Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hassan Shibly's Speach to the Hillsborough County School Board

Below is an extended version of the speech given by Hassan Shibly to the Hillsborough County School Board on February 28th 2012 in response to the hateful tactics of Terry Kemple, David Caton, and their followers

Respected board members and community leaders, I would like to begin by thanking you for this opportunity to come and share our thoughts as people of diverse faiths and beliefs standing united for a diverse, tolerant, & welcome community.

Since my credentials to speak on behalf of Islam and Muslims has been put to question despite having the overwhelming support of the Tampa Muslim Community, Imams, and Mosques, I am happy to share with the board my credentials.

I have studied Islam at prestigious Abu Nour University, in Damascus Syria, where I have also taught several courses on Islam and conducted academic research that has been presented at conferences of the leading international Islamic universities, including al Azhar. I also am the director and editor in chief for the publishing house of the largest traditional Islamic seminary in North America. I have also been am Imam for over 7 years and currently lead the Friday sermons of many of the major Tampa-area mosques. In addition to obtaining several certificates in Islamic studies, my teachers have granted me permission to teach Islam, and they have been granted permission from their teachers, in an unbroken chain tracing back to the Blessed Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Recently, the Tampa Muslim community has appointed me as executive director of Florida’s leading Muslim civil rights organization. Half the mission of CAIR is to clear misconceptions about Islam and thus my position requires a high degree of academic knowledge on Islam. In addition, I have a law degree and am a Florida licensed attorney.

What we have learned tonight, is that those who actually personally know myself or CAIR and have worked with us, have had nothing but good things to say about us. And yet those laying attacks against us and using legal terms without understanding their context or meaning and promoting guilty-by-association and guilt-by-false-accusation, have never once visited our office or open house or had any personal experience with us. Nor have they ever reached out to us.

Rather they have gotten their misinformation from known extremist anti-Muslim websites that target CAIR because we are the largest Muslim Civil Rights organization. And as you heard from about 50% of the comments, the protestor’s problem is first and foremost with Islam. This is not about myself or my organization.

Over the course of the past few weeks, our local community has been visited by a small, but vocal minority that has insisted on spreading untruths and misinformation about the Muslim Americans living here in Hillsborough, and the religion of Islam. We have heard nothing but lies, guilt by association, and innuendos.

It is utterly shocking that Terry Kemple and his group can waste so much taxpayer resources throwing out blatant lies and defamation, and the board has the patience to put up with it.

I only wonder how long the board would have patience, had the hateful rhetoric and conspiracy theories been against other minorities, like people of the Jewish faith.

I have been reluctant to come and say anything so as not to set a bad precedent for other minorities. Should every leader of every minority be forced to stand here and defend against common misconceptions against themselves? Do we expect African Americans, Japanese, Jews, the Catholics and other minorities to defend against the xenophobic conspiracy theories leveled against them? Nonetheless, we have come today to show you that those who promote fear and hatred of what they consider the “other” do not speak for the majority of your constituents.

Tonight you have heard from a number of commenters who have shared with you their thoughts and views about the involvement of Muslims in our community, the commitment we all share to upholding the law, defending the liberties established in our constitution, and condemnation for the unfortunate stereotyping and hurtful accusations hurled at Muslims like me living peaceably--and proudly as practitioners of Islam, but also as proud Americans, with the pledge in our hearts to one nation, under God, with a sworn commitment to liberty and justice for all of our citizens and residents.

You have also, so far heard demagoguery and hurtful comments today, and in past days, about all three: Muslims, Islam, and proud Americans. Because you see, in my eyes, and in the eyes of the vast majority of Muslims across our great land, to practice Islam, to be a Muslim, means to be a proud American. We see no difference, because by definition our religious values are the same as American values. My opponents disagree with this and thus have targeted me and even ascribed false quotes to slander me. Muslim extremists have called me an infidel for teaching respect of diversity, Anti-Muslim extremists have called me a terrorist. When extremists on both sides are not happy with you, that is a sign you are doing good work.

Again you heard today that “CAIR is a terrorist organization.”


If half of the accusations against myself and my organization CAIR were true, our country’s federal agents and the Justice Department would have put me and the 32 offices nationwide away a long time ago. The fact that CAIR was never indicted is enough to show CAIR has never committed any wrong doing.

Some who have appeared before you have said “What’s the point in teaching a religion that caused the twin towers to fall down.” or “ “Cair (and Muslims) want to bring Sharia Law to abolish the constitution in America”. Tonight you even heard accusations that Muslims call “death to infidels” after our call to prayer.

For ten years now, Muslims have heard and dealt with these accusations. For a decade since 9/11, we have stood tall, silently, and held in the tears in our eyes out of the love for our countrymen--by which I mean our fellow Americans. And that is because of the Islamic value of compassion, to not simply turn the other cheek, but to understand why we were slapped in the first place. And that’s why we’re here today, to bridge the gap forming in our society and bring about understanding. That’s not only the Muslim community’s mission here in Hillsborough, but as the leading Muslim organization, CAIR’s mission too.

