Muslim American News Briefs, October 25, 2007
God Protects the Charitable
HADITH OF THE DAY: GOD PROTECTS THE CHARITABLE - TOP
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "If anyone wears some new clothing and says, 'all praise and thanks be to God Who clothed me to cover my nakedness and made it a means of adornment for me,' and then takes his old garment and gives it in charity, (that person) will be under the protection of God and will be treated as if struggling in the cause of God, in life and after his death."
Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 123
REGISTER ONLINE FOR CAIR'S NOV. 17 BANQUET IN VIRGINIA - TOP
Registration is now available online for CAIR's 13th Annual Banquet, with the theme "Let the Conversation Begin," to be held Saturday, November 17, in Arlington, Virginia. Note that in past years, CAIR dinners have been sold-out events, so purchase your tickets TODAY.
To register or to learn more about the dinner, click here.
DC/MD/VA: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR CAIR ANNUAL DINNER
CAIR seeks the help of community members to coordinate the preparations for our annual banquet on Saturday, November 17, 2007, in Arlington, Va. The participation of volunteers has greatly contributed to the success of past CAIR events.
If you would like to volunteer to help organize this important event, please call (202) 488-8787 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR-OK: INTERFAITH LEADERS TO RESPOND TO QURAN CONTROVERSY - TOP
(TULSA, OK, 10/25/07) - On Friday, October 26, the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will co-sponsor a news conference with the Islamic Society of Tulsa and interfaith leaders in reaction to Islamophobic remarks by lawmakers in that state who rejected Qurans sent as gifts from an ethnic advisory council.
In rejecting the Qurans, Islam's revealed text, some lawmakers made stereotypical and offensive remarks that falsely linked the faith of Islam to violence.
SEE ALSO: More
Lawmakers Reject Copy of Quran
WHAT: Interfaith Response to Lawmakers' Islamophobic
News conference participants will include representatives (or statements) from CAIR-OK, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries, Tulsa Interfaith Alliance, Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, Say No To Hate, and the Jewish Federation.
[NOTE: CAIR has an ongoing initiative to offer free Qurans to Americans of all faiths.]
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi, 405-248-5853, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-OK Chairperson Lobna Hewedi, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Board Member Saad Mohammed, 405-210-4775, E-Mail: email@example.com; Islamic Society of Tulsa Member Allison Moore, 918-814-6626, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ISLAM-OPED: A CASE 'STRUNG TOGETHER WITH MACARONI NOODLES' - TOP
ISLAM-OPED is a national syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.
Please consider the following commentary for publication.
The HLF Mistrial: A Case 'Strung Together With
[Parvez Ahmed is board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. He may be contacted at: email@example.com ]
Against heavy odds, the American justice system has prevailed once again. After a record 19 days of deliberation, a jury in Dallas did not return even one guilty verdict on almost 200 charges brought against officials of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Muslim charity.
This marked the third time that government prosecutors
failed to win a conviction in a high profile case related to charges of
support for terrorism by members of the American Muslim community.
One HLF case juror told The Associated Press, "I thought they were not guilty across the board." Juror William Neal added that the case "was strung together with macaroni noodles. There was so little evidence." He said the government "really used fear" to try to sway the jury.
To view an interview with William Neal, go to: http://www.dallasnews.com/video/dallasnews/hp/index.html?nvid=185986
The National Association of Muslim Lawyers and the
National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys sent a letter to then
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales objecting to the list and saying it
could lead to increased discrimination against American Muslims. CAIR filed
an amicus brief challenging the prosecution's actions.
"O you who believe, Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well acquainted with all that you do." Holy Quran, 4:135
The defendants in the HLF trial and their families have endured much. We pray that justice continues to prevail.
Mosques in Irvine and San Diego have thrown open their doors for fire evacuees, and another in Garden Grove will offer special prayers Thursday night for rain to help firefighters battle wildfires.
The prayer of Salatul Istisqa will be said at 6:30 p.m. at the Islamic Society of Orange County, One Al-Rahman Plaza, Garden Grove, said Munira Syeda of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Anaheim.
The prayer is traditionally offered in times of drought, she said.
