Monday, April 30, 2012

Have you ever considered (the kind of person) who denies the judgment (to come)? It is (the person) who drives away the orphan with harshness and feels no urge to feed the needy.”
The Holy Quran, 107:1-3
(NEW YORK, NY, 4/16/12) -- On Tuesday, April 17, a representative of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) will join city officials and immigrant rights leaders at an 11 a.m. news conference on the steps of City Hall (across from 250 Broadway, between Murray St and Park Place) to highlight the New York Immigration Coalition's top city budget and policy priorities this year.
Speakers will emphasize the need to protect funding for programs, including ESL, adult literacy and legal services; to expand support for Family Resource Centers, school-community partnerships that promote immigrant parent engagement; and to ensure accountability and oversight of NYPD surveillance programs, among other priorities. (More)
Hassan Shibly, Tampa Bay Times, 4/16/12
I was touched by the unity and resolve displayed by our Tampa community at last week's Hillsborough County School Board meeting, when many diverse community leaders spoke out against bigotry and censorship and in support of an inclusive guest speaker policy.
For the past few months, protesters representing only a small segment of public opinion used the School Board meetings to promote conspiracy theories and false allegations against Islam and Muslims.
Their fear of Muslims and serious misinformation about Islam led them to push for a policy censoring all advocacy groups from visiting our public schools to speak on relevant topics the students are studying. When asked on camera, protesters like Terry Kemple claimed that their problem was only with America's largest Muslim civil rights group, not with all Muslims.
However, at least half of the statements made by Kemple and his supporters were attacks on the entire Muslim faith and people, not any particular Muslim group. Even worse, I felt they were really attacking the American principles of pluralism and freedom of religion. These are the principles I have taken an oath to protect and are the reasons why my family chose to immigrate to America from Syria.
But on Tuesday we saw an outpouring of diverse supporters who asked the School Board not to give in to anti-Muslim prejudices. The supporters represented many faiths, organizations and ethnicities.
The Hillsborough County School Board refused to give in to fearmongering. Our success sends a strong message that we in Tampa will not allow ignorance, fear and misunderstanding to divide us.
My only wish now is that those who fear us would come and get to know us. We are one community, and we must stand united despite our differences to foster an environment where all people can live free without fear, prejudice and hatred.
Hassan ShiblyCAIR Florida, Tampa
Deepti Hajela, Associated Press, 4/16/12
NEW YORK -- The Associated Press won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting Monday for documenting the New York Police Department's spying on Muslims ... (More)

Billy Hallowell, The Blaze, 4/16/12
A new poll indicating that American Jews may have distrust and suspicion for evangelicals is raising eyebrows. The study, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, has some startling findings, especially considering the fact that many Jews and Christians have been working together for some time now in support of the Israeli state.
The Jewish Forward has more about the poll's results:
Only one in five Jewish Americans holds favorable views of those aligned with the Christian right, a category that includes most of Israel's evangelical supporters. [...]
The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and published April 3, asked Jewish respondents to rate the favorability of several religious groups. Mormons received a 47% favorability rating, Muslims 41.4%; the group described as "Christian Right" was viewed in favorable terms by only 20.9% of Jewish Americans. In contrast, the general American population, as shown by other polling data, views evangelicals more favorably than Muslims and Mormons. (More)
Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress, 4/16/12
More than twenty state legislatures are considering bills that ostensibly prohibit judges from following foreign law, but which are actually part of a nationwide Islamophobic campaign to combat the nonexistent problem of American courts relying on Sharia law. As the Topeka Capital-Journal explains, however, this effort has been much less effective in convincing Kansas lawmakers' actual constituents to support an anti-Muslim bill than it has been in simply harassing those lawmakers with out-of-state emails:
"I had a large number of emails -- like in the thousands -- during the last couple weeks of session (before the current break)," said Sen. Jeff King, R-Independence.
King said he had to instruct his assistant to funnel them into a separate folder and further separate the emails that actually came from his constituents, which he said narrowed the number to "dozens."
Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, recently said his inbox also was full of anti-Sharia emails, most of them from out-of-state.
It's really no surprise that there aren't many actual Kansans worried about the threat of creeping Sharia. As ThinkProgress previously explained, a judge is about as likely to replace American law with "the laws of ancient Rome or the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons second edition rules" as they are to suddenly decide to embrace Sharia law. (More)
NPR, 4/16/12
Sadakat Kadri is an English barrister, a Muslim by birth and a historian. His first book, The Trial, was an extensive survey of the Western criminal judicial system, detailing more than 4,000 years of courtroom antics.
In his new book, Heaven on Earth, Kadri turns his sights east, to centuries of Shariah law. The first parts of his book describe how early Islamic scholars codified -- and then modified -- the code that would govern how people lead their daily lives. Kadri then turns to the modern day, reflecting on the lawmakers who are trying to prohibit Shariah law in a dozen states, as well as his encounters with scholars and imams in India, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey and Iran -- the very people who strictly interpret the religious and moral code of Islam today. And some of those modern interpretations, he says, are much more rigid -- and much more draconian -- than the code set forth during the early years of Islamic law.
Islamic law is shaped by hadiths, or reports about what Prophet Muhammad said and did. The hadiths, says Kadri, govern how Muslims should pray, treat criminals and create medications, among other things. (More)

