CAIR-CT, NAACP Seek Investigation of Hate Graffiti

October 25, 2013

 

The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CT) and the New London Chapter of the NAACP today called on local and national law enforcement authorities to investigate hate graffiti scrawled on a New London sidewalk.

CAIR said a local resident discovered the graffiti as she was walking to work early Friday morning. The phrase “Get a job blacks” and a Nazi swastika were spray-painted on the side walk facing a house where an African-American family lives.

Later today, CAIR-CT, NAACP New London, City and faith leaders will hold a press conference to address this disturbing incident.

 

Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12226-cair-ct-naacp-seek-investigation-of-hate-graffiti.html

Jacob Bender Is First Jew to Lead Chapter of CAIR

October 17, 2013

 
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has hired a Jewish filmmaker and interfaith activist as executive director of the advocacy group’s Philadelphia office.

Jacob Bender is the highest ranking non-Muslim in the Washington-based organization, and the first to lead one of its chapters.

“Many Muslims face daily suspicion, not unlike other immigrant groups throughout history,” said Bender, explaining that he felt people had a responsibility to confront bigotry. “When one group of Americans is attacked, it lessens the quality of democracy for all of us.”

Jacob Bender is set to be the voice of Philadelphia-area Muslims, to take on discrimination they encounter in workplace and in the public sphere, and to fight expressions of hate.

The Council on American Islamic Relations’ Philadelphia branch announced the appointment of Bender as its executive director October 15. Bender is the first Jew, and the first non-Muslim, to serve as director of a CAIR branch.

“The needs of the Muslim community are really the needs of any minority community in the United States,” said Iftekhar Hussein, chairman of CAIR-Philadelphia’s board of directors. “Jacob, being Jewish, understands that from his own background.”

An activist on Jewish-Muslim interfaith issues who has been involved in the past on the progressive end of Middle East peace advocacy, Bender will face two entirely different sets of expectations in his new position

He will meet a local Muslim community expecting a non-Muslim to represent its needs just as well as would a member of their own faith.

He will also face a national Jewish leadership that has all but deemed CAIR off-limits for any dialogue.

 

RNS.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/17/cair-taps-jewish-filmmaker-lead-philadelphia-chapter/

Washington state man fired over religious beard wins court fight

October 10, 2013

A Seattle-area Muslim man who said his former employer fired him because of the beard he wears for religious reason has been awarded more than $66,000, although most of that will go to attorney fees.

Abdulkadir Omar said he doesn’t care about the money.

“It’s not even about the money,” he said. “It’s about standing up for something you believe in.”

In 2011, Omar filed his federal lawsuit in Seattle against Sacramento, Calif.-based American Patriot Security, seeking back pay and unspecified damages for emotional pain and loss of enjoyment of life, among other reasons.

According to the lawsuit, Omar was hired by a local manager of the security company in May 2009 and earned $9 an hour guarding a FedEx warehouse in Kent, Wash. He said he started the same day he was hired, and was not told about the clean-shaven policy.

In November 2009, a supervisor from headquarters told him he had to shave his beard because of the policy. Omar refused, saying his beard is part of his religious beliefs. He was suspended, and fired the following spring, the lawsuit said.

Born in Yemen, Omar said he immigrated to the United States when he was 10.

“I grew up in this country, I’ve been living here all of my life. Just like everybody else, I’m an American,” he said.

The default judgment says that more than $50,000 of the $66,000 award is for attorney fees, while most of the rest goes to Omar, who said he was unemployed for nine months after being dismissed by American Patriot.

Omar sued the security firm with the help of the Washington chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations.

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/washington-state-man-fired-over-religious-beard-wins-court-fight/2013/10/10/39279faa-31d0-11e3-ad00-ec4c6b31cbed_story.html

Islamic group sues Des Plaines for rejecting planned mosque

Another federal court battle is brewing over a northwest suburb’s refusal this summer to let a 160-member Islamic group open a mosque in a vacant building in an industrial area.

