Monday, December 31, 2012

What’s Islamophobia, and Do I Have It?

By Haroon Moghul | Religion Dispatches Magazine | December 31, 2012 | [Original Article]
A closed mind is a terrible thing to behold. But it’s a far worse thing to have to engage. And yet we must. This Saturday, the woman who murdered a complete stranger by shoving him into the path of an arriving subway train was arrested. Her name? Erica Menendez. Her target? Hindus and Muslims. Why? Because of 2001.
More than eleven years after the terrorist attacks, and the alleged murderer not only could not distinguish between a Muslim and a Hindu, but held both collectively responsible for the actions of a few—there are 2.5 billion Muslims and Hindus in the world. This is clear, cut-and-dried bigotry, of the typically ignorant kind.
You’d think recent events only further prove Islamophobia’s dangerousness. But on the night of Erica’s arrest, the usual cohort of anti-Muslim voices persisted in their denial of Islamophobia, considering it a “neologism” used by the left to silence their fair criticisms of Islam. Reality, as always, begs to disagree.
Islamophobia is anything but rational, fair, or grounded. Like climate change denial, it masks real threats and makes it harder for us to deal with them. America deserves a better conversation on Islam. One that has the room to acknowledge real threats and challenges, but also enables us to make smarter choices, and to deal with Muslims as what we are: Human beings.
I’m not claiming to present a complete cartography. But what I have should help us navigate a far too familiar terrain. After all, why do we have to put up with absurdly ahistorical arguments, such as Pamela Geller’s claim that “jihad” killed 270 million people—fanciful, hyperbolic, and almost endearingly fictitious? Not only is Islamophobia ridiculous, it has violent consequences.
I. It’s (Always) the 1950s
II. Don’t Ask, Tell
III. If Islam Were a Race, Would Islamophobia Be Racist?
IV. Haven’t We Seen this Movie Before?
V. One Of Us is Rubber and The Other is Glue
VI. ‘I don’t hate Muslims, I hate Islam’
VII. Newt Gingrich
VIII. Having Cake vs. Eating Cake

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Look Back at Media Coverage of Islam and Islamic Law in 2012

By Krystina Friedlander | Huff Post Religion | December 27, 2012 | [Original Article
This has been a big year for Islam and Islamic law in American media. As politicians vied for local and national office, anti-sharia messages -- and sometimes overtly anti-Islam messages -- were broadcast across the media, at times functioning to normalize anti-Islam discourse. Turmoil in places like Egypt and Mali ensured that there were plenty of stories with "sharia" in the forefront, but little contextualization for the average reader to give a sense of what Islamic law means in those places. As we look back at media coverage in 2012, a number of trends emerge, ranging from regional and national hotspots like Tennessee and Egypt; in specific areas, such as gender and Islamophobia; and in wider issues of how Islamic law was covered and who was cited by the media as an authority.
Anti-Islam Messages Dominate Media
A December study published by the American Sociological Review from sociologist Christopher Bail shows that over the last decade, conversations about Islam in American media have been largely dominated by organizations with anti-Islam agendas. The American Sociological Association quotes Bail:
I found that organizations with negative messages about Muslims captivated the mass media after the Sept. 11 attacks, even though the vast majority of civil society organizations depict Muslims as peaceful, contributing members of American society ... As a result, public condemnations of terrorism by Muslims have received little media attention, but organizations spreading negative messages continue to stoke public fears that Muslims are secretly plotting to overthrow the U.S. government ... They are now so much a part of the mainstream that they have been able to recast genuinely mainstream Muslim organizations as radicals.

Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon reported on the study, noting that journalists do work to "find voices that accurately [represent] Islam," but that "simply by being outspoken," "self-described terrorism experts" end up being cited in the media as authorities on Islam and Islamic law. At the same time, by covering stories about and told by anti-Islam activists and pundits -- which tend to be captivating (Creeping shari'a!Terry Jones burning Qur'ans!Pamela Geller and her Ground Zero Mega Mosque!) -- the media brings these organizations and speakers to the world's attention, thereby generating a greater following (and greater donation revenue). Seitz-Wald asks, "[i]f the media hadn't paid attention to them, would they have mattered?" The takeaway: reinforcement from the media makes these stories stick. [Read More...]

