April 6, 2009 Forward to a Friend Support CAIR Contact Us Update Your Profile
* Hadith: Put Love in the Hearts of People
* Breaking: CAIR to Seek Release of FL Muslim Detained After Acquittal
* Muslims Fear FBI is Spying in Mosques (Buffalo News)
o CAIR: U.S. Muslims Debate How Much to Help FBI (SF Chron)
o Why U.S. Muslims Are Considering Suspending FBI Outreach Ties
* CAIR-OK: Bill Would Set Back the Clock on Civil Rights Progress
* Most Back Outreach to Muslim Nations, but Suspicion Persists (ABC News)
o Most in Poll Back Outreach to Muslims (Wash Post)
* TN Mosque Seeks ‘Buffer Zones’ from Restaurant Serving Alcohol
HADITH OF THE DAY: PUT LOVE IN THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE – TOP
When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) entered a new town, he would say: “O God. . .put our love in the hearts of its people and put the love of its righteous people in our hearts.”
Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 147
BREAKING NEWS: CAIR TO SEEK RELEASE OF FL MUSLIM DETAINED AFTER ACQUITTAL – TOP
(TAMPA, FL, 4/6/09) – On Tuesday, April 7, the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) will hold a news conference to call for the release of former USF student Youssef Megahed who was acquitted Friday of charges in federal court but was detained today by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Members of Megahed’s family will attend the news conference.
WHAT: Press Conference Calling for Release of Youssef Megahed
WHEN: Tuesday, April 7, 11 a.m. EST
WHERE: CAIR-Tampa Office, 8056 North 56th Street, Tampa, FL
SEE: Youssef Megahed Detained By Immigration Officials
CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kilic, Tel: 813-514-1414 or 813-486-2529, Email: email@example.com
MUSLIMS FEAR FBI IS SPYING IN MOSQUES – TOP
Queries about moles bring no answers
Dan Herbeck, Buffalo News, 4/6/09
A coalition of Muslim-American groups claims the FBI has been planting counterterrorism spies in mosques in some U. S. cities.
Last month, 10 Muslim-American organizations threatened to stop working with the FBI on outreach efforts in the Muslim-American community.
Dr. Khalid J. Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, said he is concerned about the situation and hopes the FBI provides some answers soon.
“[Muslims] are asking questions, wondering if there are moles spying on mosques throughout the country,” Qazi told The Buffalo News. “People ask me about it, and I have to tell them the honest truth – that I don’t know if it’s happening.”
The controversy has been growing among Muslim-Americans since February, when an Irvine, Calif., fitness instructor named Craig Monteilh told reporters that the FBI paid him to infiltrate mosques in several communities in Southern California during an investigation conducted in 2006-07.
Monteilh, a former convict, told the Associated Press that FBI agents had picked him up every morning for two weeks and took him to a building in Los Angeles where he learned some Arabic and learned about Islam. After that, he said, he infiltrated several mosques as an FBI informer. (More)
CAIR: U.S. MUSLIMS DEBATE HOW MUCH TO HELP FBI – TOP
Matthai Kuruvila, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6/09
A petition organized by a Newark nonprofit urging Muslims to limit social outreach with the FBI has provoked a national debate within the Muslim community about how to deal with law enforcement.
The curb proposed by the petitioners – eliminating joint FBI town halls and other meet-and-greet events – is largely a response to the FBI’s restricting its work with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil rights group.
The petitioners say their stand on behalf of CAIR, which has an extensive presence around the country and in the Bay Area, has larger meaning for all Muslim institutions.
“We’re fighting against being relegated to second-class citizenship,” said Agha Saeed, chairman of the Newark-based American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, the coalition of national Muslim organizations that issued the March 17 petition.
The tensions with the FBI come as the agency insists that it wants better relations with Muslims. (More)
FBI MUSLIM OUTREACH HARMED BY ABUSIVE TACTICS – TOP
Dr. Agha Saeed, Special to InFocus News, 4/1/09
A recent statement by a coalition of major national Islamic organizations cited a number of incidents in which the government unfairly targeted American mosques and Muslim groups and said concern over those abuses could result in the suspension of long-standing community outreach initiatives with the FBI.
That statement, issued by the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, is at its heart really a call for increased engagement and dialogue based on mutual respect and the preservation of constitutionally-protected civil and religious rights, not just on photo opportunities.
The essence of civic engagement, as practiced by Dr. Martin Luther King, is to create public awareness of unjust policies and tactics and to make it impossible for an oppressive status quo to be sustained.
American Muslim concerns are centered on four main factors: infiltration of mosques and systematic intimidation of religious leaders (Imams); use of agents provocateurs; use of the questionable category of unindicted co-conspirators to undermine major Muslim organizations, and denial of the First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances for organizations articulating a Muslim point of view on peace with justice in Palestine and elsewhere.
In its statement, AMT noted that “the FBI sent a convicted criminal to pose as an agent provocateur in several [California] mosques.” Muslims find these FBI-induced false conversions a profoundly hurtful violation of their religious freedoms. AMT also cited the FBI’s disengagement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest and most respected Muslim civil rights organization, and the “unjustified” designation of some 300 groups and individuals as “unindicted co-conspirators” in conjunction with the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, Texas. . .
Muslims are not considering severing all ties with law enforcement agencies, but would only suspend participation in public relations efforts such as town hall meetings, diversity training and participation in FBI citizens’ academies that came to be viewed as public relations cover for behind-the-scenes abuses. Reporting of suspected criminal activities or of anti-Muslim hate crimes would continue.
