CAIR OFFERS CONDOLENCES ON PASSING OF MD. MUSLIM ACTIVIST - TOP Nihad Awad: Hodari Abdul-Ali was 'inspiration and example to all who knew him'
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/1/2011) -- The board and staff of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today offered sincere condolences to the family of Hodari Abdul-Ali, a respected Maryland Muslim businessman, journalist, activist, and leader who died of cancer on Saturday.
[NOTE: A funeral service will be held after zuhr prayers on Monday, May 2, at Masjid Muhammad, 1519 4th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. Zuhr prayers begin at 1:30 p.m. Imam Ben Abdul-Haqq will officiate.]
"To God we belong and to Him we return," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Brother Hodari's leadership and activism were an inspiration and example to all who knew him. CAIR's board and staff offer their sincere condolences to his family and loved ones."
Abdul-Ali was born in San Diego, Calif., graduated magna cum laude from Howard University's School of Communications in 1976 and undertook graduate studied at Johns Hopkins University. He was editor-in-chief of the Howard University campus newspaper.
In 1976, he founded Liberation Information Distributing Co., a leading national wholesaler of books and periodicals about Africa, African-Americans and Islam. In 1981, he founded Pyramid Books in Washington, D.C., which grew to become the first chain of independent African-American owned and oriented bookstores. Since 1995 he operated Dar Es Salaam Books/Health Center in suburban Washington, D.C.
As an activist, Abdul-Ali received numerous awards for community service and was involved with a variety of non-profit organizations. He was a member of the governing body of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), director of the Universal Human Rights Network, executive director of Give Peace a Chance Coalition, and a member of NCOBRA - the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. Abdul-Ali also hosted a radio program, "The Struggle Continues!" at WPFW 89.3 FM.
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 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
CAIR-OH: MUSLIM, CATHOLIC STUDENTS SEWING GOOD SEED - TOP Quan Truong, Marion Star, 4/30/11
EAST PRICE HILL - Catholic and Muslim students came together to not only provide a community service, but bridge gaps between their faiths on Saturday.
From 9 a.m. to noon, teenagers from Mother of Mercy High School and the Islamic Center together pushed wheelbarrows of wood chips and shoveled at the Image Center on Enright Avenue in East Price Hill.
The Interfaith Community Service Project to prepare gardens for spring planting is aimed at not only doing good for the community, but understanding each other, said Karen Dabdoub, executive director of the Cincinnati Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations. (More)
CAIR-OK: GROUPS ASK REP. TO STEP DOWN OVER RACIST REMARKS - TOP KOCO, 4/29/11
OKLAHOMA CITY -- More people are calling for Oklahoma representative Sally Kern to step down after her much-talked-about comments about minorities and women on the House floor.
The comments came during a debate Wednesday night at the State Capitol. Kern issued an apology statement on Thursday, but some people said they still want her to resign.
Some groups called for her to step down, including the Oklahoma Democrat Party, the state National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and, recently, the Oklahoma chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. (More)
CAIR SEEKS HATE-CRIME CHARGES IN ATTACK - TOP My Fox Tampa, 4/29/11
CLEARWATER - An advocacy group for Muslim Americans wants hate crime charges brought against a man who reportedly ran down a city of Clearwater employee because he thought he was a terrorist.
The incident happened Thursday afternoon when a car hit 53-year-old Terry Butler at the corner of Magnolia and Brookside Drives.
Investigators say 36-year-old Gerald Christopher Prebe intentionally ran into Butler, and charged him with attempted murder.
They said the attack may have been racially motivated, but did not elaborate.
Friday, though, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said they were calling on state and federal authorities to press hate crime charges against Prebe. They said Prebe told police he ran into Butler because he thought he was a Middle Eastern terrorist. (More)
ST. PAUL FOUNDATION WILL HONOR RACE LEADERS - TOP Pioneer Press, 4/29/11
The St. Paul Foundation will host an awards ceremony Tuesday at the downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel honoring Minnesota residents who have furthered racial dialogue in the past year.
The "Facing Race" ambassador awards program begins at 6 p.m. with appetizers, followed by remarks from WCCO-TV news anchor Angela Davis and a keynote address by Mohammed Bilal, a musician, poet, rapper and writer who appeared on the MTV reality show "The Real World III: San Francisco."
The awards ceremony will honor community activist Nathaniel Abdul Khaliq, former president of the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP, and Velma Korbel, director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.
Honorable mentions will be given to A. Lori Saroya, chairwoman and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations; the Rev. Paul Slack, pastor of New Creation Church in Brooklyn Park; and Anton Treuer, professor of the Ojibwe language at Bemidji State University. (More)
NY: WAITER HAD TO CHANGE NAME FROM 'MOHAMED' TO WORK AT HOTEL - TOP By DAREH GREGORIAN and RITA DELFINER, New York Post, 4/30/11
Hello, my name is, um, John? Hector? Or is it Edgar? And I'll be your server tonight.
An Arab banquet waiter at the legendary Waldorf-Astoria hotel says he was forced to wear different name tags at work to prevent guests from being frightened by being served by someone named Mohamed.
Mohamed Kotbi said the first time he was asked to do so was on Sept. 13, 2001 -- two days after the attacks on the Twin Towers.
Kotbi, who has worked for the hotel since December 1984, said he was given a name tag that said, "John."
"I put it on. I was in shock," the Muslim man said. When he later went to complain to hotel management, he said he was told, "We don't want to scare our guests."
He filed discrimination complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2005 and 2009, and was eventually given a name tag with his last name, Kotbi.
This past November, however, he was given a name tag that said, "Edgar." Kotbi said he complained and was told by a manager, "It's better to be Edgar than Mohamed today."
Now he is suing the Waldorf for religious and racial discrimination, charging that hotel management has created a "hostile work environment" with the nametag shenanigans and its failure to stop a group of co-workers from tormenting him.
The suit says co-workers have repeatedly called him "terrorist," "al Qaeda boy," and other names. "It's like I'm guilty, like I did the attacks on September 11," the Moroccan-born man said. (More)
MUSLIMS LOOK FOR WELCOME IN THE WORKPLACE - TOP Hilary Potkewitz, Crains NY Business, 5/1/11
For Hallema Sharif, the legacy of Sept. 11 came into focus about eight years ago, when a manager at her employer suggested she stop using her Muslim-sounding last name in favor of her married name, Clyburn.
"Before Sept. 11, I was just me, Hallema," said Ms. Sharif, who is now director of communications for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "Afterwards, I became Hallema the Muslim." Ms. Sharif had the last word: She ditched the company instead of her name.
Yet 10 years after Sept. 11, life for New York's Muslim professionals remains irrevocably altered. Many members of the community find themselves in an unwelcome spotlight and are concerned about how colleagues perceive them and their religious traditions.
Their discomfort has only been exacerbated by the protests last year against the Park51 Islamic community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site and Rep. Peter King's more recent "Muslim radicalization" hearings. (More)
DEMONSTRATORS SHED LIGHT ON SYRIAN SUFFERING - TOP Royal Oak Patch, 4/29/11
Dozens of people gathered Thursday in Royal Oak as part of a nationwide series of vigils to shed light on violence in Syria.
Drivers honked as they passed demonstrators carrying signs and luminaries and waving Syrian and United States flags at the corner of Main and Fourth streets.
"We are here in memory of the people who have been killed in recent weeks," said Lena Masri, a staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan Chapter. Syria has been embroiled in deadly civil strife as President Bashar al-Assad's government has struggled to maintain control during a brutal crackdown on civilian protesters. (More)