Al Jazeera's hour-long English newscast hit the airwaves on KPFT at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning and radio listeners in Houston responded.
Some had positive things to say while others had nothing but negative comments about the early morning programming change. Officials with KPFT 90.1 fm say they expected the decision to carry the Arab news organization to be controversial.
The plan to air the hour long newscast has been in the works for three years, KPFT station manager Duane Bradley says. He says Houston residents will benefit from a broader perspective of the world. KPFT is one of five stations in the Pacifica Radio Network to carry the program.
But KPFT has to worry about offending its supporters in the community. The radio station survives off of public fundraising.
In the meantime, officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations are applauding the radio station for airing Al Jazeera. Mustafaa Carroll says Americans should take a closer look at the legitimate news organization.
CAIR-CAN: ISLAMIC CENTRE SEEKS POLICE PROTECTION AFTER ALLEGED HATE-CRIME INCIDENT - TOP John Robbins, Niagara Falls Review, 12/7/10
A Niagara Falls Islamic Centre has formally requested police protection as they begin a 10-day religious observance less than a week after two of their members were allegedly attacked outside the Willoughby Dr. facility.
Justin Nasser, a spokesman for the Almahdi Islamic Centre of Niagara, said centre officials made the request of police because they have concerns about the safety of their members following Friday's incident.
"It is up to the police to provide protection," Nasser told The Niagara Falls Review.
"That's why I have contacted police because we do need protection and security at the centre and around the centre so people will have the courage to go there after what we witnessed Friday."
On Monday, Niagara Regional Police announced they had charged two men with assault with a weapon in connection with the incident, which occurred inside the centre's gated parking lot....
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), a national Muslim civil rights organization, issued a statement applauding the way police in Niagara are handling the case.
"We are pleased that criminal charges have been brought against the alleged attackers as it sends a clear message that hate incidents will be dealt with firmly," said Ihsaan Gardee, the organization's executive director. (More)
DA FILES HATE CRIME CHARGES FOR ATTACK ON SIKH MISTAKEN FOR MUSLIM - TOP Daily Democrat, 12/7/10
Yolo County DA files hate crime charges against two who attacked Sikh cab driver Created: 12/07/2010 10:01:01 AM PST
The Yolo County District Attorney's Office has filed felony assault and hate crime charges against West Sacramento residents Pedro Ramirez and Johnny Morales for the assault on a Sikh cab driver on Nov. 28.
Ramirez and Morales were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Department 9 of the Yolo County Superior Court.
Police Lt. Tod Sockman says 41-year-old Ramirez and 33-year-old Morales turned themselves in last Thursday. They were booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon and commission of a hate crime. (More)
FANS TO DECIDE WHERE THE NEW FILM 'MOOZ-LUM' WILL BE RELEASED - TOP
KANSAS CITY, Mo. and SAN DIEGO, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- AMC Theatres (AMC), a leading theatrical exhibition and entertainment company and Eventful, Inc., the leading digital service connecting consumers with entertainment and local events, announce today a new partnership for independent film distribution that empowers consumers to choose where a film should be released.
Moviegoers nationwide will have the opportunity to use Eventful's "Demand it!" service to Demand that their city be one of the first to see MOOZ-lum, a film that challenges perceptions of Muslims in the United States. The AMC/Eventful partnership marks the first time that consumers have had the power to decide where a film should be released.
"Exploring new distribution platforms for independent filmmakers through our AMC independent? program is something we are passionate about," said Nikkole Denson-Randolph, vice president, specialty and alternative content for AMC. "We believe Eventful's 'Demand it!' platform gives our guests a way to have a meaningful influence on the exhibition of an important film."
Moviegoers have until Jan. 21, 2011 to log on to http://eventful.com/moozlum and Demand that their city is one of the first 10 cities to see the film by using Eventful's unique social media platform. They can also spread the word virally across Facebook, Twitter and MySpace by inviting their friends to Demand that their city gets the film's release at their local AMC Theatre. In addition, cast members from MOOZ-lum will appear in select cities. (More)
ONE MUSLIM RECALLS THE PEER PRESSURES TO STRAY BUT HE FOLLOWED HIS CALLING - TOP Bilal Ansari's Life Is Part Of 'The Calling' PBS Documentary Susan Campbell, Hartford Courant, 12/8/10
Growing up in a New Haven family of Christian clergy, Bilal Ansari remembers his grandmother -- a preacher -- telling him she'd had a dream that he'd one day fulfill. ...
