To:aliatwaladen@yahoo.com
Date: 18 Feb 2007 20:29:34 -0000
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Subject: cair-net Digest of: get.2201_2300

cair-net Digest of: get.2201_2300

Topics (messages 2201 through 2284):

CAIR-NET: Imams' Media Conference in VA / Lawmaker to Take Oath on 
Koran, Faces Flak / In U.S., Fear and Distrust of Muslims Runs Deep
	2201 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Skies Will Never Be Friendly for Imams / U.S. Muslim Thanks 
His Adopted Homeland / Muslim Youth Enter Political Arena
	2202 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: U.S. Holocaust Museum Urged to Drop Islam-Basher
	2203 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: MI Lawyers Fight Terror Tag / Quran Oath Gets Wingnuts 
Whirling / Texans Take Sides on Proposed Mosque
	2204 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Holocaust Museum Distances Itself from Prager / MI Muslim 
Cites Gym After Interrupted Prayer / NC Muslim Worker to Receive Apology
	2205 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: President Asked to Rescind Prager's Appointment / NYPD 
Anti-Terror Unit Filled with Anti-Muslim Hate / VT Man Held for Stalking 
Muslim Family
	2206 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Imams Removed from US Airways Flight Retain CAIR as Legal 
Counsel
	2207 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Slurs Used in Attacks on Muslims in Florida, Ohio / AJC Calls 
Prager's Remarks 'Disrespectful' / Houston Suburb Objects to Mosque 
Plans
	2208 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Dennis Prager Supporters Spew Anti-Muslim Hate / CAIR-Tampa 
Director Given Human Rights Award
	2209 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: D.C. Press Club Panel to Offer Arab, Muslim View of Iraq 
Report
	2210 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Ed Koch Joins Call to Oust Prager from Council / Proposed NJ 
Mosque Stirs Heated Debate
	2211 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terror / Fliers at PA 
Church Take Aim at Islam
	2212 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR Iraq Report Discussion to Air Live on C-SPAN2
	2213 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Hajjis Reminded of Their Rights as Airline Passengers / 
Profiling Hotline Established
	2214 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR Condemns Iranian Holocaust Denial Conference / Holocaust 
Museum Founder Calls Prager 'Poor Choice' / CA Effigy of 'Arab' Stirs 
Uneasiness
	2215 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: FL Web Host Asked to Drop 'Kill All Muslim Kids' Site / 
Muslim Asked to Remove Hijab on British Airways Flight
	2216 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: FL 'Kill All Muslim Kids' Hate Site Shut Down / U.S. Cannot 
Afford Ignorance of Islam, World
	2217 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Muslims, Catholics in 'Encounter of Mutual Respect' / 
Hanukkah-Hajj Event Brings Muslims, Jews Together / Ranks of West Point 
Muslims Grow
	2218 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Ask Elected Officials on Holocaust Council to Repudiate 
Bigotry
	2219 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: FL Muslim Billboard Counters Negative Perceptions / VA 
Program Aims to Dispel Fears of Muslims
	2220 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR Asks Wal-Mart to Drop Game Glorifying Religious Violence
	2221 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: VA Rep Asked to Apologize for Anti-Muslim Remarks
	2222 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: NJ Congressman Slams Rep. Goode's Anti-Muslim Remarks / FBI 
Seeks Break in OH Mosque Blast / MD Schools' Islamic Lessons Inaccurate, 
Group Says
	2223 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Muslims Question GOP Silence on VA Rep's Islamophobic Remarks
	2224 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Prager Asked to Resign / 'JDL' Threatens CA Peace Activist / 
Rep. Honda 'Surprised and Offended' by Goode's Anti-Muslim Remarks
	2225 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Muslims Revere Jesus / VA Muslims Want Apology from Goode / 
Holocaust Museum Rebukes Prager / More U.S. Muslims Going on Hajj
	2226 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: VA Muslims Show Solidarity with Hispanic Laborers / Bush 
Urged to Act on Criticism of Muslim Rep
	2227 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: VA Muslims Asked to Contact Davis, Wolf About Anti-Muslim 
Remarks
	2228 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Uncle Sam Wants US Muslims to Serve / Feud May Cast Texas 
Mosque Beside Swine / Abraham's Devotion Inspires Muslims, Christians, 
Jews
	2229 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR Welcomes TSA Hajj Sensitivity Training / CAIR-LA Airs 
Eid Radio Spots / Do Israelis Practice Apartheid?
	2230 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Muslim Traveler Gets Apology for Strip Search / Incitement: 
'I Advocate the Forced Removal of All Muslims' / VA Students Will 'Live 
as Muslims' for a Month
	2231 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Sample Eid Media Advisory / Airport Officials Get Lesson in 
Hajj
	2232 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Top 10 CAIR Highlights of 2006
	2233 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: German Muslim Denied Entry to U.S., Detained in Las Vegas
	2234 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: MS Museum Touts Muslim Culture in Bible Belt / TX Man Races 
Pigs to Protest Mosque Plans / For Young Americans, Hajj is an Epic 
Adventure
	2235 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CA Muslim Family Claims Profiling at Airport / NJ Muslim 
Mayor / Breaking a U.S. Taboo of Criticizing Israel
	2236 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: First Muslim in Congress to Use Thomas Jefferson's Quran / 
CAIR-Orlando Director Interviewed
	2237 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR Chapters to Spot-Check Treatment of Returning Hajj 
Pilgrims
	2238 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: 'The New Nazi Party, Also Known as Islam' / Ellison Shakes 
Hands with Goode / Fast-Food Giants Cater to Muslims
	2239 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Islamophobes Mislead Senator Boxer / Editor Says CAIR's Work 
Reflects Past Civil Rights Efforts / MI Muslims Donate Meat to Homeless
	2240 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: 'If Muslims are Allowed to Infiltrate Congress' / Deported OH 
Imam Has Disappeared / FBI Probes Death Threat Against CA Muslim Leader
	2241 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: FL Muslim Group Offers Hot Meal, Hope / Letters Praise CAIR, 
Criticize Boxer
	2242 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: MI Vandalism has Sunni, Shia Working for Peace / Israel 
Arrests Deported Ohio Imam / Men Cleared in FL Port Scare 'Treated Like 
Animals'
	2243 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Muslims Call for Federal Probe into Vandalism / Muslim Record 
Label Seeks to Make a Difference
	2244 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Maryland's First Muslim Lawmaker Takes Office / Incitement: 
'Koran is a Document of Hate, Death' / Politicians Should Not Cower 
Before Bigots
	2245 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: NYPD Appoints Imam for Muslim Outreach / Gonzales: 'Improve 
Communication with Muslim Leaders' / MN Muslim Workers Sue Bus Company / 
Blogger Forces CA Station to Address Anti-Muslim Remarks
	2246 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR-MI to Call for Probe Into Airline's Treatment of Hajjis 
/ Where are All the Moderate Muslims? / CAIR-KY Hosts Interfaith Dinner 
Celebrating Abraham's Legacy
	2247 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: NC Lawsuit Over Quran Oaths to Continue / MI Muslims Barred 
from Flight / FL Man Wins Airline Profiling Suit / Pig Races at TX 
Mosque Site / Apartheid in Israel
	2248 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: MI Muslim Pilgrims Offered Apology by NW Airlines
	2249 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Racial Slur Used During Assault on NY Muslim / Muslims 
Concerned About Fox's '24' Portrayal
	2250 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Michigan Imam Threatened / Islam and Religious Freedom / IBM 
Worker Says He Was Fired for Being Muslim / DHS to Launch Traveler 
Redress Inquiry Program
	2251 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR Concerned About Civil Liberties Impact of Fox's '24'
	2252 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: IL Muslim Students Seek Prayer Space at Sports Arena / Muslim 
Students Support Native-Americans / Anti-Islamic Lecture Cancelled By 
Canadian Church / New Magazine for U.S. Muslim Girls
	2253 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CA Anti-Muslim Hecklers Disrupt Talk on Islam / WA Islamic 
Center Vandalized / Doubt Cast on Islamophobes' Terror Claims
	2254 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CA Jewish Group Urged to Invite Muslim to Balance Islamophobe 
/ Muslim Cabbies Should Not Bar Guide Dogs
	2255 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Mich. Mosques Asked to Boost Security After New Act of 
Vandalism
	2256 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: FBI Asked to Probe Hate Graffiti on MI Mosque
	2257 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Fire at NJ Mosque / NC Assault Victims Called 'Sand N**gers,' 
'Terrorists'
	2258 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR, Senator Boxer Resolve Award Controversy
	2259 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Controversy Follows Dennis Prager / Muslims See No Conflict 
Between Islam, Democracy / President's Portrayal of Enemy Flawed
	2260 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: PA Muslims Form 'Run for Understanding' Team for NJ Marathon 
/ Probation for Assault on MI Arab-American / Carter Says 'Apartheid' 
an Accurate Description of West Bank
	2261 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: MI Religious Leaders Decry Mosque Vandalism / NC Campus Brawl 
Brings FBI / Canada: Government Settles with Detained Muslim
	2262 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Shots Fired at CA Mosque / FL Anti-Muslim Flier Raises Ire / 
Canadian Village Acts on Anti-Muslim Stereotypes
	2263 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: U.S. Muslims Call Al-Arian Imprisonment 'Double Jeopardy'
	2264 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Urge Senators to Oppose Iraq Troop Escalation / Congress May 
Ban Racial Profiling
	2265 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Slurs Used During Assault on Florida Muslim
	2266 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: MI Speech by 'Ex-Terrorists' Draws Ire / Canadian Town Asked 
to Retract Xenophobic 'Standards'
	2267 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: MI Mosque Attacks 'Scary' for Muslims / CO Radio Host Can't 
Think of 'a Good Muslim' / US 'Victory' Against Iraq Cult Leader a 
'Massacre'
	2268 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: NJ Imams Receive Threatening Letters / MI Panel on Terrorists 
Draws Protests / Al-Arian on 11th Day of Hunger Strike in VA
	2269 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: OK Officer Fired After Incident Involving Muslim Woman
	2270 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: US Mayor Converts to Islam / Five Charged in Beating of NY 
Muslim / NJ Mental Care Providers Learn to Understand Muslim Patients
	2271 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: FBI, ICE, CIS to Meet with MO Muslims / Muslim Culture Focus 
of Law-Enforcement Video
	2272 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR Launches 'American Muslim Legacy' Photo Project
	2273 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Muslims, Christians, Hindus Aid FL Storm Victims / Debunking 
Myths About Muslim Women
	2274 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: NY Univ. Fires RAs Over 'Insensitive' Video / Fear of Bias 
Keeps US Muslims Out of Military / Carter Accuses Wiesenthal Center of 
'Slander' / Al-Arian Speaks Out from Prison
	2275 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Rights Groups Sue Over Citizenship Delay / Politics, Not 
Faith, Behind Shia-Sunni Violence / Canadians Show Least Bias Toward 
Muslims
	2276 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: More Hispanic Americans Converting to Islam / Scholar to 
Speak on ‘Islam and Violence’ / Detained  Palestinian Dad May Be Freed in 
TX
	2277 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Sen. Boxer Accused of Caving in to Anti-Muslim Fury / Muslims 
Face Hatred, Curiosity in U.S.
	2278 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: African Muslims Add 'Different Perspective' in MI / Economist 
Slams New Hirsi Ali Book / Radio Host Says 'Islam Is Not the Enemy'
	2279 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Congress Asked to Hear Both Sides of Mideast Conflict / NY 
School to Teach Half of Classes in Arabic
	2280 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CAIR-MI Rep Discusses Malcolm X at Black History Event / TX: 
Young Muslims Look to New Careers
	2281 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: Action - Write Letters in Support of Dr. Al-Arian / FL Prof 
Collapses on 23rd day of Hunger Strike
	2282 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: VA Rep Warns of 'In Muhammad We Trust' / FBI Probes Vandalism 
of CA Muslim Website / Vitriolic E-Mails Zero in on UT 'Muslim'
	2283 by: CAIR

CAIR-NET: CA Teacher Accused of Anti-Muslim Statements / IA Rep Says 
Terror Started with Quran / FBI Honors GA Mosque's Chairman
	2284 by: CAIR

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Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2006 13:32:22 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Imams' Media Conference in VA / Lawmaker to Take Oath on Koran, Faces Flak / In U.S., Fear and Distrust of Muslims Runs Deep

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/1/06

* Hadith: God Grants Mercy to Those Who are Merciful
* CAIR-MD/VA: Imams' Media Conference in VA
            - CAIR-Houston Job Opening: Executive Director
* CAIR-CA: Growing Cooperation Between Muslims, Jews
* CAIR Supports Student-Initiated Religious Displays (AP)
* CAIR: Lawmaker to Take Oath on Koran, Faces Flak (Wash Times)
            - Oath on Quran: Provocation or Act of Faith? (Star Trib)
            - Newly Elected Muslim Lawmaker Under Fire (USA Today)
* CAIR: In U.S., Fear and Distrust of Muslims Runs Deep (Reuters)
* IL: Muslim, Catholic Schools Bridge Cultural Gap (Chicago Trib)
            - NJ: For All-Muslim Troop, Scouting Has Merits
* Analysis: High Bar Set in AIPAC Case (UPI)
* Muezzin's Life Lies Sunk in a Gaza Mosque's Ruins (Reuters)
* Vandals Paint Crosses at Vienna's Muslim Cemetery (Reuters)

-----

HADITH OF THE DAY: GOD GRANTS MERCY TO THOSE WHO ARE MERCIFUL - TOP

When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was questioned about weeping following the death of his granddaughter, he said: "(Weeping) is the mercy that God has placed in the hearts of His servants. And surely God bestows mercy upon those who are merciful (to others)."

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 21

-----

CAIR-MD/VA: REGISTER FOR IMAMS' MEDIA CONFERENCE IN VA - TOP

(HERNDON, VA, 12/1/06) - On December 9, the Maryland and Virginia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MD/VA), in cooperation with the D.C. Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (DC-CCMO) and the Fairfax Institute, will hold its first annual Imams' media relations conference in Herndon, Va.

The one-day conference is designed to teach Imams, community leaders and activists how to interact effectively with media professionals. Sessions will cover basic media relations skills.

WHAT: Day-long conference: 'Working with the Media'
WHEN: Saturday, December 9, 2006, beginning at 9 a.m.

Registration is free, but seating is limited. To register, contact: Sakeena Abdulraheem or Jamil Moris-Days, Tel: 703-689-3100 or Khalid Iqbal, Tel: 202-439-5432.

SEE ALSO:

IMMEDIATE JOB OPPORTUNITY: CAIR-HOUSTON - TOP

The Houston Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Houston) has an immediate opening for an experienced, dynamic, enthusiastic and motivated person for the position of Executive Director.

All those interested and eligible to work in US (citizens and legal residents) are encouraged to contact:

Dr. Tarek Hussein
Tel: 713-802-1211
FAX: 281-286-8627
E-Mail: Tarek_Hussein@yahoo.com

-----

CAIR-CA: ISLAMOPHOBES' SMEARS ARE OFF-BASE - TOP
http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=16879

It is a sign of desperation on the part of America's most vicious Islamophobe, Steven Emerson, to resort to deception and defamation to try to undermine CAIR's work. It troubles him to see a growing number of Muslims and Jews working together on issues of social justice, religious tolerance and civil rights. The more we directly talk to each other, the more irrelevant extremists like Emerson are going to be.

CAIR representatives regularly speak at synagogues. Rabbis and people of the Jewish faith continue to be invited to speak at mosques and CAIR events. CAIR spends a great deal of time conversing and exchanging ideas with the Jewish community. Some of most ardent supporters of CAIR and champions of human rights for the Muslim community are Jewish.

For the record, CAIR never did and will never sponsor any event that promotes any form of racism, including anti-Semitism. Specifically, as Emerson was told repeatedly, CAIR has no connection, direct or indirect, to the event he referred to in New York.

If anything, CAIR has repeatedly spoken against those who resort to negative stereotyping in order to comment on the Arab-Israeli conflict, such as when we criticized an Arab newspaper that published excerpts from the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Claiming that CAIR or I are anti-Semitic will be found ridiculous and offensive by CAIR's many Jewish members and donors who include rabbis among them. Information and not misinformation is the first step on the path to dialogue, mutual respect and trust and cooperation. When I needed to learn more about the Jewish community, I went to The Jewish Federation and to my Jewish friends. I did not go to the KKK.

I invite you to learn more about Islam and CAIR by visiting www.cair.com and more about me by visiting my blog at www.hussamayloush.blogspot.com and not from the hate-mongering of Emerson or Pat Robertson.

I know that we are not always going to agree on all issues, including the Middle East conflict. However, dialogue is the only way forward toward a just resolution of the Middle East conflict.

I am confident that most of us would like for our debate and even disagreement to remain within the civil and compassionate boundaries taught to us, respectively, by our great teachings of Judaism and Islam. It is time for all of us to reject the extremists who insist on deciding on our behalf that there is no common ground among us.

Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director, CAIR-Southern California

-----

CAIR: TIS THE SEASON FOR DISPUTES OVER HOLIDAY OBSERVANCES - TOP
Jeffrey Gold, Associated Press, 11/30/06

Colored lights, Christmas trees and menorahs are brightening town squares around the state, but the legal landscape for such displays remains murky.

Some schools are also wrestling with how to incorporate elements of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in their classrooms, assemblies and hallways.

The best advice from experts: honor the year-end traditions of different religions without endorsing a particular ideology. . .

New Jersey has a growing Muslim population, centered around Paterson. A national Muslim group said it had not received any complaints about displays this season and supports them as long as all faiths can be represented when their holidays arise.

"In schools, if it's student-initiated and students of all faiths have access to a bulletin board or display case, we have no problem with it," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington. (MORE)

-----

CAIR: LAWMAKER TO TAKE OATH ON KORAN, FACES FLAK - TOP
Eric Pfeiffer, Washington Times, 12/1/06
http://washingtontimes.com/national/20061130-105645-4387r.htm

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will take his oath of office on the Koran, not the Bible.

Although some have criticized the Minnesota Democrat's decision, his campaign manager cites historical precedent in describing it as a nonissue.

"Well, he will be the first to do it with the Koran," Dave Colling said. "But most members do not even take an individual oath with any book. Keith Ellison will be taking his oath in the chamber with the other members of Congress."

House members are sworn in en masse in the chamber, and no Bible or other religious document is used for the oath. However, several incoming House members use Bibles for their individual swearing-in, which is administered by the House speaker and takes place after the official group oath.

Mr. Ellison has been criticized by some Christian organizations and conservative radio host Dennis Prager, who say that even if the law allows him to take an oath on the Koran, he should adhere to what they call the historical tradition of taking the oath of office on the Bible.

"In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath," Mr. Prager, who is Jewish, wrote in an online column.

The American Family Association (AFA) posted an "Action Alert" on its Web site requesting that supporters urge lawmakers to pass a law requiring that the Bible be used in congressional swearing-in ceremonies. "What book will America base its values on, the Bible or the Koran?" the AFA posting said.

"The premise of the attack is false," Mr. Colling said, adding that Mr. Ellison has not refused to take an oath on the Bible, because his refusal would imply that such a requirement exists.

According to the Library of Congress, Theodore Roosevelt became the first and only president to take an oath without a Bible in 1901. In 1961, John F. Kennedy took his oath on a Catholic (Douay) version of the Bible. Several Jewish members of Congress have taken their oath on the Torah. Article VI of the Constitution specifies that "... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

In 2005, a North Carolina judge refused to allow a Muslim woman to take her oath on the Koran before testifying. Guilford County Superior Judge W. Douglas Albright cited state law in the case, which reads that oaths are to be made upon "Holy Scriptures," which analysts agreed is a reference to the Bible.

However, in 1997, a federal judge hearing a terrorism case in Washington allowed witnesses to make such an oath to Allah.

"This is a tempest in an Internet teapot," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Center for American-Islamic Relations. "With the rising level of Islamophobia in America, you have some people who see the empowerment of any Muslim as a threat to the Constitution. In reality, they should see the empowerment of such an individual as strengthening the Constitution."

SEE ALSO:

OATH ON QUR'AN: PROVOCATION OR ACT OF FAITH? - TOP
The choice by Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in the U.S. House, to take his oath of office on his faith's holy book, has stirred a debate.
Rob Hotakainen, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 12/1/06
http://www.startribune.com/484/story/846590.html

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to take his oath of office on the Qur'an is stirring a debate among academics and conservatives, with some of them saying it's only appropriate to take an oath on the Bible.

The Minnesota Democrat says that the Constitution gives him the right to use the Muslim holy book, and that is what he intends to do on Jan. 4.

"Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath," radio talk show host and author Dennis Prager wrote in his online column this week. He said that American Jews routinely have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they don't believe in the New Testament, and that if Ellison refuses to do so, "don't serve in Congress."

But Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the Constitution authorizes people not to swear their oath at all, protecting atheists and agnostics.

"Why would Muslims and others not be equally protected?" he wrote for National Review Online.

Ellison, who told the Star Tribune shortly after his election victory that he planned to use the Qur'an, was attending meetings in Washington on Thursday and could not be reached for comment, according to Dave Colling, his spokesman. But Ellison defended his plan to use the Qur'an, Islam's holiest book, in an interview with Abdi Aynte, a reporter from Minneapolis who writes for the Minnesota Monitor, an independently produced political news blog.

"The Constitution guarantees for everyone to take the oath of office on whichever book they prefer," Ellison was quoted as saying. "And that's what the freedom of religion is all about." (MORE)

---

NEWLY ELECTED MUSLIM LAWMAKER UNDER FIRE - TOP
Andrea Stone, USA Today, 12/1/06
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-12-01-muslim-lawmaker_x.htm

The first Muslim elected to Congress hasn't been sworn into office yet, but his act of allegiance has already been criticized by a conservative commentator.

In a column posted Tuesday on the conservative website Townhall.com, Dennis Prager blasted Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison's decision to take the oath of office Jan. 4 with his hand on a Quran, the Muslim holy book.

"He should not be allowed to do so," Prager wrote, "not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American culture."

He said Ellison, a convert from Catholicism, should swear on a Christian Bible - which "America holds as its holiest book. … If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress." (MORE)

-----

DC: IN U.S., FEAR AND DISTRUST OF MUSLIMS RUNS DEEP - TOP
Bernd Debusmann, Reuters, 12/1/06
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061201/us_nm/usa_muslims_fear_dc

When radio host Jerry Klein suggested that all Muslims in the United States should be identified with a crescent-shape tattoo or a distinctive arm band, the phone lines jammed instantly.

The first caller to the station in Washington said that Klein must be "off his rocker." The second congratulated him and added: "Not only do you tattoo them in the middle of their forehead but you ship them out of this country ... they are here to kill us."

Another said that tattoos, armbands and other identifying markers such as crescent marks on driver's licenses, passports and birth certificates did not go far enough. "What good is identifying them?" he asked. "You have to set up encampments like during World War Two with the Japanese and Germans."

At the end of the one-hour show, rich with arguments on why visual identification of "the threat in our midst" would alleviate the public's fears, Klein revealed that he had staged a hoax. It drew out reactions that are not uncommon in post-9/11 America.

"I can't believe any of you are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything I said," he told his audience on the AM station 630 WMAL (http://www.wmal.com), which covers Washington, Northern Virginia and Maryland

"For me to suggest to tattoo marks on people's bodies, have them wear armbands, put a crescent moon on their driver's license on their passport or birth certificate is disgusting. It's beyond disgusting.

"Because basically what you just did was show me how the German people allowed what happened to the Jews to happen ... We need to separate them, we need to tattoo their arms, we need to make them wear the yellow Star of David, we need to put them in concentration camps, we basically just need to kill them all because they are dangerous.". . .

A poll carried out by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group, found that for one in three Americans, the word Islam triggers negative connotations such as "war," "hatred" and "terrorist." The war in Iraq has contributed to such perceptions. (MORE)

SEE ALSO: Radio Spoof Draws Support for Nazi-Like Treatment of U.S. Muslims
http://cair.com/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=2415&theType=NR

-----

IL: HARMONIOUS DAY AT QUEEN OF PEACE - TOP
Islamic, Catholic schools bridge cultural gap by spending day learning about their religions
Jo Napolitano, Chicago Tribune, 12/1/06
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/southsouthwest/chi-0612010157dec01,1,7550459.story

Thursday was a day of firsts in Burbank.

In a celebration called Harmony Day, students at Queen of Peace High School and Muslim students from the Universal School in nearby Bridgeview talked about the differences--and similarities--between Catholicism and Islam.

The daylong program, meant to fuel understanding between the religions, began with an 11-minute video in which Queen of Peace students talked candidly about Islam. Asked what images or ideas enter their heads when they hear the words "Islam" or "Muslim," they talked about the Middle East and headscarves. One student mentioned the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Universal School, with 629 Muslim students in preschool through high school, is only 2.5 miles from Queen of Peace, but the Catholic students said they knew little about their peers in the next town.

Many said they had no personal experience with Islam. Some Muslim students said the same of Catholicism.

One girl from the Universal School said all her friends practice the same faith. "I have no friends who are not Muslim," she said. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

NJ: FOR ALL-MUSLIM TROOP, SCOUTING HAS MERITS - TOP
Members say typical exercises carry practical and spiritual value
Chris Gaetano, North South Brunswick Sentinel, 12/1/06
http://nbs.gmnews.com/news/2006/1130/Front_Page/008.html

They can pitch a tent, start a campfire and point in the direction of the holy city of Mecca no matter where they are. They are Boy Scout Troop 114, the only all-Muslim troop in the state, and they are based out of South Brunswick.

Officially chartered in the fall of 2002, the troop formed at the suggestion of senior members of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey who had either been through the scouting process themselves or had children who had done so.

"Part of the reason for that was that, although their boys had made it to Eagle and had a wonderful experience, they thought the experience would have been enhanced a lot more if they had been able to interact within their own troop," said Saffet Abid, the committee chair for the troop.

The group, based out of the Noor Ul-Iman School, started with 13 members and four years later has grown to 33, having graduated their first set of Star Scouts this past June.

According to Abid, having an all-Muslim troop has made being a Boy Scout an easier experience for all of its members. He noted several difficulties that Muslim Scouts have experienced in the past. One example was the difficulties that the summer camps would have in meeting their specific dietary restrictions, a difficulty they share with all-Jewish troops. When together in a large group, however, they were able to tell the camps of their needs beforehand, allowing them to buy the proper food in bulk and prepare it for the troop. . .

Abid said that scouting has been a positive influence for the boys, not only because of the asserted benefits of scouting in and of itself, but also because of the impact it has on the way they practice their faith, on both a spiritual and practical level. (MORE)

SEE ALSO: First Muslim Boy Scout Troop in New Jersey Takes Form
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17532467&BRD=1091&PAG=461&dept_id=425716&rfi=6

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ANALYSIS: HIGH BAR SET IN AIPAC CASE - TOP
Shaun Waterman, United Press International, 11/30/06
http://washtimes.com/upi/20061129-072531-3019r.htm

The government has been set a high bar for conviction in the AIPAC secrets case -- prosecutors must show the two lobbyists charged under espionage laws knew that the disclosure of the material they allegedly passed to reporters and Israeli officials would hurt the United States.

The defendants, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, lobbyists for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, are charged with conspiring with Department of Defense intelligence analyst Larry Franklin to leak U.S. secrets in an apparent effort to influence U.S. policy towards Iran.

In a transcript of a recent pre-trial hearing, made available Tuesday, the judge in the case made it clear that prosecutors must prove intention, or what lawyers call "mens rea" -- Latin for "a guilty mind" -- for every element of the conspiracy.

"The Court imposed the requirement that the government prove that the defendant knew the information ... would harm the United States," Judge Thomas Ellis told the Nov. 16 hearing, though prosecutors had asked that this requirement be lifted.

That is important, explains government transparency advocate Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, because it means the defendants, if found guilty, will have been proved to have "the intention of hurting the United States." (MORE)

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MUEZZIN'S LIFE LIES SUNK IN A GAZA MOSQUE'S RUINS - TOP
Luke Baker, Reuters, 12/1/06
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L3024915.htm

Hussein Kafarneh is a muezzin without a mosque.

For nearly 30 years he led the traditional call to prayer at Beit Hanoun's al-Nasser shrine, one of the oldest mosques in Gaza, climbing the twisting steps to the top of the white stone minaret five times a day.

His father did the same for 40 years before him.

Then, on Nov. 3 this year, as Israeli forces pursued an offensive in Gaza, they clashed with Palestinian militants holed up inside and nearby the mosque, using it as cover.

A dramatic stand-off ensued, with Israeli tanks aiming their barrels towards the shrine and around 60 well-armed militants firing rounds back towards the Israelis.

The army decided that since the mosque was being used for military purposes it was no longer protected under the rules of conflict. Commanders sent in armoured bulldozers to knock down its ancient walls, which dated to the 13th century. (MORE)

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VANDALS PAINT CROSSES AT VIENNA'S MUSLIM CEMETERY - TOP
REUTERS, 12/1/06
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20061201-0714-austria-muslims-vandalism.html

VIENNA - Vandals painted 23 large black crosses on a wall inside Vienna's first Muslim cemetery, officials said on Friday.

The desecration was discovered by a state television crew filming construction work at the cemetery, due to be opened in mid-2007 in the Austrian capital, Islamic Community spokeswoman Carla Amina Baghajati said. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2006 14:52:50 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Skies Will Never Be Friendly for Imams / U.S. Muslim Thanks His Adopted Homeland / Muslim Youth Enter Political Arena

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/3/06

* Hadith: Sincere Prayer Removes Sin
* CAIR-CA: Interfaith Leader Says 'We Need CAIR'
            - CAIR-MI: Univ. to Begin Diversity Training (Forward)
* CAIR-AZ: Skies Will Never Be Friendly for Imams (AZ Rep)
            - CAIR-AZ: A Muslim Immigrant Thanks His Adopted Homeland
            - CAIR-TX: Get to Know Muslims and Curb the Paranoia
* CAIR: Muslim Youth Enter Political Arena (InFocus)
* TX: Pig Races Used to Show Muslims Unwelcome (Houston Chronicle)
            - List of U.S. Mosques that Have Experienced Bias Incidents
* DC: Arabic Calligraphy Aids Understanding of Islam (Wash Post)
* U.S. Embassy in Berlin Reaches Out to Muslims (NPR)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: SINCERE PRAYER REMOVES SIN - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once went out when the leaves were falling from the trees. He took hold of a branch and said: "Verily, when a servant of God prays seeking only His pleasure, his sins fall away just as the leaves have fallen from this tree."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 199

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CAIR-CA: WE NEED CAIR - TOP
Inside Bay Area (California), 12/2/06
http://www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_4760948

I WAS saddened to read a recent letter attacking the very positive role played by the Council of American Islamic Relations during this community's struggle to come to terms with the horrible death of Alia Ansari.

CAIR's public events gave political and law enforcement leaders a chance to address and reassure the people, something that was greatly needed.

Local CAIR leaders always have taken the position that we need to be patient while law enforcement investigates all the facts, and not leap to unwarranted conclusions.

I have worked with CAIR, and I can testify to the high standards of its leaders. It is without question the most important advocate for Muslims in modern America.

In the Bay Area, CAIR has been particularly helpful in raising up a new generation of powerful and brilliant young Muslim women whose leadership abilities have been recognized by all who have worked with them.

Freedom of religion is one of the core values of America. With the introduction of Islamophobia into political discourse by the religious right, neoconservatives, hate radio and the hard political right, religious liberty has become an important civil rights issue.

By opposing religious bigotry, we defend democracy -- and we need CAIR with us in that good and necessary fight.

Lawrence Swaim
Executive director, Interfaith Freedom Foundation
Fremont

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-MI: UNIVERSITY TO BEGIN DIVERSITY TRAINING - TOP
Beth Schwartzapfel, Forward, 12/1/06
http://www.forward.com/articles/university-to-begin-diversity-training/

Michigan State University announced recently plans to offer a series of diversity training sessions for faculty and students, focusing on Islam-related subjects. The announcement came on the heels of an October 3 meeting between members of the university administration and the Muslim Student Union.

The Muslim group, in concert with the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, had been calling on the university to institute such training since Indrek Wichman, a professor of mechanical engineering, sent an e-mail to the Muslim students group last April, in which he called them "dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems." (MORE)

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CAIR-AZ: SKIES WILL NEVER BE FRIENDLY FOR IMAMS - TOP
E.J. Montini, Arizona Republic, 12/3/06
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/1203montini1203.html

Mohammed AbuHannoud has a naïve yet optimistically American belief that it's possible for six imams to board a commercial airplane in the United States and not make the passengers nervous.

AbuHannoud is the civil rights director for the Phoenix office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. I spoke to him about the six imams who were removed from a U.S. Airways flight last month after passengers and crew became suspicious of their behavior.

"When we ask for respectful treatment, that doesn't mean that we don't want security," he told me. "It can be achieved. But there is evil on this Earth, and there will always be evil, but we are not going to sacrifice our values because there is evil. We should really think of how we can develop procedures that keep our security at the highest level and at the same time keep our values. Because these values are going to fight this evil. The Constitution is for everyone." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-AZ: AN IMMIGRANT APPRECIATES U.S. FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA - TOP
Asim Ameer, Arizona Republic, 12/3/06
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/1203ameer1203.html

[Asim Ameer serves on the Board of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Arizona and is a longtime Gilbert resident. He can be reached at thekarachikid@yahoo.com]

As the immigration debate rages across the country, a lot is said about how America is changed for better or worse by the influx of immigrants legal and illegal. However, not much is said about how America changes the immigrants who come from different cultures and dive headlong into this melting pot of promise and opportunity.

As we offer thanks for our blessings during this holiday season, I reminisce about my very first holiday season in America in its bicentennial year. My love affair with America began long before I reached her shores. Her culture and influence are projected in many ways all over the world through her media. Growing up in the bustling metropolis of Karachi, I was exposed to America in many ways. As long as I can remember, my father subscribed to that great bastion of Americana, Reader's Digest. Through its pages and other newsmagazines, I learned not only about America and her people, but her history, culture and ideals. . .

This American is living and realizing his own American dream. The $30 in 1976 has multiplied many times over, and I have changed for the better having lived here. I hope I have made a positive contribution to my adopted homeland. Over the years, I have met a lot of Americans who personify America and its ideals, and I owe them a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to repay. (MORE)

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CAIR-TX: GET TO KNOW MUSLIM NEIGHBORS, CURB THE PARANOIA - TOP
Sarwat Husain, San Antonio Express-News, 12/3/06
http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/stories/MYSA120306.4H.husaincomment.1ed88dd.html

[Sarwat Husain is president of the Council on American Islamic Relations-San Antonio. E-mail her at sanantonio@cair-net.org.]

On Nov. 20, six imams (Islamic religious leaders) were profiled, humiliated in front of hundreds of people and discriminated against.

Their only crime was exercising their constitutional right to pray as a group in the boarding area of US Airways at the Minneapolis airport. . .

America has to learn that Islam is not only the world's second largest religion, it also is the second largest in the U.S. and is growing at the fastest rate. More than three-quarters of American Muslims were born here. Thirty-three percent of U.S. Muslims are people who were born in America and converted to Islam.

These Muslims are here to stay; they are not going anywhere. We all have to learn to live together with mutual respect and understanding.

As Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in her statement regarding the six imams, "The Muslim community has grown in size and prominence and is an integral part of the fabric of this nation. Muslim Americans share the same values and ideals that make this nation great, ideals such as discipline, generosity, peace and moderation."

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CAIR: MUSLIM YOUTH ENTER POLITICAL ARENA - TOP
Sarah Hassaine, Southern California InFocus, 11/2006
http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/344/135/

A new generation of energized and focused young Muslims in America are pursuing career paths that do not fall in the conventional or preferred science and engineering fields.

In fact, a growing percentage of youth are considering and practicing careers in the political and social sciences.

Washington D.C., the nation's capital, has become the hotspot for young Muslims across America. The political hub and the home base for national offices of multifarious political, social, and humane organizations, is attracting impressive and ambitious youth that genuinely aspire to make a difference.

Asma Gheyoub, community outreach coordinator for the D.C. office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that she has definitely seen more involvement from Muslim youth in the past five years. "My generation of over 50 years of age is just now seeing the value of voting and of participating in our communities, but the youth today are well aware of their responsibility and are working hard already." (MORE)

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TX: PIG RACE PLAN LEADS TO DIRTY ARGUMENT - TOP
Upset by moves of a Katy Islamic group, shop owner nearby will hold weekly contests
ALLAN TURNER, Houston Chronicle
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/religion/4373941.html

All snout and tail, the pink and brown pigs contentedly rooting in the wire pen behind Craig Baker's stone shop seem piggishly comic. They're racing pigs, after all, and that's got to be funny.

But few in the sprawling subdivisions along Baker Road are laughing.

These pigs are subtle weapons, here to show the new neighbors - the Katy Islamic Association - they aren't entirely welcome. Tension has been growing in this west Harris County community since September when the Muslim group announced it had purchased 11 acres south of Interstate 10 to build a mosque, school, community center and athletic facilities. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

MOSQUES IN U.S. THAT HAVE EXPERIENCED VIOLENT OR RACIST INCIDENTS - TOP
Sheila Musaji, The American Muslims, 11/30/06
http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/mosques_in_us_that_have_experienced_violent_or_racist_incidents1/0012120

Mosques in the U.S. are becoming dangerous places. Type MOSQUE in The American Muslim site search engine and you will turn up 234 entries. I can't help but think that the violent rhetoric of conservative and religious commentators in America has to be counted as at least partially responsible for what is going on. When people say that Arabs are sub-human or that Muslim leaders should be killed and Muslims all converted to Christianity, it cannot help but have some effect over time. Ignorance and racism are a lot more powerful than people realize. throw in a bit of fear (talk about mosques needing surveillance, or being hotbeds of extremism), and even the most evolved of us may fall prey. Much of this violence is the result of religiously motivated reprisals against the Muslim community in general for acts committed by particular individuals or organizations.

According to the most recent CAIR Report on hate crimes there was a 29% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2005. "Overall, nine states and the District of Columbia accounted for almost 79 percent of all civil rights complaints to CAIR in 2005. These ten states are (in descending order): California (19%), Illinois (13%), New York (9%), Texas (8%), Virginia (7%), Florida (6%), District of Columbia (5%), Maryland (4%), Ohio (4%) and New Jersey (4%)."

We have been collecting information about mosque incidents for some time, and here is our (partial) list. If you know about other incidents, please contact us with the information. (MORE)

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THROUGH ARABIC CALLIGRAPHY, STUDENTS GAIN UNDERSTANDING OF ISLAM AND MIDDLE EAST - TOP
Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, 12/3/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/02/AR2006120201066.html

The Arabic Calligraphy Workshop at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center wasn't about the Arabic. The flier for the class said no knowledge of the language was required.

Aishah Elinor Holland, the teacher, said sometimes when she teaches the one-day workshop, non-Arabic-speaking students fear that the graceful, swooping letters will spell something bad. "People are like, 'Well, what is this letter? What is it that I'm writing?'" she said.

Part of Holland's mission is to show these students there is more to Arab culture than what they read in the news -- in this case, a fine art that has flourished for centuries across the Muslim world.

"If they see that everyone whose name is Muhammad is not an Islamic terrorist, that's a start," she said. "During the war on terror, in this age, this is something totally non-threatening which is totally Arab-Islamic." (MORE)

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U.S. EMBASSY IN BERLIN REACHES OUT TO MUSLIMS - TOP
Emily Harris, NPR, 12/2/06
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6569879&ft=1&f=1004

Weekend Edition Saturday, December 2, 2006 · An effort to improve America's image abroad addresses Muslims in Germany with an outreach program that includes visits to Berlin mosques and discussions with Muslims about their view of the United States.

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2006 10:54:12 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: U.S. Holocaust Museum Urged to Drop Islam-Basher

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

U.S. HOLOCAUST MUSEUM URGED TO DROP ISLAM-BASHER
Presidential appointee says Quran oath 'undermines American civilization'

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/4/06) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for the removal of a presidential appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council because of his intolerant views toward Islam in American society.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged that talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager be removed from the taxpayer-supported museum's council because of a recent syndicated column in which he wrote that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Quran.

(President Bush recently appointed Prager to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the governing board of the Holocaust Memorial Museum, for the remainder of a five year term expiring January 15, 2011.)

In his column, headlined "America, Not Keith Ellison, Decides What Book a Congressman Takes His Oath On," Prager wrote that swearing an oath on the Quran "undermines American civilization." "Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible," wrote Prager. "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

Prager also wrote that Ellison's swearing on a Quran would "be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11."

(The U.S. Constitution states that "no religious test shall ever be required" to hold public office. No books of any kind are used in the actual swearing-in ceremony. Representatives may use any book they choose, or no book at all, during later ceremonial events.)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called Prager's views "intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American."

In a letter to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council Chairman Fred S. Zeidman, CAIR wrote:

"No one who holds such bigoted, intolerant and divisive views should be in a policymaking position at a taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate Americans about the destructive impact hatred has had, and continues to have, on every society. As a presidential appointee, Prager's continued presence on the council would send a negative message to Muslims worldwide about America's commitment to religious tolerance."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2006 18:29:15 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: MI Lawyers Fight Terror Tag / Quran Oath Gets Wingnuts Whirling / Texans Take Sides on Proposed Mosque

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/4/06

* Hadith: Learn From Your Mistakes
* CAIR-MI: Lawyers Fight Terrorism Tag (Detroit News)
            - CAIR: US Airways Responds to Profiling Accusations
            - CAIR-CT Hosts Town Hall Meeting with Law Enforcement
            - CAIR-OH: 'Your Muslim Neighbor' Radio Program
            - CAIR-CA: Local Muslims and Jews Build Understanding
* CAIR Wants Ellison Critic Removed from Holocaust Council (AP)
            - MN: Ellison and Quran Get Wingnuts Whirling (Star Trib)
            - CAIR: Quran Controversy: Prager Catching Flak (USA Today)
            - Hannity Says Swearing-in on Quran Like Using 'Nazi Bible'
            - Video: MN Reporter Cites Examples of Non-Bible Oaths
* TX: Residents Take Sides on Proposed Mosque
            - OR: With No Mosque, Muslims Find a Place to Pray
* NY: Islamic Group Awards Rabbi for Bridging Faiths (Newsday)
            - MI: Devotion to Faith Unites Four Women (Detroit News)
* On Tape: An 'Enemy' Interrogation (Newsweek)
* Dead Russian Spy to be Buried as a Muslim
* CAIR: 'Sleeper Cell' Draws Fire for Soft Take on Terrorists (NPR)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "A believer is not stung twice from the same hole."

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadith 154

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CAIR-MI: LAWYERS FIGHT TERRORISM TAG - TOP
Attorneys for suspects in smuggling case want to strike such language from criminal indictments.
Paul Egan, Detroit News, 12/4/06
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061204/METRO/612040338/1003

Lawyers for three defendants in a tobacco and counterfeit Viagra smuggling case are asking federal prosecutors to strike terrorism-related language from their indictment, saying the case has nothing to do with terrorism.

Language in the 2003 indictment related to terrorism and support for Hezbollah will hurt the ability of defendants to receive fair trials, lawyers for brothers Majid, Jihad and Fadi Hammoud said in pleadings filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

The brothers are among 18 people indicted in a racketeering conspiracy case that alleges smuggling of untaxed or low-taxed cigarettes from Indian reservations as well as smuggling of stolen goods and counterfeit goods such as false imitations of the sexual potency pill Viagra.

Advocates for Muslim and Arab-Americans say the case is only one of many examples since 2001 of prosecutors treating defendants unfairly by alleging, but not charging, ties to terrorism in cases involving financial crimes.

Federal prosecutors allege some of the proceeds from the tobacco smuggling racket were sent to Lebanon to support Hezbollah, which is on the U.S. list of international terrorist organizations.

But lawyers for the Dearborn-area brothers argue no charges of supporting terrorism have been filed and no admissions of supporting terrorism have been made in several guilty-plea agreements already reached in the racketeering case. . .

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Michigan, said alleging terrorism in cases in which Muslim or Arab-Americans may have been involved in criminal activity is spreading an Islam-phobic climate in the United States.

"The vast majority of these allegations have been totally unfounded," Walid said.

Walid cited the example of three Texas Muslims arrested in Michigan earlier this year after purchasing large numbers of cell phones at big-box stores. Local prosecutors alleged the men had ties to terrorism. All charges were eventually dropped. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: US AIRWAYS RESPONDS TO PROFILING ACCUSATIONS - TOP
Lisa LaMotta, PR Week US, 12/4/06
http://www.prweek.com

US Airways, the most recent airline to face scrutiny for stricter policies to combat terrorism, is pushing the message that its employees do not use racial profiling when determining the threat of passengers.

The airline came under fire from Muslim groups last week when six Muslim clerics were handcuffed and escorted off a flight going from Minneapolis to Phoenix on their return trip from the North American Imams Federation conference. Islamic advocacy groups immediately called for an investigation and a boycott of the airline.

The November 20 incident prompted US Airways to defend its policies to the passengers and media. 'Our immediate focus is talking with the customers and establishing that dialogue,' said Andrea Radar, corporate communications director for US Airways.

'We must make sure we do (all) we can to ensure the safety of the airplane,' she added. 'We have an experienced crew. We do not profile (or) discriminate, but we have certain procedures (for removing a passenger from a plane.)'

Despite US Airways' assertions, the incident has generated cries from Muslim groups. The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is considering legal action on behalf of the Imams and is still mulling its PR response, but is leaning towards launching an extensive campaign to educate Americans about the difference between terrorists and the Muslim religion.

'When these kinds of incidents have occurred in the past, we tried to make lemons into lemonade,' said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for CAIR. 'We gave away free Korans when there were allegations that the Koran was desecrated at Guantanamo. We gave away free books and DVDs about the Prophet Mohammed when the Danish cartoon incident occurred. When these kind of negative events happen, you have to try to turn them into positive teaching opportunities.' (MORE)

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CAIR-CT HOSTS TOWN HALL MEETING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT - TOP

(NEW LONDON, CT, 12/4/06) - On Friday, December 1, the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CT) held its first town hall meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Cromwell, Conn.

Representatives from law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were present. The meeting included presentations by these representatives followed by a question and answer session.

CONTACT: Hamza Collins, 860-995-6628, E-Mail: civilrights@cair.ct.com

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CAIR-OH: 'YOUR MUSLIM NEIGHBOR' RADIO PROGRAM - TOP

(CINCINNATI, OH, 12/4/06) - CAIR-Ohio's Cincinnati Chapter Committee Member Brent Meyer recently began hosting a local weekly radio program called "Your Muslim Neighbor" on WSAI AM 1360. This first-of-its-kind program in Cincinnati airs on Sunday evenings from 5 to 6-p.m. and tackles such topics as discrimination, religion and politics.

CAIR-Ohio Cincinnati Chapter Director Karen Dabdoub was recently a guest on the program. Meyer and Dabdoub spoke about CAIR, civil rights and the election of Keith Ellison to Congress. Information about the program can be accessed on-line at http://www.yourmuslimneighbor.blogspot.com/

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CAIR-CA: LOCAL MUSLIMS AND JEWS BUILD BRIDGES OF UNDERSTANDING - TOP

(SAN DIEGO, CA, 12/4/06) - On Friday, December 1, local Muslims visited Congregation Beth El, a Conservative Jewish center in La Jolla, Calif., beginning a series of dialogue meetings between Jewish and Muslim groups. These meetings are intended to take place once a month.

CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida was among the delegation of Muslims invited to dialogue with Senior Rabbi Philip Graubart and members of his congregation.

CONTACT: Edgar Hopida, Tel: 858-278-4547 or 619-913-0719, E-mail: ehopida@cair.com

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ISLAMIC GROUP WANTS ELLISON CRITIC REMOVED FROM HOLOCAUST COUNCIL - TOP
FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press, 12/4/06

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An Islamic civil rights group wants a columnist who criticized Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Quran during his ceremonial swearing-in next month removed from the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday that the comments by Dennis Prager, a columnist and conservative talk radio host, displayed an intolerance toward Islam that makes him an inappropriate person to serve on the memorial council.

Ellison, D-Minn., is the first Muslim elected to Congress.

In his column last week, Prager wrote: "Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

The Holocaust Memorial Council oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

"No one who holds such bigoted, intolerant and divisive views should be in a policy-making position at a taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate Americans about the destructive impact hatred has had, and continues to have, on every society," CAIR's executive director, Nihad Awad, wrote in a letter to the council's chairman, Fred Zeidman. . .

Messages left at the Holocaust Museum and at Zeidman's office were not returned Monday.

In a telephone interview Monday, Prager offered what he called "a solution to this that would satisfy me and the vast majority of Americans" _ Ellison bringing a Bible with him along with his Quran. . .

"It's obviously up to Mr. Ellison to decide, but I don't think that forcing him to swear an oath on a book not of his faith is the answer," said [CAIR] spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper.

Hooper said that although his group supports free speech, "When you are appointed by the president to a council whose mission is to combat hatred and bigotry, and you hold views that promote hatred and bigotry, there's a problem there.". . .

By tradition, all members of the House are sworn in together on the House floor. It's in the photo-op ceremony that a Bible is used _ or in Ellison's case, the Quran.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism and racism, issued a statement calling Prager's comments "intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American."

SEE ALSO:

MN: EDITORIAL: ELLISON AND HIS QUR'AN GET WINGNUTS WHIRLING - TOP
What a hilarious load of ignorance, intolerance he exposed.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 12/2/06
http://www.startribune.com/561/story/848427.html

You've gotta hand it to Keith Ellison, Minneapolis' congressman-elect: He's not even in the House yet, and he's got wingnuts falling out of the trees on their empty heads.

When Ellison announced that he would take the oath of office on the Qur'an, right-wing radio gasbag Dennis Prager went into high indignation mode. Ohmygod, Prager fumed, Ellison can't be allowed to do that; it "undermines American civilization." Using the Qur'an is akin to a racist taking the oath on a copy of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," he fulminated: "Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

And Prager was just warming up, not to mention the acolytes who responded to him. He was over the top, but they were over the moon. Did you know, voters of Minneapolis, that Ellison's campaign was financed by terrorists?

Where to begin? How about that oath Ellison will take? He will pledge to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." If the wild talkers scrunch up their brows and focus really, really hard, maybe even they will recall that freedom of (and from) religion -- that which motivated the Pilgrims to brave the Atlantic -- is the paramount value Ellison will swear to protect. Scrunch a little more, and perhaps they will even recall that the Constitution specifically prohibits any religious test for members of Congress. Requiring someone to put their hand on a Bible would seem to fill the "religious test" bill quite well.

That's probably why no religious book plays an official role in swearing in members of Congress. (MORE)

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CAIR: QURAN CONTROVERSY CONTINUES: PRAGER CATCHING FLAK - TOP
Mark Memmott, USA Today, 12/4/06
http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2006/12/quran_controver_1.html

Conservative radio host and blogger Dennis Prager has now been criticized by both prominent Muslim and Jewish groups for his Townhall.com column attacking incoming Rep. Keith Ellison's announcement that he will use a Quran during his ceremonial swearing-in as the first Muslim member of Congress.

Today, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Prager should lose his presidential appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council because of "his intolerant views toward Islam in American Society."

Friday, the Anti-Defamation League said Prager's position is "intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American."

For Prager's part, at his blog this afternoon there's a link to this story in The Mercury News. Prager's blog says "can you imagine how much good Keith Ellison could do if he followed this example" -- a reference to the last paragraph of the Mercury News story, where there's mention of a U.S. ambassador's decision to take his oath "on the Bible and the Quran, with the Quran on top." (MORE)

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HANNITY SUGGESTED USE OF QURAN IN REPRESENTATIVE'S SWEARING-IN SAME AS USING "NAZI BIBLE" MEIN KAMPF - TOP
Media Matters, 12/1/06
http://mediamatters.org/items/200612010010

Summary: Echoing columnist Dennis Prager, Sean Hannity claimed that incoming Rep. Keith Ellison's reported intention to use a copy of the Quran apparently during the ceremonial photo op on the day he is sworn in "will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones" and suggested that using the Quran for a swearing-in is comparable to using "Hitler's Mein Kampf, which is the Nazi bible." (MORE)

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MN REPORTER CITES EXAMPLES OF NON-BIBLE OATHS - TOP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Irs65zYhdTs&eurl=

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TX: BAKER RD. RESIDENTS TAKE UP SIDES ON PROPOSED MOSQUE - TOP
Tara Stanley, Katy Times, 12/4/06
http://www.katytimes.com/articles/2006/12/04/news/01news.txt

The Katy Islamic Association (KIA) has come under fire this week as local homeowners in its Baker Rd. neighborhood voice concern over a proposed mosque and community center.

Located in an affluent residential area, the KIA's 11-acre property located at 1800 Baker Rd. has become a hot-button issue for homeowners who live nearby. Residents cite traffic problems, falling property values, potential for flooding and fear of the unknown as reasons that they do not want the Islamic religious center in their area.

Representatives from the KIA say the center will only add to the community and create a family-centered facility in which kids can play and feel safe in a drug-free environment.

"We think that there is a small minority of people who oppose us here and those people are bigoted and close minded," said Rauf Diab, spokesperson for the KIA.

"The reasons they oppose us, such as property value, are not credible and they are anti-Islam."

A local business and property owner, Craig Baker, whose property borders the KIA property line, has chosen to display several pigs in a pig pen and is advertising "Friday night pig runs" coming soon.

The sign is in the same bright yellow color and black lettering as a sign in front of the KIA property advertising the community center as "Coming Soon." Baker is owner and president of Craig Baker Marble Company, Inc. and his business lies near the KIA. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

OR: WITH NO MOSQUE IN SALEM, MUSLIMS FIND A PLACE TO PRAY - TOP
Area families rent an apartment as a gathering place to share their religion
Ruth Liao, Statesman Journal, 12/4/06
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061204/NEWS/612040324/1001

Marwan Albustami of Salem unrolled a child-sized prayer mat fringed in red and blue and explained how he teaches his children how to pray.

Young children learn the importance of prayer after witnessing the devotion of their parents' prayers five times per day, he said.

"They watch us. They ask when we're praying, but they learn to leave us, and observe us then," Albustami said.

Muslim prayers are performed at dawn, at noon, in mid-afternoon, at sunset and at night. They can be performed anywhere -- in the home, office or even outside -- but mosques provide a consecrated space for those prayers.

Despite a relatively small number of Muslims in the Salem area, a group of residents established their own worship quarters in Salem about two years ago. It's a modest, unfurnished apartment in a southeast Salem neighborhood. The apartment is not for the public, but it's well-known among Salem's tight-knit Muslim community.

"You feel like you're a part of something if you go to the mosque," said Amin Ackridge of Salem, a friend of Albustami. Mosques are considered the cornerstone of shared activity, said Ackridge, who said he wishes that more of a community center existed in the area. (MORE)

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NY: ISLAMIC GROUP AWARDS RABBI FOR BRIDGING FAITHS - TOP
Jennifer Barrios, Newsday, 12/4/06
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-limusl045002044dec04,0,7252702.story

A Long Island Islamic group gave its community-service award to a Great Neck rabbi who was vocal this election season against a congressman who denounced the group as "radical Islam."

Rabbi Jerome Davidson of Temple Beth El received the third annual award from the Islamic Center of Long Island at a dinner Saturday night. Davidson helped found American Muslims and Jews in Dialogue, an interfaith discussion group involving members of Beth El and the Islamic Center, more than 15 years ago.

"We felt that the rabbi deserved this recognition," said Faroque Khan, chairman of the board of trustees of the Islamic Center. "He's been a leader, a visionary in building bridges of understanding."

Davidson said he approached the mosque years ago when he realized he and his congregation had little direct experience with Islam.

"I knew my congregation had probably never spoken to a Muslim - not because they didn't want to, but because they didn't have that kind of opportunity," Davidson said. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

MI: DEVOTION TO FAITH UNITES FOUR WOMEN - TOP
Metro interfaith group will feed people near, far
Gregg Krupa, Detroit News, 12/4/06
http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061204/LIFESTYLE04/612040354&SearchID=73264959276233

As politicians and religious leaders stumble in the face of conflicts in the world, four women say, God brought them together.

First, last spring, Peggy, who is a Christian, met Gail, who is Jewish. Then, the two of them met Shahina, who is a Muslim. The three then met Trish, who is a Catholic.

The four women say they quickly realized that their dedication to their faiths made them more similar than different. As they found one another at activities in churches, synagogues and mosques in Metro Detroit, they also realized that in addition to praying to the same God, they had been thinking the same thought: How do we bring women of diverse faiths together to benefit the community and to learn about different religions?

They united to establish WISDOM -- Women's Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit. It is just one initiative to unite the local followers of diverse religions.

"We wanted to do something to foster peace and also do some services for the community," said Shahina Begg, who attends the Unity Center of Bloomfield Hills, a mosque. (MORE)

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ON TAPE: AN 'ENEMY' INTERROGATION - TOP
Newsweek, 12/11/06
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16011273/site/newsweek

Lawyers for "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla claim he is so disoriented from three years of isolation and aggressive interrogations that he is now mentally ill. In new court filings, Padilla's lawyers also assert for the first time that Padilla's interrogations were taped, thereby providing a potentially extensive video record of how the government treated a man once considered a dangerous Qaeda operative. (MORE)

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DEAD RUSSIAN SPY TO BE BURIED AS A MUSLIM - TOP
Times, 12/4/06
http://www.mediafax.ro/english/articole-free/Dead-Russian-Spy-To-Be-Buried-As-A-Muslim-586366-9.html

Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian intelligence agent poisoned in London, is to be buried according to Muslim tradition after converting to Islam on his deathbed, timesonline.co reported.

The spy''s father, Walter Litvinenko, said in an interview published today that his son - who was born an Orthodox Christian but had close links to Islamist rebels in Chechnya - made the request as he lay dying in University College Hospital.

"He said 'I want to be buried according to Muslim tradition'," Mr Litvinenko told Moscow''s Kommersant daily.

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CAIR: 'Sleeper Cell' Draws Fire for Soft Take on Terrorists - TOP
Laura Sydell, National Public Radio, 12/3/06

All Things Considered, December 3, 2006 · The second season of the Showtime series Sleeper Cell"premieres next Sunday. The principle character is a black Muslim FBI agent determined to bring down a terrorist cell in Los Angeles. The show has drawn a range of critics who say it is too sympathetic to the terrorist motivations of Sleeper Cell's characters.

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2006 17:41:45 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Holocaust Museum Distances Itself from Prager / MI Muslim Cites Gym After Interrupted Prayer / NC Muslim Worker to Receive Apology

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/5/06

* Hadith: Don't Abuse Time
* CAIR: NC Muslim Worker to Receive Apology, Back Pay
* MI: Muslim Cites Gym After Interrupted Prayer (Detroit News)
            - TX: Pig Racin' Brings Texas-Sized Controversy
            - Arab-American FBI Agent Sues for Discrimination (NBC)
* DC: Holocaust Museum Distances Itself from Dennis Prager
            - U.S. Holocaust Museum Urged to Drop Islam-Basher
* MN: Muslim Rep Has Right to Oath on Quran (Daily Southtown)
            - Campos: Prager's Un-American Rant (Rocky Mountain News)
* FAIR: Glenn Beck Threatens Muslims with Concentration Camps
* Elahi: Open U.S.-Iran Dialogue to Further Peace (Detroit News)
* IL: Obama Doesn't Hide Muslim Middle Name (Sun-Times)
* CA: Imam is on his Way to Hajj (SF Gate)
            - VA: Hajj Seminar

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HADITH OF THE DAY: DON'T ABUSE TIME - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "God said, 'The offspring of Adam abuse time, (even though) I am Time.'"

VERSE OF THE DAY: BY THE TOKEN OF TIME

"By (the token of) time (through the ages). Verily mankind is in a state of loss, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth and of patience and constancy."

The Holy Quran, Chapter 103

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NC MUSLIM WORKER TO RECEIVE APOLOGY, BACK PAY - TOP

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/5/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that a Muslim employee at a Belk department store in Durham, N.C., will be offered an apology and back pay after reporting that she was sent home because she had applied henna to her hands in celebration of Eid ul-Fitr, the holiday following the month-long fast of Ramadan. SEE: http://www.belk.com/

After CAIR's intervention, Belk reviewed the incident and reprimanded the party responsible. The company also reaffirmed its policy supporting religious accommodation in the workplace.

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MI: MUSLIM WOMAN CITES GYM AFTER INTERRUPTED PRAYER - TOP
Dearborn resident says her complaint to Fitness USA manager about patron went unheeded.
Gregg Krupa, Detroit News, 12/5/06
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061205/LIFESTYLE04/612050368/1041

Fitness USA, a gym chain, is investigating an alleged civil rights violation involving a local Muslim woman who says her afternoon prayer was interrupted by a fellow patron, and that her complaint to management about the situation was rejected.

"The manager told me, 'You have to respect her (the patron), but she does not have to respect your God,'?" said Wardeh Sultan of Dearborn. "I've had my membership for seven or eight years, and I've never had a problem with praying there.

"I told that manager, 'I can't believe you said that'?" Sultan said. "Honestly, I feel humiliated and I feel ashamed, right now, to go back to Fitness USA."

Local representatives of Fitness USA, which operates branches throughout Metro Detroit and in two other states, referred all inquiries regarding the matter to their corporate offices.

"We will, as we will with any complaint involving our staff and a member, be doing a full and thorough investigation of the matter and take any appropriate action we need to take," said Jodi Berry, executive director of Fitness USA. "We want every member to get a good exercise experience every time they come to the club."

Berry said she learned of the complaint on Monday.

The allegations are among a series of recent complaints by Muslims who say they are free to practice their religion in the United States, until someone tells them they cannot. Recently, the same Fitness USA facility enacted a new dress code to allow Muslim women to wear more modest clothing, in compliance with some Islamic practices. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

TX: FRIDAY NIGHT PIG RACIN' BRINGS TEXAS-SIZED CONTROVERSY - TOP
Shanna Sissom, Midland Reporter-Telegram, 12/5/06
http://www.mywesttexas.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17549363&BRD=2288&PAG=461&dept_id=475590&rfi=6

While Muslim faithful are worshiping Allah, sounds of liquored up Texans chasing greased pigs may soon be heard outside the mosque.

"Comin' soon weekly Friday night pig racin'" reads the sign in the Houston suburb of Katy. It goes on to promote a greased pig-catching contest, the opportunity to purchase a slow pig to save it's life and--of all things--a pork cook-off. Bring your own bottle, the sign also says and boasts the availability of "clean port-o-pots."

It sounds like a rowdy Friday night outing, Texas style.

But the planned pig races are wallowing in controversy. A Muslim group having just purchased adjacent property to build a mosque is not amused by the new sign and upcoming swine activities as neighbors--including parishioners at a nearby church my mother pastors--are left wondering what's going to happen to the neighborhood.

Not far from the large pig racing sign, the other group has a small placard that says "KIA Community Center coming soon," I'm told, with the acronym standing for Katy Islamic Association.

This sort of thing, of course, attracts attention from media types and the pigs have already been in the news. Our sister Hearst newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, is among those following the story.

"Pig race leads to dirty argument," the headline read. TV news crews also got onboard, interviewing the property owner who posted the sign and pig pens. (MORE)

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IS THE FBI DOING ITS BEST TO COMBAT TERRORISM? - TOP
Highest-ranking Arab-American agent says no, sues for discrimination
Lisa Myers, Jim Popkin, NBC News, 12/4/06
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16042604/

Bassem Youssef is the FBI's highest-ranking Arab-American agent. He's fluent in Arabic, ran the FBI's offices in Saudi Arabia and is a terrorism expert. In fact, Youssef's undercover work helping to infiltrate the terror organization of the so-called "blind sheik," Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, earned him the intelligence community's most-prestigious award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.

But now, for the first time, Youssef is speaking out against the agency he loves.

"I don't believe that the FBI's doing everything it can to combat terrorism," the 18-year FBI veteran tells NBC News.

Though he's one of only six FBI agents with advanced Arabic skills, Youssef believes that, since 9/11, the FBI has blocked him from playing a significant role in the war on terror. He claims discrimination, and sued the FBI in 2003.

"To be totally set aside, blackballed since 9/11, makes absolutely no sense," he says.

Beyond Youssef's own employment claims, depositions of nearly a dozen top FBI officials in his case have exposed what critics say are serious shortcomings in the FBI's approach to counterterrorism. The taped depositions, which have never been aired before, seem to reveal a stunning lack of knowledge about some terrorism basics. (MORE)

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DC: HOLOCAUST MUSEUM DISTANCES ITSELF FROM DENNIS PRAGER - TOP

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum released this statement concerning Council member Prager. "Talk show host Dennis Prager speaks solely for himself. His statements do not reflect the position of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, whose board is not self-appointed."

 (Source: Media Relations Director Andrew Hollinger, AHollinger@ushmm.org; Abdi Aynte, Minnesota Monitor)

SEE ALSO:
U.S. HOLOCAUST MUSEUM URGED TO DROP ISLAM-BASHER - TOP
http://www.cair.com/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=2426&theType=NR

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MN: FIRST MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN HAS RIGHT TO TAKE OATH ON QURAN - TOP
Dean Koldenhoven, Daily Southtown, 12/5/06
http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/opinion/guests/159871,051guc1.article

The news that Minnesota congressman-elect Keith Ellison says he does not want to put his hand on the Bible while taking the oath of office really is a nonissue.

Unless the formality of the swearing-in changes, the official swearing-in for the House of Representatives is done in the House chambers by the speaker of the House en masse. The Bible is not ordered to be used in this ceremony. If any congressman wants to put his hand on a Bible or Quran or whatever book during this ceremony, he or she is free to do so.

The so-called "conservative" radio talk-show host Dennis Prager made quite an issue of the fact that Keith Ellison wants to use the Quran instead of the Bible for his swearing-in.

Prager has been stirring the conservative crowd into sending out messages to other elected officials to not let Ellison use the Quran instead of the Bible for the swearing-in ceremony. Mr. Prager should read the Constitution before sending out his biased material. The constitution says nothing about inaugural ceremonies, other than the words of the oath itself for the respective office.

What the First Amendment spells out is the "establishment" clause. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."

Common sense tells us that if Congress declared that the Bible has to be the only book being used in swearing-in ceremonies, that would be establishing the Christian religion as the "established" religion of the United States. The First Amendment protects this from happening. The U.S. government never has established any religion by law for its citizens. All citizens have the freedom to worship whomever they want to worship and use whatever book they choose to use in their belief of their faith.

Perhaps Ellison is targeted by some because he happens to be the first black congressman from Minnesota and the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Minorities, whether it be race or religion, unfortunately become targets of people who have unfounded fears of minorities. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAMPOS: PRAGER'S UN-AMERICAN RANT - TOP
Paul Campos, Rocky Mountain News, 12/5/06
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/opinion_columnists/article/0,2777,DRMN_23972_5190201,00.html

On their holiest day, Jews remember the martyr Rabbi Akiba, who was put to death by the Romans. The Romans were specialists in what the Bush administration refers to as "enhanced interrogation methods," and they skinned Rabbi Akiba alive with iron combs.

"They scraped away his skin as he recited Sh'ma Yisrael, freely accepting the yoke of God's Kingship. 'Even now?' his disciples asked. He replied: 'All my life I have been troubled by a verse: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,' which means even if he take your life. I often wondered if I would ever fulfill that obligation. And now I can.' He left the world while uttering, 'The Lord is One.' "

A different perspective on religious obligation is provided by Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and newspaper columnist. Unlike right-wing buffoons of the Ann Coulter and Michael Savage type, Prager likes to present himself as a serious and thoughtful commentator, and he is treated as such by some people who actually are serious and thoughtful (for example law professors Eugene Volokh and Stephen Bainbridge, who maintain popular conservative blogs).

Thus it's noteworthy that Prager has just published a column so idiotic and immoral that it raises the question of whether the political movement of which he is a prominent representative has become fundamentally un-American.

Prager argues that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress, should not be allowed to take his oath of office on the Quran, but should be required to do so on the Christian Bible. "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book," Prager tells Ellison, "don't serve in Congress." (MORE)

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FAIR: Flirting With Fascism on CNN Headline News - top
Host Glenn Beck threatens Muslims with concentration camps
FAIR, 12/5/06
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3014

The New York Times (12/4/06), profiling new CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck, called him "brash" and "opinionated," with an "unfiltered approach." The conservative talk-radio host-turned-cable news announcer, the paper reported, "take[s] credit for saying what others are feeling but are afraid to say."

The Times mentioned one of the things Beck has said recently, to newly elected U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim: "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." But as press critic Eric Alterman pointed out (Altercation, 12/4/06), as offensive as that question is, it doesn't begin to suggest the poisonousness of Beck's rhetoric about Muslims.

On his August 10 radio show, distributed by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks, Beck told listeners, "The world is on the brink of World War III," then issued this warning:

All you Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time and have not been marching in the streets and have not been saying, 'Hey, you know what? There are good Muslims and bad Muslims. We need to be the first ones in the recruitment office lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head.' I'm telling you, with God as my witness... human beings are not strong enough, unfortunately, to restrain themselves from putting up razor wire and putting you on one side of it. (MORE)

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OPEN INTERFAITH, U.S.-IRAN DIALOGUE TO FURTHER PEACE - TOP
Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, Detroit News, 12/5/06
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061205/OPINION03/612050305/1008/OPINION01

I t has been said that if you don't vote you don't exist. But Americans who want peace made their presence known by giving an election victory to the Democrats, representing a clear rejection of President Bush's costly war-mongering.

After spending more than $300 billion and keeping our 150,000 troops in Iraq, Bush succeeded only in destroying the country and U.S. interests around the world. Security is now so catastrophic that in his recent trip to the Middle East, the president met Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki in Jordan instead of Baghdad.

It's a great blessing to see that America's majority prefers diplomacy and peace over military options. Saying no to war means declaring yes to civil discourse.

So Americans may be interested in a six-page letter Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote to our nation. Mentioning common concerns and values, Ahmadinejad called for dialogue and cooperation between the two nations for the sake of justice, peace, prosperity of all the people of the world.

I hope the Bush administration shows some humility and will wisely open this window of communication to save our sons and daughters from another military nightmare. Talking to Tehran is in the best interest of the United States and is in line with the spirit of the Iraq Study Group, which was created at the urging of Congress in response to the nation's increasing demands for peace. (MORE)

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IL: OBAMA DOESN'T HIDE MIDDLE NAME - TOP
Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times, 12/5/06
http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/160150,CST-NWS-sweet05.article

Barack Hussein Obama. The blogosphere and talk radio, even C-Span, has chatter about the middle name of the Illinois Democrat.

Obama never hid the name. Never highlighted it, either. People are just starting to pay closer attention as Obama mulls a 2008 White House run. He is the son of Barack Hussein Obama Sr.

Hussein is a family name. His grandmother is Sara Hussein Obama.

At one point he was Barack H. Obama. That's how he is listed in the Harvard Law Review when he was the president of the publication. He dropped the H and dumped his nickname of Barry along the way.

It wouldn't make sense in Illinois to use Barack Hussein Obama as a ballot name when he started running for the state Senate in the late 1990s -- before 9/11 (Osama bin Laden) and the Iraq war (Saddam Hussein).

Barack Obama was enough to deal with -- not so much because of anti-Muslim prejudice, which I am sure unfortunately exists, but the irrational preference Illinois voters have had for Irish and WASPy names. (MORE)

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CA: A SILICON VALLEY IMAM IS ON HIS WAY TO THE HAJJ, THE ANNUAL PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA - TOP
David Ian Miller, SF Gate, 12/4/06
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2006/12/04/findrelig.DTL

Imagine standing in a crowd of 2 million people whose most cherished dream has just come true. For many Muslims, participating in the hajj -- the annual journey to the physical and spiritual heart of Islam -- is the most central spiritual experience of their lives.

All Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life if they are financially and physically able. Attending the world's largest annual spiritual gathering -- which begins on the eighth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic year -- is no vacation. However, pilgrims say that despite the crowds and associated inconveniences, the hajj is primarily a time of great joy.

Imam Tahir Anwar, spiritual leader of Silicon Valley's South Bay Islamic Association, is leaving for the hajj on Dec. 19 with 150 members of his congregation. Anwar, 28, who teaches part-time at Granada Islamic School in Santa Clara, spoke with me by phone last week about the joys and frustrations of the hajj and his life as an imam in America. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

ZAMZAM TOURS AND ADAMS CENTER INVITES YOU TO A HAJJ SEMINAR - TOP
With Dr. Mamdouh N. Mohamed, Author of Hajj A-Z

The Prophet (saw) said: "O people! Learn from me the way how to perform your Hajj rituals for I do not know if I will be able to make Hajj next year or not." [Muslim, An-Nassaa'i, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad].

Join Dr. Mamdouh as he takes you on a roundtrip journey to learn the hajj rituals step by step, starting from your intention at home till you reach back home.

WHEN: Friday Dec. 8th, 6:30 - 9 p.m., (Isha'a Salaah at 8 p.m.)
WHERE: in the ADAMS Main Hall

For more information: 703.433.1325 ext. 101

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2006 17:05:37 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: President Asked to Rescind Prager's Appointment / NYPD Anti-Terror Unit Filled with Anti-Muslim Hate / VT Man Held for Stalking Muslim Family

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/6/06

* Hadith: Be a 'Key' for Good
* CAIR: President Asked to Rescind Appointment of Dennis Prager
            - CAIR-Orlando Rep Discusses Quran Oath Issue (Fox 35)
            - Prager Continued to Baselessly Attack Muslim Rep (MSNBC)
            - Savage 'Worst Person' Runner-Up for Attack on Ellison (MSNBC)
            - MN: Worry About the Oath, Not the Book (Pioneer Press)
* Incitement: Former Alabama Chief Justice Smears Islam
* Lawsuit: NYPD Anti-Terror Unit Filled with Muslim Hate (AP)
            - NY: Police Antiterrorism Analyst Sues City (NY Times)
* VT: Man is Held for Stalking Muslim Family
            - IL: Muslim Family Threatened After Break-In (News Sun)
* ISLAM-OPED: Pope Turns Corner on Muslim-Catholic Relations
            - U.S. Muslim-Catholic Dialogues Growing Reality
* CAIR-CA: Muslims and Jews Build Bridges of Understanding
            - Video: CAIR-FL Sponsors Thanksgiving Luncheon at Church
* Radio Host on Detained Imams: '[T]hese People Want Us Dead'
            - AL: Dangers of Flying While Muslim
* Muslims for a Better Washington, D.C.
* Iraq Panel Mentions Palestinian 'Right of Return' (AFP)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: BE A 'KEY' FOR GOOD - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Wealth consists of various kinds of treasures, and those treasures (all) have keys. Blessed is the person whom God has made a key for good and a lock for evil."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1366

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PRESIDENT ASKED TO RESCIND APPOINTMENT OF DENNIS PRAGER - TOP
Holocaust Museum council member said Quran oath 'undermines American civilization'
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20061206/pl_usnw/president_asked_to_rescind_appointment_of_dennis_prager136_xml

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/6/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on President Bush to rescind the appointment of radio talk show host Dennis Prager to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council because of his intolerant views toward Islam in American society.

