Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

THE ROOTS OF THE ISLAMOPHOBIA NETWORK IN AMERICA - TOP
Wajahat Ali, American Progress, 8/26/2011

You can read the Center for American Progress report here.

Geller and Spencer co-founded the organization Stop Islamization of America, a group whose actions and rhetoric the Anti-Defamation League concluded "promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam. The group seeks to rouse public fears by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy "American values." Based on Breivik's sheer number of citations and references to the writings of these individuals, it is clear that he read and relied on the hateful, anti-Muslim ideology of a number of men and women detailed in this report&a select handful of scholars and activists who work together to create and promote misinformation about Muslims.

While these bloggers and pundits were not responsible for Breivik's deadly attacks, their writings on Islam and multiculturalism appear to have helped create a world view, held by this lone Norwegian gunman, that sees Islam as at war with the West and the West needing to be defended. According to former CIA officer and terrorism consultant Marc Sageman, just as religious extremism "is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged," the writings of these anti-Muslim misinformation experts are "the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged." Sageman adds that their rhetoric "is not cost-free."

These pundits and bloggers, however, are not the only members of the Islamophobia infrastructure. Breivik's manifesto also cites think tanks, such as the Center for Security Policy, the Middle East Forum and the Investigative Project on Terrorism -- three other organizations we profile in this report. Together, this core group of deeply intertwined individuals and organizations manufacture and exaggerate threats of "creeping Sharia," Islamic domination of the West, and purported obligatory calls to violence against all non-Muslims by the Quran. (More)

SEE ALSO:

REPORT: $42 MILLION FROM 7 FOUNDATIONS HELPED FUEL RISE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA- TOP
Faiz Shakir, Think Progress, 8/26/11

Following a six-month long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress released a 130-page report today which reveals that more than $42 million from seven foundations over the past decade have helped fan the flames of anti-Muslim hate in America. The authors - Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and myself - worked to expose the Islamophobia network in depth, name the major players, connect the dots, and trace the genesis of anti-Muslim propaganda. (More)

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REPORT: MILLIONS DONATED TO ISLAMOPHOBIC GROUPS SINCE 2001 - TOP
Ryan J. Reilly, TPM, 8/26/11

Seven foundations and wealthy donors gave Islamophobic groups $42.6M from 2001 through 2009, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.

"Sometimes the money flowing from these foundations and their donors is clearly designed to promote Islamophobia, but more often the support provided is for general purpose use, which the think tanks and grassroots organizations then put to use on their primary purpose -- spreading their messages of hate and fear as far and wide as they can," the report says. (More)

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VIDEO: INSIDE THE ISLAMOPHOBIA NETWORK - TOP
ThinkProgress, 8/25/11

Why are so many Republican presidential candidates talking about Sharia law? It's because of a small network of Islamophobes who have made a career of pushing an anti-Muslim agenda.

Watch the video here.

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VIDEO: THE GROUPS BEHIND ISLAMOPHOBIA - TOP
By Faiz Shakir, Center for American Progress, 8/24/11

What is the Islamophobia network? How has the network shaped the narrative about Muslims in America? How should Americans fight back against the network's propaganda?

Watch the video here.

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CAIR ASKS WASH. STATE EDUCATORS TO ACCOMMODATE MUSLIM STUDENTS - TOP

(SEATTLE, WA, 8/26/2011) -- The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) recently sent a letter to superintendents of the state's 295 school districts requesting accommodations for Muslim students who are fasting during Ramadan and who will mark the end of the religious observance with the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (EED-al-FITTER), or "feast of the fast breaking," at the end of August.

To read CAIR-WA's letter, go here.

During the Eid ul-Fitr holiday, Muslims offer special prayers and exchange social visits. Many communities also hold multicultural bazaars and other family activities following the prayers. Eid ul-Fitr is the first of the two major Muslim holidays. The second holiday, Eid ul-Adha, comes at the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca in November.

CAIR-WA asked that educators prepare for both holidays by not planning exams or important assignments for those days and by allowing Muslim students to make up class work before or after their absence.