Friday, November 30, 2012

Obama: a GOP president should have rules limiting the kill list

By Glenn Greenwald | | November 26, 2012 | [Full Article]

For the last four years, Barack Obama has not only asserted, but aggressively exercised, the power to target for execution anyone he wants, including US citizens, anywhere in the world. He has vigorously resisted not only legal limits on this assassination power, but even efforts to bring some minimal transparency to the execution orders he issues.

This claimed power has resulted in four straight years of air bombings in multiple Muslim countries in which no war has been declared – using drones, cruise missiles and cluster bombs – ending the lives of more than 2,500 people, almost always far away from any actual battlefield. They are typically targeted while riding in cars, at work, at home, and even while rescuing or attending funerals for others whom Obama has targeted. A substantial portion of those whom he has killed – at the very least – have been civilians, including dozens of children.

Worse still, his administration has worked to ensure that this power is subject to the fewest constraints possible. This was accomplished first by advocating the vague, sweeping Bush/Cheney interpretation of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) - whereby the President can target not only the groups which perpetrated the 9/11 attack (as the AUMF provides) but also those he claims are "associated" which such groups, and can target not only members of such groups (as the AUMF states) but also individuals he claims provide "substantial support" to those groups. Obama then entrenched these broad theories by signing into law the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which permanently codified those Bush/Cheney interpretation of these war powers.

From the start, Obama officials have also ensured that these powers have no physical limits, as they unequivocally embraced what was once the core and highly controversial precept of Bush/Cheney radicalism: that the US is fighting a "global war" in which the "whole world is a battlefield", which means there are no geographical constraints to the president's war powers. In sum, we have had four straight years of a president who has wielded what is literally the most extreme and tyrannical power a government can claim – to execute anyone the leader wants, even his own citizens, in total secrecy and without a whiff of due process – and who has resisted all efforts to impose a framework of limits or even transparency. [Read More...]

Friday, November 16, 2012

What Would America's Founding Fathers Say About Islam?

By Craig Considine | The Huffington Post | [Original Article]

In recent weeks, people the world over have heard a great deal about divisions and conflict between Muslim communities and America. Yet, looking more deeply at American history shows how much American tradition actually runs in the opposite direction. In today's seemingly divisive world, I cannot help but think of the values of America's Founding Fathers and their faith that America would always be a place that is open to people from all religious backgrounds.

Americans and Muslims worldwide shouldn't be surprised when they see that the writings of America's Founding Fathers reveal an open perspective an
d absolute acceptance of Islam and, indeed, all religions. "The bosom of America," wrote George Washington in 1783, is "open to receive ... the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges ... They may be Mahometans [Muslims], Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be atheists."

John Adams, who served as vice president under George Washington, called the Prophet Muhammad one of the world's "sober inquirers of truth." Echoing Washington, he stated in 1797 that the U.S. government "has in itself no character or enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity of [Muslims]." Benjamin Franklin helped fund the construction of a religious temple in Philadelphia that would be open to all faiths, "so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach [Islam] to us, he would find a pulpit at his service."

In a document on religious freedom that was written for the Virginian colonial legislature in 1777, Thomas Jefferson stated that "the Jew, the Gentile, the Christian, and the [Muslim], the Hindoo [Hindu], and infidel of every denomination" are welcome. Today, a statue of Jefferson stands at the University of Virginia. He is holding a tablet that reads, "Religious Freedom, 1786," below which is inscribed Allah, alongside God, Jehovah and Brahma...[Read Full Article]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Despite outcry, Cape Coral man continues to teach law enforcement

By Cristela Guerra | | November 12, 2012 | [Original Article]

 Cape Coral instructor Sam Kharoba remains a player at the center of a lengthy ideological debate. Despite what some consider his questionable expertise, he continues to teach counterterrorism.

