RESERVE YOUR SEATS AT CAIR'S 16TH ANNUAL BANQUET - TOP
For more information or if you would like to volunteer to help organize the banquet, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR: ADL MOSQUE COALITION A 'PR STUNT' - TOP
The Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman is joining forces with Southern Baptist Convention leader Richard Land and other faith leaders to form a coalition that will defend the right of Muslims to build mosques in their communities.
Paradoxically, both faith leaders have taken highly visible stands opposing mosque construction in the best known such battle to date: the planned Islamic center two blocks away from Ground Zero. They've argued that the location is insensitive because the 9/11 attackers were extremist Muslims, and a house of Islamic worship would be hurtful to the family members of victims.
But Muslim advocates have pointed to a growing number of attacks on mosques far from the site of Ground Zero as worrisome evidence of growing anti-Islamic sentiment unrelated to the location of the 9/11 attacks...
Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said he thinks the coalition is the ADL's "PR stunt" to deflect criticism from its stance on Park51. He said the coalition hadn't reached out to his group, which claims to be the largest Muslim advocacy group in America, as a potential partner.
The ADL has not yet returned a request for comment on possible outreach efforts involving more Muslim leaders and groups. (More)
CAIR: HARVARD'S MARTY PERETZ PROBLEM - TOP
The longtime New Republic editor ignited a flame war by denouncing Muslim life as "cheap." Now he's off to Harvard to be honored. Benjamin Sarlin on the controversy heading toward campus.
Martin Peretz, the owner and longtime editor in chief of The New Republic, is no stranger to fights over Middle East politics. His far-right views on Israeli politics and the Arab world have turned him into a constant target for progressive critics. And the pugnacious Peretz has been all too happy to fire right back.
But Peretz's latest salvo -- a blog post branding Muslim life "cheap" -- ignited a firestorm that won't be easy to extinguish. And as he heads to Harvard next week to be feted for his work as a professor and donor, he's bringing the controversy to campus -- drawing condemnation from the Muslim advocacy group CAIR, and a response from Cambridge.
In the article in question, Peretz criticized a New York Times editorial for defending Muslim-Americans against prejudice during the debate over whether to build an Islamic community center blocks from ground zero...
Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that Harvard should have to answer for Peretz's comments.
"We're not calling on Harvard to reject the invite. However, we have one simple question for Harvard that we'd like to pose publicly," Rehab told The Daily Beast. "That is, simply: Would they invite a speaker who writes that 'Jewish life is cheap, especially for Jews' and/or that we should ban First Amendment rights for Irish Americans or African Americans or any other group?"
In inviting Peretz, said Rehab, "Harvard seems to be confirming that Islamophobia is the last accepted form of bigotry." (More)
THREATS PROMPT HEIGHTENED SECURITY AT NORTH ARLINGTON MOSQUE - TOP
Arlington police confirm they are stepping up patrols around the Dar El Salam Islamic Center after at least one incident where a threatening note was left.
The mosque president and a spokesman for the Islamic community in Tarrant County said at least three recent incidents are raising concerns, including the note that was left at the mosque on September 11.
News 8 was told that another note was left the previous day at a home next door to the Islamic center. Someone apparently mistakenly thought the residence was connected to the mosque.
The representative for the Islamic association said both notes basically said something to similar to "die terrorists." (More)
HATE MAIL FOLLOWS BURNT QURAN AT LOCAL MOSQUE - TOP
The weekend discovery of a partially-burnt Quran outside a Chicago mosque was followed yesterday by the discovery of hate mail. That's according to leaders of the Muslim Community Center on the city's North Side.
MCC Board member Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin says the author of the letter signed off as "The Catholic Man." Kaiseruddin doesn't know if it was left by the same person that deposited the burnt Quran outside the Mosque's north entrance.
"In the letter he says 'I have decided a long time ago to burn the unholy Quran,'" Kaiseruddin read.
The letter was found in the same place as the desecrated Quran.
MCC leaders have turned over both items to the police.
The MCC has historically enjoyed good relations with its city neighbors. But Kaiseruddin says a recent controversy over a proposed Quran burning in Florida may have inspired local copycats. (More)
POLL: MOST KNOW THOSE WITH ANTI-MUSLIM FEELING - TOP
CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.
A majority of Americans say they know people who have negative feelings toward Muslims because of the September 11 terrorist attacks, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds.
Fifty-five percent say they know someone who has negative feelings toward Muslims tied to the attacks, while roughly one in five say they themselves have such feelings. Forty percent say they don't know anyone with such feelings, and three in four say they don't personally harbor them.
Seventy-one percent, meanwhile, say that it is at least somewhat likely that Arab Americans, Muslims, and immigrants from the Middle East are being discriminated against in America.
Thirty-four percent say it is very likely such discrimination is occurring, while 37 percent call it somewhat likely; one in four say it is not very or not at all likely.
Perceptions are actually improved from 2006, when 85 percent said such discrimination was at least somewhat likely, and from just after the terrorist attacks, when 90 percent saw it as likely.