"It is important that teachers and school administrators provide a positive learning environment for students of all faiths," said CAIR-WA Civil Rights Coordinator Jennifer Gist. "We hope this letter will help educators maintain high academic standards and accommodate Muslim students' constitutionally-protected religious rights." (More)

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VIDEO: CAIR CALLS NYPD-CIA MONITORING OF MUSLIMS UN-AMERICAN, ILLEGAL -TOP
Press TV 8/26/11

Reports indicate that the New York Police Department (NYPD) carries out illegal surveillance operations on Muslims in New York, with the help of the US spy agency. "It was a blanket surveillance of an entire religious minority," which is "wrong, un-American and possibly illegal," said Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman of the country's largest Muslim organization, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Press TV correspondent reported. According to a Wednesday report by the Associated Press, the NYPD has been spying on Muslim neighborhoods and monitoring mosques, using help from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and former CIA officials. (More)

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CAIR-NY: COUNCILWOMAN ATTENDS RAMADAN FAST-BREAKING AT QUEENS MOSQUE - TOP
Rebecca Henely, Your Nabe, 8/25/2011

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) and representatives from the Council of American-Islamic Relations broke the Ramadan fast with Sri Lankan Muslims Monday evening at a Jackson Heights mosque.

"It's a very special moment to be invited by the Muslim community," Ferreras said.

Sitting cross-legged on carpets covered with plastic, women on the top floor, men on the bottom floor and others outside the mosque prayed and ate as the sun set. (More)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-CA: 'UNHEARD VOICES OF 9/11' PRESS CONFERENCE, COMMUNITY FORUM -TOP

Who: Assemblymember Paul Fong, Congressman Mike Honda, Amardeep Singh of the Sikh Coalition, Nitasha Sawhney of California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs,Zahra Billoo of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Veena Dubal of the Asian Law Caucus

What: Press Conference prior to the Community Discussion on Impact of 9/11 on Muslims, Sikhs, Arabs, and South Asians in the Bay Area

Where: Courtyard of the Mountain View Senior Center
266 Escuela Ave
Mountain View, CA 94040

When: Saturday, August 27, 2011, 12:30-1:00 pm (More)

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CAIR-SAN ANTONIO HOSTS 8TH ANNUAL INTERFAITH IFTAR - TOP

(SAN ANTONIO, TX, 8/23/2011) -- The San Antonio chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Antonio) recently held its 8th Annual Interfaith Iftar at the Mamacitas Restaurant in San Antonio for followers of a number of faiths and denominations.

A brief overview was given about the month of Ramadan and fasting. In her welcoming address, CAIR-San Antonio President Sarwat Husain quoted the Quran, Islam's revealed text, and said: "Diversity has a divine purpose. God could have created us all the same if he chose to, but in His infinite wisdom he created us as people of different ethnicities, races, and beliefs in order that we get to know each other, and compete in doing good." (Quran 49:13, 2:148) (More)

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OR: SUSPECT IN CORVALLIS MOSQUE FIREBOMBING WILL REMAIN IN JAIL - TOP
Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive, 8/25/2011

Cody J. Crawford, who raised investigators suspicions just hours after someonefirebombed a Corvallis mosque Nov. 28, shuffled into federal court Thursday, accused of a hate crime for allegedly setting a religious property on fire.

Oregon's U.S. Attorney Dwight C. Holton had stood outside the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis nine months ago, amid the smoldering remains of the mosque's office, vowing to aggressively prosecute whoever was responsible for the pre-dawn fire. (More)

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ATHLETIC, MUSLIM, FASHIONABLE -- A TALE OF THE SPORTS HIJAB - TOP
Tala Hadavi, VOA, Montreal 8/25/2011

Female Muslim athletes who observe a strict Islamic dress code sometimes face the question of whether they will be allowed to participate in major competitions -- with their heads and most of their bodies covered. Now, one Iranian-Canadian woman is marketing a product to change that. It complies with the requirements of many major sports, and it's fashionable, safe and comfortable -- while still meeting Islamic requirements.

An Olympic hopeful faces a small obstacle

Seventeen-year-old Zeinab Hammoud has a brown belt in Taekwondo, and dreams of one day making it to the Olympics. But unlike her sister, Rana, Zeinab chooses to wear the Islamic headscarf, or hijab. (More)


- MEDIA ADVISORY -

CAIR: U.S. Muslims to Mark End of Ramadan with Prayers

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/28/11) -- On Tuesday, August 30 (Date may vary. Consult local mosques.), the Muslim community in America will celebrate the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan with communal prayers around the country. (Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset.)

The prayers mark the beginning of the Eid ul-Fitr (EED-al-FITTER), or "feast of fast breaking" holiday, in which Muslims exchange social visits and seek to strengthen community bonds. During this holiday, Muslims greet each other by saying "Eid mubarak" (EED-moo-BAR-ak), meaning "blessed Eid," and "taqabbalallah ta'atakum," or "may God accept your deeds." Many communities also hold multicultural bazaars and other family activities following the prayers.

