Monday, July 30, 2012

Michele Bachmann's McCarthyite Witch Hunt Against Muslims, 'Sharia Law'

By Robert Dreyfuss | | July 23, 2012 | [Original Article

"I’d call Frank Gaffney an intellectual bomb-thrower—but, he’s not an intellectual. Instead, he treats politics and national security the way James Holmes treats movie-theater patrons: don’t worry about aiming, just shoot to kill. Fortunately for his victims, Gaffney mostly fires duds, such as the ones he’s been shooting lately at Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton, whom Gaffney calls an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood...

...Gaffney, of course, is the extreme-right-wing chief of something called the Center for Security Policy. AsRightWeb and SourceWatch report, Gaffney is involved in, connected to, or cited by anti-Muslim crazies who oppose mosque-building, generated volumes of conspiracy theories, and he was even cited by the Norwegian terrorist who killed scores of campers in 2011. How far right? For years I’ve watched Gaffney’s Islamophobic and ultrahawkish antics, including a long-running battle he’s had with Grover Norquist, the taxophobic head of Americans for Tax Reform...[Read More]

...In her jihad against Abedin, Bachmann spewed out a stream of letters to half a dozen top US officials, including John Brennan, Obama’s top adviser on terrorism; the director of National Intelligence; and many others. To get a flavor of the letters, I urge you to read one or two. Among them: a letter to the deputy inspector general of the State Department...

Fortunately, rather than rely on pro-Obama, obviously Muslim-tainted sources to rebut Bachmann, we can quote a speech from Senator McCain on the Senate floor"
"These allegations about Huma and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bachmann's paranoia strikes deep

By Daniel Ruth | TampaBayTimes | July 24, 2012 | [Original Article]

"It would be too easy, too convenient to dismiss the ramblings of Rep. Michele Bachmann as the rants of a cravenly ambitious politician all too willing to cater to the paranoid lemmings of her tea party followers.

But it still doesn't diminish the harm Bachmann's latest paroxysm of fearmongering has caused to loyal Americans whose only crime has been the vagaries of birth and/or the choice of religion.

...Bachmann — unburdened by fairness, or truth or reality — decided to impugn the patriotism of Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and fellow Rep. Keith Ellison.

Abedin and Ellison are Muslim, evidence enough for Bachmann and fellow members of her unhinged Tailgunner Caucus, which also includes Florida's Rep. Tom Rooney... [Read More]

...he notion that evildoers are trying to infiltrate the State Department was all the rage 60 years when McCarthy attempted the same, unsubstantiated witch hunt...

...What Murrow had to say about McCarthy in 1954 applies just as pointedly to Bachmann's bigotry and racism"

"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 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"

Florida law enforcement comes under scrutiny for repeatedly using anti-Islam trainer

By Alex Kane | Mondoweiss | July 24, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Sam Kharoba fancies himself an “expert” on terrorism. The Jordanian-born Kharoba, a Christian, believes the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, is a “pedophile, a serial killer, a rapist.” And he’s teaching the police officers of Florida, where he is based, these claims in courses on Islam and terrorism.

But a coalition of 30 Muslim organizations is now raising the heat on Kharoba and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). A detailed letter sent this month to the FDLE commissioner outlines Kharoba’s anti-Muslim statements and demands that “Kharoba be removed from your approved list of trainers and not be approved to train anyone associated with the FDLE.”...

...The letter highlights some damning features of that feedback. One law enforcement agent said that, after taking Kharoba’s class, he or she was “going to make sure we have completed survey of existing ME/Muslim population and have a clearer understanding of their properties.” Another said: “This can be very useful knowing that Shiite is more radical than Sunni.”... [Read More]

...Kharoba was also the subject of a 2005 complaint filed by a Muslim law enforcement officer with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The commission found that “the instructor made numerous statements and comments offensive to complainant based on his religion (Muslim).”..."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why isn’t the Colorado shooter considered a Terrorist?

By Dean Obeidallah | TheDeansReport | July 22, 2012 | [Original Article]

"James Holmes is a terrorist.

You would think this would be undisputed. But it’s not. Why? Two reasons keep coming up: 1. He had no overt political agenda for his attack and/or; 2. He is not a Muslim.