The Islamic Center of San Diego, 7050 Eckstrom Ave., sheltered 16 families on Monday, most from the communities of Rancho Bernardo and Poway, Syeda said.
All except two families have moved on, but new ones were expected at the mosque, Syeda said. (READ MORE)
Who? Ahmed Bedier, 33, is the executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Sphere of influence: Bedier heads up the second-largest CAIR group in the nation. The media regularly quotes him on Muslim-related events, and religious groups frequently tap him for educational lectures on Islam. Bedier also co-hosts True Talk, a weekly radio program that covers Arab and Muslim issues on 88.5 WMNF.
How he makes a difference: Since becoming a CAIR director in 2003, the Egyptian-born Bedier has acted as the voice of Muslims locally and across the state. He has built relationships between other religious leaders and civil rights activists. Evens critics praise Bedier for his willingness to enter into dialogue on sensitive issues. (READ MORE)
CAIR-CA: MUSLIM VOTER EDUCATION AND CANDIDATES FORUM - TOP
(SACRAMENTO, CA, 10/25/2007) - The Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association - Community Education Foundation (APAPA-CEF) in partnership with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, and the California Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legislative Caucus will host the 6th Annual Voter Education and Candidates Forum on Sunday, October 28, 2007, at California State University, Sacramento.
The forum is Co-chaired by the Sacramento Valley Office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV), Pakistani American Association, NAACP and other community organizations.
"We urge the Muslim community to attend this very important event, said CAIR-SV Executive Committee member Rashid Ahmad. It is through events like this that community members can make informed decisions in the voting process."
This is an opportunity for you to learn more about appointments to state boards and commissions.
What: Muslim Voter Education and Candidates Forum
Speeches and panel discussions by presidential campaigns, congressional, state legislative and local candidates on issues such as immigration and health care.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to promote justice, enhance the understanding of Islam, and empower American Muslims.
CAIR-NY URGES SUPPORT FOR PROMINENT MUSLIM SCHOLAR - TOP
(NEW YORK, NY, 10/25/07) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today urged Muslim New Yorkers and all people of conscience to support prominent Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan, whose visa revocation by US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied the internationally-respected academic a teaching position at the University of Notre Dame.
DHS initially revoked Ramadan's visa pursuant the "ideological exclusion" provision of the Patriot Act which bars foreign scholars' entry into the US based on their political views.
"Ideological exclusion is a form of censorship at the border that violates Americans' protected right to speech and has no place in a democracy that prides itself on the robust exchange of ideas," said Jameel Jaffer, Ramadan's lawyer and Director of the ACLU's National Security Project. "Everybody loses when we limit face-to-face conversation and debate with foreign scholars like Professor Ramadan whose work around Muslim issues is a critical part of today's international dialogue."
"Censoring political debate has a chilling effect on open dialogue that is a necessary precursor to building bridges of understanding," said Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif. "We stand in firm support of Dr. Ramadan on principles of free speech."
SUPPORT Tariq Ramadan by attending his hearing.
WHAT: Tariq Ramadan's Hearing
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.
The state Department of Education will check to make sure school districts have policies and procedures in place to address reports of bias-related discrimination and harassment - something many California districts do not have.
Several advocacy groups - the Asian Law Caucus, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Council on American-Islamic Relations among them - held a news conference Tuesday to announce Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggers Oct. 12 signing of Assembly Bill 394.
Sponsored by Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, AB394 notes the 2004-06 California Healthy Kids Survey shows between 27 and 30 percent of middle and high school students have reported being harassed because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability. . .
Mahrukh Hasan, civil rights coordinator for the Bay Area Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said there has been a growing number of incidents against Muslims in general, now at their highest level since the surge right after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. (READ MORE)
Rick Santorum is back.
And, boy, is he angry! The former Pennsylvania senator spoke last night at the University of Pennsylvania on terrorism and Islamic extremism, saying that liberals are downplaying a grave threat to the United States.
"The president says we're at war with terror. Nobody wants to define who this enemy is because they don't want to offend anybody," said Santorum, who also spoke at Temple University.
Both talks were part of the controversial Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, organized by neoconservative writer and activist David Horowitz. Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity are among right-wing personalities speaking at colleges as part of the event.
