soon be appearing on the side of Motown buses anyway.

A conservative legal group has asked a federal judge to force a Michigan bus company to run ads that offer support to Muslims who want to leave their religion, saying the ads are protected under the First Amendment.

"Fatwa on your head?" one of the slogans reads. "Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get answers!"

The "Leave Islam Safely" ad campaign is paid for by the Freedom Defense Initiative, an anti-jihadist group co-founded by Pamela Geller, a New York woman who is also working to stop a controversial mosque from being built near New York's ground zero.

The ads aren't new: They raised eyebrows when they ran earlier this year in New York. And in Miami, they were removed from buses after local Muslim leaders called them a "smoke screen for hatred," although a court ordered the ads reinstated...

Raheem Hanifa of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that kind of sentiment is offensive. "The ads presuppose that Muslims are violent and irrational. That's just not the case," he told AOL News. "This is just another instance of fear-mongering and hate-mongering." (More)


Backgrounder: Who's Behind the Anti-Islam Bus Campaign? - 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."] (More)


KLAS-TV, 6/23/10

View the video.

They are known in Islamic circles as the "Henderson 7". The group of young Muslim men gained notoriety after they were detained by Henderson Police last December. The men stopped in a convenience store parking lot to perform their sunset prayers. Someone called police...

Now, the FBI is getting involved. The agency questioned five of the Muslim men last Thursday. The Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR calls the FBI visit "outrageous". "The agents who visited them said they were following up on a lead involving Department of Defense manuals they say were located in the vehicle during the December stop," said CAIR staff attorney and Deputy Executive Director Ameena MirzaQazi. "We're extremely perplexed as to why FBI agents would ask them about these books." (More)


The Muslim Link, 6/18/10

On June 16, 2010 the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a press conference to discuss the barring of an American citizen, Northern Virginia youth Yahya Wehelie, from entering the United States. His brother, Yusuf Wehelie, was with him in Egypt and was also detained, but later was allowed to return home. Yusuf spoke at the press conference and described his ordeal:

"I was put in the back of an Egyptian police car, blindfolded and driven to what I believe to be the Police Ministry...I was kept in this location until May 11th, when I was permitted to leave. In order to leave they made me sign a paper in Arabic; I asked for a translation, but they refused to translate it." (More)



Ihsaan Gardee, The Globe and Mail, 6/23/810

Marcus Gee criticizes me for pointing out something he himself acknowledges in his piece, namely, that the crime of "honour" killings can unfortunately be found within various religious and cultural communities (Aqsa's Parents Give A Name To Her Murder: An Honour Killing – June 19).

As executive director of an organization whose mandate includes dispelling the myths and stereotypes surrounding Islam and Muslims, it is only logical that I would address this point.

Offering this clarification in no way contradicts our unequivocal condemnation of what happened to Asqa Parvez or in any way mitigates the horror we, or any decent human being, feel in the wake of such a crime.

In an address to constituents last Friday, CAIR-CAN released a statement that is clear in its condemnation of Aqsa Parvez's murder and acknowledges that community leaders must do more to protect women and ensure not only "honour" killings, but all manifestations of violence against women, are eradicated.

Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, CAIR-CAN (Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations)