Saturday, March 24, 2012

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HADITH OF THE DAY: HUMILITY PREVENTS OPPRESSION - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "(God) has revealed to me that you should adopt humility so that no one oppresses another."

Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 1589

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FLORIDA MUSLIMS COULD BE PIVOTAL IN 2012 ELECTION - TOP
Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel, 3/18/125

Muslims have the potential to play a pivotal role in the 2012 election as Islamophobia and immigration issues galvanize the minority group into a voting bloc, according to a forum Sunday at the University of Central Florida.

Florida has an estimated 124,000 registered Muslim voters, and Orange and Osceola counties rank high in registered Muslim voters, said Daniel Hummel, a research associate with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, based in Washington, D.C. In the swing state of Florida, Muslims helped elect George Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008.

"If they vote as a bloc, they can have a huge influence on the election," Hummel said. (More)

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NJ: MUSLIMS URGED TO TAKE GREATER ROLE IN CIVIC LIFE - TOP
Scott Fallon, NorthJersey.com, 3/18/12

TEANECK -- North Jersey Muslim leaders called upon their community Sunday to become more civically engaged, starting with the simple act of voting, continuing with participation in secular community groups and eventually running for office.

At one of the biggest meetings of the faith in New Jersey since the New York police surveillance was exposed, the conversation at the 15th annual American Muslim Union's Community Brunch focused on ways to combat such police practices through active participation at every level of government.

"Today we live in a world of Islamophobia," Mohamed Younes, president of the AMU, told an audience of 400 Muslims and government officials. "It is only when we as Muslims have a voice in the government that we can make sure our rights are protected."

The event brought together Muslims of all backgrounds, Arabs, Asians, Africans and more to the Marriott at Glenpointe. Some men wore traditional robes while others wore suits. Some women covered their hair with hijabs while others let their locks flow freely.

The message, though, was unified: More Muslims need to integrate themselves into every facet of American society, even if they feel like they are being pushed out. Public demonstrations and other acts of outrage can only go so far. "If you don't get involved, guess what? You're not going to get ahead," said Hassaan Arshad, of Closter, a Pakistani native who has voted in almost every election since becoming a U.S. citizen. (More)

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DC: MUSLIM, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS TO ADDRESS FBI ENTRAPMENT, PREEMPTIVE PROSECUTION - TOP
Latest case deals with arrest of Muslim one day before he was to participate in press conference

Washington D.C. - March 19, 2012 - On Tuesday, March 20, the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF) will hold a 10 a.m. press conference on "Preemptive Prosecution" in the Bloomberg Room of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Participants in the news conference will provide details about how, on the pretext of an old gun violation, the FBI abruptly arrested Kalifah Al-Akili the day before he was to participate in a press conference detailing what he charges are efforts to entrap him into some kind of terrorist-type activity and for introducing into his life a dangerous character linked to fraud and murder.

Al-Akili, 34, is an online merchant who teaches religious classes for Somali refugees. He says he had received visits from FBI agents as well as persons he suspects of being covert FBI informants as far back as 2005. Al-Akili said his annoyance turned to fear for himself and his family when he learned that one of the provocateurs is Shahed Hussain who prior to working for the FBI had been arrested on charges of murder in Pakistan and convicted of fraud in the U.S. A personal friend of Al-Akili confirms that pictures of Hussain match a man he had seen pestering Al-Akili.

BACKGROUND: Google Search Tips Off Target of FBI Probe (Times Union)

Hussain has been profiled in Mother Jones magazine for his role as informant in the Newburgh Four case in which US District Judge Colleen McMahon said the FBI "created acts of terrorism out of [a defendant's] fantasies of bravado and bigotry, and then made those fantasies come true."

Timeline: The Making of an FBI Superinformant

At Tuesday's press conference, attorney Stephen F. Downs, Executive Director of NCPCF, will provide details of Al-Akili's case and how it fits into the pattern of pre-emptive prosecutions in which the government has engaged mainly against Muslim targets.

Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, will give a briefing on the general problem of entrapment.

Nadhira Al-Khalili, legal counsel for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), will discuss a pattern of similar reports received by her organization.

NCPCF spokesman Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad emphasized that such cases demonstrate how zealotry in the war against terrorism puts us on a slippery slope that threatens all our civil freedoms.

CONTACT: Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D. (301) 907-0947, ahmad@minaret.org, media@civilfreedoms.org

The National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms is a coalition of national and local organizations, whose mission is to educate the public about the erosion of civil and political freedoms in our society.

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CAIR: MEET THE RIGHT'S FAVORITE MUSLIM ACTIVIST
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Adam Serwer, Mother Jones, 3/19/12

In early March, members of a Muslim group gathered for a press conference at Manhattan's One Police Plaza to send a clear message to the New York City Police Department about its controversial surveillance program targeting Muslim Americans.

That message was: Thanks for spying on us.

"We are not here to criticize the NYPD," declared Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), who was joined by House Homeland Security chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), "but rather to thank them for doing the work that we as Muslims should be doing, which is monitoring extremism, following extremism, and helping counter the ideologies that create radicalization in our communities."

Jasser later said in an interview that he wanted to provide an alternative voice to the criticism of the NYPD coming from Muslim and civil liberties groups. "We just wanted the media reports to finally show balance, that there's diversity, that some Muslims don't have a problem with this." Several news reports described attendance at the event as light.

An Arizona physician and Navy veteran, Jasser has lately become the right's go-to guy when it comes to providing cover for policies or positions that many Muslim Americans contend are discriminatory. When controversy over the so-called Ground Zero mosque erupted, Jasser, a frequent guest on Fox News, accused the builders of trying to "diminish what happened" on September 11, 2001. He has supported statewide bans on Shariah law in American courts and has helped bolster conservative warnings that American Muslims seek to replace the Constitution with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. "America is at war with theocratic Muslim despots who seek the imposition of Shariah and don't believe in the equality of all before the law, blind to faith," Jasser testified during hearings held by King's committee last year on homegrown terrorism. There he also supported conservative allegations that many American Muslim organizations--and particularly the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)--are Islamists seeking to "advance political Islam in the West." Jasser sometimes refers to other Muslim organizations as "Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups."

Many American Muslim groups, meanwhile, view Jasser as a reliable apologist for Republicans and anti-Muslim figures--one with little grassroots support in the American Muslim community. "He actually plays into the whole narrative that comes from the Islamophobia industry--that it's not the extremists that are the problem, or Al Qaeda that's the problem," says Haris Tarin, director of the Washington, DC, office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. "Mr. Jasser says that the Muslim American community, its institutions, and establishments are the problem. He might bring up some issues that are valid in terms of reform, but his approach is throwing the whole community under the bus."

That assessment is shared by Jasser's father-in-law, Dr. Ahmad Banna, who is the president of the Cleveland, Ohio chapter of CAIR--one of Jasser's prime targets. "He thinks he's speaking the truth, but he's really attacking everybody," Banna says. Jasser has been especially critical of CAIR for accepting donations from foreign sources. (More)

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CAIR: GROUPS SEND LETTER TO AG HOLDER SEEKING PROBE NYPD SURVEILLANCE -TOP
Hunter Walker, Politicker, 3/19/12

A group of 110 advocacy and activist organizations teamed together to send a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today asking him to investigate whether the NYPD violated the constitutional rights of American Muslims with its widespread Muslim surveillance program. Signatories of the letter included; the New York Chapter of the NAACP, Occupy Wall Street, Muslim Advocates, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and the Muslim Bar Associations of New York, D.C., Florida, Southern California and Chicago.

"The NYPD appears to have targeted individuals and communities for surveillance based upon nothing more than their faith. Such measures are just the latest manifestation of the NYPD's discriminatory practices against racial, religious, and ethnic minorities," the letter said. "In light of the breadth of information now available, we strongly urge the Department of Justice to commence a prompt investigation into NYPD surveillance of Muslims in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, including determining whether potentially unlawful surveillance continues."

The NYPD Muslim surveillance program gained widespread attention following the publication of a series of articles in the Associated Press. In the letter to Mr. Holder, the signatories also criticized the department for airing a controversial allegedly Islamophobic film, "The Third Jihad," which featured an interview with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. (More)

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CAIR-CA: LEADERS CALL FOR TRANSPARENCY IN SFPD-FBI COLLABORATION
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Zaineb Mohammed, New America Media, 3/19/12

SAN FRANCISCO - Arab American, Muslim and South Asian community leaders are urging Mayor Ed Lee to approve an ordinance that they believe could re-establish trust between their communities and the San Francisco Police Department.

Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors narrowly passed the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance, intended to prevent civil rights abuses in SFPD-FBI collaboration. The measure, proposed by Supervisor Jane Kim and supported by about 80 civil rights, legal and community groups, aims to increase transparency and restore local control over the actions of San Francisco police officers operating as members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

The ordinance is up for a final Board of Supervisors vote this week, and if it passes, it will head to the desk of Mayor Ed Lee. ...

Civil rights advocates argue that this ordinance is necessary to repair and restore trust between community members and law enforcement.

"The American Muslim community has a difficult time trusting law enforcement in light of what various agencies, most recently the NYPD, have been doing to their friends, neighbors, and religious leaders," said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in the Bay Area.

CAIR has heard complaints in San Francisco from individuals who were visited by law enforcement agents and questioned about activity that did not appear to be criminal, such as their religious and political beliefs, Billoo said. The ordinance, she said, would "build a layer of protection and accountability at the local level to ensure that San Francisco police officers aren't engaging in this problematic behavior." (More)

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CAIR-MN: ANTI-SHARIA BILL DROPPED IN MINNESOTA - TOP
Radiance Weekly, 3/18/12

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) on Mar 5 announced that a lawmaker in that state's legislature will drop a proposed "anti-Sharia" bill written using a template provided by an anti-Islam extremist. That announcement came following a news conference CAIR-MN held on Mar 5 with interfaith leaders to challenge the threat to religious freedom posed by the bill. In announcing his decision to drop the bill, Republican State Senator Dave Thompson said: "It was never my intent to introduce legislation that was being targeted to any one group." (More)

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FORMER PA. GOVS ACTING AS BOOSTERS FOR TERROR GROUP - TOP
Trudy Rubin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/19/12

PHILADELPHIA -- Give Ed Rendell a break.

Yes, the Treasury Department is investigating the speaking fees received by the former Pennsylvania governor on behalf of an Iranian exile group that's on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations. Mr. Rendell told The New York Times he had received about $150,000 for seven or eight speeches that called for taking the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, off the list (even though he clearly knew little about the organization).

But why is Treasury targeting only Mr. Rendell? There's an astonishing list of high-level former officials -- from both parties -- who've embraced the MEK cause, for which they've collected big bucks, along with trips to pro-MEK conferences in Brussels, London, Berlin and Paris.

And why have so many prominent men linked their names to an outfit with such a shady, and cultish, reputation -- a group that has killed Americans and done dirty work for Saddam Hussein?

The MEK is lobbying hard for the State Department to take it off the terrorist list. (A decision is supposed to be made by the end of March.) It has won support, on the Democratic side, from former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli and retired Gen. James Jones, President Barack Obama's first national security adviser. And of course, Mr. Rendell.

As for Republicans, boosters include former CIA directors James Woolsey (a big backer of the Iraq War) and Porter J. Goss; former FBI director Louis Freeh; former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; and President George W. Bush's first homeland security chief, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Never mind that Mr. Bush renewed the MEK's terrorist designation four times.

Add to the list a number of retired generals, along with John Bolton, foreign policy adviser to Newt Gingrich, and Mitchell Reiss, who advises Mitt Romney.

What were they all thinking?

Maybe it was the money. (More)

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ISLAMAPHOBE PAMELA GELLER TO SPEAK IN PHILLY - TOP
Daniel Denvir, City Paper, 3/16/12

Noted Islamaphobe Pamela Geller will deliver a talk next week entitled, "The March of Islamic Supremacists: Implications for America, Israel and the West and How To Stop It," hosted by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Greater Philadelphia District.

"I consider her a modern day Paulette Revere," says ZOA Philadelphia Executive Director Steve Feldman, "getting the word out about some practitioners of Islam."

