Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hate Comes to Hillsborough

Student Rejects Claims of Anti-Muslim Protesters, Praises CAIR Presentation.
For the past few months, anti-Muslim demagogue Terry Kemple with the help of Islamophobe David Caton have hijacked the Hillsborough County School Board meetings to force School Board members to listen to hours of hateful attacks against Islam and American Muslims. Below is a brief video showing how Tampa school board meetings are being used as a platform by Islamophobes to promote their xenophobic anti-Muslim agenda:

Anti-Muslim Hate Comes to Hillsborough County School Board Meetings

The Islamophobes demanded that the school board host a workshop to consider banning America's largest Muslim civil rights organization from speaking to students-claiming that allowing a representative of Islam to speak is like allowing a representative of pedophilia to speak.

CAIR-Tampa executive director, Hassan Shibly said in response to the abuse of school board meetings by those wishing to promote fear and hatred of Islam:

 It feels like we're taking a step back in time to days when people used school board meetings to promote racism against African Americans. It's very inappropriate and sad to see that the school board meetings have been used as a platform by anti-Muslim extremists to promote bigotry and hatred of Islam and hardworking American Muslims 

The Tampa Bay Times reports today that:

...member April Griffin said the discourse of recent months - in which some speakers have disparaged the entire religion of Islam - is "absolutely disgusting," and the board should not give in to pressure from conservative activists such as David Caton and Terry Kemple.

"I resent having this conversation in the first place," Griffin said. "I do not think we need a policy. My goal right now is to keep things the way they are." Others said they trust the judgment of teachers and principals. 

So yesterday, the school board held a workshop and heard testimony from a student who attended a talk on Islam given by CAIR at a local high school last year: The student, along with many teachers said that having a guest speaker, like one from CAIR, enriches the learning experience. 

The student told ABC Action News in the video below that speakers from CAIR should "absolutely" be welcome in the classroom
Student Welcomes CAIR Presentation

Students who actually attended the presentation have continuously  debunked the attacks lead by Terry Kemple and David Caton.

None of the anti-Muslim  protesters  actually had family members who attended the presentation

According to Tampa Tribune today:

Austin Ransdell said it was no big deal.

The Steinbrenner High School sophomore was in the advanced placement world history classroom late last year when a guest speaker from the Council on American Islamic Relations visited to talk about the Muslim religion.

Ransdell said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the local CAIR group, didn't try to brainwash the students. Nor did he try to convert them.

He simply tried to give them a primer on what could be called Islam 101.

"I was never uncomfortable at any time," Ransdell told Hillsborough County school board members who met Friday afternoon for a workshop on guest speakers in the classroom. "I thought it was just another way to learn it."...

"I think [the attacks on the speaker are] unfounded," Ransdell said, speaking of the outcry....

After 2½ hours, board members seemed to come to a consensus that they have enough policies and procedures in place for guest speakers in the classroom. With the exception of Stacy White, all seemed to agree there already are rules that exist to legislate such things.
They also agreed on another topic - that they are sick and tired of the amount of time they have spent on the issue.

"I want to get back to the business of this district," said April Griffin. "What we have been doing works. What I heard from the student today assured me of that. I heard nothing that raised any concerns...."

A handful of school administrators told the board there is a significant value in having guest speakers in the classroom. Banning them or strictly curtailing them, they said, would not be a good move.

"What the speakers add to the classroom is legitimacy," said Robert Padgett, the social studies chairman at Plant City High School. "When you bring someone in who has personal experience, it lends legitimacy to what has been said."

Pam Bowden, principal at Durant High School, said guest speakers are particularly important for career and technical education fields.

She said it would be hard for students to get hands-on experience from professionals such as chefs and welders if they were not allowed into the classroom.

"I think it's critical we have guests come into our schools," Bowden said. "It makes our students stronger and smarter and more prepared for the real world."

In the end, the board decided it does not need to pass any new rules and restrictions on guest speakers. But it will have to address the issue at a pair of regular board meetings in the future.

Student: Attacks on CAIR unfounded-Speaker should be welcome

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hillsborough school board gets a chance to teach tolerance

By Sue Carlton | TampaBayTimes | March 29, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...And if that's not enough did-I-really-hear-that moments in the tempest currently before the Hillsborough School Board, now we've come to this: People comparing Muslims to pedophiles and felons and expecting elected officials to agree...

..How did we get here...Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was invited by a teacher to speak to an advanced placement world history class at Steinbrenner High in Lutz. (Students learn about other religions, like Buddhism and Christianity, too.)... [Read More]

...It's been said that when the economy is tough and the world in turmoil, some people look for a place to focus their anxiety and even anger. This is daily bread for former-porn-addict-turned-crusader David Caton, whose organization is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone reporting future CAIR speakers at the school. I could not make that up...

...Is there room for debate on the history of CAIR? Sure, discussion is good. What's not good is wrapping your hands around the eyes and ears of kids out of fear. What's not good is assuming a local Muslim leader, a young lawyer raising a family here, comes not to educate but to indoctrinate and steal young minds — and that teachers are either in on it or too clueless to care...

...At today's workshop, the school board has a chance to say that education and the judgement of teachers and principals trump fear and those who exploit it. That would be a speech worth hearing..." [Read More]

Language Deemed Offensive Is Removed From F.B.I. Training Materials

By M. Schmidt & C. Savage| The NY Times | Mar 28, 2012 | [Original Article]

"WASHINGTON — Training material used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation said agents had the “ability to bend or suspend the law and impinge on freedoms of others,” but that language has now been removed, according to a briefing the bureau recently provided to Congress...

...Also removed was the admonition that agents should never stare at or shake hands with an Asian, and the assertion that Arabs had “Jekyll and Hyde” personalities making them more likely to have “outbursts and loss of control” than even-keeled Westerners... [Read More]

...“If the F.B.I. does not identify agents who received inaccurate information and take steps to retrain them, there is a real risk that agents will be operating on false assumptions about Arab-Americans and American Muslims,” Mr. Durbin wrote. “This could harm counterterrorism efforts by leading F.B.I. agents to target individuals based on their religion or ethnicity, rather than suspicion of wrongdoing.”...

...After Wired published its account of F.B.I. counterterrorism materials last year, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. testified before Congress that the documents undermined the government’s “substantial outreach efforts that we have made and really have a negative impact on our ability to communicate effectively.”..." [Read More]

Why you shouldn’t tell American border guards you’re in Islamic Studies

By Andreanne Stewart  | | Mar 28, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...At about 11 a.m., the train arrived at the U.S. border and made a routine stop. A team of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers boarded the train and advanced through each car, questioning passengers. Pascal had made this trip countless times before, so when a customs officer approached him, he didn’t give it a second thought...

...Where do you live, and why? Pascal answered that he lived in Canada. He lived in Canada because that’s where he was pursuing a PhD in Islamic Studies...
...But as Pascal walked past the train’s windows, he tried to show the passengers that he was cuffed. He hadn’t done anything wrong, and he wanted witnesses..." [Read More]
The Detention Cell
"...When they arrived at the Champlain Port of Entry, Pascal was put in a five-by-ten foot cell with cinder block walls and a steel-reinforced door. He was told to wait. He stayed in the cell for about an hour. Officers came in at random intervals to ask him questions...
...“They thought I was straight-up dangerous,” Pascal said...
...But the questions always came back to the same point – why Islamic Studies?“I want to be an academic – this is just what I happen to be an academic in,” Pascal told them...
...Finally, after about three hours in detention, he was released. But there was a catch – the CBP was keeping his laptop and hard drive..." [Read More]
Taking Legal Action
"...After being released from detention, Pascal hitched a ride on the next bus with an open seat that came through the checkpoint.... 
...Two days after his first phone call with the ACLU, Pascal was in downtown Manhattan, sitting in a meeting with a team of lawyers. The first thing they did was to write a letter to the CBP demanding that they return Pascal’s laptop..."

