- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
(In the meanwhile, Egypt's Mubarak implements harsher measures to strangle the people of Gaza)
A Must watch.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Hedy Epstein, the 85 year old Holocaust survivor and peace activist, announced that she will begin a hunger strike today as a response to the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the Gaza Freedom March participants into Gaza.
Ms. Epstein was part of a delegation with participants from 43 countries that were to join Palestinians in a non-violent march from Northern Gaza towards the Erez border with Israel calling for the end of the illegal siege. Egypt is preventing the marchers from leaving Cairo, forcing them to search for alternative ways to make their voices heard.
Ms. Epstein will remain outside the UN building at the World Trade Center (Cairo) - 1191 Cornish al-Nil, throughout today, accompanied by other hunger strikers. "It is important to let the besieged Gazan people know they are not alone. I want to tell the people I meet in Gaza that I am a representative of many people in my city and in other places in the US who are outraged at what the US, Israeli and European governments are doing to the Palestinians and that our numbers are growing," Epstein said.
In 1939, when Epstein was just 14, her parents found a way for her to escape the persecution, sending her on the Kindertransport to England. Epstein never saw her parents again; they perished in Auschwitz in 1942. After World War II, Epstein worked as a research analyst at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi doctors who performed medical experiments on concentration camp inmates.
After moving to the US, Epstein became an activist for peace and social justice causes. Unlike most Holocaust survivors, one of the causes she has taken up is that of the Palestinian people. She has traveled to the West Bank, collected material aid and now she hopes to enter Gaza.
GFM Hunger strikers names:
- Hedy Epstein, 85
- John Dear, 50
- Teresa Sala Faine, 63
- Father Louie Vitale, 77
- Mary Hughes, 76 from Los Angeles, CA USA
- Charling Tao, 64
- Joe Fallisi,
- J'ann Schoonmaker Alan, 64
- Sandra Tamari, 40
- Pat Chaffee
- Nomusa Taylor-Dube, 23
Contact: Hedy Epstein
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
For more info on the campaign, visit:
An American Muslim advocacy group launched a massive advertisement in New York City's infamous Times Square on Tuesday in a bid to present to millions of Americans a "fair" and "accurate" portrayal of Islam.
The public service announcement, "I am Muslim, I am American," was launched by the New York branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and aims to show people that Muslims are a valuable part of American society.
The advertisement starts with the statement "Building Community, Serving Country" and features American Muslims from all walks of life, including a police sergeant, a Little League all-star, a human rights activist, a doctoral candidate and an attorney.
"This public service advertisement features ordinary American Muslims whose everyday lives are dedicated to building community and serving country," Faiza Ali, CAIR New York's Community Affairs Director, said.
Ali added that "this initiative is part of our ongoing effort to ensure that a fair and accurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims is presented to the American public.”
The campaign will run from Dec. 22 to Jan. 16, and will even be shown on New Year's Eve, when at least one million people are expected to crowd Times Square for celebrations and the infamous countdown, when the ball drops at midnight.
"We have more than 400 million people going through Times Square and we thought this would be a good opportunity to send out a positive message about Muslims," Ibrahim Cooper, CAIR's national communications director, told Al Arabiya.
And the message is simple "that American Muslims are a vital part of our society and people have an opportunity to learn more about them," Hooper said.
And for those who have never been to Times Square, Hooper explained that the advertisement will appear on the CBS Super Screen, which is a 26-foot by 20-foot full-motion screen, called a "JumboTron," and will air 18 times a day.
"We hope that the millions of people from around the nation and the world who view this public service announcement will return home with enhanced understanding of Islam and the American Muslim community," CAIR's National Executive Director, Nihad Awad, said.
And according to Hooper although the advertisement has only been up for a day it has already been well received.
"The reaction has been very positive and we have already had people showing an interest and donating online."
Monday, December 21, 2009
By Max Fisher on December 18, 2009
...The American Prospect's Adam Serwer laments, "As I've said before, a positive relationship between American Muslim communities and law enforcement is a crucial national security issue. But if Muslims are viewed by law enforcement merely as potential terrorists, informants, or -- as the article put it -- part of a terrorism 'early warning system' rather than American citizens who are entitled to the same rights and protections as everyone else, then establishing and maintaining that relationship will ultimately prove difficult."
Friday, December 18, 2009
December 17, 2009
Recent events such as the Fort Hood shootings and the arrest of five Muslim American students in Pakistan have raised questions about the threat of homegrown terrorism in the United States. However, the Pew Research Center's comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests it is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than Muslim minority communities in other countries. Violent jihad is discordant with the values, outlook and attitudes of the vast majority of Muslim Americans, most of whom reject extremism.
A Middle Class, Mainstream Minority Group
As the title of Pew Research's 2007 study suggests, Muslim Americans are "middle class and mostly mainstream." Compared with their co-religionists in other Western societies, they are relatively well integrated into mainstream society. Unlike Western Europe's Muslim populations, Muslims in the U.S. are generally as well-educated and financially well-off as the general population. Most (72%) say their communities are good or excellent places to live, and most believe in the American dream -- 71% say that in the U.S., most people who want to get ahead can make it if they are willing to work hard...
read full article
Thursday, December 17, 2009
December 15, 2009
There is a heartening aspect to the otherwise unnerving story of five young American Muslims who flew to Pakistan Dec. 1 with the apparent intention of enrolling in a jihadist group. Law enforcement officials received crucial cooperation from anxious relatives of the five young men. The family members told imams and the Council on American-Islamic Relations of their worries, and CAIR officials swiftly arranged a meeting with the FBI . The five were then found in the house of a Pakistani man associated with an extremist group and detained by Pakistani authorities.
It would be hard to exaggerate the value of having Muslim community leaders take the lead, as they did in this instance, in guarding against terrorism - and in rescuing impressionable young Muslims from the effects of indoctrination in an alluring ideology rooted in a disfiguring of Islam...
Saturday, December 12, 2009
This week, five Pakistani men from Northen Virginia were arrested by authorities in Pakistan, where they are being questioned on suspicion of having links to radical Islamic terrorists.
These events both propel and confirm the larger worry that global terror syndicates continue to have a reach that extends to the United States, concerns that were raised by President Obama in his West Point address last week. But there's an interesting element to the story that I thought might go under-reported -- and just a few minutes ago on MSNBC, correspondent Pete Williams went on teevee and under-reported it...
December 09, 2009
Leaders of the Islamic community in the U.S. today said they believed that it was information from community organizations and affected families that led to the arrests in Pakistan of five Washington, D.C., area men on terrorism-related charges. At a press conference in D.C. on Wednesday afternoon, representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that they arranged for members of the families of the five men to get in touch with the FBI and lawyers. The CAIR representatives said they set up the contact with the FBI earlier this month after people in the Washington area Islamic community had contacted a CAIR leader to express concern about how the five men had been missing for several days under mysterious circumstances...
Friday, December 04, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Oliver's Travels - Switzerland|
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
The informant admits that the FBI's recruiting him to spy on the Muslim community "was unconstitutional and highly illegal."
But again, the Constitution does not seem to be a priority for some in the FBI.
From Times Online
November 30, 2009
Charles Bremner in Paris
The Swiss and European establishment united today in deploring yesterday's decision by Swiss voters to outlaw the construction of minarets but conservative leaders warned that the referendum showed genuine fear over Islam on the continent.
Swiss officials, media and business leaders voiced shame over a vote that they say will stigmatise the country's 400,000 Muslims and stain Switzerland's name in the Muslim world. In contrast, hard right leaders in France, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands hailed what they depicted as a triumph for the people against the elite...
Read Full Article
By Tariq Ramadan
It wasn't meant to go this way. For months we had been told that the efforts to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland were doomed. The last surveys suggested around 34 percent of the Swiss population would vote for this shocking initiative. Last Friday, in a meeting organized in Lausanne, more than 800 students, professors and citizens were in no doubt that the referendum would see the motion rejected, and instead were focused on how to turn this silly initiative into a more positive future.
Today that confidence was shattered, as 57 percent of the Swiss population did as the Union Démocratique du Centre (UDC) had urged them to -- a worrying sign that this populist party may be closest to the people's fears and expectations. For the first time since 1893 an initiative that singles out one community, with a clear discriminatory essence, has been approved in Switzerland. One can hope that the ban will be rejected at the European level, but that makes the result no less alarming. What is happening in Switzerland, the land of my birth?
There are only four minarets in Switzerland, so why is it that it is there that this initiative has been launched? My country, like many in Europe, is facing a national reaction to the new visibility of European Muslims. The minarets are but a pretext -- the UDC wanted first to launch a campaign against the traditional Islamic methods of slaughtering animals but were afraid of testing the sensitivity of Swiss Jews, and instead turned their sights on the minaret as a suitable symbol.
Every European country has its specific symbols or topics through which European Muslims are targeted. In France it is the headscarf or burka; in Germany, mosques; in Britain, violence; cartoons in Denmark; homosexuality in the Netherlands -- and so on. It is important to look beyond these symbols and understand what is really happening in Europe in general and in Switzerland in particular: while European countries and citizens are going through a real and deep identity crisis, the new visibility of Muslims is problematic -- and it is scary.
At the very moment Europeans find themselves asking, in a globalizing, migratory world, “What are our roots?”, “Who are we?”, “What will our future look like?”, they see around them new citizens, new skin colors, new symbols to which they are unaccustomed.
Over the last two decades Islam has become connected to so many controversial debates -- violence, extremism, freedom of speech, gender discrimination, forced marriage, to name a few -- it is difficult for ordinary citizens to embrace this new Muslim presence as a positive factor. There is a great deal of fear and a palpable mistrust. Who are they? What do they want? And the questions are charged with further suspicion as the idea of Islam being an expansionist religion is intoned. Do these people want to Islamize our country?
