U.S. Muslim Group Offers ‘Best Wishes’ to Resigning Pope, Seeks Positive Relations with New Pontiff

In a statement reacting to Pope Benedict’s decision to step down at the end of this month, Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

“We offer the American Muslim community’s best wishes to Pope Benedict XVI as he leaves his position as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

“In recent years — and despite some passing controversies — relations between Muslims and Catholics have strengthened, particularly on issues related to social justice and family values.

“We look forward to continued and growing positive interfaith relations under the new pontiff as Muslims in the United States and worldwide join with people of all faiths and cultures who seek to make a better world.”

Islamophobic candidates are big losers in 2012 election

Friday, 11.09.2012, 06:39pm
Several candidates for Congressional elections known for making anti-Islam statements were defeated during this week’s election, much to the delight of American Muslims and tolerant U.S. residents in general who have grown tired of the unwelcoming climate.

“These encouraging results clearly show that mainstream Americans reject anti-Muslim bigotry by candidates for public office and will demonstrate that rejection at the polls,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, according to the website OnIslam.net.

Candidates known for their hostile, ignorant rhetoric were defeated in several states, another win for tolerance coming off of the failed campaigns of similar presidential candidates such as Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum.

US Navy to remove Muslim images from target range

The US military has agreed to remove targets depicting a Muslim woman and verses from the Qur’an from shooting ranges, it was announced at the weekend, where they were being used for target practice.

“We have removed this particular target and Arabic writing in question from the range in the near term, and will explore other options for future training,” Lt David Lloyd, a Navy spokesperson, said in a statement.

The move comes after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Muslim advocacy group, sent a letter to US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta on Friday asking for the targets and religious text to be removed from a military facility based at Joint Base Fort Story on the east coast of the US.

“We welcome the Navy’s prompt action to address community concerns and hope this incident serves as a reminder that credible scholars and experts need to be consulted when designing training materials relating to Islam and Muslims for our nation’s military personnel,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.

Muslim Americans see bin Laden’s death as start of new chapter

For Muslims in the United States, life has been divided into two distinct eras: before Sept. 11, 2001, when most Americans weren’t particularly aware of Islam, and afterward, when many began associating their faith with terrorism. If you were an American who also happened to be Muslim, inhabiting both identities could sometimes feel perilous.

So when the news broke, via Twitter, Facebook, e-mails and phone calls, that al-Qaeda’s mastermind had been eliminated, many Muslim Americans let out a collective sigh of relief.

“Osama bin Laden never represented our community, Islam or Muslims,” said Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

On Monday, the leaders of several prominent Muslim American organizations hailed bin Laden’s death, saying they hoped it would remove what one called the “sexy face” of terrorism for young radicals and allow the United States’ relations with Muslim nations to stop revolving around the issue of terrorism.

However, some still doubted that bin Laden’s demise would alter negative stereotypes about Muslims in the United States.

CAIR Welcomes Mubarak’s Departure as Step Toward Freedom

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as a “first step toward freedom” and said there must now be a clean break with authoritarian rule and a swift transition to an open and transparent civilian government.

In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:

“We welcome the departure of President Mubarak as a first step toward freedom in Egypt. We urge our own government and the international community to now support a swift transition to a civilian administration that operates in an open and transparent manner and is representative of all segments of Egypt’s diverse society…”

CAIR also welcomed President Obama’s statements in support of a “genuine transition” to democracy in Egypt.

Hijab invites suspicion for woman at Canadian airport, CAIR reports new potential issues to Obama

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote President Obama a letter stating that Muslim women in hijabs may be targeted at airports.

A Muslim woman at Canada’s Halifax Stanfield International Airport was detained for four hours and interrogated harshly. She was boarding a plane to the US to see her husband in Ohio and was denied entry.

In the letter, CAIR President Nihad Awad told Obama he supports efforts to improve security, but pointed out that safety was not improved through profiling tactics.

Victory for justice in six imams’ “flying while Muslim” case

CAIR today hailed what it called a “victory for justice and civil rights” in the case of the six imams who said their rights were violated in 2006 when they were removed from a US Airways flight in Minnesota and arrested.

According to the terms of the settlement, the six religious leaders will receive an undisclosed amount in compensation for the incident and that the case was resolved to “the satisfaction of all parties.” CAIR has championed the imams’ rights since they were removed from the plane.

The settlement of this case is a clear victory for justice and civil rights over fear and the phenomenon of ‘flying while Muslim’ in the post-9/11 era,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “We thank all those who supported the imams through the lengthy and difficult legal process.”

In July, a judge in Minnesota sided with the imams on key issues in their lawsuit against those involved in their removal from the plane. U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery cleared the way for a trial by denying several motions to dismiss the case and ruling that a law passed by Congress after the incident does not grant protection from lawsuits to those sued by the imams.

(article provided by CAIR news alert email)

Muslims to Hold Interfaith 9/11 Vigil Outside White House

On September 11, 2009, the American Muslim Voice Foundation, along with interfaith groups and community organizations, will host a “Light the Night for Peace and Friendship” candle-light vigil and Ramadan fast-breaking meal (iftar) outside the White House in memory of the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.

A press conference announcing the vigil and iftar will be held 11 a.m. September 10 at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.

Speakers: Rev. Dr. David Ensign, pastor, Clarendon Presbyterian Church, Arlington, Va., and Christian Peace Witness, Medea Benjamin, Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Co-Founder of Code Pink, Rabbi David Shneyer. Bill Galvin, National Committee of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. (His children lost their uncle on Sept. 11-He worked in the World Trade Center.) Samina Sundas, Founding Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice

More information available here.

U.S. Muslims Seek Policy Initiatives in President’s Cairo Address

The Council on American-Islamic Relations released an open letter to President Obama and the Muslim world offering specific policy recommendations for the president’s historic address in Cairo, on June 4th. In the open letter, Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote in part: “As you prepare for your historic address to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4th, I would like to offer an American Muslim perspective on what governments, leaders and individuals can do to improve the prospects for international peace and prosperity… America must champion political and religious freedom, human rights, the growth and stabilization of democratic institutions, and respect for the rule of law for everyone, not just those we favor. For too long, we have claimed to be champions of freedom and democracy, while turning a blind eye to repression, occupation and authoritarian rule… As an American Muslim, I ask leaders, governments and individuals in the Islamic world to make similar changes and to implement similar reforms. The full text of the open letter, including other specific suggested policy initiatives for America and for the Muslim world, is available online at the second link below.