Police See Bias Motive for New Hampshire Mosque Vandalism

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/17/13) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said today that law enforcement authorities in New Hampshire are investigating a bias motive for extensive vandalism of the construction site for the Islamic Society of Greater Manchester.

CAIR said the vandalism, which cost more than $30,000 to repair and included a number of smashed windows and attempted arson, occurred in July but was not determined to be bias-motivated until recently. The perpetrators were caught on video surveillance cameras.

The mosque site was targeted with a similar act of vandalism in April.  Muslim community leaders and local police told CAIR that the juvenile perpetrators bragged of the vandalism online and left comments on anti-Muslim hate sites. Officials say New Hampshire does not have a hate crime statute but that a judge can hand down an enhanced sentence if the alleged vandals are convicted.

CAIR-Ohio Files Muslim Workers’ Bias Complaints Against DHL Subsidiary

The Columbus, Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Columbus) announced today that it has filed discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Exel, Inc., a subsidiary of DHL, on behalf of 18 Muslim employees who were allegedly fired for praying in the workplace.

 

The Muslim employees reported to CAIR-Columbus that they had asked the company several times for prayer accommodations, including adjusting break times or taking their prayer breaks without pay, but the company repeatedly denied any of the accommodations proposed by the employees. One manager allegedly told the employees they should pray in the bathroom so they wouldn’t be seen praying. Other managers told them to “obey the rules or get fired.”

 

In their complaints, the employees say they made an effort to resolve the dispute by trying to speak to human resources, but that Exel managers and supervisors repeatedly refused to allow them access to the human resources department.

 

Managers reportedly began terminating Muslim employees when they saw them praying at work. On February 8, 2013 the general manager called a meeting in which he reportedly told a large group of Muslim employees, many of whom had been working for the company for years, that Exel would not change its policies and that the company could not provide a religious accommodation. He ultimately terminated the entire group when they insisted they had a right to religious accommodation.

 

Both state and federal law requires employers to accommodate the religious practices of their employees unless it creates an undue burden on the company.

 

“This company has a history of discriminating against Muslims, especially Muslims of Somali origin,” said CAIR-Ohio Legal Director Jennifer Nimer. “This is not the first time a group of Muslim employees has been fired from this company for requesting a prayer accommodation. This type of blatant discrimination cannot be tolerated.”

 

According to the EEOC, 21 percent of religious discrimination complaints in 2011 involved bias against Muslim workers.

Investigation Looks For Muslim Bias In Texas Schools, Finds Christian Bias Instead

A bizarre chain email sent to district and school board officials in the Dallas area this October titled “IRVING ISD INDOCTRINATING ISLAM” inspired a recent investigation of “Islamic bias” in the district’s curriculum. Despite the outlandish claims, the district requested that an official from the organization that created the curriculum to respond. The results of a 72-page investigation done by the organization were not surprising: there’s a Christian bias in schools, not a Muslim one.

 

The official told the board that a bias toward Islam didn’t exist, even mentioning that “she hired a ‘very socially and fiscally conservative’ former social studies teacher who ‘watches Glenn Beck on a regular basis’ to seek out any Islamic bias in CSCOPE [the curriculum].” She “asked her to look for anything she would consider the least bit controversial.” The Dallas Morning News has the details of an investigation that mentioned “every religious reference in the CSCOPE curriculum, from kindergarten to high school”:

 

– Christianity got twice as much attention in the curriculum as any other religion. Islam was a distant second.

 

– The Red Crescent and Boston Tea Party reference mentioned in the email were nowhere in CSCOPE’s curriculum, although they may have been in the past.

 

– If there was any Islamic bias in CSCOPE it was “bias against radical Islam.”