The campaign against the minarets was fuelled by just these anxieties and allegations. Voters were drawn to the cause by a manipulative appeal to popular fears and emotions. Posters featured a woman wearing a burka with the minarets drawn as weapons on a colonized Swiss flag. The claim was made that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Swiss values. (The UDC has in the past demanded my citizenship be revoked because I was defending Islamic values too openly.) Its media strategy was simple but effective. Provoke controversy wherever it can be inflamed. Spread a sense of victimhood among the Swiss people: we are under siege, the Muslims are silently colonizing us and we are losing our very roots and culture. This strategy worked. The Swiss majority are sending a clear message to their Muslim fellow citizens: we do not trust you and the best Muslim for us is the Muslim we cannot see.
Who is to be blamed? I have been repeating for years to Muslim people that they have to be positively visible, active and proactive within their respective western societies. In Switzerland, over the past few months, Muslims have striven to remain hidden in order to avoid a clash. It would have been more useful to create new alliances with all these Swiss organizations and political parties that were clearly against the initiative. Swiss Muslims have their share of responsibility but one must add that the political parties, in Europe as in Switzerland have become cowed, and shy from any courageous policies towards religious and cultural pluralism. It is as if the populists set the tone and the rest follow. They fail to assert that Islam is by now a Swiss and a European religion and that Muslim citizens are largely “integrated”. That we face common challenges, such as unemployment, poverty and violence -- challenges we must face together. We cannot blame the populists alone -- it is a wider failure, a lack of courage, a terrible and narrow-minded lack of trust in their new Muslim citizens.
Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, is professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University, and hosts Islam & Life at Iran’s Press TV.
(Source: The Guardian)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
By Nihad Awad
(Nihad Awad is national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America's largest Muslim civil rights organization. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Many American Muslims will eat their turkey a bit late in the day this year because Thanksgiving falls on the same day some Muslims fast until sunset in observance of the Day of Arafah, the spiritual peak of the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca.
Arafah is a hill called "Mount of Mercy" and its surrounding empty plain near Mecca. On this climax of the Hajj season millions of pilgrims of all races and backgrounds, including thousands of Americans, will assemble for supplication to God. This is a physical representation of universal equality and the unity of humankind.
American Muslims have a double blessing this year. They are marking both events, Thanksgiving and the end of Hajj, with activities that stress sharing with others and the importance of family to people of all faiths.
The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Muslims in that state to volunteer at a soup kitchen as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving and the end of the Hajj. CAIR’s Cincinnati chapter is giving food packages, including turkeys, to needy families.
Thanksgiving week, the Muslims Against Hunger Project is organizing special "Muslims Serve" days to recall the ultimate sacrifice the Prophet Abraham was prepared to make and to offer thanks for God's many blessings.
Hajj and Thanksgiving were also combined in a New Jersey food giveaway for the needy on Sunday in Plainfield, N.J., at the Center of Islamic Enlightenment.
In Mississippi, scores of Muslim volunteers gave up their free time to feed the hungry and homeless in areas particularly hard hit by the national recession.
Muslim university students in North Carolina this year donated food to groups that feed the hungry. While in California, Muslims joined Jews, Buddhists, Baha'is, and Catholics at an interfaith Thanksgiving celebration in a synagogue. Muslims in Iowa, along with representatives of nine other faith traditions, attended the annual Inter-Religious Council Thanksgiving Prayer Service in Cedar Rapids.
In Georgia, Christians, Muslims and Jews came together to share a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Proceeds from the dinner went to a local food bank.
On Friday, Muslims in America and worldwide will celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha, or "festival of the sacrifice." "Eid" also commemorates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. The holiday is celebrated with prayers, gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. You may hear the greeting “Eid Mubarak,” or “have a blessed holiday.”
And you know Thanksgiving and Eid al-Adha are now sharing the same spiritual and social space when Best Buy, for the first time, puts a "Happy Eid Al-Adha" in its "Black Friday" newspaper insert.
As with Thanksgiving, Eid al-Adha is a time when everyone counts their blessings and offers thanks for friends and family, even if circumstances may not be the best in any particular year.
"The first to be summoned to paradise on the Day of Resurrection will be those who praise God in prosperity and adversity," said the Prophet Muhammad.
Just as Thanksgiving is a time of family and friends, so too is Eid al-Adha. The Prophet Muhammad told the early Muslims, "[T]hey are days of [eating] and rejoicing with one's family."
The Quran, Islam's revealed text, urges those who reach physical and spiritual maturity to pray: "My Lord! Grant me the grace that I may thank you for the favors that You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do good deeds that will please You."
So this year, despite a weak but recovering economy and other domestic and international troubles, let us all count our blessings and demonstrate true thankfulness by sharing whatever we have with those in need.