CAIR-San Antonio: Eid is a Time for Neighbors to Come Together

Eid ul-Fitr is the first of the two major Muslim holidays. The second holiday, Eid ul-Adha, comes at the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 30 (Date may vary. Consult local mosques. Go to: http://www.islamicfinder.com/) Prayers are held early in the morning. Ask local prayer coordinators for exact dates, times and locations.

WHERE: The Eid prayers are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings.

CONTACT: Call local Muslim organizations for details about Eid celebrations. If there are no known contacts in a particular community, go to: http://www.islamicfinder.com/

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Each year, Muslims come to the prayers in colorful attire representative of different areas of the Islamic world. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.

NOTE: Because this is a religious service, reporters and photographers of both sexes should dress modestly. Some communities may ask female reporters and photographers to put a scarf over their hair while in the actual prayer area. Photographers should arrive early to get into position for the best shots. Photographers are also advised not to step directly in front of worshipers and to seek permission for close-up shots. Shots of shoes removed for prayer, and rear-angle shots of prostrating worshipers are considered clich├ęd and inappropriate.

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.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Video: CAIR-NY Rep Slams Bigotry of Anti-Park51 Activist (Fox)

CAIR ACTION ALERT #644:

Action: Contact Electrolux to Support Minn. Muslims' Ramadan Rights
Muslim employees file 2nd Ramadan accommodation complaint with the EEOC

(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 8/22/11) – For the second year in a row, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) is calling on Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux to grant legally-mandated religious accommodation to Muslim employees at its St. Cloud plant during the Ramadan fast.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE.)

Contact Electrolux President and CEO Keith R. McLoughlin to request that his company grant legally-mandated religious accommodation to its Muslim employees in Minnesota.

Email: Keith.McLoughlin@electrolux.com; tony.evans@electrolux.com; press@electrolux.com; anders.edholm@electrolux.com; christina.lindberg@electrolux.se; erik.zsiga@electrolux.se
COPY TO: info@cair.com; tislam@cair.com

In 2010, CAIR-MN assisted a Muslim employee in filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against the company after Electrolux refused to allow Muslim employees to break their Ramadan fast on time.

As a result of the 2010 complaint, the EEOC immediately mediated an agreement which allowed employees a 30-minute shifting lunch break to complete religious rituals and break their fast.

CAIR: Electrolux Agrees to Minn. Muslims' Ramadan Rights

This year, Electrolux reduced the length of the lunch break for employees, and Muslim employees no longer have sufficient time to break their fast and complete prayers after sunset. Electrolux does not permit its employees to consume food on the production floor, and scheduled breaks are the only time during which Muslim employees are able to carry out their Ramadan requirements.

Many of the Muslim employees are afraid to lose their jobs by going on the record with a complaint. All of the almost 150 Muslim employees and hundreds of other employees take their 20-minute break at the same time, thereby preventing Muslim workers from having the time and space to make ritual ablution, eat and pray. The Muslim employees tell CAIR-MN that time constraints force them to choose between eating and praying, with most choosing to pray and delay eating until after their shift ends at midnight.

Electrolux has refused to engage with employees and union stewards who oppose the new break schedule. Employees submitted a signed petition to the EEOC outlining how the new break schedule does not reasonably accommodate their religious needs. The petition was shared with Electrolux last week. CAIR-MN is now representing more than a dozen employees in filing another EEOC complaint against the company.

"It is shocking that one year later, after an EEOC-mediated resolution, Electrolux is still unwilling to provide reasonable religious accommodation to its employees," said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam. "CAIR-MN will continue to advocate for the employees and ensure that corporate arrogance does not interfere with obeying workplace religious accommodation laws."

Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. Muslims break the fast each day with food and drink immediately after sunset.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals based on their religion. Employers are also required to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of their employees or prospective employees unless an "undue hardship" would prevent them from doing so.

In 2003, a similar complaint was filed with the EEOC against Electrolux on behalf of 165 Somali Muslim workers after the company subjected them to unlawful employment discrimination denying prayer in the workplace.

That complaint was resolved after Electrolux agreed to allow Muslim employees to pray at work. The company also provided a Somali translator at specified occasions, translated policies and procedures into Somali, provided diversity training, and made donations to refugee services.

CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.

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.

THE INFORMANTS - TOP
Trevor Aaronson, Mother Jones, September/October 2011 Issue

James Cromitie was a man of bluster and bigotry. He made up wild stories about his supposed exploits, like the one about firing gas bombs into police precincts using a flare gun, and he ranted about Jews. "The worst brother in the whole Islamic world is better than 10 billion Yahudi," he once said.