It is sad that none of the anti-Islam protesters who have camped weekly here in Hillsborough, or even you Dr. White, despite leaving you several messages, took the time to give me a phone call, visit my office, get to know me, the Muslim community, or CAIR. Dr. White, you seemed worried that “we still do not know what was said in the presentation” and yet you never came to the open house we just head where I gave a very similar presentation.

Muslims understand, all too well, that because of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the spectre of a nuclear Iran, we need to show people that we’re proud to call America home, that CAIR, and the Muslim experience can be and are American experiences. That knowing each other, is the key to working together. That’s why a few weeks ago, CAIR sponsored an open house at a local area mosque, that was well-advertised, and well-attended by those in the community of other faiths, or no faith, but not a single protester present today attended.

I fell in love with Florida the first time I visited here with my parents as a young child. Disney World, the beaches, the warm weather--these are a part of who I am as a Floridian, and an American.

As a 501c3 organization, CAIR must open its books to the public for at least two weeks of the year-We are funded by the local Muslim community to represent them, clear misconceptions about Islam, and fight prejudice and bigotry. Let there be no confusion: our donors, our members and our staff come every walk of live imaginable in America. Many are not Muslim--most of our staff & interns are not and were not raised in a Muslim home. We have no intention to indoctrinate, only to educate--and therefore fulfill Islam’s first commandment, Iqra, to read and learn in the name of God, about our history, our traditions, and our mutual love for America--from sea to shining sea. To make this a better community for all our Children.

Fighting Islamophobia is the new civil rights battle of our century.

We cannot let those that make a living out of promoting hatred and are working to undermine the great principles found in the Bill of Rights.

The protestors ought to have more faith in our kids, in our teachers, in our schools, in our government and community leaders and recognize how outrageous and un-American the anti-Muslim demagoguery has been at the past few school board meetings .

The hatred we have seen come out at the past few school board meetings, only highlight the importance of giving our children a rich and diverse education, which simply cannot be attained through textbooks alone.

Teaching about world faiths and clearing misconceptions surrounding them, is very different than peaching.

We live in a world where there is so much conflict because people fear what they know.

It is sad that we see the
same McCarthy era witch-hunts that many religious and race minorities faced in America’s past, now unleashed against wonderful leaders of the Muslim community.

Such individuals attack mainstream Islam and Muslims, under the guise of attacking Radical Islam.

When nearly 1 out of 2 Americans who do not know a Muslim think Muslims should wear special ID cards, like Jews had to do in Nazi Germany, then we know it is critical that we raise the next generation of Americans to know and respect their Muslim neighbors, as they ought to respect all neighbors.

The fact is it is difficult to fear and hate another human being once you get to know them.

We should be ashamed that our school board meetings are being used to attack an entire religion and community.

I pray that the time and energy being used to divide us, would instead be used to help the poor community, feed the homeless, tutor our children, clean our environment. Then we truly would have a better community. Let us start by getting to know each other. Do not let those promoting fear and hatred raise a flag of victory over our community.

Thank you for your time tonight, and may God bless America. Good night.

Terry Kemple: Wasting Hillsborough County Resources For Political Gain

So much time and tax payer money and  resources are being wasted because Terry Kemple and his supporters are filibustering the school board meetings with outrageously false statements that America’s largest Muslim Civil Rights organization is a “Terrorist Organization” “Funds Terrorism” “Flew Planes into the Buildings” and Islam “calls for death of infidels after the call to prayer” and wants to “over throw our constitution.”

Many other clearly false statements have been said at the school board meeting. A transcript is in the works to highlight such statements.

These statements are easily checked for their veracity and it is clear they are completely false. How long will we Kemple and his group to continue to waste tax payer resource. Hence I am requesting everyone to do some investigative reporting and question Kemple about all the false accusations he and his supporters have made against CAIR and Islam, and then in light of the evidence below show how they are clearly false and then bring up the point, why is he wasting so much taxpayer resources to use school board meetings to throw false accusations. Why are many media outlets silent and not calling Kemple and his supporters out for wasting time to spread clearly false allegations against America’s largest Muslim civil rights organizations. (Although quite a few have done an excellent job!)

The tactics taken by Kemple’s group are very clear. They consist of either outright lies and false statements, innuendo, or guilt by association (twice removed).

It doesn’t take a genius to realize if CAIR really was a terrorist organization, as was said verbatim at the school board meeting, we would be prosecuted. And yet Kemple is able to waste so much time and money spreading clearly erroneous lies.

CAIR is transparent and we have nothing to hide which is why I am asking for investigation into this.

No evidence is needed to prove we are not a terrorist organization. We would be shut down and prosecuted if we were. However, below are some points that address the misinformation spread.

 I hope the media can do an investigative story or fact check on this. It is just outrageous Terry Kemple and his group continue to waste so much time and take up the school board meetings to spew unchallenged hateful false information, without being called out for it.


