November 11, 2013
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), in partnership with the Virginia American Muslim Civic Coalition (VAMCC), today released the results of an exit poll survey indicating that Muslim voters in that state turned out to vote and that the majority of Virginia Muslim voters picked Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe in Tuesday’s state election.
The poll, conducted Thursday by an independent interactive voice response survey provider on behalf of CAIR and VAMCC, indicated that 78 percent of registered Virginia Muslim voters turned out to the polls in the off-year election.
CAIR and VAMCC’s poll of more than 300 Virginia Muslim voters found with a 5.5 percent margin of error that:
• 78 percent of registered Muslim voters said they went to the polls on November 5.
• 68 percent of respondents that voted in the Virginia state election cast their ballots to elect Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe to Virginia State Governor.
• Of those respondents, only 12 percent said they voted for Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and 4 percent for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.
• 17 percent of respondents declined to say who they voted for Virginia State Governor.
National and state Muslim organizations estimate that Virginia has some 60,000 registered Muslim voters. McAuliffe’s win over Cuccinelli was a narrow victory with 54,870 votes between the two candidates.
“Virginia Muslim voters’ large turnout in an off-year state election and their support for McAuliffe certainly had a part to play in the newly elected governor’s victory,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw.
Get-Out-the-Vote Drive at Muslim Association of Virginia, November 3, 2013 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TncmRZajqJM
(RNS) North Carolina became the seventh state to prohibit its judges from considering Islamic law after Gov. Pat McCrory allowed the bill to become law without formally signing it.
McCory, a Republican, called the law “unnecessary,” but declined to veto it. The bill became law on Sunday (Aug. 25).
The state joins Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee.
Supporters hailed the bill as an important safeguard that protects the American legal system from foreign laws that are incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, while critics argued that the bill’s only purpose is to whip-up anti Muslim hatred because the Constitution already overrides foreign laws.
Although the bill does not specifically identify Islamic law, critics argue that the bill’s only purpose is to invoke anti-Muslim sentiments since the US Constitution already supersedes foreign law. In an action alert [text] urging McCrory to veto the bill, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stated “The bill itself is intended to marginalize and stigmatize North Carolina Muslims and will have a negative impact on the rights of people of all faiths and backgrounds.”
The North Carolina ban is limited to family law; bans in other states are broader, applying to commercial law, contract law and other types of laws.
Critics of sharia law, the very individuals who encourage banning it, would probably be the first to ask: If U.S. laws do in fact trump sharia laws for American Muslims who live in the United States, then why would a ban bother them? The answer to this question is simple: Because banning sharia law is unconstitutional and an infringement on their religious freedoms as American citizens.
Several conservative lawmakers in Tennessee are throwing the brakes on a fast-moving bill that would divert money away from public schools and towards vouchers for students to attend private or parochial schools. Republicans are taking a second look at the bill after the possibility arose that some Islamic schools could apply for the same funding made available to other religious schools.
The bill is a top priority for Republican Governor Bill Haslam, but several anti-religion lawmakers in the state senate, led by Sen. Bill Ketron who sponsored several anti-Islam bills in the last few years, are hoping to strip away the ability for any school that caters to Muslim children and their families to receive public dollars:
“This is an issue we must address,” state Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) said. “I don’t know whether we can simply amend the bill in such a way that will fix the issue at this point.”
State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Tracy each expressed their concerns Friday over Senate Bill 0196, commonly called the “School Voucher Bill” and sponsored by fellow Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville), which would give parents of children attending failing public schools a voucher with which to enroll in a private school.
Just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Republican Governor Sam Brownback had a feeling he was not in Kansas anymore. At least not the Kansas that he once knew. His Sunflower State was teeming with unfamiliar creatures and though not tin-men or scarecrows or wicked witches, they were nonetheless outsiders and were apparently so unsettling that a law was required to prevent their influence: They were Muslims.
Last Friday, Brownback signed a bill prohibiting local courts from relying on sharia, or Islamic law, as well as other non-U.S. laws when making decisions. The fact that such a thing had never occurred in the Midwestern wheat capital did not matter. The bill was approved in a landslide vote: 33-1 in the Senate and 120-0 in the House.
Like other similar bills in 20 states, including recently enacted laws in Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee, the blueprint for the controversial Kansas legislation comes from a familiar and influential source: a growing right-wing network of anti-Muslim fear mongers. They are the Islamophobia industry and laws such as this are hallmark achievements in their quest to frighten the American population about a minority group they view with great suspicion and scorn.
Spencer and Geller co-founded Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) in 2010, an American offshoot of Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE), a hate group that the European Union calls a “neo-Nazi organization.” They also led the protests in 2010 to the Park51 Community Center (remember the Ground Zero Mosque?) in New York City. Yerushalmi and Gaffney serve as their legal counsel. When the Kansas bill was signed, Geller reacted with her usual flamboyance: “U Da Best,” she wrote. “What a disaster defeat for Hamas-CAIR,” she added.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the latest victim of an intricate web of half-truths and outright lies woven for political profit and as part of a broad, well funded, Islamophobia network. The Congresswoman was slated to be the keynote speaker at an April 21 event for the group EMERGE USA , but backed off after a scathing blog post by Joe Kaufman , who happens to be running for a Congressional seat for Florida’s District 20.