 Over the summer, Muslim leaders across the state claim his homemade courses for law enforcement were discriminatory and misleading. They called for his immediate ouster from all 40 Florida Department of Law Enforcement training centers. Kharoba was in Sarasota on Nov. 1 to defend his Cape Coral-based business, The Counter Terrorism Operations Center, before the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. It oversees, among other things, training standards for law enforcement throughout the state. Gerald Bailey, commissioner of the FDLE, asked for the issue to be placed on the agenda after receiving a letter from the Council on American Islamic Relations Florida in July.

 Kharoba’s supporters claimed that inciting this kind of uproar among the Muslim community meant he was doing his job in revealing the truth about Islam.

His critics believe he’s encouraging racial profiling, as well as using the courses to promote his skewed perspective. “I have the same problem with Kharoba that I do with Muslim extremists,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa office of the Council on American Islamic Relations Florida.

“Both promote the idea that you can’t be a good American and a devout Muslim, that they are incompatible with each other. He picks and chooses verses from the holy text out of context to prove his point. You can do that with any holy book. It’s academically dishonest.”

 Kharoba, who has no formal training in counterterrorism, was born in Jordan, where his family lived until he was 16. He’s not certified by the FDLE and often his classes aren’t held at the training centers. He’s taught thousands of officers nationwide as well as more than 20 in-state courses through FDLE, including one for the Cape Coral Police Department. [Read More...]

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Islamophobia is losing ground

Florida has taken a huge step forward last night and the Islamophobia machine has taken a huge step back. Last night's election results have taught us many important lessons and inspired great hope: We ARE overcoming the Islamophobia Industry & tolerance and moderation will prevail!  Most importantly, last nights election results proved that the people of Florida will not tolerate Islamophobia and that candidates running on an anti-Muslim platform will have a difficult, if not impossible time succeeding! The message sent to politicians was clear--you cannot succeed by attacking minorities and you cannot win without diverse supporters! The bottom line: By participating in the political process, we can help goodness prevail and make a positive difference!
  • One of Congresses' loudest Islamophobes, incumbent Florida Rep. Allen West (R), who claims Islam is not a religion but is instead a "totalitarian theocratic political ideology" that is a "very vile and very vicious enemy," was defeated! 
  • Florida State Representative Adam Hasner (R) was defeated in his bid for Congress. Hasner once co-hosted an event featuring Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders that was also sponsored by Anti-Muslim hate group leader Pamela Geller. In 2009, Hasner attempted to block a "Florida Muslim Capitol Day." In 2007, he sponsored a screening of the anti-Muslim film "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" for state legislators.  
Several other anti-Muslim candidates were defeated throughout the States yesterday and the Anti-Muslim Caucus took a big hit. While CAIR is strictly non-partisan, we are happy to report that this is a strong indication that Islamophobia is losing ground and Islamophobic rhetoric will hurt not help those seeking office. This is a reflection of the diversity and moderation that makes up the majority of our society. A few other important lessons were:
  •  Anti-Muslim candidates were defeated or narrowly escaped defeat despite often outspending their more moderate opponents by 2-6 times.
  • This is a strong indication that anti-Muslim candidates receive strong funding from a small but wealthy group of donors whose voice is inconsistent with the majority. Thus their more moderate opponents have been able to succeed despite having a fraction of the resources.
  • Our fight against Islamophobia is gaining ground and the more we are civically engaged the more those promoting fear and hatred of Muslims will be pushed to the fringe of society. 
  • It will be increasingly difficult for candidates to secure office without the support of the Muslim Swing Vote--especially with tens of thousands of registered Muslim voters being concentrated in swing states where elections are often won by only thousands of votes. 
Last night should serve as a great motivation for all of us to continue to be civically engaged, participate int he political process, stand up for our rights, fight Islamophobia, and be proud of who we are. Join me this Saturday to celebrate the fight for civil rights at the CAIR Florida Annual Banquet. Register soon, the event is nearly sold out!
Hassan Shibly  , Esq
CAIR Florida Executive Director (Tampa)

Monday, November 5, 2012

CAIR's Receives Commitments Against Kharoba

Official CAIR Assessment of Sam Kharoba's Anti-Muslim Training

CAIR Florida has discovered that despite Sam Kharoba being exposed for lacking qualifications and for teaching anti-Muslim Bigotry, Florida Law enforcement has used him over 20 times to train cops to fear Islam and harass Muslims.