A 45-year-old Walmart stocker who'd adopted the name Abdul Rahman after converting to Islam during a prison stint for selling cocaine, Cromitie had lots of worries--convincing his wife he wasn't sleeping around, keeping up with the rent, finding a decent job despite his felony record. But he dreamed of making his mark. He confided as much in a middle-aged Pakistani he knew as Maqsood. (More)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: LOCKED UP ABROAD -- FOR THE FBI - TOP
Nick Baumann, Mother Jones, September/October 2011 Issue

When Gulet Mohamed finally returned home on a chilly Virginia morning in January, the 19-year-old from Fairfax was wearing the same outfit he had on when he disappeared a month earlier in Kuwait. Clad in a fleece hat and a gray Real Madrid sweatshirt, the straggly-bearded, wide-eyed teenager stepped out of arrivals at Dulles Airport and into a phalanx of television cameras. He wore a bewildered smile--as if he was still unsure of what had happened to him but was just grateful it was over.

For more than a year, Mohamed had been living in Kuwait City with an uncle. (More)

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FBI USES IMMIGRATION PROBLEMS TO RECRUIT MOSQUE INFORMANTS - TOP
NPR, 8/21/11

In today's post 9/11 America, there are 15,000 informants working with the FBI. That's nearly three times as many as there were 25 years ago.
Over the years, when there has been a surge in the number of informants the FBI recruits and uses, there's a specific target in the FBI's sights -- first organized crime, then drug smuggling, and now counterterrorism. (More)

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IOWA SIKH SAYS FBI TOLD HIM TO SPY ON MOSQUES - TOP
First Post, 8/19/11

Singh is sikh, and after he was arrested, he was allegedly approached by federal agents. "It was right after 9/11 and he was approached and they said, 'We are looking for people who look like you in the War against Terror,'" according to attorney Said. "They created this persona for him, gave him checkbooks and checking accounts and they said, 'Go to these mosques and claim to be Muslim, and pray, and give them money so we can trace the money." (More)

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ATTORNEY WHO REFUSED TO BETRAY MUSLIM SPEAKS ON CIVIL LIBERTIES - TOP
Arab American News, 8/21/11

The attorney-client privilege assuring confidentiality between the two parties is one of the most cherished rights of the American law system, but according to internationally recognized lawyer, author and professor Francis A. Boyle of the the University of Illinois-Champaign, government agents violated that privilege in a jarring summer 2004 visit.

Speaking to The Arab American News, Boyle confirmed recent reports that he was visited by two agents from a joint FBI-CIA anti-terrorist fusion center located about a 90-minute drive away in Springfield, Ill. in his office in Champaign, who attempted to persuade him to become an informant on his Arab American and American Muslim clients. (More)

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TN: PANEL SET TO DISCUSS SHARIA LAW TONIGHT - TOP
Daily News Journal, 8/22/11

ASHVILLE -- A discussion of the potential application of Islamic law in the United States, and proposals to limit or prevent that possibility, will be held at 7:30 p.m. today at the First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave. S., Nashville.

Earlier this year, at least 13 states -- including Tennessee -- had legislative measures filed that would bar judges from considering Sharia law in legal decisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. (More)

SEE ALSO:

ISLAM IN THE BIBLE BELT - TOP
Murfreesboro Post, 8/21/11

Islam in Middle Tennessee is being cussed and discussed, but do we really understand what we're saying?

To make things clearer for the news media, and, ultimately, for the public, the MTSU School of Journalism will sponsor "Covering Islam in the Bible Belt," a conference for journalists, Aug. 21-23 at the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, 1201 Eighth Ave. S. in Nashville.

Its purpose is to help journalists who report on issues involving Muslims with access to experts and resources they can use to give their work new breadth and depth. (More)

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A RAMADAN STORY OF TWO FAITHS BOUND IN FRIENDSHIP - TOP
NPR, 8/21/11

It's Ramadan, the month-long holiday when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk as a way to cleanse the soul and reflect on their relationship with God. The faithful usually flock to their local mosques for prayer during the holiday, but last year, the Muslims of Cordova, Tenn., just outside Memphis, didn't have a place to go.

That's when Pastor Steve Stone put an unusual sign outside his church.

