Monday, April 30, 2012

Far-right anti-Muslim network on rise globally as Breivik trial opens

By Mark Townsend | TheGaurdian | April 14, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...The international network of counter-jihadist groups that inspired Anders Behring Breivik is growing in reach and influence, according to a report released on the eve of the Norwegian's trial...

...Far-right organisations are becoming more cohesive as they forge alliances throughout Europe and the US, says the study, with 190 groups now identified as promoting an Islamophobic agenda...

...In Europe as a whole, 133 organisations were named in the report, including seven in Norway, and another 47 in the US, where a network of neo-conservative, evangelical and conservative organisations attempts to spread "negative perceptions of Islam, Muslim minorities and Islamic culture"...

...Andreas Mammone, a historian at Kingston University in London and an expert on European fascism, said broader factors had helped the counter-jihad movement to consolidate support. "The economic crisis continues to promote nationalism alongside the need for a common enemy. A fear of radical Islam is being developed, the idea that it presents a threat to our freedom," he said..."

Documents provide rare insight into FBI’s terrorism stings

By Petter Finn | TheWashingtonPost | April 13, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...This role has inflamed Muslim and civil rights activists, who describe Hussain as an “agent provocateur,” and prompted harsh comments from the presiding judge in a 2010 case, who questioned his honesty and the aggressiveness of the FBI’s tactics...

...I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it and brought it to fruition,” said U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon at the sentencing of four men from Newburgh, N.Y., convicted on terrorism charges. She added, “That does not mean there was no crime.”...

… Law enforcement officials say stings are a vital tactic for heading off terrorism. But civil rights activists and others say the FBI has been identifying individuals with radical views who, despite brash talk, might have little ability to launch attacks without the government’s help...

...It almost seems like the government is creating a theatrical event that produces more fear in the community,” said Michael German, a senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union and a former FBI agent who worked undercover..."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Muslim precepts presented to Sun City Center retirees

Melody Jameson | TheObserverNews | April 26, 2012 | [Original Article]

"SUN CITY CENTER – Controversy frequently follows Hassan Shibly, Esq., but it does not so much as slow down this advocate for Islam on a mission...

...A U.S. trained attorney admitted to practice in both Florida and federal courts, Shibly heads the Tampa office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). And his mission, he told the 30 or so assembled UUs, is to acquaint non-Muslims with the facts of the faith. It is ignorance, he asserted, that leads to misunderstandings. “When we speak to each other” he added, “we build respect for each other and learn from each other.”...

...Seeming to separate himself and most other Muslims from those who call themselves Muslim but foment terrorism, Shibly declared “Islam teaches that human rights are often greater than God’s rights,” adding that “you (we) cannot pray to God all day and then hurt people at night.” It is Muslim practice to pray five times each day...

...And, he added, [the pope said] “Islam is more tolerant of Christianity than Christianity is of Islam.”... [Read More]

...He also acknowledged that there are extremists who distort the Qur’an to fit their agendas. “There never is justification for terrorism he asserted, “but terrorism stems from political differences, not from religious differences.”...

...Born in Syria but raised in the United States since the age of four, Shibly grew up in a Sunni Muslim home in Buffalo, N.Y., the son of parents who both are professionals. He earned his undergraduate degree as well as his law degree at New York University, Buffalo. Now just 25, he also is married and the father of three children..."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

FBI Infiltrator Who Spied on Muslims Reveals Techniques

Tarek Mehanna: Punishing Muslims for free speech only helps Al Qaeda

By Sahar Aziz | ChristianScienceMonitor | April 19, 2012 | [Original Article

"On April 12 the United States government successfully convicted another young Muslim male who believed he had the right to express his deep disdain for American foreign policy in the Middle East and Asia. Tarek Mehanna, an American-born Bostonian, took his First Amendment rightsquite seriously when he vocally condemned his government for killing thousands of Muslims abroad. As a result, he was convicted of conspiring to help Al Qaeda.

While his prosecution may appear to be another success in the nebulous war on terror, it is in fact a victory for terrorists abroad who win hearts and minds when the American government bends over backward to prosecute Muslims in America with little regard for the Constitution..." [Read More]

"...Some Americans may view Mehanna’s conviction as legitimate and necessary to protect Americans from terrorists. But if Mehanna’s case becomes the norm for prosecuting people for vocalizing extremist views, then it is now incumbent on the government to be much more vigilant and file hundreds of indictments against white militia groups, patriot groups, and even some tea party chapters who spew vitriolic anti-government rhetoric and churn out extremist literature as some of them sit on large caches of weapons...."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Florida Muslims could be pivotal in 2012 election

By Jeff Kunerth | Orlando Sentinel | March 19, 2012| [Original Article]

Muslims have the potential to play a pivotal role in the 2012 election as Islamophobia and immigration issues galvanize the minority group into a voting bloc, according to a forum Sunday at the University of Central Florida.
Florida has an estimated 124,000 registered Muslim voters, and Orange and Osceola counties rank high in registered Muslim voters, said Daniel Hummel, a research associate with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, based in Washington, D.C. In the swing state of Florida, Muslims helped elect George Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008....
...On the other hand, high-profile prejudice against Muslims — ranging from Qur'an-burring Gainesvillepastor Terry Jones to Congressman Allen West, who condemned Islam as a threat to America — tends to unite a people who perceive themselves as under attack, said Howard Simon, executive director of theACLU of Florida... [Read More

Islamic Charity Aids Needy

Keith Morelli | The Tampa Tribune | April 16, 2012 | [Original Article]

As many as 3,000 people strolled through Riverfront Park off North Boulevard Sunday, collecting clothing, shoes, food and getting medical checkups, all for free.

The Islamic Charity Festival, which marked its 15th year, has grown every year, said chairman and event co-founder Husain Nagamia.

Indigent and homeless people stood in what became long lines by noon, waiting to get shoes or second-hand clothes. Bottled water was handed out under the bright Florida sun, and the aroma of barbecue teased everyone downwind of the smoker.

Children slid down an inflatable slide and bounded in a bounce house. Many had signed up for a drawing in which 125 brand new bicycles were to be given away.

Among the important offerings was medical care, Nagamia said. People who otherwise couldn't afford a visit to the doctor received blood-pressure tests and diabetes screening.

The event is sponsored by the Tampa Bay Muslim Alliance, and everything is being donated by the local Islamic community.

"We wanted to say 'thank you' to the community," Nagamia said. Fliers were posted throughout downtown, and word was passed to local homeless shelters about the event, he said. The result: thousands of people in need getting what they need.

Interpreting Shariah Law Across The Centuries

By NPR | April 16, 2012 | [Original Article]

...Sadakat Kadri is an English barrister, a Muslim by birth and a historian. His first book, The Trial, was an extensive survey of the Western criminal judicial system, detailing more than 4,000 years of courtroom antics...

...Islamic law is shaped by hadiths, or reports about what Prophet Muhammad said and did. The hadiths, says Kadri, govern how Muslims should pray, treat criminals and create medications, among other things...

Interview Highlights

On why he wanted to write about Shariah law

..."People just seemed to be arguing about Islam, Islamic law, the Shariah, without actually getting to the substance of what it was all about. So because I come from a Muslim background, I certainly had plenty of people I could ask... [Read More]

On the word 'Shariah'

"It means the right path to follow if you want to attain salvation. It's a very spiritual concept. It's an idea of the right thing to do, how you attain salvation. And there's no denying that the human interpretations of the Shariah do contain some very repressive laws."