I’m sure some are saying: Why does his religion matter? Let us be honest: If James Holmes had instead been named Jalal and was Muslim, the response by the media and most Americans would be different. The presumption would be that he’s a terrorist. The political reason for the attack many say is currently missing would be a given simply because of his Muslim faith

There would be calls to increase police surveillance of American-Muslims and justifications offered for racial profiling. People like Representative Michelle Bachmann would likely claim that the attack was part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign to destroy America. After all, just last week Bachmann claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood was infiltrating the US government. (I personally wish that Bachmann’s brain would be infiltrated by intelligence.)... [Read More]

...While it’s painful for some, we must as a nation come to the realization that terrorism does not come from just one religion, race or ethnicity. Terrorism knows no such bounds.

However, there is, of course, still a chance that Holmes is insane. Most undoubtedly would prefer to give Holmes the benefit of the doubt on that issue. However, I doubt most would apply that same standard if Holmes were Muslim.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Michele Bachmann’s anti-Muslim paranoia

By Juliette Kayyem | Articles.Boston | July 19, 2012 | [Original Article]

...It is simply not enough to mock the Bachmann crusade against the “civilizational jihad” festering in federal government. Much more than the recent and desperate accusations that President Obama needs to be “more American,” the charges against those in government — appointees, civil servants, and advisers — are far more dangerous. They are intended not so much to root out the enemy in our midst, but to raise suspicions against Americans simply by demanding the hunt.

In five separate letters to the Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense, as well as the director of National Intelligence, Bachmann’s congressional allies detail their objections about Islam’s influence on America’s policy. These policies include the relatively benign outreach efforts with Muslim organizations and apologies for the Koran burnings in Afghanistan. But it really isn’t policies that the Bachmann cabal is worried about. It’s the people...

In government, such a request for the kind of information the letters demand — Joe McCarthy would be proud — will require each agency to track the strange claims and interview personnel. It will distract from a focus on the nation’s security. But that’s the point. It is the search that matters.

Bachmann's former campaign manager joins chorus condemning her anti-Muslim remarks

By Jillian Rayfield | LearnForward.MSNBC | July 19, 2012 | [Original Article]

"On Wednesday, Michele Bachmann's former campaign manager decried her accusation that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. In a letter on, Ed Rollins wrote, "I am fully aware that she sometimes has difficulty with her facts, but this is downright vicious and reaches the late Senator Joe McCarthy level."

Bachmann (R-MN) and four other members of Congress wrote a letter last month accusing Abedin of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and possibly using her position as a senior aide to the Secretary of State to influence policy...[Read More]

...But John Fugelsang, a political comedian, had a different take, arguing that Bachmann's accusations were "actually rather deliberate. She is going to raise money from saying what she said. And she will earn the ire of her colleagues. Yes, even John Boehner condemned her, but the fact is they need her because she makes them look so measured and reasonable."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

EEOC Determination Against Anti-Muslim Training: Muslim Asserted "Stereotyping" and "Personal Bias"

CAIR Florida | July 16, 2012

In a decision available online, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) ruled in favor of a Muslim who filed a complaint about a 2005 course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). In Washington Monthly's "How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam," available online since early 2012, authors Joshua Craze and Meg Stalcup describe the Muslim's complaint about Kharoba this way:

SEE: How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam

"As things turned out, though, the students of FLETC wound up being more skeptical than the school's course evaluators. The same month that Kharoba was being invited to incorporate his material into the FLETC curriculum, FLETC received a complaint from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official named Muhammad Rana. Rana had been angered by course materials that included a handout describing "fundamentalist Muslims" as people with "long beards and head coverings" who, while "we call them radicals ... are practicing true Islam." Eleven out of fifteen members of the class submitted a letter in support of Rana's complaint, and Rana took his case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ruled in his favor."

In his March 2012 response to the Washington Monthly article, Kharoba did not make any effort to rebut Craze and Stalcup's reporting on Rana's complaint.

