Archive for Council on American Islamic Relations

Mosque in Fairfax County Vandalized

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2012 by loonwatch
A mosque in Fairfax County suffered thousands of dollars in damage. News4's Megan McGrath has the story.
A mosque in Fairfax County suffered thousands of dollars in damage. News4’s Megan McGrath has the story.

$60,000 in damage! An attack on any religious establishment is an attack on all religious establishments.

Mosque in Fairfax County Vandalized

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By Megan McGrath

Construction crews should be putting the finishing touches on the Mubarak Blessed Mosque in Chantilly. Instead, they are repairing the work of vandals.

Sometime between Sunday evening and 6 a.m. Monday morning, the mosque was pelted with stones and masonry blocks. Nearly all the custom made windows and glass doors on the first floor were shattered.  Damage has been estimated at $60,000.

Investigators found beer and liquor bottles in the woods behind the mosque, and they believe teenagers may be responsible.

“It is very sad,” said the mosque’s general secretary, Usman Ghumman.  “But at the same time, our community is very resilient.  We have asked our community members to fervently pray that we are able to overcome this hurdle.”

Mubarak Blessed Mosque has been under construction for a year, and was scheduled to open in just weeks.

Jerrold Foltz, pastor at the Wellspring United Church of Christ, said acts like this are an affront to area’s entire religious community.  “Its an insult to the whole religious establishment,” Foltz said, “whether its a church or a mosque or a synagogue.”

Investigators say there is no evidence that it is a hate crime – nothing was taken and no graffiti was left behind.  However, because of the extent of the damage, those responsible face felony charges.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has asked the FBI to investigate the possibility of a bias motive in the incident.

NYT: General Withdraws From West Point Talk

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2012 by loonwatch
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin has spoken out against Islam.
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin has said “there should be no mosques” in the USA

MRFF deserves a lot of credit for exposing to West Point the fact that General Boykin should not be speaking at West Point’s National Prayer Breakfast.

General Withdraws From West Point Talk

By 

Plans for a talk at West Point by a retired general known for his harshly anti-Muslim remarks were abruptly canceled on Monday after a growing list of liberal veterans’ groups, civil liberties advocates and Muslim organizations called on the Military Academy to rescind the invitation.

Lt. Gen William G. Boykin “has decided to withdraw speaking at West Point’s National Prayer Breakfast” on Feb. 8, said a statement issued Monday by the academy’s office of public affairs. “In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the United States Military Academy will feature another speaker for the event.”

General Boykin, a longtime commander of Special Operations forces, first caused controversy after the Sept. 11 attacks when, as a senior Pentagon official, he described the fight against terrorism as a Christian battle against Satan. His remarks, made in numerous speeches to church groups, were publicly repudiated by President George W. Bush, who argued that America’s war was not with Islam but with violent fanatics.

Since his retirement in 2007 and a new career as a popular conservative Christian speaker, General Boykin has described Islam as “a totalitarian way of life” and said thatIslam should not be protected under the First Amendment.

Last week, after learning that General Boykin would be speaking at the prayer breakfast, a liberal veterans’ group,VoteVets.org, demanded that the invitation be revoked. In a letter to West Point’s superintendent, the group said General Boykin’s “incendiary rhetoric regarding Islam” was “incompatible with Army values” and would “put our troops in danger.”

Lt. Col. Sherri Reed, West Point’s director of public affairs, defended the invitation on Friday, saying that “cadets are purposefully exposed to different perspectives” and that the breakfast “will be pluralistic with Christians, Jewish and Muslim cadets participating.”

But by Monday, several other groups had condemned the invitation and concern was also reportedly being voiced by some faculty members and cadets. The Forum on the Military Chaplaincy (a liberal group of retired military chaplains), the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the Council on American-Islamic Relations made public appeals to the Pentagon to cancel General Boykin’s appearance.

A fourth-year cadet at West Point, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals for breaking military discipline, said in a telephone interview before the cancellation was announced that “people are definitely talking about it here.”

“They’re inviting someone who’s openly criticizing a religion that is practiced on campus,” he said. “I know Muslim cadets here, and they are great, outstanding citizens, and this ex-general is saying they shouldn’t enjoy the same rights.”

The cadet asked, “Are we supposed to take leadership qualities and experience from this guy, to follow in his footsteps?”

A similar controversy erupted last week, in the days before General Boykin spoke at the mayor’s annual prayer breakfast in Ocean City, Md. The general made no inflammatory statements about Islam, instead describing how prayer had helped him through dangerous military operations.

But Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, said the West Point invitation was a mistake. West Point, Mr. Montgomery said, would have given “a platform to someone who is publicly identified with offensive comments about Muslims and about the commander in chief.”

General Boykin is a leader of an evangelical group called Kingdom Warriors and a visiting professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests seeking comment.

Santorum: Equality ‘doesn’t come from Islam’ but from ‘God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by loonwatch
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum

Santorum: Equality ‘doesn’t come from Islam’ but from ‘God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob’

by 

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum provoked an angry response from the Council on American-Islamic Relations Saturday for saying equality “doesn’t come from Islam“ but ”from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

“I get a kick out of folks who call for equality now, the people on the left, ‘Well, equality, we want equality.’ Where do you think this concept of equality comes from?” Santorum said during a South Carolina campaign stop Friday, ABC News reported. “It doesn’t come from Islam. It doesn’t come from the East and Eastern religions, where does it come from? It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that’s where it comes from.”

The former Pennsylvania senator, a Catholic, has spoken openly about faith on the campaign trail.

“So don’t claim his rights, don’t claim equality as that gift from God and then go around and say, ‘Well, we don’t have to pay attention to what God wants us to do. We don’t have to pay attention to God’s moral laws.’ If your rights come from God, then you have an obligation to live responsibly in conforming with God’s laws, and our founders said so, right?” Santorum asked.

In a statement, CAIR communications director Ibrahim Hooper called Santorum’s remarks “inaccurate and offensive,“ and said the organization was sending the candidate a copy of the Quran so he could ”educate himself.”

“The Quran, Islam’s revealed text, is the best refutation of Mr. Santorum’s inaccurate and offensive remarks, which are unbecoming of anyone who hopes to hold our nation’s highest office. Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God and share religious traditions that promote justice and equality,” Hooper said. “We suggest that Mr. Santorum educate himself about Islam and the American Muslim community by reading the Quran that we will send to his campaign headquarters next week.”

Ohio: Arson at Islamic Scholar’s Former Home & Muslim Inmates Settle Meal Preparation Suit

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2012 by loonwatch

Two stories coming out of Ohio related to Islamophobia. The first is still being investigated for a possible hate crime, and the second story shows that even within the prison system there is a double standard when it comes to Muslims.

Authorities investigate arson at Islamic scholar’s former home

By  Randy Ludlow

A deliberately set fire at the Hilliard home of the son of a controversial Islamic scholar is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

The arson fire heavily damaged a house at 4907 Britton Farms Dr. once occupied by Salah Soltan, but now the home of his 24-year-old son, Mohamed, authorities said.

The younger Soltan and a friend escaped the fire without injury after it was reported to Norwich Township firefighters at 5:24 a.m. Monday.

Firefighters arrived to find flames coming from the rear of the $290,000 house, which sustained extensive damage, said Fire Chief Dave Long.

The house was painted with anti-Islamic slurs a couple of months ago, authorities said.

The elder Soltan, who now lives abroad, is a native of Egypt and formerly was a professor at Cairo University and president of Islamic American University in suburban Detroit.

Some conservative critics have accused Soltan of being sympathetic to terrorist causes. He has said while he supports Palestinian rights, he condemns terrorism as a violation of Islamic law.

The Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations yesterday called on the FBI to assist in the investigation of the motive behind the fire.

The FBI is working with Hilliard police in investigating the circumstances of the fire, said Special Agent Harry Trombitas, spokesman for the Columbus field office.

Hilliard police called in state fire marshal investigators yesterday to assist in the probe and determined it was arson.

*******************************************************************

Ohio Muslim inmates settle meal preparation suit

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Muslim death row inmate has settled a lawsuit that accused the Ohio prison system of denying him meals prepared according to Islamic law while providing kosher meals to Jewish prisoners.

Ohio had previously decided to remove all pork products from prison menus in response to the lawsuit, though inmates weren’t seeking a ban on pork.

Details of the settlement announced Wednesday afternoon weren’t released. Neither the inmate’s lawyer or the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction would comment.

The state argued as recently as last month that providing the meals, known as halal, could bankrupt the state’s food service system because thousands of inmates have declared themselves Muslim.

Attorneys for Abdul Awkal (ab-DUHL’ AW’-kuhl) and a second inmate argued that the state was exaggerating the cost.

Court: Oklahoma Ban on Islamic Law Unconstitutional

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2012 by loonwatch

Muneer Awad is seen in this Nov. 2010 photo by Jim Beckel.   Read more: http://newsok.com/court-oklahoma-ban-on-islamic-law-unconstitutional/article/3639122#ixzz1j5mvtpPF

For those who don’t know, the Constitution is the law of the land. Just making sure!

Court: Oklahoma ban on Islamic law unconstitutional

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An amendment that would ban Oklahoma courts from considering international or Islamic law discriminates against religions and a Muslim community leader has the right to challenge its constitutionality, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.

The court in Denver upheld U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange‘s order blocking implementation of the amendment shortly after it was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters in November 2010.

Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, sued to block the law from taking effect, arguing that the Save Our State Amendment violated his First Amendment rights.

The amendment read, in part: “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.”

Backers argued that the amendment intended to ban all religious laws, that Islamic law was merely named as an example and that it wasn’t meant as a specific attack on Muslims. The court disagreed.

“That argument conflicts with the amendment’s plain language, which mentions Sharia law in two places,” the appeals court opinion said.

The court also noted that the backers of the amendment admitted they did not know of any instance when an Oklahoma court applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other countries.

Awad argued that the ban on Islamic law would likely affect every aspect of his life as well as the execution of his will after his death. The appeals court pointed out that Awad made a “strong showing” of potential harm.

“When the law that voters wish to enact is likely unconstitutional, their interests do not outweigh Mr. Awad’s in having his constitutional rights protected,” the court said.

Shopper Hit by Stun Gun possibly a Hate Crime Victim

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2012 by loonwatch

Shopper hit by stun gun possibly a hate crime victim

By HOWARD ALTMAN

TAMPA –

A stun gun apparently was used on a woman at a New Tampa Walmart on New Year’s Day, and police are investigating whether she was the victim of a hate crime.

The victim, a Muslim who was wearing a traditional ethnic dress known as a salwar, told investigators she was hit by a stun gun fired by another shopper shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday at the store at 19910 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

A video of the incident does not show the victim being hit by the stun gun, said McElroy. But she did have marks “consistent” with being hit by a stun gun, McElroy said.

“She has two marks on her back,” McElroy said. “We have no reason to doubt what she is saying.”

The video shows the suspect and another woman following the victim through the store as if she were being targeted, McElroy said. The video does not show an exchange between the women, the stun gun incident or the victim being hit, but that may have occurred off-camera, said McElroy.

Before police can determine if the incident rises to the level of a hate crime, they must first find the suspect, described as a heavy-set white female, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and between ages 30 and 49, said McElroy.

Investigators, she said, will have to determine if the offense “was based on prejudice against victim’s race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

McElroy said the victim’s daughters raised the issue of whether she was being targeted because of her religion.

Another possibility, said McElroy, is that the victim may have been targeted because of the big purse she had in her shopping cart.

Efforts to reach the victim by phone were not immediately successful.

Hassan Shibly, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, said, “If indeed this was a hate crime it is a clear sign that anti-Muslim rhetoric is not cost free and may unfortunately lead to senseless attacks against law abiding American Muslims.”

Shibly said via email that regardless of the motive, he hopes the suspect is caught.

Rep. West to screen controversial film on ‘Ground Zero mosque’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by loonwatch

Rep. West to screen controversial film on ‘Ground Zero mosque’

By Jordy Yager – 08/02/11 11:22 AM ET

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is planning to screen a controversial film on Capitol Hill about attempts to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero in Manhattan.

The film, “Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mosque,” was produced by the conservative Christian Action Network (CAN) and has begun to garner criticism from such groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The 45-minute film is largely focused around a series of interviews conducted with survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and members of their family. The interviews, according to CAN’s website, delve into the feelings they experienced last summer when a group proposed building an Islamic center blocks away from where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

Efforts to build the Islamic center, which was set to include a swimming pool and a mosque among other amenities, were the focus of nearly every news agency last summer and brought a slew of politically charged arguments from members of Congress.

CAN attempted to get permission to show the film in New York City parks over the week leading up to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but it was denied out of concern for the content.

According to CAN’s website, West plans to host the event during the week Congress returns from recess, on Sept. 8 in the Rayburn House Office Building.

This will not be the first time a controversial film about Muslims has been shown on Capitol Hill. In 2009, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) hosted the controversial Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders and showed his movie, “Fitna,” which many Muslims have designated anti-Islamic. Following an anti-screening campaign by the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association, no members of Congress reportedly showed up to watch the film.

West came under fire last year for commenting during a conference that terrorists were fulfilling mandates laid out by the Quran.

A spokeswoman for West did not immediately return a request for comment.