On the movement to ban Shariah law in America

..."It's crazy, basically. It's this idea that Shariah is some kind of movement to take over the United States or a conspiracy to overturn American freedoms. That isn't what Shariah is. There are certainly hard-line interpretations of Islamic law. But these measures don't even claim to restrict themselves to that. They claim to prevent the courts from taking any account at all of the Shariah...
[Read More

...I am absolutely sure that many of the people who support the laws and their sponsors are genuinely motivated by fear of Islamic extremism. Islamic extremism is something which I'm fearful of. I was around on Sept. 11 and July 7 here in London when Islamic extremists blew lots of people up. I'm no fan of violent extremism from Muslims, but these laws don't target that. They simply target the body of beliefs that Muslims call the Shariah."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hillsborough School Board speaks out against bigotry

By Hassan Shibly | TampaBayTimes | April 16, 2012 | [Original Article]

I was touched by the unity and resolve displayed by our Tampa community at last week's Hillsborough County School Board meeting, when many diverse community leaders spoke out against bigotry and censorship and in support of an inclusive guest speaker policy.
For the past few months, protesters representing only a small segment of public opinion used the School Board meetings to promote conspiracy theories and false allegations against Islam and Muslims.
Their fear of Muslims and serious misinformation about Islam led them to push for a policy censoring all advocacy groups from visiting our public schools to speak on relevant topics the students are studying. When asked on camera, protesters like Terry Kemple claimed that their problem was only with America's largest Muslim civil rights group, not with all Muslims.
However, at least half of the statements made by Kemple and his supporters were attacks on the entire Muslim faith and people, not any particular Muslim group. Even worse, I felt they were really attacking the American principles of pluralism and freedom of religion. These are the principles I have taken an oath to protect and are the reasons why my family chose to immigrate to America from Syria.
But on Tuesday we saw an outpouring of diverse supporters who asked the School Board not to give in to anti-Muslim prejudices. The supporters represented many faiths, organizations and ethnicities.
The Hillsborough County School Board refused to give in to fearmongering. Our success sends a strong message that we in Tampa will not allow ignorance, fear and misunderstanding to divide us.
My only wish now is that those who fear us would come and get to know us. We are one community, and we must stand united despite our differences to foster an environment where all people can live free without fear, prejudice and hatred.
Hassan Shibly, CAIR Florida, Tampa

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hillsborough Schools Take Stand for Tolerance

The Tampa Tribune | Editorial | April 14, 2012  | [Original Article]

The sensitivity with which the Hillsborough County School Board ended a controversy over speakers in the classroom stands in commendable contrast to the behavior of the self-appointed thought police who peddled this display of bigotry.

A small but vocal group demanded the board adopt a policy that would keep Islamic speakers from the classroom. The move came after the local director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations spoke at Steinbrenner High School. The presentation was appropriate and well received. But that didn't stop the activists who weren't there from likening CAIR to terrorists and Islam to pedophilia.

The school district's existing practice of leaving speakers to the discretion of teachers and principals has worked just fine. These front-line educators are entrusted to care for tens of thousands of schoolchildren every day. The issue had nothing to do with flawed policies; it had to do with keeping those with different beliefs from being seen and heard in the community.

The board was right to see this for what it was - a campaign of intolerance that has no place in education. The Tampa Bay area is full of accomplished people whose life experiences would enrich any classroom. Let's hope this intimidation tactic doesn't keep them from coming back.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Community Unites with CAIR Against Hate at Hillsborough County School Board

Anti-Muslim Extremists Defeated at School Board
Diverse interfaith coalition stands united in solidarity with Muslim community

Dozens of diverse community members of many faiths attended yesterday's school board meeting to request the school board not to give in to censorship by banning advocacy groups at the request of anti-Muslim extremists. 

The board agreed that there is no place for censorship in America and that the current policies which permit teachers to invite qualified speakers to schools do not need to be changed. Those pushing for censorship claim that their problem was only with CAIR, not Islam, however, their statements caught on video shows that they really wished to attack Islam and Muslims as a wholeTheir attack on CAIR was simply because CAIR is the largest Muslim civil rights organization.