This isn’t the first time Texas has debated the perceived presence of too much Islam in its school books. In 2010, the Texas Board of Education banned any books that “paint Islam in too favorable of a light.” The reasoning was head-scratching: “the resolution adopted Friday cites ‘politically-correct whitewashes of Islamic culture and stigmas on Christian civilization’ in current textbooks and warns that ‘more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the US public school textbook oligopoly.’” A Texas based civil liberties advocate said at the time that “the members who voted for this resolution were solely interested in playing on fear and bigotry in order to pit Christians against Muslims.”

 

GOP Asked to Reach Out to Muslim Voters, Reject Anti-Islam Bias

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/5/12) — A coalition of 11 major American Muslim organizations today called on the Republican Party to reach out to Muslim voters by rejecting anti-Islam bias and discriminatory legislation.
At a noon news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the coalition announced the publication of a full-page advertisement in the conservative Washington Times newspaper outlining recent examples of intolerant speech and actions by Republicans and offering recommendations to help improve GOP relations with the Muslim community.
That open letter to the GOP states in part:
“We are writing to offer an open invitation to reassess your party’s current relationship with American Muslims. As with other demographics, American Muslim support for Republicans has dropped precipitously in recent years. This shift away from the GOP is not set in stone, but its future direction is dependent on choices your party makes.”
Recommendations for GOP leaders outlined in the open letter include:
 The party establishment should speak out strongly against biased speech within its ranks.
 The party should make a concerted effort to engage Muslim voters.
 The party establishment should oppose efforts to pass discriminatory legislation.
 The party establishment should reject any member’s effort to use official public forums to smear a minority.
 Party officials should end the persistent witch-hunt targeting legally operating Muslim institutions.
The coalition’s letter concludes by stating:
“Let us all work together to maintain America’s leadership in support of emerging democracies and the rule of law worldwide by promoting the humanitarian principles enshrined in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. May God Almighty bless the United States of America.”

Bacon Scattered Before Muslim Celebration May Be Bias Crime

NEW YORK — Muslims gathering to celebrate the end of Ramadan at a New York City park found uncooked bacon scattered around, and police are investigating it as a possible bias crime.

Organizers say the bacon pieces were found in a small section of the New Dorp Beach park Sunday morning.

Muslims are prohibited from eating pork products. The New York chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations says pork is often used to offend or taunt Muslims. It says there have been similar taunts around the country.

CAIR-MN Asks DOJ to Probe Bias in Rejection of Islamic Center

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate allegations of anti-Muslim bias in the rejection of a proposed Islamic center in St. Anthony, Minn.

Last night, the St. Anthony City Council voted 4-1 to deny a conditional use permit for the Abu-Huraira Islamic Center, despite a recommendation by the St. Anthony Planning Commission to approve the project. The project had been on hold since a March moratorium by the council.

At yesterday’s council meeting, the proposed Islamic center faced opposition from an intolerant speakers who — Islamic center proponents assert — clearly exposed the real reason for the approval delay and rejection.

Several residents made anti-Muslim comments at the city council hearing, including: “There is no other religion in the world that condones violence. Islam is evil,” and, “Where did you come from? [Go] change your own country.”

In a response to the city council’s rejection of the Islamic center, CAIR-MN sent a letter to the DOJ seeking a federal investigation.

CAIR-MN is asking federal authorities to determine whether the denial of land usage for the Islamic center constitutes a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

RLUIPA protects religious institutions from unduly burdensome or discriminatory land use regulations. RLUIPA and the Minnesota Constitution ban zoning restrictions that impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person or institution unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest for imposing zoning restrictions and that the restriction is the least restrictive way for the government to further that interest.

“We ask the DOJ to use the full measure of its authority to launch a thorough investigation into the recent denial of the proposed Abu-Huraira Islamic Center,” wrote CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya in her letter to Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

Saroya said CAIR-MN is also asking DOJ officials to meet with St. Anthony Muslim leaders.

Yesterday, CAIR’s Michigan chapter called on the FBI to investigate a possible bias motive for a fire and hate graffiti targeting a building associated with a Dearborn mosque.

