March 31, 2009
* Hadith: Prayer Lights Up a Home
* CAIR-Chicago Condemns Hate Speech by IL GOP Candidate
o Racist Freeper Actually GOP Candidate (Wonkette)
* CAIR-LA: Japanese-American, Muslim Youth Exchange
o CAIR-LA: Museum of Tolerance: Intolerant?
* CAIR-OH: Tracked by Spies and Informers
* CAIR-CAN: Muslims Call for ‘Consistent’ Stand on Free Speech
* MI: Archbishop Meets with Muslims at Mosque (Detroit News)
* CA: UCLA Students Launch Campaign to Add Mideast Category
HADITH OF THE DAY: PRAYER LIGHTS UP A HOME – TOP
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The voluntary prayers of a man in his home are a light. Whoever wishes should light up his home (with prayer).”
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 2
CAIR-CHICAGO CONDEMNS HATE SPEECH BY IL GOP CANDIDATE – TOP
(CHICAGO, IL, 3/31/09) – A number of religious and civil rights groups today held a news conference to condemn intolerant and hateful remarks made by Rosanna Pulido, the GOP candidate for the 5th congressional district seat.
“Ms. Pulido’s statements under the blog moniker “Chicagolady” contain vicious remarks maligning groups such as Catholics, Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, and gays,” said Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago. “All Americans including Pulido are entitled to a free opinion; by the same logic, we are entitled to oppose bigotry, particularly from those seeking leadership positions within our country.”
Speakers at the news conference included Juan Salgado, Board President of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Reema Ahmad, Government Affairs Coordinator of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago; Junaid Afeef, Executive Director of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC); Jane Ramsey, Executive Director of Jewish Council of Urban Affairs; Father Larry Dowling from Priests for Justice for Immigrants; Shayla King, NAACP student chapter president, Loyola University of Chicago.
CONTACT: Catherine Salgado, Communications Director, ICIRR, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 312.332.7360 x 235; Reem Rahman, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, 217.493.0912; E-Mail: email@example.com
ANONYMOUS RACIST FREEPER IS ACTUALLY… REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE TO REPLACE RAHM – TOP
In early March, a gal named Rosanna Pulido won the Republican primary for the upcoming special congressional election in Illinois’ District 5, Rahm Emanuel’s former kingdom. She will lose. But not before making the funnies! She was the founder of the Illinois chapter of the Minutemen, because she *hates* the Mexicans. Once in a CNN interview she described John McCain as “just another politician that acts as if he was elected to represent the Mexican government.” Well maybe he was! AND YET, her most delightful comments came under the name “chicagolady” on the Free Republic website, where she wrote hilarious racist blather for five years until being recently outed…
Oh and she hates the Muslims too, but probably only because she thinks they’re Mexicans. Here she jokes about how funny the Muslims look when they pray to their Mexican God:
It reminds me of my dog, smelling buts…
JAPANESE-AMERICAN, MUSLIM YOUTH TO PARTICIPATE IN LEARNING EXCHANGE – TOP
‘Bridging Communities’ initiative to culminate in 40th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage
(LOS ANGELES, CA, 3/31/09) Beginning February 21, some 40 high school students from Southern California will learn about the Islamic and Japanese cultures, with topics ranging from ethnic identity, culture/religion, civil rights activism, and experiences following the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks.
The series of cultural program are the fist of their kind in the Southland, and serve to connect youth from the Japanese-American and American Muslim communities. The program is being organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA), the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California (ISCSC), Japanese American Citizens League – Pacific Southwest District (JACL-PSW) and Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR).
Some of the participants come from the cities of Claremont, Walnut, Corona, Rancho Palos Verdes, Yorba Linda, and Anaheim. Muslim participants are available for media interviews upon request.
WHAT: Bridging Communities Program, a four-day program meant to teach Muslim- and Japanese-American high school youth about each other’s heritage and experiences.
WHEN: On Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 21, March 14, April 4, April 25
WHERE: Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Islamic Center of Irvine, Little Tokyo, and Manzanar a former Japanese American internment camp
The last day of Building Communities program will culminate in a trip to Manzanar National Historic Site. The Manzanar pilgrimage is intended to raise awareness of civil rights abuses in America’s past with the aim of preventing them from being repeated. Formerly known as “Manzanar War Relocation Center,” the central California site was one of ten internment camps that held more than 10,000 Japanese-American men, women, and children during the war. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of Manzanar Pilgrimage.
