CAIR: Florida Muslim Home Torched By Arsonists / ‘F*** Islam’ Spray-Painted on Garage
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FLORIDA MUSLIM HOME TORCHED BY ARSONISTS
‘F*** Islam’ spray-painted on garage of burned house
(TAMPA, FL, 7/12/07) – The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) today called on the FBI to investigate an arson attack on a Sarasota Muslim family’s home as a possible hate crime.
According to the police report (Case# 200700056299) on the July 6th incident, "F*** Islam" was spray-painted on the garage door of the house, which is owned by a Muslim of Bosnian heritage.
Neighbors told a local television station that "it sounded like a bomb exploded inside the house." The station also reported that "there were 10 different spots inside the home where accelerants were used."
SEE: Hate Crime in a North Sarasota Neighborhood (ABC7)
SEE: Video of the Torched Home
SEE: Photos of the Torched Home
Fire officials told police that the blaze was an act of arson.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR Partners with GSN Network to Challenge Prejudice
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS – 7/9/07
* Hadith: Do Not Help Your People in Wrongdoing
* CAIR Partners with GSN Network to Challenge Prejudice
– Reminder: CAIR DC ‘Islamophobia’ Panel July 17
– CAIR-CT: Conference Confronts Stereotyping of Islam
– CAIR: GA Muslim Woman: ‘I Was Born Here’ (Valdosta DT)
* CAIR-PA to Offer Workshop on Islam to Church, Synagogue Group
* CAIR-IL: Religious Bonds Growing with Youth (USA Today)
* MO: Quilt Commemorates Massacre of Bosnian Muslims (Post-Disp)
– NH: Host Families Needed for Muslim Students
– FL: Community Comes to Aid of Muslim Center (Tampa Trib)
– VA: Charlottesville Mosque to Facilitate Unity
* IL: Window Into ‘Hearts and Minds’ of Muslims (Chicago Trib)
* WI: Islamic Leader Decries U.K. Terror Attacks (Journal Sent)
HADITH OF THE DAY: DO NOT HELP YOUR PEOPLE IN WRONGDOING – TOP
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was once asked: "Does a person’s love of (his or her own) people indicate partisanship?" He replied: "No, but when a man helps his people in wrongdoing, that shows partisanship."
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1267
CAIR PARTNERS WITH GSN NETWORK TO CHALLENGE PREJUDICE – TOP
(WASHINGTON, D.C. 7/9/07) – This summer, GSN (The Network for Games) embarks on the Without Prejudice Project – an initiative centered around the network’s groundbreaking new series – "Without Prejudice?" The Without Prejudice Project is GSN’s initiative to help Americans address and combat prejudice in all its forms.
In cooperation with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other social justice partner organizations, the network will provide an online hub to encourage thoughtful discussion and provide helpful resources.
"We are pleased to partner with GSN in this important effort to eliminate intolerance and other forms of discrimination in our society," said CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin. "We encourage Americans of all backgrounds to take part in this worthy initiative and to openly discuss the need to challenge prejudice."
The "Without Prejudice?" series promises to provoke spirited national debate around hot-button issues and challenge viewers to examine their own preferences and prejudices. Hosted by Dr. Robi Ludwig, a renowned psychotherapist and award-winning journalist, this thought-provoking series features five contestants opening their lives to examination by five ordinary strangers who will decide which of the contestants, in their opinion, deserves to receive a one-time prize of $25,000.
As the contestants reveal increasingly more about their lives and beliefs, the panelists, representing all parts of the country and all walks of life, will inevitably say what viewers at home are thinking. The question is will their determination be made "without prejudice" and will their first impressions carry through to the end?
Catch "Without Prejudice?" every Tuesday at 9PM/8C on GSN starting July 17. For more information on the show and the Without Prejudice Project, visit: http://www.gsn.com/withoutprejudice/
CONTACT: CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com
CONSERVATIVE LEADER TO SPEAK ON ‘ISLAMOPHOBIA’ PANEL – TOP
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/26/07) – On Tuesday, July 17, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will host a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., entitled "Attacking Islam: Implications for Social Cohesion and U.S. Relations with the Muslim World."
The panel will address the increasing anti-Muslim rhetoric within the conservative movement in the United States, focusing on the negative impact of such views on religious tolerance in America and on relations with the Muslim world.