Nov 23, 2009
Best Buy stands by its decision to wish U.S. Muslims a Happy Eid Al-Adha, a rep for the company said, and though some Best Buy customers took offense, a Muslim advocacy group praised the move.
The retailer got some flak this week for including, along with its circular advertising Thanksgiving Day sales, a note saying "Happy Eid Al-Adha," which refers to a holiday of sacrifice for followers of Islam on Nov. 27 this year. After TechCrunch ran an item about the circular, some claimed offense and said they'd take their business elsewhere. "I spent about $3,000 with . . . your store. I will be shopping somewhere else," one consumer wrote on Best Buy's Web forum. "BB has the Muslims covered with the 'Happy Eid,' but what about the rest of us Americans?" wrote another. "Do we get a 'Happy Thanksgiving'?"
(The American Family Association, a Christian advocacy group, has singled out Best Buy for using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Best Buy rep Lisa Svac Hawks, however, didn't agree with the claim, saying: "You will see more of Christmas in our holiday messaging. Christmas will be included in our insert and online. We have 'Merry Christmas' on our gift cards, too. In addition. we have developed the Christmas Morning simulator as an online interactive game.")
Not everyone was dismissive. "Stop with the hatin' and happy Eid," wrote one TechCrunch commentor. "For every anti-BB post, I'm going to spend $1 there," wrote another.
Hawks explained the thought behind the greeting: "Best Buy's customers and employees around the world represent a variety of faiths and denominations. We respect that diversity and choose to greet our customers and employees in ways that reflect their traditions," she said.
Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he could not recall when any American retailer mentioned the holiday in its ads. "It makes perfect business sense to acknowledge and celebrate a holiday that one out of four people celebrate," Rehab said...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Muslims Must Condemn Religious Extremists
by Sheila Musaji
I am reading and hearing in the media a barrage of articles and editorials demanding that Muslims take a stand against those who condone or commit acts of violence. I would like to go on record as condemning all religious extremism, bigotry, violence, hatred, and terrorism by both Muslims and non-Muslims. I see no difference between any of these. These merchants of hate no matter what their supposed religious affiliation have more in common with each other than they do with the majority of individuals in their respective religious faiths...
Friday, November 13, 2009
The Daily Bulletin
CLAREMONT - The haunting melody of taps echoed through the chapel as Asif Balbale, a Muslim chaplain-candidate in the Navy, recited the names of those who lost their lives in the Fort Hood attack last week.
"Lord, in these tough times, unite us as a nation," Balbale said during the closing prayer...
After the attack, as Muslims across the country condemned the violence, they were also shocked and worried about the backlash.
"This is one of those moments where we have to sit and pray that most Americans will come out stronger, more united, and more tolerant," said Hussam Ayloush, director of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations in Southern California, adding that Muslim organizations have received dozens of death threats and hate e-mails.
But while Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned against allowing "anti-Muslim sentiment" to emanate from the Fort Hood attack, on Monday, during his television program, "The 700 Club," Pat Robertson claimed Islam is not a religion but a violent political system.
Such "simplifications that grow from our deepest suspicions and prejudices" did not sit well with Jerry Campbell, president of the School of Theology...
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
“Today our work is not about merely protecting your rights to work, travel, and worship, although this is still a critical part of our mission. It is to a great extent, about carving our place in society, ensuring our seat at the table, even if a tiny minority wants us out.
“Like every American, we have the right to have a say in the affairs of our country, and we have a lot to say. We know how it feels to be unfairly suspected, to be an unwanted minority. That made us more committed to upholding our Constitution and passionately defending the rights and dignity of every person in America.
“We are here and we have something to offer. It is not about arrogance, but we are proud in our identity as American Muslims, and we have a lot to offer. And we will not allow anyone to marginalize us.”
Friday, November 06, 2009
Inland mosques being warned about safety after Ft. Hood shootings
Inland mosques and Muslims are being warned to be extra-vigilant in the wake of Thursday's shootings at Ft. Hood, Texas, which were allegedly carried out by a Muslim Army officer.
The Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is e-mailing "Muslim Community Safety Kits" to Muslims throughout the Southland, including in the Inland area, said Munira Syede, a spokeswoman with the group. She said she was unaware of any Inland mosques that have been threatened.
Backlash against Muslims is common in the wake of terror attacks involving Muslim suspects, Syede said.
The e-mails encourage Muslims to report incidents to local police or the FBI, and to save evidence and photographs of incidents. The kit also advises mosques to increase security, and to look out for suspicious packages and letters. In addition, it encourages long-term efforts to build relationships with police, community groups and interfaith organizations.
Hussam Ayloush, CAIR's Southern California executive director and a Corona resident, said the first thing that came to his mind after Thursday's shootings was concern and sadness for the victims and their families.
"The second thing that came to my mind is, 'I hope this person has no connection in any way to the Middle East or Islam,'" Ayloush said.
