Monday, October 29, 2012

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

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

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

Resources for dealing with Islamophobes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Read More...]

Monday, October 8, 2012

U.S. Muslims Squarely in the Mainstream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exploiting the Prophet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They were men and women coming together for one cause.

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

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

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

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

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

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