Archive for California

When Being Mistaken for Muslim Can Get You Stabbed

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2011 by loonwatch

(updated – below)

The Hindustan Times reports that a Sikh individual was stabbed in an unprovoked attack at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California.  A hate crime is suspected.  It is very common for anti-Muslim bigots to confuse Sikhs, who wear conspicuous turbans, for Muslims–a confusion that is symbolically representative of the profound ignorance that underlies Islamophobia.

Sikh man stabbed at US airport, hate crime suspected
Associated Press
Fresno, California, December 07, 2011

A Sikh man waiting for a plane at Fresno Yosemite International Airport has been stabbed in a seemingly unprovoked attack, police said. The victim was treated at the airport and boarded his flight bound for India. Fresno police said Mitchell Dufur, 26, stabbed the Sikh man in his 50s in the upper torso Sunday evening in the security area. No words were exchanged before the attack. The man was standing with his translator when the attack occurred.

Dufur was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a knife in an airport.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Monday urged the FBI and police to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.

“Sikh men who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith are often targeted by bigots who mistake them for Muslims,” said Sacramento CAIR executive director Basim Elkarra.

Gina Swankie in the Sacramento FBI office said her office was having “a dialogue with the group,” but would not confirm whether they had opened an investigation.

Police Lt Don Gross said investigators have not determined whether it was a hate crime because Dufur has refused to talk to police about his motive.

Two elderly men were earlier gunned down in Sacramento on March 4 while walking through a neighbourhood in Elk Grove.

Update I:

Ahmed Rehab tweeted about a second stabbing, another possible hate crime.  Rehab tweeted:

An Indian American Law professor at #UIUC (unconfirmed) stabbed at train station by a man yelling “This is MY country”

The story is still unfolding, but is being reported here:

University faculty member stabbed in alleged hate crime

A faculty member from the College of Law was stabbed Wednesday on the second floor of the Illinois Terminal Building at 5:44 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the report, officers found Joshua Scaggs, 23, and the 41-year-old victim, a professor at the University.

The suspect was lying on the floor face-down near a utility knife, and the victim was sitting in a chair bleeding profusely.

“One of our faculty members was involved in that incident,” said John Colombo, assistant dean at the College of Law. “I can’t confirm (the name) to anyone outside of the College of Law community.”

Police took Scaggs into custody. A witness said Scaggs and the victim were seated in the waiting area when Scaggs suddenly jumped up and shouted that this was his country. He then attacked the victim, who is a non-white male.

Scaggs grabbed the victim around the neck and appeared to be choking him. He then forced the victim to the floor. The witness then pulled the suspect off of the male.

Scaggs was issued a $500,000 bond Thursday, according to the Champaign County Clerk’s office.

The 41-year-old victim, of Champaign, was transported to the Carle Hospital emergency room. Scaggs was later arrested on charges of attempted murder and a hate crime and transported to the Champaign County Satellite Jail.

Can you imagine if two Christian or Jewish-Americans were stabbed by Muslims in separate incidents?  What do you think the reaction of the media would have been?

FBI Illegally Using Community Outreach to Gather Intelligence, ACLU Alleges

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2011 by loonwatch

FBI illegally using community outreach to gather intelligence, ACLU alleges

By , Published: December 1

The FBI is using its extensive community outreach to Muslims and other groups to secretly gather intelligence in violation of federal law, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged Thursday.

Citing internal bureau documents, the ACLU said agents in California are attending meetings at mosques and other events and illegally recording information about the attendees’ political and religious affiliations. FBI officials denied the allegations. They said that records kept from outreach sessions are not used for investigations.

The documents reveal new details of the FBI’s efforts to build a more trusting relationship with Muslims and other communities — a major priority since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Federal officials have said that the effort is aimed at protecting Muslims’ civil rights and smoothing lingering resentment over the law-enforcement crackdown after the attacks, along with helping the government fight terrorism.

Some of the papers describe agents speaking at career days, briefing community members on FBI programs and helping them work with police to fight drug abuse. But the files also depict agents recording Social Security numbers and other identifying information after they meet people at the events and, in at least one instance, noting their political views. It appears that the agents are conducting follow-up investigations in some instances, but heavy redactions in the documents make it impossible to determine how far any examination might have gone.

In one case, an agent wrote that he checked California motor vehicle records on someone the agent encountered at a Ramadan dinner at a San Francisco Islamic association. An attendee is described as “very progressive.” Another is called “very Western in appearance and outlook.”

At another Ramadan dinner in San Francisco, an agent recorded the names of Muslim groups listed on pamphlets distributed at the event — and appeared to note that several people associated with one of the groups were under investigation.

The FBI turned the heavily redacted documents over to the ACLU as part of a lawsuit filed by the civil rights group and two other organizations to uncover what the groups consider to be inappropriate or illegal FBI tactics in the fight against terrorism.

Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s national security project, said some of the actions depicted in the documents violate the Privacy Act, a law that bars federal agencies from maintaining information about activities protected by the First Amendment, such as freedom of speech and association. FBI officials said the law allows agencies to keep information that is considered relevant and necessary to their mission, in certain circumstances.

A dangerous ‘guise’

“It’s one thing for the FBI to say to a community group, ‘We’re going to come and meet you to establish ties,’ ” Shamsi said. “But it’s a very dangerous way to proceed to collect intelligence under the guise of community outreach.”

FBI spokesman Michael P. Kortan said the bureau’s meetings with community leaders are not designed to gather intelligence but rather “to enhance public trust in the FBI in order to enlist the cooperation of the public to fight criminal activity.” He said that the practice provides “information to the public in support of crime prevention efforts, and opens lines of communication to help make the FBI more responsive to community concerns.”

Kortan said FBI policy requires that an “appropriate separation be maintained between outreach and operational activities” and that although “facts surrounding an outreach meeting or event may be documented,” that is only for internal purposes to ensure “that personnel time and resources are being used effectively and in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies and program requirements.”

Some Muslim groups reacted to the documents with anger. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the FBI’s actions will have a “chilling effect” on Muslims’ constitutionally protected activities.

Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a San Francisco-based civil rights group, said the papers “confirm the worst fears of Muslim community members.”

The FBI, under intense pressure to prevent another attack on U.S. soil, has sought to strike a balance between civil liberties and law enforcement in the decade since the Sept. 11 strikes. Civil liberties groups have long accused agents of overreacting, but FBI and Justice Department officials say they have helped safeguard the nation from another attack.

The documents released Thursday show agents in a variety of settings in Muslim and other communities. In one 2009 memo, an agent in Sacramento appears to be monitoring the Saudi Student Association at California State University through the outreach effort.

The agent writes of meeting with someone at the student union building and records that person’s birth date, Social Security number, telephone number and address — all in the same sentence. The person is described as giving the agent detailed information about the association.

Yet some of the documents are more mundane, including a 2009 memo detailing FBI contacts with Assyrian organizations in San Jose, which notes how the Assyrian language is “very similar to ancient Aramaic.”

Another memo describes a 2007 meeting hosted by the FBI in San Jose for 27 Muslim organizations that featured FBI presentations, a question-and-answer session and lunch catered by a local kabob restaurant. The writer provides a detailed “demographics” breakdown of participants, including what percentage are Sunni Muslim versus Shiite, and lists all the organizations in attendance.

One group listed was the Oakland-based Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California. Sara Mostafavi, a board member, said she found that troubling.

San Jose Man Punched, Called ‘Terrorist’ on Grocery Trip to Lucky

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2011 by loonwatch

San Jose man punched, called ‘terrorist’ on grocery trip to Lucky

By Lisa Fernandez

lfernandez@mercurynews.com

Just before Thanksgiving, a 32-year-old industrial designer was leaving a Lucky store in San Jose with some turkey broth and salt when he was assaulted by a group of men who broke his jaw and called him a “terrorist.”

This week, the man, who asked this his name not be used for fear of retaliation, underwent jaw surgery, and he is still in need of dental care for the six teeth that were knocked out about 9 p.m. Nov. 21 in the parking lot of the Lucky at 3270 S. White Road near Aborn Road.

“I believe they hit me with the tequila bottle,” he said. “Then they spit on me and called me a terrorist.”

None of the suspects, possibly three or four men, who were all wearing dark, hooded sweatshirts during the attack, have been arrested.

San Jose police confirmed the assault, but aren’t saying much more.

The victim’s family, originally from Calcutta, India, moved to Silicon Valley more than 30 years ago. They are Hindu, and the victim has no criminal record in Santa Clara County, according to a review of court records. He said he graduated from San Jose State with a degree in industrial design.

In 2010, FBI statistics show there were 24 hate crimes reported in San Jose, compared with about 140 hate crimes reported in Los Angeles, a city about four times the size.

A detective this week met the victim, police confirmed. The detective is trying to track down witnesses and find out whether the grocery store’s security camera documented.

“Strong Christian” Gunman Opens Fire, Killing Three

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch
Shareef AllmanShareef Allman

A quarry worker opened fire on his co-workers on October 5 in California, killing three and wounding six others. The man, Shareef Allman, was shot and killed by police officers the next day. The gunman was described as a “devoted single father of two, a strong Christian and the author of a novel about the evils of domestic violence.”

As the article said:

When Allman started shooting, Ambrosio said, he shouted: “You guys want to (expletive) with me? You want to (expletive) with me?”

What if he was Muslim? What do you think the Islamophobes would have been screaming?

TERRORISM!

SHARIA!