Nonetheless, dozens of community members came out to oppose the hate and show solidarity with the Muslim communityWatch this touching video of supporters from previous meetings and read the news articles of the community's victory below:

Despite weeks of lobbying by anti-Muslim groups, the Hillsborough County School Board has chosen not to change the county's school policy on public speakers. Supporters of the Islamic advocacy group CAIR are declaring it a win for civil rights.

After being accused of discrimination, one of [the anti-Muslim protesters] Kathy Brown, said discrimination isn't always a bad thing. Her reason drew laughs from the 25 or so CAIR supporters.... 
The decision, which came without a vote, was a blow to those who have rallied against the Council on American-Islamic Relations for weeks at multiple school board meetings.

"I consider it a victory for the community," said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the local CAIR group, whose presentation to a Steinbrenner High School world history class last year later drew objections.

"I think the issue is over," Shibly added. "If they want to keep hating, that's fine."...
Board member April Griffin talked about how many different groups come to the United States for the freedoms the country offers.

"People come to this nation because we offer something to them that many other countries don't offer. We have something that no other nation in the world was founded on," Griffin said. "I will stand up to anybody who tries to change it."

Larry Golbom, one of the speakers who addressed the board, urged the members to do nothing.

"The solidarity and intolerance I saw at the last meeting truly astonished me," Golbom said. "I was frightened by what I saw. I witnessed a mob mentality in my community. Don't succumb to fear. Our leaders can't be afraid of what is right."

Dozens of people spoke to school board members in favor and against the policy, which has been questioned by a group concerned that one Muslim organization speaking in classrooms was linked to terrorism.

But the executive director of the group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations,has refuted that claim, calling it outrageous, and the school board seems to agree.

"The more people that our students hear from, the more real it makes the world to them," board member April Griffin said. "They need to have those conversations. I want more speakers in the classroom.

CAIR Director Hassan Shibly with Supporters in Red
CAIR director Hassan Shibly surrounded with supporters in red at the school board meeting

...Others said they feared Islamic leaders were trying to subvert the Constitution and impose sharia law.

But the crowd Tuesday consisted primarily of Shibly's supporters. They dressed in red - the color usually worn by anti-CAIR speakers to board meetings.

"Eliminating religious speakers will limit children's life experiences," said Chaikirah Johnson, who has a daughter at Blake High School. "Would you censor her, or tell her not to come to class or come to your public school, because she's Muslim?"...
Bay News 9

 CAIR thanks the interfaith and civil rights community for standing in solidarity against the forces of hate!

Diverse Tampa Community Stands United with CAIR & Hassan Shibly Against Hate at Hillsborough County School Board

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

School speakers add depth

By Staff | TampaBayOnline | April 09, 2012 | [Original Article]

"David Caton's offer of a $2,000 reward for tips about any planned appearances by the Council on American Islamic Relations at Steinbrenner High School is a publicity stunt not worthy of an instant of anyone's time...

...The school district has sensible guidelines on guest speakers, and there is no evidence that anything improper occurred during the session that incited Caton's ire...

...Shibly, the son of Syrian immigrants who was raised in Buffalo, is an attorney as well as an imam. He answered students' questions about Islam and was one of a number of speakers, including a priest, the teacher lined up to speak about major religions. A rabbi already has appeared...

...Students are not such frail reeds that they are going to be brainwashed by one classroom session. Teachers are monitoring the talks and can step in if a speaker goes too far...

...But if we want American students to be successful, they should be prepared for a world where they will encounter many different perspectives and viewpoints..." [Read More]

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tea Party Members Threatens Genocide of Muslims

Caton & Kemple Supporter Says He Will Kill All Muslims
Tea Party Member & Militia/Weapons  Enthusiast wants to "evaporate" Muslims

After David Caton's Florida Family Association offered a $2,000 "bounty" for information on speaking events involving Muslim leaders, America's largest Muslim civil rights organization received a threat of genocide against Muslims from a supporter of David Caton & Terry Kemple. Caton & Kemple have been leading anti-Muslim witch-hunts at the Hillsborough County School Board with the acquiescence of board member Dr. Stacy White. CAIR's investigation of the threat has revealed that the sender of the threat is an active Tea Party leader & militia enthusiast. Members of the Tea Party have actively been supporting the ant-Muslim, pro-censorship protests at the Hillsborough County School Board. The threat said in part:

"AMERICA learned all it needed to ever know about Islam... We will evaporate you, every single one of the vermin like you. WE all look forward to it with great anticipation..." 

