SIGNING OF MOU BETWEEN ISESCO AND CAIR - TOP ISESCO News, 11/9/10
The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU was signed by Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, ISESCO Director General, and Dr Nihad Awad, CAIR Executive Director.
The MoU stipulates that ISESCO and CAIR cooperate in fields of common interest, including dialogue among cultures and civilizations, as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims in the West; countering Islamophobia and all sorts of religious discrimination; increasing the capacities of Muslim young leaders; developing an information strategy to disseminate the principles of Islam, its culture and civilization and redress the image of Islam and Muslims in textbooks; and establishing communication chairs in universities to redress stereotypes about Islam. (More)
CAIR: COURT SAYS GOVERNMENT VIOLATED MUSLIM GROUPS' RIGHTS - TOP Appeals court says inclusion of Muslim groups on co-conspirator list based on 'untested allegation'
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/17/10) –- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed a recent ruling by a federal appeals court that federal prosecutors violated the rights of major American Muslim organizations by including them on a list of "unindicted co-conspirators" in a terror-related case.
CAIR said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the U.S. Department of Justice violated the Fifth Amendment rights of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and by implication the rights of similarly-named Muslim organizations, when it included them on the publicly-filed list in 2007.
The court also ruled that inclusion on the list was the result of "simply an untested allegation of the Government, made in anticipation of a possible evidentiary dispute that never came to pass." According to the ruling, "The allegation did not improperly enjoy the imprimatur of grand jury approval, nor was it erroneously conceded, implicitly or explicitly, as part of any plea."
In addressing the guilt by association argument raised by the government, the court said: "[A] broadly worded conclusion regarding a party's 'association' with various other entities is not grounded in any legal rule that would give that conclusion substance and boundaries. As such, the district court's statements regarding NAIT's 'association'. . .went beyond what was relevant to the any hypothetical evidentiary issue and may have obfuscated the underlying Fifth Amendment issue."
CAIR said in a statement responding to the court's ruling: "Since 2007, when the government violated its own rules in publishing the list, our nation's growing ranks of professional Islamophobes have exploited its public release in an attempt to damage the reputations of mainstream American Muslim organizations such as CAIR. This welcome ruling by the appeals court now denies anti-Muslim bigots one of their favorite, yet phony, talking points."
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 Legislative Director Corey Saylor, Tel: 202-384-8857, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
MONEYMAN FOR ANTI-MUSLIM DVD CAMPAIGN REVEALED? - TOP Mystery of who funded right-wing "radical Islam" campaign deepens A document obtained by Salon creates new speculation about who paid for a right-wing campaign to stoke Islamophobia Video Justin Elliot, Salon.com, 11/17/10
In the heat of the 2008 presidential election, an obscure nonprofit group called the Clarion Fund made national news by distributing millions of DVDs about radical Islam in newspaper inserts in swing states.
The DVDs, 28 million in all, were a boost to Republican candidates who were trying to paint Democrats as weak on terrorism -- and they arguably helped fuel the anti-Muslim sentiment that boiled over in the "ground zero mosque" fight last summer. The film, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War With the West," was widely criticized for its cartoonish portrayal of Muslims as modern-day Nazis.
But who put up the money to send out all those millions of DVDs?
Clarion, which has strong links to the right-wing Israeli group Aish HaTorah and is listed in government records as a foreign nonprofit, would never say.
Indeed, the group does not have to release detailed donor information because of its nonprofit tax status. We knew only that there was serious money behind the effort: Clarion spent nearly $19 million in 2008, the year it sent out the DVDs.
