Saturday, December 18, 2010

Study: Threat of Muslim-American terrorism in U.S. exaggerated

(CNN) -- The terrorist threat posed by radicalized Muslim- Americans has been exaggerated, according to a study released Wednesday by researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A small number of Muslim-Americans have undergone radicalization since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the study found. It compiled a list of 139 individuals it categorized as "Muslim-American terrorism offenders" who had become radicalized in the U.S. in that time -- a rate of 17 per year.

That level is "small compared to other violent crime in America, but not insignificant," according to the study, titled "Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans." (MORE)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Retired Justice Stevens defends plans for Islamic center

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens expressed support Thursday for a planned Islamic community center near the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, urging religious and ethnic tolerance.

"American Muslims should enjoy the freedom to build their places of worship wherever permitted by local zoning laws," the retired Supreme Court jurist said at a luncheon where he was honored by the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. (MORE)

Law professor: Ban on Sharia law 'a mess'

..."Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don't cry," he said. "I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn't that a precept of another culture and another nation? The result of this is that judges aren't going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin."...(MORE)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 10/31/10

Speaking to about 400 people in Livonia, President Barack Obama's envoy to the Muslim world said there is a "disturbing rise in anti-Islamic sentiment" that may be caused in part by the poor economy.

"The things you can say about Islam you can't say about any other faith," Rashad Hussain, Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said Saturday night at the annual fund-raising dinner of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a Muslim-founded think tank based in Clinton Township. "During tough economic times, groups that are seen to be the other ... the scapegoating can increase."

Hussain travels the world on behalf of the U.S. government to improve outreach to the Muslim world. Metro Detroit has a sizeable Muslim population.

Hussain said he's concerned about the increasing vitriol directed at Muslims, which he said may be due to their increasing visibility in the U.S.
It's a "reaction to a lot of progress made by Muslim communities," he said. (More)


By Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, 11/1/10

A woman in her mid-30s wearing a hijab, the traditional Muslim head covering, comes to an urgent care center complaining of leg pain. The first thing she asks: “Are there any woman doctors around?"
She declines to be alone in an exam room with a male doctor. She does not want to be touched by a man who is not a family member, even as part of a medical examination.

It's a hypothetical situation, recounted in a new paper in The Journal of Medical Ethics, but the scenario neatly summarizes some of the dilemmas confronting health care workers in hospitals serving observant Muslim patients. When the traditional health care system cannot accommodate their needs, what are doctors and nurses to do?
Dr. Aasim I. Padela, an emergency room physician at the University of Michigan, has some ideas. In the new paper, published on Monday, he explains the basic tenets of Islamic medical ethics, with recommendations about accommodating Muslim sensitivities within the health care system. (More)

Monday, November 1, 2010



By Frankie Martin, Washington Post, 10/28/10

The dismissal of Juan Williams' from NPR once again exposes the difficulty America is having discussing Islam in a cool or rational manner. Williams' exchange with Bill O'Reilly featured much of the usual ignorance, with both agreeing that, although undefined "good Muslims" do exist, all Muslims must be considered potential soldiers in an Islamic war against America. This ludicrous belief is not only a distortion of reality, but also poses a serious threat to the well-being and security of the United States. In adopting this position, Williams and O'Reilly were reflecting the climate of hatred against Muslims that is fueled by prejudice and lack of knowledge.

The controversy comes in the context of the conflict around the Islamic center near Ground Zero, Pastor Terry Jones' desire to burn the Quran, a growing belief that sharia law is being imposed on America by Muslims, and increasing attacks on mosques in the United States. The interminable wars in Muslim countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the upcoming midterm elections, in which campaigns have employed heavy doses of anti-Muslim bile, also contribute to the darkening storm.

Today's high anti-Muslim antipathy is the latest wave of xenophobia in a nation that has seen many, especially when a threat was perceived to the country. While current anti-Islamic voices, like the hatemongers of previous eras, frequently attempt to co-opt the Founding Fathers' ideals to support their agenda, there can be no reconciling the vision of a pluralistic nation with the spewing of hate against a particular ethnic or religious group, in this case Muslims. While the debate stirred by these hateful voices is on one level about Islam and how to depict and understand it, it is also about the very definition of American identity.

Much of this bigotry and misinformation can be traced directly to what I am calling the infrastructure of hate, an industry which connects venomous anti-Islamic blogs, wealthy donors, powerful think tanks, and influential media commentators, journalists, and politicians. The most visible component of the infrastructure is the hate blogs, which have recently grown exponentially in number, influence, and stature.