“It’s important for Muslim and Japanese youth to learn from each other’s struggles in efforts to advance the cause of civil rights in our nation,” said Affad Shaikh, civil rights manager at CAIR-LA.
SEE: Pilgrimage to Manzanar
Last year, CAIR-LA organized a group of more than 100 Muslims from Southern California to participate in the Manzanar visit. A documentary was subsequently made about the visit and the bonds that were formed between members of the Muslim and Japanese American communities.
SEE:CAIR-LA Documentary of 2008 Manzanar Pilgrimage
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847, 714-851-4851; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAIR-LA: MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE: INTOLERANT? – TOP
Osma Dossani, al-Talib (Muslim Student Newsmagazine at UCLA), 3/30/09
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which has built the Museum of Tolerance here in LA, has been issued the permit to build a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. There is some tension behind this because the site includes a Muslim cemetery.
“This issue ought to be judged with knowledge,” said Ran Boytner, an Israeli-born archaeology professor here at UCLA. After interviewing the opposing sides, namely the Museum of Tolerance and the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Los Angeles, with the additional help of Ran Boytner, the truth finally emerged.
Ran Boytner affirmed that the site they are going to build on is a Muslim cemetery. “It’s definitely a Muslim cemetery, there’s no question about that,” Boytner stated. He said that it was partially covered by a parking lot sixty years ago, and while the reasons for the building of that car park are nebulous, the fact is that there is a car park there that is on top of human remains.
CAIR also confirms that the site of the new museum is also the site of a Muslim cemetery there. This is the whole reason they are against it. Munira Syeda, a representative of CAIR-Los Angeles, said, “We never said, ‘don’t build,’ we just want it to be moved elsewhere. Not doing so will further the tension and animosity between Muslim and Jewish communities. Companions of Prophet Muhammad and other famous Muslim scholars are said to be buried there. So, obviously the site has a special religious significance for Muslims, aside from having archaeological value.”
She said that the concept of the museum will be a good thing, holds good intentions, yet the location of it must be reassessed. Both Boytner and Syeda noted that for a Museum of Tolerance to stand atop the final resting place of Palestinians would not be tolerant and even hypocritical. (More)
CAIR-OH: TRACKED BY SPIES AND INFORMERS – TOP
Julia A. Shearson, Cleveland Indy Media Center, 3/30/09
[Julia A. Shearson is executive director of the Cleveland Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.]
The February 26, 2009 revelation in the Los Angeles Times that FBI domestic intelligence informant and ex-convict Craig Monteilh and others were paid handsomely to spy on Muslim Americans in their houses of worship in Southern California should come as no surprise. Such domestic intelligence gathering has a history in the United States.
The annals of modern domestic surveillance in America are contained in the massive 1976 Church Committee Reports of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The reports, drafted by the Senate in the wake of the Watergate scandal, should have ended domestic intelligence abuses, but in the post-9/11 climate, their warnings and descriptions of crimes against liberty go unheeded.
The chapter entitled “The Use of Informants in FBI Domestic Intelligence Investigations” begins: “Men may be without restraints upon their liberty; they may pass to and fro at pleasure: but if their steps are tracked by spies and informers, their words noted down for crimination, their associates watched as conspirators—who shall say that they are free?”
This quote was borrowed from Sir Thomas May, the nineteenth-century author of The Constitutional History of England. May railed against the use of such spying practices by “continental despotisms” and claimed that “the freedom of a country may be measured by its immunity from this baleful agency.”
The Church reports, available on the Internet, are worth reading today in light of the FBI’s consolidation of domestic intelligence powers in the waning days of the Bush administration. Indeed, the December 1, 2008, issuance of the new investigative guidelines by Attorney General Mukasey was a major step in reconstituting the FBI as the United States’ premier domestic intelligence agency with the Department of Homeland Security and the Joint Terrorism Task Forces as their force multipliers on the ground.
We may be safer now because of this, but at what price for liberty? The new post-9/11 domestic intelligence regime, coupled with immense power, information technology, lack of congressional curiosity and lax Department of Justice oversight, has put our Bill of Rights in peril.
In short, the FBI has been sent headlong into what former vice president Cheney calls the “tough, mean, dirty, nasty business” of keeping the country safe from terrorists. But the problem is the FBI cannot serve two masters: it cannot both serve the Constitution and get into the domestic intelligence trenches. History proves this. (More)
CANADIAN MUSLIMS CALL FOR ‘CONSISTENT’ GOVERNMENT STAND ON FREE SPEECH – TOP
(OTTAWA, Canada, March 31, 2009) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) in an open letter today to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, called on the federal government to adopt a “consistent” position on free speech and foreign speakers entering Canada.