Keith Morelli, The Tampa Tribune, 4/16/12
TAMPA -- As many as 3,000 people are expected at Riverfront Park off North Boulevard today, collecting clothes, shoes, food and getting medical checkups, all for free.
The Islamic Charity Festival, which marked its 15th year, has been growing every year, said chairman and event co-founder Husain Nagamia.
Indigent and homeless people stood in what were long lines by noon, waiting their turns to get new shoes or second-hand clothes. Free bottles of water were being handed out under the bright Florida sun, and the aroma of barbecue teased everyone downwind of the smoker.
Children slid down a huge inflatable slide and bounded in a bounce house. Many – if not all – had signed up for a drawing in which 125 brand new bicycles were to be given away. (More)
James Warden,, 4/16/12
When Fartun Weli and other Somali women approached Shepherd of the Hills about using the Edina church for an after-school program, Senior Pastor Scott Searl was happy to open the doors to them and Weli was happy to accept.
But many in the Somali community remained suspicious of their Christian neighbors. The other women with Weli were scared to have the program in a church and one of them even ran away, she said. The church's follow-up offer to use space in a separate building didn't change their minds because the Muslim women worried about the Christian symbols inside.
Weli wasn't deterred, though. The Hopkins resident apologized for the others' response--but boldly asked Searl if the church had office space she could use in her role as executive director for The Isuroon Project.
Since that time six or seven months ago, Weli has been using space donated by Shepherd of the Hills for her work with the Somali women's health program. On Sunday, she stood before the congregation to talk about interfaith cooperation.
"I said, 'Look, we're not that different--meaning Christians and Muslims. We care about the old, the sick, the poor, our neighbors,'" she recalled. "Everybody wants to love and be respected and be comfortable in their homes." (More)
Kevin Roose, New York Times, 4/16/12
NAIEL IQBAL'S co-workers couldn't figure him out.
He'd just started at a Midtown Manhattan hedge fund -- the kind of elite enclave where overachievers in button-downs go to make a few hundred grand before heading off to Harvard Business School. But Mr. Iqbal, 27, a graduate of the Wharton School, wasn't acting like a typical finance guy. He didn't introduce himself around the office. Nor did he grab lunch with the other traders.
In fact, he didn't eat at all. Or drink. Not coffee, not soda, not even a sip of water from a Nalgene bottle on his desk. All day, he just sat there, staring into his Bloomberg terminal. Was he sick? Nervous? A modern Bartleby?
None of the above: It was Ramadan, and Mr. Iqbal, a Muslim, was exhausted from fasting daily till sundown.
"I'm actually a huge foodie," he recalls with a laugh. "When Ramadan ended, I was, like: 'Guys, let's go to this restaurant! Let's go to that one!' Nobody had seen that side of me."
Mr. Iqbal -- who doesn't drink or smoke -- is among a growing number of young Muslims who are disrupting Wall Street's old-boy culture. Seen from a certain angle, the Street can still look like a monolith -- a cohort of white males with Ivy League degrees and Roman numerals attached to their names. (This is especially true the higher you look; there are, for example, no black, female or openly gay chief executives at the nation's largest banks.)
But as the Street adapts to greater regulation, lower profits and tighter costs, it is also experiencing change within its ranks. Among entry-level financiers, especially, a years-long recruiting effort at major banks has resulted in a diverse group of aspiring Masters of the Universe. (More

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