* David Keene, Chairman, American Conservative Union
* Parvez Ahmed, Chairman, Council on American-Islamic Relations
WHEN: Tuesday, July 17, 2007, 9:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
WHERE: Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Refreshments will be served. Admission is free but seating is limited and reservations are required. Please RSVP via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-742-6409.
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.
CONTACT: CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com
CAIR-CT: CONFERENCE CONFRONTS ISLAMIC STEREOTYPING – TOP
Hartford event seeks to dispel ideas that lead to ‘Islamophobia’
David A. Brensilver, The Day, 7/8/07
East Lyme resident Imran Ahmed recently received an e-mail in response to comments he posted on the Internet about terrorism and the war in Iraq. The e-mail, Ahmed said, came from a former U.S. serviceman who opined that Islam was a bankrupt religion and that Muslims subscribe to terror and violence.
The prevalence of such attitudes was among the reasons Ahmed gave for attending the 32nd annual convention organized by the Islamic Circle of North America in conjunction with the Muslim American Society and support from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The three-day convention, which concludes today, was held for the third consecutive year at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. (MORE)
CAIR: MUSLIM WOMAN: ‘I WAS BORN HERE’ – TOP
City schedules meeting to review headscarf policy
Heath Griner, Valdosta Daily Times, 7/7/07
The Muslim woman who was denied access to the Valdosta Municipal Courtroom for wearing a traditional Islamic headscarf won’t comment on the city’s official response because she hasn’t reviewed it yet.
Aniisa Karim, 20, is aware, however, of some of the sentiments directed at her since the June 26 incident drew publicity.
Some have urged Karim to "go home" if she doesn’t approve of how the United States runs its judicial system.
Karim, an African-American, was born and raised in Baltimore. The United States has always been her home. "I was born here, my parents were born here, my grandparents were born here …"
The lifelong Muslim moved to Valdosta in August and has been working as a disc jockey for a local hip-hop radio station.
The day of her court hearing to contest a speeding ticket, Karim said a security officer told her that she would not be permitted to enter the courtroom with her scarf on even after she explained to the security officer that her religion doesn’t permit the scarf’s removal in public. Karim said she offered to walk through the metal detectors and allow security officers to scan the scarf with handheld metal detectors. . .
Then, acting on the advice of a friend, she contacted the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR issued a statement, followed days later by the Anti-Defamation League’s Atlanta office. (MORE)
CAIR-PA TO OFFER WORKSHOP ON ISLAM TO CHURCH, SYNAGOGUE GROUP – TOP
(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 7/9/07) – On July 16, the Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) will conduct a workshop on Islam and Muslims at the 40th Anniversary Church and Synagogue Library Association Conference in King of Prussia, Penn.
Workshop Title: Understanding Your Neighbor’s faith: Islam
Presenter: CAIR-PA Chair Iftekhar Hussain
Workshop Description: Introduction to Islam and Muslims: Source Texts, Theology, Practices and Rituals, View of the Other. Book and Internet resources on Islam and Muslims
Date and Time: Monday July 16, 10:30 – 11:45 AM
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices, chapters and affiliates 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-PA Chair Iftekhar Hussain, 610-570-6071, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR-CHICAGO: RELIGIOUS BONDS DIVIDE SOME PARENTS, KIDS – TOP
Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, 7/9/07
Ruby and Inem Rahman of Naperville, Ill., are puzzled to find that their daughter, Reem, is more publicly religious and active in Islamic life in the Midwest than they were in their youth in Pakistan.
Reem, 21, founded student chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and an interfaith youth action group at the University of Illinois-Urbana, and she inspired her younger brother to step up observance and activism, too.
Ruby, 50, praises her children’s "good faith and strong characters. I know they are pure, that they are working for peace and liberty. But I’m concerned they’ll be stereotyped by prejudiced people because they are so visibly Muslim."
Her own faith is strong, says Ruby, a substitute teacher, but beyond dressing modestly, she feels no need in the USA, "a cosmopolitan country, to proclaim it to the world by wearing a scarf."
Inem, 55, loves that everyone here can follow his or her own faith, "but it should be a personal path. All religions give you your ethics and moral values, but it’s best to keep your passion private."
Reem, now working in the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says wearing the hijab allows her to be "in a state of God consciousness and readiness to pray to God at all times." Still, she agrees, it can attract unwelcome attention.