From my position as a research fellow working with American University's Chair of Islamic Studies, Professor Akbar Ahmed, I have watched with horror as the hate blogs have begun to diffuse from their online cesspool to infect mainstream media, political rhetoric, and the larger discussion about Islam in America. There are hundreds, if not thousands of such blogs on the Internet. (More)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Muslims and Islam Were Part of Twin Towers’ Life


Sometime in 1999, a construction electrician received a new work assignment from his union. The man, Sinclair Hejazi Abdus-Salaam, was told to report to 2 World Trade Center, the southern of the twin towers.

In the union locker room on the 51st floor, Mr. Abdus-Salaam went through a construction worker’s version of due diligence. In the case of an emergency in the building, he asked his foreman and crew, where was he supposed to reassemble? The answer was the corner of Broadway and Vesey.

Over the next few days, noticing some fellow Muslims on the job, Mr. Abdus-Salaam voiced an equally essential question: “So where do you pray at?” And so he learned about the Muslim prayer room on the 17th floor of the south tower.

He went there regularly in the months to come, first doing the ablution known as wudu in a washroom fitted for cleansing hands, face and feet, and then facing toward Mecca to intone the salat prayer.

On any given day, Mr. Abdus-Salaam’s companions in the prayer room might include financial analysts, carpenters, receptionists, secretaries and ironworkers. There were American natives, immigrants who had earned citizenship, visitors conducting international business — the whole Muslim spectrum of nationality and race.

Leaping down the stairs on Sept. 11, 2001, when he had been installing ceiling speakers for a reinsurance company on the 49th floor, Mr. Abdus-Salaam had a brief, panicked thought. He didn’t see any of the Muslims he recognized from the prayer room. Where were they? Had they managed to evacuate? 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nervous to See Muslims?

Hmmm...How would Juan Williams feel if someone said they were nervous if they saw a black man on the street?

Also it is very interesting how CNN's Howard Kurtz supported the firing of Sanchez when he made bigoted remarks against Jews but he appeared to be upset that NPR fired Williams for his bigoted remarks against Muslims.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Albanian Muslims risk their own lives to save Jews from Nazis during World War II

Creve Coeur, MO (KSDK) -- With rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country, an untold story is raising greater awareness about the Muslim faith and the teachings of the Quran. That awareness comes from an unlikely source: a small Jewish congregation in Creve Coeur. 

Temple Emanuel is premiering a groundbreaking exhibit of photos that reveals Albanian Muslims who saved 2,000 Jews during World War II. 

It's a story you've likely never heard. It is a story told through the faces of Albanian Muslims who risked their own lives to live by a code of faith and honor called Besa.  (MORE)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

America's Sharia Hysteria

by Reza Aslan (The Daily Beast)

Sharron Angle is just the latest politician to stir up anti-Muslim feelings. Reza Aslan on the wacky movement to ban Sharia law in the U.S.
We all knew Nevada’s Republican Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle was a bit loony. After all, this is the woman who said that rape and incest victims who become pregnant should be forced to have their babies so as to turn their “lemon situation into lemonade.”
But when Angle suggested last week that certain American cities like Dearborn, Michigan and Frankford, Texas, have been taken over by a “militant terrorist situation” wherein Muslims have instituted Sharia law upon its residents, many people were left scratching their heads at what she could possibly have meant.
It’s not just that Dearborn is—last anyone checked—still under the purview of the United States Constitution, or that there is no place in America called Frankford, Texas (I’m not kidding, look it up). It’s the rather bizarre notion that there may be a city in this country where the Constitution does not apply. “It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States,” Angle said about the real Dearborn and the imaginary Frankford.
Angle is right. There is something fundamentally wrong with this idea—it’s not true. There is no city or municipality in this country where Islamic law has taken hold. And yet, Angle is not the only one sounding the alarm over an imminent Muslim takeover of America. Indeed, now that the screeching over the building of the Islamic Community Center in Lower Manhattan seems to have died down, a new battle cry is arising from the radical anti-Muslim fringe: American Muslims, they say, are trying to replace the Constitution with Sharia!
Now I admit that we Muslims are a pretty powerful bunch. But in all the secret Muslim gatherings I have attended to discuss our plans for destroying democracy and taking over the White House (we meet every Friday night directly atop Ground Zero), we have come to the conclusion that we will need to raise our numbers from the 1% of the US population we currently represent, to at least 2% before we can begin stoning people at random...(MORE)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is it Taboo to Attack Muslims?

