Where Is Islamophobia Heading in the U.S.?

Army veteran Wade Michael Page killed six people and then himself one Sunday morning at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wis., as number of people gathered there for services last August.

The attack is being treated as a hate crime and is considered by the FBI to be domestic terrorism. Teresa Carlson, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation into the attack, told reporters that “the agency is looking into [Page’s] ties to the white supremacist movement.”

So, after the shameful, bloody shooting, we have been discussing hate crime and religious discrimination.

Daryl Johnson, a former analyst for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told the Huffington Post that Homeland Security has neglected to form a domestic terrorism unit to eliminate this type of attack. “Hindsight is always 20-20, but if DHS had a domestic terrorism unit today, we would definitely have sent out a warning, a threat assessment [to] Muslim-Americans being attacked. I know this was a Sikh temple, but he mistook them for Muslims,” Johnson indicated. Despite constant reports of increasing violence against mosques, “not a single intelligence report has warned these communities. … Someone’s not connecting the dots,” Johnson added.

On CNN News, Carol Costello connected the shooting with Islamophobia and pointed out that this is a national problem that needs to be discussed seriously. She also said that “many observers say Sikhs have been unfairly targeted ever since 9/11, but that implies Muslims can be fairly targeted. Well, they are targeted.”

Yes, since 9/11, Muslims have been targeted. As you may remember, a mosque was destroyed by a fire in Missouri. The residents of Murfreesboro, Tenn., have been fighting to keep a mosque from opening. In Washington, D.C., U.S. Representative Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has held a series of congressional hearings on Muslim radicalization — including inside the military — and has claimed extremist Muslims influence the US government.

New York Muslim Stranded in Germany by No-Fly List

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today urged the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to allow Samir Suljovic, a 26-year-old New York resident and American citizen, to return home from Germany.

Suljovic traveled to Montenegro this summer to visit family and friends. After trying to fly back home to New York on October 1, he was informed by airline agents in Austria that the DHS and CBP had asked foreign authorities to prevent him from boarding his flight. Suljovic has been stranded for 17 days and has repeatedly been denied the right to fly home to New York. He has contacted the DHS and CBP liaison at JFK International Airport, but has received no response.

Despite being advised to seek help from the U.S. embassy in Germany, embassy personnel have reportedly provided no assistance, and instead have interrogated Suljovic and allegedly searched his cell phone without his permission.

Suljovic was born and raised in Oakland Gardens, Queens.

A letter addressed to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, DHS Secretary Janet Napalitano, New York members of the United States Congress, and the United States Embassy in Munich was sent by CAIR-NY expressing concern and disappointment in the government’s role in preventing Suljovic from returning to his family in New York.

Earlier this year, CAIR called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate acts of “coercion and intimidation” allegedly used by the FBI to pressure Muslim citizens into giving up their constitutional rights if they wished to return to the United States from overseas.

CAIR Asks Sec. Napolitano to Probe Use of Islamophobic Trainers

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/23/11) — A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to conduct an agency-wide investigation of the use of outside trainers who offer hostile, stereotypical and grossly inaccurate information about Muslims and Islam to the nation’s security personnel.

That request by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) came after revelations that ethnic stereotypes were used as part of a controversial security drill at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. During the drill, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel used a person “who appeared to be Middle Eastern in descent or Indian/Pakistani” to test screening procedures.
Over the weekend, it was also revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) paid a notorious Islamophobe $5,000 for a recent appearance at a conference sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The speaker, Walid Shoebat, claims “Islam is the devil” and that President Obama is a Muslim. Shoebat once told a Missouri newspaper that he sees “many parallels between the Antichrist and Islam” and “Islam is not the religion of God — Islam is the devil.” (Springfield News-Leader, 9/24/07) CAIR asked DPS to drop its endorsement of the conference.

Chicago Muslim Granted Citizenship After Five-Year Delay

The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today announced the resolution of a citizenship delay case that has been pending for the past five years. Despite successfully passing his citizenship exam in 2002 and taking part in repeated interviews, CAIR-Chicago’s client had his naturalization delayed pending a background check. The client was recently sworn in by the presiding Northern Illinois District Federal Court judge instead of in the usual group oath ceremony. His case was resolved before a June 15th court hearing. “Law-abiding Muslims throughout the nation are facing unreasonable delays in being granted citizenship,” said CAIR-Chicago attorney Bitta Mostofi. “CAIR-Chicago will continue to advocate for and represent individuals who have experienced these unnecessarily lengthy delays.” CAIR-Chicago launched an ongoing class action complaint again the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005 seeking to place a cap on the amount of time allotted to conduct the background checks necessary for acquiring citizenship and to prohibit discrimination based on religion in applying for citizenship. CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.