"One of my concerns with academia is you're not getting both sides of the debate; you're getting one side of the debate," Santorum said in his remarks at the Penn Hillel building.
Muslim groups have slammed Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week as racist and inflammatory. At Penn, an organization of Muslim students convinced the College Republicans, who hosted Santorum, to change the name to Terrorism Awareness Week.
"It's a who's-who of Muslim-bashers and Islamophobes out to demonize and marginalize American Muslims and Islam in general," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. (READ MORE)
As Muslim students and their supporters protested outside, commentator Ann Coulter told a USC audience Wednesday night that Americans should get tough on terrorists and "stop genuflecting before Islam."
Coulter's speech to a supportive audience of about 230 in Annenberg Auditorium was part of a nationwide series of events on college campuses that has been dubbed "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" by its organizer, Los Angeles author and activist David Horowitz. Another 100 or so watched on screens in the auditorium lobby, not far from about 150 protesters from Muslim, Jewish and Christian student and community groups.
Coulter, who spent as much of her hour-long appearance bashing Democrats as discussing Islam, was greeted in the hall with laughter, cheers and several standing ovations.
"The fact of Islamo-Fascism is indisputable," she said. "I find it tedious to detail the savagery of the enemy . . . I want to kill them. Why don't Democrats?"
Many audience members hooted in appreciation.
The activities on dozens of colleges and universities this week have included speeches, films and presentations. The speakers have included Coulter, Horowitz and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R- Pa.). "This is a greater threat than the Nazis or the communists because these people have modern technologies," said Horowitz, a leftist-turned-neoconservative. "They want to exterminate Jews and impose religious law on everyone through the state."
Horowitz said in a telephone interview this week that he did not intend to brand all Muslims as Islamo-Fascists, saying he differentiated between those he considered moderate and radical Muslims.
But the campus events -- and the name Islamo-Fascism -- have sparked outrage and concern from Muslim groups and supporters across the country, who say the events essentially demonize an entire community. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee wrote to schools where the events are scheduled, saying the speakers will be spreading a message of hate.
"Horowitz says this is not an attack on Islam," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "But we say specifically that it is an attack on Islam, on the Muslim community and particularly on Muslim students who attend the schools where these events are being held." (READ MORE)
Hmmm. I've never been an advocate of kicking a buffoon when he's down. But it seems our friend David Horowitz may be padding his list of colleges and universities participating in Islamofascism Awareness Week (aka "the biggest conservative campus protest ever").
According to ThinkProgress, Horowitz has already been caught adding names of schools that aren't participating in his mumbojumbo in any way. Indeed, they even got caught listing Liberty University, the school Jerry Falwell founded. But now Liberty has demanded their name be removed. (READ MORE)
About 40 protesters gathered Wednesday night at Cal Poly to oppose a controversial documentary film and speaker who claims the Islamic religion is rooted in violence.
The film "Islam: What the West Needs to Know," directed by Greg Davis, claims that Islam uses violence to try to quash "other faiths, cultures and systems of government," according to the film's Web site.
Protesters said the film and filmmaker aim to create fear and divisions through misinformation.
"The program's promoters are scared and ignorant people whose fear has soured their view of the world," said San Luis Obispo resident Dr. Rushdi Abdul Cader, who attended the talk and protest. "If a Muslim were to say to them, 'I'm having a Christian friend for lunch,' they would likely believe the Christian was the appetizer."
Davis, who holds a doctorate in political science from Stanford, introduced the film and answered questions from the audience.
"Islam is at the heart of the danger we're facing in this country," Davis told a crowd of about 80. (READ MORE)
This week, student organizations at nearly 150 American colleges and universities will be organizing events for "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week," a national right-wing exercise in irrationality orchestrated by The David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Terrorism Awareness Project.
The mission of the campaign, according to their Web site, is "to confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat." The site further alleges that the academic world is responsible for creating and perpetuating lies about the war in Iraq, the message of Islam, the treatment of Muslim women, and—my personal favorite—the importance of global warming. With just one invented hyphenation, the title "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" alone manages to assign 1.4 billion people radical political ideology by virtue of their religion.
