Islamophobia & Civil Freedoms

  • Trump, Cruz inject tough rhetoric on Islam into GOP race

    Source: The Hill. Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are injecting forceful rhetoric on Islam into the Republican presidential race after last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Both candidates have campaigned heavily against illegal immigration and are now stressing national security following the slaughter in France that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken credit for. Cruz has suggested that the United States only accept Christian refugees from Syria — a majority-Muslim country — while Trump has floated closing down mosques in the United States. Trump has also floated heightened surveillance of mosques, registering American Muslims in a database and offering them a special ID listing their religion. Democrats have roundly denounced such talk. President Obama called Cruz’s push “shameful,” while Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) painted the Republican Party as intolerant.

  • Fake video, images claim to show Muslim joy over Paris attacks

    Source: The Washington Post. One video that was widely shared in the aftermath of the Paris attacks shows a scene of revelry. Men gathered in front of London’s Tooting Broadway Station cheer and fist-pump the air. Full of smiles, some have climbed onto a statue and are waving green flags above their heads. The title of the clip posted to Facebook: “Muslims Around The World Celebrate The Islamic Victory in Paris France.” The video was rapidly disseminated, and with it, the outrage. Until Tuesday, only a few ventured to bring up its dubious nature. After all, the video actually has nothing to do with terrorism — it was filmed in 2009, not last weekend, and it shows Pakistanis celebrating a cricket match victory following the ICC World Twenty20 tournament. It isn’t the only piece of fake “evidence” for Muslim joy over the Paris attacks to have surfaced in the past few days.

  • Spirit Airlines boots 4 passengers for using a smartphone while looking Middle Eastern

    Source: Raw Story. Four people who appeared to be “of Middle Eastern descent” were removed from a Spirit Airlines flight from Baltimore to Chicago on Tuesday morning for alleged “suspicious activity.”According to the Chicago Tribune, the activity in question consisted of watching a news broadcast on a mobile device. The four people were released after questioning by police. Sgt. Jonathan Green of the Maryland Transportation Authority told the Baltimore Sun that a female passenger became alarmed and reported the four individuals to flight crew members.

  • Republican calls for increased surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods

    Source: The Hill. The chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence says there needs to be more surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods after the terrorist attacks in Paris.“We have to have more surveillance in the Muslim community,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told John Catsimatidis on AM 970 New York on Sunday. King dismissed notions of political correctness and charges of racial profiling as “absolute nonsense” that will “cost human lives.”

  • NYPD admits spying on Muslim college students but denies “overarching blanket surveillance”

    Source: Gothamist (11/12): NYPD Admits Spying On Muslim College Students But Denies “Overarching Blanket Surveillance”
    A week after Gothamist reported that an NYPD undercover detective “converted” to Islam to spy on Brooklyn College students and continued to monitor their activities well into de Blasio’s first term, the police department pushed back.”There’s truth in the Gothamist story, if you pick out certain facts you can say, ‘Well, this is true,’ or ‘That’s true’,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, told WNYC. “But it’s wrapped around this narrative that there was this overarching blanket surveillance, which is not the case.” Yet the revelations in our story suggested that the surveillance and infiltration of Muslim communities in New York has continued, despite the de Blasio administration’s decision in April of 2014 to dismantle the notorious Demographics Unit.

  • FBI left out top Muslim-American groups when vetting anti-extremist game

    Source: The Intercept. An October “community focus group” was billed by the FBI as an opportunity for Muslim and Arab leaders to “review” and provide “constructive feedback” on the bureau’s new web-based “game” designed to help ordinary young people identify extremists. But many of the largest and most influential Muslim-American activist groups weren’t invited. Of the six groups that Muslim-Americans feel represent their interests the most, according to a 2011 Gallup poll, only one got a seat at the FBI’s meeting. Muslim, Sikh, and Yemeni leaders who were invited to weigh in, some of whom spoke to the Times shortly before the website’s expected release date, generally felt that it disproportionately focused on Islamic extremism rather than other forms of radicalism present in American society. They also worried it would inspire bullying and racism in schools.

  • The death threat at Virginia Tech points to a larger problem of Islamophobia in the USA

    Source: Quartz. A threat “to kill all muslims” at Virginia Tech University has raised fears that an attack directed against the campus Muslim community may be imminent. In an email to the university’s student body, the university’s police unit wrote: “On Monday [Nov. 2], the Virginia Tech police department received a report concerning graffiti that was left inside a bathroom stall in Price Hall.” The graffiti writer had left a note that read, “I will be here 11/11/2015 to kill all Muslims.” Obaid Rehman, president of the Muslim Student Association at Virginia Tech, blamed rising Islamophobia in the US as a contributor to the potential for violence against Muslims.Since 9/11, hate crimes against Muslims have skyrocketed in the United States, according to data from the FBI.

  • Muslim activists alarmed by the FBI’s new game-like counterterrorism program for kids

    Source: The Washington Post. The FBI has designed an unusual game-style Web site about extremism meant to be used by teachers and students to help the agency spot and prevent radicalization of youth, say Muslim and Arab advocacy groups who were briefed by the FBI on the program and fear it will foment discrimination against Muslims. The law enforcement agency characterized the program, which appears to be the first aimed at the nation’s schools, as one that will keep youth from falling prey to online recruiting by terrorists. But some members of the Muslim and Arab advocacy groups invited to preview the effort complained that despite being described as combatting “violent extremism,” it frames the topic heavily through the lens of Islam and will lead to profiling of Muslim youth.

  • F.B.I. tool to identify extremists is criticized

    Source: The New York Times. The F.B.I. is about to introduce an interactive program it developed for teachers and students, aimed at training them to prevent young people from being drawn into violent extremism. But Muslim, Arab and other religious and civil rights leaders who were invited to preview the program have raised strong objections, saying it focuses almost entirely on Islamic extremism, which they say has not been a factor in the epidemic of school shootings and attacks in the United States. “The program is based on flawed theories of radicalization, namely that individuals radicalize in the exact same way and it’s entirely discernible,” said Arjun S. Sethi, an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. “But it’s not, and the F.B.I. is basically asking teachers and students to suss these things out.” “The greatest threat facing American schoolchildren today is gun violence,” he said. “It’s not Muslim extremism.”

  • Donald Trump says he would be open to closing U.S. mosques to fight ISIS

    Source: The New York Times. Donald J. Trump angered Hispanics when he referred to immigrants as criminals and rapists during the kickoff of his campaign in June. This week, he has put American Muslims on edge by suggesting that he would be open to shutting down mosques as president. Asked on Fox Business Network if the United States should take action to close certain mosques as part of the fight against the Islamic State, as has happened in Britain, Mr. Trump said, “I would do that, absolutely.”