"People think you’re oppressed if you’re covered. People ask me all the time now where I’m from. I say Detroit. I have a degree in cognitive neuroscience. I can be a working woman, a scholar, a lawyer, a teacher, whatever I want. Do I sound oppressed to you?"
For all her devotion, however, Reem won’t call herself more religious than her parents. It wouldn’t be Islamic, she says, "to place myself as judging anyone. It’s only for God to know who is practicing, who’s more observant."
MO: A TRIBUTE TO MASSACRE VICTIMS – TOP
Michele Munz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/9/07
ST. LOUIS – Senahid, 17, student.
Saban, 48, father of six children.
Nino, 20, a journalist.
These are just three of the 20 Bosnian genocide victims whose names were woven into a quilt unveiled Sunday in St. Louis – because it is here where their loss is understood best.
The memorial quilt was woven in Bosnia-Herzegovina to commemorate the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica. The weavers chose St. Louis not only because it has the largest number of Bosnian refugees in the country, but also because it has the largest number of survivors of the Srebrenica massacre. (MORE)
NH: HOST FAMILIES NEEDED FOR MUSLIM STUDENTS – TOP
Nashua Telegram, 7/9/07
Southern New Hampshire has been selected as a host community for teenagers participating in a new State Department initiative to build understanding between America and the Muslim world.
As hosts to three teenagers enrolled in the Youth Exchange and Study Program, local families and high schools will serve as "citizen diplomats," participating in a grassroots peace initiative.
The program is represented locally by Dolores Siik, who serves as a YES Cluster Leader for PAX-Program of Academic Exchange.
PAX is a nonprofit educational foundation, designated by the U.S. State Department as a sponsor of the YES program.
Dolores Siik seeks to interview and select three host families this month so they can begin communicating with their future "son" or "daughter."
YES students, representing Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the Philippines, arrive in August.
They will spend 10 months living with host families and participating as fully enrolled students in public school.
Selected in an intensely competitive process, the teens are chosen for their leadership potential and serve as outstanding "ambassadors" for their homelands.
Host families come in many sizes and shapes, with and without children. Single parents, young couples and retirees are welcome to apply.
The best hosts are simply curious and warm people, not those with a magazine perfect lifestyle.
Host families are asked to provide a bed, a place for quiet study, and the love and support any teenager needs. (MORE)
FL: COMMUNITY COMES TO AID OF MUSLIM CENTER – TOP
Jason Geary, Tampa Tribune, 7/9/07
Akram Al-Asadi couldn’t forget what a Catholic priest from New York said after offering tearful prayers inside the Islamic Education Center of Tampa’s charred remains.
"This is a house of God, like any church or synagogue," Al-Asadi remembered the priest saying. "We should respect it. What happened to it should not happen to any house."
Al-Asadi, 57, said he has been touched by the outpouring of sympathy and help since someone set fire April 12 to the mosque and teaching facility on Rockpointe Drive.
The retired pediatric surgeon from Carrollwood who serves as the center’s chairman said it likely will be another six weeks before the center can reopen.
The center has received about $20,000 to rebuild, which Al-Asadi estimated could cost at least $50,000.
Some have feared the blaze might be a hate crime. The April fire marked the fourth time in 18 months the center has been broken into or vandalized. (MORE)
VA: CHARLOTTESVILLE MOSQUE TO FACILITATE UNITY – TOP
Islamic Society of Central Va.’s current facility is too small
Inside an aging white house on 10 1/2 Street, Khalid Mohammad chants a mellifluous incantation of the salat al-jumu’ah, the Friday afternoon prayer.
Behind him more than 70 men and boys, kneeling on the green carpet, bow their heads to the ground in unison and respond: Allahu akbar.
The two-story house, which serves as the mosque and study center for the Islamic Society of Central Virginia, is brimming with people on a sweltering Friday afternoon. The congregation spills into every nook of the house, located just north of West Main Street in Charlottesville. Men – some dressed in green doctors scrubs, others in T-shirts and jeans, and a few in traditional Islamic robes – are praying in the hallway, the kitchen and on the brick pathway outside.
And this is a lightly attended prayer service, as few University of Virginia students are in town for the summer.
"When school is in session, people are all over each other," said Khaled Galal, the society’s outreach secretary. "Not everyone can fit in this place."