"It said, 'Welcome to the neighborhood, Memphis Islamic Center,'" he laughs. "It's been seen all over the world, now." (More)

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MORMON, MUSLIM TEENS TEAM UP FOR FOOD DRIVE - TOP
Deseret News, 8/21/11

LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- Teenagers from the Mission Viejo and Santa Margarita, Calif., stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and from the Islamic Shura Council joined together on Aug. 13 for a food drive to benefit local families, collecting an estimated 5,300 pounds of food.

The food was delivered to South County Outreach, which serves families in the California cities of Irvine through San Clemente. Three years ago, SCO served 33,000 people, and this year the organization is on track to help nearly double that amount. (More)

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LATINO AND MUSLIM: A GROWING MINORITY - TOP
The Venture, 8/22/11

Latino and Muslim are two words that come charged with various sentiments in American society. Being a Latino Muslim comes with the challenge of facing both religious and ethnic ostracism.

Juan Alvarado was raised Catholic by his Dominican parents but converted to Islam at the end of his college years.

"My father was the one that didn't like the idea," Alvarado said.

Alvarado, one of the first in his family to go to college, felt a new sense of independence when he came back home. (More)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

LESSONS OF RAMADAN AND 9/11 (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER) - TOP
Moein M. Khawaja, Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/18/11

This season brings a confluence of two important events for me as an American Muslim, one spiritual, one civic. Ramadan, which coincides with August this year, is the sacred month when Muslims believe God revealed the text of the holy Quran to the prophet Mohammed. And Sept. 11 is the day when my country was attacked as never before, as well as when my faith was tarnished as never before.

Many Muslims would cringe at juxtaposing Ramadan and 9/11. Yet both the holy month and the coming 10th anniversary of 9/11 call on our higher senses of humanity and citizenship.

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, sensual pleasures, and vain talk during the daylight hours, focusing on charity, sacrifice, self-discipline, and introspection. Rather than using our free will to pursue whatever animal instincts appeal to our lower minds, Muslims believe we can reach our highest potential by disciplining and ultimately elevating our minds and bodies.

The burn of hunger, giving one's money to others, and performing extra prayers can be painful, and the temptation to go the easy road is always there. But by taking the hard road, I hope to end up with a healthier body, better relationships, and ultimately a satisfied conscience. (More)

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CAIR: CINCINNATI MUSLIMS PROVIDE SCHOOL SUPPLIES FOR LOW INCOME STUDENTS - TOP

(CINCINNATI, OH, 8/18/11) -- The Cincinnati office of Council on American-Islamic Relations-Ohio (CAIR-OH) yesterday delivered school supplies to several hundred students at a local elementary school through a national "School Supplies for Students" effort.

"School Supplies for Students," is part of the national "Muslims Care" project that will benefit the 450 students attending Hays-Porter Elementary School in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood by providing school supplies for the whole year. (More)

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CAIR-LA REP TO TAKE PART IN RELEASE OF HATE CRIMES REPORT - TOP
Matt Coker, OC Weekly, 8/18/11

The Orange County Human Relations Commission this morning unveils a 2010 Hate Crime Report that shows African-Americans were victims of one-third of such crimes reported in the region last year. ...

The 2010 report will be released to the press at 10 a.m. today in downtown Santa Ana.

Besides Kennedy, experts helping to break down the data will be Commissioner Ken Inouye; Ed Thomas of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine; Kevin O'Grady, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of Orange County/Long Beach; Ameena Qazi, deputy executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations; and Ginger Hahn, executive director of The Center OC. (More)

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VIDEO: MUSLIMS CALLED 'ENEMY' AT HEARING ON MINN. ISLAMIC CENTER - TOP

Watch the video.

PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) -- An Islamic Community Center is one step closer to moving into a Plymouth neighborhood, but not everyone in town is happy about it.

A downtown Plymouth post office doesn't use most of the space in their building and it's for sale. So, the Northwest Islamic Community Center made an offer to buy it.

That move brought a rare crowd into the Plymouth Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night.

It's because the Islamic group would like to share the building with the post office, leasing it back for rent, which means prayer services and postal services would be in the same building.

During a public hearing on whether the building should be used for religious purposes, citizens sent strong messages -- on both sides.

"Aiding the enemy is treason," said one man opposed to the center. (More)

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CAIR: FROM THE COMMENTS SECTION: EVERYONE HATES MUSLIMS EDITION - TOP
Rich Abdill, Miami New Times, 8/18/11

Sure, the Tea Party may be economically illiterate and prone to asking stupid questions of important people, but if its pols are booted out of office in 2012, it won't be because of poor communication. Those online commenters are really on their collective game. They hunt in packs, like wolves, or really patriotic bees.

