The American Muslim Chamber of Commerce (AMCC) was recently established by a committed group of American Muslim business professionals and individuals in response to the pressing need to create an organization that would respond to the growing needs of the American Muslim business community. The AMCC will become a vehicle that serves as a voice before government entities, providing strong advocacy for services and develops policies that will stimulate economic growth through business development in the Muslim American community. Washington DC resident Khalid Ahmed has been selected as the President and CEO of the AMCC, and currently serves as the managing director of US Reconstruction and Development Corporation.
Twenty-five young women and men attended the second annual Young Muslim-American Leaders Summit-DC, to speak with national political leaders about they role they can play in shaping future American policies. The event was organized by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who’s executive director Salam Al-Marayati said that we need more Muslims in civil society in America; we need more Muslims in government and media; that is the only way to be part of the solution. Among the attendees, was Congressman Keith Ellison – the first Muslim ever elected to US Congress. Ellison urged young Muslim-Americans not to see themselves as outcasts or victims because of the surge in surveillance, airport interrogations, and ethnic profiling. He stated that in order to change policy, quietude and indifference won’t affect policy makers, but an active, honest, and sincere commitment to advocacy would create active change.
Hussein Ibish, founder of for Arab-American leadership in Washington DC told an audience at Tulane University that America’s cultural view of Islam and American Muslims is steadily deteriorating under an onslaught of bigotry in news programming, op-ed pieces, and in the blogosphere. Since 9/11, he said that commentators such as Malkin, Ann Coulter, Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz have transferred old anti-Arab stereotypes to Islam in “incredibly bigoted commentary” that would not have been tolerated before September 11th, 2001. “This is what explains the collapse of the good name of Islam,” said Ibish, who also believes that with this context, the West sees Islam as constantly suspicious, which thenceforth only further legitimizes the calls for ethnic and religious profiling.
By Michel Moutot In its ideological struggle against Al-Qaeda, American anti-terrorist strategy too often overlooks the basic tenets of the infamous Chinese warlord Sun Tzu, namely: know your enemy. That is the fixed view of leading analysts, who conclude that through ignorance of the enemy it faces, ignorance of its nature, its goals, its strengths and its weaknesses, the United States is condemned to failure. “The attention of the US military and intelligence community is directed almost uniformly towards hunting down militant leaders or protecting US forces, (and) not towards understanding the enemy we now face,” said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC.
WASHINGTON DC – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called upon Republican presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani, to repudiate anti-Muslim remarks made by one of his campaign workers in New Hampshire. John Deady, co-chair of that state’s Veterans for Rudy, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that Americans need to chase Muslims “back to their caves.” When Deady was later asked if he was referring to all Muslims, he said: “I don’t subscribe to the principle that there are good Muslims and bad Muslims.” He added that he “wasn’t necessarily referring to genocide.” Deady later resigned his post.
As part of its ongoing Transatlantic Dialogue on Terrorism, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC dedicated its seventh meeting in the series to Muslim integration and assimilation. In partnership with the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin, Germany, CSIS hosted a two-day event entitled, “The Transatlantic Dialogue on Muslims in Europe: Dealing with, and Looking Beyond, the Terrorist Threat ” to question and explore many of the conclusions Europeans and Americans have drawn about Muslim communities in their own countries.
As a summary to the meeting, CSIS commissioned six papers by U.S. and European experts on immigration, demographics, and integration policy, in order to further explore the situation facing Muslim communities on both sides of the Atlantic. Many of the papers reveal the sometimes shaky foundations upon which European and U.S. policymakers are crafting integration policies. More importantly, the report also shows that despite efforts to improve the West’s collective understating of Islam and Muslim integration in American and European societies, many countries remain ill-equipped to fully incorporate these growing groups into society at large in terms of economic advancement, social mobility, and political participation. As such, the report highlights some of these shortcomings, puts forth a more accurate picture of European and U.S. Muslim communities, and presents recommendations for improving the status quo.
By Martin Wainwright Forget Superman, Wonderwoman and even the Incredibles. The new kid on the block from one of America’s “big two” comic publishers is a teenage Muslim from Bradford, where his father runs a successful chain of corner shops. Bucking the trend for largely negative portrayals of young Asians, particularly in the United States, Ali is an eager livewire whose arranged bride, Sofia, the source of much angst in early frames, turns out to be equally quick-witted, as well as a babe. The 40-page first episode of the story, Vimanarama, went on sale in Britain yesterday, after a launch on Tuesday in the US, where critics gave it a warm reception. Reviews commented on the cartoons’ “infectious sense of wonder” and gripping plot, “whether it’s in the rain-soaked streets of Bradford or in the brightly lit underworld at the end of the book”. The initially unlikely setting is down to the story’s British author, Grant Morrison, a major name in comic writing, particularly in the specialist field sold through outlets such as Forbidden Planet and Where the Wild Things Are shops. A Glaswegian, his 25-year career includes stories for Marvel Comics’ The X-Men and for Batman and Superman, whose publishers DC Comics have brought out Vimanarama. Morrison turned to Britain’s Asian community for a storyline during the aftermath of the World Trade Centre disaster, when the media were full of debate and discussion about Islam and the West. In a recent interview with comics website Newsarama, he said: “There are devout Muslims in the book and couldn’t-care-less Muslims, so everyone gets a shout.” But the story is primarily a ripping yarn, with Ali and Sofia discovering a subterranean world beneath Bradford when a crate of turkish delight cracks open a hidden entrance in one of the family’s shops. Promotional material from DC Comics sums up the plot as “a modern-day Arabian Nights in the form of a Bollywood romantic comedy set on a celestial stage”. The contents include fossilised demons, a 15,000-year-old Asian superman, and too many frames of pouring rain on Bradford streets for the local tourist board’s taste. While the comic has been welcomed as a positive promotion for the city, a spokeswoman said: “They seem to have got our weather mixed up with Manchester’s.” The story – in three parts costing _1.95 each – faithfully portrays the variety in the local British Asian community, with some women decorously wearing headdresses while others have jeans and trainers. American readers are given occasional cross-cultural references in case the setting all becomes too foreign: one double-page image by the story’s illustrator, Philip Bond, has the 19-year-old hero speeding into action on a mountain bike in front of a line of British Asian cheerleaders in short skirts and bobby socks. Morrison says that he immersed himself in research about Islamic history and theology, which figures in crisp word-bubble exchanges and the exotic population of the secret underworld. But the core of the story, he told Newsarama, should appeal to “anyone who’s ever been a teenager in the grip of immense and ridiculous forces beyond one’s control and understanding. Which is surely everybody who gets past the age of 12.”