Even the Islamists of ISIS are obsessing over Ferguson

August 21, 2014

They’re hoping to use black disenchantment as a recruiting tool.

You can understand if President Obama would rather talk about the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq, where he has scored some victories, than talk about the unholy mess in Ferguson, Mo. Surprisingly, though, ISIS militants are following developments in the St. Louis suburb, and some of them would rather focus on that. According to interviews and social media, members of the group and sympathizers with its jihadist ideology are closely tracking the events in the St. Louis suburb, where protesters and police have clashed. In it, they see opportunity.

Partly, the focus is strategic: Officers in Ferguson have used military transports and weapons similar to those used by U.S. troops in Iraq. But militants are also claiming vindication — that their arguments about American oppression were right all along. “Well this clearly shows that all this talk about democracy and equality of people in the west is just hypocrisy,” said Abu Sameer after a private autopsy sought by the family of Michael Brown showed that the 18-year-old had been shot at least six times. Abu Sameer lives in France and identifies himself as a member of the Islamic State, a group that has conducted a campaign of mass killings and other atrocities in northern Iraq.

The Islamic State and other jihadist movements are using the events outside St. Louis as propaganda against the West. One argument they’ve been making for years is that racism and discrimination are rampant in some parts of the West, and they’re hoping the Ferguson riots could help recruit black Americans. “In Islam there is no racism, and we think black people will wake up and follow the example of Malcolm X and others who understood that this way is the only way to justice,” said Abu Mansour, who lives in Germany and is also a follower of the Islamic State.

All of the jihadists interviewed said Brown’s death confirms their beliefs that blacks are seen as second-class citizens by whites and especially by the police. “I think that blacks in the U.S. will look more towards Islam,” said Anjem Choudary from Great Britain, co-founder of the banned “al-Muhajiroun” group. (Choudary’s teacher, Omar Bakri Muhammad, was barred from Britain and is currently in a Lebanese jail for his alleged support of jihadist movements in Syria and Iraq.) “The only way of life today that does not look at race is in fact Islam. Islam only distinguished people by whether they are Muslim or not. The color of their skin does not play a role,” Choudary said in a phone interview.

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.”

Muslim cabbie sues St. Louis, taxicab commission over clothing rules

St. Louis – A Muslim taxicab driver is suing the city of St. Louis, the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission and a private security company, saying he has been harassed and arrested because he insists on wearing religious garb.

Raja Awais Naeem, who works for Harris Cab and manages a shuttle service called A-1 Shuttle, says his religious beliefs require him to wear modest, loose-fitting clothing and a hat called a kufi. But that garb has run afoul of the taxicab commission’s dress code for cabbies, Naeem claims in the suit filed Thursday morning in St. Louis Circuit Court.

Naeem, originally from Pakistan but now a U.S. citizen living in St. Louis County, said he has been told he must adhere to the commission’s rules requiring a white shirt, black pants and no kufi. Baseball caps are allowed, as long as they have no logo other than the taxi certificate holder.

He claims he has been harassed and had his taxi license suspended when he continued wearing clothing he says is required by Islam, including the kufi, a loose shirt called a kurta and loose-fitting pants called shalwar. Naeem said the clothing maintains modesty by concealing the figure.

Representatives of the city, the taxicab commission and Whelan either could not be reached for comment or declined to comment on the suit.

In his lawsuit, Naeem says he was written a citation by a Whelan Security guard in June 2011 for wearing “foreign country religious dress.” Other times he had his taxi license suspended or was told he would be arrested for trespassing if he worked in his religious clothing, he said.

He said he tried to seek approval from the taxicab commission to wear his religious dress, providing the commission an affidavit in October about the importance of the clothing he wears.

Naeem says he filed complaints with the Human Rights Commission of Missouri, which issued him right-to-sue letters on each complaint.

His suit seeks an injunction to allow religious dress for cabdrivers and civil damages including attorney’s fees and other costs.

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatches: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/muslim-cabbie-sues-st-louis-taxicab-commission-over-clothing-rules/article_5e88f07f-7c5e-5a89-85b6-fb4f67bb451d.html

Man confesses to Missouri mosque and clinic fires, prosecutors say

October 22, 2013

 

A Missouri man has confessed to twice trying to set a Planned Parenthood Clinic on fire and also admitted to setting a blaze that destroyed a mosque in the same town in 2012, federal prosecutors said in court documents filed on Monday.

When Jedediah Stout, 29, was charged Friday with two arson attempts at the Joplin, Missouri, clinic on October 3 and 4, authorities made no mention of his suspected involvement in an August 6, 2012, blaze that gutted the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque.

But in a motion filed on Monday seeking Stout’s continued detention, federal prosecutors said he also had confessed to the mosque blaze and an earlier fire at the mosque on July 4, 2012, that caused minor roof damage. Stout remains in custody pending a Tuesday hearing.

Muslim community leaders raised more than $400,000 from around the world in less than three weeks to help rebuild the mosque in Joplin, the only Muslim house of worship within a 50-mile radius, according to a website posting at the time. Money is still being raised for the project.

Authorities gave no motive for Stout’s alleged actions at the mosque or the Planned Parenthood clinic, which does not provide abortion services.

According to a federal affidavit, surveillance video helped identify Stout as a suspect.

 

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/22/us-usa-crime-missouri-idUSBRE99L04A20131022

Shariah 101: What is it and why do states want to ban it?

North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday (July 24) approved a bill to prohibit judges from considering “foreign laws” in their decisions, but nearly everyone agrees that “foreign laws” really means Shariah, or Islamic law.
North Carolina now joins six other states — Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee — to pass a “foreign laws” bill. A similar bill passed in Missouri, but Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it, citing threats to international adoptions.
The bills all cite “foreign laws” because two federal courts have ruled that singling out Shariah — as Oklahoma voters originally did in 2010 — is unconstitutional.
So what’s the big deal with Shariah?
Other Shariah scholars say such a punishment system can only be instituted in a society of high moral standards and where everyone’s needs are met (thereby obviating the urge to steal or commit other crimes). In such a society, the thinking goes, corporal punishments would be rarely needed.
That said, corporal punishments have been used by Islamic militant groups in places like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria, and governments in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Aceh state in Indonesia and elsewhere.

Missouri anti-Sharia law advances

JEFFERSON CITY • In what has become a regular ritual here, a state Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that would prevent Sharia Law from taking over Missouri.

The Senate General Laws committee also discussed a measure that would outlaw any federal attempts to regulate firearms in Missouri.

The committee hasn’t acted on either measure, and both appear unlikely to have much chance at becoming law. But they both touch on some of the hottest ideological issues in the nation right now.

“They should call that the Tea Party Committee,” Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, a committee member, scoffed as she left the hearing.

Both bills are sponsored by Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, who acknowledged that Missouri isn’t in any immediate danger of being overtaken by foreign legal theories. But he said he wants to make sure the state “keeps things the way they are.”

The bill doesn’t specifically mention the Islamist Sharia religious law. But more than 20 states have considered similar measures in the past few years, generally tied to the ongoing debate over alleged Islamist influences in the U.S.

There’s no current mechanism under which a foreign law could apply in Missouri.

The second bill would make it illegal for any government official to attempt to enforce any federal firearms regulation in Missouri.

Hundreds in Joplin, Missouri, rally for Muslims and mosque

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) – A rally for Muslims in Joplin, Missouri, drew hundreds of people on Saturday night, nearly three weeks after a local mosque was destroyed by a fire which members of the Islamic community suspect was a hate crime, the organizer of the event said.

The gathering at a city park was promoted on a Facebook page as a way to show “that love is stronger than fear or hatred.” Organizers saw the rally in part as a giving-back to the local Muslim community because their mosque was a relief center for victims of the May 2011 tornado in Joplin, which took 161 lives and damaged or destroyed more than 8,000 buildings.

The fire that destroyed the Joplin mosque happened the morning after a white supremacist shot dead six worshipers at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee, then killed himself after he was wounded by police. Police and Sikh temple members speculated that he might have mistakenly thought Sikhs were Muslims.