EMERGE USA is a non-profit committed to empowering minorities through increased civic engagement and education about the political process. The organization has strong roots in the community and has been publicly supported by one of Florida’s senior statesmen, former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, an expert on terrorism and intelligence. However, the fact that EMERGE USA was founded and is run by Muslims seems to be the proverbial bee in Kaufman’s bonnet. Ultimately, Kaufman’s Glen Beck-esque acrobatics in trying to link EMERGE USA board members and staff to “questionable” organizations and associations can be easily dismissed because of factual errors and deliberate obfuscation.
While the influence of the Islamophobia network on right-wing politicians is more visible, the pressure it exerts on progressives is more troubling. Left-leaning politicians are also vulnerable to manipulation, as can be seen in Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s case. The Congresswoman is not the first Democrat to distance herself from a Muslim organization after being attacked by Islamophobes. To American Muslims who are mostly progressive in their politics, abandonment by Democratic politicians feels like betrayal.
By BETH FOUHY
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio on Tuesday called on his Democratic rival, Andrew Cuomo, to investigate the development of a $100 million mosque being planned near ground zero. At a news conference, Lazio said he was concerned that not enough is known about the project’s funding sources and raised questions about its director, Imam Faisel Abdul Rauf. He noted that Rauf had recently refused to call the radical Palestinian group Hamas a terrorist organization, and had said in a “60 Minutes” interview televised shortly after 9/11 that “United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”
Several groups are planning to protest outside a fundraiser for a mosque. The protesters argue that the Falls Church mosque, the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, in Northern Virginia is linked to violence. Democratic Committee Chairman and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and US Representatives Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) are invited to attend the fund-raising but Kaine and Moran will not attend. Two of 9/11 hijackers briefly worshiped at the mosque and one of its previous Imams was denounced by the mosque due to alleged links to the terrorists. Members of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force, Act for America and the Center for Security Policy are planning to protest outside the fund-raising event.
In its efforts to close Guantanamo, the federal government is aquring a portion of the Thompson Correctional Center, a supermax prison in northwestern Illinois, to house 100 detainees. The Obama Administration promised Illinois Governor Quinn the detainees will have no interaction with other inmates.
Minority congressional Republican leader John Boehner claims that two pieces of legislation must be passed at Congress before any transfer can occur, and that Republican leaders will attempt to block the bills. These bills would challenge current law stating the detainees cannot be brought to American soil unless they are prosecuted here.
As many as several dozen will be imprisoned indefinitely–deemed ineligible for prosecution but too dangerous to be released. Lawyers for inmates in this category have filed habeas corpus petitions challenging this status.
Critics are concerned that should the petitions succeed, terrorists could potentially be released into the free world in America. The Obama Administration addressed this by assuring the detainees would either be brought to trial or moved overseas.
Amnesty International is equally critical, claiming that the detainees have not been charged with criminal activity, and that the only change occurring to resolve the Guantanamo situation is location.
There are about 210 detainees in Guantanamo. Obama has transferred 30 to other countries, with hopes to send 100 more overseas.
Officials say they plan to prosecute 40 of the remaining individuals in military or civilan courts.
Tooryalai Wesa, an Afghan-Canadian academic who returned to Afghanistan to serve as governor of the volatile Kandahar province, has survived an assassination attempt.
Wesa, who lived in Coquitlam, B.C., before he was appointed to the post in late 2008, was on his way to a mosque for prayers marking the Muslim holiday of Eid.
Zelmai Ayubi, a spokesman for Mr. Wesa, says a remote-controlled roadside bomb detonated as the governor’s three-car convoy passed through the center of Kandahar city.
Mr. Ayubi says Mr. Wesa’s vehicle was damaged in the attack but the governor was not hurt.
When Mr. Wesa took over last year at the age of 58, he was the third governor of the volatile province in less than a year and he acknowledged the dangers of the job.
At the end of his Canadian tour in Vancouver, the hereditary leader of the world’s 15 million Shi’a Ismaili Muslims, Aga Khan, described Canada as a model for diversity. Khan has often visited the country and has maintained a close relationship during his 50-year reign. Khan added that the absence of pluralism has led to much of the world’s discord.
In a special article in The Globe and Mail daily newspaper, former Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson describes Khan as an incredible spiritual and political leader: “As imam, he is responsible both for leading the interpretation of the faith and for helping to improve quality of life for all in the wider communities where Ismailis live. This dual obligation is often, I think, quite difficult to appreciate from the Christian viewpoint of the role that church leaders are expected to perform.”
See full-text articles:
Clarkson’s commentary in The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
The National Post