Clearing Misconceptions:

Internet Disinformation #6: The labeling of the organization as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial in Dallas, TX implies that CAIR was somehow involved with criminal activity and is facing indictment.

This issue was settled by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Department of Justice in CAIR’s favor.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the U.S. Department of Justice violated the Fifth Amendment rights of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and by implication the rights of more than 300 similarly-named Muslim organizations and individuals, such as CAIR, when it included them on the publicly-filed un-indicted co-conspirator list in 2007. The court also ruled that inclusion on the list was the result of "simply an untested allegation of the Government....”

In 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that Department of Justice officials determined after “looking at the facts and the law, a prosecution would not be appropriate.” This conclusion was reached after two reviews conducted under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

After Holder, the chief law enforcement officer in America, stated this fact, internet rumor held that a prosecution had been suppressed due to political interference.

This allegation has also been put to rest.

James Jacks, the U.S. Attorney who led the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation issued a statement that was partially re-produced in the Dallas Morning News: “‘The decision to indict or not indict a case is based upon an analysis of the evidence and the law,’ [Jacks] wrote. ‘That’s what happened in this case.’”

The Dallas Morning News (U.S. attorney in Dallas says Obama’s White House didn’t meddle in case, April 29, 2011) went on to report the following:

“Nathan Garrett, a former FBI agent who was also a prosecutor in the Holy Land case until he left for private practice in 2007, said ‘politics played no role’ in determining who was prosecuted when he was there.

“‘Decisions were hashed out in often tough and pressure-filled situations and conditions, but always—in my experience—grounded in evidence and law,’ he said. ‘The process was what the American people would want and expect it to be.’”

Finally, there is no legal implication to being labeled an unindicted co-conspirator, since it does not require the Justice Department to prove anything in a court of law. Merely claiming someone is guilty without due process is both unconstitutional and offensive to the principles of our justice system

Internet Disinformation #1: CAIR is “the Wahhabi lobby,” a “front-group for Hamas,” a "fund-raising arm for Hezbollah," or “...part of a wider conspiracy overseen by the Muslim Brotherhood...”
CAIR was born out of a desire on the part of its founders to “concentrate on combating anti-Muslim discrimination nationwide.” The organization’s advocacy model—work closely with media and provide direct services to local Muslim communities—was developed when Nihad Awad and Ibrahim Hooper worked as community activists.

In a March 14, 2007 New York Times article, Michael Rolince, a retired F.B.I. official who directed counterterrorism in the Washington field office from 2002 to 2005, said, “Of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares.”

The article also reported, “Government officials in Washington said they were not aware of any criminal investigation of the group. More than one described the standards used by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to McCarthyism, essentially guilt by association.”

CAIR is not is “the Wahhabi lobby,” a “front-group for Hamas,” a “fund-raising arm for Hezbollah,” “...part of a wider conspiracy overseen by the Muslim Brotherhood...” or any of the other false and misleading associations our detractors seek to smear us with. That we stand accused of being both a “fundraising arm of Hezbollah” and the “Wahhabi lobby” is a significant point in demonstrating that our detractors are hurling slander not fact. Hezbollah and the Salafi (Wahhabi) movement represent diametrically opposed ideologies.

CAIR’s origin story is simple. In the February-March 2000 edition of “The Link,” a newsletter published by Americans for Middle East Understanding, Nihad Awad wrote the following, “The core challenge [to American Muslims], that of stereotyping and defamation, was having a devastating effect on our children and paralyzing adults from taking their due roles in civic affairs.” Based on a desire to address this issue on a national level, Awad, “contacted my friend Ibrahim Hooper, a professional journalist and communications genius, and tried to persuade him to move to Washington and join the project.”

With this premise in mind, CAIR was founded in 1994.

Senate panel rams through bill Muslims and Jews call discriminatory

By Kathleen Haughney| Tallahassee Bureau | Feb 28, 2012 | [Original Article]

"TALLAHASSEE – Ignoring about 50 people who wanted to testify – and with a total of three minutes of deliberation – a Senate panel Tuesday slammed through a measure that both Muslims and Jews say is discriminatory and would prohibit them from freely practicing their religion..."

...But to many Muslims, the bill directly targets their religion. And it's made odd bedfellows out of many Muslims and Jews, who say the law could also impact some of their traditions... [Read More]

Phony Threat

By Miami Herald Editorial | Feb 27, 2012 | [Original Article]

"OUR OPINION: Legislature caving in to anti-Muslim activists"

...It’s embarrassing to see the Florida Legislature fan the flames of anti-Muslim hysteria by considering a proposal to ban Sharia law in Florida...

...This is a non-existent threat, a manufactured controversy designed solely to push a right-wing political agenda. There is no evidence that Sharia law, an Islamic concept, is about to “infect” the U.S. or state court system...