The Policy
"...In August 2009, the Department of Homeland Security enacted a policy that allows for the search and seizure of electronic devices at the border without reasonable suspicion. Under the policy, the DHS can detain any electronic device indefinitely, and copy and share the information it contains. Between October 1, 2008 and June 2, 2010, more than 6,500 people had their electronic devices searched at U.S. border stops..." [Read More]

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Judge acquits 7 Hutaree militia members accused of terrorist overthrow plot

By Tresa B. & David A. | Detroit Free Press | Mar 27, 2012 | [Original Article]

"In a sharp rebuke, a federal judge today acquitted seven members of a Lenawee County militia group of plotting to overthrow the U.S. government with weapons of mass destruction...

...U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said federal prosecutors failed in five weeks of trial to prove that the Hutaree had a specific plan to kill a police officer and attack law enforcement personnel...

...“It’s a good thing,” he said. “It’s supposed to be hard for prosecutors to prove seditious conspiracy. They’re trying to punish free speech, so it’s necessary to impose a significant limitation on the government’s ability to do that.”... [Read More]

...“ Some of the defendants did say things that perhaps they shouldn’t have said .. but they had a right to say it,” Weiss told the Free Press today, saying “it’s unfortunate that people are getting indicted” for speaking their minds. “It’s the thought police. The government should not be so sensitive that they take away First Amendment freedoms simply because someone says something they don’t like.”...

..."My client got locked up for two years but never gets that time back … The U.S. Attorneys office, the FBI and the U.S. government should be ashamed of themselves,” Satawa said. “This entire case was a very, very sick joke.”...

...“Watch what you say. Even the most innocent of statements can be used against you,” said Meeks, who believes the government unfairly targeted the Hutaree. “If they want to get you, they will...” [Read More]

Read the FBI Memo: Agents Can ‘Suspend the Law’

By Spencer A. & Noah S. | | March 28, 2012 | [Original Article

"The FBI once taught its agents that they can “bend or suspend the law” as they wiretap suspects. But the bureau says it didn’t really mean it, and has now removed the document from its counterterrorism training curriculum, calling it an “imprecise” instruction. Which is a good thing, national security attorneys say, because the FBI’s contention that it can twist the law in pursuit of suspected terrorists is just wrong.

“Dismissing this statement as ‘imprecise’ is a rather unsatisfying response given the very precise lines Congress and the courts have repeatedly drawn between what is and is not permissible, even in counterterrorism cases, over the past decade,” Steve Vladeck, a national-security law professor at American University, says. “It might technically be true that the FBI has certain authorities when conducting counterterrorism investigations that the Constitution otherwise forbids, but that’s good only so far as it goes.”..." [Read More]

"...The FBI discovered the document, removed it from its curriculum, and allowed aides to the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine it as part of a six-month review into improper counter-terrorism training spurred by Danger Room’s reporting. It was among hundreds of pages of training material — out of 160,000 reviewed, the FBI says — that the FBI took out of circulation for “imprecision”; inaccuracy; reliance on racial, ethnic or religious stereotypes; or conflating illegal behavior with constitutionally protected activities. No FBI official responsible for any of the discarded training material received disciplinary action"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FOIA Documents Show FBI Using “Mosque Outreach” for Intelligence Gathering

By ACLU | | March 27, 2012 | [Original Article]

"NEW YORK – For several years, the FBI’s San Francisco office conducted a “Mosque Outreach” program through which it collected and illegally stored intelligence about American Muslims’ First Amendment-protected beliefs and religious practices, according to government documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Northern California, Asian Law Caucus and the San Francisco Bay Guardian...

...“Everyone understands that the FBI has a job to do, but it is wrong and counterproductive for the bureau to target American Muslim religious groups for secret intelligence gathering and place innocents at risk of investigation as national security threats,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “The FBI is casting a cloud of suspicion on American Muslim religious organizations based on their faith alone, which raises grave constitutional concerns. The bureau’s documentation of religious leaders’ and congregants’ beliefs and practices violates the Privacy Act, which Congress passed to protect Americans’ First Amendment rights.”...

...“The FBI can only be successful if the American public supports its mission and methods, and community outreach plays an essential role in building the trust and mutual understanding to ensure the FBI is effectively and appropriately protecting both our security our civil rights,” said Mike German, ACLU senior policy counsel and a former FBI agent. “By exploiting the good faith of Muslim groups and their members, the FBI is undermining community support for the government’s legitimate law enforcement activities.”..."