SEE: http://www.ushmm.org/museum/council/

Earlier this week, CAIR urged the taxpayer-supported museum's council to remove Prager because of a recent syndicated column in which he wrote that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Quran.

In his commentary, Prager wrote that swearing an oath on the Quran "undermines American civilization." "Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible," wrote Prager. "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

Prager also wrote that Ellison's swearing on a Quran would "be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11."

On Tuesday, the Holocaust Museum distanced itself from Prager's views, but indicated that it did not have the power to remove him from the council. The museum's statement said: "Talk show host Dennis Prager speaks solely for himself. His statements do not reflect the position of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, whose board is not self-appointed."

A number of groups and commentators have rejected Prager's views. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called his comments "intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American." The New York Sun said today: "Mr. Prager is not only wrong but his comments are so outrageous and, by our lights, almost unbelievably ignorant." SEE: http://www.nysun.com/article/44639

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism said in a statement: "The criticism by Dennis Prager of Rep. Keith Ellison's use of the Koran for taking the oath of office is irreconcilable with American law and ideals as well as Jewish values and interests."

President Bush recently appointed Prager to the governing board of the Holocaust Memorial Museum for the remainder of a five year term expiring January 15, 2011.

In a letter to President Bush, CAIR wrote:

"If put into practice, Mr. Prager's exclusionary and intolerant views would permanently marginalize every minority faith in America and would violate the constitutional ban on a state-sponsored religion.

"By taking action to disassociate your administration from Prager's remarks, you will send a positive message to all those in this country and worldwide who believe in religious diversity and mutual understanding.

"As a private citizen, Mr. Prager has the absolute right to hold whatever views he chooses, no matter how divisive or ill-informed. But as a presidential appointee to a taxpayer-funded institution, he must be held to a higher moral standard.

"We therefore respectfully request that you rescind your appointment of Dennis Prager to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council."

The U.S. Constitution states that "no religious test shall ever be required" to hold public office. No books of any kind are used in the actual swearing-in ceremony. Representatives may use any book they choose, or no book at all, during later ceremonial events.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

SEE ALSO:

VIDEO: CAIR-ORLANDO REP DISCUSSES QURAN OATH ISSUE - TOP
Fox 35, 12/5/06
http://www.myfoxorlando.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=1696898&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1

Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress is raising eyebrows after he announced he wants to use the Koran when he is sworn in next month.

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ON MSNBC, PRAGER CONTINUED TO BASELESSLY ATTACK MUSLIM REP.-ELECT - TOP
Media Matters, 12/5/06
http://mediamatters.org/items/200612060001

On the December 4 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, conservative radio host and Townhall.com columnist Dennis Prager continued to accuse incoming Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) of "imperil[ing]" America because of Ellison's reported intention to use a copy of the Quran during the ceremonial photo op on the day he is sworn in. Prager acknowledged, as the weblog Think Progress reported, that Ellison would use the Quran for "a photo op" and not the actual swearing-in, which is conducted in a large group. Ellison is the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. (MORE)

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OLBERMANN: SAVAGE "WORST PERSON" RUNNER-UP FOR ATTACK ON ELLISON - TOP
Media Matters, 12/5/06
http://mediamatters.org/items/200612060002

On the December 4 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann awarded nationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage runner-up in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for asking -- as Media Matters for America documented -- in response Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's (D-MN) reported intention to use a copy of the Quran during the ceremonial photo op on the day he is sworn in: "What's next, a witch gets elected, and she says she's only going to be sworn in with her hand over a pentagram?" Olbermann then observed that "members of Congress are not officially sworn in on a Bible, a Quran, or even a copy of the Worst Person in the World book." Savage is a frequent honoree during Olbermann's "Worst Person" segment and recently received "worst person" honors for claiming that his anti-gay comments would appear "in several of the blogs run by gays -- and they think only of that 'cause they're like drug addicts," as Media Matters also noted. (MORE)

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MN: WORRY ABOUT THE OATH, NOT THE BOOK - TOP
St. Paul Pioneer Press, 12/6/06
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/editorial/16171052.htm

Allow us to interrupt a swell food fight over U.S. Rep.-elect Keith Ellison and his official swearing-in with a fact.

No Good Book is required by the United States government for a person to take the oath of office and become a member of Congress. Members raise their hands together on the House floor on the first day of the session and are sworn in by the speaker of the House.

So, the coast-to-coast gyrations over whether Ellison, a Minneapolis Democrat whose Muslim faith is a first for a member of Congress, should use the Quran instead of the Bible is a fight over symbolism, not law and policy.

It is a fight over a photo opportunity.

Ellison's Muslim faith was a complicating factor in his difficult race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo. Ellison, a lawyer who has served in the Minnesota House for four years, won despite his unpaid parking tickets, his dalliance with the Nation of Islam and his failure to file campaign finance documents on time.

Shortly after winning, he told the Star Tribune newspaper that he planned to use the Quran, Islam's holy book, at his swearing-in. In a later interview with the Minnesota Monitor blog, he said: "The Constitution guarantees for everyone to take the oath of office on whichever book they prefer. And that's what freedom of religion is all about.'' His office could not be reached to comment further.

An influential conservative talk-radio host, Dennis Prager, wrote on the townhall.com blog last week: "When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization. If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11.''

Whoa.

Salley Collins, press secretary for the U.S. House Committee on House Administration, said the official swearing-in does not involve a good book of any kind. Next Jan. 4, she said, the newly elected speaker, expected to be Nancy Pelosi, of California, will ask all members to raise their right hands and take the oath. (MORE)

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INCITEMENT: FORMER ALABAMA CHIEF JUSTICE SMEARS ISLAM - TOP
Judge Roy Moore, WorldNetDaily, 12/6/06
http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53246

"A basic teaching of the Quran is that all infidels, i.e., those who do not acknowledge "Allah" as the true god, should be killed wherever they are found. Such is the nature of this new war."

"A great danger to our country exists when government offices and institutions are opened to Islamic influence. . ."

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NY: LAWSUIT SAYS NYPD ANTI-TERROR CYBER UNIT FILLED WITH MUSLIM HATE - TOP
Larry Neumeister, Associated Press, 12/5/06
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-bc-ny--terror-biassuit1205dec05,0,1286841.story

A celebrated police anti-terrorism cyber unit became a beehive of anti-Muslim rhetoric after a city consultant unleashed hundreds of hateful e-mails saying Muslims and Arabs were all potential terrorists, a unit member said in a lawsuit Tuesday.

The Department of Correction lieutenant, listed as John Doe Anti-Terrorism Officer on the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, said he was subjected to a hostile work environment, great emotional anguish, public humiliation and illegal retaliation.

The Egyptian-born man asked for unspecified damages, saying he had suffered severe emotional distress, mental anguish, depression, physical injuries, illness, loss of pay and benefits and loss of advancement opportunities as a member of the elite anti-terror unit.

The man, described in the lawsuit as "a proud Arab-American, a practicing Muslim and a patriot," blamed the city for failing to respond to his repeated complaints about the contractor, who was alleged to have sent e-mails saying "Burning the hate-filled Koran should be viewed as a public service at the least" and "Without Islam, there wouldn't be any Islamic terror."

He said the hateful rhetoric, unchecked by supervisors, infected the workplace, where other employees felt comfortable making anti-Muslim comments and jokes and where a high-ranking police official thought it was OK to say, "All Arabs are animals."

A city law office spokeswoman, Connie Pankratz, said city attorneys were aware of the case and were reviewing the papers Tuesday. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

NY: POLICE ANTITERRORISM ANALYST SUES CITY, CITING ANTI-MUSLIM E-MAIL - TOP
William K. Rashbaum, New York Times, 12/6/06
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/nyregion/06suit.html

For several years, the New York Police Department has touted an elite undercover unit of mostly Middle Eastern and Asian investigators who use their foreign-language skills online to search out potential terrorist threats against the city.

But now the department is under criticism from a member of the unit, an Egyptian-born analyst who filed a suit yesterday that charges he was subjected to hundreds of blistering anti-Muslim and anti-Arab e-mail messages sent out by a city contractor over the course of three years.

The analyst, not named in the court papers, filed the discrimination lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan as "John Doe Anti-Terrorism Officer" because he still works undercover in the Cyber Unit.

In an interview yesterday, he said he complained repeatedly to supervisors but that no one took action.

A 48-year-old captain with the New York City Department of Correction, the analyst has been assigned to work with the Police Department's Intelligence Division since 1998. He said he helped form the Cyber Unit there in 2002. The members, who number about a dozen, troll message boards and Web sites to engage extremists and collect intelligence about potential threats, the suit says. He fears that his family in Egypt may face retaliation if his name and the nature of his work were revealed, said his lawyer, Ilann M. Maazel.

At the center of the lawsuit are e-mail briefing messages sent out several times a day to members of the Intelligence Division by Bruce Tefft, a former C.I.A. official who has identified himself in the past as the Police Department's counter-terrorism adviser. The e-mail messages were sent to everyone in the division, including Deputy Commissioner David Cohen, also a former C.I.A. official, the suit said. (MORE)

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VT: MAN IS HELD FOR STALKING MUSLIM - TOP
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061206/NEWS/61206023

A 32-year-old Guilford man has been arrested and accused of stalking and threatening to kill a family of Muslims that he believed were plotting a terrorist attack.

The family the man is accused of targeting lives in Dummerston and owns a Brattleboro business. Authorities said the man's suspicions are baseless.

Kyle A. Thurber was arrested Dec. 1 after waiting with a loaded rifle outside the workplace of two Muslim men, police said. Thurber, who has known the men for many years, told police they were terrorists planning to attack the United States.

Thurber apparently has been living out of his car in the Brattleboro area and is undergoing a mental health evaluation, said David Gartenstein, the deputy state's attorney for Windham County.

Thurber pleaded innocent Monday in Brattleboro District Court to two felony counts of aggravated stalking with a deadly weapon. He faces up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines if convicted.

In court documents, Brattleboro Police accuse Thurber of stalking the family over a three-day period, beginning Nov. 29 when he allegedly gunned his car outside their residence in Dummerston, spinning the tires, and then drove on their driveway and lawn.

They told police Thurber stalked them again the next day at their Brattleboro business. Thurber confronted one of the men and said he wanted to talk with him and with his son; Thurber left "frustrated" after the man told him his son had called in sick, court documents state.

Employees of the business said Thurber had been waiting in the company's parking lot since 6:30 a.m. that day. The confrontation with Thurber occurred at about 10:30 a.m.

Fearing for his family's safety, the man hired an off-duty Brattleboro Police officer to guard the office and moved his family to a seasonal home in New Hampshire. Police said Thurber tried and failed to enter the business at about 10 a.m. Nov. 31. The doors had been locked. Police said that when they arrived to question Thurber, he told them he had a job interview.

Police searched his car and found a Remington 7600 rifle and ammunition, according to records.

Thurber told police members of the family, who are Palestinian, were plotting to blow up the north end of Brattleboro and possibly the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. He said he was suspicious because they frequently spoke Arabic to each other.

Thurber told police he planned to assault family members but did not want to kill them because he didn't want to go to prison. Still, police allege, he repeatedly made threats against their lives.

"Thurber stated that he thought the [family] should no longer be able to breathe," Brattleboro Police Officer Mark Carignan wrote in his affidavit. "He said that they needed to be killed to protect the United States." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

IL: POLICE, MUSLIM COMMUNITY ADDRESS THREATS - TOP
Jason Arndt, Lake County News-Sun, 12/5/06
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/news/161107,5_1_WA05_zionmuslimfamily.article

The City of Zion is working to quash the recent threats to a local Muslim family following a home invasion during which a 16-year-old alleged gang member was killed.

Zion police are reaching out to Muslim groups in the area to prevent any potential hate crimes arising out of the incident. A town hall meeting will be held next week where Zion officials and members of the Muslim community will work with the public to bring a better understanding of the Muslim faith. (MORE)

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ISLAM-OPED: POPE'S VISIT TO TURKEY TURNS CORNER ON MUSLIM-CATHOLIC RELATIONS - TOP

ISLAM-OPED is a national syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.

CONTACT: ihooper@cair.com
TEL: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726 (c)

Please consider the following commentary for publication.

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ISLAM-OPED: POPE'S VISIT TO TURKEY TURNS CORNER ON MUSLIM-CATHOLIC RELATIONS
By Parvez Ahmed
WORD COUNT: 744

[Parvez Ahmed is board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. He may be contacted at pahmed@cair.com.]

Following the death of Pope John Paul II, much of the world, including the Muslim world, anxiously awaited the naming of the next Pope. Such anticipation among non-Catholics was a tribute to John Paul's legacy of outreach and reconciliation with people of other faiths.

As the world waited to hear the name of the new Pope, I was invited to participate in a "virtual conclave" by Beliefnet.com in which Catholics and people of other faiths discussed who they would like to see leading the Church.

When Pope Benedict XVI began his first visit to Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, I went back to the conclave archives to find out what aspirations the participants had about the Muslim-Catholic relationship.

One prominent Catholic participant posed the question, "To what extent should concerns about Muslim-Christian relations guide the choice of a pope?"

Mary Louise Hartman of the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church replied, "The new Pope will have to be skilled in diplomacy and sensitive in his approach to our sisters and brothers in Islam."

Russell Shaw of the National Conference of Catholic Bishop's wrote, "the relationship with Islam is one of the big three issues the next pope will have to address. ... But what to do? It's all very well to say Catholics should dialogue with Muslims and encourage the moderates among them. But I do not think the people who flew airliners into the World Trade Center were very open to dialogue."

The desire to build a solid relationship was clashing with fears about extremism.

John Esposito of Georgetown University injected a dose of reality, "Inter-religious dialogue is between the mainstream majorities - their leaders, scholars, followers. Therefore, Catholicism's dialogue with Islam/Muslims is not with the extremist minority no more than its dialogue would be with Jewish extremists, Hindu extremists, etc."

By visiting Turkey, Pope Benedict chose the path of engagement. His visit could help undo the damage resulting from his quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor who had said that Islam was "spread by the sword."

While the reprehensible violence by a tiny minority of Muslims reacting to the Pope's remarks received wide publicity, calls for dialogue by mainstream Islamic groups went virtually unnoticed.

A recent survey by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) found that among Muslims in America, 84 percent agreed that they should strongly emphasize shared values with People of the Book (i.e. Christians and Jews).

More than three-quarters of American Muslims are native born. They are part of mainstream America and are here to stay. Yet some are bent on marginalizing this voice of moderation.

Take for example some recent incidents that expose a nasty strain of bigotry in our society.

Washington, D.C., radio host, Jerry Klein in an attempt to ridicule and expose anti-Muslim bigotry, made a suggestion on-air that all Muslims in the United States should wear "identifying markers" such as a crescent-shape tattoo or a distinctive arm band. Rather than be repulsed by this outlandish Nazi-like proposal, the phone lines lit-up with callers who spoke in agreement.

CNN talk-show host Glen Beck recently questioned the patriotism of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. He told Ellison:
"[W]hat I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.'"

But perhaps the most disturbing opinion was recently expressed by talk-show host Dennis Prager when he argued that Keith Ellison should not be allowed to take his oath of office on the Quran. "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book (the Christian Bible)," Prager tells Ellison, "don't serve in Congress."

Pope Benedict's visit to Turkey may help turn a corner in recent Muslim-Christian relations. His concluding plea, "I hope that this dialogue continues," will reverberate louder than his earlier faux pas. Muslims also have responded with optimism. Turkey's influential Milliyet newspaper declared the visit as "The Istanbul Peace."

The Pope made history by being only the second pontiff to set foot inside a mosque and being the first to join Muslims in prayer. Mustafa Cagrici, head cleric in Istanbul, described this gesture as sign of a new beginning for the world.

People of conscience in all faiths must use the opening resulting from the Pope's visit to Turkey to come together and create a new La Convivencia ("the Coexistence"), when Spanish Jews, Muslims and Christians lived in relative peace and managed to develop a golden era progress in science and culture.

SEE ALSO:

U.S. MUSLIM-CATHOLIC DIALOGUES GROWING REALITY - TOP
Jerry Filteau, Catholic News Service, 12/5/06
http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=22243

Muslim-Catholic dialogue is a living and growing reality in the United States.

"The important thing is to keep the dialogue going because there are so many parts of the world where it isn't going," said John Borelli, special assistant to the president and director for interreligious initiatives at Georgetown University in Washington.

Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America's new Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, called the advancement of the U.S. dialogues "something of a historical imperative" because "if they go in the right direction, they could give a gift of the 21st century to the rest of mankind."

Father Francis Tiso, associate director for interreligious relations at the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said dialogue "is a tremendous opportunity to refine your thinking about the other side."

Borelli, who held Father Tiso's post from 1987 to 2003, played a major role in the 1990s in getting three official regional dialogues started between Catholic and Muslim leaders and scholars.

Father Tiso said those three dialogues - West Coast, Midwest and Middle Atlantic - have their roots in local dialogues. "The model he (Borelli) set up is to have a pair of persons from each town or diocese, along with Catholic and Muslim scholars, get together once a year for a two-day session," he said.

For example the Midwest dialogue has paired participants from Catholic-Muslim dialogues in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Louisville, Ky., and Toledo, Ohio. Under that arrangement the regional dialogue also serves as a kind of leadership meeting for the leaders of the local dialogues, Father Tiso said. (MORE)

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CAIR-CA: MUSLIMS AND JEWS BUILD BRIDGES OF UNDERSTANDING - TOP

(DAVIS, CA, 12/6/06) - On Monday, December 4, the Council on American on American-Islamic Relations Sacramento Valley chapter (CAIR-SV) gave a lecture titled "What We All Should Know About Islam" at Congregation Bet Haverim in Davis, Calif.

CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra discussed the Abrahamic connection of Judaism and Islam. Elkarra also addressed Islamic beliefs and a history of Muslim-Jewish relations. More than 100 community members were in attendance.

"We thank Bet Haverim for hosting this important dialogue," said CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra. "We look forward to working with the Jewish community to help build bridges of understanding." The lecture was sponsored by the Israel Peace Alternatives.

CONTACT: Basim Elkarra, 916-441-6269, Email: sacval@cair.com

SEE ALSO:

VIDEO: CAIR-FL SPONSORS THANKSGIVING LUNCHEON AT BAPTIST CHURCH - TOP
http://cbs4.com/video/?id=26112@wfor.dayport.com

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RADIO HOST MARK WILLIAMS ON IMAMS THROWN OFF FLIGHT: "[T]HESE PEOPLE WANT US DEAD" - TOP
Media Matters, 12/5/06
http://mediamatters.org/items/200612050012

Summary: Mark Williams stated the six imams removed from a November 20 US Airways flight "are one of two things. ... They are either terrorists or they're trying to cash in on the politically correct lottery," in that the imams could "get themselves thrown off the plane, and sue." Williams added, "[T]hese people want us dead. ... I don't want this guy as my neighbor." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

AL: DANGERS OF FLYING WHILE MUSLIM - TOP
Jason Shepard, Vanguard, 12/5/06
http://www.usavanguard.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/12/05/4575fb5558b04

A priest, rabbi and an imam walk into an airport. What do they have in common? Aside from being a set-up for a horrible joke, the leaders of their respective religious communities have joined together to protest the tyranny of American racism. Specifically, the priests, rabbis and imams recently staged a "pray-in" at Reagan Washington National Airport and asked for an apology from U.S. Airways for their decision to kick six Muslims off a Minneapolis-to-Phoenix flight and to detain these imams on suspicion of terrorism.

Come to find out the imams were not terrorist at all. It is understandable that in today's reality of high-risk threats emanating from the potential actions of a few faceless terrorists, it's always better to be safe than sorry. But the fact of the matter is that there was no legitimate justification to even believe that these imams might have been terrorist. The most plausible explanation for their detention is plain and simple: They were victims of Islamophobia.

The imams in question visibly prayed prior to boarding the plane. As they were boarding, a fellow passenger overheard one of the imams making "anti-American" remarks. Once on the plane, they "moved around." A concerned citizen passed the pilot a note, and as a result, the imams were subjugated to humiliation and detention, not to mention the major inconvenience that goes along with such consequences. The only statement of the facts that seems potentially incriminating was the so-called "anti-American" remarks.

So what exactly was said? The comments were nothing more than part of a casual conversation that included harmless critiques of certain aspects of American policy. There was no outward display or remark of hate or even strong disgust for America or Americans. Nor was there even a hint of threatening language used. The comments were simply passing critiques of American governmental policies. There was absolutely nothing threatening or anti-American said.

The last time I checked, it is not only legal to critique the American government, but at least in theory, it is encouraged for all to participate in debates concerning our government and its policies. The freedom from persecution from engaging in such debates, or simply making passing comments while in public, is what separates a democratic society from a dictatorship. The day such comments, critiques and debates become characterized as anti-American is the day that the populace decides that "pro-American" implies anti-democracy, anti-liberty and anti-rationality. The day people start being persecuted, arrested and detained for such actions is the day that our country will have begun to make a slide towards fascism. Perhaps that day has already befallen our nation. Perhaps it has not. After all, I personally wrote a piece in which I suggested that Bush and company deserved to be sent to the gallows-a comment much more extreme than any that the imams made-without fear of persecution. I even feel I could make such a remark in an airport while boarding a plane without fear of being detained. So maybe the explanation is not that America is becoming a fascist country, but rather that America remains a country of ignorant bigots full of fear of the "others." (MORE)

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MUSLIMS FOR A BETTER WASHINGTON, DC - TOP

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik is inviting you to a series of assessment and planning sessions with the advent of the new government administration lead by Mayor-elect Adrian Fenty in Washington, DC.

The goal of this meeting is to develop a strategic assessment and plan for "Muslim Empowerment in the District of Columbia."

The input of the broadest cross-section of the community is needed to gather the needs and resources that can be brought to bear in the future development of Washington, DC. We have the opportunity to expand our horizons and to work together for true economic development and growth for the community.

Our community has such diverse skills and talents. Our city needs all of our positive energies to attend. Whatever your qualifications: real estate development, health care, agriculture and landscaping, computers/IT and financial services, etc. This will be a first in a series of meetings to quickly develop our plan to assist in the development of Washington, DC.

WHEN: Saturday, December 9, 2006, 1 - 4 p.m.
WHERE: 441-4th Street NW [1 Judiciary Square], South 11th Floor Conference Room, Washington, DC

Please RSVP by December 5, 2006
CONTACT: imamjohari@gmail.com or call 202-345-5233

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BAKER PANEL'S MENTION OF PALESTINIAN "RIGHT OF RETURN" RAISES EYEBROWS - TOP
Agence France Presse, 12/6/06
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/12/06/061206204349.qjq06iek.html

A reference to Palestinians' "right of return" in the report issued by the high-level Iraq Study Group broke a diplomatic taboo which sparked immediate concern in Israel and surprise among Middle East policy experts.

The reference was buried deep inside a 160-page report that urged US President George W. Bush to renew efforts to revive Israel-Palestinian peace talks as part of a region-wide bid to end the chaos in Iraq.

"This report is worrisome for Israel particularly because, for the first time, it mentions the question of the 'right of return' for the Palestinian refugees of 1948," said a senior Israeli official, who was reacting to the US policy report on condition he not be identified.

A Middle East analyst who was involved in the Iraq Study Group discussions but did not participate in drafting the report expressed surprise when the reference was pointed out to him by a reporter.

"It's hard to know whether that language got in there because of carelessness -- I know there were many revisions up to the very last minute -- or whether it was a deliberate attempt to fuse something to the Bush rhetoric which wasn't there before," the analyst said.

The 1993 Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians calls for a resolution of the issue of Israeli and Palestinian "refugees" as part of a final status agreement that would include the creation of a Palestinian state. (MORE)

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2006 17:35:37 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Imams Removed from US Airways Flight Retain CAIR as Legal Counsel

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IMAMS REMOVED FROM US AIRWAYS FLIGHT RETAIN CAIR AS LEGAL COUNSEL
Muslim leaders concerned about false claims resulting from incident

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/6/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that five of the six American Muslim imams recently removed from a US Airways flight in Minnesota have retained the Washington-based civil rights group as their legal counsel.

Airline and law enforcement officials say the imams were taken off the flight November 20th for alleged "suspicious activity." They were handcuffed and questioned for several hours by authorities before being released. CAIR, along with other civil rights organizations, has called for congressional hearings on religious and ethnic profiling at airports in response to the incident.

Since their removal from the flight, a number of charges have circulated in the media and on the Internet that the imams say are false, distorted or a misrepresentation of actual events.

"Unfortunately, the false claims and smears used against these religious leaders only serve to cloud the real issue involved, that of how national security can be maintained while preserving constitutionally-protected freedoms and respect for religious diversity," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Awad, a past member of the civil liberties advisory panel for the Clinton-administration White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, said CAIR has requested a meeting with US Airways to seek a mutually-agreeable resolution to the incident.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2006 16:44:39 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Slurs Used in Attacks on Muslims in Florida, Ohio / AJC Calls Prager's Remarks 'Disrespectful' / Houston Suburb Objects to Mosque Plans

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/7/06

* Hadith: God Does Not Grow Weary of Giving Rewards
* CAIR: Slurs Used in Attacks on Muslims in Florida, Ohio
* American Jewish Committee: Prager's Remarks 'Disrespectful'
            - CAIR: Group Wants Prager Removed from Board (AP)
            - CAIR: Rep Wants to Carry Quran, Outrage Ensues (CS Monitor)
            - CA: Quran Poses No Threat (Press-Enterprise)
* VA: Darfuri Leaders to Join Friday Prayers at Mosque
* PA: 'Stand Against Hatred' Event at College (Reading Eagle)
* TX: Houston Suburb Objects to Mosque Plans (AP)
            - NY: Mosque Celebrates Roots Near and Far
* CAIR-CAN: Resignation Does Not Make Up for Arar's Ordeal

-----

HADITH OF THE DAY: GOD DOES NOT GROW WEARY OF GIVING REWARDS - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Do (good) deeds according to your capacity because. . .God does not grow weary of giving rewards unless you get tired of doing good deeds."

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 24

The Prophet was once asked: "What is the (good) deed most loved by God?" He answered: "One that is performed constantly, even if it is small."

VERSE OF THE DAY: GOD'S REWARD

"Anyone who desires the reward of this world should know that God possesses the rewards of both this world and the hereafter."

The Holy Quran, 4:134

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CAIR: SLURS USED IN ATTACKS ON MUSLIMS IN FLORIDA, OHIO - TOP
Attackers shout 'you stupid Arab m***er f**ker,' 'go back home'
http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=77250

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/7/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that racial and ethnic slurs were used during recent attacks on Muslims in Florida and Ohio. CAIR called on the FBI to probe both incidents as possible hate crimes.

In Melbourne, Fla., a Muslim of North African heritage was badly beaten during a robbery November 14th in which a witness told police that one of the assailants shouted "you stupid Arab m***er f**ker" as he beat the 42-year-old victim. A mosque in that same city was struck by gunfire in September as worshipers prayed inside.

In Ohio, a Muslim woman wearing an Islamic head scarf said she was verbally assaulted on Tuesday by another customer at a Lakewood Walgreens when she used a passport as identification to cash a check.

She told CAIR that the cashier and other customers looked on as the man shouted obscenities, made obscene gestures and shouted "go back home" and "who needs to use a passport for ID in America."

According to the victim, the man also tried to back his vehicle over her in the parking lot when she attempted to write down his license plate number. The woman, a permanent resident who was born in Saudi Arabia, said she was concerned that no one in the store came to her assistance.

"Unfortunately, these types of incidents are becoming more frequent as the level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society grows, while religious and political leaders remain largely silent," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "We call on local and national law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, to investigate both incidents as possible hate crimes."

Hooper said CAIR's most recent report on the status of American Muslim civil rights showed an almost 30 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim bias.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR-Orland Executive Director Sabiha Khan, 407-649-1660, E-Mail: skhan@cair.com; CAIR-Ohio Cleveland Office Director Julia A. Shearson, 216-830-2247 or 216-440-2247, E-Mail: cleveland@cair-ohio.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787; 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com

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PUNDIT RIPPED FOR TELLING REP TO KEEP QURAN OUT OF CONGRESS - TOP
Jennifer Siegel, Forward, 12/8/06
http://www.forward.com/articles/pundit-ripped-for-telling-rep-to-keep-quran-out-of/

A conservative pundit popular on the Jewish dinner circuit has aroused a nationwide controversy by rejecting the right of a newly elected Muslim congressman to be sworn in using a Quran.

In a November 28 column published on the Web site Townhall.com, radio talkshow host and syndicated columnist Dennis Prager wrote that using Islam's sacred text would be "damaging to the fabric of American civilization."

"Insofar as a member of Congress is taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned," Prager wrote, "America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

Prager penned the essay after learning that Minnesota Rep.-elect Keith Ellison - the first Muslim ever elected to Congress - plans to use a Quran at his private swearing-in ceremony. Muslim American leaders, in turn, have called for Prager, who is Jewish, to be stripped of his seat on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, which oversees the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Several prominent Jewish organizations and leaders have also publicly criticized Prager. In an unusually barbed rebuke, the Anti-Defamation League called the pundit's argument "intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American."

"If Prager were merely a blogger and radio talkshow host trying to be relevant and provocative, these views might not merit a response," the ADL wrote in a December 1 statement. "But as a newly appointed member of the United States Holocaust Council, Prager and his views must be held to a higher standard." The ADL's criticism was echoed by Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, who issued a statement urging the commentator "to rethink his position and apologize."

In response to an inquiry from the Forward, the American Jewish Committee issued a statement calling Prager's remarks "disrespectful and unfortunate." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: GROUP WANTS PRAGER REMOVED FROM BOARD - TOP
Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press, 12/6/06
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061206/ap_on_re_us/ellison_quran_4

WASHINGTON - An Islamic civil rights group Wednesday called on President Bush to rescind the appointment of a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum board member who criticized an incoming congressman, Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress.

Last week, Dennis Prager, a conservative talk radio host and columnist, criticized Ellison - a Minnesota Democrat, for choosing to use the Quran, rather than the Bible, during his ceremonial swearing-in.

"Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned," Prager wrote in an Internet column, "America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

The museum board said this week that Prager's comments did not reflect the museum's position, but added that the board "is not self-appointed," and lacked the power to remove him.

So Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, sent Bush a letter on Wednesday asking for Prager's removal.

"If put into practice, Mr. Prager's exclusionary and intolerant views would permanently marginalize every minority faith in America and would violate the constitutional ban on a state-sponsored religion," said the letter, a copy of which The Associated Press obtained.

The White House had no immediate comment on the letter. Earlier Wednesday, before the letter was sent, White House press secretary Tony Snow called the matter "an issue that the president does not need to adjudicate and, therefore, will not."

Bush appointed Prager in August to fill the remainder of a five-year term that expires in January 2011.

In a telephone interview, Prager argued that CAIR was waging the campaign against him because of critical things he said about the group, not what he wrote about Ellison.

"CAIR is afraid of me, and that is the reason," he said. "I never said a word or wrote a word against the Quran or Islam."

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper responded: "Until this controversy arose, we were not aware of any reference Mr. Prager made about CAIR."

---

CAIR: AT SWEARING IN, CONGRESSMAN WANTS TO CARRY KORAN. OUTRAGE ENSUES. - TOP
Jane Lampman, Christian Science Monitor, 12/7/06
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1207/p01s03-uspo.html

Keith Ellison hasn't even started his new job, and he's already under fire.

When America's first Muslim congressman, a Democrat from Minnesota, let it be known he will carry a Koran to his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 4, conservative pundit Dennis Prager called it "an act of hubris ... that undermines American civilization."

In a web column, the talk-show host said, "Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

The column has sparked a brouhaha on talk radio, in the blogosphere, and in newspapers across the country. The congressman's office has been inundated with angry e-mails.

The US Constitution says nothing about swearing on the Bible. But some commentators insist the US is a Christian nation, and the proposed act goes against its values and tradition. To others, the uproar shows an ignorance of the Constitution and the principle of religious freedom. Some people worry that it reflects growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the country. . .

The Council for American-Islamic Relations has called for Prager to be dropped from his recent presidential appointment to the Holocaust Memorial Council. "He is trying to marginalize Muslims by making it seem as though any practice of American Muslims is different or 'other' than what America stands for," says Arsalan Iftikhar, CAIR's legal counsel.

What the courts have decided

US courts have dealt with the issue in various ways. In a 1997 federal terrorism case, a Washington, D.C., judge permitted witnesses to swear to Allah. In North Carolina in 2005, a woman was not allowed to take the oath on the Koran when testifying. The American Civil Liberties Union has sued, and the case is in appeal.

At least 17 state constitutions explicitly prohibit discrimination against witnesses or jurors on religious grounds. Some allow people to swear or affirm "under the pains and penalties of perjury," omitting "so help me God." Judges generally have jurisdiction over how oaths are administered in their courts. Mr. Iftikhar says that some judges have allowed the use of the Koran. (MORE)

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CA: QURAN POSES NO THREAT - TOP
Press Enterprise, 12/7/06
http://www.pe.com/localnews/opinion/letters/stories/PE_OpEd_Opinion_D_op_07_letters.38f083d.html

Please tell me radio talk-show host Dennis Prager was joking when he said it would damage the unity of Americans if Keith Ellison were allowed to use the Quran to be sworn into office.

As a registered Republican and conservative for more than 40 years, I was so deeply offended by Prager's remarks that I considered changing parties.

The very foundation of this country hinges on the freedom to choose one's religion, and one of the foundations of conservatives is the right of people to do what their conscience and beliefs tell them without government intrusion.

Prager gives conservatives a bad name with his right-wing rant. It's no wonder people think conservatives are nuts. Rest assured, most of us are not.

If Ellison were forced to swear an oath on a book he doesn't believe in, that oath would not be valid.

JEFF SEITZ
Corona

-----

VA: DARFURI LEADERS TO JOIN FRIDAY PRAYERS AT ADAMS CENTER - TOP

You are invited to attend a special event tomorrow, Friday, December 8th at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center.

Imam Mohamed Magid is graciously hosting a delegation of Darfuri leaders and refugees to Friday prayers, which will begin at 11:45am, and a lunch afterwards. This group of thirty Darfurians will be in Washington to participate in a leadership training weekend sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition. Their visit to the ADAMS Center and meeting with Imam Magid is also part of the Weekend of Prayer activities that the Coalition has coordinated with houses of worship across the country.

Please let me know if you will be able to attend, and feel free to extend the invitation to others.

CONTACT: Sean P. Brooks, Save Darfur Coalition, Tel: (202) 478-6197, Email: sean@savedarfur.org

-----

PA: A STAND AGAINST HATRED - TOP
Albright College event includes discussion about hate speech
Rebecca VanderMeulen, Reading Eagle, 12/7/06
http://www.readingeagle.com/re/news/1603722.asp

With a cheerleader's cadence, Amber E. Harmes called out the message she left on the cloth banner strung across a wall at Albright College on Wednesday afternoon.

"Don't hate, appreciate!" she said.

Then the sophomore from Lebanon County added a heart and smiley face.

Albright students and faculty were encouraged to sign the banner as part of a "Stand Against Hatred" event on campus.

The idea, according to organizer Mindy E. Cohen, was to say that racist or otherwise hateful comments are not OK.

The event included a candlelight vigil and an organized, but informal, discussion about hate speech.

Anti-Muslim comments are plentiful in the United States from people who connect the religion to terrorism, said Cohen, a member of the Council on Social Equality at Albright.

And hate speech has been in the news lately with anti-Semitic remarks linked to actor Mel Gibson and racial slurs made by comedian Michael Richards during a performance.

"I'm Jewish, and my best friend is a Muslim," said Cohen, who also manages Albright's radio station.

What really matters, she said, isn't what people say in public, but what they say in private places such as someone in a car who makes angry comments toward a driver of another race.

Several students signing the cloth Wednesday said they had heard that there had been some hateful graffiti on campus around Thanksgiving, but none of them had seen it. Cohen said the graffiti was not a driving force behind Wednesday's event. (MORE)

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TX: HOUSTON SUBURB OBJECTS TO MOSQUE PLANS - TOP
Rasha Madkour, Associated Press, 12/7/06
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061207/ap_on_re_us/mosque_pig_races_1

KATY, Texas - A plan to build a mosque in this Houston suburb has blown up into a neighborhood dispute, with community members warning the place will become a terrorist hotbed and one man threatening to hold pig races on Fridays just to offend the Muslims.

Many neighborhood residents claim they have nothing against Muslims and are more concerned about property values, drainage and traffic.

But one resident has set up an anti-Islamic Web site with an odometer-like counter that keeps track of terrorist attacks since Sept. 11. A committee has formed to buy another property and offer to trade it for the Muslims' land. And next-door neighbor Craig Baker has threatened to race pigs on the edge of the property on the Muslim holy day. Muslims consider pigs unclean and do not eat pork.

"The neighbors have created havoc for us and we didn't expect that," said engineer Kamel Fotouh, president of the 500-member Katy Islamic Association.

Fotouh vowed to press ahead with plans for a mosque on the 11-acre site, as well as a community center that would offer after-school activities, housing for senior citizens, a fitness center and an Islamic school. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

NY: MOSQUE CELEBRATES ROOTS NEAR AND FAR - TOP
Ted O'Callahan, Queens Chronicle, 12/7/06
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17562997&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=575596&rfi=6

After Joseph Jada emigrated from Algeria to Queens, he began attending services at Masjid al Hikmah simply because it was the closest mosque to his home in Long Island City. Once inside, he discovered, to his surprise, that the leaders of the mosque came from a country far away from his own. "I grew up thinking only Arabs were Muslims. I was shocked that people from Indonesia knew Arabic better than me. They are more serious, far more serious about religion," Jada said.

While there are many mosques in Long Island City attracting Muslims from specific geographic regions, Masjid al Hikmah is unusual in that it serves a highly diverse congregation.

Immigrants from Indonesia started the mosque-whose name translates as "Wisdom Mosque" in Arabic-and bought the building. Yet most days, the founders find themselves in the minority. With few Indonesians living in the neighborhood, nearly three out of every four worshippers at Friday services claim other ethnic backgrounds. Among them are immigrants from Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Senegal and Egypt, as well as African Americans and some Hispanics. (MORE)

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CAIR-CAN: RESIGNATION DOES NOT MAKE UP FOR ARAR'S ORDEAL, CRITICS CHARGE - TOP
Rod Mickleburgh and Oliver Moore, Globe and Mail, 12/7/06
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20061207.RCMPARAR07/TPStory/

Giuliano Zaccardelli's tenure as commissioner of the RCMP was no longer tenable given his two "radically different" statements about the case of Maher Arar, a lawyer for Mr. Arar said yesterday.

"The contradiction was inexcusable," said Marlys Edwardh, co-counsel for Mr. Arar at Mr. Justice Dennis O'Connor's commission of inquiry into the circumstances of her client's deportation to Syria and subsequent torture there.

"It is incomprehensible to me how he could give such different explanations about what he knew and when he knew it. His resignation comes as no surprise."

In September, Mr. Zaccardelli told a parliamentary committee that he knew shortly after Mr. Arar's deportation in 2002 from the United States to Syria that it had been, in part, because of erroneous information passed on by the RCMP that the Canadian software engineer had links to al-Qaeda terrorists.

But this week, the RCMP commissioner changed his story, saying that he had not known that at all until Judge O'Connor's extensive report exonerating Mr. Arar came out a few days earlier in September.

But Ms. Edwardh said Mr. Zaccardelli's resignation does nothing to address the issue of accountability for the terrible ordeal suffered by Mr. Arar at the hands of his Syrian jailers.

She said the RCMP commissioner stepped down only because of the "political embarrassment" arising from his changed position on the Arar case, rather than any sense of accountability.

Mr. Arar, who moved with his family this summer to Kamloops, B.C., where his wife has a university teaching position, declined comment on Mr. Zaccardelli's resignation.

Ms. Edwardh said she expects him to give his views at a news conference tomorrow.

"I don't want to speak for him, but his position all along has been that the government should hold people accountable [for what happened]."

So far, she said, no one has been held accountable, nor has there been any suggestion of discipline for the RCMP officers who passed on the erroneous information to U.S. security officials.

Ms. Edwardh said she found it "staggering" that Mr. Zaccardelli professed not to know that anything was amiss in the case until the O'Connor report.

"I have no doubt that, for the RCMP, Mr. Arar was an afterthought. There was not a nano-bit of concern for his position, being held by military intelligence in a country with a long record of torture."

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations struck a similar note to Ms. Edwardh, urging that Mr. Zaccardelli's leaving not be seen as a sufficient response to the Arar affair.

"Accountability goes beyond the resignation of Zaccardelli. It is critical that all departments, agencies and individuals involved in Mr. Arar's ordeal be held accountable," Karl Nickner, executive director of CAIR-CAN, said in a statement. (MORE)

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2006 14:30:13 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Dennis Prager Supporters Spew Anti-Muslim Hate / CAIR-Tampa Director Given Human Rights Award

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/8/06

* Hadith: God Loves You
* CAIR-Tampa Director Given Human Rights Award
            - CAIR-San Diego: Similarities Between Christianity, Islam
* Dennis Prager Supporters Spew Anti-Muslim Hate
            - CAIR: Hate Crimes Reported in Florida, Ohio (UPI)
            - AZ: Lecture by 'Anti-Muslim' Speaker Protested (Daily Star)
* CAIR: Opinions Differ on Imams' Dispute with Airline (Was Post)
            - CAIR to Represent Imams in US Airways Flight Incident
* Carter: Speaking Frankly about Israel and Palestine (LA Times)
            - MI: Muslims, Jews Start to Heal (Free Press)
* CA: Japanese, Muslim Americans Look Back on National Calamities
            - OH: True Islam Promotes Peace, Harmony

-----

HADITH OF THE DAY: GOD LOVES YOU - TOP

A man once came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with a piece of cloth and something in his hand. The man said: "I saw a group of trees and heard the sound of young birds. I took them and put them in my garment. Their mother then came and began to hover around my head. I showed (the chicks) to her, and she fell on them. I wrapped them (all) with my garment. They are now with me."

The Prophet said to his companions: "Are you surprised at the affection of the mother for her young?. . .God is more affectionate to His servants than a mother to her young ones. Take (the chicks) back and put them where you found them."

Sunan of Abu Dawood, Hadith 1359

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CAIR-TAMPA DIRECTOR GIVEN HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD - TOP

(TAMPA, FL - 12/8/06) - CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier today received the prestigious Human Rights Award at the 33rd Annual Awards Breakfast of the Tampa/Hillsborough Human Rights Council.

"I am grateful for this recognition and accept the award on behalf of the board, staff, volunteers, and members of CAIR who made it possible," said Bedier. Bedier added that the "true winner" of the award is the Muslim Community in the Tampa Bay area.

Other Human Rights Award winners included: Sheriff David Gee, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office; Dr. Sam Horton of the NAACP Hillsborough; Rev. Beverly Lane.

CONTACT: tampa.press@cairfl.org

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-SAN DIEGO: 'THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM' - TOP

(SAN DIEGO, CA, 12/8/06) - On December 6, CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida gave a presentation on "The Similarities Between Christianity and Islam" at the Solana Beach Library in Solana Beach, Calif.

Event participants learned about how Islam shares beliefs and practices found in Christianity. The presentation was concluded by a question and answer session. CAIR-San Diego presented the Solana Beach Library with a copy of the Quran, Islam's revealed text.

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DENNIS PRAGER SUPPORTERS SPEW ANTI-MUSLIM HATE - TOP
Islamic civil rights group receives hundreds of hate-filled e-mails

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/8/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that it has received hundreds of hate-filled e-mails from supporters of radio talk show host Dennis Prager who says the first Muslim elected to Congress should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Quran.

This week, CAIR called on President Bush to rescind Prager's appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council because of his intolerant views toward Islam in American society. CAIR had earlier called on the head of the museum council to remove Prager from his post because his views are incompatible with the mission of that taxpayer-funded institution.

A number of other commentators and groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the American Jewish Committee, have rejected Prager's views.

SEE: What People Say About Dennis Prager

On his radio program, Prager asked supporters to come to his assistance by writing letters to those, like the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who have been critical of his views. A few examples of the hundreds of Islamophobic e-mails CAIR has received from Prager's supporters include: (Spelling errors have been left unedited, while expletives have been alerted or removed.)

* "ROT in hell with your allah and that pig Mohammed. Take your islam [expletive deleted] back to the desert sand n**ger. We are watching you"

* "nobody give a [expletive deleted] about you camel [expletive deleted] raghead dog breathe smelling antiamerican [expletive deleted], get the hell out of my country you [expletive deleted]. . .dennis prager speaks the truth. . .

* "I would suggest that those in attendance at the upcoming swearing-in just murmur [expletive deleted] as the oath with the Koran is taken."

* "Dennis Prager has more right to serve on ANY committee or board in this country than you morons even have to EXIST in this country. Go back to the deserts and take your ignorance with you."

* "Quit trying to force your [expletive deleted] coran and your towel head way of life on us! respect our traditions and blend in [expletive deleted]!"

* "No way, [expletive deleted] the stone aged pigs. Including our new congressman"

"Mr. Prager must recognize by now that his call to permanently exclude Islam and other minority faiths from the public arena has added substantially to the level of anti-Muslim bigotry and interfaith mistrust in our society," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We urge Mr. Prager to issue a statement calling on his supporters to repudiate anti-Muslim hatred and to respect the religious rights of all Americans."

Awad said that Prager should take responsibility for the harm his views have caused to interfaith relations by resigning from the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

The U.S. Constitution states that "no religious test shall ever be required" to hold public office. No books of any kind are used in the actual swearing-in ceremony. Representatives may use any book they choose, or no book at all, during later ceremonial events.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

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CAIR: HATE CRIMES REPORTED IN FLORIDA, OHIO - TOP
United Press International, 12/8/06
http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20061208-110226-9536r

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Muslims in Florida and Ohio have been victims of alleged racially-motivated attacks, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Thursday.

The group urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation to launch investigations into the attacks.

"In Melbourne, Fla., a Muslim of North African heritage was badly beaten during a robbery Nov. 14 in which a witness told police that one of the assailants shouted "you stupid Arab ..." and used other abusive terms, CAIR said. "A mosque in that same city was struck by gunfire in September as worshipers prayed inside," the organization said.

"In Ohio, a Muslim woman wearing an Islamic head scarf said she was verbally assaulted on Tuesday by another customer at a Lakewood Walgreens when she used a passport as identification to cash a check. She told CAIR that the cashier and other customers looked on as the man shouted obscenities, made obscene gestures and shouted 'go back home' and 'who needs to use a passport for ID in America.'" (MORE)

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AZ: EX-CNN REPORTER'S LECTURE HERE WILL BRING PROTEST AS SOME CALL HIM ANTI-MUSLIM - TOP
Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star, 12/8/06
http://news.yahoo.com/s/azstar/20061208/lo_azstar/excnnreporterslectureherewillbringprotestassomecallhimantimuslim

Some community members are angry about an upcoming lecture by controversial author and former CNN reporter Steven Emerson, claiming Emerson is anti-Muslim.

Emerson, who wrote the 2002 bestseller "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us," is scheduled to speak at Tucson's Jewish Community Center Monday evening as part of the University of Arizona's Shaol Pozez Memorial Lectureship Series.

"The organizations that sponsored this man are not helping peace between the Muslim and Jewish faiths," said Muhammad As'ad, a Muslim who plans to protest the talk Monday. "This is going to be a very upsetting scene."

UA officials say they are aware of the opposition, but the talk is part of the series' goal of rigorous discussion resulting in a better understanding of important issues.

According to literature promoting his talk, Emerson is expected to speak about how militant Islamic individuals and groups have insinuated themselves into Western society. He contends that Islamist extremists living in the U.S. often pretend to be moderate while secretly carrying out a terrorist agenda in funding, organizing and coordinating the activities of radical Islamic groups.

Emerson's critics say the UA's Arizona Center for Judaic Studies, which is sponsoring Emerson's talk, should not be sanctioning "anti-Muslim rhetoric."

"I think he's a racist. ... He runs around and scapegoats Muslims," said Racheli Gai, a member of the local Women in Black group, which is an international peace network. She's also a co-founder of the Tucson Peace Walk - an annual walk and gathering of Muslims and Jews. (MORE)

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CAIR: DIVERSITY OF OPINION ON IMAMS' DISPUTE WITH AIRLINE - TOP
Kari Lydersen, Washington Post, 12/8/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/07/AR2006120701643.html

For years, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area has been known for its liberalism and tolerance, especially when it comes to religion. Many Muslims, including the largest population of Somalis outside of Mogadishu, make their home in the Twin Cities. The area just elected the nation's first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison (D).

"We are well known for acceptance at a period in time when much of America feels like an unwelcome place" for Muslims, said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. "This is a place where Muslims are succeeding and thriving in leadership positions."

So, last month's removal of six imams from a Phoenix-bound US Airways flight at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has prompted hand-wringing, finger-pointing, calls for greater sensitivity to religious diversity and more communication between non-Muslims and Muslims.

Police and airline officials say the imams, who attended a national conference of Muslim clerics, were removed after exhibiting suspicious behavior, including uttering anti-American statements, changing their seat assignments so that they would be scattered around the airplane and asking for seat-belt extenders, which could be used as weapons. Valerie Wunder, a spokeswoman for US Airways, said yesterday that the airline has completed its investigation of the incident and has concluded that the flight crew was justified in its actions.

But the imams say the behavior in question was merely quiet prayers before boarding the flight. . .

Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said that, while the commission has no say in a pilot's decision to take someone off a plane, the commission is supportive of Muslims' right to pray in the airport. Officials said they are considering a "meditation room" where people of various faiths can pray, and they will visit a mosque at the request of local imams.

"Muslims fly through this airport all the time, and we don't have incidents of this kind," Hogan said. "I have Muslims asking me where they can pray in the airport, and I direct them to a quiet place and tell them which way is east." . . .

Omar Shahin, one of the imams removed from the plane, said they were not praying loudly. He thinks US Airways and the media have been misrepresenting the incident. "The rumor that we were chanting Allah, making anti-American comments -- this never happened," Shahin said. "We teach at universities, we are Americans, we live in this country and love this country. Everybody who knows me knows I am the first one to do fundraising for the victims of 9/11, Katrina, the tsunami. This broke my heart."

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is angry that false rumors were circulated, including that the imams had one-way tickets and paid in cash. The group has called for an investigation and is considering a lawsuit, Awad said.

"We believe these allegations have been aired to justify the actions of US Airways," he said. "We believe it's shameful to smear them after subjecting them to this treatment," he added, referring to the imams. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: ISLAMIC GROUP TO REPRESENT IMAMS IN US AIRWAYS FLIGHT INCIDENT - TOP
Mike Sunnuck, Business Journal of Phoenix, 12/7/06
http://sanantonio.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2006/12/04/daily35.html

Several of the Muslim clerics removed from a recent US Airways flight to Phoenix have retained an Islamic civil rights group as their legal counsel.

The Council on American Islamic Relations announced that five of the six imams removed from the Minneapolis to Phoenix flight have retained the group as their legal representatives.

The imams were removed from the flight after other passengers were concerned about their behavior, which included including switching seats and saying Muslim prayers.

Tempe-based US Airways Group Inc. has defended its handling of the incident. A Washington Times story on Thursday said various investigations into the matter, including by federal agencies and the Air Line Pilots Association union, showed US Airways personnel did not act inappropriately in removing the clerics from the flight.

The Muslim individuals were attending a religious conference in Minnesota and returning to Phoenix. They were questioned and released.

CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement there have been false rumors and statements regarding the imams behavior while on the flight and his group wants to make sure events are accurately portrayed and religious and civil liberties are protected.

CAIR is a Muslim civil rights group. Critics have accused the group of being sympathetic towards anti-Israel militant groups.

US Airways (NYSE: LCC) serves 230 destinations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.

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CARTER: SPEAKING FRANKLY ABOUT ISRAEL AND PALESTINE - TOP
Jimmy Carter says his recent book is drawing knee-jerk accusations of anti-Israel bias.
Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles Times, 12/8/06
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-carter8dec08,0,7999232.story

JIMMY CARTER was the 39th president of the United States. His newest book is "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," published last month. He is scheduled to sign books Monday at Vroman's in Pasadena.

I signed a contract with Simon & Schuster two years ago to write a book about the Middle East, based on my personal observations as the Carter Center monitored three elections in Palestine and on my consultations with Israeli political leaders and peace activists.

We covered every Palestinian community in 1996, 2005 and 2006, when Yasser Arafat and later Mahmoud Abbas were elected president and members of parliament were chosen. The elections were almost flawless, and turnout was very high - except in East Jerusalem, where, under severe Israeli restraints, only about 2% of registered voters managed to cast ballots.

The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations - but not in the United States. For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts. This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.

It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defense of justice or human rights for Palestinians. Very few would ever deign to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City or even Bethlehem and talk to the beleaguered residents. What is even more difficult to comprehend is why the editorial pages of the major newspapers and magazines in the United States exercise similar self-restraint, quite contrary to private assessments expressed quite forcefully by their correspondents in the Holy Land. (MORE)

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MI: MUSLIMS, JEWS START TO HEAL - TOP
Religious leaders bring honest talk on tensions over war
David Crumm, Detroit Free Press, 12/8/06
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061208/NEWS05/612080459/1007/NEWS

One of the world's leading experts on overcoming religious barriers flew from Israel to Michigan on Thursday to help ease tensions between local Muslims and Jews.

"You have such a remarkable opportunity here in Detroit, because people from so many different cultures live here, to transform clashes into opportunities for enrichment," Rabbi David Rosen, expert on interfaith relations for the American Jewish Committee, said Thursday night.

Extreme religious voices were raised during tensions over the war in Lebanon last summer, Imam Mohammad Mardini of the American Muslim Center in Dearborn said. "But, do we blame them, if we are not doing anything to rebuild bridges?" he asked.

This was the first such public dialogue since a rift opened between local Muslim and Jewish leaders last summer. Nearly 200 Christians, Jews and Muslims met at Congregation Adat Shalom in Farmington Hills on Thursday night to listen to two rabbis and four Muslim leaders from metro Detroit.

Rosen moderated the dialogue, which was designed to avoid explosive exchanges by asking the speakers to respond to questions written out by the mostly Jewish audience.

Yet pent-up emotion often surfaced.

Victor Begg, chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, said local Muslim leaders are fed up with non-Muslims' demands that that they continually condemn terrorism, as if they are responsible for all such crimes.

"It is exhausting and depressing to be responsible for everyone in the world who uses our faith for evil," Begg said. (MORE)

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CA: JAPANESE, MUSLIM AMERICANS LOOK BACK ON NATIONAL CALAMITIES - TOP
Major tragedies usher in dark ages for both minority groups
Michael Manekin, San Mateo County Times, 12/7/06
http://www.insidebayarea.com/sanmateocountytimes/localnews/ci_4794684

When the Imperial Japanese Navy swooped over Pearl Harbor 65 years ago and destroyed more than 2,400 American lives, Mas Yamasaki was watching a church basketball game in Sacramento.

He was 12, and he didn't know that he would soon live in a detention camp in Tule Lake - sleeping on an Army-issued mattress, braving the elements without indoor plumbing or heat.

The child of Japanese immigrants, Yamasaki was born an American citizen. But he spent 31/2 years of his American childhood in the camp - he was considered a threat to national security.

The internment of Japanese immigrants is familiar to most Americans - in large part, because Yamasaki and legions of Japanese camp survivors have made their voices heard.

Now, Yamasaki and other survivors are speaking out against a new danger.

"We were stereotyped," said Yamasaki. "Now, with the Muslims, it's the same thing. Everyone's pointing fingers saying they're an enemy."

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor stripped Japanese-Americans of their homes and freedom. But five years ago, the actions of 19 hijackers radically altered the lives of the country's estimated 6 million Muslims. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

OH: TRUE ISLAM PROMOTES PEACE, HARMONY - TOP
B. Salem Foad, Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/8/06
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061208/EDIT02/612080343

As one of the monotheistic or Abrahamic faiths, Islam came from the same God who gave us Judaism and Christianity. These three divine revelations have similar teachings because the source is the same, and principles of morality like kindness, justice, charity, love and mercy do not change. We as human beings distort this divine message or fail to implement its teachings, and some use religion to advance their own political agenda. Prejudice and bias can blind our perception and understanding of those who have a different faith or different culture and tradition. Lack of proper knowledge can lead to mistrust and fear.

The concept of God and one's relationship with God, though very personal, has often been a topic of heated public discussion. Some Americans do not even understand that Allah is the Arabic word for God, and that Jews, Christians and Muslims who speak the Arabic language call on God by his Arabic name, Allah. He is a loving, merciful God who cares for his creatures, and who provides for them and guides them, and turns in mercy and forgiveness despite our many mistakes and shortcomings.

Often American Muslims' patriotism is questioned merely by the fact Muslims pray five times daily and turn their faces in prayer toward Mecca. This does not mean they are loyal to Saudi Arabia, but it means they show respect for the Kabbah, the sacred mosque built by prophets Abraham and Ishmael. Muslims are loyal to the country where they live and are an integral part of their community. They are good neighbors and good workers. (MORE)

Dr. B. Salem Foad, in addition to being a practicing physician, is an educator who serves on the Board of Trustees of the International Academy of Cincinnati and is the Adult Religious Education chair at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester.

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2006 18:17:42 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: D.C. Press Club Panel to Offer Arab, Muslim View of Iraq Report

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

- MEDIA ADVISORY -

D.C. PRESS CLUB PANEL TO OFFER ARAB, MUSLIM VIEW OF IRAQ REPORT

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/8/06) - On Tuesday, December 12, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will host a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to offer the Arab and Muslim perspective on recommendations contained in the report issued this week by the Iraq Study Group.

The panel discussion will include remarks by the Syrian ambassador to the United States, as well as comments from Middle East expert Shibley Telhami and CAIR officials. Tuesday's event is free and open to the public. Those wishing to attend must register by sending an e-mail to events@cair.com by 4 p.m., Monday, December 11. (Attendees must present registration confirmation at the event.)

WHAT: Arab, Muslim Perspectives on Iraq Study Group Report
WHEN: Tuesday, December 12, 2006, 10-11:30 a.m. (Eastern)
WHERE: National Press Club (Ballroom), National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
R.S.V.P to: events@cair.com

Panelists:

* Dr. Imad Moustapha, Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic
* Dr. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor at the University of Maryland
* Senator Larry Shaw, North Carolina General Assembly
* Dr. Parvez Ahmed, CAIR Board Chairman

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/cair-net/

Forwarded Message

Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 20:48:16 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Ed Koch Joins Call to Oust Prager from Council / Proposed NJ Mosque Stirs Heated Debate

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/10/06

* Verse: Forgive Others
* NJ: Proposed Mosque Stirs Heated Debate (Herald News)
* CAIR: U.S. Has Islamophobes, But is Not Culturally Static (Guardian)
* Ed Koch Joins Call to Oust Prager from Council (Forward)
            - American Jewish Committee: Prager is Intolerant
* CAIR: Conservatives Attack Use of Koran for Oath (RNS)
            - Page: Prager Must Think Koran is Truly Powerful Book
* CAIR-OH: Airline Discriminated Against Muslim Clerics
* CAIR-CAN: Canadian Muslim Barred from U.S. Seeks Answers
            - CAIR-CAN: Use Diplomatic Efforts to Stop Profiling
* CAIR-FL: Group Says Attack a Hate Crime (Orlando Sentinel)
* CAIR-CA: Muslims Gather to Celebrate Influence in Elections
* IL: Muslims Prepare to Embark on Hajj (Daily Southtown)
* Iraq: Photos Confirm US Raid Child Deaths (Al Jazeera)
            - Reminder: CAIR Panel to Offer Muslim View of Iraq Report

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VERSE OF THE DAY: FORGIVE OTHERS - TOP

"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord and for a garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth that has been prepared for the righteous. (The righteous are) those who spend (in His way), whether in prosperity or in adversity, who control their anger and forgive other people. For God loves those who do good."

The Holy Quran, 3:133-134

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NJ: PROPOSED MOSQUE STIRS HEATED DEBATE - TOP
MICHAEL J. FEENEY, Herald News, 12/10/06

The Albanian Associated Fund, which represents nearly 200 families, has outgrown its Paterson mosque and is seeking permission to build a combination mosque, recreation and school building in Wayne, where a number of members already live.

About five years ago, the group bought 11 acres in the township for about $350,000 in an attempt to expand its facilities in safer surroundings.

The complex would sit atop a hill where Colfax Road and Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike meet. Neighbors have opposed the project, saying it will bring heavy traffic and contribute to existing flooding problems in the area.

In a July discrimination lawsuit filed at the federal level, Albanian group members claimed that township officials stalled approving the 4,715-square-foot mosque and 7,957-square-foot school for nearly four years at the planning board level, imposing unusually stringent requirements and several delays. (MORE)

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AT LEAST IN AMERICA THEY UNDERSTAND THE NOTION OF CULTURAL DIFFERENCE - TOP
The US is not free from Islamophobes, but nor is it a racially monolithic culturally static state like Tony Blair's Britain
Gary Younge, The Guardian, 12/11/06
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1969165,00.html

Afew weeks ago, Washington-based radio host Jerry Klein announced his own very radical plan to assuage public fears of terrorism. All Muslims, he suggested, should be branded with a crescent-shaped tattoo or be forced to wear a red armband. The phones rang off the hook. The first caller said Klein was "off his rocker". The next thought he was a genius. "Not only do you tattoo them in the middle of their forehead but you ship them out of this country," the caller said. "They are here to kill us."

And so it went on, with Klein being praised or pilloried, until he finally confessed that the whole thing was a hoax to see how deep the rivers of American Islamophobia ran. "I can't believe any of you are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything I said," he told his listeners. "It's beyond disgusting."

When it comes to popular prejudice and state repression, the Muslim experience in the US does not seem to have differed much from the rest of the western world since September 11. Klein was pushing at an open door. A Gallup poll this summer showed that 39% of Americans supported requiring Muslims in the US, including American citizens, to carry special identification. In 2005 the Council on American Islamic Relations (Cair) recorded a 30% increase in the number of complaints received about Islamophobic treatment.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the US government undertook the "preventative detention" of 5,000 men on the basis of their birthplace, and later sought 19,000 "voluntary interviews". Over the next year, more than 170,000 men from 24 predominantly Muslim countries and North Korea were fingerprinted and interviewed in a programme of "special registration". None of these produced a single terrorism conviction.

According to a Pew research survey this year, Muslims are viewed less favourably in the US than in Russia, Britain and France. There has been progress. Last month Minneapolis elected the nation's first Muslim congressman - an African-American convert, Keith Ellison. But with each advance come new challenges. There is a brouhaha over Ellison's request to swear an oath on the Qur'an.

But while many Muslims here looked to Europe in the hope that it might provide a counterbalance to America's disastrous foreign policy, they also look across the Atlantic in horror at the experiences of their co-religionists. There lies the paradox: the country that has done more than any other to foment Islamic fundamentalism abroad has so far witnessed relatively little of it at home. "Europe is not coping well with the emergence of Islam," says the executive director of Cair, Nihad Awad. "It has taken a long time for them to accept that Islam is part of its future and also part of its past." (MORE)

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KOCH CALLS FOR PUNDIT'S OUSTER FROM SHOAH COUNCIL - TOP
Jennifer Siegel, Forward, 12/8/06
http://www.forward.com/articles/koch-calls-for-pundits-ouster-from-shoah-council/

Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch has called for Dennis Prager to resign or be removed from United States Holocaust Memorial Council, in response to the pundit's recent insistence that a Muslim congressman should not be sworn in using a Quran.

"There is no question that Dennis Prager is a bigot who ought to be repudiated even by his closest supporters," Koch said this morning in an interview with the Forward. "His statements are a disgrace … and I will be down there calling for the council to condemn him, and, if we have the power, to remove him." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

AJC OUTRAGED BY PRAGER REBUKE OF MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN - TOP
http://www.wfn.org/2006/12/msg00084.html

The American Jewish Committee views as outrageous and religiously intolerant Dennis Prager's critical remarks regarding newly elected Congressman Keith Ellison's decision to use a Koran when taking the private, ceremonial oath of office that will follow the official oath in the House of Representatives. (MORE)

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CONSERVATIVES ATTACK USE OF KORAN FOR OATH - TOP
Sacred and Secular Books Have Subbed for Bible
Omar Sacirbey, Religion News Service, 12/9/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/08/AR2006120801482.html

When Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Democrat whose election last month will make him the first Muslim in Congress, announced he would take his oath of office on Islam's holy book, the Koran, he provoked sharp criticism from conservatives and some heated discussion on the blogosphere.

The discussion has revived the debate about whether the nation's values and legal system are shaped only by Judeo-Christian heritage or if there is room for Islamic and other traditions.

"America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress," Dennis Prager, a conservative talk radio host in Los Angeles, wrote on http://TownHall.com. Prager, who is Jewish and serves on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, said Ellison should not be allowed to take his oath on the Koran. . .

But Ellison, who could not be reached for comment, would not be the first member of Congress to forgo a Bible. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) took her oath in 2005 on a Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, that she borrowed from Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.).

"Each of us has every right to lay our hand on the bible that we were raised with; that's what America is all about -- diversity, understanding and tolerance," Wasserman Schultz said. "It doesn't appear that Dennis Prager has learned anything from his time on the Holocaust commission."

Other politicians have departed from the Bible as well. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) used the Tanakh when she took her oath in 2002, and Madeleine Kunin placed her hand on Jewish prayer books when she was sworn in as governor of Vermont in 1985. . .

In 1825, John Quincy Adams took the presidential oath using a law volume instead of a Bible, and in 1853, Franklin Pierce affirmed the oath rather than swearing it. Herbert Hoover, citing his Quaker beliefs, also affirmed his oath in 1929 but did use a Bible, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Theodore Roosevelt used no Bible in taking his first oath of office in 1901 but did in 1905. . .

On Monday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on the Holocaust council, which oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, to remove Prager.

"No one who holds such bigoted, intolerant and divisive views should be in a policy-making position at a taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate Americans about the destructive impact hatred has had, and continues to have, on every society," the group wrote in a letter to Fred S. Zeidman, the council chairman. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

SECTARIAN PEACE BEGINS AT HOME - TOP
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune, 12/10/06
http://www.southernillinoisan.com/articles/2006/12/10/opinions/columnists/page/18486077.txt

WASHINGTON -This country's first Muslim to be elected to Congress has not been sworn in yet but he's already taking heat.

Dennis Prager, a conservative columnist and radio talk show host, objects to the holy book on which Rep.-elect Keith Ellison plans to take his oath of office on Jan. 4.

The Minnesota Democrat plans to use a Koran, the Muslim holy book, instead of a Bible.

Poor naive me. Here I thought it was an encouraging sign of this country's respect for liberty and diversity that Americans would elect a Muslim to Congress in the midst of an international war against Islamic terrorists. No country is perfect, but we've come a long way on the tolerance scale since World War II when thousands of innocent Japanese Americans were rounded up into camps far from home just for having Japanese ancestry.

But, not Prager. Ellison's choice should be blocked, Prager wrote, "not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act (of taking the oath on the Koran) undermines American culture."

Again, poor naive me. I had no idea that American civilization was so fragile. Prager must think that Koran is some truly powerful book. (MORE)

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CAIR-OH: AIRLINE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST MUSLIM CLERICS - TOP
Columbus Dispatch, 12/10/06
http://www.dispatch.com/editorials-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/12/10/20061210-B4-03.html

I respond to Richard Levine's Nov. 29 letter "Airport wasn't guilty of discrimination." Six imams, who had passed through the airport security checks and boarded a US Airways flight in Minneapolis, were regarded as suspicious by a passenger, who alerted a flight attendant.

The men were handcuffed, removed from the plane, detained and questioned for several hours. Then, despite their being innocent and completely cleared by federal officials, US Airways and some other airlines refused to allow them to purchase tickets for other scheduled flights home.

Many of the rumors and inaccurate information surrounding the alleged suspicious behavior of the men have been proved to be false. For example, contrary to what some media reports stated, all had roundtrip tickets and luggage. The incident boils down to overreaction by a passenger and the airline to Muslim men on the aircraft and their observance of routine prayers prior to boarding. In America today, those who encourage this type of religious profiling stoke the flames of anger and fear. Then they call for people to act on prejudice and institutionalize bigotry in the form of ethnic and religious profiling. But sanctioning witch hunts and a Ku Klux Klan-like mentality will not lift up this nation, nor will it make us safer.

We have worked very hard in this country to set standards of decency and personal conduct that respect each individual. Some of the memories of racial and ethnic profiling in our nation's history bring us shame and disbelief as we wonder why we allowed it. Others bring pain as the blight of racism has not been purged from us collectively, and we know it.

But we try. Because when prejudice exists in the eye of the beholder, any innocent activity can seem sinister. This was illustrated clearly in these recent events. Three men prayed in a side area of the airport waiting room. Two large men asked for seatbelt extenders. A blind man moved his seat to be near an acquaintance. These brought out handcuffs, the FBI and wild rumors circulating in the media.

At an interfaith pray-in near the US Airways ticket counter at Washington National Airport, Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center of Philadelphia explained why he would not fly on US Airways until they apologized and recompensed the imams.

If we believe in the values America has stood for, we must stand together to be a just nation and recognize the humanity of each individual. We must give each person equal protection under the law, and we must stand against racial, ethnic and religious profiling and discrimination.

ASMA MOBIN-UDDIN
President
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ohio Chapter
Columbus

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CAIR-CAN: OTTAWA RESIDENT WANTS EXPLANATION AFTER OUSTER FROM U.S. PUTS JOB AT RISK - TOP
CanWest News Service, 12/9/06
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=48fbd803-bc96-43d1-9937-040beaecb25f

An Ottawa man who was denied entry into the United States in October is trying to find out why and hoping to clear his name with security authorities.

Ali SeifAnNasr, a Tunisian-born business analyst who came to Canada in 1996, says he was detained by U.S. officials at Chicago's O'Hare airport after he landed on Oct. 22 to attend a two-week training session for his new employer, a business consulting firm.

He said the incident was especially puzzling because he had cleared U.S. Customs and Immigration in Ottawa.

SeifAnNasr was questioned by security officials and the FBI, and detained overnight. Homeland Security officials sent him back to Canada the next day.

SeifAnNasr, 42, wants to find out what happened, clear his name, and win some compensation if mistakes have been made. "I lost my job. It's my reputation," he said. . .

Karl Nickner, executive director of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the SeifAnNasr incident is an example of racial-religious profiling. He said border detentions, based on incorrect information in databases, are happening in Canada but not being reported. He said they can leave people humiliated and fearful.

"We think it's occurring on a daily basis," said Sameer Zuberi, spokesman for the council.

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-CAN: GOVERNMENT MUST PURSUE DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO STOP PROFILING BY US CUSTOMS - TOP
http://www.caircan.ca/itn_more.php?id=2811_0_2_0_C

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CAIR-FL: GROUP SAYS ATTACK A HATE CRIME - TOP
Orlando Sentinel, 12/9/06
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/volusia/orl-mcfbriefs09_506dec09,0,2327383.story

MELBOURNE -- -A national association that advocates for the rights of Muslims has asked the FBI to investigate a Melbourne attack as a federal hate crime.

Elhassan Elfakiri, 42, was mugged Nov. 14 while checking his mail at Tradewinds apartments on Palm Bay Road, a police report states. The two attackers shouted religious and ethnic slurs as they beat him, police say.

Sabiah Kahn, executive director of the Orlando office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the FBI needs to investigate to show attackers that authorities take bias crimes seriously.

"Among their mandates is to protect people against hate crimes," Kahn said.

Elfakiri was hit from behind, according to the report. The attackers knocked Elfakiri unconscious and drove off in a tan SUV.

Elfakiri is a Muslim from Morocco.

The attack unnerved already anxious Melbourne Muslims, Kahn said. The Islamic Society of Brevard County, a local mosque, was shot up in September on the first day of Ramadan while the building was packed with worshippers, Kahn said. One suffered minor injuries, she said. (MORE)

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CAIR-CA: MUSLIMS GATHER TO CELEBRATE THEIR INFLUENCE IN ELECTIONS - TOP
Mercury News, 12/9/06
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/peninsula/16202160.htm

Bay Area Muslims and various politicians are coming together tonight in Newark for a meet-and-greet to celebrate the contribution of the Muslim vote in local, state and national elections this year.

The event is being sponsored by Muslim American Project -- Voters, and supported by many other organizations, including the Council on American Islamic Relations, American Muslim Voice, Indian Muslim Relief & Charities, North American Islamic Shelter for the Abused and United Muslims of America. (MORE)

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IL: AREA MUSLIMS PREPARE TO EMBARK ON SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE - TOP
Isaac Wolf, Daily Southtown, 12/10/06
http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/166635,103nws2.article

When 24-year-old Badie Ali returns from his winter vacation, he won't begin only a new year. He'll begin a new life.

About to embark on the "hajj," or religious pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Ali believes that his trip to the birthplace of Muhammad will cleanse his spirit.

"Finishing the hajj is like being a newborn baby," he said. "You're forgiven of all of your previous sins."

Ali, along with about 150 other Southland Muslims, is preparing to make his hajj to Islam's holiest sites. He begins the trip Dec. 16 and will return home to Orland Park on Jan. 6. (MORE)

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PHOTOS CONFIRM US RAID CHILD DEATHS - TOP
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/A7B418CB-37BD-4A69-B55C-CBDC7D932B38.htm

Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive footage that confirms children were among the victims of a US air raid northwest of Baghdad. Local officials said that the bodies of 17 civilians, including six children and eight women, had been pulled from the debris of two houses in al-Ishaqi.

The US military had issued a statement on Friday saying that two women were among 20 suspected "al Qaeda terrorists" killed in the operation.

Al Jazeera's footage showed the bodies of men, women and children wrapped in blankets after they had been pulled from the rubble.

The Agence France Presse news agency said it passed its own photographs of the dead children to Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a US military spokesman, who said: "We've checked with the troops who conducted this operation - there were no children found among the terrorists killed. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

REMINDER: CAIR PANEL TO OFFER MUSLIM VIEW OF IRAQ REPORT - TOP
http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/061208/clf065.html?.v=10

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 17:37:27 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terror / Fliers at PA Church Take Aim at Islam

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/11/06

* Verse: The Flimsiest of Dwellings
* CAIR Panel to Offer Arab, Muslim View of Iraq Report
* PA: Fliers at Pa. Church Take Aim at Islam
* CAIR Director Meets with Arab League Secretary General
            - CAIR-MD/VA Trains Imams in Media Relations
* Resources: Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism
* CAIR: Muslims Turn Corner on Ties with Catholics (Orlando Sent)
* WA: Religious Freedom Trumps All in Congressman's Case
            - People For the American Way Supports Muslim Rep
            - NC: Muslims Have Right to Use Quran in Oaths (News & Obs)
* OR: Local Muslims Prepare for Hajj (Oregonian)
* CA: Muslims Aim for Greater Political Involvement (KCBS)
* Officers Had Role in Evangelical Video (Wash Post)

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VERSE OF THE DAY: THE FLIMSIEST OF DWELLINGS - TOP

"The parable of those who choose protectors other than God is that of the spider that builds (itself) a dwelling. But truly, the flimsiest of dwellings is that of the spider."

