Friday, November 30, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

What Would America's Founding Fathers Say About Islam?

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Despite outcry, Cape Coral man continues to teach law enforcement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Islamophobia is losing ground

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

CAIR's Receives Commitments Against Kharoba

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

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

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

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

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

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