...Besides, there is a stronger, centuries-old protection in the U.S. Constitution. It’s called the First Amendment, which bans “an establishment of religion” by the government. The Florida Constitution is likewise clear on this... [Read More]

The Danger of Empowering Hate Group Leaders

The Boards actions yesterday prompted Pamela Geller & the Florida Family Association to declare victory over the school district.

The Anti-Defamation League and  the Southern Poverty Law Center have said that Geller attacks mainstream Islam in the name of attacking radicals. She is well known for her anti-Muslim position and justified the terrorist attack in Norway.

I would advise the board to be  cognizant of not empowering hate groups by bending in to their demands.

Our supporters are all mainstream and academic. Our opponents are fringe and are opposed by mainstream institutions. Do not give in to bigoted pressure.

Look at the long term consequences of our actions. The more we give in to hate, the more we empower them and encourage them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poll on American's Attitude Towards Muslims

By Mr. Minority | mrminority.blogspot | August 11, 2006 | [Original Article

"...A USA Today/Gallup poll taken late last month shows that Americans are very leary of Muslims.... [Read More]

"9 percent said the U.S. should require Muslims to carry a special ID, and 57 percent believe they should undergo more intensive security checks at airports."

"39 percent said they "have at least some feelings of prejudice against Muslims,” 59 percent said they did not, and 2 percent had no opinion."

...There is NO friggin' way would I agree with the "special ID card" stupidity. This idea smacks of Fascism. We still enjoy personal freedoms in this country and to require Muslims to carry ID cards is an affront to ALL Americans that hold the ideals of this country sacred. As for having a Muslim as a neighbor, no problem, as long as they don't sympathize with the extremists...

...I have no problems with Muslims, as long as they are law abiding and loyal to America, not the extremists..." [Read More]

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Muslim describes his life in America

Tampa Bay Times |February 26, 2012|[Original Article

"...Shibly, a 25-year-old University at Buffalo Law School graduate, serves as executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)... [Read More]

...Since his appointment in August, Shibly has faced parents attempting to ban CAIR speakers from Hillsborough County Schools and allegations of terrorist affiliations. The School Board did not side with the parents...

...The accusations , Shibly says, are a symptom of what CAIR defines as Islamophobia, an unfounded fear of and hostility toward Islam...

...As an advocate for Muslim rights, Shibly has reached out to the community at public speaking engagements and open houses, urging those with the questions about Islam to ask not assume...

...An interfaith crowd including Christian pastors, a rabbi and a Hindu priest attended. Shibly spoke about the history of Islam, misunderstandings about the faith and a call for tolerance...

...Shibly recently shared his thoughts about being Muslim in America withTampa Bay Times staff writer Sarah Whitman...

What is your background as a Muslim American?

...When 9/11 happened, I was in 10th grade. I remember running home to my prayer rug praying and crying for all the victims. As an American Muslim, I suffered that day for my country. Then suddenly, I'm seen as a terrorist. It's like if someone hits your mother and blames you for it. And that has been the situation ever since... [Read More]

"Shibly, here with his son, came to the U.S. at age 4. 
“From a young age growing up, I felt like
I had to justify my existence"

Were you surprised by the reactions of people who did attend?

...I was shocked at the impact the first open house had. A couple ladies that were there started crying. They said they'd never been in a mosque before. They said 'We had no idea it was so peaceful.' I was shocked at how much they valued the presentation... 

What do you want people in the community to know about CAIR?

...We want people [Of all faiths of the community] to reach out to us. Just call and set up a time for a discussion. Whether it's a one-on-one or for a community event, we want to discuss religious issues and community issues..." [Read More]

CAIR Condemns Call for 'Bible Burning' at CD 23 Candidate Karen Harrington's Restaurant

Kenric Ward| February 25, 2012 | SunShineStateNews| [Original Article]

"...A posting on Craig's List called for a "Bible-burning" Saturday at a restaurant owned by a South Florida congressional candidate. But the event fizzled...The posting invited attendees to "Bring your own Bible …TO BURN," and said "all believers in Allah are welcome...." [Read More]

"...The Council on American-Islamic Relations immediately disavowed any knowledge of the event, and quickly denounced it. "I have no idea who's behind it, but there won't be any Muslims there," said Hassan Shibly, CAIR's Florida director..." [Read More]

"..."We don't engage in Bible burning. It's completely beneath us," said Shibly, noting that Florida Muslims did not burn Bibles after Gainesville pastor Terry Jones burned a copy of the Quran..." [Read More]

" demonstration developed and no Bibles were burned at the restaurant..."
 [Read More]

Friday, February 24, 2012

When 'studying while Muslim' is probable cause

By Dean Obeidallah | February 22, 2012 | | [Original Article]

"...(CNN) -- First, there was "Flying While Muslim." This expression summed up the extra challenges of being an American Muslim when flying on commercial airlines..."Dress white, make your flight. Dress brown, never leave town.But now there is something new: "Studying While Muslim." And there is nothing funny about it..." [Read More]

"...The New York Police Department has been engaged in the weekly surveillance of American Muslim college groups...including New York University, Yale, Rutgers and the University of Pennsylvania..."[Read More]