Soon, though, the local Muslim community will no longer face such space constraints. The society has received preliminary permission from the city to build a new mosque in the Fifeville neighborhood. (MORE)
IL: WINDOW INTO ‘HEARTS AND MINDS’ OF MUSLIMS – TOP
Poll: They are a moderate, mainstream American minority
Hesham A. Hassaballa, Chicago Tribune, 7/8/07
A recent poll by the non-partisan Pew Research Center showed that Muslims in America are "largely assimilated, happy with their lives, and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world."
In other words, exactly what American Muslims have been saying all along.
The assimilation of the Muslim minority is a critical issue, with law enforcement paying particular attention because an alienated minority is seen as more susceptible to embracing extremist ideology and violent methods.
This is especially pertinent in Europe. British-born Muslims carried out the London terrorist bombings two years ago. And the recent failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow appear to have been the work of Muslim doctors working in Britain.
As a Muslim and a physician, I cannot fully describe the shock and anger I feel about that. My primary duty as a physician is to "do no harm." I lie awake thinking about the medical problems of my patients. I get up in the middle of the night to see my hospitalized patients. I live and breathe the Quranic principle that if anyone saves a life, it is as if he or she has saved all of humanity.
So to find that the barbarians behind the recent failed British attacks could be doctors shook me to the core. If what is alleged is true, they have committed the ultimate betrayal. It is a betrayal not only of the Islamic principle that all life is sacrosanct, but also of the primary objective of the medical profession: the protection and preservation of human life.
When such attacks occur, it is natural to inquire about what factors within the Muslim community might lead to radicalization. Would that there were a window into the "hearts and minds" of Muslims to understand how they think and feel.
Enter the Pew research poll. (MORE)
WI: AREA ISLAMIC LEADER DECRIES U.K. TERROR ATTACKS – TOP
Tom Heinen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/9/07
Disturbed by terrorist bombing attempts in England and Scotland, the head of Milwaukee’s Islamic Society has decried supporters of such violence and endorsed a task force report by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs that cautions against marginalizing Muslims in the United States.
Othman Atta, a Milwaukee attorney and president of the society, had strong words for radical Muslim clerics in England who have justified bombings of civilians.
"To be frank, if I was in England and I was in control of the laws, I would deport someone who came out with those kind of statements," Atta said. "I don’t believe there is any place for that kind of rhetoric in any society. I really don’t."
The Chicago report, "Strengthening America: The Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans," was released last month. The national task force was co-chaired by Lynn Martin, a former Illinois congresswoman and former U.S. secretary of labor, and Farooq Kathwari of New Rochelle, N.Y., president and chief executive of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc., one of the largest U.S. furniture chains.
It cites independent studies that say that, unlike in Europe, there is little, if any, publicly available evidence here of widespread or entrenched extremist activity with links to global terrorist organizations. Yet it notes that the voices of Muslim-American leaders and organizations are not being heard by the American public, some of whom continue to view Muslim-Americans with suspicion and question the compatibility of Islam with American values.
"The gathering climate of suspicion and mutual mistrust, exacerbated by the lack of engagement and dialogue, threatens to marginalize and alienate some Muslim Americans to the point where the danger of radicalization of a small minority could become a real possibility," the report’s executive summary says.
"It would take only a single, significant act of terrorism in the United States involving Muslim Americans to cement the impression that rampant radicalism has taken root in the community.
"Therefore, the task force believes that creating full and equal opportunities for civic and political participation of Muslim Americans is an urgent national need. It is vital that Muslim Americans find ways to demonstrate visibly their commitment to America, its institutions and its values," the report says.
Muslims in the United States are more integrated into the middle class and have higher educational levels than Muslims in Europe, Atta said. But he fears that those gains could be lost amid a stream of negative views and stereotypes of Islam by bloggers and some conservative talk shows and right-wing groups with agendas.
The paradox in this is that several foreign-born doctors or medical students have been arrested as suspects in the recent failed bombing attempts in London and Glasgow.
"I was seriously, obviously troubled, not only with these physicians, but even in the (earlier) attacks on the subway," Atta said. "I still have a hard time understanding how individuals who are living in these countries are able to basically go out and commit these kinds of atrocities. . . . I really cannot understand it. To see that these are supposedly doctors, it’s appalling, to be frank."
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
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Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
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