Now, just as Clarion is gearing up to release a new film hyping the threat of Iran, the money mystery has deepened: According to a document submitted to the IRS by Clarion and obtained by Salon, a donor listed as Barry Seid gave Clarion nearly $17 million in 2008, which would have paid for virtually the entire "Obsession" DVD campaign. (More)
BARRE SEID PLAUSIBLY DENIES FUNDING 'OBSESSION,' ALL THE WHILE DOING PRECISELY THAT - TOP Barre Seid: $17-million for anti-Muslim hate fest film Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 11/17/10
Justin Elliott has finally solved the riddle of who gave $17-million to Clarion Fund to distribute 28 million DVDs of its anti-Muslim porn (not as in sex) film Obsession during the 2008 presidential election. Well, to be more specific, we know who, or more precisely what gave the gift to Clarion: Donor's Capital Trust. But till now, we didn't know who gave the gift to that arch-conservative donor advised fund. Now, we know, thanks to Justin that it was computer power strip king (bet you didn't know there was such a beast, did you?) Barre Seid (bio). Here's Clarion's 990 form addendum documenting Seid's gift). This complicated funding process, designed to provide plausible deniability to Seid, thus allows his assistant, in the Salon story, to deny Seid funded the film:
"Mr. Seid did not make any contributions to the Clarion Fund."
She's right, technically. He didn't. DCT did. But DCT wouldn't have without Seid's gift to it. You see how these dudes operate? Is this legal? Should it be? (More)
HEALTH AND PRIVACY CONCERNS DOG AIRPORT BODY SCANNERS - TOP By William Fisher, IPS, 11/17/10
NEW YORK, Nov 17, 2010 (IPS) - Privacy advocates called on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Tuesday to end its controversial new initiative of whole-body scans and enhanced pat-downs of airline passengers, calling the programme "dangerous to health, ineffective and unconstitutional".
Led by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, a group of organisations held a telephone news conference to insist that the "strip-search" programme be suspended and turned over the Congress to investigate.
"The machines are ineffective, the pat-downs are too invasive, and the use of radioactive technology poses health risks," Nader said, citing testimony from a number of physicians who agreed that radioactivity "could cause skin problems" and might pose a public health threat to passengers. . .
EPIC has filed a lawsuit to suspend the body scanner programme, calling it "unlawful, invasive, and ineffective". Opposition to the programme is growing. The Libertarian Party, the American Pilots Association, Airline CEOs, flyers rights organizations, religious groups, and others are calling for an end to invasive searches at airports.
Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle said today, "The TSA should end the strip-search machine programme immediately. We've reached a point where our government has no qualms about humiliating us."
The EPIC lawsuit challenges the unilateral decision of the TSA to make body scanners the primary screening technique in U.S. airports. Three frequent air travelers are joining EPIC in the lawsuit: security expert Bruce Schneier, human rights activist Chip Pitts, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations legal counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili. (More)
CAIR-OK: OU STUDENT GOVERNMENT VOTES TO CONDEMN SHARIAH LAW BAN - TOP Ricky Maranon, Tulsa World, 11/17/10
NORMAN - The University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Student Congress on Tuesday condemned Oklahoma's recent ban on international and Shariah law.
With two members abstaining, the other 23 members of the Student Congress voted unanimously in favor of a resolution stating that the recent passage of State Question 755 hurts OU's ability to function on the international stage and when recruiting international students. ...
"Students see our lawmakers pass bills like this, and they are embarrassed," said Shayna Daitch, international and area studies representative and the bill's author.
"Our lawmakers talk about keeping college students in state, but that will never happen as long as we keep singling out minorities and embarrassing ourselves on the national stage," she said. "Students want to get their degree and get out so they no longer have to live in a state that does things like this."
Daitch, a Jewish student, said no one should be singled out in state law and that the ballot question easily could have singled out Jewish and Catholic teachings, as well as Islam.
"I hope that if my faith was under attack, someone would stand up for me," she said. "What if the bill outlawed Jewish law? And technically the 10 Commandments are international law, and I don't think many Oklahomans would appreciate knowing that they outlawed parts of their own faith."
Before the vote, the group heard testimony from a Muslim student who said Shariah law is not written in the Quran and that not all Muslims follow Shariah law.
Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations, told the Tulsa World recently that Shariah is guidance for Muslims on how to practice and interpret their faith in daily interactions and in society. Awad filed suit last week in an effort to overturn State Question 755. (More)
BAITING A FAITH IN OKLAHOMA - TOP Michael Gerson, Washington Post, 11/16/10
Just to be on the safe side, voters in Oklahoma this month overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that prevents the Talibanization of the Sooner State. Henceforth, there will be no public stonings in Ponca City, no forced burqa wearing in Bartlesville, no sharia law in Lawton.