SEE: CTOCs Statement on the Washington Monthly Article
The EEOC, referring to Kharoba as I1, also found the following in its decision:

SEE: EEOC Decision

"The [EEOC Administrative Judge] noted that complainant was not the only student who felt I1's comments were inappropriate and had the purpose of degrading and demonizing followers of Islam. The evidence showed that the agency had received complaints regarding this course from prior students. Indeed, complainant's classmates complained as well. On February 23, 2005, eleven out of the fifteen members of the class submitted a letter to the Director of the training program (D1), requesting that he eliminate I1's class altogether, calling it 'repulsive.' The letter from the class to D1 stated:

"'Our reasons for making this request is that we found the content, most of it, to be filled with stereotyping, unsubstantiated allegations, unrelated information and personal bias. [I1] continuously emphasized that all people of the Muslim faith would exhibit this particular behavior and share the one common goal of either converting everyone to their religion or eliminating them, in essence, they all had terrorist characteristics.'"


Muslim Organizations Say Police Training Teaches Bigotry

Muslims Seek Law Enforcement Instructor's Ouster

Friday, July 13, 2012

Expert Gives Florida Police Anti-Muslim Training, Claims Civil Rights Group

By Claire Gordon | AOL | July 13, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Counterterrorism in the U.S. is traditionally the job of the FBI. But since 9/11, increasing numbers of state and local police have undergone training in spotting and catching terrorists, often funded by federal grants. Muslim groups are now concerned that some of the counterterrorism experts instructing our nation's police are unqualified and bigoted, spreading stereotypes about Muslims that ultimately make our country less safe.

One of those experts is Sam Kharoba, president of the Florida-based Counter Terrorism Operations Center. Through an open information request, the Council on American-Islam Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization, found that Kharoba had conducted at least 21 separate trainings in Florida between 2005 and 2011, many of them sponsored and advertised by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

A letter sent Wednesday, co-signed by 18 other Muslim organizations and a half-dozen Florida mosques, as well as non-Muslim advocacy groups, asked FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey to sever the department's ties with Kharoba; to hire "someone with appropriate credentials and accurate subject matter content" to re-educate the officers who received his training; and to adopt a vetting procedure for counterterrorism experts who train police...

...Kharoba is a Christian, but was born in majority Muslim Jordan. "That's like saying any American who lives in America is qualified to teach about Christianity," says Hassan Shibly, the executive director of CAIR's Florida chapter.

Shibly believes that Kharoba's teachings result in more police profiling of Muslims. "We've had so many complaints from local Muslims who've been praying, and stopped and questioned," he says. "and asked what hand he wears his watch on. This guy teaches that if you wear a watch on your right hand you're a jihadist."...

...Critics of the training fear that it will discourage American Muslims from coming to police officers and agents with valuable leads, and cooperating with investigations.

FBI Director Robert Mueller has said on record that the cooperation of Muslim communities is "tremendously important" and that revelations, such as the one about offensive training materials, "set us back.""

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CAIR Condemns Anti-Terrorism Police Training as ‘Biased’

By Alexa Robinson | | July 12, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The Florida branches of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a press conference on July 11 to condemn anti-terrorism training conducted and the anti-terrorism training manual, A Law Enforcement Guide to Understanding Islamist Terrorism, by Sam Khabora, as “factually erroneous and biased.”

The Tampa CAIR’s press conference – presented by Director Hassan Shibly- not only announced its rejection of Khabora’s statements and training but also stated that it has sent its concerns in aletter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)...

...CAIR’s first concern was that Kharoba is not qualified to speak on the topic of Islam. Kharoba ‘s certifcation in the area of Islamic culture comes from an “Advanced Level General Certificate of Education in Arabic Culture” in the United Kingdom, which CAIR claims is the equivalent of an AP course in high school.

Additionally, CAIR pointed out at their press conference that much of the Islamic community in the United States is not of Arab descent. In fact, according to the US Department of State statistics in 2010 the majority of Arab Americans (two thirds) are Christian and the majority (up to one third) of Muslims in the United States are African-Americans.

Kharoba’s other claim to authority is that he lived in the Middle East for seventeen years. Shibly stated that letting Kharoba teach police based on this argument is like claiming that “any person who lives in America is qualified to talk about American history and Christianity in America.” In the letter to the FDLE, CAIR states, “Kharoba has neither the academic nor the operational background to qualify as a subject matter expert on either Islam or countering violent extremism.”