Ayloush said he knew that, if the person was Muslim, some people--a minority of Americans, he said--would blame all Muslims for the attack.
"There are people who blame Muslims for every evil thing that happens, and they use it to promote Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment," he said. "The American Muslim community is as outraged, angered and saddened by this horrific incident as any other Americans, and even more so because the person responsible is supposed to be a Muslim. But no devout Muslim would ever justify such an act."
Ayloush said CAIR has received phone calls from people threatening to fire their Muslim employees and vowing to make Muslims they pass on the street feel uncomfortable.
"To me what's unfortunate is that when we're mourning the deaths of these young men and women, we have to worry about the safety of our families, kids and communities," Ayloush said. "I shouldn't have to tell my kids to watch out. I shouldn't have to tell my daughter, who wears the head scarf, to not walk alone."
Ayloush said his 16-year-old son wants to join the Army when he gets older.
"Now he has to consider, 'Will I ever being accepted in the Army as a Muslim?'"
Thursday, November 05, 2009
A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group tonight condemned an attack on Fort Hood military base in Texas that left at least 12 people dead.
In a statement, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:
“We condemn this cowardly attack in the strongest terms possible and ask that the perpetrators be punished to the full extent of the law. No religious or political ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence. The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured.”
Along with innumerable condemnations of terror, CAIR has in the past launched an online anti-terror petition drive called “Not in the Name of Islam,” initiated a television public service announcement (PSA) campaign against religious extremism and coordinated a “fatwa,” or Islamic religious ruling, against terrorism and extremism.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Visit IIOC website
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Sh. Qaradawi and producer of "The Lord of the Rings" collaborate to produce film about Prophet Mohammad
A film about the Prophet Mohammad backed by the producer of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Matrix" is under discussion, a Qatar media firm said on Sunday, with the aim of creating an English-language blockbuster for the world's 1.5 billion Muslims.
Filming of the $150 million movie is set to start in 2011, with Barrie Osborne as its producer, Alnoor Holdings said.
Alnoor said the film - in which the Prophet would not be depicted, in accordance with Islamic strictures - was in development and talks were being held with studios, talent agencies and distributors in the United States and Britain...
Read Arabic article:
Thursday, October 29, 2009
A motive for the shooting has yet to be established, but a bias motive is being investigated.
SEE: Police Search for Gunman in North Hollywood Synagogue Shooting (LA Times blog)
In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:
"We condemn this attack near the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Orthodox synagogue in the strongest possible terms and offer our prayers for the victims and their families.
"No worshiper -- whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, or other -- should be made to feel unsafe or intimidated at a house of worship. We also appreciate the LAPD's investigation and enhanced security in response to the attack."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Exclusive - Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 2|
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Exclusive - Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 1|
Watch part 2
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
The organizers of the counter-protest said the turnout was successful, with over 600 members from diverse faiths and backgrounds speaking out against some two dozen neo-Nazis' hate and bigotry.
CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, who attended the rally with his children, said:
"It's important for all Americans - whether Muslim, Jew, Christian, Asian, Latino, black or other - to strongly and vehemently speak out against the hatred and bigotry of those who seek to dehumanize others.
The neo-Nazi group, National Socialist Movement, held a rally last month but was met similarly with hundreds of counter-protesters.
SEE: Calif. Muslims Condemn Neo-Nazi Harassment
With the continued economic downturn, anti-immigrant and racist groups are increasingly promoting anti-immigrant sentiment by unfairly blaming immigrants - documented or otherwise - for "stealing" American jobs.
CAIR-LA rejects such scapegoating and calls for immigration reforms that preserve the dignity and respect of immigrants and their families.
SEE: A Muslim Perspective on Illegal Immigration (OC Register)
(Ayloush's Photo: CC 2009 Nick Bygon)
Justin Elliott | October 23, 2009
In a strongly-worded statement today, the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which represents three minority caucuses, denounced a call by four GOP lawmakers for an investigation into whether Muslim "intern spies" have infiltrated the Hill.
"These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of 'un-American' agitators were identified," said Reps. Michael Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). They are the chairs of the Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Black Caucus, and the Hispanic Caucus, respectively...
Here's the full statement, which was released on behalf of the entire caucus:
Four of our colleagues, Reps. John Shadegg (AZ), Paul Broun (GA), Trent Franks (AZ) and Sue Myrick (NC) recently requested that the House Sergeant at Arms to launch an investigation of the civil rights group CAIR, or Council on American-Islamic Relations, to determine whether it was placing staff and interns in key Congressional offices who they fear are acting as "spies."
This proposed investigation coincides with the launch of a book by Dave Gaubatz, an anti-Islamic activist and author of the book "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America." It features an introduction by Rep. Myrick, and was written after Gaubatz posed as an intern at CAIR in an effort to "infiltrate" the group.
These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of "un-American" agitators were identified. We should be affirming the importance of diversity and tolerance for all interns and staff who serve in Congress without suspicion of being identified as "spies."