The Holy Quran, 29:41

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CAIR HOSTS PANEL TO OFFER ARAB, MUSLIM VIEW OF IRAQ REPORT - TOP
Washington Daybook, 12/12/06

WHEN: 10 a.m. Foreign Affairs - Discussion
SPONSOR: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
TOPIC/SUBJECT: hosts a panel discussion to offer the Arab and Muslim perspective on recommendations contained in the report issued by the Iraq Study Group.
PARTICIPANTS: Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha; Shibley Telhami, professor at the University of Maryland; North Carolina State Sen. Larry Shaw; and Parvez Ahmed, CAIR Board Chairman
DATE: December 12, 2006
LOCATION: National Press Club, 14th and F Streets NW, Ballroom, Washington, D.C.
CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com [Note: Register by sending an e-mail to events@cair.com]

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PA: FLIERS AT PA. CHURCH TAKE AIM AT ISLAM - TOP
Ashley Kelly, Times Herald-Record, 12/11/06
http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061211/NEWS/612110320

Islam is a "clear and present danger," according to the pamphlet in the foyer of the Milford Bible Church.

"Christians are in danger from the spread of the doctrines of Islam," reads the first sentence of the flier.

The words are not meant as an attack against Muslims, according to the parishioner who brought in the fliers. They are only a defense against Islamic teachings, she says.

"It's really all about us being aware of the danger spiritually, not physically," Norma Drake said at the church yesterday. "It's just presenting Christ as superior to Mohammed, which is what we, as Christians, believe."

The pamphlet is published by the Personal Freedom Outreach, a nonprofit group with offices in Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The group lists three goals on its Web site: to educate Christians about the dangers and heretical doctrines of religious cults, to use the Gospel of Jesus Christ to reach members of those cults and to warn Christians of unbiblical teachings within the church itself.

The tone of the flier angered some local Muslims.

"Statements like this only further show the ignorance and naiveness of a large portion of Americans when it comes to Islam," said Abdus-Shaheed Azeez, a Muslim from Middletown.

Dr. Quazi Al-Tariq, the president of the Middletown Islamic Center, said he was surprised that a church would display that type of message.

"This is definitely dividing the nation and creating hatred among people," Al-Tariq said. "This is not a good practice for a church. It is the church's moral responsibility to bring peace on all sides and not to provoke any religious hatred."

The Milford church's senior pastor, Rodney Ryle, said he had not seen the pamphlet and that the church would usually approve a pamphlet about Islam for informational purposes, but not to slam Islam. (MORE)

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CAIR DIRECTOR MEETS WITH ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY GENERAL - TOP

(WASHINGTON, DC, 12/11/06) - CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, along with other Muslim and Arab American leaders, recently met with Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa. Among the topics discussed were the Iraq Study Group report, the so-called "clash of civilizations," Islamophobia, and the recent mid-term elections. Awad updated Musa on the status of Muslim civil rights in the United States.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-MD/VA TRAINS IMAMS IN MEDIA RELATIONS - TOP

(HERNDON, VA, 12/11/06) - On December 9, the Maryland and Virginia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MD/VA), in cooperation with the D.C. Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (DC-CCMO) and the Fairfax Institute, held its first annual Imams' media relations conference in Herndon, Va.

More than 40 imams, community leaders and activists joined the one-day conference, which was designed to teach them how to interact effectively with media professionals.

CONTACT: Sakeena Abdulraheem or Jamil Moris-Days, Tel: 703-689-3100 or Khalid Iqbal, Tel: 202-439-5432

-----

RESOURCES: MUSLIM VOICES AGAINST EXTREMISM AND TERRORISM - TOP

* Part I - Fatwas

* Part II - Statements by Organizations

* Part III - Statements and Articles by Individuals

-----

CAIR: TURNING THE CORNER ON TIES WITH CATHOLICS - TOP
Parvez Ahmed, Orlando Sentinel, 12/11/06
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/orl-parvez1106dec11,0,3066454.story

Following the death of Pope John Paul II, much of the world, including the Muslim world, anxiously awaited the naming of the next pope. Such anticipation among non-Catholics was a tribute to John Paul's legacy of outreach and reconciliation with people of other faiths.

As the world waited to hear the name of the new pope, I was invited to participate in a "virtual conclave" by Beliefnet.com, in which Catholics and people of other faiths discussed who they would like to see leading the church.

When Pope Benedict XVI began his first visit to Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, I went back to the conclave archives to find out what aspirations the participants had about the Muslim-Catholic relationship.

One prominent Catholic participant posed the question, "To what extent should concerns about Muslim-Christian relations guide the choice of a pope?"

Mary Louise Hartman of the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church replied, "The new pope will have to be skilled in diplomacy and sensitive in his approach to our sisters and brothers in Islam."

Russell Shaw of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote, "The relationship with Islam is one of the big three issues the next pope will have to address. . . . But what to do? It's all very well to say Catholics should dialogue with Muslims and encourage the moderates among them. But I do not think the people who flew airliners into the World Trade Center were very open to dialogue."

The desire to build a solid relationship was clashing with fears about extremism.

John Esposito of Georgetown University injected a dose of reality: "Inter-religious dialogue is between the mainstream majorities -- their leaders, scholars, followers. Therefore, Catholicism's dialogue with Islam/Muslims is not with the extremist minority no more than its dialogue would be with Jewish extremists, Hindu extremists, etc."

By visiting Turkey, Pope Benedict chose the path of engagement. His visit could help undo the damage resulting from his quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor who had said that Islam was "spread by the sword."

While the reprehensible violence by a tiny minority of Muslims reacting to the pope's remarks received wide publicity, calls for dialogue by mainstream Islamic groups went virtually unnoticed.

A recent survey by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) found that among Muslims in America, 84 percent agreed that they should strongly emphasize shared values with "People of the Book "(i.e. Christians and Jews).

More than three-quarters of American Muslims are native born. They are part of mainstream America and are here to stay. Yet some are bent on marginalizing this voice of moderation. (MORE)

[Parvez Ahmed is board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. He may be contacted at pahmed@cair.com. ]

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WA: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM TRUMPS ALL IN CONGRESSMAN'S CASE - TOP
Yakima Herald-Republic, 12/11/06
http://www.yakima-herald.com/page/dis/287703290317377

Chalk it up to symbolism blown out of proportion.

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, D-Minn., caused a brief stir last week when he said he planned to use the Quran, rather than the Bible, during his ceremonial swearing-in. Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress and will take his seat when that body convenes next month.

Dennis Prager, a conservative talk radio host and columnist, subsequently criticized Ellison's decision. But in a country where the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, his rationale was shaky at best.

Prager had written in his column: "Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

Wrong. America is not interested in only one book. Christianity may be the dominant religion in the country, but it's certainly not the only one.

Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman -- who like Prager is Jewish -- was quick to support Ellison, and with much more realistic reasoning. Coleman said that even though the Jewish Bible includes only the Old Testament, he uses a Bible that includes both the Old and New Testaments. It's his choice.

Coleman said he knows Prager well, adding, "I've broken bread with him -- on many issues, I agree with Dennis Prager. I think he's a brilliant man on a whole range of things. But I disagree with him on this one.

"First of all, I think it's a ceremonial act; people have a right to worship in their way, and this is what Keith Ellison chose to do. From my perspective, he had that right. It's freedom of religion in this country."

Well said, and it certainly reflects a deeper understanding of First Amendment guarantees. Freedom of religion doesn't mean "you're free to believe as I do." Rather it guarantees a person can practice whatever religion he or she wants -- or not practice religion at all.

The swearing-in ceremony is symbolic. Ellison has the right to choose the symbol that best suits his religious beliefs as one of the props.

SEE ALSO:

ATTACKS ON MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN-ELECT'S FAITH UNDERMINE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM - TOP
People For the American Way, 12/9/06
http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=23226

CONTACT: Drew Courtney or Josh Glasstetter, email: media@pfaw.org, phone: 202-467-4999

When congressman-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, said that he would take the oath of office using a Koran, far right ideologues were quick to attack him. Right wing activist Dennis Prager said that Congressmen should only be allowed to use only the Bible in taking the oath of office, and the American Family Association demanded that legislation be passed to require all Congressmen to swear an oath on the Bible, regardless of their religion.

People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas issued the following statement:

"It appears that some on the Religious Right need to review the Constitution, which expressly prohibits a religious test for public office. Every congressman has a right to swear or affirm the oath of office according to his own personal faith. It would violate our constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion to require an official to swear on a Bible against that official's own religious belief.

"At a time when Religious Right leaders are falsely trying to turn "happy holidays" into an attack on Christianity, Prager has given us a real example of religious intolerance."

---

NC: ON MY OATH - TOP
Religious freedom means that American Muslims should have the right to use their sacred text when swearing an oath
News & Observer, 12/11/06
http://www.newsobserver.com/579/story/520115.html

Next month Minnesota's Keith Ellison will become Congress' first Muslim member. And how could any American who honors the role of faith in public life object to his holding the Quran? Surely in this country freedom of religion applies to followers of Islam, the world's second-largest faith by membership.

Indeed it should, but in a flap over Ellison's choice of a holy book to hold during his oath-taking (or at a photo-op afterwards) some commentators have left behind both common sense and the Constitution. The American Family Association actually proposes a law making the Bible the only book to be used during swearing-in ceremonies.

Ellison, a Democrat, dismisses all this as more "politics of division" stuff, but it's considerably worse than just that.

Not only does the Constitution mandate that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States," it's hypocritical, in a nation grounded on religious freedom, for believers to set up one true faith for public consumption. The Constitution wisely prohibits a federal "establishment of religion," and for Congress to rule out the use of a major world religion's sacred text would be theological meddling, abuse of power or both.

Furthermore, U.S. representatives are all sworn in together on the House floor. There's no formal swearing-on-the holy-book ceremony anyway. Holding a sacred text during or after is a private decision, purely a matter of faith. Leave it alone, and swear in every lawfully elected representative.

An echo of this issue was heard in North Carolina last year. A Muslim woman who had been called to testify in a Guilford County courtroom was asked to place her hand on the Bible and take an oath to tell the truth. She declined, asking "Do you have a Quran available?"

The court allowed her to raise a hand affirming that she was telling the truth, or to swear by God that she was telling the truth without laying a hand on the Bible. But no Quran -- even after a local Muslim organization offered to donate copies.

The Guilford court's options were an accommodation, but they were not equality. Religious people may well feel that their courtroom testimony will be discounted if they don't swear by their sacred text. And to make their oath most meaningful, people of faith will want to use the text that means the most to them. (MORE)

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OR: TO BE ONE OF MILLIONS IN MECCA - TOP
The Muslim faithful prepare to make the trek "for the sake of Allah"
Nancy Haught, Oregonian, 12/9/06
http://www.oregonlive.com/living/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/living/1165622115290160.xml&coll=7

Before Oregon Muslims begin their pilgrimage to Mecca, Amr Khalifa works to prepare them in two ways: for an intimate encounter with Allah, or God, and a very public one with millions of their fellow believers.

"Every action has an intention behind it," Khalifa tells a group of adults from several Portland mosques who have gathered to get ready for the pilgrimage, or hajj. Some people will travel to Mecca with shopping on their minds, he says, or because they have made a personal vow to visit the holy sites.

"Intention is very difficult to put your finger on," Khalifa says. But the right intention for the hajj is to make the journey "for the sake of Allah." (MORE)

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CA: LOCAL MUSLIMS AIM FOR GREATER POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT - TOP
KCBS, 12/10/06
http://kcbs.com/pages/145612.php?contentType=4&contentId=255950

Bay Area Muslims have pledged to become more politically aware and politically active. The Muslim American Project sponsored an event in Newark Saturday night where local Muslims could meet with several elected officials.

Project Spokeswoman Moina Shaiq told KCBS' Tim Ryan that more and more Muslims are deciding to vote, and many are now enjoying the outcome of the most recent elections.

"People are happy with the outcome because of what's been happening in the past several years. The general public is not very happy with the current administration policies."

Shaiq said they are also celebrating the election of the first Muslim to Congress, Democrat Keith Ellison of Minneapolis, who says he'll take his oath of office on the Koran.

"We're very proud and we feel that we have a voice," said Shaiq.

The most important issues in the Muslim community are civil rights, due process and the war in Iraq, according to Shaiq. Her organization hopes the recent meeting is the start of a future where politics will have a stronger Muslim voice.

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INQUIRY SOUGHT OVER EVANGELICAL VIDEO - TOP
Defense Department Asked to Examine Officers' Acts Supporting Christian Group
Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, 12/11/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/10/AR2006121000883.html

A military watchdog group is asking the Defense Department to investigate whether seven Army and Air Force officers violated regulations by appearing in uniform in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization.

In the video, much of which was filmed inside the Pentagon, four generals and three colonels praise the Christian Embassy, a group that evangelizes among military leaders, politicians and diplomats in Washington. Some of the officers describe their efforts to spread their faith within the military.

"I found a wonderful opportunity as a director on the joint staff, as I meet the people that come into my directorate," Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack J. Catton Jr. says in the video. "And I tell them right up front who Jack Catton is, and I start with the fact that I'm an old-fashioned American, and my first priority is my faith in God, then my family and then country. I share my faith because it describes who I am."

Pete Geren, a former acting secretary of the Air Force who oversaw the service's response in 2005 to accusations that evangelical Christians were pressuring cadets at the Air Force Academy, also appears in the video. The Christian Embassy "has been a rock that I can rely on, been an organization that helped me in my walk with Christ, and I'm just thankful for the service they give," he says.

The 10-minute video is on the group's Web site, Christianembassy.com. The organization was founded nearly 30 years ago by the late Bill Bright, who also founded Campus Crusade for Christ. The Christian Embassy Web site says the group holds prayer breakfasts each Wednesday in the Pentagon's executive dining room and organizes small groups to help military leaders "bridge the gap between faith and work."

Army Brig. Gen. Bob Casen refers in the video to the Christian Embassy's special efforts to reach admirals and generals through Flag Fellowship groups. Whenever he sees another fellowship member, he says, "I immediately feel like I am being held accountable, because we are the aroma of Jesus Christ."

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group led by retired Air Force lawyer Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, is requesting an investigation in a letter to the Defense Department's inspector general. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 18:40:02 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: CAIR Iraq Report Discussion to Air Live on C-SPAN2

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

CAIR IRAQ REPORT DISCUSSION TO AIR LIVE ON C-SPAN2

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/11/06) - On Tuesday, December 12, CAIR's National Press Club panel discussion on the Iraq Study Group report will be aired live at 10 a.m. (Eastern) on C-SPAN2. The event will include remarks by the Syrian ambassador to the United States, as well as comments from Middle East expert Shibley Telhami and CAIR officials.

WHAT: Arab and Muslim Perspectives on the Iraq Study Group Report
WHEN: Tuesday, December 12, 2006, 10-11:30 a.m. (Eastern)
WHERE: National Press Club (Ballroom), National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com

Panelists:

* Dr. Imad Moustapha, Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic
* Dr. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor at the University of Maryland
* Senator Larry Shaw, North Carolina General Assembly
* Dr. Parvez Ahmed, CAIR Board Chairman

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 14:09:29 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Hajjis Reminded of Their Rights as Airline Passengers / Profiling Hotline Established

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MORE U.S. MUSLIMS EXPECTED TO TAKE PART IN HAJJ
CAIR reminds pilgrims of their rights, offers 'hotline' for bias reports

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/12/2006) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today that the number of American Muslims taking part in this year's pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, is expected to increase because the religious observance falls during the winter holidays.

(American Muslims are just beginning to leave for Hajj and will be returning in early January. Some 10,000 American Muslims go on Hajj each year. To find a local mosque, go to: http://islamicfinder.org/)

Following recent allegations of "flying while Muslim" airport profiling incidents, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is advising those going on pilgrimage to be aware of their civil and legal rights as airline passengers. CAIR is also offering a toll-free hotline (1-800-784-7526) for anyone who believes their rights were violated.

In its " Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim" pocket guide, CAIR states:

"As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory. If you believe you have been treated in a discriminatory manner, immediately:

1. Ask for the names and ID numbers of all persons involved in the incident. Be sure to write this information down.
2. Ask to speak to a supervisor.
3. Ask if you have been singled out because of your name, looks, dress, race, ethnicity, faith, or national origin.
4. Ask witnesses to give you their names and contact information.
5. Write down a statement of facts immediately after the incident. Be sure to include the flight number, the flight date, and the name of the airline.
6. Contact CAIR to file a report. If you are leaving the country, leave a detailed message, with the information above at 202-488-8787."

"Given the increase in the number of complaints CAIR has received alleging airport profiling of American Muslims, we believe it is important that all those taking part in this year's Hajj be aware of their legal and civil rights," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Hajj is one of the "five pillars" of the Islamic faith. (The other pillars include a declaration of faith, daily prayers, offering regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan.) Pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey.

When the main portion of the pilgrimage is completed, Muslims worldwide gather for communal prayers on the first day of Eid ul-Adha (eed-al-ODD-ha), the second of the two major Muslim holidays.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

-----

HAJJ ACTIVITIES - TOP

Q: What Does The Quran Say About Hajj?

A:
In the Quran, Islam's revealed text, God says:

"Thus We settled Abraham at the site of the House (the Ka'aba) (saying): 'Do not associate anything with Me, and purify My house for those who walk around it, and those who stand there (praying), and those who bow down on their knees in worship.

"Proclaim the pilgrimage to all people. They will come to you on foot and on every lean (beast of burden). Let them come from every deep ravine, to bear witness to the advantages they have, and to mention God's name on appointed days." The Holy Quran, 22:26-28

The obligatory and optional activities of Hajj include:

* Entrance into a state of self-control called "ihram," during which pilgrims are forbidden to harm living creatures, even insects or plants, or raise the voice in anger. The state of ihram is signified (for men) by the wearing of two pieces of unsewn white cloth. This clothing signifies the equality of all before God. No specific clothing is prescribed for female pilgrims.

* Circling ("Tawaf") of the "Ka'aba," the stone building Muslims believe was originally built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. The Ka'aba is viewed as the first sanctuary on earth dedicated to the worship of the One God. It is a symbol of unity for Muslims because all prayers, wherever they are performed, are oriented in the direction of the Ka'aba.

* The "Sa'i," or "hastening" between two small hills near the Ka'aba, to commemorate Hagar's search for water to offer her son Ishmael.

* The "Day of Arafah." Arafah is a mountain and its surrounding empty plain near Mecca. On this day, the climax of the Hajj season, pilgrims assemble for supplication to God.

* The stoning of three pillars representing Satan's temptation of Abraham. The stoning indicates the pilgrim's rejection of evil deeds.

* Cutting the hair to symbolize the completion of Hajj.

* Sacrifice of an animal to help the poor, and in remembrance of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. The meat is distributed to relatives and to the needy.

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 14:28:11 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: CAIR Condemns Iranian Holocaust Denial Conference / Holocaust Museum Founder Calls Prager 'Poor Choice' / CA Effigy of 'Arab' Stirs Uneasiness

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/13/06

* Hadith: Share with Others
* CAIR Condemns Iranian Holocaust Denial Conference
            - Holocaust Museum Founder Calls Prager 'Poor Choice'
            - U.S. Group Hosts Israeli Extremist (NY Sun)
* CAIR's Iraq Report Panel Video Now Online (C-SPAN)
            - CAIR-FL: Speak to Syria
            - CAIR-MI to be Honored by Michigan ACLU
* MN: Muslim Rep Scores High on Racial Equity Report Card
* CAIR: CA Effigy of 'Arab' Stirs Uneasiness (Marin IJ)
* MI: Muslims Say Fear 'As Bad as After 9/11' (USA Today)
            - FL: Fear of Islam Can Be Treated, Cured (SP Times)
* MI: Furor Grows Over Closure of Charity Account (Free Press)
            - Muslim Charity Sues Over Terror Charges (NYT)
* CA: 'Convert or Die' Game Divides Christians (SF Chronicle)
* What Muslim Women Want (Wall Street Journal)
            - OK: Muslim Women Seek Acceptance of Culture, Clothing
            - Veil No Bar to Glory for Muslim Women (Reuters)
            - IL: Women Discuss Leadership Roles in Islam
* CAIR: Minnesota Among Top Destinations for US Muslims

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HADITH OF THE DAY: SHARE WITH OTHERS - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "He whose property exceed his needs, let him support the one whose property does not (meet his needs), and he whose food exceeds his needs, let him share it with those who do not have food."

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, 3:93C

VERSE OF THE DAY: GIVE ONLY WHAT IS GOOD

"O you who believe, give (to others out) of the good things you have (lawfully) earned and that which We have produced for you from the earth. And do not choose (for your charitable giving) those worthless things that you yourselves would not accept but with closed eyes."

The Holy Quran, 2:267

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CAIR CONDEMNS IRANIAN HOLOCAUST DENIAL CONFERENCE - TOP

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/13/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today condemned a conference in Iran that seeks to deny the Holocaust, the systematic destruction of the Jewish community in Europe by the Nazis during World War II.

In a statement, CAIR said:

"No legitimate cause or agenda can ever be advanced by denying or belittling the immense human suffering caused by the murder of millions of Jews and other minority groups by the Nazi regime and its allies during World War II. Cynical attempts to use Holocaust denial as a political tool in the Middle East conflict will only serve to deepen the level of mistrust and hostility already present in that troubled region."

CAIR also expressed concern that individuals who have promoted racist views, like former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, were invited to speak at the conference. "Islam, through the example of the Prophet Muhammad, has always rejected racism in any form," said CAIR's statement.

In his final sermon, the Prophet stated: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Also, a white (person) has no superiority over a black (person), nor does a black have any superiority over a white - except by piety and good action." SEE: http://cair.com/Muhammad/

The Washington-based council has in the past condemned an Iranian contest soliciting political cartoons mocking the Holocaust and supported calls for an apology from an Arab-American newspaper that published excerpts from an anti-Semitic tract.

In its past statement supporting an apology from the newspaper, CAIR said "we must challenge those who would fan the flames of anti-Semitism." CAIR's statement condemning the Iranian cartoon contest called the Holocaust "one of the lowest moments in human history."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

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HOLOCAUST MUSEUM FOUNDER CALLS PRAGER 'POOR CHOICE' FOR COUNCIL - TOP
Ed Koch wants Prager out -- will ask him to resign from Holocaust Memorial Council next week
James Besser, Jewish Journal, 12/12/06
http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=16942

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council faces continuing questions over recent statements by one of its members, local commentator and writer Dennis Prager.

But the panel, which oversees the Holocaust Museum on Washington's Mall, has no answers, since it had no role in appointing Prager and no way of removing him. Prager was appointed to the Council in September, but has not attended any meetings since it has not met since then, and has not been appointed to any committees.

Prager generated protests from across the political spectrum when he wrote that Keith Ellison, elected to the U.S. House on November 7, shouldn't be allowed to take the oath of office on a Quran.

In January Ellison will become the first Moslem in Congress; although members do not get sworn in on any holy book, he has said he would bring a Quran to the private ceremony that many members use as a swearing-in photo op.

That offended the conservative Prager, who wrote that allowing congressional oaths on a Quran "undermines American civilization." "If you are incapable of taking an oath on (the Bible), don't serve in Congress."

A long list of Jewish leaders quickly condemned his comments, and former New York Mayor Ed Koch demanded that he quit the Council.

Koch is also a Council member, and in an interview he said he will seek Prager's resignation at the December 18 Council meeting. . .

One of the Museum's founders said Prager was probably a poor choice for the panel.

"A pundit's job is to stir up controversy," said Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, a former Council member and Museum official. "Prager views himself as a great ethicist, as a moral voice, but on this issue he has gone off on a profoundly alienating tangent. He sure doesn't help the Council."

Berenbaum said Prager's comments suggest a "religious test for public office. And that's wrong; it goes against the whole thrust of Jewish activism in this country."
(MORE)

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ISRAEL'S LIEBERMAN CALLS FOR TOUGHER STANCE ON ISRAELI ARABS - TOP
Ira Stoll, New York Sun, 12/13/06
http://www.nysun.com/article/45120

The deputy prime minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, is calling for a tougher stance toward Israeli Arabs.

Mr. Lieberman outlined his views at a luncheon session in New York yesterday organized by the Middle East Forum, and afterward in an interview with The New York Sun and other journalists.

"The conflict includes not only the Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, but Israeli Arabs also," Mr. Lieberman said. "The linkage between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Arab population - it will destroy us, it is impossible. What is the logic of creating one and a half country for one people and a half country for the Jewish people?"

Mr. Lieberman spoke of requiring Israelis to sign a commitment to loyalty to the Israeli flag and to its national anthem, and of requiring service in the army or alternative national service. Citizens who refuse to sign the declaration, he said, could continue as permanent residents of Israel, working, studying, and receiving health care benefits, but they could not vote in national elections or be elected to national office. (MORE)

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CAIR: IRAQ REPORT PANEL VIDEO NOW ONLINE - TOP
http://www.c-span.org/rss/video.asp?MediaID=28984

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-FL: SENATOR'S TRIP TO SYRIA LANDS HIM IN HOT ZONE - TOP
Kevin Begos, Tampa Tribune, 12/13/06
http://www.tbo.com/news/nationworld/MGBJHSLANVE.html

Dec. 13--TALLAHASSEE -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is scheduled to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad today despite President Bush's objections.

"We discourage the travel of members of Congress to Syria because we believe it undermines the Siniora government" of Lebanon, White House spokesman Blair Jones said. . .

"He should be commended for reaching out and trying for dialogue," said Ahmed Bedier of Tampa, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Syria, branded by the Bush administration as a supporter of terrorism, could perhaps help bring stability to Iraq, he said.

"You don't have to agree on everything -- but there are some common interests for all countries in the region," Bedier said. "If you continue to neglect and not speak to them, that will make your job a lot harder." (MORE)

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CAIR-MI TO BE HONORED BY ACLU - TOP
Celebrate Bill of Rights Day with the Metro Detroit Branch of the ACLU!

WHEN: Thursday, December 14, 2006, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Swords into Plowshares Gallery, 33 E. Adams, Detroit, MI

Join the ACLU of Michigan Metropolitan Detroit Branch in honoring the courageous plaintiffs in ACLU v NSA, the successful lawsuit to halt the warrantless wiretapping of the Bush administration.

2006 Honorees:

* William W. Swor, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
* Nabih H. Ayad, Mohammed Abdrabboh, and Noel Saleh, ACLU members
* Nazih Hassan, Dawud Walid, Council on American Islamic Relations - Michigan chapter

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MN: MINNEAPOLIS LEGISLATORS SCORE HIGH ON RACIAL EQUITY REPORT CARD - TOP
Kari VanDerVeen, Southwest Journal, 12/13/06
http://www.swjournal.com/articles/2006/12/13/news/news04.txt

Minneapolis legislators scored big on the recently released Minnesota Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity.

The report card, compiled by the nonprofit Organizing Apprenticeship Project, grades the performance of the Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty during the 2005-06 biennium on policies that address and strengthen racial equity in the state. The five legislators who scored highest on the report card all represent Minneapolis.

The report card looked at 22 bills that, if passed, would advance racial equity and eliminate racial disparities. Each legislator was given points based on leadership as author or co-author of a racial equity bill in the 2005-06 session.

Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-58B), who represents Downtown north of 7th Street and was recently elected to Congress, led the way with 135 points. Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-61A), whose district includes most of the Whittier neighborhood, scored 90 points. Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-61B), whose district includes parts of Whittier, Lyndale and Kingfield, scored 75 points. Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-62A), who represents South Minneapolis, scored 70 points. And Sen. Linda Higgins (D-58), who represents Downtown north of 7th Street, scored 50 points. (MORE)

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CA: EFFIGY OF 'ARAB' STIRS UNEASINESS IN SAN ANSELMO - TOP
Tad Whitaker, Marin Independent Journal, 12/13/06
http://www.marinij.com/marin/ci_4830391

An effigy of a man in Arab headdress hanging from a gallows in a San Anselmo yard has become the latest public display of politics to raise eyebrows in a town becoming known for that type of thing.

Pat La Tray, 57, built the gallows for the straw effigy - which has an American flag piercing its heart - after police asked him to take it out of a tree on town property in front of his house at 330 Greenfield Ave. He built the effigy for Halloween, but said he has decided to leave it up as a symbol of his support for troops fighting in the Iraq war and his stance against terrorism.

"It is a patriotic symbol," La Tray said. "It has nothing to do with race or religion."

Nearby resident Pilar Sinelnikoff said she doesn't care what La Tray says. The effigy offends her every time she walks by it.

"I'm appalled he calls himself an American," she said. "He's pathetic." . . .

When asked her thoughts about the effigy, Nong La Tray, who is a citizen of Thailand and moved here in 2002, said she has no problem with it. She said Muslims were oppressive in her home country.

"They're not good people," she said.

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Washington D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he hears about similar displays from time to time across the country and understands the frustration caused by terrorism. But, he added, there are better ways to express opposition to it that don't reinforce stereotypes against Arabs or Muslims who don't participate.

"I don't think this would promote interfaith understanding," he said. (MORE)

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MI: FEAR 'AS BAD AS AFTER 9/11' - TOP
Rick Hampson, USA Today, 12/12/06
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-12-12-arab-americans-cover_x.htm

DEARBORN, Mich. - The Arab Muslims who came here eight decades ago to work on Henry Ford's new assembly line believed their American future was limitless. But after five years on the home front in America's war on terrorism, many of their descendants are hunkering down, covering up and staying put.

In this and similar enclaves, like those in northern New Jersey and Brooklyn, many Arab Muslims say their community is turning in on itself - shying away from a society increasingly inclined to equate Islam with terrorism.

"It's as bad as after 9/11," says Rana Abbas-Chami of the Michigan American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "A lot of people are scared. They've changed how they do things."

Some stay put. They don't like to fly, cross the border with Canada or shop at malls outside the city. "It's a feeling that if you go too far outside Dearborn, anything can happen," says Osama Siblani, a local newspaper publisher.

Some blend in. They Anglicize their names (Osama Nimer, electrician, is now Samuel Nimer) or change them (Mohammad Bazzi, nurse, is Alex Goldsmith). They trim their beards. In public, they speak English instead of Arabic. They display the flag. They wear the Tigers cap.

Some lie low. They won't contribute to a Muslim charity, at least not by check, and not if it works overseas. They watch what they say, especially on the phone. They think twice before trying to rent a truck, get a hunting license or take a flying lesson.

Some regard Dearborn, center of the nation's largest Arab Muslim community, as an island of security; others see it as a potential trap.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, fears of domestic sabotage led to the internment of Japanese-Americans. Some Arab Muslims wonder if it could happen again - especially if there's another domestic terror attack. People here speculate about spies and informers in their midst; government eavesdropping and surveillance; and, if there's another 9/11, concentration camps.

These themes emerged repeatedly in USA TODAY interviews with about two dozen Arab Muslims around the nation. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

FL: FEAR OF ISLAM CAN BE TREATED, CURED - TOP
Dr. Adel Eldin, St. Petersburg Times, 12/12/06
http://www.sptimes.com/2006/12/12/Hernando/Fear_of_Islam_can_be_.shtml

Let the world know, American Muslims strongly condemn terrorism and all terrorists, whoever they are and wherever they may be. We love our country and are very proud to be American and Muslim.

Taking a scientific approach to the problem, first we should diagnosis it, then treat it.

The Diagnosis: The disease called Islamophobia (or fear of Islam and Muslims with the rise of terrorism). It has been perpetuated mostly by ignorance, and partly with deception and misinformation before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

As much as terrorists hijacked our religion, extreme right-wing neoconservatives hijacked our administration, and it seemed to every Muslim that America is at war with Islam the religion, not with the terrorists who have hurt us. As you, we wanted to bring terrorists to justice. It seemed the facts did not matter anymore, as negative and false perceptions became the rule, not the exception, about Islam and Muslims.

Islam in the media is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, and engaged in a clash of civilization (an idea put in Samuel Huntington's 1998 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order). Thus, anti-Muslim hostility is seen, which includes demonizing Islam and attacking our prophet and holy book (the Koran), and waging a smear campaign on radio talk shows, TV programs and the Internet.

The treatment: I believe the therapy will include education and outreach and kindness. Ignorance constitutes 90 to 95 percent of the problem; the remaining 5 percent of the problem will need to be dealt with by law enforcement.

In Hernando County, for the past five years, there has been ongoing education about Islam and the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), including a radio show aired at 12:40 p.m. every Friday on WWJB-AM 1450.

There also have been many visits to a large number of churches, clubs and businesses to educate, share views and establish dialogue. There is a Web site, www.hernandomasjid.com, with all free materials in English and Spanish about Islam for those who are interested. (MORE)

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MI: FUROR GROWS OVER BANK CLOSURE OF CHARITY ACCOUNT - TOP
Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 12/12/06
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061212/NEWS05/612120315/1007

The U.S. Department of Justice may defend the Patriot Act in a case involving Comerica Bank and a Muslim charity based in Southfield, according to court documents the department filed in Detroit.

Comerica officials have told Life for Relief and Development that it intends to close its accounts.

The bank's move came after the charity was raided by federal agents in September. The government has not said what the raid was about, but charity officials say it may be related to work the charity did in Iraq.

In response, the charity sued Comerica, saying the bank violated its civil rights.

The suit, filed last month, challenges the constitutionality of a section of the Patriot Act that allows financial institutions to share information about suspected money laundering or terrorist activity.

On Dec. 1, Justice Department attorneys filed a notice in U.S. District Court in Detroit that said it may "intervene in this action to defend the constitutionality" of the section under question.

Some Arab Americans and Muslims charge the bank is discriminating against the charity because it is operated by Arab-American Muslims.

Protests are planned for Friday and Saturday outside Comerica branches in Dearborn, Detroit, Canton and Ann Arbor.

Organized as the Charity Without Fear Coalition, groups against the bank's move include the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Muslim American Society and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Some Arab Americans and Muslims say they plan to close their accounts with Comerica in protest. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

MUSLIM CHARITY SUES TREASURY DEPT. AND SEEKS DISMISSAL OF CHARGES OF TERRORISM - TOP
Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times, 12/12/06
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/12/washington/12charity.html

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 11 - In a new challenge to Washington over its closing several American Muslim charities that it has accused of aiding terrorism, the largest such group sued on Monday seeking dismissal of many of the charges.

More Politics NewsLawyers for the group, the Holy Land Foundation of Richardson, Tex., filed suit in Federal District Court in Dallas two weeks after a federal judge in California called into question a crucial provision in designating terrorist supporters. Since December 2001, the Treasury Department has designated Holy Land and five other Muslim charities in the United States as terrorist supporters, seizing millions of dollars in assets and halting their activities.

No accused charity or any senior officer have been convicted on a charge of terrorism. Some charities have faced no criminal charges. (MORE)

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CA: 'CONVERT OR DIE' GAME DIVIDES CHRISTIANS - TOP
Some ask Wal-Mart to drop Left Behind
Ilene Lelchuk, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/12/06
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/12/12/MNG8TMU1KQ1.DTL

Liberal and progressive Christian groups say a new computer game in which players must either convert or kill non-Christians is the wrong gift to give this holiday season and that Wal-Mart, a major video game retailer, should yank it off its shelves.

The Campaign to Defend the Constitution and the Christian Alliance for Progress, two online political groups, plan to demand today that Wal-Mart dump Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a PC game inspired by a series of Christian novels that are hugely popular, especially with teens.

The series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins is based on their interpretation of the Bible's Book of Revelation and takes place after the Rapture, when Jesus has taken his people to heaven and left nonbelievers behind to face the Antichrist.

Left Behind Games' president, Jeffrey Frichner, says the game actually is pacifist because players lose "spirit points" every time they gun down nonbelievers rather than convert them. They can earn spirit points again by having their character pray.

"You are fighting a defensive battle in the game," Frichner, whose previous company produced Bible software, said of combatting the Antichrist. "You are a sort of a freedom fighter."

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the retailer has no plans to pull Left Behind: Eternal Forces from any of the 200 of Wal-Mart's 3,800 stores that offer the game, including just seven in California. The nearest are in Chico and Redding. (MORE)

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WHAT MUSLIM WOMEN WANT - TOP
Geneive Abdo and Dalia Mogahed, Wall Street Journal, 12/13/06
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116597643672848516.html

Religion and modernity are butting heads again, or so it seems -- this time in Egypt. The country's cultural minister, Farouk Hosni, touched off a fiery, mostly male-dominated debate last month when he commented to a local newspaper that the increasing numbers of women in his country wearing headscarves marked a "regressive" trend in society and a turn away from modernity.

But do millions of Muslim women agree that embracing Islam, expressed by wearing the hijab, is in conflict with modernity? In fact, Muslim women paint a much more complex picture of their lives and desires than others paint for them. In their minds, the choice is not one between Islamic law and modernity; the two are not mutually exclusive.

Consider the recent findings of a Gallup Poll of 22 predominantly Muslim countries, including Egypt, over the last 16 months. The survey represents the views of more than 90% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims. Majorities of women in these countries say they think women should have the same rights as men. At the same time, they also say that Shariah, the sacred law of Islam, should be a source of the nation's laws. For many Westerners who associate Shariah with the lack of women's rights, this might appear to be a stark contradiction. But that is not quite correct.

Shariah literally means "the road to water," and represents the moral compass of a Muslim's personal and public life. Historically, the principles of Shariah could be used to limit the power of the sultan; after all, he would never claim he was above God's law. Therefore, when Muslims call for Shariah and gender equality, both are calls for the rule of law and an end to inequality. In many countries, Muslims are calling for the application of Shariah because even when the constitution states that Shariah is the primary basis of law, in practice, this is not enforced by officially secular governments.

Among the women surveyed in our poll, Egyptian women are most likely to believe Shariah should be the primary source of legislation: 62% say it should be the only source of law, and 28% say it should be a source, but not the only source. In nearly every country surveyed, aside from officially secular Turkey, a majority of women say Islamic law should either be the primary source of legislation or a source.

For decades, the role of women in Islamic societies has provided one of the primary battlegrounds in the cultural war between East and West. As a result, Muslim women have been placed in two artificial and mutually exclusive categories: Modern and secular or religious and traditional -- even backward. The assumption is that, although the numbers of women choosing to veil in Egypt and elsewhere are growing, this trend is a result of either ignorance or women surrendering to pressure from their husbands or fathers.

In contrast to the popular wisdom that women are content even if they believe they are second-class citizens, Gallup's survey found that women in the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed believe they should have equal legal rights as men, from voting rights to employment opportunities and access to the highest posts in government. Some 83% of Iranian women, for example, say women should be able to hold leadership positions in the cabinet and national council. Still, when the same Iranian women were asked the Shariah question, 66% said Islamic law should be a source, and 14% said the sole source, of legislation.

Majorities of Muslim women also say that religion is an important part of their daily lives. When asked to associate descriptions with the Islamic world, the most often chosen statement among men and women was "attachment to their spiritual and moral values is crucial to progress."

When asked an open-ended question about what they admire most about their own societies the most frequent response was "people's attachment to the teachings of Islam." (MORE)

[Ms. Abdo and Ms. Mogahed are, respectively, senior analyst at, and executive director of, the Center for Muslim Studies at the Gallup Organization.]

SEE ALSO:

OK: MUSLIM WOMEN SEEK ACCEPTANCE OF CULTURE, CLOTHING - TOP
Jaclyn Cosgrove, Daily O'Collegian, 12/12/06
http://www.ocolly.com/read_story.php?a_id=31520

As she sits in the library studying biology at Java Dave's, a student walking by sends a curious look her way.

The feeling one gets when he or she knows people are staring may cause a student to lose concentration when studying. But Amal Abo-Basha doesn't seem to be nervous about being in a room where so many stare at her.

The civil engineering sophomore seems aware of the looks she receives yet she is accustomed to the fact people are going to stare from time to time.

Abo-Basha continues to read, not looking away from the pages of her book to see if anyone is looking at her.

Although Abo-Basha, wearing jeans and a long-sleeved pink button-down blouse, is dressed like many college students, one of the main pieces of material in Abo-Basha's attire isn't part of many OSU students' wardrobes.

Surrounding her face and draping onto her shoulders is a pink scarf with a yellow flower design sewn onto its right side.

The piece of material that covers Abo-Basha's head is not usually referred to as a scarf but as the hijab.

The hijab refers to the variety of styles of scarves and large pieces of cloth Muslim women use to cover their hair and necks and sometimes shoulders, said Najwa Raouda, who has taught classes dealing with Muslim culture.

Abo-Basha is one of thousands of Muslim women in America who wear the hijab daily. Religion and women's rights have always been controversial topics, and Abo-Basha must deal with both issues every day. (MORE)

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VEIL NO BAR TO GLORY FOR MUSLIM WOMEN SAYS DOHA CHAMPION - TOP
Nick Mulvenney, Reuters, 12/11/06
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/breakingnews/feedstory/0,,-6273569,00.html

Winning the Asian Games 200 metres in a veil proves there are no barriers to Muslim women pursuing their sporting dreams, champion Ruqaya Al Ghasara said on Monday.

The 24-year-old wore a hijab -- a scarf which covers the hair and neck -- along with leggings and long sleeves, but still outpaced her more scantily-clad rivals to win gold for Bahrain.

"I want to say I'm very thankful for being a Muslim; it's a blessing," said the sports management student.

"Wearing conservative clothes has encouraged me. Wearing a veil proves that Muslim women face no obstacles and encourages them to participate in sport. This is a glory to all Muslim women."

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IL: WOMEN DISCUSS THEIR LEADERSHIP ROLES WITHIN THE RELIGION AT SAINT XAVIER CONFERENCE - TOP
Angela Caputo, Daily Southtown, 12/12/06
http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/169024,121nws6.article

Ingrid Mattson is a trailblazer.

Earlier this year, she took the reins of the largest Muslim organization on the continent -- the Islamic Society of North America.

Never before has a woman been elected president of the group. Nor has a convert -- or even a North American native -- held the top position.

Rather than focusing on the obstacles and pressure she has faced in rising to national prominence, Mattson said she's driven by the new possibilities.

"I've found that most Americans are eager to have the opportunity to interact with a Muslim leader that they can relate to, someone who has grown up in this society," the Canadian-born professor said.

Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in America. As many as 30 percent of the 2 million practicing Muslims in America are converts. And a growing number of others are second-generation immigrants whose primary cultural influence is the United States.

"If we're going to claim to represent Muslims in America ... then we need to bring in a new generation that reflects diversity," she said.

Striking similarities exist between the challenges Mattson and her Saint Xavier University counterpart, Sister Susan Sanders, describe in working to bridge a gap between modernity and religious traditions in Islamic and Christian faiths.

Sanders organized a two-day "Portraits of Islam" conference at Saint Xavier this weekend. The conference brought religious and academic voices from across the nation to talk about making the leadership roles that women have held for generations -- albeit behind the scenes -- more public. Mattson, who is an Islamic studies professor at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn., was the keynote speaker. (MORE)

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CAIR: MINNESOTA AMONG TOP DESTINATIONS FOR US MUSLIMS, SURVEY FINDS - TOP
Abdi Aynte, Minnesota Monitor, 12/11/06
http://www.minnesotamonitor.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=918

A new survey finds that Minnesota is one the most popular destinations for U.S. Muslims. The state comes in at number 12 of the top dozen states that are home to more than 80 percent of U.S. Muslims.

Conducted by the California-based Genesis Research Associates in August, the survey was paid by the Washington-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). It is the "first scientific survey of American Muslims," CAIR said.

No exact figure is available, but estimates of U.S. Muslims range from six to eight million.

The survey finds that California, Illinois, New York, Texas, New Jersey each has more Muslims than Michigan, which is generally thought to be home to the largest population of Arab Americans.

Other states that have more Muslims than Minnesota are: Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

According to the survey, Minnesota is home to 2.8 percent of U.S. Muslims. That number does not include "Muslims with non-common Muslim names or those with no Muslim-sounding names-especially converts," the survey reads.

One such person, evidently, would perhaps be America's most well-known Muslim-Rep.-elect Keith Ellison.

Ethnic break down of U.S. Muslims shows that 5.7 percent of respondents are of African descent. But the number is likely higher in Minnesota, where more than half of its estimated 150,000 Muslim population comes from Somalia and Ethiopia.

Recently, Minnesota has been the subject of high profile controversies involving Muslims. A group of taxicab drivers in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport refused to carry alcohol-toting passengers, citing religious concerns. Also at the airport, six Muslim clerics, who attended a nationwide Imams conference in Minneapolis, were removed from a US Airways flight, after a passenger voiced a concern over their behavior.

And the controversy around the first Muslim elected to Congress, Ellison, is hardly over. Ellison declared that he'll swear of the Qur'an, Islam's holy book, at his private, photo-op ceremony with the speaker of the House, this January.

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 15:56:56 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: FL Web Host Asked to Drop 'Kill All Muslim Kids' Site / Muslim Asked to Remove Hijab on British Airways Flight

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/14/06

* Hadith: Justice Rewarded by God
* CAIR-FL: Web Host Asked To Drop 'Kill All Muslim Kids' Site
* CAIR: Muslim Asked to Remove Hijab on British Airways Flight
            - Commentary: Flying While Muslim (NPR)
            - CAIR: U.S. Hajj Pilgrims Get Anti-Bias Guide (UPI)
* CAIR-Ohio Wins Prayer Accommodation for Hotel Employee
* Ed Koch Calls for Ouster of 'Bigot' on Holocaust Board (Wash Post)
            - CA Congressman Call on Prager to Apologize (Forward)
            - Controversial Columnist Shows Anti-Islam Bigotry
* Glenn Beck's Questions to Muslim Rep Called 'Bigotry'
            - UT: Muslims Live in Fear, Panelist Says
* PA: Bill Planned to Allow Training of Bearded Firefighters (AP)
            - Muslim-American Rappers Promote Tolerance in Middle East
            - CA: Muslims Reach Out to Community
* Resources: Muslim Voices Against Extremism - Quotes
* Carter Won't Back Down on Palestine Book (Sun-Sentinel)

-----

HADITH OF THE DAY: JUSTICE REWARDED BY GOD - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "For every day on which the sun rises, there is a (reward from God) for the one who establishes justice among people."

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 870

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FL WEB HOST ASKED TO DROP 'KILL ALL MUSLIM KIDS' SITE - TOP

(TAMPA, FL, 12/14/06) - The Tampa, Fla., office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) is calling on an Internet web hosting company in that state to drop a hate site that supports calls to "kill all Muslim kids."

Under the headline, "Love Your Kids? Fear For Their Future? Kill All Muslim Kids!!!!," the website's owner, who lives in the Tampa area, wrote: "Makes sense to me. After all, if Muslims are raising their little crumb-snatching, curtain climbing, ankle biting rug rats to strap on bombs in order to kill us, it is logically correct to assume that in order to stop that from happening we need to kill all Muslim kids. Starting now."

SEE: http://rightwinghowler.com/2006/11/29/love-your-kids-fear-for-their-future-kill-all-muslim-kids/

Other entries on the site contain obscene and hate-filled attacks on Islam and Muslims, as well as support for violent actions. One entry states: "It's bad enough some [expletive deleted] in Minnesota elect a Muslim to Congress but the people in Michigan might have done them one better. . .Start sticking [sic] up on guns and ammo. The war will start soon."

SEE: http://rightwinghowler.com/2006/11/09/dummies-in-minnesota-have-company-in-michigan/

In a letter to Boca Raton-based Hostgator.com LLC, CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier wrote: "While we respect an individual's right to freedom of speech, we oppose hate-filled speech that calls for violence against innocent people. . .It's clear that [the website is] in violation of your company's 'Terms of Service' agreement which states: '...Any material that, in our judgment, is obscene or threatening is prohibited and will be removed from our servers with or without notice.' The agreement also clearly defines 'hate sites' under 'Examples of unacceptable material.'"

Bedier asked Hostgator to stop hosting the site. He noted that CAIR had raised concerns about the anti-Muslim site at a local forum on hate crimes in November.

SEE: Meeting Focuses on Hatred in Hernando (Tampa Tribune)
http://www.hernandotoday.com/MGBJE0LJ4VE.html

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR--Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506, E-Mail: abedier@cair-florida.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

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MUSLIM ASKED TO REMOVE HIJAB ON BRITISH AIRWAYS FLIGHT - TOP
CAIR seeks investigation of incident, clarification of airline policy

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/14/06) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on British Airways to clarify its policy on passengers wearing religiously-mandated attire after a Muslim woman traveling to the United States reported that she was asked to remove her Islamic headscarf, or hijab, during the flight.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the Muslim passenger, who lives in the United Kingdom, reported that a British Airways employee asked her to remove her scarf before boarding a flight from Heathrow to Philadelphia on November 24.

According to the passenger, the British Airways employee said that permission to wear an Islamic headscarf on the plane was "at the discretion of the pilot." The employee allegedly cited an incident last June in which Muslim women wearing headscarves were taken off a flight from Egypt to Russia after the pilot of the aircraft said their appearance was cause for concern. (The Independent, 8/22/06)

Because of the British Airways employee's request, the Muslim passenger pulled her headscarf down around her shoulders for the duration of the flight.

In a letter to British Airways, CAIR Civil Rights Manager Khadija Athman wrote: "We hope this unfortunate incident was the result of an individual employee's prejudice or misinformation about actual British Airways policy on the wearing of religiously-mandated attire on passenger flights."

Athman requested a clarification of British Airways policy on the issue of passengers' religious rights.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

SEE ALSO:

COMMENTARY: FLYING WHILE MUSLIM - TOP
Robin Washington, National Public Radio, 12/13/06
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6618869

News & Notes, December 13, 2006 · Just in time for holiday travel, a post-Sept. 11 security check makes headlines. Six Muslim clerics were ejected from a US Airways jet after a series of misunderstandings. Commentator Robin Washington is editorial page editor of The Duluth News Tribune.

---

CAIR: U.S. HAJJ PILGRIMS GET ANTI-BIAS GUIDE - TOP
United Press International, 12/13/06
http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20061213-020915-2623r

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A U.S. Islamic rights group has issued guidelines against discrimination for American Muslims going on hajj.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Tuesday it was advising hajj pilgrims to Mecca "to be aware of their civil and legal rights as airline passengers." The group said it had also set up toll-free hotline at 1-800-784-7526 "for anyone who believes their rights were violated."

CAIR has also published a pocket guide for hajj pilgrims entitled "Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim."

"As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel," the group said in its statement Tuesday. "You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory."

American Muslims who had cause to think they had been "treated in a discriminatory manner" should "ask for the names and ID numbers of all persons involved in the incident. Be sure to write this information down," CAIR said.

The group said such individuals should also "ask to speak to a supervisor" and inquire whether they had been "singled out" because of their "name, looks, dress, race, ethnicity, faith, or national origin."

"Given the increase in the number of complaints CAIR has received alleging airport profiling of American Muslims, we believe it is important that all those taking part in this year's hajj be aware of their legal and civil rights," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

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CAIR-OHIO WINS PRAYER ACCOMMODATION FOR HOTEL EMPLOYEE - TOP

(CINCINNATI, OH, 12/14/06) - CAIR-Ohio's Cincinnati office announced today that a claim of discrimination by a Muslim employee at an international hotel chain has been resolved successfully.

Following intervention by CAIR-Ohio, the female Muslim employee will be allowed to perform her daily prayers during break periods after initially being denied that religious accommodation.

Muslims pray five times each day and each prayer typically takes 5-7 minutes. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of color, national origin or religion and requires employers to make reasonable accommodation for employee's religious practices.

CONTACT: CAIR-Ohio Cincinnati Director Karen Dabdoub, 513-281-8200, E-Mail: karen@cair-ohio.com

-----

ED KOCH CALLS FOR OUSTER OF 'BIGOT' ON HOLOCAUST BOARD - TOP
Jacqueline Trescott, Washington Post, 12/14/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/13/AR2006121302260.html

Edward Koch, the former mayor of New York and a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, plans to ask the advisory board to remove columnist and talk radio host Dennis Prager from its membership.

Koch is outraged that Prager has condemned Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) for saying he will take his oath of office -- in a private ceremony after the mass swearing-in -- with his hand on a Koran. A Bible is often used at oaths, and Prager says Ellison is disregarding an American tradition.

Koch said there is no room for a "bigot" on the Holocaust Memorial board, which has a regular meeting on Monday in Washington.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Koch said, "I believe that the great mission of the members of the commission is to spread the word you may not engage in bigotry directed on the basis of religion or on the basis of sexual orientation or on the basis of political disagreement. For Dennis Prager to take the position on Mr. Ellison not using the Bible is wrong. That's the mission of we who are on the board and his statements are 180 degrees from that mission statement."

Prager, a commentator based in Los Angeles, responded, "The centrality of the Bible as the repository of our values is the main issue."

When members of Congress are sworn in, the first ceremony is simply the raising of their right hands. Afterward, in the private reenactment, many take the oath on a Christian Bible; some use a Jewish Bible. There is no requirement that members of Congress take an oath on any holy book.

In interviews in tomorrow's Forward, a Jewish American weekly, Koch and Prager explain their opposing positions. Koch, a former member of Congress, also was interviewed by Prager yesterday on his syndicated conservative radio show.

The debate was generated by Prager, who wrote two columns about his objections to Ellison's choice. On Nov. 28, Prager said Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not be allowed to swear an oath on the Koran, "not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization." After the media and other talk shows picked up on Prager's position, he wrote, "Keith Ellison's freedom to openly believe and practice Islam and to run for elective office as a Muslim is a direct result of a society molded by the Bible and the people who believed in it, a fact he should be willing to honor as he is sworn in." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CA CONGRESSMAN CALL ON PRAGER TO APOLOGIZE - TOP
Koch: Kick Pundit off Shoah Board
Forward, 12/15/06

Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch has called for Dennis Prager to resign or be removed from the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, in response to the pundit's recent insistence that a Muslim congressman not be sworn in using a Quran . . .

The Holocaust Memorial Council includes a number of prominent Jews, including Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress. A number of members of Congress also serve on the panel, including Reps. Eric Cantor, Tom Lantos and Henry Waxman, as well as Senators Norm Coleman, Russell Feingold and Frank Lautenberg. . .

Waxman, a California Democrat told the Forward that Prager's comments were inappropriate incorrect and reflect a lack of the qualities of tolerance and civility and respect for other people's religion. The lawmaker, who said he had never used a Bible at his own swearing-in ceremonies, called on Prager to apologize. Waxman said he had not decided what action he would take if Prager refuses to issue an apology. (MORE)

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CONTROVERSIAL COLUMNIST SHOWS ANTI-ISLAM BIGOTRY - TOP
Jordan Ruud, Collegian, 11/14/06
http://www.utulsa.edu/collegian/article.asp?article=3134

It seems to me that at this time of year, conservative religious hysteria on the part of some reaches a fever pitch.

Last year, it was commentator Bill O'Reilly's bizarre hallucinations of a "war on Christmas." This year, it's columnist Dennis Prager's attacks on Representative Keith Ellison.

In a controversial column published on Townhall.com, Prager responds with spite and contempt to Ellison's announcement that he will swear his oath of office on a Koran.

Ellison's decision makes perfect sense, given that Ellison is a Muslim. For him to do otherwise would be tantamount to, say, a Christian swearing on the Bhagavad-Gita. Why swear on a book less relevant to your beliefs than another?

But Prager claims that Ellison's act is far more seditious than we can imagine. Prager states that Ellison "will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11."

Yes, you read that right. Terrorists killing thousands in horrendous attacks on America - that's nothing, compared to a man swearing in on a different text than usual.

Prager has rightly come under fire for the outlandish paranoia of his attack. Prager claims, incorrectly, that the United States is founded on Christian values, and that Ellison's swearing on a Koran somehow denies those values.

But underneath Prager's paranoia about sedition and the damage of multiculturism lies thinly-veiled xenophobia.

The strange suggestion that Ellison ought to swear his oath on a book irrelevant to his own religious practice devalues Ellison's religion in a way that's sadly become all too familiar.

In a follow-up column, Prager dismisses the criticisms of those who have called him "Islamophobic." But it's hard to see what other force could be at work here. (MORE)

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IT'S RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY - TOP
Scott D. Pierce, Deseret Morning News, 12/14/06
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,650214802,00.html

Let's imagine that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appeared on CNN and the subject of his religion came up. And the host said the following:

"No offense, and I know Mormons. I like Mormons. I've been to Mormon churches. I really don't believe that Mormonism is a religion of evil.

"I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel. And I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

If that happened, it would be like a bomb hit the state of Utah. People would be up in arms. There would be an outcry against CNN, including calls not only for apologies, but for the host to be fired.

And rightfully so.

Despite that preamble (which sounds a whole lot like the stereotypical bigot who proclaims, "Some of my best friends are Jewish"), if something like this were to happen, it would be utterly irresponsible religious bigotry and intolerance. No elected official should ever have to put up with something like this. No American should ever have to put up with something like this.

And yet, here's what happened last month on CNN Headline News:

Host Glenn Beck welcomed Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota who is the first Muslim elected to Congress.

"May we have five minutes here where we're just politically incorrect and I play the cards face up on the table?" Beck said. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

UT: MUSLIMS LIVE IN FEAR, PANELIST SAYS - TOP
Elaine Jarvik, Deseret Morning News, 12/14/06
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,650215033,00.html

Noor Ul-Hasan has never been reluctant to speak up on behalf of Muslims living in Utah. But even Ul-Hasan admitted Wednesday night, she sometimes lives in fear.

It was just this week, in fact, that she balked when somebody asked her to put her phone number in a local newsletter. "I said, 'No,' because I don't want to be targeted," Ul-Hasan told a small group attending a city-sponsored panel Wednesday night called "Freedom from Prejudice: Utah's Middle Eastern Voices."

Her fellow Utah Muslims are afraid to attend rallies, for fear that they will be profiled, said Ul-Hasan, who is a member of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake. Because she has lived in America nearly all her life and has many friends in Utah, she says she knows that if she "disappeared tomorrow," those friends would speak up. But many of the refugees she works with - who have watched Muslims be detained and extradited - don't have that same assurance, she says.

Ul-Hasan's has been a familiar voice in Utah since Sept. 11, 2001, as were most of the other members of Wednesday night's panel. There were familiar calls for continued dialogue and the need to establish personal relationships with people of other backgrounds and faiths.

"We should try to overlook what makes us different," said Ron Zamir, an Israeli who is chief executive officer of Allen Communication Learning Services. "We should talk about the things that bring us together." (MORE)

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PA: LAWMAKER PLANS BILL TO ALLOW BEARDED FIREFIGHTERS TO TRAIN - TOP
Associated Press, 12/14/06
http://www.pennlive.com/newsflash/pa/index.ssf?/base/news-44/1166106306199490.xml&storylist=penn

A lawmaker said he will introduce legislation to help bearded firefighters who are barred from training with protective air masks.

The state fire code prohibits such training for bearded firefighters because the mask is unable to fully seal against the skin.

Amish religious custom dictates that married men wear beards, and this means they are unable to get the training needed for state certification. Among other things, the number of certified firefighters can affect the amount of federal and state grant money a fire company will receive.

Rep. Gordon Delinger, R-Lancaster, told about 40 firefighters on Wednesday he has drafted legislation that says the state Fire Commission may not violate a person's religious freedom.

A Philadelphia Common Pleas judge ruled in September 2005 that a Muslim firefighter was not entitled to wear a beard on the job because of the safety risk that facial hair posed.

SEE ALSO:

MUSLIM-AMERICAN RAPPERS PROMOTE TOLERANCE IN MIDDLE EAST - TOP
Native Deen hip-hop group energizes Palestinian youth in Jerusalem
Carolee Walker, USINFO, 12/13/06
http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=December&x=20061212165055bcreklaw0.8355371

When Native Deen took hip-hop music to Jerusalem in fall 2006, the group of Muslim-American rappers was moved deeply by the holiness of the place and the energy of the hundreds of teens who attended their concerts. Yet nothing came close to the connection the performers felt to their faith during their Middle East trip.

"I could feel it in the stone and the rocks," said Naeem Muhammad of Native Deen, a Muslim-American hip-hop group based near Washington that has a strong following in the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Our music inspires Muslims to be better Muslims, but it also gives other people a better view of our faith," Joshua Salaam told USINFO in an interview. (MORE)

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CA: LA CAÑADA MUSLIMS REACH OUT TO COMMUNITY - TOP
Mary O'Keefe, La Canada Valley Sun, 12/14/06
http://www.lacanadaonline.com/articles/2006/12/14/news/lnws-islam1214.txt

Last Friday night a group of about 75 adults and children gathered at the Roger Barkley Community Center. They had two main things in common: they all love their La Cañada community and are all members of the Islamic faith.

This was the first meeting of the Islamic Congregation of La Cañada Flintridge, a newly formed congregation whose purpose is to get to know other Muslim families, support their community, be a presence within the La Cañada charitable organizations and to be more active in the political area. They also, according to member Levent Akbarut, want to reach out to the community as Muslims to educate others and to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between Muslims and other religions. He quoted ICLCF's mission statement:

"To strengthen the bonds of Islamic fellowship at the neighborhood level and to develop a Muslim presence in the city through outstanding citizenship and community service promoting peace and mutual understanding."

Akbarut said, "This concept is so important. According to a recent poll only ten percent of those who say they personally know someone who is Muslim say they would not want a Muslim as a neighbor. That is a 21 percent gap of those who do not know a Muslim."

He was citing an August USA Today/Gallup Poll that focused on U.S. attitudes toward Muslims living in the United States. The poll found that 22 percent of Americans questioned would not like to have a Muslim as a neighbor, however there was a considerable difference in attitudes toward Muslims if there is a personal acquaintance. The ten percent Akbarut mentioned is in comparison with 31 percent of those who are not acquainted, thus the 21 percent gap in views.

"[Reaching out] is important with what is going on in the media with perceptions and terrorism and everything," he said.

"There is a general misunderstanding in the media [of the Muslim faith]," said Faisal Khan, member of ICLCF. "Our kids are in the local schools, we are involved in the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation and other charities." (MORE)

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RESOURCES: MUSLIM VOICES AGAINST EXTREMISM AND TERRORISM - PART IV A FEW QUOTES - TOP
http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslim_voices_against_extremism_and_terrorism_a_few_quotes/0012273

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CARTER WON'T BACK DOWN ON PALESTINE BOOK - TOP
Sensitive Mideast issues go undebated in U.S., he says
Tim Collie, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/14/06
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl-carter14dec14,0,4731518.story

Despite charges of plagiarism, shoddy research and even anti-Semitism, former President Jimmy Carter isn't backing off the contention in his new book that Israel's rule over the Palestinians is oppressive and brutal. (MORE)

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/cair-net/

Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 16:08:14 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: FL 'Kill All Muslim Kids' Hate Site Shut Down / U.S. Cannot Afford Ignorance of Islam, World

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS – 12/15/06

* Hadith: Toleration and Kindness
* CAIR-FL: 'Kill All Muslim Kids' Hate Site Shut Down
* CAIR-MI Director Honored by ACLU for Protecting Civil Liberties
* CAIR: Shiite? Sunni? Some in US Learn Who's Who (CS Monitor)
            - U.S. Cannot Afford Ignorance of Islam, World (Sun-Sentinel)
            - CA: Understanding Muslim Prayers Will Ease Fear
* CAIR: Know Your Rights When ‘Flying While Muslim’ (Arab News)
            - CAIR: WA Couple Making Pilgrimage to Mecca (Spokesman Rev)
* CAIR-CAN: Muslims Not Offended by Christmas Trees (Toronto Star)
* TN: Suspects Arrested in Fatal Shootings of Arab-Americans
* MD: Tour of Worship Places Exposes Students to Several Faiths (Wash Post)
* 'Cat Stevens' Returns to Music (USA Today)
* U.S. Soldiers Lead Iraq Children in Obscene Chant
* TX: From Head Scarf to Army Cap, Making a New Life (NY Times)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: TOLERATION AND KINDNESS - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once told a man: “You have two qualities which God, the Most Exalted, likes and loves. One is mildness and the other is toleration.”

Rihadh us-Saleheen Volume 1:632

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said: “God is kind and likes kindness in all things.”

Rihadh us-Saleheen Volume 1:633

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'KILL ALL MUSLIM KIDS' HATE SITE SHUT DOWN - TOP
CAIR-Tampa welcomes decision by web hosting company

(TAMPA, FL, 12/15/06) - The Tampa, Fla., office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) announced today that an Internet web hosting company in that state has shut down a hate site that supported killing "all Muslim kids."

Hostgator.com removed the site in response to a request by CAIR-Tampa. The Boca Raton-based company also informed the Islamic civil rights and advocacy group that the website has been suspended permanently.

View a screen shot of the "kill all Muslim kids" posting:
http://www.cairfl.org/tampa/images/rwh/rightwinghowler-kill-all-muslim-kids01.jpg

Other entries on the site contained obscene and hate-filled attacks on Islam and Muslims, as well as support for other violent actions.

One entry stated: "It's bad enough some [expletive deleted] in Minnesota elect a Muslim to Congress but the people in Michigan might have done them one better. . .Start sticking [sic] up on guns and ammo. The war will start soon."

"We commend Hostgator.com for doing the right thing by refusing to associate with those who spew anti-Muslim bigotry and support calls to violence," said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier. "We believe hate-filled rhetoric is a major contributing factor to bias crimes and prejudice."

Bedier said CAIR will continue to monitor Internet hate sites based in Florida.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR--Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506, E-Mail: abedier@cair-florida.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

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CAIR-MI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HONORED BY ACLU FOR PROTECTING CIVIL LIBERTIES - TOP

(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 12/14/06) - On Thursday, December 14, CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid was honored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan Metro Detroit Branch for “courageously defending the Bill of Rights and helping to protect our civil liberties.”

The award ceremony was held in honor those involved in a successful lawsuit earlier this year against the National Security Agency’s warrant-less wiretapping program. CAIR-MI was the chief plaintiff in the case.

SEE: Judge Rules Against Wiretaps
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/17/AR2006081700650.html

Other award recipients include ACCESS Board President and attorney Noel Saleh, ADC Board Member and attorney Nabih Ayad, and attorney William Swor.

The case is currently being appealed by the Federal Government, and oral arguments will begin on January 31, 2007 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, E-Mail: dwalid@cair.com

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CAIR: SHIITE? SUNNI? SOME IN US LEARN WHO'S WHO - TOP
While some in Congress made gaffes, police, businesses, and others are boning up on Muslim culture.
G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Christian Science Monitor, 12/15/06
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1215/p02s01-ussc.html

Some in Congress may need a primer on Islamic extremists. Five years after 9/11, three members of the House Intelligence Committee in recent interviews couldn't answer basic questions about who's Sunni and who's Shiite in the Muslim world. But other American institutions are already boning up - especially when they have a stake in doing so. For example:

• Law-enforcement agencies, from the FBI to the New York Police Department are learning Muslim customs in attempts to do their jobs more effectively.

• Major hospitals, including one in Tampa, Fla., are training staff to honor Muslim beliefs about the body.

• Business groups are studying Islamic law in order to raise capital among Muslims, who aren't allowed to charge interest.

In general, Americans don't know much about Muslims, surveys show. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that the share of those saying they knew "not very much" or "nothing at all" about Islam actually grew from 61 percent in 2001 to 66 percent in 2005. In another 2005 Pew finding, 62 percent failed to identify Allah and the Koran as the terms Muslims use for God and sacred scripture.

Certain key sectors of US society also display a dangerous ignorance, Muslim advocates say. Topping the list this month is Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D) of Texas, the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. In an interview with Congressional Quarterly last week, he could identify the historic Sunni-Shiite split but didn't know that Al Qaeda is Sunni or that Hizbullah, which fought Israel this summer in Lebanon, is Shiite.

GOP Reps. Jo Ann Davis and Terry Everett, also on the intelligence committee, fared worse when the Congressional Quarterly interviewed them last summer.

But even on Capitol Hill, there are pockets of hope, Muslim advocates say. Congressmen tend to know more about Islamic culture when their own futures depend on working well with Muslims.

"In areas where there are large Muslim populations, you tend to see that members of Congress are more in tune with the thinking of the Muslim community," says Corey Saylor, national legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group in Washington. Among those with few Muslim constituents, he says, knowledge of Islamic culture is "better than it was five years ago, but we still have a long way to go." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

U.S. CANNOT AFFORD IGNORANCE OF ISLAM, WORLD - TOP
Mary Sanchez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/15/06

By now you've heard about the six imams, how they were removed from a Minneapolis flight, detained for five hours of questioning and not allowed to fly home.

Perhaps you lean toward believing the version that talks of how the Islamic leaders requested seatbelt extenders, but didn't use them.

How they shouted angrily in Arabic and refused to sit in their assigned seats, choosing instead a pattern that placed a man close to every exit of the aircraft.

Or maybe you prefer the version that leans toward the outcries after the story hit the media. There are the charges of "flying while Muslim," how praying five times a day is being demonized and the allegations of discrimination that have literally made this a federal case.

Do not expect to ever learn the full truth. It most likely exists somewhere between all of these well-circulated theories about the November incident. And I'm not stupid enough to try to recreate the events from afar and come to a supreme conclusion.

One thing years of reporting on race relations ingrains is a keen sense that full truths are rarely found in the reconstruction of events once charges of discrimination arise.

Retellings are always filtered through everyone's individual brand of truth. Yes, even from people who were there, as both observers and participants. Their backgrounds, their experiences, their ingrained viewpoints, their fears were also present.

Add in the possibility of lawsuits, new federal legislation against airport profiling and the opportunity to make a statement on the nature of Islam in the United States and, well, things can get skewed pretty quickly, even without malicious intent.

The only crystal-clear thing is this: Similar incidents will occur.

We are at the beginning of a long process to gain a better understanding of, comfort level with, Muslims in the United States.

We're a country founded to secure religious freedom, yet the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress is eliciting a national debate on whether or not he can be sworn into office carrying a Quran. (MORE)

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CA: UNDERSTANDING MUSLIM PRAYERS WILL EASE FEAR - TOP
Tri-Valley Herald, 12/15/06
http://www.insidebayarea.com/trivalleyherald/localnews/ci_4844723

Last month, a Jewish man and six Muslim imams were profiled and humiliated for praying at airline terminals.

Security is everyone's concern. Unprofessional behavior by those in constant touch with the general public (airlines and law enforcement employees) is troublesome. These individuals are expected to be trained to discern prayers (Jewish or Muslim) from a security threat.

Let me share with you, in brief, what a Muslim prayer is.

Where there are more than a couple of worshipers, the prayer starts with a "Call to prayer."

Three of the five daily prayers (morning, sunset and night) are recited loudly by the imam (prayer leader), loudly enough to be heard by the followers. Prayers are said in Arabic (except for new Muslims who cannot yet do so).

The phrase "Allah-o-Akbar" (God is great) is repeated a minimum of 18 times in the morning prayer and a maximum of 108 times in the night prayer. The phrase is to praise the greatness of God compared to us, and our smallness in front of him. As you can see, in this context, it is a call for goodness and to show humbleness, not a call to aggressive behavior.

Muslim prayers are physical, and consist of postures and movements while reciting. The worshipers try to have a sincere intention with physical and mental purity. . .

I hope that sharing the description will help in understanding your neighbors. Remaining strangers creates misunderstandings.

Almost all Islamic centers throughout our nation are open for observance of prayers, just for asking. So, please take advantage of it. Know thy neighbor, love thy neighbor. (MORE)

Riaz Hasan is a former director of outreach for the Tracy Islamic Center. He is now active in Islamic Outreach in the greater Bay Area and San Joaquin County. For more information, call (209) 830-6286 or e-mail Islam.Outreach@yahoo.com .

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CAIR: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN ‘FLYING WHILE MUSLIM’ - TOP
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News, 12/15/06
http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=90075&d=15&m=12&y=2006

Thousands of American Muslims planning to make their annual pilgrimage to Haj this month are being briefed by an Islamic civil rights group to know their rights when “flying while Muslim.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), citing what it calls the “airport profiling” of six imams removed from a recent flight, has issued guidelines against discrimination for American Muslims traveling to perform their pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia this month.

“Given the increase in the number of complaints CAIR has received alleging airport profiling of American Muslims, we believe it is important that all those taking part in this year’s Haj be aware of their legal and civil rights,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

The Washington-based CAIR has issued tips and established a toll-free hotline for American Muslims heading to Makkah and Madinah, and published a pocket guide for Haj pilgrims entitled “Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim.”

“As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel,” CAIR says in its pocket guide to American Muslims’ rights and responsibilities. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: LOCAL COUPLE MAKING PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA - TOP
Virginia De Leon, Spokesman Review, 12/15/06
http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=164518

It is the journey of a lifetime, a period of rebirth and the spiritual pinnacle for every Muslim.

Mecca, the holy city of Islam, will be the ultimate destination this month for Sayed Daoud and Mariam Mohieldin, a Pullman couple who will join more than 2 million people for hajj – the pilgrimage required of all able-bodied Muslims at least once in their life.

"This is the highest level of spirituality for Muslims," said Daoud, a member of Masjed al-Farooq, one of two mosques in the Palouse. "Nothing else comes close to the experience."

This voyage to Mecca will be the first for Daoud and Mohieldin, who have never had the chance to go on hajj until now. To their knowledge, they are the only Muslims from Eastern Washington who will take part in this year's sacred pilgrimage.

Every year, roughly 10,000 American Muslims go on hajj, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Because the religious observance falls during the winter holidays this year, the number is expected to increase significantly.

Daoud and Mohieldin, who are both in their 50s and have lived in Pullman for the last 15 years, have waited all their lives to make this long, costly journey to Saudi Arabia. In the past, the couple couldn't go because they were busy with work and children, explained Daoud, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Washington State University. Now that their three kids are in college and because of the conveniently-timed winter break, they finally got their chance.

One of the five pillars of Islam, hajj is a time of joy, hope and renewal, said Mohieldin. "Hajj is worshipping God and asking him for forgiveness," she said.

Thursday, the Daouds were expected to join about 100 Muslims from the Seattle area, Oregon and California on a 15-hour flight to Jeddah, a city in Saudi Arabia near the Red Sea. From there, they will travel about 45 miles inland to Mecca's Masjed al-Haram or the Grand Mosque, where men and women worship separately and spend five days in prayer. During this time, they will circle the Ka'aba, a large, ancient granite cube that is considered the center of the Islamic world. Regardless of where they are, Muslims all over the globe turn in the direction of the Ka'aba whenever they pray.

During a ritual known as "tawaf," Muslims circle the Ka'aba seven times. They are not worshipping the stone structure, Mohieldin emphasized; rather, they are depicting the actions of Hagar, Ibraham's wife, as she tried to find water for her son, Ishmael.

"When you see the Ka'aba in Mecca, it's an amazing feeling – a feeling of serenity and peace and the greatness of God," said Mamdouh El-Aarag of Spokane, recalling the pilgrimage he made six years ago. "When you leave it, you feel sad."

Although it isn't an official part of the hajj, the Pullman couple and many others also will travel to Medina, where the Prophet Muhammad is buried. The pilgrimage officially ends on Dec. 30 after a ritual "stoning of the devil" in the desert of Mina. The conclusion of hajj is marked by Eid Al-Adha, the most significant holiday in the Muslim calendar and a commemoration of Ibrahim's obedience to God.