CAIR also cites other organizations, news agencies, and government officials who have rejected Kharoba’s training as biased and incorrect. The Washington Monthly March/April 2011 edition reported on Kharoba’s training in an article entitled “How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam... [Read More]

...Also speaking at the press conference was Bishop of the Apostolic Church and President of the Florida Council of Churches Chuck Leigh. Bishop Leigh castigated the training as “spending money on bigotry” that Kharoba’s alleged misrepresentations of Islam “offends the very heart of Christianity.” The Bishop went on to state, “I think God is offended by it.”..."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CAIR: Fla. Law Enforcement Asked to Drop Anti-Muslim Trainer

CAIR Florida | July 11, 2012

(TAMPA, FL, 7/11/2012) -- The Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today held news conferences in Tampa and Pembroke Pines to ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to stop using a notorious anti-Muslim bigot as a counterterrorism trainer.

At the news conferences, CAIR-FL released a letter sent to the FDLE by a 30-member coalition of Muslim organizations and individuals requesting that the department no longer use Sam Kharoba of the Counter Terrorism Operations Center (CTOC) as a trainer on issues related to Islam and Muslims.

The coalition's letter to FDLE Commissioner Gerald M. Bailey asserts that Kharoba's training materials on Islam are riddled with inaccuracies, sweeping generalizations and stereotypes, that he is unqualified as a subject matter expert on either Islam or countering violent extremism and that his training has elicited disturbingly prejudiced responses from trainees.

It states in part:

"Sam Kharoba's training undermines the Building Communities of Trust (BCOT) initiative released by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security and International Association of Chiefs of Police. It also directly contradicts the Line Training provided by the DOJ for our Law Enforcement Officers regarding SARS."

That letter also asks that officers who received Kharoba's biased training be given accurate and unbiased retraining by credible experts and that the FDLE adopt a policy ensuring that those offering counterterrorism training be vetted for their academic credentials, operational experience and accuracy of course content.

For more Background on Sam Kharoba, see:

Documents obtained by CAIR-FL reveal at least 21 separate trainings conducted by Kharoba in Florida from 2005-2012. In many cases, these trainings were sanctioned by the FDLE.

The documents were obtained through a nationwide effort in which CAIR chapters filed 87 separate public records requests about possible Islamophobic training of local, state and national law enforcement personnel.

SEE: CAIR Files Multi-State Records Requests on Anti-Muslim Law Enforcement Trainings

Kharoba's main training manual, "A Law Enforcement Guide to Understanding Islamist Terrorism," combines vile accusations against Islam, sweeping generalizations targeting all Muslims and factual inaccuracies.

About the manual, the coalition letter states: "Objective readers of this material will walk away with a clear impression that Al-Qaeda and its ideological allies are representative of mainstream Islam and that all Muslims lie as a matter of routine."

The first chapter of Kharoba's training manual attacks the entire religion of Islam and attempts to prove, through selective evidence, that it is inherently violent. He writes: "Most of us have heard statements similar to 'Islam is a religion of peace' and that 'Muslim radicals hijacked, twisted and altered Islam to justify their Jihad against non-Muslims.' This book will provide definitive proof contradicting these statements and allegations."

In its 2011 investigative report, "How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam," Washington Monthly quoted Kharoba: "'When I look at the life of Muhammad, I get a very nasty image,' said Kharoba. . .'And that is just to start off with. Anyone who says that Islam is a religion of peace,' he continued, 'is either ignorant or flat out lying.'"

CAIR also recently called on the Department of Defense to dismiss an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., who taught fellow officers that only a "total war" on Islam would protect America, that they should use "Hiroshima" tactics, target civilian populations, and abandon the Geneva Conventions. The instructor of that course was later relieved of his teaching duties.

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization has also called on the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security and Congress to provide oversight for apparently widespread anti-Muslim bias in the training of law enforcement, security and military personnel nationwide.

An 80-page report by Political Research Associates (PRA), titled "Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security," details a systemic failure to regulate content in counterterrorism training.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Muslim advocates say police workshops malign their faith, call for end to training by group

By Matt Sedensky | | July 11, 2012 | [Original Article]

"WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Muslim advocates say workshops held for police around the state are denigrating their faith.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations and a number of smaller groups say training led by Sam Kharoba of the Cape Coral-based Counter Terrorism Operations Center maligns the Prophet Muhammad, spreads mistruths about Islam and makes sweeping generalizations about the religion.

They're calling on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to end trainings led by Kharoba. FDLE says it will review the Muslim groups' concerns.

