Muslims question whether girl’s killing in Virginia was road rage, not hate crime

Islamic leaders are questioning Virginia detectives’ insistence that the beating death of a teenage Muslim girl appears to have been a case of road rage, saying the attack looks all too much like a hate crime.

Nabra Hassanen, 17, was bludgeoned with a baseball bat early Sunday by a motorist who drove up to about 15 Muslim teenagers as they walked or bicycled along a road, Fairfax County police said. A Hassanen family spokesman said all the girls in the group were wearing Muslim headscarves and robes.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said there is a strong possibility the crime wouldn’t have happened if the teenagers weren’t Muslim.  CAIR called on Muslim communities to increase security during the holy month of Ramadan in light of the young woman’s murder and a string of other attacks in America and in Britain.

Number of Incidents Targeting U.S. Mosques in 2015 Highest Ever Recorded

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/17/15) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released a preliminary report on incidents targeting American mosques and religious institutions in 2015 that shows a greater frequency of damage, destruction, vandalism, and intimidation than in any other year since CAIR started tracking such cases in 2009.

VIEW GRAPHIC OF 2015 MOSQUE INCIDENTS

Of the total of 71 incidents to date in 2015, 29 occurred since the November 13 terror attacks in Paris. Of those 29 incidents, 15 occurred prior to the December 3 San Bernardino killings and 14 took place after that attack.

CAIR’s preliminary data is being issued in advance of a soon-to-be-released comprehensive report on Islamophobia in the United States.

[Report Located Here]

CAIR Applauds Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Muslim Inmate’s Religious Rights [PRESS RELEASE]

PRESS RELEASE: “The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that a Muslim inmate in Arkansas be permitted to grow a beard in accordance with his religious beliefs.

That decision overturned a state prison policy banning beards. The justices rejected the claim that the policy was needed for security reasons.

Justice Samuel Alito noted that prison officials already search clothing and hair and had not offered a reason they could not search beards as well. Alito wrote: “[I]nterest in eliminating contraband cannot sustain its refusal to allow petitioner to grow a half-inch beard.” “Hair on the head is a more plausible place to hide contraband than a half-inch beard, and the same is true of an inmate’s clothing and shoes,” Alito wrote. “Nevertheless, the department does not require inmates to go about bald, barefoot or naked.”

CAIR Applauds Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Muslim Inmate’s Religious Rights [Press Release]

Muslim inmates in the Jumu'ah prayer service in the chapel of the Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles County during the month of Ramadan. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)
Muslim inmates in the Jumu’ah prayer service in the chapel of the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles County during the month of Ramadan. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/20/15) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that a Muslim inmate in Arkansas be permitted to grow a beard in accordance with his religious beliefs.

That decision overturned a state prison policy banning beards. The justices rejected the claim that the policy was needed for security reasons.

Justice Samuel Alito noted that prison officials already search clothing and hair and had not offered a reason they could not search beards as well. Alito wrote: “[I]nterest in eliminating contraband cannot sustain its refusal to allow petitioner to grow a half-inch beard.” “Hair on the head is a more plausible place to hide contraband than a half-inch beard, and the same is true of an inmate’s clothing and shoes,” Alito wrote. “Nevertheless, the department does not require inmates to go about bald, barefoot or naked.”

SEE: Supreme Court Rules for Muslim Inmate Over Prison Beard Policy (Reuters)
Supreme Court Upholds Religious Rights of Prisoners (USA Today)

“We applaud the ruling in this important case, which firmly underscores that courts should not blindly defer when the government invokes ‘security’ as a reason to curtail rights,” said CAIR Civil Rights Litigation Director Jenifer Wicks. “The state has the burden of proving that a compelling government interest justifies its burden on the exercise of religion beliefs and practices. In this case, the court rightfully rejected arguments the growing of a beard in any way harmed prison safety and security.”

Wicks noted that CAIR recently filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief on inmate religious rights with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which is considering whether the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) policy requiring direct supervision by a chaplain or outside volunteer of inmates who gather in groups for religious services is unconstitutional.

Late last year, CAIR also filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, which is considering whether clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch’s refusal to hire a Muslim woman wearing a religious headscarf (hijab) was discriminatory.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

US Muslim Organizations Condemn Charlie Hebdo Terror [Collected Press Releases]

American Muslim organizations were quick to condemn the Charlie Hebdo attacks with press releases from MPAC and CAIR. (Cartoon: MATSON)
American Muslim organizations were quick to condemn the Charlie Hebdo attacks with press releases from MPAC and CAIR. (Cartoon: MATSON)

Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) condemns Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) one of America’s largest Muslim organizations issued a press release yesterday denouncing the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

Full Text: The Muslim Public Affairs Council strongly condemns the deplorable attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which occurred today in Paris. Three gunmen, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, killed a total of 12 individuals, including employees of the magazine and police officers. MPAC offers its deepest condolences to the victims and their families of this horrible attack. As of the release of this statement, the gunmen are still at large.