Even supporters of the referendum - which forbade state courts from considering sharia in their deliberations - admitted that the threat from Oklahoma's 30,000 Muslims couldn't be called "imminent."
"It's not a problem and we want to keep it that way," explains state Sen. Anthony Sykes. Sharia law, according to state Rep. Rex Duncan, is a "cancer that must be removed with a preemptive strike."
This is a novel use of American law - not to actually address a public problem but to taunt a religious minority. (More)
CAIR-CT: RALLY AT CITY HALL FOCUSES ON ANTI-PROFILING ORDINANCE - TOP Jenna Carlesso, Hartford Courant, 11/16/10
A week after City Councilman Luis Cotto reintroduced a proposal that would limit city police in their immigration enforcement and domestic surveillance activities, leaders of several community organizations converged at city hall to show their support for the ordinance.
"This ordinance will send a clear message ... that the police [are] not to be feared; that they will investigate only criminal behavior and not what people look like or the color of their skin," Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Connecticut, told a group of people on the steps of city hall Monday. The press conference and rally took place just before a public hearing on the ordinance.
Cotto has said the ordinance would maintain the police department's focus on its core public mission of serving and protecting city residents while limiting its participation in racial and religious profiling, federal immigration enforcement and undercover infiltration of activist and religious groups. (More)
CAIR-AZ: AMIDST NATIONAL ISLAMOPHOBIC UPHEAVAL, ARIZONANS PROTEST MOSQUE THAT'S ACTUALLY A CHURCH - TOP Tanya Somanader, ThinkProgress, 11/15/10
In an era saturated with absurd moments of anti-Muslim fear-mongering, mosques have become a touchstone for Islamophobia. Even unbuilt mosques have set off a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in Tennessee, Texas, California, and most notably, New York. Not to be outdone, the people of Pheonix, AZ were quick to call foul over the appearance of a dome-like structure along an interstate. But in the clamor over the impending Muslim takeover, these Arizonans missed one small detail — the building is not a Mosque, it's a church. ...
"It is unfortunate that people are so intolerant to differences that they aren't willing to see that the place of worship is not a mosque," said Tayyibah Amatullah of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Arizona chapter. But with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace? (More)
CAIR-AZ: MOSQUE PROTESTS REACH NEW LEVEL OF SURREAL - TOP By Melissa Bell, Washington Post, 11/16/10
A Christian church in Phoenix has had to make a presidential-type denial: It is not Muslim.
The building under construction will feature a domed ceiling, and protesters have taken that as a sign the church is not what it says it is. The leaders have hung up a sign saying, "We are building a Christian house of worship," the Atlantic reports. The front of the building also says Luz Del Mundo Iglesia, which is Spanish for Light of the World Church.
"I have nothing against Islamic people," Carlos Montemayor, the pastor of the church, said in a phone interview. But local commentary had been growing, saying that the building was a mosque and an investigation should be launched into the church. He put the sign up to stop the comments. "They should be happy that we are putting something beautiful by the freeway, but they're not," he said. (More)
CAIR-IA: PANEL PROBES BIGOTRY AGAINST MUSLIMS - TOP Nina Earnest, 11/16/10
Islamophobia is not just a fear. It's a prejudice.
Miriam Amer shared this definition with a crowd in the Main Library's Shambaugh Auditorium on Monday night.
Amer, the executive director of the Iowa Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, grew up in New Hampshire when the word "Islamophobia" — used to describe the fear of Islam — did not exist.
"It's become a common term," Amer said. "A very bad term, but a common term."
The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, the UI Muslim Student Association, and UI International Programs sponsored a panel including a UI law professor, an Iowa imam, and others to discuss cooperation among faiths and how to surmount stereotypes of Muslims. (More)
CAIR-TX: A MOSQUE BUILDING BOOM - TOP Muslim community leaders say plans for new facilities are a response to demand Zain Shauk, Houston Chronicle, 11/16/10
Forty years ago, the thought of granite counter tops, marble floors and indoor basketball gyms at Houston mosques seemed unthinkable.