Geller is the wing-nut who started the whole "Ground Zero mosque" hysteria with a post titled "Monster Mosque Pushes Ahead in Shadow of World Trade Center Islamic Death and Destruction."

"This is Islamic domination and expansionism," she wrote. "The location is no accident. Just as Al-Aqsa was built on top of the Temple in Jerusalem."

"In the war between the savage and the civilized man," Geller told the New York Times reporter who wrote her lengthy profile, "you side with the civilized man."

Is Geller anti-Muslim?

In her words: "Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth."

She went on to make a movie called "The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 911 Attacks." ...

According to the civil rights group Southern Poverty Law Center, "Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists, defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and denied the existence of Serbian concentration camps. She has taken a strong pro-Israel stance to the point of being sharply critical of Jewish liberals."

The Zionist Organization of America, for its part, has a history of being on the fringe right of the movement to defend-anything-that right-wing Israeli-governments-do movement. (More)

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GELLER DELETES OBAMA ASSASSINATION COMMENT, DOESN'T BAN COMMENTER -TOP
Charles Johnson, Little Green Footballs, 3/19/12

Today, anti-Muslim hate group leader Pamela Geller has quietly deleted the comment by "Brian_R_Allen" calling for the assassination of President Obama, with no statement about it on her blog.

But she didn't ban this hateful freak, and he promptly re-posted the comment -- with the direct advocation "Kill him" edited into something a bit less direct.

This was the comment as it appeared yesterday: (More)

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NEW YORK MAN CHARGED IN FIRE-BOMBING OF MOSQUE - TOP
By Reuters, 3/19/2012

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal and state grand juries have indicted a New York man on suspicion of hate crimes in connection with five New Year's Day Molotov cocktail attacks, including one against a mosque and another on a building used as a Hindu place of worship.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and the Queens District attorney on Monday announced their indictments separately in "parallel cases," an unusual circumstance in which state and federal charges are brought over the same incident. (More)

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THROUGH CAIR, U.S. MUSLIMS OFFER CONDOLENCES ON DEATH OF COPTIC POPE -TOP

WASHINGTON, 26 Rabi al-Thani/19 March (IINA)-A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today offered condolences on the death of Pope Shenouda III of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church. Pope Shenouda died Saturday and will be buried on Tuesday.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement: "Pope Shenouda was respected worldwide for his efforts to promote interfaith harmony and for his positive outreach to Muslims. We offer our sincere condolences to members of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church and to all those who, like Pope Shenouda, devote their lives to seeking peace, justice and reconciliation." (More)

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CAIR-CAN: THE PQ PLAYS ITS ANTI-IMMIGRANT CARD, AGAIN - TOP
Ihsaan Gardee, Montreal Gazette, 3/19/12

The Parti Québécois's recent launching of a false J'accuse at the Quebec Muslim community over halal meat epitomizes a time-tested tactic in the pursuit of political support that Hollywood and citizens alike have long lampooned.

Like the characters in Wag the Dog, a film about a Washington spin doctor who distracts the electorate from a presidential scandal by hiring a Hollywood producer to create a fake war, the PQ finds itself attempting to distract the Quebec public with seemingly parochial issues under the aegis of "values" debates while trying to avoid substantive issues of greater import.

In doing so the PQ leadership, like other politicians around the world, including Nicolas Sarkozy of France, seems to have settled upon Muslim citizens as the easily identifiable "other" when trying to shore up support among the electorate. (Side note: Even Sarkozy has now backed away from his previous position on halal meat and tried to make nice with French Muslims.)

The PQ's alarmist rhetoric over the Muslim halal methodology of ritual animal slaughter reached the absurd when the party declared that it "slams directly against Québécois values." Precisely which values it does not divulge; nor does it give any reason for singling out the Muslim method of halal slaughter vs. the very similar Jewish kosher practice.

When looking into the actual science of both halal and kosher methodologies, one finds that both are, contrary to the misinformation, in fact more humane than the standard industry practice of captive bolt pistol stunning, as demonstrated by an intensive research study at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Hanover University, Germany. (More)



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