  • At the end of October 2012 we spoke to the 40 training directors and 20 CJSTC commissioners to share with them our concern regarding the use of Kharoba. Read our message to the FDLE and CJSTC: "10 Problems with Sam Kharoba."

In response to our requests, the FDLE and CJSTC made it clear that Kharoba is not a "CJSTC certified instructor" and that the FDLE has stopped using Kharoba for over a year and he is not scheduled to conduct more FDLE training. In fact, the FDLE has adopted the BJA's State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) standards which completely discredits Kharoba's training.

CAIR Florida has also received confirmation from several training directors that they would not permit Kharoba's training. However, as there are over 40 training centers in Florida and the FDLE has no control over non-mandatory training courses that they provide, CAIR Florida will continue to monitor the training to ensure that inaccurate and prejudiced material is not tolerated.

CAIR's assessment of the Kharoba's manual contents was based on the 2011 federal interagency guidelines on CVE curriculum standards, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training: Guidance and Best Practices. Our assessment indicates that neither Kharoba's professional/education background, nor the content of his manual come close meeting to the standards set forth by DHS. 
Kharoba lacks relevant subject matter expertise. Kharoba has no formal academic degrees in Islamic studies, and no prior experience in law enforcement. 15 out of the 19 chapters we analyzed (79%) have sections of text that are nearly word-for-word identical to a Wikipedia article.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Muslims mark Eid al-Adha at Florida State Fairgrounds | October 26, 2012 | [Original Article]

An estimated 5,000 Muslims gathered at the Florida State Fairgrounds on Friday for prayers, breakfast and children's activities in celebration of Eid al-Adha, which commemorates the trial of the Prophet Ibrahim and his willingness to sacrifice his son. It takes place at the end of the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim who can afford it must make at least once.

The celebration continues today with free public carnivals at two Tampa mosques: the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay, 7326 E. Sligh Ave., and the Islamic Community of Tampa, 5910 E. 130th Ave.

Resources for dealing with Islamophobes

by Sheila Musaji | | October 2, 2012 | [Original Article]

NOTE:  Clicking on any of the many links provided in this collection will take you to an article that provides a response or analysis of the particular claim or issue.  Many of these articles have extensive collections of articles and reference materials.

Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated,  demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations:   There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month.   Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.   Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover.  Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”.  SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy.  A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day.   AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country.   AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads.  There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat.  

Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”.  Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?.  

And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech.   None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”

The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade.  They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films.  They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally.  They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Video: Canadian TV Interviews CAIR-FL Rep on Growing Islamophobia in America

A portrayal of the anger in America on the cusp of the 2012 Presidential elections: where does it come from, what shapes it, who is leading it, and where will it take us all?

 Episode 1: The Fire Within 
On CBC-TV, October, 18th 9pm 
On CBC News Network Saturday October, 20th 11pm ET 


The swing vote of American Muslims is up for grabs in the 2012 elections

By Aref Assaf | The Examiner | October 8, 2012 | [Original Article]

Most polls indicate that this presidential race will be one that goes down to the wire. In certain swing states, block votes of minority groups will prove decisive. American Muslims, polls also reveal, will be critical for the victory of either Obama or Romney in at least three states; namely, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. But in already-decided states, like the blue state of New Jersey, the community has flexed its political muscle in not only local races but also in congressional battles. It was not a long time ago when fatwas (religious decrees) were calling for a total boycott of voting or political participation. Now, American mosques are a haven for political participation and civic engagement. A recent survey of Americans mosques reveals that, in fact, the more mosque-connected American Muslims are, the more civic-minded and politically proactive they become. Princeton Professor Amaney Jamal strongly supports the thesis that American mosques are central to the rise of the community as a viable player in all things politics. "{T}he mosque, similar to other religious institutions in the United States, takes on the multifaceted role of mobilization vehicle and school of civic participation."