But after decades of growth, the Muslim community is expanding and building new facilities at an unprecedented pace, with features and amenities that rival five-star hotels, leaders say.
Multimillion-dollar plans for major mosque expansions and constructions are moving forward throughout the Houston area, coming on the heels of recently finished developments. ...
"The reason for it is just the Muslim community by and large in this country is growing," said Mustafaa Carroll, executive director for the Texas office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (More)
CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN MUSLIM CONDEMNS FOX REPORT ON CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS AS "ANTI-MUSLIM BIGOTRY" - TOP Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches, 11/17/10
Suhail Khan, a conservative Republican who served as a political appointee in the Bush administration and currently serves on the American Conservative Union board, calls the Fox News report asserting that the Congressional Muslim Staff Association poses a national security threat "anti-Muslim bigotry."
As I reported on Friday, the American Center for Law and Justice has jumped on the Fox report, amping up hysteria by calling for a Department of Justice investigation. ...
Regarding the Fox piece, Khan said, "since 9/11 there have been a couple of individuals that have been spending a lot of money to cull through tapes and videos of conferences and TV programs and the Internet to look for information that is critical of Muslims and Muslim-Americans getting involved in public policy. They compile that into a guilt-by-association Powerpoint and then shop it to reporters." These individuals include, said Khan, Frank Gaffney, who issues baseless warnings to members of Congress about "creeping shari'ah;" Paul Sperry, co-author of the book Muslim Mafia, which claimed that the Council on American Islamic Relations had infiltrated Capitol Hill by placing interns as spies; Kenneth Timmerman, a conservative writer and activist; Pamela Geller, the blogger who spurred much of the anti-Park51 fervor; and Robert Spencer, who runs the website Jihad Watch; and Steve Emerson, whose profits from a cottage industry of peddling fear of Islam were exposed last month by the Tennessean's religion reporter Bob Smietana.
"Ninety-nine point nine percent of honest reporters toss it into the garbage can," said Khan. "They know a smear when they see it."
He added, "I know the cast of characters and their highly dubious reputations and complete lack of expertise when it comes to Islam, Muslims, and national security."
"What I would assert is really at play here is good old fashioned bigotry," he continued, and "some are making a decent living on this," referring to the Tennessean's revelations about Emerson. (More)
REP HONDA INTRODUCES LEGISLATION RECOGNIZING MUSLIM HOLIDAY EID AL-ADHA - TOP
PoliticalNews.me - Nov 16,2010 - WASHINGTON DC – Rep Honda, Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, introduced legislation recognizing the cultural and religious significance of Eid al-Adha.
"I wish all Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world a prosperous holiday and stand with them in recognizing the importance of sacrifice, freedom, and justice. Muslim Americans contribute substantially to the success and pluralism of the United States, making significant strides in all areas of national discourse, development and diplomacy. As award-winning scientists, doctors, engineers, athletes, artists, ambassadors, and an estimated 10,000 Armed Service men and women, Muslim Americans continue to serve the greater good of our county."
Observed for more than fourteen centuries, Eid al-Adha is a holiday of great importance to millions of Muslim Americans and approximately 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of the Sacrifice, honors Abraham's symbolic sacrifice of his son to God, as referenced in the Quran, Old Testament and New Testament and is commemorated around the world by prayers, charity events and festivals.
"I am honored to join with Members from across the country to recognize the holidays of all of the great religions, and to promote interfaith dialogue within the Congress," Congressman Ellison stated. "I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution in honor of the Muslim celebration of Eid-Al Adha, a major holiday which emphasizes the importance of humility, kindness, and service," Ellison concluded.
"Eid al-Adha is a special occasion to recognize our continued commitment to God," said Congressman André Carson. "My prayers and blessings are with all the hajjis that have made the pilgrimage to Mecca this year. Eid Mubarak and may God bless you during this important time."
Specifically, Rep Honda's resolution does the following: (1) recognizes the cultural and religious significance of Eid al-Adha, (2) expresses its appreciation and respect for the contributions of Muslim Americans to our country, and (3) wishes Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world observing Eid al-Adha a prosperous holiday.