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CAIR-CAN: ANTI-TREE MOVE SPARKS DEBATE - TOP
Judge's removal of holiday icon termed 'unfortunate,' 'stupid' and 'terrible thing'
Isabel Teotonio and Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star, 12/15/06
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166136613892&call_pageid=970599119419

Is the Grinch of political correctness back to steal Christmas?

A Toronto judge this week banished a Christmas tree from a courthouse lobby, reigniting a controversy over public displays many thought ended in 2002, when public outrage overturned a decision to call the Nathan Phillips Square tree a "holiday tree."

The judge's administrative move was "unfortunate" and "represents a misunderstanding of what we are working so hard to build here," Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday, noting Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other faiths' celebrations are marked at Queen's Park.

"We enjoy the wonderful privilege of building a pluralistic, multicultural society," he said, adding no one should be "asked to abandon their traditions."

"It doesn't offend anyone when we celebrate Diwali at Queen's Park or celebrate Hannukah ... That's part and parcel of who we are."

Provincial Conservative Leader John Tory didn't mince words, calling it "political correctness gone crazy."

"It seems to be only well-meaning public officials who get onto these things and decide they're going to make a crusade of it when no one else is raising any concern," said Tory.

Their comments came on the heels of a decision by Justice Marion Cohen, who oversees administration for the Ontario Court of Justice at 311 Jarvis St., to move a small artificial Christmas tree from the main foyer to an administrative corridor Monday. In a letter to staff, Cohen explained it was a Christian symbol that might alienate people of other creeds and cultures.

But religious displays are lighting up many government institutions and courthouses, including a towering Christmas tree at city hall, and a tree and menorah outside Queen's Park.

"We should ban political correctness, not the Christmas tree," said Farzana Hassan, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress.

"This is stupidity and takes political correctness to new heights."

Living in a pluralistic society means tolerating and celebrating our differences, said Faisal Kutty, vice-chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada. "I don't believe most Muslims would feel alienated or offended by the sight of a Christmas tree in a courthouse," he said.

"But if they were on the stand and the only option available to them (for swearing in) was the Bible, then people would have a problem." (MORE)

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TN: 3 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN FATAL STORE SHOOTINGS - TOP
WSMV 4, 12/13/06
http://www.wsmv.com/news/10529350/detail.html

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Police said Wednesday night they have arrested all three suspects in the attempted robbery of a convenience store that left two employees dead and critically injured a customer Tuesday night.

Joshua Lee Brown, 20, and Rokisha Alderson, 16, were arrested in a neighborhood near the store Wednesday evening.

Police said the pair were the two robbers who walked into the AMPM Discount Tobacco north of downtown Nashville wearing ski masks and armed -- Alderson with a pistol and Brown with a shotgun -- demanding money from the clerks.

Robin L. Betts II, 18, was also arrested and accused of being the getaway driver of the sport utility vehicle in which they fled.

Brown was identified first by investigators through fingerprint analysis and other evidence found at the crime scene, police said, and tracked to the neighborhood where all three suspects were caught.

Brown and Betts were expected to be charged with criminal homicide late Wednesday night. Alderson was scheduled to be charged in Juvenile Court.

Brown was spotted in a neighborhood yard Wednesday evening and attempted to run before being captured by SWAT officers.

Aaron said the two would-be robbers demanded money, but became frustrated when the clerks began speaking in Arabic and opened fire.

Shot and killed were Salama Estfanous, 23, and Bishouy Hanna, 24, both of Egypt. (MORE)

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MD: A WINDOW ON RELIGION AND TOLERANCE - TOP
Tour of Worship Places Exposes Md. Students to Several Faiths
Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, 12/15/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/14/AR2006121401943.html

Where Yalda Jafari comes from, there are no churches or synagogues. In fact, girls in her northern Afghanistan town had no schools for five years under the Taliban.

As if to make up for lost time, the 16-year-old sophomore from Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville kept raising her hand yesterday as she and her classmates gathered around the handwritten Torah scrolls at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, which was preparing to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah today.

"Why are there three pieces?" asked Yalda, who came to the United States five months ago through a year-long exchange program. "Why is it not a small book, like the Bible or the Koran?" As the synagogue's executive director answered her queries, the student held up her digital camera to capture everything.

Yalda and about 50 other Wootton students were on an unusual field trip that took them to Washington National Cathedral, the Islamic Mosque and Cultural Center and the synagogue. They marveled at stained glass and gothic arches, watched Muslim men perform noon prayers and heard about the history of the Jewish community in Washington, all in an effort become familiar with religious traditions many had never seen up close.

"We as Americans tend to know very little about other religions, other languages, other cultures," said Lili Monk, who brought her AP human geography class, students from a comparative religion class and members of the school's Muslim Students Association. "Many of the major conflicts around the world are religious, and the more the kids learn about faith and tolerance and have a better understanding of them, they will be in a better position to address these issues."

With Christmas approaching and Hanukkah starting tonight, the adults said they hoped to make students think beyond the annual blur of shopping and partygoing. "Wouldn't it be great if they went into the real world believing that everyone has the right to worship in the way they want to?" said Amy Buckingham, who teaches the comparative religion students. (MORE)

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'CAT STEVENS' RETURNS TO MUSIC - TOP
'Don't let me be misunderstood,' says singer billed as Yusuf
Edna Gundersen, USA Today, 12/15/06
http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2006-12-14-yusuf-islam_x.htm

"There are 100 reasons I felt it right to leave the music business," Yusuf Islam says, "and 101 to come back in. A lot of those are songs."

Some landed on An Other Cup, the first pop album in 28 years by the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, now billed as Yusuf.

The singer/songwriter is known in Islamic circles as a humanitarian who founded Muslim schools and provides relief to orphans and families through his U.N.-registered charity, Small Kindness.

As Stevens, he gained fame with such pop hits as Oh Very Young, Wild World and Moon Shadow before stunning fans with his 1978 conversion and retreat from music and, a decade later, outraging the public with comments supporting Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against author Salman Rushdie.

Though much has transpired, including an arranged marriage and five children, Cup embodies '60s values of peace, love and understanding. When he picked up the guitar again, "so many ideas floated in," he says. "I knew there was something I could do, a symbol of bridge-building."
Cup's concepts of faith and hope grew from Islamic teachings. "The philosophy does come from the Prophet," Islam, 58, says.

"Being in the position I am today, I do feel like a looking glass, where people living in the West can view Islam, and Muslims can view another culture," he says. "I feel comfortable looking at both and living in these two distinct zones."

Yet his cover of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood acknowledges the misconceptions he has faced in both realms. "Since I've become a Muslim, I've been accused of saying things and doing things I've never said or done," he says. "I'm trying to cut through that by singing a few songs. My zealous period of discovering Islam kept me out of the picture a long time, and that created questions and doubts. I hope those doubts are being removed." (MORE)

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U.S. SOLDIERS LEAD IRAQ CHILDREN IN OBSCENE CHANT - TOP
Raw Story, 12/14/06
http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/U.S._soldiers_lead_Iraq_children_in_1214.html

[Note: Teambio.org first brought this video to our attention.]

American troops lead a group of Iraqi children in a profane chant, as seen in a video viewed by RAW STORY.

In the brief, undated video at the site liveleak.com, a U.S. soldier appears atop a military vehicle as another mills about, directing the children to shout, "F*ck Iraq." The youngsters, though smiling, do not seem to understand what it is they are saying.

The soldiers have a laugh, presumably at the childrens' expense, with one at the end heard saying with a chuckle, "Oh God, that was so wrong."

Morbid humor has long been a tradition among soldiers in combat zones, and the Iraq war has been no exception. Recently a video of an American G.I. taunting an Iraqi boy with a bottle of water made the rounds of the Internet, reportedly leading to a Pentagon investigation.

Warning: The link contains profanity.

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TX: FROM HEAD SCARF TO ARMY CAP, MAKING A NEW LIFE - TOP
Andrea Elliott, New York Times, 12/15/06
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/15/nyregion/15muslim.html

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Tex. ­ Stomping her boots and swinging her bony arms, Fadwa Hamdan led a column of troops through this bleak Texas base.

Only six months earlier, she wore the head scarf of a pious Muslim woman and dropped her eyes in the presence of men. Now she was marching them to dinner.

“I’m gonna be a shooting man, a shooting man!” she cried, her Jordanian accent lost in the chanting voices. “The best I can for Uncle Sam, for Uncle Sam!”

The United States military has long prided itself on molding raw recruits into hardened soldiers. Perhaps none have undergone a transformation quite like that of Ms. Hamdan.

Forbidden by her husband to work, she raised five children behind the drawn curtains of their home in Saudi Arabia. She was not allowed to drive. On the rare occasions when she set foot outside, she wore a full-face veil.

Then her world unraveled. Separated from her husband, who had taken a second wife, and torn from her children, she moved to Queens to start over. Struggling to survive on her own, she answered a recruiting advertisement for the Army and enlisted in May.

Ms. Hamdan’s passage through the military is a remarkable act of reinvention. It required courage and sacrifice. She had to remove her hijab, a sacred symbol of the faith she holds deeply. She had to embrace, at the age of 39, an arduous and unfamiliar life.

In return, she sought what the military has always promised new soldiers: a stable home, an adoptive family, a remade identity. She left one male-dominated culture for another, she said, in the hope of finding new strength along the way.

“Always, I dream I have power on the inside, and one day it’s going to come out,” said Ms. Hamdan, a small woman with delicate hands and sad, almond eyes.

She belongs to the rare class of Muslim women who have signed up to become soldiers trained in Arabic translation. Such female linguists play a crucial role for the American armed forces in Iraq, where civilian women often feel uncomfortable interacting with male troops.

Finding Arabic-speaking women willing to serve in the military has proved daunting. Of the 317 soldiers who have completed training in the Army linguist program since 2003, just 23 are women, 13 of them Muslim. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2006 23:15:34 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Muslims, Catholics in 'Encounter of Mutual Respect' / Hanukkah-Hajj Event Brings Muslims, Jews Together / Ranks of West Point Muslims Grow

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/17/06

* Verse: Abraham, Moses and Jesus
* CAIR-FL: Muslims, Catholics in 'Encounter of Mutual Respect' (Sun-Sent)
            - CAIR-Tampa: Blog Pulled Over Call to Kill Muslims (SP Times)
* Video: CAIR Rep Debates 'Flying While Muslim' on O'Reilly Factor
            - Video: Ed Koch Slams Dennis Prager Over Quran Oath (CNN)
* NY: Ranks of West Point Muslims Grow (CBS)
            - MN: Law Enforcement Works with Somali Youth (AP)
* MD: Hanukkah-Hajj Event Brings Muslims, Jews Together (News-Post)
            - MI: Muslims Prepare for Once-In-A-Lifetime Journey (Free Press)
* MA: Muslim, Jewish Groups at Odds Over Mosque (Boston Globe)

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VERSE OF THE DAY: ABRAHAM, MOSES AND JESUS - TOP

"Say: 'We believe in God and that which has been revealed to us; and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants, and that which was given to Moses, Jesus and other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to God we have surrendered ourselves."

The Holy Quran, 2:136

"Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians...and (all) who believe in God and the last day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."

The Holy Quran, 2:62

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CAIR-FL: BROTHERS IN THE NAME OF THE LORD - TOP
Rev. Pedro Corces, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/15/06
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/

The holiday season is a special time in the lives of our families, churches, mosques and synagogues. Gratitude flows easier than ever from our hearts during the season as we start reviewing another year that's approaching its end.

This past Thanksgiving Day was more than special at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church is Weston. It was unique. It was different.

Our founding pastor, the Rev. Paul Edwards, who passed away this past April, had started a beautiful ecummenical relationship with other faith traditions in our community.

We wanted to continue this wonderful gift left to us by Father Paul. Our parish community decided to invite Altaf Ali, executive director of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) to the Eucharistic celebration.

Ali and two other members of CAIR were present among us that morning. It was a joyful moment in all of our lives, a sacred and fraternal encounter of mutual respect and admiration.

As new administrator of this parish, I met Ali during my visit with one of our parishioners, Joe Preite, to the CAIR offices in Pembroke Pines. I wanted to give him a gift on behalf of our community and as a sign of respect and cooperation in this religious dialogue. I decided to give him a copy of the Prayer of Peace by St. Francis of Assisi, one of our most beloved and admired saints in the Catholic Church. . .

At the end of our Thanksgiving Day Mass we handed Ali a copy of St. Francis's prayer: "Make me a channel of your peace ... where there is hatred let me sow love ... where there is injury, pardon ... "

We embraced and called each other brother. There were tears in everyone's eyes. I gave our pulpit to Ali. In a most humble and simple way he reminded us of our common heritage: "To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and souls and to love our neighbor as we love of ourselves is all God asks of us."

Thanksgiving Day was definitely different and unique. It was a living miracle and a dream come true. There was peace, mutual respect in our differences and admiration for each other.

Peace is possible.

It was there, visiting us, that morning at our church.

The Rev. Pedro A. Corces is administrator at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church in Weston.

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-TAMPA: BLOG PULLED OVER CALL TO KILL MUSLIMS - TOP
ASJYLYN LODER, St. Petersburg Times, 12/16/06
http://www.sptimes.com/2006/12/16/State/Blog_pulled_over_call.shtml

A blogger was shut down late Thursday for telling readers, " ...we need to kill all Muslim kids. Starting now."

The Boca Raton-based Web host removed the blog from the Internet after complaints from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the group's Tampa chapter.

"It's frightening," Bedier said. "We were concerned about the safety of the kids in the area."

Vilmar Tavares, the Spring Hill author of the Right Wing Howler blog, did not return a call for comment Friday.

Bedier said he had been monitoring the site after a recent spate of anti-Muslim comments in Hernando County.

In late October, Mary Ann Hogan, a prominent local Republican and former state committeewoman, wrote a letter calling Islam a "hateful, frightening religion." State politicians condemned her remarks, and those of her husband, then-county Commissioner Tom Hogan Sr. (MORE)

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VIDEO: CAIR REP DEBATES 'FLYING WHILE MUSLIM' ON O'REILLY FACTOR - TOP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mNw7BMH2zE

SEE ALSO:

VIDEO: CNN'S SNOW DID NOT CALL PRAGER ON BACKPEDALING ON USE OF QURAN FOR OATH - TOP
http://mediamatters.org/items/200612150013

On the December 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, correspondent Mary Snow uncritically aired a clip of conservative radio host Dennis Prager asserting that he has "no problem" with incoming Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) "taking his oath [of office] on his holiest book. ... I have a problem with the Bible not being present at all. That's what I wrote. That's what I keep saying." Snow did not mention, as Media Matters for America noted, that Prager claimed in his November 28 column that Ellison "should not be allowed" to "take his oath of office ... on the bible of Islam, the Koran." Prager went on to compare Ellison's choice of the Quran to a hypothetical representative's choice of "Hitler's 'Mein Kampf,' the Nazis' bible, for his oath."

Snow's report on The Situation Room focused on former New York City Mayor Ed Koch's (D) recent criticism of Prager's attack on Ellison. Snow reported that Koch is calling for Prager's removal from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, to which Prager was recently appointed and of which Koch is also a member.

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NY: RANKS OF WEST POINT MUSLIMS GROW - TOP
CBS, 12/17/06
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/12/17/eveningnews/main2274638.shtml

(CBS) Since Thomas Jefferson signed legislation creating West Point Academy more than 200 years ago, it has often had to move with the times - admitting the first African American cadet and letting in women, reports CBS News correspondent Russ Mitchell. Now it's coping with another new challenge.

The serene Hudson Valley campus, with its history, traditions and ceremonies, has given birth to some of America's greatest wartime leaders. But now, even as the U.S. Army is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, West Point finds itself training a new generation of leaders - some with a surprising background. They are American Muslims.

"Muslims of West Point are unique in themselves because they are going to be the leaders of tomorrow…of platoons, companies, battalions and maybe even of the whole Army itself," Imam Asadullah Burgos tells Mitchell.

Asadullah Burgos is the Imam at West Point, where he has seen the number of Muslim cadets grow from just one 10 years ago to more than 30 now. This fall West Point dedicated a prayer room solely for use by Muslims. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

MN: LAW ENFORCERS WORK FOR BETTER RELATIONS WITH SOMALI YOUTH - TOP
Associated Press, 12/17/06
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/state/minnesota/16262336.htm

ST. PAUL - Law enforcers in Ramsey County are using a $250,000 state grant to improve relations with Muslim communities.

St. Paul police and Ramsey County sheriff's deputies have teamed with Somali leaders and nonprofit groups to ease skepticism, overcome language barriers, and train officers to be more culturally sensitive.

"We do a pretty fair job of reaching out to other communities of color," Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said. "But we can do a much better job with the Somali community."

Fletcher assigned two deputies on the Gang Strike Force in June to work on gang prevention and suppression in the Somali community. It's a similar approach to what police were doing with the Hmong community about 20 years ago, Fletcher said.

"The issues are different, but the lack of understanding is the same," he said.

Authorities said the fastest growth of gangs in the Twin Cities is within the Somali community. The Twin Cities is home to the largest population of Somalis nationwide. (MORE)

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MD: JEWS, MUSLIMS JOIN FOR WINTER CELEBRATION - TOP
Hanukkah-Hajj event brings together members of both faiths
Geoffrey D. Brown, News-Post, 12/16/06
http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyid=54909

FREDERICK -- A dialogue between Muslims and Jews reached its first major milestone as members of Frederick County's two Jewish congregations and the Islamic Society of Frederick broke bread together and shared their cultures at a joint holiday celebration last week.

"It was wonderful," said Andy Carpel, president of Beth Sholom Congregation. "All my members said they had a great time."

About 100 people attended the joint Hanukkah-Hajj celebration Thursday at the Lynfield Event Complex on Hansonville Road. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began Friday. The Hajj -- an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the site of Islam's holiest mosque -- begins Dec. 29.

"I thought it's a dream coming true," said the Islamic Society of Frederick's imam, Yahya Hendi, who has publicly called for dialogue among Muslims and Jews locally, nationally, and internationally. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

MI: AREA MUSLIMS PREPARE FOR ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME JOURNEY - TOP
Charles Honey, Gran Rapids Press, 12/16/06
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1166289373140380.xml&coll=6

Kamal Nuriddin sat in a Grand Rapids coffeeshop and contemplated the journey he soon will make to Mecca -- one he hopes brings him closer to God.

He's been preparing for this journey his whole life, said Nuriddin, 58, of the Muslim pilgrimage known as the hajj. When he leaves Dec. 24 for Saudi Arabia, Nuriddin will be on a quest to more fully realize his spiritual essence. (MORE)

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MA: MUSLIM, JEWISH GROUPS AT ODDS - TOP
Charles A. Radin, Boston Globe, 12/17/06
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/12/17/tension_high_amid_roxbury_mosque_plan/

The leader of the Muslim group that is attempting to build New England's largest mosque at Roxbury Crossing has accused a Jewish advocacy organization that has criticized the project of deliberately inflaming communal relations in the Boston area. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 15:13:29 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Ask Elected Officials on Holocaust Council to Repudiate Bigotry

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

CAIR ACTION ALERT #504

ASK ELECTED OFFICIALS ON HOLOCAUST COUNCIL TO REPUDIATE BIGOTRY
Urge members of Congress to help 'expedite' Dennis Prager's removal

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/18/06) - CAIR is asking American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact elected officials who are members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and urge them to repudiate "bigoted remarks" by Dennis Prager, a fellow council member. (Ten members of Congress serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, which is meeting today.)

Prager has written that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Quran. He also wrote that swearing an oath on the Quran "undermines American civilization."

CAIR had previously called on President Bush to rescind Prager's appointment to the council, the governing board of the Holocaust Memorial Museum, because of his intolerant views toward Islam in American society. CAIR had also called on the museum's council to remove Prager from his post because his views are incompatible with the mission of that taxpayer-funded institution.

Since coming out against Prager's appointment to the council, CAIR has received hundreds of hate-filled e-mails from Prager's supporters.

Two members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council have already spoken out against Prager's intolerant remarks.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) said Prager's comments were "inappropriate, incorrect and reflect a lack of the qualities of tolerance and civility, and respect for other people's religion." Former New York City Mayor and current council member Edward Koch said, "There is no question that Dennis Prager is a bigot who ought to be repudiated even by his closest supporters."

In a letter to council members Reps. Christopher Cannon (R-UT), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH), and Sens. Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor wrote:

"I am writing you in your role as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council to respectfully ask that you join those who are condemning the bigoted remarks of council member Dennis Prager. I also ask that you take action to expedite his removal from the council. . .The United States Holocaust Memorial is an important reminder of where indifference to intolerant and misinformed comments can lead."

Saylor's letter included published comments from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee condemning Prager's remarks. The letter also supported Prager's right to free speech, but said a presidential appointee to a taxpayer-funded institution must be held to a higher standard.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE.)

CONTACT the elected officials who are members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council to respectfully request that they repudiate Dennis Prager's intolerant and divisive remarks and seek his removal from the taxpayer-funded council. (NOTE: Calls are best, followed by faxes, letters, and e-mail messages.)

CONTACT LINKS:

http://chriscannon.house.gov/contact.htm
http://cantor.house.gov/contact/index.htm
http://lantos.house.gov/HoR/CA12/Contact+Tom/
http://www.house.gov/latourette/contact.htm
http://coleman.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Offices
http://collins.senate.gov/
http://feingold.senate.gov/contact.html
http://hatch.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Offices.Home
http://lautenberg.senate.gov/contact/

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/cair-net/

Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 17:35:03 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: FL Muslim Billboard Counters Negative Perceptions / VA Program Aims to Dispel Fears of Muslims

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/18/06

* Hadith: Appreciate What You Have
* CAIR-FL: Muslim Billboard Counters Negative Perceptions (Sun-Sent)
            - VA: Program Aims to Dispel Fears of Muslims (AP)
* CAIR-St. Louis: Muslims Denounce Conference of Holocaust Deniers
            - CAIR-FL: Holocaust Deniers Don't Speak for Islam (Tampa Trib)
* CAIR-TX Offers 'Women in Islam' Workshop at Air Force Base
            - CAIR-Sacramento Director Receives Award from Senator Boxer
* CA: Japanese, Muslims Recall Racism (San Mateo County Times)
* TX: Faiths Come Together for the Holidays (Waco Tribune)
* Blaming Islam: Examining the Religion Building Enterprise
            - EU Report: Muslims Face 'Islamophobia' (AP)
* Muslim Convert Describes Her Journey to Islam (Salon.com)
* AZ Company Ordered to Pay Muslim Ex-Employee $390,000 (AZ Rep)
* Ex-Soldiers Break Silence on Israeli Excesses (Toronto Star)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Anyone who spends the day in safety, in good health and with (enough to eat), is like someone upon whom the world and all it contains has been bestowed."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 185

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CAIR-FL: PALM BEACH COUNTY MUSLIMS USE BILLBOARD TO COUNTER NEGATIVE PERCEPTIONS - TOP
Lois K. Solomon, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/18/06
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-pbillboard18dec18,0,3451952.story

Muslims are trying to show a different side of their faith in a high-visibility place: along Interstate 95.

A new billboard near the Boynton Beach-Delray Beach line encourages drivers to "Explore the life of the Prophet Muhammad," and directs viewers to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Web site. The sign sits along the southbound side of the highway, but faces drivers heading northbound.

People who go to the Web site can request a book or a DVD on Islam, said Altaf Ali, CAIR executive director for Florida.

Ali said CAIR decided to go on the offensive after last year's Danish cartoon controversy, in which 12 Danish editorial cartoonists depicted Muhammad in unflattering ways. Chapters throughout the U.S. began designing billboards to counter negative perceptions. Placards in California last year said, "Even a smile is charity. A message from your Muslim neighbor," with smiling Muslims in the background.

"There are a lot of negative perceptions about Islam and the life of Muhammad," Ali said. Many see the religion as advocating violence, but he believes those who study closely will see a peaceful, charitable faith.

"We're not proselytizing. We're just getting information to people," said Rubina Hossain, a Muslim from Palm Beach Gardens. "A lot of it is our fault that we don't get the word out."

Hossain said her first-grade daughter brought home a pamphlet recently that explained the world's many faiths, but Islam was not included.

"People think we don't believe in the same God, that we're a tribal, desert cult," Hossain said.

CAIR, a national civil rights group, estimates about 70,000 Muslims live in South Florida, with about 7 million in the United States. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

VA: NEW PROGRAM AIMS TO DISPEL FEARS OF MUSLIM COMMUNITY - TOP
Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press, 12/18/06
http://www.wvec.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D8M3F89G4.html

The small beige signs bearing black Arabic script have been appearing all over town on buses and at colleges.

Are they secret messages from terrorists? one panicked bus rider asked. Should the FBI be contacted? What do they mean??

Actual translation: "Paper or plastic?"

The signs are part of a campaign by A More Perfect Union, a program of the Virginia Interfaith Center, and are aimed at dispelling some of the public's fears toward the Muslim community. Organizers hope to eventually expand the program statewide.

"As people see Arabic, they immediately make an association with terrorism," said the Rev. C. Douglas Smith, executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center. "That's probably because since Nine-Eleven, not only is fear overwhelming us, but that's how we're being trained to think."

The signs were placed in all 170 Greater Richmond Transit Company buses in Richmond on Nov. 27 and will remain there through the end of December, though many buses will continue to display them at least through the end of January. The signs, designed by The Martin Agency, have also been posted at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Along with the "paper or plastic" sign, there are two others - one which is the Arabic version of the "I'm a little tea pot" rhyme and the other roughly translating to the English equivalent of "rock, paper, scissors." Accompanying the translations at the bottom of the posters are comments such as, "Misunderstanding can make anything scary," and "What did you think it said?"

The transit company has already fielded several calls from concerned riders, said Gretchen Schoel, executive director of A More Perfect Union. One woman Schoel described as a well-educated university employee placed a frantic call to the bus company's manager, suggesting the FBI be called in to investigate. Even after the signs' English translations were explained to her, she remained concerned that they might contain secret messages, Schoel said.

"It's so great that we're getting feedback, even if it is negative, because it shows that people are looking, they're thinking," Schoel said. "And it really proves the point that this script right here conjures up certain ideas in our heads that we have to work with."

Bias toward the Muslim community is a continuing problem across the country and in Virginia, said Imad Damaj, president of the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs. (MORE)

On the Net:

A More Perfect Union: http://www.yourvoiceouraction.org
Virginia Interfaith Center: http://www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/

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CAIR-ST. LOUIS: MUSLIM LEADERS HERE DENOUNCE CONFERENCE OF HOLOCAUST DENIERS - TOP
Aisha Sultan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/18/06
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/EB53A29025EE320B86257248000967EE?OpenDocument

Local Muslim leaders denounced on Sunday the recent international conference in Iran attended by many who deny the existence of the Holocaust.

Spokeswoman Ghazala Hayat read a statement at the annual general body meeting at Daar ul Islam mosque in West County.

"We, the community of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, denounce questioning the authenticity of the number of Jewish deaths in the Holocaust. … Unimaginable crimes were committed by the Nazis during World War II. Denying the pain endured by millions of human beings only intensifies it," she said.

About 100 participants listened while she read the statement.

Erbab Majeed, principal of the Sunday school at the mosque, said the statement was necessary to distinguish between the views of Muslims here from those in other parts of the world.

"They made their statement, and we're making ours," he said.

Gulten Ilhan, vice president of the St. Louis chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations, said she had heard reports of Iran's president trying to justify the conference as a matter of freedom of speech - just as many said the Danish cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad were.

"I was very saddened by the cartoons, and I am also very saddened by the act of (President) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," she said. "Two wrongs do not make a right."

Karen Aroesty, spokeswoman for the Anti-Defamation League in St. Louis, said she welcomed the message from local Muslims.

"I think it will be a very heartening message for many in the Jewish community," she said.

Ilhan said her faith directed her to speak out against injustice, even if meant acting against one's own kin. She said she appreciated that the statement made reference to Islamic teachings when it said, "We condemn any attempt by any group to belittle atrocities against Jewish or any other ethnicity, realizing that even one single life lost should pain the whole of humanity."

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-FL: HOLOCAUST DENIERS DON'T SPEAK FOR ISLAM - TOP
Ahmed Bedier, Tampa Tribune, 12/15/06

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM0HHYNVPKY

On behalf of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, I condemn the shameful conference in Iran that sought to deny one of the lowest moments in human history: the Holocaust.

No legitimate cause can ever be advanced by denying the enormous human suffering caused by the massacre of millions of Jews and other minority groups by the Nazis. Attempts to use Holocaust denial as a political tool in the Middle East conflict will only serve to deepen the level of mistrust and hostility already present in the region.

Muslims are commanded in the Koran to "enjoin in the good and forbid the evil," and clearly the genocide of European Jews was nothing but evil.

It is a shame that the current government of Iran, which claims to be an Islamic state, would ignore Islamic ethical values and belittle evil. Responsible governments must encourage the study of the Holocaust and other human atrocities to ensure that they are not repeated.

Americans in general and the Jewish and Muslim communities in particular should know that those who spew anti-Semitic bigotry do not speak for Islam; Muslims denounce their views and their hatred.

Islam acknowledges Judaism (and Christianity) as a true revealed religion from God; furthermore, Muslims view Jews (and Christians) as fellow "People of the Book" who believe in the same Abrahamic monotheism.

While the cynical conference was held in Iran, it included many non-Muslim participants, including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and French "scholar" George Tail, who called the Holocaust a myth. The diverse participation is a reminder that bigotry is not exclusive to any one group.

As "People of the Book," we must stand united and challenge those who would fan the flames of all forms of hate, including anti- Semitism.

Ahmed Bedier is executive director of the Tampa Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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CAIR-TX OFFERS 'WOMEN IN ISLAM' WORKSHOP AT AIR FORCE BASE - TOP

(SAN ANTONIO, TX, 12/18/06) - The San Antonio chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Antonio) recently gave a presentation on "Women in Islam" to personnel at the Lakeland Air Force Base.

The two-hour presentation offered an in-depth view of the position of women in Islam, focusing on their rights and duties and how that faith encourages women to be fully-engaged and productive members of society.

"It is encouraging to see our military making this kind of educational commitment and we hope this type of workshop will be repeated in the future," said CAIR-SA President Sarwat Husain.

Husain presented a copy of the Quran, Islam's revealed text, to the library of the base and handed out booklets with basic information about Islam to the workshop attendees.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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 understanding.

CONTACT: Sarwat Husain, 210-378-9528, E-Mail: sanantonio@cair-net.org

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-SACRAMENTO VALLEY DIRECTOR RECEIVES AWARD FROM SENATOR BOXER - TOP

(SACRAMENTO, CA, 12/18/2006) - CAIR-Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV) Executive Director Basim Elkarra recently received an award from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Elkarra received the "Outstanding Service" award in recognition of his efforts to protect civil liberties and to build bridges among diverse communities in California.

"The CAIR-California team congratulates Basim Elkarra on this well-deserved award for his work to promote harmony between communities and protect civil liberties," said Fouad Khatib, chairman of CAIR-California.

CONTACT: Basim Elkarra, 916-441-6269, Email: sacval@cair.com

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CA: JAPANESE, MUSLIMS RECALL RACISM - TOP
Pearl Harbor, 9/11 ushered in problems for minorities
Michael Manekin, San Mateo County Times, 12/18/06
http://www.insidebayarea.com/trivalleyherald/ci_4859712

When the Imperial Japanese Navy swooped over Pearl Harbor 65 years ago and destroyed more than 2,400 American lives, Mas Yamasaki was watching a church basketball game in Sacramento.

He was 12, and he didn't know that he would soon live in a detention camp at Tule Lake - sleeping on an Army-issued mattress, braving the elements without indoor plumbing or heat.

The child of Japanese immigrants, Yamasaki was born an American citizen. But he spent 31/2 years of his American childhood in the camp - he was considered a threat to national security.

The internment of Japanese immigrants is familiar to most Americans - in large part, because Yamasaki and legions of Japanese camp survivors have made their voices heard.

Now, Yamasaki and other survivors are speaking out against a new danger.

"We were stereotyped," said Yamasaki. "Now, with the Muslims, it's the same thing. Everyone's pointing fingers saying they're an enemy."

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor stripped Japanese Americans of their homes and freedom. But five years ago, the actions of 19 hijackers radically altered the lives of the county's estimated 6 million Muslims.

"Pearl Harbor gave the United States the excuse to discriminate against Japanese Americans by saying these guys are potential saboteurs," said Steve Okamoto, co-president of the San Mateo chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). "Now, they're lumping (Muslims) together like they did with the Japanese."

Okamoto, 65, was only 6 weeks old when he and his family were shipped from their home to the Tanforan Racetrack in San Bruno and later to the Topaz internment camp in Utah.

After 9/11, Okamoto and other members of the JACL were the first non-Muslims to speak out against the swirling dust storm of anti-Muslim hate speech. Okamoto since has helped coordinate JACL forums with Muslim Americans to speak out on the dangerous excesses of stereotyping - both past and present.

In February, Imam Tahir Anwar, the director of religious services at the South Bay Islamic Center in San Jose, appeared at a JACL event to honor the Day of Remembrance - the day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 and authorized the detention of Japanese Americans.

"The decisions that have been made by the administration after Sept. 11 - and the decisions made after Pearl Harbor - have not been very friendly to a lot of Americans," Anwar said last week. "People have suffered. After Pearl Harbor, it was the Japanese. And now, it's almost anyone who is a Muslim, looks like a Muslim, comes from a Muslim country or has anything that sounds like a Muslim last name." . . .

"You would imagine that we would learn after Pearl Harbor, but we just haven't learned the most important lesson: Don't judge people based on the color of their skin or what they look like," said Anwar. (MORE)

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TX: LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES OF A VARIETY OF FAITHS COME TOGETHER FOR THE HOLIDAYS - TOP
Terri Jo Ryan, Waco Tribune-Herald, 12/18/06
http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/12/18/12182006wacTJRinterfaith.html

Eight months ago, when the Islamic Center of Waco hosted an event for the Greater Waco Interfaith Conference, mosque leader Al Siddiq playfully challenged Rabbi Mordechai Rotem of Temple Rodef Sholom to host the next event at his place.

Rotem's initiative is to invite all the followers of the Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahai Faith - to a joint celebration of the season of light.

The community event, called "Lighting the Path to Understanding," is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Temple Rodef Sholom, 1717 N. New Road. It is sponsored by the Greater Waco Interfaith Conference, an organization created more than 30 years ago to promote harmony, understanding and tolerance among the faith traditions of the greater Waco area.

Rotem said he noted that three major religious holidays come upon the heels of one another: Hanukkah, (beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev), which started at sundown Friday; Christmas, which takes place Dec. 25; and Eid Al-Adha or "Feast of the Sacrifice," (the 10th day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja), which starts at sundown Dec. 30 this year.

The metaphor of light as holiness and hope is a common bond of the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahai Faith, he said.

The one-hour program will start with lighting the candles for the fifth night of Hanukkah, Rotem said. Four speakers will make brief remarks on the importance of light in their religious tradition, followed by seasonal musical interludes on the theme. (MORE)

For more information, call 366-7684.

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BLAMING ISLAM: EXAMINING THE RELIGION BUILDING ENTERPRISE - TOP
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
Contact: 586-416-1150; info@ispu.us

Detroit MI: The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) released its long awaited report entitled "Blaming Islam: Examining the Religion Building Enterprise".

Dr. Louay Safi, a Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and a recognized authority on Islam and the Middle East, authored the report.

The report examines the religion building enterprise and assesses recent writing on Islam by scholars, pundits and policy makers. While the report suggests that Islam is in need of a new interpretation it also points out that on balance, Islam has been a positive force, rather than a villain to be arrested and chastised.

In the report, Safi argues that containing radical groups and ensuring more friendly and cooperative relations with the Muslim world requires a drastic shift in policy and attitude. In addition, American Muslims can be of great help in reconciling the differences between the United States and the Muslim world while also helping to fight terrorism and extremism. It suggests that US government officials should involve American Muslim scholars and leaders on policies relating to Islam and the Muslim world.

The report also recommends officials to:

* Engage Muslim leaders who represent social and political groups that are committed to democracy, instead of relying completely or exclusively on the views of experts who do not have firsthand contact or experience with Muslim groups.

* Ensure that U.S. foreign policy is always respectful of democratic principles and values, the rule of law, and protection of human rights.

* Apply the same set of principles and values to all people, regardless of their religious and ethnic affiliation.

* Withdraw support from authoritarian regimes, and send a clear message by requiring an open political system and free and fair elections as a precondition for economic cooperation.

* Have a clear position regarding Islam, and avoid sending mixed messages to Muslim communities and societies.

The full report was presented by Dr. Louay Safi at a conference on Islamophobia held on December 4th 2006 at the Brookings Institution in conjunction with ISPU. For copies of the report please contact the ISPU office at 586-416-1150 or visit our website at www.ispu.us

SEE ALSO:

EU REPORT: MUSLIMS FACE 'ISLAMOPHOBIA' - TOP
Brian Murphy, Associated Press, 12/18/06
http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/news/breaking_news/16266523.htm

ATHENS, Greece - Muslims across Europe are confronting a rise in "Islamophobia" ranging from violent attacks to discrimination in job and housing markets, a wide-ranging European Union report indicated Monday.

The study, compiled by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, urged European authorities to strengthen policies on integration. But it also noted that Muslims need to do more to counter negative perceptions driven by terrorism and upheavals such as the backlash to cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The 117-page survey details the many divides between the EU mainstream and the estimated 13 million Muslims - now at least 3.5 percent of the 25-nation bloc's population - and seeks to offer a street-level view of the complexities blocking efforts to bridge the differences.

"The disadvantaged position of Muslim minorities, evidence of a rise in Islamophobia and concern over processes of alienation and radicalization have triggered an intense debate in the European Union," said Beate Winkler, director of the Vienna-based group.

The report reinforces the growing urgency of tackling religious tensions and suspicions in Europe.

During a trip to Turkey earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI appealed for greater understanding between Christianity and Islam and sought to ease Muslim outrage over his remarks in September that cited a medieval emperor speaking about violence and Muhammad's teachings.

Last week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called tolerance one of the "essential values" of his nation and denounced "hatemongers, whatever their race, religion or creed."

The report cited hundreds of reported cases of violence or threats against Muslims in the EU since 2004, including vandalism against mosques and Islamic centers, abuse against women wearing Islamic headscarves and attacks, such as a Somali family in Denmark assaulted by a gang carrying baseball bats emblazoned with swastikas and racist slogans. (MORE)

ON THE NET:

European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia: http://eumc.eu.int

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FINDING MY RELIGION - TOP
Fifteen years ago, I converted from Catholicism to Islam. My mother still doesn't understand my choice, but there's not a day that I regret it.
Patricia Dunn, Salon.com, 12/18/06
http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2006/12/18/converting_islam/?source=whitelist

I'm not the same woman I was at 27 when I told my mother, "Ma, I can't eat the pasta fagioli." (She'd made it with bacon.) I'm not the same woman who lied when she said, "I didn't become Muslim because of Ahmed."

My mother believes that for women, most problems and solutions begin and end with the man in her life. But back then there was no way this feminist would admit to anyone -- including herself and especially not her mother -- that she had converted because of a man.

But today, at 42, and secure in my faith, I can admit that if it weren't for Ahmed -- though he is now my ex-husband -- the word "Islam" would probably still conjure up images of black-cloaked women and melodramatic Sally Field movies in my head. After all, I am my mother's daughter.

The day I left my Italian-Bronx neighborhood to go to college, I knew my communion and confession days were over. I was never going to let Jesus stick to the roof of my mouth again. There were too many contradictions for me in Catholicism. Why was my never-miss-Sunday-mass father excommunicated after he and my mother divorced -- especially when she was the one having the affair? How could the pope have an Olympic-size swimming pool while millions of his people were starving? And how could I tolerate the church's position on abortion and women's rights?

By the time I transferred from Barnard to UCLA, I was a lapsed Catholic who wanted nothing to do with organized religion. But I needed to believe in something.

During my years at UCLA I spent more hours making fliers, organizing demonstrations and making phone calls -- and once or twice bail -- than I spent studying. I defended clinics under attack by anti-abortionists; I worked for funding for the homeless and against nuclear testing; I traveled to Nicaragua to build houses and to Arizona to herd sheep for Navajos fighting to keep their land.

I tried to change the world one cause at a time.

In the summer of 1988, I interned at the Nation magazine's Washington office. While researching a story about Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian-American psychologist and founder of the Palestinian Center for Non-Violence, the president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee invited me to go on a student delegation to the Occupied Territories. Two weeks after returning to UCLA from the West Bank and Gaza I gave a talk to 50 students about my experience. I explained how the intifada had propelled women into major leadership roles. How women-run factories and businesses were building an infrastructure for a future state.

At the back of the room stood a man, 6 feet tall with bright red hair. He held his hand to his chin, and his focus on me helped me focus. When I finished, he applauded louder than anyone else. I was relieved the talk had been a success -- at least no one from the audience had shouted out, "Arab-loving whore!"

The man waited until I gathered my notes and walked off the stage before approaching me. "Brilliant speech," he said. I thanked him, trying not to blush. Extending his hand, he said, "My name is Ahmed." But I already knew who he was. He was president of the Muslim Students Association and, like me, he wrote a column for the school paper, where we were both slotted "on the left." I was a fan. . .

I studied Islam in order to debate Ahmed and his belief system, but the more I learned, the more I found how greatly I had underestimated my own ignorance. Mine wasn't a hit-you-over-the-head epiphany, but rather a slow and steady stream of aha's.

The feminist in me aha'd when she realized that in the Quran God is neither male nor female. The scholar in me aha'd at the various interpretations and schools of thought within Islam, most of which depict the religion as a social and constantly changing belief system, rather than the fixed, dogmatic one the government of Saudi Arabia would have the world believe.

The Christian still left in me aha'd when she read in the Quran how those who do good deeds are in God's grace. And the scared Bronx girl in me aha'd at the Quran's refrain that God is "merciful and compassionate" -- until, eventually, the scared Bronx girl was no more. (MORE)

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AZ: GO DADDY ORDERED TO PAY EX-EMPLOYEE $390,000 - TOP
Jane Larson, Arizona Republic, 12/18/06
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1218sr-godaddy1218-ON.html

SCOTTSDALE - Go Daddy Group Inc. wrongfully terminated a Muslim employee from Morocco for complaining of discrimination and must pay the man $390,000 in damages, a federal jury decided late Friday.

The jury did side with the Scottsdale-based registrar of Internet domain names on five other counts in the civil lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Jurors concluded that Go Daddy decided not to promote Youssef Bouamama for other reasons, not because of his religion or national origin or because of his discrimination complaints. The jury also concluded that Go Daddy did not terminate him because of religion or national origin.

Go Daddy said Monday that it plans to appeal the retaliation decision and the damages award.

Bouamama, who now works for a Valley credit agency, said Monday that he is happy with the verdict.

"I was relieved. I believe in American justice, and I believed in the jury. They were able to find the truth," he said. . .

The EEOC filed the lawsuit against Go Daddy in 2004, alleging it had failed to promote Bouamama on the basis of his religion and national origin and in retaliation for his discrimination complaints. The lawsuit also alleged that Go Daddy terminated Bouamama based on those factors.

The case went to trial in U.S. District Court in Phoenix last week. The eight-woman jury deliberated for four hours Friday before returning the verdict.

The jury said Go Daddy must pay Bouamama $250,000 in punitive damages, $135,000 in back pay and $5,000 for emotional pain and suffering. (MORE)

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CANADA: EX-SOLDIERS BREAK 'SILENCE' ON ISRAELI EXCESSES - TOP
Yehuda Shaul tells Haroon Siddiqui `something rotten' is going on in Gaza and the West Bank
Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star, 12/17/06
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1166271550356&call_pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795

A young Israeli was in Canada last week raising ethical questions about the conduct of Israeli soldiers in the Occupied Territories.

Yehuda Shaul was born in Jerusalem to an American mother and Canadian father (from Toronto). Shaul went to school in a West Bank settlement and served in the army from 2001 to 2004. He did a 14-month stint in Hebron, guarding about 650 settlers living among approximately 150,000 Palestinians.

He is one of the founders of Break the Silence, a group of ex-soldiers speaking out about what they saw and did during their tour of duty in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

At 6-foot 1-inch, the heavy-set Shaul cuts an imposing but engaging figure with his beard, ponytail and the kippa. He smiles easily.

He had a lot to say during a vegetarian kosher lunch we shared in my office with his Toronto host, Judith Wiseman.

He came here after a tour of six American cities. In Toronto, he spoke at the Winchevsky Centre of the United Jewish People's Order and at the Quaker House. Then he was off to London, Ottawa and Montreal.

He recounted the moment when, three months before being released from the army, he was alone and wondering what he would do upon returning to civilian life.

It struck him, he said, that he had become "a monster," doing things that were not right. "It was a frightening moment."

He spoke to fellow soldiers. "They were feeling the same: `Something's rotten here.' Israelis don't know what goes on here, and we must tell them.'"

Within three months of being discharged in March 2004, Shaul and friends mounted an exhibit, Bringing Hebron to Tel Aviv. It had powerful photos and video testimony by 64 soldiers showing and describing the treatment meted out to Palestinians by the troops as well as some of the settlers.

There were pictures of Palestinians bound and blindfolded. There was a photo of a settler carrying an assault rifle with a decal on the magazine clip: "Kill 'em all, Let God sort 'em out." Another was of graffiti on a wall: "Arabs to the gas chamber." (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
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Fax: 202-488-0833
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Forwarded Message

Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 13:37:55 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: CAIR Asks Wal-Mart to Drop Game Glorifying Religious Violence

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/19/06

* Hadith: Acknowledge the Rights of the Poor
* CAIR Asks Wal-Mart to Drop Game Glorifying Religious Violence
* CAIR Rep Discusses Supreme Court Sculpture of Muhammad (NPR)
            - CAIR-FL: 'Kill All Muslim Kids' Blogger Calls It Quits
* TN: Pastor Questions Picture of Muslim on Gov's Christmas Card (AP)
            - WV: Muslim Couple Settles Employment Bias Lawsuit (AP)
* MI: Critic of Quran Use Hasn't Done Homework (Free Press)
            - Ignorance, Bias Cloud our Judgment (Kansas City Star)
* OH: Faith, Hope Drive Hajj for Cincinnati Couple (Enquirer)
* DC: Brookings Hosts an Ethnic Cleanser (Counterpunch)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: ACKNOWLEDGE THE RIGHTS OF THE POOR - TOP

A man once came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and said: "I have plenty of property, a large family, a great deal of money, and I am a gracious host to my guests. Tell me how to conduct my life and how to spend (my wealth)." The Prophet replied: "Pay regular charity out of your property, for truly it is a (purifier), and be kind to your relatives, and acknowledge the rights of the poor, neighbors, and beggars."

The Prophet also said: "Charity taken from a property never decreases it."

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 3

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CAIR ASKS WAL-MART TO DROP GAME GLORIFYING RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE - TOP

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/19/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today asked Wal-Mart to stop selling a video game that glorifies religious violence and may harm interfaith relations.

CAIR says it has received complaints about the game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," produced by Left Behind Games Inc. The game reportedly rewards players for either converting or killing people of other faiths.

SEE: 'Convert or Die' Game Divides Christians

In a letter to Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr., CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in part:

"We believe the message this game is promoting is one of religious intolerance. The game's enemy team includes people with Muslim-sounding names. When asked about the Arab and Muslim-sounding names, Left Behind Games' President Jeffrey Frichner said, 'Muslims are not believers in Jesus Christ' -- and therefore cannot be on the side of Jesus in the game. (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/12/06) As you may know, Muslims do in fact revere Jesus as one of God's prophets.

"In the post 9-11 climate, when improving interfaith relations should be a priority for all, this type of product only serves to dehumanize others and increase interfaith hostility and mistrust.

"Each year, CAIR issues an annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights outlining hundreds of incidents involving anti-Muslim discrimination, harassment, and hate crimes. It is our experience that many of these incidents result from Islamophobic rhetoric and negative images of Muslims in popular culture. . .

"We have no desire to stifle creativity or inhibit freedom of speech. However, it is our duty as America's leading Islamic civil rights group to promote mutual understanding and ensure the safety of Americans of all faiths.

"We also believe that as a company that prides itself in hiring and offering services to a diverse group of people, it is Wal-Mart's corporate social responsibility to take into account the potential social impact of its decision to sell this harmful game. We, therefore, respectfully request the removal of the video game 'Left Behind: Eternal Forces' from your shelves."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

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CAIR REP DISCUSSES SUPREME COURT SCULPTURE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD ON 'THIS AMERICAN LIFE' - TOP
http://thislife.org/pages/descriptions/06/322.html

A Muslim woman persuades her husband that their family would be happier if they left the West Bank and moved to America. They do, and things are good, until September 11. After that, the elementary school their daughter goes to begins using a textbook that says Muslims want to kill Christians. This and other stories of what happens when Muslims and non-Muslims try to communicate, and misfire.

Prologue. In the 1930s, the designer of the U.S. Supreme Court made a frieze to adorn the courtroom walls. It depicted eighteen great lawgivers through ages, including Moses, Solon, Confucius ... and Muhammad. The only problem is that Islam forbids such portrayals of the prophet. Ira Glass talks to Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, about why the frieze is offensive to Muslims, and what they tried to do about it. (7 minutes)

Act One. Which One of Them Is Not Like the Other? Serry and her husband's love story began in a place not usually associated with romance: the West Bank. That was where the couple met, fell in love and decided to get married. Then Serry, who was American, convinced her Palestinian husband to move to America. She promised him that in America their children would never encounter prejudice or strife of any kind. But things didn't quite work out that way. This American Life producer Alix Spiegel tells the story. (33 minutes)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-FL: CONTROVERSIAL BLOGGER CALLS IT QUITS - TOP
Tony Marrero, Hernando Today, 12/18/06
http://www.hernandotoday.com/MGBHVQCNVVE.html

It was a decision Vilmar Tavares says he had made before the recent controversy over his blog.

But the firestorm that erupted last week over some content on his Web site made the Spring Hill resident hasten his plan to quit.

"I was going to drop the blog at the end of the year anyway and these events precipitated ... and advanced ... my scheduled quitting," Tavares says in statement posted where his blog, www.rightwinghowler.com, could once be found.

HostGator, a Boca Raton-based Internet service provider, suspended Tavares's account last week after the Council for American-Islamic Relations complained about a posting that encouraged readers to "kill all Muslim kids."

As he did last week, Tavares declined comment for this story, saying in an e-mail to Hernando Today that the note posted at the former location of his site "says it all."

In the statement, Tavares addresses his fans.

"I'm sorry if I disappoint some of you and you may think I've been 'forced' into this decision by HostGator," Tavares wrote. "Well, there can be nothing further from the truth."

Tavares had tried to "take a break," but that didn't work. Blogging is simply no longer "fun," he said. . .

Those terms of service are HostGator's to define, Tavares said, "and if they think I violated them, then my only recourse is to find someone else. I will not be choosing that option."

Tavares posted a piece Nov. 29 under the heading "LOVE YOUR KIDS? FEAR FOR THEIR FUTURE? KILL ALL MUSLIM KIDS!!!"

The piece is actually the original work of another blogger known as Frank J., who had posted it on his site, www.imao.us.

"As responsible parent and possible future parents, we have to make sure our children don't have to deal with the terrorism that plagues us now," the piece reads. "The only way to do that is to kill all the Arab kids."

Above the posting, Tavares added this comment: "Makes sense to me. After all, if Muslims are raising their little crumb-snatching, curtain-climbing, ankle-biting rug rats to strap on bombs in order to kill us, it is logically correct to assume that in order to stop that from happening we need to kill all Muslim kids. Starting now."

Frank J., who said his last name is Fleming, told Hernando Today last week that the piece was satirical and "made to ridicule extreme viewpoints like that."

Fleming said it was his impression that Tavares was "playing along with the satire and not being serious at all."

Ahmed Bedier, executive director of CAIR's Tampa chapter, had a different view and wrote a letter to the company asking it to shut down Tavares' site. The advocacy group had been monitoring the site and grew increasingly concerned by what they saw as hate speech that could incite violence against Muslims.

The recent posting about killing Arab children "crossed the line," Bedier said.

"That's nothing to joke around about," said Bedier. (MORE)

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TN: PASTOR QUESTIONS PICTURE OF MUSLIM ON GOVERNOR'S CHRISTMAS CARD - TOP
Associated Press, 12/19/06
http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=5832984

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Nashville pastor is questioning why Governor Bredesen chose to paint a picture of a teenage Muslim girl for his annual Christmas card.
Bredesen's card shows a young Muslim girl that he met in Afghanistan last March.

Pastor Maury Davis of Cornerstone Church told W-K-R-N-T-V in Nashville that the governor's message is convoluted and could be interpreted as an insult to Christianity.

On the back of the card, Bredesen wrote that it may seem odd to put a portrait of a Muslim on a Christmas card. But he said that the season should serve as a reminder that God loves his children most of all. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

WV: MORGANTOWN MUSLIM COUPLE SETTLES NIOSH LAWSUIT - TOP
Associated Press, 12/18/06
http://wvgazette.com/section/Breaking/000000233

MORGANTOWN -- A Muslim couple has settled its lawsuit against the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Terms of the settlement were not released.

Attorneys for Aliakbar and Shahla Afshari and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to say anything other than that the case had been settled.

No settlement agreement has yet been filed with the U.S. District Court in Clarksburg, either.

In the lawsuit filed in December 2004, the Afsharis said they were illegally fired in May 2004 from their jobs at NIOSH's Morgantown facility because of their religious beliefs and national origin. The Afsharis are Shiite Muslims and natives of Iran.

They were fired after failing a secret background investigation of employees from countries considered a threat to the United States, even though they passed previous background checks when they were hired.

Aliakbar Afshari studied the health effects of welding and asphalt fumes, and hand and arm vibrations.

Shahla Afshari worked in a laboratory that researched sensitivity to chemicals in the workplace, such as allergic reactions to latex gloves.

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MI: CRITIC OF QURAN USE HASN'T DONE HOMEWORK - TOP
Desiree Cooper, Detroit Free Press, 12/19/06
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061219/NEWS01/612190342

It figures that in this season of goodwill toward men, all hell would break loose before one newly elected congressman could say, "I do solemnly swear."

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is a Detroit expatriate whose platform of tolerance can still be found on www.keithellison.org: "We are working for an America where everybody counts, where everybody matters, and where peace is our guiding principle," he pledged.

But that lovey-doveyness met with outrage as soon as Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, announced that he'll take his oath of office upon a Quran, not a Bible.

The squawking is coming from one conservative commentator in particular, columnist and talk show host Dennis Prager, who argued that Ellison's use of the Quran "undermines American civilization."

Doesn't he know that the free exercise of religion is a pillar of our civilization, not a threat to it?

Bible not required

Prager argued further that if Ellison is incapable of taking an oath on the Bible, he shouldn't serve in Congress. I wonder if he knows that members of Congress are sworn in en masse, with no religious tomes present anyway. (The pictures of them taking oaths with their hands on Bibles are shot later, as mementos.)

Perhaps worrying that flames will soon be licking at the edges of our way of life, Prager charged that Ellison's intention is an "act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture."

But bigger Americans than he -- or Ellison for that matter -- have flouted the Bible tradition. Like John Quincy Adams, who was so devout, he refused to thrust the Bible into the political crosshairs. Instead, he took his oath of office upon a book of laws and the Constitution.

What would Prager say to President Franklin Pierce, whose son was killed in a train accident soon after he was elected? Pierce felt the death was God's judgment against him and considered himself unworthy to swear upon the Bible.

The Quakers believe that swearing to an oath is forbidden, since truthfulness is always expected. Quaker President Herbert Hoover, "affirmed" his oath of office instead. Over the years, members of Congress have used Jewish and Mormon religious texts, while others have used none at all.

Are they all "multiculturalist activists" or are they simply better versed on what it means to be an American? (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

IGNORANCE, BIAS CLOUD OUR JUDGMENT - TOP
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star, 12/19/06
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/16269728.htm

By now you've heard about the six imams, how they were removed from a Minneapolis flight, detained for five hours of questioning, and not allowed to fly home.

Perhaps you lean toward believing the version that talks of how the Islamic leaders requested seat-belt extenders, but didn't use them.

How they shouted angrily in Arabic and refused to sit in their assigned seats, choosing instead a pattern that placed a man close to every exit of the aircraft.

Or maybe you prefer the version that leans toward the outcries after the story hit the media. There are the charges of "flying while Muslim," how praying five times a day is being demonized and the allegations of discrimination that have literally made this a federal case.

Do not expect to ever learn the truth. It most likely exists somewhere between all of these well-circulated theories about the November incident. And I'm not stupid enough to attempt recreating the events from afar to derive a supreme conclusion.

One thing years of reporting on race relations ingrains is a keen sense that full truths are rarely found in the reconstruction of events after allegations of discrimination are made.

Retellings are always filtered through people's individual brand of truth. Yes, even from people who were there, as both observers and participants. Their backgrounds, their experiences, their engrained viewpoints and their fears were also present.

Add in the possibility of lawsuits, proposed federal legislation against profiling at airports, and what some grasp as an opportunity to make a statement about the nature of Islam; and well, things can get skewed pretty quickly.

The only crystal clear thing is this: Similar incidents will occur. As a nation, we are at the beginning of a long process to gain a better understanding of, and comfort level with, Muslims in the United States.

How else could we be a country founded to secure religious freedom, yet the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress is eliciting a national debate on whether or not he can be sworn into office with a Qur'an?

A Tampa, Fla., Web site recently was shut down after it proposed killing all Muslim kids as an answer to terrorism. A Washington, D.C., radio host set out to test anti-Muslim sentiment by proposing that all Muslims be tattooed, a way of branding them for public recognition. Many listeners thought that was a fine idea. (MORE)

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OH: FAITH, HOPE DRIVE PILGRIMAGE - TOP
Disabling accident deepens couple's hajj to Mecca
The 7,000-mile journey once seemed impossible.
John Johnston, Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/19/06
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061219/LIFE/612190343/1086

Gulnar and Ashraf Durrani, married 19 years, this month will make the pilgrimage to Mecca known as the hajj. An estimated 30,000 Muslims live in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and more than 40 are making the trip to Saudi Arabia, where they will join more than 2 million others from around the world. (MORE)

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DC: BROOKINGS HOSTS AN ETHNIC CLEANSER - TOP
Mr. Lieberman Comes to Washington
Will Youmans, Counterpunch, 12/8/06
http://counterpunch.org/youmans12082006.html

When far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party joined the Israeli government, pro-peace Israelis expressed outrage. The Brookings Institution extended an invitation.

Brookings' Saban Center for Middle East Policy is holding the third annual Saban Forum in Washington, D.C. from December 8 through the 10th. This year's forum is entitled "America and Israel: Confronting a Middle East in Turmoil" ­ "turmoil," meaning pissed off Arabs, of course.

In his new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, Jimmy Carter charges that we lack a national discussion about our nation's support for Israel. This invitation proves his point, as does the entire forum ­ which doesn't think any Arabs, not even the empire butt-kissers, need be present. For some reason, they invited Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, but not a single Arab.

An Arab-less discussion of the Middle East fits comfortably with one prominent guest's vision of the holy land. Lieberman is one of Israel's leading advocates of forcibly removing masses of Palestinians in order to alter the country's demographic outlay permanently. This has a more common name: ethnic cleansing.

In 2002, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted with dismay one of Lieberman's many disgusting proposals. If the Palestinians did not comply with Israeli dictates, he suggested, the occupying forces should "bomb all the commercial centers... gas stations... [and] banks."

Lieberman's ghastly plan for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel was to drown them in the Dead Sea. He offered to provide the buses to transport them. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 19:06:04 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: VA Rep Asked to Apologize for Anti-Muslim Remarks

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VA REP ASKED TO APOLOGIZE FOR ANTI-MUSLIM REMARKS
Rep. Goode slams Quran, election of Muslims, growth of U.S. Islamic community

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/19/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) tonight called on Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) to apologize for anti-Muslim remarks he made in a recent letter to a constituent.

Goode's letter to the head of the local Sierra Club chapter slammed the planned use of a Quran for the ceremonial swearing-in of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. (No religious texts of any kind are used for the official swearing-in ceremony.)

"I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way," wrote Goode. "The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."

Goode also decried the growth of the American Muslim community. He wrote, "I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America." (Keith Ellison has traced his family's roots in America to the year 1742.)

SEE: Anti-Muslim Letter Goes Out to Hundreds - Not All are Amused

"Representative Goode's Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry."

Saylor said Goode should apologize for his remarks and offered to arrange a meeting between the congressman and members of the Muslim community in his district.

The controversy over Representative-elect Ellison's use of the Quran for the ceremonial oath began with a recent commentary by Dennis Prager, a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, in which he wrote that swearing an oath on the Quran "undermines American civilization." CAIR has asked that Prager be removed from the taxpayer-supported council.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 571-278-4658, E-Mail: csaylor@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 16:37:30 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: NJ Congressman Slams Rep. Goode's Anti-Muslim Remarks / FBI Seeks Break in OH Mosque Blast / MD Schools' Islamic Lessons Inaccurate, Group Says

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/20/06

* Hadith: Authority is a Trust
* DC: CAIR Rep Takes Part in Holocaust Memorial Event
* NJ Congressman Slams Rep. Goode's Anti-Muslim Remarks
            - VA Rep Fears 'Many More Muslims' in Office (AP)
            - VA Rep Says Muslim Rep Threatens US Values (AFP)
            - Image: Rep. Virgil Goode's Letter
* CAIR-OH: FBI Seeks Break in Mosque Blast (Enquirer)
            - CAIR-OH: One-Year Anniversary of Mosque Bombing
* CAIR-FL: Internet Host Flooded with Complaints (SP Times)
            - CAIR: Muslim Travelers Get Bias Hotline (Journal News)
            - CAIR: Ads Hope to Dispel Fears of Muslims (AP)
            - CAIR: Muslim Group Wants Sale of Game Halted
            - CAIR: Government, Muslims Define 'Islamophobia'
            - CAIR: A People Under Siege (IPS)
* MD: Schools' Islamic Lessons Inaccurate, Group Says
* Book Review: Muhammad as Prophet and Politician (NY Times)
* The Other Israel Lobby (Salon.com)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: AUTHORITY IS A TRUST - TOP

Narrated AbuDharr: "I said to the Prophet (Muhammad, peace be upon him). . .'Will you not appoint me to a public office?' He stroked my shoulder with his hand and said: 'AbuDharr, you are weak and authority is a trust, and on the Day of Judgment it is a cause of humiliation and repentance except for one who fulfills its obligations and (properly) discharges the duties attendant thereon.'"

Sahih Muslim, Hadith 842

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DC: CAIR REP TAKES PART IN HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL EVENT - TOP

(WASHINGTON, DC, 12/20/06) - A representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today joined Washington-area Muslim leaders in an event at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to honor and remember the victims of the Holocaust.

CONTACT: CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, 202-488-8787, 202-415-0799, E-Mail: aiftikhar@cair.com

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PASCRELL OFFENDED BY REP GOODE'S ANTI-MUSLIM REMARKS - TOP
Urges Virginia representative to meet with Muslim community

Contact: Caley Gray (202) 468-3081
12/20/06
For Immediate Release

PATERSON- U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today sent the following correspondence to U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA-05) expressing his disappointment in ethnically offensive remarks the Congressman wrote about the use of the Koran in U.S. Representative-elect Keith Ellison's unofficial swearing-in ceremony to the House of Representatives. Pascrell also expressed alarm in Congressman Goode wrongfully equating the issue of immigration with a fear of Muslim integration in our society.

December 20, 2006

Rep. Virgil Goode
1520 Longworth Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Goode:

I was greatly disappointed and in fact startled by your recent constituent letter addressing the issue of Representative-elect Keith Ellison using a Koran for his swearing-in ceremony. The United States Constitution is clear on this issue when its states in Article VI, section 3: "...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Furthermore, as a returning Member of Congress you know that the official swearing-in for new Members of Congress is done without use of any religious text. The use of any text including a Bible, Torah or Koran is done only in a ceremonial event after the Member has already taken an official oath of office. I have had the pleasure to meet Keith Ellison on a number of occasions and it is clear that his integrity and values will make him an outstanding Member of Congress for many years to come. Keith Ellison serves as a great example of Muslim-Americans in our nation and he does not have to answer to you, to me or anyone else in regards to questions about his faith.

Your letter also wrongfully equates the issue of immigration with a fear of Muslim integration in our society. I take your remarks as personally offensive to the large community of Muslim-Americans I represent in the Eighth District of New Jersey. I have learned a great deal from the Muslim community and have made it one of my priorities to educate other Americans about the common misconceptions regarding the peaceful faith of Islam. There are many valid policy questions regarding immigration that should be addressed by Congress, however promoting a fear and disrespect of Muslims is not only wrongheaded, but it is reckless. Muslim-Americans do not threaten our American values and traditions, in fact they only add to them. The State of Virginia has a large vibrant Muslim population and I would hope you would take this opportunity to meet with that community and learn to dispel misconceptions instead of promoting them.

Please accept my comments in good faith. Together I know we are committed to fighting extremism. Virgil, I trust that our "fight" will not be confused or misdirected to discriminate against any race, religion or ethnicity.

Sincerely,

Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress

SEE ALSO:

VA CONGRESSMAN FEARS ELECTION OF 'MANY MORE MUSLIMS' TO OFFICE - TOP
Associated Press, 12/20/06
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-12-20-goode_x.htm

WASHINGTON (AP) - Responding to constituent e-mails about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Quran at his ceremonial swearing-in, a Virginia congressman warned that "many more Muslims" will be elected demanding to use the Quran unless immigration is tightened.

Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., made the comments in a letter sent to hundreds of constituents about Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress.

"The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran," Goode wrote.

Goode said the U.S. needs to stop illegal immigration "totally" and reduce legal immigration.

Goode added: "I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."

Ellison was born in Detroit and converted to Islam in college. He did not immediately return a telephone message left Wednesday.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group, called on Goode to apologize for the letter.

"Representative Goode's Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry."

Goode spokesman Linwood Duncan said no apology was forthcoming.

"The only statement the congressman has is that he stands by the letter," Duncan said.

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CAIR: CONGRESSMAN SAYS MUSLIM LAWMAKER'S ELECTION THREATENS US VALUES - TOP
Agence France Presse, 12/20/06
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061220/pl_afp/uscongressislam_061220204052

A US lawmaker stirred up controversy when he expressed uneasiness over the election of a Muslim to serve with him in the House of Representatives, which he said endangered "the values and beliefs traditional" to the United States.

"The Muslim representative from Minnesota (Keith Ellison) was elected by the voters of that district, and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran" in their swearing-in ceremonies, Goode said in a letter to one of his associates, sent to AFP Wednesday.

The powerful Muslim rights group CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, demanded an apology from Goode in response to the letter.

"Representative Goode's Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry."

Goode's spokesman said the lawmaker stood by his letter and would not offer any apology.

Ellison was also ordered by a conservative radio commentator, Dennis Prager, to take his oath of office using the Bible rather than the Koran.

"Mr. Ellison: America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath," argued Prager, adding that taking the oath using the Muslim holy book would disqualify Ellison from serving in Congress. (MORE)

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IMAGE: LETTER FROM REP. VIRGIL GOODE (R-VA) TO CONSTITUENTS - TOP
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/docs/goode-letter/

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CAIR-OH: FBI SEEKS BREAK IN MOSQUE BLAST - TOP
$35,000 reward offered in pipe bombing of a year ago today
Dan Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/20/06
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061220/NEWS01/612200377/1056/COL02

The FBI is still looking for a break that could lead to an arrest in the bombing of a Clifton mosque one year ago today.

Despite a public outcry against the bombing - and promises of at least $35,000 in reward money - investigators say they are no closer to catching the bomber than they were last December.

"It's frustrating and disappointing," said Karen Dabdoub, director of the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "We had an attack on a house of worship in our community. Whoever did it is still out there running around."

The attack occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Dec. 20, when two pipe bombs detonated near the entrance to the Islamic Association of Cincinnati's mosque. The blasts damaged the wooden door and blew out windows, but no one was hurt.

FBI Agent Jim Robertson, heading the investigation, said investigators have had fewer leads to pursue in recent months and hope attention from the anniversary of the bombing will spur new ones.

The FBI increased the reward it is offering for information leading to an arrest from $15,000 to $25,000. CAIR and Crime Stoppers each are offering an additional $5,000. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-OH: ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF CLIFTON MOSQUE BOMBING - TOP
Deb Haas, 9News, 12/19/06
http://wcpo.com/news/2006/local/12/19/mosque.html

The FBI announced Tuesday that it is raising the reward for information about the bombing of a mosque in Clifton.

The reward is now at $25,000 and agents hope that money will help solve the case.

The FBI believes the person who put the bombs there didn't want to hurt anyone, but wanted to intimidate people.

A full year later, police say the case is open and they want to bring it to a close.

Though attendance at services is up, people still talk about it, still worry about it.

Karen Dabdoub represents the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"Oh it's very frustrating because a crime like this is extremely serious. It's not just a crime against a house of worship, but it affects the entire community and makes them feel unsafe in their house of worship, makes them feel very vulnerable."

She hopes the FBI gets the break it needs to solve this case.

James Robertson of the FBI hopes so too.

"It's an important matter for us, freedom of religion is a basic constitutional right, of everybody. We take that very seriously."

As days and months go by though, leads dry up.

The FBI said that is why agents are talking to the media and offering a larger reward, hoping someone comes forward with information.

"It is a big deal, again, we take it very seriously, in today's climate with threats of international terrorism looming over our heads. We want to ensure people here are safe and secure no matter their race, religion or creeds are."

Officers promise to keep working the case, while those victimized must wait, and wonder, if it will ever be solved.

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CAIR-FL: BLOGGER PULLED PLUG HIMSELF, HE SAYS - TOP
Asjylyn Loder, St. Petersburg Times, 12/20/06
http://www.sptimes.com/2006/12/20/Hernando/Blogger_pulled_plug_h.shtml

A Spring Hill blogger posted a farewell to his readers after his controversial posting - "...we need to kill all Muslim kids. Starting now." - led to the closing of his Web site late last week.

"It was fun. It was real. And for me, in the past couple of months it had not been 'real fun,'" wrote Vilmar Tavares, 54, the host of Right Wing Howler, on the remnant of his defunct Web site.

Tavares denied reports that his Web hosting company shut him down after complaints from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group that claimed credit for the shutdown. Tavares said he shut it down voluntarily because he was tired of blogging.

Host Gator Co., the Web host that carried Right Wing Howler, said Monday that Tavares volunteered to shut down after Host Gator Co. told him there had been "literally thousands" of complaints.

CAIR supporters swamped Host Gator Co. with e-mails, said company president Brent Oxley.

"It was overwhelming, their support," Oxley said.

Tavares did not return a call for comment Tuesday.

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: MUSLIM TRAVELERS GET BIAS HOTLINE - TOP
Suzan Clarke, Journal News, 12/20/06
http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061220/NEWS03/612200360/1019

Among the more than 2 million people performing the hajj this year are thousands of American Muslims.

One advocacy group has established a toll-free hotline so that hajj travelers may report any instances of perceived bias against them.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, created the hotline because of recent incidents of profiling on airlines that the organization called "flying while Muslim."

In November, six Muslim clerics were removed from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis after a passenger registered concerns about the men's behavior. The clerics had conducted evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding their flight.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for a thorough investigation into the incident.

Because the hajj falls during winter holidays this year, more American Muslims - an estimated 10,000 - are expected to participate, the group said.

In addition to the number, which is 800-784-7526, the group has issued a pocket guide that advises travelers of their rights as Americans.

"As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and nonstigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory," the guide says, according to a press release issued last week that also advised people on the action they should take if they feel their rights are violated.

Mohammed Ziaullah, a board member of the Islamic Center of Rockland who is going to the hajj tomorrow, said he was "comfortable" with the idea but said it should have come from the government.

"I want to see more from the administration," he said. "The Bush administration should have instituted the hotline." (MORE)

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CAIR: ADS HOPE TO DISPEL FEARS OF MUSLIMS - TOP
Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press, 12/20/06
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/16279577.htm

RICHMOND, Va. - The small beige signs bearing swirling, black Arabic script appear all over town on buses and at colleges.

One panicked bus rider wondered if they were secret messages from terrorists. Should the FBI be contacted? What do they mean?

Actual translation: "Paper or plastic?"

The signs are part of a campaign by the Virginia Interfaith Center, aimed at dispelling some of the public's fears about the Muslim community. Organizers hope to eventually expand the program statewide.

"As soon as people see Arabic, they immediately make an association with terrorism," said the Rev. C. Douglas Smith, executive director of the interfaith center. "That's probably because since 9/11, not only is fear overwhelming us, but that's how we're being trained to think."

The signs were placed in all 170 Greater Richmond Transit Company buses on Nov. 27 and many buses will continue to display them at least through the end of January. The signs, designed by The Martin Agency, have also been posted at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Besides the "paper or plastic" sign, there are two others - one which is the Arabic version of the "I'm a little tea pot" rhyme and the other roughly translating to the English equivalent of "rock, paper, scissors." Accompanying the translations at the bottom of the posters are comments such as, "Misunderstanding can make anything scary," and "What did you think it said?"

The transit company has already fielded several calls from concerned riders, said Gretchen Schoel, executive director of A More Perfect Union, a project of the Virginia Interfaith Center that is spearheading the ads. . .

The ad push is one of the latest efforts to dispel stereotypes of Muslims and Arabic speakers. In 2004, the Council on American-Islamic Relations launched a nationwide TV and radio campaign, featuring Muslims from different backgrounds, each ending with the slogan, "I am an American Muslim."

Yet high-profile misunderstandings continue. In late November, six Muslim imams were removed from a flight to Phoenix after some airline passengers grew concerned. It was just the latest incident in which passengers who were Muslim or, in some cases, simply not Caucasian, were questioned before boarding flights.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it processed more civil-rights and workplace discrimination complaints in 2005 than ever before. The total jumped to 1,972 in 2005 from 1,522 in 2004. (MORE)

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CAIR: MUSLIM GROUP WANTS SALE OF GAME HALTED - TOP
News & Observer, 12/20/06
http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/523426.html

RALEIGH - A Muslim advocacy group in Raleigh has joined a national campaign to ask Wal-Mart to stop selling a video game that it says glorifies religious violence.

The Muslim American Public Affairs Council said the game, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," promotes Muslim intolerance.

"We don't want any more hatred to be spread around," said Waleed Elhentaty, president of the Raleigh group's public affairs council.

The organization said it contacted 17 Triangle Wal-Mart stores asking them to stop selling the game. It is also urging the public to contact Wal-Mart with the same request. The national Council on American Islamic Relations has issued a similar plea.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman acknowledged that the retail giant sells the game and gave no indication it was considering pulling it from shelves.