Despite being very diverse and far from monolithic, the American Muslim constituency is growing faster than any other religious community and has become increasingly visible and sophisticated in its political calculus. The numerical growth is facilitated by both the cumulative effect of successive immigration waves from war-torn Muslim countries (such as Iraq and Lebanon). Additionally, growth is the direct result of the higher-than-average birth rate amongst Muslims.

Unprecedented numbers of Muslim Americans are serving in elected office, from Congress, mayors, judges, to boards of education in municipalities across the US. While party affiliation is strong, migration, mainly from the Republican Party has increased the number of American Muslims who are Independent. A 2009 CAIR poll showed that the percentage of Independent Muslims has increased from 31% in 2004 to 36% in 2009.

According to "Engaging American Muslims", a 2012 report by the ISPU, voter registration and turnout has increased over the past decade and today, 1.2 million Muslims are registered to vote. In addition, local Muslim leaders are promoting voter registration drives and encouraging Muslim communities to become more civically involved. The numbers quoted here are based on Pew Research figures, but most Muslim organizations such as CAIR argue that "Estimates of a total Muslim population of 6-7 million in America seem reasonable in light of the figure of 2 million Muslims who associate with a mosque."

At lease since 911, Arab Muslim Americans have slowly but steadily found their voices and grievances best represented by Muslim organizations such as CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations. CAIR has not shied away from taking on government agencies accused or engaged in anti-Muslim rhetoric or practices. More dramatic is the precipitous decline financially and politically of established Arab American organizations such as the venerable American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the American Arab Institute. Arab Muslims especially religious ones who view their political potential through the collective energies of Muslims from many parts of the Muslim world have fueled the unparalleled prominence of Muslim organizations. New Jersey is ripe with examples where Arab Muslims are in the driver seat on all matters relating to civic and political engagement.

[Read More...]

Monday, October 8, 2012

U.S. Muslims Squarely in the Mainstream

By Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf | Tampa Bay Times - Special | October 8, 2012 | [Original Article]

In all of the hullabaloo surrounding the vile video that slanders the Prophet Mohammed and Islam, the disgust of American Muslims has been expressed adamantly but reasonably.

American Muslims recognize the video for what it was — the ravings of a sick mind of an obscure person with no bearing on the thinking of the vast majority of Americans. That's a mature response for American Muslims — more than 7 million of them — considering the bashing they have taken from some conservatives in recent years.

Imam Feisal Abdul RaufIn Tampa, just last month, conservatives angrily protested outside the Hillsborough County School Board because Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, had been invited to speak to a high school class studying world religions.

According to protesters, this Muslim was brainwashing these students with propaganda. They believe American Muslims are the vanguard of a religion bent on world domination. Countering these protests are interfaith alliance groups, such as the ones in Tampa that recognize that freedom of religion in the United States extends to all religions and is good for America.

Suspicion of religions brought by immigrant groups is not new in America. It was an article of faith in American politics that Catholic immigrants would turn the United States over to rule by the pope. Anti-Catholicism was rife in political movements, sometimes turning violent. Not until John F. Kennedy was elected as the first Catholic president in 1960 were these biases finally laid to rest. Jews faced massive discrimination for generations — socially, economically and politically.

I believe two things are constant. Over time, new faith groups are accepted and become part of the American fabric. And over time, the American experience transforms an immigrant's faith into some new American version that can be exported back to their home countries.

This is a good thing for Islam. As an imam who immigrated to America more than 46 years ago, I have seen the change. In America, Muslims are creating a new form of Islam. Divisions between Shiite and Sunni that plague their home countries don't exist among American Muslims. Freedom of expression has seeped into American Muslim mainstream thought.

Given the chance, this Americanization of Muslims will have a profound, positive impact on their adopted country and their native countries. Instead of protesting American Muslims and casting suspicion on their faith, all Americans should unite behind interfaith groups that are building a stronger nation and promoting international peace.

Exploiting the Prophet

By Nicholas D. Kristof | The New York Times | September 22, 2012 | [Original Article]
So why do parts of the Islamic world erupt in violence over insults to the Prophet Muhammad? Should we curb the freedom to insult religions that are twitchy?