About $406,000 has been raised to rebuild the Joplin mosque. The donations have far exceeded the goal of $250,000, said Kimberly Kester, spokeswoman for the Islamic Society of Joplin.

Missouri To Vote On Prayer Amendment 2 Known As ‘Right To Pray’

ST. LOUIS — Missourians will vote on Tuesday (Aug. 7) on a proposed amendment to the state constitution that supporters say would protect residents’ right to pray in public, and if a recent poll is any indication, it could pass by a mammoth margin.

 

Supporters say the so-called “right to pray” ballot measure — known as Amendment 2 — better defines Missourians’ First Amendment rights and will help to protect the state’s Christians, about 80 percent of the population, who they say are under siege in the public square.

 

Opponents, meanwhile, say that the religious protections Amendment 2 would offer are already guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, and that it will open the door to all manner of unintended and costly consequences including endless taxpayer-funded lawsuits.

State Rep. Chris Kelly, a Democrat who opposed the original legislation, called Amendment 2 “a jobs bill for lawyers.”

 

Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have questioned how disturbance or disruption would later be defined. What if one person’s “right to pray” intrudes on another’s right to abstain from prayer, or to pray according to the tenets of his or her own faith?

But Episcopal Bishop Wayne Smith of Missouri said prayer in public schools “becomes the vehicle for a sectarian agenda, typically Christian and typically Protestant, in violation of the no-establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.” Leading Jewish and Muslim groups also oppose the measure.

Fire destroys Missouri mosque in second blaze at the Islamic center in 5 weeks; no injuries

The shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., is the day’s worst example of hateful violence — but it is not, sadly, the only one. Early Monday morning, someone set fire to the Islamic Society of Joplin during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. The mosque couldn’t be saved, so now there are 50 Muslim families in Joplin, Mo. — the same town devastated by a tornado last May — without a place to worship.

 

A mosque in southwest Missouri burned to the ground early Monday in the second fire to hit the Islamic center in little more than a month, and investigators spent the day combing through the wreckage searching for evidence of arson.

 

No injuries were reported, but the Islamic Society of Joplin’s building was a total loss after the blaze, first reported at about 3:30 a.m., the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office said. As of late Monday, nobody had been arrested in connection with the fire.

 

While investigators did their work, a small group of Muslims gathered for an evening prayer on the lawn of the destroyed building.

 

“This is what we stand for,” said Dr. Ahmed Asadullah, a member of the Islamic Society of Joplin. “Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech.”

 

It was the second time this summer investigators had been called to the Islamic center, located in a former church on the outskirts of Joplin. A fire reported around the same time on July 4 has been determined to be arson, but no charges have been filed. The FBI has released a video of a suspect caught on surveillance video and offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in that fire.

 

Michael Kaste, special agent in charge of the Kansas City office of the FBI, said the investigation into Monday’s fire was in the preliminary stages, and that about 30 people had been assigned to the investigation.

 

“Any act of violence to a house of worship is taken very seriously by law enforcement, and threatens the very core of the safety and security of our communities,” Kaste said. A Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization meanwhile called for more police protection at mosques and other houses of worship following the Joplin fire and a deadly attack at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The Council on American-Islamic Relations also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever started the mosque fire.

Somali Muslims are calling FBI outreach ‘coercion’

Concerns about racial profiling and other questionable tactics used to investigate the possible terrorist recruitment of Somalis living in the United States are prompting some Muslim leaders in Saint Louis and elsewhere to limit their cooperation with the FBI.

Federal agents are intensifying their efforts to make connections and conduct investigations within the Somali community across the US, as concerns grow that some are being recruited to radicalization and association with al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists. About two dozen teenagers and young men have disappeared from the Minneapolis area, and returned to the Horn of Africa over the past two years, according to the FBI. Some critics say that what the FBI calls community outreach to bridge closer ties to US-Somali communities, actually involved the use of coercion, threats, and intimidation. “The Somali Muslim community in particular feels they are under siege by law enforcement,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).