In its open letter, CAIR-CAN highlighted that virulent anti-Muslim American writer Brigitte Gabriel is slated to speak in Toronto on April 2, 2009 to a prominent Jewish organization, whereas other foreign speakers, on the grounds of hateful commentary, have been denied entry.
“To be clear, we fundamentally value freedom of speech and expression in Canada as enshrined in our Charter of Rights & Freedoms. We are not calling for Ms. Gabriel to be denied entry into Canada but for a consistent standard to be applied by the Government of Canada at all times. When foreign nationals are selectively banned from entry into Canada for their commentary it sends the message that freedom of speech and hate speech are arbitrarily measured,” wrote CAIR-CAN Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.
“Canadian Muslims and their fellow citizens of conscience are deeply concerned about the nature and content of the message Ms. Gabriel intends to communicate at her scheduled speech in Toronto on April 2, 2009. As such, we respectfully request that your office takes steps to make sure her speech is carefully monitored by local authorities and, if it does contravene the hate-speech laws governing Canada, take appropriate legal action,” Gardee added.
Gabriel, whom the New York Times has called a “radical Islamophobe”, has publicly said “every practising Muslim is a radical Muslim” and that a “practising Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”
SEE: Brigitte Gabriel: ‘Islam Is the Problem’
SEE ALSO: ‘Obsession’ Stars Have Lectured at U.S. Military Colleges; U.S. Navy Uses Film
CAIR-CAN is a national, not-for-profit, grassroots organization with a vision to be a leading voice that encourages Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.
CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director, 613.254.9704; 613.853.4111
MI: ARCHBISHOP MEETS WITH MUSLIM LEADERS AT DEARBORN MOSQUE – TOP
Gregg Krupa, Detroit News, 3/31/09
Imam Sayid Hassan al-Qazwini, the head of the Islamic Center of America, welcomed Archbishop Allen Vigneron to the largest mosque in the country today, as the new leader of 1.4 million Catholics in Metro Detroit continues to make good on his vow to foster interfaith relations.
“So many of us here today are bound by the word of God, and we look to Abraham as one of our fathers in faith,” Vigneron said. “I am almost overwhelmed by your words of welcome and warmth.”
Vigneron’s trip to the landmark mosque on Ford Road is at least the third by an Archbishop of Detroit, including Adam Cardinal Maida’s visit in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. His visit is still recalled with fondness by many Muslims in Metro Detroit.
“We welcome you to Dearborn, the Muslim capital of the West, as I call it,” Qazwini said. “God says in the Quran, ‘You will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who say they are Christian.’ Jesus and Mohammad are none other than but two channels to God. Let us open our houses of worship to each other.” (More)
UC URGED TO EXPAND ETHNIC LABELS – TOP
Middle Easterners at the L.A. campus want to see alternatives to ‘white’ and ‘other’ on university forms.
Raja Abdulrahim, Los Angeles Times, 3/31/09
Nicole Salame, 19, was filling out an application to UCLA last year when she got to the question about race and ethnicity. She thought a mistake had been made.
“I read it five times and was like, where is Middle Eastern?” the freshman recently recalled. “Is it on the other page, did it get cut off? I thought they forgot.”
Her Lebanese-born mother told her Arabs are considered white, but Salame didn’t believe her. Her high school counselor told her the same thing.
“It did not make sense to me, it’s so far-fetched,” said Salame, who ended up checking “Other.”
For years the federal government has classified Arab Americans and Middle Easterners as white. But confusion and disagreement have led some students to check “Asian” or “African,” depending on what part of the Middle East they came from. Some, like Salame, simply marked “Other.”
Now several UCLA student groups — including Arabs, Iranians, Afghanis and Armenians — have launched a campaign to add a Middle Eastern category, with various subgroups, to the University of California admissions application. They hope to emulate the Asian Pacific Coalition’s “Count Me In” campaign, which a few years ago successfully lobbied for the inclusion of 23 ethnic categories on the UC application, including Hmong, Pakistani, Native Hawaiian and Samoan.
The UCLA students said having their own ethnic designation goes beyond self-identity and has real implications for the larger Arab and Middle Eastern communities. (More)