I think a few things are going on. The first is that many Muslim countries lack a tradition of free speech, and see ridicule of the prophet as part of a larger narrative of the West’s invading or humiliating the Islamic world. People in these countries sometimes also have an addled view of how the United States handles blasphemy.

Remember also that it’s not just Muslims who periodically go berserk, but everybody — particularly in societies with large numbers of poorly educated young men. Upheavals are often more about demography than about religion: the best predictor of civil conflict is the share of a population that is aged 15 to 24. In the 19th century, when the United States brimmed with poorly educated young men, Protestants rioted against Catholics.

More broadly, this is less about offensive videos than about a political war unfolding in the Muslim world. For his time, Muhammad was socially progressive, and that’s a thread that reformers want to recapture. Mahmoud Salem, the Egyptian blogger better known as Sandmonkey, wrote that violent protests were “more damaging to Islam’s reputation than a thousand so-called ‘Islam-attacking films.’ ”

But it would be a mistake to back off and censor our kooks. The freedom to be an imbecile is one of our core values.

In any case, there will always be other insults. As some leading Muslims have noted, Islam has to learn to shrug them off. My bet is that we’ll see more turbulence in the Arab world, but that countries like Egypt and Tunisia and Libya won’t fall over a cliff. A revolution isn’t an event, but a process.

CAIR-FL Supports Anti-Domestic Violence Declaration With Family Justice Center

By Elizabeth Miller| Tampa Bay Times | October 7, 2012 | [Original Article]

They were Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, Methodist and more.

They were men and women coming together for one cause.

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Family Justice Center of Hillsborough County gathered faith leaders this week to sign a proclamation and learn more about the role they can play in preventing domestic abuse.

"The intent is to recognize that domestic violence crosses all lines, including faith, economic, cultural … and to get faith leaders to take a stand on that," said Nikki Daniels, executive director of the Family Justice Center.

Michael Neely, pastor of New Millennium Community Church in Tampa, works with domestic violence victims through the interfaith chaplaincy program at the Family Justice Center, a one-stop service center for victims and their families.

"The majority (of victims) had the same struggle: 'Is God going to be angry with me if I leave?' " he said to more than 30 representatives of churches and organizations, including the Spring, LifePath Hospice and the Salvation Army.

Ministers, clergy and pastors took turns reading the proclamation that pledged "spiritual and religious leaders of Tampa Bay, proclaim with one voice, that domestic violence exists in our own Tampa Bay communities and is morally, spiritually and universally intolerable."

The proclamation was signed by representatives from 16 religious and community organizations, including Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the Congregation Schaarai Zedek, Unity North Tampa, CAIR Florida (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Peace Progressive Primitive Baptist Church, Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa and First United Church of Tampa.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New CAIR-FL Website | Muslims Condemn Violence | Tampa Rejects Bigotry

CAIR Florida has a new website! Visit to stay up-to-date on all the important issues effecting the Florida Muslim community, civil rights, and interfaith issues. Click the image below to visit the new website!

Protesters Oppose Terry Kemple's Anti-Muslim Bigotry
TBO: Pro-CAIR Protesters Oppose Hatred
Discussion about anti-Muslim attacks post 9/11
New Mosque Opens in Tampa
 By KENNETH KNIGHT | The Tampa Tribune 

A gleaming new mosque topped with two soaring minarets and a golden dome is open for daily prayer services on Morris Bridge Road north of Cross Creek Boulevard.

Leaders of Dar-us-Salaam, which translates in English to House of Peace, want the center to serve as a place of worship for area Muslims and a gathering spot for people of all faiths to foster a better understanding of the Islamic religion.

"We really hope the mosque will bring the community together," said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa, and a spokesman for the mosque at 15830 Morris Bridge Road.

"We invite our neighbors to come to visit us. We have a lot more in common than what some (people) might think divides us."

Members of congregations such as St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church say they welcome a chance to work with area Muslims on goodwill missions beneficial to the entire community.

"Religious freedom has no meaning unless there is freedom for everyone," said Scott Paine, a deacon at St. Mark....
[Read Full Article]