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CAIR: US GOVERNMENT AND AMERICAN MUSLIMS ENGAGE TO DEFINE ISLAMOPHOBIA - TOP
Middle East Online, 12/20/06
http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/opinion/?id=18846

The panelists argued that American Muslims must work with the government to not only challenge the anti-Islamic discourse that is spreading in the US but also work to correct some of the misunderstandings that the government itself maybe harboring about Islam and American Muslims, notes Muqtedar Khan. . .

Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, argued that Islamophobia was a new word but not a new phenomenon. He presented data to indicate that hate crimes against Muslims had risen by 29% in the last one year and in the ten years since 1995 that his organization [CAIR] had collected data on Islamophobic episodes, it has shown nothing but steady increase. He concluded that being critical of Islam and Muslims is not Islamophobia, but to ridicule the faith and the faithful, certainly is.

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CAIR: A PEOPLE UNDER SIEGE - TOP
William Fisher, Inter Press Service, 12/19/06
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35897

Five years after the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, "Islamophobia" -- intensified by the war in Iraq and government actions -- has left millions of Muslims here and in other Western countries fearful of harassment, discrimination and questionable prosecutions, and confused about their place in society.

Recent polls indicate that almost half of U.S. citizens have a negative perception of Islam and that one in four of those surveyed have "extreme" anti-Muslim views. A survey by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) found that a quarter of people here consistently believe stereotypes such as: "Muslims value life less than other people" and "The Muslim religion teaches violence and hatred."

In 2005, CAIR received 1,972 civil rights complaints, compared to 1,522 in 2004. This constitutes a 29.6 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment from 2004. It is the highest number of Muslim civil rights complaints ever reported to CAIR.

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MD: SCHOOLS' ISLAMIC LESSONS INACCURATE, GROUP SAYS - TOP
Julia Wilson, North County News, 12/20/06
http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID=806&NewsID=770512&CategoryID=8408&on=1

Some Muslims in Baltimore County say lessons involving Islam being taught to seventh- and 10th-graders in public schools are inaccurate.

Bash Pharoan, president of the Baltimore chapter of the American Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee, said resource sheets, called "Islamic Life" given to seventh-graders studying world cultures and "World Religions" for 10th- graders in world history classes, not only misrepresent Islam, but show disrespect to the prophet Muhammad.

For three years, Pharoan said, he has unsuccessfully petitioned the Baltimore County school board to review the way Islam is presented in public school classrooms.

Joe Hairston, county school superintendent, said his "teachers do not use materials that contain inaccurate information."

Pharoan disagrees, saying the resource sheet on Islam belittles the prophet Muhammad by referring to him only as "Muhammad."

"We always say 'Prophet Muhammad. Omitting the word prophet is disrespectful."

Pharoan said many of facts on the resource sheets are untrue or half-true, and they "emphasize negative differences that are divisive in nature." He said it is wrong to knowingly teach children inaccurate information.

Getting accurate information to children is important now because of the war in Iraq, he said.

Pharoan said the information given to students about "jihad" and the Quran, the sacred book of Islam, is especially objectionable.

The resource sheets state Muhammad's "main goal was to get people to accept Allah and to spread the faith of Islam. Muhammad justified his attacks to his followers by explaining that to weaken those who opposed the spread of God's word was a virtue, and that those who fell in battle would be rewarded in heaven. Thus the idea of the jihad became the holy war of the Muslims against 'the unbelievers.'" (MORE)

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SEEING MUHAMMAD AS BOTH A PROPHET AND A POLITICIAN - TOP
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, 12/20/06
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/20/books/20goods.html

The religion with the most adherents on the planet is Christianity, and few people would say they are unfamiliar with the story of its founder and prophet, Jesus. The second largest faith is Islam, and yet there is boundless ignorance among non-Muslims about the story of its founder and prophet, Muhammad, even after 9/11 set off a global panic about whether Islam fuels terrorism.

Since then Muhammad has been defined by his detractors: who have called him a terrorist, a lunatic and most colorfully - by the Rev. Jerry Vines, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention - a "demon-possessed pedophile." Even Pope Benedict XVI, whatever his intention, created an uproar by unearthing a remark from a 14th-century emperor who cited Muhammad's contributions to religion as "only evil and inhuman." Is this the prophet of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims?

It may be time then to put down the biographies of John Adams and Ronald Reagan and devote a little attention to Muhammad. But beware. Several new biographies picture Muhammad through the lens of a suicide bomber, and ultimately these books reveal more about suicide bombers than Muhammad.

To glimpse how the vast majority of the world's Muslims understand their prophet and their faith, Karen Armstrong's short biography is a good place to start. The volume is part of a series called "Eminent Lives": small profiles of big-name subjects by big-name authors.

Ms. Armstrong, best known for "A History of God," is a scholar and a former nun with a genius for presenting religions as products of temporal forces - like geography, culture and economics - without minimizing the workings of transcendent spiritual forces.

She profiles Muhammad as both a mystic touched by God on a mountaintop and a canny political and social reformer. He preached loyalty to God rather than tribe; reconciliation rather than retaliation; care for orphans and the poor; and in many ways, empowerment of women, which will be a surprise to some. The Koran gave women property rights and freed orphans from the obligation to marry their guardians: radical changes at a time when women were traded like camels.

Ms. Armstrong writes: "His life was a tireless campaign against greed, injustice and arrogance. He realized that Arabia was at a turning point and that the old way of thinking would no longer suffice, so he wore himself out in the creative effort to evolve an entirely new solution." In a nod to her subtitle, "A Prophet for Our Time," she argues that as of Sept. 11, 2001, we have entered a new historical era that requires an equally thorough re-evaluation. (MORE)

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THE OTHER ISRAEL LOBBY - TOP
A new alliance, including financier George Soros and former Bill Clinton advisor Jeremy Ben-Ami, aims to take on the powerful lobbyist group AIPAC -- and reshape U.S. policy.
Gregory Levey, Salon.com, 12/19/06
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/12/19/israellobby/

This past June, on my last day working as a speechwriter for the Israeli government -- first at the United Nations and then in the prime minister's office -- I met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in his private office at the Israeli parliament to discuss a speech he had just given to the U.S. Congress. The speech, which I helped write, was largely about the future of U.S.-Israeli relations, and we discussed how it had gone over. Also at the meeting was a high-ranking official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and when we left the building together, he told me that the next day officials from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful lobbying group, would be visiting. He asked if I had any suggestions about what to tell them about how they could more effectively help Israel in Washington.

"Some people would say that maybe the best thing would be for them not to be so reflexively pro-Israel on every issue," I said.

He laughed. "Well, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon," he said. I suggested that such a rebalancing might be beneficial for all who were interested in supporting Israel, and he conceded that, yes, "just maybe" it would.

Many American Jews, it seems, have similar feelings. Eighty-seven percent of them voted Democratic in the recent midterms -- the highest number since 1994 -- belying the oft-repeated claim that the Bush administration's staunch support for Israel would move the traditionally Democratic Jewish vote toward the Republicans. The fact is that most American Jews, and many other American supporters of Israel, do not see eye-to-eye on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the most hawkish, knee-jerk Israel supporters in the U.S. government -- even if their presumed leadership, represented by AIPAC, often appears to do so. Moreover, AIPAC's influence in Washington may soon begin to decline, as a powerful new alliance of left-leaning friends of Israel has begun to emerge, with the express aim of reshaping U.S. strategy on the region's most intractable problem.

If the Bush administration decides to seriously reevaluate its strategy in the Middle East in the wake of the Iraq Study Group's recent report -- and among its recommendations is prioritizing a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- it will have to deal with a minefield of interest groups. That will surely include AIPAC, a juggernaut that the New York Times has called the "most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel."

In "The Israel Lobby," their highly controversial article earlier this year, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer argued that AIPAC, along with a very wide array of allies, pushes American foreign policy inflexibly in a pro-Israel direction. The article was criticized as simplistic, sloppy and above all reductive, but in its core suggestion that AIPAC often hinders the American government's ability to freely maneuver in the Middle East, it is difficult to argue with.

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 13:56:04 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Muslims Question GOP Silence on VA Rep's Islamophobic Remarks

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MUSLIMS QUESTION GOP SILENCE ON VA REP'S ISLAMOPHOBIC REMARKS

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/21/06)
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on state and national GOP leaders to repudiate anti-Muslim remarks made by a Republican congressman in Virginia.

In a recent letter to constituents, Rep. Virgil Goode slammed the planned use of a Quran for the ceremonial swearing-in of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. (No religious texts of any kind are used for the official swearing-in ceremony.) Goode also decried the growth of the American Muslim community and expressed concern that "many more Muslims" may be elected to public office.

SEE: Va. Lawmaker's Remarks on Muslims Criticized (Washington Post)

"We are deeply troubled by the failure of state and national GOP leaders to clearly distance themselves from Representative Goode's intolerant remarks," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. He said Republican leaders in Virginia should have learned a lesson in tolerance from the controversy over Senator George Allen's "macaca" episode.

Saylor said incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Goode's remarks "offensive." New Jersey Democrat Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. yesterday urged Goode to reach out to Muslims in Virginia and "to dispel misconceptions instead of promoting them."

In a statement issued today, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) said: "The seven million Muslim-Americans living in the U.S. are an integral part of American society. Our country is a melting pot of different cultures and beliefs. This diversity is a strength, not a weakness. . .Bringing more Muslim-Americans into the political process is a goal, not something to be avoided."

No similar statements have come from GOP leaders. CAIR has offered to arrange a meeting between Goode and Virginia Muslims.

SEE: Congressman Criticizes Election of Muslim (New York Times)

The controversy over Representative-elect Ellison's use of the Quran for the ceremonial oath began with a recent commentary by Dennis Prager, a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, in which he wrote that swearing an oath on the Quran "undermines American civilization." CAIR has asked that Prager be removed from the taxpayer-supported council.

SEE: Prager's Views 'Antithetical to the Mission of the Museum' (Forward)
Holocaust Board Distances Itself from Member Comments on Ellison (AP)

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 571-278-4658, E-Mail: csaylor@cair.com CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/cair-net/

Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 18:55:24 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Prager Asked to Resign / 'JDL' Threatens CA Peace Activist / Rep. Honda 'Surprised and Offended' by Goode's Anti-Muslim Remarks

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/21/06

* Verse: Proclaim the Pilgrimage to All People
            - CAIR-CAN: The Universal Lessons of Hajj (Arab News)
* CAIR-FL: Honk if You Know Anything About Islam (Sun-Sent)
* CAIR: Prager Asked to 'Do the Right Thing and Resign'
            - CAIR: Muslims Mark Solidarity with Jews (Wash Post)
* Rep. Honda 'Surprised and Offended' by Goode's Anti-Muslim Remarks
             - Rep. Menendez Statement on Goode's Anti-Muslim Remarks
* CAIR-CA: Interfaith Leaders Condemn 'JDL' Threat Against Peace Activist
* CAIR-FL Meets with Officials to Ensure Stress-Free Hajj Travels
* Video: CAIR Rep Challenges Game that Glorifies Violence (Fox)
            - Video: CAIR-LA Banquet Covered by Arab Satellite Channel
* CAIR-OH: Muslim Woman Reinstated in Medical Program
* State Department Weighs Plan for Palestinian State (Forward)

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VERSE OF THE DAY: PROCLAIM THE PILGRIMAGE TO ALL PEOPLE - TOP

"Proclaim the pilgrimage to all people. They will come to you on foot and on every lean (beast of burden). Let them come from every deep ravine, to bear witness to the advantages they have, and to mention God's name on appointed days."

The Holy Quran, 22:26-28

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-CAN: THE UNIVERSAL LESSONS OF HAJJ - TOP
http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7&section=0&article=90253&d=21&m=12&y=2006

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CAIR-FL: HONK IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ISLAM - TOP
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/21/06
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/editorial/sfl-editnbmuslimcapdec21,0,2383961.story

For many Americans, the Muslim faith, defined by the war on terror, is synonymous with violence, hatred and a callous disregard for human suffering.

But the jihadists are called extremists for a reason. Islamic suicide bombers do not personify their religion, just the depravity of its fringe elements.

The only antidote for the prevailing ignorance, one that has some Muslim-Americans feeling unfairly harassed and despised, is education. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is pursuing a novel and eye-catching campaign toward that end with a series of highway billboards that promote the real tenets of Islam: charity, peace and love for mankind.

Speeding by a massive picture of grinning Muslims preaching, "Even a smile is charity," may not instantly dissolve such pervasive prejudice, but it could plant a seed. And that's how tolerance blooms.

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PRAGER ASKED TO 'DO THE RIGHT THING AND RESIGN' - TOP
Holocaust Memorial: Dennis Prager's views 'antithetical' to mission

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/21/06) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on Dennis Prager to resign from the United States Holocaust Memorial Council after the executive committee of that taxpayer-funded board issued a statement saying the radio talk show host's views are "antithetical" to its mission.

SEE: Holocaust Board Chides Radio Host Member (AP)
http://www.newsnet5.com/politics/10583419/detail.html

SEE ALSO: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council to Prager: Your Words Were Intolerant, But You Get To Stay (Forward)
http://www.forward.com/blogs/campaign-confidential/us-holocaust-memorial-council-does-damage-control/

"Now that the Holocaust Memorial Council has stated that Mr. Prager's views are in direct opposition to the mission of that institution, we call on him to do the right thing and resign," said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "Mr. Prager's resignation would serve to mitigate the damage his divisive rhetoric has had on interfaith relations."

Prager has written that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Quran, Islam's revealed text. He also wrote that swearing an oath on the Quran "undermines American civilization."

Two members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, Rep. Henry Waxman and former New York Mayor Ed Koch, have already spoken out against Prager's intolerant remarks. Koch called Prager a "bigot."

Groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee have also condemned Prager's remarks.

CAIR had previously called on the Holocaust Memorial's governing board and President Bush to remove Prager from his post. Since coming out against Prager's appointment to the council, CAIR has received hundreds of hate-filled e-mails from Prager's supporters.

In Virginia, a Republican congressman took up Prager's call to keep Ellison from using the Quran in his ceremonial oath. Rep. Virgil Goode also decried the growth of the American Muslim community and expressed concern that "many more Muslims" may be elected to public office. A number of Democratic leaders have repudiated Goode's remarks.

SEE: Va. Lawmaker's Remarks on Muslims Criticized (Washington Post)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/20/AR2006122001318.html

SEE: Congressman Criticizes Election of Muslim (New York Times)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/21/us/21koran.html

SEE: Rep Goode's Letter to Constituents
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/docs/goode-letter/

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: MUSLIMS MARK SOLIDARITY WITH JEWS - TOP
Event Held Days After Iranian Meeting That Denied Genocide
Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, 12/21/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/20/AR2006122001718.html

Local Muslim leaders lit candles yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate Jewish suffering under the Nazis, in a ceremony held just days after Iran had a conference denying the genocide.

American Muslims "believe we have to learn the lessons of history and commit ourselves: Never again," said Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, standing before the eternal flame flickering from a black marble base that holds dirt from Nazi concentration camps. . .

The idea for the ceremony originated with Magid, whose Sterling mosque has been active in interfaith efforts. After hearing radio reports about the Iranian meeting, "I said to myself, 'We have to, as Muslim leaders . . . show solidarity with our fellow Jewish Americans,' " Magid recalled after the speeches.

He contacted Akbar Ahmed, an American University professor active in inter-religious dialogue, who asked the museum to hold the ceremony.

"It's important that the world knows there are Muslims who don't believe in this [Holocaust denial]," Ahmed said after the ceremony. Also in the delegation were representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

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Rep. Honda's Letter to Rep. Goode - TOP
12/21/06

Dear Congressman Goode:

I was surprised and offended to hear about a constituent letter you wrote in response to Representative-elect Keith Ellison’s intention to use a Koran during his ceremonial swearing in ceremony. In your letter, you warned that “…if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.”

You know first hand that no religious text is used during the official swearing in of Members of Congress. Moreover, the Constitution explicitly demands that “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” No person should be labeled as un-American based upon his or her religion, and it is outrageous to cast aspersions on Representative-elect Ellison purely because of his religious background.

Following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, Muslims have been the subject of profoundly warped stereotypes in this country; stereotypes that are largely derived from a small percentage of extremist practitioners. An entire religious group has become scapegoats for the actions of a few fanatics whose beliefs they do not subscribe to. As one of the many Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II because of war hysteria and racial prejudice, I find it particularly offensive that you are equating Representative-elect Ellison’s beliefs with those of radical extremists and condemning him based on their actions.

In your letter, you suggested that all Muslims in this country are immigrants and that immigration laws must be changed to “preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America” by stopping Muslims from entering. Representative-elect Ellison was born in the United States, and his family has lived here since 1742. He was raised Catholic before becoming a Moslem during college. The spread of ideas and philosophies cannot be stopped by barricading our borders, nor should it be.

Keith is a respected member of his community, and a personal friend of mine. I’ve spent a lot of time with him, and I’ve grown to admire his strong moral fiber and his commitment to tolerance and progressive American values. He has said himself that he believes in “a value system that invests in people and asks citizens to work for the common good.” In my mind, those are the values and beliefs traditional to the United States, and I believe that Keith will make a welcome addition to a Congress that has lost its moral compass.

Instead of fearing our diversity, Americans, and Members of Congress in particular, must embrace it. America became a great nation through the collaboration of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and other religious and ethnic groups working together to advance our culture and economy. Following in that great American tradition, I would invite you to meet with me to discuss these issues in greater depth. America’s strength lies in its diversity, and together we can stand as a symbol of that strength.

Sincerely,

Michael M. Honda
Member of Congress

SEE ALSO:

MENENDEZ STATEMENT ON REP. GOODE'S REMARKS - TOP

For Immediate Release
Contact: Desiree Ramos, 201-803-4537

"America was founded by people seeking religious freedom. Congressman Virgil H. Goode's statements against Congressman-elect Keith Ellison are an attack on the sanctity of religious freedom that all Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution.

"Rep. Goode should apologize to Mr. Ellison and to all Americans for his intolerance of the diversity which makes our nation a beacon of hope around the world. As elected officials, we are called to represent all Americans, regardless of race, creed, or class. I sincerely hope Rep. Goode will recognize the error of his words."

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CAIR-CA: SACRAMENTO INTERFAITH LEADERS CONDEMNS THREAT AGAINST PEACE ACTIVIST - TOP

(SACRAMENTO, CA, 12/21/2006) - Sacramento Valley interfaith leaders today held a press conference in reaction to a threat against a local peace activist.

Mary Bisharat, an 80-year-old Sacramento Valley resident, reportedly received a threatening note after she wrote a letter to the Sacramento Bee criticizing Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. The note stated, "The JDL will visit you soon!"

"JDL" apparently refers to the Jewish Defense League, a group that the FBI regards as extremist and violent. Top leaders of the JDL were charged with conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism for plotting to blow up a Mosque and a congressman's office in Southern California.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's office is currently investigating the threat.

CONTACT: CAIR-Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra at (916) 441-6269 or E-mail: sacval@cair.com; Interfaith Service Bureau Executive Director Rev. Dexter McNamara at (916) 448-2212 or E-mail: dexter@isbsacramento.org

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CAIR-ORLANDO MEETS WITH SECURITY OFFICIALS TO ENSURE STRESS-FREE HAJJ TRAVELS - TOP

(ORLANDO, FL, 12/21/06) - The Orlando, Fla., office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Orlando) today met with officials from the Greater Orlando Airport Authority (GOAA), the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) and the Orlando Airport Police Department (OAPD) to discuss safety tips for passengers and to ensure safe and hassle-free traveling for Hajj pilgrims. CAIR-Orlando has also reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). CAIR recently called on Hajj pilgrims to review their rights and responsibilities as airline passengers.

CONTACT: Sabiha Khan, 407-649-1660, skhan@cair.com

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VIDEO: CAIR REP CHALLENGES GAME THAT GLORIFIES VIOLENCE - TOP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5IA3PkCbPk

SEE ALSO:

VIDEO: CAIR-LA BANQUET COVERED BY ART ARAB SATELLITE CHANNEL - TOP
http://www.tvipa.com/mosaic20_2.html

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GOOD NEWS: CAIR-OHIO HELPS REINSTATE MUSLIM WOMAN EXPELLED FROM MEDICAL PROGRAM - TOP

(COLUMBUS, OH, 12/21/06) - CAIR-Ohio announced today that it intervened successfully to help a local Muslim woman be reinstated in a community college medical technology program after she was expelled for allegedly discriminatory reasons.

The woman, who had been a straight-A student, says she faced harassment based on her Islamic head scarf and ethnicity when she did a clinical rotation at an outlying hospital. The hospital gave her a failing grade, resulting in her expulsion from the community college's program.

Her initial attempts to resolve the situation were unsuccessful. After CAIR-Ohio's intervention, the college reinstated the Muslim student into the program and agreed to pay her costs for retaking courses.

CONTACT: Romin Iqbal, 614-451-3232 E-Mail: office@cair-ohio.com, Adnan Mirza, 614-451-3232, E-Mail: director@cair-ohio.com

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STATE DEPARTMENT WEIGHS PLAN FOR PALESTINIAN STATE - TOP
Nathan Guttman, Forward, 12/22/06
http://www.forward.com/articles/state-department-weighs-plan-for-palestinian-state/

The Bush administration is considering a plan to declare an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders by the end of 2007.

The idea has been "kicked around" in the State Department for several weeks, according to sources. It could be one element of a new American Middle East peace plan, the sources added, if President Bush decides to push forward with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as part of a fresh Middle East policy he is constructing.

At the same time, in an effort to bolster the regime of Mahmoud Abbas, the administration also has begun lobbying Congress to provide $100 million to fund forces loyal to the Palestinian president. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/cair-net/

Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 13:44:46 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Muslims Revere Jesus / VA Muslims Want Apology from Goode / Holocaust Museum Rebukes Prager / More U.S. Muslims Going on Hajj

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/22/06

* Hadith: Be Always Busy with the Remembrance of God
* CAIR-LA: American Muslims Revere Jesus (Press-Enterprise)
* CAIR-MI: Univ. to Offer Minor in Islamic Studies (Detroit News)
            - CAIR: CT Store Taking Closer Look at 'Eternal Forces' Game
* Video: CAIR Rep Discusses Goode's Comments (NBC Nightly News)
            - Video: CAIR Rep Discusses Goode's Comments (CNN-Paula Zahn)
* Virginia Muslims Want Apology from Goode (Register Bee)
* A Bigot in Congress (Washington Post)
            - ADL Letter to Representative Virgil Goode, Jr.
            - Keep Faiths Attack-Free (Journal-Constitution)
            - An Open House for All (Boston Globe)
* Holocaust Museum Rebukes Prager for Koran Comment (NY Times)
* IL: Muslim Frequent Flier Wants Help from Judge (UPI)
* WV: Muslim Group Meeting in New Islamic Center
            - More American Muslims Going on Hajj

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HADITH OF THE DAY: BE ALWAYS BUSY WITH THE REMEMBRANCE OF GOD - TOP

A man once said to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): "The laws of Islam are too heavy for me, so tell me something that I can easily follow." The Prophet replied: "Let your tongue be always busy with the remembrance of God."

The Prophet also said: "No other act is a more effective means for deliverance from the chastisement of God than the remembrance of God.''

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 99

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CAIR-LA: MUSLIM-AMERICANS SHARE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, REVERE JESUS, REJECT MATERIALISM - TOP
HUSSAM AYLOUSH, Press-Enterprise, 12/21/06
http://www.pe.com/localnews/opinion/localviews/stories/PE_OpEd_Opinion_D_op_22_ayloush_loc.37212eb.html

A number of religious celebrations are converging yet again this month, adding to the festive holiday atmosphere, and allowing Americans an opportunity to ponder and change things for the better.

For the past five years, the fact that the end of Muslim religious observances, Ramadan or the Hajj, coincided with Christmas made this period more memorable for my family (this year, the Hajj season started Thursday, and Hajj activities begin around Dec. 29). We immersed ourselves in remembering God's blessings and mercy and will do the same on the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps to the surprise of some Americans, Jesus holds a special place in both the Christian and Islamic faiths. (MORE)

Hussam Ayloush is executive director of the Anaheim-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, Southern California.

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CAIR-MI: OU TO OFFER MINOR IN ISLAMIC STUDIES - TOP
Shawn D. Lewis, Detroit News, 12/22/06
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061222/METRO02/612220323/1026/SCHOOLS

Oakland University students for the first time will be able to minor in Islamic Studies beginning next semester.

The first class, Introduction to Islam, will begin Jan. 4.

The Islamic Studies program was approved by the university five years ago but lacked funding. A group of Muslim professionals from throughout Metro Detroit helped make it happen.

"They have families with children in the schools and would like to make a contribution to increasing more knowledge about Islam and decreasing the prejudice and misinformation surrounding the religion," said Gary Shepherd, director of Religious Studies at the university. "They approached the university this past summer and donated about $250,000 -- generating pledges for $50,000 per year for five years."

The minor will require students to complete 20 credits in courses such as Introduction to Islam, Islamic Ethics, Islamic Law and Islamic Literature, as well as participate in an internship within the Muslim community. Shepherd said the goal is to add more classes to the minor.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations based in Southfield, hopes the program also attracts those outside the university.

"I would hope that law enforcement agencies would promote their staff in taking these classes so they can understand more about dealing with Muslims," he said.

That is also a goal for Imam Achmat Salie, recently hired as the Coordinator for Islamic Studies, who will be teaching one of the classes. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: GROTON STORE IS TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT 'ETERNAL FORCES' GAME - TOP
Bethe Dufresne, Day, 12/22/06
http://www.theday.com/re.aspx?re=4adaf3d8-8389-48a6-bd07-41055ca442e7

Bestseller or no, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" may wind up coming off the shelves since Cornerstone store owners Liz McGee and her husband, Dennis, learned Thursday that it has come under fire from the national Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The Washington, D.C.-based CAIR, whose only New England branch is based in New London, has asked Wal-Mart to pull the game from its shelves because some of the evil characters have Islamic-sounding names.

No one has complained to Cornerstone, but the McKees aren't taking any chances.

"We want to take a serious look at this game," Dennis said. "If it is in any way promoting religious intolerance or violence, we would pull it in a minute."

"The message of Christ was love and forgiveness," he said, "and that's what we try to promote in our store."

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VIDEO: CAIR REP DISCUSSES REP. GOODE'S COMMENTS ON 'NBC NIGHTLY NEWS' - TOP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5CM3lYB7ak

SEE ALSO:

VIDEO: CAIR REP DISCUSSES REP. GOODE'S COMMENTS ON CNN'S 'PAULA ZAHN NOW' - TOP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV_R9iuP_SQ

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VA: AREA MUSLIMS WANT APOLOGY FROM GOODE - TOP
The Muslim community says it views the congressman's words as "seeds of hatred."
Bernard Baker, Danville Register & Bee, 12/22/06
http://www.registerbee.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=DRB/MGArticle/DRB_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149192303957

A leader in Danville's Muslim community says U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode should apologize for discriminating statements about Islam.

Goode, R-5th, responded to a series of constituent e-mails regarding Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Quran at his ceremonial swearing-in. In a letter sent to hundreds of constituents, the congressman said more Muslims will get elected and demand the use of the Quran if immigration is not restricted.

The Muslim community says it sees Goode's words as "seeds of hatred."

"This is a country of immigrants," said Sarwat Ata, chairman of the board for the Danville Masjid Islamic Center on Floyd Street. Ata said he voted for Goode in the November election.

Ata said Goode should sit down with local Muslims and learn more about them if he won't apologize.

Ata said Muslims are peaceful and law-abiding. They want to be free and share many of the values Goode supports, such as the Ten Commandments, he said.

"We implement these values in our everyday lives," Ata said.

There are about 1.4 billion Muslims in the world. In the United States, there are about 7 million Muslims.

"Imagine if all were terrorists," Ata said.

The criticism of Goode's letter has extended to Congress. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the congressman should apologize.

Goode said Wednesday he has no intention of apologizing. A spokesman for Goode could not say if the Rocky Mount Republican would meet with Muslims from his area.

He has said too many illegal immigrants are getting into this country. Goode's campaign focused on stopping illegal immigration and reducing the number of immigrants who come to the U.S. to prevent a draining of resources.

"I believe that illegal immigration of Islamists or others should be completely stopped, and that continued mass immigration into this country will tax our resources and weaken the country," Goode wrote in an e-mail sent to the local newspaper.

Virginia's senior senator, John Warner, does not appear to support Goode's view and said he doesn't object to using the Quran during swearing-in ceremonies.

"As we continue to seek new strategies to protect our nation, I feel strongly that America must continue its outreach to the majority of moderate, peaceful members of the Islamic faith, as partners in combating terrorism," Warner wrote in a prepared statement. "I respect the Constitutional right of Members of Congress, indeed, of every U.S. citizen, freely to exercise the religion of their choice, including those of the Islamic faith utilizing the Koran in accordance with the tenets of their religion." (MORE)

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A BIGOT IN CONGRESS - TOP
One Muslim congressman is one too many for Virgil Goode.
Washington Post, 12/22/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/21/AR2006122101612.html

Bigotry comes in various guises -- some coded, some closeted, some colossally stupid. The bigotry displayed recently by Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., a Republican who represents a patch of south-central Virginia, falls squarely in the third category. Mr. Goode, evidently in a state of xenophobic delirium, went on a semi-public tirade against the looming peril and corrupting threat posed by Muslim immigration to the United States. "I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America," he wrote in a letter to constituents.

The inspiration for Mr. Goode's rant is Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who last month became the first Muslim elected to Congress. Mr. Ellison, who was born in Detroit and converted to Islam in college, has decided to use the Koran during a ceremonial swearing-in, as is his constitutional right. This does not sit well with Mr. Goode, who, obnoxiously referring to his congressional colleague-to-be as "the Muslim Representative from Minnesota," warned ominously that current immigration policy would lead to an outbreak of elected Muslims in this country and unfettered use of the Koran.

Forget that Muslims represent a small fraction of immigrants to America. And leave aside the obvious point that Mr. Goode was evidently napping in class the day they taught the traditional American values of tolerance, diversity and religious freedom. This country's history is rife with instances of uncivil, hateful and violent behavior toward newcomers, be they Jewish, Irish, Italian or plenty of others whose ethnicities did not jibe with some pinched view of what it means to be American. Mr. Goode's dimwitted outburst of nativism is nothing new.

No, the real worry for the nation is that the rest of the world might take Mr. Goode seriously, interpreting his biased remarks about Muslims as proof that America really has embarked on a civilizational war against Islam. With 535 members, you'd think that Congress would welcome the presence of a single Muslim representative. Whether it can afford a lawmaker of Mr. Goode's caliber is another question.

SEE ALSO:

ADL LETTER TO REPRESENTATIVE VIRGIL GOODE, JR - TOP
12/21/06
http://www.adl.org/civil_rights/goode_ltr.asp

Representative Virgil Goode, Jr
U.S., House of Representatives
Washington, DC

Dear Representative Goode:

We are writing to express strong concerns about reports that you sent a letter to constituents assailing immigration to the United States by Muslims and the use of the Koran to swear in an elected Member of Congress.

Your letter demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the fundamental religious guarantees enshrined in the US Constitution. Article VI, Clause 3 states that, "no religious Test shall ever be required" to hold public office in America. Members of Congress, like all Americans, should be free to observe their own religious practices without government interference or coercion.

As you must know from personal experience, no Member of Congress is officially sworn in with a Bible. Under House rules, the official swearing-in ceremony is done in the House chambers, with the Speaker of the House administering the oath of office en masse. No Bibles or other holy books are used at all.

You assert that only adoption of "the Virgil Goode position on immigration" can "preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America." While we would note that Representative-elect Ellison is not an immigrant, we must take issue with your view that immigration to the US by Muslims or members of any other faith is somehow not in concert with American values and traditions. Quite the contrary. A fundamental hallmark of America is in how we as a nation have embraced immigrants of all faiths and national origins.

Your letter states your "fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States." To suggest Muslims should be viewed with fear, based solely on their faith, demonizes millions of people living in our communities. This is of special concern at a time when the stereotyping and disparate treatment of communities as part of debates over immigration or counterterrorism policy impacts those people in very tangible ways, including making them more vulnerable to bias-motivated violence.

Reasonable people can and will disagree on the best course for our nation's immigration policy. It is clear, however, that there is a direct connection between the tone of the national policy debate and the atmosphere surrounding the daily lives of immigrants - legal and illegal. Politicians and civic leaders have a responsibility not to engage in divisive appeals based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion.

It is both ironic and troubling that the sentiments expressed come from an elected leader from the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state that is often referred to as the birthplace of religious freedom in America. Many of the principles of religious freedom that were inscribed in our Constitution were proposed, of course, by Virginia's own Thomas Jefferson.

What truly unifies all Americans, Rep. Goode, is a value system built on religious freedom, respect for differences, and democratic pluralism. We urge you to rethink your ill-conceived remarks about Muslims in America.

Sincerely,

David C. Friedman
ADL Washington DC Regional Director

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KEEP FAITHS ATTACK-FREE - TOP
Elected representative has right to use Quran after he takes oath; Goode's outburst surely shows ignorance
David McNaughton, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/22/06

U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) claims to want to "preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America," but ranting about the election of the first Muslim-American to Congress was a strange and troubling way to do so.

Goode apparently forgot - or conveniently chose to ignore - the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of freedom of religion.

Goode's outburst was triggered by controversy about the plans of U.S. Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to use the Quran during an unofficial part of his oath-taking when he becomes a member of Congress next month.

"I do not subscribe to using the Quran in any way," Goode wrote in an e-mail to constituents who had expressed alarm about Ellison's plan. "The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district, and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the uses of the Quran.

"We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country."

Sadly, Goode's immigration policy is as xenophobic as his faith is intolerant. The real pity, however, is that his outlandish comments about Muslims aren't the first to be uttered out of ignorance or misguided fear.

This month, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that six Muslim prayer leaders who were yanked off a plane in Minneapolis on questionable grounds got off too easy. They were released after being quizzed by the FBI.

"These six people should have been arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be terrorists," Gingrich told the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader.

There's no evidence any such "pretending" occurred; Gingrich, like too many others, chose to buy into the assumption that all Muslims are likely terrorists or at least terrorism sympathizers.

In the November incident referred to by Gingrich, the six Muslims were taken off a plane in handcuffs and questioned for several hours. Their offense apparently involved saying evening prayers at the airport before boarding the plane and being considered suspicious by other passengers. (MORE)

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AN OPEN HOUSE FOR ALL - TOP
Boston Globe, 12/22/06
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2006/12/22/an_open_house_for_all?mode=PF

What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" does congressman Virgil Goode not understand?

Goode, a Virginia Republican, displayed his contempt for the US Constitution in a letter he sent to constituents this month, criticizing the first Muslim elected to Congress for planning to use a ceremonial Koran instead of a Bible to swear his oath of office in January. In the letter, Goode writes that the election of Keith Ellison , Democrat of Minnesota, represents a threat to traditional American "values and beliefs."

It's hard to know where to start with this intolerant rant. First of all, 135,000 voters in Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District cast ballots for Ellison, most of them well aware he is Muslim. Are they, too, a threat to traditional beliefs?

Goode favors strict immigration controls, including reductions in legal immigration, and "troops, fences, and other measures to stop the invasion from Mexico." He writes in the letter that such measures are "necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped." Never mind that Ellison is not an immigrant, but an African-American who converted to Islam while in college, and who traces his family's roots in the United States to the 18th century.

Goode, who posts the Ten Commandments on his office wall, frets that "there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran." But Goode should know, because he has been sworn in to Congress five times, that members simply raise their right hands for the official oath and do not use the Bible or any other religious book. Those are reserved for private ceremonies at the discretion of each member. (MORE)

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HOLOCAUST MUSEUM REBUKES MEMBER FOR KORAN COMMENT - TOP
Rachel L. Swarns, New York Times, 12/22/06
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/us/politics/22koran.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The board that oversees the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum here publicly distanced itself on Thursday from a member who recently condemned the first Muslim elected to Congress for planning to use a Koran during the private part of his swearing-in ceremony.

In November, the board member, Dennis Prager, a conservative commentator and radio show host, said that Keith Ellison, the newly elected Muslim member of Congress, should give up his post if he could not take his oath on a Bible, which Mr. Prager said was the traditional religious text of the United States.

In its resolution, the council's executive committee criticized Mr. Prager's remarks as "antithetical to the mission of the museum as an institution promoting tolerance and respect for all peoples regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity."

Mr. Prager, one of 68 members of the board, known as the Holocaust Memorial Council, was appointed to the unpaid post by President Bush, and is serving a five-year term, which expires in 2011, said Andrew Hollinger, a spokesman for the council.

Mr. Hollinger said Mr. Bush had the sole power to remove Mr. Prager.

On Wednesday, Representative Virgil H. Goode Jr., Republican of Virginia, was sharply criticized by Congressional Democrats and Muslim Americans for warning that Mr. Ellison's election to the House posed a serious threat to the traditional values.

Critics of Mr. Goode and Mr. Prager noted that the Constitution specifically bars any religious screening of members of Congress and that the actual swearing in of those lawmakers occurs without any religious texts. The use of such texts occurs only in private ceremonies that take place after lawmakers have officially sworn to uphold the Constitution. (MORE)

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IL: FREQUENT FLIER WANTS HELP FROM JUDGE - TOP
United Press International, 12/22/06
http://www.sttammany.com/news-detail/article/780/frequent-fli.html

A Chicago-area Muslim businessman asked a U.S. judge to order Customs agents to stop detaining him when he crosses the Canadian border.

Akif Rahman filed a lawsuit last June but last weekend, when he flew home from Toronto, he was detained for 90 minutes and questioned about his relationship with his mosque, the American Civil Liberties Union said. As a result, he missed his flight.

The ACLU has filed an emergency motion with a federal judge in Chicago because Rahman plans to fly to Canada this weekend to drive his wife and children to Wheaton, Ill. On a previous trip by car, Rahman and his family were detained, and he was separated from his wife and children for six hours.

"He does not want to put his family -- especially his young children -- through the trauma of seeing their father again led off in handcuffs," the ACLU said.

Rahman, an independent consultant, travels frequently on business.

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WV: LOCAL MUSLIM GROUP MEETING IN NEW ISLAMIC CENTER - TOP
Bob Withers, Herald-Dispatch, 12/22/06
http://www.herald-dispatch.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061222/LIFE/612220311/1004

HUNTINGTON -- At long last, the new home of the Muslim Association of Huntington is in use.

The 3,500-square-foot Islamic Center -- designed by McCoy Architects LLC of Lexington, Ky., and constructed over the past year and a half by John's Construction in Charleston -- is located at 944 20th St.

Although the congregation still has some landscaping to do and fencing and gates to install, members have been using the building since the end of Ramadan in late October.

"We wanted to stay somewhere near the (Cabell Huntington) Hospital and Marshall (University)," says Dr. Jamil Chaudri, a professor of computer science and software development at Marshall and a spokesman for the association.

The Muslim congregation includes between 60 and 70 people, Chaudri says -- mostly Marshall students and physicians qualifying for their specialties at local hospitals.

Chaudri points out that the white brick-and-stone structure with its three copper-colored domes is an "Islamic center," not a mosque.

"Once land is dedicated for a mosque, it shouldn't be used for any other purpose," he says. "But we have no concerns about moving from an Islamic center should it become necessary."

The structure, which is oriented toward Mecca according to Islamic law, includes a second-floor prayer room where five daily prayer services take place. Most Muslims meet for prayer on Friday afternoons and come individually at other times.

"It is more meritorious if we pray in the Islamic center," Chaudri says.

The structure also contains space downstairs for the instruction of children and studies of the Quran.

"We come from different parts of the world," Chaudri says. "Some of us don't have Arabic as a first language." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

AMERICAN MUSLIMS GO ON HAJJ - TOP
Larger numbers of pilgrims expected from United States in 2006 than in 2005
Lea Terhune, Washington File, 12/22/06
http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=December&x=20061222104002mlenuhret0.876919

Washington -- More American Muslims are expected to perform the hajj in 2006 than in previous years, according to Muslim organizations. The annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia is a religious obligation for all Muslims who are able to make the journey.

"It is very special. There are 8 million Muslims in America, and if you get to make it, it is really very special," Sa'ad, a State Department employee about to leave for the hajj, told USINFO. Preparation is essential. He said American mosques offer instructions for the hajj, using PowerPoint presentations to explain the ritual steps of the pilgrimage and the requirements for making a good hajj.

Tarik al-Lagany, information officer at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, told USINFO that the number of American pilgrims has been increasing. "Last year, about 15,000 went from the U.S.," he said. He attributes this to the growth of Islam in the United States. He said about 2.5 million people from around the world attend the hajj each year. (MORE)

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CAIR
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453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
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Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 21:46:25 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: VA Muslims Show Solidarity with Hispanic Laborers / Bush Urged to Act on Criticism of Muslim Rep

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/25/06

* Hadith: Be Kind to Animals
            - TX: Quran Teaches Importance of Honoring Animals
* VA: Muslims Show Solidarity with Hispanic Laborers (Wash Post)
* MI: First Muslim Rep Encourages Justice (Detroit Free Press)
* Bush Is Urged to Act on Criticism of Muslim Representative (NY Times)
            - Fear and Bigotry in Congress (New York Times)
            - CAIR: Goode Launches Debate Over Muslims in Office (NPR)
            - CAIR: Congressman's Hateful Comments Demand Response (Fox)
            - CAIR: Goode Has Often Inspired Political Ire (Wash Post)
* CAIR-LA: Reject Holocaust Denials (Press-Enterprise)
* CA: Students Celebrate Scholars and Poets of Islam (Sac Bee)
            - FL: Students Simulate the Hajj (St. Pete Times)
            - OK: State Muslims Prepare for Hajj (Oklahoman)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: BE KIND TO ANIMALS - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "While a man was walking, he felt very thirsty and went down a well, drank water from it and climbed out. When he came out, he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself: 'This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.' So he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water and (gave the water to the dog). God thanked him for that deed and forgave him (his sins)." The people then asked the Prophet: "Is there a reward for us in serving animals?" He replied: "Yes, there is a reward for serving any (living being)."

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 646

The Prophet also said: "A woman was punished (by God) because of a cat. She had neither provided her with food nor drink, nor set her free so that she might eat the insects of the earth."

Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1047

SEE ALSO:

TX: 'FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL MANKIND' - TOP
Local conference highlights Quran's teachings about the importance of honoring animals
ANNE MARIE KILDAY, Houston Chronicle
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/4423492.html

A red-tailed hawk and a large horned owl were brought on stage Saturday morning as participants in the state's largest Islamic conference learned about Muslim values and animal rights.

"Animals have been created by Allah for the benefit of all mankind," said Sheik Yasir Qadhi. "This is a very fundamental idea in Islam."

Because animal rights have become an issue in recent years, Qadhi, a Ph.D. student of theology at Yale University, said he decided to study the issue as it relates to Muslims.

Qadhi said the Quran teaches that one reason God created animals was to worship God and to inspire people to do the same.

"One verse says, 'You will appreciate their beauty,' and that brings you closer to God," Qadhi said. "It is a part of faith and spirituality to contemplate nature around you. Believers are those who contemplate the creation, and that brings them closer to God.". . .

During his lecture, Qadhi cited specific verses from the Quran relating to the treatment of animals.

The animal rights specifically noted in the Quran include the proper feeding of animals; the merciful treatment of animals; using animals for the purpose they were created; leaving animals in their "natural state," without mutilation, and allowing animals to live, unless they are a threat or a nuisance, Qadhi said. (MORE)

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VA: MUSLIMS SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH DAY LABORERS AT HOLIDAY MEAL - TOP
Chris L. Jenkins, Washington Post, 12/25/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/24/AR2006122400876.html

David Reyes came in the early chill yesterday to look for work at Herndon's day-laborer center, an almost daily routine for the 35-year-old immigrant from El Salvador. Instead of a Christmas Eve job, he found an unexpected holiday dinner.

With several dozen other men who waited for the possibility of an afternoon gig, he munched on richly seasoned chicken and vegetables, salad and cake provided by a group of Muslim activists who wanted to support Northern Virginia's less fortunate.

Yesterday, the Northern Virginia Muslim Council focused on the town's largely Hispanic day laborers, who have been at the center of so much political passion in recent months.

"It's nice to see that someone cares, that we're supported when we look for work," Reyes said through an interpreter as he sipped on eggnog and sat with a small group of men who laughed and joked as they ate. He said he was aware of the heated rhetoric that has accompanied the day laborers in the town. "We just come to work, to make a living," he said, "and sometimes it feels like we are not wanted."

The early dinner, complete with handshakes and hugs among volunteers and workers, helped bring to a close a year of tensions over the trailer and the green-and-white tent known as the Herndon Official Workers Center.

In August 2005, after weeks of bitter community debate, the Town Council voted to open a publicly funded center to help a burgeoning population of immigrant day laborers find work. . .

Organizers of yesterday's dinner had two goals: to show solidarity with the laborers and spread holiday cheer to those in need.

"These are people who are trying to put food on the table," said Mukit Hossain, who also founded Project Hope and Harmony, which runs the hiring center and which the council wants to replace.

"There has been quite a brouhaha over these men, but at the end of the day, we have a moral obligation to reach out and support them," Hossain said. (MORE)

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MI: FIRST MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN ENCOURAGES CROWD TO PUSH FOR JUSTICE - TOP
NIRAJ WARIKOO, Detroit Free Press, 12/25/06
http://www.startribune.com/587/story/897403.html

Speaking in Dearborn late Sunday night, the first Muslim elected to Congress told a cheering crowd of Muslims they should remain steadfast in their faith and push for justice.

"You can't back down, you can't chicken out, you can't be afraid, you got to have faith in Allah, and you got to stand up and be a real Muslim," Detroit native Keith Ellison said to loud applause.

"Allahu akbar" - God is great - was the reply of many in the crowd.

Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat elected to the U.S. House, has been the center of a national debate in recent weeks over Islam and its role in politics. Ellison has said he would take his oath of office on the Quran, the Muslim holy book, igniting a storm of criticism from some commentators. And U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, a Republican from Virginia, said in a letter to constituents this month that the election of Ellison and other Muslims poses a danger to the country.

But Ellison said in Dearborn that Muslims can help teach America about justice and equal protection, suggesting that Muslim activists may be part of God's plan. He spoke at the annual convention of two Muslim groups, the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America. (MORE)

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BUSH IS URGED TO ACT ON CRITICISM OF MUSLIM - TOP
RACHEL L. SWARNS, 12/23/06
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/23/washington/23brfs-BUSHISURGEDT_BRF.html

White House officials said they were aware that some Democrats and Muslims were urging President Bush to admonish Representative Virgil H. Goode Jr., Republican of Virginia, and Dennis Prager, the conservative commentator, for suggesting that the first Muslim elected to the House had no place in Congress. "We're aware of the situation," said Dana Perino, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bush, "but no judgments have been made." Mr. Goode said the election of Keith Ellison, a Minnesota lawyer who converted to Islam as a college student, posed a threat to American values. Mr. Prager, a presidential appointee to the board that oversees the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, said Mr. Ellison should not serve if he could not swear on a Bible, though he has apologized for those remarks. Mr. Ellison plans to use the Koran during a private swearing-in ceremony next month.

SEE ALSO:

FEAR AND BIGOTRY IN CONGRESS - TOP
New York Times, 12/23/06
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/23/opinion/23sat3.html

Besides Santa Claus, the Christmas season usually brings some reminder that the worst way to acknowledge the importance of religious faith in America is by demanding that the entire nation follow one particular theology. Last year it was the war over the nonexistent "war on Christmas." This year, it's the flap over whether one newly elected member of Congress can use the Koran rather than the Bible next month in a private ceremony.

Keith Ellison, who converted to Islam when he was in college, will be the first Muslim member of the House of Representatives come January. He and his new colleagues will take the oath of office as a group, and then repeat it in private for the benefit of family and friends. It is only in that second ceremony that the Bible comes into play, and to the extent that it has a significance, we suspect Mr. Ellison's constituents in Minnesota would like to see him using a book that best represents his religious beliefs.

Not so for a radio talk host named Dennis Prager, who claimed that using the Koran would "embolden Islamic extremists." Then Representative Virgil Goode Jr. of Virginia announced that his concerns went beyond the erosion of the Bible's exclusive rights to be sworn on. Mr. Goode is bothered by Mr. Ellison's faith in general, and wrote a letter to his constituents saying that this was a wake-up call about the danger that there would be "many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran" unless immigration laws were tightened. (MORE)

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CAIR: REP. GOODE LAUNCHES DEBATE OVER MUSLIMS IN OFFICE - TOP
ANDRÉA SEABROOK, National Public Radio, 12/23/06
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6669964

ANDRÉA SEABROOK, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Andrea Seabrook.

Republican Congressman Virgil Goode is standing by a letter he wrote to constituents, warning of an influx of Muslims and Muslim-elected officials if tighter immigration policies aren't put into place. Some have called Goode's comments bigoted, since they attack the nation's first Muslim congressman, who plans to use the Koran for his ceremonial swearing-in next week.
NPR'S Allison Keyes has this report.

ALLISON KEYES: The drama started last week, when Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode dashed off a letter to calm his constituents. Goode says that Virginians were concerned because incoming Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison has said he'll use the Koran at his ceremonial swearing in ceremony.

Representative VIRGIL GOODE (Republican, Virginia): Printed media and other media indicated that Mr. Ellison was going to use the Koran, and that generated scores and hundreds of emails to my office. And so I thought it very important to state my view. And my view is that I don't subscribe to the Koran, and I will now be using the Bible when I take the oath. . .

KEYES: Several other Democrats, including New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, responded with outrage.

Representative BILL PASCRELL (Democrat, New Jersey): This is very un-American. This is very un-patriotic.

KEYES: Pascrell dashed off a letter to Goode upon hearing about the controversy, and says he urged his Virginia colleague to apologize to the Muslim community for insulting them. Pascrell says there's nothing but prejudice in Goode's missive.

Rep. PASCRELL: It is on the - almost on the edge of being a bigoted letter.

KEYES: Pascrell says he's considering whether there's something more he and his congressional colleagues can do to show their displeasure. The House can take official action against members. Back in 1832, Ohio Congressman William Stanberry was censured for insulting the speaker of the House. Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank was reprimanded in 1990 for using his political influence to fix parking tickets. And three members were expelled from the House in 1861 for taking up arms against the United States.

The nation's largest Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American Islamic Relations, isn't calling on Congress to do anything. CAIR national legislative director Corey Saylor.

Mr. COREY SAYLOR (CAIR): You know what I'd like to see is, I'd like to see Representative-Elect Ellison take his oath, which is, you know, you raise your right hand and you take your oath, and then be allowed to go about the business of serving his district. His faith really doesn't play any role in this, nor does the faith of any other member of Congress.

KEYES: But that doesn't mean the group isn't annoyed with what Saylor calls bigotry. Saylor says he can't believe Goode was surprised that people were offended.

Mr. SAYLOR: I think this is a standard case of Islamophobia that we see fairly frequently. What's particularly disturbing is this is a sitting elected member of Congress.

KEYES: Saylor says his group is also disturbed that neither the Virginia state Republican Party nor the Republican National Committee distanced themselves from Goode's comments. Virginia GOP officials could not be reached for comment, and the RNC did not return a call for comment. (MORE)

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NO GOODE: CONGRESSMAN'S HATEFUL COMMENTS DEMAND RESPONSE - TOP
Susan Estrich, Fox News, 12/24/06
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,238679,00.html

Here we go. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, has yet to take office, and already the ugliness begins.

Mr. Ellison plans to bring his Koran with him on Jan. 4 when he takes the oath of office. The Koran is the Muslim holy book. If Christians and Jews can bring their Bibles, why shouldn't Mr. Ellison be able to bring his Koran?

The answer given this week by Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode was simple enough: Because Mr. Goode doesn't believe in the Koran, Mr. Ellison doesn't have any right to either. I kid you not. . .

Where in the Bible does Mr. Goode find his basis for such hatred? And how in the world does Mr. Goode think we will ever fight terrorism, especially terrorism by Muslims, if we do not have the support, cooperation and trust of leaders in the Muslim community?

If we are viewed, at the highest levels, as damning all those who believe in the Koran, who will take our side? Don't we want to encourage Muslims to believe in the political process and participate in it?

National Islamic groups have, understandably, condemned Goode's remarks and called on Goode to apologize.

"Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office. There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry," Corey Saylor of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told reporters this week.

"The Congressman is not apologizing," his press secretary, Linwood Duncan has announced.

Apparently, he thinks he has nothing to apologize for.

Merry Christmas Mr. Goode. Perhaps you'll take some time to open that Bible of yours, instead of using it as a weapon of hate. And when you do, you might learn something about how to treat a new colleague who, like you, is ready to pledge on all that is holy to him to uphold our Constitution and laws.

In the meantime, it should not just be Islamic groups who are standing up for the true spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

---

GOODE HAS OFTEN INSPIRED POLITICAL IRE - TOP
Michael D. Shear And Tim Craig, Washington Post, 12/23/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/22/AR2006122201351_pf.html

RICHMOND, Dec. 22 -- Virgil Goode is used to having people mad at him.

His Democratic Party bosses pitched a fit when he challenged Chuck Robb in the 1994 U.S. Senate primary. They steamed in 1996 when he forced his party to share power with Republican lawmakers in the state legislature. And they seethed in 1998 when he voted to impeach President Bill Clinton.

Goode responded with a shrug, and by switching parties, becoming a Republican member of Congress after decades as an independent-minded Democratic state lawmaker and representative of Southside Virginia.

Now, by taking aim at a newly elected Muslim member of Congress from Minnesota, the Democrat-turned-Republican congressman has sparked the ire of immigrant groups and invited unwanted attention from national TV networks and newspapers.

"That's Virgil exactly," said state Del. Allen W. Dudley (R-Franklin), who grew up with Goode and attended Franklin County High School with him in the mid-1960s. "He's very strong in what he believes and doesn't mind speaking what he believes."

What he believes now, according to a letter he wrote to a constituent, is that Muslims should not be elected to Congress. He was responding to a decision by Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to carry a Koran into his swearing-in ceremony next month.

"If American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran," Goode wrote in the letter dated Dec. 7 and reported this week. "I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary."

Ellison was born in Michigan and converted to Islam.

In a news conference Thursday, Goode said "the letter stands for itself" and added, "I do not apologize, and I do not retract my letter." In an interview on Fox News, he noted that one constituent he talked to "thinks I'm doing the right thing on this."

Goode did not return calls seeking an interview Friday.

His letter and subsequent refusal to apologize have infuriated and energized advocates for immigrants and his political adversaries. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) called on President Bush yesterday to condemn Goode's comments, which were characterized Thursday by the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations as "ignorant and divisive."

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CAIR-LA: REJECT WICKED DENIALS - TOP
The Press-Enterprise, 12/23/06
http://www.pe.com/localnews/opinion/letters/stories/PE_OpEd_Opinion_H_op_23_letterbox.36d0ff0.html

No good can ever come out of denying one of the greatest human tragedies of the 20th century, the Holocaust ("Denial wins this 'debate' in Iran," Dec. 12). Organizing a conference to question or deny the slaughter of millions of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and other groups is reprehensible and against the teachings of Islam.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said in his last sermon, "All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Also, a white (person) has no superiority over a black (person), nor does a black have any superiority over a white -- except by piety and good action."

These immoral attempts also do not help advance any legitimate cause, whether it be the peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict or some other issue. Those who forget or belittle human suffering are condemned to repeat it.

As people of conscience, we must remember and learn the history of the Holocaust. We must also be the first ones to stand up against hate and racism, whether it is anti-Semitism or another form of bigotry.

SHARAF MOWJOOD
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Government relations coordinator
Upland

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CA: ISLAM'S GOLDEN AGE COMES TO LIFE - TOP
Students celebrate scholars and poets of a great empire
Stephen Magagnini, Sacramento Bee, 12/23/06
http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/97269.html

Poets and philosophers, merchants and mathematicians, artisans and astronomers re-enacted the Golden Age of Islam at the Al-Arqam Islamic School in south Sacramento on Friday.

The artistry, story-telling and role-playing was a creation of 233 students from kindergarten through ninth grade who brought to life the sights, tastes and smells of an Islamic empire that spanned three continents from the eighth to the 13th centuries.

From incense to Turkish coffee, dates to oranges, minarets to miniature mosques and castles -- you could find it all at The Islamic Civilization Exhibit and Festival in the school's multipurpose room.

In the midst of this "village" teeming with children dressed in Saudi, Afghan, Palestinian, Pakistani, Egyptian and Moroccan garments, a large gold and blue tent set the stage for a debate among nine famous Muslim scholars.

Ibn Battuta (12-year-old Abdurrahman Husnein)was considered the greatest tourist of the 14th century. He followed the Prophet Muhammad's advice to "seek knowledge even if it takes you to China."

Ibn Sina (10-year old Belal Ahmed) insisted that his Canon of Medicine was a more important contribution because "My work saves lives!" Sina lived from 980 to 1037.

The father of algebra, Muhammad Ibn Musa Al-Khawarizmi (11-year-old Javed Maroon) responded, "I created the decimal system and the use of zero ... I educate the lives you save." The mathematician lived from 770 to 840.

Imam Malik (13-year-old Ossama Kamel), who compiled thousands of sayings from the Prophet Muhammad, warned the others against arrogance. "No one who has an atom's weight of pride in his heart will enter the garden," he quoted the prophet as saying.

Kamel said the festival "gives us pride in our religion -- these scholars are Islam, and people who are doing wrong today, that's not really Islam."

Dozens of other Muslim scholars were represented, including seventh-grader Nimra A. Syed's favorite, Al-Jazari, the first-known mechanical engineer who invented water clocks, combination locks and double-action water pumps.

She said that Al-Jazari, who lived from 1150 to 1220, was born in Iraq and wrote "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

FL: STUDENTS SIMULATE THE HAJJ - TOP
SHERRI DAY, St. Petersburg Times, 12/23/06
http://www.sptimes.com/2006/12/23/Hillsborough/Recreating_a_holy_jou.shtml

TAMPA - More than 7,000 miles from Mecca, students at the American Youth Academy Friday began a holy journey.

Tucked into a school pavilion, the children simulated the five-day hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam's holiest city. The ritual, which occurs every year during the 12th month of the lunar calendar, begins Dec. 28. Pilgrims, as the religious travelers are called, spend the journey re-enacting significant events in the lives of Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael.

The hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and a Koranic requirement of every able-bodied Muslim at least once in a lifetime.

As Tampa's pint-sized pilgrims began their hajj Friday, they chanted, signaling they were ready to embark. The older children spoke in Arabic. The youngest, at 3, sang "We Will Go to Mecca on the Hajj" to the tune of If You're Happy and You Know It. (MORE)

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OK: STATE MUSLIMS PREPARE FOR HAJJ - TOP
More pilgrims than ever before are expected to make journey of a lifetime to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Carla Hinton, Oklahoman, 12/25/06
http://www.newsok.com/article/2990417/

Passport. Check.

Meningitis shot. Check.

Hajj visa. Check.

Umbrella. Check.

Infinite patience. Check.

Strong faith. Check.

Oklahoma Muslims making the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca have been prepared for the Islamic journey of a lifetime, a local religious leader said this week. (MORE)

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CAIR
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453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 15:29:37 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: VA Muslims Asked to Contact Davis, Wolf About Anti-Muslim Remarks

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

CAIR ACTION ALERT #505

VA MUSLIMS ASKED TO CONTACT DAVIS, WOLF ABOUT ANTI-MUSLIM REMARKS

(WASHINGTON D.C., 12/26/06)
- The Maryland and Virginia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MD/VA) today called on Muslims and other people of conscience in Northern Virginia to contact GOP Reps. Frank Wolf and Tom Davis and urge them to repudiate recent anti-Muslim remarks by Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA).

CAIR-MD/VA says Northern Virginia has a large population of Muslim voters who are concerned about a recent letter Goode sent to constituents slamming the planned use of a Quran for the ceremonial swearing-in of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. (No religious texts of any kind are used for the official swearing-in ceremony.)

"I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way," wrote Goode. "The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."

Goode also decried the growth of the American Muslim community. He wrote, "I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America." (Keith Ellison has traced his family's roots in America to the year 1742.)

A number of Democratic leaders have repudiated Goode's Islamophobic remarks. But aside from mild rebukes from Sen. John W. Warner (R-VA) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), GOP officials have remained silent on the issue. The White House said "no judgments have been made" as to whether President Bush will condemn Goode's comments or those of Dennis Prager, a presidential appointee to the governing board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum who sparked the Quran oath controversy.

SEE: Bush is Urged to Act on Criticism of Muslim (New York Times)
SEE ALSO: A Bigot in Congress (Washington Post)
Fear and Bigotry in Congress (New York Times)

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be firm, but POLITE.)

1. CONTACT Reps. Frank Wolf and Tom Davis and urge them to repudiate Rep. Goode's Islamophobic comments. (Phone calls are best, followed by faxes and e-mail messages.)

The Honorable Frank Wolf
U.S. House of Representatives
241 Cannon Building
Washington, DC 20515
Tel: (202) 225-5136
Fax: (202) 225-0437
E-Mail: http://www.house.gov/wolf/email/email.html

The Honorable Tom Davis
U.S. House of Representatives
2348 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4611
Tel: (202) 225-1492
Fax: (202) 225-3071
E-Mail: http://tomdavis.house.gov/davis_contents/center/feedback/

Sample Letter:

I urge you to publicly repudiate bigoted remarks by Rep. Virgil Goode, who wrote to his constituents: "If American citizens don't wake up. . .there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran." He also wrote: "I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary."

Such Islamophobic and un-American views are unworthy of anyone elected to public office and should be condemned by all those who value religious tolerance and diversity.

Since Rep. Goode has chosen not to apologize for his bigoted statements, it is up to other Republican members of the Virginia delegation to Congress to take a public stand in support of the American Muslim community and its right to political participation.

Combined with the "macaca" incident during the recent election season in Virginia, Goode's remarks reflect badly on our state and its citizens' respect for other faiths.

As a constituent, I would respectfully request a written response to this letter.

(Make sure to include your name address and ZIP Code in the letter)

2. CONTACT President Bush to ask that he condemn Rep. Goode's remarks and rescind Dennis Prager's appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Comments: 202-456-1111
Fax: 202-456-2461
E-Mail: comments@whitehouse.gov

3. SEND COPIES of all correspondence to CAIR at: info@cair.com

- PLEASE ANNOUNCE, POST AND DISTRIBUTE -

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington , D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 16:22:16 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Uncle Sam Wants US Muslims to Serve / Feud May Cast Texas Mosque Beside Swine / Abraham's Devotion Inspires Muslims, Christians, Jews

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/26/06

* Hadith: Celebrate on Eid Days
            - FL: Muslim Holiday is a Joyous Occasion (Sun-Sent)
* ISLAM-OPED: Abraham's Devotion Inspires Muslims, Christians, Jews
* Anti-Muslim Remarks Reflect Lack of Faith in America
            - Warning on Muslim Rep Gets It All Wrong (Sun-Times)
            - Not Goode Enough (Baltimore Sun)
* Uncle Sam Wants US Muslims to Serve (Christian Science Monitor)
* CAIR: Feud May Cast Texas Mosque Beside Swine (LA Times)
* CAIR-CA: Iran Disappoints with Conference (Sacramento Bee)
            - NH: Serving at Shelter Brings Jews, Muslims Together
* Anonymous Testimony of Israeli Agents Pushes Limits (LA Times)
* U.S. Muslims Celebrate Faith Western-Style (AP)
* Israel Breaks Promise to U.S. Approves New Settlement (AP)
            - Jimmy Carter's Book: A Palestinian View (WSJ)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: CELEBRATE ON EID DAYS - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) approved of celebrations on religious holidays such as Eid ul-Adha when he said: "(Islam) is spacious (and has room for relaxation), and I have been sent with an easy and straightforward religion."

The Prophet also said: "The days of (Eid) are days of eating and drinking (non-alcoholic drinks) and of remembering God, the Exalted."

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 153

VERSE OF THE DAY: GOD GIVES EVERY COMMUNITY RITES OF SACRIFICE

"For every community We established rites (of sacrifice) so that they may pronounce the name of God over the (animals) that He has given them for food. But the object is one and the same: to remember that your God is one God. So submit yourselves to Him and give good news to the humble, whose hearts tremble (with awe) at the mention of God; who endure adversity with patience, who establish prayer, and spend in charity out of what we have given them. . .It is neither (the sacrificial animal's) meat nor their blood that reaches God; it is your piety that reaches Him."

The Holy Quran, 22:34-37

NOTE: Each year on the holiday of Eid ul-Adha, Muslims sacrifice an animal in remembrance of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. The meat is distributed to relatives and to the needy.

SEE ALSO:

FL: MUSLIM HOLIDAY IS A JOYOUS OCCASION - TOP
Suhail Nanji, Sun-Sentinel, 12/25/06
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/sfl-25forum56dec25,0,7988595.story

As Christian and Jewish communities in South Florida and all over the world join in celebration of the sacred traditions of Christmas and Hanukkah this month, so will Muslims celebrate their most important and respected holiday, Eid-Ul-Adha (EED-ul-ad-HAA). For most people, it may be a once-in-a-lifetime event to witness these three great religions celebrating something of great significance, not only to their respective followers, but to the whole of mankind.

Eid-Ul-Adha commemorates the sacrifice of the prophet Abraham, who is respected by the followers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It also marks the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. Hajj is called the "largest peace gathering on Earth," with more than 2.5 million pilgrims gathering each year.

Hence, this holiday is a very special and joyous occasion for all Muslims as they exchange social visits and seek to strengthen bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. Muslims also greet each other by saying "Eid mubarak" (EED-moo-BAR-ak), meaning "blessed Eid." (MORE)

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ISLAM-OPED: ABRAHAM'S DEVOTION INSPIRES MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS, JEWS - TOP

ISLAM-OPED is a national syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.

CONTACT: ihooper@cair.com
TEL: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726 (c)

Please consider the following commentary for publication AFTER DECEMBER 28, 2006. The Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Adha begins December 30th.

---

ABRAHAM'S DEVOTION INSPIRES MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS, JEWS
By Asma Mobin-Uddin
WORD COUNT: 641 words

[Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin is a pediatrician and president of the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Her upcoming children's book, The Best Eid Holiday Ever, is due to be published in the fall of 2007 and is about the Eid al-Adha holiday. She may be contacted at: asma@cair-ohio.com]

In the current climate, I hesitate to tell people that the biggest holiday of the Muslim year celebrates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son at God's command. I worry that people will associate the observance with the political situations we are seeing and will miss the profound beauty and strength of the story. Told in both the Bible and the Quran, the episode is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, who all honor Abraham's example of righteousness and faith.

God tested Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his only son. Out of devotion and obedience, Abraham was willing to do so. Before the deed could take place, a ram was substituted for sacrifice instead of the boy. The lesson in this great trial of Abraham's is that people should love and be faithful to God above everything else in their lives.

Some are uncomfortable with this story because of the reference to child sacrifice. Others spend time arguing over which son it was. Both miss the point. Of course God does not want us to kill our children. Both the Bible and the Quran are clear that the purpose of the event was to test Abraham's devotion to God, not to condone a human sacrifice. And which son it was is irrelevant.

The prophets throughout the ages have taught this same message of faithfulness as the most important imperative in worshipping God. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might," Moses urged his followers (Deuteronomy 6:5). Jesus reaffirmed the same message, saying, "This is the first and greatest commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38). A prayer from the Quran reads, "Truly my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are all for God, the Cherisher of the worlds" (Qur'an 6:162).

The Prophet Muhammad taught that the most important belief in Islam is that nothing is worthy of worship, nothing is deserving of one's complete love, devotion and obedience, except for God.

Whatever we love of the gifts God has given us, these gifts should not be more important to us than their source. If they are, then we have strayed. And many such "idols" compete for our time and attention. Our devotion to pursuing material wants, riches, fame, desires, or even leisure activities can border on worship. But Abraham's example reminds us what should be most important in our lives.

During the Hajj pilgrimage and the Eid al-Adha holiday, Muslims commemorate the history of the Prophet Abraham and his family. This year, these events take place during the last week of December.

Pilgrims in Mecca retrace Abraham's footsteps and rededicate themselves to following his example. As part of the Eid celebrations, Muslims have a sheep, camel or goat slaughtered, share part of the meat with family and friends in holiday meals, and donate at least one third of the meat to the poor. The symbolism of the sacrifice commemorates the trial of Abraham.

Devotion to God is the purpose of the sacrifice, not the actual meat or animal killed. Sharing holiday meals strengthens ties of family and friends, and donating the meat helps remind Muslims of their responsibilities to people in need. Food banks in America have reported an increase in fresh meat donations as Muslims donate to the poor the meat from this commemoration.

Muslims return from the Hajj with a renewed closeness and commitment to God. They recommit to loving and serving God above all else, with all their hearts, souls and minds, because nothing else is worthy of this devotion.

The opportunities for reflection and rededication to one's priorities are part of the many holidays celebrated this season. As we choose our paths, we have a tremendous example in the firm and sure footsteps of the great Prophet Abraham, the true in faith, the friend of God.

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CONGRESSMAN'S ANTI-MUSLIM REMARKS REFLECT A LACK OF FAITH IN AMERICA - TOP
Beaver County Times, 12/26/06
http://www.timesonline.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17632981&BRD=2305&PAG=461&dept_id=478566&rfi=6

We have nothing to fear but ourselves.

In the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt counseled Americans that they had nothing to fear but fear itself.

Today, some Americans are letting their fears get the better of them when it comes to Muslims, especially those living in the United States.

In a jaw-dropping letter to constituents, U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., played to the worst of some people's fears. The Associated Press reported that Goode wrote that unless immigration is tightened, "many more Muslims" will be elected and follow the lead of a recently elected lawmaker who plans to use the Quran at his ceremonial swearing-in.

He was referring to Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim elected to Congress. . .

Guess what? The nativists were wrong - and they will always be wrong. At some basic level, they are the ones who are afraid of the American dream. They fear change. They are frightened by anyone who is not like them. They want to maintain the status quo in an ever-changing world.

Don't listen to them. Our nation is better than that. Have faith in the future. Have faith in America.

SEE ALSO:

WARNING ON MUSLIM GETS IT ALL WRONG - TOP
Chicago Sun-Times, 12/26/06
http://www.suntimes.com/news/commentary/186024,CST-EDT-edits26b.article

It's hard to decide where to start when criticizing Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.), who thinks Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, poses a serious threat to American values. His complaint is short on the facts and short on logic, not to mention being short on tolerance. And it's disrespectful to the voters who elected Ellison. (MORE)

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NOT GOODE ENOUGH - TOP
Baltimore Sun, 12/26/06
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bal-ed.goode26dec26,0,6224822.story

Shameful enough that in this season of peace on earth, good will toward men arrived with an insult to the first Muslim member of Congress from one of his new colleagues.

Even more disturbing was the ignorance reflected in Republican Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr.'s remarks: He asserted that Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison represents the first wave of a major Muslim migration into the United States that threatens American values.

Americans sincerely trying to put aside their biases are not well-served by elected officials who proudly espouse wrongheaded views fostering distrust and hatred. (MORE)

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UNCLE SAM WANTS US MUSLIMS TO SERVE - TOP
The Pentagon builds Islamic prayer rooms and hires imams to make military life more appealing.
Richard Whittle, Christian Science Monitor, 12/26/06
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1227/p03s01-usmi.html

WASHINGTON - As US troops battle Islamic extremists abroad, the Pentagon and the armed forces are reaching out to Muslims at home.

An underlying goal is to interest more Muslims in the military, which needs officers and troops who can speak Arabic and other relevant languages and understand the culture of places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The effort is also part of a larger outreach. Pentagon officials say they are striving for mutual understanding with Muslims at home and abroad and to win their support for US war aims. Among the efforts to attract and retain Muslim cadets:

o West Point and the other service academies have opened Muslim prayer rooms, as have military installations.

o Imams serve full- and part-time as chaplains at the academies and some bases.

o Top non-Muslim officers and Pentagon officials have taken to celebrating religious events with Muslims overseas and here in the US.

"There is a message here, and that is that Muslims and the Islamic religion are totally compatible with Western values," says Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England in an interview. (MORE)

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CAIR: FEUD MAY CAST MOSQUE BESIDE SWINE - TOP
A Texas man's response to a he said-he said dispute with Muslim neighbors: pig races on Friday nights.
Lianne Hart, Los Angeles Times, 12/26/06
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-pigraces26dec26,1,3909504.story

KATY, TEXAS - While Kamel Fotouh makes plans to build a mosque on 11 acres of pasture here, neighbor Craig A. Baker is making plans of his own - plans to hold pig races.

Baker figures he'll need a tent, souvenirs and a track for the pigs to race on, all in full view of the Muslims next door, for whom pigs are forbidden as food.

As a bonus, Baker will host the competition on Friday - a Muslim holy day.

This is not meant as a slur on Islam, Baker said. It's a dispute between two neighbors. "A lot of people are making this into a racist situation, a redneck guy from Texas saying 'We're going to put on pig races,' " he said. "But I'm standing up for property rights."

The trouble started in October, shortly after the Katy Islamic Assn. bought the land next to Baker's marble business. . .

Another resident's website, anonymously registered, features an odometer-like counter that keeps track of attacks that "Islamic terrorists have carried out" since Sept. 11; a link to the FBI; and a link to a recording of the Muslim call to prayer. "Get used to it," reads the tagline. "You will be hearing it 5 times a day 365 days a year." . . .

Recent polls show that residents here aren't alone in their fears. About a quarter of respondents in a Gallup Poll in the summer said they would not want to live next door to a Muslim. A third thought that Muslims in the United States sympathized with Al Qaeda.

An independent poll released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found in March that one in three Americans associated the word "Islam" with "war," "hatred" or "terrorist."

CAIR spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed said it was not uncommon for people to say that a mosque would bring down their property values. "In order to stay away from being labeled racist, they try to come up with a more sophisticated response to support their opposition," she said. (MORE)

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CAIR-CA: IRAN DISAPPOINTS WITH CONFERENCE - TOP
Sacramento Bee, 12/22/06
http://www.sacbee.com/326/story/96428.html

Re "Defiling history: Iran showcases Holocaust deniers," Dec. 14: As a Muslim American and on behalf of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Sacramento Valley, I'm terribly disappointed that the government of Iran hosted a conference where many of the invited guests were known Holocaust deniers.

Regardless of the attempt to provoke American and Israeli sentiments for the minimization of Arab suffering in the Middle East, minimizing and denying the suffering of Jews during World War II is not only painful, but dangerous. It also goes against the Quran's injunction on Muslims to stand up for justice, even if it is against themselves (4:135).

If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to make a political statement about Iraq, Palestine or even Zionism, let him do so without falling into something that the Quran warned about "O you who believe! Be upright for Allah, bearers of witness with justice, and let not hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably; act equitably, that is nearer to piety, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is aware of what you do" (5:8).

-- Dina El-Nakhal, Davis

SEE ALSO:

NH: SERVING AT SHELTER BRINGS JEWS, MUSLIMS TOGETHER - TOP
RILEY YATES, Union Leader, 12/26/06

MANCHESTER - Preparing this Christmas meal were girls in Muslim head scarves side by side with members of the local reform synagogue.

