Monday, September 27, 2010

BREAKING: NY Town Wants Muslims to Dig Up Cemetery (CAIR)
Action: Support 10/2 Workers Rights March in Washington, D.C.
CAIR-LA: Civil Rights Activists Give Voice to Muslim Community
Muslim Job Seekers Asked Opinion of NY Islamic Center
OH: Man Protesting Islamic Prayer Interrupts Dedication


CAIR: Disney Agrees to Allow Hijab for Ill. Muslim Intern

(ANAHEIM, CA, 9/27/10) -- The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) announced today that a Chicago Muslim woman employed as an intern at Disneyland in Anaheim will be allowed to wear an Islamic head scarf, or hijab, at work.

Following CAIR-LA's intervention, Disney was able to provide a clothing option that met the woman's religious requirements and that was within the company's vacation planning uniform guidelines.

CAIR-LA is now urging Disney to implement a corporate-wide policy that reflects an employee's legally-protected right to wear religious attire.

The Chicago Muslim was hired as a "vacation planner" following a phone interview through Disney's College Program. However, when she arrived in California for her training and orientation, she was asked by Disney representatives why she had not informed them of her head scarf.

She was then told she would have to take a different position with less guest interaction and would have to work in the stockroom until Disney could create a customized uniform for her in the different position. When she asked to be accommodated in the vacation planner position, she was told that a customized uniform would take approximately the length of time -- five months -- equal to the entire length of the Muslim woman's internship.

The Muslim intern stated to Disney that wearing hijab was her religious right and that not being able to work with customers would adversely impact her career goals and aspirations. She also told Disney that she had moved away from her family and paid for airfare and housing in Southern California with the understanding that she would be serving as an intern in vacation planning.

Within a week, Disney offered an accommodation for her in the vacation planner role.

"We are pleased that Disney found a way to fulfill the Muslim employee's religious accommodation request," said CAIR-LA Staff Attorney and Deputy Executive DirectorAmeena Qazi who also represented the Muslim intern. "This sends a message to prospective minority applicants and employees that they are a welcome and valuable addition to Disney's team."

Over the years, CAIR-LA and other CAIR offices have received complaints from Muslim women who haven't been allowed to hold front-stage jobs with Disney because of their hijab.

CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush last week sent a letter to Disney executives advocating a change in Disney's Look Policy, in keeping with the company's diversity initiatives, that will allow qualified Muslim women who wear the hijab to be recruited and retained as Disney employees.

Ayloush wrote in part:

"[This] case clearly demonstrates that accommodation of Muslim women's requests to wear the headscarf is possible in 'front-stage' positions or positions with significant guest interaction. . .I strongly urge Disney to institutionalize a process for Muslim women, or others who make similar religious accommodation requests, to be accommodated in these front-stage positions in a timely and good faith manner."

"As you may know, the greater Los Angeles area is home to the largest concentration of American Muslims in the United States, only a piece of the increasingly diverse tapestry of Southern California and of our country. I do not see how being reflective of that diversity through its employees conflicts with Disney's interests, when doing so will only enhance the good-will shown to its clientele."

Earlier this year, another Muslim woman urged that Disney permit her to wear the hijab in her position as hostess at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. That case is ongoing.

CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.

SEE ALSO: Muslims Report Rising Discrimination at Work (NY Times)

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.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Conn. Muslim Family Threatened Over Mosque - TOP
Proposed Mosque in Norwalk Draws Controversy
Kate King, Stamford Advocate, 9/25/10

NORWALK -- West Norwalk residents are protesting construction of the town's first official mosque, which they say will create neighborhood parking and traffic problems. . .

On Aug. 25, the owner of the house where the congregation is practicing received a phone call threatening him and his family. Local officers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation responded to the incident, Norwalk police confirmed. (More)


Standoff Suspect's Call was to Ballwin Muslim - TOP
Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post Dispatch, 9/26/10

"I'm going to burn a copy of the Quran," an angry, intense voice said. "Watch the news. It'll be on all three channels. You will hear about it." (More)


Map of Controversies Over American Mosques - TOP
Pew Forum, 9/24/10

This map shows the locations of 35 proposed mosques and Islamic centers that have encountered community resistance in the last two years. (More)


SQ 755 Ban Raises Questions, Concerns - TOP
Trevor Brown, Norman Transcript, 9/25/10

Religious groups and some lawmakers claim xenophobia is at the root of State Question 755, which would amend the state Constitution to forbid courts from considering international or Islamic Sharia law in making decisions. (More)


Religion, Prejudice and 9-11- TOP
Jack Betts, Charlotte Observer, 9/26/10

And as the News & Observer reported the other day, the mosques Ellmers' ad cited were not "victory mosques." Notions that Muslims built mosques to celebrate those victories "are sheer flights of fancy with no historical testimony to support it," Duke University associate professor of Islamic studies Ebrahim Moosa said.