"...The NYPD also sent an undercover officer on a whitewater rafting trip organized by Muslim students at the City College of New York. The NYPD report indicates the students prayed four times a day and talked a lot about the nature of Islam. No mention if Muslims were good at whitewater rafting..." [Read More]

"...Apparently, to the NYPD, being Muslim equals probable cause..." [Read More]

"...Let's be brutally honest: If the NYPD were engaged in this type of widespread spying on any other religious, ethnic or racial group, the criticism would be deafening. However, because the case involves Muslims, the silence is deafening. There is simply no public outcry and little media coverage..." [Read More]

"...whites comprise 44% of New York City residents, but they make up only 9% of those stopped by the NYPD. But blacks -- who comprise 25% of New Yorkers --- represent 59% of those stopped and questioned by the NYPD.It appears that the use of skin color, ethnicity and religion as the basis for investigations is standard NYPD policy..." [Read More]

"...NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly needs to make it clear that illegal profiling has no place in his department..." [Read More]

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Infiltrating the Florida House & Senate with Anti-Foreign Law

By Nezar Hamze | Feb 23, 2012 | Local10 | [Original Article

"...At first glance these bills [HB 1209, SB 1360] seem harmless; however when research is done to discover the motive behind these bills, a much more insidious reason is revealed..." [Read More]

"...David Yerushalmi, the President of the Society of Americans for National Existence, has authored similar bills that have been introduced throughout the country. To understand his perspective we don’t need to look further than his own words. "On the so-called Global War on Terrorism, GWOT, we have been quite clear along with a few other resolute souls. This should be a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful..." [Read More

"...Why are our taxes being spent on legislation that fixes a problem that simply doesn’t exist? The answer lies at the root of our problem as a nation. These lawmakers are creating a boogeyman, “Foreign Law” A/K/A “Sharia Law”, and offering a solution for their constituents. Basically they are commodifying the fear of Americans..." [Read More]

"...It‘s ironic, the supporters of similar legislation around the country say they are doing this to stop the infiltration of foreign law into our court systems. But who is infiltrating who? Not one group has introduced any “Foreign Law” to any lawmaker. The facts on the ground are just the opposite, the anti-Islam propagandist are the ones infiltrating our government..." [Read More]

"...While this legislation is clearly aimed at Islam, it will affect followers of all religions and restrict the ability for them to practice their faith in regards to marriage contracts, divorces, and child custody..." [Read More]

Fla. ‘foreign law’ bill moves forward

By Ashley Lopez | Feb. 22, 2012 | The Independent America | [Original Article]

"A Florida House judiciary committee passed a bill today that would outlaw the use of “foreign law” in family court cases...The bill also happens to be a piece of model legislation written by anti-Islam leader David Yerushalmi..." [Read More]

"...The bill would regulate the “application of foreign law in certain cases,” which members and speakers opposed to the measure say is not a problem that Florida now faces. A representative of the Family Law section of the Florida Bar pointed out that the bill is a “solution for a problem that does not exist.” She said there are already laws in place that safeguard against the intervention of laws that do not apply...." [Read More]

"...Ron Bilbao, who spoke on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, told members that the bill is “unnecessary....” [Read More]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NYPD spying program aimed at Muslims

By Glenn Greenwald | February 22, 2012 | | [Original Article]

"... For the past year, the Associated Press has systematically exposed how the New York Police Department, often working in conjunction with the CIA, engaged in a sprawling spying campaign aimed at Muslim individuals, students, institutions and mosques in the United States, all without a whiff of any suspected wrongdoing...

... Yesterday, the four AP investigative reporters who have exposed this program won a well-deserved Polk Award...

...The report was produced as part of a surveillance campaign whereby “plainclothes officers from the NYPD’s Demographics Units fanned out across Newark, taking pictures and eavesdropping on conversations inside businesses owned or frequented by Muslims.” Yet again, “the report cited no evidence of terrorism or criminal behavior,”...

...The effect of the program was that hundreds of American citizens were cataloged — sometimes by name, sometimes simply by their businesses and their ethnicity — in secret police files that spanned hundreds of pages...
[Read More] 

...“A Black Muslim male named Mussa was working in the rear of store,” 
an NYPD detective wrote after a clandestine visit to a dollar store 
in Shirley, N.Y., on Long Island

...In one section of the report, police wrote that the largest immigrant groups in Newark were from Portugal and Brazil. But they did not photograph businesses or churches for those groups.” That’s because “‘No Muslim component within these communities was identified,’ police wrote.”...