Christmas may be a Christian holiday, but two other faiths were building their own tradition around it in the Queen City.

Inside the kitchen of New Horizon shelter bustled a group of volunteers who, while Christmas isn't their holiday, recognize in their own ways what in Hebrew is called a mitzvah, or good deed.

In the dining hall decorated with a tree and wreaths, a band played carols.

Dozens of the less fortunate awaited a meal that would warm the heart of Saint Nicholas himself: roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes.

For more than 25 years, members of Temple Adath Yeshurun, a Prospect Street synagogue, have been volunteering during Christmas and Christmas Eve, lending a hand at the soup kitchen, hospitals and Meals on Wheels to allow Christians to spend time with their families.

Yesterday, they were joined by the Islamic Society of Greater Manchester, in a partnership the two faiths hope will build cooperation and bridge divides that extend far beyond their communities. (MORE)

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ANONYMOUS TESTIMONY PUSHES LIMITS - TOP
Defense lawyers say justice isn't served if they can't know the identities of the Israeli agents.
Greg Krikorian, Los Angeles Times, 12/26/06
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-witnesses26dec26,1,3694525.story

In three current high-profile criminal cases, federal prosecutors have asked that the identities of Israeli government witnesses be withheld from defendants and their attorneys - a move some legal scholars see as a highly unusual end run around the 6th Amendment.

Defense attorneys in all three cases have argued, with mixed results, that allowing U.S. prosecutors to keep the witnesses' identities secret - as demanded by Israel to protect its agents - violates their clients' constitutional right to confront their accusers.

Though courts have allowed witnesses to testify in secured courtrooms or found other ways to protect their identities when they might be in danger, experts say it is extraordinary to keep the identities secret even from defense attorneys.

"It absolutely gives me pause," said Jeffrey L. Fisher, a Stanford University law professor and 6th Amendment expert. "The essence of cross-examination is often being able to do a background investigation on the witness and use that as a lever for questioning their testimony. And if you take that away from a defendant, he is not left with very much."

Fisher added, "I can safely say the Supreme Court has never had a case about testifying under a pseudonym."

In Chicago, a federal judge recently permitted two Israeli agents to testify anonymously against two men accused of aiding the Palestinian group Hamas, designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization since 1995. Judge Amy J. St. Eve said that the right to learn a witness' identity was "not absolute" and that the use of pseudonyms for the Israeli agents was justified because of their assignments. (MORE)

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MUSLIMS CELEBRATE FAITH WESTERN-STYLE - TOP
Lubna Takruri, Associated Press, 12/26/06
http://washingtontimes.com/metro/20061225-095142-8394r.htm

At a recent prayer service in Sterling, there was talk of decorations, gifts and the upcoming holiday, but the conversations at the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque were not about Christmas.

They were about Eid ul-Adha, the large Muslim festival that begins Dec. 31 and is celebrated in ways similar to the Christian holiday -- family visits, toys for the youngsters, a large meal and commemoration of a religious history.

During a month filled with holiday cheer, some of the estimated 6 million Muslims living in the United States say Eid ul-Adha gives them a chance to celebrate their faith with a nod to Western traditions.

Jean McTigue, 33, went home after a recent prayer service to hang decorations with her family. She is American-born with Irish and German roots, but she converted to Islam when she was 18. Instead of a Christmas tree, she now puts up custom lettering that reads "Happy Eid."

She, her husband and five children get together with family members who are Christian for an inclusive "holiday party" that her mother throws.

Farrukh Shahbaz, 41, who moved to Northern Virginia from Pakistan six years ago with her husband and three daughters, said she embraces the traditions of both countries.

"I tell my kids, Christmas is the American Eid," she said, "and our Eid is coming in a few days."

While others were Christmas shopping this month, her daughters were at the mall buying their Eid gifts. (MORE)

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ISRAEL APPROVES NEW WEST BANK SETTLEMENT - TOP
RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press, 12/26/06
http://www.dailycomet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061226/API/612263354

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel has approved a new settlement in the West Bank to house former Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, officials said Tuesday, breaking a promise to the U.S. to halt home construction in the Palestinian territories.

SEE ALSO:

JIMMY CARTER'S BOOK: A PALESTINIAN VIEW - TOP
ALI ABUNIMAH, Wall Street Journal, 12/26/06
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116709416381459276.html

President Carter has done what few American politicians have dared to do: speak frankly about the Israel-Palestine conflict. He has done this nation, and the cause of peace, an enormous service by focusing attention on what he calls "the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine's citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank."

The 39th president of the United States, the most successful Arab-Israeli peace negotiator to date, has braved a storm of criticism, including the insinuation from the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League that his arguments are anti-Semitic.

Mr. Carter has tried to mollify critics by suggesting that his is not a commentary on Israeli policy inside Israel's own borders, as compared with the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem -- territories Israel occupied in 1967. He told NPR, "I know that Israel is a wonderful democracy with equal treatment of all citizens whether Arab or Jew. And so I very carefully avoided talking about anything inside Israel."

Given the pressure he has faced, it may be understandable that Mr. Carter says this, but he is wrong. In addition to nearly four million Palestinians living under Israeli rule in the occupied territories, another one million live inside Israel's pre-1967 borders. These Palestinians are descendants of those who were not forced out or did not flee when Israel was created in 1948.

They have nominal Israeli citizenship, and unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa, they do vote for the country's parliament. Yet this is where any sense of equality ends. In Israel's history, no Arab-led party has ever been asked to join a coalition government. And, among scores of Jewish ministers, there has only ever been one Arab minister, of junior rank.

Discrimination against non-Jewish citizens both informal and legalized is systematic. Non-Jewish children attend separate schools and live in areas that receive a fraction of the funding of their Jewish counterparts. The results can be seen in the much poorer educational attainment, economic, health and life outcomes of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Much of the land of the country, controlled by the quasi-governmental Jewish National Fund, cannot be leased or sold to non-Jews. This is similar in effect to the restrictive covenants that in many U.S. cities once kept nonwhites out of certain neighborhoods.

A 2003 law stipulates that an Israeli citizen may bring a non-citizen spouse to live in Israel from anywhere in the world, excluding a Palestinian from the occupied territories. A civil rights leader in Israel likened it to the American anti-miscegenation measures from the 1950s, when mixed race couples had to leave the state of Virginia to marry legally.

For Palestinians, the most blatant form of discrimination is Israel's "Law of Return," that allows a Jewish person from any country to settle in Israel. Meanwhile, family members of Palestinian citizens of Israel, living in exile, sometimes in refugee camps just a few miles outside Israel's borders, are not permitted to set foot in the country.

The rise of Avigdor Lieberman, the new deputy prime minister, who openly advocates stripping Palestinians in Israel of citizenship and transferring them outside the state, reflects increasingly extremist politics. (MORE)

Mr. Abunimah is the author of "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse" (Metropolitan Books, 2006).

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 14:27:56 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: CAIR Welcomes TSA Hajj Sensitivity Training / CAIR-LA Airs Eid Radio Spots / Do Israelis Practice Apartheid?

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/27/06

* Hadith: The Day of Arafah
* CAIR Welcomes TSA Hajj Sensitivity Training
* CAIR-LA to Air Hajj and Eid Radio Spots
            - CAIR-MI: Eid Meat Giveaway Expands (Detroit News)
* CA: Muslim Leader Hits Remarks by VA Lawmaker (Daily News)
            - Incitement: Tolerance for Islam Doesn't Work
* U.S. Backs Ethiopian Attacks in Somalia (AP)
            - AU Says Ethiopia Should Withdraw from Somalia (Reuters)
* Do Israelis Practice Apartheid? (Detroit News)
            - Israel and Apartheid: In Defense of Jimmy Carter

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HADITH OF THE DAY: THE DAY OF ARAFAH - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "When the Day of Arafah comes, God (says to the angels), 'Look at my servants who have come to Me disheveled, dusty and crying out from every deep valley. I call you to witness that I have forgiven them.' The angels say: 'My Lord, so and so was suspected of sin, also so and so and such and such a woman.' The Prophet said that God replied: 'I have forgiven them (all).'"

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 817

The Prophet also said: "There is no day in which God sets free more (people) from Hell than on the Day of Arafah."

Sahih Muslim, Hadith 650

NOTE: The "Day of Arafah" falls on the 9th day of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah (December 29). Arafah is the plain near the city of Mecca. On this day, the climax of the Hajj season, pilgrims assemble on the plain for supplication to God.

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CAIR WELCOMES TSA HAJJ SENSITIVITY TRAINING - TOP

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/27/06) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed an announcement by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that it has provided special training about Islamic traditions related to the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, to some 45,000 airport security officers.

The TSA cultural sensitivity training includes details about the timing of Hajj travel, about items pilgrims may be carrying and about Islamic prayers that may be observed by security personnel.

SEE: U.S. Airport Security Officers Briefed On Hajj Traditions (USINFO)

Earlier this month, CAIR advised those going on Hajj to be aware of their civil and legal rights as airline passengers. CAIR's " Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim" pocket guide states: "As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory."

SEE: CAIR Establishes Hajj Profiling Hotline

"We welcome the fact that airport security officers nationwide will now be better informed about Islamic traditions relating to Hajj," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "This proactive effort on the part of the Transportation Security Administration demonstrates that there is no contradiction between the need to maintain airline safety and security and the duty to protect the religious and civil rights of airline passengers."

Hooper said representatives of CAIR chapters nationwide have met with TSA, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials on issues related to cultural sensitivity and national security.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com

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CAIR-LA TO AIR HAJJ AND EID RADIO SPOTS - TOP
Ads explain significance of Hajj, Eid ul-Adha holiday

(ANAHEIM, 12/27/2006) - The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has announced the launch of a radio ad campaign designed to educate the public about Hajj and the Eid ul-Adha ("Festival of the Sacrifice") holiday.

The 60-second spots will air several times a day on 980 AM KFWB, one of Southern California's largest AM radio stations, through December 31. The ads will be heard by some 750,000 station listeners.

The campaign featuring 30 radio ads will focus on the spirit of Hajj, its connection with Abraham and the commonalities Muslims share with observers of other faiths.

CAIR-LA's ads are a continuation of similar spots aired during Hajj and Ramadan in the past few years. They are one aspect of CAIR's efforts to educate fellow Americans about Islam and Muslims. Other campaigns have included placing ads in newspapers, providing a complimentary copy of the Quran and a book or DVD on the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), sending books and videotapes to libraries across the country and placing educational messages on billboards.

The following is the excerpt of one of the ads. The other two are called "Malcolm X" and "Mercy and Compassion."

CAIR-LA RADIO AD 'ABRAHAM'

"This week, Muslims in America and around the world conclude the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, 'the Hajj,' with Islam's most important holiday called Eid ul-Adha or 'festival of the sacrifice.'

"The central figure in this religious celebration is Prophet Abraham. Muslims believe that Abraham built the first House of Worship to God, known as the Kaaba. The Hajj commemorates Abraham's prayers at the Kaaba. The Quran, Islam's holy book, states: 'Who can be better in faith than one who submits his whole self to God, does good and follows the way of Abraham, the true in faith?'

"This fact offers an excellent opportunity for all of Abraham's children - Muslims, Christians and Jews - to recognize and cherish their shared religious heritage and to promote a harmonious future as people of faith."

LISTEN TO ALL THE CAIR-LA ADS:

* Abraham
* Malcolm X
* Mercy and Compassion
* Transcript of all ads

CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Munira Syeda, (714) 776-1847 or (714) 851-4851, E-Mail: socal@cair.com

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-MI: MEAT GIVEAWAY EXPANDS - TOP
Detroit News, 12/27/06
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061227/METRO01/612270348/1006

Islamic Relief, an international emergency relief and development organization, will expand its meat distribution project in Detroit. The project, launched as a pilot program last year to distribute meat to Metro Detroit families, will be at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 6 at Gleaners Food Bank, 21313 Beaufait, and mosques in Hamtramck and Highland Park. The project is coordinated in cooperation with the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan and Council on American-Islamic Relations. Last year, 12,000 pounds of meat were given to Metro Detroit families. For information, visit www.irw.org.

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CA: MUSLIM LEADER HITS REMARKS BY LAWMAKER - TOP
Republican's comments display of `Islamophobia'
GIDEON RUBIN, LA Daily News, 12/26/06
http://www.dailynews.com/antelopevalley/ci_4904996

PALMDALE - A Virginia Republican congressman's controversial comments that triggered harsh criticism from national leaders across the political spectrum has drawn condemnation from a local Islamic leader.

The remarks reflect "a wave of Islamophobia," said Abdul-Wahab Omeira, vice president of the Islamic Institute of the Antelope Valley who also sits on an Antelope Valley hate crime task force advisory board.

"I feel sorry for people like that who want to divide our country," Omeira said. "Unfortunately, I see a wave of Islamophobia carried on by a minority who believe they have a monopoly on righteousness.". . .

Corey Saylor, the Council on American-Islamic Relations' national legislative director, said "... Goode's Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office," and that "there can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

INCITEMENT WATCH: TOLERANCE DOESN'T WORK FOR ALL RELIGIONS - TOP
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/27/06
http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/printedition/2006/12/27/edletts1227.html

I'm sorry, but the editorial board missed this pitch by a mile ("Keep faiths attack-free," @issue, Dec. 22.) We have been so thoroughly inculcated with the concepts of freedom of religion and religious tolerance that we miss the point entirely. So-called "religions" can be socially destructive, advocate illegal acts and intrinsically evil. Islam, by its own holy book the Quran, is a self-avowed enemy of Christianity and Judaism. Islam was born in violence, propagated by violence and does not reciprocate toleration for toleration extended to it. There is hardly an interface between Islam and any other faith on the planet where violence is not perpetrated against non-Muslim populations. Places such as Holland have had to learn this lesson the hard way, as evidenced by the brutal murder of Theo Van Gogh by hate-filled Muslim immigrants.

Come on, think about what you are printing. Freedom of religion is not absolute, and toleration of those who would destroy you is insanity. As has been said, the U.S. Constitution is not a suicide pact. Electing a professional wrestler governor of the state is one thing, but placing a Muslim in the U.S. House of Representatives is enough to make one wonder what is going on in the state of Minnesota.

RON SLADE SR., Covington

SEND POLITE COMMENTS TO:
http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/letters/sendletter.html
COPY TO: info@cair.com

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U.S. BACKS ETHIOPIAN ATTACKS IN SOMALIA - TOP
GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press, 12/26/06
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/12/26/national/w130749S85.DTL

The State Department signaled support Tuesday for Ethiopian military operations against Somalia, noting that Ethiopia has had "genuine security concerns" stemming from the rise of Islamist forces in its eastern neighbor.

Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos also said that the Ethiopian military acted at the request of Somalia's internationally backed secular government, which has been resisting with little success the spreading influence of the more powerful Islamist forces. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

AU SAYS ETHIOPIA SHOULD WITHDRAW FROM SOMALIA - TOP
Reuters, 12/27/06

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - Ethiopian troops waging war against rival Islamists in Somalia should leave the country immediately, the African Union (AU) chief said on Wednesday.

"We call for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops without delay," AU chairman Alpha Omar Konare said in a statement. . .

Konare urged Somalia's interim government and the Somalia Islamic Courts Union to end all hostilities and resume Arab League-sponsored peace talks that collapsed in Sudan last month. (MORE)

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DO ISRAELIS PRACTICE APARTHEID AGAINST PALESTINIANS? - TOP
South Africans see the parallel with wall, other methods Carter describes
Sherri Muzher, Detroit News, 12/27/06
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061227/OPINION01/612270319/1008

With "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid," former President Jimmy Carter, the statesman who oversaw the first Middle East peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, has provoked a much-needed discussion that rarely ever transpires in U.S. politics and media. . .
Yet, interestingly, South Africa's own Bishop Desmond Tutu and others have referred to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Christians and Muslims as "Israeli apartheid."

In a 2002 speech in the United States, Tutu said he saw "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about." Back in 1999, former South African statesman Nelson Mandela told the Palestinian Assembly: "The histories of our two peoples correspond in such painful and poignant ways that I intensely feel myself at home amongst my compatriots."

South African author Breyten Breytenbach, who spent nine years in prison for resisting apartheid, wrote in 2002, "I recently visited the occupied territories for the first time. And yes, I'm afraid they can reasonably be described as resembling Bantustans, reminiscent of the ghettoes and controlled camps of misery one knew in South Africa."

And consider more examples:

More water is given to Jewish citizens than to Palestinians; non-Jewish Israelis cannot buy or lease land in Israel; Israel's policies have involved planning regulations prohibiting Palestinian building on 70 percent of the West Bank and 80 percent of East Jerusalem. While restricting Palestinian development, Israel builds housing for its people in the occupied territories.

A few years ago, the Israeli government was shown to have a 70:30 policy in the city of Jerusalem which to maintain a 70 percent Jewish population over 29 percent Muslim and 1 percent Christian minorities. This has been accomplished through home demolitions, denial of building permits, ID card confiscations and residency revocations. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

ISRAEL AND APARTHEID: IN DEFENSE OF JIMMY CARTER - TOP
Tony Karon, Rootless Cosmopolitan, 12/22/06
http://tonykaron.com/2006/12/22/israel-and-apartheid-in-defense-of-jimmy-carter/

Nothing makes liberal American supporters of Israel more uncomfortable than the comparison between the circumstances it has imposed on the Palestinians and those that the apartheid regime imposed on black South Africans. That's precisely why it is so important and commendable that Jimmy Carter has tempted the wrath of the Israel lobby and many Jewish-American liberals-in-denial by making that comparison - as he says, it's time Americans took a look at Palestinian life and history, and as any good person of faith or basic humanity would, treat it as of equal value. The point being that Jimmy Carter had to write this book precisely because Palestinian life and history is not accorded equal value in American discourse, far from it. And his use of the word apartheid is not only morally valid; it is essential, because it shakes the moral stupor that allows many liberals to rationalize away the daily, grinding horror being inflicted Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Or preferably, to avoid discussing it altogether. As Carter notes:

For the past 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts. This reluctance to criticize policies of the Israeli government is due to the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices. It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defence of justice or human rights for Palestinians… What is even more difficult to comprehend is why the editorial pages of the major newspapers and magazines in the US exercise similar self-restraint, quite contrary to private assessments expressed forcefully by their correspondents in the Holy Land.

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
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Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 15:46:39 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Muslim Traveler Gets Apology for Strip Search / Incitement: 'I Advocate the Forced Removal of All Muslims' / VA Students Will 'Live as Muslims' for a Month

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/28/06

* Hadith: Praise God Often During Hajj and Eid
* Eid Mubarak from CAIR's Board and Staff
* CAIR Director to Discuss Hajj Live on Al-Jazeera
            - CAIR: Holocaust Denial Cannot be an Islamic Cause
* Incitement: 'I Advocate the Forced Removal of All Muslims' (Miami Herald)
            - CAIR-FL Video: Factors in Negative Perceptions of Islam
* CAIR-FL: Muslim Traveler Gets Apology for Strip Search (SP Times)
            - CAIR Guide Outlines Rights of Airline Passenger (Wash Times)
* CAIR-Chicago: Spring 2007 Internship Opportunities
* MN/MI: Ellison Says Faith Won't Be Exploited (Detroit Free Press)
            - VA: Muslims are Americans, Too (Roanoke Times)
* MD: Before Hajj, Muslims Navigate the Spiritual, Practical (Wash Post)
            - AZ: Muslims to Celebrate Eid ul-Adha on Saturday (AZ Rep)
            - FL: Muslims Extend Invitation for Eid (Sun-Sentinel)
            - Eid al-Adha: A Feast of Sharing (Philadelphia Inquirer)
* VA: Students Will 'Live as Muslims' for a Month
            - MD: Reaction to Arabic Courses Speaks to Need

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HADITH OF THE DAY: PRAISE GOD OFTEN DURING HAJJ AND EID - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "There is no day more honorable in God's sight and no (good) deeds more beloved therein to God than those in (the first ten days of the Month of Hajj). So say 'There is no God but God,' 'God is the greatest' and 'All praise is due to God' often (on those days)."

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 154

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EID MUBARAK FROM CAIR'S BOARD AND STAFF - TOP

CAIR's board and staff wish everyone a blessed Eid ul-Adha. Eid Mubarak.

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CAIR DIRECTOR TO DISCUSS HAJJ LIVE ON AL-JAZEERA - TOP

CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad will appear on Al-Jazeera Direct live for two hours on Friday, December 29, to discuss issues related to Hajj and the American Muslim community. (10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Eastern)

SEE: http://www.aljazeera.net/

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: HOLOCAUST DENIAL CANNOT BE ISLAMIC CAUSE - TOP
Andrea Barron, Washington Jewish Week, 12/28/06

Eight days after Iran held a two-day conference denying the Nazi Holocaust, Washington-area Muslim leaders gathered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to honor the memory of Jews murdered during the Shoah. . .

Nihad Awad, CAIR's executive director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations, said "misguided people" are wrong to question whether the Holocaust took place. "Belittling the suffering of any people contradicts Islamic teachings and the actions of the prophet Muhammad. It's a red line that no one should cross." (MORE)

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INCITEMENT WATCH: 'I ADVOCATE THE FORCED REMOVAL OF ALL MUSLIMS' - TOP

MUSLIMS UNDER SIEGE IN THIS COUNTRY
Miami Herald, 12/28/06
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/16332144.htm

Re Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode's statement that Muslims are not welcome in the United States: I also believe that Muslims should not be allowed to enter this country and that they should seek their political or economic aspirations in other countries. I advocate the forced removal of all Muslims, moving toward a Muslimless society.

We should set a five-year timeline for all Muslims to leave the United States.
All those hundreds of thousands of Muslim engineers, doctors, scientists, educators, business owners and other high-level professionals will undoubtedly find jobs and peace in other countries or the country of their origin.

According to U.S. Census, the Iranian community is a very educated and wealthy Muslim community in this country, so they should be fine wherever they go. Also, we would have to deport all those Muslim engineers and doctors who were airlifted to the United States from Kosovo after we bombed Serbia.

There will be no more wars to wipe out terrorists, and the entire trillion-dollar budget assigned to kill terrorists and evil doers can be diverted to improving our dilapidating infrastructure and eliminating poverty and hunger in this great country.

FRANK ZEINALI, Miami

SEND POLITE COMMENTS TO: HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com
COPY TO: info@cair.com
(Letters must bear the writer's name, full address, and daytime phone number.)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-FL VIDEO: FACTORS IN NEGATIVE PERCEPTIONS OF ISLAM IN AMERICA - TOP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDagea_9J5E

CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier delivers a speech, which aired live, at the Annual meeting of the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club (Florida) on the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments and the contributing factors of misperception of Islam in the west.

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CAIR-FL: MUSLIM GETS APOLOGY FOR APRIL STRIP SEARCH - TOP
Sheela Raman, St. Petersburg Times, 12/28/06
http://www.sptimes.com/2006/12/28/Hillsborough/Muslim_gets_apology_f.shtml

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has apologized to a Muslim traveler strip-searched at the Pinellas County Jail after being detained at Tampa International Airport in April.

Federal agents said they denied Spanish citizen Safana Jawad entry to the United States on April 11 because she was suspected of being associated with someone they view as suspicious.

Jawad, 45, was taken to the jail, strip-searched according to protocol and held in a maximum security cell for two days. She was never told the identity of the suspicious person.

Jawad, who was born in Iraq, had flown to the United States to visit her son, Hany Kubba, 16, who then lived in Clearwater with her ex-husband, Ahmad Maki Kubba.

Jawad was deported to England on April 13 and has since filed a complaint with the Homeland Security Department about being mistreated by customs officials as well as staff at the Pinellas County Jail. . .

Ahmad Bedier, director of the Tampa branch of the Council for American-Islamic Relations, spoke with Jawad at the jail after the arrest. He has kept in touch with the family since then.

Bedier said the apology from the Homeland Security Department is a step in the right direction, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

In the next two weeks, Bedier said thousands of Muslims will be returning to central Florida from their annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Today Bedier plans to meet at Tampa International Airport with officials from the FBI, airport, Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration to discuss measures to prevent unnecessary profiling of Muslim travelers as they return from Saudi Arabia.

"I am concerned about their treatment when they return," Bedier said.

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: OBSERVING HAJJ - TOP
John McCaslin, Washington Times, 12/28/06
http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20061228-120232-4665r.htm

A pocket guide published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, titled "Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim," states: "As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel.

"You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory," it says.

That said, the Washington-based council is applauding yesterday's announcement by the Transportation Security Administration that it has completed special training for 45,000 airport security personnel surrounding Islamic traditions related to hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The "cultural sensitivity training," as one TSA official refers to it, enables officers to recognize items that pilgrims might be carrying, as well as Islamic prayers that might be overheard in airports and aboard aircraft. (MORE)

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SPRING 2007 INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AT CAIR-CHICAGO - TOP

CAIR-Chicago is currently offering 18 new internship opportunities. Internships last one semester and include a 12-hour/week commitment. Applicants should email a resume and cover letter to Dina Rehab, Outreach Coordinator, at: internships@cairchicago.org. All internships are unpaid. Students interested in receiving class credit, should indicate so in their cover letters. Credit will be arranged during the first week of the academic semester.

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ELLISON SAYS FAITH WON'T BE EXPLOITED - TOP
But Islam is a guide, congressman says
NIRAJ WARIKOO, Detroit Free Press, 12/28/06
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061228/NEWS05/612280321

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison plans to use the Quran to be sworn in.

The first Muslim elected to Congress told a group of metro Detroiters on Wednesday that he will use Islam to guide his politics, but he said he won't impose his faith on others.

"I'm not a religious leader, I've never led religious services of any kind. ..." Keith Ellison said. "I'm not here to be a preacher, but in terms of political agenda items, my faith informs these things."

Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who grew up in Detroit, has faced a lot of scrutiny since his election in November.

He has come under fire for saying he will use the Quran, Islam's holy book, for his swearing-in ceremony Jan. 4. U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., has said the election of Ellison, and possibly other Muslims, poses a danger to America. . .

Ellison added that religion should be something that unites, rather than divides.

"Many people see their religion as an identity thing, much in the same way Crips or Bloods might say, 'I'm this, this is the set I'm rolling with,' " Ellison said, referring to the infamous street gangs.

"They've never actually tried to explore how religion should connect us, they're into how religion divides us. ... They haven't really explored ... how my faith connects me to you."

Ellison is in Michigan this week to meet with family and speak to various groups.

SEE ALSO:

MUSLIMS ARE AMERICANS, TOO - TOP
Shanna Flowers, Roanoke Times, 12/28/06
http://www.roanoke.com/columnists/flowers/wb/wb/xp-97680

Just in time for the season of good will toward men, U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode caused a national furor with a controversial letter blasting Muslims and immigration.

Mike Jawhar, a third-generation American and a Muslim, understandably took umbrage.

Jawhar, a surgeon at Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, is one of Goode's 5th District constituents.

"To imply that by a certain religion, a certain set of values that you're less of a citizen is offensive," said Jawhar, 36, who lives in Rocky Mount and is of Palestinian descent. "As a Muslim, it doesn't change the fact that I'm an American.

"It doesn't make it any more his country than mine. I was born in Richmond, Virginia.". . .

Jawhar's great-grandfather entered this country at Ellis Island, N.Y. His grandfather served in World War I. Jawhar attended Old Dominion University and is a graduate of Eastern Virginia Medical School. His brother is a professor at ODU and a sister is a schoolteacher.

It doesn't get any more all-American than that. And yes, Jawhar's accomplished family members are Muslims, too.

"He doesn't realize. . .," the physician said of Goode, his voice trailing off.

"What does it do to Muslims who are here? The last thing we need is an elected official saying we don't want Muslims here. We value this society.

"This Muslim is here providing a service in your community," Jawhar said.

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BEFORE THEIR PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA, MUSLIMS NAVIGATE THE SPIRITUAL AND THE PRACTICAL - TOP
Dina ElBoghdady, Washington Post, 12/28/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/27/AR2006122701623.html

Don't wander off because if you get lost, you may end up in prison for days before someone even asks your name.

Don't try to sneak a camera into the sacred sites because the guards will grab it and smash it in front of you.

Don't bend to pray when circling the holy Kaaba, revered by Muslims as the first house of worship.

"Believe me, people will walk over you," Safi Khan warned a group of Muslims at Dar-Us-Salaam mosque in College Park, where he is the imam, one recent Saturday morning. "You'll look up at them and they'll be smiling as if to ask for forgiveness, and of course you have to forgive them."

Khan ticked off many more do's and don'ts during a series of workshops about the hajj. The annual pilgrimage, required of every able-bodied and financially able Muslim at least once in a lifetime, begins in Mecca today. About 2 million Muslims -- roughly 12,000 of them from this country -- will take part. Among them will be Khan, leading a group of about 100 worshipers.

As a spiritual guide and interpreter of tradition, Khan's role with his travelers transcends language, a barrier faced by most Muslims, who pray and perform rituals in the original Arabic of the Koran even though they are not native Arabic speakers. He works to mesh the emotional, cultural, historical and practical elements of the sacred journey. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

AZ: MUSLIMS TO CELEBRATE EID UL-ADHA ON SATURDAY - TOP
Beth Duckett, Arizona Republic, 12/27/06
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1227phxrally-ON.html

PHOENIX - Thousands of Valley Muslims are expected to gather at the Phoenix Convention Center on Saturday to celebrate Eid ul-Adha the Islamic festival of sacrifice.

During the three-day festival people visit family, eat hearty meals and make sacrifices for others.

Eid ul-Adha is a time for Muslims to reflect on the story of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to God, said Arif Kazmi, one of the event's organizers. It also marks the end of hajj, or the Muslims' holy pilgrimage to Mecca. It is a journey to the place where the prophet Muhammad founded the Islam religion. (MORE)

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FL: MUSLIMS EXTEND INVITATION FOR EID - TOP
Tal Abbady, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/28/06
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-pceid28dec28,0,582047.story

Given 2,000 years of religious conflict, and current events, it's easy to forget that Christians, Muslims and Jews come from the same biblical stock.

As thousands of South Florida Muslims prepare for one of the holiest days on the Islamic calendar, Maulana Shafayat Mohamed wants to bring that point home.

"We all follow the same Abrahamic faith and we come from the same Abrahamic family," said Mohamed, head of the Darul Uloom Islamic Institute in Pembroke Pines.

About 3,000 worshippers are expected to attend a celebration at the center's mosque Saturday to mark the Eid ul-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice. Local religious leaders of other faiths have been invited to join the observance. (MORE)

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A FEAST OF SHARING - TOP
Here's Eid al-Adha, an important Muslim holiday, as one local family celebrates it. It's a time to share a bounty divine with the poor.
Dianna Marder, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/28/06
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/magazine/daily/16331014.htm

Suzan Aydin leafs through her favorite cookbook, Bereketli Olsun (May It Be Prosperous) for ideas, not precise directions.

She knows most of these recipes by heart, not to mention scent, texture and taste. So it's just a matter of selecting the right combination of dishes to serve on Saturday for the second most significant holiday in the Muslim calendar: Eid al-Adha.

(Ramadan, of course, is the most significant.)

Recognized by the U.S. Postal Service with a stamp - just like Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa - Eid is the Feast of the Sacrifice.

It marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and commemorates the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim in the Koran) to sacrifice his son to God - and God's grace in providing a ram for the ritual instead. (Versions in Genesis and the Koran differ as to whether that son was Ishmael or Isaac.)

It is a joyous festival, traditionally celebrated by eating lamb.

In Turkey, the animal would be slaughtered according to the rituals of halal, with the family keeping only one-third of the meat and giving the major share to the poor.

But in Abington Township, where Suzan, a former ballerina, and her husband, Nejat, a retired psychiatrist, have lived for 40 years, they carry out the tradition figuratively. The couple shops locally for lamb shoulder and donates to the poor.

Eid falls on a different date each year because Muslims use the lunar calendar. Friends and family stop by to visit. They share sweets and thick coffee and wishes for a Happy Bayram (Happy Holiday). It's traditional to buy new clothes, but not gifts. (MORE)

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VA: LIVING AS MUSLIM - TOP
Kelly Creswell, WHSV, 12/27/06
http://www.whsv.com/news/headlines/5022016.html

The Spotswood High School students are researching the Muslim culture and finding out how much no one really knows about this culture that is sometimes is negatively stereotyped by the public.

"What's the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Islam?" said Casey Morris.

"Iraq," a fellow student replied.

That's what Casey Morris hopes to eliminate through his research project, the stereotypes the public has about Muslims. Not only will he learn about the culture by wearing traditional Muslim clothing and praying five times a day, but "Also going without pork for 30 days, that's going to be rough but we'll make do," said Morris.

Morris says he is prepared for the criticism that comes along with it.

"Yeah, we're probably going to get some funny looks as we go down the hallway. I'm expecting comments maybe here and there. You know what, I'll be honest, I'll be disappointed if we don't get some," said Morris.

Members of the Muslim community here in the Valley say many people don't understand the Muslim culture. . .

Morris says he and his classmate will start the actual project January 2 and go for the whole month. They will capture everything on video and put together a documentary not only showing what they learned, but the local attitudes toward Muslims as well.

SEE ALSO:

MD: REACTION TO ARABIC COURSES SPEAKS TO NEED - TOP
Lauren Taylor, Catonsville Times, 12/28/06
http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID=351&NewsID=772063&CategoryID=11091&on=1

The Community College of Baltimore County knew it had hit upon a good idea two years ago when it launched two Arabic language courses.

Immediately, a waiting list was created for the course, which continues to grow in popularity. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 09:00:42 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Sample Eid Media Advisory / Airport Officials Get Lesson in Hajj

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 12/29/06

* Hadith: Fasting Today May Atone for Many Sins
* Sample Eid Media Advisory for Use by Local Communities
            - MI: Eid-al-Adha Expected to Attract Up to 1,000
            - TX: Fest Brings Families Close (Star-Telegram)
            - OH: More NE Ohio Muslims Making Hajj (Plain Dealer)
* CAIR-FL: Airport Officials Get Lesson in Hajj (St. Pete Times)
            - CAIR-Tampa: Airports to Accommodate Pilgrims (Tampa Trib)
            - CAIR-Orlando: Muslims to Celebrate Unity (Orlando Sent)
            - CAIR: Hajj Spurs Screeners' Training (NY Newsday)
* NY: I Witness the Israel Lobby in Action (NY Observer)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: FASTING TODAY MAY ATONE FOR MANY SINS - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The best supplication (to God) is that made on the Day of Arafah, and the best thing that I and other Prophets before me said is: 'There is no deity worthy of worship but God Alone. He has no partners. To Him alone belongs the Kingdom, and all praise. And He has power over all things.'"

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 5, Number 96B

The Prophet also said: "Fasting on the Day of Arafah may atone for the sins of the preceding and the coming years."

Sahih Muslim, Hadith 564

NOTE: The "Day of Arafah" falls on the 9th day of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah (December 29). Arafah is the plain near the city of Mecca. On this day, the climax of the Hajj season, pilgrims assemble on the plain for supplication to God.

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SAMPLE EID MEDIA ADVISORY FOR USE BY LOCAL COMMUNITIES - TOP

The following media advisory may be modified and used by local communities to publicize Eid ul-Adha events. When modifying the advisory, include references to local Eid activities and contact information for local spokespeople. Send to the newspaper "city editor," television station "assignment editors" and radio station "news directors." Just call each media outlet to get the contact information. IMPORTANT: Also send to the "daybook editor" at the nearest Associated Press bureau. See: http://www.ap.org/pages/contact/contact.html

- MEDIA ADVISORY -

U.S. MUSLIMS TO MARK END OF HAJJ WITH COMMUNAL PRAYERS

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/29/06) - This weekend, American Muslims will mark the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations at locations around the country.

The prayers, and the holiday that follows, are called Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), or "festival of the sacrifice." Eid ul-Adha commemorates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. The holiday is celebrated with the prayers, distribution of meat to the needy and social gatherings. During this holiday, Muslims exchange the greeting "Eid Mubarak" or "blessed Eid." This year, up to 15,000 American Muslims went on Hajj.

Eid prayers are held in the early morning. Many communities also hold day-long festivals for families. The Eid prayers and festivals are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings. Call local Muslim organizations for details about Eid prayers and celebrations.

Local mosques and Muslim groups may be located at: http://www.islamicfinder.com/

Photo Opportunity: Each year, Muslims from America and many different countries come to the prayers in colorful attire. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.

SEE ALSO:

MI: EID-AL-ADHA EXPECTED TO ATTRACT UP TO 1,000 - TOP
Kathleen Lavey, Lansing State Journal, 12/29/06
http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061229/NEWS01/612290326/1001/news

Mid-Michigan Muslims will observe the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca with a gathering Saturday morning.

Because as many as 1,000 people are expected for the Eid-al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice, the event has been moved from the mosque on Harrison Road to Michigan State University's IM West building. (MORE)

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TX: FEST BRINGS FAMILIES CLOSE - TOP
Noor Elashi, Star-Telegram, 12/29/06
http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/local/16343602.htm

Iman Diabmarzouk shows a mirror that her sister made for her at her pilgrimage to Mecca two years ago.

Iman Diabmarzouk's son and four daughters are really looking forward to Saturday. They'll be wearing fancy new clothes, eating breakfast at La Madeleine and getting lots of cash from their parents.

And they're looking forward to spending time with 60 or so relatives.

"The most important thing is to know they have a family," said Diabmarzouk, of Grand Prairie. (MORE)

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OH: MORE NORTHEAST OHIO MUSLIMS MAKING PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA - TOP
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/29/06
http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1167385085132270.xml&coll=2

A larger-than-usual muster of pilgrims left Northeast Ohio in recent days on the trip of a lifetime. The Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, began Thursday in Saudi Arabia and climaxes Saturday, when Muslims celebrate the Feast of Sacrifice, Eid-al-Adha.

Every able-bodied Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage at least once in his or her life. Because the Hajj this year coincides with winter vacations and holiday breaks, more people than usual decided now was the time, and Muslim spiritual leaders and travel agents scrambled to meet demand.

Hajj travel packages, which range from $1,500 to $6,000, sold out quickly here and across the nation, said Sam Aqsa, owner of Aqsa Travel in Cleveland's Little Arabia neighborhood.

At Hajj workshops at the Islamic Center of Cleveland, more than 50 people donned white robes to walk around a replica Kaaba and practice other Hajj rituals. (MORE)

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CAIR-FL: AIRPORT OFFICIALS GET LESSON IN HAJJ - TOP
JUSTIN GEORGE, St. Petersburg Times, 12/29/06
http://www.sptimes.com/2006/12/29/Tampabay/AIRPORT_OFFICIALS_GET.shtml

The pilgrims might look different when they return to the United States. They may be carrying vessels of holy water and religious souvenirs tucked in their luggage.

"Just be a little sensitive," Maysi Hnin, 26, a Muslim University of South Florida student, told Tampa International Airport officials Thursday in a meeting designed to educate them about Muslims returning from the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.

Wearing a head scarf, Hnin served as a model for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which arranged the roundtable with airport security officials and federal agents.

Today marks the peak of the annual five-day hajj to Mecca, Islam's holiest city, drawing about 20,000 U.S. Muslims and several hundred from Central Florida. All physically and financially able Muslims must undertake the hajj at least once.

CAIR officials gave airport police and FBI, Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security Department and customs officials a lesson about the pilgrimage and what they can expect from returning Muslims.

The meeting was part of CAIR's nationwide initiative following the removal of six imams from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis in November after their prayer, conversation and behavior worried flight attendants and passengers. Federal officials questioned the men and released them without charges. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-TAMPA: AIRPORTS PREPARE TO ACCOMMODATE MUSLIMS' PILGRIMAGE - TOP
ADAM EMERSON, Tampa Tribune
http://news.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB50HV4AWE.html

TAMPA - As nearly 3 million Muslims complete the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, several hundred will return to airports throughout Central Florida in the next two weeks.

They may dress in traditional robes, carrying the Koran and uttering prayers during their long waits in airport terminals.

On Thursday, advocates in Tampa met with airport, customs and FBI officials to help ensure Muslims don't meet with problems as a result of ignorance or insensitivity.

Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa, fears recent detentions of Muslims at U.S. airports may continue unless authorities learn about those returning from the holy city. . .

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, about 15,000 pilgrims traveled to Mecca from the United States. Most of them will return in early January. When they arrive in airports, they will be carrying items marking their time in the holy city. Among them:

* The Koran and Muslim prayer books. Bedier urged authorities not to manhandle the Koran and explained that Muslims will stand in airport lines reading Koranic verses.

* Clothing that traditionally is worn during the hajj pilgrimage. Pilgrims often will change into Western-style clothes in-flight to avoid drawing attention. "They're not trying to hide anything," Bedier said.

* Holy water, or Zamzam, which often is contained in miniature plastic jugs. In a flier to airport staff, the council explains that "tossing a Zamzam water bottle in a trash bin will be deemed a disrespectful act." . . .

Bedier says he also is talking with Muslims about how they can avoid problems. For instance, they can locate any of the more than 40 chapels found at U.S. airports, including one at Tampa International Airport.

By finding a chapel, they can avoid any disturbances with fellow passengers or security officials.

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CAIR-ORLANDO: MUSLIMS GATHER TO FEAST, PRAY, CELEBRATE UNITY - TOP
Babita Persaud, Orlando Sentinel, 12/29/06
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-muslim2906dec29,0,2045604.story

The request is simple: "Please bring a prayer rug and sweets to share."

On Saturday morning, thousands of local Muslims are expected to gather on the soccer fields at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando for one of the biggest holidays on the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Adha.

Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, plans to say a prayer. Guests are asked to bring desserts to share with those around them.

Organizers describe the scene in past years as a mini-United Nations, with Muslims of various heritages -- North African, Pakistani, Eastern European, Latin American and West Indian -- wearing traditional clothes and holding plates of national dishes.

"It is a time to come together," Musri said. "People feel they can connect and celebrate together."

Eid al-Adha, also called the Festival of Sacrifice, commemorates accomplishment, Musri said. It coincides with hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that Muslims are required to make at least once.

An estimated 10,000 people from the United States make the pilgrimage annually, including several hundred from Central Florida, said Sabiha Khan, executive director of the Orlando chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (MORE)

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CAIR: MUSLIM PILGRIMAGE SPURS SCREENERS' TRAINING - TOP
CAROL EISENBERG, Newsday Washington Bureau
http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/stories/ny-ushajj295032520dec29,0,3033188.story

WASHINGTON - A month after the removal of six imams from a U.S. Airways flight spurred accusations of harassment, the federal government has given airport security trainers cultural awareness training about the Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

This year, an estimated 16,000 American Muslims are making the annual pilgrimage, called the hajj - including several hundred from Long Island. The grueling, five-day ritual, which began yesterday, is a religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

"The cultural awareness training involved reminders about how to screen people with head coverings, policies regarding transport of holy water and the proper respect to show when handling a Quran," said Amy Kudwa, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman.

Muslim leaders lauded the training of the nation's 45,000 screeners as a positive first step, but said that much more was needed to protect American Muslim travelers from profiling and what they called inappropriate interrogations. . .

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based advocacy group, said he didn't expect the training to be a cure-all but he likened it to "chicken soup": "It can't hurt to have people better educated about Muslims and Islamic traditions," he said.

CAIR has also opened a hajj profiling hotline and published a pocket guide for travelers called, "Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim," he said. (MORE)

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NY: I WITNESS THE ISRAEL LOBBY IN ACTION - TOP
Phil Weis, New York Observer, 12/26/06
http://mondoweiss.observer.com/2006/12/i-witness-the-israel-lobby-in-action.html

A few weeks back at Columbia, I watched with amazement as the former Israeli soldier Yehuda Shaul, who started the group Breaking the Silence, gave his presentation on the horrors of the occupation to about 75 students in a darkened hall. My amazement had to do with the fact that Shaul's visit was sponsored by a largely-Jewish group at Columbia-Pro-Israel Progressives-and was attended by members of the Hillel chapter at the school. Kudos to them.

After Shaul's speech, representing "my comrades and not just myself," he was bombarded by hostile questions from Israel supporters in the audience. Shaul handled them with strength and ease. (Q. "Do you know of a counterpart organization where Palestinians question their moral decisions?" A. "I really don't care-I am an Israeli who has to raise his children in Israel...")

Just as gripping to me was the discussion that took place after the event between Rachel Glaser, the campus coordinator of the rightwing Zionist Organization of America, and the students who had organized the event.

"What did this accomplish? What did it accomplish?" Glaser barked at the organizers. . .

It was one thing to have Yehuda Shaul give a talk inside Israel, Glaser said. "Outside of Israel, you're playing with fire."

This chilling statement was a candid expression of the goals of the Israel lobby. A member of a Jewish organization was saying that it's OK to have a wide-open discussion of these issues in Israel, but it's dangerous to have such a discussion here. Why? Because America is the mainstay of support allowing Israel to continue its policies in the Occupied Territories. The Israel lobby fears that Americans, if left to their own devices, will abandon Israel, out of indifference, or antisemitism. So Americans must be influenced-in this case by having the information they get about Israel/Palestine vetted, and by pressuring Jews on campus to toe the party line.

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 17:17:40 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Top 10 CAIR Highlights of 2006

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please post this message to your personal e-mail lists, blogs and news groups.

* Help CAIR Continue Its Important Work

-----

TOP 10 CAIR HIGHLIGHTS OF 2006

1 - CAIR Calls for Release of Kidnapped Journalist in Iraq
2 - CAIR Influences Public Debate on Dubai Ports, Profiling
3 - CAIR Educates About Islam, Declares 2006 Year of the Prophet
4 - CAIR Mobilizes Muslim Voters and Gets out the Vote
5 - CAIR Releases Pioneering Research on American Muslims
6 - CAIR Condemns Israeli Attacks, Examines Israel Lobby
7 - CAIR Addresses U.S.-Iran Relations, Iraq, Pope's Comments
8 - CAIR Defends Civil Rights by Taking Legal Action
9 - CAIR Challenges Islamophobia
10 - CAIR Empowers Muslims by Training Students, Imams

* Help CAIR Continue Its Important Work

1 - CAIR CALLS FOR RELEASE OF KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST IN IRAQ - TOP

Jill Carroll, a freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, was abducted while on assignment in Iraq on January 7, 2006.

On behalf of dozens of American Muslim leaders, scholars and organizations, CAIR issued a statement to demand her immediate and unconditional release. CAIR's statement said in part: "We ask that her captors show mercy and compassion by releasing her so that she may return to her family. Certainly, no cause can be advanced by harming a person who only sought to let the world know about the human suffering caused by the conflict in Iraq."

CAIR offices held multiple press conferences and translated their statements into Arabic. Through its worldwide credibility and access to international television audiences, it was CAIR's hope that these efforts could help convince Carroll's captors to release her.

CAIR even sent a delegation of its top officials to Iraq to personally appeal for the reporter's release. Fortunately, through the combined efforts of all involved, Carroll was released safely after 82 days in captivity.

SEE: Muslim Americans Seek Reporter's Release (ABC)

2 - CAIR INFLUENCES PUBLIC DEBATE ON PROFILING, DUBAI PORTS - TOP

The Dubai Ports World controversy began in February and quickly rose to become one of the most widely-covered debates in the media. At issue was the sale of a port management business to a company based in the United Arab Emirates, and whether such a sale would compromise America's national security.

CAIR representatives were called on by national and international news networks to debate the issue. While politicians on both sides of the political aisle cited security concerns, CAIR officials were among the few voices to point out that in reality, bigotry and fear were driving the debates.

SEE: CAIR Rep Debates Port Controversy on CNN's Paula Zahn Now

Similarly, in the aftermath of the attempted UK terror attack, when many political and news commentators argued in favor of profiling Muslims, CAIR representatives were there to defend the civil rights of the traveling public and to point out that profiling is never an effective law enforcement tool.

SEE: CAIR Communications Director Debates Profiling on 'Kudlow & Company'

3. CAIR EDUCATES ABOUT ISLAM, DECLARES 2006 YEAR OF THE PROPHET - TOP

When a Danish newspaper printed offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) late last year, depicting him as a terrorist with a bomb in his turban, many in the Muslim world expressed outrage and threatened to boycotts Danish goods.

CAIR seized the opportunity to turn a negative incident into a teaching moment by decrying the violence and encouraging education about the life and legacy of Prophet Muhammad. CAIR declared 2006 the "Year of the Prophet Muhammad" and launched the "Explore the Life of Muhammad" campaign, a major educational effort that offered people of all faiths a free book or DVD about the Prophet.

To date, more than 18,000 people have requested books and DVDs through this campaign.

SEE: Explore the Life of Muhammad

CAIR spokespeople across the country appeared on the airwaves and in newspapers, urging a balance between the right to free speech and the respect for religious sensitivities.

SEE: CAIR-FL Video Commentary on Free Speech, Tolerance

4 - CAIR MOBILIZES MUSLIM VOTERS BY GETTING OUT THE VOTE - TOP

The American Muslim community witnessed an historic moment this year when Democrat Keith Ellison was elected the nation's first Muslim in Congress.

"Tonight, we made history," Mr Ellison said in a victory speech to supporters. "We won a key election, but we did much more than that. We showed that a candidate can run a 100 percent positive campaign and prevail, even against tough opposition."

Many commentators believed that Ellison's election victory reflected a larger trend: a greater turnout of the American Muslim voters to make their voices heard.

CAIR's recently-acquired list of 400,000 registered Muslim voters helped to get out the vote nationwide in the mid-term elections and encourage increased political participation within the Muslim community.

CAIR chapters throughout the country organized massive voter registration drives and issued voter education forums. It was CAIR's aim to empower the American Muslim community by helping build a stronger political presence as well as to encourage active civic participation.

CAIR also surveyed 1000 registered Muslim voters about their demographic profiles, political views and levels of social integration. The results of the survey indicated that Muslim voters are religiously diverse, well integrated in American society, and are politically active.

The full results of CAIR's survey may be viewed at:
http://www.cair.com/pdf/American_Muslim_Voter_Survey_2006.pdf

5 - CAIR OFFERS PIONEERING RESEARCH ON AMERICAN MUSLIMS - TOP

Over the past decade, CAIR's research and civil rights departments published studies of the American Muslim community not found elsewhere. Public officials, researchers, students and journalists all rely on CAIR reports as an important resource for their own work.

This year was no different.

CAIR's 2006 annual report on the status of Muslim civil rights, titled "The Struggle for Equality," is a one-of-a-kind publication that chronicles bias and discrimination against Muslims. This year's report showed an almost 30 percent increase in complaints from the previous year.

CAIR also received 153 reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes, an 8.6 percent increase from the 141 complaints received in 2004. CAIR officials said factors contributing to the sharp increase in reported incidents included the lingering impact of post-9/11 fears, increased awareness of civil rights issues in the Muslim community and a general increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society.

SEE: Report: Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents Jump 29 Percent

In March, CAIR released the results of its second poll on American attitudes toward Islam and Muslims. The survey confirmed the findings of a similar CAIR poll taken in 2004 indicating that about one-fourth of Americans consistently believe such stereotypes as: "Muslims value life less than other people," and "The Muslim religion teaches violence and hatred." Many also admitted they knew very little of Islam.

SEE: Two New Polls Show Negative Image of Islam in U.S.

6 - CAIR CONDEMNS ISRAELI ATTACKS, EXAMINES ISRAEL LOBBY - TOP

When Israel undertook its bombardment of southern Lebanon in July this year, many in the worldwide community condemned the military action and unanimously approved a UN Resolution to end the hostilities.

Similarly, CAIR called on the Bush administration to demand an end to Israel's terror campaign and to protect the lives of American citizens trapped in areas under Israeli attack. CAIR used polling data to show that a cease-fire was supported by the majority of Americans of all faiths.

SEE: Poll: Americans Support Mideast Cease-Fire

On national television, CAIR representatives urged the U.S. government to end American arms shipments to Israel and to actively support a comprehensive and just resolution to the Middle East crisis.

CAIR chapters throughout the country also hosted news conferences to give voice to those American Muslims whose families were directly affected by Israel's aggression.

SEE: Local Muslims Urge Bush to Declare a Cease-Fire (CAIR-Ohio)

SEE ALSO: Family Reunited After Escaping Mideast Violence (CAIR-Philly)

CAIR followed its media efforts with a panel discussion on "The Israel Lobby and the U.S. Response to the War in Lebanon" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The panel, aired live nationwide on C-SPAN, featured Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of a recent Harvard University paper, "The Israel Lobby."

SEE: Video: CAIR 'Israel Lobby' Panel on C-SPAN

7 - CAIR ADDRESSES U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS, IRAQ, POPE'S COMMENTS - TOP

In September, CAIR hosted a dinner for former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to underscore the need for increased dialogue between the West and the Muslim world. The theme of his address was "Dialogue of Civilizations: Five Years After 9/11," in which he called for respect and dialogue between followers of the three Abrahamic faiths.

CAIR also hosted a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to offer the Arab and Muslim perspective on the findings of the Iraq Study Group report. The panel discussion included remarks by the Syrian ambassador to the United States, as well as comments from Middle East expert Shibley Telhami and CAIR officials. It too was aired live on C-SPAN.

SEE: CAIR Panel on Muslim Perspective & Iraq Study Group Report

CAIR also urged restraint and called for interfaith outreach when Pope Benedict XVI's controversial remarks on Islam and the Prophet caused offense worldwide to Muslims.

CAIR national and chapter officials immediately called for increased dialogue between Muslims and Catholics. CAIR representatives met with the Vatican's representative in Washington, D.C., to discuss the remarks. CAIR-Florida even raised money to pay for the rebuilding of churches destroyed in response to the Pope's remarks.

SEE: Muslims Pay to Repair Churches Damaged After Pope Comments

8 - CAIR DEFENDS CIVIL RIGHTS BY TAKING LEGAL ACTION - TOP

CAIR and other civil rights groups scored a major victory earlier this year when a federal judge ruled that the U.S. government's domestic eavesdropping program violated freedom of speech and privacy rights. The judge also ruled that the wiretapping violated the separation of powers doctrine mandated by the Constitution and ordered an immediate halt to the program. CAIR had previously joined an ACLU lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the wiretapping program.

In May, CAIR also called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) had built a giant database of Americans' phone records. The phone records monitoring program, reportedly authorized by the president shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks, authorizes the NSA to bypass a secret court set up to provide warrants for such surveillance.

In November, when six Imams were taken off a flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport because of "suspicious activity," the American Muslim community was reminded yet again that often times, "flying while Muslim" in the post-9/11 era can become an enforceable offense.

The Imams told CAIR, which is currently serving as their legal counsel, that they were removed from the US Airways flight "for no reason" and were "humiliated" by being handcuffed and taken off the plane in the view of other passengers. They suspect the "suspicious activity" cited by authorities was the performance of normal evening prayers offered by members of the group.

SEE: CAIR Rep Discusses 'Flying While Muslim' Incident on MSNBC

9 - CAIR CHALLENGES ISLAMOPHOBIA - TOP

When Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) slammed the planned use of a Quran for the ceremonial swearing-in of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, CAIR called for an apology. The Washington Post and the New York Times both published editorials supporting CAIR's condemnation of Goode's bigotry.

SEE: A Bigot in Congress (Washington Post)

SEE ALSO: Fear and Bigotry in Congress (New York Times)

CAIR also urged that talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager be removed from the taxpayer-supported museum's council because of a syndicated column in which he wrote that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Quran.

In his column, headlined "America, Not Keith Ellison, Decides What Book a Congressman Takes His Oath On," Prager wrote that swearing an oath on the Quran "undermines American civilization."

"Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible," wrote Prager. "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

Prager also wrote that Ellison's swearing on a Quran would "be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11."

SEE: U.S. Holocaust Museum Urged to Drop Islam-Basher

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10 - CAIR EMPOWERS MUSLIMS BY TRAINING STUDENTS, IMAMS - TOP

Throughout 2006, CAIR continued to train the future leaders of the American Muslim community by inviting students from across the country to apply for its annual internship program, one of the most competitive and sought-after internships in Washington, D.C. While at CAIR, college students from a variety of backgrounds gain invaluable skills in advocacy work that they take back to benefit their respective communities.

CAIR interns receive practical training in the fields of law, civil rights, public and media relations, research and leadership training, community outreach and chapter development.

In December, CAIR also helped organize an Imams' media training conference. More than 40 imams, community leaders and activists joined the one-day conference, which was designed to teach them how to interact effectively with media professionals.

HELP CAIR CONTINUE ITS IMPORTANT WORK - TOP

These are just a few of CAIR's achievements in 2006. We invite you to read more about what CAIR accomplished this year by visiting our website at: www.cair.com.

And we also invite you to help CAIR continue its important work!

You can do so in a number of ways:

1. Become a CAIR member.

2. Donate to CAIR.

3. Receive CAIR e-mails. Join CAIR-NET.

4. Volunteer at CAIR. Contact Israa Rahman at irahman@cair.com

5. Start a CAIR chapter in your area. Contact Khalid Iqbal at kiqbal@cair.com

6. Support your local CAIR chapter.

- PLEASE ANNOUNCE, POST AND DISTRIBUTE -

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a window to the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society.

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from CAIR-NET, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/cair-net/





Forwarded Message

Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2006 00:01:54 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: German Muslim Denied Entry to U.S., Detained in Las Vegas

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GERMAN MUSLIM DENIED ENTRY TO U.S., DETAINED IN LAS VEGAS
CAIR calls for explanation of detention, probe into treatment of detainee

(ANAHEIM, CA, 12/30/06) - The Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today asked for an explanation as to why a German Muslim was barred from entering the United States and is now being detained in Nevada.

According to his family, 62-year-old Majed Shehadeh is being held after arriving at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport on Thursday. Family members say Shehadeh was interrogated for a total of more than 12 hours by officials with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the FBI. He was also allegedly placed in a cold cell with some 25 other people and a single toilet, and prevented from taking prescribed heart medication for 20 hours.

Shehadeh, whose wife and three children are U.S. citizens, had planned to visit his daughter in Bakersfield, Calif., to celebrate her passing of the California Bar and her wedding anniversary. The family has reportedly been barred from seeing Shehadeh, and were only able to communicate with him late Friday morning. CBP officials report that he will be sent out of the country on Sunday.

"We call on the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to explain why Mr. Shehadeh was barred from entering the United States and ask that his treatment in detention be reviewed to determine if proper procedures are being followed," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "These types of incidents have the potential to further damage our nation's image in Europe and the Muslim world."

Ayloush said German citizens are routinely granted visa wavers for entry into the United States. Shehadeh's wife says she and her husband have traveled to the United States almost once a year for the past 30 years.

SEE: Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently apologized to a Muslim traveler strip-searched at a Florida jail after being detained in April.

SEE: Muslim Gets Apology for April Strip Search (St. Petersburg Times)

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR-LA Civil Rights Coordinator Affad Shaikh, 714-305-3730, E-Mail: ashaikh@cair.com; CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, 714-814-4444

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/cair-net/

Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2007 13:10:00 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: MS Museum Touts Muslim Culture in Bible Belt / TX Man Races Pigs to Protest Mosque Plans / For Young Americans, Hajj is an Epic Adventure

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 1/1/07

* Hadith: The Faithful Support Each Other
* CAIR Director Discusses Hussein's Execution on C-SPAN
            - CAIR-San Diego: Execution on Holiday Wrong (Union-Trib)
            - CAIR-Tampa: Execution Celebrated, Criticized
            - Rush to Hang Hussein Was Questioned (New York Times)
* CAIR-OH: Abraham's Devotion Inspires Muslims, Christians, Jews
            - CAIR-TX: Holy Rituals in Mecca, New Innocence in Lives
            - For Young Americans, Hajj is an Epic Adventure (AP)
* CAIR: MS Museum Touts Muslim Culture in Bible Belt (AP)
* CAIR: 'Fusion' Facilities Raise Privacy Worries (Wash Post)
* Framers of Constitution Would Approve of Muslim in Congress
            - Letter: 'Can We Finally Lay the Lie of Muslim Silence to Rest?'
* Texas Man Races Pigs to Protest Mosque Plans (AP)
            - CA: Neighbors Ask FBI to Probe New Mosque (Sac Bee)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: THE FAITHFUL SUPPORT EACH OTHER - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "(The relationship between one faithful believer and another) is like the bricks of a wall, re-enforcing each other." While (saying that) the Prophet clasped his hands (together) by interlacing his fingers.

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Hadith 468

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CAIR DIRECTOR DISCUSSES IMPACT OF HUSSEIN'S EXECUTION ON C-SPAN - TOP
http://www.cairfl.org/ViewArticle.asp?Code=CM&ArticleID=728

12/30/2006 - CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad appears on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to discuss the impact of the execution of Saddam Hussein on the Muslim holy day of Eid Al-Adha.

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-SAN DIEGO: KILLING HUSSEIN ON HOLIDAY WRONG, S.D. RESIDENTS SAY - TOP
Joe Hughes, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/31/06
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20061231/news_1n31eid.html

Members of San Diego's Muslim community celebrating the Eid al-Adha religious holiday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds yesterday expressed fear that the observance forever will be linked to the execution of ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Many Muslims who came for prayer and solemnity in the morning chill also worried that the timing of the execution could fuel the sectarian violence in Iraq.

"It's like executing a guy on Christmas; it doesn't fit well," said Edgar Hopida, spokesman for the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (MORE)

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CAIR-TAMPA: SADDAM HUSSEIN'S EXECUTION, CELEBRATED AND CRITICIZED IN BAY AREA - TOP
Tampa Bays 10 News, 12/30/06
http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=46307

But Saddam's execution comes as Muslims around the globe observe Eid-al-Adha, or Festival of the Sacrifice, a four day holiday marking the end of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the holiest days of the year in the religion.

"It's a time of forgiveness, a time of compassion a time of love and mercy. Execution is completely opposite from that." said Ahmed Bedier, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

During local festivities in Tampa, Bedier called Saddam's death "just," but he likened its timing to executing a Christian on Easter.

"I think that was an unwise move on the part of the Iraqi government to do that which will make a bad problem way, way worse for the people in the area." Bedier said. (MORE)

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RUSH TO HANG HUSSEIN WAS QUESTIONED - TOP
JOHN F. BURNS and MARC SANTORA, New York Times, 1/1/07
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/world/middleeast/01iraq.html

BAGHDAD, Dec. 31 - With his plain pine coffin strapped into an American military helicopter for a predawn journey across the desert, Saddam Hussein, the executed dictator who built a legend with his defiance of America, completed a turbulent passage into history on Sunday.

Like the helicopter trip, just about everything in the 24 hours that began with Mr. Hussein's being taken to his execution from his cell in an American military detention center in the postmidnight chill of Saturday had a surreal and even cinematic quality.

Part of it was that the Americans, who turned him into a pariah and drove him from power, proved to be his unlikely benefactors in the face of Iraq's new Shiite rulers who seemed bent on turning the execution and its aftermath into a new nightmare for the Sunni minority privileged under Mr. Hussein. (MORE)

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CAIR-OH: ABRAHAM'S DEVOTION TO GOD INSPIRES MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS AND JEWS - TOP
ASMA MOBIN-UDDIN, Columbus Dispatch, 12/29.06
http://www.dispatch.com/news/religion/faith-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/12/29/20061229-C2-00.html

[Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin is a Columbus pediatrician and president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Ohio Chapter. Her upcoming children's book, The Best Eid Holiday Ever, is due to be published in the fall of 2007 and is about the Eid al-Adha holiday. E-Mail: mobin-uddin.4@osu.edu]

In the current climate, I hesitate to tell people that the biggest holiday of the Muslim year celebrates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son at God's command. I worry that people will associate the observance with the political situations we are seeing and will miss the profound beauty and strength of the story. Told in both the Bible and the Quran, the episode is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, who all honor Abraham's example, righteousness and faith.

God tested Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his only son. Out of devotion and obedience, Abraham was willing to do so. Before the deed could take place, a ram was substituted for sacrifice. The lesson in this great trial of Abraham's is that people should love and be faithful to God above everything else. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-SAN ANTONIO: HOLY RITUALS IN MECCA, NEW INNOCENCE IN LIVES - TOP
Michelle M. Martinez, Express-News, 12/29/06
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/religion/stories/MYSA123006.01R.HAJJ.217ab8f.html

Salah Shamsi was one of about 2 million Muslims who gathered last year in the Islamic holy city of Mecca for a pilgrimage.

The ritual was arduous at times, requiring the Pakistani native to walk many miles and endure long hours of prayer. He and his wife, Rukhsana, who now live in San Antonio, set aside money for nearly a dozen years to pay for the trip. Yet the feeling of forgiveness they felt there was worth every penny, Salah Shamsi said.

"I was literally shivering and asking for the forgiveness of Allah, that I don't make any mistakes," he said. . .

Sarwat Husain, president of the Council on American Islamic Relations in San Antonio, said the prayers she had been prepared to recite froze in her head when she came face to face with the Ka'bah.

"I thought, 'My God, this is it,'" said Husain, who made the pilgrimage last year. "I never thought I would get there. I just don't have the words to explain what it did to me."

Before hajj is complete, pilgrims must walk seven times between the two hills that Hagar ran between in search of water.

Husain said it took her more than two hours to circle the Ka'bah seven times. That ritual, she said, is by far the most strenuous because pilgrims are not allowed to rest before they are done. (MORE)

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FOR YOUNG AMERICANS, HAJJ IS AN EPIC ADVENTURE - TOP
LEE KEATH, ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12.31/07
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/31/AR2006123100438.html

MINA, Saudi Arabia - The 20-year-old American tells his hajj pilgrimage stories a mile a minute, his hands moving in excitement - about how he arrived in Mecca days ago, lost amid the huge crowds, and saw a man drop dead while circling the Kaaba.

"Dude, I saw it, the guy had the most peaceful smile on his face," Adil Muschelewicz, performing the pilgrimage for the first time, said Sunday, his head shaved bald after a ritual a day earlier.

The young man from Easley, S.C., had arrived alone in Mecca because of a travel agent mistake that prevented his family from arriving for three days. He was with hundreds of thousands of others circling the Kaaba, a massive cube-shaped stone structure draped in black cloth that is Islam's holiest site, when he saw the elderly man fall dead. The body was quickly lifted out of the crowd.

Muschelewicz didn't know the cause of the man's death - exhaustion maybe, he said - but it became one of the many powerful religious moments that have shaken him during the trip.

"I looked at his face and I looked at the Kaaba, and it was like he was happy, he'd gotten close to God. It just went boom, like this deep bass line in my heart," he said. "It was so emotional. I was by myself, in this wild place I'd never been before."

For young American Muslims far from home, the hajj pilgrimage is an awesome adventure that they say deepens their faith and connects them with the wide range of Muslim peoples. (MORE)

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MS: MUSEUM TOUTS MUSLIM CULTURE IN BIBLE BELT MISSISSIPPI - TOP
KATHY HANRAHAN, Associated Press, 1/1/07

JACKSON Miss. - This mid-sized Southern city with its thriving Baptist, Methodist and Catholic churches may seem an unlikely home for one of the only museums in the United States devoted entirely to Muslim culture.

Still, the International Museum of Muslim Culture opened in April 2001, an attempt by organizers to educate their churchgoing neighbors about a faith that many viewed as mysterious, possibly violent.

The museum is right at home in Jackson's downtown art district, which continues to host the international ballet competition every four years and, for several years, was home to traveling exhibitions of culture and art treasures from around the world.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, museum executive director Okolo Rashid said the project in Mississippi has taken on added significance, particularly since many people have serious misconceptions about Muslims and their culture.

"And, of course, after 9/11 and even prior to that, the whole thing about terrorism that Muslims are terrorists and Muslims are violent and really not understanding any of the contributions or the significant influence that Muslims have had on the Western world," Rashid said.

The museum was born of an idea to create a companion to the "Majesty of Spain" exhibition featuring works from the Prado and other prominent museums that was showing at the Mississippi Arts Pavilion, Rashid said.

The Muslim museum opened near the Arts Pavilion with an exhibition titled "Islamic Moorish Spain: Its Legacy to Europe and the West." Rashid said the response to the show encouraged her and museum board chairman Emad Al-Turk to keep the museum open past its scheduled closing date at the end of September 2001.

"As we traveled and promoted the exhibit nationally, we found that we were the only Islamic museum in the country," Rashid said.

Rabiah Ahmed, communications coordinator for the Washington D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said most Muslim exhibitions are relegated to portions of existing museums. She said she knows of no other museum in the United States dedicated entirely to Muslim culture.

"In this day and age when there are so many misconceptions about Islam, establishing a museum about Islam's history in America and Muslims in general is another way for Americans to learn about their neighbors and the history of our country," Ahmed said.

Only one act of violence has occurred at the museum: A brick was thrown into the front window, days after 9/11. . .

An estimated 30,000 people have visited the museum, which has become a place to showcase the role Muslims have played in the history of the state's development and foster an understanding of the culture's worldwide impact.

The museum's first home, a small, one-story building, was razed to make way for a new city convention center. Now, the museum is housed about a block away, on the second floor of the Mississippi Arts Center.

The museum's current exhibit, "The Legacy of Timbuktu: Wonders of the Written Word," opened in late November. The "Islamic Moorish Spain" exhibition also is being reinstalled in the new facility.

The Timbuktu show features handwritten manuscripts donated from the city's Mama Haidara Manuscript Library. The documents, some dating back more than 700 years, help establish the literate culture of Africa, Rashid said.

Library general manager Abdel Kader Haidara traveled from Timbuktu, a city in the Western Africa country of Mali, to attend the exhibition's opening on Nov. 28. Speaking through an interpreter, Haidara said it was important to reintroduce the manuscripts to the world. Haidara stressed a message of peace, equality and tolerance that he feels the world needs to understand about the Islamic culture. . .

An estimated 7 million Muslims live in the United States, according to Ahmed. The Pluralism Project, a study done by Harvard University, said about 4,000 Muslims live in Mississippi; the state's population is about 2.9 million.

Ahmed believes museums and exhibitions that focus on the history of the Islamic culture can help society see that the religion is a part of the "fabric of society."

"It's also a sign to show the maturity and the integration in Muslims in the U.S.," Ahmed said.

On the Net:

International Museum of Muslim Cultures: http://www.muslimmuseum.org
The Pluralism Project: http://www.pluralism.org

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CAIR: 'FUSION' FACILITIES RAISE PRIVACY WORRIES - TOP
Mary Beth Sheridan and Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, 12/31/06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/30/AR2006123000238.html

Frustrated by poor federal cooperation, U.S. states and cities are building their own network of intelligence centers led by police to help detect and disrupt terrorist plots.

The new "fusion centers" are now operating in 37 states, including Virginia and Maryland, and another covers the Washington area, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The centers, which have received $380 million in federal support since the 2001 terrorist attacks, pool and analyze information from local, state and federal law enforcement officials.

The emerging "network of networks" marks a new era of opportunity for law enforcement, according to U.S. officials and homeland security experts. Police are hungry for federal intelligence in an age of homegrown terrorism and more sophisticated crime. For their part, federal law enforcement officials could benefit from a potential army of tipsters -- the 700,000 local and state police officers across the country, as well as private security guards and others being courted by the centers.

But the emerging model of "intelligence-led policing" faces risks on all sides. . .

Officials say an incident on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in 2004 shows the center's effectiveness. State transportation police stopped an SUV after a veiled passenger was seen videotaping the bridge in a suspicious manner. The officers called the fusion center, which discovered that the driver was an unindicted co-conspirator in a Chicago case involving Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Eisenberg contacted a prosecutor in Chicago, who quickly obtained an arrest warrant for the driver as a material witness in the Hamas case.

"The 9/11 commission's major criticism was that people didn't talk to each other," said Dennis R. Schrader, Maryland's director of homeland security. "Well, this is an example of how you had state, local and federal all working together. . . . It's really pretty unbelievable."

To some, though, the incident raised questions about what constitutes dangerous behavior.

The driver, Ismail Elbarasse, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian origin living in Annandale, was quickly released on bond, and the material-witness warrant eventually expired. He was not charged with a crime. His family said the veiled woman, Elbarasse's wife, was simply taping the bay while returning from the beach.

"It was regarded in the community as just a case of overreaction to seeing somebody in a head scarf videotaping," said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Civil liberties advocates worry that the fledgling fusion centers could stray into monitoring people engaged in lawful activities, as some members of new police homeland security units have done. A Georgia homeland security officer, for example, was discovered photographing a protest by vegans at a HoneyBaked Ham store in 2003. Privacy advocates are also concerned about the vast amount of information some fusion centers collect -- and the sometimes vague limits on its use and storage. (MORE)

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MUSLIM IN CONGRESS? FRAMERS OF CONSTITUTION WOULD APPROVE - TOP
Sam Fleischacker, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/1/07
http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/opinion/16359671.htm

[Sam Fleischacker is a professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.]

It is interesting to consider what the founders of our Constitution might have said about the election of Keith Ellison to Congress, the first Muslim to hold such a position.

Ellison, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, was elected in November to fill the vacant seat for Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District in the House of Representatives.

One might imagine that talk-show radio host Dennis Prager and outspoken Rep. Virgil Goode (R., Va.), who have been waxing hysterical about the prospect of Muslims in high office, might have the framers of our Constitution on their side. Or one might imagine that the framers never considered that possibility, never spoke one way or the other about Muslim officeholders.

The truth is more interesting. It turns out that our constitutional founders explicitly considered the possibility of Muslim officeholders - and explicitly welcomed it.

Some early opponents of the Constitution attacked it for Article VI, which prohibits religious tests for national office, precisely on the ground that it made room for Muslims to become lawmakers. Defenders of the Constitution, however, argued that this was a good thing, not something to be feared. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

AGAINST TERRORISM - TOP
The News & Observer, 1/1/07
http://www.newsobserver.com/580/story/527414.html

The Dec. 26 People's Forum letter "Muslims' silence" once again trotted out the old canard that American Muslims have remained silent in the face of violence in the name of Islam overseas. A review of the State Department Web site will show that every Muslim organization in the United States has condemned terrorism without equivocation or reservation.

At a personal level, many Muslims proudly serve in law enforcement and our armed serves. Can we finally lay the lie of Muslim silence to rest?

Saeed Gil
Raleigh

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TEXAS MAN RACES PIGS TO PROTEST MOSQUE PLANS - TOP
Associated Press, 12/31/06
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061231/NEWS99/61231006

KATY, Texas -- A man unhappy with an Islamic association's plans to build a mosque next to his property has staged pig races as a protest during afternoon prayers.

Craig Baker, 46, sold merchandise and grilled sausages Friday for about 100 people who showed up in heavy rain. He insisted he wasn't trying to offend anyone with the pigs, which are forbidden from the Muslim diet.

"I am just defending my rights and my property," Baker said. "They totally disrespected me and my family."

Muslims don't hate pigs, they just don't eat them, said engineer Kamel Fotouh, president of the 500-member Katy Islamic Association in this Houston suburb.

"I don't care if he races, roasts or slaughters pigs," said Yousef Allam, a spokesman for the group. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CA: PLANS FOR MOSQUE IN FOLSOM ON TRACK - TOP
Cathy Locke, Sacramento Bee, 1/1/07
http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/101243.html

Members of the Islamic Society of Folsom expect 2007 to be a landmark year.