The Dome of the Rock was built 50 years after Muslims captured Jerusalem as a shrine where pilgrims could visit the site where, they believe, the Prophet Muhammad ascended to accept a message from God, the newspaper reported. The building cited in Cordoba was constructed 73 years after Muslims toppled that city. The building is now a cathedral. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul was built more than 150 years after Constantinople fell. (More)


Join the One Nation March Oct. 2 in D.C. - TOP
One Nation Working Together

What is the One Nation March?

On Saturday, October 2, 2010, hundreds of thousands of people from across America will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate our re-commitment to change. The One Nation March will feature human and civil rights leaders, labor leaders, environmental and peace activists, faith leaders, celebrities and sports figures – all marching together to help Put America Back to Work and to Pull America Back Together. And to help reorder our national priorities so that investments in people come first.

When is the March?

Saturday, October 2, 2010. Our official program will begin at 12:00 pm and end at 4:00 pm. The event site will open for our guests at 6:00 am, and our pre-program will kick off at 11 am. We anticipate tens of thousands of people from across the country for this march. Please plan on arriving in the morning to allow sufficient time to get to the Lincoln Memorial.

Where is the March?

The March takes place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial located on the National Mallin Washington D.C.


U.S. Muslim Leader Defends 'Draw Muhammad' Cartoonist - TOP
Michael Cavna, Washington Post, 9/24/10

This week, The American Muslim published a petition to support such cartoonists as "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" illustrator Molly Norris and "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The petition, titled "A Defense of Free Speech by American and Canadian Muslims," says:

"We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.". . .

One of the petition's signees is Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is one of the nation's largest Muslim civil-liberties advocacy groups. Bukhari, who this year has come to know Norris personally, spoke to Comic Riffs about the new petition.

"What we are doing locally is talking to Muslim community leaders," says Bukhari, 30, who is Muslim. "We have no tolerance for joking that may be seen a threat to [Norris]. We are telling leaders: If they receive a threat that even seems to be joking, it should be reported." (More)


Bay Area Arabs and South Asians Call for an End to Discrimination - TOP
Suzanne Manneh, New America Media, 9/26/10

Attorneys from the ACLU, Asian Law Caucus, and Council on American Islamic Relations testified that their clients have been questioned and visited frequently by FBI agents at their homes and workplaces because of such “acts as simply donating to their local mosques,” according to Veena Dubal, an attorney with the Asian Law Caucus. (More)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

By Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, 9/23/10

At a time of growing tensions involving Muslims in the United States, a record number of Muslim workers are complaining of employment discrimination, from co-workers calling them "terrorist" or "Osama" to employers barring them from wearing head scarves or taking prayer breaks.

Such complaints were increasing even before frictions erupted over the planned Islamic center in Lower Manhattan, with Muslim workers filing a record 803 such claims in the year ended Sept. 30, 2009. That was up 20 percent from the previous year and up nearly 60 percent from 2005, according to federal data.

The number of complaints filed since then will not be announced until January, but Islamic groups say they have received a surge in complaints recently, suggesting that 2010’s figure will set another record.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found enough merit in some of the complaints that it has filed several prominent lawsuits on behalf of Muslim workers. (More)


Kevin Killeen, KMOX, 9/23/10

The FBI is investigating an act of vandalism against a south St. Louis mosque, amid rising rhetoric against Muslims.
Two FBI agents took photographs and interviewed members of the Masjid Qooba at 1925 Allen, after someone spray painted the side of the building with a pentagram and the words "worship Satan."

Mosque member Tim Kaminski says it’s no accident.

"We know it’s directed at us, "Kaminski said, "because they know we’re a house of worship, a house of prayer.". . .

Meanwhile, an attorney for the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relationsbelieves the graffiti attack is part of a pattern of escalating rhetoric against Muslims.