...Yet here we have the NYPD wandering outside of its jurisdiction in order to spy on the innocuous activities of a community of a religious minority (not even the Newark Mayor was informed about this), and the most disturbing part of it all is how common it now is" [Read More]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CAIR speaks out against ‘foreign law’ bill up in House committee tomorrow

By Ashley Lopez | The Florida Independent| Feb. 21, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is denouncing a bill that would regulate the “application of foreign law in certain cases,” set to be heard in a House committee meeting tomorrow. The group says the bill is anti-religion, and specifically anti-Islam..." [Read More]

"...The measure, which was touted by right-wing activists as an attempt to “stop the spread of Sharia in Florida,” is a piece of model legislation written by anti-Islam extremist David Yerushalmi..." [Read More]

":..Both CAIR and the Anti-Defamation League have said the bill is unnecessary and would restrict religious freedom. The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement last month that there “simply is no documentation of unconstitutional application of foreign law in our judicial system.”..." [Read More]

NYPD spied on Muslims all over Northeast USNearly 400 miles west of Manhattan, the New York Police Department descended on the City of Buffalo.

February 21, 2012 | | [Original Article

"Nearly 400 miles west of Manhattan, the New York Police Department descended on the City of Buffalo. It was a rough Buffalo winter in January 2009 and three NYPD officers wanted to speak to local authorities. They wanted to know more about students at the University at Buffalo..." [Read More]

"...Based on that information — that Muslim students and professors had been involved in academic activity at a state school — the NYPD urged authorities in Buffalo to assist in an investigation. There were no reports of wrong-doing among the faculty, staff or students. There was nothing, really. One day, reports the AP, a University at Buffalo student received an email about an Islamic conference in nearby Toronto, Ontario, forwarded the info to a group of Muslims at the college and, somehow in the process, her correspondence was intercepted eight hours away by the NYPD..." [Read More]

"...The Associated Press has uncovered previously unpublished documents and top-secret files that show that, sometimes in conjunction with the CIA, NYPD officers engaged in clandestine surveillance of Muslims in the greater New York City region..." [Read More]

 "...Both the City College of New York and the University at Buffalo have publically expressed that they do not condone the behavior of the NYPD. A spokesperson with UB adds that the school were never approached by authorities and decries in an official statement that the institute “does not conduct this kind of surveillance, and, if asked, UB would not voluntarily cooperate with such a request.”“As a public university, UB strongly supports the values of freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion and a reasonable expectation of privacy,"..." [Read More]

Monday, February 20, 2012

Islamophobes Incite & Justify Terrorisim

By Lee Fang | | [Original Article

“.... Geller justifies Breivik’s attack on the Norwegian Labour Party summer youth camp because she says the camp is part of an anti-Israel “indoctrination training center.” She says the victims would have grown up to become “future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole...” [Read More]

"...To get her point across, Geller posts a picture of the youth camp children Breivik targeted. The picture was taken on the Utøya island camp about 24 hours before Breivik killed over 30 children, so it is likely Geller is mocking many of the victims. Under the picture, Geller writes: “Note the faces which are more MIddle [sic] Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian...” [Read More]

NYPD monitored Muslim students all over Northeast

By Chris Hawley | Feb 18, 2012 | | [Original Article]

"Names recorded in reports, even though they hadn't been accused of any crimes" 

"...NEW YORK — The New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the elite Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, The Associated Press has learned..." [Read More

"...Police talked with local authorities about professors 300 miles away in Buffalo and even sent an undercover agent on a rwhitewater afting trip, where he recorded students' names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed..." [Read More]

"...Detectives trawled Muslim student websites every day and, although professors and students had not been accused of any wrongdoing, their names were recorded in reports prepared for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly..." [Read More

"...I see a violation of civil rights here," said Tanweer Haq, chaplain of the Muslim Student Association at Syracuse. "Nobody wants to be on the list of the FBI or the NYPD or whatever. Muslim students want to have their own lives, their own privacy and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that everybody else has..." [Read More]

"...In recent months, the AP has revealed secret programs the NYPD built with help from the CIA to monitor Muslims at the places where they eat, shop and worship...Though the NYPD says it follows the same rules as the FBI, some of the NYPD's activities go beyond what the FBI is allowed to do..." [Read More]

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hassan Shibly's Letter to the Hillsborough County School Board

Dear School Board Members:

I wish to thank you for taking a strong stand against bigotry and prejudice. Time will certainly show that you were on the right side of history. Unlike those in our nation's history who made the mistakes of taking anti-Black, anti-Irish, anti-Catholic, ant-Jewish, or anti-Japanese positions only to later learn of their mistaken ways.

For virtually everyone of those minorities, narrow minded and misinformed conspiracy theorists claimed that those minorities had a secret agenda to take over and undermine our nation. Many in our history, like those that allowed the interment camps of the Japanese or the segregation of African Americans, were on the wrong side of history, and today we clearly see how wrong they were in their prejudice ways.

Yet I am proud to say that when your great-grandchildren ask you, "how did you respond to the witch-hunts against Muslims in the years post 9/11" You can proudly say that you were not intimated by false conspiracy theories and hateful rhetoric and did not give in to bigotry. For that I am sure you will have a proud legacy. You will not be like those who today shamefully must tell their grandchildren that they did nothing to fight against segregation, anti-antisemitism, or other forms of bigotry that our nation faced throughout the 20th century. 

I have watched the footage of the school board meetings and am appalled by the utter lies and fabrications those poor individuals have made against me and my organization-they ascribed quotes to me that I never said, blamed my faith for the crimes done by a few, and twisted facts to suit their clear anti-Muslim agenda, amongst other ridiculous actions. The bigotry they have displayed has clearly shown the importance of continuing to offer our children a world class education. Thank you for bravely refusing to be intimidated by those who use misinformation to divide our community. No one who listens to the comments of the protests, reads their signs, or has a conversation with them can have any doubt that their problem is with Islam and Muslims as a whole, not a particular group or individual. 

CAIR Tampa is funded exclusively by grassroots donations from the Muslim community. I am a leading imam in the Florida Muslim community, leading prayer services at most of the major Tampa mosques. The community chose me and CAIR to represent them because of the faith and respect they have for me as a Muslim leader and CAIR's reputation for advocating for Muslim civil rights. Major Tampa area mosques continuously call me to lead the Friday prayer services, give sermons and spiritual talks, teach Islamic teachings, and represent them to the community. CAIR Tampa has over a dozen staff and interns, most of whom are not even Muslim, but believe in the cause of clearing misconceptions about Islam and defending American civil liberties. The Tampa Muslim community has the right to choose its own leaders and decide who speaks on their behalf. Mr. Kemple has no right to make that decision for the community and dictate to us as Muslims who may represent us, shame on him for attempting to do so!

Similar bigoted attacks happened against my good friend, Nezar Hamze, who is executive director of CAIR's Miami office, when he tried to join the Broward Republican Party Executive Committee last summer. The prejudice of those who opposed him because of his faith and his position in America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization, was clearly exposed by Comedy Centrals Daily Show with John Stuart. Please watch this clip for some good laughs:

Thank you again for not giving in to modern day witch-hunts and McCarthyism.

Many Thanks,
Imam Hassan Shibly, Esq.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Politicians Say the Darndest Things! (Islam Edition)

Wardah Khalid | | [Original Article]

"It’s election season, and you know what that means… time for a new edition of “Politicians Say the Darndest Things!” In this edition, we’ll be examining Presidential candidates and their views on Islam.

But why, you ask, are politicians talking so much about Islam? Don’t they have more important things to worry about like the economy and education? You’d think so, but alas, someone has to be the national scapegoat, and it looks like we Muslims lucked out this round. (Not to worry, immigrants/minorities/left-handed people, I’m sure you’ll have your turn next time)"...[Read More]

"... According to Perry, Turkey is ruled by “what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists” and has a questionable NATO membership...Turkey’s Foreign Ministry was not too pleased at the accusation, responding that Perry’s comments were “baseless and inappropriate" ..." [Read More]

"...[Newt Gringrich] As speaker of the House in the 1990s, he played an important role in creating a space for Muslims to pray on Capitol Hill and promoted Shariah-compliant finance, something which he now claims is “a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.”..." [Read More]

"...[Rick Santorum] “Where do you think this concept of equality comes from? It doesn’t come from Islam. It doesn’t come from the East and Eastern religions, where does it come from? It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that’s where it comes from.”..."[Read More]

"...[Herman Cain] America, it is time to wake up and see these contenders for who they really are – smooth talkers who couldn’t care less about upholding our nation’s values when they block the path to their personal success. And that is no laughing matter..." [Read More]

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

At Geller-Spencer’s CPAC Panel, Anti-Muslim Activist Says He’s Proud of Attacks on Mosques

Charles Johnson | LittleGreenFootballs| Feb. 10, 2012 [Original Article]

"Speaking today at the unofficial CPAC panel “Islamic Law in America: How the Obama Justice Department Is Selling Us Out,” sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force was “proud to say” that most of the mosques attacked in the US were in the South: CPAC: Anti-Muslim Activist James Lafferty Says He’s ‘Proud’ of Attacks Against Mosques"...[Read More]

James Lafferty of Virgina Anti-Sharia Task Force said in the video below "I went there and it was all Muslim officials speaking and they had all these pictures of some mosque somewhere, and it was usually in the South I’m proud to say where a guy would drive a pickup truck right into the mosque."...