Religious leaders warn against crossing the fine line between faith and politics

By Janelle Irwin | WMNF 88.5 FM | March 26, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...As Americans are in the midst of a heated election year, a group of interfaith leaders is concerned about religious views being incorporated into politics. At a panel discussion at St. Petersburg College in Seminole this month, each member expressed devout religious views, but none supported basing political decisions on theological beliefs...

... Hassan Shibly, director of the Tampa Council on American-Islamic Relations just celebrated the defeat of [a bill] in the Florida legislative session. That proposal would have outlawed the use of foreign laws in courtrooms. Shibly and other supporters saw it as an attack on religious freedoms. And he said initiatives like that are spreading throughout the country...

“I think it’s very unfortunate that in 2012 we still have political candidates that are making a campaign out of attacking minorities, particularly the Muslim community now. You have several candidates – Santorum, Gingrich – who are publicly making blanket statements condemning Islam and Muslims", says Hassan Shibly 

...Shibly said he thinks anti-Muslim rhetoric stems from ignorance. His job, among others, is to reach out to people and show them that Islam is a religion of peace, not blood and bombs...

"I absolutely disagree with his policy on gay marriage and abortion, but I love his policy about not invading and attacking other countries. And I have to ask myself what’s more important. Should I be more concerned with what goes on in people’s bedrooms or should I be more concerned about the thousands of people that are dying by U.S.-made bombs.”, says Hassan Shibly

...He added, and others agreed, that there are conflicting opinions within every religion, not just between religions. Each religious leader promoted one concept: tolerance..." [Read More]

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Feds are watching -- badly

By Y. Chanoff and N. Orenstein | SFBG | June 26, 2012 | [Original Article]

"So, you're a law enforcement officer in training for participation on a local Joint Terrorism Task Force. Or a student at the United States Military Academy at West Point, involved in the counterterrorism training program developed in partnership with the FBI. Or you're an FBI agent training up to deal with terrorist threats.

Get ready for FBI training in dealing with Arab and Muslim populations.

Take note that "Western cultural values" include "rational, straight line thinking" and a tendency to "identify problems and solve them through logical decision-making process" — while "Arab cultural values" are "emotional based" and "facts are colored by emotion and subjectivity."..." [Read More]

"...This is the first complete report with the full details on a pattern of behavior that is, at the very least, disturbing — and in some parts, reminiscent of the notorious (and widely discredited) COINTELPRO program that sought to undermine and disrupt political groups in the 1960s.

The information suggests that the federal government is using methods that are not only imprecise and xenophobic but utterly ineffective in protecting the American public.

"This is the worst way to pursue security," Hatem Bazian, professor of Near East Studies at UC Berkeley, told us."

Cultural Stereotypes
"One training presentation is titled "The Chinese." The materials give such tips as "informality is perceived as disrespectful." The presentation warns "expect your gift (money) to be refused" but advises to give "a simple gift with significant meaning- tangerines or oranges (with stems/leaves.)" But "never give a clock as a gift! (death!)"..." [Read More]

An alternative to spying on and profiling Muslims for law enforcement officials

By Nezar Hamze | | June 26, 2012 | [Original Article

As law enforcement agencies strive to keep our nation safe from terrorists, a growing amount of controversy and distrust regarding the unconstitutional practices of religious and ethnic profiling by law enforcement is being reported from around the country.

There is a group within the NYPD that spies on and profiles Muslims, countless reports of federal agents recruiting informants and/or provocateurs into Muslim communities and Rep Peter King’s congressional hearings about the “Radicalization of the American Muslim Community.”

On the flipside, we have Muslim communities working diligently with law enforcement at all levels, such as the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress and the Florida Muslim Congress, to build safe communities and open direct lines of communications to counter terrorism. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have also released the BCOT program. Together, these leaders are training community members and giving them the tools to interact with law enforcement at an institutional level.

Each agency needs to ask itself about the kind of relationship it has with the Muslim community? Is its relationship built on deception and secrecy, or transparency and public awareness? Or does the agency even engage with Muslims?