How it Became Acceptable to Publicly Reveal Bias Against Muslims in America

Before gauging whether you are in line with most of America in your opinion about Muslim immigrants, here are two things you should know: Firstly, Americans are no more opposed to granting citizenship to Muslim immigrants than Christian immigrants. Secondly, despite no real difference in opinion, Americans are significantly more open about their opposition to a Muslim becoming a citizen. In other words, what is unique is not the extent to which opposition exists, but the extent to which it is out in the open.

About a year ago, in the spring of 2010, with funding from the National Science Foundation’s Time-Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences program, we decided to see if Americans really felt differently about the incorporation of Muslims into American citizenry. Because the U.S. has a long tradition of religious tolerance, we worried that Americans might feel uncomfortable expressing an intolerant view toward a specific religious group. To get around this, we randomly assigned the 2,366 participants in our study to three groups. One group we asked directly whether they supported or opposed giving legal Muslim or Christian immigrants citizenship. A second and third group we asked about these two religious groups separately and indirectly, never forcing respondents to reveal their opinion to the interviewer or anyone. This approach, called a “list experiment,” has been used to consider other controversial topics such an affirmative action and same-sex marriage. Its unique insight is not just into the level of opposition, but the degree to which it is hidden.

CAIR: D.C. Hotel Uses ‘National Security’ Defense in Muslim Bias Suit

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/29/11) –- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today termed “unprecedented” a claim by a Washington, D.C., hotel that it had the right to discriminate against a Muslim employee because of a “national security exemption.”

In a motion filed yesterday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel said the Muslim employee’s discrimination lawsuit should be rejected by the court because the hotel “was following a mandate from the federal government regarding a matter of national security.”

The hotel’s motion blames its discriminatory actions on security requirements allegedly imposed by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).

“It is chilling to see the Mandarin Hotel — a private company — claim that national security concerns shield its discriminatory conduct from the law,” said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas. “We are confident the court will reject this unprecedented claim.”

Abbas said CAIR’s suit on behalf of the Muslim employee alleged that in December 2010, the American citizen of Moroccan heritage was forbidden to go to the 8th or 9th floors of the hotel because an Israeli delegation was staying there.

CAIR Asks for Probe of Bias Motive in Shooting at Maine Mosque

Man shot after leaving mosque following nightly Ramadan prayers

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/1/09) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on state and national law enforcement authorities in Maine to investigate a possible bias motive in a shooting incident outside a Portland mosque that left one person seriously injured.

Police say the victim, a 25-year-old Muslim of Somali heritage, had been participating in nightly Ramadan prayers at the mosque on Monday when the shooting occurred. Two suspects fled the scene of the shooting. No motive has been established, but a police official told CAIR that authorities are exploring “all avenues.”

Swift Acted With Bias:Muslims were discriminated against by the meatpacker, the federal panel determines

A federal panel said Monday that it believed Greeley meatpacker JBS Swift violated the civil rights of more than 100 Somali Muslims it fired last year after a walkout over religious differences at the height of Ramadan, Islam’s holiest time.

The determination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission comes exactly a year after hundreds of Somali workers left the slaughterhouse because the company wouldn’t accommodate requests for
prayer time…

The Muslim workers had demanded time to pray at sundown, the end of a dawn-to-dusk fast, a requirement of Islam during Ramadan. More than 300 workers walked out when told they could not break for the day’s final
prayer. About 103 workers were fired days later, not for walking off the job but for not returning to work, Keys said.

The walkout touched off a storm of protests, mostly among workers of different religious faiths who railed at the request for religious accommodation. Federal law requires employers to accommodate the religious requests of its workers.

The EEOC determined Swift had violated a portion of the civil-rights act that forbids certain forms of discrimination in employment. Specifically, it said Swift engaged in a “pattern and practice of discrimination” that included harassment, a hostile work environment, discriminatory job assignments and discipline. It also said Swift denied religious accommodation and retaliated against workers who complained about it.