Jim Hacking cites this summer’s tension over the New York City Mosque, the Florida pastor threatening to burn the Koran, and this week’s Fairview Heights, Illinois standoff with the man accused of threatening Muslims.

"Nationally on things like FOX News, you have people like Newt Gingrich comparing Muslims to Nazis," Hacking said, "Just really negative, stereotypical hatred that’s been spewing out, and it’s really at it’s worse level, even worse than after 911." (More)


ROBERT PATRICK, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/23/10

A man who held federal agents at bay with fake explosives wanted to start a war between Christians and Muslims and kill President Barack Obama, according to charges filed against him Wednesday. (More)


Federal suit alleges school offered no protection while siblings were being harassed
TONI SCOTT, Chicoer, 9/23/10

SACRAMENTO — A Willows Muslim family that garnered national attention on the Dr. Phil Show has now filed a lawsuit against the Willows Unified School District, claiming district officials did nothing to stop the harassment inflicted on the four former Willows High School students.

Chico lawyer Larry Baumbach filed a motion for a jury trial in federal Eastern District of California Court in Sacramento late last week, charging the school district failed to uphold the civil rights of Luz, Mohammad, Salam and Shawki Al-Rifai.

The complaint alleges the 18-year-old quadruplets were subjected to years of "severe, pervasive, verbal and physical harassment" while attending Willows High School, with the actions "tacitly encouraged" by the district, Superintendent Steven Olmos and Willows High Assistant Principal Jerry Smith. (More)



(CINCINNATI, 9/23/10) –- On Saturday, September 18, the Cincinnati chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations-Ohio (CAIR-Cincinnati) presented a Media Training Workshop. The workshop, which was held at the Islamic Association of Cincinnati, was attended by a dozen members of the Cincinnati area Muslim community.

The workshop covered the basics of media relations such how to write a letter to the editor and how do a media interview.

"It is very important for community members to understand how to work with media professionals to offer accurate and balanced information about Islam and Muslims," said CAIR-Cincinnati Executive Director Karen Dabdoub, who presented the workshop.

Groups and organizations in the Muslim community that want to host a workshop should contact the CAIR-Cincinnati office at 513-281-8200.

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: Karen Dabdoub, 513-281-8200, E-Mail:; Roula Allouch, E-Mail:


By Kari Huss, MSN, 9/23/10

It appeared that Texas had finished battling over textbooks - with social conservatives winning a clear victory in May - but the Texas State Board of Education is taking up another explosive curriculum question: Are Texan youth being fed a sugar-coated version of Islam while Christianity is unfairly taken to task for its sins?

At a three-day meeting that started Wednesday, the board is scheduled to consider a resolution that would require it to reject textbooks that it determines are tainted with teaching "pro-Islamic, anti-Christian half-truths and selective disinformation," a bias that it argues is reflected in current schoolbooks...

From Ahmed Rehab’s point of view, American culture — including textbooks — routinely vilifies Islam and focuses unduly on the militaristic aspects of the religion.

"Islam has a wealthy history that goes beyond the battles, in the arts and cultures and sciences," said Rehab, spokesman for the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR). "There’s this strange attempt to portray anything Islamic as uniquely bad.

"When someone comes along and then speaks the truth, or basically renders an accurate account of reality, then (readers) are shocked and confused because it goes against everything they have heard, therefore it must be a lie. It’s what I call willful ignorance."

By April Castro, Associated Press, 9/24/10

Social conservatives are seeking to curtail references to Islam in Texas textbooks, warning of what they describe as a creeping Middle Eastern influence in the nation's publishing industry. . .

"It's just more of the same Islamaphobic, xenophobic attitude we've been seeing around the country," said Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of the Council of American Islamic Relations of Texas. "It's not like Muslims are not part of the country. This kind of attitude is not healthy, it's not even American." (More)


By Omar Sacirbey, Religion News Service, 9/23/10

A few bullet holes may be the difference between a burnt Quran left at a mosque in Knoxville, Tenn., and one left at a mosque in East Lansing, Mich.

On Tuesday, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings said the man who allegedly left a burnt Quran outside the Islamic Center of Lansing on Sept. 11 would not face charges because the act doesn't fall under Michigan's criminal code. . .