The idea that we should investigate Muslim interns as spies is a blow to the very principle of religious freedom that our founding fathers cherished so dearly. If anything, we should be encouraging all Americans to engage in the U.S. political process; to take part in, and to contribute to, the great democratic experiment that is America.
We all have experienced the sting of discrimination and we know that there will be challenges ahead. But our message should be firm that the America we believe in welcomes people of all backgrounds to the U.S. Congress.
We ask these charges be disavowed and we issue a hearty welcome to interns and staff of all creeds, color, ethnicities and sexual orientation.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Members of Congress and mainstream media condemn and ridicule right-wing bigots who made "Muslim spy interns" charges
Mainstream media ridicule fringe right-wing GOP members
CAIR, America’s prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, applauded statements by members of the U.S. House of Representatives rejecting claims made by several of their GOP colleagues that Muslim congressional interns are "spies."
On Oct. 14, four right-wing members of Congress, with a long history of fringe or bigoted statements, launched a book called "Muslim Mafia" and asked for an investigation of Muslim "spies" on Capitol Hill. One of these bigoted members of Congress is Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) who earlier has expressed concern about the number of Muslims running convenience stores throughout the United States and also asked the State Department to revoke former President Jimmy Carter's passport. An article in Politico said the alleged spying by Muslims was in fact a "fairly straight forward public relations and lobbying strategy," with the goals of "'placing Muslim interns in congressional offices' and registering people to vote."
In a statement, CAIR said:
"It is troubling that right-wing elected officials would serve as publicity agents for extremists who seek to bar an American minority from exercising its constitutionally-protected rights. We applaud those who stand up for the right of all Americans to participate fully in our nation's political system.”
Watch these short media interviews on this issue:
CAIR Video: Rachel Maddow Exposes Anti-Muslim Extremists (MSNBC)
Round 2 of Rachel Maddow Exposes Anti-Islam Extremists in Congress (MSNBC)
CAIR Rep Discusses ‘Manchurian Interns’ on CNN
In response to the right-wing smears, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called CAIR a "mainstream, all-American civil liberties and advocacy group." An article on Salon.com called the actions of the elected officials who launched the anti-Muslim book the "most despicable domestic political event of the year."
The demand for a probe of Muslim "spies" in Congress drew condemnation from other elected officials, one of whom called it a "witch hunt."
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) issued a statement, which read in part:
"I am appalled by this request [for an investigation of Muslim 'spies' in Congress], and the insinuation that Muslim-Americans are somehow conspiring against this country through their work on Capitol Hill. As a strong advocate for diversity and religious freedom, I find these claims to be outrageous and offensive. I urge the rest of my colleagues to join me in denouncing this witch hunt, which is clearly intended to create fear and distrust in our Capitol Hill community."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) issued the following statement in support of American Muslim congressional interns:
"It shouldn't need to be said in 2009, and after the historic election of our first African-American president, but let me remind all my colleagues that patriotic Americans of all races, religions, and beliefs have the right - and the responsibility - to participate in our political process, including by volunteering to work in Congressional offices. Numerous Muslim-American interns have served the House ably and they deserve our appreciation and respect, not attacks on their character or patriotism."
Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, stated in part:
“These fallacious allegations implicate the existence of a society still struggling with anti-Muslim sentiment. My Muslim colleagues in the House of Representatives, along with the highly qualified, patriotic and committed Muslim staffers and interns that have worked with my office and with CAPAC, contribute mightily to our democratic process. Any slander against these fellow patriots is slander against democracy and religious freedom.”
Dave Gaubatz, the anti-Islam blogger who co-authored "Muslim Mafia," has a long history of bigotry targeting Islam and Muslims. Gaubatz has called Islam an "evil ideology" and worked for a racist group that sought to make "adherence to Islam" punishable by a 20-year prison term.
In the past, Gaubatz has been questioned by state and federal law enforcement authorities for actions that were perceived as those of a stalker. CAIR has filed a criminal report against Gaubatz over materials he and his son say they stole from the civil rights group's offices.
Gaubatz has also called President Obama a "crack head" and wrote that "a vote for Hussein Obama is a vote for Sharia Law." He also called Islam a "terminal disease that once spread is hard to destroy."
It is unfortunate that there is a fringe segment of Americans who wish to promote hatred against American Muslims and intimidate them from exercising their rights to engage politically. Despite the attempts of this new McCarthyism, CAIR and the American Muslim community remain committed to encouraging dialogue, protecting civil liberties of all Americans, and promoting justice and mutual understanding.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thu Oct 15, 2009
Okay, they really don't have a list, but what the hell, it's not stopping them from calling for an investigation into a plot by:
... a Muslim advocacy group of trying to plant spies on Capitol Hill.
And the brain trust behind this effort?
- Sue Myrick (R-NC), who recently said of domestic terror threats:
Look at who runs all the convenience stores across the country.