Kharoba says the claims are "manufactured distractions" and that his training "is based on historical facts found in the most respected and authentic Islamic religious texts."

He says he's trained about 20,000 law enforcement officers around the country in the last decade and that the vast majority gave positive feedback."
(Story distributed by The Associated Press)

UPS supervisor spied on Muslim employee in the bathroom... and then demonstrated 'how we urinate in this country'

By Emily Epstein | Dailymail | July 11, 2012 | [Original Article]

"A Muslim UPS worker claims his colleagues and managers routinely humiliated and harassed him - including spying on him while he went to the toilet.

Palestinian-American Ashraf Sarandah, 35, has filed an official complaint against UPS with the Equal Employment Opportunity commission for routinely discriminating against him, including one instance in which his boss followed him to the bathroom to watch him urinate.

Mr Sarandah, who has a bladder and kidney condition, was then questioned for the manner in which he used the toilet, prompting a demonstration by his supervisor in the 'American' manner of peeing: standing up at a urinal...

...His attorney Michael Hanna called UPS's conduct 'horrendous.' The most heinous instance of harassment was this year, when a manager followed him to the bathroom to watch him use the toilet... [Read More

... Some Muslims believe that getting urine on one's body or clothing is a sin, so men will often refrain from using a urinal, opting for a toilet instead...

...Mr Sarandah hopes that his complaint can lift the lid on what he says is UPS' blind eye to discrimination. 'Today I file these charges against UPS to help make sure that no employee has to face racial slurs, harassment, and fear that their management is secretly watching them use the restroom,' he said to the MailOnline..."

UPS employee alleges anti-Muslim workplace environment

By Anika Palm | The Orlando Sentinel | July 10, 2012 | [Original Article]

"ORLANDO, Fla. - An engineer for UPS in Orlando filed a federal complaint Tuesday, alleging that the company allowed workers to spy on him in a restroom and otherwise harass him because of his Arab background and Muslim faith.

Ashraf Sarandah, a Palestinian-American, claimed he was called derogatory names and denied promotions at UPS because of his faith and ethnicity, though he was not specific. He filed discrimination charges against the parcel delivery company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission..." [Read More]

"...Sarandah said he complained to the human-resources department at UPS, but Hanna declined to explain the company’s response. If the EEOC certifies the complaint after investigating, Sarandah will be able to file a federal lawsuit against the company in about 180 days, Hanna said.

"This conduct is un-American," said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Shibly said other former UPS employees with Arab heritage have come forward with similar complaints, though he did not provide specifics.

In a separate incident last year, a Muslim subcontractor alleged that UPS in Sweden discriminated against him because supervisors told him to shave his beard, which he said he had for religious reasons."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CAIR Florida, Morgan & Morgan, File Harassment Charges Against UPS

Orlando UPS Employee Alleges Anti-Arab Bias
Anika Myers Palm | Orlando Sentinel | July 10, 2012 | [Original Article]
CAIR-FL files discrimination charges against UPS
Today's Orlando Press Conference 
 An Orlando employee of UPS filed a federal complaint today alleging that the company allowed a hostile environment to exist because of his ethnicity and faith.

Ashraf Sarandah, 33, said he has been denied promotions, called names and that co-workers and supervisors spied on him in the restroom at the parcel-delivery-service company. He has filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Sarandah, a Palestinian-American who is also a Muslim, said the harassment has been a steady problem during at least six of the eight years he has been employed by UPS as an industrial engineer and planner.

 "This conduct is un-American," said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations... [Watch Video]

Muslim Worker Claims Management at UPS Watched Him Urinate
Claire Gordon | AOL News | July 10,2012 | [Full Article]

UPS calls Arab Monkey...Sarandah says that in February he went to use the bathroom, and was followed by two managers. Deeply uncomfortable, Sarandah says that he turned around and left, even though he has a kidney and bladder condition for which he was previously hospitalized. "Employees should not have to fear that their employers are kneeling under them and watching them urinate," says Shibly. "It's frankly disgusting on UPS' part."... 

Ashraf's lawyers say that they aren't surprised that a Muslim should be the latest target of abuse at UPS. Harassment and discrimination of Muslims took a turn for the worse a few years ago, says Shibly. A month after the Sept. 11 attacks, 47 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Islam, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. When that same question was asked in 2010, only 37 percent said the same.

