Saturday, May 12, 2012

"God will never change the condition of a people until they change that which is within themselves."
The Holy Quran, 13:11
By Kevin Riggs, NBC Los Angeles, 5/7/12
It's a first for California, not just in an election year, but for any year.
The first annual "Muslim Day at the Capitol", held Monday, looked on the surface like any other group's lobbying day.
Briefings on issues, followed by meetings with lawmakers. But given post 9/11 politics, it's much more.
CAIR-CA, the Council on American-Islamic Relations California chapter, organized Monday's lobbying event to discuss issues like immigration and civil rights.
"It is important that members of our community engage with state lawmakers and fully participate in setting the course for a stronger California," said CAIR-CA Board Chairman Masoud Nassimi in a statement.
The subtext is that California Muslims are trying to defuse anti-Muslim rhetoric and bias that has resulted at times in attacks and vandalism of mosques. In a presidential election year, Muslims have felt targeted by candidates who they say draw little distinction between them and radical Islamists in pandering to conservative voters. (More)
Chad Selweski, The Macomb Daily, 5/3/12
The Romeo Area Tea Party is among the groups supporting a rally next Thursday in Lansing to call for a ban on Sharia law, the legal code of Islam, in Michigan.
State Rep. Dave Agema, a Grand Rapids area Republican, is the sponsor of legislation to reaffirm the "primacy" of the U.S. Constitution and to prevent the application of foreign laws in Michigan courts. The invitation says the rally provides "Michigan patriots" with the opportunity to show their support and to lobby their legislators. Similar laws have been debated -- and, in a few cases, passed -- in two dozen states.
So far, critics have responded with a simple question: When has a judge in the U.S., at any level of the judiciary, ever attempted to impose Sharia Law? But now a national Islamic group is going on the offensive by launching a multi-million dollar effort to explain how Sharia applies to the lives of American Muslims, according to the Huffington Post.
The New York-based Islamic Circle of North America is unveiling a $3 million "Defending Religious Freedom" campaign on Monday. The goal is to rely upon a website and a toll-free call line to explain Sharia law and common misunderstandings. ...
In Michigan, The Allegan County News reported yesterday that Rep. Agema has filed suit in federal court against the city of Allegan and the Allegan Public Schools after an anti-Sharia event hosted by the legislator was shut down.
Kamal Saleem, who claims to be a former anti-American terrorist, was the keynote speaker at the January event at Allegan High School. Saleem was there to speak about the importance of American constitutional law and the danger of Islamic Shariah law entering U.S. courts, according to the News.
About 30 minutes into the speech, Allegan school officials shut down the event and cited security concerns of local police.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was named in the Agema suit, has called Saleem a "fraud" and said he has no evidence that he was ever a member of a terrorist group.
Agema is being represented by the Thomas More Law Center. One of the center’s most prominent attorneys, former Oakland County prosecutor Dick Thompson, will be one of the speakers at the Lansing rally next week. (More)
Authorities are looking for whoever vandalized a sign outside a mosque in Marshall.
The vandalism happened in late April at the Islamic Center of Marshall, where a sign was defaced with orange spray paint.
The executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations Minnesota (CAIR-MN) says the organization takes vandalism of a worship place very seriously.
"We've seen nationwide that what starts as graffiti on a sign escalates into harassment of worshippers, assault and even arson," said A. Lori Saroya.
Watch the video.
Keith Rushing, Rights Working Group, 202.591.3305.
Nasreen Hosein, South Asian Americans Leading Together, 301.270.1855
Sandhya Bathija, American Civil Liberties Union, 202.675.2312
Ibrahim Hooper, Council on American-Islamic Relations, 202.744.7726
Kate Casa, National Network for Arab American Communities, 313.842.5119
Amardeep Singh, Sikh Coalition, 212.655.3095
May 7, 2012, Washington, D.C. -- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), Rights Working Group, Sikh Coalition, and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) express serious disappointment regarding the Obama administration’s announcement last month that it will not fully terminate the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which, in the aftermath of September 11th, required certain nonimmigrant men from predominantly Muslim nations to register with the federal government. In addition, the administration has indicated that it will not provide redress to all people impacted by the discriminatory program.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum about individuals impacted by the notorious NSEERS program. NSEERS was a counterproductive response to September 11th requiring certain non-immigrants to register at ports of entry and local immigration offices. Those required to register were from predominantly Arab, South Asian, or Muslim countries. The specifics of NSEERS revealed it to be a clear example of discriminatory and arbitrary profiling. The Obama administration has itself found that NSEERS "does not provide any increase in security." DHS’ own Office of Inspector General has called for the full termination of NSEERS. In April 2011, DHS modified the program by "delisting" the countries whose nationals were subject to registration requirements, yet individuals still face harsh immigration consequences resulting from the program, including deportation and denial of immigration benefits for which they are otherwise eligible. (More)
OnIslam & News Agencies, 5/7/12
DHAKA -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied Sunday, May 6, that her country was targeting Muslims and their faith, describing the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as "self-defense".
"That hurts me so much," Clinton said in an answer to a student at a Bangladeshi public forum about perceptions that the United States was against Islam, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
"It's a painful perception to hear about and I deeply regret that anyone believes that or propagates it." ...
A recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California said that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A recent Gallup poll, however, found 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least "a little" prejudice against Muslims. (More)

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