- John Shadegg (R-AZ), who on Wednesday said that:
... what we’re really getting here is we’re not just getting single-payer care. We’re getting full on Russian gulag, Soviet-style gulag health care.
- Paul Broun (R-GA), whose most recent claim to fame was saying:
We’ve got a lot of domestic enemies of the Constitution and one of those sits in the speaker’s chair of the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi.
- Trent Franks (R-AZ), who said last month that the President of the United States:
... has no place in any station of government, and we need to realize that he's an enemy of humanity.
In other words, the loonie tunes, whack-a-doodle, teabaggers disguised as sane people prowling the halls of Congress. Talk about the need for an investigation ... or at least mental health screening...
Friday, October 09, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
According to media reports, neo-Nazis recently displayed flags with Nazi swastikas to harass and intimidate worshippers attending services at Temple Beth El. CAIR-LA says it will join more than 20 other organizations that plan a counter-protest to a neo-Nazi rally on October 24.
SEE: Groups Plan Rally Against Neo-Nazis (Press-Enterprise)
"We condemn any attempts to intimidate or harass peaceful worshipers who were practicing their right to freely worship at Temple Beth El," said Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-LA executive director. "We stand by our Jewish neighbors and reiterate our offer of sympathy, support and friendship."
Ayloush said Muslim community leaders and representatives also plan to visit Temple Beth El to show their support for the congregants.
"The City of Riverside and its residents remain united in the face of such bigotry," said Dr. Mustafa Kuko, religious director of the Islamic Center of Riverside.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
A former Jewish South African judge, Richard Goldstone (described by his daughter as a“Zionist” who “loves Israel”), conducts a UN fact-finding investigation into Israel's attack on Gaza and concludes Israel is guilty of war crimes. (over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, overwhelmingly civilians, including whole families)
A Muslim Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, later asks the United Nations Human Right Council not to vote on the findings of the Goldstone report; hence, shielding Israel and its leaders from facing war crimes charges.
The number one lesson is that this conflict is not about religion.
The conflict is about ending Israel's illegal occupation and immoral apartheid practices. It is about justice for the Palestinians.
As a matter of fact, Jews (many brave Jews), Christians, and Muslims continue to work together to end this conflict and bring justice and peace to all the people of that region.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
I am sure there is a logical explanation for all this hatred for Muslims with a passion.
Robert, please inform us about the reason that you engage in demonizing Muslims and creating division among Muslims, Christians, and Jews?
OK, OK. If you prefer not to speak, how about a picture or a sign?
OK. Now I understand.
Thank you Robert.
Unfortunately, there are many right-wing pro-Israel supporters who believe that the only way to defend or cover up for Israel and its apartheid policies is by defaming Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians.
Fortunately, a majority of people - Jews, Christians, and Muslims - do not share that view and refuse to engage in a process of dehumanizing a whole religion, community, or group of people.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Muslim groups say the surveillance techniques authorized by the Patriot Act and credited with helping nab alleged New York bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi are alienating potential allies against terrorism.
By Michael B. Farrell Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
September 29, 2009
...The extent of surveillance operations within the American Muslim communities is difficult to determine, since much of it involves ongoing investigations. In an attempt to force the FBI into revealing its surveillance guidelines, the group Muslim Advocates recently filed suit in federal court...
In this atmosphere of mystery and growing mistrust, a coalition of Islamic organizations said federal agents were infiltrating mosques in Southern California and using "agent provocateurs to trap unsuspecting Muslim youth."
"The job of the government is not to provoke someone to say something wrong and then arrest them," says Agha Saeed, chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce. "That's almost manufacturing a crime."
"At the end of the day, that does not create more integration, it creates all the opposite the results that government wants," he adds...
"The expiration of the three Patriot Act provisions is an opportunity to reexamine surveillance law and reject sections that waste law enforcement resources by targeting law abiding Americans without any suspicion of criminal activity," said Faiza Ali, community affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in an e-mail. "We perceive that trust between the American Muslim community and the FBI remains an issue, especially given concerns of confidential informants and agent provocateurs in places of worship."
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Rep. Ellison was joined by CAIR-Greater Los Angeles Area Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, who delivered the sermon following Eid prayers.
The congressman spoke on the importance of civic engagement. Acknowledging President Obama's efforts to reach out to Muslims at home and abroad, he said it was time for American Muslims to get involved and help our nation realize its dream of pluralism and equality.
Congressman Ellison additionally reminded the congregants that, overwhelmingly, Americans are caring and respectful toward all religions. He encouraged Muslims to continue to reach out to their fellow Americans to work together in promoting better understanding and friendships. He said Muslims should not let hateful agendas of some drive them away from the good work.
In his sermon, Ayloush emphasized the importance of building on Ramadan's "intensive training" on faith, perseverance and compassion to reach out to others and the less fortunate in our communities, give charity and make contributions to America.