The Michigan chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations has called on federal law enforcement officials to consider bringing federal hate crime charges in the East Lansing case against the alleged perpetrator, who turned himself in on Sept. 15 after police announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

"If the KKK burns a cross on private property, that's legal. But if they burn a cross at an African-American church, that's a hate crime," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman at CAIR's Washington headquarters.

"It's the same with a Quran. If you burn a Quran in your backyard or in your church, that's free speech. But if you leave a burnt Quran at the entrance of mosque, you're trying to scare people." (More)


The Daily Telegram, 9/24/10

. . .Fortunately, some of that is happening after Seattle Weekly cartoonist Molly Norris was forced to change her name and go into hiding at the advice of the FBI. Norris was put on an execution list by U.S.-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in July after Norris suggested a controversial “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day!” (Muslims generally believe that depicting any prophet is blasphemous.)

While Norris’ suggestion touched off street riots in Pakistan, the head of the Seattle chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the group “has a no-tolerance policy for threats of violence.” That group’s actions deserve praise. Hopefully, others will continue to visibly make the point that violence is unacceptable as an approach to religious differences. (More)


ABC News, 9/24/10

View the video.



Sharif El-Gamal, the main developer of the Park51 project in lower Manhattan, will speak at CAIR's 16th annual banquet on Saturday, October 9 in Arlington, Va. A recent summit of national Muslim leaders expressed strong support for Park 51 project.

SEE: Muslim Groups Back Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

Register today to hear from the man at the center of the manufactured controversy that has sparked an anti-Muslim backlash nationwide.


CAIR is also holding an intensive day-long critical leadership skills training conference on the same day as the banquet.

The conference will include training sessions for public speaking, on-camera interviews, using social media, political engagement, challenging Islamophobia and knowing your legal rights with law enforcement agencies.

You can find details, including session descriptions, at:

To make a reservation over the phone or to reserve an entire table for eight people, call202-742-6454, or you can e-mail

Thursday, September 23, 2010


(NEW YORK, NY, 9/20/2010) –- A number of local and national American Muslim leaders today issued a call for "A Week of Dialogue" in October to combat bigotry and promote understanding and religious tolerance in civil society.

The call follows a summit of Muslim leaders in New York City held on Sunday, September 19, to discuss concerns stemming from opposition to the building of the Park51 community center in lower Manhattan and to mosques elsewhere in the country, as well as concerns about the rising level of anti-Muslim bigotry in American society.

In a joint statement released today, the Muslim summit participants said:

"We stand for the constitutional right of Muslims, and Americans of all faiths, to build houses of worship anywhere in our nation as allowed by local laws and regulations.

"Also, we stand against the racism, hatred, religious intolerance and ethnic bigotry, directed at Islam and American Muslims.

"We call upon local and national elected officials to join their colleagues in denouncing and rejecting inflammatory rhetoric that endangers the lives of Muslim Americans.

"Further, we call for a nationwide "Week of Dialogue" around October 22, 23 and 24, during which Muslim leaders will conduct open houses at their places of worship. It is our hope and desire that these events will help to allay tensions in civil society caused by the Park51 controversy and will build bridges of understanding that unite and strengthen our nation."


Imam Al-Amin A. Latif, The Majlis Ash-Shura of NY; Imam Muhammad Majid; Vice President Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); Dr. Zahid Bukhari, President, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); Dr. Ahmed Elbendary, President, Muslim American Society (MAS); Mr. Nihad Awad, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Ameer, Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA); Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Chairman, The Fiqh Council of North America; Imam Al-Tayyab Abuel Yamaan, Chairman, North American Imams Federation; Imam Mahdi Bray; Executive Director, MAS Justice & Peace Foundation; Imam Asim A. Rashid, Amir of Majlis Philadelphia; Mr. Haris Tarin, Director, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Mr. M. Salim Akhtar, Executive Director, American Muslim Taskforce (AMT); Ms. Aisha Al-Adawiya, Founder & Exec. Director, Muslim Women in Islam, Inc.; Mr. Muhammad Nasir, Executive Director, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago; Mr. Abdul-Malik Mujahid, Chairman, The Parliament of World Religions

PRESS CONTACT: Zaheer Uddin, Executive Director Majlis Ash-Shura of New York, 718-848-8952 (o); 917-608-7637 (c)


By Nicolas D. Kristof, New York Times, 9/19/2010

Many Americans have suggested that more moderate Muslims should stand up to extremists, speak out for tolerance, and apologize for sins committed by their brethren.