"What I really find fascinating about this case is that UPS is supposed to be a worldwide company," Shibly added. "They serve the world. They should be all about diversity. It's a global corporation." [Read Full Details]

Monday, July 9, 2012

Expose the Islamophobia industry

By Nathan Lean | | July 9, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...The 33-year-old Breivik is charged with terrorism and murder. On Aug. 24, judges will announce if he is sane enough for prison. The 10-week proceedings against him resembled a freak show more than a judicial event: Shoe throwing, self-immolation and far-right salutes were among the happenings that animated a normally humdrum process.

What was absent from the scene, though, was blunt discussion of the anti-Islam ideology that influenced Breivik and caused him to be so fearful of Muslims that his only response was to slaughter fellow citizens whose politics he blamed for their presence...

...Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto offers a clear view of the people and ideas that shaped his actions.

“About Islam, I recommend essentially everything written by Robert Spencer,” Breivik gushed in one of 162 shout-outs to the blogger, whose website is a one-stop shop for everything anti-Muslim. Spencer has waged a populist campaign against “stealth jihad,” “creeping Sharia” and even Campbell’s soup (which offers halal-certified cans of its famous products).

Breivik cited Spencer’s partner, blogger Pamela Geller, 12 times. Geller and Spencer co-founded Stop Islamization of America, the American branch of a European hate franchise, Stop Islamization of Europe, a group whose soccer hooligan members have whipped the populations of Britain and Denmark into nationalistic frenzies. SIOE’s motto states: “Racism is the lowest form of human stupidity but Islamophobia is the height of common sense.” Both Geller and Spencer organized the vitriolic protests against the Park51 Islamic Center in 2010..."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hate crimes on the rise

By Sherwood Ross | | July 06, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Muslims may make up fewer than one percent of the US population, but they were nearly 13 percent of victims of religious-based hate crimes in 2010, The Nation magazine of the US reports...

...“It’s fair to say that we have in America today two systems of citizenship: one for Muslims and one for non-Muslims,” Lalami says. “Muslim citizens live under a cloud of suspicion, no matter what they do, and no matter what they say.”

Anti-Muslim attitudes have reached deep into the workplace. Muslims make up only about one percent of the US population, but account for more than 20 percent of religion-based filings with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission... [Read More]

...Bayoumi warns: “Anti-Muslim attitudes are not merely absorbed by law enforcement and the military or reflected on the airwaves and in the words of our politicians. Rather, the idea that American Muslims are to be feared or loathed or excluded from the US is being actively promoted.”..."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Appreciating Islam's Contribution to Civilization

By Parvez Ahmed | | July 5, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Nearly four in 10 Americans hold an unfavorable view of Islam and Muslims. That number has remained steady since 9/11. Several factors contribute to this negative perception, certainly none greater than Muslims, albeit a few, committing terrorism in the name of Islam. The media exasperates this negativity, as aptly noted in Edward Said's 1981 classic "Covering Islam." However, some media outlets are more egregious than others. A 2011 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that the majority of Fox News viewers perceive that Muslims want to establish sharia (Islamic law) in America and express the distressing view that Muslims are NOT an important part of America's religious fabric. Nearly seven in 10 viewers of Fox News believe that the values of Islam are at odds with American values. In contrast fewer than four in 10 viewers of public television hold such negative perceptions...

...On Friday, July 6 at 9 p.m. EST, PBS will nationally broadcast a documentary titled, "Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World" narrated by Susan Sarandon. The documentary is a timely reminder about the many contributions made by Muslims to art and culture. As an educator, I am looking forward to this documentary as it adds to a growing collection of well-made documentaries that provide a semblance of balance to the general propensity in the media to stereotype Muslims... [Read More]

... PBS airing yet another documentary about Islam suggests that a small but critical mass of Americans remain open minded about better understanding other cultures and religions. Critics of public radio and television, I am sure, will accuse PBS of a pro-Islam bias. And many Muslims may hastily conclude that the negative attitude of Fox News viewers is representative of the general unawareness of Islam in America. PBS's Friday night national broadcast provides both critics countervailing facts to reconsider their stereotyping..."