Ansari's story -- or part of it -- is included in "The Calling," a four-hour PBS documentary about the ministries of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Americans. Ansari will fight back a cold to be in Chicago for the premier tomorrow. At 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 16, he'll be at Norwich Community Cinema, which works with PBS/Independent Lens to show documentaries and independent films at Norwich Free Academy.
If this is God's plan, it's an interesting one. When he became a Muslim, Ansari figured that he'd be one of the flock, not the shepherd, but he's traveled the world to talk about Islam, and to serve as a bridge -- coming as he does from a Christian background -- between the two faiths. He's been to Spain to talk about chaplaincy as a balm against radicalization. He's been to Ohio to talk about training chaplains. He's been here, in Hartford, to talk about a trip to Auschwitz. He contributes essays for books and periodicals. (More)
MUSLIMS AT HOME IN ALASKA - TOP Michelle Theriault, Alaska Dispatch, 12/7/10
1205-mosque1Fifteen years ago Anchorage was home to fewer than 200 Muslims. Today, the city boasts three Halal grocery stores, a Halal-by-request pizzeria and a population of more than 3,000 Muslims who hail from places like Albania, Somalia, Pakistan and Malaysia.
In October the community realized a long-held goal by breaking ground on Alaska's first mosque, which will occupy a lot off of the Old Seward Highway with sweeping views of the Chugach Mountains. The mosque, according to a building permit filed with the city in August, will be 16,523 square feet and carry a construction value of about $2.9 million. Leaders have said they hope to open doors in 2011.
The Islamic Community Center of Anchorage Alaska, as it will be called, will be one the farthest north mosques in the world. A mosque that went up recently in Inuvik, a village in the Northwest Territories, Canada, claims to be the world's most northern mosque. It's also historic: Alaska currently doesn't have a formal Muslim place of worship. (More)
'FALSE' PATRIOTS WHIPPING UP ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT - TOP Oklahoman, 12/8/10
Leonard Pitts Jr.'s “Mourning the loss of America's mind” (Commentary, Dec. 3) is much appreciated for injecting a dose of common sense into the hysteria over Oklahoma's recent anti-Sharia referendum. Regardless of what the measure's backers might wish us to believe, the Constitution does, in fact, provide for the protection of religious freedoms and against the legislative singling out of any religious group for official censure by the government. Advertisement
U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange was right to issue an injunction against the referendum. Her decision was rooted squarely in constitutional principle, not some fuzzy notion of political correctness, and represents fundamental American values more truly than those who would seek to label her an “activist judge” for her ruling.
Fears that the most egregious offenses against a free society, such as those practiced under Taliban rule or other hard-line theocratic Islamic regimes, could somehow gain a legal foothold in our country or our state remain unfounded. Balanced and well-considered rulings like this one are a good part of the reason. The real danger lies in the anti-American efforts of demagogues like the legislators who whip up and exploit anti-Muslim sentiment in the name of a false patriotism. We don't need incoherent, pre-emptive campaigns against “the law of Islam,” whatever the referendum's authors take this to mean.
We should place trust instead in the principles of honest debate, tolerance and fair treatment before the law that set our society apart from those who would rather govern by fear and terror.
John Selvidge, Oklahoma City
BILLBOARD REMOVAL SOUGHT BY GROUP - TOP By Glenn Smith, Post and Courier, 12/8/10
An online activist group has mounted a petition drive to take down the "Islam Rising" billboards placed in South Carolina by the Virginia-based Christian Action Network.
The billboards went up in May in Orangeburg and Columbia to promote a documentary about the dangers of radical Islam. The action network chose South Carolina for the promotion because the state is home to Holy Islamville, a Muslim village in York founded by Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani.
Adriel Luis, a Brooklyn-based writer for the change.org website, recently penned an article blasting the billboards after spotting one during a trip to South Carolina. The billboard in question features an image of a ninja-like terrorist with the words "ISLAM RISING ... BE WARNED."
Luis described the billboard as "hate mongering," "a beacon for fearmongerers" and "flagrantly xenophobic." He urged people to sign a petition calling for the billboards to come down, saying "such a flagrant and coercive piece of propaganda in an area where Muslims have barely any platform to speak can lead to hatred and violence."
Some 655 people had signed the petition by late Tuesday. (More)