If all goes well, they will break ground for a mosque by the end of this month, said Riaz Siddique, society president. . .

Some people voiced concerns about noise and increased traffic in the neighborhood, while others raised national security issues and called for an FBI investigation of the society's finances to find out whether it received funds from overseas.

Siddique has said that the $2.3 million project is being funded by members of the congregation and other private sources in the United States.

In an effort to alleviate concerns, Siddique said, members of the society have increased their outreach, particularly to Folsom's religious community.

Over the past year, Siddique said, he has met with various church leaders, and the society is routinely represented along with local churches in community meetings sponsored by Folsom Police Chief Sam Spiegel.

Siddique said he believes "the misunderstanding has been eliminated and we're on track."

Greg Jones, an El Dorado Hills resident and Folsom Parks Department employee who sought the FBI investigation, said he still thinks the mosque will be detrimental to Folsom, but he has been unable to sway city officials or generate active opposition in the community.

Jones said he doesn't object to local Muslims having a place to worship. But the traditional mosque with a 70-foot minaret, he said, "looks like it would be a magnet for get-togethers from all over California."

Among those who don't share Jones' fears is the pastor of his church. Kent Carlson, a senior pastor of Folsom's Oak Hills Church, said he has met with Siddique and members of the Islamic Society of Folsom, including the congregation's new imam.

"I've had wonderful conversations with Riaz and some others," Carlson said, noting that he participated in a feast at the end of Ramadan.

"My big thing is, this is the United States of America, and we have religious freedom," he said. "So I don't understand the mentality that would want to do something other than that." (MORE)

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Forwarded Message

Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2007 15:26:10 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: CA Muslim Family Claims Profiling at Airport / NJ Muslim Mayor / Breaking a U.S. Taboo of Criticizing Israel

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 1/2/07

* Hadith: Do Not Use Religion Deceptively
* CA: Muslim Family Claims Profiling at Airport (KGET-TV)
            - CAIR: German Muslim Detained in Las Vegas
            - CAIR: Muslim Family Upset Over Vegas Airport Incident
* CAIR-OH: Investigations of Arab Americans Draw Complaints
* NJ: Muslim Mayor Avoids Mixing Politics, Religion (Record)
* CAIR-Chicago: Hate Breeds Hate (Chicago Tribune)
            - Rep. Goode's Words Can't Go Unchallenged
            - Ugly Voices Tarnish Debut of First Muslim Rep (USA Today)
            - CAIR: VA Muslims Asked to Contact Reps About Goode's Remarks
            - Rep. Goode: Save Judeo-Christian Values (USA Today)
* Breaking a U.S. Taboo of Criticizing Israel (Philly Inquirer)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: DO NOT USE RELIGION DECEPTIVELY - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "A person who uses religion deceptively is a bad servant (of God)."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1323

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CA: MUSLIM FAMILY CLAIMS DISCRIMINATION BY RACIAL PROFILING AT AIRPORT - TOP
KGET-TV, 1/1/07
http://www.kget.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=4153898d-6402-4f85-bb73-68088f320f9c

Watch the Video
http://www.kget.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoId=13953

BAKERSFIELD - It was supposed to be a fun family reunion, but instead a Bakersfield family claims their Muslim father had a hard time getting to Bakersfield from Germany because of airport security.

This is familiar territory to the Islamic community where someone is allegedly subjected to discriminatory treatment while traveling.

Magidah Shehadeh was anticipating a warm and joyous holiday weekend with the visit of her father- a German Muslim, but that did not happen. He was allegedly detained by the customs and border protection agency and the FBI at McCarron International Airport in Las Vegas, refused entry, and sent back to Germany.

"You wonder about the state of civil liberties … about the whole system," Shehadeh said. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: GERMAN MUSLIM DENIED ENTRY TO U.S., DETAINED IN LAS VEGAS - TOP
http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/061230/nysa001.html?.v=77

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MUSLIM BAKERSFIELD FAMILY UPSET OVER VEGAS AIRPORT INCIDENT - TOP
http://www.turnto23.com/news/10652347/detail.html

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- A Bakersfield woman hoping for a reunion with her father visiting from Germany says he was the victim of anti-Muslim discrimination.

Magiah Shehadeh said her father -- who is Muslim and lives in Germany -- was interrogated for more than 12 hours at the Las Vegas airport Thursday. She said her father, Majed, was prevented from taking his heart medication and sent back to Germany.

The Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is asking Customs and Border Protection and the FBI for answers.

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CAIR-OH: INVESTIGATIONS OF ARAB AMERICANS DRAW COMPLAINTS - TOP
MIKE TOBIN, Newhouse News Service
http://www.newhousenews.com/archive/tobin010207.html

CLEVELAND -- Federal agencies increasingly are fighting the war on terror with tax laws and food stamp regulations.

Investigators from the FBI, IRS and other agencies have turned to tactics similar to those that broke the Mafia to investigate people suspected of funneling money to terrorists overseas.

Decades ago, FBI agents snagged mobsters in low-level crimes and then persuaded them to testify against their bosses in return for lighter prison sentences. These days, federal investigators recruit Arab informants involved in crimes such as food stamp fraud, income tax evasion and drug trafficking, to penetrate organizations that investigators believe might be sending money to terrorists.

Critics in the Arab-American and Muslim communities complain that the tactics are nothing more than ethnic and religious profiling. The investigations target businesses started by recent immigrants and alienate the community without making a dent in terrorism, the critics say.

Law enforcement officials acknowledge that while there have been no terror-related indictments in Cleveland, they investigate tips that come in and then make the best case they can. A big part of their focus has been trying to disrupt the money flow by giving greater scrutiny to groups with access to large sums of cash.

A recent trial in U.S. District Court shed light on an investigation that ensnared several Arab-owned businesses. In the case of Abrar Haque, the FBI sent an undercover informant into Haque's Cleveland accounting firm after getting tips that Haque was sending money abroad to terrorists.

Agents used the informant, wiretapped phones and secret video recordings but found no evidence that Haque was sending money to terrorists.

They did learn, though, that he sold phony financial documents that his clients -- almost exclusively small-business owners from the Middle East -- used to obtain fraudulent bank loans or welfare benefits or free health care coverage intended for the poor.

Altogether, at least 15 people have been charged in the Haque investigation, and prosecutors expect more indictments.

Isam Zaiem, chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Cleveland office, said the Haque case is an example of law enforcement agencies targeting Middle Eastern immigrants based on assumptions and flawed information.

"Not only in Cleveland but across the country, there's a perception that law enforcement, post-9/11, have been targeting Muslims and Arabs," Zaiem said. "We feel there's been an intentional targeting of the community."

In some ways, there has been. (MORE)

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NJ: MUSLIM MAYOR AVOIDS MIXING POLITICS, RELIGION - TOP
Maya Kremen, The Record, 1/2/07

Mayor Mohamed Khairullah took office in Prospect Park Monday.

PROSPECT PARK -- The mayor's voicemail is full of pleas. Two residents want handicapped parking permits. A man who's moved out of state is trying to pay parking tickets. And there's a woman facing eviction.

His cellphone buzzes. The office phone rings. He picks it up.

"Hey, what's up," Mayor Mohamed Khairullah says. "Assalam alaikum. I got your e-mail."

Khairullah, 31, set a precedent in November by becoming the state's first elected Arab-American Muslim mayor. Now he's all about proving that, like any good politician, a Muslim can serve the public without mixing religion into it.

You'll find the Quran in his office. But it's wedged between essential reading for this job: a municipal manual and a flood insurance study.

Deliver the goods to everyone, and then you can exert personal perspective. It's a strategy he imparts to other Muslims and Arabs. (MORE)

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CAIR-CHICAGO: EXPRESSING FAITH SHOULD BE SEEN AS JUST THAT - TOP
Sultan Muhammad, Chicago Tribune, 1/2/07
http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_opinion_letters/2007/01/expressing_fait.html

[Sultan Muhammad is the communications coordinator of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.]

In "U.S. will survive one hand on Koran" (Commentary, Dec. 13), columnist Kathleen Parker opted to endorse Dennis Prager, a popular talk-show host and columnist, who has widely been identified from all sides as intolerant and a bigot.

According to Parker, expressing your faith, if you are Muslim, is "probable cause to infer" that you are out to make one statement or another.

This, of course, is a most disingenuous argument.

For Muslims no less than for anyone else, expressing your faith should be taken as no more than, well, expressing your faith. Her selectiveness and aggressive hyperbole, framed in folksy phrases like "traditional values" and "American solidarity," barely conceal her ideological hostility.

It is hard to understand why there is a growing editorial tendency toward willful ignorance and Islamophobic extremism. It is growing at the expense of intellectual honesty and moral reason.

Not that a columnist should not have an opinion, but when opinion morphs into overt hate-mongering and dualist propaganda, then editors have the responsibility to prevent the incitement spewed by fringe agitators.

Simply put: Hate breeds hate.

SEE ALSO:

REP. GOODE'S WORDS CAN'T GO UNCHALLENGED - TOP
Union-Bulletin, 1/1/07
http://www.union-bulletin.com/articles/2007/01/01/opinion/daily_editorial/edit01.txt

It can be hoped that only the rush of the holiday season prevented Republicans and President Bush from repudiating the bigoted and hate-mongering statements.

By the Editorial Board of the Union-Bulletin

We shudder when studies show that many citizens don't have a good understanding of the basic principles on which this country was founded. It's distressing to find that people are so ignorant of the Constitution.

But when a congressman thumbs his nose at the sacred protections included in the Bill of Rights and his own party members act as if nothing important has happened, it has us fearing we are starting down the wrong road. A road where those who look different, talk differently or worship differently are relegated to second-class status.

It can be hoped that only the rush of the holiday season prevented Republicans and President Bush from repudiating the bigoted and hate-mongering statements from Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (MORE)

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UGLY VOICES TARNISH DEBUT OF CONGRESS' FIRST MUSLIM - TOP
Swearing-in of Minnesota's Ellison is chance to win hearts and minds.
USA Today, 1/2/07
http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/01/our_view_on_rel.html

Keith Ellison's election to the House, as the chamber's first Muslim, provides the United States with a grand opportunity to showcase its credentials as a nation of opportunity, equality and diversity.

What a great story to tell the Muslim world. Five years after 9/11, voters in America's heartland elected Ellison, an African-American who grew up in Detroit and converted to Islam in college, to one of the nation's highest offices. The 43-year-old Democrat took 56% of the vote in his Minneapolis-area district.

Ellison upped the chance to polish America's image for religious tolerance, as well, when he said he'd use Islam's holy book, the Quran, at his ceremonial swearing-in this week.

That's when the chance to shine was tarnished by a few ugly voices. The loudest belongs to Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., who used the occasion to take a crude swipe not only at Ellison and the Quran, but at all Muslims. (MORE)

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VA MUSLIMS ASKED TO CONTACT DAVIS, WOLF ABOUT GOODE'S REMARKS - TOP
http://cair.com/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=473&theType=AA

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REP. GOODE: SAVE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN VALUES - TOP
Immigration leaves USA vulnerable to Muslim extremists' infiltration.
Virgil Goode, USA Today, 1/2/07
http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/01/opposing_view_s.html

A letter I sent in early December was written in response to hundreds of e-mails from constituents upset about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Quran in connection with his congressional swearing-in. Their communications followed media reports that Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, had said that he would swear on the Quran. He repeated that at a gathering of Muslims in Detroit on Dec. 26.

My letter did not call for a religious test for prospective members of Congress, as some have charged. Americans have the right to elect any person of their choosing to represent them. I indicated to my constituents that I did not subscribe to the Quran in any way, and I intended to use the Bible in connection with my swearing-in. I also stated that the Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall of my office, and I have no intention of displaying the Quran in my office. That is my choice, and I stand by my position and do not apologize for it.

My letter also stated, "If American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran."

Immigration is arguably the most important issue facing the country today. At least 12 million immigrants are here illegally. And diversity visas, a program initiated in 1990 to grant visas to people from countries that had low U.S. immigration at that time, are bringing in 50,000 a year from various parts of the world, including the Middle East.

Let us remember that we were not attacked by a nation on 9/11; we were attacked by extremists who acted in the name of the Islamic religion. I believe that if we do not stop illegal immigration totally, reduce legal immigration and end diversity visas, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to infiltration by those who want to mold the United States into the image of their religion, rather than working within the Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world.

Rep. Virgil Goode is a Republican from Virginia's 5th congressional district.

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TRUTH AT LAST, WHILE BREAKING A U.S. TABOO OF CRITICIZING ISRAEL - TOP
George Bisharat, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/2/07
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/16363618.htm

Americans owe a debt to former President Jimmy Carter for speaking long hidden but vital truths. His book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid breaks the taboo barring criticism in the United States of Israel's discriminatory treatment of Palestinians. Our government's tacit acceptance of Israel's unfair policies causes global hostility against us. . .

The word apartheid typically evokes images of former South Africa, but it also refers to any institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another. Carter applies the term only to Israel's rule of the occupied Palestinian territories, where it has established more than 200 Jewish-only settlements and a network of roads and other services to support them. These settlements violate international law and the rights of Palestinian property owners. Carter maintains that "greed for land," not racism, fuels Israel's settlement drive. He is only partially right.

Israel is seizing land and water from Palestinians for Jews. Resources are being transferred, under the guns of Israel's military occupation, from one disempowered group - Palestinian Christians and Muslims - to another, preferred group - Jews. That is racism, pure and simple.

Moreover, there is abundant evidence that Israel discriminates against Palestinians elsewhere. The "Israeli Arabs" - about 1.4 million Palestinian Christian and Muslim citizens who live in Israel - vote in elections. But they are a subordinated and marginalized minority. The Star of David on Israel's flag symbolically tells Palestinian citizens: "You do not belong." Israel's Law of Return grants rights of automatic citizenship to Jews anywhere in the world, while those rights are denied to 750,000 Palestinian refugees who were forced or fled in fear from their homes in what became Israel in 1948.

Israel's Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty establishes the state as a "Jewish democracy" although 24 percent of the population is non-Jewish. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, counted 20 laws that explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. . .

Some say that Palestinian citizens in Israel enjoy better circumstances than those in surrounding Arab countries. Ironically, white South Africans made identical claims to defend their version of apartheid, as is made clear in books such as Antjie Krog's Country of My Skull.

Americans are awakening to the costs of our unconditional support of Israel. We urgently need frank debate to chart policies that honor our values, advance our interests, and promote a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. It is telling that it took a former president, immune from electoral pressures, to show the way.

The debate should now be extended. Are Israel's founding ideals truly consistent with democracy? Can a state established in a multiethnic milieu be simultaneously "Jewish" and "democratic"? Isn't strife the predictable yield of preserving the dominance of Jews in Israel over a native Palestinian population? Does our unconditional aid merely enable Israel to continue abusing Palestinian rights with impunity, deepening regional hostilities and distancing peace? Isn't it time that Israel lived by rules observed in any democracy - including equal rights for all?

[George Bisharat (bisharat@uchastings.edu) is a professor of law at University of California Hastings College of the Law. He writes frequently on law and politics in the Middle East.]

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Forwarded Message

Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2007 15:52:28 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: First Muslim in Congress to Use Thomas Jefferson's Quran / CAIR-Orlando Director Interviewed

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 1/3/07

* Verse: God Gave Books to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad
* CAIR-Orlando Director Interviewed (Orlando Sentinel)
* CAIR Rep Discusses 'Peace in the Mideast' on CBS
            - CAIR-FL: Hussein's Execution Provokes Anger (Sun-Sent)
* CAIR-CA: Muslim with US Family Detained, Denied Entry (AP)
            - German Muslim Denied Entry to U.S. (Deutsche Welle)
* MN: First Muslim in Congress to Use Historic Quran (Reuters)
            - But It's Thomas Jefferson's Koran! (Wash Post)
            - The Newest Oafs of Office (Philly Daily News)
* MN: Airport Hesitant to Grant Muslim Prayer Room (Pioneer Press)
* New Book: Muslims in the Melting Pot (NY Times)
* FBI Details Possible Guantanamo Bay Abuse (AP)
            - FBI Reports Abuse of Koran at Guantanamo (Wash Post)

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VERSE OF THE DAY: GOD GAVE BOOKS TO MOSES, JESUS AND MUHAMMAD - TOP

"We gave Moses the Book in fulfillment (of Our favor) upon those who would do good (to others) and explaining all things in detail, a guide and a mercy, so that they might have faith in the (ultimate) meeting with their Lord. And We have revealed this Book (the Quran) as a blessing. Therefore, follow it and be conscious of God, so that you may be graced with His mercy."

The Holy Quran, 6:154-155

"And (in the footsteps of earlier Prophets) We sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the law that had come before him. And We sent him the Gospel, therein was guidance and light and confirmation of the law that had come before him: guidance and an admonition to those who are conscious of God."

The Holy Quran, 5:46

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THIS WEEK'S SPOTLIGHT: SABIHA KHAN - TOP
Babita Persaud, Orlando Sentinel, 1/3/07
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-spotlight0307jan03,0,3403555.story

Sabiha Khan is the new executive director of the Orlando chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil-liberties group. Born in Los Angeles to Pakistani immigrants, Khan, 29, was CAIR's communications director in Los Angeles before relocating to Orlando this summer to be with her new husband. She spoke recently with Sentinel reporter Babita Persaud.

You say that bridge-building between the Muslim and non-Muslim community is a goal for you in Orlando. What do you mean by that?
So much misinformation is out there. We want to clear it up. We've gotten good feedback from the Muslim community in Orlando. They are hungry to move forward. They want to let people know about themselves and see CAIR as a vehicle to get the word out.

I'd like to get your thoughts on some recent news items: What about Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, taking the oath of office soon on the Quran?

It is supposed to be a proud moment, to show that we are part and parcel of the fabric of this country. There are other officials who swore on nothing or swore on the Torah.

The six imams who were asked to leave a US Airways flight recently after they prayed?

It was a lesson in not enough education. If someone knew the Muslim prayer is five times a day and that Muslims try to make those prayers . . . There is a rumor mill about these imams, that they were on the plane, that they were shouting Allahu akbar, (God is great). They have denied everything. They did it at the gate, before getting on the plane. Someone reported it to the airline, and when they were on the plane, they were escorted out. Not given another flight even after nothing was found. (MORE)

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CAIR REP DISCUSSES 'PEACE IN THE MIDEAST' ON CBS - TOP
http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=2324864n

Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR, discusses the differences between Sunnis and Shia and what the U.S. needs to do to bring about peace in the Middle East.

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-FL: HUSSEIN'S EXECUTION PROVOKES ANGER - TOP
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 1/3/07

Saddam Hussein's execution came sooner than expected. Its repercussions may last longer than expected. And it remains to be seen whether it will have a positive or negative effect on Iraq's struggle to achieve post-Hussein nationhood.

The hope, no doubt, was that removing Hussein from Iraq's political stage would enable a healing process to begin. But the timing of the execution and the actions of his executioners may serve only to worsen the country's sectarian conflict.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the handling of the execution, during which some witnesses taunted Hussein, and into the unauthorized release of a graphic cell phone video showing Hussein dropping through the gallows floor to his death.

Such actions only inflame tensions, as proved by the widespread protests in Sunni areas of Iraq this week. Additionally, Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is right to criticize the timing of the execution, just minutes before the start of a major Muslim holiday. As he points out, it's the kind of thing that can provoke anger throughout the region, playing into the hands of terrorists.

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CAIR-CA: GERMAN MUSLIM WITH AMERICAN FAMILY DETAINED, DENIED U.S. ENTRY - TOP
Garance Burke, Associated Press, 1/2/07
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20070102-1702-ca-fatherdetained.html

A German businessman of Syrian descent who wanted to surprise his daughter with a holiday visit was detained for four days in a Las Vegas holding cell before being sent back home without explanation.

A civil rights group called authorities' treatment of Majed Shehadeh a case of anti-Muslim discrimination.

Shehadeh, 62, flew from Frankfurt to Las Vegas last Thursday, hoping to meet with his wife and drive to Bakersfield, Calif., where his American-born daughter had just gotten news she'd passed the California bar exam. Instead, he wound up shivering in a holding cell without ever being told why he couldn't enter the country, he said.

Roxanne Hercules, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, confirmed Tuesday that Shehadeh was denied entry, but would not discuss specifics of his case. She said Shehadeh's visa waiver could have been denied because "he could have a criminal record, or it could be a terrorism issue."

The detention follows a series of similar incidents involving Muslim passengers, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In October, an Islamic scholar from South Africa was denied entry at San Francisco International Airport. A month later, six imams were taken off a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix after a passenger reported overhearing them criticize the U.S. war in Iraq.

"Overall these cases send a message that Muslims are second-class citizens who can be detained and kept from their families," said Affad Shaikh, a civil rights coordinator for CAIR.

Shehadeh touched down Thursday afternoon on a direct Condor Airlines flight to McCarran International Airport, where his American wife was waiting to pick him up. The couple had planned to visit family in the Las Vegas area, before surprising their daughter for the New Year and celebrating her wedding anniversary in Central California.

"I gave them my German passport, and he looked to see which countries I visited. He found I had stamps that looked like Arabic and asked if they were fake," Shehadeh said Tuesday in a phone interview from his home in Alzenau, a small Bavarian village.

"Nobody ever informed me why I was being questioned," he said. "All that was ever told to me was this had to do with Washington."

After being interrogated by Border Protection and FBI agents for more than 12 hours at the airport, Shehadeh said he was handcuffed and transported in the back of police car to a North Las Vegas jail. Officials told family members they had denied Shehadeh's visa waiver, which grants German citizens the right to enter the U.S. with no additional paperwork, said his wife Joanne Mulligan. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

GERMAN MUSLIM DENIED ENTRY TO UNITED STATES - TOP
Deutsche Welle, 1/3/07
http://www.dw-world.de/

Muslim-Americans have called the detention of a German national of Syrian descent discriminatory. The businessman, who was on a holiday visit, was refused entry into the United States without explanation.

A German Muslim businessman of Syrian extraction, who wanted to join his American wife and daughter in California for a holiday visit, was detained for four days in a holding cell in Las Vegas and sent back home to Germany without explanation.

Majed Shehadeh, 62, was interrogated for twelve hours by border officials at McCarran International Airport last Thursday after arriving on a flight from Frankfurt. He was then handcuffed and transported to a detention cell, where he was locked in with 25 others, and stripped of his shoes, jacket and prescription heart medication.

Shehadeh had planned to join his wife of thirty years Joanne Mulligan, and pay a surprise visit to their American-born daughter who had recently passed her bar exams in California.

US border official declines to discuss specifics

Roxanne Hercules, a spokeswoman for US Customs and Border Protection confirmed on Tuesday that Shehadeh had been denied entry, but would not discuss the specifics of the case.

Normally German nationals, as well as most other EU citizens, are granted visa waivers to the United States for visits under 90 days, but Hercules told the Associated Press that Shehadeh's visa could have been denied because of "a criminal record or terrorism issue."

Last October, US border officials denied entry to an Islamic scholar from South Africa and one month later, six imams were taken off a US Airways domestic flight after one passenger reported overhearing the group criticize the US war in Iraq.

Civil rights group cite anti-Muslim discrimination

Muslim-American activist groups have called the treatment of Shehadeh a case of anti-Muslim discrimination.

"We call on the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to explain why Mr. Shehadeh was barred from entering the United States and ask that his treatment in detention be reviewed to determine if proper procedures were followed," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of a chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"These type of incidents have the potential to further damage our nation's image in Europe and the Muslim world," he added. (MORE)

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FIRST MUSLIM IN U.S. CONGRESS TO USE HISTORIC KORAN - TOP
Reuters, 1/3/07
http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2767827

The first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, attacked for planning to use the Koran at his swearing-in instead of a Bible, will use a copy of the Muslim holy book once owned by Thomas Jefferson, an official said on Wednesday.

Representative-elect Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, requested the 18th century copy of the Koran for the unofficial part of his swearing in on Thursday, according to Mark Dimunation, chief of rare books and special collections at the Library of Congress in Washington.

Ellison, a Muslim convert who traces his U.S. ancestry to 1741, wanted a special copy of the book to use, Dimunation said, and approached the library for one.

The third U.S. president, serving from 1801 to 1809, Jefferson was a collector with wide-ranging interests. His 6,000-volume library, the largest in North America at the time, became the basis for the Library of Congress.

Ellison, elected in November, initially came under attack in the blogosphere and by at least one conservative radio commentator after he said he would use the Koran in his unofficial ceremony.

Members are sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives as a group with no Bibles or other books involved; but in a country where three out of every four people consider themselves Christians, the Bible has traditionally been used in ensuing unofficial ceremonies.

These unofficial events among other things provide each member with a photo opportunity for themselves and their constituents.

Rep. Virgil Goode, a Virginia Republican who represents the area where Jefferson lived, was one of those who criticized Ellison for wanting to use the Koran, calling for strict immigration policies specially crafted to keep Muslims out of the United States.

The English translation of the Koran from Jefferson's collection dates to the 1750s. Jefferson sold his collection to the U.S. Congress after its library was lost when the British burned the Capitol during the War of 1812. Much of his collection was destroyed in an ensuing fire in 1851 but the Koran that Ellison will use survived, Dimunation said. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

BUT IT'S THOMAS JEFFERSON'S KORAN! - TOP
Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post, 1/3/07
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/03/AR2007010300075.html

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he'd take his oath of office on the Koran -- especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.

Yet the holy book at tomorrow's ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We've learned that the new congressman -- in a savvy bit of political symbolism -- will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

"He wanted to use a Koran that was special," said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, who was contacted by the Minnesota Dem early in December. Dimunation, who grew up in Ellison's 5th District, was happy to help.

Jefferson's copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s; it survived the 1851 fire that destroyed most of Jefferson's collection and has his customary initialing on the pages. This isn't the first historic book used for swearing-in ceremonies -- the Library has allowed VIPs to use rare Bibles for inaugurations and other special occasions.

Ellison will take the official oath of office along with the other incoming members in the House chamber, then use the Koran in his individual, ceremonial oath with new Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers' belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself," said Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert.

One person unlikely to be swayed by the book's illustrious history is Goode, who released a letter two weeks ago objecting to Ellison's use of the Koran. "I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible," the Virginia Republican told Fox News, and then went on to warn about what he regards as the dangers of Muslims immigrating to the United States and Muslims gaining elective office.

Yeah, but what about a Koran that belonged to one of the greatest Virginians in history? Goode, who represents Jefferson's birthplace of Albemarle County, had no comment yesterday.

---

THE NEWEST OAFS OF OFFICE - TOP
Carol Towarnicky, Philadelphia Daily News, 1/3/07
http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/opinion/16371769.htm

So help me, God, I can't fathom the controversy over whether a congressman should hold a Koran when he's sworn into office.

Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, reportedly will use a Koran at a private swearing-in/photo-op. (The actual swearing-in today is done en masse, with no "holy books.")

Recently, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) warned the nation that there'd be Muslim hordes led by Muslim congressmen waving Korans - or something like that - if America doesn't adopt stricter immigration laws. (Ellison, like many U.S. Muslims, was born here.)

This isn't about immigration, though: It's about a strange but widely held notion of America as a Christian nation.

Dennis Prager, a conservative talk-show host, wrote in a recent error-ridden column online that letting Ellison hold a Koran would "undermine American civilization." Anyone unwilling to swear on a Christian Bible shouldn't serve in Congress, insisted Prager, who's Jewish.

Almost immediately, the conservative American Family Association sent out an "action alert" urging its members to ask Congress to pass a law requiring that the Bible be used in congressional swearing-in ceremonies. Maybe that was the catalyst for hundreds of letters condemning Ellison that Goode said he received from constituents.

Slight problem: A law requiring a Bible would run directly counter to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits a "religious test" for office.

Prager was quickly rebuked by, among others, the Anti-Defamation League and the executive committee of the U.S. Holocaust Commission, to which he had been appointed by President Bush. Goode has also been criticized by some Democrats, an occasional Republican and a few newspaper editorial boards. (MORE)

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MN: AIRPORT HESITANT TO GRANT MUSLIM PRAYER ROOM - TOP
Somali immigrant leaders also ask directors for signs in native language, exceptions for cabbies
Emily Gurnon, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 1/3/07
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16370149.htm

Somali immigrants passing through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport want a private place to say Muslim prayers. The airport suggests they share a room with people of other religions.

Like a new couple learning to dance, immigrants and their adopted countries often trip each other up, and the prayer-room issue is just one of the latest tangles between Somali immigrants and other Minnesotans.

"Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem," said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting of community members and airport officials Tuesday in Minneapolis.

The prayer debate was sparked Nov. 20 when six imams - Muslim religious leaders - were removed from an airplane after they had been seen praying in public. According to witnesses, the men also made anti-American remarks, asked for seat-belt extenders they didn't need and spread out to different areas of the plane.

The imams took another flight the next day.

But the incident drew worldwide attention. Muslims decried the treatment of the men, saying it was discriminatory, embarrassing and fueled by false rumors. Others praised the airline for taking the men off the plane, saying safety must come first in the post-Sept. 11 age.

Ali said Tuesday that he and other Somalis want a prayer room so they will not be faced with a similar incident. (MORE)

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MUSLIMS IN THE MELTING POT: PORTRAITS OF A POST-9/11 WORLD - TOP
Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times, 1/3/07
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/03/books/03macf.html

American Islam
The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion
By Paul M. Barrett
304 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $25.

A few weeks ago a conference of accomplished Muslim women gathered at the Westin Hotel near Times Square to debate how women might exert greater influence on the interpretation of Islamic Scriptures. During a panel discussion, an Iranian-born anthropologist from Britain said she seconded the position taken by the Labor politician Jack Straw, that the full facial veils worn by some Muslims have no place in Western society because they erase a woman's humanity.

The conference room seemed to sunder in two. Half the roughly 200 women present erupted in energetic applause, while many of the rest made catcalls, heckling the speaker's opinion with lines like, ''Why doesn't he take off his pants?!''

In the post-9/11 world Muslims have frequently been stereotyped as monolithically murderous, all 1.3 billion worldwide lumped together as extremists bent on destroying the West. The heated debates among Muslims themselves about violence committed under the banner of Islam are often drowned out in the fray.

Paul M. Barrett's timely and engaging new book, ''American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion,'' brings some of those voices in the United States to life.

The book, a series of seven profiles, draws partly from Mr. Barrett's reporting for The Wall Street Journal about Islam in America after the 2001 attacks. (He now works for Business Week.) He sketches a varied cast -- with a pronounced skew toward outspoken moderates -- to try to illustrate the diversity among American Muslims.

Khaled Abou El Fadl, an Egyptian-born law professor and Islamic scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, tries to live the moderation he teaches: adopting stray dogs, for example, although many Muslims believe that Scripture condemns dogs as unclean.

There is Osama Siblani, a secular Lebanese Shiite in his early 50s who publishes a weekly newspaper in Dearborn, Mich. ''Since 9/11 I have felt choked,'' he tells Mr. Barrett, a common sentiment among Muslims, who often find themselves in the contradictory position of loving the freedom offered by the United States while abhorring the way the federal government treats Muslims here and abroad. (MORE)

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FBI DETAILS POSSIBLE GUANTANAMO BAY ABUSE - TOP
Newly released documents focus on harsh interrogation techniques
Associated Press, 1/3/07
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16444296/

FBI agents documented more than two dozen incidents of possible mistreatment at the Guantanamo Bay military base, including one prisoner whose head was wrapped in duct tape for chanting verses from the Quran, and another who pulled out his hair after hours in a sweltering room.

Documents released Tuesday by the FBI offered new details about the harsh interrogation practices used by military officials and contractors when questioning so-called enemy combatants.

The reports describe a female guard who detainees said handled their genitals and wiped menstrual blood on their face. Another interrogator reportedly bragged to an FBI agent about dressing as a Catholic priest and "baptizing" a prisoner. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

FBI REPORTS DUCT-TAPING, 'BAPTIZING' AT GUANTANAMO - TOP
Dan Eggen, Washington Post, 1/4/07
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/02/AR2007010201219.html

FBI agents witnessed mistreatment of the Koran at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including at least one instance in which an interrogator squatted over Islam's holy text in an attempt to offend a prisoner.

In another incident in October 2002, interrogators wrapped a bearded prisoner's head in duct tape "because he would not stop quoting the Koran", newly released bureau documents say.

The reports amount to new and separate allegations of religiously oriented tactics used against Muslim prisoners at the jail. (MORE)

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 12:36:01 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: CAIR Chapters to Spot-Check Treatment of Returning Hajj Pilgrims

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAIR CHAPTERS TO SPOT-CHECK TREATMENT OF RETURNING HAJJ PILGRIMS

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/4/2007)
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that several of its chapters around the nation will interview Muslims returning from the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, to spot-check their treatment by airport security personnel and border protection authorities.

In December, CAIR's national headquarters reminded the 10-15,000 American Muslims going on Hajj to be aware of their civil and legal rights as airline passengers. CAIR also established a toll-free hotline (1-800-784-7526) for anyone who believes their rights were violated.

Also in December, CAIR welcomed an announcement by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that the agency had provided special training about Islamic traditions related to the Hajj to some 45,000 airport security officers.

The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy groups said it is concerned about an increase in reports of alleged profiling of Muslims at the nation's airports.

Just last week, a German Muslim was barred from entering the United States, interrogated for some 12 hours, detained in a local jail for four days, and then sent out of the country, all without an explanation of the government's actions.

"We hope that the recent training about the Hajj offered to airport security officers will result in a hassle-free process for returning pilgrims," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "American Muslims believe in protecting both our nation's security and the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, including the freedom to carry out the obligations of one's faith without fear of discrimination."

Awad said CAIR offers a free " Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim" pocket guide that deals with issues such as passenger rights, workplace discrimination, reacting to anti-Muslim incidents, and communicating effectively with elected officials.

Representatives of CAIR chapters nationwide have met with TSA, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials on issues related to cultural sensitivity and national security.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

-----

CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

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Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 15:44:33 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: 'The New Nazi Party, Also Known as Islam' / Ellison Shakes Hands with Goode / Fast-Food Giants Cater to Muslims

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 1/4/07

* Hadith: Seek Reconciliation
* CAIR-MD/VA: Internship Opportunities
* CNN to Air Segment on Anti-Muslim Bigotry
            - Incitement: 'The New Nazi Party, Also Known as Islam'
* Video: Keith Ellison Shakes Rep. Goode's Hand
            - Ellison: Choose Generosity, Not Exclusion (Wash Post)
            - CAIR-MI: Ellison Swears in with Jefferson's Quran (Free Press)
            - IN: Religious Tolerance Means Allowing Oath on Quran
            - Iranian Constitution Allows Oaths on Bible, Torah (USA Today)
* CAIR-CA: Muslim's Trip Turns Into Nightmare (Las Vegas Sun)
* IL: Fast-Food Giants Cater to Muslims (Chicago Trib)
            - FL: Muslim Inmates Sue State Over Diet
* CA: Muslim West Point Cadet Clear on Identity (OC Register)
            - NJ: Muslims Seek Stronger Connection with Community
            - MN: Sharing Public Space, Working It Out (Pioneer Press)
            - CA: Woman Clears Up Hazy Ideas about Islam (OC Register)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: SEEK RECONCILIATION - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The gates of Paradise will be opened...and every servant (of His) who does not associate anything with God will be forgiven, except for the man who has a grudge against his brother. (About them) it will be said: 'Delay these two until they are reconciled. Delay these two until they are reconciled.'"

Hadith Qudsi, Number 20

VERSE OF THE DAY: ENJOIN RECONCILIATION AMONG PEOPLE

"There is no virtue in most of the secret counsels of the people, except if someone secretly enjoins charity, kindness, and reconciliation among people. The one who does this to please God, will soon be given a mighty reward."

The Holy Quran, 4:114

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CAIR MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES - TOP

CAIR-MD/VA is currently offering internship opportunities in civil rights, media relations and community outreach.

CONTACT: 703.689.3100, Fax: 703.689.9858, or E-Mail: sraheeml@aol.com

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CNN SEGMENT ON ANTI-MUSLIM BIGOTRY - TOP
http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/paula.zahn.now/

Paula Zahn NOW: What if they were going to build a mosque in your neighborhood? We're bringing intolerance in America, Out in the Open.

(8 p.m. Eastern Time)

Offer FEEDBACK to CNN.

SEE ALSO:

INCITEMENT WATCH: 'THE NEW NAZI PARTY, ALSO KNOWN AS ISLAM' - TOP

IL: WAKE-UP CALL ON TERROR
Belleville News-Democrat, 1/4/07
http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/news/editorial/16380628.htm

People seem blind to the threat of the new Nazi Party, also known as Islam.

Our government has kept wars off our soil and in other countries that wish to destroy us. Maybe the U.S. should pull all troops from every country and put them on our borders. All U.S. businesses had better do the same for they will not have any protection abroad. Other countries will have to fend for themselves, and that means Sudan, too, even though actor George Clooney says we need to help it. Of course he is the expert so we need to believe him.

Some serious armies will be assembled to come to fight us. I hope this never happens, but it might wake up those who think the world is a utopia and the U.S. is the bad guy. Maybe we need to fight for our lives on our own soil to see why our government carries the fight overseas.

Maybe we need a good kicking from another country or religion to figure out who we are again and what we need to value, such as our mainly Christian beliefs. Those beliefs tend to be more gentile than the Koran.

Don Voegele
Mascoutah

SEND POLITE COMMENTS TO: letters@bnd.com
COPY TO: info@cair.com

Mail: Letters: Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Lettters are 250 words maximum and are subject to editing. Include your name, address and phone number. One-liners - a one-sentence letter - also are encouraged.

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VIDEO: REP. ELLISON SHAKES REP. GOODE'S HAND - TOP
Best Friends Forever?
Paul Kiel, Muckraker, 1/4/07
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002278.php

Just now on MSNBC, I saw Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) make his way over to introduce himself to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), whose back is to the camera. And that's Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) looking on as the Muslim-fearing Goode shakes hands with the House's first elected Muslim. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

ELLISON: CHOOSE GENEROSITY, NOT EXCLUSION - TOP
Keith Ellison, Washington Post, 1/4/07
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2007/01/choose_generosity_not_exclusio.html

Somewhere in Minneapolis or Jackson or Baltimore, somewhere in America today, there is a young couple that is feeling vulnerable. Maybe one has been laid off due to outsourcing, and maybe, the other is working for something close to a minimum wage. They probably have no medical benefits. Today real income is lower for the typical family than in 2000, while the incomes of the wealthiest families have grown significantly. Things are tough for working people, but in America, we often turn to our faith in tough times.

When our couple shows up for worship service, probably on a Sunday, there is no doubt that the preacher will tell them of God's unyielding love. "God loves you." But the next thing the preacher tells them is crucial - not only to the young couple, but to us all. The next message from the preacher may help to shape, not only the next election results, but the political landscape of the nation. (MORE)

The author was elected to the House of Representatives from Minnesota's 5th District in November. He is the first Muslim elected to serve in the U.S. Congress.

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-MI: ELLISON TO SWEAR IN WITH THOMAS JEFFERSON'S QURAN - TOP
Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 1/4/07
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070104/NEWS99/70104005

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, praised Ellison's decision to use Jefferson's Quran, saying that it was an example of how Islam helped influence the founding fathers of the United States. (MORE)

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IN: RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE MEANS ALLOWING OATH ON QURAN - TOP
Pierre M. Atlas, Indy Star, 1/4/07
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070104/OPINION/701040378/1002

History will be made today when the 110th Congress is sworn in and Keith Ellison of Minnesota becomes the first Muslim member. But some Americans have been outraged by the idea that he will take his oath on the Quran -- even if only in a private ceremony for family and friends.

Radio talk show host Dennis Prager wrote on townhall.com that Ellison should not be allowed to swear on the Quran "because the act undermines American civilization." Prager declared, "If you are incapable of taking an oath on (the Bible), don't serve in Congress."

Prager's column reflected not just bigoted ignorance but outright hysteria. If Ellison were allowed to use the Quran, Prager wrote, "he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11."

Bigotry and hysteria also characterized the words of Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., in his widely publicized letter to a constituent. America is being invaded by Muslim hordes, Goode intimated, and Ellison's use of the Quran will be only the tip of the sword. Goode predicted there will be "many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the (Quran)." (MORE)

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THE TRUTH ABOUT OATHS - TOP
Use the Bible, the Quran, or nothing at all? The dust-up over the first Muslim congressman sheds light on what it means to be an American.
Jonathan Turley, USA Today, 1/4/07
http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/01/the_truth_about.html

The newest member of the Minnesota delegation, Keith Ellison, would appear to be the very model of a god-fearing congressman whom conservatives have longed for. Yet Ellison has been denounced as a constitutional blasphemer after discussing his upcoming oath of office. The problem was not with Ellison's oath, but with his god - Ellison is Muslim (our nation's first in Congress) and intends to use the Quran today to pledge to serve faithfully before Allah.

Judging from the outcry, one would think that Ellison wanted to use the January edition of Penthouse. America's permanently angry class of religious zealots has organized protests. Some have called for a law requiring that all members use the Bible - regardless of whether they believe a single word in it. They do not expect Ellison's conversion, they just want him (and presumably the two new Buddhist members) to pay tribute to their faith system.

President Bush has not addressed the controversy, even though it was started by one of his appointees - a rabid talk show host named Dennis Prager whom Bush appointed to the prestigious United States Holocaust Museum Board.

"Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned," Prager wrote, "America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

Bush's silence is curious given his tireless campaign against "Islamofascists," extremists who seek to force people to conform to their Islamic faith. In this age of hyphenated fascism, what do we call Jews or Christians who want to force non-believers to swear to the Bible? Judeo-Christofascists?

Even in Iran

Of course, the comparison with Islamofascists might not be fair - to Islamofascists. Take the quintessential, Bush-certified Islamofascist regime of Iran. Under Article 3 of the Iranian Constitution, "members representing minority religious groups will take the oath mentioning their own holy books."
(MORE)

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.

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CAIR-CA: MUSLIM COUPLE'S TRIP TO CALIFORNIA, NEVADA TURNS INTO NIGHTMARE - TOP
Undefined security precautions send husband home via NLV jail
Timothy Pratt, Las Vegas Sun, 1/3/07
http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/sun/2007/jan/03/566645148.html

German national Majed Shehadeh and his wife, Joanne Mulligan, decided that when they visited their daughter in California for the holidays, they would fly through McCarran International Airport.

The Muslim couple wanted to avoid Los Angeles International Airport because two years ago, federal authorities detained them for 4 1/2 hours.

Mulligan arrived from Germany first, on Dec. 17, and the U.S.-born traveler cleared customs swiftly. She went on to her daughter's Bakersfield, Calif., home, then returned to Henderson to visit her aunt, Louise Langlois, before heading to the airport to pick up Shehadeh last Thursday .

The Lufthansa charter aircraft her husband was flying on landed shortly after 2 p.m. But her husband of 30 years wasn't to be found.

She waited and waited. She asked an official with Condor, the charter company. Eventually, the official told her Shehadeh, who is of Syrian descent, had been detained.

She said that as she waited for her husband she flashed on events of two years earlier, when the two had flown over together for daughter Majida Shehadeh's wedding. Now the occasion was her anniversary, and her admission to the California State Bar.

Mulligan tried to calm herself, thinking that Shehadeh, 62, would be with her again after a few hours, by 6 p.m. or so, a little inconvenienced, but none the worse for the wear.

But 6 p.m. came and went. At 8:45, she said, "I was really concerned for his health." Since a 2004 heart attack, he had to take medicine every four hours. It had been nearly 24 hours since he left Germany.

"I thought, 'Did he eat? Did he take his medicine?' "

She approached an official who identified himself as a senior agent with the federal U.S. Customs and Border Protection and asked if she could talk to her husband. Told no, she asked about the medicine and why her husband was detained.

She said the agent told her, "I'm not here to answer your questions about every procedure."

Roxanne Hercules, a spokeswoman for the Customs and Border Protection, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Shehadeh was denied entry, but would not discuss specifics. She said Shehadeh's visa waiver normally offered to Germans could have been denied because "he could have a criminal record, or it could be a terrorism issue."

Sometime after 9 p.m., the official told Mulligan that her husband was being taken to the North Las Vegas Detention Center.

"In his whole life, he hasn't gotten a parking ticket," Mulligan said. She called the detention center to leave her aunt's phone number, but employees refused to take the message. (MORE)

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IL: FAST-FOOD GIANTS CATER TO MUSLIMS - TOP
On Devon, a debate over `halal' standards
Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune, 1/4/07
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0701040286jan04,1,2511003.story

First, the new owner of a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken began trying to lure shoppers in the heart of South Asian Devon Avenue. Then a Brown's Chicken and Pasta popped up a few blocks away.

It seemed a strange juxtaposition--all-American fast food, elbow-to-elbow with pungent cuisine from the other side of the globe.

But the secret ingredient both outlets offered was halal, the Islamic analog of kosher, a promise that the meat has been slaughtered and prepared in accordance with Islamic teachings.

That, in turn, has sparked a neighborhood contest over whose fried chicken is truly halal, or more halal--a 21st Century collision of American marketing, immigrant tastes and age-old customs.

The fried chicken wars on Devon underscore the growing power of the Muslim market. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

FL: MUSLIM INMATES SUE STATE OVER DIET - TOP
Jackelyn Barnard, First Coast News, 1/4/07
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/topstories/news-article.aspx?storyid=72629

There are specialty stores that sell the foods that make up a Muslim or Halal meal.

The goat, chicken and lamb look about the same as the meat you'd find in a grocery store, but it's not the same.

"The Halal meat is prayed over according to their religious beliefs and their god Allah," said Safia Khalid, of the Shalimar Food Store.

Meat that has specifically been prayed over is the only meat Muslims can eat.

According to a lawsuit filed by a group of Muslim inmates, Muslim convicts at New River Correctional in Raiford and other prisons across Florida are not getting the proper meat or meals that go with their faith.

"They are alleging that in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, they are entitled to receive the tenets of their faith and receive the Halal meal. Other inmates receive their dietary meal and they (Muslims) do not," said Randall Berg of the Florida Justice Institute.

Berg is the inmates attorney. He said the five Muslim inmates made several requests for a Halal or Kosher diet and the requests were denied. (MORE)

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CA: MUSLIM CADET CLEAR ON IDENTITY - TOP
Yvette Cabrera, OC Register, 1/4/07
http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/columns/article_1406504.php

When Zakaria E. Dafaallah left his home in Orange County to live in his father's native Sudan for four years, he knew that his life as he knew it would change radically.

He adjusted to the blackouts and lack of running water at his uncle's house in Omdurman. But the loss of basic freedoms, like speaking frankly, bothered Dafaallah to his core.

So much so, that when he returned in 2004 to his parent's house in Mission Viejo he made a life-changing decision to apply to West Point's military academy in New York.

"It was very important for me to go there because it shaped who I am today, and it made me appreciate lots of things that people might take for granted," says Dafaallah, 18. "Over there you can't necessarily say what you want as freely as you would be able to here. That's actually part of the reason why I wanted to serve because I wanted to defend that freedom."

His four years in Sudan, however, also transformed Dafaallah in another way. His father, Ahmed Zakaria Dafaallah, a Sunni Muslim, had always tried to instill in Dafaallah a pride in his heritage by teaching him how to speak Arabic, and taking him to Saturday Arabic school and their local mosque for religious services.

But growing up, Dafaallah says, he resisted learning about his culture, language and religion because he wanted to "fit in" with other American children.

"Other people aren't speaking Arabic. Why am I speaking Arabic?" he'd tell his dad and stepmom, Marisol Rexach. It's a phase, Dafaallah says, that ended when he went to Sudan.

"I'm proud to be an American citizen. This is my country, but I'm also proud to be of Sudanese heritage," says Dafaallah. "I mix the two well. Not one or the other. Both." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

NJ: MONTCLAIR MUSLIMS SEEK STRONGER CONNECTION WITH COMMUNITY - TOP
Tanya Drobness, Montclair Times, 1/3/06
http://www.montclairtimes.com/page.php?page=13818

The Islamic call to prayer on the lips of Muslim men echoes, but the wood-paneled walls soften their hale.

If not for the nearly 25 active members of the Masjid Ul Wadud mosque who rush in and out of a meager room every day, the paint-chipped two-story brick building on Bloomfield Avenue would be unrecognizable as a holy dwelling.

The broken brick foundations on each side of the entrance steps that enclose dried-out rose bushes are felled out of place. Only jacket hooks and a traditional Azan prayer clock adorn the confining dark walls.

It's no matter to local congregants.

The modest structure is no less a house of worship - the only mosque in Montclair that serves its purpose for Muslims who pray five times a day but live too far to visit the majestic mosques scattered throughout surrounding areas such as Paterson and Newark, which cater to thriving Muslim communities.

"Being modest and humble is the way a human should live," said 12-year member Hadid Sharif, 42, of Montclair. "Islam is the accent to that lifestyle."

While Montclair has long embraced the groundswell of diverse immigrants and religious orders rippling through the township over several decades since its dawn as a Dutch and English municipality in 1868, the mosque has accommodated a modest influx of Muslim congregants since it was founded in 1994.

But now it's packed to capacity.

And with the conclusion of the annual hajj that took place last week in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where nearly 3 million Muslims gathered from around the world, local worshipers are revitalized, ready to look for a new home within the year.

"We needed one so that people don't have to go far. It fulfills a need. But if we had more space, then we could grow. Now we're grown to capacity and people have to go somewhere else," said Kevin Dawud Amin, 50, of Montclair, who has been the imam/amir, or director, of the mosque since it was established. "We want to stay in Montclair and we are looking at buildings with parking." (MORE)

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MN: SHARING PUBLIC SPACE, WORKING IT OUT - TOP
St. Paul Pioneer Press, 1/4/07
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/editorial/16377008.htm

A big and busy international airport is an exciting place, full of energy and movement and great people-watching and quietly dramatic comings and goings. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is also a hub of immigrant employment, where cab drivers and restaurant workers are often among our newest arrivals.

So it is no surprise that the airport continues to be the public space where tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims are played out. Somehow, our disputes, from Muslim cab drivers who refuse liquor-carrying fares to the praying imams who were taken off an outbound flight and questioned, have turned MSP into a religious battleground. Some ranters fear Islamic fundamentalism is taking hold at the Lindbergh terminal.

Not us. We view these problems as the culture-clashing tensions that are at the heart of the American experience. But with a difference: The volume on this dispute is turned way up because of the Sept. 11 attacks - committed by Muslim extremists - and the continuing war in Iraq, a Muslim nation.

The latest issue concerns whether MSP officials should create a separate prayer room for devout Muslims who are passing through the airport. This arose after the visiting imams aroused suspicion by praying publicly near the gate, asking for seat-belt extenders and spacing themselves throughout the plane on Nov. 20. The religious leaders, bound for Arizona, were questioned and released. Some Muslim leaders said this shows the need for a separate prayer room for them.

Airport officials met this week with members of the Somali community. They told the leaders they could take advantage of an existing quiet room, with chairs but no religious symbols, that is used by people of a variety of faiths for reflection and prayer. One Somali leader said having Christians and Muslims praying in the same room "will create a problem.''

At the same time, there has been a long discussion about cases of Muslim cabbies who will not accept passengers who are visibly carrying alcohol. Airport officials initially proposed a special top-light for such cabs to direct liquor-carrying passengers away from them. That plan went out the window after drawing the wrath of ranters who accused MSP of caving in to Islamists. So cabbies who refuse are penalized by being sent to the end of the hours-long airport queue.

Those are the specifics. But the larger issue is religious freedom. We cherish it and fight to defend it. Somalia and most Islamic countries do not allow it. (MORE)

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CA: WOMAN CLEARS UP HAZY IDEAS ABOUT RELIGION - TOP
A volunteer sets the record straight on Muslim culture.
Sarah Tully, Orange County Register, 1/4/07
http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/local/article_1406507.php

When Maria Khani speaks at schools wearing a head scarf and long clothing, students often ask if she rides a camel or lives in a tent.

The comments don't insult her. They motivate her to teach more about her Muslim religion and culture.

Khani, who moved to the United States 18 years ago, makes volunteerism a full-time job. Because her husband is a doctor, she can afford to work free seven days a week.

Through the Council on Islamic Education, Khani speaks to schools and groups that want to learn more about Islam.

Khani helps clients pay rent, get emergency financial help or find housing as the family crisis coordinator at Access California Services, a nonprofit organization that focuses on Arab Americans and Muslims. And she teaches Islamic Studies and Arabic-language classes at the Islamic Institute of Orange County.

As the daughter of a diplomat, Khani lived around the world and picked up five languages, so she feels able to easily connect with different people.

Q. What is your motivation?

A. I feel people, they trust me. When they ask me for help, I feel I earn their trust. So I try to do my best, especially here at Access.

You have to have the skill of teaching, and I feel I have it. Whatever I have is not for me. It's to share to my community. If I can teach, I have to share with them. If I can help, I can share with them.

That's my motivation - to share whatever I have. Especially when it comes to two things: education and Islam. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 15:40:53 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Islamophobes Mislead Senator Boxer / Editor Says CAIR's Work Reflects Past Civil Rights Efforts / MI Muslims Donate Meat to Homeless

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 1/5/07

* Hadith: Advice for Leaders
* CA: FBI Probes Death Threat Against Muslim Activist
            - CAIR: Islamophobes Mislead Senator Boxer
            - Editor: CAIR's Work Reflects Past Civil Rights Efforts (Sac Bee)
            - Action: Contact Senator Boxer
* CAIR Monitors Airport Treatment of Muslims (UPI)
* CAIR-St. Louis Seeks Executive Director
* Video: Ellison Uses Quran for Mock Swearing-In (C-SPAN)
            - A Jubilant Day of Firsts in Congress (Star Trib)
            - CAIR-MI: Muslim Rep Embraces Critic (Free Press)
* MI: Muslims Donate Meat to Homeless (Detroit News)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: ADVICE FOR LEADERS - TOP

When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sent two provincial governors to Yemen, he told them: "Facilitate things for the people (by treating them in the most agreeable way). Do not make things difficult for them. Give them glad tidings and (do not make the people hate doing good deeds). You should both work in cooperation and mutual understanding."

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadith 145

The Prophet also said: "Anyone who treats those under his authority badly will not enter Paradise."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 977

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FBI PROBES DEATH THREAT AGAINST CALIF. MUSLIM ACTIVIST - TOP
Threat came after Sen. Boxer rescinded award to CAIR chapter director

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/5/07) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today that the FBI is investigating a death threat against one of its chapter heads in California.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the threat was contained in an e-mail message sent to Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Washington-based group's Sacramento Valley chapter.

That threat came a day after a media report indicated that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) had rescinded an award given to Elkarra because she read attacks against CAIR on an anti-Muslim Internet hate site and after a pressure campaign by Joe Kaufman, an anti-Muslim extremist in Florida.

SEE: Boxer Pulls Muslim Award (Sacramento Bee)

Kaufman has a long history of seeking to marginalize and disenfranchise the American Muslim community and its institutions. He has in the past promoted the terrorist organizations Kach and Kahane Chai and praised the Kahane movement and its founder Mier Kahane on a forum of the radical Jewish Defense League in Florida. In another article, Kaufman wrote that "we should nuke Damascus" and "we should have nuked the Afghanistan capital of Kabul."

Last year, Kaufman joined forces with an anti-Islam preacher in Florida to block the expansion of a mosque in Boca Raton. "This mosque should not exist on American shores," said Kaufman. (St. Petersburg Times, 7/14/06)

SEE: A Kahane Legacy Lost by Joe Kaufman (Jewish Defense League of Florida)

SEE ALSO: Making Friends with the Enemy. . .The Nuclear Way (Florida Jewish Speakout)

The website Boxer consulted to form her opinions about CAIR, www.frontpagemag.com, regularly publishes Kaufman's writings and articles promoting conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims in America.

An editor with the Sacramento Bee in California today defended CAIR, while describing Kaufman as "a right-wing blogger."

Ginger Rutland wrote: "For me, CAIR's efforts to reach out are reminiscent of the efforts of other Americans falsely accused of disloyalty: Japanese, German and Italian Americans during World War II, civil rights activists and Vietnam War opponents casually smeared as communists in the 1950s and '60s. . .she must understand what her casual withdrawal of a casually awarded tribute means to a Muslim American at this moment in American history. Shame on her."

SEE: The CAIR Takeaway (Sacramento Bee)

CAIR Board Chairman Dr. Parvez Ahmed today outlined CAIR's response to Boxer in a commentary published on his personal blog. In that commentary, Ahmed wrote: "By acting on smears, distortions and guilt by association, Sen. Boxer has failed her Muslim constituents and has betrayed the progressive values of her party and state."

SEE: Islamophobes Mislead Senator Boxer

"Terror threats of the kind sent to CAIR's Sacramento Valley director must be repudiated by political and religious leaders in California and nationwide," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We thank the FBI for taking action in this case and urge Senator Boxer to examine the agendas of those who seek to marginalize and disenfranchise American Muslims."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR-Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra at (916) 441-6269 or E-mail: sacval@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

SEE ALSO:

ISLAMOPHOBES MISLEAD SENATOR BOXER - TOP
By Parvez Ahmed, 1/5/06
http://drparvezahmed.blogspot.com/2007/01/senator-boxer-misjudged-facts-in.html

[Parvez Ahmed is board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. He may be contacted at pahmed@cair.com.]

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) recently rescinded an award to Basim Elkarra, the executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

This disturbing news was met with a flurry of rhetorical high-fives by anti-Muslim extremists in the blogosphere. After Boxer's decision to rescind the award was made public, Elkarra received an e-mailed death threat. That threat is being investigated by the FBI.

But what led Sen. Boxer to rescind the award? The justifications offered range from the amazing to the bizarre.

According to Sen. Boxer's spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz, the senator became "concerned" after she read negative things about CAIR on a virulent anti-Muslim hate site. This despite the fact that the same website describes Sen. Boxer as someone who is "thickheaded" on national security and said, "The nation's dumbest Democrat, Barbara Boxer, has a plan to lose in Iraq."

It is truly disappointing to see Sen. Boxer use such a hate-filled and inflammatory site to form her opinions about CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group.

Just days before Sen. Boxer announced her decision, a demand for just such an action was issued by Joe Kaufman, an anti-Muslim extremist in Florida who has a long history of seeking to marginalize the Muslim community in that state.

Kaufman has in the past promoted terrorist organizations such as Kach and Kahane Chai on his website. In an article published on the forum of the radical Jewish Defense League in Florida, Kaufman praised the Kahane movement and its founder Mier Kahane by stating, "It was perfectly understandable, if he (Kahane) were to have hated Arabs."

Last year, Kaufman once again demonstrated his anti-Muslim bigotry by joining the call of Rev. O'Neal Dozier (who was subsequently removed from the campaign of Florida Governor Charlie Crist in part because of his bigoted views about Muslims) seeking to block the expansion of a mosque in Pompano Beach. "This mosque should not exist on American shores," said Kaufman." (St. Petersburg Times, 7/14/06)

The senator said she also relied on information from Steven Emerson, a "terrorism expert" with a history of defamatory attacks on CAIR almost since its founding in 1994. Emerson was the commentator who first blamed Muslims for the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma.

Sen. Boxer's decision to rescind the award contradicted her previous positive interactions with CAIR and was made without a single phone call or e-mail seeking a rebuttal to the Internet smears. In the past, CAIR received several letters of commendation from the senator.
Members of her staff also attended CAIR events.

While American Muslims have grown used to such behavior from the extreme right, it was shocking to see a progressive politician like Sen. Boxer get caught up in our nation's rising tide of Islamophobia.

Sen. Boxer has now signaled a willingness to meet with CAIR officials both in California and in Washington, D.C. This is certainly welcome news.

CAIR has always taken a principled stand against terrorism and religious extremism.

From issuing a statement of condemnation immediately after the 9/11 attacks, to taking out a full-page ad in the Washington Post dissociating Islam from terrorism, to launching the "Not in the Name of Islam" online petition and public service announcement campaigns, CAIR's initiatives all point to an organization unequivocally opposed to terrorism in all its forms.

Representatives of the FBI are frequent participants at CAIR events nationwide and CAIR regularly conducts sensitivity training for federal and local law enforcement agencies.

In defending Boxer's position, Boxer's office has been using recycled news stories about the convictions of two people who had past associations with CAIR.

One of those people, a volunteer board member of a local CAIR chapter, undertook his actions after terminating his association with CAIR. The other person's activities came after he left his employment at CAIR. Whatever they did or did not do in their private capacities has nothing to do with CAIR. Holding CAIR responsible for the actions of former associates is guilt by association.

CAIR has tens of thousands of members, hundreds of volunteer board members and several dozen paid staff members nationwide. It would be unfair and un-American to hold any organization responsible for the actions of every individual, especially when such actions originate outside the scope of their employment or association.

Unfortunately, the general public's ignorance of their American Muslim neighbors is the oxygen that gives life to Islamophobia.

The reality is that American Muslims make up one of the most productive and law-abiding segments of our society. Recent polls show that nearly nine out of ten American Muslims vote regularly and nearly half volunteer for institutions serving the public (compared to a national average of 29 percent). The same poll indicated that American Muslims have high regard for CAIR.

By acting on smears, distortions and guilt by association, Sen. Boxer has failed her Muslim constituents and has betrayed the progressive values of her party and state.

Despite this disturbing episode, we remain committed to working with Sen. Boxer and with any other public officials who seek to build a better and more tolerant America.

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THE CAIR TAKEAWAY - TOP
Ginger Rutland, Sacramento Bee, 1/5/07
http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/103179.html

Am I a terrorist? I asked myself this question after reading that U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California had rescinded an award she gave to Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Boxer said she "made a bad mistake" -- that her staff presented the award without her knowledge. (That admission, in itself, speaks volumes about the sincerity of any Boxer endorsement.)

The initial source of Boxer's concern was the blogosphere, that sometimes subterranean sewer of suspect journalism, where reputation-besmirching rumor runs rampant. Joe Kaufman, a right-wing blogger, criticized Boxer for honoring a CAIR leader.

Boxer said she hasn't heard anything negative about Elkarra himself but has "concerns" about CAIR, which she claimed has been unwilling to condemn Osama bin Laden.

Really? CAIR leaders strongly deny that and have produced news releases they've issued denouncing the al-Qaida leader. Did Boxer check with CAIR before rescinding her award?

I know Elkarra. I don't believe he supports terrorism. The personable young University of California, Berkeley, graduate assumed the helm of the local CAIR chapter at a perilous time for Muslims in this country. He has gone to extraordinary lengths to reassure his fellow Americans while defending fellow Muslims.

I am also familiar with CAIR, at least as it operates locally. I have attended CAIR banquets, spoken to their youth groups and joined CAIR-sponsored Iftars, the feast and prayer services that follow the daily fasts observant Muslims practice during Ramadan.

For me, CAIR's efforts to reach out are reminiscent of the efforts of other Americans falsely accused of disloyalty: Japanese, German and Italian Americans during World War II, civil rights activists and Vietnam War opponents casually smeared as communists in the 1950s and '60s. I wonder; was Boxer's loyalty ever questioned when she opposed the Vietnam War? If so, she must understand what her casual withdrawal of a casually awarded tribute means to a Muslim American at this moment in American history. Shame on her.

At the last Ramadan celebration I attended, CAIR presented Sacramento Assemblyman Dave Jones with a beautiful Quran. Should Jones follow Boxer's lead and return it? Should I stop attending CAIR-sponsored events?

I pray not. Should either of us feel compelled to do so, I would fear for my country, for its cherished traditions of religious tolerance, open debate and fair play.

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ACTION REQUESTED: CONTACT SENATOR BOXER - TOP

Please contact Senator Boxer to express your concerns about her decision to rescind the award to Basim Elkarra based on information supplied by Islamophobes and without input from CAIR. Personal letters sent by fax are best, followed by calls and e-mails, in that order. Make sure to include your name and full address and to ask for a response in writing.

(As always, be POLITE and RESPECTFUL.)

WASHINGTON AND STATE OFFICES: http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/offices/index.cfm
E-MAIL: http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/email/policy.cfm

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CAIR MONITORS AIRPORT TREATMENT OF MUSLIMS - TOP
United Press International, 1/5/07
http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20070105-113646-7226r

A U.S. Muslim organization said Thursday it was monitoring the treatment of American Muslims returning from the hajj pilgrimage.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it would be organizing interviews with American Muslims who were coming home from the annual pilgrimage to Mecca "to spot-check their treatment by airport security personnel and border protection authorities."

CAIR said an estimated 10,000-15,000 American Muslims went on the hajj to Mecca in Saudi Arabia this year. The group set up a toll-free hotline for travelers who felt that their civil rights had been ignored or over-riden.

The group noted that in December, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced it was giving special training about "Islamic traditions related to the hajj to some 45,000 airport security officers."

CAIR said it was "concerned about an increase in reports of alleged profiling of Muslims at the nation's airports."

"Just last week, a German Muslim was barred from entering the United States, interrogated for some 12 hours, detained in a local jail for four days, and then sent out of the country, all without an explanation of the government's actions," the group said.

"We hope that the recent training about the Hajj offered to airport security officers will result in a hassle-free process for returning pilgrims," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "American Muslims believe in protecting both our nation's security and the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, including the freedom to carry out the obligations of one's faith without fear of discrimination."

CAIR said its chapters across the United States had held discussions with U.S. government officials from the TSA, the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection "on issues related to cultural sensitivity and national security."

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CAIR-ST. LOUIS SEEKS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - TOP

The St. Louis Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-STL) is seeking candidates for the position of Executive Director.
Please apply in confidence to:

Kamal Yassin, President, CAIR-STL
P.O. Box 739
Manchester, MO 63011

Phone: 636-207-8882, E-mail: director@cair-stlouis.org

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VIDEO: REP. ELLISON USES KORAN ONCE OWNED BY JEFFERSON FOR SWEARING-IN - TOP
U.S. House of Representatives Mock Swearing-In Ceremony
C-SPAN, 1/4/07

rtsp://video.c-span.org/archive/c08/c08_010407_mock.rm?Start=00:03:50&End=00:05:35

SEE ALSO:

A JUBILANT DAY OF FIRSTS IN CONGRESS - TOP
Fresh-faced Minnesotans Keith Ellison, Amy Klobuchar, Michele Bachmann and Tim Walz celebrated Congress' opening day and the historic thresholds that were crossed.
Kevin Diaz and Brady Averill, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1/4/07
http://www.startribune.com/587/story/915249.html

With eyes from around the world on him, a jubilant Keith Ellison took office Thursday as a Minnesota representative, holding his left hand on a Qur'an once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

It was a day of firsts. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, was sworn in by Nancy Pelosi of California, the first female House speaker. And just hours earlier, fellow Minnesotan Amy Klobuchar, accompanied by former Vice President Walter Mondale, was sworn in as the state's first elected female senator.

Two other fresh Minnesota faces were also sworn in: Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat, and Michele Bachmann, the state's first elected Republican woman in Congress. But most eyes were fixed on Ellison, a 43-year-old attorney and former state representative.

"It's a day of welcoming," said Ellison, accompanied by his wife, Kim, and their four children, including 12-year-old Elijah, wearing an African kenti cloth draped over his suit.

"You sure know how to attract a crowd," Pelosi said to Ellison as they prepared for his ceremonial swearing-in before hundreds of journalists from around the world, including Al Jazeera.

Replied Ellison: "Maybe they're here for you."

Ellison then held his right hand in the air and placed his left hand on two brown leather-bound volumes of the Qur'an, which were held by his wife, a teacher at an alternative school in St. Paul. (MORE)

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CAIR-MI: MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN EMBRACES STAUNCH CRITIC - TOP
Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 1/4/07
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070104/NEWS99/70104066&imw=Y

Amid intense scrutiny, Detroit native Keith Ellison became the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. Congress and reached out to the Congressman that only weeks ago lambasted him for choosing to use the Quran in his swearing-in ceremony.

On the House floor, a smiling Ellison walked over to U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, a Virginia Republican who criticized Ellison in a sharp letter last month that warned of Muslims being elected to office, and shook Goode's hand, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which saw the account on a MSNBC video clip posted on www.tpmmuckraker.com.

Meanwhile, local leaders praised Ellison on Thursday.

"I would like to extend a warm welcome to Congressman Keith Ellison," U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn), whose district has one of the biggest Muslim communities in the U.S., said in a statement. "Being the first Muslim-American to serve is quite a distinction and he will be a good addition to the House membership. The institution will be stronger having him and his voice in the 110th Congress."

Ellison, who converted to Islam while in college, swore today on a Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson in an individual ceremony. He had been criticized by some for that.

But Jewish leaders in Michigan defended Ellison's religious rights.

In a news release issued Thursday, the Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Detroit said it "strongly condemns the criticism of congressman-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Koran as he takes his oath to become a United States Representative."

The group said that "ours is a nation founded on the principle of religious freedom. The U.S. Constitution prohibits religious tests for office, and the First Amendment adds both a freedom from religious establishment and a freedom of religious exercise... Denying Mr. Ellison his right to choose which scripture to use would not only affront Muslims, but undermine the rights of all Americans."

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, praised Ellison for reaching out to Goode.

"We hope that through their handshake, there can be greater sensitivity to different races and religions within Congress," Walid said.

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MI: METRO AREA MUSLIMS GIVE HOMELESS A HEARTY DONATION - TOP
As part of Eid al-Adha, 14,000-pound gift of mostly lamb to provide food for local shelters.
Gregg Krupa, Detroit News, 1/5/07
http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070105/LIFESTYLE04/701050358/1005/LIFESTYLE

Over the next several days, the hungry in Metro Detroit will be eating a meat not often available at homeless shelters and soup kitchens -- ample servings of lamb.

The donation of 14,000 pounds of mostly lamb comes from Muslims throughout Metro Detroit as part of the celebration of one of two major feasts on the Islamic calendar, the Festival of Sacrifice, or Eid al-Adha.

The collection of meat, after the ceremony of sacrificing live animals, was organized by various mosques in Metro Detroit and by the Muslim Shura Council of Michigan, a coalition of mosques.

"It's a nice treat," said John Kastler of the Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

"It comes at a good time, too. After the holiday season, there is almost a natural tendency to forget about hunger, and this makes a fine gift for our community and we really welcome it."

Eid al-Adha began last weekend and ends this week, along with the culmination of the Hajj and the return of the pilgrims from the holy cities in Saudi Arabia.

The festival commemorates the story in the Quran of God, or Allah, sparing Ishmael, the son of Ibrahim, after God commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his first-born.

The story is observed by Christians and Jews in their traditions as that of Abraham and Isaac.

An animal, usually a sheep, but sometimes a cow or a goat, is sacrificed by a local butcher, and the meat is eaten with family, shared with friends and distributed to the poor.

The act is symbolic of the willingness of the faithful to give up material goods in order to follow God's commands.

"This is an old ritual," said Mouheib Ayas, a doctor who attends the Muslim Unity Center of Bloomfield Hills. "But in the Detroit area, we never had an organized meat drive. We wanted to do it to increase the awareness of people that there are a lot of people in this country, this town, who need it. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2007 22:54:00 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: 'If Muslims are Allowed to Infiltrate Congress' / Deported OH Imam Has Disappeared / FBI Probes Death Threat Against CA Muslim Leader

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 1/7/07

* Verse: True Believers Spend in Charity
* Incitement: 'If Muslims are Allowed to Infiltrate Congress'
            - Religious Leaders Push Back Against Rep. Goode
* CAIR-CA: FBI Probes Death Threat Against Muslim Leader (CBS)
            - Watch the Video
* CAIR-MI: Church Forum Addresses Violence and Religion
            - LA: Jews, Muslims Sharing Service Work (Times-Picayune)
* OH: Recently Deported Ohio Imam Has Disappeared (AP)
* WI: Pilot's Suit Alleges Muslim Bias (Capitol Times)
            - MI: Muslim Suspect Says He was Mistreated (Free Press)
* KY: Muslim-American Prosecutor is Unique in His Profession (AP)
            - MI: Dearborn Heights' First Arab-American Judge
* TX: A Muslim Voice for a New Generation (American-Statesman)
* LA: Qatar Gives Last Installment of Katrina Aid to Area (AP)
* Revealed: Israel Plans Nuclear Strike on Iran (Sunday Times)

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VERSE OF THE DAY: TRUE BELIEVERS SPEND IN CHARITY - TOP

"The true believers are those whose hearts tremble with awe when the name of God is mentioned, and whose faith grows stronger as they listen to His revelations and they put their trust in their Lord, who establish prayer and spend in charity out of the sustenance that We have given them. They are the ones who are the true believers."

The Holy Quran, 8:2-4

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INCITEMENT WATCH: WHAT ISLAM REALLY MEANS - TOP
The Merced Sun-Star, 1/6/07
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/opinion/story/13172085p-13815006c.html

Editor: If Don Davey had studied Islam history he'd have a far different opinion about the Muslim religion. He can't name one Islam country without oil or dope that's better off economically than the United States, and that's because they let a poorly written Koran, which is nothing but a plagiarism of the Bible, rule their citizens. . .

Muhammad even had to use terrorism to move into Mecca according to history written at that time, and terrorism has been used endlessly since to overthrow established governments, one after the other until most of North Africa, the Middle East, and southern and mid-Asia have been conquered by radical Muslims.

The last thing we need here is a country ruled by the Koran. And, if Muslims are allowed to infiltrate our Congress and local governments, this country will wilt into the lifestyle of a Uzbekistan or a Kazakhstan where only a few can read and write, and American sports and other entertainment will disappear. There will be no elected government representatives, because a Muslim cleric will be the dictator. . .

SEND POLITE COMMENTS TO: jkieta@mercedsun-star.com
COPY TO: info@cair.com

SEE ALSO:

RELIGIOUS LEADERS PUSH BACK AGAINST REP. GOODE - TOP
William Fisher, Dissident Voice, 1/7/07
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Jan07/Fisher07.htm

More than 20 prominent religious leaders have launched an on-line petition demanding that Rep. Vigil Goode (R-Va) reexamine his opposition to newly-elected Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim from Minnesota, taking his unofficial oath of office using the Qur'an, and to apologize for his statement that, without punitive immigration reform, "there will be many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Qur'an.". . .

Religious leaders and organizations backing the petition include Dr. George Hunsinger of the Princeton Theological Seminary, Rev. Robert Edgar of the National Council of Churches, Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs of the Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs Progressive Faith Foundation, Rev. Dr. Larry L. Greenfield of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, Rev. Cedric A. Harmon of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Joseph C. Hough, Jr. of the Union Theological Seminary, Vincent Isner of Faithful America, a program of the National Council of the Churches of Christ USA, and Rev. Timothy F. Simpson of the Christian Alliance for Progress.

Readers wishing to read the full petition and original signatories can do so at: http://ga3.org/campaign/reconcile. (MORE)

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CAIR-CA: FBI PROBES DEATH THREAT AGAINST MUSLIM LEADER - TOP
The Leader Is Accused Of Being Pro-Terrorist
http://cbs13.com/topstories/local_story_005235303.html

WATCH THE VIDEO - TOP
http://www.cbs13.com/video/?id=15847

(CBS13) SACRAMENTO A Sacramento Muslim activist was given an award then snubbed by the same senator. Now the FBI is investigating a death threat against the activist.