The magazine, which in the past has satirized the Prophet Muhammad, has been the target of violence before, prompting law enforcement to offer protection to the editor. The gunmen are reported to have shouted during their rampage that the Prophet Muhammad had been avenged.

The Quran upholds the importance of the freedom to express one’s own thoughts, even when they may be seen as distasteful or disrespectful by others. The Quran documents the countless attempts to defame the Prophet as a “madman,” “magician” and as one who spreads discord.

“The tragic irony that these criminals displayed is that if they actually gave a cursory look over the Prophet Muhammad’s life, they’d see how he reacted to insults and degrading treatment,” said Haris Tarin, Director of the Washington, DC, Office. “The Prophet always responded with mercy and forgiveness. No matter what grievances individuals or communities might have, violence is never the answer.”

The attack highlights the need for communities and law enforcement to work together in addressing violent extremism. The causes that drive such violence must be firmly dealt with at its core: theologically, socially and politically.

In 2013, the Brookings Institution published a paper titled “Rethinking the ‘Red Line’: The Intersection of Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Social Change” co-authored by Haris Tarin, Director of MPAC’s Washington, DC, office and Asma Uddin, Legal Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The paper addresses freedom of expression and violent extremism. 

“Rethinking the ‘Red Line'” – http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/11/free-speech-religious-freedom-social-change-tarin-uddin


COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS (CAIR)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a shooting attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and repeated its defense of freedom of speech.

Twelve people were killed today in the attack by individuals reportedly shouting “God is great” in Arabic. While no one has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, the magazine has been threatened and attacked in the past because of its derogatory references to Islam and its Prophet Muhammad. The perpetrators remain at large.

Full text of Statement by CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad:

“We strongly condemn this brutal and cowardly attack and reiterate our repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures. The proper response to such attacks on the freedoms we hold dear is not to vilify any faith, but instead to marginalize extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions.

“We offer sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed or injured in this attack. We also call for the swift apprehension of the perpetrators, who should be punished to the full extent of the law.”

France’s Muslim leaders have similarly condemned the attack as “barbaric.” “This extremely grave barbaric action is also an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press,” said the French Muslim Council (CFCM) in a statement.

In 2006, CAIR rejected the sometimes violent response to Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper wrote at that time:

“Islamic traditions include a number of instances of the prophet having the opportunity to strike back at those who attacked him, but refraining from doing so.”

CAIR: U.S. Muslims Condemn Paris Terror Attack, Defend Free Speech

 

CAIR 2014 Midterm Election Report

CAIR releases 2014 Midterm Election Report.
CAIR releases 2014 Midterm Election Report.

Key Points: The most significant anti-Islam action of the 2014 midterm election, Alabama’s Amendment 1, was approved by voters. Alabama is the eighth state to approve a law intended to vilify Islam. The measure was inspired by Islamophobe David Yerushalmi’s American Laws for American Courts legislation, which stigmatizes Muslims as a group from which the US needs protection. In Alabama, two organizations – Christians against Amendment One and the Christian Coalition of Alabama – organized opposition to the measure citing its threats to international adoptions, marriage law and religious liberty.

A Harris poll conducted prior to the election found that “just over half” of Americans would not vote for a Muslim candidate. However, observed usage of Islamophobic rhetoric on the campaign trail was present, but significantly down, from the 2010 midterm election.

Prior to election day, Republicans in New Hampshire modified their state party platform, signaling their intent to push a legal measure intended to vilify Islam. While Republicans were overwhelmingly responsible for pushing anti-Islam prejudice during the election, three separate incidents in 2014 showed that the party will, at times, act against Islamophobia.

The use of Islamophobic discourse to exploit voters’ fears remains an acceptable component of political campaigns. The overall effectiveness of employing such tactics remains in doubt.

As in the 2010 midterm election, Republicans were responsible for the overwhelming majority of anti-Islam electoral prejudice. Outside of an electoral setting, however, the party held some public officials accountable for employing anti-Muslim prejudice in 2014.

This brief on the presence of Islamophobia in the 2014 election offers only a snapshot of major highlights and does not purport to be a complete record. (CAIR)

Full Text of Report HERE.

CAIR Exit Poll Shows High Turnout for Muslim Voters in Midterm Elections

(*WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/5/14) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released the results of a midterm election exit poll in states with high concentrations of American Muslim voters that shows an up to 76 percent turnout (Virginia) of those voters and indicating that overall, more than 70 percent of those voters supported Democratic candidates.