If an agency wants to foster a healthy partnership with the Muslim community, whether or not it is on a local, regional or national scale, it needs to develop a strong and transparent relationship. This means developing public participation , which mutually benefits the Muslim community, creates safe environments and enhances public awareness.

Our opportunity in Florida?

I’m not going to sugar-coat the number of Muslims that have been indicted on terrorism charges in Florida since the tragedy of 9/11 -- there have been 33. Nor will I sensationalize this data and say Muslims are the only ones being indicted on terrorism charges; they aren’t. But, effective leadership goes beyond recognizing conflict; it goes beyond pointing the finger. The Muslim leadership in South Florida has created a SMART plan outlined below to work with law enforcement, which can be duplicated easily around the country.

Educate the Muslim community

Give the Muslim community all the facts, don’t sensationalize or sugar-coat the problem. Share the impact of the problem that you are facing and explain in detail how you must respond as law enforcement officials. Offer factual data and put the areas of concern into perspective, give the community some ownership. Educate the community on programs your agency has in place in which they can participate, and make the Muslim community part of the solution. Have open community meetings to accomplish this or go to the mosques for a more personal visit. Bring literature, lots of it. Muslims love to read.

Give the Muslim community the knowledge and tools to report suspicious or criminal behavior

These tools are important. The understanding of different types of behavior that indicate possible criminal activity is a good place to start educating people. Your focus on gang units can be an excellent resource, because terrorists and gangs share a lot of similar behavior patterns. Creating open lines of communication between LEO’s and the Muslim community is crucial. To accomplish this, the Muslim community must be aware of the different methods they can use to report activity. They must also have a basic level of trust with the LEO agent or agency. Giving Muslims the tools to identify a problematic behavior and then report it should not be taken for granted. Doing this may be as simple as providing “crime stopper” materials in different languages, or as complex as training sessions detailing the different FTO organizations that have known affiliates in your area.

Continuously create an atmosphere of public awareness and trust

This trust is not easily obtained. It is a process that takes effort from law enforcement and the Muslim community.
Create public awareness of the programs that your institution currently has in place, such as crime stoppers, citizens academies, community policing and youth programs. Invite all communities, including Muslims, to participate and be a part of your agency. Quarterly town hall meetings are a great tool to start the relationship.
Attend different events within the community. Believe me, you are welcome at any Muslim community activity.
Educate the Muslim communities on the problems you are facing and bring them to the table on creating SMART plans to deal with the areas of concern.
Give your community the tools to report suspicious or criminal behavior, including contact info for the FBI, crime stoppers, your contact info or SARS. Crime stoppers is a great tool because it allows the reporter to remain anonymous.
Reward your Muslim citizens for participating in your programs -- positive reinforcement goes a long way.
Treat all members of your community fairly.

Working together as partners to keep our country safe at a grassroots level will accomplish more in one year than one thousand congressional hearings. Sheriff Leroy Baca said it best: “The Muslim American community plays a vital role in protecting the people of the United States. Their participation and our continuing effort to both educate and engage community support is essential to the entire Homeland Security endeavor.”

Nezar Hamze is the Executive Director of South Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR FL).

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) | [Original Article]

"...Anti-Muslim hate groups are a relatively new phenomenon in the United States... Earlier anti-Muslim groups tended to be religious in orientation and disputed Islam’s status as a respectable religion...

...All anti-Muslim hate groups exhibit extreme hostility toward Muslims... Anti-Muslim hate groups also broadly defame Islam, which they tend to treat as a monolithic and evil religion. These groups generally hold that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion..." [Read More]

Active Anti-Muslim Groups by State:

The Obama Administration and targeted killings: “Trust us”

By Micah Zenko | CNN | March 8, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to speak with a number of dedicated and thoughtful officials in the executive branch about U.S. targeted killing policies...

...Without a security clearance to corroborate and verify these statements, the defense of U.S. targeted killing policies boils down to “trust me.”...

...On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder gave a policy speech at Northwestern University Law School, in which he echoed what I have heard one-on-one...Let’s break down some of the arguments put forth by the attorney general:... [Read More]

...HOLDER: “It is preferable to capture suspected terrorists where feasible—among other reasons, so that we can gather valuable intelligence from them.”...