ISLAM IS EVIL!

THE QURAN IS VIOLENT!

But, when a “strong Christian” opens fire and kills innocent people…it is just an aberration. He is certainly not a terrorist. I smell double standard…don’t you?

Sacramento Man Sentenced for Beating Sikh Cab Driver

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2011 by loonwatch

Herbehjan Singh, a Sikh cab driver was beaten severely by a man who thought he was Muslim.

Sacramento man sentenced for beating Sikh cab driver

(News10)

SACRAMENTO, CA – A Sacramento man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for beating up a cab driver because he thought that he was Muslim.

Pedro Ramirez made a plea bargain with the prosecutor’s office to get 13 years instead of life in prison, which was possible if he was convicted at trial.

Ramirez, his wife and another couple got a ride home from a Sacramento club last November– and got into a dispute over payment with the cab driver.

The prosecution said Herbehjan Singh was savagely beaten because he wore a turban, which led the attackers to believe he was Muslim.

Ramirez’ wife doesn’t defend her husband’s actions, but said he was not motivated by the victim’s ethnicity or religion. Laura Sanchez said that’s a lot of time for, what she believes, was a simple fistfight.

“My husband, when we went out that night, we wish we could take it all back,” Sanchez said. “We went out for my birthday and we weren’t seeking out any kind of violence or any kind of fight and it wasn’t a hate crime and I just can’t believe it has turned into this.”

The prosecutor said there’s no way in the world to characterize the attack as a “fistfight.” The cab driver was struck at least 10 times, the prosecutor said, the whole time insisting he’s not Muslim.

Singh’s friend Amanpreet Kaur said Singh is driving again.

“He’s still having some memory problems and headaches, but he’s doing a lot better,” Kaur said. “He’s getting back to work.”

The other man who joined Ramirez in assaulting the cab driver was sentenced to a year in county jail because he was considered less culpable in the attack.

News10/KXTV

Temecula: Anti-Islam Group Descends on High School

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by loonwatch

I found this line heartening,

Many students crumpled up the fliers and threw them on the ground, according to a parent who was present.

Temecula Anti-Islam Group Descends on High School

(TemeculaPatch)

A Temecula-based anti-Islam group handed out fliers to students at a Murrieta high school.

About a dozen members of Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment perched themselves on the sidewalk outside Murrieta Valley High School Tuesday, handing out fliers to students walking by.

A person unaffiliated with the group stood across the street from the high school, holding yellow signs that read, “Islam = Hate,” and, “Say No 2 Islam.”

The letter handed out was the same one the group gave to students outside Chaparral High School in January. To read about that, click here.

Seventh grade students in the Murrieta Valley Unified School District learn about the history of Islam as part of Social Studies. The letter accuses teachers of lying about Islam.

“Did you know you were subjected to some really serious brainwashing when you were in the seventh grade, and that it is continuing even today?” the flier stated. “That means you have been fed a bunch of lies. Lies can mess up your life forever. Do you like being lied to?”

The group could not be reached for comment by publication time. The event did attract media such as ABC 7.

The group also informed school district officials the day before that they planned to hand out the fliers, said Karen Parris, spokeswoman for the Murrieta Valley Unified School District.

The district sent a phone message home to parents, telling them about the outreach.

“Under the first amendment, the group has the right to express their views on Islam and the building of mosques in the United States. Our students have the right to refuse the fliers or to accept the fliers, to engage in conversation, or to continue walking,” the message stated. “School staff and Murrieta police will be on hand to ensure that this is a peaceable exercise, as promised by the Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment.”

School officials also advised the students and gave them the choice of taking an alternative route to leave the school, the message stated.

Many students crumpled up the fliers and threw them on the ground, according to a parent who was present.

“It really was a non-event,” Parris said.

Rep. Cravaack got Schooled by Lee Baca

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2011 by loonwatch

House Republican: Hypothetically, Let’s Say CAIR Is A Terrorist Organization … (VIDEO)

Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) continued on the theme that Reps. Peter King (R-NY) Frank Wolf (R-VA) started on earlier today at King’s hearings on the “Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” by attacking the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

But Cravaack upped the rhetorical ante a bit, referring to CAIR as “basically… a terrorist organization” and asking Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca — hypothetically — if he would continue to work with CAIR if he “knew that CAIR was a terrorist organization sponsored by Hamas.”

“Let me answer this way,” Baca said in response to the accusations, “if the FBI has something to charge CAIR with, bring those charges forward and try them in court and deal with it that way.”

“There is a reality that in my culture as a police officer that you have facts and you have a crime, deal with it,” said Baca, who was called as a witness by Democrats on the committee.

“We don’t play around with criminals in my world,” Baca said. “If CAIR is an organization that’s a, quote, ‘criminal organization,’ prosecute them, hold them accountable, and bring them to trial.”