CAIR-MN ASKS DELTA TO PROBE 'PROFILING' OF MUSLIM PASSENGERS - TOP
(ST. PAUL, MN, 10/29/10) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on Delta Airlines to investigate recent allegations of religious profiling of Muslim passengers.
CAIR-MN is calling on Delta to review its policies on what constitutes suspicious behavior and to conduct trainings to help staff avoid profiling of passengers.
In one incident reported to CAIR-MN, four Muslim men were escorted off a Delta flight when it landed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last month. A flight attendant had reported suspicious behavior after one of the men dropped a pen while filling out a customs form and bent down to pick it up.
In another incident, a Pinnacle Airlines commuter plane operated by Delta made an emergency landing in Fort Knox, N.D., after a flight attendant raised concerns about a smoke detector in a lavatory used by a University of North Dakota Muslim student from Saudi Arabia. The student and two other Muslim students he was traveling with were detained and questioned by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents and the local FBI for five hours, while the rest of the passengers were bused to their destination.
On Tuesday, a Muslim family in Tennessee was removed from a Delta flight operated by Comair at the Memphis International Airport. According to a Comair spokesperson, the "crew became concerned when a passenger exited the lavatory after an extended period of time and damage was found in the lavatory." Investigators found nothing wrong with the lavatory.
"Wearing 'Muslim clothing,' using the restroom or picking up a dropped pen seem to have become pretexts for religious and ethnic profiling," said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam. "We believe these incidents are based on stereotyping that targets Muslim passengers and those perceived to be Muslim."
Ms. Islam cited remarks by former NPR analyst Juan Williams that seemed to legitimize profiling Muslim passengers. NPR terminated Williams' contract after he said, "[I]f I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous." Ms. Islam noted that none of the terrorists in past incidents on airplanes wore "Muslim garb."
In 2006, six imams, or Islamic religious leaders, filed a lawsuit against US Airways after they were removed from a flight in Minneapolis based on their race and religion. The imams and the air carrier settled out of court last year.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties group. 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-MN Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam, Esq., 651-587-4712, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-MN Assistant Civil Rights Director Zahra Aljabri, Esq., 651-645-7102, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-MN President Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR-CT TO HOST DAY-LONG EDUCATIONAL EVENT ON CIVIL RIGHTS - TOP
(HARTFORD, CT, 10/29/10) -- On Saturday, October 30, the Connecticut office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CT) will host an day-long educational event focusing on educating the public about the importance of preserving civil rights and civil liberties without compromising national security.
WHAT: Defending Civil Rights & Civil Liberties WHEN: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., October 30, 2010 WHERE: Marcus White Hall at Central Connecticut State University. CONTACT: CAIR-CT Executive Director Mongi Dhaouadi, 860-514-8038, E-Mail: email@example.com
During this event, experts will highlight a number of topics ranging from the history of the civil rights movement to the FBI's use of agent provocateurs and informants in Muslim communities. Speakers will also discuss recent nationwide FBI raids on peace activists homes and offices outline legislation at both the national and local levels dealing with racial and religious profiling.
Corey Saylor CAIR-National Government Relations Director
Stephen F. Downs Project Salam
Stephan Salisbury Philadelphia Inquirer and Author of "Mohamed's Ghosts"
Sara Martin Target of the latest FBI raids in Chicago
Ryan Mahoney Board member of CAIR-NY
Luis E. Cotto Minority leader at the Hartford City Council
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-CT Executive Director Mongi Dhaouadi, 860-514-8038, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AMERICAN MUSLIMS LOOK TO EXERCISE THEIR VOTE IN MIDTERM ELECTIONS - TOP By M. Scott Bortot, America.gov, 10/28/10
Washington — Discussions over Islam's place in America ahead of national midterm elections are prompting American Muslims to make their voices heard through voting.
Muhammed Malik, a South Florida Muslim community advocate, said debate over the Park51 Community Center in Manhattan, the rescinded threat to burn Qurans in Florida, and Muslim fears of racial profiling have created a positive moment in American history.
"When you look at it historically, we are really stepping up to the plate, I think, in very positive, peaceful ways that are really joining that great American tradition of becoming the fabric of this country," Malik said. "Once you get politically engaged, we become what people think of what it means to be an American."
The Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) are acquainting American Muslims with the voting process. CAIR has released voting guides for 23 states that explain when polls open, how to register to vote, what identification is needed and voters' rights. (More)
Today I share my opinion about commentator Juan Williams - his statements on the Fox News Network and subsequent dismissal by National Public Radio-as well as my thoughts on the Council on American-Islamic Relations, NPR in general, conservatives who've adopted Williams as a poster boy and rabid congressional members who have found another reason to attack public broadcasting. ...
During an Oct. 18 appearance on Bill O'Reilly's program, in which the host was discussing his own criticized remarks about Muslims, Williams said:
"I mean, look Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
Responding on behalf of CAIR, Awad said, "Such irresponsible and inflammatory comments would not be tolerated if they targeted any other racial, ethnic or religious minority, and they should not pass without action by NPR."
On Oct. 21, NPR released a statement saying it had terminated Williams' contract. That news ignited a firestorm of criticism against NPR, mostly coming from the right. Suddenly Williams was the golden child of the right wing. He quickly was offered-and just as quickly accepted-a $2 million contract to work for Fox. ...
First of all, Williams' remarks about Muslims were not only "irresponsible" and insensitive, but indeed biased. Even though he went on to say all Muslims should not be judged by the actions of a few, the damage was done because he already had articulated his bigotry (and we can debate to what degree) toward an entire group. That is clearly unacceptable.
CAIR, through Awad, was correct in criticizing Williams. Just as with the Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, CAIR is a civil rights organization whose mission includes pointing out discrimination, fighting for equality and educating the larger public about the people it represents.
That said, Williams should not have been fired, at least not over that one remark. NPR apparently had other issues with Williams, but its statement specifically said the firing was for comments on The O'Reilly Factor.
For the record, CAIR did not call for Williams' dismissal. ...
Let's put an end to this ugly chapter. NPR did what it thought it should do, CAIR did what it is mandated to do and Juan Williams has gotten paid big time.
CAIR: STING UNDERSCORES MUSLIMS' COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP WITH FBI - TOP By William Wan, Washington Post, 10/28/10
A sting operation over the course of months. Federal agents posing as al-Qaeda operatives. The text of the sacred Koran used to send coded messages.
When federal authorities arrested Farooque Ahmed, a 34-year-old Pakistani American, this week for an alleged plot to bomb Metrorail stations in Northern Virginia, Muslim groups in the area struggled with what to say publicly.
Should they condemn the man unequivocally and praise law enforcement? Or should they wait?
As details of the arrest trickled out, many in the Muslim community avoided saying anything to outsiders, but instead quietly voiced concerns to one another about the tactics used.
The ambivalence highlights the complicated and often fraught relationship between law enforcement and Muslim Americans - an alliance some say has suffered especially in the last year with the slew of sting-like operations within their communities.
Increasingly, Muslims believe that even as they work with the FBI to combat terrorism, they are being spied upon by authorities.
The impact of those suspicions has been profound. Imams say longtime attendees at their mosque have suddenly grown reticent to welcome new strangers and new converts. Some Muslims say they catch themselves watching what they say and to whom, eyeing people in their own community as potential informants looking to lure them into arrest.
"The relationship with law enforcement right now is tense," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group the FBI stopped working with last year on outreach efforts. "There's a sense of being under siege in many Muslim communities. People just assume there are agents or informants in their mosque now. It's a fact of life." (More)
CAIR-OK: CAIR PICKS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IN OKC - TOP He says the group opposes a Shariah-law proposal on the Nov. 2 ballot By Bill Sherman, Tulsa World, 10/29/10
The new executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma took office last week as several hot-button Islamic issues were in the news.
Oklahomans will vote Tuesday on whether to change the state constitution to forbid judges to use Shariah (Muslim) law in deciding cases, and National Public Radio fired black news analyst Juan Williams for saying Muslims on airplanes make him nervous.
Muneer Awad, an attorney from Atlanta, became CAIR-Oklahoma's second director, replacing Razi Hashmi, who left to attend graduate school.
Awad said CAIR is opposed to the anti-Shariah law proposal.
"There are so many levels on which we feel this state question is irresponsible and unnecessary," he said.
"It's constitutionally impossible for Shariah law to supersede or conflict with existing U.S. laws.
"Authors of the amendment are clearly targeting a religious minority in order to get people to the polls," he said.
On the Juan Williams issue, Awad said Williams' remarks were irresponsible, but "it is not our business to comment on" the way NPR handled it. (More)