Mosque Plan for Staten Island, NY Suffers Setback

By SUMATHI REDDY

The trustees of Saint Margaret Mary parish on Staten Island have voted against the controversial sale of a convent to the Muslim American Society. Father Keith Fennessy, pastor of the Midland Beach church, had agreed to the deal but after intense community opposition he stepped down as head of the church and later withdrew his support of the sale. Before reversing course, Mr. Fennessy had said he stepped down partially because of the local uproar over the convent’s anticipated sale, saying the opposition was not “totally rational.”

NY Governor Candidate Seeks Probe of Ground-zero Mosque

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.”

Planned mosque near NY’s ground zero sparks debate

By Karina Loffee

The Cordoba House mosque, part of a Muslim center to be built two blocks from what is now known as Ground Zero proposed as a conciliatory move, was overwhelmingly approved by a local community board in May.

But the plans are being resisted by some New Yorkers who say a mosque would be inappropriate so close to the place where nearly 3,000 people were killed.

From the region

“On May 1st, New York’s Times Square was the target of a failed terrorist attack. In the extensive coverage of the incident, you will find the timeline of the incident leading to the arrest of the suspect right before he scarped the country. The coverage will also include the news following the arrest, the charges against the suspect and the debate around the suspect’s Miranda rights. It will review some of  the immediate consequences of the incident including debates about the effectiveness of the no-fly list, the heightened security measures in NYC and potential effects of the incident on US foreign policy. International dimensions of the incident in linkage to Pakistani Taliban as well as the coverage by Pakistani sources have also been included. Finally, a collection of links related to the suspect’s background is available.”

Al-Arabiya: Pakistanis Reject Shahzad’s Involvement in Bomb Plot
Associated Press of Pakistan: Pakistan Condemns Terrorism
Associated Press of Pakistan: Pakistan Cooperating with the US on a New NY Bomb Suspect
Associated Press of Pakistan: Shahzad Says Inspired by Yemeni Cleric
Associated Press of Pakistan: Shahzad Reacted to Drone Strikes in Pakistan
Associated Press of Pakistan: The US Cautions Against Singling Out Any Country as The Source of Terrorism/Praising Pakistan for Helps
PakTribune: Shahzad’s Father and Four Others Detained
The Post: FBI Team in Pakistan Investigating the NY Plot

Veteran Vendor Lance Orton Is Times Square Hero

(CANVAS STAFF REPORTS) – “I’m not a celebrity, I’m just an average Joe,” Lance Orton told the New York Daily News Sunday night from his apartment in the Bronx. But this average Joe is being hailed as the savior of Times Square.

Orton is one of the street vendors who alerted police to the suspicious dark-colored SUV that contained a home-made bomb, reported The New York Times . Orton sells T-shirts near the area in which the car was parked.

He and Duane Jackson, a handbag vendor, were the first to notice that something was strange about the car. Jackson told MyFox NY’s ‘Good Day NY’ co-host Greg Kelly : “When the smoke started, I realized there might be more to this than meets the eye.”

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had dinner on Sunday night in Times Square with Jackson and NYPD Officer Wayne Rhatigan, who was alerted by the vendors and was the first to begin to clear the are around the SUV. Orton, though passed on dinner with the mayor, according to MSNBC.com .

According to Reuters , New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised Orton: “Lance Orton saw something and did something about it.”

Orton said in a TV interview after the incident that he’s been a street vendor for 22 years. Walking with a limp and wearing a Monster energy drink T-shirt, he said of his vending position: “I don’t have too much choice. Nobody’s giving me a job.”

Surrounded by reporters as he walked to a taxi on Sunday morning, Orton was a bit surly, claiming: “Part of my reason for having this attitude is I’ve given some of you interviews before and you wrote the opposite of what I said in the paper, so that’s my problem with you.”

When asked if he was proud of his actions, he said: “Of course, man. I’m a veteran. What do you think?” As he got into the cab, the Vietnam vet said his advice to the city of New York was: “See something, say something.”

Now Orton is being mentioned in news articles around the world. His family members are also being sought out.

Miriam Citron, the mother of Orton’s son, told the New York Times that Orton would regularly alert police if something didn’t look right: “When he was in Vietnam, he said they had to make decisions and judgments from their gut, from their own feelings … His instinct was telling him something’s not right.”

Orton’s mother, Jean Jarrett, told the Daily News : “I’m sure he saved a lot of lives.”

American/Bosnian arrested on terrorism related charges, pleads guilty

Adis Medunjanin, an American citizen originally from BiH, was arrested Friday on terror charges for ties to al-Qaida Pakistan and plead “not guilty” on Saturday in a Brooklyn court.

Medunjanin and another suspect, Zarein Ahmedzay, originally from Afghanistan, were arrested in Flushing district in Queens, NY.

CAIR: NY Muslims featured in ‘I am American’ Times Square ad: Public service announcement (PSA) to air on CBS Super Screen Dec. 22-Jan. 16

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that its new public service announcement (PSA), called “I am Muslim, I am American,” began airing this morning on the CBS Super Screen in New York City’s Times Square.

Note: this summary was taken directly from CAIR’s news update.

NYPD Clarification of Radicalization Report Called “Welcome First Step”

(NEW YORK, NY 9/9/09) A coalition of Muslim advocates, lawyers and community leaders today called the NYPD decision to add a “Statement of Clarification” (Clarification) to its 2007 report, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat” a “welcome first step.” They urged the NYPD to publicize the Clarification and engage in deeper dialogue with the group to ensure effective security policy.

The Clarification, which followed ongoing meetings and consultation with the New York based Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC), stated clearly that the NYPD’s 2007 report “should not be read to characterize Muslims as intrinsically dangerous or intrinsically linked to terrorism, and that it cannot be a license for racial, religious, or ethnic profiling.”

Report with clarification (pp 11-12) available here.

Closing Schools for Two Muslims Holidays

The City Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the Department of Education to incorporate two major Muslim holidays into the city school calendar.

The resolution, which passed 50 to 1, bears no legal weight; it is simply a formal request that the DOE schedule school holidays for Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, which commemorates Ibrahim’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael.

More than 800,000 Muslims live in the city, and at least 10 percent of the city’s school students are followers of Islam.

“This is an opportunity for the city to uphold American ideals of inclusion and diversity,” said Faiza Ali, community affairs director of the NY branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and a steering committee member of the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays. “The Coalition urges Mayor Bloomberg to ensure that a significant population of Muslim students does not have to make an unfair choice[…]”

Officials are being asked to repudiate NY Representative’s anti-Muslim remarks

The New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on American Muslims and people of conscience to urge their elected officials to repudiate New York Representative Peter King, concerning a bigoted response to a Department of Homeland Security report released earlier this week.

In an interview on MSNBC, Representative King stated: “[Napolitano] has never put out a report talking about look out for mosques. Look out for Islamic terrorists in our country. Look out for the fact that very few Muslims come forward to cooperate with the police. If they sent out a report saying that, there would be hell to pay.”

CAIR-NY director Faiza Ali responded by saying that “sweeping generalizations about Muslims and mosques have no place in serious natural security discourse.” Ali added that this is not the first such inflammatory comments by King, and that he has a long history of rhetorical hostility toward the American Muslim community.