MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A man, described as wearing traditional Muslim clothing was yanked off a plane and questioned by the FBI after spending an unusually long time in the plane's bathroom. So is it racial profiling?
Investigators say, in the end they found nothing wrong and everyone re-boarded the plane two hours later. Those in the Muslim community say the incident is another example of "Islam-o-phobia."
"If you bash Muslims and Islam then its freedom of speech, if you bash any other minority groups its hate speech," said Dr. Nabil Bayakly. (More)
CAIR: BULLYING MAY VIOLATE CIVIL RIGHTS, DUNCAN WARNS SCHOOLS - TOP By Christina A. Samuels, Education Week, 10/26/10
Certain types of harassment rooted in sex-role stereotyping or religious differences may be a federal civil rights violation, according to new guidance from the U.S. Department of Education's office of civil rights aimed at putting school districts on notice about their responsibilities to address bullying.
"Simply put, we think in this country bullying should not exist," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters Tuesday during a conference call to discuss the guidance, which was written as a 10-page letter to school officials. "Students simply cannot learn if they feel threatened, harassed, or in fear."
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act already prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin; Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibit discrimination based on disability status...
Khadija Athman, the national civil rights manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, a Muslim advocacy group, said that the Education Department has reached out to schools before, to remind administrators, for example, that students may wear head scarves as part of their freedom to exercise their religion.
"This is a positive step," Ms. Athman said. (More)
CAIR-NY: LI MOSQUE BECOMES TARGET - TOP Andrew Strickler; With Nomaan Merchant and Matthew Chayes, Newsday, 10/27/10
Muslim leaders on Long Island said yesterday that they are concerned about anti-Muslim bias after two recent bottle-throwing incidents at a Huntington mosque.
Religious leaders and Suffolk police were to meet this morning at Masjid Noor mosque on Park Avenue to discuss the incidents, as well as issues of community relations and communication with law enforcement, officials said.
"It is troubling and it's something we're taking seriously," said Nayyar Imam, chairman of the Muslim Alliance of Long Island and Suffolk police's Muslim chaplain.
For the second time in less than a week, detectives with Suffolk's hate crimes unit were called to the mosque on Monday night after a bottle containing nails and screws was smashed in the parking lot. Except for the type of bottle, the incident was "exactly the same" as an occurrence in the same spot last week, said Det. Sgt. Robert Reecks.
A small group was outside the mosque last Wednesday when they heard glass smash a few dozen yards away, he said. They found nails, screws and a shattered tomato sauce bottle. The group saw a car drive away, but was unable to provide a description of the vehicle or the driver, Reecks said. The container thrown Monday was a liter vodka bottle...
Yesterday, a national Muslim civil liberties advocacy group urged beefed-up enforcement. "We urge local law enforcement authorities to step up patrols in the area of the mosque and again ask the FBI to add its resources to the investigation of these disturbing incidents," said Faiza Ali of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (More)
FBI'S GPS TRACKING RAISES PRIVACY CONCERNS? - TOP Mina Kim, NPR, 10/27/10
When Yasir Afifi took his car in for an oil change, his mechanic found an unusual wire hanging from below. It was part of a black rectangular device attached to his car by a magnet. After posting photos of it on an online forum, where posters identified it as a GPS tracking device, Afifi, a Santa Clara, Calif., college student and computer salesman, got a visit from FBI agents demanding their equipment back. .
The FBI sees GPS as an electronic version of physical surveillance used to gather information for an investigation. Time was, the FBI would just trail someone when they wanted to gather information. But technology has changed that. And civil rights groups consider the GPS devices more intrusive...
Zahra Billoo, head of the Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Afifi's attorney, says the FBI has violated her client's privacy rights. She says Afifi has nothing in his background to suggest he's a national security threat.
"If this is how our very limited resources are being spent, on these escapades targeting innocent individuals, I would say we are none the safer," Billoo says.
Billoo says the FBI is frightening the very community it claims it wants to build bridges with. But the FBI maintains that in law enforcement, keeping tabs on people is an essential part of the job. The question is whether GPS is too intrusive. (More)
FBI TERROR CASE AIDED BY HAWAII MUSLIMS - TOP The suspect is described as a "loner" who came to worship Gary T. Kubota, Star Advertiser, 10/27/10
The Muslim Association of Hawaii said the man taken into custody this week on terrorism-related charges came to the Islamic Center of Hawaii to worship and that the association assisted law enforcement agencies in the case.
Association Chairman Hakim Ouansafi said Abdel Hameed Shehadeh was a "loner" who recently arrived from New York and was not a member of the association.
"He told us he did websites for a living.... He did not tell us why he was here," Ouansafi said.
Ouansafi said his group does not condone terrorism and has in the past reported suspicious activities to authorities. Ouansafi said in the case of Shehadeh, the association made "great contributions" in assisting law enforcement agencies. (More)
PROFITING OFF ISLAMOPHOBIA: PAMELA GELLER PITCHES BOOK ON 'HOW-TO GUIDE TO FIGHT CREEPING SHARIA' - TOP ThinkProgrees, 10/26/10
ThinkProgress has now obtained the proposal for Geller's next book, which has been submitted to a variety of other publishing houses. A review of the proposal for Stop Islamization of America: A Practical Guide for the Resistance suggests that the project is a step too far for Threshold. (A Simon & Schuster rep declined to comment.) (More)
VIDEO: KEITH OLBERMANN NAMES MUSLIM-BASHER STEVEN EMERSON 'WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD' - TOP
CAIR: MUSLIM CIVIL RIGHTS GROUP ASKS FOR IRS INVESTIGATION - TOP Tax News, 10/26/10
In a letter this week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a prominent Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, urged the IRS to look into the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation. (More)
THREE FAITHS: NY PUBLIC LIBRARY EXHIBITION CELEBRATES SHARED RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS - TOP By Femi Oke: WNYC "The Takeaway," 10/22/10
George Fletcher, the head curator of the New York Public Library's "Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam," is beaming. Beginning on Friday, he will finally get the chance to show off two years of hard work, and some of the library's most rare and beautiful spiritual texts. Drawing on the traditions of three of the world's most prominent religions—Judaism, Christianity, Islam—Fletcher says the collection uses sacred books to illustrate "how much in common exists between these three faiths." (More)