Interesting article exposing the double standard ignorance often creates:

"In America, you cannot extract violent, bigoted statements out of Jewish or Christian holy books and say, “You see – Judaism/Christianity is a religion of hate!” 

If you do that in mainstream America, you will be shunned. But if you cherry-pick from the Koran to make that same claim against Islam, you will get a very respectful hearing."

Rattling the Cage: Pity Rick didn’t rag the Muslims

4 recent scandals involving public figures accused of running down minorities show that any offensive commentary on followers of Islam incurs no real consequences.

In America, you can’t rag the Jews publicly and you can’t rag the blacks publicly. It’s taboo – you lose your job, you have to quit the campaign if you say bad things about Jews or blacks – even if what you say is, you know, true.

After Jews and blacks come the Latinos, Asians, Catholics and all the other ethnic and religious minorities – none of them have the victim status that blacks and Jews enjoy, they’re not as controversial, so nobody in America is much inclined to slag them off anyway. (Latino illegal immigrants, however, are a different story, and you can put them down as much as you want so long as you specify that you’re talking about “illegal immigrants,” or at least “immigrants,” and not Latinos in general.) 

With one exception, political correctness protects every ethnic and religious minority in America from public bad-mouthing, and that one exception is Muslims. In America, you can say anything you want as publicly as you want against Muslims, against Islam, against the Koran, and the only thing mainstream America might do is elect you. You will have trouble in very narrow, left-liberal, Ivy League circles, but that’s all. Everywhere else in the USA, Muslims are fair game. (All Arabs count as Muslims, of course, even if they’re Christian). (MORE)

Hypocrisy of Bigotry in NYC Mosque Controversy

The Media's Construction of the 'Ground Zero Mosque'
How Islamophobic blogs manufactured a controversy

By Steve Rendall and Alex Kane (

How did a local story about a proposal to build an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan turn into a national controversy about whether a “Ground Zero Mosque” would be a slap in the face to 9/11 victims? 

It started with a small group of anti-Muslim activists who suggested the proposal was a scheme by anti-American Muslims to “conquer” the hallowed site of the September 11 attacks (Big Government, 5/18/10). Some even suggested that the Imam behind the proposal was an Al-Qaeda supporter (Fox News, 5/13/10). The project was named “Cordoba House,” opponents argued, in honor of the Islamic conquest of Spain, where Muslim victors built a mosque on the ruins of a sacked church (, 6/21/10). How could anyone miss the parallels? 

Created on small anti-Muslim blogs, the “Ground Zero Mosque” framing was eventually adopted by bigger right-wing outlets before making extensive inroads into broader corporate media. 

Every key point in the opponents’ storyline was false. The location of the proposed 13-story community center and mosque, at 51 Park Place (known as Park51), is not part of Ground Zero, and isn’t even visible from the former site of the World Trade Center. The three-block radius around the WTC site that would need to be drawn to make Park51 part of some “hallowed ground” includes strip clubs, porn shops and liquor stores (Daily News, 8/16/10). The key figure behind the proposal, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an American Muslim who works in fields of interfaith outreach and tolerance, with an emphasis on improved relations between the Arab/Muslim world and the West. Cordoba House is a project of Rauf’s organization, the Cordoba Initiative, whose name honors the tolerance among Muslims, Christians and Jews that flourished in the Spanish city a thousand years ago (New York Times, 7/14/10). 

But the facts didn’t seem to matter. The people who ought to have been on the defensive for misrepresenting facts and fomenting religious bigotry continued to be on the offensive, driving the coverage with their dubious claims, while their progressive Muslim targets remained on the defensive, smeared and chided for “intolerantly” pushing forward with their proposal. 

A useful timeline produced by Salon (8/16/10) traced the controversy’s birth to posts by Pamela Geller on her Atlas Shrugs blog (e.g., 12/8/09), a key outlet for anti-Muslim bigotry. Geller (12/21/09) charged that the Muslim community center was about “Islamic domination and expansionism.... Clearly a more appropriate ‘Islamic center’ would be one devoted to expunging the Quran of its violent texts.” In April 2010, Geller joined with Robert Spencer of the “notoriously Islamophobic” Jihad Watch website (Guardian, 2/7/06) to form a group called Stop Islamization of America, which began to organize against the proposed center. (MORE)