Islamophobia & Civil Freedoms

  • Muslim group spotlights Islamophobia, distributes ‘blind intolerance’ medicine at RNC

    Source: NBC News. A Muslim civil rights organization kicked off the first day of the Republican National Convention in downtown Cleveland with a news conference Monday morning, criticizing GOP officials and presumptive nominee Donald Trump for what it says are their anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim stances. “We’re trying to raise awareness about the rising tide of Islamophobia in America, and unfortunately Islamophobia has been flourishing within the GOP platform,” Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a nonprofit group, told NBC News. In a satirical move, CAIR also handed out packets of “Islamophobin” — a mock medicine (actually chewing gum) to cure Islamophobia. The packaging says Islamophobin treats “blind intolerance” and “unthinking bigotry” and advises patients to “take two and call a Muslim in the morning.”

     
  • Muslim group on helping San Bernardino shooters’ family: No one should suffer for the sins of others

    Source: Los Angeles Times. The call about the missing man — and the massacre — came in the early afternoon to the front desk of the office in Anaheim. Farhan Khan told Hussam Ayloush, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ executive director in Los Angeles, that his brother-in-law, Syed Rizwan Farook, could not be accounted for after someone barged into a meeting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino and opened fire, killing and wounding scores of people. Khan feared that his wife’s brother was among the dead. Less than an hour later, after Ayloush had urged him to remain calm, Khan called back. Farook was not a victim of the mass shooting, but the suspected author of it, Khan said. Later that day, Ayloush and CAIR took a step the group had never taken before: It would advise the family of a suspected mass shooter and terrorist. “This is not a media center; this is a family that actually has been unable to conduct their normal life.” — Hussam Ayloush, CAIR executive director in Los Angeles

     
  • Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight

    Source: The Washington Post. A quick-thinking traveler had Seen Something, and so she had Said Something. That Something she’d seen had been her seatmate’s cryptic notes, scrawled in a script she didn’t recognize. The curly-haired man [her seatmate] was, the agent informed him politely, suspected of terrorism. The curly-haired man laughed. He laughed because those scribbles weren’t Arabic, or some special terrorist code. They were math.

     
  • How Islamophobia is poisoning our political system

    Source: Complex. With lingering prejudice from the Sept. 11 attacks compounded by the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, politicians in the U.S. and beyond are horribly eager to scapegoat the Muslim community. In the days after the Brussels attack, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called for a “patrol” of Muslim neighborhoods. Presumed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump notoriously called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”While these statements are often dismissed as political grandstanding, anti-Muslim attitudes are reflected in federal policies. Once Islamophobia is both culturally legitimized and state-sanctioned, it can cause staggering damage.

     
  • Muslim women kicked out of California restaurant sue for discrimination

    Source: The Guardian. Seven Muslim women who were kicked out of a southern California restaurant are suing the business for discrimination, alleging that they were singled out for wearing headscarves in an area that advocates say has seen an increase in hate crimes. The women, six of whom were wearing hijabs, say they were ordered to leave Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach on 22 April, ostensibly because they were violating a policy limiting seating to 45 minutes – even though video they took as they were exiting shows that there were open tables throughout the restaurant.

     
  • Muslim woman kicked off plane as flight attendant said she ‘did not feel comfortable’ with the passenger

    Source: Independent. A Muslim woman was asked to get off a plane without any explanation after she asked her neighbour to switch seats. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called for an investigation of a possible “bias motive” as the woman was of Somali descent and was wearing a headscarf. Hakima Abdulle was told to disembark a Southwest Airlines plane at a Chicago airport after she asked the man next to her whether she could move to the aisle seat, and he had agreed.

     
  • Tennessee lawmaker under heat for distributing anti-Muslim DVD

    Source: The Tennessean. A Tennessee Republican lawmaker is taking flak from an advocacy organization and fellow legislators after distributing a DVD centering on Muslims in America. Last week, Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, sent her colleagues a documentary entitled “America’s Mosques Exposed!” The film, produced and narrated by Louie E. Johnston Jr., who runs the website PatriotPastors.net, also suggests that the country’s Muslims are “fundraising for Terrorists.” A Tennessee Republican lawmaker is taking flak from an advocacy organization and fellow legislators after distributing a DVD centering on Muslims in America. Last week, Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, sent her colleagues a documentary entitled “America’s Mosques Exposed!” The film, produced and narrated by Louie E. Johnston Jr., who runs the website PatriotPastors.net, also suggests that the country’s Muslims are “fundraising for Terrorists.”

     
  • FBI faces criticism for plan to turn Muslim community leaders into snitches

    Source: Truthout. The FBI will soon implement a new program to pressure teachers and religious leaders into serving as informants, an advocacy group is warning. In a statement issued late last week, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) slammed a new Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program set to be unveiled by the Bureau in the coming days — one that will rely on local leaders to snitch on troubled youth under the disguise of counseling. The launch of the “Shared Responsibility Committees” (SRC) has been in the works since last Fall. It is the latest initiative by federal law enforcement officials to focus counterterrorist efforts primarily on Arab and Muslim youth.

     
  • Experts say Ted Cruz’s plan to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” is counterproductive and unconstitutional

    Source: Vox. Sen. Ted Cruz appeared to call for law enforcement to specifically target Muslim communities in America in the wake of today’s deadly attacks in Brussels. “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods,” he said in a statement posted to his Facebook page. Cruz’s suggestion that American law enforcement specifically “patrol and secure” Muslim communities is both immoral and counterproductive. That’s according to A. Trevor Thrall, a Cato Institute scholar who is also a professor of policy, government, and international affairs at George Mason University.

     
  • Banner bearing Arabic message of love reported to Homeland Security and FBI

    Source: Alternet. A banner bearing the Arabic expression “Love is for all,” touched off a massive security crackdown this week in Lubbock, Texas, where city officials shut down traffic and called for an investigation by Homeland Security, the FBI and police. First spotted the morning after Valentine’s Day, the banner was hung from the top of the publicly owned Citizens Tower. The Arabic script spelling out the message of love was framed with a red heart. To Mayor Glen Robertson, the “Arabic flag” was cause for alarm. Officials in Lubbock, Texas, shut down traffic and called for an investigation in response to a publicly displayed banner. Raed Jarrar, government relations manager at the American Friends Service Committee, told AlterNet that the fear-mongering response “is another unfortunate example of how an entire language is criminalized in the United States, even when there is a love banner on Valentine’s Day.”