Luckily, the event is not being hosted at Harvard, despite false claims online to the contrary (which were exposed and later corrected) and despite the organizations' attempt to sign up the Harvard College Republicans (HCR) as sponsors. HCR president, Jeffrey Kwong '09 had the sense to refuse, recognizing that the event sent the "wrong message, which associates an entire religion with a terrorist political agenda." Unfortunately, students at many of our peer institutions did not. (READ MORE)
A Philadelphia hotel supervisor who sent a threatening note to her Arab American boss, citing the Sept. 11 terror attacks, was sentenced today to eight months in a halfway house.
It was a rare case of a federal prosecution of a hate crime, and the U.S. Justice Department had sought the maximum penalty: a year-long prison sentence for the misdemeanor charge, for which the woman, Kia Reid, had pleaded guilty.
Reid and her victim, former supervisor Nina Timani, faced each during the tear-filled three-hour hearing.
The anonymous note Reid sent to Timani last year at the Sheraton Suites Hotel said in part: "You and your kids will pay . . . Remember 9/11 Patriotism and anger along with desire for revenge."
Reid, a 35-year-old single mother of three with no criminal record, had worked at as a caterer at the hotel for nine years. Timani is Arab American, a naturalized U.S. citizen who arrived in this country from Egypt in the mid-1960s.
Reid was charged after a coworker wearing an FBI wire recorded her talking about the crime.
U.S. District Judge Gene Pratter said the note's reference to children "almost takes one's breath away." (READ MORE)
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's difficulty in buying land in Walkersville is giving déjà vu to a Frederick Muslim who experienced similar trouble seven years ago.
When 400 Muslim families in Frederick County wanted to buy 100 acres near Buckeystown for a mosque in 2000, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners blocked the move, saying the land should be used for agriculture.
The former president of the Islamic Society of Frederick this week said he sees parallels between that episode and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's pending land purchase in Walkersville.
But one major difference, he said, is that more residents supported Muslims in 2000 than do today.
''We have suffered similar injustice," Khalil Elshazly, the Islamic Society of Frederick's former president and a current member of its board of trustees, said. ''For the most part, there was support from the public, and not from the government." (READ MORE)
Rudolph W. Giuliani's approach to foreign policy shares with other Republican presidential candidates an aggressive posture toward terrorism, a commitment to strengthening the military and disdain for the United Nations.
But in developing his views, Mr. Giuliani is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers.
Their positions have been criticized by Democrats as irresponsible and applauded by some conservatives as appropriately tough, while raising questions about how closely aligned Mr. Giuliani's thinking is with theirs.
Mr. Giuliani's team includes Norman Podhoretz, a prominent neoconservative who advocates bombing Iran "as soon as it is logistically possible"; Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, who has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinizing American Muslims in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps; and Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has written in favor of revoking the United States' ban on assassination. (READ MORE)
Yasser Hiyya didn't know why he was always so weak and tired until this summer, when doctors discovered a small hole in his heart. Israel gave Hiyya permission to leave the Gaza Strip last month and cross Israeli territory for immediate surgery in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank.
But, when he arrived at the Israeli border crossing, Hiyya said, Israeli intelligence offered him a deal: Tell us about your brother, a wanted militant, and we'll let you enter Israel for the operation you need.
When Hiyya refused, they turned him away.
Human rights groups charge that Hiyya's case is one of nearly a dozen they've documented in which Israelis have tried to recruit ailing Palestinians as informers against the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls Gaza. (READ MORE)
EXTREMISTS TORCH JERUSALEM CHURCH - TOP
A mosque in a small town outside Milan has been the target of a violent attack - the eighth on mosques in the region of Lombardy surrounding the city.
Italian media reports said the Alif Baa Islamic Centre, in the northern Italian city of Abbiategrasso, 20 kilometres west of Milan, was subjected to fresh violence on Wednesday.
Witnesses said a masked man was seen throwing a Molotov cocktail inside the courtyard of the mosque from his motorcycle in the late afternoon. No major damage or injuries were reported in the attack.
This is the eighth assault against Islamic centres in the region of Lombardy in recent months. (READ MORE)
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