That's reasonable advice, and as a moderate myself, I'm going to take it. (Throat clearing.) I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.

I'm inspired by another journalistic apology. The Portland Press Herald in Maine published an innocuous front-page article and photo a week ago about 3,000 local Muslims praying together to mark the end of Ramadan. Readers were upset, because publication coincided with the ninth anniversary of 9/11, and they deluged the paper with protests.

So the newspaper published a groveling front-page apology for being too respectful of Muslims. "We sincerely apologize," wrote the editor and publisher, Richard Connor, and he added: "we erred by at least not offering balance to the story and its prominent position on the front page." As a blog by James Poniewozik of Time paraphrased it: "Sorry for Portraying Muslims as Human."

I called Mr. Connor, and he seems like a nice guy. Surely his front page isn't reserved for stories about Bad Muslims, with articles about Good Muslims going inside. Must coverage of law-abiding Muslims be "balanced" by a discussion of Muslim terrorists?

Ah, balance — who can be against that? But should reporting of Pope Benedict's trip to Britain be "balanced" by a discussion of Catholic terrorists in Ireland? And what about journalism itself? (More)


By Jordy Yager, The Hill, 9/19/10

After a scorching summer consumed with controversy over issues centering on Islam spilling into the political arena, the topic has quickly turned to political dynamite and threatens to derail midterm campaigns if politicians dare touch it.

The debate has focused around a Manhattan Islamic center – including a mosque – located two blocks from Ground Zero and numerous threats -- some carried out -- to burn or rip pages out of copies of the Muslim holy book the Quran. The political nature of the storm escalated to such heights that nearly every public figure weighed in on one side or another...

Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), worries that the anti-Islamic tones that became pronounced during the debate would continue until a public outcry was heard by the public figures.

"Obviously a number of right-wing politicians think bashing Muslims is a winning political strategy," said Hooper. "It'll continue to play a role as long as these politicians perceive it to be a winning strategy.

"If it's clear that the American voters are rejecting Islamophobia and Muslim-bashing, then it'll change." (More)


By Aaron Claverie, The Californian, 9/17/10

Local authors critical of Islam and a pastor from a church in Simi Valley will speak at a lecture Monday that organizers say will attempt to explain why residents should oppose plans for a mosque in Temecula's Nicolas Valley, a rural community in the northwest corner of the city.

The mosque is being proposed by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, which serves a group of about 150 Muslim families in the area who have been saving money for years to bankroll the project. The plans could go before the Planning Commission in mid-November if a traffic study is completed on time...

Bakh is scheduled to be joined Monday by James Horn, author of a book about Islamic influence in U.S. government, and Kevin Diekilman, a pastor at Simi Hills Christian Church in Simi Valley. Diekilman, who identified himself as a nondenominational Christian, is scheduled to talk about, what he called, the "Christian" perspective on Islam.

"What is it that Islam wants from us?" he said.

The imam of the Islamic Center, Mahmoud Harmoush, has said that if people want to learn about Islam, they should go to the source material.

"The Christian response or definition of Islam will not help if they don't take it from the sources of the religion: the Quran and the Sunnah, teaching of the prophet Muhammad. Otherwise, it will be their definition, like any other group definition," he wrote in an e-mail to The Californian. (More)


By Brent Begin, The Examiner, 9/18/10

Police are investigating the discovery of a burnt Quran outside a Tenderloin mosque.

Workers discovered the charred holy book on Sept. 12 inside an emptied trash bin that was on the sidewalk outside the Islamic Society of San Francisco, according to the center's administrator, Khaled Olaibah.

The Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is condemning the act as a hate crime and notified San Francisco police Tuesday after Olaibah contacted the group.

Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza confirmed that police are investigating the incident but did not release any further information...

Burnings of the Muslim holy book have been reported across the nation around the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. A Florida pastor's call to burn Qurans led to international outrage, and the planned construction of an Islamic center near the former World Trade Center set off a fury of protest.

But this is the first incident to occur in the perceived tolerance of San Francisco and the Bay Area, according to outreach director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Zahra Billoo. (More)


Bay City News, 9/18/10

... "This is so un-American, and so un-Bay Area-like," said Zahra Billo, programs and outreach director of the Bay Area chapter of CAIR. "It's the last thing you'd expect here."