The lawsuit filed Monday against Des Plaines and five of its aldermen is the latest to take on a “knee-jerk reaction to something Islamic or Muslim,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago.

His group helped win a $445,000 settlement from DuPage County in a similar case earlier this year. Now, it’s backing the case brought by the American Islamic Center and its attorney, Tony Peraica.

“We believe this was done for discriminatory reasons,” Peraica said.

Des Plaines officials either declined to comment Monday or failed to return calls from the Sun-Times.

Nearly all of the American Islamic Center’s members are Bosnian refugees from the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to its lawsuit. It said it entered a contract in February to buy an empty office building on 1.8 acres of land at 1645 Birchwood Ave., for religious and educational activities.

Wal-Mart fires employee at western NY store over Facebook posting criticizing Muslim customers


HAMBURG, N.Y. — Wal-Mart has fired an employee of a western New York store after he posted derogatory comments about Muslim customers on Facebook.

The firing follows a request by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Wal-Mart to discipline the assistant manager of the store in Hamburg, a suburb of Buffalo.

Terry Earsing, then an assistant manager, posted a photo of two women in traditional dress as they shopped at his Buffalo-area store and wrote profanity-laced criticisms beneath it. Earsing has apologized for what he calls a joke.

Along with a picture of Muslim women in traditional dress, the manager’s expletive-filled posting read: “Halloween came early this year. … Do they really have to … dress like that.”

A spokeswoman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says company officials looked into the posting immediately upon learning about it and fired the employee.

 

A member of the local Muslim community spotted the comment and informed the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which in turn alerted Walmart executives.

 

‘You’re a Stooge and a Frontman!’:Hannity Guest Explodes at Million Muslim March Organizer

If you thought things got heated during last week’s Hannity discussion on the Million Muslim March, tonight took things to an entirely new level. Chris Phillips, one of the organizers of the march faced off in a contentious back and forth with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which advocated for the “separation of mosque and state.”

Phillips said the march is not only about supporting “victimized” Muslims in the United States, but also the innocent Muslims who have died all over the world since 9/11. Asked for an example of how America “villain-izes” Muslims, Phillips asked Hannity, “aren’t you villain-izing them with this broadcast? These people are not radical Islamists. these are innocent Americans practicing their constitutional liberties, brother.”

“I haven’t met a Muslim that isn’t offended by the exploitation of 9/11,” Jasser said when it was his turn to speak. He suggested renaming the upcoming event, “How to radicalize Muslims in one march.” Calling the march a 9/11 “truther movement,” he accused Phillips of promoting the same ideology that produced the Boston Marathon bombing and the Fort Hood attack.

Hannity proceeded to bring up a picture of him dressed as a clown that Phillips posted online. “How would you feel if someone did that to the Prophet Mohammad?”

“I don’t worship Islam and I would be offended if friends of mine were offended,” Phillips said, shocking the other two men. “I’m not a Muslim.”

“So you’re a stooge,” Jasser responded. “You’re a stooge and front man for an organization that is destroying the mission to fight radical Islam around the globe.”

Oklahoma anti-Shariah amendment struck down

Sharia-law-Billboard(RNS) A federal judge has struck down Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment that would have prohibited judges in the state from considering Shariah law.

 

The amendment was approved by about 70 percent of Oklahoma voters on November 2, 2010, but the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued to block the amendment, arguing it violated separation of church and state and discriminated against Muslims.

 

A U.S. District Court judge agreed and issued a temporary injunction against the amendment. That decision was upheld in 2011 by a federal appeals court that returned the case to the judge, who made the final ruling Thursday (Aug. 15, 2013).

“It is our hope that, in finding this anti-Islam law unconstitutional, lawmakers in other states will think twice before proposing anti-Muslim laws of their own,” said Gadeir Abbas, a CAIR staff attorney and counsel for the plaintiffs.

 

The amendment struck down Thursday specifically mentioned Shariah, and is different from anti-Shariah laws adopted over the last few years by state legislators in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. North Carolina legislators also passed an anti-foreign-law bill this spring, which is now on the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory, who must decide by August 25 whether to sign or veto it.