The FBI said Friday that it is investigating a death threat sent to the leader of a local Muslim group after U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer rescinded a certificate her office had awarded to him.

Special Agent Karen Ernst said the bureau launched an investigation after Basim Elkarra reported receiving a threatening email. (MORE)

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CAIR-MI: CHURCH FORUM ADDRESSES VIOLENCE AND RELIGION - TOP
http://www.hometownlife.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070107/NEWS22/701070561

A community forum titled, "Wrapping the Faith in the Flag: The Roles of Religion and Violence in the Christian and Muslim Traditions," is offered at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, in Fellowship Hall, First Presbyterian Church, 4328 Livernois, Troy.

Monsignor John P. Zenz, Episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Detroit, and Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, will lead the program.

SEE ALSO:

LA: N.O. JEWS, MUSLIMS TO JOIN FOR WEEKEND - TOP
Congregations sharing meals, service work
Bruce Nolan, Times-Picayune, 1/6/07
http://www.nola.com/search/index.ssf?/base/library-118/1168069250297680.xml?ZZLIBB&coll=1

For the second time in three years, Jews and Muslims from two New Orleans congregations will spend a weekend together, sharing each other's places of worship, and joining for meals and community work. Members of Touro Synagogue and Masjidur-Rahim launched the first such "weekend of peace" in 2005 and will do it again Friday and Saturday, according to plans announced by Rabbi Andrew Busch and Imam Rafeeq Nu'Man. On Friday, members of the synagogue will be at the masjid at 1238 N. Johnson St. for the weekly congregational prayer at 12:45 p.m. They will reconvene at Touro at 6 that evening for regular Sabbath worship, followed by dinner together. On Saturday, Muslims and Jews will jointly serve a community meal to residents of the masjid's neighborhood. In addition, basic medical screening, mental health crisis counseling and medical and social services referrals will be available. That will occur at the vacant lot on North Claiborne Avenue between Ursuline and Gov. Nicholls streets from 2 to 5 p.m.

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OH: FRIENDS SAY RECENTLY DEPORTED OHIO IMAM HAS DISAPPEARED - TOP
KRISTIN LONGLEY, Associated Press Writer
http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-40/1168207748167280.xml&storylist=newsmichigan

DETROIT (AP) - Friends and family say they didn't know Fawaz Damra had been deported until his lawyer arrived for a meeting at the jail where he was being held.

Federal authorities there confirmed their worst fears: Damra was gone.

And now, days later, they say the prominent Ohio Muslim leader has disappeared after the U.S. government reported deporting him to his native Palestinian territories on the West Bank. . .

"Being Americans as we are, we expect a little fairness, to a degree, to the extent they would let him call his wife and children," said Haider Alawan, Damra's friend and member of the Islamic Center of Cleveland's council of elders.

Alawan said Palestinian government officials said they didn't know where Damra is. A spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister's office said Sunday that it had no immediate knowledge of Damra's case, either.

"We want to know where the heck he is," said Don Bryant, president of the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network and another of Damra's friends. "We are outraged with the way this was handled. He was taken away on a witch hunt.". . .

Alawan said it is most likely that Israeli authorities are holding him. The Allenby Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank is under Israeli military control.

If that is the case, he could be held in jail, Alawan said.

"He was concerned about going back to Palestine" for just this reason, Alawan said. "He had strong reservations about it."

Alawan expressed bitterness about federal agencies' efforts to reach out to the Muslim community while at the same time treating Damra in such a callous manner.

"You want to have a good relations, based on what?" he said. "You wouldn't let a man in custody say goodbye? And now, he's in a black hole in the Mideast."

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WI: PILOT'S SUIT ALLEGES MUSLIM BIAS - TOP
Kevin Murphy, Capital Times, 1/6/07
http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=/tct/2007/01/06/0701060137.php

An Arab-American pilot based in Madison claims he was subjected to racial, religious and ethnic discrimination while training at a company's Memphis, Tenn., headquarters and fired after he complained about it, according to a lawsuit filed recently in federal court.

According to the complaint: Nazeeh Younis, a Muslim, was hired in September 2002 as a pilot and promoted to captain in July 2004 by Pinnacle Airlines, which operates as Northwest Airlink at Dane County Regional Airport and several other locations.

Beginning at a June 23, 2005, training session in Memphis, Pinnacle employee Terry Harvel humiliated Younis in front of other pilots, while other non-Arabs weren't subjected to similar verbal harassment.

Younis complained about the taunts and harassment to Pinnacle's head of line standards and quality assurance but received no response. He then went to Pinnacle's chief pilot, but no action was taken. . .

SEE ALSO:

MI: IMMIGRANT SAYS HE WAS MISTREATED BECAUSE HE'S ARAB - TOP
David Ashenfelter, Detroit Free Press, 1/7/07
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070107/NEWS05/701070570/1007/NEWS

A former Detroit terrorism suspect who says he was mistreated during his confinement at the Wayne County Jail will get his day in court, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman rejected the county's request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Karim Koubriti, 28, a Moroccan immigrant who was locked up for three years as a federal terrorism suspect.

The judge dropped one count of the suit in his ruling Wednesday -- that being served pork at the jail violated his Muslim faith and his constitutional rights -- but would not toss three other counts, including Koubriti's claim that he was excessively stripped-searched at the jail because he is Arab.

"The decision means he'll get his day in court and his say at trial," Koubriti's lawyer, Ben Gonek of Detroit, said Saturday.

There was no immediate comment from the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. (MORE)

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KY: MUSLIM-AMERICAN PROSECUTOR IS UNIQUE IN HIS PROFESSION - TOP
DYLAN T. LOVAN, Associated Press, 1/6/07
http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/state/16399772.htm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Khalid Kahloon admits he doesn't look like a typical Kentucky lawyer.

He certainly has an atypical job for a former immigrant from Pakistan.

Kahloon is perhaps the only criminal prosecutor of Muslim descent in the state, and certainly one of a few in the country.

"I think when most jurors walk into the courtroom, and I get up and speak to them, or I'm introduced and then they hear my accent, it certainly makes it interesting," said Kahloon, seated at his desk at the offices of the Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney, where he has worked for nearly five years.

He came to the United States in 1989 as a student, and later attended the Thomas Cooley Law School in Michigan, entering into private practice shortly after. He began his law career in Louisville as an assistant public defender, and started in the prosecutor's office just a few months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

His Muslim background has been a boon and a burden since he joined the prosecutor's office.

"I remember my boss telling me that someone had called here saying 'Watch out, he could be a mole for al-Qaida,'" he said.

But the attacks were also a chance for American Muslims to renew their devotion to this country, Kahloon said.

"I felt that there was a tremendous need after 9-11 for Muslims to get involved and be seen in the public service arena," he said. "I did my share by becoming a prosecutor because I felt that law enforcement was an area where I could help my country the most as U.S. waged war on terror." . . .

One of the country's highest-profile Muslims in law enforcement is Arif Alikhan, a former adviser to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Alikhan, whose parents were from Pakistan and India, was recently named deputy mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety in Los Angeles. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

MI: DEARBORN HEIGHTS' FIRST ARAB-AMERICAN JUDGE - TOP
Sean Delaney, Press & Guide, 1/7/07
http://www.pressandguide.com/stories/010707/loc_20070107001.shtml

Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, attorney David Turfe was sworn in Thursday at Crestwood High School as the next 20th District Court judge - a position previously held for more than 34 years by retiring Judge Leo Foran.

"I will never be able to fill Judge Foran's shoes - mainly because he wears size 13 and I'm size 12," joked Turfe during his inauguration.

"But I promise to work hard and to uphold the position of 20th District Court judge with honor and integrity and be the best judge I can be."

Turfe was elected to the judicial seat in November, defeating rival Don Rivard by 386 votes, and holds the distinction of being the first Arab American elected to serve on the bench in the city's history. . .

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Allen served as master of ceremonies during Thursday's investiture and said while Turfe has faced many challenges throughout his life, he has continued to rely on his family, friends and community for support.

"The road has been long and hard ... but he is a man determined to rise," Allen said. "This is indeed a proud day."

It was a day Turfe said he was proud to share with his family - including his father, Mohammed, his mother, Yusra, his wife, Fay, and their four sons. (MORE)

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TX: A MUSLIM VOICE FOR A NEW GENERATION - TOP
Through Web site, Muslim man gives forum for unheard Muslim voices.
Eileen E. Flynn, American-Statesman, 1/8/06
http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/01/08/8muslims.html

Shahed Amanullah wields a lot of influence from the South Austin coffee shop where he spends most afternoons. Typing away on his laptop, the recent transplant from California is shaping opinion about all things Muslim.

Amanullah, a tall engineering consultant with a trim beard, runs several Web sites in his spare time, including altmuslim.com, an increasingly influential forum for Muslims to write about contemporary, often controversial issues.

What fuels him is a desire to be heard and to offer a platform for people like him - Muslims born and raised in America - to have reasoned, balanced discussions about Islam, world events, culture and politics.

He's encouraging the kind of internal debate he doesn't see reflected in mainstream media or even in Muslim media, which he says is often tied into established political organizations and not truly independent.

Muslims in the United States "have no national newspapers . . . have one national magazine that's not linked to a Muslim group," he said. "You don't have any independent news Web sites with the possible exception of myself."

That concerns Amanullah, 38, who was born in Hollywood, Calif., to Indian parents and earned degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University.

Estimates of the number of Muslims living in the United States vary widely from 2 million to 10 million, but there's no doubt they are a sizable - and growing - religious minority, Amanullah said.

"For a community that large to be served by such few independent voices, I mean, we are like lambs to the slaughter, because the world talks about us; we're on the news every night," he said. "Every pundit has an opinion about us. . . . Every blogger has an opinion about us. And what is the response back?"

Through AltMuslim, friends say, Amanullah has cultivated young writers, fostered relationships among Muslim leaders and offered non-Muslims an opportunity to see a diversity of thought among Western Muslims. Contributors move beyond the "Islam is peace" mantra that many Muslims clung to after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and tackle weighty topics such as the war in Iraq and genital mutilation.

They push the boundaries with columns on gay marriage and intra-Muslim violence and also produce humorous articles and film and technology reviews.

Where national Muslim groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations take a more defensive line on Muslim controversies, writers on AltMuslim are more likely to be critical.

After a group of imams was detained at a Minneapolis airport in November after praying in the boarding area and allegedly behaving suspiciously, an AltMuslim writer questioned the tactics used by the airline but scolded the imams for being so conspicuous with their prayers. National Muslim groups, on the other hand, demanded justice for the imams, saying they were targeted simply for being Muslim.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he welcomes constructive criticism from within the Muslim community and appreciates Amanullah's efforts in "keeping people honest." (MORE)

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QATAR GIVES LAST INSTALLMENT OF KATRINA AID TO AREA - TOP
Associated Press, 1/6/07
http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070106/NEWS/70106011

NEW ORLEANS - The Persian Gulf nation of Qatar announced the final installment of its $100 million fund to assist Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina, awarding a total of $5.6 million to a New Orleans university, an area housing agency and a worldwide disaster relief and human development organization.

Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans received nearly $3.1 million from the Qatar Katrina Fund to provide subsidies of up to $25,000 each for the purchase of affordable housing in the New Orleans area for low- and moderate-income Katrina victims.

Another $1.4 million went to Loyola University of New Orleans to fund 140 scholarships of $10,000 each over the next three years for financially disadvantaged students from the Gulf Coast who were among those most affected by the hurricane. (MORE)

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REVEALED: ISRAEL PLANS NUCLEAR STRIKE ON IRAN - TOP
Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times, 1/7/07
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2535310,00.html

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear "bunker-busters", according to several Israeli military sources. (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 11:29:41 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: FL Muslim Group Offers Hot Meal, Hope / Letters Praise CAIR, Criticize Boxer

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS – 1/8/07

* Hadith: Love the Poor
* CAIR-FL: Muslim Group Offers Hot Meal, Hope (Miami Herald)
* CAIR-CA: Letters Praise CAIR, Criticize Boxer (Sacramento Bee)
            - Incitement Watch: Expel Families of ACLU, NAACP, CAIR
* CAIR-OH: Imam Not Heard from Since Deportation (Plain Dealer)
* Pitts: Quran Debate a Reminder of Intolerance (Miami Herald)
* CA: Interfaith Youth Alliance Meets in Mosque (Fresno Bee)

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HADITH OF THE DAY: LOVE THE POOR - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would pray, saying: "O God! I ask You for the means to do good, to avoid evil and to love the poor.”

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 13A

The Prophet also told his wife: “If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376

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CAIR-FL: MUSLIM GROUP OFFERS HOT MEAL -- AND HOPE - TOP
Every Friday afternoon, members of Project Downtown -- students from the University of Miami -- feed some of Miami's homeless.
ERIKA BERAS, Miami Herald, 1/8/07
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/16407033.htm

Every Friday afternoon in the parking lot of the Stephen P. Clark county government building, a group of about 100 homeless people gathers. They're waiting for the members of Project Downtown.

When the group members arrive, carrying food and clothes, the crowd descends upon them.

In the middle of it all is Wajiha Ahktar, 20, a Pakistani-American engineering student at the University of Miami.

Ahktar is one of the founding members of Project Downtown, a Muslim community service group based at UM.

After Jumu'ah, or Friday prayers, they've made it a tradition to go down to the parking lot of the government building at 111 NW First St. to distribute food and clothing.

“I love them,” said Mike Holloway, 39, one of the 5,015 homeless people in Miami-Dade County, according to census estimates from July 2006.

Holloway recently migrated to Miami from North Carolina for the warmer weather. Wearing a shirt he got from the students several months ago, he said they have become like a family to him.

“To understand those less fortunate than you says a lot,” he said.

Formed in March by six students, the group's membership has swelled to 50 in the past few months.

The students credit the growth to a strong Muslim Student Association on campus and positive feedback and continual contributions from their community.

The sandwiches they usually hand out come from a Subway restaurant owned by a member of Ahktar's mosque. The clothes are unclaimed items from a dry cleaning shop owned by a friend of Ahktar's parents. And the toiletries come from members of the local chapter of CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations. (MORE)

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CAIR-CA: THE MAKING OF A BOXER REBELLION - TOP
Sacramento Bee, 1/8/07
http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/104347.html

As a lifelong Democrat, I am shocked and appalled with the recent actions of Sen. Barbara Boxer in her attempts to rescind an award that she gave to the Sacramento chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

CAIR is a mainstream, nonpartisan Muslim organization that encourages civic participation among Muslims such as voter registration and citizen education. CAIR is following the path of many other mainstream political empowerment groups, such as the League of Women Voters and the NAACP.

However, Boxer has bowed to the pressure of the right-wing blogosphere that has attacked CAIR, not on the basis of facts or evidence, but out of malicious hatred and anti-Muslim bias. It is disappointing that our Democratic representative has taken such an undemocratic stand.

This story is a discouraging lesson for others seeking political empowerment. CAIR has done everything that we ask others to do in order to gain acceptance, yet even now, it is not fully accepted. What lesson does this teach other groups seeking recognition and acceptance?

- Mark Farouk, Sacramento

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Israel lobby has too much clout

Re "Boxer pulls Muslim award," Jan. 4: As a Jewish American and a supporter of Sen. Barbara Boxer, I say that it was wrong for her to withdraw the award that she previously gave to the Council on American Islamic Relations, which works to build bridges between Christians, Muslims, Jews and people of color. The article stated that Nihad Awad, CAIR's executive director in Washington, has condemned violence by all sides and that he even appeared with President Bush.

I doubt that Boxer even believes in her decision to withdraw the award. The problem is that the Israel lobby, consisting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other organizations, has far too much influence on American policy in the Middle East. This policy of giving unconditional support to Israel is detrimental to the security of our country.

It is AIPAC that must be required to register as an agent of a foreign government. We need a more evenhanded policy that will bring the two sides together to obtain a peaceful settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

- Walter Ballin, Chico

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Honorable people sullied

My response to Sen. Barbara Boxer's rescinding of the award given to Sacramento CAIR Director Basim Elkarra was a mixture of disgust and amusement. Certainly, it is unfair to punish an entire organization, or even one person within it, based on the actions of certain individuals in the group.

Imagine an organization established with honorable intentions by people who truly sought the common good, an organization that was later infiltrated by less noble and less altruistic members whose crimes ranged from theft and bribery to murder and mayhem. Would it be fair, then, to question the motives of the original organization and to penalize those current members who genuinely attempt to do good? If so, what would become of the U.S. government?

I would propose to Elkarra that there is far more honor to be found in the endorsement by Rev. Dexter McNamara of his work than in any certificate he might receive from the likes of Boxer.

- Elaine McCollom, Sacramento

SEE ALSO:

INCITEMENT WATCH: EXPEL FAMILIES OF ACLU, NAACP, CAIR - TOP

LET'S CLEAN HOUSE
Whittier Daily News, 1/8/07
http://www.whittierdailynews.com/opinions/ci_4968280

America needs to do some serious house cleaning if it plans on surviving as a sovereign nation.

I have a few suggestions.

The U.S. should repeal diplomatic immunity; resign from the United Nations and have it relocated in Fallujah; and expel all subversive groups (American Civil Liberties Union, Chicano Student Movement of Aztl n, La Raza, NAACP, Council on American-Islamic Relations, etc.) and their families to their choice of either Venezuela, Cuba, Fallujah, France, North Korea, Somalia or Mexico. . .

Make it mandatory for all America haters to leave the country and reside in any of the above-mentioned resorts. Finally, make Al Gore live in Antarctica.

Michael Canzano
La Verne

SEND POLITE COMMENTS TO: http://www.whittierdailynews.com/writealetter
COPY TO: info@cair.com

-----

CAIR-OH: DAMRA NOT HEARD FROM SINCE HIS DEPORTATION - TOP
Monday, January 08, 2007
Leila Atassi, Plain Dealer, 1/8/07
http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/116824883439720.xml&coll=2

Four days after Imam Fawaz Damra was deported to the Middle East, family and friends still have not heard from the former leader of Ohio's largest mosque.

And today, friends fear Damra might have been detained some time between 4 and 5 a.m. Thursday, when the imam likely faced officials at an Israeli checkpoint while crossing the border to his Palestinian homeland.

"This is a complete mystery," said Isam Zaiem, chairman of the Cleveland Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "Normally it takes about 24 hours to hear from someone after they've been de ported. But it's as if the imam has vanished off the face of the Earth." (MORE)

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KORAN DEBATE ANOTHER REMINDER OF INTOLERANCE - TOP
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald, 1/8/07
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/16407032.htm

It is paradoxical that the same nation that speaks seriously of electing Condoleezza Rice or Barack Obama to the presidency can also speak seriously of denying Keith Ellison his office because he is a Muslim. That's just the kind of country we are, I'm afraid. Not always sufficiently brave. So Muslims -- doesn't matter whether we're talking Middle East crazies or a Midwest politician -- become the latest brand name of our fears. Some people claim to defend American values that they're too faint-hearted to even understand.

And yet for all that, this week, a Muslim put his hand on Thomas Jefferson's Koran and swore to serve all the people of his district. Then he shook Virgil Goode's hand and invited him to have coffee.

Thank goodness we're that sort of country, too.

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CA: STUDENTS TRADE LESSONS ON FAITH - TOP
Valley high schoolers strive to learn others' religious traditions.
Marc Benjamin, The Fresno Bee, 1/8/07
http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/22976.html

Valley high school students are banding together to gain a stronger understanding of one another's religious faiths and traditions.

The Interfaith Youth Alliance held its initial meeting Sunday at the Islamic Cultural Center in northeast Fresno. The event brought about 20 students together from about a half-dozen local high schools.

The group discussed formation of interfaith alliances at their schools. The alliances would operate under a larger umbrella group and collaborate on community projects.

In addition to the local projects, the group will examine each other's differences to better understand their religious traditions and values.

Said alliance chairwoman Sarah Akhtar, 16, who attends Fresno's Edison High and is Muslim: "Even if we are different, it doesn't have to make a difference." (MORE)

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

To reach the list moderator, send a message to: info@cair.com

To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/cair-net/

Forwarded Message

Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007 16:02:26 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: MI Vandalism has Sunni, Shia Working for Peace / Israel Arrests Deported Ohio Imam / Men Cleared in FL Port Scare 'Treated Like Animals'

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 1/9/07

* Verse: Reply with Words of Peace
* CAIR-MI: Vandalism has Sunni, Shia Working for Peace
* CAIR-MI Condemns Vandalism of Mosques, Muslim Businesses
            - CAIR-MI: Vandalism Raises Wider Fears (Free Press)
            - CAIR-MI: Vandals Hit Shia Stores (Detroit News)
* Video: CAIR Reps to CNN - Boxer Misled by Muslim-Bashers
            - CAIR: Islamophobes Mislead Senator Boxer
            - Action Requested: Contact Senator Boxer
* Action: Glenn Beck to Produce 'Islam in America' for ABC (AP)
            - Media Matters: Beck's History of Anti-Muslim Smears
            - Action: Contact ABC
* Ohio Muslims Concerned About Safety of Imam Damra
            - Israel Arrests Deported Ohio Imam (AP)
* CAIR-FL: 3 Men Cleared in Port Scare 'Treated Like Animals'
            - CAIR: Airport Screeners Receive Training About Muslims
* CAIR-FL Sponsors Interfaith Program Honoring King
            - CAIR-CA Joins Multi-Faith MLK Prayer Breakfast
* CAIR-SC Joins Discussions on Public Prayer (The State)
* MD: Muslims Protest Shift by School Board (Baltimore Sun)
* US Air Strike Kills Over 20 in Somalia (Reuters)

-----

VERSE OF THE DAY: REPLY WITH WORDS OF PEACE - TOP

"The (true) servants of (God) the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, reply with (words of) peace."

The Holy Quran, 25:63

VERSE OF THE DAY: SPEAK FOR JUSTICE

"Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant."

The Holy Quran, 7:199

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CAIR-MI: VANDALISM IN DETROIT HAS SUNNI, SHI'ITE LEADERS WORKING FOR PEACE - TOP
NIRAJ WARIKOO, Free Press, 1/9/07
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070109/NEWS01/70109023/1011/NEWS09

Concerned about a possible outbreak of sectarian violence in Michigan, Sunni and Shi'ite leaders worked today to repair their ties after Shi'ite-run mosques and businesses in Detroit were targeted over the weekend by men who may have been Sunni.

The Islamic Shura Council of Michigan, a Sunni coalition group based in Bloomfield Hills, said in a statement today that the incidents may have been hate crimes against Shi'ites.

"Islam does not condone vandalism or desecration of any house of worship," said the council's president Mouhib Ayas.

The vandals broke thick windows at several Iraqi Shi'ite-owned establishments along Warren Avenue in Detroit, close to the border with Dearborn.

The attacks came a week after Shi'ites and others celebrated on the day that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was executed. The celebrations, broadcast often on TV, upset some Sunni Muslims in metro Detroit.

The Iraqi Shi'ite owner of one restaurant said that he had received a threatening phone call from a man who cussed at him in Arabic and English before his establishment was vandalized, according to Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. . .

Walid spoke at a Shi'ite mosque late Monday to urge the two sects to be united.

"It's important that Sunnis and Shi'ites come together," Walid said. (MORE)

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CAIR-MI CONDEMNS VANDALISM OF MOSQUES AND BUSINESSES - TOP
Calls for federal investigation of possible hate crimes

(DETROIT, MI, 1/9/07) - The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today called on the FBI to investigate the vandalism of two mosques and five businesses this past weekend in the Warrendale section of Detroit as possible hate crimes. The incidents took place sometime between the evening of Saturday, January 6 and the morning of Sunday, January 7.

The Imam Ali Islamic Center and the Al-Kufa Cultural Forum, along with five businesses including restaurants, a clothing store, and a barber shop, had windows broken by bricks and rocks. Both centers and all of the businesses are owned by Shia Muslims. One owner reported receiving intimidating phone calls the night prior to the incident, in which the caller was speaking Arabic and English. The caller mentioned the fact that the business was Shia-owned.

"Violence against any house of worship is totally unacceptable and should be condemned by people of all faiths," CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid stated. "We call on the federal government to probe these incidents as possible hate crimes and for the Wayne County Prosecutor to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid at dwalid@cair.com or 248-842-1418

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-MI: DAMAGE TO BUSINESSES AND MOSQUES IN DETROIT RAISES WIDER FEARS - TOP
Was it Hussein-connected retaliation, local Shi'ites ask
Cecil Angel, Detroit Free Press, 1/9/07
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070109/NEWS01/701090400/1003/NEWS01

As they repaired the broken windows of at least a dozen businesses and mosques along Warren Avenue in Detroit, many Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims wondered Monday if the vandalism was retaliation by local supporters of Saddam Hussein who resented that they celebrated the hanging of the Iraqi dictator.

Sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone vandalized at least nine businesses and three mosques, all but one Shi'ite, according to Ali Zwen, manager of the Kufa Cultural Forum, a mosque at Warren and Archdale that sustained $4,000 in damage.

Detroit police have not made an arrest for the vandalism that occurred between Greenfield and a few blocks west of the Southfield Freeway. Most of the area's businesses with Arabic script on their signs were undamaged.

Many of the spared businesses are owned by Iraqi-American Christians, Lebanese Americans and others with Middle Eastern roots. The evidence is largely circumstantial that Shi'ites were targeted, but some of the victims say it is too coincidental. . .

If the motivation for vandalism proves to be what she suspects, it could mark a turning point in metro Detroit's Middle Eastern community.

"This is bad because this would be a situation where people are bringing the tensions of the Middle East into metro Detroit," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (MORE)

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CAIR-MI: VANDALS HIT SHI'A STORES - TOP
Muslim leaders cite Saddam's execution in Detroit damage
Darren A. Nichols and Gregg Krupa, Detroit News, 1/9/07
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070109/METRO/701090330/1003

Muslim leaders say a spate of vandalism over the weekend involving stores owned by local Iraqis could stem from brewing sectarian Islamic tension over the execution of Saddam Hussein.

While Shi'a and Sunni Muslims are fighting in Iraq, the two groups generally get along in Metro Detroit and the United States. But Muslim and Arab leaders say the hanging of Saddam, and especially the timing of the execution, spurred hard feelings.

They say the vandalized property was owned or operated by people of Iraqi descent who are Shi'a.

"People are scared to come here. It's very dangerous, this place," said Inaam Alkhafaji, referring to her Detroit business, Dana Media, whose windows were broken.

"It's a war with the Iraqi people. Maybe next time they kill us."

The tension that concerns Muslim leaders was spurred by the timing of the execution, according to Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations and other community leaders. (MORE)

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VIDEO: CAIR REPS SAY SEN. BOXER MISLED BY MUSLIM-BASHERS - TOP

CNN's "Paula Zahn Now, 1/8/07, VIEW THE VIDEO

SEE ALSO:

ISLAMOPHOBES MISLEAD SENATOR BOXER - TOP
By Parvez Ahmed, 1/5/06
http://drparvezahmed.blogspot.com/2007/01/senator-boxer-misjudged-facts-in.html

[Parvez Ahmed is board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. He may be contacted at pahmed@cair.com.]

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) recently rescinded an award to Basim Elkarra, the executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

This disturbing news was met with a flurry of rhetorical high-fives by anti-Muslim extremists in the blogosphere. After Boxer's decision to rescind the award was made public, Elkarra received an e-mailed death threat. That threat is being investigated by the FBI.

But what led Sen. Boxer to rescind the award? The justifications offered range from the amazing to the bizarre.

According to Sen. Boxer's spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz, the senator became "concerned" after she read negative things about CAIR on a virulent anti-Muslim hate site. This despite the fact that the same website describes Sen. Boxer as someone who is "thickheaded" on national security and said, "The nation's dumbest Democrat, Barbara Boxer, has a plan to lose in Iraq."

It is truly disappointing to see Sen. Boxer use such a hate-filled and inflammatory site to form her opinions about CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group.

Just days before Sen. Boxer announced her decision, a demand for just such an action was issued by Joe Kaufman, an anti-Muslim extremist in Florida who has a long history of seeking to marginalize the Muslim community in that state.

Kaufman has in the past promoted terrorist organizations such as Kach and Kahane Chai on his website. In an article published on the forum of the radical Jewish Defense League in Florida, Kaufman praised the Kahane movement and its founder Mier Kahane by stating, "It was perfectly understandable, if he (Kahane) were to have hated Arabs."

Last year, Kaufman once again demonstrated his anti-Muslim bigotry by joining the call of Rev. O'Neal Dozier (who was subsequently removed from the campaign of Florida Governor Charlie Crist in part because of his bigoted views about Muslims) seeking to block the expansion of a mosque in Pompano Beach. "This mosque should not exist on American shores," said Kaufman." (St. Petersburg Times, 7/14/06)

The senator said she also relied on information from Steven Emerson, a "terrorism expert" with a history of defamatory attacks on CAIR almost since its founding in 1994. Emerson was the commentator who first blamed Muslims for the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma.

Sen. Boxer's decision to rescind the award contradicted her previous positive interactions with CAIR and was made without a single phone call or e-mail seeking a rebuttal to the Internet smears. In the past, CAIR received several letters of commendation from the senator. Members of her staff also attended CAIR events.

While American Muslims have grown used to such behavior from the extreme right, it was shocking to see a progressive politician like Sen. Boxer get caught up in our nation's rising tide of Islamophobia.

Sen. Boxer has now signaled a willingness to meet with CAIR officials both in California and in Washington, D.C. This is certainly welcome news.

CAIR has always taken a principled stand against terrorism and religious extremism.

From issuing a statement of condemnation immediately after the 9/11 attacks, to taking out a full-page ad in the Washington Post dissociating Islam from terrorism, to launching the "Not in the Name of Islam" online petition and public service announcement campaigns, CAIR's initiatives all point to an organization unequivocally opposed to terrorism in all its forms.

Representatives of the FBI are frequent participants at CAIR events nationwide and CAIR regularly conducts sensitivity training for federal and local law enforcement agencies.

In defending Boxer's position, Boxer's office has been using recycled news stories about the convictions of two people who had past associations with CAIR.

One of those people, a volunteer board member of a local CAIR chapter, undertook his actions after terminating his association with CAIR. The other person's activities came after he left his employment at CAIR. Whatever they did or did not do in their private capacities has nothing to do with CAIR. Holding CAIR responsible for the actions of former associates is guilt by association.

CAIR has tens of thousands of members, hundreds of volunteer board members and several dozen paid staff members nationwide. It would be unfair and un-American to hold any organization responsible for the actions of every individual, especially when such actions originate outside the scope of their employment or association.

Unfortunately, the general public's ignorance of their American Muslim neighbors is the oxygen that gives life to Islamophobia.

The reality is that American Muslims make up one of the most productive and law-abiding segments of our society. Recent polls show that nearly nine out of ten American Muslims vote regularly and nearly half volunteer for institutions serving the public (compared to a national average of 29 percent). The same poll indicated that American Muslims have high regard for CAIR.

By acting on smears, distortions and guilt by association, Sen. Boxer has failed her Muslim constituents and has betrayed the progressive values of her party and state.

Despite this disturbing episode, we remain committed to working with Sen. Boxer and with any other public officials who seek to build a better and more tolerant America.

---

ACTION REQUESTED: CONTACT SENATOR BOXER - TOP

Please contact Senator Boxer to express your concerns about her decision to rescind the award to Basim Elkarra based on information supplied by Islamophobes and without input from CAIR. Personal letters sent by fax are best, followed by calls and e-mails, in that order. Make sure to include your name and full address and to ask for a response in writing.

(As always, be POLITE and RESPECTFUL.)

WASHINGTON AND STATE OFFICES: http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/offices/index.cfm
E-MAIL: http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/email/policy.cfm
COPY TO: info@cair.com

-----

ACTION: GLENN BECK TO PRODUCE SPECIAL ON 'ISLAM IN AMERICA' FOR ABC - TOP
Glenn Beck Becomes ABC Contributor
Associated Press, 1/9/07
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/tv/1401AP_TV_ABC_Beck.html

CNN Headline News and radio talk-show host Glenn Beck will join ABC's "Good Morning America" as a regular commentator, ABC News said Tuesday.

Beck's radio show can be heard on 232 radio stations and XM satellite radio, and his television offshoot has boosted the ratings for CNN Headline News, where it airs twice each evening.

"Glenn is a leading cultural commentator with a distinct voice," said Jim Murphy, senior executive producer of "Good Morning America." "At times, he is the perfect guest for many of the talk topics we cover on morning news programs."

CNN Headline News said Tuesday that Beck will make several single-topic specials this year, after a previous one on Islamic extremism set a ratings record for the network.

Beck will make specials on people who believe in the apocalypse, Islam in America and the "myths of global warming," the network said.
The first will air in late February or early March. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

GOOD MORNING AMERICA WELCOMED "TALK-RADIO HOST" GLENN BECK TO DISCUSS ISLAM, DIDN'T MENTION BECK'S HISTORY OF SMEARS - TOP
http://mediamatters.org/items/200611280014

Summary: Diane Sawyer hosted Glenn Beck on Good Morning America for a discussion of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey and the pope's recent comments on Islam. Sawyer identified Beck only as a "television and talk-radio host ... who has said it's time for the world to stop buckling to the pressure of radical Islam." She did not note that Beck is a self-identified conservative who has a history of making derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims.

---

CNN'S BECK TO FIRST-EVER MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN: "[W]HAT I FEEL LIKE SAYING IS, 'SIR, PROVE TO ME THAT YOU ARE NOT WORKING WITH OUR ENEMIES'" - TOP
http://mediamatters.org/items/200611150004

On the November 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck interviewed Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7, and asked Ellison if he could "have five minutes here where we're just politically incorrect and I play the cards up on the table." After Ellison agreed, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.'" Beck added: "I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

As Media Matters for America has noted, Beck previously warned that if "Muslims and Arabs" don't "act now" by "step[ping] to the plate" to condemn terrorism, they "will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West" and declared that "Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time" rather than "lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head" will face dire consequences.

ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE.) - TOP

CONTACT ABC to express your concerns about the network's decision to provide a platform for a person with a history of anti-Muslim statements.

CONTACT:

Mr. Jim Murphy
Senior Executive Producer
ABC Good Morning America
147 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023-6503

Phone: (212) 456-0600
Fax: (212) 456-7290
E-Mail: http://abc.go.com/site/contactus.html?cat=Good%20Morning%20America
COPY TO: info@cair.com, nancy.han@abc.com, james.bogdanoff@abc.com, diane.masciale@abc.com, patty.neger@abc.com

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OHIO MUSLIMS CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY OF IMAM DAMRA - TOP
ICE officials allegedly misled public about deported Imam's whereabouts

(CLEVELAND, OHIO, 1/9/07) - The Ohio office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) today expressed concern over misleading reports from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials about the whereabouts of deported Cleveland Imam Fawaz Damra.

[PRESS CONFERENCE: A press conference will be held at the Islamic Center of Cleveland (6055 West 130th Street, Parma, Ohio) at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9.]

For five days, ICE officials told the media, Damra's family and his attorney that the Imam had been transferred to custody of the Palestinian Authority. They now admit that Damra was turned over to Israel on January 4.

Damra, the former Imam of Ohio's largest mosque, was taken from the Monroe County Immigration Detention Center in the early hours of January 3rd and flown by charter plane to Amman, Jordan.

ICE officials initially claimed Damra was turned over to the Palestinian Authority (PA), but Israeli and international human rights groups later confirmed that Damra is being detained by Israel at an Israeli interrogation center. Damra's family has not heard from him since January 1.

"This looks more like a 'rendition' than a deportation," said CAIR-Ohio Board Member Dr. Ahmad Al-Akhras. "Given Israel's history of prisoner mistreatment, we are concerned about Imam Damra's safety and are very concerned that our own government apparently sought to mislead the public about his whereabouts."

SEE: Supporters Fear Deported Damra Detained in Israel (Plain Dealer)
http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/116833585148420.xml&coll=2

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.

-END-

CONTACT: CAIR-OHIO Cleveland Chapter Director, Julia A. Shearson, 216-830-2247 or 216-440-2247, E-mail: julia@cair-ohio.com; CAIR Vice President, Dr. Ahmad Al-Akhras, 614-989-5916, E-Mail: ahmad@cair-ohio.com

SEE ALSO:

ISRAELI SECURITY SAYS DEPORTED MUSLIM LEADER ARRESTED IN WEST BANK - TOP
David N. Goodman, Associated Press, 1/9/07
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070109/UPDATE/701090406

DETROIT -- The former imam of Ohio's largest mosque, who was deported to his native West Bank last week, was arrested by Israeli authorities after crossing from Jordan, his brother says. Israeli authorities confirmed Tuesday that he was in custody.

Fawaz Damra, 46, had been jailed in Monroe County, Mich., for a year while awaiting deportation for concealing his aid to Islamic Jihad -- classified by the U.S. as a terrorist group -- when he applied for U.S. citizenship in 1994. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced his removal Friday.

His brother, Nabil Damra, said the Red Cross and the Center for the Defense of the Individual, an Israeli advocacy group for Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories, told him that Fawaz Damra was in custody and had been taken to Israel's Al Jalameh detention facility in Israel, near Jenin, West Bank.

The Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, confirmed his arrest Tuesday. (MORE)

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CAIR-FL: 3 MEN CLEARED IN PORT SCARE 'TREATED LIKE ANIMALS' - TOP
Men Say They Were Targeted Because Of Ethnicity, Creed
Local 10, 1/9/07
http://www.local10.com/news/10703815/detail.html

Three Middle Eastern men who were arrested and later had charges against them dropped over a brief terrorism scare at the Port of Miami on Sunday said they were unfairly targeted because of their ethnicity and creed.

Amar Al-Hadad said he was "humiliated, disrespected (and) treated real badly just because my name is an Arabic name and I'm a Muslim."

The Iraqi-born Al-Hadad cried during the Monday news conference in which he described the way he, his brother, Hussain Al Hadad, and friend, Hassan El Sayed, were treated.

"We were treated like animals," El Sayed said.

Officials initially said the men, all permanent U.S. residents, had been caught trying to slip past a checkpoint at the port's entrance. . .

Amar and Hussain Al Hadad were both charged with resisting arrest; Hussain Al Hadad was also charged with trespassing, as was El Sayed, a Lebanese national. A judge dismissed the charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Amar Al-Hadad said his driver's license hadn't been returned and wasn't sure which law enforcement agency had it. The three men were detained by the FBI and released before being charged by the Miami-Dade Police Department.

"We demand the return of those IDs as soon as possible so that they can go about their lives in a normal fashion," said Areeb Naseer, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The three men said they were considering filing a lawsuit.

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: FOR AIRPORT SCREENERS, MORE TRAINING ABOUT MUSLIMS - TOP
As pilgrims return from the hajj, the TSA gives its workers a refresher on how to treat Muslims at US security checkpoints.
Alexandra Marks, Christian Science Monitor, 1/9/07
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0109/p02s01-ussc.html

Say you're a security screener at the airport. You notice a large group of people wearing white robes, speaking a strange language. The women have head scarves and the men long beards. They look nervous. One of them is holding a Koran. Another appears to be praying. What do you do?

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), simply assume they're devout Muslims returning from the annual hajj in Mecca.

During the next few weeks, as many as 20,000 American Muslims will be returning to the United States from their pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. The TSA has ramped up cultural-awareness training for all 43,000 of its screeners. The goal: to remind screeners what to expect from devout Muslims and how to go about screening them so it's in concert with their religious beliefs.

Arab-American and Muslim-American leaders are applauding the effort. But they say it's part of a much-needed larger cultural and political conversation about Islam and Arab culture that can help the nation as it heals from the aftereffects of 9/11.

"Their efforts are a modest but important beginning," says Jack Shaheen, professor emeritus of mass communications at Southern Illinois University. "But until such time that we react to the vilification of and discrimination against Arabs in the same way we react to the vilification of others like Jews, blacks, and Hispanics, I'm not going to go dancing in the streets." . . .

In its hajj training refresher, the TSA is reminding officers that devout Muslims pray five times a day, and to expect it. The TSA also maintains that it does not in any way target individuals based on their background or religious affiliation. . .

The Council on American-Islamic Relations applauds the special attention. It says it will be checking airports around the country during the next few weeks to ensure all goes smoothly.

Complaints about detentions

But at the same time, the civil rights organization says it's seen an increase in reports about perceived discrimination against Muslims, or people who look Muslim. Many of the complaints concern incidents such as individuals being routinely detained for several hours at the airport and being asked intimate questions about their beliefs - whether they pray and at which mosque. "These are things that really aren't the business of security personnel," says Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (MORE)

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CAIR-FL SPONSORS INTERFAITH PROGRAM HONORING KING - TOP

(ORLANDO, FL, 1/9/07) - The Orlando chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Orlando) is inviting members of the local Muslim community and people of all faiths to participate in a special program honoring the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

WHAT: "In the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."
WHEN: Wednesday, January 10, 2007, 7:30 - 9 p.m.
WHERE: Washington Shores Presbyterian Church, 3600 Rogers Dr., Orlando, Florida

For more information, contact: Elder Rufus Brooks, RufusBrooks7@aol.com; Reverend Patricia Tomblin, Patsybt545@aol.com, 407-834-1423

Presented in cooperation with the Faith Diversity Task Force, the Interfaith Community Conversation, and InterfaithMessenger@webtv.net

CONTACT: CAIR-Orlando at 407-649-1660 or orlando@cairfl.org

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-CA JOINS MULTI-FAITH PRAYER BREAKFAST - TOP

(ANAHEIM, CA, 1/9/07) - The Southern California Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) encourages the Muslim community and people of all faiths to attend the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Week Celebration.

The event will feature various religious leaders, who will share the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy on their particular faith.

WHAT: Multi-faith Prayer Breakfast
WHEN: Wednesday, January 10, 2007, at 8 a.m.
WHERE: FAME Renaissance Center, 1968 West Adams, Los Angeles

WHO: Keynote addresses will be delivered by the Reverend Dr. William Epps and the Rev. Dr. John Hunter. CAIR-LA Community Relations Manager Sherrel Johnson and other religious leaders will also speak.

CONTACT: For more information, please call Wendy Gladney Brooks at (626) 791-3847, or email her at wendy@personalservicesplus.com

Presented by the Board of Directors of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles (SCLC/LA), the Rev. Eric P. Lee, Sr., Executive Director and the SCLC Dream Foundation and the Martin Luther King Legacy Association (MLKLA).

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CAIR-SC: DISCUSSIONS ON PUBLIC PRAYER BEGIN THIS WEEK - TOP
The State, 1/9/07
http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/local/16414730.htm

A series of community interfaith discussions on public expressions of faith will begin Thursday in the Palmetto Room of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, 930 Richland St.

The Greater Columbia Community Relations Council is teaming up with the S.C. Christian Action Council and the S.C. Council on American-Islamic Relations to present the series, which is free and open to the public.

The first session, focusing on Muslim prayer in public places, will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday. For more information, call (803) 733-1130.

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MD: MUSLIMS PROTEST SHIFT BY THE SCHOOL BOARD - TOP
Gina Davis, Baltimore Sun, 1/9/07
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/education/bal-md.co.board09jan09,0,6308888.story

Area Muslim leaders are protesting a change in the Baltimore County school board's policy on public comments at board meetings, saying that using a lottery system to determine who can address the panel stifles their criticism of education policies.

Leaders of the Baltimore-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee have pressed the school system to close schools on certain Muslim holidays as they do for Jewish observances, and have criticized the makeup of a committee formed to study school calendar issues. They have spoken frequently at board meetings in recent years - and are sometimes the only speakers during the public comment session.

Last week, they reiterated their call for the resignation of board member Joy Shillman, who, they say, has failed to pay attention to their remarks.

"That is not true, but I don't want to talk about it," Shillman said yesterday.

Under the new system, instituted in November to replace a first-come, first-served process, 10 names are drawn from a box. Each speaker is limited to three minutes at the end of the meeting and must avoid talking about matters that are subject to an appeals process, such as personnel issues.

The Muslim group's leaders maintain that the new system is directed at them.

"Their motivation is to muzzle the public speakers," Dr. Bash Pharoan, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said yesterday. "We've had a large number of people at the meetings to speak on our issues since 2004. Many times we've filled the hallways and the meeting room." . . .

The board is scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

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US AIR STRIKE KILLS OVER 20 IN SOUTH SOMALIA-ELDER - TOP
Reuters, 1/9/07
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L09125886.htm

U.S. warplanes killed between 22 and 27 people in southern Somalia on Tuesday in what appeared to be a second air strike aimed at al Qaeda suspects thought to be in the area, an elder from a neighbouring town said.

"U.S. planes struck at Bankajirow this morning between 10 a.m. and noon (0700-0900 GMT). I think the U.S. planes saw donkey carts crossing the grazing land and thought it was the Islamists trying to flee," the elder told Reuters by telephone.

The elder from Afmadow town, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, spoke to Reuters by telephone from the Kenya-Somalia border crossing at Liboi.

An unknown number of people also died when U.S. warplanes attacked the village of Hayo on Monday in a hunt for three al Qaeda suspects thought to be in Somalia, a government source said.

Hayo and Bankajirow are between Afmadow and Doble, areas near the Kenyan border where the Somali government and allied Ethiopian forces believe Islamists fled after being chased across south Somalia in a two-week war last month.

The elder -- a traditional leader in Somali culture -- said the Islamists were not in the area under attack but about 240 km (150 miles) further south at Ras Kamboni, a suspected hideout for militants at the southernmost tip of Somalia.

"People don't understand why the Americans have bombed the field. The Islamists are not there, they are miles away," he said. Local people have fled the area but are unable to cross the sealed Kenyan border, he added.

The Pentagon has declined to comment on the air strikes. There have also been reports of helicopter attacks. Somali officials have declined to say whether the attacks were carried out by U.S. or Ethiopian aircraft.

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CAIR
Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
URL: http://www.cair.com

-----

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Forwarded Message

Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 18:08:20 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Muslims Call for Federal Probe into Vandalism / Muslim Record Label Seeks to Make a Difference

HTML Attachment [ Scan and Save to Computer | Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS – 1/10/07

* Verse: Work to Inspire
* CAIR-MI: Muslims Call for Federal Probe into Vandalism (AP)
            - CAIR-MI: Imams to Meet on Vandalisms (Detroit News)
            - CAIR-MI: Muslims Seek Peace (Free Press)
* OH: Imam’s Handover to Israel Puzzles Muslims (Plain Dealer)
            - Video: CAIR-OH Joins Press Conference on Detained Imam
* Congressman Ellison: 'End the Occupation' in Iraq (AP)
* DC Event: ‘Face to Face with a Guantanamo Detainee’
* CAIR-CAN: Muslims Big on ‘Little Mosque’ (Ottawa Sun)
* MI: Muslim Record Label Seeks to Make a Difference
            - IL: Muslim Rapper ‘Walks’ to the Top of the Charts
* Somali Officials Accuse US of Killing Civilians (Daily Star)

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VERSE OF THE DAY: WORK TO INSPIRE - TOP

By the declining day, humankind is at a great disadvantage, save those who do good works, admonish one another to be forthright, and inspire each other to endure hardship.

Holy Quran, Chapter 103

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CAIR-MI: ISLAMIC GROUP CALLS FOR FEDERAL PROBE INTO VANDALISM OF BUILDINGS - TOP
Jeff Karoub, Associated Press, 1/10/07
http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070110/NEWS02/701100352/1001/news

An Islamic coalition representing southeast Michigan Sunni groups and centers said Tuesday that the vandalism of Shiite mosques and businesses over the weekend could be hate crimes and called on the federal government to investigate.

Late Saturday night or early Sunday, vandals broke windows of two mosques and five businesses along Warren Avenue owned by Iraqi Shiites, the second largest Islamic sect after the Sunnis.

The owner of a restaurant whose windows were broken said he had received threatening phone calls before the vandalism that referred to his Shiite creed, according to the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan, based in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills.

Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens Bell said the department is investigating the vandalism and could not confirm if the incidents were hate crimes. She said police will review security tapes to try to identify the vandals.

The FBI said in a statement Tuesday that it has talked to the Council on American-Islamic Relations and leaders of other community groups. If the Detroit police find information that links the vandalism to federal civil-rights violations, the FBI would "pursue it accordingly." (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-MI: IMAMS TO HOLD SPECIAL MEETING ON VANDALISM INCIDENTS - TOP
Gregg Krupa, Detroit News, 1/9/07
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070109/UPDATE/701090438

DETROIT -- Imams from across Metro Detroit will meet Wednesday in Dearborn Heights to discuss a spate of vandalism in the Warrendale area. Many local Muslims who are originally from Iraq believe they may have been targeted.

While community leaders stress that until the perpetrators of the damage are identified and interviewed, it is unclear whether divided opinions in the Muslim and Arab communities over the execution of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, or the war in Iraq generally, have led to the vandalism.

But it is clear that many Shi'a Muslims, who emigrated from Iraq to Metro Detroit in the early 1990s, during the Gulf War, believe they have been targeted because some in their community celebrated Saddam's hanging, despite criticism of the timing and conduct of the execution throughout the wider Arab and Muslim worlds and even among Europeans, President Bush and members of his administration.

Many Iraqi immigrants in Metro Detroit have been ardent supporters of the overthrow, arrest and execution of Saddam, in part because many had family members who were killed, tortured and imprisoned under his regime.

Other Muslims and people of Arab descent have been less supportive of the war, and many decried the scheduling of Saddam's execution on what some considered the first day of Eid al-Adha, which is among the holiest festivals on the Islamic calendar. As was the case throughout much of the Arab world, no small number of people of Arab descent in Metro Detroit said the trial of Saddam and the taunting of him by those intended to guard his execution had made him appear a target of sectarian revenge -- rather than a brutal, criminal dictator.

The half-dozen businesses that were damaged over the weekend are owned by Shi'a Muslims and the two mosques damaged are attended largely by the Shi'a.

Dawud Walid, of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said that 12 to 15 imams, Muslim clergymen, are expected to attend the closed meeting at the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights on Wednesday.

"We will discuss the issues, keep everyone in the community calm and preach the message of unity to our congregations this Friday," Walid said.

CAIR and the Muslim Shura Council of Southeastern Michigan have asked the FBI to investigate the vandalism as possible hate crimes, directed at the Shi'a Iraqi community. (MORE)

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CAIR-MI: MUSLIMS SEEK PEACE - TOP
Sunnis, Shi'ites to meet after Detroit spots vandalized
Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 1/10/07
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070110/NEWS05/701100417/1001/BUSINESS05

Concerned about the possible spread of sectarian violence in metro Detroit, Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims are set to meet today in a Dearborn Heights mosque to hash out any tensions between the diverse Middle Eastern and Muslim communities.

As Iraqi-American Shi'ites seethed over the trashing of several of their businesses and mosques in Detroit over the weekend, leaders in the Shi'ite and Sunni sects of Islam worked Tuesday to try to defuse animosity between the two sides that has existed for years but was amplified with the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in December.

There was some talk of reprisal attacks, but no more incidents were reported Tuesday. Detroit police are investigating the vandalism and are aware that Shi'ite-Sunni tensions may be involved, said Sgt. Eren Stephens, Detroit police spokeswoman. The FBI also is monitoring the situation, said Special Agent Dawn Clenney.

One Sunni leader, Dawud Walid, spent long hours late Monday in a Shi'ite mosque, where he delivered a sermon urging unity.

"It's important that Sunnis and Shi'ites come together," said Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (MORE)

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OH: DAMRA'S HANDOVER PUZZLES MUSLIMS - TOP
Israel holds ex-leader of Parma mosque
Robert L. Smith, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/10/07
http://www.cleveland.com/damra/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1168422225322880.xml&coll=2

Local Muslims reacted with angry incredulity Tuesday to news that the U.S. government sent their one-time spiritual leader into the hands of Israeli security and that he was arrested before ever reaching home.

While some called for help pinpointing Fawaz Damra's whereabouts and condition, others accused the U.S. government of deception and possible crimes in his disappearance.

"I didn't think we could deport people to where they'd be in harm's way," said Bashar Hamdan, a member of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, which Damra led for nearly 15 years. "We sent him to prison in Israel. I thought that was against the rules?"

Maybe, maybe not, said David Leopold, a Cleveland immigration attorney and law professor.

The law allows the government to deport people to nearly any nation that agrees to accept them, provided they have some connection to that land, they would not face torture and the deportation doesn't break any prior legal agreements.

"I guess the question becomes, Was the proper procedure followed to the letter here?'" Leopold said.

The answer seems to grow murkier by the day. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

VIDEO: CAIR-OH JOINS PRESS CONFERENCE ON IMAM’S DEPORTATION - TOP
Damra in Israeli Custody
Mark Urycki, WKYC–TV, 1/9/07

Statements by Rev. Werner Lange and CAIR-OHIO Rep Julia Shearson http://www.wkyc.com/video/player.aspx?aid=29697&sid=61514&bw=  

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MUSLIM REP. ELLISON: 'END THE OCCUPATION' IN IRAQ - TOP
Associated Press, 1/10/07
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2007/1/10/94043.shtml?s=ic

The first Muslim member of Congress says the solution to Iraq lies in an immediate withdrawal of military forces and focusing instead on political and diplomatic efforts.

"We could describe it as a redeployment or withdrawal, but I think we have run the course in terms of our ability to resolve this conflict militarily," said Rep. Keith Ellison, a freshman Minnesota Democrat.

"I think we need to have a political and economic and diplomatic engagement, and we need to encourage the forces that are in Iraq to begin to resolve the violence in Iraq," Ellison said Tuesday during an interview with The Associated Press.

Ellison argued that President Bush's expected plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq is "way too late, way too little" to make a difference.

"So rather than do something small and ineffective, why not get about the business of what we're going to have to do eventually, which is to begin to end the occupation?" he said.

Bush is expected to ask Congress for $100 billion in additional funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I want to see (the request) first, I want to actually look at it, but I'm not inclined to continue to support a war or an occupation that he has no plans to get us out of, and which is so costly in terms of dollars and lives of American soldiers - but also Iraqis," Ellison said. (MORE)

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DC: ‘FACE TO FACE WITH A GUANTANAMO DETAINEE’ - TOP
1/9/07
https://www.law.georgetown.edu/news/releases/January.10.2007.html

CONTACT: Kara Tershel, (202) 662-9500

WHAT: "Face to Face with a Guantanamo Detainee" (A videoconference with former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg, followed with remarks by Gitanjali Gutierrez, attorney, Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative, Center for Constitutional Rights)
WHEN: Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Georgetown University Law Center, Hart Auditorium, McDonough Hall, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

This event is sponsored by the Georgetown Law Muslim Law Students Association and Georgetown Law's Human Rights Action.

A Web cast will be available at https://www.law.georgetown.edu/webcast/

Media interested in attending should contact Kara Tershel at kat5@law.georgetown.edu

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CAIR-CAN: LOCAL MUSLIMS BIG ON LITTLE MOSQUE - TOP
Megan Gillis, Ottawa Sun, 1/10/07
http://ottsun.canoe.ca/News/OttawaAndRegion/2007/01/10/3276287-sun.html

Halal can be hilarious.

CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie was already getting big laughs before it debuted last night from an Ottawa-based Muslim group who called it stereotype-busting and just plain funny.

A local comic behind a show dubbed We Ain't Terrorists expected it to be full of yuks, too.

Karl Nickner, of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, got an advance screening of the sitcom set in the fictional Saskatchewan town of Mercy and called it a good attempt at showing Canada's diversity.

Just as important, added Nickner, "I thought it was funny."

He hopes non-Muslims won't miss some of the jokes, like when a denizen of Mercy overhears the imam talk about washing bodies in the basement and thinks it's a murder plot. It's traditional for Muslim families to wash their loved ones before burial. (MORE)

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MICHIGAN-BASED MUSLIM RECORD LABEL SEEKS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH ITS WORLD MUSIC RELEASES - TOP
World Music Central, 1/10/07
http://www.worldmusiccentral.org/article.php/20070110065315266

Grand Blanc (Michigan), USA – Unity One Investments LLC, a Michigan-based investments Company, announced yesterday the official launch of its new World Music record label: Global One Records.

When the Muslim owned record label first emerged in the summer of 2006, its founders made it their goal not just to oppose the acts of the terrorists, but to open a new venue for the positive light of Islam to shine forth through its music.

The label’s vision was to bring together unique musical styles from around the world and to promote artists that are dedicated to making a difference with their music. For instance, their newly signed artist Ani, a Malaysian born Muslim female singer and Grammy certified songwriter whose new album “One” speaks of the universality of faith and love for God. Over a beautifully-produced, mid-tempo beat, she sings “there is no difference in the God we pray to” seeking to weave an important link between humanity.

Omar Marquis Khan, another one of the label’s artists dedicated his record “A cry for Allah” to all the victims of the 2005 natural disasters, especially the Tsunami and Katrina and Pakistan’s devastating earthquake. Moved by the suffering of the victims, Khan decided to share the revenues from the sales of his records with the relief organization Helping Hands. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

IL: MUSLIM RAPPER ‘WALKS’ TO THE TOP OF THE CHARTS - TOP
A street-smart Muslim kid from Chicago finds himself skating to the top of the charts - but not forgetting where he came from or who he is.
Zahir Janmohamed, Alt Muslim, 1/10/07
http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=P1853_0_24_0

One of the few places where Islam has found a place in modern Western culture is in hip-hop music. Artists like Mos Def and Jurassic 5 have shown that it is possible for Muslim identities and Islamic values to find their place amid the bling of the hip-hop world. Now, a street-smart Muslim kid from Chicago has attracted a lot of attention, proving that the aforementioned artists aren't a fluke.

Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, otherwise known as Lupe Fiasco, grew up in Chicago's southside and began rapping while in high school. Raised in a family of 9 children, Fiasco was immersed in global cultural influences (thanks to his well-traveled mother) and grounded in the local Muslim community.

After a few guest appearances on various rap singles, Fiasco attracted the attention of Atlantic Records (founded by the late Muslim-American Ahmet Ertegun) as well as Jay-Z, who assisted him with the production of his debut album. The iconic style magazine GQ recently named Fiasco the "Breakout Artist of the Year", and Fiasco was one of the first hip-hop artists to secure a fashion endorsement before releasing an album (an avid skateboarder, Fiasco was spotted by Reebok wearing one of their caps and recruited him).

But it's not just his fashion sense that has been receiving accolades. Rolling Stone magazine praised Fiasco's Grammy-nominated debut album, Food and Liquor, observing that "Fiasco reflects on the personal and the political, and reminds fans of everything hip-hop can be." The Washington Post noted that when "the Muslim MC rhymes over well-known hip-hop tracks and manages to outshine the artists who made the beats famous - without mentioning sex or illegal substances - his skill is undeniable."

That talent is apparent in Fiasco's "Muhammad Walks," a clever remix of the famous Kanye West song "Jesus Walks", which can be downloaded free because, as Fiasco raps in the song, "I ain't trying to make profit of off the Prophet." (MORE)

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SOMALI OFFICIALS ACCUSE AMERICANS OF KILLING UP TO 31 CIVILIANS IN AIR ATTACKS - TOP
Daily Star staff, 1/10/07
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=78397

At least 31 people were killed in Somalia after the United States launched air strikes Tuesday on suspected Al-Qaeda targets, amid criticism that it risks further destabilizing the lawless Horn of Africa Nation. A Somali Defense Ministry official said at least two helicopters struck targets in southern Somalia, where a US Air Force AC-130 gunship had pounded two villages Sunday.

A Somali lawmaker said 31 civilians, including two newlyweds, died in Tuesday's assault by the helicopters near Afmadow, a town in an area of forested hills close to the Kenyan border, 350 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu.

The report could not be independently verified.

Local village elders said at least 19 civilians had been killed in the gunship attack on the village of Hayo on Sunday.

But government spokesman Abdel-Rahman Dinari said it was not known how many people were killed, "but we understand there were a lot of casualties. Most were Islamic fighters."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman confirmed Sunday's air strike, but would not comment on reports of the helicopter attacks, although he indicated US forces were not involved.

"We acknowledge the fact that the United States military did conduct a strike in Somalia on Sunday," Whitman said. (MORE)

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Fax: 202-488-0833
E-mail: info@cair.com
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Forwarded Message

Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 15:18:27 -0500
From:"CAIR" <info@cair.com>
Subject: CAIR-NET: Maryland's First Muslim Lawmaker Takes Office / Incitement: 'Koran is a Document of Hate, Death' / Politicians Should Not Cower Before Bigots

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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

AMERICAN MUSLIM NEWS BRIEFS - 1/11/07

* Verse: Be Kind to Orphans and Feed the Poor
* Maryland's First Muslim Lawmaker Takes Office (AP)
            - Incitement: 'Koran is a Document of Hate, Death'
            - Ellison's Move on Quran Shows Political Acumen (Roll Call)
* CAIR-MI: Islamic Leaders Meet to Ease Tensions (AP)
            - CAIR-MI: Leaders Push Unity After Vandalism (Detroit News)
* CAIR-MI Rep Appointed to Worker Issues Board
* CAIR-Chicago Rep to Speak at Gitmo Protest
            - CAIR-Chicago Annual Event Set for February 11
            - CAIR-NY Annual Banquet: Empowering the Muslim Voice
* CAIR: Politicians Should Not Cower Before Bigots (LA Times)
            - CAIR: 'Islamic Fascism' Rhetoric Unhelpful (Post-Gazette)
* CAIR: US Trains Airport Staff to Handle Haj Pilgrims (Arab News)
            - CA: Pilgrimage a Life-Changer for Local Muslims
* ABC Turns Blind Eye to Glenn Beck's Anti-Muslim Smears
            - Action: Contact ABC
            - Beck: Muslim Rep Got 'Poorest-Worded Question of All Time'
* Resources: Polls, Statistics Related to Muslim 1995-2007

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VERSE OF THE DAY: BE KIND TO ORPHANS AND FEED THE POOR - TOP

"As for man, when his Lord tries him through giving him honor and blessings, he says: 'My Lord is bountiful to me.' When He tries him through restricting his subsistence, he says: 'My Lord has humiliated me.' But you did not show kindness to the orphan, nor did you encourage each other in feeding the poor. Greedily you lay your hands on the inheritance of the weak, and you love wealth with all your hearts.

"Nay! You should know, when the earth will be pounded to powder, your Lord will come, with angels standing in ranks, and hell shall be brought in sight. On that Day man will remember his deeds, but how is that remembrance going to profit him? He will say: 'Alas! Would that I had sent forth (some good deeds) for my life (to come).'"

The Holy Quran, 89:15-24

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MARYLAND'S FIRST MUSLIM LAWMAKER TAKES OFFICE - TOP
KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press, 1/11/07
http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070111/NEWS/70111015

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland's first Muslim lawmaker took office Wednesday, saying he was proud to make history but not interested in being known only for his religion.

Nevertheless, the milestone was sweet for Democrat Saqib Ali of Gaithersburg, who was targeted by an anti-Muslim protester during his campaign. In August, a protester stood outside his house with an "Islam sucks" poster and a T-shirt that said, "This mind is an Allah-free zone."

The opinion wasn't widespread, though, and Ali defeated incumbent Delegate Joan Stern for the Montgomery County seat in the Democratic primary.

As Ali sat awaiting his first day in office Wednesday, holding his snoozing 8-month-old daughter outside the House chamber, he said the anti-Muslim protester was an exception to his experience on the campaign.

"Occasionally people would ask if I was Muslim, but most of the time it was a curiosity, not an obstacle," said Ali, a software engineer who had never held elected office before.

About the protester, who was warned by police and didn't return, Ali said, "It was disappointing that that kind of bigotry would still rear its head, but I understand it was an isolated incident."

There was no religious controversy as Ali took the oath of office with his colleagues. Maryland lawmakers do not hold their hands on a religious text while taking office. Earlier this month, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison became the first Muslim in Congress, and swore his oath on a Quran that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

INCITEMENT WATCH: 'KORAN IS A DOCUMENT OF HATE, DEATH' - TOP

MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN SWORE TO DEFEND U.S.
Tucson Citizen, 1/10/07
http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/frontpage/38228.php

Keith Ellison, a Muslim, has been elected to Congress by the people of Minnesota.

Before his swearing in, he alleged "knowledge and wisdom can be gleaned from a number of sources, including the Koran." He uses as justification what he interprets as a view of Thomas Jefferson. . .

Following the Koran is about more than religion. The Koran is a document of hate, death and purpose of a world caliphate incompatible with our laws. Its interest is dominance by Islam.

If Speaker Pelosi has an ounce of the ethics and honesty she has espoused, she will carefully watch Ellison and, if he ever furthers adoption of a caliphate, see that he is unhesitatingly removed from Congress.

The camel's nose has now entered the tent. Muslims are on the move with the intent of destroying America's economy, political system and culture. (MORE)

SEND POLITE COMMENTS TO: letters@tucsoncitizen.com
COPY TO: info@cair.com

Letters must include the writer's name, address and a daytime telephone number. Letters are limited to 250 words.

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ELLISON'S MOVE ON QURAN SHOWS POLITICAL ACUMEN - TOP
Nicole Duran, Roll Call, 1/11/07
http://rollcall.com/issues/52_62/politics/16513-1.html

Freshman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) endured a torrent of negative press after he was endorsed by Minneapolis Democratic leaders to replace then-retiring Rep. Martin Sabo (D-Minn.) last May.

But Ellison's recent handling of an unexpected run-in with Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) before he even took office may squelch any lingering doubts about his ability to cope with trying circumstances. And it could dissuade any potential 2008 Democratic primary challengers who might have considered the tyro Congressman an inviting target.

Goode attacked Ellison's decision to use a Quran instead of a Bible during his swearing-in ceremony - a completely optional bit of pomp and circumstance intended to give new Members a chance to have a photo of their big moment captured for posterity.

All Members are officially sworn-in en masse beforehand, sans Bible or any other religious text.

In the view of many political observers, Ellison, the first Muslim to enter Congress, responded to Goode with eloquence and grace. Then, as his coup de grace, he used a Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson for his ceremonial swearing-in. (MORE)

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CAIR-MI: ISLAMIC LEADERS MEET TO DISCUSS VANDALISM, EASE TENSIONS - TOP
JEFF KAROUB, Associated Press, 1/10/07

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) - About 20 religious, community and academic leaders met Wednesday to discuss the vandalism of Shiite mosques and businesses in Detroit and help ease tensions between local followers of the Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam.

The closed-door meeting was held at the Islamic House of Wisdom, near where vandals broke the windows of two mosques and six businesses owned by Iraqi Shiites, the second-largest Islamic sect after the Sunnis.

Detroit police have not confirmed a motive for the vandalism. But some local Muslims believe it is related to events in Iraq, particularly the Dec. 29 execution of Saddam Hussein by that nation's Shiite-controlled government and the resulting celebration by Shiites in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

"We need to tell our communities not to rush to judgment on who the perpetrators were. However, if they were Sunni it's not indicative of what the Sunni leaders preach in the mosque," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"We were all reiterating the same point - our unity as Muslims takes precedence over being Sunni or Shiite," said Walid, whose group helped organize Wednesday's meeting. The others were the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-MI: MUSLIM LEADERS PUSH UNITY AFTER VANDALISM - TOP
Gregg Krupa, Detroit News, 1/11/07
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070111/LIFESTYLE04/701110356/1003/METRO

DEARBORN HEIGHTS -- Dozens of Muslim leaders from both major branches of Islam called for unity Wednesday in the wake of several incidents of vandalism last weekend, which many Iraqis who are Shi'a Muslims believe was intended to intimidate them.

While the division between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims sometimes leads to conflict in other places in the world, the American Muslim community is generally unified. But concerns that the vandalism might threaten that equanimity in Metro Detroit spurred calls for the meeting. . .

The most pointed discussion occurred when some leaders said they found the unbridled exultation in the celebration of the execution of Saddam Hussein disrespectful and not in keeping with Muslim traditions -- especially at the start of a major Muslim holiday. But people of Iraqi descent who are Shi'a Muslims in Metro Detroit have long, personal experiences with Saddam, and they had greeted his demise jubilantly.

"It was an interesting conversation," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council of American Islamic Relations-Michigan. "It was less to do about the actual vandalism than Sunni and Shi'a relations in general." (MORE)

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CAIR-MI REP APPOINTED TO BOARD OF INTERFAITH COMMITTEE ON WORKER ISSUES - TOP

(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 1/11/07) - CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid was yesterday appointed to the executive board of the Detroit-Metropolitan Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues. Walid was among five people to receive the prestigious three-year appointment.

The Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues has 60 chapters nationwide, and its Metro-Detroit office is based in Oak Park. The goal of the organization is to advocate for the rights of workers, regardless of their religious and ethnic affiliations.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid at dwalid@cair.com or 248-842-1418.

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CAIR-CHICAGO REP TO SPEAK AT GITMO PROTEST - TOP

WHAT: International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo

Join Chicago-area peace groups to take a "Stand Against Torture" and act in solidarity with others nationwide protesting the five year anniversary of the first prisoners being brought to Guantanamo Bay.

WHEN: Thursday, January 11, 2007, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Speakers Include: Christina Abraham, CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Coordinator

WHERE: Federal Plaza -- Downtown Chicago, (Dearborn between Jackson and Adams)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-CHICAGO ANNUAL EVENT SET FOR FEBRUARY 11 - TOP

CAIR-Chicago's Annual Event is set to take place on Sunday, February 11th, 2007 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook. Please mark your calendars and show your support by attending that day. Reserve your ticket today by going to: http://www.cairchicago.org/rsvp2007.php.

Tickets are $65 bought in advance, or $90 at the door.

We are still recruiting volunteers to help with this event. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Dina Rehab at outreach@cairchicago.org.

Be part of helping a chapter of the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group in the country.

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CAIR-NY ANNUAL BANQUET: EMPOWERING THE MUSLIM VOICE - TOP

THEME: Freedom of Speech: Empowering the Muslim Voice
WHEN: Saturday, May 5, 2007, 6:30 to 9:30pm
WHERE: Manhattan Center Studios, 311 West 34th Street, New York, N.Y
CONTACT: 212-870-2002, E-Mail: civilrights@cair-ny.org

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CAIR-CA: MUSLIM AWARD - TOP
Los Angeles Times, 1/11/07
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-le-thursday11.4jan11,1,18689.story

Re "Boxer rescinds award to Islamic activist," Jan. 6

I was saddened when I read about Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) rescinding her award to a Muslim activist.

Muslims across the nation are proud of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for being the ambassadors for Muslims in the United States. I'm concerned that Boxer made her decision without meeting with the council to hear its side of the story. She should return the award and maintain the relationship she started with California Muslims.

For a liberal and progressive politician like Boxer, she should be better than to cower to the right-wing, anti-Muslim and pro-Israeli elements on which she based her facts.

MUNEER ADHAMI
Corona

SEE ALSO:

CAIR: SANTORUM TO THINK ABOUT U.S. ENEMIES - TOP
Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07010/752531-84.stm

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has joined a conservative Washington think tank where he will found and direct a program called "America's Enemies."

The program will study "threats posed to America and the West from a growing array of anti-Western forces that are increasingly casting a shadow over our future and violating religious liberty around the world," according to a statement from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where Mr. Santorum will be a senior fellow. . .

Mr. Santorum is a good fit for the center, said its president, M. Edward Whelan III.

"Our mission is to explore how the Judeo-Christian moral tradition applies to public policy. And there is no issue more pressing than that which radical Islam poses," he said.

Mr. Santorum has spoken frequently on what he calls "Islamic fascism" as the primary threat to the United States. In an article for Crisis magazine, he defined it as "a radical, perverted form of Islam" that seeks world domination. . .

Corey Saylor, national legislative director for the Council on American Islamic Relations, expressed concern about the program, and criticized Mr. Santorum's prior discussion of radical Islam.

The term "Islamic fascism" is "a ridiculous attempt to link Islam with one of the worst horrors of the 20th century. Islam had nothing to do with fascism," he said.

"It's a rhetorical term that doesn't define any problems or solve any problems."

Mr. Saylor said he hoped Mr. Santorum would engage with American Muslim organizations and their constituencies.

"That way he can learn more about the faith from the people who are practicing it and who represent large groups of Muslims," he said.

"We think that might help reshape some of his ideas, particularly in the viability of the term Islamic fascism."

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CAIR: US TRAINS AIRPORT STAFF TO HANDLE HAJ PILGRIMS - TOP
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News, 1/11/07
http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=90831&d=11&m=1&y=2007

WASHINGTON, 11 January 2007 - A month after the removal of six imams from a US Airways flight spurred accusations of harassment, the federal government has given airport security trainers cultural awareness training about the annual Haj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

"The cultural awareness training involved reminders about how to screen people with head coverings, policies regarding transport of Zamzam water and the proper respect to show when handling a Qur'an," Amy Kudwa, a transportation security administration spokeswoman, told reporters.

Throughout January, as many as 20,000 American Muslims will be returning to the United States from their Haj pilgrimage. . .

The Council of American-Islamic Relations says its officials gave airport police and FBI, the TSA, Homeland Security Department and customs officials lessons about the pilgrimage and what they can expect from returning Muslims.

The meeting was part of CAIR's nationwide initiative following the removal of six imams from the US Airways flight. Federal officials questioned the men and released them without charges. (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CA: PILGRIMAGE A LIFE-CHANGER FOR LOCAL MUSLIMS - TOP
Christine Morente, San Mateo County Times, 1/11/07
http://www.insidebayarea.com/sanmateocountytimes/ci_4991517

Shoulder-to-shoulder with his wife, Yolla, they shuffled along as one, saying their prayers and asking God for forgiveness.

"Allah is greatest," the Foster City residents said, each time they made a complete revolution around the Kaa'ba, a black cube, believed to be the holiest place in Islam.

There was no chaos among the bodies pressed closely together. No one dared to shove, curse or yell, because all were carrying out hajj, the fifth of Five Pillars in Islam, from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3.

Arslan, 41, and his family have returned after three weeks in Saudi Arabia. He said the trip was life-changing and humbling, as everyone has to shed their belongings and stations in life.

"You feel leveled with everyone else," said Arslan, who is president of the Yaseen Foundation in Belmont. "You are reminded how kind you're supposed to be. You are reminded how humble you're supposed to be. The more good you do to others, the happier you'll be at the end." (MORE)

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GOOD MORNING AMERICA TURNS BLIND EYE TO BECK'S SMEARS, HIRES HIM AS REGULAR COMMENTATOR - TOP
Media matters, 1/9/07
http://mediamatters.org/items/200701090010

On January 9, the Associated Press reported ABC News' announcement that conservative talk show host Glenn Beck will soon join Good Morning America as a "regular commentator." "Glenn is a leading cultural commentator with a distinct voice," GMA senior executive producer Jim Murphy told the AP. "At times, he is the perfect guest for many of the talk topics we cover on morning news programs." But as Media Matters for America has extensively documented, what often distinguishes Beck's "voice" are his inflammatory and controversial comments regarding Muslims, Arabs, Mexicans, and other minorities. For instance, during a November 14, 2006, interview with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who recently became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.'" (MORE)

ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE.) - TOP

CONTACT ABC to express your concerns about the network's decision to provide a platform for a person with a history of anti-Muslim statements.

CONTACT:

Mr. Jim Murphy
Senior Executive Producer
ABC Good Morning America
147 Colu