He quoted the Prophet Muhammad who said: "All people are the dependents of God. And, the most beloved to God are those most beneficial and helpful to His dependents."
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009By DAVID OLSON
The nation's first Muslim congressman will speak in Riverside on Sunday during prayers for Eid ul-Fitr, which celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., will attend Eid prayer services at the Riverside Convention Center and make brief remarks. The annual event last year attracted several thousand people...
Ellison said his Eid speech will focus on Ramadan's message of compassion and humility and the duty of Muslims to make life better for people of all faiths. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 in an overwhelmingly non-Muslim district and re-elected in 2008 with 71 percent of the vote. A second Muslim congressman was elected in Indianapolis last year.
Ellison said his election illustrates that most Americans try to treat Muslims with respect...
"And you just have to argue to people that that's not really the case, that America is a country of immigrants and has been all of its existence and yet our standard of living has only been increasing, and that we've been doing better, not worse, because of new people in our community," Ellison said.
You can show it to people through the evidence but it's not always easy, because you have a lot of people on radio and TV banking on people's fears and making them feel like they ought to kick somebody off the island or push somebody off the bus."
Ellison's election has been used by American officials to show foreign Muslims that the country is not hostile to Islam. President Barack Obama referred to Ellison's use of the Quran to take the oath of office in a June speech in Cairo that was designed to strengthen U.S. relations with the world's Muslims.
Corona's Hussam Ayloush, who will deliver Sunday's Eid sermon, said Ellison is a source of inspiration and hope for Muslims, especially those who believe they are treated as second-class citizens.
"He's living proof that once people get to know Muslims, they can have friendship, respect and partnership with them on all matters that bring benefit to people in our country," said Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It reassures American Muslims they are ... equal citizens in their own country."
© September 19, 2009
Given 60-plus years of Middle East tensions, it might seem ironic that Jews and Muslims both observe religious holidays today: the first day of Rosh Hashana in Judaism and the last day of Ramadan in Islam.
The overlap is a calendar quirk, but it inadvertently underscores the fact that the two faiths might have more in common than either tradition has with Christianity.
Judaism and Islam both trace their roots to Abraham, with Jews descended from his son Isaac, and Muslims as descendants of Ishmael, his other son. (Christians also claim an Abrahamic background.)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Prior to becoming a District Court judge, he served as a judge in the municipal and superior courts in Los Angeles. He passed away on August 4, 2009.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA) said:
"Judge Takasugi was a great force in challenging the undemocratic policies of our time, and was a courageous hero and leader of the civil rights movement. His death is a great loss to our country, especially to those who struggle for equal civil rights for all Americans."
Judge Takasugi made difficult decisions from the bench that ensured protection of civil liberties and constitutional freedoms. He drew on his own experiences of being a Japanese American and being rounded up and detained in an internment camp during WWII.
Judge Takasugi was one of the first judges to issue an opinion overhauling a portion of the Patriot Act in 2002. He said the law classifying terrorist groups deprived the defendants of due process rights because they were not given a chance to rebut the terrorist allegations before their group was placed on the list.
His most enduring legacy has been the mentorship and support of countless law students and young lawyers, including through pro-bono bar preparation and through the creation of the Robert Takasugi Public Interest Fellowship.
The fellowship has worked to carry on Judge Takasugi's influence, independence, courage, and vision of equal justice.
You can donate to and apply for the fellowship here: http://takasugifellowship.
CONTACT: Affad Shaikh, CAIR-LA Civil Rights Manager, 714-776-1847, email@example.com
Monday, September 14, 2009
The ability to exaggerate and create fear is certainly a skillful task. Below is such an example which I received from someone as a joke.
SCIENCE: BREAD IS DANGEROUS
- More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
- Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households
score below average on standardized tests.
- In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.
- More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
- Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat, begged for bread after as little as two days.
- Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cream cheese.
- Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey, bread-pudding person.
- Newborn babies can choke on bread.
- Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than two minutes.
- Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.
Of course, there is nothing dangerous about bread. Well, may be French bread is dangerous. You know those French are dangerous. I can show you the stats for that. :)
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Content and Media Strategist, Editor, Writer, Educator
September 8, 2009 08:21 PM
Ignorance is the real enemy, and in an effort to mend fences and grow relationships Muslims and Jews in Chicago have been part of the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative for several years now...
Ramadan is an opportune time to share one's traditions, especially inter-faith efforts. On September 13, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and Anshe Shalom Bnai Israel Congregation are hosting 'Iftar in the Synagogue,' where they will play host to Chicago’s Muslims and Jews in a communal iftar for an evening of what both traditions do best: eating, praying, discussing and schmoozing in a unique interfaith setting.
Ramadan, this year, coincides with the Jewish month of Elul, which is a time of repentance in preparation for the high holidays. Participants in the event include Council on American-Islamic Relations, a member of the JMCBI. Attendees from The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a community-based Muslim nonprofit that works for social justice, will also be there...