CAIR’s poll also indicated a modest positive shift in Muslim voter support for Republican candidates, reflecting that party’s national gains.

“Muslim voters were energized and engaged, turning out at almost twice the average of all American voters in previous midterm elections,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw.

Compared to the 2012 elections, in which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney received a single digit percentage of the Muslim vote, close to 20 or more percent (23 percent for Rick Scott in Florida) of Muslims elected Republican candidates for governor in yesterday’s elections.

Republican gains are attributed to winning over traditionally independent or undecided Muslim voters.

The CAIR exit poll of more than 3,000 registered Muslim voters in California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and Virginia was conducted using an independent automated call survey provider and asked two questions:

 * “Did you vote in today’s election?”
 * “Which candidate did you vote for (governor or senator)?”

*Detailed Survey Results:*

*California*

Question: Did you vote in today’s election?

Yes 72%
No 28%

Question: Which candidate did you vote for?

Jerry Brown (D) 76%
Neel Kashkari (R) 22%
Luis Rodriguez (G) 1%
Cindy Sheehan (P&F) 1%

*Florida*

Question: Did you vote in today’s election?

Yes 74%
No 26%

Question: Which candidate did you vote for?

Charlie Crist (D) 71%
Rick Scott (R) 23%
Farid Khavari (I) 2%
Adrian Wyllie (L) 1%
Glenn Burkett (I) 1%
Other 2%

*Illinois*

Question: Did you vote in today’s election?

Yes 74%
No 26%

Question: Which candidate did you vote for?

Pat Quinn (D) 77%
Bruce Rauner (R) 20%
Chad Grimm (L) 2%
Other 1%

*New York*

Question: Did you vote in today’s election?

Yes 59%
No 41%

Question: Which candidate did you vote for?

Andrew Cuomo (D) 72%
Rob Astorino (R) 19%
Howie Hawkins (G) 5%
Other 4%

*Texas*

Question: Did you vote in today’s election?

Yes 68%
No 32%

Question: Which candidate did you vote for?

Wendy Davis (D) 76%
Greg Abbott (R) 20%
Debra Medina (I) 2%
Brandon Parmer (G) 1%
Kathie Glass (L) 1%
Other 1%

*Virginia*

Question: Did you vote in today’s election?

Yes 76%
No 24%

Question: Which candidate did you vote for?

Mark Warner (D) 79%
Ed Gillespie (R) 17%
Robert Sarvis (L) 3%
Other 2%

These results support the findings of a pre-election CAIR survey  indicating that 69 percent of registered Muslim voters would go to the polls on November 4 and that more than half would vote for Democratic Party candidates.

Domestic issues like the economy and health care topped the Muslim voters’ list of priority concerns in the election. Growing Islamophobia in America ranked as the third most important issue for Muslim voters.

For additional American Muslim election analysis, contact: CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw, 202-999-8292, rmccaw@cair.com.

Over the weekend, CAIR also mobilized Muslim voters through a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) call campaign contacting 102,452 Muslim households, with 54,914 live answers and 47,538 messages left on answering machines. The calls were recorded by regional Muslim leaders in California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and Virginia.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

CAIR Releases Results of Muslim Voter Survey in 6 States

intent-to-vote(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/23/14) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released the results of a survey indicating that 69 percent of registered Muslim voters will go to the polls on November 4 and that more than half will vote for Democratic Party candidates.

Domestic issues like the economy and health care continue to top the Muslim voters’ list of priority concerns in this election. Growing Islamophobia in American ranked as the third most important issue for Muslim voters.

*CAIR’s poll of more than 1500 registered Muslim voters in California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and Virginia* was conducted using an independent automated call survey provider and asked three questions:

1. “Do you plan to vote in the November 4th midterm election?”
2. “Which political party do you support in the upcoming election?”
3. “What is the most important issue to you in this upcoming election?”

CAIR Asks Imams to Devote Sermons to Racial Equality in Response to Missouri Police Shooting

August 14, 2014

CAIR today called on imams (prayer leaders) nationwide to devote at least a portion of their khutbas (sermons) for tomorrow’s weekly congregational prayers (jummah) to the issues of racial equality and social justice.

That request comes in the wake of racial turmoil resulting from the fatal police shooting on Saturday of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Missouri. Police claim the unarmed Brown had struggled for an officer’s gun in a patrol car before he was killed, but witnesses said Brown, who is African-American, had his hands up when he was shot. Brown’s death triggered angry demonstrations, as well as vandalism and looting.

CAIR’s St. Louis chapter joined calls for a federal investigation into the shooting.

“Despite progress in race relations over the past decades, our nation still has a long way to go to live up to the true American values of equality and justice for all,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “We need a serious and deep national conversation about how to heal these wounds, starting with all of us as individuals, family members and community leaders.”