This effort is not a campaign of disengagement, but is instead designed to truly engage top Justice Department officials on these critical issues. It is also designed to help restore respect and equal rights for American Muslims after eight years of being treated as suspects rather than partners. (More)
CAIR-OK: IGNORANCE IS THE ENEMY – TOP
House Bill 1645, authored by Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Wagoner, seems harmless on its surface. However, it has an amendment that may set back the clock on the civil rights progress in America.
Razi Hashmi, Tulsa World, 4/4/09
[Razi Hashmi is the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, a grassroots civil rights advocacy group whose mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue
, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.]
When Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, heard about a Muslim woman re-taking her driver’s license photo at the Department of Public Safety after her civil rights were violated, he proposed an amendment that would take all Oklahomans’ civil rights away. This attack against Americans’ civil rights would affect others besides the Muslim community, and is not without unintended consequences.
The sponsors have tagged this legislation to another bill that is irrelevant to the case at hand, and if passed, it would prohibit religious minorities from wearing religiously-mandated head covering when taking photos for their driver’s licenses and other IDs.
Those affected would be Jewish men who wear yarmulkes, Catholic nuns who wear the habit, Indian Sikhs who wear turbans, Muslim women who wear the hijab (Islamic head scarf), and other religious groups who wear head coverings. If Mother Teresa were alive today and this proposed law were passed, she would not be able to get a driver’s license in the state of Oklahoma!
America has a long-standing history of religious pluralism and freedom. It goes against the founding principles of our country to prohibit one’s free practice of religion, protected by the U.S. Constitution.
The Oklahoma State Legislature needs to stop wasting time mixing religion and politics with pet projects such as placing the Ten Commandments on state property, and prohibiting religious head wear on driver’s licenses. Being in the buckle of the Bible belt, Oklahomans have a responsibility to uphold the separation of Church and State just like the rest of this country.
Locally, we cannot forget that we do have bigger issues to focus on, namely the economy. In these tough economic times, it is disconcerting to see our state legislators wasting precious taxpayer dollars by attempting to pass a law that violates our First Amendment rights. If the legislators believe that Oklahoma is recession-proof, then we clearly have not felt the effects of the state Capitol, which has and will continue to drive people out of the state and send labor to other states that will accept a diverse workforce with open arms. (More)
MOST BACK OUTREACH TO MUSLIM NATIONS, BUT SUSPICION AND UNFAMILIARITY PERSIST – TOP
ABC News/Washington Post Poll: 48 Percent Hold Unfavorable Opinion of Islam
Gary Langer, ABC News, 4/5/09
With President Obama in Turkey for a two-day visit, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly support U.S. outreach to Muslim nations — but many also express continued suspicion of the world’s second-largest religion.
Americans by 48-41 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of Islam — its highest unfavorable rating in ABC/Post polls since 2001. And 29 percent express the belief that mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims — down slightly from its peak, but double what it was early in 2002.
Click here for PDF with charts and questions.
Unfamiliarity is a central factor in these views. Fifty-five percent of Americans concede that they lack a good basic understanding of Islam; about as many, 53 percent, don’t personally know a Muslim. People who profess an understanding of Islam, or know a Muslim, have much more positive views of the religion. (More)
MOST IN POLL BACK OUTREACH TO MUSLIMS – TOP
Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta, Washington Post, 4/6/09
Most Americans think President Obama’s pledge to “seek a new way forward” with the Muslim world is an important goal, even as nearly half hold negative views about Islam and a sizable number say that even mainstream adherents to the religion encourage violence against non-Muslims, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
There is still a broad lack of familiarity with the world’s second-largest religion — 55 percent of those polled said they are without a basic understanding of the teachings and beliefs of Islam, and most said they do not know anyone who is Muslim. While awareness has increased in recent years, underlying views have not improved.
About half, 48 percent, said they have an unfavorable view of Islam, the highest in polls since late 2001. Nearly three in 10, or 29 percent, said they see mainstream Islam as advocating violence against non-Muslims; although more, 58 percent, said it is a peaceful religion.
Muslims make up about 1 percent of all U.S. adults.
Majorities of Americans with sympathetic and unsympathetic views about Islam said it is important for the president to try to improve U.S. relations with Muslim nations, with those holding more positive views much more likely to call those moves “very important.” (More)
TN: MOSQUE DOESN’T AGREE WITH RESTAURANT’S PLAN TO SERVE ALCOHOL – TOP
Jessie Pounds, Knoxville News Sentinel, 6/5/09
It’s a Fort Sanders clash of cultures and good intentions.
On one side of the disagreement is a Muslim mosque, and some of its worshippers are unhappy about plans for a new restaurant that will serve alcohol.
On the opposing end of the clash is a business owner who says he’s invested $1 million to upgrade a blighted building and has tried to accommodate Muslim worshippers during spiritual holidays.
The two entities – The Hill restaurant and the Anoor mosque – are a mere 191 feet apart.
Building owner Trevor Hill wants to offer alcoholic drinks along with home-cooking-style dinner and lunch menus, and he hopes to launch the eatery in about a week. He’ll keep the restaurant open as late at night as is still profitable in hope of appealing to the young residents of Fort Sanders, where the building is located.
The possibility that the restaurant could serve as a local drinking hangout bothers mosque attendees like board member Nadeem Sidiqqi.
Islam prohibits the consumption of alcohol, but Sidiqqi said the protest isn’t an attack on drinking in general, just a call for buffer zones for religious establishments. . .
Knoxville’s local beer ordinance establishes a 300-foot buffer zone around churches and other similar institutions for a beer permit but waives the requirement if the establishment is granted a liquor license by the state of Tennessee. (More)