She said recent events, such as protests over the proposed Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site, and a plan, later scrapped, by a Florida pastor to burn copies of the Quran, have put many members of the Muslim community on edge.

"They think it's almost worse now than right after 9/11," Billo said.

She said CAIR is asking the Muslim community to be vigilant about other possible hate crimes, and for "interfaith communities and people of conscience to be supportive of our community." (More)


The Associated Press, 9/19/10

The preacher from Gainesville who ignited a firestorm of criticism over his plan to torch 200 copies of the Quran says he wants to move his church to the Tampa Bay area by the end of the year, NBC affiliate WFLA reported...

Ramzy Kilic, communications director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told WFLA that if Jones does move to the Tampa Bay area, he hopes the preacher will show tolerance. (More)


By Omar Sacirbey, The Oklahoman, 9/18/10

The crowd-control barriers and TV satellite trucks are gone after a Florida pastor called off a bonfire to burn 200 Qurans. But American Muslims say the political firestorm in Gainesville was more than a momentary flare-up.

The incident laid bare the wildly different perceptions of Islam's sacred text between Americans — or at least some of them — and rank-and-file Muslims, not to mention the differing responses among Muslims here and abroad.

But perhaps most troubling, Muslim leaders say the sacrilege of burning a holy text is less dangerous than the hatred or misunderstanding that motivated it, even after nine years of concerted outreach following the 9/11 attacks...

the U.S., many Muslim leaders tried to ignore the threats, not wanting to give Jones additional attention. Others tried to intervene, including Imam Muhammad Musri of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, who showed up at Jones' office unannounced to try to broker a cease-fire.

"Instead of protesting the Quran burnings — and playing into the hands of extremist publicity-seekers like Pastor Jones — American Muslims and Muslims around the world should ... reach out to people of other faiths and beliefs to build bridges of respect and understanding," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (More)


By Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, 9/18/10

he case of the Seattle cartoonist who used to be named Molly Norris makes me wonder: Shouldn't we be sturdier than this?

Last week Norris made worldwide news, when it was announced she was "going ghost" because she had been put on an Islamic terror hit list...

One of her biggest defenders turns out to be the director of the local chapter of a Muslim rights group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It's all a misunderstanding, he says, a sign of the inflamed times.

"She drew cute pictures of tea cups and spools of thread, asking, 'Am I Mohammed?'" says Arsalan Bukhari. "The idea of the 'Draw Mohammed Day' was insensitive, and she apologized for that. But she wasn't the founder of any anti-Muslim movement."

The two went to dinner after Norris apologized, and they became friends.

Bukhari says the real threat isn't in Yemen. It's that someone here will be incited by the terrorist in Yemen. The way to combat infectious radicalism, especially when it's based on a false premise, is to be strong, publicly, against it. While not marginalizing an entire faith.

"It's essential that we stand by her side, as a community, Muslims along with everyone else," Bukhari said. "We should stand up to people who make these kinds of threats, not look the other way." (More)


Star-Telegram, 9/19/10

Members of the Texas State Board of Education must be craving attention.

The uproar they caused over social-studies curriculum standards has barely died down and now they're considering warning textbook publishers not to give Islam more lines of type than Christianity.

And if the board approves a resolution on their meeting agenda later this week, members will have given enormous influence to a former board candidate who couldn't even win a Republican primary.

The claims by failed candidate Randy Rives of Odessa that "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias" has tainted Texas world history textbooks are based on a false premise. And his concerns focus on books that aren't even being used in Texas classrooms.

Still, it's possible the board will uncritically accept as fact his assertions about "gross pro-Islamic/anti-Christian distortions in world history texts."

The resolution before the board is almost verbatim what Rives presented during public comment at a July meeting. It states that the board will reject books that "offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and/or by demonizing or lionizing one of more of them."

The resolution even parrots Rives' incendiary and misleading warning that "more such discriminatory treatment" could occur "as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly."

Certainly, Texas schools should be presenting students with the most accurate, complete, balanced and age-appropriate information possible. And care is particularly needed with subjects that are most likely to be sensitive, complex and nuanced. (More)


WILLIAM GRIMES, New York Times, 9/20/10

Fathi Osman, an influential scholar who articulated a liberal version of Islam and published an authoritative guide to the Koran for non-Arabic readers, died on Sept. 11 at his home in Montrose, Calif. He was 82. (More)