...Of course, this statement begs the question: if that is true, why has the United States largely stopped capturing and detaining terrorist suspects?...“The Government of Pakistan arrested and transferred to U.S. custody nearly 500 suspected al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists.” By 2004, however, the United States virtually discontinued this practice, and instead began killing terrorists with armed Predator drones...

...“To those in the Executive branch who say ‘just trust us’ when it comes to secret and warrantless surveillance of domestic communications I say remember your history.”...

...Many Americans didn’t trust the Bush administration reading their emails, and they should be even more skeptical of the current administration and the targeted killings of citizens and non-citizens..." [Read More]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The ex-FBI informant with a change of heart: 'There is no real hunt. It's fixed'

By Paul Harris | TheGuardian | March 20, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...Craig Monteilh says he did not balk when his FBI handlers gave him the OK to have sex with the Muslim women his undercover operation was targeting. Nor, at the time, did he shy away from recording their pillow talk...

..."They said, if it would enhance the intelligence, go ahead and have sex. So I did," Monteilh told the Guardian as he described his year as a confidential FBI informant sent on a secret mission to infiltrate southern Californian mosques... [Read More]

...It is an astonishing admission that goes that goes to the heart of the intelligence surveillance of Muslim communities in America in the years after 9/11. While police and FBI leaders have insisted they are acting to defend America from a terrorist attack, civil liberties groups have insisted they have repeatedly gone too far and treated an entire religious group as suspicious...

...Monteilh was involved in one of the most controversial tactics: the use of "confidential informants" in so-called entrapment cases. This is when suspects carry out or plot fake terrorist "attacks" at the request or under the close supervision of an FBI undercover operation using secret informants. Often those informants have serious criminal records or are supplied with a financial motivation to net suspects...

...In the case of the Newburgh Four – where four men were convicted for a fake terror attack on Jewish targets in the Bronx – a confidential informant offered $250,000, a free holiday and a car to one suspect for help with the attack...

...In the case of the Fort Dix Five, which involved a fake plan to attack a New Jersey military base, one informant's criminal past included attempted murder, while another admitted in court at least two of the suspects later jailed for life had not known of any plot..." [Read More

FBI accused of entrapping the 'foolhardy'

By Omar Karmi | TheNational | Mar 21, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...The 29-year-old Moroccan was allegedly determined to cause as much damage as possible. But he was arrested before he left a parking garage. His "weapons" had been rendered inoperable. One companion was an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The other was a paid informer.
Mr El Khalifi's intentions seem clear, and he is currently in prison awaiting trial.
But the question of whether the US government engaged in entrapment - inducing someone to commit a crime he would otherwise not have committed - hovers over cases such as his.
Rather than looking for real plots being hatched, critics say, the FBI is targeting the weak and vulnerable, often in America's Muslim communities. Sometimes those efforts are led by informers, some receiving as much as US$100,000 (Dh367,000) for their efforts.
It is, according to James Wedick, a former FBI agent, "bureau theatre". The FBI, he said, is providing "foolhardy people" all the necessary tools to become bombers and "calling that a case and telling the American public they should feel safe now".
Mr Wedick, who has served as a consultant for the defence in several of these cases, criticised the heavy reliance on paid informants. [Read More
"Since September 11 it's almost as if the bureau has lost its mind," said Mr Wedick. "We didn't do that before. We didn't send informants into neighbourhoods, looking for people who might be annoyed and then suggest they could become a bomber."
But claiming entrapment is rarely successful as a legal defence. Defendants rest their case on convincing a jury that they would not have committed the offence without the intervention of law enforcement, which is "extremely difficult" to do, said David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University in Washington.
The bigger the crime, he said, the harder it is to successfully claim entrapment.
"If you think what you are strapping is a suicide bomb to yourself and you go out to do something, it's hard to persuade a jury that you weren't pre-disposed." [Read More
Mr Cole said law enforcement agencies were under "tremendous pressure" to prevent incidents. But the sheer number of such cases implied, he said, either "very good police work" or "crime that would never have occurred had the government not induced it. I'm confident that in some instances that's the case."
Andrea Prasow, the senior counter-terrorism counsel with Human Rights Watch, said the real issue is how targets are selected.
"Are they actually going after people who they believe are going to commit crimes? Or are they finding people who are angry and providing the impetus, assistance, support for such an attack? And are they doing so based on race or religion?"
In general, Mr Wedick said he believed only a handful of the sting operations since 2001 were "real terrorism cases". One day, he said, "the bureau will see that these cases are at least unethical, and may be illegal"..." [Read More