We published the letter Tuesday that Congressman Allen West sent to the Center on American-Islamic Relations. We suggested that his letter -- which said nothing but "NUTS!" -- was kind of a stupid way to respond to a group trying to stand up for your constituents' civil liberties.

But the civil liberties of American citizens seem to matter to West and his supporters only if they're being meted out to Christians -- you know, the good Americans. They say the government should stay the hell out of Americans' business, unless you're gay or Muslim or a woman, in which case you get the classic Allen West "[expletive] you, I was in the Army" treatment.

West supporters love this treatment, and their defense of him this week was both steadfast and loyal, which is coincidentally the same phrase West uses at the end of all his [expletive] letters. His letter was well-timed, though: He was labeled a "tea party traitor" for his support of the debt ceiling compromise (an entirely different stupid story), and there isn't any better way to mend Tea Party fences than to break out some good old-fashioned prejudice.

Here are some of the more spectacular comments from his Internet defenders, annotated for maximum truthiness:

West has transformed himself into a "G.I. Joe Goes To Congress" caricature, and the people who are wholeheartedly swooning over it seem to be excited just because someone in power holds the same prejudices they do. (More)

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DESPITE ECONOMY, U.S. MUSLIMS GIVE GENEROUSLY TO DROUGHT VICTIMS - TOP

(Washington, D.C. 8/17/11) American Muslims are donating in record numbers to the current crisis in East Africa, in spite of an overall decline in charitable giving among US donors over the last several years*. Islamic Relief USA has received record online donations this Ramadan, the ninth month of Muslim calendar when Muslims fast and give to charitable causes, with most donors giving overwhelmingly to the East Africa Crisis appeal. ...

Offline, community leaders and imams are galvanizing their local communities to host fundraising events for East Africa. At one fundraiser in Anaheim, Calif., donations to IRUSA’s East Africa Crisis Appeal garnered $600,000 in one night, with hip hop star Lupe Fiasco donating $50,000 for the cause.

"Muslim American donors have time and time again responded to humanitarian appeals of this nature in droves," said Abed Ayoub, CEO of IRUSA. "We have witnessed this with Pakistan’s floods of 2010, Haiti’s earthquake in 2010 and the disasters following the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. Now we are receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from the community eager to help alleviate the famine in East Africa." (More)

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CAIR: ANTI-SHARIA BILL LEADS TO PROTESTS IN DETROIT - TOP
Vanessa Evans, Yahoo! Contributor Network, 8/17/11

The anti-Sharia movement has landed in Michigan. A bill sponsored by Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, would prohibit state courts from using what are being termed "foreign laws" in their cases. While the bill does not specifically cite Islamic law, otherwise known as Sharia, Agema has admitted that those strictures would fall under the banner of "foreign" being legislated in his proposal.

A scheduled protest against the bill, involving prominent Muslim leadership and groups such as the NAACP, was held in Detroit on Tuesday.

Rep. Agema's bill may be the first of its kind in Michigan, but it is one of many such laws currently being sponsored and debated across the United States. The bill has garnered much criticism since its introduction for its perceived racial and religious undertones and has been charged with being a tool for future discrimination, all of which Agema has denied. ...

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations are leading the charge to defeat anti-Sharia bills before they are implemented, and to legally challenge the ones, like the Oklahoma constitutional amendment, that have already been implemented. (More)

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CAIR-MI: CRITICS DENOUNCE 'FOREIGN LAWS' BILL - TOP
United Press International, 8/17/11

DETROIT, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Opponents criticized as discriminatory a measure that would forbid Michigan courts to consider "foreign laws," including Shariah, or Muslim law.

"This plan goes against our country's core values of accepting people from all races and walks of life," state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, a Muslim, said as she joined other opponents in Detroit Tuesday. ...

On Tuesday, the Michigan chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations said it would sue if the measure becomes law. (More)

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FOR MUSLIM WOMEN, WEARING A VEIL ISN'T OPPRESSION - TOP
M. Imran Hayee, Star Tribune, 8/17/11

'It's a scorching day, aren't you feeling warm in this?"

These polite words touched our ears when my wife and I entered the grocery store on one of the few hot summer days in Duluth. My wife was wearing a head scarf and a loose outer garment over her regular clothes.

By far, she was well overdressed for the weather.

A pleasant conversation followed between my wife and the polite enquirer, leaving behind a fundamental question echoing in our minds. What makes us choose our dress? (More)