A West Virginia group, West Virginia Conservative Foundation, led by Republican tea party activists is running an ad attempting to connect longtime Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall to President Barack Obama, emphasizing the congressman’s Arab-American ancestry. In the ad, ominous music plays as Rahall discusses his chairmanship of the Arab-Americans for Obama group when Obama was a presidential candidate. The ad ends asking viewers to call Rahall and “tell him to stand with West Virginians.”
One of the leaders of the group paying for the ad, also contributes to a blog that has targeted Rahall and suggested he has ties to terrorists or their supporters.
U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who in a dead-heat race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, told a crowd of supporters that the country needs to address a “militant terrorist situation” that has allowed Islamic religious law to take hold in some American cities.
Her comments came at a rally of tea party supporters in the Nevada resort town of Mesquite last week after the candidate was asked about Muslims angling to take over the country, and marked the latest of several controversial remarks by the Nevada Republican.
According to the rough plans, the upper floors would include space for art exhibitions and interfaith programs. There would also be a 9/11 memorial and a space open to people of “all faiths and of no faith” for prayer, contemplation and meditation.
The controversy over the planned Park 51 community center in New York City is only one example of opposition to mosques and Islamic centers in the United States. Existing and proposed mosque sites across the country have been targeted for vandalism and other criminal acts, and there have been efforts to block or deny necessary zoning permits for the construction and expansion of other facilities.
A man who held federal agents at bay with fake explosives threatened to start a war between Muslims and Christians. He also threatened to kill President Barack Obama, according to charges filed against him Wednesday.
The eight-hour standoff Tuesday night began after FBI and Secret Service agents, accompanied by police, went to the home of Roman Otto Conaway, to query him about a report that he had been making threats. He eventually surrendered on the promise of getting a mental health evaluation.
Conaway said that he wanted to start a war between Christians and Muslims, kill Obama and other government officials, end the war in Afghanistan “which (expletive) Bush started” and ‘start an Apocalypse,” court documents say.
A few minutes later, Conaway posted an online message on the Facebook social network, claiming he would burn a Quran at 3 p.m. Several hours later, he posted, “i need everbody with a camera phone or video phone or video cameras to come to 9030 summit drive in fairview heights illinois. the media and your goverment thinks this isa joke. im not joking.”
“I humbly apologize for my actions,” Conaway later told agents.
The FBI is investigating an act of vandalism against a south St. Louis mosque, amid rising rhetoric against Muslims. Someone spray-painted a pentagram and the phrase, “worship satan” on an old coal chute door on the side of the building.
Two FBI agents took photographs and interviewed members of the Masjid Qooba at 1925 Allen, after someone spray painted the side of the building with a pentagram and the words “worship Satan.”
Muslims make up less than 2 percent of the United States population, however, they accounted for about one-quarter of the 3,386 religious discrimination claims filed with the E.E.O.C. last year. At a time of growing tensions involving Muslims in the United States, a record number of Muslim workers are complaining of employment discrimination and prejudice, from co-workers calling them “terrorist” or “Osama” to employers barring them from wearing head scarves or taking prayer breaks. The rising number of complaints by Muslims, which exceeds even the amount filed in the year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, comes as tensions rise between Muslim Americans and those of other faiths.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found enough merit in some of the complaints that it has filed several prominent lawsuits on behalf of Muslim workers.
Polls have shown that many Americans feel a growing wariness toward Muslims after the 9/11 attacks and after years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mosques and Islamic community centers in the United States — most prominently one proposed near ground zero in Manhattan — have faced substantial opposition. And a Florida pastor received national attention this month for threatening to burn the Koran on Sept. 11.
The Texas State Board of Education adopted a resolution Friday that seeks to curtail references to Islam in Texas textbooks, as social-conservative board members warned of what they describe as a creeping Middle Eastern influence in the nation’s publishing industry.
The board approved the one-page nonbinding resolution, which urges textbook publishers to limit what they print about Islam in world history books, by a 7-5 vote.
Critics say it’s another example of the ideologically focused board trying to politicize public education in the Lone Star State. Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates for religious freedom, questioned why the resolution came at a time when “anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country has reached fever pitch.”
NYT Op-ED Columnist: NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
“…I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.”
Students were taken to a mosque last spring, where five boys participated in a prayer service at the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Roxbury.
The superintendent says the trip was for part of a sixth grade social studies class called “Enduring Beliefs in the World Today.” The course includes lessons on different world religions.
A video, put together by the group Americans for Peace and Tolerance, recently emerged online of the trip. One of the female chaperons recorded video of the service, and she claims all the girls and female chaperons on the trip were asked to leave the prayer area and boys were then asked to join in the prayer. Many are questioning the timing of the release of the video.
“They just walked forward got in the line. No one told them to. No one asked them to. You know how little boys are,” said mosque member David Curran.