Men, people who live in the South and those between 45 and 64 are slightly more likely to say they have anti-Muslim sentiments than other Americans. Republicans are four times as likely as Democrats and twice as likely as independents to report such feelings. (More)
CAIR-MI: COMMUNITY RAISES CONCERNS OVER ISRAELI MOSSAD POSING AS U.S. AGENTS TO RECRUIT INFORMANTS - TOP
The issue of FBI informants in mosques has been a hot-button topic in recent years for the Arab American and Muslim communities, and now, according to a recent report in the Washington Post, the subject of informant recruiting could take on yet another dimension in what officials of prominent civil rights groups are calling an issue of "grave concern."
Washington Post writer Jeff Stein recently alleged that "Israeli agents have become more aggressive in targeting Muslims living in the United States as well as operating against critics" according to information received from former CIA officer Phillip Giraldi...
While Michigan was not named in the report, Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid believes it is a strong possibility.
"We don't have any proof that Israeli intelligence is here, however, it is safe to say that based upon the demographics they've targeted that they probably have been involved in similar activities in Detroit," he said.
"This is a very serious situation and according to CIA agents themselves, they're very troubled by the activities of Israeli intelligence within American cities."
Walid pointed out that the practice is illegal under international law and called the practice unacceptable for any country.
"As an example, it would be equally unacceptable for Iranian intelligence to try to recruit spies or send spies inside of synagogues in America, it's the same principle." (More)
CAIR-MI: HATE CRIMES, DISCRIMINATION CASES HAVE NEW FOE - TOP
There's a new civil rights watchdog group in Detroit, formed to help handle some of the most contentious and sensitive areas of law: hate crimes and discrimination lawsuits.
The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it has created a civil rights unit for metro Detroit, to be headed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Levy. The unit, comprised of four attorneys and a paralegal, will investigate and prosecute cases involving hate crimes, police misconduct, housing and employment discrimination and disability claims, among others.
The new group comes as good news to the Council on American Islamic Relations, which has sued three police departments over access to information related to the 2009 killing of a Detroit mosque leader, who died during a shootout with the FBI.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan CAIR chapter. (More)
CAIR-WA: CARTOONIST DROPS HER WORK OVER FATWA THREAT - TOP
The editor of "The Seattle Weekly" reports in the paper's latest edition that cartoonist Molly Norris, acting on FBI advice, is dropping her weekly cartooning for the publication. She is also going to stop her regular cartoons for "City Arts."
It's the latest development stemming from the sadly vicious reaction to Norris's advocacy for freedom of expression. The FBI has been concerned for Norris's safety since Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic cleric in Yemen, declared her a worthy target of execution by his followers for her facetious declaration of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"...
As Crosscut's Pete Jackson recently reported, Norris has become friends with local Islamic leaders. Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Seattle chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Jackson, "CAIR has a no tolerance policy for threats of violence." Norris recently wrote a Crosscut book review of "Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam" by scholar Akbar Ahmed. (More)
BACHMANN CALLED ON TO DENOUNCE ANTI-MUSLIM VALUES VOTER SUMMIT SPEAKER -TOP
People for the American Way called on speakers at this coming weekend's Values Voter Summit to denounce inflammatory statements made by the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer about U.S. service members, gays, Muslims and Hispanics. The AFA is a sponsor of this weekend's summit, which features Fischer as well as prominent conservatives including Rep. Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.
"By sharing a stage with Fischer, public figures like Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, Bob McDonnell, and Michele Bachmann don't necessarily endorse Fischer's shameless anti-Muslim and anti-gay propaganda--but they do acknowledge its credibility," said Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way.
Fischer's statements include assertions that Muslims are less intelligent and more violent because of "inbreeding," that Muslims should be banned from serving in the military, and that "homosexuals should be disqualified from public office."
Keegan continued, "Any candidate thinking seriously of running for president in 2012 should think twice about standing alongside a man who has called for the deportation of all Muslims in America; insulted Muslim service members; claimed that brave Americans died in vain because Iraq was not converted to Christianity; and called gay people deviants, felons, pedophiles, and terrorists. Bryan Fischer is no mainstream conservative." (More)
REP. KEITH ELLISON TALKS ABOUT BEATING THE "ANTI-ISLAM INDUSTRY" - TOP
At a recent press conference, President Obama responded to a question about growing suspicion of Islam, saying, "We don't differentiate between us and them. It's just us." Unfortunately, this is not the reality that many Muslims here and around the world are experiencing. Nonetheless, Obama's remarks point to an empirical fact: Millions of Muslims call the United States their home. Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison is one of them.
Ellison, elected in 2006, was the first Muslim to hold congressional office (Andre Carson, a congress member from Indiana, made it two in 2008). He's also a politician with significant progressive credentials who speaks with unusual forthrightness about the need for racial equity in policy making. ColorLines spoke this week with Ellison about the recent demonization of Muslims in America, the resulting uptick in violence and the politics of anger that have become definitive of this year's midterm elections.
Commenting on the controversy surrounding the Park 51 Islamic cultural center in downtown Manhattan, NYC Mayor Bloomberg recently said, "This whole issue, I think, will go away right after the next election." Do you think that these attacks are going to go away after elections?
I do think it'll die down but I don't think it will go away.
Because the people who are struck by fear and who are creating a climate of fear with the thought of this Islamic center are not going away. Yes, it's going to have a tougher time catching the public mind and it is going to have a tougher time getting any news. But you have to understand that there are some people who make their living trying to say, "The Muslims are coming, the Muslims are coming." It's important to bear in mind that these folks are not going to stop and pack it in just because the elections are over... They are just going to find something else to make a big deal about. (More)