New screening rules

The Obama Administration has replaced the extra screening procedures at the airports. Instead of focusing on passengers from 14 specific countries, the new regulations are intended to engage all intelligence available to law-enforcement agencies to identify potential threats. This new set of regulation replaced the emergency order that was put in place after the unsuccessful terrorist attack on Christmas day. According to officials, the new system treats all passengers flying into the US in the same manner regardless of their countries of origin.

Woman charged in “Jihad Jane” case

According to a new indictment, Colleen LaRose, 46, and Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31, who traveled to Europe separately to engage in violent “jihad” were linked to each other. According to the officials, LaRose (who called herself “Jihad Jane”) had invited Paulin-Ramirez to attend a “training camp.” Paulin-Ramirez was arrested last month in Ireland along with six other individuals for alleged plots to murder a Swedish cartoonist who had offended many Muslims. She was then sent to the United States where both American women are now waiting trial.

Michigan’s smoking ban versus hooka business

New state law in Michigan bans hooka, the Arabic water pipe with flavored tobacco, from cafes serving their customers with food. Hooka will be offered only in specialty tobacco stores. The law is to be enforced on May 1, 2010. In Arab-American capital of the United States, the change implies important social impacts.

Arab-American to advise TSA

Nawar Shora, the legal director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is going to join Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as a senior advisor in the TSA office of civil rights and liberties. Mr. Shora, 33, has been working on the issue of security abuses against minorities since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Originally from Syria, Mr. Shora is going to join the Department of Homeland Security in line with his campaign to encourage young Arab-Americans to enter the federal service and work within the system in order to “reenergize trust-building.”

Interview with Dr. Jocelyne Cesari

Professor Jocelyne Cesari, Director of Harvard’s Islam in the West Program discusses today’s most pressing integration issues in this interview.

She explores how Muslims in America and Europe differ, Islam’s compatibility with democracy, homegrown radicalism in the West, Switzerland’s minaret ban, France’s national identity debate, and ways to build stronger bridges between our two worlds.

Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam

About 43 percent of Americans say they feel at least a little prejudice against Muslims, a significantly higher number than those who have prejudice against Christians, Jews, and Buddhists, this Gallup report reveals.

The report, “Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam” also reveals Islam is the most negatively viewed out of those four religions. Nearly a third of Americans say their opinions about Islam are “not favorable at all.”

Gallup poll shows stronger prejudice against Muslims in US

About 43 percent of Americans say they feel at least a little prejudice against Muslims, a significantly higher number than those who have prejudice against Christians, Jews or Buddhists, a recent Gallup report reveals.

The report, “Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam” also reveals Islam is the most negatively viewed out of the four religions. Nearly a third of Americans say their opinions about Islam are “not favorable at all.”

Obama makes a positive impact for Muslims in America

Because of the Obama Administration’s bridge-building approach to relations with the Muslim world, Muslims in America are more engaged in society and politics to share in shaping the country and its foreign policies.

“Contrary to perception outside, Muslims in the US are completely free to express their views. They are interacting with academia. Islamic Studies is being made a subject of research in universities. They are also holding interfaith dialogues. This all is helping in removing misconception about Muslims and Islam in the US,” says Dr. Omar Khalidi, writer and staff member of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT in Cambridge, MA.

Op-Ed by Robert Leiken: European radicals and jihadists are still different from American radicals

Nixon Center Director for Immigration and National Security and author of the forthcoming “Europe’s Angry Muslims” says European plotters are more connected to each other and to jihadist movements and training camps abroad than would-be American Muslim terrorists.

He cites the greater number of radicals in Europe, their ties to one another, their organic ties to training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as major differences. He also says the “clash of civilizations” that happens to offspring of labor migrants from rural villages doesn’t happen to Muslims in America, who mostly hail from business and professional families and who typically make more money than the average American.

He says what both groups share, however, is the narrative of Muslims being oppressed all over the world, usually by the United States.

Muslim punk rockers challenge Muslim, American, and Muslim-American establishments with music

An Islamic punk rock scene is emerging as another dimension of life for Muslims in America.

“In this so-called war of civilizations, we’re giving the finger to both sides,” says the ‘godfather’ of the Muslim punk movement, Michael Muhammad Knight.

“Given punk’s history and values, Muslim punk makes sense,” says the Pakistani-Canadian director of Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, Omar Majeed.

“Punk tends to gravitate toward marginalized voices,” he says. “So it’s no surprise that there are Afro-punks, Latino punks. It’s about questioning authority. The purpose of it is not to be a jerk, but to talk truth to power.”