 

While these laws do not mention Shariah, but “foreign law,” their backers have stated Shariah was their target. Those laws have not been challenged in court, although Muslim civil rights activists say they may still try.

Va. cabbie pursues charges after anti-Muslim bashing

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — For the second time in as many months, a Muslim civil rights group is pursuing criminal charges on behalf of a taxicab driver who was subjected to an anti-Islamic rant caught on tape.

A civil rights organization is asking the Fairfax County, Va., prosecutor to pursue a case involving a Virginia taxi driver who was subjected to an anti-Muslim rant by a passenger.

In the most recent case, an Ashburn, Va., woman unleashed a string of expletives and called 911 to report that she was afraid for her life because she said her cabbie, Abdikar Aden of Alexandria, was “very Muslim.”

Aden says the woman also poked him repeatedly in the back of his shoulder, though that part of the confrontation was not captured in a recording provided to The Associated Press.

The Council on American Islamic Relations, which is representing Aden, wrote Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh on Tuesday asking his office to prosecute the case.

UK mosques urged to install panic alarms and safe rooms

An American Islamic group has been advising British mosques on security measures, including the installation of safe rooms and panic alarms, warning that they are at greater risk than in any other western country. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has discussed its revamped security regulations with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in light of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, in Woolwich, south-east London, which it said had even provoked attacks in the United States.

 

The security improvements encouraged by CAIR, America’s largest Muslim advocacy group, encourage the building of transparent fences around mosques, wire screens on windows, designated security officials, three-inch-thick doors, panic alarms and safe rooms.

 

Fiyaz Mughal, director of the conflict resolution charity Faith Matters, said too many mosques remained vulnerable to attack in the aftermath of Woolwich. Mughal said that, of the UK’s 1,500 mosques, 1,300 urgently needed to improve security. He added: “There are a significant number of mosques that don’t have CCTV, that don’t do an audit of their lighting around their building. Many of these mosques you can walk into without anybody asking anything. The vast amount of mosques really needs to reconsider their safety measures. I would classify them as vulnerable, given the changing climate since 7/7. But Woolwich is a huge turning point and if the mosques don’t realise that, they really need to wake up to it.”

 

Hooper said his group had recently contacted the FBI after a mosque in Georgia was vandalised with apparent reference to the murder of Rigby. The sign for the Islamic Centre of North Fulton was spray-painted with the phrase “London Justice”.

Muslim Cabdriver, an Army Reservist and Iraqi veteran, assaulted for being Muslim

An Army reservist and Iraq veteran who works as a cabdriver says a passenger he picked up early Friday at a Northern Virginia country club accused him of being a terrorist because he is Muslim, then fractured his jaw in an attack being described by Islamic activists as a hate crime.

Mohamed A. Salim says the passenger compared him to the men accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing 11 days earlier and threatened to kill him.

“Because I’m a Muslim, he treated me like a piece of trash,” Salim said. “I love this country. I didn’t deserve this.”

Ed Dahlberg of Clifton, who has been charged with misdemeanor assault, denied hitting Salim in a statement released by his attorney.

The video, which Salim took on his phone, appears to show physical contact between the men but does not capture the alleged punch that Salim said fractured his jaw, the Boston bombing reference or the threat to kill. Salim said that those happened after he stopped recording so he could call the police.

On the video, a middle-aged businessman can be heard asking Salim if he is Islamic and then asserting that most Muslims are terrorists. He says the Koran directs Muslims to kill nonbelievers and then repeatedly and loudly demands that Salim denounce the Sept. 11, 2001, attackers. When Salim asks if the passenger is threatening him, the passenger uses an obscene phrase to respond in the affirmative.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations on Monday asked Fairfax County prosecutors to designate the attack a hate crime. “The prosecutor has a clear opportunity to send a message that anti-Muslim crime will not be tolerated, ” said Gadeir Abbas, an attorney for CAIR.