Suspended U.S. Military Instructor Taught Officers To Wage ‘Total War’ On Islam

By Eli C. and Ali G. | | June 21, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The U.S. military is taking concrete action against an instructor, Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, who taught U.S. military officers at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) to wage “total war” on Islam.

The JFSC has been plagued by reports that course presentations delivered by visiting instructors as well as active duty U.S. military personnel cited numerous prominent American Islamophobes and promoted taking a war on Islam “to the civilian population wherever necessary.” Dooley’s suspension, as reported by Wired’s Danger Zone, marks a step forward in removing blatantly anti-Muslim teaching materials from the JFSC..." [Read More]

"...Dooley’s presentations threatening the destruction of Islam have now struck a chord with the military’s top brass, leading Marine Corps Col. David Lapan to declare, in a Defense Department statement released yesterday, “institutional failures in oversight and judgment” permitted Dooley’s blatantly Islamophobic curriculum to be taught at the JFSC since at least July, 2011"

When killer is one of us, we find excuses

By Glenn Greenwald | ChicagoSunTimes | Mar. 20, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...reports the Associated Press, summarizing it all...“The more complex picture included details on how Robert Bales was bypassed for promotion, struggled to pay for his house and eyed a way out of his job at a Washington state military base months before he was accused of the horrific nighttime slaughter.”...

...Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivates Muslims to kill Americans: They are primitive, fanatically religious, hateful Terrorists...

...Those who attempt to understand or explain the act — they’re responding to American violence in their country; they’re traumatized and angry at the continuous deaths of Muslim children and innocent adults; they’ve calculated that striking at Americans is the only way to deter further U.S. aggression — are immediately accused of mitigating, justifying or even defending terrorism..." [Read More]

Thursday, March 15, 2012

WMNF News: Hassan Shibly, CAIR, dispels myths about Islam at St. Petersburg College

Muslim advocacy leader reacts to state Senator's vow to revive anti-Sharia bill

By Janelle Irwin | WMNF 88.5 FM | March 14, 2012 | [Original Article]

"A bill that died in the Florida legislature this year would have outlawed the use of foreign laws in courtrooms. But the bill’s sponsor has said he will reintroduce the initiative next year if he is reelected. The leader of a Muslim advocacy group isn’t happy about the message that sends....

...“Shame on Mr. Hays. Shame on him for promoting division in a time when our country needs unity. Shame on him for promoting legislation that marginalizes minorities; that attacks particular faith groups.”  [say's Hassan Shibly]...

...And as celebration of the failed so-called anti-Sharia bill winds down, Shibley is now taking on another cause...

...“Star Taxi, it’s alleged that they allow their taxi drivers to read the bible on their break, to smoke, to go to the bathroom, to do whatever they want, but if they’re Muslim they cannot be caught praying even when they’re praying outside of public view in private... 

...“This has nothing to do with Sharia. This is about title VII of the civil rights act which protects the religious freedom of all people in America.” [say's Hassan Shibly]..." [Read More]

Listen now 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hassan Shibly, CAIR, dispels myths about Islam at St. Petersburg College

Hassan Shibly, CAIR, dispels myths about Islam at St. Petersburg College

Muslim taxi drivers file complaint over prayer at work

By John W. Davis, Reporter | cfNews13 | March 13, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Eight Ce
ntral Florida Muslim workers are filing complaints with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Star Taxi, which is a transportation company based in Orlando... 

...“I think in America, everybody has the right to practice his religion freely," explained Behassine, who said someone took a picture of him praying and that he was fired later that evening...