Wiretap Stats Decrease, But Don’t Go Celebrating Yet

By David Kravets | | July 2, 2012 | [Original Article]

"…The government has at its disposal a variety of methods to capture Americans’ communications and data without warrants or with super-secret national security wiretap warrants that aren’t covered in this report…

The government has many other tools to tap Americans’ communications, meaning the decrease in wiretaps could just be a statistical blip, or it could mean that court-ordered wiretaps are taking a back seat to other methods of warrantless, data extraction….

The data Google is coughing up includes e-mail communications, documents and, among other things, browsing activity, and even IP addresses used to create an account. And we suspect that an alarming amount of the data is being turned over without a probable-cause warrant. Google isn’t saying...[Read More]

In the United States, the law is so antiquated that a warrant is often not required to get Americans’ emails, and proposals to fix that have been met with silence in Congress.

So while it may be nice to see a significant drop in criminal wiretap orders last year, only the foolish would think there’s 14 percent less snooping going on."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thoughts of an American Muslim on Independence Day

Op-Ed by Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR National in Washington, DC.

As we mark one of history's most triumphant acts of liberty, I want to share with you some of the many things America's Muslims are doing to preserve this fundamental principle of the American identity.

The revolution we honor each year on July 4th was in part sparked by unreasonable government intrusions into individual liberty. In 1761, Boston lawyer James Otis spoke against overly-broad warrants issued by the British government. These Writs of Assistance allowed the crown's agents to search any house or ship they wished, without any specific reason. John Adams -- signer of the Declaration of Independence and our nation''s second president -- said of Otis' speech, "Then and there, the child Independence was born."

In times of threat, public opinion often shifts away from liberty. Ten years after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Pew Research Center found that a troubling number of Americans supported government monitoring of credit card transactions (42%) and phone calls (29%). Similarly, the Associated Press found disconcerting percentages of Americans embracing the ideas of warrantless monitoring of domestic phone calls (23%) and email (30%).

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a California Muslim serves as one example of turning to the Constitution to preserve American liberty from over-broad or warrantless government intrusions into individual liberty. The lawsuit asserts that the FBI violated Yasir Afifi's First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights when the bureau failed to obtain a warrant to place a GPS tracking device on his car to monitor his daily activities.

American liberty is about going before a judge, providing reasonable suspicion and getting a warrant, not about unchecked government power to intrude into a person's life.

Liberty in the form of free exercise of religion is also crucial to our nation. Everyone who went to elementary school in this country knows the pilgrims came to the New World to escape religious persecution in Europe.

In 2011, 54 bills or amendments aimed at interfering with Muslims' religious practices -- so-called "anti-sharia" bills -- were considered in 25 states and the U.S. Congress. This trend continues today. It is often carried out under the banner of a conspiracy theory that asserts Muslims are working to undermine the Constitution and replace it with Islamic law.

Yet we know that no religious code can replace American law. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states, "This Constitution ... shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby."

Laws intended to target Muslims have been passed in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, and South Dakota. This is a serious threat to the First Amendment, which prohibits government from making any law "respecting an establishment of religion."

Muslims, along with interfaith and business partners, have been active in opposing such bills. The 2010 amendment to Oklahoma's state constitution, which violates the First Amendment by explicitly subjecting Islam to government censure, immediately faced a legal challenge from a Muslim living in that state. A federal judge put the law on hold after determining that the challenge had merit and will likely result in the law being ruled unconstitutional.

There are countless examples of Muslims defending American liberty. Muslims have worked to undo the sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allow for indefinite detention of Americans without charge or trial. The NDAA is unconstitutional because it disregards the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process for "all persons" and the Sixth Amendment right to a fair and speedy trial.

When presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich asserted that they would impose loyalty oaths on Muslims who may have wanted to serve in their administrations, Muslims again asserted American principles, pointing out that Article VI of the Constitution prohibits "religious tests" for public office. America is about who merits the position, not what their faith might be.

I am grateful for the opportunity to live the American dream and help fulfill that dream for all our nation's citizens. On July 4th, I will join my fellow Americans of all beliefs and backgrounds to mark the courage the Founding Fathers showed in asserting liberty from a tyrannical British king. The next day, I will go back to defending American ideals, because that is what my faith compels me to do.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Science and Islam

Part 1: The Language of Science

Part 2: The Empire of Reason

Part 3: The Power of Doubt