..."This is far from the first example; Geller and Spencer are usually too cunning to express this kind of open support for anti-Muslim violence, but their associates … not so much: Pamela Geller Associate John Jay Openly Calls for Mass Murder"... [Read More]

Fear of Muslim Americans is Overblown

By Esther Cepeda |GazetteXtra| Posted February 13, 2012 [Original Article]

— It seems that every week, some really important news fails to get enough headlines. A story that crept by amid last week’s bloated political coverage was a study that showed how few Muslim-Americans are involved in terrorist activities... [Read More]

..."The author of the study, Charles Kurzman, a professor of sociology at UNC, wrote that “Muslim-American terrorism continued to be a minuscule threat to public safety last year. None of America’s 14,000 murders in 2011 were due to Islamic extremism.”...[Read More]

..."The majority have an unfavorable view of al-Qaeda, decry all violence in the name of their religion, rate their communities as excellent places to live and increasingly believe U.S. anti-terrorism policies are “sincere.” A month before that, a Gallup poll found that the Muslim-American community is more enthused and optimistic about its country than any other religious group—and without question Muslims are loyal to America"...[Read More]

..."Some, of course, will never be swayed. A Florida fundamentalist Christian group got Lowe’s to dump its sponsorship of the reality-TV show “All-American Muslim” because it felt the show is “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” But the facts speak for themselves"... [Read More]

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tampa Trib: Islamic Open House Deemed a Success

By JOSÉ PATIÑO GIRONA | The Tampa Tribune

Debbie and Larry Golbom came to Friday night's open house because they were curious about the Muslim community and wanted to know more.
"I thought it was pretty enlightening," said Debbie Golbom, of Largo, who said she came to the event with "zero" knowledge and understanding of Islam. "I was taken by the similarities of the religions."

The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations hosted the open house at the Islamic Community of Tampa, 5910 E. 130th Ave. The goal was to demystify the religion and introduce people to some of its followers.

Larry Golbom said the dialogue is needed.

"The stereotype is that Islam is a terrorist religion," said Golbom, a 59-year-old Largo pharmacist. "An outreach program such as this is certainly a tremendous benefit to this community."

Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR's Tampa chapter, headed the 90-minute program. He recounted the history of Islam, outlined its beliefs and took questions from the audience of around 50 people, about half of whom weren't practicing Muslims.

Although Shibly speaks regularly to various organizations, Friday's meeting came about after the Florida Family Assocation and others criticized Shibly and the school district for allowing him to speak about Islam to a Sickles High School history class.

Shibly told the audience people of different backgrounds should recognize their similarities and appreciate and be tolerant of their differences.

"The best weapon against ignorance is knowledge and getting to know each other at a human level," he said.

He said the people promoting "Islamophobia" don't want dialogue.

"It counters the message that they are promoting that Muslims are evil and can't be trusted," Shibly said. "By engaging in the conversation we can overcome the prejudice and misunderstanding that divides us."

In the audience were about 10 people from First Baptist Church of Temple Terrace. They have embarked on a course to learn more about Islam to help foster tolerance and understanding.

Marc Roath, a pastor at the church, said the program fit perfectly into their church class.

"(It's) getting a better understanding of how someone from a Muslim background feels about all kinds of things — their faith, political issues, life in general," Roath said.

"Our goal is to remove the fear that someone might have talking to someone from a Muslim background."

Shibly said he hopes to host similar events in the future.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New York Times Article Understates How Overstated Islamic Terrorism Threat Really Is

By Danios || Posted on 08 February 2012 | [Original Article]

The New York Times recently reported on a study that showed how exaggerated the threat of “Islamic” terrorism is–how “Radical Muslim Americans Pose Little Threat.” The article is a good one, but in fact, it doesn’t adequately convey how truly minuscule the threat is. I’ll reproduce the article below and then briefly recount why Americans (and Europeans) shouldn’t fear Islamic terrorism at all:...

...Here are some key points that the article could have included to have truly conveyed how absolutely minuscule the threat of Islamic terrorism is to Americans (and Europeans):
According to the FBI’s own database (available from 1980-2005), less than 6% of terrorist attacks in America were committed by Muslims.
Europol has been documenting terrorism for the last half decade. Their annual terrorism reports show that less than 1% of terrorism in Europe involves Muslims.
Since 9/11–which was over a decade ago–zero U.S. civilians have been killed by Islamic terrorists.
Similarly, zero European civilians have been killed by Islamic terrorists in the last half decade. In fact, the only injuries incurred from Islamic terrorism were to a security guard who “was slightly wounded.” Perhaps the “anti-jihadist” blogosphere should find this one security guard and give him a medal of honor and declare him a martyr for the cause... [Read Full Article]

[While all violence is deplorable, this image show how we have a double standard when condemning people of different race, nationality, religion, or culture]

Radical U.S. Muslims Little Threat, Study Says

By SCOTT SHANE | New York Times | [Original Article]

WASHINGTON — A feared wave of homegrown terrorism by radicalized Muslim Americans has not materialized, with plots and arrests dropping sharply over the two years since an unusual peak in 2009, according to a new study by a North Carolina research group.

The study, to be released on Wednesday, found that 20 Muslim Americans were charged in violent plots or attacks in 2011, down from 26 in 2010 and a spike of 47 in 2009.

Charles Kurzman, the author of the report for the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, called terrorism by Muslim Americans “a minuscule threat to public safety.” Of about 14,000 murders in the United States last year, not a single one resulted from Islamic extremism, said Mr. Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina...[Read Full Article]

Friday, February 3, 2012

Awesome Quote

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular….We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”
-Edward R. Murrow, Journalist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, March 9, 1954