...They are being represented by the Florida Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), along with the law firm of Hudson and Calleja... [Read More]

..."These muslim employees are not asking to be treated differently. They want to be treated the same as Christian and Jewish employees and employees of any other faith for that matter," said Attorney Robert Hudson...

...Shibly continued his thought by saying that if other drivers if are allowed to smoke or read the bible on breaks, muslims should be allowed to pray on their breaks...

...Benhassine said his first priority is taking care of his 2 boys, and 7 month old baby girl. That's why he taken his own minvan and turned it into a one man taxi operation,“So now I decided to just go out on my own, because somehow I have to bring food to the table," Benhassine concluded... [Read More]

Muslim Drivers Claim Hostile Work Environment at Orlando Taxi Co.

Kenric Ward | SunShineStateNews |March 13, 2012 | [Original Article]

"The Arab-American employees claim that Star Taxi discriminated against them and their Islam religion by prohibiting them from praying...

...The complaints were to be filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by the Miami law firm of Hudson & Calleja...

..."It's pretty outrageous to bar Muslim employees from praying in private on their breaks when other employees are smoking or reading their Bibles or going to the bathroom," said Hassan Shibly, director of the Florida Council of American-Islamic Relations..." [Read More]

American Muslims Allege Discrimination & Hostility At Star Taxi

By Mark Christopher | Sunshine Slate | March 13, 2012 | [Original Article]

"[Kissimmee, FL] Today, a news conference will be held in Kissimmee announcing that eight Arab-American Muslims are filing multiple Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) employment discrimination complaints for being discriminated against at their workplace because of their religion and national origin....

...One of the eight complainants – a former driver for Star Taxi – alleges that they were wrongfully terminated after being assaulted for attempting to pray in the back of the Premium Outlet Orlando while on his break...

...Hassan Shibly, the Executive Director of CAIR-Tampa, applauded the bill’s failure [HB1209, SB1360] in a statement, saying that CAIR, “will not tolerate legislation intended to demonize, attack, and marginalize religious minorities in America.” 

...The backing of the Arab-American Muslim employees of Star Taxi in their complaints against the company continues CAIR’s efforts..." [Read More]

Muslim Cab Drivers Claim Employer Barred Them From Praying

By Claire Gordon |AOL Jobs | Mar 13th, 2012 | [Original Article

"Eight Muslim cab drivers in Orlando, Fla., claim their employer prohibited them from praying during work hours, and even assaulted and fired one of them for doing so. Now they're filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that they were discriminated against on the basis of their religion and national origin....

...The eight Arab-American employees worked for Star Taxi, a member of the Transtar Transportation Group, which provides taxi, luxury SUV and limousine services in the Orlando area... 

..."When other employees are allowed to go on a smoke break, or read the Bible, Muslim employees are prohibited from praying," said Hassan Shibly...

...Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it's illegal for employers to discriminate against anyone on the basis of his or her religion, which means making "reasonable accommodation" for any religious needs. "They're not asking for accommodation," says Shibly. "Their prayers only take around five minutes. They're asking not to be harassed... 

"They came to this country because of religious freedom," says Shibly. "It's shameful this is happening in America."..."  [Read More]

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Eight cab drivers claim their boss made them choose between prayer and their job

By Allison Morrow | ABC ActionNews | March 13, 2012 | [Original Article]

"ORLANDO - It's often said, "A picture's worth 1,000 words," but for the man in a picture taken a few months ago at Orlando's Premium Outlets, the picture was worth his job...[Read More]

..."The place that we pray at is over here," Mohamed BenHassine said, pointing to an area of the outlet mall, beside a dumpster....

...He and seven other Star Taxi drivers claim management threatened to fire them if they prayed while on the job...

..."Either you practice your religion or you lose your job," BenHassine said. "I don't think that's fair in this country."...

..."For the average practicing Muslim, it's like asking them to stop eating food," said CAIR Director Hassan Shibly. "It's integral. It's the soul of our life."...

..."This is a clear case of violation of state, federal and local law," said Hudson & Calleja attorney Michael Hanna, who is representing the drivers."The most important thing is to bring this type of discrimination to light."..." [Read More]