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.
SIDNEY CENTER, N.Y. (AP) — Officials in a rural upstate New York town are trying to force a group of Muslims to dig up two bodies in their cemetery, saying the burials were illegal.
But the Sufi group, which has documents that appear to support the cemetery’s legality, says the town board’s actions were motivated by a wave of anti-Islamic sentiment fueled by the uproar over a planned mosque near ground zero.
Hans Hass of the Osmanli Naksibendi Hakkani community, 130 miles northwest of New York City, said Tuesday that the Sufi community learned only recently about the Sidney Town Board’s vote in August to pursue legal action to shut down the community’s cemetery.
The annual American Muslim Day Parade, first held in 1985, was celebrated in Manhattan on Sunday amid controversy. The event brings together Muslims of many ethnicities and nationalities who worship in the New York region. The parade is intended as a celebration of diversity and pride in the Muslim community, but this year it had a difficult context: national controversies over a planned Islamic center and mosque near ground zero, the threatened desecration of Korans by anti-Muslim ministers, and recent incidences of what the authorities called hate crimes against Muslims, including a New York City cabdriver who was slashed.
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.
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.”