Islamophobia & Civil Freedoms

  • Anti-Muslim protests spoil the first day of school for kindergartners In Houston

    Source: Think Progress. A group of adult protesters likely spoiled the first day of class for 132 knee-high pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at Texas’ Houston Independent School District (HISD) who were on their way to a new Arabic immersion program at their school.On Monday morning, about 30 adult protesters spread out around the school fence holding signs and waving American and Israeli flags.This is the first semester at HISD’s Arabic Immersion Magnet School (or AIMS), a program that offers students the opportunity to spend half their day in classes taught in Arabic and half taught in English. The program welcomes children from 40 different Houston-area zipcodes, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. Behind Spanish, Arabic is the second most common foreign language spoken at home among people living in the Houston Independent School District. HISD opened a Mandarin immersion program in 2012 without any issues and has a Spanish dual language program that expanded from 31 to 52 campuses this year.

     
  • Scott Walker’s campaign lets stand ‘handful of reasonable’ Muslims remark

    Source: Wisconsin State Journal. For a second day, Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign let stand remarks by the Republican presidential hopeful that suggest he believes the vast majority of Muslims are extremists. While the governor’s campaign sought to clarify the remarks he made in Derry, New Hampshire, in a statement Friday, a campaign spokeswoman declined or didn’t respond to three requests by the Wisconsin State Journal on Friday and Saturday to explain whether Walker merely misspoke when he said there are few “reasonable, moderate followers of Islam.”

     
  • ‘Enlightened’ USA: FBI warns of right wing militia attacks against Muslims

    Source: Middle East Eye. The FBI has noted an increase in surveillance of mosques and avocation of violence against Muslims via armed militia groups over the course of the past two years. Chillingly, the FBI notes that a militia group in Mississippi “discussed kidnapping and beheading a Muslim and posting video of the attack to the Internet,” while another “posted calls over social media to kill Muslims attending worship services”. Significantly, the FBI contends that it is anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories disseminated by “self-appointed watchdogs of Islamic extremism, Internet bloggers, and some news media” that have fuelled these right wing militias into becoming what the FBI now considers a serious threat.

     
  • Disgraced former FBI agent John Guandolo providing anti-Muslim law enforcement training this week in Colorado

    Source: SPLC. Former FBI agent John Guandolo is planning to be in Denver, Colo., this week for three training sessions for law enforcement, legislators, clergy and members of the general public –– all guaranteed to understand the skills to “combat” the jihadi threat “at the local level.” But if Guandolo’s previous comments on Islam and strong ties to anti-Muslim groups are any indication, the trainings are sure to be steeped in conjured worries and fear mongering anti-Muslim rhetoric. Let’s remember, Guandolo once claimed American Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”

     
  • Franklin Graham continues to spread anti-Muslim hate

    Source: World Religion News. On July 17, Franklin Graham made one of the most bigoted posts about Muslims on his Facebook. As the president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, it’s assumed he would aim to spread love. However, he has, time and again, chosen to use his platform and ability to reach millions to spread hate toward Muslims. The post in question received thousands of likes and comments from supporters.

     
  • Officials considering monitoring mosques after shooting in Chattanooga

    Source: WPDE. Law enforcement agencies across the country are reassessing security in the wake of the shooting rampage last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And the focus is once again on young radicalized Muslim men and the signs police all too often miss. Some security experts say the way to stop the next act of domestic terrorism is to place officers inside America’s most sacred spaces.

     
  • Muslim cemetery plans stir outrage in small Texas town

    Source: International Business Times. A normally quiet town of 3,000 in Texas has been up in arms in recent weeks over plans to bring an Islamic cemetery within their city limits. More than 100 residents packed a Farmersville City Council meeting Tuesday night to express their concern. The cemetery issue was not an official agenda item for Tuesday night’s meeting, as it is not yet up for a vote. But residents who spoke during a 30-minute time allocated for community comments are hoping to thwart the plan.

     
  • Muslim comics in a league of their own at upcoming ‘Muslim Funny Fest’

    Source: Daily News. Islam and hilarity are not two words often found in the same sentence. But a group of Muslim comedians is out to change that.Obeidallah and fellow Muslim-American comic Maysoon Zayid are planning to fight stereotypes and racism with the most powerful weapon they know: humor. Later this month, the pair will host the first “Muslim Funny Fest” in New York, which will feature 10 professionals, who all happen to be Muslim, performing over three nights to make fun of themselves, the audience, and all the ways Islam has become vilified in American culture.

     
  • Muslim advocacy group takes MTA to court over ads

    Source: Newsweek. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) advertising policy is being challenged in a lawsuit filed Thursday by an organization called the Muslim Advocates on behalf of Vaguely Qualified Productions. Advertisements designed by the production company had been approved by the MTA and were paid for, but they never ran. After the MTA changed its advertising policy in late April, the transit authority said the ads failed to meet the new standards. The new MTA policy classified the ads as political, meaning they were not allowed to run in subways or on buses.

     
  • Rights groups are slamming a Colorado biker club for planning an anti-Islam ‘pig roast’ this weekend

    Source: Reuters. A civil rights group said on Friday it was deeply disturbed by reports that a Colorado motorcycle club has distributed flyers for an anti-Ramadan barbecue, including a pig roast, this weekend “in defiance of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan.” Scott Levin, regional director of the Mountain States Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said in a statement the “open bike party” was being advertised by the Colorado Springs chapter of the Infidels Motorcycle Club. “Holding an event mocking the Muslim observance of Ramadan, a holy time in the Muslim faith, is highly offensive and abhorrent. As a community, we must reject anti-Muslim bigotry whenever and wherever it surfaces,” Levin said.