July 14, 2014
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) urged all Arab and Muslims in the United States to boycott the Obama administration’s celebration of the holy month of Ramadan on Monday, arguing the president has condoned the killing of Palestinians in Gaza and the spying on some Americans based on their Muslim identities.
Like George W. Bush before him, Obama has hosted an Iftar dinner — the meal after sunset that breaks the day of fasting — each year he’s been in office. Other federal agencies, including the State Department, also hold iftar dinners to commemorate the holiday.
The ADC, the nation’s largest Arab American group, issued a statement citing both the administration’s support for Israel’s bombing campaign in response to airstrikes by the militant group Hamas as reasons not to participate in the administration’s celebrations.
Obama remains overwhelmingly popular with Muslims, although he has recently come under fire since Glenn Greewald and Murtza Hussain reported former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden had documents indicating the NSA had conducted surveillance on five American Muslim leaders.
The custom of celebrating Ramadan in the White House dates back at least to 1996, when then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted a dinner during Eid-al-Fitr, the three-day festival marking the end of Ramadan. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan noted in an e-mail Monday that the tradition may go back two centuries, according to accounts from the nation’s early days.
“Some consider President Thomas Jefferson to have hosted the first Iftar by a U.S. president, as he hosted a sunset dinner with an envoy from Tunisia over 200 years ago,” Meehan wrote. “The invited guests tonight include elected officials, members of the diplomatic corps, religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community, and leaders of diverse faiths.”
Today, in a letter to German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) expressed its somber concern over
the heinous murder of an Egyptian woman in a courtroom in Dresden, Germany.
According to reports, Marwa Al-Sherbini was stabbed to death 18 times in a German courtroom while her husband, who tried to intervene, was also stabbed by the attacker and shot in the leg by a security officer who mistook him to be the attacker. Al-Sherbini was three months pregnant and was murdered in-front of her three-year old son.
Ms. Al-Sherbini was involved in a lawsuit against the alleged attacker who had called her a “terrorist” because she was wearing the Muslim headscarf or hijab. She was scheduled to testify against him when this horrendous act took place. Ms. Al-Sherbini was wearing her hijab at the time of the attack. The
prosecutor at the hearing, described the attacker as having a deep hatred towards Muslims.
In the letter to Ambassador Scharioth, ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “We understand that a comprehensive legal investigation is being conducted by German authorities. However, this heinous crime must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This attack is but the most recent incident involving anti-Muslim hate and intolerance targeted against the Muslim community in Germany.” The letter continued, “It is our hope that German authorities will use all available legal means to classify this as a hate-motivated murder and report it to the appropriate agencies monitoring anti-Muslim intolerance including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).”
The letter concluded with an ADC request that “the German Government will take more concrete steps to protect the Muslim communities and Muslim institutions of Germany.”
WASHINGTON – Desperate to build bridges and possibly recruit new elements, the FBI is using ethnic comedians to reach out to suspicious Arabs and Muslims. “We want to demystify the FBI and show people that we are human, not just cold FBI agents coming out to arrest people,” Gwen Hubbard, chief recruiter for the FBI’s National Recruiting/Testing Office, told Reuters. Revamping an image damaged by a wave of arrests and searches since the 9/11 attacks, the law enforcement agency has sponsored a show of the “Axis of Evil” comedy group during a recent meeting of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). The group is made up of comedians of Arab and Muslim roots who have formed a niche by taking on Mideast stereotypes and making subjects such as war and terrorism funny. With large posters reading: “Today’s FBI. It’s for you”, the agency paid $10,000 to sponsor the annual event attended by 1,000 people in a ballroom at a Washington.