The threat also made reference to  President Obama and the importance of guns. The FBI and the Secret Service have both been notified of the threat. 
CAIR Florida issued the following statement:

        "Such threats are not surprising, given that Caton & Kemple are working hard to demonize and dehumanize American Muslims.  It is also not surprising that it is coming from a member of the Tea Party which has regularly invited speakers that have justified the abhorrent terrorist attacks in Norway. Our fear is that the disgusting Islamophobia rhetoric from the likes of Caton & Kemple  could incite a homegrown Anders Breivik like terrorist attack. 
         We call on law enforcement to investigate these threats against Muslims just as they thoroughly investigate threats made by a person who happens to be Muslim. We wonder whether the author of the threat will become the subject of an FBI sting investigationas some misguided Muslims have. We call on Caton, Kemple, and Tea Party members to condemn such threats, as they expect Muslims to condemn every crime committed by a person who shares their faith. 
         We call on the Tampa community to say no to such hateful rhetoric that results in fear, division, and potentially violence."

Please immediately notify CAIR if you are aware of any threats against the community so that CAIR can work with law enforcement to keep our community safe!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Schools to limit outside speakers | Display of intolerance

By Melva Underbakke | TampaBayTimes | March 11, 2012 | [Original Article]

"At the last three Hillsborough County School Board meetings, a great deal of time was spent discussing the policy for inviting speakers into the classrooms. A group of very vocal but misinformed people are upset that a high school teacher invited Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to speak to a world religion class about Islam.

...The group claimed this was not about Islam but about who was invited to speak. However, their behavior made it clear to me that this was about Islam, and about hatred...

There were also a number of speakers, including myself, who actually know Shibly and have worked with CAIR. Some of these speakers represented Christians. All of us spoke positively about Shibly and about CAIR, and we attempted to correct some of the misinformation we heard...

First, he is not a terrorist and he is qualified to speak about Islam, since he is an imam. And CAIR does not support terrorism. CAIR was formed to counter stereotypes about Muslims and to work for civil liberties. Discussion of Christianity, like all religions, is allowed in the schools. Jews, Christians and Muslims come from the same tradition and worship the same God." [Read More]

Monday, April 2, 2012

Islamic speaker controversy thinly veiled censorship

By Ernest Hooper | TampaBayTimes | April 2, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The parents complaining about the appearance of Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a Steinbrenner High classroom should have more trust in teachers and more faith in their parental abilities.

Concerns about indoctrination are unfounded, but even if Shibly aimed to "brainwash" students, the protesting parents should believe in the lessons they teach at home.

For example, we've raised our kids to be respectful of differing opinions and reject intolerance. I wouldn't worry if someone preached bigotry in their class.

They know better.

Education should be about the marketplace of ideas, not thinly veiled censorship. ..."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Terry Kemple is a Liar

Terry Kemple, who is leading the Muslim bashing effort during Hillsborough County School Board meetings, claims to the media that "we don't have a problem with Islam being expressed in a classroom by a speaker..."as he told Fox 13.

He claims, he does not have a problem with Islam, just America's largest representative of American Muslims--comparing groups that represent Islam to groups that represent pedophilia or the KKK.

However, his own words and the words of the Muslim bashers he brings with him to school board meetings, clearly show that Kemple is a liar, and indeed he has a problem with Islam and Muslims, not just America's largest Muslim civil rights group-In the video below, despite Kemple claiming "our concern is not with Islam," Kemple goes on a rant accusing Islam of being a threat to America: